quirk : an unusual habit or way of behaving
A small crew of people were preparing the cafe for a photoshoot. At one corner, a makeup artist was touching up Taeyeon’s lip gloss. The baker was sitting as still as a rock, afraid that any movement might cause the gloss to smudge. Yuri and Yoona were watching from the side, amused at Taeyeon’s awkwardness.
A popular food magazine Foodie-licious visited A Spoonful of Sugar to conduct a short interview with the rising star of the bakery world, Kim Taeyeon. The editor of the magazine, Jung Eunji, chose the cafe as the setting for the interview because it showed Taeyeon’s hard work and would be a perfect place to talk about her achievements and dreams. It wasn’t the first time Eunji met Taeyeon, having interviewed the baker when she won her first award a few years ago. They kept in touch once in a while via emails and Eunji did a short write up of Taeyeon’s cafe when it was opened.
Taeyeon was dressed in her professional baker’s uniform, comprising of a white pastry chef’s coat with light grey piping and silver buttons, a white baker’s cap and white pants. It was a set of uniform kept specially for important occasions and this was one of them.
“Taeyeon, we’ll start off with taking some test shots. Please pose next to the cake counter,” the photographer instructed.
Taeyeon stood next to the cake counter and placed her hands by her side. Yoona couldn’t help but giggle as the baker looked like a stiff block of wood leaning against the counter.
“Taeyeon unnie, put your left hand on your waist and bend it. Yes, that’s right. Smile and relax!” Yoona instructed.
Taeyeon’s cheeks turned red and she attempted to do what Yoona mentioned. Fortunately it turned out well. The photographer guided Taeyeon on the next few poses before she could change out of the uniform into her casual clothes.
Yuri gave Taeyeon a thumbs up when the latter emerged from the washroom. The baker was dressed in a white long sleeve blouse which was folded up till her elbows and there were faint floral prints at the cuffs. The top few buttons of her blouse were unbuttoned and revealed a hint of Taeyeon’s fair skin and her silver necklace with her engagement ring. She wore a dark blue pair of skinny pants which showed off her slim legs and made her look taller.
“Sica’s a real fashionista. I’ve never seen you look that good before,” Yuri whispered as Taeyeon walked past. Taeyeon gave Yuri a jab in her stomach before settling into one of the seats at the dining area. Jessica had chosen the set of clothes for her the night before and insisted she wore it for the interview. She even texted Yuri to tell the tanned baker how it should be worn and that Yuri was supposed to ensure that her instructions were passed to the stylist.
Taeyeon was pulling at her collar. It revealed too much skin and she felt a little uncomfortable. Yuri teased Taeyeon, saying that Jessica wanted the whole world to know that the baker was engaged and to stay off the ice princess’ territory.
“Shall we start?” Eunji asked. She propped her iPad on the table and cleared her throat.
Taeyeon nodded. Although this wasn’t the first time she was doing interviews, it still made her nervous. She touched the ring around her necklace for good luck.
The interview went on smoothly. Taeyeon talked about her past achievements and future dreams she had for her career and the cafe. She became more relaxed as the interview went on. As they were talking, the photographer took a few shots. He wanted to show the casual and relaxed side of Taeyeon instead of the earlier posed ones. Finally, the interview came to an end.
As Eunji sipped her cup of iced coffee, she commented, “I heard you got engaged recently. Congratulations!”
“Thank you,” Taeyeon replied politely.
“When would the official wedding bells be ringing?”
“We would like to take it easy since we’re both very busy people. Maybe in a year or two? I don’t know. We’ve no plans at the moment. We’ll take it as it comes. For now, we’re adapting to our new lifestyle together.”
Eunji noticed the look of love in Taeyeon’s eyes. “I’m sure there’re alot of adjustments and compromises to be made. I can tell you’re deeply in love with your fiancee and the both of you would cope well.”
Warmth filled Taeyeon’s cheeks and made her smile brightly at the mention of Jessica.
“Yes I am. I’m very fortunate to meet her in a foreign land. Now, being engaged to her is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Taeyeon said blissfully, touching the ring on her necklace.
“What do you love about her?” Eunji asked.
“Jessica tends to look very cold and stern but deep down is a warm-hearted person. She just needs a bit of time to warm up to you and you’ll realise that she dishes out good advice and is a patient person. She can be domineering at work but she’s always my sweet baby.”
“Cheesy!” Yoona shouted from the kitchen. “My fingers and toes are curling up!”
“Someone please hand me a puke bucket! I can feel cheese coming up from my stomach,” Yuri added.
“Aish! I’m doing an interview now, can you keep your comments to yourselves?” Taeyeon called out.
That caused everyone to laugh, turning the serious atmosphere into a lighter one.
“How sweet. What are some of the quirks you like about her?” Eunji continued after the laughter died down.
“She has a habit of biting her lower lip when she’s stressed. I must add that she looks pretty adorable doing that but she hates it whenever I tell her. Another cute quirk is her eyebrows. They are windows to her feelings. They would arch with joy if I made Baileys cupcakes, which happens to be her favourite. Actually, she loves anything with Baileys. Her eyebrows would furrow when she’s stressed,” Taeyeon paused for a moment.
“That same pair of eyebrows would be knotted if she was pissed with me, especially if I leave my clothes lying around.”
Just then, Taeyeon heard a familiar giggle. She got distracted and looked into the kitchen where the rest of the people were standing. However, she couldn’t see the owner of the voice.
“Who is it?” Eunji asked curiously, following Taeyeon’s line of sight.
“Jessica, are you here?” Taeyeon rose from her seat and tried to peep into the kitchen.
The crew parted, allowing Jessica to walk through.
“Hey there,” Jessica greeted with a shy smile.
Taeyeon held Jessica’s hand and gave it a tight squeeze. Then she pulled Jessica over to the table where the inteview was conducted. She introduced Jessica proudly, as if it was a prestigious award she won. She couldn’t stop smiling the moment she saw Jessica.
“Do join us.” Eunji pointed to the chair in front of her. “We were just chatting about you.”
Jessica took a seat and crossed one leg over the other. She flipped her hair with one hand and shifted to a more comfortable position.”I know. I heard it just as I entered the cafe. I hope I’m not interrupting.”
“Don’t worry, you’re not. I’m sure Taeyeon’s more than happy for you to join her,” Eunji smiled.
Turning to Taeyeon, Jessica said, “I’m glad you know you’re untidy.”
Taeyeon reached out and brought one of Jessica’s hands to her lap. She grinned from ear to ear as she patted Jessica’s hand lovingly.
“So dear, could you pleasssee keep your clothes after they’re washed or dump them into the laundry when you’re done changing?” Jessica gave Taeyeon an icy glare despite her seemingly nice tone of voice.
Everyone burst out laughing at the mock sarcastic plead.
“Earlier on, I asked Taeyeon about what she likes about you. Maybe you would tell me about her,” Eunji probed.
Jessica pursed her lips. “She can be a kid at heart but when she’s hard at work, she turns into a totally different person. I like how professional she looks when she’s in deep concentration when she’s baking. She exudes an air of confidence; someone who knows what she wants and how to do it best. That was what attracted me to her.”
Taeyeon’s cheeks were as red as tomatoes by now. Listening to her fiancee praising her in front of a stranger made her feel loved. Jessica placed one hand on Taeyeon’s cheek and patted it lightly.
“I hope you two would lead a blessed married life. Before you came, we’re on the topic of quirks, what are some of the quirks you like or dislike about Taeyeon, besides her untidiness?” Eunji paused.
“Good opportunity for you to get back at her now,” Eunji whispered before adding a chuckle.
“Oh, the list is very long,” Jessica replied in a matter-of-fact manner.
“Oh really? Tell us some!” Eunji urged. She pretended to get her stylus to take down notes on her iPad.
Taeyeon got a bit worried. “Jessica, you are kidding us right?”
The serious expression on Jessica’s face turned soft and she giggled, covering her mouth.
“Eunji, she has way too many quirks to name and that would require a separate interview session,” Jessica laughed.
Taeyeon almost jumped out of her chair but Jessica patted the baker’s shoulder to assure the baker.
“Maybe just name one or two,” suggested Eunji.
Taeyeon’s eyes widened, wondering what Jessica would say.
A mischievous smirk crept up Jessica’s face. “One thing’s for sure, Taeyeon loves to squeeze her toothpaste randomly, as in, not from the end. Sometimes from the top, sometimes from the end but mostly from the middle. That’s something that gets on my nerves.”
“And that’s why we each have our own toothpaste now!” Taeyeon said defensively.
“Taeyeon loves to drink apple juice…”
“Oh wait, I know where this is heading!” Taeyeon interjected.
“I would love to hear it from Jessica,” Eunji requested sweetly. It sounded like an interesting story.
“She doesn’t pour the juice into a glass and prefers to drink straight from the carton,” Jessica grumbled. “It’s so unladylike!”
“That’s when I’m at home. I don’t do that when we’re out.”
Jessica glared at Taeyeon. “Home or outside, it’s the same, dear.”
Taeyeon pouted. “Eunji, I think that should be enough for today. Thank you for coming to my cafe. I’ve packed some Mont Blanc and strawberry shortcake for you and your crew.”
“Taeyeon, thank you for the interview and on behalf of the crew, thank you for your lovely cakes. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it. Thank you, Jessica, for revealing an interesting side of Taeyeon. Before we go, I would like to take photos of the both of you together.”
“It’s Taeyeon’s interview so I don’t want to steal the limelight from her. Please take more good shots of her. You may credit me for her wardrobe today.” Jessica got up from the seat and stood aside to give Taeyeon more space for the photoshoot.
Eunji laughed. “Don’t worry, we’ll definitely present her in the best light.”
The photographer took a few more shots before packing up. Eunji thanked everyone for their cooperation and told Taeyeon she would send a few copies of the magazine to her once the article was published.
After the crew left, the four of them gathered in the kitchen to pack some of the props which were used during the photoshoot earlier on.
“Sica, be careful of where you step when you’re in the kitchen,” Yuri warned.
“Why? What happened?” Jessica asked, puzzled by Yuri’s random comment.
“Because Taeyeon unnie was being so cheesy just now!” Yoona explained.
Taeyeon gave a sheepish smile.
“By the way, you did an awesome job styling Taeng today. She looks good even in a simple set of clothes. Maybe she should hire you as her fashion consultant,” Yuri joked.
“Why not, I don’t mind an additional income, right dear?” Jessica teased, giving Taeyeon a light jab.
“Aish, why are all of you ganging up against me?”
“Are we?” Yuri asked innocently, turning around to look at Yoona. Yoona shook her head.
Taeyeon gave Jessica a light bump on her arm. “Baby, I’m curious to know what are the quirks you like about me?”
Jessica folded her arms across her chest. “Whoever said that it’s about what I like about you.”
Taeyeon’s smile disappeared. “You mean there’s a long list of things you dislike about me?”
Jessica merely shrugged her shoulders.
“Uh oh, someone’s in trouble!” Yuri sniggered.
“I think I need to talk about this at home and save my engagement. Bye girls!” Taeyeon wrapped an arm around Jessica’s waist and pulled her out via the back door.
“Ya, Kim Taeyeon, what a lame excuse to give to avoid packing up!” Yuri called out but it was too late. The baker had escaped.
= THE END =
A/N: A random one shot featuring the No Strings Attached couple, based on the prompt ‘Quirky Habits’ by The Daily Post.