Modern Day Love

© [dramalovers26/Cheng26] 2008. All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of dramalovers26/Cheng26].

Disclaimer! The following is a work of Fiction. The events and characters
are fictional and the celebrity names/images are merely borrowed and do not
represent who the celebrity is in real life.

Chapter 1

There was soft music playing in the background, and beautifully dressed people dancing on the dance floor. Ariel Lin stood by the door way with a tray of food. She was in awe of the wonderful sights in front of her; the room was huge with real gold ornament and expensive decorations. The people were all dressed in style interacting with one another and dancing through the night. So, this is how the rich live their lives! Ariel thought. “Ariel! Hurry and serve the food! What are you doing standing there!” Mama chang yelled from the kitchen. Ariel jumped startled and reply,

“Sorry Mama…I’m on my way!”

This is your first time serving the high class so you better not make any mistakes! Ariel thought to herself. Ariel has always wondered what it was like to not have to worry about money. She lived in Taipei all her life, attending a world renowned high school catered to the rich and famous. Sometimes she wondered if she was lucky or cursed by accepting a scholarship to the school. At the time she thought she was the luckiest girl on earth…but now having been in the school for four years she wish she could go back in time and declined the scholarship. The school was filled with rich snotty kids who believed the world should bow down to them just because their parents have money. Every day, the high society girls would have their chauffer dropped them off in front of the school entrance, they would gossip and compared the cost of their clothing…and after school the chauffer would be there to pick them up.
Ahh… it must be so carefree to have any luxury one desire…, but also how sad. Ariel shook her head to clear her mind from daydreaming. She walked towards a group of young people laughing; as she walked closer she noticed that a few of them were students from her school.

“Remember to offer everybody what you’re serving and make sure you circled the whole room” Ariel remembers Mama chang instructing her staff before the party started.

“Mama chang cuisine was nominated to served this party, this is our chance to expand our business. This is a welcome home event for the Cheng family; we must serve well if we want to have the honor to continue serving high class events in the future!’
Ariel imprinted those words in her head and forced herself to walk closer toward the group of laughing socialite.
“Oh my god! Did you see how handsome Joe Cheng look?! I can’t believe how tan he looks! I remember papa saying something about him just coming back from New York!” one of the girls said.

“Living oversea treated him really well, did you girls see his hair…it’s amazing, I would love to wrap my fingers around his hair…” another girl excitedly said.

“Never mind wrapping your fingers, I would like to do something far more wicked than that!” Someone else said. Ariel noticed that it was Tiffany Xu, a senior in her class. Tiffany was one of the more popular girls in the school. She not only was beautiful with long brown hair and beautiful set of hazel dark eyes but she was also very smart. It seems almost all the guys in the class are in love with her. Tiffany was graceful, beautiful, smart and heir to a very popular cosmetic company.
Ariel took a deep breath before cautiously walking up to the group of girls.

“Excu…excuse me, would you like some finger snack?” Ariel asked. They all turned around to look at her, and a few of the girls smirked.
One of the girl in the group said, “oh my…doesn’t she look familiar? Even with the uniform on, she reminds me of a mouse in our class.” The statement brought peal of laughter from the other girls.
Tiffany smirked and said, “ Come on girls be nice, even mouse needs to make a living.” One of the girl grabbed a snack from the tray and took a small bite.

“This taste disgusting, go back and have the cook make new ones.”

“But this was just made, it’s still very fresh” Ariel said, a little confused because she prepared the tray not so long ago.

“Why are you arguing? Go back to the kitchen and bring us another tray!” Tiffany demanded. Ariel looked around and saw other guests looking their way. She did not want to cause a commotion, so she bowed and said,

“ I’m sorry…excuse me I will bring a new tray for you.” Ariel took a step back and turned around and lost her balance. She bumped into someone and felt herself falling. The tray slipped from her hands and in horror she saw it flying in the air. She tried catching the tray by crawling on all fours on the floor, instead she accidentally tripped over someone’s feet, landed flat on her back and the tray came crashing down on top of her.

This is it, this is the end of the world! So this is what true humiliation feels like, thought Ariel; wishing desperately for the floor to open up a hole and pulled her underneath.

The group of girls was laughing their eyes out, they were pointing at Ariel and laughing even harder when Ariel tried to get up but fell. Tiffany said,
“Oops, I didn’t mean to trip you!”

Ariel felt tears rushing out of her eyes, she tried holding back the tears but the thought of the mistake she made, and how humiliating it was for Mama chang made her want to cry even more. This is it, Mama chang is going to fire me! Ariel groaned and tried to sit up again. There was food all over her, and she saw other workers rushing toward her. One of them was her best friend Ella. Ella wiped Ariel’s face with napkin and asked,
“Are you okay! Damn those bitches…if we were somewhere else, I would…” Ariel shook her head and said, “Shh…quiet, they’re still nearby. I don’t want there to be more trouble for your mom!” Ella sighed and helped Ariel up.

“Mom understands…she knows it’s not your fault.” The two girls cleaned up the mess and walked toward the kitchen.

“Something major better happen tonight or what happen with me and the tray will become news tomorrow! your mom will never get another chance to event high society party!” Ariel groaned angry at herself. As the two girls headed back to the kitchen, they heard commotion from outside.

“Oh my! Is that Joe? Who’s that woman with him?” Ariel turned around and saw a very handsome man and a beautiful woman walking hand in hand. He was heading toward the stage and there was an older woman running after him, as if trying to stop him from going up the stage. The man walked up the stage and grabbed the mike.

“My name is Joe Cheng as many of you already know. I would like to thank you all for such a warm welcome back to Taiwan. As many of you know my parents and I were living in the United States for a few years and as much as I love the west…here in Taiwan is where my home lies. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce someone who is very dear to me.” Joe turned around and pulled the beautiful girl with him to his side. Ariel saw the older woman covering her mouth and shaking in frustration. There was an older man who was being restrained by two men who looked like they were body guards.

Um…must be the parents…unhappy with their son’s choice of girlfriend. Ariel thought. Intrigued by the turns of event, Ella and Ariel stared at the stage anxiously waiting for the handsome man to continue with his speech.

“ This person here is very important to me, her name is Rainie Yang. She is the daughter of my former teacher who sadly passed away last year. My intention for introducing her tonight is because I plan to have her as my wife.”

Rainie looked at Joe shocked. She then turned around and ran off the stage. Joe took off after her. The shocked parents were hugging onto each other.
The whole room of more than two hundred people was completely silence. The air was so tense; Ariel thought she could literally cut it with a knife. Suddenly there was screaming from the young girls, “ No…no….he can’t, he can’t! I want to be his wife!” and the older matrons whispering to one another, “ His parents must be so shocked! Look at their faces! They will never allow their one and only heir to marry a girl with no breed! What a joke!” and the other matron whispering back, “but isn’t it romantic? She may not be of high class, but she definitely has the look!”.

The whole room only a minute was completely silence now filled with screaming of disbeliefs, of encouragements and some laughing as if it was a joke. Ariel never in her life witnessed such commotion and commented to Ella, “ I feel so sorry for whoever that is going to marry that Joe Cheng guy. Look at how arrogant he is! He didn’t even ask that girl if she agree!”.

Chapter 2

The moment Rainie ran off the stage, Joe took off after her. He saw his body guards running after him. Shit! He thought to himself, this is freaking Taiwan and they still treat him as if he doesn’t know how to take care of himself. He had hope that in Taiwan he’ll have more freedom, but unfortunately even after the death of his grandfather just a few months ago…he was still being shadow by bodyguards hired by his grandfather. “Stop Rainie!” Joe shouted. Rainie turned to look at him and ran even faster. How could she run so fast? Joe thought. Rainie has a very petite frame, and appeared very fragile on the outside, but she was fast! Joe finally caught up to her and grabbed her hands.

“We… need… to talk!” he said breathless. Rainie pulled her hands out of his grasp and answered angrily, “I have nothing to say to you.”

“Well, I have a lot to say to you!” Joe answered. Rainie grabbed her long waist length brown hair and started twirling it around her fingers. Joe knew whenever Rainie twirled her hair around her fingers it meant she was nervous.

“Why did you do that Joe? Why did you have to embarrass me in front of hundreds of people? Am I really nothing to you?” Rainie asked, there were tears coming from her eyes as she whispered those words.

Surprised, Joe said, “What do you mean I embarrass you? You told me on the airplane that you wanted me to show you how I feel about you! Well, my intention is to marry you!”
Rainie shook her head,

“That’s not what I wanted you to do and you know it!”

She walked a little further from Joe and said,

“We’re from different world…you and I…the only reason why you want to marry me is because you feel responsible for my father’s death! I don’t want your pity and I don’t need your guilt as the factor for you wanting to be with me!”
Rainie practically screamed the last sentence and left Joe standing by himself stunned.

Rainie hailed a taxi and got inside the car. Joe momentary taken aback shouted as the taxi took off,

“What the hell do you mean we’re from different world! Do you know how suffocating it is for me to not know who the heck I am because every god damn thing has already been decided for me?! Yeah, I would love to live in your world! What freaking different world do you mean?”
The taxi faded and Rainie was gone. Joe kicked the dirt ground and screamed at the sky in frustration.
“Shit! What the hell do you want from me, WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!”

__A week later_____

“I need to talk to Rainie”

Joe said over the phone. Rainie’s aunt Gong Li was silent for a few seconds on the other line and finally answered

“She’s not home, and even if she is home she doesn’t want to talk to you.”

“Tell her I’m coming over…” Joe said and hung up the phone. He got in his black new BMW and drove at full speed to Rainie’s home. In less than fifteen minutes he was at the front of Rainie’s home. Joe sighed, he did not understand why Rainie was upset with him. Why is she making such a big deal out of this? When Joe arrived, Rainie was already outside waiting for him. Rainie’s eyes were red from crying and her face was very pale. Joe got out of the car and went over to hug her. Rainie held him for a few minutes then she pushed him away.

“Let’s break up” Rainie whispered, she tilted her head up to Joe her face determined. Joe shocked just stared at Rainie.

“I want to break up…I don’t think we’re meant to be, we’re just too different from each other.”

Joe stood by the car quiet for a long time. He looks at Rainie and saw that she had held her composure together and seem as if she was serious with what she just said.

“I want to know why you want to break up? Is it because of what happened last week?” Joe asked.

“That’s part of it”. Rainie replied.

Joe laughed, “What is the freaking deal? Why aren’t you happy…any normal girl would be glad that I publicly announced my intention towards them!”

“That’s just it Joe, I’m not any ‘normal girl’ and no I’m not happy with what happened last week. And if you know anything about me at all you would know the reason why I’m so upset with you.” Rainie said sadly.

She turned away from Joe and said softly,

“I don’t want to see you for a while…I need some time to get used to Taiwan and learn my way around. I don’t regret that you were my first love, and I want to maintain our friendship…but nothing more than that.”

Rainie started walking toward her house with her head hanging low, she took a couple steps and felt someone grabbed her hand. Joe yanked her toward him, they were so close Rainie could feel Joe‘s breath on her as he hissed,

“So you’re really breaking up? Is this what you really want? Did you forget your father’s last words before he died?”

Rainie pushed Joe and shouted angrily at him,

“Yes, I remember everything he said! He wants us to be together, to have a future together! He wants you to take care of me! But don’t you understand Joe? That’s not what I want! I don’t want you to love me just because of my father! You’re so god damn smart why are you so stupid when it comes down to my feeling!?”

Joe tried grabbing Rainie again, she pushed his hands out of the way and said,

“I hate that I love you! I hate that I love you differently from the way you love me and you don’t understand at all! I hope that you’ll know the meaning of one side love one day…then maybe you will understand how I’m feeling right now…good bye Joe.”

Rainie pulled him to his car, opened the door shoved him inside.

“But…I…” Joe tried to finish what he wanted to say but Rainie ran inside her house without listening to what he has to say.

“But…if what I feel for you is not love, then I want you to teach me what love is…” he muttered to himself.


Joe couldn’t sleep that night. Rainie’s words were being repeated over and over in his head.

“You don’t understand me, you don’t understand love!” Joe got out of bed, grabbed his robe and walked out to the balcony. He lifted his face up to feel the open night wind and took a deep breath of air.

“You’re right Rainie, I don’t know what love is…I thought what I feel for you is love, but you’re telling me it’s not love. Then what is love?” Joe whispered to himself.

Joe remembered his former teacher pleading with him. “You love Rainie Joe? Please take care of her …I can’t die without knowing that you’ll care for her, promise me Joe! Promise me!” They were in the hospital emergency room. There were blood everywhere; Rainie was lying in the bed next to her father. She had tubes connected everywhere, and a breathing machine to help her breathe.

Joe was driving that night, he turned twenty one! The legal age to drink and it was Rainie’s graduation from high school. His former teacher, Mr. Yang just published the most anticipated self help book. There was a lot to celebrate that night. The three of them got together to celebrate. They had so many different conversations; there were so much to say. Joe remembered drinking one beer after another, laughing with Rainie and his most respected teacher. Watching the way Rainie interacted with her father, Joe realized that was how normal parent child relationship was. It was conversation that gives and take…not like the relationship he has with his parents at all.

He would never be able to laugh and joke with his stern director of a large publishing company father, nor hugged his mother the way Rainie was hugging her father. The normal conversation he has with his parents were, “What rank did you placed on the test?”, or “An heir to the most successful publishing company does not behaved that way! Don’t be a disgrace to the family!”

Joe did not remember how the accident occurred. There were fragmented visions of what happened that night, but it was not enough to piece exactly what had happened. He remembered waking up to sirens, people shouting and screaming and feeling of dread as the bodies of his teacher and Rainie were dragged out of the car. Joe was released from the hospital after a week, but Rainie and her father was there for over a month…and his teacher died at the hospital. Joe felt guilt consumed him and couldn’t stop the sudden pain in his chest. “I’m sorry teacher, I’m so sorry!” he whispered into the night air.

Chapter 3

Three months later“Oh my gosh! I totally cannot believe we are done with high school! I am totally synced about going to college, new experiences…new guys…and maybe a boyfriend!” Ella said with a big grin on her face. Ariel rolled her eyes at her tom-boyish friend’s new found goal in life.

“So, snatching up a boyfriend is what college is for huh?” Ariel and Ella are on their way to register for their college classes. Ella knew that she wanted to major in college. She realized that she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps in running and expanding the family restaurant. Ariel on the other hand has no idea what she wanted to do with her life, and could not decide what classes to take.

"Ariel, just take the same classes with me until you figure out what you want to major” Ella advised. Most of Ella’s classes comprised of introductory to business, statistics, and economics. Ariel felt it was a waste of tuition to attend school when she has no idea what she wanted to do with her life. But she was also afraid that if she did not attend college, she would be forever lost without a goal in life.

Ariel has always been a quiet person, even when she was very young. What made it even worse was that she is a natural klutz, she invite disaster wherever she goes. That was the reason why she was called the ‘clumsy mouse’ throughout high school. Ella was the only person that bonded with Ariel and stayed with her through thick and thin. Ella thinks that Ariel hasn’t blossom yet, and the cause of her late bloom was the death of her father when she was young.

Ariel witnessed her father’s death and till this day, she still has nightmare about it. Ariel’s mother has been too busy making a living, and saving college funds for her four children to notice how introverted Ariel has became.
Ariel was afraid to share with Ella that she’s been feeling hopeless, and aimless in life. Ella would think she is depressed, and probably have her go see a mental nutcase.

Ariel relaxed through painting, and personally felt that she was a decent painter. Painting was her secret coping mechanism and lately she’s been painting a lot. Especially after the incident at the party; the last three months of high school had been hell for Ariel. Tiffany and her little group of high socialites made fun of Ariel and the tray incident every chance they had. Ariel was relieved that high school was finally over, and she no longer has to see Tiffany. Mama Chang understood Ariel's situation at the party and did not fire her.

However, she asked Ariel to go see Joe Cheng and personally apologized to him. Ariel felt it was a waste of time, and felt that Joe Cheng wouldn’t care. Ariel reasoned that if she apologized it should be to his parents. However, Mama Chang said she had already apologized to the parents. The son, on the other hand said he wanted to meet the person that had dropped the cost of $3000 food because of her inability to serve properly. Ariel snorted at that and told Mama Chang the snack did not cost $3000, but Mama Chang told her to be quiet and whispered that the restaurant increased the price when serving at high society events. Mama Chang was adamant about Ariel going to see the world renowned Dreamer publisher’s heir. Ariel agreed and told Mama Chang that she would go see him this week.

Ariel and Ella stopped in front of the registration desk.
“I just saw my future husband!” Ella whispered in Ariel’s ear. Ariel handed her class registration and looked up toward the direction Ella was facing. Ella took off toward a crowd of boys, leaving Ariel behind. Ella stopped in front of a very handsome looking young man and pointed at him,

“I want you!”

There was stunned silence, and suddenly laughter. The guy replied,

“I don’t want you…I hate such direct people.”

Ella smiled and said, “You don’t know yet, but you want me! I’ll see you around!”

With that said Ella walked toward Ariel with her head held high and back straight. The crowd of guys was laughing and one of the guy said,

“Wu Zun…looks like you have another secret admirer! But this one is not secretly admiring you…she’s openly admiring you!”
Ella rushed over to Ariel breathless.

“Oh freak! I can’t believe I just said that, my mouth spoke without permission!” Ella groaned. Ariel laughed at her friend, this was so like Ella; always acting first before thinking things through.

“Did you ask for his name?” Ariel inquired. Ella slapped her forehead and said,
“Nooo…I was too memorized by his dark sexy eyes…and did you hear his voice? Sooo romantic…, didn’t his friends call him Wu Zun?”

Ella signs deeply and imitated what Wu Zun just said, “I don’t want you…I hate such direct people.”

Ariel frowned and said, “So you’re first meeting with the man of your dream …” Ella cut her off and said firmly,

“Those words may sound cruel to you Ariel, but to me it’s a challenge! He wants me to catch him; he wants me to make him see how much he’ll like me!” Ariel shook her head and hugged her friend. Typical Ella, Ariel felt almost sorry for the guy that Ella had decided as her future husband.

“Are you hungry? Let’s go grab some lunch at my mom’s place”. Ella said grabbing Ariel’s hands.
“No, I promised your mom I would stop by Dreamer’s company to see the director’s son.” Ariel said.

Ella shrugged and said, “I don’t see what the big deal is, no one even remembers what happen with you after the whole commotion with the heir and his girlfriend on stage.” Ariel agreed but a promise was a promise.

“I don’t know, your mom said something about wanting to save face and making a good impression with the heir…” Ella shrugged again and said “Okay, I’ll see you tonight, don’t be late! It’s your turn to close the restaurant!”

Ariel stopped in front of Dreamer publishing main building. It was a huge building designed with carefully selected rocks of beige and light hue colors with different designs interconnecting like puzzle pieces; there were people in business suits rushing back and forth with documents in their hands and deadlines to meet.

Wow, this is almost like rush hours during Mama Chang’s busiest! Ariel chuckled at the comparison. She walked into the lobby and asked information help desk for Joe Cheng.

The woman behind glanced at Ariel and said, “Do you have an appointment with him?” Ariel shook her head.

“Well, Mr. Cheng is very busy and does not have time for drop in”. Ariel held her head higher when she saw that the information clerk did a quick run through of the clothes Ariel was wearing, and smirked.

“Mama Chang told me to come see him…” Ariel started to say and the information clerk cuts her off and said
“I’m sorry, you need to leave!” Ariel silently turned toward the exit, but decided to head toward the elevator instead. The information clerk shouted,

“Where are you going?”

Ariel turned around and said, “Do I need to make an appointment to use the restroom too?” with that, the elevator doors opened and she walked inside.

Okay, I need to find his office…apologized then leave…you can do it Ariel, it’s not a big deal, and you owed Mama Chang! Ariel repeated those words in her head over and over again. She got off second floor and went to look at the building map. On the map it shows that Joe Cheng was located on the third floor with his office number. Ariel got on the elevator and pushed third floor.

Ariel found Joe Cheng’s office and put her hand on the door knob. She was about to open the door but stopped when she heard someone shouting.

“What do you mean you want to marry Rainie! She doesn’t suit you; if you want to marry there are plenty of well mannered girls of marriageable age within our own circle.” Joe’s mom, Vivian shouted.

“I absolutely refused to acknowledge that you would shame yourself by lowering your standard to a girl like her!”
“What the hell do you mean a girl like her?! I would rather die than be married to one of your friends’ so call well bred daughters!” Joe retorted.

Vivian put her hands over her heart and cried, “You’ll be the death of me. Why are you so stubborn…we put so much effort into raising you to take over Dreamer, why would we agree for you to marry a person with no assets? No lineage?” Joe walked over to his chair and sat behind the desk.

“I would trade my place just for a day of freedom. I would rather grow up in the street with my own identity and goal in life than live this god damn suffocating so call life you and father have mapped out for me.” Joe hissed through clenched teeth.

Vivian laughed and replied,

“But you have no choice do you? You’re afraid to face the real world…you don’t know how hard it is without money, without connection…you have all these idealistic ideas about wanting to live your own life, finding your own identity…but reality is, you’re too much of a coward without your father’s name to back you up. Remember you are a member of this family and you need to start behaving like one!”

There was a brief silence, and Joe said, “You know damn well the reason why I’m still here like a puppet. It’s not because of you or father and you know it!”

Vivian smiled and said, “Don’t bring up for the sake of your grandfather again. I can’t stand the man, thank god he’s dead!” Joe jumped from his chair and leaned toward his mother. “Don’t ever insult grandfather…next time I won’t let it go.”

Vivian stared into her son’s eyes and saw that he was serious. She shrugged and said,

“Fine, I don’t care who you married, as long as it’s not Rainie Yang. She and her father gave your father and me enough problems in the states. How dared she follow us here?”

Joe calmly asked, “Really?”

Vivian smiled evilly, there was a calculating gleam in her eyes as she said, “Whoever that walks through that door. If you married the first person that walked through the door…no matter the age for six months, I will give you what you have always wanted from your grandfather…his journals and my share of the company stock…but if that person refused to marry you within six months then your grandfather’s company share which he willed it to you will reverted back to me.”
Joe grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and quickly scrawled down what his mother just said.

“Sign here”, he said and handed his mother the pen.
Vivian laughed and shook her head, “What a fool.”
She quickly signed the document and handed the pen to Joe. Joe leaned down and signed the document.

Suddenly the door opened, there was a high pitch scream and a person fell onto the floor. Joe’s father Ron walked in the room, and on the floor was a girl with her back on the ground groaning.

“Oh my god, hell no!” the girl said, struggling to get up.

Chapter 4

Oh please, let this be a dream! Please when I count to three…I will not be on the floor flat on my back with the Cheng family staring at me! Ariel thought.Ariel closed her eyes tightly and whispered, “One, two, and three!” She opened her eyes and saw that she was in the same room as before.

“Crap, this is not happening!” She said and pinched her arm.

“Owww…it hurts!” Ariel tried to get up again, but could not. Her knees felt as if it was jelly and she could not even manage to sit up on her bottom.

“My, my, my…look at what we have here. Heaven must be on my side.” Vivian said with a smirk on her face. Ron saw that both his wife and son position themselves in a fighting stance. He observed that Joe was very tense, almost as if he wanted to punch something.

Joe grabbed Ariel’s hand and lifted her up. He did not make sure if she was able to stand on her own. Instead, the moment she was standing, he pulled his hands out of her grasp and angrily said

“Who the hell are you? Why are you in my office?”

“Is that any way to speak to your future wife?” Vivian asked sarcastically with a laugh. Ron the director of Dreamer Publishing Company walked over to his son, his brows lifted in question,

“What is going on?”

Joe walked away from his father and said, “Ask your wife!”

Ron put his hand on Joe’s shoulder and said,

“I’m asking you…you humiliated our family name three months ago with your announcement, and now you’re engaged to some stranger I haven’t even met?”

Joe laughed and said, “For a moment there, I thought you were going to ask if I’m okay…I thought is he being a father today?”

Joe glanced briefly at Vivian and said, “If you want to know ask your wife. I have something more important to do”

Ariel was slowly backing toward the exit door while the family was bickering. She lifted one of her leg out the door and proceeded to run but Joe managed to grabbed her by the neck just in the nick of time. Damn! Ariel closed her eyes and groaned loudly.

“You’re coming with me”. Joe said already pulling her out the door.
Is this guy for real? Ariel could not believe this arrogant jerk have the nerve to actually pull her by the neck and dragged her out the door as if she was some kind of unwanted goods.

Her mind flash back to the cartoon show she watched last night...what was it? It was an anime called hana yori dango where the main guy dragged the girl with him cockily and the girl's hands was flaying in the air...such an arrogant ass! Ariel remembered laughing at the anime because she thought things like that only happen on drama only. NOT reality! Damn, she was so wrong!This Joe Cheng guy is dragging her out the door and she was too stunned to stop him.

After a few minutes of opening and closing her mouth like a fish out of water, Ariel finally tried to pull out his grasp but Joe was holding on to her really tight.

They stepped in the elevator and Ariel managed to said, “Let go of my neck!"
She meant to say it loud and assertive, but the voice that came out sounded small and timid. Aww, Ariel, no wonder people at the old stupid prestigious school gave you the nickname 'mouse'. You really are a chicken!
Joe did not bother looking at her. He appeared as if he did not hear her talking.

“I said let go of my hand!” Ariel repeated more loudly this time. The elevator door opened and Joe dragged Ariel with him. They walked into the car garage, as Joe was dragging Ariel with him to his car, there were people looking at them and whispering to one another. Ariel overheard an employee saying, “Who’s that girl? Is she the one that he proposed on stage?”

Another employee said, “No, that can’t be her. The girl on stage was beautiful…this one at best is only decent…maybe pretty with makeup on.”

“Why are they together? Do you think they’re dating?” the other employee asked. Ariel wanted to shout it’s none of your business, but Joe shoved her inside the passenger seat and closed the door. Ariel opened the car door and tried to leave,half her body was already out the door, but she was suddenly blocked by a man in uniform.

Ariel looked over at Joe and saw that he signaled to another man in uniform standing by the door. They look like the same two men restraining Joe’s parents at the party. Ariel squinted her eyes at them...they were the same two bodyguards with Joe Cheng!

“Get in the car” Joe said. Ariel bite her lower lip and swung a lopsided swing at the bulky bodyguard. She felt a sharp pain and realized she made contact...her fist right smack on the bodyguard's thigh...but he was obviously NOT in pain, but she was. Her fist felt like she just slammed into brick wall! Damn! Ariel groaned and glared at the bodyguard.She saw the man lowered his face to her level and said softly but firmly,

“It’s best if you listen to Mr. Cheng and get inside the car.”

“This is kidnapping, I don’t want to go in the car. I don’t know who he is.” Ariel said. Joe nodded to his bodyguard and the man picked Ariel up and sat her inside the car and closed the door. The moment she was inside the car, Joe locked the car.

“Better put the seat belt on, I’m not in a good mood today.” Joe said. Ariel felt frustrated and wanted to cry.

“I’m not in a good mood too! What gives you the right to treat me this way? I’m reporting you to the police for kidnapping!” Ariel said angrily.

Joe repeated,

“Put the seat belt on”. Ariel pretended not to hear him. Joe leaned over her and snapped the seat belt in place.

“Are you hungry?” He asked barely glancing her way.

Ariel shook her head, both her hands holding onto the door handle ready for escape at any given minute.

“We’re going to eat; I have a lot of questions for you.” Joe said.

“I don’t care, I don’t want to know! Just let me go.” Ariel pouted, secretly congratulating herself for not showing how scared she actually was.

Joe parked his car in front of an expensive French restaurant and went over to open the door for Ariel. Ariel jumped out of the car, shoved Joe out of her way and took off running. She ran as fast as she could without looking back. She heard footsteps behind her and prayed that it was not Joe Cheng that was following her.

There was a lot of people on the street, she pushed through them and tried to find a hiding place. She saw a door near the alley, and started running faster toward the door. Ariel opened the door and walked inside. The room was dark and there was no other exit except for the way she just came in.

It must be a storage room, Ariel thought. She took out her cell phone to call Ella, silently praying for her best friend to pick up the phone. Ella’s going to killed me! I’m soo late for work! No, she’ll understand once I explain the situation to her. Ariel took a deep breath and started dialing Ella’s number.

The phone rang twice, and Ella answered,

“Ariel you are so in deep shit! Do you know what time it is?!”

“Ella, I need your…” Ariel did not get to finish her sentence. The phone was snapped out of her hands. A body pressed against her, he put his arms around her waist and she felt him lean closer to her and whispered in her ears.

“Didn’t I tell you I was not in a good mood today?” he asked. Ariel tried to push him away, but he held onto her even tighter.

“Let me go!” Ariel shouted fear evident in her voice.

“Tell me first who you are and why you were eavesdropping!” Joe whispered in her ears again. Ariel felt frustrated, moisture was already gathering at the corner of her any moment now she was going to break down and start bawling her eyes out! She was so damn pissed that he was so calm while she was shaking uncontrollably from anger.

“I did not eavesdrop!” Ariel said defensively. Joe opened the door and dragged Ariel out with him. She tried to shade her eyes from the sudden brightness of the sun but Joe did not let go of her hands. He push her against the wall and covered her body with his. He leaned close to her ears and said,

“From your actions, I know you heard the conversation I had with my mom…this means you know about my contract with her.” Ariel shook her head and said,

“I don’t know anything…I swear I didn’t hear anything at all. All I wanted to do was apologize to you as I promised Mama chang…even though it’s three months too late, but a promise is a promise. I have no intention…” Joe cut her off and said,

“Mama chang? So you’re the person that she told me about?” Joe asked. Ariel surprised said, “Why…what did she say about me?”

Joe shook his head and said,


“Can you please let me go or at least let me breathe?” Ariel asked trying to push him off her. Joe loosened up his grip and said,

“If I let you go, promised you won’t try to run again?”

Ariel nodded, “I promised”.

Joe took a couple step back so that they were face to face.

Ariel took a deep breath and said,

“I really don’t know anything; my only intention was to apologize to you like I said before.”

Ariel stood tall, cleared her throat and bowed to Joe.

“Let me take this opportunity to say I’m sorry for the mistakes I made at your welcome home party. I will not repeat the same mistakes again.” After Ariel bowed again, Joe nodded, his eyes twinkle and his mouth curved up in a half smile,

“I accept your apology…" He was silence for a second then said softly,

"I know we’re strangers but I need your help Ariel.”

Ariel was surprised to hear Joe speak without the haughty tone. She looks at him again, and saw that he was staring off into space. There was a deep sadness in his eyes…almost as if he was lonely. For a moment there, Joe reminded Ariel of herself when she was feeling lonely.

“What do you mean you need my help?” Ariel asked.

“It means, I know you overheard the conversation I had with my mom…it means I need you to agree to be my fiancé.”

“…um…your, your fiancé?” Ariel stuttered. Joe grabbed Ariel hands squeezed it tightly,

“Yes, be my fiancé…....please.”


Ariel sat on her bed and replayed the conversation she had with Joe Cheng over and over in her head. Are you crazy Ariel? You cannot possibly think about being the fiancé of Dreamer publisher’s one and only heir!You will be the laughingstock of everybody in their circle! She leaned against the bed and remembered the sincerity of Joe’s words. He had said that getting his grandfather’s journal was very important to him. Ariel remembered Joe’s mother, Vivian saying that his grandfather was already dead. From the sound of it, she sounded happy that her father died. Ariel was very perplexed about the Cheng’s family complicated relationships.

Joe and his grandfather must have been really close for him to even think about going through with a sham marriage! The journal must be really special. Ariel signs deeply. She told Joe Cheng that she would think about it first. She was very skeptical about participating in a sham marriage. Ariel couldn’t help but feel curious about the relationship between Joe and his parents. Even though Ariel and her mother is not very close after her father died a few years ago, nevertheless, Ariel love her mother and have great respect for how hard her mother worked to provide for the family.


“I’ll give you a week to think about it. After that we can negotiated the terms of the marriage.” Joe said nonchalantly, with his back against the wall.

Ariel shook her head and said,

“You’re acting as if I’ll agree to this sham!” No way in hell! I will never agree to this! Ariel thought angrily. She stared at Joe and said,

“OK Fine! I overheard the conversation you had with your mother. To tell you the truth I think it’s childish to make a contract just to see if you can get someone to marry to you! I will never understand how the rich and privilege think! Is it fun to play with people as if they’re toys?!”

Joe took a deep breathe and said, “I can’t explained to you the meaning of my grandfather’s journal. I don’t care about the company…for all I care if it all disappear tomorrow I wouldn’t care at all. What I do care is getting my grandfather’s journal…it means everything to me.”
Ariel stared into Joe’s eyes and saw that he was very serious.

“So, if I had not overheard the conversation between you and your mom, whoever that walks through that door will blindly fall under your trap and married you huh?” Ariel asked.

Joe nodded. Ariel laughed and said, “That’s why I don’t understand how you people think. Do you think it’s a game and what after 6 months you’re going to divorce right?” Again Joe nodded.

“What about the girl that you practically proposed to on stage? Don’t you care about her feeling?” Ariel asked.

Joe was quiet for a few seconds then he replied,
“This doesn’t involved her…don’t worry about it.”

Ariel could not believe that Joe could appeared so cold hearted! He just proposed to that girl on stage not so long ago and now he’s willing to married some stranger just for additional stock share and his grandfather’s journal? Being rich must mean you have to be crazy as well! Ariel thought. Ariel took a deep breath and said in a very calm and no nonsense voice so that Joe understands she mean exactly what she just said.

“No, that’s my answer. I do not want to be your fiancé, I do not want to be involved in a sham marriage and that’s my final answer!” Ariel started walking away. Joe grabbed her and held her close to him; there was raw pain in his voice as he softly said,

“Please, help me Ariel. My life, my identity…everything depends on my grandfather’s journal…my grandfather left the journal for me, but after his death mom took it…I need to know what he wrote, I just know that there are crucial information that will help me understand who I am!”

Ariel turned to look at Joe, and noticed that there was moisture in his eyes. Is he crying? Someone as arrogant as him on the verge of tears just for a journal?
Ariel sighed, and said “Give me a week, I can’t guarantee a yes…but I’ll think about it.”

___________________End of flashback________________

Oh gosh damn it all to hell! Tomorrow is the end of the week…I don’t know how to answer him; I can’t tell Ella, she’ll think I’m crazy! If I say yes, than I am crazy! What am I getting from this? NOTHING!!! why should I ruined my future marriage just for a journal! Ariel thought. But he looked so sad, so lost…so hopeless. Ariel shook her head and said quietly to herself,
“No, don’t be a fool; you don’t belong in his world. Just tell him no when you see him.” Ariel made up her mind. She will tell him the answer is NO come their meeting tomorrow.

@~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Ariel, phone call for you!” Ariel younger brother Jon called from downstairs.

“Okay!” Ariel shouted.

She went downstairs and picked up the phone. Ariel’s twin brother Adrian and Darien was in the living room watching T.V. Jon was in the kitchen cooking. Ariel smiled at her brother, Jon was two years younger than her but he acted so much older.

“Hello, Ariel speaking”

“Why didn’t you pick up your cell phone?” Joe said over the phone. Oh god, it’s him! Ah…it's time to tell him the truth. I can't tell it to him face to face...better tell him over the phone so I don't have to see his expression!

“My answer is No, that’s all I have to say to you. Good bye!” Ariel said in a rush and quickly hung up the phone.

Joe heard the slam of the phone. He knew Ariel was going to say no, so during the week she had thinking over his proposal. Joe did some investigation on her. When she hears what I have to say, she’ll change her mind. She’ll have no choice but to agree to us getting married… I’ll do anything to get that journal…anything! Joe thought.

Chapter 5

Hu Ge watched his father Ron Ge Cheng walked into Dreamer publishing company. Ge followed his father from behind, making sure that no one was following him. He had been observing his father for the past few months, taking note of every detail, including Ron’s daily routine so that he would be prepared today to meet his dad whom he has not seen for the past 10 years

.Ron Ge Cheng walked into the elevator, as the door closes, Hu grabbed the door and slide inside. In Ge’s hand was a newspaper dated twenty-one years ago, with a picture of a younger version of Ron whose name in those days was just Ron Ge and not Ron Ge Cheng. Next to Ron was an older man, the former director and owner of Dreamer publisher…Vivian’s father Victor. The newspaper headline was “Victor Cheng have just handed Dreamer publisher GM position to his right hand Ron Ge…but what happen to Vivian, the daughter?”.

Ge stood next to his father, and purposely spread the newspaper so that Ron would take notice of the headline and the picture. Ron glanced quickly at the picture and his eyes widen. He looked over at Ge, and was momentarily shock. He opened his mouth but couldn’t form any words. Ge grinned and said,

“Do I look familiar to you?” Ron Ge nodded his head but was unable to say anything. He looked at the newspaper and finally said,

“You’re reading a really outdated newspaper” He winked and with a devilish smile said,

“I know. I intend to uncover everything possible relating to Dreamer publisher and the people involved. It only make sense doesn’t it, by reading newspapers printed back in those days?”
With a very carefree attitude, Ge folded the newspaper and tucked it under his arm. He then started to hum a lullaby that Ron (his father) and mother used to sing to him at night. Ron took out a handkerchief and quickly wiped his sweaty forehead.

“Why are you interested in Dreamer?…Dreamer publisher doesn’t concern you.”

Ge laughed and said, “That’s where you’re wrong…FATHER…, that’s where you’re wrong! I won’t rest until I destroy Dreamer. I’m not afraid to say it out loud…because I have your evil tainted blood flowing in my system…these bloods are boiling in need of revenge.”
Ron swallowed hard and whispered, “Don’t call me father at the company!” Ge laughed again and tauted,

“Are you ashamed of me? Ashamed of mother…is that why you left your family for that bitch with the money!”

“That’s not…” Ron tried to explain but Ge cuts him off.

“Mother was dying, did you know that? She was dying of cancer…you still left her…left us for Dreamer…for money. Just so you could be one of them huh? One of those high class people, you left your family and sold yourself to the devil! Well...I have news for you, father dearest…its pay back time…and I’m collecting!” Ge said softly, his eyes stared straight into his father’s, hot, fiery, insatiated anger and filled with revenge. The elevator doors opened; there were people outside waiting to get inside the elevator. Ron forced his legs to shakily walk out of the elevator. He turned to look at his son,Ge gave him a huge grin and a salute before the elevator door closed.

@~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~

“Rainie, do you think this looks good on me?” Gong Li asked her niece. Rainie look at the blouse Gong was holding and nodded. She lean down and pulled out a different color blouse and put it next to her aunt.

“Um…but I think this one matches your skin tone more.” Rainie said. Gong laughed and said,
“I’m so glad you’re working here with me. These past few years Li Fashion business has been picking up and it’s so hard to find young, hardworking people these days.”

Rainie smiled and said, “You’re just being nice because I couldn’t find work anywhere else…what with my college classes…I’m thankful for this part-time job.”

Rainie and Gong continue to put clothes on the rack when suddenly Gong whispered,

“Rainie do not look behind you.”

Rainie frowned and asked, “Why?”

Gong repeated, “Do not look behind you.”

Rainie now curious quickly turned around. She saw Joe Cheng strolling in the clothing aisle with a girl Rainie had not seen before. They appeared to be in a heated argument, the girl obviously very frustrated as she put the clothes back on the rack; and Joe enjoying himself taking the clothes off the rack and holding it in his arms.

Gong scolded, “I told you not to look!”

Rainie was on the verge of tears but she bravely whispered,

“I don’t care…it doesn’t bother me at all!”

Rainie knew she was lying, but she refused to feel sad. Rainie couldn’t stop herself from glancing over. She was surprised to see how carefree Joe looks. It seems as if he enjoy being with that girl, he was teasing the girl and the more he teased her, the angrier the girl get…but that’s exactly the reaction he wanted from the girl. Rainie sighed, Joe was never like that with her. Gong Li patted Rainie on the shoulder and asked,

“Do you need a break?” Rainie shook her head.

“I just wonder who that girl is…whoever she is…it seems Joe like her. Apparently, I’m all but forgotten.” Rainie said bitterly. She felt ridiculous for feeling so angry and at the same time sad. Remember you broke up with him! Rainie reminded herself.

Gong shook her head at Rainie's silliness and said,

“You can have him back if you want Rainie, you know that. Plus, that girl is not half as pretty as you.”

Rainie smiled, she knew her aunt Gong was trying to cheer her up. The truth is, I don’t want Joe to be with me if he doesn’t see me as a woman…as someone that he cannot live without, ah…and that’s the problem. Joe sees me only as a sister. Problem is…he think it’s love…more like it’s guilt because of Daddy’s death. Rainie signs again and decided to go to the back room. Even though she broke up with Joe, it was still painful to see him with someone else.

Rainie took some more clothes off the rack and as she was walking toward the back room she bumped into someone. The clothes fell on the floor.

A girl quickly said, “I’m sorry, let me help you!” Rainie look from under the clothes and said,

“No…it’s okay, I’ll pick it up. I carried more than I should…”

Rainie stopped when she realized that it was the same girl she saw with Joe. Standing behind the girl was Joe Cheng. All the clothes fell out of her arms. Rainie felt light headed and there were tears slipping down her cheek. She tried holding back the tears, but now that she is so close to the two of them…Rainie couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down her cheek.

“Joe…” Rainie whispered. Joe looks at Rainie, and she saw genuine sadness in his gaze as he said, “Rainie…”

Chapter 6

"Um...I'm sorry for bumping into you...I'm kind of a klutz...let me help you" Ariel murmured, oblivious to the tense situation. Rainie started picking up the clothes. Ariel got on the floor to help but Rainie said, "Please...don't. You're the customer and I don't want you to do this." Ariel looked at her closely and realized that she was the girl Joe proposed to on stage. Even without makeup she was still so beautiful. Now Ariel was feeling the strange vibe, the tension seems to increase the longer Joe and the girl looks at each other. Joe looks uncomfortable and sad at the same time.

"'re working here?" Joe asked.

Rainie nodded and continued picking up the clothes. Ariel handed her the clothes she grabbed from the floor.

"Look...Rainie right? I don't want you to get the wrong idea about..." Ariel started to say, but Joe squeezed her arm really tight. Rainie shrugged and said,

"I'm really busy...excuse me." She quickly left. Ariel turned to Joe with a scowl on her face,

"What was that about? Why didn't you let me explain? She completely misunderstood the situation!"

Joe shrugged,

"I don't want her involved."

Ariel stomped her feet in anger. Joe was getting on her last nerve! After the phone call with Ariel telling him she did not want to be engaged to him, Joe went to her house and practically dragged her out of the house! Ariel could still visualize the shock faces of her brothers. Joe told her she either get in the car with him or they could have the conversation right in the living room with her brothers as the audience. Ariel shook her head to stop from remembering. The jerk was standing right in front of her, she did not want to think about him!

"Whether you like it or not Joe, she is involved...I don't understand why you can't marry her or why you need to go through with the sham..."

Joe pressed his fingers over Ariel's moving lips. Ariel looked at him blankly, no longer talking. Joe leaned in very close to Ariel and whispered,

"For a mouse, you sure do talk a lot...or is it just when you're with me?"

Ariel surprised asked, "What do you mean a mouse?"

Ariel hated people calling her a mouse; it was something that she had to endure all through high school and has no plan to revisit her past. Joe took the clothes in his arms and went up to the counter. Ariel followed him; she took the clothes off the register as Gong Li started scanning the clothes.

"I don't need to buy new clothes...furthermore; I don't need you to buy me clothes!" Joe nodded to Gong Li, and the woman continues to scan the clothes as if Ariel was invisible.

"Why are you doing this? I can't afford all these clothes! A pair of clothing from here is worth a week of my salary at Mama Chang! Stop!" Ariel groaned in frustration. Joe pretend he did not hear her. Ariel turned to leave but Joe grabbed her arm.

"We haven't had our talk yet, I guarantee you'll find what I have to say very interesting." Joe leaned toward her and whispered. The sudden closeness caused the girl's face to blush and she took a couple steps away from Joe. Ariel noticed that they were being observed by the sale clerk, Gong Li. She stopped struggling and waited until Joe paid for the purchases.

"I'm not wearing these clothes!" Ariel whined the moment they walked out of Li's Fashion. Joe shrugged and said with a grin,

"I don't care, I will make sure you wear each and every one of these clothes personally...even if I have to dress you myself".

"God! Why are you doing this to me...what have I done to you to deserve this punishment?!" Ariel cried in frustration again.

Joe smiled secretly, but when Ariel turned to look at him he put on a sober face. They stopped at a restaurant around the corner of the mall. Joe pulled out a chair for Ariel and waited until she was seated.

"There's a reason why we shopped today" Joe stated the moment they sat down. He stared intensely into Ariel's eyes. She knew he was being serious; the playfulness was gone, in its place was a stoic expression, cold and expressionless. What a moodiness ass! Ariel frowned.

"I already explained to you the importance of my grandfather's journal; I'm giving you another chance to give me a different answer...without any force."

"Are you threatening me?" Ariel asked.

"If I need to" Joe answered. He reached over and trailed her face. Ariel flinched and tried to push her chair away from him but he held her face in his hand and forced her to look at him.

The playful, arrogant Joe Cheng who purposely teased her was gone. In his place was a man who was determined to get what he wants, and would use any means necessary to get it. Ariel felt a little intimidated. This was the first time she really looked at Joe Cheng, and realized she did not know him at all. She suddenly knew even if she ran...he would eventually catch up to her.

"You hired a detective didn't you?" Ariel asked. Joe nodded, he signaled a waiter. Within seconds they had their lunch ordered.

"I assumed if I're going to blackmailed me." Ariel stated. I don't have anything to hide, what a cheap shot! Ariel thought.

Joe smiled. "I don't need to blackmail you...there's always your mom." Joe answered with a smug on his face.

"My mom?" Ariel was surprised.
"Yes, your mom. Have you ever wondered how she was able to afford raising four children on her own, pay for the home and save enough money for her children to attend college?" Joe asked.

"I don't know what you mean, tell me." Ariel demanded.

"Let's just say that it was illegal and if the officials know about it...she would have years behind bars." Joe let go of Ariel's face and sat back in his chair. Ariel shook her head, she refused to believe him. Joe took out a vanilla envelope and passed it over to her side of the table. Ariel opened the envelope and took out a list of names; her mother's name was on the list. There were also photographs of her mother...with different men.

"What's does this mean?" Ariel asked not wanting to believe what she was seeing. This can't be true, this can't be true!

"I can give your mom a regular job with the same salary she's making now, this way she has more time to spend with you and your brothers...and an escape from her current line of work." Joe said.
The waiter came and put their lunch plates on the table. They waited until the waiter left. Ariel fought back the tears that were threatening to come out.
"You did all of this...just so I would agree to be your fiancé?" Ariel asked softly. She felt as if her body was drained of all energy. The shock of learning the truth about her mother took a toll on her emotionally and psychologically. For a moment, regret flashed through Joe's eyes, but it was quickly gone; Ariel thought she imagined it.

Joe nodded, his eyes emotionless.

"I hate you...I hate you so much that the word hate is not enough to describe how I feel right now, do you know that!" Ariel hissed bitterly. She left her lunch untouched; both her hands were gripping hard on the corner of the table. Joe nodded to indicate he heard her, but continues to eat his lunch. They were both quiet for a long time. Joe finally finished his lunch and signaled for the check. Ariel did not touch her lunch, she was no longer hungry. After thinking things through, Ariel took a deep breath, realizing she was trapped she closed her eyes and breath deep in and out.

"Before I say yes, I need to ask you a few questions." Ariel realized that she has no choice, and it would be better for her to have as much information as possible on the Cheng family. Joe nodded again and replied,

"You can ask me only three questions, and I swear I will answer you truthfully."
"Fine, but before I ask you the questions you have to agree to this." Ariel reached her hand over and waited for Joe to take her hand.

"What?" He asked.

"If I agree to marry you...we have to sign a contract...such as separate bedrooms, no intimacy, no touching, no kissing, no..." Ariel stopped suddenly when Joe slams his fist on the table instead of shaking her hand.

"Ask me those three damn questions first, and then we can go into details about the contract!" he shouted.
What an ass! Ariel felt like slamming her fist on the table too but decided one of them had to be the better person.


Ariel saw people at the other tables staring their way. I have to be the better person! She reminded herself.She put her finger to her lips,

"Lower your voice!". Joe leaned back in his chair and waited for Ariel's questions.

Ariel noticed that Joe's bodyguards was hiding behind the café shop.

"This is not one of the questions...I'm just curious, why do you have bodyguards?"

"Because my grandfather hired them to watch over me since I was young... You have two more questions left." Joe said.

"I sense that you have a rocky relationship with your parents, why is that?" Ariel was hesitated in asking that question, but she was really curious. Joe was quiet for a few moments, and then he heaved a huge sigh,

"My mother dislikes me ever since I could remember...and my father ignored me; he has always put a distanced between us...almost as if he did not want to know who I am. It was my grandfather that raised me for the first 10 years of my life. At the age of 10... I guess my mother had a brief guilt trip over not being a mom and decided to raise me..." Joe closed his eyes briefly. Ariel could see that it was very hard for him to talk about his family relations.
"She had a huge argument with my grandfather and ended up moving from Taipei to New York. We've lived there for the past 10 years...only with the death of my grandfather a few months ago; they decided to move back here."

Even though his face was void of emotions, she could hear a hint of sadness in his voice. There were unshed tears behind those words. Ariel wanted to comfort Joe, but she dared not to. A person who would resort to blackmail is most likely a person with a heart of ice.

"So, you don't know what caused the rift between your parents and your grandfather?" Ariel asked, slightly intrigued despite the situation. Joe shook his head.

"Whatever relationship they the time I was old enough, I've learned that everything is not as it seem...I questioned sometime if I am even their biological son." Joe laughed softly.

"No, you are their have some of your mother's features...same chin, eyes..." Ariel remarked.

" mom's feature, but not my dad's?... Last question" Joe suddenly said. Ariel wanted to ask more questions about his family, but knew it was impossible. Joe was already very uncomfotable and he looked like he wanted to leave. She decided to not probe anymore today.

"What will happen to you and your girlfriend?"

Joe laughed,

"We broke up. Nothing will happen."


"You used up the three questions already. Let's go over the contract." Joe grinned, clearly relieved that he didn't have to answer anymore questions. Ariel sighed, disappointed that she did not get as much information as she had hoped.
@~~~~~~ @~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~

"First on the contract...your mother will start work immediately at a different branch. When we successfully pulled this marriage off, we will divorce no strings attached." J

Ariel frowned and wondered if it really will be that strings attached. She shrugged, of course it would be simple, it's not like she had any feelings for the ass!

"Wait..." Ariel started to say.

Joe put his hand up,

"I'm not done. Included in this contract are benefits for you. For example, I will set you up with a fund for personal use...which will still be yours after the divorce. The only job you have as my wife is to behave in such a way that no one will doubt that we're not happily in love".

Ariel put her hands up in the air to stop Joe.

"Wait...I am not kissing you, we are not going to be intimate...I'm still a virgin" Ariel blushed, her face hot from embarrassment. She saw the evil gleam in Joe's eyes when he heard the word 'virgin'.

Please do not be a pervert! Ariel wanted to crawl under the table and hide.
Joe purposely grabbed both her hands and held it in his,

"We'll be doing more than just kissing Ariel."

Ariel tried pulling her hands out of his grasp.

"What do you mean by that? Just because you showed me those pictures of my mom doesn't mean that I'm..."

Joe stopped Ariel from talking with a quick kiss on her lips. Ariel was shocked, she had never been kissed before...she didn't know if she should be angry that Joe had stolen her first kiss or happy that the kiss felt so good.

"We will behave as husband and wife to the public, shared bedroom when visiting families but we will have our own separate room in our condo. We WILL kiss as much as possible in public...that's all part of the show." Joe stated firmly.

Ariel shook her head.
"I don't understand the contract with your mom...are you supposed to be married for six months or you have six months to get married? And what if she changes her mind and decides to back out of the agreement?" Ariel asked desperately trying to change the subject. She did not like the gleam in Joe's eyes. If she didn't know any appear as if Joe actually look forwards to kissing her?

Joe shrugged,

"That's not your concern...your job is to practice being my future wife."

Ah...I can't believe this is happening, is this really happening to me?! A few days ago, Ariel felt aimless because she didn't know what to do with her life; it seemed destiny had something else already planned for her and she has no choice but to walk that path. Damn Joe Cheng and his blackmail! I hate him so much...there are no words to describe it! Damn her mother from hiding such secrets from her! Ariel groaned. Damn her bad luck for eavesdropping on the Cheng's private conversation...How do I get out of this situation?! Ariel put her head on the table in despair.

Chapter 7

“Rainie, you need to eat something! You’re already too thin; do you want to become a skeleton?” Gong Li asked her niece. Rainie signed deeply and replied,“I’m just not hungry auntie…” In her hands were last week’s newspaper. The newspaper has a picture of Joe Cheng holding hands with the same girl Rainie saw at the clothing mall. The headline reads, “Dreamer publisher’s Heir in love?” Gong reaches over the table and grabbed the newspaper out of Rainie’s hands.

“You need to stop this Rainie!” Gong said.

"Something is not right auntie! I know Joe for a long time; this is not his normal behavior...why is he purposely seeking the's as if he wants people to take notice of his relationship with that girl" Rainie said. Gong sighed,

"The same thing he did with you. Didn't he announced his intention towards you on the stage? How was that different from this?"

Rainie shrugged and whispered if to herself,

"Joe wouldn't do this without a reason. He wouldn't purposely hurt me like this." Gong took Rainie's hands in hers and stared intently in the girl's eyes. Rainie tried to avoid looking directly into her aunt's pity filled gaze.

"It's been almost five told him you wanted some space. If he was serious about you, if he loved you at all he would have tried harder. For your sanity and your happiness it's time to talk to him and find out what is going on. Stop torturing yourself with questions...and just ask him directly."
@~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~

Rainie stood outsideDreamer building for almost an hour. Finally, she pulled her jacket closer to her body, took a deep breath and walked into Dreamer publisher's lobby. She had last week's newspaper with her and walked toward the elevator purposely. There were so many questions she wanted to ask Joe, there was so many things she wanted to tell him, yet she was afraid her aunt may be right. What if she really didn't mean anything to Joe? She has no idea if he will answer any of her questions, but if he ignored her...that was answer enough for her.

The elevator door opened and Rainie walked inside. There was a young man in the elevator; he smiled at Rainie and asked,

"Going up?" She nodded and answered,

"Third floor please." Rainie noticed that he was looking at the newspaper in her hand.

"I'm sorry, I must have missed last week's edition...can I see that for a moment?" The man asked. Rainie nodded and handed him the newspaper.

"Oh, isn't this Joe Cheng the heir to this company?" The man asked. Rainie assumed he worked in the company. She frowned at him and asked,

"Of course, shouldn't you recognize the director's son?"

A flash of anger flashed through the young man's face but it was quickly replaced with a smile.

"The director's son huh? Are you two close?" The man asked casually.

Rainie frowned suspiciously,

"That's none of your business is it?"

The man shrugged but she thought she heard him whispered,

"I'll make it my business...starting with the girl in the picture."

Rainie shook her head; wondering if she was imagining things. The elevator door opened, and Rainie walked out. It was only after the elevator closed that she realized that man still has her newspaper. It didn't matter, she didn't need the newspaper.

Rainie knocked on Joe's door loudly. Nobody answered. After a few minutes of waiting the girl realized she was not going to see Joe today. It was probably better to call Joe first before coming to see him. Rainie walked absentmindedly toward the elevator and bumped into Joe's mom Vivian. Vivian was with a group of company workers. When she saw Rainie, she waved them off and glared smugly at the frighten looking girl.

"Well, well...what do we have here?" Vivian purred softly. Rainie gave Vivian a slight bow and asked politely,

"How do you do".

Vivian laughed gleefully feeding off the intimated look on the girl's face.

"Oh, I'm doing just great...just great, especially now that Joe is no longer under your spell." Rainie remained quiet. She has never understood why Vivian appeared to dislike her so much. She remembered her father sharing with her that he and Vivian used to be good friends...but that all changed after Vivian married her husband, Ron.

"You do know, dear Joe is planning to get married right?" Vivian taunted. Rainie was very surprised; the shock of hearing those words caused her to feel suddenly dizzy.

"What do you mean?" She couldn't stop herself from asking.

" don't need to know. Just that Joe is actually a very simple person easy to manipulate!" Vivian said in a taunting voice.

"I don't understand"

Vivian laughed loving the confused look in the girl's eyes.

"You don't? I didn't think you were so stupid...just think, a few months ago he wanted to marry you? Now, suddenly he wants to marry someone else...this Ariel Lin, practically to a complete stranger. In your opinion, do you think he is in his right mind...or do you think that new girl have something to use against him?"

Vivian said with a cunning smile.

"Are you suggesting that Joe is being forced? I find that hard to believe." Rainie said, but she wasn't sure, Vivan just may be evil enough to force her son do things against his will.

"Poor Rainie, when are you going to grow up? Not everybody plays fair...this new girl obviously know what she wants and how to get it...poor Joe he has no clue what traps that girl has set for him." Vivian was all smiles as she left Rainie stunned.

What is going on Joe? Are you in trouble? I feel as if your mom wants me to compete with that girl...Ariel Lin for your affection...Are you really in love with her? Rainie wondered. The girl walked in the elevator and did not notice the same young man hiding behind the corner listening to her conversation with Vivian. In his hands was the newspaper of Joe and Ariel.

He whispered softly,

"...Ariel Lin?"

"I hate morning classes! Why can't they have math in the afternoon...I'm dying from lack of sleep!" Ella complained as she sat down in math class next to Ariel.Ariel was staring off into space again. For the past few weeks, Ariel has become more jumpy and anxious. When Ella asked what was wrong, she received the same replies, "nothing". Ella knew Ariel long enough to know that something was bugging her friend.

"I am so lucky Ariel; look my future husband is sitting in the front. I'm so glad that he's's a good thing because I'm not very good with math." Ella said as she stared at the back of Wu Zun's head.

By now everybody in the classroom...if not the whole campus knows about Ella's crush. During the majority of the classroom period, Ella could be found with her eyes staring straight at Wu. At first it was difficult for the professor to teach because of the distraction, but eventually the professor and the rest of the class accepted the fact that Ella staring at Wu from the back with a dreamy looks on her face was part of the classroom environment.

Towards the end of the class, the professor passed out the midterm assignment and asked the students to wait for a few minutes. All the students in the class complained of the surprised changes to the current class syllabus.

"For the midterm math project, I will have each of you paired with a partner; because this is a math class you will each write your name on a sheet of paper and put it in the basket. Your partner will be randomly assigned...part of the assignment requires teamwork, therefore, you cannot change partners."

The whole class groaned. The students each wrote their names on a sheet of paper and put it in the basket. The teacher shook the basket a couple of times, cleared his throat and started calling individual names. Almost half the class has been paired. There were only a handful of students left. Ella grinned at Ariel,

"I hope to be pair with my future husband...but I'll settle for you as second."

Ariel laughed at Ella's joke. She glanced over at WuChun, the annoyed looks on his face clearly indicated he did not find Ella's joke very funny.

"Okay...down to the last four, let's see I have Ella and her partner is Wu Zun." The professor said.

Ella jumped up in the air and with a loud "Yes!!!" went and gave Chun a hug. The whole class laughed...except for Ella's crush. His face was red from embarrassment, and he tried to distance from Ella by rushing out of the classroom.

The professor cleared his throat and called out in a loud voice,

"The last pair is Ariel Lin and Hu Ge." Ariel followed the professor's glance and saw her math partner standing by the door. He had his backpack on and appeared to be ready to leave. Hu Ge brushed his hair back from his forehead and gave Ariel a quick smile. Feeling at ease that her partner appeared kind, she smiled back at him. Ariel have not seen him before and wondered if he was a new student...or perhaps just someone she has not noticed before. Ariel finds that hard to believe because the partner standing by the door was a very handsome young man.

"Please read the assignment and take some time off campus to work on your project together. Class dismissed." The professor said. The students grabbed their belongings and left the class. Ariel walked up to Hu and introduced herself.

"Hi, maybe I haven't noticed you in class...I'm sorry but I don't remember your name. I'm Ariel". Hu nodded "I know your the teacher said, my name's you want to go grab something to eat and decide what we want to do with the assignment?" He asked, he appeared a little nervous. Ariel nodded.
@~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~

Ariel felt very comfortable with Hu. They had nonstop conversations, from class assignments to the weather, current politics and family life. Ariel was very surprised at easy it was to share her personal thoughts with a stranger. She felt as if she had knowbn him for a long time. For some reason, Hu has the ability to put her at ease.

"So, this is your last year of college? You need to make up for this class because you dropped it last semester?" Ariel asked. Ariel and Hu sat in the busy school cafeteria to have their lunch before the next class.

Hu nodded,

"I had unexpected family emergency. My mom relapsed again and the doctor thought she might not make it."

"Your mom has leukemia? I'm sorry...I shouldn't pry into your family affairs." Ariel said, feeling sorry for Hu. The young man shrugged and

, "I've been dealing with this since I was four...ever since I was young it was just mom and me."

Ariel wanted to ask where his father was, but decided it was none of her business. Stop being so nosy Ariel! Remember the situation you're in now because you were too nosy and eavesdrop! Ariel promised herself not to be overly curious about other people's affairs, and to never ever eavesdrop. Not that she was in the habit of was just that particular one time and that one time was a lesson to last her a lifetime.

"What's your next class?" Hu asked.

"I have creative art...what about you?" Ariel asked. Hu smiled and said,

"I have art too, but I'm in advance painting."

"Really, you paint? That's do I, but I'm only taking creative art as a hobby...a way to release my stress." Ariel explained. She was glad that they shared the same passion for painting.

"Why don't we share our paintings sometimes...we can share the painting's stories." Hu suggested. Ariel felt really excited, this was the first time in a long time since she felt real excitement.

"Oh, I would love to!" She said.

"Let's meet this Saturday, we can work on our project and also share our painting." Hu said. Ariel nodded eagerly. She would love to have someone else critique her art.

Wow, I feel like I know Hu for a long time and we've just met! Being with him is so comfortable...completely different from when I'm with Joe, Ariel thought to herself. Wait! Why am I even thinking about Joe? The only time I get to escape from his wifely guidelines is when I'm at school! Ah...stop it Ariel! Don't let him ruined your wonderful day! Ariel told herself not to think about Joe; she was surprised at how easily he crept into her thoughts without her consent.

That's because I hate him! Who wouldn't hate a cold hearted blackmailer? Yes, Ariel, remember you hate him. Ariel reminded herself over and over whenever Joe threatens to enter her mind. Hu checked his watch and said it was time for the next class. He grabbed his backpack and waved bye to Ariel.

Ariel finished the last of her lunch and as she was putting her class assignment in her folder, she saw that Hu also left his assignment on the table. Next to the midterm assignment was a newspaper with the picture of her and Joe holding hands. Oh no! I hope Hu didn't see this! Ariel shook her head. No, he couldn't have or he would have asked me like the other students did. Ariel balled up the newspaper and threw it in the trash on her way to her next class.

Chapter 8

Joe observed Ariel walking up and down the hallway with books on top of her head. He smiled secretly when he heard Ariel groaned and mumbled a series of profanities. For the past three months, Ariel had training in proper table behaviors, proper use of utensils, and also a few of the more popular dance steps. Joe knew that it was hard for her, and he thanks the heaven that it was Ariel who came crashing into his office the day he made that deal with his mother. Ariel did not use any of the personal trust funds he had set up for her; she told him that she did not want to owe him anything. Ariel's mother was delighted that her daughter was dating such a "catch"; not to mention her new line of work.Joe came today to observe Ariel's progress and also to remind her that they have only three months left before their wedding. Joe was not quite sure how to describe his relationship with Ariel; he knew that the only reason Ariel agreed to the sham marriage was because of his blackmail.

However, whenever he is around Ariel, Joe felt at ease and carefree. Sometimes, he finds himself glancing over at her and experiencing a feeling of sudden happiness that it was confusing even to him. Joe was always a loner; he did not have any close friends even when he was young. His grandfather had hired the two bodyguards to followed him around the moment he was old enough to walk; the bodyguards's presence scared the other children from becoming friends with him.

Rainie and her father was the only two that took the time to befriend him and remained his friends. Thinking about his former teacher, Joe sighed and remembered the night Rainie broke up with him. He wondered how she was doing; and if she was keeping up with the news. Joe grimaced at the thought of the pain he was putting Rainie through.

"Are you checking up on me again?" Ariel asked.

Joe nodded with a grin,

"You're improving...not enough to be high society material...but..."

Joe chuckled when Ariel put her hands on her waist, eyes narrowed angrily at him, she hissed

"I'd like to see you walk with stacks of books on top of your head!"

Joe motioned for the instructors to leave the room. He then took Ariel's hands, surprised at the sudden closeness she did not move away from him.

"Ariel, we're announcing the wedding publicly tonight at my father's dinner party. It will also be in the newspaper, just like the contract stated...the wedding is in three months."

Ahh don't say that! I don't want to hear! Ariel shuddered and tried to pulled her hands out of his.

"Joe...can't we stop this charade? Your mother is clearly very unhappy with me and what if she doesn't keep her words? I feel like we're making a mistake..."

"We're not making a mistake. This is the only way for me to know what I'm up against. ..if she doesn't keep her words; I have my lawyers ready to take action." Joe replied with a serious face.

"I don't understand your family at all...I feel strange every time I'm around you and your parents..." Ariel started to say but Joe sighed deeply and said,

"I live with that everyday Ariel, please don't say anything more...I'm getting a headache."

Ariel noticed every time she brings up his parents, Joe would evade the questions, or would make up different excuses. Why is it so hard for you to talk about your parents, Joe? She wondered, even though she was curious Ariel knew not to ask too many questions; it was better not to get attached.

"So, it's really happening?" Ariel shook her head in disbelief...everyday she wakes up and pinched herself as if she was dreaming; but reality hits home every time she sees Joe and or her mother. Oh my god, I'm freaking going to get married in three months!!! Somebody help me!

Joe grabbed a stack of books and placed it on her head.

"We're getting marry!"
Hu Ge watched Ariel walked out of the Cheng resident; he had been keeping spying on her for a few weeks now. After overhearing a conversation between Joe's ex-girlfriend and Joe's mother Vivian, Hu was curious about Ariel Lin. Does she really have something on Joe or are they in love? Either way, Hu realized he could use Ariel as part of his plan to destroy Dreamer Publisher Company.

Every time Hu see Joe Cheng, he felt anger, regret and sometimes extreme jealousy. Hu knew that if Ron Ge was really Joe's father, then that would make Joe his younger brother. However, every time Hu look at Joe...he couldn't help feeling anger towards him for taking his father away from him...yet there were moments when Hu was by himself and he really wished that he could have a brother, a brother to share his pain and happiness with. Hu punched the wall to stop himself from feeling wistful. It doesn't matter if he is your brother, Hu...he's part of the Cheng family, and part of the reasons why your life is all messed up. Don't lose your focus...your goal is to destroy Dreamer...that includes everything and everybody related to the Cheng family! Hu reminded himself.

His priority now is to find out if Ariel Lin has any secrets on the Cheng family...also part of his plan is to make Ariel Lin feel as if she could depend and trust him with anything. I'm gonna make you fall in love with me Ariel I can take you away from Joe, the way Joe's mother took my father away from my mother.

"When you look at this picture, what do you think of?" Ariel asked Hu. Hu pretended to think for a long time, and then he said "Dreams". Ariel playfully shoved his arm,

"It took you that long to figure it out?" She asked. Hu looked at the painting again and turned to Ariel,

"You have a natural gift...are you going to major in art? You have a lot of potential."

Ariel shrugged, she enjoys painting but wasn't sure if she wanted to make a career out of it. She saw a few paintings in Hu's bag and quickly took one of the paintings out. Hu saw her with the painting and tried to stop her but Ariel had already set it on the stand.

Ariel stared at the painting for a long time.

"When I look at your painting...the painting tells a story about sadness, and loneliness...the sadness is layered over with anger, hate and despair. It seems this painting depicts the need to revenge...or avenging something." Ariel frowned at the painting wondering if Hu had painted it.

"Yours?" She asked. Hu nodded reluctantly.

She was surprised...the painting was the total opposite of the him. Hu Ge seems surprised at how accurate Ariel was. He quickly put the painting back in his bag and asked,

"You said you wanted to tell me something?"

Ariel nodded. For the last few weeks, Hu has become a good friend and even though he did not ask her any questions about Joe Cheng, she knew he was curious. Especially after the official announcement of their wedding on the national newspaper; Ella was so upset with the news. She told Ariel that she was crazy, and then became sad because Ariel didn't tell her earlier; then finally she settled down and told Ariel she was surprised but happy for her. Ariel wish that she could tell Ella the truth, but part of the marriage contract she signed with Joe stated that nobody was to know about their pretense.

"I think you already know this...I'm getting married to Joe Cheng in a few weeks...and I would like to invite you." Ariel said in a rush, suddenly feeling nervous.

Hu nodded with a grin,

"Yeah, I read it in the newspaper."

They fell into awkward silence. Hu cleared his throat and asked,

"What is the Cheng family like?"

Ariel wanted to say horrible, but she refrained herself from bashing on other people. She recalled the first official meeting with Joe's parents. Vivian was so cold and haughty; she had her nose up in the air and looked at Ariel as if she was dirt on the bottom of her feet. Ron, the father was quiet and distance; he avoided looking Ariel in the eyes. All in all, Ariel could honestly describe Joe's parents as 'strange' to put it in nicer terms. No wonder Joe Cheng grew up to be the way he is! Ariel knew Joe felt trapped sometimes with his obligations and responsibilities to the company. He often expressed his need to just be in the open air and breathe because he felt suffocated inside his office.

"The family? Um...they're okay." Ariel murmured avoiding Hu's eyes. She really did not know what to say about the Cheng family...not in any nice terms anyway.

Hu frowned,

"Are you in love with Joe Cheng, I've heard that he is extremely wealthy for someone so young."

Ariel rolled her eyes,

"Yeah, I'm made aware of the fact that he is rich every time I see him..."

"Could you be dating him because of his wealth?" Hu asked.

Ariel laughed,

"What a silly questions! As if I would even look at him if not for the stupid agree..."

Ariel stopped herself from saying too much. You almost broke one of the contract rules!! Keep it between you and Joe only!Urh! Stupid damn contract rules! Stupid arrogant cold hearted Joe!

Hu waited for Ariel to finish her sentence but instead she slammed her hand on her forehead and mumbled,

"Urgh! Damn Joe Cheng!"

Feeling Hu's eyes on her, Ariel forced a smile and said

"No, I'm not with him because he's's kind of complicated and I'd rather not talk about it."

Hu shrugged and asked a different question.

"What do you think of Joe's father?" Ariel was surprised at how interested Hu was with the Cheng family.

"He seems like a nice man" Ariel replied. Hu nodded and did not say anything else. Ariel felt a little uncomfortable with all the questioning. She handed the wedding invitation to Hu and said cheerfully,

"I..have to go, here's the invitation to the wedding. Please come!"

Ariel waved and left. Why was Hu so interested in Joe's father? Why is he so interested in the Cheng family? Ariel wondered;'re thinking too much, forget about it!


"If you give him your father's journal everything will be over!" Ron said to his wife. Vivian smiled viciously."Oh don't you worry...Joe will never get the journal. I'm only testing him...sadly he is too weak of an opponent. Can you believe he is actually going through with the wedding? He must think I'm a fool to just hand him everything because of that stupid contract!" Vivian said.

"Why did you sign?" Ron asked.

"I wanted to see what kind of a person my son is, that's all." Vivian suddenly laughed.

"Who do you think I am Joe? I made it this far and I'm not stopping until I get all that should have been mine!" Vivian grabbed an old worn journal and whispered,

"Isn't that right father dear...everything that should have been mine, you willed it to that bastard of a son!"

"Are you really letting Joe marry a person from such low class?" Ron asked. Vivian put the journal back in the draw and locked it.

"Why should I care? As long as it's not Rainie...besides, I have a surprise for my dear son on his wedding day!" Vivian replied with hatred in her eyes.

How can you hate your son so much? Despite are still his mom. Ron shook his head in defeat and walked to the window. Ron opened the window, closed his eyes and let the wind breeze through. I'm so tired, so long will I have to live this lie? I have so many regrets...yet I can't turn back the hand of time. Oh, how I wish I could turn back the hand of time. Ron thought, his heart was filled with sadness and regrets...the most painful one was the day he left his wife and son.

Hu Ge waited for his friend inside his car. He parked his car two blocks away from Dreamer Publisher Company. Hu's best friend, Vaness opened the door and handed Hu a file with 'confidential' stamped on it. Hu knew that Ariel and Joe were planning to get marry. He purposely did not ask because he wanted Ariel to tell it to him herself. He wanted Ariel to feel comfortable around him, and to trust him...he needed to make her feel that way about him in order to take full revenge on the Cheng family.

"Okay man, I made copies like you said but this is it. I can't risk my job at Dreamer by sneaking in and out of the building like this."

"I know and thank you. I owe you one!" Hu said and drove off. The moment he got home, Hu went to check his mom in her room. After making sure she was fine, he took the file with him and went in his room and locked the door. He opened the file and pulled out the documents, there were also a few photographs. One of the photographs got his attention. He picked it up to look closer; and saw that it was a picture of his the photograph, his father Ron was holding him in his lap and Hu's mother was standing from behind with her arms wrapped around his father. Both his parents were smiling with happiness on their face. Next to the photograph of his parents was another picture...and this was a picture of Vivian Cheng in the arm of a young man whom Hu have not seen before.

The back of the photograph a line was written: Vivian, my love forever, it was signed Aaron Yang. Yang....? Hu wondered. Hu closed his eyes and leaned back on the bed.

"What the hell happened?" He whispered to himself,

"What the hell happen twenty years ago?" Hu grabbed the documents and started reading it; he was not going to rest until he uncovered everything that is related to Dreamer and the Cheng family...even if it means destroying his own life.

Joe knew that he needed to talk to Rainie before the wedding. She had left him a few voice messages asking to see him. He decided to meet Rainie at her work place. When Rainie saw Joe she was surprised but also happy.

"Joe! I'm glad to see you, we need to talk." Rainie took hold of his hands and squeezed.

"I know that's why I'm here." Joe said. They walked over to the restaurant and sat down.

"Did you receive the wedding invitation?" Joe asked. Rainie nodded. The waiter came and took their orders. Once he left, Rainie moved her chair closer to Joe and asked,

"What the heck is going on Joe? You're freaking getting marry?"

Joe nodded.


Joe didn't know how to respond.

"I want to know why...because to tell you the truth Joe, I feel like crap!"

Rainie stared at the floor afraid she would start crying again. Joe took her hands.

"It's not you Rainie...this is something that I have to do."

Rainie laughed, it was such a typical answer. "It's not you, it's me." Such a typical answer meant Joe had something to hide. Rainie tapped her fingers and suddenly jumped out of her chair.

"Are you marrying Ariel because you're being force to?" Rainie asked in anger.

Joe laughed and wanted to say it was actually him forcing Ariel to marry him; but decided not to. It would only complicate the situation if Rainie knows the truth.

"No, she's not forcing me and I'm not forcing her."

"Then, tell me why you're in such a rush to marry her?"

"Please Rainie, it's just something..." Joe started to say but stopped when Rainie started crying.

"Do you like her?"

"Yes...No...I don't know!" Joe had a shock confused look on his face. He had answered without thinking. Wait! Do I like Ariel? When did I start liking her? Joe thought to himself. No! I can't like's not possible.

"What if I ask you not to marry her...would you listen?" Rainie asked hating herself for sounding desperate.

Joe sighed,

"Rainie...please, I'm sorry..."

"It's okay; I'm not asking you to stop the wedding Joe. It was just a what if...question"

Rainie covered her face with her hands.

"Is she pregnant?"

"God No!" Joe replied in shock.

Rainie took a deep breath and forced a smile on her face,

"Fine...we've been friends for so long...My father would have wanted me to be there... I'll be there."

I don't know if I would make it through the whole wedding procession...but I'll be there; I'm doing it for Dad...because I know how much he loved you. Joe...why did it have to turn out this way? Why couldn't you love me?...why couldn't you love me...if you love me just a little bit...that would have been enough for me.

Be strong strong! Rainie told herself quietly. Joe watched the tears rolled down his ex-girlfriend's face and felt helpless that he was the cause of her pain.

"I'm sorry...I'm sorry."

Chapter 9

Ariel put a new sheet of paper on the stand and took out her paints. Since the day she met Joe Cheng almost five months ago, her life has been on a non-stop roller coaster ride. Today, Ariel just wanted to be by herself and breathe freely. She cancels the beautician appointment and the dress fitting appointment. She knew that the moment she cancelled the appointments, they would inform Joe. Ariel felt suffocated and the lack of freedom made her wanted to rebel. He won't find me here at the park...I need to do some painting; there are just too many things on my mind right now. Ariel sighed wondering if she was going crazy since she was talking to herself.The wedding is only a few days ago, what am I going to do? Ariel thought. Even though Ariel signed the contract with Joe, she still could not help feeling as if she was making a mistake. I should be walking the aisle toward someone I love and want to spend the rest of my life with; but instead I'm participating in a sham and deceiving my family, friends, and all the people that I love. Ariel felt really guilty every time she looks at Mama Chang's happy face. Mama Chang even offered to cater the wedding for free; she boasted to everybody at the restaurant that she was the one that had paired the two together, and joke that she should change her career to being a match maker! Ariel told Ella about her feeling of sadness, but Ella not knowing the whole story told Ariel it was just cold feet. Ariel knew the driving force for her charade relationship with Joe was her mother. She understood her mother's reasons for doing what she did, and that her mom was ashamed of her prior job. Despite how thankful Ariel feels about her mother's new job working at Dreamer Company, she also knows that if she breaks the contract, Joe Cheng would not hesitate to fire her mother.

To complicate the situation, Ariel has started to feel emotions that she is not used to every time she is with Joe. Ariel felt her heart starts beating faster as she recalled the first time she felt unexplained emotions toward Joe.

"You're holding the wrong fork Ariel; it's the one to your left." Joe said from across the other side of the dining table. Ariel picked up a utensil to the left. Joe cleared his throat and asked,

"We're eating salad...why do you need a knife?"

Ariel realized she picked the wrong utensil. She quickly picked up the correct fork, and proceeded to eat. Joe cleared his throat again and asked,

"Shouldn't you wait until everybody is seated first before eating?"

Ariel felt tired and she was extremely annoyed at Joe's haughty, I know all attitude. She threw the fork on the table, and shouted,

"There's no one else, it's just you and me! Besides, ordinary people eat when they're hungry with whatever utensil they want! I don't care about using the right size fork, nor the right size spoon. I don't care if the utensil is placed on the right or the left!"

To further make her point, she grabbed the salad with her hands and stuffed it in her mouth.

"Common people like me, unlike you high class people don't care about the proper ways of doing things. It's too damn annoying anyway! See, I'm me eat!" Ariel said and in front of Joe and the food servers, she not only stuffed the salad in her mouth with her hands but also grabbed a steak bite into it without the assist of a knife.

Joe's mouth unwilling lifted up as if he was trying hard not to smile.

"Are you laughing at me?" Ariel asked slitting her eyes at him. Joe shook his head,


After swallowin the food, Ariel walked up to Joe and sat next to him.

"I want to know, why do we sit opposite each other to eat when we don't have to? What's the use of such a long table when there's hardly anybody to sit?" Ariel wanted to know. Joe shrugged,

"It's always been this way"

"So you always do things just because it was always been done that way?" Ariel questioned. Joe did not answer.

Joe stared at Ariel hands and smile widely,"I like how you ate the salad with your me how you did it".

Ariel surprised answered,

"Well, actually I don't normally use my hands to eat was..." Joe put his fingers over her lips to stop her from talking. He then gently touched Ariel's face and whispered softly,

"I like watching you eat with your me how."

Ariel lifted her right hand and reaches down Joe's bowl and grabbed a handful of salad.

"That's how you do it...quite simple really..." Ariel stopped talking when she noticed that Joe was staring at her; she felt her face turning warm and knew that she was blushing. What's happening? Why is he staring at my lips and why am I blushing? For a moment, Ariel wanted Joe to kiss her again...just the way he kissed her a few months ago at the mall.

Joe leaned in close to Ariel until their nose was almost touching; he then put his arms around her and hugged her.

"I don't know why I'm feeling this way Ariel...I don't know why I'm doing this... when I'm around you...I can't help myself...sorry" Joe whispered. Ariel felt really confused and didn't know how to respond, her heart started beating really fast and all she kept thinking was how good it felt to be in Joe's arms. For a minute in the warmth of his arms, she forgot about their fake relationship, and the marriage contract that they signed.
End of flashback________________________

Stop thinking too much Ariel, how could you like someone so arrogant? Remember why you're doing this, it's because you're being blackmail. Ariel repeated that in her head over and over as she painted. When she was finally done, she looked at her finish painting and shouted,

"Oh my god!! No!! How could this be, I must be out of my right mind!"

She was so immersed in her creation that she did not notice someone standing behind her, watching her paint.

This particular painting that Ariel had completed was by far the quickest she had ever done, and she had to admit the quality was also good. The problem was, it was a finish painting of Joe Cheng, with an arrogant smirk on his face. Ariel quickly packed up her paints and paint brushes, she did not intend to paint a picture of Joe, but because she did...she now has no intention of ever showing it to him. Ariel was in the process of rolling up the painting when she heard someone say,

"Do I really look like that?"

Ariel turned around and groaned out loud. It was Joe Cheng, and he did not look happy at all!

"Do you realize how long it took me to find you? I had to reschedule everything because of you! We're getting married in a few days and you're off here painting?"

Joe grabbed Ariel's arm and started dragging her to his car.

"Let's go, you can still make it to the dress fitting."

Ariel swung her arm and shouted heatedly,

"Let me go Joe. I hate it when you grab me like that." Joe grabbed her arm again,

"Let's go".

"Do you know why I cancel today's appointment? I'm tired Joe, tired of the stupid dance moves, the proper way of eating, the right kind of clothes to's too much! I just need some time to myself!"

Joe stopped walking and turned to face her.

"I'm not surprise, someone who is used to low class taste doesn't know how to appreciate..."

Ariel slapped Joe's face. She was shock at her own violence; she quickly put her hands inside her pocket.

"Please stop. Why do you degrade me about being low class? I'm proud of who I am...but what about you, Joe? With all the money you have, you're the saddest person I it wrong of me to ask for a day off? A day just to enjoy myself?" Ariel said softly. Joe touched the spot Ariel slapped, with a stunned look on his face he answered honestly,

"I didn't mean for it to come out that way...I thought you decided to call it quit and end the charade."

"I don't break promises...don't worry, we're going through with this marriage. You'll get what you want." Ariel took a step away from him. She didn't know why, but it hurt to know he didn't trust her.

"Just don't leave without telling me from now on, believe it or not, I was concern". Joe said, he then grabbed the painting with his picture on it.

"I want this...this can be my wedding gift."

"I didn't say you can have it!" Ariel tried to grab the picture but Joe had already rolled up the painting and put it inside the trunk of the car.

I can't believe I'm marrying him in a few days! Ariel grabbed her paint brushes and followed Joe to his car.


"Dreamer publisher's heir publicly announced his intention to marry on stage to a different girl, and is tying the knot with someone else today. This has captured the attention of many people...however, Joe have refused interviews and basically told reporters to stuff it. His refusal for interviews has prompt more interest in his rush marriage, and the new bride. There are speculations that the bride is pregnant...that remains to be seen and we will know if she is pregnant in a few months. The question on everybody's mind did someone like Ariel Lin managed to catch someone like Joe Cheng? Aside from covering the wedding, we will also broadcast interviews of people who grew up with Ariel and many who had attended school with her. Let's hear what former student; Tiffany Xu has to say about Ariel Lin..."A reporter said standing in front of the wedding chapel where Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin is to be married. The wedding between Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin caught the attention of reporters and many other people when the announcement of Joe's wedding was publicize in the paper...and the bride was not the same bride he had named on stage on his first day back from the United States. Questions such as, "Why are they getting married in such a hurry, when they're both so young"; "Who is this new girl that he's with and what happened with the last one?" were on most of the guest's minds as they sat waiting for the wedding to begin.
"Ariel...look at me, good, now take a deep breath" Ella practically had to shake Ariel out of her stupor.

"Ella, tell me I'm dreaming...this isn't happening?" Ariel asked frantically.

Ella sighed; they had been through this all morning and last night. Ella went over to Ariel's house for their final sleepover, but instead of enjoying her last time as a single woman...Ariel was agonizing over her wedding. Ella told her if she was that concern over the marriage, she should just cancel it. Ariel mumbled something about promises, and not wanting to back out on her words. Ella was surprised that Ariel didn't have raccoon eyes...from the lack of sleep, and constant worrying.

"Ariel this is happening, you are getting married today. Unless you want to be a runaway bride, then I suggest you start running because you're about to walk the aisle in less than 10 minutes!" Ella said.

Ariel took deep breaths, in and out, in and out. She could not believe the day has finally arrived. Ariel jumped in startled when someone knocked on the door. Ella shook her head at her friend.

"If you're Joe, you can't come in; but if you're not him, then come in." Ella said. Hu walked in the room and smiled when he saw Ariel in her wedding dress. In his hands were a small brooch shaped wings.

"Do you know what this represent?" Hu asked Ariel softly. She looked at the wings and said,

"Freedom?" Hu laughed and asked,

"Is that what you want Ariel?" Ariel nodded. Hu pinned the brooch on her dress and said,

"This is for courage, and yes freedom if you desire...remember if you need help with anything, anything at all let me know...and I promised to be there"

Ariel nodded. Hu was being so gentle to her. Why couldn't I have met him earlier? I think if I met him first before this charade with Joe happen...I might have fallen in love with him. Ariel signs... it was too late now.

Joe tried not to remember his mother's words as he waits for Ariel. He looks behind him and saw both his parents sitting in the front. Vivian had a cunning smile on her face as she nodded to Joe as if they shared a secret.

"I have something very important to share with you after the wedding Joe; this is definitely something that you'd want to know, I promise you." Vivian had whispered in his ears before sitting down.

What is it? Joe wanted to ask, but realized that was exactly the reaction Vivian wanted him to have. She's baiting me, Joe thought and decided to wait until after the wedding to find out what it was.

Joe waited patiently as Ariel struggle to walk down the aisle nervously towards him. He was pleased at how beautiful she looks in the wedding gown. He saw that one of her hands was holding firmly onto her veil and if she holds any tighter her veil might fall off her head. The other hand was gripping the bouquet of flowers; some of the steams and petals were already falling off because of her tight grip. When Ariel finally made it to Joe, she took a deep breath and turned to look at the priest. Joe gently untangled her hand from the veil and held her hand in his. He leaned close to her and whispered,

"I almost didn't recognize're worth every penny it cost me..."

Ariel automatically kicked him in the shin. The priest coughed loudly, and Joe quickly apologized and signaled for the priest to start the ceremony. The wedding vows seems to take forever, Ariel was so nervous and anxious for the wedding to be over that she actually zoned out a couple of times.

"Do you Ariel; take Joe Cheng as your lawful wedded husband?" Ariel was in just a daze that she did not hear the priest repeat himself over and over. Ella finally had no choice and poked Ariel hard under her arm,

"Oww...!" Ariel said, suddenly realizing she was in a church, getting married.

"I do" she said quickly. The priest nodded,

"I now pronounced you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride."

Oh no, is he going to kiss me...what do I do if he kissed me! Ariel thought frantically, she wasn't sure how to react. Wait...remember you're acting and you have to act as if you're in love, you're in love! Remember! Without warning, Joe suddenly turned her around and gently moved her head closer to him and kissed her on the lips. The softness and gentleness of Joe's kiss surprised Ariel. She closed her eyes and deepens the kiss, Joe pleased with her response held Ariel closer.

To the wedding guests, the couple looks very much in love. Rainie decided it was time for her to leave; she now has no doubt that Joe like Ariel Lin. He has never once kissed her the way he just kissed his bride. Rainie knew whether Joe realized it or not...he was already in love with Ariel. In a rush to leave she did not see the door opening, Rainie ran into the door, accidentally kicked it with her left foot, lost her balance and fell.

"Are you okay?" a voice asked.

"I'm okay" Rainie replied without looking up. She tried standing but could not; her left foot was sprained from kicking the door too hard.

"Here, let me help you." Rainie was suddenly lifted from the ground and in the arms of a stranger. She looks at the person that was carrying her with a surprise she asked,

"You! What are you doing here?"

Chapter 10

Rainie recognized the person holding her. She repeated her question,"What are you doing here?"

The young man continue walking and did not answer her. He had on a suit and tie and looked quite different from the first time she met him. As much as she hated to admit it, he look really good in a suit and tie.

"Don't you remember me, we met at the elevator and you borrowed my newspaper?"

For a quick moment, Rainie thought she saw recognition flashed in his eyes, but it quickly disappears and she wondered if she had imagined it.

The person ignored her question and instead asked,

"Did you come here by yourself or with friends?"

Rainie pointed toward her aunt Gong Li who was sitting inside the car waiting.

"I came with my aunt, just take me over to her, I'll be fine."

He carried her to Gong and sat inside the passenger seat.

"Put ice on it. I suggest you go see a doctor as soon as possible." He advised and left.

Rainie shouted,

"Wait, what's your name?...Thanks!" He continued walking and did not turn around.

Gong Li rolled her eyes at Rainie and asked,

"What happened to you?"

"I think I sprained my left's really swelling up now."

"How did it happen?" Gong asked shaking her head at her neice.

Rainie shrugged, it doesn't matter how it least now she could focus on the pain on her foot and not her heart. Heart broken, she leaned back iagainst the car seat and closed her eyes.

"I don't know if I should laugh or cry auntie; I'm going through so many emotions right now."

Gong Li grabbed her car keys,

"Let's go see a doctor, your toe's turning purple!"

Rainie nodded; yes it was time to leave.

@~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Yes! I can't believe this! I'm getting married next!" Ella shouted, jumping up and down excitedly with the bouquet in her hands. Ariel smiled at her best friend's happiness, she loves Ella's energy and wished that she could feel as excited as Ella. After the kiss with Joe, Ariel became even more nervous.

I know this is not a real I don't have to worry about the wedding night; nothing will happen...we'll leave the banquet after a few hours and go to our condo...and to our separate bedrooms! Ariel told herself; nothing will happen, so don't be nervous.

After all the guests filed out of the church, Ariel and Joe both sighed in relief and walked inside the limousine.

Joe smiled at Ariel's nervousness, he was very proud of her.

"What's with the look? We're almost done...a few more hours and we're free." He comforted her and grinned when she opened her mouth and shut it like a fish.

Ariel nodded but couldn't bring herself to say anything.

"Are you afraid that you'll change your mind and decides to make it a real wedding night?" Joe teased her.

Ariel quickly shook her head and turned toward the window. She stared outside blankly wondering why she was so nervous. She felt something warm covered her sweaty hand.

"Thank you." Joe whispered his eyes staring into hers. Ariel felt a rush of heat and knew she was blushing.

What is happening to me! Yikes! She pulled her hand out of his grasp and tugged it between her thigh. She continued staring out the window ignoring Joe's silent laughter.

@~~~~~ @~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~
The banquet was beautifully decorated, and the food was excellent. Mama Chang came up to Ariel and Joe a few times with loads of foods and lots of hugs and congrats. Ariel's mother and her brothers were at the other end of the table enjoying the foods.

Ariel forced herself to smile and listen to the conversations around her; by the time Joe signaled it was time to leave, Ariel's feet was already numb and she was ready for bed. Joe took her hand and together they exited the party.

They were almost to the car when Joe's mother, stopped them from behind,

"Hold on for a minute Joe, I have a surprise for you."

Joe and Ariel turned around to face Vivian.

"You're more of a fool than I thought..., but because you're such a fool, I feel it wouldn't hurt to give you a little information that was hidden from you."

Vivian said with a laugh. She looked at Ariel in contempt,

"Do you really think he marries you because he loves you? You're in for a surprise..."

Joe took Ariel's hand again and started walking towards his car.

"Okay, fine...I'm not here because of your bride. I'm here to give you a gift; are you ready?" Vivian asked innocently.

Ariel was shock to see such cruelty on Vivian's face. Maybe Joe's right, maybe she's not his could a mother be so cruel to her own flesh and blood ...and on his wedding day? Ariel glanced at the mother and son, they resemble each other so much there's no doubt they are related.

"The person you know as your father, NOT your biological father; don't bother asking me who your real father is...I'm not telling." Vivian's mouth curved up evily when she saw how her words impacted Joe.

Joe stunned couldn't move from where he was standing. Vivian walked closer to Joe and whispered softly,

"Now aren't you happy to receive such a wonderful gift on your wedding day?" with a vicious laugh she walked inside the building. Her husband, Ron was standing by the door way; he knew Vivian was going to tell Joe the truth tonight, he wanted to stop her but didn't know how. Watching the hurt on Joe's face made his guilt increased, he wished more than ever that he could go back in time and rewrite history.

Joe couldn't move, he didn't know what to say, or how to react, with Ariel's hand still in his, he forced himself to walk numbly inside the car.

@~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Joe went directly in his room the moment they arrived at the condo. This was the first time Ariel had seen the place and she loves everything, the huge kitchen, spacious bedrooms and bathrooms. As she was going through the fridge; Ariel remembered Vivian's words and her heart hurts for Joe. What must he be feeling now? Is this the reason why he'd do anything to get his grandfather's journal?

Ariel recalled Joe saying he did not know who he was and he believed the journal contained crucial information about his identity. Ariel went inside her bedroom and change into her pajamas. She lay on the huge bed and sighed deeply. This was the very first time in her life sleeping on such a soft bed...she felt very uncomfortable and wished that she was lying on her small worn twin size bed at home.

The condo was so quiet, Ariel could hear the clock ticking. She couldn't sleep, everything was too different, too unfamilar. After tossing and turning she finally got up and decided to get a drink. Ariel opened her bedroom door and quietly tip toed to the kitchen careful not to disturb Joe.

As she head towards the kitchen, Ariel realized the balcony door was open; she could feel the wind gently breezing inside the living room. Curious, she walked closer to the balcony and heard someone crying. She peeked out the door and was surprised to see Joe leaning against the wall with his face lifted up towards the sky.

There were tears streaming down his face, quietly weeping. Ariel felt painful unexplainable emotions tugged her heart; she felt her heart squeezed in pain watching Joe Cheng, the arrogant jerk, the smirking conceited blackmailer crying, his silent sobs, his was too much for Ariel.

It must be tiring to act hard and tough all the time, Ariel thought. She walked behind Joe and put her arms around him. Joe cried even harder, he turned around and pulled Ariel in his arms and held her tightly.

"Why...why is everything a lie in my life? Why does she hate me? Ever since I can remember, other children have mothers that bake them cookies, pack their lunches...Ariel,...Ron, he's not my father?" Joe whispered as if still in disbelief. She didn't know what to say. Ariel held onto Joe, and let him cry...that was the only comfort she could give him.

"Don't let me go Ariel, please don't let me go." He mumbled over her shoulder, sobbing uncontrollably now. Ariel leaned closer and whispered in his ears,

"I won't let you go Joe...I promise, I'll hold you for as long as you need me to."

Ariel held Joe in her arms the whole night out in the balcony, she was crying for him...crying for the lost little boy that tried so hard to be tough; and crying for the grown man who still have not found himself.


Hu Ge waited for his friend Vaness in the corner of a secluded café. When he saw his friend entered the café, he motioned for him. Vaness had on a cap and a huge overcoat for disguise just in case someone from Dreamer Company recognized him. In Vaness's hand was a file that only a few of the board of directors from Dreamer Company had access to. As the stock broker for Dreamer publisher Company, Vaness was privy to a lot of confidential information."Has Vivian contact you?" Hu asked, the moment Vaness sat down. Vaness nodded, he knew this was just the news Hu needed for his plan to work.

"Okay, I've read over the information you gave me and you're right. Joe Cheng holds 50% percent of Dreamer shares at this moment. However, he really isn't too much interest in the company nor has any plan to expand Dreamer into the 21st century. So Vivian and my father has the upper hand...they can take Dreamer away from him if they cooperate with us." Hu stated.

Vaness nodded,

"Vivian already contacted me and she has accepted the proposal you drafted. She has no idea that you're behind everything, so you need to be careful. Your father appeared to be more cautious and distrustful but he's letting Vivian do whatever she wants."

Hu smiled, this proved to be a very good day for him. If everything goes as plan, he was just a few steps from turning his dream of revenge into reality.

Father, it won't be long now, so get ready! I'm making sure you and... your beloved family suffered the way you've made me and mother suffered! Hu thought with a wicked gleam in his eyes.

@~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I'm throwing out some of my old stuff, is there anything you want to throw out?" Rainie asked her aunt.

Gong Li smiled in happiness, she hated cleaning and with Rainie's help she could finally throw away all the junk that builds up in her attic.

"Would you mind helping me clean out the attic? There's a lot of junk up there." Gong said.

The two spent the whole afternoon cleaning out the attic. A lot of unwanted material was put in the trash, and the few special keepsakes such as pictures, wedding dress etc., was organized and put back on the shelves or in the boxes.

Rainie put the last of the pictures on the wall and before leaving she noticed a small shoe box hidden almost inside the attic wall. She reached over and pulled out the shoe box; it was covered with dusk. Rainie took some tissue paper and quickly wiped off the dusk, and opened the box. Inside were tons of pictures and letters. Excited she picked up a photograph and was surprised to see it was a younger version of her father and Vivian; they were smiling into the camera with their arms around each other.

Rainie placed the picture inside the shoe box and picked up another picture; it was another photograph of Vivian and her father...this time they were kissing. Rainie's hands started to shake; inside the shoe box were letters. With a heavy heart, she picked up a letter and started reading.

My dear Aaron,

You once asked me, how much I love you. Well darling, here’s my answer.

I love you like fish loves the water…I love you like the air that we breathes.

I love you like the hearts that beats, and I love you like I’d love no others.

You once asked me, how far would I go just to be with you? Well darling, here’s my answer.

As far and wide as the whole world, and as deep as the ocean; I would do anything for you and to be with you…I would walk on fire just to be near you if that’s the only route to get to you…as long as you love me as I love you…Darling, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.

My darling Aaron, please don’t ask me if I love you anymore, every words I’ve written is from the deepest part of my heart. I can not wait to be yours only and have your name joined with mine. How does Mrs. Vivian Yang sound to you? Or does it sound better if it’s Mrs. Vivian Cheng Yang? Either way, as long as we’re together…I’m satisfied.

I love you,

Vivian Cheng

Rainie shakily placed the letter back inside the shoe box; she felt light headed and was afraid she might faint if she tried to stand up. Is this the reason why Vivian hated my father and me so much? What happened?...if they really love each other why did things turned out so differently? Why did Dad moved to New York right after Joe's parents moved? Oh my god...could Joe and I be related...sibling? Rainie shook her head no, no it couldn't's impossible...or is it?

Rainie started shouting for her aunt. Why can't I move my body! I have lots of questions and I want answers now!!

Chapter 11

"It's five in the morning; you're leaving to work again this early?" Ariel asked Joe. Ariel still has on her pajamas, she knew Joe was leaving early again to work and wanted to catch him before he leaves. Joe nodded but did say anything; he put on his jacket and opened the door. Ariel blocked the door and said,"Why are you avoiding me? We need to talk since the wedding night...I feel like you're purposely pushing me away from you." Joe moved Ariel out of the way, opened the door and left.

Since the night Ariel held Joe in her arms out in the balcony; Joe has been avoiding her; it's been almost a month now. Ariel stared at the door for a long time after Joe left. After a while, she took a deep breath and decided enough was enough. Instead of worrying about him alone in her bed, Ariel decided if Joe decides to stay late at his office again tonight, she was going to see him there and they can have their 'talk' whether Joe likes it or not.

Why is he acting so cold towards me? He doesn't tease me anymore like he used to. Ariel thought she would be happy if Joe leave her alone, but found that she was quite lonely without his presence. She wanted to talk to him, but lately he has been waking up earlier in the morning to go to work and coming home really late. He would also lock his bedroom door just so Ariel couldn't go in to talk to him. Even though she knew that their marriage was a sham, she still felt sad that instead of their relationship becoming closer; they were actually becoming more like strangers living in the same house. Ariel wondered if it has anything to do with what happened between him and his parents, or was it because he was ashamed of showing his weak side to her? Because she likes to have daily routine in her life, Ariel normally cooks breakfast for the two, but Joe skips breakfast and goes straight to work. She also cooks dinner on the nights that she is off from working at Mama Chang but always ended up eating by herself.

@~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ariel finished her shift at Mama Chang, and went in her room to change her clothes. She laughed remembering Ella's behavior. Wu Zun and his family went to Mama Chang's cuisine for dinner, when Ella saw that the customers were her future parents in law- she had served them the best dishes on the house, and told them they didn't have to pay. Wu was so embarrassed because Ella sat at the dinner table with his family, making sure he was eating all the dishes! Mama Chang was quite upset with Ella and told her that her salary was being docked for the bills. After she changed her clothes, Ariel checked the time, it was almost Nine O'clock at night, why isn't Joe home yet?

I don't want to nag like a real wife, but I'm getting worry...the shock of learning that Ron isn't his real dad have really hurt him...what if he..? Ariel shakes her head to stop from thinking too much. She dialed Joe's phone number and he did not answer. After the fifth time calling, the phone was turned off. Ariel went in her room and grabbed her purse, she needed to see him even if he is still working, they will have their talk.

@~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ariel got out of the cab, paid the driver and rushed into the building. She started walking toward the elevator when she saw Vivian in the lobby with a young man. Ariel did not want to see or talk to Vivian so she hid behind the corner. Please don't let her see me! Ariel prayed. Vivian and the young man walked by her and she overheard Vivian asking,

"Were you able to sale Joe's shares of the company stocks?"

The man replied,

"I'm selling a small percentage of the shares one at a time, if we rush than Dreamer board of directors will become suspicious."

Ariel frowned, she had no idea what the conversation was about and wonder if Joe realized someone was buying his stock. I'm sure he does, Joe is very meticulous in everything he does.

Once Vivian and the man left the building, Ariel went in the elevator. She pushed third floor and remembered the first time she visited the company, and smiled at the memory. It was something that she knew she'll remember for the rest of her life. Okay, Ariel you're just making sure he's fine. Nothing's wrong with being worry; Tell him how you feel about the way he's treating you, let him know the two of you need to talk.

Be strong! Ariel prep herself on her way to Joe's office. She stood next to Joe's door, took a deep breath and walked in. What she saw was so shocking she felt her knees weaken and she could not move her legs. Oh god, I want to run...why can't I move my legs? This is so embarrassing...and why am I so angry? Ariel asked herself. She tried turning around but accidentally knocked a vase next to the door. The vase crashed, Joe and a woman untangled out of each other's arms. Joe looked up, his eyes bored and cold, expressionless as he stare at Ariel's stunned face. The woman slowly button up her blouse, smiled at Ariel with a smirk and said,

"So good to see you again, clumsy mouse...clumsy as always."


"Auntie, please tell me everything you know about my father and Vivian" Rainie forced the words out of her mouth calmly.Gong sighed and knew somehting was wrong. She found Rainie lying on the floor with a box of crumbled letters and pictures. Worried, Gong gently touched her niece's shoulder. Rainie quickly assured her aunt she wasn't hurt, just shock and in needs of answers. Gong picked up the box and looked inside.

"Where did you find this?" she asked. Rainie pointed to the corner of the attic wall with a small hole. Gong sat down next to her niece and held both of Ranie's hands in hers.

"Did you go through everything in the box?" Gong asked. Rainie shook her head. Gong shook her head sadly and sighed,

"I don't know if it's a good idea for you to go through the box or not...but if you're curious about the relationship between your father and Joe's mother, it's best to read all the letters. I'm sure since you found it; your father probably wanted you to read it."

"I only want you to answer this question for me auntie" Rainie whispered,

"Are there any possibility that Joe and I are related?"

Gong surprised asked,

"Why do you ask that question?"

Rainie rephrased her question.

"Could my father be Joe's biological father?" Gong didn't say anything, she was feeling conflicted and didn't know if she should tell Rainie what had happened the night Vivian and Rainie's father broke up. After taking a deep breath and with a heavy sigh of regret Gong decided perhaps it would be better for Rainie to hear the story.
"I was home the night your father and Vivian broke up. It was raining really hard outside, and I remember thinking that your father was probably going to sleep over Vivian's because the weather was so bad. Vivian and your father was very close those days,your father and Victor...Vivian's father was close to. Victor called your dad his 'son'. Anyway, your grandma and I locked the outside gate because we thought your father wasn't coming home."

Gong turned towards the window to hide the tears from Rainie.

"I woke up to the crashing of the gate, I remember opening the window and saw your father kicking and screaming by his car and then he got inside the car...and knocked down the gate with the car and was driving toward the garage without slowing down. Your grandpa, ran out to stop the car and was almost hit by your dad...he was so blindly angry I thought that he had gone berserk. Your grandpa and thank god your uncles was home at that time, restrained your father and took him to his room..., I heard furniture being thrown against the wall, glass breaking and your father screaming in agonizing pain. I was really scared...your father did not stop crying for one whole week, he didn't eat, he didn't do anything...just stay in his room and cried. It was hard for me because I have never seen your dad cried before. When I heard the crying stopped, I went to check on him. I found this box in his hands...he had trashed everything else that belonged to Vivian, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to throw away the pictures or the letters."

Rainie waited patiently for her aunt to continue with the story. Gong blew her nose, wiped the tears from her eyes and said,

"Your father told me that Ron Ge...a college friend who was married at that time with a wife and small son was marrying Vivian and divorcing his wife. Your father confronted Victor about it, and Victor told him that it was for the best...your father and Vivian had a huge fight; he never told me the reason why they fought, but he said she was marrying for Dreamer company gains and he disagreed with her tactics...till the day your father died, he never admits or denies that Joe is his...but my hunch is that Joe is not your dad's son."
"So, if Joe is not my brother, then Vivian slept with a married man...Ron, and Joe's grandfather, Victor forced them to marry?" Rainie asked.

Gong shrugged, and replied,

"From my understanding...Ron did not want to marry Vivian at first, but he was put in a catch 22. Your dad believes that Victor had something to do with Ron and Vivian getting married...he felt that Ron was forced to divorce his wife, but no one knows what really happened except for Ron and Vivian."

Rainie was even more confused now, so there is a possibility that Joe is not her half brother..., and yet because her father did not deny or admit his paternity, there's a chance that Joe is her half brother. Ahhh...I'm going crazy!!! Rainie screamed in her head. I need to talk to Joe, maybe have our DNA tested.

@~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~

"Ma, the doctor said to look for scarves and hats...stop looking at clothes for me, we're here for you, not me!" Hu said gently to his mother. The doctor told Hu his mother was relapsing and they needed to be prepared. Chemotherapy will drastically affect her physical appearance; Hu knew that only too well. He remembers the first time he saw his mother without any hair. It was show and tell day at school; Hu wanted to have his mother with him but the doctor said she couldn't because of the chemo treatment. He instead brought a few close friends to meet his mom at the treatment center for his show and tell. When he saw his mother sitting in a wheel chair without any hair, at first he thought it wasn't his mother. He didn't want to call her Ma, but when she smiled at him...he knew that it was her. Hu held onto his mother's hand and they walked into Li's Fashion.

"Okay Ma, this is one of the best place to shop, do you see anything that you like?" He asked.

"Wait for me here, and look for something you like; I'll be right back!"

Maylee nodded and motioned for him to get going; sometimes she wondered how she raised such a caring son...she hardly has any time for him, what with her going in and out of the hospital all through his childhood and teenage years. Rainie saw an older woman looking at an array of scarves with a puzzle looks on her face. She walked up to her and smiled.

"How can I help you Ma'am?"

The woman smiled and softly whispered,

"Oh, don't call me Ma' can call me auntie." Rainie nodded and said,

"How may I help you auntie?" Maylee like the young lady's friendliness, she asked,

"What is your name?"

"Rainie...I was named by my father." Rainie replied. Maylee nodded and lean close and whispered in Rainie's ear,
"That's a good name; can you help me with something very important?"

Rainie nodded unable to contain her curiosity.

"My son doesn't like it when I lose all of my hair, but I don't want to buy too many if you can help me find something that is flexible, easy to wear and long lasting, I'd really appreciated it."

Rainie smiled and took Maylee's hand,

"Here, let me show you something that I really like and use myself."

While they were going over the different selections, Maylee told Rainie about her battle with Leukemia, and how hard it was for her son. Rainie listens attentively and enjoy listening to Maylee talk about her life. This was the first time, Maylee felt so open about sharing her feelings and Rainie for some unexplained reason has the ability to make her feel at ease in discussing her fears and hopes for her son.

Hu Ge saw his mother talking enthusiastically, something he had not witnessed in a very long time. He glanced over at the person his mom was talking to, and realized it was the same girl he had met at the elevator and the same girl he carried at Ariel's wedding because she had hurt her foot.

He wanted to avoid that girl as much as possible; when he was around her last time...she made him feel exposed and open. When she looked into his eyes, Hu felt as if she could see into his heart and soul and that feeling made him very uncomfortable...almost as if she could see all the deep dark secrets he has hidden inside.

"Oh, there's my son! Come here Hu, I have someone for you to meet!" Maylee waved at her son, suddenly filled with energy. She knew that this girl, Rainie, for whatever reason was just what her son need. Maybe Rainie could help heal my son's wounded heart, Maylee thought, and smiled in happiness as she pulled her son over and introduced him to Rainie.

"I remember you!" Rainie said in surprise.

"So, you're her son?"

Hu nodded and murmured, "Nice to meet you." Rainie grinned, he behaved completely different with his mother around. What happened to the mysterious, I don't want to talk guy? Rainie chuckled, with his mother right next to him; Hu appeared to be very shy.

"...So, the picnic will be next Saturday at the park." Maylee said. Rainie completely spaced out and did not hear what auntie Maylee said. Hu nodded and turned to Rainie,

"Give me your number; I'll pick you up for the picnic next week." Rainie confused didn't want to admit that she totally zoned out of the conversation, quickly jointed down her cell phone number and gave it to Hu. Maylee brought different color scarves, including clothes for Hu and told Rainie she'll see her next week. Rainie didn't understand what had just happened; she waved good-bye a little confused, but in strange way was looking forward to the picnic.

Chapter 12

Ariel lies on her bed and let the tears flow. There was no use trying to hold it in; she felt excruciating pain in her heart, it was an ache that refused to fade. She put her hand over her heart area and whispered to herself"Why should I care? We're married in name only...I know he doesn't love me...just like I don't love him, I don't love him...not at all." Ariel tried to convince herself, but the more she thought about that night, the pain in heart increased and she cried harder. Ariel hugged on a pillow, and tried to stop from remembering; but her heart refused to listen to logic. Instead, she replayed the conversation she had with Joe in her head over and over, damning herself for being such an idiot.

Why can't I stop crying...stop crying Ariel! You're making a fool of yourself! Ariel pleaded to herself, but the tears continue to flow. Ariel in her haste to leave accidentally knocked over a vase; she tried to move her legs, but her legs felt stiff and it seemed as if an eternity has passed before she was able to move her body.

She saw Joe and Tiffany untangled from each other's arms, Tiffany's smug look and Joe's stoic expression. Ariel felt like a complete idiot for worrying about Joe, all those sleepless nights worrying about him was wasted; Ariel heard Tiffany called her a 'clumsy mouse'.

She was in no mood to argue with Tiffany Xu, she took off running and did not care where she was going...just as long as she was out of the office, and away from Joe. She turned and saw Joe running after her shouting for her to stop. She pushed the elevator button over and over hoping that the door would open faster; Joe was getting closer to her, hurry and open damn elevator! Ariel wanted to kick the elevator door for lagging, but instead she ran down the stairs. She could hear her heart beating faster and faster as she ran. You're such an idiot Ariel, did you really think that someone as arrogant as Joe would change just because he needed you that one night?! You were expecting too much...did you forget why you became his wife! Oh, Ariel you're such a fool...such a fool! Ariel finally made it to the lobby, by now she was sobbing uncontrollably.

She blindly ran out the door and started running out towards the street...she heard cars honking, people shouting at her and a few cursing at her for her stupidity. I am stupid! So stupid! Ariel laughed at herself...why am I so naïve? She suddenly saw flashing light and realized a car was speeding toward her, the car honked continuously but Ariel felt paralyzed, she could not move at all...suddenly someone grabbed her from behind and she felt herself flying into the air and landed hard on the sidewalk cement. Joe was lying on the street, gasping for air as he inhaled in and out.

"Don't ever do that again Ariel! What is wrong with you!" Joe shouted.

Ariel stood up and tried to run again, but Joe grabbed her by the arm and held her from behind with both his arms wrapped around her so she wouldn't be able to break free.

"You're in no condition to go anywhere by yourself; I'll have someone take you home." Joe signaled for one of his body guards.

"What's going on Joe?" Ariel asked softly...her voice felt coarse from crying. She didn't want to ask, didn't want Joe to think that she cared, but somehow the words came out of her mouth. Joe waited for his bodyguard, and handed Ariel over to him.

"We're not really married Ariel, I don't want you to start acting like a real wife...I don't need that in my life." Joe said.

"I was so worried about you after that night; you were hurt about Ron and I just wanted to make sure you were okay." Ariel informed Joe, from the way he was behaving, Ariel felt the distance between them increased; she suddenly knew that this was how Joe wanted their relationship to be...distance.

"I'm fine, once I get the journal, I'll know what to do...and I will get the journal, you just do your part as my wife when we're in public...I don't want anything else from you." Joe stated firmly. Ariel held her head high, and refused to show Joe any of her pain.

"You're right Joe; we're nothing more than just business associates. For a minute, I forgot that fact...thank you for making it clear to me. I have no right to interfere with your personal life and you will not interfere with mine. Date whoever you want, do whatever you want...I don't care!...and I'll date whoever I want. Let me know when you need me to act as your wife...goodbye."

Joe's bodyguard held the car door open waiting for Ariel. She went inside the car without looking at Joe. Ariel did not look back, if she had; she would have seen Joe standing on the street until the car was out of sight. Joe sighed deeply, closed his eyes and whispered,

"I'm sorry Ariel". He turned and walked back to his office.

...............................End of flashback

Ariel heard her cell phone ringing. She answers,


"Ariel? It's Hu I heard from Ella that you and Joe didn't go anywhere for your honeymoon. It's been a month now; would it be okay for me to see you?"

God, Why didn't I meet Hu first? Ariel asked, if only Joe was as gentle as Hu...I wouldn't be in so much pain, she thought to herself and suddenly remembered the conversation she had with Joe.

"Date whoever you want....and I'll date whoever I want." I should remember that this isn't a real marriage, Joe obviously doesn't care about being faithful or keeping up with his wouldn't matter if I see Hu as a friend. Ariel decided that she would meet Hu and let destiny be in control of her relationship. Maybe, just maybe after Joe and I divorce, if my friendship with Hu changes to something means that it was meant to be.

"I would love to see you Hu, where do you want to meet?" Ariel asked.

"I need you to investigate this for me Mr. Wang" Joe said. Mr. Wang looked over the documents Joe handed him and asked,"Are you sure this is not your signature?" Joe nodded; it was not his signature...whoever forged his signature did a very good replicate of the handwriting. Joe asked to see Mr. Wang today because he knows Mr. Wang was one of the few people he could trust; Mr. Wang was Joe grandfather's private attorney and now he works for Joe. He trusts the man to be loyal to him as he was loyal to his grandfather.

"Someone must have forged my signatures, otherwise why would Dreamer sale my shares of the stock without my knowledge?" Joe found a discrepancy with the figures when he was going over Dreamer publisher company current fiscal budget.

"For my grandfather's sake, I don't want Dreamer to lose profit or scammed by our competitors. He worked hard to build and shaped Dreamer into what it is today." Joe pulled out another file and handed it over to Mr. Wang.

"I need this information as soon as possible; I want to know who Ron Ge is...I know he's my father, but I like to get his background information as far back as the first day he started working for Dreamer."

Mr. Wang was curious but knew not to ask why his employer wanted to investigate his own father. Joe pushed his chair back and was in the process of leaving when Mr. Wang said,

"Your grandfather told me you might ask me about your father someday; but I didn't think it would be to investigate him."

Joe did not answer. Mr. Wang continued, "Your grandfather have a final will that he wants me to give you when you turned 25, before I forget I need you to sign this."

The lawyer pulled out a document and handed it to Joe. It stated that a final will was written before his grandfather's death, and upon Joe's twenty-fifth birthday the will would become effective. Joe signed the document after quickly scanning the content.

Mr. Wang also added,

"There is also a provision made for Rainie Yang, I need her to sign a few documents."

Joe was surprised,

"Rainie Yang? Why would a provision be made for Rainie Yang from my grandfather?"

Mr. Wang shrugged.

"I don't know, I wanted to let you know that I would be contacting Rainie soon regarding this." Joe nodded and got up to leave; he turned to Mr. Wang,

"I trust you, as my grandfather had trusted you." Mr. Wang nodded; he knew what he needed to do.

Why would grandfather leave provision for Rainie? Why is there another will...for when I turned twenty five? Joe closed his eyes and leaned back inside his car. He was still in shock over learning Ron was not his real father, and even more ashamed that he showed his weaknesses to Ariel. She must think I'm weak for breaking down in front of her.

Joe decided it was best to keep a distance from Ariel...that was the only way to protect his heart from her. Joe knew staying late at work and seeing other women was wrong, but he was in denial and refused to believe that he might be in love with Ariel. If I can hold another woman in my arm without guilt...then it proved that I don't have any feeling for my wife, Joe told himself...yet every time he tried sleeping with other women...he would see Ariel's face and couldn't bring himself to follow through with the one night stand. Joe refused to believe that it was because he might be unwillingly falling in love with his wife.

@~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"We need to put the stock sale on hold for a little while; someone is on to us...they have already checked all the data...if we continue things can get ugly." Vaness shared the information over the phone.

Hu nodded and told Vaness to put the stock on hold until he comes up with a different strategy. He needed to get at least 30% of Dreamer shares in his name. Without at least 30% or more of the company stock, he will not have the power needed to effectively changed Dreamer.

Hu quickly hung up the phone when he saw Ariel waiting for him at the restaurant. You need to go slow Hu, she just got married...go slow and make sure she fully trusts you before doing anything else.

From what he observed at Joe and Ariel's wedding, the emotions on both the bride and groom's face was too real for the two to not have some kind of feelings for each other. I want it to hurt, when I take you away from your husband..., I want Joe to hurt the way my mother was hurt. Hu refused to acknowledge that Ariel might be innocent, if he listens to his conscience he feared that he would not be able to carry out his plans.

Chapter 13

"Have you found my wife? We have a dinner party in two hours and she is not answering her phone!" Joe shouted over the line."Yes, Mr. Cheng, we found your wife. She is eating dinner with a man... the same man she was with this afternoon for lunch, and the same man she was with last week." Joe's body guard said over the phone.

"Where is she?"

The bodyguard gave the name of a Chinese restaurant; Joe snapped his phone shut, grabbed his jacket and left the building.

@~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ariel was laughing at something Hu said, the story Hu told was very uplifting and funny. She was thankful that he made time to meet with her, or she would have to eat dinner alone in the condo again. She heard somebody slammed the restaurant entrance door but did not look to see who it was. Ariel looked up when she realized that Hu had stopped talking.

"What's wrong?" She asked.

She turned toward the direction Hu was looking at and saw Joe Cheng. A very angry Joe Cheng...he grabbed Ariel by her arm, and yanked her out of the chair.

"You realized she's married?" Joe directed his question toward Hu, and without waiting for a response he started dragging Ariel to his car. Hu tried stopping Joe, but the two body guards blocked his way. The customers stopped eating and turned toward the commotion, as they watch the whole episode unfolds Ariel could hear whispering in the background. She felt embarrassed as Joe dragged her outside, she knew the finger pointing and whispering was about her and Joe. The moment Joe's BMW left the parking lot, the restaurant erupted in gossips.

"Did you see what I just saw?" someone said.

"This is big news...someone should contact the magazine! "Didn't they just married, I remember reading something about it!"

@~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What the hell were you doing out in public with another man!" Joe shouted the moment they walked in the condo.

"I don't have to explain myself; you don't have the right to treat me that way!" Ariel retorted crossing her arms in anger.

"You better start explaining or I'm not responsible for what happens next!" Joe said as he slowly walks toward Ariel.

"You may not think about our image, but as my wife your job is to create a loving relationship between us. You disrespect my family name and our marriage by being openly intimate with another man in public."

Joe now stood very close to Ariel; his eyes were cold enough to freeze the room. As he neared her, Ariel shifted backward and came to a halt, she was now trapped between the wall and Joe.

"You're jumping to conclusion; I don't know what the hell you're talking about. If you care so much about reputation what the heck were you doing with Tiffany?!" Ariel asked

"That's none of your business...I don't have time to argue with you. Go in your room and get dress! Have you forgotten we have a dinner party to attend to?"

Ariel laughs at Joe's hypocrisy.

"I don't believe this! What right do you have to question me when you don't even answer any of my questions? Better yet, I have nothing to hide, but apparently you do!" Ariel shouted heatedly and tried to push him away from her, but he would not budge.

"Do you like that why you're willing to put your mother's job in knew the terms of our marriage, and're not allow to meet other men!"

Ariel could not believe what she was hearing. Joe was way out of line and she had enough!

"Isn't it just like you to blackmail me into marrying you, and what now threatening my mom's job and prohibiting me from meeting friends? You can't fire my mom and you know it!...and yes, I like that guy, is that what you want to hear? Fine if it makes you happy...I LIKE HIM, Did you hear me, I LIKE...!"

Ariel was lying through her teeth, but she was so angry she wanted to purposely provoke him. Joe suddenly leaned in and crushed his lips over hers; she could feel the anger in his kiss and the tension in his body. Ariel closed her mouth tight and refused to give in...Joe continued kissing her, teasing her with his nips and slowly invading her mouth with his tongue. Wide eyes, Ariel opened her mouth to ask what the hell he was doing, Joe took advantage and deepened the kiss. This time his lips became gentler and softer. Ariel could feel the stress and tension leaving his body.

He moved in closer, put one arm on the wall and the other holding her head. Ariel sighs, what is happening to us, why is it like this? She wondered. Joe nipped her lower lip and deepens the kiss, the taste was so intoxcating Ariel slowly opened her lips to receive his kiss eagerly; the softness brought back memories of their wedding kiss. Ariel closed her eyes, she slowly moved her arms and wrapped it around Joe. Could I be falling for this arrogant jerk? Ariel asked, her heart screamed yes, you're in love with this arrogant jerk...and her mind shouted, No, you can't fall in love with such a brute! Joe suddenly stopped kissing her. She opened her eyes, and saw Joe staring at her...he had a look of disbelief on his face.

"...I'm sorry Ariel" Joe whispered. He loosens his hold on her and pulled his hand out of her hair. He was doing it again, trying to distant from her. Ariel held onto his hand,"Why are you sorry Joe?"

Joe leaned against the wall closed his eyes briefly before whispering,

"I'm falling for you...I fought so hard not to fall for you, but my heart refuse to listen...Ariel, I think...I love you...".

Of all the things she expected Joe to say...she didn't expect this. Ariel was stunned, she did not know what to say, her heart started racing, and all she kept thinking was...Did I hear wrong? I must have! Did he just confess he loves me?

Suddenly she was laughing and crying at the same time, Joe stare at her confused. Ariel couldn't stop; she was so happy she fears her heart was going to explode because of the happiness. The ache in her heart disappears, and in its place was her love for Joe...the love she refused to acknowledge but knows there no reason to hide it anymore.

Ariel jumped on Joe and held him tight in her arms,

"Oh, Joe...I think I love you too..., I love you." Ariel whispered softly in Joe's ear, the tension in the atmosphere faded and the two smiles at each other shyly.

"So, what are we going to do?" she asked.

Joe felt the stress and worries he has been feeling suddenly lightened, he couldn't stop himself from holding on to Ariel, he did not ever want to let her go. She loves me! Ariel loves me! Joe grinned smugly. He wanted to shout "Ariel loves me!" instead he kissed her again lovingly on her lips.

There was so much he wanted to say to her, but didn't know where to start. He wanted to explain so many things, all his worries, his insecurity, his fears, his hope, his dreams...there was so much he wanted to say, but Joe suddenly realized he has a lifetime to share and there was no need to rush. In Ariel's arms, Joe felt her arms, he found his lost self.

"What's there to do, we're going to stay marry...I love you and you love me." Joe grinned, and teased Ariel, "I knew you wanted to have a real wedding...after the way you kissed me."

"Hmm...I was just returning the favor, don't kissed me first, what was I supposed to do? Not kiss you?" Ariel laughed when Joe pretended to hit his head against the wall.

"I almost forgot that you're a smart mouth, especially around me." He leaned closer to Ariel and said in a teasing voice,

"But I'm glad you're my smart belong to me and only me."

Ariel felt content, she was in Joe's arms. For tonight, she did not want to think about what will happen tomorrow..., she just wanted to feel Joe's warmness as he held her, she wanted to hold on to the love that he was giving her.

@~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Vivian, Joe's becoming suspicious, he's investigating the current buys and sells in the company and I saw him a few days ago with his lawyer, Mr. Wang...the buyer wants to stop the transaction for a while until it's safer" Vaness told Vivian; Vivian has no idea that the person she was selling the stock to was Hu Ge, her husband's biological son. The older woman angryly threw the cup she was holding against the wall.

"Joe has never shown any interest in Dreamer...why is he investigating?" Vivian wanted to know. Vaness did not answer, he put the documents he had on the table back in his suitcase and told Vivian to lay low until it was safe. After Vaness left, Vivian went to her desk and picked up the phone. A gruff voice answered the other line.


"I need you to complete the assignment that you failed last year" Vivian said.

"Look lady, you're not paying me enough to risk my life...I almost didn't escape last time because of those two damn body guards always hanging around your son!" The gruff voice answered. Vivian knew he was going to give her a hard time.

"My son doesn't suspect anything, his bodyguards decided not to tell him about what happened that night, so you're safe." She said and also added,

"I'll make it worth your about I doubled the asking price in American dollars?" The man was quiet for a while, and then he said,

"What do you want me to do?"

"Kill my son...this time don't messed it up!" She said firmly and hung up the phone.

Chapter 14

"Your mother really like to be out in the open" Ranie said to Hu as they stood on top of the hill overlooking the valley. He nodded, today was a good day for his mom to be outdoor.Rainie spread a blanket over the grass, lay the picnic basket on the blanket and took out their lunches. Hu sat next to her and helped her set up the lunches. This was their fourth time having picnic at the park with his mother. Rainie has been really generous and warm to his mom, Hu didn't want to admit it but being with Rainie put him at ease, a sense of peacefulness. His mother too noticed her son had been smiling and laughing more often when Rainie was around. She smiled wistfully. Hu glanced at his mom and grinned. He then turned to Rainie and helped her with setting the food. As they open their drinks, the wind blew and some of the loose strands from Rainie's hair got in her eyes. Hu quickly leaned over and gently tucked the loose strands behind her ears.

Rainie was surprised by Hu's action, she looked up at him, and saw him looking at her...his face was very caring, so different from when she first met him. She shyly smiled at him. It was hard to explain, but his action warms her heart and she felt nervous, giddy and excited just being with him. What are you doing to me Hu? Why do I feel this way when I'm around you? Rainie continued pouring the drink to stop from thinking too much.

"You're really beautiful do you know that?...when I look at you, I want to bring out my paint brushes and paint you." Hu said. Rainie laughed,

"I bet you say that to all the girls you're with." With a serious look, Hu answered,

"Why would I say that? I'm not a romantic kind of guy...I say what I mean, and you're beautiful."

Rainie felt her face turned red and she knew she was blushing. She glanced over at Hu's mother, Maylee, and found her smiling at them with a content grin on her face. Rainie waved her over to eat.

Meeting the mother and son was the best day of her life. Rainie enjoy spending time with Maylee and Hu, she has a suspicious feeling that Maylee was trying to set them up...but honestly Rainie didn't mind. Since the day Joe got married, after she witnessed they way he looked at Ariel, Rainie knew that Joe was in love. When she is with Hu, she forgets about her heartache and she sometimes wondered maybe, just maybe what she felt for Joe was infatuation and not real love?

@~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No! Step on the brake, stop the car, STOP!"

Joe shouted in his sleep. Ariel was sitting beside Joe's bed holding his hands. For the past few weeks, Joe has been having nightmare about the car accident that killed his former teacher.

He told her about the accident and his guilt in not being able to keep his words he made to his teacher. He had promised to take care of Rainie. The nightmare appears more frequently after Mr. Wang shared the information he got from the investigation on Ron Ge.

According to the investigation, Ron was not Joe's biological father; still finding it hard to accept Joe had his DNA analyzed. The test results revealed that Ron was truly not his it all makes sense, the distance between him and Ron and also the constant excuses for any father son activities.

What was even more astounding was the fact that the car accident that killed Rainie's father was not an accident at all. It was an attempt from someone within Dreamer Company to take Joe's life. All the evidence according to the investigation points to Ron Ge. All the documents from the investigation were still on Joe's bedroom desk. Ariel was shocked to find out that Hu Ge was actually Ron's biological son, his parents divorced when he was four years old. The reason for the divorce was not clear, however according to the reports...Ron Ge left his wife and son for ambitious reasons, he wanted to climb up the social ladder quick and the quickest way was to marry the CEO's only daughter.

"Joe, wake up...wake up!" Ariel gently shakes him. Joe opened his eyes and saw Ariel was in his room again.

"Why are you always in my room, for a're not shy at all." Joe joked. Ariel took a cloth and wiped his forehead.

"You were having the same nightmare again; do you remember anything at all?" She asked.

Joe shook his head, everything about that night seemed a little fuzzy and he could not remember all the events that happened.

"Mr. Wang said someone cut the car brake, but I remember the brake was working fine when I went to pick Mr. Yang and it must have happened during the time I was inside the bar." Ariel moved from her spot and sat down next to Joe on the bed,

"Did your body guards explain why they didn't tell you about this incident?"

"At the time, they felt I was already under too much pressure from my teacher's death, and also taking over some of the responsibilities for Dreamer. They didn't want to burden me."

Ariel frowned,

"That doesn't make sense, you would think that's important information for you to have...someone tried to kill you, they killed your teacher, so why would they keep that information from you?"

Joe realized Ariel was right.

Could it be his mom? Vivian appears to have more inside information on his life then she should. No! It couldn't be her, she's self center and ambitious, but she wouldn't killed her own son! Joe refused to believe that. Could one or both of his bodyguards be working for the person that wanted to kill him? Who could that person be...could it really be Ron Ge? If so, what's the motive? Joe wondered those questions over and over in his head but always come to a dead end. He had already informed Mr. Wang to continue with the investigation, if someone wanted to kill him that also puts Ariel in danger.


Rainie finally made up her mind; she was going to see Joe today. The shoe box filled with Vivian and her father's pictures and love letters was something that Joe should know too. Rainie needed to find out if there was a possiblity Joe was her half brother, it's been almost a year now since they broke up. Rainie took a deep breath, she was ready. She was ready to find out the truth. With the box under her arms, Rainie knocked on Joe's office door. The person that opened the office was not Joe's secretary or Joe. It was Ariel; she smiled at Rainie and told her to come in. They must be really close if they can't bear to be away from each other even during the working hours, Rainie thought. Rainie was waiting for the ache in her heart to swell, but surprisingly her heart did not ache in pain...even with Ariel standing next to her. Joe was sitting behind his desk, looking over documents. He stood up when he saw Rainie.

"I'm glad you're here, I was meaning to call you." Joe said. They sat down; Rainie put the shoe box on the table,

"Before I say anything, you should lock the door...this is something that you will not want others to see."

Ariel put cups of tea on the table and went to lock the office door. She was in the process of walking out the door when Joe grabbed her hand.

"Stay, whatever it is I want you to know too." He said.

Ariel nodded and sat down. Joe opened the shoe box, and pulled out a photograph.

"This is my mom and your dad..." He quickly scanned through all the pictures.

"They're all pictures of my mom and your dad...what's going on?"

Rainie picked up a letter,

"You'll know after you read some of the letters."

Joe's hands started shaking as he read each of the letters. Could this person writing the letters be his mom? The words she wrote, it was romantic, sweet and filled with hope...yet the mother he knows today was the exact opposite.

"What do you know that I don't know, Rainie?" Joe asked.

"Not much...let me share with you the story my aunt told me..." Rainie quickly told Joe and Ariel the story about Aaron Yang and Vivian's break up twenty years ago. Joe put his hands on his forehead and starts massaging it. He was getting a headache, there was just too many things happening at the same time.

"You're saying you and Joe might be half siblings?" Ariel asked. Rainie nodded.

"I really want to find out if we're related or not...especially after your lawyer came by my house a few days ago. He wanted me to sign some documents that your grandfather put in with his last will, some type of provision support. We need to get a lab test done to find out if we're related or not" Rainie eyed Joe with a serious face.

Joe nodded, how would he feel if it turns out Rainie is his half sister? The chance of Rainie being his sister just increased greatly because he knows Ron is not his biological father. Joe decided not to share that information with her; it would only give her more stress. He was too numb to think clearly. Ariel took one of his hands and squeezed gently in comfort. Joe didn't know how he would handle things if Ariel wasn't with him. He squeezed her hand back in thanks.

"I have something else to share with you Rainie about you dad's death..." Joe said gently, he has a feeling they were going to be in the office for a long time.

@~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~ @~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rainie waited at the bus stop; replaying the words Joe told her over and over again in her head and still finds it hard to believe.

"Your father's death wasn't an accident, somebody from Dreamer purposely cut the of now it's still being investigated" Joe said.

"Why, why would they do that, and who was it?" Rainie wanted to know.

"There are lots of reasons, so far the information we have state that it's somebody from Dreamer...but we don't have the culprit's identity yet" Joe said apologetically. Rainie frowned,

"Father died because somebody purposely cut the brake? This is unbelievable..."
Rainie felt like crying, she needed to cry but she did not want to cry in front of Joe and Ariel. Ariel leaned over and took one of Rainie's hands.

"It's okay to cry Rainie, I know you're in shock learning about this." Ariel said kindly.

"Don't think too much, I'm doing everything I can to find out the truth." Joe tried to convince Rainie, but Rainie could see the stress, fear and worries on Joe's face. It must be really hard on him too..., Rainie grabbed the shoe box, closed the lid and stood up. She need some breathing space, some time to be think.

"Thanks for letting me know Joe; I need to be by myself for a while...let me know when to go in for the lab test." With that said, Rainie rushed out of the office.

Everything seem so bleak to her. It was as if everything she believe in suddenly became a lie. Rainie took a deep breath and tried to hold back her tears.
Oh father, what am I going to do? I am soo angry that you died and finally learning to accept your death...and now I find out you were cheated out of life. I am soo pissed off at the killer, oh dad...Rainie leaned against the bus stop pole and let the tears rolled down her cheek.

She stood there crying for a long time, two, three buses passed by and Rainie still did not get on. Her cell phone rang over and over and she did not pick up. It started raining really hard and yet Rainie did not feel the coldness. Even though she was now drench from the rain, Rainie still leaned against the bus stop pole not moving.

She needed to cry, all these months she tried so hard to be strong, all the heartache and pain...she told herself to stay strong and not to cry...but today with the news that her dad whom she loved so much was was too much for her, she couldn't stop herself from sobbing uncontrollably. Another bus stopped. The driver yelled,

"Hey Girl, you getting on or what?" Rainie did not answer.

"Hey, you crazy? You're all wet! Get in!" The driver said.

Rainie still did not answer; it was as if she did not hear the driver. The bus driver closed the bus door and speed off, with the waters from the side walk spraying Rainie all over.

Rainie stood there still like a mannequin for a long time until she realized that the rain must have stopped. She glanced up and all around her it was still raining, she look up and there was an umbrella.

Someone was shielding her from the rain with the umbrella. Rainie quickly turned around and saw Hu, he came closer, slowly and gently as not to scare her he pulled her into the safety of his arms. She put her head on his shoulder and felt fresh tears coming out of her eyes. Without saying a word, Hu held Rainie in his arms, covered her with his coat and walked her to his car.

"I've fulfilled the contract terms, it's time for you to do the same."Joe said to his mother; they were in Vivian's office. Joe laid the contract they had signed six months ago in front of her. Vivian smiled and motioned for her secretary to come over. She whispered something in the girl's ear. The secretary nodded and left the room. A few minutes later, a middle age man dressed in suit and tied walked in the office. He bowed to Joe and Vivian before sitting down.

"Joe, let me introduced you to my lawyer, Simon Ming. Simon please explain to my son the reason you're here today" Simon nodded at Vivian before turning to Joe.

"According to the contract you signed with your mother, you've agree to divorced after six months of marriage. However, you have not filed for divorce; unless you divorced your wife, the contract with your mother is null and void...the contract will be over within the week, if you want the journal you have to file for divorce" Simon explained. Joe picked up the contract and read it over..., the lawyer was right.

Vivian laughed at Joe's foolishness. Has he actually gone and fall in love with his wife?

"Are you in love?" Vivian asked in contempt. Joe looked his mother in the eyes and answered,

"You know all about love don't you...with my former teacher"

Vivian did not expect those words from Joe. She was momentarily stunned and asked,

"What do you mean by that?"

"I know the two of you had a serious relationship when you were young."

Vivian tried to cover up her surprise by saying,

"I've never had a relationship with that man. Get out; I don't want to see you."

Joe noticed that his mother's voice became very strained and she appeared a little ruffled. Aaron Yang still have some power over Vivian even after all these years? Joe wondered what had happened that separated his mom and his former teacher.

After Joe left Vivian told her lawyer to leave. She paced back and forth in her office. How did Joe find out about Aaron and her? Is there another copy of her father's journal...does Joe know everything? No, no...that can't happen; Vivian refused to believe that everything she has done and been through was for nothing. Dreamer belongs to me...and I will do everything possible to keep it mine! Vivian comforted herself with those thoughts. With shaky hands, Vivian quickly dialed a familiar number.

"Things are not going the way I had expected, you need to hurry and get the job done before Joe finds out about everything!" Vivian shouted over the phone.
@~~~~~'~~~ @~~~~'~~~ @~~~~'~~~

Joe parked his car in front of the condo and closed his eyes. He couldn't bring himself to go inside yet...these last three months with Ariel was like heaven, they fit so perfectly sometime he wonders why it took him so long to admit he loves her. You have until next week to file for divorce if you want your grandfather's week. Joe knew if he shared this with Ariel she'll make sure he files for divorce. No, Ariel's more important; Joe realized with Ariel with him he was who he wanted to be, she makes him a better person. He was not going to file for divorce, he needs her too much; he can't risk losing her. He made up his mind, he will choose Ariel over the journal.
@~~~~~)~~~ @~~~~~)~~~~~~ @~~~~~~)~~~~~~

"Joe did not file for divorce; it seems he really does love his wife." Simon said over the phone.

Vivian grinned in anticipation...that was just the news she wanted to hear. If she can't get what she wants through Joe...there are other alternatives that will forced him to change his mind. Vivian knew what she needed to do to test how strong Ariel's love was for Joe..., the stronger the better. When Joe chose Ariel over his grandfather's journal, Vivian knew that the love Joe had for Ariel was real. Ariel was the gateway to Joe's downfall. Vivian suddenly laughed in happiness; she had finally found her son's weakness!

Chapter 15

Maylee Ge overheard her son’s conversation on the phone with Vaness.“Vivian changed her mind; she doesn’t want to collaborate with us anymore. She said something about having a different plan to gain full control of Dreamer.” Vaness told Hu, he was waiting for Hu to explode…this was something that Hu had put his life’s work into. Surprisingly Hu did not explode, instead he asked,

“Do you have any idea what her alternative plan is?” Vaness was quiet on the other line. After a while, Vaness reluctantly said,

“Your father is being investigated as one of the possible suspect in the attempted murder of his son...Joe Cheng; if there are enough evidence to put him behind bar, Vivian will gain the bulk of the stock share.”

“What?!” Hu jumped up from where he was sitting and demanded that Vaness tell him everything he knows.

“Joe Cheng had one of his bodyguards followed your father for a few weeks now, he is also being investigated by high paying detectives…it doesn’t look so good for him right now.”

“Why would my father want to kill his own son?” Hu wanted to know…all of these happenings and he was totally unaware of it, Rainie has been occupying his thoughts and he did not pay as much attention as he should to his goal.

“…unless Joe Cheng is not your father’s son?” Vaness hesitantly added.

"Not my father's is that possible?"

Hu saw his mother standing in the doorway; he quickly hung up the phone.

“Ma, is something wrong?” Hu asked.

Maylee went in the room, took her son’s hand in hers and sat next to him. She sighs softly; she had no idea how bitter Hu actually felt toward his father. It was time to tell Hu the truth about what had happened twenty years ago..., now that his father is back in Taiwan she feel he deserved to know the truth.

Whether Hu admits it or not, Maylee know how difficult it was for him growing up without a father. She know he also blamed his father for all their trouble. Maylee knew her time has finally come to an end, she was going to die. She knew it in her heart…all these years she has been holding on to life because she did not want to leave her son, but now in Rainie she sees hopes for her him. She could feel that her body no longer has the will to stay healthy. The medications has not been helping her immune system, and even the chemotherapy has not been successful.

“I want to share something with you before it’s too late.” Maylee whispered.

“Ma, don’t talk like that. You have all the time in the world to tell me anything.” Hu said. Maylee smiled softly, it was just like Hu to be so optimistic.

“This is about your father and what happened twenty years ago, don’t interrupt me…just listen.” She told him firmly. Hu nodded.

“I overheard some of the conversation…as to whether Vivian’s son is your father’s son; he is not your father’s son...but I know deep in my heart he would never do anything to harm Joe” Hu eyes widened and he opened his mouth to ask a question, but Maylee squeezed his hand to remind him to stay quiet.

“I know you must have wondered who the anonymous party that has been helping to pay for my medical bills all these years…the truth is, the medical bills was all paid by Dreamer until a few years ago when you told them to stopped payment unless you meet the benefactor.” Maylee continues,

“We were very poor at the time, your father just started working in the company and Victor took a great liking to him. During that time I was also diagnosed with leukemia; we didn’t have the money to pay for the high medical cost…the doctor told your father my life expectancy without medical care was less than two years…you were still so young, we didn’t know what to do…” Hu was in shock, he did not know what to say or how to react.

“Is that why father married Vivian? Because we needed the money?” Hu asked.

Maylee nodded,

“That was part of the reason; it wasn’t because Vivian lacked partners, she was a very beautiful girl, at the time she had a steady boyfriend that she loved very much…but the circumstances forced Vivian and your father to married.” Hu felt a deep headache in the back of his head…like a giant rock was pressing down on his skull.

“What circumstances?” Hu asked.

Maylee sighed deeply again and replied,

“Vivian was raped…”


Ariel was already late for her morning class; she quickly locked the door with one hand and the other hand she was holding her cell phone chatting with Ella.“Ella please let your mom know that I won’t make it tonight, unless you cover for me?” Ariel teased. She knew Ella would refused…she was finally going on her official date with Wu Chun…more like a surprise date for him, but Ella is so head over heels in love with Chun that after catching the bouquet at Ariel’s wedding, she was sure it was a sign from God, she and Chun were meant to be.

“His mom told him it’s a surprise, but once he sees me…it won’t be a surprise anymore!” Ella told Ariel excitedly.

“So, Chun thinks he’s going on a blind date. How did you get his mother to help you set up the date?” Ariel was curious.

Ella laughed and replied,

“It’s all the free foods I’ve been giving them every time they eat at the restaurant, Chun’s mom love all the freebies!”

Ariel laughed, sometime she wish she has Ella’s spunk and fearlessness! Ariel was almost out of the condo when she saw Vivian walked out of a limousine.

Ah…why is she here so early in the morning? Ariel wanted to hide but it was already too late. It’s not that she was afraid of Vivian, over the months Ariel observed the way Vivian behaved towards her husband and she couldn't help but developed a strong dislikes towards Vivian. Ariel tried to smile but couldn't forced her lips to move. Vivian motioned her hands as if she was waving to a servant. She pointed to the car indicating her instruction for Ariel to go to the car. Ariel sighed deeply, Freak…what now?

“Ella? Joe’s mom is here, talk to you later.” Ariel put her cell phone in her pocket and nodded to Vivian.

“Morning…if you’re looking for Joe, he left already.” Ariel said.

Vivian signaled the driver to open the car door and said to Ariel,

“Get inside; I need to talk to you.”

Ariel hesitated, she was already late for her class…and sadly she really does not trust Vivian. She’s Joe’s mom, just hear her out. Nothing is wrong with meeting with your mother in-law! Nevertheless, Ariel still felt very uneasy, and undecided. Vivian observed Ariel’s indecisiveness and asked,

“Are you afraid of me?”

Ariel shook her head and went inside the car. Once she was inside the limousine, Vivian told the driver to go. The car drove about 10 minutes and Vivian still has not said a word. Ariel started feeling really uneasy; the window was tinted and she could not see anything outside. She has no idea where Vivian was taking her.

“Where are we going?” She asked.

Vivian did not answer. The tension in the air was so thick, Ariel felt suffocated. She tried rolling down the window but it was locked. Feeling really anxious now, Ariel asked the driver to open the window repeatedly, yet the driver pretended he did not hear her. Ariel grabbed her cell phone to call Joe but Vivian snapped the phone out of her hands and put the phone in her handbag. What the hell is Vivian doing? Ariel wondered. Vivian loves watching the fear on Ariel’s face. Smart girl, she knows who’s in charge. Vivian smiled secretly; she was looking forward to playing with Ariel’s emotions!


Almost an hour later, the car finally stopped. Vivian turned to Ariel and handed her a copy of the contract and said,

“Are you aware of the contract between Joe and me?” Ariel nodded.

“Did he tell you about his grandfather’s journal?”

Again Ariel nodded. Vivian smiled in satisfaction; this was so much more than she hoped for!

“So you’re aware that he gave up the journal to stay married to you?” Vivian asked.

Ariel did not know that. Joe did what? The whole reason they got married in the first place was because of the darn journal! Why? Ariel wished she had her phone with her; she needed to talk to Joe.

“What do you mean?” Ariel asked.

“Exactly what I just said, he gave up the journal for you…, so now it’s up to you. Are you willing to give up Joe for the journal?” Vivian asked playfully.

“Explain exactly what you mean by that.” Ariel said. Vivian pulled out an old journal and caresses it gently in her hands.

“This journal here…have cost everybody a lot of pain, if I wanted to I could just burned it…but you see, this journal is both my savior and my despair.” Vivian stares intensely into Ariel’s eyes and asked again,

“Are you willing to divorce Joe for the journal?”

What is going on Joe? Why didn’t you tell me this was burdening you? Ariel looked over at Vivian; what kind of a mother are you? Ariel wanted to ask but she refrained from making the situation worse.

“I can’t give you an answer until I talk to Joe…”

Ariel closed her eyes briefly...should she do as Vivian say? The journal is so important to Joe…why didn’t he choose the journal?

After thinking it over, Ariel met Vivian's eyes,

“I know how important the journal is to Joe…if divorcing him is what it’ll take for you to give him the journal then I’ll do it” Ariel answered.

Vivian suddenly laughed in satisfaction, this is great!

“Oh, you don’t need to divorce dear Joe…I just wanted to test how much you love him.” Vivian said.

She suddenly tapped the window to the driver’s side, the window rolled down.

“Simon, I need you to call Joe…also take out the documents, this time Joe will have no choice but to sign it! Tell him I have a surprise for him.” Vivian said. Finally, things were finally going the way she wanted it to. She smiled at Ariel, and it was all thanks to Joe’s unsuspecting little wife!

Chapter 16

Rainie ran as fast she could, her heart was pounding and her legs was getting really tired…but she forced herself to continue running. Wait for me Hu! Wait for me, I’m coming! Hu called and left an urgent message on her cell phone. She still remembers every word he uttered.

"Rainie, please come to the hospital as soon as possible…I think, I think…mom won’t make it! Rainie…I really need you here right now, please come when you get this message."

She felt her heart ache in pain as she recalled the hurt in Hu’s voice. Wait for me Hu, I’m coming! Rainie ran in the hospital lobby.

“I’m here to see Maylee Ge, What room is she in?” Rainie asked the nurse.

“Room 210, second floor…wait you need to sign in!” Rainie quickly jointed her name on the sign in sheet and ran toward the elevator.

Rainie practically ran down the hallway as she searched for room 210. She was out of breath by the time she found the room. She knocked on the door softly, after a few second; she heard Hu’s hallow whisper,

“Come in”.

Rainie pushed the door open and walked inside. Maylee was lying on the bed, she has tubes connected everywhere on her body and a breathing machine. She was very still as she slowly inhale in and out through the breathing machine, her face was very pale.

Hu sat by his mother sobbing silently, he held one of her hands in his. Rainie quietly pulled up a chair and sat next to Hu. She took his hand in hers; she wanted him to know that she was there for him, to support him. When Hu finally lifted his head up from the bed, Rainie felt tears welled up in her eyes; Hu looked so lost and alone, as if he fears being abandoned.

He’s afraid; Rainie realized. Hu is afraid of being abandoned…, his father left when he was so very young…, now he’s afraid that his mother is leaving too.

“Oh Hu…, I’m so sorry” Rainie whispered.

She went over to him and sat gently on his lap; she put his head on her shoulder and wrapped her arms around his waist.

“I’m so sorry Hu” She whispered again.

Hu wrapped his arms around Rainie, thankful that she came, thankful for her kind words and her warmth.


Rainie sat on the chair with Hu in her arms, the only audible sound coming from the room was the breathing machine and Maylee’s occasionally cough. Each time she coughed, there was dark clot of blood. The doctor told Hu there was no hope…her fragile body have finally collapsed after all these years of fighting.

“Rainie…Rainie…” someone whispered. Rainie looked up and saw Hu’s mother calling for her. Maylee had taken off the breathing machine; Rainie gently wakes Hu from his sleep and walked over to his mother.

“Auntie Maylee, let me get the doctor.” Rainie said softly.

Maylee shook her head; she took one of Rainie’s hands and put it on the bed. She then took Hu’s other hand and lay it on top of Rainie’s hand.

She looks Hu in the eyes,

“I don’t have much time Hu, please listen to me…this is my last request as your mother. Don’t let the past overshadowed your future …, if you continue with your need for revenge even after all that I’ve told you, you’ll going to lose your future too…you have Rainie here, don’t lose her, don’t let go of your happiness…” Maylee softly pleads.

She wanted her son to let go of the past, and live for the future. She turns to Rainie,
“I’m asking a lot from you and I have no rights to, but please promise me you’ll look after Hu for me? He needs you a lot more than he admits; promise you’ll take care of him?”
Rainie nodded.

“I will auntie Maylee, I promise”. Maylee smiled in content when she heard Rainie’s promise. It was time, it was time to go.

The doctor knocked on the door and told Hu and Rainie to step outside for a moment. There was a visitor to see Maylee. Raine turned around and was surprised to see Ron Ge Cheng, Joe’s father. What is he doing here? Rainie glanced over at Hu; he nodded to the doctor, telling him that it was okay.

Ron Ge stares at his wife for a long time, his heart ache all over for the love he has for her, and the pain he’d cost her; he locked her images in his heart and soul. It has been such a long time since he last seen her. He sat down next to her, and gently he wipes the sweat off her forehead. He lean in close to her and whispered softly,

“Maylee, how I missed you…, how I love you”

he kissed her tenderly on the lips and closed his eyes. Tears of sorrow and regrets rolled down his face, he held onto her and sobbed. Maylee took her husband’s face in her hands, it doesn’t matter that they divorce…he was the husband of her heart, and she was his wife at heart.
It was so good to see him again.

“Oh, darling please don’t cry for me…please let me remember our happy times…darling, help me remember.”

With her head on his shoulder, they reminisced about their childhood, their high school years, their hopes and dreams and their love for one another. Ron continues talking about the pranks they pulled on each other during their senior year in high school. He smiled as he remembered how simple and light hearted every thing was for them back then. Maylee smiled in remembrance listening to her husband, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She was content…she was content.

Ron felt the moment Maylee breathed her last breath, he closed his eyes, put his head against her chest and let the tears flow.


Hu stood by the door way and quietly listens to the conversation between his parents. When his father stopped talking, he knew something was wrong, but he refused to believe it. Hu went inside the room and saw his mother lying very still in his father’s arms. Hu shook his head in denial, it wasn’t true, it wasn’t true! She’s not gone, she’s not!! Hu wanted to yank her out of his father’s arms, but Rainie stopped him. She held onto him tight and did not let go of her hold.

“It’s not true! It’s not true!” Hu shouted in pain, his heart suddenly hurt so much. The pain was so excruciating that Hu felt he couldn’t breathe.

“IT’S NOT TRUE!!! SHE’S NOT DEAD!” he shouted over and over.

He tried to pull Rainie off him; He needed to go wake his mother, she’s waiting for me to wake her up! Hu thought, but Rainie continue holding him. Hu finally look down at Rainie and saw her crying, that’s when he realized…his mother was really gone. The shock came suddenly and he fell on his knees, like a little boy Hu cried with all his heart, cried until there were no more tears to shed, he cried until he felt as if his heart would burst into a million pieces.


Chapter 17

Joe called his body guards into his office. He had just finished talking to Simon Ming on the phone. Simon said he has Ariel with him; Joe was given two options… he had to choose either Dreamer Company or his wife. Concerned Joe frantically call everywhere for Ariel; her house, Ella, the restaurant, Joe became increasingly fearful when he contacted the university and they told him she never went to class. He called her cell phone hundred of times and there were no answers.

“Wait until I leave then I want you to contact the police; let them know this is an emergency. One of you contact my lawyer right away…I have a feeling my mother is involved somehow.” Joe shrugged his jacket on, and opened his draw. He quickly pulled out a handgun and puts it inside his jacket. Joe started walking out the door, but one of the body guards blocked his way.

“I don’t think this is a good idea; take one of us with you.” Joe shakes his head no.

“They specifically said for me to go alone, I don’t want anything to happen to Ariel. Don’t follow me; my wife’s life is in danger.” Joe said firmly.


Ariel saw Joe parked his BMW next to the limousine; Oh no! Ariel closed her eyes in despair…Joe you shouldn’t have come! Ariel’s hands were tied from the back, the driver, Simon had dragged her out of the car and was now holding her hostage waiting for Joe.

Vivian remained seated inside the car, she had on a calm façade; but inside she was boiling in anticipation…finally she was going to get what should have always been hers. I’ve sacrificed everything, my life, my love; my future…Dreamer belongs to me! Vivian tucked the journal under the car seat. She wished that she had kept the journal locked at home; this was way too easy, I didn’t need to bring the journal with me at all! Vivian scolded herself for rushing and not thinking things through.

Simon handed Ariel over to another man who has his face covered in disguise. Ariel tried breaking free, but the more she fought and resisted the tighter the man held her. Simon took out his suitcase, and pulled out a stack of documents. The moment Joe walked up to Simon, two other cars drove by and a few men walked out. They surrounded Joe, he was trapped.

“So glad you could make it; it’s all really simple and legal…you have my words!” Simon said and laughed at his own joke.

Joe remained silent; he glanced at Ariel to make sure she was alright. A quick scan of the area revealed that beside the two cars carrying the men who are now surrounding Joe, there were also a few more men hiding behind the wall and over the bridge. Joe signs, the situation appear hopeless. Simon told some of his men to make sure Joe didn’t bring anybody with him.

Joe noticed that they were all standing very close to the edge of the mountain, a miscalculation could be deadly. Joe nodded to Ariel; he wanted to assured her that everything was going to be okay…even though he was very worry. He was afraid to look at her for too long, he was afraid he might lose control.

“All you have to do Joe is signed these documents here, and everything will just be jolly.”

Simon said and handed Joe a pen. Joe ignored him and leaned his head over to look inside the limousine.

“Who’s inside there? I’d like to know the person who’s been trying to oust me since day one.” Joe said. Simon lifted Joe’s right hand and said again,

"Sign the papers, don’t worry about who’s inside.”

“It’s your mother!” Ariel shouted. Simon turned toward Ariel and slapped her across her face.

“Who ask you? You little twit!” the slap was so hard, his hand prints was visible on her cheek. Joe growled in madness and jumped on Simon, he punched the man on the face over and over, until there was blood all over his hands. Some of the men grabbed Joe and pulled him off Simon, before they pulled him off completely, Joe quickly kicked Simon between the legs. Simon fell down on the floor, his hands covering his crotch area moaning in pain.

“Hold him and don’t let him go!” A female voice shouted from the car. Vivian walked out; she slowly walked up to Ariel and grabbed a fistful of Ariel’s hair.

“If you do anything remotely similar to what you just demonstrated on Simon, I will pull every single hair out of your wife’s head!” Vivian said calmly…almost eagerly as if she was taunting Joe to continue. She picked up the pen and handed it to Joe.

“If you don’t sign these documents here, Ariel will suffer.” Vivian threatens.

“Why are you doing this to me? What have I ever done to you mother?” Joe whispered. Vivian nodded to the man that was holding Ariel. The man grabbed a fistful of Ariel’s hair and pulled it hard backward.

“Owwwww…” tears welled up in her eyes, but Ariel refused to cry. She wanted to stay strong for Joe. I’m very close to getting what I want. Why not tell him the truth? Vivian smiled,

“Why? You wanted to know why?...let me tell you why! I’ve never wanted you. Having you was a mistake and I will never forgive you for ruining my life! I lost my only love, and you killed him…the car accident you had? It was meant for you only, why did you go and picked up Aaron? Why?!” Vivian suddenly screamed in agony. She poked her fingers hard against Joe’s chest.

“You wanted to know why? Because I was raped…and because you were born.”

Chapter 18

Vivian’s words cuts straight into Joe’s heart.“Because I was raped….because you were born” those words hit Joe hard emotionally and mentally. Ariel wanted to comfort Joe but her captor would not let her go. The shock of hearing Vivian’s words…that he wasn’t wanted, and he was the product of rape stunned Joe speechless.

Not in all his wildest dreams had he ever imagined that he was a product of rape, it would have been better if Vivian had given him up for adoption or aborted him. Joe swallowed back the tears that welled up in his eyes, as he remembers all the lonely nights he waited for a bed time story and a good night kiss. Wishing and hoping that maybe Mommy was in a better mood today; maybe she realized she love her little boy. The last strands of hope for Vivian to behave like a mother disappear; Joe realized it was his hope and his need that blinded him from seeing who Vivian really was. She may have given birth to him; but she has never once in her life taken on the role of a mother.

Focus on Ariel, make sure she’s safe, Joe reminded himself. Joe took a step back from Vivian, took the pen she was holding towards him. He quickly scanned the documents, it was all legal documents stating that he willfully and of clear mind gives all his assets and stock shares to Vivian. Joe signed each of the documents slowly; he wanted to give his body guards as much time as possible to arrive with the police.

“Hurry!” Vivian rushed.

Joe strained his ears for the sounds of cars but did not hear anything. Please get here on time! He prayed silently. The last piece of documents was signed; Vivian snapped it out of Joe’s hands and quickly went inside the limousine. Before leaving she turned to Simon and snarled,

“You know what to do”, and with that she left. Simon signaled for his men to grab a hold of Joe and started to circle around him slowly.

“It’s my turn to return the favor.” Simon said and throws a quick jab across Joe’s face and a punch to his midsection. Joe’s head slashed back with the sudden blow and felt as if he got the wind knocked out of him. Before Simon could throw another punch, they heard sirens speeding closer. One of the men yelled,


Everybody started scrambling when they realized that there were two helicopters up in the air circling the area and over ten police cars heading their way. Suddenly everything happened at once, Simon took off running and Joe ran after him.

Ariel was shoved to the ground, when she looked up her captor was already inside one of the car with the engine on, waiting for some of his buddies to jumped in the car with him. All around her there were police men, and men running for their lives. Ariel saw Joe with Simon; he had Simon under one of his arm and the other arm he kept punching the man repeatedly.

A sudden movement to the left caught Ariel’s attention; the sun reflected against the object and it was a reflection of a metal glint. It’s a gun! Ariel started running toward Joe; the gun was aimed right at Joe. With her hand tied behind her back, Ariel ran as fast as she could; her heart pounding with fear for Joe, she kept praying please don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot!


Joe saw Ariel running towards him. Joe pulled Simon up by the collar with one hand and with his other hand he punched the man right across the chin leaving steaks of different shade of bruises. He dropped a knocked out Simon to the ground and smiled at Ariel. Ariel was running really fast, she was almost to him; Joe felt his heart filled up pride as he waited for Ariel to fall into his arm. She was worth everything; he didn’t give a damn about Dreamer or the journal, as long as he has her that was all he needed.

Joe realized something was wrong when he noticed the worried look on Ariel’s face, she rushed into his arm and pushed him to the ground, as he fell down he heard the sound of gunshots. Like a slow motion movie, Joe watch in shock as Ariel fell down slowly into his arms. He grabs hold of her and felt something warm oozing wet against his hands.
No! Dear God please no! Joe prayed. He looks down and his hands were covered with blood.

“Ariel…Ariel….AREIL!!!!!” Joe shouted her name over and over; she did not respond, her face was deathly pale. Joe looked around frantically for help,

“Ariel, Baby…stay with me, stay with me, don’t you leave me!... Ariel don’t leave me please, don’t leave me…I need you so much,… AREIL!” Joe screamed until his voice was hoarse, screamed in utter agonies but only the sound of silence greets his heart wrenching cries.

Chapter 19 Last Chapter

Beautiful. She was so beautiful lying on the white sheet bed, eyes closed and face filled with serenity. She was so peaceful. Joe gently closed the door and silently walked toward his wife’s bed. Two years, that was how long Ariel was in her coma. Every day Joe brought her flowers and sat next to her bed. Sometime he would read to her, sometime he would listen to music with her and most of the time he would just hold her hands and talk to her. The doctor said Ariel could hear everything around her, she was in a state of sleep, but her mind was very conscious. The doctor said when her body is ready she’ll wake up. Joe had all of Ariel’s hospital equipments moved into their condo. He wanted to make everything as comfortable for her as possible. It wasn’t just for her, it was for him too. Through out the day Joe needed to make sure she was still breathing, he needed to reassure himself that she was still with him.

He was waiting for his wife to wake up, it didn’t matter how many years it’ll take…just as long as she was alive and there was hope of her waking up from her long sleep. Joe wanted to cherish his moments with her, so he would start each day off by telling her how his day went. He would reassured her daily that her siblings and mother are doing fine, and that he would make sure her siblings stay out of trouble and that her mother continue working legally.

Vivian was prosecuted and sentenced to a few months in jail but because of her hysterics she was later moved to a mental health institution. Joe knew some of the crazy things she said were true. Joe realized…Vivian was raped by his grandfather that was the reason for her hatred and her pain. Simon who worked so closely with his mother was trailed and sentenced to life in prison.

Surprisingly, Hu and Rainie visit Ariel on a regular basic and soon Hu became good friends with Joe. Ella with her mischievous tactics was amusing and made his days interesting, especially when she brings Chun, her boyfriend with her. Joe could see why Ariel was such good friends with her. Chun soon gave up running from Ella and willingly allows her to rope him tightly. Joe believes it was because he got tired of running from her, but Ella truly think Chun finally saw the light and realize she was his soul-mate.

Joe did not want to read the journal his grandfather left him, somehow he knew there were secrets in the journal that should remain secrets. He didn’t have the strengths or the will to read his grandfather’s secrets…perhaps one day he’ll read his grandfather’s journal with Ariel next to him. So, Joe left the journal in a locked box waiting for the right time.

Dreamer publisher became a company run by board members only. Joe did not want the position as the CEO, he did not want any connection to Dreamer publisher but because the company was created and built from scratch by his grandfather he did not want to sever the ties completely. Instead of keeping his stock shares, Joe gave his shares of the stocks to different charities around Taipei. He knew that was something Ariel would have wanted.


Just like any other day, Joe brought a fresh bouquet of flowers and hummed softly as he opened the door to Ariel’s room. The first thing he noticed was the open window and the soft caress of morning breeze. The second thing he noticed was the lump of blanket on the bed that looks like someone was either hiding or trying to shape the lump into a human shape.

In a panic, Joe quickly shook the blanket. Ariel was not in the bed; her nurse was nowhere to be found. Joe flipped open his cell phone and dialed Nurse Lee’s number. No answer. Suddenly he heard giggling, laughter and the smell of cooking. Unable to contain his excitement Joe ran out of the room and into the kitchen.


His wife…cooking…she was still in her hospital gown.

He stood still in awe savoring the miracle in front of him. She was finally awake. He watches her as she crack an egg and drop it in the frying pan. He watches her as she grinned and squealed in shock when the toaster finally beeped and the breads pops up all black and charred. Ariel grabbed the charred toast and placed one of each plate. She then layered the toast with butter. By the time she was done layering the butter on the bread, there was smoke evaporating from the frying pan.

“My eggs!” Ariel shouted and quickly turned off the stove.

She placed one egg on each of the plate and with a wide smile turned from the stove. Satisfied with the breakfast she made, Ariel decided it was time to wake her husband up. She turns around and saw Joe watching her with tears trailing down his face. He was not aware of the tears; his eyes were so focused on her every move that if there was an earthquake he probably would not have noticed it.

“Joe…” Ariel whispered there was a crack in her voice, she couldn’t continue. Tears swelled and quickly overflowed.

“Joe…’ as fast as lighting, she ran toward her husband and jumped. She crossed her legs around his waist and sighed happily as his arms wrapped around her in a tight embrace.

“When did you…?” Joe asked.

‘Since last night.” Ariel answered.

“Why didn’t you…”

“Because I wanted to surprise you and thank you with breakfast.” Ariel answered without listening to the rest of Joe’s sentence.

She wanted to thank him for being with her; she wanted to tell him she knew he was by her side every day, every month, every year and that she heard everything he shared with her. Ariel wanted to thank him for keeping her alive, for giving her the strength and the will to fight, to want to live and grow old with him. She has so much she wanted to say, but at the moment…at the moment being in his warm embrace was all that matter, feeling his soft lips against her was all that matter. The rest, she has a lifetime to share the rest with him.

The End^_^