Chapter 12

“What the hell?” Tom shouted.

I put myself between the two men. Tom looked really confused and hurt while Dylan had a comical smile on his face.

“I’m sorry Tom ,it ‘s not what it seems “ I shook my head.

“ I love her , Tom” Dylan smiled.

“Will you shut it? Can you go out for a while?” I had to shove Dylan out of the room.

Dylan rolled his eyes and walked out of my room as I shut the door behind him and looked at Tom who looked totally shocked. So shocked that he sat down on my bed with a numb look.

“ That was my brother” I said calmly.

“You married your brother?” Tom looked somewhat disgusted.

“No.. he was just messing with you. I didn’t even know he would be coming today”

I sat down beside Tom. Ok, I think it’s time to tell him the truth, the whole truth about Dylan and our history.

“When I was much younger, Dylan had always been the protective big brother and I was very spoilt by him. When I wanted the new doll at the toy store, he would get it for me with his pocket money. When I wanted a new pencil case and my mom said no, he got it for me secretly. When I was being picked on in school, he would come over and threatened those kids”

“How old were you?” Tom asked, looking at me.

“I was 10 and Dylan was 16. There were some girls who always made fun of my glasses”

Tom smiled “ You must have looked so adorable back then”

I smiled “ I came home crying and Dylan followed me to school the next day. He told them off and the girls parents came to find our parents”

“So he got into a lot of trouble huh?”

“For me” I nodded then I stood up to adjust my curtain.

“The last time I saw Dylan was when I just ended things with Ryan. He was quite furious because he was friends with Ryan and I tried to be strong in front of him because I knew he could get pretty impulsive and I didn’t want him to get into any trouble. Still, there’s nothing much you can do to hide how you really feel and well, the result was Ryan ended up with a black eye and Dylan ended with a cut on the lips”

“Which explains why your brother dislikes me ?” Tom chose his words carefully.

“I think he’s just being cautious this time around. I hope you will give him time to accept us” I held his hand.

Tom nodded and then he turned to me “He’s not in love with you or anything, right?”

I laughed “ Eww .. no way! He has a steady girlfriend”

“Good, cause I can’t stand rivals” he teased.

“Oh well, I have to learn to give up this brother protection cause when he gets married, I will lose him”

Dylan came in the room.

“You’re not gonna lose me”

“You been eavesdropping! “ I walked to him , pointing at him accusingly.

He nodded innocently and my inner child came out. I hugged him and I felt secure once again when I thought back of those horrible girls who kept making fun of my glasses. The torment, the torture , the pain that Ryan put me through, the childhood bad memories all flooded back.

“I miss you. Welcome to my place” I pulled away from him.

Dylan smiled and turned to Tom..

“Have you seen her cry? It’s like the largest human face waterfall” he teased

“Ge!” I looked at him in disbelief. Why is he giving ugly facts about me to my new boyfriend?

* ge = a respectable way to address older brother

“And it's way worse when she had make up on. It’s like a black waterfall “

I grabbed a pillow and covered my face as the two men chuckled at me. Underneath the pillow, I smiled. At least they are getting along


“So she’s gonna cook again tonight?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s been a while since she cooked” Tom nodded.

We were walking around the market with Tom holding a shopping list.

“Where do I get these ?” he pointed to the list.

“Tomatoes eh? I think that stall over there” I tugged on his hand.

“Hmm and I thought you don’t cook”

“I don’t but my brother does” I laughed.

“So the big day is tomorrow eh? I wonder what your assignment will be “

“I wonder too. Tom, I’m so excited. You are looking at the future senior editor” I couldn’t help smiling.

Tom kissed my head “I have no doubt about that”

“Why don’t we separate the list and you get the other half of the stuff? Then we can get this to auntie faster”

“You’re hungry aren’t you?” Tom grinned.

I looked guilty “How did you know?”

“Cause I am too. The faster we get this to auntie, the faster we can get to dinner and then we can go for a walk around the mall “

“ You are the best boyfriend ever “ I smiled at him.

We tore the list into half as I approached the tomatoes stall. Hmm, the spinach here looked fine too. Maybe I should get the spinach from this stall itself.

“Yes miss, what I can get you?” the man behind the stall asked me.

He looked like a mid thirty year old man with a white t shirt and had a towel wrapped around his neck ,sweaty and greasy looking.

“I would like ten tomatoes” I said, looking at the list.

“Oh, that’s a lot. Cooking for the husband?”

I smiled “ I’m not married” and I took out my purse.

“That’s a waste. I’m sure there are guys who are dying to marry you out there”

I laughed “I’m not ready to be married yet”

He laughed too. What a friendly old man.

“ My son said the same thing to me the other day. He’s also looking for a girlfriend”

“Oh, I hope he will find someone soon” I took the tomatoes from him.

Then again, the spinach doesn’t look that fresh at another glance.

“I think he would like someone as pretty as you”

Is that a compliment or an offer? Before I could answer friendly creepy dude, Tom showed up beside me, sliding his arm across my back.

“Hey , done yet? We should get going, it’s getting late”

“I just need to get spinach and ginger” I said, glancing at the list.

“Er miss .. I have them here” the guy held up his basket of ginger.

“It’s ok. I already bought them” Tom smiled at me.

“Wow, that was fast” I smiled.

“Anything for my girlfriend” he held my hand and turned away.

Was it me or did Tom stress on the last word a little way louder?

“That guy was trying to get you as a daughter in law” Tom whispered.

“He was just joking around” I teased.

“I don’t think so. You belong to me and no one is allowed to take you away” he smiled fondly at me.

Okay, jealous much? That’s when I realize we were heading to another stall.

“I thought we’re going for dinner” I said.

Tom let out a deep breath “ We need to get spinach and ginger”


I let my keys dropped on the table nearby the door. It clattered noisily and Dylan poked his head out from the kitchen.

“Hey, the little kid is home. How was work today?”

I smiled and plopped down heavily on the sofa. Dylan came to me with a plate full of muffins. I gasped and sat up straight. My brother’s chocolate chip muffins are the only thing I craved for after a long hard day at work.

“I thought you might miss this and I bet Tom doesn’t make you these”

“Of course he does. Even if he does, yours taste much better” I smiled.

That’s true. I had been a fan of his home baked muffins since I was a kid when he learned that recipe from mom.

“Let me ask you something. Your boyfriend is a bodyguard for Jay Chou right?”

“Not only bodyguard. He’s also the driver, the ones who did the errands and such for Jay Chou’s mother” I smiled proudly.

“I must say he is probably making big bucks but why is Jay not your boyfriend then?”

I smacked him playfully “ How can you ask me this kind of things? It’s not like I chose who my heart fell for”

“Yuck sis, that’s sappy” he stuck out his tongue.

I laughed “Tom is a really nice guy ok ge”

“I just don’t want you to get hurt again. I seen what Ryan done to you”

“Ok, let’s make a deal. If .. if Tom hurt me, then you can go and bash him up”

I mean, it’s a fair deal. If I’m hurt, doesn’t mean my brother can’t pay back for me right? Besides I’m sure Tom won’t hurt me.

Dylan smiled and nodded. I wanted to cry, I wanted to just blurt out and tell my brother about the big woe that had set upon me today but I cannot. Not when he is still trying to trust Tom.


“What are you gonna do?” Gail was sitting opposite me hugging her legs together.

“I dunno. This is such a shitty situation” I sighed and leaned back on the sofa.

Dylan is out tonight so I can talk to Gail in the comfort of my living room.

“Ah Lisa, just the person I want to see “ James smiled when he saw me.

I smiled too. After all, today is the first step of me becoming a senior editor.

“I have a proposal for you and if you manage to get this job done, then you will be promoted to senior editor, as you know" James said with a confident smile

“What am I suppose to report about? “

Gosh, please don’t let it be something nasty like war or accident or something like that.

“It’s about the entertainment industry”

“Oh, I heard Brad Pitt got together with Angelina Jolie”

I tried to sound clever by throwing ideas at him so that he would know I am capable and willing to bring back a story for him but James shook his head.

“I understand you are seeing Jay Chou’s bodyguard”

Should I lie?

“No, it’s just tabloid news. We’re just friends “ strike one.

“Oh, then you must know Jay Chou” James raised an eyebrow.

“No, I never talked to him. I only saw him once or twice from afar” strike two.

Have the tabloid caught photos of me leaving Jay’s house too often? Too late to think now.

“ How much do you know to write about him?”

“I could write about his new album November Chopin” I sat up straight..

“No, I mean his personal life”

“You mean something private and personal?” I cringed a little

James nodded. “ Exactly”

“How can I choose between my dream job and my friend?” I moaned.

“If you don’t take this proposal, will you lose your job?” Gail asked.

“No, but there won’t be another chance anymore, I’m sure” I sighed.


Tom : ting, wat assg did ur boss gv u? J

I sighed and pressed my handphone keypad, fingers furiously working on the alphabets.

Me : jz smtg bt fashion

Tom: gr8. proud of u. muax

I threw my phone on my bed. How can I lie to Tom without feeling guilty? I wiped the tears from my face and picked up my phone when I heard someone rang the bell. Who came? I stood up and I heard a knock on my door.

“Lis, Tom’s here” Gail called out.

I opened the door to see Tom holding a stalk of white tulip.

“Congrats on the job Ting Ting, now I’m gonna stand by you and support you all the way” he walked towards me and kissed my cheek.

I nodded and accepted his tulip. I cannot do this, I cannot do this.

“Tom, I need to talk to you about the assignment thing”

“What? Do you need my help? I can't promise I will be useful but I'll try” he looked so willing that my heart ache.

We sat down on the sofa and I held my voice steady as I told him everything. After my whole explanation, Tom remained expressionless. Stunned.

“Tom, speak to me” I pleaded, touching his arm gently.

“Are you going to do it?” he asked as he turned to me.

Silence. I stood up and turned away from him.

“You’re gonna do it?? “ his voice got louder.

I was scared. I was afraid that Tom used that tone on me. It’s either I let go off my long life dream or letting go of Jay and losing Tom.

“Lisa, I cannot believe you would put all our future on the line here”

He stood up, picked up his coat and left as I collapsed into a heap of mess.