Two women stand side-by-side, hands in the pockets of their coats, staring at the dark river in front of them. Midnight has passed already but both women seem too comfortable in their spot and do not show any sign to move just yet. The shorter one with blonde hair takes a glance at the dark-haired girl beside her, before letting out a sigh.
“It’s past midnight already, Fany-ah,” The blonde says as she turns her head to see the prettiest sight beside her. She verily enjoys the comfortable silence between them. It’s rare for her to get such a chance; to be left together with only Tiffany at the moment. And she relishes every single second spent, savoring the woman’s company. It’s her bliss, yet the day has ended and now it’s time for them to end the joy of feeling each other’s presence.
“I don’t care, Taeyeon,” The dark-haired answers without sparing a glance towards the blonde.
“Let’s get back to your place.”
The dark haired finally turns her head to the concerned woman beside her, “I don’t wanna go home.” Her voice is stern.
“But it’s midnight. You need to work tomorrow morning.”
“I don’t care, Taeyeon. I. Don’t. Care,” She says, emphasizing every word.
“I will drive you home,” Taeyeon pulls her right hand from her pocket, grabbing the latter’s arm. She then pulls the girl along.
“Yah, Taeyeon! I don’t want to!” She yanks away from Taeyeon’s hand, “Can’t you understand?”
Taeyeon frowns from Tiffany’s act. She knows exactly the reason behind the latter’s reaction, “Baby, please…” She pleads.
Tiffany sees through Taeyeon’s eyes, notices them glistening under the moonlight. She reaches for Taeyeon’s hand, which she just yanked, fitting their palms together before slipping her fingers in between Taeyeon’s. She closes her eyes at the moment their fingers slowly interlock, sending warmth to the equally cold fingers.
“Fifteen more minutes, baby,” She says as she opens her eyes, gently squeezing Taeyeon’s hand in hers.
Taeyeon understands the gesture. She understands the meaning behind the fifteen minutes requested. “Fifteen minutes and I’ll drive you home.”
Tiffany nods, pulling Taeyeon’s hand, letting their shoulders brush each other’s. Even with the thick coat covering them, Taeyeon shivers at the contact. Everything about Tiffany never fails to make her shiver; Tiffany’s smile, Tiffany’s touch, Tiffany’s kiss.
Tiffany leads them to stand closer to the edge of the bridge. She tugs Taeyeon’s hand before sitting on the edge, letting her legs dangle in the gap between the bridge and water.
Taeyeon follows Tiffany. They now sit side-by-side; Tiffany stares at the dark river while Taeyeon has all her attention only focused on Tiffany.
“Hmmm,” Tiffany hums without looking.
“It’s only the two of us on this bridge.”
Tiffany finally turns her head around, noticing Taeyeon was right, the place is empty. She looks at Taeyeon and smiles, turning her wide eyes into a pair of crescents. The sight Taeyeon loves so much. She leans her head on Taeyeon’s shoulder.
“Why is it so difficult for us, Taeyeon?” She whispers.
“I’m sorry, Fany-ah,” Taeyeon kisses Tiffany’s head gently.
“I want to end this.”
Taeyeon tenses the moment Tiffany spills those words. She has prepared herself to hear the sentence ever since she started everything with Tiffany. She knows they need to end it at some point but she has promised herself not to be the one who ends this. She will hold on to this homeless relationship because she is hopelessly in love with Tiffany. But to finally hear it from Tiffany, she can still feel her heart crack, a bit too much for her to handle.
“I understand,” Taeyeon sighs.
“No,” Tiffany straightens her seat, trying to find Taeyeon’s eyes, “I am not ending us.”
Taeyeon stares at Tiffany’s eyes, trying to find the meaning of her words.
“Let’s end the pretenses. Stop pretending that we’re just friends. Stop pretending that you’re my bestest best friend. Stop pretending that we’re not…” Tiffany sighs.
“Let’s stop pretending that we’re not lovers, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon smiles bitterly, “And what good will it bring, Fany? Nothing will change. We will still play hide and seek. This is all wrong.”
“What is wrong about this?”
“Everything. You have a husband who waits for you at home now. We do this behind his back. Even worse, I am a woman. Nothing is right about this,” Taeyeon’s voice wavers. She silently blames fate for everything. Why did I have to meet you after you are married to him? Why did I have to fall in love with you? Why did I even stay after knowing that you will never be mine? And why do you love me back, Fany-ah?
“There’s something right and true about this, Taeyeon,” Tiffany looks at their intertwined hands before loosening their interlocked fingers and pulls hers free. Taeyeon’s eyes follow the gesture until Tiffany’s hands cup her face.
“The feeling is right and true,” Tiffany caresses Taeyeon’s cheeks with her thumbs, “My love for you is true, Taeyeon. And it feels right,” She says as she leans forward minimizing their gap.
Taeyeon’s heart flutters hearing the words. If there is something she believes in her relationship with Tiffany is that her feelings never lie. She loves the girl and that’s what has made her stay all these years. She tilts her head, feeling Tiffany’s warm breath tickling her face before kissing Tiffany as gently as she can, slowly letting herself go. Fifteen minutes. Taeyeon starts to count as the seconds pass since their lips touch. You’re mine. These fifteen minutes, you’re mine.
Tiffany’s hands find their way around Taeyeon’s neck, pulling the latter closer, deepening their kiss. Taeyeon’s lips gently tug at hers. This is perfect, Taeyeon-ah. We are perfect together.
They spend most of their time, tracing each other’s mouth with every tug of their lips and every swipe of their tongues. Taeyeon shivers and shudders under Tiffany’s touches, and she knows Tiffany feels the same. The goose bumps on the smooth skin tell her what the woman feels. They release their longings by holding each other closely. Fifteen minutes is all they have.
“God, I love you,” whispers Taeyeon as she tries to catch her breath, leaning her forehead against Tiffany’s.
“I love you too, Taeyeon.” Tiffany still has her eyes closed, trying to hold the tears that were on the verge of spilling.
“Where’s your girlfriend, Taeng? I haven’t seen her in a while,” A tanned tall girl shoves the lifeless Taeyeon who stares at the blank canvas in front of her.
“What girlfriend?” Taeyeon lifts her head a bit, “I am not even gay.”
The tanned girl snorts at the answer, “We all know, Taeng. Tiffany is not only your best friend. She’s more than that.”
“Say whatever you want, Yul,” Taeyeon shrugs and stands up, making her way out of the studio, avoiding any more questions. How I wish she really was my girlfriend.
Yuri walks silently behind Taeyeon, keeping her eyes on the latter, who is opening the fridge, looking for some food to eat. She knows her best friend is hiding something from her, but she knows a lot more than that. She knows how much Taeyeon is breaking and it’s because of her other best friend, Tiffany.
Tiffany grips the sheets underneath her as she bites her lips to stifle her moan. Her knuckles turn white, showing how much she is fighting to not let herself succumb to the pleasure. A man hovers above her peppering kisses to her neck before he drags his lips to the valley of her mounds. Tiffany fights the tears on the verge of trickling down from her eyes. She does not want to scream the man’s name. She only wants to scream Taeyeon’s name and she longs for Taeyeon’s touch.
“Darling, why are you so tense?” The man stops the kisses.
Tiffany smiles at the man without saying anything, and the man takes that as a cue to continue what he was doing to his wife.
“Relax darling, it’s not our first time,” He mumbles against Tiffany’s abdomen, “You’re mine.”
I am not yours. I am Taeyeon’s.
“Are you sure, Fany?” Taeyeon puts her arms around the girl who sits on her lap. Her eyes fix to the woman’s eyes, trying to find the uncertainty, which of course does not exist.
Tiffany nods, keeping her eyes on the woman in front of her, “I am sure Taeyeon.”
“We can’t, Fany-ah,” Taeyeon sighs and leans on the couch rest. She closes her eyes, registering what Tiffany just said minutes ago. They are in Taeyeon’s apartment, cuddling while talking and watching TV. Even the simplest thing they do together feels more precious than it seems.
“I can’t stay like this forever, Taeyeon. I do not love him, I’ve never loved him.” Tiffany nuzzles her nose into Taeyeon’s neck, inhaling the soft Dolce and Gabbana vanilla perfume, the scent she longs for every time they are apart, “I love you,” It comes out as a whisper.
Taeyeon still has her eyes closed, preventing the tears from rolling down her cheek. But he is your husband.
“I can leave him and stay with you. Stay with the person I truly love,” Tiffany kisses Taeyeon’s neck gently.
“Not now, Fany,” Taeyeon opens her eyes, exhaling heavily.
Tiffany pulls herself to find her lover’s eyes, “Then when? How long shall we wait? It hurts, Taeyeon-ah,” Her eyes glisten with sadness. For the first time in her life, she knows she only wants one thing. She wants Taeyeon.
“I haven’t settled yet. I can’t give you a better life than him,” Taeyeon furrows her eyebrows, hating the fact that she is no good compared to Tiffany’s husband.
“You can give me love.”
“Love alone is not enough, Fany. I need to get a fixed income so you can live in comfort. Not in this small apartment, not with the jobless me.”
“Taeyeon…” Tiffany leans forward and places her head under Taeyeon’s chin. She knows Taeyeon is right. Why does it have to be this complicated, Taeyeon?
Taeyeon kisses Tiffany’s head lovingly, “Wait for me, please? And shall you want to end this for good, please let me know.”
Tiffany says nothing but kisses Taeyeon’s neck. If she can’t have Taeyeon completely, at least she can have Taeyeon for the moment. For now, for tonight, she wants Taeyeon, and she wants to give herself to Taeyeon.
“Fany-ah,” Taeyeon closes her eyes and tenses under the kisses.
Tiffany continues the kisses, from Taeyeon’s neck to the jawline. She can hears Taeyeon’s breath getting heavy. She licks Taeyeon’s jawline sensually trailing to the earlobe and gently captures it with her mouth. She starts to unbutton Taeyeon’s shirt without any fight from the latter. She knows Taeyeon wants it too.
Taeyeon’s shirt slowly slides from her shoulder. Tiffany pulls back to see the breathless Taeyeon. Taeyeon opens her eyes and captures Tiffany’s lips nibbling it gently before moving lower to the milky white neck. She shudders at the feeling of the smooth skin under her fingertips when her hands slip under Tiffany’s tee.
Both women let their instincts lead what happens next. Tiffany shouts Taeyeon’s name repeatedly, digging her nails into Taeyeon’s back before smiling contently, feeling her lover slump above her, peppering kissing on her neck, and ending on her lips gently, and lovingly.
“I love you, Taeyeon,” The whisper comes out sincerely.
They stay inside Taeyeon’s car, eyes closed, foreheads press against each other, catching their breath. Taeyeon opens her eyes first without pulling away, as she caresses Tiffany’s cheek. Admiring the sight in front of her, the lover she cannot have, the one who brings her heart away and stays within reach but not hers yet.
“Taeyeon…” Tiffany whispers, eyebrows furrowed, and the tears finally trickle down her face.
“Fany…” Taeyeon wipes the tears with her thumbs, kissing the wet cheeks.
“If I say don’t leave me, will you stay? If I wait, will you come at the end?” Tiffany’s eyes flutter open, finding the answer for her question through the honest gaze in Taeyeon’s eyes.
Taeyeon presses her lips against Tiffany’s, “You know I will,” words are spoken against lips.
“Now, go home, baby. Your husband is waiting,” A frown on the lover’s face.
Tiffany frowns as well, pulling herself from Taeyeon, she hesitantly pushes the door open. She leans towards Taeyeon, captures her lover’s lips once again before finally stepping out of the car, closing the door behind her, walking to her husband’s house, leaving Taeyeon alone in the car.
Tears wet the milky cheeks. Audible sobs cannot be heard outside the car, but Taeyeon’s heart knows how much its owner screams to have Tiffany stay in her arms.
Five women sit around the table, watching a bottle spinning in the middle of it until it finally stops, pointing at the woman with the blonde hair.
“Who wants to ask me a question?” Taeyeon giggles. The alcohol has consumed her brain.
“Me! Me!” Jessica raises her hand excitedly. The woman is under the influence of alcohol as well.
“How much do you want to kiss Tiffany right now?” Jessica asks.
The other three women try to keep their poker faces up; do not want to show how nervous they are at how the unexpected question will be answered.
Taeyeon shifts her gaze from Jessica to Tiffany who sits besides her, “Kissing my Fany?” She pouts cutely.
“Don’t you dare to do anything funny, Taeyeon,” Tiffany giggles, trying to suppress her nervousness. They’ve kissed for as long as they can remember but they were all behind closed doors, or at the bridge at midnight when no one is around.
“Do you want to kiss me too, Fany?” Taeyeon still giggles with her eyes closed, hardly dealing with her spinning head.
“Taeng is totally wasted,” Yuri tries not to bring the question further. Taeyeon’s answer is too obvious even though it is indirect.
“JummaTaeng is so lame when it comes to alcohol,” Sunny adds as she stands from her seat, “I am leaving now. We need to go home before more people get wasted.”
“Lame Soonkyu is trying to escape,” Taeyeon cannot stop giggling as she leans her head on Tiffany’s shoulder, “Fany hasn’t even answered my question,” She pouts.
“You haven’t answered my question either, Taengoo!” Jessica points her index finger at Taeyeon while smiling foolishly, “Do you want to kiss your Fany?”
“Only if my Fany wants to,” Taeyeon chuckles, “Do you want to, Fany?” She pulls herself from the latter, smiling like a fool.
“I will drive Taeng home,” Yuri stands, grabbing her short friend’s arm, helping her to stand up as well.
“I will drive Jessi home then,” Tiffany stands up as well, trying to straighten Jessica’s body that already slumps on the table.
“I will go first then. You okay?” Yuri asks.
Tiffany nods as she circles Jessica’s arm on her shoulder, bringing the drunken girl to stand on her own feet.
“I am here. Can you bring Sica alone, Fany?”
“I’ll go then.”
“Why did you ask that, Jessi,” Tiffany questions her drunk friend after the three other women leave.
“You love her, Tiff,” Jessica giggles, “Everyone knows you love her.”
Tiffany sighs, straightens herself and takes one step at a time to make sure Jessica can follow.
“You love her, Tiff,” Jessica repeats.
Tiffany shakes her head and continues walking until they reach her car. She puts Jessica down in the passenger’s seat then she makes her way to the driver seat.
“Tiffany,” Jessica has her eyes half open, trying to deal with her unconsciousness.
Tiffany hums as she ignites the car’s engine and steps on the gas pedal.
“She loves you too,” Says Jessica followed by a soft snore as the unconsciousness pulls her from the soberness.
Tiffany sighs heavily, “I know, Jess.”
“Shit!” Taeyeon curses, “What else did I do? How bad it was?”
“Nothing. We managed to drag you home before you did something stupid,” Sunny tries to calm her best friend.
“You should really pay more attention to the alcohol you can tolerate, Taeng,” Yuri shakes her head in disapproval.
Taeyeon rakes her blonde hair in desperation. Her two best friends just told her about what happened last night, when she was obviously drunk and almost did something stupid to Tiffany. She does not know what she needs to do at the moment. Her friends already know that something is happening between her and Tiffany. She does not know whether she should keep denying it or just tell them the truth.
“We know Taeng,” Sunny’s voice catches her attention, “We know you love her.”
“And not as a friend or best friend,” Yuri adds.
Taeyeon looks at the two women in front of her and covers her face with her palms.
“Please stop, Taeng. Stop hurting yourself. You know she has a husband already. You’re just going nowhere,” Sunny’s voice is stern, but still full of consideration.
“I know, Soonkyu. Thanks for the reminder,” She shakes her head weakly.
“Yet you won’t listen to her, right Taeng?” Asks Yuri.
Taeyeon uncovers her face, looking at her friends helplessly. The two women in front of her only stare at each other, knowing exactly the meaning behind their best friend’s eyes.
“I wasn’t that drunk last night so you can stop pretending, Tiffany Hwang,” Jessica glares at her best friend seriously.
“What are you talking about, Jessi? You couldn’t even open your eyes once we reached my car,” Tiffany smiles awkwardly, feeling uncomfortable under Jessica’s interrogating eyes.
“I asked Taeyeon how much she wanted to kiss you. She answered whether you wanted to kiss her as well. Yuri and Sunny then prevented things to get worse and brought Taeyeon home while you brought me home. I told you I knew you love her, and she loves you too,” Jessica sighs, “I remember it really well, Tiff,”
“You can’t even differentiate between reality and your imagination,” Tiffany chuckles, hiding the exact truth Jessica just said.
Jessica frowns at her best friend’s answer. She knows her best friend still hides the fact even though it has been so obvious for her to see those affectionate gazes between Taeyeon and Tiffany.
“Say whatever you want, Hwang. You know what your doing is wrong. I know you’ve never loved him. I know your parents arranged your marriage, but it doesn’t change the fact that what your doing with Taeyeon is wrong.”
“I do nothing more than be friends with Taeyeon.”
“Even blind people can see the love in your eyes, Tiff.”
“You are delusional.”
“I know where I stand, Jess. Nothing is happening between Taeyeon and me.”
“Please stop hurting her and yourself. Nothing good will happen if you both continue this,” Jessica says in a serious tone.
“I know, Tiff. I just know. So please, stop it. Before anything worse happens,” Jessica pleads. “Just, please…”
Tiffany sighs, “Nothing to worry about Jessi. Nothing.”
“You’re so quiet today,” Taeyeon hands a cup of hot chocolate to Tiffany who sits on the couch in front of the TV in Taeyeon’s apartment, the only place where they can be lovers without any worry.
“Jess talked to me.”
Taeyeon sits beside her lover, putting her own cup on the coffee table, “So did Soonkyu and Yuri.”
Tiffany stares blankly at the cup in her hands, “Did they ask you to stop?”
“Will you stop?” Tiffany keeps her gaze down. Even if she needs to hear a bitter truth at the moment, she will not be able to handle it while looking at her lover’s eyes.
“Do you want me to?”
“What if I do?”
“What if I don’t?” Tiffany changes her question.
“Then, I will stay.”
“Please stay, Taeyeon,” Her voice faints. A sense of uncertainty is clearly heard from the reply.
Taeyeon reaches for the cup in Tiffany’s hands and puts it beside her own cup on the coffee table. She then holds both hands in hers, “Do you really want me to stay?”
Tiffany raises her gaze to meet Taeyeon’s, “I do.”
“Then I’ll stay,” She squeezes the hands in hers, “I am yours, Fany-ah. I’ll stay for as long as you want me to.”
“What if one day I can’t continue this? We can’t continue this,” She spills the bitter truth they have known since the first time.
“Shall this need to stop, I will just leave. But I won’t go anywhere unless you say we’re over.”
“But I will hurt you.”
“Love hurts, Fany,” She gulps, fighting the tears, “It hurts already.”
Tiffany releases her hands from Taeyeon’s to cup her lover’s face, “I am sorry.”
“We’re hopeless, aren’t we?” Taeyeon chuckles bitterly, “It’s about time until we’re over.”
Tiffany says nothing but leans forward to taste the cherry lip tint on her lover’s lips, “We’re not over as long as you stay.”
“Let me stay, will you?”
Both women stay in the car, putting as much distance between each other as they can in the confined space. They know what will happen once one of them leaves the car. Tears flowing, fists clench, lips tremble, breath rages, and above all hearts break.
“I’m sorry,” She says without looking at Taeyeon.
“Yeah,” Taeyeon inhales the faint floral perfume in the car. The perfume the woman just sprayed a moment ago to hide Taeyeon’s vanilla scent that might linger on her blouse. “So, we’re over now?”
Tiffany nods weakly. She has been thinking about the relationship she has with Taeyeon. She knew from the first day that they would end it sooner or later, yet she chose it to be later. She knows she still loves Taeyeon but she can no longer wait for the latter. She cannot let Taeyeon stay longer than this. She cannot keep Taeyeon as her secret lover. For the sake of the only good she can give to Taeyeon, she needs to let her go. She knows it’s finally time for them to bring the relationship they have to an end. It hurts for both of them but she does not want to hurt Taeyeon more than this. Someone needs to end the hopeless love they have, someone needs to end the pain that just gets more suffocating each time they meet, and that someone is her.
“Thank you, Tiffany.”
Tiffany’s heart breaks into smaller pieces as she hears the way Taeyeon addresses her. It has always been Fany and now it turns to Tiffany again.
“I am sorry, Taeyeon.”
“It can’t be helped, right? You’ve made up your mind already.”
“I love you,” Tiffany whispers. Please answer you love me too, Taeyeon. Please say you will let me leave him and stay with you. And I’ll stay; we’ll stay for good.
Taeyeon frowns at the sentence. How the three words which have always made her heart flutter, now turn into a dagger that jabs her already wounded heart, “Don’t say that please,” She sighs. “Stop hurting me worse than this.” Please stay, Fany. Leave him, stay with me.
“I’m sorry,” She reaches the handle, pushing the door open, “Goodbye Taeyeon.” She closes the door, quickens her steps towards her house, feeling her heart shatter into pieces with every step she takes away from what her heart longs for. I am sorry Taeyeon-ah. If only you let me leave him.
Taeyeon grips the steering wheel tightly; knuckles turning white as her grip tightens. That’s all, Taeyeon. She was his since the first time. She has never been yours from the beginning. Get a grip and move on. She closes her eyes, feeling the tears fall again, wetting the already wet cheeks.
“I love you too, Fany-ah. I love you too much,” Her lips tremble as she recites the words. “And it hurts, Fany…” She throws her body to lean on the backrest, taking a deep breath. Goodbye, Fany.
She stops her car in front of a house she used to visit a year ago. She smiles bitterly at the sight. How are you, Fany? I hope you’re doing well.
Her phone rings, signaling an incoming call. She takes her phone out to check the ID and immediately answers the call, “Hi Soonkyu!”
“We’re all here, Taeng! Where are you?” Her best friend’s cheery tone makes her smile.
“I am on my way.”
“Okay then. Drive safe. We all miss you! You’ve been gone for a year!”
She chuckles, “But I am back.”
“Thank God, you are!” Her friend laughs.
“I’ll be there soon. Don’t start the fun without me, okay?”
“The bottle is about to turn on the table. Don’t take too long!”
She laughs. How she misses her best friends, how she misses home, and her heart knows what she misses the most. God, I miss you.
“Okay, dwarf. I’ll hang up now.”
“Okay! See ya!”
Taeyeon stops her steps when she catches the sight in front of her. Her friends are all there, sitting at the round table, animatedly laughing and drinking liquor as an empty bottle of soju spins on the table. Everything before her is what she missed during the year she spent abroad, trying to move on, and steadying her painting career. Her eyes catch a figure that makes her heart skip a beat; a pair of crescent eyes she has longed for, the long dark hair, which is now brunette, and the loud laugh she loves to hear. She is there. Tiffany is right there in front of her eyes, and her heart tells her it still wants her.
“Taengoo!” A high-pitched voice takes her away from her wandering mind.
“Sica-yah!” She waves at the woman whose face is all red, obviously because of the alcohol.
“Yah! Taeng! What took you so long?” A shorty turns her body to face her, “Come here buddy, I missed you!” She pouts as she stretches out her arms, asking for a hug.
Taeyeon stifles her laugh as she casually walks towards the pouting woman. She then hugs her best friend tightly, feeling warm at heart. It’s nice to be back home.
She breaks the hug and turns to the tall tanned woman beside the shorty and stretches her arms again, “Want to hug me too, Yul?” She grins.
Yuri stands from her seat and hugs Taeyeon as tight as she can, “I missed you, buddy!” She breaks the hug. “You are so skinny. What are you now? Skeletaeng? Skeleton Taeng?”
All the women laugh at the joke.
“JummaTaeng still sounds better than that, Yul,” She slaps her best friend’s arm playfully.
“No hug for me, Taengoo?” The high-pitched voice owner pouts, sulking in her chair.
“Aigoo, Sica-yah. Here, come to JummaTaeng,” She walks toward the sulking girl and gives her a big hug.
“You didn’t say you missed me, Taengoo-yah!” Jessica protests.
“Aigoo, aigoo. I missed you so freaking much, Sica,” Taeyeon says in English as she pats Jessica’s back. “My English is getting better, right?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I am drunk,” Jessica giggles as she pulls herself away from Taeyeon, making the ones around the table let out even more hearty laughs.
“Hi,” The husky voice finally greets her.
“Hi to you too,” Taeyeon calmly walks toward the last woman at the table; a wide smile is drawn on her face. Her mind tells her to keep the distance she has but her heart screams at her to stretch her arms out, and offer a hug to the woman she missed the most.
The woman is taken aback by the friendly gesture. She does not expect a warm smile, let alone the hug offering. But she accepts it anyway; she reaches towards the petite figure in front of her and hugs her tightly, inhaling the scent she has longed for the past year. Have you moved on, Taeyeon?
“How are you?” Taeyeon breaks the hug and looks at her eyes.
“Never been better. You?”
“Great. Especially after finally being home again,” She smiles; eyes meeting the others eyes. You’ve gotten prettier, Fany-ah.
“Up for the spinning bottle game, Taeng?” Sunny raises the empty bottle trying to get Taeyeon’s attention.
“Sure! Shoot me a question!” She says as she takes her seat beside Tiffany.
“Yah! The bottle hasn’t even spun, you dork!” Jessica shakes her head. “Taengoo is no smart,” She continues in English, causing laughter to erupt from everyone.
“I will take Sica home,” Sunny says as she helps the already wasted girl stand on her own feet. “Yuri-ah! Be useful and get your ass out of the chair, please. Help me with this drunk girl!”
Yuri immediately stands up and helps the shorty who’s obviously struggling to straighten Jessica up.
“Can you take Fany home, Taeng? Yul and I need to take care of Sica,” Sunny asks, waiting for an answer before taking her leave with Yuri and Jessica. Their short reunion went really well with no awkwardness between the ex-secret-lovers and she thinks that it will be okay for Taeyeon to drive Tiffany home.
“Sure. No problem,” Taeyeon smiles inwardly, feeling happy that nothing has changed even after leaving her friends for a year.
“We’re off now. We’ll see you around right?” She asks once again.
“Sure, I am not going anywhere. I’m staying for good.”
“See you then,” Sunny smiles cheerfully before finally leaving the two women sitting at the round table.
“So, you’re really staying for good?” Tiffany turns her body to face Taeyeon.
“I said so, didn’t I?”
“You did,” Tiffany smiles. She wants to hug the woman in front of her once again, nuzzle her nose into Taeyeon’s neck, feeling once again the warmth that had been her source of comfort for years before she finally brought their relationship to an end.
“Want to go home now?”
“Let’s go then.”
Both women stand from their seats, walking side-by-side. Shoulders barely brush; bringing back the memories they shared together.
They finally reach Taeyeon’s car and get into it, with Taeyeon in the driver’s seat, while Tiffany sits in the passenger seat.
“I moved anyway,” Tiffany suddenly says as she wears the safety belt.
“Oh, just type the address in the GPS then,” Taeyeon answers as she ignites the engine.
Tiffany does as Taeyeon says, setting up the GPS to lead them to her house, “Done.”
The ride is quiet. Both women have too many things on their mind. Feeling each others presence causes the old forgotten feelings to arise again as the ride continues.
“How long has it been since you moved?” Taeyeon finally breaks the silence.
“Huh? What?” Tiffany doesn’t catch the question, as her head keeps producing what-if questions.
“How long has it been since you moved?” Taeyeon repeats her question again.
“Uhm, nine months ago.”
“Why? I thought your old house was convenient.”
Tiffany smiles at the question, “Sometimes, we just need some changes in life, Taeyeon.”
“I see,” Taeyeon nods.
“Do you still live in your old apartment?”
“Nope, get a better one now since I get better income from my paintings.”
“It’s nice to know. I always believed that you could do it. I’m so proud of you,” Tiffany smiles without sending a glance towards the driving woman.
Taeyeon’s heart flutters at the sincere words, “Thanks for believing me,” she answers as sincere as the former. “It’s all thanks to you, Fany-ah,” Even though it had needed a bitter wake up call, a taste of bitter reality, their separation had brought her to where she is now.
Tiffany smiles at the reply. So, going back to Fany, now?
“How’s your job going?”
“Got promoted last month.”
“Hard work pays off, right?” Taeyeon smiles, “You’re one of the hardest working women I’ve ever met in my life.”
“Someone once said that a woman is the prettiest when she works hard,” Tiffany spills the truth behind her hard work. “You told me so, and that has always been my motivation.”
“One of my cheesy, cringe-worthy lines, huh?” She chuckles.
“That one is encouraging, though,” Tiffany laughs. “Thank you, Taeyeon.”
Another silence engulfs the car but it feels comfortable this time.
“This is me,” Tiffany says as Taeyeon parks her car in front of an apartment building.
“You moved to an apartment?”
“Yes, it’s closer to my office,” Tiffany answers, as she unbuckles her seatbelt.
“Is it safe?”
“It is, Taeyeon,” Tiffany smiles, feeling happy for the sincere concern. You haven’t changed. Still as caring as ever.
“Good to know,” Taeyeon smiles in relief. Why do I still care?
“So, I will see you around later?”
“See you, Taeyeon,” Tiffany gets out of the car. See you.
Taeyeon stays until Tiffany enters the apartment building. Is it okay to feel happy because this time it’s not a ‘goodbye’?
“Thanks for the dinner, Taeyeon.”
A pair of crescent eyes take Taeyeon’s breath away.
A cute dimple on her chin makes Tiffany’s heart skips a beat.
At first it started with just friendly meetings, casual lunches or dinners but the feelings they tried to bury in the last year have started to arise from their graves.
Tiffany unbuckles her seatbelt but she seems hesitant to leave the car, while Taeyeon silently wishes for more time to spend with the woman beside her.
“Taeyeon,” Tiffany whispers, looking at Taeyeon’s eyes.
Taeyeon holds her breath as stares into the eyes. It takes her back to memories of them. The longing eyes, the loving stares, the want to stay longer than they can. She sees Tiffany lean forward, minimizing the gap between them. She knows she should not do this, she should stop what is going to happen but her heart shuts her mind and she closes her eyes while tilting her head, a welcoming gesture for what will happen next.
Lips touch and linger. Hands caress each other’s cheeks.
Both women have waited for too long to finally release their longings. Tiffany parts her lips, kissing Taeyeon gently, letting herself go while Taeyeon’s hands find their way around her torso and rest lightly on her back.
Tiffany breaks the kiss a few seconds later and looks down, avoiding Taeyeon’s eyes, “I’m sorry,” She then opens the car door, leaving Taeyeon in the car.
“Tiffany asked me where you’ve been,” Sunny leans her back on the wall in Taeyeon’s studio.
“You know where I’ve been, Soonkyu.”
“Do not play with words, Taeng,” Sunny’s voice is stern. “You are avoiding her.”
Taeyeon sighs inwardly. She is too afraid to be hurt again by the same person, just waiting for history to repeat itself. “I just spend most of my time in my studio. That’s all.”
“And not replying to her messages nor her calls? What’s the matter? I thought you guys have been over it. You seemed fine until last week.”
“Nothing happened, Soonkyu. She can visit me here if she wants to.”
“You know she won’t try to intrude into your bubble.”
Taeyeon shrugs, “She can if she wants to.” She’s welcomed to intrude my bubble at anytime, Soonkyu. She intruded my heart all over again already.
“Are you afraid, Taeng?”
“Nothing to be afraid of.”
“Are you afraid that you have fallen for her again?”
Taeyeon gulps at the question.
“You are,” Sunny sighs at the indirect answer.
“It can’t be helped, Sunny.” She faintly replies. “My heart can’t lie,” She puts her palm on her chest, feeling her heart rapidly beats just thinking of her.
Sunny frowns at her best friend’s answer. She straightens her position and walks towards the studio door. “She waited. She is still waiting. That’s all I know, Taeng,” She then walks out from the studio, leaving Taeyeon alone.
Taeyeon digs in her jeans pocket, taking out her phone. She taps on the unread messages from Tiffany.
‘Taeyeon, I’m sorry.’
‘I know I shouldn’t have done what I did. I’m sorry.’
‘Taeyeon, say something please.’
‘Do you hate me?’
‘Please yell at me, slap me, but please don’t ignore me, Taeyeon.’
She scrolls through another dozen apology messages from Tiffany then stops when she reads something different.
‘Yuri said you work in the studio non-stop. Don’t forget to eat, Taeyeon-ah.’
‘Sunny said you’ve barely slept to work on your latest painting. Drink some vitamins. I don’t want you to get sick, Taeyeon-ah.’
Why do you care, Fany? Why do you keep making it hard for me?
She scrolls through the messages once again and reads the last three messages.
‘Taeyeon, until when will you ignore me?’
‘I am sorry.’
‘Taeyeon, I’m still waiting…’
You are still waiting? Do you really mean that, Fany-ah?
“You knew this would happen, Tiff.” Jessica hugs her best friend. “Why did you kiss her anyway?”
Tiffany clenches the back of Jessica’s clothes, trying to deal with her heart. Taeyeon has ignored all of her calls and messages this past week and she knows why.
“What are you gonna do?” She asks.
Tiffany shakes her head weakly, “I don’t know.”
“You know I never stopped waiting, Jess.”
“You were the one who ended it, Tiff.”
“I know!” She hugs Jessica tighter. “It was the best for her, for us. I couldn’t let her suffer, Jessi. I needed to let her go.”
“Even if that meant you would hurt yourself worse than when you were with her? You’re a masochist, aren’t you? You keep on hurting yourself again and again, Tiff.”
“I just…” She inhales sharply. “I just love her so much.”
“I know, Tiff. We all know.”
No reply comes to Jessica’s statement, only faint sobs are heard from the crying woman in Jessica’s embrace.
Tiffany’s phone rings on the nightstand. Tiffany groans at the noise, she just managed to cry herself to sleep but the ringing woke her up. Her hand tries to find the ringing device without opening her eyes. When she finally feels the phone in her hands, she immediately answers it without seeing the caller’s name.
“Hello,” Her voice is hoarse.
“H-hi,” A stutter answers her.
Tiffany immediately opens her eyes knowing the voice across the line really well, “Taeyeon?”
“Gosh, where have you been?” She can’t hide the worry in her voice.
“In my studio. You know, finishing stuff.”
“Good to know that you’re fine.”
“I’m fine. Sorry for not answering your calls or messages.”
“It’s okay as long as you’re fine, Taeyeon,” She exhales. I am at fault though. I am the one who should say sorry.
“Are you free tomorrow, Fany?” Taeyeon asks hesitantly.
“I need to meet a client but I’ll be free after office hours. Why?” She raises her eyebrows at the unexpected question after being ignored for almost a week.
“Uhm, are you up for dinner?”
“Sure,” Tiffany cannot hide her excitement.
“I’ll pick you up at your office at seven?”
“Good. I’ll see you then?”
“Okay, see you.”
The dinner is quiet. Taeyeon is deep in thought while Tiffany doesn’t want to initiate anything. She is afraid one question from her will make the person in front of her go away again. She knows something had started to happen again between them but she does not want to be the one who ruins it all over again. She does not want to hurt Taeyeon a second time.
Taeyeon clears her throat, putting down the utensils she used and wipes her mouth.
Tiffany looks up.
“I think we need to talk but I am not sure where the talk might lead us,” Taeyeon starts the conversation.
“Do you still love me?” Tiffany doesn’t beat around the bush.
“I don’t want you to get hurt again Taeyeon,” She cuts Taeyeon off.
“I don’t want to either, Fany,” Taeyeon frowns.
“Then move on, would you?”
The request stops the next question Taeyeon has in mind. She has been thinking about them after Sunny told her that Tiffany is still waiting. She started to grow the courage to start everything all over again even if the consequences were more secret meetings, more hide-and-seek plays, another hopeless love, another hopeless future, and on top of that, another heart break.
“I would if you want me to,” It feels like deja vu for Taeyeon. Here she is being powerless again, letting Tiffany put an end to her wishful thinking.
“Move on, Taeyeon,” Tiffany fights the tears. “Please…”
“Do you really want me to move on?” She asks once again. She knows what Tiffany’s eyes say. They want her to stay and she knows Tiffany too well not to be fooled by the words she has spoken.
“I do, Taeyeon. Please.”
“Don’t lie, Fany,” She gathers her courage.
“What good will it bring, Taeyeon?” Her lips tremble. “You said it yourself a year ago.”
“It might just bring another heart break for us. Do you want that?” She tries her best not to let her voice waver.
“I want you. I want us.”
“Do not put me into a difficult position again, please.”
“Let’s make it easier for you then,” Taeyeon takes a deep breath. “Leave him, stay with me for good. Because I’m not leaving this time.” Taeyeon puts the last drop of her courage into that statement.
“Taeyeon…” Tiffany can no longer hold the tears in her eyes.
“I still love you. I never stopped loving you, Fany. Please.”
“You’ve waited. You’ve waited for me, right? Then why can’t you just say yes this time?” Taeyeon has no idea where all the courage she has right now came from. “Stay with me, please… Fany? Leave him. Choose me.”
Tiffany takes a deep breath, wiping her tears from her flawless face. “Let’s not talk here, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon tenses at the answer. Going to Tiffany’s place means that she is going to meet her husband. She might get beaten up shall the husband find out about them. Tiffany might forever be taken away from her. She inhales, trying to calm herself. One last shot, Taeyeon. All or nothing. Fight for her for once. She’s worth it.
“Okay,” Taeyeon raises her hand, calling the waiter and asking for the bill before finally leaving the restaurant and driving to Tiffany’s place.
Tiffany unlocks the door and walks into her apartment, leaving the door wide open, indirectly inviting Taeyeon to come in as well. She then takes off her shoes and puts them on the rack before she sits on the couch, staring at Taeyeon who’s still standing at the doorway.
“Can I come in?”
Taeyeon takes off her shoes and makes her way to the couch to sit beside Tiffany. She takes a look around the small apartment Tiffany lives in. It surprises her how small and simple the apartment is. She looks at some photos hanging on the wall and notices something odd about them.
“Sorry if it’s too small,” says Tiffany.
Taeyeon shakes her head. “Why did you leave your decent house and move to this apartment? Your house was much better than this.”
Tiffany shakes her head as well. “His house.”
“His house is your house. He’s your husband, Fany.”
Tiffany shakes her head once again, raising her hands to be seen by Taeyeon, “Do you see any ring?”
Taeyeon’s eyes widen, “Fany?”
“Do you see any ring?” She repeats her question.
Taeyeon cannot believe that she never noticed that Tiffany no longer wears her wedding band. “No.”
“I got divorced, Taeyeon. Three months after you left.” Tiffany smiles bitterly.
“But why?” She tries to make sense of everything. Why did you end what we had if you were just going to end everything with him too?
“You know I did not love him. I never loved him.”
“Why did you end us if you were also going to end things with him? Why didn’t you let me stay?”
“How many times did I tell you that I would leave him for you?” Tiffany asks back. “But you never let me, Taeyeon.”
“I know how much you hurt, Taeyeon. And it hurt me even more to see that I was the one who hurt you. I needed to let you go because you wouldn’t let me stay with you for good. You kept telling me to go back to him,” Tiffany smiles bitterly.
“I didn’t want to be selfish, Fany. You deserved better than me at that time.”
“Did I deserve a broken heart?”
Taeyeon looks away from Tiffany, “My heart broke as well,” She mumbles.
Tiffany takes a deep breath. “If I divorced him when I was still with you, you would have felt burdened. You would have felt responsible for it. I know you, Kim Taeyeon,” Tiffany smiles. “That was why I ended us before I got divorced. This is my choice, my selfish choice, I know.”
Taeyeon shifts her gaze back to Tiffany’s eyes, which reflect hopeful bitterness.
“And you were right. I’ve waited. I never stopped loving you and I am still waiting.” Tiffany smiles, wishing that Taeyeon remembered the promise she made a year ago. If I wait, will you still come at the end?
“But why did you still ask me to move on, Fany?”
“Because I’m afraid that if I hurt you again, you will leave for good. I can’t stand another life without you again, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon closes her eyes, “Have I ever failed to keep my promises to you?”
Tiffany stares questioningly.
“I promised you I would stay as long as you don’t want me to leave. I did not leave until you ended us, did I?” Taeyeon opens her eyes, staring at Tiffany’s.
“I said that I would leave once you put an end to us. I left, didn’t I?”
Another nod from Tiffany.
“Do you remember another promise I made to you?”
Tears escape from the corner of Tiffany’s eyes.
“You once asked me, ‘If I wait, will you still come at the end?’ Do you remember that?”
“I do, Taeyeon.” Her lips tremble. That’s the only thing I’ve held on to ever since you left, Taeyeon.
Taeyeon smiles at the answer. “You’ve waited for me, Tiffany. Now let me come and stay, would you?” She scoots closer to Tiffany.
Tiffany never breaks eye contact. She wants to let Taeyeon know that she will let her stay. She hasn’t been able to be this close and open to Taeyeon in a long time. It brings back so many feelings that she quickly becomes lost in the brown eyes of her heart’s owner.
She leans closer, and feels Taeyeon’s hands circle around her waist, pulling her closer.
“Come back to me, be mine, stay with me?” Taeyeon kisses Tiffany’s lips gently.
Tiffany closes her eyes when Taeyeon’s lips touch hers. She shivers from all the feelings she suppressed, coming forward again. Her senses register every single thing about Taeyeon; Taeyeon’s vanilla scent filling her nose, the softness of her lips, smoothness of her skin under her fingertips when she holds Taeyeon’s arms.
She slowly deepens the kiss, her hands find their way to Taeyeon’s neck, pulling her closer. She missed this. She missed Taeyeon. Only Taeyeon can make her shiver just from gentle grazes on her skin. She melts in Taeyeon’s embrace, she lets herself give in. She wants Taeyeon back. She needs Taeyeon back.
“Would you?” mumbles Taeyeon when their lips part.
“Can we make another promise?” Tiffany replies slightly out of breath.
Taeyeon nods, as she grazes Tiffany’s cheek with the back of her hand.
“Don’t let me make you leave again. Whatever happens in the future, please stay?” She whispers, leaning her forehead against Taeyeon’s.
“I will stay for good, Fany.” Taeyeon answers lovingly, capturing Tiffany’s lips once again, planting a warm kiss.
“Thanks for coming back, Taeyeon-ah.” Tiffany smiles against Taeyeon’s lips.
Taeyeon smiles too, feeling the smile on her lips.
“Be mine?” asks Taeyeon without breaking the kiss.
“Stay with me?”
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