Chapter 1

Riverside Park is one of the most popular places if a person lives on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York City. Its beautiful scenery and its spectacular setting give off a very extraordinary vibe. Every part of the park itself provides a very strong and lively atmosphere, drawing in different groups of people. Even in the winter time, it shines on with its own blankets of snow, spreading itself among the many shapes and objects all around. Snow and the cold temperature would not discourage others from passing by to admire such a scene. The passersby would walk in pairs, in groups even to enjoy the scene. Just as they’re strolling by the park, some people could sense the change of atmosphere. It’s like there’s an upcoming storm soon. They need to hurry and seek shelter somewhere, anywhere. As everyone’s rushing out of the park and heading back to the sidewalk, some could spot a girl standing in the central area of the park. Some even stops to address her, urging her to move on while others hurry by. The girl only smiles politely at those people and reassure them with her words, but not budging even an inch from her spot. Unable to change her mind after a few minutes of persuasion, they leave in vain, hoping that she’ll get the message soon.
The girl is wearing a white coat with matching hat and gloves. She appears to be in her mid-twenties. She seems to be waiting for someone. Although snow is falling heavier by the minute, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She glances at her watch once more before looking towards the street area again. The crowd is thinning out as people dodge every way in search for shelter. Still…the girl remains in the same spot she has stood for the last half an hour or so. Although constantly glancing at her watch, but she doesn’t seem to be impatient or shown any sign of it. Another ten minutes pass by. The park is now deserted. The brightly lit sky with snow falling slowly and calmly twenty minutes ago has turned into a dark and threatening atmosphere.  Still…the girl remains standing…glancing towards that same direction. It’s another five minutes before someone shows up. More accurately…someone that could capture the girl’s attention. She finally reacts. She walks briskly towards him, a smile forming on her face. The guy coming her way is in his late-twenties. He’s dressed in black – contradicting to his companion’s attire. He walks with such grace and confidence that one couldn’t help but stare – if the weather condition wasn’t such as it is now. The girl approaches him, grabbing onto his arm and firing away questions as they walk out of the park.
“Where have you been?” She asks. “I thought you got lost.”
“In this place?” He asks back in a teasing tone. “Come on. I’ve been here quite a few times already.”
“Lucky you finally come back or I would’ve called the police.”
“I should be the one calling someone soon if you keep standing at this place in this condition.”
“I want to wait for you.”
“You’re always so stubborn.”
“Hey, that’s the reason why we became friends in the first place.”
The guy smiles, not saying anything further.
They walk out of the park and back to the hotel in about half an hour. Although snow is falling heavier, but they’re in high spirits that they want to enjoy every moment of it.

*****

One hour later, they have already dined and are heading back to the elevators to go to their rooms.
“Looks like we won’t go anywhere until further notice, huh?” The guy remarks, gesturing in the general direction.
“At least we made it back before the storm hit,” The girl returns in a positive tone.
“True.”
The elevator arrives at that time so they get in before continuing their conversation.
“What’s your plan for tonight then?” The guy asks.
“Sleep early,” The girl replies with a smile.
“Sounds like a great idea.”
“You?”
“I don’t know,” The guy admits, leaning back on the metallic bars of the elevator cart. “Maybe I’ll take your idea into consideration.”
“Not much to do in this sort of weather anyway,” The girl agrees, smiling.
“I need to call my girl first though.”
“She told you to or you missed her?” The girl asks, looking at the guy.
“A little of both actually,” The guy answers with a nervous laugh.
“That’s what you get when you’re doing this type of job and getting attached.”
“And you don’t want to be attached?”
The girl wrinkles her face. “Only you would think of that.”
The guy shrugs his shoulders. “Fair enough.”
The elevator finally arrives at their level so they get out. The front desk has mistakenly checked in someone else in the girl’s place that she has to stay at the other end of the hall so they stand there for a few more minutes to talk before heading off in their own direction.
“Good night, Jacky,” The girl says as she’s walking away from him.
“Good night, Xiao Qiao,” Jacky return as he’s continuing in his own direction.
© Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011