Round 33 – His Return
Chun could only watch as the girl she loves excitedly run towards her best friend. He felt his heart shattering as he saw the smile on her face upon seeing him. Now, it's more clearer to him that he can never replace Sphinx in her heart. It will always be him, while he, he is just his substitute while he is gone.
The two turned to him. The two smiled at him. They could not see through the hurt in his eyes. “Chun, look, Sphinx is back!” she said happily. He let out a faint smile, as he watched her hug Sphinx and rest her head on his shoulder. “I'm glad to be back.” Sphinx said as he put his arm around her. “Yeah... I can see that. Welcome back.” he said monotonously. “I hope you've been taking care of my best friend, as you promised me before. Now that I'm here, I'm ready to keep my promise to her.” Sphinx said, looking down at Ella.
Chun was taken aback by what he said. It seems that now he's back, he have to give way to him, and that he have to leave Ella to him. After all, it was Sphinx's duty to take care of Ella. He is the best friend after all. “Sphinx, did you know that groovy grandpa is here? I know he'll be really happy when he sees you.” she said. Sphinx smiled at her, and nodded his head. “Can't wait to see him. But for now, can I spend more time with my best friend? We were not able to say goodbye to each other before I left, and I want to to be with you...” he said. Ella smiled at him, and nodded her head. Then, she turned to Chun. “By the way, you were trying to tell me something a while ago, Chun?” she asked. He let out another faint smile as he shook his head. “F-forget it. It's... it's not important, really. You and Sphinx should... should go.” he said. Ella smiled at him. “Thanks, Chun!” she said.
He turned his back on them, and started to walk away from them. Half-way through, he paused, and looked back at Ella and Sphinx. There was this glow on Ella's face, the glow which he have last seen when Sphinx was still around. Though he tried hard to have that glow back, he have failed, and only Sphinx was able to make her smile this way. Defeated, he looked away from them as he put his hand on his pocket. A sad smile was formed in his lips as he leaves.
Now that Sphinx is back, he knew he lost his chance to be with Ella for real.
“So, what are you going to do now? You're just going to let Ella be with Sphinx?” Nicholas asked his brother. Chun came back home that night after going with Ella at the park. He was about to confess his feelings for her, when the unexpected happened – Sphinx came back from Australia. They were at Chun's room that time, and he have just finished telling his brother what happened. “And besides, isn't Sphinx supposed to be Bianca's boyfriend? What are you scared of?” Nicholas added. “I'm scared that I will spend less time with Ella now that Sphinx is back. You know how much she loves him...” Chun said. “But Sphinx only loves her as a best friend! Chun, if Sphinx is in love with Ella, he wouldn't have fallen for Bianca. He wouldn't have left her to be with her. Chun, can you stop being paranoid for once?” Nicholas said. “You know why I'm being like this? It's because Sphinx told me before that he needs time before he could fulfill his promise to Ella. What if he decided to be with Ella now?”
“He is still with Bianca.”
“What if Ella chooses her?”
“He is still with Bianca.”
“I knew that Bianca and Sphinx broke up shortly after they came to Australia.”
Nicholas gave his brother a confused look. “They... broke up?” he asked. Chun nodded his head. “A month after. Bianca told me...” he said sadly. “So, that's the reason why you are scared? Because Sphinx and Bianca broke up?”
“Which gives Ella a better chance to be with her best friend.”
“But... how did that happen? Weren't they so in love before they left? He even opted to study his masters in RMIT just to be with Bianca!”
Chun took a deep breath before he could explain everything to Nicholas. “Bianca realized that she is still in love with Matt. It didn't worked out for Matt and Joanne... so in the end...”
“Matt asked Bianca back?”
Chun nodded his head.
“And Bianca chose him over Sphinx?”
“Yes. She was guilty about it... for loving Matt even though she is with Sphinx. Guess Sphinx is just the rebound guy... and she have hurt him a lot. After they broke up, Bianca never saw him again. Sphinx refuses to see her.”
Nicholas sigh as he shook his head. “So, you mean to say, you knew all about it, and yet you never told anyone about their break up?” he asked. “I'm scared, Nic. I'm scared that if Ella found out that Sphinx and Bianca broke up a long time before... I... I would lose her. I would lose her to him. Nic... you know about how I feel for her. I've loved her since we were kids, but she hated me. It's only now that we are getting close... and... and I thought I could have a chance with her...” Chun said sadly. He looked outside the window, and saw Ella's room still dark. She have not gone back since they met Sphinx at the park, he assumes. “I guess I will lose her eventually...” he said sadly. “But are you willing to give up on her? Chun, you've waited for this chance for a long time! Prove to her that you are much better than him... that you can love her more that he can. Don't give up now. You've gone a long way just to be with her.” Nicholas said. He lowered his head. His heart is still in confusion, whether he will let Ella be with Sphinx, or if he will not give her up.
Sphinx walked Ella home that night after catching up with each other at their favorite park. “I'm glad you're back... and I'm glad we're OK now...” Ella said as they walked. “I'm glad that you have forgiven me... for letting you down.” Sphinx said. Ella smiled at him, and nodded his head. They stopped by her doorstep. “Ella, now that I'm back...” Sphinx began
Before he could continue, Ella stopped him. “I know. You're here now to take care of me, right? You'll be my best friend again?” she said. Sphinx smiled, and shook his head. “Yes, and no.” he said. Ella gave her a confused look. “What do you mean by that?” she asked. Sphinx remained quiet as he moved closer to her. Just as the tip of their nose came in contact, Ella looked away from him. “Sphinx... it's... it's a long night. I guess you must be tired...” she said. Sphinx stood up straight, and took a deep breath. “I guess I am...” he said, smiling at her. He held her shoulders, and looked at her in her eyes. “I'll see you tomorrow, Ellie.” he said. He gave her a kiss on the cheek before leaving her.
As Sphinx left, Ella took a deep breath. He knew what he was about to do – and that was to kiss her on the lips. She's unsure why Sphinx is doing that, why he suddenly changed towards her. The way he looked at her that night made her even more confused. “What's wrong with him?” she thought. Just as she was about to get inside her apartment, Chun came out, and called her. “Ella?” he called. Ella stopped, and then looked at him. The sad expression on his face made her even more confused tonight. “Chun... sorry about a while ago. I guess I was just excited to see my best friend. I have never seen him for six months...” she said. Chun let out a faint smile as he walked towards her.
“Have.... have Sphinx told you anything yet?” he asked. Ella shook her head. “Is there something that I have to know?” she asked. Chun looked away from her. “So, Sphinx have not told Ella that he and Bianca broke up...” he thought. “Chun? You're spacing out.” he heard Ella say. Chun looked at her and smiled. “I was wondering if...”
“If he have news about Bianca? You know what, it's weird. I haven't heard that name in that short time that we're together. He just told me some of his adventures in Australia.”
Chun nodded his head. “I see...” he said in a low voice. “Don't worry, I'll ask about her tomorrow.” she said. Then she turned to the door, but as she opened it, Chun called her again. “Ella... I want to know something...” he said. Ella looked at him again. “Now... now that Sphinx is here... nothing will still change about us, right?” he asked. Ella smiled, and nodded her head. “The only difference is that we're pretending to be together. Don't worry, in a week's time, grandpa is leaving for London, this is all over. You'll be back to being... a single man...” she said, with a hint of sad tone at the last thing she said.
“We can opt to stay together...” he wanted to say. “And if Sphinx... ask you... to marry him?” he asked. Ella gave him a confused look. “He... promised. When you turn 25...”
“He is with Bianca. How could that happen?”
“Assuming he and Bianca broke up. What if... what if in that short period of time that you were not together, he realized that he loves you? Will you... give him that chance?”
Ella fell silent at his question. She stared at him for a long time. He doesn't know how to answer him. If that is the case, then she will have to turn him down. She doesn't love Sphinx now, not in the same way she loved him before. Not in the same way she is loving Chun. “Assuming that will happen, Chun... what will you do?” she asked him.
It was Chun's turn to be silent. “Assuming Sphinx really came back for me... to keep his promise of marrying me... what will you do? Aren't we supposed to be arranged to be married as well?” she asked him. The more that Chun that is keeping his silence, the harder Ella prays that he will say the answer she wanted to hear – that he will not allow Sphinx to be with her because she is his, and his alone. That even if they are pretending to be together, he will not allow anyone to interfere with their betrothal. “You love him. I'll give way to him. I'm the fake boyfriend here, remember?” he finally said. Ella felt weak upon hearing his answer. “There's no way he did love me all this time...” she thought sadly. “You waited a long time for him, right? Who am I to get in the way of your happiness? I know you will find your happiness with Sphinx.” he said. Ella let out a weak laugh. “You're funny, you know that? As far as I'm concerned, he's still with Bianca. There's no way that we can be together.” she said. “I guess it's about time you ask him about Bianca. Maybe you'll find out something that will make you really happy.” he said.
He turned his back on her, and made a step away from her. But as he made a step, a tear fell from his eyes. “Even if it hurts me... even if I love you too much... if you can't be happy with me, then I have to let you go...” he thought. Ella bit her lips as he watched Chun retreating back to his house. “Why are you doing this to me? How can you be so damn insensitive, Chun! I love you, can't you see it?” she thought. She opened the door, and went inside the house. She closed the door loudly in frustration because of Chun. “You really want to give me to Sphinx? I've long accepted that I can never his love... or maybe you're doing this because of Bianca? I hate you Chun! I hate you so much... “
The next day, Chun met up with Sphinx at the park. Chun was surprised when Sphinx called him that morning to meet him.
“What do you want?” he asked in an annoyed tone as soon as he saw Sphinx walking up to him. “I just want us to talk...” Sphinx said. He stood in front of him, and let out a smile. “So, you came back after all. I didn't know it would be this soon.” Chun said. Sphinx let out a laugh and shook his head. “I never thought I would be back this soon. I got... homesick. I missed Taiwan. I missed my family. I missed my friends... especially -”
Sphinx nodded his head. “What are you planning to do now?” Chun asked. “Plan?” Sphinx asked in confused tone. “I know, Sphinx. I know you and Bianca broke up a month after you came to Australia. And I know it's all because of Matt...” Chun said. Sphinx gave him a confused look. “Is that what you know?” he asked. Chun nodded his head. “It was a mutual decision, Chun. It didn't work out for me and Bianca. She will always be in love with Matt... while I...” Sphinx took a deep breath, then he gazed into Chun's eyes. “I've always been in love with Ella.”
Chun clenched his fist as he closed his eyes. This is the last thing he needed right now. “I know you and Ella have this... special relationship. For six months, I've been trying to figure out why.... why she would choose someone like you. She hated your guts back then. I swore, if she had the chance to curse you and your next generation, she would. And you know what I have concluded?” Sphinx said. Chun opened his eyes, and waited for him to speak. “That maybe, Ella was just pretending to be with you. To get back at me. She got mad at me for breaking my promise to her. When she's mad, she tends to do and say things that she doesn't mean. That's what I know about Ella. That's the truth between the two of you. How can she like a jerk like you?” Sphinx said.
“You... don't know... what's going on between me and Ella...” Chun said, trying to control his anger. “When you left, I was there for her. When you and Bianca got together, I was there to wipe the tears from her eyes. You don't know what I've been through to be with her. So don't assume that things are not real between us.” Chun continued. Sphinx folded his arms as he let out a smirk. “But that doesn't mean that you do love her.”
“I love her.”
“But does she?”
Chun was taken aback by what he said. “You heard it, Chun. Ella said that night, she loves me. That she was waiting for this moment all her life. She loves only me. And I'm determined to take her back. Now that I'm back, you just have to give way to me. Besides, you still love Bianca, don't you? But too bad, Bianca is with Matt now. That left you with no one to be with.” Sphinx said. Chun took a deep breath as he close his eyes. He couldn't control his rage anymore. “Ella and I are getting married.” he shouted at him. When he opened his eyes, he saw Sphinx looking at her confusedly. “Do you think I'll believe that lie?” Sphinx said. “Ask Ella. Ask her grandpa. We are betrothed. I am going to marry her, and we're planning to get married soon. You're too late, Sphinx.” Chun said. Sphinx let out a sigh as he shook his head. “Give it up, Wu Ji Chun. I don't believe you. And even if you two are going to get married, how sure am I that she wanted to be married to you as well?” Sphinx said.
Chun lowered his head in defeat. He knew Sphinx is telling the truth. How can be sure that Ella is willing to marry him, even if their grandparents insisted on it? He wanted to fight for his love, but he also wanted Ella to be happy. If her happiness lies with Sphinx, then there's no other choice left but to let Ella be with him. “Stop lying to everyone that you love Ella. I know you don't. I don't know what your plan is against her, but I'm telling you this – I am going to do my best to protect Ella from you. I don't want her to be hurt because of you.” Sphinx said. “You also hurt Ella. How can I be sure that you won't hurt her again?” he shouted at him. Sphinx let out a smile. “I've only hurt her once...” he said. “How about you? How many times have you hurt her feelings?”
“So, what is this dinner all about?” Fang Fang asked as he sat beside Bao Ming. Chun made a dinner, especially to Ella and their grandparents. “Nothing. I realized that it's been a long time since we had a dinner. I'll be missing these kind of dinner when groovy grandpa leaves for London.” Chun said, smiling at the elder man. “And I will surely miss your dishes, Chun. I will have to wait another two years before I could come back. I do hope that the next time I will come back, it will be for your wedding.” he said. Chun let out a smile, and nodded his head. Then he looked at Ella, and saw her smiling at him. He could already feel his heart breaking by just looking at her. Their dinner is full of laughter. They reminisced all of their misadventures the past few months. For the last time, Chun pretended to be in love with Ella. It will be the last time he will pretend, for after groovy grandpa leaves, he will never have that chance to be with Ella again.
“I really hope you and Ella would consider getting married soon. You two are not getting any younger...” Fang Fang commented. “It will all be up to Chun. He still haven't popped the question yet.” Ella said. She looked at Chun, and smiled at him. “We... don't want to rush things. But I promise... the next time groovy grandpa comes home... it will be our wedding.” Chun assured them. Bao Ming smiled, and nodded his head. “That's good.” he said. Chun looked down on his plate as he listened to them talk. The last six months that he pretended to be Ella's boyfriend was the happiest moment of his life, and now it's coming to an end. He doesn't regret anything, because he was able to let her feel his love indirectly. If he regrets anything, it's that he was not able to tell Ella how he feels. Now that Sphinx is back, he will never have the chance again. He knew that if Ella will have to choose between him and Sphinx, she would choose the latter.
“Grandpa... how... how did you felt when you realized that you can never with my grandma anymore?” Chun suddenly asked out of nowhere. Everyone fell silent in his question. Groovy grandap put his chopsticks down, and then faced him. “The truth?” he asked. Chun nodded his head. “I... was hurt...” Bao Ming said. “But, all the hurt that I'm feeling back then was replaced with contentment, seeing how happy she is with Xiao Tian. When you love someone, you are always after their happiness, even if it hurts. When you found that the one you love has this smile that's as warm as the sunshine, you will never regret letting that person go. It's when you learn to let go that all the hurt you are feeling suddenly disappears.” the elder man said. Bao Ming looked at Fang Fang, and held her hand. “And I know that Xiao Tian gave her more than enough love, something that I have never done. That even in his death, Fang Fang love her. Just like how I did love Ella's grandmother.” he added. Chun let out a faint smile as he looked at the two. “Happiness...” he said. Fang Fang nodded her head. “The happiness if the another person is always, important, Chun. If she can never be happy in your arms, then that's the start of very complicated relationship.” she said. “So... if she's not happy anymore, I... should let her go?” he asked. Fang Fang nodded her head.
Chun looked at Ella, and saw the confusion in her eyes. Ella was wondering why Chun is acting this way. He have been acting this way since Sphinx came. “Oh... of course I am still happy with Chun.” she said. She knew that their grandparents are wondering why he is asked that question. “We will always be happy... right, Chun?” she asked. She reached for her hand, and held it. Chun looked sadly at her, and forced a smile. “Yes.” he said. She felt her heart beating fast because of nervousness. Maybe Chun is asking that, because he is not happy with her anymore. “Chun... if you're not happy with me anymore... just wait a little more... this will all end as soon as grandpa leaves... bear with this for a while...” she thought. She felt Chun squeeze her hand. He let out a nervous laugh. “Well... sorry for making you all worry. I just saw this drama on TV, so I got to ask that stupid question. Don't mind me at all.” he said. He took his chopsticks, and began to eat. Ella just stared Chun as he eats. She knows he just said that because he felt that their grandparents were getting suspicious of his actions.
“Chun... thank you for a wonderful dinner.” Bao Ming said as he approached him outside the apartment. “You're welcome, groovy grandpa. I'm going to mis you...” he said. “I will too. You're the best grandson-in-law an old man like me could ever have...” he said. He walked up to him, and patted his shoulder. “Chun, you are a great man, and my granddaughter is lucky to be loved by you... I know you're going through some things lately, but I want you to know one thing...” he said. Chun gave him a curious look. “If you love my granddaughter, her happiness should always comes first.” he said. Chun smiled, and nodded his head. “I'm always after her happiness.” he said. “I know you two got pressured with us about getting married soon. But if you feel that you are unsure of her, and if you feel that you are not happy with her, don't force yourself. It's just an old man and old woman's wish for our families to be one.” he said. “I love Ella, grandpa.” he answered. Gu Bao Ming smiled and nodded his head. “I know that.” he said. “Even if you were only pretending to be her boyfriend.”
Chun's eyes widened with surprise upon hearing what he said. Groovy grandpa let out a laugh upon seeing his reaction. “I am an old man, Chun. I've already done what you are doing now. You story is the same as mine. The only difference is that I didn't end up with the girl I love.” he said. He let out another laugh, and then headed to the door. He paused and then looked back at Chun. “And it's up to you to make the ending different, or the same... if you will follow what your heart says and fight for her, or just give her up after I leave. The decision is up to you.”
Labels: fan fic, Me And The Boy Next Door