Tiffany was first to wake the next morning. Or rather, midday. Jetlag was certainly no joke. She felt totally out of place and a little disgruntled but it was forgotten as soon as she turned and saw Taeyeon by her side.
How did one even begin to describe how quaint the singer looked? Hair falling about all over the place, mouth slightly parted, face half-buried in the soft pillow, limbs ungracefully spread out. Yet, despite it all, Tiffany thought the singer looked very cuddly and she wondered fleetingly, what it would be like to wake up in those flailed out arms.
Unconsciously, she reached for Taeyeon’s hair, wanting to tuck it behind the singer’s ear but froze when the target moved and babbled something unintelligible. The little shock brought her back to her senses and she blinked in surprise at herself. What in the world was she about to do? What if Taeyeon woke up and caught her in the act? That thought had her retracting her hand immediately and looking away. Taeyeon’s pull on her was distressing her. She didn’t want to complicate things. She didn’t want things to change. But had she set foot on the path of no return?
Needing a distraction, she decided to use the washroom to take a bath and freshen up while Taeyeon slept. They would be more efficient with their time that way as well. So she got off the bed and grabbed her toiletries before entering the bathroom.
The bathroom was themed, just like the room and Tiffany took her time to look at the little details that they incorporated into the design. She hadn’t paid much attention to them the day before—she was too tired. She then went about her usual routine and hopped into the bathtub to take a shower. Finally, she adjusted the water temperature to her liking and began to bathe.
As she scrubbed herself, she thought about the little squabble they had last night. They’d never yelled at each other before and the fact that she blew up so quickly at Taeyeon worried her. It was a sign. A sign of closeness. A sign that Taeyeon had become that person whom she could get angry with and vent out on without reservation. A sign that Taeyeon had become more than a friend, whether she liked it or not.
She sighed. What was she, an animal photographer leading a quiet and peaceful life, doing with a person like Kim Taeyeon? She was playing with fire, wasn’t she? Would she be burnt?
A sudden noise jolted her from her thoughts. Instinctively, she looked for the source, only to see a pair of widened eyes peeping at her from behind the door.
“KIM TAEYEON!” Tiffany screamed and the eyes disappeared at once. She wasn’t about to let the singer get away with peeping at her so she charged out of the bathroom. “KIM TAEYEON YOU PERVERT!” she hollered as she closed in on the singer.
“I WASN’T PEEPING! I WAS ONLY TRYING TO SEE IF YOU WERE IN THERE!”
“I’M SORRY! IT WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN!”
“OUT!” Tiffany pushed Taeyeon to the door, opened it and kicked the singer out of the room before shutting the door and bolting it. The singer banged on the door and shouted for her to open it but she ignored the singer completely.
She went back into the bathroom, satisfied with the way she had handled things but her reflection in the mirror quelled any sort of satisfaction she had instantly. O. M. G. She had forgotten to cover herself up before chasing Taeyeon out of the room! She groaned to herself and buried her face in her palms. What had she been thinking! No. It was clear that she hadn’t been thinking when she left the bathroom naked. Argh! Tiffany Hwang!
She dragged her hands down her face and stared at herself in the mirror. No. She wasn’t going to be embarrassed about it. She was going to take her own sweet time to bathe before letting Taeyeon back into the room. And she was going to give the singer a piece of her mind as well. Yes. That was the plan.
She opened the door, fully dressed this time, determined to put the singer in her place but her determination flew out the window as soon as she saw her. She saw a small little girl, all huddled up on the floor of the corridor, looking dolefully up at her. Sad, puppy eyes, pouty lips, knees drawn to her chest, arms hugging her own legs. Sigh. Taeyeon. What was she to do with her? She didn’t have the heart to scold her. So, she simply jerked her head towards the room.
The singer perked up at once and got up on her feet again. She dashed back into the room and sprinted into the bathroom and locked herself in.
“PLEASE DON’T CHASE ME OUT AGAIN! I PROMISE NOT TO LOOK FOR YOU IN THE BATHROOM AGAIN!”
Tiffany rolled her eyes. Kim Taeyeon was incorrigible! Argh!
“IF YOU WANT, YOU CAN PEEP AT ME WHILE I’M BATHING! I DON’T MIND!”
“I’M NOT A PERVERT LIKE YOU!”
“I’M UNLOCKING THE DOOR!”
Tiffany heard the clicking sound of the door being unlocked and rolled her eyes again. How she could have feelings for a girl like that, she’d never know.
“I’M TAKING MY CLOTHES OFF!”
“I DON’T NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN THERE! TAKE YOUR SHOWER AND GET BACK OUT! HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN WHAT WE’RE HERE FOR?”
“OH MY GAWD! YOU’RE RIGHT! I’LL BE OUT IN A SEC! DON’T PEEP!”
And that was it. Tiffany found herself laughing without even knowing why. Only Taeyeon could crack her up like that. And Sooyoung. But Taeyeon was different. Taeyeon. Kim Taeyeon. Tiffany could only shake her head at herself. She was fighting a losing battle and she knew it.
They’d wasted a ton of time on sleep and antics so Taeyeon dragged her straight to the theme park without any further ado.
“OH MY GAWD! Despicable Me! Take a picture of me with the poster please!” Taeyeon shrieked like a three-year-old child high on lollipops as they passed by a poster of the upcoming movie.
The singer’s excitement had her laughing and she could barely hold the phone still enough to take a good picture of the singer blowing kisses at the poster. But she realized that that had only been the tip of the iceberg because the singer was even more exhilarated when they got to the theme park’s store.
The singer went absolutely delirious with happiness and immediately wanted a picture of her with the ceiling high shelves full of movie merchandise. Tiffany had to admit that the minions, characters from the movie, were incredibly cute but Taeyeon was behaving more like a little kid than a fully grown adult.
Things didn’t get any better when they got to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The singer went completely bonkers when they stepped into Hogwarts, the school in the Harry Potter movie. And it was then that Tiffany had an inkling of why Taeyeon needed her to come along. It wasn’t because the singer needed her to talk to. It was because she was going to be the voice of sanity and the only person who could stop the singer from completely losing her mind and making a complete fool of herself.
Taeyeon squealed at everything and took tons of pictures. She took pictures with everything too. Even the drink, Butterbeer.
“I’ll get us a Butterbeer. Wait here.” And with that, Taeyeon dashed off…and back. “Oh my gawd. It’s so good! Here, try it.” Taeyeon pushed the other straw to her. She tried it and nodded her head. It was good indeed. In no time at all, they’d finished the drink. Taeyeon couldn’t get enough of it and went back to get more.
They walked around with Taeyeon holding the drink and when she turned to talk to her, she burst out laughing.
“Hold still. Let me take a picture.”
Taeyeon was clueless. “What’s so funny?”
“Don’t move. Let me get a picture of you with the cup.”
Taeyeon held up the cup and she took a picture. Only then did she tell Taeyeon that there was a Butterbeer moustache on her upper lip. Sensing an opportunity for a cute picture, she held on to her phone and managed to snap a shot of Taeyeon just as her tongue stuck out to lick the moustache away. She couldn’t stop giggling after that. Taeyeon was just too adorable.
“What are you giggling about?” Taeyeon asked curiously.
Tiffany couldn’t answer her. She was giggling too much. She allowed Taeyeon to take her phone from her and barely a moment later, the singer joined her in her giggles.
“This is going on Instagram,” Taeyeon declared. “My fans will love it.”
“But your image…”
“Don’t worry. This isn’t going to ruin it.”
“If you’re sure…”
“Oh, I’m sure.”
The day went by in a flash and by nightfall, both girls were tired out from all the walking they had done in the theme park. Evidently, being in a constantly exuberated state was energy sapping, for Taeyeon was first to fall on the bed and fall asleep. Tiffany managed to stay up long enough to compile the pictures they had taken—a habit she picked up after becoming a photographer—before she too, fell asleep.
They woke up in time for breakfast the next morning and Taeyeon was excited all over again. They hit the Disney stores and all Tiffany could do was shake her head at Taeyeon as the singer lost her mind over all the merchandise once again.
As they walked about in the store, Tiffany saw something she liked, and she turned to Taeyeon with a bright smile. “Isn’t Tinkerbell pretty?”
“Very pretty. And shiny too.”
Tiffany held it as Taeyeon raised her phone to take a picture of it. Then, they walked on, browsing shelf after shelf of merchandise.
She was fairly amused to learn to see Taeyeon going gaga over the dolls section. The singer was quick to grab a box from the shelf and ask for a picture to be taken with it.
“Rapunzel? You like Rapunzel?”
Taeyeon grinned from ear to ear, a picture of complete bliss. “Rapunzel’s so pretty, isn’t she? And she has such long and lovely hair.”
“Whatever you say, Taeyeon. Whatever you say.”
When they finally sat down for lunch, Tiffany was more than happy. Until Taeyeon asked, “Why did you lock the door?”
“This morning. You locked the door.”
“Kim Taeyeon. You promised not to peep again!”
“I wasn’t going to peep!”
“I really wasn’t. There isn’t much to see anyway.”
“Say that again?”
Taeyeon cleared her throat. “I mean, you’re so slim that there isn’t much to see.”
“I really don’t think that’s what you meant.”
“I mean it! You’re so slim and slender. You have every model’s dream figure.”
“You’re sleeping on the couch tonight, Miss Kim Taeyeon.”
That night, Taeyeon did not sleep on the couch. They stayed up most of the night, lying in bed, chatting about random topics. She learnt that Tiffany had picked up photography after losing her mother at a tender age.
“Photography is a wonderful thing,” said Tiffany. “It has a way of bringing the best in everyone, everything and then preserving it.”
She learnt that Tiffany had had a couple of relationships in the past, her first in high school and her second ended just a little over a year ago. In return, she told Tiffany about her past as well. And she was just about done with her story about her first fight in school when she realized that Tiffany had fallen asleep. She smiled as she looked at Tiffany’s smiling face. The girl was so pretty. And kind. And caring. There was no end to the list of her virtues. But one thing bothered her. Tiffany’s impending answer. What was it going to be? Was it a yes or a no? She hoped that it would be the former.
Before they knew it, the vacation was over and it was time to go back home. Taeyeon was visibly downcast so Tiffany gave her a warm hug to cheer her up.
“Cheer up, let’s end this with a smile.”
Taeyeon tried to smile but her eyes were still sad, resulting in a rather comical expression. Tiffany giggled. She couldn’t help it. Taeyeon was just too cute.
“Aww…we can always come back here again.”
“Would you come with me again one day?”
“Of course I would.”
And that got Taeyeon smiling again.
They packed up, got to the airport, went through the procedures and finally got onto the plane. Food was served after a smooth take off and it was shortly after the meal that Taeyeon brought up the question again.
“Fany, did you have fun on this trip?
Tiffany smiled and nodded. “I had fun.”
Taeyeon smiled awkwardly and cleared her throat. “I know I said that I would wait. But it’s been really difficult for me to wait. I don’t think I can wait any longer. Is it a yes or a no? Please tell me. Please.”
Tiffany inhaled deeply. The moment of truth. Really, there was only one answer but it wasn’t easy to say it. It would change everything. And change could be for better or worse. One would never know until it was too late. But she couldn’t lie. So despite all the doubts and worries and questions she had, she knew that her answer would still be the same. These past few days had proven that without a doubt.
She looked away quickly and twiddled her thumbs nervously. Her heart was thumping so hard that she was sure it could be heard from the outside.
“Fany,” called Taeyeon, after a moment.
But she was frozen stiff and could not respond.
“Fany-ah,” called Taeyeon again.
This time, she looked up and locked gazes with the singer. There was a blank look on her face.
“You said yes.”
Tiffany smiled shyly and nodded her head. Taeyeon stared at her for a moment. And a choking sound emerged from the depths of her throat. The singer then broke into the widest smile that stretched right across her face. Her eyes twinkled with glee and she looked ridiculously happy.
“You said yes,” Taeyeon repeated. And then she began to laugh. A deep, low, manly chuckle-like laugh. Tiffany had initially thought that her laugh didn’t match the way she looked but after all this time, she’d gotten used to it and grown to love how unique it was. And it was that laugh that Taeyeon was desperately trying to muffle with her hands clapped over her mouth.
The smile on Tiffany’s face widened inexplicably. It was strangely exuberating to see just how happy she could make someone feel with just one word. She was happy because Taeyeon was happy. It was that simple.
For the rest of the flight, Taeyeon couldn’t quite get herself together. She burst into that guttural laugh every now and then and a rather silly grin was plastered to her face. It was as though she were hooked up to a limitless supply of happy gas or something, Tiffany thought.
She was feeling all tingly and excited too but Taeyeon seemed to be getting double the dose of delirium. It was cute though. She thought Taeyeon was insanely cute for being that way. And it didn’t help that they couldn’t tear their eyes away from one another. They were seated sideways with their seats fully reclined, falling into one another’s gaze as the aircraft made its way to its destination.
However, as exhilarated as they were, tiredness began to take over them and they slowly drifted off to sleep. But the smiles on their faces didn’t fade. For down below the thick blanket that Taeyeon had thrown over the both of them, hidden from public eye were their hands, clasped together, fingers entwined as they slept.