They were silent as they walked to the elevator and silent as they rode the elevator up to the ninth floor. They didn’t talk as Taeyeon pressed the code to unlock the door and their mouths were still shut when Taeyeon closed the door behind them. Since they weren’t talking to each other, Tiffany scanned the apartment, taking in the layout.
It was a simple place. Simple, meaning nothing too complicated like floral patterns or loud, attention-grabbing designs. From the little shoe storage area near the door to the common area of living and dining space, traces of life were found amidst the general order of things.
Footwear, mostly sneakers, were left beside the ocean blue mat, along with some socks. Just beyond the sliding doors separating the shoe zone from the rest of the apartment was a water dish. Weird. In the living space was a well-used couch with well-hugged cushions sitting on a furry creamy-white carpet. This setup faced a widescreen television and what looked like an expensive sound system.
Just beside this was a table for four. It was made of fair wood, which matched the carpet and television console unit quite nicely. And continuing the earthly colour theme, the kitchen shelves and cabinets were creamy-white too.
A half-eaten packet of chips was left lying on a half-read magazine on the coffee table and there was a can of carrot juice on the coaster beside them. Taeyeon hurried ahead of her, picked the half-consumed chips and can up, and scurried into the kitchen area to dispose of them.
“Make yourself comfortable,” said Taeyeon, breaking their silence for the first time since leaving Dr Kim’s office.
Tiffany pushed a couple of cushions to a corner and made space on the couch to sit. She liked the way Taeyeon’s apartment felt and smelt. It had a homely touch and a Taeyeon-ish smell. Though small as it was, Tiffany felt right at home within moments and turned to lie horizontally across the couch, propping her legs up on the arm rest.
“What are you doing?” Taeyeon asked when she finally returned to the living space.
“Making myself comfortable.”
Taeyeon’s eyes twinkled with amusement but she didn’t smile. “You took up all the space on the couch.”
“Come here,” said Tiffany, patting the spot above her head.
“My butt won’t fit in that tiny space.”
Taeyeon shrugged. “If you say so.” Her ex-bodyguard walked to where she patted and Tiffany panicked when she found a butt descending upon her face.
“Stop!” she shrieked, putting her hands against the butt to stop it from crushing her face.
“You told me to sit here.”
“You’re doing it on purpose,” Tiffany huffed. “I meant here,” she said, lifting her head and pointing under it.
“Well, you should have said so.” Taeyeon eased under Tiffany’s raised head. “But where are you gonna put your head?”
Tiffany, wearing a smug grin, put her head on Taeyeon’s thigh. “Right here.”
“My leg is not your pillow.”
“It is now.”
“Must you always get your way?”
Tiffany turned so that she could bury her nose in Taeyeon’s shirt. “Always.”
“You can’t get your way all the time.”
“What’s the point of living if you don’t get what you want?”
“If you want somebody to be happy, then what that person wants will also be what you want.”
“So if you want me to be happy, you’ll quit your job cos that’s what I want.”
“Why must you insist on making me quit my job? Is it really because my client’s daughter is pretty?”
Tiffany shook her head, rolling it side to side on Taeyeon’s thigh. “No, it’s not just that.”
“As I suspected. So what’s the real reason why?” Taeyeon asked as she threaded her fingers through Tiffany’s hair.
“I miss you.” With fingers playing with Taeyeon’s shirt, Tiffany sighed. “I don’t get to see you.”
“You’re seeing me right now.”
“I didn’t get to see you for five days.”
“You really miss me.”
Tiffany turned so she could look at Taeyeon. “Why do you sound so surprised? Don’t you miss me too?”
Taeyeon looked down into her eyes and smiled. “I didn’t think you would miss me this much.”
“What about you? Do you miss me?”
“Of course, I miss you. But I can control myself.”
“Are you saying I can’t control myself?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“So what do you mean?”
“I mean, you can, if you want to.”
Tiffany bit her lip. “Is she really, really pretty?”
“Don’t worry about that. It’s you I like.”
“I still don’t like it.”
Taeyeon sighed. She bent over and planted her lips on Tiffany’s forehead. “Maybe the way we began makes you think I end up liking the people I protect easily but you’re the only one I’ve ended up dating in the six years I’ve been doing this job.”
Tiffany got up on her elbow and turned to Taeyeon. “So I’m your first?”
Taeyeon gave her an indulgent smile as she stroked Tiffany’s hair. “You’re my first ex-client girlfriend, yes.”
“I wanna be your last too.”
“Are you sure? You won’t change your mind one day?”
Tiffany frowned. “If I can’t have you, nobody else can.”
“I hope you’re not serious.”
“Why are we talking about breaking up when it’s barely been a month?”
“You brought it up.”
“I only said I wanna be your last. You’re the one who asked if I’m sure.”
“I’m sorry. I just don’t know how long things can last these days.”
“You gotta stop worrying about that. If you want forever, you’ll get it.”
Taeyeon chuckled. “You’re really used to getting what you want.”
Tiffany sat up and put a leg over Taeyeon, curling her arms and legs around her ex-bodyguard. “I want you.”
Taeyeon responded with her arms pulling Tiffany closer. “Adorable brat,” she said, lips curling into a grin. “I can’t stay angry with you.”
“But I really don’t like it when the brat in you kicks in.”
Tiffany pouted. “If you really don’t like me that much, why did you even make the first move? Why did you confess?”
“I have feelings for you that defy logic.”
“I want to know when you started having those feelings.”
Taeyeon’s hand slid down Tiffany’s back to rest comfortably around her hips. “Mmm . . . when did I . . .?”
“The moment that made me realise I have real feelings for you?”
Tiffany nodded as her back straightened. She had a feeling about this. “Yes, I wanna know.”
“When you asked me to lean on you.”
“When did I do that?”
“During the kidnap. When I had a fever and you let me rest on your shoulder.”
Tiffany was a little flabbergasted. “You mean you didn’t feel anything for me before that?” Had she gotten all her signals wrong?
“You asked me when I started to have feelings for you. That’s the moment. Whatever I felt before that wasn’t . . .”
“It was more like a casual kinda thing. Like when you see someone attractive on the street.”
Tiffany grinned. “So you found me attractive from the beginning?”
A brief, shy, awkward smile played on Taeyeon’s face. “I found your naked back quite attractive.”
“My naked back?”
Running a hand up the back in question, Taeyeon grinned. “I saw your back in the mirror when we were in Singapore.”
Tiffany gasped. “Wait. When was that?”
“Remember when you threw a tantrum and made me stand guard outside the bathroom?”
Taeyeon nodded. “That was the first time I saw a little more than I should’ve.”
“Damn. I thought I was wrong about you liking me back then. So I wasn’t totally wrong after all.”
“It was more of a physical reaction though. Not so much of an emotional one.”
“Right. So basically, you’re telling me you’re a pervert who peeped at me in the shower.”
Taeyeon shrugged. “Most people appreciate a good view.” Then, with a grin, she nudged Tiffany and asked, “What about you? When did you start having feelings for me?”
Tiffany cast her eyes down and fiddled with the buttons on Taeyeon’s shirt.
“Come on, I wanna know too.”
Looking back up, Tiffany found Taeyeon’s eyes to be warm and inviting, not the least bit mocking. It was assuring enough for her to say, “After I styled you.”
“Really? You liked me since then?” Taeyeon’s eyebrows were raised in surprise.
“Yeah, when you stood there looking so beautiful in the clothes I chose for you. I wanted you then.”
“I guess that explains why you were full on flirting with me and asking me so many questions during the gala.”
“You mean you didn’t know why I was flirting with you?”
“I thought you were in one of your mood swings. It was nice though. I liked it. But I was on duty and it was the last thing on my mind when you dragged us away to that isolated corner.”
“I wanted you since then and it really pissed me off when you said you wanted to quit being my bodyguard.”
“Because you wanted to seduce your bodyguard?” Taeyeon asked with a cheeky grin.
“Cos I thought you didn’t like me and wanted to get away from me.” Tiffany paused before adding, “And you spoilt my plan cos I was planning on finding a chance to get closer to you.”
“Normally, I find the direct approach to be the most effective.”
The feeling of Taeyeon’s hands sliding down past her hips made Tiffany smile. “What kind of direct approach?”
Taeyeon grinned. “Let me show you what a direct approach means.” Pulling Tiffany closer with her hands on the butt, Taeyeon leaned in, parted her lips and claimed Tiffany’s in one fluid motion. Tiffany parted her lips too and received Taeyeon most willingly, returning the pressure as she received it. And when their lips finally parted, Tiffany opened her eyes, feeling as light as a happy ant that had plenty to eat. Her breaths were short and quick and she bit her lip as a warm sensation rushed up her chest to her cheeks.
“Show me what a direction approach is again,” she said breathlessly.
And without further ado, Taeyeon closed the gap and did exactly as she asked. Over and over again.