[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6 & Chapter 7]
Latte or Cappuccino?
Summer was window-shopping in Causeway Bay. After she had checked out Times Square, she thought of heading towards SOGO. Just as she was passing the Dai Pai Dong on the corner, she felt a sudden urge to try some snacks. All that walking had made her hungry. She bought herself some siu mai. She smiled as she poured some soy sauce and bit into one.
“Well, hello! Look who we have here.”
She turned around and found Oliver smiling at her. He was smartly dressed in a dark suit and looked very handsome.
“Can I try one?” Oliver pointed at the siu mai.
“Ha-ha. Sure. Here.”
She held the stick close to Oliver’s mouth. He bit into one and pulled it off the stick.
“Thanks. It’s delicious.” He tried to smile but the ball in his mouth distorted his face making him look funny.
Summer laughed. She bit into one herself and pulled it into her mouth. It was too big for her. Her face must have looked funny since it made Oliver smile.
“So what’s up?” He asked.
“Just walking around. Some window shopping.”
“Never thought I’d bump into you here. But you live across the street anyway.” He looked up at their flat, which was in the building across the street, diagonally opposite to where they stood.
“From now on you can look at bumping into me here then.” She laughed.
“I go to the gym down the street.”
“Give me a sec. I need to call my friend.”
Summer waited while Oliver called somebody on his cell phone. She was happy. She had not thought of bumping into Oliver at all. Maybe they should plan and meet for a real date sometime. It would look odd if she asked him out first. She wanted to spend time with him but didn’t want to appear desperate. Guys liked mystery. They liked girls who play hard to get. They liked girls who challenge them. She should maintain a certain distance. To top it all, she had no idea about his personal life at all. The first time they had met, a few weeks ago, wasn’t even a proper meeting. She didn’t know whether she should have thanked Diano for having drunk too much that night. No lah. She met him because of Diano. Drunken or not, she got her chance anyway. Hmm. Should she ask for his number? MSN or Facebook perhaps? No, she decided hard to get. Ha-ha. It was funny. She didn’t even know if he liked her or not. Silly girl.
“We planned to go to gym today but my friend is late.” Oliver put his cell phone back into his bag. “How about a coffee? Er… Somewhere at ground level. I can’t do the seven floors today. I do that only on Saturday nights and especially when I’m carrying someone.”
“Ha-ha. Sure. Let’s go to Starbucks? It’s that way.”
Summer led Oliver to the nearest Starbucks. Maybe she should have picked Pacific Coffee instead?
“Do you like cats?” She asked him.
“I prefer dogs.”
“Do you have a dog?”
“Not right now. The last one died a few years ago.”
“I see. I guess you’ve never had a cat then?”
“No. But I have friends who have cats. And I think they are cute. But they can’t fetch ball or go to the beach. I love more action. Cats are slow,” Oliver said.
“Yes, they are less responsive than dogs but cats have character. I saw a video on YouTube. It showed a cat fetching ball. I think it depends on how you train them.”
“Do you have one?” asked Oliver.
“Not yet. But I wanna get one.”
“Do you wanna buy one or adopt?”
“We want to buy a kitten. I’m not sure if an adopted cat would bond well.”
“Cats bond very well. In fact, one of my friends adopted one from the SPCA and it’s bonded well with her.”
“Oh,” said Summer. “I must talk to Diano about it.”
“Yes, you must. Adopting an abandoned cat is a noble act. Imagine a cat, brought up in a flat with timely feeding, declawed and abandoned. It can neither defend itself nor hunt for food!”
Summer was surprised at his outburst. She admired Oliver’s passion for animals. Wow. His sensitiveness excited her but she decided to steer the conversation towards something lighter.
“I will.” Summer said. “Have you been to Shanghai?”
“Yes, of course. Why?”
“I see. Business or vacation?”
“Business. He should be back in 2-3 days time.”
“Do you miss him?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean yes. Well, sort of.” She blushed as she tried to laugh it off. God. It was so embarrassing! “Do you like Latte or Cappuccino?” She looked at him with her best smile.