Seokjin makes another shot of espresso for the customer. It's the time of the year again, finals week is coming, and here come all the students to get shots of caffeine to keep them awake so that they can cramp the whole semester in one or two nights. Seokjin finds a new way to spend his day at the coffee shop, looking at all those stressful faces sometimes could be really fun. That is one of his reasons to love his job, there is always a new atmosphere. On Valentine's Day, the customers will bring their loved ones, and sometimes they will share a drink. Seokjin then understands the saying love is in the air. During the summer, people will come to the coffee shop for the air con and cold drinks, and Seokjin will work harder to keep the ice are always in stock. Often times the atmosphere is divided; the customers are keeping their own atmosphere before their drinks on the table.
Like any other days, Namjoon is always seen sitting in front of a mountain of books and papers, his laptop, and a white glass at the same table at the corner of the coffee shop. His glasses fall to the brim of his nose, and his hair looks like he just gets out of bed, indicating his stress level. He needs to get everything done before this summer ends, or else he has to drop his ass out of the uni. He still has one and a half years, but his father insists him to graduate this year. All he gotta do is to finish his thesis and present it before the professors. He really hopes the thesis will work itself, but that’s not how his life work. Sometimes Namjoon is seen talking to the phone, voice a bit higher, and after the call ends he will just rest his head on the table.
It is in June, the summer has just begun, when Seokjin finally pays attention to this one special regular. Seokjin was standing in his workplace, talking with his co-worker when Namjoon casually interrupted their conversation. Seokjin bows down politely while saying his sorry and proceed Namjoon’s order. After he pays his order, Namjoon takes his usual place and starts to unload all his belongings from his backpack.
“Order for Namjoon!” Seokjin says rather loud to which Namjoon walks slowly to take his drink. Namjoon is wearing a white tee with light blue jeans and a beige baseball cap. Seokjin looks at him, weirdly. “Isn’t it dark?”
For the first time ever since Namjoon comes to this coffee shop, he puts his head up, “Sorry?”
“I said, isn’t it dark?” Seokjin repeats his question.
“What about it?” Namjoon looks puzzled with this one barista.
“You’re in a room now. The sunlight won’t come here. You don’t take off your sunglasses. So I asked, isn’t it dark?” Seokjin makes a movement with his hands throughout his talking.
Namjoon doesn’t answer to Seokjin’s question for a brief minute. Instead, he picks his quite big mug and says, “Ah, my sunglasses? I think it’s not your business, isn’t it?” while walking back to his seat.
Seokjin, shocks with how Namjoon answers him, freezes in his place, “Did you hear that?” he asks in disbelief, walks to his co-worker side at the cashier.
“Did you hear how he answers me?” Yoongi doesn’t answer, “Hey, I’m talking to you.”
Yoongi forces a smile to the customer and pulls Seokjin to the side, “I’m working here. I don’t want to hear you whine now.”
“You don’t have to pull me that hard!”
“Now let me finish my work and you can whine all you want, okay?” Yoongi leaves him with small pats on Seokjin’s head, though Seokjin already tries to avoid those pats.
Seokjin, on the other hand, is ready to square up and yells, “Hey, I’m older!”
It is way past dinner time after Seokjin finishes his break time.
“I can’t believe we have to work full-shift here. Don’t people like us supposed to work half?” Yoongi said his same old complaint. It’s like a broken radio for Seokjin, he always hears it every day. If he is lucky enough, he will only hear it once a day.
“How many time left until close time?” Seokjin asks.
Yoongi looks at his Rolex, given by his brother, a bribe for him to spend his summer holiday helping at the coffee shop. Originally, the coffee shop has three workers, but two of them are off for the summer holiday and leave Seokjin alone. Seokjin is actually new, he's just here for two months, and he doesn't have the guts to ask for day-offs. Yoongi’s brother just gave his workers the summer holiday Yoongi deserves and puts his own younger brother to suffer for three months. Due to the shop is short in hands, both of them need to work full-time. Seokjin doesn’t really care, he gets more money and can fill his days as he doesn’t have any plans for the holiday. “About 2 hours.”
“We don’t open for 24 hours, right?”
“You work here longer than I do. Why should I answer that?” After spending one month with Yoongi, he gets used to him now. Yoongi is not actually rude, he is just a soft baby boy.
“I think we need to do that again today.”
“What do you mean?”
Seokjin pulls Yoongi down the counter and whispers, “I’m talking about that Namjoon guy. I think he will do that again today. So, today is your turn.”
Yoongi carefully moves Seokjin’s hand from his shoulder and says in full politeness, “I’m sorry, but I’m not doing it.”
“You know I don’t take no”
“I know, and I’m terribly sorry, but I will not do that,” Yoongi calmly answers, still in full politeness and honorifics.
Seokjin looks at Yoongi disgusted and coldly says, “I hate it when you use honorifics on me on purpose.”
“You want me to act cutesy here, right now?” Yoongi moves to in front of Seokjin, getting ready for his cute act.
“What the fuck, Min Yoongi.”
Seokjin shoves Yoongi away and stands up to greet a customer. Yoongi follows, clings his arm around Seokjin and sweetly whispers, “It’s your turn again today, okay?” He gives a wink before leaving Seokjin in horror and the confused customer.
The clock is 11.15 p.m. The coffee shop has closed 15 minutes ago. Yoongi and Seokjin have already done the dishes, clean the tables, the counter, and even the floors, throw the garbage, and everything else. They still have one more thing to do, though.
“How many did he drink today?” Seokjin asks. Yoongi shows his three fingers on his right hand, “he usually drinks more than that.”
“I know right, it’s unusual,” Yoongi says still looking at Namjoon. Seokjin doesn’t give a damn about anything else, confidently walks towards Namjoon’s seat. Yoongi, on the other hand, stays behind the counter while shout whispering, “Hey, you sure about this?!!” Seokjin just gives Yoongi his thumb as the answer.
Seokjin now stands beside sleeping Namjoon. For the first time in two months of working there, Seokjin can clearly see the things on Namjoon’s table. The rounded wooden table is covered with books, papers, and his laptop. Namjoon saves a little space for him to put his mug until it leaves a spot. The books and papers are about stuff that Seokjin doesn't understand. Seokjin nudges Namjoon softly to no response. Seokjin nudges him two to three times and still got no response.
"Hey, Namjoon," Seokjin now taps his back. Namjoon doesn't even budge.
It’s just been two minutes but Yoongi can't take it that he decides to shout, "Namjoon!" of course, still no response.
Seokjin is not genius, but he is smart enough to yell, "I'm sorry I delete your work!!!"
Namjoon jumps from his chair, eyes wide open, fists are on Seokjin's collar, "You did what?!"
"I'm sorry we're closing. Please pack your things and leave," Seokjin says calmly, hands on Namjoon's fist to move them like he's not about to get punched by the taller man. Seokjin walks back to the counter, to Yoongi who smiles widely with his two thumbs up in the air, only to feel a strong hand on his shoulder. Seokjin, still as calm as water, turns around to face the man.
"You did what?" Namjoon asks once again.
"Man, I'm sorry but we are close now. Some people have a home, so please leave."
"You. did. what." Namjoon seems ready to square up.
"I'm asking you to leave. Now. Or I call the police," Seokjin continues walking to the counter, "Let’s go, Yoongi, let's leave and lock this man inside I don't care. Don't forget to turn off everything."
"You deleted my work!" Namjoon half-yelling makes Seokjin stops packing his things.
"Dude, if I were you I would check my laptop first before accusing someone," Yoongi finally speaks. Namjoon freezes at his place, puzzled for the second time today. Yoongi and Seokjin walk to the door, while Namjoon runs back to his seat. He frantically looks at his laptop to see that his work is still there, untouched except for some additional letters he accidentally pressed while he fell asleep.
"So, are you leaving or not?" Seokjin impatiently waiting at the door.
When Namjoon finally finishes, he walks out of the shop with a smile on his face. He puts his arm around the two boys, and said, "Thanks!" He then pats Seokjin's head before he runs leaving them behind.
"Hey, I'm older!!!!" Seokjin yells to a running Namjoon who waves his hand to them, "Can't younger people stop patting my head!!!"
"You look like a kid," Yoongi says to Seokjin who is sitting at the bus shelter, only to make Seokjin gets angrier, "Isn't it a compliment?"
"Shut the fuck up, Yoongi," Seokjin responds and getting on the bus.
Seokjin is not surprised anymore to see Namjoon walking into the shop. He seems to forget about yesterday, he just casually walks to the counter, order his usual, then goes to his seat. Namjoon has always been there, sitting at the same exact place with piles of books and papers and a laptop, even before Seokjin works there. This kid must have a lot of money to spend at a coffee shop every day, Seokjin thought.
“What are you doing?” Yoongi says, a little bit suspicious. Seokjin turns his head to Yoongi as fast as he could, he looks like he is caught doing something nasty. “You’re not watching him, aren’t you?”
“Min Yoongi, please, I’ve told you so many times to think before you speak.”
“Well, you gotta stop watching him and help me instead. It’s almost lunchtime,” Yoongi drags Seokjin back to the workplace.
“I am not watching him.” Yoongi doesn’t care what Seokjin says, though. He just wants to end the suffering of lunchtime quickly. Lunchtime is always the busiest time in the day; the shop will be full of people, and there will be quite a long line to serve. A normal one-hour lunchtime feels like five hours for those two new baristas.
Namjoon is always in the line right after lunchtime is over. He never buys food there, he always brings his own. It’s violating the rules, but he buys drinks, and both Seokjin and Yoongi are too lazy to take care of it. Besides, Namjoon is one of their regulars who never miss a day to come to their coffee shop, they have to treat him well, right?
“It’s ₩5,000,” Yoongi says.
“I haven’t said my order yet.”
“Order for Namjoon!” Seokjin says at the end of the counter.
Again, Namjoon looks puzzled with those two. “One hot chocolate, right? It’s ₩5,000,” Yoongi repeats his words.
Namjoon gives his money to Yoongi and walks to take his order. Seokjin, trying his best to be a good barista and not to kill Namjoon, smiles widely. Namjoon just takes his order then back to his seat, leaving the wide-smiling Seokjin at the counter.
“That jerk is really rude,” Seokjin whispers to Yoongi. They are now sitting on the floor behind the counter.
“What did he do this time?”
“He didn’t say ‘thank you’!”
Yoongi sighs at his friend, “Thought he never say that? Anyway, I think he was just confused.”
“Because we know his order before he even said it?” Seokjin’s voice becomes a little bit higher.
“As ridiculous as it sounds, I guess yes. Can you please lower--”
“Who ordered the exact same menu for more than once every day?!” Yoongi jumps to Seokjin, trying to cover his mouth. He fails, of course, and Seokjin doesn’t even care to lower his voice just a little bit, “See, no one else!"
"Don't you think you need to work? You got customer here," Seokjin and Yoongi look up to the voice. Namjoon is there, towering them from the other side of the counter, pointing at himself as the customer. Seokjin walks to the employee room instead, leaving Yoongi to deal with Namjoon.
After having four cups of hot chocolate and cake, Namjoon goes home five minutes before closing time. He never goes home before closing time since one month ago, and his action today makes the two baristas worry.
“Is this real? Is that guy okay?” Seokjin asks for the second time.
“No ‘good-bye’ or ‘thank you', he’s 100% okay.”
“He even bought a cake.”
“There’s always a first time for everything.”
That night, Seokjin and Yoongi close the shop in time. They don’t have to use the midnight bus to come home. On the other hand, in his small apartment, Namjoon is still on the phone with someone. Voice is tired yet high, and when the call is ended, he throws himself onto the bed, driving himself to sleep.
Weeks are passing and Namjoon is still there, occupying the same old spot for the last three months. Seokjin never tries to make a conversation again, he doesn’t like it when someone is being rude when he tries to be nice. Namjoon is still the same guy, never pays attention to his surroundings, except the area near his spot, specifically his laptop. Sometimes, Seokjin still has to wake him up at the closing time. He always comes up with new methods to wake him up, but he is smart enough not to drag the laptop in his method. He doesn’t want Namjoon’s fists landed on his face and leave bruises there. The regular is taller than Seokjin and, obviously, his figure is way bigger than him. Seokjin doesn’t want to imagine the scary image in his head.
Ever since that day, Namjoon doesn’t need to say his order. Yoongi will just smile at him, hands in the air waiting for the ₩5,000 from Namjoon. Seokjin then will be ready at the other end of the counter with his cup of hot chocolate. Namjoon is back to his routine, in which he can order more than four cups of hot chocolate. Everything is in its place, Yoongi and Seokjin continue to make money, and Namjoon continues to type whatever he types on his laptop.
Seokjin still doing his new hobby in his free time. Watching people from the counter can really be entertaining. Sometimes Seokjin looks so drawn into it that Yoongi will make him scream just because he loves to scare the older. One day, Seokjin screams so loud that Namjoon comes to the counter looking like he’s about to beat one of the baristas.
“Can you please, just please, be quiet for once?” Namjoon says while taking off his glasses. Seokjin freezes in his place, while Yoongi tries to sneak away before Seokjin snaps out of it. Seokjin is fast, though. He holds Yoongi back to his place and puts all the blame on him.
“I didn’t do anything. He did.” Yoongi just stays in silence.
“You’re the one who screams.”
“He made me,” Seokjin points at the man beside him, “Yoongi, say something for god sake!” Namjoon stays in his place, looking at both of them, clearly waiting for more explanation.
“You know what, I don’t care who makes who screams. I just want to have a quiet day to do my work, it’s not that difficult,” Namjoon then leaves them back to his seat. He wears his glasses again ㅡand back to his work.
Seokjin glares at a grinning Yoongi, “I hate both of you.”
That one summer day, Seokjin’s head is hotter than the temperature outside, and Yoongi tries his best to cool it down.
When Seokjin finds Namjoon at the back of the shop, he is talking on the phone with someone. Namjoon’s back is to the door that he doesn’t see Seokjin walking out. Namjoon doesn’t wear his glasses, and his voice is so soft. Seokjin never hears his voice as soft as if he’s talking with someone fragile, he’s used to the low voice with a rude attitude. Seokjin puts the garbage carefully, trying not to make any sound. Of course, he almost fails to do so as he steps on a stray cat’s tail, which sleeping peacefully near the dumpster. Thanks to the cat that doesn’t make any sound, so that Seokjin can continue his ‘observation.’
“Dad called me last night, he wanted me to finish by the end of this month. I quit my part-time job so I can focus on my thesis, what else does he want? Don’t you know it’s not easy at all?!” Namjoon seems so stress, Seokjin feels sorry for him. He never knows that all this time Namjoon is trying to finish his thesis. He's been there, in that situation, so he knows how stressful and tiring a thesis could be. Seokjin suddenly feels the urge to help him in any way he can. Namjoon is massaging his temple and says, “I know, mom. I’m trying. Hope you have a good night. Okay. Love you,” Namjoon hangs up and turns around to find Seokjin looking at him.
“Hi,” Seokjin tries to break the awkwardness.
“How long have you been there?”
“I just came out! Just need some fresh air, you know,” There’s a little silence which Seokjin decides tries to break it again, “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was looking for one, too,” They find themselves in another awkward situation. Seokjin keeps looking at Namjoon, while the other man keeps looking down at the ground.
“I gotta get back to work,” Seokjin says.
“Yeah, yeah, you should.”
Seokjin turns around and opens the door. Namjoon is still there, the lights from the shop is shining on him making him beautiful. Seokjin stops at the view, it's his first time seeing Namjoon without glasses. Well, he has seen it once, when Namjoon scolds him for being noisy earlier today. But this time it feels different. At the back of the shop near the dumpster, under the summer night sky and a glimpse of lights from the shop, Seokjin sees how different Namjoon is. He can see behind his tall and big figure, Namjoon is in need of support.
“Namjoon?” Namjoon looks at Seokjin, which makes Seokjin able to look through the other's eyes. They're beautiful without the lenses, “I don't know what you're going through, but I know you can get through it all,” with that Seokjin gives him his best smile and walks inside.
When the door behind him closed, Seokjin hates himself for his poor attempt at motivating. At the back of the shop, Namjoon still standing on his place. In that one summer night in an alley behind a coffee shop, for the first time, he smiles.
“Why hot chocolate?” Seokjin suddenly asks. After weeks without a discussion about Namjoon, which means two weeks after Seokjin found Namjoon at the back of the shop, Seokjin strikes again.
“Why he always order hot chocolate?” He repeats.
Yoongi doesn’t even need time to think to say his answer, “Why don’t you ask him?”
The answer makes him think. He never talks to Namjoon properly. Maybe that night behind the shop can be counted, but they never have another chance after that day. Every time Namjoon is in the line, Seokjin always makes Yoongi serve him, from taking his order, making his hot chocolate, and even to yelling his name for him to take the order. Seokjin always has a different excuse not to serve Namjoon. It feels like Seokjin is avoiding the regular, and Yoongi can feel it.
Yoongi drags his co-worker to sit on the floor behind the counter and starts his investigation, “Do you have a problem with him?” He is a little bit concerned. He doesn’t have to mention the name, Yoongi is sure his friend knows who they’re talking about.
“No, of course, no,” Seokjin answers with a slight of panic. Yoongi waits for an answer. He doesn’t want to push Seokjin, though. He knows it is not his place to know everything about everyone.
“What makes you think I have a problem with him?”
“You’re avoiding him.”
Seokjin grins at hearing that, “Is it that obvious?”
“Other customers can see it very well.”
Seokjin ends up telling Yoongi everything that happens at the back of the shop. Yoongi literally laughs when Seokjin says the very reason he’s avoiding Namjoon is just that he feels embarrassed for trying to motivate him, “You are such a loser.”
“Shut up. I just want to help.”
“By avoiding him?” Seokjin knows Yoongi’s words can be quite sharp, but he doesn’t think his words can go right through his senses. Before Yoongi stands up to serve a customer, he says, “If you want to help him then help. Avoiding him is not helping at all. Do something.”
It takes Seokjin three days to try to stop avoiding Namjoon. It's 2 p.m. but Namjoon hasn't ordered another cup of hot chocolate. Seokjin has prepared himself to face Namjoon, but he stays in his seat, eyes locked on his laptop. Seokjin finds another way to enjoy his hobby of watching people; it's him. It's Namjoon. Seokjin finds himself watching the regular in his free time and, surprisingly, finds it interesting. Don't ask him what makes it interesting; he doesn't even know which one is interesting, the activity of watching Namjoon or just Namjoon himself. Watching someone doing nothing but typing on his laptop, reading, and stressing apparently can be interesting for some people, especially if it's a tall, cute, good-looking guy.
Namjoon adjusting his eyes to the sunlight coming through the window. He really needs to fall asleep or else his thesis won't finish. After some little stretching, Namjoon grabs his cup only to drink an iced americano instead. There's only one cup on his table, so he can't drink somebody else's. Right when he's ready to walk to the counter, he realizes there's a post-it on the cup,
" Your cup is empty, so I gave you an Americano instead.
It's iced, great for the summer! And for you who need more caffeine.
"What the fuck?" Namjoon looks at the post-it, cringing at how cheesy it sounds. However, he puts the post-it inside his notebook, then proceeds to drink the coffee again. He smiles. That day Namjoon finally tastes iced americano for the first time in his life.
Namjoon keeps getting an iced americano whenever he wakes up from his power-nap every day. There is no single day has missed. The cup always comes with a different post-it, different colours and different message, and he never forgets to keep it in his notebook. His notebook now has more colours than before—he only uses black and blue ink for his notebook, which is kinda dull for such boring materials about engineering. The messages are not varied, they are mostly about motivational things. There are some days where there is only the word “ Fighting! ” written or even just the initials of the sender, but Namjoon doesn’t complain; he cherishes every post-it like they are materials for his thesis. No more hot chocolate, he only drinks iced americano, even when he orders at the counter.
Seokjin watches Namjoon silently from the counter. He likes this view better—the view of Namjoon smiling widely while doing his thesis and bops his head to the music he listens to through the earphone. He looks more lively. Is it because his thesis almost finished, or is it because of the iced americano he gives him? It can’t be from the iced americano, can be? It’s just an ordinary iced americano, Seokjin doesn’t put anything special in it. Whatever the answer is, Seokjin feels happy to see a smile on Namjoon’s beautiful face.
After two weeks of iced americano, Seokjin and Yoongi are surprised to see Namjoon walks into the coffee shop with a frown on his face.
“One iced americano?” Yoongi asks their loyal customer excitedly. Namjoon keeps looking at the ground and pulls his baseball cap lower.
“One hot chocolate, please,” Yoongi gives a quick glance towards Seokjin.
“That would be ₩5,000,” Namjoon gives the money to Yoongi and says nothing. At the end of the counter, Seokjin waits for him with one cup of hot chocolate. When Namjoon takes his order, Seokjin tries so hard to see beneath the cap; Namjoon’s eyes are red and the bags under his eyes are now back getting bigger. Namjoon walks to his seat and back to his routine; nothing changes, there is just no smile on his face.
When Namjoon opens his eyes, he doesn’t find an iced americano. He finds a cup of hot tea instead and, of course, a post-it. Namjoon reads the post-it then a little smile spread across his face. Namjoon drinks his tea, enjoying it with his eyes closed and inhaling a deep breath, a small smile still on his face. All of that happened really fast, but Seokjin is so lucky to catch it all.
Sometimes when they don't have that many customers, Seokjin will sit at the outdoor table enjoying the breeze while watching people. Tonight, Namjoon finds Seokjin sitting there alone, his feet are relaxing on the other chair, with a cup of hot chocolate on the table. It is clear that Seokjin doesn't realize Namjoon who has been standing near him for the last minute, so Namjoon decides to do something that will shock both of them.
"Mind if I sit here?" Namjoon says, casually, after he's sitting down across Seokjin. The other one is surprised, taking his feet down the chair and sit properly.
"N-no, n-no! Of course not," Why would he stutter?
Namjoon and Seokjin just sitting there across each other with a cup of hot chocolate between them. No one says anything, they are just staring at the cup it looks like a staring game.
"You like hot chocolate?"
"M-me? You asked me?" Namjoon chuckles at Seokjin's reaction who is still fixing his stare at the cup, "Y-yeah, yeah, of course, you asked me," Seokjin takes a deep breath then tries to look at his company, "Actually, no, I don't like hot chocolate."
"So why do you have it?"
Seokjin gives a smile, "Someone I know loves it very much."
The silence finds its way to their talk. Namjoon is looking at the sky, and Seokjin uses that chance to take a closer look at him.
"Is everything okay?" Seokjin braves himself to ask the question that has been haunting him today. Namjoon doesn't answer him, "It's okay if you don't want to tell me. I mean, I don't have the right to know, either. I'm just… worried, you know."
It takes Namjoon another minute to prepare what he is going to say to the man sitting across him. Does he really want, or maybe ready to tell a stranger about his problem who might think it looks like a trifle? "They don't approve my thesis."
"Why don't they?"
"They said that I'm still lacking in some parts. I don't understand. I've been writing everything I know and everything I can into that thesis, yet they still think it's lacking. My grades are always great, I passed the general exam easily, even they told me my lab report is perfect. I did everything they told me to do, so why is it lacking?" The words just come out there from Namjoon. It makes Seokjin doesn't know what to say, he never thinks this will happen, "Sorry, I've been talking nonsense. I'll go back inside, sorry for disturbing your break time," Namjoon says while standing up from his seat.
"No, oh God, no, please stay."
Namjoon looks at Seokjin then down to his own wrist, “Uhh, okay.. but can you please stop pulling my hand? I'll sit down if that's what you want,”
Seokjin draws his hand back and feels the embarrassment crawling into himself, “Yeah, sure, sorry.”
Namjoon lets out a little laugh seeing the barista, “Are you cold?”
“It’s July and it’s summer.”
“But are you cold?”
“Of course I’m not. Why would you ask?”
“Well, your face turns red,” Seokjin sips his hot chocolate nervously. He just wants to disappear from this world, away from Namjoon. Remember when Seokjin hates Namjoon? He hates him even more now, he’s too rude Seokjin wants to kill him.
Seokjin tries to play it cool, though. He says, “I actually don’t know what to say, but I think you need to cheer up. So, cheer up, okay? If you don’t understand why it’s lacking, ask them. You’re smart, I know you can do it.”
Seokjin drinks his hot chocolate and stands up. Before he enters the coffee shop, he turns back to Namjoon and casually gives the stressed student good luck. Seokjin walks straight to the kitchen to wash the dishes, then comes back to his co-worker at the counter who is looking at him with his mouth wide open.
“What the fuck was that?”
Yoongi points to Namjoon who is still sitting outside playing with his handphone, “I thought you despise him.”
“You were?!” Seokjin’s answer makes Yoongi more shocked.
“Well, he’s rude I really want to kill him. But, he kinda cute, so….”
“You think he’s cute?!!!!!!”
Seokjin puts a marshmallow into his mouth, “Kinda.”
Yoongi shakes his head in disbelief, “Can we close the shop now? I want to go home. There’s no customer either.”
“It’s still 10 and we do have a customer.”
“You want to close now?” Namjoon suddenly asks the two baristas. Yoongi slowly nods while Seokjin is looking at Namjoon in wide eyes; how much did he hear? “I’ll pack my things then,” says Namjoon as he gets back to his place.
“Calm down, he didn’t hear anything,” Yoongi whispers to Seokjin.
“I want to kill both of you.”
In his room, Namjoon lays on his bed thinking about his day. He’s still smiling, and it keeps getting wider when he stares at his phone wallpaper. He changes it earlier today, with the most aesthetic photo he has ever taken. God knows how much he efforts to take that one photo. It’s a photo of a post-it; a yellow one, with a quite long message on it.
“Hey, I hope things are going ok.
Here’s caffeine to calm you down!
P.s: You look better with a smile,
please don’t turn it upside down so I can see your dimples
It’s funny how he keeps getting messages from someone he doesn’t know. He has some feelings who it might be, though, but it’s too impossible to be true. So Namjoon falls asleep after staring at his phone too long, smiling, and finally sleeping without any heavy thoughts about his thesis.
The next day Namjoon doesn’t come to the coffee shop in his usual time, which actually exactly five minutes after the open hour. Seokjin waits for him, maybe he will come at lunchtime, he thinks. But he’s still not at the shop at lunchtime and even after it. Does Namjoon decide to stop coming? Is it about last night?
“Am I that bad at giving advice or support?” Seokjin decides to ask to Yoongi.
“I mean silently giving cups of free iced americano is pretty creative.”
“I know right?!”
Yoongi comes closer and pats Seokjin’s back, “Relax, Seokjin. Maybe he’s busy.”
“I am relaxed.”
The day after it Namjoon is still not there. And also the day after, and for a few days after, Namjoon doesn’t come to the coffee shop. It feels weird for Seokjin to look that Namjoon is not the one who is sitting at his usual seat.
One day, the bell on the coffee shop door is ringing. Namjoon walks in, feels at home once he breathes the comfortable smell from coffee beans. Seeing the empty counter, Namjoon joyfully peeks to see under the counter, where the two baristas he knows pretty well usually sit on the floor whispering or just playing with their phone. Namjoon sees nobody there. When Namjoon finally rings the desk bell, someone walks out from the employee room. It is not the annoying barista or his small friend who he is looking for.
“Hi, ready to order?” the barista asked him very nicely. Namjoon knows this guy. He had seen him a couple of times even before he saw the annoying barista.
“One iced americano and a hot chocolate, please.”
Namjoon then takes his order to his usual spot and reads his book. Hours go by, and his cup of iced americano is emptied, but the hot chocolate is still there, across him, untouched. Namjoon decides to continue his reading. But even after two hours, his companion is still not there. So Namjoon takes the hot chocolate and drinks it, though it’s not even warm anymore. It feels really nice to drink chocolate again after he swifts to iced americano. The taste of chocolate reminds him of the days where he used to sit at this shop doing his thesis and how much he loved hot chocolate. It also reminds him of that one barista who is kinda weird and always looks like he’s confused. It reminds him how much he missed them.
Namjoon comes again the day after and orders the exact same thing. He waits a little bit longer today, but his companion doesn’t come either. Namjoon keeps doing the same for the following days; sitting on his usual spot with one iced americano and a hot chocolate only to drink both beverages at the end of the day. His smile starts to fade.
However, on the ninth day of his visit, right after he opens the door, his smile is back. Namjoon sees the familiar figure standing at the counter. Cannot hide his excitement, Namjoon practically jumps instead of walking like a little child at an amusement park.
“Morning, what can I help you?”
“Is your friend here?” Yoongi looks at Namjoon right at his eyes, trying to find where the joke is. He is way taller, but Yoongi doesn’t care.
"You know, the one that is always with you. The tall one, he kinda looks like a hamster with his chubby cheeks and his small mouth."
“What do you want?”
Namjoon, still unconscious with how Yoongi shows his dislike, says excitedly, “I have to tell him something!”
"You can tell me, I'll gladly give your message to him," Yoongi forces a smile.
"Actually I really want to tell him in person. Is he not coming?" Yoongi hesitates to answer. He can't find his jokes; Namjoon is deadly serious. Yoongi leaves Namjoon, who is staring at him confusedly, to walk into the employee room. A few minutes later, Yoongi walks out from the employee room, this time he is not alone. Namjoon’s smile becomes wider.
It is lunchtime. The customers are lining, but Yoongi can still handle it on his own. He can’t believe he really gives Seokjin a chance to leave his shift in this hour. Seokjin is not
going anywhere, he’s still at the shop—only he's not at the counter making orders. Seokjin is now at the other corner of the shop, sitting with Namjoon at his usual spot. A cup of hot chocolate is set in front of him, while Namjoon has an iced americano.
"Doesn't your face feel tired?" They have sat there for ten minutes, yet Namjoon hasn't talked and stopped smiling. "If you're not going to say anything, I gotta get back to work."
Before Seokjin even stands up, Namjoon holds the other's wrists with eyes lock to Seokjin, “I’m graduating!”
Namjoon’s smile becomes wider his eyes are closed. Seokjin can’t help but smiles with him and slowly pulling his hands that Namjoon is holding back, “Congrats.”
“I want you to come!”
“Why should I?”
“It’s all thanks to you, though. I won’t be graduating this year if it’s not because of you. So I want you to come!”
“What did I do?"
"Everything. You did everything."
"Wow, I’m honoured, I guess.”
“So, will you come? It's this Saturday.” How can Seokjin refuse this cute guy’s offer? He definitely wants to come, but it will be embarrassing if he shows much excitement.
“You really don’t give me some time to think, do you? It’s literally five days from now.”
“Well, you are the one who didn’t come to work for a whole week,” Seokjin blushes hearing Namjoon but covers it with a laugh and trying to say sorry in between his laugh, he didn’t come to the shop every day waiting for me, right?
"You didn't come to the shop, either! I thought you were mad at me for my poor attempt at motivating someone." Namjoon laughs very hard at Seokjin. He assures the older that despite they have some quarrels happened between them previously, he will never mad at him for something so ridiculous.
That day Seokjin spends lunchtime talking with Namjoon, leaving Yoongi who almost lost his shits handling too many customers.
“Why do you keep giving me hot chocolate?” The graduation day is tomorrow, and Namjoon finds himself sitting at his usual spot at the coffee shop where Seokjin works instead of looking for the best tuxedo for him to wear tomorrow.
“It reminds me of you.”
Namjoon’s casual tone makes Seokjin chokes on his hot chocolate, “It’s a shame that you don’t even know my name, but a cup of hot chocolate can make you remember me.”
“You know my name, though.”
“It’s my job to know your name so I can give you your order.”
Namjoon takes a tissue paper then wipes the spilt hot chocolate from the corner of Seokjin’s mouth. Seokjin cannot even count how many times he has blushed in front of this guy.
“As a lover of hot chocolate, yours is the best. Hot chocolate can always ease my mind, but there’s something different in your hot chocolate. It reminds me of my mom’s. That’s why I keep coming to this coffee shop every day, to drink the best hot chocolate in town. I forgive their annoying barista for their hot chocolate.”
Seokjin throws the used tissue paper to Namjoon, “I thought you came here to do your thesis?”
“That too. I killed two birds with one stone. I get to finish my thesis and drink hot chocolate. Aren’t I smart?” Namjoon sips his iced americano before he continues, “But one day, the guy who always makes my hot chocolate stopped making them. He was still there at the counter taking orders, but not my hot chocolate. Not that I don’t like it when that small guy made my hot chocolate, the taste is just a little bit different. Until one day I found a cup of iced americano on my table when I opened my eyes after taking a nap. I stop ordering hot chocolate since then, I need to explore more about this caffeine.”
Namjoon stops his story and reaches his bag looking for something. On the other hand, Seokjin’s mind probably stops working hearing Namjoon’s story. Namjoon then shows Seokjin his notebook, “Open it.”
The book is full of Namjoon’s handwriting in black and blue ink. Seokjin finally knows that Namjoon is a third-year civil engineering student. The notebook is not only filled with engineering stuff but also some doodles and blurbs. There is one blurb where Namjoon complained about his father who wants him to graduate faster since Namjoon is apparently a very bright student. Seokjin keeps moving from pages to pages until he finds a page consists of two post-it. The rest of the pages are filled with other post-its. His post-it.
“Thank you. You have no idea how those post-its keep me from procrastinating. And the talk we had back at the shop and the one we had at the outdoor seats? They encouraged me more than anything. Thank you, J.”
Namjoon takes the hot chocolate from Seokjin and sips it, “Hot chocolate is still my favourite drink up until today. I love hot chocolate, especially the one from this coffee shop. Falling in love with the one making it is another story, I guess.”
Seokjin cannot hide his smile any longer. He closes the notebook and puts his hand in the air, still smiling, “It’s Seokjin. Kim Seokjin.”
Namjoon takes the hand and gives his best smile, linking their fingers in the air.