Catch Me When I Fall (018)

[H] CMWIF 004

What Am I Doing?

Taeyeon chewed her cheese bagel lifelessly while keeping an eye on her iPad, reading company’s budget expenses report, and made some notes in her mind for action plans she would present to BOD if they asked. Life had been different ever since she broke up with Tiffany. And by different here meant she lived her old life the way it used to be. Started her day by having breakfast alone in this coffee shop, having the usual menu: cheese bagel and hot long black, while reading reports or rechecking her presentations.

Right after she broke up with Tiffany, she did not go to Chris’ Café for a while, afraid that she would meet Tiffany there, and she would not be strong enough to witness how Tiffany would act like she did not exist at all. But, the main reason was because she was not ready to face the fact that she would spend her morning routine alone, just like what she always did before she met Tiffany.

The first week after their break-up, Taeyeon was in the midst of losing herself. She totally forgot how to function without Tiffany. It wasn’t that she forgot how to do her job or how to give impactful presentation. She forgot how she needed to go to work alone, having her breakfast alone, having her lunch alone, working until late night in office without no one nagging her to go home, going home alone, and above all, to sleep alone in her bed. The first week after their break-up, Taeyeon noticed how Tiffany had been a part of her life and she almost forgot how to live alone.

She kept her eyes on the iPad even though her brain barely registered anything about it. This is also the thing Taeyeon never thought would happen to her. She was always brilliant when it came to work. But, after the break-up, she needed more effort to concentrate because every single thing she did, she would remember that Tiffany used to be next beside her. And now, the simplest thing like reading a report would felt different without Tiffany’s husky voice, telling her about work-life balance.

She took a loud sigh and sipped her long black, trying to get some focus, eyes never left her iPad.

“You seem bothered, Miss Manager.” Chris’ voice suddenly rang in her ears, making her lifted her eyes off her iPad and stared at the waiter who apparently sat in the table next to her.

Letting out a soft chuckle, Taeyeon locked her iPad and put it in her bag. “Do I?”

Chris nodded a bit too exaggerating before propped his elbow on the table and put his chin on his opened palm. “Honestly, both you and Tiff look different after the break-up. Am I to nosy?”

Taeyeon shook her head, answering Chris’ last question. Chris was the only person in office environment that she told about the break up because the guy teased her that she no longer came because she and Tiffany had other dating place. “Fany and I look different?” She asked back. Somehow the statement intrigued her. She always thought that Tiffany did better than her. Her ex seemed as confident as usual, as charming as usual, and as bright as usual. The only difference was, those traits were never shown to her anymore.

Chris tapped his chin with his finger and nodded. “I would say, both of you seemed a bit lost. You, for instance, I never saw you this restless no matter how your job drove you crazy. And Tiff… well… despite she always seems cheerful, I kinda miss her genuine smile. The smile never really reaches her eyes anymore.”

Taeyeon frowned upon hearing Chris’ explanation. She never really had any courage to look at Tiffany in the eyes anymore. She was afraid that her heart would hurt more than it already was. She was afraid that once she looked at Tiffany in the eyes, she would feel the guilt quadrupled. And to know the fact that Chris noticed small things about Tiffany made her feel even more guilty. What else I do not notice about you, Fany? 

“Well, it’s none of my business,” Chris suddenly continued. “You might think that I am too nosy but, again, to be honest, it was nice to see you when you were with her. You seemed more like human?” He let out an awkward laugh, could not guess how would the Senior Manager react to his words. “For the first time ever since I met you, I could see you act like your age. When you were with her, you seemed more alive. And above all, you look way happier.”

Taeyeon only smiled bitterly at what Chris was saying. None of his words were wrong. Chris were right when he said that Taeyeon was more alive and happier. That was thanks to Tiffany. But, it had ended anyway. It was Taeyeon’s fault and Taeyeon did not know how to fix things between them. Even if there was a huge urge in herself that she really wanted to get back to Tiffany, she was afraid that she might hurt Tiffany over and over again.

The blonde manager was about to open her mouth to answer Chris but suddenly the café’s door swung opened, revealing a figure both Chris and Taeyeon knew really well. Noticing there was no one behind the counter, the person turned her head around and smiled at the waiter.

“Hi, Chris! Could you make me a cup of chamomile tea?”

The said guy immediately stood up from her seat and made his way to the counter. “Sure, Tiff! We have chocolate croissant for today. Do you want some?” He answered as he stepped towards the counter. “American style breakfast!” He exclaimed playfully once he got behind the counter, making the woman laughed.

“American breakfast supposed to be sausages, eggs, bacon, and toast, Chris. But I won’t decline your croissant. Thank you.” Tiffany beamed her smile to Chris before turned her head around, and that was when her eyes and Taeyeon’s met.

Taeyeon immediately looked down to her plate, did not know how to react properly in front of Tiffany. They never really had proper interaction even until now, one month after their break-up. She tried to busy herself with eating her meals but while silently cursed herself for putting her iPad in her bag. If only the iPad was still on the table she could at least look at it.

She could hear Tiffany and Chris conversed some more before finally her ex said that she would take her seat. Taeyeon continued chewing her bagel when suddenly someone sat on the chair next across her. She almost choke on her bagel and slowly looked up, knowing that there was only one person that might sit in front of her.

“Morning, Taeyeon!” A pair of eye smile greeted her right away.

Taeyeon could barely breathe upon the greetings. It was too much for her to take: first, she and Tiffany was in the same room together; second, Tiffany took a seat right in front of her, sharing the same table with her; third, Tiffany greeted her cheerfully; fourth, her heart sank when she heard ‘Taeyeon’ instead of ‘Taetae’.

“Uhm, morning?” Taeyeon answered awkwardly. She wasn’t sure how to react to Tiffany.

Tiffany shifted her eyes from Taeyeon to the table, noticing the usual menu Taeyeon always had: cheese bagel and a cup of long black. A soft chuckle escaped her lips. “Long black as per usual…” She shifted her eyes back to Taeyeon and beamed a smile.

Taeyeon could not breathe for a split second when their eyes met and Tiffany beamed her favorite eyes smile. It hit her hard, noticing how much she missed seeing the crescents. A small smile crept on Taeyeon’s lips before she nodded. “As per usual…” she repeated Tiffany’s statement.

“There you go! Chamomile tea and chocolate croissant for Miss Junior Manager!” Chris suddenly appeared next to their table, a tray of Tiffany’s order in in her hand. Both women startled at the sudden arrival, making the waiter laughed followed with both Taeyeon and Tiffany.

A memory of their first encounter rushed into Taeyeon’s mind and another small smile was drawn on her face. It was just like our first meeting.

“You never fail to startle us, don’t you think?” Asked Tiffany to Chris in between her laugh while the waiter put her order on the table.

Taeyeon’s smile turned into a slight frown. Us… Why does it hurt when you mention about us?

The waiter excused himself after putting out the order but not before giving both women meaningful smile, only God and him knew what it meant.

Tiffany took her cup and carefully sipped her chamomile tea. Taeyeon unconsciously followed every Tiffany’s movement, silently registered everything she saw in head. She did not know what magic happened today. But if it was just one of those random moment that might not happen again in the future, she at least had this memory of them acting normal with each other after the break-up.

“Why are you looking at me, hmm?” Tiffany noticed Taeyeon’s gaze and put her cup back on the table. “Is my lipstick smeared?” She took her phone from her bag and opened the front cam, making sure her make-up was still on point. The act made Taeyeon let out a soft chuckle.

“No…” You are beautiful as always, Fany. She was hesitant to continued her sentence so she just let the no hung in the air. Taeyeon was beyond confused by the sudden friendliness by her ex. She could still vividly remember how cold Tiffany’s reply yesterday. So, to see the same person was now right in front of her, acted all friendly as if the past month they never were awkward around each other, was odd for her.

Tiffany stared at her, slightly tilted her head in confusion but shrugged it off. “Anyway, what was it you want to talk about yesterday? I was with Jess, working on reports for you, and I had dinner appointment with her. That was why I said I couldn’t.” The woman explained to Taeyeon without being asked.

Taeyeon nodded at the explanation, having some thoughts in her head, wondering what actually happened at the moment. “It’s nothing important,” she finally answered while taking another bite of her bagel and chewed it slowly, trying to figure out any possibility of this event.

Tiffany followed Taeyeon’s act, eating her chocolate croissant and swallow it before throwing out another question, “Are you sure? I mean, you even asked me for a dinner. I thought it was something important related to the project.” She ended the sentence and sipped her chamomile tea before putting her full attention back to Taeyeon.

Taeyeon smiled softly at the question and shook her head. “No, it’s not work-related.” So, now everything related to me is work-related? Is it where we are now, Fany?

“Ah, I am relieved now. I thought there was something wrong with the reports or calculation so you need me to do over night.” She chuckled lightly before continued eating her breakfast.

Taeyeon stole a glance at Tiffany as she continued eating. None of them talked anymore, and let the room filled with awkward silence. Taeyeon stole a glance at Tiffany once in a while but her ex did not seem to care about the silence and just enjoyed her meal. She took a deep breath and slight floral perfume Tiffany usually applied got into her sense and it made her smile. How she missed this. Tiffany was in front of her and Tiffany’s perfume filled her nose. She shifted her gaze to Tiffany’s hand which rest on the table. How I miss holding your hand, Fany.

“Ah! Anyway!” Tiffany suddenly spoke, making Taeyeon raised her gaze to the voice’s owner. “I heard yesterday you were interviewed by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and also SM Magazine. That’s cool. What occasion?”

Taeyeon pressed her lips to thin line as the guilt started to creep inside of her. The question reminded her of the question from the interviewer. Are you single? The question reminded her that this was actually why she and Tiffany broke up.

“Work-related stuff. They nominated me for my works as a marketer and a manager.” She finally answered.

“That’s cool!” Tiffany almost squealed at the news, clapping her hand in excitement. “When will you be on their page? Remind me to buy the edition!” She winked playfully at Taeyeon.

The senior manager could not help but to smile at the response she got. If only you know, I wanted you to be the very first person to know about this. I know you will be this supportive. But, things were different back then. You didn’t even want to look at me.

“Girls!” Chris’ voice interrupted their chat and both women turned their head to the waiter. “I do not mean to interrupt you, but it’s almost working hour.” He tapped on his watch, telling them to check the time.

The petite manager let out a loud gasp and checked her watch, noticing it was ten more minutes before working hour and she gestured Chris to give them the bill. “This time on me, okay?” She asked Tiffany’s consent as she took her wallet from her bag.

The woman across her smirked teasingly. “Sure, Miss Senior Manager needs to spend more money so she won’t be able to bathe in her bat tube full of money.”

The blonde  rolled her eyes at the joke but could not help to let out a soft chuckle. “That’s supposedly Chris’ joke.”

“Yes. I learned it from the master,” replied Tiffany still with a smile on her face.

“Here you go.” Chris was already next to them, handing the bill to Taeyeon with a teasing smile on his face while Taeyeon checked the bill.

“Are you guys getting back together?” He threw the question to both women.

The question made Tiffany and Taeyeon froze in their place, staring awkwardly to each other until Tiffany finally shook her head and turned her head at Chris. “No..” She answered with a slight smile.

Taeyeon then handed back the bill to Chris, along with the money. The moment was awkward and the only thing she wanted was to escape from this awkward situation.

The waiter noticed the change of atmosphere and took the bill before excuse himself to the women in front of him, leaving Taeyeon and Tiffany in awkward silence.

“Let’s get to office.” Taeyeon broke the silence and stood up after putting her wallet and phone back into her bag. Tiffany followed suit and walked with Taeyeon to their office on 9th floor.

***

Taeyeon was prepared if Tiffany suddenly appeared in her room, asking her to have lunch together. After what happened in the morning, she could not help but to anticipate any odd events that might follow after. She checked the clock at the right bottom on her laptop screen which showed it was twelve thirty already. She huffed a sigh at the uncertain feelings she felt at the moment.

There were two dominant feelings she felt at the moment. The first one was the relieved feelings knowing that she would not have lunch with Tiffany because she was still unsure about what was happening. Why Tiffany suddenly acted like nothing happened. The second feeling told her to expect something from what happened this morning. There was a voice inside her head telling her that it might be a way to fix things with Tiffany, to be best friends again, or maybe if fate let them, to be lovers again.

She pinched the bridge of her nose at the last thought. Will I ever be brave enough for you? Will I be able to make you happy? Will there be a second chance for me? She sighed softly. And, will you still be there to catch me when I fall for you again, Fany?

***

Tiffany stayed late in office finishing her works. Jessica had gone home earlier since the senior had a date appointment with Yuri, leaving her alone in their room. She glanced at the watch on her wrist, noticing it was almost ten o’clock. She groaned and saved her works, planning to finished it at home. She shut her laptop down and tidied up her belongings before going out of her office.

She went straight to the parking space as soon the elevator brought her to ground floor. She walked towards her car and got into it, throwing all her belongings on the passenger seat and groaned when she forgot to take her phone. She stretched her hand to get her hand bag and fished the phone. After getting what she looked for, she put the bag back at the passenger seat and unlocked the phone.

There were some messages from Jessice in her LINE app and she was about to open the chat when she heard a honk right in front of her car. She looked up from her phone screen, noticing a sedan stopped in front of her car. Her heart skipped a beat, noticing the car in front of hers. A Mercedes-Benz SLK 200. Taeyeon’s car.

She opened her window, followed by the other car’s owner opening her window as well.

“Hi…” Taeyeon smiled at her waving her hand awkwardly.

Tiffany could not help but to smile back at the petite woman inside the car. “Hi to you too,” she replied.

“I didn’t know you worked until late night,” the blonde manager said.

Tiffany smiled playfully. “I need to work on the reports for you, Miss Manager.”

Taeyeon rolled her eyes but the smile never left her face. She then reached for her phone, scrolled it for a while and showed the screen to Tiffany, which Tiffany could not see. “I haven’t received your report today.” She replied with the same playfulness.

Tiffany laughed and grinned sheepishly. “Ooops, I am busted!”

Taeyeon smiled and put down her phone. “I am departing first. Safe ride, Fany.”

Tiffany’s heart skipped a beat for a second time. Fany… It’s been a while since you call me Fany.

“Sure. Safe ride to you too, Taetae.” She could feel how the nickname rolled on her tongue smoothly. Her heart clenched a bit at the realisation. Taetae… I missed calling out your nick name.

Taeyeon smiled and sounded her horn. “See you tomorrow.”

“See you.”

Taeyeon’s car finally left the parking lot, leaving Tiffany alone in her car. She took a deep breath and smiled a bit. Is it supposed to be like this now? It feels better now but, is it really what I want?

She put her attention back to her phone and opened the chat from Jessica,

Jess: You need to update me.
Jess: I mean it.
Jess: Tiffy, are you still working?
Jess: Contact me back once you get home.
Jess: You haven’t gotten home?
Jess: Don’t tell me you’re going with Taeyeon!
Jess: Tiff! Are you even there?

Tiffany frowned at the chat, remembering their conversation yesterday.

Tiff Hwang: I just finished working.
Tiff Hwang: I am not going with Taeyeon.
Tiff Hwang: Don’t worry, Jess.

A reply came faster than she expected.

Jess: OK. Update me tomorrow morning.
Tiff Hwang: OK.

She closed the app and put her phone on her lap.

What am I doing? What are you doing, Tiffany Hwang?

 


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