Chapter 13 - The Twist of Events

"Oh Lord!"  Emily sat hugging a cushion to her chest while watching the Breaking News about an East Bound vehicle accident on the Okanagan Connector highway.  The news helicopter was surveying the accident site where an SUV had been reported to have lost control and driven off the side of the road and down a steep treacherous slope.  The TV screen showed the overturned SUV with its four wheels pointing to the sky.  The car was presumed to still be running because it appeared the wheels were still spinning from a bird-eye's view.  The reporter inside the helicopter was saying there was some movement close to the overturned vehicle.  However, they were not close enough to the accident site for the camera to get a closer look.  Just then the news camera caught sight of the first crew of emergency vehicles about 8 km from the accident site. 

Just as the distant sound of an explosion came thundering through the TV speakers, Emily’s cell phone rang.  Emily got up to fetch her ringing mobile that was charging on the bookshelf but Ethan got to it first.  But the ringing was cut off after the second ring.  "Who was it?"  Emily had her eyes back on the TV screen.

"It was May!"  Ethan handed the cell to Emily and sat down next to her on the sofa to watch the Breaking News for the first time.  "What happened?"

"A car drove off the cliff on the Connector."  Emily watched as the camera focused back to the accident site where the vehicle was now in blazing fire as smoke filled the TV screen.

Ethan took in the scene for a few seconds.  "Isn't this the route Daniel is taking to Kelowna?"

Emily gasped.  "Oh God!  That ... that wasn't ... Oh God!"  She looked at her phone and dialed the missed call which was May's number.   When no one answered on the other line, she looked to Ethan.  "If the phone is ringing, it means their car wasn’t the one that exploded, right?"

Ethan turned to look at her, he was speechless for he didn’t know the answer.  Then they both turned to look at the TV screen at the same time.  The live coverage was showing three men climbing down the slope towards the burning vehicle.  But nothing could be seen from where the explosion took place because it was all covered in smoke.  Then the camera zoomed in towards the direction where the men were running towards what appeared to be a body of a woman lying listlessly on the ground.  Next to the body was a baby who was bawling her lungs out.  A few seconds later, someone appeared from the thick smoke dragging a heavy built body across the ground with the help of a golden Chow Chow.
"Oh God!  I shouldn't have insisted on May going to Kelowna with Daniel for the weekend!"  Emily couldn't watch anymore.  She placed her two hands over her tear-filled face.  "I just wanted her to relax after being spooked by the stupid Kyle!"

"Hey!  Let's not think of the worst!"  Ethan pulled Emily close to him but he too was trembling as well.  "Maybe that's not them!"

The camera focussed on the burning vehicle for a few more seconds as the reporter was trying to confirm the make of the car.  He had the camera zoom in on the front bumper. 

"Oh Lord!"  Emily cried out when the reporter mentioned a black Lexus SUV.  "Please don't let this be happening!"

Then Ethan jumped up as if he was cheering a game point goal.  "No!  That's not Daniel's Lexus!"

Emily was more surprised by his jump and cheer.  "How can you be so sure?!" 

"Daniel's car is Stargazer Black!"  Then he pointed to the TV.  "This one is Obsidian!"

Emily started dialing May’s number again and watched the burning SUV on TV.  "It looks black to me.  Are you sure?" 

Then the camera zoomed over to show the Emergency Crew arriving at the accident site.  Ethan saw for the first time where the scene showed the single vehicle that had collided against a huge boulder on the side of the highway causing traffic to be interrupted from both directions.  Some of the West-bound travellers had pulled over to assist, while others were slowing down just to watch before driving off.  Not far from the crashed vehicle, there was an SUV in the middle of the ditch.  "There!  That's a Stargazer Black!"

Unable to tell the difference between stargazer black and obsidian black, Emily wanted so much to believe Ethan.  "Then why is May not picking up her phone?" 
By 5:25 that evening, the men and women in Gram's Prayer Group were gathering around her living room.  Not only were they there for a special prayer meeting, they were here to catch the 5:30 evening news on the big 80-inch wide-screen television her son and daughter-in-law had given her for Mother's Day gift seven months earlier. 

"Mom!  This is the only time I haven't heard you complain about the TV being a white-elephant in your living room!"  Mr. West, AKA Randy, teased his mother over the phone.

"Yes, Son!  I've finally found use and appreciation for it tonight!"  Gram said in her motherly tone.  "But you and Kate should still have asked me first!  Anyways, I'll talk to you both later; they are calling me to watch the news now!"

"Alright Mom, we'll see you Monday then!"

After placing the phone back on the wall unit in the kitchen, Gram made her way to the living room.  She sat in the spot reserved for her, directly in front of the huge television.  A minute later, the evening news came on and everyone paid close attention to what the broadcaster was saying.  Some of them had been following the news since this morning when the accident happened.  They weren't so much interested in watching the broadcaster repeat what had happened, most of them knew the ins and outs of the accident better than the newscaster herself.  The reason they were in Gram’s living room was to watch the interview of the heroic family.  According to several news forums, the heroic husband saved three people’s lives just before the motor vehicle exploded; while his heroic wife stopped a notoriously sought-after fugitive from escaping arrest.

According to one Internet news site, the hero and his wife and their year-old daughter escaped the accident unharmed; even their car was spared damage because 'The Force' was with them and protected them. 

Finding how ridiculous the article was, Emily commented by asking why ‘The Force’ did not protect the other family who tumbled down the side of the road in their car.  As a result, their car exploded and the parents of the baby-girl were still in critical condition at the Kelowna General Hospital.  Within an hour, Emily’s comment got hundreds of thumbs up and prayer icons from the public.

In a matter of 5 hours, the hero and heroine were reported as a married couple with a baby girl named Tessa.  Emily noted that at least they spelled the baby’s name correctly.  It was reported that the heroic family, including their dog, was on their way to visit the wife’s grandmother.  Emily wrote on the Forum asking if they had come to that conclusion because the woman who came to the hospital looking for them was Chinese.

According to another news source, the fugitive tried to hijack their SUV after Daniel, the husband, started down the slope to help the family in distress.  May, the wife, used her Karate kick on the fugitive's chin and knocked him out and tied him up before he gained consciousness again.  But Emily knew it was the pepper spray that distracted the fugitive and gave May the opportunity to kick him in the balls because Tessa kept screaming for the toy that had fallen to the ground when May carried her out of her car seat.  And after May kicked him in the balls with her boots, the fugitive fell backwards against the door car and knocked himself in the head and became unconscious.  But it was true that May did tie him up.  However; it was with the help of two other men who came to her rescue when they saw she and the baby were being forced out of the backseat by the fugitive. 

Just when the early evening news on TV was showing the hero carrying his daughter in his arms while being treated by an ambulance attendance, Daniel entered Gram's kitchen from the garage door carrying the sleeping Tessa in her buggy seat.  Behind him was the golden Chow Chow who wouldn’t leave his sight since the explosion at the accident scene.  So the police had asked him to take the dog in tentatively.  So Daniel agreed and the dog had been following him everywhere since.

Daniel placed the baby seat down carefully at the corner of the hallway entrance and he told the dog to stay and watch Tessa.  Surprisingly even to him, the dog listened.  Then Daniel headed out to the garage again and returned with a big box filled to the top with reusable plastic trays of take-out Chinese food.  May followed behind carrying four large plastic bags filled with a variety of sushi rolls that came in fancy imitation lacquer Japanese trays.  The dog came and joined them in the kitchen again.

"Danny?"  Gram's voice was heard from the living room amidst the loud volume of the broadcasting news.  “Is that you, Danny? May?”

"Yeah Gram?  We're back with the food!"  Daniel put the box on the kitchen counter and helped May with her bags.  When he heard Gram’s approaching footsteps, he took hold of May's hand and led her through the hallway to join his grandmother.

Daniel and May were greeted by loud clapping of hands, followed by hugs and handshakes from men and women who knew Daniel since he was born.  In the middle of their congratulatory greetings, one of the woman noticed movement from the baby seat at the end of the hallway.  When she approached, the baby was waking up from her sleep and looked like she was about to cry.  When tears broke through, the woman picked up the baby and headed straight to May.  Obviously, the middle-aged Chinese woman had believed every word she heard on TV.  “Your daughter is looking for you!” 

"Tessa is my sister!"  May tried to explain as she took the baby into her arms.  When the woman didn’t seem to understand, she tried to tell her in Cantonese.  “Mui Mui!” (Little sister)

The Chinese woman smiled and May knew she didn’t understand what she was saying at all.  The woman turned around and started calling Tessa ‘Mui Mui’ in higher intonation which meant little girl.  When Gram came to carry Tessa, the woman said to her.  "Your great-granddaughter is very cute!" 

Tessa stopped crying in Gram’s embrace until she caught sight of Daniel.  After her kicks didn’t catch his attention, she started crying again.  She wouldn’t even let May take her back.  The baby was throwing a tantrum and got all eyes and ears on her.  But when Daniel extended his arms to her, she stopped crying immediately.

"She's so attached to her father!"  The same Chinese woman said to Gram in Cantonese.  "Your grandson-in-law is very good with her!  Look how she stopped crying right away!"

"Danny is my grandson!"  Gram corrected her friend and then gave Daniel a knowing grin.  "Maybe someday May will be my granddaughter-in-law."

But that only confused the Chinese woman even more.  "Oh, they are not married?"  Then she turned to Gram and told her in a very serious tone of voice.  "Young people are too liberal nowadays.  You need to exert your values and authority.  Tell them to get married right away for the sake of their baby!"

Before Gram could speak up, Pastor Brooke, whom Daniel had known since he was a child, placed his hand on Daniel’s shoulder.  "I can certainly marry the two of you right away!  Then that will set right all the things spoken of and written about our heroic couple!"  He chuckled and patted Tessa's head.  "The only thing I can't undo is Tessa being your daughter.  After all, the entire country bore witness to her calling you ‘Bah Bah’ on TV."

"Yeah, and don’t forget our golden Chow Chow!"  Daniel added and they all looked at the vulnerable canine.

The pastor said to the middle-aged Chinese woman.  "Mrs. Kwan.  Don't believe everything you hear or read in the news!  Tessa is May's sister, not their daughter!  Daniel and May are friends from high school."

"Thank you for explaining, Pastor Brooke!"  Daniel appreciated with sincerity.  "Perhaps you can add that to your sermon tomorrow so we don't have to repeatedly explain away."

"Oh, but like I said, just a little private ceremony will take care of that!  Though I am retired, I can still perform the rites, you know!"  The pastor winked.  "Some of us still remember the duet you two performed in church years ago!"

"It was such a beautiful duet!"  Gram commented.  "So glad I had the two of you at home with me for that week!"  She looked at May.  "I was so happy when Danny told me last night that you were coming with him.  It's time the two of you play another duet!"

"Doo-A!"  Tessa, who was now fully awaken, repeated and smiled at Daniel.  When Gram offered to take her, she willingly went to her and laughed when Gram cooed her with baby talk.

Daniel had his arm around May's shoulders. "What do you say?  Are you up for it?"

She wrapped her arm around his waist and smiled.  "Maybe something easy to play." 

“Wonderful!”  Pastor Brooke chirped.

“We can play during the offertory.”  May suggested. "We want to thank God for delivering us from harm today.  Also, the wife is out of ICU now.  The baby girl is with her in the recovery room.  We still need to pray for the man.  He is still in ICU when we left the hospital."

"Yes, and don't forget!”  Gram addressed May.  “We also need to praise God for giving you the courage to kick that scumbag in the balls!" 

"Gram!"  Daniel gasped shockingly at his grandmother’s choice of words.  However, he was more surprised when others around them found Gram was being her usual self.