Cantabile – in a singing style
Jessica heard her phone vibrating on her desk. She dumped her novel on the bedside table, leapt out of bed so that she could grab her phone. Smiling to herself, she already knew who the sender was before looking at the message.
Hey, what are you up to? – Taeyeon
Just reading a novel. Are you practicing? – Jessica
Yup, my usual Saturday routine. Why aren’t you out on a Saturday afternoon? – Taeyeon
No date. Bored to tears. T_T – Jessica
Wanna come see me at work? – Taeyeon
You mean watch the orchestra rehearse?? – Jessica
You know where to find me. I wanna claim my free meal after my practice. Heehee. – Taeyeon
Jessica giggled to herself. She had been meeting Taeyeon once in a while, usually for a late dinner since Taeyeon was busy with work and orchestra practices. During dinner, they would chat about classical music or catching up with each other’s activities during the week. It was a moment she enjoyed and something to look forward to.
Skipping around her room, she picked out her clothes, got dressed and dashed out of the room even before her mother could ask where she was rushing off to.
After arriving at the Seoul Performing Arts Centre, Jessica walked along a corridor leading to the main concert hall. From a distance, she could hear the orchestra playing as one of the entrance doors leading to the main hall was opened.
Peeking in, Jessica gasped when she saw the full orchestra on stage and the musicians were in the midst of playing a classical piece. She noticed some people sitting in the middle block on the main floor of the hall and decided to join them. As she walked along the aisle, she was in awe of the grandeur of the concert hall. With its gorgeous wood paneling, high vaulted ceiling and cathedral-like ambience, the concert hall was more majestic and spectacular than she had imagined or seen on television.
Jessica took a seat along the row where a few others were at. They smiled at her and she returned the greeting by mouthing a ‘hi’. It seemed like they were friends and families of some of the orchestra members. She looked at the stage, trying to find Taeyeon, wondering where she would be seated.
Just then, the piece ended and there was chatter on stage as the conductor pointed out some of the mistakes made and how they should improve. Jessica finally caught sight of Taeyeon who was sitting at the corner of a tiered centre platform, together with the rest of the woodwinds. Taeyeon had a serious look on her face as she used a pencil to make markings on the music score in front of her. Her clarinet was placed on a stand on the floor as she scribbled away.
The conductor raised his baton and everyone held their instruments in position. With a swing of his arm, the orchestra started playing the song from the beginning. Jessica didn’t know the name of the musical piece that was being played but she was blown away by the emotions that transcended the music scores as the orchestra played on. It was nothing she had heard and seen in her life. Listening to a live orchestra playing was a dream come true for her, though it was just a practice session.
After the end of that song, Taeyeon spotted Jessica sitting in the audience. She placed her clarinet on the stand and pulled out the lip balm from her pocket. She held the lip balm in the air and pointed to it, hoping that Jessica would be able to see it.
Jessica laughed at the comical sight. She nodded and waved back. Taeyeon stuck her tongue out at Jessica mischievously before taking a drink from the bottle of vitamin water. She fished out her phone from her hoodie that was hanging on her chair and typed away.
The next moment, Jessica’s phone vibrated. She took it out of her handbag and read the message.
Yay you’re here. I brought your lip balm here. I told you I will use it well. – Taeyeon
She tried not to giggle as she replied Taeyeon’s message.
Yes I saw you waving it at me. Concentrate on your practice. We’ll go for dinner once you’re done. – Jessica
I can’t concentrate. You glow. Your beauty is too distracting. *grins* – Taeyeon
Jessica couldn’t help but blush when she saw Taeyeon’s reply.
In that case, I’ll leave right away so that you can focus on doing your work. – Jessica
Taeyeon nearly dropped her phone when she saw that message. She looked at Jessica and made a hand sign, asking her not to leave. Then she pouted like a poor puppy.
Alright, I’m not leaving. Focus on your work while I think of a nice dinner place to go. – Jessica
Taeyeon smiled at the message and gave a thumbs up. The corners of her lips remained upturned as she put the mouthpiece into her mouth to prepare for the next piece they were playing.
After practice was over, Taeyeon packed up as fast as she could so that she wouldn’t keep Jessica waiting for too long. She bid farewell to her colleagues and left the building with Jessica.
Jessica brought Taeyeon to a quaint Korean food stall in a quiet neighbourhood. They had simple Korean street food for dinner before they headed for a park nearby. Rows of houses surrounded a small park that had a playground in the middle.
Stopping a distance away from the playground, Taeyeon turned around and looked at Jessica with a mischievous glint in her eyes. Jessica raised an eyebrow and stared back at Taeyeon, wondering why there was a sudden change in Taeyeon’s expression.
“Last one to reach the playground will pay for the next dinner!” Taeyeon shouted. With that, she took off and ran towards the playground.
“Hey, you cheated! You didn’t give me any prior notice!” Jessica yelled, running after Taeyeon.
It was obvious who arrived earlier at the playground. Taeyeon leaned against the slide, half panting, half laughing away when she saw the blonde finally catching up with her. Jessica chased Taeyeon around the playground as the latter weaved in and out of the swings and slides. They were playing around like happy little children. Though they were tired, they enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
After a while, both of them gave up chasing each other around the playground.
“Age is catching up,” Taeyeon said aloud, kicking her feet against the ground so that she would go higher on her swing.
“You make yourself sound like an ahjumma,” Jessica laughed. She was enjoying the cool breeze as she went back and forth on the swing.
“This place reminds me of my childhood. When I was younger, I didn’t play with my classmates because I was always busy with clarinet lessons. It was such a treat for me whenever my parents allowed me to go to the playground. That would be … once a month?” Taeyeon said as she recalled her past.
“I guess your parents want the best for you. Though it does sound a little sad that you can only go to the playground once a month. I guess I’m luckier. I get to go there at least three to four times a week. The playground’s such a fun place to be,” Jessica said as she picked up speed on her swing.
“Well, I can’t blame them totally coz I was the one who insisted on learning the clarinet and I’m glad I did. I really love music and I love playing the clarinet more than anything else in my life.”
Perhaps now I’ve found a new love besides my clarinet.
When they got tired of sitting on the swings, they went to the slide. Both of them climbed to the top of the slide and sat down in the small space at the top.
“The last time you mentioned that you did a research on the personalities of clarinetists right? Well, I did some research on my own too,” Taeyeon said, looking at Jessica with a wide smile on her face.
“What did you find out?” Jessica asked curiously.
“Well, according to urban dictionary, clarinetists are the sexiest and most talented type of people in the world,” Taeyeon said proudly.
Jessica couldn’t help but laugh. In fact, she laughed so hard until there were tears in her eyes.
“Hey, was it really that funny? Don’t I look the part?” Taeyeon said smugly, flicking her fringe aside.
“I wonder who wrote that in urban dictionary. That person obviously hasn’t met anyone who is a clarinetist,” Jessica teased.
“You’re so mean!” Taeyeon pretended to be angry. She bit her lower lip and arched her brows.
“Sorry Taeyeon, I’m only kidding. The sexy part I’m really not sure but talented, yes I totally agree,” Jessica said in a serious tone, worried that she may had offended Taeyeon.
Suddenly Taeyeon’s lips turned upwards into a smile. She burst out laughing. “I’m only joking! Who believes such things on the internet anyway?”
Jessica was surprised that she got played out at her own game. Wanting to take revenge, she started to tickle Taeyeon all over. The musician was trying her best to swat Jessica’s hands away but the blonde proved to be stronger than she looked. Taeyeon couldn’t escape as she was trapped in the narrow space with Jessica.
Finally, Taeyeon managed to grab both of Jessica’s hands and held them up so that Jessica couldn’t continue to tickle her. Jessica laughed at the sight of the red-faced musician who was trying to catch her breath. She wriggled her hands free from Taeyeon’s grasp and stuck her tongue out at Taeyeon.
“You made me laugh so much and my tummy is aching now. My poor stomach muscles,” Taeyeon whined, bending over slightly as if she was in pain.
Jessica felt a little guilty. “I’m sorry, I forgotten that you had a long day at practice. Which part of your tummy is painful?”
Taeyeon sat upright and pointed to a spot on her stomach.
Jessica used her hand to massage the spot that Taeyeon pointed.
“Better now?” Jessica looked up and met Taeyeon’s eyes.
Taeyeon held onto Jessica’s hand that was on her stomach, stopping her from massaging her stomach. They looked into each other’s eyes, not saying a word. Under the moonshine, Taeyeon could see the pink on Jessica’s cheeks. Taeyeon brushed off some strands of hair from Jessica’s cheek. Then she let her hand guild towards Jessica’s ear and finally stopped at the back of her head. Her eyes travelled from Jessica’s eyes to her lips and stayed here for a few seconds before moving back to her eyes again.
By now, Taeyeon’s heartbeat had gone from Allegro to Presto, beating wildly as she inched closer to Jessica. She felt the adrenaline rush in her body as she placed her other hand against the railings behind Jessica. Her senses were heightened when she felt Jessica’s warm breath against her face; the scent of peach shampoo, the beautiful pair of brown eyes looking back at her, the beating of her own heartbeat against her ribcage, the soft blonde locks that caressed her hand. All that was left was to taste that pair of luscious lips.
Blood rushed to Jessica’s cheeks, making turning them red when she saw Taeyeon tilting her head and leaning closer to her. The butterflies in her stomach went on an overdrive, fluttering around like crazy. She closed her eyes when she felt Taeyeon’s lips pressed against hers. It was a pleasant sensation, soft yet tingling, as Jessica returned the kiss. Their mouths moved rhythmically, with Taeyeon taking the lead.
They pulled apart bashfully after sharing their first kiss together. It was short but sweet. Taeyeon was grinning from ear to ear, her heartbeat wasn’t slowly down yet. Jessica rested her head on Taeyeon’s shoulders and placed her hands on Taeyeon’s thigh. She felt the musician wrap an arm around her waist and pulled her closer.
Taeyeon tilted her head and rested it on top of Jessica’s. She played with Jessica’s fingers before slipping hers through Jessica’s. Jessica let out a shy giggle as she squeezed Taeyeon’s hand. Without saying a word, both of them knew love had been created at that very moment.