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Chapter 14

A few days after seeing Peter, Ariel and Joe had a catering job from the Feng family in hopes to congratulate their daughter’s graduation from the university. Knowing Ariel’s condition though, Joe had a hunch that she wouldn’t be up for it so instead he gave her the night off to take care of things back in the apartment.

“7:30pm…” Ariel said to herself as she sat on the couch. “This day will never end…”

Suddenly the door flies open.

“I am NEVER forgiving Mike for this!!!” yelled Joe trying to shake off excess food off his shirt.

Getting off the sofa, Ariel approaches Joe with a laugh.

“Well I am glad you finally got off that couch,” he said coldly.

“What happened to you?” she giggled “You look like you just came out of the wrong end of a food processor!”

“Don’t…don’t you start,” he scolded her. “I am in no mood to finish this argument if you start it.”

“Well why are you covered with food?” she asked still giggling.

“Apparently the princess of ‘Feng’ doesn’t happen to like strawberry egg TARTS, which was appropriately our dessert for the night,” he explained strongly. “So she decided that just for US, she would put on a little show called ‘I’m a Little Spoiled Princess.’ And by definition, she gave us the biggest fit I have ever seen in my entire life! I can still hear the ringing in my ear ‘WHY! WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY PARTY!! ?’ I swear to God, if I could have smacked the ego right outta her face, I would have!”

“So…” Ariel laughed. “She decided to have a food fight in honor of the bad egg tarts?”

“No, that’s wasn’t even the half of it,” he huffed. “After her little episode in front of about a crowd of 250 people, her father decides to shut down the whole party. Later, after we heard that she was freaking out, I decided to apologize to her for a bad dinner service. Instead, she goes and screams at me for ruining the whole party. ALL THIS BECAUSE OF A STUPID EGG TART!!!!”

“Let me guess. You didn’t keep your mouth shut?” Ariel asked smugly.

“Would you?!” he yelled. “Ugh, I think I lost a lung back there from screaming so much! After I told her that she was being a royal pain in the neck, she throws this entire tray filled with food at me, which explains the shirt stains. One thing led to another and I ended up caking her with about two hundred egg tarts.”

“Oh MY GOD!!!” Ariel laughed hard.

“Yeah, I got her covered from head to toe pretty well too,” he said somewhat proudly.

“I wish I was there to see it!!” she continued to chuckle.

“Trust me, it wasn’t as ‘fun’ as I made it out to be,” Joe said sarcastically. “I am so tired right now.”

“I would expect you to be,” Ariel said still giggling.

“It’s nice to see you laughing at me again,” Joe smiled sarcastically.

“It’s nice to laugh at you from time to time,” she smiled. “Go take a shower!”

“I should,” he grunted. “Ugh I didn’t even get to eat today.”

“You didn’t get enough food from your fight?” she laughed. “Tsk Tsk, so much wasted food. Mike would be devastated.”

“I’m sorry did you say something? I couldn’t hear probably because you’re so close to the ground,” he quipped back.

“Hey I’m not the one you’re angry at, so don’t make fun of my height!” she chuckled. “C’mon, go take a shower and we’ll go to a restaurant or something.”

Joe got dressed and Ariel took him to the nearest restaurant that she knew of. Being her though, she took him to a fancy French restaurant filled with luxurious delicacies and unimaginable prices. They made their way to the grand entrance and all Joe could think about was how they were going to pay for dinner.

“Ariel? How are we going to afford this?” Joe asked apprehensively.

“Don’t worry. The manager is really close friends with my father so they’ll take good care of us without the hassle of paying,” she reassured.

They walked towards the host and immediately, his face brightened.

“Ms. Lin,” he smiled. “It’s a pleasure to have you back in our restaurant again.”

“Hi Charles,” she smiled back.

“Oh I see you have a date,” he smugly nudged at her.

“Oh no, he’s just a client,” she answered, pointing at Joe. “He works for a nearby catering company and we’re hoping to discuss our future business together.”

“I see,” he said nodding his head. “Well, right this way.”

Passing table after table, Joe could already tell that he wasn’t going to like this one bit. He walked next to Ariel and looked down at her before whispering in her ear.

“Client?” he asked gritting his teeth.

“It’s not like I can say that you’re dating me,” she whispered back. “What would my father say?”

“Well if I had a daughter like you, I’d be embarrassed too,” he smirked.

“Hey,” she scolded him quietly.

“I know, I know…no more insults,” he sighed.

As they sat in there seats, Ariel read the menu carefully as Joe just stared in shock.
Soon enough the waiter comes over to their table to take their order. Ariel successfully orders something in French and Joe could only stare right into the menu with confusion.

“And sir, what would you like for this evening?” the waiter asked politely.

“Ya’ll got any fries?” he naively answered.

“Oh dear god…” Ariel shook her head.

“I’ll see what I can do…” the waiter said nervously smiling.

“He’ll have the special,” Ariel interrupted.

Peering into his wallet, Joe takes out a couple dollars and a card.

“What are you doing? I told you that this was paid for,” Ariel whispered to Joe.

“I’m not worried about that,” he said focusing in on his wallet. “Where is it???”

“Where is what?” she asked angrily.

“I swear I have a coupon for free wontons at some food chain around here…” he said looking even closer.

“Why are you so embarrassing?” she asked taking his wallet away from him. “Why are you searching for that now?”

“Lord knows what you just ordered for me. I just want to be sure I get what I pay for and a free ‘wonton and noodle’ soup sound pretty darn good to me right now,” he said ignorantly.

“…WHAT!?” she said oblivious at his strange behavior. “How can you poss…”

“Wait…” he said to her, looking beyond the tables. “What is she doing here?”

“Who?” Ariel asked.

“Oh crap, crap, CRAP!!” he said ducking under the plating mat. “Is she coming over?”

“WHO!!” she asked again.

Joe peaked at the corner of his eye at a tall brunette who was accompanied to a smug man slightly taller than her.

“Oh man, she’s coming over!” Joe screamed ducking his head even more into the mat.

“Who???” Ariel asked.

“It’s Karen, my ex girlfriend,” he whispered. “Quick. Change seats with me.”

“W-what…” Ariel managed to say before Joe dragged her to the other side.

As the couple made their way to their seats, Ariel could see the woman Joe was talking about. She was indeed very pretty and elegant. The man with her was seemingly very wealthy and wore a very sleek suit. He looked like someone who would fit with Ariel very well, unlike the man with the blue t-shirt in front of her.

“Is your ex-girlfriend the one with long brown hair and legs that can kill,” Ariel said completely engrossed.

“Yeah, that sounds like her,” Joe said still covering his face.

“I think she knows you’re here,” Ariel laughed.

“What!?” he said in awe.

“She seems to be flirting with her date just a little too hard,” Ariel winced. “It’s as if she knows this is killing you, bit by bit.”

Joe turned around only to see his ex-girlfriend canoodling with her date almost too sweetly.

“Oh this can’t be good,” Joe said covering his face with his hands.

The waiter unexpectedly comes with two plates for them.

“Here’s your dinner,” he smiled. “Enjoy.”

“What the hell is this?” Joe asked.

“It’s the special,” Ariel answered.

“This isn’t what I ordered,” he said shaking his head.

“That’s because you ordered fast food!” Ariel whispered loudly.

“This doesn’t even look like food!” he responded back. “This can’t get any worse….”

Suddenly they hear an outburst from Karen.

“OH BRIAN, you are so bad!” she giggled.

“Ok, it just got worse…” Joe nodded.

“Just ignore her,” Ariel ordered.

“God she’s doing this on purpose,” he whined

“Let me handle it,” Ariel said firmly.

As they ate their dinner quietly, Karen and her date had been furiously groping and flirting with one another.

“Brian! Stop!!” Karen giggled.

“What are they doing now?” Joe asked out of frustration.

“He’s kissing her neck,” Ariel answered.

“Geez, this is like going to hell and back… “he sighed

“Wishing you had a few more of those Strawberry Egg Tarts left?” she joked.

“Oh yeah,” he chuckled back a little.

“What is Karen allergic to?” Ariel asked.

“She gets hives when she eats chocolate,” he answered.

“Wouldn’t it be horrible if we just threw like two hundred chocolate tarts at her?” she laughed.

“OH!” he laughed. “It’d be so terrible. I still can’t believe that the Feng daughter had the audacity to blow up the way she did.”

“I still can’t believe that you had the audacity to cover her in those egg tarts!” she laughed back.

“She deserved every one of those egg tarts, lemme tell ya,” Joe smiled.

“That’s horrible!” Ariel chuckled.

“It’s true! I’d hate to have a daughter like that,” Joe shook his head.

“Well she couldn’t be any worse than I am,” Ariel joked.

“No, I can deal with you in small doses. But her? No way!” he snickered.

“She’d be covered with 5 times the amount of food by the time she walks down your street!” she giggled.

“No, I think I would’ve just dumped this on her if anything,” he joked as he picked up his plate.

“Hey, the chefs here cooked you a very decent meal,” she continued to giggle. “You should at least eat some of it.”

“With what? I wouldn’t know whether I should use a fork, chop sticks or a knife to eat this mess,” he joked. “Looks like stuff I pull outta the backyard.”

“OK fine, let me just finish my dinner and we’ll go to that wonton place. Happy?” she said light-heartedly.

“Thank you,” he sighed.

As they got up from their table, Ariel notices that Karen is making her way towards the door as well. They were meters away from each other but they soon made their stop at the end of the restaurant and Ariel see’s Karen entering the restroom.

“I have to check my make-up,” Ariel said to Joe. “I’ll be back.”

“Don’t take too long,” Joe answered back. “I’m afraid these people might be suspicious on my being here.”

“HAHA, very funny,” Ariel said sarcastically.

Opening the door, Ariel could already feel a cold breeze cover her entire body. Karen was checking her make-up as well on the bathroom mirror. Quietly smiling at her, Ariel washes her hands and fixes her loose strands of hair.

“Here,” Karen smiled at her with a bobby pin. “It’ll help with the bangs.”

“Thanks,” Ariel smiled back.

“You’re here with Joe Cheng am I right?” Karen asked bluntly, still checking her face.

“Um…he’s just a client,” Ariel responded nervously.

“Mmm, that’s everyone’s story nowadays,” she smugly said. “I’m happy that he found a new love. I used to be his girlfriend so this isn’t easy to say.”

“Like I said,” Ariel smiled. “We’re just business associates.”

“Either way,” Karen nodded. “You seem like a decent enough woman. Tell me something.”

“What do you want to know?” Ariel asked kindly.

“I know your type. You come from a well off family, you’re intelligent and independent am I right?” she asked.

“In a way…” Ariel answered.

“Then don’t let someone like Joe pull you down,” she said firmly, putting a hand on Ariel’s shoulder.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ariel said bewildered.

“He’s a nice guy I admit that,” Karen began to explain. “But girls like you and me, we have our own standards. Don’t just settle for anything.”

“I’m not settling for just anything,” Ariel debated.

“Don’t take it as offensive dear,” Karen retorted. “It’s just that economically speaking, he’s all wrong for you…for the both of us. He’s just another average middle class man who can’t take care of women with our needs. Speaking for myself, I have my own legal firm and I couldn’t be happier. But if I were to settle for a man who’s in lower class than I was…what would people think?”

“Are you serious?” Ariel laughed.

“Just think about it,” Karen lightly added.

“Is that why you broke up with him?” Ariel asked.

“He just couldn’t cut it,” she shrugged. “He was working at some dead-end job and living in an apartment with a friend who was even worse off than he was! I couldn’t let him trail after me if I wanted the life I have now.”

“I see…” Ariel scoffed. “Well it has been a very enlightening experience meeting you.”

“Like wise,” Karen smiled.

As they make their way to the entrance of the restaurant, Joe and Karen’s date, Brian, stood in front with their coats at hand. Karen and Brian walked to their car, as Ariel and Joe walked back to their apartment.

“You still want to go to the Wonton place?” Ariel asked.

“Nah, I’m not hungry anymore,” he said kicking a can.

“I talked to Karen in the restroom,” she said bluntly as they continued to walk.

“Really? What did she say?” he asked curiously.

“Nothing much…just things you’d expect her to say,” she scoffed.

“Oh,” he said disappointed.

“You know, after talking to her I realized that you’re not so bad,” she smiled.

“Wow, now that’s not what I expected her to say,” he laughed.

“Don’t get me wrong. I still think you are too stubborn, loud, obnoxious, mean spirited…”Ariel began.

“Oh and these aren’t so bad?” he joked.

“Let me finish,” she said.

She though hard about what she was about to say. She didn’t want to sound like she was falling for him, but she wanted him to know that he was better than everything Karen had ever thought. The only thing ignorant about him was that he once had a terrible girlfriend.

“You know you really are a decent guy?” she began. “I’m glad that you were there for me when I needed someone the most. Even though you weren’t very insistent on helping me, you came through. It’s strange, the more I fight with you the more I understand our relationship. It’s only been two weeks and I feel like I could possibly spend the rest of my life bickering and yelling at you just to hear your voice. So keep in mind that I don’t completely despise you because I think you are a good guy. Now I can honestly say that I am lucky to be your friend…” she said sincerely before thinking about his relationship with Karen again. “…you stupid, stupid man.”

“Wait…” Joe furrowed his brow. “You were nice all the way up to ‘stupid, stupid man’. Why did you add that last part???”

“Joe,” she sighed deeply putting a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go home.”



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