Puppy Love Hope: “Tell me, Sandra. Do you think she’ll pull through?” “I don’t know. I wish I could say yes.” The intern nurse, Sandra, replied. “You have to realize though, that even if she does come out of her coma…I mean…You saw the scans. The long term memory damage would be so severe and we don’t know what else could be wrong if she wakes up-” “Don’t say if. There can’t be ifs.” Luhan looked at her. “Whatever ends up happening, we can fix it. I know we can.” “Then what will we do?” “When she wakes up, she’ll be in danger.” Luhan thought of Jinwoo. He couldn’t ever let Jinwoo find her. “She’ll have to live out in the world like everyone else. It’s what’s best for her.” “How will you do that?” “By cutting off any trace that leads back to Jinwoo, or our pack, her wolf side, even me. If it’s erased from her memory then it must stay erased from her memory. Her mom in America gave her an English name. She can start going by that instead.” “If it helps, you can transfer her to my university so I can help too.” “You’d be willing to do that? You’ve done more than enough already.” “I’m in too deep to just walk away now, aren’t I?” Sandra giggled awkwardly. Luhan placed his hand briefly on her shoulder. “Thank you for everything you’ve done. I don’t think she’d be here right now if it weren’t for you.” Luhan looked back at Miyoung. “Our pack will have to keep their distance from now on.” “Where does that leave you?” “Me? I will do my best keeping an eye on her just in case all of this isn’t enough. She could remember everything one day, she also might not. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Even if she never remembers, I’ll still be there to befriend her all over again. Never again will I leave her side. Ever…” ________ Marianne had already went back to her apartment to change into clothes more appropriate for work. Deciding on her dark blue blouse that she tucked into her black jeans with matching dark blue heels, she made her way down the street with Chanyeol of course right by her side. “So where’s that Luhan?” Chanyeol’s deep voice broke the silence between them as they walked together. “I’m not sure. Last I saw, he was with your family. He’s talking with them somewhere now I guess.” Chanyeol nodded, “Okay. He better not keep them too long though. I don’t want to get bored sitting in your coffee place all day.” “Hey, you’re the one who wouldn’t stop whining about being left alone at the apartment.” “I’m sorry I can’t help it. Every time you leave I get sad. I would always think you would be gone forever.” “That’s just your two dimensional dog way of thinking.” Marianne nudged his side to wipe the frown off his face. “I’ll never be gone forever.” “You promise?” He looked at her with hope and joy in his lit up eyes. “Of course.” She smiled up at his tall figure. He smiled his thousand watt smile in content at her words. Passing by them, he noticed a boy and girl walking together like he and Marianne were. They were smiling like he and Marianne were, too. The only difference was that the boy and girl who passed them had their hands together with their fingers entwined. Chanyeol turned his head to follow his gaze at the two in his curiosity at what they were doing and why. His gaze shifted from the couple down to Marianne’s hand that was ever so close to his own. He cocked his head to the side as the idea came to his mind, thinking about whether or not he should do it. “What are you doing?” Marianne looked down at the feeling of Chanyeol taking her hand in his, entwining their fingers like the couple he saw. Looking up at him, she saw him make a small half smile at her, his eyes holding so much affection behind them. “Seemed like the thing to do.” He shrugged, his simple words making her heart flutter. Luhan wasn’t there when Marianne and Chanyeol arrived at the coffee shop. She hoped he wouldn’t be too late coming in because she knew how big a fit Kyungsoo would have if he did. “Hey, Kyungsoo?” Marianne called out to her boss who was just finishing handing coffee to a customer. “I have a friend here who is going to be here while I’m on my shift. He’ll just be sitting in the corner over there, is that okay?” “This is a coffee shop, what the hell do I care?” Kyungsoo grumpily replied, as he usually would, before retreating back into the kitchen. “Okay then,” Marianne took Chanyeol to the table in the corner by the window and sat him down, “You’re going to sit here for today. The bathroom is right over there just in case, and snacks are on me. And just to make sure you don’t get bored, you can have this.” Marianne handed Chanyeol a tablet with headphones already plugged in. “What’s this?” He looked at the device in confusion. “It’s my iPad. You can watch whatever you want on it. Youtube videos, movies, dramas, anything. And you wear these so only you can hear it.” Marianne grabbed the headphones and put them on his ears. “I don’t think this will keep me occupied all day, Marianne.” Chanyeol said in disbelief while looking at the list of drama shows in disinterest. “How you doing there, Yeolie?” Marianne asked, a few hours into her shift. “Shh.” Chanyeol shushed her, not taking his bloodshot eyes off the drama playing on the tablet. “And kdramas have claimed yet another soul.” Marianne giggled to herself while going back to work. “Maybe they’ll teach him to behave like an actual human.” “I’m here!” Luhan burst through the cafe door. “Damn it, Luhan! What kept you all this time?” Kyungsoo made sure to raise his voice at his friend. “I’m sorry. I got held up.” Luhan gave Kyungsoo a certain look, letting him know it wasn’t something he could just say aloud. It was about talking to Suho and Yixing more about Jinwoo after all. “Don’t let it happen again.” Kyungsoo grumbled. His expression suddenly changed when he looked out the window and saw a few familiar faces, “Look out. Visitors.” “What visitors?” Luhan scoffed before turning around to see just who the visitors were. “Hey, Luhan!” Kai waved happily. “What’s up?” Sehun waved with him. Luhan’s jaw dropped in shock at seeing them. Why were they here? They knew they had to keep their distance from Marianne. Why would they come when Marianne was clearly here? “What-What are you guys doing here?” Luhan asked, attempting to keep his tone nonchalant. “We’re here for coffee, of course.” Minseok grinned mischievously, letting Luhan know they definitely came with different intentions. They came to see Marianne. “Oh no, you have to leave.” Luhan attempted to usher them to the door, “You know you can’t be here.” “What’s the problem, Lu?” Marianne approached with a happy expression, “It’s okay, you guys. You don’t have to leave.” “See? The lady said we can stay.” Sehun smirked at Luhan, making Luhan want to growl at him. “You guys can sit right here!” Marianne gestured to the booth table and they gladly sat. “What would you like?” Minseok raised his hand, “I would like a large hot coffee, light and sweet please.” “Just a small hot coffee for me.” Kai raised his hand next, “You can surprise me with how you make it.” “Okay, and for you?” Marianne looked at Sehun who was sitting at the end of the booth. “A medium iced french vanilla swirl latte with whole milk and exactly four packets of sugar with whipped cream on top.” “Wow, you’re just as fancy and picky as my friend Sandra.” Marianne laughed as she tried to keep up with writing it all down. “Now if you could just give me all your names I can go ahead and get started.” All three of their expressions fell at her words. What else were they planning to expect anyway? She was speaking formally to them. She treated them like strangers since they walked through the door. Why should one of their closest friends not knowing their names hurt? But before she could notice something was wrong, the three gave her their names and she smiled sweetly, going off to make what they asked for. Once she was gone, Luhan took the opportunity to sit with them. “She seems to be doing well.” Kai attempted to sound optimistic, but still couldn’t help but feel sad. “She is. She’s doing very well.” Luhan replied, folding his hands on the table. “Has her memory improved at all?” Minseok asked. Luhan shook his head. “Not that I know of. And don’t feel bad, guys. She doesn’t recognize Kyungsoo either.” “Yeah, that makes it better.” Sehun rolled his eyes sarcastically. “We thought-No. We hoped after all this time there would’ve been some improvement. That’s why we’re here.” “I was hoping for the same thing but-” Luhan immediately cut himself off when he spotted Marianne coming back over with three cups of coffee. “Here you are, boys.” She set the tray down and handed the three their desired coffees. “Is it okay?” “Great!” Kai made sure to give her a thumbs up. Sehun smirked to himself as he sipped his latte, thinking of a clever idea. He looked up at Marianne then across at Luhan, putting that idea into action and speaking Chinese. “Hey, Luhan. This is really good. I should come here more often.” “Really? Thank you! I tried my best to try making sure I got everything right since you were so picky, and…” Marianne replied instead. Pausing her rambling, she noticed she was replying in flawless Chinese. She had no idea she knew Chinese. “Okay, one more time.” She broke the Chinese phrase down, “This-is-really-good.” “This is, really good.” Sehun repeated after her. “How was that?” “Perfect! You even said all your tones correctly.” She grinned happily at the pup.
Marianne noticed all the boys looking up at her while she was drifted off in deep thought. Was that a memory? What exactly just happened? “Marianne?” She heard Luhan’s voice, “Are you okay?” “I’m…” Marianne struggled to come back to reality. She couldn’t stop thinking about the memory she just had. She looked down at Sehun and the rest, suddenly feeling herself become extremely uncomfortable. Did she actually know them? Was she supposed to know them? Why should she know them? Uncomfortable and confused, she retreated to the kitchen. “Excuse me.” “Oh good going, genius.” Kyungsoo scolded Sehun, coming over from the coffee machine where he was eavesdropping from, “What did you have to go and pull a stunt like that for, huh?” “What?” Sehun shrugged innocently, “I was just trying to help.” “You know very well her regaining her memory is something we can’t let happen.” Luhan pointed his finger at him. “I know, I know. I’m sorry.” Sehun frowned, “We just can’t take staying away anymore. We miss Miyoung. We miss you two being with us as a pack like the good old days.” Kyungsoo nodded shamefully, “You think keeping up this act isn’t hard for me or Luhan, too? It’s not easy, but it’s something we all have to do for Miyoung’s sake.” “You’re right.” Minseok nodded back. “You mean you being a grumpy bossy dill hole is an act?” Kai smirked at Kyungsoo, managing to make the others laugh, Kyungsoo giggling back in the most sarcastic way possible.
“I hope you’re not stupid.” “Why?” “Because falling in love with me is a very stupid thing to do.” “Well, then I will. Because I’m just that stupid.” Chanyeol watched the drama with anticipation. He noticed he could relate a lot to the male lead’s feelings. He watched as the male lead expressed his feelings for the girl in various ways, making Chanyeol watch in curiosity. The man bought the female lead flowers. He took her out to eat food. He helped her out with little things like tying her shoe, fixing her hair, and getting things off the top shelf for her since she wasn’t tall enough to reach. Were these all things he should do as well to properly express his affection like a normal human? Eagerly watching what could possibly happen next, he was left dumbfounded when the male and female lead put their lips together. What in the world was this action? He tilted his head to the side and pouted his lip in curiosity and confusion. In that moment, Marianne came out from the kitchen, looking like she was feeling better than she was before. Chanyeol looked away from the scene and up at Marianne who currently wasn’t paying any mind to him as she was focused on working. He gazed after her, feeling that familiar something in his heart. He looked back at the drama couple finishing their kiss then back at Marianne, realizing he really did want to do the same thing. Marianne finished making a caramel latte for a customer and assured Kyungsoo she was feeling just fine now. While in the kitchen, she had assured herself that she was simply overthinking the incident that occurred with Sehun. She knew she had forgotten many things from that accident which already felt like so long ago. Maybe Chinese was one of those things. Was that truly a big deal? She assured herself it wasn’t. Seeing the sugar packet container empty, she went to the shelves where they kept their supplies and reached to grab a new box of sugar packets. The only problem at the moment was the shelf the box was on, was the top shelf. On her tippy toes, she reached her arm up as far as it could go, which only had her fingertips just barely being able to touch the edge of the shelf. Feeling someone approaching her, she turned her head and saw Chanyeol appear next to her. He easily and swiftly reached up and grabbed the box, not taking his eyes off of Marianne as he did so. Smiling sweetly and confidently, he handed her the box, not saying a word. Marianne didn’t know if she was blushing from embarrassment or the fact that Chanyeol seemed to have a habit of staring through her. Not able to keep eye contact with him, and also to hide her pink cheeks, she took the box from his hands, “Thank you.” She peeked up at him when he still didn’t say anything. He really did have a habit of staring through her, didn’t he? She blushed more and giggled nervously. “Why do you keep doing that?” She asked. He didn’t answer. Instead, his fingers gently took a loose strand of her hair and tucked it behind her ear, just like the male lead in the drama had done. “Marianne?” Chanyeol’s deep voice finally spoke. He was so nervous all of a sudden and he couldn’t understand why. All he was trying to do was ask her to go out with him like he was supposed to. He didn’t think it would be this difficult. The guy in the drama made it look so easy. Taking a deep breath, he decided to just go for it. “Would-Would you, I mean, do you want to go-” “Afternoon coffee crew!” Sandra burst through the door in her nurse scrubs, “Where’s my usual?” “Got it. Just on time.” Luhan looked at the stop watch on his phone. “How do you do it, Sandra?” “I’d tell you, Lu Lu, but then I’d have to kill you.” Sandra smirked at him. “Now get me my usual.” “Yeah, get going,” Sehun snickered with Kai, “Lu Lu.” Luhan couldn’t hold back a growl this time, being sure to keep it hushed enough so only the three stooges at the table could hear it. “Half regular and half decaffeinated?” Sandra asked as Luhan stood from his seat and got Sandra her already prepared coffee. “Yes.” “Three packets of sugar?” “Yes.” “Soy milk?” “Yes.” “Inch of foam?” “Yes.” “Melted mocha on the bottom and caramel on top?” “Wait,” Luhan pretended to panic, quickly inspecting the coffee to purposely tick off Sandra. “Yes.” “Okay, perfect.” Sandra took the coffee cup from him and sipped it. “It’s a little cold.” “Hey, at least I didn’t neglect to put in that third pack of sugar. Now either throw it out or drop an ice cube in it and be on your way.” “Now, Lu Lu. Is that any way to talk to a lady?” Sandra batted her eyelashes teasingly at him. “No, it’s not. Why else do you think I said it?” “Oh snap!” Sehun and Kai gasped in unison. Luhan’s comeback had Sandra fuming, making him want to laugh. She sharply turned to the two who were snickering in their seat, being sure to look directly at Sehun. “Shut up you wimpy little puppy.” Sandra scoffed before stomping out with her coffee. “Yeah. I like her.” Minseok grinned, patting Sehun’s shoulder since he was sitting in between him and Kai. “I’ll have her know that I am full grown, thank you very much.” Sehun grumbled, adjusting his leg crossed over the other. “I’ll never understand why they’re always like that to each other.” Marianne couldn’t help but laugh, shaking her head. “Anyways, Chanyeol, what were you trying to say before?” “Oh, I uh-” Chanyeol quickly tried thinking of the words again. What was he saying before Sandra interrupted him? Why was this so difficult to ask of her? “-I was going to ask you if you would, I don’t know, maybe want to go out somewhere. You know, with me. Sometime.” “Okay.” Marianne happily replied, making Chanyeol’s thousand watt smile make it up to his eyes as he nearly jumped up and down on the spot in excitement. “Really?” “Yeah. Why not?” She couldn’t believe it. Did she really beyond seriously just accept going on a date with Chanyeol? Was it a date? Did he want it to be a date? Did she? Those dramas had to be getting too much into his head. “What’s going on with Miyoung over there?” Kai whispered, trying to discreetly point over to Marianne with Chanyeol. “What do you mean?” Sehun sipped his latte. “That giant dog thing with the big ears just asked Miyoung on a date, dude! Are you deaf?” “Oh.” Sehun raised his eyebrows at the realization, “Oh! Oh…That means…” The three looked over at Luhan who had also obviously overhead the conversation. They never saw Luhan look so heartbroken. Of course they all knew how Luhan had always felt about her. They were beginning to believe Luhan really did see her as his mate and he had made them swear not to say a word about it. Now what was he to do? “Poor Luhan.” Minseok and the rest frowned in sympathy for their friend. Outside the cafe, Jinwoo stood across the street, observing the scene in front of him. There was no doubt in his mind now. The entire pack being there and hearing what they said was enough to confirm it. “Yeah, I’m sure of it now.” Jinwoo grinned slyly, brushing his free hand over the scars on his face, his other hand holding his phone to his ear. “Miyoung’s alive. And I think I know exactly how to trap her.” Jinwoo shifted his gaze from Luhan over to Chanyeol who was helping Marianne take something else down from the top shelf. He chuckled to himself at how easy it was going to be. “I’m going to use her mate.”