Conflicted – Chapter 118

The makeup artist pays great attention to the face and takes note of the fine scars which are on its last healing process.

*On the cheek.

*On the nose.

*On the jaw.

*Grabs concealer.

***

The hairstylist uses the pointy end of the comb to divide the hair into segments.

*Reveals a scar on the right side of head that had been staying hidden underneath the long hair.

*Realign hair segments.

*****

Exquisite.

Private and luxurious.

Venue, function and event; that is. [**exquisite venue, private function & luxurious event]

One of the most expensive and luxurious boutique hotels in Taipei.

It is no surprise that Xi Men would pick this hotel as his wedding venue.

He is Xi Men of F4.

The top businessman in the country.

The man that pretty much single-handedly rescued Xi Men Corporation out of crisis.

Well, pretty much, had to repeat; can’t do it without the help of his band of brothers and his father, of course.

And also, endless emotional support from Xiao You.

“Lei,”

Lei and Jing, who are looking around the lobby of the hotel, turned their heads to the back.

“Oh hey, Mei Zhuo,” Lei called back and then bro-hugged Mei Zhuo.

“Hi Jing,” Xiao Qiao called out and then extends her hands out to hug Jing.

“Hello Xiao Qiao,” Jing smiled as she hugged Xiao Qiao.

“Hi Jing,” Mei Zhuo smiled at Lei’s wife and then briefly hugged her.

“Hi Mei Zhuo,” Jing smiled and hugged him.

After the hug, Mei Zhuo looked at Lei, “Just both of you? Ah Si and San Chai have not arrived?”

“Yes, you are right,” Lei said. “They haven’t,”

“Oh,” Mei Zhuo said, lifting the long sleeve of his left hand up and takes a look at the time on his wristwatch.

“It is alright. We are not in a rush anyway. We can wait for Ah Si,” Lei said.

“I know. I just wanna check the time out,” Mei Zhuo smirked, and he gazes at the paper bag in Jing’s hand.

“Let’s take a seat at the waiting area. Once Ah Si and San Chai have arrived, we’ll go to Xi Men and Xiao You’s suite,” Jing pointed at the comfortable couches at the lobby.

“Sure,” all of them said, and then walked to the couches.

“Jing, if you don’t mind me asking you, what is that in your hand? Wedding gift?” Mei Zhuo pointed at the paper bag she is holding, and right at this time she is putting it down onto the couch right next to her.

“No, no. It is Xi Men and Xiao You’s wedding photos’ album,” Jing said, briefly glances over to the bag.

“Xi Men and Xiao You’s wedding photos’ album?” Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao said at the same time.

Lei and Jing nodded.

“Why is it with you?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Well, this is to be placed on the desk later at night for the guests to see, before the wedding lunch reception,” Lei said. “At the order of Xi Men’s parents,”

“Oh…” Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao said.

“Initially, Xiao You or perhaps, Xi Men, will bring this to the hotel today, but Xiao You gave it a thought and said they may forgot about this album as they will be occupied with other things since it is their wedding, so she passed it to me on her last working day before she goes for her wedding leave,” Lei said.

“Oh,” Mei Zhuo responded.

“Their wedding photos are beautiful,” Xiao Qiao said. “I wanna see it again, can I?”

“Sure,” Jing smiled, diving her hands into the paper bag to take the album out. “I love seeing their photos too… or rather, I love to see wedding photos,”

Xiao Qiao chuckled as Jing opens the box where the photo album is stored.

Jing then took the photo album and placed it on her thighs before she turned the first page.

“I thought we have agreed to meet at the entrance?!”

Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao lifted their heads up and looked at Ah Si.

“Oh! Wedding album! Are you guys looking at it again?” San Chai asked.

“Yes,” Jing and Xiao Qiao said.

“I wanna see it too!” San Chai said, running forward and joins them – ditching Ah Si at the back.

And since more people are seeing the album now, Jing puts the album on the coffee table in front of them.

“We just sat down, dude,” Mei Zhuo said at Ah Si who is walking towards them.

“And right here – the waiting area of hotel lobby isn’t that far from the entrance anyway,” Lei pointed.

Ah Si rolled his eyes.

“Hi Ah Si,” Jing waved at him.

That leads to Ah Si immediately gave a smile, “Hi Jing,”

Lei and Mei Zhuo remained unbothered, as they looked at the photo album.

Ah Si sits down next to Lei and looked at the album too.

“Their wedding photos are really, really beautiful,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Thank goodness Xi Men and Xiao You have taken their wedding photos 3 months ago,” San Chai said. “Ah, I like this one. It is really nice,”

It is a photo of handsome and elated Xi Men in black tux carrying the stunning and cheerful Xiao You in gown in his hands.

“Yes. You can see their happiness etched on their faces,” Lei smiled. “Well, I agree with you. Thank goodness they have taken their wedding photos 3 months ago. Xi Men has been on bed rest ever since that incident 2 months ago; so if they have yet to take the photos, they may have to postpone the session until he is completely healed,” he continued their original topic.

“Just like his work. Thank goodness his father came back and helped him manage it while he recuperates,” Mei Zhuo said.

“And he gets Secretary Xu to go to the penthouse every 2 days to update him about work,” Ah Si said. “He is really a workaholic,”

Everyone chuckled upon hearing that, due to how absurd it is to hear Ah Si said that.

“Excuse me, we are ALL going to do the same if it happens to us. It is our own business, you know,” Lei said.

“Hmmm… true,” Ah Si said.

And everyone laughed again.

“So, what is the progress of Xi Men’s health now? Is he completely healed?” Xiao Qiao asked.

 

Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Ah Si and San Chai exchanged glances.

“No idea at all. Haven’t talked to him since a week ago when he said he will be occupied by the wedding,” Lei said.

*****

“Your makeup is done, Mr. Xi Men,”

Xi Men looked into the mirror.

He smiled, “Perfect, thank you, Angeline,” and the smile grew.

***

“Miss Yang, your hairstyling is done,”

Xiao You looked into the mirror.

She smiled. “It’s very beautiful, thank you, Sarah,” and the smile grew.

Knock! Knock!

Xiao You turned her head to look at the door.

The door opened without waiting for Xiao You’s respond, and then reveals the handsomest man behind the door; whose smile grew the moment he saw her.

“Mr. Xi Men,” the hairstylist called out.

Xi Men nods briefly at the hairstylist, but very quickly had his eyes returned to Xiao You.

Xiao You smiled. “Done with your makeup?”

“Mm hmm,” he walked into the room, and then upon seeing the hairstylist taking a few steps back, “You are done with your hairstyling too?”

“Yes,” Xiao You said, standing up on her feet and her strapless elegant A line gown spreads nicely on the floor.

“Well, if that is the case…” Xi Men then turned to look at the hairstylist, “Mind to give us space for a moment?”

“Sure, Mr. Xi Men,” the hairstylist gives a small bow before she walked out and then closed the door behind her.

Xi Men stood in front of Xiao You and looked at her closely, from top to bottom, and then to her face.

She is just…

Xiao You looked at him, carefully tracing his face… the skin on his face, more precisely.

“Your fine scars are all covered up nicely,” she said, looking left and right.

“I know,” he replied with a smile on his face. “Didn’t you request the makeup artist to make sure she does that for me?”

She chuckled. “I do. But she already knows that’s what she needs to do, without the need for me to remind her. It’s her job, you know,”

He smiled. He then raised his hand up to gently trace her jaw with his finger.

“Hmmm?” she tilts her head.

“You are so pretty,” he said, looking at her with his eyes filled with passion and love.

She smiled; her face reddened.

Cheek is bursting.

“I have been thinking about you since I sat there at the living room of this suite while the makeup artist worked her hands on my face,” Xi Men said. [*Both of them is in the one-room suite in the hotel; he has his makeup in the living room, and she does hers in the room]

“Why so?” she asked.

“I just can’t wait to see my beautiful bride,” he said. “So stunning in her wedding gown,”

Xiao You smiled, raising her hands up and puts them on his white tux. “You look really handsome too,”

Xi Men smiled, “It is my wedding, right? I need to be the handsomest,”

She chuckled. “Since you are wearing the coat already… I guess, you are going to the venue now?”

Xi Men nodded, “Yes. I need to make sure the place is organized perfectly and I believe some guests may have arrived,”

She smiled and then she nodded, “Alright,”

“So, see you later, okay?”

She nodded, “Okay,”

With the contented smile on his face, he leaned over and kissed her briefly on her lips.

As he pulled back from the kiss, he smiled at her.

Her hand reached over to gently wipe his lips, removing the obvious lipstick mark on his lips.

And he just smiled.

“Would you mind to call San Chai, Jing and Xiao Qiao up to the room?” Xiao You asked.

“Sure,” Xi Men said.

RING!

Xi Men and Xiao You lowered their heads to the direction of the sound of the ringing smartphone is.

Xi Men dives his hand into his trousers and takes the smartphone out.

After looking at the name on the screen, he then picks up the phone, “Hello, Mei Zhuo?” he answered. “No, no. I am done in my suite. Ballroom, bro, go over there now. I’m heading over in a minute,”

Xiao You then pointed at herself as she looked at Xi Men.

“Yes. I am done in my suite,” Xi Men glances over to her, “Ah, by the way,” he said on the phone. “The wives. Ask them to come up to the suite for Xiao You,”

Xiao You smiled.

*****

“My gosh! Look at the foyer! This is just the foyer and it’s so glamorous! I can’t imagine how beautiful the ballroom is going to be,” Mei Zhuo said.

“I think it’s going to be damn beautiful,” Lei said.

“Shit. I need to renovate Grand Maple Hotel!” Ah Si groused. “This is a huge competition!”

Mei Zhuo and Lei laughed at that.

“But then again… why didn’t Xi Men pick my hotel for his wedding?” Ah Si asked.

“Sorry about that, bro,”

Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si turned around and looked at the fine-looking Xi Men dressed in customized white coat and black trousers walking towards them from the back.

So damn fine.

“This hotel is where Xiao You and me had spent the ‘3rd day’ together, and she accepted me after that. So this hotel is special and holds a lot of memories for both of us, that is why we picked this hotel for our wedding,” Xi Men said, extending his hands out as he approaches his brothers.

Lei grabbed his hand and then bro-hugged Xi Men. “Congratulations, Xi Men. You look great,”

“Thanks, Lei,” Xi Men patted Lei on his back.

“How are you doing now, actually?” Mei Zhuo asked as Xi Men hugged him. “The scars on your face… are they all healed?” he tried to look closely while pulling back from the hug.

“Not yet, actually. They are all on the final stage of healing. I still have them on my face and the makeup artist covers them all for me. She did a pretty good job,” Xi Men smiled.

“That’s good to know. Then what about here?” Mei Zhuo asked, pointing at Xi Men’s abdomen.

“It is good. I went for a follow up with Dr. Ting just two days ago and he said my recovery is great, and pretty much all is well, other than the wound would still hurt once in a while; I mean, it is a deep cut, you see, so that may take a while to heal completely; and… that’s all. I am good. Appetite has returned. There is no need for crutches, no need for a staff or whatever, so… here I am,” Xi Men smiled, spreads his hands slightly. “But don’t press or punch me on this place,” he immediately puts his hands over his wounded spot, purportedly to show that he is covering it from attacks.

They laughed.

“We get it. Now, come over. You haven’t hugged me,” Ah Si ordered.

Xi Men, Lei and Mei Zhuo laughed.

Xi Men heads over to Ah Si and bro-hugged the sulky Ah Si, but as soon as he reaches Ah Si, Ah Si smiles again.

“Congratulations on your wedding, Xi Men,” Ah Si smiled.

“Thank you, Ah Si,” Xi Men smiled, patting Ah Si’s back.

“I know it sounds odd to say this, but please let this be your last wedding,” Ah Si said.

Lei and Mei Zhuo laughed at its hidden meaning.

Xi Men laughed too, “Yes, it is. And I promise,”

“Wow, you even promised. That’s amazing,” Ah Si said.

“Of course. Xiao You is the only woman I want to marry, ever, in my life,” Xi Men said. “And I am keeping her forever,”

Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si smiled.

“Alright, back to work… I mean, tasks. Here’s the ballroom,” Xi Men walks ahead to the ballroom. “This is where Xiao You and I will sign the papers in front of everyone and also the venue for the lunch reception,” he then pushed the door of the ballroom to reveal the luxuriously carpeted huge ballroom with stunning lightings and chandeliers hung on the ceiling.

A red carpet has been rolled out from the entrance of the ballroom that will lead to the end, where the stage is.

Rows of chairs draped with white cloth and tied with purple ribbons have been arranged on both sides of the red carpet.

Standing at the entrance of the ballroom, Mei Zhuo, Lei and Ah Si are all dumbfounded at the beauty of the ballroom.

“Whoaaaaaaaaaa,” Mei Zhuo, Lei and Ah Si dropped their jaws.

Xi Men turned around and looked at them.

He had seen the ballroom a couple of times since he booked the venue with Xiao You for their wedding, so he is no longer surprised or taken aback by the exquisiteness of the ballroom anymore.

“I am definitely going to renovate my hotel!” Ah Si yelled.

**********

“Congratulations, Xi Men,”

“Thank you Uncle. Thank you for coming,” Xi Men smiled to Lei’s father, “Where is Aunty?”

“She met Mrs. Ling outside, so they are chatting, and you know, talking about their grandkids,” Lei’s father chuckled.

Xi Men chuckled, “I see. So, Alex is with aunty?”

“Yes. Lei said he and Jing have duties to do for you today, so they handed Alex to us while they managed your stuffs,” Lei’s father said.

“Ah… that explains why I didn’t see the kids just now when they came…” Xi Men said. “I guess Mei Zhuo and Ah Si did the same too…”

“I think so,” Lei’s father smiled. “And where’s Xiao You?” he looked around the foyer.

“Xiao You is still in the suite. She’ll come down when it is time for the signing,” Xi Men smiled.

“Oh… alright,”

From the corner of his eyes, Xi Men saw someone waving, and he looked over to realize it is his father flagging for him, “Anyway, uncle, please head inside the ballroom and takes a seat. The wedding will start in about 50 minutes,” he then softens his voice, “My dad is calling for me,”

Mr. Hua Ze laughed. “Sure. Go ahead,”

***

Xiao You took a deep breath.

“Nervous?” San Chai asked as Jing and Xiao Qiao joined them.

Xiao You smiled at San Chai, “Yeah,” she said. “Although this is not the first time I am getting married… but I am more nervous this time,”

San Chai chuckled. “Maybe it is because you are marrying Xi Men,”

“I guess so,” Xiao You smiled.

“You have been wanting to marry Xi Men for a really long time, Xiao You,” San Chai said.

“I think… the right statement was… I had loved him for so long, I had never imagined I will marry him… and… it happens,” Xiao You smiled. “Still can’t believe I am marrying him,”

Jing and Xiao Qiao patted Xiao You’s hands.

“Can you tell me how does it feel to be Mrs. F3?” Xiao You asked, looking at them.

*****

“Congratulations, CEO Xi Men,”

“Thank you, Director Yen,” Xi Men said, accepting his hand for a handshake.

“Nice venue,” his guest looked around the foyer.

“Oh thanks, this place…”

RING!

“I am sorry,” Xi Men immediately dives his hand into his trousers to take the smartphone out.

“No worries, CEO Xi Men,” Director Yen said.

Xi Men frowned to see numbers on the phone.

Numbers instead of a name that he had stored in the contact list?

His eyes strayed as he wonders who could this be.

“I guess it must be someone calling to ask for directions to the hotel,” Director Yen said.

That sounds like a perfect reply to Xi Men’s question in his mind.

“You may be right, Director Yen. I will need to pick up this call, excuse me for a moment,” Xi Men smiled and gives him a small bow.

“Sure, take your time,” Director Yen reply with a bow too.

Xi Men then walked away and pressed the answer button, before putting the phone on his ear.

“Hello?” Xi Men answers. “Yes, I am Xi Men, may I know who is this on the line?” he asked. “Uh huh…?”

After listening to the phone intently, his eyes widened.

***

*Keycard tapped.

BEEP. (*approved and door unlocked)

*Door opened.

Xiao You, Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai heard the main door (of the suite) opened; and all of them, who are sitting on the bed in the room of the suite, turned their heads to the direction of the door; as the room’s door isn’t closed.

“Xiao You,”

“Hi Xi Men! Look absolutely dashing there!” Xiao Qiao said.

Upon seeing Xiao Qiao, Jing and San Chai sitting with Xiao You, Xi Men smiled at them, “Hi ladies. Thanks for the compliment, Xiao Qiao,”

“Hey, Xi Men,” Jing smiled as she walked to him and gave him a hug.

Xi Men briefly hugged Jing, and then Xiao Qiao, followed by San Chai. “Sorry, ladies, mind to give us a moment?” he pointed to him and Xiao You.

“Must be missing her so much,” San Chai teased.

Xi Men chuckled, and Xiao You smiled.

“Alright then. We’ll give you ‘a moment’ as requested. We’ll be in the living room,” Xiao Qiao said.

“Thanks,” Xi Men said.

“And the wedding will start in 20 minutes, so, don’t take too long, alright?” Jing smiled.

“Sure, thanks for the reminder,” Xi Men smiled.

Xiao Qiao, Jing and San Chai then walked out of the room and they closed the door (of the room) behind them.

“I thought we are going to meet at the foyer,” Xiao You rose to her feet and said with a small smile on her face, looking at Xi Men.

“I have something to tell you,” Xi Men said, holding her hands, and the smile on his face begins to fade.

“What is it?” Xiao You asked. “Something is not right at the ballroom?”

“No, not that,” Xi Men looked at her worriedly.

She noted the changes on his facial expression. “Are you alright?” she is beginning to worry too. “Is your wound…”

“No,” he holds her hands tight. “It is not about me,”

“Then?” she asked.

He swallowed the lump in his throat, “I received a call,”

She looked at him, waiting for him to continue.

“Mark is dying,” Xi Men said.


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