Isn't a surprise?

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends with the narrator revealing a secret.... view prompt



May I trade my parents for yours?

No, it is not a joke; I am more than happy to trade mine for yours anytime of the day. Asian parents are a pain in the ass.

Every day the lecture is about studying til midnight, earning honors, being top of the class, becoming a doctor, lawyer (in their dictionary the only two jobs that exist), having a six-digit salary.

Love them to death but it irritates the Buddha out of me!

Excuse me Buddha.

“Lila, we want the best for you,” my mother and father said one night on the couch. “We want you to be successful and great.”

“Mom and Dad, you want to brag to your friends about me,” I replied. “You are not thinking about my dreams or inspirations!”

Countless of negotiations and I have decided on accounting coursework for the Fall semester. My parents barely approved but accounting was a stable and useful skill so they didn’t say much.

I am standing on the campus, watching freshmen asking the campus coordinator for directions, the sophomores to the upper class man walking with ease with their backpacks and Beats earphones on.

The first classes of the week: History of Fashion: Beginning and End, Visual Skills for Beginners, Introduction to Design, How to Cut with Precision, and Form and Color.

I have deferred the accounting classes indefinitely. UC Davis has offered great classes for future designers like me.

The thing is my dream is to be the future Alexander Wang and to show case my designs at either New York or Milan Fashion Week. In my secret designer folder, I have designed the logo for my brand and can’t show it to you! Sorry. What if you steal my ideas?

Now if my parents knew their daughter is going after a designing degree, they would be furious and would give me the Asian whooping, so your girl keep this a secret.

Growing up, I watched beautiful and lithe temperament women and men walking down millions of runways with confidence and a message: you can have this too.

 Louis Vuitton, Prada, YSL, Chanel, Burberry are my top favorite brands when it comes to everything--shoes, purses, clothing, accessories.

A lot of people are after for the name of the designer; I am after the temperament. I think most of us forgot what clothes does to our bodies--it amplify the imperfections of our curves into something appealing.

At first, I mimicked the styles in these high-end fashion shows, then I started to create my own in the drawings. My parents can not afforded such brands, but they would give me scraps/leftovers, from their fabric store, in which I created tops, one piece dresses, midi-skirts…anything my hands were able to do.

What makes you think you could accomplish your path?

Initially, I wanted to list out my qualifications from age six to now, then I rethink about my answer.

“I want to make any race, gender, and color to retain their originality and bring a new height to their beauty. Clothing shouldn’t be about a price tag or a fancy name rather than it should be catering to one’s originality and beauty.”

The interview panel of three look at each other and nod their heads. “Ms. Lila, allow us to welcome you to ‘Everlasting Impressions’.”

Score! My long hours and sweat in working with angry customers, organizing piles of wore clothing, and scrubbing stuff on returned attires is paying off! I am official an designer intern with a maximum pay of $15 per hour.

“The job you applied has additional requirements,” the lady with mint rectangle glasses said. “You are required to do overtime on Fridays, because that’s when the designers have to submit their rough drafts to the senior designers. You will, with each one, to ensure their submission of everything.”

Pizza is postpone to 8 then. “That is fine with me.”

“Good. Also you will be a substitute assistant to our corporate executive whenever his assistant is unavailable.”


“Excellent. We will begin on Monday.”


“Ms. Diana, I will need your rough drafts by 7 pm today.”

“Yes, yes. I will.” The lady intensely look at the board, which hang papers and partial magazine pages and drawings of skirts, dresses, tops, bras, shoes.

“7 pm sharp,” I said. Diana is usually the last one to turn everything in.

“Lila, don’t you see I am concentrating. Good ideas come---”

“With silence and a great mind,” I rehearsed. “I will turn in my work by 7 pm and so please don’t come by my office or ask me again.” I smile and quietly close the door.

I do not have a photographic memory, but I do like making people speechless.

Walking back with fifty thick files shouldn’t be an arduous task until I crash into a rock.

“Hey, watch where you are going,” I said rubbing my arm. Oh great, my pizza night is ruined; I will have to stay an extra hour to organize this mess.   

“Oh, I am sorry, Ms. Lila,” I looked up and met the green-eyed very tall and very dashing stranger. He has the face of Zac Efron, in a boyish sense, but has a body of Henry Cavill.

Oh yummy. “Hello?” I took his hand.

“Now, I am greeted?” the man let out a chuckled.

“I was upset that I will be having microwaveable ramen tonight,” I said, bending down to gather the papers.

“A right to be upset,” the man also gathered the paper. “I will make up for it. How about I helped you with your files and I will order us some mushroom pizza.”

“I want sausage and peppers on it too.”


“You are funny!,” I said, biting into the second slice of pizza.

“Not according to my parents. They think I have a dry sense of humor,” the man gets another slice. “My parents are stale.”

“My parents are….Asian,” I smiled. “They do not want me to work here. Actually, they are unaware of my major change and current occupation.”


“Accounting,” I said. “I do not like dealing with numbers other than the ones in my bank account.

The man laughed. “Doesn’t everybody feel that way. You shouldn’t be ashamed of pursing your passion.”

“My passion is crazy. I want to be a designer.”

“That isn’t crazy. I think it quite a strong goal. I have seen the number of hours and effort you made during and after work hours. The designers speak highly of you, except for Diana.”

“So, I am going to sound judgement and probably offensive when I am saying this. A guy of your statue works for a clothing company? Do you think it is--”

“Out of the usual? Yes,” the guy said. “My parents, similar to yours, had a blueprint map for me to follow--get the bachelor’s in business and move into the corporate ladder--management or HR. But I do not like to sat behind the desk. I like to inspire and interact with others. Hence the birth of ‘Everlasting Beauty’.”

I almost choked on the pizza. Sitting in front of me is the CEO! “Look, I am so, very sorry about the incident in the afternoon. Pizza night, on Friday, is very sacred to me. I am really, really sorry.”

“Slow down, we don’t want to call the ambulance due to choking on a sausage. Going back to you. Tell me a little of your design. How you made any of them?”

“Oh ummm…”

“Oh, did I asked something personal?”

“No, it is not that. No body ever asked me that question,” I said. “I have rough drafts in my backpack.”

“I would love to see them.”

“I would love to show you.”


A 5’10 model rocking the gray trouser with a burgundy polka-dot blazer and six-inch Christian Louboutin. The next model had on a soft gold silky body dress pairing with Louboutin and star earrings.

Today’s theme revolves around shapes--dots, stars, hearts…make something ordinary into something extraordinary!

On the wide screen, it says “Daphne”.

The name of my first fashion line and our daughter sitting beside me.







May 21, 2020 00:11

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Pragya Rathore
11:36 Aug 14, 2020

Right from the first line, your style was lovely. You've got quite an idea here, amazing! Although I'm Asian too, and I really, really love my parents. But so do you! You have got a fantastic story here. Mind checking out my recent stories? Thanks :)


Emma Lin
19:24 Aug 14, 2020

Thanks Pragya! haha. Sure, I will check out yours :)


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Batool Hussain
12:03 Jul 12, 2020

Wow, this is so sweet. The ending was just perfect. Mind checking out my new story n and sharing your views on it? Thanks.


Emma Lin
14:22 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you! No problem, I will. Sorry that I haven't been as active. I have been busy with other stuff.


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