The fact that two people, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation, lived in the same department, didn't automatically and explicitly convert them into a couple. And the fact that they are a couple doesn't imply that they must live together due to obligation; the south korean had always believed that this choice should be approved by both parties, and that it should be influenced by reaching a certain level of trust in the relationship.
Unfortunately, her case was reduced to the first. Of course, she appreciated Jaehee, and the fact that she furnished her apartment especially to make her comfortable was strongly acknowledged, but the fact that she simply recognized her as a simple friend made her uncomfortable.
Clearly, she wanted her as something more than a friend.
And while she feared that her feelings for the brunette were strongly notorious to the other members of the association, the truth was that she didn't mind that the insightful eye of Luciel or the trust that promised Zen to recognize them. They were the members with whom she had a greater amount of confidence. Of course, that didn't save her from the flirtatious jokes of the hacker, but they weren't malicious and she recognized it.
She even thought he did it for the sole purpose of Jaehee recognizing her feelings. Which wouldn't be problematic if it wasn't because he did them when they were both in the same chat room.
But that didn't remove the unnoticed bandage that had settled in the Jaehee's sweet eyes, ensuring that both had such complicity if they proposed, attitude to which she didn't know how to react.
And now, staring at the ceiling, Shin Sanghwa stirred slightly in the bed listening gradually as the mattress responded to her movements. Occasionally, her gaze went to the door to make sure she didn't grossly ignore Jaehee, who used to visit her room every morning asking her what she wanted to have for breakfast.
That had become habit quickly; even if she asked her not to bother with it, assuring her that she could make her own food, the brunette assured her that it was not a problem and that she was happy to do so.
Occasionally, she felt that she was doing so in gratitude for the support and understanding that she has given her since her unforeseen union with the RFA, an act that although greatly appreciated, she felt undeserved. After all, Jaehee had also been a great moral support since that event... even if it was her very serious though formal way.
She felt that she should return the favor, and took the cell phone from her desk and carved her eyes and lit it, appreciating the time.
6:45 in the morning.
That explained why she hadn't come yet: Jaehee wouldn't wake up for another fifteen minutes. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Jumin and Seven were talking through the application.
Apparently, Jumin had trouble finding an equally competent employee, claiming that he reconsidered giving Yoosung that job when he finished his studies.
If it was that he left that damn game online and returned to look at his studies to recover his perfect average, or minimally better than the current one.
She smiled slyly and turned off her cell phone, not wanting to attend a chat when a plan in favor of Jaehee was drawn in her mind, feeling her cheeks burn at such thoughts.
She stretched out her arms sitting on the bed until she heard them thunder, and finally she got up quickly leaving the room, her bare feet sounding finely on the wooden floor.
She had to admit that it disturbed her to listen only to her own movements and breathing.
However, a smile appeared on her face as she headed to the kitchen. Jaehee's fine decoration, and the fact that everything was neatly arranged was another touch that she personally liked about her.
But now wasn't the time to think about her. This was for and for her, and fortunately the fact of helping her in her coffee shop had allowed her culinary skills to improve.
She could prepare something for her.
Chocolate cake? No, very cliché. Blackberry pay? I could do it, she used to say that I prepared them very well. Vanilla cake? No, definitely not, they had many of those in the cofee shop and the last thing she wanted was to look unoriginal.
Coconut cake? It was not to be presumed but they tasted exquisite when prepared by her, but it was what the brunette used to eat... or at least what remained at the end of working hours.
Maybe a... no, I wouldn't know well with Jaehee's morning coffee. Why was it so complicated?!
But maybe, and just maybe, I could do something with that. Time ran and she could wake up at any moment, so she went decisively to the refrigerator and analyzed the ingredients that resided there.
Or maybe it didn't have to be something too elaborate, and maybe something simple would be better and faster to prepare. The intention and the heart placed behind would be paramount for both.
Yes, something simple could work to what, placing the ingredients on the kitchen bar, she thundered her fingers and got down to work.
The room remained in clear silence, and it wasn't until the sound of the alarm made a presence that Jaehee awoke. Probably in some alternate universe she would have done it with a moan of frustration or prominent circles under her eyes, but now she could recognize and appreciate the fact that it wasn't like that.
Since she had mustered the courage to give up the promising but tedious task of being Jumin's secretary, she had to admit that she felt more relaxed and satisfied with herself.
Of course, she was very well paid and appreciated by her family, but working with the heir of C & R... made her beg for a higher salary.
But she shook her head with enough lightness not to get dizzy when she was freshly awake. That was past, she shouldn't keep thinking about the past, but the present and move forward so that her coffee shop had a good future.
In the company of Sanghwa.
The brunette let out a yawn and smiled to herself. At this time, the redhead used to wake up, and she used to show up a few minutes later to ask her what she wanted to eat, making sure she had no allergies or certain intolerances.
Personally, it didn't bother her, on the contrary. Surely she believed that it had been the clear result of her work with Jumin and prevented her from doing so, but certainly all she wanted was to make her feel comfortable as she did.
It could influence in a certain way the fact of collaborating in the customer service of the coffee shop, but it was fun.
It allowed her to know a little more about the new RFA coordinator, the one that had passed to the mysterious but fun hacker, the big millionaire businessman with a devilish cat, the attractive and famous workaholic and the shy college student to fix her attention and concern to she.
To her, a humble and faithful secretary now owns a small establishment that she would not have been able to reach without her advice and disinterested help.
She felt that she owed too much to what, stretching both arms to awaken her body, she sat on the white bed feeling her curls falling slowly on her back finely covered by a black nightgown and inhaled, allowing a faint sweet scent to scurry into her nostrils.
Wait a second, sweet smell? That couldn't be, the only scent that filtered to her apartment was the fine smell of coffee accompanied by the homely essence.
Something was wrong. Her visit to the bathroom could wait for what, decided disconnected her alarm, the only potential weapon at her disposal, and discreetly took the cell that also rested in his desk, ready to call the police.
She was ready to fight, although a hint of doubt also permeated her mind: if a thief had really perpetrated in her place, it wouldn't take the time or trouble to prepare breakfast! Much less to have the audacity to appear at such times, when the duty guard was on the prowl!
At that moment, it knocked on the door of her bedroom. It was in an almost quivering and hesitant way that it even touched her, as if a timid infant had. Fortunately, it was strangely familiar for the schedule.
"Jaehee, did you wake up?" Of course, Sanghwa's voice. At a considerably low volume, but not enough to be inaudible. "Breakfast is served."
Feeling her cheeks burn, she reconnected the clock. Possibly she would have to reconfigure it again, great.
"Yes, Sang, I'll be right there," she said, feeling the warmth impregnate in her eyes.
Had Sanghwa really taken the trouble to get up early for the sole purpose of preparing breakfast? It was too considerate of her, added to the fact that she won't knock loudly on her door to avoid awakening her in such a brusque manner.
A small smile formed on her face, an act of sincere joy appearing strongly in her expression.
However, from the other side of the door, the redhead could perceive how her cheeks began to burn considerably strong. She didn't know how, or why, but soon after moving in with her she had adopted the habit of calling her that way. It didn't bother her at all, but the simple fact that she gave her a cute nickname showed the level of confidence Jaehee had with her.
And in a way, it made her feel bad. Because being immersed in her selfish thoughts and feelings, she hadn't given herself the trouble of giving her a nice nickname.
Maybe she could invent one later, or maybe she could wait for it to come out unexpectedly as well as Jaehee's 'Sang'.
She quickly made her way to the kitchen when she heard her companion's almost silent steps toward the door, almost tripping over the living room rug.
When Jaehee left her room, she was expecting an over elaborated breakfast considering the decided and extravagant personality of her outstanding friend when selecting the guests for the next charity party. But there, from the kitchen, the redhead waited patiently with a thin smile on her lips and an immense tower of pancakes in the center of the table; around this plate, the various additions that could freely be given to her breakfast were neatly separated: strawberries, blueberries, bar butter, assorted fruit jams and maple syrup.
Of course, a couple of bright plates rested at different points on the table.
"Well, everything looks delicious," the brunette said, seconded by the growl in her stomach, a sound that consequently blushed her cheeks partially.
Of course, instead of mocking her cruelly, with her characteristic sweetness the redhead smiled a little giggle.
"I'm glad you consider it Jaehee, because you will give the final verdict," she said, holding a couple of forks smiling happily. "Surprise."
Of course, it could no longer be considered a surprise when she gave the statement seconds later, but her intention to make her partner happy was the only priority.
And Sanghwa could give such a mission as fulfilled when her expression softened to show warmth and sweetness, gesture before which she blushed notoriously. Consequently, she tried to cover that acquisition of color with herfree hand and a nervous giggle.
Yes, she definitely felt something more than just friendship towards her. That is, no one could react in that way for something as simple as a smile!
"It's a very nice gesture on your part, thanks Sang," Jaehee said, hugging herself in a gentle gesture, "but you did not have to..."
"Do not say nonsense, Jaehee, it was an honor" still blushing, allowed to see in the interdigital space the apex of a small and shy smile. "Besides, it's the least I can do after all the hassles you've taken with me since I moved."
Saying that, she take a considerable amount of pancakes and cautiously put them on the nearest plate and then positioned the cutlery on one side.
"It was fun. And I wanted to surprise you. "You deserves it, Lady Kang."
She laughed, being seconded by the above.
It was a nice nickname, but it did not look like any one that could be addressed to her most of the time, the redhead thought almost distantly.
"You want to try?" She finally questioned, giving her a sly smile.
"It would be an honor."
Maintaining a warm expression, Jaehee approached the table being greeted by the slowly more potent aroma of the sweet breakfast.
Patiently, Sanghwa waited for her partner to take the first bite, having already recovered her usual pale complexion. Clearly, she loved to share that kind of complicity with her.
It was at first sight a great contrast to the first mutual impression, this being the main reason for which she was grateful to have rejected when subtle but kindly the members of the organization offered to retire and continue with her simple and normal life about forcing her to stay to continue with the legacy of Rika, maintaining that faithful decision for eleven days in a row and without rest.
And she didn't doubt that Jaehee thought similarly to her, though he did not consider it to be with the same sense or meaning.
"Delicious!" Jaehee's voice, moved and sweetened, was responsible for pulling her out of her thoughts. "It tastes as good as it smells, Sanghwa. You are a great cook."
"Don't exaggerate, Jaehee. I just followed what the recipe said," the redhead girl replied modestly, feeling her face burn lightly, in response to the grief.
She could be sure of that. She could not see any romantic sense of blushing because of a well-meaning compliment on the part of the brunette.
"That's what you say, but I'm serious. Your food is delicious, and do not think I'm saying it to alter your self-esteem; when I take care of the guests and you of the kitchen, they always flatter it."
Listening to the sweet comments of her partner, she allowed herself to smile with the same feeling. Personally, she wasn't so used to such displays of disinterested and to some extent innocent love.
If they ask she what fascinated her most about her, she would immediately find the answer without hesitation because it would be those gestures and that sweetness, full of innocence and without any double meaning in the middle.
Of course, in the romantic field. Because in others, Yoosung surpasses her by far...
"Sanghwa?" Jaehee's voice, always warm, pulled her out of her thoughts again. The aforementioned blinked constantly, appreciating the dismayed look of her companion. "Something happens?"
Literally regaining consciousness, she stoked the smile on her face.
"Yes, yes, it's just that..." For a moment she thought of taking her hands in a gesture full of companionship, but hesitated when she saw them leaning against the table ignoring her breakfast, whose sweet aroma began to tempt her greatly. She had to think the words when they got stuck in her vocal cords. "I wouldn't like such comments to be bad for you. I mean, I appreciate the comments, I know they aren't malicious, but I wouldn't like to think that they could affect your self-esteem..."
She had to look down at her empty plate to stop appreciating the hands of her partner calling her—or something like that.
She didn't know how to react when Jaehee's laughter made itself heard. Warm, sweet, full of life. It was basically a miracle that her blood won't react against her again. And she watched her out of the corner of her eye, seeing how, without thinking twice, she was served a considerable amount of sweet food.
"It does not bother me, Sanghwa! Why would it bother me? You have a gift, and I shouldn't be envious of it. I can say that I'm even proud."
And there she was, blushing again like the pathetic one who considered herself. She knew that she did not say it with that intention, but in a way the chemists of her body didn't see it that way. Her heart began to pump rapidly, and her hands began to tremble.
She had to swallow to recover the ability to speak.
"T-Thank you Jaehee..." she said, in a thread of voice, and allowed herself to show the apex of a shy smile. Perhaps she could justify this attitude to the fact of not being accustomed to receiving so many compliments.
Although it was a detail that the members of the organization were unaware of.
"Do not mention it, friend." That word, that simple word of sweet intentions, broke the redhead's hopes. "Now let's keep eating, or it will be late."
Dedicating her a sweet final smile, Jaehee took the maple syrup and with remarkable lapses she applied it on her tower, an act that she imitated as soon as she deposited it again on the table. Quietly, Sanghwa observed the small calendar that rested on the freezer door; normally she would cede little interest remembering that it was one more day in March, but a particular detail was what caught her attention when she began to decorate her tower with blueberries.
Indeed, it was March.
That day would begin spring. And she didn't know why, but her gaze focused on the brunette, who had begun to eat in silence keeping her warm expression.
Momentarily she listened to her sighing with consistent delight at the taste of her food. She would have to continue following the recipe, she thought unconsciously smiling with clear sweetness, however thanks to that thought another one lodged her mind.
She didn't want to be friends with Jaehee anymore.
No. Sanghwa was determined.
She wanted to take the next step in their relationship.
"Let me see if I understood: do you plan to confess your feelings to Jaehee tonight?" Hyun asked, stirring the sugar in his coffee cup.
That day, it was the redhead's turn to tend to the diners at the cafe, and they had been surprised when the silver-haired young man had appeared at the front door.
Apparently, he was heading to rehearse when he crossed the premises and had thought of surprising them. Of course, he had disguised himself so as not to be recognized by a fan or paparazzi.
It had been more than 6 days since his relationship with Jaehee had improved considerably, and since the union of the new coordinator they had harmonized in a peculiar way. He had learned to love them as a pair of little sisters, and the least he would like would be to alter the coffee shop because he occasionally visited them.
"Exactly, maybe tonight. I thought it was elaborate, but I don't want her to feel pressured" playing with her thumbs, she smile timidly. Zen —which at the time was Hyun— was the only customer at the time, but that didn't mean she wasn't alert to the sighting of new customers.
"Let me guess: it will be under the light of the stars, the petals of the sakuras falling around both, maybe in a park where a lake behind can create a romantic atmosphere..." he stopped his monologue when he noticed how the cheeks of his friend began to turn carmine, and snorted.
"Don't mock you!" nothing to start a child tantrum before the jokes without grace of the singer, who began to laugh, she listen to Jaehee's steps. "Please, avoid any comments in front of her."
"Don't worry, Shin!" Banishing, he took another swig of his slightly sweetened coffee. "I can be mocking and teasing, but never a big mouth... at least with you. I love you, and I know that this is an important step for you. I wouldn't like to be responsible for something going wrong."
"Zenny! Sang! How are my favorite people in the world?" Jaehee suddenly exclaimed, approaching with a piece of chocolate cake that she deposited in front of Zen in accompaniment to his classical morning coffee; after all, he needed enough energy for an almost complete day of rehearsals.
"Very well, we're still alive," he joked, being answered by a laugh from the redhead girl and a chestnut giggle, "thank you, Jaehee."
Quietly, Sanghwa looked at the wall clock. The customers started arriving at that time.
"How about the work?" She asked casually, wearing a pink serene expression. "I heard that you'll shortly star in "The Phantom of the Opera", as well as an original work.
Listening to the natural way in which her partner develops, she couldn't help but smile tenderly. She, from the rest of the members of the organization, knew in firsthand how much appreciation she kept for Hyun.
To speak in that casual way, without Jaehee being prey to the stress and anxiety of working with Jumin, was basically a dream come true for her.
And while Jaehee or she did not have a world-renowned job, he enjoyed spending time outside social pressure.
"And you Jaehee? Do you have something in mind after finishing the coffee shop?" Asked the red-eyed man in the most casual and natural way possible silently sipping his coffee cup, at which Sanghwa tried not to give him a repressed look.
The eyes of both focused on the pensive chestnut, Sanghwa softening her expression to not look suspicious before her.
"Honestly, I don't know. Maybe... Sanghwa, tomorrow we don't work, what do you think if we make a movie night?"
At that moment, she literally felt in heaven and cringed in a surprising microsecond. But it was simply inevitable: even if it was a friendly plan, Jaehee still surprised her by voluntarily inviting her to whatever plan she had.
Ironically, she could never invite her to that night without having a fit of nerves and blushes when caught by her twisted mind.
"Of course! I mean, I'd love it," she answered quickly, and coughed nervously, noticing how, behind her back, Zen repressed laughing.
At that moment she knew that she should be grateful not to have communicated her confession to the RFA chat, or else Seven would be predisposed to leave his work and accompany them to the cafe to enjoy that absurd scene.
Or even worse: recognizing that the history of chats was saved, that Jaehee discovered her feelings in advance.
And she definitely had to keep making movies in her mind, she thought when the bell at the entrance was heard, causing both to react and Zen to hide more in his disguise, feeling his confidence fizzle out.
"I hope you enjoy your coffee, sir. If you'll excuse me, I have to keep working." Sabbathing the little notebook out of her apron pocket, Sanghwa smiled at Zen, glancing at Jaehee quickly retreating to the kitchen, keeping her step graceful.
That had become a habit since the establishment had begun, and fortunately he had grown accustomed to being called by her friends in that way, pretending to ignore him. It had been difficult, but since he had started dating they were both afraid to expose them when he was recognized, and that they would act in that way allowed him to know that both respected his decision, an attitude to which he was eternally grateful.
And seeing both of them so naturally in the coffee shop, serving the customers and cooking respectively and in turns, the singer-songwriter smiled to himself.
Silently, he hoped that everything would turn out well for the redhead that night.
Silently, Sanghwa couldn't wait for the right moment to strike Zen in the face, or at least to insult him, although not so strong because that wasn't her style.
In front of her, the scenario he had described to mock was exactly what was in her field of vision: a night sky full of stars, the moon at its highest point bathing around with a beautiful aura, and sakura trees that began to bloom, dropping some of their petals.
They weren't in a park, but she could definitely be considered nervous and that her plan wasn't going to work.
She hugged herself as she was invaded by the classic icy breezes of Korea, vainly accommodating her hair.
Keeping some distance, she could listen to Jaehee planning the perfect movie night, giving varied choices of films of all genres, and couldn't help but smile when she listened to her recommend with some joy the Zen's musicals.
Some things never changed.
But now was the time to make them change, for better or for worse. And she knew she should do it at that moment, otherwise she could never do it.
After all, who said that the spring equinox could not be the beginning of a new chapter in their history?
She sighed heavily. "Jaehee, wait" and feeling her face burn she hesitated before taking the hand of her companion, who stopped at the abrupt movement.
In response, the aforementioned stopped her walk and turned to the redhead, her long hair being rocked by the wind.
"What's wrong, Sanghwa? Everything is fine?" She questioned, and without being able to avoid an anguished expression she gripped her face. However, she didn't move her hand away from the opponent, not even when she felt her approach and strengthen the contact.
"Yes, yes, everything is fine, but..." Keeping her eyes down, she began to tremble, and couldn't tell if it was the wind or the nerves, as well as the blush on her face increase. "I want to ask something..."
She swallowed nervously. With her other hand she clutched at the bag that held her meager work material. In the midst of her nervousness, she tried to look anywhere but the girl's face, whose expression was more puzzled.
"Of course, you can ask me anything..." and there was that smile that made her so crazy, and it was a greater effort not to look at her, dedicating her warm expression to her.
Momentarily, her gaze focused on her hair, and she remembered the comment she had randomly made in one of their many conversations in the chat rooms.
But she knew she couldn't play with that, right?
"J-Jae, I... I..."
[You didn't say that, as your hair grows,
would you realize your feelings?]
[I feel strongly attracted to you,
Jaehee I like you a lot!]
[I'm in love with you,Jae ...
I'm very much in love with you and I want
know if you feel the same for me...]
[(She didn't say anything and, sighing shakily,
she attracted Jaehee to herself, to kiss her in the
lips before her surprised expression).]