Taeyeon let out a short sigh after reading the message on her phone.
“What’s bothering you? Lately you seem a little out of sorts,” Yuri commented.
“Jessica’s schedule is packed with dinner after dinner. She’s out tonight with her department colleagues. I hardly have time to see her at home,” Taeyeon lamented, poking her fingers aimlessly at the pile of flour on the table.
“Come to think of it, her birthday’s coming soon. Maybe that’s why she’s busy?”
Taeyeon snapped her fingers. “Bingo. One day she’s out with this group of friends, another day she’s out with some other groups of friends.”
“And that’s why you’re feeling upset?”
Taeyeon sighed. She wrote the Hangul words ‘Sica’ in the flour. “That’s just one of the reasons. The other reason is I don’t know what to buy for her.”
Yuri stopped frosting the cupcakes and looked at Taeyeon. “Just ask her what she wants then.”
Taeyeon let out another one of her countless sighs. “Then it wouldn’t be a surprise. It would be so…normal. Nothing special. Moreover she already has so many things like bags and shoes. She gave me such a huge surprise on my birthday and I’m trying to beat her record.”
Yuri could only shrug her shoulders. “In that case, good luck to you. You may want to talk to Yoong about it. She may have more creative ideas since they’re quite close.”
Taeyeon went out to the main area of the café and sat on a high stool near the cashier’s counter.
“Yoong, what do you think I should give Jessica for her birthday?” Taeyeon asked the doe-eyed girl at the counter.
“Hmm…did Sica unnie hint about wanting anything in particular? Like a handbag or a new watch?”
“No. She’s usually quite direct when it comes to such things and moreover she already has a lot of these at home. She usually buys them on her own.”
“Well, it’s her birthday and she may drop hints every now and then. Try to pay closer attention when you’re talking to her,” Yoona suggested. “All I know is that she loves surprises, big or small.”
Just then, Tiffany came into the café.
“Hello Fany unnie!” Yoona greeted.
Taeyeon merely waved her hand weakly at the visitor.
“Hi Yoong. Hi Taeng. Wow, everyone’s here today?” Tiffany asked, seeing the baker sitting in the café.
“Yuri unnie is in the kitchen. She’s making cupcakes right now,” Yoona beamed. “Is there anything you would like?”
“Just get me a cup of iced coffee. Thanks Yoong.”
Tiffany took a seat next to Taeyeon. “Why are you looking so down?”
“Taeyeon unnie doesn’t know what to buy for Sica unnie’s birthday,” Yoona called out, answering on Taeyeon’s behalf.
“As her best friend, I shall give you a tip or two. She likes surprises and is a sucker for them, especially if it’s coming from her close friends or in this case, her other half.” Tiffany winked at Taeyeon.
“Every year I have to come up with something new and creative else she’ll start a cold war with me for the next few weeks,” Tiffany continued.
Taeyeon’s face turned pale and she looked even more upset than before.
Tiffany started laughing when she saw the change in Taeyeon’s face. “I’m only kidding! You’re such a fun person to tease. To be honest, it’s the thought that counts. She does like surprises but ultimately it’s up to you to move her heart…which I’m sure you’ll find a way.”
“How about making something she likes? Maybe something to do with Baileys, her favourite drink?” Yoona suggested.
“That sounds like a plan…but there seems to be something else still missing from the equation. Like…how do I put it…it’s still…very normal, nothing surprising.”
“Well, you’ve a week to think about it. Good luck!” Tiffany patted Taeyeon’s back and flashed her famous eye-smile which made Taeyeon worry even more.
Taeyeon and Jessica were at a mall doing window shopping after eating a late dinner. It was one of rare nights Jessica wasn’t meeting friends for dinners. They stopped in front of a window display of a luxury store.
“Isn’t that black clutch bag nice? The one with the gold trimmings?” Jessica asked, pointing to the hand on the pedestal.
Is this a hint for me to buy it as her birthday present?
“It’s nice. Do you like it?” Taeyeon asked, trying to fish for more reaction from Jessica.
“I like the design but I already have something similar so it’s a waste of money to get this one.” Jessica pulled Taeyeon away and headed for the next store.
Okay, that’s out.
There was a sale at one of the clothing stores and Jessica went in excitedly.
“Do I look good in this jacket?” Jessica put on the dark brown jacket and spun around for Taeyeon to see.
“Everything looks good on you, baby.” Taeyeon was smiling broadly. She enjoyed shopping with Jessica especially if the latter was looking for clothes. Jessica always looked as if she was part of a fashion magazine’s photo shoot.
Jessica took the jacket off and looked at its price tag.
“Wow, it’s on sale but it’s still so expensive.” Reluctantly, Jessica hung the jacket back onto the clothing rack. She slipped her hand into Taeyeon’s and they left the store.
She seems to like that a lot. I shall come back and get it tomorrow. Maybe as her birthday gift.
Over the next one hour, the list of things Jessica pointed to or commented had increased to more than ten. Taeyeon was a little confused as to what were the things she really wanted or were all of them just passing comments. It was creating additional pressure for her and she didn’t enjoy the shopping trip as much as she should have.
It was one day before Jessica’s actual birthday. She was having dinner with her college mates, Tiffany included, in a western style restaurant. They were chatting happily, reminiscing about the old days.
After dinner, Jessica found it odd when Tiffany kept rejecting the offer of going for drinks at a pub with their college mates. When the valet drove Jessica’s car to the driveway, Tiffany skillfully squeezed past Jessica and jumped into the driver’s seat.
“Tiff, what are you doing?” Jessica questioned sternly.
“Just hop in, we’re running late!” Tiffany bellowed as she buckled her seat belt.
As Tiffany was driving, Jessica fired a string of questions.
“What are you doing? Where are we going?”
“Just sit back and relax. It’s a surprise.”
“What sort of surprise? Who’s behind it?”
Tiffany kept quiet as she was trying to figure out the correct route to the destination where she was heading.
“If you aren’t going to say anything, I’m going to jump out of the car now. Right now,” Jessica growled, her hands on her inner door handle.
“Hey wait wait! I’m supposed to pass you this! Argh…why did I forget about it…,” Tiffany grunted, digging out a matt gold envelope from her handbag.
“Read it and let me concentrate on finding the way,” Tiffany instructed.
Jessica’s curiosity was piqued as she opened the envelope. Inside was a simple card with a type written message on it.
Are you ready? Simply follow the instruction at the back of the card and you’ll be on your way to a memorable journey.
Jessica flipped to the back of the card.
Check in at Row 1, counter 2.
“Tiff… what’s going on?”
“I can’t tell you anything more than what’s written on the card else the person would murder me. All I can say is that your luggage and passport are in the boot.”
“Is this Taeyeon’s idea? Answer me.” Jessica gripped Tiffany’s hand very tightly and the latter was almost yelping in pain.
“Yes but don’t tell her I said so. Sheessh…. Do you have to be so violent??” Tiffany grunted, rubbing her sore arm.
At the airport terminal, Tiffany gave Jessica a cabin-sized bag and her passport. She promised to treat her car well during her absence and that she had already applied for one day leave on Jessica’s behalf by telling her colleague Josh. Waving happily to Jessica, Tiffany got into the car and drove off, leaving Jessica standing at the kerb and feeling bewildered. Nonetheless, Jessica walked briskly to the terminal, wondering what tricks Taeyeon had up her sleeve.
Going to the stipulated counter, the airline crew issued her a boarding pass and she was ushered to the gate.
Looking at the destination on her boarding pass, Jessica couldn’t hide the smile on her face.
Haneda Airport, Japan
It was a place that held a lot of memories for her, especially happy ones that she shared with Taeyeon. There was an empty seat next to the window and Jessica wondered if anyone would be sitting next to her. In the meantime, she pulled out a copy of the airline magazine from the front pocket and read it to idle time away.
“Excuse me, I would like to get to my seat.”
Jessica couldn’t stop herself from smiling when she heard that familiar soothing voice. She shook her head on purpose and refused to look up from her magazine.
“Madam, since you’re not going to move, I’m going to climb over you,” the voice said firmly.
Jessica still refused to budge. In the end, Taeyeon climbed over Jessica’s lap. She pretended to fall so that she could land on Jessica’s lap. She stole a kiss from her fiancée before moving to her seat by the window.
“I hope Tiffany is still alive. I had to beg her to help arrange all these. She packed your bag and put them in your car.” Taeyeon beamed at Jessica, who was glaring coldly at her. Moments later, the fierce glare subsided and was replaced with a warm smile.
“You naughty little baker, packing me off to a sudden trip like that. I’ve only applied for one day leave tomorrow. How long are you intending to kidnap me for?” Jessica pinched Taeyeon’s nose playfully. Their hands naturally reached for each other and their fingers intertwined.
“Don’t worry, baby. You’ll be back tomorrow, before the stroke of midnight.” Taeyeon grinned, planting a quick kiss on Jessica’s cheek.
After checking into the hotel, Taeyeon brought Jessica to one of Suzuki san’s café. The staff recognized Taeyeon and immediately brought the couple to a corner seat which had more privacy.
“Have a seat and I’ll be right back.” Taeyeon flashed a grin and disappeared into the kitchen after getting a cup of hot coffee for Jessica.
About twenty minutes later, Taeyeon emerged from the kitchen, holding a tray. On the tray, there were two glasses filled with cream and chocolate shavings and a slice of strawberry shortcake.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you …” Taeyeon sang as she walked towards Jessica.
Jessica was smiling from ear to ear. Taeyeon set the two glasses on the table and leaned forward for a kiss. Jessica made a wish and blew out the single candle that was on the slice of cake.
“I didn’t know what to get for you, so I did what I do best; make a lovely dessert for my beautiful fiancée. This is Baileys banana trifles, something different from the usual birthday cakes you’ve had. I hope you’ll like it.” Taeyeon scooped a spoonful of the dessert and fed Jessica.
The joy on Jessica’s face said it all. Taeyeon was beaming with pride, happy that her loved one enjoyed the dessert she made. After sharing desserts at the café, both of them visited Ropponggi, a famous night spot in Tokyo and also the place where they had wonderful memories at the Mori Sky Tower. They stood in the same corner as they did a year ago with Taeyeon circling her arms around Jessica’s waist and propping her chin on Jessica’s shoulder as they admired the beautiful skyline.
The clock struck midnight. Taeyeon unwrapped her arms around her fianceé’s waist, turned her around so that they were facing each other. Then she tiptoed to kiss her fiancée. She wrapped her arms around the taller woman, tilting her head to deepen the kiss.
“Happy birthday baby,” Taeyeon said sincerely, their foreheads still touching after they broke apart.
“Thank you. It has been a wonderful night,” Jessica replied bashfully.
“There’s more to come. Let’s go back to the hotel,” Taeyeon grinned cheekily.
Back at the hotel, Taeyeon instructed Jessica to sit in one of the single seater couch in the room while she disappeared into the toilet. Jessica waited in anticipation and sipped on a glass of red wine. She wondered what Taeyeon had up her sleeves. Moments later, Taeyeon reappeared, dressed in a plain white blouse that was unbuttoned at the top, a black suede jacket, a black fedora and a pair of black pants.
Jessica watched her fiancée with curiosity, wondering what she was up to.
Taeyeon touched the tip of her hat and gave Jessica an awkward sexy stare. She swung her hips from side to side as she walked towards the iPod dock. Unfortunately she hit a chair and let out a squeak.
Jessica could help but let out a laugh before she quickly apologized and asked if Taeyeon was alright.
“I’m okay. Just stay here and watch,” Taeyeon said, rubbing her thigh. She switched on the iPod and an upbeat hip hop song by Nelly played in the background.
Hot in… so hot in here… so hot in…
Taeyeon stood in front of Jessica with her feet slightly apart and started to grind her hips. She attempted to do Michael Jackson’s moonwalk as she took off her fedora and flung it aside with vigour.
It’s getting hot in here (so hot)
So take off all your clothes
I am getting so hot, I wanna take my clothes off
Taeyeon lifted the hem of her white blouse a little, revealing more of her fair tummy. Then she slowly shrugged away her black jacket, revealing her shoulders then slowly slipping the jacket to her waist before flinging it onto the bed. Jessica was trying to hold her laughter, realizing that Taeyeon was attempting to do a strip dance for her.
Bending her knees, Taeyeon leaned forward and wriggled her shoulders in front of Jessica’s face before retreating and continue grinding her hips while sliding her hands down the sides of her body. What was supposed to be a swift motion turned into a minor incident when Taeyeon’s zipper was stuck while she was trying to take off her pants. It took a little while before she managed to pull the pants apart. At the same time, Jessica was already tearing up as she watched the comical sight. When Taeyeon was done, she only had her blouse and a pair of white boy shorts on.
By now, Jessica was bending over with laughter as tears clouded her vision. Taeyeon stopped dancing and sat on the edge of the bed, her face was flushed with embarrassment.
“I’m really bad at dancing eh?” Taeyeon said sheepishly, ruffling her hair.
“Come here.” Jessica opened her arms wide, waiting to welcome Taeyeon with them.
The baker did as she was told, falling into Jessica’s embrace. They cuddled in the couch, enjoying each other’s warmth and pressing their faces against each other’s. Finally, Jessica lifted her head and pressed her lips to Taeyeon’s right temple.
“Luckily you’re a baker, not a striptease dancer,” Jessica chuckled.
“I wanted to surprise you with something special and Tiffany suggested lap dancing or a strip tease act,” Taeyeon said sadly, having failed at her attempt.
“Ah that woman. And you really did what she told you eh? When were you that obedient?” Jessica rubbed her nose against Taeyeon’s, causing the latter to laugh.
“Thank you for all the surprises you’ve done, though I could guess what you were up to. The moment Tiffany hijacked my car, I guessed it has something to do with you. When we arrived in Tokyo and you insisted on going to Suzuki san’s café, I knew you must have made some prior arrangements with them,” Jessica chuckled, stroking the back of Taeyeon’s head.
“Tiffany told me you love surprises so I tried my best to come up with something different. I guess I was too obvious,” Taeyeon said with a pout.
“I wanted to get you a present but I couldn’t think of something appropriate. I didn’t want to buy something for the sake of buying one. That would be meaningless,” Taeyeon continued.
“It’s the thought that counts. You know something, I already have the best present in the world, so I don’t need any other presents.” Jessica cupped Taeyeon’s puzzled face with her hands.
“What present is that? Was it something I bought for you earlier on?” Taeyeon asked, looking back at the pair of warm brown eyes staring at her.
“You.” Jessica pulled Taeyeon in for a long kiss before releasing the latter.
“You make my days brighter and the nights warmer. You make me smile when I’m feeling down. You’re the greatest present for me. I love you, Kim Taeyeon.” Jessica traced a finger along Taeyeon’s face and then to her jaw, stopping at her lips.
“You’re getting cheesier than me,” Taeyeon kissed Jessica, their lips lingering on each other’s for a moment.
“It’s all because of you,” Jessica replied before sealing their lips once again.
= THE END =