Sunday, December 13, 2020

Dao Ming Si and San Cai get married in Barcelona and decided to start a new life there as husband and wife. They settled in Castile-La Mancha, and with the help of Sha Ge, Dao Ming Si finds a job at a vineyard and winery. They lived a simple, contented life. Dao Ming Si stood up to the plate and proved to San Cai that he can support her with hard work and manual labor. He wears his hair short now and has a neat stubble. San Cai gave up her long locks too. They hoped that their new physical appearance would keep them from being recognized. After all, Dao Ming Si is still the 3rd generation heir of the Dao Ming Corporation. In this new life, it is only Sha Ge who knows their true family background.

The couple has been blessed with a son whom they named Dao Ming Tang. Dao Ming Si and San Cai were so over the moon with their child. Xiao Tang as they fondly call their son, was their motivation, their driving force to do their best and save for their child's future. With the couple's hard work, they was able to save enough money from their earnings which they used to buy a small farm out in the country. 

Life was good until...

Dao Ming Feng sits facing the window, looking out at the vast expanse of her mansion in Taipei. She asks her secretary, Yu Tian, to get the red box from her dresser drawer. Yu Tian returns and hands it to Dao Ming Feng. She puts the box on her lap and slowly opens it. Yu Tian was surprised that the red box contained only one photo of her son, Dao Ming Si. She lifts the photo and places it on her chest. Dao Ming Feng sobs and whispers, "My son. Come home to me please." Yu Tian can feel this mother's yearning for her son whom she has not seen in years. 

"Madam, it has been 6 years. Do you want me to bring him here? I am aware that you instructed me to keep close watch on him but I don't understand why you don't want me to tell you anything about what I know."

"Have you really been keeping track of him? Where is he now? What is he doing? How is life for him? Tell me, Yu Tian. Please."

"Madam, Young Master Dao Ming Si and Miss San Cai have gotten married. They are in Spain, in a small town in Castile-La Mancha. Young Master Dao Ming Si was a farm worker for a few years. He now owns small parcel of land which they made into a vineyard. It is doing well and they get a lot of produce. They are living comfortably and their needs are met."

"My son? The heir to the Dao Ming Corporation is a farmer now?"

"Madam, Young Master Dao Ming Si looks happy and content with his simple life. He has shown maturity and is a responsible father."

"What do you mean? A responsible father?"

"They have a son, Madam. Little Dao Ming Tang. He is now 5 years old."

"I have to see him, Yu Tian. I want to see my grandson. Please find a way for me to see him."

"As you wish, Madam."

Yu Tian leaves the room leaving Dao Ming Feng alone in her wheelchair, sobbing.

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A school bus stops in front of the picket fence. Xiao Tang gets off the bus, waves goodbye to his friends and starts running towards the house. 

"Ma! Pa! I'm hungry!" San Cai hugged her little boy and said, "Was Kindergarten class today that difficult to make you so hungry?"

"We sang and danced and we did some art work. Look, Ma. I painted a pretty flower picture!"

"That is so beautiful! Come on inside and have a snack. Let's show your Papa your painting."

As Xiao Tang was eating his snack, he said, "Mama, Papa, at school today there was a really rich looking old woman in a nice big black car who was staring at me while I was waiting for the bus. Then one man in nice clothes came to me and asked me my name."

San Cai and Dao Ming Si were stood there looking at their son, not knowing how to respond, with fear racing through their minds.

"What did you tell him, Xiao Tang?" Dao Ming Si asked.

"Nothing, Papa. I did what you always tell me to do - 'Do not talk to strangers.' I just ignored him and I stayed close to the bigger kids. The bus arrived anyway so I just got in. But that woman just kept on staring at me."

Dao Ming Si and San Cai felt a little bit of relief but it was obvious that they both had the same suspicion in mind.

Dao Ming Feng found them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That night, San Cai was crying. Thoughts of Dao Ming Feng trying to break up her family scared her. Dao Ming Si hugged San Cai to comfort her, even if he himself was very worried. 

"Let's move away from this place. I know how much you love our vineyard. But for our safety, I have decided to take you and Xiao Tang to Valencia. We will leave tomorrow night."

Dao Ming Si called Sha Ge and told him about what happened. He asked Sha Ge to look after the vineyard while they are away.

"Think of this vineyard as your own, Sha Ge. You know how much I love this land, but my family's safety right now is more important."

"Where are you headed? Ah-Xing?"

"Valencia, Sha Ge. I am sure we can rent a small house there. I have enough money to support us for few weeks."

"Please keep in touch, A-Xing. Let me know when you get there. I am praying for you. Give Xiao Tang a hug for me."

"I will. Thank you Sha Ge."

Dao Ming Si decides to take his family to a Xabia, a coastal town in Valencia. They rented a modest house and soon enough they were settled in.

"I will go look for a job in the morning, San Cai. There are lots of resorts and hotels in the area. I will see if they have any "back of the house" vacancies. Don't worry. We will be okay."

Luck was on Dao Ming Si's side. He was able to get job as a kitchen assistant in a seaside resort-hotel. He couldn't wait to go home and tell San Cai the good news. As he was exiting the hotel, he heard someone call his name.

"Ah-Si!"

Dao Ming Si froze. No one in Spain calls him by that name. He used his English name David Daumin ever since he established residence in Spain.

"Ah-Si! It is really you!"

Dao Ming Si turned around. He couldn't believe who he saw. It was Hua Ze Lei!

"Lei..."

They hugged each other. Two brothers who have not seen or heard from each other in years. Who would have thought that it was in this small town by the Mediterranean Sea that they would meet again.

"Lei, I am so sorry I had to cut communication with you, Ximen and Meizuo. I just want to break free from my mother. I do not like her meddling in my life again. I want to live the way I want to. I hope you guys understand the choice I made in life."

"I understand. WE understand. I am just so happy right now that I saw you. Two days ago I regretted my father's decision to send me here to check out some business ventures, but now I am thankful that he did! We miss you Ah Si! Oh, by the way, where is San Cai?"

"She is home. Do you want to come with me? I am excited to go home right now to tell her the good news that I got the kitchen assistant job and that I met you!"

"Sure! Let's go!"

Dao Ming Si tells Hua Ze Lei to hide first as he knocks on the door.

"San Cai! Come and open the door! I have a surprise for you!"

San Cai opens the door and gives Dao Ming Si a kiss on the cheek.

"What is this surprise? Did you get the job?"

"Yes. And there is something else."

"What?"

"Look who I found, or should I say, look who found me."

Dao Ming Si motions Lei to come out from hiding.

"Hua Ze Lei!" San Cai runs towards him and gives him a tight hug.

Dao Ming Si pulled San Cai away and said, "Hey, Lei! She is my wife now." 

San Cai gave both of them a frown and then all three of them laughed. 

"Mama, why are you talking to a stranger?" Xiao Tang appears from behind his mother with a puzzled look. 

"Xiao Tang, this is Mama and Papa's friend. His name is Hua Ze Lei. Lei, this is our son, Dao Ming Tang." 

"Ah, a spitting image of the once arrogant, spoiled brat Dao Ming Si!" Lei said. 

Dao Ming Si playfully hits Lei and said, "That was the me before. I've changed. I am very happy and fulfilled with my life right now." 

Lei gave his best friend a hug. "I am so proud of you Ah-Si. I know this is what you want. A peaceful life with the woman you love, and now you have a beautiful child. You have shown so much maturity. Really, I am so proud of you."

"Hey, you guys ready for lunch? Come and eat while the food is warm." San Cai calls out to Dao Ming Si and Hua Ze Lei.

"San Cai makes good food! No wonder you have such a good physique. And your son is really tall for his age."

"She tries." Dao Ming Si gives San Cai a wink. 

"Hmp!"

After the meal, Dao Ming Si leads Lei to the living room and hands him a beer.

"How's life, Lei?"

"I'm good. Still single though. Been busy with work. My father is getting old and is making me do most of the work now. I stay in Japan most of the time. Dad moved 70% of the business operations there. I still visit Taipei once every 3 months."

"Ximen? Meizuo? They good?"

"Yeah. Ximen stays in Kaohsiung. He recently got married and they established a import-export business there. I try to meet up with him when I am in Taiwan. Meizuo is in Los Angeles. His mom is old and sickly, so he is staying there for now. He's engaged to a fashion model, an American."

"I am happy they are doing well with their lives too."

"Ah-Si, I hope you don't mind me asking. Don't you miss your pampered life? Don't you miss your mother?"

"Honestly Lei, no I don't. I do not like to live in that mansion. I do not want to eat alone again. I do not want people telling me what to do, how to act and who to love. I am very content with what I have right now. I may look like a pauper to you, but my happiness is not with having money and sports cars. My happiness is here. With San Cai and Xiao Tang. Actually, we just moved to Xabia. San Cai and I have a vineyard in a small town in Castile La Mancha, but we had to leave because I think my mother knew we were staying there. I decided to move my family here, for their safety."

"Ah-Si, 4 years ago, your mother..."

"Lei, please. I do not want anything to do with her. After all the hurt she caused me and San Cai, I think it is better for all of us to keep our distance from each other."

San Cai joins them and holds Dao Ming Si's hand.

"Dao Ming Si, she's still your mother. I have forgiven her long ago. I am not sure if she will accept me as a daughter in law, but I am sure she misses you so much."

"No, sweetheart. If she can't accept you, do you think she will accept Xiao Tang? For me, you and my son are my only family. There is no one else."

Lei felt Ah-Si's hurt. He has not gotten over his mother's attempts to break up his relationship with San Cai. In his mind, Lei was certain that this is not the right time to tell Ah-Si what he needed to know. 

Lei changes the topic. "Hey, can I come back tomorrow and play with your son? He's so adorable. I wish I had one myself."

"Well, hurry up and get married. You're not getting any younger, Lei. Enjoy life! Don't you think it would be so awesome to have two or three little Hua Ze Leis running around in your house?" Dao Ming Si said.

"I haven't found the right one yet, Ah-Si. I am not ready for another heartbreak." Lei's was watching San Cai attend to Xiao Tang. What a good, doting mother she's become.  

Dao Ming Si said, "You can come over anytime you wish, Lei. I will start the new job next week. You can play with Xiao Tang and then we can catch up on our conversation again in the afternoon."

"Great! Thanks! I have to get back to the hotel now. My old man must be calling and asking if I have done the tasks he sent me here for."

"Okay. See you tomorrow, Lei." Dao Ming Si gives Lei a hug and a pat on the shoulder.

"You're always welcome here, Lei. Xiao Tang, say good-bye to Uncle Lei." San Cai tells her son to give Lei a hug.

"Bye, Uncle Lei. Will you come back and play with me tomorrow?"

"Yes, I will."

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© Eileen L. Layno 12/13/2020

Part 1 - Click here
Part 2 - Click here
Part 3 - Click here
Part 4 - Click here
Part 5 - Click here (The Finale)

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