All the Time

Sequel to The Art of Motion, Eyes, Lips, whatever these things aren’t planned you know

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“I’ve told you a million times, I’m tired.”

Tiffany didn’t bother to wait for Taeyeon’s response, knowing what it would be, and she turned away to open the driver’s side door of her car. The noise of her key in the lock and the click of the handle didn’t deter Taeyeon.

“Please, Fany, I haven’t seen you in weeks. I just want to hang out.”

Tiffany continued to ignore her, shoving her bags stuffed with clothes and fabrics into the car, onto the passenger seat. Taeyeon let out a noise of frustration. Her shoes crunched the gravel. She tugged at Tiffany’s shoulder with her gloveless fingers against the soft woollen coat.

“Come on, at least look at me.”

“Don’t you have something more productive to do? Stop bothering me,” Tiffany said, spinning around to glare at Taeyeon.

Taeyeon held up her hands in a pose of surrender before running them through her hair. She scrunched up her face, clearly trying to control her anger, and took a deep breath.

“Tiffany, please. I don’t know what I did to piss you off – I don’t even know if it’s because of me – but can we just take a few moments to talk? All I want is to know what you’ve been up to, how you’re feeling, what’s going on in your head today. Please?”

Her eyes were pleading, her voice tentative. Tiffany stared at her, at that face that she had been obsessing over for weeks. How could she get Taeyeon out of her mind? It was impossible.

Word got out about Taeyeon’s involvement in the design of her latest collection, and before she knew it they were the hottest duo in fashion. Critics couldn’t resist the attractive relationship between art and fashion, going to great lengths to praise the translation of a concept into a physical representation, and recently they began drawing comparisons to the nature of a personal relationship.

That was when Tiffany started to worry. Her relationship with Taeyeon – whatever it was – had been born of some teasing, some tension, some sharing of perspectives, but was it a real relationship? She could count their kisses on two hands, their dates on one. Were they even dates? And she certainly didn’t want all those people who were now suddenly paying attention to them to turn their attention to the connection between her and Taeyeon when she didn’t know what they would be seeing.

So she sighed, and closed her eyes for a moment. Snow was already beginning to fall on them, the tiny frail snowflakes staying light but she couldn’t resist sparing a thought for Taeyeon’s uncovered hands and missing scarf.

When she opened her eyes again, Taeyeon had not changed. Tiffany sighed, unwrapped her own scarf, and tossed it around Taeyeon’s neck. She kept her grip on it and pulled Taeyeon closer.

“What do you want from me?”

Taeyeon blinked, startled, on the verge of protesting the exchanging of the scarf but it died on her lips. She blinked a few more times, and she looked away briefly.

Tiffany moved a hand to the curve of Taeyeon’s jaw. The edge of her thumb stroked the edge of Taeyeon’s cheek, skin feeling soft against skin.

“You’ve been teasing me since the day we met,” murmured Tiffany. “Are you just being playful?”

“You know it’s not like that anymore,” Taeyeon mumbled. She took a breath and sighed hurriedly, once again avoiding Tiffany’s gaze.

“Well, what is it?” Tiffany asked.

“I want to get to know you,” Taeyeon answered briefly. Her hands went to rest on Tiffany’s hips, and she leaned her head forward for a kiss but Tiffany shifted to avoid it.

“How long until you know me, then?”

Taeyeon frowned at her, but didn’t say anything.

“Do you ever even wonder what it is we’re doing?”

With a roll of her eyes, Taeyeon dropped her hands from Tiffany’s hips. Tiffany grabbed hold of her jaws firmly with both hands and turned her head back to face her when she started to turn away.

“Did you seriously just roll your eyes at me?” There was disbelief and frustration evident in her voice. “What the hell, Taeyeon? This isn’t who I thought you were.”

Taeyeon sighed, her features lined with irritation. “I don’t get why you want to label this or whatever. Can’t we just do stuff together and that’s how it is?”

“Sure, if it was only between us. But we’re about to get a lot of people asking about our relationship or suggesting that we should be together and I want to know how to handle that.”

“Tell them to mind their own business,” Taeyeon said, her frown deepening. “Who cares what they say?”

Tiffany leaned back against her car, taking hold of the ends of the scarf again to pull Taeyeon with her. “Why are you so scared of putting a label on this? What if I want to call you my girlfriend? Does it matter?”

“No, go ahead,” Taeyeon said. “Whatever.”

Tiffany let go of the scarf and crossed her arms over her chest. “Why are you being like this right now?”

“Like what? I’m fine.”

They stared at each other for long moments. At last, Tiffany let out her own sigh. She wrapped her arms around Taeyeon’s neck and let their bodies press together again.

“Honey,” Tiffany murmured, lightly kissing the corner of Taeyeon’s mouth, “can you open up for me? Let me in right now? Tell me what’s going on.”

“Nothing’s going on,” Taeyeon answered. She kissed Tiffany deeply, covering her words with the give and take of their mouths. Her hands returned to Tiffany’s hips, and squeezed.

Tiffany pulled away slightly, gave Taeyeon one more peck, and asked, “Are you scared?”

“Why would I be scared?” She kissed beneath the curve of Tiffany’s jaw.

“Because things are changing and that can be scary.”

Taeyeon stopped moving, resting her lips to Tiffany’s skin comfortably.

“I know you’re not looking forward to truly feeling the brunt of all the attention we’re getting,” Tiffany continued. She moved Taeyeon’s head back to be level with her own. “I’m not asking you to sign a contract or anything. I only want to know if we’re on the same page.”

Taeyeon kissed her softly. “If this is the page you mean, then yeah, we’re on the same page.”

“Good,” mumbled Tiffany into the kiss. Then she made herself pull back. “Let’s go have dinner and catch up.”

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The Art of Motion

Sequel to Eyes, which is a sequel to Lips, and no I don’t think I will make it an ongoing.

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“Congratulations.”

Tiffany turned, and she smiled at the sight of Taeyeon leaning comfortably in the doorway of her studio. The artist was scruffy-looking today, her clothes rumpled and her eyes tired but glinting as she grinned.

“Congratulations?” Tiffany repeated. “What for?”

Taeyeon reached down and whipped out a folded magazine from the bag resting beside her on the floor. She smoothed it out so that she could show the cover to Tiffany, and she waved it around a little as she laughed.

“Congratulations for being you.”

The world’s hottest new young designer.

Tiffany gaped at it. It was only the biggest fashion magazine in the universe, the one designers and critics and celebrities used as some kind of a holy book for style and wearable art. The headline was clear, firm, a picture from one of the most recent runway shows inset above the words.

“Is that for real?!” She leaped forward and grabbed the magazine from Taeyeon’s hand, holding it up to her face and staring at it as if she could drill right through it. “Does that really say my name?”

Taeyeon placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “Can’t you read? It really does say ‘Tiffany Hwang: the world’s hottest new young designer’.”

Tiffany looked up to meet Taeyeon’s warm eyes, still stiff with disbelief. They had only put less than a third of her new collection on display in the public eye in the past three weeks and already there were rave reviews from all over the industry. She could only imagine what would happen when the rest of her designs were revealed. She didn’t even have a definite name for the collection yet, tentatively labelling it ‘Lips’ for the time being, but she wanted to incorporate a deeper level into the name so that the concept flowed all the way through.

Without Taeyeon’s input, her collection would be only half what it was now.

She became aware of Taeyeon’s hand, now on her arm, and returned her genuine smile.

“This is amazing,” she said, absently stepping closer to Taeyeon. “Thank you for everything you’ve done with me on this little project.”

Taeyeon’s grin widened. “Little? I think it’s much more than that, don’t you? You’re the world’s hottest new young designer, and that world is going to go absolutely insane when your full collection is revealed.”

Tiffany blushed and looked down. The magazine was crumpled again in her grasp, but she didn’t worry about straightening it out again. Instead she found herself looking at Taeyeon’s uninteresting shoes and feeling the way Taeyeon’s hand stroked her upper arm.

Then she looked up again, and bit her bottom lip, seeing how Taeyeon’s eyes followed the motion.

“Really,” she said, regaining Taeyeon’s attention, “you breathed life into these designs with all your talk of lips and sensations and eyes and the expression of a kiss. You created another thread of sensuality.”

Taeyeon’s gaze was scorching. “Define sensuality.”

By now, Tiffany was used to this game Taeyeon would play. The teasing, the toying, the motions of going closer and closer before springing away. And she was not going to let Taeyeon be the last to have a say.

Tiffany smiled. “You know,” she said, and stepped closer even more, so that the edges of their clothing brushed together and they could feel the ebbing heat of another body.

“I know?” echoed Taeyeon, her hand forming a grip on Tiffany’s arm. She was hooked. It showed in her eyes, the shape of her mouth, the rise and fall of her chest. Tiffany wasn’t even aware of she herself was displaying her perceptions of the sensations, because she found Taeyeon absorbing.

“Yeah,” Tiffany answered. She dropped the magazine, not caring that it fell on their toes, and her hands came up to touch Taeyeon’s neck and skim upwards to cup her face. “You know.”

“Maybe I don’t,” Taeyeon was quick to reply. “Enlighten me.”

Tiffany watched her for a long moment and felt how Taeyeon watched her too. She leaned into Taeyeon’s remaining space, and felt how Taeyeon’s body moved to accommodate her presence with pleasure.

“Sensuality,” she murmured, “is motion. It’s the motion of your heart beating and your breath brushing over the sensitivity of my lips, and the motion of your hand on my arm as the intensity of your grip on my flesh changes with the tension of your nerves. It’s the motion of your body as it shifts to fit smoothly with my own when I lean closer and closer to be right here with you as much as I can be, and the motion of your lips when I get so close that I may well kiss you –”

Tiffany stopped, raising her stare from Taeyeon’s lips to her eyes, and she pulled her head back.

“And it’s the motion of your pulse racing in the palm of my hand when I don’t kiss you,” she said, sounding a little smug.

Taeyeon grinned. “I think I’m getting the hang of it. Let me see. Lips, the sensations that make fireworks,” she moved her hands to hold onto Tiffany’s hips, “Eyes, the expression of a kiss,” she tilted her head, “Sensuality…”

“The art of motion,” Tiffany said.

“And the art of motion is…”

Tiffany blinked suddenly. “The name of my collection.”

Taeyeon froze. “What?”

Tiffany looked past Taeyeon’s head, into distant space. “I can use that in the name of my collection. Maybe something like: lips, eyes, motion…. ah, it’s missing something.” She squinted.

Taeyeon leaned back slightly, staring at Tiffany. “The name of your collection.”

“Lips, eyes, motion…” Tiffany repeated, oblivious. “Lips, eyes, motion.”

“Kiss,” said Taeyeon firmly. “Lips, eyes, motion, kiss.”

Tiffany returned her attention to Taeyeon, and her face cleared into a sly smile. “Kiss? Really? You think so?”

Taeyeon moved closer again, with a familiar wolfish look, and she kissed her.

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Eyes

Sequel to Lips
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“Today, if possible.”

Tiffany readjusted the phone, holding it against her ear with the curve of her shoulder. She held up the fabric in front of her, inspecting it in the bright light from above.

Her design room was white, with blank walls and pale worktables. The only colour came from the swashes of fabric scattered over the tables amongst papers and pencils and scissors, and a small collection of photographs pinned in the centre of one wall. The windows had no curtains, providing a glimpse of the busy city centre on one side and the faded brick wall of the next-door building on the other side.

Tiffany glanced behind her, keeping the phone in place, and set herself down on a whitewashed wooden bar stool as she ran the fabric through her fingers and listened to the person on the other end of the call.

“O-kay, I’ve just got to wash off this paint and then I’ll come over.”

“Oh I don’t mind if you’re a bit messy,” Tiffany said absently, testing the elasticity of the fabric by tugging at it. “I’d rather just get started right away.”

“It’s a bit more than just messy, I’m afraid. Head to toe in pink paint.”

Tiffany tossed the fabric to the side, unimpressed, and its blood-red form deflated onto the light grey linoleum floor. She rolled her eyes and said, “Are you really completely covered in pink paint?”

“Yes. Is that really so unbelievable?”

Tiffany thought back to their first meeting in the bar, when Taeyeon talked enticingly of the sensation of a kiss and found ways to express lips differently. “No, I suppose not. Well could you be quick? I feel like the sooner we get a move on, the better.”

“In the zone?”

“Pardon?”

“You sound like you’re in the zone. Creativity. Art. It’s a sensitive thing, isn’t it.”

Tiffany blinked. “Just get over here, please. You have the address, right? My assistant sent it to you in the last email.”

Taeyeon’s hum filtered through the phone. “On my way, Ms Tiffany.”

Tiffany settled her phone down tidily on one corner of the worktable in front of her. Order was important in certain areas of her design room. Some parts needed to be messy to flow, so everything else had to stay out of the way.

She stood up and wandered around the room, running her fingers over discarded fabrics and tapping a few photos on the wall. They were mostly photos of lips; female, male, adults, children, with make-up or without, pursed or slack or parted, in black and white and colour.

Her mind wandered back to what Taeyeon said the first time they met, about the sensitivity of lips and the connection of senses that create fireworks. She frowned at the photographs; they provided a good image for form, line, colour, visual texture, but she needed the rest of it. The feeling. The sensation of lips upon lips. The expression of a kiss, to wear and to amaze.

If she could do it, it would be her greatest design.

She needed Taeyeon. That artist knew how to make her feel the sense of lips.

As if on cue, the door burst open and Taeyeon tumbled through. She seemed out of breath, her jacket only on one arm, her t-shirt rumpled, her shoes untied. She spotted Tiffany and gave her a big grin, bringing out her dimple, and two thumbs up.

There was a tiny smudge of pink paint on her neck.

“Made it,” she said. Her bag fell to the floor beside her. “Still in the zone?”

Tiffany eyed her for a moment. “Let’s find out. Get settled first. You look like you ran all the way here.”

“I did.” Taeyeon readjusted her jacket, and then took it off altogether and dumped it over her bag. “Okay, so, what are we doing today, Ms Tiffany?”

Tiffany sighed. She stepped over to the nearest worktable and scrunched some peach-coloured fabric in her hands. “I don’t know. I’m at a bit of a loss. Ever since our first meeting, I’ve been rethinking my designs. I feel as if there is something missing. The sketches look great, the lines and shades and colours, but I just… it needs that extra layer of feeling.”

Taeyeon raised her eyebrows. She didn’t respond right away, sticking her hands in her pockets and strolling around the room. She traced a pair of lips in a photograph, tilted her head at the sight of some of the sketches, and poked a few fabrics.

Then she stopped, turned to Tiffany, and clicked her fingers.

“Eyes,” she said.

Tiffany stared at her. “No,” she said at length. “Lips. The concept is… lips.”

Taeyeon waved her hand. “Yeah, yeah, but I mean what you need to focus on is eyes.”

Tiffany frowned. “Eyes? Eyes… on lips? I don’t understand.”

Taeyeon shot closer, suddenly right in front of Tiffany’s face again just like the first time they saw each other, and she pointed at her eyes with both hands. “Eyes,” she said again. “You want clothes that are amazing, awe-inspiring, striking, with feeling? You have to make it so that everybody’s eyes –” she clicked her fingers again “- snap.”

There was silence for a moment, and Taeyeon swayed a little before balancing herself better in her spontaneous position. Then Tiffany crossed her arms over her chest and regarded Taeyeon stoically.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

Taeyeon smiled.  “Eyes really are the window to the soul. Pupil dilation can be a great and uncontrollable indicator of interest. Attraction. A little flash of,” her eyes flicked to Tiffany’s lips, “arousal.”

Tiffany found herself swallowing at the sight of the brief widening of Taeyeon’s dark pupils, and then their gazes met again. Taeyeon’s smile had curved more on one corner of her mouth.

“There’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop it,” said Taeyeon, voice soft. “You aren’t even aware it’s happening. Your eyes show your feeling before you know it. See something you like, your eyes flash.” Her smile turned into a toothy grin. “Just like that right there. Your eyes just now.”

Tiffany blinked repeatedly, quickly. “What?”

“Ah,” Taeyeon held up an admonishing finger between their faces. “Don’t think you can hide it. Your mind will now try to deny it and you will be totally convinced that it never happened, but it did. Your eyes told me exactly what you meant to say.”

She rocked back on her heels, sticking her hands back in her pockets.

“You want your lips to trigger that reaction, that instinctual unstoppable desire.”

She leaned a little closer again.

“And I don’t think you’ll have any problem with that,” she whispered, eyes dark. “Ms Tiffany.”

Tiffany was sure her pupils must have dilated again because Taeyeon smirked wolfishly.

“Once the eyes are hooked, you can reel them in.”

Their faces were close. Tiffany felt the lightest brush of Taeyeon’s breath over her parted lips, and it was almost as if she could feel her body reacting all the way up to her revealing eyes.

Then Taeyeon stepped back.

“The expression of a kiss,” she said. “Eyes.”

Swiftly, she gathered up her things and stepped halfway out the door. Over her shoulder, she sent Tiffany a wink, and then she was gone.

Tiffany took a long, deep breath and let it all out. She closed her eyes, and traced her lips. Her mind was vibrant with images and ideas, forming together. She was on fire.

“Some kiss,” she murmured.

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Lips

“It’s her.”

“Woah, what’s she doing here?”

“Hey watch out, she’s coming this way.”

A sly smile curved the corners of Tiffany’s lips. Her heels clicked against the smooth hard floor beneath her as she walked through the bar, passing the people who whispered and stared. Locks of her hair flowed over one shoulder as she flicked it out of her face, exposing the bare skin of her shoulders revealed by her sleeveless top. A sharp intake of breath from someone nearby made her smirk.

“Afternoon.”

She sat down at the little table in the corner, shifted her chair closer to it, and kept her eyes away from the person sitting opposite her.

“Good afternoon, Ms Tiffany,” came the reply.

The waiter was by her side in less than a minute, whipping out his notebook and grinning. She spoke before he could even breathe and ordered a glass of pineapple juice. It was just past four o’clock. Tiffany removed her sunglasses, flicked them shut and lay them on the table, and dumped her purse onto the empty chair next to her. She sighed and ran a hand through her dark red hair.

“Let’s be quick,” she said.

“Of course, Ms Tiffany.”

An envelope was placed on the table and pushed towards her.

“An invitation. Your father would like you to attend his wedding on December the 1st.”

Tiffany eyed the envelope and clicked her tongue. She crossed her arms over her chest. “Right, right. Well I’ll be there. And?”

The waiter arrived with her pineapple juice. She knew acknowledging him would make it more likely that he would hang around, so she immediately lifted the glass to her lips and finally raised her gaze to see the person seated across from her.

Seohyun was flipping through a folder in her hands, skimming through the pages, her face perfectly composed in utmost serenity. She wasn’t a cold person, in fact she was cheerful and friendly, but she had some amazing internal balance that meant she could be like this, so straightforward and simple about professionalism.

The waiter awkwardly shuffled away.

“Three people have responded to your advertisement in the newspaper,” Seohyun continued. “One who calls herself Taeyeon seems most suited for your needs.”

“And why is that?”

“She wrote in her email – and I quote – ‘I know a lot about lips and I would like to see yours’.”

Tiffany almost choked on her juice. “What?! Is she some kind of pervert?”

“Apparently she gets that a lot.”

Tiffany set down her glass and ran a hand through her hair again. “Oh, I see, she’s eccentric, huh. One of the more socially awkward artists.”

“Perhaps. The way she worded her response suggests that she understands your intended concept very well. She would like to base the artwork on your lips, which would work well to keep your designs close to your identity as a designer while developing your original ideas.”

“Hmm. Okay, set up a meeting.”

“No need.”

Tiffany jumped at the new voice from right next to her and almost fell off her chair when she came face to face with a stranger. Literally this person was a few inches from her face and staring at her so intently she thought she might explode.

“What the f-”

“I’m Taeyeon,” she said, giving a friendly smile even while her eyes were still too wide for comfort. “You must be Ms Tiffany. I can tell by your lips.”

“Oh wow. Wow. Yeah, you gotta be Taeyeon.”

Taeyeon’s smile became a grin and she finally backed off. She waved cheerily at Seohyun, and then gestured at the waiter who was lurking not far away.

“Hey can I get a bottle of beer? Do you have Cass Fresh? Thanks.”

Taeyeon sat down in the other free chair, and looked at Tiffany again.

Tiffany blinked.

“I have to go,” said Seohyun, snapping the folder shut and standing. “That’s all we needed to talk about, Ms Tiffany.”

Tiffany reached out in the manner of a confused tourist who had become trapped in quicksand in the jungle, but to no avail as Seohyun left swiftly and without glancing back at either of them. Tiffany lowered her arms and turned to look at Taeyeon, who was accepting her bottle of beer from the waiter.

“So you’re sure you can do this?”

Taeyeon took a sip of her beer. “Absolutely.”

Tiffany eyed her for a moment. Then she sighed and got settled again. “All right, let’s start talking and doing some sketches. Did you bring your stuff?”

She hadn’t brought all of her stuff, but she pulled a ballpoint pen from one pocket and collected a swab of napkins. Over the course of a lengthy one hour and twenty minutes as well as three bottles of Cass Fresh and two glasses of pineapple juice, they produced almost thirty ink-smudged napkins showing various artistic sketches and fashion designs.

“Do you ever get overly conscious of your lips?” Taeyeon asked curiously, nursing her nearly empty bottle and gazing at Tiffany. “I do sometimes. You just suddenly realise there are these things, part of your face, that are moving when you talk and just kind of there, you know? That happens to me sometimes.”

Tiffany looked dubious. “Are you a druggie?”

“What? No! I get high on life, thank you very much.”

“Oh, you’re one of those,” Tiffany said dismissively.

“Yeah, I’m one of those. How about you?” Taeyeon leaned closer and lowered her voice. “What do you get high on, Ms Tiffany?”

Tiffany glanced at the smirk on Taeyeon’s face and echoed it briefly. Then she leaned forward, locked eyes with Taeyeon, and whispered, “I don’t get high. I make high.”

Taeyeon’s smirk faded, but not into a look of shock or nervousness like Tiffany had expected. Instead, something else appeared, something she didn’t recognise.

“You know, the thing about lips is,” Taeyeon murmured, “they’re so sensitive. Your bottom lip can tell the difference between all kinds of textures. Food, liquid, glass, plastic, cosmetics…” Her stare dropped on to Tiffany’s lips. “…bare, naked skin.”

Tiffany swallowed, keeping her eyes trained on Taeyeon’s face.

“And that’s what makes kissing so wonderful,” Taeyeon continued. A grin tugged at the corner of her mouth, briefly revealing a flash of a white canine tooth. “Sensitive meets sensitive. Senses connect. And that’s how fireworks are made.”

Tiffany let out a long breath. She sat back in her chair, fiddling with the straw of her empty glass, and smiled.

“You’re quite a smooth talker.”

Taeyeon grinned. “Thanks.” She straightened up, and finished off the last little bit of her beer with a swig. “Well, I’m off. Your assistant has my number, so just call me when you need me again.”

She grabbed her jacket, which was hung over the back of the chair, and got up to leave. Tiffany watched her exaggerated wink before she disappeared, and her lips slowly formed another smile. She traced her finger over one of the sketched designs in front of her.

“I’ll definitely call you, Taeyeon.”

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