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You & Me
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Thread: You & Me

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default You & Me

    Hello everyone! You guy probably don't remember me, since I haven't been here for so long. Well, I'm back and have two fanfics to share with you all. Hope you like them



    Forewords

    Hey! It’s Kay again with another fanfic, but this one will be a bit special, since it will be my first fanfic that is written in first person point of view. This will probably going to be a more light and heart warming fanfic compare to my other fanfics. Hope you all enjoy and support this fanfic. Comment is always welcome by me, since I’m quite a greedy author. =o)

    Main Cast:
    Annie Man
    Wong Hei
    Louis Koo
    Ada Choi
    Moses Chan
    Flora Chan
    -------

    Dear Readers,

    As an author of several hearty romance novels, I finally has enough courage to come to a decision on sharing my autobiography with all of you. I started writing this autobiography 5 years ago, and it was actually my first completed work. At first it was only meant to be a short writing assignment on a simple event occur in my life. But somehow it has unknowingly turn into a full report on how this writing process lead me to him, a person who has turn my world upside down, in a good way of course.

    I’m a bit nervous about publishing this story, since it’s a bit simple and ordinary. I’ll probably risk the chance of boring all my readers to sleep and they will probably avoid any written work by Annie Man for the rest of their life. Especially, since my love story is as simple as a glass of pure spring water. But than again Ada is right, real life romance is mostly simple, but yet sweet to the heart. So I hope all of you will enjoy this short, sweet, and heartwarming story of a naïve romance writer who has no idea what romance really is until he came into the picture.

    Love your devoted author,
    Annie Man
    --------

    Please feel free to visit my other fanfics:

    The Other Soul: completed
    www.winglin.net/fanfic/TOSnovel

    Voices: www.winglin.net/fanfic/voices
    ******
    Last edited by Yak; 10-07-04 at 02:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 1: Puppy's Love

    “Annie!” Myolie had called several times from behind, but I was too concern about my new project to notice until now. I turned to face her with a friendly smile while she catch up with me and ask, “So what have you decided to write on for your autobiography?”

    Simply shrugged, I pushed my thick black realm glass up higher and continue my walk heading to my car with Myolie. She is in my Writer’s Group program, so she has the same project too. “What about you?” I curiously asked wondering if I could get inspired by her idea.

    “I’m going to write about me and Ray of course!” she delightedly replies with sparkling eyes that tell me hers will definitely be a lovy dovy story. “You should write about your love relationship too,” she suggest than oddly look at me, I know what she is thinking about.

    Shameless to say, I has never been in real relationship before. What am I talking about? Alright, I confess, even though I have a love toward writing fictional romance, I, myself has never been kiss. I had never even go out on a date before. I know it quite funny and ironic for a twenty-four years old to be so clueless about love but yet love to write about love stories. Hey who say I have to experience love to write love stories?

    Even though, I had never been on a date, doesn’t mean I had absolutely no love experience before. I do have someone in mind, is just that he doesn’t know about it. I sighed at the thought of him being so close to me but yet so oblivious. I suddenly felt Myolie still eyes on me so I finally turn my attention to her and chuckles at her cute curious expression.

    “What are you sighing about?” she asked with interest. Myolie is a very nosy girlfriends of my friend, Raymond Lam. She is always in an uplifted mood that seem like she is constantly in her dreamland with Raymond all day long. To her nothing matter but Raymond, and she tend to brag about what Raymond had given her, had took her to, and had promise her.

    To me, her relationship with Raymond seem so simple and ordinary, that I kind of think they will never make it. I know, I know, I sound cruel and bitter, but that not what I meant. I do care about them and wish them well. I just felt like love should be something more than just movie, date, gift, and constant phone call of sweet talk. Maybe I’m searching for too much in love that I gotten stranded with nothing.

    She tapped on my shoulder after noticing that I’m in my daze again. “I’m sorry, Myolie,” my reflex kick into apologizing mode again. She smile at me with a no problem gesture and still waiting for my answer. “Oh nothing, I’m still pondering about what to write on. Maybe I’ll write on my grandma’s death, since it really has given me some epiphany in life,” I told her, but the truth is I really wanted to write more about my feeling for Wong Hei.

    I couldn’t bring myself up to tell Myolie about my secret crush for Hei ever since childhood. Nope, no one in this world know about it except for my daai jie Ada, who is my email pen pal from oversea. Don’t let the title fool you, she is not my blood sister, I only have one sibling which is Moses. Is just that my friendship with Ada has become close enough for me to consider her as my sister, who I really care about and cherish. She will be the one who understand me more than my family could. And if by chance anyone ever knows about my secret, the first person I would go execute will be her. Since I trusted her, I felt comfortable enough to share my feeling for Hei with her, maybe it’s partially because she is at a safe enough distance away from Hei to not know how to contact him.

    There are several problems to consider, if I decide to write my paper on Hei. First of all, there is always a risk for him or anyone who know him to get a hold of this paper. Secondly, I think the paper could be a bit too dry that it can be a great sleeping pill if it only about my crush toward someone and nothing else. It’s just too one directional. I needed something more, I needed a reaction from him, but how? Maybe I could confess to him tonight and see what kind of reaction he give me? I sighed again, since I’m quite a chicken when it come to confessing something like this.

    “Maybe you shouldn’t, Annie. Ms Weeks did mention that she didn’t want us to write about death if it causes too much distress,” Myolie obliviously reminded, thinking that I‘m sadden by my grandma death four years ago. Myolie is a great gal with a caring but hyper heart.

    I let out a soft chuckle at her. “Don’t worry about me,” I assured her. Right at the moment Raymond pulled his dark blue truck up the curve and honked toward us. Myolie happily rushed up to her boyfriend while I waved with a big smile.

    “Hey Ann! I hear your car is in the shop. You want to hop in?! I’ll drop you off!” he yelled about twenty feet away. He was the one who drove me to school and home every single day when I was in High School with him.

    I gave him a mellow shake and explains, “Nah, Hei has promise to pick me up today.”

    “Alright, see you sometime then! Maybe, we’ll come over tonight!” he say before they took off leaving me continue to walk toward the red newspaper stand.

    Both Hei and Raymond known my brother and me, since I was in elementary. Raymond, who is about five month older than me, go to the same school with me. We almost has the same class every single grade school years. While Hei is actually more of my brother’s buddy. But since my brother always bring me along when he hang out with his friends, I also get acquaintance with Hei and his group of friends, since I was eight. I cherished them all and has treated them as my big brother since all of them are about five or four years older than me. Maybe the age different doesn’t seem to be a big gap now, but when I was young, it is. They all treated me like the baby of the group and tend to be a bit protective over me, sometime a bit too overly protective.

    I remember when I was in seventh grade; Moses, my own brother, was the one who has slammed the locker of my first puppy love and scared that poor boy away. The reason was because my locker was right next to that boy’s locker. That day he was using his locker with his door wide open almost completely blocking my locker. I was very passive and shy, so I didn’t say a word to tell him to move his locker door, instead I just nudged his door away a bit so I can get access to mine. Insensitively, he pushed his locker door back open widely, I guess he was searching for something really important in his locker. Once again I try to nudge it away a little so I can get my textbook, but he frustratingly shoved his door back open with a bit more force. Maybe he is trying to get something that is really big, I thought and decided to patiently wait till he is done before I get my book.

    But right at that moment, my brother and Hei just arrive to pick me up from school, they must have saw how the boy kept opening his locker to block mine even when I try to move it away a bit. My brother, who easily lose his temper, immediately slam the boy locker door shut with full force causing a loud echo to vibrate down the entire hallway. That’s how Moses is, he could get really hot tempered when someone pick on him, his friends, or me. But he could also be sensitive at time that I needed his attention and ears.

    Anyway, I was startled by his action, while the boy gave the two taller and more built body guards of mine a look before he turns to walk away with his backpack. I guess he has decide to give up on searching what he was searching for.

    I was angry with Moses for weeks for doing so, cause I know the boy will run away next time he sees me around. But it wasn’t fully my brother’s fault, since he didn’t know my puppy love toward that young boy named Louis. It silly how I still remember his name even though I haven’t seen him after that short school year. I don‘t even have the courage to said hi to him through out that year, so of course I don‘t even know his last name. All I remember is that he is two grades above me.
    ******

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 2: The Monster Next Door

    Vivid yellowish orange shades of dry crisp leaves fall like gentle shower of the rainbow. I shivered to the cold while I hugs my book tighter to shelter me from the fall wind as I continue to walk down the sidewalk, pondering if I should confess to Hei about my secret feeling toward him. I sighed causing a faint puff of steam to appear ahead of me. I gazed up toward the setting golden sun and stopped my pace when I reaches the red newspaper stand, which is our meeting spot.

    “Ah Mui!” I heard his voice called from behind with a hint of cheerfulness. Somehow his voice has always sparked an automatic smile to spread on my face with joy. But I really wishes he would refer me by anything but his little sister, since I really don’t want to be his little sister, especially since his voice made it sound so kiddy. I turns to face him, seeing him running toward me with his out of breath condition.

    With beady eyes and bumpy face, I had to admit that Hei does not possess the look nor the body, but to me those to elements aren’t as important as what inside. I slightly frowned when I notice a cigarette lit on the corner of his mouth. Two things I dislike about him are that he love to smoke and gamble. But other than that, he is a great guy with a very strong determine mind that has an ambitious goal of opening his own grand seafood restaurant.

    He is a very hard worker that has two jobs and worked about 18 hours a day. The only reason he was able to pick me up today is because it’s his day off for his morning job as a bread maker for a factory. But in three more hours he will have to attend to his waiter job and won’t be home until about one midnight.

    Other than having a clear career oriented mind, Hei has a very caring personality. He do care a lot about me and constantly ask me about my current life event. But I think he ask simply because he care about me like a younger sister. I can never really pinpoint down what his view of me, and I never have the courage to express my feeling toward him, since I really fear that I will loose this close friend of mine.

    “The car is parked that way,” he told me when he caught up to stand in front of me with his finger pointed toward his green Honda Accord, which he worked really hard to earn it.

    With an obvious pout, I pulled his cigarette away and extinguish the small glow against the stone garbage can. “I thought you promise me to quit,” I reminded him with my disappointed tone, while my eyes narrowed on him disapprovingly.

    He gave me a sheepish smile and quickly made an excuse, “I didn’t had much sleep, since Kevin has woken me up right after you left. Beside one puff every once in a while isn’t that addictive. Oh Annie, don’t try to be my mom, act more your age,“ he told me while swinging his arm around my shoulder and nudged me to follow him heading toward his car. “Anyway, how was your group meeting?” he purposely changed the subject. I know he has certainly inhaled more than one cigarette every three hours, but I don’t want to sound like a nag, so I let it go easily.

    “It’s okay. Lets go home, I’m tired,” I said feeling a bit exhausted with my debating mind about confessing or not. He didn’t say anything else other than asking me if I want to listen to the radio while he drive us home. Yes, Hei live in the same flat I do, since my brother has rented the extra room to him.

    “Is something bothering you?” he finally asked after not hearing me said a single word the entire trip. “You are never this silent before, Ah Mui,” he teasingly smirked trying to make me chuckle or speak up, but I could pick up a hint of his concern to my odd behavior.

    “Yes, something is,” I honestly told him. He turns to look at me when the lights is red. I chuckled at him, and shakes my head quickly putting on a fake cheerful expression. “Nothing. I’m just busy pondering about what I should write for my new project,” I partially lied. Oh Annie, how could you be such a weakling? I could of just confess at that moment. But seeing his eyes on me has scared all of my feeling away. Oh well, at least he is still around, I’ll have other chances.

    “I’m sure it’s not a big problem; you always have crazy idea when it come to writing,” he commented with a laugh while taking a turn at the light to pull into our flat building.

    “Hei, will you tell me everything I need, if I choose to write on you?” I asked, thinking that somehow during the process, I could lure him into getting my cue.

    “Me?!” he blurted thinking that it’s impossible for me to pick him as my subject. “Ah Mui ah, you know everything about me. Plus what is there to write about me? I’m just a boring guy with no education. Why don’t you write on Moses, Flora, or even on…”

    “Education is not everything,” I sharply cuts in, cause I just hate it when he think he is inferior to us simply because he don’t go to college after graduating general education. To me, I’m very proud of him, cause he is not a person who lazy around. He know exactly what he want and he will do anything to get it. Something it worry me, cause I know he will never put relationship as his priority or ever think about it, since career has always been on top of his list.

    “And stop calling me Ah Mui, I’m not the eight-years-old who tattle behind you anymore,” I mumbled a bit childish and grumpy for him to not understand me. Released a sigh, I looked at him seriously while his eyes are on the driveway pulling up to park. “Hei, I need to know more about your personal thought. Like what is your opinion in in love…” my voice faded so quickly into dust that I’m sure he didn’t caught that. But I just couldn’t help myself from feeling shy about this matter. I could even feel my cheek warmed. Man wouldn’t it be nice if I’m in the old age where it suppose to be the guy who confess?

    “My opinion about what?” he ask while parked the car on the side instead and leaned over to open my door for me. He looked at me with a sweet smile, that I had always love to see on him. “Annie, we’ll talk more about this tonight, alright?” he suggested and gesture me to step out.

    “Aren’t you going home?” I asked with a bit of surprise while stepped out of the car.

    He shook his head, “No, I’ve something to do first. I’ll probably be back for dinner. And I’m promising you now, that I’ll talk with you about your paper tonight.”

    I laughed at him, “At two midnight?” Leaned a bit down to look at him through the window, I assured him, “Don’t worry about my paper. I’ll figure it out. Just drive safely and don’t skip dinner again.“

    “You do sound like mom,“ he joked

    With rolled eyes, I turn away and wave to him backward without looking at him. “I’ll see you when I see you,” I told him and started to head toward our building lobby, while he pulled his car out.

    “Man are just so ignorance,” I softly complain to myself while stepping into the elevator and waiting for it to carry me to level five.

    Once the elevator door slide open I stepped out to meet with a barbarically flying white object. From the speedy motion of the flying object, it seem like it’s a white cat that is going to attack me. My body reflex automatically jerked me back into the elevator to duck from that object. My heart raced a bit to the sudden odd incident while I finally notice that there are two angry voices of a couple having a fight.

    Nervously, I lean a bit toward the edge of the elevator door to take a peek. I found out that the flying white cat was actually a white medium size gift box with a big white bow on it. When I turn my head toward the direction of roaring argument, I saw the newly moved guy next door hastily arguing with one of his girlfriend again, right in front of both his and the door to my brother‘s flat.

    “Fine! If you don’t believe me, believe I did it than!” frustratingly yelled the girl with stern darting eyes at the dark tone guy. I remember seeing that girl several days ago, I think he called her Jessica then.

    Suddenly they both stopped yelling and turn to dart their unwelcome eyes on me. Panicked, I quickly backed up into the elevator, not daring to watch anymore. But I could hear Mr. Grumpy voice loud and clear. “Go back to Australia than, see if I give a damn!” his furious roar seem to shake the entire building and a split second after, I could hear his door slammed shut with full force. Along with that is the sound of dress shoe clogging it way toward me in angry stomp.

    Professionally dressed, she sharply rushed into the elevator and grumpily jabbing her index finger against the button of the main level. Seeing the door not closing she landed her hot steamy eyes on me. In those pair of hard stubborn eyes I could tell that she carry a trace of tears. I blinked when I saw her eyes budged a bit with more boiling flame. It’s not until than that I notice I was standing with my foot on the door to block it from closing.

    “Sorry,” I shortly apologize with a gulp while quickly dashed out of the elevator as fast as my legs can carry me, cause I had a feeling that she is in a mood to kill. My heart finally slowed down a bit with relief to saw that Mr. Grumpy’s door is shut and the sound of the elevator is going down, returning me to my peaceful self again.

    Gazed at the gift, I wonder who birthday it was. Since the guy look and act so insensitive, I’m positive that he wouldn’t be thoughtful enough to buy present and wrap it up so prettily, so it must be from the girl named Jessica, I assume. I turned to head home and was searching for my key in my purse when suddenly his door flung open barbarically almost knocked my glasses off. Pauses what I was doing, I pushed my glasses back up higher on the bridge of my nose before I looked up, my eyes was locked into his deathly glare. Somehow those dangerously hard eyes causes all my pulse to freeze in position and I had lost my sense of touch.

    I’m frighten, I’m frighten of him for some odd reason. Well, I didn’t had that good of a first impression of him, since the day he move in a month ago. Since that day on, I kept bumping into him arguing with his numerous girls. It’s seem like he lived alone in that hotel flat of his with different girls checking in. And I swear almost every time I step out or return to my home, I’ll see girls either checking in or out of his flat.

    “What are you staring at four eyes?!” he rudely questioned with tone that sound like he wanted to pick a fight to release is stress. “If you like to stare that much, go stare at yourself in the mirror! And mind your own business!” he continue to scold defensively, like I have stepped on his big fat tail. But I could hear nothing after that last comment that enter my mind.

    From that on, I just picture him yapping on and on like a big chocolate monster with purple polka-dot and three blazing eyes that burn. And the constantly moving big mouth seem to have green stinky odor wave spreading out to the surrounding. I could even picture flies flying in and out of his mouth freely. Not that he has bad breath, it just that his words are too dirty for my innocent ears.

    “Get your freaking eyes off of me!” he roared so loudly that I had to shuts my eyes.

    A puff of offended anger rushed up my lung and causes me to pout with the urge to punch him right on his chocolate face! How could a person get this impolite and mean?! I didn’t do a single thing to him! Like I even wanted to see him in the first place! I would give anything to not be his neighbor!

    I quickly turns away from looking at him, while he rushed pass me heading toward the elevator direction. I could really careless about him, and I don’t want to be anywhere near him either. Knowing that searching for my keys would be too slow, I rapidly jammed my finger on the doorbell wanting to go in as fast as I could.

    Within second the door squeaked open, and a short boy looked up at me with sparkling eyes. “Aunty A!” happily greeted Kevin to give me a sense of warmth and my anger toward the guy next door has melted away slightly, but only slightly.

    I quickly stepped into the house and turn around to close the door, at that moment that monster just return heading toward his flat with his box of gift, he slightly glance at me. And this time I could see him dragging his big fat tail. Stilly I stare, I stare at him with steam. My eyes aren’t as friendly nor passive as I usually are anymore. Slightly hissed, I slammed the door right in his face when he was near my door walking toward his. Somehow that childish action made my heart felt a bit relieved and joyful.

    “Kevin, I told you not to play with the door!” yelled my sister-in-law Flora from the bathroom.

    “But…but…but,” my three-years-old nephew try to explain with his finger on me. His face was a bit pale and shocked to witness a small glowing monster from his usual passive and loveable aunty too.

    “Shhhh…” I hushed him with a chuckle at his expression. I didn’t want Flora to know what I just did, cause it just not me. “I got something for you, come with me,” I bribed him and happily took him into his room. Seeing the sweet excited expression of my nephew has distracted my mind from the monster next door.
    ******

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 3: Drunken Cat

    The soft purring sound of my computer has been on since two this afternoon, but still I had nothing on that screen other than the date the paper is supposedly due. It has been like this for the past few days, ever since Ms Weeks our program director has announce about this writing exercise for advance creative writer. I just simply couldn’t concentrate on what I’m writing. I did try to force myself to write about sweet moment that I will always remember, but each time, I ended up deleting every single letter, cause there is always one part or another that don’t fit quite smoothly as I wanted it to. For some reason, I’m not satisfied with my writing at all. What is wrong with me? Writing has always been a snap of a finger for me. So why is this short autobiography so hard to start?

    I yawned to the sight of my blank screen while my mind kept flashing back on scenes of Hei and me from childhood till now. “Play with me, Aunty A,” Kevin suddenly requested when he has finally gotten bored with playing by himself for about an hour. Standing next to me, he pushed his toy car along my lap.

    Stretched my arms, I nodded to him, since I had enough with this paper anyway. There is no point staring at it if I can’t put anything down in words. Maybe writing about my crush on Hei is a bit too personal for me to express out cause of my shy nature. Maybe I need a new subject to focus on, but I really do want to write on this topic. A moment away from the computer should help me clear my mind.

    “What you want to play?” I asked him with my hand gently rubbing on his spiky short hair, the way his father like it, since it makes them look more similar. I had volunteered to babysat Kevin so Moses and Flora could have an evening together, alone that is. As usual, Hei is not home yet, so it only leaves Kevin and me. Excited, Kevin has pulled me out of my room. “Hold on, where you want to go?” I urged him to reply.

    “Park!” he snapped with wishful eyes on me ever so innocently. That kid is the smartest boy in this universe, who knows exactly how to manipulate my weak heart for children’s puppy eyes. I quickly lifted him up to carry him on my hip, before he dragged me outdoor while I’m still in my PJ. “Come on Aunty A! You promise to play with me! I want to play with the slide. And we could kick ball. Come on, it just downstairs. Pleaseeee…” his sweet pleading voice begged as he jerked me with all his might.

    “Alright,” I gave in so easily, and he knows it. “Wait here first, I need to change.”
    ------

    After chasing Kevin for half an hour, I’m already huffing and puffing and ready for bed. But he is still as energize as those batteries commercial with a bunny running around beating the drum, except he is running around kicking the soccer ball I brought him several months ago. I bet he get his energy from Moses, since jie is like me, which is not active at all. I’m use to calling my sister-in-law as jie, since we use to be best friend and god-sibling before she married my brother.

    My brother is a very active person throughout his life. I remembered how he has forced me to explore with him, when we were children. Like how I am today, I wasn’t active when I was young. Not that I’m lazy, it just that I’m too shy and quiet to make friends, plus I’m just not built for sport. But I do thanks god for given me a brother who has force me to learn many things, without him I would miss out a lot in life.

    Moses was the one who taught me how to plead with puppy eyes in order to ask our grandma for coins to buy candy, since he believe it easier for me to plead since I was a toddler than. He was the one who taught me how to cook rice with peanut when I was four, and that time we almost set the house on fire by burning newspaper to cook rice from my toy pot. He was the one who taught me to never trust anybody even if it’s your own brother, since he almost drown me to death when he try to teach me how to swim by pulling my leg from under the water, when I was nine. Good thing there is such person called lifeguard, who are around to pull me back out. Now I learn to bring a life jacket with me if I go anywhere near the ocean.

    Even though we did many foolish things together in our childhood, I never regret having a brother like him. We are very close and we get along great most of the time. And I thank him for teaching me how to ride a bike, which I never forget even till this day. He taught me when I was eight, partly because he thinks I gotten a bit too heavy to ride in front of his bike. He just wouldn’t admit that I was out growing him in height. I know it ironic, since he is much taller than me now, but a short period back than, I was actually taller than him by an inch.

    I remember that I was so afraid of that metal two wheelers that given me multiple scratches. And Moses has threatened me to learn how to ride the bike within two weeks, or he will never play with me again. Of course, he know I love tattling along with him and play with them, or else he wouldn‘t use that to threaten me. He took his play time to teach me after dinner. Since I was a chicken to learn, I usually purposely eat extremely slow, and I even volunteer to help my mom mop the kitchen floor to get away from Moses. But for having brain that is five years smarter than me, he sees through my plan and had dragged me out no matter what excuse I gave him. But if he hadn’t done so back then, I would have never learned how to ride a bike.

    Gazed at the moon and shivered to the cold. I glance down at my watch for the time, we had been out for an hour already, it‘s about time to head back and tug him into bed. “Kevin, it’s nine already! “ I hollered after him, hinting that it‘s his bedtime.

    Dressed like a puffy snowman, he was about thirty feet away in this empty park with just him and me. Turned toward me he requested, “Five more minutes! “ I chuckled at him because he has no idea how to tell time nor know what is ‘five more minute’ mean, other than it will let him play longer. He picks up that trick from his daddy, because every time Flora told Moses to shower, Moses first response would be ‘five more minutes‘.

    “Kevin, not too far, cutie!” I called, when I saw him kicking his soccer ball a bit too far away. He turns the corner and ran after his ball, so I immediately took off to follow after him before I lost him.

    “Louis gor gor, can you get me my ball?” I heard him ask someone from the opposite side of the wall. And when I turn the corner and caught up with him, I was surprise that it was the monster next door that Kevin was talking to. His name is Louis? How did Kevin know his name?

    “Kevin, come back here,” I protectively called to my nephew, since I don’t trust that guy to be kind to kid. Instead of coming to me, Kevin squatted himself down trying to pull his soccer ball from the stone bench that the guy is lying on. I stepped up standing next to Kevin while studying this mean being, wondering what could get him into this condition. He is drunk with redden face while there are over a dozen empty beer cans lying messily around him.

    That furious monster actually seems like a drunken kitten mumbling to himself while scratching his chest and neck. Even with this cold weather, he wore nothing but his jean and white tank top, maybe he wanted to look buff for his girls, but this drunken sight is not what I would call manly or attractive. His arm suddenly swung out hitting the side of my thigh, I quickly backed off and was about to scold him, but I didn’t since I know he is drunk and wouldn’t be able to hear me anyway. I’m positive he didn’t do it on purpose.

    “Come on, lets go home Kevin,” I urged, since I don’t want to be here with Mr. Grumpy, who might scold me again if he stirs. Kevin refused to go home because his ball is stuck under the bench, so I quickly squatted down to retrieve it for him. Afterward I grab his hand and quickly turn to head home.

    “Leave me alone! I don‘t need you to care for me, I know how to take care of myself… I‘m tired of all of this. I’m stupid to be a fool to let you guys tricked. I had enough with your lies, Jessica. I don‘t care, do what ever you want, just don‘t bother me. And I don‘t want your money,” yelled the guy, Kevin called Louis gor gor. I paused and turn back to look at him with curiosity. Kevin too beamed his soft eyes toward the guy. “So what if he is rich! His matter and your matter is none of mine…” he continue to mumble.

    “Aunty A, is Louis gor gor sick? His body was really hot when I push him,” Kevin told me with narrowed brows showing his concern.

    Pouted a bit, I was debating on rather I should care for him or not. “Kevin, how did you know his name?” I ask with curiosity.

    “He taught me how to kick ball few days ago!” Kevin cheerfully informed me. “Louis gor gor is really sad, his parents doesn’t want him.”

    “How do you know that?” I asked with a slight chuckle to think of a grown man that is about twenty-seven or eight being an orphan in Kevin’s eyes.

    Grinned proudly, Kevin exclaim, “He live by himself!” I laughed at Kevin answer. Kids, their mind are just so simple and straight forward. I suddenly wonder if Kevin thinks I’m an orphan, since I don’t live with my parents. I moved back to live with my brother, since I really can’t stand living in one of those boring state of America, but my parent love it there, so they stay in the US. “And he say I could go over to his flat to play when I wanted to,” Kevin added with joy.

    “Well, don’t you trust him that easily and stay away from him, okay?” I warned Kevin. Kevin nodded, while I hear that so call Louis moaned as he continues to mumble. I glanced around the park, and to see it being so empty and cold, my heart kind of weakens a bit. Plus, Kevin did mention that he is hot, which probably mean he is having a fever. I can’t just leave him here to freeze to death, all he has on was a white tank top and I do know where he live. Sighed at myself for being such a softy, I had decided to help him home.

    I walked up to him with Kevin again. I tapped him firmly and loudly called, “Hey, can you hear me?!” I let out a chuckle when I recall that how I learn to check on unconscious victim in my first aid class that I took three years ago. Kevin is right, he is having a fever. I moved the palm of my hand to cover his forehead feeling his tempt. Feeling the burning touch, I was glad that I return for him, or else he will certainly caught pneumonia by the morning. I pushed on him more firmly, “Weak up!” I try to alert him; hoping that he wake up or I really had no idea how I’m going to carry him home.

    “Aunty A, is Louis gor gor dead?” asked Kevin with widen eyes after seeing no response from the drunken cat. The only thing Kevin witness dead is his daddy salt water fish. And from then on, he has this fear of everything dying. It was funny how Moses and Flora tell him the story of how fishes go to heaven. But I’m sure they don’t have to tell Kevin the story of how Louis gor gor go to heaven, because I’m quite positive his fever wouldn’t kill him, especially with a semi-nurse like me around.

    Laughed at his remark, I assured him, “Of course not. Don’t you worry, we’ll get him home too. Could you walk by yourself without tripping? It’s pretty dark and I wouldn’t have hands to hold yours.”

    “Yup!” he proudly answered with a big boy grin. While I pulled both arms of Louis over my shoulders and tries to piggyback him, the only problem is I can’t even lift myself upright with him behind me. Kevin tries to help me by pushing Mr. Grumpy behind, but it was no use. Well, I couldn’t piggyback him, but I could probably drag him home.

    Swung his arms over my shoulders again and pulling it tightly with my two hands, I stood up slowly, since his weight is more heavy than I thought. He is body weight is totally leaning against my back making me hunch forward. Man, he must have weighted over a ton! “Kevin, walk ahead of me but don’t run, okay?” I instructed my nephew, who nods while he hopped ahead of me and started to march like his Barney show, while I’m walking like a snail dragging this big heavy drunken cat behind me. And I could hear his feet dragging across the dry autumn leaves.

    “I don’t give a damn, I don’t give a damn…” mumbled his alcoholic breath that almost made me pass out. I could never stand that fermenting sweet smell of alcohol, especially when it only several inches from my nose, since he has lean his head on my shoulder, facing me. I slightly glanced up at him and looked at his really red face, maybe because he is dark toned too that make him look extra crimson. His body warmth kind of gave me a spark causing my cheek to slightly blush.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was only a slight spark of awkwardness, since I never been this close to anyone before, especially a male that I don’t even know that well. It’s not the same spark that I felt when Hei propose and pecked me during our Christmas party true or dare game.

    Still mumbling, his head dropped and rolled slightly off my shoulder, I shrugged to bring it back up again, so he could lean more comfortably. I’m kind of interested in what he is talking about. Is it because of his fight with his girlfriend Jessica a few days ago? But I would of figure no, since he seems like a playboy, who should take breakup like a piece of pie. Maybe that girl is special to him in some way. “Special?” I chuckled to myself for giving him that much credit. If he could be that impolite and yelled at me for no reason, I’m sure he doesn’t have much sensitive side to think about others’ feeling, so how could he think others being special other than himself?

    His voice continues to buzz into my ear like flies that I want to kill but didn’t have the heart to kill. “If you missed her that much, you shouldn’t be that rude and mean,” I told him as I paused to gather more strength to pull. “And I should have let you freeze to death back there. I don’t even know why, I’m still helping you.”

    “You can’t love me, it’s impossible,” he mumbled and I know he is not talking to me.

    I laughed at his words sounding like he was talking to me. “Don’t worry, it won’t happen,” I assured him positively, since I’m definite that we are two people from different planets.

    After dragged him up to our fifth level flat, I just dropped him to sleep outside his door. Since I don’t want to digs into his pant pockets to search for his keys, to me that is not appropriate. I try to ask Kevin to digs for his keys, but Kevin copied me and according to him it was “Not apple pirate.” Well, at least this drunken cat should be warm enough sleeping here than out in the open park.

    Yawning tiredly along with Kevin, I walked him into our flat and changed him to tug him into bed. I was about to go to sleep, but remembering about that guy having a fever, my feet automatically walked into the bathroom to grab some fever reducer pills and a cold wet towel. I also headed into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. I have no idea why I would even bother to go out the front door to feed him the pills and put the wet towel over his forehead. Maybe I still have a heart to be a nurse, even though I have chosen to be a writer several years ago.

    His eyes suddenly open slightly gazing at me, half drowsily. For the first time, I felt this sadness in him that kind of changed my perspective of him being a good for nothing playboy. He groaned and shrugged his body to sit upright. I guess I stirred him when I gave him pills to drink. Seeing him awake, I quickly stood up and headed into my flat. I’m not that dumb to wait for him to scold me for nothing again. After a few short minutes I could hear his heavy body stepped into his flat with the door slam shuts.
    ******

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 4: Smirking Devil

    “Dun dun dun…da da di… da du da di…da da di…da du da di,” played the melody of my Ding Dong alarm clock, which Ada brought me on one of her trips two years ago. Lazily yawned I stretch over to slap on the yellow propeller of my six inches blue clock to turn off that once not so annoying music. Once my palm pressed the propeller down, Ding Dong cute voice immediately greeted me with an alerting “good morning” in an language that I don’t even understand. Ada guessed it’s Japanese.

    Roaring widely with muffled yawn, I rubbed my eyes to look at Ding Dong seeing it’s sharply eight in the morning. Rolled off my bed and slipped into my piggy slipper, I dragged myself toward my balcony wanting to step out into the cold morning air, so it can help wake me up more. Once I step out, I stretched my arms up into the air while I take in a giant deep breath with my eyes close as usual. It felt so so good to take in that puff of fresh morning air to calm my nerve down.

    Exhaling relaxingly and getting ready for my second puff of fresh air, my eyes opens a slit. Instead of seeing the usual empty balcony of my next door neighbor across from mine, I saw him, leaning against the edge of his balcony sipping on his coffee, I suppose. All my mind could process is that he was facing me and saw exactly every silly little thing I just did. Thanks to him, I chocked on the breath I’m trying to exhale causing me to cough vigorously. I was just so startled by his present, since each morning his balcony would be empty with his bedroom curtain drawn close. I didn’t expect to be greeted with someone seeing my silly exhale and inhale activity. Not to mention how I’m hacking right now.

    With reddish purple face, I continue to pounds on my chest as I coughed and tries to take in deep breath to calm myself down. I swear I could hear his soft chuckling, or did I just imagine that cause I’m feeling extremely embarrassed now? I pierce my sharps eyes toward him, to see him slightly grinning instead of the chuckle I heard. That devil is cruelly watching me with amuse like I‘m some kind of morning entertainment. I guess, I would be amuse too if I were the one who witness a twenty-four-years-old girl sleepily walks out to her balcony to do morning breathing exercise, while still in her Tweedy knees length night grown and wearing that childish fuzzy pig slipper. Ahhh!! It’s all Moses and Flora fault for buying me this kiddy night grown and slipper for my birthday!

    Once I was able to control my chocking cough, I felt like I wanted to scream! But I couldn’t force a single sound out of my clotted throat. All I could do is stare at him and kept pondering about what he is pondering with that devilish smirk! Am I imagining things or am I really seeing him laughing at me evilly? No, it must be my imagination cause there is no laughter and all I could hear is the rapid pounding of my heart. Pressed my shy humiliated lips together, I felt my cheek burns like hot stove, while I’m still trying to focus my blurry vision on him to confirm his expression. I’m positive he is not laughing. He is just staring at me with his crooked half grin, is that even possible? Man, I wish I had my glasses on!

    “Morning,“ his deep voice greeted me so unexpectedly. I was surprise that he no longer carry any trace of being a meany in his dry tone. But still somehow I felt offended by his simple greeting. He seem to be smirking at me with a smug of amuse. I don’t know why I actually felt mad at him for standing there! He has no right to stand there and startle me to death! What am I talking about? He does have the right, it’s his balcony. Oh I just wish, I didn’t had assumed he won’t be there this morning.

    Hissed at myself with disappointment, my cheek puffed up so fast with an angry pout, as I instantly turns to charge back into my room. I slides my glass balcony door shut so fast that it slammed against the frame causing a vibration. With quick moving feet, I rushed to drawn all my curtain close to shelter my embarrassment as quick as possible. “Aggrr…” I growled to myself. I’m not mad at him, I’m more mad at myself for acting like a fool in front of a stranger. I must had been extremely goofy and silly out there.

    Walked over to my computer desk, I grab my glasses to wear. If I would of worn my glasses, I would probably spot him once I step out to my balcony. I frowned at myself with disappointment. Somehow I have a feeling that he will laugh at me every time he sees me from now on. I stepped toward the curtain and draw it back a bit with my hand to peek out, wondering if he is still smirking at me. To my surprise, he isn’t there anymore. I pushed the curtain further back to get a better look. But it’s true, he has left already.
    ------

    That morning during breakfast I didn’t talk much. Instead, I’m in my daze while my mind kept replaying what happened this morning. I begin to saw my sausage angrily pressing my fork hard against the ceramic plate while I forcefully moved my butter knife back and forth causing annoying sound for everyone except me, since I’m not aware of anything other than my thought.

    “The sausage is not alive, Annie,” Nicky Cheung laughingly informed, but I didn’t hear him. Both Nicky and Benny came over for breakfast today. They usually comes to steal food when they are too lazy to cook themselves. Both of them are my brother so called buddies, who known me for over sixteen years. “Annie…” he called again, but still I hear nothing.

    Suddenly, I felt a wet peck on my cheek teasingly with a loud smooch. Wiping my cheek, my deadly glare land on Benny Chan angrily with no doubt. “Stop it Benny!” I snapped at him, cause I’m in no mood for his joke. This playboy in front of me was the one who gave me my first peck on the cheek, when I was twelve, back then I chase after him with a tree branch. After that day on, somehow he thinks it’s very funny to peck me when I’m not aware. He would chuckle at me each time while I blushed nonstop, but I had enough embarrassment this morning to deal with Benny.

    “Cheeze, someone sure wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” he murmured to Nicky while dipping his toast into his sunny side up egg. I ignored his comment, and just continue to fill myself up. Knowing him for so long, I never take him too seriously. He is the joker who love to tease me about not having a boyfriend. But if I was to have him as my boyfriend, I would rather hang myself. Benny Chan is not a boy who take relationship seriously. He is the type that think love is meant to be a game that can be restarted whenever he want. Good thing he treated me as his sister, or else I would be really afraid.

    “Maybe is her pms week,” mumbled Nicky with his perverted chuckle.

    “No wonder,” chuckled Benny.

    I growled softly and kept reminding myself to cool down. I hardly ever get mad at them, since I always take their words as joke. But if they keep it up, I’ll probably have the steam to tear their head off. “It’ll be wise to not mess with me today,” I warned them, cause I had enough already. I would explode on them if they test my temper any further. They immediately shuts up cause they know I’m serious. Whenever I’m mad or angry at someone, it’s all show up on my face. Julian Cheung once told me it was quite scary, cause he has the experience of me getting really mad at him.

    “Ann, what’s the matter?” Moses asked with a hint of concern in his tone. He is feeding Kevin, since Kevin wouldn’t sit still to eat breakfast himself.

    “Yeah, tell us. We could always back you up,” Benny charmed in, with spark in his eyes ready for fun. He is very sweet looking and cute, if it weren’t for his loud mouth and attitude, I would probably fall for him years ago.

    I laughed at his remark. “No, thanks,” I told him, cause I still recall what disaster he brought upon me, when he tries to back me up last time. “I’m okay…” my voice trailed off wishing that those three pairs of laser eyes will stop beaming at me. I cleared my throat and quickly excused myself, “I’m full.” I told them and started to head toward the kitchen with my plate, cause I know their caring drill too well. If I would of stay there a second longer, they will start pestering me. And will start developing rumor about me having a crush on someone. Until this day, they still hasn’t guess right on who I had a crush on, since they had never think inside the cycle of friends.

    “You finish already?” Hei asked when he just stepped out of the bathroom, looking all handsome. I smiled with a nod, while I kept my eyes on him and started to giggle. “What?!” he asked with a big grin and I think I actually see him blush.

    I shook my head, while continue to enjoy seeing him this sharp looking, “You sure look different today. Very handsome,” I commented with a bright smile. Hei could always chase my dark clouds away unlike those two clowns out there that always bring me winkles.

    Benny whistled from behind, “Wow! Look like someone is going on a date! Who‘s the lucky girl?”

    After what Benny just said, I frowned with a strange sensation hovering over my heart. Why didn’t I think of him going out on a date? Benny is right, why else would he fix himself up this nice for? My eyes followed Hei, who walked over to whack Benny on the head before he sat down. “Ah Mui, could you pass me my plate?” Hei requested.

    “Don’t worry about it Annie, I got it,” Flora told me. She just stepped out of the kitchen with the last two plate of breakfast.

    I returned to the table with interest to what Hei explanation would be but he didn’t mention anything else other than start eating. “Are you seriously going to date,” I urged him to answer with my anxious eyes on him.

    He chuckled with a shrug and smirked, “You decide.” Oh why is he teasing me this way? I has a feeling that it’s true. His smile is so sweet and cheerful, that I felt fear. I felt horribly lost and sad inside. I had never felt my heart this compressed with gloom before. I wanted him to confirm me more, but I also fear to hear the truth.

    “Wah, our Hei gor finally have a fish that is willing to swim to him?” Moses joked, while Flora help him straighten out his tie. In return he grinned at Flora ever so sweetly and feed her a mini size sausage. He then added, “What happen to being a monk till your career get settle?”

    While everyone laugh, I sat there suddenly felt like my day has turn so gloom. Benny waved his hand across my face. “Calling Ann, are you home?” he teased. He was about to sneak another peck on me again, but my darting eyes made him stop half way. He backed off with his palms up, “Sorry, sorry…”

    Laughed, jie nudged me, “Annie, I never saw Benny this afraid of a girl before!”

    “Because she is not a girl,” Benny has to blurt out. Why can’t he just seals his big mouth?

    “I don’t see you being a male either,” I defensively told him, making him smirk at me with amuse, almost exactly like how Mr. Grumpy has. Which just made me even flare up. Repeatedly, I reminded myself that it wasn’t Benny who was smirking this morning. I let out a sigh, and pushed my chair out to walks away.

    They turns to look at me wondering what the heck is wrong with me today, but none of them dare to ask. I had no idea what is wrong with me either. I just felt really moody, especially to see Hei all dress up and not denying about going on a date. Sadly and silently, I head into my room to plop down on my bed. Within second a knock came over the door. “If it’s not Benny, than come in,” I answered.

    Opened the door, Hei chuckled at me while stepped in with the door behind him. “You know he doesn’t mean it, Annie,” he tries to help Benny patch up holes.

    “I’m not mad at him,” I honestly told Hei. Benny could never get into my nerve.

    “Oh,” Hei said and lost all of his words. “Why you seem so…um…”

    I let out a short chuckle. “Moody,” I finish for him while he nodded with his chuckle. “I just didn’t have enough sleep. Don’t worry about me,” I lied and started to pack my bags cause I don’t want to look him in the eyes. Causally, I asks, “So what plan you have for your date?”

    He laughed loudly, “You actually believe Benny? Oh Annie, you should know more than this.”

    I turned to look at him, with my lips slowly curving up with delight, and I can‘t hide it. “Where are you going, all dressed up?” I nosily ask with an obviously happy smile and my heart felt a ton lighter.

    “My uncle from France came to visit my parents and we are going to meet for Dim Sum. I need to be presentable to make my parents look good, right?” he winked. “You want some? I can bring you back your favorite egg tart,” he offered with a sweet smile.

    I nodded happily to him, while my heart kept screaming ‘Yes! Yes, is not a date!’ Of course I didn’t have the gut to say that out loud.

    “Silly girl, so excited over egg tart,” he say before he stepped out of my room. I was so happy and relieved to know that he isn’t going out on a date. It’s just his uncle! But is he really that ignorance to think that I was excited cause of egg tart? Someone should really help me whack him on the head and suggest him to open his eyes more.
    -------

    I just stepped out of my flat, holding onto my finish paper about my crush on Hei, a floppy disk of that paper, and also some books to read. I have planned to go to my university writing center so one of the aid can help me proof read my paper and check for mistake. Usually, I would ask Raymond to do so, but since this paper is on Hei, I don’t want anyone who know Hei or me to get a hold of it.

    When I was closing the door, I heard sound of the neighboring door being open. Within minute, he stepped out too and his eyes looked at me with a soft chuckle. “Morning again,” he said with a smug. It took me by surprise that he is no longer as mean as I remembered, but still quite annoying with that dark smug. Maybe he soften toward me because I helped him few days ago.

    “Morning,” I shortly replied and rushed toward the elevator to jump in before he does. I’m still too embarrassed about this morning to face him.

    “Hey! Wait up!” I could hear his voice calling after me, while the elevator door slides shut. I know I’m rude to rapidly push the close button instead of open. I just felt so silly and awkward to be with him, cause I kept picturing him laughing at me. I can’t face him, at least not for now. Maybe I could get over this silly incident soon, but until then I would like to avoid him.
    -------

    It’s not until I gotten to the writing center, that I notice I somehow lost the copy of my paper on Hei and also the floppy disk that I save everything on! How did I lost it?! I remember to bring it with me when I step out of that door. I had it sandwich them between my books…

    Oh my lord, did I drop it at home? Oh no, what if Hei or Benny or Nicky or…him. My eyes widen at the thought of Mr. Grumpy knowing more about my silly life. I got to get home!
    ******

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 5: A Devil’s Deal

    Rushed back home, I almost ran over a stop sign, when I took a turn to Woodland street. My heart couldn‘t help feeling unsettle about my paper where about. I shouldn’t of write about my crush on Hei! Why didn’t I write on something that everyone knows about? Why am I such a cluck to even drop that paper in the first place?! Oh what if Hei get a hold of it? What will he thinks of me, if he ever read it? Will he be shocked to know? Well, I think everyone who know both of us will be shocked to know. What if Hei avoid me from now on? What if he cruelly told me it’s impossible? My mind faded of at that thought.

    No, no, Hei couldn’t get a hold of it. He left before me, and shouldn’t be back that soon yet. I’m sure I at least had it when I’m out of the door. I must had drop it when I was rushing into the elevator to avoid Mr. Grumpy. It got to be him who got my paper now. Oh why am I so clumsy to constantly let him find out more about my silly act? He will laugh if he know that I’ve never been kiss nor date. He will laugh even harder to know how chicken I’m to hide my feeling for one guy for over sixteen years. Oh why is god doing this to me today? Why must Mr. Grumpy be the one who kept seeing my flaws? Well, at least Mr. Grumpy doesn’t know Hei or anyone in my circle of friends. But what if he return it back to my flat after he read it?

    Once I parked my car, I quickly ran into my flat building. My eyes kept wide in search of my paper, hoping that I drop it in the lobby and no one has pick it up yet. A light smile appear on me when my eyes caught a stack of paper on the floor by the fake short palm tree. I quickly rush up to it and squatted down to pick it up, but once I turn it over, I notice it was just a stack of tenant rules for this building. I actually felt like crying to be teased in this way. Pouting childishly I angrily mumbled, “Who could be so mean to drop this here to tease me?”

    “Ann?” I hear a familiar male voice that I hasn’t heard for a long time. Pushing my glasses back up, I glanced at him with my displease pout. But I was delighted to see him again after two years that he has parted. He chuckled at me and curiously ask, “What’s up? You drop something?” His eyes was looking around the lobby floor searching for anything at all.

    I quickly stood up with a happy smile and excitedly ask, “Never mind about that Steven. When did you return?!” Steven Ma has went to serve the army for the past two years, I couldn’t believe that he actually returned already, since his last letter told us that he will be gone for at least one more year. “Didn’t you say, you volunteer to serve one more year?” I asked with interest, while my eyes continue to glance here and there to look for my paper in secret.

    “If I didn’t told you guys that, I wouldn’t be able to surprise you right?” he answered with big grin and sharp gel hair that gave him a wet look. “Is anyone home at your flat? What are you looking for Ann? Earrings?” he teasingly asked after seeing me not too focus on him.

    “No, nothing. I’m sorry, lets go up now. Gor has left for work this morning, and Hei is having Dim Sum with his parents. But when I left an hour ago, both Benny and Nicky are still there. At least I’m sure jie and Kevin will be there,” I told him.

    “Wow, talking about Kevin, I remember the last time I saw him, he was only few months old. He look so active from those pictures you mail me,” he said with his gentle smile. Steven Ma is a great guy with a very kind heart, but his family has been his burden throughout his life. Being the oldest son with a younger sister my age and two brothers that are still in elementary, Steven is the only one who bring in money for his family. Which is one of the reason he pick to serve the army. Moses once told me that his father left them when they are very young, from than on Steven never mention about his dad. He still have a mother to take care of. His mother do no help for the family, instead she love to gamble and constantly hang out at Cuckoo. At least she hasn’t bring great debt to Steven.

    Once the elevator door slide open, Steven stepped in while I follow behind him with eyes searching every inches of the elevator for my paper. But really it only take one glance to know that I didn’t drop it here, not like the paper is microscopic size. My attention switch back to Steven when I heard his chuckle at me. “So how have you been Ann?” he pondered with a friendly smile. “You didn’t mention much about yourself in those letter.”

    One reason is because I’m quite a private person, I answered his question only in my mind. “I’m doing not too bad,” I assured him. “Did you have fun in the army camp?” I mindlessly asked while he laughed. I shouldn’t use fun, but my heart is just not with me today.

    “You could say it’s fun. Do I look buffer?” he joked.

    Actually, Steven hasn‘t change a much, still skinny as ever. “Darker than before,” I laughed.

    “How are everyone doing?” he casually asked.

    I had a feeling who he wanted to ask about, which made me a bit guilty. “Good, good,” I plainly answered.

    “How is she and Ray?” he persisted. I felt horribly sad for this guy. I really shouldn’t had introduce Myolie to my best friend. Well, it’s not totally my fault, how do I know Myolie would have a change of heart? She use to stick to Steven like bee to honey. Who would of know that she would fall for Raymond a month before Steven left to serve? Sometime I wonder if Steven left to serve because of that reason. At first I was a bit disappointed in Myolie and Raymond, but than again who has the right to say what is right and wrong in love? Not like she is married, she do have her right to choose who she date.

    “They are fine too,” I told him with an awkward smile and soft eyes on him. Then I quickly averted my vision to the stuff bunny with a tux, that he is holding to. “For Kevin?” I asked with a laugh, “Didn’t I mention in the letter that jie wouldn’t let Kevin play with stuff animal? You should buy one without fur.”

    He suddenly hand it toward me. “It’s for you. If I didn’t remember it wrong, it should match with the girl bunny I gave you before I left,” he winked. “I got Kevin a remote car.”

    “Thanks,” I said while brushing my hand on the soft white fur. Steven is a very sensitive guy who really know how to treat a female lady like. He know exactly how to make a girl felt loved and cherished. I really don’t know why Myolie would pick Raymond over Steven. Don’t get me wrong, Raymond is very nice too, or else I wouldn’t be friend with him since second grade. But how could Myolie have the heart to break up with Steven?

    The elevator opened, we step out. And to my surprise I saw Jessica, she just walked pass us and into the elevator. I turned back to curiously look toward her way while the elevator door shuts. She seem not too happy today either. I glanced toward Mr. Grumpy door, and it was shut. Somehow I gotten a bit interested into her and Mr. Grumpy matter since the day I dragged him home.

    Talking about Mr. Grumpy, it remind me of my lost paper and floppy disk. So I started looking around the area for it, but like the lobby and elevator, it’s not here either. Steven has walks ahead and rung the doorbell to gor’s flat, while I didn’t quite want to go in yet. Cause I had a feeling that Mr. Grumpy was the one who took my paper, and I wanted to ask him for it. He should be home since Jessica just left.

    I hear my jie surprise voice after seeing it was Steven who is at the door. She is talking to Steven and welcoming him, than she notice that I was several feet behind him. “Annie? I thought you are going to work on your paper at the U,” she curiously stated, wondering why I returned so early.

    I frowned with a pout and enter our flat too. “I drop it on my way. I don’t even know where I lost it. Jei did you see it around the house? Or did anyone return it?” I asked.

    “No wonder you are so distracted,” Steven remarked.

    Flora shook her head sadly, “No, I haven’t seen it around. Couldn’t you just make another copy?”

    Well, I did save it on my computer and there is no problem for me to print another copy. But my concern is not that I don’t have a paper to turn in. My sole concern is to letting other know about my crush, they will probably roll on the floor laughing, especially if Benny Chan get a hold of it. “Yeah, I could print another copy,” I told them with my low voice.

    While jie pulled Steven to the sofa for a talk, I walked into my room to put away my book. I than walked out to the kitchen thinking of getting a glass of soda for Steven and me. Once I’m in the kitchen facing the window, I saw Mr. Grumpy in his kitchen cooking something. I opened the window and called out to him, “Hey!” My voice isn’t exactly a shout, cause I don’t want to cause attention from jie and Steven.

    Seem like Mr. Grumpy couldn’t hear me since he didn’t open his kitchen window and he is about to walk back out of his kitchen with a cup of noodle. I look around the kitchen searching for something to throw over and get attention. But everything in the kitchen is Flora’s treasure, she will certainly kill me if she found out. I decide to use a chopstick, since we have more than enough to lose one, and she won‘t notice. Once I was about to throw, Kevin step in pulling on my kaki pant. “Aunty A, what are you doing? Are you trying to kill bird?” he asked with loud chuckle of amuse.

    Sheepishly, I lowered my arm and decide not to do that in front of Kevin, he’ll probably copy me later on. “No, I was just…umm…putting the chopstick away,” I lied and pulled the draws out to put my chopstick away. I brighten at the look of Kevin, “Kevin, you want to help Aunty A with something?”

    “Sure!” he answer in a snap. Kevin love to be helpful. “What are we going to do?”

    “Don’t you want to show your new remote car to Louis gor gor?” I slyly asked him.

    He nodded with confuse brows on me, “Yeah, but you say to stay away from him. Didn’t ya?”

    Aren’t kid suppose to be forgetful? Why is he using my own words on me? I sheepishly nod, “Well, this time is different, cause I’ll be going over with you.”

    “Oh, okay. Lets go than!” he excitedly pulled on my hand to go over. When we walked pass the living room, Kevin blurted, “Mommy, we are going over to Lou…” I was quick enough to cover his mouth.

    “We’re going to be outside playing with his car,” I told the two, who nod, while we walk out.

    Standing for over ten minutes, Kevin finally gets impatient and asks me the thousandths time, “Aunty A are you going to push the doorbell?” Well, I have to organize my thought on how to ask Mr. Grumpy for my paper. And what I need to do if he wouldn’t give me back. Or how I’m going to bowdlerize him if I find out he read it. Maybe the best plan is to have Kevin distract him while I turn his flat upside down. “Aunty A!” shouted my impatient nephew.

    “Yes, yes, yes. I’ll ring it now,” I told him and finally press the doorbell. I waited with my nervous heart to the big event. It’s a big event for me, since being an anti-socialist I don’t like to communicate with stranger. Good thing I have Kevin with me. Kevin should be able to pester him while I search his house for my paper.

    The sound of clumping footstep head toward the door within second and stopped with a pause. I gazed into his peek hole wondering if he is peeking at me right now. I guess I should at least give him a polite smile or he probably wouldn‘t open the door, so I awkwardly smiled. The door squeaked open just wide enough for his body. He was slurping on his noodle from a Styrofoam cup, while staring at me with his vivid dark eyes that looked like a pool of ink. Standing there silently, while Kevin started to babble to him about his toy car, I wonder if he eat this kind of stuff for lunch everyday, poor thing.

    Before I notice, he has stepped aside and opened his door wider while Kevin quickly stepped in before I could pull him back. “Wow!! Louis gor gor, can I play with your toy airplane?!” I heard Kevin voice excitedly asked from inside his flat, while both Mr. Grumpy and me are still at the door.

    “Are you coming in?” he asked me with an odd smile. That smile made me wonder what he is pondering about. Has he read the paper, that why he is smiling at me like that? “I would suggest you get rid of your black realm glasses and wear contact,” he suddenly added. Excuse me, but how I look isn’t his business. “Well don’t just stand there. Come in,” he welcomed.

    Pushed my glasses back up, I nervously step into his flat. I was surprised to see how filthy and messy his flat is. I would think that a single man flat would be messy, but to this stage really give me an open eye. There are newspaper on the floor, peanuts shells on coffee table along with unwashed dishes and utensil that is not just one day use. Not to mention empty beer can laying every corner of his flat. He must love to drink. His hardwood floor look like it hasn‘t been mop for years.

    “Umm, nice home,” I sarcastically complimented while he smirked a laugh.

    “Good enough for me to live comfortably in,” he replied shortly and headed over to the west living room wall where Kevin is standing. A three feet model jet is hung on that wall along with a models battleship and tank sitting on that shallow shelf with solider figurine. He must be a fan of those barbaric war society, I murmured softly to myself. “I’ll take it off for you to play with, but you have to promise me to be careful with it,” he bargained with my nephew and totally ignored my present. Kevin excitedly nodded to the deal and had forgotten all about his new remote car Steven brought him.

    My eyes caught the sight of his computer desk in his room, which causes me to curiously inched closer to his room. I want to search for my paper, plus I’m kind of nosy to how filthy his room could be. With him being distracted, I was able to walk toward his room. My eyes sparks to the sight of my green floppy disk sitting on his computer desk! I rushed in to grab it when I hear him rushed in right after me. “Hey! Do you have any manner?!” he yelled with anger.

    Holding my floppy disk securely in my hand, I show it to him. “I’m the one who should ask you that! Why didn’t you return my stuff when you found it?!” I accused him. “Where is my paper?!” I questioned while my eyes search around his room. He is not an organize person at all. His bed is not fold and there are clothes, socks, and even underwear lying on it messily like a pigpen. His computer desk is stacked with junk food and empty glass that hasn’t been wash. It was so loaded and messy that I couldn’t find my paper. I looked into his eyes seriously and firmly asks, “Did you read it?” He didn’t answer me, his eyes are on me still with flame, but I was staring at him with steam too like both of us are having a staring contest. “Give me back,” I steadily told him with my firm voice.

    “I don’t have it,” he simply say and I could see those monstrous eyes returning. I guess I shouldn’t invade his private spot like this, but if I didn’t see my floppy disk, I wouldn’t of rushed in. “Drop that floppy disk now, it’s not yours. I say drop it!” he loudly roared with anger. I immediately dropped it, even when I’m sure it was mine, cause it had the same Ding Dong sticker I put on it, that Ada send me. There is no way he has the same sticker on his floppy disk and to have the same green floppy disk I have. “Get out of my room,” he firmly ordered after seeing me release my floppy disk.

    Kevin walked in to see us in a tense situation. He tucked on Louis shirt, “Louis gor gor, could it fly on it’s own?” he asked unaware of our anger toward each other.

    That chocolate monster with purple polka-dot gulped and warned me, “I want you out of there in three second. And don‘t steal anything from my room.” With that he turns and walked out with Kevin. I guess he do have a soft spot for kid and wouldn’t yell in front of them.

    I glanced at my floppy disk and pouted angrily. “I never hears of such things as stealing, when ones is trying to get back what is rightfully theirs,” I grumpily mumbled while retrieving back my floppy disk and slide it into my pant pocket. I wonder where he put my paper.

    “Hey, don’t make me go back in there!” he warned from the living room. Pouted with disappointment, I headed out of his room and stare at him. Oddly, he smirked with his devilish deep voice, “Thank you.”

    “I mean it, give me back my stuff,” I told him. He didn’t deny having my stuff, instead he ignore me and return to tell tales about his model war jet to Kevin. I growled softly and stepped to face him. “Now,” I demanded, holding my palm out toward him.

    He glance at me with still eyes, “Unless you help me with something first.”

    “So, you did take it!” I blurted out with flame. Kevin look back and forth from Mr. Grumpy and me.

    “I read it too,” he threatened me with a flat smile. I know what that devil meant by that, he want to warn me that he can tell everyone if I don’t do as he say. “Don’t worry, I don’t have a big mouth. Plus there is no benefit for me to tell your Hei gor anyway. But I wouldn‘t give it back to you,” his cruel deep voice sounded just like a devil trying to make a deal with me. I tightened my fist wanting to bowdlerize him as I listened to him. “I could even help you out with winning his heart, if you would help me in return. All I need you to do is be my girlfriend for a year,” he told me with a slight grin.

    Shocked to what he ask of me, my eyes widen on him with disbelieve while Kevin is really confuse cause he has no idea what we are talking about. I hissed at that cruel teasing devil, “What sickening game do you want to play?! Go find one of your girls to play it with you! I’m not the type of girl you want, so don’t kid with me…”

    “You are exactly what I need. Don‘t worry, I won‘t take advantage of you, you‘ll only be my fake girlfriend for a year,” he firmly told me with serious eyes on me. I have no idea what he meant or what he has in mind. Maybe the breakup he has with Jessica has burn his brain out or something. Maybe he wanted to make Jessica jealous our mad. But he must be kidding me to want a nerdy girl like me to be his girlfriend. I could not make anyone jealous!

    His eyes are on me, giving me an uneasy feeling, I quickly refused his offer, “I’m not going to be dumb enough to let you manipulate me because of my paper. It’s just a paper. And I don’t need your help! I’m warning you, if anyone else other than you and me know about my feeling toward Hei, you’ll wish that you never met me, Annie Man! Come on Kevin lets go home,” I pushed my glasses up higher and grabs Kevin hand. I’m stomping toward his door wanting to get out of his flat as soon as possible.

    “Take your time to think about it. I’m in no rush yet, I’ll give you two weeks. I won’t show anyone your paper until then. I know showing the paper to other wouldn’t kill you, but I’m sure it’ll give your friends a shock. And you’ll lose your only chance to be with him. Face it Annie, you need my help to win your Hei gor heart. I promise after you help me for a year, I’ll be able to transform you and give you confident to confess to your Hei gor,” he lured.

    “You are out of your mind! Don’t you even dare to come close to me!” I warned him.

    “You know where to find me, when you reconsider. Don‘t forget the two weeks dead line,” I heard him say before I stepped out of his flat with Kevin. Aggrr…that devil! What am I to do? He still have my paper. Why do he have to pick me to toy with?!
    ******

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 6: Warmth

    “Ah mui,” called my sister-in-law, who just caught up with me and hooked her arm into mine. We were walking to Roasting Company to meet up with other for a chat, since everyone have tons of question for Steven. Glancing up toward the second floor of the glass building, I chuckled at the sight of Steven strangling Benny for some reason. That goofball Benny must had use his loud mouth again. “Seem like they are all here already,” Flora said with a bit of guilt to take so long with bathing and changing Kevin making us half hour late.

    I nodded with a bright smile, we hadn’t have a full gathering for a long while. Today, it’s a great chance for all of us to sit down for a chat. “Wonder if Raymond and Myolie are here tonight,” I gently said.

    “They are here. I saw their car parked several cars to my right. So is Julian and Charmaine,” Moses announced from behind us. He is walking with Kevin.

    Flora glanced back toward Moses and Kevin before she turns her attention back to me again. “Annie, you want to have a walk with me later tonight?“ jie suddenly asked me. I looked into her eyes for cue to why she request so. Seeing her expression, I know she wanted to chat with me about personal stuff, and the subject will probably be me.

    “Sure, we haven‘t had a chat for a long time,” I exclaim with a grin.

    Flora smiled brightly and started her first step of her caring drill. “You seem to have a lot in mind lately. Is there something bothering you? Are you still sad about losing your paper? Or is Moses right about you having relationship problem?” she nosily asked.

    I laughed loudly. “Jie, when is gor ever right about me? No, it’s not that,” I reassured her. She waited for me to tell her more, but I had no intention to. I just hate this feeling of wanting help but knowing that I must be on my own this time. “Don’t worry jie. I may not know how to put makeup on, but I know how to solve my own problem. It’s nothing too critical,” I told her in a half joking tone while smiling at her warmly. I’m really grateful to have this close bond with her.

    Narrowed her eyes to a slit, she examined me like x-ray, “You know, Annie. I think your brother is right, you need to go out more…” I sighed, cause I know where this topic always lead to. “Oh Annie, come on. You don’t have to sigh every time, I try to…”

    “Jie ahhhhh,” I whined with stretched tone, like how I response to anyone who tries to match make me. You could call me cheesy, but I believe in fate. I’m in no rush to search for a boyfriend anyway, I just like to follow the flow.

    Hearing my complain, Flora just laughed with her head shaking at me. Her arm is still snuggly hook on mine, while we walk in the cold darken night heading toward the two glass doors of the café. Pulling me to a stop so Moses catch up with us, Flora asks, “Annie, did you know that your mom called last week…”

    “Is mom, honey. Didn’t we agree in not categorizing our family?” my brother reminded.

    “Well, I don’t want Annie to think I’m talking about my mom,” Flora replied to Moses with a hint of irritant. Moses is very technical when it come to labeling which side the family belong to. Maybe because we grew up seeing mom constant dislike on her in-laws, that we don‘t want it to happen in our generation. I still remember how badly mom relationship with my father’s youngest sister Jane are. They has million of stories about who done whose wrong. Aunt Jane wouldn’t come over to our house even when my father invited her over for Christmas dinner. The last time I saw aunt Jane was when her mom, my grandma pass away.

    Personally, I think it’s pathetic to keep that much hatred toward each other. After all, we are all family. I certainly don’t want Flora and me to end up that way. I can stand being single for the rest of my life, but I certainly can’t stand being a bitter soul who avoid my only brother and his family. I love them too much, especially Kevin, to not count them as my family. To insure a healthy relationship, I had make sure that both Flora and me are in clear understanding term with each other.

    Before I moved in with them, I had requested jie to be honest with me and tell me if she ever find anything she dislike about me during my stay. Cause I would rather talk it through with her than to have a big fight over simple fixable problem. Back then jie laughed at my request while giving me a big hug and positively told me that I could never cause a fight since I’m too passive and has always yield to her. She called me a marshmallow and ask if I had ever get seriously mad at anyone before.

    It’s true, I’m an extremely passive person, who wouldn’t speak up even if I know I’m being use by other. But I really don’t mind as long as the person don’t crosses the line by too much. My grandma has always taught me that there is no harm to do a greater shares of work than other, and I do believe her philosophy. I had always wanted everyone around me to be happy and cheerful, so if I could do a little to make them happy, than why not?

    Jie nudged me since, I was growling instead of listening to her telling me that my mom had someone in mind for me. If they would of know that I already have someone in mind for myself, maybe they will learn to leave me alone. “Annie, I’m serious,” Flora urged, “You’ll regret it when you are old and notice you have no one beside you. I know you enjoy being by yourself now, but you‘ll know what it mean to be lonely when you grew old.” She slide her arm around me to give me a loving squeeze and added, “Honestly, I don‘t mind to have you live with us forever. Both Moses and me will always welcome you, but I‘m sure you‘ll be more happy to have your own family.” I laughed at her, while she whack my arm, “Annie, I’m serious. You can’t be shy for the rest of your life. And sitting at home in front of the computer won‘t give you a boyfriend.”

    “Jie ah, why do you has to make me sound like I’m going to be one grumpy granny who yell at kids that step on my lawn, simply because I‘m frustratingly lonely? You don’t have to worry about my love life, I know how to handle it. And if I so happen to grow old and lonely, I had always wanted to adopt children anyway. I could be a happy nun with several orphans,” I stated. I had always have a soft spot for children and always wanted to adopt orphan to give them a warm family.

    Rolled her eyes at me, Flora sighed, “That’s not what I meant. You are just so stubborn.” I chuckled at her. This is not the first time we touch base with this subject. I had told Moses and Flora multiple times to leave my love life alone, but somehow that is a tough thing for them to promise. Maybe because they are happily married with Kevin that they think it’s abnormal or even impossible to be happy if one is single. At the moment, I don’t think there is a problem at all. Maybe because I never experience true love, that I don’t long for it as much as other who has.

    Moses has picked Kevin up to ride on his shoulder while he charge up to the coffee café to open the door for us. “Honey, don’t waste time on Ann, you know her skull is as hard as cement. It‘ll take a jack hammer for a guy to drill through her skull,” teased Moses.

    “Haha, very funny,” I sarcastically told him while walking pass the door, he gave me a knock on the top of my head when I walked past him. Kevin chuckled with joy while copying his father, trying to knock on my head. “Okay that’s enough,” I warned my adorable nephew, while pretending to be mean and getting ready to tickle him. Somehow that rascal never felt threaten by my mean look, instead he is dragging his eyes down while swinging his tongue out at me. Maybe I need some lesson on being mean from Mr. Grumpy to get some of my aunty respect back.

    “Hey sweetie, what take you so long?!” I hear Benny hollering from above and when I glance upward he winked at me. He is standing at the edge of the second floor of the café leaning against the railing looking down at us. That silly boy could never act normal for a day. “Come up quick! Hei is waiting for you guy to announce something to all of us. He’s probably getting married because of his date this afternoon!”

    “Uncle Benny!” shouted Kevin, while I laughed at Benny imagination. It’s impossible for Hei to suddenly get married, plus I know he didn’t go out on a date this morning. We walked up the black painted metal spiral staircase to join the rest of the group. When we were half way, I saw Jessica walked down with a well dressed gentleman. He was holding onto her wrist and urged her to get out of here in a rush. Jessica kept looking up toward the second level. Is it because Mr. Grumpy is here too? My eyebrows furrowed a bit at the thought of Mr. Grumpy. That unreasonable devil.

    “Let go Gilbert, I know how to walk by myself!” I heard Jessica warned with annoyance. My head turns and follows them, wondering what had happened. And if that gentleman the guy that has stolen Jessica’s heart from Mr. Grumpy. But it doesn’t seem like it. If it so, Jessica wouldn’t be this angry walking out with this so called Gilbert.

    After seeing them headed out, I return to head up the stairs. “Ann, hurry up!” called my group of friends, who are settle at a large round table. Gor, Jie, and Kevin has already reaches them while I was observing Jessica. I nodded and hurried over, but someone tapped on my shoulder. To my surprise it was Mr. Grumpy stood right in front of me, when I turn around to look. Well, I’m not that surprise, cause I guessed he would be around for Jessica to looked up longingly. “Louis gor gor,” Kevin greeted him, while running toward us.

    Curiously, Moses looked toward us and a happy smile appear as he jokes, “Hey Louis, here for coffee or girls?” I turn my vision to my brother with a daunted expression for him to know Mr. Grumpy too. “Want to join us?” he offered. No, no, no, Moses no! Why would you offer this scum bag to join us? I want him far away from me and all of us. Partially because I don’t want him to get acquaintance with any of my friends, especially Hei. And also because I’m getting creep from the deal he wanted to offer me this morning. I don’t know exactly what he has planned, but I don’t like to be control by other.

    With calm eyes on me, he slightly avert to look at Moses. “Sure, I don’t want to return home this early anyway,” he stated and glance back at our group of friends, “Large gathering.” His eyes once again settle on me giving me fear. I could sense every words of his are meant to be a threat to me. I darted at him with my still eyes warning him to leave me alone.

    “Yeah, one of my buddy just returns. Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone. You‘ll fit right in,” Moses friendly offer. This is the one and only major different between Moses and me! He has to make friend with the world while I’m too shy to even make friend with my neighbor. I started to panic cause I don’t trust this dark toned guy at all. God must had make him darker for a reason and this reason might probably because he want to warn everyone that Mr. Grumpy is a good for nothing devil. I must stop him, I must stop him, but how?

    Before Mr. Grumpy was able to walk toward the table, my hand suddenly reached out to interlock with his and pulled him back. I don’t want him anywhere near my circle of friends. I know, I ’m chicken and felt threatened to think of what he would blurt out if he get a chance to meet them. “Stay away,” I bitterly warned him. Vividly with a slight twinkle, his dark eyes gaze into mine so stilly. I could see his laughter through those sets of teasing eyes. “I mean it, Louis,” I firmly warned him.

    I felt his warm hand interlocked my hand more tightly while his grin widen. He is not grinning cause he is happy, he is grinning because he think this is some sort of a fun game for him to play. He suddenly lean in toward me and whispered, “I believe this is the first time you called my name.” I looked at him through my glasses and pouted at him wanting him to just leave the café. He let out a soft chuckle that only he and me could hear. “Annie, has you subconsciously fallen for me?” he asked sweetly.

    “What?!” I blurted out at him. What kind of brain cells does he possess?! Not in a million light year would I ever fall for him!

    “Shhhh…” he hushed me. “If you haven’t notice, you are still holding my hand and whispering to me intimately instead of being over there at the table. I think your Hei gor is looking toward us with amuse. What you think he would think of us, seeing us so close?”

    I quickly release my fingers from his and stepped a step back. The warmth that I felt from his hand quickly fade away. Glancing toward my group of friends, my eyes land on Hei who is grinning at me as he watches with interest. Benny startled to whistle and Hei followed along. “Hey Annie, who is this friend of your?!” blurted Charmaine, who sat next to Julian with Julian arm around her shoulder.

    I quickly blushed nonstop while taking interest at the dark wooden floor. And I could even sense Mr. Grumpy smirking at me along with the background whispering sound of those boys. But along with my blush, I carry a flam of anger for Hei to whistle at me. I don’t mind for Benny to tease, but Hei too? How could he be so insensitive to my feeling toward him? Don’t he know that he will make me sad by teasing instead of being displease with Mr. Grumpy? Of course he doesn’t know, he only treat me as his so call ah mui!

    “Don’t worry, I always keep my words. You still have two weeks, remember?” whispered Louis. I glanced up at him and there is certainly displease flam in my eyes, but it only make him smile with amuse. “Come on, just relax and smile, I‘ll take care of the rest,” Mr. Grumpy whispered to me. He nudged my elbow and walked toward the group.

    “You know my sister?” gor asked with a chuckle.

    Quickly looked into Moses eyes with seriousness, I shakes my head repeatedly. “No,” I blurted out cause I know what Moses is thinking of. His ’know’ meant much more than what met the eyes. That devil chuckled at my answer and behavior. I darted my eyes on him to stop. He grinned at me with his deep eyes that could be called dreamy to other girls, but to me, I just wanted him to look elsewhere. And if I have the power of bewitching, I would make him puff into smoke.

    “Not really. I still hasn’t got her name yet,” Louis said with a handsome smile toward me, but I did nothing but pout at him while nudging my glasses a bit. “But I had to thanks her for pulling me back a while ago, I almost tripped,” he smoothly lied and averted the topic, “Hi, nice to meet you all. Do you guys have interest in soccer?” The group of soccer addicts quickly welcome him in like he is their long lost buddy. Men! The only thing they think about are girls, sport, and cars!

    Walked away from Mr. Grumpy, I settle myself as far away from his seat as possible. “Hey Ann,” Roger greeted since I took the seat next to his.

    “Hey. How are Maggie and your daughter doing? Why didn’t you bring them along, today?” I asked, but somehow I kept glancing over to look at Mr. Grumpy. I just want to make sure he keep his words and won’t tell everyone about my crush on Hei.

    “Emma is not feeling good. She had a fever last night. We even took her to the hospital late last night. Maggie is staying home to take care of her now,” Roger Kwok informed me.

    Frowned slightly, I said, “I hope she feel better soon.” Roger nodded. Roger is a very good construction worker, he could build a house with just his own two hands. He is also a very gentle guy who is very sensitive to Maggie request. His marriage to Maggie could be called as a flash of lighting, since they get married right after dating for half a year and had a baby exactly ten months after their marriage. Emma, their daughter is only a year younger than Kevin. She is a charm to have, but somehow she constantly get ill.

    Someone repeatedly hitting the coffee cup with a spoon to get everyone attention. I turned to the sound and smiled to see Hei grinning widely, he was the one who is doing so. He sure look sharp and extra excited tonight. Everyone stopped talking for a second and looked toward him. “Finally, we get to know the news of Hei wedding!” blurted Benny, making us chuckle. I caught a glance toward me from Mr. Grumpy. He is probably lost and believe Benny‘s words.

    Throwing his silver spoon toward Benny, Hei announced, “Of course I’m not getting married. But I’ll be leaving soon and won’t be back for a year.”

    What…what… “What?!” I finally blurted out with surprise. My eyes carry a trace of confusion. From the corner of my eyes I could see Mr. Grumpy observing me, but I could careless about him at the moment.

    Hei laughed at me, “Yes, you hear it right. This morning, my uncle has asked me if I wanted to help him with his business in France. He has several restaurants plus fashion store he wanted someone to take over. And since he don’t have a son, he wonder if I could help him.”

    “Didn’t you say he have a daughter? He is not really your uncle, so maybe he wanted you to be his son-in-law,” Moses hypothesized with chuckles. I frowned to that. But my sadness is not cause by jealousy, I’m sad to know that he will be gone for a year. I will no longer could see him each morning, I will no longer get to talk with him.

    Laughed, Hei shakes his head, “Nah. Anyway, I think it would be a great chance for me to learn how to run a business, especially restaurant business. Plus France have lots of good cook that I could learn from.”

    “But you don’t speak a word of French. Wouldn’t it be a bit hard for you to get around?” Julian asked.

    “When will you be leaving?” Mr. Grumpy asked exactly what I wanted to know. I glanced at him, he gave me a slight smile. It’s only him who know how I’m feel at the moment while everyone is oblivious to my thought.

    “The twelfth of next month,” Hei answered. That only leave him slightly over two weeks. How could he just leave that fast?! “I know that is a bit urgent, but he wanted me to fly back with him,” Hei explained. I was silent after the news while everyone congratulate him and started to daydream with him about his lifestyle in France.
    ******

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7: Koo Jai

    Sitting out in my balcony I gazed at the crescent moon and twinkles of stars hovering over the velvet dark sky. Cool breeze blew toward me, slightly waving my shoulder length hair to the left. I tucked them back behind my ear. Somehow, I felt extra tired tonight. Not physically tired, but emotionally tired. Both my mind and heart can’t get settle after realizing that the guy I secretly loved for over a decade will be away from me for a year. And there is no promise if he would come back after a year, or if he even care enough to remember me while he is gone.

    Over the years I have daydreamed that he would one day knock on my door and confess to me that he loved me too. And countless time in wishful dreamland, I had seen myself telling him the three words and having him whisper the same three words back to me. I know it silly of me to cherish the dream of the impossible. What am I to him? I’m nothing but a girl who oddly giggle in happiness to see him cheerful or excited about something. I’m nothing but a girl who would silently observe him with a concerning frown to see him troubled with thought. To him, I’m still just nothing but a sister of a buddy.

    Sighed with depressed mind, I pulled my glasses off. There is no need to see things clearly when there are gloomy clouds in my heart. Tonight I have no mood for anything other than being alone to think in silent. Sadly, I rested my folded arms on my balcony railing, and upon my arms I rest my chin. I absentmindedly gaze ahead, which is Louis room. But my eyes see nothing but the past.

    I remembered Hei’s smile when he saw me walked out of my room in an elegant baby blue dress. I remember how he taught me to dance during Moses and Flora wedding banquet four years ago. Many people had asked me to dance that evening, but I would shakes my head, cause I don’t want to make a fool out of myself and the person. Sitting by my granny, I watch him dance with other girl. I carried a gentle smile while imagining how it would be like if that girl is me.

    I remember him glancing toward me a couple times while he dance and he whispered something to Nicky who happen to walk by him and the girl. Back than I thought he was laughing at me for being the only girl sitting down, but no he has handed his partner over to Nicky. His charming grin with beady eyes smiled toward me so sweetly. “Hi granny,” he greeted my grandmother with respect when he has step up to us. Than he glanced toward me, offering me his hand. I was surprise and my heartbeat increased, while I shake my head, but deep down I really wanted to follow him. “Come on Ann, you haven’t dance for the entire night. It’s your brother’s wedding, you should have fun too. Don’t just sit here alone, lets go have some fun,” he caringly lured.

    “I don’t know how to dance,” I replied nervously. I don’t want to make him look like a fool if I mess up.

    He winked at me and pulled on my hand until I stood up. Granny urged me to dance too, she has always like Hei’s respectful personality toward elderly, but she never know that I liked him too. “I have a feeling the next song will be a slow one. All you need is to follow me,” Hei assured while leaded me to the dance floor. Right at that moment a slow song started. He chuckled at me cause I was really stiff and didn’t know what I suppose to do. My heart panicked and I swear I felt my hand sweating like a pig. “Just relax,” his warm voice told me, “Ah Mui, you trust me right?”

    Frowned with uncertainty filled my eyes lacking confident, I warned him, “Yes, but I fear I’ll step on your toes, you know I don‘t know how to walk in high heel. I hardly ever wear dresses, not to mention it being this long. Plus I’m not wearing my glasses tonight, so I can‘t see clear enough. Why don’t you ask…”

    “Shhh…” he hushed and place one of his hand on my waist, I immediately froze like my pulse had been freeze into a statue. “Here put your left hand on my shoulder and follow me in small step. You look lovely tonight in this dress Ann, you can’t just waste this beautiful dress by sitting there. At least dance to this one song with me? You’ll do fine, trust me,” he assured me.

    Nodded with an inhale, I bravely do as he said. He started to took small step back and forth to the rhythm. I had no idea on how to follow the beat and since I don’t want to injure him, my eyes kept gazing down toward our shoes. Being a nervous wreck, my hand hold on to him tighter cause I don‘t want to trip and make us fall. I‘m so nervously tense that I could feel the heat on my palm. I wonder if he sense the raising temperature too.

    Dressed beautifully Moses and Flora chuckled when they saw me on the dance floor dancing with Hei right beside them. I blushed but I felt happy to know that Hei is willing to dance with a silly fool like me. “Ann, we are slow dancing. You need to step closer toward me,” Hei told me with a chuckle of amuse to see this nervous side of me. I guess he is right, since it seem like I’m three feet away from him. “Don’t worry too much about stepping on me, just follow the flow,” Hei assured. “If you want, you can lean on my shoulder. Don‘t be so uptight. You are only dancing with me, not a prince,” he added with a grin.

    I chuckled and felt like a load had left my shoulder. Hei is always good in giving me confident and making me felt comfortable to trust him won‘t tease me. I nodded to him and slowly stepped closer to him. Gazed into his eyes for a few longing second, I lean in to rest my right cheek on his right shoulder. I never felt this close to anyone before and this feeling confirm my crush toward him being real and not like the puppy love I had in seventh grade.

    A sweet smile paint across my face when I saw my parents observing us dance with chuckle while whispering to each other. At that moment, it gave me a sense of warmth and complete like I’m being his girlfriend, even though it’s not realistic. We slowly dance to the music with small step mainly going in circle, while other couple have more move. I imagine we look really boring and silly to dance in slow circle with the hem of my long dress slightly swaying side to side. But nothing matter to me that night, I just felt good and happy to be able to dance with him, even if it‘s just one dance.

    “What are you smiling so cheesily about?” a voice asked me causing me to snap out of my memory lane. My blur vision caught a figure opposite of my balcony. “I would of thought you would be sad at the moment and needed some comforting from Mr. Koo,” that devil teased from his balcony.

    Pushed my chair back and reaches over to grab my glasses to wear, I simply replies, “Like you told me before, mind your own business.” After sliding my glasses back on I glance at him seeing him holding onto a can of beer with eyes glued on me. “If you like to stare that much go stare at yourself in the mirror. And get your drunken eyes off of me,” I proudly copied what he once told me.

    “Oh come on, you can’t be that kiddy to still remember and stay mad at me after this long, right?” he asked with a grin.

    Ignored him, I rise my nose higher and turned to walk in, giving him no attention. This is what actress in series do to show their fearlessness to their opponent, which is usually guy that they ended up marrying at the end of the series. But of course my case would be different, totally different. At the same moment, someone knocked on my door. “Come in, it’s not lock,” I informed. The doorknob rotated and in step Kevin with a drawing, while I shut my balcony door and close all the curtain so Mr. Grumpy don’t have to stare over.

    “Aunty A, can you scan this and save this drawing on the computer for me? I wanted to show grandma and grandpa next time they come to visit,” Kevin requested.

    “Why don‘t you just show them your drawing when they come?” I asked him while turning my computer on since I want to checks if daai jie leave any message for me.

    “Noooo, this one is for Uncle Hei. Mommy said, he is leaving soon,” Kevin pouted with frowning brows.

    I saddened at the thought too. But I had to cheer the poor kid up, so I gave him a bright smile. “Alright, I’ll scan it for you right now,” I told him.

    “Kevin bedtime!” jie called from the living room.

    “Go to sleep first, I’ll give you back the drawing in the morning,” I promised him.

    Nodded, he leaned in with tiptoes to peck my cheek, “Thanks Aunty A. Nite nite.”

    “Nite nite,” I replied with a peck on his forehead. He stepped out of my room with my door closed.

    Yawned, I did as Kevin want, which is scanning his drawing into my computer, but since I don’t want to cramp up my computer hard drive, I had decide to save it on a floppy disk instead. Right on my desk next to my row of seashell, I grab the green floppy disk with the dingdong sticker. I should have enough room to save Kevin drawing in there and after I send my paper in, I could delete the material and give Kevin the floppy disk.

    To my surprise, once the floppy drive open the disk, I can’t recognize any of the files. It’s not my paper on Hei at all, instead the floppy disk contain several image files. Is this really not my floppy disk, like what Mr. Grumpy has informed me when I invaded his room? Than where is my floppy disk?

    Nosily, I clicked on one of the file. A window pop up showing a colorful kiddy drawing. The child drawing skill is better than Kevin scribble, but I’m positive that the child is under the age of ten, cause most of the lines are not straight and the figure is a bit out of proportion. At the lower right hand corner of the drawing there is a date written in blue crayon and kiddy handwriting. The date was two months ago.

    Curiously I examine the drawing trying to psychologically interpret the artist. In the drawing of green grass along with colorful flower, there stood two stick figures holding hand. One being a female and one being a boy, it’s easy to tell cause of the typical skirt vs. pant and long hair vs. short hair. There is a red crayon arrow pointed to the boy with a crooked writing of “Koo Jai, Lois”. I guess the child tries to spell Louis but fail by leaving out the u.

    Could this child be Mr. Grumpy secret son or daughter? That why he is so angry at me to see me take this floppy disk this morning? But it odd to see the child drawing a female figure that is much taller than the stick figure representing Mr. Grumpy. Most children will draw their parents being much taller than them, not the other way around. But at least the child pick the perfect choice of color to use for the charcoal skin tone of that monster. There is an arrow pointing to the stick figure with the pink dress too. Next to it, the writing labeled, “Me, Koo Jia ah Mi.” I don’t understand the meaning at all. Could ah Mi mean ah Mui?

    I clicked to open another file, maybe I can find more clue there. This file is a drawing by the same child too cause it has the same labeled title. This one is dated six weeks ago. Unlike the other drawing this drawing show the female riding on the plane flying pass cloud and bright sunray heading toward the boy figure, which I know representing Mr. Grumpy. With kiddy handwriting across the cloudy blue sky it wrote, “Koo Jai, daddy has pormiss to bring me to see you in 2 mouth.” I think the child trying to say that her dad has promise to bring her over in two months.

    Daddy? So the child couldn’t be Mr. Grumpy’s. She must be his younger sister than. This make much more sense to the different proportion of stick figures size. Mr. Grumpy must has been a bully toward his younger sibling, that his sibling wanted to look superior to him in drawing. Wait, two months from the date on the drawing is exactly two weeks from today. Which is also the date when the devil next door has set the deadline to our deal. It can’t be this coincident, he is up to something fishy.

    Why do he want me to pretend to be his girlfriend while his family come to visit him? Is it because he has told his family that he is dating Jessica? Is it because of his manly pride that he wanted me to cover up for him, so his family won’t know his embarrassment of being dumped? Devilishly, a wicked smile slip from the corner of my lips at the thought of not helping him. Why should I help him look good in front of his family, while he uses dirty trick to manipulate me? I should be the one who carry a chair and take the front row seat to watch him suffer while explaining his reason for being dump!

    Browsing through over five drawing from the same girl, I finally click into a file that is not an image. It’s a typed up letter addressed to Mr. Grumpy. It read, “Louis, I’m very happy to hear your news that you are dating and planning to get married by spring. Both dad and I are very excited for you. Your Ah Mi is so excited that she kept asking us when we will fly to Hong Kong. That girlfriend of yours must be very special for you to inform us about her.” She must meant Jessica. They were planning to get married? No wonder he don’t know how to tell his family that he is dump!

    I continued reading the letter, “Louis, there is something else I must discuss with you. Last month, I took dad for a physical exam after noticing that he kept forgetting things. The doctor has diagnose that your grandpa has Alzheimer. Of course he is very depressed and shock to find out. Louis, he no longer could take care of Ah Mi for you. He is seventy already and with Alzheimer, he will soon need someone to take care of him too.” I’m curious to who is Ah Mi, and why should Mr. Grumpy be responsible? He doesn’t seem to be the father of the child from those drawings. If Ah Mi is his sister, than where are his parents? Why don’t they take care of his sister instead of leaving her to their grandpa? Is Mr. Grumpy an orphan like how Kevin once told me?

    “Louis, I would love to take care of my own sister too, but you know she is different than the rest of us. You know she is a lot to handle. I have my own family to take care of too. I won’t have the time or patient to take care of your Ah Mi. Grandpa will not have the energy or control to take care of Ah Mi either. The doctor has inform us that most patient in your grandpa stage of Alzheimer will probably get to the stage of major memories deterioration within a year.” No wonder, he wanted me to be his fake girlfriend for a year. But why can’t he just be honest with them and tell them that he break up with Jessica?

    “You don’t have to worry about grandpa, he is my dad, so I’ll take care of him myself. But I really don’t have the hand or ability to take care of your Ah Mi too. Louis, you are the closest family she has, you need to be the one who take care of her from now on. At first your grandpa is really worry and concern that you don’t know how to take care of Ah Mi, but now both grandpa and I are very relief. We are very glad to know that you are getting married soon and will have a stable life for Ah Mi. I‘m sure both your fiancée and you will know how to take good care of Ah Mi and keep her happy for the rest of her life. Ah Mi is very happy to know that she get to see her Koo Jai soon, please don‘t disappoint her and the rest of us. You can‘t avoid her forever, she is the one who give you life, you should take care of her in return.”

    Give him life? Is the writer suggesting that Ah Mi is his mother? But…but she seem to be like a kid in her drawing and writing, how is this possible? Does Mr. Grumpy’s mother has a mental capacity of a child? Than how did she get pregnant with him? This make absolutely no sense to me. Maybe I’m thinking too much, there could be other reason. Give life, could mean she somehow saved him. But no, the writer called Mr. Grumpy’s grandpa as dad and Ah Mi as sister, so Ah Mi has to be at least a generation older than Mr. Grumpy. So she has to be his mom. Why would his mom have this mental problem?

    “Louis, I had bought plane tickets for your grandpa and Ah Mi to arrive in Hong Kong next month. Dad worry that Ah Mi will have problem flying back alone, so he wanted to bring her over himself. Plus he wanted to make sure that you will be capable of taking care of Ah Mi yourself. And he do wanted to see your fiancée and your flat. He do missed you a lot and wishes to see the day you get married before he forget everything. Your grandpa hasn’t decide when he will return home yet, he probably want to stay with you until his heart is settle that everything between Ah Mi and you are taken care off. I hope you don’t mind that they will arrive so suddenly. If you have problem with our arrangement give us a call. Love aunty Lisa,” I finished reading. And the date to that letter was two weeks ago.

    For all this time, I thought Mr. Grumpy wanted me to help him make Jessica jealous. I never know that he has this situation with his family. I think he wanted to take care of Ah Mi, or else he wouldn’t want me to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to ease his grandpa worry about his ability to handle Ah Mi. No wonder he is drunk and angry after being dump by Jessica. Jessica has turn all his plan upside down. But why did they break up in the first place if they are in the stage to talk about marriage? Is it because Jessica found out that Mr. Grumpy’s mom has child mind capacity? Maybe, she is angry at Mr. Grumpy for lying to her instead of being honest in the first place.

    Should I help him? His aunt doesn’t sound like she wanted to take care of Ah Mi. It’s obvious that she wanted Mr. Grumpy to take full responsibility. But if his grandpa found out that he just broke up with Jessica and won’t get married soon, he might felt uncertain about leaving Ah Mi with just Mr. Grumpy. Seeing his filthy and messy flat, I would of be skeptical to Mr. Grumpy ability to take care of other too. And the only meal he seem to have is cup of noodle. If I were his grandpa, I wouldn’t leave Ah Mi behind either.

    Mr. Grumpy do needed help in learning how to care for other. I could teach him and pretend to be his girlfriend until his grandpa leave with an eased heart. He did promise that he won’t take advantage of me and I do wanted him to be able to assure his grandpa that he is able to take care of this Ah Mi of his. The most his grandpa would stay is for only a year. And during this year Hei won’t be around to notice me pretending to be someone else girlfriend, so there wouldn‘t be any misunderstanding. And by the time he return from France, I’ll be able to get my stuff back from Mr. Grumpy and no one will know about my crush. Plus, if I ever wanted Mr. Grumpy help with confessing to Hei, he has promise that he will. It’s a fair deal. But before I agree, I must set some rules with Mr. Grumpy first.
    ******

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 8: His Minutes Girl

    “Ah Mui, what are you doing?” Flora startled me from behind causing me to slightly jump. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. But why are you camping by the front door the entire morning? Are you waiting for someone?” she curiously asked with interest.

    With sheepish smile, I turns to walk toward our white sofa and causally answer, “No, I thought I heard something out there, you know, like a gun fired.”

    “Gun fired?” laughed jie with shaking head at my silly excuse that make no sense. Well what do she expect? I can’t think of a good excuse in a rush and don’t want to let her know that I’m waiting for Mr. Grumpy. Flora never force me to speak the truth when she get the hint that I don’t want to tell her. So she let it go easily and walked into the kitchen.

    I had been waiting for a chance to talk to Mr. Grumpy the entire morning, but I haven‘t seen him exit or return to his flat yet. I could always rings his doorbell to find out, but that just make me look bad. I don’t want him to think I’m inferior to him and willing to yield to his deal. Or worst, to have him feel victorious like I needed his help with Hei or willing to get manipulated simply because he has my paper, when the fact is that I’m the one who is helping him.

    I didn’t want to confront him about his family problem either, cause I bet he will be mad to know that I stolen his floppy disk and even spied on his personal matter. Plus I don’t want to rob his dignity by making him felt like he needed my help and has to open his mouth to ask for it. He is a man, and like what my father once say, all men needed their faces, especially in front of a female.

    The best way to not make him or me felt inferior to each other is to ease into the topic smoothly. Pretending to coincidentally met him at the corridor outside the flat is much better than me ringing his doorbell and get dump folded when he answer the door. If I could just see him and have a words with him, we could somehow get to the point of him inviting me into his flat, than that would be a different story cause it won‘t look like I‘m begging him.

    Glanced toward the kitchen seeing Flora busied herself with cooking, I stood back up to head toward the front door again. I peeked out the peephole, but the corridor is still empty. Paced a bit by the door with nothing to do but wait, I pulled his floppy disk out of my olive vest jacket’s pocket. I need to wait for a good chance to sneak this back to his without him noticing that I took it.

    Turned my head toward the sound of footstep from outside, I quickly opened the door to step out before he left. But instead of Mr. Grumpy, I bump right into Moses head on. “Ann!” Moses yelled with displease as he rubbed his chest while I’m rubbing my forehead. “What’s the rush?” he asked while bending down to pick up his laptop that I made him drop.

    “Oh… nothing, I…I was just going down to the lobby to get umm…our mail,” I stammered my lie. And I told people that I don’t lie, when I just made two lies within five minutes. Why am I even lying cause of that monster? Why am I even so nosy in wanting to help him anyway? When all he think of is how to threaten me with my secret. Well, I have always wanted to help the special needs. And if his so called Ah Mi is an adult with a child mind capacity, I do wanted to help in anyway possible.

    I tries to walk pass Moses heading to the elevator but he pulled me back by my elbow. “Don’t you need the mailbox’s key?” he asked while starting to get suspicious. He swings his keys in front of my face and teases, “Waiting for Ada’s mail again? Are you sure you didn’t lie when you tell us Ada is a girl?”

    Yanked his keys from him, I rolled my eyes. “For the millionths times, yes, she is a hundred percent girl, Moses,” I reminded him with annoyance and quickly stepped into the elevator before he has something else to add.

    Once I got to the main level, our building security guard greeted me with a typical, ‘How are you doing Ms Man?’ I automatically smile and replies, “Good and you?” He always give me the same answer too, that I sometime wonder why people needs to greet each other. But I guess those simple greeting kind of help tie us up as a group.

    After that short exchange of words, I headed to our lobby’s rows of mailbox. I’m surprised that daai jie did send me a small package when I open the mailbox. While I’m wondering about what’s inside, I hear voices of Mr. Grumpy from outside of our building. I glanced toward our building glass door to saw Mr. Grumpy just rushed in with Jessica following after him. Jessica doesn’t seem happy nor mad, she almost give me a sense that she felt guilt or sympathy toward Mr. Grumpy for something. I wonder why. I mean if she dump him, than why do she kept coming back for him?

    Keeping her pace up with Mr. Grumpy, who seem to ignore her, Jessica urgently tries to talk to him, “Louis, you can’t avoid us forever. Could you just please do this once? Just for me? Saam…”

    Sharply turned to face Jessica, Louis angrily yelled, “Stop! Don’t you ever use that title on me. I’m sorry Ms Chung, I hope you remember that I’m not related to you what so ever. Stop coming here to pester me, I don‘t know you that well, at least not the real you. And no matter how much more reasons you give me, I still have no obligation to help you nor him!”

    After burst his frustration out, he turned back and his eyes interlocked into mine. Seeing that pair of eyes that is filled with hatred, I felt that there is much more than just a break up between him and Jessica. I could actually sense fear in his eyes, like he fear I would see through his situation with Jessica. I don’t know why, but I sense he felt shameful about something and wishes that I wouldn’t be here to see it at all. Seeing him unlike the confident and smirking devil that he always seem, I felt a bit sadden, maybe this is called sympathy.

    Awkwardly, I turned to look away, pretending I didn’t notice, so he can get some of his privacy back. I sighed softly to myself and starting to think that God has a good sense of humor to kept toying with me. Or else, why must I be the one who kept witnessing Mr. Grumpy in an argument with girls, especially Jessica? What if that monster get frustrated and started to yell at me later? I should leave, yes I should leave as soon as possible. Not daring to look up, I sneaked by them and heading toward the elevator. My index finger kept pressing the up arrow, but the elevator is currently on level fifteen. “That will take a while,” I mumbled to myself so softly along with a sigh.

    I heard Jessica speak up again from behind me, “What you want me to do to have you forgive him and me?”

    “NOTHING!” he roared back.

    “Why do you have to be so stubborn?! You are not the only one suffering! He is suffering too. It really hurt me to see him this sick but still carry so much burden. Do you know how much he regret what happened in the past? He tries to make it up too! It‘s your grandpa that refuse to let him take responsibility,” Jessica exclaim.

    I wonder who is the ‘him’ she is mentioning about. Is it the well dressed gentleman that walked out of Roasting Company with her last night? Oh Annie, stop being so nosy or you’ll get yell at again. Stay focus, stay focus on the elevator, I tries to force myself to ignore their conversation, but it’s so hard, especially when she mention his grandpa. It’s moment like this that I wishes my ears would have lid. ‘Why is the elevator stuck on level nine for so long?’ I pondered with impatient heart and repeatedly press on the upper arrow again, even though I know that it won’t speed anything up. Maybe God purposely wanted me to listen, I told myself so I won’t be too guilty on hearing their argument.

    “There is certain thing in life that can never be fix. And money can never repay for what he owe us. I’m very proud of my grandpa for returning his so call responsibility!” Louis inflamingly told her. “I’m warning you, I don’t have much more patient for you. Don‘t tries to test my temper and crosses the line any further. You wouldn‘t like it when I‘m mad.”

    Nosily, I slightly sneaked a peek at them. He sure look mad enough to me. I could tell that Jessica is very serious and her eyes even carry glister of tears. I’m very curious to know what she meant and by their dialogue, I’m starting to think that they are arguing about family matter more than relationship. But what does that guy has to do with Louis’s family? Should they be arguing about their relationship instead, since they just broke up? Well, no one ever told me that they were ever a couple, it just me assuming it being so all along. Maybe I’m wrong.

    “Are you still mad that Joyce broke up with you because of Marco? I told you before, I didn’t trick you. I had no idea that Marco would do so. I swear to god I’m not part of it,” explained Jessica.

    Hissed softly, Louis dark eyes glare at her like he would kill her if she tick him any further. “You’re the one who make Joyce misunderstand me, while your ex-boyfriend is the one who went and add more spice so Joyce think that I’m cheating behind her back. You did lie, Jessica. You‘re the one who told Joyce that you love me when you know that it‘s impossible for you to love me. And why did you told Joyce that I made a move on you?! I did not! You‘re the one who kiss me. Do you think it’s a fun game to toy with other people relationship like this?!” Louis said with his anger suppressed. Is the girl he was going to marry is Joyce and not Jessica?

    Suddenly, Mr. Grumpy step up to me and gaze into my eyes with his deep eyes begging for help. Seeing his hand reaching out for mine, I quickly stepped back and dropped the package I was holding to, but he was swift enough to get a hold of my hand. He hold onto my hand so tightly and held it a bit higher trying to show off our hands. ‘Oh no, you don‘t!’ I mouthed to him with darting eyes while he grumpily mouthed back, ‘Just smile.’ Smile? What he think I am? An instant girlfriend that is ready for him within minutes like his instant cup of noodle?!

    ‘Look at me Grumpy, do I look like a good choice to brag about, anyway?! I’m short, I don’t wear make up, I’m still in my casual wear and garden slipper, and my hair looked like a bird nest! Oh please don’t make a fool out of yourself and me,’ I screamed in my mind while trying to withdraw my hand but not make a big scene. His grip was so tight that I could do nothing but awkwardly smile toward the fashionable girl, who is much much prettier than me. Mr. Grumpy blazed his eyes toward me warning me to follow along. I stopped struggling, not that I‘m afraid of him, is just that seeing him wanting my help so badly, that I kind of feel sorry for him. I don’t want to burst his bubble and let Jessica see that he is trying to buff.

    “But I do have to thanks you Jessica, cause if I wouldn’t of break up with Joyce, I would never know that there is a very nice girl who has a crush on me since our childhood,” he bragged.

    “What…what…what?!” I defensively questioned him with a pout and hard eyes. I could understand him wanting to use me as his instant girlfriend, but to say I’m the one with a crush on him?! Not in a million years! Men! They sure do have a big eagle. ‘Just play along,’ he mouthed to me before turning to face Jessica again. But how could I let him take advantage of me like this? Smiled weakly, I corrected his twisted lie, “Actually, he is the one with the crush.” Mr. Grumpy darted at me with a bit of surprise, then he slightly rolled his eyes on me. Jessica was looking at us with disbelieve, well I wouldn’t believe anything if I’m her.

    With his arm swings around my shoulder and his hand patting the side of my shoulder with a slight squeeze, he smiled at me so sweetly, but it’s so sickeningly fake. “Oh Annie, if I would of know that you had a crush on me for so long, I would confess that I had a crush on you too,” he exclaim with grinning eyes, that devil could really make me puke. He then turn to Jessica, “It’s no longer matter to me, who Joyce is marrying, cause I have a great girlfriend now, who treat me ten times better than Joyce ever did. And she wouldn’t lie to me, unlike you did. Why don’t you go tell your ex Marco to come steal her away too? Like your father and brother, you too know nothing but using dirty method to get what you want.” he insulted.

    I looked at him oddly thinking that he really has lost his mind. If I treat him better than this mysterious Joyce, than this Joyce must had been abusing him everyday. But I understand, like what my father say, all men need faces, especially in front of their ex-girlfriend. I kept silent and slightly grin at Jessica so oddly, I bet she can tell that I’m a fake one. I’m never a good actor or grinner.

    Looked down toward the floor, Jessica mumbled, “You know I didn’t lie. I do have feeling for you. I’m sure you feel it too.” She pressed her lips together and thin tears begin to flow out of her eyes, “And if I would of know that you are Koo Sueet Yee’s son the first time I met you, I would never even develop feeling for you. Do you know how hard it’s for me to accept that fact?” With teary eyes she darted at Louis, “I‘m sorry about Joyce, I didn‘t mean to bring you trouble. Yes, I admit I did lies to make her brake up with you but if she really love you enough, she wouldn’t of believe what I said. And there is no fault for me to go after what I want. Honestly, I didn’t do it on purpose because you are Aunty Sueet’s son. I didn’t even know about it until you break up with Joyce. I‘m sorry that I ruined your relationship with her.”

    Turned away and still holding onto my hand, Louis coldly tells her, “I told you I don’t care anymore. Just leave, I don’t ever want to see you. Annie, I’m hungry, lets go play chef in my flat.” I rolled my eyes at him, he nudged me to get serious so I slightly nodded.

    Stubbornly, Jessica stepped in front of us and looks into Louis‘s eyes with a hint of anger, “The only reason for me to keep pestering you is because I wanted you to see my dad. But since you are heartless anyway, I no longer need to plead you. You don‘t have to worry, I‘m not here to cause you anymore trouble and I won‘t be back to let you yell at.” With one sniff on her tears and a glance toward me, Jessica swiftly runs out of our building. That poor girl.

    Mr. Grumpy pierced toward the door with the slightest hint of guilt. He than turned toward me and murmured, “Thanks.”

    Shrugged, I gestured him to let go of my hand. Once he dropped my hand, I squatted down to retrieve my package that is on the floor, I hope whatever in it didn‘t get broken cause of that drop. “You don’t have to be so harsh all the time,” I remarked, thinking that he was a bit bitter toward Jessica. “And next time don’t use me like this again. I’m not your instant noodle.”

    “Do you have some time for a drink?” he suddenly asked and reaches his hand out to help me up. But before I could answer no cause I don’t want to go out at the moment, he has already dragged me out of the door.

    “Hey! Let go of me first,” I warned him. He did let go but he looked at me with his expression looking like one of those bitter melon. Sighed he turns and started to walk down the sloped sidewalk leaving me behind. Seeing him this down, I bet he is frustrated with family matter plus love relationship. I’m quite confuse with his relationship with Joyce and Jessica, plus Jessica’s father. How could his life be so complicated while mine being so plain and boring?

    Kicked an empty pop can, he continue to head down the sidewalk with a long face. Glance at myself in simple one strap garden sandal while wearing winter sweat pant and sweat shirt with an olive vest jacket and not to mention my loosely tied hair, I sighed cause I‘m not fit to go out in this condition. This is what I wear at home cause it’s comfortable, I only plan to walk down to the lobby. “Stupid Grumpy,” I growled softly and decided to trail after him. I just don’t have the heart to let him walk off so depressingly, when he probably needed my ears to listen to his problem.
    ******

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 9: Closing Deal

    Following close behind him, I started to shiver to the cold, since it’s starting to get dark by the minutes now, but he is still pointlessly walking with a can of beer in his hand. This is the last can of his six pack that he brought at a convenient store a hour ago. I guess he is stressed and has too much to ponder about. With longing eyes, glanced back toward home, I wonder when he will finally stop or turn to head back home, but it don’t seem to be any minute soon. I’m such a fool to follow behind him for over two hour and didn‘t even say a single word. Well, I don’t want to speak up when he didn’t say anything himself.

    When I turned my attention back to him, he has sits himself at the curb leaning his tired head on a road sign pole. I walked up to him and looked at him stilly waiting for his response. He glanced at me from below and slightly smile with his cheek a bit redden. “Hey, how much longer you want a girl to follow you before you would speak up?” I finally asked cause I had enough silent and my stomach is starting to growl. Jie must have ton of good food on the table at this moment.

    His eyes stilly gaze toward an old elementary school with emotion. “When you were in preschool, has you ever look out the classroom window and wonder why the rest of the kids has parents picking them up while you just wait till all of them leave before you walk home alone?” he suddenly asked with his deep voice. He sighed and let out a chuckle before he lean back to lies on the sidewalk, “I didn’t know what the word dad mean before I started school. Since no one at home taught me about what a dad is, back then, I had always thought that it’s a name for an animal, you know like dog or cat.”

    I slowly sits down next to him and rest my chin on my two palms. I glanced back toward him, and felt sorry for him. His childhood must not be as pleasant as the rest of us, by the tone of his voice. Seeing him lying down on the dirty sidewalk, I had an urge to pull him back up, but I figure not to disturb him when he is in this mood. “So what if you know what dad or mom meant, if all they do is give you food and a room,” I softly told him. I’m not too happy about my own relationship with my parents either, and I hardly talk about them when I was ask about my childhood.

    My parents are very traditional Chinese, they obviously favor boy to the extend that I felt like I’m my brother’s servant. It’s not that they don’t feed me well or dress me well, they just simply lack the heart or maybe time to care for me. Sometime I felt like I’m just a girl they pick up when they walk by a dumpster. They are people I grew up with, but yet they are so distance to my emotional world.

    The sound of a can being crush snapped me out of my thought, I looked toward Louis seeing him throws his crushed can across the street. “Stupid kids from that school are the one who taught me what dad meant,” he stated and pulled himself up by the pole. He walked down the sidewalk again, while I’m looking at his back wondering what it’s like to grow up in his family. It must be worst to grow up with a mom that act more like a sister and a father that is never there for him. At least my parents are there to take me to the doctor when I was sick.

    Paused his walk, he turns back toward me and smiled warmly. This Grumpy, really have a strange sense of personality. I can never pin point what he is pondering about. “You hungry? Lets go eat, how does hotpot sound,” he invited and walked back to offer me his hand.

    Once I held his hand, he pulled me up. “Thanks,” I said, while he nodded and started to walk toward a small restaurant specialize in hotpot. I sneezed and let out a shiver to the cold ocean current blowing toward us. Seeing me freezing, he took off his jacket and offer it to me. I guess he could be a gentleman some time.

    Entered the small restaurant, he settle at the closest table and waved for the waiter to place his order, while I headed to ask for a phone. I called jie and told her that I‘m fine and that I‘m out eating dinner with a friend. When I walked back to our table, I was a bit disappointed to see him ordered six bottles of beer. I understand that he is not in a good mood, but drinking this much wouldn‘t solve anything. “Do you know alcohol could damage your liver?” I causally informed when I took my sit.

    “Don’t worry, you won’t have to drag me home again. I know how much I can take in before I black out,” he exclaim with a devilish proud smile. “Go on, eat your dinner,” he urged with his bottle of beer slightly pointed toward the pot. I started eating while he let out a smile and continue to chuckle down his beer instead of eating.

    “Aren’t you going to eat?” I asked.

    He shook his head, “I‘m not hungry.” Of course he is not hungry since he drink in so much beer already. Beer contain calories too, even more than carbohydrate or protein, but they are all empty calories that do the body no good. I reached out to grab the beer that he is heading for. “Come on, don‘t make a girl eat alone. It doesn‘t look good,” I told him.

    Nodded he begin to boil some meat. Somehow I smiled to know that he is willing to listen to me. “So have you think of our deal?” he causally ask while smirked and those teasing deep eyes has return again. I’m glad that he seem relaxed a bit after that walk.

    Blowing on my hot fish ball, I looked at him with a grin. “Only if you agree to my rules,” I told him and he was surprise that I agree. He started to narrow his eyes on me and arched his brows, which is quite cute in a certain angle, especially with his cheek redden. But of course not as cute as Hei sweet smile and genuine eyes.

    “Shoot it. Tell me your rules and I have some myself,” he told me. I wonder what kind of rules he has in mind. “Go on,” he urged.

    “Before anything else, I want you to honestly tell me why you want a fake girlfriend in the first place,” I told him. I wanted to test if he would be honest to me so I know if he is trustable.

    He kind of waited a long time before he answer, “I only need you to pretend you are my girlfriend in front of two people, which are my grandpa and mom. They will be here in twelve days. I don’t think you need to know the reason other than you wanting to be nosy.” He looked into my eyes seriously, “My grandpa wouldn’t stay for long. Our deal stay until grandpa leave. Don’t worry, it’ll more likely be less than an year.”

    Nodded, I started to number my rules as I eat, “Alright, I won’t force you to tell me why. Here is my rules. First of all this fake relationship business won’t happen when we are near any of my family or friends. I don’t want words to get out and Hei to misunderstand that I have a boyfriend. So what ever you do, you tries to keep your grandpa and mom from being in places where I’m with my family and friends or else I’ll tell them the truth.”

    “Seeu Jie ah, you live just right next door!” Louis blurted thinking that I’m unreasonable. He put down his chopstick and reach over to grab a bottle of beer to drink again.

    “Than keep them from going to my flat. Unless you want me to tell everyone that I’m faking this with you,” I threatened him back.

    “What could I do? Tie them up?” he sarcastically asked while gulping down his beer like it was spring water.

    Stopped my eating to glance up at him, I sighed at him, “I don’t know, you’re the one who need to figure those out. Deal or no deal, you decide, I don’t care about you telling everyone my crush on Hei, since he will be leaving soon anyway!” My tone was a bit harsh toward the end, I guess I’m still frustrated with the fact that Hei will be gone soon.

    “Shehs don’t take it out on me that your lover boy is flying away,” he mumbled, he is not in that good of a mood himself. “Fine, I’ll think of an excuse. Anymore?” he asked while scooting his chair back a bit to get himself comfortable.

    “Of course,” I replied. Suddenly I blushed and my voice kind of faded off as I mumbled, “There will be no kissing involve.” He started to crack up laughing while I started to hiss with a pout and my vision kept low. Glanced around, I notice that there are several pairs of eyes looking toward our table. I growled and kicked Mr. Grumpy from under the table to warn him to stop causing attention. “Shhh…” I mouthed.

    Calming his laughter while nodding, that devil chuckling voice teased, “I wouldn’t dare to take your Hei gor first kiss from you.” That jerk really read every single word of my paper! I darted my deadly glare at him with sterns expression and steam from the top of my head. He continue to chuckle at me with amuse while I’m getting angrier. I’m here to help him, not let him laugh at me like a clown! With a hard kick on his leg again, I stood up to leave but he pulled me to sit back down. “I’m sorry, I’ll stop laughing now,” he promised with his lips pressed tightly together than he slip a chuckle out after a few second. “I’m sorry, it just amaze me to know that there are still girl like you out there. Never been kiss,” he chuckled.

    “Are you agreeing or not?” I grumpily make him answer. He nodded and pulled me down to sit again. “Third rules, you can’t tease or laugh at me again.”

    “What?! What do this have to do with our deal? Hey, aren’t I’m the one who suppose to set up the rule, since I’m the one who know your secret? Why do you make it sound the other way around?” he asked. Seeing me not answering and stilly carry a stern face, he sighed, “Alright, fine.” He seriously looked into my eyes, “I have something to add too. You can’t mention anything about Jessica or Joyce to my grandpa or mom.”

    “I don’t even know Joyce,” I assured him. Than I nosily asked, “Is she your girlfriend?”

    “I don’t care who she is anymore. I just need you to not mention about her name nor Jessica name. And to go along with me when my grandpa ask you questions…”

    “That remind me of one more rule. You can’t tell people that I’m the one with a crush on you. That is too big of a lie for me to handle,” I stated while he started to chuckle with his lips pressed together. I gazed at him stilly, I do not like to be laugh at especially by him and that smirk. I warningly counts, “One…two…” He just looked at me oddly but he get a hint that I’m getting a bit angered, but that just made him chuckle with shaking head. “Three,” I counted and stood up to leave since he hasn’t stop chuckling at me yet.

    Pulled me back by my wrist he gestured me to sit back down. “Alright, I’ll tell them I’m the one with the crush on you,” he promised than added so softly, “That would be hard to believe.” I narrowed my eyes on him seriously, he grinned at me and goes on, “As soon as my grandpa leave, I’ll give you back your floppy disk and paper. And I’ll help you do a makeover so your Hei gor…”

    What do he mean by makeover?! I admit, my appearance is not as pretty as one of those girl who spend hours on their makeup and hair. But I’m the one who chose to look this way because I’m comfortable with myself and I like to look natural. “My last rules, you have no right to change who I am or how I look. So don’t try to force me to wear dresses just to please your grandpa and mom. I do not wear makeup, lipstick, dresses, high heel, or contact. If you want to show them a prettily dress lady, you could do the dressing yourself.”

    “Don’t worry, I need a nerd anyway,” he teased with a grin, while I enlarged my eyes on him. Seem like he has forgotten about his sad mood when I‘m the laughing clown. “What I meant is that I’ll help you with your Hei gor. You can be shy but you have to learn how to give out the right signal to him at the right time. Don’t just sit back and expect him to come to you. I could assure you that, that don’t happen, especially with a business blinded man like him. He is going to leave soon, have you tell him to contact you while he is in France?”

    “He is going to be busy with work, I don’t want to annoy him,” I replied with a soft tone of uncertainty. Than I added, “I don’t want to start a relationship with him now… You know, he will be gone for a year. I don’t want to shock him before he leave. I rather he focus on work during the year and when he come back I’ll let him know.”

    “If he come back,” rudely stated Mr. Grumpy.

    “Hey,” I warned him.

    Rolled his eyes like I’m dumb he give up, “Fine. Do what ever you want than. Just don’t cry to me or ask me for help when he don’t return or return with a girlfriend.“

    “You’ll be the last one I’ll cry to, I assure you that,” I replied.

    He shrugged, “But if I were you, I would give him a big hint before he leave.”

    “I rather not,” I stubbornly stated clearly.

    I continue to eat while he continue to drink with an empty stomach. I warned him several times but to him my voice seem to be like wind that passes his ears. Oh well, he is not anyone of important that I should waste my saliva at, so I let him drink. But if he end up drunk, he will be sorry when he wake up finding himself in the middle of the street with a cold, cause there is no way I’m going to drag him back home all the way from here.

    “Ready?” Louis asked after he has pay for our dinner. I nodded, so he stood up and walked out with me right after him. He wobbled toward the left, I quickly pulled him back. He chuckled, “Don’t worry, I could walk by myself.”

    “Okay,” I said and let go of him, he immediately dropped to the sidewalk. I rolled my eyes at him, “Didn’t I told you not to drink that much?” I helped pull his heavy weight up again and he is leaning on me.

    “Shhh…stop being a nag woman,” he mumbled with alcoholic breath. How dare he call me a nag?! I dropped him and walked ahead without him. “Hey!” he yelled after me. I paused to turn back and look at him with my amuse smile. I’m not going to help him again, not unless he apologize and admit that he needed help. “I can walk,” he stubbornly stated and trying to push himself up. “It’s getting a bit dark and blurry, have you seen my glasses?” he asked.

    “You don’t even wear glasses,” I reminded him. Giving up on pushing himself to stand, he just lies on the ground and yawned. I walked over to slightly nudge him with my feet, “Come on you are a grown man, don’t sleep in the middle of a street like that.”

    “Well, you wouldn’t help me,” he murmured with eyes starting to shuts. He than yawned, “Annie, I’m sleepy, will you piggy back me home?” After that, he started to snore. That pig!

    Rolled my eyes at him, I squatted down to gently slap his cheek. “Hey, you are not going to do this to me again! I’m too full and tired to drag you,” I told him, but he didn‘t response. Agrrr… I shouldn’t of let him finish all six bottles of beer. Now I’m stuck with him again.

    “Ah Mi, I missed you too,” he softly murmured repeatedly. I nudged him harder to wake him. His eyes slightly open and gazed into mine, but he seem to be out of it or lost. “You’re not Ah Mi…Annie? Are you Annie?”

    “Yes,” I answered with a sigh, “Lets get you home.” Leaned down closer to him, I wrap his arm around my shoulder and stood up with him slowly. “Could you turn and smile the other way?” I requested since his smile look really silly and goofy. Like last time, he is leaning his weight on my back with his head rested on my right shoulder facing me.

    “Sure, Annie,” he drunkenly said and turned his head to face the street. “Don’t worry, I’m not drunk, see I’m walking now.”

    Laughed, I rolled my eyes at him cause he can’t tell that he is being drag instead of walking himself. He turns to gaze at me again, I guess he is curious to why I’m laughing at him. “Have anyone told you, that you look cute in this angle?” he suddenly commented. I turned toward my right to look at him right when he lean in with protruded lips, I guess wanting to peck me on my cheek, but now he end up pecking right on my lips.

    My eyes enlarged at the image of his face right in front of me. And the sensation of his lips right on mine, I quickly shoved him away and let him drop to the ground. Spitting and rubbing my lip to get rid of the alcohol taste he left behind, I darted at him with anger.

    “Why you do that for?” he asked while rubbing his bottom. I sighed loudly at him, he don’t even know what he just did. Reaching his arms out toward me again, he requested, “Annie, help me up.”

    “You are going to quit drinking before our deal begin. You hear me?” I demanded. Nodded with bouncing head, he agreed, but I doubt he will remember when he wake up. Sighed at him again, I pulled him back off the ground and slowly drag him to the curb for a taxi, cause there is no way I could drag him all the way home.
    ******

  11. #11
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Chapter 10: His Wakeup Call

    Drowsily asleep for hours already cause of my cold, I hear voices talking from outside of my room, it sounded like it’s coming from the living room. Grumpily growled, I tossed to my left and pulled a pillow to cover my head. I felt dizzy and extremely sleepy cause of the cough medicine I has been taken. Why I’m sick? Well it all thanks to Mr. Grumpy for taking me on that two hours walkathon in the middle of a cold fall night three days ago, simply because he is down. Even the hotpot dinner he offer me that night won’t make up for how horribly sick I am these few days.

    My eyes popped open seeing nothing but pitch black when I hear Julian roared from the living room along with Charmaine happy cheers from behind. I bet all the guys has came over for a friendly game of cards again and Julian has just won that round. Why must they pick this day to gather for card and beers? Why can’t they just leave me some peaceful quiet night to rest? I guess they are gathering more often now because Hei will be leaving very soon. I would of join them if I weren’t this sick.

    The thought of Hei made me sighed and pulled my head out from under the pillow. Now my eyes are focus to indigo shadows of objects in my room. Lies there with restless heart now, since I’m fully awaken by those sound of joyful buddies of my brother’s. I frowned sadly to myself, cause I really wishes that somehow Hei would tell me that he has decided to not go to France. But is that even possible? “Of course not Annie, why would he want to stay behind when there is that big opportunity ahead of him? It’s not like you’re anyone of important to him,” I softly mumbled to myself and suddenly felt the urge of shedding tears. I sniffed them in and shuts my eyes to relax my nerve. Be brave Annie, be brave, he will be back soon.

    “Is Annie still sick?” I hear Benny’s voice asked from outside talking over the crowd.

    Then second later, Hei answers, “Yeah. Wonder if she has enough rest yet. She love to play card game with us.” His voice is muffled cause he suppressed it, probably didn‘t want to stir me. Hei appearance may seem like a gangster type, but he is definitely a very considerate guy. But still he hasn’t figure out that I only like to play card when he is around, simply because I want to spend sometime with him and explore his interest in card game.

    Weakly, I lies on my bed staring into dark space while I recall the moment of our Christmas party five years ago. Back than Moses and Flora weren’t even married, but they are closely dating and very intimate with each other. The party was host by Moses and it was at my parent‘s place, but reality is I’m the one who done all the cooking and cleaning while he do the talking. I was smart enough to suggest doing hotpot dinner instead of the grand Christmas dinner Moses wanted. Hotpot is the easiest dinner to make, since it basically each individual cook what they wanted to eat. And as the chef of the party all I need to do is prepare the meat, veggie, and soup base. Simple and fast enough for everyone to enjoy and me to have time for the party.

    I remembered the game of spin the bottle. Even though the game was childish for our ages, but it was quite fun when we have a big party with enough guys and girls, who are wild when it come to party game. I recall Julian was dare by Nick to go stand outside the balcony for five minutes with nothing but boxer. Not only was it embarrassing, but don’t forget that it was during Christmas so the temperature was well below zero. Of course I’m not as crazy as the group, so I always choose the truth category. I rather them call me a chicken than to let them dare me to jump off a building. Hey, it could happen, they are quiet a bunch of lunatic especially after several beers.

    My most cherish memories was Hei turns to get dared. Since everyone know that he is single and hasn’t think of dating, they dared him to pick a girl to offer the sweetest proposal for hand of marriage plus offering a French kiss. “Oh come on, how hard could that be?” he smirked while looking around the circles for a girl as his victim for this round of a game. His eyes land on me with a grin, at that moment my heart just stopped, literally stopped. With eyes interlocked into his, I couldn’t help my heart from pounding so rapidly with nervousness.

    Stood up from his spot, he walked across the circle to stand right in front of me. Without a doubt I was blushing like neon sign while glanced toward the group of friends that is giggling. Moses and Flora are the two that are giggling the loudest with still eyes on us. For some reason, I felt a bit uncomfortable and starting to dislike the game, cause deep down I know that this is all fake and just for the game sake. I know he picked me simply because he know me for so long and that the majority of the other girls has boyfriend already. I fear that I couldn’t handle him laughing after he gave me a kiss and call it an end of his dare. My heart is too fragile to be joked like this. But what could I do? I could do nothing but froze there and looked at him wishing that what he is about to say will have at least halve truth.

    He reaches his hand out to hold mine and pulled me into a standing position before he kneel down in one knee in front of me. I could still remember and felt the warmness from his tender hand, until this day. Maybe because I has always had a crush on him that I felt something extra special from his touch than any other girl would of, if they are the one being held by him. With such handsome smile and genuine eyes on me, he spoke with such seriousness, that I almost believe him a hundred percent.

    Sincerely gazed into my eyes, he said, “Annie, I had something to confess to you. I had to tell you that I’m deeply in love with you for the past years. I don’t remember when I begin to fall for you, but unknowingly you has became a part of me. Annie, will you be kind enough to accept my marriage proposal?”

    Of course I was froze cause I wanted so badly for it to be real. Gazed into his eyes, I felt touched and loved, but sadly all of that is fake when I hear chuckling and laughing in the background. I quickly blinked and forced myself to chuckle too while I nodded just wanting him to stop playing with my heart as soon as possible. He stood up and smiled at me ever so sweetly, I could probably faint just by that look, but of course I didn’t. Instead I awkwardly smiled, but if he would of look deeper into my eyes, I bet he could search a hint of anger from me, cause I really couldn’t take this joke any longer.

    Because of the crowd cheering him to French kiss me, he slowly lean in toward me and pecked my cheek. I thanks him for just pecking me instead of giving me a meaningless French kiss, cause if he do it just for the game, I would probably get mad with him. He smiled with friendly eyes and whispered just to me, “Thanks for helping Annie.” With a wink at me, he turns to the group of booing audience. “Hey enough. Come on, Annie is still young and I don’t want to get punch by Moses,” he joked. That’s what I like about him, he know my limit and will not step over the line.

    “Aunty A? Are you still sleeping?” Kevin voice woken me from my daze of the past. I beamed toward the doorway seeing his shadow closing the door to my bedroom and now heading toward my bed.

    Quickly, I turned to my nightstand to turn on my lamp so he won’t trip. My eyes caught the time being past twelve midnight already. “Kevin, shouldn‘t you be sleeping?” I asked but I could tell he just woken up, probably by the loud noises. “You can’t sleep?”

    With a pout he nodded and climbed into my twins size bed. “They are loud,” he complained while struggling in my bed to find a comfortable spot. I scooted away to allow him to sleep by my side. “Could you tell me story, Aunty A?” he requested with a yawn.

    “Cutie pie, Aunty A is really sick, I don’t want to give you my germs,” I told him with a cough because it’s always tickle my throat to talk. “Why don’t you go find mommy or daddy to read to you?” I suggested while smiling at him warmly. He is such an adorable boy.

    “Mommy is showering and daddy is playing cards,” Kevin say and snuggled closer to me, “Plus, I’m a big boy now, I’m not afraid of tiny little germs.” I laughed at his innocent voice that sounded so sweet. His hand reaches up to feel my forehead, “Aunty A, you are still having a favor…”

    “Fever,” I corrected him with a chuckle and nodded. He yawned tiredly. I couldn’t resist from pecking him on the forehead and cuddled him. “Alright, sleep now. I’ll tell you a story.”

    With shuts eyes he mumbled, “I don’t want girly story about princesses. Daddy say I’m a boy, I want story about monster.”

    Rolled my eyes, I shakes my head at him, “But you are afraid of monster.”

    “Not with you around,” he sweetly said making my heart melted. This boy know exactly how to cheer me up, even when he don’t notice.

    “Alright. Once an upon a time, there live a boy in a closely knit village. He has always love to play prank on other…” my sleepy soft voice continue to tell him the story of the boy who cries wolf. And when I get to the part where the wolf came for the boy and no one else believe his words anymore, both of us hear throbbing sound from the window.

    Half asleep, Kevin eyes pop open with fear, “Is that the wolf?” I laughed at him, thinking that it must be some sort of wind causing that noise. But it persisted and louder this time. I glanced toward the window and actually saw something hitting against it couple of time. Kevin cling to me so tightly thinking that it must be wolf or monster.

    “Don’t worry Kevin, there’s no wolf around. And if there is any, they don’t know how to take an elevator to the fifth level,” I assured my three years old nephew with a wink. Curiously I stepped toward the balcony and notice that it was Mr. Grumpy who is throwing something against my window. Quickly I open my balcony door and stepped out to dart at him, “What are you doing?” I looked down and saw my balcony became a trash bin for CD disc. “Are you nut?!” I scolded.

    Kevin has followed me and is now standing next to me. “Louis gor gor, what are you playing with Aunty A? Frisbee?” Kevin childishly asked while picking up those CD to throw back toward Mr. Grumpy flat.

    “Don’t worry, Annie. They are scratched CD that I’m throwing them away anyway…”

    “And my balcony is your garbage can?!” I angrily asked while bending down to pick them back up.

    He laughed at me, “Of course not. I was just trying to get your attention. I know you haven’t sleep yet, since there is still light in your room. Hey, don’t throw them away, we can probably use them to get each other attention next time.” He grinned jokingly. I rolled my eyes and felt a bit dizzy from bending down with my feverish weak body. “Are you okay?” he asked with curiosity.

    “I’m fine. What do you want?” I asked and decide to sit down on my white chair for awhile before I tip over and fainted. I started to cough, “Make it fast, I need to go back in. Kevin help Aunty A pick up all the CD and throw it back to Louis gor gor.” I instructed. Kevin is more than happy to help, the only probably is majority of the CD didn‘t get over to Louis, since he don‘t know how to aim.

    Laughing at Kevin, Louis glance at me to see my paled lip, “Are you sick?”

    “Isn’t it obvious?” I asked back with a exhausted sigh wanting so badly to be back in my warm cozy bed instead of here facing Mr. Grumpy and the wind.

    “Oh. I haven’t seen you coming out to do morning breathing in the cold anymore, so how did you get sick?” he asked with a half crooked grin, I’m not quite sure since I don’t have my glasses with me.

    With a sneeze, I sarcastically answers, “Thanks to you for taking me on a walking fieldtrip last Saturday. Anyway what do you want? If nothing, I want to go back to bed.”

    “Umm..well…” he mumbled with eyes glancing back into his room. “I was hoping that you can help me out with cleaning my flat. You know, how messy it is,” Louis sheepishly admit making me chuckle at his tone.

    “If it were me, I would use filthy to describe it,” I laughed. “But I’m too sick to even stand up. Let me get better first, than I‘ll help you. Come on Kevin lets go in before you catch a cold too.”

    “So when will you get better?” Mr. Grumpy insensitively persisted.

    Turned to gaze at him stilly trying to focus on him, I stilly replies, “The day I come to clean your flat.” Man, he don’t even have the decency to give me a short caring statement of ‘hope you‘ll feel better soon’, instead he demand to me to let him know when I’ll be better in order to help him? This man must be raise in the jungle like Tarzan to be so self-oriented. “Goodnight,” I roughly mumbled before I turns to walk in with Kevin. I hear him say goodnight too before I close my balcony door on him. He is such an insensitive Grumpy.
    -------

    Dreaming about lying in the middle of a beach with nothing but the breeze and sound of wave, I smiled sweetly. Until the familiar sound of throbbing against glass woken me up. My blurry vision tries to adjust to the sunlight as I stir to a new morning. I stretched my arms out tiredly and yawned. I than notice that Kevin is no longer sleeping by my side. Jie must has carried him back to his bed last night when we were asleep.

    The throbbing sound continues, I glanced up at my window and saw those flying CD again. “Agggrrrr…” I growled for knowing that it must be Mr. Grumpy again. “Stupid Grumpy, how many CD do he has that is scratched?” I mumbled to myself and dragged myself to sit up right and slip into my piggy slipper. Yawning with my comforter swing over my body like a cape, I walked over to step out of my balcony. He smiled at me with charming grin, but what he get in return is my zombie look of irritant. “I’m still sick,” I firmly stated.

    “Good,” that devil say and smiled with his head turned toward my right gestured me to follow his sight. I did and notice that he has thrown a medicine box over. “Take those pills, they are really good for cold,” he winked at me.

    Stepped over, I picked the box up and realize that it’s a brand new box. “When did you buy this?” I curiously asked.

    He laughed, “It’s new but don’t think that I purposely brought it for you this morning. I’m not that bore with nothing to do. I happen to have several boxes since it’s what grandpa recommended me stock up in.” I chuckled at his answer with a nod. “Don’t be too touched too. I just wanted you to get better soon and don’t blame me about making you sick.”

    Yawned, I nodded again, “Thanks anyway. How is the cleaning?”

    “Pretty good, I got the trashcan clean, as for the rest, it‘s still waiting for you,” he teased. “Remember to take them every six hour.” For the first time, I could actually felt his sense of caring toward other. Maybe I just didn’t know him too well before hand to judge him being a no good playboy with no heart.

    “Yes, Grumpy I know,” I slipped than pressed my lips together feeling embarrassed. But he just laughed instead of getting mad. “I’m sorry, I’m just really tired and can’t think straight.”

    Shrugged, he replies, “It seem fair to me Four Eyes.” He chuckled, “Go back in it’s cold out here.” With that he stepped back into his room. I smiled happily to finally be in friendly term with him. At least as friendly as we can get for now.
    ******

  12. #12
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 11: Such a Small World

    “Annie, could you show me how to cook your specialty dessert again? Your gor wanted to have some tonight,” jie hollered from the kitchen with her head slightly stick out looking toward my direction.

    A bright spark strike my eyes cause I just had a small epiphany on how to repay Mr. Grumpy back for his great medicine that has helped my cold. “Jie ah, I’ll cook the dessert for you,” I charmingly volunteer with a big smile.

    “Great, Moses always like the way you cook it anyway. While you do that I’ll prepare tonight dinner. Ah mui, what you want to have tonight?” she asked.

    Starting to wash my yam in a pot, I answers, “You know I eat anything you cook.” She nodded and walked over to the fridge. I’m never a picky eater in my entire life. I could eat anything as long as it doesn’t contain certain favoring herbs. I have no idea why so many people prefer those herb in their food, to me they are the nastiest plant god created. The slightest taste or smell of them could make me gag. And jie knows it, she always make my food separately if the dishes contain herbs.

    “How about Lemon Salmon and some pasta?” Flora asked. I guess she is tired of thinking about what to cook every single meal time by herself, so she wanted to bounce some idea off of me to get reassurance.

    “Sound good, I love salmon. Ah, could you make some of your specialty red skin smash potatoes too?” I requested with a slight growling of my stomach at the thought of the creamy texture of jie’s smash potatoes. Yummmm…

    “Sure. I need to go buy some potatoes than, but it‘s alright, I need to buy fresh salmon anyway,” Flora say after finding out that the fridge ran out of potatoes.

    “I’ll watch Kevin for you,” I snapped. Cause I needed Kevin help anyway. Since I don’t want to go over to Mr. Grumpy flat alone. Plus it would be nicer if Kevin offer Mr. Grumpy the dessert instead of me. If I offer him the dessert as a thank you, he would probably get cocky and smirking again.
    -------

    It’s three in the afternoon now, Flora has took off to the street market, while I’m in the kitchen scooping my specially creamy brown sugar syrup with yummy smelling sweet yam into a thermal. I could hear sound of Kevin blowing and hissing as he eat the hot dessert in a hurry. “Slow down Kevin or you’ll burn your tongue,” I warned him.

    “Aunty A, who are you saving that for?” he nosily asked with eyes glued on the blue thermal greedily, like I’m stealing his favorite dessert. That kid is always so greedy when it come to sweets.

    Slyly grinning, I walks over to settle down next to him at the dinning table. “There is still a big pot left for you. Kevin, do you want to go play with Louis gor gor’s jet plane?” I manipulated. He nodded while slurping down a spoonful of sweet syrupy soup and took another bite on the yam. “But it’s not mannered to play with other people toy without giving them something back in return.”

    “Why?” he asked.

    Why do kid his age like to ask why, is my question. I grinned at him and tries to find an example. Ah I got one, this will certainly make him understand. “Umm… It like when uncle Benny come and keep eating your favorite cookie but never buy you a new bag after he eat it all. You weren’t happy with him for doing so right?”

    “Oh I see, I see,” he excitedly responses, “I could bring my dinosaur over, so Louis gor gor could play with!”

    I shook my head to his idea, since it’s not what I wanted, “Well Louis gor gor don’t like dinosaur…”

    “How do you know?” he pestered.

    Cleared my thought, I answered oddly, “You don’t see any toy dinosaur in his flat last time you were there, right?” He nodded, while I slipped a chuckle at his expression. Kid is just so easy to manipulate. “That proof he doesn’t like dinosaur.”

    Pouted, Kevin asks in his cute innocent voice, “Than what could I bring him?” I pointed to the thermal of red bean dessert and winked at him. “Ohhh… Aunty A cook it just so I can bring it to Louis gor gor. Thanks Aunty A,” he stated with a bright grin, showing his white baby teeth. I sheepishly nodded, feeling a bit guilty to make him think that I cooked it just for him.

    After Kevin has finished his bowl of dessert, we headed over to Mr. Grumpy flat. I left a note for jie, telling her that I took Kevin out to play. But I didn’t tell her that we are going to be just next door, since I don’t want her to think too much on the purpose. I handed Kevin the thermal before I ring the doorbell.

    “Annie, oh thanks god you finally came! I thought, I’ll never be able to clean it all up before next week when they arrive,” Louis obviously glad to see me here. But his gladness is more of like seeing a maid coming to a rescue.

    Rushed into the flat, Kevin pulled on Louis hand, dragging him toward his dinning room. I followed after them with the door shut behind. Kevin show a troubled expression when he saw Louis’s dinning table piled up with junk. “Louis gor gor, you have a party last night? Why didn‘t you invite me over?” he questioned, since that is kind of how our flat look like the next morning, when we have a gathering the night before it. Usually, we are too tired, well, lazy is a better term. Yes, we are usually too lazy to clean up after ourselves that night, so we leave it till the morning. But, I’m sure Mr. Grumpy is a different case, he is simply lazy and filthy, period.

    I chuckled cause I could detect a hint of embarrassment in Louis eyes, I bet he don’t know how to answer Kevin’s question. “No, of course I wouldn’t have a party without inviting you first,” Louis sketchily stated and quickly change the subject, “What you bought me?” Quickly, shoved table of newspaper with peanut shells and beer can aside, Louis patted on his dinning table.

    Climbed up onto a chair, Kevin put the thermal on the table and pushed it over to Louis. “It’s Aunty A’s specialty yam. Very sweet!” Kevin advertised cheerfully. “Louis gor gor, can I play with your toys plane now?”

    “They are military jet model, Kevin. Not toys plane,” Mr. Grumpy corrected with a bit of displease for Kevin to keep calling his pride collection as toy. He glanced at me to see me chuckling. “Well, start cleaning,” he smirked while walked over to get Kevin his models jet, ship, and tank.

    Rolled my eyes, I reminds him, “I’m here to volunteer, not like you pay me, so be polite.” My eyes glanced around his flat. Instead of seeing it being cleaner than last time that I’m here, it actually look even messier. “So what exactly did you clean?” I mumbled with displease, thinking that this will probably take us all day.

    “I got the two guest rooms clean,” he proudly stated. I chuckled at him with shaking head, since I figure those two rooms are probably clean in the first place since no one live in it before hand. Sheepishly, he finally admits, “Alright, I haven’t done much. But that’s why you are here anyway. I’m sure we can get it clean up today. Lets start, by washing dishes. Well, but first, lets me try some of your yam. Thanks for bringing them over.”

    Nosily, I walked to his kitchen to check on his cupboard, but I’m not surprise to see them being stuffed with instant noodle and junk food. And his fridge is bare with only beers. “Don’t you ever cook?” I asked while starting to empty junk that is on the kitchen counter.

    “The most I know is frying egg. But is alright, there are ton of food just outside anyway, why waste time cooking,” he said, then grinned, “But if someone welling to bring me home cook food every night, I would be very grateful.”

    My still eyes landed on him, “Pigs don’t fly by themselves, so you don’t have to dream anymore.” I shoved everything that needed to be wash toward the sink and now I could finally see his grayish kitchen counter. “Are you planning to have your grandpa and mom eat noodle with you or take them out to eat every night?” I wondered. I wouldn’t like to eat out every night. No matter how good those restaurant food are, they can’t be compare to the atmosphere of eating at home.

    “Eat out,” he simply answer. He sighed, “Well, what you want me to do? Cook them egg everyday? I can’t cook anything else. And I don’t think I can learn how to cook in seven days.” He walked over to me with the empty thermal. “But your cooking is not bad. You want to help me cook, when they are here?” he requested. “You know, that is one thing a girlfriend do to please their boyfriend’s family.”

    “Yeah, but not a fake one,” I pointed out. When I turned to look at him, he show me his puppy face making me laugh. “Aren’t you a bit too old for that?” I teased. He could be quite goofy, now that I get to know him more. I sighed and give in, “Alright, but not every night and you are going to help too. I don’t want you to just sit and expect me to do everything. You are not really my boyfriend.”

    “Aw, I’m hurt. So you will do so if I’m Hei?” he teased.

    Ignored his remarked, I instructs, “Just wash the dishes.” I glanced toward the living room seeing Kevin happily playing with Louis’s model jet and tank. While Louis is washing dishes I continue to clean the kitchen and wipe everything. Seem like everything is coated with a layer of dust. I had no idea how he could live with it for so long.

    After we finished his kitchen and living room, we headed into his room. Kevin who didn’t wanted to be alone in the living room followed us too. He sits himself on the floor pushing Louis’s model navy ship and figurines as he mumble to himself. While Louis clean his own bed, I took over his computer desk. Sorting out his computer desk, I came across a framed photo. My eyes enlarged at the teenage boy with surprise. I glanced toward Louis and back to the photo again. Louis? Oh my lord, is he really the same Louis that I actually has a crush on during seventh grade? No he couldn’t be, he is so much darker.

    Seeing me paused, Mr. Grumpy glanced up to met with my still eyes. “Hello?” he called out while chuckle. Snapped out of my shock, I dropped his framed picture. It hit the table shattering the glasses and tumbled to his carpet. “Hey! That’s my favorite picture,” he complained and rushed over toward me.

    “I’m sorry,” I quickly apologize with my still disbelieve mind to this small world, and how god has played this joke on me. Squatted down, I startled to pick up the fragment of glasses. He squatted down next to me to help clean up the mess I made. “Oww,” I squealed to the sharp pain of glass cutting into my index figures. He pulled my hand out to look at it, while my eyes kept still on him. “Do you go to West Lake?” I suddenly asked wanting to confirm my thought.

    Reaches over to search for something in his messy draw he nodded with chuckling. “Yup, I’m the handsome hunk you have a crush on in seventh grade. Isn’t that what I told Jessica the other day?” he teased. When he return his attention to me with a Band-Aid he smirked, “You still haven’t change a bit, other than your glasses gotten thicker and I think you shrunk.”

    Pouting at him with a growl, I demanded for an answer, “Who say I have a crush on yo…”

    “You did. Don’t tell me, you forgotten what you wrote on your paper,” he laughed teasingly with those deep eyes again. Oh why did I reveal so much on my paper! He finished wrapping my finger with the Band-Aid and smiled sweetly, “Smile, you look like bulldog when you growl like that.”

    Hissed, I stood up and questioned him, he stood up too, “Why didn’t you tell me when you know about this?! Is this funny to you?!” I yelled cause I felt embarrassed to know that he is the same Louis and he know I had a crush on him back then. I must have sounded and acted like a fool to him! Ah how could that cute charming teenager turn into this chocolate monster anyway? What has he done to himself?

    “Daai Seeu Jie ah, what you want me to do? Ring your doorbell and say Hi, I’m the Louis you had a crush on during seventh grade, remember me?” that devil laughed with amuse to see me flaming up. He stated with laughter, “I think it’s very cute to have someone with a crush on me.” He winked.

    Growled, I shoved him, but before he fallen back on his bed, he yanked me with him, making me ended up landing on top of him and accidentally pecked his lips. I heard Kevin gasped and cheered, “Aunty A is kissing Louis gor gor! Are you guys in love?” Quickly removed myself from that smirking devil, my hard eyes darted at him with frustration. Why must this pecking accident keep happening to him and me?!

    Sits upright, he grinned widely with amuse, “You simply can’t resist loving me huh?”

    “No! It was an accident. And stop smirking, that silly puppy’s love in seventh grade doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. Argg, you clean your own flat!” I grumpily told him while my cheek blushed with embarrassment. “Come on Kevin, it’s dinner time,” I say and lifted Kevin up to carry him. Speedily, I headed out of his flat. I could still hear his laughter from behind.

    Once we walked into our flat, I drop Kevin down. He happy rushed over to his parents and blurted, “Aunty A just kiss Louis gor gor!”

    “KEVIN!!” I screamed with disbelieve. Ah, I should of just stay home today!

    Moses and Flora laughed as they nod. “We saw it all. We didn’t mean to spy on you Annie, Moses, just so happen to walk into your room to get a new floppy disk. Annie, you should of tell us sooner that you are dating,” jie exclaim with cheerfulness.

    “I can’t believe that Louis would actually like type of girl, like Ann,” joked gor.

    “I’m not, I mean we are not dating!” I stammered with stress. Oh I’m so glad that Hei isn’t home yet. “And please don’t say so in front of other. I was just over there helping him clean his flat,” I explained.

    “I don’t see you cleaning our own flat,” Moses pointed out.

    “We understand Annie. You don’t have to be so shy,” jie added with wide grin just like gor.

    Starting to pace, I tries to straighten out their mind before they tell everyone that I have a boyfriend. “Jie ahhhhh, is not like that. I swear to god I never liked him. Well, no. What I mean is that I don’t have feeling for him now,” I stated.

    “You had feeling for him before?” they confusedly asked at once.

    Kevin has to add, “Louis gor gor ask Aunty A to be his girlfriend the other day, when we go over to play.”

    “Noooo Kevin!” I frustratingly screamed. I sighed and don’t know what else to say, so I decided to tell them why I’m helping Louis, but of course I leave out the section that he got my paper on Hei. And I also explains, “He is the boy that you slam his locker, Moses. I was just surprise to find out a moment ago, and that peck there was just an accident.”

    “I don’t remember slamming anybody locker,” Moses said.

    “Then isn‘t that the boy you told me, you have a crush on?” smiled jie while I dreadfully nodded, “Maybe it‘s faith Annie.”

    “I hope not,” I murmured. “Anyway, please don’t tell anyone that I’m dating him. I don’t want any misunderstanding, and you know Benny’s mouth.” They agreed to not spread rumor and I released a big breath of relieve that Hei will not know about this.
    ******

  13. #13
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 12: Borrowed Shoulder

    Holding my black cordless phone between my left shoulder and ear, I kept nodding and repeats, “Yes, I know granny. Yes, uh huh.” Leaned myself further back on my white chair I gaze up into the blue sky and puffy white clouds. A plane just passes by causes a strip of light smog. It’s a wonderful late morning, that is not as cold as the past few days.

    One thing good about picking a writing career is that I don’t really have a job, so I have all the time to sit back and relax. All I needed to do is to gather inspiration to write and hopefully one day able to publish. But I don’t think that day will be anytime soon. I’m very certain that my writing is not even good enough to entertain monkey. Well, I’m still quite young and have plenty of time to improve. Or am I just making an excuse for myself to be lazy? But I like home, I like to be alone, and there will be absolutely no problem if I don’t go out at all. Actually, if I didn’t sign up for the Writer’s Group seminar, I don’t even need to step out of this flat.

    To think of it, I do have to admit that I’m quite a boring person to know, since I don’t like to go out much. My bedroom is my favorite little world where I hang out, while my computer is my house that I can’t live one day without it and internet is my source of food while chatting with daai jie is my water. I’m not the kind who like to shop either. I guess everyone could figure that out if they know me long enough, since I usually wear the same couple favorite T-shirts and sweatpants or jean over and over. But trust me, they are absolutely clean before I put them on the second time. Good thing I have a jie who is addicted to washing and clean.

    Three things I hated the most are wearing dresses, high heel, and makeup. Asking me to put on makeup is a joke to me, since first of all I had no clue how, secondly I have very sensitive skin that easily get irritated by makeup powder. I believe the only four times that I seriously dresses up with all three components were during my two elder cousins wedding, gor and Flora’s wedding, and my graduation.

    Looking back at photos of gor and Flora’s wedding, I think I looked more like a clown than being pretty with those thick makeup that looked so unnatural. It wasn’t my fault, I had informed the makeup artist to please use light color on me so I could look natural, but do she listen? She don’t even do my hair the way I wanted it. If I didn’t agree to be Flora’s bride maid, I wouldn’t even allow that makeup artist to mess with me cause it took me hours to wash it off. I still couldn’t believe how much bobby pins she put in my hair. A total of fifty-six bobby pins and not to mention the amount of hairspray she use, no wonder I felt my head so much heavier that day.

    I know, I must has sounded crazy or an extreme nerd, who know little to what is happening around the world. No wonder that Mr. Grumpy give me that nickname. ‘Four-eyes,’ I still remembered how he angrily addressed me the first time and smirked the same title at me the second time. What does he mean when he said I’ve shrunk and that my glasses was thicker? I took my glasses off and looked at it with my slightly blur vision. My glasses doesn’t look that bad, it’s not that thick. He is just simply mean.

    “Annie, are you listening to me?” granny asked in displease that I kept giving her the same answer.

    “I am granny,” I assured her and switch the topic, “How is everyone in the state?”

    “Annie, have you hear the news that your cousin Marianne is having another baby?” informed my eighty-years-old granny with a hinting tone. I know there is another side to this news she gave me. Ever since I passed twenty-one she has nagged me to find a boyfriend. That old golden line of not dating until you get older and graduate first, has suddenly extinct. Boy, I missed that phase of her. Am I really getting that old? I questioned myself while sliding my glasses back on. Granny ramble on, “That’s her third child already, Annie. Even your cousin Amy has two already. When will it be your turn?”

    Chuckled with shaking head to my impatient granny‘s question, I sighed loudly, “Granny, no one want me, what you want me to do? It’s not like I can goes down to the street and grab one.”

    “Actually, if you agree to date I have someone for you. He is actually your father‘s friend from work.”

    “Than isn’t he a bit old?” I giggled.

    Hearing granny grumpy sigh at me, I sighed too. “He is not that old Annie, he is only thirty-two.”

    “Granny, I’m only twenty-four,” I reminded her with my disbelieve tone. Oh no, here granny goes again telling me that grandpa is eight years older than her too. I started to growl a bit with my whining, “I know, I know you love grandpa very much after your marriage, but this is a different age, granny. I don‘t think matchmaking exist anymore.” I softly sighed with eyes rolled upward at the sky again. God why did you make my granny believe that every female must get married in their mid twenty and have baby before thirty?

    Talking about my granny and grandpa, their marriage is actually quite interesting. Granny grew up in a farmland of China living with her aunt and uncle. Her childhood was actually so poor that all she has is potatoes skins with watery porridge. And she actually has to take care of buffaloes and other livestock. It always interest me when she tells me about her live, and from it I gather lots of inspiration for my writing. One of my writing two years ago was based on grandpa and her, but of course I added lots of spice to make it more mysterious and romantic.

    My grandpa, who I had never get a chance to meet since he passed away way before mom and dad were even married. From what granny told me, he is a businessman with pride and a big male ego, but hidden underneath all that was his sensitiveness. During one of his trip to granny’s farmland for business, he was lured by his friends to spy on a young girl sweeping floor in front of an old village house. It was actually granny’s aunt and grandpa’s group of friends setting them up. After that one sight of granny, he actually went to ask granny’s uncle for her hand in marriage. It was just that simple that granny was arranged to marry grandpa, and in her point of view she has no idea who the guy is until their wedding night.

    I’m quite amaze by how brave granny is to follow along with her uncle and aunt wishes with no objection. But in a way, it was her luck that grandpa has picked her. Grandpa is a very wealthy and successful businessman who have a newspaper company. Of course granny was married from a farmland environment to a large city. There are lots she is clueless about, even simple matter like telling time. She was too embarrassed to tell grandpa that she don’t know how to tell time, so instead she asked anyone but grandpa to teach her how to read time.

    Grandpa cherish her a lot, in his own special way, that is. He would get mad if he saw granny go buy street food to eat, when there is healthy good food at home or at least she should go to a restaurant. He would get angry even if it just simple matter like granny trying to save money by sewing a loosen button back onto her clothing instead of throwing it away or get other to do it. He expect granny to spend the money he gave her for allowance, which is more than enough to buy any fancy dresses she wanted. I still remembered how granny chuckled when she tells me how grandpa face would darken to see her sneaked behind his back to eat salted preserve fish or salted preserve tofu cube. To grandpa those are not healthy at all, but that is what she crave for when she was pregnant with her first child, my eldest aunt. And in the end, grandpa would just has to give in and pretend he didn’t sees it.

    Sometime, I felt sad to witness granny’s eyes when she talks about her days with grandpa. He passed away when granny was in her early forty, leaving her behind with six children and a broken heart. Granny would quickly swept her glistering tear away and happily tell me that grandpa has loved her very much, and she couldn’t imagine she would love any other man other than him. ‘He never raise his hand on me, no matter how angry he is with me. And he never let me worry about him, even when he is very troubled with work. But most of all, he was never displease or look low upon me even when I bring him embarrassment in front of his friends or business partner,’ I remembered so clearly how granny told me those few lines with longing tone.

    To me that is just magical and romantic, how they develop feeling for each other and cared for each other so much. If I could of have someone loved me the same way grandpa loved granny, I would be satisfy. I’m quite certain that Hei is like grandpa type of guy. He is very sensitive and caring to everyone, and like grandpa he is very business oriented. I wonder if it ever possible for him to notice me and pick me one day. I sighed at that thought, cause he will be flying away tomorrow.

    “Sweetheart, are you listening to me?” granny voice alerted me. My mind kind of drifted away to Hei when she was talking about this wonderful guy, who she think is perfect for me.

    Pouted, I leaned forward resting my elbow on my small balcony table with my head rested on my palm. “Yes Granny, I got his name. Stephen…Stephen…” I tried so hard to recall what granny said his last name was. I just simply has no interested to even keep it in my short term memory.

    “Au, honey,” granny nagged with a sigh. “Annie, Stephen is a great guy. He is very generous, gentle, respectful, polite, and humble to everyone. He doesn’t go out much and he is very good with saving money.” I kept nodded absentmindedly while granny continue to list his one hundred good point. “I even show him your picture…”

    Gasped, I quickly blurted, “Granny, you didn’t!”

    “Don’t worry, he love your picture honey. He wanted to meet you one day,” she informed while my eyes widened with disbelieve and started to growl in complain. “Trust me Annie, he is a great honest boy. He don’t smoke, gamble, drink, or flirt. He is very passive too, he will certainly know how to love you and take care of you when you guy get married.” My lord, how did granny roll her boat that fast? Get married? Don’t tell me she is serious. I haven’t even seen this guy. I love her and grandpa story, but certainly doesn’t mean I wanted to go through what granny goes through, especially in this modern day, I‘ll be the laughing stock among my group of friends. “He will always yield to you. What else could you look for, Annie? Plus he love to stay home just like you,” granny advertised.

    Closed my eyes with a bit of stress, I mumbled, “Wouldn’t you think it’ll be boring if he sit home and I sit home all day long staring at each other? I’m passive but it doesn’t mean I want a passive husband, granny.” I tries to keep my tone cool, cause I highly respect my granny and don’t want her to feel sad. I actually wanted my future husband to have more backbone and know how to take care of family matter plus his career. Call me crazy or traditional, whatever you like, but I don’t need a husband to listen to my every word like command. I rather have a husband with an opinion and a bit of his male pride or flame, even if it mean I have to yield to him sometime. Could it be because my dad is such a softy in front of my mom, that I don‘t want a marriage like them?

    My granny started to scold me, “Annie, you are not that young anymore.” Why do she kept mentioning my age being old? I only lived slightly over one-fourth of my life. “I just wanted to keep the best for my granddaughter, dear. I do want to see you happily married with someone kind before I have to see your grandpa, you know.”

    “Granny!” I kind of screamed. I just can’t image the day she would leave me forever, since she is the closest one to me, even more close than Moses or my parents could ever be. Since she is the one who take me in and care for me when I was a baby, because my parents believe that I’m bad luck thanks to a fortuneteller’s words. Maybe that is also why they favor Moses so much over me. Well, it doesn’t really matter that much to me now. But it certainly built a wall between them and me, blocking them from entering my emotional world.

    “When is your brother going to his business trip?” I heard mom hollered in the back ground.

    “Oh yeah, I almost forgot. When will he leave for his business trip in New York?” asked granny.

    “In two weeks,” I answered. Gor’s supervisor has enlisted him to go over to their New York cooperation to work for six weeks. During that period of time, his company even pay for jie and Kevin to visit him for a week. During that six weeks his company actually pay every expense for him such as flight, hotel, car rental, room service, dinner, and even extra bonus so he can fly back during weekend. Of course my parents are very proud of him to have such a nice career and has always wonder why I pick being a writer. I thanks God for giving me an understanding brother who know how to protect me and give me space when I needed it. He even stand up for me and told my parents to back off and leave me some room to be myself. I’m very grateful to have him and jie to love me so much, that it might sound odd that I kind of felt like being their daughter.

    After telling my mom my answer, Granny returns to ask me more questions, “I heard that Hei is flying to France soon, when was it?”

    Sadly with a gloomy voice I murmured so softly, “Tomorrow, flight 2549 at ten fifteen in the morning.”

    “So there will be an empty room after he left?” my granny oddly asked.

    “Yeah,” I answer and had a feeling that granny is a bit fishy, “Granny what are you up to?”

    “Up to?” her confuse voice asked, “I was wondering if your brother will rent it out to other people. If he does, make sure he don‘t rent it to bad people.”

    “No, he is not renting it out. Hei will return in a year,” my depressed voice reply. I really missed Hei already. Why do he must go? I really don’t know if I should go to the airport with him tomorrow, cause I fear I would burst into tears uncontrollably. I even felt like crying now, just at the thought of him leaving. Wouldn’t it be nice if tomorrow never come? I sighed with dread and urged, “Granny, it’s almost ten at night for you, you should sleep soon or you‘ll have trouble falling asleep tonight. I need to go out for something too.”

    Granny send me a kiss through the phone, “Alright, sweetheart, I love you. You take good care of yourself, you hear me?”

    “I love you too granny. Goodnight. I’ll chat with you other night,” I told her and made a kissing sound too.

    “Bye bye,” she say before she hang up. I walked back into my room to change into outdoor clothes. Feeling so blue, I decided it would be a good idea to take a walk and relaxes my mind. At least I’ll have some time alone to think and get depressed without anyone knowing.

    Within minutes, I stepped out of our flat building and walked down the sloped sidewalk. “Annie!” I hear a voice called me from across. I looked over to see, Mr. Grumpy jogging over now. He smiled at me and smirked, “What wind blow you here? I hardly sees you out of your flat.” Slumped my shoulder, I continues to walk while ignoring his question. “You are not still mad at me right?” he asked, but I show him no reaction. He jogged ahead of me and turned to walk backward so he could see me face to face. I just kept my head low and wishes he would disappear so I can silently walk and think by myself.

    “Come on, it’s no big deal to let me know you have a crush on me. Don’t be shy, I promise I won’t laugh at you or tease you,” Louis said with a soft chuckle. He stopped walking and blocked my way. I stepped aside and continue to walk down totally ignoring him, simply because I don‘t have the mood to speak up. He pulled on my elbow until I stopped walking. He stepped in front of me again, and ducked down a bit to look into my eyes. “You’re mad? You’re so mad that you will never talk to me?” he guessed. “You are not really that mad at me right?”

    I let out a big puff of breath, “Please leave me alone, I want to be alone and in silent.” I glanced up at him seriously, and stepped away from him to continue my gloomy walk. Within second he catch up with me again, but this time he didn’t say a word or stop me. I felt tears in my eyes as I recall moment of Hei and me again. It’s not like I could control my mind to bravely drop the matter until a year later. I’m a human, I have feeling. And having a crush on someone is the worst feeling of all.

    Walking in silent, I hear Mr. Grumpy right by me. My walk was smooth until I tripped over a crack and jerked forward to fall, he pulled me back and into his arms. It felt so good to have him hug me that my tears started to leak. “Are you okay? Maybe you need new glasses,” he joked unaware of my sadness, or is he wanted to cheer me up with his teasing? Sniffed, I sneaked my arms around him and hugged him with my head shaking on his shoulder, I felt too stressed and cramped that I need an outlet. His cozy body trigger me to let go of my emotion and stress on him. “You are not okay?” he asked with surprise. “I’m sure you didn’t get hurt. What is the matter?”

    After a few minutes of suppressing my cries, my sobbing voice finally muffled into the air. He silenced immediately when he heard me cries so softly. My hands clings onto the back of his jacket, wishing so much that he could be Hei at the moment. Cause if he is, I think I would have the courage to confess. I felt his hand gently patted my back in a steady motion. “Don’t cry, everything will be alright,” his comforting voice promised. For some reason, that just made me cried louder. Maybe it was because he speak up that made me face the reality that he is not Hei. “Annie, do you know I’m not good with girl crying?” he awkwardly informed with a bit of nervousness.

    Sniffling and sobbing, I demanded, “Just let me cry will you?! I don’t want to keep it inside anymore!”

    I felt his head nodded repeatedly cause it slightly hitting my left ear. “Alright, alright, cry, cry,” he encouraged. I guess he didn’t lie when he say he don’t know what to do with a girl crying on him. “Do you want to talk about it? I could be a good listener too,” he said with unsure. I shook my head and my sobbing has softened but I don’t want to release him, I just want to borrow his shoulder for a while longer. “Is it because of him? He is leaving tomorrow, huh?”

    Stepped back, I pulled my glasses off and wipes my tears with my sleeve. “Thanks,” I mumbled, “I felt a bit better now.”

    “You are okay now?” he curiously asked with a hint of concern. I bravely nodded. I was about to put my glasses back on, but he stopped me. He took my glasses and cleaned my tears from it with the inside of his cotton jacket before he hand it back to me. “You still look really dead. Come with me, I know exactly what can help you release your stress!” he excitedly say and interlocked my hand dragging me toward the curb to wave for a taxi.
    ******

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 13: Simply Immature

    Kind of pushed me into the taxi, Mr. Grumpy hopped in sitting next to me. He huddled forward mumbling to the taxi driver while I curiously stare at him with my frowning forehead as I wonder where he is planning to take me. I can’t hear a word he is telling the male driver, cause he is whispering and mumbling for some reason. The driver turns to take a short glance at me before he return to look ahead with his expression showing a bit of sympathy while nodding to Mr. Grumpy. If one didn’t know that devil well enough, it almost seem like he is selling me and currently negotiating the price.

    Maybe he is, or why else would they be whispering and turning to look at me with those odd looking stare? Nervously, I pushed my glasses back up higher and tugged Mr. Grumpy sleeves and mumbled in a suppressed whisper, “What are you up to?”

    “Thanks daai sok!” Louis cheerfully thanks the taxi driver with a firm pat too. For some reason the driver handed him a MacDonald paper bag. Is that the amount he receive for selling me? “I hope you like kid meal,” he stated. He pulled me to sit back leaning against the seat while the taxi driver finally take off heading north. “Just relax. What can I do to you? Harass you? Sell you?” he teased with a spark of mystery in his eyes. He than grinning ear to ear at me looking so awfully fake. “Don’t worry, even if I waste the time to sell, no one would want to buy you,” he had to add his joke to make me feel down.

    Ignoring his last rude comment, I instantly silenced with a stressed pout and I turn to gaze out the window with my back facing him. Why do he has to make me feel like a piece of trash? Hasn’t I felt sad enough for a day? I know he meant no harm and it’s just a joke to him, but how could he be so insensitive to my feeling? Didn’t he witness me crying on him few minutes ago? Do he wanted to make me any more depressed and cry again? Man! Yes, he is a man, that’s the only explanation for him to be so utterly insensitive and blind! All men are blind, including him and Hei. I kept scolding in my mind and growled in my mind.

    It’s not until I hear both Mr. Grumpy and the taxi driver soft laughter that I realize I just growled out loud instead of just in my mind, which kind of make me flush with embarrassment. I felt a firm warm palm on my shoulder that pulled me back to face it’s owner. I looked at him showing no expression, but I guess he could obviously tell that I’m not too happy with him keep teasing me and joking with me, especially when I‘m not too happy to start with.

    Goofily, he frowned and stretched his right thumb and right index finger to dragged both corner of his lip to curve upward as he mumbled, “Smile.” He releases his face muscle and kind of swished his mouth around looking like he is gurgling mouthwash. And I thought Benny is the biggest goofball in this world, now I know I‘m wrong. Benny can’t compare to this strange monster who yell insanely for a moment, than get drunk like an alley cat the next, or the time he became this bitter selfish dealing devil, or that sensitive guy who care for my cold and let me cry on, and now this nonsense goofball trying to irritate the heck out of my nerve or make me laugh, I‘m still not quite clear on his purpose. I guess the old saying that ‘when there is high mountain, there always even higher mountain’ is certainly correct. Maybe Mr. Grumpy have multiple personality or simply immature.

    After seeing me not giving him a laugh, he kind of straightened himself and urged, “I was just kidding with you. Come on smile, I know you could smile. Maybe it’s the only thing you know, but at least you know how to do it beautifully.” Along with his silly grin, his eyes sparked charmingly and actually looked quite handsome with his dark complexion. He kept controlling his facial expression like a puppet by moving his two fingers up and down making funny frowning and smiling faces at me.

    Seeing how silly this dark monster could be, I actually slipped a chuckle and forgotten about being mad at him for teasing me. Quickly, I turned away not wanting him to see me smiling or he will get cocky again. He chuckled happily for finally seeing my grumpy expression faded. I guess, Julian didn’t lie when he tell me that I look quite scary when my lips are a flat line.

    The atmosphere between us seem to be lightened and I actually felt much better. I had to admit that he has a very good way to make people laugh and forget about their worry for awhile. He asked me lots of question, maybe wanting to keep me talking or it’ll be too awkward to sit in silent for the whole ride. I kept looking out the window to check where we are going since it seem like the taxi won’t stop anytime soon. I asked Louis several time wanting to know where he is kidnapping me to, but he just tell me to be patient.

    Seeing building and parking lot slowly turning into trees and grassland as we continue to drove further north. I’m starting to think he wanted to picnic, but that is nonsense since we bring no food, wait is that what those Happy Meal for? No way I‘m going to sit out there in the cold with him to catch wind and eat kid meal. I glanced at my watch and notice that it’s four already, so nightfall will be coming soon, which also mean I need to get back soon cause I must be home by seven.

    “That’ll be three fifty-seven per trip, which mean a total of seven fourteen, plus two fifty for waiting fee and forty-two for my son and daughter’s Happy Meals, which come up to a thousand and six, son,” the background voices of the taxi driver cranking numbers waken me from my inner thought. Did he just say a thousand and six dollars?! No, that doesn’t make sense, I must hear it wrong.

    While Louis pay for the fare, I smiled and so relieved that the taxi finally stopped. But seeing only mountain and trees outside, I’m not too sure if I wanted to step out of the taxi. I love nature, but I’m not in too much of the mood to get acquaintance with it more than what I already know. I frowned and wishes that he would take me home now.

    “Hey get out of there or he will charge me more,” Louis heart-achingly stated with a frown to see his wallet almost empty. Well, I don’t blame him, cause I had never taken a taxi ride up to this high fare before.

    Obediently, I stepped out of the taxi, the driver wave to us and hollered, “See you in five hours!”

    Five hours?! My eyes goggled so wide that I swear it’ll fall out. I quickly charged up to Mr. Grumpy demanding an explanation. But all he did is took a deep breath and stretched his arms out. “Don’t tell me we are not going home until five hours later!” I blurted and started to frantically paced, “It’s pass four now, which mean it’ll be at least nine by the time I could get home?” I’m so angry with him that I felt like I’m going to explode in any minute.

    “Wrong,” that idiot who kidnapped me smirked with his dark tone. “You forgot to add the two hours time frame to drive us home from here.” I hissed and puffed with my head shaking while looking at the road for other vehicle, but it seem like nothing else get up to this mountain. “Don’t worry, I have pay him for our fare back and also extra to return for us. If not, you could piggy back me home.”

    “I don’t think it’s a funny joke, Grumpy! What if he doesn‘t come back since you paid him already?!” I scolded him. “I can’t believe you are such an idiot to pay him before hand!”

    He shakes his head with confident, “I don’t thing he is that heartless. I told him that you are a cancer patient with the last wish of hiking up this mountain to see a sunset before your surgery tomorrow and that you needed to return to the hospital by midnight. I don’t think he would be that cruel to cheat my money and leave us here. I think he don’t dare because he will be afraid that you would become a ghost and haunt him.” He laughed.

    I growled so loud with displease and disbelieve on this idiot. “Why did you bring me here in the first place? It’s cold out here and it’s getting dark, which mean it’ll get even colder!”

    “Ah yi, just calm down will you?” Louis told me with his irritated tone. “Come on, lets start hiking or we’ll never get up there in time or return in time before he came back and leave without us. And don‘t tell me, you‘re not hiking cause this trip costs me more than I expect.” He grab a hold of my left wrist and dragged me right after him. “I promise it will worth your time and it’s a great method to release your stress.”

    Forcefully with anger, I swings his grip off of mine. “I’m sorry Mr. Koo, I’m certainly in no mood to hike with you! I can’t believe you didn’t warn me about this before hand! What have I done to you to deserve this?! Do you know that my brother and my group of friends has planned a farewell party for Hei tonight? It’s his last night here before he fly away tomorrow, and you! You! YOU!! You has to trap me here until midnight?!” I felt tears started to built in my eyes. Madly, I turned away from him and started to rush down the road.

    “Annie!” that evil devil hollered loudly from behind me. When he catch up, he firmly held onto my elbow. “Listen to me will you?!” he requested. I sighed with my shoulders slumped cause I know there is no way for us to get back now other than waiting for the taxi driver, who think I have cancer. Aggrrr…I should of just sit at home waiting for seven o’clock than to take a walk this afternoon.

    Calmed myself as much as I could, I turn to look at him stilly. “I would of appreciated if you would inform me ahead of time. Or at least tell me when I asked you so many time in the taxi,” I calmly reasoned. I had never been this mad and felt this set up by anyone before.

    “Alright, it’s my fault. I admit it, I’m sorry,” he bowed with his hand making a small salute. “I didn’t know you have dinner plan. I just wanted to help you release stress.” I felt so stressful and frustrated with him, but I’m not really mad with him, since he did apologize and didn’t mean to make me miss my dinner. I pulled my glasses off to massage the bridge of my nose, I can’t image what reason I could give Hei that I missed his farewell dinner. I certainly can’t tell him, it’s because of Mr. Grumpy, because I don’t want Hei to think that I went out on a date with him. “I’m sorry,” I hear Mr. Grumpy softly whispered.

    I shakes my head at him. “Where is this stress free place you’re taking me? I really really need it right now,” I informed him. He brighten up immediately like a light bulb which kind of made me smiled too. There is no point for me to stay angry and grumpy for five whole hours before that taxi driver return for us, might as well make the best of what around me right now, especially since he paid that much for this unworthy trip.

    Louis leaded me up to the trail and we started to hike up this mountain. It’s my first time here, and I never even hear of this mountain before. Even though I’m not too cheerful inside, but seeing these fresh green forest leaves, little creature, insect, and beautiful large rocks made me a bit happy and relaxed. Mr. Grumpy walked only a few pace ahead of me and constantly glance back to make sure I’m okay and right behind him. I can’t believe that I’m actually hiking today. The last time I hiked was four years ago when gor, jie, and me hiked up Mirror Lake, which is in the state.

    As we hike, I kept pondering about what everyone will think to notice me not attending tonight dinner. My worry is that jie and gor might think I’m in deep trouble since I didn’t give them a note or call that I won’t be home until really late. What if my circle of friends know about my disappearance and wasted their time to search for me? Oh how much I wishes to have a mobile phone right now!

    My heart rate started to beat so fast as we continue. I know I’m out of shape, but I never thought it would be this big of a challenge to hike up hill. Adding to my bad luck or is it because my legs are getting weak, I had to trip on a tree root and falls to my knees. I moaned a bit to the sudden force hammered into my knees. While I pushed myself off the trail, Louis quickly walked back to me. “Tripped?” he smirked while I nod.

    Good thing for winter clothes that protected me from scrape. I dusted my pant and bended my knees to make sure it’s okay. “I’m fine, but lets rest for a while, I’m exhausted,” I complained to him with a pout while gazing up high. “How much longer do we have?” I asked with a concern look, cause I wanted to head back downhill instead. My heart slowly decrease as I rested. I need to remind myself to refuse hiking next time.

    “Not far, we hiked one-third of the way already,” he answered and teased, “Not bad for a nerd and four eyes like you. I would of thought you would complain earlier.”

    “Oh lord,” I whined after hearing that we are not even half way, “What so special up there again?”

    He shrugged, but I had a feeling he just wanted to keep it as a surprise. He smiled at me and held his hand toward me, “Only since you has help drag me home twice, I’ll offer a piggyback ride. It’s a limited time offer, so you should wisely accept it.” He winked with his usual smile that seem so sneaky all the time.

    Without another thought, I gestured him to squat down, “Of course I’ll accept it!” He laughed and squatted down with his back facing me. Even though, I answered with no objection, but now I felt kind of awkward to see him waiting for me to get on, because I’ve never been piggyback by anyone before. Maybe it’s not that good of an idea. I took a step back from him and cleared my throat, “I could walk myself.”

    He chuckled and shakes his head, “You don‘t have to be shy with me, Annie. I only treat you as a younger sister, and I don‘t think you treat me as your boyfriend. Or unless you still have a crush on me.”

    “Noooo,” I firmly get it through him. “The most I could treat you is as my brother too.”

    “So no need to be shy in front of me than,” Louis concluded with his two large hands swing out and pulled on my wrists. He wrapped my arms around his shoulder and gesture me to hold onto the two Happy Meals. So quickly he has securely held onto my legs and lifted off without warning me. “Loosen your grip!” he alerted with his choking voice, since I was a bit startle and kind of chocked him with my tight arms wrapped around his neck. I quickly loosen my arms on him.

    Oddly, my heart couldn’t help from beating faster and I could felt my cheeks burning up again. Oh, why is my heart beating faster than me hiking up the mountain myself? Am I having a heart attack because of the elevated atmosphere? No, I’m feeling a bit shaky too, just like how I felt when Hei ask me to dance with him. Nonsense! There is absolutely no way that I could be having feeling for him, like how I am for Hei. I’m probably just shy, yes, that must be it. Any girl would be shy too if they are in my shoe.

    Could he feel my heart beat this rapidly, since I’m leaning on his back? Stop pounding, stop pounding, Stop POUNDING! Maybe breathing will help. I started to take in deep breath and releasing it. I hear a chuckle from him and stopped my breathing exercise. I had forgotten that I made a fool out of myself last time. Maybe I should just back off from him, than he shouldn’t be able to feel my beating heart. I gulped and nervously release my wrapped arms from him, instead I just clench to his jacket on his shoulder area. I’m still holding a Happy Meal in eat hand. Than I carefully sits upright so I’m not leaning totally on his back.

    “Sui Jie ah, you want to make us both fall and tumble down the mountain? Stop moving around and backing up, you’re changing my center of gravity. Lean back on my back now and arms around my neck,” he demanded. I sighed and gave in, so I leaned back on him and couldn’t help myself from being so quiet and silent. I just wish we’ll get to the top soon. “What’s wrong with you? You are so tense,” Louis questioned with his chuckling.

    “I’m not,” I stubbornly whimpered. He laughed with shaking head. I pouted with a hiss. “One of our rules is that you don’t laugh or tease me, do you remember?” I reminded him.

    “Yes, of course. But our role playing doesn’t begin until tomorrow,” he corrected me. “Will you come over for dinner tomorrow night?”

    “Dinner with you?” I asked softly in a bit of a shock.

    He laughed, “Don’t forget my grandpa and mom will be there.” I felt so relieved that he clarify. I nodded to him, since I did promise to help him. “Good. Should I come pick you up sharply at seven?” he joked.

    “Sure,” I obliviously replied weakly. I don’t feel that comfortable being piggybacked. For some reason, I felt quite unease to be carried by him. I bet I won’t feel this way if Moses are the one who piggy back me.

    “I was just joking, Annie. I‘m sure you could walk over yourself,” that smirking devil laughed at me for being so gullible. I rolled my eyes at him for making fun of me again. “Stop being so uptight and shy Annie. You could talk, I won’t bite or throw you off the mountain. I promise,” his voice buzzed so annoyingly. As he continue to hike and piggy back me, I didn’t talk much. But he just kept rambling on and on, almost on any topic he could find. Maybe he wanted to tell me more of himself, so I know how to handle his grandpa question for tomorrow night dinner.
    ******

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 14: Ken & Barbie

    He finally stopped walking and released his hands. My legs slides down from him but my arms is still around his neck. He cleared his throat, “The ride had ended.”

    Shyly, I quickly let go. “Thanks,” I say and when I took a glance around, I was very amaze by the view. We are not totally up the mountain, but this part of the mountain has no large trees blocking any view. I could absolutely see the enormous sun heading toward the horizon while the tiny building and ocean clearly right beneath. This is definitely breath taking!

    A slight tug on my hand brings me back to the second being that came with me. Louis has retrieved the two Happy Meals and settled himself on a rock. I chuckled to the cuteness of the rock that he is sitting on, cause it almost looked like a love seat with arm rest and back cushion all made from flat red rock. It is definitely manmade. It looked especially interesting and cute, since it’s concaved into the mountain like a cubicle. He signal me to have a sit next to him, while he started to devour his dinner which is a tiny cheeseburger.

    Carefully to not hit my head on the overhanging cliff, I duck in to seat next to him on that unique stone. “It’s so beautiful up here, I wonder why I never notice this place before,” I commented as I opened my Happy Meal to find out that it’s chicken nugget.

    “I’m not surprise, you probably never hear of Ocean Park,” he teased and took another bite while pulling out fries from his bag. I throw one of my fries at him for making me sound like a farmer’s girl. “Are you cold?” he asked but before I answered he has took his jacket off and throw it onto my lap. “You should wear it, since you are such a weakling. I don‘t want you to catch a cold and blame me again,” he casually mumble with his mouth full.

    I sighed at him. “Do you have talk this way? There is no problem for wanting to care for other, you don’t need to disguise your words with bones.” I’m cold, so I quickly wore his jacket. “Thanks,” I sweetly say, I’m starting to enjoy having this unique new friend, who could certainly daunt me with his wacky idea. But he is right, it totally worth it to be up here. Gazing at the beautiful sky, I eat my chicken nugget and fries.

    Before I know it, he has finish eating and now digging into his bag for toy. He is quite childish to me this evening. “A Ken doll?” he complained with this disgusted expression of disappointment, while I laughed. “What did you get Annie?” With my mouth full, I shrugged to answer him instead. While chewing, I searched my Happy Meal and pulled out a four inches tall Barbie figurine that compliment with Louis’s Ken figurine. “What happen to their squirt gun toy?” he childishly whined while walking toward the edge of the mountain and about to throw his four inches Ken figurine off the cliff.

    “No!” I stopped him in time with my arm pulling on his elbow.

    “Don’t tell me, you still play with Barbie,” his eyes narrowed at me suspiciously with those teasing dark eyes.

    I rolled my eyes at him, “I don’t. But Kevin would love to play with these two dolls, it’s better than to have you throw it away like this.”

    “Second thought, I want to trade it with your Barbie doll. Ah Mi will probably like it,” he said. And without asking for my permission, he has already put his Ken figurine in my bag and took the Barbie one. We sit back down on the stone love seat. He started to laugh, “Doesn’t her messy long hair and crimson cheeks resemble someone to you?” I rolled my eyes cause I know he meant me, since his eyes are glued on my loosely tie hair. “You should get a haircut, Annie, since it doesn‘t seem like you know how to take care of it,” he remarked while I growled with annoyance. “You have a black pen or marker?” he suddenly asked.

    “Why?” I curiously mumbled so softly, since I usually don’t talk when my mouth is full.

    Goofily, he grinned and explain, “If I draw a thick black frame around her eyes and color her hair black, she will look exactly like you. But than she will need new clothes. Something nerdy or out of fash…”

    Pouting at him with disbelieve, I throw my half finish chicken nugget at him to stop. “Rude,” I exclaim with a mouthful while trying to swallow.

    Sighed loudly, Louis said, “Smile lah, you don’t have to always take thing so seriously. Learn to joke. No wonder you never date before.” My eyes stilly land on him, but all he did is rolled his eyes. “You are so uptight Annie. If you want boy to be interested in you, you got to give them more than just silent and blushing cheeks. Who would want a girlfriend who act like a piece of wood that does nothing but stiffly stood there?” he criticized while I pulled out the Ken figurine and started to poke it‘s face. His eyes arched on me, but he continue to lecture me, “You need to loosen yourself more so you could communicate…” His voice trailed off. I guess he is pondering what I’m doing.

    I grinned at him with my eyes closed to a slit, while I bend over to pick up a piece of rock that had some dirt. He observed me closely with confusion. “What are you doing?” he finally couldn’t stand and needed to ask.

    “Coloring or Kevin wouldn‘t recognize who it is,” I simply answered him with my flat tone. “Continue to be rude, Grumpy,” I sarcastically urged, while I begin to shade in Ken’s skin tone with a trace of dirt.

    Laughed nonstop, Mr. Grumpy nodded to my action and pulled on my wrist slightly turning my palm to face him so he could see the figurine. “Aw come on, I look more handsome than him right? Look at his eyes it so tiny,” he complained while I’m having fun smudging the figurine eyes with dirt to make it bigger. He chuckled and pulled Ken away from me. “He look like a wimp, he need more muscle if you want him to look like me,” his playful tone say. He too find a rock and started to make mark on the figurine arms and chest.

    “You do not look like Rambo! Plus, those lines look more like winkles,” I cheerfully teased at how much thick line he made on Ken. I tries to retrieve Ken or should I name the figurine Mr. Winkles? Mr. Grumpy turned away and wouldn’t let go, so we kind of did a little tug-a-war. Picked on my height, he raised his hand holding the figurine in the air. Without thinking, I stood up to fast and forgotten about the overhang above me and hit my forehead right on it. “Oww..” I groaned while rubbing my forehead.

    That immature jerk did nothing but kept laughing. “You do need new glasses,” Louis teased with laughter while pulled me to sit back down and handed me Ken. “Here, if you like me so much you could have it,” he grinned playfully, while I rolled my eyes. Taking in a deep breath he lean back and relaxed with eyes gazed toward the slowly setting sun. “I always love it up here,” he honestly said with eyes that seem to carry a bit of lingering memory.

    “Louis, you mind me asking you a personal question?” I gently asked.

    He turns his deep eyes at me and back to gaze at the sun. “Sure, why not?” he casually replied.

    “Who is your Ah Mi? Is she your mom?” I nosily asked while he nodded. “Why did you call her Ah Mi? Is it her name?”

    Shaking his head, he informed me, “Grandpa taught me to call her Mami when I learn to speak, but I end up calling her Ah Mi. She doesn’t mind, in fact she like everyone to call her Ah Mi.” He turns to me, “You could probably guess that my mom is different from others.” He sighed, “She had mental problem making her thinking very simple like a child.”

    “What happen to her?”

    “A fever,” he shortly answered. “Annie look!” he pointed toward the colorful sky of purple, orange, pink, and blue. It look so gorgeous and pretty that I didn’t say anything but stare at it. The huge sun has already dropped halve way into the horizon. This is the first time I actually hike to see a sunset and I’m so glad that he took me here. He suddenly stood up headed to the edge of the cliff and place his two hands making a tunnel in front of his mouth, “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH,” he screamed so loud.

    I laughed at him cause he is turning red from running out of breath. He waved me to join him, which I did. “AAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” both of us hollered so loud at the edge of the cliff. It actually felt so good to scream like that. I felt like a load of my cramped worry been released just from that shout.

    “JOYCE, I LOVE YOU!!” Louis suddenly shouted, I turns to him with curiosity. His eyes carry the same longing sense that I saw earlier. I wonder if he use to bring Joyce up here. He turned to me and urged me, “Come on scream out what your heart most wanted to say. It’ll make you feel really good and stress free.” He nudged on my elbow.

    Facing the setting sun, I wanted to scream out to it too, but somehow I lost my words. Maybe I’m too shy to confess even to the sun. He urged me again with his big grin while he hollers, “JOYCE, I LOVE YOU! COULD YOU HEARS ME?!” I chuckled at him. He nudged me again, “Come on, don’t be a chicken. He is not even here.”

    Nodded, I tries to shout but all I could do is weakly say, “Ah Hei, I love you…” Louis laughed at my so call shout with his head shaking at me with disappointment. I must be such a big turkey to him. Taking in a deep breath I pushed myself to loudly shout, “AH HEI, I LOVE YOU TOO!!” Louis turned to look at me with his brows arched with surprise that I finally confess freely. I blushed and pressed my lips together, I can’t believe I actually shouted my confession, now only if Hei could heard that.

    “JOYCE, I LOVE YOU TOO!!” he shouted, and I shouted my version after him. It felt so, so good to finally be able to release what I had wanted to say for over ten years. This feeling of relief really helped me vaporize all of my stress. This is the reason, he spend that much money and time to bring me up here. I seriously looked into his eyes while he continue to shout. A warm smile painted on me with a hint of being touched to know him cared enough to help me release my stress. I felt so happy and kind of a bit hyper for some reason.

    My grin widen as I watches that chocolate face continue to shout with all his might. I had this urge to give this chocolate monster a big hug and a thank you peck. Which without thinking wisely, I did as my heart desire, which is leaned toward him to give him a peck on his cheek and a hug. He immediately stopped shouting and now coughing vigorously. I guess my action startled him and made him chocking on his own saliva.

    Blushing too, I felt a bit silly for doing that. It actually felt so weird to peck someone that is not related to me. What has gotten into me? I’m never acted this rashly without second thought before. Shyly dropped my head for causing him to cough, I mumbled weakly, “Thanks for bringing me here, it really help. Sorry.” I can’t believe that I gave him a peck, but I’m just so happy to find a friend like him. I bet we can be buddies from now on. Sighed at myself, I decided to gulped down my shyness and step forward to him. I chuckled at him and helped him brush his back. “Never been peck before?” I teased him.

    He shakes his hand toward me as he tries to calm his coughing down. “Ah yi, don’t you do this to me again, Annie. I’m way too old for surprise like this. It just for thanking me right? You are not still having a crush on me, or you?” he questioned so carefully that it made me laughed at his expression.

    I rolled my eyes and assured him, “For the last time no. I only have a crush on Hei. But I don‘t mind to have a buddy like you.”
    -------

    It’s eleven thirty by the time we return to our flat building. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow night?” standing in front of his door, Louis asked with a bright smile.

    “Yeah,” I simply answered and searched for my key to open the door. He unlocked his door and was about to walk in, but I quickly say before he did, “Thanks for the shoulder this afternoon and the piggyback ride.” He nodded and headed into his flat. I smiled happily. Even though, I’m disappointed that I missed Hei farewell dinner, but maybe it’s better that I don’t attend, since I might get even more depressed.

    I walked into the silent flat noticing that it seem like everyone is asleep. Quietly, I headed toward my room and heard a sound from my left. “Jie,” I softly greeted.

    “Where have you been, Annie? Both your gor and me were worry sick about you,” Flora caringly ask with her sleepy expression. But she kind of smiling at me for some reason.

    “Sorry jie, I couldn’t find a phone to call home. How is the farewell dinner?” I whispered.

    “Okay lah. Everyone was guessing where you have been. Benny say you have a new interest and forgotten all about us,” jie chuckled softly. “Is that true? Where did you go to return this late?”

    Not knowing how to answer Flora’s question, I kind of guiltily murmured, “No. I kind of got dragged out by a friend…”

    “The boy next door?” Jie grinned so sneakily. I just froze like the cat caught my tongue, she chuckled, “You don’t need to lie. I saw his light just turn on when you return too. Beside, I saw you hugging him on the sidewalk this afternoon. You dating him now?”

    Oh brother, why did I cried in public? I bit my lower lip and tries to explain, “Jie it’s not what it seem. I wasn’t feeling too happy this afternoon, so he kind of comforted me and took me out for an evening. As simple as that. You didn’t tell anyone about me hugging him in the street, right?” I hope she node or say yes, cause I fear to find out that she told everyone including Hei.

    “Of course not. Are you feeling okay now?” her warm voice made my heart toasted.

    I nodded, “I’m fine now. Don’t worry. Go to sleep, I’m exhausted too.” Jie nodded and headed back to her room. I yawned and walked into mine.
    -------

    Early next morning, I woke up and the first thing I saw was that filthy Ken figurine. I chuckled to recall how Louis and me childishly draw on that figurine. Stretched my arms and with a roaring yawn, I headed to the hallway bathroom. After washing myself, I washed the figurine too, but the scraped mark leave behind from the sharp rock wouldn’t come off. I sighed cause I don’t think Kevin would want it now.

    When I stepped back to my room again seeing Louis jacket hanging on my chair, I remembered that I need to return it back to him. Smiled, I headed to the balcony with his jacket. Sitting on my balcony chair is a stack of CD that Louis once throw over. I started to fly them over one at a time trying to hit his window to alert him. But instead of alerting him, I alerted someone else. “Annie?” the most familiar and warm voice called from behind.

    I’m surprised and turns to face Hei sheepishly hiding the stack of CD behind me. “Good morning,” I weakly greeted with a silly smile, “Woke up already?”

    He laughed at me with curiosity, “Why are you throwing CD over to Louis’s flat?”

    “Oh nothing. It’s his CD anyway, I’m just returning it to him…”

    “You looking for me, Annie?” Louis called from behind me. I turned to face him with an odd nod. He greeted Hei, “Morning! You flying in three hours huh?”

    “Yeah,” Hei happily answered while looking at Louis and me oddly, “That’s how you two get each other attention? Pretty expensive idea,” he chuckled than slit his eyes on us, “Both of you missed last night dinner, any explanation?” I was quite surprise that Hei say both, which mean that devil know about last night dinner and lied to me! My eyes harden on Louis, who just smiled sheepishly. I hear Hei chuckled, “I would accept dating as an excuse.”

    With disbelieve I turn to Hei seriously and firmly answers, “No.” I hate it when he accuse me of dating someone else. Everyone could accuse me, but him. I know, I sounded childish, but it felt really bad to have someone you loved, happily accuse you of dating someone else. I sighed with eye glared at Grumpy, he and I will have a lot to talk about later. “A friend just needed my help last night,” I softly lied.

    “Mine too,” that idiot has to be so lazy to even make up his old excuse!

    Hei laughed, “It’s no big deal, not like I’m not coming back. Anyway, Annie, I was going to give you this last night. I know it‘s not what I promise you, but you just have to keep this model for now.” Hei handed me a present. “I need to finish up packing, so see you during breakfast.” I nodded, while Hei looked over to Mr. Grumpy. “Louis, if you happen to see her lost in the middle of the street, help me take care of her,” Hei teased and chuckled with Louis.

    Once Hei stepped out of my room, I demands Louis to explain, “You knew about last night farewell dinner?!” He nodded and runs his hand into his hair. “How could you make me miss it than?”

    “What’s the different? You don’t have the gut to confess to him anyway, so why go there to feel sad? Plus, I don’t think you want anyone to see your puffy red eyes. And you will probably end up crying all night long, when you return. I’m just doing you a favor,” he exclaim. “Don’t tell me you didn’t have fun last night,” he added before he walks back to his flat. I’m a bit mad at him, but after his words sink into my mind, I guess he do has a point.

    Quickly, I pulled the wrapping paper off of Hei’s gift and found out it being a red sport car model. I chuckled, cause I remember Hei once promised me many years ago that he will buy me anything I want if I do good with school and graduate, back than I was only fifteen. I told him that I wanted a new red sport car so I could drive when I get my license. He laughed and say I’m such a greedy girl but he did promise he will try his best to get one. I can’t believe he still remember and got me this model, I guess it‘s better than nothing.

    I sighed and wonder how it will be to live without him for a year. But what could I do? He is leaving at ten. All I could do now is fake a cheerful smile until he step into the gate. He will return, and I’ll wait for him. During the meantime, I’ll gather my courage to confess once he return in a year.
    ******

  16. #16
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Chapter 15: The Guessing Game

    “Aunty A, what are you looking for?” asked the short little rascal, who just step into my room. His mischievous round eyes hadn’t left my pile of clothes that is on my bed. Ever since the start of his motor skill begun, Kevin had always has this odd itch to unorganized things around him, especially neatly folded pile of clothing.

    The thought of meeting Louis’s family causes me to let out a stressed sigh because I don’t know what I should wear. It’s my first time meeting his mom and grandpa, plus I’m suppose to be his girlfriend, so I should dress well to respect this dinner. “Kevin, does aunty A clothing look old fashion to you? Do they look too boyish or nerdy?” I asked since I recall Mr. Grumpy complain from yesterday. My nephew just climbed on top of my pile of clothing and shrugged. He is more interested in playing with my mess like a pile of dried leaves than to help me decide. “Which looks better Kevin? Which one would you pick?” I shows him two shirts.

    But he shook his head and defensively said, “I’m a boy, I don’t wear girl clothes!”

    Rolled my eyes with chuckle, I clarify to him, “I meant for me, cutie-pie.” Kevin shrugged and continues to play with my clothes. I frustratingly sighed and plopped back lying on my bed. “What should I wear to look presentable?!”

    “What present?” he curiously asked while throwing my clothes on top of my belly and jumped in to sit on me.

    After a soft moan cause of his sudden weight on my belly, I replies to him, “I mean to look…umm… you know, good…”

    “You mean to look pretty, Aunty A?” he cutely asked with round eyes beam at me and his awfully big grin. I nodded to him. Playfully, Kevin left me and dug himself under my pile of clothing instead. “Mommy say dresses make a girl look prettiest,” said Kevin, who then turns to eyes me. “But Aunty A, you don’t have any dresses,” he remarked.

    A bit offended I corrected him, “I do. Just that I don’t wear them doesn’t mean I don’t own any.” To think of it, the last time I seriously dress up was for gor’s wedding. I loudly sighed at my boring personality and life. Gaze up on my bedroom’s ceiling seeing my glow-in-the-dark stars and galaxy, I let out a small smile. “I don’t think it’s that necessary to wear a dress. I’m just going to be myself. Beside, I’m the one who is helping him, if he don’t like my choice of clothing, he could find someone else to help him,” I finally decided.

    “Ah! I know exactly what will make you really pretty Aunty A!” Kevin excitedly shouted and quickly climbed off my bed, running out of my room like a speedy bullet. My head rolled toward his disappeared direction wondering what he has in mind. Did he not hear me stating that I decided to be myself and not wear dresses?

    The thudding familiar sound of bouncing CD from my window caught my attention. Like a reflex, cause of classical conditioning from Mr. Grumpy since the past few weeks, I was expecting him to be standing at his balcony looking toward mine with his request, when I heard the sound. Peeking through the glass balcony door, I saw someone waving at me for attention. A bit startled to the blurry vision, I nudged my glasses back in position to take a second look. My eyes hasn’t fail me, there really are two figures staring at me instead of the usual one dark being. Standing beside Louis with a down to earth friendly smile is a female that is roughly in her late forty, I suppose.

    Quickly, I stood upright and straighten myself. I felt a bit nervous and embarrassed to have an adult sees my messy room and how I lazily lies on my bed in the late afternoon. I’m a girl, and like what my mom had always nagged me that a girl’s room must be presentable at all time. I should of kept those curtains close this morning. But why did Louis have to point over and show his mom my room, especially when I haven’t clean up?! At least give me a call to warn me, so I can kind of push my stuff aside. I hurried over toward the curtain to close it a bit.

    “Annie!” I heard his muffled voice called repeatedly and it gotten louder and clearer once I opened the balcony door and stepped out, after I have drawn the curtains to my room close behind me.

    Smiled politely at the female who is examining me with a bright smile and laughter, I weakly greeted, “Hi, aunty.” My eyes ran a bit off track to gaze at Louis for putting me in a spot that I’m not quite ready for yet. I just hate this feeling of overwhelming nervousness to have someone new stare at me like this, especially when this someone is an adult.

    “Hi! You’re Koo Jai’s girlfriend? The girl that he say was very sweet to him and had promised to marry him?” his mom stammered a bit trying to pounce each word correctly. If she hadn‘t just talk, I would of forgotten that she is just a child in mind. But still, I couldn‘t help myself from acting nervous in front of her. I nodded awkwardly to her question while feeling like I’m being X-rayed. It’s kind of strange to admit being someone’s girlfriend, especially to be a very sweet girlfriend who agreed in marriage. I bet Louis was probably commenting Joyce instead of me, when he told his mom those point. Louis’s mom turn to face him and remarks, “Koo Jai ah, she is not that bad looking lah. Those glasses look pretty. And her hair look pretty, and it’s as long as mine too! She is pretty ah, Koo Jai.”

    My expression slightly stern with still eyes on Louis as I wonder what that monster has said to his mom and grandpa. I admit, I’m not the prettiest girl, but there is no reason for him to make me sound like an ugly duckling. Louis sheepishly chuckled while putting his two palms on his mom shoulders. “Ah Mi ah, I never hear you say anyone is not pretty before,” Louis reminded his mom or did he just say that, wanting to simply tick me off?

    “Joyce come over now, I have something for you. It took me a long time, but with Koo Jai help, we got it done. Koo Jai said you will like it,” his mom excitedly exclaimed proudly.

    I saw a frown show up on Louis when he hears his mom called me, Joyce. It probably triggered his memories of his relationship with Joyce. “Ah Mi, her name is Annie, remember? She is Annie Man, not Joyce,” he patiently told his mom, who became a bit confused. I finally relaxed a bit after seeing how warm and friendly his mom seems. Louis grinned at me, “Come over now. Let them get to know you before we start dinner.”

    “But I’m not ready yet,” I sadly told him while glanced toward my bed and what I’m currently wearing. “We are just staying at your flat for dinner right?” I wishfully asked. At that moment Kevin just barge in dragging Flora’s wedding veil beside him. My eyes enlarged, starting at him not knowing if I should laugh or not. I just hope he wouldn’t suggest that I put it on. “Kevin, what are you doing with your mommy’s veil? She is going to punish you if she sees you playing with that again.”

    “Aunty A, you wanted to look pretty for Louis gor gor mah. This will look very pretty on you, Aunty A. You’ll look like an angel. Remember the last time you wore it?” he naïvely asked while my cheeks are burning up with embarrassment. “Aunty A, you should…”

    Instantly my hand automatically covered his mouth before he continue to make me sounded so girly, especially in front of that cocky devil. “Kevin, I was just playing with you last time,” I mumbled with displease. I glanced over to see Mr. Grumpy chuckling with pressed lips while his eyes are glue on the white veil amusedly. I cleared my throat purposely to remind him not to tease me.

    “Joyce ah, daddy say you two are getting marry soon. Is that the wedding dress? I want to see it! Come over and put it on for me to see. Please?” his mom joyfully requested with bright excited eyes on me like an excited child waiting to open Christmas’s present.

    Glanced up toward me and over to Louis’s mom, Kevin eyes enlarged with surprised shock. He forcefully tries to drag my hands off of his mouth. “Aunty A is getting marry?!” Kevin shouted loudly in excitement, after he pulled my hand off of his mouth. “To who, to who?! Aunty A, to who! Who, who?! Is it Louis gor gor? Is it! Is It?!” that boy sounded like a hyper night owl.

    “Noooo, Kevin,” I softly growled to hush down his excitement while covered his mouth again.

    Instead of clarifying, Louis does nothing to help; all he did is loudly laughed with amuse. I cleared my throat warningly at him again with my serious still eyes. He corrected his mom with a chuckling tone, “Ah Mi ahh, for the last time, she is Annie.”

    “Annie? Who is Joyce than? Didn’t daddy say your wife name is Joyce? So who is she?” his mom confusedly questioned while pointed toward me.

    “She is Annie,” Louis repeated than sheepishly bended his lie, “Grandpa is getting forgetful lately. He probably messed up Annie’s name as Joyce. There is no Joyce, only Annie.” Wah, that devil sure could lie without a blink of his eye. I probably should just trust him twenty percent of what he tell me from now on. He grinned at me, “Come over. Grandpa wanted to meet you. He is in the kitchen preparing food at the moment. His specialty, you’ll probably like it.”

    I nodded while struggling to control Kevin, “I need to change first. But I‘ll be over shortly.”

    With bright beautiful eyes, Kevin anxiously looked toward me and blurted his muffled plead, “Can I go over too, Aunty A? I want to play with Louis gor gor.”

    Released his mouth, I shook my head at him and nudged him to walk back in. His lips automatically flatten with his eyes shuts to a slit and within few seconds the left side of his lips kind of quivered getting ready to cry. I simply just rolled my eyes at his behavior. “It not going to work this time little mister,” I plainly told him.

    “I’ll be really good,” his soft voice dragged and started to sniffle.

    Sighed, I firmly repeats myself, “No, Kevin.” Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m not heartless to this three-years-old rascal, is he who is too good in acting and manipulating my soft heart toward him.

    “Hey kiddo, if you’ll be good and stay home for tonight, we’ll take you to Ocean Park next weekend,” the devil bribed with a smugly handsome smile. Did I just think he is handsome? My brain must had gone hay-wired for a sec there to think that burned chocolate being handsome. Yuck! He is nothing compare to how he use to look.

    “Really?!” Kevin cheerfully jumped with clapping hand. He nodded repeatedly and vigorously nudging my arm, “Aunty A, Aunty A, are we really going to Ocean’s Park next weekend?!”

    My uncertain eyes landed on Louis’s deep dark brown eyes. At least his eyes is still as attractive and sharp looking as he was in grade school. He gave a slight nod and a confirming grin. I nodded to Kevin, “Sure, I guess we are going.”

    “Yay!!” screamed Kevin from the top of his lung. Kevin’s loved to watch the dolphin shows at Ocean’s Park, which explain why he is so hyper now. “I’m going to tell daddy and mommy!” he happily say and ran back into our flat.

    “Come over,” Louis invited.

    “I’ll go change now,” I told him than mannered smiled at Ah Mi, “Aunty, it‘s nice to meet you.” Louis softly laugh cause his mom stare at me with unsure if I was calling her.

    “Joy, oh no, no. Ah ah ah…” his mom tried so hard to recall my name.

    Is my name really that hard to remember? “Annie,” I helped with my lips pressed shut shyly. I’m always like this when I meet new people, especially older generation. No matter how prepare I’m, I still end up tense and nervous.

    She smiled beautifully with relieve showing her white teeth. Her hair is wavy with length that is about half foot passed her shoulder. And her creamy skin tone reminded me of the old Louis Koo I had a crush on. “Yes, Annie! Annie, call me Ah Mi. I’m Louis’s Ah Mi. You’re going to be Louis’s wife very soon, so you should call me Ah Mi too. That is what daddy say. I don‘t want to get confuse,” she requested. .

    “Alright, Ah Mi,” I awkwardly replied with a nod.

    “Hurry up okay? I have lots to ask you,” she impatiently stated while made me gulped nervously. What do she need to ask? What if I fail the ultimate test?

    “Don’t dress up for me,” Louis winked and started to chuckle again when his eyes met the wedding veil that Kevin left behind.
    -------

    After a short chat I’m starting to really enjoy the company of Ah Mi and even Louis’s grandpa. Both of them are not the usual uptight and always govern manner and rule type of people. They are both very down to earth and playful. His grandpa even insist that I address him as grandpa like how Louis has instead of addressing him formally. Meeting grandpa and Ah Mi, it finally occur to me why Mr. Grumpy seem so carefree and goofy to me most of the time. He certainly was raised in a more relax and carefree family than mine.

    His grandpa has asked me lots of question about my family, especially where my parents are. I politely answered his questions about my family. All I’m hoping now is that he is not thinking about wanting to meet my mom and dad for planning wedding matter. Since he think I’m the girl who has promise to marry his grandson by spring. I can’t imagine what my parents reaction would be if they heard this fake news. They will probably have a great laugh.

    Grandpa leaded us to chat at the dinning table so we can start dinner. Ah Mi has dragged me to sit down right next to her left, while Louis took the seat to my left. While Ah Mi grabbed her fork and spoon to eat, grandpa continue to tell me more stories. And I really like the new topic, since it’s about Louis’s childhood. Grandpa said Louis was fearful of fruits when he was a child because grandpa has once told him that if he ever swallow any seed, he will have a fruit tree grew out from the top of his head. Grandpa say that he had regretted telling Louis that because Louis would hide at the site of fruit or throw any fruit he found around the house away. Grandpa also stated that Louis wouldn’t consume any fruit, unless he disguised it.

    Just the thought of a young dark boy with a tree twice his size on top of his head causing him to topple over to one side, made me chuckle with amuse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mean, I just think it’s quite cute how he would hide to the site of fruit.

    Cleared his throat, Louis whined, “Hey, enough.” I glanced at him with eyes that is probably laughing too. I think he is actually blushing and wishes his grandpa would stop embarrassing him in front of me, his so called four-eyed-nerd. “What you expect? I’m only five…and grandpa is exaggerating,” Louis told me in defensively.

    Seeing me with only rice in my bowl, Louis reached over to scoop a spoonful of some sort of baked chicken into my bowl of rice. Somehow, I smiled sweetly to that small caring gesture of his, even though I know he just doing it so his grandpa wouldn’t suspect us. Maybe this is the feeling and kind of attention that all girl including me had been searching for all along. It really not our fault, us girls just had been brainwashed by fairytales where prince must be protective and caring to a princess. Maybe one day Hei will probably do the same for me, and it wouldn’t be acting.

    “Joyce, how did you and…”

    Louis instantly corrected, “It’s Annie, grandpa.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry Annie. I didn‘t mean to keep changing your name,” grandpa sighed before he added, “I guess the doctor is right about my memory failing me.”

    “Is alright grandpa, there is no need to apologize,” I assured than glared at Louis for making his grandpa think that there is no such person as Joyce. How could he make his grandfather believes that his memories are failing him faster than it is?

    “Ah yes Annie, how did you and Louis found each other in Spain?” Louis’s seventy years old grandpa asked with a big grin of interest. I could see winkles on both side of his eyes showing his wisdom and experience through life. His big cheerful smile is so warm to me, that I had this strange sense of being part of his family. It could be because I never had a chance to meet either one of my grandpa, since both of them passed away before my parents was even married. “Annie?” grandpa called.

    “Oh Spain. Umm…” I fumbled for words. Found each other in Spain? What does he mean by that? And Spain? I know nothing about Spain. Did Louis and Joyce got lost in Spain before? A bit lost to what I should say, I kind of averted my eyes toward Louis for help. “Well, I was…walking…and…umm…” I dragged pointlessly lost.

    Pressed his lips together, Louis slightly cleared his throat and guided, “Grandpa, didn’t I mention to you how I met Annie in our university in Spain before?”

    Oh it was that kind of found each other. “Yeah, that how we met,” I sheepishly chimed in hoping to pass that question.

    Grandpa laughed, “I remember, I just want to hear Annie side of the story. How do I know you didn’t make up things to make yourself sounded so important to Annie? Maybe it’s the other way around. So Annie, is what Louis told me correct?”

    How do I know? Why didn’t Mr. Grumpy tell me about his relationship with Joyce in the first place?! From under the table, I slightly nudged Louis foot with mine, begging for help and clue. Louis slightly gestured his head, I think he wanted me to just make up a story. But how do I know what his grandpa know? I smiled awkwardly when I saw his grandpa glance toward me after noticing that I haven’t speak up yet. “Well,” I started lamely again, while trying to think of a romantic setting and plot on how Mars met Venus. “It was the first day of fal…,” my voice trailed off after feeling Louis kicked me from under the table. “I mean it was the first day of spring semester,” I dragged my sentence with unsure, until Louis gave me a small smile. “I was rushing to class so I kind of bump into Louis making him drop his books.”

    “I thought you guy met at your school dance,” questioned grandpa with suspicious eyes.

    “Oh the school dance was our official meeting and getting to know each other to be girlfriend and boyfriend. Annie just mention how we very first met each other,” Louis corrected and turns to smile brightly at me, “Sweetie, you always remember every single little detail.” Louis winked while I felt a bit nauseated by his fakeness. “Grandpa, you wouldn’t believe that she made me dance with her all night long before she allow me to kiss her, and it was only a peck on the cheek,” pouted Louis purposely.

    Brightened his eyes, grandpa smiled with hope, “Oh, you must really love dancing Annie! Personally, dancing is my favorite! I know all sort of dancing steps. Do you know how to tango, Annie?”

    Shyly, I shook my head, “No, not really.” The flat out truth is that I don’t know how to dance at all, but seeing how happy grandpa is to think I love to dance, I don’t want to spoil his mood.

    “Here, try some of this. It’s my favorite dish,” claim Louis while he reached over to scoop up a big spoonful of fresh steam shrimp that is marinated with dressing and lots of herbs. Seeing those chopped tiny green herbs, I paled and slightly shook my head hinting Louis to not offer me those. I hated herbs!

    I quickly lost my appetite when he empty that spoonful of herbed shrimp into my bowl of rice. Now, how am I going to finish dinner? It will be rude if I ask for another bowl of rice without finishing this bowl first, plus it will show that this idiot here is not my boyfriend or else he wouldn’t be this clueless about my eating habit. I became silent staring at my rice while Louis and his mom laughed about something they were talking about.

    “Annie is something wrong?” questioned grandpa warm voice. “Are my cooking eatable to you?” he asked in a teasing way.

    “Oh, of course,” I automatically replied.

    Grandpa nodded with satisfaction, “That is Louis favorite dish. He told me, you two basically have the same taste to what is good and what is not. So you love shrimp and seafood too?”

    “Yeah, I do,” I answered. Well, I love any kind of food as long as it’s herb free. But what in front of me is not herb free.

    “Grandpa, Annie will get too shy to eat if you keep up with your spying,” joked Louis. I elbowed him.

    With sharp eyes on Louis, Grandpa gave him the eyes. I chuckled at their expression. “Well, don’t be shy Annie. Enjoy the dinner. Here have some more,” grandpa joyfully added more food to my bowl.

    Louis nudged me to eat. “Come on eat, you need to grow a bit taller,” he winked annoyingly.

    While grandpa is talking to Ah Mi, I quickly elbowed Louis to get attention and whispered, “You finish my bowl of rice up, now.”

    “You’re seriously full?” he asked in surprise, since we just start dinner.

    “No, but I don’t eat herbs. And you have to cover my entire bowl of rice with herbs,” my grumpy but soft voice pointed out to him. He chuckled softly with amuse. “Stop chuckling, help me finish up this bowl of rice so I can get a new bowl,” I suggested him while starting to scoop some of my rice into his bowl. When I notice eyes staring on us, I stopped my action and sheepishly smiled toward grandpa and Ah Mi.

    “Annie ah, you are such a great wife to mix rice for Koo Jai to eat. Just like how daddy is making mine,” commented Ah Mi. Louis suppressed chuckle erupted.

    “Full already, Annie?” asked grandpa. “You sure eat little…”

    Louis empted back what I scooped into his bowl back into my bowl as he said, “Don’t mind us grandpa. We like to mix rice for each other to eat. It test how much we know each other taste.” Grandpa nodded but curiously watch what Louis is doing. Louis is adding more food to his bowl of rice, but he skipped the herbed shrimp. Than he mixed his bowl of rice a bit and handed it over to me while grabbing my original bowl of rice that is filled with herbs. “Thanks for doing mine sweeties. You know exactly what I loved most,” he winked.

    “Kids these day sure have a lot of creative way to show there affection toward each other,” say grandpa with eyes that seem to bring him back to his dating years.

    I slipped a soft chuckle to Louis and happily eat the bowl of rice he offer. Louis leaned over to whisper into my ear, “You are so picky Annie. So what else you don’t eat so I don’t have to finish your food in the future.” He rolled his eyes on me, “And how on earth could you not like herbs? They are what bring out the food favoring. Man, you are missing out on a lot of good taste.”

    “At least I’m not afraid of fruits,” I teased with giggle.

    “Hey I told you already, it just a kid thing. So what else you dislike?” he whispered.

    “Banana…umm…yeah herbs and banana are the only two things that I absolutely don’t touch. Sometime I can’t stand leftover fry duck either. Other than that, I love everything,” I informed him. “What about you?”

    “Apple juice, apple sauce, apple pie, basically anything that got to do with apple,” he replied. Than suddenly his eyes look into mine more deeply that it made me felt a bit weird inside. He chuckled and sincerely whispered, “Thanks.”
    ******

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