Chapter 1

Riverside Park was one of the most popular places if a person lived on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York City. Its beautiful scenery and its spectacular setting gave off a very extraordinary vibe. Every part of the park itself provided a very strong and lively atmosphere, drawing in different groups of people. Even in the wintertime, it shone 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 scenery. Just as they were strolling by the park, some people could sense the change of atmosphere. It was like there was an incoming storm soon. They need to hurry and seek shelter somewhere, anywhere. As everyone was rushing out of the park and heading back to the sidewalk, some could spot a girl standing in the center area of the park. Some even stopped to address her, urging her to move on while others hurry by. The girl only smiled politely at those people and reassured 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 left in vain, hoping that she would get the message soon.

The girl was wearing a white coat with a matching hat and gloves. She appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She seemed to be waiting for someone. Although the snow was falling heavier by the minute, it didn’t seem to bother her. She glanced at her watch once more before looking toward the street area again. The crowd was thinning out as people dodge every way in search of shelter. Still…the girl remained in the same spot she had stood for the last half an hour or so. Although constantly glancing at her watch, she didn’t seem to be impatient or shown any sign of it. Another ten minutes passed by. The park was now deserted. The brightly lit sky with snow falling slowly and calmly twenty minutes ago had turned into a dark and threatening atmosphere. Still…the girl remained standing…glancing toward that same direction. It was another five minutes before someone showed up. More accurately…someone that could capture the girl’s attention. She finally reacted. She walked briskly toward him, a smile forming on her face. The guy coming her way was in his late twenties. He was dressed in black—contradicting to his companion’s attire. He walked with such grace and confidence that one couldn’t help but stare—if the weather condition wasn’t such as it was. The girl approached him, grabbing onto his arm and firing away questions as they walked out of the park.

“Where have you been?” She asked. “I thought you got lost.”

“In this place?” He asked back in a teasing tone. “Come on. I’ve been here quite a few times already.”

“Lucky you finally came 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 smiled, not saying anything further.

They walked out of the park and back to the hotel in about half an hour. Although the snow was falling heavier, they were in high spirits that they wanted to enjoy every moment of it.


One hour later, they had already dined and were heading back to the elevators to go to their rooms.

“Looks like we won’t go anywhere until further notice, huh?” The guy remarked, gesturing in the general direction.

“At least, we made it back before the storm hit,” The girl returned in a positive tone.


The elevator arrived at that time, so they got in before continuing their conversation.

“What’s your plan for tonight then?” The guy asked.

“Sleep early,” The girl replied with a smile.

“Sounds like a great idea.”


“I don’t know,” The guy admitted, 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 agreed, smiling.

“I need to call my girl first though.”

“She told you to or you missed her?” The girl asked, looking at the guy.

“A little of both actually,” The guy answered 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 wrinkled her face. “Only you would think of that.”

The guy shrugged. “Fair enough.”

The elevator finally arrived at their level, so they got out. The front desk had mistakenly checked in someone else in the girl’s place that she had to stay at the other end of the hall, so they stood there for a few more minutes to talk before heading off in their own direction.

“Good night, Jacky,” The girl said as she was walking away from him.

“Good night, Xiao Qiao,” Jacky returned as he was continuing in his own direction.

© Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Posted: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011