Conflicted – Chapter 54

“Juliana already found out about you,”

Xiao You’s eyes widened and then surprise grew in her, slowly appearing on her face.

And now, she is in disbelief, “What?”

“Juliana already knows you are Xi Men’s second woman of his life,” Lei repeats.

Xiao You’s jaw dropped.

She didn’t know what and how to react.

“How… how did she found out?” Xiao You asked, still stunned.

“Juliana asked us out for dinner, because she wanted our help to fix her marriage with Xi Men,” Lei said.

“And Mei Zhuo accidentally uttered your name,” Jing said.

Xiao You remained surprised that things have unfolded in such a way she did not expect.

Lei and Jing exchanged gazes before they straightened their gazes at Xiao You.

“So… the conversation at the dinner starts with Juliana being overwhelmed by the fact that Xi Men’s second woman is back, and it is obvious that she (Juliana) detests her (second woman),” Lei said.

Xiao You looked at Lei.

The guilt that she always has in her has reappears.

“I know…” Xiao You uttered.

“She wanted to know who the second woman is. She keeps on asking us if we know who you are, if we have seen you and sort,” Lei said.

Xiao You pressed her lips together.

“Well, of course we didn’t tell her. She can’t found out about this,” Lei said.

Xiao You nods slightly.

“And then, Juliana keeps on saying Xi Men divorces her because of the second woman. She is already blinded by hatred. But we told her that her divorce stems from the reason that her marriage has always been unhealthy,” Lei said.

“So, we outlined few things to her… and showed her that her marriage is not as perfect as she thought it is,” Jing said. “And she began to acknowledge them,”

Lei nodded. “And then… Juliana asked if Xi Men had done anything with the second woman behind her back,”

Xiao You’s eyes slightly brightened up.

“And of course we say no,” Lei said. “Because we know nothing is going on between you and Xi Men,”

“And that is when… Mei Zhuo accidentally mentioned your name…” Jing said.

Xiao You finds herself taking a deep breath. “Then… how did she take it?”

Lei and Jing shook at the same time.

“I think it is the biggest shock of her life. She had never thought it was you,” Jing said.

Xiao You bites her lower lip, feeling very worried all of a sudden.

Lei sighed. “And since Mei Zhuo has mentioned it is you… I decided to reveal everything,”

Xiao You looked at Lei.

“I confirmed to Juliana that the second woman we have all been talking, the only person Xi Men has ever loved; is you,” Lei said.

Xiao You tensely pressed her fingers because she felt nervous and stressed at the same time.

“We told her what actually happened,” Lei said.

“What do you mean ‘what actually happened’?” Xiao You asked.

“Everything that she didn’t know,” Lei said. “Because we keep a lot of things from her,”

“Such as…?” Xiao You asked.

“That Mark cheated on you with Ivy. That Xi Men is the one that forces Mark to divorce you. I even told her this house is not my house but Xi Men’s,” Lei said. “But rest assure, I didn’t tell her where you are staying so she will not come and look for you,”

Xiao You bites her lower lip. After she took a deep breath and also swallowed the lump in her throat, “Don’t you think… that’s a bit too much for Juliana to hear at one go?”

“We actually do not want to tell her at all. We thought we can bring this to our graves,” Lei said, and then exchanged gazes with Jing. “But things have happened to this, we find no reason to hide it from her anymore. And she deserves to know,”

“Xiao You, now that Juliana knows about you… I think things will change. I guess she won’t treat you the same way she would anymore. In that way… I think, your friendship with her has crumbled,” Jing said.

Xiao You took a deep breath. “Actually, because of Xi Men, I don’t want to be her best friend. I don’t even want to be her friend since day 1…” she said. “So… if it is crumbled, then so be it,”

Jing and Lei nodded as an indication that they understand.

“Then I hope losing her as a friend did not impact you too much…” Jing said.

Xiao You shook. “I refrained from being too close to her, so I am fine,” she said. “Maybe it might impact her instead…”

“It is no doubt that she is hurt. While you have been aware of her since you know her, she bares her everything to you and trusts you completely… but it did not come across her mind at all that you are someone special to Xi Men,” Lei said. “And also… in another way… her husband, her cousin and her self-proclaimed best friend are all involved in one very complicated situation… where she did not know a single thing at all,”

Xiao You lowered her head down slightly. “I feel so sorry for her…”

“All of us do. But I think this is unavoidable,” Lei said. “And we hope she will make the right choice by divorcing Xi Men,”

Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at Lei. “Divorcing Xi Men?”

“Yes, because their marriage is not a good one,” Lei said.

“Oh…” that is all Xiao You could say.

It seems that everyone supports Xi Men divorcing Juliana…

But somehow, she still feels guilty about this whole thing…

Lei and Jing exchanged glances.

Jing nods briefly at him.

Lei then turned his head to look at Xiao You, “Xiao You,”

Xiao You returned her focus to Lei.

“I know you’ve packed…” Lei glances at the boxes, “…but will you reconsider staying back instead?”

=====

*Flashback.

Car engine started.

Lei took a deep breath as he buckled his seatbelt.

Jing looked at Lei at the driving seat, whose hand is on the steering wheel of his stationary car.

“What’s on your mind, Lei?” Jing asked.

Lei looked over to the familiar cars around him.

Ah Si has just exited the parking bay, and followed by Mei Zhuo.

“I don’t think we can wait until tomorrow to visit Xiao You,” Lei said.

Jing tilts her head.

He then turned his head and looked at Jing, “Should we go and visit Xiao You now?”

“Now?” Jing asked. “It is almost 10pm,” she said, “I mean, it is not very late, but no one visit someone’s house at such hour unless being told to,”

“I know. But things have changed. I don’t think we should wait to tell Xiao You,” Lei said. “Anything unexpected can happen right now, even within one hour,”

Jing exhaled a deep breath, “I do agree with you,” she said. “If not for Mei Zhuo… things would have been the same or perhaps, still under control…”

“Oh well,” Lei said. “So… we’ll go to Xiao You’s place now?”

“Fine with me,” Jing said. “I hope Alex didn’t wait for us,”

“Don’t worry about Alex. He’ll sleep when he is sleepy,” Lei smiled.

“Yes, just like you,” Jing smiled at Lei.

With the smile still on his face, he straightened his head and then engaged the car in Drive mode to exit from the parking bay.

“And also… we need to let Xiao You know that she can’t leave Taiwan…” Lei uttered.

“Ah, that…” Jing said, and then sighed. “Yes, we should…”

“But… I didn’t want to hit Xiao You with the news like this. And we already know about this matter for days! You know how Xiao You reacted when we didn’t tell her about Xi Men’s divorce,” Lei said.

“I know…” Jing said, and then took a deep breath, “If you didn’t want to be too direct with this… then… instead of telling her that Xi Men has forbid her from leaving, maybe we should… persuade her to stay?”

Lei looked at Jing. “Persuade?”

Jing nodded. “And if it fails… that means, we have no choice,”

Lei straightened his gaze to the road again. “I think that’s worth trying,”

*Flashback ended.

=====

“Stay back?” Xiao You is surprised.

Lei and Jing nodded.

“You said you have nothing here, or anywhere. And you have to start a new life somewhere. Then why don’t you do it here?” Lei asked.

“Why should I do it here?” Xiao You asked.

“Or rather, why do you want to leave?” Jing asked.

Xiao You looked at Lei and Jing.

She then lowered her gaze down a little.

“I don’t want to stay here,” Xiao You uttered.

“Why, Xiao You? I thought you fit in here,” Lei said. “This is where you are from,”

“I know. But I don’t have a reason to stay,” Xiao You said.

“What about Xi Men?” Lei asked.

Xiao You looked at Lei, “Xi Men?”

“Yes. Can’t he be the reason for you to stay?” Lei asked.

“No,” she is quick to reply. “No… I am not going to stay,” she took a deep breath. “And he won’t be a factor at all… and there is no point for me to do that,”

“Why…?” Jing asked.

“Xi Men… he is past,” Xiao You said. “He is just a friend now,”

“Xiao You, to you, Xi Men is not just a friend… and you know it,” Lei said.

“He is!” Xiao You said. “I’ve moved on from him and married Mark…”

“But you still love him, Xiao You,” Lei said.

Xiao You lifted her eyes up and looked at Lei.

Seeing she didn’t deny it, he knew he is right.

“We know you do. Your body languages have told us,” Lei said, and Jing nodded. “After 12 years, despite you claimed you have moved on from Xi Men and married Mark, you still love Xi Men. Maybe the intensity of your feelings have decreased over the years, but it did not fade completely,”

Xiao You turned her head away slightly.

“If you are leaving… you won’t see Xi Men anymore,” Lei said.

“That’s the idea,” Xiao You uttered.

Lei and Jing looked at Xiao You.

Xiao You took a deep breath. “Let me be really, really honest with you,”

If they had not paid attention to Xiao You, they would now.

“A lot of things have been going in my mind… before I made the decision to leave,” Xiao You said.

“Such as?” Jing asked.

“I did consider about starting anew here, because I fit in here, just like you have said,” Xiao You said. “And yes, I have nothing. Nothing here, nor anywhere. But… I do have one thing left,”

“One thing?” Lei and Jing asked.

“One… very important thing,” Xiao You said.

“And that is…?” Jing asked.

“My parents,” Xiao You said.

Lei and Jing looked at Xiao You.

“They are willing to stop travelling and help me, so that I can settle down somewhere and start all over again,” Xiao You said. “They are the reason I decided to leave and go back to San Francisco; because that is where we’ve spent years at, and that is where my parents had stayed and called ‘home’,”

Lei and Jing now exchanged gazes.

“After all that is happening in Taipei now… I am even more determined to leave,” Xiao You said.

“What do you mean?” Lei asked.

“Xi Men is the one that make Mark divorced me. I am like this today because of him,”

Lei and Jing are taken aback by what Xiao You had just uttered.

“I can honestly tell you that I do not agree with all the things that Xi Men has done, but, are you saying you still want to be with Mark despite he cheats on you?” Lei asked.

Xiao You looked at Lei. “If you ask me… I do not know if I have the courage to leave Mark. But right now, I am lost,” she said. “That’s what I am feeling and having now,”

Lei had his mouth opened, wanted to say something, but he couldn’t utter a word at all.

“I have this… inner conflict. There are times I blamed Xi Men for this, that if not for him, I will still be with Mark. But there are also times where I feel if it is not for Xi Men, I may not be able to walk out from Mark on my own. But there are times where I feel bad for Mark; at how he is being threatened by Xi Men to leave me because of me,” Xiao You uttered.

Lei and Jing looked at each other.

“So, I’ve made my decision to leave Taiwan… and Xi Men confessed to me and suddenly he is divorcing Juliana?” Xiao You questioned. “Such a coincidence?”

“This…” Lei uttered.

“I feel that… if I had not come back, all of these wouldn’t have happened. And he could still be with Juliana. Why do I feel like I have snatched him from Juliana? Why do I feel that I have to take half of the responsibility for this?”

“Xiao You, it is not you. It really is not you,” Lei said.

“I know it is not me because I did not do anything. I did not ask him to divorce her. I even encouraged Juliana to continue putting effort into her marriage with Xi Men,” Xiao You said. “But after seeing the things that had happened, I feel bad. I feel terrible. I cannot help it that I feel I have to share half the blame for coming back…”

“Xiao You…” Lei did not know what to say now.

Lei could feel his head (or rather the brain) cracked.

This is another new problem.

Something he had never knew.

This is so complicated.

Everything is conflicted.

Even Jing is scratching her head, thinking how to deal with this.

“And now, Juliana has already found out about me. This adds another reason for me to leave,” Xiao You said. “There is no reason for me to stay back,”

Lei took a deep breath, and exhaled it loudly.

“I am sorry if I had disappoint you. This is a very messy situation that I don’t know how to deal with it and there is a chance that I will never be able to get out of it. But I know with me leaving, it will end all of these conflicts,” Xiao You said.

“So you are not going to stay no matter what?” Lei asked; deep in his heart, this means he is giving Xiao You a final chance before he breaks the news to her.

“No. I am leaving no matter what,” Xiao You said.

“Alright, very well,” Lei said, and then he gazes at Jing, who also returned the gaze to him.

“I hope this is not too much to ask for; but please take care of Xi Men…” Xiao You uttered. “And encourage him to move on from me and seek his love…”

“No, I am not going to do that,” Lei uttered. “Do that yourself,”

Xiao You looked at Lei, slightly taken aback to hear that.

“Sorry to have wasted your energy, effort and days,” Lei said.

Xiao You tilts her head and looked at him, “Energy, effort and days…?”

“Actually, you are not leaving,” Lei said.

“Huh?” Xiao You frowned now.

“Or rather I should say… you can’t leave this place,” Lei said.

“I… I don’t understand,” Xiao You uttered, with the frown still on her face.

“Although nothing can convince you to stay, but the power of F4 can stop you from leaving,” Lei said.

Xiao You’s frown eases. She began to understand. “It… it can’t be…”

“Xi Men did it. You can’t take a plane, sit a boat or even swim out from this country now,”

Xiao You’s jaw dropped, and then breathes heavily; in disbelief.

“That is why I said, I am sorry to have wasted your energy, effort and days to pack your things… as in the end, you are not going anywhere, but here,” Lei said.

“Oh… gosh…” Xiao You buried her face in her hands.

Jing moved to hook her hand into Lei’s arm upon seeing Xiao You’s reaction, and Lei pats her hand.

**********

“Welcome home, master, ma’am,”

Lei nodded at his butler, “You can go to rest now,”

“Sure, master, thank you,” the butler said. “Just to update you, master, ma’am…”

Lei and Jing stopped their steps when they heard their butler talks.

“Hmmm?” Lei asked.

“Master Xi Men was here until 11.30pm. He lullabies young master Alex to sleep at 10.20pm,” the butler reports.

Lei and Jing smiled.

“Okay,” Lei said. “That dude really adores Alex. He loves kids,”

“That is why I am glad he is bringing Alex out for dinner tonight,” Jing smiled at Lei.

“Master Xi Men said he will catch up with you tomorrow as it is getting late,”

“Alright. Thank you for the information,” Lei said. “You can rest now,”

The butler gave a bow and then retreated to his room.

Lei and Jing then exchanged gazes.

“I’ll talk to Xi Men tomorrow,” Lei said, putting is hand around Jing’s shoulder.

Jing nodded with a small smile on her face.

“Let’s go and shower… and call it a day,” Lei said, and they both walked towards their room.

“Sure. It’s been a tiring day. I mean my brain…” Jing replied.

Lei chuckled at that as he opened the door of their room.

Before he enters the room with his wife, his chuckle, and even the slightest smile on his face, fades.

**********

Hugging her knees on the bed, Xiao You exhaled a deep breath and then frustratingly runs her right hand thru her hair.

If she was tired, all the tiredness is now gone.

If she was sleepy, all the sleepiness is now vanished.

Her mood has changed.

She felt worried and at the same, agonized.

Agonized because of the conversation she had with Lei and Jing.

“Oh my gosh…” she uttered.

Looks like she won’t be able to sleep tonight.


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