Big Life

Chapter 8: Popularity Comes Knocking (1)

Chapter 8: Popularity Comes Knocking (1)

On the following morning, Ha Jae-Gun checked the amount that came into his bank account and let out a sigh of relief. An amount of slightly over 2,100,000 won in royalties was transferred.

‘Thank god…!’

It was the agreed amount he was promised for publishing two volumes of his novel.

The thought of being tricked entered his mind last night, but after seeing the money in his bank account, Ha Jae-Gun was reassured. In addition, he had been feeling desperate over his tight pocket for quite a while now.

'The gods helped me this time.'

It was his father's birthday today. He was about to show up empty-handed, but thanks to the royalties, he could prepare a gift for him.

"Rika. I'm sorry, I'll have to leave you at home alone today. My parents hate pets, so I can't bring you along. However, I'll do my best to come home earlier."

"Meow." Rika cried softly before jumping onto his bed and resting on his pillow.

Ha Jae-Gun took a quick shower, changed and left the house. His parents were staying in Suwon, and arriving there would take him around an hour by subway.

'Giving him cash would be the best.'

Ha Jae-Gun wondered if he should buy a gift, but he eventually decided to give his father a money envelope rather than a tangible gift. In the end, he got afraid that his father wouldn’t like his present.

Ha Jae-Gun had never heard anything good coming from his father about himself, but his mother and sister were different. It was unfortunate, but his father had always been cold toward him.

He went to prepare a money envelope filled with three hundred thousand won in cash upon arriving at Suwon station. Then, dropped by a bakery and bought a freshly-baked cream cake. His father probably wouldn’t eat it, but he actually bought it for his mother and sister, who loved sweets.

Ding dong!

Ha Jae-Gun rang the doorbell of his parents’ home. The dragging sound of slippers could be heard on the opposite side of the door, and the door soon opened.

"Oh? Why are you here so early?"

Ha Jae-In asked in shock as she looked at the wall clock. The small hand of the clock was pointing at the number two.

Ha Jae-Gun smiled as he took off his shoes. "What were you doing?"

"I was resting, of course. It's been a while since I had a rest day."

When Ha Jae-Gun saw the state of the kitchen, he immediately realized that Ha Jae-In was lying.

A pot of braised short ribs was boiling on the stove, and ingredients for making japchae[1] were laid out on the dining table. It was obvious that she had started preparing a feast early this morning.

"Have you had your lunch yet? Wait, there's no way you ate before coming here. Come, sit down."

"Where's Mother?"

"She went hiking with Dad. They should be back soon. You should eat first."


Ha Jae-Gun pulled out a chair and sat at the dining table.

Ha Jae-In made rolled omelet, ham, salted squid, and kimchi. She also carried with her a huge bowl of rice and set them on the table. Soon, a delicious table of dishes was laid before Ha Jae-Gun, and they were all his favorite dishes.

"Thank you for the meal."

"Dig in! Let me know if you need seconds."

Her dishes were still as delicious as always. Ha Jae-Gun could never find these deep flavors somewhere else.

Ha Jae-Gun wasn't joking when he told her a couple of times that she should open her own restaurant. She was just that good at cooking.

"How is it?"

"Of course, they're delicious. Why are you even asking?" Ha Jae-Gun replied while chewing on his food.

"You have to eat well even when you're on your own."

"I know…"

"It'll be great if you could come back here and stay…"

"You know that Father hates me."

"I know. That's why I’m not saying anything more than that, stupid."



Ha Jae-Gun put down his spoon temporarily and swallowed the food in his mouth before continuing. "I think things will go well for me soon."

"Really? Did something good happen to you?"

Ha Jae-Gun looked down and chuckled.

Ha Jae-In patted Ha Jae-Gun's thighs, urging him to end the cliffhanger. "Don’t leave me hanging; tell me."

"The editor-in-chief complimented my novel and said that it’s interesting."

"Really? That strict editor-in-chief you told me about over the phone back then?"

"Yeah. He complimented me and even increased my royalties. So, here…"

Ha Jae-Gun retrieved a money envelope with three hundred thousand won from his jacket and handed it over to Ha Jae-In.

"This is for Father. He won't accept it if I gave this to him personally, so please help me give it to him."

"Mm…" Ha Jae-In accepted the envelope and was surprised to find that it was thicker than before. She opened it to take a peek and exclaimed, "Oh, my! T-three hundred thousand won?"

"What's there to be surprised about?"

"It's too much. A hundred thousand won is enough."

"Noona, don't do this…"

"You should take care of your well-being first. Don't push yourself too much. You know there's no need to put up a front in front of me, right?"

Ha Jae-Gun held Ha Jae-In's hand tightly and shook his head. "I'm not putting up a front. Look at how miserable I have been living in the past few years, and I’m not really the type to do something like that."


"This three hundred thousand won isn't that much. I think I’m actually going to earn three million won soon, so please just accept this. I'm not pushing myself; I simply have the ability to give him this much money."

Ha Jae-In's head dropped. Surprised, Ha Jae-Gun grabbed her shoulders and shook her lightly. "You're going to cry again. Don't cry. I'm going to leave if you cry."

"I'm not. Dust just got into my eyes, that’s all."

"Don't lie. I don’t see any dust here."

"My brother is so cool." Ha Jae-In smiled bitterly and looked up with a red nose and flushed face.

"Stop treating me like a kid. You're just three years older than me."

"Hey, three years means that I've eaten three thousand more meals than you did."

"Oh? Is that why you look like you gained some weight?”

"Hey, how dare you! I'm only fifty kilograms, you know! Come here, you punk!"

"Sheesh, I was joking." Ha Jae-In head locked Ha Jae-Gun from behind.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang, interrupting them.

"I'm only letting you go because of Mom and Dad. You better be grateful." Ha Jae-In walked away and opened the door.

Ha Jae-Gun stood up and looked at the entrance. Their parents had finally returned, and they were clad in hiking clothes.

"Welcome back."

"Oh, my, Ha Jae-Gun is here early today."

Ha Jae-Gun's mother took off her shoes and walked briskly to Ha Jae-Gun, pulling him into a hug.

"Why are you so thin? You've only been eating ramyun, right?"

"No, I’m eating really well. Anyway, Mother, why are you so thin?"

"Are you teasing your own mother? I've gained so much weight recently. Honey, Ha Jae-Gun is teasing me, right? Hmm? He said I'm slim."

However, there was no response from his father. The old man took off his shoes and headed to his room. He looked indifferent as he passed by Ha Jae-Gun.

"Aigoo… that man seriously… Please be understanding of him. He had some rice wine earlier."

"I'm fine."

"I'll go look at him. Hang out with your sister in the meantime, son."

His mother lightly patted Ha Jae-Gun on his butt and headed into the bedroom after his father. As the bedroom door closed, echoes of his parents' conversation could be heard outside, and it was gradually getting louder.

"It's your birthday; why are you acting like this?! Can't you take Ha Jae-Gun's feelings into consideration? Let's just spend some time together without any issues, okay?"

"Why should I care for his feelings?! Who asked him to come, anyway? I'm angry just looking at him! He says that he doesn't know what he wants to do, so why did he become a writer and start writing about others? There is no need to provide for a pathetic guy like him, so send him away! Let him write and play God for all I care!"

"You… seriously!"

Ha Jae-Gun started walking toward the door. He put on his shoes as Ha Jae-In walked toward him from behind. Ha Jae-In looked like she was about to cry.

"Ha Jae-Gun…" She had no idea what to say.

She had never expected their father to be so relentless, even on his own birthday. He was still as furious at his son, who defied his will and became a writer.

The sight of their father coldly passing by Ha Jae-Gun made Ha Jae-In realize the reality of their family’s situation.

"Help me explain to Mother. I'll get going first."

"Sorry… I'll go over to your place on my rest day."

"It's alright. I'll call you." Ha Jae-Gun chose to ignore Ha Jae-In's teary eyes and turned around to leave. He headed toward the subway station, seemingly unaffected by the incident earlier. His footsteps were strong and confident as ever.

'Wait and see, Father.'

Ha Jae-Gun clenched his teeth, determined.

In the past, Ha Jae-Gun often abandoned his work and looked for soju to drink every time he heard such words from his father. His father’s words were just that painful for him to hear.

But now, it was different. His usually bleak future was turning bright, so he started walking with a spring in his steps. Ha Jae-Gun wanted to return to his studio as soon as possible and start working on the next volume of his novel.

1. Stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables ☜

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