No one mentioned about the argument at the dinner. They joked about the photos that Hyoyeon and Yuri posted. They joked about Sooyoung mishaps. They joked about Tiffany’s hilarious dates.
But when the desserts arrived, Tiffany started the topic.
“I’m really sorry about how I behaved that day.” Tiffany said, looking apologetic. Taeyeon knew Tiffany rarely apologized.
“Don’t be”, Taeyeon replied softly, “you waited me for an hour to have breakfast and I wasn’t exactly considerate.”
“Hmmm”, Tiffany hummed. Taeyeon noticed her pressing her lips together tightly. The latter obviously wanted to say something.
“You can ask me anything you know?” Taeyeon stated. Sunny was right.
Tiffany looked up at her in surprise.
“I know you want to ask me something. Shoot.”
“I don’t know what to say exactly…” Tiffany trailed off, her eyes focusing on her ice cream instead of Taeyeon. “ I don’t want you to misunderstand.”
“I won’t.” Taeyeon responded calmly, trying to let Tiffany’s guard down. The girl was tense.
“Why did it take you long to be comfortable with me?”
“I mean, you slept over at your director’s apartment even though you only knew her two weeks. You couldn’t even talk comfortably with me for a month.”,Tiffany finally dropped the bomb.
“You weren’t yourself.”
Taeyeon looked at the passersby across the glass pane of the restaurant. Images of Tiffany she first met came to her like a flash, “When we first met, you weren’t yourself. You had this façade that you wanted people to see instead of your true self.”
Taeyeon decided to be honest. They both needed to be as honest as they can get. “I felt it. Frankly speaking, I didn’t want to hang out with people who weren’t honest with me. We only live once. I don’t want to give my time to someone who’s not genuine with me.”
“What made you continue being friends with me?”, Tiffany’s voice held an edge. She didn’t like what she heard. She didn’t like it because it was true,
“You cried.” Taeyeon remembered her heart breaking at the sight of Tiffany breaking down after the confrontation at the toilet that particular day. Her crying was still fresh in her memory.
“You cried your heart out mourning for your loss time trying to please everybody.” Taeyeon spoke wistfully. She turned to look at Tiffany, “I realized you didn’t actually want that attention you received as much as I thought you would.”
“Don’t judge the book by its cover.”
Taeyeon smiled and raised her hands guiltily, “Yeah, I apologize. It was my mistake. I shouldn’t have.”
“I wasn’t exactly honest with you either like you said. So I can’t blame you.” Tiffany responded. That much was true.
“How about now?”
“Now you’re one of my very good friends. We hanged out practically every day last month, didn’t we? I wouldn’t have hanged out with you that much if I wasn’t comfortable with you.”
“Yet, you comfortably spent a night at a stranger’s apartment.” Tiffany pointed out as if Taeyeon forgot what happened. She’s still couldn’t get over it.
“Miyeon-unnie’s not a stranger.” Taeyeon replied.
“Then why? Why did it only two weeks for you to be comfortable with her?”
“I’m not that comfortable with her. It was very late and I had a few drinks. It’s not good for a female driver to drive that late. Her and my place are 45 minutes apart.”
“Why are you comparing yourself with her? You both are different. She’s a respectful senior I have to work with for another five weeks. That’s all.”
“I still feel you’re not that comfortable around me.”
“You’re not exactly either.”
Tiffany pouted. Taeyeon chuckled and reached out to pat Tiffany’s hand.
“Relax. We still have a long way ahead of us. It’s gonna be fine.”
It’s not fine
Not fine at all
“I swear that Director of hers is deliberately making her stay.” Tiffany muttered as she ended the call. Taeyeon called her to inform her that she had to stay at the museum to help Sunny’s aunt with some work. Apparently, she volunteered along with Sunny.
“It’s her job, Fany.. I’m sure they have a lot to work over there. It’s Leeum. Besides, even her best friend who’s the niece is staying overtime.”
“She’s part-time, Soo!”
“Technically, she is but in reality, she’s not. She’s treating it as an internship, right? You told me about that the other day.”
“I shouldn’t have supported when she told me she wants to work full time there during the break.” Tiffany mumbled, “Now she doesn’t have time for me.”
“Do you like her?”
“Yeah, I do. She’s a good friend.” Tiffany responded calmly.
“That’s not what I’m asking, you know it.” Sooyoung rolled her eyes.
“Can you stop asking stupid questions then? She’s my friend and she’s supposed to be having a break, not working.”
“You didn’t even bother to visit me when I went to work in Japan.” Sooyoung pointed.
“If you like her, I have no problems. She’s a good person but your personalities are polar opposite.”
“I haven’t forgotten the stunt you pulled the other day, Choi.”
“She would have stopped talking to me, Shikshin!”
“She didn’t, right? Besides, I didn’t say anything stupid.” ,Sooyoung defended, “It’s okay to let someone in,Fany-ah. Not everyone is fake. Taeyeon is genuine. I can see it and I know that you see it.”
“I don’t like her, Sooyoung.”
Sooyoung sighed tiredly knowing the latter’s not going to confess the truth anytime soon.
“Okay then. Then don’t regret when she starts to see other people.”
“Got it. You don’t like her in any romantic way at all. So, you don’t mind joining Siwon and me at our usual hang out? It’s been sometime we get together.”
“Fine. I have nothing to do now anyway.” Tiffany looked down at her watch. Her previous plan was cancelled thanks to a middle age lady who thinks she’s sexy and still young.
“Why? She cancelled the dinner date that she didn’t know she had?”,Sooyoung joked.
“There they are.”
Tiffany turned around and saw Sooyoung’s boyfriend walking towards their table. Siwon was engaged in a conversation with his old friend he ran into when they entered the café.
She then saw a guy behind Sooyoung’s boyfriend, as they got nearer. The guy seemed to look surprised for a moment when their eyes met but immediately changed to a grin as he proceeded to follow Kyung Ho.
Tiffany got up as she gave her seat to Kyung Ho and took a seat opposite. She felt the sofa dipped as someone took a seat besides him. She ignored him as she sipped her cocktail.
She gave a side-glance as she put down the glass. She turned a bit and gave him a friendly smile.
The guy grinned as she responded. He moved a bit closer to her as he checked her out from head to toe.
“I’m Chun-Hee. Lee Chun Hee. I’m attending the same major with Kuyung-ho.” The guy extended his hand.
She smiled as she took it. “Tiffany Hwang.”
The guy still loosely held her hand after they finished shaking. She also made no attempt to remove it. He smiled wider.
“You’re beautiful. And I know that you know it. I just wanted to say it.”
He made no attempt to hide his desire. His eyes were evident. He’s pretty straightforward, I give him that
She liked it; the feeling of being wanted, the feeling of being desired, the feeling of having control.
She hadn’t actually gone on proper dates recently, much less responding to texts of previous dates. Not when she’s enjoying her time with Taeyeon more than entertaining the boys who only wanted one thing from her after the date ends.
She immediately removed her hand in reflex when a certain image popped into her head. She looked down at her hand. What was she doing? What’s this uneasy feeling that she had just now?
She felt a gaze and she looked up. Sooyoung was staring at her meaningfully. She inhaled. Nope, that’s not gonna happen.
“Hey, you okay?” A hand touched her forearm.
She shook her head and smiled at him. “I’m fine. Just had a chill.”
“Get yourself a date.”
Taeyeon groaned. The gang were at their favorite café to reunite after Yuri and Hyoyeon got back from the trip. They shared their stories of their trips, caught up with the recent happenings and a few minutes later the attention went to Taeyeon. They never stopped meddling with her business.
Without looking up to face her friends stares, she asked, “Are we seriously having this conversation again?”
“Until you start dating again, yes.” Yuri nodded her head, determined. She had made it her mission to pull Taeyeon out of her celibacy.
“I have been out of the game for so long, Yuri. I don’t know if I even want to see someone right now.”
“Don’t you feel lonely?” Hyoyeon interrupted. She could never empathize with Taeyeon when it came to how they live. She couldn’t stand being alone.
“I’m also searching for the right one. But I do go on dates. You on the other hand…” ,Sunny said. Yuri also went on dates. Hyoyeon’s also steady with the guy she’s currently seeing. As for Taeyeon…her life was currently revolving around a certain beauty without any direction.
“Aren’t you also tired of seeing countless of people?” Taeyeon pointed out. It was true. Dating costs a lot of time and money. One would have put on make up, tried to look her best and oh, not to mention, be someone else that boys will be attracted to.
“At least she gets laid.” Hyoyeon sniggered as she pointed out at Yuri who immediately got up from her seat to strangle her.
“Ya! Kim Hyoyeon!”
“Kwon Yuri! How d-“ Sunny looked at her tan friend, shocked.
“I was drunk, okay! Besides, he was attractive. It was just one night!” Yuri defended.
“My point exactly!!” Sunny scolded, flabbergasted.
“You make it sound like I-“
“At least you are not that active as Tiffany.”
All stunned at a sudden remark from their best friend. Taeyeon looked up from her drink after noticing a sudden silence. She immediately realized what she said. CRAP
“Okay, I think I’m missing something here.” Hyoyeon glanced at Sunny who had a knowing look on her face.
“Did you hook up with Tiffany during our absence?”
“W-what? No! Of course not!”
Taeyeon immediately denied the statement. Hook up? It will be the joke of the century. How can her a simple boring have no sense for fashion taste short-stuff can hook up, let alone a kiss with someone who’s so attractive, sexy and not –to mention her luscious li-
“You are fantasizing about her, aren’t you?” asked Yuri in a flat tone after noticing her friend’s dreamy drooling look.
“How did you know Tiffany had sex then?”
“Do you have to be this straightforward?!” Taeyeon scolded Yuri. It’s like a slap in her face, reminding her about Tiffany’s famous antic, which usually is a warning signal for someone like her.
“How did you?”
“I-I…” Taeyeon exhaled and closed her eyes, “I saw a hickey on her collarbone when removed her coat the other day.” It was well hidden under her striped boat neck t-shirt but it became visible when she removed her coat accidentally stretching the shirt along with it. She failed to have a levelheaded mind afterwards.
“She might be just making out.” Hyoyeon helped. Sunny gave her “What-the-fuck” sign. Taeyeon rolled her eyes. It wasn’t helping at all.
“So have you come down to the conclusion? About what you feel about her?”
The three friends looked at Taeyeon expectantly. It had been over five months since Tiffany entered Taeyeon’s life. And the girl broke the record of crushing Taeyeon’s walls within a short time.
Taeyeon sighed heavily.
“Yes, I like her. A lot.”
The squeals and cheers followed.
Taeyeon tapped her card at the scanner as she put the books on the counter. She decided to borrow some books from her school library to read at her apartment. She carried the books in her hand as she scrolled through her phone while walking along the school corridors.
She accidentally collided with someone dropping the books as a result.
“I’m very sorry!” Taeyeon exclaimed as she crouched down to pick up her books. A hand touched the book she was going to grab. It was a man’s hand. She looked up.
“Hey, does coffee sound good?”
The phone beeped.
Tiffany turned around to take her phone to see the notification. A hand gently massaged her neck to grab her attention.
She was on a third date with the guy she met at the bar the last time. The guy also came along with Sooyoung’s boyfriend when they decided to join the hang out with Sooyoung and Siwon.
“Baby, why did you move away?” The guy mumbled as he leaned into her ear as he inhaled her scent. He booked first-class seats at a posh movie theatre for the date. The seats were only separated the foldable armrest that was now folded.
Tiffany closed her eyes as the guy started to kiss along her neck to her collarbone. The phone beeped again.
She looked at the screen. Siwon sent her a message.
She’s really pretty
Tiffany raised her eyebrows at the mysterious message. Did Siwon send the text to her in mistake? Then again, the text was directly sent to her in SMS, not in chat app.
“Baby, your attention should be on me.”
“Slow down, Tiger. The movie hasn’t even started.” Tiffany responded. The guy took her to a secluded movie theatre as a date. She knew what he wanted. But she’s not that naïve to play along to his rule. This would be her game. Her game, her rules.
She’s really pretty
She’s really pretty
She’s pretty. –but she’s a rare gem
Tiffany immediately opened her eyes. She finally sat up and moved away from her date’s embrace. She unlocked her phone and clicked the message.
She’s really pretty
Siwon only texted her one simple sentence. What was the previous notification?
Tiffany checked the notifications. It was Snapchat. She immediately opened the app.
The back of the girl wearing leather jacket accentuated by skinny jeans was recorded ordering something to the barista in a video that lasted five seconds.
A Rare Gem #Can this become a date?
Tiffany felt her anger rising to the top as she glared at the smiling face with sunglasses emoji that Siwon tagged along with the phrases on the video.
The backpack that the girl wearing was an immediate give away to the latter’s identity. Taeyeon liked to put badges on her bag. Tiffany bought her one and Taeyeon had put in on her bag ever since. Now the Jack Skellington badge seemed to be mocking at her with that creepy smile of his.
“Baby, what’s wrong?” A hand touched her leg, sliding slowly.
Tiffany pulled away her leg and faked a smile at the guy. “I said the movie hasn’t even started, Oppa. And this is only our third date.”
“We were fine kissing a moment ago,” the guy said unhappily.
“Now, the movie is rolling. You paid a lot for this.” Tiffany replied flatly, her mind no longer into the movie and the guy besides him. She was getting restless. Siwon had done it again, ruining her life just when she thought her life was getting better.
“I paid a lot for this so I could be closer to you.”
“We are on our third date and we are already this close.”
“What? Did you hear about going to the fourth base on the third base with Tiffany Hwang?” Tiffany asked bluntly, no longer having patience.
“W-what?” , the guy stuttered.
Tiffany smirked as she moved away from him completely. “Don’t play dumb. I know about the rumor. Do you think I will be that easy?”
“Why do you think I let you get this close to me? This is my game and I will play along as long as you haven’t bored me yet.”
“What the fuck you just said?!” The guy shouted angrily, his pride wounded.
“Now that I know you are just one in a million, I’m bored. The date is over.” Tiffany said with finality as she stood up to leave. She had more important issue to attend to than to entertain another brainless jock.
“What the hell are you doing?” the guy grabbed her hand.
“Don’t touch me.” Tiffany tried to yank his hand off her wrist.
The guy didn’t remove her hand and forcefully pushed her towards him. Tiffany kneed him in the stomach and pushed him down to his seat.
Tiffany grabbed his collar tightly as she glared at him in anger, “Do that again and I will scream.”
“Now, we’re really over, you son of a bitch.”
Siwon smirked as he looked at the string of messages that was sent in a span of five minutes.
“So, you have something to say to me?”
Siwon closed his phone and looked at the girl in front of him. The girl had no reaction to his signature smile. He knew the girl didn’t flutter at the sight of him.
“We haven’t properly met and talked, Taeyeon.”
“We are not from the same major, Oppa.” ,replied Taeyeon. They had no reason to meet unless they were hanging out in groups with same mutual friends.
“That is true.” Siwon smiled as he stirred his coffee, “How long have you known Yoona by the way? Just out of curiosity.”
Making small conversations Taeyeon noted mentally. This meeting was no coincidence.
“Yuri introduced us when we just graduated. She’s already started modeling by then.”
“What do you want to talk about, Oppa?”
Siwon chuckled as he pointed his finger playfully at the latter, “Just as Sooyoung said, you are very straightforward, Taeyeon.”
“I just think that you won’t ask for me to have a coffee with you unless you have something to say.” Taeyeon responded with a friendly smile. She had no intention to get involved with him in a rumor. They were already earning glances from the passersby as they spoke.
“Do you mean my interest in you?”
“You know I don’t mean that.”
Siwon finally exhaled as he leaned back to his chair, “Okay, I won’t beat around the bush. I was hoping we could get familiar with each other first. What a pity.”
Siwon stopped smiling as he looked at Taeyeon. Taeyeon felt it, a bad omen falling into the pit of her stomach. Her heart beats getting louder inside her heart as Siwon spoke.
“I want you to stop meeting Tiffany.”