Chapter 15 - Truly

Fei wasn’t prepared for Kwan’s reaction, but he was quick to unstrap the guitar and ran after her leaving everyone else feeling a bit unraveled and didn’t know how to respond.  He was two steps behind when he saw Kwan rushed into the ladies room and would have followed her inside if it weren’t for the woman who was approaching from the opposite end of the hallway.  Then he pretended to read the sign on the door just in case she was only walking by, but she stopped in front of him with a questioning look.  So he had no choice but to step aside to let her in.  Then he started pacing the hallway hoping for Kwan to come out soon.  Lucky for him, she did.  He could tell she had just splashed water on her face but her eyes were still red.
"I didn’t mean to upset you.  I was hoping this to be the most romantic night for you.”  He reached out to soothe her upper arms.  “Bui Yee told me this place was very close to the beach where that classmate played a prank on you.  I wanted this to replace your memory of that night; that from now on, you’d tell everyone our story!”  He was hoping she would smile or say something, but her expression remained nonchalant and no words came from her.  So he pleaded in desperateness.  “Please don’t be mad at me.”
​​Kwan’s heart was actually very moved by what he said, but her playful nature took over.  “Who said I was mad at you?”  When she saw his reaction, she could no longer hold back her smile.  “Some of the make-up got into my eyes.”​​
The feeling of relief was so prominent on his face. It looked as if he had just returned from a major battle, and he was the winner.  “Okay, you’re smiling now; so I’m going to take that as a yes!”   He let out his dimpled smile.  “We can go back now and tell everyone we are getting married!”
​​“Getting married?!”  She pretended with as much drama as she could.  “No no no! You can’t do that!  All that happened was you singing to my dad that you want to marry his daughter.”  Kwan didn’t realize it was so much fun to play hard to get. “You said my dad was quite a playboy once, remember?  Maybe I should ask if he’s hiding another daughter somewhere.”

Fei looked into her mocking eyes and regretted ever making that comment way back when.  He turned and quickly looked around his surroundings to make sure his potential future father-in-law was nowhere in sight or within hearing range.  That would definitely jeopardize this entire evening, let alone his future with her.  “Kwan, you know it’s only you that I love.  The ring in the box was meant for you only!”

Kwan’s heart actually made a dive when she realized this was the first time he ever professed his love to her by actually using the ‘love’ word.  Under normal circumstances, she would have caved and accepted his proposal again like the very first time, as well as the second time.  However, she was having way too much fun.  “How do I know there is a real engagement ring in the box?  For all I know, it could be the skull ring.”

Looking at her, Fei knew for certain that having her as his wife would definitely be filled with wits and challenges.  There would be no dull moments for sure.  But he would welcomed them; in fact, he was looking forward to take on whatever challenges she would present him.   He had noticed life was a lot more interesting when he became the mouse who could outsmart the cat.  He smiled at her and took her hand.  “Well, the only way to find out is to follow me back and see for yourself; but remember your promise to me!”

Kwan stopped short.  “What did I promise you?”

“You said if fate was on my side, you would ‘Let it be’ and marry me!”  He reminded her with a grin of confidence added with a touch of smuckness.  “Hey!  That even rhymes!”
  
​​Upon re-entering the banquet room, the 4-seater square table became a 12-seater long table.  Fancy crystal, china and silver ware were set for each seating and the long table was decorated with small vases of fresh flowers.  Both Kwan and Fei were amazed at the sudden change of ambience in the room.  Everyone was expecting Kwan to be wearing a smile on her face, but when they didn’t see that, they were all apprehensively quiet; except for her father who spoke up immediately.

“Kwan, did you say yes to Fei?”

“I didn’t say anything to him!”  Kwan gave Fei a playful smirk.  In the past, she was sensitive enough not to mention her father’s past liaisons.  But she thought tonight was alright just to perk him a little for being on Fei’s side.  “He only asked you for permission to marry his daughter?  I meant to ask if you have another daughter somewhere that I didn’t know about.”
  
As soon as those words came out of her mouth, her brother, Ah Kit, together with Bui Yee and Fei came to Mr. Mo’s defense.  Kwan was truly glad for that, especially when Bui Yee who never used to side her father when it came to his affairs in the past.  Tonight she stepped up for him.  “Oh no, your dad is very loyal.  He only has one daughter and that’s you!”

“Well you were the one who used to feed these ideas into my head.”  Kwan gave Bui Yee an impish look letting her aunt know she was getting her back for keeping Kwan in the dark about tonight’s event.  “So now you’re siding Dad, huh?”  Then she gave drew close to her dad and apologized to him with a semi hug over his shoulder.  “Sorry Dad.  I was just playing with you!”

“You are such a brat!”  Bui Yee chided.  “You’re going to be Fei’s wife soon and still want to play such games!”

“Says who?  He did not propose to me tonight.  He sang the song to Dad, not to me!”  Kwan dismissed the subject and headed back to her seat.

Ah Man came up beside her.  “Quin, Fei worked very hard learning to play the guitar for you.”

“Ms. Mo, you have to give him a break.  Tsui Sir jumped into the polluted sea just to get the ring back for you!”  Gigi said.

This was news to Kwan so she turned to look at the closed jewelry box on the table next to her.  She had no idea what Gigi was talking about until Chi Shan enlightened her.  “He recognized this was the engagement ring he bought you when it was floating on a pop can.  The same one you dropped into the sea!”

Kwan turned to Fei who gave her a grin but she wasn’t buying it. “No, it can’t be!”

“Open the box!”  Fei challenged her but she refused to; even after all the rooting from the others. 

So then Fei finally picked up the jewelry box; just when he was about to open it, Korean whisper something that was only meant for Fei to hear.  “No worries, we still have Plan B!”

Fei ignored Korean’s comment and presented Kwan with the ring, she gasped upon seeing the exact engagement ring she lost a year ago.  As Fei put the ring on her finger, her eyes were turning misty.  “This is the third time I’m putting this ring on your finger.”
“Hey!  People say third time is a charm!  So this is good luck!”  Nathaniel added and others voiced their agreement with glee.

“You hear that!”  Fei pretended to reprimand Kwan for her carelessness.  “So be a good girl and wear this ring.  And if you need to lose it or drop it somewhere, just make sure it’s after we sign the marriage license.”
Congratulations filled the room but there was one particular comment that caught her ears when Chi Shan said.  “Fei said he would only accept the training in the States on the condition that you marry him!”

“Training in the States?”  She repeated as she look at Chi Shan.  “For real?”

“See!  I wasn’t lying when I said someone was considering moving to the States!”  Bui Yee added with a smirk.  "And he really did have questions to ask you!”

“So Miss Mo, has Fei asked you to marry him yet?”  Korean teased and Fei gave him a ‘back off’ glare, though it was a jovial one.

Kwan shook her head and everyone started on Fei to get down on his knees to propose.  He tried meandering his way out but finally got down on one knee.  But instead of proposing so everyone could hear, he pulled her forward and leaned in at the same time to whisper in her ear.  “Please say you will be my wife; or they will play me for a fool forever!”

Kwan leaned back and smiled sweetly at him.  He thought his job was done and so did everyone else when she even leaned forward to give him a peck on his cheek.  Congratulations were heard and felt on Fei’s shoulders until Kwan whispered something back to him.  Then his facial expression took a 180 degree turn, almost like he got instant sunburn.  That reddish glow on his tan skin was very prominent.  “You are serious?!”

Kwan nodded with a grin and looked towards Korean.  Then Fei got back on his feet and pretended to strangle him.  Everyone else were puzzled and wanted to know what Kwan said.

“She wants Plan B!”  Fei announced to Chi Shan and Korean who saluted him immediately and made their way up to the stage.

“There is a Plan B?” 

When the others started asking, Kwan realized she wasn’t the only one clueless about Plan B.  It seemed only Korean and Chi Shan were in on the backup plan.  She watched as they set up the media system.  Kwan was expecting the whole gang to perform again; however, when Fei stepped up to the stage and took the mic that Chi Shan handed him, she was overcome with regret by putting him under the limelight alone. 

“Ummm…I didn’t know Plan B was just Fei performing by himself, I was expecting to see everyone singing and dancing again.”  She approached the stage to pull him back to the table.  “I don’t need Plan B anymore!”

Now the rest of the group wouldn’t let Fei off the hook, so they kept the couple apart.  “We want to see Plan B!”  Chin Chin added.  Then she turned to Kwan.  “He stayed behind at the studio everyday to practice; before we open and after we closed!  He wouldn’t let any of us stay to watch!”

“Since you practiced so hard, you need to do this!”  Chi Shan told Fei.  “You need to show Kwan how…”  He paused and placed his hand on his chest.  “You know!”

“We need to see it!”  Korean blurted and teased.  “But you don’t have to worry anymore; cos even if you sound flat, Ms. Mo has already agreed to be Mrs. Tsui!”    

“Yeah!  See how she’s already protecting you!”  Nathaniel added.

“Sis!  You don’t need to protect Fei Goh so soon!”  Ah Kit seated his sister back in her seat.  “Let us have a bit of fun first!”

Fei found his confidence again when Kwan attempted to spare him the embarrassment.  But the more she fought for him, the more he wanted to sing and let her know the words in his heart.  So when the lights dimmed and the background music started, he started with a icebreaker to calm the crowd which now had expanded to include the Maitre’D and a few of the servers assigned to their function tonight. 

“Kwan, remember when you said you want sincerity?”  When he saw her look of acknowledgement, he continued.  “Well, since then, I’ve been cracking my brain to find all the ways I can do that.  I’ve even asked my boss!  Really, he can vouch for me!”  Fei noticed how Kwan turned to look at Chi Shan who nodded.  Then she turned back and smiled at him.  “I hope by singing this song, you will know how sincere I am in asking you to marry me.”

Never in a million years would Kwan have thought it was possible for Fei to serenade her with a song, let alone propose to her in front of her family and friends.  She knew this was so out of his character and she could no longer doubt his love for her right this moment.  As soon as she recognized the song he had chosen, her heart melted.  And when she heard Fei singing the first word, her entire body felt as if she was zapped to outer space.  In a good way!

“Girl, tell me only this,
That I'll have your heart for always,
And you want me by your side,
Whispering the words "I'll always love you,
And forever,
I will be your lover,
And I know if you really care
I will always be there.”

Heat was rising up to her cheeks and she was trying to pace her heartbeat back to a normal rhythm.  And when she heard the word ‘lover’, she envisioned herself as a piece of marshmellow being heated up and was about to loose its solid state. 

“Now I ... I need to tell you this,
There's no other love like your love,
And I, as long as I live,
I'll give you all the joy,
My heart and soul can give.”

Kwan could hear and see how some of the servers were being affected by Fei’s serenade; the distraction to glance away from him was the only way she could bring herself back to earth to take some air into her lungs.  But when Fei approached and took her hands, her heart was just about to jump out of her chest.  Kwan's eyes were seeing stars in the sky and she had to tell herself not go into cardiac arrest.  This was one magical moment she would never ever forget.

“Let me hold you,
I need to have you near me,
And I feel with you in my arms,
This love will last forever!

Because I'm truly …
When the song came to the end, Fei kissed the back of her hand; the one with the ring and asked with confidence.  “Mo Chiu Kwan, would you do me the honor and accept this ring and marry me on July 8th?”  Her eyes already gave him the answer but they were both distracted by the curious audience.
“Why July 8th?” A few people asked in the background.

“What’s so special about July 8th?” Then another voice came in. 

Only Kwan and Fei knew the answer to July 8th, but they both had no intention to respond to the question.  Instead, Kwan said to Fei quietly.  “Tonight’s bill is going to be a big one, isn’t it?”
Fei winced at the thought of the anticipated bill which made Kwan chuckled.  Then she showed him the ring on her finger.  “I will guard this with my life for the next two weeks.  But on July 8th, you will have to put one on that will fit perfectly in front so I’ll never lose them!”

“For sure! I promise you!”  Fei smiled his relief and pulled his future wife into a tight embrace and gave her a quick peck on her cheek.  Then he turned to their guests and made the grand announcement.  “Please set your date!  Kwan and I are getting married on July 8th!”​

Truly - Lionel Richie 

Performed by Brian McKnight

​​
Girl, tell me only this
That I'll have your heart for always
And you want me by your side
Whispering the words "I'll always love you"
​​
And forever ... I will be your lover
And I know if you really care
I will always be there


Now I ... I need to tell you this
There's no other love like your love
And I, as long as I live
I'll give you all the joy
My heart and soul can give


Let me hold you
I need to have you near me
And I feel with you in my arms
This love will last forever


Because I'm truly
Truly in love with you, girl
I'm truly head over heels with your love
I need you, and with your love I'm free
And truly, you know you're all right ... with me