“Yi Wei Shi Cuo Jue, Yuan Lai Shi Xin Zai Fei Zou, Ai Mi Lu Le, Xiang Mo Suo Shen Me? Zui Hou Zhi Mo Dao Le Ni Shou Xin De Chen Mo…”
“You and Fang Qi are a couple ah?” Cherie queried.
“Putting on an act.” His answer was so straight to the point that Cherie was surprised.
“An act?” since when was Wei Lian so helpful as to help people in such tasks. Usually he wouldn’t be bothered.
“K. Don’t talk about her already. I go sleep liao.” He ended the conversation in a frustrated tone and pulled the blanket over his head.
Time crawled by the next day and Wei Lian was feeling all restless while alone at the beach house. He had gotten changed two hours ago, with the intention of visiting Fang Qi in the hospital. But two hours later, he found himself still stoning on his sofa. Finally, he finished deliberating, grabbed his bag and headed for the door.
As Wei Lian was about to push open Fang Qi’s ward door, he heard voices coming from the ward. Fang Qi. And Jake. “You want some water?” Jake asked gently. “Okie. Can I have some grapes too? But you must peel the skin away for me hor.” Fang Qi requested.
Wei Lian’s heart lurched. Did he hear wrongly or was Fang Qi speaking in a demure manner towards Jake? Jake was very attentive to her every move and Wei Lian could hear his genuine concern for Fang Qi in his voice. And Fang Qi seemed to be accepting Jake’s concern. Just a few days ago they were like arch enemies.
A peal of laughter came from Jake and Fang Qi as they shared a joke. It broke Wei Lian’s thoughts. He stepped back and slowly allowed the door to close gently. Don’t disturb them, he thought. He shouldn’t be disturbing them. And he walked away slowly, with his head hung low…
Two weeks have passed. Wei Lian had been following his daily routine - busking and back to the beach house. Each time, Cherie was at his side. They carried on the act but only when in front of Jason. However, every pretence made Wei Lian fall deeper in love with Cherie. All over again.
The closeness he shared with her that he had always longed to have, the care that she showed him ever so lovingly - he could not differentiate between pretence and reality anymore. All he knew was he was sure he loved Cherie. He never mentioned Fang Qi again.
Meanwhile Fang Qi has since been discharged from the hospital and is now helping out as a volunteer worker at an organization that her brother is in charge of. She is gradually getting used to staying at her own home, sleeping on her own bed, living her own life, helping people, not picking quarrels with others, not bickering with Wei Lian… Stop, she told herself as she tried to push memories of the beach house days out of her mind.
It is another long day ahead, thought Fang Qi, as she stationed herself in the busy shopping district beginning her day of non-stop work. Today, she is supposed to help in selling bears for charity. Asking politely every passer-by, who could be a potential donator, she smiled cheerfully, even when rejected rudely in the face by some. As she turned to approach another person, her gaze suddenly fell upon a familiar figure.
It was Wei Lian. His arm interlocked with Cherie’s, they were laughing and whispering into each other’s ears, just like any couple in love. Fang Qi froze. Should she say Hi? Or should she act blur? Before she could even react, Cherie caught her glance.
“Hey, Fang Qi! Long time no see.” Cherie chirped good-naturedly. Seeing that Wei Lian had stopped abruptly in his tracks, Cherie pulled him towards Fang Qi and the stall she had set up. Fang Qi’s heart was racing, her hand tightly clutching one of the charity bears.
“Er, hi,” they greeted each other almost the same time. Awkward silence.
“Err, oh! I’m selling some small bears for charity. The proceeds will go to the Children’s Society. Five dollars each only.” Fang Qi gushed, explaining what she was doing. She couldn’t take the wicked silence. “Buy one la Wei Lian! Support Fang Qi mah…” Cherie nudged him playfully. Wei Lian promptly reached into his jeans pocket for his wallet and dug out a five-dollar note. “Ok lor, give me one.” He offered. Cherie took the money from him and put a bear onto his outstretched palm.
There was little exchange of words, but somehow they had a mutual feeling of understanding. The chemistry was there but they just could sense the situation they are in now. Things have changed, Fang Qi is aware, regardless of how she had missed the days at the beach house, she knew it is impossible to return to those times.
Wei Lian felt a tinge of anguish. Why is he experiencing that kind of emotions? “Eh, no la, siao, cannot be.” He quickly dismissed this sudden surge of feeling as only a change of perception towards Fang Qi. At least, he doesn’t think of her as an irritating gambler already. She does have her good points. And she is doing charity work now.
Ok ok stop stop, I think too much le. I love Cherie and I always will. Wei Lian shrugged and turned to Cherie, who was now talking to Fang Qi.
“Let’s go, we’re late.” He gently held Cherie’s arm. As they bade goodbye, Fang Qi couldn’t help but think that Wei Lian just wanted to leave quickly. He can’t stand me, she thought sadly.
As Wei Lian and Cherie walked away from Fang Qi, once again engaged in a nobody-can-interrupt-us conversation, Fang Qi stood there deep in thoughts, staring after them. She saw Cherie playing with the bear Wei Lian just bought from her.
So he gave it to her……, she thought wistfully. But what she did not see was Wei Lian taking the bear back from Cherie shortly after and putting it into his bag.