Chapter 3

“My place isn’t as glamorous as yours so I hope you don’t mind,” Jessica said as she parked her car.

 

Taeyeon had been pestering Jessica to let her visit her apartment. All she knew was that the songwriter stayed alone and owned a pet cat. She was curious about the songwriter’s style; the type of decor she would use, the style of the apartment, etc. Moreover, she was quite certain fans wouldn’t be hanging around Jessica’s apartment so it should be safe to visit.

 

“That apartment isn’t officially mine. It’s just a place that the company has provided for me. I’m saving and hope to get some place of my own some day.”

 

“I believe the time will come very soon. Your album sales have been doing very well and with me working on your new album, I’m certain you can buy your dream apartment very soon.”

 

Taeyeon laughed heartily. “Hey hey, someone’s feeling really confident eh? Self-praise is no praise ya.”

 

Jessica gave Taeyeon a smug look before leading the way to her apartment.

 

They walked up a short flight of stairs to the top floor of a three storey block of apartments. Taeyeon was surprised to know that such an old block of apartments existed in this district. It felt like a hidden gem among all the high-rise condominiums surrounding it.

 

A cat, whose fluffy grey coat was peppered with patches of white, padded its way to the door. It looked at Jessica with its big round eyes while rubbing itself against her leg when its owner stepped in. Jessica bent down to scoop the fluffy animal in her arms. When she ruffled the back of its ears, it purred contentedly.

 

“This is Pepper, my cat. Pepper, say hi to my friend Taeyeon.” Jessica lifted one of the cat’s paws and waved it at Taeyeon.

 

Taeyeon bent a little so that she was eye to eye with the cat. She shook the little paw and smiled. “Annyeong Pepper! I’m Kim Taeyeon, your owner’s friend. Pleased to meet you.”

 

Jessica chuckled as she found it funny for Taeyeon to greet a cat in such a polite manner. Taeyeon loved listening to the songwriter’s laugh. It sounded like music to her ears.

 

Pepper looked at Taeyeon with curious eyes before jumping out of Jessica’s arms and walking away arrogantly.

 

The interior of Jessica’s house was well-kept and cosy. A large bean bag and a shelf filled with books and photos dominated the living room. Magazines, mostly about music and fashion, lay on a neat stack on top of a coffee table.

 

Jessica took out two bottles of iced barley tea from her fridge and beckoned for Taeyeon to follow her through the back door of her kitchen. Taeyeon wondered where the door led to.

 

It turned out that there was a spiral staircase at the back of Jessica’s kitchen. As they climbed up the stairs, Taeyeon was surprised it led to the roof of the block. There was a row of small light bulbs that hung from the roof to the pole at the corner of the ledge. Near one side of the wall, there was a small open area with a low-rise platform and a keyboard stood near it. There was a wall that separated this space from the neighbour’s. It appeared that all the apartments on the highest floor had a small private rooftop terrace.

 

“This area belongs to you as well?” Taeyeon asked in amazement. She scooted around the rooftop terrace, like a curious cat exploring its surroundings.

 

Jessica set the two bottles of water on the platform. Pepper joined the pair at the roof and made its way towards Jessica. “I fell in love with this place when I first saw it. It gives me a sense of freedom and space. Though this place is a little run down, I bought it without any hesitation.”

 

“It’s awesome! You have such a lovely place and you didn’t invite me over?” Taeyeon pretended to be angry and frowned at the songwriter.

 

Jessica laughed. She scooped Pepper in her arms and planted a kiss on its head. “You’re welcome to come over to hang out if you wish. I’m sure Pepper doesn’t mind, right?”

 

Pepper let out a soft but satisfying purr as her owner stroked its tummy.

 

Taeyeon beamed from ear to ear as she nodded her head enthusiastically.

 

“What’s the purpose of the platform?” Taeyeon walked around the perimeter of the platform, trying to guess its use.

 

“Stargazing,” Jessica replied in a matter-of-fact manner.

 

“Seriously?” Taeyeon asked in disbelief.

 

“Lie on your back and you’ll know what I mean.”

 

Taeyeon lay down on the platform, placing her palms behind her head and looked up. She gasped at the beautiful sight of the night sky. Though there were only a few stars that night, it was a memorable experience as she had never admired the sky at night in this way before. She had been too caught in her hectic life to take note of such things.

 

Jessica continued, “Whenever I’m having a mental block, I’ll come here to lie down. Watching the night sky has a calming effect and it helps to clear my mind. At times, a random inspiration might appear and I’ll skip over to my keyboard to play the tune or scribble my ideas on my notepad.”

 

“This is so beautiful and relaxing.”

 

Just as Taeyeon was admiring the sky, a beautiful tune filled the quiet night. Taeyeon sat upright and saw Jessica at the keyboard. There was a brief smile on Jessica’s face before she started singing.

 

Wherever you are hiding

I can find you

If there were no you

If there were no you

Then my heart would stop

 

Even if you don’t say “Love”

I can feel with my heart

If you are here

If you are here

I don’t need anything

 

You are my everything to me

You are my everything to me

Please shine like a star in the sky

You are my only love

Forever my only love

We love each other

All I need is you

 

Taeyeon was totally immersed in the ballad, captivated by its meaningful lyrics and Jessica’s clear and melodic voice. Taeyeon was instantly drawn into the music. It was as if both of them were in their own world and the lyrics were their way of communication.

 

Jessica played the last few notes and ended the song with a satisfied smile when she saw the look of awe on the singer’s face.

 

“Do you like it?” Jessica asked as she sat cross legged on the platform, next to Taeyeon.

 

“It is beautiful.” Three heartfelt words that meant the world to the songwriter. Jessica’s smile reached her eyes and her eyes lit up with joy. She was grateful her song was well-received by the person whom she had written it for.

 

“Would you like to try singing some parts of it?” Jessica asked.

 

Taeyeon nodded excitedly. Both of them got off the platform and sat at the piano. Jessica played the piano and sang with Taeyeon joining in. Their voices harmonised perfectly, as if the angels in Heaven were singing, with the stars as their audience.

 

Taeyeon couldn’t hide her smile and clapped happily when the song ended.

 

“I’m happy you like it. I hope to use this as your title song in your upcoming album.”

 

“Really? I wouldn’t mind. In fact, I love it!” Taeyeon exclaimed happily. In her excitement, she grabbed both of Jessica’s hands and pulled the songwriter into a crazy random dance.

 

“It’s gonna be a huge hit!” Taeyeon yelled while dancing around. “Everyone’s gonna love it!!”

 

“All-kill across all the charts!” Jessica added, waving their hands wildly in the air.

 

They finally collapsed onto the platform, lying on their backs and trying to catch their breaths.

 

“Did you write this song on the rooftop?” Taeyeon asked curiously, turning her head towards Jessica.

 

“Yes I did,” Jessica replied without looking at Taeyeon. The feeling of Taeyeon lying beside her on the platform was surreal. The platform was the place she always hung out whenever she was stressed or had a mental block. She had never shared this platform with anyone since she stayed alone and didn’t invite anyone over.

 

However, Jessica was eager to show Taeyeon her latest composition. Presenting it at the right place was important to enhance the meaning of her song. It was also an indirect way of introducing Taeyeon to her home, where her heart was.

 

“I am glad to witness the magic of the talented songwriter come alive under the stars.”

 

Taeyeon’s voice broke Jessica’s train of thoughts. Jessica rolled her head to the side, facing Taeyeon. Taeyeon turned around and faced the songwriter. Both of them were a little shy facing each other in such a close proximity.

 

“To be honest, you’re my biggest inspiration for this song. Taeyeon, you’re a star. I hope you’ll always like brightly like a star in the sky.”

 

The butterflies in Taeyeon’s stomach fluttered when she saw the beautiful smile on the songwriter’s face. Just as Taeyeon stuck one hand out towards Jessica, wanting to pat Jessica’s arm to commend her for her hard work, a fluffy cat strolled past and parked itself in between the both of them. Taeyeon quickly retracted her hand and pretended that she was randomly scratching herself. Her heart was beating very fast.

 

It wasn’t easy being a singer and Taeyeon had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. Now, with Jessica beside her, she felt motivated to push herself further.

 

Both of them lay side by side on the platform in a comfortable silence, looking up at the sky with their heartbeats and the contented purring of a cat as the only sounds.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Taeyeon was hanging out at Jessica’s apartment late one night. Even if it was only for a short while, Taeyeon wanted to go over to meet her. She hadn’t seen the songwriter for more than a week as she was busy with the preparation of an OST she was singing for a drama. The studio at her company had been her home for the past few days.

 

“I have a gift for you.” Jessica reached to the side of the platform and pulled out a plain white paper bag.

 

The pair was sitting on the platform, enjoying a bottle of iced barley tea each while catching up with each other. Midway through their conversation, Jessica took a white paper bag with silver straps next to the piano and handed it to Taeyeon.

 

“For you.”

 

“What’s the occasion?” Taeyeon reached in and pulled out a royal purple scarf with white trimmings. Her initials were embroidered in white at one end of the scarf.

 

“Nothing. I happened to be shopping and thought you might like it.”

 

“Thank you, it’s lovely. It’s my favourite colour!”

 

“You don’t need to be a detective to know. Your favourite colour, favourite number, favourite drink are all over Naver,” Jessica chuckled.

 

Taeyeon clenched her fist and exclaimed. “Aish!”

 

Jesisca chuckled. “Let me help you put it on.”

 

Jessica got up from the platform and took the scarf from Taeyeon’s hands. She wrapped it neatly around the singer’s neck. Taeyeon was shaking with happiness as it was an unexpected surprise. Her eyes lit up as the corners of her mouth lifted up into a glowing smile.

 

“The weather is turning cooler and I hope this will help keep your vocal chords warm.”

 

“Thank you,” Taeyeon said sincerely. “I’ll treasure this gift.”

 

A nice warm feeling filled Jessica’s heart when she heard the heartfelt word of thanks. Their eyes met but Jessica quickly looked away. It was an electrifying moment and both of them were too shy to look into each other’s eyes directly.

 

“I’m glad you like it,” Jessica said.

 

A light breeze blew, causing the ends of Jessica’s hair to flutter. Taeyeon extended one hand to tuck the loose strands of hair behind Jessica’s ear. The songwriter’s heartbeat went into a frenzy upon feeling the warm hand grazing past her cheek.

 

Taeyeon gently cupped her palm around Jessica’s cheek. Their eyes met and this time none of them looked away. Their hearts were racing faster than a bullet train and their breathing quickened. Taeyeon moved her hand to the back of Jessica’s head as she took a step closer, narrowing the gap between them.

 

“Can I kiss you?” Taeyeon whispered. Taeyeon was leaning dangerously close to Jessica and the songwriter could feel the singer’s warm breath on her face and it was sending tingles all over her body.

 

“I…suppose…it’s…o-okay…? ” Jessica’s nerves were getting the better of her. She clenched her fists and waited in anticipation.

 

Taeyeon closed her eyes and pressed a chaste kiss on Jessica’s lips. For that brief moment, Taeyeon felt like she was went to Heaven and back when their lips touched. Jessica’s lips were as sweet as honey and as soft as cotton candy.

 

Before the feeling of going to Heaven faded away, a pair of lips pressed against Taeyeon’s and they were attacking it with passion. Taeyeon was enveloped in a tight hug, with Jessica’s hands roaming all over Taeyeon’s back. The singer relaxed into the embrace and allowed the songwriter to take the lead.

 

They broke apart briefly, catching their breaths and their noses were still touching. Taeyeon kissed Jessica again, sucking on her lower lip before they pulled apart from each other once more.

 

“I like you, more than just being the songwriter of my album,” Taeyeon said breathlessly.

 

“I like you too. You’re more than just the client whom I have to write songs for,” Jessica replied bashfully.

 

Taeyeon chuckled, sliding her hands downwards into Jessica’s and held them tight. She stole another brief kiss from the songwriter, who by now, looked like a blushing red tomato.

 

“The song I wrote recently was my first song writing attempt. The one which we spent the night at my apartment improving…was written for you,” Taeyeon confessed when they sat cross legged on the platform, still holding hands.

 

“I know.”

 

“You do?” Taeyeon was surprised. She had never mentioned it to anyone.

 

Jessica giggled. “I could tell.”

 

This time, Taeyeon’s blush turned into a deep red. She buried her face into the scarf and didn’t dare to look straight at the songwriter. Her fingers and toes were tingling with happiness at the songwriter’s positive response.

 

Jessica was amused at Taeyeon’s shy reaction.

 

The newly minted couple shared a few more kisses under the moonlight, sealing their love for each other.

 

~*~*~*~

 

“Hello Taeyeon! It has been a while since we met!” Sunny beamed. She was the DJ of the radio program which Taeyeon was attending.

 

Taeyeon flashed a lopsided grin and waved before she settled on one of the chairs comfortably. She knew Sunny since the start of her singing career and both of them met up once in a while for supper whenever they had some spare time.

 

After a casual chat, Sunny gestured for Taeyeon to put on her headphones as they would be starting the radio interview soon.

 

“We have the popular soloist Kim Taeyeon in the studio with us today! Taeyeon, say hi to our listeners!”

 

“Hello everyone, I’m Kim Taeyeon. It feels great to be back here again, thank you to DJ Sunny for inviting me over.”

 

“You’re always welcome here. Now, we all know that you’ve just released a mini album. The title song ‘Like A Star’ has been dominating the charts. In fact, it has achieved an all-kill status across the music charts! Congratulations Taeyeon!” Sunny applauded.

 

“Thank you very much. I couldn’t have done it without my fans and my team. Thank you very much! I love all of you!”

 

“I noticed you’ve worked with an up and coming young songwriter for the title song. The chemistry must be really spot-on. I can feel the emotions right through my bones; the love declared in this song.”

 

Taeyeon grinned mischievously. Fortunately today’s radio wasn’t bora, which meant that no one else besides Sunny, Minjoon and the producer could see Taeyeon’s expressions. She felt her cheeks getting a little warm as the thought of Jessica appeared in her mind.

 

“Yes, you could say we hit off when we met. It was refreshing to work with a new songwriter. I like her style and she helped me bring out the emotions of the song.”

 

“That’s awesome. I noticed there’s a change in your style. Your previous albums contain mostly ballads but this time, there’re a few upbeat tunes. Tell us more about those songs.”

 

“I wanted to try something different. Since it’s about love and love isn’t always sad or depressing, I thought it would be fun to do a happy love song instead. I hope my fans will like it too.”

 

“I’m sure they would. Talking about fans, there is a fan that sent a text to our message board requesting for this song. The ID is JSY418 and she is a big fan of yours and that she loves your new album. She wants you to take good care of your health as the weather is turning chilly.”

 

Taeyeon’s eyes lit up when she heard the fan’s ID. JSY418 was Jessica’s Korean name’s initials and the numbers were her birthday. Could it be her?

 

“Thank you JSY418. I hope my fans will take good care of their health too,” Taeyeon replied politely. Her heart was beating quickly as the fan’s ID kept flashing across her mind.

 

“The next song coming up is ‘I choose to love you’, also from Taeyeon’s mini album. Taeyeon, how about dedicating this next song to your fan JSY418?”

 

Jessica had written the song especially for her. Jessica had surprised the singer with the song at Taeyeon’s apartment one night. She sat at the piano and started playing the tune. Taeyeon loved it immediately, for its lyrics and for the person who painstakingly wrote it for her. She knew every word in the song carried Jessica’s love for her.

 

“JSY418, I shall dedicate this song to you and hope you’ll continue to support me.”

 

“Taeyeon, would you like to sing a small portion of the song for us live before I play it? I’m sure your fans will be delighted!”

 

“Sure.”

 

Taeyeon cleared her throat and sang a small phrase from the song.

 

My hot lips want to touch your soft lips

So that my love will be delivered to your heart

 

If you still haven’t known how I felt

I will love you more than anyone in this world

 

I will love you until always, I will love you

Like this moment right now, more than anyone in this world

I will love you

 

Sunny applauded when Taeyeon finished and the singer buried her face with her hands in embarrassment.

 

“You sang with so much conviction, it feels like you’re in love with someone right now. Are you?”

 

“All my love is for my fans.” This wasn’t incorrect since Jessica proclaimed she was a fan of Taeyeon. The sad truth was Taeyeon could never admit she was in a relationship since she was a star. Plus, Jessica was a female and same-gender relationships were often frowned upon. Hence, they had to keep their relationship under wraps, even from Minjoon.

 

“Now your fans will love you even more. Let’s listen to the full song now.”

 

Sunny pressed a button and the song played over the airwaves. Taeyeon removed the headset and quickly fished out her phone from her jacket.

 

There was a message on her phone and Taeyeon couldn’t stop smiling as she read it.

 

Taeyeon unnie, I’m your biggest fan! I’m so happy my dedication got picked! – Sooyeon

 

Sooyeon was Jessica’s Korean name. Jessica had once mentioned to Taeyeon that she would prefer her loved ones calling her by her Korean name as it felt more intimate. Jessica was a name used for work and formal occasions and it gave an authoritative and cold vibe compared to Sooyeon.

 

“Got a message from someone special?” Sunny teased as she plonked herself next to Taeyeon and handed her a packet of orange juice. She noticed the unusually wide smile on Taeyeon’s face as the latter was looking at her phone.

 

“That’s for me to know and for you to find out,” Taeyeon answered cheekily before turning away from Sunny to reply the message.

 

A/N: Rooftop song : Taeyeon & The One “Like A Star” Official MV

Radio dedication song : Hyorin “I Choose To Love You” Official MV

Picture credit godspeller369

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