07: Introduction

June 13, 2013 in Grammar and Conventions, lau0601 by lau0601

Tiffany checked under the table again – still no sign of any paper anywhere. She sighed, straightening up. Evidently haikus didn’t count. Disappointedly, she opened up her notes and tried to understand the scribbles she had scrawled in during class.

Her mind kept wandering back to Taeyeon, though. Huh. How and when had taepeapea999 become more than a ridiculous username? Tiffany wasn’t quite sure when she had started to think of Taeyeon as a person and not just as some random beta-machine. Taeyeon. The name sounded kinda like, like, like a star? One of those faraway galaxies that just glowed and –

Okay, okay, back to Hamlet.

Seriously though, how was it possible to not be able to read your own handwriting? Tiffany groaned.

“Hey.”

“Hmm?” Tiffany didn’t look up from trying to decipher her ugly shorthand.

“Tiffany?”

She let out a frustrated breath. “What?”

The girl standing in front of her smiled faintly and handed her a scrap of paper. “Here,” she said.

“What’s this?” Tiffany looked at the paper warily. “And who are you? How do you know my name?”

The girl raised her eyebrows. “Just read it.”

“Is this some kind of prank?”

“No.”

Tiffany watched the girl for a moment, frowning suspiciously as the stranger smiled back calmly. “Okay. This better not be a joke.”

“You can read it out loud if you want,” said the girl helpfully.

“Taeyeon likes ice-cream, Tiffany has coupo- wait, isn’t this my haiku?”

Tiffany looked up from her paper to stare at the girl. Who was small. And was grinning.

“Taeyeon?!”

The girl laughed.

“Shh!” The dude next to them nearly snapped his pencil.

“Oh, sorry.”

Tiffany continued to stare, openmouthed. Wow. So this was the Taeyeon? Hmm, not what she had expected. Definitely not the scary grammar-school teacher with the hornrimmed glasses – no, this rather wide-eyed girl with the cute ears was definitely not what she had expected. And a piercing too, no less.

Right, back to reality.

“Forgot we’re in a library. Yes, I’m Taeyeon.” Taeyeon held out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Tiffany.”

Tiffany shook the proffered hand hesitantly. “N-nice to meet you too.”

“I’m sorry, did I startle you?”

Tiffany suddenly remember her mouth and snapped it close. “No, no! I was just, uh, not expecting to see you. Here. Like, in the library. Or anywhere. I- okay, sorry I’ll stop.” Her brain gave a little despairing whine and was quickly shushed.

Taeyeon grinned. “You sound a lot more coherent on paper, it seems.”

“Hey, you just appeared out of nowhere, okay? How am I supposed to react?” (AHHHH TAEYEON WAS HERE AHHHHHHHHH)

“Sorry, I thought you’d know who I was.” Taeyeon shuffled sheepishly. “I really didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay,” said Tiffany, trying to get  her heart rate to return to normal. “Well, it really is nice to finally meet you. What can I do for you?” Play it cool, Hwang, cool.

“Well, I was reading your haiku, and, um, when are they expiring?”

“…I’m sorry?”

“Um,” Taeyeon had turned a shade redder, “the coupons.”

“The- oh, the ice cream coupons! By the end of this week.”

There was something really…weird about this all. How in the world did this happen? Why was she talking to Taeyeon, the Taeyeon, in the middle of a library about expiring ice cream coupns? Why. Was. The. Taeyeon. Here. So easily too! Well, either way, it had happened, so Tiffany Awesome Hwang was going to just go with it.

“Oh, okay.”

There was an awkward pause as Taeyeon continued to squirm awkwardly.

Tiffany would’ve loved to make Taeyeon stand there for a little while longer as revenge, but she felt like she was kicking a puppy.

“Oh, come on,” grinned Tiffany, gathering her notes, “I was just pulling your leg. Let’s go get some ice-cream!”

“Yay!”

“Shh!”

“Sorry!”

“I thought you said you don’t take bribes?”

“Well, no, I-”

“Ice cream is too important to pass up?”

“They were gonna expire soon, right?” Taeyeon’s expression was almost pleading. “I, uh, didn’t want them to go to waste.”

Tiffany smiled. “I was just joking, Taeyeon. Hurry, your ice cream is melting.”

“Oh.”

Watching as Taeyeon hastily scooped up her double scoop, Tiffany couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that her elusive editor was here, in front of her. Also the fact that Taeyeon was kinda short, and not as uptight as Tiffany had expected her to be.

“Yours is melting too,” said Taeyeon, looking up briefly.

“Right,” said Tiffany, putting a spoonful into her mouth. She kept her eyes on Taeyeon though, observing the way the other girl chopped up her ice cream into bits; the happy light in Taeyeon’s eyes didn’t go unnoticed either.

“What? Are you trying to be that kid in your story?”

“Huh?”

“The February one, the kid who just sits and listens and never talks?”

“Ah, that!” Tiffany coughed in embarrassment. “Sorry, I just, uh-” How to say this?

“Yes? You have something to ask?”

Dang, this short girl was perceptive. “Um, just wondering what your last name is?”

Taeyeon raised her eyebrows. “Skywalker.”

“What?”

“What, can’t I be a Skywalker?”

Tiffany shook her head quickly. “Ah, no, I mean, of course, if it’s your name then-”

“It’s Kim.”

“I’m sorry?”

Taeyeon sighed, an almost amused sound. “You really are a lot quicker on paper, aren’t you? My name is Kim, Kim Taeyeon.”

“Oh! Oh, so-” Tiffany blushed. “So, oh, that was a joke, wasn’t it?”

Taeyeon nodded.

“Sorry.” Tiffany winced internally, putting down “Bash Head Against Wall – 30mins” in her mental planner. “I’m Tiffany-”

“Hwang, yes,” said Taeyeon, putting down her spoon.

“How did you know?”

“I read your stories, even before I started editing for you. In fact, I asked Yuri if I could edit because I had been following your work for a while.”

“Oh,” said Tiffany. She didn’t quite know what to say. “Thanks? For stalking me?”

“Hey, it was printed in the magazine, that doesn’t count as stalking!”

Tiffany gave Taeyeon a look. “Right, so you just happen to know where I sit in the library?”

“You sit there every day; how could I have not noticed?”

“Oh, so now you’re saying-”

“No, no!” Taeyeon did a facepalm. “I didn’t mean for it to sound like that. I actually sit in the niche across from you, almost at the same time everyday. So I just came a little early every time to put the papers on your desk.”

“Really?” Tiffany thought back, but all she could remember about the library around her were the books and the “Keep Quiet” poster on the wall. “Sorry, I don’t think I remember seeing you there.”

Taeyeon shrugged. “It’s fine, I’m okay with not being seen.”

Tiffany’s curiosity was piqued but it didn’t feel like it was the right time to ask, so she went for another topic. “Why do you have to print my stuff out and then leave trails of blood everywhere?”

Taeyeon grinned. “Trails of blood?”

“Hey, your red pen pretty much butchers my writing every time, okay,” said Tiffany indignantly. “I’d say that’s a pretty apt comparison.”

“Well, to answer your question, I prefer printing it out so that I can flip through each story easier and comment directly on the spots that need to be pointed out. Also, it hurts my eyes less. As for the trail of blood thing, sorry if I went a little overboard,” Taeyeon looked apologetically at Tiffany. “I’ll try to tone it down.”

“No, no, don’t. I can’t quite believe I’ll saying this, but please keep your corrections just the way they are.” Tiffany smiled. “They’re really helpful as they are now. Bash away!”

“Okay, then.” Taeyeon pointed at Tiffany’s ice cream. “Seriously, it’s almost all melted now.”

“Shoot!”

“Hey, hey, slow down, or you’ll get a brain freeze.”

Tiffany looked up from her attempt to salvage her ice-cream. “Kim Taeyeon, you’re funny.”

“What?”

“When I first got your edits, I thought you were some kind of bossy jerk.”

“H-hey!”

“Then I thought, okay, maybe a smart, bossy jerk.”

“That’s not much better!”

Tiffany tapped her cup thoughtfully. “Then you started to reply, and gradually you became like a, uh, a dorky, smart, bossy jerk. Maybe less of a jerk.”

“Why am I a jerk?” Taeyeon frowned.

“Because you never replied to my emails and you refused to meet up, no matter how many times I asked!”

“I’m here now, aren’t I?”

“Yup, which is why my conclusion is now that you’re a dorky, smart, fussy ahjumma.” Tiffany grinned widely. “See, no jerk.”

“But why am I an ahjumma now?”

“Because you laugh like one – no, really! And you fuss around like you’re forty-five.” Tiffany couldn’t help but laugh at Taeyeon’s expression. “You look like you’re five now, especially with your lip sticking out like that.”

“Your ice cream, Miss Hwang.”

“Yes, Taeyeon-sshi.”

It wasn’t until afterwards – until the ice-cream had been consumed, melted and all – until Tiffany had returned to her dorm that she realized she hadn’t stuttered or killed the conversation a single time when she was with the Taeyeon. Wow. Improvement. She wondered why.

But then again, why bother wondering? Tiffany Awesome Hwang had emerged victorious, and wasn’t that enough?

Yes. Tiffany Awesome Hwang.

And, wow. She met Taeyeon. The Taeyeon. The Kim Taeyeon. Yes.