About Lina ..
Lina is a type of girl you'll immediately fall in love with.
The crimson-haired, very fair-skinned, bubbly Lina speaks in a less-polished but more-spontaneous manner than everyone else. Words blurt out of her mouth in a way that you can sympathize with. If you are a foreigner living in China, you're probably already making one faux pas after another. She too, has become part of a society that she's unfamiliar with.
Lina is 24, small and delicate-featured, pretty in a very pure and delicate way. She doesn't stop the party when she walks in, but you'd like to get to know her. There is a smoky kind of sensuousness about her.
Her vulnerable quality masks a strength even she doesn't know exists. There is a curious style, a great sense of high voltage about her. She doesn't care much about clothes and she hates brushing her long curly crimson hair, so she isn't as attractive as she might be, but she's still probably the cutest woman in the world.
To call her plain would be inaccurate. She could be gorgeous if she put any effort into it, which doesn't occur to her. Strikingly attractive, she plays it down by wearing no make-up, a loose-fitting vintage dress and flat shoes most of the times.
She's cute, she's innocent, but if you look closely behind her eyes in a quiet moment, you'll notice something else. She's terrified. She has a lot of family responsibilities on her thin shoulders.
Lina works as a waitress. She looks after her grandmother, her young sister and her older brother, because her father died and later her mother left the family for another man. Lina and her family has gotten used to and accepted the hand-to-mouth existence now. Little did she know what destiny had in store for her.
Lina is standing outside her home, having a conversation with an elderly bald man.
She is wearing her favorite brown jeans and a pink jacket over a bunch of other stuff she pulled together in fifteen seconds. She is unkempt, quick, volatile, scattered, and beneath it all, perhaps because of it all, an original beauty. Dark liquid eyes, a cynical mouth, slender expressive fingers.
"Uncle, would you please calm down! The rent's money is with my brother. I don't know why he didn't give it to you, but I am sure he will. Obviously, he would have gotten stuck somewhere. I am worried for him," Lina tries to explain her landlord.
"And why should I care? You are not my relative. I gave you the permission to live here.." yelled the bald man.
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! What do you mean by 'permission'? I pay rent.. and pay it on time. This is for the first time that ..." Lina snapped.
"Stop it! Do you know how many times did I call your brother? This is a violation of the agreement. Get out of my house immediately," yelled the bald man interrupting to what Lina had to say.
"Shame on you uncle. We have been paying the rent on time for years now. You can't ask us to get out of the house like this," insisted Lina.
"Hah! You said it yourself. You've been living here for years now, more than what the contract approves of. And so, I can ask you to get out of the house anytime now. I pitied your position and gave you the house on such a low rent, and this is what I get in return. Shame on you!" yelled the bald man.
"Uncle! Please calm down. Have a glass of water. Please give me some time so that I can talk to my brother. I'm sure something must has happened," insisted Lina as she offered a glass of water to the landlord.
"Look! It would be good for you if you can sort out all this by tomorrow. If not, get out of this house tomorrow itself," declared the landlord.
"Uncle, my grandma has a high blood pressure and diabetes. Please behave decently. You are getting us all stressed out. God forbid, if something happens, this would all be on you," sighed Lina.
"Don't try to get me into this emotional bullshit. You talk a lot. I am giving you 24 hours of time. If you can figure out what's happening, well and good, else, just get out. I order you to get out of my house within 24 hours," yelled the landlord again as he turned his back and walked towards his vintage bike.
"Your house be damned!" yelled Lina as she looks around to see people standing there to witness the fight. She ignores them and goes back into the house.
And now, Lina has 24 hours to find out why her brother was not able to give the money to landlord. No one has been able to contact him for more than a day now. There was so much that was going in her mind. She was worried. And to make matters worse, she was already getting late for her work.