Conflicted – Chapter 25

“Master,”

Lei nodded at the calling and entered the mansion.

He is instantly greeted by the sight of his wife sitting on the couch in the living room, with her back facing him.

Hmmm?

Why is her back facing him?

She will greet him when he comes back but…

She didn’t know he comes back?

How is it possible that she doesn’t know when the butler is the one opening the door and also calls him as he enters the mansion?

He walked towards her.

“Really? Are you sure you are okay?”

Oh.

Apparently she is on a phone call.

No wonder.

“Please call me or anyone of us if you need us, alright?”

Lei frowned slightly, hearing what Jing said.

Sounds like the other party is… Xiao You.

Didn’t want to interrupt her, he sits down on a separate couch on the right.

Seeing a figure sitting down on a couch from the corner of her eyes, she turned her head and looked at him.

Lei only smiled at her, not uttering a word.

Jing smiled back at him.

And then she straightened her head, “Sure, Xiao You. Please take good care of yourself,”

Confirmed.

Jing exhaled a deep breath, pressed her lip together disappointingly and then lowered the phone and hangs up the call.

“How is she?” Lei asked, moving over to sit next to Jing.

“She said she wants to be alone. So I asked her to call me if she needs someone to talk or to be with,”

“Alright,” he said, and then leaned over and kissed her on her cheek. “Hello, my love,” he belatedly greets.

She smiled. “I didn’t know you came back,”

“Because you were on the phone,” he smiled. “That is why you didn’t hear the butler opening the door,”

Jing smiled, “I guess so,” and then took a deep breath.

“What is it, sweetie?” Lei rubbed Jing’s arm.

“Xiao You is really sad. She said Mark just comes back home, packed and leave. He did not give any explanation at all,” Jing said.

Lei slowly straightened his head.

“Do you think he leaves her because of Ivy?” Jing asked, looking at Lei.

“Mark leaves Xiao You because of Xi Men,”

Jing is taken aback to hear that. “Huh?”

Lei turned his head to look at Jing, “This is all Xi Men’s plan,” he said.

“You mean…”

“He makes Mark divorces Xiao You,”

Jing is stunned. “WHAT?!”

“When you called me and told me that Mark has divorced Xiao You, I have a feeling Xi Men is related to this. I somehow don’t feel comfortable at all. And I head to his office straight and questioned him,” Lei said, recalling the entire event in his mind. “He didn’t even want to admit it in the first place,”

Jing looked at Lei, and about 30 seconds later, “Xi Men really did this?” Jing asked.

“Remember we talked about this just days ago, that things are too quiet?”

“Yes, and you said you are afraid something is going on behind our back…”

“Yes. And well, this is ‘it’. Xi Men has been planning this behind my back; I mean, our backs,” Lei exhaled his deep breath frustratingly.

“But… how did he do it?” Jing asked. “How did things flow so smoothly?”

“I told him what he saw is not enough, purported to stop him, but he took it as an advice instead and improvise everything. He hired a private investigator to get all the information he needed. He called up a lawyer to make the divorce papers. And he had already knew the lives of Mark and Xiao You way back in San Francisco prior to this,”

Jing looked at Lei, wide-eyed. “Seriously?”

“Yes. He has already hired William to investigate Mark and Xiao You prior to all these dramas,” Lei said. “So he knows Mark is here to rescue his business before he saw Mark fooling around with Ivy,”

“Rescue his business?”

“Well, apparently… Mark’s company is in financial crisis. He needed Ah Si’s project to rescue his company. And… Mark ends up divorcing Xiao You because Xi Men threatens him with his (Mark) company,”

Jing stared at Lei in disbelief. “Did you just say Xi Men threatened Mark?”

“Yes,”

Jing’s jaw dropped.

“Mark is given a choice; a choice is losing only Xiao You, or losing both Xiao You and his company. Xi Men will find a way to take the company away from Mark if he didn’t want to divorce Xiao You,”

“Oh… my… gosh! What kind of person has Xi Men become?!” Jing said.

“A person who is still obsessed with his lover,”

Jing looked at Lei again. “Obsessed? With his lover? Lover? You mean, Xiao You? Xiao You is Xi Men’s lover?”

Lei tilts his head with a smile, “That’s a long story,”

She tilts her head too, “Well, I have forever,”

*****

Xiao Qiao looked at Mei Zhuo.

“Wow. That’s seriously… wow,” Xiao Qiao said.

“I can’t believe this is happening, and we are left in the dark until today,” Mei Zhuo sighed.

“We do not know Mark is cheating on Xiao You. We do not know the woman he cheats with is Ivy; and that’s Juliana’s cousin. We do not know they have been fooling around for a while. We do not know Xi Men already knows about the infidelity. We do not know Xi Men is planning something in the dark. We do not know Xi Men is the one forcing the divorce to happen,” Xiao Qiao recites.

Mei Zhuo nodded.

“There are so many things that we don’t know…” she uttered, and then 15 seconds later, she glared at him. “How come Lei knows and you don’t?”

He looked at Xiao Qiao, “Because Xi Men told Lei and only Lei,” Mei Zhuo said. “And you know Lei. He doesn’t tell unless he finds a need to do so. And it is not like I am going to ask him if somebody is cheating on somebody or having affair with somebody. It is the same as you don’t simply go up to someone and ask if he or she has a twin sibling unless you actually see the sibling,”

Xiao Qiao then exhaled a deep breath, dropping her shoulders. “You are right too. How would you know if no one tells you,” she said.

“Likewise with you. Jing did not tell you either,” Mei Zhuo said.

“She may not know,”

“Lei shares everything with Jing,” Mei Zhuo said.

“If she knows and she didn’t want to tell me, then you probably know where she gets that trait from?”

“Her husband?”

Xiao Qiao smiled, “You got that right,”

They both chuckled.

“And well, all of us finally knows the story behind Xi Men and Xiao You today,” Mei Zhuo said.

Xiao Qiao nodded. “No wonder Xi Men is so attached to her emotionally. Now that explains a lot of things, up to the extent as to threaten Mark to divorce Xiao You once finding out Mark is cheating on her,”

Mei Zhuo exhaled a deep breath.

“You know, there are two people that I don’t want to be right now,” Xiao Qiao said.

“Two people?” Mei Zhuo asked. “I know one is Xiao You… and the other will be?”

“No, I am not talking about Xiao You. But Juliana, and Ah Si,”

“Juliana and Ah Si? Well… I can understand why you say Juliana but… Ah Si? Why Ah Si?”

“Because he is stuck now; to give the project to Mark or not to give to Mark,” Xiao Qiao said.

“I thought he has been stuck in that position since forever?”

And that leads to both Xiao Qiao and Mei Zhuo to laugh for a while.

And after their laughter fades,

Mei Zhuo smirked. “Well, I am glad I am not in that position,”

*****

Ah Si pressed his forehead.

“Are you alright?” San Chai asked.

“NO,” Ah Si said. “I have never been in such a difficult position when it comes to my job,”

San Chai takes a deep breath and then exhaled it.

“I wish I didn’t know about Mark’s financial problem. Because now that I know about it, I am in a position where my decision is going to be the future of Liu Management,” Ah Si said. “Either I make, or break his company,”

San Chai only pressed her lips together.

“Gosh… my head hurts…” Ah Si groaned. “I do not want to make a company closed down…”

“I thought you have decided to make the decision professionally,” San Chai said.

“I know. Xiao You has said before that she didn’t want me to give the project to Mark because of her. But… the situation now has changed and it is complicated,” he said. “I have to begin looking at this beyond professionalism,”

“I don’t understand. Please explain,”

“I have to put in Xiao You’s consideration as well,”

“Xiao You?” San Chai asked.

Ah Si takes a deep breath. “I mean, initially, I have planned to make my decision based on professionalism and not based on personal relations. But now, I know of Mark’s dire situation. He needed the project. If you ask me, I have no problems with giving him the project now that I know this can help him, but he had divorced Xiao You… if I give him the project, it is as though I am siding Mark,” he said. “And we all know Mark cheats on Xiao You with Ivy,”

San Chai exhaled her deep breath frustratingly upon thinking of her best friend’s ex-husband cheats on her.

“But I also need to consider… Xi Men spares him his company, and now the life and death of his company has been transferred to me. If I do not give him the project and his company has to close down, he lost everything,” Ah Si said. “Do you know the kind of burden that I have now? Giving him doesn’t seem right, and not giving it to him means certifying the death to his company,”

“So, will it help in your decision if you do not know about his company’s financial trouble?”

“If I don’t know about it, then I won’t feel so terrible about not giving him the project,” Ah Si said.

San Chai folds her hands on her chest. “If you ask me, I personally feel it is best not to give him the project based on the fact that he cheats on Xiao You; I mean, seriously, I hate that guy for doing this to Xiao You and I don’t care about his company’s financial crisis. But I know Xiao You wants you to only take the management system if you need it and not to take the system because of her, so I will side with Xiao You on this. If you needed a second opinion, go to your F4 buddies and ask them,”

Ah Si looked at San Chai.

“Although this management system is purely corporate or only applicable to Dao Ming Corporation, it is undeniable that the matter has become personal and involving F4 now,” San Chai said.

Ah Si took a deep breath. “You are right about this,”

And then San Chai exhaled her deep breath.

“What’s up?” Ah Si asked.

“I am just wondering about what Juliana knows about this…” San Chai said.

And then Ah Si and San Chai exchanged gazes.

*****

Xi Men looked at the cigarette in hand, before he brings it to his lips and he inhaled it.

He then lifted up his head and exhaled the smoke from his mouth.

He looked at the smoke traveling and slowly fading away in the air.

Juliana looked at Xi Men.

Biting her lower lip, she slowly walked towards him.

“Xi Men,”

Xi Men turned his head to look at Juliana, and upon seeing her approaching him, he gently lifted the cigarette up, as to let her know he is smoking and he didn’t want her to come near him.

He doesn’t let her approach him when he smokes, like he always said, second-hand smokes are bad.

“Okay…” Juliana murmured, and ensures she stopped at a small distance away from him.

“Not going to sleep yet?” Xi Men asked, drawing the cigarette to his lips again.

“It’s only 9pm,” she said, watching him inhaling the cigarette. “Still early,”

“Oh, it’s just 9pm?” he asked, looking at her with smoke coming out from him mouth as he speaks.

“Yeah…”

“Sorry. I didn’t pay attention to the time,” Xi Men said.

“It is okay,” Juliana said. “Umm…”

His eyes strayed slightly, waiting for her to speak.

“Jing told us today that Mark has divorced Xiao You…”

He turned his head to look at her.

“Do you know about that?” Juliana asked.

Xi Men smirked. “Yeah. Lei told me. He said Xiao You informs Jing,”

Juliana nodded. “Yeah. I am surprised to hear that. And I thought Mark and Xiao You are doing well…”

“I thought so too,” Xi Men said nonchalantly, looking at the cigarette in his hand and then draws it to his mouth again.

F3 came to his office today and questioned him if he is involved in the divorce.

He admitted and all of them know.

He is sure that their wives will know too…

The ladies tend to share information…

Do they share it with Juliana too?

Then… just how much does Juliana know?

“What else did Jing say?” Xi Men asked.

“Hmmm?” Juliana asked and looked at Xi Men.

“Did she tell you what happened, or why…?” Xi Men asked.

Juliana shook. “Jing said reason unknown,”

“Oh,” Xi Men uttered, and then brings the cigarette to his mouth again.

‘So, she (Juliana) knows nothing,’ he thought to himself.

‘Good,’

*****

Jing looks so serious as she types on the smartphone.

After glancing at his wife, Lei returned his focus to his phone and continues reading some business news.

Jing dropped her hands (with the phone) down onto her lap.

Lei turned his head to look at Jing.

Jing looked at Lei, “Xi Men seriously has a super duper complicated relationship,”

“Huh?” Lei asked.

“Xi Men has spent some memorable and precious time with Xiao You 12 years ago after the billboard incident and then Xiao You goes back to Canada, never see or talk to Xi Men ever again. Xiao You, who has feelings for Xi Men, could only love silently because she thought Xi Men doesn’t like her. The Xi Men who knew he is in love with Xiao You does not dare to pursue Xiao You for unacceptable reasons. And then 6 years later, he was introduced to Juliana thru their businessman fathers and Juliana pursues him. One year later, despite unwilling to marry her, Xi Men still marries Juliana, and for what reason, I don’t know. And then there comes Ivy, the cousin of Juliana who watches her cousin (Juliana) gets married to a handsome, nice and rich guy (Xi Men); prompted her to go on the same mission; wanting to land a rich and nice guy, and of course, best if he is handsome too. And now, after soooooooooo many years, Xiao You, who had moved on from Xi Men, came back to Taipei with her husband, Mark; because his company is on the verge of dying that needs Ah Si’s project to survive. And then Xi Men gets all emotional because of Xiao You, claiming it was his fault for not going after her and that he had ‘sent’ her to Mark. And then out of nowhere, Mark is cheating on Xiao You with Ivy! Of all people, it has to be Juliana’s cousin sister! With this, Xi Men uses few weeks to prepare evidences and divorce papers. And then tracks him down, catch him with Ivy, presents him the evidences and also divorce papers, forcing him to sign to leave Xiao You or he will lose his company. And when you questioned Xi Men about this, Xi Men admitted he is still in love with Xiao You which is why he is doing all of these! You see, everything is tangled up. We are being caught in a middle of everything. Xi Men, Juliana, Xiao You, Mark, Ivy! All are interconnected! Isn’t that super duper complicated?”

Lei looked at Jing.

Blinked (Lei).

“Wow, did you just summarize 12 years into… 4 minutes?” Lei asked belatedly.

Jing looked at Lei, deadpanned. “You know, the only one who doesn’t know any of this… is Juliana,”

He exhaled a deep breath.

“I can’t tell her this. And I don’t think anyone can do that,”

“I know,” Lei said. “Who could actually tell her that her cousin sister spoils Xiao You’s marriage, and her husband is doing a lot of things behind her back,”

“Yes, who could?” she said, looking at the phone again.

Lei sighed.

“There is nothing we can tell her. We do not know how and what to tell,”

“She’s the only one at peace now because she didn’t know what is going on,” Lei commented.

“Yes. All of us are talking about it now,” Jing glances at the phone.

“All?” Lei asked, looking at her.

“Xiao Qiao, San Chai and me. We opened a new group chat without Juliana,” Jing said.

“Oh,” Lei said.

“We can’t even tell Juliana about Mark cheating on Xiao You because he is doing it with…” Jing paused. “Wait,”

“Hmmm?”

“Something is weird here,” Jing said.

“Weird? About?” Lei asked.

“Ivy,”

“Ivy? What’s so weird about her?”

“Ivy only targets the rich and nice guy, and I mean, most importantly, he needs to be rich. But why Mark? He doesn’t fit in that ‘important’ criteria. His company is dying; he is having financial crisis,” Jing said.

Lei looked at Jing as the things she has said runs in his mind, causing him to give it a deep thought. “Hmmm,” he then folds his hands on his chest. “I don’t know about that,”

Jing tilts her head. “Ivy only goes after the loaded ones. Maybe Mark actually doesn’t have financial problem?”

“But Mark came to Taipei because of that,” Lei said.

“Maybe his condition isn’t as bad as mentioned?” Jing asked.

Lei frowned and tilts his head as he thinks about it, “No way,” he replied seconds later while shaking his head. “William is really good in what he is doing, or else he wouldn’t be F4’s official private investigator. He had checked Liu Management’s performance and financial status. He even checked Mark’s bank account’s balance and presented all of those to Xi Men. He gave Xi Men solid evidence about Mark’s financial trouble,”

“Hmmm… is there any possibility that he has money somewhere?”

“Unless he kept it conventionally by burying it in the ground at the back of some houses, there is no way William will not be able to find that out,” Lei said.

“You are right too… there is no way William will not be able to find them out…” Jing commented.

Lei nodded, “So, Mark is definitely in crisis,”

“Then this is very strange. Why would Ivy go for him? She knew he is married and broke…” Jing said.

Lei’s gaze strayed. “Maybe…”

Jing looked at Lei.

“Maybe Ivy didn’t know,” Lei said, and then looked at Jing.

Jing is surprised to hear that. “She didn’t know? I thought she knew he is married?”

Lei tilted his head, “I mean the financial part. Remember when we first met Mark?” he asked. “Mark gives us the impression that he is a rich businessman; renting a luxurious apartment, hiring a chauffeur…”

Jing just looked at Lei.

“I mean, Mark doesn’t look like he is in financial crisis, until Xi Men told us what William has found out; that Mark hires a chauffeur because he can’t drive in Taipei and he lives in a prestigious place because he wants to show to his potential clients that he is doing great,” Lei said.

There is a small change on Jing’s facial expression.

“You know, one’s image is kind of a reflection to his company’s performance. If he looks great, it means his company is doing well,” Lei said.

“I get that,” Jing said. “What you mean is, that kind of ‘great’ image will show to potential clients that his system is being adopted by other companies, thus they can trust him and adopts his system, giving him projects,”

“Yes, that’s what Mark does,” Lei said. “So, back to the topic, if we could feel he is rich by what he is doing, why can’t Ivy?”

Jing finds herself nodding briefly, “You are right…” she then looked at Lei, “But even if Mark is rich… Ivy would have known she doesn’t stand a chance to be his legitimate wife since he is married,”

Lei’s eyes strayed as he thinks about it. “Maybe…”

Jing turned her head to look at Lei. “Maybe there is really something that Ivy didn’t know?”

He then returned his gaze to look at her. “Or being lied to,”

Jing’s eyes then strayed.

“Well, only way to find out,” Lei adds.

She looked at him, and then they smiled at each other.


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14 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 25

  1. unniee!! where are you from?? im from the philippines =)))) have fun here!!! =)) and WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES (if your not from here XD ) but if you are from here then HAVE A SAFE TRIP AND ENJOY!!! =))

  2. unniee!! where are you from?? im from the philippines =)))) have fun here!!! =)) and WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES (if your not from here XD ) but if you are from here then HAVE A SAFE TRIP AND ENJOY!!! =)) ohh and im so sorry if i’ve double posted this…my net’s a mess =/

  3. Enjoy your short stay here in the Philippines. Going to one of the beaches here, Authornim? Have fun! See you?!? Hahaha.

  4. Temperature here is really hot, so always hydrate and put a lot of sun screen or sun block. Okay? Wish I can have a short vacay too, but work’s preventing me. *sad* Anyway, stay safe and make a lot of fun, happy memories here.

    • Thanks for the advice! 😀 it is hot at my place too! We’ve booked the air ticket for this trip about 8 months ago and it is our second visit now. 😀 it came right on time as just three weeks ago I had already felt burn out and already needing a break.

      Don’t worry akira, you’ll get your well deserving vacation when your work is less hectic for you (hopefully soon)! 😀

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