Conflicted – Chapter 5

2 days later,

“I am sorry, ma’am. If you do not have any prior appointments made, you cannot stay here,” the security guard said. “Please leave,”

“I thought this lobby is a public area,”

“Umm… I am sorry, ma’am. But this is not a place for you to stay around,” the guard said. “This is Dao Ming Corporation, a working…”

“What is this all about?!” a man yelled out of nowhere to the direction of where the guard and the woman is.

The guard and the woman turned around.

The man’s eyes widened, and if possible, it would have popped out. “Xiao You?”

“Ah, Ah Si,” Xiao You said, and then quickly walked to him.

The guard is taken aback at the way Xiao You addresses his CEO.

Just ‘Ah Si’?

The guard then heads to Ah Si and said, “CEO Dao Ming, this visitor…”

“I know her, she is my friend,” Ah Si said to the guard.

The guard is surprised to hear that. “Oh…”

“It is okay, you can leave,” Ah Si said to the guard.

Xiao You gives a small bow to Ah Si, “Sorry for coming in like this, Ah Si,”

“It is okay. I just come to office,” Ah Si smiled. “Oh, if you are coming over again next time…” Ah Si quickly dives his hand into his pants to get his business card. “Call me. My number is here,” he said, passes his business card to Xiao You.

“Alright,” Xiao You said.

“So, why do you come over, Xiao You?” he puts his left hand into his pants’ pocket. “Do you want some coffee? We can have it in my room and we can talk over there. But I am available for an hour as I have a meeting after this,”

“No need. It is okay. Right here will do. I won’t take too long of your time,” Xiao You said.

“Right here?” he asked.

“I know Mark is trying to sell you his management system,” she said straightaway.

“Umm… yeah, I think everyone of us knows about that. But… what about it…?” Ah Si asked.

“Please do not take up the system just because of me,” Xiao You said. “Don’t take up the system because Mark is my husband,”

That takes Ah Si by surprise as he didn’t expect to hear her say that. “AH?”

“I will be very professional about this, Ah Si, so, you should too. What you and I have is friendship. What Mark offers you is a business product. Friendship and business are two different things which should not be mixed together in this. If the system does not fit you, feel free to reject. Do not take it up because of me. Take it up only because you need it and because the system suits you,” Xiao You said.

“Oh,”

“Yes. Rest assured that our friendship will not be affected regardless you took up the system or not. I will not treat you better just because you take up the system and likewise I will not treat you badly because you did not take up the system. I will be very fair in this and I strictly believe personal relationships should not be involved in your decision regarding to Mark’s system,” Xiao You said.

Ah Si smiled briefly. “Alright…”

“That is all that I want to say,” Xiao You said.

“That is all? You are here just for this?” Ah Si asked.

“Yes,” Xiao You said. “Thank you, and sorry for bugging you,” she bows again, making Ah Si automatically bends a little after seeing Xiao You doing it to him.

“Umm…”

“Thank you for the business card, I don’t think I will come to your office again, but I will keep your number and call you if there is a need,” Xiao You said.

“Umm, Xiao You,” Ah Si called.

“Hmmm?”

“Mark has my number. You could have asked for my number from him to ask for a meet up with me instead of staying around here to wait for me,” Ah Si said. “I mean, you are lucky to see me here; what if I am not here, or did not come back to office now?”

“Mark didn’t know I come over. And I don’t want him to know I am coming over to tell you this,” Xiao You said. “After all, you are here now so I get to meet you,”

“You don’t want him to know?” Ah Si asked.

Xiao You shook.

“Why?”

“Because I do not interfere with his work,”

“Oh…”

“Anyway, I think I need to go now. Thank you again,”

Ah Si smiled, “You are welcome,”

She then turned and leaves.

Ah Si looked at Xiao You leaving, and then he took a deep breath. “Well, at least it is good to know I am not pressured to take up the product because of Xiao You,”

**********

Xi Men puts his signature down on the document, and then he passes it to Secretary Xu.

“Thank you, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said, taking the document from Xi Men.

“Anything else?” Xi Men asked.

“No more, but only this,” Secretary Xu handed a beige envelope to Xi Men.

“What is this?” Xi Men asked, taking the envelope from Secretary Xu.

“It is the invitation card for Dao Ming Corporation’s conference next month,” Secretary Xu said. “It’s on a Wednesday,”

“Oh, that conference,” Xi Men said, taking the card out from the envelope and looked at its details. “It is from 9am to 5pm…”

“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said.

“Alright,” Xi Men puts the card back into the envelope. “Anything else?” he asked again.

“No more, sir, this is all,”

“Okay. Then you can go back to your seat,” Xi Men said, lowering his head down and reads the document in hand.

“Sure, sir,” Secretary Xu said, giving a bow to Xi Men and then took a step back to leave.

Xi Men’s eyes lifted up slightly and strayed.

About two steps away from the door,

“Secretary Xu,” Xi Men called out to stop Secretary Xu from leaving.

Secretary Xu immediately turned to face Xi Men, “Yes, sir,” he said, and walked towards Xi Men.

Xi Men reached for a stick-it note and a pen, and then starts scribbling on that small piece of paper.

He then hands it to Secretary Xu. “Add this name into my F4 list of friends that can come into my office without prior permission,”

“Oh?” Secretary Xu said, and then looked at the name in the paper. “Yang Xiao You?”

“Yes,” Xi Men said. “Miss Yang Xiao You. A female,”

“Alright,”

“But with a condition,”

“Condition?” Secretary Xu asked, looking at Xi Men.

“Only if she comes alone or with my F4 friends or their wives. If she came with someone other than the listed 6 person (F3 + wives), permission to enter is required,” Xi Men said.

Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men, and then he looked at the name in the paper.

“Means, if she has a companion and the companion is none other than Ah Si, Mei Zhuo, Lei, San Chai, Xiao Qiao or Jing; she and her companion cannot enter according to the F4 list,” Xi Men made an extra effort to explain. “She has to go thru the normal procedure, or at least inform me first,”

“Alright, sir. I understand,” Secretary Xu said.

“Great. You can leave now,” Xi Men said, returning his gaze to the document in hand again.

“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said, giving a bow.

Secretary Xu heads to the door, opened it and walked out.

Xi Men turned his head slightly and his gaze went to the door, just right on time for him to look at Secretary Xu leaving his room and closing the door properly.

He then sits up straight, and leaned his back against his leather CEO chair.

His eyes slowly traveled to the first drawer on his right, looking at it intently.

He had no intention to open it, but he just stares at the drawer as thoughts run in his mind.

After staring at it for a long time, he then straightened his gaze and looked at the laptop on his desk.

And then at his smartphone next to the laptop.

Again, deep thoughts run in his mind.

And running…

And running…

And running…

Decided.

Grabbing the smartphone, he began scrolling the list of contacts…

Scroll.

Scroll.

Stopped.

Click.

Call.

Xi Men puts the phone on his ear as he heard the ringing tone at the other side.

X: Hello, CEO Xi Men.

Xi Men: Hello William.

William: What can I do for you, sir?

Xi Men: I want you to investigate someone for me.

William: Sure, sir.

Xi Men: His name is Mark Liu. He is from San Francisco, but currently he is in Taipei. He owns a company by the name of Liu Management. I want you to investigate everything about this person; his life and his business in San Francisco.

William: Alright, sir. Will do.

Xi Men: And also, he has a wife by the name of Yang Xiao You. Do the same for her. I want to know her life in San Francisco.

William: I will investigate as asked, sir.

Xi Men: Good. Hope to hear from you soon.

William: Have a good day, sir.

Xi Men hangs up the call after he is done talking with the private investigator.

He then puts the phone down on the desk.

Looking at the phone for a while, he then sighed and straightened his face.

“Never wanted to find out about her… and right now, desperately want to know more about her…” he mumbled to himself.

**********

“So, what have you been doing today, Xiao You?” Mark asked, putting his hand around Xiao You’s shoulder as she sat next to him on the bed.

Xiao You turned her head to look at him, “Just cleaning the house,” she said.

“Isn’t that tiring?” Mark asked.

“Slightly, but it is okay,” Xiao You said.

“Once everything is more stable… I will get a maid for you, okay?” Mark smiled.

Xiao You smiled. “I am okay without a maid. I can do these things,”

“You are my wife. I didn’t marry you to do these things,” Mark said.

“I know,” she smiled. “It’s just that I have nothing to do at home so might as well I go and clean up a little bit here and there,”

“I am so fortunate to have met and marry you,” he said, and then leaned forward and briefly kissed her lips.

Xiao You smiled. “Of course,” she said.

He chuckled.

“Don’t you think…” she said, looking around the room.

“Hmmm?”

“Don’t you think this place is a bit expensive?”

“That’s because this is a prestigious area,” Mark said.

“I mean I know this is a prestigious area, and of course, being prestigious, the rent is higher. But what I meant was we can look for something cheaper,” Xiao You reasoned.

“Well, the security is good, environment is great, and the view is beautiful.  So, to me, it is worth it,”

“But…”

“You know it is needed,” Mark said, looking at Xiao You.

Xiao You looked at him, unsure what to reply.

She then exhaled a deep breath.

“We’ll be okay,” Mark smiled at Xiao You.

“Umm… maybe… do you want me to go out and look for a job… and then maybe in that way, can help to ease a little pressure on your side?” Xiao You asked.

Mark smiled, “You are thinking too much, Xiao You,”

“I mean… Liu Management is not stable yet. Before the company is stable, I feel it is not wise to make you the sole breadwinner and makes you provide everything at this state, when I can go out and work, and do my part,”

Mark leaned over and kissed her forehead. “Thank you for being so thoughtful, but I want you to know that everything is going to be alright and things will be great. And that means I’ll be alright to be the sole breadwinner of this family,”

“Really?” she asked.

“Of course,” he smiled, and then he looked at her, “Are you feeling bored at home?”

“Bored? Why do you ask?”

“I was wondering why you would suggest going out and look for a job. Well… if you are bored… why not you go and find your friends? Or… go shopping?”

Xiao You only looked at Mark, “Really? Are you sure you will be alright?”

“Of course. And I am certain that Ah Si will take up the system,” Mark said.

“Oh?” Xiao You looked at him.

Mark smiled and nodded. “He is already showing interest to the system when I first met him, so I think he is half sold. And now that after knowing you are my wife…”

There is a distinct change in Xiao You’s eyes, at the way she looked at him.

BEEP.

Xiao You and Mark turned their heads and looked at Mark’s phone on the side table.

Mark grabbed his phone and takes a look at it.

Xiao You suddenly moved.

Mark turned his head and looked at Xiao You getting down from the bed to go to the washroom.

He unlocked his phone and looked at the message.

Xiao You pressed her lips together as she walked towards the washroom.

She isn’t exactly amused after hearing what Mark had said, as well as what he may potentially say, because their conversation has been interrupted by his phone.

**********

Juliana, who is lying on the bed, turned her head to look at Xi Men sitting on the bed scrolling on his phone.

“Anything interesting?” Juliana asked.

Xi Men turned his head to briefly look at Juliana before he turned to look at his phone again. “Not really,” he said. “Not much news to read tonight,”

“Then sleep, Xi Men,” Juliana said.

“In a while,” he replied without looking at her.

Juliana pressed her lips and then moves her head on the pillow, lowering her gaze down.

“I plan to go shopping tomorrow…” Juliana said.

“Okay,” Xi Men responded, his gaze remained on his phone.

Juliana gazes at him again, and then heard him exhaling a deep breath.

‘He must be stressed due to work again…’ she thought.

“Don’t wait for me, you can sleep first,” Xi Men said, lowering his gaze and looked at Juliana whose head is on the pillow, still looking at him.

“I want to wait for you…”

“I haven’t done browsing,” Xi Men said, his hand is still gripping onto his smartphone.

“It is okay. I will still wait for you,” Juliana said. “I stay at home whole day… I only get to see you after work. So I don’t mind waiting for you so that we can sleep at the same time together,”

Those words she uttered halted him in whatever he is doing.

He looked at her, and few seconds later, he puts the phone down onto the side table.

He moves and eventually lied down on the bed.

As soon as he rests his head down on his pillow, Juliana leaned over, resting her head on his chest with a smile on her face.

“Goodnight Xi Men,”

“Goodnight Juliana,”

He pats her shoulder while staring straight to the ceiling.

**********

“Are you sure you’ll be alright here?” Mark asked.

“Yes, definitely. It is just a shopping mall! How bad can that be?” Xiao You said.

Mark chuckled. “Alright then, call me when you are done, alright? See you later!”

“Sure, see you later!” Xiao You said, slamming the door of the car closed.

Mark and Xiao You then waved at each other.

Mark straightened his head and directed his chauffer to drive away, and then waved at Xiao You again until they could no longer see each other.

Xiao You then turned around, and walked into the entrance of the shopping mall.

She is immediately greeted by the cold air of the mall as it is fully air-conditioned.

With a small smile on her face, she walked, and her eyes begin scanning the outlets along her way.

She didn’t have any specific thing to buy.

She just decided to come to the mall and takes a walk since there is nothing much she can do at home.

***

Shopping is a breeze today.

Since it is a weekday, there are not many shoppers in the mall.

Xiao You scans the shoes on display in the outlet she had just entered, and a salesperson followed her.

She deliberately took a white pump from the rack, and then dropped it to the floor before she puts it on and looked at it on her foot.

Finding it doesn’t look nice on her foot, she took it off and returned the shoe back to the rack.

She did this a few times with different shoes.

Shoppers enter and leave the shop while Xiao You just focuses on her shoe testing.

Just as she stuffs her foot into a red stiletto…

“Mrs. Liu?”

Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at the woman standing next to her.

“Ah, it is really you, Mrs. Liu,” the woman smiled.

“Oh, hi Mrs. Xi Men,” Xiao You responded with a smile on her face as the other party is smiling at her (Xiao You) too. “Oh, I am sorry…” she immediately retracts her foot out from the red stiletto, although she had yet to actually give it a look on how the shoe will look like on her foot.

“Ah, I am sorry about that! I shouldn’t have interrupted you while you are trying it out,” Juliana said, feeling embarrassed at what she did, causing Xiao You to quickly wear her shoe instead.

Xiao You then quickly puts the red stiletto back onto the display shelf. “No, no, no, don’t worry about it,” she smiled. “What a coincidence to see you here, Mrs. Xi Men,” Xiao You said, turning her head to look at Juliana.

“I just happened to come for shopping,” Juliana smiled, “Just call me Juliana,” she said. “Umm… I am sorry, I remember you asked me to call you by your name but I forgot your name…” she scratches her forehead slightly.

“Xiao You,” Xiao You smiled. “Yang Xiao You,”

“Ah! Right! Xiao You it is,” Juliana smiled. “I so need to remember your name,”

Xiao You chuckled. “It is okay,”

“So, Xiao You, are you alone?” Juliana asked, positioning the strap of her handbag on her shoulder.

“Yes, I thought of coming out for a walk,” Xiao You said. “And what about you? Are you alone too?”

“Yes, I am,” Juliana said.

And then her head tilts slightly as she (Juliana) remembered that F4 and San Chai shared a great friendship with Xiao You.

After all, Xiao You sat next to San Chai during Ying Enterprise’s annual dinner.

And for as long as she (Juliana) knows, there is never anyone else that gets to sit at the F4 table during any sort of dinner.

If Xiao You gets to sit at that table, it must have meant something.

It must have meant that Xiao You shared great friendship with the gang; that is why she can sit at the table.

And because Mark marries her, Mark gets to sit at the table too.

Since Juliana is a part of the group being Xi Men’s wife, maybe she should take this opportunity to be friends with Xiao You too.

Juliana smiled, “Since you and I are alone… do you mind if we walk and shop together?”


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