Chapter 10

Better Together!
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December 31st

Irene comes early to the studio to do a thorough cleaning from the 1st floor to 2nd floor which is the rooftop. She even rubs the benches.

*

By 09:00 AM her friends come one by one to start their day.

They’re amazed with Irene’s cleaning skill and dedication.

Although, it’s usual for them. Every end of year, Irene will do a deep cleaning.

What is unusual is Irene repeatedly arranging and rearranging stuff on the display shelf. It only means 2 things, one she’s angry or two, something is bothering her.

Being the sensitive one, Chaeyoung asks the older girl.

“Ok, what is it, Unnie?”

“What do you mean?” Irene asks while checking the cups position

“You’re doing your weird habit again. What’s going on?”

“Nothing”

“You can’t fool me” Chaeyoung says “Why? Is it about tonight? Are you feeling uncomfortable with Seungwan joining us?”

“Uh no, no” Irene quickly says, half lying, obviously

“Then?”

“Well *sighs* i don’t know”

“You don’t know?” Chaeyoung presses “Something happened in Daegu?”

Irene stops placing the cups, she sighs again.

“My parents, they want me to try dating again”

“And that’s a problem, because?” The younger girl asks

“It’s been ages since i dated someone” Irene frowns “Bad experience”

Chaeyoung met Irene in college, while Seulgi and Irene attended the same high school in Seoul. 

“I don’t really know what happened with your ex, but not everyone is bad” Chaeyoung assures 

“I know, it's just hard to trust someone now”

“Well, you don’t have to rush yourself unnie. When the time is right, you’ll find the one that you’re looking for”

“Thanks chaeyoung” Irene smiles, a bit relieved, now the second problem “What do you think about Seungwan?”

“Seungwan?” why suddenly asking about the younger girl, chaeyoung thought 

“I think she’s nice and obviously doing her job perfectly and oh, she’s born to bake”

Irene sighs and bits her lips “Yeah, i think so too”

And then she starts rearranging things again. Chaeyoung decides to not ask further because she has a feeling that sooner or later the older girl will tell her.

**

Seungwan arrives at the studio by 4 PM. She comes early to help the girls prepare for the party.

She walks to the back door because the main door is closed now.

Yeri opens the door for her.

“Hey unnie, you come early”

“Yeah, i want to help you guys”

 “You come alone?” Yeri says, a bit disappointed

“My roommate has already booked for a new year party, she really wants to come though. Maybe next time” 

“You don’t have any other friends on campus??”

Seungwan scratches her head, well she has sejeong but the girl went to her hometown with Taeyeon

“Ok, ok no need to answer that”

Seulgi appears with bottles of soju “Hey Wan, nice timing. Help me put them inside the fridge”

Seungwan immediately put her bag down on the table to help Seulgi.

“How many bottles did you buy?”

“50”

“50??” Seungwan is shocked by her answer “that many?”

“I’m planning to be wasted until i cannot move”

“Hmm, you might want to reconsider that” Seungwan grimaces, she doesn’t want to be another puke bowl

“Irene unnie is on the rooftop. She’s setting the tables, she may need help”

“Ok, i’ll go find her”

The shorter girl goes to the staircase and opens the door to the rooftop.

They have a medium sized rooftop with a small flower garden behind the glass door. Courtesy of Irene.

Speaking of Irene, the older girl is struggling to push the table.  

“Let me help you” Seungwan immediately goes to her side to help her 

The older girl yelps

“OMO!” Irene puts her hand on her chest “You surprised me”

“Sorry” Seungwan says sheepishly

“You come early” Irene says while pushing the table together with Seungwan

“Yeah, got nothing to do so i think i can help you guys”

“That’s so nice of you. So, Sooyoung is here?”

“Well, she’s not coming. She has booked for another party, she really wants to come though”

“Oh, maybe next time”

Seungwan nods

The tables are now joined together. Irene puts a plate of crackers, a vegetable platter with dipping sauce, pringles (obviously for seulgi) and some bottled water nearby.

“We already ordered tteokbokki, chickens and pizza” Irene explains “They should come in an hour”

“You have a pretty cool rooftop”

Irene smiles “We usually host a small gathering with our customers, twice a year because we can’t invite all of them in one sitting”

Oh, just like the Han’s. Seungwan thought.

“You should come next time, we’ll invite you” Irene says, now cutting apples

“Sure!” Seungwan answers, excitedly “I’ll bring my muffins, i bake chocolate cookies too”

“Wow we have a lot of food now” Irene laughs “Seulgi will be very happy”

Seungwan only smiles before disappearing through the door.

Irene sighs. The younger girl looks so adorable with her fluffy blue hoodie. Well the weather is getting chilly outside. Good thing that their rooftop is covered with glass windows. 

*

Seungwan comes back with 2 containers and she puts them on the table, allowing Irene to arrange them.

“Your dress is pretty, just like you”

Of course Seungwan has to compliment her now, when Irene is cutting apples and obviously it shocks her. The tip of the knife grazes her index finger.

“Oh no!” Seungwan grimaces, louder than I

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