Losing to the Heat 45

Things are bad. Really, really bad.”

Yuri’s heart sank. “How bad is it?”

They want to pull Tiffany out of The Roulette.”

No.”

Jessica grimaced as she nodded. “I’m afraid so. The committee is determined to promote women’s racing and they think Tiffany will ruin everything.”

But she’s not guilty!”

That’s not the point.”

If that’s not the point, what is? How can they penalize an innocent person just because they want to promote the sport?”

It will take time before Tiffany can clear her name of all suspicion. Until then, the committee wants her out of the race. But if I know anything about the way they work, I don’t see Tiffany coming back into professional racing anytime soon. They want the sport to be scandal free. It’s their prerogative.”

This is so unfair!”

I know it is. But that’s how things are. Politics is nasty.”

I don’t like any of this.”

Neither do I, Yuri.”

Yuri hugged Jessica for comfort. “I’m glad you’re not cruel like them.”

Jessica sighed. “They’re not cruel. They’re just doing what they have to do.”

Yuri dropped her arms. “Don’t tell me you agree with what they’re doing.”

I don’t like it any more than you do, but I can understand why they would act like that. They’re thinking for the sport as a whole. A positive image would bring in sponsors, money, exposure. It would help all female racers out there.”

So everyone would gladly sacrifice an innocent racer for the greater good?”

Yuri…”

Yuri stepped away from Jessica. “I don’t agree with any of it. If the committee is willing to leave an innocent racer behind just to get ahead, I don’t think it’s going to be a good sport at all.”

Yuri…”

Go away. I’m not talking to selfish people like you.”

Alright, fine. Suit yourself, you stubborn woman.”

Yuri walked straight into the bedroom and slammed the door shut. She sat on the bed and pouted at the thought of Tiffany’s plight. How unfortunate she was to be embroiled in this case at the start of The Roulette. It wouldn’t even be a good race if Tiffany isn’t in it. But Jessica wouldn’t mind, would she? With Tiffany gone, Krystal was in line to win it. That selfish woman. She wasn’t going to talk to Jessica until she admitted she was wrong and that was that.

I will not allow it. The committee has no right to withdraw Tiffany from the race. She has not done anything that disqualifies her.”

Tiffany sank deeper into her seat as Paul spoke. She didn’t want to speak against Paul but she couldn’t help agreeing with the committee. She had signed the contract. That meant she was responsible for the purchase, even if Ted had been the person who sourced it. By putting her signature on the dotted line, she had brought heaps of trouble upon Paul and the entire company, not to mention, the image of women’s racing.

We understand that not only is she yet to be cleared of suspicion, she is also seeing an illegal street racer and has taken part in illegal street races in the past. Based on that alone, we see it fit that she withdraws from this competition,” said Mdm Park, one of the board members of the committee.

Miss Kwon, her lawyer, clasped her hands and said, “You are mistaken. She is not seeing anyone right now. And if you cannot produce evidence that Tiffany has taken part in an illegal street race, I would advise you against making false accusations or we will sue if necessary.”

Miss Kwon, no good will come out of this if both parties end up suing each other. All we ask is for Tiffany to withdraw of her own will. It will not be a disqualification. She will be free to join The Roulette again next year so it will be a win-win situation. But if she continues to race in The Roulette, her legal issues will become a scandal. We are sure Tiffany does not wish to race under such negative attention, neither does she wish to damage the good image of women’s racing.”

Tiffany is not guilty of anything. We are confident that she will be cleared of all suspicion before the next race. There won’t be a scandal so she will not damage the image of women’s racing.”

Are you sure about that, Miss Kwon? We believe in her innocence, but in the world of the media, that doesn’t really matter, does it? Once the news gets out, she will be the most controversial racer on the track. Surely that can’t be good for Hyundae’s company image either?”

At which point, Paul said, “That is for us to evaluate. As of this moment, our stand is clear. Tiffany is not withdrawing from The Roulette.”

Tiffany decided to speak up on the way back to the company car. “Paul—”

Wait till we’re in the car.”

He held the door open for her and she got in. She turned to Paul as soon as they were seated in the car and said, “I think I should withdraw from The Roulette.”

No. You’re set to win. You’re not withdrawing under any circumstance.”

But it can’t be good for the company if it becomes a controversy.”

Paul chuckled. “Tiffany, do you really believe them? You have much to learn about the world of business if you do.”

What do you mean?”

The car fraud issue is separate from the race. You are innocent and it will be proven soon enough. Ted has skipped town so it is obvious that he had something to do with it, which makes our company is a victim of car fraud. The police will find Ted and the truth will come to light. So technically speaking, it’s not a problem for you to stay in the competition, but there’s a part that you may not like.”

Which part is it?”

The part where you have to deny relations with anyone involved in the street race scene.”

You’re right. I don’t like it at all.”

But you don’t have a choice, Tiffany. You have to cut ties with that scene. The car fraud issue isn’t going to hurt you the way your relationship with a street racer will. We’re lucky the committee didn’t focus on it. They think the car fraud is a bigger problem but they failed to realize that the most effective way to get you out of The Roulette is to focus on your relations with a street racer.”

Her name is Taeyeon. Okay? She has a name. And she’s a someone I love. She’s not just a street racer. And I’m not going to deny our relationship.”

Even if it will give them sufficient reason to force you out of The Roulette? Even if it means our company is going to rank rock bottom as a result?”

Don’t make me choose, Paul. I don’t want to choose.”

I told you to stay away from street racing. I told you not to race. But you didn’t listen to me and now it’s going to be a huge problem for us.”

Tiffany lowered her head. It seemed that no matter where she turned, everything was her fault.

Well, I suppose it’s partly my fault that I didn’t enforce the rules harder on you. In truth, it wouldn’t have mattered as much if this car fraud case didn’t happen. But with all the attention that the car fraud case will draw on you, the rumours about your involvement in street racing will make you look really bad.”

But it’ll only be rumours, right? They can’t produce any proof of my involvement. The street race organizers are very thorough in erasing all traces of evidence. As far as we are concerned, those street races never happened.”

Do you want to risk exposing the street racing scene by doing that? All it takes is for Taeyeon to be linked to you and those reporters will be sticking their noses into places you don’t want them to. They’ll find something. A picture. A video. The whole street racing scene will be blown wide open. The traffic police department will be pressured to come down hard on them. The end. The street races are no more. Is that what you want?”

Tiffany shook her head. “No.”

So, the simple solution is to play along with our original plan.”

Which is?”

You tell the media that you’re dating me. You deny any involvement with the street races. You are a professional racer and always have been. You tell them you are also learning the ropes in a managerial position in order to help me with the business. You will also tell them that we are engaged to be married.”

What?! Why?!”

It’s simple. News of that magnitude will guarantee their full attention. They will forget all about the street races and focus on our impending engagement.”

Are you seriously asking me to fake an engagement with you?”

Yes, I am.”

But, don’t you have…someone?”

Tiffany, you know very well that I would lose my inheritance if my family finds out I’m gay. But they’ll be happy to hear that you’re engaged to me. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

It’s not a win-win for me, Paul. I don’t want a fake engagement with you. And Taeyeon. She’s not going to agree to it.”

I’m sure she can be persuaded to see the big picture.”

But it’s…wrong. So wrong.”

This is business, Tiffany. This is what it’s like. It’s about knowing how to handle the media too.”

If this is what business is like, I’d rather quit.”

Now, now. You’re too worked up to see things in perspective. It’s been a long day. Go home, take a bath and think things through. Think about what I’ve said. Don’t be too quick to decide.”

Paul sent her back to her apartment and she dropped her bag on the floor as soon as the door closed. She closed her eyes and sank to the floor, ending up seated beside her bag. She retrieved her phone from her bag and looked at it. There were a dozen missed calls and unread messages and they were all from the same person. Taeyeon. Kim Taeyeon.

The thought of driving over to Taeyeon’s apartment and falling asleep in the woman’s arms appealed to her but she knew it would be counterproductive. No. She couldn’t go to Taeyeon to seek consolation and advice. This was a problem she had to solve by herself.

Hyo, any updates about the car fraud yet?”

I heard something about someone skipping town. A guy from Hyundae. The police are looking for him right now.”

So he’s the one who set Tiffany up.”

Maybe? We won’t know until the police finds him. But as far as I know, Tiffany isn’t their prime suspect.”

Good. That’s good to know.”

Yeah, you can relax now.”

Thanks, Hyo. I appreciate the help.”

Any time, Taeyeon.”

Taeyeon ended the call and made another call to Tiffany. It was unanswered. Again. It was beginning to worry her. The meeting at the racing association should have ended by now. So why hasn’t Tiffany returned her calls?

9 thoughts on “Losing to the Heat 45

  1. Have you ever thought of making Taeyeon battle it out with Paul on this issue? For 1, I want to see how OP Taeyeon is in this industry. Secondly, it will be nice to see Taeyeon kick some ass.

  2. Eyyy, Tiffany, you could and SHOULD go to Tae to seek consolation and advice. relationship is for the good times and bad times 😥

        1. already played the memory loss card with krystal (as much as i hate using that card XD) so yeah, no more memory losses in this story hahaha

  3. I have a feeling that denise had something to do with this. Thanking Tiffany isn’t much like her. Maybe she slept with ted and made him set Tiffany up and thinking Tiffany might be forced to withdaw from the race because of that and of course, if that happened, she will be the lead racer or she might be the one who recommend the supplier to him. Sticking wih the original plan is wise but will Taeyeon consider it? i hope there’s other way out of this mess. But don’t give up! fighting! you have each other so everything will be fine. Be each other’s strength! :DD

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