"Are you surprised to see me?" Fernando smiled at Lily before he put a box of Mcdonald's chicken bites on the small table in front of her.
"Nuggets? Really?" Lily raised an eyebrow before she unceremoniously picked up a piece and shoved it in her mouth.
"Gah... You love chicken bites. Stop pretending." Fernando rolled his eyes as he made himself comfortable on the couch and watch as Lily take off her high-heel shoes. "Did someone slap you?" He furrowed his brows when he noticed a pinkish mark on a side of Lily's cheek.
"Hmmm…" She nodded and took a seat next to Fernando. "You know, acting is pretty tiring. I wonder how do actors and actresses do it..." she thought out loud before shoving another piece of nugget in her mouth. "By the way… why are you here? It's the Fashion Week in Hong Kong. Shouldn't you be very busy?"
"I was about to head back with some of my friends when I received a phone call from someone's husband telling me to check if his wife is alright."
"Oh… then you should get used to this as THAT someone's husband will bug you more and more soon." She chuckled.
"Seriously? Can you two be more discreet and stop making a single, handsome and charismatic man like me jealous? Why do you have to rub it in every time?"
"Then maybe, that single, handsome and charismatic man should find a wife soon?" She crossed her arms and smiled at Fernando. "I don't think you came here just because my husband told you to. Why don't you be honest and tell me why you are here."
Fernando only let out a sigh as he picked one nugget and tossed it in his mouth. He avoided Lily's gaze and looked at the large-scale painting that was hanging above the fireplace.
"Was it Li Shanshan? Did you two fight?" Lily asked before letting out a sigh. "She met someone?"
Fernando maintained his silence and walked towards the bar at the corner of Lily's living room. He browsed the selection of alcohol available and poured himself a glass of whiskey. He downed the contents in the glass in one shot and poured himself another glass.
"Seriously Fernando…" Lily muttered helplessly while watching her friend down another glass of what she guessed was Vodka. "You are a thirty-year-old successful man who has been hiding your feelings for my friend for… What? Five years?"
"Five years and two months," he immediately corrected before letting out another sigh. "Shanshan is… she is still healing. I can't rush her."
"Stupid," Lily chided. "You cannot blame her for seeing someone when she doesn't even know that you have feelings for her. Are you just going to sit back and do nothing and wallow in your sorrows? Are you a masochist or something?"
"And please, stop picking up girls just to show her that you are not gay!" Lily added. Fernando's feelings towards Li Shanshan was not a secret to Lily. She had accidentally found out about this when she saw Li Shanshan's picture in Fernando's wallet. However, she chose to keep this a secret and decided not to interfere and let fate decide for the two of them.
Who would have thought that Fernando would be such a coward, that he would keep his feelings a secret from Li Shanshan for so many years? And who would have thought that her half Indian, half Chinese friend, Li Shanshan would be so dumb as to not notice the passionate stares that Fernando had been giving her?
If Lily could intervene and knock some sense into those two, she would have. But Li Shanshan had her own skeletons in her closet that hadn't gone away even after all these years. Lily could not just involve herself in matters that would potentially ruin their friendship.
Like Lily, Li Shanshan grew up with family issues. But hers was far, far worse than Lily's. Li Shanshan might not looked like she had scars from her childhood but in fact she was abused by her own stepfather when she was a kid. Though her grandmother made sure that her stepfather went to jail for his crimes, the damage was already done; physically, emotionally and mentally. It could be said that because of Li Shanshan's past, she always felt the need to validate her worth and when she matured, she actively sought the attention of other men.
She was not a playgirl. No… in fact, Li Shanshan had never been in any serious relationship. Just casual hook ups to make her feel like she was beautiful and attractive, to validate her worth as a human being. Of course, this was Li Shanshan before she met Lily in London.
After the two met, they decided to go for therapies together. Together, they cried and decided to let go of their past. Most importantly, they had grown stronger together. Li Shanshan found the validation that she needed but until now she still haven't gotten herself into any serious relationship. Maybe it was the fear of abuse or the fear of being rejected, Lily didn't know.
All she knew was that Li Shanshan was just like any other woman out there. Strong on the outside but weak and fragile on the inside. However, this was something that Fernando did not understand.
For many years now, Fernando had been acting like a big brother to Li Shanshan and Lily and he deeply treasured his friendship with the two ladies. He was afraid to break the status quo or rather he was afraid of being rejected by Li Shanshan. What would become of their friendship then? So, he decided to hide his feelings while secretly hoping that Li Shanshan would magically realized his feelings for her and agree to become his woman. How stupid was that?
All these while, Li Shanshan continued to introduce her latest hook up while Fernando continued to show off his newest escort for the night. As for Lily, she felt like she was watching a game of hide-and-seek.
"Something happened between us." Fernando's words immediately woke Lily up from her stupor. She widened her eyes and stared at Fernando with her mouth agape.
"I'm sorry what?" she asked, wanting to clarify if she heard the right thing.
"I said something happened between us."
"Sex, Lily! We had sex!" Fernando blurted.
"When was this?" she asked.
"After your party at the bar… We were drunk and I was not able to control myself. I…"
"Oh my… did you just… Did you run away after having sex with Li Shanshan?" Lily rose from her seat and walked towards Fernando who was sitting by the bar counter. "Did you?" Fernando then slowly nodded his head and avoided Lily's gaze.
"What the hell… why are you acting like you are the woman? Why the hell did you run? Are you stupid?"