Conflicted – Chapter 30

Xiao You looked straight to the road and then glances at the road signboards, when suddenly Xi Men makes a turning to the right at the busy junction.

“Xi Men, going to the town is heading straight, you’ve made a wrong turn,” she said, turning her head to look at Xi Men.

Xi Men gazes at the back mirror to look at the road and junction behind him, “No, I didn’t,”

“No? Where are we going?”

Xi Men turned his head to briefly glance at her, before he returned his gaze to the road, “Well, first of all, most roads are interconnected. I don’t necessarily need to go straight to go to the town. Sometimes, there are shorter route or less jammed routes,”

“Oh,”

“And next, we need to take this route to the place we are going,” Xi Men said.

“Umm, okay,” she said. “Then… which hotel am I staying at?” she turned to look at him.

He smirked. “You will know when you arrived,”

She pressed her lips together.

So secretive.

However, she isn’t that worried about where he might bring her to.

Even if it is some secluded area where there are only two of them.

If a woman is worried about what a guy will do to her, it is not the same for her.

They had bared everything to each other, EVERYTHING.

So, naturally, she isn’t exactly afraid of him and on what he might do to her physically.

That is why she dares to head over and meet him face to face the last few times.

But she admits that meeting him takes a lot of courage mentally and emotionally.

And it is frightening.

No, it was frightening.

She no longer feels terrified to be near him now, after she managed to expose his feelings towards her.

He is being scary because he was trying to protect himself by instilling fear to her.

She knew; and she just knew, he wouldn’t hurt her.

Since Xi Men isn’t going to let her know where he is bringing her, Xiao You looked out of the car, enjoying the view.

Nice bungalows; expensive looking condominiums.

It is a posh area, it seems.

She wonders where would the end of this road leads to, after passing all these residential areas.

Suddenly, Xi Men swerves to the right and stopped in front of a guardhouse.

Xiao You didn’t expect he will turn and stopped just like that, for she is still seeing and accessing the area and houses that they had just passed by.

And that is not too far away, probably just across the street (of the houses she sees earlier)!

Xi Men lowered the automatic window and then scans the access card at the card reader, and the security barrier lifted up, followed by the guard briefly acknowledges Xi Men.

Xiao You looked at the building in front of her, within the compound that Xi Men is entering.

That building looks so damn luxurious and beautiful!

Her eyes brightened up, and that is when Xi Men swerves again as he followed the direction of the road to head to the parking lot.

Xiao You looked around again, and then turned to look at Xi Men.

He didn’t exchanged glances with her at all although he could see from the corner of his eyes that she is looking at him.

He drives to the parking lot and then he parks his car at one of the empty parking bays.

“We’ve reached,” Xi Men said, unbuckling the safety belt.

“Reached?” she asked.

Xi Men finally looked at her and smiled briefly, and then he opens the door and gets down.

Xiao You is still quite stunned, and after seeing Xi Men heads to the back and opened the trunk, she also gets down from the car.

She heads to him.

“Xi Men, this… this is not a hotel, right?”

“No, pretty obvious it is not, right?” Xi Men said, taking her luggage out from the trunk.

Of course, he tapped the access card to enter this place…

“Then what place is this?” Xiao You asked.

He then casually passed the luggage to her. “Your new place,”

“What? My new place?” she is surprised.

Xi Men just smiled and he nodded as he carries a box.

***

Lifting his right leg up to support the box (on his thigh), Xi Men opens the door with a set of keys in his hand and pushed the door open.

The moment the door opened, Xiao You is surprised by what she sees in front of her.

He puts his leg down after he holds onto the box with his hands and he entered the penthouse.

Xi Men is expecting her to enter the penthouse with him but she didn’t. Instead, she remained standing at the entrance, already enthralled by the penthouse.

“Come in,” Xi Men smiled, upon seeing her reaction.

Xiao You then looked at Xi Men, and as though hypnotized by what he had just said, she entered the penthouse, and Xi Men closed the door.

Xiao You remained looking around the penthouse.

“Wow,” she said. “This is very… beautiful,”

Xi Men’s smile grew upon seeing her reactions; knowing she is mesmerized by it, and then heads to the living room and puts down the box.

He turned around again and looked at Xiao You who is still mesmerized by the penthouse.

“Xiao You,” he called.

Xiao You turned to look at Xi Men.

Xi Men passed the set of keys in his hand to her. “This is your set of keys,” he said.

“My set of keys…?” Xiao You asked.

“Yes. Just to let you know I have a set too. I am the landlord of this house, that is why I have one,”

“Landlord of this house?” she is surprised. “You mean this is your house?”

“Hmmm… well… you can say like that,” he said.

“What does that mean?”

“Actually, it is in the process of transferring ownership. But I am the new owner,” Xi Men smiled.

“Process of transferring ownership?” she frowned.

“Because I just bought this penthouse 2 days ago,”

Her eyes widened, “What?”

==========

*Flashback.

Xi Men looked around the penthouse with a hand of his in his pants’ pocket.

Spacious unit.

Xi Men walked to the rooms, and the agent follows.

Secretary Xu just stood near the entrance of the penthouse.

Xi Men nodded briefly as he walked to the living room again.

“How is it, Mr. Xi Men?” the agent asked.

Xi Men gazes at the balcony.

Without answering the agent, Xi Men walked to the balcony, opened the door himself and steps out.

“This unit provides a beautiful view of Taipei, Mr. Xi Men,” the agent smiled.

Xi Men only nodded with a smirk on his face; agreeing to what the agent has just said.

He then turned his head around and looked at the agent, “TWD$100 million?” Xi Men asked.

“Yes, sir,” agent replied. “It is because this unit is tastefully renovated and fully furnished,”

“I can see that,” Xi Men tilted his head. “Okay, I’ll take the unit,”

The agent smiled at the successful sale, although a small part of him is astounded at how quick Xi Men would agree to purchase the unit since he has only seen the unit for approximately of 8 minutes, and has no intention to negotiate the selling price.

“But I need the unit urgently,” Xi Men said, looking at the agent.

“Urgently?”

“Yes,”

“Umm… how urgent will that be, sir?”

Xi Men looked at the agent intently, “Tomorrow. Latest by the following day,”

The agent’s jaw dropped.

That probably explains why Xi Men doesn’t want to negotiate.

The commission he gets… probably does not commensurate with the pressure he is about to get.

This is probably his easiest sale, but the most stressed sale he ever get.

*****

Lei’s hand slowly raised and then pressed on his forehead. “Dude, ONE day?” he asked on the phone.

“Yup,” the other party answers.

Lei: Xi Men, how on earth do you want me to settle that in one day?

Xi Men: I am sure you will find a way.

Lei: Either you have too much confidence in me, or you’ve overlooked the fact that transferring house ownership takes at least months!

Xi Men (nonchalantly): The former.

Lei (rolled his eyes): You have the nerve to acknowledge that.

Xi Men: Lei, you are in this industry. And you knew someone doing that.

Lei: Let me refresh your mind; my industry is assets insurance. NOT property and mortgages.

Xi Men: Fine, I know you know someone doing that, so, please assist.

Lei: But not in one day!

Xi Men: What about two days? That is the maximum I can go.

Lei: DUDE! Even if you buy a new place directly from a developer, you don’t get your documents in one day! There are so many background procedures to be done! What’s more buying over from an owner where these processes are doubled? Please don’t believe what you read in the internet. I can’t settle this for you in one week as claimed! (*cue: My Loved One)

Xi Men: I don’t know what kind of readings you are talking about. What I know is that you are THE Hua Ze Lei and you know ways to do things.

Lei: ‘Ways to do things’ you mean. (*with added quote, means it brought a twisted meaning)

Xi Men: Yes.

Lei rolled his eyes.

Lei: LOOK. It is impossible.

Xi Men: Lei, please?

Lei: The fastest I can try is one week.

Xi Men: One week?

Lei (surprised and then smacks his own head): Ah, shit. Why am I agreeing to this.

Xi Men: You really can’t do it in 2 days?

Lei: NO. I said. NO. Dude, why the rush? Why must you get that within a day or two? Are you losing a place to stay? Your mansion?

Lei then listens to the phone on his ear as Xi Men explains.

His eyes brightened up. “WHAT?”

*End of flashback.

==========

“You mean, you bought this penthouse for my stay?” Xiao You’s jaw dropped.

Xi Men tilts his head with a smile, and then he briefly nodded. “Lei can’t settle it within 2 days, so it is still in a process of transferring the ownership. Well, at the end of the day, this is going to be my house,”

She looked at him.

“The unit is fully furnished, so nothing should be lacking for you,” Xi Men said. “Oh, besides the mattress in the room. Don’t use it because it is from the previous owner. I have bought a new mattress and it will be delivered today at 3pm. So, monitor them as they do their job. I have already told them to discard the mattress that is currently in the room so if they forgot to take it, do remind them,”

“I…”

“If anything is lacking, do let me know; I’ll get them for you. Also, if the existing ones are uncomfortable for you, inform me. I’ll get a new one for you,” he said.

Xiao You looked around the place, feeling uneasy at what he had said.

“Take care of this place, alright,” Xi Men said.

“Xi Men, I have only agreed to stay in hotel, I never said I am going to stay at your house,” she said, and then looked at him.

“Staying in hotel is just a temporary measure,” he said. “One day you have to leave the hotel. That is why I get this place where it will become your permanent place,”

Permanent place.

She raised her head up and looked around the place again.

So exquisite and beautiful.

But she is still feeling uneasy.

“No… no, I can’t stay here,” she turned around to head to the door, dragging the luggage with her.

Xi Men is surprised with her reaction and he dashes towards her.

He grabbed her arm and stopped her, and then turned her around to face him. “Xiao You, what do you mean you can’t stay here? Is there anything wrong with this place? Too big? Too small? Or you just don’t like the furniture or color of this unit? What don’t you like about it? I’ll fix it for you. I’ll fix it, really,”

“Xi Men, it…” she then swallowed the lump in her throat.

“Tell me what you don’t like about this place. I’ll get you another place if you don’t like this penthouse,” Xi Men said.

“Xi Men, there is nothing wrong with the penthouse. It is beautiful. It’s just that…”

“What?”

She swallowed the lump in her throat, “Xi Men… you don’t have to do this,”

“Huh?”

“I mean, you shouldn’t have done this for me,”

“Shouldn’t have done this for you? You need this, Xiao You. Mark asked you to leave the house, and that means you need a place to stay…”

“Even if I need it, you don’t… I mean, you shouldn’t have bought a place!”

“Then? Rent? What’s the point of renting a place when I can afford it?”

Xiao You closed her eyes and exhaled a deep breath. “You don’t understand,”

He is frustrated too. “Yes, I don’t understand. So, be straightforward,” he demanded.

“Fine. I’ll do that. I appreciate all that you have done but what you are doing now is going to bring unwanted rumors,”

“Rumors?” he frowned. “What rumors?”

Xiao You took a deep breath. “That I am… a…”

He is still frowning.

“Mistress,” she said, and then swallowed the lump in her throat.

His frown eases.

His facial expression changed.

“Xi Men, please remember that you are married. Today…”

“I don’t need a reminder that I am married,” Xi Men interrupted and uttered nonchalantly.

She exhaled another deep breath. “What I mean is, today, things are different. You need to think about a lot of things before you do it,”

Xi Men looked at her, giving her a cold gaze, “I don’t care,”

She is surprised with that answer.

“You,” he mumbled. “Are a friend,”

She pressed her lips together.

“I am doing this for a friend,” he uttered in discomfort.

He hated that word to be used to describe Xiao You.

She is not a friend to him.

She is more than that.

“No one knows about our past,” Xi Men said. “Other than F4,”

She lifted her eyes and looked at him. “Other than F4?”

Xi Men took a deep breath. “Yes,”

“You mean they know about us? About our past?”

“Yes. I told them after your divorce. Lei knew instantly I am the one that make it happen,” Xi Men said, looking away.

“Then Juliana…”

“She doesn’t know,” Xi Men uttered.

Xiao You looked at Xi Men.

He swallowed the lump in his throat, and he could feel the stress in him has rise sky high.

Looking straight, he dives his hand into his pants and he walked towards the balcony, opening the door with his other free hand.

Xiao You’s eyes followed him, and she wondered what he is doing, as he heads to the balcony all of a sudden.

When he stepped into the balcony, she walked towards him and stopped behind the opened balcony door.

She heard him exhaling a deep breath and took out the pack of cigarettes from his pants’ pocket.

After taking a deep breath, he took a cigarette out from the pack and puts it on his lips.

He flicks the lighter cap.

“I thought you said you don’t smoke in the daytime because you did not want your client to smell smoke from you,” Xiao You said.

He paused briefly; the fire from the lighter is only two inches away from the stick.

“You have a meeting at 4pm. You’ll smell of smoke if you smoke now,”

He swallowed the lump in his throat, closes the lighter cap and then removed the stick of cigarette from his lips. “Thanks for the reminder,”

She smiled briefly.

He took another deep breath and exhaled it loudly and frustratingly, looking at the view in front of him.

She noted from his actions that he is stressed, though she didn’t know why he would be stressed all of a sudden.

“Anyway,” Xi Men took a deep breath and then exhaled it. “What’s most important is that we know the truth. We all know the truth. You are nothing like that (*mistress),”

She pressed her lips together.

“If you still feel uncomfortable, then treat it as though I rent the house to you,”

“Rent?”

“Yeah,”

She chuckled in disbelief. “What makes you think I have money to pay for the rental of this place?”

“I said you can treat it as one. I didn’t ask you to pay,” he said. “It’s not like I needed the money,”

“But…”

“Uncomfortable again?” he interrupted and looked at her.

She noted his cold gaze.

“Then pay any amount you like. I’ll accept it. Even if it is TWD$10,” Xi Men said.

“TWD$10?! Isn’t that a bit ridiculous? Judging from the look of this place, it at least costs TWD$50,000 per month!”

“So, what again?” he asked, getting annoyed now.

Hearing his respond like this causes her to flinch a little.

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I… I can’t afford this place. Umm… I still have savings. I am not in a bad situation yet. I still have enough to buy myself food and rent a room from a budget hotel to stay,”

“A room from a budget hotel?” he looked at her, unimpressed.

“Err…”

Xi Men enters the penthouse, and Xiao You immediately took back steps as he approached her.

“First, I forbid that,” he said. “And next, Mark knew I will take care of you; staying in a budget hotel will sound like my idea instead of yours. Me, a billionaire, puts you in a budget hotel? Are you f*cking kidding me?”

Xiao You is taken aback with his use of words.

Stress overloaded maybe?

Because… he can’t smoke?

He suddenly exhaled a deep breath. “You know what? Screw it. It is up to you if you want to stay here or not,” he said, and then he turned and heads to the door.

“Xi Men, where are you going?” she quickly called out.

“To my damn car. Your stuffs are all still in there. I am going to get them and leave them here. Since this house is not going to be stayed by human then it will be f*cking used to keep your stuffs,” he opened the door angrily and walked out.

Xiao You can only stand there as she watches him walking away.

Umm…

The entire conversation plays in her mind.

His anger is pretty scary as it came in unimaginable ways and she didn’t know how to react to it.

Maybe he wants to ease his stress by smoking, but since he cannot smoke, the stress has already escalated to anger and frustration.

She lifted her head, and begins to look around the penthouse.

A very prestigious and beautiful penthouse.

It does feel cozy and homely.

It feels wrong to stay here, but also feels guilty for rejecting his offer…

A while later, Xi Men kicked the door open and entered the house with a heavy box in his hands.

She looked at him guiltily as he walked passed her to the living room and puts down the box without looking at her.

Xi Men then turned and heads to the door again.

“Xi Men,” Xiao You called.

Xi Men does not respond to her as he walked passed by her again.

“Xi Men,” Xiao You ran to him and stopped him on his steps.

He stopped, and then he glared at her. “What,”

Xiao You lowered her head slightly, and 2 seconds later, she dives her hand into her jeans’ pocket.

While his face stays still, his eyes instead went further down to her hand in her jeans.

“Here,” she extends two TWD$1000 notes to him.

He glared at the notes in her hand.

“What is this. Movers’ fare?” he mocked.

She shook, reaching for his right hand and stuffs the notes into his hand. “I’ll stay here. This is for the rent,”

He looked at the notes in his hand.

“As said, I am only surviving on savings so I need to use money prudently. What I am paying you now is only a small fraction of it. I will pay you slowly if you don’t mind. And when I can afford to pay more in the future, I will pay more than this,” she said.

His eyes moved from the notes in his hand to her face.

She pressed her lips together, as she can still sense the fiery aura emitting from his eyes.

He lowered his head now, removed the top note of the two, and then stuffs the note into her hand.

She is surprised that he stuffs the note into her hand.

“I’ll take TWD$1000 for your rent,” he flashed the note in his hand in front of her, and then he stuffs it into his pants. “Just pay once a month. So, pay next month’s rent next month,” he smirked and walked to the door.

“Next month?” she asked, turning her head around to look at him.

His smirk grew and then it became a smile as he walked to the lift (to go to his car to take the next box), glad that she took the offer.


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4 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 30

  1. That Ximen’s smirk turned to smile… I think he’s becoming more handsome when doing that. In my imagination. Hahaha

  2. well, he’s nice to help. though his attitude since the beginning of the story until now is not really likeable, at least not yet for me. sorry sis. hehe.

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