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I paced the room, too nervous to sit down. Jaehee would be coming over any second. It hadn’t taken me long to realize that I was in love with her, but it also hadn’t taken long for me to realize that she had no idea what her feelings were for me.
It hadn’t been long since she asked me to become her partner for her coffee business. I was so excited to start working on this project with her, especially because it was so amazing to see her eyes light up with passion.
I decided to log on to the messenger while I waited.
The doorbell was ringing and I opened the door immediately. Jaehee looked at me with pure surprise and shock, her finger still pressing the doorbell. She hastily removed her finger from the doorbell and apologized, bowing her head slightly. “I didn’t realize you were waiting by the door for me.”
“No, no, I’m sorry for being overeager like that!” She hadn’t even gotten in the door yet and I was already embarrassing myself. “Come on in…” I gestured for her to enter my house and closed the door behind her.
My one-bedroom apartment was already mostly packed up in boxes now that I would be moving above the cafe’ with Jaehee. It was the first decision we had made, although we would be house hunting and brand planning all day.
“I’m sorry it’s such a mess with me packing up…” I blushed a little at her seeing my apartment in such disarray. “I swear, I’ll be much cleaner once we’re roommates.”
Jaehee shook her head and chuckled. To me it sounded like the jingling of bells and it made my heart flutter. I had to remind myself to be calm around her. “It’s nothing, my place looks the same right now.” She shrugged. “And other than my work stuff…I’m actually pretty messy.”
I sat down at the table and she sat next to me pulling out some papers. She was wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans, and it was a little mind blowing still to see her in something other than her work suit, but she looked really good. I assumed the muscles in her legs were partly from judo and the other part was from wearing heels all the time. “So.” Her voice became more business-like, just like when we had first talked on the phone, when she was suspicious of my motives in RFA. “Let’s get to work. I looked up a number of housing options, which is what I’d like to start with. I have three options currently.”
She had really been looking. The three options were very different. One wasn’t quite what we were looking for. It was two separate buildings that were being sold together, one as a store front and the other as a three bedroom apartment. “I really like the idea of living above the business.” Jaehee placed the next two options in front of me. “So there were more what I was thinking. This first one is completed, but has a lot of structural issues, so we wouldn’t be able to move in very quickly. This second one has a completed upper floor with two bedrooms, and the lower floor still needs to have appliances, counters, tiling and paint done, so I was thinking it would be easier to remodel.”
“That would certainly be easier since we wouldn’t have to remove a lot from the lower floor. And the upper floor is already move-in ready?” I picked up the floor plan and looked at the real-estate images.
“Yes, so we could move in right after purchase.” Jaehee leaned closer to me to look at the images together. My heart nearly stopped as her shoulder brushed up against mine.
“Um…Y-yeah, I really like this option.” I handed it to her quickly. Her fingers brushed mine and a shock passed between us. For a second we both sat there in silence before Jaehee started to fuss with her papers once more.
“Okay…so let’s move on to naming and branding.” She went right back into her business mode like nothing had happened. I breathed a sigh of relief. “We’re going for something cozy, very homey, but with some floral accents, correct.”
I nodded wordlessly as I looked over her notes. Her handwriting was impeccable. If I wasn’t aware that it was hers, I would have thought it was a font from pord wocessor. “Your penmanship…”
“Oh.” A blush came to her cheeks. “I-I know…I’m sorry it’s such a mess.”
“What are you talking about? It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.” My jaw dropped thinking she could possibly find that handwritten art to be messy.
“You don’t need to compliment me.” Jaehee was holding her hands up and shaking her head. I took her wrists.
“You have got to be kidding. It’s not even a compliment, it’s the truth!”
“Oh…” She was blushing like crazy now and I realized how close our faces were. I dropped her hands.
“Sorry! I just wanted you to appreciate your own handwriting.” I bit my lip and looked back at the notes.
“Right.” She looked at me for a while longer, her cheeks still filled with red and my heart feeling like it was sinking into my stomach. I had wanted so badly to kiss her in that moment, but there was no way she would have gone for that.
As soon as I had realized that Jaehee felt for me as just a friend, I knew that I would have to resign myself to being her best friend and business partner. If I wanted to be around her, and I desperately did because she filled a room with warmth and positive energy as soon as she walked in, I was going to have to accept my roles in her life. Those roles did not include a romantic relationship.
“So…um…colors, let’s talk about the colors we want to use to paint and purchase furniture in.” I bit my lip, turning back to the notes.
Jaehee nodded, quick to return to her business side. It was kind of cute the way she switched between her fun-loving side and business mode so quickly. “I was thinking a nice creamy yellow color for the walls with a darker wooden floor and then a dark coffee bean color for the furniture.”
I nodded along as she spoke. “So for decorations, the floral feel, certainly some matching flowers and perhaps some paintings on the walls?”
“Excellent thought…I would prefer real flowers, but they would need to be replaced often.” Jaehee put her pen to her lips and looked up at my ceiling in thought.
My breath hitched in my throat as I watched her thinking, tapping the pen against her full lower lip. I bit my own lip and turned my eyes towards the floor. It wasn’t good to keep staring at my unattainable friend.
“Wait!” She exclaimed and put her pen in the air. “There is a nearby flower shop to the second option that we’re favoring.” Jaehee dug through the notes once more and brought out a Noogle street-view image of that apartment/storefront’s street.
“So we could just pop by every few days as needed?” That was an exciting prospect.
“Yes! It would be perfect.” Jaehee pulled out the sheet for the apartment we had been looking at. “I’m going to go ahead and call this one in and buy it with my savings, okay?”
“You can’t use all of your savings!” I pushed away from the table. “You have to let me help, too, since I’m your partner.” I crossed my arms and looked down at her, but she just started giggling at me, that tinkling bell sound making my heart soar like always.
“Okay…how about you buy the furniture then?” She offered, gesturing me back to the chair. I sat slowly, pushing myself back towards the table.
“Okay…fine.” I mumbled. She could easily disarm any situation, not that I had been angry, I just wanted to help. Jaehee was special that way to me; she would always have a solution for everything.
Her conversation with the owner of the building was short enough, but I couldn’t help but watch her out of the corner of my eye the entire time. She was so confident in almost everything she did, even though every time she made a phone call, she had to take a deep breath before hand. Once she finished the call she hung up and breathed out a sigh of relief. I tried to pretend I hadn’t been watching her the entire time by fiddling with her notes.
“As long as we move in in two days, he’s willing to give the buy to us. Apparently he’s eager to get rid of the property in favor of a new high profile building project he’s been hired for.” Jaehee looked to me with a worried expression. “You think you can be all packed in two days?”
I pointed to the large stack of boxes next to her and laughed a little. “I think I’ll be fine.” This only made her giggle and it brought a blush to my cheeks.
“That’s settled, then.” She shuffled more of the papers, a confused look on her face. “You really rearranged things, didn’t you?”
“I’m sorry!” How could I have been so stupid, of course she had a system. She’d been Jumin’s assistant so long she would have to have one. My upset only made her laugh more.
“Don’t worry, I found it.” She smiled and reorganized the notes. “So let’s keep going.”
That’s how the rest of the afternoon went. It was probably very similar to her former schedule, and yet she was so excited about everything that it didn’t even seem like work. I felt a little bit like a silent observer at some points, but being with her was enough for me. From time to time our hands would brush against each other as we scattered our notes around and my heart would skip a beat. Jaehee was probably picking up on this because every time she would pause for a moment before continuing.
By the time we were done, it was dark outside. My stomach rumbled and Jaehee raised her eyebrows at me before checking her watch. “Oh my, we’ve nearly missed dinner!”
“Oh, I can make some sandwiches really quick, you just keep working, okay?” I stood up and walked to my tiny kitchen.
“I think I should help.” Jaehee started to stand to protest.
“Absolutely not, you’re a guest in my house today.” I gave her a smile over my shoulder. “Just keep working, sandwiches aren’t so hard to make.”
Apparently, I had managed to convince her and she sat back down, getting focused on her work again. I put the sandwiches together as quickly as I could, although occasionally I paused to look at her. She looked beautiful outlined by the small light from my ceiling lamp. I shook my head vigorously. It really wasn’t right to obsess over her like I was. I brought the plates and set them out in front of her.
When we had each finished we both stood up to take the plates to the kitchen. My chair leg caught hers and a shock of fear went through me as I fell forward into her arms, my face landing squarely between her breasts. I stood up so quick and stole her plate running out to the kitchen as fast as possible with my hand pressed against my nose.
“MC, are you okay?” Jaehee sounded worried, but I laughed it off nervously.
“Yup, yup, I’m fine. I’m sorry.” I put the plates in the sink and wiped my bleeding nose on some tissues. The worst part was, I wasn’t bleeding because I’d gotten hurt.
“Are you sure?” I could hear her stepping towards me and my heart leaped up into my throat. I turned around waving my hands at her. “Yes, yes, I’m just fine.”
Jaehee furrowed her brows and walked out to me. “Your nose is bleeding.” She took some tissue and gently dabbed under my nose. It felt like my heart was racing so fast it was going to escape my chest.
“R-really, I’m fine.” Having Jaehee so close after a misstep like that was not helping my cardiac health.
I could see Jaehee’s cheeks were turning a little pink. “Try to be more careful, MC. I don’t like you getting hurt.” She bit at her bottom lip and I swear I nearly died.
“Right…I will be.” We stood there like that for a moment. She was so close all I’d have to do was lean a little closer. Jaehee noticed me looking at her lower lip and she turned dark red now, too, before pulling away.
“Well…I should get going. I’ll pick you up in two days to move in.” Just as quickly as I had fallen, she was grabbing all her notes and leaving my house.
I waved at her from the doorway as she drove away. As soon as I was sure she was out of sight, I closed the door and slid down the door, hugging my knees. Surviving as Jaehee’s partner and best friend was going to be a lot harder than I thought. Still, the way she had looked at me when we were so close…Mabye she would realize her feelings more and…? I shook my head. It was best not to hope. All I knew, is that I wanted to be a part of her life, even if it meant dying of a heart attack from unrequited love.