Looking at the file he had just brought home, Xi Men smiles to himself.
“Looking at pictures of beautiful women?”
Xi Men turned his head and looked at Xiao You, looking back at him.
He smiled, “Yeah, you,”
“Well, you do make me happy,” he said. “Seeing you makes me smile, of course,”
She smiled, “Looking at the file… I thought it’s your work,” she gets back into topic and her smile fades.
“Yes, it is,”
“It is? The file in your hand is your work?”
“Yes,” he confirms. Wondering why she would ask like that, he closes the file; looking at the front of the file and then swaps to the back, before he spreads it open again, “What makes you think this is not?”
“I have never seen you smiling like that when you are just seeing your own work,” she said.
“Oh, that…” Xi Men said.
She tilts her head as she looked at him.
“This is a report from my finance department. They produce a report to me every Thursday, and since I have been meeting clients and suppliers today, I haven’t had the chance to read the report at work; thus I brought it home,”
“Hmmm? Is there good news? Since you smiled while reading it,”
“Well… we got some good figures,” Xi Men smiled.
“That sounds nice,” Xiao You said, smiling too.
“From the look of this… Xi Men Corporation has tapped onto the line between crisis and safe…” Xi Men said.
“Really?” Xiao You looked at him, partially surprised.
“I mean, I am not going to say Xi Men Corporation is really safe now, but to see it on this line…” he smiled at Xiao You. “You know what I mean; it’s a good thing,”
“Congratulations! Your hard work pays off!” she leaned over to him, wanting to hug.
“Thank…” he extends his hands, waiting for her to lean over and he wants to wrap his hands around her until…
“Ouch, ouch, ouch,” Xiao You didn’t even get to reach Xi Men and she pulled back.
Both Xi Men and Xiao You looked, only to realize it is the file in Xi Men’s hand that has gotten in the way between them, that the flap of the opened file pokes straight to Xiao You’s abdomen when she leaned over to him.
“Oh, sorry…” he closed the file and threw it to the coffee table in front of him.
“No worries about that,” she sits back on the couch and rubbed her abdomen.
‘No more hug?’ Xi Men asked himself.
“Is it still painful?” Xi Men asked, looking at her rubbing the abdomen still.
“Oh, no, no, it’s not painful, just slightly discomfort,” she said.
After the discomfort is gone, she sits up straight and smiled at him, “You are really, really lucky, Xi Men. In just three months, you managed to get Xi Men Corporation out of crisis,”
“To be honest, without my shareholders, I won’t be able to do this,” Xi Men smiled.
“Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si?” Xiao You asked.
Xi Men nodded. “They are the one that supports my idea and gave me all that I need, especially business contacts. My dad… well, the results are what that prompts him to support my new business plan two months ago,” Xi Men said. “So I really need to thank Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si,”
Xiao You smiled. “I am so happy for you,”
“Thank you,” Xi Men smiled. “Xi Men Corporation is just on the safety line. But I am still far away from the success that I am eyeing. Compare to what Xi Men Corporation used to be at, this is nothing but a small step. The stocks prices in the stock market are only increasing by few cents daily, it is not at a satisfactory price yet,”
“Well, this is what you need. Baby steps,” Xiao You smiled. “You’ll get there with baby steps, Xi Men. Slow, but surely,”
Xi Men smiled faintly.
“You’ll get there, Xi Men. I have faith in you,” Xiao You smiled, patting him on his shoulder.
“I know. You have faith in me since day 1,”
“Yes, I am,” Xiao You smiled wider, “Glad that you knew,”
He smiled. “I always knew,” he said, “And I have to thank you too,”
She smiled, “I didn’t do anything,”
He shook briefly, “You’ve given the most important ideas that I am able to use it for my company,”
“I didn’t do anything, really,” she repeated. “You just somehow… think something out of what I’ve said and apply it to your company…”
“So I really didn’t do anything,” she said.
“But you said something, right?”
She looked at him, and then it turns to a glare.
She smiled again, and then straightened her head to look at the TV screen. “You are welcome, then,”
He chuckled again, before he straightened his head to look at the TV too.
While his eyes are at the TV, his mind travels…
Is it time?
Is this the time?
He had tried for 3 months, but…
He dropped his gaze to look at the file on the coffee table.
It is different now.
The report in the file has changed the condition he is in now.
He slowly turned his head to look at her.
She is watching TV, but soon feels that he is looking at her, thus she turned her head and looked at him. “Hmmm?” she asked.
He smiled at her, and then he extends his hand, about to reach hers when…
“Ah! I forgot to wash the pot after I cooked you the noodles!” she immediately stands up.
He rolled his eyes as she hurriedly walked off to the kitchen.
‘What’s with pots and all, huh?’
‘And of all times, why now?!’
After exhaling a deep breath, he stood up and heads to the kitchen too.
He looked at her pouring the dishwasher drop onto the pot, before he then walked towards her and stood next to her, leaning his hip against the kitchen top.
“I find that you have some connections with pots,” he said, folding his hands on his chest.
“Connections? What do you mean?” she asked, glancing over to Xi Men.
“I don’t know. It feels like everytime I look at you in the kitchen or you have to do something in the kitchen, it is always related to a pot; such as… you are either cooking something in a pot, boiling something in a pot, steaming something in a pot, fiddling with a pot or washing a pot,”
She laughed at the way he described it.
“I mean, it’s always a pot,” he said.
“It is just coincidence, Xi Men,” she smiled at him, whiles she runs water on the pot in her hand.
He took a deep breath as he gazes at her cleaning it.
“And you should know that whenever I do something with a pot, it is somehow connected to you. Such as cooking you noodles, boiling you soups, steaming you buns…”
“I know, I know,” he said, and then exhaled a deep breath.
She just smiled as she closes the tap now.
He gazes at her, watching her wiping the pot with a clean cloth.
“Oh yeah, you have something to talk to me?” she asked.
“Talk?” he looked at her.
“Yeah. You were looking at me just now at the living room as though you have something you want to tell me, before I dashed into the kitchen because of this pot; which I don’t like the idea of dirty dishes…” she said, putting the pot down on its respective place.
She then turned and looked at him now.
He looked at the pot for a while, before he returned his gaze to her.
She looked at him, “Hmmm?”
He dropped his gaze briefly. “I…”
“What is it?” she asked.
He did not say a word for 15 seconds.
“I’ve told you before. When things had settled down, I will go after you,” he said.
There is a small change in her gaze.
“Sadly, things had gone for worse, where right after the divorce, my company dives into crisis and I have to deal with it; taking longer time than I have originally expected,”
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
“And now that my company has briefly tapped into the safe zone, it means things are getting better for me. So I am ready to make a move on you,” he said.
She blinked numerous times and then swallowed the quickly-formed lump in her throat again.
She already knew what it means.
“I am declaring it now. I am going after you, Yang Xiao You,” he lifted his eyes up to look at her.
Xiao You clenched her teeth tight, and she begins to shake her head, “No… please don’t, Xi Men,”
“Don’t?” he asked her back.
“I… I don’t want to. I… I can’t,”
“You don’t want to? You can’t?” he repeated after her. “Why?” he asked.
She pressed her lips together.
“Is it because it’s too early? Because I have just divorced Juliana not too long ago? Is that a factor to you? Then how long should I wait to make it OK for you? Another month? Three months? Six months? Or one year?”
“No. It’s not that, Xi Men,”
She slowly raised her eyes up to look at him, “I’ve told you before we can’t be together,”
She could only look at him.
“The same ol’ reason again, Xiao You?” he asked again.
She remained looked at him, and then belatedly lowered her gaze while gritting her teeth.
He took a deep breath, “But that was in the past! Why can’t you leave them in the past?!”
His reaction has prompted Xiao You to lift her gaze up to look at him, startled.
“These 3 months… these 3 months had showed us what we meant for each other. How we cared for each other and supported each other… can’t you see that?” he asked softly this time. “Can’t you even think about that, and give us a chance?”
“Xiao You, you know how I felt for you, and both you & I know how you felt for me too. So why can’t we let our feelings conquer?” he asked, looking at her.
She dropped her gaze.
And she interrupts, “What I feel for you could not measure up to how guilty I am towards Juliana and Mark,”
There is a change on Xi Men’s facial expression.
“Juliana… and Mark?” he asked in disbelief. “Did you say… Mark?”
She lifted her eyes up and looked at him, “If not for me… Juliana would not end up like this. And also, if not for me… Mark would not be forced to do things he didn’t want to,”
Xi Men looked at her, in disbelief over what she had said, “Xiao You, I don’t love Juliana! She’ll end up like this whether you came into the picture or not!” he said. “And Mark?! He bloody cheats on you so he deserves what he is today!” he angrily adds.
“But still, things would be different if I did not come back to Taiwan,” she said, looking at him.
He looked at Xiao You.
He belatedly lets out a chuckle of disbelief, “Different?”
Xiao You pressed her lips together for a while, and then she guiltily speaks, “Xi Men, I know how you felt for me. I know it clearly. But I am sorry… there is nothing that could get rid of this guiltiness in me…” she looked at him, “Nothing at all,” and she then lowered her head down, “So, please… please be content with what we have now. That is all I can give you. That is all I can do. I can’t do any more than what I can do for you now…”
“I can’t believe this,” he said before she finishes her line.
She looked at him.
“I can’t believe I have to lose to my ex-wife and your ex-husband in this… this… ‘thing’ that has no position for them; when it is just between you and me, and they have to stop me from having you,” he uttered.
She opened her mouth, wanting to say something, but no words could be uttered.
“I do not believe this is how it’s going to be for us. I do not believe I can’t win you. I do not believe my love for you could not overcome your unreasonable guilt to the people in the past,”
“Xi Men, this…”
“I love you too much to give you up,”
“I… I am really sorry…”
He gritted his teeth momentarily and then he looked deep into her eyes.
She immediately realized the gaze he gave her is different.
But what is that supposed to mean…?
“Whether you like or not, I will go all out to win you. I will move you and topped the guilt in you for you to be with me. I am sure, one day, you will accept me,” he said.
Her eyes brightened up slightly upon hearing what he said, and now realizing that his gaze is a gaze of determination, “Xi Men… please… please don’t waste your time…”
“I don’t find ‘winning you’ a waste of my time,” he reasoned.
“WHY? Why can’t you just be content with what we have? We have good conversations, we supported each other, we give comforting hugs to each other…”
“That is not what I want. So how can I be content?” he asked.
“I…” she is again, loss for words.
“Or rather I should say, I want more than what we have now. What we ‘have’ is just one step away from being together officially. Just one step,”
“Xi Men, please understand. It is not going to work… we won’t…” she said, “We won’t be together… I will not be with you, no matter what, no matter how…”
“I will do anything, and everything to win you,” he said stubbornly. “I will not give up until you accept me,” he said. “I will not give up,”
“And I will wait for that day to come,” he looked at her intently.
She could only look at him, and swallowed the lump in her throat.