Chapter 22

I opened my eye a little and I saw Tom sitting on my chair, going through his organizer. I turned to my left side, covering my face with the blanket. What the hell is he doing here? I don’t want to see him, not right now when I am .. wait, how come I’m in my jammies? I closed my eyes again to recall what happened last night.

I came home; half drunk and Jay had sent me home where Dylan had looked super worried. I don’t think he saw me drunk before. I shoved him out of the way and stumbled into my room. It all became clear to me. What time is it? It’s Saturday right?

I heard Tom turning pages of the newspaper now and a tear fell down my face. The alcohol numbed my pain last night but now in broad daylight, it came back. What am I to do now that he is here? I am not ready to settle things with him yet. I could make a run for it. I threw back my blanket and pulled myself off the bed. At least I tried to before my legs gave way and I slumped on the floor.

“Ting Ting .. “ he reached out to catch me.

I pushed him away “I can help myself”

“Ting, I wanna know what happen. You didn’t want to answer my call and you took off so suddenly. What happened?”

I looked at him. He seriously has no clue, does he?

“You are not someone I thought I could be with” I told him, straight looking into his eyes.

The expression on his face was clearly seen. He looked confused and hurt.

“Why is that, Lisa? You know I’m ready to commit to you. I didn’t think that we are ready for marriage yet. I promised you that.. “

I stopped him with a raised hand. “It’s not that”

“I will marry you and make you happy. We can have a house and a small little one for Snooky” he took my hand.

“A childless marriage” I stood up and fell back on my bed.

When I looked up at Tom standing beside my bed, he had been hit with realization of where our problem is. He looked stunned.

“You want kids?” his eyebrows raised.

“Not right now but someday and you told me last night you are not up for it”

“You never said you want kids” he looked at me.

“I always assumed that you do. You were so good with the kids at the orphanage and you seemed to love them”

“I do. I just didn’t want my own. Look what my parents did to me. I don’t want history to repeat itself”

“What makes you think you will be like them?”

“What makes you think I won’t?” he asked me back.

I stood up and turned towards the door when Tom pulled me back by the wrist.

“Ting, please don’t leave me. We can work this out”

The warmth contact of his skin made me burst into tears. Is this what I have to give up? I want to be a mother someday but I have to give up Tom?

“Tian Zhi, I dunno ..”

“No, don’t say anything” he grabbed me into a hug.

I gave in, for now. For a moment, I let myself be weak in Tom's embrace.

“So now you’re left with two choices. This got be hard” Cindy shook her head.

“I know. Now you have to decide between motherhood or true love” Gail popped a grape into her mouth.

We were having our movie routine but instead of chips, we have fruit salad to help Gail along with a healthier diet. It has been three days since I saw Tom and we had proceeded on our relationship like nothing happened. As though my heart had not been broken the night we were supposed to make love. It had been hard for the first week to recover from the disappointment and the pain but I think, deep within me, I held on to a shred of hope that hopefully someday Tom will change his mind.

“What would you do?” I threw the question to the girls.

“I pick hunky bodyguard. Where else are you going to find someone like him?” Cindy raised her hand.

“I would have to pick baby. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you are capable of giving life. I never felt so fulfilled and satisfied, in a way no man can fill” Gail rubbed her tummy.

Dylan came out of the room and approached me.

“Mei, did you get the ham that dad wants? You know the one he asked us to bring back for him last week? I put it in the kitchen in the red plastic bag”

“Yes, it is on the table and I will remember to put it in my bag tomorrow”

“You guys are going to China for two weeks and I only have Snooky for companion” Cindy sulked.

“Don’t bring bunch of guys up here” I wagged my finger at her.

“Don’t worry. I will protect the house and your dog” Cindy said reassuringly.

I leaned on my seat and made myself comfortable. On my left side was the window and I peeped at the clouds and closed my eyes. Gail and Dylan were sitting behind us and they both seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. I turned to my left and settled down for a nap. Tom was reading next to me and I could feel his hand stroked my hair for a while.

“You will wake me up right?” I turned to him.

“Of course. Do you want me to leave you sleeping here to the next flight?” he asked with a smile.

I smiled and Tom looked at me rather fondly.

“You are gonna be a great mother”

“Why you say that?” I sat up.

“I dunno. The kids at the orphanage loved you and you took such good care of Snooky”

He had to talk in a low voice because the guy next to him seemed to be reading intensively. Luckily no one really recognized us around. There was one or two glances but the sunglasses seemed to hide well. Besides, I think I only get noticed when I am with Jay. Still, I don’t like girls ogling at my boyfriend.

“Do you think you could be a good father?” I asked him.

He looked at me and opened his mouth but no words came out. Instead his look was just a mixture of guilt and heartache. I turned away to my right side and looked out of the window. Lisa, don’t get your hopes up. You just hold on to him and then when you’re ready, break it off to find a man who wants the same thing you do.

How am I ever gonna break it off? I love this man. Can I really give up children? Will I wake up one day; realize I’m 40 and childless?

“Lisa, can we talk about this? I don’t want you to look at me like I’m some evil child hating man”

I turned to him. Maybe it’s time I should listen to him instead of shutting him out and drowning myself in my own misery.

“Ting, you knew I was raised in an orphanage. They found me in a box, three hours after I was born by the road side. My own parents did that to me. My own flesh and blood did that to me, they just left me with a tag with a surname for me. I don’t even know if Yuan is my real surname or not. I was abandoned by the people who were supposed to love you the most” he held my hand as he talked to me slowly, like he was talking to a child.

I listened to him and tried to recall my own childhood. I had a lot of toys when I was little and I had a big brother who won’t hesitate to share his toys with me. I had little cute dresses to wear and I was never hungry.

“I’m sorry baby” I stroked his hand with my thumb.

“I grew up, disliking myself so much because I thought I must have been a burden to my parents. I must be hated, I was unwanted. When those guys stabbed me and I was rushed to the emergency room, I thought I would be better off dead. I felt really depressed when I saw kids in the playground, being pushed on the swings by their dad” he looked down.

I rubbed his hand gently and I was shocked when Tom looked at me, he had tears in his eyes.

“I was afraid I would turn out to be like my father, that I would naturally hate kids. I kept thinking it might be in my blood that I would hate kids”

“Tian Zhi, you were great with the kids at the orphanage. They love you”

“Yeah I know and I love them too. I love the bigger ones like they are my own siblings and well, I love the little ones like how a father would, I guess?” he shrugged.

“Tom, I don’t want to force you to feel what you don’t want to” now it was my turn to speak slowly

“Lis, I have been thinking for the past week and I think I can give it a shot” his voice went lower

I blinked and looked at him “What? Seriously?”

He nodded “Only if you are the mother. I don’t want my kids to be brought up by anyone else. Kids love you, your dog love you, your friends love you, your brother wanted to break my neck when I made you cry”he joked.

“What about your past? Your history?”

“Like you said, it’s the past, the history. Besides, I think I could teach the little boy how to play basketball and I’ll buy him some really cool robots. Did you know they have those talking one now? I will get him those black bike which a nice horn so that everyone would know he’s coming. Then I can buy him those little tiny kid vest, he will look so cool”Tom explained.

I was surprised and quite amused by his sudden enthusiasm.

“What if you get a girl?”I wondered.

“She will have the best dolls, I assure you and I would buy her everything pink and red. I would take her to the swings and get her those little shoes with the bows, then she can go for ballet classes when she’s older and I could get her a bike, with a flower basket in front and ..”

I got scared. Tom looked so excited, way too excited.

“Sorry, I know I got carried away but I figured instead of being scared, might as well give them everything that I was deprived off”

"How come you changed your mind?"

"I love you and I want a future for us" he held my hand.

My shred of hope came true after all. It also made me understand Tom better and he looked at me, suddenly shy with the tears still in his eyes. I leaned my head on his shoulder, suddenly so grateful to have him in my life. Tom planted a soft kiss on my head and I slept off with a smile.

I knocked on the door repeatedly.

“Ge, open up!” I yelled.

Instead Tom opened the door, drying his hair with a towel.

“Hey, it’s time for dinner. Where’s the brother?” I looked over his shoulder.


Our parents had been receiving well of Tom and Gail so far although dad was slightly stern when it came to addressing Tom. Normal, I guessed, to be extra protective of the daughter.

Tom put away his towel and we went downstairs together.

“Remember, Gail is suppose to be resting so you offer to help with the dishes ok”

He nodded. I never seen Tom so submissive before and he’s doing it to please my family. When we reached the living room, mom was sitting there with Gail.

“So Dylan was with Sarah when you got pregnant?” mom asked.

I didn’t know was it an accusation or was it a question. Plus Gail looked really caught so I interrupted.

“Mummy, can we bring the dishes out right now?”

“Yeah, the fish is done. You can bring the cabbages and the chicken in too. The potatoes will be done in a minute. Oh, there’s the big pot of hot soup at the stove”

“I’ll get it auntie” Tom volunteered.

Mom nodded with a smile and Tom walked with me to the kitchen. I had given Gail the ham earlier to hand to mom hoping that it would bring some good thoughts of Gail.

“Mom seems to like you” I smiled as I laid out the chopsticks and the bowls.

“Your dad is still cautious of me, just like Dylan was”

“Well now you’re staying in one room with Dylan right? Don’t worry, dad will eventually like you”

Tom is staying in Dylan’s room while Gail shares mine.

When we finally settled down to dinner with dad at the head of the table and mom at the end, leaving me and Dylan facing each other, we told them about our life and how we are coping out there in the big bad world.

“So Tom, I heard you are Jay Chou’s mother bodyguard” dad asked.

I looked at Tom as he put down his chopsticks and told dad that he is not only guarding but also running the whole security system for Jay.

Then there was the question of how the job was. Gail was not spared from the questioning too, how was her photography work and lots of other questions were thrown in. Luckily Dylan was there to crack stupid jokes to lighten the atmosphere. Once dad lightened up, everyone relaxed. Although the situation was better but I could still sense my parents hesitation hanging about.

After dinner, Gail decided to follow me to the kitchen to wash up the dishes. I pulled Dylan to the side and told him to take care of Tom. When we had the dishes in the sink, Tom came and advice Gail to take a break. She nodded and went back to the living room to join my parents.

“How’s the day so far?” I looked at Tom.

“Pretty well, I hope your dad likes me”

“He hasn’t been ill mannered to you, I take it as a good sign. Besides, I made sure Dylan had put in some good words for you and since dad always told him to take of me, I’m sure dad take his words in account” I reached for the first dirty dish.

“What about Gail? Does your parents accept their situation?”

“They can’t be that mad. I mean, after all they are going to have a grandkid” I smiled.

We washed the dishes together and Tom helped me put them away. When I finally put the last one away, he pulled my hand into his.

“I was curious when I was drying the dishes just now, your hand looks super smooth and I was right. It was” he grinned, just like a cat that got its milk. Man, that line was cheesy.

Somehow it made me blushed like crazy and I pulled away to motion him to follow me to rejoin the others. I managed to catch several words that Dylan mentioned.

“Shopping? We’re going shopping??” I exclaimed excitedly.

“No, me and Gail are going baby shopping” Dylan wagged his right index finger at me.

“Oh, come on. I wanna go baby shopping too!” I pouted.

As soon as that sentence slipped out from my lips, I could feel dagger stares from my parents.

“I wanna go baby shopping for your baby. I’m the aunt!” I said quickly.

“Lisa, remember just buy what you need k?” Tom turned to me.

“It’s not for me, it’s for the baby” I smiled.

I’m telling you, Dylan and Tom had never looked so bored before in their life. Gail and I kept browsing through the same rack of clothes over and over again.

“No, get this one. I think this bottle looks cuter” I pushed the bottle in her face.

Gail laughed “It’s not big enough. Bigger is better”

I looked at my brother and pushed him forward.

“Maybe I ought to leave both of you to buy your stuff” I stuck out my tongue childishly and bounced back to Tom. I grasped his hand and clung on him, all spoilt rotten.

“I thought you were lost in baby land, going awww at every single little thing you see. I don’t understand the diaper aww .. that is where baby poop”Tom tried to imitate me.

“It’s cute! Imagine a cute little adorable baby wearing a diaper and walking around”I smiled.

Tom smiled a little and kissed my head. It’s like as if the world belonged to us.

“Zhi Ting!”

Oh right, the world has mom and dad too. I let go off Tom’s arm and turned around to see mom approaching us.

“How come you’re not helping Gail with the baby stuff?”

“Let ge help her. It’s their baby, I’m just the auntie “

Just then Dylan called mom over and we escaped to walk around the whole store. We walked towards the prams. There were so many different types of prams. I ran my hand briefly through them.

“Which one do you think is suitable for Gail’s baby?” I asked.

“Which one is perfect for our future baby?” Tom asked me back.

I stopped in my tracks “You’re already thinking of having a baby so soon?”

Tom chuckled “Nope but we sure are having one someday right? We could just look around, get some tips from Dylan and Gail”

To be honest, I am not ready for a future with marriage and children yet. Although I’m very sure I want that but at that moment, I just want us to be just the two of us. I look forward to take our relationship up to the next level when the time comes.

“Tom, the other night when before I ran out on you after we fought, I really mean what I said and now I'm thinking back how cheesy I sounded when I said I wanna be a bad girl”

I covered my face against his chest in embarrassment and when I looked up, I saw Tom trying his hardest not to laugh.

“Why do you look so constipated? Don’t laugh at me” I couldn’t help blushing again.

“It was cheesy but I ignored that because I love you and I was also thinking of that night too. I must have freaked you out when I said I didn’t want kids”

“Well, for what it’s worth at least that incident had brought out the issue for us and we managed to solve it together. Isn’t that what our relationship is about?” I held his hand.

That’s all we did. We don’t display any other affection in public. I have always believed in keeping our moments in private.

“What are you doing?”my eyes were blinded as the sunlight streamed across the room.

“Morning sleepyhead” Tom put down the jar and came over to give me a kiss on the cheek.

“Hey, none of that in the kitchen” Dylan appeared from the toilet, wiping his hands on his pants.

I was embarrassed to be caught as I wriggled away from Tom, then I saw the table was filled with breakfast. There were porridge and pancakes on the table with a jar of orange juice.

“You guys made breakfast!” I turned to them.

“Your boyfriend’s idea” Dylan pointed to Tom.

“Is this a way to dig into my dad’s heart?” I whispered.

“You could say that. Plus, I know you like pancakes” he smiled.

“Mei, where’s Gail?” Dylan took out his apron.

“I think she’s still asleep” I pointed up the stairs.

Dylan went upstairs leaving me and Tom alone in the kitchen.

“What are you gonna do today?” I asked as I pulled out a chair.

“What are you gonna do? I’m here on vacation and you’re supposed to be my tour guide”

“Well, we can go have a look around, let you snap a few photos, buy some souvenir for auntie at home and then we can go dinner with mom and dad” I smiled.

“Sounds like a wonderful plan and it’s fair that we spend dinner with your parents since I am going to have you for myself the whole day” he took my hand.

Just then, my house phone rang and I turned around to grab it.

“Lisa!! I heard you are home”

Shit! Miley Chai.

“Oh hi Miley” I tried to force enthusiasm.

“I heard you’re in town and you got a new man in tow. You have to let me see him! How long have you been going out? “

“Miley, I am just home for a few days. Nothing major and it’s nothing serious yet”

“Oh don’t be silly. You must see me. I’m like .. what .. your best friend ever? I’ll see you at the old place for lunch k? At 1 pm and you must bring your new man ok”

The phone line got cut off. I stared at the phone before putting it back on the table. I looked at Tom with distress as he looked at me with a concerned look.

“An ex friend of mine, Miley wants to meet me today for lunch”

“Oh, you can go to meet her. We can still have dinner” he shrugged.

“No, she heard I have a boyfriend and she wants me to drag you around”

The realization sunk in and Tom let out a soft oh.

“Ting, you don’t sound like you like this Miley girl much”

“Clever observation, honey. I don’t like her because she gossiped like crazy. Last time, she told everyone in class that I liked this other guy in the neighbour class. I didn’t know how she found out. She then told everyone in the whole two classes and the guy actually liked me but then after the whole ugly confession, he freaked out and I freaked out” I sighed.

“Why did she do that?”he frowned.

“Cause she’s a witch” I lowered my voice.

Tom let out a chuckle and pulled me closer to him.

“Let’s just meet her and charm her. Let’s show her how successful you are right now”

“Are you sure? I can’t stand the way she laughed. It sounded exactly like a witch crackling” I cringed.

“Honey, don’t exaggerate. Come on, it will be okay” he smiled.

I sighed. Poor Tom does not know what is going to hit him.

“How do I look?” I asked Tom for the tenth time.

“You look great” Tom squeezed my hand tightly.

Just then this bubbly woman in purple dress swayed her way over to our table. She was wearing very little make up with huge chandelier earrings and tall heels.

“Lisa! I haven’t seen you for so long. You look so radiant! This is the fella? He is so cute! Where did you find him? Point me the way to Hunkyville” Miley laughed.

“Hi Miley, this is my boyfriend Tom. How long will lunch be?” I couldn’t resist asking.

Tom nudged me a little and I just smiled back at him with a glare.

“Don’t mind her Tom. I known Lisa my whole life and she is always like that. That’s what I like about her” Miley waved a hand to dismiss me.

“So how have you been? What are you working as now?” I asked her with a fake interested smile.

“I am an insurance agent. I am working full time and I am single. Ah, you know how it is like to be single. You were single before you met this hunky dude. Last time in school, remember how you liked Andy and then he liked you but you scared him away”

I gripped Tom’s hand under the table and put on my fake smile again.

“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?”

“Actually it’s kinda a good thing because with the Andy fella out of the way, Lisa is mine now” Tom patted my hand.

Miley smiled and sipped her orange juice as I smiled fondly at Tom.

“Lisa, remember that time when we went to the bar and you jumped on the bar top ?”she exclaimed.

I took a deep breath as Tom glanced at me.

“That was you” I rubbed my forehead.

“Guess who is back!” I exclaimed loudly.

Several heads turned towards my direction. Oops! Jay’s working crew. I mumbled my apology ,turned around and there was Jay.

“You’re back! Where’s my souvenir?” he held out his hand.

“I didn’t buy any for you, only your mom. I’ll come back later when you are not working”I whispered.

“Oh no, I was on a break. Just recorded a new song”he looked embarrassed.

We walked downstairs to the living room where auntie was looking at the small porcelain vase I bought for her.

“Oh yeah Jay, here’s a little something for you. I don’t know if you would like it and you could get anything in the world so I hope you would not .. “

“Just hand me the stuff Lis” he poked my side and held out his hand.

I threw his t shirt at him. He held it open in front of him and there it was ‘I’m a hot dude’

“I’m declaring to the world now that I’m a hot dude?” he raised his eyebrow.

“Aren’t you?” I teased.

Come on, Jay should know he look hot.

“Do you think I’m hot?” he asked with a smile.

“Oh come on. Millions of girls around the world are worshiping you every day because you have the talent and the looks” I nudged hi. Jay laughed and went back to the studio.

“We miss you while you were gone. How was your parents reaction to Tom?”

I talked to auntie a while about how things were back home. She on the other hand, has a surprise for me.

“I got a dog”

“I wanna see !” I jumped up.

Auntie went to the back yard and came back with a little shiba dog. I got so excited and that made auntie excited that I went home to get Snooky over for a little play time.

“Hey, how come your mom bought a dog all of a sudden?” I asked Jay while we were in the kitchen.

“I guessed she got lonely when you were not around”

“How come she got lonely? She got you right?”

“Lately I have been a bit busy with the new movie coming out and the album” he shrugged.

“Well at least her little doggie is keeping her company now”

“Yeah, that little guy is putting a big smile on her face. How was home?”

“Home’s great. My parents are fine and they were cautious with Tom at first, especially dad but I think they got along just fine”

“What would your parents say if I come over your place?” he smiled.

“Well, no offense but I don’t think they know you. They know you're Jay Chou but that's it” I poked him.

“Really?” he looked a little offended though.

“Oh, but this old bitch friend of mine is a huge fan of yours. She keeps rubbing her nose into my life and I have to resist telling her I knew you” I poured myself a glass of water.

“You were in the papers with me”

“That was ages ago and besides no one can really tell it’s me. Plus, I don’t think she even cares about the news, even about you”

I turned around to hand Jay his glass and I noticed he had a faraway look in his eyes.

“Why you look like that?”

“Nothing. I just thought of a song, need to run it with Vincent and make it a duet”

“Oh, what is it about?” I asked.

“You will hear it first. I gotta rush upstairs before I lose the thought” he turned and walked out.

A few steps and he walked back in the kitchen, made a beeline towards me, leaned forward and kissed me right on the cheek. When he pulled away, I had to fight the urge to kiss him back.

“Lisa, you are special” he whispered as I closed my eyes.


Anonymous said...

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