“Can you investigate that and get back to me as soon as possible?” Xi Men asked on the phone call.
“Thank you,” Xi Men hangs up the call.
He then squeezed his nasal bridge.
“Gosh… this is so much more stressful than working…” he murmured.
“Corporate dinner recently…” he mumbled on his seat.
“Ying Enterprise’s dinner?”
“That is the only corporate dinner held recently,”
“How come I can’t think of anything?”
He closed his eyes, with a hand supported his forehead, he thinks deeply, trying to recall if he saw Ivy and Mark together.
Xiao You sits at their table.
Xiao You is beautiful now. Very beautiful. Her sophisticated look, her long hair, her small lips…
He opened his eyes, and soon strayed.
“Why am I thinking about her when I should be thinking about seeing Ivy or Mark at the dinner?” he murmured.
“Don’t lose focus,”
He closed his eyes again.
[recollection in thought]
“Xi Men, you are married,”
“I know, Lei, just shut up,” Xi Men uttered with his eyes closed.
[recollection in thought]
“You are married to Juliana,”
“Urgh, I know, Lei. Just don’t repeat that anymore!” Xi Men said.
[recollection in thought]
“Hey, is Ivy invited?”
Xi Men opened his eyes. “Ivy…”
“Hey, is Ivy invited?” Lei suddenly asked out of a blue.
“Ivy?” Xi Men turned to look at Lei.
Lei lifted his gaze up and looked over, at the same time pointing the direction with his eyes.
Xi Men followed Lei’s gaze to the snack area at the side of the ballroom.
Ivy is seen talking to someone at the snack table.
“That cousin of Juliana’s must have been invited by some dude,” Xi Men said.
“Who is she dating now?” Lei asked.
“I don’t know,” Xi Men said. “Maybe that guy she is talking with is her next target,”
“I recalled,” Xi Men murmured.
Ivy is seen talking to someone that night.
She has been talking to someone that night.
Xi Men tried to remember the look of the back of the man that Ivy talked to that night.
Could it be Mark?
Xi Men’s eyes strayed.
He immediately remembered.
That back does looks like Mark.
It is MARK!
“It is true that Ivy met Mark that night at Ying Enterprise’s annual dinner. Is the snack area the place she knows him?” Xi Men pondered.
And then he also recalled.
After the dinner, even when more than half of the attendees had gone home, Xiao You stays back for a while; sitting there, waiting for him.
“Still waiting for Mark?” Xi Men asked.
“Yeah,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men turned around, trying to spot Mark.
“Just let him be. He is trying to get more businesses,” Xiao You said.
As he is about to return his gaze back to Xiao You, he spots Mark, and briefly glanced at him talking to a female. Xi Men then looked at Xiao You. “I know,” he said.
Xi Men’s eyes widened at its widest.
He finally registers who that female that was talking to Mark is.
“That’s Ivy,” Xi Men said.
As things slowly come back to his mind, he remembers Juliana said she has to go and look for Ivy; that is when he is given the opportunity to talk to Xiao You.
Unsure how long he had talked to Xiao You, when Mark returns to Xiao You, Juliana followed suit soon.
If this is the timeline of the event, it means…
Mark talks with Ivy, while Xiao You sits there waiting for him.
Juliana looked around for Ivy, and when she finally spots Ivy and talked to Ivy, Mark leaves.
Mark comes back to Xiao You and said they are ready to leave.
Right after Mark leaves, Juliana has talked to Ivy, and thus returned to Xi Men too.
Timeline wise, all of them falls perfectly.
Xi Men reached for his smartphone, and then he stopped.
“Xiao You said she doesn’t work in his company so she doesn’t know who he is dealing with…” Xi Men murmured.
He took a deep breath.
“I better try…”
Xiao You walked to the dining table, where she had placed her phone at. As she extends her hand about to take the phone, she is surprised to see the name that appears on the screen.
“Why is he calling me…?” Xiao You wondered.
After ringing for a long time and seemingly Xi Men had no intention to hang up the call, she grabbed the phone and picked up the call.
Xiao You: Hello?
Xi Men: Are you at home?
Xiao You: Huh?
Xi Men: Alone? Or you are with Mark or Juliana?
Xiao You: No, no… I am… (frowned as to why he asks this) alone.
Xi Men: Okay, great.
Xiao You: Umm… anything?
Xi Men: I have a question to ask you.
Xiao You: Ah?
Xi Men: I remember you said Mark has a meeting the other day; that is why he cannot come and join us for dinner. Do you have any idea which company is he meeting with?
Xiao You (surprised that he isn’t calling to ask her about her personal things): That company’s name?
Xi Men: Yes.
Xiao You: Umm… I am not sure. Why do you ask?
Xi Men (eyes strayed): Oh, I was just wondering. Although I know this may sound a bit confidential since it is regarding a company’s business and finances, sometimes it is best if Mark don’t collaborate with someone who isn’t on good terms with big companies like Ah Si’s, Lei’s, Mei Zhuo’s and mine as it may jeopardize his future potential partnership. So, if you know, it is best that you tell me.
Xiao You: Oh.
Xi Men: So… you don’t know?
Xiao You: Actually, I heard he mentioned it before but I can’t really remember…
‘Mentioned before? Sounds good.’ Xi Men thought to himself.
Xi Men: Can you try your best to recall that?
Xiao You: What about I ask Mark tonight, and then I get back to…
Xi Men (interrupts): No, it is not wise to ask Mark. Because if the company he is trying to work with is not one of those companies, then you can pretend that this call doesn’t happen.
Xiao You: Umm…
Xi Men (eyes strayed): Hmmm?
Xiao You: I can’t really recall…
‘She really needs help… so I should assist by giving out some names…’
Xi Men: Maybe… umm… Ying, Wang, Jiang, Lin…
Xiao You: Ah! Lin…
Xi Men: Lin?
Xiao You: Lin… Lin something…
Xi Men: Lin Holdings?
Xiao You: Oh yes.
Xi Men: Oh. Has he been meeting them often?
Xiao You: Quite a couple of times. Why? Are they not in good terms with…
Xi Men (interrupt): Oh, they are. They are good with us.
Xiao You: Oh.
Xi Men: Alright. That is all I want to know. Thank you.
Xiao You: That is all?
Xi Men: Yes. Can you please don’t tell Mark that I called and we’ve talked?
Xiao You: Huh?
Xi Men: Thank you.
Xiao You lowered the smartphone down and looked at the screen. “This is a very strange phone call…”
Xi Men hung up the call.
“Just the information that I need,” he said.
He then reached for the deskphone and presses the numbers, before placing the receiver on his ear.
“Hi Chris, this is Xi Men from Xi Men Corporation,” Xi Men said on the phone. “I was just wondering. Did you or anyone in your team recently has a meeting with someone that goes by the name; Mark Liu, from Liu Management?”
Sitting back & leaning against his CEO chair, Xi Men stared at the 1st drawer under his desk, which he did not open, with his hands clasped together.
He stared intently at the drawer, having no intention to open it.
His gaze slowly traveled to the deskphone.
He reached for it and pressed the ‘answer’ button. “Yes, Secretary Xu,”
“CEO Xi Men, Lawyer Chen is on line 1,” Secretary Xu said.
Xi Men prompted to pick the phone receiver up and pressed the button number 1. “Hello, Lawyer Chen?”
“Hello Mr. Xi Men. Sorry I have been away for 2 days. Secretary Xu has left a message saying you are looking for me?”
“Yes, Lawyer Chen. I need your help to do something for me,”
“Sure, Mr. Xi Men. What is it?”
More than a week later.
Lei and Jing smiled as they looked at Alex diligently eats his dinner at his seat.
“Since it’s been days…”
Lei turned his gaze to look at his wife after hearing she speaks. “Hmmm?”
Jing turned her head and looked at Lei. “How is Xi Men?”
“Xi Men?” Lei asked.
“Yes. Since the last talk you had with him, I hadn’t heard any updates,” Jing said.
Lei frowned, “What updates?”
Lei’s eyes brightened up. “Oh, right… I forgot about it,”
“I won’t remember about it if not for Alex’s nuggets,” Jing pointed.
Lei looked at the food on Alex’s plate.
Nuggets = McDonald’s = Xi Men and Lei’s talk the other day.
“Oh,” Lei smirked. “Well, I have no idea. I haven’t talked to him for a while; I mean, personally,”
“Oh,” Jing said. “Well, anything different about Xi Men or the way he talks in the group chat?”
“Hmmm… no. Nothing different. Just usual,” Lei said. “Everything seems pretty normal,”
“Oh, okay,” Jing said. “Do Mei Zhuo and Ah Si know about Mark’s infidelity?”
Lei tilts his head, “I did not tell them, and I also did not hear from Mei Zhuo or Ah Si about this. It seems that they don’t know,” he looked at Jing, “Did you tell the ladies?”
Jing shook. “No, because just like you have said, all Xi Men saw is too brief and does not represent anything,” she said. “After all, it is fine to spread gossip, but it is not fine at all to talk about this infidelity of our friend’s husband which we have not confirmed yet,”
Lei nodded briefly as he understands. “Then… did you hear anything from them instead? Because, if Ah Si and Mei Zhuo knew, they would have told their wives, like I did with you. And probably, they will tell you after that…”
Jing shook again. “No, I didn’t hear any,” she said. “You know, what are the odds that; you told me, Mei Zhuo told Xiao Qiao and Ah Si told San Chai but all of us never shared information with each other?”
Lei chuckled at that. “I don’t know but there is a minimal chance of this happening,”
Jing smiled. “Well, you said Xi Men chatted as usual in the group chat… but… he didn’t text you personally?”
“No,” Lei is quick to respond. “We have not talked to each other personally or in private since that night,”
Jing tilts her head.
“We only talked in the group chat. And that’s about it. He never talked about Mark or Xiao You. It is as though nothing has happened,” he frowned. “It is like Mark’s infidelity has never taken place,”
“But this does not sound like Xi Men,” Lei frowned.
“Does not sound like Xi Men? He is the type of person that doesn’t care about his surroundings, have you forgotten?”
“But that’s Xiao You,” Lei said. “That’s Yang Xiao You,”
Jing looked at Lei.
“He will break all the rules for Xiao You. He is THAT kind of person,” Lei said, looking at Alex enjoying his piece of chicken nugget.
Although looking at his son, he suddenly bites his lower lip and looked troubled.
“I am suddenly very worried,” Lei said. “Extremely worried,”
“About?” Jing asked.
“Now that I think about it; this is too peaceful. This does not sound right,” Lei said, turning his head to look at Jing. “I am afraid there is something going on and we are left in the dark,”
Jing looked at Lei. “Then what should we do now?”
“I don’t know,” Lei uttered. “I don’t know…” he closed his eyes for a while.
Jing watches him.
He then opened his eyes, “What are we supposed to do now?” he asked Jing.
Jing just glared at Lei, unimpressed, “Didn’t I just ask you that?”
Fingers are running fast on the laptop’s keyboard, typing the email.
Xi Men’s eyes strayed to the screen of the smartphone.
After looking at the name of the caller, he picked the smartphone up. “Hello?”
“Good day CEO Xi Men, this is William. I have sent you the information you needed to your email. Please check,”
Xi Men turned his head to look at the laptop and then clicks here and there on the mouse.
He looked at the screen. “Alright, I got it. Thank you. Will bank in the money to you,”
“Thank you, CEO Xi Men,”
“I should be thanking you instead,” Xi Men smirked, his eyes on the screen still.
And soon, the smirk turns into a smug.
“Mr. Xi Men, this is the document you have asked for from me,”
Grabbing the envelope, “Thank you, Lawyer Chen,”
CLACK. (door open)
Secretary Xu gazes at Xi Men as he walked out from his CEO room slowly while the other hand of his’ is holding onto the phone on his ear.
Seeing that Xi Men is on his phone and is not looking for Secretary Xu, Secretary Xu straightened his head to face his laptop and continued working.
“Okay, I know. Thank you,” Xi Men said, right in front of the door.
Lowering the phone down, Xi Men pressed the hang up button on his smartphone and he stood there, while the door closes behind him.
“Secretary Xu,” Xi Men called.
“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu turned his head to look at Xi Men.
“I would like to prep you for something,”
“Sure, sir,” Secretary Xu quickly reached for the notepad and then searches for a pen so that he can write his notes down.
“This… is not about business,” Xi Men said, halting Secretary Xu’s desire to look for a pen.
Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men.
“I will be bringing you to deal with something… personal,” Xi Men said. “And no one else can know about this,”