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Chapter 14 - Marry Your Daughter – Friend of Mine

Bui Yee told her husband she had received an invitation from a friend to have dinner at a golf course clubhouse near Discovery Bay.  She also told Kwan the invitation was extended to her but kept her friend anonymous.  All Kwan was told was that this friend of Bui Yee’s was considering moving to the United States and wanted to ask Kwan some questions about living abroad.
Knowing the venue at the golf course was considered somewhat ‘high society’, Bui Yee insisted her husband wear a suit.  Kwan, however; was wearing a collared T-shirt with a pair of shorts because the weather was so hot and humid on this late June evening.   After being nagged by Bui Yee, Kwan had no choice but to change into the new dress she had purchased from Darling while visiting New York during Christmas last year.  It was the only dress she managed to throw into her luggage on a last minute spur before boarding the flight to Hong Kong for the medical conference.  It was just in case she had to attend any formal functions with Dr. Millard.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the golf course, Kwan was surprised to spot Fei.  He was waiting at the terrace of the club house.  Though from afar, she was already shocked by his appearance which was very, very, and again, very different from his usual dress code.  Kwan had to blink a few times to be certain that it wasn’t some other movie star standing there.  Fei was dressed in a slick navy blue suit with a tie.  His appearance was so mesmerizing that Kwan had to slow her footsteps and watched as Bui Yee approached him.  It was at this exact moment when Kwan realized the person who sent the mysterious dinner invitation was Fei.  She wondered why he and her aunt had gone through all that trouble to conceal this fact.  She would have accepted the invitation whenever free ‘good’ food was to be had.
Kwan watched as Fei greeted Bui Yee and shook her hands. “Mrs. Mo.”
“Tsui Sir!”  Bui Yee responded with a smirk.
“Please, call me Fei.”  Fei pleaded and then turned to Mr. Mo to shake his hands as well.
Bui Yee eyed Fei up and down approvingly.  Then she turned to look at Kwan who was still standing 6 feet behind.  “You can’t fault me this time when I say you two are made for each other!  I didn’t tell Fei you were wearing that dress!  But see how matching you both look tonight.  Just like a couple!”
Kwan looked at her dress and realized Bui Yee was right.  They were truly dressed like a couple with matching colors.  Looking at Fei’s attire, she was rather glad she had put on a formal dress for this occasion; though whatever it was, she had no idea.  Fei approached and extended his hand to greet her.  Thinking he was just going to shake her hands, she accepted his.
But Fei turned her hand in his and gave it a peck on the back of her palm.  “I am really happy you came tonight.”
For fear that her knees might give way and buckle; Kwan pulled her hand away and quickly made her steps towards Bui Yee and grabbed unto her aunt’s arm for support.  She couldn’t believe the effect Fei was having on her tonight.
However, Bui Yee was very quick to grab hold of Fei’s arm when he followed behind Kwan. Bui Yee placed Kwan’s hand in Fei’s and said.  “Here you go, Fei!  Don’t let her slip away again!  Hold her tight!”
“I will!”  Fei gladly accepted and gave Kwan’s hand a squeeze.  He gave out a bashful smirk when he noticed how Kwan was sending Bui Yee a glare.  But he held Kwan’s hand tight nonetheless.
The Maitre’D approached Fei and asked politely. “Mr. Tsui, are you and your guests ready to be taken to your venue?” 
Fei turned to Kwan.  “Are you ready?” 
Kwan wanted to ask ready for what, but the emotional surge in her tummy was keeping those words from being voiced.  So she nodded at Fei who then told the waiter to lead the way.  Kwan noticed Fei was being such a gentleman when he placed her arms through his elbow and then gestured for her father to follow the Maitre’D first. “Please, after you and Mrs. Mo.”
Kwan looked at Fei as they started walking into the restaurant, she couldn’t help but wondered what mischievous deeds he had up his sleeves tonight.  At first, Fei wouldn’t look her way.  When he finally turned to look at her, he gave her that dimple grin which she could never resist.  The one that made her heart melt and knees weak all over.  Kwan noticed there was something different about Fei tonight, she thought she was detecting a tad of nervousness from him.  However, she couldn’t quite place her finger on what it was that could make him rather antsy.  After being seated, Kwan thought perhaps her father found the reason.
“Fei, this looks like a very high class venue!” Mr. Mo voiced his concern after the waiter walked away.  “Should we just have a drink and then go somewhere else to eat?” 
“I think that’s the least of his concern tonight!”  Bui Yee chuckled at what her husband said and picked up the menu.  “Fei has come prepared for us to order the most expensive wine here! Right Fei?” 
“That’s right! Don’t worry about the bill!” Fei pointed to their menu.  “Please order whatever your heart desires, Mr. and Mrs. Mo.”
While Bui Yee and Mr. Mo were looking at their menu, Fei picked up the stem of red rose that was sitting by his side of the table and presented it to Kwan. 
Kwan was still in the state of surprise as she accepted the rose from his hand with caution.  Then she took in a quick swift of the rosy fragrance while looking at Fei at the same time.  When his dimple smile appeared, Kwan was certain he had something cooking up his sleeves.  She was trying to read his mind, but her brain was spinning with the words Fei had just said to her Dad and Bui Yee.  So she asked him.  “And what is it that your heart desires, Mr. Tsui?”
Fei gained confidence upon seeing Kwan’s analytical smile; from her eyes, he knew she was in the game of trying to figure out what he was doing tonight.  He grinned at her but gave nothing away.  "Wait and you will find out!”
Fei then directed Kwan’s attention to the open menu in her hands.  “What do you fancy eating tonight?”
After a quick glance of the menu, Kwan made her choice.  She then took the opportunity to look around the surroundings for the first time.  She knew they were in a private golf club function room; and she could definitely imagine how very costly the bill was going to be.  However, she felt the venue was rather cold and wasted because of its emptiness.  Kwan looked over to the small stage where there was a big screen TV and a Karaoke System by the side of the stage.  There was a set of drums as well as an acoustic guitar that was leaning against one of the speakers.
As Kwan took in more of the function room, she felt it was strange how their table was situated in the middle of no where, like an isolated island.  The room was way too big for their one and only table; however, she saw there were other tables pushed to one side of the room against the wall.  Kwan turned around and was about to look over Fei’s back to see what was on the opposite side of the room when she realized Fei was looking at her with amusement in his eyes.  She grinned and asked rhetorically.  “I guess you couldn’t book a smaller room?”
He shrugged his shoulders and directed her attention back to the menu with hand gestures.  But the waiter thought Fei was telling him that they were ready to give their order.  When it was Fei’s turn, he asked for oysters as appetizers.  Kwan gave him a shocking look and than chuckled to herself. 
“What?” Fei noticed Kwan’s reaction and his automated long-term memory mode reminded him of a particular time in the past when Kwan had teased him about eating oysters.  He turned to her and whispered.  “I’m not sensitive anymore!”
Bui Yee saw the entire facial expression exchange between Fei and Kwan and even heard what Fei told Kwan.  She addressed Kwan openly.  “People say oysters are really good aphrodisiac, you should encourage Fei to eat more!”
Fei started blushing, but only Kwan could see that.   
“Really?  Is that true?”  Mr. Mo asked innocently as he was clueless to his wife’s teasing. 
“Why are you curious, Dad?”  Kwan saw this as her golden opportunity to get back at her aunt. “Is Bui Yee complaining about your performance in the bedroom?”
Without paying any attention to what Kwan was saying, Mr. Mo turned to the waiter.  “I’ll have two orders of the oysters please! One for me and one for my wife!”  
Bui Yee smacked her husband’s arm and boisterous laughter broke out around the table; even the waiter couldn’t restrain himself from laughing.
Fei welcomed that bit of euphoric moment for it helped him to relax.  After the waiter left with their order, he excused himself from the table.  Kwan thought he was wanting to use the washroom.  She wasn’t expecting him to head towards the stage and picked up the guitar.  She was totally confused when Fei strapped the instrument over his shoulders.  But before she was able to say anything, Fei started strumming the guitar as he approached the table and started singing to her father. 
“Sir, I'm a bit nervous about being here today, still not real sure what I'm going to say.  So bear with me please if I take up too much of your time.”
Fei stopped strumming and reached into his pocket to pull out a velvety box.  He placed it on the table in front of Kwan.  He intentionally avoided eye contact with her because he had a mission to accomplish and could not afford any distraction from her.  He continued to strum and sing.
“See in this box is a ring for your oldest.  She is my ‘everything’ and all that I know is … it would be such a relief if I knew that we were on the same side.”
“Cause very soon I'm hoping that I ... can marry your daughter and make her my wife.  I want her to be the only girl that I love for the rest of my life.  And give her the best of me till the day that I die.”
Fei took a quick glance at Kwan who looked stunned and had to cover her mouth while laughing; but Mr. Mo’s pleasing smile gave Fei the courage to continue with his mission.
I'm gonna marry your princess and make her my queen.  She'll be the most beautiful bride that I've ever seen.  I can't wait to smile when she walks down the aisle on the arm of her father on the day that I marry your daughter.”
As Fei plucked the melody of the bridge, Mr. Mo was giving him the approving nod and had on the proudest smile a father could ever have.  Bui Yee was ecstatically happy and feeling really proud of Fei’s courageous proposal.
Kwan, however, was not sure how to feel.  She was totally surprised, never in her mind would she have thought it was possible for Fei to be so romantic as to serenade her a song for a marriage proposal.  The first time he proposed was so casual and low profile.
Suddenly, Korean, Nathaniel, Ah Kit and Chi Shan came out from behind the curtains and harmonized with Fei.
“She's been here every step since the day that we met.”
“He’s scared to death to think of what would happen if she ever left - again.”  The background singers came in and Kwan had to cover her mouth to hold back her laughter.
Then Fei addressed Mr. Mo again.  “So don't you ever worry about me ever treating her bad, I've got most of my vows done so far.”
“So bring on the better or worse.” The back up singers came in. 
Fei turned to look at Kwan and her heart was turning into a gush of warm soothing feeling at the bottom of her stomach as he sang her these words.  “And 'til deaths do us part there's no doubt in my mind.  It's time, I'm ready to start. I swear to you with all of my heart...”
Kwan was so touched by Fei’s sincerity that her heart started to beat frantically.  Suddenly she felt she was lacking air and had to tell her heart to calm down.  She had to tell herself to breathe and was able to do so when Fei turned to her father again.
“I'm gonna marry your princess and make her my Quin …” 
Kwan noticed Fei had replaced the word ‘queen’ with her name, she became smitten.  Her heart was filled with love and joy for Fei as her eyes started to tear.  She felt as if Fei had flown her to the moon as she tried to breathe and smile at the same time.
“The first time I saw her I swear I knew that I'd say I do.”
More was added to Kwan’s surprise was when Gigi, Chin Chin, Ah Yuk and Ah Man joined in with their Ooos and Ahhs.  That was when Kwan could no longer hold back her emotions, so she let her tears flow.  The song came to an end and applause filled the room.  Mr. Mo stood up and shook hands with Fei.  He was so overjoyed that he pulled Fei in for a tight hug.   After they came apart from the embrace, Mr. Mo said to Fei.  “You’ve made me a very happy father tonight! When can I walk my daughter down the aisle for you?”
To give a response to his potential future father-in-law’s question, Fei turned to Kwan and looked into her now teary eyes. “In two weeks, on July 8th.  If Kwan says ‘Yes’.”
After wiping the tears off her eyes, Kwan looked up with a weary expression.  She couldn’t see clearly but she could sense the ambience of anticipation in the room as everyone was waiting for her to say something.  Kwan took one look at Fei, got up and fled the room with an incomprehensible pout.
Ending Song = 朋友 Friend of Mine - by Alan Tam