The first book that I have self-published is now available at Amazon. You may purchased the Kindle version at : http://www.amazon.com/That-Man-Vicky-Chong-ebook/dp/B00IJS3JO4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397030663&sr=8-1&keywords=That+Man+Vicky+Chong
The thing about self publishing is that there is no critical input from an editorial team. Friends I have given this book to read did not give me the reviews and comments I requested, for reasons only they know. I do however, appreciate that they did point out any spelling and grammatical errors they came across while reading. While I have tried my best to correct these, there may still be some I had omitted.
I have enclosed the first chapter for your perusal. If you like it, I appreciate your support and reviews.
Clare heard the lock of the front door click. Without leaving her gaze from her laptop, she yelled out a ‘Hi’ from her bedroom.
Liz’s head popped in from her open door, her voice an octave higher, a sign that she was excited over something.
‘Guess who came into the spa today? You’re going to thank me for giving you this information. Nope, on second thought, I’m not telling until you tell me what’s my reward. You’d never guess. I…’
‘Slow down.’ Clare did not even bother to look up nor share Liz’s excitement. She knew Liz long enough to not get caught in her drama. Instead, she calmly put the cover of her laptop down and gave her full attention to Liz.
People loved that about Clare. She was never distracted when she talked to you. Her eyes would be on your face while she waited for your response. She took the time to ponder before speaking and did not interrupt.
To Liz, she had the response of a turtle, which now irritated her.
‘Well, guess! Who did I meet?’ Liz came in and sat at the end of Clare’s single bed.
Clare bit her lower lip, as if in deep thought.
Liz hissed in frustration. ‘Annette Yang!’
She saw the confusion in Clare’s face and sighed exaggeratedly.
‘Annette Yang, the wife of Cliff Yang, the man you are trying so hard to contact for the past two months. Apparently you have been targeting the wrong person. Annette is the main person behind Power in U.’
Clare sat up, her curiosity piqued by this information.
‘But Cliff Yang is the CEO.’
Liz stood up and started pacing around the small bedroom.
‘Actually Annette is the person who had first initiated the idea of a social enterprise to help disadvantaged women. She single handedly planned and conceptualized the idea. She is using her husband’s office building for the scheme, as well as his name to get investments and donations for the project.
Anyway, she visited the spa today to negotiate for a new training programme for spa therapists with my boss. Irene, my manager, said we are collaborating with Power in U to train and subsequently employ the women.’
She paused to let Clare take in all she had said.
‘It’s no wonder Cliff Yang has no time for you, Clare. He is too busy running his own empire. This social enterprise is not his baby. You have been chasing after the wrong person for your yoga project.’
Clare’s head dropped and she covered her face in her hands. Alarmed that Clare was about to cry, Liz sat down and wrapped her arms around her old friends. They had been childhood friends since they were in primary school in Malacca. After leaving secondary school, both girls hopped around from job to job before deciding to come to Singapore. Their parents were supportive. The opportunity was far better in Singapore and the pay higher. Liz decided to train as a beauty therapist and masseur while Clare in hairdressing. They had a vision of one day owning their own beauty spa. Midway through her hair stylist training, Clare was introduced to yoga by a client. As a student, she had learned Chinese dancing in school and her flexibility and grace was complementary to yoga. At the spur of the moment, she quit the hair salon where she had been undergoing training and took off to India for six months to get a yoga teaching certificate. Her parents had been against the idea. India was too dangerous for a single girl. Liz was aghast. Who was going to pay for half the rent while Clare’s gone? But Clare had never been more certain. Yoga was now in her blood and she had finally found her passion. No one was going to stop her, just as nothing would stop her now from opening her own yoga studio.
After giving her face a vigourous rub, Clare took a deep breath and a wide smile spread over her face.
‘You’re not crying?’ Liz could never understand her friend.
‘Of course not. It’s a wonderful news. Marvelous in fact and at a perfect time. Just before you stepped in, I was about to give up and resigned to continue teaching yoga at Real Yoga for the rest of my life. You’ve given me renewed hope, Liz.’
Clare moved forward and gave Liz a tight squeeze.
Liz was still uncertain and she searched her friend’s face for any sign of distress. Clare’s long black hair was as usual bun up with a scrunchie. Her skin was clear and translucent, thanks to her Teochew heritage. Her eyebrows needed trimming. Liz made a mental note to do that for her this weekend. The natural rosy hue on her cheeks betrayed her earlier yoga practice. Although petite, Clare held herself tall, like a ballerina, with her spine erect, her limps lanky and tone. Her usual work attire of tight hugging company’s T-shirt and sweat pants showed off her shapely body – just the right amount of curves at the right places.
‘I am fine. Thank you for supporting me through this. I know I’ve not been the best roommate and friend since I embarked on this project.’ Clare stood up and pulled Liz up from her bed, turned her around and marched her out of the bedroom.
‘You must be dead tired. It’s almost ten. You have exactly one hour to remove all that make up from your face, have a bath and eat the salad I’d prepared. Our Korean hunk is coming on at 11pm.’
‘Salad again? I want meat…’ Liz went grumbling as she dragged herself to out of Clare’s bedroom.
Clare took her laptop from her bed and set it up on her dressing table. She goggled Annette Yang and a whole list of information appeared, including many photos and videos. She clicked on the ‘Image’ icon. There was Cliff and Annette at a charity ball. The tall man in tuxedo smiling into the camera could be an actor in any Korean dramas. He really does resemble my favourite Korean actor Oh Ji Ho, Clare thought. The woman in a high-necked sequined halter top and long black skirt was elegant, much like any tai-tais often featured in high society magazines. Another photo showed the couple looking lovingly at their teenage daughter in a school event. There were numerous photos showing Annette in various designer’s dresses and gowns. It was difficult to guess her age but she must be at least in her mid-thirties to have a teenage daughter.
Clare scrolled down the Google list. A Wikipedia on Annette Yang?
It said Annette was born in 1972. That made her forty, the same age as her husband, Cliff. She was the eldest daughter of a businessman and school principal wife. Educated in a top girls’ school, she went on to Yale after completing her business study at a local university. She married Cliff Yang, a Taiwanese based in US when they were both 26 and gave birth to a daughter the same year. They returned to Singapore four years later, with Cliff taking over his father-in-law’s business. She was a homemaker and an active parent volunteer in her alma Mata, now her daughter’s school.
Someone should update the information, Clare thought. There was no mention about the social enterprise she started two years ago, or anything relating to her running any business, but she must have been busy. With an MBA from Yale, it’s not like her to be sitting at home.
Clare clicked on the photo at the bottom of the page. It was an ordinary photo which could have been taken from any family album. The woman in the photo was smiling, her shoulder length hair curled around her shoulder. She was not pretty but there was a look of intelligence in her face.
Clare turned to the her own reflection in the mirror and compared the two images. Clare’s feature definitely did not exude the intelligence factor like that of Annette’s. Clare couldn’t explain herself. How did one describe the X-factor in a model? Perhaps it’s in Clare’s round face which gave her a clownish look? Annette’s face was oval but she had a rather high forehead partially camouflaged by a long side-swept fringe – a sign of intelligence?
On impulse, she put in Cliff Yang’s name in the search blank on the Wiki page. She had read this many times but she hadn’t paid any attention to his family. The information dropped down when she clicked on it. Cliff was the eldest of three sons…Clare paused briefly at this information before proceeding, of a Technocrat father and a step-mother. His mother died of breast cancer when he was studying in the US in his twenties and his father remarried a few years ago to a woman only two years older than Cliff. His younger brothers are a doctor and a church minister…
Clare retraced the lines she had just read. Cliff’s youngest brother was a religious minister? Wow, the Yang family is also of high IQ, a doctor and a minister. Just to confirm her own theory on the intelligent looks, Clare clicked on a photo icon. Cliff Yang was certainly a hunk in his younger days and even now. His eyes were mesmerizing even in the photo and seemed to pull your attention to them. Fringed by long lashes women would die for, the deep black eyes were gazing away from the camera. Clare envied the imaginary woman Cliff was looking at in the photo, most probably Annette Yang, his wife, before coming back to her intention. Yep, his forehead was certainly note-worthy high. His IQ was without a doubt. Clare let her gaze drift lower. She remembered reading that he was 180cm, a good 20cm taller than herself. Even in business shirt, his time working out in the gym was apparent. Being in the fitness industry had made Clare immune to men’s physique. Her male colleagues had similar physiques and 6-8 packs abs were common sight in hot yoga classes she conducted where the men did yoga topless. Yet, somehow, Clare felt a stirring inside looking at Cliff’s fully clothed body.
‘Hey, are you coming out to watch TV with me? Oh Ji Ho is calling…’ Liz’s voice interrupted Clare’s thought. It’s time to put Cliff Yang out of her mind and concentrate on another hunk for now.