Alcohol training is absolutely terrifying. Or rather, Tiffany is absolutely terrifying. With alcohol. These sobering thoughts run through Taeyeon’s mind as she watches Tiffany hauling out the bottles. Is S.N.S.D. really a secret nest of severe drunkards pretending to be a secret agent organization? Judging by the number of bottles Tiffany is taking out from the shelf cabinet, Taeyeon thinks she might just be right. She also thinks she might not make it out from this training alive.
“We’ll start off with beers,” Tiffany states, her hands on her hips, meaning business. “They have alcohol that ranges from three to ten percent in general. If you’re weak to alcohol, stick to a lager. They are usually about five percent alcohol. If you need to be classy, go for a wine. They are generally just over ten percent alcohol. Stick to sparkling wine, those are usually slightly lower in alcohol content.”
Taeyeon tries not to bolt from her seat when Tiffany puts a clear glass bottle in front of her. She has seen it before. And she knows it well. “For practical purposes, we’ll go straight to spirits. This is a bottle of vodka from the Russian grid. It is one of the milder vodkas with just forty percent alcohol.”
“I already know everything you just said. And it’s too early for vodka,” says Taeyeon.
Ignoring her weak excuse, Tiffany pours a shot of vodka and hands it to Taeyeon. “One shot.”
“Just drink this shot and I’ll leave you alone.”
Thinking it sounds good, Taeyeon accepts the shot glass but Tiffany frowns and shakes her head. “What’s wrong now?”
“You have failed the test.”
“What test? I didn’t even know there was a test!” Taeyeon protests.
“The number one rule for agents before consuming alcohol is food. When did you have your breakfast?”
“About four hours ago,” Taeyeon recalls.
“And you did your physical routine with Seo an hour ago. By now, your breakfast would have been digested. If you drink this shot, it will be on an empty stomach. A good agent will supply the body with enough food to soften the blow later.” Tiffany puts the shot of vodka down. “What kind of food should you fill yourself with before drinking?”
Taeyeon blinks. She doesn’t know this. “Er . . . bread or rice?”
“Eat food rich in fats and protein. They take more time to digest and will stay in there a lot longer.” Tiffany pours a glass of milk and hands it to Taeyeon. “Milk is good. Drink up.”
Obedient like a lamb, Taeyeon empties the glass of milk only to find a packet of nuts in front of her.
“Nuts are good for slowing down the alcohol effect too. Eat the nuts.”
As Taeyeon chews on the nuts, she is amazed to see a familiar box of fried chicken materializing before her.
“Now this is one of the best. Deep fried oily chicken will help to fill your stomach well.”
Really digging in now, Taeyeon picks up two chicken wings. “This is Sunny’s favourite chicken. What a coincidence.”
Tiffany simply smiles with no further comment, and takes out a box of fried calamari. “Seafood is great for holding off the alcohol too. When you’re drinking with the secretaries, keep eating these things and you’ll be better off for it.” She slides the shot glass of vodka to Taeyeon again. “One shot.”
Drink up and eat up. Taeyeon tosses the shot of vodka back and swallows, feeling it as it burns all the way down her throat. That wasn’t so bad. She takes another calamari ring and chews on it as Tiffany lines up another bottle in her view.
“Tequila,” says Tiffany as she fishes out a lime from the cabinet. She then cuts it into wedges before placing them on a little plate. “Do you know what to do with this?”
“Just as I thought.” Tiffany adds a shaker of salt to the table top. “Watch.” She pours a shot of tequila and sets it on the table. Then, she licks her hand, right between her thumb and finger. “Salt,” she says, while shaking some salt onto the part she just licked. “Salt, shot, lime.” With that, she licks the salt off her hand, opens her mouth and tosses her head back as she drinks the tequila, finishing it off with a bite of the lime. “Simple. Now you try.”
With a big grin, Taeyeon picks up the salt shaker while Tiffany refills the shot glass with tequila. What happens next is a little hard to explain. With the vodka pulsing through her veins, Taeyeon grabs Tiffany’s hand and shakes salt onto it. She leans in quickly, and before Tiffany can react, licks the salt right off where Tiffany did a moment ago.
Ignoring Tiffany’s gasp, she tosses the tequila into her mouth and swallows it with a grimace. Only after biting into a wedge of lime just like Tiffany demonstrated, does Taeyeon meet the agent’s mildly shocked ones with all the calm one can find in the eye of a storm. And upon seeing how she has silenced the agent, Taeyeon puts on a smug grin and holds up Tiffany’s hand.
“I did it right, didn’t I, Agent Tiffany? I’m a fast learner. I’m . . .” Taeyeon trails off, feeling woozy. That’s impossible. All she had was a shot of vodka and tequila. How could she get drunk so quickly? That’s impossible . . .
Tiffany stares at the hand Taeyeon licked for a moment before regaining the presence of mind to snatch it back from the woman’s grasp. Only then does she notice the flush that is spreading over Taeyeon’s fair skin. From her cheeks to her ears, with a hint of it at her chest. All the woman had was a shot of vodka and tequila, albeit, with quite a high alcohol content . . .
“You’re already getting drunk.”
“I’m not drunk. I was perfectly sober when I licked your hand.”
“You’re all red.”
“It happens all the time. Even with just a mug of beer.”
“You’re such a useless little drunk.”
“I’m not useless.”
“You’re alcohol trash.”
“I’m not trash.”
“You’re a mocktail mockery.”
“I’m not. I’m perfectly fine.”
“You’re a genius.”
“I’m not. I’m—stop fucking around with me.”
“Don’t worry. I’m not planning on fucking around with a drunk girl.”
Taeyeon stands up abruptly. “What if I were sober? What would you do if I were sober?”
“For fuck’s sake, you’re such a quarrelsome drunk.” Tiffany takes Taeyeon by the arm, intending to bring her back to the spartan room but the petite drunk pushes her back against the counter.
With her hands holding on to the counter top, Taeyeon cages the agent between her arms and leans in. “I want to kiss you again,” she breathes and swoops in to claim the inviting lips.
The mind awakens but when Taeyeon opens her eyes, it is dark all around. She detects the sound of someone else breathing. Who is it? Sitting up, she gives her eyes a moment to adapt. There is a figure on the chair, bent over and leaning on the table. Still feeling groggy, Taeyeon shakes her head but groans when it worsens the imbalance in there.
The motionless figure springs up from the table and sits upright. “Taeyeon, are you up or are you sleep talking again.”
“Tiffany?” The silhouette rises and pads to the wall. One click later, lights flood the room. Taeyeon blinks, getting used to the change, then stares at the agent who is staring at her. “Did I talk in my sleep?”
Shit. “What did I say?”
Tiffany merely smiles like a sly fox as she glances at her ICE. “Wash up and get your dinner if you don’t want to go hungry tonight, alcohol trash.”
The door closes on Taeyeon before she can retort so all she can do is throw her pillow at it. Fucking annoying agent. Taeyeon frowns when she checks her ICE. It’s half-past seven in the evening. Dinner would be cleared by eight so she has to hurry.
The memory of her last conscious act hits her when she is halfway down the corridor. The kiss. The longer kiss. It was long enough for her to remember, drunk or not drunk. It was long enough for their mouths to part and lips to lock a few times. It was long enough for her to be sure that this time, Tiffany most certainly kissed her back.