“Why of all places, Winnie wants you to go to the office?” Ken asked Rainie, as he drives his Toyota Vios heading to the modeling company.
“When I talked to her last night, she told me she hasn’t decided where to go. That is why she asked me to go to the office,” Rainie said.
“Alright… but how are you going?” Ken asked. “I mean, once you had decided where to go,”
“She said she’ll get Vic’s car,” Rainie said.
“Hmmm. Alright. Do you want me to pick you up when you are done with your ladies talk?”
“I’ll see about that. If I need you to pick me up, I’ll drop you a call?” Rainie asked.
“Sure,” Ken said. “I’ll be out as well,”
“Oh, going anywhere?” Rainie asked.
“Just a cup of coffee,” Ken said.
“Oh… okay,” she responded.
“When I am not around with you later, please take good care of yourself, alright?” Ken asked, looking at Rainie. “Take care of your leg,”
“You don’t have to repeat that statement all the time,” Rainie said. “I could remember that by heart already… and of course I will take care of my leg!”
Ken laughed. “Alright, alright,”
She smiled as she looked at the cars and buildings along the way, out of the car window.
Silence for a while.
“Since you are going back to office… what is the likelihood of bumping onto Scott?” Ken asked out of a sudden.
Her smile fades, and soon it regained on her face. “It is his office anyway, it won’t be a surprise to meet him there,” she said. “But if you remember what Vic said last week, Scott is hardly seen in the office,”
“It could be Vic hardly walked out from his room to meet Scott,” Ken said, “He always said he is in his room. Out of 10 times I called him on his phone… he is in his room, on his working desk; the 10 times,”
Rainie laughed. “Yeah, you might be right. Whenever I need to look for him, I always find him at his room,”
“But whichever it is… if you saw Scott, please run,” Ken said.
Rainie laughed. “How far can I run when my leg is injured?”
“I don’t mean to run in that sense… but, just… run,” he didn’t know how to rephrase.
“Why are you so afraid of him?” her laughter subsides.
Ken turned his head and looked at Rainie, “I am not scared of him. It’s just that… I don’t know what he might do to you,” he returned his focus to the road.
She looked at him. “Oh,”
“I am afraid he is going to hurt you, or do something he is not supposed to do like how he did the last time. And since I am not there… I cannot protect you when you need me the most,” Ken uttered.
Rainie smiled faintly. “Is that why you don’t want me to go to office?”
It is Ken’s turn to smile lightly. “I wish you can meet Winnie somewhere else,”
“Well… I can’t avoid him all the time. He is still my colleague,” Rainie said. “Isn’t that what you’ve said?”
He indeed told Rainie before that she needs to settle it once and for all, but right now, he is afraid… afraid that Scott is going to pursue her again, and she might go back to him. Especially after what Vic had told him. He bites his lower lip.
“That is before I see what he did to you,” he said, without looking at her.
She looked at him. “Oh,”
Knowing Rainie is looking at him, he smiled faintly as he focuses on the road.
She returned a faint smile, and then she looked away, out of the car.
“I still blame myself about that meeting,”
Her eyes strayed, and then she turned to look at Ken. “What did you just say?”
“I said…” Ken stopped for a deep breath, “I still blame myself because I asked you to talk to him,”
“Please don’t,” she said. “Don’t blame yourself. I know your intention was to ask me to settle it… and hopefully there’s a clean cut,”
Ken didn’t say a thing.
She looked at him, and noticed the discontent face. “Umm… clearly there is none at the end of the day…”
“He really wants to get back with you,” Ken said, inadvertently gripped the steering wheel tight.
“Yes, he is,” she said.
Ken bites his lower lip.
Sensing the awkward silence, she lowered her head, before she turned to look out of the car again. “Can’t really stop him… right?”
Ken just smirked. “Yeah, not within your control,” he took a deep breath and then he gives her a genuine smile.
She smiled back at him.
Ken makes a left turn and reached the modeling company. He stopped the car right at the entrance. “We’re here,” he said.
“Okay,” she said.
“Are you sure you want me to drop you here?” Ken asked Rainie, who is unbuckling her seatbelt.
“Yes. How many times you have to ask me!” Rainie said.
“Alright, alright,” she placed both her hands on Ken’s face and turned his face to face her. While her hands are still on both of his cheeks, “I promise you. I’ll take care of myself. I’ll stay away from Scott, okay?”
“If you really saw Scott… can you make sure that you are at a place where you are not alone with him?” he asked.
“If that happens, I will do my best not to be alone with him,”
He smiled lightly. “Alright,”
“You are so cute,” she said as she lets go both of her hands.
“Do you want me to open the door for you?” he asked.
“Nah, I’m okay with opening the door myself,” she said as she opened the door.
“Call me if you need me, alright?” he said as she stepped out from the car.
She turned and looked at him. “Yes, I will. See ya!” and she closed the door of the car.
He smiled faintly as he looked at her walking into her office. She waved at the security guards and then waved at the few people walking about in the office compound.
She turned and looked at Ken still at the same spot. She waved at him.
He waved back at her.
She turned and continue walking, entering the building.
And he turned his head to look at the road.
His smile fades off immediately.
He steps on the accelerator and left.
‘I’ll wait for you at the lounge area – Rainie’
“Rainie is that you?!”
Rainie lifted up her head and looked as she placed the phone into her bag. “Hi, Clara,”
“It’s really you! How are you doing? How’s your injury? I am so impressed when you can attend the fashion show last month!” Clara said.
Rainie laughed. “One question at a time, babe!”
And eventually most people there are happy to see her and they gathered around her.
“I am doing well… it’s healing pretty well and…”
Rainie stopped. She recognized that voice. She bites her lips.
“Rainie… it’s really you,”
He is here. She didn’t want to see him, but she knew she has to face him.
Ken is right. It is not that Scott didn’t go to office. It is Vic hardly leaves his room.
She turned around and looked at him.
“I’m so happy to see you here,” Scott said as he walked forward.
“Don’t come near me,” Rainie eventually took a few steps away to dodge him and soon people around gets back to their own business.
“I’ll catch up with you sometime soon, Rainie,” and Clara walked off, didn’t even give a chance for Rainie to speak.
“So what if you see me here, why are you so happy,” Rainie said, as she walked, heading to the direction of the lounge.
“Rainie, I really…” he tried catching up with her.
“I said don’t come near me!” she yelled at him.
And he immediately stood there, raising his hands. “I just want to talk to you…”
“What do you want,” she said as she walked. “And YOU stay behind me. Don’t you dare come any closer or I will file for a restriction order from you!”
“Okay, okay, I will stay few steps away…” he said, as she walked one step away and he takes another step to follow her, but he didn’t dare to get any closer than the range they had between each other now.
“What do you want,” she said again as she reaches the lounge.
“I just want to talk… that’s all,”
“Talk? I’ve given you the chance but you blew it off!”
“I haven’t gotten the chance that time so I needed to talk with you still,”
“Don’t you try to do anything towards me like what you did the last time!” she yelled at him.
Everyone in the lounge looked at them.
“I won’t, I promise…” Scott said, getting embarrassed with people looking at them.
“Now speak,” she folded her hands on her chest standing in the middle of the lounge. At least, the lounge will always be filled with people.
“I… I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Scott said.
“I really wish… we could… mend things,”
“Things? What kind of things?” she asked.
“What us?” she asked.
“I have thought about things. We have a nice relationship and I screwed up. I can’t live without you, Rainie. I made a mistake. I…”
“LOOK,” she raised her hand.
“There is no ‘us’ or ‘we’ whatsoever. Only you. And me. You – one individual. Me – one individual. There is no US and no WE between you and me. Get the facts right, sir,” Rainie said.
“Why? You are asking me why?”
“I really love you,” Scott said.
“Really? But I don’t,” Rainie said. “And I really questioned if you had ever loved me despite you said that?”
“Yes, I am!”
“If you are, you won’t do what you are doing, right? This conversation shouldn’t have taken place at all, right? You are probably happily becoming the Scott you desire to, right?” Rainie asked.
“There is no more discussion needed about this,” Rainie said.
“Is it because of him?” his facial expression changed from being upset to blank.
Rainie looked at Scott. Her heart skipped a beat when Scott mentioned the name ‘Ken’. And maybe a few beats. “What has it got to do with him?”
“He stormed in and interrupted us. He steals you from me,” Scott said.
“Excuse me! It was all because of you! If you had not rush forward and disregard with what I’ve said about staying away, do you think he will storm in?!” she yelled at him. “He is protecting me when you are trying to harm me!”
“I did not harm you! I wouldn’t do that!”
“Don’t blame him when you are the one at fault!” she yelled.
Scott looked at her. “You are different,”
“How different? I am still who I am. I did not change,”
“You would never yell at me like that… and you don’t do it to anyone…”
“Because you know why?” she folded her hands. “I did not change. My perception towards you did. I need to do this, so that you will stay where you are, because to me, you are going to hurt me!”
“It must be him! He must have poisoned your mindset about me!”
“What is there about you that he needs to poison me?” Rainie asked. “Did he even know who you are to talk about you and began poisoning me about you?”
“Who is him after all? He is not a model whatsoever. Who does he think he has to become a model and takes a photo shoot with you?!” Scott said.
“So you know,” Rainie said. “Not surprising since it is not a private matter,”
“Yes, it’s all over the magazines, newspapers and everywhere. It will be too stupid not to have noticed that! I told you before, Rainie. He is seeking fame thru you! Look at what happened now? He is already in the photo shoot with you and he will be famous in no time and he did it thru you! He is using you and it’s proven!”
“So you are poisoning me about him when you know nothing about him?” she asked.
“That is the fact!”
“Do you know he is the one asking me to give you a chance to talk in the first place?!”
Scott looked at Rainie. “What?”
“If it is not him, I would not even give you a chance to speak to me! He convinced me to listen to you,” Rainie said. “And I regretfully gave you the chance to treat me badly!”
“Rainie… no, no, don’t! I didn’t meant to…!” he reached forward.
And Winnie dashed forward and stood in front of Rainie. Just in time to stop Scott and he looked at Winnie, only to notice he had taken a forbidden step forward.
“How dare you try to hurt Rainie again?!” Winnie yelled at Scott.
“I didn’t!” Scott said.
“How come it’s so difficult to even let Rainie be alone?!” Winnie yelled. “When no one is here protecting her, you come and disturb, and risked going to hurt her. Why are you taking advantage of her, knowing she is injured?!”
“Winnie, I didn’t. I swear I didn’t!” Scott said.
Winnie turned and looked at Rainie, “Don’t mind about Scott, let’s go,”
“Okay,” Rainie said.
“Rainie, I…” Scott helplessly said.
Rainie gripped on Winnie’s hand, stopping Winnie at her track. Rainie turned and looked at Scott, and shook at him, before she turned and walked off with Winnie.
Scott took a deep breath. “I will win you back, Rainie…”
“Geez, Rainie, you scared me to death,” Winnie said as they walked to the car park. “You shouldn’t even talk to Scott. Have you forgotten how he treats you the last time you both met?”
“This is his office too, Winnie. I can’t say he can’t come, or enter whichever place I am entering or go wherever I am going. And haven’t you noticed? I talk with him in the lounge, where there are people around,”
“So is that the reason why you wanted to meet me in the lounge?”
“Actually no, I thought of the couch there where I can sit and relax while waiting for you,” Rainie said. “I saw him after I send you the message,”
“Yeah. Didn’t even get the chance to sit on that couch,” Rainie smirked, “So where are we going?”
“Pace recommends me a place that is famous for coffee so we are going there,” she smiled as she took out a bunch of car keys and unlocked a Honda Accord.
“Whoa, Vic’s car?” Rainie said, pointed at the car.
“Yes. Stylish, huh?” Winnie smiled as she opens the driver’s seat’s door.
“Yeah, fits him,” Rainie smiled as she opens the door at the passenger seat.
Rainie got on the car as Winnie sits at the driver seat and starts up the engine.
“Vic’s car is pretty comfy,” Rainie smiled.
“Yes, indeed,” Winnie said as she puts on her seatbelt. “How is it to compare to Ken’s Vios?”
“You are comparing apple and orange,” Rainie said as she pulled the seatbelt and buckled it. “So how am I supposed to compare that?”
Winnie laughed, and soon it dies down. “Scott didn’t do anything to you? You did not lie to me?”
“No, he didn’t. I would never give him a chance to do that,”
“But you are loud. I have never seen you yell at him like that,” Winnie drives the car out of the car park.
“It just came. I didn’t know I will do that too,”
“I heard someone yelling when I was walking towards the lounge. And just so you don’t know… everyone is looking at you,” Winnie said.
Rainie laughed. “I guess that is the best way to grab people’s attention. And… if he rushes forward or something, somebody will see it. And I guess he will not dare to do that in front of everybody,”
“It’s so hard already to ditch Ken, and when you could, there comes Scott. You are just like honey to the bees,”
Rainie turned and looked at Winnie. “Ditch Ken?”
Winnie glanced at Rainie. “Alright, not in that way. But what I feel is that you live with him, and that he goes everywhere with you; he is like always around you, you see. I guess he almost joined us today if I didn’t say it is Ladies Talk,” Winnie said.
“Oh,” Rainie laughed and then it dies down. “Well, Winnie. I do know that Ken is always around. Whenever I go out, he follows me. He is trying his very best to take care of me, because he is scared of you,”
“Scared of me?” Winnie asked. “Why?”
“He is scared that you will kill him if I fell or he carelessly caused something bad to happen to me,”
“Oh,” Winnie said. She then laughed. “That’s funny,”
“But Winnie, are you saying you don’t like Ken?”
“Huh?” Winnie asked. “I didn’t say I don’t like Ken. In fact, I actually think he is a nice guy. I am glad he takes a huge responsibility to make sure you are safe. Just that I am not so used to seeing him sticking around you all the time,”
“I get what you mean,” Rainie smiled. “Ken is a nice person. He is just worried something might happen to me if I am alone. He is like that even though I am home or will be home alone for a couple of hours. I almost fell once and he is there to get me. So, his concern is something like that,”
“You almost fell?” Winnie is surprised.
“Yes, I stepped on a puddle of water. And then he quickly grabbed me, even though I did not actually fall,”
“Oh,” Winnie said.
“And next, when I go shopping, indeed, Ken followed me; but other times, I dragged Ken to go with me… like the photo shoot. He didn’t say he wants to go but I asked him to come with me. So don’t take it the wrong way as though he loves going everywhere with me or as though it is his habit to tag along with me. He just wanna make sure I am safe,” Rainie smiled.
“Hmmm… seems like you know him pretty well,” Winnie said.
“Not entirely but you can say so,” Rainie said. “And I don’t think he wants to join us today because he knew you are the one that wants to meet me,”
“Are you saying because he is afraid of me, that is why he won’t even plan to join?”
Rainie laughed. “Of course not in that sense! He always said he is scared of you, but I personally don’t think he is, maybe he just didn’t want to get an earful from you,”
Winnie laughed. “Actually, you are right. I don’t really think he is scared of me. If he is… I guess he won’t even dare to sit or stand next to me or even dare to be around where I might be,”
Rainie smiled. “Anyway… just don’t worry about Ken if you wanna meet me for ladies talk or anything. As long as you are not Scott, Ken will be fine,”
“So, you are saying, Ken doesn’t like Scott?”
“He is afraid that Scott is going to hurt me. So… he is a bit reluctant to send me to office earlier. I promised him that I will stay away from Scott,”
“Oh?” Winnie asked.
“Yeah,” Rainie said. “And that is what I do,”
Ken pushed the door and enters the coffee house.
“Welcome sir, how many people?”
Ken looked around the coffee house, and then he looked at the waitress that attends to him, “Two,”
“Sure, this way please…” the waitress guided Ken.
“Can I sit there?” Ken asked, pointing to the couch seats next to the window, which is a different direction to where she wants to lead.
“Oh, sure,” the waitress changed her direction and leads the way.
Ken sits comfortably on the couch next to the window at the coffee house, and the waitress puts down a menu in front of Ken.
“Coffee,” Ken smiled, gently pushes the menu back to the waitress, hinting that he doesn’t need the menu.
“Sure, coffee will be served shortly,” the waitress politely said.
Ken nodded, and he then looked around the generally quiet coffee house, admiring each and every nooks and corners, along with the decorations.
A song is played in the coffee house too.
For some reason the tune captured his attention, leading to him listening to the song and its lyrics.
Funny how the heart can be deceiving
More than just a couple times
Why do we fall in love so easy
Even when it’s not right
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
Ken’s smile faded upon hearing the lyrics of the song. “No matter what the person did… you just got to keep trying because you love this person,” he mumbled.
“Sir, your coffee,”
Ken lifted his head and looked at the waitress putting down the cup of coffee in front of him.
“Thank you,” Ken smiled appreciatively at her.
“You are welcome, sir, please enjoy the coffee,” she smiled.
“Do you happen to know the title of the song which is playing now?” Ken asked.
“The song that is playing now in our shop?” she asked.
The waitress tilted her head to listen for a while, and then she smiled, “Oh, sir, this song is called ‘Try’ by Pink,”
Ken smiled. “Thank you for your information,”
“You are welcome,” she replied.
Ken lowered his head and looked at the cup of coffee in front of him and the waitress takes it as a hint that he has no other questions, so she walked away.
Ken takes up the teaspoon and stirred the cup of coffee. He then puts down the teaspoon and lifted the cup of coffee, bringing it to his lips and he sips it, fancying the taste.
The taste and the smell of the coffee bring back memories to Ken.
He slowly puts the coffee down on the saucer.
He took a deep breath.
20 minutes later, someone pushed the door and enters the coffee house.
“Welcome, ma’am. May I know how many of…”
“My friend is here,”
Ken, whose position faces the entrance, lifted his head to look at the door. And he looked straight at her. She is clad in a body fitting tight dark blue jeans with a short sleeve brown kimono-like blouse. She had straight, long, jet black hair.
She walked to him. “Hi Ken,”
“Hi,” Ken responded.
She took her seat in front of Ken and places her handbag next to her.
A waiter that followed her placed the menu down in front of her.
“I’ll just have coffee. The same as he has,” she pointed at Ken’s cup of coffee.
“Sure,” the waiter eventually retrieves the menu and walked off.
She smiled at Ken. “You are early,”
“You are the one that’s late,” Ken replied.
“Oh…” she lowered her head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t have a watch,”
“I know. You never liked wearing a watch anyway,”
She smiled. “You still remember,”
“Not by choice. Just that because you don’t wear a watch, you are never on time. Something that I hated,” Ken took up the cup of coffee for a sip.
Her smile immediately fades upon hearing that.
“Umm. It’s been years and you still look… the same,” she said. “Maybe thinner,”
He smiled casually. “And older,”
“Who doesn’t…” she added.
“And wiser,” his smile basically fades off, making his face blank.
She smiled lightly. “This place didn’t change much,”
“They’ve renovated,” Ken said. “I didn’t really know when, though,”
“You still came here often?”
“Nope. I have forgotten about this place for years. Until you told me last night,” he said, lifting up his coffee and takes a sip.
“So I assume you came here still. Since you don’t really noticed the changes… and I can state they have renovated since I haven’t been here for a long time,”
“Errr… yeah. I come here once in a while…” she said. “They have really nice coffee,”
The waiter placed the cup of coffee down on the table, in front of her.
“I thought you like their coffee here,” she said, as she stirs her coffee.
He smiled. “Sipping on their coffee now reminds me why I love their coffee back then. Very aromatic. And it is a nostalgic taste to me, right now,”
“If you love their coffee… why don’t you come back here?”
“Welcome, ma’am. May I know how many of you?”
Ken lifted up his head and looked to the door and saw two female entering the shop.
“Rainie?” he murmured. “Winnie?”
She looked at him looking at the door and stirs her curiosity to know who it is. “Who?” she turned to look at the door.
Rainie looked around the coffee house. She turned and saw Ken. “Eh, Ken?”
Winnie turned to where Rainie looked at, and looked at Ken.
“Urgh… why on earth is he here, over thousands of coffee houses in Taipei, must he be in THIS one?” Winnie mumbled.
Rainie walked to Ken’s table. Ken stood up.
“Hey, Ken, why are you…” Rainie stopped as she noticed there is another person at Ken’s table.
“Hey, Rainie. Hi Winnie,” Ken smiled.
Winnie looked at Ken, “Hi Ken,” she said, and then looked at the other person.
She stood up from her seat. “Ah, Ken, your friends?” she smiled politely.
Ken looked at her, and then turned his sight to Rainie and Winnie, “This is Rainie, and Winnie,”
“Hi,” Rainie and Winnie said together, looking at the guest from top to toe.
“Oh, you are the supermo…”
“This is Julia,” Ken interrupted, as he looked at her, before he turned to look at Rainie. “My ex-girlfriend,”