My humblest apologies. (For the clumsy and failed adoption of this fic; not for the way it ends; I’m not exactly a shining example of a good and reliable person, in fact I’m absolutely terrible as a human being, but I have been known on occasion to write rubbish – i mean decent, fanfic)
“She’s alive” was not a glowing report. Tiffany could hardly breathe just thinking about it. The storm raged on around her but it sounded hollow.
Sunny didn’t say anything when Tiffany climbed into the passenger seat, and the car took off as soon as she was settled.
In the heavy silence, Tiffany started to think. And for the first time, she needed to be honest or she would fall apart right there and then.
Taeyeon could have died. She still could if her injuries were bad.
Against the windows of Sunny’s car, the raindrops were relentless. Disregarding Tiffany’s turmoil, they kept up a steady stream. Tiffany leaned her forehead against the cool surface and stared out at the world.
I knew Taeyeon would get hurt, her thoughts began. Maybe not exactly like this.
She didn’t cause the storm and she didn’t cause the crash – Taeyeon was driving Tiffany’s truck on the way to pick up Tiffany.
She didn’t ask Taeyeon to stick around and she didn’t make any promise – Taeyeon stayed and played Tiffany’s game and kept trying even when Tiffany wasn’t able to admit her feelings.
Why did she keep leading Taeyeon on like this?
But none of it is a lie, Tiffany thought. I’m not playing a game. Not anymore.
Seeing Taeyeon with that other girl had forced her to imagine Taeyeon in a relationship with someone else; the kind of relationship Taeyeon wanted. Probably something safe, simple, typical. Holding someone else’s hand, calling someone else her girlfriend. Someone who, when asked what are we, would not let their fears answer just friends when it just wasn’t true.
And she had wanted to tell Taeyeon that – all of the things she was afraid of. She wanted to explain why she acted the way she did, why she pulled Taeyeon close physically but pushed her away emotionally.
Flashing lights ahead caught her eye; emergency response units were crowded around a corner, a detour put in place.
It was torn, twisted, pushed tight against a wall.
Sunny swore under her breath and wiped aggressively at her eyes before taking the detour.
Tiffany just stared.
The sight of her mangled truck disappeared into the storm as Sunny’s car went on.
Tiffany really wanted to let herself cry, but her heart was beating so fast; she needed to know if Taeyeon was okay.
She wanted to tell Taeyeon everything – what if she missed her chance? She waited so long, never saying all of what she needed to say and now she could have lost Taeyeon.
It scared her more than everything else she was afraid of. While she kept herself safe in her glass box, did Taeyeon fall apart just outside?
And that stunned her so badly, she had to be shaken harshly by Sunny when they reached the hospital.
They asked for Taeyeon at the front desk and hovered in awkward silence in the elevator to the right floor.
There was a flash in Tiffany’s mind as she imagined reaching the room and seeing Taeyeon lifeless and cold; she imagined a world without Taeyeon and it made her close her eyes and hang her head.
She almost didn’t want to open her eyes again, but they reached room 801 and she braced herself.
As soon as she heard the soft beeping of the machinery in Taeyeon’s room, everything around her faded; there was no Sunny, no walls, no windows.
Taeyeon was small and vulnerable in the hospital bed, wires and tubes extending from her body and head. She had long scrapes along her forearms and down the side of her face still reddened with blood. She turned to look at the door way when they entered, her eyes wary and widening at the sight of Tiffany.
There seemed to be a lot to say, and yet nothing, all at once.
“Hey,” Taeyeon said eventually.
“Hey,” echoed Tiffany weakly, sounding more like a patient than Taeyeon did.
“Hey!” This was Sunny, storming forth into their bubble and right up to Taeyeon’s bed, where she smacked her on the shoulder. “Idiot! Don’t do that ever again! You scared me…”
Taeyeon tried vaguely to console Sunny but couldn’t reach her to provide comfort through all the tubing and delicately-wired systems. “I’m sorry. Next time I’ll just jump out and yell Boo! Would that be better?”
Sunny shook her head furiously, and wiped her tears away with both hands. “You just wait until Yuri gets here…” she muttered. Then she took a deep breath, leaned down and half-hugged her friend. “I’m going to see if I can find a nurse or a doctor and find out how long you need to stay. You two can go ahead and do… whatever it is you idiots do.”
Tiffany became aware of herself as soon as they were left alone, and she hung her head again. A shudder went through her chest as her emotions tipped to the forefront.
Taeyeon watched her. “Sorry about your truck.”
Their eyes met.
“I’ll pay to get it fixed,” Taeyeon said, and smiled as much as she could.
“I love you.” The words tumbled from Tiffany’s lips as they trembled with oncoming sobs and she didn’t know they were coming and did nothing to stop them. “I love you so much, Taeyeon. I don’t know what to do about it other than run and hide and lie. But you need to know it, and I need to know you understand how I feel about you.”
With every word she spoke, Tiffany felt the pressure easing off her heart and rushing out; everything she piled on to dampen down her feelings lifted.
Taeyeon sat up more, careful not to disrupt any important-looking medical things, and she cupped Tiffany’s face in both hands as soon as she was near.
“I know this is hard for you,” she began in a whisper.
“It’s not,” said Tiffany. “It’s the easiest. What was hard was stopping myself from saying it all this time, because I was so afraid of what might happen.”
Tiffany shook when they kissed, crying and trying to keep herself together while her walls finally crumbled. She became briefly aware of the beeping of hospital machinery, and then Taeyeon was looking at her again, in wonder.
“I think we have a lot to talk about,” Tiffany breathed, and swallowed the swelling in her throat.
Taeyeon nodded, then shook her head. “For once, I don’t want to talk. Not just yet, not after I crashed your truck and ended up in hospital. I just want to look at you for a while.”
And she did that. Lying back against the pillows, skin scraped and bruised, she held tightly on to Tiffany’s hands.
“Friends don’t kiss like this, either.”
It wasn’t the first time Tiffany turned that sentence over in her head. When she kicked Taeyeon out for mentioning it, she spent an eternity pacing around her room, arguing with herself about it.
Now the thoughts came to her again as she kissed Taeyeon. But already this time was different.
Until Taeyeon pulled away. Tiffany felt fear, briefly, a flash of it.
She’d been walking on eggshells ever since the hospital. Barely willing to let Taeyeon out of her sight, yet also feeling like she didn’t deserve to be in her presence, Tiffany wanted everything and thought she deserved nothing.
Taeyeon, on the other hand, was taking it one step at a time; both physically and emotionally.
They still hadn’t really had that talk, but sometimes Taeyeon would give her a little smile, like a secret shared between them; their feelings. Tiffany thought she kind of liked it that way; something between them that was quiet but a steady current flowing between them.
And now, here, when they kissed on the living room couch, some crappy movie in the background; a lazy Saturday afternoon – she felt something very different from anything she’d ever felt before.
So, although Taeyeon’s conclusion of the kiss gave her a moment of terror, Tiffany saw their secret little smile and her heart warmed again.
“All I had to do was crash the truck, huh? To get all of this.”
Tiffany shook her head. “You know what you did was stupid right? Drinking and driving, and in a storm no less? I don’t want to be responsible for that mistake.”
Taeyeon’s expression was shaded with something almost like grief. “Oh, I know. What I did was very wrong, and I’ll never forget it.” Her eyes were clear. “But I’ll also never forget what you said to me.”
The familiar sensation of distress crawled along Tiffany’s skin once more, hooking tiny claws into the skin of her back as if to drag her away from Taeyeon. She almost wanted to run.
“Despite what I said,” she started slowly, “I don’t think I can give you what you want, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon frowned, but didn’t say anything; whether because she couldn’t or because she wasn’t surprised after all, Tiffany wasn’t able to tell.
“You want something safe, normal. A simple relationship with a straightforward premise. But I can’t do that… It terrifies me to think of that.”
This time Taeyeon shook her head, her frown waning. “Tiffany, no. That’s not what I want. I mean, I want a relationship with you, but what you’re describing…”
She took one of Tiffany’s hands between her own, gently brushing along Tiffany’s fingers, along the lines of her palm, slowly as if to appreciate every millimetre of her.
“I want you,” she whispered. Her gaze returned to meet Tiffany’s; her pupils blown, eyes darker. “I want you for you, not for that image of a simple and easy relationship. I want a relationship with you. It’s not safe, or normal, and it’s far too late to be straightforward after everything we’ve been through together.”
She kissed Tiffany’s knuckles one by one.
“When I was on the way to pick you up, I thought I wanted to ask you point-blank to give me everything back. All that I’ve ever given you; my time, my attention, my understanding, my kisses, my heart. I wanted it back, because we came so close to having something more and you wouldn’t let me have it from you, wouldn’t let me give it to you.”
Tiffany turned her head away, disconcerted by Taeyeon’s words, then tried to turn back and rest her forehead against the side of Taeyeon’s face. She closed her eyes. She hoped the seasick feeling would go away, stop churning in her stomach.
Like taking a pill to stop the nausea, she whispered, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Taeyeon responded, one hand moving up to hold on to the back of Tiffany’s neck.
It worked to keep Tiffany there. They kissed again, deeply, and the fingers of fear that had been latched on to her back were replaced with Taeyeon’s caresses, slowly stroking over the dread that had been sending shards of ice through to her chest as if to remind her not to stay too long.
She felt warm now; too warm, but it was delicious. It was a heat that buzzed along her body, and it stimulated her arms to move, drawing Taeyeon closer.
“Everything is so different,” she breathed.
Taeyeon didn’t stop, maybe because she knew that it was a good thing.
And it was; this was different from every other time when Tiffany found herself being intimate with someone. Even before, with Taeyeon, she was on the edge of everything, of the cliff, ready to leap away and disappear. She was tensed, like a cat always prepared to act. She never relaxed, never let herself get swept up in it.
She never felt the love in it before.
It made her gasp, disconnecting their lips and clutching at Taeyeon’s shoulders, rolling her head to press her cheek against Taeyeon’s; she needed to catch her breath. Had she just fallen all the way down from the cliff’s edge where she used to hang by her fingers with her eyes shut tightly?
Taeyeon softly stroked the side of Tiffany’s jaw, then quietly tilted her face closer again and kissed her.
And as if she could sense the ripple that it sparked along Tiffany’s body, she moved her kisses along Tiffany’s throat.
It wasn’t until she was on her back, feeling contained from both sides with the couch against her back and Taeyeon moving along her body, that Tiffany paused again.
“Tae,” she whispered, “Taeyeon.”
She didn’t explain what it was she wanted; couldn’t really formulate words. Instead she gripped Taeyeon’s face between her hands and stilled her actions, bring their gazes together – so that she could just look at her. Just watch her. Just see the way the delicate skin of her face was flushed, the rapt attention in her eyes, the love and adoration written throughout her.
It helped to see that. And that was different.
Never, ever before had she done this. Sex, most definitely, but not this. She’d never handed herself over, given herself, provided her true feelings and emotions, and her open heart with all her insecurities and doubts, never placed herself in someone else’s hands with such sincerity and trust.
Taeyeon understood her. Taeyeon knew what to do, how to treat her, wanted to be with her, the real her with all the uncertainties and passion.
And Taeyeon knew how to touch her. She built Tiffany up like a song approaching its climax, making the beat slow and fast and faster; and she made Tiffany’s heart drop suddenly and made her scream.
It wasn’t just her fingers, touching her body as deftly as Tiffany would use her turntables, mixing her all up.
It was the look in her eyes, the smile she gave when Tiffany reciprocated despite her writhing.
It was everything; all of what they’d been through and what they’d reached now, here. What they’d produced together.
So when Tiffany reached that peak, rousing her right to the core, stimulating her to arch her back and liberate her body, it was made all the better by Taeyeon right there with her doing the same.
And if this was love, she could do it day after day for as long they could make it.