A/N: This is the last chapter! I'm so glad people have enjoyed these one-shots! I have received a number of requests to write more on these; unfortunately, I have no plans of doing so at this time. I simply have too many things going on. But if there's an idea you really like and you want to write your own (longer) version of it, please feel free!
Your guesses were correct! This is based on A Cinderella Story (the original one with Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray). My cousins and I so wanted to be Hilary Duff when we were kids lol
One Sentence Synopsis of the Movie: This retelling of "Cinderella" is set in an American high school where the most popular guy in school is in a secret internet pen pal relationship with an ill-fortuned student and neither of them know the other's identity until they meet in person at a school Halloween dance.
Of course So Yi Jeong would come into the porridge shop today when Ga Eul is stuck taking orders by herself. Jan Di called in sick earlier, and Master is too busy gawking at the celebrity news to be of any assistance.
Which leaves Ga Eul at the mercy of Yi Jeong's obliviousness.
When she showed up at his Shinhwa graduation party over a week ago, dressed in a gown borrowed from her friend Jae Kyung that she could never have afforded, she'd been too scared to tell him who she really was, so they'd addressed each other by their online usernames throughout the night.
He hadn't recognized her then, but she had been wearing a mask—it was a costume party—and it's not like he should have expected to see the porridge shop girl there. The one who's been serving him and his three buddies—the illustrious F4—since the start of the school year.
Apparently, this particular porridge shop is a favorite of one of their grandfathers.
To be fair, she hadn't expected her online crush—they'd met anonymously in a ceramic arts forum and had been messaging each other for several months—to be not only one of the most famous potters in Korea but also one of the wealthiest chaebols. When they'd discovered they were the same age, she'd expected him to be a normal high school student like her who happened to enjoy making pottery in his spare time.
Her online admirer is So Yi Jeong of the Woo Sung Museum.
And now he's sitting in her restaurant, craning his head in her direction because in her panic she has yet to ask him for his order. Or address him at all, for that matter.
Gathering her courage, she walks over to his table. She wonders if he'll look at her any differently today, if something about her will strike him as familiar—well, not in that he's seen her dozens of times inside this shop but in that he's seen her somewhere else, quite recently.
He doesn't seem to notice anything amiss but smiles—grimaces, more like—and asks for a coffee.
He looks tired.
And today he's alone. He's never alone but always surrounded by either his friends or, if the news outlets are to be believed, his fangirls.
Before she can leave to grab his coffee, he says, "Hey, can I ask you something?"
Ga Eul hopes he doesn't ask her about the new menu items because she hasn't had a chance to look over those yet.
"Do you believe in soulmates?"
The question momentarily stuns Ga Eul, namely because she knows for a fact Yi Jeong does not believe in soulmates. They'd had a heated discussion about the subject one night until 2 A.M.
She must look confused because Yi Jeong elaborates, "Like, have you ever met someone you could just totally be yourself with? You know, in a way you can't be with other people?"
Ga Eul mentally flails around, trying to remember the articulate argument she'd presented on the subject during their debate.
"You mean," she begins hesitantly, "like with other people, you have to sort of...wear a mask...based on what they expect you to be?"
"Yes, exactly." He nods enthusiastically.
"But, with this person, you don't have to pretend anything. You can drop the act. Because they just get you."
"Yeah, that's it. That's exactly it. So have you ever...do you know anyone like that?" He seems almost desperate for her to say yes, to confirm his suspicion that there are special people like that in this world.
And Ga Eul realizes he must have been lonely for a long time.
"Yeah...I do," she answers, smiling.
He smiles back at her then—not in the vague way that he smiles at everyone but in a direct manner that says the smile is just for her—and, emboldened, she says, more firmly, "Yi Jeong Sunbae."
Yi Jeong's looking straight into her eyes, and she feels the pull of them the same way she'd felt their connection the other night, as something pulsing and magnetic and real.
"Yo, yo, yo, what's up, my bro?" Song Woo Bin enters the porridge shop in his usual swaggering manner.
I'm your soulmate.
Yi Jeong holds up a hand and gestures for his friend to sit down.
"Sorry, what were you saying?" he asks.
"Um, nothing. N-nothing. I'll get that coffee for you."
Woo Bin plops into the seat opposite Yi Jeong, and, nodding to her dismissively, Yi Jeong turns his attention to his friend, his mask back in place.
She fetches Yi Jeong's coffee. Woo Bin orders a bowl of porridge, and she fetches that too.
Her mask is back in place as well. That of the helpful but unobtrusive porridge girl.
Perhaps it is little wonder he didn't recognize her when she can make herself so invisible.
She didn't feel invisible the night of the party, though; for the first time in her life, she felt just a little bit important.
He did say, in a message that's been sitting in her inbox for a week, that he wants to see her again.
And she's pretty sure the 'soulmate' he was referring to is her.
Maybe tonight she will be brave.
Maybe she will write him back and reveal her secret.