He caressed her face.
She looked at him intently, switching from his left eye to the right, and back to the left.
“I am sorry,” he said.
She smiled, she lowered her head, and she leaned her cheek on his chest and he wrapped his arms around her.
“You know I love you so much… you’re the one for me…”
Listening to those words had made her heart filled with happiness.
She lifted her head up and looked at him, and then she hugs him back.
She feels so happy. So blessed.
She closed her eyes as she enjoyed the feeling of being in his arms.
Something doesn’t feel right.
She felt that there is something, or someone, staring at her.
The feeling is getting stronger…
While remained in his arms, she opened her eyes and stares straight at someone standing further away looking at her.
Wait. That is… KEN?!
She is surprised herself, upon seeing Ken, looking at her… getting back to Scott.
Yes, she has just accepted his apology…
Her heart pounded.
There’s a fiery gaze in Ken’s eyes, but soon it had faded.
And now there is despair on his face.
“You are not supposed to get back to him. He cheated on you, remember?”
Even though he stood so far away, but those words he uttered, sounds as though he is standing right in front of her and say it right to her face.
Ken took a few steps back, turned and walked away.
Rainie immediately sits up on her bed and her eyes opened, instantly seeing her dark room.
She took multiple deep breaths, and then she looked around the room.
She puts her hand on her fluttering heart.
“Just a dream,” she said, taking a deep breath. “Just a dream,” she repeated.
She turned and looked at the clock.
“What is this… that I could dream going back to Scott…” she rubbed her forehead.
Something from the corner of her eye catches her attention.
Her eyes strayed to the base of the closed door.
There is still light behind the door.
Ken is at the living room?
But it’s late.
She decided to check. Perhaps Ken forgot to switch off the lights before he goes to sleep.
She rose to her feet and opened the door.
She instantly squints her eyes upon seeing the brightened living room.
She heard something closed hastily that it creates a soft bang.
Probably a drawer.
“Ken…?” she called as she walked out from her room.
After taking a few steps out from the door, she finally comes to an angle where she can see the computer table, and Ken is there.
“Yes Rainie?” Ken replied, lifting his head up and looked at her.
“What are you doing still… at this time? It is almost 4am…” Rainie said, scratching her head.
“Stuff,” Ken said. “I will go to bed soon, don’t worry,” he smiled.
“Okay…” she said, her eyes slowly opened as her eyes had adjusted to the brightened room. “You have been really secretive. I hope you are not watching some rated stuffs in the middle of the night…”
Ken laughed. “I like that humor cell in you that you can even joke when you are half asleep,”
“Thank you,” she said, without laughing at all. “But even if you are… I don’t think you’ll admit it anyway,”
“Of course not. I hope you are not waking up to check on me,” Ken said.
“No, I was woken up by… a dream,”
“A dream again? Didn’t you had a nightmare last week and woke you up too?”
“Yeah,” she sighed.
“The dress snapped again?”
“No… it wasn’t that and the dream I just had is not a nightmare,”
“Getting back with Scott,”
Ken’s eyes widened. “Oh,”
“It just made me slightly uncomfortable,” Rainie said. “Anyway… I am going back to sleep,”
“Sure, you should sleep,” he smiled.
“You should too. It is very late now already. The fashion show is tomorrow… I don’t want you to go with panda eyes,”
He laughed. “I will sleep soon, don’t worry, alright?” he smiled. “I’ll wear sunglasses to the fashion show if I have panda eyes tomorrow,”
A small laugh escaped from her mouth. “Goodnight, Ken,”
“Goodnight, sweet dream this round,” he smiled.
“Thank you,” she turned and walked to her room.
After hearing the door closed and locked, Ken pulled the drawer open.
“Another close shave. Thank goodness I managed to keep it back into the drawer before she gets to see it,” he said, as he took the stuff out. “Finishing touch now,” he pulled the cap off of a green pen. “But… this is too…”
He looked at it for a while more, and like a light bulb suddenly lightened up, “I know what to do. I’ll find it in my room later,” and he plants the green pen down.
Rainie took a deep breath looking at her image in the mirror. She looked left and right. She smiled. She then sits down at the dressing table and hums to Perfect Nightmare as she puts on the jewelries that she had selected and placed on the dressing table.
She then stands up as she took the clutch bag on the dressing table.
Looking at herself for one last time, she then turned and walked to the door, turned the knob and heads out from the room.
Ken lifted his head up from looking at the phone he was playing with as he heard the sound of the door knob turned. He focused on the walkway and then he saw Rainie as she walked out from her room.
Rainie smiled at Ken who is sitting on the couch in the living room clad in a tux minus the tie.
Ken’s eyes opened wide. “Wow,”
“Thanks,” she said.
“Very nice,” he smiled as he stood up.
“Thank you again,” she said. “Is my hair okay?” she gently patted her hair.
“Yeah, you look beautiful. So… this is what you do since 2 hours ago, huh?” he said.
“Are you complimenting or teasing me?” she asked. “Or condemning?”
He laughed. “Why would I be condemning you? I think that’s a compliment. A good 2 hours not wasted to look this great,” he smiled. “You should look good later,”
“Look good later?”
That split second of slipped of mouth. He just wanna beats himself about it.
“I mean… at the fashion show, people will look at you because you look really pretty,” he quickly corrected.
“Thank you triple times,” she smiled.
“So… are you ready?” he asked. “If you are, we can leave now. Can’t afford to be late,”
“Actually, red carpet is 6pm and the event is like 7.30pm. Why do we need to go there like… 6 sharp?” she asked.
“Well, just so you don’t know,” he said. “I believe someone fetches you to these events and drops you off there. But this time, I am driving and I need to find a place to park my car. So… we need to be early. Or else that place is going to jam up due to traffic as everyone is heading over to the fashion show, and I really didn’t want to risk not able to find a parking place,”
Guilt crept in. He lowered his head, and then he adds, “I am sorry, Rainie. That is the thing you have to compromise. I am unable to give you the grand entrance by a limo and…”
“Nobody is blaming you,” she smiled. “And besides, who is going to care if I go over in a limo or Toyota Vios?” she asked. “And I have a private driver too,” she comically smacked his chest. “And free of charge,” before she started laughing out loud.
He glared at her.
“Anyway, this is not some major awards ceremony to go in a limo,” she said. “Nobody’s gonna care. They are just paying attention to what you wear,” she said looking at him from top to bottom.
“Don’t worry about it. You look very pretty,” he smiled.
“You look great too,” she said.
“That’s because you have never seen me looking like this before, so, if you have seen me like this, trust me you won’t say I look good anymore,” he laughed.
She laughed with him. “I am not that bad! I will compliment you when you truly deserve it!”
“Thanks,” Ken smirked. “But deep down in my heart, I am nervous,”
He glanced up to the clock on the wall. “We shall continue in the car. We gotta leave now,” he said.
“Oh, okay,” she said, as she turned looking at the clock too.
“Ah, wait, I almost forgot. Let me get something,” he said as he hopped to his computer table.
Rainie’s eyes followed him.
Ken pulled open the drawer of the computer table and grabbed something. He slipped it in into his pants’ pocket. “Okay, now we’re ready to go,” he said and they headed to the door.
Ken bites his lower lip as he drives.
Rainie lowered her head and she gently lifted up the long dress and she looked at the white pumps she is wearing.
He turned to look at the pretty Rainie next to him. “What’s up?” he asked as he glanced at what she is doing, before he focused on his driving on the road.
“Nah… just to make sure my pumps are not dirty,” she smiled. “It will be obvious if it’s dirty because it’s white,”
“This is my first time wearing flats to such a big event,” she sighed.
“Well, that’s for your leg too. Not like you can choose this time,” he smiled.
She smiled as she lifted up her head to look straight and sits still. She then turned to look at him, and caught him looking very, very uneasy.
“Why, you really look nervous,” Rainie said, looking at him.
“Well, of course,” he replied.
“Oh, I was asking you this question too, earlier at home. Why is that?” she asked.
“In case you hadn’t noticed… I have not been to such event in my life. So I didn’t know how and what to expect,” he said.
“Oh… is that it? I thought what else…” she said as she gently patted her hair.
“This is considered as a big event. A TUX!!” he said.
She laughed. “You won’t see the last of this,”
“What do you mean?”
“I might probably invite you to go with me to these functions in the future. Even if you are not going with me, I will give you a pass to attend,” she smiled.
“Yeah, sometimes we are allowed to invite one or two guests. But of course, not all the time. If that happens, I will surely give it to you,”
“So who do you give them to, in the past?” he asked.
“I hardly took any. Barbie doesn’t really attend these and Pace is usually flying. And Winnie is also a model herself. So… I didn’t take any of them,”
“What about… Scott?”
The name startled her. She looked at him. “Scott?”
“Yeah… you didn’t take for him?”
“He’s usually modeling in the same show as me and Winnie. So… there is no need for that,”
“Ah, I see…” he said, and then looked at her, since they are at the topic anyway. “Rainie… can I ask you one thing?”
“Yeah, you can ask me anything, you know,” she said.
“Have you thought about meeting Scott there?” he asked.
The facial expression on her face changed. “Scott?”
“Yeah. You mentioned earlier that he usually models in the same event you and Winnie did. In this show, both of you and Winnie are involved, which of course now you are not. So does that mean he is in this fashion show too? And… I am afraid if you are not ready…”
She took a deep breath. “Well. He used to be involved in most shows that Winnie and I are involved, until recently when he said he ‘is invited to model for some other shows in other places’ so it’s been a couple of fashion shows that he did not participate in. I am not sure if he is involved with the fashion show later. The last time I know, he is not involved. But sometimes they request for more models at the last minute. Like my situation, they are going to ask someone else to do my part,”
“Well… does that mean if he is not modeling for the fashion show, he will not be there?”
“As far as I am concern, if he is not involved in the show, he wouldn’t be there… but I am not sure,” she said. “I should have asked Winnie if he is there,” she sighed.
“If Winnie says he is there, what are you going to do? Not attending the fashion show even though you badly wanted to?” he asked.
She did not respond. He looked at her before he then focused on the road again.
“Rainie, my two cents,” Ken said, as he gripped the car steering.
Rainie turned to look at Ken.
“Don’t do anything against your will. Even more so, don’t place him as the reason for you to do things against your will. He does not worth the reason, or be a part of the reason for you to let go of other things. Don’t let the thought of him changed your decision. Despite you both have a past together, you have to acknowledge that both of you are still working together. You will still face him someday. You cannot run and hide from him forever. I know he hasn’t gave up calling you because he hopes that you are no longer angry at him and would give him a chance to speak and explain. He will not stop calling until you give him that chance to. It is a matter of either sooner or later,”
Rainie lowered her head down as she clasped her hands tight.
“I did not ask you this earlier or yesterday, because I do not want to see you like this, and then having you to tell me at the last minute that you don’t want to go to this fashion show because of Scott. I knew you’ll be affected like this. Reason I am asking, and telling you now, is because I want you to know and to face the reality that even though he is past, he will not let it pass before he gets his chance to explain. He might be at the fashion show, I don’t know. But I saw the sad face of yours that you cannot participate in the show, I need to do something. That is why I asked you to request from Winnie to get some passes to attend, even if you are attending as a guest,” Ken said. “I know you want to go. But I do not want him to be the reason to make you change your decision not to go because of him,” he glanced at her before he makes a turn to the right.
Rainie did not speak.
“And this is exactly the face I didn’t want to see,” Ken said.
Rainie lifted up her head and looked at him.
Ken extends his hand and gripped on Rainie’s clasped hands. “Rainie, you have to face the reality. He will be wherever you are because you both are models. If he doesn’t look for you today, he will look for you tomorrow, and then the day after tomorrow. He wants to talk to you. For as long as you don’t allow him to talk, he will be haunting you like a ghost until you give him the chance to. It’s been more than a month since you both broke up. I guess you have more than enough time to think and to decide what is good and what is bad. You are a very clever and smart girl. I understand your feelings. And I understand more, because what you’ve been thru is exactly what I’ve been thru in the past. This is a phase that you need to go thru, and things will be better for you once your firm decision has been made. For now, it is not about letting him talk. It is about you accepting the fact that he is your colleague. And that he will be where you are. And the fact that his sight should not make you feels different and causes you to make different decisions. He is no longer the important person in your life. This is a phase you have to go thru as well, Rainie. So… the decision tonight…”
“…is not about letting him talk. It is about making myself to accept that he is my colleague, regardless I see him there or not,” Rainie interrupted and finished, or completes his statement.
Ken smiled. “You are right,” he released his hand from gripping hers’ as he then turned and headed to a car park.
“And he will be bugging me whether I like it or not because he and I are in the same industry,” she added.
“Ah?” Ken’s smile vanished instantly.
“Well, I think I am right in that too,” she smiled. “No matter how badly I didn’t want to see him, he is still a model and he will still appear in front of me and bug me, right?” she then laughed.
“I am glad you understand,” he said as he winded down the car window to take the parking ticket.
She smiled as she looked at him drives into the car park after he took the parking ticket.
He then smiled. “As long as you can accept the reality, Rainie,” he said as he began searching for a parking bay.
“There is a parking bay there,” Rainie pointed at an empty bay.
“Oh okay,” he said and then he drives over.
“Thanks, Ken,” Rainie said.
“Everything. Persuades me to call Winnie to get a pass. Attending the event with me. Dressed up like this which you hardly do, and saves the essence of conversation until the last minute so that I can’t say not to go,” she said, not exactly impressed with the last thing she had uttered.
He smiled, “You are welcome for the first few you had mentioned…” and then he laughed softly, “…and perhaps for the last thing too. Because I knew I had to do that,” and he reversed parked his car.
“That sounds like a sarcasm,” she glared at him.
“But I’ll take it as a compliment,” he sticks his tongue out slightly as he turned off the engine, and then unbuckled his safety belt.
She laughed at his facial expression.
“Let me get you,” he smiled as he opens the car door and got out from the car.
He then walked to Rainie’s side and he opened the door.
“Miss?” he extends his hand.
Rainie smiled as she slowly positioned her leg and then she placed her hand on his’ and she stood up. “Thank you,”
“You are welcome,” he smiled and then he slammed the door close and locks the car.
“Wow, the entrance itself looks grand,” Ken said as both of them walking towards it from far away.
“Yeah, this is a pretty exclusive fashion show,” Rainie said, as her hand is hooked into Ken’s right arm. “There are photographers… and possibly someone is going to interview what and who you are wearing,”
Ken looked around and from far he can see the photographers are fixing their lenses, cleaning up their gadgets and preparing to take photographs whenever they are going to see any guests coming, or rather, approaching.
“Hey, don’t be nervous,” she patted his hand.
He smiled and then the smile fades. “My stomach is acting up a bit… I need to go to toilet,” he said.
“WHAT? At this time?” she asked.
“Yes, unfortunately,” he said, placing his left hand on his stomach. “Can you go in first, alone?”
“Yeah… without me?” he asked.
“Err… okay… but you must go to the fashion show. Don’t you dodge the event and go back home!” she pointed at him.
“I have come this far, what makes you think I will dodge and go back?” he asked.
“Whoa, I don’t know okay. You could do anything behind my back,” she said.
He laughed. “I can’t believe that’s how you perceived me,”
“Look, I really need to go to the toilet. I’ll meet you there, and please walk carefully when you go over!” he gently brushed her hand away and he runs away.
“Ken!” she called out and then she looked at Ken running away into the entrance of the building next to where they stood. “Urgh!”
He leaves her with no choice. She has to go to the red carpet first. But to go to the red carpet alone…
She exhaled her deep breath and headed over alone anyway.
About 20 seconds later, Ken emerged from the entrance.
As he saw Rainie walking to the red carpet, he took his phone out and he dialed a number. He puts it on his ear. “Hello, Vic?”
“With me right now on our red carpet is our supermodel Rainie; whom is injured and unable to participate in the fashion show, is invited to attend as a guest instead. Hi Rainie,” the host said.
“Hi, Michelle,” Rainie smiled.
“Thanks for agreeing to appear on our brief interview here, you’re early!”
“Thanks, Michelle, you are earlier!” Rainie said.
Michelle laughed. “You look cheerful and of course, absolutely gorgeous, who are you wearing today?” a typical question for the hosts to ask since it is a fashion show and everyone will be wearing exclusive and branded dresses.
Rainie looked down to her dress. “No one,” she laughed. “It’s a gift from my friend,”
“Really? Who designed this?” Michelle asked.
“I don’t know. He never told me,” she smiled.
“Oh, a gift from the model boyfriend, Scott, I guess?” Michelle smiled.
Rainie smiled. “I want to make things clear that I have no relation to the male model you have just claimed. This dress is given to me by a very special friend. He is my best friend,” she smiled.
Michelle was caught off guard. “No relation?” she asked, and Rainie looked at Michelle, making Michelle looked really stupid to ask that question. “A gift from a special friend?” Michelle asked again, to save herself from embarrassment.
“Yes, everyone has a best friend. He’s my best friend,” Rainie replied.
“Ah I see… so, you are alone today, Rainie?”
“He is having nervous breakdown,” Rainie laughed and Michelle laughed too.
Rainie refused to speak about Scott… or dragging Ken into the situation. And since Rainie is not elaborating further, she gave Michelle the look that is making Michelle an idiot again for asking that question.
“Anyway, how is your injury, Rainie?”
“Oh, I am fine. Healing pretty well, Michelle, thanks for your concern,” Rainie said. She wonders when are the questions going to end?
Michelle saw another celebrity coming from the back. “Alright, Rainie, thank you very much for your time. Hope you enjoy the night, and all the best for your leg,”
“Thank you Michelle,” Rainie smiled as she took a step away, and then Michelle walked towards the celebrity that has just reached.
Rainie took a deep breath as she is saved by the just-reached-celebrity. She took another few steps before she saw Winnie emerged from the side door and walked to her with the curling clips still on Winnie’s hair and she is wearing a shirt and shorts.
“Rainie,” Winnie called, and stopped in front of Rainie and looked at her from top to toe, and back to top again. “Wow,”
“Hey Winnie, why are you here, aren’t you supposed to be at the backstage fixing your makeup and hair… which is clearly still in the process,” Rainie said as she pointed at Winnie’s hair.
“Where did you get the dress?” Winnie asked.
Rainie looked down to her dress. “Ken bought it for me,”
“Yeah,” Rainie smiled as she looked at Winnie. “Nice, right?”
“Yes. It’s nice. Geez… you look too amazing and it is going to be a waste to damage that look,” Winnie said.
“Huh?” Rainie asked as her smile fades totally. “What waste? What damage the look?”
“Ah, I come to get you. Come with me to the backstage,” Winnie said as she gripped Rainie’s hand.
“Backstage? For what? Eh… Ken is in the toilet. He’ll be here and if I walked off, he…”
“Just come with me,” Winnie said. “Don’t worry about Ken,”
“But…” Rainie said as she reluctantly walked.
“Just come,” Winnie said and Rainie gives in, finally follows her.
They walked to the side door, to where Winnie just came out from, and both of them went in.
Rainie looked at all the models sitting at their dressing tables in the room. No one seems to notice her, and most are busy doing their things.
“Feels so nostalgic to be here,” Rainie said.
Winnie turned to look at Rainie. “Nostalgic? Why do you make it sound like it’s been decades? It’s just one month you have not been working and it’s not like there is any fashion show in the month you are not around,” she rolled her eyes, before she continued pulling Rainie and walked.
“Still,” Rainie gave her a faint smile.
Winnie then pulled a hanging, curtain cloth to reveal another section, and both Vic and Ken are already standing there, chatting with each other.
“I’ve brought her over,” Winnie said.
Rainie looked at Vic, and then Ken, totally surprised with his presence there. “Ken, why are you here? I thought you are in the washroom?”
Vic looked at Rainie. “Whoa. You look very beautiful. You can even walk down the runway like this,”
“Thanks… but huh…?” Rainie asked, switching her glance between Vic and Ken.
Ken just smiled at her, and that brings frowns to her face.
“Don’t wrinkle your forehead. You’ll get the wrinkle lines and break the flawless make up,” Winnie said, interrupting Rainie’s burning desire to ask why is Ken there and that he didn’t reply her. “Now I leave her to you, I need to continue my hair. It ain’t fun to walk around looking like this,”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Rainie said as she quickly grabbed Winnie’s hand before she left. “What is happening?”
“What do you mean what is happening?” Winnie asked.
“I came here at 6 sharp, you grabbed me and pulled me in to the backstage… and Ken is here when he told me he had stomach discomfort and I truly thought he was still in the washroom out there when you pull me in. And then you said ‘leave me with them’. What is going on?” Rainie asked, looking at Winnie.
Winnie and Vic looked at each other, before they turned to look at Ken.
Rainie turned to look at Ken after seeing both of them looked at Ken. “You… know something?” she asked, looking at Ken.
Ken lowered his head slightly as he took a few steps and then stopped in front of her. He gripped both her hands in his’. “I arranged all of this. For you,”
“Arrange… what?” she doesn’t understand.
“You are not coming as a guest. You are going to walk down the runway tonight,” Ken said.
Rainie’s eyes widened as she stared at Ken. “WHAT?”