The Story Of Us – Chapter 30

“Hi Vanness,”

“Hi Roy,” Vanness smiled at his hairstylist as he sits down on the chair in the salon.

“Trim?” he asked.

“Hmmm, do you have any recommendation if I want to change hairstyle?” Vanness asked.

“Your hair is too short for any other hairstyles,” Roy smiled as he runs his hand thru Vanness’ hair for a check. “If you want to change hairstyles, you need to wait until your hair is slightly longer,” he looked at Vanness’ image from the mirror. “So do you want to keep it so that you can change the hairstyle, or do you want to trim it today and keep this current hairstyle?”

“Trim, then. I’m going to Phuket, Thailand in 3 days. You know it’s an island and there are beaches and it’s going to be hot. I can’t stand the heat trapped in my hair since I’ll be out and about,” he said, making himself comfortable on the chair.

“If that is the case, alright, I’ll get my equipment,” Roy smiled as he walked away. But first, Roy went to the cabinet and grabbed a few of the magazines, and then he walked to Vanness and placed the magazines on the glass table for Vanness to read when Roy will attend to his hair. “Latest. Just got them this morning,” he said.

“Thanks, Roy,” Vanness said.

“No problem,” Roy smiled and he walked off again.

Vanness extends his hand forward and takes the first magazine of the pile. “Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle,” he mumbled. “Magazine for female,” he smirked, and instantly thought of Pace.

Vanness flips the first page open and browses it through. Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip.

“Advertisement,” he glanced thru the advertisement and flip the page.

“Hmm…” he flipped again thru some articles, gossips and advertisement.

FLI… stopped, back-flipped.

Vanness stunned. He stared at the page.

GASP!

“NO…… THIS CAN’T BE!” Vanness exclaimed.

“Whoa, I didn’t know you can expand your eyes to that extent,”

Vanness lifted his head up and looked at Roy who just came back with his equipment. “I’m… I’m just shocked,” he returned his gaze to the page. “I can’t believe this!”

“About?” Roy asked, as he lowered his head, and then starts looking around. “AHHH… be right back, my pair of scissors is missing from my equipment pouch, hold on,” he said and he walked off again.

Vanness immediately took out his phone.

*****

“No, this procedure should start from here… not…”

RING!

Jerry stopped talking to his staff when his phone rings. He took out his phone as he looked at the caller ID. This person hardly calls him during this time. To call at this time, must be some rather urgent stuffs.

“Be right back in a minute,” Jerry told the staff.

“Yes, boss,” the staff responded as he sits there looking at the program.

Jerry pressed the button and puts the phone to his ear.

Jerry: Vanness?

Vanness: Sorry to bug you during working hours, a quick one. What happened while I was away for the last few weeks?

Jerry: What happened? What do you mean what happened?

Vanness: I’m at the salon right now and there is this advertisement in a magazine that I am not sure if I see it wrongly or something… but I think it’s Ken.

Jerry: Ken? (frowned)

Vanness: Yes, did he tell you anything about doing some advertisement or something?

Jerry: No. I didn’t know anything about that. I don’t think it’s him. Ken is not a model, Vanness. The likelihood to become a model or be in an advertisement is Vic, since he works in Modeling Academy, and not Ken. I am pretty sure you see it wrongly.

Vanness: You seriously need to see this advertisement before you say that because I really doubt so. Can you ask Vic just for confirmation? My hairstylist is going to trim my hair in a while, I can’t be on the phone.

Jerry: Hmm. Alright. I’ll drop Vic a call.

Vanness: Alright. Let me know after that.

Jerry: Sure. By the way, what magazine is that?

Vanness: Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle. It’s next month’s edition.

Jerry: Huh? I never knew you read those magazines.

Vanness: To clarify, I don’t. My hairstylist passed it to me so that I won’t be bored when he manages my hair. But just so you know, it is a good magazine to read to know more about ladies. Anyway, gotta go.

Jerry: Alright.

Jerry hung up the call. He then stood there for a while. He turned and looked at his assistant, May.

“Yes, Jerry?” May looked at Jerry, as he is looking at her.

“May, do you have Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle magazine for next month?” Jerry asked.

“I don’t read those magazines,”

“Then do you have any idea who reads this magazine and most likely, have it now?” Jerry asked.

“Hmm… you may need to ask Lana if she has it, I remember she reads those,”

Jerry turned and headed to Lana who is processing a customer’s request on the withdrawal of money. “Lana, quick one, do you have next month’s Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle? If yes, I would like to borrow it from you for a couple of minutes,”

Lana immediately turned and looked at Jerry. “You read those mags, Jerry?”

“I was informed by my friend about something in the magazine so I wanted to check it out,” Jerry said.

“You’re at luck. I just bought it this morning while I was on my way to work,” Lana said as she took the magazine out from her drawer.

“Thanks,” Jerry grabbed it almost immediately and he paid attention to every single pages of the magazine.

Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip.

He stopped.

“HUH?!!!!!”

Suddenly the bank became very quiet.

Everyone turned to look at Jerry.

Jerry looked at them, one after another as all of them have their eyes glued to Jerry.

Jerry immediately walked to his room to avoid embarrassment with the magazine still in hand.

*****

RING!

Vic turned and looked at the ringing cellphone on the table. He looked at the caller ID and frowned. He scoops the phone up and then he picks up the call.

Vic: Jerry, you hardly call me when you are working. What’s up?

Jerry: Vanness called me up earlier from a salon and asked me something that I don’t have an answer to. And now I am asking you. Do you know anything about Ken doing some advertisement?

Vic: Huh? Ken? Advertisement?

Jerry: You are in that industry. I believe you knew about things happening in your field more than me and Vanness do, I supposed?

Vic: If it is what you have said, then I am left in the dark about what is happening. What is exactly happening?

Jerry: Are you sure you know nothing about Ken doing some advertisement? And it’s with Rainie?

Vic: HUH?

Jerry: Go and flip the pages in the Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle. I need to get back to work. And return this mag to the colleague.

Vic: Wait, you saw the mag?

Jerry: Yes, and I just need some confirmation from you. Anyway, drop me a call when you have the answer. Ciao.

Jerry hung up the call.

Vic heard the CLACK (hang up) sound at the other end of the call.

He puts down the phone as he wondered what is happening.

“Ken? In advertisement? How is that possible?” Vic asked. He frowned as his eyes strayed left and right. “And in a magazine already? If it is real, that means the photo shoot has taken place at least 2 weeks ago…” he scratched his head. “I need to find out what is happening…”

That decision of Vic makes him looked down to his desk, purportedly to locate that one magazine on his desk, but he hardly had magazines in his working room.

And all that meets his eyes is his cluttered desk.

“My desk is messing up my cluttered brain,” he said as he rose to his feet, putting the phone into his pants.

Vic heads out of his room and looked around.

He walked down the corridor and passes the rooms of all the important people in the company. He then reaches the lounge at the end of the corridor and most people and the models hang out around there. Vic stood there for no apparent reason.

“Hey, Vic,”

Vic turned to the direction of the calling and looked at the person sitting at the table right next to where he stood with a cup of coffee on the table and flipping a magazine in hand while the person’s face is facing Vic with a brief smile.

“Hey, Andy,” Vic called. “May I sit?”

“Sure,” Andy said, extending his hand as a sign of ‘please have a seat’.

“Thanks,” Vic sits down in front of Andy.

“You look stressed,” Andy sips the coffee.

Vic laughed. “Something like that,”

Andy smiled.

Vic looked at Andy and then he remembers Andy is usually involved in most of the photo shoots. He wondered if Andy knew anything about that.

“Hey, I wanna ask you something,” Vic said.

“Hit it,”

“Do you know anything about some photo shoots that Rainie was doing maybe a few weeks ago?” Vic asked.

“Rainie?”

“Yeah,” Vic confirms.

“Rainie has only done one photo shoot which is about 3 weeks ago,”

“Ohhh. So you know?” Vic felt at ease that at least someone knew something.

“Of course I know. I was the one overseeing it,” Andy said.

“Ah…” Vic responded.

ANDY KNOWS! THAT’S THE BEST!

But Vic wonders how he could go around it to get some information from Andy without sounding too desperate to get the information.

“Why do you ask?” Andy asked.

Vic looked at Andy, “Nah… I was wondering how it was, and how is she. I haven’t actually asked her about her injury since the fashion show. As you know, umm, too busy with the reports,” he smirked.

“Oh… she’s doing really good, as in both the photo shoot and in person,”

Vic looked at Andy, wishing Andy will continue, but Andy looked at him (Vic) looking at him (Andy).

“Oh,” Vic immediately responded as it seems so awkward with Andy looking at him in a strange way.

“You seem to… look for a different kind of answer from me,” Andy said.

“Your answer is shorter than my question,” Vic simply replied.

Andy laughed. “Well, that is the answer, really,”

“Is she alone in the photo shoot? Or she is with another model?”

“Well, initially this photo shoot is for both Rainie and Brandon. But Brandon did not come on time. He even said he’ll be late by few hours. The client became very angry. So, we get a replacement,”

“Replacement?” Vic asked.

“Yeah,”

“With?” Vic asked. And not hoping to sound too weird, he asked, “Scott?”

“Scott? Why him?”

“I don’t know. He is probably the next person you’ll gonna call?”

“Of all models?”

“I won’t be surprised,” Vic said. “If you need a replacement, you definitely need someone who can come immediately and this person must be free or out of job. I think at the market… Scott is the only person who fits those criteria,”

Andy laughed. “That would make Rainie pissed, trust me, since they are not together anymore,”

“But she is professional, I supposed?”

“As much as one can be professional, I guess when it comes to such situation; it’s not going to be comfortable for both of them. And besides, Rainie is a supermodel. You don’t want to piss her off, do you? The client may not care, but we as colleagues do. In this situation you can only opt for one, and Scott is not like a top model or something for us to even consider about. It is already our luck to be able to get Rainie. So it is a must for us to take care and be aware with Rainie’s feelings,”

“So, you didn’t get Scott? Who do you get?” Vic said.

“There is this one friend that Rainie brought with her that day. Hmm… I don’t remember his name. He…” Andy frowned, and then he immediately eases it, “Ahhh, he said he knows you,”

“Knows me?” Vic pretended to be surprised.

“Yeah. Some friend of yours if I am not mistaken,” Andy said. “Ahhh… why am I telling you when I can show you,” he immediately flipped the magazine to an advertisement.

Apparently the magazine in his hand is Taiwan Women’s Lifestyle.

Vic waited anxiously now to see the advertisement since he hadn’t had a glimpse of it yet.

“This one,” Andy stopped flipping the pages and then pushed the magazine to Vic.

Vic looked at the advertisement in the magazine. He gaped and his eyes wide open.

Vanness and Jerry are right.

IT’S KEN!

It is Ken sitting behind Rainie, and both of them were sitting on the floor, facing the camera and they smiled sweetly. And Rainie is basically hugging her bandaged leg.

“This is a nice picture, right? It was his idea. The client loves this,” Andy said. “He makes the best out of Rainie’s injury to do this shot,”

And at the side of the advertisement, there are small pictures of them in different poses and with different kind of shoes.

One is Rainie wearing a pair of flats.

One is Ken in his very comfortable outfit with the nice pair of shoes.

“And this is also his idea,” Andy said, poking at a photo of Rainie in sad mood while Ken is ‘removing’ her shoe from the bandaged leg to wear the flats. “You can’t imagine that guy is not only good in posing…” and he pointed at the solo photo of Ken, “…and creative enough to do all these poses,”

Vic could only stun at the advertisement.

“The client loves the outcome of these photos. And all the photos are so excellent; everybody had to argue and spent a long time agreeing to use which photos for this advertisement,” Andy smiled. “And this guy is so great at using the idea of Rainie embracing her injury’s pose for this, everybody agreed this picture managed to show how comfortable it is to wear this shoes, even when your leg is injured. At least this shows the message,”

“He’s good huh… and from the way you speak… he seems to enjoy the photo shoot,” Vic said.

“He refused to replace Brandon initially. And then Rainie persuades him, and he agreed. But we can see that both of he and Rainie are comfortable with each other in the set,” Andy said. “He’s your friend, right?”

“Yeah,” Vic said. “His name is Ken,”

“Ah, yes, yes, his name is Ken,” Andy smiled.

“Hmm… okay. Thanks, Andy,” Vic said, “I think I better get back to work. I just came out to ease my stress. Nice having a chat with you,”

“No problem,” Andy replied. “See you around. Take a break when you need to,”

Vic smiled and he stood up, and then he turned around and walked along the pathway, heading to his room. He took out his phone.

New Text Message.

‘It has been confirmed. It is Ken.’

Recipient: Jerry, Vanness.

Send.

Vic took a deep breath as he then puts the phone back into his pants’ pocket.

*****

“Did you get it?” Rainie asked as she looked at Ken enters the apartment.

“Yes! It’s out today!” Ken said, closing the door behind him.

“Yay!!!” Rainie said, as she then saw the magazine is in his right hand and he walked to her.

“You have been anticipating this for a long time, Rainie,” he handed the magazine to her and placed two plastic bags on the coffee table, right in front of where she sits.

“Yes, and thank you for buying this for me,” she said as she flipped the magazine.

“Only the magazine?” Ken said sitting down next to her, and opened one of the plastic bags, and he pointed at the other plastic bag at coffee table which is actually hers, “What about the brunch?”

“Hehe, thanks too,” she said as she flipped the magazine.

He laughed. “Just an advertisement, and that got you so excited. It is not your first time, you know,”

“Of course I know. But I am always excited at how it turns out, each and every single time, and I admit that,” Rainie said. “Tell me if you are not anticipating seeing how it turns out and how it looks like,”

“Well I am nervous, but not as much as you,” Ken said, as he opened up the box and then took his first bite on the noodles.

“FOUND!” she yelled, to which it came too sudden and Ken got choked.

Ken coughed repeatedly.

“Oh my, oh my, are you alright?!” Rainie said as she immediately turned to look at Ken and patted his back.

“Water… *cough*… water…” Ken said.

“Okay, okay,” Rainie puts the magazine down and headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water before she comes back to him. “Water is here!” she passed the glass of water to him.

He quickly gulped down the glass of water, and eases his cough.

Rainie sits down again next to him on the couch, and then opened up the magazine. She immediately smiled at the sight of it. “HERE!” she said, flashing the advertisement to Ken.

Ken, who is drinking the water still, had his eyes strayed to look at the magazine in her hands that she is showing him.

Ken’s eyes opened up and he stopped drinking the water. He then puts the glass of water down on the coffee table and he took the magazine from Rainie’s hand.

“How was it?” she looked at his surprised facial expression.

“This is very nice!” he said, his eyes are fixed at the advertisement.

Rainie smiled. “Yes, indeed, so?”

“What so?” he asked, and then he looked at her.

She took the magazine away from his hand. “I am going to keep this copy of magazine. If you want to keep this advertisement, you need to get another copy,”

“WAH!” he said. “You booked the magazine! That is so fast!”

“Of course! First come first serve basis!” she said.

“But I bought this! Shouldn’t this be mine?”

“I’ll pay you back then!” she protrudes her tongue out at him.

He laughed, and slowly it became a smile on his face. “It is okay. I am just saying,”

“I know,” she laughed.

A small laugh escaped his mouth. He looked at the advertisement in her hand, “I couldn’t picture this is how it looks like,” he said. “They took the so-called ‘Striptease’ pose as the main picture. And then very nice solo photos around, and this is the one I suggested about heels,”

“Yes, very nice,” she smiled.

“I guess it’s because this photo actually manage to convey the message. That, this is the right shoes even for injured ones,” Ken said.

“You did a good job, Ken,” the smile has never left her face.

“You do too,” Ken smiled at Rainie. “I fancied how you embrace the injury, and accepting it as a part of you,”

“Thank you for the encouragement,” Rainie said at Ken.

Ken remained looking at her and smiled. “You are welcome,”

Both of their eyes locked at each other.

BEEP.

Both Ken and Rainie immediately turned away, and Ken dives his hand into the pants to get his phone to retrieve the SMS.

Rainie smiled as she blushed and then she lowered her head to look at the advertisement.

‘Dinner tonight? Everyone is coming. 7.30. DP Restaurant in TP Tower. 25th floor. – Vanness’

“Wah, so luxurious,” Ken said as he pressed the reply button.

“Huh?” Rainie asked, looking at Ken’s expression.

“They are asking me to eat dinner together,” Ken said, and he typed the message. ‘DP Restaurant in TP Tower? So luxurious?’ and he sends the message.

“They?” Rainie asked.

“Yes, they; I mean; Vic, Jerry and Vanness. Sender is Vanness,” Ken said. “We have never dined at this place together. It’s too luxurious to dine there,”

BEEP.

“That’s a quick reply,” Rainie said.

Ken reads the SMS.

‘It is for your celebration. You got your photo spread in mag. Bring Rainie. We are bringing partners. Don’t be late. – Vanness’

Partner.

Ken turned to look at Rainie.

“Hmm?” Rainie asked Ken, “What’s with the look?”

“They are asking you to go for the dinner too,” Ken said.

“Me?”

“Yeah. He asked me to bring you as they are bringing partners. That means Pace, Winnie and Barbie will be there,” Ken said.

“Oh,” Rainie said. “Umm… why all of a sudden?”

“They found out about the photo shoot,” Ken said.

“Oh… do you guys eat together all the time?” Rainie asked.

“Usually just the guys. So yeah, we’ll dine together for the first time with everybody today,” Ken said. He then looked at Rainie. “So, you have to go,”


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