Chapter 25

Meg had a few more weeks of recuperation before they could make good on their intention. Once released from the hospital, she still required almost daily breathing therapy and follow up care for her still healing wounds.

Liu Shen and Lee Ma had cheerfully moved back into John's loft, putting off their move into their own home in Bellevue until Meg was recovered sufficiently.

They were, whatever their original intentions might have been, little more than auxiliary caregivers however. Meg learned what it was like to have the tables turned, with John caring for her as she began an uneventful recovery.

Meg found herself cosseted and coddled as she had never experienced before in her life. She was unsure at first how to react to the loving attention that John showered on her, finding it far easier to be the one giving the care than the one receiving it. Eventually she had learned to relax and accept the regard for what it was, a further expression of John Lee's love for her.

John had made good on a promise he had made to her what seemed an eternity ago but which in reality had not been that long in the past. He surprised her one evening with a near approximation to the seven course meal she'd bargained him back in bed with the morning after they had first made love. She'd been assured by Liu Shen and Lee Ma that they'd offered nothing more than advice, that John himself had prepared the meal for her.

"I have to confess something, Jian," Meg had said, tasting the dishes one by one, and
finding them heavenly, "I can't cook. I've tried. I'm better at take-out."

John had favored her with one of his trademark captivating grins, "Mo men tai! I love to cook!"

One less obstacle to ultimate wedded bliss overcome.

It was over two months later that Meg was finally well enough for the wedding to take place.

Liu Shen and Lee Ma had filled the hours they were not needed to respite John in caregiving by combining their talents on a beautiful dress of traditional Chinese design. It was a work of art, based on Lee Ma's own wedding garment.

Beautifully sewn and embroidered, Meg had marveled at the intricacy of the design, the delicacy of the needlework and the amazingly accurate and comfortable fit. She half suspected that Lee Ma or Liu Shen had amused themselves while she had taken the numerous naps her recovery had required-- and John, self appointed guardian of her health, had insisted upon-- by taking her measurements clandestinely.

The ceremony itself was a fusion of Chinese traditional and western ritual, and took place in the Buddhist temple, officiated over by Lau Ruong-Jie. The monk had spent hours with Meg as she recovered--at her request--teaching her about Buddhism, and coaching her in Cantonese to be able to say her vows in John's mother tongue.

Stan Zedkov was in attendance, demanding his right to give the bride away. His wedding gift to Meg and John, the promised 'disappearing' of her record from the state of California data banks.
She and John chose to honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest, Meg meeting John's extended family of maternal relatives and helping Lee Ma and Liu Shen to move into their permanent home.

Meg was entranced by the beauty of the area, fascinated by the change of seasons, a phenomenon not so easily observed in the desert oasis that was Los Angeles. She had been standing with John, his arms around her on the balcony of the condominium they'd just moved his sister and mother into, when a thought struck.

John had expressed a willingness to stay in Los Angeles, if that was where Meg wanted to live.
Zedkov, she knew, for all his kindnesses and friendship, was still anxious for them to vacate his jurisdiction, whether from fear of further trouble or anxiety about their safety, she was never sure.

Looking around her, from the water of Lake Washington, to the mountains to the east, Meg
had said to her husband:

"You're legally a Canadian citizen, Jian. Why complicate things? The border is only a little more than one hundred fifty miles away. Close enough to visit family here."

"Yet far enough away from the United States justice system..." John had mused, completing her thought for her, an occurrence that was happening with increasing frequency.

"...and any old friends of Wei's...." Meg finished.

"Zeedo would be pleased, I think," John replied, laughing quietly in her ear. Meg grinned, turning in his arms, enjoying the closeness of their bodies in the winter chill.

"I'm looking forward to snow. They say that it snows just about every winter around Vancouver. Maybe not a lot, but more often than it does here according to your uncle. I'd like to live somewhere where I can watch the snow come down, watch our children playing in it."

"Wherever my beautiful Meg wants to live, we shall." John had confirmed, drawing her in for a deep kiss which she happily returned.

By the time the Chinese new year began, the move was complete. Meg had left her apartment and the life she'd known behind happily, without a backward glance. With the proceeds of the sale of John's loft, they had been able to buy a beautiful two story home on wooded acreage in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, British Columbia.

John, Meg quickly discovered, had many heretofore unrevealed talents. Undertaking to remodel the house himself, he revealed a flair for carpentry that she would never have guessed at. He seemed to take particular pleasure in using the hands that had been forced to kill so many, to create instead of destroy. He'd added bedrooms to the house and redesigned the interior along Chinese lines, incorporating principles of feng shui. Meg had been delighted with the result.

John soon turned his avocation into vocation by designing and building custom furniture, and in remodeling homes, as well as building new ones, specializing in traditionally themed dwellings for the area's burgeoning Chinese population.

Waiting for her own citizenship to work its way through channels, Meg had begun taking classes at Simon Fraser University, discovering in herself a heretofore undiscovered talent for writing. Deeply interested in the country her husband and his family had fled, she expanded her budding interest into a full time course load of study.

During the day, she studied Chinese history and the Mandarin language, at night, John coached her to proficiency with Cantonese.

Liu Shen and Lee Ma were frequent visitors. Before the first year of their new lives was over, Lau Ruong-Jie, declaring Los Angeles too boring without them, had moved north, transferring to a Buddhist temple in nearby Richmond, another suburb of Vancouver.

Meg awakened that winter morning, nearly a year after they had moved, to find the walls of the bedroom she shared with John strangely alight.

Slipping out of the warmth of his arms, taking special care not to wake him, she padded softly to the window that overlooked the driveway and front yard.

The ground glistened in the early morning sunshine with newly fallen snow. At least three inches were on the ground, having fallen silently in the night.

She was enchanted and stood for some minutes in delighted silence, taking in the sight of the glistening frost crystals that patterned the window, and the reflections, like a millions of sparkling jewels, of the sunlight on the snow below.

John's arms were soon around her. Roused from a peaceful sleep by missing her body next to his, he'd moved behind her quietly, as she stood quietly captivated by the winter wonderland before her.

"Snow, Jian! Snow!" she exclaimed in Cantonese, turning in his arms, her delight infectious. He was soon grinning at her.

Too cold, let's go back to bed," Jian urged, a mischieveous sparkle in his eyes.

"No! I want to go out in it. You don't know what its like, living all those years in LA. I've waited for this!

John appeared to consider for a moment, his brows drawing together. He put a frown on his face, then brightened. Yanking her chain, she thought ruefully, as he liked to do.

"Yes! But only if you bundle up! I will not have you catching cold!? he admonished, never really having the heart to deny her anything.

Meg grinned at him, "Deal!" she announced in English. Part of being married to John had meant growing used to having someone who looked after her, cautioning her to bundle up against the far cooler climate of their new home, making sure she wore a hat and carried an umbrella in the frequent rain. In some respects he had never quite gotten over the idea that she was fragile, born of the worry of those first weeks after she'd been shot.

And of course, it was no less a consideration for her that John guard his health just as religiously as he bid her to do. Those that came to know them often marveled at their unabashed solicitousness for each other.

Allowing herself to be urged into an extra layer of clothes, Meg clattered down the stairway and into the front hall, where John helped her put on her new snow boots, and she urged him into his.

Bundled up to mutual satisfaction, they raced into their front yard, throwing snowballs at each other, dodging the frosty missiles playfully, shouting and laughing like two children.

Finally, after unsuccessfully trying to stuff a fistful of snow down John's collar to the delighted accompaniment of his boyish, bubbling laugh, Meg found herself being rolled over in the snow, John pinning her arms down to the ground and kissing her, long and lovingly.

It was the perfect opportunity, the perfect place, the ideal moment to break the news she'd suspected for a few weeks, but had only had confirmed yesterday. As his lips parted from hers and he looked down at her in loving adoration, she rose up, freeing her arms and throwing them around his neck.

"We're on our way to fielding that basketball team we've talked about, Jian," she said, using their mutual joke about the estimated height of any children they might have, "I'm pregnant."

John's eyes widened in surprise, then went even wider in delight. Before Meg knew what she was about, he was on his feet, pulling her up and dusting the snow from her waterproofed clothing with a studied gallantry, then he swept her into a low dip, renewing his passionate kiss of a few moments before.

"I want a girl," he said, setting her back on her feet, enfolding her in a bear hug, "just like her mother."

Meg grinned at him, shaking her head, "I want a boy, just like his father."

"We will just have to keep on trying, until we both have our hearts desire," John opined, his nose touching hers, the warmth of his breath buffeting her lips.

"Or that basketball team we've talked about." Meg replied. "This is just the icing on the cake. I've already gotten my heart's desire,," she admitted, tracing the line of his face gently and lovingly.

"So have I," John said, taking Meg's face between his two hands.

"But John, I've got to tell you, if it is a boy, we are not naming him Stan like you promised Zedkov. I don't give a damn about the famed Lee honor, it just isn't going to happen," Meg warned.

John's laughter through the cold winter air, and soon, the delightful sound infected Meg with similar mirth.

They played in the snow again for a few minutes, before John decided his beautiful wife had had enough snow and cold for one day. He took her by the hand and led her into their house, where he sat her down and prepared her favorite breakfast, dim sum. Then they returned to their bedroom, spending this sunny, snowy Saturday in bed, making love.

Together. Forever.

--The End--
Makes Me Wanna Die

Thanks to all who have encouraged me to continue with this story, via your wonderful
praise and dire threats! Hope you've enjoyed reading it, as much as I've enjoyed writing