One year later.
Xi Men stares intently at the graph on his laptop screen, studying it for a good minute.
After that, a smile appeared on his face.
Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at the person standing in front of her.
“Delivery for you,” the receptionist smiled at Xiao You and extends a bouquet of flowers to her.
“Oh, thank you,” Xiao You smiled, accepting the bouquet of roses from the receptionist.
“You are welcome,” and she walked off.
Xiao You looked at the bouquet of roses in her hands, and she smiled.
“He always sends nice flowers,” she mumbled.
With the smile still on her face, she puts the flowers on the desk, leaning it against the cubicle divider.
About five minutes later,
“Hey, Xiao You,”
Xiao You lifted her head up, “Yes, boss,” she smiled at Lei.
Lei gazes at the flowers; which is no extraordinary for him since he has been seeing it all the time.
He then straightened his gaze and smiled at Xiao You, “Just wanted to tell you that your TWD$90 million policy will kick in tomorrow,”
Xiao You’s eyes brightened up, “You mean Mr. Yao has signed the policy?”
“Mm hmm,” Lei nodded with a smile.
“That’s marvelous,” she ecstatically said and rubbed her hand. “So, is my commission going to be paid at the end of this month?”
Lei chuckled. “Yes. I will make sure that happens for you,”
“Yay! Thank you boss,”
He chuckles still and then puts his hands on her desk. “So, what are you working on now?”
“Hmm, nothing much,” she said, looking at the laptop’s screen now. “Waiting to meet up with a client next week to get the details before I can begin the proposal. I am reading about the company’s profile now,” she scrolls the page.
“Why don’t you go for a week’s break?”
Xiao You returned her gaze to Lei, “A week? Why the sudden?”
“I personally grant it for you,” he winked. “I know how hard you have worked on this TWD$90 million insurance policy. You’ve spent 3 months dealing with them and now, your hard work paid off. It is not easy negotiating a TWD$90 million policy. And I just feel there is a need to grant you a break for your hard work, so that you can sleep and rest all you want, before you come back to work and meet your client next week,”
She looked at him, and a smile slowly formed on her face, “Really? I get a break…?”
“And… this is not deducted from my annual leave, right?”
Lei chuckled, “No. Not deducted from your leave; I gave it to you personally. So you can go on your break starting tomorrow,”
“Wow, thanks boss!”
Lei chuckled, “And also, when you come back to work next week, sign a new appointment letter,”
“A new appointment letter? What is that?” Xiao You asked.
“I’m going over to the HR department now to tell them that I am promoting you to the position of Assistant Manager,” Lei smirks. “So, the letter should be ready by next week when you come back,”
“Well, no business development managers (*executives in managing business development, not manager level) in my company could produce a TWD$10 million policy, what’s more a TWD$90 million? So, you deserve a promotion. And you know what, I wanted to promote you to be a Manager, Xiao You, but I think that’s going to make the other executives jealous; feeling unfair that you are promoted by a few levels. So, settle with the post of an assistant manager first, and we’ll see again in 6 months,” he smiled, and then toned down his voice, “Shouldn’t be a problem promote you to the Manager level in 6 months with what you are achieving,”
“Wow, thanks, boss! That’s a lot of good news today!” she smiled.
“Glad that you like them,” Lei said, straightened his back. “So, tell him that he doesn’t have to send you flowers next week,” he pointed at the bouquet of roses. “All of us in Hua Ze Corporation have enough reminders of how fortunate you are,”
Xiao You chuckled, “He only sends once every 2 weeks,”
“Ah, right… every 2 weeks for… how long has it been?” he asked.
Xiao You tilts her head, “One year,”
“A year! It’s a year already! So diligent and persistent of him,”
Xiao You could only chuckle.
“And what about the extra bouquet on your birthday and Valentine’s day? I hope you remember how beautiful the bouquet is!”
“I know. 100 stalks of roses,” she replied to Lei.
He smiled, “I hope you know everyone here is jealous of you,” Lei said.
“Including you?” she asked.
Lei looked at her, and then he smirks, “I mean the ladies. Your flowers just reminds me of my wife,”
Xiao You chuckles again, “I hope it made you wanna buy her flowers,”
“Well, a couple of times, but I got immune to the sight of your flowers that comes every 2 weeks. Because I know it is not extraordinary for you to receive the flowers now. Instead, it would be weird if you didn’t get any,”
He looked at the bouquet of roses, “And you know what, sometimes I asked myself… why didn’t I just take up your request to block flowers delivery to the office? We are seeing so much of this now,”
“Didn’t you say it is not your jurisdiction and you will not set a rigid rules such as no flowers for your employees?” she said, “Too late, dude,”
“Ah, using my statements to mock me, lady?”
“Well, I just remember what you’ve said,” Xiao You smiled.
“Ladies really remember all the bad stuffs you do or say to them,” Lei said, and Xiao You laughed, “And it seems that you love receiving his flowers now, eh?”
“They are beautiful,” Xiao You smiled brightly at him.
Lei smiled, and then he frowned slightly, “Did you just call me ‘dude’?”
“Hmmm… maybe?” she said, when she remembers she actually did call him that.
Lei just smirked, not minding it actually.
They are friends anyway.
“So, do what you need to do today, clear them if you have any; and then go for a nice break,” he said, tapping her desk.
“Okay, thanks,” she smiled.
“See you next week, Xiao You,” he said, turning his body already, wanting to move away.
“Thank you again. Oh by the way…”
That halted his steps.
He looked at her, “Yeah?”
“How many days precisely am I getting for my break?” she looked at him.
He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel while his gaze sticks to the entrance of Hua Ze Corporation.
One or two staffs will come out from the entrance every few minutes.
It has been a norm for the staffs to see a luxurious car at the entrance of the company that they don’t give the car another glance anymore; though sometimes they’ll look at the car just to appreciate its beauty.
Or probably to catch a glimpse of the handsome driver.
They know who the car belongs to; precisely it is the handsome driver’s car.
And they know who he is waiting for.
He would remain looking at the entrance, and when the familiar face appears at the lobby and is within his sight, he smiled.
“Bye Xiao You,”
Sipping on the can drink, she stopped doing so due to the calling and immediately swallowed everything in her mouth, “Bye Michelle,” Xiao You said at Michelle with a smile after that; and wanted to wave but she couldn’t at the moment as her left hand is holding onto the can drink while her right hand is holding onto the bouquet of roses.
The colleagues have gotten use to seeing Xiao You with roses.
She heads straight to the entrance, towards the car parked at the driveway.
Seeing her hands are occupied, Xi Men reached for the door (from the inside) and opened it for her.
When the door opened, she instantly meets Xi Men’s eyes.
“Hi,” Xi Men smiled.
“Hello,” she smiled back and before she entered the car, she extends the can drink to him.
“From the vending machine?” he asked as he took the can drink from her hand and eventually takes a sip from it.
“Yes,” she said as she gets into the car.
He smiled as he looked at the flowers in her hands, “So, where are we going for dinner today?”
“Western food!” she said, putting the bouquet of roses to the back seat and then she buckles her safety belt. “I’ve given you the type of food to eat, so you’ll decide the venue,”
He continued to smile, “Alright then,” he passed the can drink back to her so that he can start driving. He engaged the car into the drive mode and drives out of the driveway, joining the main road. “So, let’s go for…”
Xiao You looked at him as she drinks from the can.
“Hold on…” Xi Men dives his hand into his pants’ pocket and takes out his smartphone. He puts the phone on his ear, “Hello Mei Zhuo?”
She looked at him listening to the phone while he is driving.
“Oh really?” Xi Men smiled. “Sure, I’ll go tonight. What time will that be?”
Xiao You then straightened her head.
“9.30pm at VS? Okay,” Xi Men said, and then hangs up the call, putting the phone down.
“Going out for beer with Mei Zhuo tonight?” Xiao You asked, turning her head to look at him.
“Yes. Ah Si just came back from Australia so he wants to meet up with us tonight,”
“Oh, has it been a month?” Xiao You asked, straightening her head. “Ah! It’s been a month!”
Xi Men chuckled. “Yes, it’s been a month since Ah Si and San Chai had gone to Australia. Don’t worry. They are done with their work there so they won’t be going away again,”
“I know about that. San Chai said they will only be in Australia for a month. Umm, they didn’t say they wanna go for dinner with us tonight?” Xiao You asked.
Xi Men shook, “No. Just for drinks tonight. Why do you ask?”
“I just miss San Chai,”
Xi Men lets out a small laugh. “Then call her and talk to her tonight,” he extends his hand to take the can drink from her hand and then he takes a gulp out from it.
“Pretty sure I will,” Xiao You responded. “Don’t drink too much tonight, alright? Your stomach has been acting up randomly recently so I am afraid too much of alcohol may aggravate it,”
“Then prepare green tea for me tonight when I come back,” he smiled, passing the can drink back to her.
“Told you that you should have gone to doctor for check up,” she said, taking the can from him.
“Told you too that I will; when my appointment comes in few months,” he said.
She glared at him.
“Don’t worry, okay? This is just plain discomfort, not the same kind of pain that I had back then,”
“Right, only you would know since it is your body and your experience, eh?” she said, and then rolled her eyes.
He just smiled. “So, how is work today?”
“Oh, mentioning of that,” she said.
“Hmmm?” he glances at her before he straightened his head to look at the road.
“I’m on a week’s break now, starting tomorrow,”
“Cheers!” Xi Men, Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si gently hits their glasses of beer together before they took a sip out of it.
“Ahhhh, it’s been a while since all of us gathered and have a drink together,” Mei Zhuo smiled, putting down the glass of beer.
“Dude, it’s just a month. Not a year,” Ah Si said.
Xi Men and Lei chuckled.
“Well, with Ah Si back now, we can have it more often then,” Xi Men said, and then looked at Ah Si. “Unless you are going off to elsewhere again?”
Ah Si smiled and shook, “Nah. I was only in Australia to oversee the new hotel’s operation and that’s about it. I am done there so I won’t be going anywhere for now, though you have to prepare that when the hotel near airport opens in few months, I have to be there to oversee the operations too so I may be a bit busy and out of town for a month too,”
“No problems about that since it’s just another city, not another country,” Mei Zhuo smiled.
“Are you sure that hotel is going to open for business on the agreed date (in months)?” Lei asked.
“Yes, it will. We have sorted the issues that cause the delay of the opening. So, I can guarantee you, no more delays and the hotel will open on that agreed date,” Ah Si said.
“Glad to know the hotel is finally opening after a delay of so many months!” Lei said.
“I am glad too,” Ah Si smiled, and then he looked at Xi Men, “And I heard some good news from Mei Zhuo about Xi Men Corporation’s stock performance today,”
That brought a smile to Xi Men’s face. “Yes, it is. The stock’s price is high today. I checked and analyzed it today. Well, Xi Men Corporation is doing better than it has ever been before, and I am glad,”
“Of course you should be glad. And you better be. Xi Men Corporation is at its best now, even better than before it hits crisis. It has come to the state where whenever people talked about where the tea comes, it is somehow affiliated to Xi Men Corporation. Either exported, imported, manufactured, distributed or endorsed; Xi Men Corporation tags with it,” Mei Zhuo said. “In and out of the country. You cover the entire tea market in the country, and you are known worldwide as the company to go to when one wants to export their tea leaves or tea bags. No one can do better than you in this industry,”
Xi Men chuckled in embarrassment after hearing how Mei Zhuo described it but certainly proud of his achievement. “Well, along with coffee… although I am only dealing with very few types of coffee for now,”
Mei Zhuo snapped his fingers, “Ah, that as well!”
Lei and Ah Si lets out a small laugh.
Mei Zhuo and Xi Men looked at them.
“What’s so funny? Did I say anything funny?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“No, you did not,” Lei cleared his throat, “It’s just that, despite shy by the compliments, Xi Men had the nerve to rub his other achievement in!”
Ah Si laughed again.
Mei Zhuo laughed now. “Ah, right!”
Xi Men smiled and then laughed too.
After their laughter fades,
“We are very happy with what you have achieved, Xi Men. You have a great vision. This is a risk you’ve taken and it paid off,” Ah Si said.
Xi Men smiled, “Yeah, wouldn’t have thought of this if not for Xiao You,” he said with a glad smile.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at each other with a small smile on their faces.
“And mentioning of this…”
All of them looked at Xi Men.
“If you don’t mind that I say this right now after working hours…” Xi Men said.
“What is it?” Ah Si asked.
“Last year, all of you bought 5.5% of my shares and you paid triple its price to fund me. I am honored, and feel thankful for your support. Since Xi Men Corporation has gotten back on track, I would like to buy back the shares from you at triple its price plus 20%,” Xi Men said, looking at them.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged its gazes.
“Because I think it is time for me to return the money to you,” Xi Men said. “And that Xi Men Corporation is financially stable now, it is not right for me to hold onto your money anymore. So, last year, when you buy it from me, you paid me triple of its price. So I am returning the favor, by purchasing the stocks at triple its price. The shares’ price is high today so you will definitely earn more than you have initially invested. And the 20% that I extended should be treated as an investment’s interest. You know, when you keep them in the bank, they gave you interest; so this is what I am doing as well as and to thank you for your endless support,”
“But I have no interest in selling the shares,” Lei said.
Xi Men looked at Lei.
Lei smirks, “I think I am enjoying the profit now after seeing Xi Men Corporation’s performance. Unless it matters to you to get back the shares, I really don’t feel like selling them,”
“I share the same sentiment,” Ah Si said.
Mei Zhuo nodded, “I have look beyond the monetary issues. I enjoy Xi Men Corporation’s success,”
“Umm…” Xi Men uttered.
“You need the shares, aren’t you?” Lei tilts his head.
Xi Men smiled briefly. “It would be nice to be the biggest shareholder again,”
Lei then smiled, “Okay, let’s do this. If that is what you want, I will sell it back to you, but you don’t have to give me today’s price. Just pay me back what I’ve paid you last year, plus the 20% you have offered as interest. Because when we extended help to you, we didn’t do it for profit…”
“We do it for friendship,” Ah Si smiled.
Xi Men’s smile grew. “Okay, that can be done,” Xi Men smiled. “Thanks dude,” he leaned over to hug Mei Zhuo briefly and then to Lei, while just smacking his hand with Ah Si who is sitting opposite him.
“Let’s talk about that tomorrow then,” Ah Si said.
“Sure,” Xi Men smiled.
“So… since you’re saying about how good things are now… can I expect you to pay for this?” Mei Zhuo pointed at the glass of beer.
“It’s not even TWD$500 and you want me to pay for it?” Xi Men asked.
“Gosh! It is only TWD$500! Why are you so stingy?!” Mei Zhuo asked.
Xi Men remains laughing, “Of course I can pay that but I mean you are stingy! Why don’t you ask for a more expensive meal from me?”
“Oh? If that is what you’ve said, let’s have a meal on you, shall we?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“Sure, no problem,” Xi Men smiled, and then looked at Ah Si, “Xiao You was telling me earlier that she misses San Chai. She was asking why are we going out for beer instead of dinner, so let’s do a dinner with everyone’s wife and kids, if convenient,”
Ah Si nodded, “Sure, no problem,”
“Okay with me,” Lei said.
“I am okay too,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Is tomorrow night okay for everybody?” Xi Men asked.
“Nope. Not tomorrow night. I am going to eat dinner with my in-laws,” Ah Si said.
“Oh, then the day after? Thursday?” Xi Men asked.
Ah Si tilts his head to think about if he is free, “Okay with that,”
“I’ll tell Jing then,” Lei said.
“Alright, then Thursday it is. 7pm?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“Sure, Grand Maple hotel’s Chinese restaurant?” Xi Men asked.
“Okay,” Ah Si nodded. “I’ll make a call tomorrow to book a table for Thursday,”
“Great. Let me jot it down into the calendar,” Xi Men said, taking his smartphone out.
Not only him; Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si did the same too.
After they have marked them in their smartphone’s calendar,
“Hey, do you know Xiao You is on a week’s break from tomorrow?” Lei asked, looking at Xi Men.
“Oh, yes. She told me,” Xi Men said. “She said you granted it to her additionally, and it is not deducted from her annual leave,”
“Yes,” Lei smiled. “She did a good job. Customer is satisfied, thus the company signed it today. So, the week off is just an appreciation for her hard work,”
Xi Men smiled, “Thank you for recognizing her hard work,”
“It would be hard not to recognize. It was a TWD$90 million policy,” Lei smiled.
“TWD$90 million?! WOW,” Mei Zhuo exclaimed.
“Yes. She spent 3 months working on a TWD$90 million policy. Not easy, bro. That is why she deserved a break and I truly believe she needed it too, after working so damn hard for it,” Lei said.
“But she has no plans during the week off. She’s just going to stay at home,” Xi Men said.
“She can sleep and rest or laze around at home. There is no rules saying she must go somewhere for the break,” Lei said. “And I am sure she told you she has been promoted?”
“Promoted?” Mei Zhuo and Ah Si asked at the same time.
“Yes. To Assistant Manager,” Xi Men said.
“Good. She told you everything,” Lei smiled.
Xi Men smiled and then reaches for the glass of beer for a gulp.
All of them did the same after seeing Xi Men takes a gulp from the glass.
After they have put them down on the table,
“So, since I have been away for a month, how are you and Xiao You? Anything happened?” Ah Si asked.