One week later, Saturday. 3 weeks to the fashion show/Ken’s wedding. 4pm.
Jerry, Vic and Vanness stared at Ken, who is staring into the mirror looking at his own reflection and took multiple deep breaths.
“This is your 8th pair of tuxedo you’ve tried, Ken,” Vic said.
Ken turned to his left and right to see how the tuxedo fits him.
“I couldn’t decide,” Ken said.
Jerry rolled his eyes as he folded his hands on his chest. “You were lucky all three of us are free today to accompany you to try your tux for your wedding…” he looked around, “In this… normal shop,”
“Bridal galleries are everywhere, Ken. Why do you opt for a normal gents’ shop?” Vic asked.
“Tux can be obtained anywhere,” Ken said. “Not necessary bridal shop… to which I didn’t want to,”
“We’ve been here since 2.30pm and you’ve already tried this much… yet you still can’t decide which is better for you when all of them fit you well,” Vanness said.
“And you paid approximately 15 minutes to each pair… why is it so hard for you to choose?” Vic asked. “You told us you only need a tux, right?”
Ken looked at Vic, “Have you gotten any?”
“Not yet but I will rent one, no worries,” Vic said.
“Rent? You should buy one and keep it,” Jerry said.
“Buy? How many functions in a year that I need to wear that?” Vic asked. “I am not Ken. I don’t need to wear coat, jacket or tux to go to work, or meet customers, or even attend functions,”
“Okay, first up, you will attend a fashion show next month and I expect you to dress something that looked fashionable enough, and not torn jeans. Tux is never run out of style, so you have ONE function already. Second, Ken’s BIG day… errr…” Jerry looked at Ken, and then looked at Vic, “I think you have two already in the coming month,”
“There is an annual dinner of my company in about 2 months so you must wear formal to the annual dinner,” Ken chipped in. “You can wear your tux in that event,”
“Annual dinner?” Vic, Vanness and Jerry asked.
“Yes. This year I plan to invite all of you so you must come,” Ken said.
“You never invite us nor we had ever attended your company’s annual dinner for the past years,” Vanness said.
“Not this year,” Ken said.
“Why? What happened? I thought it was only for business contacts or staffs,” Jerry asked.
“Not necessarily. I just wanted my friends to attend from now on,” Ken said. “Vic, I’ll buy for you. Pick one,”
“Har?” Vic asked. “Look, I have a good job now, and I can pay,”
“You can pay Vanness’ bills with your salary. I don’t want to burden you with yet another splurge for the tux that you said you will only get to wear once in a blue moon,” Ken said.
“I insist,” Ken interrupted Vic. He then looked at Jerry and Vanness, “What about you guys? Already obtained a tux?”
“I already have,” Jerry said.
“I haven’t, but I will get it. If you want to, I’ll get it today, right here with you,” Vanness said. “I am a dancer and I rarely need to attend any functions in tux, as I only need to go with my dance attire all the while or dress casually. I have one tux with me all this while but I guess I needed a brand new one for your wedding,”
Ken smirked, “Then go and pick. I’ll buy for you,”
“Then it’s not fair for me! I also want!” Jerry said.
“Sure, go ahead,” Ken casually responded while looking at the mirror.
Vic, Vanness and Jerry looked at Ken. For the entire conversation, Ken has been expressionless.
“Ken… are you alright?” Vic asked.
“What makes you think that I am not?” Ken replied.
“You offered to buy me tux without a word of objection…” Jerry said.
“You are right that it is not fair for you if I buy for them and not you so I decide to buy for all of you. Since it is a stupid function that causes all of you need to splurge to buy a tux and wear it for me then might as well I paid for that,” Ken said.
“Ken… it’s your wedding…” Vanness said. “Why do you call your wedding stupid…?”
“I know. It’s an unwanted wedding,” Ken said. “That is why I call it stupid,”
“I understand you need to go with the wedding, but you need not to buy us tux…” Vic said.
Ken took a deep breath, and finally looked at them from the mirror. “I am not happy. I just feel like buying things. I know buying things will make my buddies happy, so I will be happy seeing them happy,” he then looked away, “Will you just take it as a way to help me ease my pain?”
Jerry, Vanness and Vic looked at each other before they patted Ken.
“I’m sorry,” Jerry said. “We really don’t know what to do to help you in this…”
“If buying will make you feel better… then sure, buy us the tux then…” Vanness said.
“Okay… thanks,” Ken said.
“I don’t understand you, Ken. If you are not happy with the wedding… why are you spending so much time finding the best tux for yourself?” Jerry asked.
“Who told you I am finding the best tux?” Ken asked, looking at Jerry.
“What?” Vanness, Vic and Jerry asked looking at Ken.
“I look at myself in the mirror and I found out that all the tux that I’ve tried suits me well and I am not happy about it. I wish to see one tux that makes me look bad for the wedding but like you said, I’ve tried all and it’s all making me looking at my best,” Ken said.
“HAR?!” the F3 responded.
“I’ll try another pair now,” Ken said as he closed the door in front of them.
Jerry, Vic and Vanness stepped back, and they looked at each other.
“I missed the Ken we know…” Vic said.
“Apparently this whole situation seems to have caused him out of his mind…” Vanness said.
“But until the stage that he wants to look bad for his wedding? He should just take…” before Jerry finished with his words, Vanness stormed at him and covered his mouth.
“SHH!!!” Vanness said.
Jerry and Vic looked at Vanness, and he slowly released his hand from covering Jerry’s mouth.
“I know Ken well. He can do it with an oversize tux but he chooses not to. I can see from the way he picks his tux. He wanted a nicely fit tux but should look ugly on him,” Vanness said. “Every groom should look at his best. But since Ken did not want to look at his best, we just make him pick any one… and it should be sufficient to make him look alright for the wedding, rather than it is obvious he is trying to wear the worst. After all he is the Business Manager for Zhu Corporation, the future CEO, so… he should have good image,” Vanness looked at the fitting room to which Ken is inside.
“I agree with Vanness. He doesn’t have to wear the best, but he can’t wear the worst like he claimed he wanted to,” Vic said.
“Alright then. We’ll make him buy one that he looks good instead of the best or worst,” Jerry said.
Ken opened the door of the fitting room. “This one doesn’t look alright too,” he pulled the coat.
Jerry, Vanness and Vic looked at Ken.
“Ken, whichever tux you have chosen here will fit just the same. You don’t have to try all to determine which looks the worst when all of them are almost the same,” Vanness said. “I honestly think this is okay for you,”
“I agree,” Vic and Jerry said.
“Really?” Ken asked.
“Yes, trust us,” Vic said.
“So we can pick our tux here, right now?” Jerry asked.
Ken smiled. “Alright, sure, go ahead,” he then closed the door.
“Gosh… I cannot believe we almost spent 2 hours in this shop to help this soon-to-be-groom to decide what to wear for his wedding when he is trying to find one that he’s sucks in it, which is totally unbelievable,” Jerry said. “I’ve never heard anyone looking for something they don’t fit in to wear for their wedding,” he looked around the tuxedos in the store.
“He is different. He is not the willing party,” Vic said, taking out a tuxedo and placed on his body, with him looking down on the tuxedo if it fits him.
“But still somehow he should dress at least nicely to that…” Jerry said.
“He seems trying to ruin it,” Vic said, and turned looking at the quiet Vanness who is staring way far away to the toys store opposite the store they are in. “Vanness, what are you looking at?”
“What… I’ve never thought about it,” Vanness responded… weirdly.
“Har?” Vic asked.
Vanness turned and looked at Vic, “Nothing, what were you saying?”
“We were saying about Ken trying to ruin his wedding by wearing a worse outfit,” Jerry said.
“You mean worst?” Vic corrected.
Jerry laughed, “Maybe,”
“He is the groom. We can’t complement him in that. If he looks worse in his own wedding, then we gotta be the worst. Anyhow, now we know how his tux is – which thank goodness is not too bad, so we can start looking for our tux, and we have to look the best for best men,” Vanness said, glancing through the tuxedo. “What is the rule to be the best men for his wedding?”
“Rule? You mean, there are rules?” Jerry asked.
“Maybe the theme… at least we have to know what we are supposed to do, right? And where the venue is…” Vanness said.
“Oh yeah… we know nothing about this at all…” Vic said.
“By the way, no one seems to know Ken is staying at your place?” Jerry asked Vanness. “But what about his parents? He never told them? Or they never ask where he went?”
“Ken told them he is staying somewhere alone and not wanted to be disturbed…” Vic interrupted. “Sorry, I overheard him talking on the phone one day when he was in the kitchen,”
“Oh,” Vanness and Jerry replied.
“But it’s kind of weird…” Vanness said. “I actually expect Pearl might come knocking on my door… but she never did… or rather she hired some private investigator to track Ken down,”
“As far as we all know, Ken has never told Pearl for the past years where you stayed…” Vic said at Vanness. “I doubt she knew I moved to your place too. Anyhow, if someone reports to her and tell her than Ken is staying at your house, she doesn’t know where your house is too…”
“I bet if that ‘someone’ reports to her, he or she should tell Pearl the direction to go to Vanness’ house,” Jerry said. “And then she will come and get Ken,”
“If Pearl really hires someone to follow Ken, either the fella is a lousy one… or he failed to trace Ken’s movement,” Vanness said. “Or… maybe Pearl didn’t hire at all, since she knows that she and Ken are getting married and he will somewhat stuck with her after the wedding so she just let him be for now… knowing that he will have to go back ‘home’ somehow,”
“Well, assuming if Pearl found out that Ken is staying with us and she come looking for Ken, I bet Ken will fume and he could do worse than what he is doing at her now… since Ken has blow up at Pearl back then, we don’t know what else he will do,” Vic said.
“Good point,” Jerry said.
“Also, Ken’s movement has been unpredictable right now. Sometimes he would leave office early or very much later… and disappeared to somewhere before Jerry or I went to pick him up at somewhere,” Vanness said. “He once called me and asked me to pick him up at a coffee house 8 blocks away from his office at 6.10pm! Imagine what time he could have left his office?”
“In addition to your statement, he did ask me to pick him up at the south entrance of his office at 6pm. Sometimes he said 8pm at north entrance. That dude is totally unpredictable now,” Jerry added.
“He said he took staircase sometimes from his office instead of lift,” Vic said. “I guess to hire an investigator to track Ken down… it won’t be an easy task too,”
Ken opened the fitting room’s door and he emerged from the room. “This,” he told the salesperson he wants the pair of tuxedo he had just tried on last, believing his friends that the one he picked makes him look the worst among all the tuxedos he had tried. He walked to his friends who seem to be gathering together at one corner to pick the tuxedos when actually they are talking, and choosing their tuxedos at the same time. “So, you guys pick already?”
“Whoa… we just came here and still looking…” Vic responded.
“Oh,” Ken said.
“Ken, anyone knows you stayed with me?” Vanness asked.
“No… I told mom I am staying over at hotel,” Ken said, looking at Vanness.
“Hotel?” Vanness asked. “Apparently my house has changed to a hotel,”
“I told her I don’t want to be disturbed. And since she doesn’t want to listen to me, then I might as well not listen to her to go back home… besides, to go home means I’ll be pestered about the stupid marriage of convenience to Pearl and talking all those craps that I don’t want to listen,” Ken said. “And I have been taking extra precaution from anyone I know to follow me, so no one is supposed to know I am staying with you,”
“Are you sure?” Vanness asked.
“Yes, I even change a lot of my routine… so I am unpredictable now,” Ken said. “I took staircases at times instead of lifts, going out from south door or even through the next building… all depends on my mood what I want to do and how to do on that day,”
“Whoa… we are almost right in what we just said,” Jerry mumbled. “Oh, by the way, Vanness…”
Vanness looked at Jerry, “Yup?”
“I will be staying over at your place tonight because I have a late night show tonight, and I had a shoot early in the morning tomorrow… and so your place is nearer to Actors’ Studio…” Jerry stopped.
“Apparently my house has REALLY changed to a hotel,” Vanness said. “It’s okay anyway. You have room service personnel called Vic,”
Ken and Jerry laughed. Vic glared at Vanness.
“WHAT?!” Vic said.
“You’ll sleep in the same room with Vic, since Ken and I are sharing my room already,” Vanness said.
“Okay, sure. Thanks,” Jerry said.
“…PWRB, your one stop concept store for everything,”
The F4 turned and looked at the TV which is hung outside the store to which has just displayed the PWRB commercial with Pace Wu as the model.
“Darn, she’s alluring,” Jerry said.
“Pace Wu? She’s gorgeous,” Ken said.
“You should see her in person when she’s having less make-up. She looked darn beautiful,” Vanness said.
Vic, Ken and Jerry looked at Vanness.
“What is going on with you?” Vic asked.
“Nothing,” Vanness said, and he recalled, ‘tiger… tiger…’
“Let’s get back to choosing the tux…” Vic said, and he stared at the tuxedo.
Jerry was about to choose, when he recalled all the discussions they had earlier before Ken emerged from the fitting room.
“Ken… where is the venue of your wedding?” Jerry asked.
Ken’s face changed. “The spacious garden of Zhu villa-bungalow on top of the hill,” he said.
“You mean your other house on the hill?” Vic asked.
“My parents’ house. The villa,” Ken said.
“Why do you call it like a sort of someone else’s bungalow when it is your family’s?” Vanness asked.
Ken smirked lightly. “I don’t feel like I am a part of them. I feel like a stranger to them,” he said. “That villa itself is big enough to cater the function,”
“Oh,” the F3 responded.
“By the way, I have the invitation cards ready. It’s in my car. I’ll pass to you later,” Ken said.
They looked at Ken. Ken is definitely not the happy groom. He just talk for the sake of talking.
“Oh… alright. Then what is the theme…?” Vic asked.
“You can wear as colorful as you want,” Ken said. “I don’t care. And I don’t bother,”
Vic swallowed the lump in his throat. “Pitch black then, go…” Vic said, patting at the stunned face of Vanness and Jerry.
“Ok, ok…” Vanness and Jerry replied, and all three of them spread around the store looking for their respective suitable tuxedos.
Ken folded his hands on his chest and took a deep breath. He had never really had a peace mind since his wedding announcement, and it’s getting worse as days go.
Jerry had a couple of tuxedos in hand and he walked to the fitting room.
Ken abruptly looked at him and voiced out, “You found already?” he walked to Jerry.
“I was just about to try it out,” Jerry said.
“Black?” Ken asked as he leaned on the wall outside the fitting room that Jerry was about to enter.
“Yeah… suitable for all occasions. Why? I thought you said you don’t care about the color,” Jerry said.
“Nah, just asking,” Ken said, folding his hands on his chest.
“Okay then,” Jerry hung the tuxedos on the wall and then he closed the door of the fitting room.
Vanness and Vic also gathered a few and they walked into the empty fitting room next to each other.
After a few moments of silence,
“By the way, Jerry, how was the itinerary of the fashion show going?” Ken asked.
“It is good,” Jerry said. “All’s going well,” he opened the door, smartly clad in the tuxedo and showed Ken. “How do I look?”
“Great. I can exchange you to wed Pearl instead,” Ken said.
Jerry eyed Ken, “No, thanks,”
“And don’t you even think about it!” Vanness said as he opened the door. He turned looking at the mirror and straightened his coat.
Ken smiled, “Of course I’m just joking,”
Vic opened the door. “Ken, I don’t understand, why don’t you keep trying to tell your parents about your intention of not wanting to marry Pearl? You seemed gave up,” he also turned looking at the mirror.
Ken took a deep breath. “I have tried timelessly. I have even showed them by refusing to go back home as a sign of protest. Yet, dad does not listen and mom believes what she sees,”
“But you should keep trying, dude… the wedding is nearing now… we all didn’t want to see you unhappy,” Jerry said.
Ken smirked. “Back to the topic. So you are ready to host the biggest event in town?”
The other F3 let out deep sigh, as Ken changed the topic again.
“Yes, I am,” Jerry said.
“Congrats, after the event, I know you will make it big as a main host now,” Ken smiled.
“It’s because of you, Ken. Thanks for sponsoring,” Jerry said.
“And I am expecting a lot of free meals from Jerry!” Vanness said. “And feed Vic to plumpness!”
“Shit you, Vanness…” Vic said.
The other F3 laughed.
“Then how are you doing, Vanness? For modeling,” Ken said.
“Well. Did I tell you I am modeling for PWRB?” Vanness asked.
“PWRB?” Ken, Jerry and Vic asked.
“Yes, I am off to their office on Monday to talk about my part-time salary,” Vanness said.
“Wow… confirm already?” Jerry asked.
“Actually Rainie ask me to be a model, is already intended to model for PWRB, but she didn’t tell me,” Vanness said.
“So does that mean you will model with Pace Wu? I heard she is there for the fashion show,” Jerry said. “After all she is the ambassador,”
“Yes, she will be there and I will model with her,” Vanness said. “And she is not free last week, so we have already set up the time to meet at PWRB office on Monday,”
“Oh, great. You will meet the top model on Monday,” Vic said.
“I already met her last week with Winnie Qian, during Rainie’s last day in MyDance,” Vanness said, looking at the mirror.
“You already met her?!” the other F3 responded.
“Why I have never heard you talk about that?!” Ken asked.
“Just so you can avoid bumping onto a tiger in the toilet?!” Vanness said. “No way!”
All of them laughed.
“Hey, that is out of story because what I meant was bumping her on street!” Ken said.
“You’ll see, I tell you… you’ll see,” Vanness said.
“Hey, you met Winnie Qian, right? She’s pretty?” Vic asked.
“Yeah, she’s gorgeous,” Vanness smiled.
“I’ve met her in person too,” Vic said.
“You also met Winnie in person? What? This time a white tiger in toilet?” Ken asked.
Vic glared at the laughing Ken. “I really met her. I send you to airport a couple of weeks back for your ‘sudden’ change of Hong Kong trip, remember? I saw her in the airport. And it is a broad daylight. How can I mistake that pretty face at the airport with someone else?” Vic asked. “Plus, I see her commercial almost everyday in the TV! And excuse me, it’s in the airport and not street!”
“If you saw her, did you manage to take her photo? Show me your proof!” Ken said.
“That is the thing! You stupid idiot parked your BMW at the bus stop! When I was about to capture her picture with my phone the bus behind honked at me!” Vic said. “So I had to leave without capturing anything!”
“HAH! You blame me now!” Ken snapped at him.
“She smiled back at me, so I can tell you she saw me!” Vic said.
“Okay, that is pretty much the same imagination form like Vanness. If she is Winnie Qian, then I can tell you she will smile at everyone because she’s friendly. If you think she saw you and smile at you JUST for you… forget it,” Ken said.
Jerry laughed at all the statements they’ve made.
“HEY! I really saw Pace that day on the street!” Vanness said.
“So did I see any tiger in the toilet? No, right?” Ken said.
“You…!” Vanness said.
“By the way, how do you know she is friendly? You know her?” Jerry asked Ken.
“Newspapers and magazines said that about her,” Ken said. “So?” he looked at Vic.
“Okay, you may be right about her being friendly and smile to everyone but I guarantee you she is Winnie Qian… oh, she was with Pace Wu back then,” Vic said.
“Are you sure she is the commercial babe?” Ken asked.
“I believe in Vic. It’s broad daylight, and Vic always watched TV so he won’t mistake that face… especially when she is also with another model. You don’t bump across two top models look-alike at airport just like that,” Jerry said.
“So, you don’t trust me?” Vanness asked looking at Jerry.
“Well…” Jerry said, and tilted his head.
“Okay… you’ll see,” Vanness said. “So can we get back to tux?”
“Oh sure,” Jerry smiled.
11.30pm, Vanness’ house.
The F4 has just gotten back from an alcohol night. Since all of them need to go to work the very next day, they decide to call it a day at a very young night.
After Vanness opened the door and all four of them entered, Jerry, Vic and Vanness slumps on the couch in the living room.
“It was a tiring night!!!” Jerry yelled.
“Of course it’s tiring for you because you head to the bar straight after work at 10pm!” Vic said.
Ken walked to the toilet, and then suddenly he walked out.
“Vanness,” Ken called.
Vanness looked at Ken, “Yup?”
“Why is there a Tigger soft toy from the ‘Winnie The Pooh’ cartoon in the toilet?” Ken asked.
Jerry and Vic frowned looking at Vanness.
“Vanness, I thought you are way too OLD to play soft toy,” Jerry said.
“I can always give the soft toy away,” Vanness said, looking at Ken, “But after it has served its purpose,”
“What purpose?” Ken asked.
“Hmm…” Vanness pretended thinking. “Maybe I should give it to Pace NOW,”
“Pace? What has this got to do with Pace?” Vic asked.
“What, alcohol has taken over your brain from thinking well?” Vanness asked.
“Wait…” Vic said.
Jerry opened his eyes widely.
Ken lifted up his eyebrow. “You really saw Pace Wu on street the other day?”
Vanness laughed, “YES! I did not lie to you!”
“That is why you place the tiger plush toy in the toilet because you want me to…” Ken said.
Vanness nodded. “But you never said it must be a real, live tiger,” he grinned.
“But how sure are you it’s Pace after it’s like already been some time…” Jerry asked.
“Remember I told you this morning in the tux shop that I met Pace last week? She recognized me. She has confirmed with me that she is the one I bumped onto and helped the other day!” Vanness said.
All other F3 gaped. “Really?!”
“You bumped onto a tiger on the toilet,” Vanness smirked again. “And that means I bumped onto her,”
“You’re sneaky!” Ken said.
All of them laughed out loud.