Head bobbing, feet tapping to the beat and rapping softly, Taehyung diligently wiped the counter. The song blasting in his ears drowned out the soft conversations of the few patrons and the acoustic music playing in the background of the cafe.
It was after the morning rush on a Wednesday. College students, some office workers discussing work, and well married ladies are the patrons at this hour at the cafe; though there are still plenty of empty tables and chairs.
Customers tended to order coffee and pastries and then hang around the cafe for hours. Perhaps because of the cozy atmosphere and the wide array of beverages and pastries to choose from or because the prices were reasonable. The cafe was located by the corner of a peaceful street, down the road from the park, residing on the same road as an old book store and an art gallery.
Inside, there was a corner with floor to ceiling window that let in natural light on a sunny day and on rainy days, when it tended to be more gloomy and dark , it emitted a picture of warmth and comfort. It is a beautiful sight to watch whenever it rains heavily outside, thunder and lightning, trees barely standing and people running. However, today is not one of those days. It was one of those bright spring days that most people love.
As tedious as lunch hour was, Taehyung enjoys his time working at the cafe. His boss was pretty lenient on him too, since the owners are his parents who are just happy to have him back home.
His parents decided to open a cafe when he was in high school; during those days, he helped out through the weekends and holidays. Taehyung loved the time spent working in his parents’ cafe, and now that he’s back home, his mother allowed him to take charge of the cafe whenever she’s not around.
The bell rang softly signalling the arrival of a new customer, catching the attention of some customers; everyone noticed except for Taehyung who was busy headbanging softly to the song. Taehyung only noticed there was a new customer when he went to put away the cloth and he scrambled to pull out his earbuds. If his mother was here, he would be dead no matter how old he was.
The customer looked at him with a raised eyebrow but Taehyung chose to ignore the gesture and gave him a bright smile; it is a beautiful day after all.
“Hello! What can I get you?” He asked and shoved the earphones in the pocket of his apron.
The customer didn’t reply, eyes scanning the menu on the chalkboard above. He looked as if he had just woken up, his skin was pale as snow and Taehyung wondered if this was what a modern day vampire might look like. The man had dark circles under his eyes. His outfit was simply thrown together; a pair of ripped jeans and a plain oversized black shirt, he wore a loose beanie over his bleached blonde hair.
“Americano, the breakfast set and whatever cake you have,” the man finally said, sounding tired and proceeded to fumble around his bag for his wallet.
Taehyung typed in the order and the man paid in cash before moving to the table at the corner by the window. The man pulled out a notebook and a pen and stared at it. Taehyung doesn’t pay him much attention as he made his coffee.
He carried the sugar syrup with the hot coffee to the man and settled it down on the table gently. The man was writing in his notepad and there were a lot of scratched lines over written words.
“Hot americano,” Taehyung announced with a smile. “This is our special sugar syrup,” he added, pointing at the small clear jug of pure sugar.
The pale man looked at the jug carefully before turning away. “That won’t be needed, thanks.”
Taehyung watched in horror as the man drank the black coffee like it was water. He swallowed and slowly retreated to the safety behind the counter, crouching and eyeing the pale man with his guard up.
Do vampires take sugar-free stuff nowadays? Is that how they survive without blood? But the pale man is sitting by the window, with the sun directing at him. Aren’t they suppose to burst or something? Maybe Twilight was right, maybe vampires do sparkle when exposed to sunlight.
“Hyung, what are you doing?”
He looked up from where he was hiding to see his friends looking at him weirdly.
“I think that man over there is a vampire,” he stated, eyes back on the man eating scrambled eggs.
Jimin and Jungkook both turned around to look at the direction their friend was looking at to find the pale man eating quietly while scribbling in his notebook.
“What?” Jimin blurted out.
“He takes his black coffee without any sugar! And he’s so pale.” Taehyung hissed out.
His two friends shared a look before bursting out in laughter.
“How did you even- never mind. I’m going to tell the guy,” Jimin said, already started walking towards the man. Taehyung’s eyes widened in fear and he tried grabbing his best friend towards him to save his life, but it was already too late, he was already halfway to the table.
In a state of desperation, Taehyung quickly jumped out from behind the counter and pulled Jimin back.
“Take my blood instead! Don't hurt Jiminie!” He offered, eyes shut tightly and head tilted to the side to offer to the vampire.
He was expecting to be attacked immediately but nothing happened. Taehyung opened one of his eyes to find 3 pairs of eyes staring at him oddly and when he opened his eyes fully, he realised the entire cafe was staring at him.
“What?” The vampire looked confused.
“Sorry man, my friend here thought you were a vampire,” Jimin said apologetically. Jungkook muttered sorry to the other few customers and bowed politely.
The pale man watched in silence, processing what just happened and nodded slowly. “...Okay,” and he returned back to writing.
His friends dragged him back to the counter and Taehyung was burning.
“Don't do that! What if he was a vampire? You could have died!” He scolded Jimin.
His best friend only smiled and patted him. “I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse to have you as a friend.”
Taehyung ignored him, “What do you want?”
“I'll have iced mocha. What ‘bout chu, Kookie?” Jimin teased.
“I want a latte, thank you,” Jungkook said.
Taehyung keyed in their orders and they took their usual seats at the back of the cafe with the blackboard wall.
Taehyung started on the mocha first and then the latte, carefully designing the Iron Man art on the coffee for Jungkook.
He also cut up different cakes before serving his friends. A red velvet cake, a chocolate cake and a black forest cake.
Jungkook was drawing on the blackboard and Jimin was watching when he placed their orders down.
“Are those cakes for us?” Jimin beamed.
“Yes, but not the black forest cake though,” before his friend could ask, he carried the plate towards the pale man.
He gathered up his nerves and took in long and deep breaths. If he died, at least he died with a delicious cake in his hand. He stood in front of the man, hands shaking and he willed them to stop.
The vampire man looked up at him, hands still holding the pen and Taehyung realised after a long minute that he was staring at the man.
“Um, I'm sorry about earlier. Here's a cake, on the house,” he said quickly, placed the plate on the table and walked away just as quickly.
When he took a glance at the vampire, he saw an amused look on the man’s face as he looked at the cake and then back at him. There was a hint of smile as he ate the cake.
At least the vampire enjoys the cake, that means they're on friendly terms, right?
A week later, Taehyung was listening to his iPod and almost fell asleep at the counter. It was a slow and lazy day at the cafe when somebody came in.
He jumped and quickly greeted the customers; there were three men, two of which scanned the menu board and the other looked uninterested, as if he would prefer to be any place but here.
They ordered a ton of food alongside pastries with a latte, iced tea and an iced chocolate. Taehyung wondered if they could finish all of that food when he keyed in their orders which they paid in cash.
The kitchen staff started preparing their meals and one of the staff took care of the pastries while Taehyung made their drinks. As usual, he left the latte for last.
Two of the men were looking around the cafe with interest and the the other took pictures. Taehyung realised belatedly that the one with the camera was the vampire man.
He paused for a while and looked at the other two men. They don't look like vampires. The vampire is wearing a black beanie with a Kumamon badge on it, so Taehyung took inspiration on it.
By the time he was done, the food and pastries were already on their table and they were having a discussion while the vampire took pictures. Nobody touched their food.
“Iced tea, iced chocolate and a latte,” he announced as he placed their drinks down carefully.
The trio eyed the beverages with curiosity and-
“Did you- oh my,” the vampire man couldn't finish his sentence, a hand covering his mouth in disbelief.
Taehyung only peered at the drinks and wondered what's so special about it to realise that they were all looking at the latte art.
“That's really impressive, kid,” the dimpled man praised.
Taehyung grinned, “thank you! I saw the pin on his head and I was inspired.”
“Where did you learn that?” The third member asked excitedly, eyes going back and forth between the coffee and the person who made the coffee.
“Oh, I learned it when I was in Japan. I was there for a year or so,” Taehyung recalled.
The vampire started taking pictures of the coffee and the dimpled man hummed.
“You travel a lot?” He asked, interested.
Taehyung scratched the back of his head, a little embarrassed for some reason. “I used to,” he admitted. “I'm taking a break now though,” he decided to add.
“Breaks are important. Just ask Yoongi hyung,” the sunshine member of the group laughed, followed by the dimpled man.
There seemed to be an inside joke that Taehyung doesn't get.
“I'm Hoseok, by the way,” the sunshine man introduced himself.
“And I am Namjoon. That cameraman is Yoongi. He was the one who suggested us to come try the food here,” the dimpled man, Namjoon, said, glancing at Yoongi who was taking pictures.
“I’m glad that you liked the food here, Yoongi hyung. Nice to meet you guys! I'm Taehyung,” he smiled brightly, good to have new friends. They seemed friendly and nice.
Hopefully Yoongi didn't bring up anything about the vampire event that happened last week. Taehyung would have hid in his bedroom forever and never come out if that happened.
The bell rang again, signalling new customers had arrived and Taehyung greeted them.
“Just let me know if you need anything. Back to work now!” He couldn't help but smile at them again.
“Oh, and Yoongi hyung, the latte is sugar-free!” He whispered loudly before rushing back behind the counter.