Over a Cup of Coffee (Taeil)

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Taeil had been working part time in the coffee shop for as long as he could remember.  Maybe since 7th grade or so.  And now he was in college.  But he didn't mind.  He loved working at his mom's coffee shop.  The aroma of the freshly crushed beans along with the light hum of people catching up after an exhausting day of work felt like home to him, in a way.  It was his escape from the harsh reality of college where he went unnoticed, no one ever acknowledging his presence.  

Taeil was a shy one.  A very reserved boy who yearned for friends but was scared to make them.  He usually just ate by himself and listened to music walking to classes, pretending as if he were busy so that he wouldn't have to mingle even though he really wanted to.  

Suddenly, the bell on the door chimed as someone stepped into the coffee shop, and Taeil was jarred from his thoughts.  A girl stepped in wearing a raincoat, her umbrella all twisted as the wind slammed the door behind her.  Quickly, she stepped up to the counter, ordering a hot chocolate, and Taeil wrote everything down. 

"And what's your name?" Taeil asked, his voice quavering a little.

"Y/N.  Um, can you make sure there's extra whipped cream on top?  And, um extra chocolate drizzle, please?" the girl shivered, the rain having soaked her clothes.

"Sure.  There's also a heating fan near that booth, so I recommend sitting there to dry off.  Your hot chocolate should be out shortly." 

The girl smiled before heading to the booth, and Taeil, for once, felt his nervousness disappear.  You'd think it was ironic how Taeil avoided interacting with people yet worked at coffee shop where he met at least a hundred people every day.  And his hands would tremble while he set the coffees down on the customers' tables, but this time, he felt a little different.  

Quickly, he prepared the hot chocolate, making sure to add all the extra goodness on top before delivering it to the girl.  

"Take a break, son.  You've been working super hard all afternoon.  Why don't you go talk to some of the customers and ask how they like the coffee and if they'd be interested in trying some of the new flavors we're experimenting with?" Taeil's mom asked.  She smiled kindly before pushing him out from behind the counter, the poor boy nearly spilling the hot chocolate everywhere.  

"Hey, here's your hot chocolate.  Don't worry, there's plenty of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle," Taeil smiled, handing the hot cup to her.

"Thanks.  Also, um, thank you for telling me to sit here.  This heating fan is really doing it's job," she laughed before her eyes glazed over and her expression fell.  

"Are you okay?" Taeil asked, and suddenly she teared up, and he felt super bad.  "Oh, no, I'm so sorry.  I didn't mean to make you cry.  Did I say something wrong?"

The girl shook her head.  "No, I just had a rough day at college.  I go to the one down the road from here.  You know the one with the huge treble clef statue out front?  I just had a really rough day.  And my dorm room is flooded because of the heavy rains, so I have nowhere to go," she sighed.

Taeil scratched the back of his neck.  "Well, um, I go to that university, actually.  Hey, I'll be right back."  He quickly ran to ask his mom something before returning to the small table, a grin plastered on his face.  "My mom said you can stay with us until your room gets fixed.  And I drive to school every morning, so I can take you."

"Really?  Thanks so much!  Um, I never caught your name."

"Moon Taeil," he beamed.  

Taeil was finally going to do it.  They'd known each other for about two years now, and the big dance was coming up.  Taeil had finally gathered the courage to ask the girl he had met years ago at the coffee shop to be his partner.  Now even she had taken up working at the shop during her free time.  He saw her hair blowing in the wind as the chilly winter air nipped at their pink ears.  

"You said you wanted to meet me?" she asked.

Taeil nodded.  "I was wondering if you'd like to be my date to the big dance coming up.  You're the only girl I've ever felt super comfortable around, so I'd love it if you could."

"Sure, Moon Taeil, but everything comes with a price."  She stood on her tippy toes and gave him a small peck on the cheek.  "Will you go out with me?  I was planning to ask you at the shop when it was my shift, but I think now's a good time."

Without saying a word, he leaned in and kissed her chapped lips that tasted like the peppermint mocha he had made for her earlier.  And to think it had all started over a cup of coffee.

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