It was summer, people were enjoying swimming and doing suntan along the beach of the Gold Coast but not Mel. She was still the loneliest girl in the middle of the busy coast despite having the companionship of her cousins. Mel had been in Australia for about two months and she was staying in an apartment owned by one of her uncles - Mr. Lam's eldest brother.

Mr. Lam had established a large business network, supplying large varieties of guestroom accessories to the hotel industries in the Australian market. In order to overlook his ever-growing businesses, he had no choice but to bring his family over to Australia. Mel had two cousins, Kevin and Gavin, who were twelve years and fifteen years older. They adored Mel very much and treated her like a daughter instead.

Despite the age gaps between them, Mel was their clown whenever they were feeling down. Furthermore, both of them were married, but without any children because their wives' priority was their careers and they were still not ready to be tied down by babies. As a matter of fact, they realized that Mel was no longer the cheerful Melody they had known when she practically locked herself inside her apartment during the first two weeks of her stay. Therefore, they decided to drag her out to enjoy the golden sun before she started to accumulate cobwebs inside her room, literally.

"Mel, what's wrong?" Kevin asked concernedly.

"Just getting a little homesick I guess." Mel muttered out blankly. "Then why are you here in the first place?" Gavin added. "Auntie told me you are able to enroll into any junior college in Singapore with your preliminary result."

"Hmm…it's a long story." Mel hesitated, not wanting to stir up the past because it was indeed, one painful experience. The cruel truth was that she still couldn't forget about Joe. Every time Mel phoned back home, her parents would ask for her consent in revealing her whereabouts to Joe since his phone calls never seemed to stop. Mel even received many letters from Joe that were being redirected by Mrs. Lam. However, she just put the letters aside, unopened. Mel wanted very much to forgive Joe, but she just couldn't bring herself to because Joe had betrayed her trust in him.

"I am going back" Mel got up from the mat and put on her robe.

"So fast? You haven't even gotten into the water." Kevin protested because he had been trying so hard to get Mel out in the sun and there she was, trying to retreat into her own world again. "No point pondering about the past. You've to cheer up a bit." Gavin added in.

"I'm just feeling very tired." Mel managed a smile before packing up her belonging. Knowing their baby cousin's stubbornness, both Gavin and Kevin dropped the idea of making her stay.

As Mel was approaching the main road, she vividly heard a scream some distant away behind her. "Hey lady, watch out!" Just before she could turn around to locate the source of the scream, a large body came crashing against her hard from the back, making Mel lost her balance and landed onto the cemented ground. "Ouch!" Mel yelled out in pain and started rubbing her bruised shoulders.

"Are you blind or what?" The stranger, who had gotten a bruised leg as well, growled out. It was then Mel noticed her 'attacker', followed by three Caucasian ladies rushing anxiously over to the angry man.

"Are you referring to yourself?" Mel quickly rejoined back, obviously frustrated by his obnoxious attitude.

"I won't stop my fists just because you are a woman!" The guy threatened out and took another few steps closer to Mel. Mel scrutinized her confronter from head to toe. He was indeed one handsome chap with a face of well-matched features and one hell of a well-built and tanned body. Under normal circumstance, Mel would just blush herself to death but then, that attitude of his was really pissing her off.

"You were the one running like a mad man in the middle of a busy pathway like this and you are now blaming me for the clash?" Mel firmly rebutted in spite of his enthralling physical assets.

"Darling, why bother with a little girl?" One of the ladies tried to slimmer him down because they were getting quite impatient standing around.

"No. It's a matter of principle."

"Oh my god, this is so terrible!" The ladies continued with their grumbling while their hands busy fanning away so as to get rid of the heat waves.

"Mel! Are you okay?" Gavin asked after he had rushed over, followed by Kevin when they noticed their baby cousin had gotten herself into some kind of trouble.

"This barbarian has knocked me down and still wants me to apologize." Mel explained to them, purposely making her explanation loud enough for her confronter's ears.

"Hey, what did you call me just now?" The already agitated man demanded out, shooting a murderous glare at Mel.

"Barbarian…don't you understand English? B-A-R-B-A-R-I-A-N!" Mel spited out fearlessly.

"You…" The man was trying his best to refrain himself from giving Mel a tight slap because nobody, especially females, would dare to call him names. Nevertheless, he never hits a woman before and he did not want to tarnish his image.

"Are you going to hit me with those shaky fists of yours?" Mel provoked further, her index finger softly tapping her left cheek.

"You…" The man was dumbfounded by Mel's fearlessness and his dumbfound expression somehow reminded Mel of her first love because it was almost like a replica of his. The sudden remising somehow depressed Mel and all she wanted to do was to go home and snuggle under her blanket so that she could temporarily forget about everything.

"What the heck." Mel threw her hands up in the air. "Sorry." The sudden apology from Mel had once again made her confronter totally speechless. "Not so soon." This time, his recovery was faster and he quickly grabbed hold of Mel.

"Hey buddy, she has already apologized. What more do you want from her?" Gavin quested out pointedly.

"Sincerity!" The man shook his head, "There was none in that apology."

"Don't push your luck okay?" Gavin glared, rolling up his sleeves to prepare for a fight, if necessary. "Don't." Mel gave Gavin a soft nudge because she did not want to create any trouble for her cousin. Without hesitation, Mel turned around and gave her confronter one ninety-degree, Japanese style bow.

"I am very sorry." With that, Mel moved off and this time, he did not stop her anymore. "Give me a call when you reached your place, okay?" Gavin shouted the reminder when Mel was already distant away.

"Okay!" Mel replied, waving her hand in the air without turning her head. They continued to keep a lookout on the man's action in order to make sure that he would not give Mel any more trouble and were relieved to see him moving off in the opposite direction.

"Interesting…" Mel had indeed left her confronter with a deep impression for Mel was the first girl who dared to look him straight in the eyes and calls him a barbarian.

"Sam, shall we stop over that area?"


To be continued…