Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Till the World Ends" Episode 5

Raymond quickly grabbed a seat on the couch in the dance studio. He had been rehearsing choreography for his upcoming concert for the last four hours and was eager for a break. He had just started to let his eyes close when his manager Tammy came running in.

“Raymond, you have to be at a promotional event today at 6PM,” Tammy informed him.

“What?” Raymond quickly sat up in his seat. “You never toldme anything about an event today Tammy! I thought tonight was supposed to be my night off?”

“I know and I’m sorry, but this was a last minute arrangement and the more exposure you can get before your concert, the better,”she replied.

 “Alright. I guess I’ll have to miss dinner with my friends,” he sighed, and took out his cell phone to text Myolie to tell the others he won’t be able to make it tonight.

The promotional event wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Raymond sang two songs and proceeded to listen to the host drown on and on about the organization he runs, which honestly did not sound very reputable or well-meaning as he tried to make it. Afterwards, he went to get a cocktail and quietly snuck over to a less hectic side of the room. He always enjoyed singing, but he was almost always a little overwhelmed by the grandness of everything and just wanted a little quiet to himself.

"Hey, you were great up there," a female voice said. Raymond felt a tap on his arm and escaped from his trance to see a tall, curvaceous woman in her mid 20s in front of him. Her Cantonese was highly accented, but in kind of a cute way. Must be from Mainland, he thought.

"Thanks," he muttered out of obligation.

"You don't sound very enthusiastic now," she said playfully. "Anything wrong?"

"Oh sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude," Raymond replied, embarrassed. "I just wanted a little quiet, these events can be a little much," he said.

"I hear you, my feet are killing me," she said, reaching down to rub her ankle. She was wearing spiky 4-inch heels that actually looked like they could kill her.

"Why don't you just take them off?" Raymond asked her nicely.

She laughed, handling his comment as a friendly joke. "Right, because that would look so professional in front of all these people. Not to mention, who ever heard of a model who doesn't treat wearing heels like it's second nature?"

"No I'm serious," Raymond replied, and gently put one hand on her waist and moved her farther back in the room, then stood in front of her, mostly blocking her from other people's view. "Here, now you can give your feet a break without anyone noticing," he said with a mischievous smile.

"Thanks," she said, and laughed, with a smile as sweet as honey emerging on her face. "I'm Margaret, Margaret Zhao," she introduced, extending her hand to Raymond.

Raymond took her hand and shook it. "I'd introduce myself but..." he started.

"No introduction is needed," Margaret finished with a playful smile, and Raymond smiled back.

"Margaret, we have to go, the car's here!" called a middle aged woman, who approached them. She looked down at Margaret's feet in horror. "Why aren't you wearing your shoes?" she cried.

A look of shame washed over Margaret's face. "I'm sorry, Sandy," she said, and started to put back on her shoes. "I'll meet you in the car, just give me a minute!"

Sandy looked at Raymond and suddenly a phony smile came over her face. "Oh Raymond, it is so nice to meet you! I loved your performance" she said, then turned back to Margaret and her previous strict expression returned. "Two minutes," she said, then left.

"Sorry, my manager," Margaret explained to Raymond.

"She seems like a true pleasure," he replied with sarcasm.

"She's not so bad," she said. "Anyway, it was great meeting you."

"Same to you," Raymond smiled.

Margaret pulled a pen and old business card out of her clutch. "I don't usually do this," she started. "But if you ever want to give me a call," she started, then handed the card to Raymond, which she had written her number on.

"I will," he replied, taking the card and slipping it into his pocket.

"I should get going now, before my manager has a cow," she said.

"Have a good one," Raymond said, and waved to her as she started to walk away. Margaret waved back and gave him a wink as she left.

"Cute girl," he said to himself.

Tammy peered over his shoulder. "I don't have a good feeling about that girl..." she said warily.

Raymond jumped at the sight of Tammy behind him. "When did you get there?" he shouted.

"Keep your voice down! You're so jumpy," Tammy said.

"How many times have I told you not to do that to me?" he whispered, then took out his card to show to Tammy. "She gave me her number," he said happily.

Tammy looked at the card and rolled her eyes. "Are you still a teenager or something?" she asked.

Raymond put the card back into his pocket without responding.

"Beware of her though, those Mainland models usually come with a whole lot of trouble," Tammy said.

"Yeah, yeah," Raymond said.

"I mean it! We don't need some girl walking into your life and putting your career in jeopardy," Tammy  warned.

"She's just a girl I met who gave me her number, I'm not running away and eloping with her or anything!" Raymond argued.

His eyes drifted over to the table at the other side of the room. "Ooo, chocolate fountain," he said, putting his hands together in an excited fashion and leaving Tammy by herself.

Tammy rolled her eyes again. "Such a child," she muttered, then laughed. Her thoughts drifted back to Margaret again. "I don't have a good feeling about this..." she said.


Earlier that same day, Ron was wrapping up another day working at the gym. “Alright, now do twenty sets of those,” Ron told Dan, one of his clients. It was his last personal training session of the day. He went to get his water bottle from his bag when he noticed Vincent on one of the weight lifting machines in the corner of his eye.
Ron patted Dan on the back after he finished his set and said “Great, that’s it for the day. I’ll see you on Tuesday,” then went over to where Vincent was.
“Hey, haven’t seen you around here before,” Ron said as he approached him.
Vincent looked up from his concentration. “Hey. Yeah, I just joined this gym, I used to go to the one a block away. You work here?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m a personal trainer here,” Ron replied. An awkward silence took over for a short moment.
“I’m sorry about barging in on you and Fala yesterday night,” Ron apologized.
Vincent looked up again in surprise. “Oh, it’s fine. You didn’t barge in on anything,” he said.

Ron scrunched his eyebrows. “Really? Then why did Fala grab me by the shirt collar yesterday and yelled at me for interrupting the moment?” he said.
Vincent laughed imagining her doing such a thing, then asked “She did?”
“Alright, let’s not beat around the bush. Fala told me what you said to her before I came in last night,” Ron bluntly said. “I can tell you like her buddy, and she seems to have a thing for you too.”
“She does?” Vincent asked.
“Yes. And I’m telling you now you can’t do much better than a girl like Fala. If you’re serious about courting her, hurry up and make your move already,” Ron said.
Vincent became quiet. “Okay, since we’re being blunt, I have a question for you, and I want you to answer me honestly,” he proposed.
“What is it?” Ron asked.
“Are you and Fala more than friends?” Vincent questioned, seriously.
“Easy question, no,” Ron said.

“And do you have any feelings for her?”

“No. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to death, but as a friend, a sister, and sometimes she acts like my mother,” Ron shared, and realized what was holding back Vincent.

“If you’re worried about me, don’t be,” Ron continued. “If anything else was going to happen between us, it would've happened by now. Fala is the greatest friend I could ask for, but we know way too much about each other to ever even stomach the idea of being more than friends,” he laughed.

Vincent laughed, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Reassured yet?” Ron asked him, and Vincent nodded.

“So, while we’re on the subject of Fala...What is it you like about her?” Ron tried to pry, sitting down on a machine opposite Vincent.

Vincent laughed nervously. “Uh...She’s just amazing,” he began. “She’s smart, funny, witty and beautiful,” he said. “And the best part is she doesn’t even realize just how awesome she is.”

“Yes, that is true,” Ron honestly answered, then rolled his eyes. “Unless you’re me and she constantly reminds you about how lucky you are to have them as a friend,” he said.

“Are you serious about her?” Ron asked him in a serious tone.

“Of course!” Vincent exclaimed.
“Good. Just remember one thing though,” Ron said.


“If you break her heart, I’ll break you,” Ron said with a straight face.
“Alright then,” Vincent said. “Don’t worry, I don’t ever intend on breaking her heart.”

Ron’s face formed into his typical goofy expression again. “Good, I’ll see you around then. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you a lot more often from now on,” he said, and playfully and lightly slapped him on the arm. Then, he started to poke Vincent’s arm.

“Hm, nice biceps,” he said.

“Um, thanks,” Vincent said with an awkward laugh, and Ron started to walk away.

“Hey, thanks for clearing it up with me!” Vincent called after him, to which Ron turned around and simply gave him a smile and a thumbs up sign.


After another delicious home cooked meal courtesy of Myolie with some help from everyone, Kate sat at the kitchen counter punching numbers into a calculator. Edwin came over to sit down next to her. "What are you calculating there?" he asked.

Kate exhaled an exasperated sigh. "Even with mine and Myolie's savings, we don't have enough money for a substantial initial investment," she said.

Myolie looked up from the dishes and said "I still have some money left over, but I'm hesitant about pulling out all of my savings." 

Ron, bored, came over to offer to help do the dishes to have Myolie slap his hand away. "You'll only make it dirtier," she claimed. Ron looked at Bosco, who was drying dishes beside Myolie, and put up his hands in defeat. Bosco laughed and shrugged.

"Oh, that reminds me," Bosco said, putting the dish he was drying down and going over to his messenger bag on the couch. He pulled out a check from the pocket and set it down in front of Kate.

"I am investing into Little Sweet Things," he said. Kate picked up the check in surprise, and Myolie scurried over to look at it.

Kate started to hand it back to Bosco. "Bosco, we can't take this," she said.

Bosco set it back down. "Yes you can," he replied.

"No, we can't," she resisted again.

"I insist," he said.

Myolie snatched the check and slipped it into his back pocket. "Bosco, I appreciate this but you don't have to do this," she said.

"I am an interested businessman who thinks Little Sweet Things has potential and is worth investing into, okay?" Bosco said, opening Myolie's hand and putting the check into them. Myolie and Kate still looked hesitant.

"How about you take this as a rather pricey early joint birthday present for the both of you," he proposed.

"My birthday was last month, Bosco," Kate replied.

"Just take it," he said, setting it down one more time.

"Just take it guys!" Ron said from the couch. "Don't act like such traditional Asians and accept it, he's not giving away an arm and a leg. I'd invest too if I weren't broke," he joked. "Me too, but I'm a reporter, I don't make much money," Fala quipped.

Kate put her hands up in surrender. "Thank you very much for your investment and interest in Little Sweet Things, Bosco," she said, as if she had just finished making a business transaction.

Ella clapped her hands together. "Hooray, Little Sweet Things is back into business!" she said.

"Thank you," Myolie whispered to Bosco.

"Of course, sweetie," he said, and put his arm around her waist and kissed her on the cheek while Myolie smiled sweetly.

"Alright, can we not make me want to throw up guys?" Fala joked.

"You're just jealous that's not you and Vincent yet," Ron said, poking her.

Ella's eyes lit up. "Who's Vincent?" she asked excitedly.

"He's just this guy at work," Fala tried to reply casually.

"Who has the hots for our girl right here," Ron finished for her. Fala hit him with one of the couch cushions.

"What? I'm just telling the truth!" he yelped.

Bosco came over and sat down on the couch beside them. "Someone's interested in our Fala?" he asked, intrigued.

"Okay, fine. I give up on you nosy people. Vincent and I were working on a story for the magazine and were getting along really well. He was about to tell me that he liked me and then Ron over here with his tiny bladder interrupted us before the poor guy could finish!" Fala exclaimed.

"I don't have a tiny bladder," Ron muttered.

"Do you like him too?" Ella asked curiously. Fala shrugged.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. "How about you get the door instead of interrogate me?" Fala teased Ella, who promptly got up to open it to see Raymond.

"Raymond, you made it after all!" Ella exclaimed.

Raymond smiled. "Yeah, I know I missed dinner but I figured since I still had some free time I should stop by and see my favorite people," he said.

"I thought your favorite people were those screaming female fans," Ron joked.

"Well, you guys are a close second," Raymond joked back. "So what are we talking about?" he asked, taking a seat on the recliner chair.

"Oh nothing, Fala was just telling us about her new love interest," Ron said.

"Oh, juicy," Raymond said. "Fill me in." Ella bent over to tell him what Fala just told them.

"Enough about me," Fala started in an effort to divert the attention away from yourself. "Meet any cute girls lately Mr. Superstar?" she asked.

"Actually, funny you should mention that," he replied.

"You player, you really did meet someone!" Ron said, pointing his finger at him. Raymond pushed his finger away.

"Her name's Margaret Zhao," Raymond said. "She's a model I met at the promotional event I went to today; she gave me her number." Ella felt her stomach sink after he said that.
Edwin searched her name on his tablet. "Is this her?" he asked, handing it to Raymond.

Raymond looked at the picture Edwin had pulled up. "Yeah that's her," he confirmed.

Ron snatched the tablet from Raymond. "Wow, sexy lady!" he said. "Mainland chick?"

"Yeah, why do people keep asking me that? Tammy said the same thing," Raymond said.

Fala peered over. "She has plastic surgery written all over her!" she said, and handed it to Ella.

The picture was of a voluptuous looking young Chinese woman, but like Fala said, it was evident that she had a lot of work done.

"Really, you guys Google her and criticize her looks?" Raymond asked.

"We're in a technological age and you just make it easier being in the public eye," Edwin replied.

"Well, she's a sweet and nice girl," Raymond argued.

"We're not saying she's not," Ron said. "But...I don't know. You should be careful. I heard those Mainland models can be a lot of trouble."

Raymond made an exasperated look. "You too?"

Kate came over and sat down on the floor beside Raymond. "Oh come on guys, let's be happy for Ray for finding a girl he likes," she said.

"Thank you," he said.

"But Ron's right, you should be careful. Not just because of the stereotypical notion that Mainland girls are trouble, but just because you've never been in an actual relationship since entering the industry. Dating's going to be different now," she warned.

"I understand, but guys, I know what I'm doing," Raymond said.

Ella looked down at the tablet at the picture of the girl who had just caught Raymond's eye in slight jealousy.


Comments: Two episodes in two days! New record, haha! A longer episode than normally, but it didn't feel right to end it anywhere else and I wanted to be able to focus on more than one subplot this time around and have all the characters together again. It looks like love is about to blossom for both Fala and Raymond! However, one of these relationships will turn out to be a sticky situation. Perhaps Raymond should really listen to his friends and Tammy. *hint hint*

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