Chapter 1

My Sanctuary | My Prison


Woah, so many upvotes and subscribers before I’ve even gotten started. Thanks for all your interest and your faith in me.



It starts pretty subtly.

Jessica—and the rest of the group—have always assumed Taeyeon's moods swings as of late were in direct correlation with her peaking stress levels. She was less wacky at home and, even though she had always been private with her thoughts, she was even quieter than usual; she spoke less at meetings and meals; she rarely called five-minute-talk meetings until another member inquired her about it; and Taeyeon’s once bright aura had quickly dimmed. The girl's sleep walking and talking had also worsened with the more jobs she had taken under her wing and Jessica just thought the summation of it all had spiked her irritability.

Jessica knows that she’s not the brightest bulb in the box, so, when she starts detecting the nuances in how Taeyeon treats her, she knows something is very wrong.

Jessica first notices something strange in the middle of an interview. While Yoona tells a sidesplitting story about their leader's peculiar sleeping habits, Jessica laughs, covering for the cameras, and then turns to Taeyeon to playfully pat the girl on the leg. Taeyeon can’t even be bothered to give the girl a brief look of acknowledgement; she just politely chuckles and keeps her eyes forward, seemingly drained of all her silly persona that usually livens up the room. After Sooyoung adds another joke to Yoona’s story, Jessica turns to Taeyeon to tuck her laughing face against the girl’s arm, but Taeyeon shrugs her off without hesitation.

By the end of the interview, Jessica’s trying to shake the silly feeling that Taeyeon is singling her out of their members to throw a cold shoulder to.

As the weeks lap by, events just keep accumulating to Jessica’s ever growing suspicions of Taeyeon’s annoyance with her. She gets another confirmation that something is definitely abnormal when they're standing at a press conference and they file in line onto the stage with Taeyeon standing with Jessica on one end. Their leader suddenly shifts, deliberately making the effort to move past the row of members to the opposite end to flank onto Tiffany's side. It leaves Jessica with a chill running down her spin and the shade that Taeyeon throws doesn't go unnoticed by the other members as they exchange quizzical glances.

Jessica flicks out her honey-brown hair over her shoulders before she waves at the flashing cameras. She manages to sneak a glimpse down the line to see Tiffany furrow her brows before leaning over to Taeyeon. She smiles and her lips move a little and Jessica's pretty sure she asks Taeyeon, ‘is something wrong?’ Taeyeon just professionally smiles and waves at the camera while she murmurs something back to Tiffany through a sparkling, idol smile.


When they get home that evening, Jessica waits for the right moment, hoping to catch the girl alone for a moment so that they can talk privately, but Taeyeon’s good at what she’s doing. She keeps herself surrounded by their other members, convincing everyone—besides Seohyun (who obviously is studying in her room, again)—to stay up to chat and bicker in the living room over cute boys on the television. Jessica can only stand being engulfed by all the noise for maybe an hour or so until all she can focus on is how Taeyeon won’t even utter a word to her or even offer her a glance. When she feels a hollow pit in her gut, she excuses herself and tells the girls she’s tired before moving to her room.


She wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and, unexpectedly, finds her moment of opportunity when she catches Taeyeon in the hallway on her way back to bed.

“Oh,” she blinks a few times to make sure it is indeed Taeyeon she’s looking at. “You’re still awake?”

Taeyeon ducks her head from the girl’s gaze. “I’m just about to head to bed,” she tells her, running a hand through her shoulder-cropped, dark, brunette hair that’s accented with blonde on the tips.

Jessica presses her lips together before deciding to ask, “Taeyeon, are you okay?”

“Fine. Why?”

Jessica doesn’t know why the edge of irritation in the girl’s voice makes her feel so feeble. “You just seem…off lately.”

“I'm fine,” Taeyeon sighs and Jessica thinks that she’s always been an awful actress—stunning singer—but an awful actress.

“Are you mad at me?”


“Did I do something wrong?” Jessica keeps delving because she hates this ever growing rift.

“No,” Taeyeon sighs with exasperation. “Look, I’m sorry if I seem cranky. I'm just tired.” She gives the girl a tight smile and a polite bow of her head. “Good night, Sica,” she whispers hoarsely, moving pass Jessica to get to her own room.

Jessica lets out a frustrated sigh when her suspicions of Taeyeon’s disdain for her have blossomed into certainty.




Jessica likes to think she's been nothing but patient with Taeyeon, mostly because she's more fearful of this girl's temper than any other Soshi member. People like herself, Tiffany and Hyoyeon anger easy, but they don’t hide it; they’re the kind of people that let the world know if they’re upset and Jessica much prefers that because they deal with it and get it out of the way. Then there’s Taeyeon with her quiet, seething anger that she buries below layers of polite professionalism that do nothing to hide how scorching hot her temper burns.

‘And they call me the Ice Princess,’ Jessica thinks bitterly as she stands on stage with thousands of fans watching them and she knows that even fans can see the rift erupting between them. Only an idiot of epic proportions could think they are close friends when they can’t even speak a sentence to each other anymore without awkwardness exploding through the atmosphere. She observes the way Taeyeon offers water to both Seohyun and Sooyoung with a bright smile before she accidentally catches Jessica’s gaze, to which she quickly snaps away from.

Jessica presses her tongue into her cheek when she feels her patience finally crack.

Enough is enough.

After their show, Jessica waits methodically from a distance until she sees Taeyeon excuse herself from the group for a moment. When Taeyeon starts to make her way to the dressing room, she disappears around the corner, into the hallway, and Jessica doesn’t miss a beat, immediately leaving to storm after her. At the sound of fast approaching heels, Taeyeon finally takes a glimpse over her shoulder and she barely has time to register Jessica’s face before a hand is roughly closing around her upper arm. “Sica, what’re you—!” Taeyeon squeaks as Jessica pulls her leader by the arm and hauls her towards the closest door she can find.

“What the hell?!” Taeyeon barks as Jessica shoves her through the door before slamming it closed and, suddenly, they find themselves alone in a small meeting room bathed in darkness. They can faintly make out each other’s shadows and features in the dim light. “What is wrong with you?” Taeyeon hisses, rubbing the sting on her arm from Jessica’s harsh grasp.

“We need to talk.”

“And this is how you wanted to—”

“What is it about me that you hate so much?” Jessica hisses through a whisper and she hates that angry, frustrated tears are b on her eyelashes already and she’s only just opened up the conversation.

“What?” Taeyeon blinks several times in succession out of surprise. “What’re you talking about?” Taeyeon finds herself whispering too and she realizes neither of them wants this private conversation to be heard.

“Don’t play stupid. You’ve been ignoring me for months now. What did I do to make you so angry?” she feels her lip tremble and she wishes she didn’t look so childish while she was confronting her leader.

“I-I,” Taeyeon gulps, shaking her head, and the volume in her voice further depletes when she sees Jessica bare her vulnerability for her. “No-nothing, Sica.”

“Do you hate me?”

She sighs and locks her gaze to the floor. “No.”

“Then tell me, what did I do to make you hate me so much?”

Jessica’s eyes are adjusted to the dark now and she watches the girl nervously draw her lip between her teeth before she answers her. “I don’t hate you.”

Jessica steps into the girl’s personal space and she sees the way Taeyeon’s shoulders lift up as if her whole body’s going rigid. She lets her frustrations burn bright and clear for Taeyeon, so she leans in close and does her best to lace her words with malice and disdain. “Look at me,” Jessica hisses, barely recognizing her own voice. She almost feels bad when Taeyeon reluctantly moves her gaze from the floor and, suddenly, her features get washed out with guilt and shame when she meets Jessica’s fiery eyes. It’s such an abrupt shift in mood that Jessica has to take a huge swallow of air, letting the oxygen clarify her mind, so that she can ignore the huge, wounded eyes the other girl’s giving her and continue on with her interrogation.

“S-so, what is, huh? Is it…is it like a je-jealousy thing? Is this because Heechul-oppa and I are close now? Do you like him?”

Taeyeon sighs, eyes still involuntarily anchored into Jessica’s, and shakes her head. “No, I just, I, uh—” 

“Do you hate that I'm also main vocalist? You think that I'm l-lazy and I’m untalented and that I don't deserve this position?”

“I’ve never thought that. I think you’re—”

“A spoiled brat? I know you think I can act like that sometimes—is that it?”

“No. Th-that's not why I——I'm sorry, okay?”

“No! It's not okay!”

“Sica, I'm sorry—”

“If you're sorry, then at least give me a straight answer, I deserve it!”

Taeyeon swallows hard and she feels like the sound of her nerves shattering is filling the small room. It’s absolutely suffocating being in Jessica’s presence, but for whatever reason, Taeyeon can’t detach her gaze from Jessica’s. So, she just helplessly shrugs and offers the other girl an unsatisfying, embarrassed whisper, “I don't know.”

“Taeyeon,” her voice is coated in so much anger and frustration. “No matter how much you don't like me—for whatever mysterious reason—we are a team and I deserve to know.” Jessica leans in so close that she feels the shaky exhale that Taeyeon expels at the change in proximity. Good, she should be nervous, Jessica thinks before she continues her accusations against her leader. “It is not fair for you treat me like this after everything we’ve been through together—”

“Sica, s-stop,” Taeyeon’s voice cracks and, even in the dark, Jessica can see her cheeks flush with embarrassment from way she's being reprimanded.

“No! It's about time that got off your high horse. You think you're better just because you're so ing talented?! You think you can treat me like just because you're SM's prized Kim Taeye—”

Jessica receives about a millisecond warning when she briefly catches Taeyeon's eyelids suddenly droop, her gaze falling to Jessica's mouth before her hands are suddenly on the other girl’s waist, pulling her in, and she's kissing Jessica like her life depends on it.

All of Jessica’s anger is instantly—and justifiably—vaporize when the shock of Taeyeon kissing her eradicates her senses and all she can do is in a sharp breath through her nostrils when she feels faint from the abrupt contact. Her whole body freezes at the touch of the girl’s lips because she has no idea what the hell is suddenly happening. Taeyeon's mouth presses hard against hers as if she was trying to consume the girl and Jessica just tries to remember how to breathe while she tries to will her body to move from the shock that has reduced her to a statue. After a few breathless seconds, Jessica finally gains voluntary control over her lungs first, so she manages to breathe in two syllables against the other girl’s lips, “Taeyeon.”

At the sound of her name, Taeyeon recoils away so fast that she scrambles back and gaps a couple feet between them. She slams her back into the opposite wall with an audible impact as if the other girl’s lips had actually burned her. “,” her lip quivers around short, panted breaths.

Jessica's chest heaves as she finally feels her senses slowly return to her body. She takes a step towards the other girl who’s trembling against the wall. “W-what was th—w-why did you—wh—” Jessica shakes her head because she doesn’t understand. “Ta-Taeyeon?”

Taeyeon just shakes her head as Jessica steps in too close to her personal space. Her cheeks are flushed and her eyes begin to pool with tears, hot from embarrassment. “I'm sorry, I’m so sorry,” she sniffs and Jessica can’t believe how much the girl is shaking. “Please don't tell anyone,” Taeyeon whispers with tears skating down her face. She glances at Jessica for a split second before she bolts out of the room, practically leaving a trail of dust in her wake.

Jessica's left standing in the middle of the desolate room, flushed, confused and alone.

What the hell just happened?


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