Title: Skandl! (Chapter 21)
Pairing(s): TaengSic, side!YulTi
Rating/Genre: PG-13 + language; AU Idol Romance
Warning(s): No, no, no Pt. 2.
Disclaimer: I don't own Soshi. I don't own anyone, in fact. All Fiction.Author's Notes: Apparently last Friday was TaengSic Day? Opps opps hurt hurt no update. HAVE JESSICA’S AMAZING PHOTOSHOOTS SLAYED YOU YET? For y’all still alive, here’s some sprinkles of fluff. Comment if you like it. >.<
Oh, and please clicky: my short poll. Won’t take but a second, busy bees. ^^
While Taeyeon’s company scrambled through a tornado of new management, video shoots, and production-based revamping, Skandl took advantage to go out under the radar. As long as no one ended up in the hospital, they were able to snip out time to celebrate Yuri’s return.
Group celebrations aka Lucky Six/Skandl mixers.
Jessica didn’t expect nor pressure Taeyeon to be thrilled about hanging out with Tiffany. The Kwon visit, their almost-accident, being called out by Seohyun, and scathing talks of trust had a sort of healing effect on the relationship with her roommate. Those were reasons enough to fall back into step.
Those and Lucky Six. Lucky Six prospered on congealment, solidarity.
Yoona and Sunny accompanied them, too. An interesting mix: neutral-ish bridges for conflict-free conversation, secret enemies, a host of varying insider knowledge.
Sunny and Jessica acted like strangers, bonded by a single song. Yoona and Yuri took turns making silly, outlandish remarks. Jessica reminded Taeyeon not to default glare at Tiffany’s part of the festivities, simultaneously assessing Yoong sprawled across Sunny’s lap and the arm coiled around her waist.
Six idol women: five gay and one a pleasant mystery. Booking a sizeable noraebang room to sing off-key at the top of their mighty, well-paid lungs.
An evening to ignore their problems, at the very least.
“When will we sing a duet?” Jessica asked, pacing fingertips down a row of Top 100 songs.
Smirking at Taeyeon’s tone, she noted the boisterous mic hogs--Tiffany and Sunny. In third place was Yuri, erratically hauled into fast-paced tracks. Yoona provided tipsy, robo-backup dancing that suited all and none of the tempos. “They’ll tire out eventually.”
“You underestimate them,” the woman sighed, ruffling a newly-dyed streak of indigo. “Something slow?”
Jessica sipped her seltzer, dousing the not-quite-dead fangirl inside. She and her Skandl partner had been acquainted since winter. It didn’t change the fact that she was about to sing with one of her favorite acts.
“Yeah,” she croaked. “Slow is...yeah, slow. Admirable.”
A smidge perplexed, Taeyeon raised an eyebrow. “Lame-botting again?”
“Stop turning my names into verbs.”
“It’s hard not to. You’re so uncool.”
“Good luck finding a cooler girlfriend than me.”
The blonde glimpsed at the door--an automatic procedure--before brushing a sound kiss through her hair, onto the skin behind Jessica’s ear. Taeyeon smelled like lemon and heady shampoo, sweet and tangy. She slipped a grip around her neck, encouraging more lip play.
Revolving disco lamps beamed hues throughout the room, the main light source save an HD screen’s yellow lyrics and cheesy background visuals. Amongst carefree, dissonant belting and Yoona attempting to do The Worm, Jessica reflected on how far they’d come. Lucky Six. Skandl. Her and Taeyeon, in general.
This private space, excused of cameras and image counselors, catered their own block of refuge. Where Yuri missing every other word risked nothing and Tiffany’s pitch shifts only brought smiles. And Taeyeon--cuddled into her neck, washing out her troubles with a warm mouth.
“We could do this every day,” she breathed onto Taeyeon’s shirt collar.
“Noraebang with these sad angels? I’ll pass.”
“No, this. You and me.”
Her love blew hairs from her ray-dappled face. “Head in the clouds again?”
“Mmm.” Jessica pondered a moment. “Yes.”
“I’d….want that, too,” Taeyeon muttered, transferring her attention to a song book. “But…”
She picked a selection. Her pinky tapped the bolded text twice. “Duet material?”
Jessica would call Taeyeon out for this blatant avoidance if the song choice didn’t snatch her completely off guard. “This is a Lucky Six song.”
“So, I trust you know the words?”
“I thought we only made...” Jessica mocked a sulky pout. “synthesized bullshit.”
“Are we singing it or not?”
“Hell yeah we will.” She punched the appropriate numbers into a chunky remote. “You like our music now, Tae?”
“Your last album didn’t make me Van Gogh myself.”
That’s the best admission she’d be getting. “I appreciate your support.”
“Whatever. I illegally downloaded it.”
“Kidding.” Taeyeon tangled their fingers, coming in for another kiss. Noses brushing, her voice cracked as she whispered, “Tracks that feature you are the best.”
“Biased.” Though, the comment lit her cheeks.
“We have a future together, right?”
Jessica kissed her harder, absorbing echoes of the gentle question. “Can’t imagine it any other way, honestly.”
Taeyeon’s slanted smile bordered on jawbreaking. She beckoned the brunette’s head to rest on her shoulder, watching friends and friends? make fools of themselves.
Skandl was overcoming a rough patch, too. As Taeyeon put it--their hate for Lim Dong-gun, the CEO’s son, united them. His overhaul of Skandl’s artistic and musical direction raised an immutable edge to the three when work talk cropped up. “How much has the new song changed?”
“Unrecognizable.” Taeyeon’s fingers tightened, black nails gleaming. “Two-thirds of Sunny’s lyrics were dumbified by an ‘in-house professional’. The asshole added a generic techno backtrack, laser sound effects, a dubstep dance break….our song originally about self-concept’s music video will star Skandl: Sell-outs of the Century as sexy stewardesses.”
Eek. “Are you--?”
“I’m serious as a heart attack. Shit’s getting shittier.”
“Complain! In one of your hissy fits.”
“The fanbase will love it, apparently,” her voice muffled against Jessica’s head. “Gives them a break from our so-called darkness.”
“That doesn’t sound like my Moody bear.”
“Because it’s not me. I’ve been body snatched.”
There was truth to every jest. She wrapped Taeyeon into her arms, hating the sheer defeat in each syllable. “Have fun with it?”
She shook her shoulder. “Tae.”
“‘Respite in the Rain’,” Yuri read the next white-rimmed title prompt, sighing to the heavens. “Thank you, @god! A song not in English!”
Tiffany double-taked. “I don’t remember--”
“Uh uh uh,” Taeyeon wobbled from her seat. Side-eyeing Tiffany, mildly tolerating Lucky Six-ness eclipsing her life. “That would be me and Jessica. Duet. Two. Less than three, more than one, etcetera.”
“Boo, noo!” Yoona protested, dusting her knees. “This slow-ass ballad. I can’t dance to this.”
“You can’t dance at all.”
The gay chicks “ohhhhhhh”ed at Taeyeon’s zinger, stepping out of her path to the space in front. Jessica giggled and patted wounded Yoona’s arm. Her girlfriend seemed a bit jealous of the younger girl--though, she wouldn’t spell it out. Cutie.
As the opening interlude hit its crescendo, Taeyeon tucked a microphone into Jessica’s hand. Their fingers touched and reality sunk in; they were lending their vocals to each other. Pretty much a loyal exchange if she believed everything she adored about the indigo-blonde.
“This moment’s too much!” Yuri dramatized in the background. Sunny shushed her accordingly.
Taeyeon relayed shy eyes to the screen while sweet words--regarding starcrossed lovers giving into urges--streamed from her lips. Jessica heard herself singing. But moreso, she glowed in the uniquely perfect combination of their voices intermingled. In sync, practically making love, in a sense. She and Skandl’s leader engaged in the only intimacy she’d display for a captive audience.
And when Taeyeon’s dark eyes graced hers--professional and instinctive, Jessica had an epiphany: maybe she could have it all. She and Tiffany broke their cold war. Yuri was healthy again. Yoona could be her true self with low judgement.
The fame. The dream. The girl. The trinity of her desires, manifested in multicolored lights.
The track ended too soon. Punctuated by back pats and giggly applause. She wanted this duet, this sacred circle of safety to last forever. By Taeyeon’s puzzled look at the next song, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, the feeling was mutual.
Yoona cracked into a spur-of-the-moment two-step, pulling Sunny along. “We’ll dance backup!”
“Singing battle, bitches!” Yuri howled--amplified as she and Tiffany bullied Taeyeon off her mic. “Team YulTi versus the undergrown wusses.”
“Fuck you all,” Moody bear groaned, seeking purchase beneath Jessica’s grasp. Sharing again.
Pixeled letters were already zooming by unsung. The women were too preoccupied being themselves. Playfully obnoxious. Free.
Jessica brushed the studs on Taeyeon’s helix with her lips to whisper, “We sound so gorgeous together.”
“A-agreed,” she replied, cheeks eternally flushed.
“You nailed every inflection. Didn’t know you and Korea’s 15-year-olds had so much in common.”
“Ughhh. You hate me.”
Pleased by her blushy silence, Jessica gave Tiffany the okay. “Re-roll the music!”
The following mishmash of Konglish, swearing, and Yoona’s delightful Scary Spice rapping set the tone for the rest of the night. Jessica’s residence on Cloud Nine hadn’t evaporated. Even when Taeyeon stumbled through “Wannabe” and confiscated the binder for Korean trot music, Jessica’s brogues had yet to touch the floor.
After much deliberation, Jessica and Taeyeon went 50-50 on the next reunion date. Food on Jessica’s dime; Taeyeon treated booze and dessert. Jessica scouted a venue; Taeyeon made reservations.
Simplicity was key, as she and Taeyeon preferred--a low-key dinner, wine, strawberry soufflé, and mood lighting. Sooyoung, a fan of chic simplicity herself, recommended the restaurant for its discretion. Severed VIP rooms, infrequent server visits, the works. A perfect place for their decidedly ‘uncounted-day’ anniversary. Because 100-day celebrations were too straight.
The honey brunette was absolutely giddy. Taeyeon, too, but she hid her smiles in her wine glass.
A fashionable, unimposing waiter refreshed their drinks, leaving the proper amount of undisturbed time for, “Presents?”
“Fiiirst...” Betraying eagerness, the shorter woman knocked the table in her haste to a bag. Wiggling light eyebrows, she unrolled a magazine. One with Jessica on the cover. “Sign this for me?”
“Tae, are you--” She gasped. “A Charm?!”
“Nevermind,” Taeyeon grumbled. Her smile stayed in tact, flipping to the centerfold image of Jessica lying on a boat, donning a sailor cap and crisp blazer. “You’re legit hot. Why do you even talk to me?”
“As if I don’t have your sexy photoshoots ingrained in my mind.”
Minutes trailed by. Simply Jessica, flustered and intrigued alike, observing the other woman speechlessly fangirling. A reformed ‘Sixer-hater’.
“Hey!” She waved over a page with a lazy hand. “The actual woman’s in front of you, perv.”
Taeyeon found the attached article, researcher eyes flicking back and forth. “I must single out my favorite question. Where this toolish interviewer asks--”
“He wasn’t a tool.”
“Dude called you his dream girl. He’s a tool and I wish him a slow, painful death. Anyways,” she read on, “‘What do you look for in a guy?’ and you, the infinitely flawless deflector, answered, ‘I’m not looking’ with ‘laughs’ in parentheses. How daring of you.”
“It’s not daring at all. They assume I have a boyfriend.”
“Yawn.” Taeyeon pushed the magazine aside, suddenly contemplative. After her ‘FRIENDS’ in bold caption with Loco, Rumors caused a crazy stir. Hours later, an anonymous rep from LTE confirmed TaCo’s ‘strong, unbroken’ romantic relationship.
Determined to keep the night cheerful, Jessica rapped a heel into Taeyeon’s bag. “Amaze me.”
That revived her. “Prepare for the gift to end all gifts!”
They agreed to exchange jewelry. Small, more subtle items could be carried anywhere. But nothing matching, for the sake of discrepancy. “You didn’t spend too much on me, did you?”
“I’m not exactly hurting for money. I should blow it on you before I drink it away.”
“Hush,” she said, recorking the Cabernet. “Gimmie, gimmie!”
Taeyeon touched a flat box to her chin, childish grin strangely complimenting a sensually tight black dress and pumps. Whenever she lifted her arms just so, red lace peeked from her cleavage.
“My eyes are up here, Coma.”
Jessica traced a faint line over Taeyeon’s shoulder. “I’m suddenly enticed elsewhere.”
“When we get home, I’m yours.”
“Your home or mine?”
“Mine, but you can call it yours, too. If you want.” Adding no more banter on a very loaded topic, Taeyeon placed the gift on Jessica’s lap.
“Trade?” Jessica asked, unpacking her own.
Taeyeon received a similarly-sized package. “Damnit, what if we bought the same thing?”
“I know. But, what if we did?”
“You’re talking too much! I’ll start.” Jessica mauled layers of shiny giftwrap, taking a small breath before she parted the suede box. She relished each moment of their ‘normal couple’ charade. It gave her goosebumps.
She covered her mouth, halfway stifling a snort. Taeyeon was already unfastening the silver necklace, adorned with a dangling robot charm, from its velvet. “I asked for a lamer-lookin’ one and the guy behind the glass gave me the evil eye.”
“Tae, you’re an ass,” Jessica declared despite the hearts floating above her head. “A cute ass.”
“Shut up,” the woman mumbled, clipping it around Jessica’s bare neck. Soft arms rested on her shoulders as she took her time.
Jessica couldn’t resist. Into a kiss, she murmured, “Love you.”
She thought to argue--not the right moment. “This is driving me bananas! Open your present!”
“Temper, temper.” Purposely, Taeyeon let centuries pass as she carefully, assholically undid the cartoon spider print wrapper (she laughed) by its seams. Jessica nearly finished the job herself. But, this was the irritating person she called her own. May as well deal.
And the wait was worth it. Taeyeon raised the pistol earrings to the light, face priceless. “I will look so fucking awesome in these.”
“Yeah, you’ve been losing your badass cred.” Winking at an immediate frown, she part a small golden gun into halves. “I dragged Juhyunnie to seventeen boutiques until I found something that screamed ‘Kim Taeyeon’.”
“Are they a threat?”
“They are,” Jessica pressed two fingers to Taeyeon’s temple. “Break my heart and I’ll shoot.”
“Wait! One more!” From Jessica’s gift bag came another box. In the same wrapping paper and distinctively larger. “This screamed ‘Tae’ even louder.”
“Why does that sound like an insult?” She tore this one open faster, hurried by Jessica’s glare in the wake of her gun joke. Paring off its indescript top, Taeyeon groaned.
“Try it on!”
Not waiting for a reply, Jessica unzipped the hoodie and slid Taeyeon’s fist through the first sleeve. Her girlfriend whined all the while, relinquishing her upper body to be fully adorned in magenta. “Put the hood up, darling.”
“You hate me.” She covered splendid hair with thick fabric, revealing two bear ears.
“Ohhhhh my god!” Jessica’s phone camera captured her Taebear’s pout flawlessly. “Keep that face; really sells it.”
“And to think I almost bought you an ostrich pillow. But nooo, I wanted to be adult.”
“That’s impossible when we’re together.”
“It’s custom-made. For my one and only Moody bear.”
The blonde sighed, smirking. “Am I a cute bear?”
“The cutest. I outdid myself.”
“Then, I’ll wear it. We’ll be Kuma and Coma.” She gave the jacket a thorough inspection, testing pockets and bouncing her shoulders for its supple weight. “You one-upped me, though.”
Jessica lowered her phone. She recorded video of the ‘Am I a cute bear?’ moment and fought every reveal in her smile muscles. “How?”
“Two anni presents from you and one from me.”
“You’re my second present.”
“And you’re my third, so it’s three to two.” She outwardly displayed numbers on her fingers like Jessica was an imbecile. “How to remedy this?”
“By not tallying our relationship, you crybaby?”
“Nonsense.” Taeyeon motioned for Jessica to close her eyes. “Hold your hands out.”
Jessica complied, grinning. “This feels familiar.”
“Hm. I guess it does,” Taeyeon mused over the faint noise of rummaging and papers sliding. “Well, you’re not the only one with extra surprises.”
“This is kind of hot.”
“I’ll remember that. Open.”
Rubbing the texture of stationary between her fingers, Jessica blinked down to a paper airplane. “Symbolism?”
“A physical metaphor for, ‘I don’t know how to make anything else.’”
Hand-drawn moons and planets decorated the piece in various colors. Someone really had been anticipating this situation. Taeyeon knew her too well. No way in hell Jessica would’ve abided by the aforementioned ‘one present each’ rule. “Does it say anything inside?”
“You tell me.”
Certain that her jerk of a woman would allow her to unfold the paper for a blank interior, Jessica had her ‘I knew it’ smug smile handy. However, she was surprised. In Taeyeon’s short-stacked script were a few stanzas--
“A song,” Taeyeon clarified. “I’m not a Sunny-level writer, but...it’s all me.”
Subtle rhyme schemes. Lines on darkness, fear, rooftops, marijuana. Sprinkles and high heels; stage lights, closet kisses. Seatbelts in her back. From weak throats to morning schedules and acceptance, Taeyeon summed up their journey.
Jessica swore her crybaby girlfriend would be the first to break that night. This proved her incorrect in the most wonderful way. Cloth napkin dabbing at her eyes, Jessica could hardly articulate the last line. Written in gold for effect. “Tae…”
“I love you, Jessica,” Taeyeon whispered, “I’m sorry it took so long to tell you.”
Fuck all the bling. This was what she wanted. “I’m...I’m overwhelmed.”
“That’s a step up,” she replied, cheeky smile in full tow. “Last time I admitted those words, I was stupid and irresponsible. And manipulated. Now, it’s meaningful.”
“I love you, too.”
“Guh,” the woman shivered, “that still gives me chills. The first night you visited our dorm, you were so goddamned annoying and sexy and weird and it clashed with every single one of my defenses. Then, I kissed you. I knew I was screwed.”
Jessica sniffed loudly, gasping for stability. Drama they went through...anything lurking in the future. None of it mattered. “You were such a bitch.”
Taeyeon busted into a throaty chuckle. “Thanks for liking it.”
That laugh steadied her lungs. Breathed calm into them, even.
Skandl’s Kim Taeyeon, squirming awkwardly in vivid bear fleece, superseded ‘idol’. Without fireworks, Jumbotrons or amplifiers.
And it hurt to realize Taeyeon wouldn’t smile like this forever.
Jessica hesitated to deem the third outing as a “date” because Yoona and Sunny organized it. Other than sleeping with Taeyeon, history banging LTE trainees, and previously unfiltered bitchiness, Jessica’s apprehension about Sunny courting her Yoongie was based on--actually, those were the reasons. Yoona, like Seohyun, verged on the line of total inexperience. And Jessica loathed the thought of rectifying her friend’s broken heart. But, they were capable women. She took Taeyeon’s advice and kept mums.
Their private locale--a basement arcade--made all intentions clear: Yoona and the silver-and-black schemer planned to kick everyone’s ass. After seven debilitating defeats at a zombie racing game, Jessica toured the downstairs space. Dart boards, a self-serve bar, pool tables, stripper poles, rows of old school game machines--an indulgent composer’s quintessential mancave. Sunny certainly had access to the cooler sides of idol life.
“Owned again!” Yoona pumped her skinny arms into a haughty V-formation. An unlit cigar (stolen) from the composer’s collection hung from her teeth, exemplifying douchiness.
Taeyeon, the owned, was an adorably sore loser. Just how Jessica speculated. “This fucking steering wheel sticks when--”
“Suck mah dick, Kimmy Tae!” Yoona sprung from her plastic racing chair, literally pulling the singer’s face into her crotch--setting the room into squeals. “Suck it! Suck ittttt!”
Tiffany cackled over her plate with Yuri. “Dinner and a show.”
“Tae’s so pissed!” Sunny seized her ribs, chortling. “Honeybadger returns!”
“This game’s fuckin’ rigged,” Taeyeon griped, on the cusp of a tantrum.
“Whose granny taught you how to drive?”
Jessica chose to intervene before Yoona’s baiting lured the blonde into another spanking. “May I steal you?”
She was met with resistance. “I dare that cheater to give up her ‘winner’s seat’ and try my fucked up wheel!”
“Sounds liiiiike,” Korea’s Ideal Girl shimmied into one of her dances. “You wanna suck this dick again. Scrumptious, huh?”
No way in hell. “You’re coming with me, loser.” With a stern tug, she forced Taeyeon’s hand from the ‘retry’ button and ushered her to the bar.
“I coulda beat her conceited ass, Jessica.”
Jessica poured an inch of scotch into two glasses. The proper drink for a dim, subdued setting. “Tell me about your day.”
“Horrible,” she stated plainly, swirling the amber liquid before taking a hard gulp. Her face warped in disgust. “Christ, that’s strong.”
Amused, Jessica wiped a drop from Taeyeon’s chin with her thumb. “How’d the video shoot go?”
She couldn’t help asking. The woman seated beside her wore mile-long falsie eyelashes, an unnatural shade of candy pink lipgloss, sea green contacts, and temporary extensions down to her ass. Lip ring removed. Skandl must have left for the mancave directly after their second day of filming. For Sunny and Yuri were over-glamified as well.
Taeyeon’s smirk was downright sardonic. “Wanna know how many times they told me to smile?”
“Mmm.” Jessica twisted the robot charm until it danced in circles. “A million and one?”
“I can relate.” The brunette sipped solemnly. Numb distance reflected in her loved one’s eyes stung harder than the scotch. “What’s on your mind, Moody bear?”
“Are you disappointed in me?”
“No!” Jessica leaned forward, touching their foreheads. “No, babe.”
“Be honest. If we hadn’t met...if you were just my fan...this new concept would put you off, right?”
“It’d be…” She selected her words carefully. “an eye opener. Whether the music’s fine--”
“It’s not. It sucks. We suck.”
“You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.”
“We always have a choice, I’ve been told.”
“Well, I’m not just a Rumor. I do know you and you’d never disappoint me.” When she veered for kiss, gems of Taeyeon’s ridiculous eyelashes stabbed her in the face. Thankfully, that broke the tension into murmured giggles. Light breaths stroked each other’s lips. “You’re authentic...that hasn’t changed.”
“I’ve been scrolling through my mentions on Pickpockette.”
Taeyeon laughed dryly, candy lips thinning. “A comment stood out. It was in Korean and didn’t seem any different than the others. Its length and lack of pandering emojis grabbed me. From a sixteen-year-old student. She lives in a tight-knit community and says she can’t be herself.”
“Yeah. Her family’s pushing their pastor’s son on her or some stupid shit. She gets depressed because she’ll never date openly. Date girls. S-so she praises “Love Cut Open” and thanks me for embracing sexuality, bucking the status quo and ...” The remaining scotch disappeared. “Going public with Loco.”
Despondent, Jessica moved her drink over. Taeyeon looked so wrong with him.
“Here this girl is, stuck in hell, influenced by me coming out in a relationship. That--that someday maybe she’ll come out, too. Her exact words were, ‘I know it’s not the same thing, but you’re my role model’. I’m a goddamned fraud, Jessica.”
“You’re…” ‘Fraud’ shot her point-blank in the ears. “protecting us. For the greater good.”
“I don’t feel good. Do you?”
Jessica grazed Taeyeon’s cheek, pupils twinkling. Even from day one in her bitchiness, she expressed her emotions sincerely, candidly. “This is necessary, Tae. The thought of losing you or what we’ve built, I--” Her stomach tightened. “I can’t imagine.”
“Cha-ching! In yo face, bitch!” Yoona bellowed, laying out yet another victim. “Served is my middle name!”
Yuri bemoaned. “You don’t say this shit to Sunny!”
“Sunny’s actually competition. Didn’t you see yourself button-mashing? Rookie mistake!”
“Fany, make her stahhhp!”
“Sweetheart,” Taeyeon rasped, reclaiming Jessica’s attention. “Sunny thinks Yul and Tiffany are engaged.”
What the hell?
Jessica fluttered her eyelids. To explode or congratulate… “Is she sure?”
“Sunny feels it in her gut. I dunno.”
Shit. YulTi touted years of commitment, struggles, lies to the camera and fake smiles. Hiding a relationship sucked; forced concealment of an engagement was ethically depraved. “I’ll talk to Fany. This is…”
“Insane? I think so. Your friend’s a fuckin’ serpent.”
“Fany’s--” She held her tongue. “When will you talk to Yul about...everything?”
“This is a bad time. New concept. No Narsha. Bullshit music videos. She has a lot on her plate.”
“A opportune time won’t ever come.”
“I know.” Suddenly pensive, Taeyeon bared soft, challenging eyes. “Hypothetically, what would you do? What if I asked you to drop your climbing career and Elistist world of no privacy to elope? If I bought plane tickets to any-fucking-where and we could live peacefully off our riches?”
A one-syllable answer etched Jessica’s mind.
What a delicate balance. A steamy first kiss, sexual intimacy, exchanging declarations of love. Flew by like a gentle breeze. Now, Taeyeon needed more from Jessica. A symbol of her devotion.
She searched dark, unwavering pupils. Irises so close, flecks of brown winked back at her. Jessica knew what she wanted to say. Was it safe to voice? Especially to a downtrodden artist in spiked boots and godawful extensions?
Jessica exhaled. “I wouldn’t go. I haven’t experienced enough. And Lucky Six--we probably haven’t hit our full potential and I plan to reach it, surpass it. I’ve fought and waited too long for this. I’m sorry.”
“You’ve changed, Coma.”
“I love you; I do. A hasty decision like that would benefit no one in the long run.”
A crooked smile curled in response, shutting down further apologies. “No more lame-bot excuses. Change isn’t bad.” Her fingers skated into Jessica’s. “You gave the right answer. Don’t lose that bite, sweetheart. They’re fortunate to have you lead.”
“Oh my god,” Jessica shook their hands in play frustration. “Forgot I’m not dealing with just anybody.”
“Workaholic Jessica Jung turns me on.”
The brunette laid a relieved kiss to Taeyeon’s cheek. She brushed her nose, smelling sweet skin beneath the concealer. “Since you love me,” Her complacent grin spread with every beat. “How about my tough-as-nails rockstar? I show up at your dorm in the dead of night, offering to cohabitate in--I don’t know--the outskirts of Iceland. Drafty houses, harsh weather...we could adopt orphaned puffins. I beg, ‘Please, Tae. Give up theatrical stages, sold-out arenas, global influence, your Egyptian cotton. For solitude with me.’ What say you?”
Taeyeon bobbed her eyebrows, making a show of ‘discussing’ the crazy situation wordlessly. Jessica grew impatient as the silent treatment ran a little long. “It’s an easy reply, babe.”
Skandl’s controversial leader hopped from her stool and choked down Jessica’s remaining splash of Scotch. Clacking the glass to wood finish, gaze razor-sharp and intense, Taeyeon murmured, “I like puffins.”
Confronting Tiffany took the front seat to Taeyeon’s quiet confession. Was she being funny or did deeper meaning supplement her serious eyes and that surefoot stature? Either way, she banished lingering questions to the backburner.
And, as expected, Tiffany wasn’t open to a lecture about transparency within the group. Or, between them. As a specialized brand of ‘friends’, Jessica made it her business to coax out an explanation. In their room, out of earshot of Yoona or any of their girls, Jessica told her what to do. Their trust had been beaten down before; a repeat would not be in the cards.
Taking this into account, Tiffany caved the basics. She proposed to Yuri. An ‘engagement on ice’, so to speak. No wedding announcements or hush hush airfare to gay-friendlier countries. A gesture and symbol of “the next step”.
In a tone Jessica never thought she’d dredge up, she made it clear: keep it symbolic. Until their relationships wouldn’t put anyone in danger, all six of them had to abide by secrecy. It was a Lucky Rule, she reminded the member.
This industry was brutal. Letting it into one’s paycheck was one thing--affairs of the heart? No.
Jessica had grown tired of sweating those stupid pictures. Lucky Six meant too much and her roommate shared the same sentiments.
Angry face devoid of Madame Hwang attitude, Tiffany agreed.
So, in the middle of the night, when Jessica woke from the dark-haired woman slipping into her bed, she had armfuls of mercy. Although, Tiffany wasn’t there for mercy.
She wrung fists into Jessica’s shirt, sobbing.
Hearing the boulder known as Tiffany Hwang crumble illustrated surreal. Startling. She’d experienced her sulking, crying, reposed depression. None of it touched this ferocity. Nevertheless, Jessica treated her like any of the younger members: with a kiss on the head and a soft voice. “Sleep with me?”
Short nails cratered Jessica’s hip. She shifted, hoping for a glance at the girl’s face in the meager light.
“Don’t hate me,” she whimpered, plea hot against Jessica’s skin.
Leftover sleepiness vanished. “What’d you do?”
“Don’t hate me, Jess. Please, don’t.”
Tiffany’s hair was still wet from a shower. The honey brunette pieced the dense, fragrant locks into a loose braid, internally panicking at a pattern of apologies, swears, gulps. “What is it?”
Then, an iPhone illuminated. Too brightly, actually. Parts of an article blurred into rays until her eyes cleared to read its headline:
‘Lucky Six’s Tiffany Hwang and Skandl’s Kwon Yuri: DATING????? [EXCLUSIVE]’
“It has pictures, Jess.”
“Did--did you?” She couldn’t help but ask.
“Fuck no I didn’t send it,” she husked thickly. “These photos are months old. Someone caught us.”
Music show backstage shots. Hand-holding, a kiss on the cheek. Yeah, the source had some incriminating photos. “This isn’t the end.”
“Are you dumb? Of course it is.”
It couldn’t be. They’d made it this far.
“What now, Jess?”
In the weakest of times, Tiffany yielded to Lucky’s leader: Jessica. It bolstered no power trip, only an uncontrollable urge to protect her girl, no matter what mistakes tarnished their past. If Taeyeon could somewhat forgive the likes of Jinnie, anything was possible.
But, she couldn’t answer Tiffany’s question.
HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY, MY GORGEOUS YOONGSUS!!!!!
My heart eye emoji-like bias for Im Yoona is no secret. So, I’ll post a YoonSic gif. ♥♥ They’d make a beautiful little family. *nods*
Look how Yoongie pets that child. Like, 'oh, you're not leaving?' xDD