Melody of the Soul
Copyright B.G. Q. 2000. All Rights Reserved.

ACTORS                      ACTRESSES
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
Jerry-Bobby Au-Yeung  Mary-Flora Chan
Johnny-Jacky Lui            Melissa-Charmaine Sheh
Peter-Bowie Lam


“Damn it!” Tony threw the magazine mercilessly to the wall. Fury took over him like an undetected tornado. Upon hearing this strange noise, Alice watched apprehensively through the blindfolds at her unusually grumpy boss. She decided to knock on the door.
Tony: (fixing his tie to the proper position) Come in.
The door slowly opened, and from behind it an alert Alice smiled sympathetically.
Alice: Is the problem that big? (picking up the magazine) Don’t worry, I think we can handle it.
There was no need for Tony to hide his anger. They both knew what the problem was.
Tony: There’s a big photo on the front page. What is our excuse going to be this time? (He asked sarcastically.)
Alice: (sighed) I guess it’s the right time for everything to be revealed. Like they say, paper can’t cover fire.
Tony: That’s not the only thing I’m ticked off about. It’s never a good thing to expose her personal relationships; that’ll drive the young fans crazy. And what about her older fans? Just look at this headline, “Cathy Stole Boyfriend from Her Best Friend”. Now isn’t that charming? There have been just too many similar instances to be learned from.
Alice sat calmly, unblinkingly analyzing her overly concerned friend with her round, big eyes. She had rarely seen Tony in such actions.
Alice: Tony, I’m her sister and I’m handling this a lot better than you are.
Her comment was more of a question. Tony, realizing that his actions were deviating from the norm, shrewdly returned to his superior manner.
Tony: Well, since this is a work place, I’ll talk about work-related problems first. If Cathy’s image goes down it would more likely take a while to recover. People believe in these types of news more than we’d like. And if her image is lessened…that would do no good for the company.
Alice titled her head and looked away, a representative gesture of her disappointment and disbelief. After a while she turned back to look at Tony, who seemed to be totally occupied by the documents on his desk.
Alice: You amaze me Tony… Is that all you can really think of? …. Profit and profit…? Don’t you understand the fact that my sister is a human being too? Just because she’s pouring big bucks into your company doesn’t mean she has no right to have someone with her, who can make her feel truly happy. She’s a singer, but she’s not necessarily married to the stage. Why don’t you take the side of a friend for once?
Tony put down his pen and looked at Alice with sober eyes. Since the day Alice had decided to break off her one-way love for him and went out with Eric, she had become considerably bolder.
Tony: Do you not think that I care for her as a friend? Because I care for her I don’t want any scrubs on her image, do you understand? Look at how much singing means to her. I’m not saying that she doesn’t have the right to a personal life, but that personal life should not interfere with her work life…
Alice: …It’s not like she wanted it to. She has no control over the reporters!?
Tony: …And I did not say it was her fault! What we need to do now is to prove this whole scandal is false.
He looked at Alice, who was wearing yet another inscrutable expression on her face. There was perhaps an alloy of curiosity.
Alice: You seem…hm…overly concerned about this matter. Is it because you’re worried for your company, or worried for a friend…or perchance…worried for an “inviolable idol” in your mind?
She smiled inquiringly, a smile that almost made Tony leap out of his seat. Nevertheless, he managed to remain the dispassionate look. He placed his elbows on the desk, leaning forward with a soft voice.
Tony: What do you think? I say all of the above… Any more questions?
Alice: (laughed out loud) Do you realize how worthless this mouth-baffle was? We all care for Cathy and I guess…we just have different views to things. Tell me when you come up with the best move to solve this.
Tony: I think it’s better if I cover this myself.
Alice nodded an understanding signal. She got up to the door, and before leaving, threw another enigmatic half-smile at Tony. A while after she left, Tony picked up the phone and dialed a number.
Tony: Hello, Peter?

At a restaurant in Central
Sandy: (picking up the fork uneasily) Now that I think back, this is probably a bad idea.
Tina: We had to try something, right? They haven’t talked to each other since that day!
Sandy: (sighed) Yeah, it seems longer than it actually is…

Cathy, looking at her watch, ran hastily to the restaurant. She suddenly stopped in the middle of the parking lot. In front of her was Joanne, who also stopped walking as she saw Cathy. They stood there, looking at each other for what seemed an entire century. To Cathy’s surprise, Joanne made the first attempt to break the jarring air. She stepped slowly toward Cathy with an awkward smile.
Joanne: Hello.
Cathy: Hello.
Cathy heard her voice tremble slightly. She was dipped in happiness that Joanne had forgotten the incident quickly, almost too quickly…
Joanne: I see what Sandy and Tina are up to. Let’s get in there and surprise them.
Cathy followed with the biggest smile on her face. She felt the big rock of apprehension lifted.
Joanne had forgiven her even before she could forgive herself!
Sandy: Joanne, over here! (She waved frantically as Joanne stepped into the restaurant.)
To their surprise, behind Joanne was Cathy, whose bright smile could seemingly shine up the place. Thinking that the conflict had been solved, Tina gave Sandy a promising glance.
Tina: I see we’re not mad at each other anymore.
Joanne: Hey, I can’t make Tommy fall in love with me. The least I can do is wish them luck, right?
The four ate their lunch, apparently happy. Still, something was not right.
Tina: (taking out the magazine) What are you going to do, Cathy? This is not something that will only last overnight.
Before Cathy could say something, Joanne spoke out abruptly.
Joanne: (sighed) What is there to be done? People have their own mouths.
Sandy: But we can’t just let the media contort the truth like that. Hey Joanne…um…since you’re not mad at them, why…why don’t you affirm that this is not true.
Tina: Exactly! Wow Sandy, you spoke my mind!
The three sat, waiting for an answer from Joanne. There was none.
Cathy: (realizing they were putting Joanne in the spotlight) We should care less. Things like this happen all the time. If I were to fret over them my hair would turn all gray by the time I’m thirty. Now, if we speak up more we’ll just make the problem seem bigger, right? So just let it go the way it naturally does. People will forget these things much faster than we thought (She assured the group, as well as herself.)
Joanne: (finally looked away from her plate) Sorry Cathy, you know I’m not too big for the media. I don’t want my name mentioned in any magazine of those types (she said, failing to sound as thoughtful as she’d wanted).
Cathy: Of course we understand. Sorry Sandy asked.
Sandy and Tina knew better than to speak their mind and ruin the moment. The rest of the day went smoothly with the “keep your mouth locked” effort from both of them.

It was already 2:00 A.M. Sleep did not find its way to Joanne easily. She lied in bed, her eyes closed. Thoughts flickered in her somnolent mind as she constantly frowned, mumbling things in her half-conscious repose. Senseless dreams kept hustling, one after another. And Tommy was in all of them.
Now another dream had just appeared. Joanne saw herself in a beautiful ivory gown, riding a wagon similar to that of Cinderella. She had arrived in the harmonious sound of church bells. She felt the door of the wagon twitch… and then it was opened. In front of her was Tommy, as handsome as ever in a white vest. A smile grew on Tommy’s face, revealing his charming dimples. He took her hand and helped her out, as gentle as a prince in fairy tales. They looked at each other warmly, and as natural as day and night, they moved toward each other and engaged themselves in the sensuous kiss. It felt so real, and so full of love. She was drowned in merriment, treasuring every second of togetherness until she heard Tommy say, “I love you Cathy.” She pulled away, vouching that her ears had tricked her. “What’s wrong Cathy?” she heard him say again. This time she couldn’t have mistaken. She looked ruefully at him in search of an answer, only to find the reflection of Cathy on his eyes. She had turned into Cathy.
Perhaps she had been Cathy all along, without her own knowledge. The reflection smiled back at her, a taunting smile she could not endure. “Why? This is my dream! Why must you even ruin my dreams? You’re supposed to be one of my closest friends!” As she screamed the reflection dissolved and her own image appeared, as weary as ever. She giggled strangely as she saw her own face: “Now we can continue, Tommy.” This time it was Tommy’s turn to disappear. She gaped, not knowing what to do. She tried to grab the remaining of Tommy’s body from melting into the air, but it was no help.
“Tommy, Tommy!” She heard her own echo as the place suddenly turned dark and the menacing wind wailed its ghostly songs.
“Tommy! NO!” Joanne jerked up, the back of her shirt wet from the horrid dream and her face dampened by tears from her own eyes. She coiled herself, still terrified by the dream. Yet it was not her biggest fear. She never knew she loved Tommy this much.

As the rest had learned after, the tabloid issue was finally resolved. After the phone call with Tony and the consultation with the three sisters, Peter had successfully defeated the publisher in court. Everything was back to normal… presumably.
Peter: Cheers!
Cathy: Cheers!
Peter: Is this all I get? A diner? You know I could have made big bucks on your case if you weren’t my favorite cousin…
Cathy: Whoa, don’t I feel special?
Peter: You should. But I see that something is still bothering our Cathy. No, actually something has been bothering you since I came back.
Cathy: What? Are you trying to be a psychologist now?
Peter: You don’t have to lie to your best cousin, you know? And you can’t say the problem is about Joanne. She’s not mad at you so you don’t have an excuse now.
Cathy: You really want to know? (Her voice turned serious.)
Peter nodded. Cathy, resting her vision on a painting nearby, debated with her other half. She had been holding this very long, too long that the thoughts sometimes suffocated her. Telling Peter would not do any harm. She trusted Peter.
Cathy: I…don’t love Tommy. Actually, I…I never loved him…(she said, ripping the napkin into tiny pieces).
Peter looked into Cathy’s eyes, determining the percentage of truthfulness behind it. “She did not lie”, he concluded. He sat there with his usual naughty look, waiting for Cathy to continue. But someone stepped in just before she did: “Of course you don’t love Tommy. You love Chris!”
Cathy sprang up from her seat to look at the person with the familiar voice.
Meanwhile, Peter almost spouted the water he was drinking.
Cathy: Tony? What are you doing here?
Tony: It’s a public place. Everyone has the right to come if they have money, right Peter?
Peter: I called him out. Sorry?
Tony: Don’t worry, it’s just us. Pete won’t do any harm. And you don’t have to deny this fact anymore. There comes a time when a person must face her true feelings.
Cathy knew she could no longer hide the secret that had been bogged up inside. She no longer bothered to deny the fact or to correct Tony’s statement. She found herself, for once, admitting something that she had never dared to even tell herself.
Cathy: What if I do? Nothing will ever happen between us… (Cathy said in a low voice as she stirred her drink nervously.) I don’t want Sandy to be the second Joanne.
Peter: (smiling wickedly at Cathy) Oh man… It was friend against friend, and now it’s sister against sister. Hey Tony, whose side should I stand on? Oh, and just to point out a fact, Tommy was never Joanne’s boyfriends, but Chris and Sandy are a couple. This time you’re definitely the third person. Haha, get ready to rumble!
Cathy: (glaring at Peter) No! I won’t be the third person. I’m sick and tired of all this relationship crap. I just want to be by myself for once.
Tony: (chuckled) Are you sure?
Peter: How are you going to break it to Tommy?
Cathy: Somehow… when the time is right… And please don’t ask me when the right time is. I’ll know when it comes.
Tony: I know you’ll argue with me for this, but this is something you get to be selfish about. It’s your game and you have to show your own competitiveness… or else… you’re going to lose. And if you lose, you’ll probably regret for the rest of your life.
Cathy: For God’s sake… Tony, think! Sandy is my sister! Chris chose her, not me. I definitely don’t want my sister to be hurt, especially by me. And what made you so sure Chris is not going to reject my so-called competition anyway? It was their decision at first place, we have to respect that.
Tony: Is it just me what she’s talking about makes no sense?
Peter: (shrugging) Nothing makes sense to me anyway since I’m an outsider. Hey, remember that I didn’t know anything prior to this.
Tony: Can’t you see he has feelings for you, Cathy? The guy is obviously doing the same thing you are, and that is “respecting” Tommy’s and your decision. What he doesn’t know is your real decision isn’t what he thinks it is.
Cathy: Yes, you are wise sometimes but not all the time. I don’t believe you can read Chris’s mind… and don’t try to confuse Pete over here. Peter: (making a dumb face) Yeah, I’m kind of lost. Can you backtrack that?
Tony: Let’s stop arguing about this, I know your mind always wins over your heart when you’re in front of someone else… Now are you ready for this? I’ve agreed to make a show in Malaysia and you two are definitely on the main list.
Cathy: If this is your way of setting us up? If it is you can forget about it.
Tony: The whole crew is going! I already told Chris this morning. And even if you don’t want to agree you don’t have a choice.
Cathy: Tony, you’ve got to be the most unreasonable guy I’ve ever met.
Tony: And you’re the most stubborn girl I’ve ever known.
Cathy angrily grabbed her purse and dashed out of the restaurant. She knew Tony had good intention and deep inside she had to agree that Tony could read through her mind. Since when and how did he know her feelings for Chris? She had kept it only to herself! She felt a cold chill running down her spine as she wondered how many others knew besides him. She questioned herself whether what Tony said was true about Chris.
Peter: Why did you do that?
Tony: Do what?
Peter: Uh huh… stop playing stupid! I know you better than that.
Tony: You think I’m setting them up too?
Peter: Oh come on, of course…
Peter gave him the interrogating eyes. He finally let out a cunning grin.
Peter: Seems like you don’t practice what you said. Let’s see… “this is something you should be selfish about. You have to show your own competitiveness, or else you’re going to lose.” And also something like, “you’re going to regret for the rest of your life.”
Tony: Just shut up and drink.


"Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes."

"When we are in love we often doubt that which we most believe."
-La Rochefoucauld

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