Conflicted – Chapter 28

“Are you telling me you will forgive him and still be with him if he comes clean about his infidelity with you?” Xi Men asked, looking at Xiao You intently.

She slowly straightened her head. “What I meant was… I should be the one to decide what to do with my relationship,” she said.

He looked at her; she didn’t answer his question.

With her ignoring that, he kinda figured she will forgive Mark.

He exhaled his deep breath, partially disappointed, but at least glad that he can make the decision for her and he firmly believes his choice is the right one.

“A cheater is not worth forgiving,” Xi Men uttered in detest.

“I never said they should be forgiven,”

Xi Men turned his head to look at her, with his disappointment towards her partially vanished.

“I don’t believe in forgiving a guy… doing that,” she uttered, before she lowered her head down, finding herself unable to say the word ‘cheat’ at this moment. “I have never expect it will ever… happen to me,”

He gritted his teeth.

She swallowed the lump in her throat; as though swallowing the hurtful thoughts, and then she turned to look at him, “But what I mean is, I don’t agree with you stepping in like this into my relationship and do this,”

“I know,” Xi Men said. “I am sorry if you felt unfair but I just got to do what I need to do. I have no choice,”

“It is not your choice. It was mine,” she looked at him.

“I am just protecting you,” Xi Men said.

She took a deep breath, and then lowered her head down.

“Anyway,” Xi Men took a deep breath, “The divorced had happened,”

Xiao You closed her eyes and exhaled a deep breath.

She isn’t sure what she is feeling and what to feel.

Too many information has been exchanged and revealed.

Everything is so messy and complex.

Mark. Xi Men. Cheating. Threatening. ARGH.

He looked at her, thinking she is probably upset with him, “I am sorry about making the decision for you. If he has been nice to you, then you don’t have to deal with this mess…”

“He is a nice guy,” she opened her eyes after that.

“Was,” Xi Men corrected. “I know he was a great guy based on what my private investigator had found. But clearly he didn’t maintain that,”

She sighed.

“That is why, after seeing what he did with Ivy, I knew I can’t let him keep you nor letting you stay by his side,” Xi Men said firmly and looked at her. “I don’t care if it is anyone else, but not if it is you,”

She turned to look at him.

“I only want the best for you. I will do anything and everything to make sure you are only with the best,”

“Xi Men…” she swallowed the lump in her throat. “We are nothing to each other…”

Xi Men looked back at Xiao You.

“You don’t have to do that and you know it,” Xiao You said and then took a deep breath. “Picking Mark is my decision. Dealing with his…” she swallowed the lump in her throat, “…infidelity… is supposed to be my job, no matter how devastating it is,”

“I’ve already explained. So I don’t want to talk about that anymore,” Xi Men said. “There is no point in repeating when you already know what I did, why I do it, and for whom I do it for,”

She looked at him, and then slowly lowered her gaze down.

“I am sorry for your loss. This will be a very tough period for you. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll help you,” Xi Men said.

“Mark told me to move out from the apartment,” she suddenly uttered.

Xi Men gazes at her. “Huh?” he asked. “You mean… he is still staying at the apartment?”

‘But I thought William saw him leaving the apartment the other day?’ he thought to himself.

“He is currently staying in a hotel. He wants to move back,” Xiao You said.

“Oh,” that explains. “Why so?”

“Tight funds,” Xiao You said.

“I don’t think his bank account is reaching zero anytime soon,” Xi Men said.

“‘Don’t think’, you say?” Xiao You said, looking at him. “If your private investigator managed to tell you about his financial struggle in his company, I am sure you know about the amount in the personal bank accounts too. So don’t pretend as though you don’t know,”

Xi Men only glances at her, for she is right.

“Umm… that… that is why I said his bank account is not reaching zero anytime soon,” he said, partially admitting to it.

She sighed. “I know why he asked me to move. He had no choice. He can’t afford to continue staying in the hotel. He still needs money to survive in the meantime, until Ah Si… or someone actually took up the system and pays him,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men nodded briefly, indicating he understands.

“He told me… I have friends so I can afford to move out and stay somewhere else. He is pretty sure you will pay if I ask you to,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men smirked. “He is right,” he admitted.

“That is why I figured you are involved in my divorce. Because there is no way he will mention you specifically, out of everyone else,”

Xi Men looked at Xiao You, and he refused to comment on that. “Xiao You, do you need a place to stay?”

“I haven’t decide where to go yet,”

“Where to go?” Xi Men repeated after her.

“I have just… divorced,” she clasped her hands tighter and looked straight. “I do not know where to go and where I belong now,” she said. “I have nowhere to go,” she solemnly adds.

Xi Men looked at her.

Lei is right. What is Xiao You supposed to do now when Mark, her pillar of strength and life, has been taken away from her?

“Maybe I should go back to San Francisco,” she said.

Xi Men’s eyes widened. “San Francisco?”

He didn’t think of this, not at all.

“Just a thought,” she said.

He finds himself looking straight at her, quietly analyzing her facial reactions although he could only see the side profile of her face. “Wh… why?”

She took a deep breath and then exhaled it. “That is where I come from. And I have nothing to do here,”

Xi Men pressed his lips together.

Is there a way to make her stay?

She exhaled a deep breath disappointingly. “But I am going back to nothing either, because my parents are traveling around… so, they are not in San Francisco too,”

‘They are not in San Francisco too,’ Her words repeated in his mind.

“Xiao You… you can stay here; you have us, your friends,” Xi Men said, “And you are from Taiwan…”

She sighed. “I don’t know yet. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “Everything is still fresh to me. I don’t know how to make a decision and what kind of decision will be the best for me,”

“Xiao You…”

“I don’t know, Xi Men. I don’t know!” she suddenly raised her voice.

Xi Men stares at her, startled at her outburst.

“I am suddenly divorced. I am still grieving for the loss and trying to stomach what had just happened to me, and all of a sudden, he tells me to move out from the apartment because he wants the apartment. He knows very well I am not working and I only have savings, thus he expects me to rely on my friends just because my friends are rich,” she vented. “And all things ahead are all blurry to me. I haven’t even start thinking about how to live now. How to live on my own, how to live without a husband, whom I thought didn’t want to be with me anymore until…”

He noticed she glances over to the scattered photos on the carpeted floor.

She silently took a deep breath but loudly exhaled it. “Too many things are running in my mind now,” she gently pressed her head, “My mind is so messy now… I don’t know what to think anymore,”

He bites his lips for a while. “Then… when do you need to move out from the apartment?”

“He said 3 days,” she said, squeezing her nasal bridge with her eyes closed.

“3 days?”

“Yeah,”

“Isn’t that a bit too short of a time to ask you to move out?” Xi Men asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe I need to start thinking what to pack and bring with me. I have to let everything else that’s less important go. My gosh… my head…” she pressed her temple now.

“Do you want me to talk to him?”

Xiao You opened her eyes and slowly turned her head to look at Xi Men. “Talk to him?”

“To ask him to let you stay in the apartment or to give you more time,” Xi Men said. “I am pretty sure he ‘listens’ to me,”

Her gaze turns to glare. “You want to threaten him?”

He looked at her. “Umm…”

“I disapprove that,” she said. “And is that how you work now? Using threat to make things work your way?”

He glared at her. “That did not sound appealing. I am not sure why but if I heard that from someone else, I may have scold the shit out of that person for saying that,”

She stares at him, her gaze hinted as a dare to him to ‘go ahead and scold the shit out of me’.

As he met her ‘daring’ gaze, he then straightened his head and exhaled a deep breath.

Not that he could do it to her.

“But I may be right. That meeting with you at the cake-shop-turned-coffee house is scary and horrible,” she adds. “I still remember that vividly. Oh, and the meeting in this room after that,”

“Yang Xiao You, don’t get there,” he glared again.

“Okay, fine,” she said, got distracted for a moment.

Although he didn’t like what she had said, somehow if it makes her feel better even for a moment, he felt glad.

At least she gets distracted for a brief moment instead of dwelling in her sadness over and over again.

She then heaved a sigh, thinking back of her situation.

“Let me just figure this situation out. I need to get my mind straight again to think where I need to go,” she said.

Go.

Xi Men’s eyes strayed almost immediately, and then he looked at her. “I’ll get you a room in a hotel, so that is where you will go and stay,” Xi Men said.

“A room in a hotel?”

“Yes, don’t worry. I am not suggesting it as a permanent place. And just pack all your stuffs. I can get a place for you to store or keep them until you get a permanent place to stay,” Xi Men said.

“Per… permanent place?”

“Yes,”

“You know I don’t have money to get a permanent place,” Xiao You said.

“Sooner or later, you will,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You then tilts her head. “But you are right too, if I have decided to go back to San Francisco, that is also a permanent place,”

Xi Men just glances over to Xiao You.

Xiao You then took a deep breath. “Anyway… thank you for the hotel room first. I think, I have no choice but to accept it for now,” she turned to look at him after she said that.

Xi Men smirked. “I will book it and let you know the details later,”

“I’ll let you know as well if I have decided to go back to San Francisco within these few days,”

Xi Men looked at Xiao You. “You don’t have to move back so quickly, you know,” he said. “I thought you needed time still. So, why the rush?”

Xiao You happened to take a deep breath. “You are right… I should… and could only take one step at a time. There are too many things to think and there is too much for me to handle,”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be here handling it with you,”

Xiao You looked at him. “It is okay. I will try to deal with it myself,”

“I will help you,” he insisted.

RING!

Both Xi Men and Xiao You turned their heads to look at the ringing deskphone on Xi Men’s desk.

Xi Men immediately rose to his feet and walked towards his desk.

He picked up the phone receiver, “Hello?”

“CEO Xi Men, sorry for the interruption. You have a meeting at 11am. We need to depart from here in 30 minutes,” Secretary Xu said.

“30 minutes?”

Hearing Xi Men said ’30 minutes’, Xiao You knew he needs to get back to work.

She must have taken too much of his time this morning.

“Yes, sir,”

“Oh, okay, thank you for the reminder, Secretary Xu,” Xi Men said.

He then puts down the phone.

He turned around and looked at Xiao You.

She stands up, and holds onto the strap of her handbag.

“I am sorry. I have a meeting to attend thus I need to leave in 30 minutes. But that means I still have 30 minutes if you need to talk,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You shook, while forcing a small smile on her face. “It is okay. I think I should go now,” she said. “I shouldn’t interrupt your working hours for too long. Thank you for your time,”

Xi Men walked towards her, “Are you sure you will be alright?”

Xiao You nodded, “I have to, you know,”

“Where do you plan to go now?” Xi Men asked.

“I don’t know. Home maybe,”

“Do you need someone to send you?” Xi Men asked.

“Send me?”

“Yes, to your house. If you need to, I can call…”

“It is okay,” she interrupts. “I can go back by cab,”

“Cab?”

“Yes,”

“Really?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I am used to it. I came here by cab as well,”

“Well… alright. If you say so. If you need any help, call me. Or any of us,” he said.

She nodded, “Oh,” she suddenly said.

“Hmm?”

“I am sorry about the stain…” she pointed at the shirt.

She already apologized earlier and he already knows about it.

And he answers, “I know…”

“…and the slap,” she adds, and pointed at his cheek.

“Slap?” he asked, immediately raising his hand and touched the cheek and instantly felt pain. “Ouch,”

“Umm… sorry…” Xiao You immediately apologizes.

He remembers now that Xiao You threw a massively HUGE slap on his face just now.

“This…” he mumbled.

“I am sorry. It is… bad,” she said.

“Bad?” he asked.

“Yeah… umm…” she bites her finger worryingly.

*****

“Oh my gosh…”

Xi Men isn’t sure how many times he had uttered that.

Right after Xiao You left, Xi Men immediately looked at himself in the mirror and is shocked at the bruised cheek and the super obvious shape of the fingers on his cheek.

So, instead of leaving in 30 minutes, they leave in 5 minutes on an emergency mission.

“How am I supposed to cover this up?!” Xi Men complained.

Secretary Xu, who is driving again today as Xi Men is in no mood to drive after seeing the bruise on his cheek, could only listen to him (Xi Men) grumbling.

Secretary Xu knew Xiao You must have somehow found out about Xi Men’s involvement in her divorce, thus coming to the office and deals with Xi Men as he (Secretary Xu) heard Xiao You raised her voice the moment she enters the room; already asked the straightforward question about his (Xi Men) involvement in her divorce.

The room isn’t ‘exactly’ soundproofed, but due to the thick walls, he could only hear muffled screams and yelling coming from inside the room, from both Xi Men and Xiao You.

Thankfully, Secretary Xu, whose seat is right outside of Xi Men’s CEO room, is the only one hearing it.

Other seats in the same floor are placed way too far to hear what is going on.

Seeing what happened to Xi Men’s face, Secretary Xu knew Xiao You had slapped Xi Men.

That slap mark on Xi Men’s face is just too obvious.

Only someone angry can create a mark like that.

It wasn’t that hard to match the pieces together.

He (Secretary Xu) knew what Xi Men did to Mark.

Xiao You may have discovered Xi Men is at fault for this.

“On a brighter side, I should be glad I did not twist my neck and die as the result of that slap,” Xi Men uttered.

He then sighed again.

“We have arrived, sir…” Secretary Xu said.

Xi Men immediately returned his focus to the outside of the window as Secretary Xu puts on the car signal and then swerves & stops the car by the side of the road.

Xi Men unbuckled his safety belt, opened the door and gets down, immediately walking straight to the shop in front of him.

The salesperson greeted Xi Men as soon as he entered the shop.

“Welcome…”

“Do you have this shirt? This color,” Xi Men said as he looked at the salesperson and at the same time pointing at the shirt he is wearing now, underneath his coat.

The salesperson looked at the shirt as he pointed to it. “Yes, sir, we do…”

“Can you get me one now? I stained this shirt and I am on my way to a meeting,” Xi Men said.

The salesperson happened to look at Xi Men’s bruised cheek. It took her a delay of 5 seconds before she responded to him by asking for his shirt size and then walked away to the store room to get the shirt for him.

He exhaled his deep breath in frustration that his bruised cheek is indeed too obvious.

He is darn sure she stares at it.

He is practically embarrassed.

A stained shirt is fine. He can get a new one like now, although he could hide the stain well under the coat but still, when he goes back home, what is he supposed to explain to Juliana about such colorful stain? There is no way he could hide this, as she greets him immediately at the entrance. Thus, he decided to drop by at the shop to get an exactly same shirt now and get changed to get rid of this.

But the bruised cheek!

How to hide it?

Wear a mask?

Paperbag?

Telling them that he hits his face somewhere?

But what about the obvious handprint?

How do you hit yourself somewhere with a handprint?

Urgh…

“Sir,”

Xi Men turned his head to look at the salesperson presenting a shirt to him.

He grabbed the shirt from her hand and then heads to the fitting room to get changed.

“I think my saving grace is saying that I was slapped by a random woman on the road for accidentally hitting her and she thought I was a pervert,” he uttered. “Although that betrays my image as a CEO, I have no choice. I can’t go and say I was slapped by Xiao You because I make her husband divorces her,”

URGH.


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4 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 28

  1. yeah…xm want help anything to xy?

    why i think xm still cann’t let xy go?
    huh…so complicated…!!
    ann.. actually what xm want from xy?

  2. hahaha….that right what xm want from xy? He still a married man anyway! ummmmmm really conflicated life …

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