This is the second series of “The Return of Hans.” All the names and characters in this story are fictive. “The Return of Hans” could be accessed on this page, too.
Susan indeed is a busy lady. She still works even on the day before Christmas while everybody in her office is out for a vacation. Susan lately has been into a social mission in which she hopes to build a non-profit organization for families of children with Autism. This is a tough project for her, and she needs an affluent person to help her. The person who has been on her mind is a techpreneur who also cares for the children welfare. His name is James, and everybody knows about him because of his recent nomination as the Man of the Year 2019. Susan knows that this would be difficult to get in touch with him, but it did not stop her from reaching out to James. She tried to contact James from LinkedIn all the way to Instagram. Nothing works until one day, Susan gets an idea. James is doing a live video on his Instagram, and you could type a question for him in which he will randomly select and answer the questions. That day is Susan’s luckiest day because James finally replies her message.
“I need a person to sit on the board for my upcoming non-profit organization. The organization is to provide respite services for families of children with Autism. I know you care for children’s health and education. Can I send a proposal for you to take a look?” Susan exhales after clicking the send button. She has been monitoring James’s Instagram for hours. She wants to make sure that she is among the first five followers who types the questions to James. When James responds to her questions privately via Direct Message, Susan jumps out from her chair and does a little dancing.
Although work life has been good to her, personal life is rocky. Susan argues a lot with her mother. She has to face her cousins who look at her and ask why she is not married. All of her cousins are married with kids already. Susan, at the age of 34, is still single and doesn’t show any signs to be in a relationship. Hans is still waiting for her, but this will not last, too. Susan comforts herself in her work. She wants to create a non-profit organization for families of children with Autism because she knows how hard it is to raise a child with Autism. Getting a respite even only for one hour is very helpful.
James has caught Susan’s attention after she watched James’s presentation on YouTube. James is a younger guy, 30 years old, who has a lot of followers and many women want to date him. He is a type of person who basically every in-law wants. He has a smiley face, good stable job, and what even nice is that he is graduated from Harvard. Well, Susan is not interested in dating him. She knows that James is too young, out of reach, and what more important is that James has different religion from Susan. Growing up in a Catholic family makes Susan think that it is better to live with someone who has a same faith with her. Someone who can accompany her to go to church every Saturday night and celebrate Christmas Eve together. What Susan does not know is that her path is about to twist after her meeting with James.
Susan is scheduled to meet up with James’s secretary on Wednesday morning. Susan has 30 minutes to explain why she needs James to sit on the board and what James could do in the long run. The secretary escorts her out to the main lobby, and Susan will not get the results until two weeks later.
As Susan walks out of the door, her phone beeps.
“Hey, Susan. This is Hans. Merry Christmas. I am back in town. Can I pick you up for dinner tonight?”
Susan rolls her eyes as she reads Hans’s message.
“Fine. Do you want to hang out in my apartment? I will order pizza. There’s a lot of traffic jam...”
“Anything you want. I bring nice gift to you. 😊”
Susan hurries to come home. She needs to clean up her living room. She uses her living room as an office, and she doesn’t expect that Hans will come.
Hans looks tired and old. He has this shy eye when he looks up to Susan. Every time Susan looks at Hans she always feels guilty. She feels bad because she cannot reply his love to her. They sit at the table and eat pizza. Hans pulls out a square box from his pocket. It’s a Tiffany box.
“I spy your Instagram. I know that you are a fan of Tiffany.”
“So, here’s your Christmas gift to you. It’s not a proposal, so don’t give me that pale-looking face.”
“Thanks, but I don’t wear jewelry.”
“Can you open it first?”
Susan unwraps the gift box, and she sees a Tiffany key pendant with yellow and white diamonds. It’s pretty but she is unsure if she could accept this gift.
“Hans, this is pretty but I cannot take it. I don’t deserve it. I ..”
Hans interrupts and says “You want to say that you cannot reply my love? 10 years of my love and admiration to you.”
Susan cries and Hans hugs her.
“I don’t like to force you, Susan. There’s no other women whom I like except you. Just please take that gift. Do you want me to put it on for you?”
Hans insists to put the necklace on Susan’s neck. They both sitting on the balcony and watch the streets from up there.
Hans cannot stay in town too long. He has to go back to the States. Susan drives him to the airport.
“Don’t you want to back to the States with me?”
“I miss the States, but I don’t think I can back to the States now.”
“Okay, Susan. Thank you for your time! It’s nice to see you. I am very grateful. Pass my greetings to your parents, ok?”
“Ok! Safe flight!”
Susan has nowhere to go after that. She decides to go back to her apartment, but suddenly her phone is ringing.
“Is this Susan?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“Hi, I know this is a holiday, but I am James. I am reviewing your proposal.”
Susan cannot believe that James calls her.
“Yes, what do you think? Can you do it?”
“Uhm, we need to meet in person before I make a decision. Are you available tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock?”
“Sure! Thank you.”
Susan drives home with a big smile on her face.
Susan waits for James in the lobby. She feels nervous. This non-profit organization is something she wants to do after she is retired from her job at the hospital. Thus far, she has recruited three board members, two are from media industry and one is from business sector. With James on board, she believes that this organization will be launched soon.
“Good morning, Miss Susan.” James’s secretary greets her.
“Hi, good morning! Good to see you again.”
“Please follow me. Mr. James has been waiting for you.”
Susan enters a meeting room that could fit up to 16 people. The meeting room has huge window facing tall buildings and high ways. James sits at the table and greets Susan. “Good morning, Susan!”
“Good morning, Mr. James!”
“Ah, please call me James. Have a seat.”
“So, I look up your proposal. I want to know why this has to do with autism? And why me? You know I am not in the medical field.”
“I am a child and family director in the hospital. Every day I meet with parents of children with developmental disabilities especially Autism. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder and it affects the brain, speech, social and motor skills. Parents whose kids are diagnosed with Autism live twice harder than parents of typically developed children. Having a respite is very helpful for them.”
“As for you, I have been observing your journey in the startup business including your education platform. It has a long term value and it appears to me from your profile, you care for children’s health. Thus, being a board member in this organization could fulfill your mission.”
“Wow! You are very thorough. I am quite impressed. I am very busy this year and I don’t think I can commit in this role. However, could you send me the draft on how you are going to budget this respite service. I assume this is free?”
“Well, Yes, I could prepare that draft. How soon do you need the draft?”
“Can you give it to me next month?”
“Is there a number to reach you?”
“Yes, here’s my business card.”
“What degree are you graduated from?”
“I see. It’s a good field. I am impressed with your passion in this field.”
Susan feels relieved. Now, she has to get the draft ready. Meanwhile, she gets a message from Hans.
“Hey, I am in Hong Kong already. The 18hours flight is about to start. Aha! Talk to you soon. Don’t work so hard!”
Susan types back “ok. Safe flight!”
One month later…
“Hi Susan, this is James. I am in your hospital. Can I have a tour in your department? Is that possible?”
“Right now? Just the tour ok? It’s not allowed to observe parent session without consent form. Sorry.”
Susan gives James a tour facility. James looks impressed and shows interest in getting to know how this project will go further.
“Uhm, Susan, are you free next Thursday. I am invited to this non profit event. I wonder if you are interested in accompanying me. Plus, you could recruit more board members. What do you think?”
“I have a meeting until 7 PM. Not sure I could make it there.”
“Don’t worry, cause I will be late, too. Just call me when you are there.”
Susan arrives at the ballroom where that event is held. The event is to collect donation to support bone marrow research. Susan calls James as she is not sure where he is. Suddenly, she hears someone calls her name.
“Susan, here!” James yells at her.
She sees him and walks toward him. Right that moment, she secretly acknowledge how handsome James is. No wonder so many girls chase after him.
Susan sits next to James. James introduce her as a good friend of him who works with families and children. Susan suddenly feels small in that event because she doesn’t know anyone in that room. They all are famous and do important things like James. It looks like that James recognizes her feeling. He taps Susan’s shoulder and says “let’s get out from here.”
“What? But it’s not yet finished.”
James holds her hand and they walk to the main lobby. “Let’s eat dinner. Ah, leave your car here. Give me your car’s key and my driver will send it back to your apartment.”
“Waiiiit… no, no, I can go home directly.”
“Come on, I will be out for business trip for two weeks. I don’t understand with what you wrote in the proposal.”
“My car is here. Hop on.”
“How do you get volunteers?”
“Well, that’s the part where I need you to be on board. You have this edu-tech platform right? You could advertise this on your platform, and from there I could select a pool of volunteers.”
“Who will train them and do the match-making?”
“Who is going to make sure that the volunteers do no harm to the kids?”
“I have a board member who has a legal team who will look over that part.”
“Aha. So why don’t you launch?”
“I need more funding that’s another reason I look for you.”
“Now I know… Why are you so enthusiastic about this?? Do you have a family with Autism?”
“No, I don’t. I do a lot of home visits and meet lots of parents. Life is stressful for them, because some of these kids need your full attention.”
“Are you married?”
“Are you dating?”
“How old are you again?”
“Thirty four. And why you ask personal question?”
“Because you are weird. I mean you are interested in unusual stuff.”
“So, are you going to be on board??”
“You are a straight forward lady, aren’t you??”
“Yes, I will be on board. Madam. Happy??”
“Thank you. I am leaving.”
“No, the food is not here.”
“I am not hungry.”
“Are you mad? I am sorry.”
“I don’t like a personal question. Plus, I don’t know about you.”
“I’m sorry. People usually ask so many questions from personal to business to me.”
Two weeks later…
“Susan, this is James. Can we meet? I need you to sign the contract.”
Hans is in town. He insists to drop Susan to James’s office.
“Hans, is that you?”
Hans turns his body and is surprised to see James.
“Hey, Buddy! What’s up?”
They both hug each other and give a pat on the back.
Susan looks blank. Not sure what to say.
“What are you doing here? I heard you moved out to Bay area?”
“Yes, I did. I got a job over there after finishing my contract in Harvard.”
“I hear you are popular, too.”
“So, what brought you here in my building?”
“Aaw…this is your building? Cool! I just drop my friend, Susan. She is right there.”
“Susan?? You know her?”
“Of course! You know her, too?”
“I am going to meet her. That’s why I wait for her here.”
Hans frowns as he hears this.
“I don’t know that you both know each other.” Said Susan
Hans and James look at each other. James says, “We are in the same university. Hans is my senior back then.”
Hans let Susan talks with James. He waits in the lobby.
“Susan, how do you know Hans?”
“We have known each other for a long time.”
“Are you by the chance the girl who has made Hans single all these years??”
“What are you talking?”
“There was a rumor back when I was in Harvard that Hans liked a girl who was also a student in the States but different cities. Hans liked that girl but she rejected him. Eventually Hans could not forget about her.”
Susan doesn’t know what to say.
“It must be you. We guys know when another guy looks at a woman with that kind of eye that means he likes her. I see that in Hans’s eyes.”
“Ok, I am leaving.”
“Susan, you are hilarious! I wish I could talk to you more, but I have another meeting. Tell Hans to catch up with me later.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that James is the person whom you will meet?”
“I told you. He is a famous techpreneur in this country..”
“You did not tell me his name.”
“Do I have to report everything to you?”
“You could have told me his name.”
“Err, I don’t think that’s necessary. Plus, you always show up whenever you like.”
“Of course that’s necessary.”
“Ehm…. we are not dating.”
“That’s true. If you think by giving me this necklace implies that we are dating you are wrong! I am not comfortable with your possessive attitude.”
“Susan what are you talking?”
“You know what I am talking. You try to monitor with whom I meet and go. Here’s your necklace. I don’t need it. Bye!” Susan leaves Hans.
Hans returns to the States the next day without leaving any messages to Susan. He sent the necklace to Susan’s mom. Susan and her mom have a mouth fight after that.
“Aren’t you crazy rejecting Hans?”
“Yes, I am crazy.”
“He is a good guy. He waits for you for a long time.”
“No, I don’t like him. Plus I have an issue with his possessive attitude.”
Susan is leaving her home and when she is about to turn on her car’s engine, James calls her.
“Madam, you sound strict.”
“I am busy right now. What do you want?”
“I have to entertain kids in orphanage. Can you help me?”
“Where’s your secretary?”
“Don’t you know that she is off for a week?”
“Err, right now..”
“Madam, you look awful. Kids will be scared of you.”
“Can you please shut up?!?”
“Fine. Help me. I never talked to children.”
“What do you mean with never??”
“I don’t do this type of work. I deal with adults, investors, interns and accountant, ok?”
Susan helps James to run the event. The organization that owns this orphanage has a business relationship with James’s office.
“Can I treat you for a meal?”
“No need. I want to go home.”
“Well, can I go to your home?”
“Nooo.. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
“So, let’s eat McD with me.”
“You are really annoying.”
“And, I like to annoy you.”
“You sound not in the good mood.”
“Do you have a fight with Hans? Is he the one who gives you a key pendant?”
“It’s hard to not stare at that pretty pendant. Everyone knows that pendant must be expensive. The other day my sister sets me on a blind date. Guess what? She shows me this jewelry website and asks me to buy that pendant. The one you wear.”
“She is brave…”
“I left the restaurant and yelled at my sister on the phone.”
“Hans and I are not dating. The pendant is from him. It is a Christmas gift.”
“I know. Because you are special to him. I don’t mind give an expensive gift to my loved one. But this girl whom I just met asked for it. That was ridiculous!”
“I got it.
“Susan, can I go with you when you are visiting an orphanage as part of your job?”
“Yes… I just need you to sign a consent form.”
“Thank you. Also, can we also meet more often?”
“Because I want to.”
“What if I don’t want?”
“I will keep nagging like a kid.”
“Hah? Are you crazy?”
“So, I want to confess. The first time you reached out to me through LinkedIn, I actually read your message. I looked up your profile and read your blog. I enjoyed reading your blog. I did not randomly select your question on Instagram. Instead I purposely chose you. I thought heaven must be on my side because you were watching my live video.”
Susan is speechless.
“I know right now is not the best time to talk about it. But, I am so busy and I don’t want to miss this important talk.”
“James, is this a prank?”
“No, Susan. This is not a prank. I want to know more about you.”
“Get to know as if a man and a woman?”
“But, I am 34 and you are 30. We have a different religious belief.”
“You don’t look like an old lady. As for religious, if it is meant to be together. I don’t mind to change but this will take a long time.”
“James. I am not ready.”
“I will make you ready.”
“James, this is not a game.”
“Do I look like someone who is playing a game?”
“You are crazy.”
“One must be crazy enough to ask someone like you to go on a date.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“No need to say. Just stay beside me.”
**to be continued…**