My fellow Takari lovers! I am back again to satisfy my Takari deprivation. And since I've been recently finding myself in Starbucks almost everyday, I've decided to write a fiction that provokes a romance between my two favorite characters placed in a setting no other than a coffee café. Hope you enjoy!
A Whole Latte Love
"You know I don't like coffee."
"Then order a tea or pastry or something."
"Is this a tea party we're going to or…?"
Matt stretched and yawned before he responded to his younger brother's satiric question, "C'mon dude. Tai's sister recently opened up a coffee café and he asked me to go over to meet him and support her. And the best way to show support is to bring a friend, or in her case, a customer. Besides, you should meet her. She's a sweetheart."
TK laughed, "A sweetheart? Related to Tai?"
"Yeah I know, hard to believe. They're totally different to be siblings! And, thank God, her hair isn't a huge as Tai's."
"That's a relief," TK yawned, as he kicked a pebble, "So how far is…"
"Here it is!"
TK looked up from the pebble and twitched awkwardly at what he saw. The small building before him looked like it literally popped out of a "tea party princess fairy" movie. The place itself was pink, and almost everywhere were flowers that surrounded it. There were pink, yellow, lavender flowers that led to the doorway. The front yard near the door had white tables covered with a silk pink cover and chairs with a soft pink cushion. Also, a white wooden fence with carved hearts surrounded the building to add a more homely touch (as if it weren't homely enough already). And to top it all off, there was a huge pastel colored sign attached to the front of the building, which both brother's assumed, but refused to believe the cheesiness of it all, was the café's name—A Whole Latte Love.
"I'm losing my dignity just staring at this place," TK blurted out, eyes still fixed upon the café, "Are you sure this is this the place, and NOT our grandmother's house?"
Matt looked at his piece of paper that had the address and looked back up at the café, "Yep, this is the place."
TK looked at his brother with the famous "you got to be kidding me" face. However, to his disappointment, he could tell from Matt's eyes that he wasn't kidding and that this was indeed the place they were eventually going to have to step foot in. He didn't know what he was more surprised about—the café that was horribly abused my every girly aspect known to man, or that there was a person related to Tai that was capable of creating such a thing. He would have never expected this from someone who is related to Tai, Tai being the epitome of "manly pride".
"Stop being such a baby," Matt laughed, ruffling his brother's hair, "You're in college now. You might as well start drinking something that's going to keep you awake. Alright, let's go in. My treat."
TK moved his head away from Matt's touch, "Your treat? Can't say no to that."
They made their way through the pathway and opened the door. The door chimed a sweet melody as it opened, giving TK another sense of lost dignity. And what more, the interior was just as frilly as the outside. The pastel tea cup wallpaper, the white laces, the heart shaped tables, the strong aroma of fruits and coffee—definitely the place for a girls to do each other's hair and share their feelings. The whole place seemed comforting though; he'll have to admit. Especially with the sofas near the window that revealed the back garden. A garden! From the glass sliding door that lead to the back part of the café, TK could see more tables and seats surrounded by garden filled with even more flowers, fountains and no longer to his surprise, butterflies. Right by the counter where one would pay was a huge display of decorated pastries—from cupcakes, to crepes, to scones, this place had almost ever finger food a girl could dream of. He looked over at Matt, who seemed to feel just as awkward as him. Matt cleared his throat as his eyes went fixed over to the counter, where no one was to be seen.
"Looks like we're the only ones here," Matt said, scratching his head in confusion, "Weird, Tai told me to be here by 7…"
"Bro! You made it!"
Matt and TK turned around to the sound of chimes that came from the door to see a jolting, excited Tai. Tai immediately greeted Matt with their handshake and ruffled TK's hair. TK grunted. "Why do they always do that? I'm only a few years younger!" As TK fixed his already messy hair, TK grinned and patted Matt's shoulder.
"Sorry it took me a while, man!" Tai laughed, while rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, "Running some errands with Kari. She had to buy more materials for her coffee and treats and such. Poor sissy hasn't gotten much sleep for the past few weeks, so I figured the least I can do is help her out. Speaking of helping out, can you help us unload some of the groceries?"
Yet another chime came from the door. Before them stood a girl who was peeking from the top of the paper bags she was holding. "Tai, can you please hurry up and get the rest of the groceries, we open in an hour!"
"Ah, sorry! Right on it!" He then looked over at Matt as he opened the door, "Matt, help me out yeah? And TK, just take those groceries from her and place it out on the countertop and then just follow us to the car to get the rest."
Bidding each other with nods, Matt and Tai left and headed towards the car. TK then looked over at the girl who was struggling on her feet to hold up the groceries. He snapped back to his senses and quickly made his way to her.
"Here, let me… get that… for you," TK said, with his voice slowly fading away as he stared the girl who placed the groceries into his open arms. His eyes were frozen in awe as he continued to stare at the petite girl before him in, what seemed like, admiration. She had short, brown hair that fell upon her shoulders perfectly. Her eyes where the same shade of brown as her hair, and they glistened as if they were just for him. She wore a white blouse tucked into a yellow pastel skirt that complemented her figure well, despite being covered with an apron. Her face was flushed red from fatigue, which made her look so much more…
"…Cute," TK whispered.
"Pardon?" she panted, wiping the light sweat from her forehead.
TK blushed in embarrassment from realizing what he said. He was probably as red as she was, "A-ah, nothing. I'll put this away now."
He quickly turned around and walked towards the counter, face still red hot. The girl stared at him funny, shrugged and walked out to meet up with Tai and Matt. Once he heard the door close and the melody come to an end, he huffed out a breath as if he's been holding it in since she was there. His heart was beating rapidly, which didn't at all seem to help his breathing. He placed his hand over his heart as if to steady his heart beat, and looked towards the door that she just walked out of. "W-what the hell?" he thought in confusion. It wasn't like him to lose his cool like that, especially with people. But just with a mere 10 seconds looking at that girl, he lost touch with stability. She was just so cute. Cute. TK's face warmed up yet again. He ruffled his hair just as the other boys did in annoyance.
"Smart move, TK!" he whispered in sarcasm, "What if she heard you…"
The damned chimes from the door rung again, scaring TK half to death. Tai, Matt and the cute girl walked in with more grocery bags in their arms. TK straightened his posture before they could see him in his bothered state. Tai was the first to speak, as expected.
"Thanks for all the help, TK…NOT!" Tai stated seriously, and then laughed, "Just playing, but seriously, what took you?"
TK stared at him in confusion. It seemed like merely seconds ago that the girl gave him the groceries to set aside. Or was it a bit longer than that and he didn't notice? "How long was I in here?" he thought in great confusion. He cleared his throat and avoided making eye contact with the girl in order to prevent even more strange feelings.
"Sorry, I got a phone call," he replied as cool as he could, "Is there any more left?"
"Yep, there are actually two more bags. Figured we'd give you at least something to do! Here, and lock the doors when you're done," Tai said, throwing his car keys towards TK.
TK caught them, and quickly walked out of the café, still avoiding any eye contact with the girl. He couldn't afford to make a fool out of himself, especially in front of Tai, who has the horrible tendency to hold his "moments" against him. He sped his way to the car with the open trunk and grabbed the remaining grocery bags. He closed the trunk and locked the doors with his free hand, and the moment he turned around to head back, both Matt and Tai stood before him. Tai's face looked troubled. He raised a brow.
"What's up?" TK asked.
"We have to go back to the store and buy part 2 of Kari's shopping list," Tai sighed as he pulled out a piece of paper that seemed to have at least a million things written in it, "And we have to be back before the café opens so we have to hurry. Matt will accompany me. Keep her company, alright?"
TK blinked. "Keep her company?" he thought oddly, "Who's 'her'? Could it be…" he paused and thought about the girl just encountered, "Nah, it can't be. She can't be his sister, can she?" He couldn't imagine that girl to be Tai's younger sister—they looked nothing alike, despite their really brown hair. Although, TK didn't really get the chance to look at her so he couldn't assume much. Snapping back to life, he handed back Tai his car keys and he stayed at his spot until the car drove off. When the car was finally out of sight, he took a deep breath and slowly made his way back into the world of pink. He entered the café and looked around. The girl was nowhere to be seen. He shifted the groceries more comfortably in his arms and walked closer to the counter. She wasn't there either. TK placed down the groceries next to the others in the counter and looked over it. He saw a shadow move over at the room (what seemed to be a kitchen) behind the counter. TK became hesitant. He didn't know whether to just walk in or to knock (even if he couldn't really knock since the "door" was literally just shiny hanging beads) before entering. He paused for a moment and suddenly became annoyed with himself worked up over a girl he only knew for a few seconds. Sighing, he made his way to the back of the counter and slowly pushed aside the beads. He then saw her. The girl was merely within arm's reach in front of him, although with her back towards him. She seemed to not notice his presence, for she seemed to be struggling to open some sort of bag. He even heard her constant grunts and huffs of annoyance. Now curious, he entered as quietly as he could and stepped closer behind her. Literally being a foot away, he looked over her shoulder to see what she was having a hard time opening. It was a bag of flour. She was trying to open the bag while pulling at the middle on both sides like a bag of chips, but obviously, that wasn't working well for her. His eyes glanced towards the bag and he saw a dotted line along the side of the bag that indicated where to rip. TK couldn't help but smile softly (probably to hold in a laugh) at her attempts to open something so simple. He reached over her shoulder to point out the line. Not the best decision made that day.
"I think you should rip the…"
"Eek!" the girl yelped in utter shock as she accidentally—and definitely unexpectedly—popped the bag of flour open, causing the flour to just poof all over his and her face and the air around them.
TK, too, was caught off guard. He had absolutely no intentions of scaring her. She must have been rally focused on that bag if she was to get scared over just a 'hello' and a mere hand over the shoulder. It then got to him—she had every right to be scared! He was basically a stranger to her and to just creep into the kitchen and look at what she's doing while reaching over her shoulder to help her open a bag was just plain disturbing. Simply asking to come in would have saved both him and her a fluffy mess. She swiftly turned around and stared at him with big, scared eyes. He returned are more guilty look, literally feeling pain the longer he looked at her, and immediately became apologetic.
"I am SO sorry about that," he stammered, as he looked around frantically for something that would help them get cleaned up. Luckily he found a small towel lying besides a bowl of water on the table besides them, "H-here take this."
Still staring at him with confused eyes, she took the towel and wiped her face with it. TK let out a sigh of relief and rested his hand upon the table to support his uneasy balance. Although, as if there wasn't anything else that could happen, he lost balance due to the table's weak structure. The table couldn't handle his weight, thus resulting the table falling to its side and the bowl of water spiraling up in the air. To add more to his misfortune, the bowl went straight down towards—he even saw this coming—the poor girl's head. The girl gasped and shivered as the water dripped down. She slowly pushed the bowl up from her eyes with one finger and stared at TK with the same big and scared eyes she had when the flour popped. TK stood in front of her even more apologetically and felt ten times more embarrassed. His face was becoming warm, and his nervousness was clearly visible. Their eyes locked and a strange sensation traveled up his body. Suddenly, he started to feel less tense. Her soft brown eyes eased the anxiety that surrounded them. The air started to feel less thin as he got lost deeper into her auburn eyes. The girl tilted her head a bit, seeing how dazed TK appeared to be. TK noticed her small movement and snapped right back to his miserable reality.
"I'm sorry. I, uh," TK started shyly, rubbing his neck while looking at the mess he caused, "I usually don't lose my cool like that. I'm really not that clumsy, I…I'd, you know, help but…you know, I might cause another…you know."
She stayed quiet, staring at him harder with eyes that now gave TK discomfort. Her silence was not helping him feel better about what happened. He made a fool out of himself towards a girl he only knew for a few seconds. What bothered him the most was how a girl he barely knows could mess him up so much in his head. He was confused with the feeling; it became annoyingly unbearable. TK let out a huge breath out of frustration and covered his face with one hand in awkwardness. A soft chuckle of some sort left his lips. This whole incident suddenly became humorous to him.
"I'm sorry," TK said, rubbing his forehead with his palm.
The girl, much to TK's surprise, started to laugh. He looked up from his hand to reveal a girl laughing cutely at him. He raised a brow in puzzlement of why she started to laugh. Of all responses possible, she decided to laugh. A wave of relief hit him, for her laughter was way better than her getting angry with him. Her laughter started to fade off. She placed one hand on her hip to calm down and slowly took the bowl off her head. Once the bowl was completely off, she looked up at TK and gleamed him a beautiful smile that almost gave him a heart attack on the spot.
"Calm down, you look as if I'm going to murder you!" she said in a voice that chimed like bells to TK's ears, "It's totally fine. This is probably the most fun I've had all day," she then dusted off her hands and held one out towards TK, "I'm Kari, by the way. Tai's sister."
TK stared at her funny as he reached for her hand and shook it lightly. "So she IS his sister," TK thought to himself in surprise. He never would have guessed that someone so girly and neat could be related to Tai, the "Master of Burps". Kari titled her head again and returned to him the same funny look.
"What?" she asked, releasing their grip and touching her face, "Do I have anything on my face?" Kari laughed at what she said and bonked herself on the forehead, "Well, besides the flour?"
"N-no, it's not that," TK replied with a small laugh, "I'm just surprised. Never thought you'd be Tai's sister."
"That's funny," Kari said back, tapping her chin, "People usually say I'm basically a spitting image of him, so that's actually refreshing to hear! Nice to know that someone doesn't think I look like my turkey head of a brother."
TK couldn't help but laugh at Kari's turkey analysis of Tai's hair, "Yeah, how does he get it that big?"
"That's still a mystery, even to all us family members. He just wakes up and poof! His hair becomes perfectly shaped with volume," she again laughed that beautiful laugh, "I swear, there's no other logical reason for that to happen other than witch craft."
Her sense of humor was sinking into him like a craving that has just been fulfilled. He couldn't help but stare at her in admiration. The sensations were becoming overwhelming and he didn't understand why he even got those feelings to begin with. He's seen a handful of pretty girls before, but Kari—she was different and he couldn't put his finger on why. Their laughter soon faded. Kari looked around and pouted.
"Looks like a lot to clean up," she said slowly, then glanced over at the clock, "And I have about an hour and half before the café opens. I haven't even started brewing any coffee…"
"Ah, let me help!" TK interrupted with a grin, "I'll clean up here while you carry on with your other duties. It's the least I can do. Oh, and I'm TK. Just realized I haven't really introduced myself."
Kari again gleamed that radiant smile that made his heart skip a beat. She let out a small laugh, "Nice to meet you, TK. Are you sure it's safe to leave you alone in the kitchen?"
"If nothing explodes in the next few minutes, then I'm sure it's safe," TK responded jokingly, flashing out his infamous grin. She laughed, which made him feel quite successful.
"You're funny. I like that," Kari said before pushing the beads aside and leaving the kitchen, "Alright then, I'll make sure of that. I'll be by the counter if you need me!"
The moment she stepped out of the kitchen, he slumped down to the floor and leaned back against the fallen table. His heart was weighing him down. Upon taking a deep breath in and out, he reflected on what just happened. He then smacked himself on the head. "Really, TK? 'If nothing explodes in the next few minutes?' You're such a dork!" He sighed and realized that mocking himself isn't going to do him much justice. TK looked through the beads and saw Kari wiping her hair with a towel. His heart yet again fluttered. He sighed again and looked away.
"What is this feeling?" he whispered desperately.
Knowing that sitting on the wet floor covered in flour like a fool wasn't going to do him any good, he finally stood up and grabbed the mop that hung on the wall besides him. While mopping the floor, he heard soft hums coming from outside the kitchen. The air was starting to become filled with the aroma of coffee and the sweet melody of hums that seemed to be escaping the lips of an angel. He peeked through the opening of the bead curtains and saw Kari cutely humming to the song that came from the stereo she had just turned on. A blush formed upon his cheeks and he quickly turned back to his duties, moping faster than before. "What. Is. Going. On?" TK thought frustratingly with a flustered, hot face, "Why do I suddenly feel so weak and bothered?" He mopped the floor even faster, to even out with his rapid heartbeats. "Could it be that I'm…" TK then shook his head in disbelief, "N-no, can't be." He never gets nervous, especially around girls. Very seldom does he get nervous towards girls he shows even the slightest interest to, which made him feel even more confused on why Kari was just so different, so odd, so joyful, so graceful, so…
"…Perfect," TK whispered, completing his thoughts.
He placed the mop back into the bucket and pushed it towards the cabinet. Confused on why he felt so sluggish, he sat down on the chair and stared dully at the fallen table. "I thought I was here just to get coffee," TK said in his mind, dumbfounded on how all this even happened. It started with groceries and then suddenly—boom. Sparks of unknown emotions, along with water and flour.
TK stood up and fixed the table. He figured he'd fix it now before any other mishaps happen. Once he finished, he peeked through the beads again and saw Kari tying her hair up. She then stretched and turned around. TK swiftly turned away, embarrassed of the idea that Kari might think he was staring at her. He then twitched, knowing how obvious his motions were. "Of course she noticed you staring at her, you idiot!" TK thought while mentally beating himself up.
Kari, once she noticed TK, spoke almost instantly, "Oh! Are you finished?"
"Yeah, just finished!" he called back. His heart pounded yet again.
"You can come join me here if you'd like," she said nicely as she turned back around to face the coffee brewers, "Don't think it'd be much fun staying in the kitchen all day!"
"Y-yeah," he repeated more quietly and slowly. "Keep your cool, TK. Keep your cool."
Finally, he pushed asides the beads and stepped out, once again being just a mere foot away from Kari's back. This time, Kari sensed his presence and turned around joyfully. His panicked heart pounded again. If it weren't enough for him to handle, she flashed him a smile.
"Coffee's almost done," she said happily, "And I'm finishing up some creamers, so we could probably have one together before the café opens."
"Oh, I don't drink coffee," TK started, looking away with a short, embarrassed laugh.
Kari's smile then faded. She stared at him stupidly, eyes fixed on him like a hawk. Her eyebrow raised and her expression made TK feel even more like a fool. He upset her, and they both know it. This was discomfort as it's best for TK. He couldn't find enough will power to move. Kari, much to his luck, let out a huff and girlishly placed her hand on her hip.
"You don't drink coffee?" Kari said in the most appalled tone, "How can you not drink coffee?"
"The taste is just…odd," TK responded almost shyly. He braced himself for her next reaction. She stared at him again in surprise.
"You're crazy!" she said, this time with a laugh, "That's why there's creamers! Hence, lattes! I mean, I'll understand you not liking dark coffee itself, but seriously? You got to be joking."
Her laughter suddenly started to make TK feel strangely comfortable around her. He laughed along, "Sorry, but I…," He then grinned mischievously, "…don't have a whole latte love for coffee."
Her mouth opened in shock as she let out a sarcastic laugh, "Oh no, you did not just mock my café's name!"
Her cute reactions made it nearly impossible for TK to stop teasing her, "If there was anything more cheesy than a door singing a lullaby to people every time someone walked in, it would be the name of this café."
Obviously knowing he was just joking around with her, Kari couldn't resist from laughing. She playfully pushed TK on the chest, "Oh shush, it's cute!"
"Cheesy," TK corrected with a grin.
"CUTE," Kari corrected back with a pointed finger, showing she was speaking in an 'as matter of fact' manner, "Latte and love—it's my two most favorite things! Put those together and it's magic. It's just so cozy! Ah, I love it. Doesn't it all just have a comforting vibe to it?"
TK looked around and pouted his lips, pretending to be impressed. "If by comforting, you mean comfort for teenage girls who love to read 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' after a drastic break up with their boyfriends, then…yeah, sure."
Kari let out something between a scoff and a short laugh, "You are such a jerk! I'll have you know that ever since I opened up this café, most compliments I get is from its name."
The pride that sparkled in Kari's eyes made it so much harder for TK to resist from teasing her, "Hm. And are most of those compliments from girls?"
She paused for a moment. Her face then dropped in defeat, "…Yes."
"I rest my case," TK grinned proudly.
"Hey, sometimes cheesiness is cute," Kari reassured as she turned back around to pour more coffee beans into the second brewer.
TK pierced his lip and nodded. He scanned around the café, and yet another question popped out to break the silence, "So, how did you name this place exactly? Because 'latte' just so happened to coincidentally sound like 'lot of' or…?"
"Actually, no. I named it that way because getting together for a cup of coffee or lattes brings out love and happiness in people," she then closed the brewer, turned back to him and gave him a sly smile as she playfully poked his nose, "Which is why, you sir, are oh so bitter."
"Better bitter than cheesy," TK chuckled, trying hard not to show his vulnerability of losing this battle to both Kari and his nervous, rapid beating heart.
"That's like saying it's better to be bitter and alone than to be cheesy and in love! No way! I would never go down the bitter road, especially since love is such a beautiful thing. When people are happy and/or in love, it gives me such a warm feeling…"
Kari slowly lost her train of thought as a sweet, innocent smile formed upon her lips. TK, as well, started to lose touch with reality. The longer her stared and got lost in her smile, the more his senses became dazed. He couldn't even find enough strength to open his mouth. She then looked down with that stunning smile still planted on her mouth, and softly touched her lips in the shyest motion. A small blush even formed upon her cheeks. Kari's cuteness was becoming too overwhelmingly empowering for TK. It seemed as though something as simple as love was enough to make Kari genuinely happy. He felt a warm sensation travel through his veins—a warm and happy feeling. It was such a new experience for TK to feel happy over just a girl's smile, but he liked it. Eventually, he found himself smiling back down at her with the same amount of sincerity. Kari seemed to notice, as if she had felt his smile. She looked up and laughed shyly.
"S-sorry, dozed off a bit there," she said, blushing.
"Spoken from a true hopeless romantic, apparently," TK responded with a soft laugh while leaning against the counter.
"Very!" Kari chirped, face lightening up, "In fact, I'm all for those super cheesy, lovey dovey type of things. Love songs, flowers, spontaneous surprises—if I'm surrounded by those things, then I'm good for the day."
"Wow," TK said, almost impressed, "You're like an exact replica of this café, except, well, you're human."
"Why thank you," Kari grinned, proudly taking his statement as a compliment, "This place has become my second home—a place to just escape all the stress from reality and to just…feel loved," her smile then widened, causing TK's poor heart to skip a beat, "And that is my goal: to make every customer feel the same."
TK paused for a bit, "To feel loved?"
"Exactly," she turned her attention back to the brewer and pushed the 'keep warm' button. She then turned her head towards TK and gave him a wink, "Starting with you."
TK felt a rush of blood travel up to his cheeks. It was as if butterflies flew from her wink and entered his nervous system. "Starting with you" repeated as echoes in his head. Her sweet voice, her adorable motion, her charm—it was becoming irresistible. "What did she mean by that? 'Starting with you'?" he thought wildly, face growing even warmer at the thought of Kari showing the slightest of interest in him. She gave him another smile before turning her head back towards the brewers. TK felt weak in the knees, and if it weren't for the counter he was leaning against, he would of already been dead on the floor. Never before has he experienced such feelings towards a girl before. But this girl, she gave off a first impression that made TK feel like he has known her for years. He then clenched edge of the counter tightly, deep in thought, "Could it be that I have feelings for—"
"Hey, kiddos! We're back!"
Both TK and Kari jolted in surprise upon seeing Tai and Matt enter through the door. The door's melody faded, and both boys quickly placed the bag of groceries onto the counter. They let out a deep breath of relief and stretched as though the bag of groceries gave them a hell of a work out. Kari looked through the bags and her face sparkled with happiness. TK looked away as quickly as he could to avoid any more mishaps with his emotions.
"Thank you so much!" Kari said joyfully.
She scooted her way past TK to get to Tai. Her aroma circled around him and that made TK's plan of calming down his heart pointless. The sweet, strong scent of vanilla surrounded him as she walked past; it became nearly impossible to ignore her. He glanced over to see Kari give her older brother a tight embrace. His face then dropped a bit, and a whole new different sensation occurred. This time, it was not pleasant. It was something between disappointed and angry. Realizing that, TK then twitched in annoyance. "Jealous?" TK thought out bluntly in disgust, "H-how do I feel jealous? That's her brother for Pete's sake!" He shook his head to get his head back straight, but as expectedly, it didn't work.
"I'm sorry if I caused any trouble," Kari said apologetically while looking up at her older brother, arms still wrapped around him.
"No worries, baby sis!" Tai laughed, ruffling her hair playfully, "How much time do we have left?"
Their voices became distinct as TK stared and wondered: "For siblings that are so different from each other, they are oddly close." He figured he should say something now, because Tai makes a comment on how quiet he was being. Unfortunately, Tai seemed to have beaten him to him. Tai looked at TK and grinned.
"So I see you've met TK?" Tai asked Kari.
"Hm?" Kari blinked as she let go of the hug and looked at TK, "Oh, yeah! Mr. Bitter!"
Matt couldn't help but snort out a laugh. TK glared at him, causing him to immediately shut up. Tai also couldn't help but laugh at the random nickname suddenly given to his friend. TK felt a bit flustered. He looked at Kari, who seemed to be laughing along with Tai, much to his embarrassment. Suddenly, she noticed TK's stare. She gave him a playful smile to assure him that she was just joking, but the smile itself was enough to make him immediately forget about the incident in the first place. His heart just wouldn't stay still. Before he could even smile back, Tai once again "interrupted". He patted Kari's head.
"Time to get to work! You have to open soon," Tai stated while stretching, "Well guys, I'm off! Got to head to work now, too. Good luck today, baby sis! See you tonight."
He then gave Kari one last hug—again contributing to TK's 'jealousy'—and nodded to both Matt and TK a farewell. The moment Tai left the building and once the melody came to an end, Matt clapped his hand sharply and placed on the most serious game-face. Matt was never really the one to go through awkward silences; TK was beyond thankful for that.
"Okay! So what do you need help on, Kari?"
TK was amazed on how easily Matt was able to talk to Kari. Despite the fact that Matt did know Kari before him, it was still pretty strange to TK how he, being more outgoing than Matt, had to build up courage just to say one word to the girl. Kari looked over at Matt and shook her hands in front of her.
"No, no, please don't worry about that," Kari insisted, "You both are my customers, it would be so totally rude of me to ask for help."
Matt looked around, "So you work alone?"
Kari blinked but then laughed, "Oh no, I work with my friend Yolei. A friend who just so happens to be late, but yeah. It's just the two of us right now. It's only been a week since I've opened this café, so I'm hoping to get new employees as the months end. Oh!" Her face gleamed with an idea, "If you have the time, it'd be great if you can spread the word that I'm in desperate need of workers."
"Take TK!" Matt joked, embarrassing TK to the max, "He's also in desperate need of learning how to be productive!"
Kari laughed, "Mr. Bitter working here?" She glanced over at TK and gave him yet another beautiful smile that triggered the butterflies in him, "That would be a miracle."
TK had no idea how to interpret that. Did she mean it in a sarcastic way where it seemed nearly impossible for someone like him to work at a coffee shop? Or did she mean it where it actually would be a miracle for her if TK worked with her? Endless thoughts clustered up his mind, and he had no idea how to stop it. He just realized he hasn't even said a word since Tai and Matt arrived. He had to talk now, or else he'd give off an impression to Kari that he wasn't outgoing. And he most definitely did not want that. He opened his mouth to speak, but once again, someone beat him to it.
"Hey!" Matt said suddenly, "My band will be reuniting in a few weeks, so if anything, we could perform here if you'd like."
"If I'd like?" Kari said excitedly, "Of course I would! In fact, I'd love that! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
She then ran up to him and gave Matt a hug. TK twitched. "Am I the only one who isn't going to get a hug?" TK thought, almost childishly. Trying not to let his thoughts get to him, and trying to not lose another chance to speak, he cleared his throat. Kari and Matt looked over at him. This was his chance.
TK's head dropped in defeat. "Tell me why I saw that coming?" TK thought with a pathetic laugh. Matt, Kari and TK looked over at the door to see a purple-headed girl jolt in with the energy of a thousands horses. Immediately, she ran over to Kari and nearly squeezed her to her death. Kari gasped for air the moment the other girl let go. The girl bowed many times apologetically.
"Super sorry I'm late!" she panted, "I missed by bus, so I was like screw it, I'll run to the café! Then before I knew it, once I started running, I saw the second bus drive past me! So I ran back to wait for the third bus, but the damn thing took forever to come so I decided yet again to run here but then—"
"I got it, Yolei," Kari interrupted, almost dizzy with her words, "Just get the creamers and flavors ready."
"Ay, ay Captain!" Yolei saluted before running off to the kitchen.
Yolei went behind the counter and saw TK. She eyed him funny, almost as if he was examining him. TK looked at her almost nervously and gave a small smile. Yolei continued to suspiciously stare at him, which made him feel beyond uncomfortable. She finally stopped and let out a short "huh" before pushing the beads aside and entering the kitchen. "Okay?" TK thought in confusion. He turned around and saw that Kari was already beside him. He almost lost balance.
"Go sit and relax, Mr. Bitter! We open in a couple minutes, so I have to get things ready."
"R-right," TK coughed, making his way past Kari and towards the table in which his brother was already sitting at. He sat in front of him and nearly slumped in his seat. Her gave Matt such a dull look. Matt understood.
"Sorry if I embarrassed you, man," Matt apologized with a small laugh, scratching his head.
"You didn't," TK lied, in attempt to keep his dignity stable, "I'm just tired. Haven't been up this early on a weekend in a while."
"Huh, well, today's just one of those days that are worth waking up early for," Matt responded while stretching, "At least we're helping out a friend. By the way, nice nickname. Mr. Bitter?"
"Oh, shut up," TK responded obviously embarrassed, "She just calls me that because I just so happen to not like coffee."
"Figures. Well, you better buy one today. It'd be sort of messed up if you didn't."
"Yeah, yeah I know."
A mere 5 seconds of awkward silence surrounded the two brothers, and Matt couldn't handle much more of it, "So what do you think of her?"
Such a blunt question made TK's emotions spark up like fireworks. Matt's simple question seemed more like a pop quiz for TK, where if he gets the answer wrong, his life was ruined. He slightly panicked. If he didn't answer soon, Matt would obviously think something is up. "What do I think of her?" TK asked himself, repeating the question in his mind. Throughout the whole day, that was all he was trying to figure out. With all the sudden emotions and sensations, TK still couldn't make up what he was feeling towards Kari. He then thought of her smile, her laughs, and her smell and suddenly he found himself turning red on the spot. Matt raised a brow suspiciously. "Crap," TK thought, "I need to come up with something quick." TK, to the best of his ability, regained his cool and shrugged.
She's. Cool. That was the best TK could come up with in a matter of a few seconds. But Kari being cool was beyond an understatement, and he knew that for a fact. He felt a bit disappointed at his choice of words; as if he indirectly insulted her. Matt stared at TK oddly for a bit and just smiled. He stood up before TK could realize his mischievous, 'I know something but won't tell you' grin. TK looked up at Matt.
"Wow, talk about morning people. Look, here comes customers already," Matt said amazed, hearing the melody of the door and seeing about 3 girls walk in, "I better get in line before it gets too long. You should too, we have to leave soon anyways. Our dentist appointment is in an hour. Might as well get something sweet before our mouths become puffy and numb."
TK shivered at the thought of having to go the dentist later. But he shook off his thoughts and lined up behind Matt. The three girls ordered in a group, so Matt and TK were right after them. As he waited for the people to order, TK sheepishly looked at the ground and thought over the question Matt asked him. "Seriously, what DO I think of her?" TK thought, again in desperation, "I… feel as though my heart is running a marathon whenever I see her. Her smile has that sort of appeal that shines up the whole room," Suddenly, TK became neutral with his thoughts, "And her laugh, it sounds so adorable and the way her face lights up whenever she hears something she likes—man, that's cute. And she has that sense of humor that most girls are afraid to show. Talk about outspoken. It's great…" His eyes then widened as he realized what he was thinking. He came to a conclusion that shocked him like no other. He was in—
"Here, Mr. Bitter!"
TK looked up at the unexpected voice that came from in front of him. He blinked. It was Kari! He was already at the counter! He didn't even realize how fast the line went, and how he even managed to walk towards the counter without tripping over his thoughts. He stared at Kari with such a dazed face, but she didn't seem to notice. Kari smiled at him and handed him a medium-sized pink paper cup and covered it with a top engraved with hearts. TK stared at the drink in her hands and then looked back up at her, even more confused.
"What is that?"
"I told you, my goal is to make people feel loved, especially with the lattes I make. Especially you! So here, it's on me."
TK continued to stare at her with the same confused eyes. She then laughed, grabbed his hand and wrapped it around the cup. Her touch sent an overwhelming, powerful, tingly sensation through his body that caused his heart to beat even faster than before. That was his limit; he couldn't take it anymore. He was no longer in denial.
"Don't worry, it's not plain, so it won't be bitter like you," she joked, releasing her hand from his, "I flavored it with my very own special creamer! And if you guess it right, I'll give you another free drink the next time you visit! Deal?"
"Deal," TK said almost immediately, not wanting Kari to notice how emotionally unstable he was becoming.
With just a smile and a nod, he turned around and allowed the next customer to take their turn with Kari. TK then quickly walked outside, only to see Matt already out there waiting for him. His heart was still beating rapidly, his mind was still in a daze, and by this point, it was almost obvious to Matt how TK was feeling. However, Matt's expression seemed more worried than it did surprised. TK slowly made his way to Matt, eyes still fixed blankly at his surroundings before him.
TK let out a breath that sounded like he's been holding it in forever. He stared at his cup and felt it's warmth travel from his hands to his body. He looked back up at his surroundings and his eyes snapped back to life the moment he figured out the meaning behind all his crazy emotions:
"Dude, I'm in love."
Okay, so bear with me. Nothing exciting has happened much in the first chapter, but that is what the future chapters are for and I really hoped this first chapter at least got you hooked on to it! Also, I understand that this chapter is fairly long, but it was just a way for me to provide readers a mutual understanding of how the character's feelings. I can assure you that the future chapters won't be as long! (Unless, of course, you guys like that O.o)
Read and review, please! It keeps me super motivated to bring quicker updates. Love you all!