Chapter 12: Vanilla float

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It was Sunday night when I finally had some time to spare for our karaoke session. Elaine had been making and cancelling the room a few times since Thursday. 

"No! Please don't sing that song again..!" I pleaded to Elaine who had just chosen 'My Heart Will Go On' from the song list. It was going to be the fifth time tonight I was going to hear her sing one of the most depressing songs ever written. The karaoke version's arrangement made it even more depressing. Elaine grabbed the microphone, inhaled deeply and started with the line I hated most.

"Every night in my dream, I see you, I feel you ...." 

I cupped my ears with my hands, leaned in and sipped my vanilla float. Perhaps I sipped too fast, I was getting brain freeze that I winced. The sensation reminded me of my my school days - when we ran to the nearest 7-Eleven after the last bell to buy the tallest cup of Slurpee. Then we would sit along the corridor and sipped the cold drink furiously. 

It took me more than a minute before the brain freeze started to subside. I had my eyes closed throughout.

"Is my singing that bad?" Elaine asked mid song when she noticed how painful I looked. With my hands still covering my ears and my wrinkled nose, I must have looked like someone suffering a really bad sound pollution. 

"No. Brain freeze! Brain freeze!" I shouted to her on top of the music. She patted my back a few times - which didn't help much - before she continued singing. 

Elaine was putting her heart and soul in the words: "You're here, there's nothing I fear...." and I decided to go to the washroom. She turned and I signaled to her that I was going to take a leak. 

The ladies' washroom was situated at the end of the row. I passed by about ten or twelve karaoke room filled with people who were either singing sensation wannabes or those who really couldn't sing, but practising anyway just in case they get pulled-up on stage during company dinners. 

After emptying my bladder, I stood in front of the mirror and inspected my tongue. It was red. I knew it had to be the red velvet cake we had earlier. I had nothing against cakes, but I had concerns regarding artificial colorings. Same goes with Celine Dion; I had nothing against her, it's just that I didn't like My Heart Will Go On as much as Elaine.

"What did you have? Blood?" A male voice asked and it made me jumped; my head hit the tall mirror hard. 

"Stop doing that!" I whispered in anger as I rubbed my forehead, wishing there wouldn't be a bump, considering the impact.  

"Sorry," said Dwen who sounded like he was squatting on one of the sinks. "The sight of your tongue scared the shit out of me." He laughed.

"Ah... this is just food colouring." I stuck my tongue out for him to see although I had no idea where he was. 

"Gross!" Dwen's voice was coming from behind me. I turned abruptly and my cell phone fell on the floor. "Hey, cool it! I'm not doing anything to you."

"No," I said. "It's just that whenever I feel you're too near, I ... I ..." I decided to pick up the phone instead of completing my sentence. 

"Get scared?" He finished my sentence with a question. "That's normal, I guess."

"Sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel ..."

"So ghostly?" He asked again, followed by a low but long laugh - he sounded almost lonely. 

"Wanna join us at the karaoke room?" I asked, although unsure whether he could stand Elaine's rendition of all the sad love songs, especially My Heart Will Go On.

"Sure!" He sounded excited. "But can you do me a favour?"

Don't let Elaine have the microphone? I almost asked. "Sure, your wish is my command," I said but immediately regretted it. What if he wanted me to sell my soul to the devil, in exchange with his cross over?

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