Chapter 4 - Home Sweet Home

Daniel caught the glance of disappointment from Emily's face; actually, applauded would have been a more fitting adjective.  For a brief moment, he couldn't deny his own feeling of dismay when May didn't offer him a ride home.   But when he turned to look at her, she gave him a knowing smirk that told him she also caught Emily's facial expression.  That was when he knew there was more to follow regarding her statement about the public transportation known as The Skytrain.

May turned to Tessa and raised the baby's two tiny arms and cheered.  "Yay!  I get to ride on the Skytrain with Danny Gor Gor today!"

May finally turned to face Emily and Ethan.  "My car got a flat this morning.  I was sort of counting on a ride home from you guys!"
 
Emily's smile finally returned to her face.  "How did you get here?"
 
"Taxi!"  May told her matter-of-factly.
 
"If only you had called us.  We could have given you a ride when we were at Daniel's place."  Ethan said.  "We didn't know his place was so close to yours until we got there this morning."
 
"Yeah, I know.  I just saw the address from your binder."  May turned to Daniel.  "Your condo is across the street from mine."
 
Daniel tried not to be too transparent upon hearing this information; but his inner being was thrilled to have chosen this condominium over the other 4 options presented to him.
 
"Daniel could have driven as well!"  Ethan added with a tone of regret.  "Sorry to put you and Tessa out on a limb like this!"
 
"Don't worry!  It's not your fault!"  May smiled.  "We'll manage!  Seriously, don't feel bad."
 
But Ethan and Emily weren’t convinced their Maid of Honor knew how to take the Skytrain. 
 
"Do you even know how to take the Skytrain?"  Emily asked bluntly.  "Have you ever taken public transportation?"
 
"Daniel, do you even know which station is closest to your Condo?"  Ethan asked.
 
“Cos I sure don’t!”  Emily added without shame.
 
May bubbled over with mocking laughter to ease her friends.  "Believe it or not, I do know how to take the Skytrain!  I have done it before!"  But when Emily and Ethan's faces didn't light up, she had to put on her acting face. "Don't worry!  I will take your brother and Best Man back to his home!"
 
Daniel noticed the flush on May’s face and knew she was bluffing.  He chose not to answer his brother’s question though he does know the closest station to his Condo.  He purposely chose that particular location because of the convenience for his LA friends whenever they plan to visit him.  However, thinking it would be easier for May and the baby, he suggested to take a taxi.
  
"Are you kidding?!"  May retorted.  "And miss out on all the fun riding the Skytrain?  Tessa would never go for that!"  Then she squeezed the baby's cheeks with zest.  "Right, Tessa?!"

When they approached the Skytrain Station, May's steps slowed down as she looked at the overhead directional signs above her.

"Umm…, Danny?"  Her steps came to a complete stop just before the Pay Station.  She bit her pointer finger between her teeth and made an icky face and squint her right eye slightly.  "You know when I said I have taken the Skytrain ……?"

Daniel was waiting for this moment of truth and gave her a knowing smirk.  “Uh-huh?”  Then he pretended to look shocked.  “Wait a minute!  You are one of those who have never been on the Skytrain?”
 
"Of course I have!”  May’s protest didn’t last long.  “Well, once in high school.”
 
“High school?!”  Daniel was indeed shocked by her revelation.  “That’s like 15 to 20 years ago!”
 
“Yeah, I see things have changed a lot since."  She admitted with embarrassment and her cheeks started to flush.  Then as if it was the most natural thing, Daniel put his arms over her shoulders and led her to push the baby stroller through the entrance gate.  "Come on!  Follow me!"
 
Shocked by his confidence, May asked.  “You know which station we are supposed to go to?”
 
“Yes, I always do my homework ahead of time!”
 
Daniel’s statement brought on a nostalgia moment and they turned to look at each other.  Feeling the moment, May naturally responded.  “Yes, just like in high school!”

As they made their way up to the Skytrain platform, Tessa was earning them a lot of smiles from some of the passersby.  Daniel noticed the concern May had over the 5 - inch gap between the train and the platform, so he offered to push the cart for her.  They sat down across from two elderly Chinese women who went gaga over Tessa the moment they saw her.  They caught Tessa's attention and the baby started smiling and kicking her feet excitedly.  Because they were speaking Cantonese to the child, May decided to respond in the same dialect as well.
"Say hello to Poh Poh!"

Daniel listened to their conversation and found out Tessa would be 11-month-old by Sunday.  The two elderly women went on to say that the baby would grow up to be a beautiful girl because her parents were of Chinese and Caucasian heritage.  When he noticed May just thanked them for their compliment, he just smiled and nodded when both elderly women smiled at him.  It was obvious everyone thought they were a family unit the moment he walked out of the restaurant with May and the baby. 

May leaned towards him and whispered.  "I don't bother to explain anymore, I just let people assume Tessa is my daughter.  I hope you don't mind."
"I don't mind!"  He whispered back with a smile and gave her a grin.  “Just out of curiosity, what do people say about Tessa’s father when you are out with a Chinese guy?”

Her only form of rebuttal was a nudge against his side with her elbow which caused a soft ruckus of laughter between them.  Soon they both quieted down and listened as one of the elderly women told May how pretty she was and that her husband was very good looking by using the term 'Liang Jia'.  

He chuckled and started to feel the heat rising to his cheeks when May looked at him.  She knew he understood every word the elderly women had spoken.  So she elbowed his stomach again and told him in Cantonese.  "Where are your manners?  Poh Poh said you're very good looking!"

"Thank you!"  Then Daniel put his arm around May's shoulders and spoke to the two elderly women in perfect Cantonese.  "But she is much more beautiful!" 

After he gave the women the shock of their lives, he didn't say anymore because May was not offering any further information or mis-information.  They just threw grins at each other and chuckled as the two women went on to say how wonderful it was that he could speak fluent Chinese and she could speak fluent English.  When Daniel told her they had to transfer at the next Station, May told Tessa to bid goodbye to the elderly women.

As soon as they got unto the path that would lead to their homes, May pointed at the Condo she and Tessa were living in.  Then she pointed to the tall new greenish building next to hers.  "That one should be your Condo!"

"Yup!"  Daniel noticed his Condominium was taller than hers and was practically next to each other.  "Wow, our buildings are so close!  I'm on the 20th floor.  I wonder if you could see my place from your Penthouse?"

At first, May gave him a look of surprised that he knew she lived in the Penthouse.  Then she remembered Emily had provided her home address in the binder.  If she had glanced at his address, it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to have done the same.  She gave him a smirk.  "Is that your way of suggesting that I should invite you up so you could find out?"

"Never crossed my mind!"  Daniel placed his hand over his chest and gave her a cheeky grin.  "But since you mentioned it, it would be a nice treat.  I've never been in a penthouse before!"

"Well, you would have to ask Tessa if she is okay with it.  It's her place!"

There was a moment of silence as Daniel pondered on what was just said.  "You're staying with Tessa's mother?"

May let out a smile and shook her head, but she was happy he wanted to know more about her and Tessa.  "No, Tessa and I are both orphans.  Her mother was found ... OD in my Dad's Paris apartment six months ago."

Only a split second went by and Daniel already did the calculations in his head.  "When Tessa was less than 5 months old?"

May caught a glimpse of sadness together with shock in his eyes.  "She went into a severe postpartum depression after Tessa was born and started drinking and so on."

Daniel took in the facts but he knew this was something he would never ever understand, but he nodded to show he was listening.

"She couldn't get over the fact that I was the only sole beneficiary when my Dad died of a sudden heart attack one month before Tessa was born.  He never remarried after my Mom passed away and he wasn't planning to.  But when he found out about Tessa, he started preparing a nuptial which would entitle Tessa to part of his inheritance."  May went on.  "Tessa was left here with the nanny when her mother flew to Paris.  Three days later, she OD."

May looked at Daniel whose eyes communicated nothing but condolences to her, as if he sensed how difficult the past year had been for her.  His eyes encouraged her to go on.  "It took me two months to settle things after her death and ... when I returned ... anyways, I moved here to look after Tessa."

Daniel's heart went out to hers when she paused after the word 'returned'.  He understood.  "That's when you found your Ex was cheating on you."

After May gave him a 'story of my life' nod, he put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a sideway hug.  "Well, I'm glad I chose this Condo when my company gave me four other options.  Maybe Tessa will allow me to visit one of these days!"

"Maybe!"  May said teasingly as they approached the side entrance to her Condo.  "If you help her sister change her car's flat tire, she might even invite you up for an afternoon coffee."

They both peeked over the cover at the same time and noticed Tessa had fallen asleep during the walk.  Daniel looked at his watch and realized it was close to three.  He gave her a playful grin.  "The offer sounds too enticing to refuse.  However, I need to get some documents ready and run to Staples to fax them over to my LA office before 5 o'clock.  After that, I can come by and fix the flat tire for you.  So would you be willing to trade the afternoon coffee with an evening one?  Say after I take you out for dinner tonight?"

May gave a playful punch into his firm stomach.  "You can still eat after that hearty lunch?"

"Not really!"  He rubbed his tummy with his left hand.  Then he placed his right arm over her shoulders again.  "But I'd do anything to try spending an evening to catch up with Little Beauty if she is free tonight.”  Sensing no objection from her, he braved it up and asked.  “Is she?"

And there it was again, that blushing smile that could make his knees buckle and surrender to any of her commands.  When he looked into her eyes, he swore they were asking him to kiss her on the lips.  But he knew he couldn’t and was glad to be interrupted by a teenage boy who came from behind.

"Excuse me!" 

Daniel let go of his arm and they both stepped aside to watch as the teenager stepped between them and extended his arm to the side wall with his fob.  When they heard the clicking sound from the door, they stepped to the opposite side and watched the teenager pull the door handle and entered into the building.

Daniel placed his arms on the back of his neck as if to make a stretch.  But May knew the only thing he was stretching for was time before they had to say goodbye. 

"Why don't you go and get your documents ready, then come over and use my fax machine.  You don't need to spend money on faxes at Staples."  May offered.

"You don't mind?"  Daniel couldn't ask for a better arrangement.

"Why would I mind?!"  She tapped her fob and turned to give him a cheeky grin.  "You're paying for dinner delivery for Tessa and I tonight, remember?!"

Daniel held the door open with a smile while May pushed the baby stroller through.  Just before he let go of the door, she turned around and added.  "That is, after you fix her sister's car!"

"Of course!"  Daniel chuckled and watched the glass door close as May made her way to the elevator.

Maybe This Time