4 Why don“t you sign the modelling contract?
Ryn dropped her bags and sighed tiredly. After days abroad she was back home. Her parents were not at home, as usual. According to the note stuck to the wall, they were following their friend's suggestion for another project. There was even an envelope of money for her pocket money. Even though she was getting a lot of jobs, they still treated her like a child - a grown-up independent child who still needs money from parents.
She sat on the sofa and closed her eyes. It was a tiring but she was satisfied with her work. Yes, it was frustrating with 'him' trying to talk to her, but she focused all her attention on her job.
The ringing of the phone woke her up from her nap. She did not even realize she had fallen asleep. She must be more exhausted than she thought she was.
She replied the message from her manager. Then, she pushed herself to stand and walked to her room, bringing along her bags. Maybe today she would just eat outside. She was still exhausted to even cook her own meal. But she had the strength to go out.
She took a cab to go to the nearest shopping complex. Her hand rubbed her stomach as she planned what to eat. Burger? Steak? Noodle? Rice?
She glanced backward when her name was called. She was on the way to her favourite restaurant.
"I thought I saw you. We saw you on the stage. Wow."
Ryn gave them an awkward smile as Rebecca babbled. It seemed like she had to wait more before she could eat.
"Where are you going?"
"We're going for bowling after the meal. Why don't you join us?"
"Come. It's going to be fun." Without waiting for Ryn's answer, Rebecca pulled Ryn's hand.
Ryn sighed. She just wanted to eat alone peacefully. But it seemed she couldn't do anything to stop them.
They entered a fast-food restaurant. They had to put two tables together to fit everyone. Ryn waited at the table first while the others buy their food. Although she was not close to them, she did not mind spending time with them. She needed to learn to be socialized…. Again. She almost forgot how she was used to be.
"You never told us you're joining the show," Erine asked as they were chewing their food.
"It was a last minute thing. I thought you all know."
"No. Do you?" everyone shook their head.
"I guess I gave you all a surprise. Erm… surprise?" Ryn laughed awkwardly.
No one laughed with her.
So awkward. She cleared her throat and drank her drink. Her cheeks reddened.
"Anyway, have you heard that Ms. Ong and Mr. Lee were caught alone in the second music room," Rebecca started to gossip.
"Ms. Ong? I thought she said she would rather be with a cat then be with Mr. Lee."
"I know. Apparently, when the cleaner found them, they were half-naked."
All gasped. Ryn especially leaned forward. Her eyes sparkled. She had no idea who Ms. Ong and Mr. Lee were but the way Rebecca telling about them, both lecturers were quite popular.
"I guess she finally accepts him."
"The big question right now is whether his sons accept her."
Ryn's head kept turning as she listened to them. Fascinating. Guess she missed a lot by being quiet.
They spent the time chatting and laughing. She even forgot her exhaustion and spent the day having fun with them.
When she got back, she learned a lot from her new friends. So many interesting things happened in the university. It was funny because she was in her third semester and now she just had the mood to get to know more about the place she was studying.
Oh well, better late than never.
"Don't worry about us, sweetheart. We're happy here."
Ryn rolled on her bed and squeezed her eyes. How could she be angry when her mom's voice sounded so excited?
"I'll call you back, sweetheart. Don't push yourself too hard. Bye."
Ryn tossed the phone to the bed and went to the kitchen. She planned to finish the leftover food she bought in the mall. Stupid jet-legged. It was getting late and her eyes were still wide open.
She washed the dishes. Then she started cleaning the house. Luckily for her, she had two days off so she could just re-charge herself.
It took her several hours to finish everything. She rubbed her hands happily as she looked around the place. She loved it when the place was clean and sparkly.
She skipped to her room, satisfied with her work. It was time for her to catch her sleep.
She checked her planner for the last time, and then laid on the bed. It was almost 10.00 pm, way past her sleeping time. She yawned a few times. Already her eyes were heavy with fatigue.
And then the phone rang…
At first, she wanted to ignore it, recognizing the number although she had deleted his number in her phone. Then she changed her mind and answered it.
"I miss you."
Just those simple words made her heart tremble. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "If there is nothing you want to tell me, don't call me again. We're though."
"Wait… wait for a minute. Don't you… don't you think you're being hard for us?"
"Goodbye." She disconnected the call and put the phone down. Four days with him… it did not feel this hard. Those days were filled with shooting and eating… just having fun. She did not let herself alone with him. She always made sure she was surrounded with the crew.
The phone rang again.
She groaned and instead of answering the call, she switched it off and changed her outfit into her training suit. She needed to release her frustration.
It took her almost an hour just to feel better. She finished the whole bottle of water and closed her eyes. Why couldn't he leave her alone? Wasn't he the one who said they were through? That he could not concentrate on their relationship with both of them being so busy with their work.
The months after their relationship ended were hell. She had to cancel some jobs because she could not stop crying. She finally managed to finish her jobs and then she told everyone she wanted to live a new life. Her family was happy. Her manager was not happy but couldn't do anything when she was actually at the end of her contract. She didn't continue her contract. She quit being a model. She became a boring Ryn. She preferred to keep to herself. And most importantly, she finally lived a normal life.
But now she returned back into her model life.
She was crazy.
She fell asleep with one hand holding her phone and tears wetting her face.
Ryn checked her phone once the class ended. She lifted her head and smiled at Erine.
"Hey, want to have lunch with us?"
"Sure." Ryn kept the phone back into the pocket and carried her bag to the girls. They cheered when she approached them.
"Surely you don't have to react that way because of me." Ryn took the chewing gum from one of them.
"Maybe because you are slowly getting softer toward us?"
"Yeah. You're always so quiet and… too quiet," another added with all of them nodded.
Ryn chuckled. She followed them out. She did not mind where they were having lunch. Today she was free. With her parents still away, she could go home whenever she wanted.
"I just don't understand one thing."
Ryn cocked an eyebrow. She put down the pizza she was holding and looked at them.
"You're chosen to sign a contract to be a model, a real model, for winning the competition but refused it. Why?"
Ryn took her drink and sipped some Cola. How could she answer it? She refused because she was already a model? Even her manager had a good laugh at it when she told her.
Everyone looked at her expectedly.
"Because … because…" Ryn rubbed her nape, not knowing how to answer without exposing her real identity.
"Because I don't allow her to. That's why."
Ryn almost fell down her chair when Mika suddenly appeared and hugged her from behind. "Mika, what are you doing here?"
"I want to see you. I miss you so much." Mika took a seat next to Ryn, still refusing to let her go.
"I haven't been gone for long. How do you know where I am?" Ryn pushed her drink to Mika, along with her plate of pizza.
"Luckily I saw you just now. Dinner with me?" Mika looked at everyone who was looking at them weirdly. "Hi, I'm Mika, Ryn's best friend and future sister-in-law."
Sister-in-law? Ryn looked at Mika weirdly. "I don't think-" Mika covered Ryn's mouth and giggled.
"By the way, what do you think of Ryn's performance that day?" Mika looked at them interestingly. Despite Ryn's pinch, Mika still wanted to know their impression of Ryn.
"Like a real model!"
Mika grinned. She loved bragging about her best friend.
"So it's such a waste for her not to sign the contract, don't you think?"
Mika looked at Ryn. Ryn gave her a nervous look, hoping her best friend would not break her confidence. Mika winked.
"Not a waste at all. There will be a lot of opportunities for Ryn to sparkle." Mika looked at her watch and sighed. "I have to go now. Ryn, see you tonight?"
Ryn didn't manage to reply when Mika, after kissing her cheek quickly rushed outside, like the wind.
"Why do I feel like she's quite familiar?"
Ryn quickly sucked her drink through the straw listening to her friends thinking out loud about Mika. If only this dear friend of hers didn't love taking pictures with her famous brother and post it online, no one would notice her.
"I have the same feeling too. But she's not from our university, right?" they looked at Ryn.
"She's not from our university," Ryn confirmed with a nod.
"Don't you know there are 7 people who look the same in this whole world?" Ryn nodded wisely.
They shrugged and changed the subject.
She went home after lunch. Her mind was full of questions. What did Mika mean by 'tonight'? She checked her phone a few times but Mika didn't leave her any message.
Ryn left her bag on the bed and went to the bathroom. Might as well clean herself rather than thinking what was on Mika's mind. Better don't think at all.
Whatever happened tonight, she would just face it with an open heart, knowing how mischievous Mika could be. Nothing could be unexpected when it came from Mika.