it’s okay.

December 13, 2013 in lau0601, oneshots by lau0601

for jeremy and for everyone who’s ever felt like this. hey, it’s okay to not be okay, yeah?

Taeyeon sat in the chair, holding her cup, waiting. 

The barista walked past to pick up some plates and smiled at Taeyeon. Taeyeon smiled back as best as she could, holding the smile there until the barista had moved back behind the counter. 
She wasn’t sure what was going on, but today felt different. Nothing was wrong; nothing had happened, but it was just – different. Taeyeon took a sip of her drink and fought a strange urge to cry. In the quiet hum of the cafe, she waited. 
It was almost fifteen minutes later when Tiffany and Sooyoung finally arrived, laughing and throwing their jackets over the backs of their chairs.
“Sorry, Taetae, did we keep you waiting?” Tiffany sat down next to Taeyeon, casually leaning on her.
Taeyeon shook her head. 
“You two are so gross. Taetae this, Fany that.” Sooyoung shook her head as she stretched. “Taeyeon, this woman here kept you waiting for half an hour because she wanted to try on some random lipstick. How do you stand her?”
“Because I’m Tiffany!”
“That should be reason enough for the city to be evacuated.”
Tiffany grinned at Sooyoung, laughing along. “That’s not true, right, Taeyeon? I’m cool!”
Taeyeon tried her best to smile, nodding along. But as the conversation continued, she found herself shrinking deeper and deeper into herself. She found herself gripping the cup tightly, so tightly that the pressure almost seemed to push the heat away, leaving her fingers numb and trembling. 
Beside her, Tiffany was being herself – joking around, laughing, talking loudly. On any other day, Taeyeon would’ve been content to watch and smile at the animated being next to her, but today – no, not today. 
After the tall girl had left, sweeping the remains of the food with her, Tiffany turned to Taeyeon with the full force of her eyesmile. “How are you?” she asked cheerfully. “Sooyoung always cracks me up.”
“Fany,” said Taeyeon, her voice coming out as a strangled croak. It surprised her and she cleared her throat.
“Can…can we go home?”
“Home? Didn’t you want to go watch that movie?” Tiffany frowned, then leaned forward a little. “Taetae, are you okay?”
Was she? “I…I don’t know,” she whispered, deciding to go with the easiest truth. “I don’t know. Can we go home?”
Tiffany looked at her for a moment, her expression unreadable. “Okay.”
“I—” Taeyeon suddenly felt guilty. “I…sorry, I mean, we can stay for a while if you want, it’s fine with me, we can go wat—”
She stopped talking when Tiffany put a hand to her cheek.
“Taeyeon,” said Tiffany, looking right into her eyes, “it’s okay. Let’s go home.”
On the way, Taeyeon kept her eyes on the ground, not saying a word. She could feel Tiffany next to her, but she didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what she was feeling, didn’t know how to put it in words. And now she felt guilty, on top of everything, but she didn’t want to make Tiffany misunderstand her silence, so she swallowed and spoke.
“Fany, how was your day?”
“It was good,” said Tiffany. Taeyeon glanced up at her face. Tiffany was smiling faintly, looking up at the sky. “I met some new people who were pretty interesting.”
“What did they say?”
“One of them told me this story about how he got drunk when he was five years old, and he fell into a gutter and had to be rescued.”
“What, really?” Taeyeon tried a smile to fit her tone. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Isn’t it?”
They fell silent; Taeyeon’s gaze dropped back to the ground. She was about to try asking another question when Tiffany suddenly stopped right in front of her, almost knocking her over.
Tiffany didn’t let her finish. Taeyeon stayed silent, too shocked to move, as Tiffany gently took her face in cold hands and lifted her chin. “Taeyeon,” she said, almost casually, “it’s okay.”
Taeyeon didn’t know what to think.
“You don’t have to talk to me all the time,” said Tiffany, smiling slightly, her tone neither harsh nor gentle – just easy. “Don’t make an effort to do something when you’re not up to it. We don’t have to talk now. Don’t worry.”
Taeyeon nodded, not trusting her voice. Again, Tiffany smiled, and she stepped out of Taeyeon’s way. 
“Home,” she said, holding out her hand. “Let’s go.”
And maybe it was Tiffany’s words, or the the reality of her clammy grip, or the quiet sounds of their footsteps, but for the first time that day, Taeyeon smiled.