A taxi stopped outside a double storey house at the end of the road. Taeyeon, bundled in a warm coat and bright blue scarf alighted from the taxi, pulling his suitcase along with him to the main gate. He pressed the doorbell once and waited.
The gate slowly parted in the middle and Taeyeon took large strides towards the main door. Just then, the large wooden door flew open and a tall tanned teenager dashed towards him, enveloping him in a bear hug.
“Taeng, why are you so late? Even the ‘always late’ princess Jessica arrived hours ago!” Yul exclaimed, patting his good friend’s back while hugging him.
“Sorry, I overslept. Good to see you again, Yul.”
Taeyeon saw a brunette leaning against the main door with a lazy smile on her face. He noticed she had a new hair colour and her hair had grown past her shoulders, giving off a more feminine look.
“Hey Taeng,” Jessica greeted. “How have you been?”
“Hello Sica, I’m great. Can’t say I’m happy to be back at school but at least I get to hang out with you guys again.” Taeyeon hurried up the steps leading to the main door. He opened his arms wide and Jessica leaned forward for a welcome hug.
Oh she smells so good.
Taeyeon surprised himself when that thought drifted into his head. Nonetheless, the thought vanished when their bodies parted.
“Oppa, don’t let Taeng oppa stand in the cold. Talk when everyone’s in the house,” Yoona, the younger sister of Yul shouted from inside the house.
“See, my younger sister is so concerned about you,” Yul teased as he helped his friend with the suitcase.
Taeyeon and Jessica were staying overnight at Yul’s house because it was much nearer to the train station than their own. The new school term was starting in two days’ time. The three good friends had been in the same class since the first day of school three years ago. They were placed in the same project group and hit off very well. Since then, they hung out together very often, becoming close friends.
Kim Taeyeon was the oldest of the three and had a serious personality. He was a good listener and had a heart of gold. It was difficult for him to reject anyone who needed help. Jessica Jung was a straight-A student, often scoring the highest marks in exams. It was always a nail-biting finale between Seo Juhyun and herself whenever the final results were announced. Kwon Yul was the most outgoing among them and he was an outstanding track and field athlete. He often cracked lame jokes and was the life of the party.
Yul bounced onto his bed as he entered the bedroom while Taeyeon was unpacking.
“I can finally have some peace!” Yul proclaimed, throwing his hands into the air.
“Huh?” Taeyeon raised a brow in confusion. Technically there were more people in the house now so it should be more rowdy.
“My sister has been bugging me about your arrival. You can’t imagine how glad I am to see you.”
Taeyeon bunched up his scarf and threw it at Yul. Yul meant it as a joke but Taeyeon was worried Yoona might think otherwise.
With his quick reflexes, Yul managed to dodge that bundle of wool. He laughed, collapsing onto his bed.
“Aww…my parents are also glad to see you after so long. Happy?”
“That’s better but I bet Sica and you are the happiest to see everyone right?” Taeyeon chuckled.
Just then, a head popped into the room.
“What are you guys laughing about?” Yoona asked curiously.
“Hey, this is the guys’ room. Girls are not allowed in here!” Yul yelled.
Yoona ignored her older brother and sauntered into the room. She linked her arm with Taeyeon’s and leaned against the fair blonde hair boy.
“Taeng oppa isn’t as mean as you. Come, come, Taeng oppa, I made some jellies. Let’s eat and ignore this rude person.” Yoona gave Taeyeon a tug, nudging him towards the door.
Yul merely flashed a grin and wink as Taeyeon turned his head to glare at his good friend while being led out of the room by the young girl in a forceful manner.
When Taeyeon arrived at the kitchen, it was a hive of activity. Mrs Kwon was busy cooking up a feast while Mr Kwon was making fruit juice. Cutlery and crockery were flying around the kitchen as the Kwons worked their magic.
Yul noticed Jessica reading a book in the living room and leapt over the sofa to join her.
“Sica, school hasn’t started. Why are you reading our new Potions textbook?” Yul lifted the book by its spine and slammed it shut. He flashed a huge grin at Jessica while the latter glared icily at him.
Yul flashed his phone in front of Jessica. “I found something interesting on Youtube. It’s about this skinny foreign girl who can eat tons! In her latest eating episode, she ate six kilograms of rice in one go!”
As Taeyeon brought out a bowl of jellies to the living room, he saw Yul and Jessica leaning against each other, making all sorts of exclamations as they watched the video. Taeyeon’s chest felt a little tight suddenly. He knew that Yul and Jessica were very close and it wasn’t the first time he had seen them being so close physically. Assuming that his lack of sleep (which caused the slight discomfort in his chest), Taeyeon set the plate on the coffee table in front of the pair and sat on an armchair next to the sofa.
“Taeng, come and join us. Watch this video. This girl is amazing!” Yul beckoned.
The pair shifted to create some space for Taeyeon to sit. He sat down next to Jessica and the girl pressed Yul’s phone onto Taeyeon’s palm. She leaned closer in order to watch the video on the tiny screen together with Taeyeon.
Strangely, the tightness in Taeyeon’s chest disappeared in an instant. Soon, the house was filled with the teenagers’ laughter as three of them huddled around a small screen.
Mrs Kwon cooked up a feast that night and everyone had a good time catching up with each other and chatting about what each other did over the summer break. It was almost midnight when all of them finally retired to bed.
After an hour, Jessica was still unable to fall asleep. Perhaps it was the pressure of the new school term that was bothering her. She had been trying to count the stars she conjured on the bedroom’s ceiling but to no avail. She didn’t dare to toss and turn too much for fear of waking Yoona up since they shared a double bed. With the wave of her wand, Jessica made all the stars disappear. She slowly crept out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen.
Jessica made herself a mug of hot chocolate. Whilst deep in thought, she didn’t realised the drink was very hot and scalded her tongue when she took the first sip. In a split second, she accidentally dropped the mug and it landed onto the floor, spilling the hot brown liquid.Fortunately, it was a plastic mug, so it didn’t break.
Just then, hurried footsteps dashed into the kitchen. Lights were switched on with a snap of fingers.
“Are you alright?” Taeyeon asked when the saw the brown mess on the floor. He uttered a spell, waved his wand and the mess instantly disappeared.
“I’m fine. You woke up because of the noise?”
Taeyeon shook his head. “I happened to go to the toilet when I heard the crash, so I rushed here.”
“Thanks Taeng.” Jessica felt relieved to have a friend around.
“You’re welcome, Sica.”
“Looks like you gotta make another cup of hot chocolate.”
“Ah huh. Would you like one too?” Jessica offered.
“Yeah, why not,” Taeyeon smiled.
They shared a huge beanbag in front of the fireplace while enjoying their hot chocolate. They watched snowflakes fall gently from the sky outside the huge window and listened to the crackling of wood in the fireplace.
“Why do holidays seem way shorter than school term?” Taeyeon mused.
“I know right!” Jessica agreed. “I wished I graduated already. Enough of tests and exams!”
Taeyeon turned to look at his good friend. “You’re always getting top marks. What’s there to worry about?”
“It’s no easy feat to maintain my position at the top of the ranks,” Jessica sighed. “Once you’re on top, everyone expects you to stay there. Plus, it’s stressful to be compared to Ju Hyun all the time.”
“I know. You’re doing well, so don’t fret. Don’t bother about how others look at you as long as you put in your best effort. Anyway, life isn’t about getting the highest score. Look at Yul. He’s happy as long as he has the space to stretch his long legs and run.”
Jessica giggled. Yul was an average student but he always put his heart and soul into whatever he did, especially in sports. It was his one true passion and it showed in the number of gold medals he won.
Taeyeon placed his hand on top of Jessica’s head and patted it gently. “Look, everyone tells me work sucks and it’s better to be a student. As students, we only need to worry about our results. As adults, we would need to worry about how to bring home the dough and other bigger worries.”
Jessica felt more relaxed after listening to Taeyeon’s calming voice and reasoning. Taeyeon often gave her a different perspective of the matter, allowing her to feel thankful for her current situation. She was thankful for a friend like him. Unknowingly, she leaned closer, their arms touching.
Taeyeon felt Jessica shiver. He spotted a thick blanket nearby and conjured it to cover their lower bodies. It was cozy and warm. He could feel Jessica huddling closer. He paused for a moment as he was pulling the hem of the blanket up. Jessica looked up at the blonde, wondering why he stopped midway.
Their eyes met and Jessica sensed a slight hesitation in Taeyeon’s eyes.
“Errr…hmmm…you know, it looks kind of suspicious,” Taeyeon explained. He felt warmer than normal and was wondering if it was due to the heat from the fireplace and the blanket.
“What is suspicious?” Jessica asked. She didn’t sense anything unusual.
“This.” Taeyeon motioned to the blanket that was covering them. “I mean, both of us, huddling over a single blanket in front of the fireplace. Anyone who walks in on us might be mistaken…”
“That we have something going on with each other?” Jessica chuckled.
Taeyeon felt blood rush to his face.
“Let them be. We’re innocent. Afterall we are just good friends chatting in front of a fireplace. What’s wrong with that?” Jessica reasoned.
“Unless,” Jessica paused as she raised her eyebrows at Taeyeon. “You’re worried Yoong would see us in this state and be upset?”
Taeyeon’s eyes widened in shock. He waved his arms wildly in front of them, forming the letter ‘X’. “No, no, no. Why should I be?”
Jessica covered her mouth with her hand to muffle her laughter. “Yul told me she has been waiting anxiously for your arrival, almost to the point of rolling a red carpet to welcome you.”
Taeyeon blushed when he was being teased.
“She’s like a younger sister to me.”
“Blah blah blah, typical drama line,” Jessica joked, giving Taeyeon a sly wink.
“Hey!” Taeyeon messed up Jessica’s hair on purpose, knowing the latter would be mad. In retaliation, Jessica slapped Taeyeon’s arms repeatedly, leaving red marks on his fair skin.
“Shhh!” Taeyeon hushed. “We better keep it down else we’ll wake everyone up.”
Jessica stopped and laughed softly. Taeyeon mirrored the smile on Jessica’s face. He enjoyed the quiet moments they shared together. With Yul around, it was usually a loud and noisy affair because he was very chatty.
“Let’s just stay here for a few more minutes before we go up.” Jessica rested her head on Taeyeon’s shoulders. She felt Taeyeon nod against her head.
It wasn’t the first time they shared such physical intimacy but this time felt a little different. Taeyeon hadn’t seen Jessica for the past two months but it seemed like a year. There was something about Jessica which was making him levitate towards her as if he was under her spell.
In a few moments, Taeyeon noticed Jessica had fallen asleep. Turning his head a little, he could smell the peach flavoured shampoo Jessica used. The lure of the sweet scent and the warmth from Jessica’s body were tempting him in a way he couldn’t have imagined. His head involuntarily lowered, his lips were almost touching the crown of Jessica’s head. His breathing quickened and so did his heart beat.
Unfortunately, Jessica shifted in her sleep and Taeyeon immediately retreated. He turned his head away, mentally berating himself for having such a thought. In order to prevent himself from having strange thoughts of Jessica, Taeyeon gently shook her up from her slumber. He suggested they go back up to their rooms to sleep since dawn was breaking in a few hours. Jessica agreed readily.
Standing outside his room, Taeyeon was taken aback when Jessica suddenly gave him a tight hug.
“Thank you for lending me your listening ear. Good night, Taeng.” Jessica disappeared into her room.
Taeyeon stood outside his room for a moment, taking in the warmth of the hug. He laid on the mattress, thinking about the earlier moments in front of the fireplace. Within seconds, he fell asleep with a gentle smile on his face.
A/N: This short story is inspired by the talented Koalahug97’s fan art of Taeng Potter and Jessica Granger. It’s a random fantasy story that isn’t based on the characters in the Harry Potter novel.
5 August 2016, a day where SONEs and Girls’ Generation celebrated 9 joyous years together as one. We’ll walk together, hand in hand. 지금은 소녀시대 , 앞으로도 소녀시대 , 영원히 소녀시대. Right now it’s Girls’ Generation , In the future, it’s Girls’ Generation , Forever, it’s Girls’ Generation.