“Xi Men! Don’t die, please!” Xiao You wailed. “Don’t!!!” she screamed. “Don’t leave me alone!”
He opened his eyes slowly.
And then grimaces.
“Urgh…” he groaned.
He closed his eyes again.
The pain doesn’t go away.
It just lingers.
He took a deep breath, but that hurts too.
Or rather even more.
He stopped taking deep breaths, but maintaining his normal breathing now.
He needs to maintain the intensity of pain.
Because it hurts so bad…
‘What the heck was it…’
Someone lifted the 13-inches chef knife up.
*End of flashback.
Xi Men opened his eyes up in surprise.
His eyes still at the ceiling.
His mind busies; processing every damn thing that is coming into the mind.
As the weapon dives into his flesh, he felt every bit of the sharp knife, bringing immense and unimaginable pain.
The pain grew unbearably and overpowers him in no time.
*End of flashback.
Xi Men remembers now.
He raised his left hand up, ever so slowly and touched the spot where he remembers the knife goes down…
So he found the painful spot.
That’s where the wound is.
“I’ve told you that you will have a slow death,” he heard, “You will bleed to death,”
*End of flashback.
Bleed to death.
Lying on the bed, Xi Men finally moves his eyeballs, and looked around (without turning his head).
Left and right.
*CLACK. (door opened)
Xi Men’s eyes strayed slightly to the direction of the door, he could see the door is open from the angle of his head, but he cannot see who that is.
“Xi… Xi Men?”
Xi Men recognized the voice, “Lei…” he called out softly.
“XI MEN YOU ARE AWAKE!” Mei Zhuo screamed, “I am going to call Dr. Ting!”
And the next thing Xi Men heard was someone running out from the room, stomping their feet along the corridor.
“Xi Men, you are really awake! Oh gosh, I can’t believe this!” Ah Si said.
Despite he is in pain, a small curve formed at the edge of Xi Men’s lips.
‘I am not dead…’
‘I am alive…’
“Thank you Dr. Ting,” Xi Men said.
“No problem, Mr. Xi Men. Remember, if you need the painkiller to elevate the pain, use that,” Dr. Ting said, pointing at the small controller that consists of a button on Xi Men’s palm.
“I won’t forget that. I had only pressed it once and I felt better now,” Xi Men said with a smile, and is already gripping it (the controller).
Dr. Ting chuckled. “Alright, see you in few hours, Mr. Xi Men,”
Xi Men nodded briefly, and the doctor leaves the room.
And then the buddies charged into the room.
“Xi Men,” they called.
“Hey,” Xi Men smiled faintly at them.
“How are you feeling, Xi Men?” Lei asked.
“Alright, I guess,” Xi Men said. “Can you push me up a little bit?”
“Push you up?” Ah Si asked.
“The bed. I want to sit up,” Xi Men said.
“Oh, oh! Sure,” Mei Zhuo said, immediately grabbed the electronic remote control and looked at it, trying to figure out which button to press.
He pressed at one of the buttons, and the head of the bed elevated.
As the bed elevates, Xi Men felt the pain on his abdomen due to the move.
As Xi Men grimaced, Mei Zhuo stopped.
“A bit more,” Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo and requested.
“But you are in pain,” Mei Zhuo said.
“It’s just a little bit (of pain), I am okay,” Xi Men said.
Mei Zhuo did as requested, and Xi Men continued to grimace as the bed moves.
As the bed reaches 30 degrees tilt, Mei Zhuo stopped.
“I think this height is good enough for you,” Mei Zhuo said, putting down the controller already. “I think this itself is too much for you but just because you ask for it…”
“Yes, I agree with Mei Zhuo,” Lei adds, before glancing at Mei Zhuo. “I think this is good enough,”
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat after enduring with the pain (when the bed tilts), “Sure. Thank you,” he said.
“No problem,” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men smiled faintly as he looked at them, one after another.
Or rather, he appreciates their presence.
“It is so good to see you guys here. And where are your wives?” Xi Men asked.
“They are accompanying Xiao You for her follow-up treatment,” Lei said.
“Xiao You?” Xi Men asked.
Hearing Xi Men said that, there is a change on Lei’s facial expression.
Mei Zhuo followed suit about 2 seconds later after he had processed what Xi Men (and his tone) said, and then belatedly looked at Lei.
“Yes, Xiao You,” Ah Si confirmed, instead.
Mei Zhuo, who is standing next to Ah Si, gently bumped Ah Si’s stomach using his elbow.
Ah Si turned to look at Mei Zhuo; annoyed with Mei Zhuo’s act, and Lei also looked at him (Ah Si), before gazing over at Xi Men.
Ah Si stares at them, and then widened in surprised after getting the hint, and looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men hits and injures his head.
Just like Ah Si did last time. Years ago.
And then they (the gang – or particularly Lei and Mei Zhuo right at this moment) have dealt with Ah Si having amnesia…
And if history repeats itself…
“You… you don’t remember who Xiao You is?” Lei asked.
Xi Men looked at Lei for the longest time, “Who’s that?”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si’s jaw dropped. “You can’t be kidding me…”
Xi Men remained looking at the F3.
“Are we going to go thru the same damn thing again…?” Mei Zhuo looked at Lei, utterly worried.
Xi Men tilts his head.
Lei just stares at Xi Men.
“Shit…” Ah Si uttered.
“I… I need to call doctor…” Mei Zhuo said, stunned.
Xi Men smirks, “No, wait,” he said, “Gosh, that’s hilarious,” and then he chuckles weakly, but that is immediately replaced by wincing because of the pain on his stomach that appears with his every chuckle. “Ouch, ouch, ouch,”
“Hey, are you alright?” Mei Zhuo asked.
Lei frowned at Xi Men’s reaction.
“Yeah,” Xi Men replied Mei Zhuo, calming himself down so that the wound does not hurt that much, “It’s just that the wound hurts when I laugh, or move,”
“Oh,” Mei Zhuo said, and then frowned belatedly, “Wait… you laughed…” he pointed at Xi Men, “Are you…”
“…pretending?” Lei continued Mei Zhuo’s question, pointing at Xi Men.
Ah Si happened to fold his hands on his chest, in anticipation of the answer.
Xi Men smiled, lets out a chuckle, and then groaned in pain.
That’s pretty much the answer.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si glared at Xi Men.
“Serious, bro?” Mei Zhuo asked, unimpressed.
“I know what you guys are thinking,” Xi Men said, raising his hand up and gently puts on his painful abdomen. “No, I don’t have amnesia,”
“DUH!” they exclaimed.
Xi Men lets out several chuckles again, and groaned again.
“Are you sure you know who Xiao You is?” Ah Si asked.
Xi Men looked at Ah Si and smiled, “Yes. Xiao You is my fiancée and the love of my life,” he said. “I remember her and I remember everyone. As far as I know, I did not forget anything… yet,”
“You know, that amnesia thing not funny,” Lei said, deadpanned. “I can’t believe you do this to us the moment you regained consciousness!”
“Well, if I don’t do it now, I don’t think there’s a chance,” Xi Men said, finding it hilarious still and then laughs, and then groaned again.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged annoyed (with Xi Men) glances.
“That pain? Serves you right,” Mei Zhuo pointed at Xi Men’s stomach.
Xi Men smiled after his laughter subsides. “Actually, when I said ‘Xiao You’ earlier, I meant to ask what’s up with her and what follow-up treatment are you talking about,” he looked at Lei.
“Oh,” Lei said.
“And then you ask me if I forgot who Xiao You is all of a sudden, I was wondering where did that come from, and why would you say that (*thus he stares at Lei for a long time) and then it hits me that I have injured myself, for you guys to ask me that. So I take that as a great opportunity to make fun of you guys,”
“Sheesh,” Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si said.
Xi Men smiled, “So, tell me about Xiao You’s condition,”
“Well, she hits her head during the accident, so she receives 6 stitches on her head,”
Hits her head during accident.
He remembers she is injured.
He saw the trail of blood on her face the other day while being tied up to the chair.
Hearing what Lei said prompted Xi Men to lift up his hand and touched the left side of his head as he is injured too, “Ouch…” but temporarily forgotten it is painful too… until he touched it.
“There’s a mild crack on her skull,” Mei Zhuo adds.
“Crack?” Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo.
“But she doesn’t need surgery for it. Just needed medication, and also she is required to follow-up with the doctor constantly,” Lei said.
“Oh,” Xi Men uttered. “Is that all with Xiao You? Any other injuries?”
“No more. Only some bruises and cuts, that’s all,” Ah Si said.
Xi Men dropped his gaze briefly and nodded, “Sounds good that there are no other serious injuries…” he said contently. “So, she is at the doctor now?”
“Yes, just so happen her follow-up appointment is now…” Lei said. “But she will be back after that,”
Xi Men smiled.
“She was here earlier. It is a coincidence that you woke up while she was away,” Mei Zhuo said.
“And while the doctor is examining you earlier, three of us decided unanimously not to message and tell the ladies that you’ve regained consciousness because we didn’t want the information to leak to Xiao You and then potentially distracted her from her attention on her treatment,” Ah Si said.
“That’s nice of you guys, thank you,” Xi Men smiled gratefully.
“Oh, mentioning of messaging the ladies…” Lei said, diving his hand into his pants’ pocket to retrieve Xi Men’s smartphone, “This is your phone,” he said, passing the phone to Xi Men. “And I have charged it full for you everyday,”
“Everyday?” Xi Men asked, looking at the phone on Lei’s hand briefly, before he accepts it. “Why did you make it sound like I’ve been unconscious for a long time,”
Lei exchanged gazes with Ah Si and Mei Zhuo, “You’ve been unconscious for 3 days,”
Xi Men looked at Lei in surprised, “What? Did you say… 3 days?”
“Yes,” Lei confirmed. “So, you’ve been lying on this bed for 3 days,”
Xi Men continued staring at Lei.
He couldn’t believe it.
“I… I have been unconscious for 3 days…?” Xi Men said (as a statement).
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances.
“Can you… furnish me the timeline?” Xi Men asked, looking at the F3. “Since I don’t know that,”
“The incident lasts 7 hours. You had surgery for 25 hours. And all of us have been waiting for you to wake up for 3 days,” Ah Si said.
“Surgery for 25 hours?”
“Yes,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Oh…” Xi Men then dropped his gaze to look at the smartphone in his hand. “It felt like only an hour has passed, or few hours, tops…”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances again.
“Well, it is probably because you are unconscious, so you do not feel that,” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men smirks, “I guess,” he said, unlocking the smartphone and looked at the time and then the date.
They are right.
It’s already 5 days now, since the day the incident happened.
“Xiao You must have been really sad for the last few days…” Xi Men uttered.
“Undeniable. But I am sure she’s going to be very happy, just like us, to see you regained consciousness,” Ah Si said.
Xi Men raised his head up and smiled at them.
“Oh by the way. Your parents had just gone home. I’ll text them to tell them you have regained consciousness, alright?” Lei said.
“My parents? They are in Taipei now?” Xi Men asked.
“Yes. After hearing what happened, they fly back immediately,” Lei replied. “So, I’ll text them?”
“Sure,” Xi Men said.
All of them turned their heads to look at the door.
As the door opens…
The guys smiled, couldn’t wait to share the news to the ladies (or rather; show) that Xi Men has regained consciousness.
Xiao You, who is the one opening the door, took a step into the room.
And she then meets Xi Men’s gaze.
That halts her footsteps… and froze, right where she is; still holding onto the door knob.
With her widened eyes, she stares at Xi Men, stunned.
Xi Men drops his head a little bit, and smiled at Xiao You.
“Why are you…”
San Chai, who is the one that was about to ask Xiao You why she stopped entering the room and stood in the middle of the entrance, saw Xi Men sitting on the 30 degrees-tilted bed and dropped her jaw. “Xi… Xi Men is… is…”
“Oh my gosh!” Jing said.
“GASP!” Xiao Qiao reacted.
Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai, who are standing behind Xiao You, are all surprised.
Tears begin to form in Xiao You’s eyes.
Xi Men raised his hand up slowly, with his palm facing up.
Xiao You looked at the hand that has been raised.
She knew what it means.
She enters the room now, approached Xi Men and holds his hand.
Lei looked at Xiao You and then at Xi Men.
“Let’s get out,” Lei uttered before he rose to his feet. “They needed their private time,”
Ah Si and Mei Zhuo gazed at Lei.
They wanted to be in the room with Xi Men for Xi Men had just woken up, but…
They gazes at Xiao You; her gaze fixed at Xi Men, and realized Lei could be right.
This is the time for Xi Men and Xiao You.
The rest can join later.
“Alright…” Ah Si nodded, and both he and Mei Zhuo rose to their feet and then marched to the door, joining Lei.
“Why didn’t you tell us he has regained consciousness?” Jing asked.
“Yes, why…?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“We’ll explain,” Lei uttered.
Though Xi Men’s eyes are at Xiao You, he could take note of everyone else leaving the room.
Being the last one to leave the room, Mei Zhuo closed the door.
And in the room, just both of them.
Just Xi Men and Xiao You.
Standing next to his bed, she looked at Xi Men who is (still) looking back at her.
She could not believe it.
Xi Men… has regained consciousness.
As Xi Men gently pulls his hand that is holding her hand back, Xiao You follows his move, leading her to sit down at the side of the bed and facing him.
Xi Men looked at her closely, noting the tears brimming in her eyes.
He then looked at the obvious bandage on her head.
“She hits her head during the accident, so she receives 6 stitches on her head,” he remembers Lei said. “There’s a mild crack on her skull,” and he also remember Mei Zhuo adds to it.
His eyes trailed down to her bruised cheek.
“HELP! We are here!” Xiao You desperately yelled.
Lying on the ground with utmost pain in his abdomen, Xi Men could not see what happened, but he could hear.
Mark had hurt her.
“No…” Xi Men muttered in pain, “Xiao… Xiao You…”
He raised his other free hand up ever so slowly, and gently caresses her bruised cheek, secretly evaluating the intensity of the hard slap Mark had given to her, for her cheek to end up bruised like this…
“You… you are awake…”
She finally uttered something.
He raised his gaze slightly, from looking at her cheek to her eyes.
“Yes, my love,” Xi Men replied.
“MARK! NO!!” Xiao You wailed. “Please! NO!” she cried pitifully now.
Mark kicked Xi Men yet another time; this time directly on Xi Men’s already painful stomach.
Xi Men writhed even more and groaned louder now.
And then the knife goes down…
Tears rolled down to her cheek at the recollection.
Seeing her tears rolled down to her cheek, tears begin to form in his eyes too.
He knew what is running in her mind.
She raised her hand up slowly to his swollen and bruised up face due to multiple injuries from the accident and blows, wanting to reconfirm herself that he is ‘real’; that he has regained consciousness and stares straight at her, only to stop before the tip of her fingers touched his cheek.
She wanted to touch him, but she is afraid she might hurt him.
The emotions stirred in her.
Her fingers trembled.
She couldn’t hold on anymore.
She retracts her hand and covers her face, sobbed.
He watches her sobbed, hard.
He can’t bend and raised his body up to hug her.
So he raised his hand, grabs her arm and gathered his strength to pull her down to him – who is on a 30 degrees- tilted bed.
He winces silently due to pain when her body weight had passed to him, applying pressure to his weak and already beaten up body.
But still, the pain is nothing, as long as he can wrap his arms around her and lets her sobbed her heart out in the embrace.