Hannah could make out Helen’s impatience in the way she gave out orders. She scanned the room, observing her colleagues who were each holding a recorder in their hands, and sighed inwardly.
She thought Helen might have overdone it. She had been in a committed relationship with Fabian for so long, she knew his character in and out. Usually, he seemed cold and indifferent. He barely spoke even when he was expressing care and concern for her.
“Helen, I think…”
Hannah had barely opened her mouth to speak when she was interrupted by a voice coming from outside.
“Come on, please don’t make me sing Baa Baa Black Sheep. Can I sing a different song?” Fabian suggested.
Everyone in the vicinity was shocked to hear him say that. Does this mean we’ll really get to hear Fabian sing today?
“Um… That’s fine, I guess. But if it’s no good I’m not letting you in.” After a moment’s consideration, Hannah agreed.
Jason grimaced. He turned to whisper to Fabian, “Are you sure about this, Fabian? I think we should just kick down the door.”
Clearly, he had little confidence in Fabian’s ability to deliver a song. He had been working under Fabian for so many years and he had never seen or heard Fabian sing. Not once. The man might make a fool of himself later.
“Um, I think Jason has a point. Let’s bring down the door and save all of us some trouble,” said another one of Fabian’s wealthy acquaintances.
“Right, I was thinking that too. It just so happens that we have all the tools we need.”
Another person even took out a military shovel. It seemed that he had gotten himself prepared before coming to call.
Fabian surveyed those around him and shook his head. Everyone was looking for ways to resolve his awkwardness, which was ironic because it meant they had little confidence in him.
“Fine, I’ll have a go.”
Fabian paced around his spot, gradually opened his icy-cold lips, and broke into song.
“Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendour. Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender. Turn your face away from the garish light of day. Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light. And listen to the music of the night.”
Hannah stared off into space as she listened intently to Fabian’s love song. Happiness shone brightly on her face, as though Fabian was dedicating the serenade to her and her alone.
As the love song drew to an end, Hannah was still immersed in her dream world. She imagined Fabian getting down on one knee, holding an engagement ring. He stared deeply and affectionately into her eyes as he sang. Slowly, he held her hand and slipped the ring ever so gently onto her ring finger.
“Ahem. Fabian, when did you learn to sing like that?” Jason asked, somewhat awkwardly.
If he had known that Fabian could sing so well, he would not have spoken out of turn.
Clack! The door opened. Helen emerged from behind the door and nodded in satisfaction. She commended Fabian, “Oh, Fabian, that was unexpected! You sang so wonderfully, no wonder my sister’s infatuated with you.”
Hannah promptly regained her senses, her face a furious red. This was the first time she heard Fabian sing.
“Although we’ve let you in, we still have to follow the rules. Look at the crowd gathered here,” Helen continued.
For Fabian, who was known for his generosity, parting with some of his riches should not be a problem.
Fabian said softly as he stepped forward and held Hannah’s hand.
Outside, waiting for Fabian, a middle-aged man gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands. He stared straight ahead, waiting for Fabian to exit the house with his bride. Beads of sweat poured over his forehead.
“Why isn’t he out yet? Hey, do you think there’s anything fishy going on?”
Next to him, a younger man peered out of the window.
“I’ve informed my family before I agreed to this gig. Just looked at that fleet. I’m guessing we aren’t likely to make it out of this alive. But it’s better to take the chance than to live in poverty for a lifetime,” the middle-aged man said bitterly.
“Oh, come on. No need to get so down. We’ve received half a million, haven’t we? We’re basically set for life! We finish this, get the other half a million, and then we can leave this place with our family.”