Conflicted – Chapter 55

“Please arrange to let me meet up with Xi Men now,”

The receptionist at the lobby of Xi Men Corporation lifted up her head and looked at Juliana standing in front of her at the reception counter, and then she is taken aback to see it is the significant other of the CEO.

“Mrs. Xi Men,” the receptionist called.

Juliana nods briefly as an acknowledgement to the calling. “Do that for me now,”

“Umm… CEO Xi Men has not come in into the office…”

“It doesn’t matter. Just arrange for me. I want him to see me right when he entered the office,” Juliana insisted.

“Oh… let… let me see what I can do…” the receptionist said, and then she picks the phone up…

***

RING!

Secretary Xu gazes at the ringing phone on his desk to see who is calling.

Stella. The receptionist from the lobby.

Nothing unusual about it. She is one of the usual callers that will call his desk phone with matters pertaining to Xi Men’s schedule.

He then casually picks up the phone.

Secretary Xu: Hello, Stella.

Stella: Secretary Xu, umm… can I check with you…

Secretary Xu: Sure.

Stella: Mrs. Xi Men is here and she wants to see CEO Xi Men…

Secretary Xu’s eyes strayed upon hearing that.

Is he hearing that properly?

Secretary Xu: Mrs. Xi Men?

Stella: Yes…

Secretary Xu is surprised at that confirmation.

Secretary Xu: You mean… Miss Juliana Lin?

Stella: Yes, Secretary Xu…

Although she is married to Xi Men for some years now, Juliana hardly came to Xi Men Corporation.

Xi Men never added her into the F4 list, so while his friends can just bypass the security and crashed to his room, Juliana never had the privilege.

Stella: Secretary Xu, umm… I know CEO Xi Men has not come into the office yet, but Mrs. Xi Men says she wants to see him the moment he entered the office. So… what… what should I do? Please advise…

Secretary Xu: Umm… this is a first to me. I have never encountered this before, Stella. I don’t really know what to do too…

Stella: Umm… does… does CEO Xi Men has any empty slot for appointment…

Secretary Xu: Well, there is… he does not have any appointment today…

Stella: Umm…

Secretary Xu: Do you think I should drop CEO Xi Men a call and inform him about his? Since we have protocols to follow and CEO Xi Men is not here now, we cannot…

Stella: Yes, Secretary Xu. Anything is fine as long as we know what to do here…

Secretary Xu: Okay, let me call CEO Xi Men. I’ll call you back after that.

Stella: Sure, I’ll wait for you.

Secretary Xu puts down the phone receiver and picks it up again, punching Xi Men’s smartphone’s number on the desk phone.

***

*Gets off from the car.

*Slams the door closed.

*Locks the car.

Xi Men turned around and walked.

RING!

Xi Men dives his right hand into his pants’ pocket to take his phone out.

Glancing over at the screen to see the name of the caller, he then picks it up before he looked straight to the direction of the entrance of his office tower.

The moment he puts it on his ear, “Yes, Secretary Xu?”

Secretary Xu: Good morning CEO Xi Men, may I know where are you now, sir?

Xi Men: Just parked my car. I am coming up soon. If there is anything, just wait until I come up and we’ll talk.

Secretary Xu: No, no, no, it’s not about that, sir.

Xi Men: Hmmm? Then?

Secretary Xu: Mrs. Xi Men is at the lobby now.

Xi Men’s footsteps stopped immediately and his eyes brightened up.

Xi Men: Juliana? Did you just say Juliana?

Secretary Xu: Yes, sir. She is here to see you. But since you are not in yet, we do not know where to direct her to.

Xi Men (dumbfounded): Oh.

Secretary Xu: But if you are coming now… maybe we can grant her entry? Since she needs to register as a visitor and also has to go thru the security… it may take her a while to get in here. I guess you’re already in your office by the time she is done… so… can I ask Stella to begin the registration process for Mrs. Xi Men?

Xi Men took a deep breath: It is okay. I’ll deal with her. Directly.

Secretary Xu: Oh.

Xi Men: Thank you Secretary Xu.

He then lowered the phone and then pressed the hang up button.

As he continued to look at the phone’s screen,

“Why is she here?”

He then exhaled a deep breath.

“I did not respond to any of her messages… and now she is here; at my office,” he took another deep breath and then exhaled it again.

“Oh well,”

He continued his footsteps, and entered the lobby of his office tower.

***

RING!

The lobby’s receptionist has never been happier with a phone call until now.

**

Xi Men saw the familiar back of a woman standing in front of the reception counter.

After exhaling his deep breath, he walked over.

“CEO Xi Men,” an employee greeted.

He nodded at the calling, while his gaze remained at the woman he is approaching.

**

Seeing ‘Secretary Xu’ on the caller ID, Stella picks it up.

Stella: Hello, Secretary Xu?

Secretary Xu: Stella, CEO Xi Men is at the entrance. He said he will deal with Mrs. Xi Men on his own.

Stella: He is…

*Tap.

Juliana turned around to whoever is tapping her on her shoulder, and Stella also lifted her head up since she saw Juliana turned around from the corner of her eyes.

Juliana stares straight at Xi Men standing right behind her.

Her heart skipped a beat upon seeing him.

His appearance had never failed to make her heart fluttered.

“CEO Xi Men,” another employee called.

Stella immediately stood up at the sight of Xi Men, “CEO Xi Men,” she called and gave a small bow.

Xi Men nodded at her.

Stella sits down on her seat again and then lifted the phone up. “Yes, CEO Xi Men is right here now. Thank you Secretary Xu,” she said and then puts the phone down.

So, Xi Men and Juliana looked at each other for the first time in 7 days.

Both of them secretly evaluate each other.

And she saw the tie he is using.

“CEO Xi Men,”

Xi Men turned his head to the right and then realized it is just a greeting by yet another employee. He gives the employee a nod.

He then looked at Juliana again, “I was told you want to see me,”

“Yes, I am,” Juliana said.

“So what’s the reason?” he asked.

“I just want to talk to you,” Juliana said.

He didn’t want to talk to her. But she came to his office to do so.

And… it is not nice to make a scene at the lobby anyway.

Well, he has no choice but to give in.

Xi Men nodded briefly, “Alright. So… should we get a place to sit down and talk?”

Juliana shook. “We can do it in your CEO room,”

Xi Men turned his head to the left, and then to the right.

Everyone here knows she is his wife, but no one knows the status of their relationship.

They (other people) don’t even know the nature of their (Xi Men and Juliana) relationship for the last 5 years.

It is also a wise choice to talk in is CEO room instead of a public café as anyone can see or hear their conversation.

“Okay,” Xi Men said. “Then follow me,” he tucks his right hand into his pants’ pocket and then turned to the direction of the lift.

“I need to get visitor pass first…” Juliana is ready to talk to Stella.

And Stella is alert this time, seeing Juliana turned her body to face her (Stella), she (Stella) lifted her head up to look at Juliana.

Xi Men turned his head to look at Juliana, “It is okay. You don’t need to do it this time. You just have to follow me,”

Juliana looked at him.

And Stella looked at Xi Men too, and soon she finds it rude to look at Xi Men and Juliana, she (Stella) quickly lowers her head down again.

Xi Men just gives Juliana a glance before he turned to the direction of the lift and heads to it.

Juliana followed.

Both of them head to the lift, where the security guard bows to Xi Men and Juliana followed behind him.

The security guard was about to stop her, and Xi Men told him that it is fine, in terms of security.

Some of the employees had already noticed the tense environment, but they could not pinpoint exactly what is going on between Xi Men and Juliana.

Juliana stood next to Xi Men in the crowded lift where he doesn’t mind sharing the space with his employees, and having it stopped at almost every level before it reaches the highest floor.

The moment the lift’s door opened at the highest floor, it is only silence.

It is the quietest floor of the entire tower, since this floor is only occupied by the senior management.

Both of them exits the lift and walked towards Xi Men’s CEO room.

Despite married to Xi Men for 5 years, Juliana has only been here once… or twice, and this place where Xi Men spends more than 40 hours a week feels foreign to her.

“So this is how it feels to bypass the visitor registration and security check as well as not having to make appointment to see you,” Juliana said.

Xi Men only smirks at that.

“It takes a while to get into your office if I had to do all of that,” Juliana said.

“Yes. I have a strict policy on visitors, that is why,” Xi Men said. “And there is a need to arrange the appointment because I am busy,”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make it short,” Juliana said.

Xi Men’s eyes strayed to the direction of Juliana, but did not look at her.

He then straightened his gaze and looked at the door about 3 meters away…

As Xi Men approaches the door which is where his CEO room is,

“Good morning, CEO Xi Men; good morning Mrs. Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said.

“Good morning, Secretary Xu,” Xi Men plasters a smile on his face and said.

“Good morning to you, Secretary Xu,” Juliana responded too.

Xi Men twists the door knob and walked into his office, and Juliana followed.

He takes off his coat as he walked to his CEO chair, which he later hung it over the chair and then he sits down.

Juliana’s steps slowed down as soon as she entered his CEO room.

After Xi Men had sat down, he realized Juliana is standing in front of the door, looking around the room.

And then the door closed.

“What about the room?” Xi Men asked.

Juliana returned her focus to him. “Nothing. It’s just that, because I have only been there less than three times, it feels like I have never seen this room before,”

Xi Men also looked around the room. “Nothing special about it,” he uttered, and then he clasped his hands and puts them on the desk; and then he looked at her. “I see that you didn’t sleep well,”

Juliana raised her hand up and touched her cheek, before she raised it to her eyes. “I have bags under my eyes?” she asked.

Xi Men nodded. “It is noticeable when you don’t have any for years,”

Juliana finds herself smiling bitterly, “I didn’t know you will ever notice…”

Xi Men smirked, “Not only you look pale, I think you’ve lose some weight too,”

Juliana continued to smile bitterly.

Xi Men then took a deep breath, “Since you said you are here to talk to me… so, take a seat,”

Juliana walked towards the desk and then glances at the chair, “I don’t think it is necessary,”

Xi Men looked at her.

***

*Sound of heels click-clacking.

Secretary Xu lifted his head up, and as though programmed directly from the back of his head, he greeted the visitor that is walking in front of his desk.

“Good morning Miss Ya… ahhhh,” Secretary Xu is quick to react and extends his hand out to her as he stands up in surprise.

Xiao You is just one step away from the door and her hand is about to land on the knob when she paused and looked at Secretary Xu who suddenly panics and starts waving anxiously at her.

“No, no, no,” Secretary Xu said, still waving and then hurriedly walked out from his seat.

Xiao You looked at Secretary Xu, “Xi Men is busy? Or did he impose some ridiculous rule for me…”

“Miss Yang, shhhh…” Secretary Xu stood in front of the door to block her and immediately puts his point finger on his lips, requesting Xiao You to stop talking since she is just a step away from the door, and he knew if she is too loud… the CEO room’s door is not exactly, perfectly, 100% soundproofed.

Xiao You is taken aback to see Secretary Xu’s weird action(s), but she hushed at that request from Xi Men’s honorable secretary.

“You cannot enter, Miss Yang. Mrs. Xi Men is inside the room now,” Secretary Xu speaks softly.

Xiao You’s eyes widened. “Mrs. Xi… you mean, Ju… Juliana?”

Secretary Xu nodded, “Yes,”

CRAP.

Xiao You is just one step away from the door and her extended hand is just inches away from the door knob where she was about to turn it and enter his CEO room.

That’s how close Xiao You is to meeting Juliana face to face in that room.

So dangerous.

So DAMN dangerous.

“Miss Yang, please step back,” Secretary Xu said softly again, as he needs her to stay away from the door.

Recovering partially from shock, Xiao You took few steps to the back.

First, according to the protocol, when Xi Men is attending to visitors, everyone else, be it staff or other visitor, has to wait for their turn.

And by this protocol, Xi Men is now talking to Juliana so the next person has to wait for their turn to meet Xi Men.

And next; on a more personal note, considering the fact that his married CEO loves this woman for more than a decade, Secretary Xu feels that it is best that the two women don’t see each other, not minding whether these two women knew each other as friends or if they knew ABOUT each other.

“Miss Yang, I don’t think it is wise for you to be here at this moment,” Secretary Xu said. “Mrs. Xi Men will have to leave the room thru this door…”

That means…

PANIC!

Juliana can leave anytime!

Xiao You is in a danger zone!

Xiao You turns around, and then looked to the left and right.

She then turned around again and looked at Secretary Xu, “Where should I go now? Leave entirely? But how would I know where will she be heading or walking towards to, without bumping onto her?” Xiao You asked.

This is panic overflow.

Even Secretary Xu panics at the thought of it.

Lavatory?

But what if Juliana heads to the lavatory later as well… and then coincidentally the janitor wants to clean the lavatory and asks Xiao You to leave her hideout…

And even worse, Xiao You won’t know when to leave, and that it is a female lavatory, he (Secretary Xu) can’t enter and inform her…

Secretary Xu suddenly turned his head to the direction of somewhere and looked.

“Lavatory. Lavatory…” Xiao You said and took her first step to that.

“No, no, Miss Yang,” Secretary Xu is quick to grab her arm. “Come with me,”

And in this chaos, he pulled her and they hurriedly head to a closed door about few doors away from Xi Men’s room.

Secretary Xu opened the door and gently pushed Xiao You into the room.

“This is a boardroom and you can stay here. Don’t worry. Mrs. Xi Men will not come here. I’ll inform you after she had left,” Secretary Xu said.

Xiao You looked at him, “Thank you, Secretary Xu,”

Secretary Xu smiled and nodded briefly, before he leaves and closed the door.

Xiao You closed her eyes and then takes a deep breath, trying to calm herself down.

“Gosh. This freaks me out,” she uttered, putting her hand on her heavily beating heart.

She is so close to opening the door just now.

Thank goodness she listens to Secretary Xu and stopped right before she does it.

Even the thought that Juliana may open the door to leave the room and stumbled onto her scares the shit out of her.

“What are the odds of this happening,”

“This is a situation where I have never imagined will happen,”

She took another deep breath to calm herself as she is still freaked out.

She puts her handbag on the table and then sits down on one of the chairs.

She takes repeated deep breaths.

Few moments later, she frowned.

“Didn’t Juliana say Xi Men doesn’t like her to go to the office and potentially disturb him at his work? Didn’t Juliana also say the whole process of meeting him in the office is tedious? Why is she here?”


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8 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 55

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