Seven

Taeyeon couldn’t believe what she had just heard. She shook her head, as if to clear her mind, and repeated herself again.

“Why? Why can’t I be with Jessica? Is it because I’m a girl?”

Tiffany merely shook her head. “This should be the least of your worries now. We should focus on completing the mission. That’s the reason why you have this special ability and why the both of us are talking to each other right now.”

Taeyeon’s heart sank. Her life had been turned upside down since she had met Tiffany. She couldn’t decide whether her life became better or worse, but it would seem that she had no choice but to follow what Tiffany had told her.

Over the weekend, Taeyeon and Tiffany hung out at a mall in order to try to find couples whom they could help. After a few unsuccessful attempts, they finally managed to tie the knot for one couple in their mid-thirties. Tiffany gave Taeyeon a high five after seeing the knot firmly tied. Taeyeon, on the other hand, was overjoyed and threw her arms over Tiffany’s shoulders and hugged her instead.

Tiffany returned the favour, hugging Taeyeon close, breathing in the minty shampoo that Taeyeon used. It was something she had wanted to do for the longest time but never had the opportunity to do so.  She had the biggest crush on Taeyeon since they were first introduced to each other in Heaven.

Feeling a pair of arms tightening behind her back, it dawned on Taeyeon that she had been hugging Tiffany for a little too long. She broke the hug, her face flushed with the colour of a ripe tomato. Tiffany’s facial colour mirrored Taeyeon’s and both of them took a step back, not daring to look at each other in the eye.

“Well, that’s a good start,” Tiffany said, breaking the awkward silence between them.

“Let’s continue with the momentum. I think we’re getting the hang of it already,” Taeyeon said as she walked down the aisle, looking for her next target.

After stringing three couples in a row, both of them decided to take a break at a café in the mall. They ate their meals hungrily, without saying much, especially after their hug at a store earlier on.

Suddenly, there was a rather loud and angry man’s voice which rose above the noisy chatter inside the café. Taeyeon stopped eating and looked around the café. Her heart sank when she saw the man in question.

It was Donghae.

When her eyes darted to Donghae’s side, she saw Jessica standing next to him, holding a plate of fried chicken. Jessica was looking at the floor and she seemed to be trembling in fear.

“Are you deaf? I already told you, I wanted soy sauce chicken not garlic chicken. Why haven’t you changed it yet?” Donghae barked, his arms crossed in front of his chest, shaking his leg as he leaned back onto his chair.

Jessica opened her mouth to reply but it was too soft to be heard. The next moment, Donghae roughly grabbed the plate from Jessica’s hand, causing one piece of chicken to fall onto the floor. He slammed the plate onto the table and proceeded to eat, without giving a hoot to Jessica. He was mumbling to himself as he wolfed down the fried chicken, piece by piece.

Tiffany grabbed Taeyeon’s arm and gave it a squeeze, reminding Taeyeon to mind her own business. She was worried that Taeyeon might rush over and give Donghae a piece of her mind. Taeyeon merely grunted and watched the scene in front of her, feeling helpless.

Jessica meekly took a seat opposite Donghae. She kept her head down most of the time as she started eating her sandwich. When she was only one-third done with her sandwich, Donghae got up from his seat and patted his tummy. He let out a loud burp and told Jessica to settle the bill before he left the café. Jessica hurriedly packed her sandwich into the plastic box it came in and paid for the bill. She apologized to the waiter for Donghae’s outburst earlier on and rushed out of the café, presumably to come after her rude boyfriend.

By now, Taeyeon’s eyes were burning with fury. Her knuckles were turning white as she gripped the knife she had in her hand very tightly.

I wanna drive this knife through that thoughtless guy’s heart. On second thought, he probably doesn’t have a heart at all. I wish he would burn in HELL!

“Taeyeon, look at me.” Tiffany had her hand on Taeyeon’s, the one which was gripping onto the knife. “Don’t do anything reckless.”

Taeyeon peeled her eyes away from the door and turned her gaze onto Tiffany.  Tiffany felt Taeyeon’s grip on the knife loosen. She wrestled the silverware out of Taeyeon’s hand and placed it on the table.

“Tiffany, since you’re able to tie the knots of couples together, would you be able to untie them too?” Taeyeon asked, almost pleadingly.

“We’re here to help couples tie their knots, not to tear them apart,” Tiffany said very firmly, looking straight into the burning pair of eyes that were glaring back at her. She extended one hand and held tightly onto Taeyeon’s still balled-up fist.

Taeyeon let out a long sigh. A wave of helplessness washed over her face.

“Promise me you’ll never meddle in their affairs,” Tiffany said in a very serious tone.

Reluctantly, Taeyeon agreed. After poking at her half-eaten chicken chop for the next few minutes, Taeyeon decided that she wasn’t going to continue eating anymore. Her stomach was filled with anger and pity at the same time. She pulled out a few bills from her wallet and slid it towards Tiffany.

“I’m going home now. I need a break from all that pulling and tying of threads. We’ll arrange to meet again via Kakao Talk,” Taeyeon said with a weak smile as she rose from her seat.

Taeyeon ah, I can understand your pain. Why is Heaven being so cruel to you?

Tiffany watched the short figure exit the café and head towards the bus station. She had also lost her appetite for the meal. Waving for the bill, she decided to pack the rest of her food as her dinner.

Meanwhile, Taeyeon was walking aimlessly inside another mall. Somehow, her feet involuntarily led her to an ice cream parlor. Perhaps her body knew that eating ice cream was the best solution for her depressed state right now. She stood at the door of the store, contemplating if she should enter.

Just as she was about to open the door, Taeyeon heard the all-too-familiar rough male voice again. She hid by the side of the store so that she wouldn’t be spotted via the full glass window of the store’s front.

“Gosh, are you that forgetful? I thought I said I wanted the Supreme Sundae but change the vanilla flavour to green tea, change the chocolate one to chocolate chip, add two more wafers, no whipped cream, add rainbow sprinklers and more chocolate sauce but look at what you gave me?!” Donghae pointed at the bowl of ice cream in front of him and shook his head.

“You’ve missed out the rainbow sprinklers. Just a few simple requests and you can’t get it right? I wonder how you made it through university so far,” Donghae remarked sarcastically, roughly jabbing Jessica’s forehead with his finger. He grabbed the spoon from Jessica’s hand and started eating his huge bowl of ice cream, without offering her a single bite. Again, Jessica was apologizing to him, but he didn’t give a damn as he continued to stuff himself with ice cream.

Jessica took a piece of tissue and attempted to wipe the ice cream stains on Donghae’s face, but he swatted her hand away. At that very moment, Taeyeon’s heart felt like it was ripped into two. She could never imagine someone would be so heartless towards such a caring person. She stuffed her balled-up fists into her pockets and took deep breaths to calm herself down as she continued to watch their interactions.

After a while, Donghae finished his ice cream and as usual, gave a loud burp before he stepped out of the store, leaving Jessica behind. Jessica took her bag from the chair and chased after Donghae. He was walking very quickly, as if on purpose and the poor girl was trying her best to catch up with him.

Since Tiffany was out of the way, Taeyeon decided to follow them. She kept a distance from them in case any of them spotted her. Although they were a couple, Donghae never bothered to walk beside Jessica. He often barked at her as if she was a maid whenever he needed her to hold his ever-growing shopping bags for him while he tried on clothes or shoes. Sometimes, he would ask Jessica for her opinion on something he was trying on, but he never failed to criticize her taste.

Why bother asking for her opinion when only yours matter, you horrible creep!

Each time Donghae abused Jessica either verbally or physically, Taeyeon had the urge to pull Jessica away from that evil man and to run away with her. Within the next two hours, Taeyeon lost count of the number of times her heart ached whenever Jessica was mistreated by Donghae. She also lost count of the number of times Jessica shed her tears each time she was scolded by Donghae. By the time Jessica and Donghae left the mall, Taeyeon couldn’t feel her heart anymore. It had become numb.

~*~*~*~

Once a week, Jessica would haul two huge baskets of Donghae’s clothes to the launderette to get them washed. He stayed at a hostel and it seemed that he always had a never-ending pile of clothes to be washed. Donghae would drop her off at the store and he would usually return about two hours later to pick her up.

Taeyeon was very much tempted to take the opportunity to chat with Jessica while she was waiting at the launderette whenever the Kim would happen to be there. However, each time she took a step forward, she would be reminded of the promise she made with Tiffany. Guilt would overwhelm her and she would retreat back into the safety of the shop opposite the launderette where she would be able to watch Jessica silently.

On this particular occasion, Taeyeon spotted an angry Donghae stomping out of the launderette. He was holding onto a striped long sleeve shirt which had a stain on its cuff. Jessica was close behind, balancing a huge basket of freshly washed, neatly folded clothes. Donghae was yelling at her again, blaming her for the stain on his expensive shirt. He shook her arm violently, anger building up inside of him. Jessica was unable to hold the weight of the basket and it slipped from her hands.

The next instant, Donghae’s face turned ten shades darker as he stared at the mess of clothes lying in a heap on the floor along with an overturned basket. By now, Jessica was shivering in fear as she stood rooted to her spot, unable to move an inch. Her hands were shaking badly as she covered her mouth, knowing she would be severely punished by Donghae for her mistake.

Taeyeon couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t stand seeing Jessica being abused by this ruthless man. She stormed towards the launderette, ready to give Donghae a piece of her mind and to pull Jessica away from the useless bum.

Donghae was baring his teeth at Jessica as he threw vulgarities at her. Jessica was sobbing uncontrollably by now which angered Donghae even more.  He raised his right hand and was about to slap Jessica when he felt someone take hold of his hand from behind.

“It is very ungentlemanly to hit a girl,” a deep male voice warned from behind him.

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