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Chapter 15

It was their last night in Japan and Mike had one final dinner service to cater for before he could breathe that final sigh of relief. His time in Japan had been filled with mixed emotions that helped him become a better and a more attentive chef. Smiling as he made his last crème filled crepe, he feels a bit nostalgic of all the nice things he’ll remember from his visit. He gathers his employees in a toast to the country that gave so much back to their efforts.

“OK guys,” he began. “This is our last night catering for the Yang family. Let’s end it with a bang!”

This party was strictly personal; only the family members who have the Yang family name were able to attend. That meant that business associates, girlfriends, boyfriends and friends weren’t in attendance which meant that Rainie was now stuck in her hell. Surrounded by people who were “happily married” and rambunctious children, Rainie felt like the only one who was truly alone and unhappy.

“So Rainie,” asked her cousin Jackie, who wasn’t able to bring her own boyfriend. “I guess we’re the only two single gals tonight.”

“I guess,” Rainie said rolling her eyes.

“I’ll probably leave a little earlier though,” she smirked. “Robbie decided to propose to me last week and since he couldn’t come tonight, I suggested that we meet up later to celebrate.”

“You’re getting married?” Rainie asked out of interest.

“Yea,” Jackie said with smug indifference. “Maybe by next year, you’ll find someone too so you won’t be the only one without a date.”

“You know,” Rainie laughed. “The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then they marry him.”

And with that, Jackie was left in awe as Rainie left her with her mouth clearly wide open. Rainie went outside to take in the calm night air Japan had to offer and sighed deeply. The night was taking a toll on her brain and she couldn’t stop it from pounding and pounding. Every time her family had a gathering, it would either be about business or marriage. She wasn’t ready for either.

“WOOHOO!!!!” yelled a couple people from the outside. They were from the catering company.

“Here’s to the success in Japan!!” One waitress said.

“Cheers!” yelled a waiter.

“I’ll drink to that!” yelled another chef.

“To Japan!!” yelled Mike from the middle of the group.

Rainie looked at the happy commoners and couldn’t help but smile at their euphoria. They seem happy than the people inside and it wasn’t even their party. Rainie decided to join in their fun.

“Hey!” she screamed to them.

“Ms. Yang?” Mike called out from afar.

“Oh crap!” yelled a waiter.

Quickly the rest of the catering workers rushed back to work, leaving Mike and Rainie alone.

“Oh I’m sorry,” she laughed. “I didn’t mean to break up your little party. I just wanted to join in.”

“Forget it,” Mike smiled. “They’ll get back to work and finish the service. We’re not finished but we just wanted to take a quick break before the end.”

“I can see that,” Rainie smiled back.

“What are you doing out here?” Mike asked. “Oh I know. You’re trying to stalk me.”

“Excuse me?” she smugly crossed her arms.

“I can see it clearly now,” he proudly rubbed his chin. “How is it Ms Yang, that everywhere I go, you seem to be right there waiting to call for me?”

“You’re thinking too much into coincidence,” Rainie quipped.

“Am I?” Mike smiled swinging his arms behind him. “Then let’s call it serendipity.”

“Serendipity…” Rainie repeated. “Sounds like something you would say.”

“Ah do I hear some quick-witted jib from my dear friend?” Mike slyly smiled.

Raine rolled her eyes and turned her face away from him before sighing deeply once more.

“Did I say something wrong?” Mike asked.

“You call me your friend,” Rainie said whimsically. “Yet you still call me formally.”

“Formally?” Mike wondered.

“Every time you address me, it’s always by Ms. Yang. It feels as if you don’t really consider me a friend. Perhaps business associates, which I guess we are,” Rainie explained.

“So…” Mike said before sliding next to her. “What do you want me to call you?”

“Rainie,” she said quietly.

“Well I have called you Rainie before, don’t you remember?” he chuckled.

“You have?” she asked lifting her head to see his smug eyes.

“I have,” he smiled “But I guess not enough to make you happy. Then I suppose that we shall have a traditional ceremony.”

“For what?” Rainie asked dumbfounded.

“You’ll see,” he said taking her hand.

He took her to the back of the party where lights and fountains were lit like heaven specifically chose this place to bless. The garden the covered with delicately placed flowers with sweet smells that created a very romantic air.

“Why did you bring me to the garden?” Rainie asked as she was still being dragged.

“You’ll see,” he repeated.

“Mike, why bring me to this place where we are strictly prohibited to be in at a time like this?” she asked.

“We’re going to become friends,” he said sweetly.

“But…”

“It takes a very special bond between two people to become friends,” he explained. “So I shall demonstrate a proper ceremony to engrave our friendship in.”

“A proper ceremony? Engrave our friendship?” she questioned. “What are you up to?”

He turned on the fountains and the water spouted around the lights which now sparkled everywhere like a million fireworks exploding in front of them. Mike took Rainie’s hands in his and looked deep into her eyes with a smile.

“Dearly beloved, we gather here today in holy camaraderie to bestow between these two lovely people…” Mike began to recite.

“What is this?” Rainie laughed.

“SHH!!” he hissed. “Don’t ruin the moment!”

“Are you marrying me?” she giggled.

“I’m uniting our friendship, now hush,” he proudly explained. “Now where was I? Oh yes…two lovely people to a truly blissful friendship. Do I hear any objections?”

“This is so weird!” she laughed.

“Is that an objection?” Mike pouted.

“…no,” Rainie shyly rolled her eyes.

“Good!” he nodded. “Since we have no objections let’s continue. Do you miss Yang…take this outrageously optimistic chef to become your dear friend, in sickness and in health, no matter how many times he may forget a birthday, no matter how disturbingly unrealistic his goals are and no matter how many times he may waste your father’s money so he won’t starve to death, till death do you part?”

“HAHAHA!” Rainie busted into laughter.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Mike deduced quickly. “Do you Mr. He take this rich, beautiful woman to become your dear friend, no matter how many times she may say that your goals are unrealistic, no matter how many times she’ll ignore the importance of family, and no matter how many times she’ll feel uncontrollably sad because you’ll always be there for her regardless of the situation?”

He took a step to his side and pretended to answer the “priest”.

“I do,” he smiled genuinely.

He stepped in front and took his original position.

“I now introduce to you Ms. Yang, Mike He and I introduce to you Mr. He, Rainie Yang. You may now informally call each other whatever your hearts desire,” Mike ended sweetly.

“I don’t accept!” Rainie giggled.

“What!” Mike pouted harder than before.

“You have to always remember my birthday!” she joked.

Mike laughed a bit and stared at her long before he could think about what to say next. Still holding her hands, he nodded hard and closed his eyes to indicate his sincerity.

“I will always remember your birthday,” he said firmly.

“Then I will accept,” she smiled and giggled.

“Never again will I call you Ms Yang,” he shook his head.

“I appreciate it,” she smiled back. “Aren’t I supposed to kiss you now?”

“…uh,” he shyly said. “Well it’s just a friendship ceremony not marriage.”

“Oh…” she pouted with a smile. “In a wedding, people unite with a kiss. What should we do to unite our friendship?”

“Hmmm?” Mike thought. “How about a hug?”

Mike spread out his arms widely with the biggest smile plastered across his face. It was goofy not sweet and he couldn’t help but look utterly kissable. Rainie realized this and took his hands into hers and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re a very good friend,” she said before leaving to go back to the party. “Get back inside before you catch a cold.”

Watching her leave him for the first time wasn’t the only surprise Mike got that night. After she kissed him, he could only feel light headed and his knees grew weak. He had this blissful smile on his face like he had just experienced a very pleasant relief.

“She likes me,” he said to himself falling face first onto the floor.

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