Five seconds. Four seconds. Three seconds. Two seconds. One second.
With a neat swoosh, the orange basketball slips through the net and drops to the ground, bouncing.
The buzzer buzzes.
RAWR! Half of the crowd leaps to its feet and roars in victory. Her team sweeps around her chanting ‘Taeyeon! Taeyeon!’ and slaps her arms and back with glee. But amidst the celebrations on the court, all Taeyeon wants to do is hug her girlfriend.
The one girl who has been there for her since the beginning. The one girl who has been by her side through the darker moments when she was down and out. The one girl who always, always has a smile ready for her, no matter what.
After flashing a smile for everybody else, Taeyeon dashes into the audience and hones in on the one girl whose words truly matter. She wants to hear it right now.
The one girl is already standing with her arms open. As always. A home for her tired body and soul. A refuge from the mess that is her life. A shelter from the ruthless storm that is the outside world.
Into her arms Taeyeon runs. Runs straight home. Those arms lock around her even though she’s all sweat and stink. Home. She’s finally home. Victorious.
“I’m so proud of you, Tae. So proud.”
Taeyeon’s heart swells. This is all she wanted to hear. This is everything she worked so hard for. Just so that her girlfriend can be proud of her. Just so that her girlfriend finally has a girlfriend worth something more.
“You were so dashing out there. I fell in love with you all over again.”
Taeyeon just smiles as she hooks her chin over her girlfriend’s shoulder. There was a time when she couldn’t do this without feeling sad. There was a time when she couldn’t come out and say it. But now she can. Right now.
“Tiffany Hwang, will you move in with me?”
Tiffany smiles like a blooming flower and Taeyeon’s heart soars. “Yes, I will.”
“Wait here,” says Taeyeon and she jogs over to where her team’s seats are.
Tiffany watches as her girlfriend retrieves a little jar from her duffel bag. The smile she’s wearing can’t feel more natural than this. How can she not smile when the girl she’s looking at is so pretty? Pretty, black plaited hair, kind of messed up by the game. Pretty, shapely brows. Pretty, soul-stealing eyes. Pretty, cute little nose. Pretty, pink pouty lips. Pretty, petite, lithe body decked in the team’s white jersey and the sports bra she bought for her. Pretty—
Tiffany’s breath catches when Taeyeon turns, holding the jar, looking every bit the basketballer of swag that she loves. She regains her breath as Taeyeon jogs back and wonders what the little jar is about. Then realization hits her and her breath catches all over again.
The little jar.
Taeyeon stops in front of her, eyes sparkling with joy unmarred.
With hands shaking a little, Tiffany opens the jar. Inside, embedded in a velvety cushion, is a key on a ring. Taeyeon takes it out and takes her hand. At this point, Tiffany can only stare as Taeyeon slips the ring onto her finger and closes her hand around the key.
“That’s the deposit.”
Tiffany opens her fist and stares at the key. Then she turns her hand and stares at the ring.
“I can’t wait anymore,” says Taeyeon. “I want us to belong to each other. For real.”
“Hey, Taeyeon! We need you over here!”
Taeyeon looks back at her teammates and coach and waves. “Okay!” Turning back, she plants a kiss on Tiffany’s lips and smiles. “See ya after this.”
Tiffany continues to stare as her girlfriend jogs back to the team and joins them in the continued celebrations. She hadn’t expected Taeyeon to ask tonight but really, who is she kidding? At the rate they’re going, it’s a surprise they haven’t moved in together yet. But this two-in-one proposal? After a basketball match? From Taeyeon’s duffel bag? How long has this little jar been in Taeyeon’s duffel bag?
But in her heart, Tiffany knows none of it matters. Because she knows, that win or no win, key or no key, ring or no ring, she’s not leaving Taeyeon ever. And Taeyeon’s not leaving her either. Ever.
Happy Taeny Day 😄