The couch was Taeyeon’s bed for a few nights. Despite Taeyeon’s moving declaration that Tiffany was the girl for her, Tiffany found it hard to swallow the fact that her girlfriend had spent the night with another woman and had sent her to the couch. Insane imagination was her downfall. It didn’t help that she had met Noeul before and was perfectly capable of picturing her in bed with Taeyeon. Hands everywhere. A growl sparked deep inside her at the thought. Noeul had better not have done anything to Taeyeon while she was out cold. If she had taken advantage of Taeyeon’s inebriated state…fuck. She slammed her hand on the table in anger and lived to regret it as pain shot straight up to her elbow.
“What was that!” Taeyeon came running out of the bathroom, wearing nothing more than her lingerie.
“Nothing. I just hit the table, that’s all.”
“There was a bug.”
Taeyeon’s eyes narrowed. “But you’re terrified of bugs.”
“That’s why I hit the table. I didn’t hit the bug.”
“Oh.” Taeyeon looked around, her eyes searching. “Where is it now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Mmm. Well, if you see it again, yell for me. I’ll kill it for you.”
“Would you kill Noeul for me?”
“I meant the bug. Not her.”
“She’s a bug. A big ugly bug.”
Taeyeon took a few steps forward and Tiffany found herself staring straight up into those dark, swirling eyes. “I’m very, very sorry. But you gotta let it go, Tiff. Nothing happened, okay?”
“What if she kissed you while you were passed out?”
“There’s nothing we can do if she did. But it’s not like I would’ve enjoyed it.”
“You wouldn’t? Even if you were sober?”
Taeyeon bent, lowering her lips to Tiffany’s. One toe curling kiss later, Tiffany could barely think straight anymore. “No one but you can make me kiss like this.”
“Mmm, I like what you said.” Tiffany smiled a little. “What else can I make you do that nobody else can?”
“Sleep on the couch.”
Tiffany laughed. “You really hate it, don’t you.”
Taeyeon nodded. “I want to sleep with you.”
If Tiffany were completely honest with herself, she would admit that she missed Taeyeon in bed with her too. She missed having a waist to hold, a neck to snuggle her lips against. She missed hearing the quiet breathing of her lover, the warmth that came from being so close to each other.
“Wash my car and we’ll consider it even.”
Taeyeon winced. “You know I hate washing cars.”
“Only because you’re a lazy ass.”
“I’m not lazy. I just don’t like it.”
“Take it or leave it, Taeyeon.”
Tiffany watched as the woman inhaled deeply and blew it out with an exasperated droop of her shoulders. “Fine. I’ll take it.”
“Okay. You can have the bed back tonight.”
Taeyeon grinned, her face losing ten years in an instant and Tiffany’s heart sang as their lips met in a blazing kiss that promised to burn for a long, long time.
They started in the dining room but ended up in the bedroom. On the bed. On top of each other. Lips meshed together. They rolled onto their sides and Taeyeon stuck her hands under Tiffany’s top, relishing the touch she had been deprived of for the past few days. Her arms hiked up the hem as she grabbed Tiffany’s shoulders, baring the length of her lover’s back. Tiffany shivered in her arms. A delicious shiver. The kind that told Taeyeon her girl was feeling the heat.
Taeyeon smiled and waved at Yoona and towed Hayeon to the VIP grandstand seats. “Will you go to my race tonight?” she asked Yoona after they settled down.
“You bet. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Me too!” Hayeon chirped and Yoona grinned at her.
“Where’s Seohyun?” Taeyeon asked, looking around.
“She got called up. A last minute emergency.”
“Yeah,” Yoona made a face, “but that’s her job.”
“What about your job?”
“What about mine?”
“Will you still sell cars after our parents get married?”
“Didn’t your dad tell you after our meeting yesterday?”
Yoona pouted and shook her head. “Daddy refused to tell me anything. Said I’ll find out after the wedding.”
Taeyeon patted Yoona’s shoulder. “He told me to keep mum about it but I thought he would tell you.”
“He never tells me anything. He treats me like I’m still five.”
“Well, he’ll tell you once he’s made all the arrangements.”
Yoona gasped. “Does that mean you’re joining the company?”
Taeyeon made a noncommittal sound.
“Oh come on. Tell me. I’m dying of curiosity.”
“You’ll find out soon.”
Yoona turned away and pouted. “You’re just as bad as Daddy.”
“Sorry, Yoona.” A nudge in her side had her staring at Hayeon with a question in her eyes.
“Tell me. I won’t tell anyone,” said Hayeon.
Taeyeon shook her head. “Uncle Im told me not to say a thing. I have to keep my promise.”
Hayeon pouted too and stood in a huff. She moved to Yoona’s side and sat away from Taeyeon. “Hmph.”
“Oh my God. Not you too,” Taeyeon laughed.
“Unnie sucks.” Hayeon turned up her nose at Taeyeon. “Yoona unnie is nicer.”
Taeyeon shook with laughter and shook her head in disbelief. Never in her wildest dreams had she ever thought she would have two younger sisters ganging up on her. It was the nicest feeling, oddly enough. And she didn’t mind the indignant glares from both Hayeon and Yoona one bit.
The sound of engines revving caught their attention and for the moment, Hayeon and Yoona’s unhappiness were forgotten as their excitement shot up high in a quantum leap.
“Tiffany unnie’s gonna win again. Then she’ll be the champion,” said Hayeon, brimming with happiness.
“Krystal might stand a chance though. She came in pretty close in the last race,” said Yoona.
Hayeon shook her head. “No. Tiffany unnie will win for sure. She’s the best.”
Yoona grinned. “You’re such a fan of Tiffany.”
“Of course. She’s unnie’s—”
“Hayeon,” Taeyeon took some cash out from her pocket, “help me to get a drink, will you?”
“But the race is about to start.”
“You’ll be back in time. If you hurry.”
Taeyeon sighed with relief as Hayeon scuttled away with the bills in her hand. Her young, excitable sister was one of the loves of her life but there were moments like these when she regretted telling her everything. “What?” she asked; Yoona was giving her the look.
“You don’t have to be that protective of what you have with Tiffany unnie, you know.”
“I just don’t want her announcing it to the world. You never know who might hear things and pass it on.”
Yoona rolled her eyes. “Whatever, unnie.”
Taeyeon grinned as Hayeon made her way back with a tray of four drinks. “Drinks for all unnies!” she announced.
“Thanks, Hayeon,” chorused her unnies and they settled down to watch the race. The final race of The Roulette. Taeyeon couldn’t wait for Tiffany to win the whole thing. It was well within her grasp. Just one more race.
“Denise. What are you doing here.” Tiffany glared at the woman who was hovering outside the pit of her race car.
“I was waiting for you.”
“I have something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“You see, I—”
“Tiffany, come over here.”
Tiffany turned around. It was the mechanic. “I’ll be back, Denise.”
The woman nodded and walked away, looking to her left and right. What was up with Denise? Tiffany shook her head as she joined the mechanic at the pit.
“Tiffany, I changed the tyres according to your request.”
Tiffany nodded. “Thanks.” She walked round her car, checking the tyres. They looked good. She was ready.
This wasn’t the first time she had raced on this track but it felt like it as Tiffany gripped her steering wheel. Odd. She didn’t usually feel apprehensive about a race. Maybe the pressure was getting to her. What pressure though? Last-race-of-The-Roulette pressure? The-final-race-before-she-becomes-a-champion pressure? She took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes, picturing Taeyeon and her smirk of arrogant confidence. She had nothing to worry about. She had enough points to win the championship as it was. As of the previous race, she had accumulated a hundred points from her four wins and Krystal, her closest competitor, had no way of catching up with her seventy-two points. The only prize that was still in contention was the Constructors’ championship; Hyundae and Samjung were only seven points apart.
The sounds and lights on the circuit came blasting through her car, recapturing her attention and she refocused her mind on the task ahead—to take the first position and help Denise to secure more points for the Constructors’ championship. No problem. She could do it.
Her foot stomped on the accelerator at the signal to go and her heartrate increased with adrenaline pumping everywhere. The circuit was not the most conducive for her but she would do enough to win it nonetheless. There were several extreme u-shaped turns, one after another and various tricky corners, which she excelled at. But there were three long stretches of straight roads and that’s when cars like Krystal’s had the upper hand. Not that she had the time to ponder over the engine build of Samjung’s race cars. No. She had a race to win.
An earlier right turn led into an extreme U-turn to the right and was followed immediately but an even sharper left U-turn before she got to the moderate stretches of straight roads with gentle turns. The straights didn’t last for long either, quickly leading to another sharp V-shaped right turn before another short straight. The next turn was gentler, shaped like a semi-circle, turning first to the left then right before going straight. A simpler left turn later came the first long stretch of straight which her car ate up like a hungry wolf and soon she was manoeuvring her way around a tight S-curve and into another semi-circle right turn. The second and longest straight came next and she pushed her car to its limit to keep Krystal at bay before slowing down to negotiate a tight right turn and a couple of short straights later had her passing the grandstands again. Lap one was done. Now, to clear the rest.
It was several laps later when she first felt the tremor. It was the slightest feeling but it was enough to make her frown. The next right-right-left insane series of turns were coming up so she moved to slow her car down, only, it wouldn’t. Panic swept across her mind in that instant and chaos imploded in her world the next second.
Taeyeon cheered as Tiffany’s race car zoomed passed the grandstands in first position and she waved her Hyundae flag like a happy nine-year-old. She kept her eyes on Tiffany’s car all the way, having no interest in any of the other racers and frowned as Tiffany’s car approached the first curve at the end of the lengthy straight. Why wasn’t she slowing down? Why wasn’t she navigating into the racing line? She wasn’t going to hit the apex if she didn’t—Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
Taeyeon blinked as Tiffany’s car failed to make the turn and flew off the track. It swerved, and as she blinked a second time, flipped into the air before landing on its side, and toppled onto its roof, its wheels spinning, oblivious to the state of the car.
For a moment, it was as though all the sounds in the world around her had been sucked into a vacuum. Then, it all came gushing back as she found her voice. “Tiffany,” her voice came out as a whisper. “TIFFANY!” She leapt to her feet, ignoring the hands that held her arms. “TIFFANY!” she screamed, as her soul fought to leave her body and fly straight to the wreckage that lay motionless metres away from her.
“Taeyeon!” Yoona was screaming at her.
“Tiffany…” She ripped her arm from Hayeon’s hands, wrenched the other from Yoona and stumbled past the row of grandstand seats to the aisle. Her mind was in overdrive, overloaded by the petrifying vision of Tiffany’s car flipping onto its roof. Nothing anyone said made any sense to her. And there were all these people in her way. Fuck, fuck, fuck!
Footage of safety cars and medics flooding the area surrounding Tiffany’s car showed on the mega screens. But Taeyeon didn’t stop to watch. She had to get there. She had to see Tiffany. She had to see her.
“Taeyeon! They won’t let you onto the tracks. Come with me. I’ll bring you to Daddy.” Yoona locked her arm down and dragged her along. “He’ll be able to get you to her.”
Taeyeon jogged with Yoona, vaguely aware of Hayeon’s hands around her other arm but none of it really registered with her. Nothing stuck. Only Tiffany. Tiffany in her race car. Fuck. Was she alright? She had better be alright. She had better be fucking alright.