Traveling to the venue was exhausting for Jeff. Never before, in his entire life, had he ridden a bus. He wanted to rent a car, but Ann insisted that they didn't have the funds for a rental.
Jeff couldn't do anything to convince Ann, so he just followed along with her. 'You know what they say, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do.' Jeff was ready to experience something that he would remember for his entire life.
Ann was very nervous when she saw how many people were competing. There were at least a thousand, maybe even several thousand. The people who were waiting to get in, formed in a line so long that Ann was contemplating just giving up on the whole thing. "How am I ever going to register, this will take a whole day just to get a number and ID," she murmured under her breath. Suddenly, she heard Jeff tell her "Why don't you wait here? I'll be right back!"
Ann was confused and looked in the direction that Jeff went. 'What does he mean by that?' Ann wondered.
Jeff didn't give her a chance to reply; he just left and went in the same direction that people who already had their numbers went. A couple of minutes later, Jeff came back with what seemed to be a printed number and an ID card.
"Turn around; let me stick this to your back." He told Ann, who was still in shock. "There you go! You're all set; let's go!" Jeff was so proud of his accomplishment, not even realizing what he had just done.
Ann was both too afraid to ask and speechless at the same time. She decided not to think about it, and concentrated on the upcoming competition. "Let's go!" Slowly, they made their way to the venue.
Once they were inside the building, they were separated. Ann was ushered towards the area where the other competitors were waiting, and Jeff went to god knows where. [VIP section]
While Ann was waiting for her turn to sing, she couldn't help but think 'How did Jeff manage to get me into the competition? Does he know someone? Who is he? Too many questions without any answers. I will need to ask him after the tryout. For now, I need to give it my all. This is my future; I need to take control of this situation.' She put her mind towards the competition and started practicing.
It was finally Ann's turn to sing. She was a little nervous, not because she wasn't confident, but because of Jeff. She was more worried about what Jeff would think of her than the competition.
"Miss, it's your turn." The organizer told Ann.
"Thank you!" Ann made her way into the room where the judges were waiting. As soon as she stepped in front of the judges, one of them asked her age, if she had competed before, and the reason she had joined the competition. Ann proudly answered all the questions.
"What song will you be singing for us?" One of the judges asked her curiously.
"I will be singing my favorite song by my idol, Celine Dion: 'To Love You More!" Ann smiled sweetly, answering the judges.
One of the judges said, "Go for it!"
"Thank you!" Ann happily prepared herself to start singing.
Meanwhile, Jeff was in the other room sitting comfortably, ready to listen to Ann's singing.
The music started, and Ann went for it. She gave her all, and she sang a better rendition as compared to her idol.
"Take me back in the arms I love
Need me as you did before
Touch me once again
And remember when
There was no one that you wanted more.
Don't go you know you'll break my heart.
I'll be waiting for you.
Here inside my heart
I'm the one who wants to love you more..."
Jeff was stunned by her singing. 'She had the voice of an angel and a genuine gem. This is not good. I need to do something, or she will make the cut and who knows what will happen then.' He immediately called Ronald and instructed him to do something.
Just as Ann was getting a standing ovation from the judges, Jeff finished talking to Ronald on the phone. "You better not screw this up, or you will be dead when I come back, you hear me!"
Ronald was going crazy. He didn't know what was happening. One minute his boss was him to get her into the competition; now he wants to make sure she doesn't move on to the next stage. 'What the heck?' He immediately called the organizer to relay Jeff's order.
"Yes, sir! We will make sure to do as you have ordered." The organizer replied respectfully, then left to speak to the judges.
Ronald was wondering what Jeff's plan was. 'I know this will not be good if Jeff's new fake wife finds out what he did. Oh well! It's his problem, not mine! Or is it!? Ahhhhh! I'm going crazy.'
'I wonder how good this girl is, for Boss to be in this much of a panic. I guess I'll have to wait and see!' Ronald continued searching the internet, trying to find any information about Ann.
Ann was disappointed that she didn't make it to the second round. She couldn't understand why. 'All the judges gave me a standing ovation, but I still got cut? How could that be?' She was lost and unable to comprehend what had happened.
Ann slowly made her way out to where Jeff was waiting for her; her disappointment was visible on her face.
"Excuse me! Miss Wen, I'm one of the coordinators of this competition. I just wanted to tell you that your performance was excellent. It is a shame, but we will surely be in touch in the future, even though you didn't move on to the second round of the competition." She happily told Ann, with an excited look on her face.
'Hmmm? There's something wrong with this picture.' However, as confused as she was, what could she say? She mustered up the sweetest smile she could, then thanked the person, turned around, and left without looking back.
Right outside, Jeff was waiting. "Did it go alright?" He asked innocently, to not alert Ann of what he had done.
Ann looked Jeff straight in the eyes with an accusatory look, then said.
"No, thanks to someone, I didn't get in!" Ann inconsolably sulked.
'Does she know? I hope not.' Jeff was about to say something to cheer her up when Ann corrected herself.
"What I mean is no thanks to those judges."
Jeff felt relieved when he heard her response. 'Thank God! I thought she found out. If she did, I would be dead meat.'
"Why don't we find a place where we can stay for a while and turn this into a vacation?" Jeff suggested mischievously.
Ann thought for a bit then responded "Sure, why not? It's not like I have someone waiting for me at home." She jokingly said while grabbing hold of Jeff's elbow and hooking their arms together.