The silver hatchback came to a stop at a block of apartments. Jessica watched Taeyeon unbuckle her seatbelt quietly. Her heart was beating rapidly. It wasn’t the first time she sent Taeyeon home after eating dinner together. It wasn’t the first time she was thinking of how to broach a particular topic. Words floated around in her mind but she just couldn’t arrange them in a logical manner and vocalise them.
Jessica had been hanging out with Taeyeon often in the recent weeks and realised her interest in the older girl was increasing each time they met. They were working in different departments and had met through a project they were currently working on.
As Jessica ambled into the kitchen, she heard sounds of someone rummaging through the cabinets. She saw several doors of their cabinets open and a small figure crouched behind one of the open doors.
“Taeyeon ah, what are you doing?”
Several crockery and boxes were scattered all over the floor. The older woman stuck her head into the cabinet and seemed to be looking for something.
“Darling, what are you looking for?”
The day of the masquerade ball
The school of magic was bursting with excitement and activity. Everyone was busy dressing up and preparing for the event. Chefs were setting the food on the tables while teachers cast various spells to dress the event hall in gold and silver. Boys were dressed in suits while the girls wore glittery gowns. Everyone had a mask and it was difficult to distinguish the face behind it.
The students sat according to the houses they were assigned to and the headmasters of each house at the front of the long table. Within each house, the seniors and juniors could sit randomly, thereby encouraging interaction. The Principal gave a long speech about harmony and using magic in a good way to help the world before everyone could tuck into the delicious feast in front of them.
A week before the ball
Everyone was busy discussing about their plans for the upcoming ball. Some were trying to decide on what to wear, a handful was boasting about which girl they invited and others were just simply excited to be partying instead of studying.
Wanting to avoid the chatter about the ball, Taeyeon decided to head to the library for some peace and quiet.
Taeyeon was walking down a flight of steps when he saw Jessica at the corridor. He had been thinking of how to ask Jessica to the ball but he ended up having brain freeze whenever he faced her directly.
It was the morning of the start of the new semester at school. The teenagers were rushing around the house, washing up and getting dressed. Late comers were punished by cleaning the attic in an old and creepy tower, something no one looked forward to.
Taeyeon and Jessica happened to bump into each other at the toilet. Due to time constraint, they had to brush their teeth together in the confined space instead of waiting for one person to finish first. After Taeyeon rinsed his mouth, Jessica noticed a spot of toothpaste on his chin and casually wiped it off with her finger.
As if lightning struck his head, Taeyeon felt a jolt of electric current running through his body. He hesitated for a moment before thanking Jessica and hurrying out of the toilet. While he was dressing up in the room, Taeyeon could still feel the spot on his chin where Jessica had touched.
A taxi stopped outside a double storey house at the end of the road. Taeyeon, bundled in a warm coat and bright blue scarf alighted from the taxi, pulling his suitcase along with him to the main gate. He pressed the doorbell once and waited.
The gate slowly parted in the middle and Taeyeon took large strides towards the main door. Just then, the large wooden door flew open and a tall tanned teenager dashed towards him, enveloping him in a bear hug.
“Taeng, why are you so late? Even the ‘always late’ princess Jessica arrived hours ago!” Yul exclaimed, patting his good friend’s back while hugging him.
“Sorry, I overslept. Good to see you again, Yul.”
Having a sweet tooth, it was no surprise that Yoona applied as a server in the neighbourhood ice cream parlour when she heard that it was hiring. It didn’t hurt to earn extra cash on days when she had no classes at the university. Plus, she was entitled to try the latest flavours of handmade ice cream.
The usual flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and mint sold well but very few people were willing to try unique flavours such as sweet corn, basil or avocado. Yoona tried all of them and was amazed at the owner’s creativity.
One afternoon, time seemed to be crawling slower than a snail. There were only two customers at lunch time and no one else entered the shop since then. Yoona kept herself busy by wiping the ice cream freezer or washing the scoops so that she wouldn’t fall asleep. About mid-afternoon, the bell rang as a customer opened the door.