Taeyong Hyung said that if you meet someone during the first snow, you will fall in love with them. I, Huang Renjun, definitely don’t believe in such things. Not until something happened—no, no, until someone happened.
It happened on a chilly afternoon sometime in the last week of November. I have just finished checking out the books I need for an essay. It was chillier than the previous days, and I wasn’t anticipating something to fall when I stepped out of the entrance. I thought it might be some dust, but as I put the books in my bag I felt something cold melting on top of my head.
That was when I knew that it's the first day of snow. As I suddenly looked up at the sky, mesmerized, I didn't notice my clumsy balance of standing on one foot as I raised the other to put my bag on top of it. I also didn't notice a person standing near me.
All I know is that the next thing I will say is as cliche as those scenes in movies and series.
"Well?" Donghyuck's voice from the phone cuts my moment of reminiscing.
"Well, I lost balance, and the person standing next to me catches me."
"What happened next? Don't tell you thank the guy and then walk away without getting a name or something?"
For some numerous reasons, I know deep in my heart I love Donghyuck, but it's just that sometimes he gets too committed to finding me a 'date' for all of our school dances every season. Since it's winter, we will have a Snowflake Dance with his brother and his brother's best friend in charge of everything (student council thing).
I dramatically let out a groan (that saves me time composing an answer), and Donghyuck let out a happy chuckle.
"I will search for that person and make him your dance partner."
"Hyuck nooo! I—why can't you just be my dance partner like last year?"
"Because I want you to go with someone other than me. I mean, I love to be your dance partner slash cookie robbers, but . . . I got asked out by someone."
"Ohh, someone…" Now is the time I get to turn the tables. "Someone with the nameee.."
Donghyuck let out a squeal and giggle, which is enough for confirmation on who could be that someone he is referring to. We chatted a little more until he was called for dinner.
I leaned on the headboard of my bed as a thought suddenly occurred to me. Could that guy be a student in our school, but if he is, why did I have never seen him before. Well, I don't really look at the faces of the other people I walk past by the halls. I also rarely interact with anyone other than Donghyuck and his brother and his brother's friends.
But it's just—something has been bothering me to know who that person is. It couldn't be that something else fell other than the snow?
Nope. No, I, Huang Renjun, do not believe in such things, especially things about falling in love.
Or what if I should . . .?
It's Thursday, and my dear best friend has been doing a lot of effort investigating. He asked me if there's any distinct detail I could remember from that one particular day. The only distinct detail I remembered is the sweet peach scent I smelled, which is bizarre, but who am I to judge about preferences?
Since it is the day before the dance, by tradition, I will go to Donghyuck's house and help him help his brother bake the cupcakes and other sweets for the said event. Help in baking also known as secretly eating three or more cookies while Taeyong Hyung and Doyoung Hyung I busy washing the pans and utensils.
I close my umbrella (what, I use it to avoid more snow falling on me) and then stomp my boots to remove the snow on them. I press the doorbell and wait.
The door opens.
At that moment, I felt everything suddenly slowed down, because the one that opened the door was ...
“Oh, hi, are you Renjun?”
“I, I, I–um, yes, that is my name–that is me.”
"So he is that guy," Donghyuck whispers as he stirs the cinnamon sugar cupcake mixture.
While me, I am holding the bowl of the dry ingredients with my back on the counter. I don’t want to turn around and show my face. Obvious reasons. I hum a ‘yes’ in response.
My dear best friend chuckles genuinely. He taps my shoulder and gestures for me to pour the dry ingredients. “You know, I wasn’t really suspecting Jaehyun, but when you mentioned peach scent, then I had a lightbulb moment.”
“You invited him knowing that I will come,” I said in a surprised realization tone than a question.
He snaps his fingers, “correct.”
“To give you and me an answer to your mystery guy,” he says with a kind, innocent bread smile.
“You’re enjoying this, huh?”
“I’m your best friend for a reason,” he turns to me then tilts his head with a grin.
I cannot counter that because he is annoyingly right about that. “Got a point.”
After we finish putting the cupcakes in the oven, we began with the cookies. Then the Hyungs and Jaehyun came back with the packaging materials and decorative toppings. Donghyuck is also right about me short-circuiting because he (Jaehyun) is standing next to me, helping in the boxes for each cupcake.
I’m used to not speaking with anyone while working, but I never felt this awkward. Why am I awkward and tense wahh.
My eyes immediately froze, and my brain went into a frenzy. Did he say hey to call my attention, or did he say hey because I did something wrong with folding the boxes? Wait, did I do something wrong??
“Whoa, hey, did I startle you? I was calling you to ask if you would like a cup of hot chocolate?”
“Oh . . . Um, yeah, su–sure.”
He smiles and then lightly chuckles. “Have you finished the books?”
“Books? What books?”
“The books you were carrying at the library,” he explains, “on the first day of snow.”
Oh, he still remembers that day.
“Ah, yes. Actually, I didn’t really read them. I only skimmed through some chapters that I needed for an essay.”
“Hmm, but you do like books in general?”
I nod. “Yeah, I do.”
He hums again, and that’s where our first ever conversation ends. It felt nice. He seems like a light, sociable person.
Taeyong and Doyoung Hyung cooked hot chocolate after we finish baking and packaging everything. We settled by the dinner table, moving the boxes aside on other unoccupied chairs. Jaehyun is the one that places a snowman mug in front of me with mini marshmallows in a smiley face. I know it will be a lie if I said that the gesture didn’t make me blush.
We all fall into random conversation topics, mostly about school and the dance. Of course, the dance is brought up by non-other than Donghyuck. But when he brought that up Taeyong and Doyoung Hyung audibly take a sip of hot chocolate at the same time. Now, I see, I see. Because all of a sudden, the topic is about the dance partners.
"I will be going with Doie,” Taeyong Hyung says.
“You always go with him to every dance, Hyung, what’s new?” Donghyuck comments, holding up a teaspoon he used to stir his drink.
I cough a laugh on the sass. And then I almost choke on my drink when Doyoung Hyung turns the attention to the person sitting next to me.
“How ‘bout you, Jaehyun, do you have someone in mind?”
He puts down his mug, taps his fingers on the table as if composing his thoughts to form an answer. Then he lifts his eyes, and they fall onto me.
“Yeah, I have someone in mind.”
//Outside the Lee House//
“Would you like to stop by the new coffee shop in town, or do you have to go home now?” He asks me right as we exit the gates.
All of a sudden, all of the nervousness I was feeling a while ago flew out of the window.
I let out a scoffed chuckle. “Are you asking me on a coffee date right now?”
He smiles a shy smile that makes his dimples appear. He shrugs and turns to me. “It’s a good way to know each other if we will be partners for the dance.”
“I haven’t even said yes.”
“But will you say no?”
Now I turn to him.
I know we both have bashful grins as we both turn our heads on opposite sides, hiding the blush and keeping the giddy feeling down.
Perhaps I should believe in Taeyong Hyung's words more because I know now for sure that it's not just the snow that fell that day.