A Squirrel's Charm

If Mashiro could say one thing that she was confident in, it would have to be cooking. Don't get her wrong, she loved being an idol and performing on stage, but cooking had been in her blood even before that. She loved to watch her mom "perform" in the kitchen; the way she swiftly chops any ingredients without breaking a sweat, how she gracefully cracks eggs and carefully separates the yolks from the whites, how elegant she looks when she taste-tests any dish she prepares. Mashiro was always left mesmerised and aspired to be like her too. 

Mashiro didn't mind it whenever her members wander into the kitchen to watch her cook. The aroma, whether it was something simple like an omelette or a heartier dish like curry, will never fail to lure at least one of the girls in. 

Today wasn't an exception. 

On the stove, a big pot of beef stew was bubbling at medium heat. Mashiro decided it was time to be a little bit fancy and make use of the high-quality Hanwoo beef they received as a gift. Stirring the pot slowly, she scooped up a bit of the broth into a small bowl and tasted it. 

Not bad, but something was missing.

She fished out her phone from her pocket and quickly looked up the recipe she bookmarked. Skimming through the ingredients list, Mashiro realised she forgot to add Worcestershire sauce into the stew. She specifically bought a bottle of it for this dish during her online shopping run.

Now if only she could remember where she placed it…

After a minute of searching around, she finally found the brown bottle up in one of the kitchen cupboards. 

Wait, who put it up there? She definitely wouldn't have kept it somewhere so out of reach. Silently cursing her short stature, Mashiro stood on her tippy-toes and reached out as far as she could for it.

Just as Mashiro was about to give up and get a chair, another hand appeared in her field of vision and grabbed the elusive bottle. 

"Do you need this?"

As expected, someone had entered Mashiro's domain.

"You're a lifesaver, Dayeon-ah," she gratefully took the bottle from the blonde. 

"Anything for my favorite chef," Dayeon proudly smiled. "Whatever it is you're cooking in here, it smells extremely good. I couldn't resist."

"I’m cooking beef stew for dinner later. Also, you can always apply to be my sous chef if you're willing," Mashiro chuckled as she added a couple of tablespoons of the sauce into the pot. "It's never too late to learn."

"You'll have to be extra patient with me because I'm awful in the kitchen," Dayeon lamented, moving closer to Mashiro and eyeing the pot like a hawk. "Can I get a little taste?"

Mashiro nodded enthusiastically. "Of course! Think of it as a reward for being such a gentlewoman earlier." 

The older girl filled the small bowl with the newly seasoned broth. Just as she was about to give it, she felt Dayeon's hand grasp the bowl, pulling it and Mashiro towards her. 

It never really crossed Mashiro's mind that Dayeon's hand felt firm yet delicate at the same time until now. She had held all her members' hands before—all of varying sizes, shapes, and softness. Some liked to intertwine their fingers, others liked to do the pinky hold. 

Dayeon, she realised, liked to hold with a strong yet gentle grip. 

It felt safe, warm, and comforting. 

Mashiro softly gazed at Dayeon as she blew and took a careful sip of the broth. The immediate look of amazement on Dayeon's face was enough to make her heart swell with joy. 

"This is seriously delicious! And I haven't even tasted the meat yet! You could open a restaurant at this rate!" Dayeon excitedly rambled on. "Man, I'm jealous of whoever it is who will marry you in the future, Mashiro unnie."

"Oh my gosh, stop it," Mashiro playfully shoved the blonde, her cheeks starting to flush red. "If you keep on flattering me this much, I might have to take some drastic measures like barring you from the kitchen whenever I’m cooking." 

Dayeon leaned on the counter and wiggled her eyebrows. "Can I at least pretend to be your spouse?"

A redder than usual Mashiro didn’t hesitate to push the blonde out of the kitchen. "Out you go."

"Oh, c'mon!" Dayeon whined, trying her best to get back inside. “No need for it to be like this!”

Before the younger girl could complain any further, Mashiro wrapped her arms around Dayeon’s neck, pulling her down to whisper in her ear. “I’ll give you a bigger serving of the stew later during dinnertime.” She also added a quick, affectionate poke on her cheek with a finger for good measure.

That certainly perked the blonde up. 

“I look forward to it, honey,” Dayeon cooed sweetly, holding the older girl’s hand with that same, familiar grip.

After a few more reassurances that she wouldn’t actually be barred from the kitchen, Dayeon finally stepped out. Mashiro giggled when she announced that she was going to find another member to brag about her “reward”. 

Returning back to the stove, Mashiro couldn’t help but wonder what married life would be like—to cook for a special someone you love with all your heart. 

An image of a certain blonde embracing her from behind while she cooked flashed through her mind.

Mashiro blinked owlishly and shook her head in embarrassment, dispersing the pesky thought.

“I blame you for making me think like this, Dayeon,” she softly muttered as she covered the pot with a lid, letting the beef stew simmer.


Author's note: I was planning to finish a ChaeDa fic, but then this whole idea of Kep1er members falling for Dayeon's charms hit me like a truck and I started churning this out in half a day.

I wonder who the next victim will be? 🤔

As always, upvotes and comments are much appreciated!

If you would like to follow me on twt, my handle is @/chaosmagic9 :D

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