Friday, July 12, 2013

"Till the World Ends" Episode 4

HK Lifestyle magazine had just distributed this month's issue, and Fala sat at her desk twirling her pen deep in thought about what she should write next.  She had already written a fashion critique, a movie review, an editorial about the excessive technology use of today's generation and more.  She was experiencing what every writer dreaded most: writer's block.  Vincent sat across the room at his desk scratching his head trying to churn out ideas as well.

"Fala, Vincent, can you two see me in my office please?" said their boss Maggie Jie (cameo by Maggie Cheung) said from the door of her office, breaking their train of thought and evoking curiosity.  What did she want with them?

Inside Maggie's office, Fala and Vincent sat down with their backs straight a sense of self-awareness.

"I have good news," Maggie announced.  Fala and Vincent let out a simultaneous sigh of relief and relaxed their shoulders a little, making the atmosphere much less tense.

Fala's ears almost immediately perked up.  "Are we getting a promotion?" she asked with curious excitement.  Vincent chuckled at her bluntness.

"Don't get ahead of yourself there Fala, it's not that good news today," Maggie laughed.

Fala's face turned to one of disappointment so quickly Vincent had to hold back his laughter.

"I had a meeting with the CEO Mrs. Chan over the weekend, and she has been very happy with how HK Lifestyle has been doing lately.  She especially had a lot of praise for you two and thinks you are our best writers.  The pieces you write are fan favorites!" she exclaimed.

"That's fantastic!  Praise from the big boss," Vincent said.

"Yes, and we thought that for this issue you and Fala could collaborate on an op-ed piece for the magazine that presents both the female and male perspective of young Hong Kongers.  With the unique writing style and talent you two have, it could be something cutting edge, insightful, yet humorous that the readers would love!" Maggie said.

Fala nodded in acknowledgement, thinking about the possibilities.  "What would we have to write about?" she asked.  Next to her, Vincent tried to contain his surprise and excitement.

"That is up to you two to decide, I just want to approve the idea first," Maggie replied. "So do I have your word?" she asked.

Fala and Vincent looked at each other and simultaneously said "Of course!" Who could pass up such a great opportunity?

"Perfect, I'll let Mrs. Chan know," Maggie said, picking up the phone. She signaled them out of her office.

After exiting Maggie's office, Fala turned to Vincent and extended her hand out. "Here's to a good collaboration! But be careful of pushing my buttons," she said in a mock serious voice.

Vincent laughed and shook her hand. "I'll watch my back," he said. "Shall we start brainstorming then?"

Fala nodded and went to pull up the seat of her desk towards Vincent's as he sat down because, according to her, his desk "is in the ideal position, at the center of everything," whatever that meant. To this, Vincent just chuckled.

Fala and Vincent worked together, for the most part, in harmony. Sure, there was your typical bickering. Vincent teased her about some of her weird habits, like unintentionally clicking her pen repeatedly while deep in thought and she punched him in the arm in protest to only end up turning red, realizing he was right. She would attempt to make fun of him back but much to her displeasure, only made a fool of herself in the end. Not that Vincent actually thought she was a fool of course.

Fast forward two weeks later on a Friday evening, and the final draft of their op-ed piece, which was on what people are attracted to in the opposite sex and their take on the reasoning behind it, was due on Monday morning. However, there were still final revisions and finishing touches that had to be made.

Everybody was gathering their belongings and getting ready to leave for the weekend. Fala picked up her bag and went over to Vincent's desk. "Hey, instead of trying to work this out online, do you want to just come over to my place to finish?" she asked.

"Your place?" Vincent asked, a little startled. Although they had been getting along very well, their relationship had still been confined to the office and some online exchanges here and there up until that moment.

"Is that a problem?" Fala asked. Noticing the expression on his face, she added with a smile, "Don't worry, I don't have any creepy things hanging around my apartment or anything. Well, except for Ron when he comes over. Other than that I apparently have one of the neatest apartments ever."

"No, no it's not," he laughed. "I was just a little surprised, that's all. Um, so do you want to meet tonight or...?" he asked.

"Tonight is fine by me, unless you're too tired and want to meet tomorrow," Fala said.

"Alright, I can do tonight. Just give me your address and I'll swing by my place real quick and meet you there," Vincent said.

"Sounds good," she said and looked around for a post-it or piece of scratch paper to write her address on. "Are you kidding me, how can an office for a magazine be out of paper so often?" she asked, annoyingly.

Vincent looked around noticing the sudden disappearance of paper. "Of all things this place doesn't have enough of," he said with a chuckle.

Fala took a pen from her desk and picked up Vincent's hand and wrote her address on his hand, taking him by surprise. He could feel his heart suddenly beating a little faster and smiled a bit goofily. Oh crap, I hope I'm not turning red... he thought to himself.

"Are you okay? You're not worried I'm going to give you skin cancer by writing on your hand are you?" she asked, pulling him out of his momentary trance.

"Oh no, sorry, I was just thinking about something," Vincent replied, embarrassed.

Fala rolled her eyes at him and laughed. "I'll see you in a bit!" she said, leaving him to his embarrassed self.


Ring, ring!

Fala opened her door later that night to see Vincent, who had changed from his semiformal work clothes to a more casual t-shirt and jeans. His hair was a little ruffled as always, but he looked more comfortable and actually quite attractive. However, something else seemed a little different. She wrinkled her nose. "Are you wearing cologne?" she asked.

"Yeah...too much?" Vincent replied, shyly. 

"No, it's just...since when do you wear cologne?" Fala asked, amused. 

"Oh, no particular reason," Vincent said, trying to keep his cool. "I figured since it's just us this time and not another 10 people around us I shouldn't risk smelling or else you'd think I have B.O."

Fala burst out laughing at the cute comment. "Well, don't stand there like the tall pole you are, come in so we can finish this thing," she said, signaling him to come in.

Two hours and many leftover cupcakes made by Myolie later, they finally finished their op-ed piece. 

"It's finally complete!" Fala said, throwing her arms up in the air in accomplishment. 

"This is a great piece," Vincent said. "I don't think I've ever gotten a chance to tell you this, but I really do think you're an amazing writer."

"Thanks," Fala smiled. "You know, you aren't so bad yourself. I'm sure all your female readers swoon at you with your little sensitive, understanding but humorous perspective," she said, to which he blushed.

Instead of wrapping up and calling it a day immediately though, they continued to chat. For some reason, Fala got this very sweet and at ease feeling around Vincent. She wasn't sure why he always seemed to have a goofy and embarrassed smile on around her though.

"Now, we wrote an entire piece on what we think people are attracted to in the opposite sex, but I still don't know what you are attracted to in a girl," Fala said, playfully. "So whose your ideal girl?" she nudged him with her foot from across the couch they were both sitting on.

"Hm..." Vincent looked into space thoughtfully. "My ideal girl...has to be smart of course. Someone who I can talk to and isn't afraid to be herself. She has to be genuine, sweet, funny, and beautiful inside and out," he said.

"That's asking for a little much isn't it?" Fala asked. "Not that I don't know some great girls, but..."

Vincent looked at her and something in him finally decided to do something about his irritatingly fast beating heart. "It wouldn't hurt if she had adorable dimples and was an amazing writer with a killer style too," he added. 

Taken aback, Fala put a hand to her face and felt her dimples. "Wait, are you talking about..." she started. Vincent bit his lip waiting for a reaction.

Suddenly, there was a rapid knock at the door. "Sorry, I need to get that," Fala said to Vincent and got up. Ron was on the opposite side of the door, still knocking when Fala opened it. She caught his hand, which apparently didn't realize the door was no longer there quick enough.

"What can I do for you, Mr. Ng?" she asked in a mocking tone, slightly annoyed at the interruption.

"I need to borrow your bathroom," Ron said.

"Are you kidding me?" Fala asked in disbelief.

"Well I was on my way home and I suddenly really needed to pee, and you happened to be close by so I thought I'd make a pit stop here!" he said.

"The gas station's close by too, I don't see you going there for a pit stop," Fala replied.

"Yeah but gas station restrooms are gross and your bathroom always smells like lavender," he said cheekily.

Fala rolled her eyes and opened the door for Ron to come in. Ron started to quickly run towards the direction of her bathroom when he noticed Vincent sitting on the couch, who had been watching the friend's exchange in slight discomfort, feeling as if he was the intruder.

"Hi...Vincent right?" Ron greeted in surprise.

"Yeah, Ron right?" Vincent replied awkwardly.

"Yeah..." Ron said. He turned to Fala and whispered "What's he doing here?"

Fala pinched his arm and he jumped backward in pain. "Didn't I tell you I was working on a story with Vincent?" she said, annoyed.

"Yes, yes you did, I just went blank for a second," Ron said, catching his mistake just barely in time. Fala scowled at him. "I listen to you, I swear!" Ron defended himself.

"It's nice to see you again man," he nodded to Vincent. "Anyway, nature's calling," Ron said and quickly darted to the bathroom and out of sight.

"I'm really sorry about that," Fala said to Vincent, embarrassed.

"It's fine," Vincent gave her a reassuring smile and pretended to playfully shrug it off, though a knot had started to twist inside his stomach watching the banter in front of him. He started to gather his stuff and got up.

"You're leaving?" Fala asked, disappointed.

"Yeah, it's getting late and we're all done here. Goodnight, I'll see you at work on Monday," he said, gently patting her on the side of the arm.

"Goodnight," she said quietly and closed the door for him, then walked towards the bathroom and barged through the door.

Ron looked up from washing his hands alarmed. "Hey you don't knock?! I could have still been half naked!" he protested.

"Why did you have to come in and ruin the moment?" Fala yelled, exasperated.

"What moment?" Ron said, blankly.

"He was telling me he..." Fala started, then trailed off.

"Telling you what?" he asked, then it came to him. "Oh, he really does like you!" he said.

"What? You know and you didn't tell me?" Fala said, grabbing her friend by the collar of his shirt. "How do you even know?"

"Please, it was obvious from the way he was looking at you when I came to give you lunch the other day," he said, then started to smile in a sly way. "Wow, somebody's worked up. Does Fala have a crush on someone?"

Fala's grasp of his shirt softened, as did her facial expression. She quickly realized how much her face was giving it away and wiped the smile off her face. "He's not so bad," she brushed it off.

Ron raised his finger and playfully pointed it at Fala. "Aw, somebody does have a crush," he said, then looked down. "Uh...can you let go of me now? Or do you want to take off my shirt or something?" he joked.

Fala looked down and realized she still hadn't let go of his shirt. "You're crazy," she said, letting go.

"Hey, I say that if my best friend catches a guy's eye, he must have good taste," he said to her, playfully putting his arm around her.

"Why thank you," Fala said. "That's the smartest and most sane thing you've said this entire time," she said.

"He also sure has a ton of patience to get through that whole facade of annoying to really get to know you," he added, mockingly.

"Ha, I could say the same about anyone who gets to know you!" she said back.

"Well, what can I say, we're special people," Ron stated. "I'll have to do some digging to see how this Vincent is though," he said to her.

"Don't scare him away again," she muttered.

"Alright, I'll try my best Ms. Longwinded," he rolled his eyes, then looked around. "Say, I know we are pretty weird, but why are we having this conversation in the bathroom?" he asked.

Fala looked around. "Hey, I needed to pick a bone with you right away. It's not my fault you had to answer nature's calling," she said, then turned to walk away. "I'm going to bed, you can see yourself out. Goodnight!" she said.


Author's Note: I'm back after over a half-year hiatus from "Till the World Ends"! Apologizes it's a little slow and doesn't involve many characters. It took one whole episode to properly introduce Vincent's character, but I hope people like him because he'll be around for a while. The other characters will be back next episode and I'm looking forward to writing for them again. Hope not everyone has completely forgotten about this fic and will keep reading! :)

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