The day of the masquerade ball
The school of magic was bursting with excitement and activity. Everyone was busy dressing up and preparing for the event. Chefs were setting the food on the tables while teachers cast various spells to dress the event hall in gold and silver. Boys were dressed in suits while the girls wore glittery gowns. Everyone had a mask and it was difficult to distinguish the face behind it.
The students sat according to the houses they were assigned to and the headmasters of each house at the front of the long table. Within each house, the seniors and juniors could sit randomly, thereby encouraging interaction. The Principal gave a long speech about harmony and using magic in a good way to help the world before everyone could tuck into the delicious feast in front of them.
Taeyeon and Yul sat next to each other. They intentionally stuffed a pink handkerchief into the chest pocket of their suit so that they could recognise each other instantly. Pink wasn’t a popular colour among the boys and it was outstanding. A young girl, a junior in the same house, sat beside Yul and was interested to strike up a conversation with him. Yul gladly obliged and soon, his best friend was forgotten.
In any case, Taeyeon hardly ate and his eyes were busy hunting for Jessica. It was a difficult mission to find a single person in a room filled with hundreds of people.
After dinner, there were inter-house games and quizzes to get everyone to work together as a team. Taeyeon was busy scanning the entire length of the table for Jessica (since they belonged to the same house).
The climax of the night was the mass dance. Everyone was dancing to popular tunes such as Uptown Funk. A young girl pulled Taeyeon in front of her and gestured for him to dance along. Taeyeon moved awkwardly, dancing wasn’t his forte. Plus, he had been distracted the whole night.
The night finally came to an end with a mass unveiling of masks. It was then Taeyeon saw the apple of his eye.
Jessica was standing several metres away from him, talking to another boy in the same house. Her off-shoulder maroon gown showed off her slender but full figure. Her hair was curled at their ends and they bounced lightly when she was walking. She gave off a feminine aura and it was alluring.
Taeyeon didn’t noticed how distracted he was until he felt an arm across his shoulders.
“Hot babe,” Yul grinned lazily, looking in the same direction as Taeyeon.
Taeyeon nodded in agreement without any hesitation.
“A hot babe needs a good man.”
Taeyeon nodded readily.
“But the hot babe was so busy the whole night. Everyone wants a piece of her,” Taeyeon sighed. Both of them were supposed to attend the ball together but when they got to the entrance, Jessica was immediately pulled away by Kim The Great to attend to some matters. Being one of the top students had its woes. Jessica mouthed a ‘Sorry’ as she was being led away by the multi-coloured hair teacher.
“Don’t fret, my friend. The hot babe told me to pass a message to you.”
“Huh?” Taeyeon was surprised.
“She said to meet at the place where stars collide and the moon rises across the ocean after the ball.”
To a normal person, that sounded quite cryptic. However, to Taeyeon, he knew Jessica was referring to the pinball machine in the games room. The design of the pinball machine resembled the galaxy and was decorated with stars and moon. The moon would travel across the top of the machine should the ball hit Jupiter, one of the planets in the pinball machine.
“Good luck, brother. I shall take my leave. It is not good to keep a girl waiting.” Yul gave a pat on Taeyeon’s back and flashed a naughty grin before disappearing hand in hand with Tiffany, the girl he was chatting with a few weeks ago.
When the Principal dismissed everyone, Taeyeon ran to the games room as fast as his legs could take him. He uttered apologies to those he accidentally bumped into while making his way to the room.
It is not good to keep a girl waiting. Yul’s voice boomed in Taeyeon’s head many times while he was hurrying to the games room.
The corner of Taeyeon’s lips lifted and formed a huge smile when he stood at the door of the games room. He was pleased to see the silhouette of the girl he liked. Seeing how focused she was at playing pinball, Taeyeon padded into the room quietly.
A chorus of bells chimed, signalling a high score. Jessica punched her fists in the air joyously.
With a wave of his wand, Taeyeon conjured colourful confetti flying down from the ceiling.
Jessica, surprised at the sudden celebratory confetti, turned around. “When did you arrive?”
“Just,” Taeyeon grinned as he stopped in front of Jessica. He picked the few pieces of confetti off her hair and shoulders. He let his eyes glaze across the collar bones and the milky white skin of her shoulders.
“I broke your high score!” Jessica proclaimed proudly.
Taeyeon smiled warmly. “Congrats.”
“What prize do I get?”
“Lunch on me next week?” Taeyeon suggested.
“Yay!” Jessica flashed a thumb up.
“I couldn’t find you at the ball earlier on. Where were you? Kim The Great made you captive the whole night?”
“I had to make my rounds, Ju Hyun too. Apparently Kim The Great invited several grand wizards and masters from other wizard colleges and wanted to introduce us to them.”
“Wow, I should feel honoured to know a future Grandmaster.”
Jessica blushed, turning her head away for a brief moment.
“Wasn’t Yul with you?”
“Yul was busy chatting up to sweet young things. Standing next to him, I practically became invisible without needing to cast a spell. Talking about spells…”
Taeyeon reached into his coat and pulled out his wand. He gave it a wave and pointed to the ceiling.
“Galaxis!” The ceiling was filled with twinkling stars, resembling the night sky. Every few minutes, a shooting star flew across the ceiling.
“Not bad,” Jessica praised.
“Lightto!” Candles lined the perimeter of the room at various spots, creating a warm atmosphere with their orange flickering light.
Jessica clapped, smiling from ear to ear. “You may be weak at potions but you sure are good at spells.”
Taeyeon bowed deeply before giving his wand a wave. This time, a bottle of champagne and two empty glasses appeared in a silver wine holder. With another wave, the champagne popped and the glasses were automatically filled with bubbly liquid.
“Wait a minute, we’re underage!” Jessica exclaimed.
Taeyeon pressed his finger to Jessica’s lips. “Shhh, no one needs to know.”
Jessica nodded, her eyes wide open. Taeyeon realised where he was touching and swiftly removed his fingers from Jessica’s lips. His fingers tingled from the touch of the soft lips.
They clinked their glasses and drank the champagne. Taeyeon filled the room with slow love songs before extending a hand out towards Jessica.
“May I invite the future Grandmaster to a dance?”
Jessica shook her head jokingly and slapped Taeyeon’s open palm but the boy deftly caught her hand and pulled her towards him. She fell into his embrace as he placed an arm behind her back.
“You sly fox.”
Jessica could feel Taeyeon’s laughter vibrating through his body as she rested her chin on his shoulders and their bodies were pressed together.
They moved around the small room slowly, taking in the romantic atmosphere of the room.
“Never know there is this side of you,” Jessica whispered into Taeyeon’s ear. The boy felt heat rushing through his body.
“I only show it to the person I like,” answered Taeyeon firmly.
Jessica blushed. It was definitely not due to the alcohol.
They stopped dancing. Taeyeon held Jessica in front of him by her arms. “And I like you,” Taeyeon continued, gazing into Jessica’s eyes.
Jessica suddenly burst into a giggle, resulting in a confused Taeyeon.
“It sure took you long enough to say it.”
“What?” Taeyeon was even more confused. He was trying to digest what Jessica meant.
“Silly boy,” Jessica flicked Taeyeon’s forehead. She took a few steps backwards and stopped when she reached the pinball machine.
“Levitos,” Jessica called out as she levitated and sat on the pinball machine. She shifted slightly while still facing Taeyeon.
Taeyeon was still standing at the same spot, wondering what Jessica was doing. He noticed the girl pointing her wand at him.
“Accio.” Taeyeon was swept off his feet and landed in front of Jessica. They were of the same height now and Jessica giggled as they met eye to eye.
Taeyeon was dazed for a moment. He lost count of his heart beats and adrenaline was coursing through his veins. He was standing in front of Jessica. To be exact, he was merely inches away. So close, he could smell the champagne from her breath.
“So how now?” Jessica whispered, her eyes gazing at Taeyeon’s. She placed a palm on Taeyeon’s chest, where his heart would be. She felt his heart beating wildly, and realised her own was mirroring his. Her face was the colour of roses and was warm.
Taeyeon was nervous. A lot of thoughts gushed through his mind within a few seconds. His palms were sweaty and his breathing quickened. He knew Jessica could feel the erratic speed his heart was beating but he didn’t mind. He wanted Jessica to know how much she meant to him.
“You really love to keep a girl waiting eh?”
Jessica’s voice jolted Taeyeon out of his thoughts.
Their eyes met and they held each other’s gazes.
Taeyeon moved even closer, his face was just centimetres away from Jessica’s. He sensed the intense electric current that was generated between them. Sparks were flying.
He tilted his head and moved forward.
She closed her eyes, he closed his too.
He leaned forward a little.
And their lips met for the first time.
With one hand wrapped around her waist and another gently cradling the back of her head, he held her close.
She snaked her arms around his neck and enjoyed the security of his embrace.
It was magical. The tingling sensation of each other’s lips, the beating of one’s heart, the warmth from each other’s touch and the release of endorphins resulting in an intense pleasurable feeling.
They parted after a light peck but their lips melded together almost immediately, as if they were unlike poles of a magnet. After a few light pecks, they progressed to open mouth kisses.
When they finally stopped for breath, both of them were as red as tomatoes. Their foreheads touched and their hands were still wrapped around each other’s body.
“Since when…” Jessica asked curiously, catching her breath.
“Since that night in front of the fireplace. Everything just felt so right,” Taeyeon said in a low voice, kissing the tip of Jessica’s nose.
Jessica stole another kiss from Taeyeon. “I know right.”
Surprised, Taeyeon asked, “You also shared the same feelings since then?”
Jessica giggled. She sat upright, away from Taeyeon. She unwrapped herself from him, placed her palms in his hands and held his hands. “No.”
“Oh, when was it then?”
“Since the moment I wiped that spot of toothpaste from your chin the following morning.”
That sentence caused Taeyeon to burst out laughing. It sounded so funny.
“Hey, it’s the truth yah,” Jessica whined, pounding on Taeyeon’s chest.
Taeyeon stopped laughing and held the hand that was pounding on his chest. He weaved his fingers with hers and placed it on his chin.
“From now onwards, you can wipe the toothpaste off my chin every morning and night,” Taeyeon grinned widely, as if he won the first prize in a competition.
“Fat hope!” Jessica stuck out her tongue at him.
With a swift tug, Taeyeon pulled Jessica towards him and kissed her heartily.
“I like you, Sica,” he said between kisses.
“I like you too,” she mouthed. “Oppa.”
At that moment, a shooting star glided across the ceiling and burst into a multitude of tiny shining stars, forming a perfect end to a wonderful night.
= The End =