Title: (I Don’t Want to Dance With Nobody) But You
Genre(s): romance, fluff
Word Count: 5,108
Summary: Wendy never expected the girl with the sweet smile to go from a bright spot in her day to something so much more than that.
Written for the redeuvelvet
exchange and originally posted here
“Anything else?” Wendy asked, jotting down the man’s order on her pad of paper.
The man shook his head, so Wendy took her leave, assuring him that his order would be ready shortly.
Working full time as a waitress while attending classes to get a degree in business was definitely not glamorous, but she had to pay off her student loans somehow, as well as pay rent in the apartment she lived in off campus.
Her parents helped her financially as much as they could, but she didn’t want to be a burden on them. In two years, her younger brother would be going off to college as well, so they’d have that to worry about soon.
Wendy ripped the top sheet off her pad and passed it back through the window to the kitchen.
“Turkey club with a side of fries,” she called out before grabbing a plastic cup and filling it with Coke from the soda fountain.
It was four in the afternoon, so the diner wasn’t very busy. There was just the guy whose order Wendy had just taken, a couple of kids who looked like they were in high school, and- the bell on the door jingled.
“Be right with you!” she called, setting down the man’s drink and making sure he didn’t need anything else before she hastened to the booth where she’d seen the newcomer sit down.
“Hi, I’m Wendy,” she said, “Welcome to the Palace Diner. Here’s a menu. Can I get you anything to drink?”
The girl, who couldn’t have been over twenty, blinked at her, looking down at the menu briefly before looking back at Wendy- uncertainty reflected in her big eyes.
“I’ll give you a minute,” Wendy told her with a smile before she went back to the kitchen to pick up the plate of onion rings to take to the high schoolers.
When she returned a couple of minutes later, the girl was bent over the menu so her face was entirely obscured by her long, dark brown hair.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked again, and the girl’s head shot up like she was startled.
“Uh…” she started, giggling a bit before she spoke, “Water?”
The girl’s English was pretty heavily accented, obvious even from just one word.
“Water?” Wendy asked, just to be sure, and the girl grinned- eyes turning to crescents- as she nodded.
Wendy wasn’t quite sure, but the girl looked like maybe she could be Korean…
“Are you ready to order?” she prompted, speaking slower than her usual fast pace and gesturing to the menu.
The girl blinked at her again before looking at the menu once more. She shook her head, lower lip pulled into her mouth.
“Where are you from?” Wendy asked, just in case…
“Korea,” the girl answered, and Wendy internally congratulated herself.
“How long have you been here?” Wendy inquired, switching easily to Korean.
The girl’s face froze in shock at hearing her native tongue before she was smiling again, wider than before.
“You speak Korean!” she exclaimed, sitting up straighter and no longer looking like she was trying to curl in on herself, “Are you from Korea, too? Your English is really good!”
Wendy shook her head, happy to see how much more comfortable the girl was now.
“My parents moved here before they had me, so I’ve lived in Canada all my life. I speak mostly Korean with my parents and other relatives though,” she explained, and the girl nodded in understanding.
“What’s your name?” she asked, elbows on the table and hands in her palms as she waited for Wendy’s answer.
“Wendy. What’s yours?”
“Joy. My English name,” the girl said and Wendy smiled warmly at her.
“Nice to meet you, Joy.”
Joy beamed at her before looking down at the menu again.
“Can you...recommend something?” she asked sheepishly, “I can read...well enough. But it takes me a long time.”
“Sure,” Wendy assured her, “Do you like wraps?”
“Our bacon wrap is the most popular item on the menu,” she told her, “And it comes with a side of either fruit or fries.”
“That sounds good,” Joy agreed, closing the menu with what appeared to be relief, “I’ll take that with a side of fruit.”
“Coming right up!” Wendy said, taking Joy’s menu and shooting her another smile, “Let me know if you need anything else, okay?”
“I will,” Joy promised, and Wendy took her order to the kitchen with a bit more of a bounce in her step.
Joy returned less than a week later looking a lot less shy than she had the first time.
“What can I get for you today?” Wendy prompted, skipping the English all together that time and just speaking Korean.
“What else is popular?” Joy asked, tucking one foot underneath herself on the padded bench and waiting eagerly for Wendy’s answer.
Wendy couldn’t help but laugh, entirely too endeared by the other girl. It was amazing how much she’d opened up due to Wendy’s Korean ability.
“People get pancakes a lot,” she offered, “The blueberry ones especially.”
“Then that’s what I’ll have,” Joy said confidently, handing over the menu without even looking at it.
When Wendy returned with her food, Joy was looking a little unsure again.
“Is everything okay? Did you change your mind? I can get you something else if you don’t want pancakes-”
“Could you sit with me?” Joy interrupted, looking up at her pleadingly with her big, brown doe eyes.
Wendy glanced at her watch.
“I can probably go on break in a couple of minutes if I ask my supervisor…”
Joy grinned, “Perfect!”
Her smile was infectious.
During her twenty minute break that she’d spent talking to Joy as Joy ate her pancakes, Wendy learned that Joy had moved to Canada to attend a performing arts school for dance, and that she’d only been there for six months.
“I thought I’d pick up the language faster,” Joy had admitted to her, swirling the tines of her fork through the syrup pooled on her plate. “I’m getting better, but I’m so far from fluent, it’s pathetic.”
She wrinkled her nose, crumpling up the sticky napkin in her hand.
“It’s not pathetic,” Wendy had immediately assured her. “Learning another language is tough! I took four years of French in high school, but I can barely speak it at all.”
“I don’t see you living in France, though,” Joy had grumbled, but she’d still seemed somewhat comforted.
“Unnie!” Joy exclaimed when she walked into the diner a week later and spotted Wendy bussing a table.
Wendy grinned, about to greet her, when Joy slapped a hand over her own mouth before she giggled.
“Is it okay if I call you unnie?” she asked, looking a little sheepish, like Wendy might be opposed.
“Of course,” she assured her, and Joy smiled, relieved. “Let me just take these to the kitchen and I’ll be right back.”
Joy was hunched over the menu when Wendy returned, dark hair obscuring her face and finger moving across the page as she read.
Feeling mischievous, Wendy snuck up on the younger girl- bopping her on the head with her mini notebook and causing her to snap her head up, startled.
!” Joy whined, rubbing at the crown of her head as though the tap could have possibly hurt.
Wendy just grinned, bending at the waist and resting her elbows on the table. “Do you know what you want today?”
Joy looked back to the menu, placing her finger next to one of the items, “Bel-gium waf-fles
,” she said, “Is it good?”
Wendy nodded, leaning closer to point out the options offered in the top of the page. “I recommend getting them with the apricot compote,” she told her in Korean, pointing to the English words, “And the honey butter.”
Joy studied the words next to Wendy’s finger, mouthing them as she read them to herself and then repeated them once more for good measure.
,” Joy said in English, shooting Wendy a broad smile, “I want Belgium waffles and
,” she looked down again, “ap-ri-cot com-pote and...honey butter
“Sounds good,” Wendy replied, speaking English as well, “Coming right up.”
Joy nodded, though Wendy knew she probably didn’t know the phrase coming right up
. She probably understood the gist.
But before she could walk away to put her order in, Joy stopped her with a hand on her elbow.
“Can you take your break again to sit with me?” Joy asked, switching back to Korean.
Wendy pretended to shoot her an exasperated look, and Joy immediately countered it with a cute pout.
Laughing, Wendy reached out and ruffled Joy’s hair. “I’ll check with my supervisor.”
Upon finding out that Joy was the only Korean in her program, Wendy understood why it was that she was so happy to talk to her whenever she came in. Joy had made a couple of friends in her dance classes, but with the language barrier, it was hard to feel comfortable conversing with them.
Maybe that was why Joy came in at all- to be able to speak to someone without struggling with every choice of word. Unless Joy just really enjoyed Western diner food.
Either way, Wendy was happy to speak Korean with the younger girl. Just seeing Joy’s smiling face when she walked into the diner had Wendy’s day immediately brightening. She even made sure to hold off on taking her break until the time Joy tended to come in, so she was sure to be able sit down with her and chat if she did show up that day.
“You should tag along the next time I’m hanging out with my Korean friends,” Wendy said about a month into their casual friendship, sipping her own milkshake as she watched Joy devour her club sandwich.
Joy stopped chewing for a second, eyes wide at Wendy’s offer.
“Really?” she asked after she’d swallowed, wiping her fingers on her napkin.
“Sure! If you want to,” Wendy told her with an easy smile. “They’re not all fluent in Korean, but they can all speak some.”
“I don’t want to be a nuisance,” Joy worried, playing with one of her long pigtails.
Wendy shot her a look- half playful, half are you kidding?
“You wouldn’t be a nuisance,” she assured her, “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure they’d love to meet you.”
Joy huffed out a giggle, eyes flicking down to her food momentarily before she met Wendy’s gaze again, “Thank you. I really appreciate it. Everything. Keeping me company and everything.”
“It’s not a problem, really. Besides,” she went on, a teasing lilt to her voice, “No one forces
me to take my breaks now. I could just as easily leave you to eat alone. But I don’t because I like talking to you.”
Joy’s wide smile lit up her whole face and Wendy couldn’t stop her answering grin.
“And then there’s this one part of the dance,” Joy said, setting down her fork to gesticulate exaggeratedly, “With all these quick arm movements. And we kind of turn…”
She tried to demonstrate from her seat in the pleather booth at the diner and only managed to almost knock her plastic cup of water off the table. Wendy snorted in amusement as Joy made a sound of alarm at the jostled dishes.
Giggling as she steadied her drink, Joy looked at Wendy sheepishly.
“Well, anyway, I guess you have to see it fully to understand,” Joy said with a laugh, picking up her fork again and stabbing a piece of macaroni.
“Tell me when and where and I will,” Wendy told her, helping herself to a french fry from the platter that they were sharing.
Joy looked at her in surprise, cheeks puffed out and full of food.
?” she asked around her mouthful before hastily swallowing, “You want to see?”
“Well, you talk about it all the time,” Wendy hedged, suddenly unsure of whether she’d crossed a line. She considered them to be friends, but they’d only ever spent time when Joy came into Wendy’s place of work. Even though she’d offered to introduce Joy to some of her friends, the younger girl had been too busy with practices lately since their showcase was coming up.Unless
, Wendy thought to herself, being busy was just an excuse
. Maybe Joy didn’t want to tell her flat-out that she didn’t want to actually hang out.
“I won’t come watch if you don’t want me to,” Wendy told Joy, smiling at her to show her that she meant it even as she shook her insecurities from her mind. It wasn’t like her to obsess so much and overanalyze things that were probably just straight forward. “But if you don’t mind, I’d like to see you dance. The way you describe the routines you’re working on makes them sound pretty amazing.”
“I don’t know about amazing,
” Joy laughed. “But... of course I want you to come! That would be so cool! I mean, my parents can’t since they’re all the way in Korea, and I didn’t think to invite you since I didn’t know if you’d want to come!”
Giggling at her own enthusiasm, Joy tucked her hair behind her ears.
“No pressure to come,” she assured Wendy. “Just because my parents can’t make it doesn’t mean that you need to feel obligated! But if you want, you should definitely come. I’d like that.”
“I would, too,” Wendy told her with a grin. “I’d love to.”
Joy beamed, cheeks slightly pink as she clapped her hands together and cheered quietly in her excitement.
Wendy laughed happily, watching Joy bounce in her seat as she started to describe the other routines that Wendy would get to see if she went to the showcase.
Her chest felt kind of tight and her cheeks were warm with Joy’s eyes on her, an excited gleam in them as she gushed about a routine the older dancers would be doing. But Wendy pushed the feeling down to focus on what Joy was saying. This wasn’t about her and her feelings, whatever they were. This was about supporting Joy. Even if doing so had left her reeling like she hadn’t expected.
A couple weeks later, Wendy got a text from Joy while she was working. Joy had had her number for a while, but they didn’t text regularly- typically it was just Joy asking whether or not she was working that day.you get off work early on tuesdays, right?
When she had a free moment, Wendy replied.yep :)
The next time Wendy checked her phone, Joy had answered her.want to walk around the park by the diner? ^^ it’s so nice out! \o/
If she agreed, it would be the first time that they’d hang out outside of the diner.
Aside from Wendy inviting Joy to spend time with her Korean friends a few times when Joy had ended up being busy, neither of them had really instigated anything. And Wendy still wasn’t completely sure whether being too busy had been an excuse or not. But now that Joy was asking her to do something, Wendy could be pretty sure that she really had
been busy those times before. She mentally chided herself for even questioning it in the first place like a crazy person.sure that sounds fun :) i get off at 3.
After she sent the text, a big group came in and she was too busy to check her phone. But the next time she did, she saw Joy’s response.meet you at the diner!~ ^^
Wendy took the proffered ice cream cones from the street vendor and handed one of them to Joy.
It really was nice out- the warmest it had been in a while. Just warm enough to justify the ice cream purchase.
When Joy had looked over at the cones in longing, Wendy had immediately dragged her over and told her that she’d treat her.
She knew that Joy was living on a student’s budget, and yet she always left Wendy a 20% tip.
Besides, Joy was younger than her, and she knew how it was customary for the older friend to pay in Korea.
Okay, and she also just wanted to see her face light up when she offered.
“Thanks, hyung!” Joy gushed, licking a droplet of strawberry ice cream that threatened to slide down the cone and over her fingers.
“Hyung?” Wendy asked with a disbelieving laugh, “I thought I was unnie
Joy tilted her head, squinting at Wendy as though she was examining her even as a playful smile stretched over her lips.
“No, I definitely think you’re more of a hyung,” she said, shooting Wendy a grin.
Wendy couldn’t help but laugh, shaking her head in disbelief.
She definitely didn’t mind the new nickname. And she had to admit to herself how much she loved that, unlike when Joy had first started calling her unnie
, she hadn’t even asked permission. Wendy couldn’t get over how much she loved to see Joy without her walls up.
“So, you’re a boy too?” Wendy asked, following Joy as she started walking down one of the pathways that led through the park.
“I am if you are,” Joy responded cheekily, eyes curving in amusement even as she ate her ice cream.
They walked quietly next to each other for a bit with only the occasional awkward slurp that came wit eating ice cream out of a cone to break the silence. But it was comfortable- the breeze lightly blowing the young leaves above their heads and making them rustle softly. Wendy was happy just to breath in the fresh air and feel only the slightest shiver of cold when she swallowed down a mouthful of chocolate ice cream.
"Thanks for talking to me," Joy said after she'd finished her cone- a strawberry covered napkin clutched in her otherwise empty hand.
Wendy looked at her curiously. "Talking to you? Why wouldn't I talk to you?"
It was funny because Joy was significantly taller than her- had more curves too- but there was no mistaking that she was the younger between the two of them. Maybe it was just her nature- slightly timid in a way that suggested that she wasn't used to being taken seriously.
Kids, in their innocence, don't think twice about expressing their thoughts, but at some point, that changes- when they realize that many adults don't value what they have to say or how they feel. Later on, most people can get to the point where they, through experience, can accept themselves as being a person with valid opinions and needs.
Joy, living away from home for the first time, was almost, but not quite, there.
"You just..." Joy paused, brows furrowed and lips pulled down on one side, as she thought, "You didn't have
to talk to me. When I first came in. You could have just dealt with my horrible English and gone on with your life."
Wendy shot her a look.
"For as adorable as you English was," Wendy started, and Joy giggled- cheeks flushing, "I was happy to help out."
," Joy whined, shoving at Wendy's shoulder playfully and almost causing her to drop her nearly decimated cone- melted ice cream pooled in the bottom.
Wendy laughed, nudging Joy with her shoulder, "Besides. I'm glad I did."
Joy giggled again, gaze dropping down to the ground as she twisted her napkin in her hands.
In the days leading up to the showcase, Wendy didn’t see Joy at all- the younger girl too busy rehearsing and preparing with the other dance majors to have time to come into the diner or go on any more spontaneous walks in the park.
But she did seem to have developed a texting habit- checking in with Wendy every afternoon to ask how work or her classes were going.
A couple of times, she’d sent pictures of the dance studio with her own reflection in the mirror. Wendy liked those texts the best.
However, with each text message, Wendy found herself trying to swallow down the bubble that seemed to inflate in her chest whenever Joy’s name popped up on her phone. But deep breaths wouldn’t make it go away- nor would they do much about the way her heart would beat just a little quicker whenever Joy called her hyung
in a text or used excessive heart emojis.
And as intoxicating as a rush of feelings could be, Wendy wanted it to stop
because she hadn’t felt so out of sorts since high school.
It wasn’t the first time she’d had feelings for a girl. That wasn’t what had her literally shaking her head to try to clear her thoughts when she was trying to work on homework, but instead found herself thinking about how Joy’s face brightened every time she smiled.
What had her reeling was the way her feelings seemed to have come out of nowhere and knocked her sideways.
She’d been fond of Joy from the moment she’d stepped foot in the diner with her shy smile and timid English, but she hadn’t expected this overflow of affection.
Wendy knew what she wanted- always had.
She’d known since she was eleven that she wanted to own her own cafe. So, when the time came, she applied to a college with a good business program so she would know how to run her own business.
In order to learn how to make coffee and specialty drinks, Wendy had already signed up for a barista course that would take place over the summer and have her staying in the city instead of going home like her friends all would.
It wasn’t often that her own desires took her by surprise.
The last time she’d had feelings for someone, it had been a boy in her intro to business class and she’d known that he was her type from the very first day.
She honestly couldn’t remember a time when she’d ever had her own feelings for someone sneak up on her.
Falling for someone unexpected was a trope that was overused in movies and romance novels alike that, Wendy was convinced, was a way to brainwash women into thinking they should date men that they weren’t actually interested in just in case he was the one
But here she was, staring at the most recent text that Joy had sent her (just an innocent sleep well, hyung ^^
) with her hand over her heart like that might stop it from pounding.
Okay, so fine. She had feelings for Joy. She was adaptable. She could work with that.
But the issue of whether or not Joy could possibly return her feelings remained- gnawing at her as she tried to fall asleep until she threw one of her pillows across the room in frustration.
Fortunately, she didn’t wake her roommate.Un
fortunately, she was awake for two more hours- staring at the ceiling and driving herself nuts.
Wendy was going to have to figure this out, one way or another. She couldn’t afford to lose any more sleep.
As a freshman, Joy wasn’t prominently featured in the showcase- taking part in four group numbers as well as in a senior’s piece as a backup dancer. But that didn’t mean that she wasn’t talented or that Wendy’s eyes weren’t glued to her every moment that she was on stage, feeling her heart swell with how proud she was of Joy. She’d come all the way from Korea for this and here she was- shining on stage like she shone every time she smiled.
But still, it was another side to her as well- her bright innocence falling away as she emoted the mood of the piece. Wendy could see the anguish on her face while she did an emotional, contemporary dance. She mourned a lost love in a modern piece and oozed sensuality in a jazz number.
Wendy found herself breathlessly watching Joy during her parts- amazed and entranced by her as she moved her body to the music with ease.
By the end of the showcase, Wendy was very sure that her feelings for Joy weren’t going anywhere.
But more than that, she was feeling so fond and proud that she couldn’t wait to give Joy a hug and congratulate her.
Earlier that day, Joy had sent Wendy a text asking if they could meet at the coffee shop down the block from the theater after the show since everywhere near the theater would be a mob scene. She’d hastily added that Wendy could just go home straight after if she’d rather, but Wendy had been adamant that she wanted to meet.
So, Wendy found herself perched at a tiny table in the back of the cafe as she waited for Joy, having received a text five minutes prior that Joy was trying to make her way out through all the people loitering around and congratulating the dancers on their performances.
Wendy sipped her hot chocolate, watching as a couple came into the cafe and walked up to the counter.
Her foot tapped out a rhythm against the chair leg as she waited. Wendy’s stomach was twisting a bit due to her feelings, but she was determined to ignore all of that. This was Joy’s night. It needed to be about her accomplishments and her beautiful dancing and not the way Wendy’s heart started pounding when Joy finally walked through the cafe door- immediately grinning when she caught sight of Wendy waiting for her.
“Hyung!” Joy exclaimed, hurrying over to the table as Wendy stood up to greet her.
“You were so good!” Wendy gushed, opening her arms for Joy to step into for a hug, which she immediately did.
Wendy squeezed Joy tightly as she praised her for her performance, Joy bouncing slightly as she hugged her back just as enthusiastically.
“I’m so glad you liked it!” Joy said when she pulled back from the embrace, smiling so widely at Wendy that it nearly had Wendy’s heart bursting in her chest.
“I really did,” Wendy told her honestly, “Thank you for inviting me.”
“Thank you for coming!” Joy said as she sat, looking horrified at the fact that Wendy was thanking her
, “It really means so much to me. I mean, most of the other dancers had their families come, but obviously mine can’t, and I just got here, so pretty much everyone I know was in
the showcase, so I really didn’t think I’d even have anyone to invite-”
Joy stopped herself when she appeared to realize she’d been rambling and hadn’t taken a breath in a while. She giggled sheepishly toward the tabletop before looking at Wendy again.
“So, it really means the world that you came to see me. It felt really good knowing that you were in the audience,” she finished, pink blooming on her cheeks even as she earnestly met Wendy’s gaze.
Wendy was absolutely positive that her heart was too big for her chest and her ribs were going to crack as it expanded.
“I was happy to come to support you,” Wendy told her with a smile that she hoped would show just how warm and fuzzy she was feeling, “And I’d definitely like to come to your performances in the future. If you want me there.”
Joy beamed, “Yes. I would love that.”
For a second, they just smiled at each other before they broke into giggles simultaneously.
“Well, it’s getting late,” Joy said, glancing at her phone screen, “I know you work the morning shift tomorrow, so you should probably catch the bus soon.”
Wendy nodded, wishing that she could stay and let Joy bask in her post-performance high for a little longer, but she knew that if she did, she’d hate herself the next morning when she was rolling out of bed at 5:50.
Wendy tossed her empty cup and they walked outside together, stopping a block away where they had to part ways and go in opposite directions.
“Thank you again for coming,” Joy said, reaching out to squeeze Wendy’s hand as she smiled shyly at her.
“It was my pleasure,” Wendy assured her, squeezing back and holding on, “You were amazing tonight.”
Joy flushed and looked down, and before Wendy could even half process the way Joy’s grip had tightened on her hand to pull her closer, Joy’s lips were against hers and she froze in shock.
, had she expected that. But the sweet, soft press of Joy’s mouth against hers had light exploding behind her eyes and her heart slamming so hard in her chest that she thought her ribs were going to break for real.
“Sorry!” Joy exclaimed, pulling back abruptly and yanking her hand out of Wendy’s grip in her panic, “I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have- I’m sorry!”
“Joy,” Wendy said, trying to get the younger girl to stop apologizing and flapping, “Joy
Calm down. Hold on a second before you say you’re sorry again.”
Joy stopped, looking at Wendy obediently like she was expecting to be scolded.
Wendy wasn’t quite sure what the most concise way of saying that she’d spent the last couple of weeks trying to breathe through the intense fluttery feelings that Joy gave her, so instead of using her words, she put a hand on Joy’s shoulder and leaned up to kiss her- just a light, soft touch, but enough for Joy to realize that she wasn’t unsure.
When she pulled back, Joy was looking at her like she was an apparition.
“Was that okay?” Wendy asked, just needing to be sure.
Joy nodded, seemingly in a daze. “Yes. Yes! I kissed you first! Of course it’s okay!”
Wendy laughed, feeling her own nerves fall away at Joy’s indignant response- the furrow in her brows and the pout in her lips absolutely adorable.
“I’m glad,” Wendy chuckled, grabbing Joy’s hand again and linking their fingers together, “Because I was hoping you wouldn’t be opposed to it in the future.”
!” Joy whined, pushing at Wendy’s shoulder with her free hand at Wendy’s teasing.
Wendy grinned as Joy squeezed her hand.
“Hyung,” she repeated, huffing, when Wendy just laughed at her, “So mean.”
“Mean?” Wendy demanded, amused.
Joy pouted at her again, but Wendy cut off her next exclamation of hyung
with a kiss.
“So,” Joy asked after Wendy had pulled back to smile at her, “are you still glad you talked to me?”
Wendy shot her a look. “What do you think?”
Joy leaned forward and pecked her lips, and that was an entirely accurate answer.- Thanks again to Lonio for reading this over for me!
- Title taken from MØ’s Don’t Wanna Dance.
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