Chapter 15:

Savor the Savior

Sweet like Honey

“Who are you?!” Victor demanded.

“Me?” Shirley removed her mask and sunglasses. As she removed her cap, her long hair cascaded behind her. “I’m Shirley Li.”

“W…wait,” one of the cronies said, his eyes wide. He pointed at Shirley. “Isn’t that the famous ex-idol?”

“I saw her on television before!” Another added, backing away. They weren’t exactly afraid of Shirley, but were simply taken aback and in awe.

“So what?” Victor snapped. He glared at Shirley. “Oh, you’re that washed-out idol who got too old and was forced to retire. What are you doing here?”

“I should be asking you the same thing,” Shirley replied coldly. “I live around here, and I saw you guys ganging up on a single person. What do you think you’re doing, causing trouble in the neighborhood at this time of the night?”

“Ganging up?” Victor smirked and kicked me. “We are just having fun and friendly banter with an old friend. We’re just catching up on old times, aren’t we, Junior?”

“Fuck you,” I spat, and he slammed his heel into my face, almost breaking my nose.

“How rude.” Victor turned back to Shirley and spread his arms. “Just teaching him a lesson. This is my friend, Junior, and he has very bad manners, you see. He needs a bit of roughing up…”

“Shut up,” Shirley interrupted. She smiled wryly and shook her head. “You don’t remember me?”

“Huh? Of course I remember you. I saw you on television before.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Shirley mimed with her hand and flicked her fingers at him. “I thought you wanted me to pay for your laundry services.”

For a moment, Victor was dumbfounded. Then his face turned purple and he snarled.

“You’re the bitch who…!”

“Yes.” Shirley raised her hand to her mouth and chuckled. Then she lowered her fingers, narrowed her eyes and scowled. “So don’t pull that old friend bullshit on me. I know you’ve been picking on and harassing Junior for whatever childish reason.”

The cronies didn’t say anything, glancing at each other uneasily even as Victor trembled with rage and shock. Shirley didn’t give him a chance to speak, however. She wagged a finger in his direction condescendingly.

“And this will get out. Trust me.” It was Shirley’s turn to smirk. “When it does, who do you think they are going to believe? Some newly hired doctor who only started recently working at the city hospital, or an ex-idol who has been singing in concerts and on television for over ten years?” She began counting. “I think I still have a solid fanbase on social media, even after I retired. About thirty million followers on tweeter, and about eight million on Instant Pound.” She cocked her head and glared at him. “I should take responsibility for this. After all, it was through my photos on Instant Pound that you found out about Junior working at Honey Café, wasn’t it?”

Victor didn’t say anything. He clenched his fists and glared at the ground before glancing up at her with a sneer.

“You don’t have proof. Even if you’re an ex-idol, you can’t go around throwing accusations without evidence. These injuries are nothing – I’m a doctor, I can certify that. I also have friends in the hospital who will help me…”

“You really are a fool.” Shirley shook her head, amazed. She folded her arms, but somehow still held up her smartphone. “Did you think I took out my smartphone for nothing? I did call the cops, but I have no reason to keep my phone out for this long if it’s solely for that. Obviously, I’ve been recording the whole thing. I wonder how many of my followers will circulate this video once I stream it.”

Victor turned frightfully pale. He frantically waved and gestured at her, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish. For the next few seconds, nothing coherent came out, but he finally managed something legible after a few attempts.

“Get her! Grab her!”


“She’s an idol. I mean, she was an idol. We can’t…”

“You didn’t tell us about this!”

The hired goons were uncomfortable with this, their eyes darting around anxiously as if expecting the cops to show up.

“Idiots!” Victor roared. “She has the recording! If she gives that to the cops, we’re screwed! Our lives will be over, you morons! We need to destroy the evidence!”

As if to lead by example, Victor lunged at her. Shirley swallowed and took a step back, clutching her phone tightly. The only mercy was that the other bigger cronies remained paralyzed by indecision, still nervously exchanging uncertain looks. Victor, however, was not inhibited by any hesitation or by Shirley’s former status. His fingers curled into claws as he leaped to snatch her phone.

Still lying on the ground, I desperately reached out and seized his ankle. With a furious jerk, I yanked his foot out from under him and sent him tumbling face first into the ground. The supposed doctor let out a gargled shriek as he crashed, and I heard a satisfying crunch as his nose smashed against black concrete.

“You fucker!” He yelled, his voice muffled. He dragged his foot free of his grasp and gesticulated wildly to his hired cronies. “What the fuck are you dolts doing!? Do you want to get paid or not?!”

The talk of money was an effective motivation. They moved as one, and even though I struggled to stand and stop them, there were too many of them. No matter how determined I was, I couldn’t possibly stop five huge guys before even one of them reached Shirley.

“Run!” I yelled.

“No need for that,” she said with a smile. “The cavalry has arrived.”

“What are you bastards doing?!” Someone barked in the distance, a deep and thunderous voice that resounded across the street. The lackeys jolted as if they had just been slapped, and then they wheeled around and fled.

At least they had the decency to pick up the spluttering and cursing Victor before they vanished into the night. I staggered to my feet, only to find Shirley next to me. She supported me before I could fall, holding my arm and placing it over her shoulder.

“Easy. Be careful.”

“Thanks.” I looked up and caught sight of a massive figure approaching. It wasn’t the police, but it was the next best thing. The burly, muscular frame of Bernard Chan came into view, and the owner of Honey Café scowled at the retreating backs of the bullies.

“Don’t let me see you guys around here again!” He bellowed.

“Don’t worry.” Shirley lowered her head and glanced at her jacket, where she had placed her smartphone. “I’ve kept a recording of the whole thing. I’ll keep a copy of the video for a while, so if they try anything funny, I’ll circulate it on the Internet. In fact, I think they’ll be keeping an eye out for an arrest warrant. That should stop them from targeting you for a while.”

“I appreciate it.” I wanted to report this to the police and press charges, but for now…I just wanted to go home. Closing my eyes, I finally allowed myself to relax as both Bernard and Shirley helped prop up my battered body and assist me on returning to my apartment.

As I made my way back, however, I couldn’t help but feel as if there was still someone watching us. Glancing over my shoulder, I thought I caught sight of a shadow darting just out of sight somewhere behind, but then I didn’t see anything again.

Was it my imagination? Did Victor and his thugs beat me up so badly that I was hallucinating?

Or was there really someone stalking us?