“Okay. I can hear the ringing tone. Waiting for Lei to pick up the call now,” Xi Men said, listening to the Bluetooth headset and also concentrating on driving.
“Okay,” Xiao You responds, before she straightened her head and looked at the road ahead.
“Hey Lei,” Xi Men called, “Xiao You and I have just done with the florist,”
So Lei had picked up the call.
Xi Men gazes at the signboards just to make sure he didn’t miss the entry to the expressway.
“Yes. We are on our way now. Also, we are starving here, mind to order some food for us so that when we reached, we are able to eat immediately?” he gazes over to Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at him and smiled.
He smiled back at her.
“Hmmm… I think, 10 to 15 minutes?” he straightened his head and said.
He then looked at the side mirror and sees there are no cars, he puts on his signal.
“Traffic looks clear. I am going down to the expressway so we can reach faster. Speed limit is higher there as well,”
Right after he said that, he changes his lane to the left, as the entry point to the expressway is just 100 meters away.
“Are you guys still eating or already done eating?” he asked, driving down the road and enters the expressway.
He began accelerating, since the speed limit is higher at the expressway.
More over, they are hungry. He didn’t want Xiao You to stay hungry for too long so it is best to go slightly faster and thus will reach the venue earlier.
He looked at the speed he is driving.
Just tapping onto the speed limit.
*Steps onto accelerator.
*Swerve onto the left lane and drives straight.
*Reaches Xi Men’s car.
*Glances over to Xi Men at the driving seat.
“Oh alright then. Why don’t you continue eating? I’ll be there soon so see you in a while,” Xi Men said, glancing over to Xiao You.
Xiao You also looked at him, and smiled.
Seeing a relatively faster car coming up from the back to the lane on the left and approaching their car, she briefly glances to the car. [*Xi Men’s car is on the right lane, the other car on the left lane]
*Stares at Xi Men.
*Grips onto steering wheel.
*Swerves to the right sharply.
Xi Men straightened his gaze to look at the road from looking at Xiao You, “Alright, I…” (Xi Men said to the phone call)
From the corner of his eyes, Xi Men saw the car approaching from the left, that he turned his head to look at it at the speed of light…
…and at the same time, Xiao You saw the car swerves sharply at them; she instinctively screamed.
The other car hits them from the side, hard.
There is no time for Xi Men to react.
Or rather, there is no way Xi Men could avoid this.
The car did not just hits from the side, it pushes Xi Men’s car to the right and pinned the car to the concrete divider.
The impact of the first crash is manageable (two cars’ collision), but the second crash is close to deadly (crashing onto concrete divider).
When the car hits the road divider on the right, Xiao You hits the right side of her head to the window and that knocked her unconscious.
After the car has hit the divider, momentum brought Xi Men to hit the left side of his head to the hard lining of the driver seat’s door.
Everything ended in mere seconds.
“Xi… Xi Men?” (on Bluetooth)
Blood drips from the head down to his cheek, and then to his jaw.
“Xi Men? Xi Men, are you there? Please answer me,”
Hearing Lei calling out for him worriedly into his ear (from the Bluetooth headset) wakes him up, and he is immediately greeted by intense pain on his head.
“Xi…” (on Bluetooth)
“Ah…” he uttered.
“Xi Men? Are you okay?” Lei’s panicked voice rings in the Bluetooth headset. “Where are you, Xi Men? Tell me where are you!”
Xi Men winced at the lingering pain on his head.
“Xi Men! Answer me! What happened?! Where are you now?!”
And then the window at Xi Men’s seat breaks.
Someone had hit the window with extreme strength at one blow to break it.
As it is a safety glass, the few shattered pieces that flew past and scraped Xi Men’s face did not scratch nor injure him.
But that did make Xi Men open his eyes slightly and slowly…
However, he couldn’t see anything clearly but a silhouette of someone…
The pain on his head is making it hard for him to focus on his eyesight or even anything.
He closes his eyes due to the pain.
“Hi Xi Men,” the figure said.
Hearing that, Xi Men slowly open his eyes again, and looked at the silhouette.
That is all he could see.
“We meet again,” the figure said with a smirk on the face.
The pain is too unbearable.
He couldn’t think, couldn’t talk and couldn’t do a thing.
He dropped his head; falls into unconsciousness.
With the broken window now, he (the figure) reached for the door’s handle from the inside and opened the locked door.
As the door opened, Xi Men’s upper body followed along to the opened space and the secured safety belt holds him back from falling off the car and down to the road.
However, his Bluetooth headset dropped to the road, and it breaks into two pieces.
The line went dead.
Lei lowered the phone and looked at the screen, confirming the call has terminated.
His eyes remained wide; and he is in a state of shock.
“Lei, what happened?” Jing asked, holding his arm.
His eyes looked to the left, and then to the right.
Without answering his wife, he suddenly pressed the buttons on the phone and then puts the phone on his ear again.
“Oh my goodness! An accident! Is there anything I can do and help?!” a good Samaritan ran over and asked, and upon seeing Xi Men and Xiao You fainted at their seats, “Ah! Have you called an ambulance?!”
“I’ll send them to hospital. It’s quicker that way. If you want to help, move them to my car,”
Bzz. (vibration mode)
Lei lowered the phone down.
“He… he didn’t pick up…” Lei uttered in daze.
Jing has never seen Lei stunned up to this state.
“LEI!” Jing shook him, “What happened?!”
“Some… something happened to Xi Men,” Lei said, slowly turned his head to look at Jing.
“What is it, Lei? What is it?!” Mei Zhuo asked.
“ACCIDENT?” everyone echoed in surprise.
“I heard two loud crashes! And then… and then…” Lei stuttered, “No… no, it is not accident, we… we need to lodge a police report now,” Lei said, lifting his phone up in his shaking hands but at the same time looking traumatized.
“Lei, where is Xi Men?! Where is he!” Ah Si asked, grabbing Lei’s arm, stopping Lei.
“I don’t know! But I am freaking out now!” Lei yelled at Ah Si.
“Why…?” Ah Si looked at Lei.
“I… I heard…”
It’s bloody painful.
He felt dizzy too.
Without opening his eyes, he could feel the surrounding is different.
Fighting against the pain, he slowly opens his eyes; as his head is dropped, he is looking straight to his thighs.
He realized he is sitting… somewhere.
He slowly lifted his head up, and his gaze went straight to…
Right in front of him; about 3 feet away, Xiao You is sitting on a chair, with her head dropped too.
“Xiao You,” he mouthed.
He had been dwelling too much in the pain that he didn’t know he did not put enough energy to call out for her.
He gathered his energy to call out for her, “Xiao… You,” he called out, “Xiao You,”
Xiao You stirred.
His calling wakes her up.
And now that she is awake, she could feel the pain on her head.
“Ahh…” she winced.
Suppressing the pain on his head, “Xiao You… are you alright?” he asked.
Xiao You raised her head up and opened her eyes slowly, looking at Xi Men right in front of her. Her eyes are only opened partially, as the pain on her head is still a little too overpowering.
“Xi Men…” she called, but upon seeing the dried blood on his face, her eyes brightened up; momentarily forgotten the pain in her head, “Xi Men, your head is bleeding,”
“Bleeding…?” he asked her.
“Yes…” she replied, looking at him with concern.
He closed his eyes, “Probably that explains why my head hurts…” he said, and then opened his eyes.
She remained looking at him, but suddenly notices they are in a very unfamiliar place, prompting her to start looking around.
“What is this place? Where are we?” she asked.
Hearing that from Xiao You prompted Xi Men to lift his head up and look around.
There is only a pendant light right at the top of their heads, lighting up just enough for both of them to see each other.
He couldn’t see anything beyond where the pendant light could brighten.
Everything else is just plain dark.
“I… I don’t know,” Xi Men said.
As she still tries to see the place, she recalled something. She then looked at him. “Didn’t we just… had an accident?”
That prompted Xi Men to recall the event.
A car came to him from the left, hitting them on high impact, and knocked them unconscious.
“You… you are right…” Xi Men uttered, remembering it now.
That explains why he is bleeding. He knocked his head upon impact.
He looked at Xiao You, “Did you get injured?”
“The right side of my head hurts,” she said, wincing.
“Right side…” Xi Men looked at her head, particularly on the right side of her head.
He can’t see anything.
Xiao You happened to turn her head to the left at that time, he notices the lock of hair on her face… is not a lock of hair. It is a trail of blood.
“It’s blood… you are bleeding too,” Xi Men said. “I can see it from here,”
Xiao You winced. “So that is why it is painful…”
Seeing Xiao You is in pain, he is saddened, “I am sorry about the accident…”
“No, you did not cause it. It wasn’t your fault,” she closed her eyes due to the pain.
“I am just glad you did not lose your memory and forget about me…”
Xiao You opened her eyes and looked at Xi Men, who is smiling gratefully at her.
She smiled briefly too, “I am glad you did not too,”
His smile remains, and then tried to move his hands which are behind him.
His smile fades, momentarily wondered.
Why can’t he move his hands?
He tried moving his legs.
He immediately realizes what kind of situation he is in.
“I am being tied up!” Xi Men uttered, shaking his hands that are tied together, and afterwards he shakes his legs that are tied to the chair, striving to free them.
Hearing what Xi Men said, “Tie… tied up?” Xiao You then tried to move her hands and legs, only to realize…
“I am being tied up too! My hands and my legs!” Xiao You said and looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men looked back at her.
Forgetting the pain on his head, Xi Men struggles to break free again.
Seeing Xi Men does that, Xiao You does the same for herself.
“You don’t have to try doing that. I have made sure I tie you up well,”
Xi Men and Xiao You paused.
There’s someone else here in this dark place.
Xi Men turned to his right, while Xiao You turned to her left (since they are sitting facing each other), towards the direction of the voice.
They first heard the sound of a chair dragging on the cement floor towards them, and then when the person has approach close enough to the area the light illuminates, they could see a pair of feet approaching them.
And then the thighs.
And then the waist.
The chest and hands.
The moment the face is shown… Xi Men and Xiao You’s eyes widened.
He stopped in front of Xi Men and Xiao You, approximately a feet away from each of them.
“Konnichiwa,” he said with a satisfied smile on his face, “Ah, no. I am supposed to say… ni hao (hello),”
“M… Mark?” Xiao You asked in disbelief.
“Yes, it’s me,” he said, putting the chair right where he stands and then sits down on it. “Miss me?” he looked at Xiao You, before he casually glances at Xi Men.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, not answering him.
Since Mark is looking at him, “I thought you are in Japan,” Xi Men said.
“I flew back, of course,” Mark said. “If you can send me to Japan, I can come back the same way… Mr. Xi Men,” and Mark then looked at Xiao You, “You asked, where is this place. Let me tell you. This is an abandoned warehouse,” he said. “Inside a remote area… where no one will hear you even if you scream,”
Xiao You’s gaze towards Mark changed. “Abandoned warehouse? Remote area?” she repeated after him.
Mark then nonchalantly gazes at Xiao You.
She looked at him in disbelief now, “You… you did this to us? You tied us up?” she asked him.
Mark soullessly looked at Xiao You.
She continued to look at him, his lack of response stirred the emotions in her. “From the accident until… this?” she asked.
Mark suddenly tilted his head, and then lifted his hand up, reaching for her face, “You knocked your head hard at the accident? You really bleed…”
Seeing the hand reaching for Xiao You, Xi Men wanted to stop Mark from doing that, but he is tied to the chair and that refrains him from moving forward.
Or rather his tied up hands pulled him back.
She moves her head away before his hand reached her face, not wanting him to touch her.
Seeing she turned her head away, Mark then retracts his hand with a small smile on his face. “Sorry about hurting you in the accident,” he said, but did not sound remorse about it at all. Mark then turned to look at Xi Men, “Your wrecked expensive car is left at the expressway. I hope no one is going to steal it,”
“Why are you doing this?! Why are you doing this to us?!” Xiao You raised her voice and asked; tears begin to form in her eyes.
Still looking at Xi Men, Mark dropped his gaze casually, and then straightened his eyes to face both of them.
About 20 seconds later, Mark dives his hand into his back pocket and takes out a newspaper cutout, “This,” he uttered soullessly while holding onto the cutout in his hand.
Headline: Juliana Lin remarries; Xi Men sighted in Macau with wife-to-be Yang Xiao You.
Xi Men and Xiao You, with tears in her eyes, looked at the cutout before they looked at each other.
Lei pressed his forehead with his right hand while the elbow is on the desk, supporting his stressfully tired head.
“Mr. Hua Ze,” the police officer handed a glass of water to Lei.
Lei gazes at the police officer, and takes the glass of water. “Thank you,”
“Sir, please wait a bit more. All of our officers are checking the traffic CCTVs in town for Mr. Xi Men’s car,” the police officer said.
Lei nodded as he holds onto the glass of water.
He knew there are things where he cannot push for answers immediately.
After all, he realized how little information he could provide to the police.
He doesn’t know where Xi Men is to be exact where he (Lei) last communicated with him with.
He doesn’t know what car Xi Men is driving today.
He doesn’t know which expressway Xi Men wanted to use to go to their dinner venue.
He doesn’t even know where Xi Men’s florist is located at!
All he could tell was Xi Men has been involved in an accident, as he heard two crashes.
He squeezed his nasal bridge and he puts down the glass of water onto the table without taking a sip, since he has no mood to drink the water anyway; while Jing, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Ah Si and San Chai looked on.
It is no doubt Lei is greatly affected by it because he is the last one that talked to Xi Men, and he is the only person who heard everything on the phone.
How those unfolded ‘in his ear’.
And Mark’s voice. He recognized it.
Even though the greeting is eerie, he has no doubts that the voice belongs to Mark.
But why would Mark appear out of nowhere?
And managed to show up right where Xi Men is?
He searches deep in his head for possible answers.
He took multiple breaths as he thinks about it.
He suddenly opened his eyes. “Xi Men told me earlier today about a black car,”
Jing, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Ah Si and San Chai looked at Lei.
“A black car?” Jing asked.
“Yes. He said he saw a black car in front of my office today when he came to pick Xiao You up, and he asked me if anyone leaves office at such hours…” Lei said. “That could be Mark… that could be him…”
“Then tell that to the police officer!” Mei Zhuo said.
“But I don’t know what is the model of that car. A black colored car is common and they are all over the city,” Lei said.
“Ah… shit,” Mei Zhuo uttered.
Now Lei knew for sure this is not just a plain car accident.
This is more than that.
Lei could only sigh helplessly and depressively.