Chapter 11 - From Hotel to Gala

May and Emily were surprised to see Kyle standing near the entrance to the women’s washroom.  He told May he had been waiting for an opportunity to talk to her since this morning when he saw her at Starbucks.

"Starbucks?"  May asked with apprehension in her voice.  "Were you following me all this time?"

Kyle admitted with reservation and pulled May closer to his side.  "I wanted to talk to you." 

May swung her arm away from his touch and Emily stepped in between them.  He took one step back and looked up.  "If you don't mind, I'd like a moment of privacy with May."

Emily didn't move but kept her glare on Kyle until May nudged her. 

"I’ll be fine, Emily.”  May assured her.  “Go back to the restaurant; I think the food is here.  I’ll be in soon!"

"Are you sure?"  Emily asked with concern. 

May looked around the empty hallway and led them into the lobby.  “I’ll be fine here!”  She told Emily. 

After seeing some hotel staffs and guests close by in the vicinity, Emily turned around and went back to the restaurant. 
Daniel noticed Emily had returned alone and there was a concern expression on her face as she approached Ethan. 

"Food's here!"  Ethan pushed her chair out and that was when he also noticed the look of concern on her face.  "What's wrong?  Where's May?"

Daniel watched as Emily bent forward and whispered something into Ethan’s ear. 

"She's ... " Ethan didn't say anymore but placed his napkin on the table and stood up to address his parents and guests.  “Excuse us a minute!” 

Without another audible word, he gave Daniel a knowing nod to follow him out the restaurant.  But the word ‘trouble’ was written all over his face.  When they were about to step out of the restaurant, Daniel finally asked. "What happened?"

"Kyle happened!"  Ethan sounded irritated and annoyed just as they stepped into the hotel lobby.

"Who's Kyle?"  A spontaneous response from Daniel.

At the lobby, he did a quick scan for May and caught sight of her as soon as he asked the question.  She was speaking with an Asian man who looked to be in his mid to late 30s.  From afar, Daniel already developed a dislike for the man just by the way he was speaking to May.  Daniel was getting a bad vibe towards the guy just by his body language.

"The douche bag Ex!"  Emily answered his question.

Kyle looked up and saw Ethan and Emily approaching, his eyes briefly crossed path with Daniel’s and his expression turned haughty when he recognized he was the man whom May was with all morning. 

At first Daniel couldn't make out if the douche bag was Chinese or Korean by his appearance, but as he got closer, he heard him putting May down for choosing a 'Gwei Lo' over her own kind.  In the past, he never gave much thoughts when people used this terminology on him.  But when he heard Kyle telling May that the 'Gwei Lo' was only taking her for a ride and that she was nothing but a play doll to him, he could feel the heat rising inside him.

When May was trying to get away, Kyle grabbed her arms and started throwing all sorts of unkind accusations at her.  He accused her of cheating while they were dating; that she was secretly keeping in touch with her ‘old’ boyfriend.  Then it was as if he suddenly turned bipolar, he spun out a bunch of unimaginable tales about her affairs with men.  “I bet you are frigid in bed!  That’s why you won’t let me touch you!” 

When Kyle made a sudden move to advance on May, Daniel dashed forward to her rescue.  "Get your filthy hands off her!  You piece of scum!"  He was about to take a swing at Kyle when May pulled his arm back just when his fist was about to land on the targeted jaw.

"No!  Daniel!  Stop it!"  May cried out with restrain from her voice as she pushed him back a few steps until Emily and Ethan caught up to hold him back.  "He's not worth it!"

"What are you doing here?!  I told you to stay out of her sight!"  Ethan stepped in and was about to push Kyle away.  But Kyle stumbled backwards as he tried to get away.  Ethan gave him no mercy and grabbed him by his collar and spat out his words in anger.  "You're lucky May didn't press charges the last time.  But if you touch her again, I'll make sure there will be a restraining order on you!  I'll also make sure you'll never practice in another law firm!"

"I am not here to hurt her, just wanted to talk to her!"  Kyle tried to brave it up to Ethan.

"We're done talking!  You and I have nothing more to say to each other!"  May lashed her words out at Kyle in Cantonese as she knew that was his mother tongue. 

"You heard the lady!"  Ethan barked. He released his hold on him with a push. "Now get!"

Kyle ignored his threatening bark and turned back to May and said in his mother tongue.  "Don't be a fool, May!  It's all a game to them.  'Gwei Lo' can't be trusted!  They will dump you once they played you like a doll and dry out your bank account!  They are only interested in getting into your panties!"

"Unbelievable!"  Understanding every spoken word, Ethan scoffed in disbelief!

"Right!  Like you didn’t try?!"  May shouted back at Kyle.  Then she lashed out some of the crude terminologies in Cantonese that she had heard but never had a reason to use before.  "Well, glad I kept my panties away from a sleaze ball and liar like you!  And I am glad Uncle Lam fired you before you had the chance to deplete my entire inheritance!"   

Now Daniel’s blood was boiling and with haughty eyes glaring at Kyle, he stepped in and pulled May to stand behind him.  His dark menacing eyes radiated a final warning to Kyle.  But just in case Kyle’s brain was too dense to get his message, he vocalized every word in perfect Cantonese.  "Don't ever bring your filthy mouth near her again!   If you do, it will be the last time you will ever speak again!"

His warning came down like a verdict given by the judge's hammer and shock registered on everyone's face.  Kyle was completely taken by surprised; he didn’t know Daniel spoke fluent Chinese.  After one last dejected look at May, Kyle finally turned around and left. 

Ethan had a proud look on his face when he saw his younger brother had become a man of valiant.  Though Emily had no idea what Daniel said to Kyle; she liked the sound of it and gave him a two thumbs up for his chivalry.  May’s nerves settled down when Kyle finally disappear from her sight.  “I need to wash away this filth!”  

Daniel walked May to the Ladies Room while Ethan and Emily went to make sure Kyle was exiting the hotel.  Upon their return, Ethan saw his brother had his arm around May’s shoulder.

"I guess your luncheon plan worked!"  Ethan said to Emily and pointed her to the direction where Daniel and May were.

"Oh, it was bound to happen sooner or later!"  Emily said with certainty and snuck up behind them.  “Well D-Boy!  I am betting my money that Alice will leave you alone now that you have your Little Beauty!”

Daniel turned around and removed his arm from May’s shoulders but remained quiet.  But when he caught Emily’s smirk, he wondered just how much of his diary she had read.

"Thanks for coming to my defense!"  May showed her gratitude to Ethan with a handshake.  "Thanks for being my protector … again!"

"Anytime!"  Ethan took her hand and hugged her instead.  When he released the hug, he winked and nodded towards his younger brother.  "Looks like I can retire now.  You have him to protect you now!"

Emily gave Daniel a kudos punch on the chest.  “That was cool!  Whatever you said!”  She tried to mimic him in gibberish. 

May turned to Daniel.  “You know, it’s not fair your Chinese is better than mine!  Especially all those colorful words you used!”

Daniel gave her a bashful smile.  "I learned them from watching those Chinese movies whenever I fly overseas!  Gram updates me on which ones are good!"

An image of his grandmother from ‘way back when’ flashed across May’s memory. “Sweet O’ Gram!  She must be so proud of you in keeping up with her dialect!”

Daniel gave out a chortle.  “Not if she heard me swearing like that!” 

May finally laughed and found herself able to relax again. 
After getting her car's tire fixed, May drove her Tiguan out of the shop and followed the directions on the GPS to the highway that would lead her to the gala for her dress fitting appointment. After driving for about 20 minutes, she looked in her rear view mirror and noticed the same car had been behind her for quite some time now.  When she changed lane, the car did the same and followed as she exited the highway.  May tried to spot the driver from her rear view mirror but she could only identify he was a male driver wearing black sunglasses that seemed to be opaque.  That was when she got spooked and her memories took her back to the incident a few months ago when Kyle stalked her to her new place of residence just one month after she ended things with him. 

At that time, Uncle Lam, the owner of the Law firm where Kyle used to work, found out he and May were no longer together.  Thus he terminated Kyle’s employment immediately without severance.  Later, Uncle Lam told May that he had wanted to terminate Kyle’s employment for quite some time, but there was never a right time when he thought they were still dating.  When Kyle first came to work for the firm, he somehow manipulated his way into May’s father’s private and confidential files and found out May was the sole beneficiary to his mega inheritance.  Thus, he broke up with his girlfriend of ten years and went all out to pursue May.  But when he wasn’t getting any physical satisfaction after 9 months, he got back together with his ex-girlfriend who was more than willing to provide him the benefits.  And when she learned who May’s father was, she persuaded him to continue dating May.  The two of them were scheming of ways to get some of the funds from her inheritance.  When May’s father suddenly died the following year, they thought the timing was perfect.  With May being vulnerable and in desperate need of consolation, she was blindsided by his gestures of kindness and thus allowed the relationship to develop further.  May allowed him to handle some of her father’s accounts as she had no insight in business whatsoever.  This gave Kyle and his partner more opportunity to invest in projects that required big sums of money; money that they didn’t have but was able to draw from May’s inheritance. 

However, their wicked plan was blown to pieces when the law firm discovered someone was tampering with May’s inheritance when her father asked Uncle Lam to prepare a nuptial for Tessa’s mother.  Mr. Lam had spent half a year investigating and was finally able to confirm it was Kyle.  But because Kyle and May were still dating, Uncle Lam wasn’t sure if May was involved in the transferring of her funds.  Thus, when May told him what happened and how she caught him in bed with someone else, Uncle Lam did not hesitate to fire him immediately without severance pay after finding out May knew nothing about her inheritance.  Meanwhile, May had moved into his father’s penthouse to look after Tessa as well as to get a new perspective on her life.  When Kyle was summoned to court, he tried calling May and begged her to drop the charges.  But May had refused to talk to him and didn’t want to have anything to do with him.  That was when he tried stalking her and followed her home and attempted to physically assault her. That was when Ethan happened to drop in and came to her rescue.

Taste of bitter bile forced itself up her throat at the thought of seeing Kyle again during the luncheon.  When she felt a panic attack was about to come on, she dialed a number on her cell that was sitting on the dashboard.  Just as she came to a stop in front of a traffic light waiting to make a left turn, her call was connected.  "Emily!" 

"Hey!  We're waiting for you!"  Then there was silence from the other end as Emily waited for May to say something.  "May?  Are you okay?  May?  Can you hear me?"  Emily heard May let out a breath of relief.  "Is something wrong?"

"It's okay now!  The SUV finally turned away!"  May saw from the rear view mirror as the SUV turned left into a side street and was no longer following her.

"What SUV?"  Emily gasped.  "Are you being followed again?  Is the douche-bag following you again?!"

"No!  I thought it was him, but the driver made a turn."  May spotted her destination and so she signaled and slowed down. 

"Where are you?"  Emily asked as the seamstress helped her on with one of her evening dress.

"I'm just around the corner ..." May gasped. "Oh Lord!  It's that same Lexus!  He is following me!"  She jammed her brakes and stopped as she watched the black SUV entered the parking lot from the opposite side.

"Stay in the parking lot and lock your doors!"  Emily sounded just as panicky.  "I'll call Daniel to get you!  Don't leave the car!  I'll call you back!"

Emily hung up and quickly dialed Daniel's cell.  He picked up on the first ring as he was about to park his car.  "I'm on my way!  Just hold your horses!"

"Where are you?"  Emily asked not listening to a word he was saying at all.  "I need you to fetch May at the parking lot!  She thinks Kyle might be stalking her again!"

"What the...!"  Daniel jammed on his breaks thought his car was already in the parking spot.  He looked into his rear view mirror and spotted May's Tiguan, but he couldn't see any cars following her.  "I see her car!  But there is no one following her!"

Emily relaxed knowing Daniel had spotted May.  "Can you fetch her please?"

“Why is she parked in the middle of the lot?”  Daniel couldn’t help but asked.

"She said a Lexus was following her!"  Emily said.  “I told her to stop and not go further until I get help!”

"What the … the douche drives a Lexus too?!"  Daniel found it annoying that they would have the same taste in cars.  Emily had hung up so he got out of his SUV and waved for May to park next to his spot. 

At the same time, Emily's voice blasted through May's cell that was on speaker.  "Do you see Daniel?  He said he could see you in the parking lot.  Is the SUV still following you?"

May started to laugh hysterically when she spotted Daniel waving her in.  "Oh gosh!  I am really losing it!"

"What happened?"  Emily asked.

"I can't believe that was Daniel behind me all this time!"  May started driving again.  "I don't know why I thought Kyle was following me."

"You were spooked by seeing him today!"  Emily analyzed for her.  “It’s understandable!”

May finally parked her car in the spot next to Daniel's SUV.  He approached the driver side and looked at her with much concern on his face.  May rolled her windows down and was still laughing at her own predicament. 

"Emily told me your Ex followed you here."  Daniel glanced around the parking lot once again.  “Do you still see him?”

"No, I thought you were him!"  May calmed down and told him.  "Were you following me on purpose?"

"No, I didn't even know I was following you.  I was just following my GPS to get here!"  Daniel told her.  "But please tell me the douche bag and I do not have the same taste in cars.”

May chuckled.  "No, I don’t think so!"

“Good!”  He proudly pat the top of his Lexus.  “Lexus should never be driven by scums like him!”
Daniel felt privileged to be the only male representative from Emily’s wedding party.  He was extended this invitation solely because he wasn’t able make it to the fitting appointment three days ago with Ethan and the other three groomsmen.  Aside from being able to spend more time with May, the next best part was he got to see Emily in her wedding gown before his brother and the other groomsmen. 

"You think Ethan will like my dress?"  Emily asked with a face full of anticipation, anxiety and joy at the same time.

This was the first time he had seen Emily getting all frazzled by something as simple as his brother's approval over a dress.  In Daniel’s eyes, Emily had always been a confident, independent and self-assertive woman.  He knew now how much she loved Ethan and he was truly happy for his brother. 

"I am certain he would be mesmerized with tears in his eyes the moment he sees you in this dress when you walk down the aisle!  He won’t be able to take his eyes off you!"  Daniel finally said.

Emily was touched by his statement and she gave her soon-to-be younger brother a big hug.  “And what about you, Sai Lo?”  Though he was only two years younger than her, she enjoyed treating him like a little brother.  “Who will you have your eyes on that day?”
Just that moment, May came out in her dress.  She had her head down with both her arms behind her back trying to pull the excess material back to fit her slim body in the long silky light pink dress.  Without realizing Daniel was there, she asked of Emily.  "How do I look?"

Daniel was totally mesmerized and whispered under his breath.  "Wow!" 

Emily caught the look on Daniel’s face when he first glanced at May in her dress.  Secretly in her heart, she hoped Ethan would have the same kind of look when he first sees his bride in her wedding dress as she walks down the aisle to him eight days from today.   
May blushed upon seeing Daniel and tried not to be affected by the heat radiating from his eyes.  When she didn’t get a respond from Emily, she told him.  “Say something!”

Daniel had to blink to come up with audible words that would not put him on the spot.  "Umm … a beautiful bride and a gorgeous Maid of Honor!  Ethan is a lucky man!"

The three bridesmaids were there in their long silky light pink dress and one of them asked.  "What about us?"

Taking in the complete view of the bride and her bridal party, Daniel considered himself pretty lucky as well.  But he knew he couldn’t be partial.  "Beautiful bride, gorgeous Maid of Honor and three pretty n' amazing looking bridesmaids!"

"Just pretty amazing?"  One of the bridesmaids pretended to be offended.  "That hardly measures up!"

"No, I said pretty and amazing!" Daniel was just as quick and witty. 

“Hey, that’s not fair!  Why is May gorgeous and I’m only beautiful?”  Emily continued.  “Is that why you can’t take your eyes off her?”
This time he was tongue-tied and could not get himself out of the hole.  His eyes truly couldn’t get enough of looking at May in her pink dress.  May watched as his expression turned smitten.  Her own eyes were drinking in his handsome appearance in his Best Man suit.  When their eyes met, it was like a collision that brought them both back to the gala.

Without saying anything, Daniel decided to take out his cell phone for some photos.  When he held it up to take a photo, everyone shouted for him to stop.  Puzzled, he asked.  “Why?  This is the perfect bridal party!”

“No photos of the bride and bridal party is allowed before the wedding!”  Emily told him.  She then led May to stand next to Daniel and took his cell phone from him to take a shot of them.  "But we can always take some photos of the Best Man and the Maid of Honor!"

“Why?”  It was May’s turn to be confused.

“Good practise for the two of you!”  Emily added cheekily and started snapping with Daniel’s cell phone.

Daniel noticed May’s cheeks turning rosy and said to her.  “How about we model some poses for her and Ethan!” 

“What do you have in mind?”  May asked him. 

He swept her up and swung her over his shoulders.  Turning around to face Emily who was cracking up in laughter while taking shots of them, he said.  “Make sure Ethan does this pose on the wedding day!”

I Believe in Love

Sally Yeh and James Ingram