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Chapter 16 - Till the End of Time 

Kwan had not been to their new condo since the day she and Fei had made an offer to the buyer for the place just a few weeks before Chin Chin's rescue last year.  Being here now brought back memories of the very first time when Fei proposed to her.  She was standing at the exact same spot again when Fei came up beside her and asked if she liked what was done to their soon-to-be new home.  “I like it very much!”  She told him sincerely.  Just then, Bui Yee, Mr. Mo and Chin Chin finished exploring the condo and joined them in the living room.

“What do you guys think of the renovation?”  Fei asked Bui Yee and his soon to be father-in-law who were here for the first time.
“It’s very contemporary and artsy.”  Bui Yee was pleased at what she was seeing.  She turned to Chin Chin.  “Did you choose the design and color theme?”
Chin Chin shook her head.  “Nope, Fei took care of everything.  I had no input whatsoever.”  She smiled at Kwan.  “Fei said you like the colors of sunset.  Something about cherishing the moments before the day is gone.”
Kwan exchanged glances with Fei.  She was touched that he remembered the conversation they had at the lake when she first started to take notice of him.  It comforted her to know that the words she said had already started to leave an impression on him way back then.  She remembered that was also the very first time the two of them worked together to solve a murder case which involved the autistic boy and his sister regarding the death of their mother and step-father. 
It was also the time when Fei first opened up to her about the disappearance of his then girlfriend, Chin Chin.  Although there were many bumps and set backs along their relationship in the past, Kwan trained her mind not to let those memories resurface to ruin her mood.  Instead she let her mind backtrack in vivid images of the night Fei proposed to the morning at the hospital when Fei surprised her with the kiss to the many lovey-dovey moments only the two of them shared.  She was still in the middle of her reverie when Bui Yee snapped her back to the present reminding her there was not much time left to plan for the upcoming wedding. 
The very next day, new furniture was being delivered to their soon-to-be new home.  After seeing the condo yesterday, her father and Bui Yee announced their dowry for Kwan; which was a monetary gift that was enough to pay for half the apartment.  Being semi – superstitious and very ‘Chinese’, her father and Bui Yee did not want the condo to be rented out while the newlywed couple was studying abroad.  So with the mortgage having reached its one year anniversary, Kwan and Fei were able to re-adjust the mortgage and lowered the monthly payment considerably. 
Kwan was more than fine with the ‘not renting’ arrangement for their condo.  In the past, she had often dreamt of being the first to occupy the condo together with Fei after they took ownership.  But that dream shattered when Chin Chin returned and when Fei returned her portion of the deposit to her.  However, the comment Fei gave about wanting her to be the only woman holding the key to his home never settled well in her head, especially when she found out they still owned the condo together. 
Right now, looking around her soon-to-be new home, she could feel the smile rising from her heart telling her dreams and wishes could indeed come true at least for the present moment.  Because as it turns out with the flights and course schedules, she and Fei would be heading to the airport to board their flight to the States immediately after their wedding ceremony on July 8th.  Therefore, their new home would be left vacant until they return sometime in December as husband and wife when Fei completes his training.  With this in mind, the two of them went shopping for the most basic furniture yesterday from one store, in two hours, and the salesperson made advance commission that would last him for 3 months.  He was so grateful for their business that he would have personally delivered their furniture himself if need be.
After speaking with the Condo Management regarding their absence over the next few months, Fei returned to their soon-to-be new home and found Kwan doing some light cleaning in the open concept kitchen.  He snuggled up behind her and pulled her against him.  She tried to meander herself out while he attempted to kiss her on the neck.  “I am not letting go of you so easily this time.  You’re not ever gonna get away from me without a fight from now on.”
She felt his strong arms closed in on her and she let out ticklish giggles while trying to push him away.  When he turned her around to face him, he gripped her two arms tightly and placed her under a deadlock.  He gave her a smirk.  “Hmmm, so you want to be feisty?  You know, that really turns men on, especially me!”
Their bodies were touching at some of the sensitive spots.  Kwan blushed at both his spoken as well as physical innuendo.  He leaned his head forward only to be stopped by her hand that had gotten away from his grip.  “We have to abstain for at least a week before the wedding!”
“Abstain from kissing?”  Fei pretended to be choked.
“No, of course not from kissing!”  She gave him the knowing look. “But I know where it will lead us.” 
“Oh, abstain from that!” He played dumb and nudged her closer.  “Today is Friday.  After today, we still have a whole week till the wedding.  So we’re okay.”
After doing the math in her head, it was her turn to pretend.  “Is that all you want from me?  You want to marry me for that?”  She was in her playful pout, curious to see how he would react.  But after a moment, she thought she had gone too far and ruined the moment.  Thinking he was offended, but his honesty surprised her.
“Right now I am in desperate need for you to take me out of my misery.”  He admitted and pulled her closer to feel his body.  “You’re a psychologist.  You of all people would know how difficult it is for a man in his prime to be lacking in this matter for over a year.”
He could tell from her eyes how shocking his revelation was to her.   Kwan knew she had no business asking, but she was dying to know as well.  “You mean you and Chin Chin didn’t …?”  As much as she tried to reason her need to know, she couldn’t do it.
But Fei read the rest of her question from her expression and released a soft chortle.  He relaxed his grip and let out a gentle breath.  “No, we didn’t!”  He couldn’t confirm if it was confusion or doubt that was reflected in her eyes.  But he wanted to share what was in his heart.  “I admit I thought about it, but I …,” he tried to find the right words.  “I just wasn't in the mood; I couldn’t get my mind to go there!”
"Where was your mind?"  She didn't mean to speak her thoughts out loud.  But looking into his eyes, she got her answer.  Trying to hide her joy in knowing the truth and not make herself look so pitiful, she decided to tease him instead.  “My researches show most men would not be able to resist when a woman is within reach and readily available.”
He gave her a stern look and pulled her closer again.  “You know I’m not like most men.  And men like me would never volunteer for your research!”  Looking into her eyes, he could feel their soul connecting.  “This very feeling only comes when I’m with you.” 
Recognizing the feeling, she asked meekly.  “Have you and Chin Chin ever talked about this?”
“Has she ever told you the reason she kept pestering us to get back together?”  Fei asked and Kwan shook her head.  Then he gave her a cheeky smirk.  “She said she can’t spare to look at me as a bald headed monk!”
Kwan chuckled and put her arms around his neck.  “If you really wanted to be intimate with Chin Chin or anyone, you could have asked your doctor for a prescription.  Your condition is treatable these days, you know?”
He put forth a guilty look.  “I did.”
It was Kwan’s turn to react.  “You did?”
He nodded with shameful eyes; so much so he would have won best actor for this scene alone.  “Dr. Tsang did write me something on a prescription!”
“He did?  Seriously!”  Kwan gasped and Fei nodded piously.  “Viagra?”
He finally chuckled and pulled her closer.  “He wrote me your home address in Baltimore!”  That earned him a well deserving shove from her.  “Dr. Tsang signed the psychoanalysis part of the application!”
That still wasn’t enough to spare him from Kwan’s push and punches which then led to a lot of cuddling and eventually to merriment under the sun in their soon-to-be new home.
Fei placed a dish with a full piece of cake in front of Chin Chin and then he placed another dish with half a piece of cake in front of Kwan before sitting down between them with his own.  When Ah Man and Chi Shan came with their own plates, Kwan looked at the content of the five dessert dishes, and turned to Fei.  “Why do Ah Man and I only get half a piece each and Chin Chin and Chi Shan both get one whole piece?" 
Then she deliberately pointed to his dish which evidently had the other half of her dessert on it.  "And why do you get one and a half pieces?”
“Ah Man gave half of hers to Chi Shan which he already ate!” Then he patted Kwan on her tummy. “I’m afraid you might not fit into your wedding dress tomorrow, so I am volunteering to eat half for you.”  He flashed a cheeky grin at her.  “You don’t need to thank me. I know I’m a thoughtful guy!”  After swallowing a bite of his cake, he pointed his fork towards Chin Chin.  “She gets more because she's a pig.”
Both Kwan and Chin Chin smacked him on his arms at the same time.  Then Chin Chin made a ‘Hmm’ sound with her nose at him and turned her head away quickly causing her pony tail to hit Fei in the face.  With that he continued to mock her.  “Keep on doing that.  You’re getting very good at it now.  I think you are ready to replace Miss Piggy!”
Chin Chin continued to ‘hmmm’ and attempted to hit his face a few more times with her pony tail.  Her action brought forth boisterous laughter around the table, even she was laughing as well.  Kwan smacked Fei lightly every time he continued to make fun of Chin Chin.  “Stop calling her a pig!  She’s not a pig!”
“Of course she is!”  Fei pointed to the sofa.  “See that cushion there!”
Everyone turned to look at the cushion on the sofa.  Kwan was surprised by the sight of it as it brought back bittersweet memories of that time when Fei got unreasonably pissed with her for spilling wine on it.  Now she thought she finally understood the sentimental value of it and turned to Chin Chin.  “Oh, so you are the pig and Fei is the dog?”
“No, I made that cushion for my brother. It was meant to represent their friendship. The pig is my brother and the dog is Fei.”  Chin Chin explained the rest of the meaning in the Chinese idiom.  She looked at Kwan to assure her.  “Don’t listen to him.  He’s been calling me a pig since I made that cushion for my brother.”
“Okay, you can all tell me if I am right to call her that.” Fei started. “She chose a pig to represent her brother. Doesn’t that make her a pig as well?  Only a mother pig can give birth to a pig son and a pig daughter, right?”
“You do have a point there!”  Chi Shan agreed.
Chin Chin turned with intention to snub Fei with her nose but a snort came out instead and everyone laughed, including herself.  “Don’t worry Kwan.  I’m used to his teasing.  I actually chose the pig because my brother was born in the year of the pig.”  She gestured for Kwan’s attention.  “That’s the reason why you and Fei are meant to be a couple!  It’s fate!”
“Because of the cushion?”  Kwan almost choked as she took a bite of her cake.  “How is that the reason?”
“Because you were both born in the year of the dog! ”  Chin Chin remarked excitedly.  “That’s why!  Pigs and dogs can only be good friends, nothing more!  And I can tell you two will make very cute puppies together!”
Ah Man and Chi Shan gave an agreeing nod.  Just when Kwan was about to respond to Chin Chin’s remark, Fei scooped up her piece of cake and pushed it towards her mouth to stop her from speaking.  “Here, eat your cake!  Don’t listen to them talking nonsense!”
The day they waited for finally arrived.  As he stepped into the sanctuary for the procession to begin, Fei knew this was the defying moment when he must decide to leave his past behind for the one he chose to take as wife and be committed to for the rest of his life.  At first sight of his bride, his breath was taken away.  As the music started, he thought he was living in a dream where his beautiful angel in white was approaching him.  When his best man stepped up next to him and commented how pretty his bride looked, he came back to reality.  He gave Chi San an agreeing, yet nervous smile.  When Fei saw the sparkling tiara on Kwan’s head with the veil, he thought she really looked like a real princess.  Then he smiled because it just came to him that she was indeed a real princess, her Father's princess.  And he was the lucky frog who transformed back into a man when he was kissed by this princess sent from heaven above. 
For Kwan, this was the moment when dreams stood still as she experienced for the first time that serene out-of-body feeling as she slowly marched down the aisle to the piano music of Pachelbel’s Canon in D.  As soon as she entered the church, her eyes searched for her groom.  When she spotted Fei looking at her with that Mona Lisa smile of his, she was overwhelmed with emotions.  Grabbing onto her father’s arm, she told herself to breathe.  She never thought it was so hard to lift her head up, but she gave it all she could to make her head stay up to look at the guests who had come to witness her and Fei being united in the bonds of holy matrimony. 
Now, standing right in front of the man who had captivated her heart three years ago, she took in as much of the moment as she could before her father placed her hand into Fei's.  Hand in hand, they turned to face the reverend who announced the start of their journey to become husband and wife.  When the reverend turned to the audience and asked the question “speak now or forever hold your peace,” both of them were apprehensive and prayed nothing dramatic was going to happen at this moment.  When the audience remained silent, Kwan and Fei couldn’t help but chuckled when they saw the look of relief on each other’s face.
Ending Song