I Won't Say (I'm In Love)(I Work From) 925
The 1/3 Café does monthly donations on the 13th to the Eden Orphanage. Hyeju just so happens to attempt asking Heejin out on a proper date the same day.
It's been weeks since they started exchanging texts, Hyeju's pretty sure she can start selling her own Iced Americanos with the amount of cup sleeves she's saved. Why? Well, that's where Heejin writes her ridiculously cheesy café-themed pick-up lines. If you asked, Hyeju wouldn't really know why she does it. She'd probably shrug, saying it's for keepsake and not because her heart does backflips at Heejin's handwritten plagiarized-off-the-internet pick-up lines accompanied by a doodle of what she assumes is a wolf with squinted eyes and a triangular mouth.
(Hyeju was already smiling at the bunny doodle next to the pick-up line. Her smile grows tenfold when she spots an unfamiliar doodle. "It looks like you! <3" Heejin wrote below the wolf. Later at home, she keeps that specific cup sleeve on her desk.)
With that, Hyeju decides it's time to formally ask Heejin on that date. So what if Hyeju gets up extra early to panic over every little thing about herself she deems not fit for a pretty barista like Heejin? Maybe, just maybe, she lowers her pride and asks Yerim's and Chaewon's smug asses for help? Hell, why not drop by a little flower shop to buy a small bouquet? In a blink of an eye, Hyeju's around the corner of the 1/3 Café, clutching the bouquet, and trying to even out her scattered breathing.
It takes 10 minutes for Hyeju to calm her nerves. "It's just Heejin," She tells herself, "She won't point and laugh at you, Son Hyeju. You're so cool and hot. I’ve got it all!"
When Hyeju enters the café with the bells ringing, it's just Haseul and Hyunjin behind the counter with surprised expressions. Lowering the bouquet, Hyeju shyly walks up the counter to ask, "Hi. Where's Heejin?"
Okay, so what if her heart dropped to her stomach when Haseul exchanged undecipherable looks with Hyunjin and the words "You didn't know?" slips out of her lips without rush.
"Don't know what?" Hyeju presses, a rush of worry entering her system.
Fortunately, Hyunjin's explanation eases the concerns away with a simple, "Heejin's out with Vivi and Yeojin."
Looking up at the building, Hyeju doesn't really know why they would be here in an orphanage, but judging from the rather large van with 1/3's logo parked by the entrance, it's most likely for a good cause.
In retrospect, bringing in the bouquet of flowers with her inside probably wasn't the brightest of ideas Hyeju's thought of lately as the moment she stepped inside, a handful of children curiously look up at her asking who's gonna receive such prettily arranged flowers. When Hyeju awkwardly greets the kids and asks where she can find an equally pretty girl for the bouquet, she gets lead to the backyard where there seems to be a small gathering happening.
Turning shy at the idea she might be interrupting something, Hyeju thanks the kids and tries to sneak away, only for a familiar voice to come from behind.
"Oh! Why are you here?"
Immediately hiding the bouquet behind her back, Hyeju sharply turns to Heejin with a meek smile. "Heejin!" She awkwardly chuckles. "Haseul told me you guys would be here so.. yeah."
The barista giggles, light and airy. She tilts her head and quirks her eyebrow. "What are those flowers for?" She wonders with faux obliviousness.
Hyeju feels the heat rushing up to her ears. Momentarily looking away from the girl's gaze, she stumbles on her words as she shakily reveals the bouquet. "Ah, well—It's, um, for—"
"IT'S FOR YOU HEEJIN! GET IT OVER WITH!! WE NEED HELP OVER HERE!" Yeojin decides to pop their little bubble with her booming voice.
Heejin playfully rolls her eyes whilst Hyeju means it wholeheartedly. Still, the barista takes the bouquet with a huge grin. "Thank you, Hyeju. These are very pretty. I'll make sure to take care of them."
Hyeju has to bite back from blurting out "Just as pretty as you" but that's too cheesy. She opts for a "So, do you girls need an extra pair of hands around here?" instead. Either way, she would've received the same smile from Heejin.
And so, Hyeju winds up entertaining the children as the 1/3 girls properly set up the table with plates on plates of meals and pitchers filled to the brim with a variety of juices in a row. Heejin glances at her from time to time, a subconscious grin threatening to break out. Yeojin nudges her. "You know, Hyeju doesn't really blend well with kids older than a three-year-old."
As if on cue, one of the workers in the orphanage comes out with a toddler sniffling and hiccupping as her tiny hands tug and tug on the woman's shirt. Hyeju notices the woman's dilemma and runs up to offer assistance. It takes a while, but after Hyeju's made sure she isn't a dangerous stranger, the toddler unexpectedly opens her arms for Hyeju to pick her up.
Yeojin looks just as impressed when Heejin turns back at her with wide eyes. "What?"
"Yeojin, I've been trying to befriend little Jihannie since we started donating here. Then here comes Hyeju and they're instant best friends??" Heejin grumbles, sulking to herself.
"Hey, say what you want about Hye but I swear on my life she's gobbled down plastic food Chaewon's little sister handed her when she was a toddler." Yeojin lightly shakes her head with a fond grin. "Hyeju asked for seconds."
"Thank you!" The children scream out in unison once they're all settled by the table, all visibly vibrating in excitement. When they expectantly look up at the 1/3 girls, they laugh and gesture for them to eat up.
As they start serving the children, Heejin giggles when she reaches Hyeju. "Yah, you're not a kid. Are you trying to steal food right now?"
Hyeju rolls her eyes. She holds her hand up and whispers, "Don't you see I'm taking a very important call right now?"
"Ah, right. Sorry." Heejin feels the butterflies fluttering around in her stomach when Jihan giggles at Hyeju's antic. The toddler handed her a toy telephone and she's taking it very seriously. Heejin waits a little while longer for Hyeju to hand the telephone back to Jihan with a goofy grin.
Heejin shakes her head. "Care to explain why you're sitting with the kids?"
"Jihan wanted me here, so no, I'm not stealing food. I'm not as bad as you," Hyeju replies all smug. Yeojin might've told her a thing or two about Heejin sulking earlier. "Why? Do you need help with something?"
The barista bites her lips. "Maybe? I just need to talk to you real quick."
"Okay. Give me a second." Hyeju turns back to Jihan and whispers something to the toddler. Jihan gives a toothy grin when Hyeju places a bunny plush on the child's lap and does a voice for the toy. After making sure Jihan wouldn't start bawling her eyes out once she's out of sight, Hyeju lets Heejin lead them off somewhere private.
Heejin lowers her gaze and scuffs her shoes against the dirt. "..Since you're all dressed up and gave me flowers, I figured you had plans?"
Hyeju blushes. "Ah. Yeah." Might as well be honest now that's she's cornered here. "I was gonna properly ask you out today, but—" She glances at the children laughing about. "This is pretty nice to be a part of. I didn't expect it, yeah, but I like it."
"Yeah. Oh." She runs a hand through her hair with a chuckle. "I guess I have to reschedule, huh?"
Heejin lets out a small squeak in protest, making Hyeju focus back on her with raised eyebrows. "Do you wanna go out after this?"
"Huh? No, it's alright. You deserve to rest after. I don't really think you girls prepared all this without getting up early."
Hesitantly, the barista reaches out to take in Hyeju's hand. Heejin focuses on their hands, noting the slight difference in size and toys with the girl's fingers. "It's okay." There's a moment of silence before she suddenly adds, "I don't know about you, but I'm not really the type to go out for dates."
Hyeju grins. "Yeah?"
With puffed cheeks, Heejin looks up to meet with Hyeju's eyes. "Do you wanna go to my place after this?"
"Hmm. I don't know." Hyeju pretends to think deeply about it. "I'm more of a 2nd or 3rd date type of gal for that."
She rolls her eyes with a light smack on her shoulder. "Stupid. I'm being serious!"
"So am I!"
Heejin's eyebrows upturn. "So?"
Heejin lets go of her hand and starts walking away with an annoyed groan. Hyeju breaks character and jogs up to her. "I'm kidding!" She holds her down by the shoulders, then trails her hands down to hold Heejin's. "I'm good with that. I'll drive us then?"
Hyeju silently burst into tears near the end of the movie with the orchestra scene. Through her tears, she says it's because of the music and how much emotions she felt through listening. Heejin laughs fondly, wiping her own tears. Payback for Hyeju not informing Heejin that she rode a motorcycle like the streets are a race track.
"Are they gonna kiss?!" Hyeju squeaks, focused on how one of the girls takes tentative steps toward the other main girl. "Oh," she breathes out when the characters simply crash into a hug.
Heejin laughs at how intrigued Hyeju is. The latter's chewing on the metal straw of her now empty cup of soda. Her eyebrows are bunched up in the middle in concentration at this confrontation scene of the two main girls of this movie.
"Wh—!! Why'd she say that!" Hyeju looks utterly shocked. The movie goes silent, it focuses on the other girl's eyes and cuts off to different objects as the melancholic notes of the piano start to pick up.
"Because," Heejin throws a piece of popcorn in . "She realized something."
"And what's that?" Hyeju looks away from the screen just as that same character begins to laugh.
"Her friend's the more talented one after all, and that all she was doing was holding her back."
With the movie ending, Heejin gets up to clean the table, but Hyeju beats her to it, leaving the barista confused for a moment. "Let me do it," She huffs as Hyeju starts washing the little dishes. "I'm the host here."
"Oh, please. You've always made my drinks. Let me do this one thing for you." Hyeju tilts her head, and just then does Heejin realize rain's starting to pick up.
Heejin frowns at the realization. "You can't go home yet."
Hyeju dries off the plates and cups. Turning back to the barista with a cheeky grin, she makes a face she knows Heejin's weak to. "Are you sure it's because of the weather, or is it because you wanna keep me to yourself for tonight?"
Heejin puffs up in defense with pink-dusted cheeks. Thunder ripples through. "See? It's dangerous to drive your motorcycle with the building storm right now—Hyeju.. What are you doing?"
The said girl's simply laid on the couch. She rests her had on crossed arms. Opening one of her eyes to look at Heejin, Hyeju awkwardly squeaks out, "..Resting?"
Now, you guys probably expected something along with the "there's only one bed" type of cliché, but nope. Sorry..? Though, Heejin did offer her bed for Hyeju to sleep in, only for the girl to reject the offer and took the floor bed instead. "You don't have to sacrifice your comfortability for my sake. As you said, I am the guest here so.."
"For a gal working in a café in the mornings 'til the afternoon, you wake up pretty late," Hyeju teases as she cooks up breakfast.. or lunch since it's a little over 12pm.
Heejin yawns. "How'd you even know I got up? Your back is facing me. Also, wow, you really made yourself at home in my kitchen." Also, also, this is oddly domestic. Has anyone told you how much you're wife material, Son Hyeju? Heejin thinks it's better if she kept those thoughts to herself, for now.
Instead, she checks Hyeju out. Heejin lent her clothes as pajamas, and phew does she look beautiful like this. Hyeju may only be in an oversized shirt and shorts yet she still has Heejin awestruck, because behind that bed hair of hers, there's those wolf-like eyes that make her feel weak in the knees.
Hyeju turns back for a moment to wiggle her eyebrows at the barista. "I've got sensitive ears. I could hear you fighting back a yawn behind me. A~nd, sorry. I already overstayed my welcome, so I thought I'd make us something. Also, are you kidding? Your kitchen is heavenly." She takes another appreciative look around.
Heejin flinches at the unexpected eye contact. Looking away, she makes her way to the french presses and starts brewing up two cups of coffee. "A-ah, well, Vivi gifted most of the equipment here," She supplies. "I could never afford these on my own. Vivi told us to take it as a token of appreciation for being with 1/3 since the start."
Hyeju whistles. "Damn. Can you like.. recommend me to Vivi? If you girls get spoiled like this, I might be your coworker by next week," She jokes, earning a elbow bump from the barista she grabs two mugs.
Exchanging a bit more of small talk, they finish up preparing their meal in a blink. They eat in silence. Hyeju didn't really expect Heejin to also be the type to keep to herself at the table. With how talkative she is, Hyeju waited for the barista to suddenly think of a topic whilst eating, but nothing comes out and it isn't awkward. She think it's nice. Spending time with someone is just as meaningful as a long conversation.
Sadly, Hyeju had to leave as the moment her phone lit up, an onslaught of notifications flooded the screen and she knew she had to go home right away.
You have 9+ new notifications!
Choi Yerim: text me when u get back (人*´∀｀)｡*ﾟ+
r u safe
Im Yeojin: yerims freaking out here
can u pls reply to her msgs
this is concerning
even for me
Park Chaewon: your friends are here.
please just show any sign of life so i can kick them out
Park Chaewon: have i ever told you i hate you?
[Park Chaewon sent an attachment]
they decided to sleepover.
i hate you so much
[Son Hyeju made a groupchat!]
Sign of life.
Please, stop blowing up my phone. No wonder it was dead when I woke up.
Heejin didn't even try to hide her disappointment once Hyeju had changed back into her clothes and was heading out the door. Hyeju found it adorable. "Don't pout like that."
"Like what?" She repeats playfully, exaggerating her pout.
Hyeju rolls her eyes. "We've got plenty of dates to go on, you know," She says confidently, but her fiddling with her sleeve shows she's freaking out on the inside. "..Right?"
Heejin smiles all teeth. "Right."
Her phone lights up again. Hyeju quickly reads it from her lock screen then flashes an apologetic smile at the barista. "Yeah, I really gotta go. Sorry." She awkwardly lingers for a moment before hugging Heejin real quick. With flushed cheeks she half-bows as a goodbye, only for Heejin to tug her wrist.
She puts on a cheeky grin and says, "You did a good job today. I'm proud of you."
"I—" Hyeju wants to speak, but decides against it. Hearing Heejin evilly giggle made her think of something else. Leaning in slowly, Hyeju carefully tilts Heejin's head up with a finger to her chin. She's close enough to spot the barista taking in a huge gulp. Just when Heejin starts to think of fluttering her eyes close, Hyeju plants a peck on her nose and pulls back fully.
"See you!" Hyeju starts to take a few steps back, watching Heejin's face contort through multiple expressions before settling with a flustered one. Once the barista fully processed it all, Hyeju laughs as she turns around and runs down the hall to the elevators.
You have 2 new messages!
heemongie: ur not getting a 2nd date after that stunt.
heemongie: Evil. Son Hyeju. Evil.
i told u im a 2nd or 3rd date type of gal for that stuff!
are u that eager to kiss me again, ms. first kiss stealer?
heemongie: ur insufferable
[You can no longer send messages to this user.]
A/N: i honestly think i could've elevated hyeju's gay panic more but lets jus pretend yerim and chaewon put her through "do-not-gay-panic-son-hyeju" training when she asked for help
also my goodness do i love writing this au ?!?! i wrote it as a joke but here we are at a bonus chapter with a possibility of more to come jus bcs i cant have heehye not end up as gfs at the actual end of this fic