Chapter 8 – New Phase

The next few months moved on at a rapid pace. So rapid that most of them lost track of time. The beginning of the year picked up right after their brief celebration of a reunion. Most of them were slammed with work or projects. Especially Ehlo since his success with helping Tony that his name had rose within the industry and he received numerous calls right after the New Year. Tony had joked about a “large red packet” and Ehlo had followed through but in the form of incremental meals. Besides, it was an appreciative gesture that they could all get behind.

On the other hand, Sonia was still in town. In fact, they never pestered her regarding the talk with James at that time. However, it was disclosed later—possibly around the same time Sonia and Angela reconciled—that she and James had a serious talk. A real talk without any interruptions or emotional outbursts. They had agreed to give each other space to deal with this new change. Sonia wanted to stay in town to think it over carefully and to prepare herself for the next step. Considering how James also needed time to bond with his son, Dan, and adapt to the new arrangements, he didn’t object. They were indeed hit with the news at the same time and could only react by that little information. Although James did manage to ease into his new role of being a father in the past few weeks, his concern for Sonia had blocked part of his emotions to properly plan for the next step. As of the current situation, he and Sonia would see each other on the weekends when he came to town. It was supposed to be temporary until they could figure out what they were going to do. As for the mother of his child, her name was Sara. She ran into some financial troubles and somehow managed to track James down, asking him for help. The details were a bit muddled, but the others didn’t really ask. Not after what happened with their assumptions and all so they decided to stay out of it. Well, that was except for Bianca and Angela, who were more invested with Sonia and James’ past than the rest of them. Considering how most of them weren’t on their best behaviors for what happened, it was more than a relief that they didn’t meddle this time around.

As for Jacky and Angela, they consistently kept up with their schedule at KFT after the holidays. Because they no longer had the side dramas to deal with, their work-life was less stressful as well. And because of how both of them had come to understanding even more after so many years, they collaborated quite well with one another at work, making them an unbeatable force. Unfortunately, that also meant envy from Ray. However, Producer Lin didn’t seem to care. As long as Jacky was back, it was all paradise again for him. Ratings were soaring so he could sit back and relax.

What about Joanne? She and Bryant finally had their start. They weren’t quite dating yet but since Joanne promised him a fair chance, they finally got to spend time together after being sidetracked. Bryant even taught her how to cook properly, which Ehlo took a jab at immensely whenever he could. Yet Bryant had backed Joanne up and supported her throughout. That had ease some of the pressure for Joanne. As it turned out, she wasn’t helpless as most of them had put it over the years. It was just that her impatience had gotten in her way. Not to mention how the constant teasing had caused her to give up altogether. Now that there was someone as patient as Bryant to help her, she was able to master the skill faster.

Esther, Jannie, and Eddie continued to be slammed with their workload and could barely make time for the others. However, they had each other so it was less hectic on that front. Tony’s mom sometimes made comments about the supposedly upcoming wedding but because both Tony and Esther were busy with their work schedule that it was hard to push for anything.

Contrary to how Ehlo had attempted to stir up the feelings of competition and rivalries regarding to Cynthia and Novia’s businesses when Novia came to town several months back, both shops actually got along quite well. Partially, it was because of how they accidentally became alliances during the Sonia versus Sophia fiasco. However, when that little side drama was already cleared, they managed to spend more time together and got to know each other better. That also led to many collaborations between the two shops. Sometimes, Novia was seen at Cynthia’s shop teacher a course or two from time to time. Yet Novia didn’t accept compensation from Cynthia and found it fun to participate. Instead, they often went out for meals together and exchanged ideas as well.

Jun and Derek, after having participated in the unnecessary side dramas along with the others, also ended up getting along with the others quite well. Like there was ever a doubt on that front—as Ehlo often put it.

Things were moving forward smoothly for them at the beginning of the year—even if they were busy for the most part. And things finally slowed down around mid-February. And they were in for a major surprise.

© Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Posted: Posted Sunday, September 20th, 2020