Taeyeon turned up at her doorstep promptly at nine that night and sailed right into her studio. She had left it unlocked for the singer who had whined and pestered her into leaving it unlocked for her. It made her feel special, the singer had said. It took a while but she had caved in to Taeyeon’s request and by now, she was used to leaving it unlocked when she was expecting her. In return, the singer promised not to sneak up on her. It was a fair deal.
So it was just like any other visit from Taeyeon that night. Or so she thought.
“Do you have photo shoots tomorrow?” asked Taeyeon, upon arrival.
“So happens, no.”
“The day after?”
“The day after tomorrow?”
“I’m not trying to be funny. Really. I need to know if you have anything important scheduled for the next couple of days.”
“And why would you need to know that?”
“I’ll tell you why if you’ll answer my question.”
“No. I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine.”
“No fair. I asked first.”
Tiffany shrugged. “Fine. Nobody has to answer anything.”
Taeyeon groaned. “Why are you always so mean to me?”
“That’s another question I’m not answering until you answer mine.”
The singer pouted. Then, she grinned wickedly. “I have a trump card in my phone.” She held it up and whistled casually as she tapped the screen. “I’ll just post that wonderful picture of you with the bra eye mask on my Instagram.”
Tiffany gasped. “You wouldn’t.”
“You won’t get out of this place alive if you do it.”
“It would be my pleasure to die in your arms.”
The singer was tickled pink by their little squabble and was chuckling as Tiffany frowned. She didn’t think that Taeyeon would do what she threatened to but anything was possible when it came to the quirky singer.
As she glared at the snickering girl, an idea popped into her head. The best way out of this mess would be to grab the source of the incriminating evidence. Yes. She had the advantage. The physical advantage. Taeyeon was shorter than her. She’d be able to wrestle the phone from the singer and delete the picture to free herself from this mental torture forever. Yes. It was a good idea.
So, she lunged. But Taeyeon had surprisingly good reflexes. The shorter woman dodged and ran away. No way. There was no turning back now. So, she gave chase. The singer had a head start but she wasn’t a quick runner. Tiffany was confident that she could run faster. Taeyeon ran out of the studio and down the flight of stairs that led to it. Without much thought, Tiffany chased after her and found herself standing in the car park near the singer’s car.
Taeyeon had an interest in fast cars, apparently. Tiffany learnt that the singer had two cars and both were sports cars—the Mercedes and the Porsche. It was the Mercedes that Taeyeon had driven this time. She didn’t have much interest in cars nor did she particularly enjoy driving, but she had to admit that the cars that Taeyeon owned added to her appeal.
However, that appeal was not going to stop her attempt to destroy the incriminating evidence. She lunged one more time and was able to pin Taeyeon against the car.
“I WANT TO KNOW BECAUSE I WANT TO GO ON A HOLIDAY WITH YOU!” Taeyeon yelled as she desperately tried to protect her phone from Tiffany’s clutches.
“What did you say?” Tiffany asked in surprise, her mission to get Taeyeon’s phone forgotten.
“I said, I wanna go on a—”
“I heard what you said. But you can’t be serious,” Tiffany interrupted.
“Why not?! Do you really need me to explain it to you?!”
“I’m totally serious. I asked for a few days off to go for a holiday. My company gave me the go ahead,” said Taeyeon.
“And where are we going for our holiday?”
“It’s in the United States.”
“I know it’s in the United States. My point is you’re out of your mind!”
“I’m not out of my mind. I’m incredibly sane right now.”
“You must have lost your mind. You can’t be serious about this!”
“I am. Very serious.”
“You’re not a high school kid, Taeyeon. And I can’t just drop everything and leave. We’re not even talking Jeju. It’s the freaking United States. That’s halfway around the world!”
“But it’s gonna be so much fun!”
“Are we best friends or what?” Taeyeon cut her off most unceremoniously.
“We are but—”
“Then we’re going together.”
“You can’t just drag me along like that!”
“Who says I can’t?”
Tiffany wore the most incredulous look as she pointed at herself. “Yours truly.”
Taeyeon hung her head suddenly. “I’m very tired, Fany-ah. I just need to take a break. And I need your company.”
The sudden change in Taeyeon’s tone struck Tiffany with the realization that the singer really wasn’t kidding around. Had the Young-hu problem taken a turn for the worse? At that thought, a chill ran down Tiffany’s spine.
“Did Young-hu do something to you?”
Taeyeon shook her head wearily. “He didn’t. And it’s not just him. It’s everything. Please come with me. You’re the only one I can talk to like this.”
And with that, Tiffany made a split-second decision. It didn’t matter that her sensibility was yelling foul murder because in this very moment, all that mattered was Taeyeon. And Taeyeon needed her.
“You know what? Call me crazy but yes, I’ll go with you.”
And it was Taeyeon’s turn to be stunned. She gaped and gasped, “You’re actually agreeing to this? You’re going to come with me?”
“Yes. And you’d better help me pack. Before I change my mind.”
The grin on Taeyeon’s face was irremovable as she followed Tiffany back into the studio.
“You’re a horrible influence.”
“But you still love me.”
“I don’t love you.”
“I’m not in denial!”
“Denial denial queen.”
“Alright. That’s it. If this is how it’s gonna be, stop the car. I’m getting out.”
Taeyeon smirked and Tiffany could feel the inertia as the car accelerated.
“You’re coming with me and that’s final.”
“Why am I beginning to regret this already?”
“You won’t. I promise.”
“Your promises aren’t that reliable.”
“Oh. This one will be. Trust me.”
“You’ve done nothing to prove that you can be trusted.”
“I swear on my precious vocals that you won’t regret this.”
“Wow, you’re putting that much on this huh.”
“I’m very happy that you’re coming with me.”
“Did you think that I wouldn’t?”
“You’re right though. If I were sane, I would’ve said no. But ever since I’ve known you, I haven’t quite been sane anymore.”
“You know what that means right?”
“Forget it. It can’t be anything good coming from you.” Tiffany pouted. “And are we gonna buy tickets at the airport? If there aren’t any tickets we’ll forget about the whole thing right?”
The singer merely snickered.
“And you said you didn’t think that I would agree!”
Tiffany was flabbergasted when Taeyeon produced two plane ticket reservations for a flight bound for Orlando, direct from Seoul at the check-in counter at the airport.
“A girl’s gotta be prepared for all possibilities. I didn’t think you would come with me but I sure as heck wasn’t gonna be stuck without a ticket for you if you said yes.”
Tiffany could only shake her head at Taeyeon. She should have known better.
The singer had donned a simple black hat and put on very little makeup, but the check-in personnel couldn’t help but recognize her. It was evident enough in the way the woman’s eyes widened significantly before regaining their original size. To her credit, she continued to do her duties professionally and gave Taeyeon a wide smile as she handed over their boarding passes.
“Have a pleasant flight.”
And with that, they entered immigration. Taeyeon raised eyebrows and widened eyes at every step of the way. From security checks to immigration, to the boarding gate, right up to the point where they were seated in the plane. She’d bought business class tickets and Tiffany got to enjoy the perks of being a friend of a popular celebrity when the cabin crew lavished their best service on them.
“Do you like getting so much attention everywhere you go?” Tiffany was curious to know.
“There are perks. But sometimes, I wish everyone would just leave me alone.”
Tiffany reached for Taeyeon’s hand and squeezed it. “I’ll leave you alone if you want your privacy. Just let me know.”
“Oh, that wish doesn’t apply to you. I want as much of your attention as you’ll give me.”
Tiffany blushed. She didn’t know why, but she did. She promptly let go of Taeyeon’s hand and busied herself with the phone. She heard Taeyeon’s soft chuckle but she pretended not to hear it. The air between them was suddenly very awkward and she didn’t want to see the smug grin that she knew would be on Taeyeon’s face.
In an attempt to get rid of the awkwardness she felt, she cleared her throat and said, “How much does everything cost by the way? I’ll pay for my share of it.”
“Hell no. You’re not paying. I’m not telling.”
“Taeyeon, I’m not letting you pay for everything. It must be very expensive.”
“Don’t worry. I can afford it. Besides, I should pay for everything because I dragged you along with me.”
“I’ll find a way to repay you.”
“I am, however, willing to accept your payment in kind,” said Taeyeon with a cheeky grin.
“Payment in kind? What do you mean?”
But Tiffany didn’t get her answer. Taeyeon merely snickered yet again and refused to say anything else after that.
It was a very long flight. But Taeyeon wished that it could go on forever. So that she could keep on looking at Tiffany, who was fast asleep. She had the urge to stroke Tiffany’s cheek but she kept her hands to herself. The aircraft was a public place. There were eyes everywhere. Just then, a stewardess approached them with a friendly smile.
“We’ll be serving your meal now. Would you like chicken or fish?”
“We’ll have the chicken. Both of us,” replied Taeyeon.
“Sure. Any drinks for you?”
Taeyeon turned to Tiffany and shook her gently as the stewardess prepared their food trays.
“Fany-ah…wakey wakey,” she cooed and Tiffany stirred. “Our food is being served.”
“Oh, what are the choices we have?”
“It’s chicken or fish so I chose chicken for you.”
Tiffany smiled sweetly. “Thanks.”
“Aren’t you touched that I know what you like and don’t like to eat?”
Tiffany rolled her eyes but it didn’t stop Taeyeon from grinning anyway.
“Why’d you agree to come with me?” Taeyeon popped the question shortly after they were done with their meal. She’d been itching to ask yet apprehensive about the answer that she’d get which led to her procrastination. But now was the time. She had to know.
Tiffany looked at her and blinked a few times. Then, she blushed and said, “You said that I’m the only one you can talk to.”
Taeyeon pursed her lips. This was going to be tricky. “You’re willing to drop all of your work and plans to accompany me because I said that?”
Tiffany held her gaze and nodded.
“Would you do this for all of your friends?”
Tiffany’s brows furrowed for a moment. Then, she shook her head. “No, not all.”
“Would you do it for Sooyoung?”
“Why are you asking me all these questions?”
“Because I want to know.”
“Because you want to know? What?”
Taeyeon pursed her lips again and looked at her hands on her lap. This was harder than she thought it would be. But she wasn’t going to back down from it. No, siree. Deep breath. Go.
“I want to know where I stand in your heart.”
Whoosh. Oh gawd. There, she said it. She felt a little light-headed and her breath grew shallow as she waited for Tiffany’s response. Only, there was none. Her gaze inched up and she sneaked a peek at her companion only to meet Tiffany’s equally sneaky peek. Shyness overcame her suddenly and she looked away quickly as her heart thumped even faster than before.
She couldn’t understand why it was so hard. It’d been easy enough to lay on the cheeky quips and naughty insinuations but this was so much harder. Kim Taeyeon. What’s wrong with you? Have you lost your tongue? And your guts? What’s with the shyness damnit! Just come out and pop the real question already!
Tiffany’s hesitant voice jolted her from her inner thoughts and she looked straight at her, her heart leaping into her mouth as she waited.
Taeyeon blinked. Breath bated.
“You’re someone I care about. A lot.”
Taeyeon bit her lip. OHMYGAWD SHE SAID SHE CARES ABOUT ME! SHE CARES ABOUT ME! A LOT!!!
“Define ‘a lot’,” Taeyeon found herself saying and she almost kicked herself. What an unromantic thing to say! Argh!
Tiffany adjusted in her seat and clasped her hands together. “A lot is a lot,” she said after a moment. “I can’t define it.”
Kim Taeyeon. Don’t be a wuss. Ask her. Ask her now!
“Is ‘a lot’ enough for you to say yes if I ask you to be my girlfriend?”
Was it a good gasp or a bad gasp? HELP.