Chapter 26:


Sweet like Honey

There was a rumble of laughter after that. Victor and Helen trembled, their eyes cast downward and their faces flushed red. I didn’t feel sorry for them.

“Anyway, let’s go.” Shirley pulled on my arm and led me out. Even the cronies on Victor’s side weren’t stupid enough to bar the way of an ex-idol. Travis and the rest followed us out, but Shirley stopped at the door. She turned to Victor. “I’ll give you a full refund. I no longer have any intention of performing for you. Not after you humiliated and bullied my boyfriend in front of everyone.”

I couldn’t help but be concerned at that. She was effectively declaring our relationship in the open, right in front of everyone. Her stream, my high school ex-schoolmates, and in public – in Crowne Hotel. Would she be all right after this?

Then again, she had retired from being an idol. Why should she have to answer to her fans or anybody? It was her freedom to be in a relationship with whoever she wanted. If this was what she desired, then I was going to do everything I could to support her.

Especially since she was the one who saved me from this predicament.

Victor muttered incoherently, still in shock. It was his turn to be on his knees, his body sinking to the ground as he drowned in disbelief. Helen was as white as a ghost, and looked as if she was on the verge of fainting, but I turned away.

“Do you want to give them one last glance before breaking off with them forever?” Shirley whispered. I shook my head and smiled.

“No need. I want to move forward from here.”

And with that, I had achieved closure.

While we departed Crowne Hotel, Shirley waved to Travis. The other guys were dispersing and returning home, probably to their families. I thanked them and bade farewell to them, along with Shirley, who rewarded their friendship with autographs or photos. The guys, fortunately, were aware of my relationship with her, and they didn’t ask for anything unreasonable before they left.

Eventually, the three of us were the only ones left, and Shirley turned to Travis.

“Um, from what I’ve heard, you are a lawyer, right? According to the conversation earlier. Sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but you said something about representing Junior in court.”

“I did. The name’s Travis.” My best friend held out his hand and my girlfriend shook it. “I’m a friend of Junior’s from our high school days. You’re right, I did say that because I am a lawyer. I work in a firm in the neighborhood, so if you’re here and need legal advice, I’m more than happy to provide it.”

“Not for free, though,” I said. “He has to make a living.”

Shirley laughed at that. “Of course. I’m not expecting him to offer his services without any form of renumeration.”

“I used to treat Shirley to free drinks in the café I work at,” I explained when I caught sight of Travis’s confused expression. His eyes widened and he nodded in understanding.

“So that’s how you got her to fall for you?”

“It was more than that,” Shirley said jokingly. “But we can discuss that in more detail next time. For now, though, I have plenty of evidence for what I believe constitutes harassment against Junior, committed by that blond guy in particular.”

“Victor Tang? So this isn’t the only time?”

“You didn’t tell him that the blond dude hired thugs to beat you up in the middle of the night?” Shirley directed her question to me. I winced and shook my head.

“Not yet. We were just about to catch up when Victor Tang pulled all that bullshit on me.”

“Yeah, we didn’t even get to eat,” Travis groaned. Then he grinned and snapped his fingers. “How about we catch up over dinner? In the meantime, you can share with me all those evidences and we’ll see what we can do.”

After settling on a nice family restaurant, we found a table and ordered a nice, warm meal. While waiting for the food, Shirley shared everything she had recorded, and I was surprised to see that she even had the whole incident of the time Victor poured coffee on me stored in her phone.

“Physical assault,” Travis noted. “Hiring other people to physically assault someone in the middle of the night. Yeah, if this gets out, his career will be over. He’ll be looking at five years in prison, maybe.”

“No more than he deserves,” Shirley said. She then snickered wickedly. “In fact, he’s probably in deep trouble. That was a live stream, and I’ve uploaded those videos to my social media account. My followers are probably circulating all of them even as I speak.”

She glanced at me. “Sorry, I did it without asking you, but he had his second…no, this was his third chance. I can’t forgive him.”

“It’s fine.” I smiled wearily. I couldn’t say I approved of her actions, and I knew I would draw some flak from the public for being “pathetic.” It would also mean my past would get out , and I was steeling myself for the inevitable comments that said I deserve it for “stalking” Helen during high school. “I appreciate your sentiment. I know you did it for me.”

“It’s a good thing you live streamed both the physical assault and this humiliation event,” Travis said as he studied the videos. “Otherwise, they’ll countersue you for an invasion of privacy and for circulating videos of them without permission. This way, you can point out that you never asked them to act so violently or harass Junior, and you only just happened to stream them by coincidence.”

“Is that how it works?” I asked uncertainly, suddenly alarmed at whatever Victor and Helen might pull against Shirley.

“Yeah. I’ll doublecheck the statures just to be sure, but I’m confident you’ll be all right.” Travis grinned and leaned back when our meal finally arrived. He had ordered a steak. Shirley had ordered some salad and chicken, while I had fish and rice. “Nice. It sucks that we couldn’t have the buffet, but at least we can strike back.”

“Screw the buffet, revenge tastes much sweeter,” I said. Both Travis and Shirley laughed at that.


“It’s decided then,” Shirley said. Travis nodded.

“Yeah. I’ll contact you for more details if I need them, and if we need to meet again, we’ll arrange for an appointment. Let’s do this.” He grinned. “I’m sure they’ll try to settle this out of court, in which case you can ask for a massive sum of compensation. Enough for you to live out the rest of your life in retirement.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I protested.

“Well, we’ll discuss it more in detail after I work out a proposal and run through a few things.” Travis poked at his steak. “But let’s get back at those guys for all the misery they put you through.”

“Amen to that.” Shirley raised her glass.

We split the bill and went our separate ways after dinner, with Travis having to call his wife. I said hello to her, and Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised to see that I was in a relationship with Shirley, of all people. I promised to share more details in the future, but it was getting late, and so Travis headed home while Shirley and I took a different route.

“So where do you plan to stay now that you’re here?” I asked. Shirley pretended to think for a moment, holding her finger to her chin before she smirked.

“Since this is a good chance, why don’t I visit your parents tonight? I always wanted to have a talk with them.”