“Bye, bunny!” Chulsoo yelled as his mom dragged him out of the daycare.
Soobin smiled and waved at the little boy in return before shutting the door and walking toward the front desk where his boss, Minji, was sitting. She was a fairly nice older woman who was less of a boss type of figure and more of a mom type even though she had no children of her own. He leaned over the counter. “Minji-ssi.”
She looked up from a piece of paper that she was filling out. “Yes?”
“Chulsoo was the last of the bunch to leave. Did you want me to stay and help clean up or…?” Soobin trailed off, waiting for an answer.
Minji shook her head. “No, no. It’s okay. I’ll clean it up on my own. Thanks though.”
Soobin bit the inside of his cheek, not sure about if he should just say “Okay" and leave her to it or if he should stay and help her clean up. He ended up asking, “Are you sure? I don’t have to be home until later and-”
“I’m sure, Soobin.” She cut him off and smiled kindly, setting down the pen she was holding.
Something seemed off about her. Soobin could sense it. Minji was usually more, well, happy. Especially in the daycare since it was always full of children and the pictures that they drew and colored filled up the walls from top to bottom.
Soobin bit his lip and sucked in some air before asking, “Minji-ssi, I hope you don’t mind me asking this, but, is everything alright?”
Her smile immediately faded and her face dropped. “I suppose that I should just tell you then,” she sighed. “This is going to be the last week that Toddler Town will be open.”
Soobin opened his mouth to speak, but Minji spoke first. “Now, before you say anything about it let me finish.”
He nodded as a sign for her to continue.
“Not enough people are coming here anymore. Not since the Early Bird Daycare center opened up. Because they open up earlier it allows parents to drop off their kids there before they go to work so business there has been great and business here has been slowly going downhill. Honestly, I’m not surprised. It’s been going downhill for the past few months since less and less kids have been dropped off here and it’s not like we can force people to bring their kids here.” Minji took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. “I have to close the place, Soobin. Correction, I am closing the place. It’s just not making enough money as it used to and there isn’t enough money to keep it open either. So, here.” She opened a drawer and took out a white envelope with Soobin’s name on it, placing it on the counter. “This is yours. It’s your last paycheck. Everyone got their last paycheck today so you don’t need to come in for the rest of the week since you won’t be getting paid for it and since nobody else will be planning on coming. I’m sorry for the late notice, by the way. I should have told everyone beforehand, that way they could have started job searching earlier.”
Soobin grabbed the envelope and just held it in his hand, not knowing what to say. He loved working here and hearing all of this was kind of heartbreaking. He knew how much Minji loved Toddler Town as well and how giving it up was probably an extremely hard thing for her to be doing. He knew that they would both miss the kids and playing with them and even cheering them up after a crying session.
“I’ve already let all of the parents know so I’m assuming that most of them won’t be dropping their kids off here since they’re going to need them to get adjusted to another daycare.”
“It’s okay, Soobin. I’m okay. Besides, it was time that this place closed up.”
He silently nodded, looking at the ground.
“Don’t be upset, alright?”
He nodded again.
“That will be all then. You can go home now.”
On his way home Soobin thought about everything that had just happened. Minji loved Toddler Town and her heart was probably breaking over having to close it. If he had known he would have tried to help out and advertise the place more to attract more business, but now he just had to go and find a new job elsewhere. Soobin had gotten over the shock a while ago and was now slowly walking as he wondered about what he should do now. Where would he get a new job? He didn’t know about any place that was currently hiring so what was he supposed to do now? Soobin continued walking and sulking when and an idea came to mind. Maybe Kai or Yeonjun would know of a place! He quickly took out his phone and opened up their group chat (that was named by Yeonjun) to send them a text.
merMAID to be friends forever
Toddler Town is closing so do either of you know any places that are hiring?
He didn’t have to wait very long for an answer.
Ning: Yeah, actually.
Why r u asking though?
R things not going well at Toddler Town?
Junnie: I bet he got fired.
For your information, no I did not get fired.
Why would you even think that?
Toddler Town is closing so I need a new job.
And before either of you ask why it’s closing it’s just closing because of business.
Ning: Sorry to hear about that, hyung.
I know how much you liked working there.
My boss said that was time anyway.
Ning: So, ur in need of a job then?
That’s why I asked.
Ning: Lucky you cuz I know just the place!
Now, how do you feel about getting into the food business?
Junnie: Soobin and food?
He wouldn’t be able to resist his urge to eat it.
I’m just going to let that go this time.
Kai, please tell me more.
Is it fast food?
Ning: It’s a diner.
Are diners considered as fast food?
I’m not sure, but I’ll take what I can get so the food business is okay.
R u talking about that one diner?
Ur friends work there, right?
You have other friends besides us?
I’m hurt, Ning.
I thought we were the only ones.
And why haven’t I ever heard about these other friends?
Ning: Yep. I’m talking about that one diner.
Also, of course I have other friends.
Don’t think that ur special or anything, Binnie.
And I didn’t think that it was that important about you know about my other friends.
They’re just people.
Junnie: I love that place!
The food is soooooooooooo good.
We should go there again soon.
Information on the diner now, please!
Ning: The place is called Crown Diner and it’s run by some guy in college named Jin, I think.
His other college friends help him out there too and my friends Beomgyu and Taehyun work there.
Taehyun, shortie w/ brown hair, and big eyes and Beomgyu, slightly taller than Tae and he has reddish-brown hair, kind of looks like a mushroom from the back.
Anyway, they’re currently hiring and could really use the help.
Go there and you’ll probably be able to talk to Jin right away and get the job.
I’ll send you the address.
Good luck, hyung!
Soobin had followed the address that Kai had given him and he now stood outside of the Crown Diner. It wasn’t a small building, but it wasn’t very big either. The wallpaper on the outside was a nice shade of yellow and the place all in all had a nice vintage look to it. The diner was charming in a way. It had its own sort of look and beauty to it that made it different from other places. Soobin walked inside, a bell ringing as he did so, and walked up to the front desk where a boy with brown hair and big eyes was wiping down the counter.
“Um, excuse me,” he sheepishly said, “Are you, perhaps, Taehyun?”
The other boy looked up from his chore. “Who’s asking?”
“Oh, right. Um, I’m not really sure if he’s told you about me, but I’m Kai’s friend, Soobin.”
“In that case, I’m Kang Taehyun.” He smiled. “Nice to meet you, Soobin.” He held out a hand for Soobin to take.
Soobin shook hands with the other boy. “Nice to meet you too.” They let go and Taehyun went back to cleaning.
“So what brings you here?” he asked.
“I’m actually looking for a job. Kai told me to come here since you guys are hiring.”
“Oh, great! We need the help. I’ll get Seokjin hyung and you can take a seat if you want. I’ll be right back.” Taehyun went through a door to the back, most likely the kitchen. Soobin decided to sit in a booth and wait, but a booth probably wasn’t the best place to sit because a few seconds later a guy with light brown hair walked over.
“Welcome to Crown Diner, may I take your order?” His voice was a deep as the ocean.
“Um, I’m actually waiting for someone.”
“You waiting for a date?” The boy playfully asked with a wink and wiggled his eyebrows.
“Leave the poor high schooler alone, Taehyung.” Someone called out as they came out the door that Taehyun went through only a few minutes ago.
“A Taehyun and a Taehyung?” Soobin had accidentally thought out loud.
The boy - Taehyung - smiled at Soobin. “Yep. You know little Taetae? He’s great, right? A real cutie if you ask me.”
Taehyun bursted through the door, his face red from embarrassment. “Nobody asked you! And I told you not to call me that, hyung.” He glared at Taehyung and then looked at Soobin. “Anyway, Seokjin can see you now Soobin.” Soobin stood up and followed Taehyun through the kitchen and to a door near the back. “You’ll get the job, don’t worry.” Taehyun knocked twice before opening the door, gesturing for Soobin to enter. Soobin went into the office and there was a guy - Seokjin - with black hair, broad shoulders, and a cold look on his face, sitting at a desk. He gave off this scary and intimidating vibe. Soobin bowed and sat down in the chair across from Seokjin.
“Can you cook?” Seokjin questioned, leaning onto his desk.
“Yes?” Soobin said it like a question instead of a statement and added on, “Sir?” He wasn’t quite sure on how he should talk to Seokjin or what to call him.
Seokjin chuckled, “There’s no need for that. Anyway, you meet all of the qualifications so you’re hired then. Just go into the kitchen and tell Yoongi that you’re the new chef. Oh, and uh, Yoongi is the super short guy who resembles a cat. Come in tomorrow and we can talk about your schedule then.” He smiled at the younger boy before Soobin got up and left Seokjin’s office to go and find Yoongi.
All of the qualifications? Seokjin had asked Soobin one question and then gave him the job like it was nothing. It’s whatever though. Who knew that getting a job would be this easy? He walked into the kitchen. The kitchen was full of noise. Clanking pots and pans, running water and there were some bubbles floating around in the air and steam rising from the food being cooked on the stove. Soobin could easily get used to this.
After meeting with Yoongi and receiving a chefs uniform Soobin was about to go back to the dining area when the door suddenly opened and whacked him right smack dab on the forehead. “Oh my god, I am so, so sorry,” Somebody apologized. Soobin noticed that whoever it was spoke with dialect. “Are you okay?” A hand was placed on his forehead. “Is your vision blurry? Do you need an ice pack or something? Oh my god, do you have a concussion? Did I give you a concussion? Are the lights hurting your eyes at all?”
Soobin shook his head even though his vision was slightly blurry, attempting to stand up, but failing. “Could you- could you just help me up, please?”
The hand left his forehead. “Of course.” Hands then tugged at Soobin’s arms and the other person helped him to his feet.
“No problem. I’m really sorry, again.”
“It-it’s okay, really.”
“I really think that you should sit down for a bit.” Just as they said that Soobin’s vision blurred even more and he grabbed the other person’s shoulders to stay standing.
“Yeah, I need to sit down.”
The person helped lead Soobin out the door and to a booth to sit down and then sat down across from him before quickly standing up and sliding out of the booth. “Um, I’m gonna go and get you an ice pack, okay? Stay here.”
Soobin laid his head on the table. It hurt. He closed his eyes and then something hit the table with a clunk.
“Okay, I’m back. I guess we don’t have any ice packs, but I just took a chunk of ice from the freezer and put it in a bag so I hope that’s okay.”
He sat up and grabbed the fake ice pack and placed it on his head.
“It might leave a bruise so I’ll go grab the first aid kit and bandage it up as well and uh, if you need anything else then just let me know.” The person left again leaving Soobin with a wrapped up chunk of ice on his head. All he had wanted was to come here for a job and he did get the job, but he also got hit with a door.
“Alright, so there are bandaids, but I don’t think you’ll need those since you don’t have any cuts and you’re not bleed- oh my god, are you bleeding? You’re not bleeding, are you?” They move the fake ice pack and set it on the table, putting their hands on Soobin’s face an pull him closer so that they can examine him. The boy was pretty, Soobin noticed. He had these captivating dark brown eyes and his skin was so clear. How could one’s skin even be that clear? Soobin subconsciously moved his face closer to the others. He was really pretty. Soobin couldn’t believe the sight that was standing before him. His hair was pretty too. It was a nice brown, well, more of a red and brownish type of color, but-
Soobin realized who it was. “Beomgyu?”
The other boy paused for a second. “That’s me. Do I know you?” he asked.
“I’m Soobin. Kai’s friend.”
“No way,” Beomgyu mumbled, more to himself than to Soobin. “Kai is going to kill me if he finds out that I’m the reason you have this huge bump on your head. He really looks up to you, you know and if he finds out that I hurt you then I’m dead.”
“I won’t tell him it was you. I’ll just say that I ran into a door. That’s believable, right?”
Beomgyu giggled. He legit giggled and it might have been the cutest thing that Soobin had ever heard. “It’s believable. If you tell him that then you’ll really be saving me. I owe you one.”
“Yeah, why not? Let me take you out for lunch or something. I go to a private school actually, but I can sneak out.” He grinned. “I have my ways after all.”
“Lunch…” Soobin tossed the idea around and decided that having lunch with your friend’s friend wouldn’t hurt. “Lunch sounds good.”
“Great.” Beomgyu smiled. “Let’s meet here during lunch tomorrow, shall we?”
He smiled in return. “We shall.” Then they stayed like that for a little while, smiling and looking into each other’s eyes like nothing else around them mattered until someone decided to come over and see what was going on.
“Geez, Beomgyu!” They said it way louder than necessary. “What did you do to him?”
Beomgyu's hands slipped off of Soobin’s face and he turned around with a pout. “It was an accident, Jungkook hyung! He hit his face on the door.”
“So you hit him with the door?”
“Don’t talk to me.”
“Aw, come on, Beomie.” Jungkook ruffled up his hair. “Don’t be like that.”
“Oh, look,” Beomgyu deadpanned, “Someone in your section is ready to order. Guess you better get going now.” And he turned back to Soobin. “Sorry about him. All of the hyungs here are annoying,” he said as he bandaged up Soobin’s head. “Anyway, it looks like you’re all good to go now and I’m sorry again.”
“Don’t fret over it. It’s just a small bump.” Soobin grabbed his bag and stood up. “I think I can manage.”
“Wow,” Beomgyu breathed out, looking up at him with big eyes. “You’re tall. I see why Kai calls you an extra long baguette now.”
“He what now?”
Beomgyu averted his eyes and acted as though he didn’t hear Soobin. “So, um, see you tomorrow then.” He rushed into the kitchen before quickly popping his head back out. “You can take the ice pack, by the way. Also, I’m paying tomorrow so don’t bring your wallet.” Then he disappeared behind the door again.
As Soobin left he felt himself strangely happy for some reason. He had a bump on his forehead and a bandage wrapped around it, probably making him look dumb to others, but he was happy for he had a cute lunch date to look forward to tomorrow.