“Taeyeon! Guess what!”
“You found the material you need?”
“Yes!” Tiffany’s joy radiates from her skin and passes through the screen to Taeyeon. “I found it and I found it cheap!”
Apparently, Taeyeon isn’t the only one who is excited by Tiffany’s exuberance because Prince Fluffy begins to bark as well. Taeyeon strokes its head and runs her fingers through its fur to calm it down. She giggles when Prince Fluffy belts out a few more high-pitched yips.
“Prince is happy for you too.”
“It’s exactly the right texture and colour. And the price . . . oh my gosh. 5% lower than the other ones I checked out, can you believe that?”
“Yes, I can.” Taeyeon smiles. “Your boss will be happy with you.”
The sparkle in Tiffany’s eyes grows brighter. “I think they will.”
“What’s the material for this time?”
“Costumes for dancers. There’s a music and dance festival and more than one hundred dancers are involved in the opening item. It’s going to be grand.”
“When is it happening? I’d like to watch it.”
Tiffany giggles. “Six months later.”
“That’s a long way off.”
“Not really. The tailor needs at least two months to complete the job. And we need to consider the time taken for alterations.”
“Wah . . .”
Taeyeon smiles and Tiffany smiles back. Prince Fluffy presses a paw on the screen.
“Prince . . .” Taeyeon pulls the dog back from the laptop and back to the spot between her legs. “He misses you.”
“I’m so jealous I can’t cuddle him right now.”
“You’ll be able to do it soon. Just two more days.”
“Yeah, I can’t wait.”
Me too . . .
Taeyeon comes out of the dog play area with a wide smile. “Tiffany!” she calls and her first instinct is to give the woman a hug but her self-consciousness has something else to say about that and she hesitates. Tiffany, on the other hand, does not hesitate to throw her arms around Taeyeon. Taken aback, Taeyeon’s arms freeze in an awkward manner as she gets her breath squeezed out by Tiffany.
After a long moment, Tiffany lets her go and steps back to look at her appraisingly. “You look good today.”
Taeyeon blushes and looks at the floor. “Thanks.”
“I have present for you.” Tiffany reaches into her bag and pulls out a tin.
“Wah . . . green tea . . .” Taeyeon looks at the tin, admiring its classy black and green cover. “You shouldn’t have . . .”
“I saw it at the airport and thought of you. I remember you saying it’s your favourite tea.”
“Thank you, Tiffany.”
“I should be the one thanking you for accompanying me those two nights.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
Tiffany covers Taeyeon’s hands with hers. “It means a lot to me. It made all the difference.”
They share a smile and neither looks away until a few sharp barks grab their attention.
“Prince.” Tiffany’s face brightens and she walks to the door. “Is his girlfriend here too?”
Taeyeon nods. “Wanna meet her?”
Taeyeon leads her in and shows her the cabinet to store her shoes in. Then, they make their way in and Prince Fluffy comes flying towards them. Tiffany stoops low to scoop him up and trailing behind him is another Maltese, all white and fluffy. Tiffany squeals and squats to pet it.
“Is this Prince’s girlfriend?”
“Aww, she looks like a princess. Gentle and sweet. I love her eyes!”
“She’s really gentle. Sometimes I think she’s literally a princess because she’s so dainty.”
“Aww . . .” Tiffany’s face is a picture of gooey love as she pets and strokes the Maltese. “Look at those eyes . . .”
“She’s beautiful.” Just like you.
“She is.” Tiffany looks at the dog with longing in her eyes. Then, she stands with Prince in her arms. “Sadly, I have to go now. There’s work waiting for me at home and I have to get it done before tomorrow morning.”
“Will you have time to rest?”
Tiffany scrunches her face up. “I’ll have to lose some sleep tonight. But it wouldn’t be the first time.”
Taeyeon nods. “Take care, Tiffany. Hwaiting!”
Tiffany’s thanks is written all over her face. “You’re really, really nice and so caring, Taeyeon. I hope we can be friends for a long time.”
“Forever. Friends forever.”
The smile on Tiffany’s face is a little strange but it passes quickly. She puts her shoes back on and Taeyeon sends her out of the shop. She stands at the door, watching Tiffany as the woman gets into her car and waves again when she drives away. The shop seems so much quieter without Tiffany. If only Tiffany could hang around more. If only.