If Dana Lee can’t quite recall the exact first moment when she had fallen in love with Eli Kee, then strolling hand-in-hand now, in the vast evening-lit garden of the Kee family mansion, must be a moment to remember, for she felt as if she was falling in love with Eli all over again.
Dana’s heart brimmed over with the beauty of the Kee garden. The mango and star-fruit trees were matured and formed a shadowy canopy that sighed softly in the breeze and the stone walks were lined with rare flowering shrubs. The walks all led to a Victorian (cast iron, 1861) fountain that splashed gracefully into a shallow carp pool. None of this, including the vaguely Spanish-style manor up on the slopes could mean a thing if Eli wasn’t finally by her side. How can Dana Lee’s feelings be described? From the depths of emotional turmoil after The Ice Ball, she had slowly climbed back to her sunny disposition: from the moment she heard of Bella Teo’s engagement to her old friend Adam Tan, to Eli justifying his strange behaviour, and learning about Bella’s sad early life from Eli himself, to forgiving Bella her betrayals; to Eli’s proposing to her just a moment ago, Dana felt by turns tranquil, uncertain, then joyful. In the sunshine of Eli’s embrace, Dana Lee had regained her old positivity, and most of her former confidence.
Dana was mostly relieved, and grateful even, to Bella, that for the moment, she was no longer the focus and target of gossip and speculation. The surprise news of Bella Teo’s engagement to Adam Tan was now the unceasing wonder of the entire fashion flock, and formed one of the busiest discussions on mobile data plans. Dana's intimate knowledge of the pair made it seem to her one of the most unlikely and unaccountable pairings she had ever heard, and she had witnessed quite a few in her time. How could Bella and Adam be together? By what attraction could Adam Tan be drawn to a girl like Bella? A girl whose manner he had spoken with derision and scorn, a girl proven beyond doubt to be insidious, insecure, needy and conniving? The union was beyond Dana’s comprehension.
In the depths of her heart, and in her own happiness, she wished Adam Tan well, of course. But to her mind, Adam’s choice was a complete puzzle. Eli attempted an explanation by supposing, that, perhaps, the vanity of Adam Tan’s ego, more than his heart, had been enslaved by the cunning flattery of Bella Teo quickly after Dana’s rejection of his offer. This had led to the speedy, mutually-beneficial romantic conclusion. Dana recalled Adam getting friendly with Bella not very long ago, thinking only of procuring publicity for his retail businesses. But sly little Bella Teo could, of course, would have had her own agenda in getting close to Adam. Bella always had an agenda, didn’t she? Perhaps it came from having lost her mother at a tender age?
Eli Kee’s invitation to visit his family home came with an important errand. His main purpose was to ask Dana to marry him in the dearest setting he could think of – his own family grounds. And considering that he was inexperienced in such an emotional task, Eli needed the comforting familiarity and encouragement of all he held important – and the fresh air helped, of course. Eli addressed her with affection and tenderness, and Dana Lee was overcome by her own happiness, said ‘Yes’.
Later, Dana, her mother and Eli sat down for dinner at in Dana’s home, only about four hours after Eli’s return from
. But though exhausted, he had
happily secured Dana’s forgiveness. By coffee, Eli had gained Mrs Tina Lee's
absolute approval, and was one of the happiest of men. His situation was made
completely joyful because for once, he could boast of professional achievement
– his album launch had been deemed a success, and his pride in this raised his
confidence immeasurably. There was still a long way to go of course, and many
mountains to scale but he had made a start, and now longer hid in the shadows
of this family fortune. His heart and head were now free to be filled with Dana
Lee only, and if any couple could live happily ever after, that couple would be
the future Mr and Mrs Kee. Bangkok