Debbie stared at the phone screen, waiting patiently. After a long while, she finally got the notification that her friend request was agreed by the other end.
A big smile crept across her face. 'I know, Carlos can't be that heartless to me. It's just his ego playing tricks here, ' she thought happily.
She quickly sent a WeChat message to that account. "Hi, Mr. Handsome. It's me."
As she waited for his reply, she tapped his WeChat Moments to browse his posts. The big smile on her face froze all of a sudden when she saw one of the posts.
Like his old habits, he seldom updated his Moments. And on the few occasions when he did update, it was all about the ZL Group. Except for one odd post with a picture of Stephanie. Quite unusual for the man that Debbie knew.
The picture was posted last month, and even though there were no words to caption it, the picture itself was enough to make Debbie sad. Obviously, they were showing off their affection. On the assumption that she shared no common friends with Carlos on WeChat, she decided to leave a comment since nobody else would see it. "Mr. Handsome, can you delete this post? It pains my heart seeing the picture. My stomach churns too. My head throbs and my whole body aches," she wrote.
It took longer for Carlos to reply. But just when she decided he wasn't going to write back, an indifferent response popped up under her comment.
"Keep on with your feelings. They no longer mean anything to me." Debbie was incensed. What a heartless man!
'Carlos Huo, keep on snubbing me. One of these days, I'll teach you a lesson. Pray that you don't ever come back to me!' she swore in her mind.
Then, she sent Carlos ten-odd pictures from three years ago, when they were still an item. She typed a message in the end. "I have a few more of our intimate pics on my phone, but I'm not sending you now. Should you come back into my life, those are absolutely the best pics that I'm saving for last. For the time being, I don't see the need for sending them."
Looking at the photos, Carlos frowned.
That woman didn't lie to him. Five of those pictures were their romantic selfies; three of them showed their affectionate kisses in different places; and another three of them were taken in New York.
In all those photos, he looked at the woman with eyes full of tenderness while she sweetly smiled back.
The affection in their eyes was so evident that anyone could easily tell they were a couple, in deep love.
As Carlos pored over those pictures, his phone beeped several times, receiving more intimate photos.
Of course, the male lead was him and the female lead was Debbie, and the background was...on a bed. More surprisingly, it seemed he was the one taking provocative selfies.
Had they even lived together? Were they so close to each other in the past?
At first, Debbie wasn't planning to send those intimate photos. But after hesitating for a few moments, she made up her mind. Sending them all would be more convincing to prove their relationship.
Mischievously, she added a love emoticon with the caption, "Sizzling hot it was. Anyway, for my privacy, don't leak any of these. I need some respect, you know." Generally, Debbie was a well-behaved girl. But she wouldn't mind sending nudes to him.
When he saw her message, a question popped up in Carlos' mind. 'Does she mean that I don't want my privacy? I'm the male lead in the pics!'
That night, Debbie couldn't fall asleep. She was grateful to have finally found his phone number and WeChat account. But she worried that in her excitement she might turn him off with much talk. Had she bugged him too much today?
After turning and tossing on bed for several hours, Debbie couldn't bear it anymore. To kill boredom, she sent him one more message, even though he hadn't replied to her previous one yet. "Mr. Handsome, where have you gone for your business trip? Please tell me and I'll come see you. I promise I won't disturb your work."
Knowing that Stephanie wasn't staying by his side now, Debbie thought it would be a golden chance for her to chase him.
After sending the message, she checked the time. It was already two o'clock in the morning. She guessed Carlos might have already slept.
Frustrated, Debbie gloomily locked her phone screen and held her daughter in her arms. All was quiet in the dead of night. The only comforting thing for her was the warmth of her daughter.
'Little angel, you're my strength. Let's pray and hope to get your daddy back to us soonest, okay?' she talked to Piggy in her mind.
As the night rolled away, Debbie slowly drifted off at around three o'clock.
The next day, much to her surprise, she received Carlos' reply in the afternoon, while she worked at the recording studio. "Didn't you want to help me recover my memory? I'm at Star Trade Building now. I'm free tonight. You can come and show me around," he wrote.
As soon as she saw the message, she hurriedly left the studio, putting off her unfinished project of the song she was recording.
In the driver's seat, before she drove off, she constrained herself from the excitement and texted him back. "Wait for me!"
Hurrying back home, she took out all her clothes in the wardrobe and tried on everything. At one point, she considered a modest pink evening dress. For all practical reasons, this would count for their first date after three years.
But then she hesitated again. She would have to wear high heels to match with the dress if she wanted to carry herself like a respectable lady. However, she thought he might want to take her for a walk and heels wouldn't be a good idea.
Eventually, she settled for something casual. The best part was that she knew any style for her would still tick with Carlos.
When she finally dressed herself and freshened up, it was already dusk. "I'm ready now." She texted Carlos.
"Address. I'll pick you up, ASAP," Carlos promptly replied.
On second thoughts, Debbie replied, "Better if I come find you, at whichever place you choose."
As soon as they agreed on a venue, Debbie hailed a cab and headed for the place.
On her way, she called Decker. "Where have you been these two days? Why didn't you come back home?" Decker was behaving unusually these days. Debbie didn't think that he had gone to look for a job.
Thoughtless as ever, Decker rudely answered, "I'll move out very soon. I don't want to look like I'm invading the little space that you and your illegitimate child call home!"
Debbie closed her eyes in anger, clenching her fist tightly. "Decker, she is not..." She held her tongue as she caught a glimpse of the taxi driver. In a lower voice, she warned, "Mind your words from now on. I'm losing my patience for you. You can hurt me as you please but not Piggy. If you dare speak ill of her, I'll not take that shit lying down!"
Decker wasn't scared. "Go ahead. Bye now!"
He hung up bluntly. It ticked her off. Remorse filled her heart. She regretted having come to Z Country to find her brother three years ago. How stupid of her!
When the taxi arrived at their venue, Debbie put on a pair of sunglasses and a white stylish bucket hat before getting out of the taxi. She clutched her big canvas bag, pulled down the hat over her eyes and walked towards a hotel.
Keeping a low profile, she went to the underground parking lot of the hotel, where she found a modest black Maybach.
Carlos was talking on the phone in the driver's seat.
When he saw the woman who had wrapped herself tight and covered her face, he got out of the car, walked around to the other side and opened the passenger door for her. He signaled to her with his eyes.
Debbie walked up to him, tiptoed and gave him a peck on the lips.
With a triumphant smile, she sat in the passenger's seat. Watching her closely, Carlos was impressed by Debbie's courage. The only woman bold enough to flirt with him where and when she chose.
He was still on the phone but he lost his voice by her sudden kiss.
After giving Debbie a warning glance, he closed the door for her and went on to speak. "Talk about it later, Stephanie. You know I'm usually a very busy man. All the same, send my regards and apologies to your parents." As he sat in the driver seat, Debbie heard him say on the phone, "I have something to handle now. Call you back later."
The mention of the name Stephanie made Debbie feel out of place. 'So he was having a phone call with his soon-to-be fiancee?' she wondered.
While he slowly drove the car out, she tilted her head to look at him and asked, "Mr. Handsome, is your soon-to-be fiancee coming with us?"
"Nope," said Carlos, stealing a quick glance at her, before focusing his gaze on the road ahead.
Debbie didn't mind his cold attitude. She knew his personality. Previously, before they fell in love, he had been quite uptight.
"Then... do you love her?"
Carlos dropped into silence.