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Chapter 21 The Investigation

posted Jun 2, 2017, 11:13 PM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Jul 8, 2017, 10:48 AM ]

- CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE -

The Investigation

—Kɔ́p Wíbūnsàkun—

Everything became normal after Tṓek came back to school. I got my new shirt. Kev also returned me the fixed shirt with buttons already sewn back in place by his own hands. He was so responsible that I could say that we could hardly find this kind of person in Thailand. I had never known Kev this much. After the show that day, I thought he would send me the shirt back as is or at least with buttons simply reattached somehow without quality.

And well... because he was not Thai.

"Can you come with me?" He asked me when we met, by chance, after classes.

"Where?"

"A hotel. I think I have to proof something about Phûeng."

"Phûeng? The one from 5/6?" I asked him back.

"Yes. I just want someone to go with me. The restaurant there was somehow too expensive."

"Are you saying that you want to help her and at the same time want me to pay the bills?"

"I... just have no confidence. Mostly, people there are rich."

"Hahaha!" I thought he intentionally waited for me.

We arrived at the hotel at around 5:00 pm. I walked around the hotel trying to find Phûeng. At 5:35 pm, he met someone else instead. And then the conversation was in Chinese.

"This is my classmate, Kɔ́p. กอล์ฟ... นี่ชุนนะ (Kɔ́p, this is Chūn)." Finally, Kev turned back to me and talked in English and Thai.

"What actually are you doing here, if you are not coming for me?" Chūn asked Kev, now everything was in English because I did not know Chinese.

"I think, on that day when I came here, I saw a girl I know in the restaurant. I want to check it out."

"You mean a school girl, right? The one who works at the restaurant?" Chūn asked, "is her name Pung... something?"

"Bingo! I think it must be her! Kɔ́p, I think our mission today will be successful!" And even when he turned to talk to me, he was still using English.

But our mission?

I did not start this mission, and I also did not think that it was my mission. Anyway, I think I will not have to pay for the dinner now. After a while, we walked to the restaurant and ordered some food. When I saw the price... I was like ...

"It's ok. I know your currency sucks. I'll pay for you. I have to tell you that I can't be here today if I did not meet Gāo Wén on that day."

"Can't... be... here... today...?"

"He saved my life!" Chūn said. "Do you know about the accident at the bridge over there? The one under construction."

I read the news. It was the headline. But the news did not talk about Kev or this guy. It was focusing on the car and the one sent to the hospital.

"Well, have you found that guy?" Kev changed the topic. Now I was totally out of the conversation.

"Not yet. But I think maybe it's you."

"Me?"

"Your last name is Chén. You are also Taiwanese. And you live in this area."

"Then you are saying that maybe it's my mom who is getting married to your dad?"

"Possible, right?"

"But my mom is not Masha Chén."

"Name changed."

"Possible."

And then the singer stepped onto the stage and sang the love song. Everyone in the restaurant listened silently. No one spoke. She sang few more songs before stepping down. Kev stood up and walked toward her.

"Phûeng. This is your work, right? You only work here, right?"

"Yes, Phī̂. I only work here. I get a lot of money by working here. The customers mostly are rich. I do not have to spend a night with someone I don't know doing that kind of thing."

I joined them.

"Where's the manager. I'll ask for a letter stating that you are working here. I'll also take photos to make sure everyone will believe," requested Kev.

"What happened, Phûeng?" A woman walked toward us.

"Someone is trying to defame Phûeng at school. I'm coming here to get some evidence to defend her," explained Kev. "Are you her manager?"

"Yes. I'm a manager here. And I'm also her aunt."

"Nice. Could you please help..."

"I'll go to the school tomorrow!" She declared and turned to Phûeng, "why haven't you told me this?!"

"I don't want you to get into trouble."

"If you are not ok at the school, then the trouble will be much worse." She told Phûeng.

"I'm sorry, Pā̂[1], it was my fault." Phûeng started to cry.

"Alright. Don't cry. I'll go to the school with you tomorrow."

Some ten minutes had passed and Phûeng walked back onto the stage. People gave her a big applause. We were now continue eating dinner.

"There is a situation going on. I'm not so happy so... tonight, I'll bring you to the scene where Mulan needed to sacrifice her girl's life and joined the military for her father." She talked to customers in English. And so she sang Reflection, a Disney's song for Mulan.

"很好聽啊。(So harmonious.)" Chūn murmured.

"Yeah, it's good to have a great singer and great song during dinner," Kev said. And well, I remained silent.

"Hey, Kɔ́p, why are you so silent like this?" Chūn asked. Well, it was a nice question.

"I ..." Although I understood him, I did not know how to answer.

"อย่าบอกนะว่ามึงพูดอิ๊งไม่ได้อะ (Don't tell me that you can't speak English.)" This second question was asked by Kev, in Thai. What should I reply?

"เออ... ยอมรับว่ะ... กูพูดอังกฤษไม่ได้อะ แค่ฟังออกนิดหน่อย (Err... I admit... that I can't speak English. I can just understand a little bit.)" I finally answered him. And I wished he would translate this for Chūn.

"He can't speak English that well." Kev finally told Chūn.

At around 8:00 pm we decided to leave but when we got the bill, it was nothing.

"What's wrong with it?"

The waiter smiled and said. "The bill had already been paid for by our manager. She would like to thank the students here for helping her niece. Anyway, sir, you are our hotel's guest, right? We would like to present this discount voucher so you can use when you check out."

"Oh! Alright! Thank you very much."

"Hey, when will you go back? Maybe I'll be seeing you off," Kev asked when we walked toward the restaurant's exit.

Chūn smiled and said, "tomorrow".

They exchanged some more conversations and their email addresses so they could keep in touch. I knew from Kev that Chūn came here to find his soon-to-be step-mother's son in hope that the son would help him stop the wedding. That was all I knew. Anyway, for Phûeng's case, we had to wait until tomorrow.

———

[1] Pā̂ (ป้า) in this case is an aunt, not a father.


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