Conflicted – Chapter 33

Text message: ‘Are the maids good?’

Xiao You, who is sitting on the couch in the living room, replied the message.

‘Yes, they are good.’

Sent.

She then typed the next message…

*****

Bzz. (*vibrate)

Xi Men looked at the newly received message.

‘Their next trip over is next week.’

Xi Men smiled, and he responded.

‘Yes, I only engaged them to clean the penthouse once a week.’

Sent.

And soon there is a respond.

Bzz.

‘Thank you.’

Xi Men smiled, and then locks the smartphone before he puts it down.

“Xi Men,”

Xi Men’s smile fades and then turned to the right to look at Juliana sitting next to him on the bed.

“Uh?” he asked.

She tilts her head and smiled briefly, “You looked happy,”

“Happy?” he asked her back.

“Yeah. You are smiling,” she said.

“Oh, umm…” he slowly straightened his head, and then awkwardly gazes at the smartphone he had placed at the side table next to him.

He had temporarily forgotten that Juliana is next to him.

“Hmmm?” she slowly moved towards him.

He suddenly became really aware with her moving towards him.

What is she going to do?

Is she going to take his phone and takes a look at it?

But she is not someone like that.

She never bothered what he sees or does with his phone.

She doesn’t check his phone, as she has no interest in doing so, as she knew all he does with the phone is just work, work and work.

But somehow, he is on alert, wondering what she is about to do.

He holds his breath…

Instead of extending her hand to his smartphone as he thought, she rests her head on his chest.

He is slightly taken aback with that action.

It is not that she has never done this before.

She always loved to be near him; leaning her head on his chest, shoulder or even asked him for a hug is nothing extraordinary.

But for some reason, this time, he isn’t prepared for her to do this to him.

So when she rests her head on his chest, it took him a delay of few seconds before it registers in his mind that she is used to do this.

He exhaled his deep breath slowly.

He slowly raised his hand up and wraps them around her shoulder, like he always did, as his response.

Thank goodness she did not notice the delay.

Or rather, there are many times there is delay from him, but he did not know it himself.

So, his delay this time is nothing extraordinary for Juliana.

Juliana adjusted her position and leaned comfortably on Xi Men.

He felt totally awkward now with her like this.

But why?

He has never felt like this before.

He couldn’t explain the feeling.

“You rarely smile like this,” Juliana said.

Ah.

His eyes strayed again.

Guilty conscience probably.

“So, something nice happened?” Juliana lifted her head up and smiled at him.

He smiled briefly. “Just manage to secure a project,”

“Oh, really?” she asked.

He nodded as he smiled. “Yeah, but some discussion is still needed,”

“Is it worth celebrating?” she asked.

“Not yet. Will see after the discussion,” he said.

“Oh, okay. Congratulations Xi Men,”

“Thanks,” he smiled briefly.

Wow.

Pretty good in lying.

And then he warily glances over to his phone on the side table.

**********

Xi Men looked at the documents in his hands, flipping page after page, scanning each pages briefly.

Lei, who is sitting in front of Xi Men in the latter’s CEO room, clasped his hands together; watching Xi Men being serious as he reads the document.

This has given an opportunity for Lei to look at Xi Men closely too.

His facial expression, more precisely.

Xi Men suddenly smiled.

“No problem with the document. Thank you, Lei,” Xi Men said, putting the document down on the desk.

Lei smiled, “No worries,” he said. “You can stop bugging me about the house now,”

Xi Men chuckled.

“And now you owe me a meal,” Lei smirked.

“No problem with that,” Xi Men smiled. “Wanna claim that for lunch now?”

Lei shook. “Not free for lunch today,”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I am going to have lunch with Jing,” Lei said.

“Oh. Alright then,” Xi Men said. “Some other time, then,”

“Let’s do a dinner instead,” Lei said.

“Dinner?” Xi Men asked.

“Yeah. It’s been a while since we have dinner,”

“Hmmm…” Xi Men then nods. “Okay. We can do dinner tonight. 7pm?”

“Let’s have F4 dinner, shall we?” Lei asked.

“F4 dinner? With everyone? I didn’t say I am treating everyone dinner. I am only treating you and perhaps including your wife because of this document,” Xi Men said.

“That meal can be claimed some other time. I mean, let’s do a F4 dinner tonight,” Lei said.

Xi Men tilts his head. “Will that be a little too sudden?”

“Not really. There are times we arrange at the last minute anyway,” Lei smiled.

Xi Men then smirked. “Okay,”

“Where to?” Lei asked, diving his hand into his pants’ pocket to take his phone out.

“No specific place in mind,” Xi Men said.

“Then I’ll broadcast the message in the chat and ask them to recommend a place,” Lei said.

“Okay,” Xi Men said, finding himself flips open the document again as Lei worked his fingers on his phone.

“Shall I invite Xiao You too?” Lei asked as he typed.

Xi Men’s eyes went straight to Lei. “Xiao You?”

“Yeah. Should we?” Lei asked, lifting his head up to look at Xi Men.

Both of them looked at each other.

Xi Men’s gaze suddenly strayed. “Okay, if she is free,” he said, returning the gaze back to the document.

Lei tilts his head after seeing that reaction from Xi Men. “Is there something going on between you and Xiao You?”

Xi Men returned his gaze to Lei again. “Huh? Something going on between me and Xiao You?”

“Yes,”

Xi Men frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Hmmm…” Lei puts the phone down onto Xi Men’s desk. “Let’s just say… you reacted when I ask you if we should invite Xiao You,”

“Because I did not expect you will mention her?”

“Really?” Lei asked. “Is that all?”

“What else do you expect?” Xi Men asked.

Lei straightened his head. “Nothing,” he grabbed the phone again and continues typing on the smartphone.

Nothing?

Xi Men eyed Lei suspiciously.

Lei is a person who quietly analyzes you based on your body language, facial expressions and the words you have said.

He is good, no, so DAMN good with it.

Who knows what he (Lei) is analyzing at this moment about him (Xi Men).

But if he (Lei) is analyzing about him (Xi Men) and Xiao You…

He (Xi Men) didn’t want to give the wrong impression to Lei.

Xi Men looked to the door, and then strangely he turned his head to the window, before he straightened his gaze to look at Lei.

“Lei, trust me,” Xi Men said.

“Hmmm?” Lei asked, lifting his head up and looked at Xi Men.

BEEP.

Xi Men’s eyes strayed to the phone on the desk.

“Who on earth is messaging at this time…” Xi Men groaned and he grabbed his phone, silently condemning the sender who interrupts him at this crucial time just as when he wants to explain to Lei.

“That was me,” Lei said. “Broadcasting the dinner message,”

Just when Lei said that, Xi Men saw the message too; and as mentioned, it is from the guy sitting in front of him.

“Oh,” Xi Men said apologetically, as he had unintentionally ‘scolds’ Lei for being the one that sends the message.

“So?” Lei asked, putting the phone down on the desk again.

Xi Men looked at Lei. “So what?”

“You were saying something just now,” Lei said.

Xi Men stares at Lei for 5 seconds before he remembers.

“Oh, I mean…” Xi Men exhaled his deep breath. “There is really nothing between Xiao You and me. Just friends. Nothing more than that,”

Lei looked at him, “Seriously?”

“Yes,”

“Then, why are you reacting as though it affects you when I mentioned just her name?” Lei asked. “It is as though you are hiding something from me,”

“No, it is not that. It’s just that… I still have feelings for her,” Xi Men said, “A fact that cannot be ignored,” he looked at Lei. “I find joy in seeing her, hearing her voice, or reading a text message from her,” he adds, “Even her name brings me smile,”

Lei’s eyes strayed for a while, before returning to Xi Men.

He had never imagined hearing Xi Men admitting his feelings towards Xiao You like this.

“So, trust me. I didn’t do anything. All I did was buying a place for her to stay and trying to make her comfortable here,” Xi Men said.

Lei nodded. “Okay,” he said. “But…”

Xi Men looked at Lei.

“Let me remind you that, although Xiao You is divorced… you are still married,” Lei said. “So you need to know your limit,”

Xi Men remained looking at Lei, and then slowly lowered his eyes to look at the drawer under his desk.

Seeing Xi Men’s gaze, Lei followed suit and looked to the direction of the drawer, although he cannot see the drawer from where he sits.

“When… do you think is the right time?” Xi Men asked, still looking at the drawer.

Lei knew what Xi Men meant.

The drawer.

“There is no right time, Xi Men. No right time,” Lei rectified. “And you know about it,”

Xi Men only stares straight at the drawer.

BEEP.

Xi Men lifted his eyes and head up to look at his (Xi Men) phone.

Lei turned his head to look at his (Lei) phone.

New text message in the group chat.

Mei Zhuo: Sure. May be slightly late though. Can we set the venue to the restaurant in Grand Maple? I will be having a meeting there until 7pm and then I’ll go straight to the dinner when I am done with the meeting.

Xi Men and Lei looked at each other before they typed their responses.

Lei: Sure.

Xi Men: No problem.

BEEP.

Ah Si: OK. Will make a reservation. No-kids dinner? 8 person?

8 person.

Xi Men and Lei exchanged gazes again.

F4 with wives. That’s 8.

But with Xiao You…

Xi Men is about to type on his phone…

“Let me write it in,” Lei said, working his fingers on the phone already.

“Okay,” Xi Men said.

BEEP.

Lei: Add an extra person. Invitation extended to Xiao You. Waiting for her respond.

**

“Xiao You?” Ah Si asked.

**

“Xiao You?” Mei Zhuo asked.

**

Message conveyed.

“Xiao You? But Xi Men…” Xiao Qiao’s eyes strayed.

**

“Wait,” Lei’s eyes strayed.

Xi Men looked at Lei.

“I forgot to send the message to Xiao You,” Lei said, prompting him to search for Xiao You’s number. “I haven’t asked her… how on earth will I get her respond…” he happened to murmur.

Xi Men then returned his gaze to his phone, but finds himself smiling at the thought that he is going to see Xiao You tonight, despite Xiao You has yet to be informed about the dinner, nor knowing if she is actually going.

“Hi Xiao You,”

Xi Men lifted his head up upon hearing Lei said that.

Lei happened to turn his head to look at Xi Men at that time with the phone on his ear (Lei).

Xi Men thought Lei is just going to send her a whatsapp message. He didn’t know Lei has decided to give Xiao You a call instead.

“Speakerphone, dude. Speakerphone,” Xi Men murmured.

Lei glared at Xi Men, flagging the latter to shut up.

“Xiao You, I want to ask you if you are free to go for dinner with all of us tonight?”

Xiao You: Tonight?

Lei: Yes, at Grand Maple hotel. 7pm.

“Speakerphone!” Xi Men stares at Lei.

Xiao You: Oh… umm…

Lei: All of us will be there. We would love for you to come and join us.

Xi Men rose to his feet now, going over to Lei.

Xiao You (smiled): Alright, I’ll go for the dinner.

Lei: Great! See you later then!

Xi Men’s eyes widened upon hearing what Lei had just said.

Is the call ending soon?!

Xi Men extends his hand, wanting to grab Lei’s hand, and Lei is now moving away from Xi Men.

Xiao You: Sure, see you.

Xi Men is now fighting to grab Lei’s hand while Lei dodged.

Lei then puts the phone down and hangs up.

“Done!” Lei said to Xi Men.

“DONE?!” Xi Men asked.

“Yes, end of call,” Lei flashed the screen to Xi Men, citing the call has ended.

“URGH! How could you NOT put it on speakerphone!” Xi Men grumbled, and then smacks hard on Lei’s arm.

“OUCH! Why should I?”

“I want to listen to her voice!” Xi Men said.

“Listen to it tonight!” Lei said, rubbing his painful arm now.

“ARGHHHH…”

“You know what would have been funny? To NOT put it on speakerphone and she isn’t coming to the dinner, HAH,”

Xi Men glared at Lei as Lei laughed while rubbing his painful arm.

And Xi Men threw another hit to Lei’s arm again.


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12 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 33

  1. I haven’t read your stories in a long time! In fact, ever since the Paris fic ended I lost this website after changing my email account! Glad to finally be back, and glad to finally being able to catch up to this story in one day!

    Everything is going crazy. I wonder, are they still trying to figure out why Ivy had set Mark as her target??? I want to know too!!!

    • Since the Paris fic?! Wow, that’s so long ago! I think… more than a year? I have completed ‘I Still’ and also ‘Perfect’ (which this story took only one month to post) so that’s really a long time! And it looks like you have a lot to read! 😀 Anyway, welcome back!

      Actually this site can be found or searched from google with specific keywords, so you can find me/the site thru search if you had lost the site. And you have my email address too so you can email me if required. 🙂

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