333 The awkward meal
The dowager took the head seat on the dining table. She watched as her family members and future family members took their seat. Her thin lips curled into a smile of satisfaction.
This was what she wanted to see. All her child and grandchildren found their partner. She never cared for looking for someone from the same social and economic status as her family for her child and grandchildren. As long as they were in love and happy to be with their partner, she did not care who and how the partner looked.
The butler waited until everyone sat down properly before signalled the maids to start delivering the food. It was Chinese cuisines with four types of meat and three types of vegetables. There were even two soups.
Mika's eyes dimmed seeing the food. All were fattening and her wedding was getting closer. She turned to look at Ryn and was unhappy seeing the sparkle in Ryn's eyes. It was obvious how happy Ryn was seeing the dishes.
Jason, aware with his fiancée's obvious displeasure, took care of picking the dishes for her. He made sure the meat has less or no fat before he put it into her bowl. He also made sure the small cup was never empty of hot tea.
Jeremy did not have to pick anything for Ryn. Her chopsticks were fast and furious. Despite her meekness just now, when facing food especially her kind of food, she lost her shyness and turned into her usual foodie mode.
The dowager smiled in satisfaction watching both the girls eating. Of course, she did narrow her eyes seeing Mika whined at her fiancé for putting more dishes.
"Mika, eat some more. Ryn, have more vegetables," she said.
Ryn tried to pretend she did not hear it but could not do anything when the elder woman actually put a scoop of bak choy stir fry into her bowl. Her crumbled face did not make the elder's heart softened.
"Eat. You need to eat more vegetables. Jeremy, you put away the meat and bring the vegetables closer to her," she ordered.
Ryn paused and took a deep breath. Then, she used the chopsticks to push all the bak choy into her mouth and chewed it quickly. Her eyes shut tight but in the end, she swallowed it. It was hard.
No one spoke. They focussed on finishing their food. Once in a while, the silence was disturbed by the dowager's voice ordering one of them eating more. Mostly the targets were Mika and Ryn.
Jeremy and Jason could only give them a sympathetic look but they too were scared of the dowager. No one dared to reply back to her orders, just meekly following her words.
It was an hour after before they were finally done with dinner. Ryn and Mika were the first to stand up when the dowager used her cane to help standing up. They watched as she thumped her way toward the door with her son and daughter-in-law 'escorting' her.
"Next time we can just celebrate at the condo," Mika said.
"Yes, I agree," Ryn nodded. She managed not to cry after the fifth vegetable she had to swallow. Her stomach was so full of vegetable, she did not think she could eat more for the next year. She ate enough to last her for a year.
"Don't be so mad. Just think of it as a way of her showing her love to you. You are so adorable right now, and beautiful. Of course, she is worried you will get sick if you get skinnier," Jason coaxed Mika, hugging her close. He even kissed her lips gently a few times.
"Don't you think I look chubby?" Mika asked. She swore her face looked so swollen now, especially after the meal.
"No. You are beautiful," he chuckled and kissed her cheeks repeatedly before lastly, he pressed his lips against her lips just to stop her from spouting nonsense about her weight.
"If you can maintain your present weight, you will look beautiful during your wedding," Ryn said quickly after Jeremy nudged her.
He shook his head in bemused. His Ryn could be quite a slow wit sometimes and his little sister would only listen to Ryn. No matter what he and Jason said, Mika only believed in Ryn 100%.
"Are you going back now?" Mika asked Ryn when she saw Ryn reaching for her bag.
"With the dowager here? Of course," Ryn replied without thinking.
"But... I just met you. I haven't met you for months. You're so busy until you have no time for me," Mika cried, freeing herself from Jason's embrace and jumped into Ryn's arms.
"Mika, I'm so tired. I just finished my exam and all I can think right now is sleeping. And I want to sleep on my own bed," Ryn said. She was a bit speechless with how clinging Mika was this time. Why was her best friend seemed to depend on her more than ever today?
"Ryn, I need you to help me. Please don't go yet and help me~" Mika whined.
Ryn looked at Jason and Jeremy but the men just shrugged their shoulders. They too wanted to know what help Mika needed from Ryn.
"What do you want me to do?" Ryn asked after a long resigned sigh. What else could she do? Mika would not let her go until she helped this silly woman from her trouble.
"Help me change grandma's mind?" Mika asked while blinking her eyes innocently at Ryn.
Ryn's jaw dropped.
Harry was checking his work schedule when his phone rang. Without checking who the caller was, he simply rejected the call. Mei Li told him he should use the time wisely while waiting for his industrial training start. She suggested for him to add more for his portfolio and she already sent some suggestions of jobs to him.
He thought he could use the time wooing Ryn but quickly kicked the idea away. Ryn would be busy with her work from tomorrow onwards. Of course, with no class hindering her movement, she would accept more jobs. In order to make himself on the same par as her, he needed to take more jobs as well. He needed to prove himself as good as her. So when he confessed to her, she could not find any excuse to reject him.
He was so determined to improve himself, he actually said no when his friends suggested for them to go to the club to celebrate their last day on the campus. He told them he was tired of all the study but his friends refused to believe it. They thought he was trying to get a date with his girlfriend and did not want them to know who she was. Harry had become quite secretive lately and did not share much anymore with them. They believed he made use of his modelling career to hide the fact he was so deeply in love with someone and did not want any of them to know who the mysterious woman was.
This could not be continued, they thought. As his best friends, they deserved to know who his girlfriend was. And they could help to check whether the woman was honestly in love with Harry or in love with the wealth Harry's family has. It was their job, they reasoned, as his best friends.
And the phone rang again, disturbing Harry from his plan.
Again he rejected the call.
But the caller refused to give up. The phone rang again.
"Hello," Harry managed to control his temper but spatted the greeting with gritted teeth.
"Harry. Hello. Were you busy?" Alan, one of his best friends asked sheepishly. He was relieved when Harry finally answered the call.
"He answered?" one of them asked as they looked at Alan excitedly.
Alan nodded his head. His eyes sparkled with excitement as well.
"What do you want?" Harry cut the chase and asked directly.
"Well..." Alan laughed a bit. It was an awkward laugh but he managed to stop before Harry lost her temper. "Tonight the boys plan to go to the Boom to celebrate the last of our exam. We've booked the room."
"I'm not interested," Harry replied quickly.
"Come on, man. Join us. We know you're going to be busy with your modelling gig so why not tonight we all gather for fun?" Alan coaxed.
Harry pursed his lips thoughtfully. Alan was right. He would get busier later and might not have the time to spend with his friends. And once he started his training at his family's company, he would get even busier. Tonight might be the last time everyone could gather around.
"Hmm... what time?" Harry finally said.
Alan grinned widely once he heard the question. He winked at the others, telling them silently that Harry just agreed to meet them tonight.
"9.00 p.m. at the Boom. Our usual room," Alan said quickly. "See you tonight."
"Hmm... bye." Harry disconnected the call. He opened back the calender apps to check his schedule and frowned. Could he do it?