“I never thought that they would have such a luxury spa in here,” Danise said, sitting on the bench outside the facility. “Maybe not this luxury.”
‘Heal the Spirit’, printed and displayed artistically along the tinctured glass walls. Located at the corner, increasing the dark and mysterious moods. Two huge wooden dolls in traditional Thai clothing were placed one at each side of the main entrance, crafted with their hands pushed together, bodies bent down 30 degrees. They represented the sign of politeness, welcoming, to whoever desires to enter. Petals of red seductive flowers were scattered on the ground. Fragrance vapours escaping through the spaces between the strings hung at the entrance, diffusing the smell of lavender throughout the entire level. Inside the spa was a small pond with a mini fountain stuck in the middle. Though it wasn’t fully clear to be seen from the outside, sounds of fishes bubbling and water dripping into the pond were enough to report its existence.
“You have never been here before...” Danise threw his coins into the vending machine, fixing his eyes on the isotonic drink, “have you?”
“Nope. But it’s really a pleasure to be here, ” Kenny offered some when he saw Danise was struggling to find more in his pocket. “Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.”
“Thanks,” he took, pushing them into the hole and pressed the number 3 and 8.
Suddenly, there came two young-looking girls looping out of the spa, dressed in white robes. Sensing the unfamiliarities approaching, he tapped his front collar instantly, expecting his sunglasses to be there. But it wasn’t there. Pocket? - he brushed his fingers to feel. Nothing. Seat? he crooked his head slightly and peeped at the bench Kenny was sitting on. Empty! Crap. I left it in the room.
The girls were waiting behind him to use the machine, and the lines were lengthening. He tensed, before reaching for the can in the hole.
Great, now how do I flee?
He couldn’t do it.
His face was exposed, completely disguise-less.
“Stepnie, what’s for you?” the thinner girl took a step closer and scanned the juices put on display after Danise left the space. “The spa seriously drained away the ‘liquid’ in me.”
“I want green tea, Ying Wei,” the blue-eyed girl said, taking the seat on the same bench while tightening the robe on her.
“Alright. I’ll get two.”
Squatting to get the drinks after hearing the drumming of the falling tins. “By the way, do you know who’s Kyle Lee?” she asked, icing Stephie’s cheeks with the green tea. “I heard he has got some connections with one of the directors here.”
She flinched, erasing the chilly sensation with her palm. “Kyle Lee? The Chinese singer..? Omg. How can I not know?!” she exclaimed, clicking open the tab. “I’m his biggest non-Asian fannn!!”
“Woww.. you know him? I thought Western people aren’t into him.”
She laughed,“I’m into anyone that’s hot!” Sitting closer with her blue eagle’s eyes looking around, “do you think he would be staying in this hotel at this moment???” she whispered so loudly that it didn’t sound like a whisper anymore.
“Then let him stay on the same floor as us,” Ying Wei laid down her drink and crossed her fingers. “Oh.. Aladdin and his magic lamp...and what not... please appear and make our wish come true--,” she mumbled.
“But you know, the whole 15th floor has been booked by our school,” Stephnie cut in.
“Nahhh...” she waved it off. “Seemed like too good to be real though,” the Asian girl claimed, gulping the remaining green tea down her throat, “Let’s go, I wanna hit the bed already,” she squashed the can and dunked it into the bin.
Danise turned away from the window he had been staring until his neck ached from soreness. A long sigh of relief was breathed as he saw their shadows slowly disappearing out of his view and the lines were no more. It was funny to see how the girls reacted at the name of Kyle but not knowing that he was really in this hotel with them. Well, if they were lucky enough, encountering their idol wouldn’t be much of a problem.
“You done?” Danise asked Kenny, watching him pouring the final drops of his drink onto his held out tongue.
“Yah,” he said, “let’s get back.”
She looked as though she just had her shower, with her hair being in almost complete wetness. But it wasn’t drenched in tap water- rather sweats. Her beige hair was sticky, staining almost half of the pillow. Pale lips were trembling, brows were twitching. The pain was digging deeper and deeper. It felt like millions of screws drilling into her stomach, forcing her to deal with the ache.
Pulling a stool next to the bed, “Why did you drink it?” Kyle mumbled monotonously under his breath while putting a warm pad on her, drawing her weak focus to him.
It was the first time, Kyle scared her. His question sounded like a blame, blaming her for drinking when she knew the consequences. No concerns in his voice like she thought there would be. The warmth in him was.... gone...?
Stella stared blankly at the painting in front of her, at the falling yellowish-brown leaves, swaying away from their homes onto the piles of their own. One of her ways to glue her cracking walls. But lines were forming at the edges, crawling towards the center point and tears were stealing her clear vision. She hated this scenario so much. It was not turning out the way she wanted it to be!
Stella, what exactly are you doing?! Damaging your body just because of a mere girl that appeared out of nowhere? she screamed in her mind, realizing the mess she created.
“STELLLA??!!!” Danise gasped by the door, flapping his feet to remove the naughty shoes. “Oh god.. Stella.. Don’t scare me..” he dashed in, kneeling next to the double sized bed. “What happened??!”
“Help.. me.. Da...Danise... i..it’s..killing...me..” she hissed.
“...You were perfectly fine just now!” Danise exclaimed, reaching for her energyless hand.
“I..I...I...- “she trailed off, dropping her hovered hand before it was caught by him.
“Stella??!!” Danise shook her with much force. “Call the ambulance Kenny!! She passed outt!”
“Yes!” Kenny responded to his call, dialing 120 on his screen right away.
“Don’t,” Kyle parted his legs and hopped from the stool. “Don’t make it a big deal.”
Danise argued, “How can it not be a big deal?!”
“I gave her painkillers. She would be fine.”
“It’s not the first time, Danise,” he shot him a sharp look. “You know it. And you even warned me, didn’t you? Blame me. Perhaps it was because I trusted her, things turned out like this.” Kyle continued, “Let her rest. Tomorrow she would feel better.”
Danise exchanged a look with Kenny, muttering something which only they could understand. But it was all they did, said nothing further and allowed the creeping silence to take over the dimming day. Soon after, darkness hit their room under Kyle’s commands.
The next morning, loud bangings on their door, hurried footsteps sending vibrations through the floor, overwhelming noises from the outside barged into their dreamlands, disturbing their peaceful sleep. Danise was the first to wake up. Taking off his sleep mask and kicked away his blanket to show his frustrations, he stomped towards the door. Though his hair was messy like an untrimmed bush, though his face was filled with sleep marks, swear words were ready at the back of his throat, waiting to shoot. For an instance, he almost forgets that he was a public figure.
His hand was already extended halfway, about to throw his tantrum at whoever being such a jerk.
But something white on the ground caught his eyes.
Pamphlets? he wondered, picking to read the scribbles.
Stella Kim, Kyle Lee, Danise Zhang are here in 1803!
Quick! Quick! Grab this golden opportunity to meet your idols!
“F***,” he cursed. Taking up another, his brows crept in deeper, exposing the hidden wrinkles on his forehead.
Stella Kim is in pain!
All because of Kyle’s new personal assistant. Clover Hon!
Everyone! Go get her! She’s in 1804!!!!
“Darn it!” Danise banged the papers onto the wall with a blatant thump. “We are so doomed.”
Immediately, he grabbed the luggage and began chunking all their belongings inside. They needed to flee. “Kyle! Kenny! Stella!! Wake up! Wake up!!” he shouted, strong enough to overtake the ones coming from the outside.
“W-what’s wrong?” Kyle muttered, scratching his head, pushing his body up the sofa. “What’s with the noise?” he looked around.
“They found out about us. Kyle. Quick help me!” he said, tossing him the other baggage on the floor. Just then, he was snapped by another thought, “Sh*t. Clover...Kyle! Find a way to help Clover!”
“...Clover?” he froze, “What’s with Clover?”
“Someone knew what happened to Stella and blamed everything on her. Hurry, Kyle!” he climbed onto the beds to wake the remaining two. “I’m afraid if anything bad happens to her..”
“Stella! You alright?” Danise focused on her as she showed signs of consciousness.
She nodded, turning her head slightly to glance at Kyle. He didn’t return her look. But fixed his eyes on the luring window.
“Great, Kenny. We need to leave right now,” he pointed his finger to the back, gesturing the ongoing bangings on the door. “Get the security!”
In a flash without them realizing, Kyle jumped out and vanished out of their sights. Their room was not on the ground floor nor anywhere near the bottom. But 18th. Stella’s heart sank. She got up from her bed at a stroke, running to the spot and was ready to jump right after him.
Only to be stopped by Danise and Kenny.
“KYLEE!!” she cried.
Extending his head from the outside, clutching tight onto the support, “He.heyy.. I’m a...alive ,” he tried to stabilize his voice but gravity was making it difficult. “Ughh..” he pulled himself up a little, “Let me... go get Clover and I’ll be b-back.”
Clinging onto the golden linings metal bars, he slowly elongated his leg to the next set (the one outside Clover’s room). Flapping his limb in the air, other than it being floating, it was nowhere near to reaching. Perhaps only the tips of his toes could sense the bricks at the corner. Too far. The fright in him stroke up to the highest level as he accidentally looked down and saw the smaller version of everything-the worst thing to do right at the moment. Heights were never a good friend of his. His weight was dragging him down, grips were getting slippery.
"Hang on... Kyle.." he stopped his moves, taking in a deep breath, staring at the window holding his personal assistant, "Clover is waiting for you. You gotta save her."
He needed to reach Clover. It was a must. Blowing the fringe hindering his sight, he gathered every bit of his strength and courage. Once more, he stretched out his leg the longest he could, with a little jump inertia followed behind.
And fortunately, they were enough.
“ClOVER!! ClOVER!!” he screamed on top of his lungs as soon as he had a firm step on her balcony, banging onto the windows.
She heard him.
“...Kyle??!” she almost stumbled her steps, not expecting nor ready to see him after the incident yesterday.
Immediately, she slid the casement and let him in, “Did..did you just climb from that room?”
“We n-eed... ” he said, not minding his voice coming out in quick gasps. “to.. lea..ve...”
“They are your fans, aren’t they? It seemed.. that.. yesterday....-” A strong piercing, thundering sound banged onto the door interrupted her talk, along with the angry voices.
Clover Hon! Stop Hiding! You b****!
How dare you hurt our STELLA KIM?!
I’ll curse you to death, CLOVER HON!
Open the door! UGLY!
You’re gonna be so dead once we spread this in our school, Clover Hon. The whole world would know your ‘sins’.
School? The elite school?! Clover swayed, bumping into Kyle. “... Omg...." hand over her mouth," Kyle...They.. are the girls from yesterday....” her voice cracked.
“Whatever you heard, ignore them all, Clover,” Kyle whispered, gently closing her ears with his palms. “They are just.. elite as a show.” he continued, disgusted by the choice of words they made.
Yes. She was terrified. She was scared. But with Kyle in the room, everything suddenly felt so safe and secure despite the ongoing voices and thumps on the door. She could actually hear his heartbeats, throbbing so fast against his chest. They were definitely more pleasant to hear.
The lacy curtains blowing in the breeze, welcoming the rays to slip in, pages of the unattended magazine on the bed were left flipping. Those on the outside were finally chased away by the security guards after a while. And there they were, remaining in the hug though it was no longer needed.
“KYLE! Let’s go!” Danise’s voice pierced through the door. “They are gone! Let’s leave now. Kyle!! You hear me?”
“Yes! Wait me in the basement! Be right there,” he said, breaking the cuddle.
Brandon was on his way to reach Starry Land when he received a call from Kyle saying their vacation was ruined and needed to come back to Guangzhou right away.
“Damn you, Kyle, ” he swore, making a U-turn to get back to his starting point. “Five hours man!”
Right then, a continuous ringing of his notification’s tone took his focus. As he clicked on his QQ, 20 messages popped up. From an anonymous number. He expected them to be texts. Maybe about trying to have Kyle as their ambassador or what not. But they weren’t. Images instead. His curiosity level spiked up to another level as he waited for them to load. Stopping his car by the roadside, uneasiness hit him out of a sudden. Something bad was happening. He sensed it.
A new message appeared as he finished scrolling the last image, fingers trembling.
“Bring her to me. And these images will never be revealed.”