Chapter 6

Sweet Potassium

            It is Joy and Seulgi’s turn next to head over next. Jisoo watches as they run through a bunch of overly complicated plans. Yeri had left early, being all secretive and mumbling about needing a freezer to store the deserts. Irene and Jennie seem to be in some sort of secret play or something, both ignoring and glancing at each other. Nobody said anything concrete, not Yeri, Irene nor Jennie but all of them returned upset. The skepticism peels off a little and Jisoo wonders if Blue Garden really is a cursed establishment, like one of those monkey’s paw stories. On one hand, Wendy makes exceptional pastries, but those damned custard buns take away your soul in exchange.

 

            Joy and Seulgi did a small ‘fighting’ chant then march in unison towards the ‘Garden’. Jisoo sighs and wonder if she should have slept in for the day. She asked the waiter if he serves caffe coretto but immediately regrets her decision. The waiter had been gossiping with Joy and Yeri and the two girls were teasing Jisoo about her breakup. Even though the waiter remains very professional and respectful, he leaks a small hint of pity from his smile. He mentions that they do not serve alcohol but just for her, he will add in a bit of his own personal stash. With that, Jisoo makes a mental note of murdering Joy and Yeri in her new year’s bucket list. Joy feels a shiver down her back as she enters the ‘Garden’, wondering if someone had just mentioned her name somewhere.
 

The door ring chimes but the chef is too busy with arranging the baked goods in a corner. Wendy shouts a hearty greeting at the unknown guests while Seulgi and Joy gets into position.  Seulgi looks at Joy and sends a mind wave to her, Formation C! Joy nods back and sneakily approach Wendy from behind to cover her eyes.
 


JOY (speaking in falsetto)
Guess who, sweety?

WENDY
Hey, love! I recognize those delicate fingers anywhere. Sejeong!

 

            Joy feels disappointed just from the first response. Seulgi and her look at each other and Seulgi sends a mind wave, who the hell is Sejeong?! Joy sends a mind wave back to Seulgi, I don’t know but Wendy just called this broad ‘love’! The ! Just how many people calls her sweety?
 

‘Formation C’ was a plan to make Wendy instinctively speak out a name without thinking. They figured that the first name out of Wendy in this flirtatious game must be someone important to her. Problem is, Joy rigged the game a little. Sweety is an endearment that Joy uses on Wendy often. She had expected Wendy to say her name immediately and she would give Seulgi a smug look after. The bigger problem is that Wendy didn’t. Seulgi sends another mind wave, plan b, let’s go!


JOY (gritting her teeth)
Wrong, you have two more chances. Honey.

 

WENDY (sweating)
Who can forget that beautiful voice! Taeyeon unnie!

JOY (steaming)
Ahahaha, even jokes have a limit to them. Now think carefully for a second before your next reply… MY DARLING.
 


            Wendy scans through her mind rapidly for all the friends, family and customers who are close to her. Seulgi squint her eyes in anticipation of the million-dollar question. Joy’s heartbeat throbs quickly like a drumroll and the clock hand seems to spin in accelerated fashion. Suddenly, light bulb hits Wendy and she stands up with confidence. She puts on her flirtiest smile and most seductive look behind the hands covering them, ready to turn around to embrace the lovely visitor.

 

WENDY
I’m just joshing, darling. Of course, it’s you~ Yoona unnie!

 

            Wendy turns around with her best ‘y’ look and poses confidently, finger guns outward to project her love. What awaits her is a Joy with crestfallen limbs and eyes that whispers, you’re dead to me. Seulgi is face down flat on the floor with a thick air of depression sinking her down. A single drop of sweat rolls from Wendy’s forehead down her left cheek.


JOY
Wendy unnie.

WENDY (sweating)
Yes, Sooyoung sweety?

JOY
Do you confess to your crime?

WENDY (sweating)
Naturally, Sooyoung honey.

JOY
What form of punishment would you like?

WENDY (sweating)
Let us discuss the terms in my office, Sooyoung darling.

 

            Joy pounces on Wendy and piggybacks off her for a good five minutes while Seulgi watches with a despondent look. She didn’t expect Seungwan to call out her name in the first place since she had always addressed Seungwan as ‘Seungwan’ or ‘Seungwannie’. Still, Seulgi didn’t expect so many names out of Seungwan. A small dark feeling creeps into her depths and she feels it eating away at her core. Seungwan wrestles off Joy when she senses something wrong with her best friend. For some reason, she feels a sense of urgency to placate Seulgi.


SEULGI
Who’s Yoona?

WENDY
Hey, Ddeulgi. Yoona’s nobody. Just a regular of this bakery.

SEULGI
What does she look like?

WENDY
You know, very normal.

JOY
Normal how? Describe her to us.

WENDY
Uh… she has two eyes? Maybe nose? Two or three ears, give or take.

SEULGI
How old?

WENDY
Old. So old. I normally have to help her around the store.

JOY
You must be very close to her.

WENDY
Of course not, Sooyoungie. I’m closer to you and Seulgi~

JOY
Why does she call you darling?

WENDY
She calls everyone that. She’s just a very affectionate person all around.

           

            Seulgi and Joy sighs a breath of relief. It must just be Seungwan and her usual flirty self with the customers. Seulgi start to wonder where she stands in all this. What is her place amongst the Sejeongs, Taeyeons and Yoonas of Wendy’s world? It’s not that she didn’t know that Wendy is popular but perhaps she had chosen to be willfully ignorant in the past because of her repressed feelings. The door chime rings again and a customer walks in. It’s like one of those moments in a romance film where the female lead walks in, slow-motion with the breeze of the ocean behind her and the lovely Pasadena sun is only a backdrop that exist to compliment her. A lady in elegant pearl dress, outfitted in brown coat and gray scarf walks in. She wears an assortment of marvelous jewelries, from a pointed matinee silver necklace, chandelier earrings to multiple mismatched rings. The visuals are almost too much to look at with her soft eyes, sharp nose and cherry lips. Unlike the other three girls, the lady is a familiar sort of beauty, similar to Irene with her long, straight black hair. The look is classical, eternal and ageless. The tall long boots make a rhythmic sound as she strides over to Wendy. Joy and Seulgi almost feels like they are blown away by the gorgeous lady. Wendy can’t believe her luck and she tries to do hand signs in the background to inform the guest to not approach her now.


YOONA
Good morning, darling.

WENDY
…uh good morning, Yoona unnie.

JOY
That’s Yoona?!

SEULGI
If this is normal, then I might as well be a garbage bag!

JOY
She has two eyes alright.


            The older lady moves behind Wendy naturally and her hand snakes their way onto Wendy’s waist. Seulgi and Joy nearly spits out blood, but it didn’t stop Yoona from resting her chin on Wendy’s shoulder. If this love-story-situation is like a fantasy game, then it’s almost like the final boss or demon king just appeared at the first level to stomp on the hero who’s barely able to fight off slimes. Seulgi’s inner voice starts screaming, thinking that her love journey has already ended before it had begun. It doesn’t help that Wendy has a princely look to her like an animated character in a Studio Ghibli film. Seulgi thought she was looking at a manga panel from Boys over flower comic when Yoona and her Wendy are together in the same frame. She lets off a low bear growl and Wendy tries to remove Yoona’s hands from her waist.


SEULGI
Having fun?

WENDY
Ahaha..ha..ha, This is Yoona unnie, guys.

YOONA
Are they your friends, darling?

WENDY
Yes, Yoona unnie. This is Seulgi and Joy.

           

            Joy walks over and casually link arms with Wendy, not backing down from the new rival.


JOY
We’re more than just friends~ Right, Wendy?

WENDY
Of course~

 

            Before Joy can show off, Yoona is already standing right in front of Joy with a studious look of a scientist. The suddenness shocks Joy off balance and she falls over. In one swift motion, Yoona catches her by the waist and she caresses Joy’s chin with another hand. The two taller girls look into each other’s eyes and Seulgi swears in her mind that this is all happening in slow motion. Wendy can literally see the hearts forming in Joy’s eyes and she gets into Yoona’s gaze.


YOONA
Oh my, this one is quite exquisite.

           

            Joy becomes too stunned to speak but it’s too late, she is already imagining a wedding ceremony with Yoona and running towards each other in the Maldives beach in their honeymoon, followed by going to the pet shelter to adopt 3 dogs together and having daily walks in the park. While Joy is absorbed in her own k-drama, Seulgi lock eyes with Wendy, who and what the hell is wrong with this unnie?

 

            Yoona helps Joy to stand on her feet and walks over to Seulgi while the bear is still confused and distracted. Before Seulgi can react, Yoona cups both her hands on Seulgi’s face and they both look into each other’s eyes. Yoona is so close that Seulgi can feel her body warmth and the ever so slight contact of their bodies nearly tranquilize the growling bear.


YOONA
Oh hello, this one is charming.

WENDY
Yoona unnie is an art curator in an art gallery down the street. She has an… unusually high appreciation of everything beautiful.

YOONA
Darling, both of them are like spectacular pieces of art, can I bring them both back to exhibit at my gallery?

JOY
YES!

SEULGI
NO!

 

            Wendy senses the trouble ahead and tries to end the chaos by going into business mode.

 


WENDY
Yoona unnie, having the usual today?
 

YOONA
Oh no, I am up for a different… taste today.


 

            Yoona didn’t turn to look back at Wendy and just continued to eye her new prizes up and down, left and right, every nook and every cranny. Seulgi feels a small chill from Wendy staring holes at them but Joy just started posing for the curator. The two taller girls build chemistry quickly and started to chat as if they are old friends. Joy clings onto Yoona’s arms and they go about their own way to look at the breakfast menu in the bakery. Seulgi just stood there like a freeze frame wondering what the hell just happened. Still, she can’t disapprove. In some ways, Seulgi understands that sometimes girls like to observe and appreciate the beauty of other girls, even if it is in a platonic sense. Yoona herself is also one such beauty that Seulgi can’t stop staring at. Suddenly, someone throws an apron at her face.


WENDY
Kang Seulgi, stop staring. Wear that apron and help out.

SEULGI
I am a customer!

WENDY
You get free bread from me all the time, it’s about time you start paying back.


            Back at the café, Jisoo receives a text from Seulgi saying that she and Joy won’t be returning in a short time period. She sighs and wonder if she should just grab a huge brunch at the café and go home. She pretends to be busy on the phone and not watching the awkwardness between Jennie and Irene. The secret play has somehow prolonged into act two. After a series of glances, Jennie takes a ham croissant out of her paper bag from Blue Garden and puts it on Irene’s plate. Irene pretends not to notice it and Jennie nudges her a little. Then the older girl grabs the croissant and puts it back on Jennie’s plate. Jennie makes an exasperated face and takes out a bun with red bean filling. She places both items on Irene’s plate and Irene repeats her ignorance. Jennie then pull Irene’s sleeve coyly and the older girl turns around again to put the two pieces of bread back on Jennie’s plate. Are these two in some sort of weird rehearsal? Jisoo could only mutter these exact words to describe the weird dynamic.


JISOO (whispering)
What the ?

JENNIE
What? Did you say something?

JISOO
Nope, nothing. Seulgi said she will be late. I’m going over to check up on them

 

            Back at the bakery, Seulgi sulks for a bit but her spirit quickly picks up. It’s one of her fantasies to work with her girlfriend best friend in the bakery after all. The kitchen is much smaller than she expected but Seungwan replies that the central kitchen and the two other employees are on the second floor. Seulgi’s fantasy cracks a little as she thought it would just be the two of them managing a small homely bakery. Seungwan starts to lift a bag of flour and she makes a small grunt out of habit. Surprisingly, it is not as heavy as usual. Seungwan looks behind the bag of flour to see Seulgi lifting the brunt of the weight.

 

SEULGI
I can handle all of these, Seungwannie. You can just stay at the counter.

 

            For a split second, Seungwan was reminded of the time Garam had helped the diner owner. She still remembers the warmth in her hands as she held Garam’s hand and the way he had looked at her. It was the first time Seungwan had ever felt all the descriptions of love written in books and she was sure that he felt the same. But when she texted Garam later that night, she never got a reply back.


WENDY
Seulgi-ah.

SEULGI
Yes?

WENDY
Did your brother mention me?

SEULGI
Uh… I uh..I don’t recall.

WENDY
I texted him, but he never got back to me.

SEULGI
Ah-ha-ha-ha… maybe he’s busy?

WENDY
Did I do something wrong?

 

            Seulgi had been with Seungwan for a number of years and been there with her few relationships but Seungwan has never been a sentimental person. She was always an onwards and upwards kind of girl. This is the first time that Seulgi has seen Seungwan so dejected before. Seungwan slumps over the counter and shifts her eyes over to Seulgi, waiting for a reply but Seulgi couldn’t find the right words. It almost felt as if Seungwan’s eyes had lost their shine like the sun has set and in the coming night, all the stars in the sky dimmed and darkened. A profound sadness overcomes Seulgi and she would do anything to make Seungwan happy again.
 

SEULGI
Come to think of it, he lost his phone! He will text you, don’t worry about it!

WENDY
Really?

SEULGI
Yes! He said… he said that you are the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on. He never knew it till then, right there and then… that nothing else matters… nothing but you. You are his sun and his moon. If he… if he could just spend 10 years of his lifetime to relive that day again, he will do so without a second thought.

WENDY
Garam hyung said all that about me… to you?

SEULGI
Uh… I mean… not in those exact words but I think so.

WENDY
He is so weird.

 

            Wendy smiles sheepishly but the pain only coils tighter around Seulgi’s heart. She wanted to tell Seungwan to not look at Garam that way, to not think of anyone except for her and that she is the person Seungwan had longed for, but she couldn’t. The words choke themselves. She will never be able to survive knowing if Seungwan only ever had feelings for ‘Garam’ but not for Seulgi. Just the thought alone almost draws tears to her eyes.

            Luckily, Yoona and Joy interrupts the moment and they start ordering a spread of toast, strawberry and apricot jam, coddled eggs with sides of fruit salad. Seungwan seats them down at the side of the store and tells Seulgi to man the shop while she prepares the food. Just as Seulgi is about to continue with her chores, a customer walks in. This time, the customer is a young girl that is even taller than Yoona. Its almost time has stopped, and a princess of a faraway land has walked in, her eyes are crystal clear and large like the gemstones of a starry night. Unlike Yoona, she is dressed simply in a long black coat down to her knees but the simplicity portraits a beauty so innocent and pure. The girl walks to up to Seulgi, mistaking her for a worker because of the apron.
 

GIRL
Does this place sell Panettone?

SEULGI
Pana- what?

GIRL
Panattone, it’s an Italian sweet bread for Christmas.

SEULGI (shouting)
SEUNGWAN, DO WE SELL PANASONIC?

WENDY (shouting back from the kitchen)
DO YOU MEAN PANETTONE?

SEULGI (shouting)
YES, THAT’S THE ONE.

WENDY (shouting back from the kitchen)
SORRY, NO. PLEASE SHOW THE CUSTOMER LOTS OF OTHER BREAD THO. WE GOT GINGERBREAD, APPLE CINNAMON BREAD, LOG CAKE…

SEULGI
Sorry… my friend doesn’t know how loud she is.

WENDY (shouting back from the kitchen)
KRENDEL AND FRUITCAKE!
 

            The girl giggles at the exchange and assures Seulgi that it is quite alright. Seungwan however keeps shouting names of different pastries and bread and the secondhand embarrassment cringes Seulgi a little.


SEULGI
Let me show you around. I’m Seulgi.

GIRL
My name is Tzuyu, thank you.

SEULGI
That sounds foreign.

TZUYU
It’s mandarin. I’m from Taiwan.

SEULGI
Oh wow, you speak Korean well.
 

            For some reason, Tzuyu reminds Seulgi a little bit of Seungwan. They are completely different personality wise but they both possess an aura that makes you want to protect them. That two of them hit it off well immediately and Seulgi starts to pile on bunch of recommendations on Tzuyu. By the end of it, Seulgi has loaded too much food onto Tzuyu’s tray.


SEULGI
Sorry, I got carried away!

TZUYU
It’s okay. All of your recommendations look so good, I can’t wait to share them with my friends.

SEULGI
Oh thank god. Can I ring up your purchase now?

TZUYU
Please do, thank you. Erm, Seulgi unnie?

SEULGI
Yes?

TZUYU
Can I have your number?

SEULGI
Oh, I don’t work here actually… I can ask Seungwan for the bakery number if you like.

TZUYU
No… I mean, it’s just that you have been so kind and welcoming, and I just moved here. I don’t know a lot of people… I would love it if we can become friends.

SEULGI
Sure!
 

            The two girls exchange numbers but unbeknownst to Seulgi, Seungwan is watching from the back with her arms crossed. The image of Garam and Seulgi overlaps and she feels an irrational fire burning inside of her. She lets off a low wolf growl at the newly minted couple.


WENDY
Having fun?

SEULGI (stuttering)
Se-se-seungwan, hey. This is Tzuyu.

WENDY
Miss Kang, please don’t hit on girls while you’re on working hours.

TZUYU
Sorry, please don’t blame Seulgi unnie. I’m the one who asked her to show me around.

YOONA (out of nowhere)
Oh dear, this one is spectacular.

           

            Before anyone can reply, clean sharp footsteps approach them and Yoona cuts in between them. She grabs Tzuyu by the shoulder and tilts her head ever so slightly to study her face like a piece of fine art. Wendy swears that bright lights were emanating from the visual couple and she had to take take cover from Seulgi’s shoulder. Seulgi instinctively grabs her best friend by the shoulder and waist to shield her from the dual visual combination. Joy is seen at the back like a rejected wife chasing a husband who has abandoned her family. The door chimes for the last time in the morning. Jisoo walks in just in time to witness the entirety of the chaos unfolding and she could only mutter the exact words;


JISOO
What the ?

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Mokamoca
Hi guys! I'm back for a bit.
Chapter 12 might feel very different but I just wanted to try out different writing styles.
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