“This cake tastes good! I’m sure it would be one of the best sellers when we open.”
“I’m hopeful that each and everything we bake would be a best seller in our café,” Taeyeon said as she cut a thick slice of red velvet cheesecake and placed it into a white box carefully.
The other person laughed and patted Taeyeon’s back. “Most definitely. We’ve put in so much effort into setting up this café. Our dream is going to be fulfilled soon. I’m so excited about it!”
“Me too!” Taeyeon beamed.
“Packing this cake for the food critic? She has tasted so many of your creations but I’ve not met her in person yet. Invite her to the opening of the café. I would love to meet the person who managed to capture the heart of my old pal.”
“Ya Kwon Yuri! Don’t make assumptions. She’s just an ordinary friend,” Taeyeon retorted.
Yuri raised her eyebrows and stared at her friend.
“You’d think I don’t know your inner thoughts after being friends with you for more than twenty years? I can see right through your soul, right till the point I know when you’re about to fart!” Yuri burst out in laughter.
Taeyeon raised her leg and gave Yuri’s butt a kick. “Stop teasing me. Too bad she won’t be mine.”
“She’s attached?” Yuri was puzzled by Taeyeon’s reply.
“No she’s not…it’s a long story. I’ll tell you when the time is ripe.”
“As long as she’s single, you stand a chance, my pal. Do something about it. It’s getting late now. Go deliver the fruit of your labour to her before the cream starts to melt. I’ll pack up,” Yuri urged, patting Taeyeon on her back.
“Thanks Yul. Owe you one,” Taeyeon said as she left the café.
“You’re never going to be able to clear your debt, pal!” Yuri called out.
On the way to Jessica’s house, Taeyeon thought about the words Yuri said.
As long she’s single, you stand a chance.
Parking her car at the visitor’s lot, she headed towards the lift.
Do I have a chance at all?
Taeyeon was lost in her thoughts and didn’t realise that the lift door was open. There was a blonde standing in front of her, tapping her feet with her arms crossed in front of her chest.
“Dreaming of someone else besides me?” Jessica asked jokingly.
Yes, I’ll fight for my chance. Opportunities are created by humans. Nothing will happen if I wait like a sitting duck.
“I was just thinking of creative ways to eat this delicious red velvet cheesecake that I just baked. Maybe I could lick the cream off your lips after you’ve taken the first bite or maybe even smear them on your face instead?” Taeyeon smiled mischievously.
“You naughty little thing!” Jessica held Taeyeon by her sleeve and pulled her into the house.
Over the duration of the next two weeks, Taeyeon stayed over at Jessica’s apartment several times. It was the best place to meet since it was situated in a quiet neighbourhood and relatively near the café which Taeyeon owned. Taeyeon often visited the café after her classes at the Seoul Culinary Academy in order to help prepare the café for its official opening.
Initially it was a little awkward for Jessica as she wasn’t used to having someone at her current apartment besides Tiffany. She never invited any of her ‘girlfriends’ or flings over to her apartment. In fact, most of her affairs involved overseas women so that she wouldn’t have any awkward meetings back in Seoul if something turned ugly.
Her previous girlfriend did stay over at her house but when things ended, Jessica moved into her current home to erase the painful memories of their past relationship. She never did get into any serious relationships after that breakup, choosing to avoid another possible heartache. Her home was her personal refuge and she preferred to keep it that way.
Thinking back to their reunion in Seoul at Taeyeon’s café, Jessica was surprised at herself for suggesting her home when passions ran wild. Taeyeon was the first person whom she had an affair with her at her current house. Since then, her home became the venue of their trysts. Taeyeon would leave early the following morning as she had to prepare for her classes. There would always be a post-it note stuck on Jessica’s full length mirror. A little note from Taeyeon, something that Jessica secretly treasured.
One Sunday morning, Jessica was woken by the ringing of her mobile phone. She carefully lifted Taeyeon’s arm from her waist so that she could reach for her phone on the bedside table.
“Hello, Jessica speaking,” Jessica mumbled with her eyes still closed.
“Jess, wakey wakey! Did you forget our date today? We’re supposed to go grocery shopping for the ingredients for my rainbow cake. I wanna surprise my boy later this evening,” Tiffany chirped.
“Oh shucks! I’ve forgotten!” Jessica blurted as she suddenly sprang up on the bed.
“Get up and shower now. I’m reaching your house in twenty minutes,” Tiffany commanded before ending the call.
“Who’s that?” Taeyeon asked sleepily. She slowly got up, wrapped her arms around Jessica’s waist and propped her chin on Jessica’s shoulder. She loved to hug the blonde from the back, taking in the lovely citrus shampoo scent in her hair.
“I’ve forgotten that I’m meeting Tiffany today. She’s coming over to bake a cake for her boyfriend. You better go shower first and leave before she arrives,” Jessica said anxiously. She didn’t want Tiffany to know that Taeyeon had been sleeping over at her house. It seemed awkward as Taeyeon was the first woman she brought home.
“Okay, I can stay to help. Don’t forget, I’m the most sought after baker,” Taeyeon sniggered.
“No..I mean…it would be awkward…I’ve not introduced the both of you formally yet,” Jessica stuttered.
“Well you can do it today,” Taeyeon smiled as she kissed Jessica’s neck.
“I’m not prepared yet.”
“What’s there to prepare? Not like I’m meeting my in-laws,” Taeyeon laughed, her arms still wrapped around Jessica’s waist.
“Ahh! Whatever! Just go and shower right now!” Jessica yelled as she pushed Taeyeon out of the bed. Her mind was blank and for a moment, she didn’t know what to do.
“I’m not going unless you’re coming with me,” Taeyeon sulked, sitting at the edge of the bed.
“Kim Taeyeon! I have an urgent situation on hand now and I don’t need you to add onto my burden!” Jessica pulled her hair. She didn’t know why she felt so frantic over Tiffany’s arrival. It was all her own fault for forgetting her appointment with Tiffany.
“Time is running out very quickly…” Taeyeon sat by the bed, waiting for Jessica to make her decision.
Jessica grunted, ruffled her hair and dragged Taeyeon into the bathroom with her.
Tiffany raised her eyebrow at the person who opened the door. She looked at the unit number just to confirm that she had arrived at the correct house. Anyway, there was only one unit on that floor since Jessica stayed at the penthouse and it was a private lift, so Tiffany couldn’t be wrong.
“Hello. Do I know you?” Tiffany asked politely, staring at the brown hair person who was smiling merrily at the door.
The next moment, a crumpled-up face with blonde hair popped out from the side of the door.
“Just come in,” Jessica said, pulling Taeyeon away from the door.
The three of them stood in a triangle at the living room, an awkward silence looming in the air.
Taeyeon smiled and extended her arm for a handshake.
“I’m Tae…” “This is Tae…” Jessica and Taeyeon said simultaneously then paused at the same time and looked at each other for a brief second before looking away.
Tiffany laughed. “Ah, I get it. You’re the reason behind her smile.”
“Huh?” Jessica and Taeyeon exclaimed at the same time, looking at each other with a puzzled expression on their faces.
“Let me introduce myself. Here comes trouble!” Tiffany giggled. “I’m kidding. I’m Tiffany and I’m pleased to meet you, Taeyeon. I’m going to trouble you regarding a matter. ”
Tiffany extended her hand for a handshake.
Taeyeon shook Tiffany’s hand. “I’m Taeyeon and am pleased to meet you too. Yup, Jessica mentioned that you’re going to bake a rainbow cake for your boyfriend.”
“Yes, indeed! My rainbow cake is going to be perfect since there’s a masterchef here! I’ve heard so much about you!” Tiffany cheered, clapping her hands.
“Really?” Taeyeon took a side glance at Jessica.
“Tiff!” Jessica exclaimed with her piercing stare.
“Of course! I’ll guide you,” Taeyeon beamed.
“Didn’t you invite Taeyeon to help me out? Else why would she be at your house on a Sunday morning?” Tiffany gave Jessica a quick wink. She was trying to save Jessica from the embarrassment of explaining Taeyeon’s presence.
“Ah…yes yes I did. See what a nice friend I am,” Jessica said somewhat awkwardly.
“I’ll go out with Jess to get the ingredients since they’re quite straightforward. Taeyeon, the baking stools are located in the second cabinet from the right. Perhaps you could get those ready while we pop out for a while. Are you okay with that plan?”
“Sure, you girls go ahead,” Taeyeon nodded.
“Spit it out Miss Jung,” Tiffany commanded when they were in the car.
“What’s there to spit? I haven’t eaten anything this morning yet.”
“Taeyeon stayed over at your place last night. I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence that she was in the area and popped by right?”
“Jess, I’m happy for you. Happy that you’ve finally let someone into your heart,” Tiffany said sincerely.
“We’re just hanging out, that’s all. Nothing serious.”
“Jess, don’t lie to yourself. I know you better than you know yourself. You don’t just bring anyone home to hang out. This shows you feel something for her.”
“Here you go again, typical avoidance behaviour. Don’t worry, as your best friend, I’ll interrogate Taeyeon and ensure she’s of the top grade before she’s allowed to date you,” Tiffany giggled.
“Don’t you dare do anything silly later on or you’ll be banned from my house for life!” Jessica threatened.
“Jess, go watch tv or read a book. You’re such a hindrance in the kitchen.”
Tiffany was watching how Taeyeon whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. She was taking notes but Jessica was constantly hovering between them and she was distracted by the blonde.
“No I’m not. I can help you beat the eggs.” Jessica didn’t want to leave the kitchen for fear of her friend sprouting nonsense in front of Taeyeon.
“Jess, we’ll be fine. Go watch your new blu-rays since you’ve been complaining you don’t have the time to watch them,” Tiffany said firmly, a signal to Jessica that she would be mindful of what she said to Taeyeon.
Jessica sighed and left the kitchen, hoping that nothing bad would result from leaving the both of them alone.
After some time, the fragrant smell of butter wafted through the air and Jessica decided to head to the kitchen to check on the progress of the cake.
Taeyeon was holding onto Tiffany’s hand, guiding her as they spread the frosting using a spatula on the outer layer of the cake. They were standing very close to each other and were giggling like teenagers. There was a blob of frosting on Tiffany’s left cheek while Taeyeon had a streak of purple food colouring across her right cheek.
What in the world are they up to? Is she trying to hit onto Tiff??
“Hey Jess, you came in at the right time. My cake’s almost completed, thanks to the masterchef,” Tiffany said as she looked up and spotted the blonde standing at the entrance of the kitchen.
“Don’t thank me. You’re good and such a fast learner,” Taeyeon praised. She realised that she was still holding onto Tiffany’s hand and quickly released it. She took a step back, widening the gap between Tiffany and herself.
Jessica caught Taeyeon’s subtle movement but didn’t say anything. On one hand she was thankful that the person involved was her best friend and she knew that her best friend was straight. On the other hand, she wasn’t comfortable seeing Taeyeon being so close with another woman, straight or gay.
“Taeyeon made some cupcakes for us. I took a bite earlier on and it was fabulous!”
Taeyeon appeared in front of Jessica, holding a tray of cupcakes. “It’s your favourite,” Taeyeon whispered.
Jessica raised her brows and picked up one of the cupcakes. Taking a bite, she felt the sweetness of Baileys in her mouth, reminding her of the chocolate cupcake Taeyeon baked for her in Tokyo.
“It is really good, right?” Tiffany asked, watching the change in Jessica’s expression from a frown to a smile.
“Yeah,” was all Jessica could say as she savoured the cupcake.
Taeyeon winked at Jessica before placing the tray onto the table. “You girls can share the rest. Remember to pop by my store for its opening in two weeks’ time and I’ll treat you to delicious cakes and pastries.”
“We’ll definitely be there, right Jess?”
“Yeah,” came a short reply again. Jessica’s mind drifted away to the day when Taeyeon visited her with the same brownie in Tokyo.
“Okay ladies, I’ve got to go. Tiffany, it has been nice knowing you. I’m sure we’ll see more of each other soon. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about baking.”
After Taeyeon finished washing up, Jessica walked her to the door.
“Tiffany’s a fun person. She’s quite the opposite of you, loud and chirpy,” Taeyeon said while putting on her shoes.
“She’s straight and has a boyfriend.”
Taeyeon laughed. “When did I ever say I am interested in her?”
“Well, she’s beautiful and could have easily captured your heart within the time she spent with you alone. She doesn’t have a lack of suitors you know.”
Taeyeon stood up, took a quick glance beyond Jessica’s shoulder before planting a light kiss on Jessica’s nose. She wanted to ensure that Tiffany wasn’t looking since Jessica seemed very conscious about her hanging around the house when Tiffany was around.
“I only have space for you in my heart,” Taeyeon cooed.
“I thought you baked a rainbow cake, not a cheesecake,” Jessica said sarcastically. However, her heart felt the opposite. It was filled with warmth when she heard that sentence. It was cheesy yet it was one of the rare moments Taeyeon ever said such lovey dovey stuff face to face.
“I did or shall I say Tiffany did. I merely became her assistant. Your kitchen is very well-stock. It’s a pity you don’t utilise it. The next time, we should bake a cake together. It would be fun!”
“Whatever,” Jessica replied, maintaining her cold front.
Taeyeon planted a quick kiss on Jessica’s lips. “I’ll see you in a few days’ time. Having full day classes consecutively, poor me.”
Jessica watched Taeyeon go into the lift before closing the door and looking for Tiffany. Tiffany was resting on the couch in the living room after working in the kitchen for the whole morning.
“No wonder you’re smitten with her. She’s such a nice and sincere person. I think she complements your cold personality very well. Her laughter is infectious! Can’t believe she’s actually one of the senior instructors at the Seoul Culinary Academy. She looks so young!”
“Tiff, we’re just friends and are not in an exclusive relationship. Don’t let your imagination go wild.” Jessica plonked herself onto the empty space next to Tiffany.
“I can tell she likes you from the way she raves about you. She was like ‘Jessica likes this…Jessica enjoys doing that…blah blah blah’. If she doesn’t have any special feelings for you, she wouldn’t have peppered her sentences with your name every now and then.”
“Maybe she doesn’t have any other friends.” Jessica subconsciously ran her finger across her lips. She could still feel Taeyeon’s lips grazing hers a moment ago.
“You always have an excuse for everything I mention about Taeyeon. You’ve already let her into your house, why not your heart?”
“Because I don’t have one. I don’t have a heart to love someone,” Jessica sighed.
“Awww…I’m sure I still hold a special place in your heart right?” Tiffany leaned over and enveloped Jessica in a hug.
“Yes, yes, my dearest girlfriend, only you.”
“But I’m afraid I’ll be losing my position in your heart to a certain Miss Kim very soon,” Tiffany chuckled.
“Ouch! What was that for?”
“That’s for sprouting nonsense again!”
Both of them collapsed into hearty laughs that echoed throughout the living room.
That night, Jessica thought about Tiffany’s observations of Taeyeon. Her good friend was usually spot-on in terms of analysing a person’s character. This time, Tiffany had nothing but good comments about Taeyeon.
Should I give this nameless affair a go-ahead and turn it into a proper relationship?