Conflicted – Chapter 13

“Are you alright?”

Xi Men turned his head to the right to look at Juliana; who is sitting on the bed next to him, “Hmmm?”

“You look a little… lost,” Juliana said.

“Lost?” Xi Men asked.

“Or maybe tense. Or upset. I am not sure. That’s just what I feel,” Juliana said.

“Oh,” he said, lowering his gaze down.

It must have been the meeting he had with Xiao You that causes him to be like this.

“I have a very tough project to do today, so I am a bit exhausted,” he said.

“Oh, do you want to go to bed earlier?” Juliana asked.

“I am still okay. I want to stay up a bit more,” he said. “Thanks,”

Juliana smiled, and he returned his gaze to the smartphone in his hand.

*****

“So, what have you been doing today?”

“Nothing much. Just went out… umm… walk around…” Xiao You said, looking at Mark.

“Oh,” Mark replied.

She can’t be telling mark she meets up with Xi Men, right?

“And what about you? Is business alright?” Xiao You asked.

“Hmmm… so far no news yet. But I have been meeting a company now and they are evaluating if they needed my system,” Mark smiled.

“I see,” Xiao You said.

A company.

Can it be one of the F4 companies again?

“Which company is it?” Xiao You asked.

“Lin Holdings,” Mark said.

“Oh,” Xiao You said.

Not one of the F4. Okay.

“Have you heard of it before?” Mark asked.

Xiao You shook. “No,”

“Oh,” Mark said. “I have already gone there for meeting for a few times… ah, remember… a while ago, you asked me, if there is a lady in the meeting?”

Lady in the meeting?

Ah, the one with perfume?

She remembered Mark came back home with a female perfume smell on him, which prompts her to ask, and he said there is a lady sitting next to him during the meeting.

“AH, yes,” she replied.

“That particular meeting was with Lin Holdings,” Mark said.

“Oh,” she said. “What are the chances of them getting the system?”

“Hmmm… too early to know now,”

“Oh, alright,” she said. And then she smiled, hooking her hand into his arm, “I hope you get their business,”

He smiled. “Thanks,” he leaned over and kissed her cheek.

*****

Xi Men scrolls as he reads the email in his phone.

He had briefly sees the information in office, and now he is just reading it in detail.

BEEP.

And then a message popped up.

Juliana gazes over to his phone.

Lei: Hey guys. Jing and I feel that it’s been a while since we had dinner together.

Ah Si: I agree.

Mei Zhuo: Let’s meet up.

Lei: Great. When?

Ah Si: San Chai excitedly suggests tomorrow.

Mei Zhuo: Hahahaha. No problem over here if it is tomorrow.

Lei: Jing said it is okay too. Xi Men, what about you?

Xi Men turned his head and looked at Juliana, “The guys wanted to meet up over dinner tomorrow. Are you okay with it?”

“Oh, yes, I am okay,” Juliana smiled.

Xi Men then adds his reply into the chat.

Xi Men: Yes over here.

Lei: Alright. So let’s meet up tomorrow. Any suggestions of places?

Mei Zhuo: It’s been a while since we’ve gone to the Chinese restaurant in Ah Si’s Grand Maple. Shall we go there tomorrow?

Ah Si: Okay with us.

Lei: Okay over here.

Xi Men (adds his reply without asking Juliana): Okay too.

Mei Zhuo: Okay, so, Ah Si, can you make a reservation?

Ah Si: No problem. San Chai is asking us to invite Xiao You since she is in town.

Xi Men’s eyes brightened up upon reading it.

“Hmmm?”

Xi Men turned his head to look at Juliana who is looking at his surprised face.

“Oh, they are asking if all of us should invite Xiao You…” Xi Men said.

Hearing the name Xiao You, Juliana is immediately excited.

“Oh, yes, yes, please do,” Juliana smiled. “I hope she will go since all of us are friends…”

**

“Xiao You?” Lei asked as he reads the message.

Jing looked at him.

**

Xiao Qiao looked at Mei Zhuo.

“I thought San Chai knew very well that…” Mei Zhuo murmured. “Xi Men and Xiao You…”

“Umm… maybe she suggested because she wanna see Xiao You…?” Xiao Qiao said.

BEEP.

Xi Men: If she wants to join, sure.

**

Jing and Lei looked at each other.

**

Ah Si: Anybody has Xiao You’s number?

Xi Men’s eyes strayed.

He has it.

But he can’t…

BEEP.

Mei Zhuo: Nope.

Lei: Nope. San Chai doesn’t have?

Ah Si: Nope. She forgot to ask from Xiao You the other day.

Xi Men turned to look at Juliana. “None of us have Xiao You’s number so we can’t contact her…”

“Ah, I do. Do you want the number?” Juliana asked, instantly grabbed her phone.

Now this is a perfect time to actually ‘get’ the number from Juliana, although he already has it… but he didn’t exactly asked it from her, right?

“Okay, sure,” Xi Men responded to Juliana.

He waited for Juliana to search for Xiao You’s number on her phone and then passes the phone to Xi Men.

And then Xi Men entered the number into his phone…

And then, the horror!

Since he already has her number in his contacts, the moment he keyed in the number, the phone smartly detects the number and…

Xiao You’s contact details appears.

It’s a smartphone! Of course it would do such minor detection! If it is not smart, it won’t be a smartphone, right?

Xi Men’s eyes almost popped out from the socket upon seeing the saved details appears on the screen.

Xi Men quickly tilts his phone to a direction where Juliana could not see it and then he pretended to save it.

“Okay, thanks,” Xi Men said, passing Juliana’s phone back to her.

“No problem,” Juliana said, not sensing the odd and quick reaction from Xi Men of trying to hide from letting her know that he already has Xiao You’s number.

Alright, got the number.

No. ‘Got’ the number.

But… does he have to be the one to ask Xiao You?

After what had happened earlier today…

He isn’t sure what the state of the friendship with her now is.

Xi Men then gazes at Juliana, “Juliana, why not you asked Xiao You?”

Juliana looked at Xi Men, “Me?”

Xi Men nods, “You said she is your friend, and you have her number… I think that’s more appropriate for you to do it than me,”

“Oh, okay, let me message her,” Juliana said, immediately worked her hands on the smartphone.

Xi Men replies to the group chat: Juliana has Xiao You’s number. She is going to extend the invitation to Xiao You now.

**

“Juliana has Xiao You’s number?” Lei asked.

**

“Juliana has Xiao You’s number?” Mei Zhuo asked.

**

“Juliana has Xiao You’s number?” Ah Si asked.

**

“Are we inviting Mark as well?” Juliana asked as she typed the message, without looking at Xi Men.

Mark.

Xi Men’s eyes strayed, “Umm… let me ask the group,”

*****

BEEP.

Xiao You and Mark turned their heads to look at Mark’s phone.

“Isn’t that a bit too late if your potential clients are looking for you?” Xiao You asked. “It’s already 10.30pm,”

“It totally depends…” Mark replied as he reached for his phone. “Workaholics work all night, you know,”

That, she agrees, and she nods at that.

BEEP.

Xiao You turned her head to look at her phone now.

She reached for it and looked at the message.

Juliana: Hi Xiao You! The F4 is planning to have dinner tomorrow. We would like to invite you to join us. Are you free?

“F4?” Xiao You looked at the phone and asked.

“Hmmm?” Mark asked.

“F4 plans to have dinner tomorrow…” Xiao You said.

And then she remembered Xi Men…

But it is not like there’s something going on between her and Xi Men.

She is married to Mark.

And Xi Men is married to Juliana.

“If you want to go, go ahead, alright,” Mark said. “After all, F4 is your friends,”

“Me? You are not coming with me?” Xiao You asked, turning her head to look at him since she expected his attendance too.

“I have a meeting with Lin Holdings at 6pm tomorrow, so I don’t think I can make it for dinner with you as well so since your friends are asking, why not you join them?” Mark said, typing into his phone.

BEEP.

Juliana: Invitation includes Mark. 🙂

Well… she is only having slight friction with Xi Men. She is good with the rest of the gang.

It shouldn’t deter her from going.

Juliana: We really like you to come. 🙂

Whatever she had with Xi Men is passed and it is a past.

Nothing will change.

Whatever they have now will not change.

“So, I’ll go for the dinner with them tomorrow, alright?” Xiao You asked, turning her head to look at Mark.

Mark turned his head to look at Xiao You, “Yeah, sure,”

And Xiao You replies…

Xiao You: I’ll join you guys for dinner. However, my husband won’t be joining as he has work to do. So, where is the dinner venue? And what time is it?

**********

“Hello, Jing,” Juliana said as she hugs Jing.

“Hello, Juliana,” Jing replied.

“Hi Juliana, where is Xi Men?” Lei asked.

“Oh, he went to the lavatory. So he asked me to come in first,” Juliana smiled, as after briefly hugged everyone, she sits down on one of the three empty seats at the table.

Everyone is here, besides Xiao You, and also Xi Men but he is not in the count as he is at the lavatory as said by Juliana, which is basically equivalent to him already arrived.

“I heard Ah Si said you have invited Xiao You to this dinner,” San Chai said, looking at Juliana.

“Oh yes, I did. She said she is coming,” Juliana smiled.

“Does she know where the restaurant is?” Xiao Qiao asked.

“Yes, she said she knows,” Juliana said. “I told her it is the restaurant inside Grand Maple Hotel,”

“Can you call or text her and ask where is she?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Yeah, if she is near, I can ask the kitchen to prepare the food,” Ah Si said.

“Oh, okay,” Juliana said and she immediately gets to the task.

**

Xi Men looked at himself in the mirror after washing his hands and flings them to get rid of excess water.

He is about to take the first step to leave, and then he paused, returning his gaze to the mirror again.

Now, he reaches for a serviette and dries his hands.

After discarding the serviette, he reached for his tie and untied it.

He removed the tie and then briefly looked at it, before he then folds and rolls the tie and stuffs it into his pants’ pocket.

Xiao You had already spots him wearing the tie for twice in a row.

Despite saying he will not wear it again, he is still wearing it today.

**

“Xi Men went home to pick you up just now?” Mei Zhuo asked Juliana.

“Oh, no. Yoong drove us today. Xi Men didn’t drive,” Juliana said, briefly looked at Mei Zhuo before returning her gaze to the phone again. “So, I took Yoong’s ride and then we head to pick Xi Men up from his office, before coming over,”

“Ah… I see,” Lei smiled.

“Juliana, can I ask you…” San Chai asked.

“Sure,”

“How do you get Xiao You’s number?” San Chai asked.

“Oh, I met her when I was shopping a while back,” Juliana said, lifting her head up to look at San Chai.

“Shopping?”

“Yeah,” Juliana said.

**

BEEP.

Xiao You dives her hand into her handbag to retrieve her smartphone as she walked towards the restaurant which is located at the ground floor of the hotel.

Juliana: Hi Xiao You. All of us are here. Where are you now? How long will it take you to arrive? Ah Si will ask the kitchen to prepare food if you are near.

And then Xiao You types her reply as she walked…

**

Xi Men walked out from the lavatory and heads to the restaurant now.

As he entered the restaurant, he slowed down his walking pace as there is a female walking in front of him.

He looked at the female in front of him, whose back is facing him.

Her back looks really familiar.

He tilts his head for a while.

After looking at the hair style and also the handbag, which he recognized the shape and its design; he realized it is Xiao You.

He also saw her typing on her smartphone as she walked.

Didn’t care much nor planned to call out for her, he just tucked his right hand into his pants’ pocket and he walked behind her, since they are heading to the same direction, or rather the same table.

It is not like they have anything to talk about, furthermore, she is concentrating on her phone.

And the conversation they both had just yesterday is still fresh, and had probably taken a toll on them.

He continues walking behind her, and she isn’t aware of him at her back.

And…

Not only that.

She isn’t aware of her surroundings.

A waiter is carrying a pot of hot soup, wanting to deliver it to a table.

The waiter is properly adjusting and avoiding people and chairs along his way, as he didn’t want to potentially spill and scalds anyone.

The waiter is heading to their direction.

And Xiao You is heading to him.

There is no wrong in heading towards the waiter, as it is the right way to the table anyway.

But…

Xi Men gazes over to Xiao You.

Why isn’t she…

Is she not aware of the waiter walking towards her, or isn’t aware of the waiter carrying a pot of hot soup?

“Excuse me…” the waiter called out, trying to get Xiao You’s attention that he is coming and he hopes she will at least, saw him, and will try to give him space.

If Xi Men, who is walking behind Xiao You, can hear the waiter calling that out, it means she is way too close to the waiter.

Seeing Xiao You isn’t budging and instead is approaching the waiter with hot soup…

Xi Men immediately dashes to Xiao You, grabbed her arm and pulled her back to stop her from walking forward.

In midst of pulling her back, due to the force, she had turned around and while he realized he may have pulled her too fast and too powerfully that may even flung her away, he quickly released his grip from her arm and wrapped his hand around her shoulder so that she wouldn’t be ‘thrown’ away, and that immediately sets her into a hug with him.

And that took Xiao You by surprise.

And since she isn’t prepared at all for this, she loses the grip of her smartphone at that pull that her phone dropped to the carpeted floor.

**

Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao, whose seats are facing the direction of Xi Men and Xiao You walking towards them, stared straight at Xi Men who is holding Xiao You close.

And their eyes fixed at Xi Men and Xiao You.

They saw everything.

EVERYTHING.

Thank goodness Juliana’s back is facing Xi Men and Xiao You so she didn’t get to see what had happened, or else…

**

Xiao You looked straight at Xi Men for wrapping her in his arm, and she is totally shocked at this, as it had happened too sudden and fast.

She didn’t know he is walking behind her, so, seeing him is a surprise, and more over, being this up close!

“I am sorry, thank you…” the waiter said, as he politely walked past the two standing individuals with the hot soup in his hands.

And that is when Xiao You found out why Xi Men did that.

She didn’t know she is walking towards the waiter.

Xi Men then loosened his grip on her shoulder and retracts his hand after the waiter left.

Xiao You is still surprised.

Xi Men took a step and then he bends his legs down, picking up Xiao You’s smartphone on the floor.

He briefly sees the chat message that Xiao You is typing.

To Juliana.

He then passes the phone to her, “Don’t text and walk,”

“Thank… thank you,” she said, taking the phone from his hand.

He looked at her indifferently, and without saying anything else, he turned and walked away.


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6 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 13

  1. my guess is that..this story is totally different from the other stories…both have their partner and their partner are good people….and actually i cannot accept anyone but both of them are supposed to be husband and wife …….arghhhh i have a feeling that this time around is not what i wish ……mmmmmm ..i do not know ….but update soon… i will try to accept whatever happen….

  2. Haahaa.. very kind of you to say that it is a scary thing to say I thought should be “evil” to say that.. 😆. What will ximen talk to lei sound serious, wait for yr update later.

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