Bittersweet (English)

second chance
friends to lovers
female lead
first love
slice of life

After a tragedy on top of a heartache, Kaye committed herself to running her family's legacy, Sweet Macy's. Everyone gave her the room she needed to heal, but one person refused to do so. Mykel, her childhood friend, never missed a chance to annoy her or force his feelings towards her. Nevertheless, Kaye couldn't deny the growing feelings in her heart. Unfortunately, she couldn't fully embrace his love. Not when she failed to overcome her fears.

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-Sigh-   Dark clouds and heavy downpour. The rain has been nonstop since yesterday evening. Reportedly, typhoon Quinta was to leave the region soon. Thank goodness. The weather has been cold for almost a week now due to the frequent rain. It was unexpected since Mt. Salvador never experienced this rain for a long time. People haven’t seen the sun shining for quite some time.   In any case, any person would have wished to be curled up in their blanket with hot cocoa in this weather. Just lazing around.   The ticking of the clock and the sound of showering rain filled the house. A fitting scene for a thriller movie. Except that it was putting her at ease.   Kaye spent every tick of the clock tailing the raindrops dripping on the glass window. The rainy weather didn’t give an impression of slowing down today. The sunshine seemed to be out of reach for her ever since. She felt drained. Not just from the weather but also from what had happened in the past few days.   “You’ve been quiet, Kaye. You can tell me anything, you know.”   Similar to Kaye, Jenny, her best friend, was staring at the dark grim sky. Kaye had been sitting by the window on her sofa with her eyes still firm on the view outside.   “Nothin’ much.” She said with a soft voice not even turning her attention. “I’ve just remembered the words Aunt Macy said before her heart attack.”   No matter what comes to you, face it head-on.   Such simple sounding words yet why was it hard to understand? One can say such naive things but how would you exactly do that? It has been bothering her since the doctor told her Macy didn’t make it.   Jenny uttered a sigh. She was aware her friend was coping up with all that had happened. It’s overwhelming for anyone. No one can really blame her. The memories were quite fresh to forget overnight.   Jenny couldn’t imagine the pain Kaye was going through. She couldn’t even find the right words to say. It was way easier expressing your condolences to somebody else. But with someone this close to you? It was different on any level. She would always mind her words. She doesn’t want to sound so insensitive.   All she could do was to comfort her to lessen the pain. Say things that she thought Macy would say or do. Yet, she was unsure if she was doing it right.   Macy had been Kaye’s only family left. She had been in Macy’s care ever since she can remember. Her father died while saving people during an arson. Everybody celebrated him as a hero. But for his only daughter, she barely has any memory of him since he was gone when she was barely five. Such a short time for them to create memories together.   As for her mother, Macy’s sister to be exact, she followed suit weeks after her husband died. She wasn’t able to handle her husband departing. She was so overwhelmed by her own sorrows that she forgot her daughter’s existence. For a kid who's not even five years old yet, it was too lonesome.   Macy felt responsible for her sister’s negligence and being Kaye’s closest living relative, she took her in. She adored Kaye. Loved her like she was her own. Even when her parents were still alive, she would babysit her on her own. So whatever her parents should have done, Macy fulfilled the role.   “We all love her, Kaye. It's natural to feel down when our loved ones leave us. But don’t drown yourself. She’ll never be happy seeing you like this.”   Kaye never spoke a word. Jenny glanced at her before saying more, trying to observe some changes in her expression.   “You know, you got her worried all the time. You have been independent as a child. Acting like you can handle anything on your own. But, she was especially concerned when you attended university. It seemed to her that you were slowly fading away.”   Jenny was expecting a response from her to no avail. She resigned.   “Anyway, Rena said to give this to you. It's chicken and pasta. I’ll leave it here on the fridge. Heat it up later for dinner.”   Rena, their friend from high school, can’t find time to visit Kaye after the funeral. She had her hands full. With her husband away on a business trip, she was left to care for the house and their toddlers alone.   Jenny motioned to the fridge and placed the chicken and pasta. There’s barely anything on the fridge. Some sliced fruits and juices. But nothing particularly to cook. It has only been days since Macy left and they’ve been looking out for Kaye.   Both Macy and Kaye loved to cook, that’s why Macy established Sweet Macy’s, a cafe in town. And it has been in business for over thirty years now.   Almost everyone in their small town was familiar with the pair. They would be seen strolling around purchasing ingredients and fresh produce. Or even trying out new dishes from other stores. They were adventurous especially when it comes to food. So, it's saddening to see Kaye like this more so seeing her disregard for her health.   Still not even a peep from Kaye. Her level of tolerance was going down. Patience was never her notable feature   “Hey! You heard?” Jenny snapped her fingers.   “Woah! Jeez, Jenny.” Kaye flinched. “Yes, I did. Thank you.”   Jenny gave her a skeptical look. Her friend’s attention seemed to be elsewhere. Not so convincing at all. She blew a heavy sigh.   “Goodness, you’ve been quiet for so long I thought I was alone in this house.”   Kaye smiled. “Yeah. I know you guys have been concerned about me. I’m doing fine. I ain’t drowning in any depression. Anyway, I still have you guys. Just give me time please.”   Jenny lifted her hands in surrender. “Well, at least I can tell you’re not losing it.”   Kaye relieved her with a grin. It didn’t look like the smile she had when they were younger. It appeared to her that, as time went by, one’s ability to show happiness would deteriorate.   Macy entrusted Sweet Macy’s to Kaye. That other thing was Macy’s pride and joy. And Jenny has been managing it since she graduated college.   Kaye read through the reports about the shop. The cafe was her responsibility now. Macy treasured it dearly. So somehow, it felt like her presence was still lingering.   They had to close it for some time when Macy died. Jenny was planning to re-open it after a week from now. So she visited today encouraging her to return to work. Even for a few days a week. The sweet shop may not earn big time, but it was doing great given that it was located at such an isolated place on the foot of Mt. Salvador. Well, they at least have regulars in town. Even frequent tourists also visit the shop.   Jenny left for the night after they’ve discussed some reports regarding the sweet shop. Even with the bothering sense of being unreliable, Jenny had to step back.     As soon as Jenny closed the door. Kaye couldn’t hold back all the emotions any longer. She was close to breaking down in front of her friend. She missed Macy terribly. She never cried like this even when her parents passed away. She was sad but not as heartbroken as this was. Like a part of her had disappeared.   She recalled earlier the phrase Macy would always tell her whenever she felt blue. Ah, such encouraging words.   “But how would anyone just face it?”   She whispered to herself while crouching on the sofa. It’s painful. She knew her friends were supportive. They never failed to visit or contact her. A neighbor was also constantly checking up on her. With all these concerned presences, why does she still feel alone?   “What would I do now?”   She hated herself. Every time she’s chased into the corner, it felt like a dead end. She was just pathetic. It's not like she couldn’t think for herself. More like she doesn’t know what to do. She had choices in her head but she wasn’t strong enough to move forward.   Even with Macy’s influence, she couldn’t help but fear the sensation of this hopelessness. How can a team be encouraged in a sports event without the cheerleaders?

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