They had decided to get a cat.
Diano stood outside one of the pet shops near the SOGO Shopping Mall, in Causeway Bay, and watched the cute kittens in the display window. He concentrated on each kitten for a short while, trying to analyze if it was playful or not.
After about an hour, he had checked out all pet shops in the area. The price tags were similar and beyond their planned budget. Perhaps there were other options? Maybe they should check if private catteries were selling at a lower price on the Internet.
Should they consider adopting one instead? He made a mental note to check out the SPCA and asiaxpat websites. Sometimes rich people bought expensive cats and abandoned them for one reason or another. At least, they could give the poor cat a home and a second chance at life. The thought made him happy. He planned to discuss it with Summer once he was home.
He went into the nearest 7-Eleven store for a soymilk drink. As he walked up to the drinks section, he brushed past somebody who caught his eye.
Tall. Athletic. Tanned. Short-haired. And very familiar for some reason! Diano tried to recollect where he’d seen the guy before. It wasn’t somebody he’d been introduced to. He did look like a model but Diano wasn’t sure if he was one. He was definitely not a Canto-pop star.
The guy looked up at the very moment and caught Diano looking at him. He smiled and then walked out of the store. With an embarrassed shake of his head, Diano paid for his drink.
As Cute ducked into the MTR exit, he wondered if Diano had caught sight of him. He was rushing to Central and already behind schedule. Although they lived together, they had seen very little of each other lately. He loved them both. He smiled as he went past the turnstiles and took the escalator down to the platform. He got onto the waiting train just in time and squeezed his way to a pole.
He was a long way from home and his new world revolved around money. Everything in Hong Kong revolved around money. When he was in school, his English teacher had given them an assignment. They were to write on what their ambition in life was. The teacher had encouraged them to think out of the box and come up with different professions if they could. Most of them had written about very noble professions, as expected. Cute had written about being a successful businessman. He wanted to set up his own company and make more money than his wealthy and successful father did.
Money was something that flowed in their family. His grandfather had set up a toy factory in the Mainland. The brand became popular and they received regular orders from the USA and Europe. After his dad had graduated and acquired a management degree, he had joined the family business and had been instrumental in getting even larger orders. They had been an affluent family alright. He had been provided education at an expensive international school. His wishes for the latest and expensive accessories had been fulfilled. Everybody knew him as an heir in waiting.
But fate had played a bad joke on him. Reality was far detached from his past. What mattered most was today. And today he was fighting hard to survive on his own in a very difficult world. Fighting all by himself. Fighting to earn money. Fighting to pay for daily expenses. Fighting to save money for his education; he intended going back to school. He had expected his good looks would get him into modeling, but the talent scouts and agencies had rejected his application. He was too short. He didn’t have any experience. He had no big names backing him up. It had frustrated him a lot.
He had tried his hand at a sales job at a cosmetics shop. He was doing alright until one fine day when his manager fired him for no reason. The whole story repeated when he was salesman at a clothes chain. He put all his heart into his work and performed well, but was fired for no clear reason.
He suspected his dad’s hand behind the firings but he couldn’t be sure. He kept on trying to find a regular job but it was difficult to qualify for one with just basic schooling. And all the stints didn’t qualify as a continuous stream of income. On some days he didn’t have enough to buy food. If he were lucky, Diano or Summer would offer him some. He was afraid of eating from their shared kitchen because he wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to replenish the groceries. It was a constant worry. On some nights, when his flatmates were out, he’d drink a lot of water and go to bed.
It was during one such dark moment that he had an idea. Why not find someone to take care of him? Why not find someone to pay for his living expenses?
He created a profile on an online dating website. A profile that carried many good photographs from his modeling portfolio. It wasn’t long before he got hits and people started approaching him. His method was simple. He’d share his MSN contact details and let them add him. Then he’d chat with them to find out if they were good to go out with. If they seemed alright, he’d let them date him. He hoped, one day, one of them would be a stable and rich guy.
The train pulled into the Central station.