Chapter 8 – Outbursts

Xiao Jie looks up from what she’s doing and sees Darren also. They watch in silence to see what Darren would say.
“I heard about some incidents occurring,” Darren commented with a bright smile. “That was something, huh?”
Darren sits down at a chair at a different table from Xiao Jie and Ehlo.
Both Xiao Jie and Ehlo stay quiet.
“What? Did I say something wrong?” Darren asked innocently.
“You already know what you did,” Xiao Jie said with a stern expression on her face – an expression her face would not display no matter the situation.
“What did I do?” Darren asked again, still with that innocent tone of his.
“Lucky Jacky’s quick and was able to handle the situation or things would turn out real bad for everyone,” She continued in that passive voice. “Especially me.”
“You think I did that?” Darren asked, surprised.
Ehlo couldn’t stay quiet anymore. He turns towards Darren and addresses him directly. “You know what? If you have the gut to do it, at least…admit it.”
“What does this got to do with you? How should I know you didn’t do it? You were at the cake shop with us last week too,” Darren rattled out, sounding more and more defensive with each word he uttered out.
“I was with Fan Gang the whole time. Unless you say he did it.”
“Don’t you dare,” Xiao Jie warned him. “Jacky covered for you.”
“All right! All right!” Darren burst out with frustration mixed with injustice. “I did it, okay? ’Cause I was….”
“You want me to go out of business?” Xiao Jie asked, cutting him off from whatever reason he might blurt out to defend his actions. “Lucky Jacky took charge of the whole event, not you or Bryan.”
“Okay. I’m sorry. It was a childish joke, but I just felt he deserves a glitch in his wedding after what he’d done to you.”
Xiao Jie stands up at that time and starts to exit.
Both Darren and Ehlo get up at the same time.
“You still want to side with him?” Darren asked angrily.
“Don’t say it anymore,” Ehlo interfered.
“What’s it got to do with you?” Darren asked, turning to Ehlo with a challenging look.
“Can’t you see she doesn’t want to talk about it? Use your common sense.”
Xiao Jie continues to walk out the door as the two guys argue.
Darren goes after her, but Ehlo stops him by extending his right hand in front of Darren.
“Don’t block me or else,” Darren gritted his teeth.
“She needs time alone. Can’t you see that? She’s been holding it up the whole day now. You want her to collapse right in front of you? And then you’ll comfort her? Is that how you see yourself as a hero in this whole thing?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Darren retorted.
Darren slaps Ehlo’s hand away and continues to go after Xiao Jie. Ehlo doesn’t give up, following Darren out. As they turn left, they run into Jacky and Wei Ru.
“What are you guys doing?” Jacky asked, looking from one to the other.
“Did you see Xiao Jie?” Ehlo asked, looking behind Jacky. “She was heading your way.”
“I thought you said she needs time alone,” Darren snapped. “Why are you looking for her then?”
“I just want to make sure she’s okay,” Ehlo said.
“We didn’t see her. Why?” Jacky asked, scanning the guys’ faces again for possible signs of an explanation regarding the matter.
“Thanks to Mr. Smart-ass here, she left,” Ehlo replied sarcastically.
“Did she confront you?” Jacky asked, turning to Darren.
“How did you know?” Darren asked, surprised that Jacky should know.
“That means you said what you’re not supposed to say?” Jacky continued his questioning without answering Darren’s question.
Jacky turns back to look for Xiao Jie. Wei Ru follows him while Ehlo does the same. Darren doesn’t know what to do except stare at that time.
“I guess you know the reason why I had to take over, huh?” Jacky asked Ehlo as they’re walking and searching for Xiao Jie.
“You didn’t tell him when you recruited him two weeks ago?” Wei Ru jumped in before Ehlo could answer Jacky.
“No,” Jacky answered, looking at her. “It wasn’t my place to say. I’m just looking for an entertainer for the event, not a gossip.”
Wei Ru couldn’t help but smile at Jacky’s attempt to joke despite the situation. She also smiles because she realizes how considerate he is towards Xiao Jie.
“To answer your question,” Ehlo said, clearing his throat and giving Wei Ru an annoyed look since she had interrupted him. “I didn’t figure it out until the cake incident and how Darren’s been acting towards Xiao Jie. I guess it has to do with that in some way.”
“She can’t go that far, right?” Wei Ru asked the guys. “I mean we can’t miss her if she just left.”
“We’re going too far now. Maybe she’s just hiding behind some tree to cry,” Ehlo said.
“Okay, let’s separate and find her,” Jacky suggested.
Everyone splits up at that time.
Jacky sees Darren staring from a distance as he double-backs towards the entrance of the waiting room.
“What are you standing there for?” He scolded. “Help.”
“Yea,” Ehlo snapped somewhere from their left. “You were so eager to find her before, why not do it now?”
“If you hadn’t stopped me, we wouldn’t be looking for her now,” Darren returned, his temper rising by the second.
“You were pushing her too hard. I just want to let her calm down first.”
“Excuses,” Darren mumbled bitterly.
“Whatever, man!” Ehlo shouted back.
Ehlo doesn’t feel like arguing with Darren anymore so he goes further into the side area to search for Xiao Jie. He couldn’t believe his luck since he just turns towards an apple tree nearby and sees her sitting under it.
“So I found a fairy under…” He said with a smile, gesturing his right hand in a circular motion. “…an apple tree. Never expected that to happen.”
Xiao Jie looks up at him, smiling a bit.
Ehlo walks over to where she’s sitting and sits down also.
“So…need a shoulder?” He asked, looking at her intently.
“What for?” Xiao Jie asked, confused.
“To beat on,” Ehlo replied, trying to keep a straight face.
“You mean it?” Xiao Jie asked, looking over at him.
“No! Are you kidding me? I can see that although you’re small, you’re strong. So do I want to die so young?”
Xiao Jie utters a laugh.
“That’s more like it,” Ehlo said, smiling. “So…ready to go back to…”
Before he could finish, Xiao Jie leans onto his right shoulder and begins to cry. He’s suddenly confused because it seems somewhat unexpected since she smiled just now. He thought he succeeded in cheering her up, but now she’s crying. He breaks out of his thoughts and pats her back, not saying anything.
Darren spots them a minute later since he saw Ehlo disappeared behind some bushes but didn’t return. He was just curious and wanted to see what Ehlo was up to. The sight in front of him is just too much. Darren feels a strong sense of jealousy sneaking up from within and starts to form on his face. Why couldn’t she trust me? She just knew him two weeks ago, he thought.
Darren is about to step up and confronts them, but he feels someone tapping on his shoulder. He turns around to see Jacky. Jacky shakes his head at Darren and signals for him to follow. Darren turns to look at Ehlo and Xiao Jie one last time before following Jacky.
“Just leave them for a while,” Jacky said. “Yu Rong can handle it.”
“I…” Darren hesitated.
“Don’t trust me?” Jacky asked.
“It’s not you,” Darren said, pointing towards where Ehlo and Xiao Jie are again. “I don’t trust him.”
“Don’t worry. They’ll come back later. It’s not like he’s going to persuade her to run away from home and go live with him or something.”
“How can you find the time to joke?” Darren asked, seeing Jacky’s smile.
“You need to loosen up,” Jacky said, pausing a bit before continuing. “I can’t blame you for wanting to get back at Brent for dumping Xiao Jie. But you have to consider all factors before acting. Like how it could affect Xiao Jie. She planned this wedding although she didn’t have to. It takes a lot of courage to try to face it like that. It’s not my place to say. But don’t you feel that your actions almost caused a major understanding between her and Brent? I don’t mind getting yell at in the face by Brent. But what I do care is seeing someone’s hard work coming undone because of someone else’s incapability to think before taking actions.”
Darren is about to open his mouth to say something, but Jacky cuts him off.
“I’m not done. The only thing you did right today though,” Jacky said slowly and pausing again before he goes on, “…is actually confronting Xiao Jie about Brent.”
“Huh?” Darren said, wrinkling his face.
Darren has the right to be confused. He was told by Ehlo how inconsiderate and irrational he was. But now Jacky’s saying he did right? What’s going on here? Maybe he mis-heard Jacky. But Jacky’s next words clear up the confusion.
“Letting her cry it out is better than having it all bottled up like that,” Jacky said.
“So are you mad at me or aren’t you?” Darren asked, feeling both hopeful and somewhat confused still.
“It’s not my place to get mad at anyone. And you don’t need to look up to me for approval. You just need to think of what I just said and figure it out for yourself what you actually want. What could you do to protect your loved ones? Is what you think the best option really is? Or is it just seems to be a good idea when you’re mad?”
Darren starts to scratch his head. His mind tumbles even more since Jacky seems to be mad at him but doesn’t let him know what he should do.
Wei Ru walks up to them as they’re walking back to the waiting room.
“Have you found Xiao Jie?” Wei Ru asked Jacky.
“Yea. She’s with Yu Rong. He’ll know what to do. Just wait.”
“Are you sure?”
“Don’t trust me?”
“No wonder you’re siblings,” Jacky joked, chuckling and shaking his head at the same time. “Yu Rong seems like a loud mouth and the perverted type but he’s harmless. If not, would I let him attend this wedding in the first place? He knows his limits. Don’t worry.”
Wei Ru’s still unsure but she doesn’t want to make Jacky come up with another reason to prove to her how harmless Ehlo is, so she stays quiet but keeps pacing back and forth in front of the waiting room. Jacky leans against the wall, not wanting to leave Wei Ru outside alone. Darren’s sitting inside quietly, hoping that Ehlo and Xiao Jie will be back soon.
© March 25th, 2007
Re-posted: Saturday, February 20th, 2010