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Chapter 2 – First Meeting

The drama between that same South Spring Studio’s manager and that young composer continue two weeks later. It unfolds around the same time as last time, which is about an hour before lunchtime.
“Jacky!” Director Wu’s voice boomed across the room.
Jacky gets up from his desk and walks to the door of the studio. He sees Director Wu waving at him. Jacky walks up to where he’s standing. He stands still, waiting for Director Wu to speak.
“Why didn’t you tell me about the whole incident in the first place? You just like to see my hair stand up, don’t you?” Director Wu fired questions after questions out, looking annoyed like always.
“Director Wu,” Jacky said calmly. “As you can remember – if you can remember, you said you don’t need to know the details of the whole process, you just need to see the result. I’m just working by your standards.”
“I don’t need to know every step. I said that. But I need to know if you handed the song to them already. You almost scared me to death last week.”
Jacky exerts an internal yawn while thinking “You’re not dead yet, are you?” But he pastes on a smile and addresses Director Wu again. “I apologize if I frightened you. But Double D did well at the concert.”
Director Wu puts his right hand up to stop Jacky. “Okay. I’m not going to pull up the past and put you on the spot anymore. Have you got ideas for the next song yet?”
Jacky shakes his head. “We agreed on one song only. I’m not doing another one for Double D. At least not for 3 months.”
“But they’re rising because of this new song,” Director Wu argued. “You can’t just drop it like that. It’s your opportunity to make some money.”
“Music isn’t about money, Director Wu,” Jacky delivered gracefully.
With that said, Jacky goes back inside. He starts packing the last of his belongings and picks the box up to leave. As he walks by the door, he hands Director Wu an envelope. “I’ll be waiting for your check in the mail.”
Jacky walks out of there in one quick motion, causing Director Wu to be even more confused. What he just said a minute ago and now handing the director the envelope, demanding money just makes it even harder to understand.
*****
Jacky hauls a Taxi and gets in.
“Where to?” The driver asked, glancing briefly into the rearview mirror.
“Spring of Hope,” Jacky replied.
“What?!” The driver exclaimed in disbelief, turning sideways to face Jacky in the process.
“Down the street. On the right,” Jacky said slowly and passively.
“Then why are you hauling a Taxi when you could walk?” The driver asked, still maintaining the disbelief expression on his face.
“I’m carrying all these heavy stuffs, can’t you see?” Jacky asked, gesturing towards his box. He raises his left eyebrow briefly. “And are you suggesting that I shouldn’t let you have the honor of doing business with me?”
“Suit yourself,” The driver mumbled under his breath as he pulls out of the building and drives slowly down the street, not wanting to miss the shop.
When the driver stops two minutes later at the end of the street, Jacky jumps out quickly, shoving some bills into the driver’s window and walks off.
It’s not a good day to haul stuffs around, he thought to himself. But he knows that he must end his relationship with South Spring before it gets worse. Director Wu isn’t exactly the person to be working with, especially in handling professional matters.
He steps towards the shop slowly, still thinking about where to go later this week since he’ll have plenty of time off until next month. Before he knows it, he bumps into something. More like someone. He feels a “swoosh” sound. He drops his box and tries to catch that person before he or she falls down. He manages to grab that person around the waist with one hand and the shoulder with his other hand. It’s a girl. She looks confused, but regains herself a moment later.
“Are you okay?” The girl asked softly – and ever so innocently.
Jacky almost laughs out loud. He’s the one that should be asking her that. Is this girl for real?
“I’m fine,” Jacky muttered. “Are you?”
The girl suddenly realizes that they’re a bit close, but she manages to utter out, “Uh…I guess.”
Jacky realizes that also so he lets go of her gently and steps back.
“I’m sorry about this, Miss,” Jacky said, gesturing towards his box. “I can’t see with this box in front of me like that.”
“It’s okay,” The girl said. “I was in a hurry also so I didn’t see you.”
“I guess that makes us even?”
The girl smiles. “I guess so.”
Jacky couldn’t help but thinks that she has the sweetest smile he’d ever seen.
“I better be going now,” The girl finally said. “Sorry I couldn’t help you pick up your…” She gestures towards the ground where his stuff is lying as she said those last words.
Jacky cuts her off. “I’m fine. Just go since you’re in a hurry.”
“Thanks for understanding. Bye!” She smiles sweetly at him and leaves.
Jacky looks after her for a bit then smiles to himself.
He picks up the contents that had spattered out of his box and what’s left of the box. Just as he’s standing up, someone runs into him. This time, he’s prepared to duck out of the way just in time. He could have sworn that this shop is being robbed, but there isn’t any other sign to confirm it except for people rushing out.
He reaches for the door handle with his right hand while balancing the box with his left. Before he could open the door to the shop, the guy – the one that almost ran him over – turns around and addresses him.
“Excuse me, sir!” The guy exclaimed. “I’m sorry for almost running you over. But did you see a young lady coming out of the shop?”
Jacky isn’t sure how to answer the question since he doesn’t know this guy.
“She’s wearing a black sun dress with her hair tied back,” The guy described. “She just walked out a bit ago.”
Jacky’s still not answering.
“She’s my sister,” The guy clarified. “I just want to find her since she forgot her cell phone.”
The guy holds up a cell phone for Jacky to see.
“I’m not sure where she went,” Jacky said finally. “It’s too crowded in the street right now. I didn’t pay attention, sorry.”
“No problem, sir. I’ll just call her best friend and leave a message with her since my sister is on her way there.” He finally notices that Jacky’s still holding the door. “Excuse my manner, sir.” He steps up to open the door for Jacky as he’s saying that. “Please come in.”
Jacky hesitates for a bit. Is he supposed to know this guy? He sounds like he works for the shop but Jacky never seen him around before. Is he new? Jacky steps in anyway and tries to edge his way through the tables.
“Do you need help carrying that, sir?” The guy asked politely, gesturing towards Jacky’s box.
“No, thanks,” Jacky replied automatically. “I’ll just make my way over to the corner and I’ll be fine.”
“What will you have today, sir?”
“Pineapple special.”
“ That’s a good choice, sir. Will you be having any dessert?”
Jacky finally reaches his target. He sets the box down on the floor next to his seat. The guy is still following him. He scans the shop in one quick motion before addressing the guy again.
“Is Mrs. Lai in?” Jacky asked, surprised that she is not present.
“My mom isn’t here, sir. I just got called in to help at this hour before heading back to my studies.”
“Your mom? Mrs. Lai is your mom?”
“Yes, sir.”
“How come I never see you in here before?”
“I just came back to town a week ago. I only come in at night to help during the last few hours. This is my first day working the day shift.”
“Oh,” Jacky muttered out lamely. Then he realizes something, so he turns to the guy again. “So the young lady in the black dress before is your older sister?”
“Yes, sir. She’s the popular dessert creator around here.”
Jacky’s face lightens up. “Wei Ru?”
“I guess you haven’t met her either.”
“No, I haven’t. We kept missing each other.”
The guy smiles. Before he could say further, someone from the counter calls to him.
They both look in that direction. Jacky knows that it’s Mr. Lai.
“Hurry up, Darren!” Mr. Lai yelled from the counter once again.
“Coming, Pop!” Darren yelled back. Then he turns to Jacky again. “I’m sorry, sir. I’m supposed to process your order already.”
“I’m in no hurry today,” Jacky reassured him.
Darren gives Jacky a thankful smile and rushes across the crowded shop. While Darren’s gone, Jacky turns his attention back to his thoughts. He realizes that he finally meets the famous Wei Ru. Although they haven’t been officially introduced, but at least they know each other’s face. There will be other times, he thought.
© January, 27th, 2007
Re-posted: Saturday, February 20th, 2010

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