1.5 week later, Wednesday. One more week to Taipei Glamorous Fashion Show. 10am. MyDance Dance Studio.
“After you have attended the 1st class last week, you’ve learned the way how the hands and legs should move in the art of ballroom dancing, so… it’s time for the partner dancing today for your 2nd class,” Vanness said.
“Okay… was supposed to have 2 classes last week but in fact I went off to Japan for PWRB meeting,” Pace said. “So sorry for that,”
“It’s okay,” Vanness smiled. “I know you were busy. That is why I give you the loose rule thingy in the first place,”
Pace laughed. “Alright,”
“Okay… before you start, I want to know if you are attached…” Vanness said.
Pace looked at him, “Har?”
“Well, I mean… I am asking because it’s about dancing. For dancing with a partner… you will be holding close with each other…” Vanness said.
Pace laughed, “Oh, for that, I wonder why you asked! Yeah, feel free for that. I understand. And no, I don’t have a boyfriend or a husband,”
“Really? For such a wonderful lady like you?” Vanness asked.
Pace smiled, “Are you up for dancing or what?”
Vanness laughed, “Okay,” he said, “Well, I have said the same thing to Rainie, that is dancing with a partner may require some touches, and then needed trust in each other,”
“I trust you, is that enough?” Pace smiled.
Vanness laughed. “Really?”
“I believe in Rainie. So I trust you,” Pace added.
“Okay then,” he smiled. “I should thank Rainie then,”
Vanness walked nearer to Pace. “Okay, your hand will be raised, and curved… right here…” he taught her. “The other hand will be placed here… And I will be holding you on your waist like this…” he said, and his hand supports Pace’s waist.
“Okay…” she said as she looked up at her hand before she looked straight.
Pace looked at Vanness, and Vanness has been exceptionally close to her. Vanness stared at her into her eyes, and they both blinked numerous times. Both of them were silent.
Still having her in his arms, “Not comfortable?” Vanness asked, breaking the silence.
“No. I mean I am NOT not comfortable… I’m just… never in my life held any man this close,”
Vanness laughed, “I thought I am the one holding you,”
Pace laughed, “Okay, I have never been held by a man this close,” she said, “I’ll be fine, no worries,”
“Sure,” Vanness said. He smiled.
They both went silent again, still stiff in each other’s grip.
“By the way…” Vanness said, breaking the silence again.
“Yeah?” she relieved they finally talk again instead of just remained in each other’s arm.
“I’ll get my friends to attend to the fashion show rehearsal on the 1st day, so I’ll introduce them to you, Barbie, Winnie and Rainie on that day, do you think Barbie can come?” Vanness asked.
“Shouldn’t be any problem. She used to cover some rehearsals too,” Pace said. “I believe she won’t missed this since this is one of the biggest events in Taipei,”
“Okay, cool…” Vanness said.
“You have told your friends?” Pace asked.
“Actually not yet,” Vanness said. “But I will drag them over,”
Pace laughed, “How is that possible?”
“Me and my other friend will be there already, so I only need to drag the manager and another friend along, so it is not a big problem,” Vanness smiled.
“Okay then,” she laughed. “I’ll let them know about this, it won’t interrupt what they do since all of them are there,”
“Sure,” Vanness smiled. “So, shall we continue the dance?”
“Sure, I’m waiting,” Pace smiled.
One week later. Monday. 14th. 2 days before rehearsal for Taipei Glamorous Fashion Show. 8pm. Winnie, Pace & Rainie’s rented apartment.
“Are you done yet?” Pace asked.
“Hold on… still a little bit…” Barbie said, looking at her notebook laptop and clicking here and there on her mouse professionally.
Winnie smiled. “I’m pretty amazed with the way you work, Barbie,”
“Why?” Barbie asked without looking at her.
“You faced laptop all the time and you are so good in creating a webcam chat with Rainie,” Winnie said.
“Anyhow we rarely chat on Internet, but I never thought creating a webcam chat needs so much of configurations,” Pace said.
“It is not about needing a lot of configurations. Actually it is only one-time thingy. I have never used the webcam… so…” Barbie laughed. “After I set it up this time, it is just click and go next time…”
“Har? I thought you already chat with Rainie a couple of times via webcam,” Winnie said.
“Yes… but this is a new laptop computer that my company just gave me last week,” Barbie said.
“Wow… you just get promoted again?” Pace asked.
Barbie laughed, “Yeah… and more job responsibilities now,” she continued working her hands on the laptop computer. “Okay, done… now going online and see if Rainie is online in London…”
Three of them sit next to each other and faced the laptop computer.
Looking at Barbie finally connected her MSN Messenger and then a few of her friends are online…
“Yeah, Rainie is online… I’ll connect with her now,” Barbie said, clicking over to Rainie’s contact and they all waited.
Rainie responded to the ‘request for webcam chat’.
The webcam chat line is connected.
Suddenly the one appeared on the screen is not Rainie but a man.
“WHOA!” Pace, Winnie and Barbie yelled.
“I never knew Rainie is up to having another man in her room outside of Taipei… and possibly having a one-night-stand?” Winnie asked softly, only to be heard by Barbie and Pace.
All three of them looked at the man.
“Eh, Jay?” Barbie asked. “Rainie’s make-up artist?”
“Yeah, hello Barbie, hello Pace and Winnie!” Jay said.
Pace and Winnie looked at Jay.
“Eh, Jay? I cannot recognize you…” Pace said.
“Yeah, became very fat during the month Rainie on her break,” Jay laughed. “I eat a lot during those 4 weeks!”
All the three ladies laughed.
“So why are you online at Rainie’s account?” Winnie asked. “And in her room?”
“Don’t get it wrong, Winnie. Rainie just asked me to come over so we can discuss about the make-up for the runway show tonight. She just walked off to the bathroom when you get online, and she asked me respond to the webcam chat for her,” Jay said.
“Oh,” all three of them responded.
“What time is it right now in Dublin?” Pace asked.
“It’s 12.30pm,” Jay smiled.
“Taken lunch already?” Winnie asked.
“Yeah. We arrived this morning at 10.30am and we had brunch,” Jay said.
“Oh, so, get a good rest before the show tonight, Jay,” Pace smiled.
“I think Rainie and I as well as Claire will only be able to rest after the show. And we are taking the 7am flight tomorrow morning to go back to Taipei and Rainie will be able to make it for her rehearsals for the Taipei Glamorous,” Jay said. “It’s very tiring. Rainie actually didn’t have a proper rest or even sleep. I wasn’t really quite sure but she seems a little frustrated today, so when you chat with her… you look out for it,”
“Oh? Why is that so?” Barbie asked.
“Claire has been pestering her a lot lately,” Jay said.
“Claire again?” Barbie, Pace and Winnie said.
“Who else?” Jay smirked. “Watch out for her sudden breakdown, if applicable,”
“Sure,” all the three ladies said again.
They heard a soft voice at the back, and Jay turned to his left. It’s Rainie.
“Yeah,” Jay said and stood up.
“Okay, sure, thanks,” Rainie walked to the computer. “I’ll see you at 4.30pm?”
“Sure, Rainie,” Jay smiled as he nodded at Pace, Winnie and Barbie as a sign of him signing off.
Pace, Winnie and Barbie smiled and nodded at him.
Jay then left the screen.
“Close the door for me, Jay. Thanks,” Rainie said.
“You’re welcome!” Jay yelled at the background.
“Hi lovely!” Barbie said.
Rainie smiled… depressingly. “Hi all,” she said tiredly.
“What has gotten to you to sound like that, Rainie?” Pace asked.
“I’m just tired,” Rainie said.
“Really? How’s everything?” Winnie asked.
“I have been moving around a lot. Just not enough sleep,” Rainie said. “And everything is well,”
“Ask for a day off from Claire,” Pace said.
“I can’t. She had lined up a lot of things for me. And if it wasn’t me forcing her to reject many other fashion shows, I don’t think I can make it for Taipei Glamorous,” Rainie said. “I hated the fact that she puts up everything for me and I don’t even have a break…”
“She is overtaking your life, Rainie,” Barbie said.
“I’ll talk with her, okay…” Rainie said. “So… what are you guys up lately?”
“Would you believe Pace is now into dancing?” Barbie pointing at Pace.
“Really? Pace is now dancing?” Rainie asked.
Pace laughed, “Yeah, I am now dancing in MyDance with Vanness,”
“OH! So how is it? Great?” Rainie asked. “But you are not the hip-hop type…”
“I am learning ballroom dancing,” Pace said.
“Oh? So Vanness is your personal trainer?” Rainie asked.
“Yeah, but I am taking just the normal one, and not like your intensive training,” Pace smiled.
“Haha… so how is him?” Rainie asked.
“Hey, you are concerned about him more than us?!” Barbie asked.
“Nah… just thought about him for a moment,” Rainie said.
“He’s fine,” Pace smiled.
“So, what time will you reach Taipei tomorrow?” Winnie asked.
“Not tomorrow. It should be 7am on Wednesday in Taipei,” Rainie said.
“What?!” Barbie, Winnie and Pace exclaimed.
“Considering the calculation is 16 hours flight and I depart from Dublin at 7am, plus, Taipei is 8 hours ahead of Dublin, so I should be reaching Taipei at 7am if there is no delay,” Rainie said.
“But you are having a rehearsal at 10am on Wednesday!” Winnie said.
“It’s alright. I will sleep in the airplane, and upon reaching home I will take a short nap before we leave for the rehearsal,” Rainie said.
“You shouldn’t even have accepted the job for Dublin if your schedule is so packed!” Barbie said.
Rainie took a deep breath, “Claire agreed for me,”
“CLAIRE again,” Barbie, Winnie and Pace said.
“It’s alright, really,” Rainie said.
Pace bites her lips, “Would you like to consider not attending the rehearsal for the 1st day?”
“I’ll try my best not to NOT attend,” Rainie said.
“Oh wait…” Pace said.
Barbie and Winnie turned looking at Pace.
“What is it?” Winnie asked.
“I almost forgot to tell you this. Vanness has agreed to introduce his friends to us this Wednesday. So all of you must come,” Pace said.
“Har?” all of them responded, including Rainie over the webcam.
“You mean me included?” Barbie asked.
“Yeah, I thought you are going to do some write up about the fashion hall?” Pace asked.
“Yes I am…” Barbie said.
“Vanness said that since Rainie introduced all of us to him before the fashion show, he wants us to meet his friends the same way too,” Vanness said.
“Oh…” they replied.
“By the way, he said the manager from the main sponsor, Zhu Corporation, is his friend. So we get to meet the main sponsor,” Pace said.
“Manager? You mean someone old, white hair on his head, or possibly bald? I am not interested to know him,” Rainie said.
All of them laughed.
“Maybe he is not as bad as you’ve said,” Barbie said.
“Well, he is a manager! Must have been a very experienced person in the company!” Rainie said. “Usually only people that have experiences and long-serving in the company deserved to be a manager! Unless he is a workaholic and climbed the corporate ladder that quick… which is not likely!”
“Come on… even if he is really old and just like what you said, he is the one paying your salary, okay…” Winnie said.
“Oh… yeah. You are right,” Rainie said.
“So, Barbie, you must come,” Pace said.
“Yeah, I’ll be there anyway…” Barbie said.
“And you too, Rainie,” Pace said.
Rainie laughed, “Yes, I will be there, no worries. I have to be there for the rehearsal too… so taking some time out to meet the organizer is alright,”
“And are we going to pick you from the airport on Wednesday?” Winnie asked Rainie.
“No need. I’ll get Claire to send me back,” Rainie said. She took a deep breath. “Anyway… I think I need to rest for a while before I get to meet Jay later on for the fashion show,”
“Yeah, you should. You have been very busy,” Winnie said.
“Yeah…” Rainie said in a frustrated tone, and she rolled her eyes. “So I’ll meet you at home on Wednesday,”
“Sure, Rainie,” Pace said.
“Lots of hugs, Rainie!” Barbie, Winnie and Pace said together.
“Lots of hugs for you too. Bye!” Rainie said.
They disconnected the webcam chat.
“It is very depressing to see Rainie like that… just like what Jay said, she seems frustrated when we talk about her job,” Winnie said.
“If she goes on like this… I’m worried she might quit her job,” Barbie said.
“Me too…” Pace sighed. “She loves modeling… but if Claire destroys that for her…”
“Sigh…” all them sighed.
9pm, Zhu Residence.
Ken sat on his bed in his dark room, with his back leaned against the head board and a glass of red wine in his hand. He stared out of the window, with only the moon’s light shine into the room.
Someone knocked the door.
Ken did not respond anything. He gulped down the red wine.
The taste of alcohol travelled down his throat, seemingly helped him to at least control his sorrow.
“Son?” Mrs. Zhu called as she opened the door.
Ken did not respond to his mother.
“Why are you sitting in the dark?” she switched on the light.
Ken raised his hand to protect his eyes from the light, after which he adjusted for a while before he puts his hand down. He did not look at his mother.
“Son… what is going on with you?” Mrs. Zhu asked.
“Nothing,” he said.
She sat down next to Ken. “Son… you have not spent a night at home for the last few weeks. Why do you opt to stay in a hotel rather a comfy bed?”
“I cannot sleep on my bed,” Ken said.
“Which hotel do you sleep at? I’ll go and pay you a visit…”
“Depends,” Ken said. “I go to whichever hotel I want,” he lied. “And I don’t want to be visited,”
“Xiao Tian, something is bothering you…”
“If you did not ask me to come back to eat dinner tonight, I wouldn’t even come home,” Ken said.
“But this is your home… I don’t understand why you…”
“Mom, I don’t want to marry Pearl. Don’t you get me?” Ken asked, finally looking at her. “I keep telling you I don’t want to marry her, but yet you keep pestering me. Do I see the need to come back to this house where I am not being heard even though I talk too much I can get my voice sore or even voiceless? Do I see the need?”
Mrs. Zhu looked at Ken, “It’s because of the wedding that causes you like this?”
“Yes,” Ken said.
“But why not? Pearl is a wonderful lady…”
“I don’t want to marry her! And stop talking about her!” Ken yelled. “Why is it always her?!”
Mrs. Zhu looked at the furious Ken. “It’s just a week away son…”
“That is why I am furious mom! I don’t want to marry her!”
“We have always treated her as our family members…”
“LOOK!” Ken said. “I only tell you I don’t want to marry her, yet you already tell me you treated her like a family member. Do I see the need to stay in this house when all you do is just stand on her side?!” he stood up.
“Zhu Xiao Tian!”
Ken looked up and looked at his father standing at the door of his room.
“It is so rude of you to talk like that to your mother!” Mr. Zhu yelled and walked to Ken and threw a hard slap on his cheek. Due to the impact of the slap his father threw on his face, Ken turned to his right.
“No…” Mrs. Zhu said to her husband.
“I am teaching our son what is manners! How to respect his parents!” Mr. Zhu yelled.
“And so I have to learn that my parents do not respect my decision too?” Ken asked.
“We are settling for the best for you! That is why we agreed to let you marry with Pearl!” Mr. Zhu said. “I know how you felt for her so that is why I insist you to go on to this marriage with her so that you will not drag it anymore!”
“What is ‘how I felt’ dad? What is that?!” Ken asked. “How do you know how I felt for her? You tell me!”
“Whatever it is, you will marry Pearl!” Mr. Zhu said.
Ken looked at his father, and then he turned looking at his mother, “I’ve told you I am not being heard. So why should I stay here…” he turned and heading out from his room.
“ZHU XIAO TIAN!” his father called.
Ken stood there. “There is no point talking to you. I’m leaving,”
“Son…” Mrs. Zhu said.
“I’ll see you this Sunday,” Ken said, and he walked out from his room.
Mr. and Mrs. Zhu looked at Ken walking away.
“I took a great deal of effort to ask Xiao Tian to come to over for dinner. Yet, you just shoo him off…” Mrs. Zhu said.
“What is wrong with marrying Pearl? And why is our son denying his feelings towards Pearl? They hang out well, right? Pearl said to us that Xiao Tian also admitted to her that he loves her. So what’s the problem of him keep saying he doesn’t like her?” Mr. Zhu asked.
“I guess maybe Xiao Tian just didn’t want to settle down…”
“He has been friends long enough with Pearl. It’s time for him to settle down and start a family,”
“Did we push him too hard?”
“I do not see a problem with this marriage since they both love each other,” Mr. Zhu said. “I guess Xiao Tian is just furious with us setting up the marriage for him without his permission beforehand, so just let him wander around for this period. He will be married somehow this Sunday, so let him take it easy… and he is going to end his bachelorhood, so he deserves a break,” he smiled.
Mrs. Zhu smiled. “I hope we are right,”
“We are, and we will be,” Mr. Zhu smiled.
10pm, Vanness’ house.
Vic and Vanness are sitting on the couch and they are talking to each other when they saw a Winnie Qian’s commercial, while Jerry is busy reading the article that he is going to announce in the next day’s show. He decided to stay at Vanness’ house that night for he will have an early show the next day.
“… if you look at that way, she is…” Vanness said.
BING BANG! SLAM!
Jerry, Vanness and Vic immediately turned looking at the main door to which Ken has just entered, and he threw the keys on the dining table.
“I foresee the door is already broken by the slam of Mr. Zhu…” Jerry leaned over to Vanness and said.
Vanness gaped, “I let you guys stay for free… yet you intend to break my door as a way to repay me?” he said softly.
“Oh wait… Ken is the one who slammed the door, not us!” Vic said at Vanness.
“I agree with Vic,” Jerry said. “So ask Ken to repair the door if it’s broken,”
“And my dining table’s going to break if everyone throws the keys like him!” Vanness said.
Ken suddenly glared at Jerry, Vanness and Vic.
“Wait… did I see a red patch on his face?” Vic asked.
“Hi Ken…” Vanness and Jerry said and wave stupidly.
“That is the worst dinner I ever had with my parents!” Ken yelled.
Vic, Vanness and Jerry leaned back at his scream.
“You… had dinner with your parents?” Jerry asked.
Ken took a deep breath and he walked to them, making Vic, Vanness and Jerry leaned their back against the couch again. He took a seat in front of them.
“I’m sorry. I’m a little too angry,” Ken said.
“Oh,” the three responded.
“What… don’t you guys be afraid of me. I just apologize,” Ken said. “I tried talking to them about the marriage, they just did not listen,”
“Oh…” they finally eased up, now knowing why he is mad.
“This is what my father did,” Ken said, pointing at his face. “Damn he slap so hard I feel my jaw almost broke,”
“I’ll boil the eggs for you to ease the pain,” Vic said as he stood up and walked to the kitchen.
“Thanks,” Ken said.
“So… your father is mad at you for bringing the topic up?” Vanness asked.
“Not in that way, but he is equally mad I refused to marry Pearl,” Ken said.
“So… how is it now? Did he cancel your marriage after slapping you?” Jerry asked.
“If only it is like what you said, Jerry, then I’ll be happily jumping around like a mad person after he slapped me,” Ken said, “To be honest if by slapping me can allow me avoid marrying Pearl I will allow him to do that even if he wanted to slap me until my jaw broke,”
“So I guess by the way you said the marriage is still on no matter what,” Vic said, walking back to his seat. “The eggs will be ready in 10 minutes,”
“Thanks for the egg,” Ken said. “And yes the marriage is on… AS ALWAYS,”
“Sigh… what do you want to do?” Jerry asked. “You really want to marry her?”
“I don’t want…” Ken said. “But I don’t know what to do… it’s just 6 days away…”
“Ken already tried his best to talk to his parents… but how… and what now?” Vanness asked, looking at Jerry and Vic.
“I don’t know. My brain’s a mess,” Ken said. He let out a sigh. “Anyway, I’m off for shower. You reserve the eggs for me to use after the bath,” he patted at Vic.
“Alright, sure,” Vic said.
“Thanks,” Ken rose to his feet as he loosens his tie and he walked away.
Vanness, Jerry and Vic looked at Ken walked away.
Vanness immediately turned looking at Jerry and Vic, “I don’t care what gets onto you in the future but do NOT ever slam the door like Ken did!”
“Why don’t you tell Ken this?” Jerry asked.
“I wish to… but not now…” Vanness said. “That dude… sigh… I can help him in many ways… but what is bothering him now is the only thing I can’t help him,”
Jerry and Vic sighed too…