One year later.
“FINALLY!” Vic yelled as he stepped into the departure hall.
“What?” Ken asked.
“I have been waiting for one whole year to utilize my trip. It is your fault!” Vic said, pointing at Ken.
“Well, you can’t blame me for not saving enough money to go to London!” Ken said.
“Save?! You splurge like mad in Phuket when you were there with Rainie!” Vanness said.
“How do you know?” Ken turned his head to look at Vanness.
“We heard about you going for some luxurious health massage and eating great food with her,” Jerry said.
“Rainie, did you tell this to the ladies?” Ken turned to look at Rainie who is talking to Barbie.
“About?” Rainie asked.
“Our trip to Phuket six months ago?” Ken asked.
“Yeah, they were asking what we do there,” Rainie said. “So I tell them how much we enjoyed our trip there,”
“Did you make babies there as well?” Jerry asked.
Ken and Rainie glared at Jerry.
“Does she look like 6 months pregnant to you?” Vanness asked, pointing at Rainie. “Her tummy is still flat,”
“OI,” Ken said. “I am a very responsible man okay!”
“Did that just said you and her…” Vic said.
“Shut up,” Ken said.
“Oh my gosh, stop, stop, stop the topic,” Rainie said, covering her face.
“Awesome job to make Ken confess, guys!” Vanness smiled wide at that and he raised his hand up, and Jerry smacked on it for a high 5, followed by Vic smacking on Vanness’ hand, and all three of them grinned.
Ken smacked his head, “Urgh…” he groaned.
“So, did you do it other than on the bed as we have said before?” Winnie teased Rainie.
“Winnie!” Rainie, whose face has already gone red, said.
Winnie, Pace and Barbie laughed at Rainie.
“This is between me and her regardless we do it or not. So… stay away from that topic,” Ken said. “Now, get back to the MAIN topic,”
“What a way to dodge!” Vanness laughed. “Dude, you already confessed!”
“It is private!” Ken yelled, causing the other three guys to laugh.
“Fine. We’ll let you save your face. We’ll get back to the topic. We are saying you splurged in Phuket like a rich man,” Vic said, dumping his hand carry luggage on an empty seat.
“You can’t go there being stingy,” Ken said, placing his hand carry luggage next to Vic’s luggage.
“Lobster, oyster, seafood…” Vanness said.
“Well the point being is, I save enough and we are going to London now,” Ken said.
“Thing is, I waited for this for damn long. One whole year and the letter is expiring in two weeks. Trust me, we won’t be going today if the letter is expiring next year. You are going to still make me wait for another year,” Vic said.
“So that is why you screamed ‘FINALLY’ when you step in into the departure hall, huh?” Barbie said. “Because you finally get to go to London after a long wait,”
“Yes!” Vic said.
“But this one year of saving means we give enough time for Jerry to save up to go with us, and Vanness as well,” Ken said.
“Yes, thank you for that. Barbie is excited that we save enough to go for a London and Paris trip together with everyone. And Vanness is rich enough, he only has to apply leave,” Jerry said.
“What the hell?” Vanness said at Jerry. “I am not rich, those are my savings as well,”
“You only have to pay for yourself. I am paying for Barbie and mine – all the flights, accommodations and stuffs. You don’t have to pay for Pace,” Jerry said.
“Correction, I paid for Pace too. It’s just that Pace has a discounted fare for her flights to London and from Paris. I am paying for everything else, and I mean, I am paying for the accommodation and food just like you. It is not like I am saving a lot for that, definitely not saving much like Vic as he is given a full package, or like Ken only has to top up TWD$7000 for both tickets to switch the destination to London and he doesn’t have to pay for Paris!” Vanness said.
“And bugger,” Jerry looked at Ken, “You went famous overnight and you are already a famous model for now. Why savings? You could have taken a chunk of your salary and get on the plane,”
“You don’t know how much I earned, okay,” Ken said.
“Yeah, right. Salary amounts are private, right?” Jerry said, rolling his eyes.
“I am sure he is earning a lot every month though,” Vanness smirked. “More than what he earns as a project tender executive,”
“Trust me, each of Ken’s photo shoots’ pay now is more than what he is being paid the first time as nobody,” Vic chipped in.
“Ahem,” Ken said. “Stop discussing about my earnings,”
“Fine,” Vic, Jerry and Vanness said at the same time.
“And savings are necessary. At least I managed to save and go on two trips within a year,” Ken said.
“Not calculating the trips you made for your commercials in Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea?” Winnie said.
“Those are for work. This is for vacation,” Ken said.
“You are damn freaking stingy, man,” Jerry said, “You are using the Phuket trip that Rainie won, and Paris trip that you won. It’s not like you pay for everything because everything is generally PAID for! And you calculate that as two trips within a year,”
“That is why, I splurge on the things that are not paid for me. I lead a difficult life, okay!” Ken said.
“YEAH RIGHT,” Vanness, Vic and Jerry snarled.
“But nevertheless, my life is going somewhere for now,” Ken smiled as he sat down at the seat opposite where he placed his luggage.
“One year,” Rainie smiled.
“Since Appreciation Night and the press conference last year, I earned my overnight fame. Gotten a lot of commercials and requests for their job,” Ken said.
“Great to hear that,” Jerry said.
“Since that night, I have even gotten a lot of weird calls from companies about seeing my resume and want to hire me… directly without the need to attend interviews?” Ken asked, looking at Vic.
“Huh?” Vic asked.
“Yes! I said I am not looking for jobs already, and my resume is old. I have seen a lot of the previous companies that had ‘close’ my application for their vacancy in the past, had ‘open’ my application again, how strange is that,” Ken said. “Hey, even my previous company is asking me to go back to work,”
“Previous company? You mean the tender company?” Vic asked. “Isn’t that something irrelevant with what you are doing now?”
“Yes, that is the strange thing. I asked, and they tell me it’s because the company is getting back on track. And then I asked if it has anything to do with seeing me on commercials, and they went quiet. I don’t know. I think it’s because I am famous and they are hoping to keep me or something? Or maybe to please their female staffs, or attracts customers to give tender?” Ken laughed. “I don’t know. But it’s just strange,” he said. “When I need a job, none came. When I don’t need, all came flooding me. Geez,”
“Life is like that,” Barbie smiled. “But are you contemplating to change your career now?”
“No. I like what I am doing now,” Ken said. “And I can build my savings faster,”
“Sorry dude, but I don’t get it. You were working like mad cow in that tender company to build savings and you finally get a car, and an apartment. I understand that it is not easy to get that money when you are with a tender company earning monthly salary. But… now you are model and you get a lot of money. What’s with the savings still?” Jerry asked. “Like, seriously,”
Ken smiled and looked at Rainie. “I understand that I might be famous for now and getting loads of jobs. But that doesn’t mean I will get jobs forever. It is good to build my savings for now… and in case anything happened, I still have savings to survive on. I have been thru the jobless phase, I do not want to go thru the same thing wondering if I have money to eat or to pay my bills,” Ken said. “Even though it is as said by Jerry, that I probably can take a chunk to go travelling, but it is not supposed to be used this way, until I am sure that, I still have money to eat, and to take care of Rainie, before I do that,”
“So thoughtful,” Vanness said.
Ken smiled. “So savings is a must, regardless if I am famous or not. I won’t know what happened tomorrow. Rainie has been thru the days when she had an accident and not being able to work. She will understand what I am thinking right now and why I insist on savings,”
Rainie nodded. “I know,”
“Well, one whole year… things change, huh,” Vanness said.
“Just so you want to know,” Vic said, and everyone turned their head and looked at Vic. “I have gotten this news just yesterday. For the last year, Scott has been dropped from all his jobs. Mr. Xavier has decided to terminate his contract a couple of months earlier but Scott pleaded Mr. Xavier for a chance, and Scott is said to have accepted a job for a smaller role in an advertisement. I don’t know what advertisement and what role, but he had accepted it for just a TWD$5000 pay for the shot,”
“Huh? TWD$5000? That is less than the amount Ken paid for topping up the flight tickets,” Vanness said.
“Why do I feel like you are saying I am wasting my money on the tickets?” Ken rolled his eyes as he looked at Vanness. “Someone out there is earning TWD$5000 for an advertisement job, and I am paying it for a flight?”
“Scott is underpaid for it but he had no choice. He is losing his jobs so he has to take it. Mr. Xavier has put the contract termination on hold,” Vic said.
Barbie turned to look at Rainie. “What are you feeling now?”
Rainie turned. “Huh?”
“You heard what Vic has just said,” Barbie said.
“As you know, Scott used to be earning a lot because he was famous and he was with you, but he is now… in a rut,” Pace added.
“Seriously, it is what he did. He became like this today because he ruined his reputation when he was given a chance to build it. He used me to be famous. He could have stayed famous if it wasn’t him being arrogant at work,” Rainie said, taking a deep breath. “I am glad I am no longer with him,”
“It sounds so wrong that he is working for TWD$5000 for a job and we are splurging and waiting for boarding here in the airport to London,” Ken said.
“I don’t know how you relate that together,” Jerry scratched his head.
“Ken means he is paying for this London trip, while someone else out there (Scott) is working and earning only a small fraction from what he (Ken) is paying for (the trip),” Vic said.
“Oh,” Jerry said.
“You can only blame Scott for what he became,” Winnie said, and then she looked at Ken. “Both of you are like… reversal of life. You start up working like mad cow for that bit of salary, he starts up famous and earning the gold mountain. And now… you are earning that mountain while he struggles,” Winnie then looked at Rainie, “And… you were with Scott previously, and now you are with Ken,”
“And my life is better now,” Rainie smiled.
“I know,” Ken smiled, lovingly looked at Rainie.
“Urgh,” Jerry, Vanness and Vic said.
“Too romantic to be seen in public,” Jerry, Vanness and Vic said together.
Two weeks later. Paris.
“We are cruising in the famous Seine river of Paris and…” the commentator said.
“I hope you have a nice trip, Rainie,” Ken said, sitting on his right on their tourist boat.
“Yes, I do,” Rainie said, with the wind blowing on her face and her long hair is flying all over the place. After finding how annoying it has been to her, she tied her hair up. “It is nice to travel to London and then right now in Paris, even more, all our friends are with us,” she said, looking at Vic and Winnie, Jerry and Barbie, as well as Vanness and Pace sitting on their own enjoying the view along the Seine River.
“Yeah, it is great that we can enjoy the trip together,” Ken said. “Most importantly is you enjoyed it too,”
“I do. Thanks for bringing me, Ken,” Rainie smiled. “Though I know I have the money to actually travel to Paris… but, I appreciate that you do not allow me to spend too much of my money for this trip because you really want me to enjoy this,”
“No, Paris trip is free. It’s a prize,” Ken smiled.
“I know. But you paid for London’s accommodation,”
“You paid for food,” Ken smiled. “We’re doing everything together,”
“Thank you, Ken,” Rainie said.
Ken leaned forward and hugged her from the side, since they are sitting next to each other. “You are very welcome. As long as you are happy,” he leaned and kissed her temple.
“Yes, I am happy,” she smiled.
“This is our third trip, with London and Paris separated as two cities and I’ll count that as two trips,” he said.
She laughed. “Alright, two trips then,”
“Scott has never travelled with you?” Ken asked.
She shook with a small smile on her face while she turned slightly trying to take a glimpse at Ken’s face, but then the wind is blowing on Ken’s face and making his hair flying all over the place, so she cannot actually look at him in his eyes, so turned to look straight, enjoying the breeze. “Unless you wanna count that he and I traveled to overseas for work together…”
“Of course not that,” Ken said. “I mean, something like this, a personal trip,”
She shook again. “You are basically the first one that brings me on personal trip,”
Ken smiled. “I am glad I could provide you this, and something that I can do better than Scott,”
“You are better than Scott in a lot of things, Ken,” Rainie smiled.
“So… you did not regret picking me, I hope,” he laughed.
She laughed. “No, of course. No,”
“You are my lucky star,” he smiled. “I won this trip right after I get you,”
She laughed. “It’s your luck,”
He smiled, “It’s all started from the day I met you. I am still sorry for the accident. But… I didn’t know that is when my life will change,”
“Neither do I,” she said. “But don’t be sorry anymore. My leg is alright now, as you know it,”
“You gave me a job… a career, and a life. My life seriously changed from that point onwards,” Ken said.
“Not as dramatic as you have claimed, Ken,” she smiled. “You are here today because of who you are and what you did. Good thing is you are not arrogant, and everybody loves working with you,”
“Scott is already a good example,” Ken said. “Why do I want to try doing the same thing? But after all, I am not that kind of person,”
“It is indeed a bit pathetic when I heard from Vic about Scott,”
“Did a part of you feel sad? You know, you can be frank with me about that…”
“You know I don’t keep things from you, and for a fact, you are so good with reading body languages and interpreting words… I can’t really keep things from you,” she said.
He laughed. “I wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing…”
“Depends on situation. Sometimes it is good… and most of the time it is bad,”
He laughed again at how she uses the word ‘sometimes’ and ‘most of the time’. “Alright… so, did a part of you feel sad about Scott?”
“I am. It’s sad to see what he had become and how he damaged his own reputation,” Rainie said.
“Not sad because he had been a part of your life?”
“Ken,” she turned and looked at Ken, and he squints his eyes hoping his flyaway hair won’t poke his eyes, looking back at her, “You know he had been a part of my life… whether I like it or not, he has been there. What I am feeling for him now, is the same as what you feel for Julia when you meet her again last year,”
Ken smiled. “Why are you so nervous? I wasn’t asking about how you feel in that sense,” he gripped her hand, “And I understand, he makes you who you are today and I reap what he sows actually…”
She laughed. “One thing I like about you is you are funny,” she turned and looked out to the scenery. “And you see positivity in everything…”
“That is the truth,”
“The same goes to you. I reap what Julia had sow,” she smiled.
“You gave me a life that I have never felt I would have. You complete me,”
“You complete me too, Ken,” she smiled.
“I love you,” he said.
“I love you too,” she said.
He leaned over, gently swipes the flyaway hair away to reveal her lips and he briefly kissed her lips.
Both of them smiled at each other sweetly after that.
Ken then looked straight again, looking at the beautiful scenery that Paris offers.
“I can’t believe our Paris trip is going to end in 2 days,” he said, sighing.
“Happy days surely passed by fast,” she smiled. “But we’ve been traveling for 2 weeks so… I guess it’s time to go back too. Or else we’ll lose our jobs,”
“Are you sure you are not talking about losing your legs from walking too much in Paris?” Ken asked, and then he laughed.
She laughed. “Yes, that too!” she said. “But I am talking about our precious jobs,”
He remained laughing. “You are Mr. Xavier’s most important source of income. Do you think he will fire you? I think he would fire me first,”
“He won’t fire you since you are an uprising star,” she laughed.
“See? We both know,” he smiled. “It is Appreciation Night next month. I hope we are going somewhere else rather than Paris or London again,”
She laughed. “That, I won’t know. You won’t know what you are getting at the lucky draw this round. You might not get anything, you know. So don’t put your hopes so high up,”
“Well, I’ll take anything… as long as it is not a kitchen blender,” Ken said, and then he laughed.
Rainie laughed along, and both of them turned for a brief look at Vic.
“Poor Vic, got a kitchen blender two years ago at the annual dinner,” Rainie said.
“Though I know the kitchen blender would worth more than a TWD$1000 shopping card, but I guess I’ll rather get the shopping card than a kitchen blender,” Ken smiled. “At least you are free to choose what to buy with the vouchers than being given a kitchen blender. If I am getting a TWD$1000 shopping card, I will give it to you so you can do your shopping,”
“All for me?” Rainie asked.
“Yes, all for you. Since you love shopping so much,”
“But I should buy you some stuffs too, right? Since it was supposed to be your shopping money,” she said.
“Up to you then,” he smiled.
“If that is the case, most probably I might end up buying underwear for you,” she laughed.
His smile immediately fades and he eyed her. “Why of all things, underwear?!” he asked.
“Just kidding,” she laughed as she turned and reached forward to give him a brief kiss on his lips. “Maybe some shirts,”
He smiled. “We’ll see about that. You might use it to buy your dresses and unlimited shoes… ah, that reminds me to buy a new shoes cabinet,” he said. “The new shoes cabinet I bought 4 months ago only has space to fit another two extra pairs of shoes… or heels, for you,”
She laughed. “It is not that bad. I still love flats. Look at this!” she pointed at the shoes she is wearing.
“You love heels more than flats, Rainie. I know how tempted you are to wear heels in Paris because this is a fashion city. But you know we are going to walk a lot so heels will kill you,” Ken said. “And I recognize this pair of flats. This is exactly your first pair of flats where we buy it together when you were discharged from the hospital. And yes, you love this flats but still not as much as loving heels,”
Rainie laughed. “You know me so well,”
“Too well in fact,” Ken said.
She smiled, as she looked at her shoes. “This pair of shoes reminds me how much you have done for me,” she remained smiling. “Thank you, Ken,”
“It is nothing,” he smiled. “Anything as long as my queen is happy,”
She smiled. “You pampered me a lot,”
“If I don’t pamper you, who do you want me to pamper?” he asked.
“Do you do this to her?”
“No,” he replied. “I have never loved her as much as I love you,”
“Huh? Really? How come?”
“Yeah, I don’t know why. But you are really lovable,” he tightened his grip on her waist. “You give a new definition of love to me. I never knew I could fall in love this hard and this much,”
“So I guess losing me is going to hurt?”
“I don’t think I can ever recover from that,” he said.
“By the way, this is just an hour cruise and we’ll be back to land shortly. If you want to dine in the cruise, I can arrange for a dinner on the cruise tonight,” Ken said. “But I need to make a reservation first… so, do you want to have dinner on the cruise?”
“Oh. An hour cruise is good enough. We have somewhere else to explore for the night so we can eat somewhere else. Let’s put the money to good use. It’s pretty expensive to dine on the cruise. If you want to eat the food they serve on the cruise, you only have to pay a fraction of it and you get to eat in one of the restaurants,” Rainie said.
“Well it is the experience to dine on cruise, that is why it’s expensive,” Ken said.
“Nah, I don’t want,” she said.
“Alright then,” he said, remained hugging her. “So… how do you find this hourly cruise instead?” he asked smilingly.
“It is nice. I enjoy this cruise. We can see Notre Dame… La Conciergerie… then…”
Ken lifted up his left hand holding something in front of Rainie.
Rainie stopped talking as she looked at the item in his hand.
Her eyes then brightened up after finding out what it is.
A ring. A very beautiful and exclusive diamond ring.
“Rainie, marry me,” he said, a hand holding the ring while the other hand is still circled from the back of her waist to her side forming the hug that he has never let go of.
He looked at her, without moving his eyesight away from her face, he slowly moved from his seat, and he lowered down to his knee.
“Oh my gosh!” Barbie covered her mouth as she excitedly and repeatedly smacked Jerry’s arm.
“OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! What is it?” Jerry yelled.
Barbie pointed at Ken and Rainie, and thus Jerry turned his head.
Vanness, upon seeing the reaction from Barbie and then Jerry turning his head, he (Vanness) also turned his head. He patted at Pace and Pace turned too.
Vic heard the shriek from Barbie which garnered his and Winnie’s attention and they both looked at Ken and Rainie.
“Ken is proposing to Rainie in Paris?” Winnie asked.
‘Damn you Ken… you just ruined my market,’ Vic thought as he glared at Ken.
Ken smiled as he looked at the stunned face of Rainie’s. “Rainie, I know we’ve only know for slightly more than a year. But time is more than enough to tell me that you are the one for me. I have never felt like this before and I feel so lonely without you. Rainie, marry me, and complete my life. And let me complete yours,” he said, while he is still on his knee.
Rainie unknowingly has opened her mouth wide as she had not expected that he will propose to her in Paris, the most romantic city in the world.
Ken remained on his knee, waiting for her to respond. He smiled as he really like to see her face like this. He likes giving her a surprise.
Ken’s smile faded. “What?” it came as a surprise to him as he is still enjoying the ‘shocked’ moment she is having. Nevertheless the scary part is of course not knowing she will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Though a part of him knows she will accept him, but he is also ready for her to say ‘no’ and he will try again the next time. And the word ‘yes’ came unexpected to him.
“Dumbo, she said YES!” Vanness yelled at Ken.
“Re… really?” Ken asked Rainie. “You are marrying me? You are willing to marry me?”
“Yes, Ken, I’ll marry you,” Rainie said, putting both her hands on his face.
“Oh my… gosh!” Ken said, and starting to tremble, grabbing her hand off and right now finding it hard to stabilize his hand to slide the ring into her ring finger.
Rainie laughed as a tear falls down to her cheek as she looked at him sliding the ring into her ring finger. He immediately stood up from kneeling, and sat down on his seat, gripped her hands and kissed her.
Everybody on the cruise clapped.
They soon break off the kiss, and Ken leaned his forehead onto her forehead. “I am so happy for this… I didn’t expect this will happen,” Ken said as he remained gripping onto her hand. “I love you, Rainie,” he said as he pulled back and looked at her in her eyes.
“I love you too, Ken,” Rainie said.
Ken smiled, before he turned to look at Jerry, “So now this is where my savings go, preparing for a wedding!”
Jerry, Barbie, Vic, Winnie, Vanness and Pace laughed.
“Alright, I accept that,” Jerry smiled.
“Geez… I didn’t see that coming,” Vanness said.
Ken smiled. “Because I didn’t want anyone to ruin the surprise,”
“Yeah, now you make things harder for us,” Vic said, briefly looking at Vanness.
Sensing the weird look from Vic, “Define ‘us’?” Vanness asked.
“You and me,” Vic said.
“I believe you meant… proposing?” Vanness had to say it out at Vic.
Vic immediately gives him a glare.
Understanding the glare given by Vic; which, indeed means ‘proposing’, Vanness smirked. “Technically, it’s only you,” Vanness said as he lifted Pace’s hand. “I already did yesterday in the hotel room,” a ring is obvious on her ring finger.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Vic said.
Everybody laughed at Vic.
Ken smiled, and he looked at Rainie.
“Hmm?” she asked.
“Looks like we will have an interesting story to tell our kids,” Ken said.
“Really?” Rainie asked.
“Yeah. But it surely will sound awkward to tell the kids that I met the mother thru… accident?” Ken scratched his head.
She laughed. “The story of us, huh,”
He smiled. “Yes, the story of us,”
“Well… I am going to make sure I tell them… how their father almost got detained by the cops because of the accident which is not his fault… about him buying me breakfasts every morning and also the occasional flowers for the whole week I was in the hospital…” Rainie smiled. “And then… he arranged the fashion show for me… spent every single night to draw me a super ugly bandage!”
Ken laughed. “You can omit that portion,”
“I think that is the most interesting part, you know,” Rainie smiled.
“Should I tell them how their mother’s heart dropped because she saw me having a cup of coffee with my ex?”
“Sabotaging me, huh?” Rainie asked. “So, should I say mention things about how Scott confronted you, and you kept it from me… and you are helpless yourself since you don’t know what to do?”
Ken laughed again. “If you are going to say that, then I am going to tell them about me confessing in front of the world that I love their mother, and then how I go forward to the stage and kissed you,”
Rainie puts her hands on her face. “I am still embarrassed with that!”
Ken laughed upon seeing her reaction. “I am going to tell our kids, I end up becoming a model because their mother asked me to; and because if it wasn’t you asking me to replace Brandon… I wouldn’t be a model definitely,”
“Without you, I wouldn’t be the person that I am now; one that lives for myself… not for my reputation,” she smiled at him.
“Your reputation well kept, and even better now,” Ken smiled. “For being yourself,”
She smiled. “I like myself and my life even more now,”
“I am glad,” Ken smiled. “I am going to tell my kids how their mother changed my life,”
“And I am going to tell our kids how their father changed my life and make me a better person too,” she smiled.
“But I am sure the best part of our story is that I propose to their mom in Paris,” he said. “And she said yes…”
She laughed again, and then she looked down to the ring in her hand.
He looked at her, looking down to the ring, and he smiled.
“I am engaged now… I am getting married…” she said. “To the man I love the most in my life,” she lifted her head up and looked at him, meeting his brown eyes that first captured her right after the accident.
“I love you with all my heart,” he smiled. “And I will always do,”
“I love you too,” she smiled.
Ken leaned forward and kissed her. And she kissed him back.
With Paris’ Eiffel Tower as the background.