Xiao You looked at Juliana as the latter stirs her cup of cappuccino in front of her.
Sitting there, she analyzes Juliana’s facial expression.
Juliana looked sad.
Xiao You didn’t know what happened to Juliana as she only heard her (Juliana) crying in the phone call last night when Juliana called her (Xiao You) out to meet today.
Seeing Juliana like this and she didn’t say a thing…
“Juliana? Are you alright?” Xiao You asked, breaking the silence.
Juliana lifted her head up to look at Xiao You. “I don’t know,”
“What happened?” Xiao You asked.
Juliana lowered her gaze to look at the cup of cappuccino in front of her while stirring it slowly.
Seeing Juliana being quiet, Xiao You then thought to herself, ‘You know, you asked me out. You are not expecting me to sit here and looked at you stirring your cup of cappuccino until the sun comes down without telling me what is going on, right?’
‘And I have only started packing.
‘I have plenty to pack.’
‘I don’t have time to be wasted like this to just stare at you and wait for you to talk…’
“Thank you for coming,”
Xiao You looked at Juliana, who finally speaks and interrupts Xiao You’s thoughts. “Oh, umm… no problem,”
“This is the only place I can think of…” Juliana said.
Xiao You lifted her eyes up and looked around warily.
“And also I remember you have been here before…” Juliana adds, “So I believe you will know this place…”
“Oh… yes…” Xiao You answers skeptically. “I… I know,”
“Xi Men likes to come here once in a while…”
Xiao You’s eyes strayed, and then belatedly replies, “Oh,”
“He said this place’s coffee is nice…” Juliana said.
Xiao You looked at the cup of coffee in front of her (Xiao You). “Coffee is nice…?”
‘You’ve gotta be kidding me…’ Xiao You thought to herself.
‘This taste of coffee… you can get it anywhere… and everywhere…’
Xiao You lifted her gaze up from her cup of coffee and looked at Juliana.
Juliana pressed her lips together, and then she exhaled a deep breath. “Xi Men said…”
Xiao You tilts her head as she waits. “Hmmm?”
“He wants to divorce,”
Xiao You’s facial expression changed.
Her eyes widened and she is surprised to hear that.
“Di… divorce?” Xiao You asked, completely taken aback.
“Why… why the sudden?” Xiao You asked again.
Juliana lowered her head down. “He said… the second woman has returned,”
Xiao You’s eyes brightened up and she is shocked upon hearing it.
She didn’t know what to feel now.
She felt her blood left some parts of her body, and notably the back of her neck as she could feel coldness.
She also felt her hands had frozen although they aren’t cold.
She didn’t know what to think right now.
She didn’t expect to hear this.
She didn’t expect to have this happened…
Xi Men is divorcing Juliana because of her (Xiao You)?
How can this happen?
She is too shock to react to this whole thing.
But… she can’t show this to Juliana.
She has to maintain her facial expressions.
She has to take note of what she may say and how she would react to Juliana’s words.
“He… is divorcing you because of…” Xiao You stammered unknowingly, and couldn’t find herself to continue her words.
But then again, does Juliana know it is Xiao You?
Maybe she knew it is Xiao You, thus she asked Xiao You out, purportedly to let her know that she (Juliana) knows she (Xiao You) is the ‘second woman’ and that this whole meeting is staged, because Juliana wants to confront her or slap her or something?
“He said he is not divorcing me because of her,” Juliana solemnly said.
That sounds like Juliana does not know.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat as she tried to remain calm.
“He said he wants to end this marriage because of the state of our marriage…” Juliana said.
State of marriage.
Xiao You knows it well.
She had heard it from both parties.
“He said he doesn’t love me,” Juliana looked at Xiao You. “Even after so many years,”
Xiao You looked at Juliana, unsure how to console her.
All she knows is that Juliana really, really loves this guy.
Juliana puts in tremendous of effort into her marriage with Xi Men; that she (Juliana) did not ask for anything from Xi Men.
“He… he said, seeing the second woman again makes him happy,” Juliana gritted her teeth. “And her appearance gave him the courage to end this marriage,”
Xiao You isn’t sure what to say about that, but feeling extremely guilty instead.
“I am so sad,” Juliana said, covering her face with her hands. “It is 5 years of marriage…”
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, and all she could do is just looked at Juliana…
Juliana then removed her hands from her face, “How can he say the reason for ending the marriage is not her when she is the one giving him the courage to do this? Why do this now when she is back? I don’t know who she is, but why? Why come back? Why after so many years?!”
Xiao You could feel Juliana resents the ‘second woman’.
This is exactly what Xiao You didn’t want to happen.
She didn’t want her appearance to cause changes to someone else’s life.
Juliana wiped the tears off from her face and then she sniffs, “He came back home yesterday with the divorce papers and he had signed it, now pending for my signature to end this marriage,”
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat. “I… I see…”
“So… what… what do you plan to do now?” Xiao You said.
“I refuse to give up on my marriage,” Juliana said, lifting her red eyes up to look at Xiao You. “I will not let him divorce me to be with her,”
“Did… did he mention about divorcing you to be with her?” Xiao You asked.
Juliana then swallowed the bitter lump in her throat, “He didn’t say so. But I believe he is,”
Xiao You pressed her lips together.
“He left the mansion after that,” Juliana said.
“Left?” Xiao You asked.
Juliana nodded. “He packed some of his things with him,” she said. “Maybe he goes over to her place,” she uttered in detest.
Xiao You’s eyes strayed.
‘Goes over to her place?’ Xiao You thought to herself.
‘He didn’t come over last night…’
‘I didn’t even see his shadow since I left his office…’
“What am I supposed to do now, Xiao You?” Juliana asked, turning her head to look at Xiao You.
That wakes Xiao You from her thought(s).
Xiao You looked at Juliana. “I… I don’t know,”
Juliana looked at Xiao You solemnly, and then lowered her head (Juliana) down to look at the cup of cappuccino that she has not taken a sip from.
“I thought you have said… you will not let him divorce you,” Xiao You said.
Juliana lifted her head up to look at Xiao You again.
“I thought that is your decision,” Xiao You said earnestly.
“I know. I am not willing to divorce him, but… I feel that… I have already lost him,” Juliana said, looking away.
“Juliana,” Xiao You extends her hand out and then gripped on Juliana’s hand.
Juliana looked at Xiao You.
“If you want to save the marriage, then don’t give up,” Xiao You said.
“Don’t give up?”
Xiao You nodded. “Yes. Don’t give up. If that is what you feel and what you want to do, then go towards that direction,”
Juliana looked at Xiao You.
Xiao You smiled briefly at Juliana, “5 years of marriage is not a short time. So, don’t give up,” she said. “Don’t give up,” she repeated.
Juliana smiled at Xiao You. “Thank you, I need that kind of encouragement,”
Xiao You smiled too.
“You know the odd thing is…” Juliana said.
“You gave up on your marriage,” Juliana said.
Xiao You looked at Juliana, the small smile on her (Xiao You) face fades.
“And you told me not to give up mine…” Juliana continues.
Xiao You bites her lower lip.
The truth is…
She didn’t give up on her marriage.
It ended without her knowing why and what happened.
Even if she wanted to fight for her marriage, she didn’t stand a chance to do that.
“Juliana, we are different,” Xiao You smiled briefly as she looked at Juliana.
Juliana looked at Xiao You, and seeing the smile on Xiao You’s face prompted her (Juliana) to smile briefly too.
“I guess so…” Juliana said. “But you have never told me what happened to your marriage…”
Xiao You shook, “No, I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “It’s past anyway,”
Juliana then smiled and nodded, “Okay… I respect that…”
‘You can’t know about what happened, Juliana…’ Xiao You thought to herself.
‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you…’
‘That is why everybody knows but nobody wants to tell you…’
“Yes, I am not giving up on my marriage,” Juliana said.
And Xiao You looked at Juliana again.
“Problem is… where to start…” Juliana finds herself saying.
Xiao You smiled briefly, and then her smile slowly fades.
And she gets more and more uneasy.
Xiao You watches Juliana gets onto the car.
Juliana then waves at Xiao You goodbye, and Xiao You waves back with a small smile on her face.
Xiao You then looked at the chauffeured car drives off, leaving her alone in front of the coffee house.
She took a deep breath as her smile fades slowly.
She dives her hand into her handbag and took her phone out.
She looked at the contact details.
She then puts the phone on her ear as she turned and slowly walked.
X: Hello, Xiao You?
Xiao You: Jing, are you free to talk now?
Jing (smiled): Yes, I am just browsing my client’s file. Anything?
Xiao You (took a deep breath): Xi Men wants to divorce Juliana. Do you know about this?
Jing’s smile fades, ‘How did she know…?’
Xiao You tilts her head as she hears no respond from the other side.
Xiao You: Hello, Jing? Are you still there?
Jing: Yes, I am.
Xiao You: Do you know Xi Men is divorcing Juliana?
Jing (swallowed the lump in her throat): Yes, I… I know.
Xiao You stopped walking, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, displeased that Jing and perhaps everyone knows, but her.
She then opened them and continued walking.
Jing: Xiao You, how did you find out about that?
Xiao You: Juliana told me.
Jing closed her eyes and then sighed, which Xiao You heard over the phone.
Xiao You stopped her steps.
Xiao You: Why didn’t you tell me about this?
Jing: Because we think it is not wise for you to know this right now.
Xiao You: That Xi Men divorces Juliana because of me?
Jing; No, Xiao You. That is not why he is divorcing Juliana. And this is the reason why we didn’t want to tell you. Because that’s what you are going to think.
Xiao You (takes a deep breath): Okay.
She hung up the call.
“Xiao…” Jing called out, and then stopped when she heard the call has been terminated, causing her to lower her phone down and looked at the screen.
She then sighed.
She scrolls the screen…
And then after pressing a couple of buttons, she puts the phone on her ear.
She pressed her forehead as she waited for the call to be picked up.
X: Hi darling.
Jing: Lei, we have a problem here.
Xi Men Corporation.
CLAK. (door open)
*Hurriedly walked in.
“How on earth could you do this?”
Xi Men lifted his head up and looked at Xiao You who is already standing in front of him.
The only thing that is in between both of them is Xi Men’s desk.
Which one is she talking about?
The blacklisted thing?
PAK. (door closed)
“Do what?” Xi Men asked.
“Divorce. With Juliana,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men remained staring at Xiao You, giving no change of facial expression at all.
It’s not a surprise.
But Lei said nobody tells Xiao You about that.
So how on earth did she know?
Who told her?
“Who told you?” that’s exactly what Xi Men asked.
“Juliana. She told me you are divorcing her,” Xiao You said.
Then that’s not a surprise, since Juliana treats Xiao You as her best friend.
“So I guess she called you?” Xi Men asked, returning his gaze nonchalantly to his laptop.
“She asked me to meet her,” she said.
“I assume you did,”
“Yes, at the coffee house we meet the last time,” she said.
Xi Men turned his gaze to look at Xiao You.
“A place where you said the coffee is nice,”
Xi Men remained looking at Xiao You, and then chuckles incredulously, “Nice?” he asked, “That’s just what I’ve said to Juliana so that she’ll stop asking why I travel all the way there for a cup of coffee. There’s nothing special about the coffee,”
“But the place?” she asked. “Right?”
He looked at her.
“Is that place really that special to you?” she asked.
“I do have memories there,”
She looked at him. “Because I worked at that place before?”
“Yes,” he replied without hesitation.
She remained looking at him, before her gaze strayed to break off their locked gaze.
She then swallowed the lump in her throat, and then exhaled a deep breath, “So, Juliana and I meet up there, and she is saddened by this ridiculous thing… she…”
“Divorcing her; ridiculous?” Xi Men interrupted and asked.
“How can you do that to her? Do you know how much she loves you?” she questioned him.
“I am sure you know how I feel instead,” Xi Men said.
“Why do you divorce her because of me?!” Xiao You said.
“Say that again?” Xi Men looked at Xiao You.
Xiao You paused. That’s not what she expects from him. “You told her… that the second woman came back,”
Xi Men continued to look at her. “So, she told you I am divorcing her because of you?”
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, “That’s what she thinks. And that’s what I think as well,”
Xi Men stared at Xiao You intently and then he smirked. “I am not surprised to hear that,”
“Xi Men… whatever is happening between us… it is past,” she said. “Don’t do that to Juliana. Don’t divorce her. I… I won’t be with you. Because it is past,” she repeats.
He looked at Xiao You.
‘I won’t be with you.’
‘Because it is past.’
He then rose to his feet, “I did not divorce her because of you,” he said. “The divorce is imminent,”
“Imminent?” she asked him, “Imminent?” she repeated, as she does not trust his words at all. “Of all the times, why now? Why not earlier? Why not later? Why NOW?!”
He looked at her.
“What are you trying to do, huh? Divorced her and be with me? Just to hold me back from leaving? That is not the way, Xi Men; that is not the way! I am not going to be with you, even more so you divorced her for me!”
“Xiao You, I admitted I want to be with you,”
She looked at him, and tears start forming in her eyes.
She has no words to say now.
“Yes, I want to be with you, but I am not divorcing her because of you,” he said, looking at her, “I said I am not divorcing her to be with you! I am divorcing her because I have always wanted to end my marriage with her since the day I marry her!”
“Then why do it when I am here, when I am still here? Why after you have confessed to me?! Why after you have desperately tried to hold me back from leaving (*based on conversation the day before)?!”
Her tears fell.
He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Xiao You, I am not doing this to hold you back. But thru you, I find strength and courage to do this,” Xi Men uttered. “Because of you, you gave me the mental push that I need to put an end to my suffering,”
She took a deep breath, sniffed and then wiped the tears on her face. “The reason I did not contact any of you when I came back to Taiwan with Mark is because of this. Because I do not want to break people’s routine or changed their life with my appearance,” Xiao You said. “And then somehow, somewhere, Mark’s dealing happened to be with one of you, and I got myself entangled. One after another event… and that’s how I ended up here today,”
He looked at her.
She sniffs again as she stares at him. “I do not want my appearance to change your life; especially your marriage to Juliana. It tears me apart to hear you want to end the marriage; and… I somehow feel responsible to that,”
“Xiao You, this is not your fault,” Xi Men said. “Please understand. I am the one that wants to end this marriage. It has nothing to do with you,”
Xi Men and Xiao You turned their heads to look at Xi Men’s smartphone on the desk.
The notification on Xi Men’s phone had interrupted their conversation and breaks the pace.
Xiao You dropped her gaze.
Xi Men straightened his head to look at Xiao You upon hearing she called for him.
“Whether you like it or not, I am going to leave this place in 2 weeks. I am never going to affect anyone’s life with my appearance again. And yes, you will never see me again. Please do the right thing. Please reconcile with Juliana. Please,” she uttered without looking at him.
With her gaze on her floor, she then turned around and walked to the door.
Xi Men made no attempt to stop her from leaving.
He watches her walking to the door; and she didn’t even turn around once to look at him.
She opened it and walked out… and then the door closed.
He continued to stare at the door despite she had already vanished from her sight, and moments later, he straightened his gaze… and he sat down on his CEO chair again.