Party

 

 

“S-stepani??”

Tiffany frowned at her name called in not-so-good pronunciation. But, not many knew her birth name except Jessica, her family and a few close friends. She lowered her stance for a bit and looked sternly at the girl with the Pepero Hair who looked like she’s barely legal to enter the club.

“Do I know you?”

Taeyeon gulped as she slowly removed Sooyoung’s hold on her arm and started to walk a few steps towards the duo. She could feel her heart beating fast if it was struggling to get out of her chest. All she could focus was the very familiar eyes that were staring back at her with suspicion and hostility. She could careless about it.

“Miyoung, it’s me Taeyeon. “

“Taeyeon?”

Tiffany immediately felt the strong sense of familiarity as she repeated the same word that the girl just said. Taeyeon

But she couldn’t point out exactly where she heard the name before. She looked at the girl again who was slowly walking towards her. The face became more distinctive as the distance between them decreased. Her heart was beating a lot and yet she didn’t know why.

A strong nudge at her waist woke Tiffany up from her trance. She nearly forgot Jessica was behind her. “The girl knows your name. Do you know her?” Jessica asked as she continued to stand behind her.

“I-I”

“Stepani, it’s me. Kim Taeyeon from Jeonju. We worked together at Lotte World a few years ago.”

Lotte World

The only part-time job Tiffany had ever done in her life and one of the most memorable times of her life that she cherished. Tiffany looked at the girl in front of her again. The soothing voice, the milky-white skin and the onyx eyes that no one else had.

“Tae-Tae?”

______

Taeyeon felt like she could float over clouds as soon as her nickname came out of Miyoung’s mouth. She didn’t even realize the latter was running towards her in the record speed.When she felt the body ran into her, hugging tightly , arms shaking, her heart fluttered. Her argument with Sooyoung, her job and her duties long forgotten.

Tiffany couldn’t believe she was hugging Taeyeon. The only friend she had when she was in Seoul five years ago who stood by her side, lending her ears when she needed someone, shielding her from bullies at the theme park who taunted her. She felt the immediate warmth seeping through her skin as the latter hugged back, hands holding her waist, as they never wanted to let go.

Taeyeon felt the entire load she carried for a few years on her shoulders vanished instantly as Tiffany snuggled into her, head resting on her shoulder.

“We meet again, Miyoung.”

Tiffany chuckled at her ancient Korean name that she never used. But, it’s okay. It’s Taeyeon. She could forgive anything at the moment.

“Hi, Tae-Tae. I can’t believe I meet you again.”

Taeyeon leaned back again to see her Angel smiling brightly at her with her eyes turning into crescents. Her heart couldn’t beat anymore faster and yet, she felt like it’s beating faster than ever. She gave out the best smile she could give as she nodded.

“I can’t believe it either. And, you seem taller than ever.” Taeyeon pouted as she checked the latter out finally. Tiffany chuckled as they slowly released her embrace.“I was taller than you anyway in the first place.”,she winked playfully.Taeyeon looked a lot different from the last time she saw. The latter was a bit chubby with brown hair and very playful and innocent.The current Taeyeon she’s seeing looked a lot more mature as if she had experienced many hardships in her life.

She could also feel the shorter girl’s strong and firm muscles from the hug although it’s no visible. And the eyes. Her calm, onyx colored eyes along with her soothing, angelic voice that made her mysterious stayed unchanged.

“Ahem.”

A coughing voice broke their staring trance. Taeyeon turned to her back and saw Sooyoung smirking at her with the knowing look. She scowled, as she knew the guy would be playing twenty questions with her tomorrow.

“I don’t want to interrupt your little heartwarming reunion, Taengoo but your walkie-talkie has been calling for you for a few times now.” Sooyoung spoke as he pointed out at the device on Taeyeon’s back pocket.

“Shit!” Taeyeon cursed as she remembered her supposed job just now. She immediately took out the device and radioed back.

“Taeyeon to Valet. Over.”

“Noona! Where are you?”

 “Parking Lot. Coming back.”

 “Arasso. Palli. We need you at the entrance.”

 “Okay.Clear.”

 “Clear.”

“You are working here?!” Tiffany asked as she finally realized after the conversation.

“Yeah, I am.” Taeyeon replied as she put back the radio into her pocket. She then took out her earpiece and put it into her ear.

“C’on, Tiff! I don’t think the guy is dangerous. Let’s go, we are late for the party”, Jessica finally shouted, feeling left out. And there’s so many things that she wanted to ask her best friend after witnessing just now.

“Okay!” Tiffany replied as she turned around to see Jessica folding her arms, impatient.

“Would you mind introducing us, Taeng?” Sooyoung spoke as he finally stood beside the latter. Taeyeon nodded as she pointed towards Tiffany, “Miyoung, this is Sooyoung, my irritating best friend. Sooyoung, this is Miyoung.”

“Tiffany.” Tiffany corrected.

“Tippani?” Taeyeon repeated, bewildered. Sooyoung chuckled at her pronunciation and ruffled her hair playfully. “It’s Tiffany, you idiot.”

 “Anyway, Tiffany-ssi’s friend is right. We are getting late for the party.” Sooyoung reminded as he gave the girls his signature smile but nobody seemed affected. He pouted as Taeyeon snorted.

“And, I have to go back to my post. If I get fired, it’s on you, Giant.”

“Don’t think this is over, Taeyeon. We still need to talk about this.” Sooyoung spoke sternly, remembering what they were bickering about earlier before Tiffany and her friend interrupted.

“ Yeah, yeah, C’on. I still have to guide you to the VIP entrance.” Taeyeon sighed as she prepared to go back.

“I’m still here.” Tiffany spoke out as she felt left out and annoyed at the duo’s interaction. Taeyeon turned to her and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, Miyoung. Are you also here for the party?”

“I guess.” Tiffany replied as she beckoned Jessica to come over. “My friend, Jessica and I are invited to Donghae-oppa’s party. But I didn’t imagine seeing you again like this.”

Taeyeon tried not to get affected by the name that was just mentioned. It could just be the latter’s close friend or senior. “I see. Well then, follow me. I will show you towards the entrance.”

______

Club

Junyoung finally breathed in relief as he saw Taeyeon coming back after fifteen minutes disappearance. People are getting more crowded and they were trying their best to hold off the partygoers who were seemed very eager to join the VIP party hosted on the executive floor.

Taeyeon nodded towards her colleague in gratitude before turning back towards her friends. “Follow Junyoung. He will take you to the executive floor. And guys,enjoy the party.”

Tiffany stared at the back of the latter as she proceeded to tend to the queue with the serious demeanor. She didn’t even remember getting on the lift as she was in her own thoughts.

“Her number!” She shouted unknowingly after some time, stunning the people on the lift.

Sooyoung chuckled as he shook his head. “You remember that just now?”

 “Yeah”, Tiffany smiled sheepishly as she ducked her head. She was too engrossed in the sudden reunion with Taeyeon that she forgot to do the most important thing; asking Taeyeon’s number.

“It’s okay”, Sooyoung spoke,” I will give you her number, no worries.”

 “Thank you.”

 

“Can I also get her number?”

The two looked at the guy and glared.

“NOPE.”

________

“Tiffany!”

Tiffany turned to look at Donghae walking towards her, holding two glasses of vodka in his hands. She groaned internally, not knowing how to reject the drink offer.

“Hi, oppa. Happy Birthday. I’m sorry I didn’t bring any present.”

 “It’s fine. Just you being here is already the best present for me.” Donghae replied as he smiled at her widely. Tiffany could only simply smiled back as she tried to find Jessica. That annoying ice princess disappeared whenever she needed her help.

“Would you mind honoring a toast with the birthday boy, Fany?” Donghae asked as he raised two glasses that he brought with him.

 “Ummm…” Tiffany delayed answering as she had no intention to take his offer. The guy had been after her ever since she started studying here. She had made it obvious, she’s not interested in him and yet, the persistent guy didn’t even budge.She knew it’s the best not to take his drink, and who knew if he put something in it.

“C’on, Fany.”

 “You see-“

“If she doesn’t, I will.” A voice interrupted as Tiffany saw a hand taking one of the glasses from Donghae’s hand suddenly. She turned and saw Sooyoung taking the vodka in one shot.

“Ah…Man, it’s tasty. Hyung!!!Happy Birthday!” Sooyoung shouted as he proceeded to hug the guy tightly acting oblivious to the flabbergasted and the extremely irritated look on the latter who looked like he just smelled a shit load of dog poop.

“S-soo, Hi!” Donghae smiled fakely at the latter, gritting his teeth. “What a pleasure seeing you here.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, Hyung.” Sooyoung smirked proudly as he winked at the girl sideways. Tiffany stifled her laugh, feeling grateful for his help.

“Hyung, I heard Kisoo’s got you something very special. Wanna come and see?” Sooyoung whispered in Donghae’s ear as he sneakily took another glass from the guy’s hand.

Donghae gulped as he contemplated. Tiffany, The Tiffany. The star he’s been trying to reach but still hadn’t been fruitful. He just couldn’t wait to taste that sweet lips of hers an-

“It’s your birthday, Hyung. You should make some memory.” Sooyoung continued.

Donghae sighed heavily and closed his eyes. Screw this. I am supposed to be having fun.

“You are right, Soo. I should.” Donghae smirked as he nudged the guy’s shoulder playfully. Sooyoung made a mock salute in return and pointed towards the area. “They are waiting for you over there.”

 “Okay”, Donghae nodded as he turned to Tiffany. “It was nice talking to you, Tiff. Thank you for coming,”

 “You’re welcome, Oppa.”

“I will see you later,hmm?” He touched her elbow gently.

Tiffany smiled stiffly at the touch and nodded. Later, the better.

“Have fun, Hyung! I will follow you later.” Sooyoung waved as the guy disappeared into the crowd. Then, he looked at the girl besides him.

“So, you are the girl who’s Donghae-hyung has been talking about?” Sooyoung remarked as he remembered Donghae mentioning about wanting to conquer a certain pretty lady he met at the event.

“And I don’t think I wanna know what he has talked about me.” Tiffany faked a smile as she turned around to grab her own champagne.

Sooyoung playfully raised his arms, as he replied, “No comment on that, Tiffany-ssi.”

“Just Tiffany is fine.”

“You can call me Sooyoung or Soo for short.” Sooyoung introduced himself as he followed the latter to one of the sitting booth.

“I know we just met but thank you for what you did earlier. But I am not in-“

“Hey, I know. I’m not going to make any advance on you, don’t worry.” Sooyoung replied casually as he knew the girl might have heard of his reputation around girls.“Besides, bros before hoes right?” Sooyoung whispered at the last sentence, mind wandering off to a certain stubborn midget downstairs.

“Pardon?” Tiffany asked as she didn’t hear clearly of what he said.

“Nothing”, Sooyoung shrugged as he finished the cocktail he took from Donghae. “So, you are Taeyeon’s old friend huh?”

“Yeah, it has been around five years since I saw her until tonight.” Tiffany spoke candidly as she smiled at the thought of her friend.

Sooyoung silently observed the latter’s expression as he chuckled softly.That midget’s damn lucky

“Speaking of Taeyeon, how did you two meet? Are you her best friend?” Tiffany asked,wanting to know more about Taeyeon’s life that she missed. And Sooyoung who’s well-known around the clubs for his strings of hookups seemed to be very close with Taeyeon. And she hoped it’s not any of the endless assumptions she just thought in a mere few seconds.

“We haven’t hooked up in case you are wondering”,Sooyoung replied in a nonchalant tone, “She’s very gorgeous, I give her that. But she’s my bestest best friend, nothing more.”

 “I see,” Tiffany replied in a casual tone but she couldn’t help feeling a sense of relief. But, why was she getting worked up about? It doesn’t matter anyway.

“We go to the same uni, same major, same year. BTM at Kaist, 2nd year.”

“2nd year? But Taeyeon’s supposed to be…” Tiffany knitted her eyebrows in confusion. And she was also surprised to hear the major the latter was taking.

“I know. She’s nearly two years older than me. She didn’t immediately enroll after the high school. She enrolled a year later but she had to immediately take a leave three months after she started. Then, we met after she returned.” Sooyoung explained but felt sorry towards Taeyeon. He couldn’t help but felt the sense of sadness whenever he thought of the things that the girl went through within the last couple of years. Although, he met her after it all happened but he could feel the poor girl was still carrying those wounds inside her.

Tiffany nodded, slowly absorbing the details. She didn’t need to ask anything as she looked at Sooyoung’s solemn face. She wanted to ask more but she knew her boundaries. She would just ask Taeyeon personally if they meet again, hoping to help her along the way.

“Thank you for telling me.” Tiffany smiled in gratitude towards Sooyoung, “I’m glad she has found a friend in you.”

Sooyoung smiled widely at the latter’s comment, heart swelled with pride, “I’m glad I found a friend in her, too. She’s special, that one.”

“Haha that I agree.”

“You know, sh-“

“I hope you are not wooing her.”

Both looked up and saw Jessica looking at Sooyoung with her cold stare, folding her arms across her chart, eyebrows raised. Tiffany bowed at Sooyoung apologetically and pulled her friend to sit down with her.

“He’s not. We’re just talking.”

“I hope so.”

“Chillax, Princess. I won’t do anything towards Taeyeon’s bestfriend. She will kill me even before if I start thinking about it.” Sooyoung responded, hoping to decrease the tension.

“So, this Taeyeon that we just met whom I didn’t even know existed, was your best friend?” Jessica asked, still bewildered about the information she received tonight.

“Before I answer about that, where the hell were you when Donghae approached me?”,Tiffany glared at Jessica as the girl just smiled guiltily, drinking her champagne.

“Around.”

 “Hmph.”

“As much as I don’t want to interrupt your little chat, I will have to say this as Taeyeon’s best friend who care for her another best friend.” Sooyoung intercepted their chat, looking straightforward at Tiffany.

“Donghae-hyung and I are …a bit similar in a sense. Yes, I flirt and I hook up if I see the night will continue,”Sooyoung talked ignoring the snort from Jessica, “But, Donghae-hyung …won’t stop once he’s made up his mind whether the other party likes it or not.”

“I know, and I will keep that in mind. Thanks. “

Sooyoung nodded in response and let out his signature-crooked smile. He then filled his glass with Martell and raised it towards the girls. “Then ladies, if you don’t mind, I came here to have fun and have fun I shall.”

Jessica scowled and retorted sarcastically, “Nobody’s stopping you.”

“You are pretty but too feisty,” Sooyoung teased as he got up to join the dance floor. He still had to find the girl he brought with.

“You don’t need to be that cold, Jessi. He was actually nice and friendly.”

“Pfft, Like I care.”

“Well, I don’t like Donghae either. You need to stop giving him path to get into my pants! And you also heard Sooyoung just now. He’s just another arrogant idiot.”

“Come on!What if he’s really sincere towards you, Tiff?”

“Did I mention about that criminology guy again after you told me to stop? No, right?”

“Touché.” Jessica mumbled, sensing her loss at the conversation. She thought it was a meaningless little fun seeing her friend squirming uncomfortably whenever the guy tried to talk to her. But if she said stop, she would stop.

______

“Thank you very much, and sign here please.” Taeyeon bowed as the guest gave her tips after she brought back his car from the parking lot. She held the money absentmindedly as her mind wavered. She sighed heavily in defeated tone.

“Something bothering you, Noona?”

Taeyeon looked at Junyoung and saw the blonde hair guy looking genuinely concerned. Her, working at the VIP area and the valet was a big mistake. The sleazy guys couldn’t stop checking her out and the guys who had the guts would try to chat up.

“Just tired, Jun. I’m fine.”

“Tell me if you want to rest, ok?”

Taeyeon nodded, giving him a small smile and returned her attention to the log book. She then glanced at her wristwatch. It has been nearly two hours since Mi-Tiffany went to the VIP area. She could hopefully ask her for her number once she had come down.

Tiffany

She may have to get used to calling her in that name. Her angel-no Tiffany had changed, in a very good way. The girl was beautiful beyond her imagination. She would daydream about what Tiffany would look like from time to time if they were to meet again. But her imaginations fell short to the beauty she witnessed.

Perfection Taeyeon thought.

But she knew there was no such thing as perfection in this bitter world. Yet, Tiffany was like something close to a perfection in her imperfect world. She could on-

“VIP to Valet. Over.”

“Go ahead.”

“Taeyeon. You are needed. Urgent.”

The alarmed tone on the radio woke Taeyeon from her trance completely. She immediately assigned two other guys in her place and made sure Junyoung got the Valet covered.

“Should I bring someone?”

“You probably should. Some VIP party guest is causing a problem here.”

“Roger that. Clear.”

She signaled the bouncers to follow her as she ran towards the lift. The spoilt brats and their never-ending problems. Thinking about Tiffany would have to wait.

-tbc-

 

Advertisements

Angel

Taeyeon felt herself shivering while she walked through the streets of Seoul. Winter season is approaching and she could feel it very easily. She was never the one for being immune to the weather. She could not withstand the temperature of the weather and the word itself brought nothing but sentiments to her. The time that she last saw her Angel, the time that she had to let go of her parents , the time that she and her siblings had to leave Jeonju, all of them happened in winter.

She stopped her tracks as her phone beeped. She looked down and saw that she was already at the right place. She could only trust her GPS in this hustle of the city. She sighed as he put her phone back in the pocket. She sincerely hoped she would get hired this time so that she could have some deposit enough to pay the bills.

“You are currently studying at KAIST , black belt in taekwondo, just received the blue tassles for muay thai, and you are now looking for a job that can be effective immediately?”

Taeyeon gulped as she looked back at the scrutinizing eyes for 6 foot 5 inches man sitting across her. “I hope so, sir.”

“Mind asking why you want this job in contrast to your degree? You could have easily find other part time jobs.”

“None taken, sir. I am just not interested in admin and waiting tables.”

“Why did you even bother taking that degree?”

‘”It was what my parents would have wanted.”

“And I also found out that I would be getting half of my pay first once I started.”

“IF you are hired, Ms. Kim.And not to mention, you are tiny and you are a female. ” The man assessed her without holding back.

“I understand that, sir.”

“Very well. You will be contacted if you are hired. I don’t care if you have assignments or not. It’s four night straights, is that clear?”

“Yes, sir!”

 

_____

 

 

“Did you get the job?”

Taeyeon shrugged as she stared out of the window, ignoring the lecture. Sooyoung patted her arm and told her quietly, “You know that you don’t need to do this alone. I can help you.”

“I know,” Taeyeon grunted,” It’s already enough I am living at your grand apartment with shitty price.”

“Ta-“

“I know. I know that you are doing this for me as a friend but it is okay. Besides, you have already done more than enough, Soo.”

Sooyoung sighed as he looked at his stubborn friend. Taeyeon was someone genuine whom he can proudly call as his best friend in his life which was full of fake strangers stucking up to him for his so-called wealth and status. At first he just apprached her due to the stupid bet he made with his friends . But the latter saw through his actions and told him the words that sounded disgusting but included pities.

Nobody has ever pitied him. In fact they are jealous of him. But a girl who was working as a part-timer told him that he was disgusting because he was faking. It was a platonic friendship and he’s glad that he took the bet that day.But sometimes that righteousness irked him to his core.

“Well, have you decided to date the girl that I have introduced?” Sooyoung found out that Taeyeon was bisexual after six months of friendship, the girl confessed after being set up on blind dates by him. She thought he was gonna be disgusted considering his religious faith. Instead the guy just thanked her for being truthful with him. And the next day, she was set up on a date with a pretty girl from another university.

Taeyeon chuckled as she shook her head. “I barely have time to visit Hayeon. I can’t date someone. I have to give time for that.”

“At least you’re being attentive. Still cannot remove her from your mind?”

“Who?”

“Your Angel?”

“Dude…”

“You are a poor drinker and all you do is talking about the Angel and I quote, ‘who is living on the earth gracing everyone with her beauty’ after two shots.”

“…”

“Haha. I am just having fun with you.”

“I will show you the meaning of ‘fun’ when I tell Aunty Choi about your ‘diarrhoea’ at the family dinner.”

“She was hot!” Sooyoung defended himself, although the stuttering was obvious.Taeyeon snorted as she replied, “Well, you should have at least control yourself at your parents’ house!”

Sooyoung bit his lips for a while,frusturated. Then, he let out his playful smirked and whispered, “Like you would control yourself when you see her again.”Taeyeon glared at him and retuned her concentration to the lecture. Taeyeon just mumbled, only loud enough for him to hear, “Touche.” 

 

_______

 

“I think I will be back by Christmas. We can go to Busan if you want to. We will visit Grandma and Grandpa.”

“You promise?”

“Yeah, I promise.”

“Will Oppa be back as well?”

Taeyeon sighed inwardly as she heard the question. She composed herself and breathed in deeply. “He’s still serving the country, Hayeonnie. I will bring his letter okay?” She faked a cheery tone as she clenched her fists.

“Okay….”

“Good girl. See you at Christmas?”

“Dae~”

Taeyeon smiled as she imagined her sister smiling and giggling while talking to her on the phone. She hanged up and looked at the phone in sadness. She glanced at the sideways and observed the snow falling and gracing the city of Seoul. She could only hope it graced her as well.

___________

 

“Are you going to the party this Friday?”

“Depends…” Tiffany replied coyly at the question and smirked observing her friend from behind, “On when will you be telling me about this scholarship boy that you have flirting with?”

Jessica immediately turned around and glared, “Hwang Miyoung.”

“Jung Sooyeon.”

“I am not obliged to tell you who I’m dating with or whom I’m flirting with.” Jessica replied in annoyance.

“Aha! So you are flirting with him.” Tiffany grinned and poked the latter teasingly.

Jessica huffed and pushed her best friend away,“Oh, shut up! He’s just a guy who helped me with my assignment. In fact, he is studying Criminology and he’s just here for a short period.”

“Which is totally unrelated with your fashion major and yet he helps you with your assignment.” Tiffany pointed, pretending to not notice the temper rising from the latter.

“He has eyes for fashion okay? You can see he knows how to dress up in his own style despite being a nerd. It sometimes is refreshing to have a new perspective for sketches.” Jessica answered, hoping to end the interrogation. Tiffany Hwang could be very annoying from time to time.

“Very unusual for someone who takes pride in her own ideas.” Tiffany remarked casually as she lay down on the bed.

“I don’t care if you are going to the party or not. I am out of here if you are continue acting like this.” Jessica got up and prepared to leave.

Tiffany immediately dragged her back down and apologized, “Okay! Okay! I’m sorry. Jeez.”

“So are you going or not?”

“ I am going. Unfortunately.”

“Why?”

“Well, I kind of lost the bet that egoistic Lee Donghae made and had promised him to attend the party.” Tiffany replied annoyingly when she remembered the meaningless bet he took on her.

“As in accompanying him?” Jessica asked curiously.

“Ugh, no. “ Tffany immediately shook her head,”I told him I would just attend. I like partying but not that kind of party.”

“Well, it’s his 22nd years old birthday party. Of course he will hire male and female strippers.”

“ I still cannot believe Korea allows such things.”

“Money, Tiff”, Jessica pointed out. “Money can buy everything, even the guns and the country.”

“Did that criminology guy tell you that too? While helping with your assignment?”

BAM

“Ow!Ya!”

_________________________________________________________________

 

Club

“You are lucky that you are hired, Ms. Kim. It turns out we need some females for the job.“

“Thank you sir!”

The manager looked up from his book to observe the eager young woman who seemed to be very enthusiastic to get this job. “Well, most of the bouncers we have here are former prisoners and un-graduated guys so we figured we could use some educated fine young woman for the upcoming private party.”

“…”

“Look, like I said, the guys here are street guys so you will face a lot of snarky comments and taunts. I cannot help you so it’s up to you whether you can survive the night.”

“Understood sir.”

“You seem tough despite your looks and body. Just make sure you survive the night first before the party on Friday.”

“Thank you very much, sir.”

“And also, make sure you are dolled up. Bouncers also need to look good.”

“Y-yes sir.”

Taeyeon sighed in relief after the manager went to the bar counter. She looked down at her bouncer uniform. It was a black suit with a security logo on her right side of her arm. The clothing still needed to be fit considering her petite size but it was comfortable enough to work for the first night.She heard some snickers and looked up as three tall and bulky guys looking down at her, not even trying to hide their smug grins and perverseness. But it was no matter. She came here to do the job and do the job, she will.

Hwang’s

Tiffany dropped her shopping bags on the floor as she closed her bedroom door. She lied down on her bed glancing at the shopping bags. She had no desire to attend the party where the youngsters are partying mindlessly amid the political unrest and the problems surrounding them. She would rather cuddle with her cozy blanket and a hot cocoa accompanied by a nice romantic novel.

Sighing, she got up from her bed and slowly stripped her clothes.  She looked up to the window. Snows were frequent in Seoul during the winter. Sometimes its breathtaking, sometimes its bittersweet to watch. Her mother’s funeral, her high school graduation and her memorable part-time job at the Lotte World. It was short but one of the happiest state she had been in her lifetime.

Her phone vibrated, disturbing her returning to memories. Jessica texted her to confirm the rendezvous tomorrow evening. She replied with a short note and locked the phone. She dressed up into her gym gear and left the room. She had promised to attend. She should at least look good for the party.

 

_____________

 

Taeyeon grunted in pain as the guy pushed her to the wall. They were at the back area of the club near the dumpster. She was smiling at the customer after he tipped her when someone pulled her from behind.“Are you trying to be a slut, babe?” The guy spoke as he grabbed her collar, forcing her to lean towards the disgusting smell of his mouth. She should hear the snickers from the back, indicating there are others watching them. “If you are, you are doing a poor job at it.”

Taeyeon immediately grabbed one of his hands holding her collar and twisted it harshly. She then immediately punched the jugular with her elbow, hard enough just to hurt him really badly but not deadly. Taking advantage of the confusion, she kicked the guy towards the group behind.

“Ughh…”

“I-is he dead?’

“Just fainted.” Taeyeon replied as she tidied her clothes looking down at the disheveled group. She smirked as the guys backed away in scare as she walked towards them. “Next time, teach your guy better to do at pick-up lines.  I came here to work and I want to work without problems. If you guys continue to harass me like this”, she paused as she took out the recorder from her pocket, “I will show this to Manager Kang. Got it?”

The guys nodded hesitantly.

Taeyeon glared at them and yelled,”I said, Got it?!”

“Y-yes!!!” The answer came out shakily.

Taeyeon smirked after hearing the satisfactory answer. She turned around and went back inside the club, leaving the stunned and bruised guys behind.

 

 

 

 

 

“May I know what kind of part-time job are you doing, Taeyeon?” Sooyoung asked as soon as he saw his best friend turned up for class with bandages on her hand and her elbow and a small scrap on her chin. Taeyeon mumbled indignant words carelessly as she laid her head down on the table closing her eyes.

She came back from her work around 2 am at midnight and immediately did her homework. She barely had 3 hours of sleep. The work along with the altercation at the job didn’t help with the soreness and the pain in her body. She had drained what left of her energy as she dragged her sore body to the school.

She helped wait the tables, took a few orders and dragged the rude customers out aside from her entrance security duty. 70$ tips in addition to 98$ pay in just one night was worth every second of the job. And not to mention, she got to drink a few here and there. The manger was also pleased with her although he didn’t show it directly. Female customers thought she was cute and male customers preferred her over the lanky waiters for the order. It’s good for business and good for her.

“Taeyeon, you haven’t answered my question”, Sooyoung asked her irrittated. The girl was obviously worn out. Dark circles were visible under her eyes indicating she didn’t get any sleep last night. Taeyeon never liked complications or owing someone’s money. She liked to be independent and she was very stubborn.

“Just some nightshift job, Soo. The pay is good enough to pay my tuition fees and bills.” Taeyeon spoke without opening her eyes.Sooyoung bit inside his lips not to make another remark. He sighed and looked at the clock.”I give up. Have you done your homework?”

Taeyeon dug her hand inside her bag and fumbled and took out her book. She then silently dropped the book besides Sooyoung. The latter smiled at the action and patter her head. He leaned in and whispered, “Sleep, little sheep. I will wake you when he’s near.” Taeyeon nodded and smiled at him in gratitude, “Komawo…”

 

________

 

The bell rang indicating the school was over for the day. Tiffany put her laptop back to the case and stood up. She was barely leaving the room when she heard the voice, “Tiif, Wait!”

She turned around and saw Donghae jogging up to her. The guy was obviously wearing a polo shirt to show off his body in this cold winter. She faked a smile and greeted, “Hi, Donghae.”

Donghae smiled at the greeting and looked at her in adoration. “Are you up for the party?”

“I guess so.” Tiffany replied simply. She didn’t want the latter to think of other meaning such as she was returning his feelings or she was volunteering herself to be included in his list of women.

“You want me to come pick you up?” He asked eagerly. Tiffany shook her head and spoke in apologetic, “I am going with Jesssica.”

“I see..” Donghae replied dejectedly.

Not wanting to get anymore awkward, she smiled and said, “By the way, Happy Birthday, Donghae.”

Donghae immediately brightened up and grinned, “Thank you very much, Tiffany.”

Tiffany nodded and started to leave, “See you later, Hae.”

 

 

 

 

 

“See you later.”

“Excuse me?”Sooyoung asked to confirm if he had heard wrong. Taeyeon slept throughout the classes she shared with him. And today was Friday. He used to ask her to join him to the club on Friday nights and she would always turn him down.Taeyeon contained herself not to smile and she spoke again, “ I said, see you later.” She felt freshened up after sleeping five hours worth of sleep. It would give her energy enough for the work tonight.

“But you usually say ‘See you tomorrow’…” Sooyoung mumbled in a daze. Taeyeon chuckled and squished his cheeks. “Adios, Shikshin. And don’t take the girl back home, will ya? Aunty Choi will call me again.”

“Arasso…” Sooyoung responded while holding his cheeks, the earlier conversation forgotten. He watched her leave the class hurriedly. He then watched the clock. He had to get ready for Donghae-hyung’s party tonight.

“Just make sure you are not mistaken for a stripper.”

“D-dae?” Taeyeon asked as she felt herself blushing. They had already started preparing for the business to start. It was Friday night, which meant there would be a lot of clubbers. And there will also be a private party on the VIP floor. She was asked to dress as the same uniform the night before and to put on a makeup.

Eyes focused on her as soon as she entered the club for the job. She shyly fumbled around to check if there was any wardrobe malfunction. The manager smiled when he saw her and briefed her for the position. She had a driver license so she was directed to be at the valet and the security for the private party as the attendees would be more ‘posh’ than most of the regular clubbers.She immediately accepted when she heard she would be paid 240$ in cash as a bonus. But she didn’t expect the remark from her boss.

“There will also be a few strippers at the VIP Party, I’m afraid.” Kang Ho dong spoke, apology evident in his voice. “The host knows the owner and asked for the strippers to be permitted. It will only be for tonight.”

Taeyeon didn’t say anything for a while as she took the news in. She then understood why Manager Kang posted her at the VIPs. Obviously, guys are perverts and they will not be able to control their behavior and the attitude. He wanted someone who could be levelheaded in case something happened.

“I understand, Boss. I will do my best.” Taeyeon responded sincerely, letting out a small smile.

Kang Hodong smiled at the answer and patted her shoulders. He felt lucky to get her as an employee. The girl was diligent, observant and composed. People would point out her education as the factor but that was not the case. Female clubbers were mostly the same age as hers and yet they were vastly different from her. “Thank you, Taeyeon. “

He then turned around and faced his employees. He gathered himself and got ready for the night. “Let’s get the party started!”

 

 

Club

 

“How old are you, pretty girl?”

“Old enough to park your car, sir.” Taeyeon answered while controlling her temper. The guy was already drunk even before entering the club. She jotted down his name and ID as she prepared to park his Mercedes at the lot.

“Then, you can join me upstairs, baby. I will buy you a drink.” The guy flirted her again while looking at her with obvious lust. Taeyeon took back the book after he finished signing. “Thank you for the offer but I am working. Junyoung, show the guest upstairs.”

Junyoung nodded immediately as he sensed the discomfort in Taeyeon’s voice. He ushered the guy while opening the entrance door to the VIP area. The guy didn’t move and lingered instead watching Taeyeon drove his car to the basement. He took out some money and showed it to the latter.

“I want to know her name and I want her upstairs, boy.”

Junyoung shook his head and looked at the guy in pity. He just continued to push the guy gently towards the entrance and replied calmly, “She’s black belt in Taekwondo, sir. Have fun at the party.”

 

 

 

Sooyoung traced the girl lips as he leaned in and grinned. The club was already crowded for the Friday night so even the VIPs had to queue to enter. Sometimes,it was a blessing in disguise. He already got himself a gorgeous girl even before entering.

“Your ID please, sir.”  The woman’s voice disrupted the trance. He mindlessly took out his card without turning away from the lady he’s sure he’s gonna spend the night with.“Sign here, please.” A request was made again. He sighed as he tapped the girl’s nose. “Just a second, babe.” He looked down at the book and signed besides his name.

“Here you g-Taeyeon?!”

Taeyeon tried to contain her smirk looking at her best friend’s bewildered face. She was initially amazed at his obliviousness to surrounding assisted by his horniness.

Sooyoung couldn’t hide his shock. His mouth was wide-opened for quite sometime until he felt a strong nudge in his ribs. He looked at his side and saw his companion pouting. He recovered himself and looked at Taeyeon again.She was wearing a black blazer with a white shirt underneath. Her top-button was opened and she was wearing a make-up and a shadow-eye liner. He had never seen her in such state before and he couldn’t stop checking her out.

“Oppa!” The girl besides him shouted, jealous and angry at him for drooling at the female bouncer. Sooyoung looked at her apologetic and pushed her to the entrance. “S-sorry babe. Get inside first. I have to talk to my friend first.”He then immediately dragged Taeyeon by the arm and walked ignoring the shouts. Taeyeon shouted at Junyoung and the other guy to take over her post as she let herself dragged away earning looks from the queue and the passersby.

 

 

 

“Are you insane?!” Sooyoung immediately shouted as soon as they stopped walking. “I told you to let me help you!”

“Sooyoung, I-“

“That’s why you told me’ See you later’, isn’t it?” Sooyoung remarked in anger. He was also flustered to see his best friend in this outfit and frustrated at her stubbornness in everything.

“I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to hide it from you. I knew that I was gonna see you tonight so I was just teasing you.” Taeyeon spoke, observing the latter. The guy could not even hide his surprise. He was still bewildered and in a daze state. She gently held his arm and spoke softly, “I liked this job, okay? They are respectful , don’t worry. Besides, where else would I get to use my skills? Hmm?”

“You must be kidding me.”, Sooyoung replied annoyingly. “You got bruises even from the first night. And not to mention, tonight is Friday! It’s ten times worse than Thursdays.”

“Look, we will discuss this later okay? Manager Kang will kill me once he found out I have been away for more than ten minutes.” Taeyeon spoke as she prepared to return to the club.“No”, Sooyoung rejected as he grabbed her arm and turned her around. “You are obviously not going back there. I will not attend the party. You will come back with me. NOW.”

Taeyeon felt her anger started to raise, “Choi Sooyoung, enough. I have already apologized. I know you are looking out for me but I can look out on my own. You just go to the party and have fun. As for me, I will go back to my post and I will talk to you tomorrow about this matter.” She removed the hold but Sooyoung didn’t flinch.

“Kim Taeyeon. There are strippers!!”

“I know!”

“WHAT???!!!!You-“

“Put your hand away from her, Mister.”

Two best friends stopped bickering and looked at the intruder. Or the intruders to be specific. The latter was holding something small in her hand and Taeyeon guessed it could be a pepper spray. The woman was blonde and behind was the brunette with the meanest look in her eyes she had ever seen.

“Do it or else.” The latter spoke again. Soft husky sound with a stern voice. A voice that was familiar to Taeyeon. She swore she had heard this voice before. Both of the girls slowly approached, the hand still holding the pepper spray.Taeyeon could make out that the blonde girl was wearing a black collared pink dress cut above her knees. She was wearing too decent to be going to the club. When she stopped walking and stopped under the light, Taeyeon stopped her breathing.

The eye-smiling girl.

Her Angel.

Stephanie Hwang Miyoung.

“M-my angel…” she unconsciously let out a whisper, forgetting the argument, forgetting her anger, even forgetting that she was still on the planet earth. All she could see was the girl in the pink dress, just like she first saw her five years ago.“W-what?” Sooyoung mumbled as he saw his best friend immediately froze seeing two women, one of them holding something and threatening him.

“Mi-miyoung….” He heard her again. Taeyeon was already looking like a fool, her mouth-open, and her face getting whiter from lack of breath. Yet, he saw her eyes sparkling at the view in front of them.

“Do you know her?” He nudged, couldn’t hide his eagerness to know what had made his friend like this.Taeyeon slowly turned around and looked at him absentmindedly. She nodded slowly and whispered, “It’s her,Soo….the Angel…”

“My Angel….”

 

-tbc-

_________________________________________________________________

안녕 HI

This is an introductory chapter. 

_________________________________________________________________

“Nice coat you got there. “

Taeyeon looked up, as she smelled strawberry scent filled through her nostrils. Taeyeon didn’t like fruity scents. She preferred musky, wooden fragrances. She didn’t like flashy clothes either. Pink, yellow, red, you name it. She preferred to stay at the corner than being the center of attention and the topic of every gossip at school.

But, here she was, looking up at the girl, dressed in pink blouse, velvet skirt with red lipstick.  A complete yellowed Michael Kors Handbag was by her side, which looked like it had been with its owner for a few months.

“Err, thanks?” Taeyeon replied unsurely, not knowing how to react to a sudden compliment from a stranger, a beautiful stranger at that.

Her timid response made the latter giggled and her eyes turned into a crescent-moon shape. Taeyeon was stunned. She had never seen such beautiful eye-smiles on her 20 years of existence. Her hyperactive friend Kwon Yuri has it but it is nothing compared to this one. Nothing could compare to this view she just saw.

“Tiffany Hwang.”

Taeyeon looked mindlessly at the hand in front of her. It might look she had a dumb face on but thousands of thoughts going through her brain and a stampede going on in her stomach.

She heard the chuckle again. Tiffany had a husky voice, she noted.

“When somebody gives you the hand, you should shake it.” Tiffany quipped as she smiled toothless at the girl who absorbed in her book minutes ago.

S-sorry.” Taeyeon stuttered as she clumsily closed her sketchbook and took the hand and shook it nervously.

“And you should tell your name when someone offered their name as well,” Tiffany spoke as she looked at the girl whose face just showed hundred kinds of emotions in less than five minutes.

“A-ah dae…Kim T-Taeyeon immida.”

Tiffany smiled at her again, her crescent eye-smiles. Taeyeon noted this would be the image of Tiffany Hwang she would always remember.

“Nice to meet you, Taeyeon.”

_____

“Did you do well on the assignments?” Tiffany asked as soon as she sat down besides her.

“If you meant messy handwritings for calculations and 34% plagiarism ‘well’, then yes. I did well on the assignments.” Taeyeon replied as she squinted her eyes to clear her vision. She was the one to blame for her lack of sleep. Playing games and sketching through the dawn, she didn’t notice until the alarm buzzed.

“Tsk, tsk, you are just not into Professor Park’s lecture. Why are you even taking this class?”

Taeyeon sighed as she leaned head on the desk and looked at the girl besides her. It had been two months that she got to know Tiffany, ‘The Tiffany’. Taeyeon considered herself as a fence sitter. She didn’t have many friends. She had Kwon Yuri whom she knew since the first day of school,  Hyoyeon whom she knew through Yuri and Sunny aka Lee Soonkyu whom she clicked with the most and had been her friend since high school. And there’s Tiffany.

Tiffany.

She didn’t know how to describe Tiffany.

I failed this class last semester, Tippani. I cannot afford to fail this again and besides Prof. Park gives better grades than that old hag next door.” Taeyeon grumbled as she frowned at the thought of stepping inside of the tenacious Kim Shinyoung’s class.

“Tiffany! Beautiful as always!” The loud voice interrupted the conversation. She turned her head and saw Yuri walking happily to their seats. Taeyeon snorted at her friend’s never-ending hyper activeness as she prepared herself to take a short nap before the class starts.

“Haha, Good Morning Yuri-ah,” Tiffany smiled at the latter as she observed Yuri skipping lightly behind Taeyeon.

“No mood for pranks, Yul.” Taeyeon muttered without looking at her back. Yuri scoffed at her friend and sat down besides the latter. “And Kim Taeyeon, grumpy as always.”

“You are just being annoyingly lively today. What gives?” Taeyeon asked as she noticed a slight change in Yuri’s demeanor. Yuri’s lips tuned upwards as she heard her friend’s rare question. Hanging out with Tiffany might have changed her introvert baby-faced friend somehow.

She leaned in to Taeyeon’s face and looked at her eyes without blinking. She blinked her lashes for a couple of times and let out a flirtatious smile as she puckered her lips to her best friend.

“Don’t I look beautiful, Taeyeonnie~” Yuri spoke in a pitched voice that neither honey nor sugar could compare. Taeyeon groaned as she heard the tan girl’s annoying high-pitched aegyo voice, it was irritating to hear and not to mention, disturb her sleep. With two being polar-opposite personalities, it’s still a mystery how they became close.

Taeyeon faked a smile and leaned towards Yuri as she drew her finger along Yuri’s face. She stopped at the latter’s nose and smiled widely.

“You are so pwetty~”

“Jinja~~” Yuri continued to ask with her aegyo voice as she winked at her. Taeyeon gritted her teeth while smiling.

“Yesh~You are so pwetty that I felt like stuffing that nose of yours into dog poop!” Taeyeon shouted as she squeezed her best friend’s nose painfully.

“Ya!!YA!!” Yuri shouted as she frantically tried to remove Taeyeon’s hold from her nose.  Taeyeon smirked as she released after a few seconds. ‘Serve you right.”

She then turned around and saw Tiffany’s smiling at them. But it was strange smile. Her lips was curled up just like she smiled with her eyes closed like a crescent moon but she looked strained.

Taeyeon looked at her new friend for a minute, trying to decipher the emotion the latter is feeling inside. It’s still a mystery how Tiffany got close with her. Even Yuri and Sunny asked her multiple times how Tiffany came directly towards her, stating that she would be sitting here and asked for her phone number, point blank.

Stephanie Hwang Miyoung as stated in her ID was considered the beauty queen of the Business Major in Seoul National University.Most of the campus gossip would be about her. She came to SNU with scholarship despite her wealthy background and would top the exams. Boys crushed on her, fantasized about her, Girls admired her, hated her. And she was also known to have several relationships that didn’t last long.Whether it’s true or not, Tiffany herself would only know it.

As for Taeyeon herself, she’s good at arts but she took business, as she needed to survive if she planned to stay independent in the future. Business is not her forte, but she considered herself already lucky enough to be accepted into such prestigious university. She had a serious relationship for about two years with someone a year ago which ended on a sour note. After what happened, she never wanted to be in love or considered about dating again.

“Okay, Class!! Let’s start.”

The professor’s voice interrupted Taeyeon’s thoughts as she involuntarily opened the textbook for the lecture. She looked at her new friend again who was already into the lecture but the distant gaze still lingered on her beautiful eyes. She made a note to ask her that another time.

________

“CHEERS!!”

Taeyeon smiled widely as she saw Yuri finished her drink in one go. Yuri had a high alcohol tolerance level but Sunny was the best.The girl was by far the best drinker she ever came across. For her, two rounds would be her limit. She also had to get up the next morning so she controlled herself not to drink too much.

“So, Tiffany~” Yuri chirped as she waved around her glass at Taeyeon, “What do you think of our shorty?”

They decided to have dinner as the celebration of completing assignments for the current semester. Two months still left before the exam and they hadn’t drunk for quite some time and also they hadn’t properly hung out with Tiffany after school.

“Umm, Come again?” Tiffany asked as she thought she heard wrong. Taeyeon bit her lips in embarrassment at her best friend’s question and kicked her leg from the table.

“Ya! That’s my leg!” Hyoyeon shouted as she touched the spot where she was kicked painfully.Yuri smirked as Taeyeon glared at her menacingly with flush on her cheeks.

“Frankly speaking, it’s still a wonder how you became friends with Taeyeon.” Yuri asked straightforward, without wavering her gaze from the brunette in front of her. Suddenly, her voice turned serious and sober,”Taeyeon told me that you complimented her coat and you guys got acquainted from there.”

Everyone can see the bluntness in Yuri’s voice. As much as Taeyeon appreciated her friend’s protectiveness, she didn’t dare to look at Tiffany. No one had ever approached her in second semester. She got to know Yuri after doing CA together when they were assigned as partners on freshman years and the rest was history.Tiffany just walked to her, asked her and sat down besides her in the class just bluntly.

“I’m envious of how protective you are,” Tiffany spoke genuinely while smiling. “But, I was intrigued by how she was concentrated on her drawing regardless of the environment. “

Taeyeon held her breath as Tiffany put down her beer glass not so gently. She was still smiling but it had lost the sparks. When she spoke, there was an edge along with the voice, “However, I do not like it if you guys suspected me along with a bunch of nuisances who would approach someone for their gain.”

She could also detect bitterness in the latter’s voice. Tiffany looked at her for a while before continuing to speak,“I had my fair share of those kind of people so I also watch who I am speaking with. I just want to know Taeyeon genuinely. No other facts.”

Yuri nodded after hearing Tiffany’s confession. It was not a surprise. If you are popular, people started to stuck up to you and you started to have problems trusting people. Tiffany would definitely experience this. There were even a fan club under her name, news that might be true or false, girls who bad-moutherd her, etc. But she knew her friend, Taeyeon. When Taeyeon trusted someone, she trusted this person with all her heart. It took her months before Taeyeon started to warm up to her. With Tiffany, it took less than a month.

She considered Taeyeon as a rare person who cannot be found easily. The girl was as pure as it can get. Although there were scars caused by the people in her past, she never had once had hatred or anger towards them. She only looked at things with kindness. With such reasons, Taeyeon was a valuable friend to Yuri.

“I had to ask that, Tiffany. As you already know, Taeyeon here,” she smirked as she hugged Taeyeon tightly, “is very kind-hearted. This midget takes things to heart. And I can see she is very happy whenever she sees you.”

“Ya!” Taeyeon shouted as she could felt herself embarrassed to her core. That Kwon Yuri

Hyoyeon chuckled as she joked, “You are blushing, midget.”

“You aren’t very tall, either.” came the snarky response.

“Ya!”

Tiffany giggled at the interaction and looked at them with envy. “Are you guys always like this?” Taeyeon stopped choking Hyoyeon and turned to the latter and smiled sheepishly, “Not always.”

“I had a great time today.”

Taeyeon paused her steps and looked at the girl besides her. After the dinner, they decided to call it a night and left subsequently. As for them, they were in the same neighbourhood so they decided to walk together. Taeyeon observed the girl carefully. Tiffany had a high alcohol tolerance. She would make a good drinking partner with Sunny.A slight flush in her cheeks from the drinking, the girl looked beautiful in her red short jersey dress and platform sandals.

Beautiful Taeyeon thought unconsciously .

“I’m glad that you had.” Taeyeon replied slowly as she regarded her new friend. The girl was now looking up at the sky, smiling. She’s known Tiffany was incredibly good at hiding her emotions and able to fit in easily. But tonight, the girl seemed to lower her guard tonight as she started to skip slowly instead of walking.

Tiffany turned to look at her and stopped walking. “Thank you, Taeyeon.”

Taeyeon smiled and nodded, despite the confusion, “You’re welcome?”

The lovely giggles went through her ears again. Tiffany smiled as she shook her head, “It had been sometimes that I have been this fun. So, I just wanted to say thanks.”

“Oh.”

No more words were spoken after a while.

The distracted thoughts were immediately disappeared as she felt arms around her and found herself swept into a tight hug with a familiar strawberry scent that was Tiffany. Taeyeon’s ears tingled as Tiffany whispered huskily,“Thank you for being my friend,Taeyeon.”

DUGEUN 

DUGEUN

DUGEUN

That was all Taeyeon could hear throughout the night.

Love and Dignity

Introduction

Taeyeon could still remember the first time they met. It was during the preliminary interview for the part-time job. Even though it was part-time, the pay was good enough for her to live through a month.She saw her for the first time at one of the snack stalls. She was wearing a floral dress with pink color pattern with a confused look yet showing crescent moon shaped eyes and a beautiful smile to the people. She thought it was the most beautiful sight she had seen in the world. It still is.

The first time she spoke to her was two days after she started working. She was part time service assistant at the Lotte world. A caucasian kid asked her questions in the language she did not understand. She was sweating as hell until she came and stood besides her. She bent down to the kid and silencing the crying kid with her mesmerizing eyes. Just like she was. The boy was Spanish and he was lost in the crowd after following Mickey. The parents thanked them and gave them some pocket money enough to buy a cup of Haagen-Daaz. She could feel her heart beating loudly as she asked the girl what she wants. She noticed that she was wearing the pink hairband as she answered, “Strawberry.” Her voice was angelic. And right there, Taeyeon immediately knew that she will never forget that voice, wherever and whenever in the future.

Stephanie Hwang Miyoung was bad at Korean. That she came to know. She was staying at her aunt’s house after she decided to come to Korea, her mother’s birthplace. She had been in Korea only for seven months. She was a year younger than her but very outgoing and out-spoken when she was introverted and preferred to stay quiet. For nearly a year, they would be designated around the same area and they eventually became friends. She would help the latter with Korean and Tiffany would help her in English which she was very bad at. They would share a bit about their family and their hobbies.

She remembered Tiffany announcing that she’s not gonna work anymore after this last shift. She was already 17 and Tiffany was nearly reaching 16. They were from different high schools and cities which made Taeyeon impossible to meet her again. She did not even own a cell phone to contact her. With a hug and a kiss on her cheek, Stephanie Hwang Miyoung bid farewell for the last time in her not so bad Korean accent. Taeyeon would always remember her strawberry scent.

Days became week, weeks became months and months became years. Second by second, people change, thoughts change and life change. So was Taeyeon’s. Her mother passed away on the scene after her father’s car crashed with the ten-wheelers. Her father became comatose with no expectation of recovering. She had never seen such a remorseful and devastating look on his brother’s face before as he nodded silently to the doctor’s request for their consent to take off the life support.

Jeonju was kind. Maybe it was because of her kind-hearted parents that people from the town contributed to the funeral. People were crying, sharing their pities towards the siblings but she could hardly care. She whispered goodbye to their parents for the final time as their coffins were buried down slowly. At the midnight, the strawberry scent, the smile and her voice were the soothings to her nightmare and the shining torch of her darkness.

The second time Taeyeon met Stephanie, it had already been five years. She had permanently moved to Seoul in hope of being able to earn money enough to support her dear sister’s education. Her brother was serving his military service and he wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon. It’s now up to her shoulders to carry on.

This time, the girl had already transformed into a young woman and Taeyeon couldn’t take her eyes off her. She had dyed her hair blonde which made her eyes so distinctive. She had grown taller than her. This time, she was wearing a black-collared pink dress with black pumps. Gone were her childish demeanour. All she could think of her was a beauty fallen from the sky that she could just stand and watched all day.

They met eye to eye.

She could feel herself smiling.

It was everything.

It was the beginning of everything.