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Chapter 19

Huffing and puffing her way back to Rainie’s apartment with Kris on her back, Ariel slowly trotted her way through the halls. As they reached the door, Rainie had already pulled it forward.

“ARIEL!!! Thank goodness you guys are back,” Rainie said in a rush.

Joe too was flustered for some strange reason.

“C’mon Kris we gotta go,” he hurried.

“Where are we going??!!” Kris said trying to get his attention.

“The hospital, Mike’s AWAKE!” Rainie yelled.

Ariel froze. Was it all true? Has Mike finally awaken from…

“NO time to PANIC, ARIEL!!!” Rainie said interrupting her thoughts. “Let’s go!”

Once the reached the hospital, Joe once again asked the nurses where Mike had been placed. One by one, Rainie, Joe, Kris and Ariel went to visit Mike. Rainie went in first. He was barely moving but he was able to turn his head to face her.

“M-Mike?” she quivered from fear.

“Rainie?” he whispered quietly. He was still weak and barely recovering.

She was shaking horribly but managed to make it towards him. Trying hard not to cry, she sat by his side and quietly looked at his fragile body. Mike slowly lifted his right hand to feel her gentle and delicate face; the same face that he fell in love with so many years ago.

“Oh Rainie,” he whispered.

“Don’t say anything,” she wept.

There reunion was very quiet but sweet. Nobody talked but she couldn’t help but kiss him more and more. Her fiancé was back and nothing can take that away from her, not now.

Joe interrupted by knocking at the door.

“Hey,” he managed to say smiling.

“Well, if it isn’t Joe Cheng…” Mike said still breathing heavily.

“And ME!!” Kris yelled.

“Oh…” Mike laughed. “How can I ever forget such a face? Come here and give your uncle Mike a hug, runt.”

Kris ran to the bed and jumped on top of him, which scared Rainie and Joe since Mike had barely started recovering.

“Uncle MIKE!!!” Kris yelled in excitement as she hugged him.

“Oh, I missed this,” he managed to say.

“I missed you more!” she said squeezing tighter.

Tears started to run from her face and this saddened Mike because he never wanted Kris to cry.

“Joe, you idiot,” Mike said. How many times do I gotta tell ya!? You gotta keep this one strong,” Mike said referring to Kris.

“I try to, but she’s a hugger. If I couldn’t stop her with the Jaw’s of life, what chance do you have?” he joked.

“Hey runt,” Mike said back to Kris. “What did I say about crying?”

“I can’t cry.”

“And why is that?”

“Because I have to remember all the people who love me and remember that no matter what happens, they will always love me,” she recited.

“That’s right,” Mike said.

In the corner of his eye, Mike peers at a strange face. For some reason it was familiar, but also unknown. Ariel stood silently by the opposite corner from Mike with a very worried expression all over her face. She was finally with Mike again and yet, he was so far away from her.

“Can you guys give me a moment with her alone…”Mike said to Rainie and Joe while pointing at Ariel.

Rainie smiled at Ariel and gave her a “thumbs up” while Joe patted her on the shoulder. Kris squeezed her hand and smiled. Slowly Rainie, Joe and Kris leave the room and Ariel was the only one left with Mike. She was scared; what was she suppose to do now? Waiting for years just for this moment had left her nervous and overwhelmed.

“…um…” she said nervously trying not to cry.

“It’s about damn time you showed up,” Mike said with a slight smile.

“M-Mike…”she said slowly unable to find the right emotion.

“Come here.”

Slowly she able to move her body forward, but with every inch, her stomach sank lower and lower. Trembling from head to toe, Ariel was not able to do anything or feel anything. She was numb all over. Everything scared her. Was this another prank? Was this really Mike? What will he say to her?

“Ariel,” he whispered.

She stayed silent, trying to swallow that lump in her throat.

“You remember me well don’t you?” he asked quietly.

“I remember you well,” she said slowly.

“You don’t have to be afraid,” he said.

He then lifted his fragile hand onto Ariel’s hand and squeezed it as hard as he could.

“You have no idea what I did to try to find you,” he whispered.

“Joe told me that you went all over Taiwan…asked many people about me and my mom…and found my father,” she said finally weeping.

Ariel cried and cried for as long as Mike held her hand. Barely being able to stand the pain, she knelt down beside his bed.

“You still look so beautiful, my princess,” he said.

She whispered back “I’ve missed you so much. I tried so hard not to cry but it got so hard.”

“I told you that we’ll see each other again,” he said with his caring manner. “I never said goodbye, remember?”

“I never thought this day would come,” she cried.

“I did. Knowing everything that I do about us, I never had a doubt in my mind that I would find you.”

“You’re still so stubborn,” she laughed.

Mike laughed too. “Yeah and you can blame Rainie for making me even more so,” he joked.

“She’s a wonderful girl,” Ariel said with a sigh. “She has your smile.”

“Strange isn’t it?” Mike joked. “I don’t think I will love anyone as much as I love her. You know that right?”

“I know. I think I fell in love with her the first time I met her too,” Ariel said with a smile.

“That’s what makes me and you so great, Ariel. We have an unbreakable bond. Scary enough to fall for the same girl,” he joked.

“Not to mention she is very beautiful,” Ariel nodded.

“Ah yes, and she can cook too. That was a bonus,” he continued to joke.

Throughout their reconciliation, Ariel and Mike joked and laughed like the old times. She was back with her best friend and nothing stood in the way of their friendship. Ariel once believed that no one can ever love him the way she loved him. This was true. But the way she loved Mike and the way Rainie loved Mike was completely opposite. Rainie had a passionate love for him whereas Ariel’s love was more like a friend. Of course, both of them had loved him equally; they both valued his presence in their lives as much as the other and understood that quite well. Even if Mike were to marry Rainie in the future, Ariel would stand proudly by them whether she would be the maid of honor or the best man.

 

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