Unspoken Words – Part 3

July 20, 2013 in Unspoken Words by rahmyun

Gritting her teeth, Taeyeon drummed the steering wheel with impatient fingers as she sat at the red light. The beeping in her ear from the Bluetooth headset wasn’t helping her temper, and she shifted in her seat as she waited for the call to connect.

“Yoboseyo?”

Finally!

The other cars had only just started inching forward as her car shot ahead at the green light, revving through the momentarily vacant intersection.

“Sunny!” she chirped, voice cheerful despite her dour mood. “My dearest, bestest friend, how are you today?”

“…fine,” came the reply after a moment’s hesitation. Taeyeon could just detect a hint of suspicion in her friend’s voice. “Aren’t you supposed to be in school right now, Taeng?”

“Mmm, maybeeeeee,” she sang, drawing out the ends of her words like the coy delinquents she had seen so many times on TV. “But who cares about school when there’s ice cream to be eaten?”

Silence.

Heaving a sigh, the girl on the other end muttered dryly, “I should’ve known.” A door clicked shut in the background as she continued, “Where and when, Taeng? And you better be paying.”

Taeyeon let herself smile a little at the response. “I’m already on the way,” she replied. “Be there in ten—”

Spotting a shortcut, she swerved into the next lane, speeding away from the honking horns behind her before yanking the car into a quick spin around a street corner.

“Scratch that. Five minutes,” she amended.

Sunny’s judging silence filled her right ear before she spoke again.

“See you in five, then. And stay safe, okay? I don’t want to have to do more damage control than necessary just because you’re being reckless.”

Somehow, Taeyeon mustered a grin. “Yes ma’am,” she answered before ending the call. She pried the Bluetooth headset from her ear and dropped it next to her cell phone lying on the passenger seat.

As the interrupted quiet returned to comfort her with its delicate presence, she allowed herself a small sigh of relief, feeling her heart lighten a little.

Trust her best friend of nine years to see through her mask of lies.

______________________

Digging her spoon into the three scoops of ice cream she had decided she needed, Taeyeon grinned at the girl sliding into the seat across from her. She could see the concern shuttered behind her friend’s eyes.

“There’s nothing wrong with eating ice cream in February,” she managed to say around a mouthful of the melting treat, deliberately mistaking Sunny’s glance at her ice cream as a sign of disapproval rather than the assessment of damage it really was.

“Except that you’re clearly obsessed with it,” Sunny retorted, swiping a small spoonful of Taeyeon’s ice cream. “Now tell me what’s going on. There’s no one here to eavesdrop.”

She swallowed, briefly reveling in the chill trailing down her throat as if it could offer her an escape from complying with her friend’s request.

“…he’s back.”

Sunny froze, her hand caught on its way to steal more of Taeyeon’s ice cream.

“How do you know?”

A small smile flitted across Taeyeon’s face at the careful yet undoubting way her best friend had posed the question. It had been much too long since they had last seen each other, and Taeyeon felt a sudden surge of gratitude for the girl she had suddenly called out on a Thursday afternoon.

But there were things to do, problems to solve, questions to answer.

Pushing aside her emotions, she dipped her spoon back into her dessert as she replied, “Some of my classmates have noticed that some blogger has been writing about them. I only heard about it today.”

Her nonchalant tone seemed to put Sunny a little more at ease. The shorter girl sighed and nodded. “It would be just like him to do something like that. He always did like to play games.”

Taeyeon said nothing, the cold from the ice cream distantly registering on her tongue. She remembered all too well the games he used to play, how she used to believe his lies until she finally realized something was wrong. At least she had managed to save her sister and put her out of his reach…

She felt a pair of eyes scrutinizing her, and Taeyeon pulled herself out of her thoughts to quirk an eyebrow. “What, never seen someone have a deep conversation with their brain?” she drawled, her voice tinged with the irritation at having to deal with this pest once more.

Sunny’s quick shake of her head and amused smile drew a quiet chuckle from Taeyeon. Jerking her head towards the door, she got to her feet as Sunny mirrored her action.

“So what now?” asked the shorter girl, her eyes brimming with unspoken ideas.

“Now, we go do one of your favorite things since we just did one of mine.”

Confusion flashed across Sunny’s face, and Taeyeon grinned before turning away to toss away her trash. “Hey, it’s the least I can do after I dragged you out just because I was bored.”

Sunny rolled her eyes, pushing the ice cream shop’s door open for the two of them as she retorted, “Riiight. You just feel guilty for all the times I’ve saved your butt and never paid me back for them.”

“Hey, at least my butt is cute. Be thankful you got to save it instead of a droopy, ugly butt.”

“Yah, you should be grateful for me actually saving it! The only thing you have going for you is that butt; without it, you’d have no good qualities left.”

Still bickering, they climbed into Taeyeon’s car, both well aware of the man sitting at the café across the street watching them.

______________________

An hour later, Taeyeon found herself resisting the urge to look around in wonder as she waited for Sunny to unlock the door to her apartment. When she suggested they do Sunny’s favorite activity, she knew they would end up here; after all, Sunny loved to drink, but they were both underage. What slipped her mind, however, was just how lavish it was. As soon as they had stepped into the lobby of the apartment complex, she felt herself straighten her back and lift her chin, painting the image of a rich man’s daughter for the world to see—a drastic change from how she must have looked the last time she was here.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

Sunny’s soft voice broke through her thoughts, and she nodded, following her friend through the door.

Slipping off her shoes in exchange for a pair of house slippers, Taeyeon remarked, “Not much has changed since then, though.”

“Well, I haven’t had reason to change much,” replied Sunny, already making her way towards the kitchen island to drop her keys into a waiting bowl.

“Welcome home, Miss Lee.”

Joining her best friend, Taeyeon raised an eyebrow at the computerized female voice coming through the apartment’s sound system. “You kept it after I left?”

“Welcome back, Miss Kim. It’s about time you visited again.”

She chuckled. Despite being only seventeen, Sunny lived alone due to her parents working overseas and had done so for several years now. Worried about her safety, Taeyeon had installed an artificial intelligence assistant into her apartment a couple years ago. Fortunately, it appeared the system was still working just as well as the day she installed it.

“Hello to you too, Aia. I hope you’ve been keeping Sunny safe while her parents are gone.” Jerking her head towards the ceiling, she commented, “I forgot I gave her attitude before I left.”

“It’s okay, I got someone to reprogram it so that it only has attitude towards you,” Sunny said, rummaging through the fridge. “Is beer okay with you? Or do you want something stronger?”

Hearing no answer, she grabbed two beers chilling on a shelf and turned, closing the door with her foot. “Beer it is, then—”

Sunny abruptly shut her mouth, struck dumb by the horrified expression on Taeyeon’s face.

“You did what?” hissed the older girl.

“I ran a background check on the guy before I let him near it, okay?” Sunny shot back in a whisper. “I—”

“How do you know he wasn’t bribed?” demanded Taeyeon, fighting to keep her voice soft. “You could’ve compromised your security and not know about it. What if—”

“I watched him make the changes,” Sunny stated flatly. “Remember when I asked you how to recode a part of the program so that it would only work for a certain person? And my follow up email asking if this bit of code would do the same thing? I was comparing his changes to what you would’ve done.”

A few tense seconds passed before Taeyeon sighed, her shoulders slumping as she let herself relax.

“Just be careful, okay? This is the only safe place I have left.”

Setting the beer on the counter, Sunny placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I know, Taeng. I won’t ever forget.”

She nodded. “Thanks, Soonkyu.”

“Aww, of course, honey,” cooed Sunny, grinning when Taeyeon winced at her aegyo.

Still grimacing, Taeyeon snagged one of the bottles and popped the top off using the counter edge, neatly catching the cap as it fell.

“Yah, you’re going to damage the marble!”

She stuck her tongue out. “Maybe you should think before using your aegyo around me then.”

“How mature, Kim Taeyeon,” drawled Sunny, pulling open a drawer to grab a bottle opener and pop open her own beer.

There was a moment of silence as the two drank, enjoying each other’s quiet company.

“All right, what’s the plan, Taeng?”

Turning her head to meet Sunny’s expectant gaze, Taeyeon smiled. It may have been several years since they had last worked together, but it was easy to settle into the comfort of their teamwork.

“First, let’s see what he’s been writing,” she began, thinking aloud. “He might’ve bugged my room and my computer, but that would be too easy for him. It’s much more likely he bugged my phone, for the extra creep factor and to show off his supposed superiority.”

She caught the alarm in Sunny’s sidelong glance and rolled her eyes. “Oh, please, like I’m that stupid. I left my phone in the car.”

The younger girl shrugged, walking to a side table to start up her laptop. “Just checking. Although I should’ve known you would be extra cautious considering how long you’ve had to deal with him.”

A sudden whirring caught Taeyeon’s attention, and she looked up to find a large projector screen sliding down a nearby wall.

“Fancy. Install it yourself?” she questioned.

“Came with the apartment, Miss Suspicious.” was Sunny’s calm response, pulling up an internet browser for Taeyeon to see on the screen. “Clearly we spent way too much time working here instead of having fun if you don’t remember that.”

“Hey, work was fun,” defended Taeyeon. “I don’t remember you complaining about it.”

“Oh, we had some good times, didn’t we?” Sunny said with a grin.

“Yah, we’re not even adults yet; just because your brain is like an old person’s doesn’t mean you’re allowed to talk like one,” retorted Taeyeon before changing the subject. “Do a search for Jalen Kim.”

“Jalen Kim…” Typing in the words, Sunny immediately found the blog they were looking for and opened it.

Stunned silence filled the room as the two stared at the website, confused.

“…is that English?”

Brows furrowed, Sunny tilted her head, thinking hard. “I thought he doesn’t know English. Or at least not well enough to actually write an entire blog in it.”

“He doesn’t. Unless…” Taeyeon stopped mid-sentence, her heart plummeting as she realized the only logical explanation.

She didn’t bother hiding the fear she felt as she turned to meet Sunny’s eyes.

“Seohyun. He got to Seohyun.”