It was another beautiful day at the SV2.
Well actually that's a lie... it was a slow and miserable day at the SV2. The sky was grey, it had been raining for five days in a row and the ground was dead as could be. I never really understood why but I never liked autumn. Winter, summer and spring were all fine and beautiful but I could never get used to autumn. Perhaps because it was the season of death but most likely because this was when I met him...
Him... that damn smile of his could never leave my mind and was permanently etched in brain as if to mock me for ever falling for him... Yet... despite all my best effort I still loved the bastard. It was as if I was the butt of a cosmic joke that left me thrashing in the dark in absolute frustration. Oh but when he was there with me... the darkness seemed more... bearable.
I laughed at my thoughts. Here I was ranting in my head about hating him and yet I also ranting about how I "loved" him... How I "love" him... and would give anything for him to be with me just this moment to lend me his strength. How much I would give to go back in time to that first meeting at Victoria Park in Hong Kong. To be with him and walk down the tree lined path like we used to so many years ago.
"But time is cruel," I thought, "and fates a bitch." I smiled at that bitterly. I never knew he was the infamous Section Chief of Planning Department 7 of Schaft Multinational Enterprises... Richard Wong, Utsumi and all other aliases that cluttered up his life. The very person I was supposed to investigate but ended up falling in love with. Then again, he didn't know I was a cop.
My life was good enough to make a movie or maybe a TV show. I certainly had an interesting life with the SV2 and my past would make a good story. I break away from my thoughts for a moment and looked out the window from the general office area. It was still raining and the scenery remained the same. I never felt so old and tired until now. It was the sort of weariness that would be expected in a old widow that had no choice but to continue on with life without the one they loved. Actually that was technically true. Him and me together forever or so I thought when he proposed to me so many years ago.
It was fall again... a full year after I had first met Richard Wong. Walking together in Victoria Park but things had changed. I knew his secret, I knew who he was and what he did... but you know what was truly scary about the fact I knew? I didn't care a single bit; the entire world could damn me for all I cared. All because I fell in love with him and couldn't bear the thought of losing him. It was rather funny because I swore that Richard knew my little secret but I prayed fervently that he didn't know. At the same time I tried to imagine that he cared for me as much I cared for him... that he would betray everyone and everything just to be with me just as I had done to be with him. But somehow it all seemed like a lie, a fantasy and a surreal reality that belonged in some sappy romance film that I saw when I was a teenager. Until he turned around and looked at me with his dark mysterious eyes. Yes, the very scene and words definitely felt like it was lifted from a sappy romance movie but I didn't care or realize it at the moment because all I could see was his eyes and hear his words.
"Takeo... it's been a year since we've met. This year where you have stripped away my illusions, my defences and walls and laid bare all my inner secrets for your eyes only... I've never let anyone in so close to my life or secrets until you came along. I knew, I saw and I did nothing... you know what I am and what I do but you always stayed by my side never criticizing or questioning... All I can think of and ask of is your answer... why?" He said standing in the middle of the path in front of me. There was no one around; it seemed like the entire city of Hong Kong had just vanished around us. Leaving us alone in the wide expanse of greenery to see what the result of this confrontation would be like. I found myself numb, numb from horror that he knew that I was a police officer and numb with realization that I could lose him if I couldn't give him a satisfactory answer. I knew Richard well enough to know that this was a moment of truth between us and he would walk away from me if I didn't tell him the truth.
"... So you know... the truth about me just as I know the truth about you... And you know what? I have no idea what to say to you... I always hoped you didn't realize or notice, that way... that way I would never have to face this but I knew you would figure it out... I never said anything because..." I couldn't continue; I was frozen with fear. Fear of losing him, fear of never seeing his smile, fear of never hearing his voice, fear of the possibility that he didn't love me. I began to imagine that my heart was fragile piece of glass that was held in his hand ready to crush it.
His face seemed to become downcast and sadden by my words. For the first time since I met him, he had stopped smiling. Then before I could react his face seemed to contort with a self-righteous rage that I never thought he had in him.
"Oh... and just how long did you intend to hide this from me? You never intended to tell me is that it? Is that what it all comes down to Takeo? Is it because you didn't want me to realize it? I'm going to ask you again... WHY?!" He angrily spat out the words.
"Because I don't want to lose you... lose you because of who and what we are... I'm a police officer and you're a criminal... I'm afraid because I realized I just don't care about that. If I could just be with you then I'm happy and the world could go to hell for all I care. You're everything that I am supposed to be against yet I don't care... Do have any idea what that feels like?! Or maybe you do since you obviously know about me..." I couldn't stop the words from exiting my mouth. I realized a bit too late what I had just said. But I didn't really care, how dare he question just how much I loved him. I had lied for him, hid evidence from the police, disobeyed orders and even a direct order from my superiors. All for him, never a thought for myself or for anything or for anyone else. Everything I did was always for him. I looked
away from him; I couldn't bear to watch him walk away from me. I could already see him in my mind looking at me with utter contempt and storming away. Silence, the damn silence was getting on my nerves.
"Takeo...." He called my name with intimate knowledge. He was right behind me and I didn't say anything. I was desperately trying hold my tears in, not that I was successful. I felt his arms wrap around me protectively and his face in my hair. I loved his smell; it was a strange mixture of aftershave, soap and a bit of incense that's so subtle you had to be close to him to notice it or in this cause he had to be close to you. He wiped away a stray tear from my cheek with his hands.
"Takeo... I'm sorry... It's just that I've never let anyone so close to me after all these years... You're everything to me and I hate you for that... How you make me feel this way... How you make me afraid of the future when I've never been afraid before until now," he paused unsure of how to continue. I felt his arms hold me tighter to prevent me from running away, as if I was going to run away. How could I run away? My knees were weak and shaking. I felt like laughing. I wanted to laugh because I just realized how cowardly we both were. It wasn't just me who was afraid but him also.
"Takeo... I love you... that is the truth I can not twist nor deny. You're right, as long as I'm with you then I'm happy and the world can go to hell," he said it... he finally said it. He loved me and that was all I needed. His hand went up to my cheek and traced my face as if to memorize each line and groove. He went under my chin to make me look into his eyes. He was smiling again but this time his smile was sincere. It wasn't his usual mocking or artificial one that he showed to everyone to annoy or enrage. No it wasn't false or fake at all; in fact, it was warm and honest. His true self with no strings attached. I couldn't help but smile when I saw it. I kissed him with infinite tenderness, I wanted to stay like that for a longer period but it was autumn and autumn in Hong Kong meant rain and lots of it. It began to rain. We both were surprised at the turn of events but that didn't seem to change anything. He began to laugh uproariously and soon I found myself laughing. Our laughter seemed to conquer all our inner turmoil. We began running out of the park laughing for no apparent reason and rushed to the nearest hotel we could find. We must of made everyone who saw us think we were crazy and probably broke a traffic law or two as we ran through the streets. We were both free. Free of all the doubts and fears we held inside of each other and of ourselves. The world didn't matter because we were free. By the time we arrived at the hotel we were both soaking wet and desperately trying to contain our laughter lest we cause the hotel to kick us out before we could get a room. To say none the least one thing led to another and we slept together. It was wonderful. I did things with him that night that I thought I didn't have the gall to do. He proved me wrong on so many things.
My reverie was interrupted by the sound of laughter. I looked up from my desktop to see Noa and Asuma laughing at something that was obviously funny. They were both standing outside of the office doors on the walkways. Ah yes, they were returning from a labor accident that happened at a construction site. The entire steel structure of the construct had fallen on top of a luckless construction labor and it's pilot, thus trapping both. I couldn't help but look at them with a tinge of jealousy. They had something that I would probably never have or even have the barest flicker of feeling. I hated how they could laugh and talk to each other with such ease and with such ignorance of what may happen. Circumstances and fate didn't go off and screw with their lives as it had done with mine.
I looked away from the two happy couple. I knew I was just acting like a bitter woman but I just couldn't help it. I felt tired and I felt my body get up from my desk mechanically. I opened the door and headed towards the dormitories. I past the two with nary a glance at their direction. It all hurt so much. Of all days I start thinking about the past I just had to think about Richard Wong at work. I opened the door of my private sleeping quarters and took out the futon to lie down on. I was so tired of it all.
I remembered that night so well. I couldn't forget it even if I wanted to do. I remembered that I had to go to work in the morning after I slept with him. It was still raining outside and it was 3 a.m.
"You're going home already? Do you have to?" He said in almost childish voice. I could tell he was tired but he didn't want me to leave. I couldn't help but smile at his tone.
"You know I can't be caught in bed with you and besides if I don't report in tomorrow morning they might suspect something is going on," I answered him like a mother who was trying to explain to a child why it isn't okay to paint the cat.
"What? The Hong Kong Police Anti-Corporate Crime Division's best officer suspected for doing something wrong? I didn't know they were so paranoid," he replied sarcastically, "I mean if they haven't already investigated about us so far I don't think they'll even look into it at all. I might not see in awhile because of your job"
"I'd rather not entice the angry bull by flashing the color red in front of it and besides I'm free during the night on Thursday," I began to dread that Richard would use the his very cute hurt puppy face to get me to stay. As if on cue he pulled out his cute hurt puppy face and I found myself unable to resist it.
"All right then, I'll do it just this once for you. I'll stay until morning and see you at night on Thursday okay?" I flashed a smile to him, even though I knew my captain would chew me out for being late. I didn't have time to react when he suddenly grabbed my arm and drew me close to him.
"I'm glad you promised me that Takeo..." He said before decided to kiss me again, "Marry me Takeo... I'm sorry I don't have a ring to give you right now but I hope this Channel watch will be an appropriate substitute before I get you an actual ring." He got it out and gave it to me as if it was a holy and reverent object.
"Yes... I'll marry you..."I found myself unable to think just react to his proposal. I stared at the gold woman's watch he obviously just bought today.
I was on cloud nine for those two days from Tuesday morning to Thursday night. I even managed to ignore my superior officer's arrogant and abrasive personality. At night I waited for him at Victoria Park as usual.... He never came. I found myself worried; he was never late and never broke any of his promises to me. I waited for five hours from six p.m. to 11 p.m. in Victoria Park. I remember feeling angry and panicking at the thought something might have happened. It began raining again that night and I went home. I didn't think much of it and the first thing I did the next morning after I got dressed was rush out of the door and charged straight to the Golden Wave Building where he worked. I was shocked to learn that the office was empty. I tried the Wan Company LTD's offices and again there was no sign of Richard Wong. All
the offices I visited were in a state of disarray. The entire place had been ransacked and all-important had been taken. Richard Wong had disappeared from existence. The companies I visited were all fronts for Schaft Enterprises and all them claimed that there was no Richard Wong working under them. I noticed that the Schaft Security Service personnel were every where so I couldn't investigate properly.
I was scared and a wide variety of thoughts, emotions and fears rushed through my head. A few days latter I received a letter from Richard. I already knew that Richard had left the country and that he was never coming back to Hong Kong. I remember the letter.
I don't know how, when or where but I know we'll see each other again. I will always be thinking about you.... I'm sorry...
It was brief and utterly heart shattering. I remembered feeling numb and my fingers dropping the letter to the ground. I was shocked and my fingers felt nerveless. I wondered if Richard had any idea of the heartache that I felt, the pain, the depression. I remember locking myself in my room for the entire day dissecting the letter as if to find some vague explanation of why he left or directions to find him. I remembered clearly the thoughts of suicide running through my head. He was gone from life. Suicide seemed like wonderful alternative to living because I honestly felt like I was in hell. He betrayed me, used me, lied to me. I felt like a fool, I thought he loved me. I lied to myself saying that he didn't really leave me alone in Hong Kong and that he would come back but the letter he sent me hammered the last nail to the coffin. The next three days were hazy at best but when they were over I was surprised I didn't take my standard issue police sidearm and blow my head off. I remembered distinctly ripping my apartment to shreds though and burning the pictures, the letter and memories of Richard from my life. I threw out everything that Richard gave me, all of it but the damn watch. The last thing he gave me before disappearing from my life. His first promise he had broken to me. I couldn't bear walking in Victoria Park; I couldn't stand Hong Kong. It was oppressing me, hurting me, laughing at me for ever trusting Richard with my heart. The entire city reminded me of Richard. I wanted to get away and so I took up the job for the SV2. It was far away and different from the regular work I did, away from Hong Kong and most of all it didn't remind me Richard Wong.
I sighed and looked at the ceiling as if it was interesting. I had to admit I thought that I finally got out of the hole that I had dug myself. I thought I was over Richard until I saw him again at the labor show where the Griffin first appeared. I felt my heart constrict with pain and my world turn into an unbearable hell again. I hated him for leaving me and I loved him for the times before he left. I still remembered the question asked myself that refused to disappear into the sweet oblivion of forgetfulness.
Why didn't he ask me to go with him? I would have dropped everything, abandon my duty as a police officer just to be with him. I knew that was true because if he had asked me I would have gone with him.