Cin Heung often visited the theatre where Stirling performed on 42nd Street. The ticket clerks initially asked her to buy a ticket to enter. Later on, when they learned that she was Stirling’s close friend, the clerks allowed her to enter freely. Thanks to her frequent visits, she had gone from strangers to friends with most of the staff there from the ticket clerks, ushers, to the backstage staff. The staff would even reserve a staff seat for her, which made her feel like one of the staff members too.
Every time she visited them, she would bring some of her “homework” for them.
“Oh! Hi! Cin Heung!”
“Has the show begun?” Cin Heung asked.
“Not yet, five minutes later!”
Cin Heung quickly handed a big bag to William and said, “This is my latest creation! Share it with the others!”
“Wow! Every time you come our taste buds would be pampered! I’ll give it to them later!”
Tim, the guard at the door, called out, “William! You come to work everyday just to wait for Cin Heung! Gluttonous!”
“Tim! I’ve saved you some too.” Cin Heung said mischievously.
“Oh! My mouth is watering!”
“Cin Heung, go in quickly. It’s about to start,” William reminded her.
Entering the theater, she sat down in the last row on an independent seat. The seat was right in front of the stage, beneath the regular audience seats. It was not difficult to see whether this seat was occupied or not.
Appearing under the silvery stage light, Stirling now had a new habit before she started playing. She would take a look at where Cin Heung frequently sat. When she saw Cin Heung there, she would always smile.
Waving the bow in her hand, beautiful sounds from her violin shrouded the entire theater. Cin Heung was already familiar with the music, and she knew every note. However, it felt refreshing every time she heard this melodious music. She always focused on Stirling’s performance on stage.
The final Sonata was Cin Heung’s favorite. She would often shut her eyes and listen attentively. As the beautiful melody played on, several of the notes appeared off. Hearing this, Cin Heung suddenly opened her eyes and saw Stirling panic a little. Soon, Stirling regained her composure and continued playing. Scared, Cin Heung also let out a cold sweat.
After the performance ended, Cin Heung immediately entered the backstage dressing room. The lights in the room were turned off, and the light bulbs around the mirror were also dark. Only the lights on the small dressing table were on, shining a gentle glow onto Stirling’s face. With her head hung low, Stirling covered her face.
Sensing someone coming in, Stirling looked up and saw that it was Cin Heung. She let out a natural smile and waved to her.
“You made a mistake in the final piece.”
Lazing on the chair, the makeup could not cover up the worry on Stirling’s face. However, whenever she faced Cin Heung, she would still squeeze out a smile. “I’m a little off today.”
“You’ve been playing a lot more recently. Do you have enough rest?”
Striling grinned and shook her head.
“Look at you! Not taking care of yourself!” Cin Heung pinched her cheek gently.
At the same time Cin Heung took a little box out and said, “Here, sweets can soothe your mood. Try it. It’s specially made for you.”
Filled with joy, Stirling opened the box and saw a piece of dessert. “Oh! It’s so beautiful, I wouldn’t want to eat it. Your craft is improving every day.” She took a small bite and exclaimed, “Delicious!”
“This is my newest creation, Heung Po!”
“A creation with him…” Stirling looked at the dessert silently.
Cin Heung did not say anything.
“Do you remember the first time you made a cake in my house?” Stirling asked.
“Well! Your oven hasn’t been used for so long that it ruined the cake we were baking. I even had to shop for a new one with you.” Cin Heung said with a smile.
“The outer layer of the cake turned bark-like.” Stirling said jokingly.
“I told you not to eat it, but you still ate a large piece of it and came down with a stomach ache.”
“Good thing you were there to take care of me.”
“Didn’t it taste bad?”
Stirling shook her head and said, “You don’t know how happy I was that time.” Stirling then casually ran her hand across the scar on Cin Heung’s hand and said, “You’re still hesitating.”
Cin Heung slowly pulled her hand back and held Stirling’s hand. “I just can’t let either of you go.”
Every day, they slowly showed their affection towards each other. As time went on, all the small kindness they showed each other had accumulated into something bigger. Their relationship had become ambiguous and unbreakable, almost like an unspeakable love. They were reluctant to give it up, so they could only meet in this limbo state. Every day, this pain would torture both their hearts.
“Cin Heung, you can’t be stubborn anymore. You have to choose. We can’t stay like this forever…” Stirling said sadly.
Cin Heung shook her head and said, “I can’t do it… Really… I cherish the both of you.”
Lifting Cin Heung’s cheek gently, Stirling looked at her with expectation and hope. She was willing to wait for her.
Cin Heung blamed herself for turning a simple answer into a complicated problem. Her lips were tightened and trembling, and her teary eyes sparkled in front of the mirror lights.
“Cin Heung, I’m sorry that my words hurt you.”
“I’m too selfish…”
Taking a deep breath, Stirling smiled and said, “Listen, Cin Heung, tomorrow will be my last performance. After that, I will go back to the UK to take care of my mother. She is very ill. I’m afraid… I’ll be gone for some time.”
Cin Heung was hit hard. “Because of me?”
“No! no! It’s because my mother is seriously ill. I have no choice.”
Cin Heung covered her face with her hands while her hair hung down on the table. Tears flowed down between her fingers as she began to sob.
The half eaten dessert was left on the table.
“Don’t… I like seeing Cin Heung smile.” Stirling put up a tough front and said, “I need to check the backstage.”
She turned around and stepped out of the room, giving her back to the frustrated Cin Heung. After taking a few steps, she couldn’t hold back anymore and also began to cry. For Cin Heung’s sake, Stirling steeled her heart and decided to fade out.
Feeling dazed, Cin Heung walked in the streets aimlessly. After strolling for a while, she got into a cab and went back to New Jersey.
When she got back, everyone was already eating around the table. Manman asked Cin Heung to sit down, so Cin Heung did so without thinking much. Everyone was startleds, but Emma was happily eating her food.
Manman asked, “Are you sick?”
“Busy with homework?”
“Come on, eat something!”
Emma suddenly said, “What no? I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“Ah… I’m sorry… I’ll return to my room,” Cin Heung said with an apologetic tone and turned to leave.
“Hey, it must be because Able found out about you and that violinist!” Emma teased.
Triggered by what she said, Cin Heung turned to her and asked, “What are you talking about?”
Taken aback, Emma replied, “Am I wrong? I didn’t say anything about you and Able dating, but the fact that you secretly meet up with that violinist, that’s just wrong.”
Shocked and angered by what she said, Cin Heung couldn’t even say anything.
Tony chimed in, “Emma, don’t talk nonsense. That violinist is a woman! How would that be a problem?”
“A normal woman’s fine. However, Cin Heung also likes girls, so that’s the problem. This seems a little unfair to Able! Am I right, Cin Heung?”
Everyone at the table stared at Cin Heung, giving her a strange, pitiful, and unacceptable look. How could a fair lady suddenly become like this?
Cin Heung trembled with anger, and her ears were ringing, which prevented her from listening to anything. She covered her mouth and looked at them helplessly.
Manman came to help her and said, “I’ll take you to your room.”
Looking at Manman with a sad face, Cin Heung said, “I’ll move out!” After saying that, she stormed to her room.
Manman was stunned.
Late into the night, Cin Heung never came out of the room. Manman walked a few rounds in front of Cin Heung’s room and pondered whether she should go in or not. Not hearing any movements coming from inside the room, Manman decided she was going to knock on the door. However, before she could do that, the door opened.
With a blank look on her face, Cin Heung’s eyes were bloodshot. She came out and was pulling a suitcase behind her.
“Cin Heung, what are you doing?” Manman was extremely worried.
“I’m going,” Cin Heung said powerlessly.
“I’ve made up my mind,” Cin Heung shook her head and continued saying, “Let me calm down.”
Manman blankly looked on as Cin Heung walked away.
Dragging her luggage out of the room, Cin Heung got onto a cab and went to New York.