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04 January 2011 @ 10:29 pm
Caramel Cloves and Coffee Slims (Amber/Krystal) for onew  
Title: Caramel Cloves and Coffee Slims
Recipient: onew
Pairing: Amber/Krystal
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Amber and Krystal meet at a failed (or is it?) blind date. They grow closer until personal problems pull them apart.



amber gets there early and immediately, she regrets it. she's worn her best blazer but she's forgotten her laptop. the only thing left to console her is the caramel macchiato that's in the making.

the mug has an extra large mouth and has a cartoon of a cranky cat. it reads: 'feeling catty this morning.'

amber sighs. she supposes it's true. but more than catty, amber's feeling nervous.

in twenty minutes, the small but popular coffee shop fills with the scent of coffee and people. the line at the cash register grows longer and amber starts to stare at the eclectic group.

sulli had told her: 11 o'clock.

it was ten 'til.

sweat starts forming on her palms and it's not because of the coffee in front of her. her movements become jerky, unsettled.

she starts muttering under her breath, letting out little puffs of steam.

"sulli...stupid sulli and her manipulative smile"

it was amber's fault for listening to sulli when the topic of 'blind date' came up. but still, blaming sulli and her sneaky match making ways feels better to amber at the moment.

it's when she nearly burns her tongue that amber spies the skinny girl with long black hair. she's holding a paper coffee cup in one hand and a large laptop in the other. one canvas bag is slung over her right shoulder and she hoists it with her whole body like it's heavy.

amber's heart goes out to this girl right away. the coffee shop serves the best coffee in the area, but it's horrendously packed when one wants to stay and work or lounge.

the girl heaves a sigh and blows on her nonexistent bangs. it's kind of cute so amber smirks and waves her over.

"hello" says amber. "if it's okay with you, i'm okay with sharing a table."

the girl looks relieved and hesitant at the same time.

"is...is that okay?"

"sure, why not? i'm waiting for someone but..."

amber takes another look at the clock. it's now fifteen past eleven.

"i'm not sure she's going to show up" finishes amber.

the girl smiles a small dimple forming at one corner of her mouth.

"thank you so much" she says. "i really need to write this paper and this cafe is the only place where i can really focus."

she sets down her things and plugs in her laptop.

"by the way. my name is krystal" the girl says. she offers a hand and, though amber had the idea to finish her mug and go home, amber takes it.

###

amber meets sulli the next morning.

"so..." sulli asks, smile creeping up to her ears. "how'd it go?"

"she didn't show" amber deadpans. "so all in all it was a great blind date."

sulli's face falls and she starts to frown.

"but...soojung was dying to meet you. she was so excited..."

"yeah well" says amber, clapping sulli on the shoulder. "it's alright because i met someone else..."

sulli squeals. "you what?! tell me everything."

and so amber does. she leaves out the part about krystal's smooth and silky black hair or the way one side of her mouth dimples when she smiles. there are things amber likes to treasure for herself.

###

coffee isn't really amber's thing. at least not every day.

she doesn't really like taking time to sip hot drinks while munching on a biscotti. but something tugs her into the small coffee shop on the corner of main and broadway day after day, precisely at ten 'till eleven.

she finds herself ordering a large iced americano and a banana nut muffin. there she finds krystal at the table where they first met, exactly big enough for two to comfortably sit and sip.

krystal is busy typing on her computer. the white cover stares amber in the face. and though amber doesn't mind staring at krystal for hours on end, there are things that amber hasn't confirmed and besides, it's just rude.

out of habit, amber squishes her fingers into her pocket and fishes out a pack of clove cigarettes. the lighter's in the other pocket and, by the time amber flicks the button twice, krystal's staring straight into amber's hand.

"you smoke" is the first thing that comes out of krystal's mouth.

"uh..."

"and you smoke cloves."

"sorry?" amber asks. somehow krystal's voice sounds accusatory.

krystal brushes away the thought with a smooth swipe of her hand.

"i didn't ask for an apology" she smirks. "it's just...never knew you were the cloves type."

amber clutches at her clove cigs protectively.

"what's wrong with cloves? they smell good."

"sure. i prefer slims."

amber's jaw drops to the floor and later, she realizes that she must do all that's possible to convert krystal to the right side.

###


things turn kind of gray when amber visits the coffee shop two days in a row to find that she is all by herself.

it's not like they've made a promise or anything but, still. they've been meeting like this for a few months now. it's more than odd that krystal wouldn't show without a call or even a text.

amber rummages through her bag, leaving her latte untouched. instead of her cloves she finds a half empty pack of krystal's slims.

'or perhaps it's half full' amber thinks to herself wryly.

she takes one out and puts it to her lips, imagining krystal's.

but amber doesn't get to light the end. sulli calls.

"what"

"someone's in a bad mood" comes sulli's voice.

"so?"

"it's perfect."

"what?"

"where are you? there's some place you have to come with me."


amber looks down at her mug. her latte's cold and krystal isn't even here. so amber gets up and stuffs the cigarette back into her bag.

"so where is this place that i have to go?"

###

"it's not the best of times to meet soojung, but... your somber attitude will help" says sulli, dragging amber to the hospital.

"what? wait. soojung? isn't that the girl you tried to set me up with? the blind date?"

"yes."

"then, wait. what?!"

amber halts at the lobby and refuses to budge. sighing, sulli puts her hands on her hips.

"blind date or not, i've always wanted you two to meet okay? you two are two of my closest friends."

"so why are we at the hospital? why can't we meet somewhere normal?"

sulli's eyes grow a little dim.

"we're not exactly visiting soojung."

"huh?"

"more like visiting her sick sister, sooyeon. soojung's here though."

"oh no. hell no. this isn't where i should intrude..."

"amber!"

sulli clings and yells amber's name when amber tries to leave. sulli makes those huge eyes of hers water and says, "you know how hospitals scare me. please?"

and soon after, amber somehow finds that she's in the elevator going to the sixth floor.

###

it's kind of odd the way fate works. and amber had never believed in fate before.

but when sulli knocks, amber hears a familiar voice saying, "come in".

and when sulli swings open the door, there's krystal's silky hair tossing as she turns her head to greet them.

"soojung!" sulli says, hugging krystal tight.

and all of the sudden, things click into place and amber stares, slack jawed, at krystal.

there are dark circles under krystal's eyes but everything else about her is exactly the same as amber left her. krystal locks eyes with amber in mid-hug with sulli.

sulli pulls back, asking, "soojung? amber?"

at the same time krystal asks, "jinri, what's going on? why is amber with you?"

while sooyeon, krystal's sister, says, "so you're amber..." and makes amber blush.

things get all sorted out in the span of two hours. sulli and krystal know each other by their korean names, while amber uses their english ones.

amber also finds that krystal's sister also goes by 'jessica'.

"it was really nice meeting you" amber tells jessica before she leaves.

"no, it was my pleasure really." and jessica smiles warmly at amber. so much so that amber feels a little guilty.

they leave krystal too, at the hospital. but not before amber gives krystal a meaningful look.

"i'll call you" amber whispers.

and krystal just smiles weakly.

###

"so, you and soojung huh?"

"please call her krystal from now on. it's confusing as it is."

"aha! i knew it! i knew you guys would hit it off! i'm such a great matchmaker. i even surprise myself sometimes."


"they look alike" amber muses.

"huh? who?"

"krystal and jessica. they're the same kind of pretty."

"yeah."

"but jessica seems more delicate somehow. and krystal seems more...soft."

sulli grows somber.

"don't say that i told you but...jessica unni... she's...well, she's very sick."

"really? when is she going home?"

"no, not like that. she's sick. the doctor's say a year at most."

amber stops walking and realizes she's been selfish for missing krystal at the coffee shop.

###

even though she knows krystal won't be there, amber goes to get coffee anyway.

'selfish, selfish' she thinks to herself. but amber can't help but miss krystal all the same.

###

in a week's time, krystal stops picking up calls.

and in two weeks, the stupid automated message says that krystal's number does not exist any longer.

amber begs sulli until she gets krystal's home address. because when amber goes to the hospital, she finds that the jung sisters are long gone.

###

amber has been pounding on the door for thirty minutes now. at first there was demanding.

"let me in! let me in!"

but then amber had resorted to begging.

"please, just...let me talk to you."

nothing had worked.

now, all amber had left was stubbornness. and when all the energy had been sapped from her body, she had slumped in front of the jungs' door step.

it was dark now. but amber was ready to wait all night.

it wasn't fair. they were friends, not even lovers. how could a person just end a relationship one-sidedly like this?

amber had to find out why. but deep inside, she just wanted to see krystal one last time.


the front door opens at roughly three in the morning.

krystal, looking haggard with rabbit eyes, holds out a blanket.

"go home amber. please. just go home."

###

when amber returns to her apartment, she's a dirty mess. she showers, but doesn't fall asleep afterward regardless of having spent the night.

she remembers the promise she had forced out of krystal the other night.

"go home amber. please. just go home" krystal had said.

"i'll go. if you promise to come to me."

"amber..."

"promise."

and krystal had done just that.

###

she doesn't know when it happens, but when the door bell rings, amber finds that she'd been asleep with krystal's cigarette in her mouth.

hastily, she stuffs the cig in her pocket and runs to the front door.

krystal.

"come in" amber starts to say, awkwardly.

but krystal's hands snake around her waist and suddenly, there are a warm pair of lips melding with her own. amber thinks, 'oh she tastes like tobacco' but realizes that the scent of tobacco is coming from herself.

it feels odd but wonderful to mistake one's own scent with one's lover's.

krystal's mouth falls open to breathe, so amber opens hers and breathes with her. the gasp comes with the side of amber's tongue into the space between krystal's lower teeth and her lip. and this happens while krystal's tongue draws a jerky line down the roof of amber's mouth.

the grip on amber's waist feels light, but like it's breaking. there are knuckles digging into amber's side but she doesn't mind. their footwork is messy so they end up flopping onto the couch, but nothing is more serious than the look in krystal's eyes.

so amber closes hers and keeps kissing and gasping and trying to fit bliss into this one moment.

###

they fall asleep kissing, tangled in a half clothed mess on amber's sofa.

amber, knocked out, hates herself when she finds krystal has already left in the morning.

on the kitchen table is a note.

"i think what we had was love. i'm sorry to lose it. good bye."

amber reads the note fifty times before calling sulli.

"they left" sulli says woefully. "for jessica unni's treatment in new york."

after she hangs up, amber stuffs a hand inside her pocket. there's a squashed cigarette in there that's not hers.

she balances it between her lips and lights the end in three tries.

she takes one puff and coughs, hard and shuddering. the smoke has never been so chokingly thick before.

###

there's not one day amber misses going to the coffee shop. she gets known as a regular fixture and soon, sulli joins in and starts meeting amber there.

"one earl gray latte please" sulli orders.

and amber sits down with her caramel macchiato. before she settles, she takes her bag and fishes for a pack of cigarettes. she finds the slims quickly and takes one between her lips.

"what. no more cloves?" asks sulli.

but amber smiles. "haven't had one in a while, but don't tempt me."

"why? aren't you the one who drools for a cig when you even smell the scent of cloves?"

"yeah. but."

"but?" asks sulli, peering over the edge of her cup.

"but i remember her better this way."

and that's all it takes for sulli to look away.

###

the regular barista who takes amber's order looks extremely jumpy when amber walks in.

sulli's busy with class so amber's alone. and briefly amber wonders if she's being a bother by taking up a whole table to herself.

but when the barista takes amber's order, she keeps staring and smiling.

"what is it?" amber finally asks. "why are you so giddy today?"

the barista smiles wide, like amber's just asked the question that she's been dying to answer.

"we have a new worker here today."

"oh."

"yep, i'm training her."

"okay."

"you should ask her to do your orders from now on."

"why? you know my drinks the best."

but the barista shakes her head.

"no. i'm only second best."

"that's silly" insists amber. "if this new girl beats you, she must be...be..."

and the only person amber can really think of is krystal. but that's impossible. so amber says, "well...no one can be better than you."

the barista keeps smirking though and only says, "i'll have her bring out your order then."

amber shrugs and finds her own seat.

there's something kind of depressing about knowing that she's going to be sipping coffee alone. but she tries to let it not bother her.

amber takes out a slim cigarette.

"you smoke" someone says, almost accusingly.

"uh..." amber says, turning. she sees her order. then slender fingers.

and immediately she smells cloves.

"i see you like slims" says the girl holding amber's coffee. "i prefer cloves though."

there's a dimple at the corner of the girl's mouth. and a cute, closed mouth smile.

"i'm soojung" says the girl. "i believe our introductions are really late."

"way late" agrees amber.

she stands up, jolting the coffee in the girl's hand. it drops to the floor and the mug takes a roll.

"oh!" krystal says, but amber doesn't feel the hot liquid streaming down her thigh.

all amber feels is a pair of hot lips pressed to her own.

###

"when did you convert?" amber asks in bed that night.

"i didn't."

"then why..."

"it was the only way i could keep you around. cloves."

krystal wrinkles her nose. and amber laughs.

"and every time i smoked those damn slims, i imagined you smoking them."

"what a pair of dorks" teases krystal, lightly bumping her forehead on amber's.

"yeah. what a pair we are."
 
 
 
レーザ。: 엠버 • 2009 and i was straight。onew on January 7th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC)

This was so cute! I love the Amber-Krystal dynamics, how you got them together without making Amber seem so boyish. And the part where they kissed was just so intense. Loving the short yet meaningful descriptions so much, really. Thank you so much for writing this for me, secret Santa!
phonebookphonebook on January 7th, 2011 06:55 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what it is, but I really like the pacing here. And there are little moments, like amber pounding on the door and then resorting to begging, or thinking about how she must convert krystal to cloves, that really resonated for me.

it feels odd but wonderful to mistake one's own scent with one's lover's.
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

and their messy footwork. and their conversions. and that ending, guh. The dialogue feels really natural to me and idk, this is super cute. :>
the only voice i want to hear is yoursladadadi on January 9th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
this is really sweet. i love the way the story circles back in on itself, it gives the whole thing a polished feeling.