To Set up the Five Men With the Ladies
After Veronica revealed the secret to Matthew, she shushed him before she turned around and walked
toward Hendrey. “It is cold outside, Hendrey. Let’s go in.”
“Alright.” Hendrey lightly nodded, but he started to head in the direction of his car’s trunk. “Let me go
get something first.”
“Oh—I am just happy that you are here. You didn’t have to bring anything,” Veronica politely protested
while following him.
As the trunk opened, it coincidentally gave them the privacy from being seen by others.
While carrying one thing after another, Hendrey suddenly asked, “Are you the ‘man’ that Matthew likes
that made news a while ago?”
This was merely a guess on his part at first.
But now that he unexpectedly met Matthew during his visit to Veronica’s house, all the pieces of the
puzzle seem to finally fit together.
“Ha! Clever boy.” Veronica bashfully giggled without any intention to hide the truth.
She couldn’t help the blood rush to her face whenever she thought of how what happened between her
and Matthew in the fitting room was exposed on the news.
Even though that incident was only verbally made known to the media by the shop assistant, who had
later came forward to ‘apologize’ by saying that she was only talking nonsense for the publicity,
everyone knew that the shop assistant was merely covering up the truth.
“Veronica, do you really trust Matthew Kings so much? You and him are polar opposites. You will be the
one who ends up being crushed to pieces in the end,” Hendrey said worriedly.
For some reason, Veronica suddenly felt that Hendrey’s attitude toward her from the moment he got
out of the car had been somewhat unusual.
Especially that gaze of his. His eyes almost seemed like they were on fire when they looked at her. It
almost felt like he… liked her.
On top of that, she didn’t seem to be the only one who thought so. Even Matthew was treating Hendrey
like a love rival.
No, it is impossible, Veronica quietly denied. I saw with my own eyes Hendrey and Tiffany being
together. He must be extra caring toward me because he’s my first love.
“What about Tiffany? Do you trust her that much?” Veronica gradually lost her smile, and she solemnly
added, “Have you ever thought that you will be the one getting the short end of the stick when it all
Even though the two who cared for each other had asked the same question, one of them had asked
out of sincerity as a friend, while the other was blatantly throwing out a challenge due to greed.
“Oh—Mr. Johnson. How many gifts did you buy that you are still not done carrying them all?”
Seeing that Veronica and Hendrey were chatting the whole time they stood behind the car, Matthew
rested his elbow on the handle of the axe while he quietly took puffs from the cigarette in his other
His eyes, however, stayed on the duo standing at the rear of the car the whole time.
It was only when his view was blocked by the trunk lid that Matthew gave Skyler a knowing look and
Skyler, in turn, joked about Hendrey’s gifts when he understood what Matthew wanted.
After Hendrey closed the trunk with his hands full of gifts, Veronica turned to glare at Skyler. “I bet you
got rid of your ex-girlfriend with your endless rambling,” she complained.
“Pfft!” Caleb couldn’t stop himself from laughing when he heard her words. He then gave her a thumbs-
up. “You really are clever.”
“You taciturn prick, are you sick of living?!” Skyler angrily yelled. He then walked off to one side and
leaned over to grab a handful of snow, thereafter squeezing it into a snowball and hurling it at Caleb.
The agile Caleb tilted his head slightly and easily avoided the snowball. Miguel, who was behind him,
had unfortunately taken the attack for him when the snowball soundly landed and burst on his face,
turning his face white and cold the next instance.
In pain, Miguel glared at Skyler angrily as the corners of his mouth twitched. He was sprinting in
Skyler’s direction the next second.
“Oh—sh*t! Bro, I didn’t do it on purpose.”
Knowing that he was in danger, Skyler turned around and ran to hide behind Matthew. “You have to
back me up, Matt.”
Wispy smoke came out from between Matthew’s thin lips as he calmly said, “Of course.”
He then passed the axe in his hand to Skyler. “Here. Take it. I am lending it to you. Go ahead and take
a few swings. Don’t hold back.”
Skyler didn’t say anything the first few seconds, but he soon flashed Matthew a thumbs-up and praised,
“‘You cold-hearted man.”
Veronica was watching then when she shook her head out of resignation. “Come on. Let’s head inside,”
she said to Hendrey.
The two of them entered the courtyard together and headed to the living room, where Hendrey greeted
Veronica’s parents and wished them a merry Christmas. They then started to have a chat over hot tea.
It didn’t take long before the people from the village came one after another to give the Murphys their
Christmas greetings, resulting in an endless stream of people in Veronica’s house.
Everyone’s eyes seemed to glint when they saw the five handsome men there.
“Golly, Veronica! Aren’t you a capable one? It has only been a year since you started working and yet,
you made so many new friends!”
“Your friends sure are handsome. Do they have a partner? Let me tell you. My cousin’s second niece’s
distant cousin is still single. Should I introduce her to your friend?”
“That second aunt? Don’t even bring up that relative of yours who is a million miles away. Roni, does
that lad who is chopping wood have a girlfriend? How about I introduce my daughter to him?”
“Do any of you young men want to give me your contact? My daughter is still single. Does anyone want
to give her a try?”
Veronica’s home usually had only a few visitors because it was located at the very end of the village.
It had, however, gathered a crowd just because Matthew and the rest were here. Everyone wanted to
join in and enjoy the sight of the five men with distinctly different styles.
Many even brought their daughters along with them.
Matthew, Hendrey, Caleb, Miguel and Skyler felt like they had turned into circus monkeys in that instant
their spectators came.
Veronica was going to step forward to stop the villagers and explain to them at first. It was until there
was too big a crowd that she simply went home and sat beside the heater to watch the replay of the
Christmas Concert. She didn’t see a point in giving an explanation.
Because of her lack of initiative, Daniella and Tony were the ones who ended up spending their
Christmas busy offering their neighbors drinks and cigarettes and candies. They couldn’t even take a
break in between.
Matthew was still engrossed with violently swinging his ax to chop firewood. A few people had
surrounded him to watch him, but they stood some distance away as they feared they would get hurt by
They tried to make conversation with him, only to be ignored. Hence, they started to leave him by
Skyler, who was a chatterbox, stood in the middle of a crowd as he boasted about himself, and made
his three close friends the supporting characters in his story.
On the other hand, Caleb didn’t enjoy the noise at all. He snuck away from there and followed along
Veronica’s house until he reached the small reservoir at the right side of her house to have a peaceful
moment to himself.
He heard a noise as he was standing by the reservoir to smoke a cigarette.
He then went in the direction the sound came from and after a while, he came across a slender girl in
an aqua coat made of cotton. Her hair was tied into two braids as she sat in front of a slabstone by the
reservoir as she beat a piece of laundry in her hand with a mallet.
Seeing how red her hands had turned from the cold, he naturally asked, “It is such a cold day today,
not to mention it is Christmas! Why are you here doing laundry?”
The girl only lifted her head to look at Caleb when he spoke.
He took a good look at her then. With her dark eyebrows, big eyes, fair skin, and the mole under one of
her eyes, she looked like a proper, pure village girl.
She immediately gave him a smile as sweet and beautiful as she was when she saw him.
Instead of answering him, she shook her hands to dry them, and then started making a few gestures.
Caleb let out a frown then.
Is she a mute?