Table For Two Chapter 1
"Miss, welcome to our establishment. A table for one or will there be others who are going to join you?"
The waitress walked forth to ask the glamorous-looking woman who strode through the glass doors of their restaurant. To the waitress, the woman looked strikingly familiar.
If she was allowed a few more minutes to look at the woman's face that was hidden behind a pair of dashing sun-glasses, she was certain she would be able to identify her. Alas, due to professional reasons, she merely bowed to welcome the guest in.
The woman didn't answer the young waitress immediately but stopped at the door to look around the room. Since it was not the rush hour, the dining area of the restaurant was rather vacant. This was a point of convenience for her because she managed to spot the person she was looking for easily.
"That won't be necessary, my friend is already here," The woman answered in a brusque tone, not quite icy but definitely not friendly either. It sounded like a tone the rich and famous employed to keep the common folks away from their private space.
The tone helped jog the waitress' memory, 'Wait, this voice is very familiar, I feel like I've heard it on the television or some kind of mass media...'
The woman left the young girl at the door as she strode towards her friend.
The clicking sound of the woman's high heels attracted her friend's attention, causing her to look up from the table. The two women's eyes met across the room and they smiled.
"I'm sorry for being late, busy as a bee. Has the Three-Month Club's meeting started?" The woman asked even though there was only two of them there.
The other woman smiled at the inside little joke. This Three-Month Club was something they started when they were still in university. Come hell or high water, they would meet up every three months, hence the name. Other than that, the three months also dictated the rules they had for many different occasions. How long you need to call the boy you're dating your official boyfriend? Three months. How it will be before you can announce to the world about your pregnancy? Three months. What is the maximum period you can go radio silence on your best friend? Three months. You get the gist.
"Speaking of three months, Xiu Ling, there are only three months left until your due date, right? How are you feeling?" The glamorous woman asked as she pulled out the chair and sat down. She removed her sunglasses.
The woman called Xiu Ling had her hands unconsciously wandered over to her round stomach. Her face was lit up with a maternal glow but underneath it was a barely discernable layer of sadness.
"I don't know, it's a very weird feeling. At one hand, I'm glad that I won't be required to carry a heavy cargo around with me everywhere I go anymore but on the other hand, I find myself missing this precious experience," Xiu Ling answered.
"I know what you mean, but don't worry, there are plenty of interesting experiences for you to look forward to," The woman commented with a knowing smile.
For some reason, this caused Xiu Ling's face to be overcast with gloom. The atmosphere turned a bit awkward. Noting how downcast she had made the situation, Xiu Ling forced a smile before changing the subject, "Enough about me, Joann, where is your daughter, Sylvia? Isn't today an off-day for her? She doesn't want to join us?"
Joann shook her head and sighed, "Do you even need to ask? Kids these days don't want to follow their parents around anymore. If I can even get her to listen to me, I would call it a miracle already."
"Joann, you're exaggerating again. Sylvia has always been a good girl. She always listen to you," Xiu Ling defended the girl who was not there as per her usual habit. She had always had a soft spot for her best friend's daughter.
"Xiu Ling, you are pampering her again Let me tell you, spare the rod and spoil the child"
"Erm Excuse me. Miss Joann? Can I have your signature? I'm a big fan of your movies!" It was the young waitress from earlier. She stood beside their table with a square piece of paper and a pen inside her hands. She extended them at Joann.
Joann frowned from the sudden interruption but she quickly put on what she called her public celebrity face. "Of course, darling. Thank you for your support."
Joann signed the paper and gave it back to the young girl. The young girl could barely contain her excitement, "Miss Joann, thank you so much! You have no idea how happy you've made me! Thank you! Thank you!"
The young girl then retreated to her job, leaving the two women to their privacy.
Joann smiled apologetically at Xiu Ling, "Sorry for the disturbance."
Xiu Ling waved it off, "It's more trouble to you than me. Also I realize the girl was too star struck that she forgot to enquire whether you would like to have anything to eat or drink." This had happened more than once since Joann was scouted in their third year of university. She was cast in a young adult movie and it was a wildfire hit, causing Joann's popularity to skyrocket. It still showed no sign of declining, several other movies later.
They were best friends but Xiu Ling had always been in Joann's shadows when they hang out. Xiu Ling didn't mind it as much, probably because it had plenty to do with the woman's reserved personality.
"It's alright, I'm not feeling hungry or thirsty. So, where were we"
The two formed a curious pair in the semi-empty restaurant. Both women were in their late 30s, Joann in her glamorous dress, radiating with confidence which added to her eye-grabbing beauty; Xiu Ling, in a no less glamorous traditional Chinese cheongsam, but her demeanor and mannerism were hesitant and shy like she was trying to move the spotlight away from herself.