I Became the Lousy Side Top - Chap 34
That’s why Hyunjin had no choice but to ask again.
“What did you just say?”
“I said you only have to pay half as much interest from now on.”
It was an unbelievable story. Suddenly the interest owed was cut in half? Considering the amount of debt, it was impossible. A natural question arose.
Dongsoo awkwardly looked away and continued talking. It was as if he was reading from a Korean language textbook.
“Your father came into contact with quite a lot of money this time.”
“Yes, he got lucky.”
Damn luck. Until now, his father had been spending money as fast as it came in. But he hit the jackpot once, and they call that getting lucky? Suddenly, he remembered what his father always said.
‘It’s just because of bad luck.’
Thinking about it like that made Hyunjin uncomfortable.
“With my father’s personality, there’s no way he’d use that money to pay off his debt.”
Dongsoo smiled and responded to him. The voice that had been awkward the whole time seemed natural now.
“Didn’t your old contact tell you before? We always have ways to collect what we’re owed. Of course, it’s easier when the person actually has money.”
In short, he was claiming that they confiscated it from his father, Yoo Junghyun. How mortified must that gambling addict be right now? He could tell even without seeing him.
“Then, I’ll be off.”
Dongsoo turned his back and started off down the slope. Hyunjin stood there, frozen, until the outline of Dongsoo’s body could no longer be seen. Then he began walking again, slowly, thinking about everything he had done so far. He’d worked so hard and barely managed to keep up with the interest, but now his debt was instantly reduced by half. Of course he should be happy, but honestly, it was difficult for him to feel anything except dread. Because he knew that after joy comes suffering.
This time he was lucky and his debt was reduced, but next time it might have increased again. He needed to save up any remaining money for that time. Even if his debt is reduced for now, nothing had really changed. Hyunjin was thinking rationally.
He was thinking rationally, but…
As soon as he entered the room, Woohee, who had been under the blanket, jumped up and clung to his waist. Why was he awake this early in the morning? Hyunjin looked at Woohee in confusion. Seeing his older brother stare at him like that, Woohee squirmed and spoke.
“What about uncle?”
When Hyunjin urgently asked what had happened, Woohee smiled brightly and continued.
“Uncle said he’s going to take us to an amusement park!”
Woohee jumped up and down, clinging to his older brother. Behind him, Hyunjin saw Hyeonu sticking his head out of the blanket. It looked like he wasn’t sleeping either.
“Woohee, you should sleep.”
Even though Hyeonu said that, he also looked excited. In the meantime, Jaewoo woke up as well and added.
“Okay kids, go back to sleep and we’ll have fun at the amusement park on the weekend.”
Woohee wiggled away from Hyunjin and lay back down beneath the blanket as though he hadn’t just jumped up. But he didn’t fall asleep right away.
“Can you go too?”
It seemed like the excitement wasn’t going to subside easily.
Jaewoo said to Hyunjin.
“We talked about it during dinner, and they’ve been like this ever since. They’re really looking forward to it.”
And then he smiled softly. The sight of it was so captivating that Hyunjin couldn’t seem to look away from him, until Woohee spoke up again.
“You’ll go with us, right?”
He’d just been telling himself that he needed to act rationally, but Hyunjin couldn’t help it. His heart melted.
“Okay, let’s go together.”
“Is it okay?”
Hyunjin smiled while answering Jaewoo’s question.
“It’s okay, I can take a day off this weekend.”
“Then I’ll buy four tickets, including yours?”
“Yes. I’ll pay you back for them.”
“You don’t need to.”
“How can I let you do that?”
“You’re so stubborn…”
Jaewoo spoke in a rough voice and turned his body to the other side. It seemed a bit more comfortable for him.
Meanwhile, the children began to pay attention to their older brother, as if their excitement had finally subsided. It seemed like it was because they had mentioned money. Woohee looked sulky, while Hyeonu made an embarrassed expression.
“We don’t have to go to the amusement park.”
“No, it’s just an amusement park. It’ll be the same as always.”
At Hyeonu’s words, Woohee’s lips twitched as though he wanted to speak up, but in the end, he didn’t open his mouth. His younger brothers had needed to grow up too fast. Hyunjin regretted that.
“If you want to go, you can just say you want to go.”
“But it’s expensive.”
“You wanted to go until you heard that.”
“I know, but…”
Hyeonu glanced at Jaewoo. These were kids that were so wary about accepting things from others, but Jaewoo had somehow convinced them. How had he become such a comfortable person? He wished the kids could always be like they were around Jaewoo. With a bitter smile, Hyunjin said.
“It’s okay. You’re my little brothers, so if there’s anything you want to do, just tell me.”
Hyunjin patted Hyeonu’s hesitant head.
“You’re my little brother.”
Woohee, who had been quietly watching the scene the whole time, suddenly burst into tears. Hyunjin hugged him close and patted his back. The worry that’d been burdening them had grown a lot while he’d been busy with work. It was too much for kids like them to handle.
“I don’t have to go either.”
Woohee said, trying to sound dignified. He seemed to have thought a lot about it. It was unfortunate that the conclusion he came to was to endure it, for his brother’s sake.
“Hey, there’s no need to feel like this. Let’s go. There’s no reason we can’t go to an amusement park.”
“Are you sure we can go?”
“Would your big brother lie to you?”
Only then did the children’s expressions change. It seemed like they were finally ready to trust Hyunjin’s words. As Hyeonu got up from the bed and threw himself at his brothers, hugging them tight, Hyunjin saw Jaewoo looking in their direction. It seemed like he wasn’t able to sleep thanks to all the commotion. Hyunjin was about to apologize, but Jaewoo struck first.
“Then I’ll pack the lunch box.”
“Thank you. I’ll help you.”
“I’ll make gimbap1, sandwiches, and some sliced fruit.”
“It sounds delicious.”
“Of course it’s delicious. I’m making it.”
The two made eye contact and smiled. Then, Hyunjin comforted Hyeonu and Woohee and laid them down on the blanket again. Although it was already dawn, he felt like they should sleep a little longer.
After they promised to go to the amusement park, time passed quickly. In the blink of an eye, it was the weekend. Jaewoo woke up early in the morning and prepared lunch boxes. Of course he knew that they sold food at the amusement park, but…
“Stuff like that doesn’t taste as good.”
And if it did taste good, then it was expensive. Jaewoo wanted to ease Hyunjin’s burden, so it was better to pack a lunch. The sliced fruit was simple; all he had to do was cut the fruit into small pieces, treat it so it wouldn’t discolor, and stack it nicely in a container. There were only two slightly tricky things to make: the gimbap, and the sandwiches. Jaewoo decided to spend most of his time on those.
“Okay, lunch is looking good.”
Seaweed, pickled radishes, eggs, carrots, spinach, burdock roots2, fish cakes, and ham. Even the ingredients were prepared according to each person’s liking. Now all that was left was to roll them nicely.
“Are you ready?”
When Jaewoo shouted cheerfully, Hyeonu and Woohee, wearing plastic gloves on their hands, responded excitedly.
Jaewoo tried to get the kids to sleep longer, but they were so excited that they woke up early in the morning and didn’t want to go back to bed. Then he offered to make the gimbap together.
‘It’s good to have multiple hands.’
Hyunjin had finished getting ready and was sitting next to his younger siblings. So the four of them set out the table on the floor and started rolling gimbap. Jaewoo demonstrated for them. As expected, he showed his prowess as the best chef in the house. His gimbap looked delicious, straight and without any cracks in the wrapper.
The gimbap was cut into appropriately sized pieces, and he popped the leftover end pieces into the kid’s mouths one by one.
“It really is!”
The children eagerly ate the gimbap pieces with their cheeks puffed out. Jaewoo passed them a second one, then put the final end piece into Hyunjin’s mouth.
“Because we paid attention to each and every ingredient.”
Jaewoo shrugged his shoulders and showed the children how he’d rolled it. Woohee said that he liked ham and fish cakes, so he put a lot of them in his gimbap. He wasn’t good at rolling it; pieces of rice and meat poked through the wrapper every here and there. Still, he seemed excited to be making a gimbap that contained his favorite things.
Hyeonu was more restrained when it came to stuffing his gimbap, but Hyunjin was more skilled than both of them. Neatly wrapped gimbap piled up on the tray, one by one. A few of them ended up getting damaged, and Jaewoo cut those up and set them out for breakfast.
Woohee, Hyeonu, Hyunjin, and Jaewoo all ate their fill of gimbap. However, even if someone ate a lot of it, gimbap was something they’d never get tired of as long as it tasted good. Jaewoo made sure they all got a lot in their lunch boxes.
For the sandwiches, Jaewoo settled on an egg sandwich. He separated out the whites and yolks from some boiled eggs, then chopped the whites with a knife and beat the yolks until fluffy. Then he seasoned them with mayonnaise and a little sugar. Some finely chopped pickles were added for texture.
Jaewoo grinned and put the sandwich ingredients out on the floor. They were easier to make than the gimbap was. All he had to do was fill them properly between the slices of bread, then cut them. They filled three large lunch boxes with gimbap, sandwiches, and fruit.
“Okay, now that the lunch boxes are ready, shall we head out?”
Hyunjin and Jaewoo left the house holding the children’s hands. The amusement park they planned to go to was R Land, the closest one! Although they had to travel for nearly two hours by bus and subway, the kids still seemed to have a lot of fun.
“Wow, there are a lot of people.”
Jaewoo looked surprised at the crowd. It had been a while since he’d been to an amusement park. They had some adorable kids with them, so Jaewoo resolved to throw away his shame and have fun for today!
“Then let’s go, chicks!”
“Peep peep peep!”
So the four of them entered R Land.
김밥 – gimbap. A Korean dish made from cooked rice, vegetables, fish, and meat rolled in dried sheets of seaweed and served in bite-sized slices. Wikipedia, Recipe
우엉 – burdock root. The root of the burdock plant, it’s eaten in Korean cuisine. Wikipedia