Chapter 15 – Equilibrium

Yvonne’s response came in mid-July. Wallace hadn’t seen her since the day he dropped her off at the station after her cast came off at the hospital. It was the same day James called them. Wallace hadn’t called her either. He knew she needed time. Even during the times that he had a great urge to call her, he resisted it. He didn’t want to rush her. Or nag her.

“All right, Mr. Huo, here are the terms,” Yvonne began as he stepped toward her.

She was standing at the extension bridge at East Shore Café. It was late afternoon so the place was kind of deserted. But seeing her standing there in her light yellow flower dress shimmering in the light like that, he almost mistaken her for an angel. Almost, if she hadn’t spoken up. And she had turned around when she said those words to him.

If it was Ehlo or some other person, he would have raised one eyebrow and exuded his amused expression, adding in “Terms?” to complete the picture. Yet it was Yvonne. He did feel amused by her bossy tone but he thought it was kind of cute that she was trying to stay in control despite knowing too well she was caving in.

“Yes, Miss Yao?” Wallace returned and he couldn’t help but exuded that certain signature amused smile. Just that it wasn’t as intimidating as when he used it on Ehlo or the others.

Yvonne, of course, had detected Wallace’s subtle smart-aleck attitude. She wasn’t amused. Not the least bit. “If you’re not serious, then I’m out of here.”

Yvonne made a move by walking away from him. Yet he extended his hands out to stop her, even hugging her from behind.

“Calm down,” He reassured her. “I’m just happy you’re finally giving me an answer.”

“Hmmm….” Yvonne said, undoing his hands from around her and turned around to face him, even putting some distance between them in the process.

“Come on, Miss Yao,” Wallace urged, feeling anxious inside.

Yvonne knew she had to take care of the matter today and not walk away like the other times that she was mad at him. It was different today because it was about them, not some other person’s matter. And because she had recognized his anxiousness so she didn’t want to delay matters even more.

“All right, Mr. Huo,” Yvonne said, clearing her throat slightly. She made sure to look at him. “I’m not accepting your proposal quite yet.”

Wallace raised an eyebrow then. He couldn’t help himself. “I proposed when? I don’t remember giving you the ring.”

Yvonne shot him a glare–to which he smiled. He raised his hands up in surrender.

“Sorry,” He said. “Old habit.”

Yvonne cleared her throat again, wanting to ignore his smart-aleck nature once more. She resumed before she decided to back out altogether. “What I’m trying to say is, I agree to get to know each other again, on a more normal process than under some disguise like in the past.”

Wallace nodded, smiling.

“But you’re not in the boyfriend status yet so don’t celebrate too fast.”

Wallace raised his hands again. “Wouldn’t dare.”

Though Yvonne could see his smart-aleck smile on again, but she decided to let it slide.

“Then we’re good,” She said.

“That’s it?” Wallace asked, surprised they were only discussing that.

“I have to go back to the station later.”

He had on his serious look again. “You want me to take you?”

Yvonne shook her head. “I can take care of it.”

“You’re always putting up the tough exterior, not letting anyone help.”

Yvonne was unfazed by his words. Or possibly annoyed? “Lecturing me already, Mr. Huo?”

Wallace didn’t cave though. “I’m serious.”

Yvonne’s expression had softened but she was still retaining the seriousness on her face. “I’m actually quitting.”

Though Wallace knew her job was too dangerous, considering what happened that one time. Even if it was because she got kind of careless. He had on his surprised expression. Because he knew she’d loved her job.

“Why?” He finally asked.

Yvonne smiled then, not amused. It was a passive smile. “I’m moving on after all these years.”

“You went through Police Academy for nothing?”

Yvonne shook her head. “It wasn’t for nothing. I learned a lot. But I’m moving on.”

“What are you going to do now?”

Yvonne shrugged. Her expression suddenly cunning. “Maybe open up a bakery?”

Wallace caught on to the joke. It was what Tang Feng said to them when they had mentioned about saving the shop in the past. Yvonne had remembered because she had watched the clips with him over and over again until he fell asleep. He wasn’t sure how long she’d stayed that time, but he knew she’d paid attention to remember.

“Let’s go,” Yvonne said after a minute or so.

“Huh?” Wallace returned, suddenly confused.

“I thought you want to take me to the station,” Yvonne reminded him, turning on her teasing smile all of a sudden.

Wallace had on his smile then as well. It was like a sign that she was letting her guard down and allowing him to enter her world. And more importantly, she was showing sign that she allowed him to take care of her.

“All right, come on, Miss Yao,” Wallace said, though unnecessary.

Without a second thought, he extended his hand to her. She took it and they walked back to his car–hand-in-hand.

*****

That night, Wallace got home with his spirit still high. The other guys weren’t home yet. At least no one entered until five minutes later. It was Ehlo.

“I heard you got together with Yvonne,” Ehlo got straight to the point.

Wallace smiled, somewhat missing the old days when Ehlo launched one of his investigations. “So she told you?”

Ehlo shook his head. “Detective Chen.”

Wallace had on his amused expression then. “When did he become such a gossip?”

Ehlo still had on a normal expression, not thinking much of Detective Chen’s abnormal behavior. That expression didn’t last long because Ehlo soon flashed on his teasing one. “He’s her father after all, right? He has to care.”

Wallace smiled then, realizing that Ehlo was hinting at their misunderstanding at one point. “True. He did tell me to take good care of her.”

“There you go.” Yet Ehlo wasn’t done. He eyed Wallace with some traces of seriousness present before continuing. “But since you’re with Yvonne now, there are some terms I must set forth.”

Wallace felt unnerved, having deciphered Ehlo’s serious expression. “What?”

“No more gadget lending from now on.”

Wallace wrinkled his face in confusion. “What?”

“From now on, I can’t lend you my gadgets anymore. You know how costly it could get. It’s for your own good. Your girlfriend’s too destructive. You know what happened to my cell phone.”

“I thought you said she didn’t mean it,” Wallace reminded Ehlo of his previous statement about Yvonne since they’d become best friends–or so he thought of the two these past days.

Ehlo wasn’t moved or tongue-tied by this particular reminder. His determination was still present. It was like one of those times when he was trying to prove that he was sticking to his principle, regardless of situation. “Still…better safe than sorry, pal.”

“Aww…come on, man.”

Ehlo laughed upon seeing Wallace’s defeated look. Yet Wallace’s pitiful state didn’t last. Since Ehlo quickly dissolved the somewhat hostile situation with a clap on Wallace’s shoulder.

“Welcome back to the complicated relationship world, Huo,” Ehlo drawled out dramatically.

Wallace abandoned his dramatic attempt to soften Ehlo’s rules then. He reached forward and shook Ehlo’s extended hand.

“Thanks, Huang.”

They smiled after completing that handshake, knowing they were back where they had started. Huang and Huo were back as a team.

© Sunday, April 29th, 2013

Posted: Thursday, June 27th, 2013

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