The usual greeting easily slips through Minhyuk’s lips when he hears a customer approach the counter while he was busy wiping the few drips of coffee and cream on the countertop.
“Good morning to you too!” The customer chirps, his voice cracking at the end of his sentence.
He immediately looks up to the customer with wide eyes, not expecting they’d greet back and most certainly not expecting their voice to crack in the end. Minhyuk stops himself from laughing out of common courtesy but when he sees the bashful expression and the slight tinting of red on the other boy’s cheeks, he couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle.
“Sorry,” The boy suddenly says, “Just a little excited for today.”
His shy smile breaks into a grin and Minhyuk notices that he wears retainers. He also notices that he smiles a little too wide and too bright at a person he just recently met. Not too long the other boy catches him staring, he immediately covers his mouth and looks at anywhere but the barista. Minhyuk realizes his rude behavior and thinks of something to redeem himself but before he can do anything the taller boy cuts him off.
“Sorry,” He apologizes again, “I don’t usually smile that big.”
Minhyuk shakes his head then smiles to assure the boy, “Don’t be sorry, you should smile more it suits you.”
And it wasn’t a lie, he didn’t say it for the sake of being nice but Minhyuk really does think the other boy shouldn’t refrain himself from smiling, even if it’s a little too wide and exposes his braces. Minhyuk doesn’t feel an inch of regret from uttering those words as a dazzling smile from the taller boy came in return. He sets aside the worry for his eyesight and hopes to witness more blinding smiles from the boy across him.
“So, what can I serve you?”
“Oh, right!” He (adorably) gasps and glances down at the copy of the menu laid on the counter, “I’d like a choco—no, no.”
The boy puts his right knuckle under his chin, his brows furrowing together and juts out his lower lip while contemplating an order. Minhyuk tries to feign indifference and keeps a straight face while waiting, his will though slowly crippling as he continues watching the other boy who seems to be oblivious of how adorable he looks.
Minhyuk wonders, did the world ever permit someone to be this awfully cute?
“I’ll be getting two lattes.” He finally decides with a nod.
“Sanha.” He says and smiles at Minhyuk.
A pretty name for a pretty boy, he thinks.
“Two lattes for Sanha, coming right up.”
The word two completely registers in his mind at the time he finished pouring espresso on the second cup of Sanha’s order. He stops for a moment, blinking at the cups below him and stares at them as if they’re a puzzle he urgently needs to fix. Is the other drink for a date? The question becomes a constant nag in the back of his head as he starts picking up from where he left, pouring an ideal amount of steaming milk in each cup.
(He debated on the idea of creating a latte heart but knowing the possibility that Sanha is here for a date stops him from doing so.)
Minhyuk presses his lips together into a thin line once he’s done, he’s quite not sure what’s keeping him from calling Sanha and finally giving him his coffee but somehow he feels a lump slowly building up in his throat. He swallows, what’s he so nervous for? Perhaps, it’s the notion of Sanha meeting up with his date in this very café he works in and confirming this theory of his.
Even so, he gathers up all his courage and asks the taller boy about it and if he were honest, Minhyuk does hope but just for a little bit that Sanha would say no.
“Yeah, she told me to meet up with her at this café.”
Minhyuk hides the disappointment he feels and says with little enthusiasm, “I see, enjoy your date then.”
“Thanks!” Sanha doesn’t notice the lack of cheeriness from Minhyuk and smiles a little too bright again, “I’m really excited for today and came here too early.”
Minhyuk only nods knowing that this is the end of their first and most likely last conversation, Sanha will go and look for a spot in the shop that’s perfect for a date and Minhyuk will continue on with his work for today (and probably move on from this stupid crush on a boy he’s just met but finds undeniably cute). A normal day for Park Minhyuk, he thinks and forces himself not to feel so bitter about it.
Sanha makes no move at going though.
“I don’t really drink coffee but I heard that she loves lattes, so I decided giving it a try.”
Sanha takes a sip in his own cup and fails to stop his expression from twisting in distaste. Minhyuk snorts at his reaction and still finds the taller boy completely adorable.
“I really can’t drink coffee.” Sanha states, his voice laced with mild disgust.
He then turns to the barista with a sheepish smile, his cheeks flushed in the slightest hue of red. Minhyuk’s chest swells at the sight of this, a warm fuzzy feeling spreading throughout his whole system. His hand reaches out to ruffle Sanha’s curly hair and he realizes his actions a minute too late. Minhyuk immediately retracts his hand from messing up Sanha’s curls and panics internally as his gesture was way too familiar, too fond.
Sanha only gazes at him with wide eyes, still stunned at what Minhyuk’s done. He doesn’t know if this was good or if he’s ruined a potential friendship blossoming between the two of them. Minhyuk ponders over apologizing or escaping without a word as he still has other priorities to tend on (to heck with their probable friendship, it’s not like he’ll be able to stand seeing Sanha with his possible girlfriend anyway).
“Goodluck with that date.” He says instead and gives Sanha an encouraging grin.
The boy nods dumbly and Minhyuk returns to his station trying not to feel jealous of Sanha’s date. He doesn’t glance at Sanha’s direction, not bothering anymore to check if the taller boy had finally moved to find a great spot for a date. If he did though, he may have not missed the heavy blush coloring Sanha’s cheeks before he scatters away to find a place to settle in. Minhyuk’s array of thoughts cease upon the arrival of his coworker.
“You’re late, Bin hyung!”
“I know, sorry!”
Minhyuk busies himself with work in order to avoid thinking about the really adorable boy he just met and his supposed date.
“How long has he been here?”
Minhyuk glances at Bin with a confused stare, “Who?”
“The one who looks like he’s waiting for a date, the others are giving him pitiful looks.”
He feels the insides of his stomach twisting as he realizes it was Sanha that Bin was asking about.
“I don’t know. Three hours, I guess?”
Minhyuk shrugs to seem as if he wasn’t actually aware of exactly how long Sanha’s been waiting for his date to show up. Bin hums a response and doesn’t say anything else, Minhyuk looks at the clock they had pinned on the wall and sees the additional minutes on Sanha’s long wait. His gaze then falls on Sanha who is now absentmindedly watching the people that pass by the shop.
He couldn’t help but feel bad for Sanha, he knows the boy gained the attention of probably half of the people inside the café, he knows those who left the café earlier but came after Sanha looks at his direction briefly with a sorry look on their faces before leaving.
“Stop staring, it’s rude.”
“I’m not staring,” He argues then turns to face Bin, “I’m just concerned.”
Bin raises an eyebrow at him with a smirk on his lips, if he notices the slight flush of Minhyuk’s cheeks he doesn’t comment on it. He averts his gaze to the direction Minhyuk was looking—not staring—at and frowns. Minhyuk’s brows furrow at the scowl painted across Bin’s features, the latter sighs and shakes his head seeming so disappointed.
Bin still has his eyes on Sanha and Minhyuk sees the sympathy he feels for the boy reflecting in his brown orbs. Bin tears his gaze from Sanha and sighs again, louder and sadder that the first and it makes the other barista wonder of the reason why.
“It’s been three hours already, they’re not showing up.” Bin states and recounts the money in the cashier.
“Poor Sanha, he’s a nice kid.”
“You know him?” Minhyuk asks, surprised that Bin knows Sanha.
“Yeah, he’s Min—Dongmin’s friend.”
Oh, Bin’s boyfriend.
“He used to talk a lot about Sanha before.” Bin tells him with a fond smile on his lips.
“He’s really fun to be with even though he acts like a child most of the time.” He laughs, seeming to remember a funny memory of the boy.
Minhyuk feels a twinge of jealousy in his chest, discovering that Bin actually knew Sanha before he did made an unsettling feeling rest on the pit of his stomach.
“How come I haven’t seen him before?”
Dongmin visited this coffee shop countless of times already, sometimes to pick up Bin after his shift and in some occasions he comes here to study.
“That’s because Sanha hates coffee,” Bin laughs, “Now that I think about it, this is the first time he came here.”
The other barista glances at Minhyuk with a curious gaze, “You seem interested in him.”
“What?” Minhyuk exclaims and tries to keep a straight face.
Bin narrows his eyes, a sly teasing smile playing upon his lips. His pulse picks up its pace and he feels the heat rising to his cheeks, Minhyuk avoids Bin’s inquisitive gaze and pushes the older barista away when he moves closer to get a good look at Minhyuk’s flustered state.
“Can you please go back to work?”
Minhyuk knows Bin’s still has this knowing smirk across that he wants to wipe off from his coworker’s face. Surprisingly though, Bin leaves Minhyuk alone without any playful jeers and hums a familiar tune of his favorite English song.
“Just saying, Sanha loves anything sweet.”
Bin winks at him and Minhyuk feels blood rush up to his face again. He only frowns when the other barista laughs at his flushed expression.
Minhyuk ignores Bin and looks at Sanha’s table, he watches him glancing at the clock mounted on the wall of the shop in each passing minute. Sanha sighs and stares at the empty cup he’s holding, he wears such a dejected expression akin to a kicked puppy. Minhyuk still thinks he’s cute but he couldn’t help but feel sad for him and slightest bit angry at his supposed date.
The memory of Sanha’s brown eyes sparkling with an excited glint as he animatedly chatters about his date briefly flashes in Minhyuk’s mind that causes his stomach to twist in knots. He scowls knowing that Sanha really looked forward to this date just to be stood up.
If I were his date, he thinks, I’d never let him experience this.
He pauses at that thought.
“Minhyuk, Myungjun-hyung’s already at the back changing…” Bin trails off as he notices the other barista was deep in thought, “Are you listening?”
The said boy snaps out of his stupor and turns to Bin, “Yeah, yeah. Just give me a second.”
Bin stares at him before shrugging, Minhyuk is thankful at Bin’s lack of interest at whatever he’s going to do. However, it’s not the same with Myungjun.
“Hey, Minhyuk! I’ll take care of that, you can go clock out!”
“Ah, Myungjun-hyung! No, it’s okay.”
Myungjun gazes at him curiously, “Who’s that for?”
Minhyuk opens his mouth to answer but Bin interjects, “Sanha.”
The tips of Minhyuk’s ears turn red and he decides not to speak anymore since he’s sure his mouth will only fail him by stammering. Myungjun’s smiles curls into a full grin with his eyes slightly crinkling at the ends, Minhyuk silently prays that Myungjun will let him off easy. The least he needs is his manager to humiliate him in front of his (now accepted) crush and other customers present inside the café.
Today must be Minhyuk’s lucky day.
“Our Minhyukie finally has a crush,” Myungjun coos. “Go and sweep him off his feet.”
“Minhyuk, I think you might want to be a little faster since Sanha seems like he’s ready to leave.”
“Hey, sorry I took a while.” Minhyuk says loud enough from the people in the shop to hear as he drops on the seat across Sanha.
Sanha looks at him with a smile playing upon his lips but his eyes searching for answers, “What are you doing here?” He leans on the table and whispers.
“Saving you from a horrible date that didn’t happen.” Minhyuk whispers with a cheeky smile.
For a moment, Sanha’s cheeks flush in a light shade of red and Minhyuk takes this a sign to continue what he has in mind.
“Also,” His hand slightly trembles while he slides a frappe to Sanha, “Figured you wanted this instead of coffee.”
The latter stares at it curiously before glancing up to meet Minhyuk’s eyes. Minhyuk knows the inquisitive gaze Sanha’s giving him, he knows he should respond but he feels a lump build up in his throat. He feels heat rising up to his face and his heart picking up its pace.
This is not the scenario I had in mind, he thinks.
“It’s for you…” He stutters and flashes Sanha what he thinks is a charming smile.
Minhyuk cringes internally at his lame flirting skills. Sanha was hesitant at first but accepts the drink given to him and Minhyuk watches closely what his reaction will be. He hears the hammering of his heart on his ears and feels his gut twisting in all those sorts of knots as he anticipates for any change in Sanha’s expression.
As the taller boy takes a sip, his expression instantly turns soft. A quiet sigh briefly escapes his lips and he continues to indulge himself in the sweet taste of the frappe the barista gave him unconscious of the barista’s gaze on him. A fond smile graces Minhyuk’s lips, an indecipherable amount of warmth flooding through his system.
He relaxes on his seat as his heart returns to its steady beat and asks, “Tastes great, doesn’t it?”
“A chocolate chip frappe with a few additional touches just for you.”
Minhyuk frets and bolts out of his seat when Sanha choked on his drink and started coughing horribly. His doesn’t notice the blushing of Sanha’s cheeks until the tint of red reaches the tips of his ears. Minhyuk rubs circles on the taller boy’s back to help him ease his coughing, he rests his hand on Sanha’s shoulder when his coughs die down.
He looks down to look Sanha in the eye, “Are you okay? Do you want water?”
Sanha simply stares back at him and that’s when he notices the heavy flushing of his face, his brows furrow and he wonders if the boy wasn’t actually feeling good though he looked fine earlier. Sanha remains quiet and it makes Minhyuk’s concern grow, he removes his hand from the boy’s shoulder and turns around to get him a glass of water.
A tug on his shirt surprises him and makes him stop on his tracks, he glances back and meets Sanha’s frantic eyes.
“I’m alright!” He then breaks away from Minhyuk’s gaze, “It’s just…”
Minhyuk purses his lips into a thin line and gently wraps his fingers on the wrist of Sanha’s hand that was gripping on his shirt.
“Are you sure?” He asks again, “You look really red.”
Sanha flails to cover his face and it confuses Minhyuk much more. He waits until Sanha speaks before he goes to get him a drink again but the latter doesn’t seem to be speaking anytime soon.
“Look, I’ll just get you a glass of water and then you can leave to rest. You don’t seem fine.”
It’s what Minhyuk says but he honestly feels disappointed that he can’t spend a little while longer with Sanha, he’s not sure if the boy would ever return to this shop since he knows that the other boy wasn’t a big fan of coffees. He can ask Bin if he has Sanha’s number but getting him to give it, Minhyuk knows it’ll be troublesome.
He can ask Dongmin but they don’t really talk much…
“I’m fine, really!” Sanha peaks through the gaps of his fingers, “It’s just that I got flustered over what you said…”
It takes a long good minute before it sinks in to Minhyuk’s head. Sanha’s already back into his drink obviously avoiding to look at the barista’s direction. Minhyuk’s chest swells in warmth once again for the umpteenth time of the day and he really couldn’t help but feel glad that Sanha’s original date decided to stand him up.
“You’re really adorable, don’t you know this?” Minhyuk chuckles and he thinks he hears a sound similar to a dying cry from Sanha.
“Please warn me the next time you’re saying something like that.”
“Oh, so there’s going to be a next time?” He grins when Sanha shyly nods.
“So, Sanha right?”
“Yoon Sanha,” Minhyuk mumbles and familiars himself with the roll of his tongue at Sanha’s full name.
“I’m Park Minhyuk.”
“Ah!” Sanha shrieks, “It was on your nametag so I just…” The boy stutters terribly, flustered.
Minhyuk laughs, loud and carefree that get Sanha following him with his soft giggles. The time their laughter falters but huge grins remain on their lips as they continue to gaze at each other’s eyes. Minhyuk hears a faint gagging sound from the counter and he’s positive it’s both Myungjun and Bin.
Minhyuk stands at Sanha's side and holds a hand out in front of him, the latter stares at it with confusion evident on his features.
“I’m taking you out on a proper date.” Minhyuk then asks, “Let’s get to know each other more?”
Sanha takes his hand before getting up and says, “Thank you.”
It was barely audible but Minhyuk managed to hear it. He squeezes Sanha’s hand and pulls him out of the establishment while ignoring the knowing looks Bin and Myungjun were throwing at him. Although, Sanha’s hand wasn’t the softest, it’s clammy and rough but he doesn’t think of letting go.