“Flat white for Miss Steppani!”
A pale-skinned, short blonde barista who wears a blue apron with weird-looking girl logo calls my name incorrectly as she puts my order on the counter. I stand up lazily from the pale brown stuffed chair, which matches well with all the wooden interior of the café, making my way to get my order while silently chuckle at the way the barista called my name. I clearly remember telling the barista that my name is Stephanie, not Steppani but the short blonde apparently still calls me with the weird name she invented herself.
“Do you really like coffee, Miss Steppani?” Greeting me with her friendly smile, which shows a dimple on her chin, the barista still stands in front of the counter, gently pushes my coffee cup closer to me. “You always come to our café at this hour everyday,” she continues her sentence. I study her for a moment, being a part of HR department somehow makes me automatically observe people only to make sure whether the person is worth talking or not. Fortunately for this barista, I can only sense her genuine friendliness towards me so I choose to reply her question nicely.
“I prefer chocolate actually but I need coffee to keep me focus on my work.” I smile back at her. “And no matter how often I come here, seems like you keep incorrectly pronounce my name,” I chuckle.
“Ah, I am sorry.”
I can see faint blush on her cheeks as she scratches the back of her head groggily.
“My English is bad,” She chuckles and grinned shyly.
“Hahaha, it’s okay, Miss…” I look at the nametag on her chest, noticing that I never really know this barista’s name even after coming here couples of times already, “Taeyeon,” I finally manage to read the name on the tag.
“I promise to watch some youtube videos to train myself in pronouncing your name later tonight. So I will be able to pronounce your name correctly tomorrow, if you come here again.” She keeps grinning cheerfully, while she lifts her right hand, making a peace sign with her index and middle fingers.
I laugh at her cute gesture, “You better keep your words, Miss Taeyeon.”
“Oh I will,” She winks at me playfully, “And please call me Taeyeon.”
“Hey dwarf! You get another order to make!” An equally short girl with short hair shouts from the cashier counter.
“Yah Soonkyu! Why are you calling me dwarf? You are even shorter than me!” Taeyeon yells back at the cashier named Soonkyu. I laugh a bit too loud at their quarrel also at the name of her friend. I can’t believe hearing such a name in this era. It sounds too old for such a young person.
“I’m sorry for that, Miss Stepp… ffani,” She makes an attempt to pronounce my name correctly, making me smile in amusement.
“It’s okay. You don’t need to push yourself too much to pronounce my name anyway. Just call me in that silly sounded name before: Steppani. I’m fine.”
She grins sheepishly.
“Yah! Midget! Move your ass to the coffee maker now!” Soonkyu yells at her again.
“I think I have a duty to do now, Miss. See you tomorrow, I guess?” She smiles at me.
“Sure, Taeyeon,” I smile back.
“Have a nice day!” She winks again before leaving me alone in front of the counter, taking her way to her station, in front of the coffee maker. I take my order and sit back to the seat I left before, enjoying a short break in the middle of my pack schedule, sipping my coffee while breathing the scents of freshly brewed coffee filling the room.
I walk in lifelessly to the café across my office with a stack of documents to be work on and a pair of visible dark circles under my eyes as a result of my lack of sleeps recently. A familiar greeting soon heard from behind the coffee maker, with the voice’s owner smiles warmly at me. Just hearing her voice recharges my drained energy, and I can’t help to smile back at her. I proceed to Soonkyu at the cashier counter to spill out my order and pay for the bill before taking the closest seat from the coffee maker.
“You look lifeless, Fany,” Taeyeon steals a glance at me from behind the machine. Ever since the day I protested her for not pronouncing my name correctly, she made several attempts to call me right only to repeatedly fail. She called me with various failing Stephanie pronunciations from Steppffany, Stiphanie, Step-hani, and the last one that finally made her give up was Stip-fan-nyi. I offered her to call me by any nickname that can be pronounced easier by her and at the end we agreed with the nickname ‘Fany’.
“Works have been crazy recently,” I reply as I flash my infamous eye smile. She only makes an ‘O’ with her mouth and nods as if understands my situation. The thing she possibly won’t understand. I try not to judge people especially those who do not have professional relationship with me but to see how Taeyeon enjoys her life somehow makes me envy of her. I do not know her very well to guess what kind of life she has but her friendly and free-spirited personality is one of the charms that I do not have. The charm that makes me somehow attracted to her and want to know her better.
“You should take a leave and go for a vacation,” Taeyeon talks to me again without stopping her hands working with the coffee maker.
“I wish I could,” I sigh.
“I wish you know you could,” She chuckles at her own joke. “But I mean it. Why can’t you? Every employee has the right to take a leave right?” She asks while keeping the tip of steaming wand low into the milk, making sure she does not break the surface of the milk to make a perfect flat white.
“But my boss is taking her leave at the moment, leaving me her whole works to be done,” I replied; looking at the stack of documents I put on the table. My original portion of work is actually only one-fourth of the documents. “In addition, since my boss is not in office, who will approve my leave request? No one,” I sigh again.
“How ironic to hear such a thing from an HR staff,” She shakes her head in amusement as she finally puts my cup of flat white on the counter. I immediately leave my seat to take my order. That is when I notice that Taeyeon just left my coffee on the counter without calling out my name and waiting for me to take it. It is unusual for her to do that especially she once told me that calling the customer’s name and waiting for them to take the orders is one of the standard operational procedures in this café.
I wait for her patiently, standing in front of the counter, taking a deep breath to capture the coffee scents around the air.
“I haven’t called out your name, why are you there already,” The short girl comes from the food container, bringing a chocolate muffin on the plate in her hand.
“I thought you forgot the procedure,” I shrug my shoulder.
“I am not that old to start forgetting things, Fany,” She chuckles cutely. Her baby-like face really fits her friendly attitude well.
“But you are old, Taeyeon. You are even older than me. Thanks to your cute face that people won’t be able to tell how old you are.”
“Now I regret for telling you my real age,” Taeyeon fakes a sigh as she put the plate of muffin on the counter. “I wonder how many more visits you will need until you can find out too many things about me, Miss HR manager.” She rolls her eyes playfully.
“Trust me, I can do that in just one visit if I want to,” I giggle. It is always refreshing to have a simple conversation with Taeyeon. She always makes me forget my works for a while just by talking about silly matters like this.
“Don’t tell me you want to do that, please,” She gives me a pair of pleading puppy eyes, earning a laugh from me.
“And why is that?”
“Because once you find out too much about me, then there are no more things to talk about. And I will not be able to have this fun conversation with my favorite customer,” She winks at me, trying to look cute but fails and makes a creepy wink instead. This is also one of her antics. She is just naturally cute, but when she tries too hard to look cute, it always ends up failing.
“Stop trying to be cute, Taeyeon,” I laugh at the sight in front of me.
Taeyeon laughs along as she gently push the muffin closer to me, “Flat white and chocolate muffin for Miss Fany,” She suddenly calls out my order and puts up her friendly smile.
“I don’t remember ordering muffin,” I look at her questioningly.
“You didn’t actually. That’s my complimentary snack for a hard-working woman like you.”
“Why thanks!” I almost squeal in happiness, “That’s so sweet of you.”
“I am sweet. You haven’t found it out yet?”
“Now you know it then,” She grins proudly.
“I am regretting my choice of words, then,” I chuckle in amusement. I wish I could spend more time talking with her. Meeting Taeyeon in the middle of my hectic work life is like finding an oasis in the middle of dessert. She comes in my life in the most unexpected situation, and washes away my weariness ever since.
“You can’t take back your words, just like I can’t take back the muffin. Now, take your order and go finish your works. Shoo! Shoo!” She playfully gesturing me to go back to my seat. I laugh once again before finally taking my flat white and muffin to my seat and start working on my tasks.
I do not know which one works better; whether the refreshing conversation I have with Taeyeon, my cup of flat white, or the complimentary muffin she gave. But by the end of the day, I manage to finish all the works, and miraculously feel less worn out than I am supposed to feel.
Taking my works to the café has been my routine for these past three months. I always take a break at three o’clock in the afternoon, bringing stack of documents with me to continue working from the café. My boss doesn’t protest at all as long as I can finish my tasks on time, and being contactable. There are three reasons why I choose to work from this café instead of finishing them in the office. First, the scents of freshly brew coffee helps me to tense down the stress I get from works; second, the espresso shots in my flat white, even though is mixed with milk, surely helps me to concentrate better in finishing my tasks; and lastly, just because I want to have a short refreshing conversation with the barista, Taeyeon.
Meeting Taeyeon is a now becoming a new routine I cannot miss during my working days. Just like the scent of coffee in the cafe she works in, talking to Taeyeon for couple minutes a day takes my tension away. And like the perfect flat white she always makes for me, all the positive energy I get from being around her somehow helps me to get through the day. Simply put, Taeyeon is now on my list of needs to pass my weekdays, or so I believe.
Weekend for me is like the other side of coin of my weekdays. It is the only time of week I can spend my day without haste. It is when I can feel fully loosen up without the help of calming fresh coffee scent, the time I do not need a cup of coffee to keep me focus on my job. I usually have various activity I can choose to do from lazing around in my decent apartment, reading my favorite romance novels, go shopping, or attending parties with my friends, and other activities than can make me feel liven up. But today, as weird as it sounds to me, I start to feel uneasy when I wake up from my sleep. It is eight o’clock in the morning. I sit up from my bed without any excitement for anything to do. I do not want to stay in my apartment, I have no appetite to go shopping, and I turn down my friends’ offers to go to parties.
Wearing my simple pink hoodie and denim short pants after taking a shower, I put a pair of white sneakers on my feet before finally leaving home, bringing only my wallet, phone, and an unread romance novel just in case I get bored and want to read it later today. I do not know where I want to go to yet but I let my legs lead me to wander around the neighbor I live in, walking through the streets I usually walk by on weekdays since my office is also in the neighborhood. I do not really pay attention to my surrounding until my nose caught a scent of freshly brewed coffee, making me halt my steps only to find out that I unconsciously walk to the café where Taeyeon usually works in. I shake my head in amusement, failing to understand why do my unconsciousness brings me to this place. I then decide to enter the café. Maybe, meeting Taeyeon on weekend can be a new experience for me.
I immediately turn my head around, scanning through every corner of the café once I walk in. But I fail to find a certain blonde I just thought about seconds ago. I walk to the cashier to make my order before sitting on the comfortable sofa in the corner of the room. I rarely choose this spot because it is a bit too far from where Taeyeon usually stands and it makes me a bit uneasy in some way. I lean my back comfortably, flipping the cover of the novel I bring. I only manage to read a paragraph in the prologue chapter, when suddenly I hear a familiar nickname I wish to hear rings in my ears.
I look up to find the person I was looking for; Taeyeon stands in front of me, wearing loose white tees tops it with oversized denim shirt, but this time she does not wear the silly blue apron she usually wears. She also wears a pair of denim short pants but with darker colors than mine, showing off her flawless milky white legs. I just look at her in disbelief, starting to question, am I starting to imagine things? Does Taeyeon really have this kind of effect to me? I hear a chuckle and get distracted with her waving hand in front of me. That is when I realized I have been staring at her for much longer than I should. I blink my eyes rapidly, earning another chuckle from her.
“May I join?” She asks my permission.
“Ah, sure,” I immediately straighten up my sit and put the novel on the table, feeling oddly nervous to meet her outside my weekdays routine.
She takes her seat on the sofa in front of me, dashing her signature grin and my lips curve upward automatically, giving her my smile.
“Hi,” She opens up the conversation, chuckling nervously. “Why are you here?”
“Are you telling me that I am not allowed to be here?” I ask her back. She looks a bit fidgety, which I find weird knowing how friendly she usually is.
“Ah, no, no,” She scratches the back of her head. “It’s just I never see you on weekend before. And it’s also my first time seeing you in your casual attire.” She smiles cutely.
I smile at her answer, which by some means makes me feel happy, knowing she notices simple things like that, “So?”
“So, it feels like seeing a totally different person instead of Fany, my favorite customer.”
“It’s also weird seeing you without your blue apron, it’s like seeing you naked,” I joke.
“Yah, pervert!” She playfully crosses her arms on her chest, trying to cover her actually fully clothed body, as If she really is naked. I laugh hard at her reaction. This person in front of me is surely Taeyeon, my favorite barista, but today without her blue apron.
“So, what are you doing here, Taeyeon? Aren’t you supposed to be in the counter, serving coffee?” I just notice that she does not seem to be working anytime soon.
“No. We now have new barista and cashier. So Soonkyu and I have our day off on weekend. But I have nothing to do in my apartment so I just walk here,” She shrugs her shoulders. “What about you? What brings you here on weekend?”
“Pretty much the same with you,” I also shrug my shoulders, copying her gesture.
“Ah, I thought you need your flat white to focus reading some mature contents in your romance novel,” She smirks teasingly, with her chin pointing at the novel on the table.
“Yah!” I can feel my cheeks get warm as I raise my fist, giving a gesture to punch her on the face, signing a protest towards her commentary. She lets out an old lady-like laugh at my reaction. It is my first time hearing her laugh. Her laugh sounds really weird but it less weird than the thought that comes in my mind at the moment; she’s even way more charming when she laughs.
“I am kidding Fany,” She tries to muffle her laugh.
“Pervert!” I roll my eyes, faking an annoyed expression.
“I am!” She smiles proudly.
I crack another laugh at her unpredictable response and I start to lose counts how many times I laugh today. The coincidental meeting turns into a surprisingly overwhelming coffee time with a newly found friend. For the first time after knowing ‘Taeyeon the Barista’ for three months, I finally am able to know Kim Taeyeon as a person, as a friend, not as my favorite barista. And of course, I also let her knowing me in return; Stephanie Hwang as a person, as a friend, not as her favorite customer.
I believed Taeyeon was just one of the need in my list to pass my weekdays with her refreshing jokes, and simple affection. But after my first time spending my weekend with her, I notice that seeing Taeyeon only couple minutes a day on weekdays is not a sufficient dose I need. The need have grown more than I think it should be. I enjoy her accompany more than I thought I did. I like the way she notices small things happen to me like when I do not get enough sleep or when I am not exactly in a good mood. I like her simple signs of affection like patting on my shoulders to encourage me doing tasks I think I cannot do. I like her presence every time she sits beside me, after her shift only to wait for me finish my works and only walks home after I finish. I like her genuine compliment when she sees me wearing clothes that fit me well. I like to hear her laugh at my lame jokes. But nothing beats my likeness towards our meetings on weekends, when she is not in her blue apron, when she is being Kim Taeyeon, a friend of mine.
It has been five months since I first knew Taeyeon and it is our seventh meeting on the weekend. She no longer sits in front of me, and chooses to sit on the sofa beside me instead. ‘Date’ is maybe the best term to describe our meetings on weekend. We will meet up in this café and enjoy our morning coffee before moving to another place like Movie Theater, parks, museums, library, bookstore, and shopping arcade. Being with Taeyeon feels more familiar than before. It is no longer foreign for us to have skin ship like holding hands or patting each other shoulder. She is even closer than the best friends I have before knowing her. And the more I know her, the more I admire her. Her simple way to see life is a total opposite with mine.
Taeyeon always sees life as something simple. As simple as doing something you love, and money will follow after. I always thought that Taeyeon is just a regular barista in this place and later, I was surprised knowing that Taeyeon and Soonkyu are actually the café owner. Despite being graduated from Seoul National University, Taeyeon and Soonkyu decided to open the café with money they lent from bank instead of working in reputable companies. Both girls have a high interest in coffee and even have Coffee Quality Institute certification as a Q Grader. They are also certified barista and hold a certification from Specialty Coffee Association of America. Taeyeon’s eyes always shine brightly whenever she talks about coffee and tells me, “Here I am Fany. Doing the thing I love the most, surrounded by the scents of coffee while making money. Life is simple, life is wonderful.”
While I usually see life as something complicated. As complicated as giving my best, trying to please other people. Different from Taeyeon who believes money will follow along, I always believe money is something I should get with hard work, be it something you like or not. Just like what I do every day, working in a reputable company as an HR manager making sure to please my boss to get a promotion in order to get more money.
Maybe that is why being with Taeyeon always makes me feel at ease. Her simple view in life always eases me up in the middle of my weary career life.
I feel a flick on my forehead.
“What, Taeyeon?!” I protest as I rub my forehead, which was just flicked by her.
“You are not listening to me,” She pouts cutely.
“What do you expect? I don’t understand a thing about coffee.”
“But you know my flat white is the best in town,” She grins widely, “Scratch that. I make the best coffee in town!”
“All I know is the mixture of the coffee and milk in my flat white meets my taste. I do not understand those terms you use like what did you say earlier? Froth milk? Crema? Demitasse?”
“Ah, do you want to try something new?”
“Want to make your own flat white?”
“What?” I laugh at her offer, “The only experience I have in making coffee is only from instant coffee, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon grimaces at my answer, “Instant coffee is not even real coffee, Fany,” She stands up from her seat, offering her hand to me, “You are going to make a real coffee this time!”
I hesitantly take her hand in mine but she soon pulls me, forcing me to stand up before dragging me to her station, behind the coffee maker.
“For your information, I never touch this kind machine before. Do not blame me if I break it at the end of the day.”
She does not take my warning at all, guiding me to stand behind the coffee maker before pulling her hand from mine.
“First lesson: knowing the anatomy of coffee maker,” She grins and starts explaining every part of the machine in front of me starts from the dose control, portafilter, steam wand, and other, “For your information, this buddy right here, the La Marzocco GS/3 is our pride. The PID temperature controller, dual boilers and saturated brew groups, provide unrivaled performance. It’s not fully automatic for its downside. But that’s the art of making coffee. You won’t need a barista if the machine do it all for you, right?” She explains more about the machine in front of me.
“How much does it cost?” Even though I do not really understand what she talks about, the machine looks really good with its wood paneling.
“About USD 6,000.”
“Wow! That’s expensive!”
“And it makes the best coffee in town!”
“I do not think I will be brave enough to touch it now,” I shudder noticing the machine in front of me is ridiculously expensive.
“Of course you are not going to touch my baby,” Taeyeon laughs, “You will play with that guy over there,” She turn her body around, pointing at a brass looking machine in the corner of counter.
“Now, here is your apron, and get ready for the fun!” Taeyeon hands me a blue apron as she wears one for herself. She finishes wearing hers while I still hold my own apron. She looks at me, shaking her head in disagreement then takes the apron from my hand, puts the strap over my head and finally ties the string behind my back. I never have been this close to Taeyeon. I can feel her breath behind my neck as she ties the string and I feel a bit strange when my heart beats a bit faster because of the closeness between me and Taeyeon but I immediately shrug it off, following Taeyeon who already makes her way to the machine in the corner of the counter.
After spending approximately half an hour telling me the difference between thirteen kinds of coffee beans they have, also the difference between Arabica and Robusta, Taeyeon starts to guide me making my first real coffee. Our hands brush each other’s in some occasions and it strangely sends tingling sensation to my body. The most difficult part in making the flat white is when I have to make sure dipping the steaming wand at the right depth of milk making sure it is ‘stretched’ enough but not too foamy to be called froth milk. I keep failing in my own attempt until Taeyeon steps closer until I can feel the heat from her body. She cups my hand and heightens its position a bit to make the steaming wand goes deeper into the milk and stays that way until the milk stretches perfectly. She finally pulls her hand, looking at the perfectly stretched milk proudly, while I feel my cheeks get warm at the closeness and the touch from her.
“The final part is pouring the milk to the espresso.” She hands me a tulip-shaped ceramic cup with double shot of espresso I made before inside. She instructs me to bang the bottom of pitcher contains the milk and swirl it couple of time before carefully pouring the milk. I do as she instructed me and finally my very first own made flat white finish. I sigh in relief as I put the cup on the counter.
“Fun?” She asks.
I shake my head, “Next time, I will prefer you to make it for me instead of making it myself.”
She laughs at my answer and ruffles my hair playfully, “You do well for your first time. But I don’t mind being your personal barista, though.”
Blame my heart for leading the next thing I am about to do. But before I know it, I lean forward and land a peck on her cheek as I mumble ‘thank you’.
I am not brave enough to come to the coffee shop again after stupidly kissing Taeyeon’s cheek on our coffee ‘date’. I barely survive the week with the help of instant coffee I can get in office pantry. My brain keeps screaming for a cup of descent coffee but my body does not simply comply once the image of me kissing Taeyeon comes in mind. I do not know what came to my mind that day, but the last thing I remember is Taeyeon’s shock face and both of us spending the rest of the day without talking to each other anymore, just silently sipping our cups of coffee.
It is Friday and my body cannot bear with the pressure in office. My boss is a devil for taking another leave, making my tasks doubled in my supposedly ‘TGIF’. I finally decide to take the whole documents to the coffee shop, no longer care about meeting Taeyeon and the awkwardness that might happen. The only things I need is to breathe relaxing scents of freshly brewed coffee, tasting a descent coffee, and to see Taeyeon because only those three are the only things that keep me sane to get through the day.
I step my foot in the café and soon hear the familiar voice I have not heard for days. Taeyeon stands in her usual spot, smiling normally like nothing ever happened, while I can only give her my awkward smile before walking past her approaching Soonkyu to order my usual flat white. I proceed to sit in the corner of the room, the furthest distance I can make from Taeyeon.
Taeyeon’s voice startles me and I turn my head at her almost immediately.
“Your reserved table is this one,” She points at the nearest seat from her.
I awkwardly stand up and move to the seat she pointed before. I plop myself on the stuffed chair with a loud huff before putting the stack of documents on the table.
“Hey,” Taeyeon greets me warmly whilst preparing my flat white.
“Hi to you too,” I answers groggily.
“Where have you been?” She asks, sounds indifferent.
“Running away…” I do not know what term explains better to her answer.
She chuckles at my answer, “Running away from?”
“You,” I mumble.
“Me?” She halts her movement for a moment, “Why?” She continues making my order.
“You know why,” I sigh as I start to open the documents I bring.
“Oh…” She nods nonchalantly, still busy with her coffee making activity, “The kiss?” She asks again. I can feel my cheeks burn in embarrassment as she mentions the reason I ran away.
“Yeah,” I answers shortly, trying to focus on studying the document.
“Flat white for Miss Fany,” She does the procedure, calling out my name once she put the order on the counter and waits for me to take the order. I stand from my seat nervously walk towards the counter.
Once I am in front of her, I hesitantly take the cup while stealing a glance at her. She seems okay like the kiss was nothing.
“I am sorry,” I mutter.
“What are you sorry for?” She gives me a genuine questioning look.
“You know what for,” I shrug my shoulder weakly. Maybe coming to the café is not the right choice I do for today, talking with Taeyeon now feels more distressing rather than comforting.
“If you mean for the kiss, I am totally okay. So, no need to be sorry,” She smiles sincerely, “It was just a kiss on the cheek. A friendly kiss, right?” She asks.
I nod dejectedly. I am not sure what kind of kiss it was but I am also not sure that it was just a friendly kiss, “But you might feel uncomfortable,” I reason.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” She chuckles, “The closest friend I ever have in live is only that grumpy Soonkyu and she is definitely not the type of person who shows affections towards her friends. So, when you kissed me last week, I was really shocked. I thought you like me ‘that’ way,” She laughs at her own answer.
“Oh…” I can’t say anything in return because truthfully, I still do not understand what is happening with myself.
“I would say, thanks to you for running away these couple of days. If I meet you before I realize that it was only a friendly kiss, I might avoid you and it might hurt you in someway. You know, mistakenly understood for something you do not mean,” She continues.
“I’m still sorry, though,” I look down at my cup of coffee, when suddenly a light kiss lands on my cheek, making me look up to see the grinning Taeyeon.
“There, you kissed me and I kissed you back. We’re even now.” She smiles, dashing her signature dimple.
I smile at her, feeling my cheeks heat yet my heart relieves that she act indifferently at me, “Thank you.”
“For the kiss?” She teases.
“For the coffee,” I abruptly reason, earning a hearty laugh from her.
“I am your personal barista after all,” She winks cutely and I feel another warmness on my cheeks, “You blush easily, don’t you?”
I smile shyly and nod.
“Aigoo, you’re so cute, Fany-ah,” Taeyeon ruffles my hair, “Now, go to your seat and finish your works. It’s Friday. Let’s going out somewhere after you finish,”
I look at her in disbelief; it is her first time asking me to go out on my working day, “Tonight?”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“I just want to catch up things with my friend since she has been running away from me these recent days,” She chortles.
“Okay then,” I smiles brightly at her. It is nice to know that nothing has changed between us.
“Fany, when was the last time you are in a relationship?” Taeyeon randomly asks. We are in a nearby ice cream parlor, having a cup of vanilla ice cream for her while I get myself an ice cream cake. I managed to finish my works at seven, and she waited patiently while sitting beside me, playing with her phone. Once I finish, she immediately helps me to bring the stack of documents I brought, telling me she carves for ice cream. I only laugh at her request and agreed on her idea of having ice cream at night.
“I can’t remember. Couple of years ago, I guess,” I answer and feed myself with the ice cream cake.
“And when was that? When you were in high school?” She snorts.
“Yah! Of course not. When I was in university,”
“How old were you back then?”
I stop for a while trying to count back the years, “Twenty.”
“It’s been eight years then? Omo!” She gasps.
“You speak as if you are not single yourself, Taeyeon!” I protest as pointing my spoon to her.
“But not as long as you,” She sticks out her tongue.
“When was yours, then?”
“Hmmm, six years ago.”
“I thought you are more fortunate than me,” I giggle, noticing she also has been single for years.
“Why are you still single?”
“Are you interrogating me, Kim Taeyeon?” I raise my eyebrows. We never talk about this kind of topic before.
“I am having a proper conversation with my friend, Steppani Hwang.”
“You better learn how to pronounce my name correctly first,” I laugh hard noticing she still fails to pronounce my full name.
“I’d rather call you Fany instead,” She sulks as I try muffling my laugh.
“Why are you still single yourself, Taeyeon?” I ask finding it weird for a cute, adorable, yet charming person like her still single. I bet there is a long line of men waiting to be her boyfriend.
“Why do you think?” She asks me back.
“I don’t know. Maybe because you love coffee more than man?” I answer without thinking.
“Seriously?” She let out her signature laugh, “Am I that much of a coffee fanatic?” She asks comically.
“As matter a fact, yes,” I answer.
“Maybe,” She hums scooping a spoonful of ice cream to her mouth, “You haven’t answered my question, why are you still single?” She repeats her previous question.
“Because I am too occupied with my work, maybe?” I do not want to give her an exact answer.
“Don’t give me false answer, Fany. I know you’re lying.” She shakes her head in disagreement.
“I am not,”
“You are,” She is so firm.
I let out a loud sigh, “Okay, I was lying.”
“So, the real reason?”
“Because I hate to be man’s trophy. You know, to be showed off as his’. I am not his property,” There goes my first real reason.
“Is that normal? You’re smart, nice, friendly, let alone very pretty. You’re a perfect girlfriend material whom can be proud of. If you were my girlfriend, I would do the same thing,” Taeyeon looks at me genuinely.
My heart skips a beat when she says the last sentence, “Oh would you?” I unconsciously ask the question.
“Of course I would,” She smiles profoundly, “I am proud enough for having you as my friend anyway,” She continues.
My heart aches a bit at the mention of word friend. We are indeed friends, and we are both women. Then why do I somehow wish that she really would be proud if I were her girlfriend? What is wrong with me?
Next chapter →