30 June 2012



The Fitting Salon at the Tom Tam’s Atelier, 9am.

Was it destiny or merely coincidence? Perhaps it was all for the best that Eli Kee, the subject of Bella Teo’s stunning revelations, and the object of Dana Lee’s emotional turmoil, had just then embarked on a whirlwind tour of the region to promote his jazz album. Apparently there was an enormous market for new jazz acts in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City. But who would have known this? Certainly not Dana Lee, who simply assumed that jazz was more niche than a Givenchy kilt for men. Dana was not musical at all, you see. Was there really a rapt audience in Vietnam for a new Singapore musician? The entire music business was such a mystery. Eli was such a mystery. Mysterious Eli had concealed his relationship with sly Bella from Dana for months! How could he? And why would he? And then Dana remembered how Eli had always left large chunks of his family life vague; Dana didn’t even know where exactly Eli lived. Eli had sometimes offered that he was bunking over at a friend’s – Dana had assumed it was a male buddy, a chum, another starving artist, perhaps, a poet. But now Bella Teo is saying that she, Bella, was that friend! Dear Eli texted and called but Dana had thought it best to wait for him to return from his promotions before she confronted him with what Bella had been saying.

Meanwhile there was The Ice Ball to think about. 
Yes, into each life some Ball must fall. And The Ice Ball was the hot ticket of the fashion show season, depite the "Frosty Chic" theme. And as the main figure of the fashion scene, Dana was keenly aware how important it was for her to make an impressive show – to which end no effort, or expense, must be spared. You think a ball that when a ball is announced, a stiff, elegantly-worded invitation with gilt embossing delivered, and beautiful people just turned up in their glittering best? No! The invitation on the mantle was but the first of the many, many arduous processes before the limos rolled up to the red carpet to disgorge its precious cargo. As for Dana Lee, perhaps it wasn’t such bad timing that there was The Ice Ball to think about now. Unproductive to endlessly ponder and question Eli that Bella’s relationship until Dana could talk to Eli directly. “I’m sure he has a perfectly logical explanation for the pictures,” decided Dana. “It’ll just have to wait until Eli returns after The Ice Ball.” Eli had called Dana a few times and with daily text messages came pictures of the exotic locales of his tour, but Dana didn’t bring up what was uppermost in her mind as being inappropriate.

This morning, Dana is in Tom Tam’s Atelier, where she stood being fitted for the gown for the ball. Calm reigned in the atelier, as always. Or rather Tom Tam, the couturier reigned, with a pair of scissors hanging from a ribbon round his neck, a pin cushion as a watch, and plenty of sharp words to go around. Tom Tam had started life as the dreamy Thomas Tam Tuck Teck, but had shed all the alliterations for the elegant two. Standing now on a felt covered podium before a three-screen mirror, and having five different people studying her every angle, and every fold and crevice of the pale mint duchesse satin gown felt oddly reassuring. For the two hours Dana was to be pinned and tucked, she didn’t need to feel the pinpricks of her emotions, nor the misery of her doubts that perhaps, Eli might not be the artist-prince that he she had thought him. “How can I be so wrong? Not again! And at my age too!” thought Dana. 
Dana Lee, never lucky in love! She briefly thought about the first boy she had fallen in love with in school. 

“Tom Tam,” sighed Dana, in her own clothes at last. “I hope this will be the last of the fittings. I seriously can afford no more time and now we must finalise the shoes and things – probably not gloves. Pretentious, you know,” said Dana as she placed on a vast muslin-covered table, which displayed ranks of gloves and silk flowers and lace collars her galuchet Asprey jewellery case. Unlocking it, she showed the grizzled couturier black velvet trays of jewellery that she intended to wear.

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