Misty Morning

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aimed to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Chun stepped past the black gate and made his way along the path with flowers oozing out on both sides. His hand contained a white envelope. He held it gingerly as he walked. Possibly afraid that it would blow away into the wind if he was not careful. Although the wind was playing nice today and only shown its presence by the swaying of gentle breezes from time to time. A light smile on his face, Chun ascended the steps and entered the main hall. The door was left ajar like always. He knew they were all in the den at the end of the hall. He walked slowly to the den. His mind anxious from his smile but his footsteps still maintained its placid pace.

“Hey!” Kate called out upon seeing his presence.

He returned her smile by raising the white envelope up.

“What is it?” Kate asked, getting up from her place on the lavender cushion set next to the bamboo lounge chair.

The cushion actually belonged to the chair but it was her habit of yanking the cushion out of its place and used it to her advantage by placing it on the floor. She claimed the bamboo chair to be a hassle. She liked sitting on the cool smooth crème tile better. While he was at it, he stared at the light brown brick steps leading to the backyard garden. The sunlight dancing back and forth between the rows of lavishing lavender mesmerized him into wonderment.

“What is it?” Grandma Xu asked, turning her attention away from her needlepoint task temporarily.

“The acceptance letter from the company Kate and I applied for,” Chun explained, directing his eyes onto the old lady.

“Hmm…” Kate mumbled, handing the letter back to him.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t get accepted,” He said, turning his full attention to her again.

“The mail hasn’t arrived yet,” Kate confessed.

“Let’s go outside and wait for it then,” Chun urged.

Kate tugged a piece of loose hair behind her ears and looked at Grandma Xu.

“Go ahead,” Grandma Xu said, gesturing her hands toward the screen door.

Kate turned to Chun and grabbed his hand, hauling him back into the house and toward the front door. He managed to wave a friendly goodbye to Grandma Xu before the screen door slammed shut.

“What department were you assigned to?” Kate continued, her attention returning to the envelope in his hand, regretting she had not scanned the letter properly.

“Designing,” Chun replied, waving his envelope for effect.

Kate’s smile lit up. “That’s great. You got what you wanted.”

He was able to detect the worrisome she was experiencing inside from her eyes. “Maybe they still have an empty spot.”

“I have to make it first, right?”

“It’s not like you to be such a pessimist.”

Kate resumed her smile as they settled down on the front steps. “You’re right. If I get it, I get it. If I don’t, then there are still other opportunities around.”

He placed a hand on her shoulder. “I think you will get it.”

Kate turned to him with a grateful smile.

They waited in silence after that.

Chun watched the sun rays dancing back and forth the garden of various flowers while Kate occupied her head with her own thoughts.

It was until the sun was above their heads that the mailman finally arrived. Without speaking, both got up at the same time and walked to the gate. Kate unlocked the gate and greeted the familiar mailman like many times before. Yet this time, she was more anxious than ever. She was waiting for a letter that would decide her future.

“A package for Grandma Xu,” The mailman informed them, handing Kate a heavy bundle wrapped in light brown paper and a tan string to keep it together.

“Thank you,” Kate rattled out her usual courtesy.

“Anything else, Mr. Lin?” Chun asked, knowing Kate was heading toward hysterical soon if she didn’t get any words from that company.

“Let me check,” Mr. Lin said, fishing through his mail sack.

Chun placed a supportive hand on Kate’s shoulder once again. He took the package from her with his other hand. All she needed was more distraction.

“Ah…” Mr. Lin said at last after a full minute.

They watched in silence as Mr. Lin handed Kate an envelope. It was the same coloring and size as Chun’s. Or at least Kate hoped that the sunlight had not altered her vision.

“Bye, Mr. Lin,” Chun said with a smile as Mr. Lin left them to continue on his route. Then he turned to Kate, tugging on her shoulder. “Come on.”

They returned to the front steps after Chun locked the gate like before.

“I’ll go deliver this to Grandma first,” Chun volunteered, seeing Kate eyeing the envelope unmoved.

Five minutes later, Chun returned to find Kate still sitting where he left her. She was still staring at the envelope. How hard was it to open the envelope? He knew the answer to that. He also knew that it was not about the envelope but the news carried through the letter. Was it a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’?

“Come on,” Chun urged, snapping the letter out of Kate’s hand.

Kate followed his every move as he craftily undid the seal. He made sure not to rip the contents inside. Then came the letter. The familiar anxious feeling crept up from within for some reason. It could have been the same feeling he was experiencing when he received his own letter.

“Miss Hsu,” Chun read aloud, clearing his throat once–though unnecessary. “We are happy to learn that you are interested in joining our company. However…”

Kate’s hand shook with much nervousness. Chun had to pause again. He knew Kate needed the time to sink it all in, especially where the words were directing toward. Kate grabbed a hold of Chun’s arm, urging him to read on.

“However,” Chun resumed once again. “We apologize that we could not fulfill your wish in joining the company in the position you applied. But we assure you that you will find the position we appointed to you will help you in paving your path in our company.” Chun turned to Kate with a hopeful look. “It’s not a rejection letter. They just didn’t place you in the position you wanted.”

“Really?” Kate asked, turning to Chun for reassurance.

“Look,” Chun said, handing Kate the letter and pointing out the lines at the middle of the page. “We will still be under the same department.”

Kate’s smile lit up once again. Her grip on his arm tightened. He felt almost suffocating with her grasp but silently told himself that she was just overly excited. He craftily undid her hand on his.

“As long as I get in, it wouldn’t matter, right?” Kate asked, taking her letter back from him.

“That’s right,” Chun said. “You’ll still get to use your creativity.”

Before he knew it, Kate had grabbed a hold of him once again and embraced him. He returned the hug, knowing that she was finally relieved from the long wait.

“I think we should go inside and tell the others,” Chun said after a minute.

Kate finally released him and turned around to the door leading into the house again.

Chun smiled, knowing that their new lives were about to begin.

© Friday, February 5th, 2010

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NOTES:
*This was never meant to be a one-shot. BUT now that I’m stuck to the point of ridiculous, I just want to fix it around a little and publish it as a one-shot as not to waste it.
*This was inspired by the whole Chun and Kate collaboration in 14 Blades. I actually started it only when news came out about the collaboration AND finished the one chapter before watching the movie itself SO of course, it didn’t have that feeling of anywhere near the vibe of the movie, lol. But I’m glad since it’s more fun that way than leaning on copying the movie’s style. PHEW. (Dodged that one, right?)
*Just for fun, the song that inspired this chapter was Nicholas Teo’s “A Wound In The Heart” (痛彻心扉). I cheated on the scene with the gate thing YET only that part.

Haunting Past

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aimed to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

*****

Wallace entered the room, switched the light on, and lifted the curtains by the window. The routine had become automatic to him since the day she left. He never blamed her. Because what she said was true. All he ever had for her was pity. Not love nor sympathy. It had become too much for her to bear and she chose to leave, knowing he was too soft-hearted to say anything at all. Yet, ironically, since the day she left, he never stopped thinking about her. Was that what she had intended to do? Stealing his heart away with her since the day she silently stepped out of his life–with only a letter to explain herself. Or was that guilt because of how he treated her–with so much dishonesty these past years? He did not know. But for sure, she had occupied his thoughts more than he’d imagined possible.

Sitting there at the edge of her bed, he let his mind drift, reminiscing about the old days. He didn’t remember lingering in her room longer than this. In fact, it had been less than that. She was somewhat a roommate in his house and less than a friend. It was like taking in a pet yet the pet was given more attention. Aside from the typical greetings from time to time and the casual exchanges between their free times, he never purposely sought her out to talk. It wasn’t after he broke up with his girlfriend that he’d given her more attention. Though that was a mistake. And also the reason why she left. A broken heart wasn’t a good reason for his shift in attention. No one wanted to be someone’s shadow. Including her. Especially her. But she never realized the reason his girlfriend broke up with him was because of her. Though she was not to be blamed. Since he never realized her importance in his heart until she left. And it was too late. How could he explain it to her what was going on in his mind or what had actually happened when he didn’t even know it himself?

Was the conflict of his heart causing his negligence? Was he suppressing himself so hard that he had acted the opposite of what he had wanted to when they encountered one another? Another irony reeking its way into his life when he realized he had fallen into the trap of the so-called cliché formula he once poked fun at. The typical story of two roommates falling for each other. The difference was they at least acknowledged it and solved their obstacles. He only knew how to hide–until it was too late. Would it have made any difference if he had put up a bulletin stating males only instead of making exceptions for female cohabitants as well? Or would he have ended up fallen for his roommate’s sister if the other person was of the same gender? He didn’t know. If he could have predicted his actions or reactions so accurately, he wouldn’t land in this obstacle in the first place.

© Friday, April 27th, 2012

A Fateful Bet

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aimed to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Joanne wandered along the woods without any source of purpose in mind. She just wanted to take a walk to cool her mind. Along the path, she took into her hands to enjoy nature’s changing scenery. She hadn’t slowed down and actually looked at the many things around her recently. That was what happened when one indulged into the materialistic world along with the rest of the world. There ought to be some sacrifices. Yet she smiled because she could always pull out and take a break at times, just like now. She wasn’t going to wallow into misery and cried out injustice ever so dramatically like those daily TV shows. If people would just stop for a second and understand that every one of them had choices. As for whether they would exert themselves to bravely choose or not, it was up to them.

Hearing a rustling sound somewhere to her left, she turned and spotted a rabbit running away. She took chase after it, feeling like she could be silly for just this moment. She soon reached a creek and settled down at a nearby rock, looking at the early morning’s sunlight shining down her. It was indeed a breath-taking sight. She had always felt nature was at its best when it was in the early morning, when the sun was still in its process of making the routine daily appearance. And the dews that had made themselves comfortable on various objects were able to shine when the sun reached its place, creating a somewhat mystical effect.

And as if wanting to end her joyous moment, her cell phone rang. She was surprised that it had reception around the area yet picked up anyway. Though her smile hadn’t left her face yet. She was still staring at a tree nearby and its leaves that had been touched by the sun and sparkling as the ray passed the dew-line clinging onto the edges of the leaves.

“Hello?” She answered.

“Where are you now?” Her co-worker demanded from the other side.

Her mood wasn’t spoiled though. Not quite yet. “Just out the woods for a bit, what’s going on?”

“We have a meeting in half an hour, Miss,” Her co-worker mocked. “If we’re late, the deal’s off. I thought I told you how important it is since last month when we began working on the project.”

“I’ll be there,” Joanne reassured her co-worker, not minding the girl’s bossy attitude.

Her co-worker hung up after that, knowing there was nothing else she could do. She could have nagged even more, but Joanne would come up with some equally witty response anyway. Joanne slammed her cell phone shut and returned it to her pocket. She finally got up from her spot and glimpsed the area once more, feeling a lingering stir inside. She knew she could always return. Yet the feeling would never be the same the next time. Each experience was different from one another. But she didn’t dwell. She increased her pace and made her way back to civilization.

“Again?” She asked, looking around some unknown bushes, thinking it was another rabbit after hearing some more rustling.

“Maybe another day, Little Rabbit.”

“So I’m a rabbit now?” A familiar voice asked.

Joanne, alarmed and amused at the same time, turned to her right and spotted a familiar silhouette. He finally revealed himself and had a smile on his face as he made his way toward her.

“Ah Ru, what are you doing here?” She asked, her eyes cautious and scanning his face for signs of a conspiracy.

“I called into your workplace and they said you’re not there yet so I thought I stop by here and check,” Calvin answered.

They resumed their steps after the initial surprise.

“How do you know I’ll be here?” Joanne asked after a while.

“I don’t,” Calvin answered. “That’s why I’m checking.”

Joanne still had on her somewhat curious and somewhat of a teasing smile directed at Calvin. “That still doesn’t explain why you know I could be here.”

Calvin reached a hand up to scratch his hand, feeling nervous from her glare. “Luck?”

“You don’t believe in luck,” She reminded him, her teasing smile even wider by now. “Just like how I don’t believe in fate.”

It was Calvin’s turn to let out a set of teasing laughter. “That coming from a person who’s a wedding planner?”

Joanne shrugged, still not caring if he was teasing her. She had always been the one delivering any sort of teasing anyway. “The more I don’t believe in fate.”

“Giving up on love because you’ve too many fake get-togethers?”

Joanne wrinkled her face then, her pace slowing. She turned him with yet another curious look. “Who said anything about giving up on love? I just said I don’t believe in fate, not love.”

It was Calvin’s turn to shrug. “Wouldn’t it be the same?”

Her footsteps resumed its rapidity again. “Fate is a process, not a necessity.”

“But doesn’t fate have some sort of play in it regardless?”

“Believing in fate is just promoting laziness.”

Calvin wrinkled his face and turned to her. “What does laziness have to do with anything?”

“Doesn’t it though? Believing solely in fate means that people will just sit around and wait for something happen. Then blaming it on fate in the end if they do not meet whoever they want. Instead, they should be blaming themselves for their laziness.”

Calvin let out another laugh, shaking his head. “You should be a philosopher.”

Joanne knew he was joking so she played along. “Maybe I will.”

“I’ll send you a pair of glasses to complete your prop.”

She didn’t say anything else but just let out a wry smile. They finally reached the brink of the woods and stopped at the path leading to the main road.

“How about we make a bet then?” Calvin said when they reached his car.

Joanne’s challenging look made its appearance at that time. “Oh?”

“Repeat one of your disappearing acts again but not here. If I could find you again, then call it fate.”

Joanne displayed her amused look again. “What kind of bet is that? We’ve known each other since young. Of course, you know my habits. It’s not hard to find me.”

“Then prove to me that your abilities could excel fate.”

Joanne could see the determination in his eyes so she finally nodded. Yet her serious look didn’t stick. Her teasing expression was on again. “Loser will have to buy the winner a large scoop of ice cream.”

“Fine with me.”

They reached out their hands and shook on it. Then they got into Calvin’s car. Joanne had hauled a Taxi earlier to work because her car was in the shop. Yet she couldn’t resist the urge to take a look when the driver drove by. Now, she was glad Calvin had stopped by because she would really be late for the meeting, considering it was rare to find a Taxi around this area. But she wasn’t convinced about fate. Not yet. Not until she failed. If she failed.

*****

Joanne carried out their challenge the following Friday. Right after the planning for the royal wedding got approved. Well, it wasn’t actually some real royal wedding but it might as well be because of the nature of the clients’ preferences. And it wasn’t like she would be scared she would offend some parties involved because she had her own reputation within the industry already. Yet she had to be patient for the sake of her fellow co-workers this time.

As she walked along the familiar path, her cunning smile was present. Calvin would never guess it. He had said ‘not here’ but she couldn’t resist it. Tricking him at his own game was her intention. He said it but it did not mean she would obey. Sometimes, a challenge was all about craftiness. And she didn’t mind using it. At least for this harmless game anyway. The only hint that Calvin would know of her disappearance was she would always arrive early but had lingered last time hence causing others to worry. This time, she did it on purpose to send him a hint, knowing he would call into work to check on her.
Arriving at the little creek once again, she settled on the edge of a boulder like last time. And like she had expected, the feeling of waiting was different this time. It wasn’t about waiting for the sun to cast its rays onto the many dew-contained leaves anymore. It was now also about waiting for a result that would determine her belief since young. For some reason, she knew Calvin wouldn’t back up down regardless. He not only had something to prove, but he had to carry through this challenge as a friend. Besides, if he dared to run, she would make sure all their friends near and far hear about it. She wasn’t exactly gossip queen, but she had her connections to some major gossip queens out there. It was just a matter of a few tweaks here and here to get the story rolling.

Smiling at the thought, she almost lost track of time. Almost. She glimpsed toward her left hand to check the time. Twenty minutes more and she would be winning. Because they both knew she needed to get to work.

“Waiting long?” Calvin’s voice spoke up from somewhere, startling her for a moment.

She soon recovered and turned toward the left area where the trees were. She got up from her spot and approached him, her face all scrunched up from the almost victory. But instead of throwing out some phrases to celebrate his win, he reached into a small cooler and took out a container. It was sealed up but still visible through its transparent lid. It was also cold to the touch as he handed it to her.

“You’re right,” Calvin said, handing her a spoon. “I knew you would be here because I knew you too well, not because of fate.”
Somehow, she didn’t speak up to celebrate either. She shook her head. “No, I believe you now.”

He had on a puzzled look then, pondering why she was turning down a chance for victory. A practical giveaway that she would crave for in the past and would never let go of–even if just temporarily. Yet now, it was happening right before his eyes.

“Fate has let me open my eyes and see you at last,” Joanne finally spoke up to clarify her words. And she meant it because if it wasn’t fate, he would never realize how much he had spoiled her since whenever, always allowing her a happy victory instead of a scrunched up face with defeat.

Before he could react, she pulled him into a hug. And just like that, he knew what his response was.

“I believe in luck now,” Calvin said, smiling–and also tightening his grip around her. “If wasn’t for luck, then I wouldn’t be able to witness this day.”

She released him and let out a smile also. But they did not linger. Their smiles had said it all. They followed the familiar path leading back out to civilization, sharing the ice cream he brought her and chatting happily about all the random topics of the world. Yet this time, as a couple.

© Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Submerged

Happy Friday the 13th! Well, NOT so happy for some of you. AND the positive side is it’s probably over for some of you already. But anyway, what’s this post about? This is a gift I just drew up just for today. It doesn’t come in the form of cheering anyone up though because I’m using this day to present the last fanfiction that I would be writing in regard to Cyndi with Tony, Wallace, and Nic. What’s the second last one? It hasn’t come to light yet though will be posted in the future when I get that done. (Of course, it’s one of my usual long-winded ones.) What made me come to such a decision as to exterminate my fanfictions with Cyndi in connection with the three guys? Honestly, they’re probably my favorite Cyndi pairings ever. Sadly, through all my lame attempts to create some kind of sparks had failed miserably all these years. So I thought I finally hang my hat. That doesn’t mean I won’t write about those artists anymore. I just said that it’s just in relation to Cyndi, NOT excluding them all from fanfictions from now on. So yes, I would still be working on fanfictions that have the three guys in them. Some notes before I post the story: (1) this was of course written today, (2) it was inspired by Tony and Cyndi’s song “Tormented“, and (3) the story is random like my usual ones. The title itself already reflected my moods relating to Cyndi and the three guys. But NOT seeking for pity points. Just saying. Without further ado, here it is (including disclaimers–OF COURSE):

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aimed to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

Cyndi descended the familiar rough stone path leading into the garden. She did not stop there because she spotted Tony on the other side, admiring the view. He looked like he had been there for a while now. In fact, he had probably stood there all morning waiting for the moment when the sun rose. Each step taking her closer to him caused her heart to increase its skipping. Just when she was about to speak up, calling out his name to declare her arrival, he dissolved into smoke. And just like that, she panicked and turned abruptly, searching for him everywhere and anywhere she could think of. Yet her feet fail her since it was her mind zooming faster than her motor nerves would allow. The next thing she knew, she had awakened in cold sweat. Like many nights before. Since the day she learned he was engaged to someone and was getting married soon.

*****

You don’t love me, do you? The words echoed repetitively in Wallace’s mind. He knew the day would come when she would break up with him. It was a matter of time. But he just didn’t want to let go. They’d been together for so long. How could he accept the fact that he was not the most important person in her life? And the most ironic thing was having them both at the same wedding in the coming days. He needed to get creative with the upcoming meeting. Tony was not going to like it. But he knew he had to sever the ties. It wasn’t about saving face but more about his heart that was still feeling the tormenting.

*****

Nic never liked being a replacement but if Wallace asked, then he had no choice except to agree. Tony didn’t like the last-minute change. But Tony had to go along with it anyway. Because Tony’s bride-to-be wasn’t going to let go of Wallace’s supposed partner. When push came to shove, they had two choices: called off the wedding–or give in. And Tony had chosen the latter. Yet Nic pondered what had happened to cause the breakup at such a time. But it wasn’t like he wanted the third degree from Wallace. At least not when it was rapidly approaching Tony’s wedding day.

*****

Tony returned his glass to the table and waved the others off. He had enough. He didn’t want to be drunk. Not tonight. What he wanted to do was reminisce about the past with them. For just one last time. Tomorrow, after the wedding, he was off to start a new life with his wife. Also, at the wedding, Wallace was leaving for an unknown trip–to mend his heart. Nic? Nic volunteered to wrap up everything while he, himself, could enjoy the rest of the time with his wife without worrying. What about Cyndi? Tony didn’t know. She seemed strange since the day he returned to announce his upcoming marriage. It was like their group of four had a silent, mutual agreement to move forward without wanting to care about what the future would bring them. And without telling one another what that future would include.

“One more,” Wallace said, slamming his glass down on the table for emphasis. He was not letting the others go easily tonight.

“You know it’s his big day tomorrow, right?” Nic reminded Wallace.

Wallace turned and gave Nic a sharp glare. He didn’t care. At least Tony’s life was going to turn toward the better direction. As for the rest of them? As far as Wallace was concerned, Nic was going to be cleanup crew, he–himself–was going to disappear to a far place and become a chameleon, and Cyndi? He didn’t know. In fact, none of them knew. And he quit caring about her well-being since the day of the breakup. In fact, he was done caring for anyone after that day.

“No big deal,” Tony interfered. “I’ll just watch you guys drink.”

“The hell you are!” Wallace objected, shoving a full glass of beer toward Tony. “You’re not leaving until we’re all drunk. And that includes you.”

“I thought we’re out tonight to celebrate for Tony and not watch you soak in your misery,” Nic sabotaged Wallace again.

Wallace was about to confront Nic but that was when Cyndi appeared. She was still in her work uniforms. Wallace’s eyes barely raked past her before raising his hand to call the waiter.

“No more,” Tony said before Wallace could order some more beers.

“What are you doing, man?” Wallace demanded, turning to Tony.

“I know it’s not the best of time for you. But we have to stay alert for tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be too much if I show up late for my own wedding?”

Wallace scoffed. “So you’re acting all mighty now?”

Tony didn’t want to penalize Wallace for Wallace’s current attitude. He understood too well. It was too big of a blow for Wallace. It was also the reason why he had turned down the others’ ideas of a bachelor’s party. And had opted for a casual gathering with just the four of them. Because he knew that it was the three of them who had been with him throughout these years, growing up and changing their lives together. Not some outsiders who just wanted to throw some wild party as an excuse for a gathering.

“What’s with him?” Cyndi asked as she settled down at the seat between Tony and Wallace. She was staring at Nic–who was facing her at the moment–for an answer.

“Haven’t you heard?” Nic asked back.

Cyndi shook her head, confused.

“His girl just broke up with him.”

Cyndi gasped but recovered quickly.

“Yeah, laugh all you want,” Wallace muttered bitterly.

Cyndi ignored him, gesturing for the waiter to take her order. She, too, ordered some beer instead of the usual regular light drinks. In fact, while she was at it, she told the waiter to bring another glass for Wallace.

“Are you crazy?” Tony exclaimed, looking at Cyndi in bewilderment.

Cyndi turned to him with her icy cold glare. “Not everyone is as lucky as you to have found your happiness.”

“Speak for yourself, Miss Wang.”

Cyndi didn’t care to look at Tony anymore. She directed her eyes toward Wallace. “I just broke up with my boyfriend as well.”

It was then that Wallace sobered up to listen in. He exchanged a look with Nic like they were best friends again.

“It’s for the best,” Cyndi said. “Rather than dragging it out and hurting him even more.”

“You girls and your reasoning,” Wallace mumbled–his bitterness returning.

Cyndi still had her eyes on him, not backing down to his threatening tone–or his terrible attitude at the moment. “Would you rather be lied to?”

Wallace scoffed, diverting his eyes away from Cyndi on purpose. “Perhaps you shouldn’t give us hope at the beginning then. If you knew you couldn’t do it.”

“Let’s not talk about it tonight,” Tony interjected.

“That’s right,” Nic agreed.

Cyndi placed her handbag loosely behind her then and picked up the glass that the waiter just put down in front of her. “How about congratulating Tony tonight?”

Wallace smiled then. It was strange that he was, considering his dark moods previously. “That’s right.”

Nic didn’t wait for Wallace to change his mind again. He picked up his glass and placed it alongside the others. “To Tony’s new future.”

Tony knew he couldn’t turn them down so he risked another glass. Or at least another sip.

“We’ll always be friends, right?” Tony asked after he drank a sip–and the others a little more than that, especially Wallace.

Wallace’s amused smile turned on then. “What do you think?”

And Wallace wasn’t kidding. They were all heading toward a new destination tomorrow night. Who was to say they would meet again? It wasn’t like it was impossible. But not too probable.

*****

And Wallace was right because, over the next few years, the course of their lives steered themselves way clear of one another. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, they had no idea. Yet they knew for sure that one day. Perhaps one day, they would reunite–regardless of how they vouched to never meet up again.

That little reunion happened on an autumn day when the leaves had already turned to various colors of the spectrum. And Tony was still married and happy. Even looking forward to being a father. Wallace, the bitter Wallace, was still bitter. Because he was never the happy-go-lucky among the four of them anyway. But he was no longer bitter because of lost love. Instead, it was because of a familiarity they could all relate to since they came to know one another. Nic, on the other hand, was ever so unchanging, welcoming their return and had been waiting for them all these years. His life had taken toward the path he had wanted, not dwelling on whether he would meet them or not once again. Because deep down in his heart, he knew they would return one day. Their curiosity would never allow them to stay away for such an extended amount of time. Not to mention this was what people called a lifetime. Cyndi? They couldn’t find Cyndi. Not at first. But all three knew where she would be.

Cyndi was in the garden. All three guys smiled upon seeing her there. Like they had expected. She still carried that dark, forlorn aura they seen her since the day she heard of Tony’s engagement. It wasn’t like they didn’t know. Or perhaps Nic and Wallace had known. If Tony had known, he wouldn’t expect her to attend the wedding so forcibly like that. Though they only saw her back by the fountain, it was enough. It was her trademark pose. And the crème scarf. And the light tan dress with the white hat. It was like she hadn’t changed since she left them that night. In fact, since they all left Nic behind that night.

“It’s good to know some things are still as predictable,” Wallace spoke up in his usual teasing tone.

It was rare that Wallace was the one offering any source of peace toward any one of them. Though deep down, they always knew he was grateful to have them as his friends.

Cyndi turned then upon hearing Wallace’s voice. She turned with an actual smile on her face. A smile that surprised them into speechlessness. What was more, there on her hand was a ring sparkling in the afternoon’s hazy sunlight. And Wallace’s smile made its appearance next. The rare sincere one, not the one reeking of mockery.

“Your Singles’ Club Card,” Wallace said, extending his hand toward her. And he meant it with sincerity.

“I’m sorry,” Cyndi said, still smiling and playing along with Wallace. “But I fed it to the shredder a long time ago.”

“Then you need to compensate us for the damaged property,” Wallace replied. He had meant himself and Nic.

“What are you talking about?” Nic asked, turning to Wallace. “You’re the one who should be compensating us for breaking the contract.”

Wallace smiled, knowing Nic had found him out. He stepped forward and made his way closer to Cyndi. He wasn’t demanding her share of the compensation fees though. He grabbed hold of her right hand with his left. Cyndi didn’t resist or make a move to undo his hand from hers. Instead, she returned his smile. They finally turned toward the other two.

“I bet you never would have thought of this outcome, huh?” Wallace asked. He was looking at Tony. Because Nic already knew through the similar designs of both rings.

Tony smiled then, admitting defeat. “Leave it up to you to upstage me on every single occasion, good or bad.”

Wallace still had on his proud smile. “Who would have thought that the two unlucky beings of your wedding would end up getting together when you want to announce another good news?” And the biggest irony of it all was being dumped by someone who loved Tony dearly and then ending up with another who once felt exactly the same about Tony as well. Though Wallace had more confidence with this one, and he had made the right choice that day when they both stumbled into each other two years back. If that wasn’t fate, he didn’t know what the hell it was.

Tony nodded. “One day…”

Wallace pointed at Tony. “No, there won’t be one day. Because we’re not leaving anymore. We have a new mission now.”

Tony had on his puzzled expression. “What mission?”

“Find that special someone for our buddy here.”

Then Tony understood. They all turned to Nic. But Nic just smiled, not making a big fuss like the last few times that they had teased him about his sad soul status. He pulled out his wallet and showed them a picture of a girl. In fact, it was a couple picture–with both smiling happily. Or so it seemed.

“Sometimes, you have to admit that you two aren’t the only ones with the surprises, right?” Nic asked. He meant Tony and Wallace.

“What’s her name?” Wallace asked, wanting to go the long way–instead of snapping at Nic upfront.

Nic still had on that placid, unscheming smile. “Amber.”

“All we need is more sunshine in our lives,” Wallace teased.

“At least we don’t have to worry that he’ll turn into some lonely old man anymore,” Cyndi reminded them all.

“Who knows?” Wallace said. “Maybe one day….”

“There won’t be one day,” Nic repeated of the phrase Wallace said earlier. “Because I know what I’m doing.”

“Unlike the rest of us?” Tony asked, his voice challenging.

“No.”

They continued to wait without interruptions.

“Because I’m an old man.”

Wallace reached over and clapped Nic’s shoulder then. “You bet you are.”

It was just a joke. An inside joke. Because they all knew it actually meant that Nic was a careful person, once he decided something, he would never back down. And regardless of his passive exterior, he had more determination in him than all of them combined.

© Friday, January 13th, 2012

Lifted Spirits

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aimed to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

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Vic had a surprise for Cyndi. And that surprise wasn’t easy to pull off. Because he had to hide his plans from her. Not to mention the obvious display that was in front of her every single day. He had recruited friends to help. And some more. That project had carried on for a while. He was blessed with the fact that she still had no idea. It wasn’t easy to fool her with his indifference exterior. Yet he tried. The day had finally come when they would reveal the surprise to her. Tomorrow. Vic had made a last round of inspections several days back to ensure everything was set for the special day.

*****

The night of Christmas Eve finally arrived. Vic approached Cyndi’s door with his familiar usual routine that night. The only difference was his attire. He wasn’t wearing the usual tux and bow to impress his date like many times before. He was in his usual daily outfit in addition to a heavy coat and a fancy scarf. Cyndi came to the door wearing similar winter clothes. It seemed like she wasn’t expecting anything special from him tonight. It was hard to when she had guessed wrong the last five times. Though she never showed her disappointment, at least she had tried to hide it from him. Yet he knew. He knew all along–and had let her stayed disappointed. Until tonight. And she had no idea.

“Hi,” He greeted her.

Cyndi nodded, pasting on a sincere smile.

“We’re going on a long ride tonight so you might want to pack a light bag,” He informed her.

She looked surprised then. Barely, but it was still present. He smiled and nodded, reassuring her that she didn’t hear wrong. About fifteen minutes more and they were in his car, driving into the night and toward an unknown destination.

On the way, they did not talk much. They only listened to the Christmas songs that were playing on the radio–with the occasional comments about some memories that had been triggered by those songs, nothing more. She became impatient with the constant glances his way from time to time. He noticed it yet still concentrated on the traffic, his indifference still on. She tensed up even more when they parted from the rest of the traffic and he turned into a dirt road leading to an area that led into the countryside. He drove slowly on purpose the whole time. Half of it was because of the snow. The other half? To keep the suspense intact. They soon passed the darkened part of the countryside and met with civilization again. He soon slowed down and turned into a street that led into a residential part of that town.

When they arrived at his planned destination, she gasped as soon as she saw the sight. He smiled upon seeing her shocked expression. After parking, he stepped out of the car, leaving her there dumbstruck. But not for long since he reached the passenger side soon enough and opened her door for her, extending a hand. She stepped out of the car slowly, still numbed from the initial shock. Her numbness wasn’t involving any source of coldness either–though the weather was indeed quite cold.

“Come on,” He urged. “They’re waiting for us.”

Yes, his friends and her friends were all waiting for them ahead. More specifically, they were all lined up at the house that had been in construction for months now. The only difference was how the house was no longer covered with a huge brown-ish tent to conceal its secrecy and privacy. It was now covered with a tan-colored humongous cloth with the portions of the bottom hanging loosely and getting contaminated by the snow on the ground, turning its color into a darker tan. And on that humongous cloth was held together on the top with a rough thick string like it was gift-wrapped.

“You’re finally here!” Joanne shouted when they were closer.

Vic nodded as Cyndi was still studying her surroundings with much awestruck.

“Glad you made it,” Jacky chimed in, smiling also.

“Everything ready?” Vic asked, his voice full of authoritativeness.

The others nodded in unison. Jacky and Joanne soon turned toward the others and gave them a signal. They spread out around the house. It was like everything had been planned carefully–and flawlessly. As soon as everyone got into their assigned position, Joanne reconfirmed their places one last time before Jacky did the countdown. And when the number reached one, they all tugged on a brown string at the same time. It appeared that they had arranged the strings carefully at the exact spot they were supposed to stand and then pulled it at the right moment–now. The tan tent soon gave way, falling slowly like a lava mountain flowing down toward the ground. A luxurious house appeared in front of their sight. The dark street had suddenly transferred into immense brightness because of the house that was decorated with bright lights streaming everywhere. That wasn’t all. Because Cyndi had realized the moment the house’s veil fell away that it was her dream house. She turned to Vic, still speechless.

“Don’t cry,” He comforted her, patting on her shoulder with one hand while the other hand reaching up to wipe away her tears.

She didn’t realize she was crying. “I thought you…” She stopped to control herself before continuing. “I thought you wanted to break up with me.”

“Silly,” He chided her, hitting the tip of her head playfully. “Now, why would I do that?”

“You’ve been passive these past months. I thought you were getting tired of me…of us…and…”

Vic smiled, still wiping away her tears with his hand. “Now you know.”

She pulled out a handkerchief from somewhere and tried to contain her tears, still not believing the sight in front of her. He led her toward the house’s entrance then. Jacky, Joanne, and the others standing in front of the house drifted apart and made way for both. The ones who were in charge of pulling the strings from the other sides of the house had also gathered around, waiting to witness the moment the new owners of the house open the door of their new habitat.

Vic had his own copy of the key. The other one he had given to Jacky so the others could work on decorating the house awhile back. Now, Jacky stepped forward and handed the key back to Vic. Vic then handed it to Cyndi, wanting her to do the deed. They all watched as Cyndi placed the key into the slot and the echo of a click traveled to their ears seconds later. They continued to stay quiet as Cyndi stepped in–with Vic right by her side. The first thing Cyndi saw–aside from the welcome mat–was a large bucket placed at the left corner. Joanne soon explained it was for their shoes. They all took off their shoes one by one after Vic and Cyndi.

Like any typical tour of a new house, Vic started with the living room. However, he did not do the usual narration like others would often approach the process. Instead, he gestured for Jacky to light the fireplace. Joanne was in charge of candles–though the house was already so bright due to the outdoor lights. Unexpectedly after the candles were lit, the lights on the exterior parts of the house flicked off, putting everyone in the dark. That was also preplanned because one of their other friends had pulled the lever that controlled the exterior lights.

Cyndi was startled by the sudden lack of light, letting out an audible gasp. Yet she soon recovered and returned her eyes to the center of the room. It was also in time to see Vic getting down on his knees–one knee to be exact. The others had already left the room, not wanting Cyndi to feel the pressure in satisfying the watchers only. It was an important decision of her life and they wanted to fulfill Vic’s command in letting her treasure that moment only with him.

As they returned to the hallway, they retrieved their shoes from the bucket silently, not wanting the noise to reverberate around the property–and possibly ruin the moment for both Vic and Cyndi. Jacky led the way outside this time, holding the doors for them all before shutting it again.

“What are we doing now?” Joanne asked, turning to Jacky as she stood next to him in front of the house again.

“We are…” Jacky answered, pausing on purpose. “…moving onto the next part of the surprise.”

Joanne, confused, wrinkled her face and turned to Jacky for clarification. “I didn’t know there was part 2 of the plan.”

Jacky still had on that calm smile, not upset at all that she was misinformed. He slipped a hand around her shoulders and pointed toward the sky with his other hand. She gasped and cried out in excitement as soon as she saw what was enveloping the sky.

“Fireworks!” Joanne yelled out at last. She turned to him with that incredulous expression still. “How did you do it?”

“Vic isn’t the only one who knows how to pull a surprise on Christmas, you know,” Jacky replied casually.

It was then that Joanne noticed some parties missing from the group. She looked around for them, knowing they had to be somewhere to unleash the fireworks on time.

“That’s not all,” Jacky spoke up again.

Joanne turned to him again, waiting.

“Firecrackers!” The others yelled out at that time–and their appearance proved its existence.

Joanne ran toward one of the other girls and took a stick of firecrackers from her. Jacky reached for one as well. Soon, they were lining up around the front of the property to play with the firecrackers. And that little commotion also affected Vic and Cyndi–but they didn’t join the group until a good twenty minutes later of touring the house.

“Well?” Jacky asked as soon as he saw Vic and Cyndi coming out.

Vic raised his hand–the one that was holding Cyndi’s hand. They could all see the sparkling ring on Cyndi’s finger. It was then that the others gathered around to congratulate both parties–with the girls hugging Cyndi and the guys clapping Vic on the shoulders. And soon, they were lining up in front of the property to watch the last of the fireworks together.

“Now we could put this in our book and call it a success,” Joanne mumbled as she was standing next to Jacky–her hands in her coat pockets.

Jacky turned slightly toward her. “We definitely could file it away as a success–on both counts.”

Joanne was a bit taken aback. “What?”

Jacky had on his teasing smile. “I meant for Vic’s plan and my firework plan. Don’t tell me you were thinking of having another proposal taking place here as well.”

Joanne took her right hand out of her coat pocket and hit Jacky on the shoulder. “I knew you’re too cheap to plan anything like this!”

Jacky knew she was joking so he caught her hand and laced it with his. But he wasn’t done. He took off one glove and undid a black ring from his finger. Then he slipped it onto her ring finger. It was when he was satisfied with his work that he let go of her hand. While he was putting his glove on again, Joanne inspected the ring on her finger.

“We wouldn’t want to steal the show from Vic and Cyndi, would we?” Jacky reasoned. “But you have the other half of the pair now.”

“I like it this way,” Joanne admitted, finally smiling. She slipped on her glove again as well–since Jacky had also taken off hers when he slipped on the ring. “It’s unique.”

Then they returned their eyes toward the sky just like the others to watch the sparkling night, still filled with the fireworks that refused to die down because it was still waiting for the moment when the hour announced Christmas’ arrival. The difference this time was how they had hooked hands with each other’s–not shoving them in their pockets like before.

© Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

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*NOTES*:

– This is a Christmas special story that was voted on here and the result announced here.

– Hope everyone enjoyed it to some extent and have a Merry Christmas!