I finally got home, putting Yoshi on the floor and stretching my arm. He was heavy for such a little guy, especially after thirty minutes of walking while holding him. I hadn’t brought a leash because, well, it wasn’t him. But I couldn’t let him down, not with the traffic, so I carried him all the way.
I was so happy he was home. He acted like he’d never been gone, hopping up onto the end of the couch he always laid on and resting his head on his paws.
“You have no idea how lonely it’s been here without you, Yoshi,” I said, looking at him. He lifted his head, tilting it back and forth, then plopping it back down on his paws. “Don’t ever take off on me like that again. If you do, I’m not looking for you, you’re on your own.” I scowled at him and his head popped up again, a little yip leaving his mouth.
He clearly knew I didn’t mean that.
I shook my head and walked over, sitting next to him. He immediately climbed onto my lap, curling up and tucking his head under his tail. I leaned back on the couch, pulling my phone out and finding Jimin’s number. I guess I owed it to him to let him know that it was, indeed, Yoshi who had been the subject of the flyer.
I snapped a picture of him and sent it to Jimin. That should be enough. And he better not get smart with me.
I dropped my phone on the couch and sat there for twenty minutes, until Yoshi finally moved off my lap, returning to the spot he’d originally been in.
I got up to go grab a soda. I was hungry, but all I found besides condiments was an apple in the fridge. I grabbed that, as well, coming back into the living room to sit down and eat it. Guess I should go grocery shopping soon.
That girl. She was very pretty, and she was kind of sweet. I could see why Jimin and Jungkook were trying to set me up with her. But it wasn’t going to happen. I had no interest in getting into a relationship now or ever. I planned to spend the rest of my days alone.
I was too much of an asshole to be in a relationship, anyway. No one would put up with me. I didn’t want anyone to even try. The losses I’d experienced had turned me into a very bitter person, and I didn’t think I had it in me to be nice, not for more than a few minutes at a time. Besides, getting into a relationship just meant there was another chance to lose someone. That was something I never wanted to go through ever again.
If I didn’t have anyone, I couldn’t lose anyone.
* * *
I was enjoying my food, telling Jungkook how glad I was he had suggested this place when my phone went off in my back pocket. I pulled it out, checking my messages, and I couldn’t control the smile that broke out on my face.
“Holy shit, he actually did it. He called the number.”
I turned my phone around, showing Jungkook the picture of Yoshi curled up on Tae’s lap. His smile matched mine.
“That’s great! Wow, I almost can’t believe he did it.”
“I know. I can’t either. I really thought I was going to have to call that number myself tomorrow.”
Jungkook took another big bite and chewed happily.
“Ya know,” he said with his mouth still full, pointing his chopsticks at me, “that means he met that girl. I’m surprised he isn’t going off about that.”
“Oh, trust me, there’s still plenty of time for him to do that. I don’t doubt we will hear all about what assholes we are tomorrow. I’m betting that right now he’s just happy that he has Yoshi back, and that’s what he’s focusing on.”
“So I should prepare myself for the wrath of Taehyung tomorrow is what you’re saying.”
I nodded, smiling with a mouthful of jokbal. “Pretty much.”
The two of us finished our meal, and I paid the bill because I had enjoyed it so much I decided to thank Jungkook for coming up with the idea after all.
He drove me home, and I spent the rest of the evening on my couch playing a video game until I got tired enough to go to bed. That happened around 11:30 pm. I didn’t necessarily like going to bed early because I preferred the nighttime, but since 5:15 am was the latest I could sleep and make it to the shop by 5:30 am, I couldn’t stay up till 2:00 am. I barely had time to get dressed and brush my teeth before I was running out the door as it was, but I couldn’t get myself to go to bed any earlier than that.
I don’t know what possessed me to buy a coffee shop when I knew full well I would have to open early if I wanted to get any business. I was not a morning person. By now, I had gotten used to it, and if I felt too tired, I just took a nap when I got home.
I honestly didn’t know how Tae managed to be up and at the shop by 4:30 am to start the baking. Better him than me.
* * *
The next morning when I got to the shop, I avoided the kitchen as if there might be zombies hiding behind the door. Jungkook finally got there and asked me if I’d talked to Tae yet, and I’d told him no, that I’d decided to prolong the tongue lashing I knew was coming for as long as possible.
The early morning crowd had finally all gone, and I was setting up one of the coffee machines for the next rush when I was startled by his voice behind me.
“How long are the two of you going to avoid me today?”
He was standing there by the cash register with his arms crossed, a slightly pissed-off look on his face. I saw Jungkook stop what he was doing and look at Tae. His eyes met mine for a millisecond before they were back on Tae.
“Uh, I wasn’t avoiding you. I got here a few minutes late, so I was trying to make sure everything was ready, and then it was time to open and it got busy.”
He hummed. “And I’m a famous K-pop idol with the face of a God and the voice of an angel,” he muttered sarcastically. “Cut the crap, Jimin. Why didn’t you tell me it was that girl who put the flyer up?”
“What the hell? Why am I the only one you’re targeting? Jungkook knew, too. He could have told you just as easily as me!”
His eyes narrowed.
“Because I’m sure you told him to keep quiet about it. That’s why.”
I glared at him. Sometimes, I hated that he knew me so well.
“Would you have called if you had known it was her number?”
“Then what else do you want me to say, Tae? I wanted you to get your dog back. If I’d told you it was her who put the flyer up, you wouldn’t have gotten Yoshi back. That’s the only reason. You’re acting like I did something horrible when you should be thanking me for helping you get him back.” My voice had risen with each sentence, and I could see Jungkook looking at me with wide eyes.
The pissed-off look melted, but just a tiny bit.
“Thank you,” he grumbled, looking slightly guilty.
I rolled my eyes at him.
“So how is Yoshi? Was he happy to see you?” I asked, turning back to finish setting up the coffee machine.
“He jumped into my arms the second the door was opened.”
I smiled. Of course, he did. Yoshi loved Tae.
“Well, I’m glad you got him back. I bet he’s happy to be home.” I turned back around, finally finished with the coffee machine to see him nodding.
“He is. It’s like he was never gone. She took good care of him. She even got him toys, which she sent home with him.”
This was my chance to say something about her, and I didn’t even have to bring her up. He had done it for me.
“She sounds like a great girl. Did you talk to her at all?”
I saw his chest rise as he drew in a breath, his eyes landing on me, his jaw set.
“Of course I talked to her. But only about Yoshi, so you can just stop right there.”
He raised his brows at me, and I scowled.
“What would be so bad about getting to know her better? Don’t you ever want to be in a relationship? Have someone to spend time with?”
I sighed, exasperated.
“Why? Are you going to spend the rest of your life alone?”
“I swear, Tae, you are the most pigheaded—”
“Uh, guys. . .”
“Guys. . .”
“Could you two. . .”
We both snapped our heads around, looking at Jungkook, who motioned with his eyes towards the door. Standing just inside the door was the girl. I’d been so intent on arguing with Tae, I hadn’t heard the bell signaling the door had opened. Apparently, Tae hadn’t heard it either. But I heard him mumble what I could only assume was her name.
“Soo-Ah. . .”
She looked a little taken aback by the exchange she had just witnessed. To my utter surprise, Tae walked right up to her.
She finally smiled.
“Hi. Should I come back later. . . you, ah, seem to be in the middle of an important conversation.”
Tae shook his head immediately.
“No, it’s not important at all.”
And I decided that he was right. It wasn’t important. Because as much as Tae may have thought he didn’t want to get into a relationship, his heart obviously didn’t agree with him.
* * *
Jimin was an asshole. Calling me pigheaded? Stubborn? Stupid and narrow-minded? He should look in the mirror.
What the hell was Jungkook going on about now? I turned to look at him, expecting him to have some smart-ass thing to say to me, but he just motioned towards the door with his eyes. I turned to look, and for some stupid reason, my heart jumped in my chest.
“Soo-Ah. . .” I walked up to her, noticing she looked unsure like she thought maybe she shouldn’t be here. “Hi.”
She smiled at me. I got a warm feeling. I was probably just worked up from arguing with Jimin.
“Hi. Should I come back later? You, ah, seem to be in the middle of an important conversation.”
I shook my head.
“No, it’s not important at all.” And it wasn’t. There was nothing to talk about. I was not interested in this girl. “Anyway, don’t forget, whatever you want this morning, it’s on me.”
She nodded, and I slowly turned, catching both Jungkook and Jimin watching me. I glanced at both of them and started for the back.
“Jimin, her order is on me today.”
He nodded, a small smile playing on his face, and I narrowed my eyes at him warningly before disappearing through the door. I was not interested in this girl. I appreciated she had taken care of Yoshi, so I wouldn’t be rude to her. But that didn’t mean I was interested in her.
I started scooping cookies onto the empty sheet in front of me. I had a few orders for today, and I’d gotten half of them done already. Five dozen cookies to go.
Why did Jimin find it so hard to accept that I wanted to be alone? It wasn’t like either of them had girlfriends. They both had acquaintances. Girls that they hooked up with every so often. Nothing serious. No commitments.
If I needed someone to hook up with for a night, I could find someone. That wasn’t a problem. So why did they seem so intent on getting me into a relationship?