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Chapter 21 – Speed

“Cheers!” They exclaimed out at the same time.
“This is what I call a success,” Xiao Jie said excitedly, putting her glass down at last.
“You sound even more excited than Johnny,” Bryan teased.
“What are you talking about? Johnny’s our friend. Of course we should be happy for him.”
“I have to thank everyone for helping all this time,” Johnny said.
“Wait until Ehlo hears this!” Xiao Jie exclaimed out in the same excited tone. “He’ll probably end up bragging about his genius abilities…”
“You sound like you understand him,” Darren snapped.
“I was just guessing his reaction, okay? Don’t have to start with me.”
“All right,” Wei Ru interfered. “Let’s not argue today since we’re here to celebrate for Johnny.”
“Exactly my points,” Bryan said. “I don’t even know why you guys are arguing.”
“So…” Xiao Jie said, scanning everyone once before letting out a smile. “What should we do now?”
“Don’t tell me you want to play a joke on Johnny,” Bryan said, catching on to Xiao Jie’s expression.
“Why not? It’ll be fun!”
Bryan shakes his head. “You women always want to torture us men.”
“Are we going to sit around and listen to you two?” Darren asked, annoyed.
“What’s the problem, Little Bro?” Bryan asked, turning to Darren.
“Stop snatching attention from the supposed star of the day.”
“Like I want to argue with her.”
“You want to push all the blame onto the girl?”
“What?”
“Guys,” Wei Ru interfered once again.
“Okay, okay.” Bryan gets up from his seat and leaves after that.
“What’s with him?” Xiao Jie asked, looking after Bryan.
“Maybe stress?” Wei Ru suggested, unsure of her brother’s behavior also.
“He probably forgot to take his meds,” Darren jumped in.
“Darren!”
“I’m kidding!”
Wei Ru turns to the others again. “I have to go back out there to help, you guys go ahead.”
The others give her a wave. Xiao Jie hesitates before getting up and exiting the little room along with Wei Ru. Somehow, Darren stands up from his seat and follows as well.
“I guess it’s only us now, huh?” Johnny asked, looking around the almost empty room.
Jacky nods. He does a quick scan of the room – though unnecessary – before turning to Johnny again with a serious expression. “Um…I…” He stops to scratch his head, wondering how to approach the subject. He scolds at himself silently, frustrated that his bravery has left him to an unknown place. “Wei Ru and I…we…”
Johnny puts his hand up at that time to stop Jacky. “It’s okay.”
Jacky waits silently for Johnny to finish.
“I’m interested in Wei Ru because of her interesting personality,” Johnny continued. “I’m the type that likes to act upon my feelings, not wait for opportunities to hit. But I could tell that you and Wei Ru have something much more going on. So it’s okay. You don’t need to explain to me. You met her first, remember?”
Jacky smiles. “Thanks.”
“Hey, don’t make it sound like it’s some competition and I just handed you a medal. Congrats.” Johnny claps Jacky’s shoulder real quick before withdrawing his hand.
Jacky knows that Johnny is an honest person so he feels reassured that they got that out of the way.
“Jacky ge!” Brittney’s voice boomed into the room.
Jacky turns to see Brittney rushing in – out of breath. “What happened?”
“Mom wants you outside.”
“What happened?” Jacky repeated his question.
“You’ll see in a bit.”
Jacky turns to Johnny again. “I guess I have to go.”
Johnny nods.
Jacky gets up and follows Brittney back outside to the front area of the café.
They’ve been celebrating Johnny’s success with hitting the charts these past weeks at the back of the Lai’s café.
*****
The upcoming month finally arrives, paving way for the autumn season. It is also a time they’ve all been looking forward to since Jacky’s album is released in the middle of the month. That also means Jacky is occupied for the majority of the time, running back and forth between different locations for promotional events. However, he doesn’t become oblivious of the people around him, especially those who had contributed to helping him these past months of becoming himself once again.
The inevitable moment finally comes as the circumstance calls for Wei Ru’s presence, forcing her to make way for attending promotional events along with Jacky. Though she only sings one song with him – as a guest, but it was so well received that there were requests of more songs and collaboration. There are even suggestions of Wei Ru living on the success and using it as leverage to record her own album but she turns them down, giving in to only collaborate with Jacky in the future.
A possible new album is still in the making for next year as Jacky plans it out with James and Ehlo over the phone. They agree to write songs for him for the upcoming project. He will also write some songs himself. There are still many details to be taken care of, but Jacky’s career is finally moving forward again.
Fans are more than happy to receive their prince back into the entertainment industry after such a long period of absence.
Though Jacky is busy with promotional events and is planning for the upcoming album, but he still has time to spend the mid-autumn festival with the Lai family and some other friends he had met at that small town.
© Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Re-posted: Sunday, February 21st, 2010

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