Jessica padded across the living room, holding a stick of strawberry flavoured kit kat.
“This year, I want to do something different for Valentine’s Day,” Jessica announced as she joined Taeyeon at the couch.
Taeyeon draped an arm lazily across Jessica’s shoulders as the latter snuggled next to her and fed Taeyeon the piece of chocolate.
“Sounds fun. Any idea on what you want to do?”
“Yup!” Jessica squealed, clapping her hands with glee. Taeyeon was a little taken aback by that reaction. It was rare coming from the usually cool and serious Jessica. Nonetheless, that reply piqued her curiosity.
“I want to fulfill my teenage dream!”
“The orders are coming in fast and furious this year,” Yuri commented as she flipped through the order sheets. “Mrs Choi ordered one hundred cupcakes and two log cakes for her Christmas party, Passion Hair Salon ordered two log cakes, Han Gang Elementary School ordered … oh my… three hundred cream puffs, four log cakes and three boxes of swiss rolls…”
“Mr TW Kim just called to place an order for one strawberry shortcake and one white chocolate log cake,” Yoona called out as she peeked into the kitchen.
“Got it!” Yuri replied, furiously jotting down the order onto the last page of the stack of papers on her clipboard.
The whirring sound of the electric mixer stopped.
“Good news for us then. Looks like we gotta work extra hard to push out the orders in time for Christmas,” Taeyeon commented. “Fighting!”
Yuri and Yoona looked at each other before making a fist with their right hands and punching them into the air.
The office was unusually quiet as Taeyeon walked in. The lights were on but there was no one around. She checked the schedule in her phone and glanced at her watch. It was definitely a normal working day. Perhaps everyone was late due to the heavy snow earlier in the morning.
Pausing in the middle of the walkway, Taeyeon looked wistfully at the department’s cubicles and rooms. She had submitted her resignation a few weeks ago and was currently serving her notice. She missed the fun and laughter, as well as, the tears and pain they shared. However, the lure of better prospects and pay proved too appealing. In her current position, she knew she wouldn’t be able to rise in ranks.
After settling down in her room, Taeyeon headed for the pantry to get coffee. Just as she turned at the corner, she almost dropped her mug in shock.
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.