Chapter 4: Flash

The next morning, JZ knocked on Elle’s door.  There was no answer.  He knocked again.  There was no answer again.  Worried, he bursted in to find her in the stained ruby dress and lying on the floor beside her bed, like she did not have the strength to get herself on top of the bed.  He came closer and saw that she was still pale, and was uncertain if she was still alive.  He put his finger right below her nose.  She was just asleep.  He went to close the door, placed the breakfast he brought on the counter, and sat beside her.  He watched her peacefully sleep, looking angelic even with the messed-up make-up and damp hair.

Elle slowly opened her eyes, pushed herself up, and was surprised when she saw JZ so close to her.  “Why are you here?” she asked weakly.

“I brought you breakfast,” he said cheerfully, and reached for the box.

Feeling starved, she said, “I brush my teeth.”

JZ quickly helped her stand upright, then gently carried her in his arms.  He answered her facial expression, “You obviously need me to help you.”  Elle was too tired to fight, so she stayed quiet.  JZ talked while Elle brushed her teeth.  When she was done, she pushed him and told him, “I need to use the toilet.”

JZ wittingly replied, “I can help you with that, too.  I can also help you take a shower.”

Elle felt the creeps and firmly responded, “No,” and pushed him out the door.  When she opened the door again, she found him waiting for her on the other side of the door.  She felt embarrassed knowing that he heard her.  He gently carried her and placed her on the bed, and brought breakfast to her.  She slurped the noodle soup while he talked, not understanding 80% of what he said.  When she was done eating, she interrupted in a calm voice, “Why are you still here?”

He simply answered, “Because I want to.”

“Just because you want something does not mean I will give it to you, now get out.”

He smiled, sizing up his challenger.  “I will go,” he said, “if you come with me.”

She cannot believe the audacity this guy had.  “Why is he so interested in a nobody like me? He is up to something,” she said to herself.  “Since you won’t leave,” she said, “I will,” and slid off the bed, grabbed her keys and purse, and left.

He followed, “Not without me, you’re not.”  Getting frustrated at the lack of privacy she was experiencing, she stormed into the bathroom, and closed the door behind her.  She turned on the shower, stepped on the toilet seat, and lifted herself to the bathroom window with her purse and keys.  He saw her running on the other side of the main window and ran after her through the front door.  She opened the apartment complex door and saw a sea of loud people and attacking camera flashes.  Blinded and stunned from the bombardment of flashes, she turned back and bumped into JZ.  With a glare at him, she stormed past JZ’s security guards, and back into her apartment with the famous one tailing her.

She went into the bathroom again and took a shower.  Elle armed herself with a shampoo bottle just in case he decided to invite himself into the bathroom.  Once she was done, she realized that she only had a towel and the stained dress in the bathroom, so she cracked the door open and saw him watching TV.  She wrapped the towel tightly around her and took the opportunity to quietly walk to her closet and took some clothes.

“You know,” he said loudly, “I like you better in that towel than the dress.”

Mortified that she heard her neighbors’ reaction to that comment, she quickly grabbed an outfit, and turned back to see JZ closely behind her.  He whispered, “I can also help you take this off,” lightly tugging at the towel, “and place these,” playfully pulling at the clothes, “somewhere else.”

Repulsed, Elle pushed him hard and sped into the bathroom.  She thought to herself, “I know what he’s really like and I don’t want to know more.  Now, how do I get rid of this guy? A-ha, I got it.”

She opened the door and saw him a few steps away, absorbing her beauty in denim shorts and a short-sleeved coral pink blouse.  She asked him angrily, “Where is your phone?”

He smiled and said, “Come and find it.”

She angrily searched him beginning with his shirt pocket.  After not finding it there, she did not hesitate to search his pants pockets.  “Nothing there! Not there! Not there either!” Frustrated beyond belief, she saw him holding the phone over his head.  She knew she could not reach it, so she climbed on her bed.  He was laughing wildly, and when she lunged at him with a battle cry, he fell back on the floor and laughed hysterically.  She seized the phone and typed to translate, “Why are you torturing me?” holding up the phone right in front of his face.

His laughter slowed and typed, “Torture? We’re having fun.”

She read it and pointed at her face.

“Oh,” was all he could say, got up, and left.

She sighed heavily and turned back.  Out her window, she saw the crowd with their various forms of media watching her with their wide eyes and cameras.  Realizing they captured everything that happened between her and JZ, Elle quickly pulled the curtains together and dreaded her newfound reputation.

“Beast on the loose!” was all over the tabloids, outraged that a Chinese lady would act such a way in general, but toward China’s gift to the world was unacceptable.  It did not matter that he was the instigator.  Like her inner-self said, “Your squeaky voice against this century’s most famous singer,” he would always be defended.

JZ did not return for the rest of the day.  Even with him gone, it was not like she could get out of her apartment without a swarm of people surrounding her.  Elle longed for her privacy back.


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