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Chapter 9

“Alright men!” Mike said rallying up his crew on the first day in Japan. “WE have a very special assignment today and not one moment should be lost to inaccuracy, incompetence or lack of detail! It is our job to create happiness from within and what better way than to start with the stomach. Remember: ‘you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth; presentation is everything!’ so go out there and DO YOUR BEST!”

Cheering his employees for a good service, Mike had prepared long and hard for his first day; he wanted to keep a good impression with Rainie’s father as long as possible for he prided his ability. It was for the good of the company and for the good of his mother’s welfare seeing as she still desperately needed the money for her operation. Mike’s determination kept him strong and willing to risk his restaurant back home for this kind of opportunity, therefore he couldn’t screw it up.

One by one the waiters eloquently make their way towards the guests and serve the marvelously crafted food. The party went off without a hitch; many decorations surrounded the enormous VIP room that Rainie’s father had deliberately purchased for the night of their family reunion.

“WOW, there are so many delicacies! I don’t think I can choose!” one overly happy guest commented.

“Yes indeed. This surely is one heck of a party,” said another.

However great this party may have seemed, an unhappy girl still sat quietly by her lonesome, pondering about her own misfortunes as if she was all alone in this crowd. Rainie was showered with wealth and admiration and yet she remained miserable without her friends, without her mother and without her busy father.

“Miss Yang?” asked a servant.

“hmm?” she responded quietly.

“The guests are wondering where you have been all night. Don’t you wish to greet them for just a little while?” the servant continued to persuade.

Rainie turned around to face the servant with a small smile and a nod, forced to mingle with her despicable relatives who constantly banter her with all the familiar questions.

“When are you going to take over your father’s business?” one aunt would ask.

“You’re already turning mid 20’s dear. How long would it take for you to finally get married?” asked another.

“Oh she doesn’t need to get married nowadays,” interrupted one uncle. “Yeah, times like these many women are living alone and getting jobs. But normally they would have at least one by the time they are your age, Rainie dear. What’s taking you so long?”

All these bombardments didn’t help her, especially not her twin cousins Jackie and Joanie. They were also from a well off family and they were well entering their 30’s, but unlike Rainie, Jackie had a distinguished career and a prominent boyfriend whereas Joanie was married and had kids of her own. They would constantly taunt Rainie and the way she lived her life.

“So Rainie,” asked Jackie. “I heard that you still haven’t gotten hitched yet. Just like me I guess, but then again I still have Robbie,” she laughed.

“Don’t worry Rainie,” Joanie reassured her. “I mean there are plenty of fish in the water. Perhaps you should change a few things to make yourself more appealing to the men nowadays. They don’t really like the ‘tomboy’ look anymore.”

The more and more Rainie thought about it, the more she didn’t want to be like her cousins. The more and more Rainie thought about it, the more she didn’t want a man in her life.

Slowly drifting back to her own fantasy, Rainie sat down by the patio outside and tears ran down her face without her knowing. Was she such a failure for not having a man to provide for her? Was it such a crime that she didn’t have a career now? Quietly by herself, Rainie plays with her mother’s pendant with only the moonlight hitting the jewel making it sparkle from all directions. Oh how her mother’s eyes would sparkle in the exact same way…

“We really have to stop meeting like this Miss Yang.”

Startled by the familiar voice Rainie jumps from her seat and encounters Mike’s brilliant smile upon her.

“Mike,” she said with a smile. “You scared me.”

He just continued smiling and asked her, “you mind?” pointing at the open seat beside her.

“No not all,” she said shaking her head lightly.

Taking a seat, Mike look at the ocean view as Rainie stands to look inside the party. The opposite view created mixed feelings within the thin line that separated the atmosphere between Mike and Rainie. Mike was calmed with the gentle waves crashing to shore whereas Rainie was dismayed with her constant bickering with her family.

“Can you sense it, Miss Yang?” Mike asked out of the blue.

“Sense it?” she asked unconsciously.

“Can you sense the emotions of the sea?”

“The emotions of the sea?” she asked him turning around to face the ocean.

“Can you see the pain, the heartache it has every time it crashes with the shore?” he asked again clearly focused on the visual. “The white clouds that appear along the current; they have the power to make anyone feel empathy for them because you know soon enough they will disappear when they least expect it. Can you see it?”

Rainie stood silently looking at the visual painted by Mike’s imagination and slowly the emotions blew at her with the wind that carried it.

“It truly is a saddening sight,” Mike continued. “But you have to remember Miss Yang, they chose this path. To crash to shore means to line its own body along the side. To forge the bond between death and commitment; it truly shakes the soul doesn’t it?”

“I can see it,” Rainie said quietly.

“Same with love isn’t it?” Mike said turning to see Rainie’s face. “As long as you have found your fate, you must take its course even if it means to crash with it.”

“In a way…” Rainie started as she looked down on her dress. “It seems as if I have this problem even without a lover.”

“You have family don’t you?” Mike asked still smiling slightly. “They must surely love you the way no one else has.”

“With their love, who needs enemies?” Rainie asked sarcastically while getting up. “I can crash to shore many times and still be pushed aside.”

“Then how do you wish to be loved, Miss Yang?” Mike asked frankly, still looking at the ocean. “…if you don’t mind me asking that is.”

Rainie never thought about how to solve her problems but rather avoid, so she didn’t know how to answer his question. Instead she stood silent. Mike slowly pushed himself off the seat and walked up to face Rainie.

“If you need a shore to crash on, you’re always welcome to mine.”

Still smiling, Mike walks away from Rainie leaving her to think more closely about those words. Nobody has ever treated her how Mike did. He would somehow always be there with waiting arms even though he didn’t receive anything in return. Like how he jumped off the bridge into freezing water to fetch her mother’s pendant, fed her food when she wanted to call off her party and even now. He didn’t ask to hear her problem but somehow he mended them.

 

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