– 06 –
“Where’s your car,” Taeyeon asked after her seat belt was fastened.
“My car’s just be—”
“Not your race car. Your Bugatti.”
“My Bugatti? But why—”
“Where is it.”
“It’s at my place.”
“Where’s your place.”
Taeyeon said nothing more. Instead, the car surged forward, tyres squealing and they sped away from the race site.
Jessica spun round and was almost knocked off balanced as Yuri bowled into her. “What did you find out?” she asked, not quite daring to breathe as Yuri opened her mouth to speak.
“Sica, she’s a Jung.”
“She’s a Jung,” Jessica repeated, sounding like a robot.
“Yes. That means…”
“She could be my sister.”
They stood still, gazes locked and a stream of understanding flowed between them right then. She knew Yuri could sense the multi-layered feelings of complexity that stormed in her heart. Yuri seemed to know her better than herself at times. She never could understand how Yuri knew her so well but she was grateful to have her at times like these, when words failed her. And for the umpteenth time, the memory of the devastating accident replayed in her mind…
“Krystal, stop kicking me. Mom! Krystal won’t stop kicking me.”
“Krystal, be good. Stop kicking your sister.”
“But she kicked me first.”
Jessica and Krystal stopped squabbling at once. Their father had spoken and they knew better than to test his patience. But she was still irritated with her sister, so she leaned close and whispered fiercely, “I’m going to kick you really hard if you take my fish cake again.”
“It’s my fish cake.”
“It’s not yours. It’s in my bowl so it’s mine.”
“No, it’s mine.”
“I’m not a thief.”
“You are! You’re a th—”
An unreal crushing sound and shrill screeching of tyres interrupted her rebuttal. An earth-shattering impact followed immediately, slamming into them and a sharp, searing pain streaked through her neck as her head was thrown first to the right, then to the left. One more swerve of the car turned her world upside down, tossing her violently. Then, her head met the inner side of the car in a sickening collision and that was the last thing she could remember.
She was trembling again. Yuri wished she could do something more to help but in reality, there was little she could do. So, she squashed her even closer and murmured quiet words of comfort until the trembles stopped.
“I’m here, I’m here.”
“I need to talk to her.” Jessica lifted her head from Yuri’s shoulder and looked around. “Where is she?”
Deep ocean blue streaked past them just as she asked. “Krystal…” Jessica would’ve gone after it if Yuri hadn’t held her back.
“I’ll try to find out more about her. Don’t worry, we’ll find her. And I’m sure she’ll be at the next race.” Yuri looked deep into Jessica’s eyes and waited patiently for the calm to return. “It’ll be better if you’re sure about it before talking to her, right?”
Jessica nodded and Yuri patted her head, stroking her soft, silky hair. “I wanna go home, Yuri.”
Yuri nodded. “Let’s go,” she said, and they returned to Jessica’s car.
Looking at Taeyeon as she drove sparked off an itch she couldn’t scratch. Something about Taeyeon had captivated her from the first time she set her eyes on the petite racer. And it hadn’t even been in person. She’d been watching a video of a street race when she saw Taeyeon for the first time. But even through the video, Taeyeon’s eyes had enraptured her. She couldn’t put her finger on the reason but she knew one thing—she had to meet Taeyeon one day.
It hadn’t been easy to get to Korea, even harder getting into the street racing scene, since it was illegal and pretty closed as a result. But she’d made it, in the end. With Paul’s help, not only did she get to meet Taeyeon, she also got to race with her. That should’ve been enough but it wasn’t. Instead of being content with the race, she wanted more. So, she went off the bat and raised the stakes against the intriguing woman. She wasn’t a settler. She was a challenger.
Her life had been a series of challenges. All through her life, obstacle after obstacle presented themselves in her face and she’d climbed over them time after time. Difficulties in life didn’t break her spirit. Not the bullies in school, not the pressure from peers, not the conventions of society. The death of her mother when she was at a tender young age was a painful loss that hurt till today but it served as a form of motivation too—the desire to make her mother proud being a source of strength for her.
Hence, pushing for more with Taeyeon was to be expected, with a personality like hers. But at this very moment, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d push a little too far this time. Was she ready for this volatile character? Was she strong enough to hold up under the enigmatic charm of Taeyeon?
She wasn’t sure if it’d been the wisest thing to do—raising the stakes yet again—but it was too late for any regrets. No matter what it was that Taeyeon wanted, she would have to give. That was her end of the deal. That was the price she had to pay for asking for more.
She directed the car to her home, an up scale apartment on the expensive side of Seoul and Taeyeon only broke the silence after they entered the compound.
“Where’s the Bugatti.”
“Turn left into the basement car park.” Taeyeon turned left and drove to the end. “Drive into the car elevator here,” she said, pointing at the ceiling-to-floor shutters on the left. Taeyeon drove in after the shutters opened and stopped. “Get out. We’ll be taking a different elevator.”
She got out without waiting for Taeyeon, and walked out of the car elevator. Once Taeyeon was out as well, she put her thumb on the security device on the wall and the shutters closed.
“What’s gonna happen to my car?” Taeyeon asked.
“This is an automated car parking elevator. Your car will be sent to my apartment and parked. We’ll take the passenger lift up to my place,” she replied while walking to the lift which was located right next to the car elevator. She turned around, expecting to see Taeyeon right behind her but the woman was still standing at the same spot, wearing a stunned expression.
It was slightly comical to see Taeyeon’s eyes opened wide and her nostrils flared but the look passed quickly and her expression turned into that of disgust instead.
“Is this apartment part of your business with Paul too?” she sneered as violent vibes jumped off from her.
The look in Taeyeon’s eyes was intimidating but she wasn’t going to let her know about it. So she raised her chin and stared right back. “Yes. It’s part of the business. But that’s none of your business. You asked me to bring you to my Bugatti and that’s what I’m doing, so are you coming or not.”
She almost retreated as Taeyeon entered the lift but managed to stand her ground. With Taeyeon beside her, she pressed the ninth button and the doors of the lift closed, enclosing them in the small space. It was getting a little hard to breathe and Taeyeon wasn’t even touching her. Ridiculous. Why did Taeyeon have this effect on her? Why was it so hard to look Taeyeon in the eye?
The doors opened and she stepped out with Taeyeon behind her.
“The Bugatti is right here.” She gestured to the left at the luxury super car displayed behind a glass wall. “What do you want with it.”
Taeyeon didn’t reply so she turned to look at the woman. And for the second time, she caught a glimpse of stunned Taeyeon. She supposed her apartment would have that effect on most people. It had stunned her too, when she first saw its interior, which was much more stylish than the exterior of the high-rise building.
From the white walls to the while marble tiles, the apartment looked clean and spacious at first sight. Earthy colours filled the apartment, with tables and shelves made of natural wood, giving occupants a warm feel. There was a large 42-inch TV screen that dominated one side of the living room and a brown leather couch of unique design that took up the other side. The kitchen was guaranteed to impress as well, with state-of-the-art designer furniture like the sleek electric stove and silver metallic fridge.
But the most impressive part of the apartment was no doubt the glass wall at the far end of the living room that displayed her cars. Taeyeon’s car was already parked on the right, next to her Bugatti, clearly visible through the glass wall.
“Open the door to the Bugatti,” Taeyeon ordered, her stunned expression once again replaced by a hostile look.
“Who said anything about driving.” Taeyeon smirked and a stabbing bolt of unease hit her hard in the chest.
Something didn’t feel right and that statement got her wondering if she was on to what Taeyeon was hinting at but she didn’t have any time to figure it out. Taeyeon was already looking at her impatiently. So she stuffed her thoughts to the back of her mind and opened the sliding door to the cars instead.
Taeyeon positioned herself in front of the Bugatti and waggled her index finger. “Come here.”
She did as Taeyeon instructed, her heart rate increasing with each step towards the woman with the unwavering stare. Never had she thought that the price of defeat would look and feel like this. Never had she thought she could feel so much like a pawn being sacrificed in a superfluous game of chess. But the price had to be paid. That was the rule of the game.
Taeyeon’s fingers found her bare waist, sending a flurry of shivers up her spine and guided her to stand with her back to the car. Hands pushed her onto the bonnet and held her down. Her mouth fell open from the shock and her heart almost stopped when Taeyeon leaned close, lips brushing her ear.
“I’m claiming my prize. Now.”
How could hands feel so warm, yet so cold. How could anything feel so right yet so wrong. Those very hands that had pleasured her to a feverish pitch before, were now roaming up and down her body, seeking…finding…and torturing.
Down and down she fell, screaming, gasping for something to save herself with. Her body had forgotten all about the incredible value of the car beneath her and threshed about like a wild animal as it fought for control over itself again.
It took a while to find it, that control, that calm. But when she finally did, calm wasn’t the first thing she felt. Instead, a sharp, piercing pain sliced through her heart and cut it cleanly in half as Taeyeon stood and said, “Now, you’ll have something better to think about each time he fucks you in this car.”
The words stung hard. But the cruel smirk pinched even harder. Taeyeon could have branded her with red-hot steel and it wouldn’t even have hurt half as bad. So, like many other instances similar to this one, when pain was almost too much to bear, hurt turned into anger. Ignoring her twisted, mangled heart, she put her shorts back on, stood up straight and stared Taeyeon down.
“Get out of my house.”
“I’m not done claiming my prize.”
“You’re not claiming a prize. You’re just out to fuck with me so why should I let you. I didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
“You raised the stakes. Not me.”
“I didn’t realize you’re such a petty sore ass.”
“What the hell did you say?!”
“You’re a fucking petty sore ass.”
She scoffed at Taeyeon’s denial. “This is about that morning. Just because I didn’t hang around to say goodbye.”
“It’s not about that.”
“I didn’t do anything to you aside from that. And I’ve already explained why I had to leave early.”
“I’m not stupid enough to believe your explanation.”
“Why the fuck won’t you believe me. You don’t know me at all.”
“So you’re telling me you’re not fucking Paul for money?”
“I’m not. How many fucking times do I have to say it before you believe me.”
“You’re telling me he bought you a Bugatti, gave you this luxury apartment and got you the lead racer position in Hyundae solely because you’re good at racing?” Taeyeon snorted. “Even a three-year-old wouldn’t believe you.”
She bristled at the insult. “Even if it were true, what has it gotta do with you? We fucked once. Maybe twice, if you count what you just did to me. That’s it. I owe you nothing. You have no right to be so fucking pissed at me.”
Taeyeon’s eyes clouded over for a moment and she wasn’t sure what that meant but she wasn’t going to let Taeyeon push her around. Taeyeon had no right, no authority to do that to her. She was terribly disappointed to see the ugly side of the racer she admired so much.
She should never have come all the way here to meet Taeyeon. She should have stayed in California where she would have been blissfully ignorant of what Taeyeon was like, and continued to admire her racing skills from afar. Reality had only shattered that beautiful impression. And she was sorry for that loss.
“I can be pissed with whoever I want.”
“And I can kick you out of my house if I want.” She clenched her jaw, biting down hard on her teeth as she pressed the button to bring the car elevator back up. “Get out. I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t—ummph—”
Her breath was knocked out of her when her back slammed into the wall. Hands had gripped her shoulders and spun her around, unceremoniously shoving her against the wall. She opened her mouth to hurl angry words but they never made it out. Taeyeon’s lips didn’t allow it. Taeyeon’s lips were all over hers and she couldn’t talk.
“Mmmph—” she tried to push Taeyeon off but failed. The petite woman was surprisingly strong. Or was she too weak. Weakened by the shameless tongue that hunted hers down and sent a slew of heated blood cells racing to the furthest ends of her body.
Taeyeon’s kiss was devastatingly fatal to her. She couldn’t resist it and gave up trying after a few half-hearted pushes. She moaned into the kiss and tried to get her hands into Taeyeon’s hair but they were pinned to the wall by Taeyeon’s hands. And it wasn’t just her hands. The entire length of her body was pinned against the wall too, entrapped by Taeyeon. She could feel every inch, every sinew of Taeyeon’s body pressed up against hers. And that was devastating too.
“Fuck me,” Taeyeon whispered suddenly, her voice cracking with need and desire, taking her by surprise. For a moment, she couldn’t even speak and Taeyeon must have thought it was rejection for she pressed her body even closer and whispered again, her voice hoarse, “Fuck me. Please.”
There was something in the word ‘please’. It wasn’t because it was polite. It was the tone used. She heard in it, longing, desperation and unexpectedly, hurt. There was a chance she’d heard wrong. There was a chance she was being played like a fiddle. But Taeyeon had said please.
She put her hands on Taeyeon’s waist and pushed the racer to the black race car. With a hard push, Taeyeon ended up lying on the bonnet, just like her earlier. She stepped between Taeyeon’s legs and leaned down, bringing her lips the woman’s ear.
“You asked for it.”