Chapter 21

I put the dolls into one cloth bag. I think I bought enough for the girls. After that, I arranged the plastic soldier toys into another bag. Tom is taking me to the orphanage this afternoon and I could distribute these to the kids. Luckily Saturday is an off day for me so I don’t have to dress up. Instead, a T-shirt with shorts would do. Snooky was watching me loading those presents into the bags.

“Here, baby” I threw him a brand new ball.

He leapt up, so excited and jumped around, pushing the ball to and fro with his front paws. Suddenly, the door opened and Dylan walked in. Snooky ran between his legs, chasing the ball and both of them rolled out of the door.

“What’s with your hyperactive puppy?” he asked.

“New toy. Snooky seems to love it “I smiled.

Dylan sat down in front of me with his legs crossed.

“How are things with Sarah?”

“Now I know where Santa Claus hid for the rest of the year” Dylan grinned, looking at the bags.

“Don’t change the subject. Have you told Sarah yet?”

“I didn’t tell her yet. How am I supposed to tell her that I knocked up my sister’s best friend?”

“Sheesh, such harsh word, knocked up. You should have thought of it before you slept with Gail”

“So abortion is not an option huh?” he glanced at me.

I stood up, my hands on my hips with mock anger. My brother is the worst judge of character in the world.

“If I was the one who got pregnant and Tom wanted an abortion, how would you respond?”

“I would have beat him up and thank you for that disgusting image” he cringed.

“So says the brother who slept with my best friend”

“Fine, you win. I guess I would have to break Sarah’s heart”

He couldn’t hear it but I was cheering deep in my heart. So long, you bitch!

“The kids loved you” Tom smiled.

“Really? They really love me or you’re just saying that to make me feel good?”

“No, you know I don’t lie to you. They love you but not as much as I do”

We were in the kitchen, at Jay’s house making cookies after the visit from the orphanage. Auntie is gardening right out of the window so Tom is keeping an eye on her. Strangely though, now that Gail is pregnant, she craves for lots of weird food. Today, cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. As I bent forward to look for the tray in the cabinet, Tom went out of the kitchen.

“Aren’t you helping me with the cookies?” I called out.

He came back with a small box in hand. “Got something for you”

“What is it?” I placed the spoon down and opened the tiny box.

It was a very thoughtful gift from Tom. A heart shaped bronze locket where he had inserted one of our photo together.

“Is it okay?” he looked nervous.

I smiled. Looks like this is the first time he bought a girl something.

“I love it. Thank you” I couldn’t take my eyes off the shiny locket in my hand.

Then I reached up and kissed his cheek, just a quick one to show how much he meant to me.

“I was hoping you would say that. See, I was thinking of buying the silver one but then it was more expensive and I thought maybe I could trade this bronze one with the silver one on our wedding day because .. “

“Wait, wait .. you wanna marry me?” I looked at him with astonishment.

His lips curled into a small smile “What do you think?”

“Are you sure?” I whispered, as though as I was afraid it would all be just my imagination.

“Well, not right now but someday, when we are ready, I wanna marry you”

I kissed him right on the lips. This guy wants to marry me! He wants me to be his wife. He wants me to be there until death do us part. Wow, that was overwhelming. Tom kissed me back and suddenly I felt like we been pronounced husband and wife. What a silly thought!

“Those cookies won’t bake themselves, you know” I smiled.

Tom smiled and turned to the fridge. I turned around to grab a bowl and at the corner of my eye, I saw Jay standing there. When our eyes met, he smiled a little and walked away.

“I wanna talk to the paparazzi” I folded my arms and laid back on the chair with a pout.

“The more news you feed them, the more they will come after you” Jay gestured.

“But this is complete rubbish! What a stupid lie to come up with. They didn’t even ask me why was I at the clinic”

I am fuming mad. The paper this morning, in the entertainment section was a photo of me with Cindy and Gail the morning Gail found out she was pregnant exiting the clinic. Instead of asking me the truth, these sneaky paparazzi suspected I was the one who might be pregnant because I am the one in contact with Jay. The article continued to say that if I am pregnant, the baby might be Tom’s or Jay's.

Oh my God, I am pissed off. I am furious at them for defaming me, for misleading news and also because I am ashamed that Jay’s name had been dragged on to this. Jay however, sat across me, his face grim and serious. I softened my tone.

“Jay, I’m sorry. This is entirely my fault. I should have never let your name to be printed in this article”

“No, it’s not your fault. This is what the entertainment business is like” he nodded.

“I’m sorry I always dropped by here and made them suspect stupid possibility. I’m sorry you took me out for meals and got caught in the news”

“And are you sorry for being my friend?” he asked me, his eyes piercing into mine.

I was taken aback “No, of course not”

“Then don’t apologise. I should be the one who is sorry that because of me, your name is tangled up in stupid news. You are my friend, Lis and you make my mom happy. She finally has a friend who is always around, who is willing to listen and talk to her”

He patted my arm and I couldn’t help it, but I smiled back at him. Jay is such a sweetheart, it felt like light years away when we first met and had the wrong impression on each other.

“Then what are we going to do with the news?” I asked.

“It will die down eventually. You’re not pregnant; sooner or later it will show”

It felt comfortable, sitting here in the studio, talking to Jay. Although it was nice to talk to auntie, it was a warm change talking to Jay. Of course I can talk to Tom, he’s my boyfriend but with Tom, there are still some subjects where I felt like I should let him learn slowly because that is what makes this relationship grows.

On the other hand, with Jay I could be who I want to be, he is not someone I need to look pretty for, not someone who I need to feel coy around. I am being truest to myself with Jay. I think he felt the same way.

“I wanna see the white windmill video” I grinned.

“I can’t believe we miss our stupid movie” Cindy grumbled

“Is there such thing as wrong timetable? The timetable stated the movie is at 8 pm but it started at 7 pm? “I whined.

“Well, at least they gave us free tickets for the movie tomorrow” Gail waved the tickets in her hands.

“I asked you girls where you wanna go and you can’t make up your mind so I’m taking you home” Dylan grinned.

From the back seat, I could see my stupid brother grinning. He was ‘forced’ to accompany us for a movie which was postponed due to the mistake the cinema people make. I made Gail sit next to him because secretly I knew Gail would be much better for him rather than Sarah. Plus, they are having a baby together. Speaking of Sarah, I’m so glad she made other plans tonight or I’m sure she would want to tag along.

My gutless brother had yet to break up with her so I still have to see her prancing around my apartment, not knowing that Gail is carrying my brother’s baby. So far, the evening had been pleasant and they had gotten along well. I swear, I could feel the sparks between both of them in the front seat. It was almost like there’s no Sarah. I do feel slightly annoyed that my brother had cheated on a woman because it shows how weak he is but I’m trying not to ruin my image of him as the stable and trustworthy role model.

“What are you smiling about?” Dylan spotted me from the rear view mirror.

I rolled my eyes and flashed him a big grin, just to annoy the heck out of him. When we got out of the car, I saw Dylan held Gail’s arm and helped her out of the car. That’s my brother, although he might be dumb enough to make my best friend pregnant, he is still a responsible man.That's the brother I looked up to my whole life.

We joked all the way into the lifts and made plans for the night. It’s Friday night after all and I planned to spend time with the girls and the brother rather than Tom. We needed to have time for ourselves after all.

“I will fry the sausages and Lisa, you call the pizza” Cindy grinned.

“What about me?” Gail asked as she turned to us.

“You rest and let them do the work” Dylan turned to us.

“I’m not sick, just carrying a baby” Gail said softly.

I think it’s been only two months but you can see Gail has a slight bump on her tummy or maybe it's my imagination.

When we got home, Dylan opened the door and the three of us walked in just to see a man in our living room, standing there .. naked.

“What is this?” Cindy’s voice dropped.

Dylan’s hands automatically covered my eyes and I struggled to push his hand off.

“Ge, I’m 24” I whined, wanting to feast my eyes on the fine young man in my living room.

Gail had turned around, feeling embarrassed while Cindy seemed to be stunned. Just then, Sarah walked out of the kitchen with a bottle of champagne. As soon as Sarah saw us, her face turned white and her arrogance crumbled.

“Dylan, how come you’re home so fast?”

The naked man had covered himself with his shirt. Bummer. Dylan looked at me and I understood. I took the girls hands and tugged them along.

“Come on, let’s go to my room” I lead them into my room.

Upon closing the door in my room, Gail broke out in tears.

“Babe, what’s wrong?” Cindy asked, alarmed.

“It is all my fault. Look what happened between Dylan and Sarah. I shouldn’t have been so weak and fall in bed with Dylan. I feel so guilty now. I am the third party who probably will break them up”

Cindy comforted her. Usually Gail is the easy happy go lucky girl but I guessed hormones blew everything out of proportion. I opened the door slightly to watch the showdown between my brother and that bitch. That naked man was nowhere to be seen, I guessed he left. Sarah looked nervous and I saw Dylan turned to her, his face expressionless.

“Dylan, it was a mistake. I forgot what I was doing and I was weak”

Dylan nodded “I understand. You can pack your bags and leave, Sarah. It’s over between us”

I was surprised at how calm he sounded.

“Dylan, I’m sorry. I never meant for you to .. “

Dylan raised his hand to stop her “its okay. Just leave, I don’t need any explanation”

I watched as Sarah went into the room and chucked her belongings into the luggage. She didn’t look sorry, hurt or sad, just rather relief that Dylan did not give her a hard time. After that, she walked out of the apartment quietly. Dylan sat down on the couch. I glanced back and noticed Gail had fallen asleep on my bed, all cried out. Cindy was reading a magazine so I walked out and sat next to my brother.

“You okay?” I asked, even though it sounded stupid but that was the first thought that crossed my mind.

“Yeah, I am. Like you said, it is the best solution for all of us”

“That was the simplest break up I ever heard”

“Well, I cheated on her too. It is not right if I yelled at her like she is at fault when I too did the same thing” he shrugged.

I nodded in agreement.

“Oh yeah, mom called today”

“Why? What happened at home?” Dylan asked.

“Mom’s pregnant” I looked at him straight in the eyes.

That was the best expression I have ever seen on Dylan’s face. Shocked, disgusted, terrified, surprised all in one go.

“She is? That is .. err .. gross” he cringed.

“Oh, gross. You are not imagining stuff, are you?” I groaned.

“How can she be pregnant? She’s going to be a grandma!” Dylan looked upset.

“Nah, she’s not pregnant. I’m just pulling your leg” I shrugged it off.

“You are so dead for giving me a heart attack” Dylan flicked my ear.

“She did however request that we spend next weekend at home. Fly back to China”

“Oh, now she misses her handsome son eh?” Dylan grinned.

“There’s a catch. She wants to meet Tom and Gail” I cringed.

I yawned and walked to the kitchen, dragging my feet. That’s when I saw Gail sitting at the dining table biting a piece of cookie.

“How come you’re up?” I pointed at her.

“Morning sickness, then I couldn’t get to sleep. The baby wants cookie” Gail rubbed her tummy.

I scratched my head and wrapped my arm around myself. Tom’s shirt is so comfy to sleep in. It’s long and I don’t need to wear pants. Plus, it’s thick to protect me from the cold.

“Thinking about those times eh?” Gail smiled.

“What times?” I sat down beside her and poured myself a cup of juice.

“Those romantic nights making love with Tom”

“Well, to be honest. We haven’t make any love yet”I confessed.

“What? You guys are nearing your one year anniversary” Gail looked at me with disbelief.

“I know, it’s just not the time yet”

“Don’t tell me he is not interested in you. Unless he is gay” her eyes widen.

“He’s not gay and I know he is attracted to me. I just don’t feel ready and he don’t want to push me to it” I swatted her playfully.

“Lisa, trust me. There’s never gonna be a right time, right place. Just close your eyes, trust your love and dive in”

“Easy for you to say. You already dove in and you found treasure” I gestured at the baby.

Gail laid back with a smile, obviously agreeing with me.

“I hope your parents won’t tear me apart” I heard Tom said through the bathroom.

“Mom , no. Dad, maybe” I shrugged.

He emerged from the bathroom, drying his hair and half naked top up. Suddenly, I felt so shy. Luckily he didn't seem to notice that I was turning red.

“Do you think Dylan will help your dad to tear me apart or will he put in good words for me?”

“Why do you need him? Aren't my good words enough?” I pretended to look hurt.

“You’re my girlfriend; you are supposed to say good stuff about me. It would help to have someone to back up that statement” he smiled as he kissed my head.

“Sheesh, we are meeting my parents, not a court room drama” I put down the magazine and stood up.

I glanced at my watch.

“Tom, you better hurry up. Our dinner reservation is in 15 minutes time and we need at least 7 minutes to get there. You’re not even dressed yet”

“How much must I dress up? You look cute in that blouse and jeans”

“Then just put on a shirt and slacks. I love to see you in slacks” I grinned.

“You are such a fussy fashion advisor. Also, such a good girl waiting for me” he smiled and kissed me.

I dunno where I got the courage to but I kissed him back, in a whole new way I never did. The shirt in his hand dropped.

“What if I don’t want to be a good girl anymore?” I mumbled against his lips.

Whoa! Where did that come from?

“Ting, are you serious?” his eyes were huge, looking at me.

There’s never gonna be a right time, right place. Just close your eyes trust your love and dive in.

I nodded and Tom kissed me again. We climbed into bed and my heart was racing. What am I doing? On the other hand, it felt right. I closed my eyes and anticipated the sensation of being loved.

“Wait, let me get protection. Derek bought me a box of it as a joke” he got up and walked towards the drawer.

“Do we really need protection?” I sat up and looked at him.

“What if we end up like your brother and Gail?” he asked, searching through his drawer.

“How bad would it be?” I teased.

“Very bad. Children are a big no no”

My blood froze, I swear. Suddenly it felt like there’s sand in my mouth where Tom had just kissed me. I felt numb, expressionless. I stood up slowly; Tom’s back facing me while he was still searching. This must be some mistake.

“Are you sure Tom? No children? You love those kids at the orphanage”

“Yeah but I don’t want any of my own. I never want to have kids” he chuckled, as if it's something funny.

“Ever?” I held on the last shred of hope.

“Ever” he nodded, not realizing he had just smashed my heart into a million pieces.

My heart stopped feeling and my body only listened to my brain now. I ran out of the room. I need to be at somewhere safe right now. I ran to the studio and Jay was in there, writing some lyrics.

“Please take me home Jay” I literally begged.

Jay stood up, surprised to see me.

“Ting! What’s wrong? ” Tom had put on a shirt and he looked really puzzled.

“I cannot do this right now Tom” I shook my head and turned to Jay.

“Please Jay. Please, I beg you” I tugged on his sleeve, near tears.

He nodded and we basically ran into his car. I was quiet for a while in the car and then it hit me as tears rolled down my face. Every time Tom called, I cancelled it. After 7 times, I sobbed loudly.

“Lisa, what happen?” Jay stopped his car by the roadside.

“Jay, do you want children?”

“As many as possible” he looked concerned.

“Tom doesn’t want children” I sniffed.

“Are you pregnant? Did he ask you to get rid of the baby?” Jay sounded alarmed.

I smiled a little. “No, I’m not pregnant, which is a good thing”

“Hey, you guys will sort your problems. Every couple have their problem”

I shook my head “I dunno, I feel so hopeless, hurt and lost right now”

My head tilted and Jay lent me his shoulder to lean on. It felt good to have some warmth right now since my heart felt so cold.

“Your make up is ruined “he grabbed a tissue and dabbed my face.

I closed my eyes and calmed myself down. Jay patted my shoulder gently and covered me with his coat.

“It will be okay Lisa” he said.

Strangely enough, I believed him.