Chapter 16 - The Wine
Seating herself at a table at the corner of the cabin, Debbie sighted the dark, velvety skies studded with diamonds. Accompanied by the sounds of waves crashing upon the surface of the water as she dined upon exquisite snacks, her mood lifted. A gust of the cold, sea breeze blew and kissed her skin. As much as she loved the sensation, Debbie stood up and proceeded to put the window to a tight shut. They all had exited the clothing store with haste, failing to notice that her wrap had been left behind. Fortunately, there was heating in the cabins. Otherwise, she had to think of surviving a possible frostbite.
Only accompanied by her shadow, Debbie waited and waited, indulging herself with delicious food. Not once did it bother her that the party hadn't started. Dealing with boredom was simple.
Reveling in eating snacks, Debbie felt her throat grow torrid. She went to fetch herself a beverage and overheard a conversation regarding the Lu family. Apparently, they were looking forward to the arrival of an esteemed guest, without whose presence, the party would never start nor the boat sail.
Silence shattered. All women shuffled to the door in furor, but the same couldn't be applied to Debbie as she remained seated and eyeballed the scene.
All the women seemed to belong in well-heeled families. A big thrill was apparent on everyone's face, but their refinement kept them from shrieking.
Within half a minute, Debbie finally knew the source of their excitement.
The food section was stationed higher than the others, enabling her to have a view of the commotion at the door clearly. It was him. None other than her husband. The richest bachelor in Y City, they referred to him as, since few people in the city knew about their marriage.
The revered guest the Lu family and all the others had been waiting for had finally shown his face. In the moment Carlos showed up, the boat blew its horns, departing to sail the sea. The festivities commenced.
Despite possessing such a rowdy personality, Debbie knew when to steer out of trouble.
It was never her wish to instigate conflict with Carlos, especially in public. But, the petty man himself had been testing her patience. Just like that, Debbie avoided him like a plague.
Carlos and his date graced the floor by having the first dance. All had eyes on the two, dreamily sighing as they took in the view except for Debbie as she sneered. The woman was unforgettable for her as she had insulted her at the mall just a few days ago.
And there was another couple. 'Wait…' Debbie observed the couple closely. 'Is that the principal? Curtis Lu?' Briskly shaking her head, Debbie debated if she was seeing right, especially with the amount of food and beverages she had consumed.
Realization struck her mind. She folded her arms. 'Duh, it's a party thrown by his family. Of course, he'd be here.' In a chocolate brown dress, Curtis' date looked chic and stunning.
First dance over, claps and cheers echoed throughout the cabin. Even Debbie herself clapped, but solely for Curtis and his date.
The crowd dispersed to seize their favorite activities. People gathered here and there while some remained in the cabin or on the deck. They drank, cheered, spoke, and laughed merrily. All seemed happy.
However, wise people could see that most people just shared shallow, meaningless things to one another. Sure they could exchange greetings, be polite, sing and dance, as well as share drinks. But, all of this had no substance because none of them would share their genuine thoughts.
As for Debbie's friend Jared who she had come with, she saw him succeed in picking up two girls and flirt with them.
A short sigh escaped her lips after she had shaken her head. Hunger sated, Debbie decided to stroll around the deck and savor the view nature offered.
The deck was rather crowded. When the wind gusted, she felt the cold sting her skin. It was frigid outside.
Heading for the cabin with the intentions of borrowing Jared's jacket, she came to a full stop when she saw how intimate he and one of the girls he had flirted with were as he leaned forward for a kiss. Unable to press on with her own intentions, Debbie turned back.
Leaning against the rails, gazing at the sea, she snickered, 'Jared is a guy after all. I shouldn't be so surprised. Men are considered to be powerless in front of alluring women.'
An unwelcoming thought perturbed her. 'If I looked ugly… would Jared still want to be my friend?'
"Debbie?" a gentle voice called out, breaking her line of thought.
Tucking a lock of her hair behind her ears, she turned towards the voice. It was Curtis. "Good evening, Mr. Lu," she greeted politely as he had been with her.
Acting tough or authoritative never worked on Debbie. So far, she was fond of the way Curtis taught others, which was soft and gradual, just like his personality.
Eyes falling upon Debbie's exposed skin, Curtis sighed as he took off his blazer and draped it on her shoulder.
"It's cold out here. Why didn't you stay inside?" he asked.
Warmth filled Debbie's body when she heard Curtis' earnest concern. "I ate way too much, so I came out here to make the food settle down my stomach for a bit." Accepting his gesture was something Debbie needed at the moment as she had been freezing in the cool sea breeze.
"Oh, I see." Curtis looked amused at Debbie's response. "Did you come here with Jared?"
"That lad's a player," he said as he rested his arms on the rails, looking out to the vast sea. "He left you as soon as he saw that pretty girl."
"It's fine. He's single." Debbie tittered. "He has the right to be happy and date whoever he wants."
The subject then changed. "Come. I want you to meet someone."
"Eh? Who?" Debbie was lost at Curtis' words. Why would he want to introduce someone to her? Did he treat everyone so nicely? Or was it just her?
Instead of offering a response, Curtis stretched out his hand, embodying chivalry. There was not much of a choice. In resignation, Debbie agreed and followed him back to the cabin.
Inside the Food Section
There were three people Curtis had led Debbie to: Carlos, Olga, and that woman who had shared a dance with Curtis. The sight of the first two made her stomach churn.
'Carlos? Are you kidding me?'
While Curtis had greeted the three urbanely, his friend Carlos cast sharp glares that could be mistaken for daggers. Every second was torment. Anger welled up inside Debbie's body, taking shape of a bomb that was ticking, ready to explode. Without a word, she turned to leave, but Curtis outstretched his hand and prevented her from progressing. "Debbie, this is Carlos Huo, my good buddy. This is Olga Mi, his date. And this is my girlfriend, Colleen Song." Adjusting his glance to Colleen Song, he smiled. "Colleen, this is Debbie Nian."
Put on the spot, Debbie inwardly sighed before turning around to face Colleen Song. Ignoring the other two, she sauntered to her and beamed. "Hi, Colleen. It's nice to meet you." Numerous questions rushed into her mind. In no way were Debbie and Curtis close, so why did he want her to meet his girlfriend? To add, they had never even talked except at school before. Nothing made sense.
Tenderly taking Debbie's hand, Colleen Song smiled delicately. "Hi, Debbie. I've heard so much about you. You are so beautiful." Unknowing how to react to the compliments thrown unto her, Debbie turned tight lipped and just focused on Colleen Song's voice, which was soft and mellow.
"We're friends now, so if you ever need anything, just ask, okay?"
Never did Debbie expect to be flattered to this extent. Both girls had smiles, sharing the tender moment until a voice shattered it into nothingness. "Colleen, you must remember, not anyone can be a friend. You need to open your eyes and don't be fooled by the surface as a putrid soul may like within."
Both Colleen Song and Curtis looked at Carlos, aghast. Curtis had anticipated that they might not be pleased to see each other, but this was belligerent.
Even with Carlos' contempt against women, he had never uttered degrading words to any woman as there was no need to. When a woman came on too strong and struck against him like gum underneath a shoe, a simple sentence uttered from his lips could bring forth hell.
'What's this all about? Is this because of what Debbie said I the video?' Curtis pondered to himself, trying to understand the situation.
While Debbie tried to remain her composure and avoid trouble, that man decided to pour fuel to the fire. The bomb exploded. 'Enough is enough!'
Snatching the wine glass from Olga's hand, barren of hesitancy, Debbie threw the wine in Carlos' face. "Debbie!" Curtis was a tad late from preventing a scene.
Gaps filled the air as they saw Carlos soaked in wine. Uncontrollable chatter ensured, speaking I'll of Debbie.
"Oh my God!" "Goodness! What has gotten into that woman?!" "What audacity she has to disgrace Mr. Huo's face with wine!"
"She's out of her mind!"
"Just wait and see. She is as good as dead!"
"There's no way Mr. Huo's taking this lightly."