Modeling Academy’s Appreciation Night aka Gala Dinner.
Ken straightened his suit as he looked at his mirror image in his room. He smiled as he turned and looked at his back, wondering how it looks like.
He fancied that he is prepared from top to toe. He was given his black suit and a pair of leather shoes, with a black lean tie over a white shirt. Looks very normal, but the best thing is, it is custom made for him, so it fits him perfectly.
He gently flings his head to ensure the fringe stays in place.
Earlier in the day, both he and Rainie headed to Modeling Academy to get a makeover for the hair and also make up, as well as collecting Rainie’s new pair of shoes. And right after that, all the models head home to change, and prepare whatever is necessary, and then they will attend the dinner.
Ken has already seen Rainie after the makeover. He remembered that sight of her, so pretty that he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She had her hair nicely perm and the flawless makeup on her face.
“You’re so pretty,” he remembered telling her.
“Thank you,” she responded to him.
He opens the door of his room smiling and just right on time, Rainie also opens the door of her room, making that both of them come out from their room at the same time, but Ken had his head lowered when he opened the door of his room, and the sound of her opening the door of her room had, in a way, ‘informed’ him that she emerges from her room too.
“How do I look?” Ken asked as he straightened his coat before he actually looked at her.
“It’s nice on you,” she said.
He then lifted up his head to look at the smiling Rainie, and stunned as he stared at her.
As she had her hair perm, she added a diamond-encrusted hair band on her head and it enhanced the look and the perm hair. Fits her perfectly. Inadvertently the whole image of hers added ‘sparkles’ onto her eyes.
She is clad in a lime green halter-neck dress all the way down to the ankle with a plunging V-neckline and shaped perfectly to fit each and every curve she had on her body, as well as enhances her cleavage, grabbing the attention.
“Woa…” that is the first word Ken said as he remained gawking at her.
“Nice?” she asked as she placed her hands on her waist.
“Very nice,” Ken said. “You’ll look pretty no matter what you wear,”
“Thank you,” she smiled, turned and walked to the living room, “I took a while handling the hair. I think it’s best to put it with a hair band. I didn’t want to go there plain,”
“I think you did a good job in that,” he smiled.
“OH YEAH,” she stopped, turned and faced him again.
Being a man, his eyes are focused on her bosom when she turned.
Rainie laughed as she caught him doing that.
This round his eyes looked up and meets her in her eyes. “What’s so funny?”
“That look of yours,” she said. “Fascinated by my attire I supposed,” and then she circled on air, focusing on her assets to which his eyes followed as she makes the circle with her finger, making him ogling on her boobs accidentally. “And most importantly… here,” she laughed.
“HEY!” he said.
“Don’t worry. That’s very normal. Most guys will look here,” she laughed as she pointed at her cleavage to which Ken’s eyes again, followed.
“I don’t want to look at you again,” Ken whined.
“Awww…” she said, before she laughed again.
“But then the dress is really nice,” Ken smiled.
“Yes, I like to see the face of yours when you are in surprise,” she smiled. “If I wear this dress out and you would have seen it two days ago, what’s the surprise?”
“OH! So this is why you make me sit outside the room?” Ken said.
“Yes,” she smiled.
“You look… very, very pretty,” he said. “I hope the shoes matches your dress,”
“It certainly will,” she smiled at him before she sat on the couch in the living room. “Have you arranged where to meet with the rests?”
“Yes, I have arranged. But we are not meeting them. They will go there on their own,” Ken said.
She sits there for a while, taking a deep breath.
“What is it?” he asked her.
She looked at him. “Actually I want to thank you,”
“Thank me? About?” he asked.
“G.A usually sponsors men’s attire. Never a female model has modeled G.A’s outfit,” she said.
“Yes. So I am actually creating history to be the first female model to model G.A’s outfit. And… a couple outfit it seems,” she said.
Upon hearing the latter statement, Ken pulled a lime green handkerchief out from his suit’s pocket. It is the item that Mr. Stevens passed to him 2 days ago.
“This is really a history in the making,” she said. “That is if… I agreed to the theme and you agreed to use that handkerchief,”
“I actually couldn’t believe that even until 2 days before the dinner, Mr. Stevens will still want to push the topic to us, hoping we will accept the idea of having couple’s outfit,” Ken said, looking at the handkerchief, obviously is of the same material and color from Rainie’s dress.
Rainie smiled. “Me too,”
“I wonder why,” he puts the handkerchief deep into the suit’s pocket, and ensures that none of its corner protrudes out at the pocket. He didn’t want it to be seen by anyone else, especially the media.
“In a way, it is for publicity,”
“But I find it disrespect as both of us are not couple, to have couple outfit,”
“Well, as stated from the advertisement, both of us looked like a couple. And they just wanna push their luck in doing that,” Rainie said. “Don’t mind that. Sometimes this will happen,” she smiled.
“I understand,” he smiled. “So… are you ready to go? It’s 6pm already,”
She took a deep breath. “Okay,” she stood up from the couch and then walked to the door.
Her black, open-toed 2 inches heels decorated with lace and pearl beads are placed nicely next to the door. She looked at it, seemingly in deep thought.
“What is it?” Ken asked. “You don’t like the heels? I think it looked perfectly nice, I like the design,”
She lifted up her head to look at him and then down to the shoes. “I like the shoes too… it’s just that… it’s been a while since I wear heels, I am a bit…”
“Happy is the proper word,” she smiled. “But you are right. I don’t know what will happen to my leg with this pair of heels,”
“Rainie, trust me. You will be very happy because you felt as though it’s your long lost friend. But at the same time, it will feel foreign for you. It will take you some time to get used to it,”
“You know, you are saying it as though you have wore heels before or become a woman before,” she said. “But I trust you on that,”
He laughed. “I can just imagine a pair of perfect heels to a woman is like an awesome car to a man,” and he extends his hand to her, “Hold me when you wear the shoes. If it’s painful, you’ll wear the flats,”
“I will put up with the pain the whole night,” she gripped him as she slipped her right foot into the heel.
“Why put yourself through the agony when you can switch to a pair of flats and walk comfortably?” he asked as she transferred the body’s stability and weight to her right leg, and instantly she is 2 inches taller as she slipped the left foot into the heel.
“Don’t you know women sacrificed comfort, riches, and even life to be pretty?” she asked as she adjusted to ensure her whole foot is inside the shoe.
“Yes, I know about that. Women are willing to sacrificing hours and even their entire lifetime to be pretty even just for a while,” he said. “And for you, to be taller too,” he shook his head.
He just smirked.
“Wow,” she said.
“What is it?” he asked.
“It feels… homely. It is like, some long lost feeling,” she said, tilting her head.
“See, I’ve told ya,” he smiled.
“I’m not used to seeing you like this,” he said.
“You mean?” she looked at her shoes before she looked up at him.
“To be this pretty, thick makeup…” he said.
“I thought you’ve seen me like this during the fashion show last time?”
“Yes but this time… you look really different,” he said.
“What’s the difference?” she asked as she slowly released her grip.
He stopped as he looked at her before he said, “Taller,”
She laughed again.
He smiled, knowing it is not about her being taller. But because of how he had felt for her now.
“Nice shoes?” she asked.
“Told ya,” she said. “Let’s go,”
“Alright,” he replied.
“So Ken, are you ready?” Rainie asked, turned and looked at Ken who is driving.
“About?” Ken asked.
“The dinner of course,”
“Well, I have attended a number of dinners for the past years, but this one is different. Not too sure what to expect though,” he said.
“As mentioned during the briefing few days ago, you will be checked with the ticket on your hand before you walked on the red carpet with your guest. When you walk in with your guest, the media will usually approach you and it is best to ask your guest to move along with the flow to enter the venue so that the media will not ambush them as well. You just have to be ready with the questions they will pose to you,”
“Actually that is exactly the same thing Vic told me,” he said. “Right now, it feels like some prestigious awards ceremony that we watched on the TV,”
She laughed. “Prestigious, yes; awards, no. But a lot of performances and lucky draw!”
He laughed. “Win anything from the dinners back then?”
“Once, just a shopping card worth TWD$5000,”
“JUST?” he said, surprised with her choice of words.
She laughed. “There’s a TV, stereo, smartphones…”
“No wonder!” he said. Now he understood why she said ‘just’.
“Everyone gets prizes,” she said. “Just that those numbers that are not called that night will be given a TWD$1000 shopping card for shopping. So… mine is just slightly better,”
“Yeah, so… totally depends,” she smiled.
“Does the dinner held at the same place every year?” Ken asked.
“Yes,” she said. “As said, this is a prestigious event for Modeling Academy. They needed a really grand place to fit thousands, and having ample space at the entrance for red carpet and media coverage. So far, only that hall has such facility. But don’t worry about food, they give us different kind of food every year though so you won’t get bored of it,”
He looked at her, “Food,” and he rolled his eyes.
She looked at him and laughed because ‘food’ is not his intention to ask that question.
“You will be alright. Don’t worry. Just enjoy yourself tonight,” Rainie said.
“And are you ready?” Ken asked.
“Ready? About? I am fine with such events. I have been attending it every year,”
“I mean, you are going to meet Scott there,” Ken said.
Rainie’s eyes strayed. “Well, what about it…?”
“I know you are not really happy when you saw him. I just wondered if you are ready to see him again. But you also know all of us are working in the same company…”
Rainie tilted her head slightly. “Yeah, just like you have said, I cannot avoid him all the time for he is still my colleague. I can’t make him stay away from such events,”
She looked at him. “What is it?”
“I think he will not give up on you,” Ken said.
Rainie took a deep breath. “He will, one day,”
“But how long are you going to still put up with it? It won’t do you any good,” Ken said.
“I am not him. I cannot control what he is going to do, or what he will do,” Rainie said.
“So you are going to continue putting up with all these harassments he is going to do to you?”
“I think we already have such conversations for many, many times in the past,” Rainie turned to look at Ken. “Cannot change the fact that he is my ex,”
“Are you sure there is nothing you can do?”
“Do you?” she asked him.
He looked at Rainie, before he turned to look at the road and focused on his driving.
Noticing that he went silent instantly, she turned and looked out of the window.
Suddenly, Ken gripped on Rainie’s hand. She turned and looked at him, and his face is focusing on the road despite his hand gripped hers.
“I will do my best to stay near you and protect you. If he approached you and do anything unnecessary to you, please call for me, scream for me, or do anything that will grab my attention. I will come to you immediately. Do not worry for my image on grabbing unwanted media attention. Most important is your safety,” Ken said, without looking at her. “But I will respect you if you want me to stay away from you and give you space,”
She blinked numerous times. “Why are you protecting me, and treating me nicely like this?”
He took a deep breath, before he released his hand, “I didn’t want you to get hurt,” and he placed his hand on the steering wheel.
He just can’t bring himself to tell the truth about how he felt for her.
He just can’t.
She turned away and closed her eyes. ‘I wish it is because you like me, at least,’ she thought.
Ken reversed parked his car into an empty parking slot.
“Nice,” Ken said.
“Ah, they are here already,” Rainie said, pointing towards a direction.
Ken turned to where Rainie pointed. His friends are already there, and he could easily spot that only two haven’t arrived. “Vic and Winnie are not here yet,” he said as he unbuckled his seatbelt.
“There they are,” Rainie said, pointing at Vic and Winnie who had just walked past in front of Ken’s car, and Ken’s eyes followed again.
Ken laughed as he then got down from the car, “Let me get you,” he said, but Rainie already opened the door without waiting for Ken.
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Rainie said as she got down from the car.
“They are here,” Ken heard someone said. He turned to look at Jerry pointing at them, while the other hand is in the pants’ pocket.
Ken then locked the car after Rainie closed the door. He and Rainie walked together to the friends.
“Wow,” Vanness said, looking at Ken. “Nice suit,”
“Thanks,” Ken said.
“Hardly see you in suit,” Jerry smiled.
“Isn’t Vanness too?” Ken said.
“Actually, I attended some formal functions due to my job, so I wore them more than you did,” Vanness smirked. “But you look really good, what brand are you representing?”
“G.A,” Ken smiled as they stood there.
“And Vic’s?” Jerry asked.
“Same. G.A,” Vic smiled as he placed his hand on Ken’s shoulder.
“Ah? Same?” both Jerry and Vanness asked.
“Yeah, mine is tied in contract as always, and they approached Ken,” Vic smiled.
“Oh?” both Jerry and Vanness said together.
“Rainie, you are on heels!” Barbie said.
“Yes, nice heels, right?!” Rainie exclaimed.
“You can wear heels already?” Pace asked.
“Doctor just approved two days ago,” Rainie smiled.
“And nice dress,” Vanness pointed at Rainie. “Did Ken salivate when he sees that?”
“Oi, shadap,” Ken said at Vanness while the rests laughed.
“Did you?” Rainie asked Vanness, as she pointed over to Pace’s black corset top dress.
“Almost,” Pace laughed, sending Vanness to eye his girlfriend.
The rests laughed again.
“I like the color,” Winnie pointed at Rainie’s dress.
“I like your dress too,” Rainie responded over Winnie’s fuchsia off shoulder, long dress.
“And don’t forget Barbie’s dress,” Pace said.
“Not anything branded, but hope this passes,” Barbie smiled as she is wearing a classy white tube top dress.
“Don’t worry, you are,” Winnie said as the ladies walk in first.
“Is Scott going to be here too?” Barbie asked.
“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. But I think so,” Rainie said. “Why?”
“Nah, I just didn’t want to see his face,” Barbie said.
Pace and Winnie laughed.
“I think none of us do,” Pace said.
“Of course he will be here,” Vic said. “He is one of the models in this academy,”
“Well, who knows. Maybe after what had happened to him, he didn’t want to come?” Barbie said.
“What do you mean?” Jerry asked.
“He is not getting any jobs, right? That is what media said,” Barbie said.
“You seriously trust these paparazzi?” Jerry asked.
“Actually she is right,” Winnie said at Jerry.
“Seriously?” Jerry asked Winnie, and then at Vic.
“Yes, he is not getting any job,” Vic said. “But he is coming to the dinner, Barbie,”
“Who is sponsoring his outfit?” Winnie asked Vic.
“Hmm…” Vic said, and then he frowned. “Wait… he is not…”
“I guess you guys speak too loud,” Rainie said.
“Why?” Barbie asked.
“Look to your left,” Rainie said.
All of them turned as said.
Scott, clad in a black suit, is standing further away looking at Rainie.
The conversation they shared all dies down upon seeing Scott.
Ken, who is standing behind Rainie, eyed Scott and then looked at Rainie, though he cannot see her face.
Rainie then straightened her face, does not bother with the sight of Scott. “Let’s go,” she walked first, and soon the rest followed.
Scott turned his sight and looked at Ken. Ken returned the glare at Scott.
Scott folded his hands on his chest and he arrogantly looked at Ken.
Ken turned away and looked straight.
The exchanged glares among each other explained a lot.