“ARGH, this traffic jam is frustrating!” Mei Zhuo said, hitting the steering wheel. “Why can’t you move! I want to go to Xi Men’s car!” he scolded in the car, aiming at no particular one but the cars around him.
“Honey…” Xiao Qiao squeezes his hand to calm him.
“I wanted to go to Xi Men’s car quickly. And how long & far will this jam be?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“I understand, Mei Zhuo. All of us feel the same, and we just want to go to Xi Men’s car right now,” San Chai said from the backseat.
Mei Zhuo exhaled his deep breath.
Jing, who is sitting at the back row, turned to look at Lei who is sitting next to her, and he is looking out of the car.
All of them took Mei Zhuo’s MPV, which can sit up to 7 people at one time, to go to the site where Xi Men’s car is reportedly stranded at the roadside.
Since all of them are heading to the same place and it is jammed up now, there is no use for all of them to go separately in so many cars.
Jing reached for Lei’s hand and holds it.
Lei did not look at Jing, but he responded by gripping her hand in return.
He is very worried.
Or rather, everybody does.
It’s just that he is affected slightly more than anyone else because he heard the entire scene unfolded in the phone.
And he couldn’t forget the sounds he heard, and what the recorded CCTV has shown.
They just played in his mind.
“Mark… Xi Men is in terrible pain… please let him go…”
Mark then looked at Xiao You, “Do you love him that much to plead for that from me?” he asked.
Xiao You looked at Mark, tears fell onto her face.
“Why do you beg for him, when it is his life and he didn’t beg me for it?” Mark asked.
Xiao You sniffs, and then eventually breaks down and cry.
“Xiao You…” Xi Men called.
She sobbed as her head dropped.
“Mark… please…” she called again.
Xiao You opened her eyes and lifted her head up, looking at Mark wiping her tears.
Xi Men immediately gritted his teeth upon seeing Mark wiping her tears.
Mark uses his fingers to slide across her cheek to wipe them away, and Xi Men hated it; he hated the fact that Mark is touching her face!
“He can’t wipe your tears. Then let me,” Mark uttered with a soulless gaze.
“Mark…” Xiao You cried.
“You never cried like that when you were with me,”
Xiao You clenched her teeth now to hold her emotions, but tears remained falling.
“What kind of man is that… to make a woman cry?” Mark glances at Xi Men.
Xi Men glared at Mark.
Such an ironic statement.
If it wasn’t Mark hurting Xi Men, Xiao You wouldn’t sob at Xi Men’s condition.
Mark lifted the tumbled chair and puts it right back where it was and he sits down on it. “He will be fine,” Mark said.
Xiao You looked at Mark. “No… Xi Men he…”
Mark then turned and looked at Xi Men, “Then tell me you are in pain. Beg me for it. Don’t ask your woman to do that,” he said. “Be a man,”
Xi Men stared straight at Mark, taking deep breaths as he is suppressing his pain, especially the pain from his stomach is making it slightly more unbearable than the pain on his face.
Mark gave a smug to Xi Men, “Pride wins, I know,”
Xiao You felt completely helpless.
“Even if I beg, you will not release me,” Xi Men said.
Mark looked at Xi Men.
“Begging will not get me anywhere. That is how well I know. So might as well I just sit here and…”
“Stop that!” Xiao You yelled at Mark.
“… and get punched,” Xi Men finished his statement as he then turned (from aftermath of punch) and looked at Mark, and then moved his jaw since he had just been punched, again.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, “Xi Men… are you alright?”
“Yes I am,” Xi Men replied with a smile to her.
Mark then smirks. “Still so loving at this stage,”
Xi Men and Xiao You looked at Mark.
“Mark… what do you want?” Xiao You asked him.
Mark looked at Xiao You.
“Why are you doing this to us…? What do you really, really want…?” she practically begged him.
Mark tilts his head, looking at nothing in particular now. “I still remember our last conversation,” he said, “Before I depart for Japan,”
Xi Men and Xiao You remained looking at Mark.
“It wasn’t a very good one,” Mark said.
Xiao You lowered her gaze again, “I know,”
“You were scolding me about how I cursed about his company’s crisis,” Mark said, glancing over to Xi Men again.
“I don’t even remember what we were talking about; I just know it wasn’t a good conversation… or worth remembering,” Xiao You said.
“You are right. It is not a good one, that is why it is not worth remembering,” Mark said, took a deep breath and then exhaled it. “Did you know Xi Men paid me USD$250,000 to leave the country?” he looked at Xiao You.
Xiao You’s eyes brightened up upon hearing that as she looked at Mark, and then turned to look at Xi Men.
“You didn’t know?” Mark asked, looking at Xiao You.
“It wasn’t like that. I said I offer you business contacts if Ah Si did not take up your system. But I gave you option of business contacts OR money. You picked the money!” Xi Men said at Mark.
“You could have given me business contacts too but you make me choose!” Mark barks back. “So what can I do, huh?!”
Xi Men did not respond to Mark, but he finds it strange that Mark would say about this (about wanting business contacts) at this moment…
Xiao You then looked at Mark, “Then what did you do with the money?”
Mark smirks because it was Xiao You that is asking, thus he talks nicely, “I use it to fund my business,”
“How did it go?” Xiao You asked. “How is Liu Management now?”
Mark then turned and stares at Xi Men intently. “Life is really unfair,” he said. “How can you, whose company falls into major crisis could survive it, but not mine?”
Xi Men looked at Mark.
‘‘Not mine’, he said,’ Xiao You thought to herself. ‘Did the company…’
‘His company did not survive,’ Xi Men thought to himself. ‘That is the reason why he talked about wanting business contacts (at this moment)…’
“How can a major corporation falls into such crisis could get back up and perform better than before, but mine has to go down?!” Mark barks at Xi Men.
Xiao You feels terrified again upon seeing Mark’s sudden outburst.
She is afraid he is going to whack Xi Men again.
She saw the way Mark hits Xi Men.
She didn’t like what she sees.
Xi Men is already in pain.
She didn’t want more to befall on Xi Men. “Mark…”
Mark then turned to look at Xiao You, “I use the money to fund my company; I went to look for prospects, and none took it up! I have to close Liu Management down!” he said angrily.
Xiao You looked at Mark in surprise upon hearing he said ‘close down’, but at the same time, she is in fear due to his anger.
“I resorted to work in stores to get money for my daily living. But thanks for a small remainder of the USD$250,000 in my savings; I could buy a plane ticket back here after seeing that article (pointed at the newspaper cutout on the floor), and see for myself, how much life has changed for both of you,” Mark said and then swallowed the lump in his throat, “It is so damn unfair!”
Xiao You flinched when he yelled like that towards her.
“And you…” Mark said at Xiao You.
Xiao You opened her eyes (since she was flinching) to look at Mark.
“Your life seems so much better now than you’ve ever had,” Mark said.
“Isn’t that a good thing…?” Xiao You asked.
“Good thing?” Mark mocked. “How can it be a good thing if every single thing that you get comes from his hand or his wealth?” he pointed at Xi Men.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat.
“This guy took everything from me! How can that be good?!” Mark yelled.
Xiao You shook briefly, “It is not like that…”
“Do you know what it made me into? That your life with me sucks and it has become better because of this b*stard who has power and wealth to change it for you! But WHY! Why him! Why out of so many guys out there, HIM?!” he yelled at Xiao You.
“No, no, Mark, not…”
Mark gritted his teeth and looked at Xi Men, “How can things be this good to you?! Why do you get to save your company, get to keep your wealth and even get a woman?! Why not to me? Why do I need to lose my wife and my company?! WHY?!” he then grabbed Xi Men’s collar again, “How can your life stay as great when you robbed everything from me?!”
“Here, we are here,” Mei Zhuo said. “Xi Men’s car is within sight,”
Everyone in the car sits up straight after hearing it, and they looked out to the right side of the car (Mei Zhuo’s car), trying to take a glimpse of the wrecked car (Xi Men’s).
They haven’t reached the spot yet so the car is still not in their sight, but they know they will reach there somehow.
Some things just can’t wait.
Police has cordoned off the area where Xi Men’s car is at.
Moving so slowly in the jam, or a better word, crawling, Mei Zhuo finally drives (crawls) pass Xi Men’s car, where everyone in the car is looking at it to get a quick first look of how bad the accident is; and then he (Mei Zhuo) swerves and parked his car on the right lane, several feet away from the cordoned area.
Everyone gets down from the car, stopped right at the car’s door and gasped in horror at the full sight of Xi Men’s car, with the ladies covering their mouth in shock and the men just froze.
“Oh my gosh…” San Chai uttered.
Lei’s heart sinks at the sight of the wrecked car that is still ‘sticks’ against the concrete wall on its right.
Staring at the car, it stirs emotions in him, for the sounds of the crash plays in his ear, or mind.
He then took a step forward, and begins to walk closer to the scene.
Everyone immediately followed.
Police had cordoned off the area from public’s access, but doesn’t restrict the F3 and wives to enter the area.
“Sir, we have done processing with the area (forensics)…”
Hearing that, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si, as well as Lei who is looking at the car, turned their heads to look at the police inspector as he speaks.
“…so you can enter now. My police officer will accompany you, thus, if there is anything you need help from, or personal belongings that you need to take from the scene, do let my officer know,” the police inspector said, pointing at the assigned police officer next to him. “He will assist you,”
Lei and Mei Zhuo nodded, while Ah Si replied the police inspector with an ‘OK’.
They entered the cordoned area with a police officer following behind them and they begin to scan the car at the chilling scene.
The left front part of the car is damaged, a proof that collision has taken place.
The driver’s seat’s door is left ajar.
Ah Si stares at the car plate number. A part of him is still trying to tell himself it did not happen to Xi Men but… seeing this before his eyes – this is indeed Xi Men’s car. The number has proved it.
Lei and Mei Zhuo approached the car and looked left & right while Ah Si stood there staring at the car plate and that he needs a moment to himself.
“What is this?” Mei Zhuo asked, pointing at the pieces on the road, right next to the door.
Lei looked at the pieces on the floor.
“It’s the Bluetooth headset,” Lei said. “Xi Men must have been wearing it… and I heard everything when it happened…”
Mei Zhuo holds onto Lei’s shoulder, trying to console the latter, but somehow, he himself needs consolation too.
This is Xi Men.
He is their buddy.
Ah Si soon joined Mei Zhuo and Lei and all three of them looked into the car from the opened door.
“That’s Xiao You’s handbag,” Lei said, pointing to the passenger’s seat.
He knew because she brings that handbag to work.
“Is that Xi Men’s phone?” Ah Si asked, pointed at a smartphone near the gear.
All of them, including the police officer, looked into the car where a phone with its notification light blinking is at.
The police officer proceeded to head into the car to take the phone and then passed it to them, where Lei extends his hand to take it.
Lei clicks on Xi Men’s phone and looked at the screen.
Missed call from Lei.
“This is why he didn’t pick up the phone. The phone is here. In the car. In the middle of expressway,” Lei exhaled his deep breath. “And he got taken away,”
He then looked at the traffic jam that is being caused by Xi Men’s stranded car.
“And this is a busy expressway. I can’t believe Mark is daring enough to commit it here,” Lei said.
“From the recorded video, it seems that he does it so casually as though it is just a normal car accident,” Ah Si said.
“We need to find the accomplice too,” Mei Zhuo said.
A police inspector heads to Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si. “Sir,”
All three of them including the police officer looked at the police inspector.
“The experts from the investigation unit have informed us that they tried to get the car plate number of the car that was involved in the collision with Mr. Xi Men’s car from the CCTV video…”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at the police inspector anxiously.
“And failed,” the police inspector adds.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si felt extremely disappointed.
Lei exhaled a deep, frustrating breath.
“However, they managed to identify the type of car,” the police inspector said again.
“Does identifying the type of car helps?” Ah Si asked, “There are thousands of similar cars on the road,”
“Probably not, sir, but… coincidentally, more than 2 weeks ago, a car rental company has lodge a police report about a car that has recently been rented out had gone missing. Or rather, renter has only agreed to rent the car for 3 days which he had paid for, but did not return it at the agreed time. The company failed to contact the renter thus a report has been lodged. The car that they reported missing looks the same as the one that is identified by the investigation unit,” the police inspector said.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at the police inspector, before they briefly exchanged glances.
“Any information about the renter? I am sure the car rental company had the renter’s details, or name, at least,” Mei Zhuo asked.
“Yes, they do. The name is Mark Liu. Residential address registered is an address in Japan,”
Their hearts sank.
All three of them exchanged glances.
Lei then dropped his head and sighed, “Then that’s him. The missing car and the car that hits Xi Men’s car is the same car,”
The police inspector looked at Lei.
“Because Mark Liu has frictions with Xi Men,” Mei Zhuo said. “And the last we know, he is in Japan,”
“Oh…” the police inspector could only say.
Ah Si looked at the police inspector, “Did you managed to track where the car goes from the CCTV?”
“We are working on it, sir. It involves various CCTVs dated hours ago so we do need some time,”
“And the accomplice?” Lei lifted his head up and asked.
“We are also working on that,”
All of them sighed.
One scratched his head. (Ah Si)
One pressed his forehead. (Mei Zhuo)
And one squeezed his nasal bridge. (Lei)
“The news is out,” Jing said, browsing the article on her smartphone.
San Chai and Xiao Qiao leaned over to look at the screen on Jing’s phone.
Xi Men Zhong Er Lang, CEO of Xi Men Corporation and fiancée, Miss Yang Xiao You has reportedly gone missing after a road accident on TE Expressway.
“I hope with the news is out… we can find witnesses…” Xiao Qiao said.
San Chai nodded. “Yes, I seriously hope so,”
“I have nothing left now!” Mark screams at Xi Men who is defenseless. “Because of you, I have nothing left now!” he angrily releases the collar he had grabbed of Xi Men and pushed Xi Men; that his back lands on the hard chair.
Xi Men groaned in pain as his back hits the chair hard.
Mark stares at Xi Men angrily.
Seeing what Mark has done to Xi Men upsets Xiao You.
“I still don’t know what you want, Mark! I don’t know what you want!” Xiao You wailed as tears formed again.
Mark turned to look at Xiao You who is sobbing uncontrollably now.
“Then let me tell you now,”
Xi Men lifted his head up and looked at Mark.
Xiao You’s sob softens and looked at Mark.
“Do you know why I laughed when I heard you say… ‘both of you get out of here’ just now?” Mark asked. “Because… you won’t,”
Xiao You is stunned upon hearing that.
Xi Men remained unfazed upon hearing that, his gaze slowly lowered.
Somehow a part of him already knows this is going to happen.
Mark’s words just confirmed it.
“No,” Mark said. “Let me correct myself,”
Xiao You looked Mark, tears brimming in her eyes.
And Xi Men belatedly lifted his eyes up to look at Mark.
Looking at Xiao You, “You will leave this place after this whole thing is over,” Mark said. “Alone,”
They stood in the middle of the windy expressway, waiting for the next course of action.
A tow truck has come and it is ready to tow Xi Men’s car as it is obstructing traffic however since it is already past midnight, the jam has subsided.
San Chai holds onto Xiao You’s handbag, while Lei is holding onto Xi Men’s phone.
“What surprises me is that no one reports on Xi Men’s car stranded on the expressway, causing the jam,” Lei uttered, looking at the tow truck driver talking to the police officer.
“The traffic jam was bearable, thus nobody reported, THINKING it has been reported and police or patrol cars are on their way,” suddenly the police inspector in charge came and said.
Everyone turned and looked at the police inspector.
“So how was it? Any news to update us?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“Using numerous CCTVs in the city, we managed to track the car and found out where it is going, however… he had a made a turning to a junction where there are no CCTVs from then onwards,” the police inspector said.
“Oh gosh… this has to be the worst day ever,” Ah Si said, smacking his forehead.
“We have dispatched our teams to check the area, or every turning the car could make from there. We will notify you, sir, once we saw the car or detects suspicious activity,” the police inspector said.
“Then, what are we supposed to do now? I don’t think I can sleep if I were to go home,” Mei Zhuo said.
Lei took a deep breath, “I don’t know about you guys but I want to wait. It’s been more than 4 hours now. It is very critical. A lot of things could happen in 4 hours… and I don’t even know if Xi Men is alive…”
Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances, horrified at what Lei said.
“Don’t… don’t think too much. Maybe we should go and wait at the police station for any latest news? It is too windy here, our wives might get a cold or something,” Mei Zhuo said.
Lei exhaled a deep breath and nodded. “Alright,”
“Umm, sir… we have also found the ‘accomplice’,” the police inspector said.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at the police inspector, realizing he has more to say.
“He is not an accomplice, but just someone who was trying to help the accident victims… only to find out from the news now that it wasn’t just an accident and he had helped the suspect to kidnap Mr. Xi Men and Miss Yang. He was told by the suspect that he (the suspect) will send Mr. Xi Men and Miss Yang to the hospital and then report the accident to the police,”
“Clearly that did not happen,” Ah Si said.
“How on earth did Mark Liu manipulate a good Samaritan to do that?” Lei said.