Bad publicity and distractions.
“Hey! Hey!” enthusiastically said three guys around JZ’s age, each dressed in basketball jerseys, shorts, and sneakers. “Whoa! You got a ho and didn’t share?” said the tall one wearing a red armband.
“She must not know how to be a good ho if she’s beaten like that,” the shorter one wearing a red armband joked.
JZ angrily got up and said, “She’s not a ho; she’s my girlfriend.”
“Didn’t know you like big girls,” jokingly said the one wearing a blue armband, and the three of them laughed.
“She’s not big; she’s perfect and sexy,” JZ said, controlling his anger.
“She might be sexy if she wore super high heels, brushed her hair, and put on a lot of makeup. Seriously, what girl in China doesn’t wear makeup?” said the tall one and the three of them laughed again.
“She’s super sexy the way she is,” he defensively responded.
“Hey, whoa, no need to get so mad. We’re just messing with you,” said the tall one light heartedly.
“Yeah, we’ve been on tour out of the country and you didn’t tell us you had a girlfriend?” said the one with a blue armband.
“You’re so busy with your girlfriend that you forgot we were supposed to play basketball today, didn’t you?” said the shorter one.
“Here, take a look at this,” said the one with a blue armband, as he took out his phone and showed JZ. A TV anchor said, “This suspicious fiend released a video yesterday, aggressively smashing all the cameras that she found in her shack. One has to wonder, why doesn’t she talk? If she’s on the subway, she doesn’t talk at all. As we take a look at some footage here, she can talk, but only mumbles. And if we take a listen to this footage here, she shouts in a very manly voice, ‘WHAT!’ Is this suspicious fiend male or female? Its voice suggests it’s male. Its aggressive behavior suggests it’s male. Last, but not least, its choice of clothing suggests it’s male. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates.”
JZ was strangling the guy’s phone. He looked back and saw that One Word was covering Elle’s ears with his hands. “How much did she hear?” was what JZ’s hurt expression asked.
“I covered her ears when I heard, ‘suspicious fiend,’” solemnly replied One Word, and sighed.
JZ went over to Elle and gently kissed her forehead, then returned to his basketball buddies. “Don’t listen to what the media says. They’re making her out to be the worst person anyone has ever lived in the 21st century. When she’s normal, she’s very caring and crazy smart. Let me show you the entire video,” he said and set the video up.
His basketball buddies watched it and one of them said, “If you plan on keeping her for a while, we’ll defend her too. Otherwise, it’s unwise to associate with her in public. Can you imagine the damage her reputation can do to us?”
“I know she has a really bad reputation and I want to stop it. I know you guys are just getting back into music, so I don’t want your reputation to suffer. She’s a decent singer, but needs a lot more practice, but if you need a backup singer or dancer or whatever, she can definitely fill that role.”
“How long has she been in the business?”
“As far as I know, last Monday when she began working for me.”
His basketball buddies looked at one another like JZ was a little crazy himself. “Are you serious? That’s practically zero experience.”
“I know. Come with me. After you listen to the song she wrote three days later, I’ll give you guys a copy,” JZ said as he went out of One Word’s workroom. “I found her as a poet, and she has a distinct style of her own that hasn’t yet transferred into music,” JZ said, as his basketball buddies followed him.
“I don’t want JZ to touch me. How could I want foreplay? JZ had me in pornography by filming and taking pictures of me in his head. I guarantee you JZ remembers everything he saw. I agree that I am stronger than most people my size; I only hit to defend myself. JZ claims that he loves me, but he tried to kill me twice, puts my health in jeopardy, and does not let me do what I want. I want to make money so I can send it to my family, but if JZ stresses me to a mental breakdown, I will not be able to make any money to survive on my own, let alone send money home. I want to be a daughter my parents are proud of, not the one they see on TV, one they regret having. Maybe I should go into prostitution since that’s where I now belong.”
One Word read the remainder and felt so sad. “Do you want to stay at my house tonight?” he offered. “I’ll have to ask my wife first, but I promise you that none of us will threaten you in any way.” After he said it, he typed it and placed his phone in her hands.
Elle read it and her face changed to something more human, and typed something. She turned her head and said, “Thank you for your generous offer, but I cannot accept it,” then looked at the phone with her sad eyes and eyebrows. He took the phone and read, “Fighting JZ is my fight. I do not want to put the relationship between you and him in danger because of me. With my reputation, I also do not want to disturb the feng shui in your home and with your family. Clearly my qi is very bad because I am poison and I am tainted.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t consider you to be poison. They won’t either once they get to know who you really are. I think you’re misrepresented. I also think you’re a good child,” he kindly said and typed.
She read it and a slight smile appeared.
“You look thirsty. I’ll take you to the lounge and show you what we did for you,” he kindly said and extended his hand.
She quickly shook her head like a dog drying itself.
She quickly typed something, then looked up at him. He took the phone and read, “The skirt is really short.”
“I’ll bring a bottle of water for you then, ok?”
She quickly shook her head again. “I can’t drink from it.”
She looked at his phone and he handed it to her. She tapped the phone twice with her thumb while looking at him. He took it back and did not see a new message. He sat back down and asked, “So what are you working on?”
“The thing I suggested you write about two days ago,” she said quietly.
One Word chuckled. “JZ really meant it when he said he likes songs written about him by his fans. He likes poems written about him, too. He feels it’s worth it to get so much attention from everyone. He’s a musical genius. He can get inspiration from using the toilet.”
“I read that on his website when I was in America. Can we not talk about him?”
“Right, right. So what do you have so far?”
“I have most of it. It’s in my purse.”
“I’ll call an assistant to get it for you. Where is it?”
“Please excuse me,” he said and walked toward the door to make the call. He returned a minute later and said, “She’s bringing it here, right now. She also said CeeCee, Hero, the receptionist, her name is Deng, and Xiao Li, the woman in her forties, are very sorry they caused you so much difficulty. They didn’t mean to hurt you. They want to come and personally say sorry to you.”
Elle shook her head and looked up at him and mimed that she wanted to type something. He handed her his phone then got it back quickly. “They are his employees. I’m fighting their employer. I don’t want them to get in trouble. If you can, just tell them to stay out of it. It’s for their protection. If he can turn me into a prostitute, think what he can do to them.”