Chapter 38:

(Daisy) Two Years Ago

Cafe Eris

“So, we still haven’t decided on a name, have we?” Pimmy reminded us. Bookmark here

Silence. Bookmark here

Violet fiddled with her straw, stirring around the half-finished smoothie in front of her. Bookmark here

Dandelion pulled at her bangs. Bookmark here

I tapped my nails on the tabletop, frustrated. Bookmark here

It was always like this. We were revisiting this topic for like, the 7th time. Bookmark here

“Hmmm, maybe we can think of a theme. Like, something that matches our concept, or something that’s important to us?” Pimmy suggested, forcing a smile.Bookmark here

I felt bad for her. None of us were really thinking. Why did we have to think of the name anyway? Shouldn’t the company do that for us?Bookmark here

Dandelion spoke up. “Let’s go with something that matches our concept then. If we think of something important to all of us, we’ll end up with something either too abstract or too specific. I don’t think the company will be happy if we suggest calling ourselves ‘Practice Room 2’.”Bookmark here

“That’s true...” Violet chewed her straw, “But there are too many concept based names already. We don’t want to be another ‘(Something) Girls’ or ‘Pink Butterfly’ or whatever. Let’s think some more. What’s something special to us?” Bookmark here

“Well, there’s nothing much from our trainee days,” I mumbled, “And anything else that we can all agree is important is probably too vague. Love? Friendship? Financial stability?” Bookmark here

Violet paused. “Financial stability is kind o-”Bookmark here

“No,” Dandelion said. Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

We were silent again. Bookmark here

“Well, we need some ideas. Anything. Just shoot,” Pimmy pressed. Bookmark here

“Midas Touch,” Violet called out, “Because financial stability,” she smiled.Bookmark here

“ sounds okay I guess...we can’t make our concept money related though,” I sat up straight, “But that could still work. Gold would be our aesthetic or something?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know, that sounds like it would work better for a girl crush concept,” Pimmy pointed out.Bookmark here

“Yeah…”Bookmark here

We were back to square one. Bookmark here

Violet spit out her straw. “I’ve got it!”Bookmark here

“You do?” We all looked at her expectantly. Bookmark here

“Indecisive Girls.” Violet put up a peace sign.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Moving on…Pimmy, do you happen to have any ideas?” I glanced at her. She was trying to keep the discussion going, which I appreciated, but she hadn’t contributed any ideas of her own. Bookmark here

She started fidgeting with her bracelet. “Well…”Bookmark here

“Well…?” Bookmark here

“I dooooo…’re going to get mad at me…”Bookmark here

“Just say it. At this point anything is fine,” Dandelion was starting to get irritated.Bookmark here

“Okay, then how about Cocoa 4?” Pimmy grinned mischievously.Bookmark here

“Coco 4???” Dandelion stood up. Bookmark here

“No! Cocoa, like, Hot Cocoa…”Bookmark here

“Hot Coco?” Dandelion repeated.Bookmark here

“Spelt C-O-C-O-A!” Pimmy insisted.Bookmark here

“That’s enough Pimmy, we know what you mean,” I groaned. Bookmark here

“Aww…” She slumped over the table, disappointed. It was pretty obvious that this name a certain person we all knew very well by now. Bookmark here

“Do yuu haphen to hab awi ober ideas?” said Violet, who was back to eating her straw.Bookmark here

“I think we’ve heard enough,” Dandelion retorted. Bookmark here

“It’s not like we can do any better. Go ahead Pimmy,” I sighed. Bookmark here

“Okay, ready? I have a lot. You can say no, these are just random.” Bookmark here

Dandelion made a face that said she was ready to say no to all of them. Bookmark here

“Caramel Popcorn.”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“Blue Cider.”Bookmark here

“Already exists.”Bookmark here

“Butter Tarts.”Bookmark here

“Weird and specific.”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“You must be hungry,” Violet said.Bookmark here

“That’s...well...Okay, okay, how about these ones?” Pimmy continued:Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“Crystal Wind.”Bookmark here

“That’s the name of a Bebreeze scent.”Bookmark here

“Abstract Vase.”Bookmark here

“Okay, I know you said these were random, but don’t say it if it’s obvious how bad the name is,” Dandelion grumbled.Bookmark here

“Also, are you just naming things you see in the room?” I asked, eyeing a Bebreeze bottle labelled “Crystal Wind”. Bookmark here

“Yeah…” she laughed half-heartedly, “I thought maybe one of them would stick…”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s not a bad idea…” My eyes wandered around the room. They stopped, as something moving around caught my attention. My gaze rested upon the hideous, but iconic, “KISS THE CHEF” apron. Definitely not. Bookmark here

Pimmy started fidgeting again, “Hey, how about Cherry Plaid?” Bookmark here

I paused. “That could work. It sounds cute, and it matches our concept.” Bookmark here

Violet giggled, “No way, naming our group after ugly curtains?” I followed her gaze to the red and green plaid curtains at the window. Bookmark here

I sighed.Bookmark here

“Pimmy, why are you making that face again?! This has something to do with your obsession doesn’t it?” Dandelion accused.Bookmark here

“No! It doesn’t!! It’s just curtains, how would it have to do with him?!”Bookmark here

“It’s fine,” I said, defeated, “This is the best suggestion we have so far.”Bookmark here

Pimmy nodded, “And isn’t it perfect? It’s something important to us!”Bookmark here

“The curtains?” Violet asked.Bookmark here

“Coco?” Dandelion glared. Bookmark here

“No! This café!” Pimmy smiled. Bookmark here

The rest of us were silent. Bookmark here

I don’t remember how we ended up answering her question. Maybe we just didn’t. Bookmark here

Thinking about the memory, Daisy- I mean, I...sighed again. After all, we still ended up naming ourselves after this place. It’s kind of funny. Back then, no one else here even knew our names, did they? Bookmark here

Maybe this place was important to Pimmy, but I can’t really say the same. We didn’t have the heart to tell her back then. I mean, sure, we came here pretty often, but for me, it’s just a regular café - a place to eat lunch, that’s all. Unlike Pimmy, we never had a reason to get attached to this place. Just like in the idol industry, and just like in our own group, we’re outsiders here. Maybe Cherry Plaid was a perfect name after all. Bookmark here

Right now, the part-timer was putting back those cherry plaid curtains he hated so much one last time. It was for our viewing party.Bookmark here

“Thank you all for coming to this event today!” Mr. Scanta’s voice boomed throughout the room, even though the sound system wasn’t set up. “Today we have some very special guests who would like to share something with you. As regulars of this café, they would like you all to bear witness to their new start - or in spirit of the café, I should say, second chance. Please give a warm round of applause to...Cherry Plaid!!!”Bookmark here

Mr. Scanta’s little introduction sounded like it belonged at a graduation ceremony. In contrast, when we went up to the stage, our greeting was quick and energized, and it sounded more like an idol show. Bookmark here

“Hello! We are-” we did an abrupt, synchronized bow, “-Cherry Plaid!! Thank you for having us!” We clapped for ourselves along with everyone else.Bookmark here

“Hello, I am the leader of Cherry Plaid, Pimmy Park,” said Pimmy, “Today is the release of our newest comeback, and the start of a new era for Cherry Plaid. We will be showing our music video today, and then doing an acoustic performance of the song. We hope you enjoy!” Bookmark here

We all bowed again, and left the stage. Our music video started playing, and we sat down, watching everyone’s reactions. Bookmark here

Our new concept involved the four of us being students at a rich private all-girls boarding school. That way we were able to keep our signature reddish-pink “cherry plaid” skirts - they were part of the uniform. Bookmark here

Our characters in the storyline are sheltered girls who don’t have freedom, and know nothing about the real world because they’ve lived in a closed-off community for their entire lives. Eventually, the four characters run away from their prison-like boarding school and escape the real world. But the real world is full of weird, illogical horrors and all sorts of dangers that the characters have to face. Bookmark here

All our new comebacks will be new installments in the journey of our characters, as they try to survive in the real world. The first music video was just the beginning though - it shows us in the boarding school, trying to escape, and it ends with a little teaser for what’s coming next, with the characters meeting a strange, twisted creature in the outside world. Bookmark here

Looking around the room, the reactions were pretty good so far. People seem to be interested in the story and some are nodding their heads to the music. Bookmark here

“Hey, get a load of that guy,” Dandelion snickered quietly. Bookmark here

I looked over at the person she was not-so-subtly pointing at. Surprisingly, it was the owner, and I see what she meant. He was sweating furiously and pacing in the corner. Every once in a while he gave a troubled look to our music video playing at the front, and then resumed his pacing. Bookmark here

“It’s not even at the scary part yet. Does he have a fear of boarding schools?” Violet grinned.Bookmark here

“Who knows, maybe he went to one and had a traumatic experience,” I shrugged.Bookmark here

The three of us watched as he got increasingly nervous. Eventually, as our characters escaped, and the tone of our video changed, he excused himself and went into the back room. Bookmark here

I didn’t think much of it at first.Bookmark here

Not until I started getting the nightmares. Bookmark here

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