“Coming! Give me a few minutes!” A female voice called out.
It didn’t sound like the ahjumma. The voice sounded too young for a middle-aged woman. Sooyeon wondered who it could be.
A moment later, a young girl emerged from the back, dressed in a yellow short sleeve tee with a white apron. Her hair was tucked under a snapback and there was a hint of chocolate on the side of her lips.
“Hello!” The young girl wiped her hands on a wet towel as she stood behind the ice cream display. She looked up and their eyes met.
“Hey, it’s you. Welcome back!” the girl greeted brightly.
It took two seconds before Sooyeon realised who the young girl was. The moment the recognition set in, Sooyeon’s face burst into a hot flush, turning pink instantly.
“Hi,” came a soft and embarrassed reply.
“What flavour would you like?”
Sooyeon was about to point to the tub of milky white ice cream when the girl interrupted her.
“How about trying the new flavour of ice cream I just made? Since it is a brand new flavour, I would like to get some feedback. Give me a moment, I’ll be right back,” the girl said before she disappeared into the room.
A minute later, the girl reappeared with a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
“Try this.” The girl grabbed a plastic spoon and held it in front of Sooyeon.
Sooyeon was a little hesitant. However, the next instant, a hand reached out to grab the spoon. Soojung dug the spoon deep into the bowl and sent the thick blob of chocolate ice cream into her mouth. A look of satisfaction spread across Soojung’s face.
“It’s da bomb!” Soojung proclaimed. “Can I have another scoop?”
The young girl nodded with a wide smile. “You may have the rest in this bowl.”
“Thanks!” Soojung replied, with chocolate stains all over her pearly whites.
All this while, Sooyeon was surprised at the sudden entrance of her sister and the speed at which the spoon was snatched away.
“Unnie, you really ought to try it. It’s GOOD!”
“It’s called Chocolate Bliss. It’s not too sweet yet not too bitter,” the girl explained. She took a new spoon and scooped a small portion for Sooyeon.
The smile on the girl’s face grew wider when she saw Sooyeon’s eyes lit up.
Sooyeon gave a thumbs up. “I’m not a chocolate person but this is really delicious!”
“Are all these flavours made by you?” Soojung was amazed at the young girl’s ice cream making skills.
The girl shook her head. “Only a handful are made by me. I’m still learning the ropes from my aunt, the curly hair ahjumma you often see.”
“Did you create Hazelnut Haven?” Soojung asked. “That’s one of my favourites!”
The girl giggled. “Yes I did.”
Soojung tugged at Sooyeon’s sleeve. “Unnie, we should buy a pint of Hazelnut Haven. I remember Yoong unnie likes it too.”
Sooyeon agreed with Soojung’s choice. As a token of appreciation, the girl at the store packed a small container of the chocolate ice cream she made.
Soojung held the door open for her eldest sister. “Thank you for the ice cream! By the way, what’s your name? I’m Soojung and this is my eldest sister Sooyeon.”
The girl gave a little wave. “I’m Taeyeon. Pleased to meet you.”
“I’m seventeen and I suppose you are older,” Soojung replied.
“I’m twenty one.”
Sooyeon was surprised the young girl was the same age as her. She thought Taeyeon was around Yoona’s age.
“That’s the same age as my unnie!” Soojung added, pointing at Sooyeon.
Taeyeon flashed a warm smile and waved at Sooyeon. The latter smiled in acknowledgment and nodded shyly.
Visiting the ice cream store became a weekly affair for the Jung siblings. Soojung was there to play with the black puppy, Yoona was there for the ice cream and being a ‘critic’ for the new flavours while Sooyeon was simply there to accompany her younger siblings. They learnt that Taeyeon was working part time for her aunt whenever she was free and that Taeyeon was studying food and nutrition at the same university as Sooyeon. The campus was huge so it was not unusual that they had never bumped into each other before.
As they grew more comfortable with the ahjumma and Taeyeon, the Jung sisters spent more time chatting at the store. Soojung would help to walk the puppy, Yoona would be in the kitchen exploring and giving suggestions on new flavours of ice cream with Taeyeon which meant that Sooyeon was left in a rather awkward situation. Nonetheless the ahjumma was very friendly and kind, keeping Sooyeon engaged by asking her about her studies, ambitions and by telling her about Taeyeon.
Though Sooyeon hadn’t really held a proper one on one conversation with Taeyeon, she felt like she knew Taeyeon as a close friend from the conversations with the ahjumma. At times, Taeyeon would emerge from the kitchen when she heard her name being mentioned and would jokingly warn her aunt not to reveal her secrets to her customers.
Taeyeon always wore a warm smile that was endearing and her soothing voice made people feel comfortable listening to her. Sooyeon was one of those who enjoyed hearing Taeyeon share her stories about dabbling with ice cream and new recipes.
On one particular weekend, both Yoona and Soojung were out with their friends. Sooyeon was feeling bored at home and decided to go to the ice cream store. Visiting the store had become part of her weekend routine. The irony was Sooyeon wasn’t a big ice cream fan like Yoona but there was an unknown attraction at the store that drew her there.
As she approached the ice cream store, Sooyeon noticed the black puppy wasn’t at its usual spot. She assumed Taeyeon brought it out for a walk or that Taeyeon was late. She went into the store and ordered her usual vanilla ice cream. Sooyeon took a seat on the high chair and watched the people at the park while biting into her ice cream listlessly.
Sooyeon hadn’t realised that the ahjumma was standing next to her until she felt a piece of napkin wrapped around her hand.
“Sooyeon ah, your ice cream’s melting and dripping onto your hand,” the ahjumma said as she handed Sooyeon a few more napkins.
“Ah, I didn’t notice.” Sooyeon took the napkins and wiped her hand quickly. She was lost in her thoughts and didn’t realised the ice cream was melting and dripping down the cone.
The ahjumma let out a chuckle. “I should have told you earlier but customers were streaming in continuously so I didn’t have a chance. Taeyeon isn’t coming in today. She has something on.”
Sooyeon felt warmth filling her cheeks.
“N-no…I…I wasn’t waiting for her. I wanted to hang around before going home. My sisters aren’t at home and it’s kind of boring to stay in,” Sooyeon defended herself.
The ahjumma chuckled again. “Oh, then I must have been mistaken. I thought I saw you looking around for Ginger…Taeyeon’s puppy. Nevermind then, sorry I made that assumption.”
Sooyeon thanked the ahjumma for her kindness and left the store.
The following week, Sooyeon wasn’t able to join her sisters on their weekly visit to the ice cream store. She was bogged down with assignments and had to stay home to complete them. She was feeling a little disappointed that she couldn’t join her sisters but work was work and she knew she had to complete them before she could take a break.
Two hours later, Sooyeon’s mobile phone rang. Saving her document on the desktop, Sooyeon reached over to see who was calling her on a Sunday. It was Yoona.
“Unnie!” Yoona blared into the phone, causing Sooyeon to hold it a distance away lest her eardrum was damaged.
“Let’s go to a school fair! The kind ahjumma gave us some coupons!”
Sooyeon sighed. “I’m still in the midst of doing my work.”
“All work no play makes Sooyeon a dull girl. You need a break from work, unnie! You’ve been working too hard for the whole day already.”
“Yes, I second that!” Soojung added in the background.
“Unnie, you need to go out, breath in some fresh air, clear your mind before you resume working on your assignment,” Yoona persuaded.
Sooyeon let out a sigh. “Alright then. Where is it?”
In the next twenty minutes, Sooyeon found herself standing in front of a primary school that had huge banners hanging across their fences. The primary school was having a fund-raising charity event where people could purchase coupons and use the coupons for food and games within the fair at the school compounds.
“Unnie, over here!” a voice called out.
Sooyeon saw Yoona and Soojung waving at her near the main entrance of the primary school. Soojung beckoned her eldest sister to join them while Yoona was waving a booklet of coupons excitedly. The three sisters linked arms as they walked into the school.
The fair was held at the school field. Colourful banners lined the fences around the field while upbeat music blasted from the speakers. Adults and children filled the fair which comprised of two rows of stores. There was a variety of stores, from food to handmade goods and games.
“I want to try the fishing game, what about you?” Yoona asked Soojung after she quickly surveyed the scene.
“Let’s go!” Soojung replied enthusiastically.
After watching her sisters fish for some time, Sooyeon got bored. She decided to explore the other stores.
“Unnie, please get me some food, I’m hungry!” Yoona called out.
“I’ll go with you, unnie,” Soojung added.
At a store selling handmade bracelets, Sooyeon spotted one bracelet with ice cream cones and lollipops charms.
“You could choose up to six characters to add onto the charm. You can choose the letters from here.” The lady at the store handed Sooyeon a box containing the letters of the alphabet.
Unknowingly, Sooyeon picked up the letter “T”. She stare at it for a moment before she got interrupted by Soojung.
“This bracelet is cute!”
Sooyeon hastily dropped the letter back into the box.
“Yes it is quite cute,” Sooyeon replied.
“Hmm…I think Taeyeon unnie would like it. How about getting it for her?”
“Isn’t it odd to give someone a gift for no reason?”
Soojung laughed. “It isn’t odd! It’s just something cute and random for a friend. Moreover she treated us to free ice cream at times.”
Sooyeon pinched Soojung’s cheeks playfully. “No wonder your cheeks are getting more chubby.”
Soojung puffed up her cheeks like a hamster.
“I think we should buy it. It’s a pretty bracelet.”
“You’re just trying to ask me to pay for it while you take the credit for giving it to Taeyeon as a gift in exchange for more free ice cream right?”
Soojung grabbed her elder sister’s arm and put her head on Sooyeon’s shoulder. “Awww…unnie knows me the best.”
Sooyeon relented and decided to buy the bracelet after her youngest sister’s persuasion and use of aegyo.
After buying the bracelet, Soojung suddenly released her arm from Sooyeon’s and skipped away.
“Ya Jung Soojung, take the bracelet with you.”
Soojung waved her hands in the air. “Unnie, I don’t have a bag with me, you can keep it in yours lest I lose it.”
“You’re always like that. Too lazy to bring a bag out and always putting stuff in mine. I shall confiscate it.”
“Up to you, since it’s not my initials anywhere,” Soojung teased as she increased her pace of walking.
“Ya, where are you rushing off to?”
“The ice cream store!”
Sooyeon caught up with Soojung. “How do you know there’s ice cream here?”
“Oh, there’s usually ice cream at school fairs. Isn’t that the highlight for kids?” Soojung added in a haste.
The two sisters walked side by side, with Soojung leading the way by a foot step.
“How do you know the ice cream store is in that direction?” Sooyeon asked curiously.
“Unnie ah, look at the queue. It must be the ice cream store. Let’s hurry before it’s sold out!” Soojung grabbed her elder sister’s wrist and pulled her towards the queue.
Many people, mostly children, were waiting patiently in the queue to buy ice cream. In fact, the ice cream store had the longest queue at the fair. It wasn’t because the seller was slow because the queue was moving constantly. Sooyeon was amazed at the number of people who liked eating ice cream.
Just as they got nearer to the store, Sooyeon was surprised to see Taeyeon. Taeyeon wore a blue checkered apron and a snapback. There was a young girl at the store who was helping to take orders and collect the coupons as payment from the customers.
“Ooh, Taeyeon unnie is here!” Soojung squealed, somewhat unnaturally.
Sooyeon turned around and stared at Soojung. “Why do I sense something odd?”
“What’s so odd?” Yoona asked, popping her head between her sisters and wrapping her arms around them.
“Yoong unnie, we bought a pretty bracelet for Taeyeon unnie,” Soojung interrupted, trying to change the topic of their conversation.
“That’s nice. We can pass it to her when it’s our turn and maybe we can get an extra serving!” Yoona beamed.
Sooyeon smacked her sisters lightly on the arm. “The two of you are hopelessly addicted to ice cream. Get a part-time job and earn some money to pay for the ice cream yourselves instead of asking for free ones.”
A few moments later, the young girl from the store walked along the queue and stopped just two people in front of the Jung siblings.
“I’m sorry, the ice cream is sold out. We do not have enough. Thank you for your support,” the young girl said before giving a bow.
‘Aaawwws’ peppered the queue as people walked away, disappointed that they couldn’t eat the ice cream.
The Jung sisters went to the store intending to say hi to Taeyeon.
Taeyeon greeted them warmly when she saw them at the store.
“Aww…is this new?” Soojung asked. She pointed at the empty tub labelled ‘Beary Cotton Candy’.
Taeyeon nodded slowly. “Yes it is. It’s the best selling flavour and is made up with gummy bears and cotton candy flavoured ice cream. Unfortunately the kids before you bought the last bit. I’m so sorry.”
Soojung was disappointed. However, her disappointment soon turned into happiness when Taeyeon reached into the fridge behind her and pulled out a small tub of ice cream. It was labelled ‘Beary Cotton Candy.’
“Shhh, don’t tell anyone. I kept some of it aside. I meant to bring it back to the store after the fair for the three of you to try,” Taeyeon smiled warmly, flashing a wink.
Sooyeon’s heart fluttered a little. She found Taeyeon’s wink cute.
“Sooyeon unnie bought something for you!” Soojung announced, pointing at her eldest sister.
Yoona gave Sooyeon a nudge, causing the latter to take a step forward.
“Oh, what is it?” Taeyeon asked curiously, trying to see if Sooyeon was holding onto anything.
Sooyeon handed the small paper bag to Taeyeon. Their fingers brushed against each other’s and Sooyeon felt her heart beat a little faster. She noticed Taeyeon was beaming from ear to ear, like an excited kid.
“Sooyeon unnie bought it for you because she finds it cute and it reminds her of you!” Soojung added loudly, emphasing the last few words.
Sooyeon’s face burst into a shade of pink and she tried to stomp Soojung’s feet but missed as Soojung was too quick for her. Meanwhile, Yoona was trying to hold in her laughter as she exchanged mischievous glances with Soojung. Their plan to trick their eldest sister into buying the bracelet and meeting up with Taeyeon was a success.
Through their regular visits to the ice cream store at the park, Yoona and Soojung learnt that Taeyeon was single, and they grew to like this unnie who seemed talented in the kitchen. They thought it would be a fantastic chance to hook their eldest sister with Taeyeon up since they studied at the same university and that they got along quite well. They were worried that their eldest sister would be left on the shelf since she was quite an introvert. Plus, having a future chef as part of the family would ensure that Yoona and Soojung enjoy delicious ice cream everyday.
“Oh my, thank you Sooyeon. It’s a really nice gift,” Taeyeon smiled.
“It’s nothing much. I hope you like it,” Soojung replied softly. She didn’t dare to look Taeyeon in the eyes.
“Of course Taeyeon unnie does, don’t you?” Yoona teased.
Taeyeon chuckled and nodded. “It even has my initials on it.”
Soojung popped her head next to Sooyeon. The latter was standing like a frozen ice block. “Help Taeyeon unnie wear it on her wrist now!”
Taeyeon placed the opened package and the bracelet on top of the ice cream display and stuck out her right hand towards Sooyeon. The warm smile on Taeyeon’s face instantly melted away the nervousness in Sooyeon.
Sooyeon picked up the bracelet and gingerly placed it around Taeyeon’s wrist. When Sooyeon was done, Taeyeon lifted up her wrist and admired the bracelet.
“It’s nice. Thank you!” Taeyeon’s eyes disappeared into crescents while smiling.
The Jung sisters helped Taeyeon and the young girl pack up. After they were done,the young girl bade farewell and walked home since her house was just a stone’s throw away from the school.
“If you don’t mind squeezing into my little car, I could drop you home,” Taeyeon offered.
Yoona quickly pulled Soojung by her side and said, “It’s okay. You can drop unnie home. Soojungie and me are meeting some friends for dinner.”
“Since when?” Sooyeon asked, raising an eyebrow.
Yoona was quick to cook up an excuse on the spot. “Since just now at the fair. My friends called me for dinner and asked me to bring Soojungie along. One of the guys is interested to know her.”
“I’m old enough to date!” Soojung proclaimed. “We already called home to tell mum that the three of us are not eating at home.”
“The three of us?” Sooyeon was puzzled by the reply.
“Taeyeon unnie, if you don’t have any dinner plans, how about eating out with my sister?” Yoona suggested.
“Sure, why not, I’m free,” Taeyeon grinned. She discreetly gave Yoona a thumbs up from the side of her body.
Sooyeon was caught in a rather awkward situation and seemingly had no choice but to go along with Taeyeon. It wasn’t because she didn’t like to eat with Taeyeon but somehow she had a feeling this dinner had been planned by her sisters all this while. She felt shy to eat dinner with Taeyeon alone.
“Bye unnies!” Yoona waved her hand and grabbed Soojung along with her, leaving Taeyeon and Sooyeon standing by Taeyeon’s car.
“Shall we?” Taeyeon asked, pointing to her car.
“Okay,” Sooyeon replied softly.
Throughout the journey, Taeyeon did the talking and Sooyeon grew more comfortable with her. After some time, Sooyeon was also sharing her stories about herself.
In the following weeks, Yoona and Soojung created various opportunities for Taeyeon and Sooyeon to hang out more often. At times Sooyeon suspected her sisters were the masterminds of leaving her along with Taeyeon but said nothing. Deep inside, she was thankful for her sisters for creating such chances to be with Taeyeon since she was too shy to ask Taeyeon out, even as a friend.
One evening, the ahjumma decided to close the ice cream store earlier since business was slow. Yoona and Soojung cooked up some excuse about meeting friends and had to leave as well. Only Taeyeon and Sooyeon remained at the store. Sooyeon was about to leave when Taeyeon stopped her.
“I created a new flavour and I would like you to try it,” Taeyeon said.
“Ah, you should have asked Yoong. She’s the gourmet in our family,” Sooyeon replied.
“It’s okay. This is a special flavour and I would like you to be the first one to taste it,” Taeyeon insisted as she gestured for Sooyeon to follow her to the kitchen.
Taeyeon pulled out a small white tub of ice cream from the freezer. It was an unmarked tub, which was quite unusual since Taeyeon always marked her ice cream tubs.
Pulling the cover open, the tub revealed pink ice cream with strawberry pieces. Taeyeon took two metal spoons from a nearby cutlery holder and used them to scoop ice cream out of the tub. She handed one spoon to Sooyeon and asked her to try it while she licked the ice cream from the other spoon.
“It’s delicious. The strawberry’s sweet and the colour of the ice cream will surely appeal to girls,” Sooyeon complimented.
“Do you want to know what’s the name of the ice cream?”
Sooyeon nodded. “What is it?”
“It’s called Strawberry Kisses.”
“Do you want to know why?”
Sooyeon nodded again. “Why?”
“Because the pink reminds me of the colour of your lips and makes me want to do this,” Taeyeon said tenderly before leaning forward and planting a light kiss on Sooyeon’s lips.
Sooyeon was surprised by the sudden kiss and she stood rooted to the ground.
“I like you, Sooyeon.”
The words rang in Sooyeon’s head. She wondered if she was hallucinating after tasting the delicious pink strawberry ice cream. Maybe there was a love potion in it.
“I’m not sure if you know but I’m thankful to your sisters for helping to create opportunities for me to get closer to you.”
Now, Sooyeon’s suspicions were confirmed.
“I feel comfortable talking to you and I would like to get to know you even better,” Taeyeon continued. “So I hope I’m not being too brash with the kiss earlier on.”
By now, Sooyeon was feeling warm and there was a jittery feeling in her belly. She could sense Taeyeon looking at her, waiting for a reply but her mind was a complete blank.
“Sooyeon?” Taeyeon waved a hand in front of Sooyeon.
Sooyeon blinked. “I..er…I’m…sorry…”
A dejected look appeared on Taeyeon’s face. Perhaps she had been too straightforward in her confession.
“I mean…I’m sorry because I’m at a loss for words right now…”
Taeyeon gazed at Sooyeon softly as she waited patiently for the latter to gather her thoughts.
After a minute, Sooyeon took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “I like being with you, you’re a fun and knowledgeable person.”
That sentence instantly brought a smile to Taeyeon’s face.
“I did have my suspicions about what my sisters were up to, but I’m truly surprised that you actually asked them for help.”
That reply made Taeyeon laughed.
“I hope you don’t mind because I’m not sure how I should approach you,” Taeyeon explained.
“No, of course I don’t mind. In fact, I’m grateful to them.”
Taeyeon’s eyes lit up. “Oh really?”
“Because I would never have the courage to ask you out.”
By now, Taeyeon was beaming from ear to ear and she immediately enveloped Sooyeon in a hug.
“It’s not too late to start,” Taeyeon whispered. She caught sight of Yoona and Soojung who were hiding at the back of the store. They were peeping through a small gap in the window and were overjoyed to see the success of their plan. Taeyeon gave a thumbs up and the two of them were skipping around in delight.
After the newly formed couple broke from their hug, Sooyeon’s smile was as wide as Taeyeon’s.
“Shall we go on an official date right now?” Sooyeon proposed.
“Of course. There’s no time to waste!” Taeyeon agreed in a blink of an eye.
The couple kept the ice cream in the freezer before locking up the store. Then Taeyeon offered her palm to Sooyeon, who took placed her palm on Taeyeon’s. Their fingers interlaced as they headed out for their first official date.
“Yay, no more squeezing with you in that little room anymore!” Yoona proclaimed in delight.
“Yes, no more sharing of space with you either!” Soojung rebutted.
The two sisters laughed at their own antics and headed home, happy to have found a companion for their eldest sister.
= The End =
A/N: Requested by Jungmaid for a story about sisterhood, specifically Jessica, Yoona and Krystal (as sisters) with OTP as TaengSic.