– 27 –
She couldn’t sleep that night. The decision she had to make weighed heavily on her shoulders and she couldn’t come to a decision.
It was the voice that could calm her nerves and make her smile so she turned to the owner and smiled. “Yuri, why aren’t you sleep?”
Yuri sat beside her, their arms touching and said, “I should be asking you.”
“I have some thoughts to sort out, that’s all.”
“What kind of thoughts?”
Yuri put an arm around her. “You’ll get over it sooner or later.”
“But not quickly enough.”
“This is about the Roulette, right?”
“Like I said, there’s always next time.”
“Not if I lose my spot on the team. Not if people think I’m too scared to race.”
“People think wrong all the time. You can always get into another team next time.”
“Next time. You keep saying next time. But I want it this time. I’ve put in so much for this.”
“But it’s not going to be possible this time.”
She was silent for a moment. Then she said, “There’s a way.”
Yuri was excited at once. “There is? What? How?”
“Doctor Seo can suppress the negative memory with a layer of consciousness and I’ll be able to drive like I did before the accident.”
Yuri narrowed her eyes and looked at her more seriously than she’d ever been. “What do you mean by suppress the negative memory. Are you going to lose your memory?”
“I won’t lose it. It’ll just be hidden, as though it doesn’t exist.”
“Are there side effects?”
She hesitated. Telling Yuri about the risks wasn’t part of her plan. If Yuri knew what the risks were, she’d stop her from doing it, no doubt about that.
Yuri sighed. “Sica, if you won’t tell me, at least tell Krystal. Tell someone. You haven’t talked much lately and that’s bad for you. Remember how you always told me to tell you everything? I told you how I felt and what I wanted to do and everything. And that helped me to get better. Look, now I can control myself. I know how to.”
She was suddenly engulfed by Yuri’s arms and body. “Sica, don’t do anything dangerous, okay?”
She wasn’t sure if she could promise Yuri that.
“Promise me.” Yuri pulled back and looked into her eyes. “Sica, promise me. This memory suppressing thing with Doctor Seo. Please don’t do it if it’s too dangerous.”
“It’s not that dangerous. The only thing I can lose is my memory.”
“All of it?”
“Just the ones related to the accident.”
“That sounds alright. What’s the risk then?”
“It’s a problem if I lose other memories that are somehow connected as well.” She sighed. “I might end up losing all my memories of Krystal and I can’t afford that. I’m the only one who remembers Krystal during that time. I have to keep my memories safe.”
“You might forget Krystal?”
“And you’re worried about that.”
“What about me?”
“What about you?”
“Aren’t you worried you might forget me too?”
She blinked. She hadn’t actually thought about the possibility of that happening. “I…”
“Krystal is the most important person to you right now. I get that.” Yuri stood, her body tense and radiating waves of less-than-happy vibes. “But don’t forget there are other people who love you and need you too. Think about it carefully, Sica. I’m going back to bed.”
She sat there, dumbfounded by the anger she heard in Yuri’s voice. It was low and almost a growl when she said the last few words. She’d never heard Yuri speaking like that before. And for the first time, Yuri’s presence had not given her comfort. Instead, her presence had added another problem to the equation.
Dry lips. Stale mouth. Heavy eyelids. Disoriented mind.
She could recognize them all. That meant she’d drunk too much wine last night. But how much was too much? Tiffany would’ve counted the glasses.
Tiffany. She was just beside her. Mmm. She smelt like a pair of comfortable pyjamas. The kind that had been worn so many times that it was soft and slightly furry to touch. Her eyebrows were so pretty. And her lips. So sexy.
The sheets slid further down the bed when she sat up. And that was when she realized her clothes were still on but Tiffany was naked. Naked as a baby could be. Only, Tiffany was far from a baby. She had the body of a woman. A fully developed, mature, beautiful woman’s body. A body that was meant to be admired, loved and devoured. And when Tiffany snuggled even closer to her, a move made unconsciously, she was helpless to resist.
Her lips found Tiffany’s forehead and crossed the bridge of the her nose to the pair of soft lips below. She nuzzled her, gentle and light, and sank into the warm, cozy state of intimacy with a person she actually had feelings for.
Wait. What? She had feelings for?
She pulled back, propped up on her elbow and looked at Tiffany. The woman was still fast asleep, a little smile tugging the corners of her lips. This was a beautiful sight but what did it mean?
What was the purpose of having this woman in her life? And who was she to this woman? And why did she have this strange fluttering in her stomach?
Perhaps it was because she hadn’t come home with someone like this in such a long time. Having no long term relationships meant there were no expectations, no commitment, no responsibilities. Nothing. There was nothing.
Actually, nothing hadn’t been a problem She’d been living with nothing and surviving. Until Tiffany came along. With room for the comparison of nothing and something, she realized how empty nothing could be. She’d been empty. Hollow. A complete lack of happiness. Supplemented by a dark, intense anger that had infiltrated all corners of her heart and blackened it like soot.
But what was she now? Was she happy? Was Tiffany happy? Were they happy? Would they last? Or was this going to turn into another ugly episode in her life?
“Were you kissing me a while ago?” she asked.
“Oh.” Tiffany smiled. “So that wasn’t actually a dream…” Taeyeon blinked as Tiffany planted her lips on hers and grinned. “Do you remember what you did last night?”
“What did I do?”
“You made me strip.”
“Uh huh. And you wanted to have sex with me but after stripping me, you fell asleep.”
“I don’t remember stripping you.”
“You would if you weren’t so drunk.”
“Why do I have this feeling you’re trolling me.”
“Why would I?”
“Because you’re a horny bitch who’d do and say anything to get into my panties.”
“You’re highly delusional, Kim Taeyeon.”
“I’m not delusional. You know you want me.”
“You’re delusional if you think I’m attracted to your stinking hangover breath right now.”
Taeyeon stared for a moment before turning away and sitting up. She knew Tiffany was right but she wasn’t going to admit anything of that sort. “None of the other girls had a problem with my breath,” she jested.
There was a change in Tiffany’s demeanour instantly. “I’m not one of the other girls,” said Tiffany.
“You’re a girl.”
Tiffany shook her head, her eyes blazing with the same kind of ferocity as when they first met. “I’m the girl, Taeyeon. And you know it.”
“You’re a girl.”
“Am I really just a girl?”
Hungover to begin with, this wasn’t the sort of morning she wanted, so she got off the bed without answering Tiffany’s question and headed to the bathroom. However, Tiffany had a different idea and followed her in.
“Am I really just a girl?” she pressed.
She splashed water on her face and blinked through the drops of water dripping from her eyebrows. “Can’t you see I’m busy right now,” she said, and proceeded to pick up her toothbrush and toothpaste.
“I can see that you’re avoiding my question.”
“Then you should be smart enough to stop pushing it.”
“It’s important to me.”
She brushed her teeth, replaced the toothbrush and left the bathroom, squeezing past a very naked Tiffany to get out. Damn that woman. Couldn’t she put on some clothes at least?
“Why is it important to you now. We’ve had no problems together so far. Why must you insist on forcing it out of me.”
“It’s always been important to me. But I’ve been holding back. Trying to give you space.”
“You were doing very well. You should continue to do the same.”
“How much longer do you want to hide? How much longer do you want to run away from me? We’ve been together for quite a while now. Most people would consider this a steady relationship by now and would’ve told all their friends about it. But look at us. Treading carefully to avoid talking about the past. Treading carefully to stay casual,” her fingers bending to add quotation marks in the air, “You’re kidding yourself if you think this is good.”
All of her life and soul drained out of her feet and seeped away. She always knew it would come to this. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy the way we were for the past few weeks. Why do you need me to say these things you want me to say? Tell your friends we’re together if you want to. I don’t care. It’s enough for me to see you every other day. To go out, or stay in. To eat junk food at all the wrong hours. To fuck like we’re the hottest girls in the world. What more do you want!”
Tiffany looked sadder than ever and her heart twisted painfully. This wasn’t what she wanted when she kissed her that night.
“Taeyeon, I just want to be able to talk about anything with you. I want you to be able to tell me anything. No matter how happy we are, no matter how good we fuck, there’s always a wall and you know it. I can feel the wall. It’s between us. It’s a fucking wall, Taeyeon. I see it whenever I see you.”
“Well, I’m fucking sorry you feel that way and I’m fucking sorry all you see is a wall when I’m happy to see you. I can’t do anything about that wall. It’s been there since forever. And it’s gonna be there. If you can’t deal, just get the hell out.”
Much to her cold, numbed horror, Tiffany didn’t come back at her with anger in her voice. She spoke almost as if she’d been expecting it, waiting for this to happen.
“I can’t deal. It’s me. It’s my fucking problem, not yours. I’ll get out of your life and you can go on living with your fucking wall.”
How did a lovely morning together end up like this? How? She slumped against the wall behind her and watched as Tiffany put her clothes back on and gathered her stuff from various places in her room. A book from here, a pair of shorts from there, toothbrush from the bathroom, towel from the bed…Tiffany had pretty much moved in, what with the constant sleepovers, ever since they agreed to be unofficially official. But how. How did we end up fighting like this?
“Tiffany…” she stopped, unsure of what to say next.
“Kim Taeyeon, I love you. There, I said it. And I’m not afraid to say it. I love you too much to take this. I can’t take it. I can’t just be a girl. I want nothing less than to be the girl. Your only girlfriend. If this isn’t what you want, I can’t stay on to fuck around with you. I’m sorry.”
Tiffany was heading out the door. No. No. No!
“Stop. Tiffany!” She put herself between Tiffany and the door, physically blocking the way out. “You’re not going anywhere.”
“I can’t stay here. You asked me to get the hell out.”
“I’m—” she bit her lip, it was hard to say this. “—sorry. Don’t go.”
“Why shouldn’t I go.”
“We’re good together.”
“Taeyeon. Good is not enough for me. I love you. And it hurts. I’ve tried so hard. Waited for so long.”
“Then you can wait a little longer. Try a little harder.”
“Wait a little longer? Until you find another girl? Try a little harder? To? Smile and pretend everything is fine? I can’t be the only one trying, Taeyeon. You have to try too. But you’re not. You don’t want to. And I’m so sick and tired of putting in my heart and soul when all you put up is a wall.”
“All I put up is a wall?” she retorted, anger rising. “I spent all my time with you. Dinner. Movies. Night drives. I stayed up half the night to listen to you rant. And I didn’t date other girls. Do we really need to put everything in words? Huh? Isn’t what I actually do more important?”
Tiffany’s voice, low and husky, cut through the air. “You hurt me. That’s what you did.”
Suddenly, everything she did seemed futile. Tiffany wanted to leave. Sure. She could fucking go if she wanted. “If that’s how you feel. Go.” She stepped aside. “Go.”
With the door opened, Tiffany left without a word. That made her even angrier so she slammed the door hard, the sound jarring her ears without apology.