Conflicted – Chapter 119

“I received a call,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You looked at him, waiting for him to continue.

“Mark is dying,” Xi Men said, looking at Xiao You.

There is an obvious change of facial expression on Xiao You’s face.

“Dy… dying?” Xiao You stuttered. “What… what do you mean?”

Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat, “The warden said; Mark develops a fever few weeks back, they had given him medical treatment, but his condition did not improve and in fact, gets worse. He is then being admitted into the medical center and…”

Xiao You looked at Xi Men.

“He has pneumonia,” Xi Men said.

She looked at him, and when he says no further, she replies him, “Pneumonia is treatable,”

“Not if it has attacked the immune system and causes respiratory failure,” he said.

There is a change in Xiao You’s gaze.

“Apparently he did not take the medication prescribed to him when he has fever. His condition then worsened. They wanted to perform surgery but his condition does not allow them to. They have tried their best and…” Xi Men lowered his gaze slightly, “I don’t know the entire process, but all I know is that they said things are not looking good for him,”

Xiao You didn’t say anything as she just looked at him.

“The warden said… Mark wants to see you,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You’s gaze changed, again.

“That is why he (the warden) searched for my number for hours… and finally gets me,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat.

“The warden also said, if anyone wants to go and see him, should do it now,” Xi Men said. “‘It’ could be anytime,”

It.

Means death.

Xiao You’s eyes looked away for a moment, and her hand grips briefly, causing Xi Men to look at her hands which are in his hands.

“Xiao You…”

Xiao You returned her focus to his face.

“If you want to go, go,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You looked at Xi Men, tears immediately formed in her eyes.

Xi Men caressed her cheek, “Go and see him for one last time,”

Xiao You took a deep breath and turned to the right, retracting her hands from his grip.

Her right hand gently holds onto her left hand’s elbow as she looked at the beautiful view outside of the suite.

Xi Men looked at her, and he could feel her feeling conflicted.

She hadn’t said a word for a while now.

He moved and stands next to her, looking at her again.

Tears pooled in her eyes.

He could see it is on the verge of falling onto her extensive and flawless cosmetics-applied face, thus he quickly grabbed a sheet of tissue.

He then looked over to Xiao You and wanted to use the tissue on her face but… the tears had yet to fall for him to use the tissue…

Xiao You knew what Xi Men is doing, she slowly extends her hand out, basically asking for the sheet of tissue from him.

He passed it to her, just by reading her body language.

And right at that time, the tears fell onto her face and she wiped it.

Standing right next to her, Xi Men raised his right hand up and puts it around her waist, gently pulling her to him.

“What are you thinking about, darling?” Xi Men asked. “Between the wedding and seeing Mark?”

Xiao You still did not say a word.

He only looked at her.

She swallowed the lump in her throat.

And then she sniffed.

“Honey, really. Just go if you want to do that. Don’t worry about me,” he said.

She slowly lifted her gaze up to look at the view again.

Seeing no response from her,

“Yoong is just right at downstairs. I’ll call him to prepare the car,” once he said that, he dropped his right hand from her waist and turned, about to dive his hand into his trousers’ pocket to take his smartphone.

*Grabbed.

Xi Men halted in his footsteps, and then lowered his head to look at his left hand being gripped by Xiao You’s left hand.

His eyes slowly traveled up to her face. “Xiao You?”

“I am not going,”

“Not going?” Xi Men asked, surprised.

She shook, “No,”

“But…”

“Is it too much if I choose not to go? Is it too much if I did not fulfill a man’s last wish?” Xiao You asked.

“You might regret it,” Xi Men said. “For the rest of your life,”

Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat as another batch of fresh tears rolled down to her cheeks.

“You can marry me another time or day, but he doesn’t have much time left…” Xi Men said.

She uses the tissue to wipe the tears on her face.

“I could not believe that at this time…” she sniffed.

He looked at her.

“…you will ask me to go and see him… when we are going to get married in less than 20 minutes,”

“Because I love you, Xiao You,”

She lifted her eyes up and looked at him.

“Because I care about you and I want you to do what you feel you should do; even if you had to go and see Mark now and choose to marry me another day, I will let you go and do that,” he said.

Another tear fell onto her face.

“I used to be worried if you will ever come back if you leave, but now I am no longer afraid. I am certain that you will still come back to me when all of these end,” he smiled at her and then gently caresses her cheek. “And I know you will walk down the aisle and marry me no matter what and when it will be,”

She smiled briefly at him.

“So, let me call Yoong and…” he dives his hand into his trouser’s pocket and takes out his smartphone as he speaks.

“Can you make a call to the warden?” she interrupted.

Xi Men frowned slightly with the smartphone in his hand, “Warden…?”

“He called you. You should have his number,” Xiao You said.

“Why?”

“Please do so,” she insisted.

Xi Men blinked for a few times, before lowered his head and looked for the call logs.

*****

*Entered the room.

*Heads to the patient that is currently bedridden.

“Mark, you have a call,” the warden said, placing the phone down onto Mark’s pillow, next to him. “It is on speakerphone, you can speak,”

Phone call?

What are the odds you can make, or receive a phone call?

Mark (softly): Hello…?

**

Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, “I heard you want to see me,” she said on the phone.

Xi Men stood next to her, watches her.

**

Mark’s eyes widened: Xiao… Xiao You?

**

Xiao You lowered her head down.

Xiao You: Yes, it is me.

Mark (tears formed): I…

Xiao You’s gaze looked straight, but she isn’t looking at the view.

Mark: Yes… I do want to see you…

Xiao You: But I have said it before that I won’t see you anymore. Have you forgotten?

“You don’t have to do that, Xiao You…” Xi Men murmured.

Mark: I… I know. I… am…

Xiao You: Sick?

Mark: Yes…

Xiao You: Yes, I heard. Still, I won’t come and see you.

Mark’s tears rolled down to the side of his face.

Xiao You: Who do you think you are, asking me to drop everything to come and see you, just because you want to see me?

Mark’s eyes dropped slightly, upon hearing what she said.

Xiao You: I won’t yield, even though you are sick, even though it is your last wish. I won’t forget the words I have uttered. I will live up to it.

Xi Men dropped his head briefly.

He knew this trait of Xiao You’s.

She means what she said; every single of them.

She is that type of person.

Xiao You (turned to look at Xi Men briefly): Also, it is my wedding today.

Mark (eyes widened slightly): Wedding?

Xi Men smiles briefly.

Xiao You: Yes. I am getting married to Xi Men today. And there is something I oddly remembered…

Xi Men looked at her, wondering what it is.

Mark: And that is…?

Xiao You: On that very day… you said; I will never walk down the aisle with Xi Men, I will never get to marry Xi Men, and I won’t stand a chance to marry him. We survived the ordeal, and now, two months later, we have to receive a call and being informed that you are sick… and you want to see me; exactly on this very same day that I am going to marry Xi Men.

Xi Men looked at her.

Xiao You: Wow, Mark. Just wow. You could even try to stop us tying the knot from your bed. I am amazed.

Mark: I… I don’t mean that… I don’t know you are…

Xiao You (gritted her teeth): If you knew today is my wedding, then I am going to tell you now; you won’t stop me from marrying Xi Men. I will marry him today. No matter what.

Xi Men’s tears pooled in his eyes.

Xiao You: And if you did not know, then why are you looking for me? Why are you asking to see me? Have you forgotten that I have said this clearly; that you are a stranger to me now, that I have no relation to you and that I don’t know you anymore? The Mark I knew has died… long, long time ago.

Mark: I am sorry I had disappointed you, Xiao You.

Xiao You: Disappointed? You are not using the right word, Mr. Liu. I am far more disappointed than you think.

Mark: I…

Xiao You smiled bitterly: Be glad, Mark. Be glad. At least we made this call and you could still hear my voice.

Mark: I… I know. Thank… thank you.

Xiao You: This will be the last time I talk to you. I will never talk to you anymore.

Mark: I just want to tell you…

Xiao You grits her teeth as she holds onto the phone on her ear; her tears pool in her eyes.

Mark: I am really sorry for all I have done to you, to our marriage… and to Xi Men. Please convey my message to Xi Men.

Tears fell onto her cheek.

Xiao You: Tell him that yourself.

She lowers the phone and puts it on speakerphone mode.

Xi Men looked at Xiao You, wondering what she is doing.

Xiao You: He is here. Tell him that.

Xi Men lowered his eyes to look at the phone in Xiao You’s hand.

Mark: Xi Men…

Xi Men is slightly taken aback that Mark wants to talk to him: Umm… M… Mark?

Mark: I… I am sorry. For all that I have done to you.

Xi Men lifted his eyes up to look at Xiao You, who is pressing her lips together to control her emotions.

Xi Men: I…

Mark: You don’t have to forgive me. You just… have to know, I am sorry. And have a blessed marriage… both of you.

Xiao You sniffs and nodded speechlessly.

Xi Men: Thank you for the well-wishes… Mark.

Mark smiles as tears continue to flow down to his face.

Mark: Xiao You, I love you.

Xi Men lifted his eyes up and looked at Xiao You.

Xiao You (looked at the phone): Thank you for letting me know that. But, are you really sure you love me? You won’t do what you’ve done if you really are, you know, to be with Ivy Lin?

Tears rolled down to Mark’s face. He didn’t know what to say now.

Xiao You: Warden.

**

Warden (approached the phone immediately): Yes, Mrs. Xi Men?

Xiao You: The call is over. I have nothing to add.

Warden (took the phone up while Mark watches): Oh, alright, Mrs. Xi Men.

Xiao You: Also…

***

Xi Men looked at Xiao You.

Xiao You: I am not interested to know about his condition anymore. And I do not see a need to talk to him in the future anymore. Please do not call over… ever again.

***

Warden (gazes at Mark): Yes, ma’am.

Mark’s tears continued to roll down to his face.

***

Xiao You then extends the smartphone to Xi Men.

Seeing the gesture, Xi Men took the phone from her hand.

She then turned around.

Xi Men looked at the phone in his hand, seeing the call is still ongoing; he then turned off the speaker phone and puts the phone on his ear, “Thank you,” he said to the warden, and then hangs up the call.

He then looked at Xiao You.

“Xiao You,” he called. “Are you alright…?”

Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, and nodded. “That’s the best I can do,”

“Is that what you really want?” Xi Men asked, since he hears the entire phone conversation, and mostly about what she said to Mark until she puts the phone into speakerphone mode.

Xiao You nodded, “Yes,” she said.

Xi Men gently holds her arm.

“And I really want to marry you, more than anything else,” she said, beginning to smile.

Xi Men smiled upon hearing that; and that seeing her smile is also bringing more happiness to him. “Okay,” he said, and gently pulled her to him, wanting to hug her.

But she is quick enough to extends her hands out, put them on his chest and stopped him.

He looked at her.

“This is a white coat. My makeup will stain on it,” she pointed.

“Oh… oh, right…” Xi Men said, temporarily forgotten about his white coat.

Knock! Knock!

Both Xi Men and Xiao You turned their heads to look at the door.

“Xi Men, Xiao You, 10 minutes to wedding ceremony,” Xiao Qiao said from behind the door.

“Okay, thank you!” Xi Men called out.

He then straightened his head to look at Xiao You.

“Well, we can hug later. And for now… let’s get married,” she smiled.

He smiled, “Sure, but, give me few minutes,”

Her smile faded, “Few minutes?”

He lifted the smartphone in his hand up. He presses a couple of buttons on the smartphone before he puts it on the ear, while Xiao You looked at him.

“Angeline? Can you come back up to my suite? Need you for emergency fixture,” Xi Men said, and then smiled at Xiao You.

Xiao You raised her hand up to touch her cheek; she knew what happened.

Makeup artist is indeed needed right now.

*****

RING!

Xi Men lifted the ringing smartphone in his hand up and looked at the screen.

He then picked up the call, “Hello, Mei Zhuo?”

Mei Zhuo: DUDE! Where are you?! Everybody is searching for you!

Xi Men: Searching for me? Why so?

Mei Zhuo: You disappeared from the ballroom all of a sudden! Your dad and mom were looking for you and that is when we found out you have disappeared, so we searched for you, and we tried to call you but your phone is engaged! We are so afraid of calling our wives because they are with Xiao You and we didn’t want to scare her about your disappearance! So, where are you, dude? Your wedding is about to start!

Xi Men: I am in my suite.

He, who is sitting on the bed, glances over to Xiao You, who is sitting on the dresser’s chair, getting her makeup fixed at the moment.

Mei Zhuo: Huh? Suite?

Xi Men: Something comes up so I came to look for Xiao You.

Xiao You’s gaze went to Xi Men.

Mei Zhuo: Ah, geez. You were in your suite all along?

Xi Men: Yes. Your (inclusive of Ah Si & Lei) wives all knew I am here, by the way.

Mei Zhuo: AHHHH… then how come your phone is engaged?

Xi Men: Xiao You was using it.

Mei Zhuo: SHIT! You should have told us before you walk off to your suite just like that! Ah Si thought you have wedding jitters!

Xi Men (chuckled): Wedding jitters?

Xi Men looked at Xiao You, and they exchanged gazes.

Xi Men: I am nervous about marrying, but not up to the state of running away from it. I have been waiting for this day to come, dude.

Xiao You smiled as Angeline runs the brush on Xiao You’s cheek.

Mei Zhuo: Alright. Fine. We all know about that. So your wedding is starting soon, please come down.

Xi Men: I will come down with Xiao You in a while. Give me a little bit of time. Tell the registrar of marriage not to worry if we are late. We will definitely get married today.

Xiao You smiled again.

Xi Men: Oh, tell the guests about that too. And don’t panic. All is well.

Mei Zhuo (frowned): A little bit of time? Did something happened or so? Did you happen to fight with Xiao You?

Xi Men: No. We didn’t. We are cool. She is prettying herself up now, so, is that reason good enough for the delay?

Mei Zhuo: Well, okay, if you say so.

Xi Men (smiled): Thanks bro. See you in a while.

*****

Xi Men looked at Xiao You with fascination.

Xiao You, who is standing next to him, turned her head and looked at Xi Men. “Hmmm?”

He smiled, “You look really stunning, sweetheart,”

She smiled, “Thank you,”

He remained smiling. “This is it, huh?”

She nodded, “Yes,”

“You won’t back out from this all of a sudden, right?” Xi Men asked, taking a deep breath.

She chuckled, “Why would I do that right now, in front of this ballroom’s door?”

He lets out a small laugh, “Right… you could do it on the table when we are about to sign, huh…?”

She eyed him, “I mean, if I were to do that, I would have done that way so long ago or even on many possible occasions; and don’t have to wait until now, right?”

He looked at her, and he smiled, “You are right,” slowly raising his arm up.

She hooked her arm into his’.

“I love you, Xiao You,” he leaned over and kissed her on her temple.

“I love you too, Xi Men,” Xiao You replied.

He smiled, “So, let’s finalize this and make you my wife,”

She nodded excitedly.

And then the ballroom’s door opened.


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