Flash Fiction #108 Continued
The previous part of the story is here.
At the emergency room of JFK Hospital, Bo is about to get an emergency heart surgery. Bo’s in his thirties and very healthy, and it is really a shock to the women that his heart has problems. The doctor says Bo’s a special case.
The two women continue their battle for the right to be the only fiancee, when the phone continues to ring. Finally Rana picks it up. It’s not a phone call, but rather a social network call.
“Hello, are you Rana?” The women on the screen asks.
“How do you know my name? Who are you? You are not Bo’s mother. His mother must be sleeping at this hour. Are you his aunt?” Rana asks. Bo’s parents are living in Southeast Asia, and Rana talked to them through WhatsApp before.
“Do I look that old? My name is Jen.” The woman says. “Bo says he’s going to call me but he hasn’t yet. What’s going on? Where is Bo?”
“Bo is having an emergency surgery at JFK hospital right now. How did you know my name?” Rana asks. Now Fani comes over. Both girls stare into the screen.
“Well, Rana and Fani, it’s a long story. Well, I am coming over. It will be half an hour drive from here to Edison.” Jen says.
“Are you his third fiancee?” Fani asks.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I am married.” Jen says, “well, if I were Bo’s fiancee, I’m certainly going to be the first one, not the third.”
Jen disappears but here the two girls start to talk and argue. Fani is in sales and marketing, while Rana is an engineer. Fani is much quicker in understanding social situations.
Jen and her husband owns a medical equipment export company, which exports medical equipment to Asia. As the living standard in Asia improves, the need for better medical care is increasing exponentially. Her husband stays in Asia to oversee the sale and equipment repair most of the time and only comes to America for one month each year. The most lucrative part of the business is not about the new equipment export, but rather the second hand equipment, some even being obtained through the auctions of old centrifuges or other machineries from hospitals of state universities. Jen is running an office in New Jersey that handles second hand equipment evaluation and hospital auctions.
Jen and her husband has a tacit agreement on their relationship. For the sake of their business, they have to stay together, but for other aspects, they are free to explore. Not that her husband needs such an agreement–the agreement is mostly for Jen’s benefit. He is a clever man. His business acumen tells him that keeping Jen happy is very important to his business success.
If it’s not for Jen, Bo would have gone back to his hometown after getting a master degree in business administration in Rutgers University. He had jobs in the provincial capital waiting for him and life would be fine for him. However, Jen wanted him to stay and hired him as a business administrator, for which he didn’t have to do much. When Bo wanted to get married, Jen supported his decision; when he couldn’t decide on Rana or Fani, Jen pushed him to make decisions…
When Jen arrives at JFK Hospital, Bo’s doctor comes to inform the girls that Bo didn’t survive. It’s the pandemic and the hospital is under severe shortage of people and supplies. The quality of care inevitably suffers and in Bo’s case, his heart has a fatal flaw that was not detected before. If it is not under severe stress, it may never be revealed.
Jen says she should be the one to talk to Bo’s parents to inform them the news since she knows Bo’s mother much longer. Also she’s the one who will pay for Bo’s parents’ journey to America to attend Bo’s funeral.
Fani says, “Of course not. Why you? You are the person who used and exploited Bo’s youth and good nature. And I think his relationship with you has damaged his brain, which is why…”
Rana is slow to pick up the hint, but by now she starts to understand what’s going on between Jen and Bo. With this newly discovered intelligence, Rana says, “You can’t smoulder our voice just because you have the money to pay.”
Jen says, “Look, girls. Be nice. If not, I will take away your jewelry, your car, and those gifts you received from Bo.”
Fani and Rana immediately start their counterattack, “Are you admitting Bo’s your slave and everything Bo owns is yours? You have used Bo enough, and most likely it is your treatment of him leads to his wayward mind and damaged heart?”
Jen says, “Wait a second. It is the upcoming wedding stressed him out and caused his demise. You two are the reason he died. Admit it.”
Fani says, “Yes, the wedding is probably the last straw, but it is your long time exploitation that weakens him and depresses him.”
Jen says, “Wait a second. What’s all this? You repeatedly said I exploited him, but actually it’s him who exploited me. I bought the new iPhone for both of you. and I even have the receipt here. And Rana, your mother’s two dental implants were paid by me. And Bo changes cars every two years so that you two can have his old car. They were all paid by me.”
Fani says, “Just because you have some stinky money, you think the world is yours.”
Rana says, “I am going to Twitter to ask people to vote for this. Twitter has a voting system. I bet people will choose me to be the one Bo loves the most.”
Jen says, “No, no social media please. That will be a scandal.”
Rana says, “Oh, you are afraid of scandal, aren’t you?”
Jen says, “Of course I am. I have a business to run. You are too young to understand this. The credit requires two decades to build up, and it takes just one minute to destroy.”
Fani says, “Don’t patronize us. We are not too young to understand that you used your experience to navigate the system for your own benefit. The world is damaged more by your experience than by our inexperience.”
Jen says, “Look, why are we quarreling like this? What’s the point. We are hard working women. And we all want to be happy, don’t we? Let’s just admit that the three of us have all showered Bo with our love, whether he deserved it or not. Let’s do this. Bo’s parents will come and they will stay in the house I bought him. Yeah, that house he told you he owned is actually mine. You two can move in and live there as long as you want.”
Fani says, “Oh, really? I take back everything I said before. You are so kind.”
Rana says, “Wait, are you trying to bribe us…?”
Jen says, “Yes. No social media posts about why he died and who’s his real fiancee. We want to sweep it under the carpet. When his parents arrive, they will also stay in the house. And you two will translate for them and show them around. Don’t mention anything that might be damaging to Bo’s reputation. Is that a deal? Bo must have told his parents that he owns the house and we somehow have to persuade them to accept the reality without getting freaked out. If you two are nice to them, they will have a better time, right?”
Fani says, “Yes, that’s a deal. And thank you. I like it very much.”
Rana says, “Oh, now you are using poor young people like us to clean up your mess and keep your reputation intact. Oh, rich people like you.”
Jen says, “Well, rich? Not rich enough. You don’t know how expensive it is for women who just want to have a little bit of fun.”