Conflicted – Chapter 39

“I bought some clothes and shoes…” Juliana smiled at the thought of her happy purchases.

Xi Men smiled faintly as he drove.

“Xiao You gives good ideas about them too,” Juliana said.

Xi Men’s faint smile grew. “So, did you make her buy a lot of things?” he asked.

“I did encourage her to buy, but she hesitated a lot of times,” Juliana said, pressing her lips together. “But she does buy some stuffs,”

“Such as?” Xi Men asked.

“Clothes, shoes, jewelries,” Juliana said.

“Oh,” he said, nodded briefly.

Juliana gazes at Xi Men. “Why are you suddenly interested with what she bought?”

Xi Men’s eyes strayed for a second.

He then looked at Juliana, “I am just comparing what she bought with you,” he then returned his gaze to the road.

“Well, I have more,” Juliana said.

“Not surprised since you do shop a lot,” he said.

Juliana bites her lower lip.

Silence.

His eyes strayed to her direction for a while.

“So, what did you both talk about?” Xi Men asked, focusing on road.

“Actually nothing much,” Juliana said.

Xi Men gazes over to her, “Nothing much?”

Juliana shook.

How is it possible for two women, meeting up at 10am and splits at 6pm, didn’t talk much?

That’s freaking 8 hours.

Nothing much??

Really?

Perhaps…

It is not that they didn’t talk much.

Maybe it is Juliana.

As in, Juliana said ‘they didn’t talk much’ to Xi Men when in truth, she & Xiao You do.

Just like last time… Juliana is the one that did not tell Xi Men about what they have said…

“I am afraid of making her sad,” Juliana said.

Hmmm?

Now that’s different.

Is Juliana speaking the truth now?

“About her divorce, you mean?” Xi Men asked.

“Yeah. I mean, I have this… burning desire in me and questions after questions after questions that I want to ask. I wanted to know what really went wrong with her marriage and I want her to know she can tell me or talk to me if she is unhappy,” Juliana said. “But she didn’t want to talk much about personal things. Instead, she talked the most about clothes, fashions, shoes… food to eat…”

Xi Men finds himself smirking.

“But… she did mention she is still sad about her divorce,”

Xi Men’s smirk fades immediately.

“I did ask her if she wants to leave Taipei…”

Xi Men turned his head to look at Juliana, “Then?”

“She has not decided what to do yet,” Juliana said, meeting him in his eyes before he breaks off the gaze to look on to the road as he is driving.

“Oh,”

“She said, it did not matter to her where she goes, so, I persuade her to stay back in Taipei,”

Xi Men looked at the side mirror.

“I told her we will help her,” Juliana said.

“Did she mention what kind of help that she needs?”

“She didn’t say she needed help. I am the one saying we will help her,”

“Oh,” Xi Men said.

“I wanted her to stay back…” Juliana said. “I wanted to help her. She has just gone thru a divorce… and she is my friend. But I treat her like my best friend,”

Xi Men smirked, “Best friend? You have only met her few times and go shopping with her twice, and you are treating her as best friend? I don’t think both of you had done anything to be called best friends,”

“I have to start treating her as best friend, before she will do the same to me. I know she is a very private person; didn’t want us to know where she stays and how she is feeling, but I am sure with continuous effort, I can make her confide in me and treat me as her best friend just the way I treated her,”

Xi Men’s smirk fades and he swallowed the lump in his throat.

‘If she is not sharing with San Chai, why will she share with you?’

And he stopped the car at the red traffic light.

“Anyway,”

Xi Men gazes over to her when he heard that, and then he returned his focus to the traffic light.

“I met Ivy just now,”

Xi Men frowned slightly. “Ivy?”

“Yes. She is meeting her boyfriend today,”

Boyfriend?

Boyfriend equals to… Mark Liu.

MARK LIU?

Xi Men’s eyes widened.

Then Xiao You…

He controlled his anxiousness, “Meeting her boyfriend?” he asked. “She… she doesn’t have to work?”

“She took the day off,” Juliana said.

His mind is firing at all directions.

“She… she meets with her boyfriend in the mall?” he asked.

“Yeah,”

“Did you just see her passing by or…”

“No, of course she come and says ‘hi’ to me. She doesn’t hide away from me when she saw me,” Juliana said, looking at Xi Men.

‘Does that mean Xiao You saw Mark Liu with Ivy?’

‘How… how is she going to feel?’

He then turned and looked Juliana, “And he is there?”

“Yes,” Juliana finding the questions that Xi Men asked is weird.

“And you talk to Ivy with… Xiao You?” Xi Men asked.

Juliana nodded. “Mm hmm,”

Hot blood rushed and filled everywhere in Xi Men’s body.

He didn’t know what to think now.

What is he supposed to do?

How is Xiao You coping with this?

She sees it with her eyes that Mark is with Ivy now!

Xiao You… Xiao You must be…

“He is a doctor,”

Paused.

“Huh?” Xi Men asked.

“Ivy’s new boyfriend. He is a doctor,” Juliana said.

“New… new boyfriend?” Xi Men asked.

“Yeah,” Juliana said.

Xi Men remains looking at her. “Oh,” he slowly straightened his head.

‘Ivy is no longer with Mark?’

‘Then…’

‘That means Xiao You didn’t see him with Ivy…’

‘But…’

“It’s already green light,” Juliana said, pointing ahead.

Xi Men lifted his eyes up to look at the traffic light. “Oh,” and he stepped on the accelerator.

“Ivy also talked about her ex…”

Xi Men’s eyes strayed to the direction of Juliana.

Ex?

“Ivy is really pissed with him,”

“Pissed?” Xi Men asked.

“Because he lied to Ivy,”

“He lied to Ivy?” Xi Men asked.

“Mm hmm,” she nodded, “Oh right. Ivy said… you saw her and her ex together,”

Xi Men glances over to Juliana. “Huh?”

“She said, you talked to him after she left the room, but she didn’t know what is it that you both had talked… and after that, they meet up and he told Ivy they are over, and he tells her the truth about who he is,” Juliana said.

Xi Men pressed his lips together.

‘Mark.’

‘That’s Mark.’

“Xi Men, how come you didn’t tell me that you saw Ivy with her ex?” Juliana asked.

He then swallowed the lump in his throat. “It is nothing important,”

Juliana pouted. “Then… what did you tell him that… that he would end the relationship with Ivy?”

‘I never said anything about asking him to leave Ivy,’

‘Despite she is my cousin sister-in-law, I don’t care about her,’

‘All I care is about Xiao You,’

‘So I asked him to leave Xiao You,’

‘And what did Ivy said to Juliana, in front of Xiao You?’

‘And how did their conversation go?’

‘How on earth can I answer this?’

“I… I don’t remember,” Xi Men said. “I’ve said a lot of things over the time… how would I remember. I don’t even remember what I’ve said this morning,”

Juliana pressed her lips together.

Xi Men’s grip on steering wheel tightens.

‘How is she feeling now?’

‘How is she…?’

Unknowingly he had stepped even more onto the accelerator and that leads to the sudden acceleration which Juliana notices.

“Xi Men?”

“Juliana, I have just remembered I have forgotten to do a proposal in the office. Pretty urgent,” Xi Men said. “So, can you eat dinner on your own tonight?”

“Hah?”

“Yes, I’ll drop you home and then I’ll go to work,” he said, making a left turn.

“Umm…”

But she waited the whole day to eat with him!

Because dinner is the only time she gets to eat with him…

But he said the proposal is urgent…

Oh well.

“Alright…” her shoulder dropped and her gaze lowered too.

“Alright, you are home,” Xi Men said as he entered the driveway of the mansion.

“Home?” she turned her head and looked out of the window.

Driveway of the mansion.

Wow.

This is like time travel!

As they talked and when Xi Men told her the sad news that he needs to go back to the office, she didn’t even realized they are reaching home.

She thought they were just halfway.

And then suddenly he stepped on the brake to halt the car, causing her to look at the view outside of the window again.

The door of the mansion.

And it (the door) is being opened from the inside by the butler.

She turned her head to look at Xi Men.

“Go,” he said, looking at Juliana.

“Umm…”

“Yeah, you are home,” he said. “Go,”

Juliana turned her head around to look at the opened door of the mansion again.

Seeing she hasn’t got down from the car, Xi Men reached over and then hugged her, and before she even registers in her mind that Xi Men had given her a hug, it (the hug) has already ended.

“Now you can go home, right?” Xi Men said.

Oh.

So that’s a goodbye hug.

He only gave her a hug when she asked for it; he hardly does it on his own.

“Okay… don’t work too late…” she said.

“Sure, bye,” he said.

She opened the door and gets down from the car, and as soon as she closes the door, Xi Men had stepped onto the accelerator and heads off.

Juliana stood there sulked as she watches Xi Men driving off. “One doesn’t give me a goodbye hug, and another doesn’t even eat dinner with me,”

After she exhaled her deep breath, she turned around and heads to the door.

*****

Xi Men searched for Secretary Xu’s number as he drove, and then he puts it to his ear.

He waited for the call to be picked up.

“Secretary Xu,” he said.

“I have to go somewhere and do something urgent. Although the likelihood of this will not happen, but if so happens that Juliana calls you and asks you about me, tell her I am working,”

“Thank you,”

He hangs up the call and dropped the phone onto the passenger seat.

“Just in case she really calls him,” he uttered, and then he stepped onto the accelerator.

*****

*Swerve.

*Screech to stop.

*Engine shutdown.

*Opened car door.

*Gets down.

*Closed the door.

*Sprint (on foot).

***

DING!

Xiao You walked out from the lift and walked towards the penthouse with the few bags of purchases she has made today in tow.

*Inserts key into the keyhole of the penthouse’s door.

*Unlocks door.

*Enters penthouse.

*Locks the door.

Carrying all the bags, she walked towards the living room and then puts them down on the coffee table.

She hasn’t even sat down on the couch when…

*Key inserted into keyhole.

Xiao You frowned upon hearing the weird sound.

She turned her head to look at the door as that is where the sound comes from.

*Door unlocked and pushed open.

Xiao You’s eyes widened, shocked at someone opening the door.

She had just got home barely a minute ago!

“Xiao You!”

Upon seeing the face of the person opening the door… double shock!

Xi Men ran into the house, flings the door close behind him as he heads towards her.

“Xiao You…” he stood right in front of her and holds both of her arms, looking worried, “Are you alright?”

Xiao You’s widened eyes remained at Xi Men, and with him still holding both of her arms. “Why… why are you here?” she asked with her eyes wide.

Xi Men pants a little, taking one deep breath and then exhaled it, “Xiao You, you haven’t told me if you are alright. Are you alright?” he looked into her eyes; left eye and then to her right eye.

She doesn’t understand why he keeps asking her that.

Why he charged to the house, grabbed her and asked her if she is okay.

And he looked extremely anxious right now.

“I… I am okay,” she replied, slightly petrified with him like this. “Why… why wouldn’t I be okay?”

He took another deep breath, still short of breath actually.

Why is he breathing like this?

Did he run?

“I know you met Ivy today. And she talked about Mark,” Xi Men said, taking another deep breath.

She looked at him.

Did he come just for this?

Just to ask if she is okay after hearing Ivy talked about Mark?

“She talked about Mark, right?” Xi Men said, waking her up from her thoughts.

She looked at him. “Yes… she… she did,” Xiao You said, stammered in her respond, as she is terrified and is still reeling in surprise of Xi Men’s sudden appearance at the penthouse.

“Then are you okay? Are you okay?” he asked worriedly, his hands had moved up and are holding her head now, pressing her long hair against her ears and the sides of her face. “Are you hurt? Are you sad? Are you upset again?”

She could see it in Xi Men’s eyes.

There’s fear.

Anxiousness.

He is worried.

He cares…

“I… I am fine, Xi Men. I am okay,” she said.

“Really?” he asked.

She forces a smile on her face and nodded, “Yes…”

Xi Men smiled painfully, closed his eyes and then gently pulled her to him, enveloping her into an embrace.


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6 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 39

  1. ok…but how long will ximen treat juliana…..i mean….what will happen to xiao you since he is still married….and it still not fair for xiao you and also juliana..right? I pity both of them….

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