Bass Tab for Queen`s song, Don`t Stop me Know. Transcribed by Ivan Beck www.ivanbeck.comFull description
Music SheetFull description
Don't Stop Me Now - QueenFull description
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
If You Could See Me Now, Piano Sheet Music by Sigman & Dameron, 1936Descrição completa
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
Don't Stop Me Now - QueenFull description
Partitura de Dont Stop Me Now String Quartet-
Don't Stop Me NowFull description
Descripción: Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
Part 1 She says that before you were born, God told you a secret He didn't want anyone else to know.
I stared up at the gray clouds that smeared across the darkened sky. Gray on gray, how wonderful. Engrossed by the melancholic spectacle above me, I lifted my arms up, trying to reach for something beyond what was reachable. Still staring, I spun around, watching as the clouds and the sky merged into one gray blob – it was all too familiar. Finally halting my childlike behavior, I looked around my area carefully and cautiously to make sure no one had spotted my strange behavior. Making sure everything was alright, I breathed out a sigh of relief before walking towards the busy queue by the side of a long, mean street. It was evening, but yet again, it was always evening. Time seemed to have stopped on that special period where evening would advance to night; it was a dismal affair. At that moment where no one seemed to be around except for that little crowd at the bus stop – the whole town seemed to be empty. Where was she? I looked around at the various people, wondering if she was one of them. Frowning, I hunched my back and tucked my hands inside my gray jacket. Gray – that word seemed to have ensconced this world. Everything, and I mean everything, was in a shade of gray. And I know I should have grown accustomed to this lack of variety, after all, it was the only one I knew of. But somewhere, deep inside, I had a feeling that there was more than this poor mixture.
Feeling a tap on my shoulder, I turned around instinctively to find a smiling face. “Hey, sorry I'm late Taeyeon,” Tiffany started apologetically with a light grin. I nodded before pulling her in line. “Don't worry, the bus hasn't come yet,” I replied reassuringly before leaning in to whisper to her ear. “And please, for me, could you stop showing your emotions so readily?” She feverishly nodded before inverting her smile to a thin straight line. It was her poker face, her blank feature – it was an expression everyone in line wore. Looking around at the people behind me who were giving us strange looks, I straightened my demeanor to a nonchalant one before shifting my gaze towards the end of the street where I could see the thin outline of a vehicle. It was a common bus, painted with the same bleak color as my jacket. The headlights glazed the road to a lighter shade of gray as it stopped perfectly before the queue. The driver himself was not like everyone else who were blank and expressionless. He seemed to be full of light and he used only one had to drive with, the other he waved before his face as if to fan away the greasy steam of the heater.
A detached remark went up from the line as a taut man with a rather regal moustache came in sight. “He seems bloody pleased with himself, what an abhorrence. My dear, why can't he behave himself naturally... have they not taught him properly?” I could not see nothing in the countenance of the driver to justify all this, unless it were that he had a look of superiority, as if he held within himself a secret that no one knew which granted him an abundance of inner confidence. My fellow passengers took a seat uniformly, each sitting down one by one systematically. Tiffany and I were the last to get in. The bus was only half way full and I selected a seat right behind the driver, well away from the others who were concentrated at the back of the bus. Patting the seat beside me, I signaled for Tiffany to sit down. There was a tousle-haired youth who at once came and sat down behind us. As he did so, the driver pressed the gas-pedal and we started to move off. “I thought you wouldn't mind my tacking on to you guys,” he said. “For I noticed that you feel just as I do about this present company. I keep getting this inescapable feeling that you guys are different from these empty shells; something alive in your eyes.”
“Please,” I started nonchalantly, “We're just like them. If not, more normal”. I tried to engross myself in feelings of emptiness, hoping that my act would subsist his further assumptions about us. Tiffany on the other hand, refused to follow me as she flashed him a warm smile. “We don't mind,” she started, lifting her hand out to greet him with a hand shake. I gave her a piercing glare – a warning to stop acting this way. She looked at me, and then back at the boy who openly accepted the greeting. “I knew it!” he wailed. Placing my palms on top of his lips, I hushed him to avoid further attention that the other passengers clearly gave us. A woman with a fur hat glared at us as she motioned for her partner, who was a short pudgy man to look our way. “I dare say, they are quite the illmannered bunch for Benefactors”. “They're young, my dear,” he softly spoke in between wheezes. Biting my lip, I retreated my hand away from the boy and stared out the window.
...Benefactor... I heard a whisper going on at the back of my head, saying: “One day, maybe not so long from now, you'll get to know how it feels.” So here I am now, not needing to wait for that moment when you realize that you really are different from them. That there are people here in this little ball of a planet, who don't hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you. People who look with disgust as to how you were brought into this world. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it's a very cold moment. It's like walking past a mirror you've walked past every day of your life, and then suddenly, it shows you something else, something troubling and strange This rather odd epiphany happened when I was four years of age. When the head mistress from the orphanage displayed to us the course of our lives. It's funny how your whole world can change with just one simple truth. I was a Benefactor. It's a good thing I'm not the type to roll over and give up; I'd like to think I was a strong person. Yes, strong, because I believe only the gutsy and resolute ones are able to look right at the blood, stare into the pain, and risk losing their minds to know what's what.
“Anyways, my name is Tommy,” the boy started again with his nasally voice. I ignored him but Tiffany welcomely answered with an eye smile. "I'm Tiffany and this is Taeyeon," she replied in a whimsical manner. "Can you be anymore subtle?" I sarcastically cried, hoping that none of the other passengers would hear my shift from neutrality. The girl just rolled her eyes, before staring back at the boy. "So, what's your story?" she whispered. -----------------It had been a long drive after that, and I was left draggingly at the mercy of the Tousle-Headed boy. This long time stretch had not gone to waste for I had learned a good deal about him. He appeared to be a singularly ill-used child. His parents never had appreciated him and none of the five schools at which he had been educated seemed to have made any provision for a talent and temperament such as his. To make matters worse, he had been exactly the sort of boy in whose case the examination system works out with the maximum unfairness and absurdity. It was these injustices that brought his parents to take matters in their own hands - that was, to disown him of his rights as a son, and to bring him into this course of life –
the life of a Benefactor. It was no wonder he was different from the other passengers, after all, he wasn't raised to become a Benefactor from birth like Tiffany and I. "So, how about you guys? What's your story?" "Well..." Tiffany replied with a resigned expression. "I've been with Taeyeon long before I could remember. You see, we've spent our whole life in an orphanage and we've been inseparable since then." "Ah" Tommy responded. And no, it wasn't a normal kind of 'Ah' you typically would get from a person, it was the 'Ah' someone would say when they understood something. I knew now that he figured out the reason as to why we were Benefactors – Tiffany and I were orphans with no clear future; of course no one would miss us or need us for that matter. "So, how did you guys meet?" he asked, surprisingly interested in our uneventful life. "I don't remember, she was just there... if you get what I mean." she answered. I had to agree with her on that one. I guess when you've been with someone for so long and at such an early age, their life merges with your life until it becomes one. To think otherwise would seem absurd and
irrevocably unnatural, as if you didn't have a life to begin with. [Flashback] "Fany Fany Tiffany!" I squealed in delight as she climbed atop my shoulders. We were trying to get a dun furred cat out of the tree, and being little more than five years of age, we needed two to reach the lowest branch of the tree. "A-Almost....there...." she voiced through clenched teeth. I brought her up higher by standing on my tippy toes, to which caused her to cry out in victory. Feeling extra weight on my shoulders that clearly hinted that she had already triumphed in grabbing the cat, she nuzzled against his fur before saying reassuringly "Chester, you're safe". "Ow, ow, my shoulders!" I yelped in pain, hoping Tiffany could get the memo and hurry up. The evening breeze picked up, blowing over us, around us, and before us. As little children, who have weights as comparable to that of a small dog, an afternoon breeze could feel like a tornado. And because of that, I could feel Tiffany teeter above my shoulders. Before I knew it, she stumbled over, crashing towards the dull gray grass that made up most of the backyard of the orphanage. I would have been alright had she not instinctively grabbed my shirt, bringing myself down with her. The neatly cut grass tickled my cheek as I struggled to get up from the fall. Dusting ourselves off, we stared at each other deeply, entranced by the other before erupting in a fit of laughter.
...I believe that a friend represents a world inside of us, a world that cannot be born or brought to light until they arrive, and it is through these fleeing moments that the new world is exposed...
We got into trouble as soon as Madame heard our giggles. She told us that Benefactors weren't suppose to act this way; to show such raw emotion was disgusting as we were sub-humans when compared to other people. As punishment, she forced us to stare at a wall for the whole day, hoping to drain out such human edifices such as laughter when looking at the blankness of the outer block of the orphanage. "Hey Fany," I yelled to the other end of the wall where the girl stood still like a statue. She slowly moved her head away from the bricked side and towards me. As she did so, I inhaled deeply before expelling it all out in a concentrated blow towards the head of a dandelion I had picked up moments before. The seedlings flew away from the force, traveling slowly towards Tiffany. The small, white helicopters fluttered by as we tried to resist the urge to giggle when we saw Madame take a quick peek from behind the wall to check up on us. We were unlike the other orphans, who were born Benefactors like us. Where we nimbly rebelled by showing emotions here and there, they easily complied to the
wishes of Madame and so, were quickly molded to be friendless, emotionless, and soulless. Here in the orphanage, friendship was taboo as it served as a catalyst for human behavior. And because we were never considered really human, we were not fortunate enough to have a right such as 'human emotion'. Me and Tiffany had to hide our dangerous friendship from the eyes of the people in the orphanage. Hide our small games, our conversations and our laughter. Yet when everyone slept and we were all alone in our small room, Tiffany and I would hide underneath a blanket and pretend that outside of this thin sheet was another world where aliens and shooting stars resided. Where Atlantis was just a footstep away, where fairies danced behind the light of our lamps, creating silhouettes of unfathomable splendor. In there, we could laugh our hearts content. In there, we understood what it was to be human. ...If conversation was the lyrics, and laughter the music, then the time people spent together is the music that can be repeated without ever growing old...
[End Flashback] -----------------It took me a while to drop the formalities with the boy, growing slowly but surely more comfortable in his presence. Eventually, I started talking to Tommy without restrain as we headed closer to our destination.
"So, Istelheim," I voiced with an air of melancholy. That word needed to be said, and I was the only one strong enough to say it first. Tiffany and Tommy both responded with the same indignation. The boy looked slowly away from my gaze and towards the side windows, his expression was that of subtle panic. Tiffany lowered her eyes, and nodded gingerly. There was no question to it, we all knew what was ahead of us once we took a step inside that institution. "I-I heard if you were lucky enough, you could stay there for a couple of years before being sent off for termination." Tommy croaked dryly. I solemnly nodded. "Yeah, lucky." Tiffany sniffed before shaking her head, "Let's not talk about that now," she replied with a light tone, hoping to brighten up the dreary situation. That was like her, always trying to find the silver lining to everything. She was the color against the suffocating grayness, and she didn't deserve the path fate brought to her. But life, I learned was never fair - if you had to teach people one lesson it should have been that one. I closed my eyes, sick of the riddles that life brought, and to my surprise all I could see were dandelions - as if they had been painted on the fields of my imagination. And I remembered something else that proved we were human: hope, the only weapon in our arsenal to battle doubt.
[Flashback] The orphanage was my home and my school. I learned everything there, and so, when it was time for me to part from the only place I had ever known, it was a big blow. Madame said that Tiffany and I were ready now to enter Istelheim, to begin our role as Benefactors. There were a lot of mixed emotions brewing inside of me, I was happy that I wouldn't have to part from Tiffany, but at the same time apprehensive about the future that awaited us. Sometimes I think the human heart is just a simple shelf. There's only so much you can pile onto it before something falls off an edge and you are left to pick up the pieces. For a brief second, I regretted never being quite assimilated to the likeness of the other orphans. After all, they were completely wiped away from any sense of feeling, where as I still retained it. I knew in that instant that being numb had its benefits. I straightened out my expression, carefully molding it into something Madame approved of. Nodding, I bowed and from my peripheral vision I could see Tiffany do the same. She gave us permission to leave, so we headed out of the office and back to our dorm. Again, the room brought to it a sense of release as tears started rolling down our eyes. This was our last day in the orphanage, and tomorrow we would be leaving for the next bus to Istelheim. We weren't crying because of what awaited us, I think we had already accepted our fate long ago; no, we were crying because of the memories we would have to leave behind. Every crack, every corner, ever scent brought with it a treasured moment, and it was depressing to know that we would never encounter it again.
I pulled out a tin case from underneath my bed. Opening it up, it revealed various crumpled notes, a baseball card, and a packet of gum. I smiled before placing the case on top of my bed and heading out to the aged desk beside Tiffany. Grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil from the drawer, I started to scribble a note on the blank sheet. Tomorrow, Istelheim with Tiffany. - Kim Taeyeon After writing the short message, I tucked it neatly inside the tin can before closing the lid on it. With a satisfied smile, I placed it back underneath my bed. "What are you doing?" a voice sounded from behind me. I turned to Tiffany, patting her on the shoulder. "It's for the person who will take over this room when we're gone. I'd like to think that they'll find it and read all the important events in my life that are written in these notes. It kind of sounds silly, but it's proof of my existence. That I was here, alive and breathing. Always know, that something still exists as long as there's someone around to remember it." [End Flashback] I could feel the bus slowing down. We were nearing Istelheim. Taking in a deep breath to prepare myself emotionally and mentally, I heard the creak of the breaks and soon enough we stopped moving all together. I stared at Tiffany who mirrored the same expression as myself; it was one of
uncertainty. Instinctively holding her hand, we stood up from our seats and waited until all the passengers got off the vehicle before exiting as well. After getting off the bus, we were greeted with massive steel gates. Its sheer size paralleled the magnitude of authority and mystery Istelheim gave off. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I watched as the gates slowly opened. I told myself that if I didn't care, this wouldn't have frightened me so much - surely that proved I was alive and human once and for all. But that wasn't a relief, not when I felt like a leaf blowing in the wind. ═════════════════════════════════════════════
Part 2 Your life must now run the course that has been set up for it
I could feel the people staring like the heat that rises from pavements during summer. I didn't need to hear a whisper either, to know that it was about me. I used to stand in front of a mirror in the orphanage's bathroom to see what they were staring at. I wanted to know what made their heads turn, what it was about me that they found so incredibly different. At first I couldn't tell – I mean, I was just me. Then one day, I looked in the mirror and understood. I looked into my own eyes and hated myself, maybe as much as all of them did. That was the day I started to believe that they might have been right. Someone nudged me to sit down already and I found out it was Tiffany. She looked at me with a worried expression before sitting down in an empty chair. I gave her an assuring smile before perching down beside her; Tommy followed after. The whole gathering hall was filled with various people: the passengers in the bus, the staff of Istelheim who whispered and stared with a judging cast at us, and a woman in her fifties adorned in a formal outfit who stood behind what seemed like a pulpit. We waited for her to start talking, everyone at the edge of their seats to await whatever it was that fate would hand them. The mic sounded with a high pitched screech before relapsing into a quiet buzz. The woman tapped the tip of the
mic, making the speakers from each corner of the hall reverberate with loud thuds. Clearing her throat, she started. “Welcome Benefactors to Istelheim – the oldest institution for housing people such as yourselves until termination.” The large room was quiet, all eyes planted on the woman who exuded authority from every pore of her body. I wiped the sweat off my palms by rubbing it against my shirt. The thick layer of anxiety was suffocating as I tried hard to keep my breathing even. My mind was gradually accepting the fact that I was in Istelheim and not back in the orphanage, the fortresslike building enveloping me in a sense of blunt apprehension. The woman talked afterwards about the typical protocols when living inside the institution. I yawned, utterly bored by the repetitiveness of her words. Tiffany playfully punched me on the shoulder, and lifted her index finger to her lips, signaling me to keep quiet. I stuck out my tongue playfully before focusing my attention back at the woman. She was now talking about the role of Benefactors – as if I did not know of it already. I was four years old when I learned that I was a Benefactor, but I didn't actually know what they were, or what they did. It wasn't until my fourteenth birthday that I really understood what it meant to be one. [Flashback] I was seated on my desk, drawing imaginary circles across the surface of the
scratched wood. It was a typical Monday morning: class starting exactly at eight o'clock in the orphanage and like always, I was completely inattentive of my surroundings. Tiffany, who sat at the desk beside me, threw a crumpled ball of paper at my head. Instantly being brought back to reality, I straightened up and quickly stuck out my tongue at her. She giggled quietly, amused by my childish actions before shifting her expression to a blank one when the front doors opened to reveal Madame. The middle aged woman walked to the front of the class before staring at each and everyone of us. Her glare sent a shiver through my spine there was something about it that made me feel insignificant, as if she was staring at mice rather than people. "Today, I want to explain to you guys your roles in society. I feel you are old enough to understand and to come to terms with your rather unique condition." I was wrong. This wasn't a typical Monday morning. Listening closely to her words, my heart dropped every time she untied another knot that was my future. Instinctively, I shifted my gaze to Tiffany, whose eyes were closed, whose lip were quivering. I could see her pain, but I was no more a mind-reader than today. I was hurting for an altogether different reason. When I watched her that morning, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly: a harsh, cruel world. And I saw the little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her chest the old kind world, the one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading to never let her go. That is what I perceived - it wasn't really her, what she was doing, I know that. But I peered into
her soul and it broke my heart. I knew I would never forget what I saw. Madame continued her long speech. I focused back on her just in time to here this: "As you know, the world's resources are depleting and we as humanity can only sustain a certain number of people. If we exceed the maximum population, we can only assume that we will not survive. The bad news is that our birthrate is much greater than our morality rate and so, the only solution to this problem is to dispose of the excess. Now by fixing this problem, another problem arises and that is: no one wants to give up his or her life. That is why society as a whole created what are now known as 'Benefactors': people who are given the role of the 'excess' in society, so that when we exceeded the maximum population, we would know who to dispose of." I clenched my fist, hands shaking from anger and frustration. I wanted to lie, to lie to myself that this wasn't happening and that this was just a terrible nightmare. I wanted to lie to myself until it became true. She later on explained how Benefactors were chosen: people who were orphans, those born alone or abandoned. And it came as no surprise since we were the kind of people who would not be missed in society. She also explained to us that orphanages were special institutions designed to fully mold people like myself to become Benefactors. From this information, I knew now the reason why we weren't allowed to display human emotion. Not only were we considered inferior when compared to 'real' humans because we had no true future ahead of us, but society was also afraid that we would rebel against our awaited fate. Looking at the bright
side though, maybe that was the only humane thing they could at least give to us Benefactors; the loss of feeling. After all, if you didn't have a soul, death was just another word. [End Flashback] I looked around the room, staring at each and every person. Their ages ranged from what appeared to be as young as Tommy to middle aged adults. I could only come to the conclusion that the older Benefactors here stayed in their respective orphanages longer before discharging to Istelheim. I envied them for their longer life span, but I knew that the gift didn't come for free - they were cleaners, laborers and lowly helpers to the orphanage until the head of the institution decided that their help was not needed. I shifted my attention back at the woman, lending her an ear. "The procedure for termination here in Istelheim is very pain-free and we pride ourselves for our humane way of disposal. We will notify you two weeks prior before your termination, so that you can sort out anything that is needed to be sorted out." I couldn't help but roll my eyes and quietly scoff at her words. I thought she was even less human then, talking of our deaths so freely without even a hint of despondency.
After her minute long conclusion, we were dismissed from the great hall. ---------------------------It was three weeks after my arrival at Istelheim, that I started to grow accustomed to the every day routines inside the institution. And it was a month and a half after that that I really acculturated myself into the affairs of Istelheim. Tiffany and I shared a room with eight other people, and although it wasn't as private as our old dorm, we could still talk for hours without waking up the others. Other than the increased number of people I shared a room with, and the large amounts of spare time, nothing was different when compared to the orphanage. We would still have to wake up at six in the morning, and go to bed at eight. I found this similarity rather comforting, and Tiffany seemed to agree with me as she kept on thinking we were still in the orphanage by trying to shut off an invisible alarm clock every morning. I found it quite endearing actually. Maybe because it was I who first got her into that amusing habit of hers. I could clearly remember the day I gave her an alarm clock for her birthday; her expression was too priceless to be forgotten. And though I had to pay for it by doing the previous owner's homework for a week, it was all worth it seeing that smile of gratitude form from her lips. That memory felt as close as yesterday, yet was as unreachable as the stars. “Hey, I think you should eat your carrots,” Tiffany started in a worried tone.
At first I thought she was referring to me, but I had already finished them, so I gave her a confused look before finding out that she was talking to Tommy who was sitting in front of us. The cafeteria was loitered with various people, and typically, everyone except us, sat at an equal distance away from the individuals beside them. Tommy ignored her, prodding the uneaten carrots with his fork. I understood how he felt at that moment; knowing exactly how your future will turn out: a knowledge devoid of any form of hope. And unlike me and Tiffany who had accepted our fates at an early age, he only knew about it a couple of months ago. And though the three of us still didn't get the notice for termination, the wait was all the more terrifying. Tiffany and I knew that Tommy was the most unprepared out of all of us, and we could do nothing but watch as he grew more and more distant everyday. When all hope is gone, what else can you hold on to? Nothing, and so you plead for death – the last promise of release. Looking at Tommy, I knew when people were ready to die. They slept a lot, and they would wake up only to wish that they could have gone back to bed. They would go entire days without eating, because food was a commodity that kept them here. Like Tommy, they would read the same page from the same book over and over again. They rewound their life as if watching it through a video player. They would watch their past moments that made them weep, that made them pause and think. But even as they held the remote, they would
never dare to play it forward. Like Tommy, they forget to wash up, brush their teeth, and comb their hair. I didn't have the strength to watch him further, so I drooped my eyes down to my plate and ate the rest of my meal. Tiffany decided to lift up the boy's spirit by proposing to play a game of soccer outside. I went along with the plan, nodding before giving him a warm smile. “That sounds like a great idea, we can play on the courtyard.” I added with a light tone. Tommy looked at us in silence for a while before nodding slowly. I watched him give the best smile he could possibly muster, before croaking “We can play piggy in the middle.” “Great!” Tiffany and I simultaneously cried. ---------------------------I was piggy in the middle, and Tommy and Tiffany would aim at the gap between my legs to shoot the soccer ball through. I wiped away the beads of sweat running down my forehead before setting my eyes firmly fixed on the ball. Digging the heel of my right foot on the gray grass, I prepared myself for Tiffany's pass to Tommy. Again, it zipped right past me and towards Tommy. It was a good thing we were all alone in the courtyard, as
I could freely express my frustration for always missing the ball by an inch due to the shortness of my legs. I groaned in annoyance, before inhaling the salt-water air of the courtyard – indeed, Istelheim was located right beside an ocean. Heaving out a sigh, I started stretching my legs out. Tiffany laughed. "TaeTae, you can't make your legs longer by stretching them out; dummy" I stuck out my tongue at her, and instantly, I was drawn back to the memory when Tiffany and I were playing soccer back at the orphanage. [Flashback] "Fany, pass me the ball" I exclaimed as I ran alongside the fence that outlined the backyard of the orphanage. We were both fifteen, and living in the present. She looked at the ball and then back at me before kicking it to my direction. The soccer ball slipped past my legs and towards the wooden fence. It was very unfortunate for us, as the ball hit the only rotten board in the fence. And because Tiffany kicked the ball with much more force than the wood could handle and the board cracked with a loud sound before crashing down to the ground. We stared at the rectangular hole in the fence, before looking back at each other. Our expressions easily displayed a mixture of amusement and panic. Teasingly, I pointed at her with a smirk on my lips, "Ooh, you are so in trouble.”
"Me?" she shot back. "If you weren't so close to the fence, this wouldn't have happened." "Sure, blame the innocent one here." Our playful argument continued for quite awhile until Madame came into view and saw the rather large whole in the fence. Fuming with rage, she sent both of us to different isolation rooms that were scattered inside the orphanage. It was a place where only the most troublesome orphans stayed. A tight, dark space, it clearly was meant for only one person alone. Madame motioned for me to enter the room; I complied with a blank expression that I tried my best to fake. In all honesty, I was mighty scared, and not because of the room itself but because I was away from Tiffany for the very first time. And no, I wasn't scared because being away from her wouldn’t make me feel better. I was scared because without her, I could not remember who I was. "You stay there for the night, and think about your wrong doing," she said before slamming the door shut. Black. That was all I could see, engulfing my vision in the most extreme form of gray. I sat there in fetal position, not knowing where to look at – I was lost, just so darn lost. It seemed like forever had passed, and I was still at the mercy of the isolation room. I missed Tiffany, and I wondered what she was doing right now, wondered if she was feeling lost and helpless like me, wondered if she was thinking the same thing as me. But most of all, I wondered if she missed me, too. In the dark
room, I had a lot of time to think about many things, but mostly it was about separation. I suddenly knew now that if Tiffany was gone, I would die - and though that might sound melodramatic, I most definitely knew it true. Maybe not die immediately, maybe not with the same blinding rush of pain, but it would happen. You couldn't live for very long without a heart. I guessed now that maybe we’re all alone until we realize that all we have is one another. [End Flashback] We played piggy in the middle for half an hour before the speakers outside buzzed to inform us of the new list of names for termination. Once every two weeks we would hear this buzz, and still, it never got old. ---------------------------We lined up behind the numerous Benefactors, hearts racing, fingers crossed, praying that our names weren't on the list. One by one, the line began to shorten and the three of us gradually neared the large sheet posted on the bulletin board. I inhaled deeply, reminding myself to breath. Tommy was the first to look up his name. After checking the list three times, he turned his head towards us and smiled. "Not on the list," he spoke, his features much brighter than before. I gave him a congratulatory pat on the back, genuinely happy for him. It was Tiffany's turn next, and this time, I stopped breathing all together.
She checked the list three times like Tommy, before giving out an eye smile and a thumbs up. "Same here," she voiced blissfully. I pulled her in for a tight hug, absolutely elated that she wasn't on the list. Releasing her from my embrace, I took a step towards the list of names with confidence. It had never dawned on me that there was still a chance that I was on the list, because as much as I hate to say this - I had always blindly believed that me and Tiffany were so closely interwoven together that it was impossible for us not share the same fate as the other. And because of this belief, I had concocted in my head that since Tiffany wasn't on the list, that I wouldn't be either. Boy was I ever wrong. ═════════════════════════════════════════════
Part 3 It's funny how when we're coming to the end of something great, we still want to hold on to it, even if it hurts that much more afterwards
Nobody wants to admit to this, but bad things will keep on happening. Maybe that's because it's all a chain, and a long time ago something bad had happened, and that led to another, and another: just like dominoes. Or maybe it was like the telephone game, where you whisper a sentence into someone's ear, and that person whispers it to someone else; in the end, it usually comes out wrong and distorted. But then again, maybe bad things happen because it's the only way we can keep remembering what good was supposed to look like. In that instant, when I saw my name on the sheet, my whole life was laid out before me. Splattered across my vision were still-shots, pictures of my past. And I realized that the moments I've come to collect over the years, no matter how short, were so grand and wonderful, that I knew I had lived a fulfilling life. And I knew now that I was lucky, because if I was to collect these precious memories and store them in a box, I'd have more than most people. I turned around to find Tommy and Tiffany eagerly waiting to hear of my news. The best relationships were the ones where both sides went out of their way to not disappoint the other, and although my heart ached telling them the bad news, it had to be done.
"I-I'm on the list," I croaked, gaze planted to the waxed floor because I was afraid that if I looked at their faces, my resolve would completely crumble. Tiffany let out a nervous laugh, before replying with a shaky voice, "Kim Taeyeon, this is not the time to joke around." I grimly shook my head, my bangs hiding my grave countenance. "I'm not joking," I said with all the strength I could muster. No one dared utter a word for what seemed like an eternity - silence indeed had a way of slowing down time. "I-Is," Tiffany softly muttered, "Is there a way you can stall it?" "No, I'm afraid there isn't." Another eternity of silence. I lifted my eyes to her, watched as her expression became more and more incomprehensible to me. Shifting uncomfortable in her spot with quiet dread, she said the one thing I wished she didn't say: "Then I want to come with you. You know we've always done everything together I don't want this to be any different. I...umm.... I'm sure there are people here willing to switch with me." She smiled reassuringly, nodding to herself as she grew
more and more determined to share the same fate as me. "Termination doesn't seem all that bad now. At least we'll be together, right?" "No, you can't." I spat out of sheer anger. How could she be so stupid to think like that? Did she think that terminating alongside me would make me feel better? I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself down. "I'm fine really," I assured, "We don't need to do everything together, in fact, this is the only thing I DON'T want us to do together." "No," she said calmly, filled with purpose. Tiffany took my arms lightly in her hands and shook me. "I am not leaving you." I looked at her, and for just a moment I could read her thoughts. Tiffany used to say we were like twins, with our own secret, silent language. In that instant, I felt her fear and her resignation, and the numbing pain of coming up against a brick wall again and again. She glanced away, and I could breathe again. "The thing is, Tiffany," I said with much heartache, "it's not your choice." [Flashback] The evening breeze blew over my face, as the stars lit up the passing sky with its sheer brilliance. There was something about the stars that brought about a certain peace as we sat quiescently on a bench outside the orphanage. Tiffany and I decided to stay the whole night outside, even if it was to risk punishment from Madame.
After all, we were heading to Istelheim tomorrow, and neither of us could just sleep the night away. There were too many precious moments we made here, and I'd like to think that permanent ghosts of our old self, still relived our childhood memories every day. "The thing is Taeyeon, it's not your choice," Tiffany softly whispered with a light smile. We've been talking for about an hour and half already but it wasn't the kind of conversation I was expecting in the end. It started normal at first – you know, the usual light chatter about everything and anything that ran inside our minds, but then, it swerved off that path into something unknown and strange. I really didn't know what love was, but that word frightened me. Maybe it was because of the teachings they drilled in my head, or the emptiness the other orphans radiated that made me fear it. She said she loved me, what did that mean exactly? We haven't been formally taught about the notion of love, so how could she be so sure? Tiffany said she knew what love was. She said that when you find that person you are supposed to love, bells ring and fireworks go off in your head and you can't find the words to speak and you think about that person all the time. When you find the person you are supposed to love, you would know by staring deeply into their eyes. She couldn't fully explain it to me though; words were like nets, they cover a lot of what we mean, but they couldn't possibly hold that much happiness, grief, or wonder. Tiffany knew what it felt like to fall in love, but trying to describe it to someone else - and the language only gets you so far. To try to explain love in words is like pinning a butterfly under glass, or videotaping a comet.
I shook my head. This wasn't supposed to happen. We had already crossed the line with our friendship and I didn't want to step a great deal more from it. Friendship was already dangerous, what more was love? "You can't, it's not allowed," I said. Benefactors weren't supposed to show emotion, and we sure as hell weren't allowed to feel 'love' - this kind of gift was only reserved for humans, and as far as I knew, I wasn't human. From the get-go, I kind of had a feeling I failed at being a Benefactor, but I didn't want this to be another reason for my incompetence. "Like I said, it's not your choice." "What do you mean, it's not my choice?" I asked, with a confused expression. "I don't think we get a choice in who we fall for," Tiffany replies. "I think we just do.” - in that moment, she leaned in to kiss me. It wasn't long, but it was magical in its own way. I knew at that very moment when our lips touched, that the memory would last forever; inked, stamped, and eternally seen. I felt butterflies in my stomach, and my insides twisting into knots, I felt as if my heart flew out of my chest and up towards the clouds. I knew now, that this was the feeling she was trying to explain. "I love you," she softly whispered.
"We're not allowed." I numbly said. The bottom line is that we never fall for the people we're supposed to. "Just answer this Taeyeon: do you love me too?" It took me a while to respond to that answer. We weren't human, and 'love' wasn't supposed to be for us. I knew that, so I shook my head before softly answering her question with a 'no'. Right now, I wondered why the mind could move so swiftly while the heart dragged its feet. Tiffany changed in demeanor, her eyebrows furrowed as her lips formed a frown. "Telling the truth is a good thing, right?" she said with much austerity. I nodded, unsure of what she was trying to get at. “Yeah. Because even if there's no law on lying, telling the truth is the right thing to do" She leaned in towards me, close enough that the skin of her arm grazed right next to mine. "You really believe that?" she asked. Looking down on my lap, I gingerly gave a light nod. "Yes, why?" "Then how," she asked, "Can you say you do not love me back?" "But I'm not lying"
Who I was, and what I was capable of had always managed to surprise me. I saw her slowly nod, a tear trickling down her right cheek. If I could speak, I would have told her the truth: that I indeed loved her. But I couldn't speak, not when I felt horribly empty inside, for I knew now what it was like to be filled. Wiping the tear away from her face, I gave her a heartwarming smile. "Let's just stick to being friends, okay? I think that is much better." - lie to yourself until it's true. I wrapped her in my arms and held her there, until morning came. [End Flashback] If you loved someone, I mean, really loved them, then would you dare let them go? I was torn between fear and something that resembled love, and I wrestled with questions I never dreamed I would face: how could I leave her here alone? Then again, how could I stay? I kept thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it was just too much. The current was too strong, and they had to let go, to drift apart from each other. That's how it was with me and Tiffany. It was heartbreaking, because we've loved each other all our lives, and in the end, we still couldn't stay together forever. I didn't let her say anything after that as I immediately said goodnight to Tommy, before dragging Tiffany back to our dorm. It was a good thing that it was time for bed, I had time to clearly think things through.
--------------------------------------------I was back at the cafeteria with Tommy and Tiffany for lunch. Poking the light gray pees that had remained untouched, I let out a deep sigh. I wasn't hungry, and the vegetables were stale anyways. Too many thoughts were running in my head all day, and one of them was Tiffany constantly bothering me with her proposal that we terminate together. I was a bit distracted by it all that I didn't notice her call my name, until she gently shook my shoulder. Looking at her worried expression, I flashed her an apologetic smile. “I'm sorry, what did you want to say?” Tiffany heaved a sigh, while lightly shaking her head. “You know, you could always talk to us about it,” she voiced, “... I know it must be hard and-” I cut her off by reassuring her that I was totally fine, and that the food just made me too nauseas to concentrate on anything. She didn't believe me, and I wasn't surprised, considering she knew me better than I knew myself. Tiffany was someone who held me up, who knew all the tell-tale rifts of my heart; I knew that we were connected so deeply, that I could stare into her eyes and see myself. And I wondered: was it possible for a body to have two hearts?
The world I believe was like a pond whose surface was completely covered with scum and floating vegetation. There might be a few water-lilies, and you might of course be interested in them for their beauty. But you might also be interested in them because from their structure you could deduce that they had stalks underneath which went down to roots in the bottom. You could believe that the pond is of an indefinite depth, and that there was nothing but water however far you go down, and that the lilies are just floating atop the surface. Or you could believe that they are attached by stalks to the bottom. Therefore the pond had a bottom. And so it wasn't a pond, pond for ever. Go deep enough and you will come to something that is not a pond- to mud and earth and then to rock and finally the whole bulk of the Earth and the subterranean fire. People were like water-lilies, you could believe that your whole life was detached as you idly float above the surface with nothing to keep you from drowning, or you could believe that you were firmly rooted by a stalk to the bottom, and so trust that you were held above water by something beyond what you could see. A middle aged man who looked like he hadn't shaved his beard in ages uninvitedly sat beside me. I arched an eyebrow before scooting closer to Tiffany. The guy himself had a different feel than the other people in the cafeteria - it was something about his face that emanated wisdom. With a queried look, I asked if he needed anything. The man didn't say anything, but he leaned in closer to me as if to whisper a secret.
"You want to get out of this hell hole?" he started. I inwardly scoffed, before answering "Excuse me?" Tiffany who sat beside me, leaned towards the table to get a better look at the man. I glanced at her, and I knew she was just as confused as I was. Tommy, too, had the same expression as the both of us. The strange man gave a light chuckle before explaining his reason here. Apparently he had been watching us from sometime now, and he had come to the conclusion that we still retained our human emotions. The man was full of knowledge as he not only guessed right about our special condition, but that he also knew I would be terminated in less than two weeks. He went on to explain to us that he found a way to get out of Istelheim, and that he was willing to help us escape with him. Judging from his warm eyes, I felt that he was telling the truth. "Please," I started in a whisper, "Even if we do manage to escape, we can't survive without eventually having to go back to society. I mean what do you expect we do? Live off the land? Once we come into contact with any human, they'll track us and hunt us down." "She's right," Tiffany agreed. The man chuckled, as if he knew an inside joke we weren't in on. "We aren't going back to society."
"Weren't you listening to me?" I spat, eyebrows furrowed. He lifted his index finger, and motioned for me to stay quiet until he finished what he was saying. I listened carefully to his words, though it was hard to do when he was spewing out absurdities. He said something about some sort of utopia, where everyone was made equal and that there were no need for Benefactors as they had endless amounts of resources. And get this, he said that the place he was talking about had a color outside of gray. Such nonsense - was it even possible that there was something different than the shade of endless gray? I asked why he had chosen us out of the other Benefactors here, and why he was telling us all this in the first place. He simply said that he couldn't do this alone, and that the utopia he was talking about didn't have room for people who lacked a soul, therefore, we were the only possible candidates. I scoffed, maybe I was wrong to judge the man sane. But still, even after clearly displaying his delusional state, I wanted to believe him. Aching to tell the man that he was crazy, I was prevented from doing so by Tommy who beat me to the punch. "I'm sorry, but I must say that you are quite mentally unstable," he voiced with a hint of amusement. The middle aged man didn't say anything as he placed his hands inside his jacket pocket. Looking cautiously around the area, he made sure no
unwanted eyes were around when he brought out a circular coin. Not the shape nor the material of the coin mattered to me - it was something else that stole all of my attention. My jaws dropped, as I stared at the coin. It wasn't in the typical shade of gray like everything in this world. It was something my eyes weren't accustomed to. And if I knew another color outside of that dull shade to describe the coin, it would have been: red.
Final Part Holding on is one thing; letting go is another
“Where did you get this?” I whispered, looking at the coin on his palm. The object was more than enough to convince me that what he said was true. I could feel something stir inside of me, a spark that suddenly ignited into a flame: hope. “It was passed on from one Benefactor to the next, here in Istelheim. I don't know how long this coin has been circulating, but I can only guess that the previous owners were terminated before they could escape. Either because
they were scared to try, or they failed their attempt. Anyways, the one who handed me the coin gave it to me freely.” I nodded, trying to make sense out of it all. With a hushed voice, I asked “So, where is this place exactly?” Leaning closer towards us, the man stared dead in my eyes and said. “West of Istelheim. The man who gave me the coin said that if I kept traveling west, I'd find it. He also told me about several land sites that indicated if I was heading to the right direction” “And how would you know when you've found it?” “Easy. The place won't be gray” Tommy and Tiffany were slow in wrapping their heads around this new information. I couldn't blame them though, it was hard trying to accept something as new, and as big as this - like waking to find that the life you were living was actually a dream. Clearing his throat, Tommy spoke in a low whisper, “So okay... we have proof that this place exists, but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves here. We need to escape this place first in order to get there”. The boy looked around, making sure there were no unwanted people listening in on their conversation before continuing, “You said there you had a plan on getting
us out of here?” He signaled for the three of us to listen carefully, a smile forming from his lips. “I've been in Istelheim for a year and a half now, so I know everything there is to know about this place: the staffs schedules, the floor maps, and the times where security is at its weakest. But most of all, I know that there's an abandoned boat beside the ocean shoreline. If we could find a way to get on it, we could row ourselves out of here.” “Why can't we just travel by feet, or find a vehicle?” Tommy interjected. Judging from his frightened expression, I knew he was afraid of the water. “Vehicles are too noisy - it will alert the guards quickly, and traveling by foot is too slow. Either option will get us killed.” We talked more about the plan, spending our spare time and our dinner break in carefully concocting the perfect escape. -------------------------------------'You Hold Me Now' Soundtrack: Two [Play for a better reading experience] It was an hour after the supposed bedtime curfew, and I was still too restless to even think about going to sleep that night. I shifted my weight to
my right side, before fluffing up the pillow on top of my head. The noise I made seemed to bring to Tiffany's attention my anxious self. She rolled over to stare at me with an amused grin. “Can't sleep?” she asked in a hushed whisper. I answered with a nod. “Thinking about tomorrow has my stomach in a knot,” I said, “What happens if we get caught? Then we'd probably be brought to termination quickly” Tiffany shrugged, as she kept her eyes glued to mine. “That's just the risk we have to take.” What did it mean to take a risk? And why do people do it, if it meant the possibility of getting hurt? I imagined it as a ship setting off to sail in an unknown weather condition. And even though a ship was safest tied to a harbor, that wasn't what it was for. I looked at Tiffany who was looking right back, and the possibility that this was the last night we would share together scared me. Maybe this was my last chance to say the thing I didn't say back at the orphanage. “Hey, Fany?” I started. “Yeah?”
Words get in the way. The things we felt the hardest - like what it was like to have someone look at you as if you were made of light, or what it meant to be the only person in the room who wasn't noticed - weren't sentences; they were knots in the wood of our bodies, places where our blood flowed backwards. If you asked me, not that anyone ever did, the only words worth saying were 'I'm sorry'. “Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy. Thank you for the memories I'll cherish forever. Thank you for loving me, and teaching me about what it felt like to be in love. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually return that love as well. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are there, in everything I am, in everything I've ever done, and looking back, I know that I should have told you how much you've always meant to me. So I'm sorry that I lied to you back at the orphanage, but the thing is, I love you too.”. I tried to decipher her expression, but failed. Belting out a nervous chuckle, I scratched the back of my head. “Better late than never, right?” Her nonchalant face changed to a brighter one, as a grin ran from ear to ear. I let out a sigh of relief, as she simply said “Took you long enough”. Love I believed, was not an equation or a puzzle waiting to be solved, nor was it a contract, and it most definitely wasn't a happy ending. Love was the slate under the chalk, the ground that supports skyscrapers, and the oxygen in the air. It was the place you come back to, no matter where you
were headed. -------------------------------------We were all gathered outside on the courtyard of Istelheim. Me, Tiffany, Tommy, and the middle aged man whose name was James. My heart was pounding mercilessly, as I instinctively held Tiffany's hand for support. She gently squeezed my hand, before giving me a comforting smile. This was it, our one last fight for life – it was now or never, and it was all or nothing. James began to go over the plan again, running through the details, and reminding us of our duties. We decided to meet here during lunch hour, when there was less security, and when the other Benefactors were busy eating their lunch in the cafeteria. It was after we were all gathered, that we would head to the east side of the courtyard to where the warden towers were located. Careful for any guards on patrol, we would then head for a small crevice hidden between juts of thick rose vines. It was through that crevice that led to a rocky cliff side of the ocean. James said that if we headed right, the cliff would eventually decline downward to the ocean's shore where the abandoned row boat was located. The plan was simple, but it required trust on James' part. Once the man was finished with the briefing, I took in a deep breath and gathered all the strength I could muster. He looked at each of us, his eyes
hopeful and determined. “Alright, let's go” he said, before swerving around and heading for the east end of the courtyard. I looked at Tiffany, before leaning in for a kiss on the lips. Afraid that it might be my last one, I held the kiss for what seemed like an eternity before letting go. Trying to retain that moment in my head, I tightened my grip on her hand as we ran to catch up to James and Tommy. -------------------------------------We made it safely out on to the cliff side of the ocean, my optimism growing more and more with every second. With a hopeful spirit, we followed the right edge of the cliff. James was right, I could feel the decline of elevation as we kept on walking. Within minutes of treading on the rocky path, I could start to see the thin outline of the ocean's shoreline. 'We made it, we actually made it' I thought with a proud sense of elation. Maybe it was karma, or maybe it was just fate's cruel joke; that I rejoiced too quickly. We all instantly turned around to the stoned walls of Istelheim when we heard the high pitched ring of the speakers. It was still loud enough to hear from here, and we knew now that they found out about our attempt to escape. A lot of questions were running in my head: How did they find out? Did someone eavesdrop on us? What would happen now?
I automatically shifted my gaze to where tiny figures were coming out in large numbers, from one of Istelheim's heavily guarded exits. Judging from the distance from here to there, we still had several minutes to spare before they could reach us. If we went fast enough, we had more than enough time to get on the boat and row a safe distance away. James thought so too, as he yelled at us to continue with our descent. Our fast walk changed to a full out sprint, as we desperately headed for the ocean's shoreline. I puffed out short breaths, coughing from all the excessive running. Looking back at the cliff side, I could see the security guards all uniformly heading towards us. We still had several minutes left, and we were already standing beside the old abandoned row boat. "Come on, come on, hurry up guys" Tommy urgently shrieked, as he passed me an oar. James was already pushing the boat out towards the waters, and Tiffany was pressingly helping him. Once we successfully got the boat at a considerable distance away from the shore, we all took turns getting in. James was the first to get on, sitting down at the front, he tried to stabilize the boat with his oar. Trying to find how much time we still had, I looked back at the men who were still running along the side of the cliff. They were getting closer and closer, as I could easily distinguish their uniforms now. “Taeyeon, you're next” James said with his rough voice. “You have the other oar, so you have to help me stabilize it”
With no time to think, I instantly complied to his orders. Getting on the boat, I sat down on the opposite end of the man, using my oar to keep the boat steady. Up next was Tommy since he was the shortest of all of us. I didn't like the thought of Tiffany being the last one to get on, but Tommy was too short to get on by himself, so she was resorted to helping him. Holstering him up, the boy scrambled to get on the boat. Once Tommy was in, I quickly motioned for Tiffany to get on quickly. She nodded as she held on to the side of the craft, trying to push herself on board. Without warning, the boat began to sink from the weight. “We're too heavy” Tommy cried in a panicked manner. “What? No, no, no, this can't be happening” I wailed out of sheer frustration. Tiffany instantly took back her weight against the boat, making the craft float back to its normal state. Completely in a state of terror, I looked at Tiffany in alarm. She seemed to be looking not at us, but back at the cliff side. Instinctively I followed her gaze, knowing all too well what I would see. The guards were already on the ocean's shore. I could clearly see their facial outlines now, and I estimated that we only had a few minutes left before they reached us. 'Hold Me Now' Soundtrack: Three
[Play for a better reading experience] “Come on Fany, get on! We have to go!” I exclaimed, hoping that by some miracle, the boat could still uphold all four of our weights. She looked down, her bangs hiding her face so that I couldn't tell what she was feeling right now. Immediately though, as if reading my mind, she lifted her face up and stared at me. She had this certain look on her face; one that I knew would stay with me forever. Tiffany smiled, and usually I loved it when she smiled, but this one sent chills all over my body. I believed her now, when she said that we had our own little silent language. Because in that instant, she didn't need to say anything for me to know what she was thinking. Looking at her eyes, I knew she wasn't scared. And as easily as I could read her mind, she could read mine. I wondered what I looked like to her right now, though I probably knew the answer: a complete mess. "Do you remember that one summer, when you got the chance to visit the town with Madame and the other orphans?" Tiffany asked, "And you didn't want to get in the car, because you didn't want to leave me? I told you to to look out the side view mirror, so that when you drove off, you'd be able to look back and see me." She pressed her hand against my cheek, which was now drenched with tears. "It's the same thing, but this time, our memories together is the side view mirror.” I watched her struggle to be strong, as tears slid down her cheeks. Too caught up with what she was
saying, I didn't notice that she was pushing the boat further and further away from shore. “Promise to hold on to me?” she asked. I didn't know what she meant by that, my mind wasn't functioning properly. But even still, I nodded. Tiffany gave me a quick peck on the lips, before saying the words "I love you". In that instant, she gave one final push to the boat which brought us a couple of feet away from her. Like always, I was too late in realizing what had just happened. I snapped out of my trance, only to come to terms with Tiffany not being on the boat. 'We were always together, how could you leave me now?' I thought, and that was why I gave the oar to Tommy and prepared to jump out of the boat to go back to Tiffany. Before I could get off, someone had grabbed me from my waist. I turned around to see that Tommy was holding on to me, as James began to row the boat away. “Stop, stop, what are you doing?” I yelled, “We need to come back for Tiffany” “There's no reason in going back” James stated, as I struggled to get out of Tommy's grasp. My eyes filled up with tears. "But I love her," I said, because that was reason enough.
I watched helplessly as Tiffany slowly disappeared from my vision - I didn't know if it was due to the great distance between us now, or the tears that blurred my sight. If you gave someone your heart and they died, did they take it with them? Did you spend the rest of forever with a hole inside you that couldn't be filled? I wanted to go back and be with her, because even if we reached this utopia, where we were acknowledged as human beings and not some shell, and where there was color - it wouldn't match up to having her by my side. She was the whole color spectrum, and if there was one thing I learned over the past few months, it was this: 'Love' is the only thing that made us truly human.
Human Nature Prologue
It's in our human nature to become terrified when true happiness becomes a real possibility. We're born to this world as nothing less and nothing more than evil. People assume we become monsters by living in a fallen world, but no, hell didn't breed us to become monsters, it just simply confirms our worst fears. The world is a mirror and when we look at all the decay and death, we look at the reflections of ourselves.
“Tell me where they are!” a voice ordered.
To the man tied on a wooden chair, the voice was an echo; beginning from the hollow recesses of the woman's gut before bouncing off the walls of her ribcage, ringing inside her empty chest and escaping out of her mouth.
The man spit out the blood from inside his mouth before being met by a sharp slap across his cheek.
“Tell me!” she yelled. The voice should have been tormenting, soaked in anger and frustration, but for a being without a soul only emptiness was in between the spaces of her words.
He gave out a dry chuckle. “Piss off”
She gave him another punch to the jaw. This time the sheer force of the hit caused the man to fall to the floor, the arm of his chair and his temple hitting concrete first.
“Do you think you'll be a hero by dying here? Do you think people will remember your sacrifice?”
… Welcome Benefactors to Istelheim... … How can you say that you do not love me back?... … Promise to hold on to me...
The man saw his blood stretch out like a growing ocean from where he laid. Instead of fearing for his life, he shifted his gaze to the far wall of the room and smiled as if what he saw was not the wall but past that, through the bricked divider and to the rising sun coming out from the rolling hills. “I don't think. I know.”
“Humans have the habit of forgetting things that break them, it's a matter of personal survival” she stated a matter-of-factly.
The guards hit both her knees with their batons, causing her legs to bend and buckle from the excruciating pain. She gave out a loud cry, openly weeping as her hands, cracked and coated with dry blood, dangled lifelessly beside her. On bended knee, she looked at the painted face of the woman hovering above her.
Wearing scarlet lipstick, she smiled devilishly. “You and your friends have caused great trouble for us” she started in a falsetto.
The girl merely looked down on the tiled floor, biting her tongue and praying to God that they would show mercy and end her life quick.
The madame of Istelheim frowned before lowering her body to tilt the girl's chin up. “Look at me,” she ordered sternly.
She looked at everything but her.
With a huff, the woman savagely slapped her across the cheek which sent the raven-haired girl reeling to the floor. Seconds, minutes, passed and it took all of her strength to bring herself back to kneeling position.
“I can see fear in your eyes, Benefactor” She grabbed a baton from one of the men and started pounding it on her palms. “Tell me where your comrades are and I will... show you mercy”
She clenched her jaw and said nothing, earning a hit to the jaw with the baton. The girl swallowed blood but stood firm, eyes determined and full of unconditional love for the girl she had willingly and openly sacrificed her life for.
“If I had not known you were a Benefactor, I would have thought you were... human” the woman said, looking at her in disgust.
“I-am-human” she firmly replied.
Another hit, this time to the ribcage. The raven-haired girl groaned in pain.
“Heresy! Now tell me where they are!”
The question was met with silence.
The woman impatiently waited for a minute before dragging her by her hair to one of the guards. “Break her,” she ordered coldly and in defeat, “but don't kill her”
“Madame, we're missing one more for termination, why don't we-”
“We can use her. A Benefactor capable of human emotion is quite rare; the feelings learned is pure, stainless, and from what I've discerned from human nature: the purest virtues have the potential to turn into the darkest sins”
She loaded a pistol, and as the only light from the small enclosed room touched the right side of her face, the man could have sworn he saw the devil inside her hollow eyes. With a macabre smirk, she said “An unsung hero, that's what you'll be. You're just another grain of sand in the beach of forgotten martyrs.”
She pointed the pistol to his head.
The prospect of death was now before him and it made him openly weep. The man was now breathing in fear, not for himself, but for the woman. “My God,” he cried, his tears now mixing with fresh blood from his temples.
“Tell me,” she whispered with a crooked smile as she watched him pray, “what god doesn't demand mortal suffering?”
Tiffany Hwang, of the Government's Central Intelligence Agency and a commanding official assigned to stop the Revolution, pulled the trigger.
“Taeyeon!” someone called from behind the rubble of burnt cobblestone. He looked up at the woman seated on a large boulder. Her face was stern, noble and beautiful. But what really captured anyone's attention was how she shone like a lone star in the night sky or like a lighthouse during a torrential storm. The woman had been splashed in glorious color amidst the lifeless gray around her.
“Taeyeon, he's been captured”
“Docter Park. They got him.”
Kim Taeyeon, ex-Benefactor and head of the Revolution, slammed her fists on the rock and cried. “They'll pay! I swear to God, they'll pay!”
Part 1 of 3 Dedicated to: DUMMYHEJ
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
I think all people who have experienced true love would agree with me if I said that though love seems at the first to be all about attraction, all about infatuation and passion, and instinct and emotion, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what I should call unbounding love as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it love. In fact, they do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one's eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people's eyes can see further than mine.
---------------------------Wednesday, March 16 “Come on TaeTae, let's get going” Tiffany cried as she pulled her best friend across the soaked street due to the earlier downpour of spring rain. It was mid-evening, and the orange sky had already shown signs of abandonment as the hue of darkened sapphire stretched across the sky like a lurking shadow. The aftermath of the rain gave off a scent of distilled tranquility that completely contrasted the bustling district. Here and there, shops of various sorts illuminated the busy streets as the boisterous chatter of people eating dinner outside various bistros clung in the air. Tiffany soon sprinted into a full out run as she dragged the shorter girl behind, dodging the numerous passerbys, and puddles of water that crossed her path. If they were late for her boyfriend's birthday party he would kill her, and it would all be Taeyeon's fault if her life had been cut prematurely. Thinking about it now; if she ever did die, she'd be sure to come back as a ghost to haunt her ex-best friend for the rest of her dull life – dull of course, because she wouldn't be there to make it any more interesting. “Hey Fany, why are we in such a rush?” Taeyeon asked, desperately struggling to keep up with the girl. She tucked her free hand inside her jacket pocket, sheltering it from the ice cold breeze that brushed over them. Before Tiffany could give out her response, Taeyeon had rammed her right
shoulder to a middle aged man that had been walking in the opposite direction of them. The collision sent the girl a few paces back, automatically letting go of each other's hand in the process. “Watch it!” the man spat as he glared at her before continuing on his way. Immediately apologizing to the man, Taeyeon turned back to search for Tiffany amongst the crowded street. There were people littered everywhere and none of them matched up to the right specification of an eighteen year old girl. Swallowing the lump in her throat, the short girl scanned the area again for her best friend but to no avail. “Fany?” she asked to no one in particular. Immediately, her hand protruded out of the crowd and grabbed her wrist. Tiffany could see the relief plastered on Taeyeon's face as she dragged the girl closer to her. “Hey, do you seriously hate your best friend enough to want to kill me?” she spat before dragging her again towards the pizza parlor on the other side of the street where her boyfriend was celebrating with friends. “I've already been late last year, and I do not want it to happen again this year. My two year relationship is at stake here!” Tiffany wailed as she watched the pizza parlor slowly coming into view.
Taeyeon rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Siwon can forgive you Fany, and if not, you could always say it was my fault” “Oh, but it is your fault” the taller girl retorted with an amused grin.
“Let's just walk to the pizza parlor, it's only fifteen minutes away.” Taeyeon started as she zipped up her spring jacket. Tiffany nodded, “Alright, but let me bring my umbrella just in case”. Her statement was followed by a scoff from her best friend as the girl dragged her out of the house, preventing her from grabbing the umbrella hanging on the coat rack. “The sky's pretty clear right now, I'm sure we'll get there before it starts to rain” Be it gullibility, naivety, or just plain stupidity, Tiffany agreed and began to walk towards the pizza parlor without an umbrella. Little did she nor Taeyeon know, that the downpour would start sooner than expected, and that they would be trapped inside a bakery for fifteen minutes waiting for the rain to subside..
“Yes, that's why I told you to tell him that it's my fault” Taeyeon replied whimsically to which her best friend only responded with a deadly glare. “Sure, give me that look... but we all know you quite enjoyed our unexpected trip to the bakery. Man, I've never seen anyone scarf down
fifteen cookies so quickly,” the shorter girl teased, “By the way, you still have some crumbs on your lips”. Tiffany stopped abruptly before giving out a gasp. “What? I do? Why didn't you tell me?” she shrieked, fervently brushing her lips with her fingers, her face turning a deep crimson. The shorter girl gave out a hearty laugh as she watched her best friend try to wipe away the imaginary crumbs on her lips. “Haha look at yourself, you look like such a freak! I was just joking Fany” she said in between chuckles. Quickly sticking her tongue out to Tiffany, she sprinted towards the pizza parlor. “Kim Taeyeon, you're dead!” the girl shrieked as she began to chase her best friend. What makes you walk past ten-thousand people without a second glance, and then you look at the ten-thousandth-and-one person and know you'll never take your eyes off them again? ---------------------------Thursday, March 17 "Heard you were late for the party yesterday," Jessica started before taking
a sip of her orange juice and placing it back down on their cafeteria table. “Sorry I couldn't come, I had a lot of things to do last night” "It's alright. And yeah, Siwon's still not talking to me, but it's no big deal" Tiffany voiced out, though it probably came out as a mumble from all the food inside her mouth. "Stop eating with your mouth full" the blond girl ordered, eying the lump of sandwich and saliva with disgust. She nodded and swallowed the chewed food in her mouth before continuing, "On the bright side, I did eat yummy cookies in this bakery with Taeyeon" Jessica's interests peaked when Tiffany uttered Taeyeon's name. Eyebrows raised, she leaned closer to the table and eyed the girl with new found curiosity. "Taeyeon huh? It's seems to me that it's not the cookies that made it a little brighter, but rather the company." "Uh, of course!" Tiffany honestly retorted, not knowing where her blonde friend was getting at. "I mean after all, she is my best friend. How could I not enjoy her company?" "Choose: hanging out with Siwon or hanging out with Taeyeon?" Jessica questioned quickly, catching the girl off guard.
"Taeyeon, but only because I've known her since kindergarten and we just click when we're together, you know? I mean, it's more fun when I'm with her" "Choosing your best friend over your boyfriend is pretty weird if you ask me" the blonde mumbled, wanting to instigate some kind of reaction from her. "Wh-what are you insinuating?" Tiffany asked, bewildered and confused by Jessica's random remark. It took her a few seconds to understand what she was trying to get across, but as soon as she did, she burst out in an hysterical fit. "Oh my god Jessie, are you saying that I like TaeTae?" The blonde girl remained silent, eyes fixed on the girl who was now clutching her stomach. "What's so funny?" she asked, breaking her minute long silence. "Th-that's, that's just crazy" Tiffany said in between her laughing fit. "Just because you're dating Yuri - who also happens to be your best friend, doesn't mean it works that way for everyone Jessie" "Speak of the devil" Jessica voiced in amusement. Tiffany automatically turned her head to where the blonde was staring and
waved at her best friend who was carrying a tray of salad and orange juice. Sitting down, Taeyeon placed her tray on the table and began to chow down on her salad. "Sorry for the wait, the line for lunch was huge" she started. "Ugh, stop talking when your mouth is full. You're just like Tiffany" Jessica voiced, following it with a snicker. "Sorry," she replied, immediately swallowing the food in her mouth afterwards. "By the way, I have a soccer game after school today and the University coaches are looking for new prospectives. I'm hoping this will be my shot to get that scholarship" Tiffany slapped Taeyeon on the back while flashing her a grin that ran from ear to ear, "Don't worry, you'll be fine. I'll be there cheering you on" ---------------------------"Wooooo! Kim Taeyeon! Kim Taeyeon!" Tiffany cheered as she sat on the school's bleachers, holding up a three foot sign saying 'Kim Taeyeon ♥ Tiffany Hwang'. The sign itself had little to do with the soccer game currently underplay, but it deeply embarrassed her best friend to which she was more than happy to instigate. Taeyeon was the ace in their school's soccer team, a promising player and one of the few prospectives for an athletic scholarship. In all honesty though, Tiffany found soccer to be quite
the boring sport, but one of the criteria for any best friend was to support them in anything - soccer games included. So here she was, cheering as if there was no tomorrow. "Will you shut up?" the girl beside her spat in irritation as she rubbed the insides of her ear. “I think I'm going deaf by all your cheering,” the freckled student continued. Tiffany stared back at the girl before rolling her eyes and deciding to ignore the helpless pleas just for the heck of it. Focusing her attention back at the game, she made it just in time to watch Taeyeon shoot another goal for their team. Bolting right up, she jumped frantically up and down as she hovered the sign above her head. "Yeah! That's my best friend!" she yelled, pointing at the short girl on the field who stared back with a flustered expression. Tiffany's loud uproar caused everyone around her to shift their eyes to Taeyeon who was now covering her face from the utterly humiliating scene. Rather pleased with her best friend's reaction, she sat back down.'That's what you get for making me late yesterday' she thought, a satisfied look etched across her features. The freckled girl beside her groaned in defeat as Tiffany stuck out her tongue to her teasingly. ---------------------------Friday, March 18
"I wonder if you got a minute" Tiffany said to the other line on her phone. She was laying on the rooftop of her house, staring up at the splattered white paint across the darkened sapphire canvas - stars that twinkled in the night. From her free ear, she could hear her parents argue back and forth, spewing out vulgarities at one another. Out of habit now, whenever her parents fought, she would climb out her window and on to the roof - this was just one of the two places she could go to where she could breathe, the other being anywhere as long as it was with Taeyeon. “I have many minutes, all of them used towards a common purpose” the other line replied with a chuckle. “Oh, and what might that be?” “My best friend, of course” Tiffany couldn't help but smile at her dorky response. Shaking her head, she began to trace the dotted lines of stars above before asking, “I'm on my roof, mind if you come up as well?”. Taeyeon and her lived in the same neighborhood, and fortunately enough, their houses were the tallest compared to the rest.
“Aye Fany, I could see our whole neighborhood from over here!” Taeyeon wailed as she talked to her best friend who was staring up at her from the front lawn. She
pretended to be a pirate, the streets were the open sea, and her house the boat. “I'm a pirate!” she exclaimed with glee. “Well I'm a shark then, and I eat pirates!” the girl shot back with a fat grin. “Yes, but I'm safe here. Sharks can't go on land” Taeyeon returned with a smirk as she paced back and forth across the tiled rooftop while making swooshing sounds to imitate the crashing waves. Tiffany crossed her arms and pouted, “But I'm a special shark that can go on land” “That's not possible!” the ten year old girl said in a teasing manner. “But TaeTae, I want to come up there too” “No, you're not allowed” Tiffany, who took Taeyeon's words negatively, stomped her foot on the verdant grass and yelled “Kim Taeyeon, you're not fair! I don't want to play with you anymore!”. Gritting her teeth, she turned around and quickly headed home, arms wiping away the tears that soaked her cheek. “Fany, come back! I was just joking!” she heard her say, but was too angry to even bother acknowledging her apology.
Thinking that it would be way more enjoyable to play pirates by herself, she headed towards her own rooftop as soon as she got home. Lifting open the window from her room, she carefully climbed up on her roof and gave a victorious smile as she plopped on to the tiled surface. Rolling around, she stared up at the polished sky and muttered assuringly to herself, “This is way more fun without TaeTae”. Like on cue, she heard a faint whisper of her very own name across the summer air. Lifting herself up, she turned her head to Taeyeon's house and found the small figure of the girl still on the rooftop waving frantically at her. It appeared to Tiffany that she was yelling out 'Fany' though it only came out as a soft mumble from where she sat. Giggling, she forgot about their recent fight and waved back at her best friend.
"Already am" Taeyeon replied from the other line. Surprised, Tiffany propped herself up from where she laid and stared at the faint figure of Taeyeon who waved back from her own rooftop. Their houses weren't very far from each other, but it was far enough to not be able to talk without using a phone. "How long were you there for?" she asked. "Half an hour ago” “Really? What were you doing?”
“I like to listen to the radio here when I'm bored. And it just so happened that I was about to call you before you beat me to it" Taeyeon replied with a light chuckle. "Oh, I see...." There was silence on the other end of the line. “Let me guess; your parents are fighting again?” It was weird how they could always seem to know what the other was thinking, even without having to look at their face. “Yeah,” Tiffany whispered meekly, eyes drooping down to the rough surface of the roof. Again, Taeyeon didn't reply back quickly as all she heard on the other line was the song the radio was playing. 'Yours To Hold' Soundtrack: One [Play for a better reading experience] She waited for her best friend to reply, but to her surprise, Taeyeon instead started to sing the song on the radio. Tiffany had always found her voice soothing, so she made no move to try to stop her from singing. Enjoying the song that was being sang to her, an unknowing smile crept up on her lips. Taeyeon's voice was her very own lullaby that gave her a sense of
quiet strength like the calming of a storm.
Tiffany inhaled the aromatic scent of her hot chocolate. She nuzzled closer to the warm thermos as she breathed out a sigh of release. Release from her worries, her fears, her doubts, all up until now didn't matter - there was just now. They were heading to their senior year of high school next year, and she wasn't prepared for it at all. "This is nice," she started with a smile before staring up at the celestial heavens overhead. She and Taeyeon were sitting down on a rounded hill, drinking hot chocolate on a cold autumn night, and staring out at the city lights on the horizon. "I told you" the shorter girl replied with a fat grin before taking a sip on her own hot chocolate. "I found this hill when I went biking around town, and I knew I just had to show the view to you" “It feels like we're in another world” Tiffany responded, deep in thought before following it with a light chuckle. Taeyeon patted her on the back, and flashed her a fat grin. “Of course we are, this is Jelly World” “Jelly World?” she asked, arching an eyebrow at her best friend. Jelly was Taeyeon's favorite treat, and she swore that if the girl had been given a choice between her best friend or a lifetime supply of Jelly, she'd choose the latter.
“Jelly World” Chuckling, Tiffany took a quick glance at Taeyeon who was sitting down beside her. “Hey, TaeTae?” “Yes?” “I love you” Taeyeon returned her words with silence, staring at her for what seemed like an unimaginable time frame. Breaking her blank expression with a smile, she replied “I love you too, Fany” Both knew what kind of love they were talking about that night. Life never rests with just a single option, and because of that, love is no different for there are two kinds of love. One being the safe kind where you look for someone who's exactly like you. It's what most people settle for. But then there's the other kind of love. Like a broken piece, everyone is born with a jagged edge, and some people crave for that one piece that could fit perfectly. Taeyeon and Tiffany knew that they found that piece in each other. Fortunately for them, they didn't need to search for it forever, but they would, if they had to. When people find that perfect
piece, like they had, it looks so perfect that they start to chisel away their very own edges, thinking, maybe they could look just as perfect. But then, of course, when they try to get close to the other half, they don't fit anymore. It was no different for Taeyeon and Tiffany. They were too far beyond love to even call it 'love' and because of this, they came out as a different person than they were when they started. It was that night that they mutually agreed in silence to just stay as best friends.
The song ended, and her mind was brought back to the present. Immediately after the song, her mood improved drastically though it was no surprise to her – Taeyeon always seemed to know what to do to make her feel better. “Are you feeling alright now?” she asked. All Tiffany did was nod for she knew that she didn't need to say anything to her best friend, for the girl to understand her. “Good” Taeyeon replied with a sigh of relief. ---------------------------Saturday, March 19
“Whoooo!” Tiffany roared as she bobbed her head to the beat of the music. They had all agreed to car pool in her car when it was time to head home after the party. Tiffany drove Jessica, Yuri, and Yoona home first since they were the furthest away from her house, Taeyeon naturally being the last to be dropped off. Her best friend laughed at her weird behavior as she rolled up the windows to allow the night breeze to swallow them up. “Calm down Fany,” she spoke with an air of amusement as the car rolled to a stop at a red light. “I'm sorry, but tonight was just so much fun!” Tiffany squealed, hands pounding on the steering wheel. Maybe it was the sugar rush from eating too much junk food, or drinking too much sodas, but she honestly had too much energy to stay still. “I know,” Taeyeon simply stated with a smile. “You were like an energizer bunny on crack back there” Tiffany playfully punched her best friend on the shoulder, “Shut-” She was cut off by the sound of a roaring engine to the left of her. Turning around, she found another car whose windows were already rolled down. The man in the front passenger seat lifted his head out, appearing to be about the same age as her, if not older. He smirked before whistling.
“Where are you pretty girls heading to?” he asked, obviously drunk from the looks of it. “Like we'd tell you” Tiffany casually retorted. “Oh, you're a feisty one aren't you? Too bad you're all talk” he spat. “And why would you say that?” she asked, keeping her cool as she toyed with him. “You'd probably say no to a light race” The lights had already shifted to green, but no one had been behind them, so Tiffany decided to play with him even more. Her best friend didn't agree with her though, as she tugged on her shirt to get going. “Come on Fany, let's just go” Taeyeon whispered with an all too knowing voice. The girl knew that Tiffany was hard-headed. Stubbornness mixed with too much pride was a deadly combination, and she had it all. Therefore, if someone evoked her enough to do something, she'd live up to it no matter the consequences. "I knew it, you guys are all just talk" he blurted, wanting to instigate further irritation from the girl in the driver's seat.
"You're all just talk, you can't live up to anything!" her mom yelled from across the kitchen. Her dad was sitting down on the couch, flipping through the various channels on T.V, completely ignoring her flying insults. Tiffany tensed up as she watched their on-going argument. Having had enough for one day, she stood up from her spot on the kitchen stool and quietly headed back up to the comforts of her room. "And where are you going, young lady?" her mom spat from behind her. "N-nowhere mom, just in my room" "That's right, nowhere! But it's no surprise, you're all the same anyways - saying you can do something, when you really can't"
Ignoring her best friend's advice, she flashed a devilish smirk at the young man. “Well if your driver over there is okay with it, then I'm all game” “Perfect” he ecstatically cried as he pulled his head back inside the car. Tiffany had already gripped her hands tightly on the steering wheel, waiting for the go-ahead to begin the race. She took a quick glance at Taeyeon who stared back at her, dumbfounded.
“The hell are you doing?” the shorter girl asked, her eyebrows furrowed. “Relax,” Tiffany reassured, “It's just for fun” “It's dangerous” Taeyeon pointed out. “Oh come on, don't tell me you never wanted to have a street race in the middle of the night... You only live once TaeTae, best make it memorable” she said before looking again at the man who popped his head back out the window. “First one who reaches the stop sign in tenth avenue wins”. That was a ten minute drive from here - shorter if they were going over the speed limit. The roads leading to tenth avenue had little to no stop lights, and few cars drove down there at night. It was the perfect route for a race. Tiffany nodded before asking, “Alright, but what are we playing for?” “One hundred and fifty dollars” he plainly responded. She didn't have that much money with her now, but it didn't matter, cause she knew she would win. Nodding, she yelled back an 'Okay' and readied herself. Taeyeon was shaking her head, bracing herself for the few seconds that would follow after.
“On the count of three” the young man yelled as Tiffany instinctively shifted her eyes on the road. “1...... 2...... 3”
You cannot go on 'seeing through' things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It's good that the window should be transparent, because the street beyond that is opaque. But what if that too is transparent? If you 'see through' everything, then the transparency of this world will form an invisible world. To 'see through' all things is the same as not to see at all
Part 2 of 3 Dedicated to: DUMMHEJ
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
You can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere 'kindness' which tolerates anything except suffering its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love. When we fall in love, do we cease to care any change from the person, be it fair or foul? Do we not rather then first begin to care? Love may, indeed, love the beloved when their beauty is lost: but not because it is lost. Love is more sensitive than hatred to every blemish within the beloved. Of all, love forgives the most, but condones the least: it is pleased with little, but demands all. ----------------------------
'Yours to Hold' Soundtrack: Two [Play for a better reading experience] "TaeTae?" "Yes?" her best friend asked, staring up at the hue of orange gold that streaked through the west. They were laying down on a dock near their cabin, watching the golden ball dip down over the horizon. It was always during the month of August that the two would enroll in a summer camp. Having a week of no parents seemed like heaven for them as they laid idely on the wooden dock, dangling their feet out
as their toes lightly brushed against the surface of the lake. They would often lie down on the dock every evening, as the sun went down, and watched in silence the quiet tide of another sea, which neither storm nor wind could disturb – the sea of the night. Watched as the sun sank down the horizon of the lake, allowing the shadows of nightfall to rise high into the heavens, caressing over the faces of the stars, washing the blinding day from them, and letting them shine, down through the waters of the sky, and to the eyes of the two wide-eyed girls. Tiffany always preferred the sunset over the sunrise. “Could you make a wish on the setting sun?” she queried with a hint of a small smile. Taeyeon chuckled lightly at the question before replying back to Tiffany, her eyes never leaving the cascading ball of fire, “I don't know, why?” “Well the sun's a star, and it's falling down. So it's kind of like a shooting star, right?” Her best friend thought for awhile, pouting her lips in the process. “I guess you're right,” she responded with a smile, “so what do you wish for?” Tiffany turned to look at the setting sun and crossed her arms, “Umm, that you and I will be best friends until we grow old and die”. “What? That's not a wish. A wish is supposed to be fun, like winning a million
dollars, or being able to fly” she cried while flailing her arms around as if to make whatever she said larger than life. “Plus, you shouldn't waste your wish on something that's already going to happen.” she continued with a grin, "As for me, I wish I could be a star soccer player" Tiffany giggled, "Okay, then I wish I could be your personal manager" Taeyeon arched an eyebrow, "Oh, and why is that?" "So we can hang out all the time, and I get to boss you around!" the girl replied ecstatically, as she followed it by crushing her best friend with a big bear hug. "C-can't breathe, Fany" Taeyeon muttered in short wheezes. They were dreamers. And even though they were just kids - young and foolish, with so much to learn and so much to lose, they knew in their heart of hearts what they meant to each other. Do you know what it's like to love someone so much, that you can't see yourself without picturing them? Or what it's like to watch them smile, and feel like you've come home? What Tiffany and Taeyeon had wasn't about companionship, or about being with someone just because it was more lively, like the way it was for other kids their age. They were, well, meant to be together. Some people spend their whole lives looking for that one person. Tiffany was lucky enough to have Taeyeon all along. ----------------------------
Saturday, March 19 She slowly opened her eyes, wincing at the brightness that flooded her vision as her eyes hadn't yet adapted to the well-lit space. 'Where am I?' she thought before taking a deep breath, only for that action to instigate a numbing pain on her right ribcage. Clenching her jaw, she pushed down on the throbbing pain with her fingers as she wriggled around on what seemed like a bed of some sort. “Oh good, you're awake.” a deep voice belted as heavy footsteps grew louder and louder with each passing second. “Where am I?” she croaked, voice cracking from her dry throat as she stared at the middle-aged man who wore a familiar looking suit. “You're currently in a hospital getting treated for minor wounds. A truck driver called the police to get you here,” the doctor replied while flipping through various sheets of paper. “you were in a car crash, do you remember any of that?” he asked, shifting his gaze from the files to the girl.
“Whooo!” Tiffany cheered as she followed it with a boisterous laugh. They were running at forty kilometers above the speed limit, and she was having the time of her life. “TaeTae, we are so going to beat them” she concluded, taking a quick
glance at her best friend who wore a horrified expression. Taeyeon didn't reply, as she kept her eyes glued on the road and her hands firmly clutched on the seat's arm rest. Breaking her silence, the shorter girl turned towards Tiffany and cried “Fany, slow down. You're going too fast” “What? I can't hear you!” she teased. The wind running from the rolled windows turned her best friend's cry into something like a mumble when speaking underwater. It was loud enough though, that she could decipher it, but still she wanted to toy with her best friend. “Can you say it again?” she asked with a chuckle as she shifted her eyes from the road to the girl beside her. "I said, slow-” Taeyeon stopped her sentence midway, as her eyes were fixated on a distant object in front of them. “Fany, watch out!” she cried, and immediately Tiffany gazed back at the road. A truck was heading right towards them. She didn't know when, and she didn't know how, but by some means, she had gotten in the opposite lane and was now a couple of seconds away from a head-on collision. “Sh*t!” she exclaimed, hastily turning the wheel. Their car swerved to the right, a continuous honking sound reverberating in their eardrums mixed with the screeching of tires. The truck passed them without so much as a scratch, as they missed each other by barely a foot. But because of the sheer speed her vehicle was at, as soon as she had dodged the truck, the car began to skid uncontrollably. Tiffany desperately tried to regain control of her vehicle but couldn't as the car
swerved off the road and into a broken street light.
"TaeTae!" she blurted in a frantic tone, body bolting right up as her memories came flooding back into consciousness. "Where's Taeyeon, the girl who was with me in the car? Is she alright, where is she? I have to go see her!" "Whoa," the doctor hollered, pushing her shoulders back down on the bed. "Even though you only suffered from minor wounds, you're still not okay enough to go around walking yet" "But I have to see her!" she yelled, and immediately one of the doors burst open to reveal her parents with worried faces. Her mom ran up to her, quickly embracing her in a tight hug. "Thank God you're alright, what happened?" she whimpered, and though Tiffany was surprised by her mom's affectionate action, she was more worried about her best friend's current state to talk about anything else. “Taeyeon, where's Taeyeon?” she whispered to her mom, tears already beginning to fall down her cheeks. If anything bad happened to her best friend, she wouldn't ever forgive herself. Hands shaking, she brought her eyes to the doctor who stared back with a small frown on his lips.
Releasing her daughter from the hug, Tiffany's mother gazed at the girl with such sadness in her dark brown eyes. “Honey...” she started in a soft hush. “Unfortunately, she wasn't as lucky as you” the doctor cut in, “The front passenger side of the car had taken the direct hit upon impact. She's in the recovery room right now” “R-recovery?” she stuttered. “Yes, recovery room. She had to undergo some surgery, but it was a success so you need not worry” Tiffany breathed out a sigh of relief; as long as Taeyeon was okay then she was fine with facing any other consequences. Speaking of consequences, her mind already began to run through the various ways she could make it up to her best friend. Maybe after all this was over, she'd treat her out for some ice-cream. Immediately scratching out the idea because it wasn't enough for all the pain she caused, she thought of other possibilities. A slave contract for a lifetime? Too long All her life savings in the bank? Taeyeon would probably say no since she only had five bucks in the bank
Permission to make her life a living hell? She was already doing that, so there was no point Groaning, she buried her face in her hands. She'd have to think of something later, but all she could do now was to wait for Taeyeon to recover. ---------------------------“Alright, I'm fine now. Actually more than fine, perfect” Tiffany told the nurse after her nap and heated argument pursuading her parents that she'd explain everything to them later. Jumping out of bed, she winced at the lingering pain but feigned normality by flashing the nurse her patented eye-smile. “Now can I please go see my best friend now?” Dr.Brown, who was the doctor that treated her, walked back into the room and smiled. “Of course you may, she's awake now and she wants to see you” “Finally!” the girl blurted in relief as she followed the man out to the halls. ---------------------------Drawing her hand out to grab the doorknob of Taeyeon's room, she was stopped by the sound of a click followed by the door opening. Looking up
at the person who had opened the door, she met eye to eye with Taeyeon's father. There was something not right about his face, something she had never seen before. His eyes held a heavy inflexibility, as if burdened with some form of immense sorrow. His lips drooped down to a pronounced frown, and his cheeks were soaked with what looked like tears. Closing the door behind him, he faced Tiffany. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity before Taeyeon's father pulled her in for a hug. "I'm sorry, I heard everything from Taeyeon" he started, weeping openly. Why was he saying sorry to her? She was the one that caused the accident after all. As if reading her mind, he released his grip on her and cleared his throat. "Taeng told me what happened. And just know that it isn't your fault." "I-it's not?" she asked with a confused expression. "Of course not! It's not like you knew about that deer on the road” “Deer?!?” “Yes, the deer that suddenly appeared in front of you guys. Taeyeon told me that you swerved the car so that it wouldn't hit the animal, and lost
control of the vehicle. It's anyone's mistake,” he paused, fighting another set of tears. What was going on? Why was Taeyeon lying to him about the crash? “But either way, you and her didn't deserve any of this. She didn't deserve any of this” the last sentence he whispered softly, but Tiffany heard. “Wha-what do you mean? She's fine now, right?” “You don't know?” he asked, this time allowing the persistent tears to fall. The girl just shook her head. Mr.Kim inhaled deeply, gathering up the strength to say the words that would cause her whole world to come tumbling down. “Tiffany, she's paralyzed from the waist down” ---------------------------'Yours to Hold' Soundtrack: Three [Play for a better reading experience] That's right, she ran. Away from the hospital, away from her best friend.
Call her a coward, a wimp, a chicken - she didn't care. All she knew was that she couldn't ever face Taeyeon after what she had done to her. It's crazy, right? To love someone who's hurt you. It's even crazier to think that someone who hurts you loves you. There was no forgiveness in something permanent, and she knew that even if her best friend forgave her, she wouldn't be able to forgive herself. How could she? If she saw her stuck in a wheelchair while she continues to walk. How could she live with the guilt? How could she ever forget? Tiffany didn't deserve Taeyeon, and somehow, she had always known. Her best friend always told her that whenever she had lost something precious, and that if she looked and looked but still couldn't find it, then she didn't have to be completely heartbroken. That she could still have that last bit of comfort, thinking one day, when they grew up and were free to travel anywhere they please, that they could find it in Jelly World. That was why Tiffany was here, in the rounded hill that offered the view of the city lights, because she felt deep down some tug, some old wish to believe again in something that was once close to her heart. Breathing in the crisp air of the night, she let the tears fall.
Tiffany was breathing heavily, trying to keep up to the shorter girl as they biked around their neighborhood. It was an adventure for them - trying to figure out how far they could ride until they could peddle no more, trying to find new and
unvisited places that seemed alien to them, but most importantly, trying to find fun in the most unexpected ways. “Let's run away!” Taeyeon cried with excitement in her eyes. “Where would we go?” she asked in an exasperated manner as she caught up to her best friend. The shorter girl shrugged, and turned her head to Tiffany. “Anywhere we please, that's the point of running away! We can do anything we want, go anywhere we want, and be anyone we want. Just you and me, Fany” “Just me and TaeTae” she whispered softly to herself, inwardly thrilled with the idea. “You and me, against the world” she said out loud, flashing her best friend a genuine eye smile that she reserved only for her. “We'll be together always. And as long as I'm with you, I think running away would be the best idea in the whole entire world!”
Running away never looked so appealing to her than now. But she hated the thought of it – that this time, for the very first time, she would be running without Taeyeon by her side. ----------------------------
Friday, September 17 It's been a year and half since the accident. People in town never knew the real story behind the crash, but she guessed it was like any other secret that only best friend's should know of. Something just between her and Taeyeon – the proof of their friendship that once existed. Over the past five months after the crash, Tiffany tried her best to completely avoid Taeyeon at all costs. She would talk to her when she had to, but their conversations were never the same as before. Of course she apologized everytime, and Taeyeon would always say that it was okay, but the topic never went further than that, and their talks were more on the short side – strained, and awkward. But knowing each other for so long, they mutually understood the reason as to why they were drifting apart. Both accepted the fact, and let life take them by the hand as they gradually grew further and further apart. Taeyeon found new friends to hang out with, and she found hers. The shorter girl would still play some part in the school's soccer games, but always in the sidelines. And sometimes, Tiffany would see her alone on the field, using her wheelchair to push the ball around. The early months after the accident had been hard on Tiffany. She never stopped wondering what would happen if they still fought for their friendship. Would life be the same if they were still best friends? Tiffany
wondered if people ever felt the same immeasurable loneliness like she had. The loneliness that even if she were to walk through a room that was packed full of people, she'd still feel so alone that she could hardly take that next step. No matter how painful their separation was to Tiffany though, and no matter if imagining her best friend being permanently joined to anyone else brought pain like a sharp stone being pressed into her heart - she knew that there were just somethings in life that have to happen, no matter how much it hurts. It gradually got easier after the five months, Tiffany had been so immersed now with her new friends that it covered up that empty hole in her heart (covered, but never filled). She rarely saw Taeyeon, and they never acknowledge each other's presence when they do. It was as if all their years together never existed. How could their relationship crumble so quickly when it took them years and years to build? The answer was simple. Like all things, it's much easier to destroy something than to make it. If you buy a house for 400,000 dollars, you could just as easily flatten the house with a wrecking ball for 100,000 dollars. Imagine now how much less it takes to destroy something than it does to build it in the first place. Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. After a year, she was so accustomed to not having Taeyeon around that it was second nature for her to agree to move to another town. After all, her friendship with the short girl had long since ended, and she didn't find a
reason not to move. Sometimes, when pacing around her room, in her new house, in that new town, she would start to write a letter to Taeyeon out of a whim, but would never send it. If she decided to send the letter to her, where would she send it anyways? When Tiffany thought of writing the whole address on the envelope, she was paralyzed. It was too painful to think of Taeyeon in the same place with her life going on in the same way, minus her. Yes, the loneliness in her heart had been fully covered now, but there was still that gaping hole. And to think of Taeyeon not being there, but somewhere else and she didn't know where that was, made her feel even worse. So she would always crumple up the letter - ruined, and unsent.
Along the months following the accident, it never dawned on Tiffany that hers and Taeyeon's lives which had been so intricately tied with one another could unknot without giving any of them the chance to even blink .
Part 3 of 3 Dedicated to: DUMMYHEJ
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
Love can forbear, and Love can forgive
Tuesday, September 28 "Jessie!" Tiffany squealed, happy hearing her friend's voice again in what seemed like ages. Plopping down on her bed, she rolled over and stared at the ceiling, phone glued on her right ear. "We haven't talked in such a long time, how have you been? How's everyone, back there?" "Tiffany, what are you talking about? I called last week, so it hasn't been that long" the other line shot back, hiding the amusement in her tone.
"I know, but still, it felt like forever" the girl defended with a pout. She and Jessica were still friends even after her move out of town, and they had been keeping in touch with each other by phone calls. Tiffany was glad in knowing that at least one of her old friendships survived over the years. "Ugh, you're so melodramatic" Jessica voiced in disgust. "Anyways, just calling to check up on you. So, anything interesting? My life's utterly dull right now and I need you to bring me some news to spice it up a bit" Chuckling, she ignored her grumpy friend's subtle insult and replied, "I'm on the same boat; school started a few weeks ago and I'm already swamped with homework" the thought of which caused her to let out a quiet groan. "Life sucks" the other line complained. "You're telling me," Tiffany agreed, rolling herself over to face her opened closet door. The first thing she saw, suspended on a hanger, was a sweater Taeyeon had given her last Christmas.
"So do you like it?" her best friend asked, expectantly waiting for her answer. Tiffany lifted Taeyeon's gift out of the wrapped box and held it at eye level. It looked like someone had knitted it while being blindfolded. What looked like sleeves were unequal in length, and the neck hole was twice as big as her head. The colors
of the fabric clashed with each other, and her name which was stitched on the center of the sweater was barely legible. "I made it myself," Taeyeon continued, flashing her a wide grin. Faking a smile, she turned to face her best friend. "I love it, thank you so much" she cried, immediately wrapping the girl in a tight hug. Maybe she was overreacting a little, and Taeyeon would see the falsity behind her words. Tiffany prayed it was wasn't the case, as she didn't want to hurt the girl's feelings. "Yes, I'm glad you like it!" "I love it" she corrected before giving out a nervous chuckle. "Well since you like it so much, I give you permission to wear it for our school's Christmas party. I know Christmas isn't until next week, but it's okay, you can use my gift early" Panicking, Tiffany shook her head fervently. "N-no it's okay, TaeTae... I can wait till Christmas to wear it" "No, no, I insist. You can show it off to our classmates, isn't that great?" Disheartened, she nodded with a grave expression. "Yeah, great"
"Jessie?" "Yes?" "How's Taeyeon?" she asked, needing to reassure herself that the girl was doing just fine without her. "Taeng? She's good actually. I come over to her house to hang out sometimes. Do you know, her dad makes the best roasted chicken!" "I know," Tiffany whispered softly to herself. She was the first one outside of the Kim family to eat their roasted chicken, if anything else, she should be telling Jessica that. Trying to put up a casual front, she said "Well, that's good to hear." Leading the topic away from her childhood best friend, they conversed about other things that teenagers normally talked about. --------------------------------------------Thursday, October 21 The hushed eastern winds swept across the neighboring houses, bringing forth a feeling of subtle nostalgia. The tide of orange hue colored the whole
town sepia as the sunset glow caressed her skin with its euphoric warmth. Tiffany had always enjoyed the sunset. Looking up at the grand expanse of limitless depth across the horizon, she allowed herself to be immersed by the soft illumination of the retreating rays. Old habits die hard, as she found herself yet again on top of the roof of her new home. The scene before her made her feel so ethereal that communicating such feeling, or even inducing it, would make her despair of conveying the real quality of what she saw. The boundlessness of everything showed her how small she really was. Breathing out a soft sigh, she drew her legs closer to her body as she leaned her chin on her knees. Even after all these months, the thoughts of her best friend would still resurface into consciousness every now and then. Today was but one of countless days thinking over her memories with the girl. 'I wish I could show you this view, TaeTae' she thought. But she knew that never again would Taeyeon be able to listen to the radio on her rooftop, never again would they have those endless phone conversations, never again would she sing her a lullaby while staring up at the night sky, and never again would she see the girl wave back at her across the distance between their houses. The autumn breeze embraced her, as if trying to console her from her endless guilt and immense sorrow.
'Yours To Hold' Soundtrack: Four [Play for a better reading experience] The long line of trees adorned with red and orange leaves, danced to the song of the autumn air. It was mid-October and the natural mixture of yellow and red filled her vision. The view was surreal as the warm colored leaves swayed with the wind, falling away from the trees and showering the road with splashes of color. Soft crunches could be heard as tires pressed on the dried leaves, followed by the whooshing of the spiraling stipule every time a vehicle would pass. Zephyrs filled with fragrance of moss and dirt wrapped the two best friends into their own little world as beams of sunlight seeped through the foliage of the trees, glazing their features orange and rose. “Fany, look over there” Taeyeon said with a foolish grin, pointing at something behind the girl. With a curious expression, she turned her head to where her best friend was pointing to but found nothing amiss that would peak even the slightest interest. “I don't see anything” she replied, turning back to face Taeyeon but was met by a poke on the cheek. “Gotcha!” the girl returned in a teasing manner before protruding her tongue out at Tiffany. Following the immature act, she belted out her trademarked laughter as
she slipped back on her bicycle. “Catch me if you can!” she cried, joy visibly exuded in her words. Tiffany didn't have the time to reply if she wanted to catch up the girl, so she immediately headed towards her bicycle. Jumping on, she peddled furiously as she chased her best friend along the quiet neighborhood. Her tires met a rock cradled between one of the many cracks in the sidewalk, making her skid out of control as she and the bicycle toppled down on to the cement. Like how it was when skidding across sand, or missing a step on the stairs – Tiffany had those long seconds as if she was falling down in slow motion; giving her enough time to know that she would be hurt even before colliding with the ground. Maneuvering herself in a fetal position, she called for her best friend. After witnessing the fallen girl, Taeyeon stopped, made a u-turn, and headed back towards her. “Does it hurt? Does it hurt?” she asked worriedly, jumping off her bike and kneeling down beside the crying girl. Tiffany winced from the stinging pain that her wounded knee emitted. Taeyeon looked at the cut and leaned forward. Filling her lungs in with air, she blew over the scraped knee ever so softly.
“TaeTae, it hurts” she said with teary eyes. “I know,” Taeyeon replied sympathetically, her eyes already starting to tear up from seeing her best friend in pain. “Come on Fany, I'll carry you home” she offered as she carefully positioned the wounded girl behind her back. Lifting her up in a piggyback, Taeyeon started to walk back down the street. “Our bicycles” Tiffany pointed out. “I'll get them later. And don't worry, I don't think anyone would want to steal them” she half joked. “Thanks” “You don't have to thank me Fany, it's my job as a best friend” she replied with a comforting smile. “Being there for you, is what a best friend is for” “You'll be with me always, right?” she asked, trying to reassure herself of the continuous promise that they would never let go of each other. “Of course, even after the world is no more” It was the promise that meant everything to her. For Tiffany, there was not much distinction between losing her best friend
and losing her lover. One moment, she had someone to share her biggest triumphs and fatal flaws with; the next minute, she had to keep them bottled inside. One moment, she'd start to call her to talk about the latest happenings or to vent about her awful day before realizing that she didn't have that right anymore; the next, she couldn't remember the digits to her phone number. Wiping away a single tear that trickled down her cheeks, she gave out a cynical scoff. I'll be with you, even after the world is no more What if the person you promised it to, was the one who took your world away? What would happen to that promise? --------------------------------------------Monday, April 9 "Summer break officially starts tomorrow. So in order to celebrate surviving freshman year in college, we should go do something next week" Hyoyeon advised to the gang. "Let's go rent a cabin!" Sooyoung said, excited about the idea.
"Great, we should totally do that!" Sunny agreed, mirroring her friend's thrilled demeanor. "Awesome," the tall girl wailed ecstatically as she pumped a fist in the air. "You guys go on ahead then," Tiffany butted in as she took a bite of her sandwich, "I won't be here next week because I promised a friend of mine that I'll come and visit" "What'd you say?" Hyoyeon asked, unable to decipher her friend's mumbling words because of all the food inside her mouth. "Hey, stop talking with your mouth full!" Sooyoung spat, glaring at Tiffany. Swallowing the lump of food, she gave an apologetic smile. "Sorry, but like I said, I promised a friend of mine that I'll come visit her next week" "You suck" the three simultaneously blurted with a hint of disappointment. --------------------------------------------Friday, April 18 “Jessie!” Tiffany squealed in delight as she ran towards the blonde girl,
embracing her in a tight bear hug. “I've missed you so much,” she continued after releasing Jessica from her deadly grip, “and you haven't changed at all!” “Um, thanks?” her friend said questioningly. “It's a good thing” Tiffany reassured before grabbing Jessica's hand and dragging her out on the streets. “Come on, I haven't been here in such a long time, so I want to go see my old house first” Tiffany had created so many memories in this town that she wanted to relive it all. Firstly, visit her previous house, then to her old high-school, then to her favorite bakery, and then, if she was strong enough, she'd head to that special hill she shared with her childhood best friend. The blonde girl let out an 'eek' before getting pulled along by the stronger girl. --------------------------------------------Tiffany and Jessica walked hand in hand across the sidewalk, their shadows growing as the sun began to set from behind the rounded hills. Her eyes roamed across the landscape, eventually stopping by to look at the setting sun. The large ball of light was almost as orange as the sky, camouflaging itself as if wanting to be hidden from the harsh world. Yet
even from behind the hills, it seemed to stare at her; a silent ball of wonderment that was really a raging ball of hellish fury. The very thing that gave warmth, life, light and happiness could just as easily cause utter destruction. The setting sun; Tiffany's and Taeyeon's own personal shooting star. “Where are we headed?” Jessica asked, breaking the comfortable silence between them. Shifting her gaze back to her friend, she smiled. “There's this hill I want to visit. It has a nice view of the whole town, and it's even prettier during sunset” The blonde girl just nodded as they made their way to the towards that special hill.
'Yours To Hold' Soundtrack: Five [Play for a better reading experience] This time of evening, the sky was flung wide open, stars spread like a story across the horizon. Tiffany and Jessica were on top of the hill, overlooking the landscape to which the sun was waving its goodbye as the rays narrowed into thin slits of golden light and then to nothingness.
“You know, Taeng had already forgiven you a long time ago” Jessica said, words that radiated affection and tenderness. Fixing her eyes on Tiffany, she wore a reflective expression. Turning swiftly to the girl, her face showed a mix of emotions ranging from surprise, hurt, and regret. “U-uh, what do you mean?” she asked, feigning ignorance. “I'm talking about the accident Tiffany” Her eyes were already brimming with tears as she remembered that night. “Did Taeyeon tell you?” she asked in a hushed whisper, throat beginning to tighten up. “No, I found out myself. Yuri is friends with the moron who instigated that race. I brought the issue to Taeyeon, and she explained everything to me.” Sitting down on the soft patch of grass due to her weakening knees, she began to curl her body again in fetal position. Not daring to make eye contact with the blonde, she tried to speak but choked. Jessica quietly sat down beside her, and gave her a comforting smile. “You know what she said to me? That from the very moment she learned about her paralysis, she wasn't angry, she wasn't hurt, and by no means did she
hate you.” she paused to look at Tiffany, making sure she was listening, and then continued. “I guessed she must have loved you a lot, for her to forgive you like that without a second thought.” “Then why did she let us grow apart?” Tiffany asked impetuously, not believing what Jessica was saying to her. “She didn't, you did. Taeng had already forgiven you, but it was clear that you weren't ready to forgive yourself. She saw the hurt in your eyes every time you saw her, so she decided it would be better to keep away until the time you finally understood.” - too bad that time never came around. “...We'll be together always. As long as I'm with you...” “...I love you too, Fany...” “...I'll be with you, even after the world is no more...” Love can't exist without forgiveness, and forgiveness can't exist without love “Just me and TaeTae” she whispered softly to herself, inwardly thrilled with the idea. “You and me, against the world” True friendship and real love, can take on anything.
Taeyeon looked across the hillside, caressed by zephyrs that gently moved her locks away from her face. “If you're afraid of everyone leaving you, what do you do?” she asked with a solemn smile, before glancing at Tiffany. “I don't know, make them stay?” she answered with a shrug. The girl on the wheelchair drooped her eyes down on the verdant grass, deep in thought. A minute of silence followed, there were no birds to break the still quietness with their flapping of wings, no wind to disturb the fragile lull. “Yes, but what if you can't do that? Or you don't know how to?” Taeyeon continued “I don't know” “Yes you do, in fact, you've done it before. You leave first, so you don't have to watch them walk away” the girl said in a hushed whisper. Silence. Giving Tiffany one last smile, Taeyeon began to roll herself down to the bottom of the hill, but not without saying one last word to her.
“I'll see you later, Tiffany” It was the first time Taeyeon called her 'Tiffany', and it hurt her when she said it, hurt her so god damn much.
That was the last conversation they had with each other on this hill. Taeyeon insisted that she wanted to talk to her here, and Tiffany just couldn't say no. Looking back, when she said those words to her, she didn't get it. But now, she thought she finally understood. Understood what her best friend tried to tell her. Turning around to face Jessica, she said “Hey Jessie, do you mind if we visit Taeyeon sometime? It doesn't have to be right now, but maybe before this week ends we could stop by?” The blonde girl didn't say anything, as she tried to avoid eye contact with Tiffany. It was night now, no traces of the sunlit rays, just the stars that clung tightly to the nebulous blanket above. “So can we?” Tiffany reiterated her question, but this time with a hidden fear in her voice. “I'm sorry Tiffany,” Jessica said in a low, hushed, and benign voice, “but
Taeng doesn't live here anymore. She moved out with her family three months ago, and I don't know where she's living now. I-” “Then we can ask someone here, right? I mean, someone's bound to know where she lives. We can ask one of her friends, they'd probably know” she cut in, her lips trembling. “No, I asked them,” the girl said a bit too tersely, “they don't know either.” Tears, falling; heart, breaking; soul, longing. They were best friends, soulmates, two peas in a pod, each other's world. It hurt cutting off their friendship, and the damage was permanent; so there would always be a scar. But people always assured her that even the angriest scars faded over time. Tiffany guessed, but the memory of how painful it had been would stay forever. What would she do without Taeyeon? What would she become? It felt like one of her arms were cut off, or her eyes, or a leg. Something that had been there her entire life, and in a flash was gone, but yet the lingering presence remained. She felt like a fish who had been breathing underwater for her entire life, only to find someone telling her to go and breathe on land. The familiar was gone. Taeyeon who had been there, like air, was gone, and she only had herself to blame.
Shaking her head, Tiffany didn't want to believe any of this. Not when she finally understood. Not when she was prepared to face her inner demons. Not when she grew tired of running. Not when she loved Taeyeon. What her best friend said before, about walking away; she was right. She learned her lesson, and now she wanted to make it work with her best friend. She was ready to forgive herself. She was ready to start over. She was ready to fight for her best friend, to deserve loving her again. But this was reality; chances come and go, and sometimes it's too little, too late. What she turned into for Taeyeon, and what Taeyeon turned into for her, was the chiseling of what they thought to be perfection. Their jagged edges, that fit so perfectly before, was now something unrecognizable.
If only. Two words that cut right to the heart, and more than often leaves the biggest scars.
Part 1 of 4 Dedicated to: stephan
Note: Italics are Flashbacks Busy love; such a warm commotion
“Yes, and how may we become of service?” one of two girls asked with a devilish smirk as she leaned against her office desk. She wore a conniving expression, her eyes alluding a mischievous aura. The other one, who had jet-black hair and a light complexion, leaned against the desk while staring intensely at the short girl who sat on a cushioned chair. Pulling the crook of her collar away from her neck, she swallowed the lump in her throat. “Um, I...I saw your ad in the newspaper, and I was wondering if you could help me out”. How Taeyeon agreed to hire the two was beyond anything rational, but then again, love was never rational.
“That's what our business is for,” the woman from behind the desk replied nonchalantly, eyes fixated on the folder before her. Opening it, she began to rummage through the pile of papers and stopped mid-way, her attention focused on a large sheet. “Now Ms.Kim, due tell us about her” the girl continued. “Well firstly, her name's Tiffany Hwang and she's my boss. I've been working in her company for five years, so at least we have this mutual connection.” Taeyeon replied, fingers grazing the tip of her chin as she thought of other information she could offer to the two ladies. “She's smart, beautiful, funny and has a great eye-smile. Not only that, but I think she's beyond perfect. Sure she can be loud sometimes, and she tends to speak without thinking, but that's what makes her who she is. I think we can really connect and it might be cliché to say, but I really believe I can be the one for her; to cherish her, and to always put her needs above mine” she said, breathing a sigh of relief after her lengthy monologue. The girl who shifted her gaze to Taeyeon midway through her speech, brushed away a tear. “That is just so beautiful,” she wailed before reaching for the box of tissues that was placed on the left corner of the table. Blowing her nose, the woman took a minute to recompose herself before saying, “Well Ms.Kim, could you kindly brief us regarding your present relationship with her?”
Fidgeting with her fingers, Taeyeon averted her gaze down to the carpeted floor. “Well that's why I asked for your help,” she paused, filling her lungs in with air and expelling it out with words that exuded utter embarrassment, “because she doesn't know that I exist.” The raven haired girl leaning on the desk, spat out the water that she was currently drinking from her water bottle. A shocked look was etched across her features as she darted her head to the flustered Taeyeon. “What?!?” she wailed, “so you mean to tell us that you've had no social contact with her, whatsoever? Not even just small talk?” “I did ask her if I could borrow her pen one time, does that count?” Facepalming, the raven haired slowly shook her head. Seeing the disappointed look she gave, Taeyeon lifted her index finger up and defended “Okay, sure I haven't talked to her yet. But, it's not like I didn't want to. My brain is basically on self-sabotage mode whenever I'm close to the person I like. I sweat like an athlete who just ran a mile long marathon, I stutter so much that it looks like I'm beat-boxing, I get all fidgety, and my words come out so fast that I swear my lips could serve as a machine gun in World War 2. Not only that, but she's the most sought after person in the whole company. If work was like high-school, ” Taeyeon inwardly shuddered; high-school, the manifestation of hell itself, “then she'd be the queen bee and I'd be the dork with the overly-sized
glasses and tacky suspenders.”. The girl drooped further down on her seat, shame clearly written across her forehead. “How could I possibly have the courage to go up and talk to her?” “Stop droning on about how you fail when it comes to social interactions, okay?” the woman from behind the desk interjected impetuously. “I mean, sure, we get that you're a socially awkward child, but self-pity is not the answer. You asked us for help, right? And help you'll get!” Taeyeon bolted right up from her seat, eyes sparkling like the milky way. “Are you serious? You guys will help me? This is great, thank you so much!” she rejoiced, jumping up and down as she couldn't hide her liveliness. The girl laughed at the sight before pushing herself up from behind the desk. Sauntering over to the thrilled Taeyeon, she drew out a hand "Name's Im Yoona" The raven haired decided to join as she introduced herself with a grin that ran from ear to ear, "Krystal Jung" she said a bit too tersely. "And we're your date coaches," the two cousins said simultaneously, "now that'll be five hundred dollars please." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Taeyeon yawned, before bringing her thermos of coffee towards her lips. Taking a sip of her usual morning brew, she allowed the heat from the drink to radiate throughout her body. The girl was currently in a pathway that ran atop a hill beside a quiescent seashore. It was about five in the morning, and all was quiet except for the few sounds of flapping wings, and the sweeping breeze that blew over her. Giving out another yawn, she groggily went in and out of consciousness. Taeyeon wasn't used to waking up at such an early time on a Saturday. Zipping up her cardigan with her free hand, she turned to the two people standing behind her. "It's too early, why are we here?" she asked, trying to keep herself from falling asleep right on the spot. Yoona flashed her a smile, "Well you see Taeng, can I call you Taeng?.... I've done my research and supposedly Tiffany takes a jog every morning here" Raising an eyebrow, Taeyeon gave a questioning look. "And how do you know this?" she asked, perplexed by the girl's abundant knowledge of a woman she had only heard of two days ago. "She asked me to follow Tiffany around yesterday," Krystal interjected nonchalantly.
"You stalked her?!?" Taeyeon wailed, flinging her arms wildly like a lunatic. The girl was perfectly awake now. "It's called research!" Yoona defended, "and plus, it's not like she saw Krystal. Now stop your tantrum, and focus on what we have to say. Your perfect love life is at stake here, not ours, so do you want our help or not?" Heaving out a sigh of defeat, Taeyeon nodded solemnly. "Fine, what is it?" A satisfied smirk crawled up her lips, as she spun the girl to face the west part of the field. "Tiffany will be coming from over there," Yoona pointed to the curb hidden behind a foliage of trees. "Now, all you got to do is to sit down right here," she pointed again on a park bench to their left, "and wait for her to pass you. Remember, PASS you. Then catch up to her and pretend you've been jogging all along. Engage in small talk Taeng, and ONLY small talk" "Why?" the girl asked, anxious and excited about finally getting the chance to talk to Tiffany. "So you don't freak her out," Krystal cut in, "no one likes for their personal space to be intruded by a complete stranger." "But I'm amajing with words. You never know, I could sweep her off her feet with my superior eloquence" she said followed by a hearty laugh.
Yoona and Krystal just stared back at her in disbelief. Waiting for Taeyeon to finish her laughing fit, Krystal ordered "Okay smooth-talker Taeng, you are now forever banned from laughing like that within five yards from Tiffany, you hear me?" "What's wrong with my laugh?" she asked, disheartened. "It's a forty year old laugh, okay? Creepy, that's what it is" Yoona replied with a shudder. A beeping sound reverberated from Krystal's wristwatch. Lifting her arm up to check the time, the raven haired girl darted her head to the west and pointed at the small figure running closer to them. "She's here, everyone to your positions!" she exclaimed. Yoona immediately dragged Taeyeon to the bench and ordered her to sit down. "First impressions are important," she said urgently, "don't ruin it." "Alright, alright, I won't" the girl reassured before preening herself as she ironed out the wrinkles on her cardigan. "By the way, why am I wearing a pink runners suit?" she asked, looking up at Yoona who was already making her way out of view. The date coach stopped walking and turned around to face Taeyeon again.
"Because she loves pink, and don't ask me how I know!" she replied, before giving the girl a thumbs up. "Good luck Taeng, and remember small talk!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 'Holding on to Love' Soundtrack: One [Play for a better reading experience] Taeyeon waited anxiously for Tiffany to come closer, rubbing her sweaty palms against the hem of her sleeve. 'Small talk, small talk, small talk' she thought as she watched her getting closer. 'How do people converse in small talk again? Is there a right etiquette for small talk? Shoot, I don't know what small talk is now' she panicked, mentally slapping herself for not asking Yoona or Krystal about it earlier. Terror filled her senses as she began to inhale and exhale at a rapid pace. 'I'm going to look like such a loser. I can't do this, I just can't' Taeyeon was well on her way to an anxiety attack now. A light draft was made as someone passed her, gently pushing her auburn locks to her face. 'No, no, I got to do this, this is the only chance I'll get. If I can't do it now, I probably won't be able to do it later' she thought, regaining her confidence. Pumping her fist in the air determinately, she wished herself good luck and glanced back at the west end of the field. There was no sign of Tiffany.
Confused, she swerved her head to the opposite direction and found that the girl was already at a considerable distance away. 'Shoot! How did I not notice?' she thought as she sprung to her feet and sprinted off to Tiffany's direction. Panting hard and heart racing, Taeyeon finally caught up to the girl. She must have looked worn out and beat, because Tiffany who had taken notice of the girl running beside her, glanced at Taeyeon in an irked manner. “Um, hi?” Tiffany said with an air of uncertainty. “HELLO!” she squealed, a bit too giddy for her liking. A wide grin was plastered across her face; one that didn't plan on leaving anytime soon. It felt to Taeyeon that she was on an extreme high, like she had drank ten cups of caffeine or two pounds of sugar. Heart beating even faster, she struggled with what she should say next. “Birds!” - that was the only thing that came to mind. Taeyeon was at a critical moment of her life, and all she could think of, and say, was 'birds'. Mentally slapping herself, she stuttered “U-uh, birds...are...nice” “Uh yeah, I guess so?” Tiffany replied, making brief eye-contact with the girl.
Her eyes said it all. Taeyeon knew she thought of her as a freak now, but she just couldn't stop her lips from spewing out other random nonsense. This was it, her brain was now instigating its self-sabotage mode. “Weather, beautiful weather” she choked. Tiffany just nodded and ran a bit faster, though Taeyeon caught up to her again. “Did you know that hippo milk is pink?” she asked, hoping that it would peak the girl's interests because of the color reference. “Look, I'm wearing pink!” Taeyeon asserted. “.....” “Oh, and did you know that most of us have microscopic, worm like mites named Demodex that live in our eyelashes and have claws and a mouth. Scary, right?” Tiffany ran faster. “Wait, wait!” Taeyeon pleaded, struggling to keep up with the girl. “How about this: In Japan, it is completely acceptable to name your child "Buttocks" or "Prostitute. Weird, ri-" she tripped on a crack in the cemented
path. Groaning in pain, she glanced back at Tiffany who continued to run. “Pathetic!” a voice sounded from above her. Turning to the source of the sound, she found Yoona and Krystal standing there. Yoona with her arms crossed, and Krystal with a full out facepalm. “This is harder than I thought” Yoona muttered to herself as she picked up the fallen girl from the ground. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Taeyeon peeked behind her cubicle to stare at Tiffany through the glassed door. The girl was sitting behind her office desk, immersed in the tremendous amount of paperwork in front of her. Finding out how cute Tiffany was when she pouted her lips from either frustration or irritation, Taeyeon let out a quiet giggle. Going back to work, she typed a few keys into the document in her laptop before her eyes gravitated again to the working girl. This time though, their eyes met and was held there for a brief second or two. Flustered that she got caught staring at her, Taeyeon jerked her head back to the computer screen. “Rule Number One: Be Cool” Yoona voiced, lecturing Taeyeon on the do's and dont's when in the presence of Tiffany. “Act natural, not like some elementary kid who makes it obvious who their crush is. Cool, calm, and collected; that's the name
of the game here” “And one more thing,” Krystal added, “Do not show fear!” “Kim Taeyeon” She made a mental note to herself, remembering the words of her date coaches. If she wanted another chance to get Tiffany, then she couldn't afford to break any of Yoona and Krystal's rules. Insisting to herself that the surest way their advice would be ingrained in her mind would be to do a self-hypnosis, she began to undergo the treatment. “Kim Taeyeon!” Cool, calm, and collected. Cool, calm and collected; she kept repeating those three words over and over again. “Kim Taeyeon!!!” Coming out of her trance, she jerked her head to the voice. “Ugh, what is it? Can't you see I'm busy here?” Taeyeon spat in an irritated manner. If she ever breaks rule number one, then she'd be sure to personally teach this delinquent a lesson. “Excuse me?” Tiffany coldly replied.
Taeyeon ricocheted off her seat upon hearing her voice, and in doing so bumped into her desk with her knee, spilling out her coffee on to her newly bought laptop. Tiffany and Taeyeon watched as the hardware sizzled, followed by a few cracking sounds that seeped out from the destroyed machine. “My baby!” Taeyeon wailed, clutching tightly to the fried laptop. Tiffany was speechless, as she watched the girl cry her heart out while comforting her now deceased notebook. “W-when you have time, please send this file over to development.” she stuttered, not knowing if she should comfort the girl, or walk away. Tiffany finally decided to go with the latter, “I-I got to go” she said as she headed back to her office, leaving the weeping girl and her dead machine alone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Taeyeon was munching on her salad as she sat around the company's large cafeteria table. Her co-worker, Sooyoung, was busy sneaking in bites of everyone else's lunch in her mouth. “You moocher!” Sunny wailed, hitting the taller girl on the head as she tried to retrieve her bag of potato chips back.
Sooyoung stuck her tongue out at her as she tried to maneuver her way out of the girl's neck lock. Twisting and turning, she stopped midway through her attempted escape as Tiffany took a seat beside them. “You guys don't mind if I sit here, right?” she asked, “there's too many things on my office desk, so I don't have room to eat my lunch there” Sooyoung and Sunny returned to their seats and quickly whipped a 'no' to the girl. Taeyeon watched as Sooyoung quietly nibbled on her sandwich. “Wow Soo, you're so behaved. How come?” the shorter girl asked in an amused tone. Leaning in to Taeyeon's ear, Sooyoung whispered, “I know Tiffany's nice and all, but it's awkward when your boss is right here eating. It makes me feel like I have to watch my every move. I don't want to get fired, you know” “Taeyeon!!!” Lee JiEun loudly squealed, as she ran towards their cafeteria table. “Oh god, here she is.” Sooyoung muttered, as Taeyeon covered her face with her hands.
Let's just say that JiEun was Taeyeon's number one fan; an obsessive and obnoxious girl, who was totally head over heals for her. “I made you something,” she started, scrambling for the baked good in her bag. Finding it, she pushed the bun towards her. “It took me a long time to get the red-bean filling just right, so I hope you eat it” JiEun said, eagerly waiting for Taeyeon's response. She glared at the bun, as a sinking feeling grew in the pit of her stomach. “R-red bean, you say?” “Yes” Taeyeon pulled the crook of her collar nervously. She was allergic to anything with red bean in it, but she didn't want to break the girl's heart. Swallowing the lump in her throat, the girl glanced at Tiffany who was watching them intently. “Rule number two: always show her that you care” Yoona continued again, pacing back and forth as her eyes remained fixated on the girl. “And not just to her, but to everyone around you. Be nice, be polite, and show her that you have a big heart. No one likes a jerk” “And never,” Krystal cut in, “make someone cry in front of her. And especially, never make HER cry”
Belting out a nervous chuckle, Taeyeon eyed the bun like it was poison. With trembling fingers, she picked up the baked good and stared at it incredulously. 'It's not so bad' she thought, 'could be worse'. As if the world was moving in slow motion, she began to take a bite out of it. Everyone watched as the girl scarfed the whole thing down at lightning fast speed. Forcing herself to swallow the last chunk of the bun, Taeyeon faked a smile. “That was very yummy JiEun, thank you for that” The girl gave out a sigh of relief before sitting down. “I'm glad you like it, I'll make more for-” “No!” Taeyeon cried. Noticing her harsh outburst, she cleared her throat and and paraphrased “I mean, no, don't trouble yourself” “I'm never troubled when it comes to-” JiEun paused, furrowing her eyebrows as she focused on Taeyeon's face. Uncomfortable by her rather strange stare, Taeyeon asked “What's wrong with you?” “Is it just me, or did your lips get bigger?”
Sooyoung scoffed, “JiEun, you're such a pervert; you know that?” “No, I'm serious. Look,” she said, pointing to Taeyeon's lips. Following where the girl's index finger directed to, she gasped “Oh my god Taengoo, it does look bigger” Immediately grabbing a silver spoon from the table, she looked at her reflection. Taeyeon gulped - they were right. “I look like a freaking pucker fish! A hideous monster! Don't look at me!” she wailed, pushing herself up from her seat and running out of the cafeteria. Clueless of what had transpired, Tiffany couldn't help but giggle at the dorkiness the girl exhibited. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Here's the form you requested Ms.Hwang” Taeyeon mumbled incoherently as her lips struggled to iterate the vowels. Tiffany removed her gaze from the pile of papers on her desk to look at the girl. “I'm sorry, what did you-” she let out a small gasp, which was not surprising to Taeyeon. “Are...are.... you okay?” she asked with a worried,
yet freaked out expression. Taeyeon reassured her that she was fine, and that it was just her allergies acting up again. She was a bit hazy though, but that was only because of the overdose on allergy medicines she digested half an hour ago. Not wanting Tiffany to see her like this, she quickly placed the form on her desk and started to head out of the office. “Hey,” Tiffany started, making Taeyeon freeze on her spot. “I know this might sound odd, but did you go jogging last Saturday?” “W-what?!?” “I don't know, it just that you look really familiar to this girl I met while jogging. Could it have been you?” “No, that's insane!” she blurted, panic in her voice. “Rule number three: Never lie to her” Yoona said, articulating each word so that Taeyeon understood how important the rule was. “Like they say; honesty is always the best policy. I don't know how many relationships get screwed over because of lying – it's too many to count. So don't go and sabotage your chances with her, because you decided to tell her a lie” “And remember,” Krystal said while spinning the steering-wheel controller of her
playstation as she played 'Mario Kart', “if she ever finds out that you had lied to her, it's game over” “I mean, yes!” Taeyeon corrected. “So, you're her?” “No!” “What?” “I got to go pee” the girl cried, darting out of the office. All in one day, she managed to break rule number one; keep rule number two with the cost of her lips; and avoid breaking rule three. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “I can't do this!” Taeyeon cried out as soon as she opened the doors to their office. Krystal stopped scavenging for various folders in a drawer and turned to the girl. Belting out a chuckle, she bemused “Whoa, what's up with your face?”
Ignoring her, she reiterated again, “I can't do this, she already thinks I'm a freak. I want my money back!” “And then what?” Yoona asked from out of the blue. “I'll go back to my 'adore from a distance' plan.” “And how's that treating you?” Krystal asked slyly, “Ms.I-am-sociallyawkward-and-a-chicken-therefore-I-will-never-get-a-date” “Better than this,” Taeyeon shot back, pointing to her swollen lips. “Oh come on, don't give up so easily” Yoona persuaded as she rubbed Taeyeon's shoulder, “You still haven't seen what me and my cousin are capable of” “What do you mean?” “I mean, let's stop all this slow and subtle advancements” “You go right up to Tiffany and kiss her!” Krystal cut in, with a pleased smile. “Simple, but gets the message across” “No, Krystal!” Yoona deplored, “I mean, the OTHER plan”
Forming an 'O' with her lips, the raven haired girl nodded, “You mean, the OTHER plan” she returned with a wink. With a mischievous smirk and a devilish expression, Yoona turned back to face Taeyeon. “It's time to take this whole 'Getting Tiffany' thing to a whole other level”
Part 2 of 4 Dedicated to: stephan
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
"So that's your big plan?!?" Taeyeon wailed, showing clear signs of frustration from the furrowing of the eyebrows and the deadly glare.
Yoona and Krystal stared at her incredulously, as a twitch jerked up from their lips. They would have thought that the girl would at least be thankful in knowing that they were trying their best. With a thwarted sigh, Yoona pinched the bridge of her nose and answered "Yes, and don't you go whine about it. Me and Krystal reviewed the plan thoroughly, and we assure you that this is foolproof. If you want to get Tiffany then you'd just have to do as we say." "But this is ridiculous!" "Okay, I've had it enough with you." Krystal shot back as she rolled up the sleeves of her sweater. Preparing to choke the living daylights out of the shorter girl, she was soon restricted by a set of arms holding her by the collar. "Let me at her! Let me at her! Good for nothing, ungrateful shrimp!!!" she cried. "Krys, ease off" Yoona said nonchalantly. Giving up, the raven haired girl relaxed her tense body and recomposed herself. Clearing her throat, her eyes darted back toward Taeyeon. "Listen to me, and listen good. You should be thankful we aren't just giving up on you-" "But I want you to gi..." Taeyeon cut in
"I said zip it!" Krystal blurted, "Now, you really have nothing to lose here. I mean, literally, you have NOTHING. You don't have Tiffany, you're not that suave to begin with, and she already thinks of you as a freak. So what's the harm in trying? If we succeed with the plan, you get Tiffany; and if we don't, then you'll be labeled as a freak... which you already are. So your best bet is to try." The girl thought about it for a moment. Krystal did have a point; Taeyeon really had nothing to lose if she went along with their plan. Breathing out a sigh of defeat, she nodded "Fine, fine, we'll do it your way" "Great!" the two cousins exclaimed concurrently. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Taeyeon peeked from inside the front doors of the company, watching as Tiffany tried to fetch a taxi outside. “You can do it” she muttered encouragingly to herself before pumping a fist in the air. Inhaling deeply, she pushed opened the front doors and stumbled over to the girl. “H-hello!” she stuttered with an awkward grin. “Oh hey...ummm...” Tiffany replied before pursuing her lips, “Taeyeon, right?”
Inwardly jumping with joy that she remembered her name, the shorter girl nodded feverishly. “Yes, yes, that's my name” she exclaimed with a pitch higher than normal. Tiffany flashed her an eye-smile and Taeyeon swore she could have died and gone to heaven. Turning her head back out on the road, Tiffany waved and whistled for the yellow cab that was driving towards them. The girl let out a frustrated groan as she watched the taxi speed past her. “I hate rush hour” she mumbled before reaching for her cell phone in her purse. “I-I c-can dr...drop you off. My car i-is just parked o-over there” Taeyeon offered, pointing to the underground parking area underneath the company building. Tiffany shifted her gaze from her purse to look at her, “I'm sorry, what did you-” At that moment a masked individual darted over to her, snatching away her purse from her hands and running at the speed of light to the opposite street. “Get back here, thief!” Tiffany wailed while lifting up her feet to unstrap her high heels. “I got this!” Taeyeon exclaimed heroically as she sprinted across the road to chase after the robber. Just as expected, the masked individual was
waiting for her at the main intersection. “Remember, give this back and offer her a ride home” the robber said in an exasperated manner before giving Taeyeon the purse. “Yoona, are you sure this is going to work?” she asked with some hesitancy to her voice . “Of course this plan will work, I got her purse didn't I?” “I'm not talking about that, I'm just.... worried about you” Taeyeon clarified. “Me? Why would you be worrying abou-” At that moment, Tiffany had caught up to the two girls and started pounding at Yoona with her fists. Instinctively Yoona drew her arms to protect herself, but the unending flurry of punches caused her to trip on her leg and plummet down on the cement sidewalk. Once on the ground, the masked girl was met by a collection of quick kicks to her right rib. Taeyeon couldn't watch it any longer, so she grabbed Tiffany's arms and restricted her from further beating up her date coach. “It's okay Tiffany, I have your purse... let's just go”
“I need to teach this punk some manners” she shot back, trying to reach for Yoona again. “I'll take care of this, just go back to the company building before you kill somebody.... I'll drive you home, so wait for me.” Tiffany regained composure, inhaling and exhaling deeply before nodding at Taeyeon. “Alright, but make sure this punk gets sent to prison straight away” she said very bitterly before releasing herself from Taeyeon's grip and heading back. She waited for Tiffany to be out of eye-view before helping the masked girl up. “Oh my god Yoona, are you alright?” Stumbling to regain her footing, Yoona grabbed the girl's shoulder and pulled her mask away from her face. “You're in love... with Satan's daughter” she muttered before collapsing on Taeyeon's arms. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “S-so...umm.... back there” Taeyeon started, sneaking a glance at Tiffany from behind the steering wheel. “I took martial arts as a kid,” Tiffany replied nonchalantly, as if knowing what the girl was going to inquire. “Anyways, thanks for stopping me back
there. I have anger management issues, and I'm a bit impulsive at times” “A bit?” she asked teasingly, which was met by the girl giving her a playful punch on the shoulder. “Shut up” For an instant, Taeyeon forgot about her date coaches advice and belted out her trademarked laughter. Realizing what she had just done, she stopped instantly and fixed her eyes on the road. “You have an adorable laugh” Tiffany assured, as if knowing what the girl was thinking at the moment. “Well you have an adorable eye-smile” Taeyeon blurted before mentally slapping herself. 'Gosh Taeyeon, you dork. Now I sound like such a creeper' she thought as she bit her lower lip. Tiffany took the comment quite well and smiled, “Thanks TaeTae,”. She silently gasped after realizing what she had just said. Flustered, Tiffany quickly explained “Do you mind if I call you that? It..uhh... just rolls off the tongue easier” Taeyeon couldn't contain how overjoyed she was as a wide grin ran from ear to ear. “Yes...yes, you may,” she replied eagerly, “and since you're
calling me that, then I get to call you Fany” Tiffany chuckled and nodded, “Alright, that seems fair” They then talked about anything and everything that came to mind, Taeyeon stuttering less and less as she felt more comfortable with her every passing second. Halting in front of a luxurious estate, she turned her head back to the girl and smiled. “Well I'll see you on Monday boss,” she voiced rather playfully. Tiffany nodded while giving her a smile, “Of course,” she replied before slipping herself out of the car. Turning around to look at Taeyeon, the girl waved goodbye. “Thanks again TaeTae” Tiffany voiced prior to closing the car door. 'After you drive her home, invite her over to that baseball game tomorrow' Yoona whispered from behind the back of her mind. Upon remembering, Taeyeon hastily rolled the windows open and yelled at Tiffany who had already started to make her way to the front doors of the house. “Fany, you want to watch a baseball game with me?” Tiffany stopped and turned back to her, “Tomorrow?” she asked.
“Yeah” “Whose coming?” “Just Sooyoung and Sunny” Taeyeon replied. It looked like the girl was thinking about it for a minute as she pursed her lips and rubbed her chin. Flashing Taeyeon a warm smile, she lifted her right hand and formed an 'Ok' sign with her fingers. “Alright, I'll just go ask Sunny for the details. Thanks for the invite, and I'll see you tomorrow then” she yelled before heading again to her house. Taeyeon immediately started dancing from the driver's seat. "Go Taeyeon, it's your birthday, it's your birthday" she cheered to herself as she waved her arms in the air. The girl boogied for about a minute before heading off. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Taeyeon's fingers fidgeted from nervousness. She had invited Sooyoung and Sunny to watch a baseball game, but that wasn't what had instigated her anxiety. The girl would be spending a whole afternoon with Tiffany and her awkward self had quickly smoldered her confidence from yesterday evening.
"What's up with you? You're sweating like you just came out from a sauna" Sooyoung started as she eyed the hyperventilating girl. "Am I?" Taeyeon asked before quickly grabbing the napkin that was underneath the girl's hot-dog. Quickly wiping away the evidence of her neurotic state, she returned the napkin back to Sooyoung. "No, you can have it" the taller girl voiced impetuously before throwing it back at Taeyeon. "Hey guys, sorry we're late" Sunny cut in from behind them, while Tiffany apologized profusely. "Traffic was terrible, and I couldn't find a parking spot" the shorter of the two continued until Sooyoung waved her off. "Whatever, let's just get to our seats" the giant bluntly cooed. Dodging legs and numerous flying objects, they finally made their way to the middle section of their row. Taeyeon sat in between Tiffany and Sooyoung, overjoyed yet terribly apprehensive. Her body was rigid as she played with her drinking straw. "Hey TaeTae!" Tiffany started, unaware of how uncomfortable Taeyeon was. She hated herself at that moment. Why was she like this? One minute she
was perfectly fine talking to Tiffany, and the next she was as awkward as a skinny sumo wrestler. "Hello Tif-" "Oh my god! Taeyeon is that you?!?!" someone cried from the left end of their row. Upon hearing her name, Taeyeon jerked her head to the voice and found Krystal waving at her with a wide grin. "You know her?" Tiffany asked as she eyed the raven haired girl who was struggling to get to them. "Yeah, she's umm... a close friend of mine" Taeyeon answered, growing ever more anxious by the second. "I see..." the girl muttered softly to herself. "It is you! Taeng come here and give me a hug!" Krystal exclaimed as soon as she reached them, apparently overjoyed at the sight of her though Taeyeon knew better. After all, this inconsequential circumstance was all planned out by their evil, conniving, little minds. Yes, Yoona and Krystal wanted to make Tiffany jealous. Sighing silently, Taeyeon pulled herself up from her seat and wrapped her arms around Krystal. "This better work," she whispered to her ear,
prolonging the hug in hopes that the target might think they were more than just friends. A cough sounded from behind them and Taeyeon turned to look at Tiffany who eyed them with an incomprehensible expression. "Oh sorry," she voiced with a nervous smile, "Tiffany this is Krystal. Krystal this is Tiffany" "Nice to meet you Tiffany" the raven haired greeted with a light smile. "Likewise" Tiffany muttered tersely. "Hey Taengoo, I missed you, you know..." Krystal started with a cute pout as she hugged Taeyeon's arm. "I called you so many times and you never returned any of it. I know you're busy, and you're so cool that everyone wants to be with you" the girl inwardly gagged at that "... but you really should make more time for me" "Since she's never returned your calls, maybe it's a sign that she doesn't want to be with you" Tiffany cut in coldly. The raven haired girl ignored her and turned to look at Taeyeon with an adorable pout. "So promise you'll make more time for me?"
"Su-" "Krystal is that you?" a voice cut in from the row in front of them. The girl turned around to find Amber giving her an incredulous look as she crossed her arms. Belting out a nervous chuckle, Krystal released her grip from Taeyeon's arm and nervously stuttered "O-oh, hey Amber!" "What are you doing with that girl?" Amber spat before following it with a sneer, "Are you cheating on me?" "N-no, this isn't what you think!" she quickly explained, "See, I don't even know her, and she randomly hugged me out of nowhere!". Krystal turned around and gave Taeyeon a perturbed look before slapping her across the cheek. "I will not be taken advantage of!" she voiced through gritted teeth, "Ma'am, whoever you are, I hope you die alone.... pervert!". With that said, she stomped her heel on Taeyeon's foot before walking away to comfort her distressed girlfriend. "What was that about?" Tiffany asked after the whole commotion ended. "I don't know, but one thing's for sure... someone's going to die tonight, and it won't be an accident" Taeyeon answered with animosity in her tone of voice.
Part 3 of 4 Dedicated to: stephan
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
Taeyeon sat behind her office desk, enclosed in a tight space her cubicle had afforded her with. Through gritted her teeth, the girl furrowed her eyebrows as she glared at the half-written letter before her. Fuming with immense rage, she angrily scribbled the last paragraph of her very worded, heavily sarcastic, complaint letter. 'This would teach Yoona and Krystal not to mess with me' she thought coyly to herself, a smile perking up from her lips. Even from last Saturday's disaster, she couldn't bring it to herself to kill Krystal. To think of being locked up behind bars for the rest of her life because she had committed first degree murder sent shivers up her body. And besides, the orange prison uniform really didn't suit her fair
complexion. No, she wasn't willing to give up her clean record for them, so Taeyeon resorted to the next best thing – a complaint letter. The content itself was brutally honest, harshly reminding the two girls how they failed in trying to get Tiffany for her. Finishing the whole thing off with a 'Sincerely, Kim Taeyeon', the girl gave out a pleased nod. “TaeTae, I need the forms Sunny gave you.” Tiffany started as she peeked her head over Taeyeon's cubicle. “I'm leaving early today, so I'll just take them home with me.” she continued while looking earnestly at the girl. “Yeah, sure.” Taeyeon replied before swerving her chair around to look for the pile of documents. Scratching the back of her head, she continued to search for it. “Now, where did I put them?” she quietly asked herself, growing more and more desperate in her hunt for the forms. Heaving out a sigh of relief, Taeyeon stopped her rummaging and ardently grabbed the pile of documents from the bottom drawer of her desk. Plopping the stack of forms on top of the furnishing, the girl rolled herself over to her computer and typed in a few keys before returning back to the pile of documents. “Here you go, Ms.Hwang” she chortled while bringing over the forms to her boss. “Thanks, and I'll see you tomorrow.” Tiffany chimed before making her way out of the office.
Lifting her hands behind her head, Taeyeon leaned against them as she whistled a perky tune. The girl's eyes roamed around her cubicle impassively, but quickly stopped at the top of her desk. Something was amiss, and she didn't know exactly what it was. Arching an eyebrow, she stared at the clean surface of the furnishing before letting out a loud gasp. Her complaint letter, where was it? Looking frantically around her area, a fearful expression was planted on her features as she searched for it fervently. 'Where could it be? I just left it on top of my desk a second ago' she thought to herself, panic written all over her face. After searching for what seemed like forever, Taeyeon gave up. Belting out a defeated sigh, she couldn't help but wonder if the disappearance of the letter was due to her misplacing it somewhere else. Rewinding the moments previous to losing the letter, she contemplated 'It was on top of my desk, and then Tiffany asked for the forms….'. Taeyeon pouted her lips, she knew there was a connection to her losing the letter and her boss asking for the documents, but she didn't know what it was... until... “Tiffany has it!” she wailed, surprising everyone around her. Immediately darting her eyes to the empty office of her boss, the girl swallowed the lump in her throat - The letter was on the bottom of the pile of documents
she gave to Tiffany. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Oh my god Taeyeon!” Krystal cried in a frantic manner as soon as she saw the short girl enter her and Yoona's office. “I'm so sorry about what happened last Saturday, please don't kill me, I'm too young to die!” the raven haired pleaded desperately. Yoona on the other hand, was still mending her black eye with an ice pack. Giving a nod to acknowledge Taeyeon's presence, the older cousin shifted her focus back to mending her bruise. Taeyeon ignored Krystal's rapid pleas for forgiveness and instead charged towards her. Pulling the raven haired girl up by the collar, she looked at Krystal straight in the eye before pleading, “You've got to help me!”. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “So this is going to work right?” Taeyeon asked apprehensively, eyes fixed on the enormous estate that was Tiffany's home. Her fingers coiled around the steel bars of the front gates before turning back to look at the two cousins. “Of course this is going to work,” Yoona replied with a smile, “I've done this before.”
“You have?” Taeyeon asked casually – it didn't surprise her that that girl had already committed a crime a before. Fixing her eye-patch that ran across her face to cover the black bruise, Yoona nodded. “Yup, I've helped a friend break into Krystal's home once. So this really isn't nothing new to me.” she explained with a chuckle. Krystal nodded which proved to Taeyeon that what the girl said was true. Knowing that she was in good hands, the shortest of the three pumped a fist in the air as a devilish smirk crawled up her lips. "Alright, let's do this." she said rather determinedly. 'Holding on to Love' Soundtrack: Two [Play for a better reading experience] Given the go-ahead, Krystal and Taeyeon climbed their way over the gate and out to Tiffany's front lawn. Carefully and cautiously, they made their way behind a bush that was situated at a three meter distance away from the front doors. The raven haired girl gave a thumbs up to Yoona who watched from behind the gates. The girl with the eye-patch smiled as soon as she saw Krystal's signal. Cracking her knuckles, she buzzed on the doorbell that was planted on a
stoned pillar. Yoona buzzed again, and again, until she heard the husky voice from the other line. "Hello?" "Help me!" Yoona cried, faking a distressed voice. "What?!?" The girl ignored Tiffany's question and instead made her way to the center of the front gates. Lying down on the cemented sidewalk, Yoona played possum. With eyes closed, she waited for Tiffany to come charging out of the house. "Oh god!" someone cried at a distance, and Yoona couldn't help but smile. Hearing footsteps come closer and closer, the girl sneaked a peek at the front steps of the estate and saw Krystal and Taeyeon moving stealthily inside the unguarded house as Tiffany opened the gates to help her up. "Are you okay?" Tiffany asked in a worried tone. "I feel.... c-cold. The light! I see the light, I-I don't think I can hold on for much longer. Ma'am, help me! I'm too young to die!" Yoona voiced in a melodramatic manner, hoping to buy as much times as she possibly could for her two accomplices.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "It's got to be in here somewhere!" Taeyeon wailed from sheer frustration as she rummaged around the possible locations the letter could be hiding. Jumping from place to place, the girl searched for the cursed object. Heart pounding loudly and breaths uneven, she continued to look for it around the main floor. "What does it look like?" Krystal asked from the kitchen area. "It's a complaint letter! What do complaint letter's normally look like?" Taeyeon blurted from across the living room. "Well, it's not here" the raven haired responded with the same amplified voice as before. Letting out a sigh, she walked back to the short girl who was still searching every nook and cranny for it. "We've searched everywhere, maybe it's upstairs?" Krystal contested, as she nudged for Taeyeon to listen to her. "Alright, let's check upstairs." she replied in agreement before heading for the stairs that would lead them to the second floor of the estate. As soon as they reached the end of the staircase, the two split up, each diverting to different rooms in search for the lost letter. Krystal decided to
head to the bonus room first, and to her luck, she saw the pile of documents on top of a computer desk. A wide smile ran across her features as she darted to the stack of forms. Flipping through each sheet of paper, the raven haired girl found the targeted object underneath the bottom of the pile. Slipping it out, Krystal folded the letter in half and tucked it inside her jacket pocket. Quickly turning around at a one-eighty degree angle, she went to look for Taeyeon who headed off into the main bedroom. "Taeng, I found it!" Krystal cheered wildly as soon as she came into the room. To her frustration, she found the girl cuddling with Tiffany's pillows. "The hell are you doing?" she asked in a perturbed manner. "Am I in heaven?" Taeyeon asked whimsically, "Shhh!! Krys, can you hear that? It's the sound of angels singing." "Okay, snap out of it and keep your hormones on a leash. We still have to get out of here!" "Wait, wait!" the shorter girl cried, "I still have to see what kind of shampoo Tiffany uses! Her hair is so silky smooth, I need to know what the brand is!" Krystal groaned as she made her way to Taeyeon. Grabbing her harshly by the collar, she dragged the love-struck girl back towards the staircase. "We need to go now! N.O.W!!!" she ordered in a sergeant-like manner which
had been adopted from her older sister. As soon as they made their way down to the main floor, the two figured that it was too risky to exit from the front doors, so they decided on taking the back instead. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I think I should call an ambulance," Tiffany addressed with furrowed eyebrows, "you're dying, and you need medical attention." Yoona gingerly shook her head before bursting into a fit of coughs. "No Ma'am, I've accepted my fate, and I just need someone to be with me until my dying breath" she croaked dryly, cheeks stained with her very own tears. The girl knew she was a good actress, but never THIS good. 'I should win a freaking oscar!' she thought, pleased with herself. "Are you sure?!?" Tiffany asked in full blown panic, "Don't give up, stay strong, okay?" With shallow wheezes, Yoona's trembling hands reached up to touch the girl's cheeks. Flashing her a heartbreaking smile, she whispered softly "I-I can't h-hold on for m-much longer...but... can I ask something of you? It'll be my last wish before I leave this earth."
"Anything," Tiffany responded quickly. She was so into Yoona's act that her eyes were already brimming with tears. "I...know of...this girl... and she's... amazing. Please, go out on... a date with her..." "Who?" she asked urgently. "Kim Taeyeon," and after Yoona said that, she rolled her eyes over and let out her final breath - at least, that's what Tiffany thought. "Cousin?!?" a voice yelled from behind them. Seeing the 'dead' Yoona, Krystal knelt over to the girl and cried, "Nooo!!! Why?!??! Cruel, cruel world!!!" Tiffany, who was shocked from witnessing a tragic death, sat there motionless. "Yoona, do you hear me?!?" the raven haired continued - her acting just as good as her cousins. Lifting her up from the ground with both her arms, Krystal glanced back at Tiffany, "Thank you for being with her. I..." she let out a whimper before continuing, "I was too late. Please, whatever my cousin asked of you, do it. It's her last wish, and it'll mean the world to me if you do.". Turning around to face the empty street, Krystal began to walk away.
The question as to why the girl knew about the so called 'dying wish' when she wasn't here until after her cousin died, never popped into poor Tiffany's mind. Simply nodding, she watched her run across the street with her dead cousin in her arms. 'I'll fulfill that girl's last wish' Tiffany thought to herself, not realizing that the one who was carrying the dead girl was the same person who had been flirting with Taeyeon during the baseball game. "Where's Taeyeon?" Yoona whispered while Krystal carried her across the street. "She's in the car already, I told her to just wait for me while I come get you." Krystal replied. "And she doesn't know about our own little plan back there, right?" "Nope." Yoona sighed, "Twenty bucks; she'll kill us right after we tell her." "Oh, you're on!"
Part 4 of 4 Dedicated to: stephan
Note: Italics are Flashbacks
A glass vase came hurdling across the office room with such blinding speed that upon colliding with the furthest wall, completely shattered into a thousand pieces. There were various loud bangs, cracks, and booms in the closed room that everyone outside wondered if the third World War was already set into motion. Two girls of almost similar height lay hunched underneath the small space of a wooden desk - their very own personal bunker. "Taeng, can't we talk about this?" Yoona asked in full blown panic as she peeked around the office from her hiding spot. "What's there to talk about?" A short girl asked, flushed with a deep crimson hue. In her hands Taeyeon wielded a broom, and Yoona either guessed she would hurdle the weapon to them like one would a throwing
spear, or beat them to a pulp by using it like a police baton. The frightened girl stuttered, trying to reason with the hulk-like woman, "Hey, hey, look on the bright side, at least you're going on a date with her in less than an hour." "Tiffany only asked me out because she wanted to fulfill a dead girl's wish. Well you know what? At least she's not doing it for nothing," Taeyeon barked with as much acidity to her voice as she could possibly muster. By habit, Yoona asked, "Oh? And why is that?" "Because she is after all, doing this for a DEAD girl!" "But, I'm not dea-" Yoona stopped mid-sentence as she watched the fuming girl charge towards the desk, broom in hand. Like a lightning bolt, she nudged for her cousin to flee from their bunker before dashing to the next nearest shelter the fake plant that was situated at the corner of the room. Placing the tall bush directly before her, Yoona used it as a shield while Krystal hid behind her. "You'll thank us later Taeng, and you know what? We'll look back at all this, and we'll laugh and reminisce about the 'good ol'days'" Krystal
appeased with a nervous smile, "And if you kill us now, what are you going to say to your future children with Tiffany? That you murdered the two girls who made your family possible?" "Yes, yes," Yoona continued as she took a few steps away from Taeyeon who was approaching them slowly, "and... and...". Yoona looked around desperately, trying to find something to hinder the girl from murdering them. Her eyes stopped on the hanging clock, and she smiled, "You've only got half an hour until your date!" Her words hit Taeyeon hard as the short girl stopped her mid-hunt to glance at the clock. "You're right!" she wailed in panic, immediately dropping the broom and rushing out of the office. Yoona and Krystal high-fived each other and let out a sigh of relief. "Saved by the 'date'" the raven haired muttered under her breath. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Taeyeon struggled to find her cellphone in her bag while still keeping her eyes on the road. Fumbling for the device, she turned left at a curb with her free hand as she mumbled disdainful words about the two cousins. Successfully acquiring her cell, she flipped the phone open and placed it to her ear. The device rung as the short girl waited impatiently for the other
line to pick up. "Hello?" "Hello!" Taeyeon exclaimed in an agitated manner. "Oh, hey Taeng! Are you there yet?" Yoona asked. "Don't talk sweetly to me, you have no right! Now, I'm not sure where the cafe is, and that's why I'm calling. Do you-" "Remember the three rules! Okay?!? And don't laugh that creepy laugh of yours, and don't dance that dorky dance you usually do!" Krystal interjected from the other line. "Wh-what?!? I don't have a dorky dance!" "Really? Some random kid filmed you outside of Tiffany's house, dancing in your car. So don't say I've never seen you dance before, because I have, it's on youtube." the raven haired bluntly replied. "Ugh, just wait until I get my hands on you two! Now, where is the cafe?" Taeyeon asked, lips twitching from sheer irritation. "Did you wear pink? Oh my god, you didn't wear pink did you?" Yoona
cut in, ignoring the girl's question. "Just tell me where the ca-" "I told you to wear pink, didn't I?" the other line wailed, loud enough for Taeyeon to wince due to the sheer volume of her voice. "Okay, we'll just have to make do without that. Pay for the food, make her laugh, always smile, and listen. Do these things, and she'll be all yours!" Krystal regurgitated in a sergeant-like manner. "Now, good luck Taeng, and may the Lord bless us all" Taeyeon heard a click, and the line went dead. Groaning, the girl slammed her fists to the steering-wheel before cursing at the two deviants who brought her so much anguish. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 'Holding On To Love' Soundtrack: Three [Playing for a better reading experience] They were situated at a cafe not far from a train station. The smell of coffee beans drifted heavily on the compact building, as a cozy ambiance consumed the place. Various people were roaming about inside, some reading books, some carrying trays, and others just staring off into space.
“Sorry about being late,” Taeyeon started with an apologetic expression, "this is my first time coming here, so I got lost trying to find this place" "That's okay," Tiffany assured with a perky smile that sent chills across the shorter girl's back, "I know not a lot of people come here. Maybe that's why this is my favorite cafe in the city, it's quiet." "I think this place is rather nice, I should come here more often." Taeyeon mused shyly as she looked down on their small table. Smiling, she lifted her latte from the table towards her lips. The drink was warm and velvety. After taking a sip from it, she placed the mug back down and said in an elated voice, "Wowza! This is so good!". A giggle radiated out of Tiffany's lips as the girl grabbed a napkin and rubbed off Taeyeon's whipped cream mustache. “Such a dork! But see, I told you, this place is the best.” she playfully cooed with a prominent eyesmile. The shorter girl blushed with embarrassment as she gave a light laugh to hide her humiliation. “Let's play the choose game” Taeyeon randomly blurted, trying to shift the attention away from her flushed face. "Choose game?" Letting out an incredulous expression, she eyed Tiffany in shock. "Don't tell
me you've never played it before," Taeyeon chided with disbelief, "everyone in the whole entire galaxy has played it." Tiffany just shook her head gingerly, "Nope, never heard of it." "Haha! Poor, poor Fany, never getting the chance to play the 'Choose Game'," she bemused in a teasing manner, "tell me, whose the dork now?" "Still you," the girl retorted quickly yet playfully. Letting that go, Taeyeon began the 'Choose Game'. "Choose:" she quickly said with an authoritative voice, "Eating five grams of elephant poop, or two cups of giraffe urine?" Tiffany, who had momentarily picked up her latte to take a sip from it, spewed the drink out from her mouth due to the surprising question. The shower of warm liquid hit Taeyeon's face while she instinctively closed her eyes, waiting for the torrential downpour to subside. "Oh gosh," Tiffany cried as she fumbled for another napkin, "I'm so sorry." "No, no, it's my fault for asking that question." she assured, as she happily accepted the napkin from the girl. Wiping away her soaked face, Taeyeon burst into a fit of hysterical laugher.
Her date gave her a perturbed expression while perking an eyebrow, "What's so funny?" "I...don't...know," Taeyeon answered in between her sets of chuckles, "just this....this whole thing.... it's funny." Tiffany looked at her incredulously before erupting in giggles as well, "Kim Taeyeon, you're a freak, you know that?" "I know what you are, but what am I?" she instantly snapped with an impish grin. "Not just a freak, but immature too!" the girl continued with an amused expression. "I know what you are, but what am I?" Taeyeon retaliated again. "Kid TaeTae, that's you're new nickname." Tiffany addressed lightheartedly, her fingers ready to flick the girl on her forehead. "Don't you dare!" she threatened, her eyes crossed as she stared at the finger in front of her bare forehead. "What will you do about it?" the girl playfully asked, feigning a frightened character.
"I will-" Before Taeyeon could reply, the finger had already snapped to her forehead. Naturally jerking her head away, she rubbed on the spot Tiffany's finger had flicked. "Ouch, what was that for?" "Oops" With a disgruntled pout, Taeyeon looked for anything around the table that she could hit her back with. Eyes fixed on her latte, a devilish smirk crawled up her lips. Taking a sip of her drink, Taeyeon gave her an expression that read: 'Can't say I didn't warn you'. Tiffany seemed to get the hint as she waved her hands fervently in front of her face. "Kim Taeyeon, don't you-". The girl stopped mid-sentence as a spray of cold coffee came into contact with her face. Taeyeon cackled victoriously before a muffin was harshly shoved in her mouth. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "So, how did it go?!?" Yoona asked expectantly, ears perked and ready to listen. Krystal too, rushed beside Yoona and awaited eagerly Taeyeon's
answer. The short girl's head remained titled to face the ground, tears trickling from her eyes. "Are... are you crying?" the taller cousin asked in disbelief, worried about the girl yet frightened about her own fate. "I knew it!" Krystal wailed as she burst into a complete frenzy, "I told you that you should have worn pink!". Pacing around the office, the raven haired girl scratched her head vigorously. Consumed in fright and panic, she marched around in a fidgety manner. "What are we going to do? Taeyeon's our first client! How will this turn out in my records? I can't be jobless! I..I..." "We're going on another date next week," Taeyeon cried jubilantly with a twinkle in her eyes. Yoona and Krystal froze in their spots. "A-are... you serious, Taeng?" Yoona asked, still in quiet shock. Instantly, the short girl ran up to her and wrapped her in a bear hug. "Yes, I'm serious, and I love you," she voiced blissfully.
"Finally, I can tell my dad that I'm not a failure!" Krystal wailed as she pumped her fist in the air, a victorious grin running up across her lips. The raven haired girl then turned around and joined the two people who were mirthfully hugging each other. "Group hug!" Krystal exclaimed with much glee to her voice. Yoona who was happy momentarily before, suddenly released herself from the hug and stepped back. "Come on Yoona, let's celebrate this joyous occasion tomorrow!" Taeyeon offered while being lifted by Krystal who was chanting 'Taeyeon! Taeyeon! Taeyeon!' "What about us though?" the girl simply asked. "What ABOUT you guys?" "What will happen to me and Krystal? You're going on another date with Tiffany, so you won't be needing us anymore" Yoona replied with a grave expression. "I thought about that before coming here," Taeyeon responded with a wide grin, "And I've been thinking; since I'm not really good with this whole dating thing... I still want you guys to be my date coaches."
"REALLY?!? We can still be your date coaches?" Yoona asked brightly. "Yup!" "That'll be another five hundred dollars," Krystal interjected nonchalantly, hands already up to receive the payment. "The first five hundred was for helping you GET Tiffany, the next five hundred is for helping you KEEP Tiffany." Taeyeon scoffed incredulously, "You've got to be kidding, right?" "Nope!" the two cousins chimed simultaneously. The short girl stood there, face flushed with anger. If she was a cartoon character, then her ears would have already been letting off steam. Hands clenched tightly into fists, Taeyeon said through gritted teeth, "YOU OBNOXIOUS, ILL-MANNERED, IMBECILIC MOOCHERS!!! AND TO THINK WE WERE FRIENDS!!!". After her anger filled response, the girl immediately reached for the broom she had used prior to the date. "Run, it's Taeng-zilla!" Yoona wailed. "Wait, wait, how can she be Taeng-zilla when she's short?" Krystal asked flatly before being met by a hit to her shoulder. Letting out a deafening cry, she began to run to her cousin, "AHHHHH. Yoona, we're blood related, SO