Chapter 15 - The Aim of the Game

The next day after the morning church service, while Gram stayed behind to help with the Monthly Welcome Newcomers Luncheon, Daniel and May decided they would take this time to cruise around town and stroll down a few memory lanes.  He drove them to the community college where they attended classes during the music festival in grade 9.  Today, it was being used for the Annual Christmas Craft Fundraising for The Children's Hospital.  When they started to make their way into the main hall, one of the stall keepers recognized them from yesterday's news and extended her welcome to them.  She was also one of the main organizers and had access to the sound system.  She announced over the speakers that it was an honor to have the heroic couple, Mr. and Mrs. West, and their daughter, Tessa, at the fair.  Immediately, the neighboring stall keepers and shoppers gathered around them to show their appreciation and shook their hands.  Some asked to have their photos taken with them and requested their permission to share the photos.  Many of the crafters gave the items they made to them, some gave them homemade baked-goods and many showered Tessa with toys and dresses that were hand-made.  Both Daniel and May insisted on paying for the items but none of the crafters and bakers would take their money.  So just before leaving the fair, Daniel placed a cheque into a glassy ornament and hung it on the Christmas tree as donation to the Children's Hospital.
After they drove away from the fair, Daniel let out a sigh of relief.  "Maybe we should just go to the Drive -Thru instead of going into a restaurant or the mall." 

"Either that or you take us to a super high-class restaurant!"  May chirped.  "People tend to leave you alone there!"

Daniel was surprised by her tone of certainty.  "You sound like you have been in the company of people who gets lots of public attention!  Were you dating a celebrity before and got harassed?"

May laughed light-heartedly.  "Not really."

Daniel was expecting to hear more from her.  “What do you mean ‘not really’?  Were you harassed by reporters or was your Pastor boyfriend a famous tele-evangelist?”

She chuckled at his curious expression.  "Not really means not really!"  She wanted a reaction from him.  “Yes and no to your last two questions!”

Daniel threw her a quick glance.  “What have you done that reporters would be all over you?”

"For being born!"  May replied nonchalantly.  “I never told you who my father was.  It was hard to avoid reporters whenever I was with him.”

When May revealed whom her father was, Daniel couldn’t believe he was in the company of someone with a 'naire' status.  With what had happened between her and Kyle, Daniel wondered if she had inherited the million or the billion.  Her father was a business magnate, architect and real estate developer in Asia and North America.  Daniel had known of him; in fact, he was even aware of his untimely passing a year ago.  At the time, her father was among the top 100 richest man in the world. 

While waiting for their food at the restaurant, Daniel googled her father and was surprised to see quite a number of photos with May in the search image results.  The most recent ones were of her at the funeral, standing next to a pregnant Eurasian woman whom he was certain had to be Tessa's late mother.   

"I kept some of the clippings and articles for Tessa!"  May looked sadly at the baby who was drinking juice from the bottle in her hands.  When Tessa noticed her sister looking at her, she stopped sucking and gave her a smile that was as sweet as the apple juice.  May's mood was lifted and she couldn't help but smile back.

"Well, your dad was well respected in the business circle, his work in architectural structure is well-known all over the world.  That's worthy of Tessa’s respect for the father she never met."  Daniel took her hand and gave it a squeeze.  “With you raising her, I’m certain Tessa will grow-up to be smart enough to filter out the articles that matter from the gossips!”

“Thank you!”  May smiled and Daniel went back to browsing his phone.  A few minutes later, she noticed a bemused expression on his face and grab his cell phone to see what he was reading.  There was a photo of her.  “Oh gosh!  That was taken years ago!”
“University Grad?”  Daniel asked and she nodded and handed his phone back to him.  “This is not your legal name!”

“The reporters were from Asia, they only know my Chinese name.”  May explained. 

"Hmm!"  Daniel continued to browse his phone. "No wonder!"

"No wonder what?!" 

"No wonder nothing ever showed up when I googled Shamayim Lee or May Lee!"  Daniel finally took his eyes off his cell and looked at her with a smirk. 

"Why would you google me?"  May gave him a suspicious look.

"I'm a search engine techie, googling is part of my job!"  Of course he wasn’t going to tell her the real reason.  But he gave her a sheepish grin.  "I have to prove to myself how good I was!"

“I guess you are not good enough yet, huh?”  May finally got the upper hand. “Besides my parents, I think only you and Gram remember my legal name!”

Daniel had a look of reservation about what she said.  "Umm...what about Emily?  Does she know your name is Shamayim?"

“I don’t think so.”  May replied.  "You know what? Just a few weeks ago, she asked me for my driver’s license.  She said she needed it for the marriage license.”

“Hmm!”  Daniel’s memory went to the conversation him and Emily had when he was still in LA.  She had called to ask a second time if there was anything he wanted to keep from high school.  He had told her no.  “Well, that was convenient!”

“Yeah, to think of it, it was weird how she wanted to know my high school friends as well.” May thought back some more.  "Oh, she also asked what my Face Book ID stood for!"  May laughed at the memory.  "But I never told her!"

Daniel suddenly felt an awareness of his thigh as an image of the hot tea incident flashed across his memory.  "I think she has figured it out from the diary.  I think she knew we went to the same high school even before the luncheon!"

“Seriously?”  She shook her head in disbelief.  "That's why she insisted on having the Luncheon. Ha!  And she said it was so I wouldn’t feel awkward with Ethan’s brother as the Best Man!  Can you believe her?" 

Daniel chuckled at the memory of receiving an urgent text message from Emily to open up his schedule for the Thursday Luncheon.  She didn’t mention anything about meeting the Maid of Honor.  "Exactly how did you two meet?"

May shook her head and laughed.  "Not telling!  You will have to listen to my Maid of Honor speech!"  When their laughter stopped, she looked at him.  "And exactly what did you write in that diary of yours?"

"I told you, everything you said to me during our high school years!"

"I don't believe you, you must have written something else.  You got to show me your diary!"

"Sure!  As soon as you wear the heirloom diamond ring my mother has reserved for my wife!"  Daniel grinned.

She blushed but she also attempted a warning.  "Danny!  That's strike two for joking about us getting married!"

"Who said I was joking?"  He smiled a Mono Leo - the male version of a Mona Lisa.

May tried to study him for a moment but couldn't tell if he was serious or not, but she couldn't stifle her chuckles.  "Danny!  Today is Sunday; we've only met each other again since Thursday!  It might feel like we've reached first base, hardly a foundation for marriage talk.  We have yet to discuss about our relationship and the other ....... bases!"

Tessa who was seated next to him handed him her bottle and mimicked. "Bay-se!"

"Right!"  He said to the baby and took the bottle from her.  Turning to look May in the eyes, he said with determination.  "Well, now that I know the set of rules you play by, I don't intend to reach any bases with you!"

"So you're aiming for Strike three?!"

"No!"  He grinned.  "I'm aiming for home run!"

May wanted to tell him that was Strike Three but she seemed to have lost her vocal ability.  That was because she was trying to constrain her cheek muscles from putting a smile on her face.   When she knew she was losing it, she turned to face the window only to see Daniel’s reflection looking at her.  The mention of ‘home-run’ had created a deep surge of emotions in her heart. 

In her two relationships, discussion of marriage only came up once and it wasn't with Kyle.  At that time, it took her a month to warm up to the idea of the possibility of being married.  She was 22 and he was 25.  However, he was certain God wanted him to become a missionary in Thailand, which meant she would be a Missionary's wife committed to full-time ministry work.  Her father and Amelia, the nanny who helped raised her since she was born, sat her down and helped her evaluate her relationship back then; including her personality, her God-given gifts and talents; well, basically her life choices.   After three months of prayers and petition, she finally received peace in her heart that the mission field was not where her calling was after all.  And now, with her father’s legacy on her slate, Uncle Lam had warned her to be very careful about her selection of a marriage partner.  His advice to her was to ask the man if he was willing to sign a nuptial before even entering into a relationship.

May sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest.  She lifted her eyes to look at Daniel who was still holding a smirk on his face.  She still wanted to tell him he had struck out, but her heart was already cozy with the idea of him as her husband.  However, her protective human nature reprimanded her for her vulnerability because she was falling for him at a rate that was faster than the speed of light … if that was even possible.
On the drive back to Vancouver the next day, May sat at the back of the car with Tessa and Gram while Pastor Brooke took the passenger seat at the front.  At the start of the trip, Gram told May stories about Daniel's childhood while the two men bonded.  Occasionally, Gram would stop talking and May would listen in on some of the conversation between Daniel and Pastor Brooke. 

Because Pastor Brooke had known Daniel for a long, long time, he was very much interested in his spiritual life.  During a segment of their conversation, May heard Daniel mentioned how he was invited to an evangelistic church in LA by a 'she' friend.  Though she just picked up bits and pieces of the conversation, she couldn’t stop the sour taste from forming in her mouth.  The pungent taste went straight to stomach lining when he mentioned with fondness how ‘she’ was the reason he ended up serving as one of the pianists for Sunday Worship Services.  The frequent use of the third party pronoun by Daniel created an unsettling feeling for May, making her feel she was the third wheel.  So as he drove on down the highway, her mind was having a major debate with her heart.  The debate was so exhausting she had to close her eyes on several occasions. And whenever she did, she envisioned herself riding on a see-saw ride … all by herself running back and forth on the see-saw doing the balancing act.  She was so into her game she didn’t notice the few times when Daniel took glances of her from the rear view mirror.

And when she finally took notice, he threw her an inquisitive grin.  She felt so transparent at that moment and thought his grin was asking her why she was green all over.  She felt as if he could see jealousy written all over her face; because that was how she felt.  And she didn’t know why she had such a hard time overcoming this feeling of herself being the third party when it came to being in a relationship with Daniel.

Gram interrupted their silent exchange of glances from the rear view mirror.  “Danny Boy, there’s a rest area stop coming up soon.  Let’s take a break!”  Then Gram looked at baby who was smiling at her.  “You two can take Tessa to the playground for a while!  Pastor Brooke and I need to stretch our legs!”

“Sure!”  Daniel chirped innocently and caught May’s eyes again from the rear view mirror.  “Hey!  Want to ride on the see-saw?  Remember how I used to come down so fast and bump my end so hard and made you fly out of your seat?”

May looked at him with shock in her eyes and vocalized her thoughts.  “Are you a mind reader?”

Daniel flashed her a grin and then drove his car towards the exit that would take them to the rest area.

Can't Fight This Feeling - Reo Speedwagon