Heartbeat – Chapter 6

Tokyo

“Hi baby, can you see me clearly?” Taeyeon was sitting in bed, holding up her iPad.

“Yes I can. How was your day?” Jessica shifted in the bed, propping her body against a pillow. Her lips naturally pulled up into a wide smile seeing her fiancée in the screen.

“It could have been better if you were with me.” Taeyeon puckered up her lips and made an air kiss towards her iPad.

“Oh my God! That’s just so cheesy!!” a voice shouted in the background.

“Who’s that?” Taeyeon asked, surprised to hear another voice in the house. It was a bit muffled due to the intermittent internet connection and she couldn’t tell who the voice belonged to. She could see Jessica throwing a side glance and waving for that person to keep quiet.

“It’s her human bolster replacement.” That same voice answered. By now, Jessica was trying to hide her face behind a pillow as her cheeks were turning pink. At the same time, Taeyeon was able to decipher who the owner of the voice belonged to from the way the person answered her question.

“It is Tiffany. I called her here for a sleepover since it was a long while since we had one,” Jessica replied hurriedly, in case Taeyeon was mistaken. Just then, Taeyeon saw Tiffany appearing within the same frame as Jessica and giving her a menacing stare.

“No dirty talking for the both of you tonight! I don’t want to be violated by my best friend!” Tiffany glared at Taeyeon, then at Jessica before disappearing from the bedroom to leave the two lovebirds to chat in private.

“See what you’ve done to her. Now she’s traumatised. It took me a long time to persuade her to stay over.” Jessica wagged a finger at Taeyeon. Taeyeon was bending over with laughter and wiping tears with her hands.

“Have you met the organizers?” Jessica asked after the baker stopped laughing.

“No. I’ll be meeting them tomorrow, along with Suzuki san and the rest of the team. Today we were finalising the menu and preparing the necessary paperwork. I heard the actress hosting this event is popular and this is her first charity event. I’m feeling a little nervous about it.” Taeyeon frowned a little, hugging her pillow.

“Are you nervous because you’re meeting a beautiful actress? Or excited at the thought of being attracted to her beauty?” Jessica pursed her lips and shot at icy glare at Taeyeon.

Taeyeon jumped to her own defense instantly. “Of course not! There’s no one else in the world who can match the beauty who’s talking to me right now. Even when you’re not here with me, you’re always in my mind and in my heart.”

“You’re giving me goose bumps! Your cheesiness knows no boundaries. Luckily Tiff isn’t here else she might just puke cheese onto the bed.”

Taeyeon burst into laughter. After calming down, she said in a serious tone, “Actually I’m nervous because it is a big event and it would be widely publicised. It’s quite stressful but yet challenging. I hope we’ll be selected to participate in this event. I’m looking forward to working with Suzuki san on this huge project!”

“I’m sure they would. Kim Taeyeon, fighting!” Jessica said sweetly with a fist pump and a wink. Taeyeon melted in a puddle at that adorable sight.

About an hour into their conversation, Taeyeon noticed the bed dip a little. The next moment, she saw a pair of hands wrapping around Jessica’s waist from the back and a sleepy face propped onto Jessica’s shoulder. The couple laughed and tried to get Tiffany involved in their conversation but the latter merely lay her head on Jessica’s shoulders and nodded randomly with her eyes half closed.

After a few minutes, Tiffany let out a yawn. “Are you two done yet? I’ve been wanting for ages to chat with my girl friend.” Tiffany looked into the screen with her half-open eyes.

“I better let you go before I incur the wrath of the terrifying Tiffany Hwang! Bye bye ladies. Enjoy your sleepover.” Taeyeon smiled sweetly and waved at the iPad.

“Taeyeon, before you go, here’s a parting gift from your fiancée.” Tiffany had sneakily unbuttoned the top two buttons of Jessica’s pyjamas while the lovebirds were engrossed in their chat. She pulled the top of the pyjamas apart swiftly with one hand and with the other, aimed the iPad towards the valley of ample assets for a few seconds before turning the chat off.

Taeyeon heard Jessica’s high-pitched shriek before the screen went blank. She was secretly pleased with what Tiffany had done but couldn’t imagine the havoc that was happening in her bed right now. She wondered who would win the battle. With a chuckle, she turned off her iPad and slept with a wide smile on her face.

~*~*~*~

“This is Taeyeon san, my protégé. She was formerly studying under me for several years before moving back to Seoul where she is from. Taeyeon san is a very established baker and has won several awards. She teaches at the Seoul Culinary Academy and owns her own cafe. She would be assisting me for the event as the head chef.” Suzuki san introduced the petite baker to the organizing committee of the charity event. Taeyeon bowed to almost ninety degrees as a form of respect.

Taeyeon introduced herself and the team for the event in fluent Japanese. Most of the committee members were amazed at Taeyeon’s fluency in the language. It wasn’t common to find a female in the baking industry, especially in Japan. Moreover, Taeyeon was highly recommended by the renowned pastry chef. They were impressed with Suzuki’s efforts in putting together a formidable team for this event.

After the formal introductions, everyone took their seats. Taeyeon noticed two empty seats near the front of the long table. The organizer gave out a non-disclosure agreement which Suzuki’s team had to sign before they started their discussion. This event was kept under wraps until the project was awarded to the winning bakery. Then, a formal press release would be distributed to the media. Prior to that, no one was supposed to disclose the details of the charity event to anyone. Once the agreement was signed, the organizers started to brief the team on the objectives and requirements.

About fifteeen minutes later, there was a knock on the door. One of the men from the committee went to open it. Everyone stopped talking immediately and silence fell across the room. All eyes were on the three people, two ladies and a man, standing at the door.

The taller lady had very fair complexion like that of snow, her long black hair framed her small face and she had a pair of alluring black eyes. Dressed in a simple white leather jacket and a matching pair of white skin-tight leather pants, she exuded a sense of elegance. The shorter lady had cropped black hair with a pink streak on her fringe. She wore a denim jacket over a printed tee with dark coloured pants. The man was dressed in a business suit.

“Sorry, we’re a little late. Traffic was bad,” the man apologised. He introduced himself as the manager while the lady standing next to him was the stylist for the actress. The stylist greeted everyone with a quick bow.

Taeyeon knew the taller lady must be the actress in question as all the men in the room couldn’t take their eyes off her. There were even hints of smiles appearing on the stern faces of the Japanese men in the organizing committee.

“Hello everyone, I’m Yukiko Takahashi, pleased to meet you.” The tall Japanese actress smiled warmly with a bow.

She is really beautiful. As fair as the snow. Her voice is gentle and sweet.

It was no wonder the men in the room couldn’t take their eyes off her. Even Taeyeon was captivated by the actress’ good looks.

Yukiko took a quick glance around the meeting room and noticed two females among the sea of men. Both of them belonged to the bakery team and she noticed that one of them looked Korean. It was then Yukiko saw Taeyeon staring in her direction and she felt an instant connection. She threw a charming smile at the baker and was amused when the baker blushed to a light shade of pink.

Taeyeon was a little embarrassed. She didn’t mean to look at the actress longer than she should but there was an unspoken lure of the actress that made her stare in admiration. She was sure the men were looking at the actress for longer than they should too. Flipping through the notes on the table, Taeyeon focused her attention on the event requirements.

Throughout the meeting, Yukiko couldn’t keep her eyes off the only Korean female in the room. She noticed how Taeyeon would stick out her tongue when she was in deep concentration as she scribbled notes. She found that action rather adorable. Yukiko also realised Taeyeon would keep her eyes on the presenter presumably to avoid eye contact with her. Once in a while when their eyes briefly met, Taeyeon would look away quickly.

The meeting went on smoothly and it took about an hour. Yukiko had to rush off for an interview with a magazine. She thanked everyone for their effort and left the room with her manager. As Suzuki and his team stepped out of the room, a lady interrupted them. It was Yukiko’s stylist, Riko. She asked Suzuki and Taeyeon to follow her as she had something to talk to them in private.

“Suzuki san, Takahashi san would like to invite you and Taeyeon san for drinks at the hotel’s bar at 10pm tonight. Would you be able to make it?” Riko asked.

Suzuki san looked at his student who wore a tinge of worry on her face.

“It isn’t common for Takahashi san to invite people for drinks. I hope you understand what I mean,” Riko emphasized.

“Sure, we’ll be there. Riko san, please thank her on our behalf,” Suzuki san replied formally.

Taeyeon knew that it was only polite to accept the invitation from their client. This was a golden opportunity to mingle with the client and hopefully build a good relationship which may result in them clinching the deal. Adding to Taeyeon’s worry was the fact that she couldn’t hold her alcohol well. Nonetheless, she knew it was her obligation to attend this drinks session.

Later that night, Suzuki san and Taeyeon arrived early at the bar, which was located at the top floor of the hotel. It offered a lovely view of the neighbourhood and it reminded Taeyeon of the first time she met Jessica. Suddenly her heart longed for the chestnut-coloured hair woman. It had been only two days apart but she was missing her like crazy.

I miss you, baby. Wish I could give you a big hug right now…

Yukiko had arranged for a private room for them. She wanted to personally thank Suzuki for preparing for putting in so much effort in doing up the proposal for this event. She was touched by his sincerity and efforts in getting his protégé from Seoul to help in the planning of the menu. Plus, she had a hidden agenda in mind.

The small group of five (Yukiko, her stylist Riko, her manager, Suzuki and Taeyeon) sat around a table and had some drinks while they chatted. Taeyeon was mindful of her alcohol limit and tried her best to avoid drinking unless she had no choice. Midway through the night, Riko excused herself from the room, saying that she had to make some calls to confirm Yukiko’s schedule for tomorrow. The two men decided to go out to the balcony to smoke. Yukiko took the opportunity to slip into the empty seat beside Taeyeon. She noticed that Taeyeon’s glass was still quite full.

“It seems like you’re not enjoying yourself much.” Yukiko pointed to Taeyeon’s glass.

Not wanting to be rude, Taeyeon took a quick sip and hurriedly put the glass back onto the table. However, before the glass could rest on the table, Yukiko raised her hand to block the glass from touching the table.

“You drank so little. You should drink more, Taeyeon san,” Yukiko said in a sultry voice. She leaned forward, almost touching Taeyeon. Taeyeon felt a little uncomfortable at the close proximity between them. A hand snaked across Taeyeon’s thigh, sending sparks of electricity to her body. She tried to move a little but Yukiko applied more pressure on her hand and it remained firmly rooted on Taeyeon’s thigh.

“To be honest, I can’t drink much,” Taeyeon admitted. Even after drinking with Jessica at home, her alcohol limit had barely increased.

“How about finishing this glass for me? You wouldn’t want to disappoint the client right?” Yukiko batted her eyelids at Taeyeon.

Taeyeon gulped. There was an underlying meaning in Yukiko’s words and she knew that she didn’t have a choice.

With a reluctant smile, Taeyeon downed the glass of sake, much to the delight of the Japanese actress. The actress refilled Taeyeon’s glass and proposed another toast to her.

After two glasses of sake, Taeyeon felt a little light headed from the high alcohol content in sake. She suggested heading out to the balcony for some fresh air. They bumped into the two men who returned to the room to continue drinking. The Japanese actress was amused by Taeyeon’s slurring and occasional random giggles as they chatted.

It was past 1am when Taeyeon returned to her room. She collapsed onto the bed and almost fell asleep if it wasn’t for the incessant vibration of her mobile phone on the bedside table. Lifting her head, Taeyeon realized she had forgotten to bring her phone to the drinking session earlier on. She crawled across the bed and answered the call.

“Taeyeon ah, where were you? I was worried when you didn’t answer your phone earlier,” an upset and worried voice reprimanded at the other end of the line.

“Sorry baby, I left my phone charging in the hotel room. We went for drinks with the organizer. I must have forgotten to tell you,” Taeyeon said drowsily. She placed the phone against her ear while she lay on one side.

“Did you drink a lot? You sound drunk.” Jessica’s tone of voice softened.

“…” Taeyeon muttered something inaudible.

“Go wash up and made yourself a hot cup of green tea to feel better,” Jessica said in a concerned tone. She knew that drinking was a common activity after meetings in Japan. She was worried about the baker since she knew that the latter’s tolerance for alcohol wasn’t high.

“Kay…”

“Taeyeon ah…”

“Ya?” Taeyeon answered sleepily.

“I miss you.”

“I …miss…you…too,” Taeyeon’s voice trailed off.

A few seconds later, Jessica heard the gentle snores on the other side of the line. She guessed that Taeyeon had fallen asleep. She listened to the snores for a little longer before ending the call. On one hand, she was worried about Taeyeon. On the other hand, she was glad to know that Taeyeon was back safely in her room.

Is this what love is? Doing a silly thing like listening to her snoring makes me happy.

She smiled to herself, buried her nose in Taeyeon’s pillow and hugged it to sleep.

~*~*~*~

The team of bakers assembled at Suzuki’s main kitchen. Today was a busy day for all of them as they had to prepare a selection of pastries and desserts for the organizers. The organizers would be doing the selection during the food tasting and would announce the winner of the contract in two days’ time.

By 4pm, the time slot allocated to Suzuki’s team, the pastries and desserts were ready for tasting. The organizers arrived at the venue and were busy helping themselves to the samples displayed on the long table.

However, Suzuki was informed by one of the organizers that the actress couldn’t make it to the food tasting due to a last minute change in the filming schedule. Instead, Yukiko had requested for Taeyeon to deliver the food samples to her as she wanted to give every participating bakery a fair chance. Suzuki didn’t question why it was Taeyeon in particular. He assumed that it was probably easier for a female to visit the actress on site.

The pastries and desserts were packed into boxes and loaded onto the car. Taeyeon assured Suzuki that she would definitely do a good job in introducing the sample platter to the actress. Ren, her fellow baker, offered to send Taeyeon to the filming site.

After forty five minutes, they finally arrived. The filming location was in a quiet suburb and there were several people milling around, presumably the filming crew. Riko met them at the carpark.

“Sorry for making you come all the way here. I hope it wasn’t too difficult to find,” Riko said apologetically.

“No trouble at all. Where should we send the pastries?” Taeyeon asked.

“Please follow me.” Riko led the way to Yukiko’s caravan.

Riko opened the door to a white caravan and pointed to a long table where Taeyeon and Ren would place their pastries. She told them they had about twenty minutes to set up before Yukiko returned from her shooting. Then she excused herself while they got busy.

Ren covered the table with a plain tablecloth and unrolled a red table runner over it. At the same time, Taeyeon was unpacking the pastries from the boxes. Both of them lay them in neat rows on different plates which they bought. They also placed small printed cards next to each item for easy identification. When they were done, they heard the door open.

The tall, fair-skinned actress was standing at the door. Taeyeon and Ren immediately bowed as she walked in. The actress gave a bow before stepping into the caravan. The stylist entered the caravan shortly.

Yukiko flashed Riko a glance and the stylist gave a quick nod in acknowledgement. Riko beckoned for Ren to follow her out of the caravan as Yukiko wanted to have the food tasting in private with Taeyeon only.

“Hello Taeyeon san, it’s nice to see you again,” Yukiko greeted, flashing a sweet smile at the baker. It was obvious the baker was captivated by her good looks judging from the pair of dilated brown eyes. She removed the khaki trench coat in a slow and deliberate manner, revealing her shoulders and slim long arms. Her fair skin made her glow like a pearl in its shell.

Taeyeon was trying to keep her nerves under control and she averted her gaze to the food on the table. At the previous drinks session, the lighting was dim and Taeyeon wasn’t able to see Yukiko’s features clearly. Yukiko was definitely very attractive, even more so up close. Now, she could see the actress’ sharp jawline, bright eyes, luscious red lips and small mouth.

She looks really beautiful. The skin-tight pastel pink tube dress accentuates her svelte figure. I’m so envious of her long and fair legs, they seem to never end. I wonder what role she’s playing in this drama. She reminds me of Sica. The way they dress and some of their mannerisms are similar. Ah, I better keep my mind on the food sampling. That’s the main purpose I’m here and I should do my best for Suzuki san.

“Good afternoon Takahashi san, it is my pleasure to bring the pastries we’ve prepared for you to sample. Please be honest with your opinions and let me know what you think of our food. If you would like to join me at the table, I’ll begin by telling you more about each of the items here,” Taeyeon said politely.

Although it was only a few steps, Yukiko made it look like she was walking on the runway of a fashion shoot. Her soft black curls were bouncing with each step she took. She stood next to Taeyeon, towering over her with her 1.7m figure. Taeyeon could smell the strong perfume the actress was using. The scent seemed particularly alluring.

“Which one should I pick first?” Yukiko asked, placing a finger at her lower lip and sliding it across her lip slowly.

Taeyeon caught that subtle sensual movement and felt her legs going weak for a brief moment. Yukiko flashed a grin at Taeyeon in the typical Japanese kawaii manner, causing the baker to blink twice before looking down. Yukiko was amused that the baker was acting so shy in her presence.

“If you don’t mind, let me choose the order for you,” Taeyeon suggested, focusing her thoughts on the food in front of her.

Taeyeon picked up a small piece of Mont Blanc cake and handed it to Yukiko. She was very confident the actress would like the cake and wanted to start the food sampling with a good impression. Yukiko took a small bite and her face instantly lit up. The velvety chestnut spaghetti that was mounted on the top of a sponge based cake sent waves of pleasure throughout her body. She had eaten Mont Blanc several times before but none of them had such an irresistible and luxurious feel.

Taeyeon was beaming from ear to ear when she saw Yukiko’s expression. It took her some time to master the art of perfecting this cake and it was also one of the best sellers in her cafe in Seoul. In addition, it happened to be one of Jessica’s favourite cakes, hence she baked it quite often.

Next, Taeyeon proceeded to run through the rest of the pastries and desserts that were on display. She enjoyed watching Yukiko eat the samples. The actress displayed joy with every bite of the pastry she ate. The constant uttering of oishii’s while she sampled one after another made Taeyeon feel happy and appreciated.

“All of them taste so delicious,” Yukiko exclaimed, clasping her hands together.

Taeyeon let out a chuckle. “Thank you for the compliments, Takahashi san. I hope we’ve impressed you with the selection we’ve prepared.”

Yukiko pressed her lips together and appeared to be in deep thought as she studied the samples on the table. She reached out her hand and held Taeyeon’s right arm, leading her to the table. The cold hand on her arm triggered a warm sensation in her heart.

Her cold touch reminds me of Sica. Beneath the cold demeanor there is a warm personality inside, waiting to be discovered. Is she the same as well?

“I noticed your eyes lit up when I was eating the Mont Blanc. Was it made by you?” the high- pitched Japanese voice interrupted Taeyeon’s thoughts.

Taeyeon nodded, noticing that Yukiko still had her hand on her arm. She cleared her throat and moved her arm slightly, hoping Yukiko would notice. Unfortunately, the actress decided to slip that hand downwards, resting on the small of Taeyeon’s back, causing the baker’s breath to hitch.

“Act…actually I brought some extra pieces of Mont Blanc for you and your crew to share. It’s one of the best sellers at Suzuki san’s cafe,” Taeyeon’s voice shook a little as she felt the actress gently caressing her back. The sexual tension was tight and Taeyeon knew she had to break away.

“Do keep it refrigerated. If there’s nothing else, I would like to make a move. I hope you’ll send us good news about the contract.” Taeyeon bowed and took a step nearer to the door. She let out a sigh of relief inwardly when the actress didn’t attempt to hold her back.

A smirk appeared on Yukiko’s face as she watched the baker slowly backing towards the door.

“Taeyeon san.”

“Yes, Takahashi san?”

“I know of a very good yakitori restaurant and would like to invite you there for a late dinner today. Would you be able to make it?” Yukiko asked, batting her eyelashes at the baker.

If I don’t go, would I appear to be rude? I wouldn’t want to offend the client, knowing how important this project is for Suzuki san.

“I would need to check with Suzuki san first. I’m not sure if he can make it tonight,” Taeyeon answered politely.

“I’m thinking of inviting you only. It’s only a casual dinner, not a formal one. Those men always drink and get themselves all rowdy and drunk. I would rather enjoy a nice meal and chat openly without restrictions. We didn’t finish our conversation at the bar the last time.” Yukiko’s lips were turn up at the corners, revealing a rather seductive smirk.

Taeyeon felt her heart beat a little faster. She was concerned about disppointing the actress if she rejected the invite. Since it was just a casual dinner and she didn’t mention about drinks, Taeyeon gave a quick nod before picking up her bag and leaving the caravan. Yukiko stood at the door, watching the baker hurry away to the main road where Ren was waiting in a van for her.

She’s definitely my type. Ha, acting all coy when it’s so plainly obvious she’s attracted to me.

 

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3 thoughts on “Heartbeat – Chapter 6

  1. Definitely Sica’s ex.. Man, Taeyeon should think of Jessica each time she’s with Yukiko cuz Sica has that effect in her lol

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