enTWINed – Ch 3 & 4 (A Thai Fanfic)
Who thinks the world is a better place for hot Thai actors on motorcycles?
Drops of water flashed briefly in the fluorescent light as Tik shook his head and started toweling it dry. It had been an excellent workout; this group of recruits showed great promise to become superior law enforcement officers. They were still out at the obstacle course, training, but he had to get back to office at headquarters.
He slung a towel around his lean hips before stepping into the locker room. The air was cooler there, raising goosebumps on his arms, but he paid no attention. He made his way to his locker and popped the door.
“Are you decent yet?” Trot drawled from the open doorway.
Tik dropped the towel and pulled on his tactical pants. Once he was properly covered and zipped, he strode over to where the small woman was lounging against the door jamb.
“What is it, Khun Trot?”
Trot gave an amused yet appreciative stare over his body. “The Captain wants to see you immediately. I suggest a shirt might be a good idea.” With a chuckle, she pushed off the wall and walked away without another look back.
“Lt Rojanasteem, sir.” Tik snapped a salute. The older gentleman behind the desk stood up and returned the salute.
“Sit down, Lieutenant. I wanted to talk to you about an upcoming opportunity. The upper brass is impressed with your investigation skills, especially that investigation five years ago.”
That one made national headlines; an investigation into shipping-based drug smuggling uncovered a network of distributors, manufacturers, and dealers controlled by an individual with ties to the local government and several national companies. Ultimately the entire operation was shut down and destroyed, and the crime boss was sent away for life. Tik had heard he had committed suicide about six months ago while in prison.
“We are moving you and your team back to Bangkok.” Tik was surprised. Although his division had severely curtailed the drug and human trafficking through Chanthaburi, there was always more to do, as smaller operations tried to fill in the voids.
“Sir, is there any reason why we have been chosen for this?”
Captain Thonpraken steepled his fingers. “It has been decided to rotate in another team, to allow others to gain the investigative skills that you have learned here.” he said. “And to use your team as both a training tool for newer officers. Plus, there have been rumours of a new operation forming near Chonburi and the shipping terminals there. We would like you to study the new data, and come up with a plan of surveillance and investigation.”
Well, that was a different story. Truth be known, the operation here had become fairly routine, and this new threat sounded like a challenge he would enjoy. “Thank you, sir. I will discuss this with my team. Do you know the timetable for the move?”
“Barring any complications, your move should be completed within three weeks.”
Tik made his goodbyes and left the office. He couldn’t wait to head back to his office and tell everyone.
“I wonder what the captain wanted with Boss?” Trot questioned as she pushed back from her monitors, addressing a well-built woman lounging against the doorframe. “We haven’t had any major busts recently, but that’s because the border has been relatively quiet.”
Cloud thought for a moment, and then shrugged. “Whatever it is, P’Trot, he will tell us soon enough, especially if it involves us. Anyway, I’m going to head out to the obstacle course.” She sauntered out, swinging her arms wide to stretch out her muscles.
Trot decided it was a good time to grab a cup of tea, especially when the kitchen area was near to the captain’s office. Roenchai, his secretary, was at his desk in the anteroom, seemingly guarding his supervisor’s door. But the assistant’s head was tilted, and Trot knew that he was trying to listen in on the conversation taking place behind the closed door to the right of his desk.
Trot tiptoed to the desk and tapped the young man on the shoulder. He gave a start and nearly toppled over the chair.
“Khun Trot!” he fiercely whispered as she gave a broad smile, “You startled me!”
The analyst shrugged, unrepentant. “What are they talking about that’s so engrossing? Come on, you can tell your big sister.”
He waved her around the desk and waited until she leaned closer, then grinned. “A little hint. It involves Lt Rojanasteem and his team.” She lightly punched him on the arm. “Okay, okay. It looks like you might be rotated back to Krunthep in the foreseeable future. I’m not sure why, because they lowered their voices and I couldn’t hear anything anymore.”
Trot straightened up. Hmm, it would be nice to be closer to family and old friends, but she liked the relative quiet of Chanthaburi and the vast rural areas that she loved to explore. But a new challenge was always exciting.
Just then, the office door opened. Trot sprung back and pretended to stir her tea, but the loud clink of the spoon hitting the sides of the empty cup was a giveaway. Tik hid a smile at the two guilty looks. Nodding to the secretary, he walked past, only pausing long enough to say in a low whisper, “Whenever you decide to actually brew your tea, come back to my office, Khun Trot.”
She immediately gave up all pretenses and hurried after her boss.
Cloud ignored the stares by the recruits who always seem to show up when she was jogging. It annoyed her sometimes that, thanks to her curvy figure, she had to prove her competence to each new class of recruits. Soon enough, they learned that a woman with a generous chest could knock them to the ground just as quickly as any male drill instructor. But there were always a few who always let their eyes wander. She marked the individuals to sign them up for additional martial arts training later.
She had just finished the second circuit of the 3km track when the phone on her arm buzzed. Without breaking stride, she activated her earpiece. “Sgt Cloud here.” She listened to the caller, then reversed and headed for the main building. “Okay, I’ll be right in.”
Once inside, she took a short shower, tossed on her civilian clothes, and headed down the hallway, still towel-drying her hair. When she arrived, the conference room was almost full. She saluted her officers and sat down next to Trot.
A half-hour later, the room was empty except for the trio. Cloud was the first to break the silence. “Well, Boss, is this a good thing or a bad thing?”
Tik was frank. “I think we were so good putting out the fires here, that they now want us to repeat our success back home. More work? Yes. But I also think we are the best of all possible choices. And I want to take both of you with me. Most of the officers grew up here, so I doubt they will want to go to Krunthep. But I’m hoping both of you will come with me.”
He held out his hand, and without a moment’s hesitation, both women added their hands on his, and together, they smiled.
Later that morning, Tik drove his motorcycle to the low cliffs overlooking Chanthaburi, and stared down at his home for the last half-decade. The town was a colorful grid below him, with the dark spires of the cathedral reaching towards the sky above the greenery.
Tik’s ears picked up a low growling noise that gradually got louder as another motorcycle intruded into his space. He smiled, already recognizing the rider by the sound. The black Honda Shadow Aero 750 slid to a halt beside his Harley and Trot alighted from the seat.
“How is it that you always know where I am?” He asked, half-exasperated, half-amused.
Trot negligently shrugged as she plopped her helmet on the handlebars and unzipped her leather jacket. “I was hired for my intelligence and data-mining skills before you even joined the force, Boss. And you’re not exactly unpredictable when you get moody.” She walked up next to him and looked out over the view. “I figured you would take a final look around before moving on to bigger and better things.”
“Don’t you feel anything about transferring to the city, Khun Trot?”
“Not really.” she frankly replied. “Besides a few friends and colleagues, I don’t have a lot of ties here. My family is from north country, so we have always kept in touch via phone or more recently internet. I’m ready for a change of scenery.”
Tik more or less agreed, but his instincts told him that this time, the move was going to cause profound changes in his life.
Cloud looked over her meager civilian clothes. Lt Tik planned to take everyone out for a meal this evening, and she wanted to look her best. Maybe she would gather enough courage to tell her boss how she felt about him. Would it interfere with their work, or worse, damage their friendship? She paused over a gauzy sundress in brown and orange, running her hands down to the handkerchief hemline. Then, decision made, she carried it into her bath.
Tik looked over the chattering group amassed across several long wooden tables. Despite looking forward to the new challenge, he was going to miss this team. He was happy he was leaving with the best: Khun Trot, small but fierce, and the heart of his intelligence and analysis network; and Sgt Cloud, his right hand and best second-in-command in his career so far. Tonight, she looked surprisingly feminine in a floaty dress of earth tones. She laughed a moment before tilting back her drink, her smooth neck extended.
He always felt odd during those moments when he realized she was a very attractive woman. Although he never felt more than a brotherly affection, he wondered why she had never dated anyone. In these situations, he could clearly see various officers vying for her attention. Did she ever see that?
Finally, there were only a handful of officers left in the restaurant. Trot had left earlier, claiming a headache. Cloud plunked down next to him and stared owlishly into his eyes. She placed a hand on his arm, and in a slightly slurred voice, “Did you know you are the very best man I know? I have always admired you, what do you think of me?”
Tik was taken aback at her declaration, and quickly scrambled for a reply.
“You know I admire your professionalism and your teamwork attitude. I consider you to be the best little sister a guy can have.” He paused to lick his lips. “But I intend to focus on my career at this time, and for the foreseeable future. I’m sorry if I have offended you.” The last was spoken in a solemn, almost formal way.
Cloud looked away for a moment, then punched him in the shoulder, perhaps a little harder than friendly. Her voice was much steadier than her tipsy confession.
“No worries, Lieutenant. It was just a casual question, no reason to blow up your ego.” Without saying another word, she wheeled around and all but ran from him. Tik’s first impulse was to chase after her, but he did not know if that was the best course of action, so he stayed rooted to the spot.
In an upper residence at the State Tower, a man stared out the curved, floor-to-ceiling windows, past the Chao Phraya River, into the Khlong Ton Sai region of the city. The red ribbons of car lights appeared like rivulets of blood, flowing over the land much like the Ayutthaya blood flowed when they were dominated and destroyed a half millennium ago. And he intended to conquer and rule his own vision of empire.
But first there was some planning to do. And a few annoying details that needed to be resolved. Or permanently removed. Just then, his cellphone gave a soft chime. After a quick glance at the screen, he put the device to his ear.
The voice on the phone was calm and businesslike. “According to our contact, our target’s itinerary shows that he is to return back to Thailand by the end of the week. We will be in place by then.”
The man grunted agreement and disconnected, to resume his solitary review of the city. Only this time with a slight sneer.
Ken nursed a glass of ice water while waiting for his appointment to arrive. He had received a phone call, the tonal inflection sounding vaguely familiar when she stated she would be fifteen minutes late.
Despite the afternoon’s excitement, he felt relaxed and ready to meet this individual. Conversations about her clothing designs had recently sprung up in his circles, and if she was as good as he found during investigation, he was determined to get her first, if they could come to an agreement.
“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.” The voice was even more familiar in person, and he turned around and was struck dumb.
“Roni? Why are you here? How is your arm? Does it still hurt?”
His afternoon companion was standing there with a quizzical expression. Or was it that person? The face was the same but the eyes were warm, not fiery, and she seemed much older than that troublesome girl. The hair was a deep mahogany, almost black, and pulled back into a french braid. And the clothes were elegant and stylish; tan slacks with a patterned blouse in pale coral.
Ken stood up and held out his hand. “Sawasdee Krub. Thank you for meeting with me. I am Ken Tanasugarn.”
“Chamnongsri Nopphadara, but call me Sri.” She gracefully sat down opposite him. He slowly reached for his chair, barely able to think. The names were very similar.
She gave him an amused but distant stare. “Is there something wrong with my face, Khun Ken?”
He gave himself a mental shake. “I apologize for my poor behavior, but I’ve met someone here in Barcelona and you remind me of her. Do you have a sister named Roni?”
Sri was startled. “Roni? Yes, she’s my younger twin sister. She arrived here in Barcelona today to assist me with the fashion show. How do you know her?” She went back through the beginning of this meeting and realized his words. “When did you meet her? I spoke with her several hours ago, when she arrived. She said she was going to Le Rambles to shop and eat, but I haven’t heard from her since. Is she injured?”
Ken gave her a reassuring smile, catching on to who the young woman called at the hospital. “Mom”?Hah!
“There was an incident at the Parc de Diagonal Mar, involving a mugger. Your sister is quite the warrior, but don’t worry, she’s fine. I took her to a clinic to treat a scratch on her arm. I then dropped her off at the Renaissance Hotel.”
Sri was puzzled. “She’s staying with me at the Hotel BestPrice Diagonal. I don’t know why she would say she is staying there.”
Ken secretly smiled. So she thought to give him the slip. This was interesting.
Once they ordered dinner, Ken wasted no time to get to the point.
“I’m planning a renovation of my Hua Hin resort, and I am looking for someone to help design the fabrics for the furniture and window coverings. I’ve seen some of the textiles in your lines, and I think you would be a great asset in creating a Thai experience at my resort.
“The person that ultimately gets the contract will also be offered retail space in my Kruntep and Chiang Mai hotels. I realize that it’s not the same as space at Siam Paragon, Emporium on Sukhumvit, or Gaysorn Bangkok, but I think that for the designer I choose, it would be a good way to establish their designs on a more international level, based on the clientele of my resorts.”
Sri took a sip of water, her mind buzzing with the possibilities Khun Ken was painting. Her small store in Khlong Ton Sai was just starting to show a profit, mostly by word of mouth advertising. She hoped that this young designer fashion show in Barcelona would drum up enough interest that she could turn into an opportunity. But for this type of offer to fall into her lap before her showcase? What was the catch?
“I’ll be blunt, Khun Ken. Why me? There are many more prolific and famous designers both from our country and internationally that would love this type of job. Plus, I’ve never been involved in a textile project of this scale, and most of my weavers have small fair-trade operations. Fabrics on the scale you will need for a renovation would need to be mass-produced, and I’m not familiar with this process.”
Ken leaned forward and put his elbows on the table. “First, I have researched your current success. You are honest, hard-working, and most of all, have a great love for Thai traditions. I prefer to give my business to a person who matches my work ethic, as you do. As for the hotel refurbishment, I am interested in your fabric designs. I have arrangements with manufacturers who will custom-weave what I need. Once I decide and make an offer, I would expect that designer to travel to Hua Hin occasionally to oversee the installation.”
He watched thoughts flit over that familiar-yet-not-familiar face. There was a vast difference between the sisters. This one was cool and understated, able to hide her emotions. She was harder to read than Roni with her bright hair and even brighter smile. Ken shifted in his seat when he realized his eagerness to work with Sri was partially due to the possibility of having her younger sister in closer proximity to him.
Bothered with this thought, he decided to pull back a bit. “Of course, we can discuss this in further detail once your show is completed.” He hesitated a moment. “Why don’t the three of us meet for a meal here in Barcelona the day after the fashion show is over?”
Sri searched his face, but could find no emotion or reaction other than a businesslike friendliness. But why did he want Roni to be there? Did something happen between this cold man and her sister?
“I will have to check with Roni, so I will contact you once it is done and I have arranged transportation for my items to be shipped back to Thailand.”
Ken stood up and bowed, already thinking several moves ahead. “Thank you, Khun Sri. I look forward to seeing your clothing tomorrow.”
Roni laughed as she shifted. The sleek Ducati responded with an extra burst of speed as she hunkered down over the handlebars. Once the sun set, the Ronda Litoral was relatively empty, since the tourists had left the beaches already. As she approached the sports complex of CA Canaletes Sant Marti, she reluctantly slowed down to a more decorous speed. Her sister’s hotel was nearby, and she did not want to miss the turns to get to Avinguda Diagonal.
When she found the correct street, she pulled the bright blue motorcycle to curb and gracefully dismounted. Pulling off her helmet, she gave her head a shake. Tendrils of sun-kissed hair that had escaped the haphazard braid glinted red in the sun. She untied her bag from the pillion seat, and wedged the helmet into the rear storage box. With her duffel slung over her shoulder, she strode towards the hotel entrance.
She retrieved the room key from the smiling concierge and dashed up three flights of stairs to her room. But before she could do more than swipe the plastic, the door opened and her twin was there, looking both cheerful and exasperated.
Roni gave her sister a fierce hug, always glad when they were together. “Hi P’Sri! You’re looking great as always.”
Sri gave her a squeeze before pulling back. “And as usual, you can’t seem to stay out of trouble.” She grabbed her sister’s sleeve and pushed it back to reveal the bandage. “Oh, Roni, what were you thinking?”
The younger woman shrugged and rolled her sleeve back down. “I didn’t think P’, I just reacted. I couldn’t stand to see that low guy bullying an elder woman, no matter what.But I wouldn’t have gotten injured if I hadn’t been distracted by this Thai man who… wait, how in the world did you know?”
“Remember I told you I had a meeting with the head of a hotel chain? He wanted to discuss a possible contract to provide textiles for a refurbishment. His name is Khun Tanasugarn.”
Roni was floored. That annoying man was P’Sri’s potential client? Her silence was all the proof her sister needed.
“He wants both of us to have dinner with him the day after the show. Do you have anything planned? More importantly, do you have any problem with Khun Ken and what happened today?”
Roni hugged her sister again. “Nope. I found him to be very bossy and a bit irritating, but I promise I will be on my best behavior if it gets you that contract. By the way, what kind of business did he offer?”
Sri looked at her sister. The man had called her “Roni” even though they were little more than strangers. This was a very intriguing situation, but best left for a later time when she had a chance to observe her nong.
Sri pulled her to the small couch against the wall. “It’s not just the renovation. He also is willing to…”
Ken sipped his whisky and contemplated his glass. Although he had met with other designers regarding his renovation, he had a good feeling about this last one. Khun Chamnongsri Nopphadara was exactly what he thought: professional with a good work ethic and intelligence. He thought that she would be the best fit for his organization.
As for her sibling… his phone interrupted his line of thought.
“Hallo?” He broke into a smile. “Good evening, Tik. How is the move going? I’m not in the country at the moment, but I should return in three days.” He grabbed a nearby hotel notepad and pulled a pen from his jacket pocket. He scribbled rapidly, then ripped the paper off and stuffed it into his pocket.
“Okay, I’ve got the details. If you need any help in Krunthep, let me know. I’m still looking forward to beating you yet again in chess.” He listened for a moment. “Yeah yeah, I’m sure your coworker is a brilliant strategist, but that won’t break your losing streak.”
Ken loosened his tie and sat back to enjoy the conversation with his best friend, his thoughts on the two women now gone.
Posted on November 9, 2016, in enTWINed: A Thai Fanfiction (NaNoWriMo 2016), My Fan-Fictions and Novels, Original Short Stories and tagged ธีรเดช วงศ์พัวพันธ์, เข็มอัปสร สิริสุขะ, เจษฎาภรณ์ ผลดี, Cherry Khemapsorn, fanfic, fanfiction, ken theeradeth, Thailand, Tik Jesadaporn. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.