After 25

[C] After 25.png

One day before Christmas is usually the peak season for a small bakery at the corner of the road. There is nothing special about the bakery from the outside. There is no exaggerating decoration, no excessive signage in front of the building. Just a humble two stories building with a small A-board by the door which says “Christmas is special, and so are your cookies.” Despite of the plain decoration, the bakery has its own charm and it is none other than the owner who is also the baker of the place. She always has her own way to make undoubtedly delightful cookies, which also delivers message with the shape and choices of colors. That is why the place always attracts the customer.

Taeyeon is in the middle of putting on the icing for the freshly baked cookies on the tray. It has been hectic days nearing Christmas and this is the umpteenth batch of cookies she has baked for the day. She just finished all the pending orders and she plans to makes some buffer stock while she has no order to be made at the moment. But then she hears the door is being opened and footsteps come into her bakery.

“Welcome to T-Paradise!” She immediately straightens her body and spills out a loud greeting to the newly come customer with a wide smile on her face.

The customer replies with a toothy smile and walks to the counter where Taeyeon at and looks at the freshly baked cookies. Her eyes then widens when she sees the cookies in front of Taeyeon.

Omo! Pink Christmas trees!!” She almost squeals in over excitement when she sees a dozen of Christmas tree-shaped cookies with pink icing on top.

Taeyeon chuckles and nods with a slight of proud smile on her face, feeling happy with the response from the customer. “Yes, trying out a new color because green is too mainstream for Christmas.”

The customer nods along while keep smiling, making her eyes turn into a pair of crescents. “Can I buy this one?” She still sounds as excited as her first reaction.

“Sure, sure. But I still need to finish the icing first.” Taeyeon cannot help but to keep chuckling, feeling amused at the new customer. “You can wait in that table as I finish this.” She points at one available table at the corner of the petite bakery.

The customer shakes her head and turns her gaze back to the tray, admiring the cookies. “I am gonna stay here and watch you finish these pink Christmas trees,” States the customer with the same excited voice.

Taeyeon only smiles and starts to decorates the cookies with pink icing again. After a while she finally finishes the pink icing and reaches out for the white icing and makes some small curved lines on top the pink icing, and finishes it with some red and blue icing dots on the white lines. She looks at the cookies tray in satisfaction then turns her eyes to the customer who still has her eyes on the tray. “How’s it?”

The customer averts her eyes from the cookies to Taeyeon and beams her smile. “I love it!” She states eagerly.

“Glad to hear that.” Taeyeon smiles as she tidies up the counter. “I am gonna pack them for you.” She then takes a small plastic, putting some cookies inside and ties the top of plastic with green ribbon.

“Ah wait! Can you use the red ribbon instead?” The customer requests.

“Okay, no probs,” Answers Taeyeon casually as she takes the green ribbon off and changes it into the red one. “Here you go.”

The customer takes the cookies happily. “How much is this?”

“25,000 won.” Taeyeon walks to the cashier counter and punches in some numbers follows with a sound of printing sound as the receipt comes out of the machine. She hands out the receipt to the customer.

The customer takes the receipt and fishes out her hand bag but then her face turns pale. “Oh my Gosh!” She gets panicked and put her hand bag on the counter, trying to look for something and ends it with a sigh. “I forgot to bring my wallet.” She frowns and gives the cookies back to Taeyeon. “I guess I will come again later.” She mumbles in disappointment.

Taeyeon cannot help but to laugh at the sight in front of her. She does not mean to be rude but the customer’s expression is like a kid who just found out Santa is not real and somehow Taeyeon finds it cute. “It’s okay, Miss. You can take that for free. Christmas is special and so are your cookies.” She copies the line she wrote on the A-board and winks at the customer playfully.

“Really???” The customer asks almost sounds like yelling.

Taeyeon laughs even more as she nods. “Sure, sure.”

“Gosh!! Thanks so much!!” The customer beams her eyes smile again. “I promise I will be a very loyal customer for your bakery from now on!”

“Whoa! Thanks for that!”

“You’re welcome!” The customer then looks at the watch on her wrist. “I need to go now. Thanks so much for the cookies!” She bows gratefully to Taeyeon then straightens her body before turns on her heels and walks towards the exit door.

Taeyeon keeps smiling and shakes her head in amusement. She then takes the now empty tray from the counter and that’s when she finds a card on the table. She puts down the tray and takes the card instead, reading what’s written on it.

“Merry Christmas to my one and only love.

Love,

Tiffany.”

She immediately looks up to find the customer who just left the shop but she is no longer there. Taeyeon then takes her coat and runs out of her shop to catch up the customer. Luckily the customer is still in front of her shop, fishing her hand bag again in panic and Taeyeon knows what she is looking for.

“Are you looking for your Christmas card, Tiffany?” She walks toward the girl.

The girl looks up with a questioning look.

“Ah, I see your name in this card.” Taeyeon immediately explains how can she knows the girl’s name and hands the card to the girl. “You left it on the counter.”

“Oh Gosh!!” The girl named Tiffany laughs and takes the card. “Thank you again!” She bows deeply.

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Taeyeon laughs along. “Take care of your belongings better, Tiffany.” She says teasingly.

“Will do, will do.” Tiffany scratches the back of her head shyly. “Thanks once again.” She grins.

“It’s nothing.” Taeyeon answers cooly. “Have a great Christmas!” She waves her hand and runs back to her shop leaving Tiffany who smiles while looking at her. Christmas is always special and so is the story that comes along with it.

***

“Unnie!!” Tiffany rushes into the bakery and runs to the counter where Taeyeon is decorating some cupcakes. The latter looks up with a pout on her face.

“How many times must I tell you not to call me ‘unnie’?” The petite girl protests, earning a hearty laugh from Tiffany.

“But you’re old, Unnie.” Tiffany answers rather playfully, emphasizing at the word unnie. “You are 4 years older than me.”

Taeyeon rolls her eyes in annoyance. “Whatever, people won’t believe that I am older than you. My baby face has my own charm.”

Tiffany laughs out loud upon hearing the answer and takes the nearest chair before dragging it to the counter and sits there while watching Taeyeon decorates the cupcakes. Ever since their Christmas encounter, Tiffany keeps her promise to be the most loyal customer ever. She always comes to Taeyeon’s bakery at least once a week. At first she would just take away random cookies or cakes but as time goes by, she starts to stay longer in the shop, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or a hot green tea latte while watching Taeyeon does her work. As the meeting frequency adds up, they starts to converse to each other and now Taeyeon is like Tiffany’s own sister. She can tell anything to Taeyeon without being afraid of being judged.

“It’s almost Christmas again, Unnie.” Tiffany says as she keeps her eyes on the cupcakes.

“True.” Taeyeon hums as she keeps working her hands on the cakes.

“Can you make me the pink Christmas trees again?”

Taeyeon stops for a while and looks at Tiffany questioningly. “Are you getting back with Jongdae again?”

Tiffany laughs at the question. Jongdae is her ex-boyfriend, the one who she gave Christmas cookies last year. “Of course not!”

“So, you’re still with Yunho?”

Tiffanys shakes her head. “Nope, I am single now.”

“Wait.” Taeyeon puts down the piping bag and wipes her hands to her apron. “You broke up with Yunho already?”

“Actually, I broke up with Yunho like two months ago and I dated a guy named Himchan but we broke up last week.” Tiffany grins sheepishly, knowing how will Taeyeon response to that.

Taeyeon sighs and shakes her head and takes the piping bag again, starting to decorate the neglected cupcakes. “I don’t get it. Why you keep changing your man? How many boyfriends you had this year? Five? Six? I lost count already.”

Tiffany chuckles and props her hands on the counter before putting her chin on top of her hands. “Have you heard that women are like Christmas cookies, Unnie?”

Taeyeon steals a glance at Tiffany which earns an eye smile from the latter. “Why is that?”

“Christmas cookies. They are on their best value nearing twenty-five. So are women. We are on our best value when we are nearing twenty-five. I am now twenty-four years old, that means I am on my best value at the moment. So, why bother with only dating one person?”

Taeyeon steals another glance at Tiffany and huffs. “And how dare you saying that to the person who is on her twenty-eight? Are you saying that I am now on my expiry date?”

Tiffany laughs at the response as she stands up from her seat, walking around the counter to stands beside Taeyeon and gives a side hug to the older girl. “I am not saying that, Unnie. You’re the cutest twenty-something woman in the world.”

“Meh.” Taeyeon wiggles, trying to escape from the hug, pretends to sulks at Tiffany.

Tiffany laughs and tightens the hug, not letting Taeyeon escapes. “You are also the best twenty-something baker in town!”

“Stop mentioning ‘twenty-something’. You keep emphasizing that I am old.”

“Okay, okay.” Tiffany tries to muffle her laugh. “You are the best unnie I’ve ever had!” She then lands a light peck on Taeyeon’s cheek.

Taeyeon can feel her cheeks warm up because of the peck. “Yah! the word ‘unnie’ indirectly says I am old!”

Tiffany laughs once again and breaks the hug, oblivious of Taeyeon’s redden cheeks. “So, make me the pink Christmas tree cookies again, Unnie?” She asks randomly.

“You should learn how to bridge from one topic to another.”

“Aish, no need to do that if I am talking to my own unnie. You can understand me like the back of your hand.”

Taeyeon only shrugs in response, looking down to the cupcakes as she continues putting on the icing, trying to hide her flushing cheeks.

“Unniiiiieeeeee.” Tiffany whines annoyingly.

“Okay, okay! I will make you that pink Christmas cookies.” Taeyeon answers in defeat.

“Thank you, Unnie! You’re the best!”

Taeyeon looks up and smiles softly before continues on her work. If I am the best, then why you choose to date those guys instead of me?

***

The door is swung opened and Tiffany steps into the shop, linking her arms with a guy. They look happy and in love as they take a seat near Taeyeon’s counter. “Hi Unnie! Merry Christmas!” She greets the woman who is packing some Christmas cookies into small plastic bags.

“Merry Christmas to you too!” Taeyeon smiles without stopping her hands from packing the cookies.

Time goes so fast, and another year has passed from the last Christmas, making it the third Christmas since Taeyeon and Tiffany met.

“Got lots of order this year too?” Tiffany asks as she walks toward the counter.

“You bet!” Taeyeon smiles proudly.

“Do you make pink Christmas tree cookies again?”

Taeyeon finishes her task and stares at Tiffany with a smile. “Are you going to give them to him?” She points her chin to the guy who play with his phone at the desk behind Tiffany.

“Of course not. The pink Christmas tree cookies is for me!” Tiffany smiles. “That cookies are special. I will get that candy cane cookies for him.” Tiffany whispers at Taeyeon.

Taeyeon laughs as she shifts to the jar she has kept earlier today and takes a small plastic of candy cane-shaped cookies before giving them both to Tiffany. “”Fifteen thousand won.”

“Fifteen thousand?” Tiffany raises her eyebrows. “Why so cheap?”

“Fifteen million won, then.” Taeyeon revises.

“Yah! Unnie!”

The response makes Taeyeon laughs hard. “I do not charge you for the pink Christmas tree cookies.”

“Why is that?”

“Because that’s my Christmas present for you.” Taeyeon grins dorkily.

“Thank you Unnie!” Tiffany beams her eye smile.

Taeyeon smiles along, feeling her heart flutters just by looking at the smile. As the time goes by, Tiffany’s smile has been Taeyeon’s best mood booster.

“So, are you settled with Namjoon? I did not see any other guys than him along this year.” Taeyeon leans forward and whispers to Tiffany, afraid the guy will hear their conversation.

Tiffany smiles shyly and answers in the same whisper. “Women are like Christmas cookies, Unnie. They will find their owner by twenty-five. I am now twenty-five and I think I’ve found my owner.”

Taeyeon pulls away, smiles a bit while her heart aches hearing the answer. She does not know how to feel. At one side, she wants to be happy for Tiffany, but on the other side she is also sad knowing that Tiffany has found the one she loves and the person is not her. Knowing the latter for two years already, she has grown a feeling towards the eye smile girl. She knows from the first time she realizes the feelings that her feelings will not be returned but to have Tiffany around is enough, or so she thought.

“Good for you, then.” She ruffles Tiffany’s hair playfully, earning series of protest from the latter who says that she needs to look presentable in front of her boyfriend and it makes Taeyeon’s heart clenches in pain but she keeps her smile upfront, not wanting to ruin the happiness on Tiffany’s face.

“I will take my leave now, Unnie.” Tiffany says as she combs her hair with her fingers. “Merry Christmas!” She then leans forward, pecking Taeyeon’s cheek before turns away, walking towards her boyfriend.

Taeyeon feels her cheeks are heated but her heart is also heated in jealousy as she witnesses the couple walks hand in hand leaving her bakery. So, you’re settled with him? I hope you’re happy, Fany.

***

The small bakery is filled with sobbing sound as Tiffany cannot stop the tears that wet her cheeks. Taeyeon sits beside her, rubbing the latter’s back soothingly without saying anything. It breaks her to see Tiffany at this state.

Just a couple of minutes ago she was startled when Tiffany rushed into the shop and ran towards her with a pair of puffy eyes. The usually cheerful girl then hugged her tight and a soft sob was heard afterwards. Taeyeon was confused but said nothing. Instead she lead them to take a seat to the nearest chair where they are now sitting.

“We broke up…” Tiffany manages to talk in between her sobs.

Taeyeon can feel her heart twitches a bit. She knows she should not feel the way she feels at the moment she supposedly feels bad for the break up, but deep inside, she cannot help but to feel a bit happy.

“Why?” Taeyeon finally spills a word. With that, she shifts a bit closer to Tiffany and wraps her arms around Tiffany’s shoulder trying to give more comfort for the latter.

“He cheated on me.” Tiffany mumbles and turns her body to hug Taeyeon again. “Why, Unnie? The moment I am sure that he is the one, why this should happen?” She tightens the hug.

Taeyeon hugs Tiffany back as the latter buries her face to her shoulder.

“Why Unnie?”

Taeyeon pushes Tiffany’s shoulder softly, trying to find the other girl’s eyes. “You know what, Fany?” She asks as giving a pair of tender stare. “I don’t think women are like Christmas cookies.”

The statement makes Tiffany furrows her eyebrows, not knowing where the conversation is going.

“Women are like cupcakes.” Taeyeon continues, making Tiffany furrows her eyebrows even more. “The presentation of little cakes in their own paper cups give us an idea that they are fashionable, and well-turned out, which are beautiful to the point of men think that they are eye candy rather than items they actually have any need for.” She stops for a while, studying Tiffany’s face.

Tiffany stays quiet, she still has her eyebrows furrowed but does not spill any question. Instead, her eyes ask Taeyeon to continue what she says earlier.

“Cupcakes are not seasonal like Christmas cookies. It has been around since 1796 and they still are as popular as they were. They are still as delicate as they were. And they never are cheap treats. No matter how much world has changed, cupcakes will always have a place in those who love them.” Taeyeon smiles as she cups Tiffany’s cheek with her hands, wiping the traces of tears with her thumb.

“Women are like cupcakes, Fany. They are not seasonal, they are beautiful, and there are always someone out there who loves the cupcake no matter how much world has changed. You are like a cupcake. There is someone who loves you out there.” Taeyeon finishes her sentences by patting Tiffany’s cheeks softly. “So, don’t worry, life does not end at twenty five.” She chuckles, trying to make the latter’s mood brighter.

With that, Tiffany smiles a bit and pulls Taeyeon into another hug, burying her face once again into the latter’s shoulder. “Thank you, Unnie.”

“You’re welcome, Fany.” Taeyeon stealthily kisses the top of Tiffany’s head. I wish you know that someone is me.

***

The cheerful voices rings inside the bakery, making Taeyeon lifts up her head toward they noises. Her lips soon twitches into a small smile noticing who just gets inside her bakery.

“Hi Fany!” She greets the guests warmly.

“Hi Unnie!” Tiffany answers while dragging another girl towards her unnie.

“And hi to you!” Taeyeon greets another girl, and answered with a warm smile from the latter.

“Bora, this is Taeyeon Unnie. Taeyeon Unnie, this is Bora. My girlfriend.” Tiffany introduces them in a very bright mood but earning a pinch on the shoulder from Bora.

“Nice to meet you, Bora!” Taeyeon keeps smiling but she is truly shocked when Tiffany mentioned that Bora is her girlfriend. She never knows that Tiffany is into girl.

“Why are you telling her that we are girlfriends?” Bora whispers at Tiffany.

Tiffany only chuckles and looks at Taeyeon still with a wide smile on her face. “Taeyeon Unnie is the best Unnie in the world! Sooner or later she will find out about us, so why don’t we tell her sooner?” She ends it with a toothy grin.

Bora smiles shyly at Taeyeon. She does not know what to say in front of the stranger in front of her. It is not common for the society to accept that kind of relationship so when Tiffany casually tells Taeyeon about them, she cannot help but to feel insecure about how the latter will react. But to her surprise, Taeyeon only smiles and nods at Tiffany’s sentence before leans forward to Bora.

“Tiffany is right, sooner or later I will find it out.” She keeps putting a smile on her face.

“B-but…” Bora looks down. She wants to ask whether Taeyeon is okay with this kind of relationship.

“You know what, sometimes I find lesbian porn is way hotter than straight porn. Make one for me, would you?” Taeyeon smirks teasingly, earning a slap on the head from Tiffany.

“Yah! Unnie! Save your perversion for yourself!! Byun midget!” Tiffany’s face turns red in embarrassment because of her unnie’s words.

Bora finally laughs at the silly quarrel in front her, feeling relief that Taeyeon can take the news lightly.

Tiffany, despite of her cheerful appearance, she is actually afraid how will Taeyeon response. But the joke from her unnie consoles her. It is nice to know that the closest person she has can accept her preference. She then drags Bora to an available table and walks back to the counter where Taeyeon still rubs the back of her head which she smacked before.

“Does it hurt, Unnie?” Tiffany chuckles at the sight.

Taeyeon pouts as an answer.

“That’s the price you get for talking dirty to my girlfriend.” Tiffany still chuckles as she reaches out her hand to rub the back of Taeyeon’s head. “I am sorry though.”

“N’ah it’s okay.” Taeyeon smiles as she grabs Tiffany’s hand and pulls it away from her head. “I am kinda shocked actually.” She states in all honesty. “I never knew you’re into girls.”

Tiffany only shrugs as she walks inside to the other side of the counter, taking a plate and starts to choose the cake she likes to eat. Her choice then falls to a classic cupcake with white icing. “Women are like cupcakes.” She suddenly says.

Taeyeon leans against the counter casually, folding her arms in front of her chest, getting intrigued with what the latter just said.

“You said that to me.”

“That’s true. And how is that an answer to my previous statement?”

Tiffany puts the plate on the counter, next to Taeyeon and grins. “Women are like cupcakes.” She repeats. “Cupcakes have always been women’s favorite, not men’s favorite.” She winks at Taeyeon playfully before taking the plate with a cupcake on it and walks toward her girlfriend.

Taeyeon smiles bitterly as she watches Tiffany and Bora enjoy their cupcake while happily converse with each other. So, cupcakes are women’s favorite? She chuckles bitterly. Even if you’re into girls, you do not even consider me.

***

“Unnie, don’t you consider hiring an assistant? Your business has grown bigger. You barely have time to rest.” Tiffany asks as she sips her iced chocolate while watching Taeyeon serving the customers.

Taeyeon does not answer right away since she is serving the customer. Once the transaction is done, she thanked the customer and turns her head to Tiffany who comfortably leans her back on the wall behind her.

“What’s with the random question?”

Tiffany shrugs her shoulder. “I just quit my job, maybe I can help you out while finding another job.”

“You quit?” Taeyeon asks in disbelief.

“Yes, my boss was annoying. And she kind of hates me. She think I am disgusting because she found out that I dated Bora. Even after we broke up, she still thinks I am disgusting.”

Taeyeon nods and mouths a silent oh but then she gets distracted by another customer. She immediately serves the customer but then turns her face back to Tiffany. “Can you pack three muffins for this madam here?” She asks Tiffany.

“No problem.” Tiffany puts the already empty glass to the sink and washes her hands before packing the order. She then puts the order on the counter and hands it to the customer while Taeyeon finishes the transaction.

“Do you want to work here?” Taeyeon asks Tiffany again once the customer is leaving.

“Are you okay with that?” Tiffany raises her eyebrows.

“Sure. Now that you mentioned that I might need an assistant, I can’t think of anyone else but you. I need someone I trust and I think you can be the one.”

Tiffany gasps upon hearing Taeyeon’s statement and pounces the latter into a hug. “Thanks so much, Unnie!” She then pulls away and lands a quick peck on Taeyeon’s cheek.

“Why do you love to kiss my cheeks so much?” Taeyeon can’t help but blush a bit at the act.

“Because I got no one to kiss,” Answers Tiffany playfully as squats down to open the small cabinet under the counter, taking an apron and stands up before putting it on. “Ta-daa! Baker Tiff is ready!”

“You’re not even a baker.” Taeyeon rolls her eyes. “Talking about your ‘no one to kiss’ statement, where is Bora? Haven’t seen her in a while.”

“We broke up. I mentioned it a minute ago, Unnie.” Tiffany frowns a bit.

“Really? When? You guys just had been dated three months and you broke up already? Did you suddenly realized that you’re not into girls?” Taeyeon cannot help but to spill the questions.

Tiffany burst out laughing at the question. “That’s not it, Unnie. I like her so much, she also likes me. But we discovered that it was not love. The sparks was never there.” She then smiles and walks toward Taeyeon, minimizing the gap between them. “She’s a very nice and likable person. But I didn’t love her, and she didn’t love me. That was why we broke up. But there was no regret. It ends peacefully. No drama, no tears, and we end it with a friendly hug.” She takes a step back and raises her hand to ties her hair into a ponytail. “So, what’s my jobdesc, boss?” She asks Taeyeon cheerfully.

Taeyeon only smiles in answers and pretends to think about the jobdesc for Tiffany. “Your first task is to stop calling me ‘Unnie’. Stop making me feel so old.”

Tiffany snickers. “Thirty one year-old woman wants to be called by her name. Aish, how annoying.”

“Yah!” Taeyeon punches Tiffany’s shoulder jestingly. “Don’t spill my age loudly!”

Tiffany cracks up and beams her eye smile at Taeyeon. “Okay, Taeyeon. There, happy?”

“Sure.” Taeyeon smiles along. If you do not see me as your unnie, will there be any chance for you to love me, Fany?

Months change unnoticed, ever since Tiffany works for Taeyeon. They’ve became even closer than ever. Without their knowing, Christmas is nearing again. The fourth Christmas since they met.

Just like every Christmas, Taeyeon’s bakery is at its peak. Customers keep coming and if Tiffany was not there, Taeyeon would be way busier than she already is. December twenty-fourth is no difference, people still come until the last minute to buy special Christmas treat for their special person. The shop is in rush hours until the clock finally hits ten o’clock at night.

Taeyeon flips the sign from ‘open’ to ‘closed’ before walks to the nearest chair and slumps herself in tiredness. She closes her eyes but the smile never leaves her face. Christmas night is always special for her because it always brings a lot of customer to the bakery, it also brought her encounter with Tiffany, and this year, she is even able to spend Christmas night with Tiffany.

“Here, for you.”

Taeyeon opens her eyes and sees Tiffany stands in front of her, holding a cup of warm tea for her. Taeyeon takes the cup and pats the chair next to her, gesturing Tiffany to takes the seat.

“Thanks for today.” She states before sipping her tea peacefully. She feels the warmth from the tea starts relaxing her.

“Where is my Christmas present?”

“Huh?” Taeyeon unlatches her lips from the cup’s lid.

“My Christmas present.” Repeats Tiffany.

“Ah, wait here.” Taeyeon puts down her cup and gets up from the seat before getting down behind the counter, taking something from inside. She then walks back to where she was seated and hands a jar of pink Christmas tree cookies to Tiffany. “Your favorite.” She grins wide.

Tiffany smiles sincerely at the present she gets as she takes the jar from Taeyeon’s hand. “Thank you, Taeyeon.”

“Where is mine?” Taeyeon requests back.

Tiffany grins nervously as she takes a small jar from behind her back, making Taeyeon gasps in surprise.

“Are you a magician? I didn’t see you bringing the jar. How could the jar appears from nowhere?” Taeyeon jokes.

“Yah! Taeyeon!” Tiffany pinches the older’s shoulder, earning a hearty laugh.

“What’s inside?”

“Opens it yourself. But don’t protest! I put my best effort for them.”

Taeyeon grins wide as she opens the jar and widens her eyes as she sees what’s inside the jar. She takes one cookie from inside and grins even wider than before. “Gingerbread woman! They’re cute!”

Tiffany huffs in relief after watching Taeyeon’s reaction. “It doesn’t taste as good as the ones you make. But I hope you will like it.”

“Of course I will like it. You made it yourself?”

Tiffany nods shyly.

“Aaawww, so sweet. Why gingerbread woman, though?”

Tiffany presses her lips before looks into Taeyeon’s eyes. “Queen Elizabeth I of England served gingerbread man for her important guests. Back then, serving gingerbread man was to show likeness and also to say that you’re an important person.” She takes a pause before smiles softly. “These three years you’ve been an important person to me, so I can’t think of anything else beside the gingerbread woman for you.”

Taeyeon feels her heart flutters hearing the words. Even though it is not a love confession, even though Tiffany might mean it in the friendly way, her heart feels so warm. As she cannot contain her own feelings, she unknowingly leans forward to land a kiss on Tiffany’s cheek.

“Thank you, Fany…” She can feel her cheeks flushed because of her own act, as she pulls away and looks at Tiffany who is also blushing.

“Why are we blushing? Aigoo!” Taeyeon laughs nervously noticing that both of them are having red tints on their cheeks.

Tiffany laughs along and shakes her head. “Ask that yourself. We’ve known each other long and well enough but you often blush because of our skin ship.”

“Hmmm, really? We’ve known each other well enough?” Taeyeon wiggles her eyebrows, silently feeling thankful because Tiffany does not find the moment awkward.

“What’s my favorite cake?” Asks Tiffany out of the blue.

“Huh? Cupcake?” Taeyeon answers in reflex.

“True. And I know your favorite is muffins! See, we know each other well enough!”

Taeyeon cracks a laugh and shakes her head. “N’ah, I didn’t know you gay.”

“I didn’t know either. But honestly even before I was with Bora, I’ve liked a woman.”

“Really?” Taeyeon gasps a bit too loud but then clears her throat. “That’s new.”

Tiffany smiles at the reaction. “Back then, I was so confused. I never knew that I can like a woman to the extend that I want to date her.” She lets out a soft chuckle as she plays with her own fingers on her lap. “I’ve thought of telling her my feelings but she is a good friend of mine so I don’t want to experiment. And then, I met Bora. That changed everything. Just like how you taught me from your ‘cupcake theory’ that love is not tied with time, Bora also taught me that feelings are not tied with genders.” Tiffany looks up and smiles softly at Taeyeon.

Taeyeon nods as she averts her eyes from Tiffany, as she wonders who is this lucky person whom Tiffany likes. “That’s very eye-opening.” Taeyeon mumbles.

“I am forever indebted to Bora for teaching me that.”

Taeyeon puts her gaze back to Tiffany. “And who is the girl that you liked?”

“Liked? I still like her.”

“What? See! I don’t know much about you!”

Tiffany giggles quietly. “Now that I think of it, I also don’t know much about you. I never know why are you not married, you never even introduce your boyfriend to me.”

“Boyfriend? There’s no such a thing like that.” Taeyeon smiles nervously.

“What do you mean?”

“Girlfriends. I never had boyfriends. My exes are girls.” She bites her lips, as she hears Tiffany lets out a loud gasp.

“Gosh! How could you hide that from me even after I introduced you to Bora!” Tiffany slaps Taeyeon’s arm softly, making the latter laugh. “Is that why you are not married yet?”

Taeyeon hums as she rests her back to the chair rest. “Have you heard that life starts at thirty? Do you know why the term exists?”

Tiffany copies Taeyeon’s position, resting her back to the chair. “When one reaches the age of thirty, it is assumed that he has had proper job or business, or he has even got married. So new responsibility, new path of life?” Tiffany turns her head to see Taeyeon’s side figure.

“That’s true. But for me, life starts after 31.” Taeyeon pauses and turns her head to Tiffany so they are looking at each other’s eyes. “Do you know what comes after December 31st?” She asks Tiffany.

“January first. New year.” Tiffany keeps her gaze on Taeyeon’s

“Exactly.” Taeyeon smiles. “New year, new hope, new page. I am so impressed at how brave you are telling me about you and Bora, while I did not even have any courage to be in a relationship for five years now because I don’t want people to judge me. But you inspired me, and I started to build up my nerve that this year, I am gonna turn over a new page of my life that includes my love story inside because there is this woman I’ve liked for a long time already now.”

Tiffany nods understandingly as she silently holds Taeyeon’s hand in hers. “That’s good for you.” She then straightens up her seat and leans forward to Taeyeon in curiosity. “Who is the woman anyway? Do I know her?”

“I am not telling you unless you tell me who is the woman you like!” Taeyeon sticks out her tongue.

“Yah! That’s unfair!”

“You didn’t answer my question. It is fair for me not to answer your question too.”

“Let’s just say it together, then.” Tiffany offers a solution.

“I am fine with that.” Taeyeon mirrors Tiffany’s position, and takes Tiffany’s free hand with her other hand. “On three, Okay?”

Tiffany nods in excitement.

“One, two, thr-…”

Taeyeon has not finished counting when Tiffany’s lips are pressed on hers. She stops breathing as she feels her heart erratically beats inside her chest. When Tiffany finally breaks the kiss, looking all flustered and red, Taeyeon blinks her eyes repeatedly as she tries to collect her mind to her brain.

“It’s you, Taeyeon-ah…” Tiffany mumbles as she looks at Taeyeon shyly.

Taeyeon finally takes a deep breath. “Why didn’t you let me tell who is she?”

The question makes Tiffany bites her lips nervously. “Because I suddenly was afraid that you would not mention my name.”

Taeyeon laughs at that and pulls her hands from Tiffany’s only to use them cupping the latter’s cheeks and leans forward to give a soft peck on Tiffany’s lips. “It’s you, Fany.”

When Taeyeon pulls away, she can see Tiffany smiles from ear to ear while her eyes turn into a pair of crescents she always love to see.

“Fany, can I ask another Christmas present from you?” Taeyeon suddenly asks.

“Uh? At this hour? Will it hard to find?” Tiffany checks out the clock on the wall which now showing the time is 11:11 pm.

Taeyeon shakes her head. “You have it with you. Can I ask?” She repeats.

“Oh, okay, then.”

“Can you be my Christmas present? Be my girlfriend, Fany?” Taeyeon’s cheeks blush as she spills the question and the blush gets redder when she feels Tiffany’s lips once again latches onto hers, this time stays longer before the owner pulls them away.

“Sure, Taeyeon…”

Both women smile shyly at each other after Tiffany gives the answer. As the snow starts to fall down from the sky, in a small bakery at the corner of the road, two women stares at each other. Despite the cold breeze outside, they feel warm inside. Christmas is always special, and so is their love story.

—-


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2 thoughts on “After 25

  1. taenykim27 says:

    EUHHHH WHY ITS SO SWEETTTTTT I GONNE DIEEEE
    I know that chrismast cookies thing its on snsd big brother and the one said that is jessica:” the different is jess said that women around 26 ready to get married:”

    Like

  2. black457 says:

    What a great story!! Selalu author yg satu ini mah, bawa crita yg sweet2 trs..wkwkwk
    One of my favorite author!! They are official at 11:11 p.m hehehe..you’re genius author!!

    Like

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