New York, 1997.
When Harker Jones woke up, there was blood everywhere in the luxury hotel room's king-sized bed.
"What the…. Ack, my head…."
His whole skull hurt like it was cracked open, especially on his jaw area. Soon, he realized he was naked.
And there was also a naked girl beside him.
Headless. Drowning in a pool of her own blood.
It took a while for it to sink in. But soon, Harker wore a look of terror once he realized.
"No….. How did this happen!? Xi Hua!"
A few days ago.....
"Ugh, when will I finally get a girlfriend?"
Harker Jones complained to his co-worker, Kian Shaw, while they waited for customers at the cashier in Bill's and Bob's Burgers. BBB for short.
Kian rolled his eyes. "Bro, I saw you reject 3 girls last week, and you still wonder why you can't get a girlfriend!? Just lower your standards!"
"It's not that I need to lower my standards." Harker chuckled. "It's actually because---"
"Um... Harker, right?"
Someone finally approached them, a pretty girl with a ponytail.
Harker wasn't nervous in front of such girl, unlike Kian. He just smiled as he usually does to their customers. "Marie, right? What can I get for ya?"
"Oh, I was just wondering if you'd like to get some coffee at Starbacks once your shift is over." She asked shyly.
Harker looked at her from head to toe, then said:
"No thanks. Girls like you go to hell, you know?"
"W-What!?" She exclaimed. "I'm just asking so nicely, why would you tell me to go to hell!? How rude!"
She stomped off, tears falling down her eyes.
Kian was aghast. "Bro, how can you say that! Marie is like the nicest girl ever, I see her all the time help out in church---"
"Hah, don't get it twisted." Harker pointed something out. "That wristband she's wearing. Looks pretty unique, isn't it?"
"It is. So what?"
"I know where that came from. It's from a gift shop that customizes matching wristband designs for couples. The other day, I saw her clinging to a guy wearing the same wristband."
Kian was shocked. "So that means she's…."
"A cheater, yep. I don't really believe in hell, but she does. So I'm just letting her know what happens to girls like her according to her belief." Harker grinned. "You said I rejected 3 girls last week. Well…"
He pointed to a girl wearing gold chains.
"That rich girl Vera over there? She asked for my number, but I said no. Why? I saw her get out of an old Japanese guy's limousine and kiss him on the lips."
He then pointed to another one wearing glasses.
"Then there's Alira. She's nice and pretty smart too, but she's a stoner. I can smell the weed even with her strong perfume. Nothing personal against stoners, I just can't have my Dad and siblings find me smelling like that."
Kian was dumbfounded.
He can't believe that Harker— this idiot who looks, talks, walks and even BREATHES like a delinquent— can be this observant! He really doesn't look the type at all with his spiky hair, his red leather jacket, and goofy smile!
Harker sighed. "See? It's not really that my standards are too high. I'm just unlucky with the women who hit on me. I may be feeling desperate 'cause I'm still a virgin at 22, but I gotta have SOME standards, at least."
Kian could not help but sigh with him. "Not all of us are born like Roland Faust."
Harker slumped on the desk. "Ahhh, why can't I be like Roland who's lucky with everything?"
The little bell at the door rang as a new customer arrived.
".... I don't know why you chose to eat at a burger joint, but this is the best one I know of. Not that I go to many of them. In fact, this is the only one that I have ever been to."
They saw a handsome blond boy wearing a slick white polo shirt with a diamond-studded tie that cost more than their annual income combined.
Harker scoffed. "Speak of the devil and he shall come."
This was Roland Faust. His father was one of the richest tycoons in New York. He came with a girl beside him, an East Asian with wavy red hair and 'gifted' chest.
She was wearing a green velvet dress, and her eyes were also green. Harker thought she must be wearing contact lenses, but it looked very natural on her. She smelled nice like flowers in spring and her smile gave a comforting warmth to anyone who sees it.
"I'm just interested to try it out, that's all. It's my first time not having my parents nag me over eating 'poor people food'." The girl said.
Roland went to the counter with a flashy smirk.
"Well, well, well. Harker Jones."
Harker clenched one of his fists and grabbed his collar!
The girl panicked. "Is there a problem here—"
"...Why didn't you tell me you'd come by!? You even brought a girl with you, is she your girlfriend!? And you didn't even tell your best bud that you got a new one already!"
He gave him a noogie, and Roland chuckled.
"Now, now! You're embarrassing me, Hark! And this isn't my girlfriend. This is just my friend, Xi Hua. Or Hua Xi in the Western naming order, since her last name is Xi, but everyone prefers calling her Xi Hua."
He introduced the two. "She transferred to our school just this morning from Beijing. Her dad's a business partner of our company."
"Ah, is that so? Welcome to New York!" He said, offering a handshake. "So nice to meet ya!"
The girl was surprised by how friendly Harker was despite looking like he breaks skulls for fun.
"You two know each other?" She shook his hand.
"Of course." Roland explained. "Harker's dad was our family's former driver. He eventually had to work closer to home once his wife died. He lost his legs from an accident from working in a construction site. Harker's siblings are also young and sickly, so my father gives them a little support every now and then."
Harker put an arm around Roland's shoulders. "What 'little support'??? Our family owes the Fausts our whole lives!"
He smiled softly. "If not for them, how could we survive after dad's legs got amputated, Chloe had her lupus disease, and the conjoined twins needed surgery to be separated from each other?"
Xi Hua looked sympathetic. "Oh, that's very unfortunate! I'm so sorry you have to go through all that."
Roland nodded. "Harker really does have an unfortunate background, but he makes up for it with his hard work. He's already a scholar in Stoker University, and yet he still works part-time to make ends meet!"
"Pfft! No need to sing me praises, blondie!" Harker snorted. "I'm very capable of charming people without going through the whole sob story."
Roland patted his shoulder. "I'm just saying that it's very hard for you. You can't even have time for yourself as your family's breadwinner. You always put them above all things. I haven't even seen you date anyone yet."
Xi Hua blinked. "Really? Not even once?"
"Nope! I'm what you call a virgin by circumstances!" Harker said proudly. "I don't see any shame in that at all! I need to raise my family and not rely on the Faust's money before I start hitting on girls."
He added softly: "And I won't settle for less too, when I have Dad and my siblings relying on me."
Harker then shook his head. "But enough about me. We're in the same school, Xi Hua! How about I treat you guys some grilled cheeseburgers and we can get to know each other—"
"Harker is quite busy. We better not bother him when he's working hard for his family." Roland took Xi Hua's hand. "Let's go take a seat. You can look at the menu to see what you like."
As they turned to leave, Xi Hua overheard Kian hissing under his breath.
"Ah, can't you see it!? Roland keeps stealing the good girls from you, bro!"
Harker shrugged. "What are you talking about? He's just being considerate."
"Ugh! You're so observant and yet you're blinded by friendship! It's obvious that he's always visiting here to flaunt his money and his girls to you! That's why you're still a virgin, bro! She's a nice catch, go get her already!"
Harker just gave a forced smile. "Nah. There's a lot of fish in the sea. Let Roland have this catch. They seemed to be getting along well before she met me anyway."
Xi Hua's cherry-red lips formed into a smile as she looked back at Harker.
"A virgin, huh….." She mumbled.
"What would you like to eat, Xi Hua?" Roland asked her as he scanned the menu.
She was still distracted by Harker and kept staring at him. "Oh, anything's fine. But…."
"I prefer fresh meat."
She walked over to him, leaving Roland behind.
A/N: Please read the synopsis and my self-review if you haven't yet before asking any questions about plot. Thanks.