18 June 2012



Dana Lee at home, 5pm.
Dana is flat on her chintz chaise (faded cabbage roses), wrapped in a linen robe from Morocco (puce stripes). Cordelia Theresa Cheng (denim dungarees), facialist to the stars, was working her magical fingers on Dana Lee's lymph nodes, rubbing and stabbing her face into submission in readiness for dinner with Adam Tan. It’s been a tough, white-knuckled period at work with Pulp Productions, which was putting Flair online (at last!) and in an App. This immense digital project, which seemingly involved a cast of thousands (fraught), and a multitude of copyright issues, has certainly taken its toll on Dana. The digital project came on top of running the paper version of Flair, on top of keeping to the trappings and routine of being a fashion figure (which were as rigorous and as demanding as a geisha’s in training) – of which this facial in a darkened room (black-out roller blinds faced in Thai silk) formed part. And above everything else, Dana also struggled to fit into her corset-tight schedule the now regular covert dates with Eli Kee – too much for a girl to do, surely?

What's romance without one or two challenges to make things more interesting? Dana and Eli were going on proper dates at last, and no longer meeting (slyly) on platonic pretext. Over the months, Dana had come to rely on Eli’s simple habits and good nature: his idealism and optimism, balanced by pragmatism and common sense provided perspective, and his natural manners provided an escape from, and a reality check for, the high pressure bubble of glamour publishing. Eli was like a prayer answered, and Dana Lee wasn’t about to give him up for anything in the world.
“Dana Lee, you actually look radiant,” declared Cordelia Theresa (behind a hygiene mask). “I don’t know why you wanted this emergency facial when you’re only due next Tuesday. You hardly look stressed, really. You almost have the glow of youth – did you do something at Dr Chong’s?”
“Cordelia Theresa Cheng! You are super kind,” said Dana, her eyes hidden by cotton pads (witch hazel). “It’s been months since I saw Dr Chong; It can only be the Bach I’ve been listening to,” added Dana, almost giggling under the salt mask (Dead Sea). “And thanks to your weekly facials too, sweetie! But now you really must let yourself out and let me lie quiet for another 15 minutes and then I have to run! Turn on the bath for me will you my sweet?”

At Dinner with Adam Tan in a Private Dining Room with a View, 8pm.
Dana Lee’s dinners with Adam Tan were partly routine, cozy catch-ups with an old friend and business partner made charming by a bat squeak of flirtation. And Adam had just come back from another of his mysterious business trips (Seoul, Tokyo), brimming with news and projections. Adam’s wide business associations placed him squarely in the increasingly diminishing map of the real world, and as the young mogul sat across the table talking about world finance trends, the competitive world of LCD screen makers and the rise of commodities and the fall of property, the hurdles of e-retail, etc, Dana’s thoughts drifted (unwittingly, but very pleasurably) to Eli. This was uncharacteristic. Dana Lee usually sat rapt, some would say "geisha-like", as everything Adam Tan said bore relevance to her work and reflected her world. But tonight, Adam sounded insignificant, a dog barking in the night in an empty house down the street. Only Eli seemed real and alive, his smiling image flitting in the sparkle of the wine glasses and his breath warm in Adam’s cigar fumes (Havana).
Then Adam broke into Brooke’s reverie: “Are you alright dear girl? You seem distracted, which is unlike you.”
“Ooops. I'm sorry Adam, I’m perfectly alright. Maybe I should have skipped the dessert and I'm more than a little drunk? Maybe it’s time to call it a night, actually,” said Dana, suppressing a yawn (a struggle).
“Dana…” Adam said with uncharacteristic hesitation, for it was ever his habit to bulldoze his way into any given topic with the confidence of self-made millions, “Dana, I don’t quite know how to say this but I…”
“Oh Adam, you Silly Billy, out with it,” said Dana Lee, still dreamy, unaware. “We are such old friends now, you can say anything to me… just that I’m so-o-o sleepy.”
“Dana, is this true?” Suddenly Adam was all business. “What I hear about you seeing this young musical protégé of yours? This jazz singer, is it true?”
Dana said, suddenly snapping into the present: “What can you mean Adam Tan? Whatever can you mean?”
And it was at that moment that Snowdrop Catherine Yeo Lay Leng’s world came crashing into Dana Lee’s. Over the snow white tablecloth strewn with the glittering detritus of an expensive meal, one that Snowdrop had never eaten, Adam handed Dana his iPhone (4S), on whose screen displayed, in grainy colour, a picture of Eli, with stars in his eyes, and a chick, in a vintage brocade Yves Saint Laurent dress - a chick who bore a complete resemblance to herself. 

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