“Also, tell him not to smoke too much,” Juliana said. “He smoked way a lot than he usually does towards the last few weeks before we’ve divorced. So I hope he did not pick up the pace to smoke a lot now,”
“Oh, he had stopped smoking now,” Xiao You said.
“Stop?” Juliana is taken aback.
“Yeah, Xi Men had already stopped for a year,” Xiao You said.
Juliana looked at Xiao You, and then smiled briefly, “Wow,”
“Why?” Xiao You asked.
“I am surprised he had stopped smoking now,” Juliana said. “He has been smoking for years,”
Xiao You looked at Juliana. She can’t be telling Juliana that the reason Xi Men takes up smoking was because of her (Xiao You) too, right?
“How, and what made him stopped?” Juliana asked.
“Umm, well… there is once I told him that… because he is smoking, I have to speak to him from a distance and I don’t really like it. It didn’t feel like I am talking to someone because I have to stand so far. He promised me he will reduce smoking,” Xiao You said.
Xiao You nodded, “I also introduce him to lollipops. He then begins relying on lollipops to reduce his cigarette intake… and as time goes, he becomes fully dependent on it to stop smoking,”
“Lollipops?” Juliana asked. “You just have to use lollipops to stop him from smoking?”
“Yes,” Xiao You replied.
Juliana remained looking at Xiao You and then she (Juliana) smiled, “It is nice to hear he had stopped smoking. No one has ever been successful in asking him to stop smoking, and you did. That shows the kind of impact you had on him,” Juliana said. “That he listens to you,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said, and then she also smiled, but briefly.
Juliana gazes over to the bags that is in Xiao You’s hand. “Oh, I am not aware that you bought stuffs,”
Xiao You lowered her head and looked at the bags, “Oh this is Xi Men’s…” she then paused.
But too late. Juliana heard it. “Xi Men? Oh, you are buying things for him?” Juliana asked.
“Umm… yes… I… I broke his… cup…”
“Cup?” Juliana asked.
Xiao You pressed her lips together, and then just smiled briefly.
“Hmmm… are you both staying together now?”
Xiao You’s eyes widened.
How would she know they are staying together?
“Umm…” Xiao You uttered.
Juliana smiled, “What are the chances you will break his cup… if you are not staying together? I did the same to my fiancé’s cup; that is why I know,”
“Oh… umm… we… umm… housemates. We are housemates,” Xiao You said.
“Housemates?” Juliana asked. “Are you sure? You stayed in the same house with the guy who loves you, and you call it housemates?”
“He is the one that moves into my house! I didn’t…!” And Xiao You paused again. “Umm…”
“Ah, that explains,” Juliana smiled. “But that makes me wonder; if he actually breaks down the door and moved in just like that,” she chuckled at what she said.
Xiao You smiled upon hearing that, “Well… no. It’s just that… he was struggling with his company at that time… and I thought he needed some emotional support so maybe he can come over sometimes to take his mind off of it…”
“Oh, that…” Juliana’s smile fades completely, and then she looked at Xiao You, “I have completely forgotten about that matter the moment I leave the country. Is his company alright now?”
“Yes, it is,” Xiao You smiled. “Xi Men Corporation survives the crisis and is doing well now,”
Juliana breathes a sigh of relieve and smiled, “Thank goodness…” she exhaled a deep breath, “I think I owe him an apology about that…”
Xiao You looked at Juliana. “Umm…”
“My dad took matter into his own hands. He was angry with the divorce, so he terminates all projects he had with Xi Men Corporation, and even his partners & clients followed my dad; they terminate their projects with Xi Men Corporation all at the same time, causing Xi Men Corporation to fall into crisis,” Juliana lowered her head and said.
“Well, Xi Men did struggle badly at that point. He is also depressed. But through the crisis, he grew and he gets stronger. He brought the company to success and it is even better than before. So don’t feel bad about that. Like you have said, your dad took matter into his own hands. It wasn’t you,” Xiao You smiled.
“I guess, you were there for him during the difficult times?” Juliana asked.
Xiao You smiled and nodded belatedly.
“Thank you for doing that. Thank you for being there for him,”
Xiao You just smiled.
“That is why he can’t let you go even more,” Juliana smiled. “I don’t think he’s ever going to let you go. Looks like you have nowhere to run now, Xiao You,”
Xiao You smiled bashfully.
Juliana lowered her head to look at the time on her wristwatch. “Xiao You, I gotta go. I need to go and buy something before I leave to check out my wedding venue with my fiancé,”
“Oh, okay, sure,” Xiao You said.
“It is nice to see you again, Xiao You,” Juliana leaned forward and hugged Xiao You.
Xiao You hugged her back. “It is nice to see you again too, Juliana,”
“Best wishes, Xiao You,” Juliana said, retracting herself from the hug.
“Best wishes to you too, Juliana. Have a great marriage,” Xiao You smiled. “Congrats again,”
“Thank you,” Juliana said.
“Umm, by the way…” Xiao You said.
“Hmmm?” Juliana looked at Xiao You.
“Are you okay to let Xi Men know about you getting married? Or… do you want me to keep it from him?”
Juliana smiled briefly. “I don’t think there is anything secretive about that,”
“Alright,” Xiao You said.
Juliana waved, and Xiao You does the same, before Juliana turned and walked away.
Xi Men smiled. “Yes, I stopped smoking because you asked me to,”
“Good thing is, you have stopped eating lollipops too. I was afraid you might take it excessively and then gets diabetes!” Xiao You said.
Xi Men laughed for a while, and after his laughter dies down, “And she is right. You’ve been there for me at my difficult times during Xi Men Corporation’s crisis, so… how can I let you go?”
“So you must appreciate me,”
“Of course,” he smiled, putting the strand of hair behind her ear.
He then leaned forward to plant a kiss on her lips.
“It is nice to know Juliana is doing well now and getting married soon…” he said.
“I am happy for her too,” Xiao You said.
“And she’s happy with just the thought that he pro…” and Xi Men paused, “Wait,” he lifted his eyes up to look at her.
“Hmmm?” she asked.
“I didn’t proposed to you too,”
She tilts her head and looked at him.
“But did I just get proposed to?” Xi Men frowned, and pointed at himself.
Her eyes widened.
“Or was I just being forced to marry you?” Xi Men asked again.
“You…!” she immediately sulked; and then…
He saw what she is trying to do there, and he quickly holds both of her hands, separating them away.
“Hey, hey, hey,” he said. “How can you threaten to remove the ring, huh? I put it on your finger myself, okay?”
“You said I force you!” she pouted. “I don’t want to marry you anymore. I want to leave this place!”
He chuckled at her adorableness in sulking. “I didn’t know you can be this adorable and wanting me to give in to you, huh?”
“I can be very demanding,” she sulks still. “I don’t care. Since you’ve said like that, you have to propose!” she spreads her fingers in front of him. “Take it off and propose, and then put it back on,”
He gazes at her with a smirk on his face. “What is this, we’re already in our 30s and we are doing something childish…”
“CHILDISH?! It is formality!”
“Whoa… okay, okay,” he said, getting down from the bed.
Her fingers remained spread in front of him, waiting for him to take the ring off and propose.
“Give me 5 minutes,” Xi Men suddenly said.
“AH? What? Why?” she asked.
“First of all, I have already put it on you, and you are going to marry me, so there is no rush,” he said.
“And next,” he quickly said before she threatens to remove the ring again.
She looked at him.
“5 minutes of preparation is not too much for me to ask. If you give me 5 minutes, I’ll definitely get down on my knees and propose to you. If not, then you have to be content with marrying me without a proposal,” he said. “I mean, our wedding has to happen since you’ve wore the ring. The question is, do you want me to propose or not, depends whether you will give me 5 minutes or not,”
She glared at him. “I somehow don’t like you anymore…” she mocked.
He laughed, and then leaned over and kissed her on her cheek. “Then just wait for me. 5 minutes,”
“3 minutes,” she negotiated.
“3,” she said. “I don’t want to wait so long,”
He chuckled. “Fine. 3 minutes,” he pulled back, turned around and then hurriedly heads to the door, opened it and goes out.
“What is he planning to do…?” she muttered.
The door of the room closes on its own.
She sighed, and then picked her phone up and looked at its time.
Since there is nothing to do, she stares at the time…
Watching every seconds passed by…
56 seconds later.
She turned her head to look at the door.
“What is this…” she gets off from the bed and then walked to the door.
As soon as she opens the door,
“Sorry, I forgot the key,” he said.
She just looked at him.
He smiled at her, but grimaced for a second as he entered the suite and heads to the bathroom, which she did not see.
She exhaled her breath loudly in blend of frustration and disappointment as she closed the door, and then walked to the bed, sitting down on the spot she was sitting at earlier.
Just as she sat down, Xi Men walked out from the bathroom and heads to her.
She looked at him, and instantly sees a small bouquet of roses in his left hand.
It is many stalks of roses wrapped with a hand towel.
Red and pink roses.
How and where the hell did he get those roses from?
It looks so odd to begin with…
And she didn’t even know he brought flowers back into the room… as in, she didn’t notice…
He dropped to his knees now, and then casually removed the ring from her finger.
“Will you marry me?” he asked her, holding her ring with his thumb and point finger.
She gazes at him.
And he looked the handsomest now with a smile on his face.
She couldn’t contain her excitement despite knowing she is marrying him already, her smile goes from ear to ear. “Yes,” she said.
Xi Men tried to hold his laughter.
He finds the proposal ridiculous, when he already knows she is going to marry him.
But he gives in to her, after seeing she goes all cutesy sulky.
He is going to spoil this woman so bad!
He slides the ring into her finger, again.
“Now, don’t say I force you,” she said.
“And don’t say I didn’t propose,” he smiled, leaning over and kissed her cheek.
She smiled, looking happy and excited.
She then saw the roses in his hand.
“Are those for me?” she asked, pointing at it.
He looked at the roses in his hand, and then he passed to her, “Hold right on the towel,” he showed her the area where the towel is used to wrap around them.
She took it up, and began counting the stalk of roses.
“You can have it for a while,” he said.
She lifted her head up and looked at him, “A while?”
“Truth to be told, it isn’t yours…”
“Huh? Not mine?” she asked.
“It’s hotel’s…” he uttered.
“Ho… hotel’s?” she asked, looking at the bouquet again. “What do you mean hotel’s? You asked from them? How… how come you have the time to… but you only have 3 minutes!”
“No, I did not ask from them. These are placed in the vases along the corridor of this floor. I’ve gone and collect each and every one of them,” he said.
Xiao You looked at the roses in her hand.
No wonder they are not in a proper wrapping!
“The hand towel…”
“From the bathroom,” he said. “I came back, get into the bathroom and wrap the towel around the roses for better handling and also because of the thorns,” and then he glances at his fingers.
“Oh,” she said. “So… you asked for 5 minutes from me because you have to go and collect the roses…?”
“Yes. Don’t think it is nice to propose without flowers, you know? Now the vases on the corridor are empty,” he chuckled at the thought of the empty vases, and he flexes the fingers on his left hand.
“I didn’t expect you’ll bring flowers,” she smiled, “But thank you,”
“Well, I wanted to get 12 stalks, but that’s all they have at this floor,” Xi Men said, pointing at the 8-stalks bouquet in her hand.
“It is okay. I appreciate that,” she smiled.
“Well, you can have it for an hour,” he uttered. “I’ll return them to their vases and get you a proper bouquet of roses after we check out, alright?”
He looked at her. “Anything?”
“Can we stay for another night here?” she asked.
“Another night?” he asked.
She nodded. “We can catch up on some sleep, since you hadn’t had a good one for the last 2 days,”
He smiled, “Sure. If that is what you want, then we’ll do that. But I still have to return the flowers to the vases later because it belongs to the hotel,”
“Okay,” she said. “Do you want to do it now?” she extends the flowers to him.
He glared at her, “For goodness sake, won’t you mind to keep it at least for 30 minutes since I head out to collect them to propose to you?”
She chuckled, “Alright, alright. I’ll keep it with me for a while,” she said. “Well, I have to say, you think pretty quickly to get this… I am amazed. I didn’t even notice there are roses along the corridor,”
“I am glad at myself too. But umm…”
He showed her his fingers, where there’s tiny bit of blood. “The roses are quite thorny. I got poked by some of them when I grabbed them, do you have band aids?”
She shrieks at the sight of his scratched up fingers, dropping the roses on the bed. “Let’s get it clean up!” already dragging him to the bathroom. “You shouldn’t have collected the roses when they are hurting you!”
“It is just a little bit of blood. It is okay. I can handle the pain. You wanted a proposal, so I just got to do it,” he smiled, letting her dragged him to the bathroom anyway.
She pouted guiltily now as she turned on the tap and pulls his hand underneath the running water.
He smiled, and then leaned over and kissed her on her cheek, “Don’t worry about me, okay. I am fine,”
She glanced at his face, before returning her gaze to his fingers with multiple scratches.
“You know… I could have given you a better, more beautiful, and perhaps a more thoughtful proposal, if you didn’t jump the gun,” he said.
She glances at him again, “The fireworks yesterday is marvelous enough, I don’t think you can do anything to top that,”
“Didn’t you say you have faith in me? I am Xi Men. I will think of something or find a way,” he said.
She smiled briefly, “Actually, I don’t need a better, beautiful or thoughtful proposal. It is just a proposal. A sincere one is good enough,”
He smiled. She’s so modest.
“Since you didn’t get a great proposal from me… I’ll give you a grand wedding, okay?” he asked.
She shook as she turned off the tap, “No, I don’t want that,”
Surprised, “You don’t want a grand wedding?” he asked, looking at her.
She reached for a towel and then carefully dries his hand with scratches, “A romantic proposal or a grand wedding only holds good memories. It doesn’t guarantee anything in life,” she speaks while her eyes are at his fingers.
He looked at her.
“So, I want something more important and beyond just memories,” she said, lifting her head up and looked at him in his eyes, “Xi Men, I want a beautiful marriage. That is all I ask from you,”
Hearing what she said, it triggers tears to form in his eyes.
She wants nothing material.
She wants his commitment.
She wants his promise.
He nodded as he swallowed the lump in his throat.
And then he nods harder.
“Okay. We’ll have a beautiful marriage,” he said, and his tears fell. “Okay?”
She smiled and nodded.
He sniffs and pulled her to him, hugging her tight. “I love you very much, Xiao You,”
“I love you more, Xi Men,”