Chapter 6 - The Obedient Son

"Um..." Daniel peered at May who only gave him a grin telling him he was on his own to get himself out of Emily’s trap.  "Um ... ya .., we happened to run into eachother outside when I was about to head to Staples."
Lucky for May, she had Tessa in her arms so she could bury her face onto the baby's chest which set Tessa off in bouts of giggles.  She was trying not to chuckle at Daniel's response which was far from the truth.  But Emily seemed satisfied with his answer and May threw him a glance of relief.  He too slowly let out his breath and started breathing again.

Ethan and Emily had come early to check into the guest suites May had reserved on their behalf.  When the concierge showed them to the suites, Daniel was surprised the guest rooms were for Ed and Anna Carlson and their 27-year-old daughter, Alice Carlson.

"Couldn't you have booked them somewhere closer to Mom and Dad?"  He mumbled a rhetorical.

"OH NO!"  Emily gasped as if her life was being threatened.  "We booked these suites three months ago when your parents told us they weren't able to accommodate them when Alice said she wanted to attend the wedding.  We didn't know you would be across the street."

"Why?"  May was confused and looked at Ethan.  "I thought these are your parents' good friends."

"That's why!"  Ethan chuckled and gave Daniel a pat on the back.  "So good they want to become In-Laws!  Right Sai Lo?"
"Not happening!"  Daniel retorted and Emily gave Ethan the same message; except hers was in the form of a smack.  Just the way she did this morning when he teased Daniel about dating Alice during their phone conversation.

Ethan's statement felt like a punch in May’s stomach May.  She didn't know whether she should believe what Daniel said because he had an agonizing expression on his face.  It was that same expression she remembered from the past whenever he lost the courage to speak his own mind or to fight for what he wanted.  She wondered if he had learned to stand up for himself after all these years. 
Right then a not so good memory dawned on May and reminded her how Daniel had always been the obedient son.  So obedient that he had listened to his parents’ advice to get engaged with Pamela before even graduating from high school.  Though she had never met Daniel’s parents, she remembered being told by Pam's best friend that they would never let him date an Asian girl, especially those with family in the Triads.  These were the exact words told to her and it wasn't until several years after she graduated from high school that she found out Pam's same best friend had told the whole school her father was a notorious ring leader.  It was the same person who started the horrible rumor that she was pregnant.  A month after high school graduation, one of her classmates told her others thought she didn't make it to the Prom because she had an abortion.

Standing in the middle of the guest suite, May suddenly tasted a rush of acid in her mouth.  She felt foolish for allowing her heart to be bathed in the remnant bliss of the earlier kiss they shared less than an hour ago.  She regretted that she didn't do what she did then.  Back then she had known he was about to kiss her but she pushed him away because she knew her high school best friend was secretly in love with him.  That was the reason she couldn't let him kiss her then.
However, since that gym incident, she never did forget how his body felt on top of hers, how connected they were.  It was the first time she became aware of how the opposite sex's body felt when physically aroused.  More important, it was also the first time she became aware of her own physical arousal.  Three months later, during a summer break, her best friend told her she no longer had a crush on Daniel but was falling for someone else.  That was when she started to allow herself to dream about being with Daniel.  She had hoped for other similar incidents to occur or that he would make another attempt to ask her out, but he never did.  Instead, she soon learned he had moved on and was dating a girl from a grade above them.

Throughout dinner, Daniel noticed May had hardly exchanged words with him, let alone glanced at him.  When she was in the kitchen getting dessert ready, he excused himself to use the bathroom when Ethan and Emily were busy entertaining Tessa.  Instead of heading to the bathroom, he turned into the kitchen and snuck up behind May and planted a quick kiss on the nape of her neck.  "Please let me take you out on a breakfast date tomorrow before we go for lunch with my parents and the Carlson."

May wasn’t able to fight off her vulnerability, but upon hearing that she turned stiff.  "Danny, I don't think ..." She couldn't bring herself to say what she was feeling, mainly because she didn't understanding her own emotions.

He dropped his arms from holding her, expecting her to turn around.  When she didn't, he decided to step in front of her.  "Is this too fast for you?  We can take it slow."

"It's not that."  May finally looked into his eyes.

He bit the corner of his lips as to seal a secret thought.  "I just want to have an official date with you first."

"Why?"  She was thinking about his obedience to his parents.  "What's the use? Your parents are just going to ..."

"I'm at your mercy to be spared being called a liar.  You see, I ..." He was thinking about something entirely different, nothing to do with his parents at the moment.  But he stopped when he heard what she said. 

"My parents?"

"A liar?"

They both said at the same time.

"What about my parents?"  Daniel asked and pulled her into his arms again.  However, he was careful not to let their body touch.

"You know your parents won't approve of us dating!"

"Why not?  They haven't even met you!  Why would you think that?"

"Because I'm a Chinese!"

Daniel laughed out loud as if he heard the most ridiculous joke.  Then he drew her against him and shook her body as if to wake her up from a sleep.  "Maybe you have forgotten my grandmother is Chinese and my Dad is half Chinese?"

May hadn't forgotten, back in Grade 9, she had stayed with him in his grandmother's home for a week when they were in Kelowna with their school band for the music festival.  Looking at his reaction to her statement, she felt better and thought perhaps she should have held on to her beliefs that what she was told about his parents were nothing but a bunch of lies.  Just like all the other things Pam's best friend had said about her.

"Okay, you win this time!"  May gave a surrendering sigh but she realized he hadn’t answered her question.  "Why would you be called a liar?"
Just then, they heard noises coming from the hallway and became aware that Emily and Ethan were making their way to the kitchen with Tessa.  May stepped aside and went back to her task of removing the plastic cover from the Tuxedo Cake tray and Daniel managed to pull open one of the drawers to fetch the dessert forks.  But he drew open the drawer that held a number of folded aprons instead.
"That one!  Next to the dishwasher!"  May directed with her head. 
Before heading over, he gave her a quick whisper.  “By the way, may I keep that apron you had on earlier as our first-kiss souvenir?”
May tried to give him a back legged kick as he chuckled and drew open the utensil drawer just when Emily entered the kitchen with Tessa in her arms.

"Hey May!  We have to leave for the airport after dessert."  Oblivious to what was happening but happy with the mood in the kitchen, Emily came up and stood next to May and watched as she served desserts.  "Sorry we can't help you clean up tonight."

"Don't worry about it!"  May said as Daniel placed a dessert fork on the plate next to the piece of cake.  "But you and Ethan know how to bring them back to the suites, right?  I don't need to stay up for you guys, right?"

"Yes!  We got it all under control!"  Ethan took the plate of dessert from May.  "We'll probably drop them off just before midnight.  That's why we told our parents not to meet until lunch tomorrow!"

"I guess they need their beauty sleep!"  May teased while watching Ethan feed a fork-full of cake to Emily.

"No, we need our beauty sleep!"  Ethan corrected May immediately which made everyone laughed.

"Mmmm!"  Emily remembered something but had her mouthful.  After swallowing her food, she nudged May's elbow lightly when she was placing another piece of cake on the plate.  "Tomorrow’s lunch!  Do you want to come with us?  We’ll all be here to pick up the Carlson."

May was about to respond and noticed how Daniel's hand turned slow motion when he was about to place the fork on the plate.  She stole a quick glance at him and could tell from the look in his eyes he wanted her to say no.  May had tried before to get out of this family luncheon but Ethan and Daniel’s mother had insisted her presence.  It was her opportunity to meet her and a gesture to thank her for helping with the accommodation.   Knowing there was no chance to get out of it, she turned to Emily.  "I need to bring my car to the garage tomorrow morning!  I'll meet you guys at the restaurant."

"Okay!"  Emily turned to look at Daniel and gave him a playful grin.  "How about you?  Did you want us to get you?"  

"No, I won't be around in the morning!  I'll meet you guys at the restaurant!"

Ethan came up behind him and gave him a hard pat on the back.  "Running away from Alice before she shows up at your doorstep, huh?!"

“And you dare tell them where I’m staying!”  Daniel warned his brother.  Then he stole a glance at May whose eye gave him a twinkle of curiosity.  He also knew May saw his guilty-as-charge look though he didn't say anything else.

"That woman is relentless!  Worst then your Ex!"  Emily told Daniel as she voiced out her agitation.  "I am surprised she hasn't called or texted you all day today."

Daniel pulled his cell phone out of his pocket to show that Alice had just sent her last text message before boarding the flight about 30 minutes ago.  Emily passed Tessa to May and then reached over to grab hold of Daniel's cell phone from his hand.  She scrolled the phone to scan through some of the messages.  "She texted you what she was eating for lunch?!  Who does that?!" 

Emily flashed the phone for May to read, but May really wasn't interested.  Besides, there was no way she could read at the speed Emily was scrolling.   "She's insane!"

"Do you text her back?"  Ethan asked when Emily showed him one of the messages from last week where she asked about being his date on their Wedding Day.

"Only when it’s necessary!"  Daniel remained nonchalant about the fuss over the text messages from Alice.

"So what did you tell her about being her date at our Wedding?"  Emily was curious as always.  She tried to find the juiciest info as she scrolled.  "I can't find your response."

Daniel swallowed the cake that was in his mouth.  He took a quick glance at May to see if she was listening.  Then he gave his answer to Emily.  "I told her in person that I already got a date!"

"What!  You didn't tell me you were bringing a date!"  Emily suddenly turned frazzled.  "When did you tell her?"

"Yesterday!"  Daniel caught the smirk of realization from May when Ethan and Emily had their back to her.

"Well, she's still texting you today!"  Ethan chuckled in disbelief.  "It doesn't look like she believed you!"

"Who is your date?  You didn't tell me you were bringing a date!  Is she from LA?" 

“It’s a surprise!  Can’t tell nobody until she shows up!”

Emily fussed and didn't know who to be more annoyed over, Alice's unrelenting pursuit or her future-brother-in-law's date.  "Now I have to add her to a table somewhere!”

Daniel chuckled as he watched his brother trying to soothe Emily.  But nothing he offered seemed to calm her frazzles. Then she pointed her index finger at Daniel and scolded.  "I don’t care who she is, but she won't be sitting with you at the Wedding!"

Daniel smiled to himself as he watched May waltzed out of the kitchen carrying Tessa with her.  He knew she was laughing at the whole predicament by the lightness of her steps and the way she was cooing Tessa as she made her exit.

Then Daniel turned to Ethan who was about to follow his soon-to-be wife out of the kitchen.  "Alice will have to believe when she sees my date!"  Then he called out to Emily, but loud enough for even May to hear.  "Emily, my date already knows she won’t be sitting next to me!"  He then added.  “And she is totally fine with that!”