It happened around the time when Kendall was 2. Kendall’s dad, Christian Skye, was an investment banker for Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. for about 10 years. Walking into the tall building and past the receptionist, Christian made his way into his office on the 15th floor. “Hey, Chris! How was your weekend?” He was quickly met with his close friend, Hugh Chiang, Fanny and Chloe’s father. “It was great! Alissa and I took the kids to the beach. It won’t be long before her water breaks though.” Christian shook his head. Alissa, his wife, was pregnant yet again. We should consider getting her tubes tied. I swear. He scoffed to himself. This would be his third kid. If it was a boy, they were thinking Gilbert, after one of the funniest actors of all time. If it’s a girl, then Yumi, after Alissa’s mother. Raising Kendall and Megan was already stressful. So having to raise a third child, it wouldn’t be fun. Luckily, there’s a chance at getting a promotion. The previous vice president retired, so they are definitely looking to fill that spot soon. It would be great to get that extra money. The two sat back in their cubicles, and got to work. “Attention everyone!” In walked the president. “So we finally spoke it over, and the vice president is going to be…. Hugh Chiang! Congratulations! You have worked with us for 20 years, and you finally got that promotion you deserved!” Everyone started clapping. “Thank you!” Hugh rose up and smiled. “You earned it.” Christian shook Hugh’s hand.
“I’m sorry that you had to be let go.” It was only a few months later. Gil was born, and Christian was already tight on money. And then he was told this by none other than Hugh. He had just lost his job. The next couple of months were stressful. Finding work was difficult, because the economy was looking bad. However, Christian was able to get hired as a banker for a Bank of America. He didn’t get paid nearly as much, but it was better than nothing. And then Alissa, now that she had given birth, was able to look for work as well; she became a cashier at a local Japanese bakery during the daytime. Having to relocate their family to a small apartment was tough. The kids had to share a single bedroom. They were barely making ends’ meet. And at the same time, he had heard about Hugh’s living conditions; he moved into a mansion at Beverly Hills, he hired a private chef to cook his family’s meals, and their mansion was so large they needed four housekeepers to maintain it. That’s what Kendall was told by his father. And that’s the reason why Kendall always looked down on Fanny, specifically, Fanny’s family. Unbeknownst to Kendall, Christian was actually still good friends with Hugh.
“Well that’s my weekend. How was yours? Is Lily getting any better?” Christian was referring to Hugh’s wife, Mrs. Chiang. Lily unfortunately had lung cancer; she was a line cook for many years, and because of that, she was exposed to a lot of toxic fumes. “She’s doing alright. We’re getting tight on money, because Chloe was just born this year. But I’m sure we can work through it.” Hugh reassured his concerned friend. “But if you get the promotion, wouldn’t that mean that Lily will be covered in your new health plan?” Christian reasoned. “Yeah, but what are the odds of me getting a promotion, right?” Hugh laughed as the two of them made their way to their respective cubicles. “Anyways, we got a long day of work ahead of us!” Luckily for Hugh, the promotion came when Lily needed it most. She was able to get chemotherapy, fully covered by the company. And to take care of the family, with Hugh’s new salary, they hired Malina, Lily’s old co-worker, as a private chef, and four housekeepers to take care of their new house, the children, and most importantly, Lily.
“The company might be going under and I have to let people go. But I promise you, Chris, we will keep you on. You’ve been a valuable asset to our team and-” “Hugh, I saw the list already. You were planning to let go of associates who have been here 4-5 years longer than I have, just to keep me on. That’s not fair to them. Let me go.” Christian insisted. Hugh and Christian were sitting in Hugh’s office room. “I know it’s a tough decision, and I know we are friends. But I don’t want to stay in this company knowing that other people have worked with it longer.” “Are you sure? Chris, You really are an incredible asset to the company, and when I got this promotion, the first thing I thought was ‘why didn’t they give it to Chris? He works so much harder than the rest of us.’” Hugh was determined at this point to convince Christian to stay. “No, if you don’t fire me, then I’m going to quit.” He threatened. “Okay then. Then you’re fired. I’m sorry that you had to be let go.” Hugh sighed, resigned to this decision. It was a tough call, but he was touched that Christian would make that sacrifice.
While the next few months were tough on the Skye household, which soon became an apartment-hold, Christian was eventually recommended to a Bank of America by none other than Hugh. At first, it was tough financially, but Lily was able to recommend Alissa to a Japanese bakery she was previously the head baker of, and Alissa was able to work as well; Alissa being half Japanese and a fluent speaker helped her get hired immediately. Both Christian and Alissa got promoted within their respective careers; Christian managed to become the manager of his branch, while Alissa became the manager of the bakery. Financially, they were together on par with Hugh. However, the couple chose to stay in the apartment, in hopes that it would motivate their children to try harder, or at the least, be content with what they have. That and the apartment was closer to the bank, school, and bakery than any houses or mansions would be.
Because of the way Christian told the story to Kendall, the sophomore had always assumed that the Chiangs were greedy people who obsessed with money and wanted to stop anyone who was a threat to them gaining more power. Christian neglected to mention that he was the one who chose to step down from his old job, mostly because he was more focused on telling Kendall about the promotion, and how you can only get things you work hard for. Kendall did not understand the lesson though. The only points he focused on were Christian getting fired after not getting the promotion and their family struggling financially. That’s why he wanted to outperform Fanny. However, both Megan and Gil were okay with the Chiangs, because they heard the story from Alissa, who emphasized a lot more about how gracious she was that Lily recommended her to the bakery job. Because of that, Kendall has a very different outlook on the situation than everyone else. Even though Kendall knows that Christian and Hugh are friends, he assumes that it is because Christian is trying to be the higher man, despite what Hugh did to him. Kendall was never informed about Christian finding his new job through Hugh, or that financially, they are almost as well-off as the Chiangs since Christian and Lily were both promoted in their new jobs, but just chose not to live that sort of lifestyle, mostly because they did not need to, given how they adapted and enjoyed the simpler life.