The next day, Zhu Corporation. 10am.
Mr. Zhu opens the drawer underneath his desk and placed the brown envelope he had on his hand into the drawer. He heaved a deep sigh. He has just seen the content, and it wasn’t something he had expected. He closed his eyes and he rested his back against his Director chair.
Mr. Zhu opens his eyes. “Come in,” he said.
“Xiao Tian,” Mr. Zhu smiled, looking at Ken opened the door and protrudes his head in.
Ken replied the smile as he walked in and closed the door. Ken is clad in casual wear as in a white tee and a pair of blue jeans. He still is on his off day.
“How are you feeling today, son?” Mr. Zhu said.
“I’m feeling fine, I slept for 12 hours,” Ken laughed. “It’s good to feel refresh and energetic,” he sits down on the chair in front of his father.
“Your mom said you drive to Qing Xi yesterday?” Mr. Zhu said. “Did you leave anything there so you went back to get it?”
“Yes,” Ken said. “My memory,”
Mr. Zhu laughed. “So, you went back to collect your ‘memory’?”
Ken laughed. “Well, I tried,”
It was a good father and son talk, at least.
“I thought you want to rest for a few days?” Mr. Zhu asked.
“Yes, I am,” Ken said, suddenly taking out a white envelope out and placed it on the table. “In fact, I have decided to rest from Zhu Corporation more than just a few days,” he professionally slides the letter to his father.
Attn: Mr. Zhu, Director of Zhu Corporation.
The center of the envelope wrote.
The smile on Mr. Zhu’s face fades and he took a deep breath. “Xiao Tian, I really do not want you to resign,”
“I have said very clear that I will not marry Pearl,” Ken said, “Therefore I find that, by this way of me resigning, it is easier for you to handle Mr. Lin,”
“Xiao Tian…” Mr. Zhu squeezed his own nasal bridge. “It is two different matters,”
“Dad, it’s all inter-related,” Ken said. “By me resigning from Zhu Corporation, there is no reason to marry Pearl. You can settle it with Mr. Lin. I can follow my dream to be a film producer. Everybody’s happy. You can blame it on me, but I will not tolerate anymore, I have decided,”
“What if I tell you that you can still be a manager here, and I will not want you to marry Pearl?” Mr. Zhu asked.
Ken looked at Mr. Zhu. “You will?”
“Yes, Xiao Tian. You are my son, she is not my daughter,” Mr. Zhu said, “You are my priority, not her,”
Ken smiled, “I am delighted to hear it, but it is time for me to pursue my dream after I have given up my precious 7 years to you,” he insisted.
“Xiao Tian,” Mr. Zhu said. “I do not want to raise my voice to you again because I see your point, that raising voice did no good for you and me. You did manage to convey the senses when you are calm 2 days ago, when you talk to me and your mom like that,” he said. “Zhu Corporation will be yours one day somehow. You have put in so much effort for 7 years, do you want to see what you’ve put in to waste?”
“Yes, dad. I am willing to waste it,” Ken said, effortlessly.
Mr. Zhu looked at Ken, surprised with his answer.
“It is a 7 years effort that I will not get back, but I do not mind letting it go because life is a learning process. I have learned a lot in these 7 years, but right now it is time for me to get back on track on doing things that I want. I do not know if I will make it big as a film producer but at least I tried. I will be able to make a living, and I will not die of hunger. I prefer to die trying, rather than die without trying,” Ken said.
“Xiao Tian…” Mr. Zhu said.
“Dad, I insist,” Ken said.
“I would like to counter offer you,” Mr. Zhu said, his fingers tapping the white envelope.
Ken stared at Mr. Zhu.
“You can pursue your dream to be a film producer, but I hope you will still remain in Zhu Corporation as a manager,” Mr. Zhu said. “Even if this will be a part time job for you, I still hope for your presence in the company,”
Ken did not say a word, he did not expect his father will do that.
“It is my fault for asking you to let go of your dream in the past to come to Zhu Corporation. When I first allow you to study Performing Arts, I was expecting to let you study to get a degree, but I didn’t think that you would like to pursue a job or career in the field you wanted. I thought you only wanted to play around in the field which is why I asked you not to waste your time there and to work straight in Zhu Corporation upon graduation,” Mr. Zhu said. “I understand that you wish to achieve something on your own. I will not request for you to be in Zhu Corporation full time, but I hope that you are still somehow an employee in the company, or a part of the board of directors,” he looked at Ken, “Because you are Zhu. You are my son. This company is somehow be yours one day. I wish you are still involved,”
Ken still remains silent.
“Please do consider this. This meant a lot to me,” Mr. Zhu said.
“Okay, I will consider it,” Ken said.
“Thanks, Xiao Tian…” Mr. Zhu said, lightly pushed the letter to Ken, hoping that Ken will take it back.
Ken looked at the letter. “Dad, you shall keep the letter while I consider. Because if I take it back now, it means I accepted your offer,”
Mr. Zhu smirked. “My smart son,” he then took the letter. “Then I will hold this, but I know you will take it back,”
Mr. Zhu opens his drawer, about to put the letter into the drawer when it revealed the brown envelope he had placed in earlier.
“Xiao Tian, I receive…” Mr. Zhu wanted to tell Ken about the brown envelope when suddenly…
Ken and Mr. Zhu immediately jerked and turned looking at the door opened without permission.
“Pearl,” Ken said.
It is Pearl and her parents, along with Mrs. Zhu.
Pearl ran to Ken, but Ken immediately stood up and dodged, pretended as if he didn’t see her. “Mom,” he called as he swiftly walked to the back to his mother.
Pearl turned to look at Ken placing his hand on Mrs. Zhu.
“Mr. Lin, Mrs. Lin,” Ken politely called. He then looked at Pearl.
Pearl smiled at him.
Ken looked at his father that has already stood up and he smirked lightly.
“I assumed someone did not call me,” Mr. Zhu said as he slipped both his hands into his pants’ pocket.
“Uncle,” Pearl smiled.
Mr. Zhu acknowledged. “Respect is very important, Miss Pearl,”
Pearl stunned at the polite calling of Mr. Zhu to her, but Mr. Zhu looked away, “Hello, Lin!” he called Mr. Lin.
“Maybe he’s just playfully calling me that…” Pearl mumbled.
“I have expected your arrival,” Mr. Zhu said. “Take a seat,” he mentioned at Mr. and Mrs. Lin.
Mr. Zhu sat down on his director’s chair, with both Mr. and Mrs. Lin sat in front of him. Ken dragged a chair for his mother to sit next to his father, and he stood next to his mother. Pearl is waiting for him to pull a chair for him, but Ken just stood there not doing anything for her.
Pearl is annoyed that Ken didn’t do anything for her, but looking at Ken standing next to his parents, she does the same by standing next to her parents.
“Ken, where have you been? Why…” Mrs. Lin asked.
“I…” Ken was interrupted.
“I will handle this,” Mr. Zhu said, looking at Ken.
“Okay, dad,” Ken said.
“Mr. and Mrs. Lin, my son has expressed to me that he is expecting to cancel the wedding that we have set up for him and Pearl,” Mr. Zhu said.
“What?” Mr. and Mrs. Lin said.
“WHAT!!” Pearl exclaimed.
Mrs. Zhu nodded. Ken smiled. His parents truly understand him now.
“It has come to my attention that cancellation of the wedding would be the best for both my son and your daughter,” Mr. Zhu said.
“I thought we agreed? And you know Pearl loves Ken, and Ken loves her. And…” Mr. Lin said.
“If Xiao Tian is interested with Pearl, I guess the discussion we had right now will not hold at all. He would have married her last week,” Mr. Zhu said.
“But…” Mr. Lin looked at the stunned Pearl.
“I can’t believe what I am hearing…” Pearl said at Ken. “You…!”
“I have not even asked you why you tell lies to my parents. Which part of me looks like I am in love with you?” Ken asked her back. “Why do you want to lie?!”
Pearl looked at Ken, speechless, and then she looked away angrily.
Mr. and Mrs. Zhu looked at Pearl and understand her reactions. And so she indeed lied!
Mr. Lin turned and looked at Ken, “After marrying Pearl, you know I will be merging with Zhu Corporation and then setting up a media company for you…”
“I don’t mind that at all. I am against marriage of convenience,” Ken said.
“Of course you do not mind but it will gain a lot of profit for the company and…!”
Mr. Zhu interrupted Mr. Lin, “Lin, it is okay. In fact, if you want to gain more profit, I can say you would have to join or merge with a bigger company, instead of Zhu Corporation,”
“Why? Why all of a sudden? We already settled everything and we are just waiting for Ken and Pearl to walk down the aisle…” Mr. Lin said.
“First of all, Xiao Tian is my son. I should prioritize him, and not my company,” Mr. Zhu said. “Secondly, happiness of a marriage cannot be bought or compared with a company’s profit,”
“You love my daughter!” Mr. Lin yelled, looking at Ken.
“I did not,” Ken said calmly. “And never will,”
Mr. Lin yells, “Pearl says…!”
“Mr. Lin,” Mr. Zhu said, looking at Mr. Lin. “You are not Xiao Tian, and you will not understand my son more than me,” he said harshly, “So do not put yourself in the position that you know him better than I do, or better than Xiao Tian do,”
Ken turned looking at his father, and his father looked annoyed. Now his father is trying his best to help Ken get out of the marriage that he and his wife set up for Ken.
“And I cannot find myself having a daughter-in-law like Pearl,” Mr. Zhu said.
“What do you mean?!” Mr. Lin said.
“Mr. Lin, perhaps…” Mr. Zhu said. “…either you do not know about your daughter, or you are hiding it from me,” he looked at Pearl. “My son can’t marry a girl like her. A girl who knows no respect,”
“Don’t defame her just to try to walk out from the marriage!” Mr. Lin said, protective over his daughter.
“What did you say to your father?!” Pearl yelled at Ken.
“That is one point. If she can yell at my son like this, do you think my son will live happily with her? And this is not even married yet!” Mr. Zhu pointed at Pearl. “Besides, my wife has never yelled at my son like that, who does she think she is to yell at him like this?”
Pearl looked at Mr. Zhu. “I…”
“Mr. Lin,” Mr. Zhu opened the drawer and took out that brown envelope. “You might be interested with this,” he threw the envelope to Mr. Lin.
Mr. Lin looked at Mr. Zhu angrily due to the statement he said earlier, and Mr. Lin took the envelope. He poured out the content of the envelope, and it’s a stack of photos.
Pearl’s face went pale. “This…”
Mr. and Mrs. Lin scanned each and every photo. Each photo showed Pearl clad in skimpy clothes and is in a pub dancing with strangers who are hugging her or touching her inappropriately.
Ken and Mrs. Lin looked at the photos.
“Dad, where do you get those?” Ken asked.
“Someone gets it for me to confirm my suspicion,” Mr. Zhu said. “Any explanation, Miss Pearl?”
Now that explains why Mr. Zhu called her Miss Pearl! He is treating her like a stranger already… even to her parents!
“Ken did not attend the wedding. I was devastated so I want to be happy and…” Pearl was saying it halfway when Mr. Lin stood up and threw a hard slap over her face.
Pearl immediately covered the slapped, painful cheek.
“This did not show you are devastated!” Mr. Lin said, pointed at the photos.
“I promise that will be my last time!”
“You meant you have been there more than once?! You are my daughter and you are supposed to have your dignity! You are supposed to be the elite Pearl Lin!”
“Mr. Lin,” Mr. Zhu interrupted. “You can leave your family matters at home, but this is a very good reason that I do not want my son to marry Pearl either. I cannot have someone like her who does not respect herself to be a part of Zhu. I am a businessman, reputation is very important,” he stood up. “The wedding is cancelled. The news will be highlighted in the press tomorrow. The merge does not need to happen, and my son does not need a new media company that you intend to establish for him, to allow him to pursue his dream as a film producer. My son has the capability of doing it on his own. I trust Xiao Tian,” he looked at Ken and then turned looking at Pearl, “Rest assure that I will not publish what the supposedly-elite-girl Pearl Lin did because those are the things you and your family needs to settle, but if you disturb my son or causes him trouble in his life, this may not be the news that ONLY your family and mine know,”
Vanness’ place. 8.30pm.
“Bloody hell… where is Jerry?!” Vanness said.
“You know a Chinese phrase? Don’t talk about people during the day, and don’t talk about ghost during the night!” Vic said walking to the door.
“That means don’t talk or backstab about people because they will appear suddenly,” Ken patted Vanness.
“It’s 8pm, and I talk about people, not ghost!” Vanness said.
“Just a phrase. You talk about Jerry and he is now behind the door!” Ken said.
“Yes, and you scream! I heard you!” Jerry yelled, pointing at Vanness as he enters the house.
“I said you are responsible for buying beers does not mean you can be late for 30 minutes!” Vanness said.
“I have tried my best to rush here, ok!” Jerry said.
“It’s okay! As long as you are here,” Ken patted Jerry.
“It’s been a while since four of us sit together and have a drink,” Vic said as he sat down.
“More than a week,” Jerry said. “Since Ken went missing,”
Ken laughed, “So, I am the topic again?”
“But hey, you look cheerful,” Vanness said, patting Ken.
Ken smiled. “Partially,” he grabbed a can of beer and opened it. He takes a sip.
Vic opened the pizza box and he helped himself by pulling a slice out and grabs a bite.
“Pizza and beer. Great,” Vanness follows after Vic by taking a slice of pizza.
“So, where have you been, Ken?” Jerry asked. “For a week,”
“Why not you tell us what you had done in that past week,” Vic said.
Ken smiled as he grabs a slice of pizza. “I went back to the village where I grew up,”
“Village?” Vic, Vanness and Jerry said.
“Surprisingly, yes,” Ken said. “I just drive. And then I reached the village,”
“Okay… but I thought you said you don’t remember where your village is?” Vic asked.
“Well, I just drive, reach a village, and I stayed there. And then strange things happened. I dreamt when I was sleeping one of the nights… and I can remember quite a number of things of the village that happened to me when I was still there 20 years ago… like telling my childhood friend that I am leaving the village,” Ken said, and at that instant remembered Rainie. “That is when I know I am there, in the exact village I grew up,”
“Oh… and…” Jerry was saying but Ken interrupted.
“And so that is where I spent my week. By the way, guys. There is something I want to share with you,” Ken said.
“What is it?” Vanness asked.
“My wedding with Pearl is officially called off,” Ken smiled.
“Really?! How did that happen?!” Vic, Vanness and Jerry said together.
“Well… how do I begin…” Ken said. He just noticed it’s still all came and started from his escape from the wedding to Qing Xi. He wanted to skip the part about Rainie which is why he keeps cutting his statements short. He’s not so ready to tell them about Rainie, at that moment. “Let’s just say I had a talk with my father,” he took the can of beer up. “Celebration for me?”
Vic, Vanness and Jerry took up their can of beer respectively for a toast. “CHEERS for Ken!”