"Sorry," he spoke slowly using one of the few English words that he actually knew at twenty-three. The rest came out in Korean, which he was pretty sure the shorter than average square-banged girl who had approached him immediately upon his entrance wasn't fluent in. "I don't speak Mandarin."
Her oversized eyes, thanks to the noticeable cobalt blue circle lenses, blinked frighteningly at him. He couldn't keep himself from criticizing the way the blue looked muddied by her naturally dark irises, ruining what probably would have been a bright blue. She turned her head to look over her shoulder in the direction of the counter at the back of the room, and his attention followed.
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Even if he weren't in a new country, the bustle of the city would have been enough to make him an outsider. Being from Mokpo, Donghae was easily overwhelmed by the small streets with fast taxis and reckless scooters trying to squeeze around large public buses driven by maniacal old men who had rules about noises on their buses such as talking or even coughing. He was more of a foreigner in Taipei than he had ever been in Seoul though.
The big-eared boy was coming over, bowing slightly and smiling vigorously.
"I'm sorry," came out in accented and broken Korean, "But Xiao Dian is rather new and only speaks Mandarin."
"Oh," Donghae nodded, offering a smile of reprieve. "It's okay."
"Are you eating alone today, sir?"
The boy motioned his hand toward a small, square table hanging from the wall with only two seats at its sides. The seats didn't match in either color or shape, yet they seemed to fit perfectly, the coral of one and crisp white of the other melting into the bright yellow of the table they adorned.
Donghae followed the direction toward one of the seats, pulling it out carefully so as not to make noise as the legs rubbed against the tile flooring as the waiter placed one green menu down upon the table. It was a sleek metallic material that had nothing but a lone hot pink 'G' on the front.
"Please take a few minutes to look over the menu and decide what you would like to eat." The request was jovial, and Donghae felt himself smiling in response as he sat down and opened the small booklet.
He'd honestly never been so happy to hear poorly accented Korean.
The list of dishes, however, were not as friendly and multilingual as the elephant-eared boy. Everything was in Chinese characters with only the English translation written beneath each line.
Donghae peered over the menu as if he would suddenly learn either of the two languages by simply staring at them long enough.
He recognized all of about three words that littered the list: chocolate, coffee, tea.
"I recommend the Sapphire Blue Lemonade," a slim finger came along with the voice, landing on the item listed at the bottom of the right-sided menu page. Then the finger slid further up the page, as languorously as the next words, to the item fifth from the top, "And the Choco-Banana Waffles."
By the time Donghae's eyes moved from the finger to the owner of the finger, said man was moving once more, taking two small steps to the other side of the table and pulling out the white chair that Donghae had decided against moments earlier.
Two things came to mind: The man spoke Korean, and he smelled expensive.
"How long have you been in Taipei?" Two reddish, round lips curled out into a smile, and Donghae decided that not only did the man smell expensive, like the colognes sold at designer counters with price tags higher than his annual income had ever been, he also dressed quite expensively as well.
He had sandy blond hair that fell softly above his almond-shaped...