Authors: Kat Lieu,Eve Lieu
MAID FOR ME
Written by Kat Lieu
Copyright 2010 by Kat Lieu, all rights reserved.
Cover art by Eve Lieu, mayuiki.deviantart.com
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
One block away from Bubble Café, Mina Lin’s mouth flooded with drool. She licked her lips, dreaming about the amazing green-tea mousse cake her best friend had reserved for her. The cake was so special, the pâtissier only whipped it up fresh once a month. The birthday version of the cake was two-tiered, layered with mint cream, and filled with melt-on-your-tongue matcha-mousse.
Usually, birthdays were like any other day to Mina. This year though, she had looked forward to her birthday for at least six weeks.
It wasn’t because it was her sweet-sixteenth birthday. It was because Mina was sure Kiterin Forrests, her best and only boy friend, would confess his love for her as the ultimate birthday gift.
Okay… Maybe not. I’m the one confessing today.
Five summers ago, Mina had seen Kit shirtless, mowing the lawn next door. Sweat made his sun-kissed boy-pecs glisten. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, sweeping away wheat-colored bangs. Mina had wanted to give her new neighbor a towel (and keep said towel like a stalker). When Kit noticed Mina, he blinked his ivy-colored eyes and smiled.
Instead of smiling back, Mina ran into her house and wondered if her pounding heart would pop out of her chest.
But that wasn’t the exact moment she had fallen in love with Kit. A week later, Mina’s dad had a stroke at work. He died in the hospital emergency room before Mina and her mother had a chance to see him one last time.
Kit and his parents attended the funeral. That day, Mina stayed at the graveyard until nightfall alone. Leaving, she stumbled over a tombstone and fell into an open grave. At first, she screamed and cried. Minutes later, when no one came to her rescue, she just lay there, waiting to be buried and thinking she would see her daddy soon.
Kit, who had stayed behind, found Mina. He pulled her out of the grave and brought her home. The next day, he read her a poem he had written when his grandmother passed away. Reciting the poem, beautiful tears ran down his cheeks.
That was the exact moment Mina fell in love with Kit.
Ever since then, Kit had stayed by Mina’s side like a guardian angel. On special occasions, he surprised her with hand-made gifts- sculpted and whittled duck figurines. He traveled with her to and from school.
For the past five years, even though Mina had kept her feelings for her best friend a secret, everyone and their grannies could see how much she loved him.
Everyone except for Kit.
Mina had always wondered why he was so oblivious to her feelings. He usually had more sensitivity in his left pinky than most guys had in their entire bodies.
When they read Romeo and Juliet together in the eighth grade, Kit wept during the part the star-crossed lovers died. Mina, on the other hand, thought the entire tragedy could have been avoided if Romeo had a cell phone.
“Aren’t you excited?” Kiterin said, snapping Mina out of her thoughts. His voice was deep and lyrical, like an aria to her ears. He walked behind Mina at a sloth’s pace. Unlike other Uptowners, Kit’s motto was “stop and smell the roses.”
In the summer, the Uptown was muggy enough to annoy mosquitoes. Everyone who had AC blasted their units, leading to frequent citywide blackouts.
Crankiness-levels rose like the temperature. Even on the weekends, people roamed the streets like they were high on Red Bull and caffeine. Drivers honked at anyone or anything that didn’t move quickly enough, like shaky, little old ladies crossing the streets with their rolling walkers.
Trying to be more like Kit, Mina forced herself to relax and smell roses-whenever she could find roses in the city at least. She looked down and studied their shadows. Kit’s shadow and hers melded together.
Like we’re one.
Her heart skipped a beat. She spun around, her cheeks flushed and glowing. She loved the way Kit dressed- today he wore a white t-shirt, faded blue jeans and black flip-flops. Everything about Kit was adorable to Mina, even his toes.
Very excited,” she replied and clapped, trying to look adorable. Turning around again, she tripped on a crack and almost launched herself down the busy city street. Arms flailing, she regained her balance and avoided a face-first-fiasco on the ground.
I can’t afford to be so clumsy if I didn’t have such good reflexes.
Her ears burned when Kit and other pedestrians laughed. She scrambled to straighten herself.
That’s the last time I’m trying to look cute
You okay?” Kit asked, grinning. Mina smiled and nodded before continuing to walk like a careful robot.
You’re really something else,” Kit muttered.
Yea, thanks.” Mina chuckled, taking his comment as a compliment. As much as she tried, she didn’t know the definition of flirting or acting girly. She liked martial arts, action films, and dressing like a tomboy to hide her baby-fat. She would often wear what she wore now, a loose black t-shirt, khaki boy shorts, and worn white sneakers.
Embarrassment fading, Mina inhaled the smoggy city air and smiled. She wouldn’t want to spend this beautiful and toasty Saturday afternoon any other way.
To celebrate her birthday, Kit had taken the day off from his summer job at LAG, a prestigious art institute. He had promised Mina to spend the entire day with her.
If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is…
Kit had spent all semester trying to perfect his LAG application, just so the institute would consider him since they usually preferred hiring college students. Kit’s dream was to become an art professor. Working at LAG would give him a taste of the career he wished to pursue.
Mina could see it now. After wolfing down delicious cake, she would confess her feelings to Kit. Then they would date, get married, and have a happily ever after together like characters in fairytales. The Wedding March tune played in her head. She could see a litter of their chubby children running around their future home-a house Mina would build.
Okay, so maybe I should just focus on senior prom first
Kit’s shadow separated from Mina’s when they made a turn at the street corner.
A minute later, they arrived in front of Bubble Café and entered through blue glass doors. Young people filled the inside, giving it a high school cafeteria feel. Mina loved Bubble Café’s design-the blue and green polka-dotted exterior and interior, the navy-blue plastic bubble seats, and light-cerulean circular tables. A mixture of fragrant scents from aromatic coffee and sweets greeted her nose. Mina wondered if she could get diabetes from just inhaling all the sugary sweetness.
“You know, the owners of this place are lovers,” Kit said.
“Really?” Mina’s cheeks grew warm.
Is he implying something?
Kit led her toward a table in the center of the café.
Mina frowned when she noticed a girl at their table. Hesitating to sit, Mina recognized the girl.
Why is Alyssa Rabinkaya, otherwise known as Miss Bimbo Cheerleader and Ultimate Popularity at Uptown High here?
Her impressive stats: 34-C, 22, 36 versus Mina’s 32A/B, 32, 32. Alyssa had Godiva’s long blond locks, pore-less tanned skin, and large, expressive gray eyes. In a fantasy world, Alyssa would be a woodland nymph and Mina would be a hairy gnome.
Mina wiped her sweaty neck with a tissue, leaving white paper-bits on her skin. Kit took a seat next to Alyssa. Not telling Mina to sit, he acted as if he had already forgotten his best friend existed.
Mina felt a sharp pang in her chest, like someone had just stabbed her heart with a poisoned dagger.
Doomsday doomsday doomsday
were the words echoing in her head.
Half the girls at Uptown High, including Alyssa, admired Kit. In school, he was popular because he often won city-wide painting contests. Every month, the school lobby featured one of his award-winning paintings.
Mina didn’t care about the other girls-Kit didn’t acknowledge their existence. Alyssa, however, was a class-A threat since Kit seemed to pay her special attention.
Mina clenched her fists together.
I shouldn’t be so paranoid… I mean… If Kit doesn’t like me, then why would he spend so much time with me? Why would he be so considerate and nice to me? He knows everything about me and we’ve always been so close… I shouldn’t be worried. Alyssa is just his new friend… not my love rival.
Mina forced herself to breathe.
In like you’re smelling roses, out like you’re blowing out candles.
Calm down and embrace Kit’s new friend. Maybe you’ll become good friends with her too!
“Alyssa?” Mina scratched her head. “What are you doing here?” Her voice cracked. She sat across from Alyssa and became stiff. Though they shared many classes together, Mina doubted Alyssa even knew her name.