No Strings Attached – Chapter Eighteen

Jessica stopped just behind the person who was sitting at the table. She took a deep breath and went to the side of the table so that she could get a clearer look at the person. The person rose from her seat when she saw Jessica standing at the table. The moment their eyes met, Jessica let out a high-pitched shriek.

 

“You idiot!”

Taeyeon had a bewildered expression on her face. Jessica took the trouble to look for her at this café and yet her opening sentence was to yell at her. This reaction was totally unexpected and she was stunned.

 

After all these months…she is still angry at me for that evening?  

 

“You’re an idiot,” Jessica repeated in a firm tone. The unexpected reunion was giving her a burst of emotions. Words couldn’t describe the overflowing emotions and memories that Jessica was feeling.

 

“You’re the most sought after idiot!” Jessica’s voice shook a little. She wriggled her index finger at Taeyeon while trying to collect her thoughts.

 

Taeyeon suddenly smiled when she knew the reason for Jessica’s reaction. She held Jessica’s outstretched hand in hers. It felt cold, as always.

 

I missed you so much. I’m glad you missed me too.

 

“No, I’m not. I’m the most sought after baker and you’re the most sought after project manager, that’s why we are here. That’s why we meet again,” Taeyeon teased. She placed Jessica’s hand on her cheek.

Jessica felt her pulse increase upon touching Taeyeon’s warm cheek. She hit Taeyeon’s shoulders with both hands. “You’re an idiot for causing sleepless nights, for making me avoid all my favourite cakes just because I didn’t want to be reminded of you…”

 

Taeyeon grabbed Jessica’s hands and pulled the blonde towards her. She silenced the blonde with her lips as they collapsed onto the booth-type seat with Taeyeon at the bottom and Jessica landing onto Taeyeon. Taeyeon placed a hand behind Jessica’s head and shifted her own body so that they could continue kissing in a more comfortable position.

 

A few minutes later, their lips disconnected from each other, their noses still touching as Taeyeon cupped Jessica’s face in her hands.

 

“Your lips are made for kissing, not for yelling at me,” Taeyeon joked, grinning from ear to ear.

 

She didn’t reject me…she…LIKES ME! Yippee!!

 

Jessica’s face turned as red as beetroot. Both of them slowly sat upright in the seat and Taeyeon stole another quick kiss from Jessica.

 

“Why are you here?” Jessica asked abruptly.

 

Taeyeon related her story of how she ended up in Los Angeles to Jessica. While studying in Japan, Taeyeon’s mentor Suzuki san invited her and a few of his staff to attend the American Baker’s Association’s conference in Los Angeles, thinking it would be good exposure for her. Taeyeon was glad to accept the invite since it was a rare opportunity to visit such a faraway country.

 

Taeyeon hadn’t planned on joining Suzuki san and his staff at the club that night. She wanted to rest in the hotel and finish up an article she was contributing for the food review section of a lifestyle magazine. However, Suzuki-san was a persuasive person and managed to convince Taeyeon to attend the party.

 

“You knew it was me behind that mask but you deliberately teased me during that song!” Jessica slapped Taeyeon’s thighs. Taeyeon slid her arm around Jessica’s waist, gently patting Jessica’s thigh.

 

Taeyeon laughed. “Actually I didn’t know you would be at the club. I happened to be taking a break at the upper floor when I heard someone coming out. I hid behind a pillar as my mask was off. The next moment, I saw you leaning against the ledge. I was so tempted to call you but I held my tongue. Later, the DJ’s matchmaking game gave me the perfect opportunity for me to get closer to you. I didn’t know if you would be able to recognise me but I decided to take a risk.”

 

Jessica raised her eyebrows and poked Taeyeon’s forehead with her finger. “Why is it a risk?!”

 

“Miss Jung, if you recall, you rejected me at your home. I couldn’t predict what your reaction would be after not seeing you for such a long time! And I don’t know what I mean to you. All I know is that every time I think of you, I just want to be with you.” Taeyeon leaned backwards and threw her arms up into the air. Taeyeon wanted to get it off her chest and she finally did, in front of the person who caused her heartache.

 

~ Flashback ~ 

 

 

The following morning after Taeyeon’s outburst in the kitchen, Yuri came to work to find the kitchen in a complete mess. There was a half empty bottle of Baileys and a glass on the floor. Taeyeon was hardly a drinker, yet she finished one third of the bottle of Baileys which was used for baking. Her heart ached when she saw what her friend was going through.

 

When Yuri and Yoona went over to Taeyeon’s apartment that evening, they were surprised to see a calm Taeyeon welcoming them at her door. They were expecting a wreck; tear-stained blood shot eyes, unkempt hair, unwashed clothes, a big mess in the apartment but it was the opposite of what they had imagined. In fact, Taeyeon even had a haircut and changed the colour of her hair.

 

“Decided to spend my day doing something constructive instead of wasting my energy crying over something which I have no control of. I never knew doing household chores can be so therapeutic.” Taeyeon smiled as she held the door for both of them to enter.

 

Sitting in the living room, Taeyeon poured them some juice while they chatted.

 

“After thinking about it for more than a day, I’ve accepted the fact that we will not be together, not as a couple,” Taeyeon said unquestionably.

 

“If she doesn’t know how to appreciate you, it’s her loss. I believe there’s someone out there who knows how to treat you better,” Yuri consoled.

“I’m alright. I think I need a break from the café for a while. That place has too many memories of her,” Taeyeon said, her hands clasped together.

 

“Taeyeon unnie, what do you have in mind?” Yoona asked, patting Taeyeon’s arm.

 

“I’ve always wanted to take up a course by Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo,” Taeyeon paused and looked at the two of them who were sitting opposite her. She wanted to see how her friends would react at that news since she hadn’t mention anything to them at all.

 

“Go for it, Taeyeon unnie!”

 

“Yeah, don’t worry about the café. Anyway, you’re often not around for the past few weeks and we were doing fine.”

 

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Taeyeon gave Yuri a punch and the latter pretended to be injured as she fell backwards in her seat. All of them laughed at Yuri’s dramatic reaction.

 

“But seriously, it’s a very prestigious culinary school and I think you ought to go. Bring new experiences back and grow the business here. Would you be able to take a leave of absence from the academy?” Yuri asked.

 

Taeyeon nodded. “In fact, they would be sponsoring my school fees.”

 

“Wow that’s great! The timing’s perfect,” Yoona cheered.

 

“Take the opportunity to come back as a brand new person armed with more knowledge about your craft.” Yuri patted Taeyeon’s arm and nodded her head slightly.

 

~ End of Flashback ~

 

“I was so stunned when you appeared at my house and confessed. I… I wasn’t prepared at all! You didn’t give me a chance to finish what I had to say that day.” Jessica replied defensively.

 

Taeyeon gave Jessica an incredulous look, totally not convinced by what she had just heard.

 

“Now it’s my fault? I’ll give you a chance to finish what you wanted to say previously. You can say it to me now.” Taeyeon folded her arms across her chest with a frown on her face.

 

Now Jessica was put in the hot spot. She had feelings for Taeyeon but never had the guts to admit it. This was her only chance and she wasn’t going to let it slip out of her hands again.

 

Jessica took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Her heart was pumping so fast she was afraid it might pop out of her mouth.

 

“Listen carefully coz I’m only going to say it only once. I don’t feel anything from anyone else except you. My heart really felt lonely when you went away and I missed you so much. I want kisses on my eyelids every morning, Baileys frosted brownies on weekends and someone to make me smile all the time.”

 

“Ahh…so I’m your heart’s desire?” a cheeky grin slowly appeared on Taeyeon’s face. She tugged Jessica towards her gently and circled her arms around Jessica’s waist.

 

Jessica nodded bashfully, her cheeks were flushed pink. She was glad she put her pride aside in pursuit of her happiness.

 

“What are you waiting for? Kiss me and make me feel important. Let me know that the nine months of heartache I went through was worth it,” Taeyeon said haughtily.

 

“We’ve just kissed a while ago!” Jessica exclaimed. Then she realised she said it a little too loudly as the couple at the next table looked up from their meal and stared at them.

 

Taeyeon had stomach cramps trying to hold in her laughter. Tears were streaming down her face as she bent over in laughter. When she finally stopped laughing, she held Jessica’s hand.

 

“We better get out of her before that couple thinks we’re nuts,” Taeyeon said as took out some bills to pay for her drink before they left the café.

 

Their hands were never apart, even during the taxi ride to Jessica’s service apartment. Taeyeon was gazing at Jessica lovingly with a silly grin on her face. She was drawing circles with her thumbs on Jessica’s hands.

 

Jessica missed the warmth of Taeyeon’s small hands. She lifted both of Taeyeon’s hands and intertwined her fingers with Taeyeon’s. Both of them giggled as Jessica curled her last finger with Taeyeon’s.

 

“I miss my personal hand warmer,” Jessica whispered.

 

Taeyeon brought one of their intertwined hands to her lips and kissed the back of Jessica’s hand.

 

“I’ll gladly be your hand warmer anytime.” The silly grin on Taeyeon’s face just got wider.

 

“Cheesy.”

 

Once inside the apartment, Taeyeon held Jessica’s hand and led her to the edge of the bed in her bedroom.

 

“Wait here,” Taeyeon said softly, letting go of Jessica’s hand.

 

Taeyeon dimmed the lights in the room and turned on the ipod that was plugged into the dock. Jazz music filled the room as Taeyeon strutted towards Jessica, not breaking eye contact at all.

 

There was a gentle smile on Taeyeon’s face as she gazed lovingly at Jessica. She combed Jessica’s bangs to the side and tucked it behind her ear before wrapping her arms around Jessica’s waist. She closed her eyes and planted a light kiss on Jessica’s nose. Reaching for the zipper at the back of Jessica’s black dress, Taeyeon gave it a tug. The long black dress slid off Jessica’s shoulders and the soft silky fabric rested on Taeyeon’s arms that were around her waist.

 

There was a mischievous glint in Taeyeon’s eyes and Jessica knew what Taeyeon had in mind. With yet another gentle tug, the dress slid off Jessica’s body and collapsed into a heap at Jessica’s feet. Jessica shivered a little when her near-naked body felt the cold draft of the aircon in the room. She felt Taeyeon wrapping her arms around her back, pressing their bodies together.

 

Taeyeon lined Jessica’s bare shoulders with butterfly kisses, causing Jessica to grip the back of Taeyeon’s blouse tightly and letting out a soft moan.  Stepping out of the dress which laid at her feet, Jessica pulled Taeyeon towards her, causing both of them to fall onto the bed. She proceeded to unbutton Taeyeon’s blouse slowly with a smirk on her face, enjoying every inch of skin that was slowly unveiled.

 

Jessica grazed her hand over Taeyeon’s shoulder. “I’m glad the red mark is gone.”

 

“It took quite a long while to disappear completely. You’ve such strong teeth,” Taeyeon joked.

 

That remark earned a slap on the shoulder from Jessica.

 

“Ouch, you bear to hurt me again?” Taeyeon pouted and gave Jessica the puppy-eyes look.

 

“Focus, Kim Taeyeon, you’re ruining the romantic mood right now.” Jessica frowned and stuck out her tongue at Taeyeon.

 

Taeyeon let out a laugh. She carefully pushed Jessica’s tumbled hair off her face and let her fingers touch her forehead, nose and cheeks. Her fingers came to a stop at Jessica’s lips.

 

“You’re beautiful…as always.” Taeyeon’s voice was soft and low.

 

“I know,” Jessica’s voice shivered as she felt Taeyeon’s fingers dance across her lips. She parted Taeyeon’s blouse and flung it onto the floor. Slipping one hand to the back, she unhooked the white cotton bra that covered Taeyeon’s modesty.

 

“Baby, let’s take it slow and easy since our flight is in the afternoon,” Taeyeon said huskily. She covered Jessica’s lips with her own, then sliding her arms down Jessica’s back and unhooking her black strapless bra.

 

Jessica hooked her arms around Taeyeon’s neck and arched her back, feeling ripples of pleasure travelling through her body as they kissed each other passionately. Everything felt different that night. It was no longer about satisfying their physical needs but also their emotional needs. They craved for each other’s love and company. They spent that night making sweet love to each other over and over again.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Sun rays crept through the gap in the curtains the following morning. Jessica woke up to a familiar weight across her waist. She smiled to herself and brought the arm to her chest. She parted the fingers and kissed each one gently.

 

“Baby, do you know what’s so good about mornings?” Taeyeon mumbled, kissing the back of Jessica’s neck. She enjoyed hugging Jessica from the back and inhaling the sweet scent of her hair.

 

“I don’t know, enlighten me.”

 

“You.”

 

“Gosh, you’re cheesy,” Jessica squirmed. She playfully bit Taeyeon’s fingers.

 

Taeyeon laughed. “I’ve been baking too many cheesecakes recently.”

 

“No wonder your cheese factor is at its max,” Jessica giggled.

 

“I miss you terribly.” Taeyeon’s tone turned serious. She planted a kiss on the back of Jessica’s neck.

 

“It was my fault.”

 

“No, it’s not your fault. We played by the rules…but both of us broke the rules without realising it. Aren’t you glad that we went against the rules?” Taeyeon said gently.

 

Jessica kissed the back of Taeyeon’s hand. “We’re naughty kids who break rules,” Jessica chuckled.

 

“You’re the naughty one. I was led astray by you, you distracting woman,” Taeyeon grinned as she pinched Jessica’s nose.

 

Taeyeon earned a slap on her thigh for that remark. She sniggered as she curled her leg around Jessica’s waist and they remained in a back hug for the next few minutes. It was still their favourite position in bed.

 

“I’ve a surprise for you,” Taeyeon suddenly announced.

 

Taeyeon reached over the side of the bed and dug out something from her bag.

 

“What is it?” Jessica asked. She was about to turn around to face Taeyeon but she was stopped by Taeyeon.

 

“Here it is, open it.” Taeyeon produced a small red box with gold trimmings and placed it in front of Jessica’s face.

 

Jessica opened the box and it revealed a Cartier trinity ring. She gasped upon seeing the ring and immediately turned around to face Taeyeon. The older girl had a serious look on her face.

 

“I love you, Jessica, forever and always. Would you accept this ring as a confirmation of our relationship?” Taeyeon asked sincerely. She could hear her heartbeat echoing in the room.

 

Jessica was holding back her tears. She wasn’t a person who cried easily. However, this morning it was different. A single tear flowed down her cheek as she nodded bashfully.

 

Taeyeon was elated. She took out the ring from the box and slid it onto Jessica’s finger. Amid morning breath and dishevelled hair, both of them shared several passionate kisses as they celebrated their new status.

 

After they kissed themselves silly, they took a long shower in the tub together before ordering room service for their breakfast. They fed each other eggs and toast in bed, giggling like teenagers.

 

“I meant to ask you earlier on…when did you buy this ring?” Jessica asked, admiring the tri-coloured ring on her ringer.

 

“Hmm a few months back. I saw it in the store and knew I wanted to get it for you.”

 

“And you bring it along with you everywhere you go?”

 

“Of course I don’t! I can’t afford to lose this ring. Tiffany mentioned that you’re still in LA…so I brought it along in case I bumped into you and I’m glad I did.” Taeyeon smiled. She lifted Jessica’s hand and kissed the ring on her finger.

 

“I guess we’re destined to be together then. I love you, Taeyeon, I really do.” Jessica let a weight off her shoulders as she uttered those last few words she had been meaning to say since they parted at her apartment in Seoul.

 

Taeyeon cupped her hands around Jessica’s face and brought her face closer to hers. Their noses touch, their lips grazed across each other’s as Taeyeon said, “I love you too, always.”

 

And their lips met.

 

 

= THE END =

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