The Bad Girl: Chapter 27 - Unveiling

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Story: Fiction, English · Categories: Romance · Tags: , , ,
Date: July 3, 2019 (4 months ago)


The cool Taipei air wafted through the night accentuating the beauty of the velvety dark sky sprinkled with glittering stars and heightened by the vivid moonlight.

The golden pillars of the hotel's faade shone: dignified, proud, and imposing as the precious metal while artificial illumination playfully crisscrossed about, mimicking the northern lights.

The erratic flashes and snaps of cameras drew attention to the festivity below as the who's who of the East Asian economic region gathered for dinner and some drinks on a Friday evening, signaling the end of the two-day summit on outsourcing opportunities in the southeast Asian region.

The hotel's interior was festive with spring flower arrangements and fountains of champagne placed strategically around.

The grand ballroom buzzed with small talks from CEO's. Polite greetings, controlled laughter, fake smiles, and snide remarks were thrown as industry colleagues and rivals chanced upon each other.

Amidst the conservatively clad corporate personalities stood two avant-garde women. One was wearing a Prada semi-formal: a form-fitting strapless bodice of emerald green shantung silk and faux peacock feathers formed an asymmetrical knee-length skirt. Her long black hair was pulled back in a severe bun, reminiscent of a ballerina, and pointed black stilettos were on her feet. The other, stood like a cross between an Egyptian queen and an Olympian goddess, wearing a Dolce and Gabbana creation. The low-necked barebacked mini-dress was made of flowing charmeuse silk in the shade of cranberry, accentuated with tan snakeskin leather at the waist and gold 4-inch heeled Roman sandals. Her hair flowed down her back freely giving her an almost ethereal look if not for the bold colors of her clothing.

"Sometimes I could not believe that you're the CEO of Yang TV and EVP of YC by just looking at you," Jesse Cheung, the Link Telecom president, remarked, taking in Reina Yang's avenging goddess-like ensemble.

He had escorted Reina at the event for the simple reason that both of them were the YC representatives to the said summit, a matter that the latter had already asked for clearance from Sherwin so as not to breach their so-called agreement.

"Thank you very much! I believe that was a compliment," Reina blushed shyly.

"I should be thanking you! Who in this room could boast of having such a lovely date?" Jesse replied, as he took her hand and placed it on his arm.

Reina was amused. "Since when did you learn to sweet talk, Jess?"

Jesse just laughed. "While we're on the topic… What happened to your official escort, Daniel Wong? Trouble in paradise?"

"What do you mean?" Reina's forehead creased.

Jesse shrugged. "Rumor has it that you two split up since you were not seen together for quite some time now."

"Come on! This is the first function I've attended without him," Reina laughed nervously. "Besides this is not Daniel's style."

"Speaking of rumors, YC employees are speculating about you and a certain economic bad boy, who I believe is heading our way," he finished his sentence and nodded to a certain part of the hall.

Reina followed his gaze and saw Sherwin and smiled broadly. She turned to him and said, "You know how rumors go, Jess. Mr. Xu and I are just having a business arrangement."

"Good evening, Mr. Xu!" she faced Sherwin with a naughty gleam in her eyes and extended her hand for a handshake.

Sherwin Xu and Reina Yang had an agreement to keep their arrangement a secret so as to avoid putting themselves under public scrutiny.

"Lovely evening, Miss Yang!" Sherwin's rich voice sent chills down her spine, especially when Sherwin took her hand and kissed it instead.

Reina felt flustered and almost stammered, "By the way, this is Mr. Jesse Cheung, President of Link Telecom. Jesse, this is Mr. Sherwin Xu, the infamous Predator of the Asian Financial District…."

Unbeknownst to them, a seething peacock-clad woman was throwing daggers.

"I didn't know you were such a great actor Sherwin," Smile Liu mused.

She had been watching Sherwin and Reina throughout the two-day conference. Smile noted that the couple had gone out of their way to avoid each other. That gave her the gut feeling that there is something more than meets the eye in their so-called discreet affair. She called up Jaguar this morning and had the Yang Conglomerate investigated as well the Xu Group of Companies.

The resourceful and reliable Jaguar did not let her down. By four o'clock this afternoon she had all the information she needed.

"If I can't have you, Sherwin, neither will Reina Yang," she silently avowed, smiling smugly. "Enjoy your private moment while it lasts."

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? To make the night more exciting, we will be having some animation and laser display courtesy of the Apocalypse Imagery, owned and managed by Taiwan's Entrepreneur of the Year, Miss Smile Liu."

Applause filled the air as the ballroom darkened as the show started.

"People's Republic of China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea," the haunting voice of artificial intelligence reverberated as three-dimensional images of the countries' topographies floated in the middle of the ballroom.

"The East Asian Growth and IT…" the show went on.

"Impressive," Jesse remarked, "Do you think we could have Miss Hsu on board for a Link Telecom project?"

"I don't think so," Reina disagreed, "If you must know, she has an exclusive contract for Mr. Xu's Galaxy here."

"Well," Sherwin remarked, "that can be arranged."

"At what price?" Reina's eyebrow shot up.

"Oh you know…" his voice dropped increasingly low, teasingly.

Jesse, however, was not aware of this, as he was engrossed in the show. Suddenly, he exclaimed, "Hey! Why is Yang Conglomerate being featured?"

Sherwin and Reina sharply turned to the display.

"…Yang Conglomerate stocks were sharply falling on an average of 90 cents for the whole month. Subsidiaries, Dream Radio and Taiwan Currents, were in financial difficulties as sponsorships, subscriptions, and sales were down at an alarming mean of 20 percent. Link Telecom was…" the artificial voice went on, animated copies of financial statements and ratios flashed amidst the laser display.

Sherwin's jaw hardened, as Reina and Jesse stood shocked at what was transpiring.

"Let's get out of here," Jesse said as he started to grab Reina's hand and head for the nearest exit.

"No, I won't give whoever who planned this the satisfaction that I'm cowering," Reina jerked her hand from his gripped, much to Jesse's surprise.

Sherwin turned to her, urging her to go. "You don't need to see this. You don't need to prove anything."

"Xu Group of Industries…" the show went on flashing copies evidences of Sherwin's financial interest on the Yang Conglomerate, causing Sherwin to pause, his eyes murderous as he scanned for traces of Smile Liu in the dark.

"Then surprisingly the Yang Conglomerate recovered in a span of three days," the voice continued showing graphs and charts taken from the stock exchange.

"What could have been the price? What could have saved Yang Conglomerate?" the three-dimensional kaleidoscope images of Yang Towers appeared.

"Could it be through the shrewdness of its CEO, Drei Yang?" The smiling face of Drei Yang floated in mid-air.

"Or could it be through the efforts of Miss Reina Yang, Executive Vice President, Yang Conglomerate and President of Yang Television?" An animated image of Reina appeared.

Suddenly, a spotlight went focusing on her.

"Doing what she does best?" the artificial intelligence proceeded with a video footage of Sherwin and Reina sharing intimate moments in heated passion in their bungalow with its exact location being typed below. The video was graphic and carnal, leaving nothing to imagination.

Reina was stunned, rooted on the spot as cameras flashed to capture her shocked and horrified expression.

Sherwin tried to shield her from all the photographers and scathing looks thrown her way as he and Jesse hurriedly ushered her out of the ballroom.

"I'll take her home," Jesse offered.

"No. I'm taking her home," Sherwin objected.

Jesse was insistent. "But the whole circus would erupt if you're seen together."

"In case you haven't noticed. It already has," Sherwin remarked dryly.

Reina was silent and still in shock.

Sherwin apologized to Jesse and said, "Thanks for offering but allow us to handle this."

He pulled the stunned Reina away from the crowd and guided her to his silver Audi and drove off, with the cameras still trying to capture them on still picture.

========================================================

Smile beamed, satisfied, as she saw Reina Yang being bombarded by paparazzi as she was ushered out of the ballroom.

"Reina… Reina…" she started and clucked her tongue, "No need to get all embarrassed! After all, everybody knows that you are such a slut."

Jaguar had delivered the information Smile had asked for. She was surprised to find out that Reina Yang was the woman who shamed Sherwin at his graduation speech. It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sherwin was out for revenge considering the covert way he moved to acquire the interest he has on YC. This affair he had with Reina was just vengeance and nothing more.

So she did what she could to speed things up. Upon receiving the documents that afternoon, Smile hurriedly went home and did the necessary alterations to her presentation. Being an IT specialist herself, it was not difficult for her to manipulate the materials she had.

"I just finished everything for you, Sherwin," Smile silently reasoned. "You want her disgraced by diminishing her status, now you've got it."

She downed her champagne and looked around the ballroom buzzing with the scandal that was unveiled a few minutes ago.

It was time to go home. Sherwin would surely seek her… to thank her.

"You're welcome, darling," Smile silently acknowledged as she left the hotel.

========================================================

Sherwin had been dodging a lone photographer on a big bike for the past thirty minutes now.

"Damn!" he cursed under his breath and stole a glance at the still shocked Reina. She had not spoken a word since they left the hotel.

"Baby, it's going to be okay," he promised as he reached out to hold her cold, clammy hands.

He looked at his rearview mirror and saw that the irritating man on the bike was still tailing them. He shifted his gear and sped up taking sharp turns here and there until finally he lost the parasite.

========================================================

Reina felt the man beside her hold her hand. She was still in a daze at what had transpired. She closed her eyes and felt a wave of humiliation washed over her again. It's been an ongoing cycle since she saw herself in all her naked glory displayed for the entire world to see. She knows that she will be on the nine o'clock news.

Reina looked out the window.

The night was beautiful but her life was in shambles.

Funny how they say that lightning does not strike at the same place twice. She had been an exception.

Twice in her life she had been shamed. The first one was the long bygone consequence the Red Announcement. The second one…

Reina choked back a sob. She will not cry. She will not hide this time. She was aware of the consequences that might result upon her agreement to Sherwin's proposal. She had looked at every angle. She had even considered the idea that this clandestine agreement would leak out. She was prepared… but being prepared did not mean she would not get hurt.

========================================================

"Fuck!" Sherwin breathed as he saw their bungalow being surrounded by media personnel trying to get a scoop.

He backed his car furiously before anyone could see them approaching.

"Shit!" he cursed. He looked at Reina's stoned expression. Something squeezed his heart.

"This is all my fault," he silently admitted. "I'm going to make it up to you, Baby. I promise."

He reached for his mobile and dialed Matt's number.

After three rings, his cousin's worried voice answered, "Sherwin, I saw the news. It's on the nine o'clock Report. Where are you?"

"On the road. Reina needs a place to stay tonight and maybe for a couple of days. Our place is swarmed by news people. It's safe to assume that our respective condos are also being camped out by these parasites," Sherwin explained.

"You're welcome here, buddy. Reina could really use a friend now. What's that, honey?" Matt added as Chrissie's worried voice filled the background "Chrissie's trying to call her. She's calling her number on the other line now."

Sherwin looked painfully at Reina before answering his cousin. "She's still stunned. She hasn't spoken a word since we left the hotel. I'm worried"

"Just come here, man." That was all he needed to hear.

========================================================

"Baby, we're here," Sherwin's voice broke through her musings.

Reina blinked as she looked around a familiar driveway. She was not home.

"Yang!" screamed Chrissie, running to their car.

Upon hearing Chrissie's voice, Reina snapped out of her trance and ran out of the car and into her best friend's waiting arms.

For the first time since the scandal broke, Reina Yang cried.

She was safe now.

"Shhh… Hey, honey, it's alright. Yan's here," Chrissie hushed, speaking the lines she did from days gone by.

========================================================

The grandfather clock struck twelve as the door before him opened.

"How is she?" Sherwin asked worriedly as Chrissie silently closed the door.

"I gave her some Valium. She's asleep now," Chrissie answered.

"You know, Sherwin?" she went on, tilting her head on one side, "If it weren't for that genuine look of concern and regret etched on your face I would have called you an ass for coming up with this stunt by now."

Sherwin was looking incredulous when he raised his eyebrow and shaking his head as if mentally saying, "What did I do?"

Chrissie was so infuriated and enraged by his so-called-innocence that she changed her mind.

"Damn! I'll say it anyway," Chrissie then pulled Sherwin down the hall to the terrace and started screaming. "You are such an ass!"

"You friggin' sick freak!!!" She continued to vent while kicking Sherwin at the shin this time.

Sherwin howled in pain, helpless at the mercy of the woman in front of him.

"Whatever possessed you to come up with this scheme? With all your business acumen, how could you think of such a thing? You, bastard! You…!" Chrissie shrieked, unmindful of the hour and went on punching Sherwin, targeting his nose this time.

Sherwin would have tried to stop Chrissie but he saw Matt leaning by the door chuckling.

"What are you laughing at?" Sherwin asked his cousin, irritated.

Chrissie, upon knowing that Matt was behind her, straightened her clothes and tried to regain her poise.

"Oh hi, honey!" Chrissie said in a pitch higher than usual and proceeded to pretend that nothing happened. She walked over to Matt and hugged him, hoping he wouldn't bring up the subject.

Matt bent down to kiss his wife, "No need to hide, hon. I saw what you did." He laughed a rich laugh.

Chrissie wrinkled her nose at Matt and grinned. Her eyes narrowed playfully and pinched Matt on his side. Matt caught her hand and kissed her, unmindful that his cousin is watching them.

Sherwin straightened up and tried to fix himself and saw the couple. "Your wife has a mean right hook, man. No wonder she tamed you," Sherwin struggled to speak as he nursed his probably broken nose.

"You deserved it!" Chrissie glared at him.

Matt laughed and led his wife inside, leaving Sherwin to his thoughts.

========================================================

After spending a couple of hours at Matt and Chrissie's place, Sherwin drove back to Taipei, heading towards the woman responsible for this fiasco.

The cool crisp night air breezed through his open windows. Sherwin looked up and saw the stars twinkling faintly. Dawn was arriving soon.

The night was beautiful and despite the debacle, he found his life.

Reina Yang, the woman he loved.

Sherwin finally realized what he felt. He loved her. It was not as he did before. What he felt for her back then was infatuation and desire. Now, he wanted to do anything and everything for her even if it meant being apart from her. He desired to make her happy even if it means being out of her life.

The long drive calmed him down a bit. God knows he could kill Smile with the anger that had built inside him but that would not solve anything.

His Audi came to a full stop as he reached Smile's building. He proceeded to park his car and rushed up to her penthouse.

He knew that she was waiting for him.

========================================================

She had been waiting for him.

Smile Liu smiled as she heard the doorknob clicked open. She crushed her cigarette and blew, "What took you so long?" She smiled and walked over to Sherwin.

She missed the murderous look in Sherwin's eyes. Instead, she was celebrating their triumph. She toyed with the collar of his shirt and tried to unbutton it when Sherwin pulled her wrist and squeezed it tightly.

Smile winced in pain. "What are you doing?!" She demanded.

"I want you out of my life," Sherwin's voice was surprisingly calm and threw her on the floor.

"Are you out of your mind?!" she screeched. "After all your hard work, after you had her, you're just going to let it go?!"

This didn't move Sherwin but continued. "Should you appear on any form of media regarding this stunt you pulled, I shall retaliate in kind. I could think of a number of lawsuits to go your way. I could cripple you company. I mean it, Miss Liu."

Smile's eyes widened like saucers. "You wouldn't dare!"

"Stay away from Reina Yang or else…" And he left the apartment.

She threw a pillow on the door and screamed. As much as she loved Sherwin, she loved her company more. She could not take the risk of her company falling into pieces only because of a girl. She was defeated and she knew it. She flung herself into a pillow and cried.

========================================================

"Reina Yang: Tapei's answer to Paris Hilton" a headline read.

Reina threw the offensive broadsheet away. She looked around her pristine white office, neat, clean, and orderly, a sharp contrast to what was happening to her.

It was only 9:48am, Monday.

It was going to be a long week. Hell! It was going to take more than a week for her to pick up the pieces.

She was the talk of the country, if not the whole of Asia. Even politicians discuss her plight over coffee. She had beaten the Philippines' Kris Aquino when she disclosed having contacted some STD on national TV and might even dethrone the controversial US hotel heiress.

While her employees maintained their politeness, Reina knew that they were laughing behind her back.

"I know now how you felt back then, Sherwin," she bitterly acknowledged. "I'm sorry."

It had been days since she saw him. They agreed not see each other until the matter would rest… If it could ever happen.

She missed him although they frequently called each other up. His voice managed to calm her down and lift her up at the same time.

She picked up the phone and dialed an all too familiar number now.

At the first ring, Sherwin answered, "Yes, baby?"

Reina replied sweetly, "Just wanted to hear your voice. Did I catch you at a bad time?"

"No, of course not. I was just going over some proposals." Sherwin flipped over some papers.

Reina was a little disappointed, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll call you later when you're no longer busy."

Sherwin smiled. "Okay and Reina?"

"Yes?" her voice, sad.

"I miss you, too." Sherwin smilingly told her. He meant it. He really missed her.

Reina beamed and put down the phone. She sighed.

========================================================

"Goodnight, Baby," Sherwin cooed and replaced the receiver.

It was 10:52 in the evening.

Sherwin eyed his surroundings. The night was quiet. Only the tick-tock of the clock can be heard. Lamps were the only things that illuminated the room. They created shadows that decorated the wall.

Sherwin took opened a pack of cigarettes and lit one.

Reina's day was a disaster. The press had been waiting at the lobby of Yang Towers again. Even Yang TV newspersons and Taiwan Currents writers were hounding her, asking for exclusive interviews. She was still debating on whether to go and give these people the story they wanted or that she would maintain her silence and let the stories die a natural death.

The day for Sherwin was very much the same as Reina's. The only difference is that people heralded him for being able to make the infamous heiress his kept woman, a matter h...

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Magicfingerchatter
July 3, 2019 (4 months ago)

miss na kita idol kong author/writer/fren

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Crystalite
July 4, 2019 (4 months ago)

Sus.. Busy ka kasi.. Sa pagpapa-cute. Hahaha

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