Chapter 11

Seoul

 

Jessica was hunting for a business card in her handbag when she accidentally dropped her schedule book onto the floor. Scraps of paper were scattered all over her marble floor when the book landed. Chucking her bag on the table, she bent down to pick up the pieces of paper.

 

It had been two weeks since she got back from her business trip in Tokyo. Usually she was quite prompt in clearing receipts and name cards from her schedule book but this time, she didn’t touch the book until she needed to look for a particular business card.

 

Jessica laid the pieces of paper on the floor and sorted them out so that she could clear them from her book. She picked up the handwritten notes and arranged them in chronological order. As she read through the notes, she felt tingles throughout her body. It brought back memories of the three weeks she spent with Taeyeon in Tokyo.

 

She smiled when she saw the last note Taeyeon wrote.

 

“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful. ~ Scott Westerfeld”

 

P.T.O.   (Please Turn Over)

 

“See you at the official opening of my café. I’ll give you a discount on cakes.

Here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”

 

She rubbed her thumb across Taeyeon’s Korean mobile number and recited it softly to herself.

 

“That shrew businesswoman. Starting to charge me for cakes because her café is opening. I ought to be getting a lifelong membership of free cakes since I helped her design her website,” Jessica grumbled.

After keying Taeyeon’s number into her mobile phone, she slotted the note into the schedule book and tucked it inside her handbag.

 

Should I text her? But…would I sound desperate for her if I make the first move? Then again, I didn’t ask when she would be back from Tokyo. Oh well, I shall email her instead.

 

Sitting at her desk in her study room, she opened up her email on the laptop and began typing.

 

At about 7pm, Jessica’s mobile phone rang. She pressed the green button to answer the call but before she could press the phone to her ear, she heard the loud chirpy voice of the caller.

 

“Hey Jess! I’m at the foot of your apartment and I bought your favourite pizza for dinner. Be prepared to welcome me at the door!”

 

Just minutes later, Tiffany appeared at the door, grinning from ear to ear.

 

“What’s up?” Jessica asked as she took the pizza to the kitchen.

 

“Remember that guy who asked me out for a meal? We’ve been meeting regularly during the time you were away,” Tiffany squealed.

 

“Ah, that’s good for you isn’t it?” Jessica replied. She took out a bottle of red wine and brought it to the kitchen.

 

“Or course! You’re looking good too. Hardly see you smile so much. I’m sure your facial muscles have been strengthened with the constant smile that’s plastered on your face since you came back from Tokyo. Met someone new in Tokyo?”

 

“Bumped into Taeyeon by chance,” Jessica casually replied.

 

“Whoa whoa, sounds like something’s brewing. You’re blushing!” Tiffany teased, pointing a finger at Jessica.

 

“Am not. It’s the reflection of the pizza box since it’s red,” Jessica retorted.

 

Tiffany laughed. “Smiling for no reason is one of the tell-tale signs of being in love. Come on, spit it out, Jessica Jung.”

 

“You’re too imaginative.”

 

“You’re too aloof.”

 

Jessica ate her pizza and ignored her friend.

 

“Maybe you’ve not realised that you like her. Tell me more about her. Anyone who can make my best friend smile so much is definitely someone interesting.”

 

“Quit asking me questions and let me eat in peace.”

 

Just then, Jessica’s phone beeped. She picked up her phone from the living room and stood there while reading the text message.

 

“Jung Sooyeon!” Tiffany exclaimed as Jessica walked into the kitchen.

 

“What?!” Jessica asked, surprised by her friend’s sudden outburst.

 

“You’re smiling again! Smiling for no reason! I bet that was a text from Taeyeon. You’re turning red again!” Tiffany hopped off her high chair and grabbed the blonde, pushing her in front of her fridge.

 

The tall two door fridge had a stainless steel finish and Jessica could see her reflection on the door. It was true that there was a tinge of pink on her cheeks and it was certainly not a warm day. She couldn’t attribute it to the red wine she drank as she hardly turned red when drinking alcohol.

 

“You wake up and you’re suddenly in love,” Tiffany sang.

 

Jessica wriggled out of Tiffany’s grip and walked away from the fridge.

 

“Someone sent me a funny text message so I smiled. Nothing wrong with that,” Jessica said nonchalantly.

 

“Whatever.” Tiffany mimicked Jessica’s favourite catch phrase whenever she had to end an argument or when she was lost for words. Both women burst out in giggles as Tiffany did such a bad impersonation of Jessica.

 

At around 10pm, Jessica chased Tiffany home, citing the reason that she wanted to sleep early. Tiffany insisted on sleeping over but Jessica shoved her out of the door. When Tiffany finally left, Jessica plonked herself onto her bed. She propped her chin on her pillow and held her phone in front of her. Unlocking the phone, she scrolled to the text message she received earlier on.

 

“I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert.  ~Jason Love.”

Sender: KTY

 

“She’s back!” Jessica squealed, hugging her pillow.

 

Lying down on her back, she thought about what they would be doing if Taeyeon was with her, now that Taeyeon was back in Seoul. Would they be shopping in Apgujeong or perhaps eating at one of the cosy cafes in Garosu-gil street? Maybe even clubbing in Hongdae?

 

There were so many things she could think of to spend her time with Taeyeon. Those thoughts flooded her mind. However, it just didn’t seem right. They weren’t a couple. What were they? Jessica stared blankly at the message on her phone and wondered.

~*~*~*~*~

 

A “Closed” sign hung from the door and the main signboard was still covered with paper. Most of the furniture was still wrapped in plastic sheets and the floor was quite dusty. The lights inside the main café area weren’t turned on and there were boxes lining the walls of the café. A single light was coming from the kitchen at the far end of the café. Jessica opened the main door and stepped into the café cautiously.

 

Jessica walked towards the kitchen, carefully weaving through the obstacle course in the main café dining area. She stopped outside the door to the kitchen and peeped in.

 

She crept silently towards the baker who was busy mixing ingredients in a metal bowl. She covered the baker’s eyes and whispered, “I’m here.”

 

“I’m glad you came.” A wide smile appeared on Taeyeon’s face. She missed Jessica’s touch and scent.

 

Jessica removed her hands from Taeyeon’s eyes as the latter turned around to face her. She missed seeing the bright smile on Taeyeon’s face. The smile never failed to energise her and also made her smile too.

 

“Welcome to my café, though it’s not fully operational yet. Do you like it?” Taeyeon placed the bowl and whisk on the table. Jessica had her hair tied up neatly in a bun and her sunglasses were propped on top of her head.

 

Jessica took a look around and pursed her lips. “Hmm…can’t tell much. It’s still pretty raw.”

 

“Haha, okay. You’ll see the full works in two weeks’ time. I was surprised to receive your email regarding the completion of the website. You’re quick! I was even more surprised to see your mobile number in the same email. I kinda figured that you wanted me to make the first move eh?” Taeyeon chuckled as she poked Jessica’s shoulder with her finger.

 

“I didn’t know when you would be back so it’s best to email you,” Jessica defended. She quickly looked away, feeling the warmth slowly creeping up her cheeks.

 

Jessica took a tour around the kitchen, avoiding Taeyeon’s question. She knew that Taeyeon was spot-on but she refused to admit it though her tomato-coloured face gave away her true feelings.

 

“I have just the dessert in mind when I invited you here today. Sit on the table top. I’ll prepare it for you now,” Taeyeon said, patting the end of the long table she was working at. Jessica gave Taeyeon a puzzled look but nonetheless propped herself up on the table.

 

“What tricks do you have up your sleeve?” Jessica furrowed her brows, trying to guess the dessert Taeyeon was making by looking at the ingredients on the table.

 

“You’ll know in a bit,” Taeyeon smirked, placing a bunch of strawberries in a bowl with amaretto. She picked up a few more ingredients from the cupboard nearby and placed them on the table.

 

Taeyeon whisked the cream and icing sugar in a bowl until soft foams appeared. Then she folded in the ricotta, cinnamon, pistachios and glace orange.

 

All this while, Jessica was looking at Taeyeon with curious eyes. She never knew that Taeyeon looked so charming when she was baking. So far, she had only seen the end product which Taeyeon had brought her, but never the process of making it. Today, she finally had the opportunity to see Taeyeon at work.

 

“Here you go. I’m sure you’ll like it. There’s a tinge of alcohol in it,” Taeyeon smiled and wiped her palms on the apron. She handed Jessica a small metal spoon and a small glass filled with varying colours.

 

Jessica scooped a small portion of the dessert and placed it in her mouth. The mixture of dry crushed biscuits and sour ricotta cream, coupled with the sweet strawberries created a burst of flavours in her mouth.

 

“This is good. What is it called?” Jessica asked, while helping herself to another spoonful of the dessert.

 

“Cannoli cream. Like it?” Taeyeon asked, watching the blonde finish a huge spoonful of dessert.

 

Jessica nodded, biting the metal spoon in her mouth. “The masterchef hasn’t even tried it yet. How would you know if it’s good or not?”

 

Taking the spoon out of her mouth, Jessica bent down and pressed her lips onto Taeyeon’s. Taeyeon extended her tongue to lick the cream off Jessica’s lips, tasting the sweet almond liquor and sour ricotta cream. Jessica wound her arms around Taeyeon’s neck and pulled her closer, deepening the kiss. She wrapped her legs around Taeyeon’s waist and used her right leg to stroke Taeyeon’s back. Taeyeon tiptoed and pressed her palms on the table top to prop herself up. The two of them remained in that position for a while before Taeyeon had to break away for gasp for air.

 

Taeyeon wrinkled her nose and took a step backwards, leaning against her oven panting lightly. Her face and ears were very red and she was busy fanning herself. She felt very warm and her pulse was beating crazily. It had been a while since she tasted that pair of plump lips.

 

“The masterchef is shy? Or have you lost your touch?” Jessica teased as she leapt off the table top and inched closer to Taeyeon, the clatter of her heels echoed throughout the kitchen.

 

Taeyeon was leaning against the cold stainless steel oven door, her breathing quickened as the taller girl approached. Soon, there were only a few centimetres separating them. Taeyeon could feel Jessica’s warm breath on her face. The latter pinned her arms against the oven door and gently grazed Taeyeon’s lips with her own. Her desire for the baker grew with every step she took.

 

“Taste the cream in my mouth,” Jessica’s words were muffled against Taeyeon’s lips. Taeyeon obediently opened her mouth and their tongues set off on a mission to explore Jessica’s mouth. Jessica placed her hands on both sides of Taeyeon’s cheeks and Taeyeon had her hand behind Jessica’s head, as both of them engaged in yet another deep and passionate kiss.

 

Moments later, Jessica had skilfully untied the apron from Taeyeon’s neck, letting it drop to the floor. She unbuttoned the top of Taeyeon’s blouse and left a trail of wet kisses from Taeyeon’s jaw to her collarbone. Taeyeon let out an audible gasp when she felt Jessica’s lips moving downwards. She tightened her grip on the back of Jessica’s blouse and felt her legs turning soft.

 

Jessica stopped abruptly, looking softly into Taeyeon’s eyes. “Shall we adjourn elsewhere?” said Jessica breathlessly.

 

Taeyeon could only nod weakly. She cleared the kitchen with lightning speed so that she could get out of the place as soon as possible.

 

The two women couldn’t keep their hands off each other even as Jessica drove.  Jessica shot Taeyeon a look, telling her to keep her hands to herself while they were walking from the carpark to her apartment as there were several CCTVs along the way and she didn’t want to spoil her flawless image in front of the security officers.

 

Once they got through Jessica’s front door and ensure that it was securely locked, they couldn’t wait to tear off each other’s clothes. Taeyeon pulled Jessica’s blouse off, popping a few buttons in the process. Their lips never parted as they stumbled their way into the house. In fact, they didn’t even make it to the bed on the upper level when they first made out. Jessica led the way to her bed after their first round and they continued unleashing their flames of passion on the comfortable king sized bed.

 

It had been a long while since Jessica woke up to a warm body next to her the following morning. Taeyeon had her arm wrapped securely around Jessica’s waist, her head buried in Jessica’s hair and was randomly writing the letter “J”s on her arm. It reminded her of the first time they slept together in Tokyo. She leaned back into Taeyeon’s embrace, enjoying the warmth of Taeyeon’s body.

 

Taeyeon curled her leg around Jessica’s legs and intertwined her fingers with hers, snuggling closer when she realised that the latter was awake.

 

“It feels like we’re back in Tokyo,” Taeyeon mumbled into Jessica’s golden locks. She loved the citrus shampoo Jessica used. “Except that you’re using citrus instead of the hotel’s green tea shampoo.”

 

“You’re very observant.”

 

“I am sensitive to scents, especially those on you.”

 

“Sweet talker. Save your sugary words for your girlfriend.”

 

Taeyeon laughed, pulling the blanket over their shoulders. She wrapped herself tightly around Jessica’s body, their hearts beating in sync. The only noise was from their light breathing as they laid on their sides.

 

“I should be going. I need to pick up my car from the café before heading for the academy,” Taeyeon said, breaking the long silence. She was reluctant to leave but this arrangement was what they had agreed upon in Tokyo. Jessica’s words echoed in her head. She untangled herself from Jessica and got out of bed. Picking up the pieces of clothes which were scattered all over the bedroom, Taeyeon took a quick shower before dressing herself while standing in front of the full length mirror.

 

From the reflection in the mirror, Taeyeon caught Jessica looking at her from the bed. It wasn’t the look of lust, it felt different. The look in her eyes was softer than her usual arrogant glare. It seemed like Jessica didn’t want her to leave.

 

It has been a while since I saw you…why does my heart call out to you? Taeyeon, can you stay and not go to work today?

 

“Are you peeping at me?” Taeyeon turned around and looked at Jessica.

 

“Why should I? There’s nothing I’ve not seen before. Remember to close the door tightly when you leave.” Jessica yawned, pulling the blanket over her head. Her heart sank. She didn’t want to see Taeyeon leave.

 

Minutes later, Jessica felt someone pulling the blanket off her head.

 

“I’ve forgotten something,” Taeyeon shook Jessica’s shoulder gently.

 

“What is it?” Jessica asked, looking at Taeyeon with her eyes wide open.

 

“This.” Taeyeon bent down and kissed Jessica’s forehead.

 

“Can’t kiss you at the usual spot today since your eyes are wide open,” Taeyeon chuckled.

 

I’m glad you didn’t reject my invitation. Now that we’ve started…let’s carry on. You don’t know how much I want you, Jessica.

 

Taeyeon pulled the blanket over Jessica’s shoulders before heading down the steps towards the main door. With the blanket wrapped around her body, Jessica got out of bed and watched Taeyeon leave her house from the upper floor of her loft. Her arm still tingled with Taeyeon’s invisible “J”s.

 

I let her into my house…my personal refuge. Am I letting her into my heart too? This fluttery feeling in my heart…this tingling feeling on my arm…I’m missing her already.

 

 

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