“Let’s break up. For real. I mean it.”
“Do we have to do this?”
“Do you think I want to do this? I’ve had enough of your erratic temperaments, overbearing jealousy and how you want to run my life for me. I can’t take it anymore!”
“Can’t we talk it out like how we did?”
“We’ve gone through this so many times. Since you’re going home, I guess it’s the best time for me to bring this up for the last time and make a clean break.”
There was a long pause.
“Must we come to this?”
“Goodbye Sica. Thank you for the wonderful memories.” [Sounds of someone walking away]
“Tae…” [Sounds of someone sobbing softly]
“When minutes become hours
When days become years
And I don’t know where you are
Color seems so dull without you”
After fourteen hours and more than eight thousand five hundred kilometres later, Jessica arrived at the Melbourne International Airport. As the taxi turned into the suburb of St Kilda, she was welcomed by a never-ending stretch of shops and cafes. A wave of nostalgia rose in her heart as she saw the iconic Hotel Esplanade coming into view.
We used to party here after hanging out at the beach. I miss those fun and crazy moments at the beach, fooling around with you and our friends. Those were the good old carefree days.
She grabbed a quick dinner at one of the cafes along the sidewalk before heading back to her room to rest after a long flight from Seoul. Soaking herself in the bath tub, Jessica sipped a glass of Moet & Chandon champagne, letting the golden bubbly liquid coat her throat. She picked up her mobile phone and scrolled through her contact list, stopping at the letter “T”. She allowed her finger to hover above a particular contact’s number, wondering if she could press the green phone button to dial that number. In the end, the screen turned black before the call was made and the phone was left beside the bath tub.
The following morning, Jessica arrived at a red-brick double storey building with a large green field at the back. There was a huge white tent with colourful banners hanging along the fence that surrounded the field. A wooden sign stating “Starbright Children’s Home” was hammered onto a wooden pole at the entrance of the building. As she was about to enter the main door of the building, her eyes landed on a white Volkswagen Golf GTi with the number plate ‘ANG3L’. Her heart trembled with anticipation at the realization that someone she knew may be attending this event.
“What do you think of this car?” Taeyeon beamed, leaning against a second-hand white Volkswagen Golf at a used car dealer.
“Suits your skin colour,” Jessica laughed.
“I’m so glad I found it. It took me such a long time to find this particular model in this colour from the used car dealers. It’s like finding my soulmate, except that I’ve already found mine,” Taeyeon said cheekily, shooting a wink at Jessica. Jessica blushed, her cheeks turning pink.
“I want to bid for a new number plate. What shall I put on it?” Taeyeon pursed her lips, patting the number plate that was on the front of the car.
“It’s up to you. The car’s yours. I’m only an accessory for the driver,” Jessica said in mock sadness.
Taeyeon looked at Jessica, wrapped one hand around her waist and whispered, “Angel. You’re my Angel so I’m going to name the car after you.”
*End of flashback*
As Jessica stepped in, a middle aged lady in a grey jacket approached her with a smile.
“You must be Jessica. I’m Sophie, the director of Starbright Children’s Home. Thank you for your generous donation and for making such a long trip to Melbourne. I hope you’re adapting fine to the weather,” Sophie greeted.
“Hello Sophie. Thank you for inviting me. I used to study in Melbourne years ago and I miss this place a lot,” Jessica replied.
“Melbourne’s indeed a lovely place. Let me show you around the compound,” Sophie said as she led the way. Sophie introduced the facilities in the building, pointing out to Jessica where her donation of twenty computers were placed, before they headed out into the field where there was a mini carnival going on. The orphans staying at the home were treated to various games and food stores by volunteers who were manning the booths. Sophie left Jessica alone to roam around as she had to attend to some other matters in her office.
Jessica was attracted by one of the game stores where the child had to attempt to fish a rubber duck out of a plastic pool with a fishing rod. She watched intently at the child who was biting his lip and trying his best to hook a duck out of the water.
That one word sent tingles to Jessica’s heart, causing her heart rate to pick up speed. The familiar soothing voice rose above the high-pitched chatter of the young children. Recognition struck Jessica as she slowly turned around to face the owner of the voice.
Tae. Kim Taeyeon. Her ex-lover. She still had the oh-so-cute grin coupled with the rosy pink glow on her cheeks that made Jessica’s heart melt instantly.
“It’s really you!” Taeyeon broke away from the crowd as she approached Jessica briskly.
The noise at the stalls and the flapping of the banners on the fence seemed to fade into the background as she watched the fair-skinned woman walking towards her with large strides. At that very moment, Jessica’s mind was having a battle with her heart. One was telling her to leave while the other was encouraging her to stay. Suddenly the pain of their breakup from six years ago flooded Jessica’s mind, making her heart ache a little just as Taeyeon stopped in front of her.
“What are you doing here?” Jessica asked in amazement, blinking her eyes several times.
Taeyeon’s heart fluttered at the sight of the beautiful woman standing in front of her. It had been six long years but Jessica still made her feel like she was falling in love with her all over again.
If we hadn’t broke up last time, where would we be now? Taeyeon thought to herself.
Taeyeon let out a laugh saying, “I should be asking you this question instead! I live in Melbourne so it’s not odd for me to appear at such events.”
“I’m invited to this event because I’ve been a long-time donor of this Home,” Jessica explained nervously. She couldn’t understand why her nerves were acting up in front of Taeyeon.
“Ah I see. I’ve been a volunteer at this Home for the past few years. In fact, I think I started helping out a week after you left Melbourne,” Taeyeon said frankly. She studied the features of the long hair brunette in front of her, trying to come terms that her former love was here in the flesh and that she wasn’t day dreaming.
I wanted to keep myself occupied so that I could forget the pain of our breakup. Now, I’m not sure why I’m happy to see you again. Sica, have you not left my heart completely, after these six years?
It wasn’t until a young kid pushed Taeyeon aside to get to the game booth that she realised both Jessica and her were blocking the way. Taeyeon grabbed two cans of soft drinks from one of the booths and beckoned for Jessica to follow her. Both of them sat on a bench in the shade of the building.
“Have we lost our minds?
What have we done?
But it all doesn’t seem to matter anymore”
“Coke light, still?” Taeyeon asked, holding out a silver canned drink.
“Some things aren’t easily forgotten,” Taeyeon remarked bitterly.
There was an awkward silence as both of them drank thirstily in the hot summer weather. It felt like a thin layer of ice had formed a barrier between them. Taeyeon was looking straight, focusing her attention on the children who were playing at the inflatable playhouse. Jessica was looking down on the floor, sipping her drink silently.
Taeyeon turned her head to look at Jessica. She missed sitting next to Jessica, missed studying the sharp features of the brunette, missed… everything about her.
I miss hearing you call me Tae.
“Yes?” Taeyeon kept her cool, trying to suppress the urge to reach out to Jessica and hold her in an embrace.
“I’m sorry,” Jessica said sincerely, looking straight into Taeyeon’s eyes. Her hands were clutched tightly around the can, almost crushing it.
Taeyeon’s eyes widened with surprise. The tense atmosphere cracked, as if someone had used a hammer to break the ice barrier between them.
“In the past, it was my fault but I was just too proud to apologise for all the hurt I’ve inflicted on you.”
At that instant, Taeyeon wanted to sweep Jessica into her arms and hold her tight, telling her she had forgiven the latter ages ago. Yet, nothing came out of her mouth. Her heart was in turmoil right now and she didn’t know what to do. She merely looked away, sighed and got up from the bench. Pausing for a brief moment, Taeyeon said softly, “Apology accepted.” Then she crushed the empty can in her hand and walked away, leaving a rather bewildered Jessica sitting on the bench.
“Is it too late to ask for love?
Is it wrong to feel right?
When the world is winding down
Thoughts of you linger around”
Jessica poured in 2-3 capfuls of lavender scented bubble bath under running water into the bathtub. She swirled her palm in the water and let the bubbles form. She removed her bathrobe and slid into the bathtub. The smell of lavender soon filled the air, allowing Jessica to relax after her encounter with Taeyeon earlier on. The warm bubbly water surrounded her body and it reminded her of Taeyeon’s warm hug from the old times.
A tear rolled down her eye, mixing with the bubbles that were floating near her chin. Jessica didn’t bother to clean it off at all and soon a few more tears joined the numerous bubbles that were caressing her face.
Meanwhile, Taeyeon was sitting at her usual haunt, a small pub located near her home.
“You look like a ghost. Overworked?” Yuri, the bartender asked with concern. They had been good friends since Yuri’s family moved into the neighbourhood. They opened a small diner in the suburb which turned into a cosy bar in the evenings.
“She’s back,” Taeyeon said dreamily after finishing a mug of Victoria’s Bitter.
“Jessica?” Yuri removed the mug from Taeyeon’s hand and replaced it with another frosty mug of VB.
Taeyeon nodded. She rested her chin on the bar counter, her hands stretched out in front of her face, holding onto her mobile phone.
“Isn’t that what good? You want to go Seoul to look for her and now she’s right here. What are you waiting for?” Yuri took the phone from Taeyeon’s hands and looked at the picture on the screen. It was a lovey dovey shot of Jessica and Taeyeon at Anglesea, their favourite town along the Great Ocean Road where they spent countless hours lazing by the beach or hiking during their summer holidays.
“I don’t know. It’s just so surreal.” Taeyeon lifted the frosty mug to her lips and drank a mouthful of the beer.
Yuri ruffled Taeyeon’s mob of hair playfully.
“You would be an idiot if you miss this opportunity. You’re no longer twenty one, young and immature. Jessica would have changed too. People tend to mellow with age. I’m sure Jessica would have forgiven you for that awful breakup you had years ago.”
2 days later…
Taeyeon parked her car at the driveway of Hotel Esplanade and waited inside it anxiously. She was twiddling her fingers and looking at her rear view mirror every few seconds.
Moments later, a slim lady dressed in a bright yellow sundress with a brown straw hat appeared in her rear view mirror. Taeyeon hurriedly jumped out of her car and opened the front passenger door.
“Hi. Thanks for accepting my invite,” Taeyeon greeted politely while helping Jessica to load her duffel bag into the boot.
“My pleasure since I’ve no plans for the rest of my trip here. It has been such a long time since I visited Anglesea and I missed that place.” And the memories we shared.
“Your favourite chocolates.” Taeyeon handed Jessica a small bag of handmade dark chocolates from Koko Black.
Jessica’s eyes glowed with delight when she saw the brown package. Opening the package hastily, she popped one chocolate into her mouth and the taste of the bitter sweet chocolate felt heavenly. Taeyeon couldn’t help smiling when she saw how happy Jessica was.
“You can have more of them in the car. Let’s go,” Taeyeon gave Jessica a light pat on her shoulder and helped to close the door for her.
Taeyeon hopped into the car and drove towards Anglesea, a town along the Great Ocean Road. It felt like the good old times when they used to hop into Taeyeon’s car and go for random drives, spending time with each other. Jessica would become the navigator when they explored new places to eat or hang out.
During the drive to Anglesea, both of them occasionally stole glances at each other. If their eyes met, they would giggle and turn away shyly. Jessica loved watching Taeyeon drive, seeing Taeyeon’s serious expression when she focused intently on the road. It gave her a sense of security and made her feel protected.
Two hours later, they finally arrived in Anglesea. Taeyeon realised that Jessica had fallen asleep in the passenger seat. She took a moment to admire the sleeping woman that was curled up in the seat; the loose strands of hair that fell across Jessica’s face, the soft breathing sounds, the peaceful look on Jessica’s face. Taeyeon used her fingers to brush away the hair from Jessica’s face and called her name softly to wake her up. However, Jessica was still sound asleep.
“Hey Koala Jung, wake up,” Taeyeon raised her voice a little. There was still no movement from Jessica.
“Well, one thing hasn’t changed. It’s her sleeping habit, just like a koala bear. Sleeps anywhere and anytime of the day. This woman ah,” Taeyeon muttered to herself.
Taeyeon unbuckled Jessica’s seat belt and leaned forward. She pinched Jessica’s nose gently and finally saw Jessica moving slightly. Jessica opened her eyes slowly and saw Taeyeon’s face right in front of hers. Taeyeon realised that she was hovering a little too near Jessica and immediately jumped back into her seat.
Regaining her composure, Taeyeon said, “Koala Jung, time to get out of the car. We’ve arrived in Anglesea.”
Their accommodation was a cosy motel located near the beach and it had two single beds with an attached bathroom. After unpacking their stuff, they spent the rest of the day exploring the coastal walk along the Great Ocean Road. As they took long walks along the coast line, they chatted about old memories and updated each other of what they were up to now. By the time night fell, they were holding hands as if it was a very natural thing to do. Taeyeon loved the feeling of how Jessica’s hand fitted perfectly with hers while Jessica missed the warmth of the small hand that was holding onto hers so tightly.
“Hey Tae, it has been a while since you came here. Your girlfriend?” The middle aged Australian man greeted in a gruff voice and pointed to Jessica.
Taeyeon smiled and turned to face Jessica. “Girlfriend? What do you think?”
Jessica wriggled her hand out of Taeyeon’s and sat at the bar counter. “I’ve no idea,” Jessica said with a smirk.
“Well, let the old man make a decision for you. The two of you look absolutely gorgeous together. Look at the glow on both your faces. That tells a lot about how in love you two are. These two beers are on the house. Sit back and enjoy each other’s company while you’re here. Need anything, just give me a holler,” the man said merrily before disappearing to the other side of the bar counter, leaving Jessica and Taeyeon alone.
There was a mischievous glint in Taeyeon’s eyes as she raised her mug of beer. “Ooh, that glow on your face. That tells me that you are still in love with me.”
“You actually believe what he said? The lights are too dim in the bar,” Jessica retorted. However, she was squealing inwardly as the bartender had just said what her true feelings were. It appeared that Taeyeon felt the same way too.
That night, they slept in their individual beds. Jessica had her back towards Taeyeon as she curled up in bed. Taeyeon felt so near yet so far away from Jessica. Jessica missed snuggling next to Taeyeon but decided that things were progressing a little too fast. Taeyeon, on the other hand, was facing Jessica’s back. She took some time to recall the time spent with Jessica earlier in the day and finally drifted off to dreamland with a smile on her face.
The next day, they went to the mouth of Anglesea River, a popular swimming spot. Taeyeon couldn’t take her eyes off Jessica when she saw her strip down to her bikini before jumping into the warm waters. It wasn’t the first time she had seen Jessica in her bikini but seeing her beautiful S-line figure again was definitely eye candy.
Stripping down to her swimwear, Taeyeon joined Jessica shortly and they spent the afternoon frolicking in the waters.
In the evening, they packed a simple dinner and sat at a lookout point. It had a panoramic view of the ocean. They sat there eating their dinner while enjoying the cool breeze and sounds of nature.
“Sica, thanks for spending these two days with me. I’ve really enjoyed myself,” Taeyeon said sincerely.
“Me too. It has been a great holiday for me. Wish I don’t have to go back so soon,” Jessica lamented, swinging her legs as they hung over the stone bench.
“You could work here. Your company has a regional office here, I’m sure you can try to request for a transfer to the Australian office.”
“Are you asking me to stay here on a long term basis?”
Taeyeon paused for a moment, wondering how she should broach the subject of asking Jessica to stay. She held Jessica’s hands and rubbed the back of her hands gently.
“Yes, I am. I’ve decided to be selfish this time. It’s impossible to forget someone who gave me so much to remember. You filled my life with so many wonderful memories. The first time we shared a bottle of wine together on our first month anniversary, the first time you attempted to cook for me which resulted in a somewhat mini kitchen disaster, the first time we took a spin around St Kilda when I first bought my car, the first time we drove to Anglesea and stayed overnight there, the days we spent lazing around the beach in St Kilda during our summer holidays and many more.”
Taeyeon paused for a little while before continuing. Her voice had become a little shaky. “The moment I saw you at the Home, it dawned on me that you’ve never left my heart for the last six years. I went home to reminisce about our past and I regret breaking up with you. I kept telling myself that I could have been more patient and forgiving but…”
“Tae, it’s not completely your fault. I must admit I was in the wrong too but it was because I wanted you, and only you, for myself and my jealously got the better of me,” Jessica interrupted. “After going back to Seoul, someone told me a phrase ‘If you love someone let her go. If she returns, then she’ll be yours forever’. It finally hit me how patient you were with me though I was being immature and selfish.”
Taeyeon chuckled as she caressed Jessica’s face, stopping to cradle her jaw with her hand. “That was all in the past. We should look towards the future.” She slowly leaned closer, her eyes flittering between Jessica’s eyes and her mouth.
“Now you have me all to yourself, me and only me,” Taeyeon teased before planting her lips fully on Jessica’s.
Taeyeon brushed her fingers through Jessica’s hair and stopped at the back of Jessica’s neck. Jessica circled her arms around Taeyeon’s shoulders and tilted her head to deepen the kiss.
When they broke apart, both of them gazed into each other’s eyes, not saying a word. They knew what each other were thinking of and how the other person felt. Their hearts connected and it felt like a hundred flowers blossomed simultaneously in the springtime, along with the bright sunshine of the season.
“When you kissed me on that street, I kissed you back
You held me in your arms, I held you in mine
You picked me up to lay me down
When I look into your eyes
I can hear you cry for a little bit more of you and I
I’m drenched in your love
I’m no longer able to hold it back”
That night, Jessica curled up against Taeyeon’s body, nuzzling her face in the crook of Taeyeon’s neck and wrapping her arm around Taeyeon’s back. Taeyeon planted a light kiss on Jessica’s forehead and wrapped her legs with Jessica’s as she snuggled closer on the single bed.
“Hold me tightly Koala Jung, I don’t want you to fall out of bed tonight,” Taeyeon instructed.
“You bet I will. Never gonna let you leave me like how you did six years ago,” Jessica retorted.
Taeyeon chuckled and planted a gentle kiss on Jessica’s forehead once more before they drifted off to sleep.
They were determined to stay together this time and would work things out soon. Now, all they want was to enjoy the moment spent wrapped up together in each other’s embrace.
= THE END =
Inspired by :
Wanting 曲婉婷 – Drenched [Official Music Video]