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Chapter 4 - Color of the Night

A few weeks later, Chin Chin invited Chi Shan to lunch.  After placing the order, Chin Chin handed him a bank draft.
           
“What is this for?” Chi Shan asked when he noticed the cheque was made out in his name.  He was surprised to of the dollar amount on the cheque.  It was the same amount that he had personally lend to Fei a few months ago.  “This is from your own personal savings?”
 
 
Chin Chin smiled timidly before answering. “Thanks for helping Fei out with the down payment for the new apartment that we will be moving into soon.”
           
Chi Shan didn’t know how to respond at first, but he came to a realization why Chin Chin had insisted on meeting with him without letting Fei know about this lunch meeting.  Chi Shan had a suspicion something wasn’t quite right.  “Fei asked you to give this to me?”
           
Chin Chin shook her head and casted her eyes downwards.  “No, Fei doesn’t know that I know about the money he borrowed from you.  I came across the legal document that he and Kwan signed when they made the offer for the condo.”
           
“I can’t take this money from you.”  Chi Shan pushed the bank draft back to her.  “I think it is best you talk this over with Fei.”
           
Chin Chin let out a dejected sigh and then looked up with eyes that were seeking for support.  “If only he would talk to me about things that mattered to him.”
           
The last thing Chi Shan wanted was for Chin Chin to start crying in front of him.  “Are you going to be okay?” 
 
He felt nothing but compassion for what Chin Chin went through in the past, but he also understood the burden Fei had taken upon himself since her reappearance.  After observing Fei together with Chin Chin and Kwan at the same time on several occasions, the answers to who was the best match for Fei and with whom he was truly in love with were obvious to him.  Yet he felt he had to be careful with his choice of words.  “I understand 3 years was a long time to be away, and that things have changed.  But you do know that Fei still cares a lot for you.”
           
“Yes, I know!” Chin Chin blurted with agitation, she just couldn’t help herself.  She noticed the startled expression on Chi Shan and let out a sigh to calm herself down.  “Sorry … but.”
           
Chi Shan waited for a moment longer, when nothing came, he decided to push the subject.  “There is a ‘but’?”
           
After taking another sip of coffee, Chin Chin decided to go on.  “I know he cares for me a lot, but he is not the same Fei I used to know.”
             
“Well, it’s not surprising.  In the last few years I have known him, he has changed a lot.  He used to be an introvert before Kwan open …” Chi Shan realized the slipped of his tongue.  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up the past.”
           
Chin Chin smiled genuinely.  “Don’t apologize.  I’d rather you tell me the truth.  Fei doesn’t tell me anything that happened to him over the last few years.”
           
“He is in a difficult situation right now.”  Chi Shan stated the obvious.  “He needs for you to be understanding at this time.”
           
“No, he doesn’t need me!”  Chin Chin gave out another sigh as if she was about to vent some more.  But she thought better of it and decided to speak her mind.  “He needs Kwan because she is the only one who understands him.  I honestly don’t know what is going on in that brain of his anymore.  Come to think of it, I never did before.”
 
Chi Shan remained quiet, but his attention was still focused on her.  Afterall, what else could he add to her statement of truth?
 
“I know why Kwan broke up with him.”  Chin Chin continued.  “It’s because she really loves Fei and didn’t want him to make such a difficult decision between us.” 
           
“But Kwan believes Fei is still in love with you,” Chi Shan had to clarify, but he was surprised Chin Chin felt the same way as he did.  But Chi Shan also knew Kwan had talked herself into believing Fei had never stopped loving Chin Chin; not even when he asked her to marry him the second time. 
           
“He loves me, but he’s not in love with me.”  Chin Chin let out.  “But I believe if Kwan and I were to switch role, if Fei had met her first and she was the one abducted, Fei would not be able to let go of his feelings for her to fall in love with me or anyone else.  Like now!” 
 
Chin Chin looked at Chi Shan who had to blink away to hide his own opinion in this subject matter.  Sensing his thoughts, she smiled and said to him.  “You don’t have to worry about my feelings; I know you think the same of Fei and Kwan, you and everyone else who knows about the three of us.”
           
Chi Shan finally let out a relaxing sigh.  “I am not one to judge him, but I certainly don’t want to be in his shoes right now.”
 
 
That night, Chin Chin presented the same bank draft to Fei who also refused to take it.  Not only was he agitated when she asked him about the loan from Chi Shan, he went further to confront her for invading into his privacy. 
 
When Chin Chin asked why he went into such a heavy monthly mortgage debt and why he needed to borrow money from Chi Shan, Fei gave her all sorts of irrelevant reasons that she knew were nothing but excuses.  Finally she worked up her courage and asked him if it was to pay Kwan back for the down payment to which he finally admitted, but with reluctance.
           
“The condo was supposed to be your new home with Kwan after you two get married!” Chin Chin stated with frustration.  “You weren’t even planning on telling me that!”
           
“Since you already went through my documents, why do you bother asking now?” Fei interjected with annoyance and shot her an indignant look.
           
Chin Chin was almost in tears.  “I just want to help you!”
           
Fei was immediately overcome with guilt.  He calmed himself down and approached her.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to yell at you.”  Though he pulled her into his embrace, Chin Chin could feel how stiff his entire body was.
           
“Fei, why won’t you let me help?”  Chin Chin asked with tearful eyes.  “The money from the apartment we just sold belongs to you more than it belongs to me.  You took over the mortgage all these years.”
           
He released their embrace and sat her down on the sofa.  “I want you to keep the money for your own security.  Let me take care of the mortgage and loan for this new one.  It’s what a man is supposed to do!”
           
“But the money from the sale of the apartment can lighten your load so much more,” Chin Chin was still trying to persuade him to take the cheque.   
           
Fei sat down next to her and took her hands in his.  “Let’s leave the past in the past.  You don’t owe me anything.  I am the one in debt to you.  I don’t want you to suffer or lack anything in anyway.”
           
Chin Chin didn’t want to beat around the bush with him anymore.  She wanted the truth from him.  “Then why don’t you sell the new apartment and then we can get a cheaper one?”  She looked deep into his eyes and got her answer; however, he gave her one that was far from the truth. 
           
“It’s not a seller’s market at this time.” Fei got up and headed towards his room.  That was his way of telling Chin Chin that this conversation was over. 
           
Chin Chin followed him into his room and found him sitting on his bed with his head down, looking totally dejected.  It wasn’t the state she wanted him to be in.  A sense of nostalgia overcame her, and she sighed because she could tell he was hiding behind the colors of the night again. 
           
“Fei, can we have a talk about our relationship?” Chin Chin had envisioned over and over in her mind how Fei might react when this moment came.  However, she had never seen such mixed emotions in his eyes.  Yet it was his response that gave her the ultimate surprise.
 
“I’m not ready to get married yet!”
 
Ending Song = Color of the Night by Lauren Christie