“Love? I’m sorry but I’m too preoccupied to think of that...”
I sat at the school’s cafeteria as I watch the hanging television. There is that one popular drama airing on tv, “It’s Okay that’s Love”. Everyone in the room was so focused on watching the drama; some girls at the table beside mine were even squealing because of what they called chemistry between the two actors.
“I wish I had that kind of love story...” I heard the girl say from the other table.
“Totally, the guy is too handsome!” Her friend said.
“I like Kwang Soo oppa’s character. He’s cute!” The brunette girl said.
I looked at the TV briefly and sipped my coffee as I started to read my morning newspaper and took a bite of my toast. While the world is too busy thinking about love, here I am thinking about how I can earn enough money for me to survive everyday. As I hear another squeal from the distant table, I felt someone patting my shoulders.
“Taeyeon, the dean is looking for you.” It was Lee Sunny, my first crush and my best friend.
She was my best friend ever since I was in highschool and now I am already in college. When I was in high school I was just like everyone, a hopeless romantic love-sick fool. I almost confessed my feelings for Sunny on her 15th birthday but that’s the moment Sunny told me a secret, a secret that she already has that special someone, a girl named Choi Sooyoung. What’s worse is that my father lost his job and told me he might not be able to send me to college. I was a year late on entering college, and actually I spent that one year working my out just to have enough money for college.
Since that day, I stopped thinking about love and I started thinking about surviving. Currently, my older sister has graduated and already found a job. She advised me to stop working and told me she would finance my studies but I refused. What if she’s just like my father who just told me that he can’t take care anymore of me one day? I don’t want to experience that feeling again. Being so dependent to someone else. I know my sister will get married someday and when that day comes, she will not be able to take care of me anymore. I learned to be independent. I’m a working student. I study in the morning and work by off till night in a restaurant. Sometimes, my manager will offer me to sing every Sunday so that I’ll have extra income. I also teach how to play guitar and other musical instruments at some students at school when I have free time and that also became my source of income. I thank God for my mother teaching me those skills before she left my father in my elementary years.
I went to the dean as Sunny told me to. I opened the door and the dean looked at me with her disappointed face.
“Sit down Miss Kim.”
I obeyed the old woman.
“I called you in to notify you that your grades are failing...”
I waited for her to speak again.
“I know I was the one who agreed that you can work and study at the same time but I think for now, you should stop working and focus on your academic performance Miss Kim.” the dean advised.
“But you know that's the only source of income I have Ma'am. If I stop working I won’t be able to pay for my tuition fee, my rent and it wouldn't be able to suffice my needs here in the city.” I said.
“If you want to stay working then you should keep your academic performance balanced too...”
“Okay, ma'am. I promise to work hard.”
“I'll be requiring you to be tutored in your subjects for MWF so that I can monitor if you really are complying with my recommendation. You know I admire your guts Miss Kim. You're young, beautiful and independent but aren't you forcing yourself too much? You know your sister came here last week, she said she'll be paying for your tuition fee but you rejected it again...”
“I feel like I can pay for it and I don't want to be a burden.”
“She's your sister Taeyeon-ah...let her fulfill her responsibilities and take care of you.”
“I'll see what I can do ma'am.” I said.
I was about to go but the dean called my attention again.
The dean hand me a piece of paper.
“It's Friday, your tutoring will start today.” the dean said.
I read what's written on the paper, “3pm, library-circular section 2nd flr. Tiffany Hwang.”
After my class ended, I immediately went to the library. I was 15 minutes late because my professor gave us a late quiz. I was annoyed because a busy person like me is always precise and on time and I still do not know who my tutor will be and what Tiffany Hwang looks like. I bet she's one of those old woman professors but anyway I couldn't really care so much. I arrived at the library and looked around for a certain Hwang.
“Hey, are you Kim Taeyeon?” A girl with a light brown curly hair said to me.
“Hello, my name is Tiffany Hwang. I'll be your tutor for the whole semester.” the young girl gave her eye smile to me and shook my hand.
I never thought that Tiffany Hwang will look like this; young, beautiful and she looks friendly too.
“I suppose you are a student mentor?” I asked her as we made our way on our seat to start our lesson.
“Yes, I’ve done tutoring for three years now,” she smiled at me and opened her book.
I just nodded.
She then started teaching me Physics. I started to get bored in the first ten minutes but I still tried to listen in order to improve my grades. It's not that I don't like Physics, it's just that I found it less interesting as compared to History. She gave me an exercise sheet and I answered it. It's not so hard but I answered it as fast as I could to make it on my 5pm shift. While answering it, I noticed that she was staring at me. I feel kind of bothered about it so I asked her.
“Is there something on my face?” I asked as she continued to stare at me.
“Say Taeyeon, are you a magnet?” she asked.
I looked at her, confused.
“Uhm, is there something wrong?” I asked.
“My eyes...I'm so attracted that I can't take my eyes off you,” she told me as she grinned widely and kept on staring at me.
I almost chuckled because of her lame joke but I kept my face straight and just continued to answer the exercise as fast as I could for me to make it on time to my job. After I handed her the exercise sheet, I fixed my things as she continued to gawk on me.
“What's the lesson for Monday?” I asked.
“Chemistry,” she said.
“I supposed you're good in chemistry Taeyeon-ah?” she asked.
“Hmmm... compared to Physics, I am.” I said
“I knew it. The first time I saw you, I already felt the connection between the both of us,” she said sweetly.
I just smiled awkwardly and bid my goodbye.
“I have to go now, have work at 5pm. See you on Monday!” I said.
“Oh, I can't wait anymore for Monday!” she said playfully.
She's a funny girl, like for real but I have no time to laugh at her jokes as I am already running late for my work.
I was counting the money I earned this week. My salary is kind of short for me this week. I guess I'll be eating instant noodles everyday.
“Ah, Taengoo-yah. Be strong!” I cheered for myself.
I went to school to attend my usual classes. Literature, History and Humanities. Among these three, Literature is my favorite. It's so nice to read plays, especially tragedies and angsty plot novels. I like it, it represents the reality of life and not some sugar coated fluff that makes you hope for nothing but a love fool ending. Anyway, my class is over so I went on the library to meet with my weird, eyeless tutor.
“Hi!” I greeted her and as I expected, she's looking at me from head to toe again. She's always doing that. Gawking. Though, I'm already too tired to tell her to stop staring at me like that so I just ignored her look and sat on the chair in front of her.
She started her lesson on the Elements Table. I already memorized some of this so I'm okay with this. She gave me an exercise sheet and I answered it.
“Tell me Taeyeon, are you full of Beryllium, Gold and Titanium?” she said as she put her hands on her chin and stared at me again.
“Cause you are Be-Au-Ti-Full...” she said at me and I ignored her as I did before and hurried to answer the sheet for I have to teach some student a guitar lesson later at 4:30pm.
I answered the exercise and gave it to her afterwards. She looked at it before looking at me. She put my paper on the table and pointed at Sodium.
“Taeyeon, you are like this Sodium...” she said.
“You're sodium fine and beautiful...” she said to me and I just sighed and started to fix my things again.
“What's for Wednesday?” I asked.
“Geography,” she answered.
I nodded and prepared to leave but she called me.
“Taeyeon, I got my ION You...” she winked at me.
“Yeah...See you on Wednesday!” I said politely.
I got bunch of homework and I paid for my rent yesterday. I temporarily used my transportation allowance to pay for it so I only walk to school from now on. On my way to school, a girl in her roller skates collided with me and we both fell onto the ground.
“Ouch!” I yelped.
“Oh, my ...” I heard her say.
I looked at the girl, she's that weird girl tutor Tiffany Hwang.
“Oh, Tiffany?” I said.
“Wow, Taeyeon... Even gravity pulls us together. The attraction between us is really strong. Is this perhaps...fate?” she said to me as she wiggled her eyebrows.
“I don't believe in fate,” I ended the conversation and started walking again.
“Well, I do!” she insisted.
“Well, I don't.” I said plainly.
“Well, I'll make you believe!”
“Oh, in what way?”
“I’ll make you love me...” she said bluntly, my ears immediately perked up and I chuckled.
“I barely know you Miss Hwang and besides, I don't believe in love.” I said honestly.
“Well you should now...” she said as she kept her pace as mine
“And why is that so?”
“Because you got me...”
“I'll go now on my class, see you later!” I dismissed her right away.
At lunch break, Sunny and I went to the school garden. She was eating but I said I didn't want to because I'm saving up my money. We were sitting at the bench.
“Ah, I knew you're going to say that! Here, I packed you some sandwiches. Oh, dear Taeyeon. Just thank God, Sooyoung is not around or else you wouldn’t be able eat anything today.” Sunny said in concern.
“Thanks.” I said.
Sunny is a caring friend. I'm glad to have her in my life. I would like to keep her but she's already kept by someone else. I guess being alone in this life is my path. Anyway, what can love do for me? It can't even pay my tuition fee and monthly rent.
“Taeng, you should rest sometime and stop working...your sister is willing to fund you anyway.” Sunny said.
“I don't want to be a burden to anyone...” I said.
“Well, she loves you so you're not a burden!” Sunny said.
“Still...I'll only ask for help when I badly needed it.”
“Well you badly need it right now.”
“I still can survive.” I assured.
“Yeah, when was the last time you had a proper meal? What will happen to you if all instant noodles have been banned in the market?”
“Well, I'll eat toast and coffee instead, plus cereal is always there to save me.”
“Just take care of yourself Taeng, alright?” Sunny said, concerned.
“I will Sunny.”
“Don't you think you need something else in your life?” Sunny said.
“What do you mean?”
“A love life!” she said.
“Love? I'm sorry but I'm too preoccupied for that.” I said.
“Taeyeon...everybody needs love.” Sunny said.
Then why don't you love me instead?
“I don't need one.”
“Whatever Taeng, just know I'm always here for you...a friend you can call when you are in need,” she pats my back.
Yeah, A friend.
The clock strikes at 3pm and I waited for another fifteen minutes. The weird Hwang was late. I get a bit annoyed but I was late for our first meeting so I let this one slide. My boss advised me to take a mandatory day off for today and I feel bad. I need to work so that I can earn but he said I'm too overworked already and I need some rest. Screw that rest, I need some cash to eat and survive. Another instant noodle for dinner. Urgh! My thoughts were popped when Tiffany arrived.
“Ah, hi.” I greeted flatly.
“You're not happy to see me?” she pouted.
“Well, I just saw you this morning didn’t I?” I said.
“What if we got married and had kids? You'll be seeing me everyday.” she sulked.
What married? Kids? Her? Haha, what is this?!
“I'm sorry?” I said.
“I said I love you.” she said bluntly.
I was impressed with this girl's straightforwardness and confidence but honestly, she's not my type.
“Sorry, It's one sided.” I said frankly.
“Ouch, but anyway you're going to love me in the future anyway,” she said.
“Please start the lesson now.” I said.
She started teaching me geography. It's an easy subject for me because I like anything without calculating numbers. I answered the exercise sheet and Tiffany, as usual being her weird self was staring at me.
“Taeyeon, are you from Seoul?” she asked.
“Yes, and you?”
She nodded and spoke. “ I knew it, you've been my Seoul mate since the first time I met you,” she said as she kept staring.
“You and your pick up lines...” I chuckled softly and shook my head.
“Taeyeon, your heart's compass arrow struck in North and I am just in front of you, so why not come to me?” she asked.
“Well my GPS says wrong direction,” I said.
It's been three months since Tiffany's been tutoring me. My grades have improved but nothing really changed about my financial condition. I lost my job and found a new job but that new job offers a lower salary than my previous job. I guess I won't be eating much today.
“Hi Taeyeonnie!” Tiffany greeted me.
“I kind of lost an important stuff of mine last meeting. Do you perhaps have it?” she asked.
“Oh, what is it?”
“My heart,” she said.
“Oh, Hwang Miyoung...save that for your future boyfriend.” I said as I chuckled.
“But I only want a future with you,” she said bluntly.
“Aah, let's start the lesson.”
We started our english lesson.
“You're supercalifragilisticexpialidocious...” she said as she stared at me
“Yeah yeah.” I've been immune to Tiffany's advances towards me. She's cute sometimes and funny but everytime that I'm sensing that things is starting to get serious with her, I always tell her she has no chance with me but here she is, not surrendering.
“Taeyeon, can I...take y-you on a d-date later?” she asked right after we finished our lesson.
I was about to say no but she spoke right away.
“We'll j-just eat and you know shop around the mall and play at some arcades...” she persuaded me.
Eat...hmmm. I haven't got to it a proper meal this week. Maybe I should grab it.
“Okay, your treat.”
She took me in a nice restaurant. Honestly, I just agreed to come here for a meal. I was so busy eating and she was, as usual loud and talkative. She's really different from me. This girl's full of ideals and plans regarding her future which she said that I was included. I wonder what she sees in me but anyway... maybe I'm not as bad as I thought I was.
“Taeyeon, move out from your dorm,” she said to me
“My condo has a spare room, I'll let you live there half of the price your current rent is,” she said.
“I’m okay with my dorm,” I said.
“But I'm not okay with it.”
“Because I want to take care of you, feed you well and make you feel good when you're stressed out from work. I want to be close to you. I want you to live in a spacious home where you can have your privacy and can live comfortably,” she said as she looked into my eyes.
“I-I....I'll think about it...” I was kind of touched by her words and kind gestures for me so turning her down will be disrespectful. I want to take the offer but my pride is taking over me.
I was cut off from my daze when I felt her hand touching my cheeks and she brushed her thumb against my lips.
“You got some sauce on your mouth,” she said as she wiped it and tasted it in . This girl is really weird, and suddenly the room was getting hot.
“TaeTae, let's shop for clothes later!” she said enthusiastically like a child.
Tiffany Hwang is mighty weird.
“O-Okay...”, and suddenly I am stuttering.
At first I thought I was just going to be her companion to shop but she shopped for a lot of clothes for me there in children's size.
“Taetae, you're so small haha!” she teased me.
“One more tease and I'll leave you alone here,” I warned her. I'm so sensitive when it comes to height issues.
“Don't worry Taetae, I'll be the dominant one in our honeymoon, I'll even carry you up bridal style when we get married!” she said happily as she was picking her own dress.
She went in the fitting room to try the dress and when she came out, my mouth hung open. I can't believe I'm gawking at her right now. Her legs looks so white and the dress compliments her skin tone.
“Taetae, what do you think?” she asked.
“it's fine,” I said plainly as I cleared my throat.
“Just fine?” she asked sadly.
I just nodded,
“Urgh, maybe it doesn't fits me. Tae, can you help me the back? I'll search for another one perhaps.”
I gulped and nodded. I went close to her and we entered the fitting room. She actually smells really good, just like strawberries. I ped her dress hastily and had a glimpse of her pale white skin of her back and went out of the fitting room quickly.
“Tae, let's go to the arcade!”
We played at the arcade and I lost to her at basketball so she asked me to sing in the karaoke for her. We played and targeted bears for prizes. She got a minion stuffed toy for me and I got her Totoro. She squealed and hugged it like a child before kissing my cheeks.
“Thank you Taetae, I love you!” she said.
My heart started to beat abnormally and suddenly my face feels hot.
“Omo, Taetae! Are you alright? You look so red!” she said worriedly as she put her hand on my forehead to check on me.
“I-I...I'm tired...” I made an excuse.
“Okay, let's go home...”
She asked me to stay the night on her condo for her to watch over me. I don't really like the idea but I said yes for some unknown reason. She's quite fun to be with. She asked me to lay on her bed and gave me a glass of milk.
“Taeyeonnie, drink this and be well,” she said.
I nodded and drank the milk.
“Thank you,” I said.
“Tae, is it okay for me to sleep here too? I want to cuddle with you,” she said bluntly.
Tiffany Hwang, always straightforward, eh?
She went close to me and snuggle with me.
“Taeyeon, just say yes to me...” she said as she hugged me tightly.
I listened to her.
“Taeyeon, if you love me I'll make you the happiest person on Earth...”
“I'll give you everything you need and I'll never leave you...”
“I promise I'll treat you well and love you with all my heart...”
“I won't stare at anybody but you...just love me Taeyeon, please?” she said as she stared right through my eyes.
“But you know I don't believe in love right?”
“Then I'll make you believe...” she said as she stared at me intensely and kissed me.
I was lost for words, my heart is beating very fast and I can't understand what I am feeling. I put my hands on her waist and responded. It took a while before we stopped and talked again.
“So?” she said.
“Your offer sounds tempting...” I chuckled.
“I'll be with you in everything you do and I'll help you in every endeavour of your life...” Tiffany said.
“But I'll always be busy working... My time will not be enough for you, studies and work.”
“Don't worry...when you have me, you'll like to be busy with something else other than work.” she smirked.
“Oh you little haha. I knew you were a the first time you gawked at me.” I chuckled.
“But you'll like it!” Tiffany pouted.
“Hmmm...I'll think about it,” I said.
“Urgh, just say yes Miss Busy Taeyeon? You tortured me enough with your rejections!” she complained.
“Urgh fine, my so demanding girlfriend Hwang,” I said.
“Okay, so where were we?” she smirked and grinned as she pulled me closer to her.
“To sleep,” I said as I closed my eyes and playfully ignored her.
“Yah!” She gave me lots of pecks and quick kisses on my face but I'm not responding.
“Urgh, TaeTae...wake up!”
“You're too sweet. I’ll get diabetes if I wake up,” I said softly.
“Yeah, and you're too sugar free and cold towards me,” Tiffany pouted
“Aiigoo...come here...” she snuggled close to me and smiled contently.
“Let's sleep like this...”
“Do we have tutoring on Monday?” I asked.
“Oh, what subject?”
“Love,” Tiffany grinned.
And because of a weird cheese ball tutor of mine, I finally believed in love and hopefully we’ll have a happy ending.