[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, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25, Chapter 26, Chapter 27, Chapter 28, Chapter 29, Chapter 30, Chapter 31 & Chapter 32]
“Are you done?” Cute walked over.
“Just paying up.” Summer made the payment in cash.
“And you are?” Cute looked at Oliver.
“Oh, I’m sorry. This is Oliver,” Summer said. “He’s Cute.”
“Thanks,” Oliver said.
“I’m Cute,” Cute said, a bit surprised.
“Oh. Yes. You are Cute too.” Oliver laughed.
“Er… His name is Cute.” Summer said trying to clear the misunderstanding. She had forgotten to point at Cute when she made the introduction.
“So cute,” Oliver said.
“How do you know my name?” Cute asked looking surprised.
“Well, you guys just told me.” Oliver laughed.
“My surname is So,” Cute said.
“Oh. That’s cute too.” Oliver said without laughing but there was a twinkle in his eye. He was trying hard not to laugh.
“Okay, okay everything’s cute,” Summer said.
“No, only I’m Cute. And I’m not a thing. I’m human,” Cute said and they all laughed. “So you’re Oliver.
“Yes, I am.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you.” Cute winked at Summer.
Suddenly a very frightening thought gripped her. What if Cute, being who he was, told Oliver that she’d been drooling over him almost everyday? Ouch! That would be embarrassing. She wished Cute would shut up. However, she was slow to gesture to him or make a facial expression that would prompt him to change the topic.
“Really? I hope it’s all good?” Oliver asked.
“Oh, Yeah. Are you a fireman?” asked Cute.
“Huh? No, I’m not.” Oliver looked confused. “Why do you think I’m a fireman?”
“No. Just your physique maybe,” Cute said.
“Ha-ha. Are you kidding me?”
“He’s got a strange sense of humour.” Summer decided to step in. She was not going to let Cute make a mess.
“Not really, I was hoping you’d help us carry this heavy bag.” Cute winked. “Just kidding. Don’t take me seriously.”
“No. We can manage.” She looked at Cute. “Didn’t you tell me earlier that you needed to rush back home?” She hoped he’d take the hint and disappear.
“Me? When?” Cute looked surprised. Summer gave him the dagger eyes. “Oh, right. Sorry, I gotta head back now. Why don’t you pass the bag to me? I’ve gotta fly now. He-he.”
“Thanks.” Summer handed the bag to Cute. “See you later.”
“Are you in a hurry?” she asked Oliver.
“Not really. I’m meeting up with my mate for gym in about 30 minutes.”
“Oh, okay. Do you wanna walk around?”
“Tell you what. Let’s go get a quick juice or something?” Oliver shifted his gym bag from his right shoulder to left. It was smaller than normal gym bags.
They headed towards Time Square but stopped across the street at the juice shop. They sat down and ordered their juices, which arrived promptly. On normal days the shop would be packed and there would be no space to sit down. She knew that well. But today wasn’t one of those days. Today was very special. She smiled.
“Great to see you again.”
“Same here.” Oliver smiled. “When are you guys going drinking again?”
“Not sure. What’s up?”
“I was wondering if you’ll let me lift Diano up the stairs again.” Oliver laughed.
“I have no such intentions. Once in a lifetime is good enough.” Summer laughed.
“That’s bad because I was counting on seeing you more often. That’s the most reliable way.” Oliver laughed. “The other option, of course, is to wander around Causeway Bay.”
“Ha-ha. You can just call me ma. I’m not a busy person. I hang out in Causeway Bay on most evenings because I live here.”
What did that mean? Was he going to give her his number or not? Should she give hers again? Should she pretend to be a lady and wait for him to ask first?
“Here’s my card.”
“Thanks.” Oliver took it. “I’m sorry I’m not carrying mine right now.”
“That’s okay. It’s got my number there. Give me a call…whenever…” She was disappointed. She hoped he was courteous enough to call her. What if he didn’t? Well, she wasn’t really waiting for him anyway. There. That made her feel better. She picked up her juice.
“Yes, I shall,” Oliver said.
His cell phone started buzzing and Oliver excused himself to speak into it. It was probably his gym partner, Summer thought. He gave his current location to the caller.
“I better get going. My friend’s arrived.” Oliver got up.
He reached out for the bill, which had been stuck under the menu by the waitress after she had taken their order. Summer made a grab at it at the same time. He got the paper and she caught his hand instead. Of course, it was an accident. She blushed.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Let me pay.”
“That’s okay, Miss. You buy the next round.” Oliver smiled as he got up.
“When’s that?” She asked standing up.
“Wait for my call.” He winked as he picked up his bag.
“Or bump into me somewhere soon?” She laughed.
He settled the bill and they stepped out.
“Are you sure you can get home from here?” he asked.
They looked up at her flat.
“Yes, I can. Don’t worry, you don’t need to carry me upstairs.”
“Ha-ha! See you around.”
As he walked away, the whole world froze around Summer. There was no movement from anybody except him. Was he the one? Why did she feel so different and happy when he was around? She wanted to open her mouth and sing out loud. But she had no voice. There was no sound at all. And then she heard her heartbeat. Thump-thump-thump-thump…
Just as it had stopped, the noise from the busy Causeway Bay district returned, jolting her back into re