s e v e n t e e n

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The café was quiet this afternoon like all other afternoons. There was only a small number of people who came in for dessert or a late caffeine burst before office hours ended. But most of the time, I spent my time at the counter studying and only putting it away to serve someone. 

I never minded the slow shift though. I loved the smell of coffee, so being in the café was blissful.

After wiping down the table, I returned to the counter and studied in preparation for the exams end of term. I liked to plan ahead. I took on more shifts over the holiday than usual which was great because I still needed more money if I planned on going to Gold Coast in three months. However, the downside, I couldn't do any of the holiday homework. And now, all I'm doing is counting the weeks until the next break.

I looked further into the plane tickets Daniel told me about and the flash sale was going to end this weekend. I told Mia and Dina about it, and they're both interested. Mia even got her parents approval. Thankfully.

But when Mia head about Daniel and few of his friends were going, she was reluctant. I wasn't sure how Mia would behave. The plan was to go for a week. One week didn't seem too long but spending one week almost fifteen hours each day with people you claimed to not like was perhaps a bit too much for Mia and I felt bad putting her in such a position.

But Mia said it was fine. She pretty much hinted that we were going to ditch Daniel and his friends to do our own thing. I wasn't against the idea. I wasn't entirely sure if I was comfortable spending time with a group of people I didn't really know as well.

I thought dad was going to be the biggest obstacle for my plan. I thought dad would be against the idea and refuse to let me go, saying that I wasn't old enough. But boy, was I wrong. Turned out that he was the easiest obstacle of all. It was so easy that I legitimately began to wonder whether dad was replaced with a clone or something. But then again, I didn't have a reason to think he would be against it. I never asked dad if I could go on a road trip with friends before. I actually remembered dad encouraging me to go to Europe with Mia during the summer break without him.

"That's a good idea," dad had said after I told him. "You should go in June. It'd be a perfect pre-exam holiday. You'll come back all refreshed and ready for action."

"Seriously?" I asked with shock.

Dad nodded. "Yeah, why not?" he had taken another bite of his dinner while we sat on the dining table.

"Oh, uh, you seriously okay with me going. No objections or anything?" I asked. I realised now that it was stupid questioning it. I should've just accepted it but I was so shocked.

Dad had rolled his eyes. "Did you want me to object?" he asked absentmindedly.

"Uh, no. Not exactly. I was just expecting you to be—you know—more against it given that boys will be going."

"And part of those boys is Daniel. I trust him," dad confessed. I was baffled hearing that. Exactly! Daniel was going. Daniel was a boy. How could he think that it was okay? Sometimes I wondered if dad trusted Daniel more than his own daughter despite that he only knew Daniel for three months. But it was like they were best friends.

Suddenly, dad's body stiffened, and he straightened his body, looking at me. "Wait, should I be worried?" Finally, I got some reaction.

My eyes widened and I looked back at my meal. "No, you shouldn't," I panicked.

"You won't be in the same hotel with the boys, will you?"

My expression dropped. "You expect us to be in separate hotels?" I asked. Dad nodded. "We'll probably be in the same hotel, but different rooms."

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