“So, since I have been away for a month, how are you and Xiao You? Anything happened?” Ah Si asked, looking at Xi Men.
Xi Men smiled for a brief moment as he lowered his gaze to the glass of beer, “No. Nothing happened. Nothing changed,”
“Still the same?” Ah Si asked.
Xi Men smirks briefly and then looked at Ah Si, “Yeah,”
“Like, how long has it been? 6 months? 7 months?” Ah Si asked.
“One year,” Lei corrected.
“One year?!” Ah Si asked. “It’s been a year?!”
“What happened to your calendar, dude?” Mei Zhuo asked Ah Si.
“Errr…” Ah Si didn’t even realize time passes by that fast.
Xi Men exhaled a deep breath, “More precisely, it’s been 14 months, 3 weeks and 1 day,”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Xi Men.
“Wow… I… I didn’t know you count it,” Mei Zhuo said.
“It wasn’t that hard to take note of. 3 months ago marks a year since the Macau trip, and I came back to Taiwan on Monday, and it’s Tuesday today so calculations are pretty easy,” Xi Men said.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si continued to look at Xi Men.
“You know… nobody keeps track of things like that…” Mei Zhuo said softly.
Xi Men smirks upon hearing it, and then he reached for the glass of beer.
“That’s because he is waiting for her to accept him, dude,” Ah Si leaned nearer to Mei Zhuo and said.
Mei Zhuo gazes at Ah Si, “I know…” he mouthed the words to Ah Si.
“Well, Xiao You and I are good,” Xi Men smiled briefly. “Things are going well for us…”
“Oh, everyone knows how ‘well’ it is, Xi Men. Everyone knows you go for meals with her, spends weekends with her, brings her along to other countries, takes her out to your corporate functions as your partner; which you are always prompted with the question by the media whether she is your significant other and you replied she is just a friend, and well… nobody trusts that when there are pictures of both of you together, hooking hands, sticking next to each other at the dinner, even sharing food…” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men smiled faintly.
“And not just that; sending flowers to the office every 2 weeks, pick her up from work at 6.30pm with your expensive car parked right in the middle of the driveway in front of my office,” Lei said.
Xi Men’s faint smile grew slightly.
“Everything is ‘well’ as you have claimed. But, other than the part that in reality as WE; I mean, F4 knows, she is not your girlfriend,” Mei Zhuo continues. “Officially,”
Xi Men’s smile fades upon hearing that, and he sighed. “I know,” his point finger trails the rim of the glass in circular motion. “We are doing everything like a couple would, but we are not a couple,”
“Actually, both of you are more intimate since the Macau trip,” Lei said, folding his hands on his chest. “Despite not together,”
Xi Men smirks.
“I still remember how shocked I was when I see her taking a sip out of your drink with no hesitation. San Chai is surprised at how close you both were just from a trip!” Ah Si said.
Xi Men smiled, “The good thing that comes out from the trip was that we grew comfortable with each other,” he lowered his gaze for a while, “And after all that we’ve done in the trip, it is impossible to treat them as though it has never happened. And sharing food is a trait that we continue out of the trip. We are that comfortable,”
“Mind if I ask you something very personal?” Ah Si asked.
Xi Men lifted his head up and looked at Ah Si, “Very personal?”
“Do you guys still sleep together after the trip?” Ah Si asked, tilting his head.
Xi Men’s eyes widened at that question.
That’s really personal!
Lei and Mei Zhuo grew interest in the topic; that they turned their heads to look at Xi Men, waiting for his answer.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat, “No, we don’t,” he shook.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged gazes.
“Really?” Lei asked.
Xi Men then smirks at Lei, “What makes you think I am lying?”
“Well…” Lei tilts his head. “I am sorry, I don’t think you could hold back. When you were married to Juliana, it still happens once every few months. What’s more complete abstinence for a year with someone you love staying in your house, just right in the next room?”
Xi Men looked at Lei, and then smiled, “I actually can’t (hold back),” he lowered his gaze to look at the glass of beer in front of him.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Xi Men.
“So I am amazed with myself at how I can hold back for a year, when every sight of her and every touch from her makes me want to kiss her and be close to her,” Xi Men answered as he looked at his glass of beer, “Whenever I hug her, I just want to do more. But I need to hold back. I can’t do it to her. Because I have to respect her. If Macau trip did not happen, I probably could still be okay, but since it has happened and we slept together at that time… it is like… a gate has opened,” he sighed. “So, since then, my desires for her get stronger than I ever have before. I died, not be able to be close to her,”
“Any thoughts just to sleep casually with your housemate?” Mei Zhuo asked, lifting the glass of beer up.
All of them gazed at Mei Zhuo who is drinking his beer, looking really casual despite what he had just uttered.
“Dude, don’t feed these thoughts to him when he is already smothered by his urge to be close to her,” Lei looked at Mei Zhuo.
“Look, I was just suggesting. Who knows she is up for it too?” Mei Zhuo said, putting down his glass.
“That’s not a plain housemate, dude. That’s someone he loves. Why do you want to treat someone you love like that?” Lei asked. “Xi Men does not need a f*ck, he needs the girl; no, wait, I mean he needs a f*ck, but he needs the girl more than everything,”
Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Lei for saying that; precisely for his use of words, while Xi Men slapped his own forehead after hearing that.
“Sigh… what kind of buddies do I have…?” Xi Men uttered with his hand still on his forehead. “URGH…”
“The point being,” Xi Men lifted his head up and said, interrupting Mei Zhuo, “I am not going to do anything like that to Xiao You. I am not going to sleep with her if she is not with me, if she is not my partner, not my girlfriend, not my fiancée, not my wife. OKAY?”
“What if she comes into your room all of a sudden and wants to do it with you?” Mei Zhuo asked. “Are you going to do it?”
Xi Men eyes Mei Zhuo.
“Dude, stop feeding Xi Men those thoughts,” Ah Si uttered.
“It’s already in my mind~~~~!” Xi Men complains with his hands on his head; already imagining that scenario in his mind.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men then grabbed Mei Zhuo by his shirt, “LING MEI ZHUO, stop that! Don’t do that to me anymore! I am dying already!” he shakes Mei Zhuo.
Mei Zhuo didn’t know what he should react. He wants to laugh after seeing Xi Men’s reaction but laughing did not seem proper too.
Lei and Ah Si smiled, trying hard not to laugh at Xi Men’s desperation too.
“Alright, alright, no more of that topic, okay?” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men exhaled a deep breath, and then releases Mei Zhuo’s shirt.
And then Xi Men took another deep breath.
“So, what are you going to do, Xi Men?”
Xi Men shot a glare to Ah Si, if he is going to continue the topic that is driving Xi Men nuts. “Do what?”
“Your situation,” Ah Si clarified. “Your friendship with Xiao You is clearly beyond just friends. And it’s been more than a year. Don’t you want to move forward?”
“Oh,” Xi Men responded upon recognizing it is no longer that dreaded topic. “I… I don’t know what to do too…” he then sighed.
“Any plans to use the last day with her?” Lei asked.
“Last… day?” Xi Men repeated after Lei.
“There’s a day left in the 3 days she promised you, right?” Lei said.
Xi Men sat there, didn’t say a thing.
“Seeing the state of your relationship with her now, and you also acknowledged that it is better than before the Macau trip, this third day may yield a good result, Xi Men,” Lei said.
Xi Men lowered his gaze.
“Are you afraid she is going to leave after the 3rd day?” Lei asked.
Xi Men gazes at Lei.
“Don’t worry, Xi Men, if she wants to leave, I won’t let her go as well. She is not just the love of your life, she is my best asset too. I don’t want to lose such a great staff,” Lei said. “I will persuade her for you too,”
Xi Men’s lip curved up to form a smirk. “If I, as the person who loves her the most, could not stop her from leaving, do you think she will listen to her boss?” he looked at Lei. “You provide her a job, while I am ‘the rest of her life’, if she walked out from me, what makes you think her job will make her stay?”
Ah Si and Mei Zhuo looked at Lei.
“When she wants to leave, no one will be able to stop her,” Xi Men said, grabbing his glass of beer, but he stopped before it reached his lips, “Even if she wants to leave now without letting me know… she could,”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Xi Men drinking his beer now.
“What do you mean?” Lei asked.
Xi Men puts down the glass, “I removed her name from the blacklist so that she can go to Macau with me. But after we came back, I didn’t add it back into the list,” Xi Men said.
“You didn’t?” Lei is surprised. “Then all the trips she made for work with me and goes with you…”
Xi Men shook.
“Every single time I am bringing her overseas for work, I have to tell you that she’s leaving the country for work with me, so that you can remove her name…” Lei said.
“You know now. You don’t have to specifically inform me anymore. I have never added her name back into the list after Macau trip,” Xi Men repeated. “She can freely go in and out of the country,”
“Why… why don’t you tell me…?” Lei asked, feeling he has been doing something unnecessary for the whole year, because he believes Xi Men will have to remove her name from the blacklist, and then will add it back in once she comes back to the country because Xi Men is afraid of Xiao You leaving.
“Adding and removing her name is a tedious job. And somehow… it felt like it is a dare to Xiao You,” Xi Men said.
“A dare?” Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si asked at the same time.
“She can, at anytime… try to leave the country. It’s just that, she believes her name is still blocked, so she won’t be able to leave. But in truth, that’s not the case,” Xi Men said, and then he dropped his gaze. “And… truthfully, I am hurt,”
“Hurt?” Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si asked.
“Why?” Mei Zhuo adds.
Xi Men took a deep breath and then exhaled it. He then lifted his head up to look at them, “Last year… when I officially start going after her, she told me about how I hold her back from leaving. Yes, she wanted to start anew after her divorce with Mark, but she wanted to do it far from me. I gave her everything here. A place to stay. A job… I mean…” he looked at Lei, “You gave him a job but I let…”
“I get it, Xi Men. I get it,” Lei nodded. “Just continued what you want to say,”
He exhaled his deep breath, “I mean, I let her start all over here, but… she reminded me that this is not what she wanted. Or rather, she wanted all of this… but not with me. Not from me. Not right here,” he said, looking at nothing in particular.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at each other.
“I keep her with me because of my fear of losing her, I gave her all that she needs, but her heart remains at that one motive. It broke me that the thought of leaving is still in her mind,” Xi Men said solemnly. “So I opened up the door (*remove from blacklist), without telling her it is opened, so that she can discover it herself. And if she wants to fly (leave), she can leave,”
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si didn’t say a thing.
“That is why it felt like a dare; that she can discover the opportunity herself,” Xi Men said. “And to leave, never to come back, ever again,”
Lei slowly raised his hand and patted Xi Men’s shoulder.
“My third and last day… it is always in my mind, because I wanted to be close to her, wanted to touch her, wanted to kiss her, wanted to love her as a lover…” Xi Men finds himself smirking, that he is the one bringing up the topic now, “But I am afraid she will leave after that, because that is what I promised, that once the 3 days are taken up, she is free to leave. Now I am afraid of her leaving, more than ever. And yes, I didn’t take up the 3rd day because I am afraid of what’s gonna happen next; that she may leave me,” he said. “And I dread, thinking it is the last day I will see her and be with her. I cannot imagine how painful I will feel when she walked out from the door, from my life,”
It is Mei Zhuo’s turn to lift his hand up and patted Xi Men’s shoulder.
Xi Men smiled briefly at Lei and Mei Zhuo for comforting him, and then he looked at Ah Si, “That is why… I have no plans to do anything. If this is the best that can happen to me and Xiao You, then I am going to live like this for as long as I can. I want to delay her from leaving for as long as I can,”
“I understand, bro,” Ah Si smiled briefly and extends his hand out.
Xi Men extends his hand for a smack over Ah Si’s hand.
Ah Si smiled and then grabbed his glass of beer, “For Xi Men, for as long as you can,”
Lei and Mei Zhuo immediately followed suit by grabbing their glasses of beer, “For Xi Men, for as long as you can,”
Xi Men smiled and he grabbed his glass of beer too, “Thank you, my brothers. For as long as I can,”
They then lifted their glasses of beer together, “Cheers!”
“So, we’ve agreed to have dinner together on Thursday. Is that okay with you?” Xi Men asked, and then take a sip on the green tea from his grey cup as he sat at the dining table.
“Sure. You know I am always free for dinner since I am only eating dinner with you,” Xiao You smiled, also sipping her cup of green tea. Since she made him the cup of green tea, she also made one for herself, “If you deemed it as a good day for dinner with everybody else, of course I’ll be fine with it,”
Xi Men smiled, taking another sip of the hot green tea.
“No souvenirs from Ah Si?” Xiao You suddenly asked.
Xi Men chuckled, “He didn’t give me anything,”
Xiao You pouted her lips. “You guys are so boring. No, heartless is more of a right word,”
He laughed, “You know we are not that kind of person, buying things for each other when the other has gone there few times. We are F4, you know. We’ve been to everywhere in the world,”
“But we ladies are better. Despite knowing the other have been there before, we still buy gifts or even chocolates just for the sake of it,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men smiled, “Then wait for just 2 more days. Maybe San Chai bought you something and she’ll pass to you then,”
“Pretty sure she does!” Xiao You said.
Xi Men chuckled at Xiao You’s reaction, before then gulps down the rest of the green tea in his cup.
“Did you drink a lot?”
Xi Men looked at Xiao You, “Hmmm?”
“Beer. Alcohol. Just now,” she said. “A lot?”
Xi Men smiled, “About 3 glasses of beer,”
“Hmmm…” she looked at her cup of green tea, “Okay. Don’t drink too much until your doctor said you are clear to do so,”
“That’s like months away,” Xi Men said.
“You can go and see the doctor sooner than that, you know?” she winked at him.
He looked at her, and then he chuckled, “Alright. Let’s just stick with drinking less than usual until I see my doctor, okay?” he rose to his feet.
“Do you have phobia with your doctor?” Xiao You asked, looking at him. “That you’d rather drink less than seeing him? Is he a monster or something?!”
Xi Men laughed. “No. I don’t have any phobias with him. It’s just that I don’t like the queue. Since I’ve made appointment, I’d rather go straight to that. I don’t have to wait,” he walked to the kitchen.
“But that’s like months away!” she said, her gaze follows him to the kitchen.
“No problem with that! I can wait!”
“Can’t wait for the queues but can wait for months?! Urgh!” she muttered, and then empties her green tea.
She then rose to her feet and heads to the kitchen, seeing Xi Men has already discarded the teabag and washed his cup, placing the clean cup next to the sink.
Since she didn’t favor having maids in the house but hourly maids that will come to the house to clean, he adapted to her preference, and do these minor cleaning himself.
It is Xiao You’s turn to wash her cup.
Xi Men smiled as he walked out from the kitchen. “I supposed you won’t sleep early tonight since you don’t have to go to work tomorrow?”
“Oooo, yeah. It’s party time!” she happily said.
He chuckled at her reaction.
“Why, are you jealous?” she asked, running water on the cup.
“Jealous? Why should I? Your break is granted for your hard work for Lei’s company. And I work hard for my own company, and since I am the boss, I can take my break anytime I want; and longer than a week, you know?” he looked at her from outside of the kitchen door.
“SHEESH!” she turns off the tap since she’s done with the washing.
She turned her head along with her upper body to his direction since he is laughing, and in midst of turning, her elbow hits Xi Men’s grey cup on the kitchen top and then…
*Breaks into pieces.
Xi Men’s laughter fades and looked at the floor.
Xiao You’s jaw dropped after seeing what she had done.
“Oh gosh! This is your cup! I am so sorry!” she quickly crouches, ready to pick up the pieces.
Xi Men grabbed Xiao You’s hand, pulling her up from her crouching position and looked at her, “Are you alright?” he asked, looking at her with utmost concern before he lowered his gaze to look at her feet.
Xiao You finds the question odd. “Me? Alright?” she asked, looking at him.
“Did you get hit by the broken glasses?” he asked, looking around her feet. “The flying pieces?”
“Flying… oh, no,” Xiao You responded. “No, I didn’t get hit,”
Apparently what Xi Men meant was to know if the cup that broke into pieces upon impact on floor had (the pieces) flew towards her and potentially injure her.
“Really?” Xi Men asked, lifting his gaze up to look at her after hearing that.
She always knew he cares.
“Yes. I am sure,”
He then smiled; relieved that she isn’t hurt, “Okay then,”
Xiao You returned her gaze to the broken pieces on the floor, “Xi Men, your cup…” she lowered her upper body as well as extending her hand for one of the pieces.
“No, no, no,” Xi Men stopped her. “Don’t pick the ceramic pieces up like this. You might injure yourself,” he pulls her to him so that it will stop her from going to the broken pieces on the floor again.
“Xi Men I am sorry about the cup,” she looked at Xi Men, whose hand is around her waist. “I didn’t know I…”
Xi Men then smiled, and followed by chuckling, “Did you do that to my cup because I was being annoying to you?”
She looked at him, blinked a few times as she processes his joke in her mind; to recall that prior to this accident, he was teasing her. She then exhaled a deep breath, “I’d rather hit you than break your cup. Your cup did not offend me,”
“The owner did,” Xi Men laughed again.
She glared at him, and then pulls back to release herself from his grip. “I am being serious,” she then pouted, “I am sorry…”
“It’s okay,” he smiled. “It’s just a cup,”
She remains pouting.
He chuckled at her adorableness, “If you feel sorry about it, then get me a replacement cup, how is that?”
Hearing what he said, she smiled. “Okay. I’ll go and find one for you tomorrow,”
“Tomorrow?” he asked, looking at her.
She nodded, “Since you don’t have a cup to use, it is better I get one quickly. I have nothing to do tomorrow anyway. And I have a good reason to go shopping now,”
He chuckled, “Alright,” he said, “Now, go get the broom. We need to sweep this as there may be lots of small pieces. And I don’t want you to potentially injure yourself by picking them up with your hands,”