- It isn’t the most likely of places to start a relationship.
From your very lacking experience in what is known as the one of the most common yet misunderstood emotions in the world, cafés are the place to be when you want to meet your soul mate.
At least, that’s what all the movies and every piece of fanfiction you’ve ever read have told you.
You’re not quite sure why people always fall in love at coffee shops, or why they should be because you only know one person (which is more than most people know) who met her current beau over a cup of joe. Sure, they’re a nice environment with the behind the scenes music, quiet and thoughtful buzz of activity, a tad bit enchanting depending on where you go and what they specialize in, especially if they happen to have open mic nights where all these incredible underground musicians come in to lay their heart on the floor in the typical show of a scene from a good heart squeezing romance movie.
And they smell really good.
Who doesn’t want to fall in love to the scent of ground coffee and freshly baked cookies?
The point being is that cafés are the way to go for a boyfriend.
Being a college student and growing up with a mom that doesn’t know the difference between fabric softener and bleach entails that you have to be in charge of your own dirty clothes else you fear complete destruction of your favorite sweatshirt, either chemically induced or floor manager induced.
(The girl in charge of watching over your floor back at the dorms has a sharp nose, and if she even smells one bit of stink coming out of a room she hunts down the perpetrator with a trash bag and begins to toss whatever she deems revolting into the plastic and leaves it at the end of the hall for the poor unfortunate souls to dig through until their belongings are found once again.)
Fortunately you never had to deal with that because you were one of the few who actually knew how to do laundry.
Such a strange word.
But the dorm you entered last year doesn’t have a laundry room, and therefore you get to travel to the Laundromat down the block, just barely off campus, once a week to take care of business.
And sometimes other peoples’ because for some reason your roommate thinks you don’t notice when she slips some of her shirts in with yours to be cleaned.
There’s no way you wear that much yellow.
Unlike most people, however, you don’t like to do your laundry during the day where people can judge you for your rabbit pajamas and very non-sensual undergarments. After one guy tried to hit on you, saw your undies and called you five, you’ve taken to visiting the 24-hour cleaning establishment only at the most deserted times. Which tends to be around 6:30 in the morning. Any time earlier than that you end up with strange party/clubbers showing up at random to watch to the clothes spin (you’re pretty sure they’re high but you’re not educated enough in that subject to really know), and any later than that the people with all afternoon classes begin to trickle in because they can’t do their laundry any other time.
So here you are at 6:28AM, flipping through a book you picked up at random in the library the other day while your whites go through the rinse cycle, contemplating the meaning of coffee shop romances and why you’re incapable of finding someone who actually wants to be with you.
It’s not that you’re desperate to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, or even the next two months, give or take, most likely take because you’re just that kind of person. You don’t think you even want a boyfriend at this point in time. You’re about to start your final year of university and therefore have to start planning your thesis and a multitude of other projects that you don’t want to think of just quite yet because you want to enjoy your last bit of sanity. You don’t have time for a boyfriend.
You’re kind of lonely.
Now, wanting a boyfriend just because you’re lonely isn’t the right reason to get one. You don’t think you should go out with someone unless you really, really, really like them and you both get along and like the same foods and have the same fears and can discuss the pros and cons of turning books into films.
However, you’re not exactly like most girls out there who enjoy makeup and diet soda and rarely read. In fact, diet soda tastes like soap to you and you have no idea why it exists when you could have a perfectly good original soda that may have more sugar but definitely has less health risks.
The buzzer signaling your load is done sounds and you linger to finish reading the page your own before standing up to move the damp clothing to a dryer, scowling a bit as the dripping clothing unpleasantly squishes between your fingers.
When the timer for that is set you move back to a washer and begin to toss in the rest of your basket, not paying too much attention to what goes in because anything that could be dyed another color has already been taken care of. You’re just closing the door and flipping the switch when the front door jingles, and you turn around quizzically because no one ever comes in here while you’re around. You figured out the perfect time to arrive with no one else around, and for the past eight months it’s worked perfectly for you.
But now you’re no longer alone with your surprisingly decent book and the fresh scent of your spring time detergent. Instead there’s now a boy standing in the doorway, eyes widened comically as he meets your gaze like he’s just as shocked to see you here as you are to see him, and he doesn’t break eye contact until the bag in his hands slips from his fingers and lands on the tile with a thud.
He blushes furiously, all the way to his ears, and then stoops down to pick up the sack and shuffle to the other side of the room where a line of patiently waiting machines are arranged.
You can’t help but watch him as he moves. He’s average height, slim build, typical slanted eyes that come with your ethnicity; although his seem even more squinted than most. His hair is cut short and dyed a pleasant shade of brown. It’s warm, like chocolate, and fluffy enough that you can’t help but think of your pet rabbit back at your parent’s house.
All in all he isn’t incredibly good loocking, and obviously he’s a bit of klutz because he tripped over his feet twice and almost shut his fingers in the washer door. But for some reason you find him to be endearing. Endearing enough that you don’t look away once, not even when he peers over his shoulder in what he thinks is in an inconspicuous move and finds you staring him down.
He flinches, goes back to work, and you sigh and grab your book because you’ve scared him off.
But it’s not every day that a boy stops you in your tracks, whether you’re moving or not, and makes you ignore social mannerisms because it doesn’t matter if he had a pig nose and couldn’t walk a straight line.
You like him.
Apparently your groan is more audible than you were intending it to be, because when you lift your head after face palming a pair of twinkling, concerned eyes is waiting for you.
“Are you… okay?”
Oh god, your heart just oozed.
“Yeah,” you brush off casually with a slight smile that’s hopefully not too creepy. “Sorry, it’s just… I’m just…”
“Don’t worry,” the boy with the angel voice laughs and you swear there’s some inner light shining through his smile and pores and every ounce of his being. “I’m like that a lot too.”
He’s trying to make you more comfortable. How sickeningly sweet and loveable.
Too bad you’re terrible at keeping conversations going.
The boy seems to realize this as well because he finishes tossing his whites into the washer (something you don’t ignore because you do your whites first, too) and then he sets the timer and trips across the room to your side.
“Uh, Jinki,” he grins somewhat bashfully with a hand outstretched, and you find it adorable that his hand is so small and childlike. His fingers are soft and warm when you grip them, and you nod a bit and gulp because your stomach is trying to break out through your esophagus.
“______,” you supply back and his grin widens, eyes travelling to the open pages on your lap where your book has miraculously remained poised throughout this.
His grin fades for a moment as he reads a few words on the page, hand still gripping yours, and he’s still holding onto you when his eyes flash and his smile returns.
“I read that book last month,” he elaborates and you’re wondering why you’re hand hasn’t started sweating and why you haven’t died yet. “Do you like it so far?”
“Yeah,” you continue on as if there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on. “A bit tragic and heartbreaking, but that’s what makes it so good.”
Jinki smiles even more at that and his eyes disappear into half-moons, and for a second you’re stunned because his joy is real. You’ve never seen someone smile the way he does, so honestly and without fear, and when his lids split open once again to look at you he tenses, finally realizing that he’s been holding your hand for a good two minutes now.
“Sorry,” he bows and scuffles back. “I’m really sorry.”
“No, I probably made you uncomfortable,” he stutters out and begins to fiddle with his fingers. “I’m sorry, I’m not very good at speaking to people and you just… I was just…”
Okay, this isn’t possible anymore.
“Have you eaten?”
Jinki pauses mid-sentence and stares at you curiously, like he didn’t hear you correctly, and when he opens his mouth to speak you know he’s going to ask you to repeat yourself so you do anyway. “There’s a coffee shop down the road that makes a pretty incredible blueberry muffin. Or chocolate chip… Poppy seed… It should be open by now.”
He’s still gaping like a fish, and you don’t bother to speak anymore because you’ve done your share, more than it really, and if he’s going to turn you down then he might as well do it in his own time.
Your dryer sounds the same time his washer does, and you both jolt back to reality and immediately set to work as if you guys didn’t just discuss a book, food, and how awkward you both are. In fact, you’re folding your last t-shirt and switching over your color load to the dryer when a throat clears behind you to get your attention.
Obviously there’s only one person it could be, so you clutch the freshly fluffed fabric to your chest and inhale deeply before twirling on your heels to face Jinki.
“I like muffins.”
His lips are pouting and his eyes are wide, and the serious expression on his face just doesn’t match his words in the slightest and you adore that because you do the same thing.
You nod, mouth automatically quirking up into a smile, and when you nod his face bursts in joy and he stumbles back to his side of the room to toss his belongings in the dryer as fast as he can just to return to your side.
It’s probably not the safest thing to leave all your clothes here unsupervised, but you figure that no one’s going to be stealing your pajama bottoms any time soon. Jinki doesn’t seem to concerned either with the way he’s smiling like he’s seeing the sky for the first time, and he reaches out to hold the door open for you, knocks his foot against the frame as he steps out behind you, and you both barely make it ten feet before you’re slipping into a debate about whether paperbacks are better than hardbacks.
Just for the record, you prefer paperbacks because you like to bend the spine back to make it easier to hold, and Jinki prefers hardbacks because his roommate always tries to steal his food and the hard cover is more effective against a skull than flimsy, glossed over cardstock.
And also just for the record, Laundromats are just as effective for possible soul mate meetings as coffee shops are. And they smell (almost) as good.
Yeah… Said I was on hiatus (technically I still am) but I was inspired for like ten minutes so I worked this up and I know it sucks but I feel so terrible for trolling you guys and being such a terrible updater and blegh.
Just wrote it. Lost of mistakes. Meaningless. More blegh. Sorry ;__;