It had been less than a week. Taeyeon still fell asleep at night in a cocoon of unshed tears and her dreams were full of memories. What else could she do? There was no escaping from it, and she didn’t even want to leave. After all, in her own little world, she could still love Tiffany every day.
She sighed, slouching in her seat at the bar, and tapped her glass against the counter to get the bartender’s attention. At the sight of her dark eyes, haggard face, and permanently downwards-curving lips, the bartender raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t you think you’re being a little over dramatic?”
Taeyeon frowned, as if all the pain of the world was being heaped on her shoulders again. “No.”
The bartender rolled her eyes. “It’s not like she’s dead or anything. Besides, she is literally on her way home at this very moment. Aren’t you happy?”
Taeyeon dropped her head to the bar and didn’t answer. She lay face-down, her forehead against the cool wood, and huffed again. It was the night before Tiffany’s plane landed, finally bringing Tiffany back. As far as she was concerned, that was way too long and the edge of sanity was awfully close without Tiffany. She tapped her glass on the counter again and ignored the reluctant grumbling from the bartender who filled her glass.
“You’re the most depressing friend ever,” the bartender remarked. “I thought you came here to support me at my new job, now all you’re doing is moping around and crying because your girlfriend has been gone for a few days.”
Taeyeon turned her head to glare. “You don’t know what it’s like, okay? We’re almost never apart for this long. I miss her.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Save it. Actually, that’s a good idea. Store up all your depressing, negative vibes and dump it all on Tiffany when she gets back. That’ll be a nice welcome, won’t it?”
Taeyeon sat up, narrowing her eyes. “What are you trying to say?”
“I’m saying that you should spend your time getting ready to give her the best welcome home ever, rather than sitting around under a cloud of melancholy because it’s been two weeks since you last saw her.”
“Two and a half,” corrected Taeyeon, but the wheels in her head already started turning. “Best welcome home ever, huh? It is almost Christmas, too.”
She turned around in her seat, leaned back against the counter, and looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully.
They moved into their apartment in a December, she recalled, when an icy white carpet of snow decorated the grounds of the town they had recently made their home. They weren’t prepared for a real Christmas yet, their living room without a tree and their walls lacking decoration; in fact, all they had in those days was a bed, a laptop, and some food, but Taeyeon remembered it as one of the greatest times of her life. Why? Because she had the warmth of her soul mate to wrap around her when the nights seemed too cold to handle, and she had the most beautiful smile in the world to greet her every morning.
The bartender poked her sharply in the back of her head. She turned, looking shocked, and rubbed the sore spot.
“What do you want?” she asked grumpily.
The bartender held out her hand, flat. “Money, money, money. Those drinks weren’t free, you know. You gotta stop daydreaming about your soppy love story and give me some cash.”
Taeyeon pouted. “You’re so mean to me.”
“Were you or were you not gazing blissfully at some rose-tinted little thought bubble that showed a sequence of tender and loving moments between you and Tiffany some time during a past December?”
Taeyeon chose to remain silent. She gathered some money and shoved it towards the bartender, and was met with a smirk.
“Exactly. And foolish love-sick idiots like you need a good poke in the skull every now and then.”
Taeyeon sighed. “I don’t know what to do. I want to give her the best welcome home ever, but how do I do that?”
“Listen, Taeyeon. One thing I know you’re capable of is showing Tiffany what’s in your heart. Does that give you a few ideas yet?”
The blank stare of reply was all that Taeyeon could think to show.
“Wow, I knew you were slow but this is unprecedented. You’ll figure something out, I’m sure, but go do it somewhere else, okay? You’re ruining business here.”
Walking along the crunchy pavement outside, Taeyeon found herself remembering the tingling of her palm when she held hands with Tiffany. She clenched and unclenched her fingers, clicked her tongue exasperatedly, and let out another dispirited sigh.
It would be physically impossible to show Tiffany what was in her heart – unless she took it literally, in which case Tiffany would probably be disgusted and Taeyeon would be dead – but Taeyeon knew exactly what was in her heart that she wanted to show Tiffany. Love. A whole lot of love, and it was there for Tiffany and because of Tiffany. But how could she possibly show that satisfactorily? All her ideas right now didn’t seem enough, didn’t convey her feelings well enough. She needed something big, something spectacular, something overwhelming to show exactly how much their love meant to her.
Then she realised something. Her mind had wandered over every moment she had spent with Tiffany, every morning, afternoon, evening, night that they were together. And she realised something spectacular, something overwhelming, the thing that had completely taken her heart. What she loved most about Tiffany – it was a tough competition – was the fact that their love happened every day. She could feel Tiffany’s love all day and all night, every day and every night. It was an ingrained part of her life. No matter where she was or where Tiffany was, she felt that incredible love.
Taeyeon smiled. She had a few new ideas for how to show Tiffany what was in her heart, and she would show her every day.
Tiffany returned to their apartment with exhaustion in her bones, eyes already closing as she dreamed of drifting off to sleep. She dumped her luggage at the door, dragged herself down the hall, paused for a moment as she remembered to remove her shoes, and almost walked into the wall as she made her way into the living room.
“Tae?” she called out, voice heavy with weariness.
“Be right there!” came the reply from the kitchen. “I’m making you some hot chocolate before you sleep.”
Tiffany smiled, and closed her eyes as she dumped herself face-first onto the couch. She breathed out a deep sigh and let her mind and body relax completely.
There was nothing she loved more than spending every day with Taeyeon in her heart.