“Ah, so it’s ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. What a nice name. There’s such a long queue, the cakes must be really good,” Tiffany said in amazement at the crowds lining up at the café Taeyeon owned.
Jessica and Tiffany stood across the road from the café. It was the first day of opening and many people were at the café.
“Give Taeyeon a call and see if we can cut the queue.” Tiffany tugged at Jessica’s arm.
“No. I don’t like to ask for favours unnecessarily.”
The two women strolled into the café. It was painted in apple white with minimal decorations on the walls. It wasn’t a big café though the use of space was well thought out. There was a huge glass display where it was filled with cakes of various kinds, and that occupied most of the café. There was a small white chalkboard on the counter, stating the chef’s special for the day.
There were only three sets of chairs and tables in the café. It was mainly a take-away concept, similar to the store which Taeyeon and Jessica went in Tokyo. There was a huge mural of the Tokyo city skyline on one side of the wall. The kitchen was tucked at the end of the café and the fragrant scent of butter filled the café.
A young woman was manning the cashier counter and she was busy picking out the cakes from the glass display and putting them into white boxes for each customer. Jessica looked around for the person she knew but she couldn’t find her.
She’s probably busy in the kitchen since it’s the first day of her store’s opening.
Just then, a tall woman in white baker’s uniform emerged from the kitchen holding onto a tray filled with jars of cookies.
“Yoong, I’ll place them in the basket right over here,” the tall woman said.
“Sure Yuri unnie,” the young woman replied.
Jessica walked up towards the cashier counter. She saw the girl’s name on a nametag she was wearing. “Excuse me, Yoona, is Taeyeon in today?”
“Taeyeon? Oh, she went for a while. She’ll be back soon. Are you her friend?” Yoona said.
Jessica nodded and smiled. Yoona led Jessica and Tiffany to two empty seats nearby and served them iced water.
“I’ll let you know once she gets back,” Yoona smiled and went back to the cashier’s counter to attend to her customers.
About fifteen minutes later, Jessica saw a familiar figure walking past her and heading for the cashier counter. It was none other than Taeyeon. Yoona and Taeyeon were talking to each other, with Taeyeon’s back facing Jessica and Tiffany. Yoona used her hand to comb Taeyeon’s hair and helped to adjust Taeyeon’s uniform as the apron was not properly tied. Jessica felt a pang of sourness in her heart when she saw Yoona helping Taeyeon.
Yoona pointed towards Jessica and Tiffany and Taeyeon turned around. Jessica and Taeyeon’s eyes met briefly. Taeyeon flashed a grin before continuing her conversation with Yoona.
A little while later, Taeyeon appeared at the table.
“Hello ladies and thank you for coming by,” Taeyeon greeted with a smile.
“It’s your opening day, we’re here to lend you support! Do recommend some cakes to us. Jess is famished! She hasn’t eaten anything since breakfast just because she wanted to leave some stomach space for your cakes,” Tiffany exclaimed excitedly.
“Oh really?” Taeyeon narrowed her eyes at Jessica and laughed. Jessica looked away and pretended she didn’t hear what Tiffany just said. She gave Tiffany a hard kick underneath the table.
“Obviously not. I’ve taken my breakfast before meeting up this loud-mouthed woman over here. She’s just sprouting nonsense,” Jessica replied, feeling frustrated. Truthfully, Tiffany wasn’t lying but Jessica refused to admit it. She had always enjoyed the cakes and pastries which Taeyeon made. It tasted much better than any other cakes she had tasted.
Taeyeon reappeared at the table with a small selection of cakes. She chatted for a little while before excusing herself to the kitchen. It was a very busy day for her and many of her customers were students at the Seoul Culinary Academy who came to support their teacher’s café.
After finishing their cakes, Jessica and Tiffany decided to leave as they didn’t want to disturb Taeyeon. Tiffany told Jessica to say goodbye to Taeyeon while she waited outside.
As Jessica approached the kitchen, Taeyeon emerged with a paper carrier in her hand.
“For you. You can share it with Tiffany later today,” Taeyeon said as she handed the carrier to Jessica.
“Thank you for the treat today. Tiffany sends her regards. She’s waiting for me outside. I wish you all the best in your business,” Jessica said.
Taeyeon leaned in towards Jessica and stole a quick kiss on Jessica’s cheek.
“It’s your favourite,” Taeyeon whispered into Jessica’s ear. She patted Jessica’s arm and went back into the kitchen.
Jessica hurried out of the café as Tiffany had been waiting for some time.
“What’s that? You bought some more cakes?” Tiffany asked, pointing to the box.
“Taeyeon gave it to us.” Jessica peered into the box.
It looks like the Baileys brownies which she made for me in Tokyo.
“I see a smile creeping up your face,” Tiffany said, eyeing the blonde.
“It’s my favourite brownie with Baileys frosting,” Jessica said with a smile.
“Love changes, changes everything, love makes you fly…” Tiffany sang, her eyes forming the shape of crescent moons.
“You’re nuts,” Jessica drew small circles beside her right temple.
Tiffany draped an arm around Jessica’s shoulder. “Jessica, Jessica, dear Jessica. You’re in love and you don’t realise it. I may be nuts but at least I’m not blind.”
“Whatever.” Jessica ignored her friend and walked on. She felt her heart fluttering, her footsteps lighter as she headed for her car.
“Jess, you aren’t even walking properly. You’re skipping and that’s a sign of being in love!” Tiffany yelled from the back as she caught up with her friend.
“Be prepared to walk home if you’re going to continue being mean!”
Tiffany merely laughed and chased after the blonde.
Back at the café, Yuri was trying her best not to laugh when she saw Taeyeon walking back into the kitchen after passing Jessica the brownies.
“Hmm, Christmas is long over and I don’t remember hanging any mistletoe at the entrance of the kitchen,” Yuri said aloud, rubbing her chin.
“Ya Kwon Yuri!” Taeyeon yelled, running over to Yuri as she tried to hit Yuri’s forehead. She was embarrassed by the fact that her friend caught her kissing Jessica.
Being more agile, Yuri managed to dodge the attack.
“Why didn’t you introduce her to me? Completely forgotten about your dear friend who’s working her butt off in the kitchen?”
“Gosh, are we going to argue about such things? There’s still a long queue outside,” Taeyeon said hastily, trying to change the topic.
“Taengoo ya, I’m only kidding. I must say that I’ve never doubted your taste in women. She’s hot!”
Taeyeon blushed as she threatened to use a whisk to smack Yuri if she continued teasing her any further.
A Spoonful of Sugar became Jessica and Tiffany’s new haunt when they had the cravings for something sweet. They would usually drop by the café to pick up a few slices of cakes before heading to Jessica’s house. At times, they would dine in if the café wasn’t crowded.
There were several regular customers who patronized the café frequently. One of them was a lady named Minjung. She was a well-dressed and elegant lady in her late thirties who frequented the café since its official opening. However, she was a little eccentric. She would buy everything on the display as long as Taeyeon was the one who baked it. The amount of cakes didn’t matter to her as she claimed that it was her way to show support for Taeyeon’s excellent skills and that she would donate the cakes to charity.
Everyone at the café was aware of her strange buying habits. Yoona and Yuri often hid a few slices of cakes as a backup in their kitchen in case any of their regular customers came to their café late. They didn’t want to disappoint any of them.
One evening, the door of the café swung open and there stood Minjung.
“Good evening Miss Lee, welcome to A Spoonful of Sugar,” Yoona greeted politely.
“Hello Yoona. Is Taeyeon around?” Minjung asked, taking off her sunglasses and looking around the café.
“Taeyeon unnie isn’t in right now, I’m not too sure where she went.”
“I thought she has an off day at the Academy today, so she would definitely be here. Nevermind then, I’ll wait here for her. Please give me a slice of cake and an iced latte,” Minjung said.
“Which type of cake you would prefer?” Yoona asked politely.
“As long as it’s baked by Taeyeon, I’m fine,” Minjung replied flatly. “By the way, pack the rest of the cakes which are baked by her as well. I’ll pick it up when I leave.”
“Yes Miss Lee.”
Minjung sat at one of the tables and took out a home interiors magazine to read while waiting for Taeyeon to arrive.
Moments later, the main door of the café opened. Minjung looked up for a second and stared at the visitor who was walking in.
“Hey Jessica unnie! The usual for you?” Yoona greeted merrily.
The blonde removed her sunglasses and placed them into her handbag. “Yes Yoong. Thanks.”
Yoona tilted her head to the side, signalling to Jessica regarding the presence of that weird woman. Jessica merely nodded and took a seat furthest away from Minjung. Jessica never liked Minjung. She felt that the older woman had ulterior motives for buying up almost everything in the store. Of course it didn’t do her heart any good when she realised that Minjung seemed to have a soft spot for Taeyeon and often tried to ask her out for dinner.
Fifteen minutes later, Taeyeon arrived at the café. Minjung immediately got up from her seat and pulled Taeyeon to her table before she could even greet Yoona at the cashier counter. Yoona shrugged her shoulders and mouthed the words “Sica unnie” before Taeyeon was led away by Minjung.
“One earl grey tea for Taeyeon please,” Minjung instructed Yoona.
Taeyeon frowned when she was forced to sit at the table with Minjung but quickly put on a smile when Minjung turned her attention on her. Unable to offend her customer, she had no choice but to relent and strike up a short conversation before she would politely excuse herself from the table.
Jessica was watching Minjung’s move from her seat. She couldn’t stand that older woman and her antics.
A mum fussing over a kid?? Why in the world is she holding onto Taeyeon’s hands like that? Why does she have to touch Taeyeon?! ARGGHHH!!
Unknowingly, Jessica slammed the glass of iced coffee on the table a little too hard, resulting in a loud ‘clank’ sound. Minjung looked up and glared at Jessica, wondering what the commotion was about. Jessica stared back at Minjung, not breaking the eye contact at all. The more she looked at Minjung, the more she felt like walking over and snatching Taeyeon away from the ‘wicked witch’.
Meanwhile, Taeyeon was fidgeting at her seat. She was tired of entertaining Minjung and had no interest in her at all. Yet she couldn’t risk offending one of her biggest customers at the café. Minjung was rather ‘expressive’, her hands were constantly touching Taeyeon’s arms or thighs. Taeyeon shifted in her seat but to no avail. She sighed inwardly, hoping that Jessica wouldn’t give her the cold shoulder later on.
Giving the excuse that she needed to settle some matters at the café before heading home to rest, Taeyeon managed to convince Minjung to leave the café. Minjung made Taeyeon carry the boxes of cakes to her car. At that moment, Jessica decided to follow from a distance, intending to scratch Minjung’s car when the opportunity arise.
Why am I behaving like this? Scratching someone else’s car seems so juvenile! Ahh…I’m going crazy. Taeyeon, you’re making me crazy.
Jessica stopped in her tracks and watched from a distance as Taeyeon loaded the boxes into the car boot. She noticed Minjung behaving rather sneakily as the older woman moved closer towards Taeyeon. Minjung was standing just inches away from Taeyeon and her face was very close to Taeyeon’s.
Is that ahjumma intending to kiss her?!
Jessica hurriedly turned around and headed for the opposite direction, not wanting to witness the scene. Without waiting for Taeyeon, she drove off and left for home.
Meanwhile, at Minjung’s car, Taeyeon felt someone breathing near her neck. Her instincts told her to bend down for safety and she was glad she did. Narrowly missing Mingjung’s lips, Taeyeon pretended that she dropped the store’s receipt onto the ground while unloading the boxes and wanted to pick it up.
“Ai!” came a short shriek. Minjung was caught off-balance and almost landed on top of Taeyeon. Fortunately she managed to hold onto the boot lid and prevented herself from falling down. Her face turned black when she realised that her kissing attempt had failed miserably.
Taeyeon turned around and realised what had happened.
My guess was right. I really need to put a stop to this. But what do I tell her? That I have a girlfriend and her name is Jessica? She and I… are we in an official relationship? Guess not… yet…
“Told you to call me Minjung unnie. Don’t have to be so formal with me when it’s only the two of us around,” Minjung cooed, patting Taeyeon’s arm.
“Sorry, I’m not used to calling my customers using the informal language. Your boxes are in the boot. Do remember to drive carefully. Thanks for your patronage,” Taeyeon said politely as she bowed a little.
“You mean we’re only customers? I thought we would have been close friends by now!” Minjung exclaimed, throwing her arms into the air. She let out a long sigh.
Taeyeon gulped. “Of course we’re friends. I’m friends with ALL of my customers. That’s why the café is designed to be cosy and nice, just like a home.”
Minjung raised an eyebrow, totally unconvinced that what Taeyeon just said.
“You better get going, otherwise the cream might melt. Good night and drive safe!” Taeyeon urged, opening the driver’s door for Minjung.
Once Minjung drove off, Taeyeon heaved a sigh of relief.
I better get going too. She has been waiting for too long.
“Hey Jessica, I’m at the lift lobby. Could you activate the access to your floor?” Taeyeon asked. As Jessica stayed in one of the more luxurious apartments, security was tight and access had to be granted by the home owner in order for visitors to access the particular floor they were staying.
“I’m busy preparing a proposal right now. See you another day.”
“Hold on, don’t put down the phone! I’m already at the lift lobby. I could go up to keep you company like I always do.”
“Not today, I’m not in the mood for company.”
“But you were at the café earlier on. I thought you were waiting for me? When I got back to the café, Yoong said you already left.”
“I happened to be there to buy some cupcakes but someone got ahead of me and bought your whole store,” Jessica said bitterly.
Taeyeon let out a sigh. “You know I couldn’t stop her from buying anything that’s on display. That’s why I hid half a dozen of Bailey’s cupcakes in the kitchen away from her eyes. I’ve saved them just for you.”
Jessica bit her lips. Taeyeon’s Baileys cupcakes were out of this world. She couldn’t resist eating them.
A wide smile appeared on Taeyeon’s face when she saw the lift doors open and the green button for the penthouse lit up.
Standing outside the door, Taeyeon smoothed out the wrinkles in her pants before pressing the doorbell. A rather grumpy-looking blonde opened the door and snatched the paper carrier from Taeyeon.
“Ok, you can go now.” Jessica waved her hand, asking Taeyeon to leave.
“What?” Taeyeon said in surprise.
“Thanks for your cupcakes. I’m busy right now, so yea, you can’t stay over.”
“I’ll leave you to do your work then. Don’t stay up too late,” Taeyeon said, sounding rather dejected. It was a rare night that she had a bit more spare time. She had been looking forward to spending the night cuddling with Jessica in bed but it looked like she would be disappointed.
“Yea.” Jessica was about to close the door when she noticed Taeyeon still standing at the same spot instead of heading for the lift.
Taeyeon looked at the floor, shifting the weight between her legs.
“Would you be free for dinner next Friday?” Taeyeon said hesitantly, her hands tucked inside her jeans pockets.
“What’s the occasion?”
She looks nervous. Wonder what’s up.
“To celebrate the successful opening and good business at the café.”
“Who’s going?” Jessica asked, sounding rather unconvinced by Taeyeon’s reply.
“Erm…a few people…” Taeyeon paused. The celebration was just a lousy excuse cooked up by Minjung in order to get closer to Taeyeon. She had been asking Taeyeon out for meals but each time she got rejected. Taeyeon, afraid to offend her customer, decided to relent and meet Minjung for dinner with one condition; Taeyeon was allowed to call her friends along. Minjung reluctantly agreed.
“A few? Two? Four?” Jessica questioned.
Taeyeon hesitated for a while, not knowing how she should reply Jessica.
“Five, if you agree to go.”
Silence fell as the both of them looked at each other.
I hope she agrees to go. Should I tell her that Minjung is there?
“Pick me up from home. I’m too lazy to drive.”
I’ll give her the benefit of doubt though I have a feeling something’s not right.
“Sure sure! I’ll come at around 7.00pm!” Taeyeon said, heaving a sigh of relief.
“Goodbye,” Jessica said flatly as she closed her door.
“Wait!” Taeyeon stuck her foot at the door, preventing it from closing.
“What is it?” Jessica asked, somewhat irritated. Since coming home from the café, she had been feeling frustrated. It seemed her jealously got the better of her and she didn’t want to see Taeyeon anymore, at least not tonight.
Taeyeon held onto Jessica’s arm and pulled her closer. She planted a light peck on Jessica’s lips and whispered, “I miss you.”
Taeyeon smiled and headed for the lift. Jessica closed the door and headed for the living room. She threw herself onto the couch and stared blankly at the television. Her hand grazed across her lips, the sensation of Taeyeon’s warm lips was still present.
Deep in her heart, she longed for Taeyeon to stay overnight. They hadn’t been able to spend much time together due to their busy work schedules.
Taeyeon, what have you done to me? You make me want and resent you at the same time. How can that be possible?
It was a long lonely night for Jessica.