“We’re here at last!” Krystal shrieked, exuberance spilling over every pore as she put her luggage down. Looking up from her bags and around the executive premier suite shut her up instantly however. “Oh my God,” she breathed, her voice barely making it out of her mouth. “How much is Samjung paying this place?”
Krystal stopped by the curtains and turned, her eyes wide with wonder.
“I have a confession to make.”
“Our company isn’t paying for this.”
“I’m paying for this.”
Krystal gasped. “Unnie! Are you serious?”
Jessica nodded and stepped towards her. “We’ve never really had a sister trip so I asked to come here early, with you.”
“Unnie…” Tears welled up before she could get another word out. The next moment, she was hugging her sister like there was no tomorrow. “Unnie…”
“I love you, Soojung. You know that right?”
Krystal squeezed her eyes shut and nodded, trying to get her trembling under control. But she couldn’t. Not when Jessica was looking at her with more love in her eyes than she could ever imagine. Not when all of her secret wishes had just come true. How many times had she dreamt about having a sister like the other kids in school? How many times had she dreamt of having just one sister?
“Thank you, unnie. Thank you so much.”
“Oh my God, you’re crying. Why are you crying?”
“Baby, it’s just a surprise.”
“I know, but no one has ever done this for me before. No one has ever brought me on a trip before.”
“Not even your parents…?”
“Not even them.” Krystal shook her head.
“Soojung…” Jessica hugged her.
Krystal was sure she heard a tremor in her sister’s voice. “It’s okay, unnie. It’s all good now. You’re gonna buy me a lot of meat for dinner and go shopping with me, right?”
Jessica smiled and nodded. “That’s the plan.”
“This will be my first and best trip ever.”
“The first of many more, Soojung.”
“Unnie, I can’t…”
“Hey, you’re finally out here on holiday. You gotta drink your fill.”
“Aren’t you supposed to frown upon such things?”
“Not tonight, no, I won’t.”
Krystal giggled, her head losing weight with every sip she took from her little glass of alcohol. From shopping at the megamall to singing karaoke, the hours had gone by, littered with laugh after laugh, giggle after giggle. “You’ll have to carry me back if I pass out.”
“I won’t let you pass out. Don’t worry. But you might pass out from the surprise.”
“Surprise? What surp—”
“Ladies and gentlemen! We have here a dedication to Miss Jung Soojung!”
Krystal almost dropped her glass.
“Happy First Sister Trip to the loveliest sister in the world! I love you, always. Sooyeon.” The crowd cheered. “It’s a sister dedication! Where are you sisters? Give us a wave!”
Krystal was too stunned to react but Jessica grabbed her arm and raised it, waving it like a she just didn’t care.
“Oh there they are. Aren’t they gorgeous?” The singer grinned and Krystal ducked from the stares of people around her. “Don’t be shy! Tonight’s your night, girls! So let’s kick it off with ‘Happy’!”
Krystal relaxed only after the band began the song and pouted when Jessica couldn’t stop giggling. “Please warn me before doing such a thing again.”
“I’ve never seen you look this shy before,” Jessica laughed.
“Take a chill pill. We’re on a holiday. We’re both gorgeous girls out for some fun. We can do whatever we want.”
“Do you mean it?”
“Sure. You can do whatever.”
“Let me drive your car.”
“But you said—”
“Anything but that.”
“Deal with it.”
“It feels as though we’ve been packing every single day.”
Tiffany laughed. “You’re exaggerating.”
Taeyeon groaned. She laid on the floor, flat on her back and closed her eyes. “I give up.”
Tiffany leaned over and smacked her thigh. “Get up, lazy pig.”
“I’m not a pig. You are.”
Tiffany huffed. “I’m not a pig.”
“You so are.”
Tiffany climbed on top of her and straddled her waist. “I’m not a pig. Say I’m not or I won’t let you up.”
“What makes you think I’d want you to let me up.”
Tiffany swatted Taeyeon’s hands away. “You don’t get to touch me.”
Taeyeon simply grinned and propped her head on her arms. “That’s not a problem. The view is just as amazing.”
Tiffany didn’t need to look down at herself to know that her tracing paper thin camisole did just as much revealing as it did concealing. “You don’t get to look either,” she retorted, covering Taeyeon’s eyes with a palms. But that left her vulnerable to Taeyeon’s hands and the woman knew it. Those hands glided up her hips to her breasts so she had to swat them off, allowing Taeyeon to enjoy the view again. “Kim Taeyeon!”
The woman’s answering smirk was too adorable to get mad at—infuriating as Taeyeon was—and she ended up lying on her lover, chest to chest, hip to hip, wearing a silly smile on her lips. Damn. She was doomed to a lifetime of swooning over a tiny racer called Kim Taeyeon.
“Have you read the info yet?” Tiffany asked as the usual string of commercials began playing.
Tiffany frowned. “Info about the circuit. Did you read it?”
“Why not? You’ve had plenty of time.”
“Why should I?”
Tiffany glared at Taeyeon, cursing her unfortunate timing for the question—she couldn’t exactly scold Taeyeon in the cinema, could she? No, she couldn’t. But other forms of disapproval…
“Oww! That hurt!”
“You’ll get more pinches if you don’t read the notes.”
Taeyeon frowned as she rubbed her arm. “I’ll read it.”
“Tae, you have to do your best. You’re representing Ssamyoong.”
“It’s not like you volunteered for this just to be with me, did you.” Tiffany raised a brow when Taeyeon said nothing. “Did you?” she asked, realizing for the first time that she had never questioned Taeyeon’s decision; she’d been too happy to think about anything else.
“You’re not the only reason.”
Shifting in her seat to face Taeyeon, Tiffany gave her a full stare. “What are the other reasons.”
Taeyeon shrugged. “I don’t wanna stop racing but I can’t do streets anymore.”
“So you decided that all on your own.”
“I thought you’d be happy. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
Tiffany couldn’t resist giving Taeyeon a kiss. “You’re just full of surprises.”
“Just admit it. You’re a lucky girl.”
Tiffany smiled. “We’re both lucky girls.”
Taeyeon kissed her. Hard. “Very. Lucky.”
It was a thrilling kind of weird. Tiffany with another group of people. Herself with her crew. Knowing that they were on two rival teams made it a lot more fun. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t going to be as bad as she expected.
“Unnie, I’ll bet you’re dying to go over there and join Tiffany unnie, right?”
Taeyeon turned to her younger sister and pulled a stern expression. “Hayeon.”
“You don’t fool me,” Hayeon answered with a cheeky sparkle in her eyes. “Just go over there and kiss her then walk away like the coolest girlfriend on Earth.”
Taeyeon laughed. “What have you been reading and watching? Where do you get your crazy ideas from.”
“I know what it’s all about. I’m not a kid anymore, unnie.”
Taeyeon threw her arms around Hayeon and gave her a rough hug. “You’re a little rascal, that’s what you are.”
“Go there and kiss her. It’s be so cool.”
“You know you want to.”
“I don’t know that I want to, but I know I want you to shut up.”
“Go to Yoona. You should say goodbye to her too.”
Taeyeon exhaled with relief as her sister headed for Yoona. Having a third sister was beneficial like that. She turned back and watched as Tiffany chatted with her crew on the other side of the departure hall. She wasn’t going to be able to see her for a while. They’d have to stick to their crew, attend meetings, meet the press, get some practice in on the circuit… This was why she hated being a professional racer—the non-racing work.
“Taeyeon, we’ll see you at Sepang soon,” said Uncle Im.
Taeyeon had to tear her eyes from Tiffany to smile at him. “Okay.”
“It’s your first race as a professional so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”
“Good, good. Take good care of yourself, Taeyeon.”
“I will.” She paused. “Take care of Hayeon for me.”
Uncle Im smiled. “Of course, that goes without saying.”
Taeyeon nodded and walked towards the immigrations office at the entry. She turned, looking for Tiffany and their eyes met. Fuck everybody else. She strode to Tiffany, eye contact never breaking, and gave her a searing kiss. The kind that guaranteed a thumping heart and crippling desire. She pulled back, breathing a hush goodbye that only Tiffany could hear and walked away before Tiffany could even get a word in, cursing her weakness for her girlfriend. The kiss hadn’t satisfied her. It had only made her miss Tiffany more. Fuck the whistles and chuckles and claps. They didn’t know the burn.
The circuit wasn’t far from the airport. A short drive later, their minibus pulled up alongside the paddock chalets.
“This will be your accommodation for the duration of the race,” announced the circuit’s PR manager. Taeyeon didn’t mind her too much. She had a pretty hot smile and a smoking hot body. What was her name again? Ah. Lisa.
Lisa flashed a smile and held her gaze a little longer than necessary. “It’s a pleasure to be your host.”
Taeyeon tried not a raise her brow at Lisa’s choice of words. Surely not…
Before she could come to any conclusion, Yoona came around and pulled her into the chalet. “Check out the interior!”
Taeyeon looked. ‘Spacious’, she thought.
“Ground floor has your essentials,” Lisa’s voice came from behind. “The kitchen, full equipped. The hospitality area, fully furnished for resting, a corner for taking interviews and a full state-of-the-art media system.” She gestured up the stairs. “Follow me, I’ll show you the second level. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a common lounge.”
The rooms had an earthy theme, with wooden floors, wardrobes and beds, a stark contrast to the edgier, more metallic furnishings on the ground floor.
“Very nice,” said Po, their admin and communications manager. She was an important part of the crew, in-charge of handling all paperwork and managing publicity for the team.
Lisa smiled and handed Po a card. “Contact me if you need anything.”
‘Funny,’ Taeyeon thought. Lisa was looking at her while saying that. It seemed the PR manager was sending her a non-verbal message. What sort of message was it exactly? Taeyeon grinned at the thought of telling Tiffany that. Her girlfriend was fun to tease. Speaking of which…
“Do you know which the other teams will be staying in?”
“I have the list, but—”
“Oh, that’s great,” Taeyeon interjected, laying her hand on Lisa’s shoulder and moving into the zone that went beyond friendly. “I’d really appreciate the info. I have friends in the other teams, and I want to send some gifts to them.”
“I see. I suppose you can have the list. Just don’t…show it around…”
Taeyeon flashed a wide grin. “I won’t do that. You can trust me.”
Taeyeon accepted the accommodation list and patted Lisa’s shoulder. “Thank you very much, she said, pretending not to notice Yoona’s knowing stare.
Taeyeon was not happy. Tiffany had not picked up her call last night. Breakfast was not to her taste. The T.I.T.S rules and regulations cum circuit briefing she was currently attending was as boring as she had expected it to be. And to add a fucking cherry on top, Tiffany had not looked her way all through the briefing. How was she supposed to sit through the two-hour briefing with Tiffany seated on the other side of the room, out of reach, yet in plain view? Fucking hell. Tiffany certainly wasn’t helping the situation much. She had sent a dozen text messages but not once did Tiffany check her phone. God, Tiffany was such a distraction. But it seemed to be a one-way street. Tiffany wasn’t distracted by her at all. Did she even miss her?
Giving up on Tiffany for the moment, she took a look around the room. The other racers appeared to be attentive too. Urgh. Was she the only one bored out of her mind? She caught Yoona stifling a yawn and smiled. At least she wasn’t the only one.
The briefing did come to an end, much to her relief, but a series of people came up to her to introduce themselves and by the time she dealt with them, Tiffany was nowhere to be seen. Fuck. This. Shit.
The sun was hell bent on setting the ground on fire this afternoon and Taeyeon stood stewing in her racing suit. It was ridiculous. The suit was supposed to protect them from flames and shit but she’d sooner die from the heat that was, slowly but surely, baking her into a very sweaty, human slab of cake. In weather like this, her good ‘ol tank and denim cut-offs were definitely the more logical wardrobe choices. But no, rules, rules, rules. The race control officer was going on and on and on. It was almost more than she could bear. This was another reason why she would pick street racing over professional circuit racing any day—street racing is mainly nocturnal. No sweat. Literally.
Another thing. Street racing allows racers to practice the route for absolutely no cost at all. Any time, any day. But this circuit charged her company a couple hundred dollars for just a single slot practice session. What in the freaking hell, right!
The man stopped talking at last and she got into her car. It wasn’t her black beauty though. Her black beauty was parked in Tiffany’s apartment, awaiting her return. She wondered if her car was feeling jealous. After all, she had never raced on any other car before. It felt as though she were cheating on her trusty car. Damn it. She wasn’t enjoying this. This brand new racing car smelled too clean, too leathery and too institutionalized. She missed her black beauty’s raw power, rampant temper and wild spirit. Her black beauty had won every race for her, protected her even.
My heart will always be yours, black beauty. No other car will have my heart.
With that promise made, Taeyeon revved the pristine engine and listened to the sound of it roaring to life. It certainly roared like a pedigree lion but with the kind of price tag it came with, this was to be expected. Time to test the car’s limits on the tracks.
The track had a few challenging curves. Some turns were sharp. But there were way too many straights. Short straights, long straights, all of them made it boring. None of the turns were anything beyond her ability to manoeuvre. There was no challenge when the circuit was empty. Another reason why it was ridiculous to pay for a practice session with no other cars around to race with. But she made the most of it—Uncle Im was paying for it after all—and it was her duty to learn the circuit as well as she could. Get his money’s worth. No problem. She had the circuit memorized in her mind after just three rounds. Yes, all fifteen points of the circuit.
That night, Taeyeon decided to end the Tiffany-drought. Tiffany’s short replies to her text messages were hardly enough. Not when she was just nearby. Dinner had been with her crew and even though Yoona was great company, she couldn’t help but think of Tiffany as she poked at her sirloin steak. Pulling out the list she’d flirted to get, she slid her finger down the column of names until she got what she wanted. Tiffany’s assigned block. Jackpot.
A quick shower later, she slipped into her room, grabbed her phone and sneaked out of the chalet block. The last thing she wanted to do was to explain why she was going out. She didn’t feel like lying tonight.
It wasn’t hard to find Tiffany’s block. It was a little trickier trying to guess which of the three bedrooms she would be in, however. Deciding to go with the first on the left, she stood under the window and made the call. The ring tone went on for a while.
Finally! “Tiff, go to your window.”
“Go to your window and look down.” Taeyeon stared at the window and nearly whooped when her guess turned out to be right. Tiffany was right there. “Like what you see?”
“What are you doing here, Tae.”
“What the fuck. I’m here to see you, of course.”
“I know, but it’s not right for you to be here.”
“I fucking miss you, Tiff. Don’t you miss me too?”
“Of course, I miss you but that doesn’t—”
“Smuggle me into your room.”
“I’m serious. I can’t sleep without a kiss goodnight.”
“I’ll go downstairs.”
“Don’t let anyone see you.”
“I’m not stupid, Tae.”
The call ended and Taeyeon waited impatiently for Tiffany to appear. It was hard for her to keep it quiet but she did as they hugged. Then, she busied herself, kissing Tiffany deep and hard. Her mouth opened unabashedly and took as much of Tiffany as it could, determined to suck the soul right out of Tiffany’s mouth.
“Oh my God, Tae…” Tiffany gasped after they finally broke the kiss. “What’s gotten into you?”
“Nothing. That’s the problem.” Taeyeon managed a smirk despite her state of arousal. “Now, if I could get your fingers or tongue into me…”
“Tae. We can’t fuck here.”
“Just kill me now.”
“We need to focus on the race. I have to be up bright and early for practice tomorrow. You will need to do the same, I’m sure.”
“I don’t care about tomorrow morning. I want us in bed together. Naked.”
“Tae?” Tiffany’s hand stroked Taeyeon’s hair and their eyes met. “What’s wrong? What’s bothering you?”
“I don’t like any of this. The circuit is boring, the meetings are even more boring and I don’t get to be with you.”
“You wouldn’t be able to be with me if you were in Seoul either. Why is it eating you up like this?”
“I at a job that I kind of enjoy in Seoul. I would have Sunny and Hyoyeon and my street races. I could hang out with Key, visit Yuri’s workshop. But here. I have nothing here. I don’t like anything here. Yoona is the only thing keeping me sane right now.”
“You really, really hate being a professional racer, huh.”
Taeyeon shrugged. “It’s not fun.”
“Just wait till we get with the international racers. They aren’t pushovers, you know. We’ve got competition from Italy, Germany…”
“They won’t beat me.”
“Kim Taeyeon. Would you just listen to yourself. Have you even seen how good they are at racing? They are world champions, you know.”
“I checked them out, okay? I’m not a novice racer. I know how important it is to know your opponents. I’ve seen their races. I know quite a few of them from racers I’ve watched in the past as well. And based on that, I can tell you that I’m better than them.”
“There’s a girl from London you might wanna take note of. Cara. She’s insanely good.”
Taeyeon frowned. “You don’t think I can beat them all?”
“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just—”
“Stop. Just stop. I didn’t sneak out here just to be lectured about the basics of racing.”
“You’re in a terrible mood.” Fingers slipped between Taeyeon’s and curled around her hands. “Tell you what. Let’s raise a couple stakes. I’ll give you something if you win. And you give me something if you don’t.”
Taeyeon snorted. “You’ve already given me everything I want. I don’t need anything else.”
Tiffany smiled. “That’s very sweet, but that’s not what I meant. What I mean is, you can ask me for something if you want. You ask. I give. Anything.”
“Anything. I’m sure you can think of something you want me to do or give.”
Tiffany giggled. “I can see the wheels moving in your mind, but let me remind you that the same is expected from you if you don’t win.”
Taeyeon made a tiny sound of disapproval. “That’s not gonna happen. Don’t waste your energy trying to think of something.”
“But just in case you die of a lack of loving…” Tiffany’s lips swooped down on hers and Taeyeon gave herself over to Tiffany without a fight. Her jaw opened, closed and opened again and again as Tiffany’s tongue sought her out to play the adult game of catch. Tiffany’s hands left hers and began wandering around her body, pulling her closer than ever. Tiffany pressed her into the darkest part of the wall where shadows eliminated their presence and she almost moaned when fingers dug into her cheeks below.
“Tiff—you said—we can’t—fuck—”
Taeyeon squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to moan as fingers slipped under her sweatpants and panties. Fuck. Tiffany was going to do it. Tiffany was going to fuck her—right here—in the open—Tiffany’s lips covered hers just as her moan was on its way out. It didn’t take long. She’d already been on the edge when she came looking for her lover. It didn’t take long for her to reach the point of temporary mental shutdown when her senses took over and released the most powerful burst of pleasure, pulsating in waves, crashing upon the shores of her nerves everywhere.
But just as quickly as it all started, the fingers were gone and Tiffany’s eyes were delving into hers with a strange intensity. “This is only the tip of the sexberg of what you can get me to do if you win, Kim Taeyeon.” A smirk. “I’ll be waiting for my champion’s demands.”
A kiss on the lips later, Tiffany turned and disappeared into the shadows around the corner, leaving her standing all alone with a racing heart, muddled mind and the sudden realization that Tiffany had called her a champion. She believed in her. But didn’t Tiffany believe in herself? She was perfectly capable of being a champion too.
Pulling her phone out from her back pocket, she typed: You’re a champion too. I’ll be happy to wait for my champion’s demands. I love you. May the best racer win.”