- The Bad Girl: Forewords
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 1 – Flirt
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 2 – The Prey/ Chapter 3 – The Game
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 4 – The Curse
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 5 -The Plan
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 6 -The Unexpected
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 7 – Ablaze
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 8 – Saturday
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 9 – The Talk
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 10 – Cowardice
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 11 – Decision
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 12 – Matthew
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 13 – Rumors
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 14 – Chrissie
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 15 – Commencement
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 16 – Sherwin
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 17 – Reina
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 18 – Retrospect
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 19 – The Gathering
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 20 – Losing
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 21 – The Proposal
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 22 – Desperation
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 23 – Women
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 24 – Thoughts
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 25 – Regrets
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 26 – The Surprise
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 27 – Unveiling
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 28 – Anger
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 29 – Apart
- The Bad Girl: Chapter 30 – The Bad Girl
- The Bad Girl: Epilogue
It was a midsummer’s afternoon.
The sun was shining clear and bright. Cotton candy clouds sprinkled the cerulean sky.
Birds twittered and chirped as they flew from one tree to another.
Warm breeze blew to rustle the lush green foliage. Flowers were in bloom. Their scent filled the garden like perfume, attracting buzzing bees and beautiful colored butterflies, flitting and fluttering around.
The pond’s crystal clear water looked enchanting as it reflected the beautiful golden sun. A mother duck with her ducklings swam around, diving into the water and resurfacing again, shaking their feathers.
In the gazebo, a couple was exchanging vows of living their lives as one.
Rainbow colored ribbons of different sizes were tied at the posts. Various flower petals were scattered all over the white marble floor.
A little girl, holding a basket of flowers, was grinning wildly as she stared at the couple. She was shifting her weight from one foot to another, fluttering her attached butterfly wings. Her braid had almost come undone while playing in the garden earlier, chasing the mother duck and her ducklings. Her princess cut, empire waist dress was adorably askew from her previous mischief.
The groom was dashing in a black tuxedo sans the bow tie and cummerbund. He was wearing a white silk shirt, half of it unbuttoned. He was intently gazing down at his dazzling bride, a solemn expression on his face.
The bride was radiant. She was wearing: a white strapless corset adorned with pearls and flowerets of the palest pinks, yellows, and violets; and a bouffant skirt with layers of chiffon, silk, and tulle in pastel colors. Her hair was gathered in a French twist topped with a crown of pearls and her seven-foot train also had multi-colored pearls sewn in them. She was holding on to a bouquet of wildflowers. Happiness and love was evident on her face.
Matt reached out for Chrissie and they held hands. He grinned and nervously wiped the sweat on his brow before proceeding to recite his vows.
“I’m standing here and I still can’t believe that I deserve you. I wouldn’t be the man I am right now if it wasn’t for you.”
His voice cracked with emotion as he continued, “I thought I was brave, but I found out that it takes more courage to open up to another person. I thought I was strong, but you showed me that it takes more strength to let people see your feelings.”
“And I thought I knew how to love, but now I know that it’s much harder to let someone love me. That someone is you.” He smiled at her.
“You saw into my heart when no one else could and you believed in me. So I’m going to spend the rest of my life living up to the faith you have in me. I don’t have much, baby, but what I have is yours. I’m yours.”
“Baby… I’m not really very good with words, all I know is I love you. And we were meant to be together, forever. What do they say? ‘Til death do us part. But you know what, I don’t think even that’s going to keep us apart…”
Reina gushed as she watched the couple with dreamy eyes. With a sigh, she started having visions of HER wedding….
She was walking down the aisle in a flowing white dress towards the man she will spend the rest of her life with.
Waiting patiently at the altar, the groom turned to look at his wife-to-be with a smile on his face.
Her smile faltered and her jaw dropped when she saw her groom’s face!
“It can’t be!!” Reina shook her head vigorously at the vision she just had.
“What the hell was that?” Reina shuddered at the thought. “I can’t get married to him!”
She brought her attention back to the ceremony so as to chase away the horrifying mental picture she just had.
Chrissie squeezed Matt’s hand lightly and voiced her love for him.
“When I was a little girl, I dreamed of loving a man who was brave and strong and true; and a romantic wedding on the water surrounded by the people I love most. I never told that secret dream to anyone, but somehow you found out.” She smiled at him lovingly.
“You gave me that dream. You made it come true.” She caressed his face.
“There’s just one thing that’s different; it’s far more wonderful than I ever imagined. I dreamed of being in love, I never dreamed of sharing my soul. I dreamed of sharing my thoughts, but I never dreamed that someone could hear me without words. In my darkest trouble, in my coldest silence; I looked for you and you were there. I am yours forever. I love you.”
Reina was feeling uneasy and restless, aware that Sherwin, even behind his indoor shades, had been staring purposely at her since the wedding ceremony began! It’s not that she minded being stared at; she gets that all the time. But his stare was not just a stare. He was undressing her with his eyes!
She felt her face redden, her nerves giddy, and her body warm, as she felt his eyes slowly caress her body and back up to meet her gaze, a sly smile playing on his lips.
“Will this guy ever stop?” Reina exasperatedly thought.
Sherwin was standing across her in black trousers and maroon dress shirt. His eyes were lightly hidden by the aviator glasses he’s wearing. His long hair was unbound. He was sporting a languid stance as opposed to Reina’s rigid and uneasy pose.
Reina was in a flowing floral halter dress in shades of peach and pink, creating an innocent look, if not for the extremely low cut at the back, which left her sensuous back very bare. Her dark brown tresses were gathered in one side only, held by a dainty flower clip. She just put on what she brought with her, considering she had no idea that she would be attending a wedding nor did she know there would be a wedding!
Tears streamed from Chrissie’s eyes, out of pure happiness, as she and Matt recited…
“Now we will feel no rain
For each of us will be shelter to each other.
And now we will feel no cold
For each of us will be warmth to each other.
Now there is no loneliness
We are two bodies, but there is one life before us and one home.
When evening falls, I’ll look to you and there you’ll be.
And I’ll take your hand and you’ll take mine
And we’ll turn together and we’ll look to the road we traveled to reach this–The hour of our happiness.
It stretched far behind us, and our future lies ahead–
A long and winding road where every turning means discovery
All the hopes, new laughter, shared tears,
The adventure has just begun.”
As much as Reina wanted to deny it, she was envious of the sincerely sweet exchange of promises by Matthew and Chrissie. Her friend found her happiness in him but Reina is saddened because somehow she knows that she had lost her partner in crime.
Her eyes accidentally darted at Sherwin’s direction.
He was still toying with her, smoldering her with his gaze behind his glasses.
Again, Reina’s face flushed at the awareness. Her mind wandered on that hot night they had spent seven years ago; how he would touch the right places, making her want more, igniting her passion…
Her blush deepened as she reminisced. She tried to shake the feeling away.
“God, he’s still at it?! Doesn’t he ever get tired?” she thought angrily.
Reina remembered the incident at lunch earlier….
The clip-clop sounds of Reina’s boots echoed down the whole hallway. Her brisk walk, creased eyebrows, and waving arms indicated her irritation over the situation.
“Damn! Of all the family’s you could end up marrying into you have to choose theirs!” she muttered under her breath.
“They’re Lins for crying out loud!” she went on with her monologue. “No wonder you’re eloping.”
Matt and Sherwin’s maternal grandfather, Lin Jian Hao, happened to be the political adversary of Chrissie’s paternal grandfather, Yan Chengxu. Because of their Romeo-and-Juliet-like circumstances, Matt and Chrissie decided to tie the knot without the knowledge of their families, with the exception of Sherwin of course.
Reina looked around deciding on which turn to take that would lead her to the dining room.
“Fuck! I’m having lunch with that man!” she seethed. “God! Of all people Matt could ask to witness his marriage, why did it have to be HIM?”
“Ugh! Reina, quit acting like an idiot! Of course Matt would ask his cousin, just as Chrissie asked you to come,” she berated herself, shaking her head.
She was nearing the dining room when she decided to pause for a while and gather what’s left of her courage.
Reina faced the wall and closed her eyes, mentally commanding her body, “Breathe, Reina! Breathe!”
“Fuck! I’m like a school girl who’s about to see her crush! Ugh!” she vented.
She fixed her clothes, squared her shoulders, and took one last deep calming breath, “Here goes nothing…”
Unbeknownst to Reina, Sherwin was already at the doorway, leaning against its frame, amused as he watched her monologue.
He quietly walked behind her and breathed down her neck, “You’re talking to walls now, Reina?”
With a triumphant smile, he turned and went back to the dining room.
She could only gasp at his words.
Reina was mortified! Of all the people to catch her in this state! Why him? Why that damn Sherwin Xu?!
“Somebody, shoot me!” she looked up to the ceiling, hoping the ground will start shaking and swallow her whole!
“Yang, get a hold of yourself! Don’t let him win the next round,” she thought.
With that in mind, she plastered a fake smile and entered the room.
“There you are!” Chrissie went to hug her friend.
“I was afraid you’ve lost yourself again,” referring to the Reina’s after-breakfast disappearance.
Reina laughed. “No, I just overslept. I didn’t get much sleep last night,” she said mischievously and quite loud enough for Sherwin to hear.
“You naughty girl!” Chrissie joined in her laughter.
Both women took their seats across the men.
“Sorry for the short notice,” Matt apologized. “We just got in around midnight.”
“No, I don’t mind,” Reina smiled.
“Chrissie getting married?! That is something I wouldn’t miss this for the whole world,” she teased her friend.
Chrissie wrinkled her nose at Reina “Just you wait, Yang. Time will come when I’d have the pleasure of teasing you.”
She stuck out her tongue and they all laughed. Just then Reina caught Sherwin’s eyes, burning her with his scorching stare.
She stopped laughing and tried to ignore him, “I haven’t seen Kayley around.”
“She’s asleep. Still tired from the journey,” Chrissie answered.
Reina smiled and saw Sherwin, still watching her!
Her eyes glinted wickedly as she thought, “Alright, Sherwin Xu. Bring it on! I’ll beat you at your own game.”
She looked at Sherwin in the eye and slowly licked her lips.
Sherwin smiled mischievously and raised his wine to her.
Reina, still intent on her come back, placed her hand on her spoon and started tracing its neck with her finger.
Sherwin saw her gesture and matched her seduction by pointedly looking at the deep V of her top.
Matt noticed what the two were up to and tried to stop them by asking Sherwin, “How’s that new venture you’re going into?”
“I’m just polishing up the last details,” Sherwin drawled without breaking his eye contact with Reina.
Matt turned to Chrissie and gave her a glance that said, “Look at them!”
Reina was straightening up her seat, pushing her breasts out, all while biting her lip.
Chrissie coughed in an attempt to break their eye contact, “I heard Aunt Jeri’s in town.”
“Huh? Uh… yeah… she’s meeting up with the Bliss secret partner for a Taipei branch,” Reina answered almost absentmindedly and was now tracing the rim of her wine glass with her finger.
“I thought she was never going to branch out here?” Chrissie inquired again, disappointed that she didn’t succeed in putting off the two players.
“Well… It’s the other partner’s proposal or something. She didn’t give me the details…” Reina distractedly replied still not taking her eyes off Sherwin, giving him a come hither look.
Chrissie mouthed to Matt, “Your turn.”
Matt cleared his throat before saying, “Sherwin, Grandpa wants to know the status of the one-currency scheme…”
Sherwin didn’t let him finish. “I already briefed him about it. We had dinner last night.”
He took a piece of fruit and ran it across his lower lip, very lightly, and then sucked it a little before taking a bite.
Matt nudged Chrissie.
“Oh, I saw in the news clip last night about your father’s new flavor. She’s so young!” Chrissie acted surprised.
Reina has just finished cutting off a piece of her meat and answered, “Uh… yeah… Connie Choi, that’s her name, I think. She’s our age.”
She put the meat in her mouth and closed her eyes as if relishing its flavor. Then, bit-by-bit she slowly pulled the fork out of her mouth and looked intently at Sherwin.
“Well you know your Dad…” Chrissie trailed off as she kicked Matt under the table.
“Oww!!” Matt mouthed to her. Facing Sherwin, he asked, “So when are you going to launch the operation?”
“As soon as I nail down the take over and Matt, quit trying to divert our attention… I think MY Reina here is offering something more sumptuous than lunch. Reina, shall we?” he stood up and offered a hand to Reina.
Reina was dumbstruck!
“WHAT THE FUCK???!!!” she silently cursed and then psyched herself up, “Okay, Reina, you’re never one to back out from a dare.”
Chrissie gave Reina a what-the-hell-are-you-doing look when Reina graciously excused herself and took Sherwin’s hand.
The pair was about to leave when Chrissie stood up and dragged Reina to her side, saying in one breath, “Uhm, Sherwin, I know you’re very eager for some roughs and tumbles. I’m sure both of you are but you just have to hold that thought for a while ‘coz I haven’t seen my friend here in years and I want to spend my last hours as a bachelorette with her.”
The ladies looked comical: Chrissie was dragging a reluctant Reina to the nearest exit.
“What was that all about?” Chrissie accused, her eyes, flaring. “Yang! Don’t start! Please? He’s family now…”
Her thoughts of the lunch before were broken when the minister pronounced Matt and Chrissie as man and wife.
Sherwin, Reina, and even little Kayley applauded as Matt bent down to kiss his wife.
The newly-weds turned and faced their small audience, pure bliss were painted on their faces.
Sherwin approached them and handed Matt his wedding gift for the couple, a key.
Matt was surprised, seeing what his cousin was giving them.
It was the key to this estate, the very place of his and Chrissie’s wedding.
“Are you sure?” he asked his cousin and maybe for the first time, shyly.
Sherwin just smiled, “Nothing but the best for my dearly annoying cousin on his most special day.”
Matt hugged him tightly.
“They’re a family now…” that thought kept running in Reina’s head as she watched Sherwin gave Chrissie a bear hug and lifted her.
Reina smiled and hugged her best friend, tears forming in her eyes. She gave her a kiss before letting go.
She wiped her tears and smiled at Matt, the man who made her best friend the happiest woman, then hugged and kissed him, too.
The newly married couple kissed deeply and walked towards the manor.
Sherwin and Reina watched as Matt lifted a laughing Chrissie and turned in circles.
Reina was smiling at the love and happiness that this couple found and shared when Sherwin’s voice broke her reverie.
“I believe we still have that rendezvous later…” Sherwin whispered closely to her ear.
He winked and gave her a mischievous smile before turning and walking away.
Reina’s color drained from her face as realization dawned on her.
Sherwin Xu was dead serious. He will stake her claim on what she foolishly offered over lunch.
“OMIGOD!!!” Reina gasped.
That was all she could say.
Author’s Note: Matt and Chrissie’s vows were adapted from the soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.” Hope you liked it even though it’s not an original.