JZ walked back to the place with the cube Elle was in and found her sprawled on the floor like a starfish.
“What are you doing down there?” he asked laughing at the sight of her.
“Resting,” she replied with heavy breathing. Suddenly she got up and said, “I’m going to the cafeteria,” and began taking the chest protector and body suit off.
“The cafeteria closes at 5 o’clock.” JZ checks his watch and says, “It’s 5:05. Want to come back to my suite and I’ll cook you something delicious?”
She sighed and said, “I have fried rice in the apartment.”
“You look really tired, you should relax on my comfortable couch and wait. You won’t be disappointed.”
“I can eat fried rice,” Elle said and walked to the door with her purse in her hand, in her lavender blouse and khaki short shorts soaked in sweat, and her body dripping with the stuff.
“I have ice cream,” he quickly said.
Her head lifted and waited a moment before answering, “Ok.”
“What do you think about stir-fried noodles with vegetables?” he eagerly asked with a smile.
“Noodles must not have eggs,” she simply replied.
In the hallway, water bottles in the lounge caught his eye so he took a couple for Elle. She accepted and drank them both before they reached his suite. “If I’m going to have wait, I’ll shower first and come back to eat,” she said in the elevator.
“Great! You can shower at my place and the noodles will be done by the time you finish.”
“I can shower in my apartment without having to ride the subway for three hours.”
“How about resting on my couch, then shower after dinner. You’ll get sick if you shower soon after you use this much energy.”
“I don’t want to waste time,” she said and sighed. “Why don’t you want me to return to the apartment you wanted me to live in?” she asked suspiciously while searching for tells.
“I do want you to return to your apartment. I just don’t want you to get sick.”
“Then why did you tell me to shower at your place?”
He was searching for an answer.
“I’ll eat in the apartment I don’t want to live in,” she firmly said.
“The apartment isn’t finished yet,” he blurted.
“What needs to be done?” she asked with an angry tone.
“The shower and your bedroom.”
“The shower is done. I can sleep on the floor.” She pressed the button for 36 despite him trying to block her. She threw him an angry look, then got off on the 36th floor. He grabbed her arms like he did on Monday night, and she recoiled with pain. He realized he was only looking at her face, then looked at her arms and remembered what he did in anger, and immediately released her. She kicked him in the shin and pushed him with all her strength.
She unlocked the door, opened it, locked it, and slammed it shut. She went straight to the bedroom and pushed it open. She was surprised then switched back to anger. “Why’re y’all here?” she said in a deep tone and using her death stare.
“We, we, we, were commissioned by JZ to have a wardrobe done for you,” squeakily said Mike.
“Take everything y’all’ve made and leave before I act on my anger,” she said darkly and flexed her wings.
Mike squeakily translated to Xiao Xing as he pressed all the hangers between his large, skinny hands. Xiao Xing quickly folded up the plastic table, gathered all the loose fabric into the basket, and carried the mannequin along with the other items, and hastily left with Mike.
In the hallway, JZ was waiting by the door, immediately looked up when he saw the door open, and Mike and Xiao Xing came out. “Why is she so mad?” Xiao Xing angrily demanded of JZ.
“Because she’s too smart,” glumly replied JZ.
“Or you’re not smart enough,” angrily replied Xiao Xing.
“Let’s take everything to my suite,” he said sullenly and led them to the elevator.
“What happened? I don’t want us to be in a situation where we have to fear for our lives again,” Xiao Xing said frustratingly.
Suddenly the door to Elle’s apartment opened and they all looked back. Elle was easily pushing the conversation couch with the matching chairs on top and JZ’s clothes, out of the apartment and quickly toward the elevator.
“Wait for the elevator,” JZ said with alarm, and quickly went toward the furniture. He was pushing back but Elle, with her eyes full of fury and eyebrows to complement, was winning centimeter by centimeter. The elevator came and Mike and Xiao Xing waited for JZ. “Go first.” Xiao Xing agreed out of frustration and pressed the button for the doors to close. They heard Elle shout, “Do you want to die, bitch?” and she pushed much harder, causing JZ’s rear foot to be in the elevator. She kept pushing, and soon he was in the elevator. He saw that the couch was too wide and would not pass through the door, so he let go and rapidly pressed the button to close the elevator doors as Elle was trying to get the couch to fit in the elevator by force, shaking the elevator and its doors.
“I guess I better tell Xiao Li that she can’t use the elevator to get to her floor,” quietly said JZ, pulling out his phone.
“Look, I got a text from JZ. Must be important,” said Xiao Li to the other four girls in CeeCee’s apartment, decorated with floral wallpaper and flowers. “Elle blocked the elevator with her couch. She might block the stairs too when she finds out where it is. Don’t confront her. It’s best not to interact with her in any way,” Xiao Li read aloud.
Their eyes widened. “Is he serious?” asked CeeCee.
“I guess so. He would only text or call after work if it’s important,” answered Xiao Li.
“Want to go see?” asked Hero.
“We’d better not. He said not to confront her or interact with her in any way,” answered Xiao Li, reading from her phone again.
“Guess she’s really mad again,” said JZ’s assistant, very tipsy. “I wonder what it’s about this time. He doesn’t have to,” hiccup, “put up with all her drama.”
“Most likely he did or said something wrong in her view,” answered CeeCee. “Ask him what he said or did to her,” she said and sipped her drink.
Xiao Li texted. A few minutes passed. “He’s not answering.”
“You want us to come with you to get a change of clothes for tomorrow? You can stay with me tonight,” said CeeCee.
“She’s so short. I think I can handle her. I have a rowdy 12-year-old son after all.”
“Wooooooooooooooow, he’s 12 alreadyyyyyyyyyyyy?” slowly asked the assistant with closed eyes.
All four girls were more awakened, but the assistant quickly closed her eyes. “What was that?” asked JZ’s receptionist, a little concerned. CeeCee went over to the window and saw a red bag that looked familiar. “Let’s go check it out.”
The interns saw Xiao Li, Hero, the receptionist, and CeeCee, and one of the interns asked, “Is this what happens when girls get their period?”
The girls laughed loudly. “JZ’s girl is super mad at him,” Xiao Li answered simplistically. She went to the bag and picked it up with its spilled contents. “Whoa! Platinum heels and clutch purse to match!”
“He must’ve bought them for her when she was supposed to have dinner with his parents but didn’t. I saw the bag, but I didn’t know what was in it. But I remembered he had a blue dress with him that would go great with these,” said CeeCee, holding the contents in her hands.
“Why don’t you return to your dorms,” said Xiao Li to the interns. “We’ll take care of this.”
“Wait, wasn’t she happy when we left?” asked another young intern.
“She most likely was,” answered CeeCee.
“Didn’t she get her anger out on those cameras and bugs?” asked the young intern.
“She most likely did,” answered Xiao Li. “She’s mad at something else JZ said or did after we left the studio.”
“Wow, that was really fast,” said the first intern.
“What do you think he said or did?” asked Shen.
“I don’t know but he texted me saying not to confront her or interact with her. So just stay in your dorms until you have to get to work, and especially stay away from the 36th floor. That’s where she lives,” answered Xiao Li.
“But isn’t that where you live, too?” asked Shen.
“Yeah, but we’re going to get some clothes for me later when she cools down or when we can avoid her,” she answered.
“Do you need a man to protect you?” asked the interns and posed in their superhero forms.
The girls laughed. “I’m confident I can handle her. She’s short,” answered Xiao Li.
“Her intern said that she could carry almost half her weight, and you look like you’re just about half her weight,” said a young intern. “All of you do,” he added.
“Who wants a TV!” said a firm masculine voice from up high. They all looked up and saw a thin TV falling from the sky. They quickly ran into the silver building for cover. CRASH! The pieces bounced several times before they remained still.
They slowly stepped out and looked up just in case of more things falling from the sky but saw what looked like JZ, Mike, and Xiao Xing on the top floor looking down. Shen went closest to the scene and said, “This was a curved screen TV,” with his face very worried, and pointed at a curved fragment mixed with plastic and tiny shiny metal scattered on the sidewalk.