Melody of the Soul
Copyright B.G. Q. 2000. All Rights Reserved.
Tony-Gallen Lo Cathy-Jessica Hsuan
Chris-Louis Koo Sandy-Ada Choi
Tommy-Julian Cheung Alice-Nadia Chan
Eric-Deric Wan Joanne-Kenix Kwok
Michael-Sunny Chan Tina-Mariane Chan
The next morning
Alice: Hurry girls, Tommy’s here.
Cathy: Sandy, where are you? Give me a hand with these bags!
Sandy: All right, I’m coming!
Tommy: (took the bags for Cathy) You can take your time. It’s still early.
Cathy: Hi Tommy. Sorry, my sister is slow like that. I guess you’ve already figured out she’s Sandy. Sandy, this is…(cut off by Sandy)
Sandy:…Tommy, of course. So you’re the handsome guy that…(Cathy gave her a stroke with the elbow) Ouch, since when did you learn to be violent like that?
Cathy: Can we go yet? I don’t want us to be the latest ones to arrive.
Tommy: Any time you ladies are ready.
In the car
Sandy purposely put Cathy on the front seat with Tommy. Cathy, who was not aware of Tommy’s true feelings, had no reason to refuse.
Sandy: (to Cathy) Wow, I’m so jealous. Are all of your friends handsome like this? So, do you have a girlfriend yet Tommy?
Tommy: (Shocked by the sudden question) Ummm…I…don’t.
Sandy: Hm, did you know that Cathy has never dated before?
Cathy and Tommy both turned and looked at each other in embarrassment.
Cathy: (giving Sandy a warning stare) Don’t mind her, my sister is crazy like that sometimes.
Alice: (sensing that an uncomfortable atmosphere might suddenly fill the car, she switched to another subject in an effort to help Cathy.) I haven’t been out on a picnic for quite a while. I’m sure we’ll have a good time.
Sandy: So Tommy, if you’re still single, are you having anyone in mind yet?
Alice: [Oh gosh… she still doesn’t get it, does she?]
Cathy: (couldn’t stand Sandy anymore and gave her a pinch on the arm) I’m sure you’re not suited for Tommy.
Sandy: Ouch…Don’t be scared Tommy. Besides being violent, I’m sure you can find some good traits of my sister.
Cathy, however, managed to stay in the car the whole ride despite Sandy’s teasing.
Since they were the first ones to have arrived, Tommy went to rent the rowing boats while the three sisters busied themselves setting up the tables.
Alice: Did Joanne and Tina affirm that they would come?
Cathy: Yeah, but I guess you shouldn’t be counting on Joanne with her timing. Hopefully she’ll be here soon with Tina’s driving.
Sandy: Whoa, mention people at daylight and they’d show up right away.
Joanne: Did someone mention my name?
Alice: What took you two so long?
Tina: Oh no, we only spent two hours looking for her “sportive” outfit!
Joanne: What do you know? You need to stop acting like a man. Show your feminine side!
Tina: I don’t care as long as I’m comfortable.
Joanne: So do you need any help?
Sandy: No, everything’s ready. If we waited for you nothing would have been finished.
Joanne: Hey, we’re here now, and we’re not even the last ones. Are you three the only three people here so far?
Cathy: No, Tommy’s getting the boats.
Cathy: He’s my co-worker plus close friend.
Tina: Oh, great, we have all the good food.
Alice: I have to say that I admire you. With all the food that you eat, how can you still be in good shape?
Tina: Lots of exercise, which you all are too lazy for.
Right at this moment, Eric, Chris, and another person had arrived.
Eric: Hi ladies! Waiting for me?
Cathy, who was busy cutting the bread, lifted her head to find Sandy frozen like a snowman, staring at Eric’s direction. She curiously looked back to see what gave her sister such a big impression. As she turned around, not just Sandy, but now two more people were in great surprise. Chris, stopping a little, continued to follow Eric.
Eric: (thought the girls were staring at him) Why are you all staring at me like that? Am I that attractive today? (gave them a cunning smile)
Cathy: You wish! I was just surprised that you’re not chasing after some poor girl today.
Eric: No, I’ve got my priority straight (looked at Alice).
Alice: Ahem…Why don’t we introduce everyone? I’m Alice, this is Tina, Joanne, Sandy, and this is…(cut off by Chris).
Chris: …Cathy….We have met before.
Sandy: (gave Cathy a “you know him?” look)
Eric: (pointing to the other person)…And this is Michael. I guess now we all know each other. (They greeted each other.)
Eric: Where’s Tommy? He’s never been late before!
Cathy: He’s getting the rowing boats to go on the lake later.
Eric: OK, in that case we will go over there to hook up the fishing rods and help Tommy when we see him. If you girls need anything, just call out to us.
Tina: Maybe that won’t be necessary. We have more girls than guys.
Joanne: Oh yeah, with madam right here there shouldn’t be any problem.
When the guys were far enough, the group broke out in laughter at Sandy, who was still standing numbly.
Tina: Well well, I guess it is a small world after all.
Cathy: Ahem…may I know your feelings now since your Prince Charming unexpectedly showed up?
Joanne: Oh my God, he’s looking at you.
Sandy: (immediately turned around) What? How dare you lie to me?
Alice: Ayya, don’t tease her like that. Haha, she might…freeze again.
Joanne: Whoa, believe it or not, this time he’s really staring at you.
Sandy: And you expect me to believe that?
Tina: Fine, don’t believe her. But hey, you have to admit that the guy is gorgeous. (She pointed at Chris, who was pushing a boat.) Look how handy he is. Hm… and I can tell he has been working out a lot.
Sandy: I’m not wasting my productive time to hear your nonsense. I’m going to set up the…garbage bags.
Cathy: Aha! Since when did our princess learn to be productive and more importantly, when did she learn to do dirty work like that?
Joanne: Cathy, haven’t you heard that love can change people and blind people at the same time?
Sandy: If you’re so great at these love lessons, why don’t you quit your matchmaking job and start a marriage counsel? You might be able to convince them to divorce each other with your skills!
The group broke in playful laughter again.
Near the lake
Chris: Hm, I wonder what’s so funny.
Eric: Probably talking about us.
Eric: Yeah, as surprising as it may seem those pretty girls can be very naughty at times. Hey, where is Tommy anyway?
Chris: Most likely got lost.
Michael: Oh, there he is!
Tommy: Haha, what made you say that I got lost?…Ah, Michael! Great, you’ve finally decided to get a tan after being in the office all the time.
Michael: If we just come out here for a tan, I don’t think Chris would be here. Look, he’s already a piece of charcoal.
Chris: Hey, this is what you call a healthy tan, not charcoal!
Alice: (yelling out to them) Guys, get over here before the food disappears!
Eric: Don’t start without us! We’re coming. (To the guys) Let’s go!
Tommy: Is there anything else we can do?
Cathy: No, everything’s ready. Tina told them they could count on ladies.
Alice: (turned around and saw Joanne choking over the smoke) Ummm…maybe not all the time. Tommy, can you help Joanne with the coal?
Tommy: (smiled and walked toward Joanne) Hi, can I help with the coal?
Joanne: Oh yes, please. I really don’t know how to handle this (turned around and uncontrollably let out a gasp).
Joanne: Tommy! You’re here too?! (Trying to hide her great joy) Wow, today’s full of surprises.
Tommy: How have you been lately? I haven’t seen you since that concert.
Joanne: Oh, I’ve…I’ve been great. I…I just still can’t believe you know my best friends too. [I meant to say I’m so happy that you’re here!]
Tommy: (As he was helping her with the coal, he looked up and smiled, showing his dimples.) Life is always full of surprises.
Joanne: Sorry, am I just making the smoke worse?
Tommy: That’s all right; it’s perfect now. I’ll call the others over.
Joanne: Oh, wait…ayya [Why does he have to walk away so quickly?]
The group gathered in a circle to grill the meat. Of course, with Sandy’s setting, Cathy ended up sitting next to Tommy.
Tina: Wow, I love these chicken wings!
Joanne: You and your food…
Cathy: Yeah, is the food all right? We spent a lot of time on this.
Eric: Haha, this is what you consider good food? If I weren’t so hungry I wouldn’t even call this food.
Cathy: Hm…Did I forget to mention that we only bought the food and that Alice is the one who added all the “flavors”?
Sandy: Ayayay, you’re dead, Eric!
Joanne: Now let’s see him appreciate the ladies more.
Eric: [Oh no!] (Glanced over to Alice, who had on the grumpiest look that he had ever seen) I’m…I’m sorry Alice. You know I was only joking, right?
Alice: Well, no problem. You’re just simply reminding me that I still have a lot of things to learn.
Sandy: Oh no, be alert! One more point taken off!
Joanne: Haha, I don’t think you can afford to lose any more points, Eric!
Cathy: Don’t worry Eric. We know you were only kidding or else we would have kicked you in the lake. (She accidentally touched the hot iron bar and burned herself.) Ouch!
Tommy: (instantly turned to her and checked to see if she was all right) Whoa, are you OK? It’s turning all red. Let me get some cream for you.
He ran to the car and soon returned with a tube of cream.
Tommy: Here, you have to put this on or it’s going to hurt a lot (applying the cream on her finger). Does it still ache?
Cathy: (noticing the insuppressible giggle from Sandy and everyone’s eyes fixed on them, she shyly pulled her finger back) That’s OK; it’s a lot better now, thank you.
Tommy, realizing that he was putting Cathy in an awkward situation, quickly let go and went back to his seat as if nothing happened. Chris, who was closely watching the whole time, remained quiet despite the giggles from the girls and the uncomfortable indication from Cathy. In reality, the only two people that really saw Tommy’s action as something more than friendliness were Alice, Sandy, and Chris…
After everyone had eaten, the majority went to row the boats. Cathy, who was feeling somewhat discomforting from the incident, sat herself on a big rock looking out to the cool lake in an effort to relax her mind. Seeing Cathy by herself, Chris decided to start a conversation. He walked to her and sat down on the rock.
Chris: Why are you not with them?
Cathy: (gave her usual smile) I just wanted to enjoy the breeze a little...and I'm not so sure I want to get all wet like they are.
Chris: You look better today than you did last time. You don't seem to be troubled anymore.
Cathy: Why put your mind in dilemma when it's not at all necessary, right?
Chris: Great, I'm glad to hear that...I still remember what you said last time: "to let fate decide". I guess fate brought us all here.
Cathy: (squinting at Chris) Fate has more to do with my sister than I today. She's finally met in person her...(realizing she might go too far).
Cathy: Nothing. I think you will know when the time is right.
Chris: Come on, don't just sit here. Go on one of the boats and give yourself a little exercise (pulled Cathy with him).
Cathy: No, they're too far out on the lake already. I'd rather do something else. Tennis would work.
Chris: Hm...tennis? That is a guy's sport, and especially when you're talking to one of the experts (teasingly).
Cathy: Well then I guess today's your unlucky day.
At first Chris was yielding to Cathy but he was amazed to see that Cathy was not easy to beat in this game.
Cathy: [He thinks I'm not good at this game...I'll prove him wrong] (She unexpectedly hit the ball so hard and fast that Chris, not being ready, tripped on his shoe lace in her laughter). Haha, let's see if Mister Expert can get this one coming up.
Chris: That was just my shoelace (more aware that he could not beat her easily).
Right when Cathy was trying to hit the next ball, she heard a loud scream from Sandy and the splashing of water.
Cathy: Sandy? (her mumble turned into a scream) Sandy! Oh God, somebody help her up!
She saw a figure jump in the water and realized it was Michael. After struggling in the water, Michael managed to pull Sandy on the boat. The rest rowed over and soon they were all on the grass area.
Alice: Sandy, are you all right?
Sandy: I'm fine...just drank a lot of that nasty water. It's all because of Joanne here!
Joanne: I'm sorry...but if you didn't believe me and thought that...(suddenly stopped in everyone's curious look).
As it was getting dark, the group called an end to the picnic.
In the car
Tina: What? Hahaha, you tricked her like that?
Joanne: Yeah, you should have seen her. As soon as I said that Chris was rowing over, she fell in the water! And what's even funnier: she couldn't get up!
Cathy: Haha, I can imagine you right now Sandy.
Sandy: I was having…uh…muscle contraction. How did you expect me swim back?
Alice: She was just waiting for Chris to come and save her.
The group broke out in laughter again.
Tina: Stop it, don't make me laugh so hard. Remember that I'm driving!
Sandy: Thank God Michael jumped down in time or else I might be floating body by now.
Cathy: That was very nice of him. He doesn’t even know you well and he’s willing to jump for you…Just hope he doesn’t regret!
Alice: Yeah, did you feel safe in Michael’s arms?
Sandy: Hm…you know what? He was quite strong and handsome, but that’s OK, don’t be jealous now.
All four: Whoa!
Sandy: (Turned to Cathy) How come you never told me that you know Chris?
Alice: Oh yeah, you should know how crazy she is about him.
Cathy: I just…happened to…bump into him somewhere and that’s how we remember each other.
Joanne: Talking about that, I was so surprised that you know Tommy too.
Joanne: Well, do you remember that time I told you about the guy that interfered between Johnny and me?
Tina: (her mouth wide opened) Hah? No way!
Joanne: Yes. I’m so happy… just still can’t believe he was here today! We first met each other at a friend’s party. Too bad I never dared to get his number.
Sandy: You…seem to like him a lot.
Joanne: How can I possibly not? He’s so gallant and captivating! I was never bold enough to make any approach on him, but now that Cathy sees him almost everyday, maybe…I can get hooked up, right? Do you think I’ll have a chance?
Alice: What happened to our matchmaker? Now are you switching the role to Cathy?
Tina: Ayya Joanne…those words you said should be coming from a man, not a woman. If he absolutely has no feeling toward a pretty girl like you, I’m sure he’s got no taste. Don’t worry, you have our support, right Cathy?
Alice and Sandy looked at Cathy and at each other with questioning eyes. Not knowing what to say, they remained silent. Only the unalarmed Tina still couldn’t get over the incident at the lake. As she was laughing and making a right turn, she slammed the break right in time before hitting a man who suddenly walked out from the sidewalk. The man, being frightened by the close call, dropped his grocery bags on the ground and stood openmouthed. Tina immediately stepped out to check if he was all right.
Jerry (man): Ahhh! It’s you again! Whenever I see you, bad luck follows me through.
Tina: Oh, I recognize you. You’re the man that bumped into me last time at the restaurant!
Jerry: Um, I think you should go get a memory check-up. You were the one that bumped into me and almost broke my dishes.
Tina: No time to argue with you again. So far I don’t see any injuries, which means I can leave (turned and walked back to the car)
Jerry: Hey, what about my grocery bags? You can’t just leave like that!
Tina: If you didn’t just come out from nowhere then this wouldn’t have happened (drove off).
Jerry: Hey, you, come back here! Don’t ever let me see you again!
Cathy: Woa, what was that?
Tina: Oh don’t worry, just some annoying guy.
Sandy: You should have seen the way you looked, you freaked me out!
Tina: Was I really that bad?
Alice: Seemed like you two were equally scary.
Joanne: You better be careful on your manner or you’ll become unsold stock, rotten in the storage room.
The car was filled with laughter again.
Chris, Tommy, and Michael had been sitting down for a drink.
Chris: Haha, did you happen to see that “hero saves beauty” scene, Tommy?
Tommy: I think everyone did. Way to go Michael.
Michael: What did you expect me to do? Stand by and watch her drown?
Chris: Of course not. But for our hero to put his hand on a girl, that girl must be very lucky!
Tommy: We can’t be so sure if the girl is lucky or not. Remember, Michael has never dated before. I’m starting to wonder if he still likes girls.
Michael: Well, as much as I’d like to sit here and be the center of attention, I have to go. And since I was the main guest, maybe you guys know well enough to pay for me.
Tommy: Haha, you wish! This is going on your debt bill.
Chris: The guy left already.
Tommy: So, what do you think of Cathy?
Chris: (perplexed by the sudden turn) She’s great…pretty, smart, nice…
Tommy: She’s (paused)…the one.
Chris: She’s the one that you’ve been telling me about? [Why am I not surprised?]
Tommy: Yeah, through working with her, just more and more of her good qualities are revealed. It’s just a great feeling to be able to work with someone that directly stimulates you in many ways.
Chris: Well, I guess you’re quite lucky then. Not many people have that feeling at all.
Tommy: What about your girl? Did you happen to bump into her again?
Chris: …In fact I did.
Tommy: Oh? How did it go?
Chris: It’s going nowhere (took a sip of beer).
Tommy: Well, however it might be, you have my support. Cheers!
That night Cathy could not stop thinking about Tommy and the incident at the picnic. She stayed wide-awake with a mind troubled by confusion. Could it be true that Sandy’s guess was right? That after all Tommy was not just a pure friend? She could not lie to herself now that she recalled his gestures toward her, gestures that she never had realized was meant for her only. She could still feel his gentle care of her finger from the superficial burn. But why? Why did he have to be so nice to her knowing that she only had Tony in her heart? Or was Tony really the only one? In recent times she had noticed that the thought of Tony occupied less and less of her serene time. The time that he drove her home, why did she not feel nervous or happy like any ordinary girl around the person they love? Slowly, she drew up from her misty mind a theory that she had never pondered about.