Three years later Xiao Mai was returning back from her schooling in LA, but she wasn't returning alone. During her days of studying, she came to know an eccentric girl who didn't seem to fit the mould of a business student. Wild dark red against her pale Asian skin, eyeliner defining her eyes, and sense of style that would be frowned upon by their teachers.
Everyone called in LA called her Angel, but she had confessed that it wasn't her name. When Xiao Mai had asked, Angel just shook her head and told the curious girl that she would tell her when the time was right.
Angel had made life alone in LA a little more bearable. It was never a dull moment when she was around. Sure her family and friends came to visit at least once a month, but it wasn't quite the same. Xiao Mai loved it when they had come to her apartment to visit.
She would tell them all about her studies and her new friend in return they would tell her about how much they missed her and give an update on what was going on back home. It seemed like lots of things were changing. Cai and Gong Muo Li had split up despite his efforts to keep a steady relationship. He just had enough of her clinging onto him.
Xiao Mai had tried to get her family back home to meet her new friend and show them the girl who had helped her the most without wanting something in return. But it seemed like Angel always had another priority to attend to.
Angel had helped with the language barrier, where to go around school, was there when Xiao Mai needed to vent, showed ways to escape, and all did it with a smile. There had been many times where Xiao Mai would give the girl a token of her appreciation, but it always returned at her doorstep with a note saying that she didn't need to go through the trouble and that Angel had just appreciated her friendship.
So when the two had graduated, Xiao Mai had managed to get Angel to accept a ticket to Taiwan to finally meet Xiao Mai's family.
Xiao Mai had made all the arrangements. Where Angel would sleep, what they would do at what day, who she would meet, the whole works!
"Xiao Mai, this really isn't needed! I accepted your gift to fly here; I would be perfectly fine if I booked my own hotel with my money. You really don't have to go out of your way just to give me a room in your home," Xiao Mai flicked her hand.
"Angel, once you see my house you will see that it really isn't any trouble at all! Now come on, everyone is waiting to meet you!" Xiao Mai smiled wide and grabbed a hold of the reluctant girl's wrist.
The two walked over to the doors exits with Xiao Mai assuring the girl that their luggage had been sent straight through the house. It had been another point that Xiao Mai had used to force the girl to stay at their home.
"Xiao Mai!" a voice called from down the side walk.
Said girl had turned to her friend and giggled before running towards the voice. A small smile was Angel's face as she shook her head and slowly made her way to the embracing group. There had been four males in total that stood before her. Three were smiling wide as they all watched Xiao Mai and the oldest boy kiss.
"Omo, well aren't you two cute," Angel tried to hide her laugh with the back of her hand.
Xiao Mai broke the kiss with her boyfriend and blushed a little embarrassed that she had run off without her friend. Walking over beside the red head, she placed a hand on the other girl's shoulder and pushed her in front of the group of boys.
"Angel meet Nan Feng Jin, Cai, Ying, and Lin, my boyfriend and his family. Guys meet Angel, my friend from America that I have been talking about," Angel smiled and gave a polite bow.
The boys had been a little caught by her peculiar appearance, but gave the girl a polite greeting none the less.
"It seems like I've stunned another bunch," Angel whispered to the girl who let out a small laugh.
Xiao Mai looked at the girl's appearance. Teased hair, black eyeliner, red plaid skinny jeans tucked into black heeled boots, and a black strapless baby doll top. Definitely not what the boys were used to.
"Well if you had borrowed my dress then this wouldn't have happened," Angel rolled her eyes.
"Then I would have just looked like a red haired version of you. Well that and I would have given them a heart attack the next day anyways, so why not soften the blow. Be happy it wasn't what I had worn earlier," Xiao Mai shook her head and linked her arm with her boy friend.
"Let's just go home. Grandpa has wanted to meet you for a long time now. Plus Jin, you promised that I would meet these new friends of yours," Jin smiled down at the girl.
"Don't worry, they can wait. Emp has made special arrangements that once we reach the house that we would all eat in the dining room and catch up with each other," Xiao Mai nodded and looked at the path in front of them.
Angel had been walking behind the group with an out of the ordinary frown on her face. One hand was in her pocket while the other had been holding her cell phone. She would look down at it occasionally just waiting for something to happen.
"What do you think is wrong with her?" Lin asked quietly to the other two boys.
"How would I know, we just met her five minutes ago," Ying shot back at the younger boy.
Cai rolled his eyes and walked up beside the peculiar girl.
"Are you alright?" Jumping slightly, Angel looked to her right and plastered a smile on her face.
"Nan Feng Cai right?" he nodded and she smiled again- this time a smile that reached her eyes." Angel and I are fine. Don't worry about it," Again she looked down at her cell phone and once again her smile had faltered.
"Alright. Do you mind me asking why you keep looking at your cell phone?" She shook her head.
"The reason why I never met you all before. Aside from going to school for business- which was solely my parents' idea-, I have been trying to make my dream career as a performer become a reality. So I've been waiting for the call that could be my shot to fame," She looked up at him and smiled even if she had been lying through her teeth.
"If that had been your dream, why did you continue on with business schooling?" Angel sighed and broke their gaze.
"It's complicated to retell. My parents, they aren't accepting and it takes a while for them to break down and take in what I want. They expect me to be ready in case my brother blows his chance to become their successor, but no one wants to be in charge of a company when they are older," Cai smirked at how familiar that story was.
Reaching the car, Cai had been courteous and opened the door for the girl. She smiled thankfully and climbed in. Her hair lightly grazed his face as a wind had blown. The smell of apples and cinnamon filled his nose. Shaking off the tingles that tickled their way down his spine, he walked around and sat in the driver's seat.
The boys had taken the two cars when they left. Everyone had silently agreed that Xiao Mai and Jin would be left alone in the red convertible while the rest of the boys would get to know Angel in the yellow car.
"Angel where are you from?" Lin leaned forward and smiled at the girl.
"Me? Well I'm from Seoul in South Korea," She smiled and replied in perfect Chinese.
"How is it that you can speak the language so perfectly?"
"It might be a little hard to believe seeing your faces when you first saw me, but I used to go to a finishing school. Manners, etiquette, the whole works. My mother wanted me to be the perfect lady for the man my parents were going to marry me off to," Angel shuddered but continued on.
"My father is actually from here while my mother was from Korea. So they wanted me to learn their languages as well as a couple others. It was brutal to learn seven languages at the same time all at the age of ten, but I made it through alive. So I can speak Hangul, Cantonese, English, French, Japanese, and a couple others fluently. This had come in really handy when I had met a lost Xiao Mai trying to find the campus office," she smiled at the two in the back before sitting properly.
Jumping slightly at the vibrations in her pocket she looked at the message she had been sent and her smile had been quickly wiped off. She turned her head so that her hair had covered her face partially and looked out the window carelessly placing her phone in her lap. Wrapping her arm around her middle she brought her other hand up to wipe away a tear.
Around her Lin, Ying, and Cai had exchanged glances. Cai looked up at the rear-view mirror and caught the confused yet concerned glances his brother and cousin had shot him. It was amazing how this tiny abnormal girl had already claimed a small piece in each of their hearts.
"Angel...uhm...are you alright?" Ying was the one who decided to break the tense silence.
Furiously wiping her eyes, she looked at her reflection in the window and wiped off her smudged eyeliner and pulled a smile.
"I'm fine. Don't worry about it," she flicked her hand.
Even in the roughest times of her life, a smile still rested itself on her face.