Sungmin's dream had always been to open his own special brand of cafe, filled with warmth and drinks of his very own. After years of dreaming, scribbled in his university notebooks, he finally managed to buy a small building and, alongside his very best friend opened the doors to his very own cafe, nestled in the heart of Seoul. With their delicious desserts and handsome looks, Wiki Cafe quickly gained popularity with a steady stream of regulars.
It's not until a month into the cafe's operation that a small girl walked into his life for the first time, shuffling up to the counter and ordering a cup of tea to go with a small smile and a light pink dusting her cheeks. It captured Sungmin's attention, the small being nothing but sweet smiles and light blushes soon becoming a staple in his life, known only by the name of 'Sineka' that he scribbled on the side of the cup.
“You know if you keep staring any longer your eyes are going to end up falling out of your head.”
Sungmin snorted, leaning on the counter as he watched the small figure walk past the window outside, disappearing out of sight. “Yeah you wish Hyuk. Then you'd be able to flirt with all the girls instead of being stuck back in the kitchen.”
“Hey I can do that plenty fine from here, thank you very much! Don't blame me that you're completely smitten but can't work up the courage to speak more than five words to her.”
“Yeah yeah I'll get there.” he sighed, taking Hyukjae's teasing with a small smile. He'll get the courage to talk to her soon, he swears it.
The weeks continued, days slipping together as a blur while Sungmin waited for Tuesday, the clock just shy of 2pm when his favourite customer walked through the front door with the same smile plastered on her face. As each week passed Sungmin couldn't help but fall even more for the mysterious Sineka, various phrases of conversation filling his heart with the girl. Sungmin couldn't help but live for their simple routine every week – much to Hyukjae's entertainment – but he didn't care when he'd get another shy smile when he passed the paper cup over.
Until one day everything changed, Sineka walking in with the jingle of the door bells welcoming her, walking up to where Sungmin stood at the counter, small smile already on her face. Sungmin began their usual routine, moving to ring up her purchase when a small voice rang out from behind him, rendering him speechless.
“...for here please.”
Stunned Sungmin stayed completely still for a moment, unsure of what to do before Hyukjae brushed past him, nudging him not-so-gently with a roll of his eyes. Giving his friend a soft glare Sungmin took a deep breath, turning to the smaller and giving her a short nod. Handing her receipt over he watched the smaller move through the half-filled tables, settling in the quiet corner in the back of the small building.
Brewing the tea Sungmin couldn't help but shake slightly, the sudden change in their routine stumping him. Hyukjae just sighed, watching his friend slowly work himself into a mild state of panic before he sliced a small piece of rich chocolate cake, placing it on a tray with the fresh cup of tea and shoving it into the others hands.
“Dude calm down, this is your chance!! Go and get to know the girl if you really like her that much, she's obviously here to see you!” With a shaky nod he moved slowly to the back of the room, balancing the tray in his shaking hands as he settled it on the table, Sineka looking up at him with a smile.
Heaving a breath Sungmin looked down, voice wavering slightly in nervousness. “I wanted to properly introduce myself, my name is Sungmin.”
“...I know.” is the quiet response he gets, relieved smile on her face as she gestured to the chair across from her. “Di-did you want to sit down? If you weren't that busy...”
“Yeah, I'd like that.” Sungmin smiled.
They settled into their new routine easily, boundaries crossed into the depths of comfortable friendship and more. It became a second nature, Sineka walking in with her usual smile and moving to the same table in the corner as Sungmin brought over the usual cup of tea and a slice of Hyukjae's cake of the week.
[“Prepared with looooooooooooove” Hyukjae would sing, to Sungmin's ultimate embarrassment as he left the kitchen]
It's one day many weeks later that everything changed once again. Late into the afternoon as the pair walk through the cafe – Sungmin returning to the counter and Sineka on her way out for another week – laughing together about something silly when Sungmin pulled the other into a tight hug, Sineka now pressed into his body, forehead resting on his shoulder.
Sineka fell silent, breath hitching and face a dark scarlet as she leaned back so they could stare at each other, Sungmin stuttering as he immediately let go of the other, eyes wide when Sineka backed up and quickly escaped the cafe, disappearing from sight.
Sungmin lowered his head, hands clenched and cursing silently while Hyukjae comforted him.
“Don't stress about it hyung, she'll be back.”
True to Hyukjae's words Sineka appeared a week later, head down as she shuffled to the counter. Turning to see the girl Sungmin faltered, immediately jumping forward in an attempt to apologise. He managed to get a few tangled words out before Sineka suddenly moved towards him, placing a gentle peck on his cheek before retreating embarrassed.
“I like you” she whispered, face dusted a light pink as Sungmin just stares at her, stunned.
“You... you actually like me?”
Sineka flushed a dark red, giving a shaky nod of confirmation, biting her lip as she turned, head still down, to try and leave as quickly as she'd come. Before she could even get close to the door Sungmin rounded the counter, grabbing her gently by the arm to stop her, turning her back around with a giant smile on his face.
“Nonononoooo you misunderstood thats not a bad thing! I just – I can't believe someone as perfect as you actually likes me back.”
“It's pretty easy” Sineka whispered, bright smile lighting up her face.
“Want to go out for something other than tea?”
Sineka chuckled, twinkle now so familiar filling her eyes. “I'd like that.”
Sungmin responded by pressing their lips together in a sweet kiss, smiles still plastered on both their faces.
That weekend they end up out for dinner, tucked once again into the back corner, this time in one of Sungmin's favourite diners, giggling over hamburgers and chocolate milkshakes. It's simple but it worked for them, more than happy to just be together.
And later when they're alone, Sungmin holding her tight and pressing gentle kisses on Sineka's face as she giggled lightly, giving soft kisses of her own in return, Sungmin realises how lucky he is to finally have perfection nestled in his arms.