Chapter 2

Jessica arrived on time to pick Taeyeon up from her apartment. A smile was plastered across the singer’s face from the moment she spotted Jessica’s car as she stepped out of the lift.

“You look exceptionally happy today,” Jessica commented, noticing the wide smile on Taeyeon’s face. Jessica caught her reflection in the rear view mirror and noticed her expression mirrored that of the singer’s. Her eyes darted away almost instantly, embarrassed to see her own shyness.

“Of course,” Taeyeon beamed. “It’s not often I get to go out without Minjoon oppa.”

Jessica laughed. “I guess that’s the life of a celebrity. You can’t blame him for being worried about you. I doubt I could save you if fans mobbed you.”

“Nah, they won’t. I’m thankful my fans have been very pleasant and nice. They would only ask for photos or autographs.”

They arrived at the Han River. As expected, it was littered with couples strolling along the river side or sitting on the benches that lined the river. Taeyeon adjusted the scarf in order to hide most of her face so that she wasn’t easily recognised. She walked alongside the songwriter and they took a seat at one of the benches along the river. Jessica pulled out a notebook and a pen while Taeyeon sat comfortably next to her. The songwriter crossed her legs and propped the notebook against her thigh.

“Let’s start to observe the people strolling along the river. What do you think they’re saying and what do their actions tell us about their feelings?” Jessica prompted.

Taeyeon picked a random couple who stopped to chat along the river. She gave her opinions on the couple based on their interaction with each other. Then Jessica pointed at another couple nearby and shared her thoughts about them. Very soon, they lapsed into a comfortable discussion with occasional periods of silence except the scratching of the pen against the pages of Jessica’s notebook.

Once in a while, Taeyeon would slip in a random personal question about Jessica, such as her favourite food and past time. At times, it would be Jessica who was asking the questions. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other better without the constant scrutiny of people around them. As time went on, the gap between them got narrower until their shoulders were touching. None of them made any attempt to move away from each other; both being comfortable with each other’s company.

However, a vibrating phone jolted Taeyeon apart from Jessica. Sitting upright, Taeyeon dug her phone out of the pocket to see who the caller was.

“Hello Taeyeon. Where are you? Is everything okay? Did any fans approach you?”

“Hello Minjoon oppa. I’m at the Han River with Jessica. Everything is fine. Don’t worry.”

“Ok, if you need anything, please give me a call.”

“Yes oppa. Goodbye.” Taeyeon shoved the phone back into her jacket. “Sorry for the interruption.”

“It’s alright. Mr Kwon sounds like your elder brother. He is worried about you.”

Taeyeon laughed. “My elder brother isn’t half as naggy as him.”

“It’s good to have someone who’s concerned about you.”

“I know he has my interest at heart but sometimes it can be stifling. There’re many rules to follow…” Taeyeon groaned.

Jessica’s heart went out to the frustrated singer. It wasn’t easy being in the entertainment industry, especially if one was a popular singer. When everyone was asleep, Taeyeon would still be hard at work; perfecting her song or practising her dance steps. Taeyeon hardly had any free time during promotional periods and sleep was a luxury which many had taken for granted.

Jessica patted Taeyeon’s back, hoping to soothe the singer. It worked like magic. Taeyeon calmed down immediately ; her brows parted from the centre and there was a hint of relief on her face.

Wanting to lighten the mood, Jessica suggested taking a short walk. Another reason was that they had been sitting at the same spot for more an hour and it was good to stretch their legs and change to another spot in order to find different people to observe.

Jessica led the way and Taeyeon fell in step with the songwriter. They walked side by side on the pathway, taking care to avoid going too close to anyone along the way lest they recognised Taeyeon. Thankfully most of them were couples who minded their own business.

Leaves rustled in the trees that lined the walking path and the wind was picking up speed. Jessica wrapped the jacket around her body tightly as the cool breeze hit her face. She regretted wearing a thin jacket as she hadn’t expected to stay out till so late. Time seemed to fly when she was with the singer.

Rubbing her hands in a bid to keep them warm, Jessica noticed Taeyeon stopping in her tracks. She turned around and saw the singer unwrapping the scarf around her neck. Then Taeyeon ran forward and placed the scarf around Jessica’s neck.

“Use this to keep you warm,” Taeyeon said gently as she wrapped the scarf around Jessica’s neck.

“I’m alright. You should use it to keep you warm. I remembered you told me you have to keep your neck warm in order to protect your vocal chords.” Jessica shook her head and tried to push Taeyeon’s hands away. The singer merely frowned and continued wrapping the scarf around her neck despite Jessica’s protest.

Jessica’s heartbeat was strangely erratic and she could smell the perfume which Taeyeon used. The light wisteria scent lingered on Taeyeon’s scarf. Jessica felt her cheeks warming up as Taeyeon continued adjusting the length of the scarf around her neck. She hoped Taeyeon didn’t noticed her reddening cheeks.

“I need you. You can’t be falling sick.” Taeyeon tucked one end of the scarf into the loop and adjusted its length.

Jessica’s heart skipped a beat. She was sure Taeyeon didn’t have any underlying meanings when the singer uttered those words. It was probably out of her kind heart, not due to any other feelings.

Taeyeon took a step back to see if the scarf was properly wrapped around Jessica’s neck.

“My jacket’s thicker than yours and I will just do this.” Taeyeon flipped up the collar of her jacket and pulled the hood over her head.

“Maybe we should go. It’s getting chilly,” Jessica suggested and turned towards the direction of the carpark.

Taeyeon stuck out one hand in front of Jessica’s chest to prevent the latter from walking away.

“It’s a rare chance I can go out and do people watching. It is very theraputic for me. Let me enjoy this serenity a little longer.”

The plead from the singer was filled with sincerity. Jessica knew it wasn’t easy for a singer to spend time out in the open without her manager’s close watch or being free from her fans.

“But if you do feel very cold, we can leave,” Taeyeon continued.

Jessica pointed at Taeyeon’s scarf. “I’m alright. I have your scarf around my neck to keep me warm. Shall we continue?”

Taeyeon nodded with a grin. Her heart made a little somersault and she wondered why.

The pair settled at another bench and continued with their observations. Taeyeon stole a few glances at Jessica whenever the songwriter was talking about a particular couple she picked. The singer wasn’t really paying attention to what Jessica was saying. Rather, Taeyeon was studying the features of Jessica’s face. The sharp jawline, the cute cat-like ear and the expressive brows that would dance while Jessica spoke.

A while later, Jessica was subconsciously rubbing her hands to keep warm. She was a little shocked when she felt a pair of warm hands wrapping around hers.

“Everyone tells me I have warm hands,” Taeyeon smiled as she touched the pair of cold hands.

“Your hands are warm indeed,” Jessica said thankfully. “Thank you.”

Jessica’s hands weren’t the only part of her body that felt warmth. Her heart was filled with the warmth of the summer sun and she couldn’t resist a smile forming on her face.

“Better?” Taeyeon asked with concern as she rubbed Jessica’s hands.

Jessica nodded with a shy smile.

A vibrating phone disrupted the endearing scene.

Taeyeon released her hands and reached into her pocket to get her phone.

“Hello Minjoon oppa. Yes…I’m still at the Han River with Jessica. We’re still writing notes. Yes yes, I’ll remember to call you when I get back. Don’t worry about me. I’m not a twelve year old kid. Yes, yes. Alright, good night Minjoon oppa.”

Taeyeon ended the call and shoved the phone back into her pocket. “Naggy ahjusshi.”

“He’s being concerned about your safety.”

“I know. I really appreciate that. He’s almost like a family member to me. In fact, I think he’s the closest person since my family stays very far away from Seoul and I hardly get a chance to see them. I have been training since elementary school. Once school was over, I would rush over to the company to start vocal lessons or dance lessons. The only people I know are singers, other artists and the back stage people like stylists,” Taeyeon said wistfully, looking at the dark sky.

“Sometimes, it gets really lonely when you’re on top. It sounds a little contradictory when I say that because people always think that I have a lot of fans and they’re always supporting me. But… it is really lonely where I am. When all that glamour has faded for the day, I return to an empty apartment.”

This time, Jessica clasped her hands around Taeyeon’s.

“Don’t worry. You can call me whenever you need someone to talk to. It’s good to let things out instead of burying your emotions inside.”

Taeyeon’s eyes suddenly welled up with tears. She looked away from the songwriter and held her tears back. She freed one hand from Jessica’s grasp and wiped a tear away. Just then, she felt an arm wrapping around her shoulder and pulling her into an embrace.

“Let it out. Don’t bottle everything up inside of you. You’ll feel better if you cry, so just let the tears flow.”

That soothing, reassuring voice burst the dam that held back the wall of tears. The feelings that were well hidden away in a deep corner of Taeyeon’s heart came flooding through her body. Taeyeon buried herself in the crook of Jessica’s neck and sobbed. Jessica wrapped both arms around the singer and rubbed her back, hoping to soothe the poor soul.

Since that night, the friendship between Taeyeon and Jessica blossomed. They started to spend more time together, even outside of work and became close friends. However, it wasn’t easy to meet in public places as they were often interrupted by fans who wanted photos or autographs with the singer. They were also aware that fans were taking photos of them when they were in public.

Taeyeon suggested meeting at her apartment where they would have more privacy. Taeyeon could dress and behave comfortably, without having to worry about her public image. Since then, Jessica had been dropping by Taeyeon’s apartment whenever Taeyeon had some free time. They shared a common interest in music and would chat about anything under the sun. Being in the same industry, they were able to understand each other’s joy and pain; something which an outsider wouldn’t have been able to do so.

One evening, Taeyeon was particularly excited about meeting Jessica. It wasn’t the first time Jessica visited Taeyeon at her apartment. However, this evening was special. Taeyeon had been receiving lessons on song writing and she wanted to show off what she learnt.

Taeyeon was pacing up and down her living room, counting down to the time Jessica would appear at her doorstep. A buzzer on her intercom broke her thoughts and she rushed to answer it.

Moments later, the songwriter appeared at the door, dressed in a light blue sundress. Taeyeon gasped at the sight of the beautiful person at the door. Maybe it was because the songwriter just changed her hair colour, or perhaps it was the new dress she wore, Taeyeon had her breath taken away by the visitor at the door.

“Aren’t you inviting me in?” Jessica asked candidly. She was amused by the singer’s big round eyes and wide open mouth.

“Ah yes! Please come in.” Taeyeon helped carry the plastic bags which Jessica was holding and showed her to the living room.

“I bought desserts from Mango Six. I know you like them.”

Taeyeon nodded her head eagerly.

After enjoying their desserts, the pair gathered in Taeyeon’s mini studio. This room was slightly smaller than Taeyeon’s bedroom and contained a laptop, Yamaha electric piano and a guitar. Taeyeon spent most of her time in this room during her free time. She studied other people’s works and tinkered with song writing.

“I wrote a song. I would love to hear what you think of it,” Taeyeon proclaimed proudly.

Taeyeon picked up the guitar and sat on a chair in the room. She beckoned for Jessica to sit on the chair opposite of hers.

After warming up her vocal chords with low and high notes, Taeyeon strummed a  few chords on the guitar and began to sing the first few lines.

The word which forms in the end of my lips, the word which I want to say whenever I see you
The word which I try to hold and hold and want to save because it is too precious

The word that makes me happy because I can say, the word which the pronunciation is even sweet
The word that I want to say in the best way on the best day

I love you love you love you. It is short even I say once and twice
I confess my feeling which is very honest because I can’t save, hide

Taeyeon closed her eyes as she sang, putting her emotions into the song wholeheartedly.

Jessica applauded when Taeyeon finished. “That sounds great. It is very different from your usual style. It’s bright and cheerful.”

Taeyeon blushed. “I wanted to try something different so that fans can see another side of me.”

Truthfully, Taeyeon had the inspiration to write this song because of Jessica. Her mind was filled with memories of them spending together as she penned the words. For the past few weeks, she had been spending a lot of time translating her thoughts to words and tonight was the result of her effort. Every single word meant a lot to Taeyeon. It was her indirect way of expressing her feelings when she realised she felt something more for the songwriter than just being her close friend. However, Taeyeon didn’t want to jeopardize their friendship over a silly crush perhaps, hence she kept the feelings to herself.

“It feels a bit incomplete, especially in terms of the melody. Do you have any ideas on how to improve it?”

“Hmm…maybe you would add something like this. May I?” Jessica asked, pointing to the keyboard.

“Sure, please go ahead.”

Jessica sat at the keyboard and played a few chords. Humming to herself, she played a few more notes. Taeyeon brought out her music sheet and shared them with Jessica. Soon, both of them were working together to amend the lyrics and work out a suitable tune for this self-composed piece.

At the end of the song writing session, Taeyeon and Jessica rested on the two seater couch in the living room. It had been brain draining but fun. Nothing beat working together with someone who had shared the same passion in music and song writing.

A growl in Taeyeon’s stomach broke the silence in the living room.

“Oh, it’s way past dinner time!” Jessica realised it was almost midnight when she looked at her watch. They had been so focused while working on Taeyeon’s song that they had completely forgotten about dinner.

“Oh I’m so sorry! What would you like to have? My brain’s pretty fried right now. Songwriting isn’t easy.”

“Of course. We are not as well-paid as you and yet we have to work really hard to produce good songs for you,” Jessica teased.

“Ya ya, I’ll buy you a grand dinner if the song you write is a big hit!”

“I’ll hold your word for it! I’ve got it recorded!” Jessica laughed, pointing at her mobile phone.

Lazy to get out of the house and no cravings for any particular food, Taeyeon decided to make sandwiches.

Before taking a bite of her sandwich, Jessica lifted the top layer of bread and inspected its contents.

“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t think of poisoning my songwriter,” Taeyeon joked.

“It’s just…I dislike cucumbers. They make me sick.”

“Oh!” Taeyeon hurriedly grabbed Jessica’s sandwich away from her. “Sorry, I didn’t know. I’ll make you a new one right now! Cucumber free!”

Taeyeon hurried to the kitchen to prepare a new sandwich. Jessica was amused yet happy at Taeyeon’s anxiety.

“Here you go. Sorry, I didn’t know you can’t eat cucumbers,” Taeyeon said apologetically.

“It’s alright. Let’s tuck in!”

When they had finished, Taeyeon was very tempted to ask Jessica to stay for the night since it was almost 2.00am. However, her lack of courage prevented her from doing so as she stood by the door and watched the songwriter slip on her shoes.

“Sorry for keeping you here so late today.”

Jessica smiled. “I had a lot of fun. In fact, I should be getting worried that you might take over my job next time.”

“Nah, you’re the expert. I’m still a newbie.”

“Remember to leave some jobs for me in the future. Good night and thanks for the supper.”

“Good night and drive safe. Don’t speed. Text me when you get home,” Taeyeon instructed.

“Yes ahjumma. You sound like Mr Kwon,” Jessica chuckled.

Taeyeon frowned and stuck out her lower lip.

Jessica was tempted to use her fingers to push that lip back into its normal position but she held back. Taeyeon was a singer, a rising star. She shouldn’t be developing such feelings for her. Suppressing the fluttery feelings in her heart, Jessica flashed a smile and walked towards the lift without turning back.

Taeyeon leaned against the door frame and waited until the songwriter disappeared into the lift before she finally closed the door. With a resigned sigh, Taeyeon brushed the thoughts of regrets aside and prepared for bed.


A/N: Song featured is My Heart is Beating by K.Will. Official MV

Happy 7th Anniversary to SNSD!

Picture credit godspeller369


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