“It’s been a while since we last had ‘dalk galbi’. Should we have it tonight?” Xiao You asked, turning her head to look at Xi Men who is driving her to the mall that is already within their sight.
Probably just 100 meters away.
“‘Dalk galbi’?” Xi Men repeated after her. “Ah. The Korean food?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Hmmm… okay, if that is what you want to eat, we can eat it tonight,” he said, swerving into the drop-off lane of the mall.
Xi Men then halts his car at the drop-off lane, right in front of the entrance of the mall, “Okay, we are here,”
“Thank you for sending me to the mall,” she smiled.
“No worries. My appointment is at 10.30am anyway. I can drive straight to the supplier’s office now. So, have fun shopping,” Xi Men smiled.
“Sure,” Xiao You smiled back as she is looking at him, before she turned to the door and then opened it.
“See you at 6.30pm,” he said.
“6pm!” she corrected him.
He chuckled as 6.30pm is the usual time he picks her up from her work but had momentarily forgotten she is not going to work today, “Alright. 6pm then,”
She smiled as she gets out from the car and slammed the door close.
Xi Men waves at her, and waited until she waves back before he drives off, heading to work.
After seeing he drives off, she entered the mall.
As the door of the mall opens for her to enter, Xiao You smiled.
It’s been a while since she came to the mall.
On a weekday.
And on her own.
She hasn’t done this since she started working with Lei.
When she goes to mall, it will be either on a Saturday or Sunday.
And Xi Men will tag along.
“And now, I can see things for as long as I want, without having to think that there’s someone waiting for me,” she mumbled.
Although Xi Men has never ushered her to do her shopping quickly whenever he tags along, somehow she felt odd to try out a new shirt or dress with someone sitting outside at the bench, waiting for her.
It’s not that he is really her boyfriend, that he is obligated to do so.
But he is just a friend.
She tilts her head.
But it feels different for her to be on her own now after having Xi Men tagging along all the time.
He has done so for a year, and now, for her to be alone…
Well, she has gotten used to having him around.
“Don’t think so much,”
“I am here to buy a cup for Xi Men,”
“And maybe I can do some shopping,”
With a small smile on her face, she walks, looking to the left and right, casually glancing to the shop from the outside.
As she reaches the escalator, she heads to the next level and continues looking around, looking at the shops on her left and right.
As it is Wednesday today, the mall is generally quiet.
She had forgotten how quiet the mall will be on weekdays, as she has been visiting malls on the weekends now ever since she started working with Lei.
Her footsteps slowed down as she stumbled upon a shop, and then she stood right there, in deep thought.
About 20 seconds of consideration, she walked into the shop.
It is a gadgets shop; mobile phone and accessories are all sold in this shop.
A male salesperson approached Xiao You the moment she entered the shop, “Hello, may I help you?” he asked Xiao You.
“Do you have Bluetooth hands-free?” she said. “To use for calls when driving,”
“Yes, we do,” he said, “Follow me, ma’am,”
Standing in front of the shelves with all designs of cups, Xiao You looked intently at them.
“Either I get him anything, or I get him one that looks like the one he had…” she murmured.
“The one I broke…”
She pressed her lips together.
Xi Men’s grey cup is a pretty unique cup.
A tall cup; generally taller than a standard-sized cups.
Narrow at the bottom, wide at the top/brim.
Looks like a cone, without the pointy bottom.
Looks like a funnel, but the end isn’t as narrow.
It is not something that one needs to order or specially made, but it definitely is different compare to most cups where it is just the same size from top to bottom.
And then she stumbled on one cup that looks similar to what Xi Men had.
Same design, different color.
“Looks nice,” she said, reaching for the ceramic cup.
She began looking at it front back, inside out.
Yes, it looks the same as the one she broke.
“Okay, I’ll get this,” she smiled.
“So… my mission is accomplished,” Xiao You said, lifting her hand up and looked at the time on her wristwatch.
“Still 3 hours to go…”
“Since there’s still time…”
That word in a banner outside of a shop suddenly grabbed her attention.
And the next thing is… her feet brought her in into the shop.
“Welcome,” the few salespersons greeted her.
Xiao You nods at them. “Hi,”
She looked around, and then heads to the closest rack of clothes and began scanning each and every one of them.
A woman entered the shop.
“Welcome,” the few salespersons greeted the woman too.
The woman takes a quick brief look around the clothes in the place, and when she noted the clothes are not suitable for her, she decided to leave, only to stop after she saw Xiao You.
After looking at Xiao You for a while, she headed towards Xiao You and stood at the other side of the rack and looked at Xiao You closely.
And just assuming the woman is also looking at the clothes on the rack Xiao You is looking at, Xiao You did not look at her.
Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at the woman standing in front of her, whose smile grew bigger upon the eye contact with Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at her, and despite bearing a short hairdo now, Xiao You still recognizes her. Her (Xiao You) eyes grew wide.
At 6pm sharp, Xi Men swerves into the pick-up lane of the mall and Xiao You is already waiting for him there.
Xi Men glances over to the time on the clock at his car’s dashboard, and noted that he isn’t late.
As he halted the car right where she stood at, Xiao You descended the steps to his car.
Xi Men turned his head to look at the passenger door as Xiao You opened the door of his car.
“Have you waited for me for a long time?” Xi Men asked.
“No. Just 5 minutes,” she said, getting into the car.
“Oh,” Xi Men said, and then smiled as she closed the door.
As she pulled the safety belt over her body,
“Looks like you bought some stuffs,” Xi Men smiled.
CLACK. (safety belt engaged)
Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at Xi Men, “Hmmm?”
“The shopping bags,” he said; his eyes at the bags in her hand.
Xiao You looked at the few bags in her hand. “Oh,” she smiled, “I bought you…”
“A cup?” he smiled.
She looked at him, and then she smiled, “Yeah, I bought you a cup…”
“That’s what you said you want to buy and also the reason of you going for shopping today,” he smiled, engaging the car in Drive gear now.
“Do you want to see your cup now?” she asked.
That prompted Xi Men to lift his head up and looked at the back mirror, just to see if there is any car behind him for if he were to stop right here, he might have blocked them.
Noting there is none (*no cars), “Sure,” he said, putting the car back into Neutral gear.
Xiao You passed him the shopping bag.
He proceeded to open the bag and then dives his hand to take out the cup that is fully wrapped in papers (for protection).
He opened the wrapped papers and looked at the dark purple cup.
He looked at the cup as he recognizes the shape, “This looks like my grey cup,”
“Yes. I bought a similar one,” she said. “Just different color,”
“Oh. I thought you’ll buy something different,”
“Of all the cups… this still looks nice,” she said. “So I picked the same design,”
“Well, I do admit my grey cup was unique,” he smiled.
She smiled faintly.
He turned his head to look at her.
He had expected that she would say something but she ends up being quiet.
He looked at the other shopping bag in her hand.
“Did you buy one for yourself?” he asked her.
“Buy one?” she looked at him.
“No. I broke your cup. Not mine. I don’t have a need for it,” she said.
“Oh,” he wondered what else she bought then. “Well, if that is the case, then… it is nice to know you actually bought something for yourself today,”
She looked at him, “Bought something for… oh,” she took the bag in her hand up. “This is for you,”
“For me?” he asked.
“Yes,” she passed the shopping bag to him too.
He frowned. “I thought you said you are only going to buy a cup, what else are you buying for me?” he opened the bag and looked at the content. “Huh?”
“It’s the first thing I bought today. It’s a Bluetooth hands-free,” she said.
“Bluetooth hands-free?” he asked, and then looked at the box.
“This is for you to use when you are driving. I’ve seen you picking up calls from your smartphone with your hand when you are driving for a couple of times. And I think that’s very dangerous. So, I buy this for you,” she said.
He looked at her. “Oh…”
“That salesperson said this model can work with most phones which is why I bought it. Try it out and if it doesn’t work, I am going back to change it. It is one of the most expensive models in the store,”
“One of the most expensive models in the store?” Xi Men repeats after her. “How much is it? I’ll pay you back,”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “I am buying it for you. I hardly buy things for you after all, because you have everything,” she adds. “Just make sure you use it,”
Xi Men smiled, “Thanks,”
“No problem,” she smiled briefly.
He smiled appreciatively, and now noticing there’s no bags left in her hands, “And I thought you are shopping for your stuffs…” he puts the stuffs at the backseat.
“No, I didn’t buy anything for myself,” she said.
“For a female… you really don’t buy much,” Xi Men said, engaging the car in Drive gear and ready to drive now.
Xiao You just smiled briefly.
“So, what do you want to eat for dinner?” Xi Men asked, driving out from the pick-up driveway.
“Ah, this morning you said you wanted to eat… ‘dalk galbi’,” he said. “We’ll go for it now,”
“Ah, that would have been too much,”
“Too much?” he looked at her, “We have no problems finishing that all these times,”
“I mean I am still full. So… maybe something lighter?”
“Still full? You ate something at the mall just now?”
“Huh? And that makes you… full?”
“I took a few cups,”
He turned his head to look at her briefly and then returned his focus to driving, “Few?”
“You only took one usually,”
“I know,” Xiao You said, looking straight out of the car.
He finds it unusual.
It surely means her stomach is full with coffee… thus… she is full?
Ah, doesn’t matter.
“So… what do you want to have for dinner then?” Xi Men asked.
“Maybe Japanese food. I can order smaller portions,” Xiao You said.
“Alright with me,” Xi Men said.
He casually glances over to look at her, wondering at the look on her face which he couldn’t derive, before he turned his head to look ahead again.
And she’s being… exceptionally quiet.
Which is actually weird.
Holding onto the key to the house, Xi Men looked at the digital board of the lift as it goes up to their penthouse’s level.
He then turned his head to look at Xiao You standing next to him quietly.
She has been so quiet since he fetched her from the mall.
The whole dinner is spent mostly in silence and they barely talked.
He wanted to talk and chat as usual but upon seeing she’s concentrating on her udon the whole time, he ends up being quiet too.
They are used to talk to each other, so he finds this unusual.
Really, really unusual.
Maybe… she isn’t feeling well?
“Xiao You?” he called.
Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at Xi Men who is standing next to her, “Hmmm?”
“Are you alright?”
“Unwell somewhere? Stomach ache? Or… headache?” Xi Men asked.
She finds it weird that he asked that, “No, I am fine. Why do you ask?” she asked.
“Oh. It’s just that… you are quite quiet today. So I was wondering if you are okay,” he said.
“Oh, nah…” Xiao You said, “I am good,”
“Hmmm… alright,” Xi Men said. “If you are unwell, please tell me. I’ll send you to the doctor or something,”
“I am fine, thanks,” Xiao You smiled briefly, before she straightened her head, and then looked at the lift’s digital board.
Xi Men continued to look at her.
He really couldn’t derive the look on her face still, after so many hours had passed. She looked so different now.
Not as in her face had looked different, but the feeling, the aura, the… facial expressions.
Xiao You happened to lift her head up and looked at Xi Men. “Anything?” she asked.
Xi Men smirks and shook. “Nothing. I was wondering why you look…” and he stopped.
“Look?” she asked, immediately raising her hand up to touch her jaw. “Look like what?” she asked.
“I don’t know. I can’t put a word to it,” he said.
“Oh,” Xiao You said, “Is it that my make up smudged somewhere?”
He smiled, “No, not about that. Your make up is good. You look pretty,”
“Oh…” she said, smiling faintly and then straightened her head, lowering her hand (from touching her face) down.
‘He could sense it…?’ she thought.
Her gaze slowly went to Xi Men.
Sometimes, they don’t talk to each other because there is nothing to talk, but the silence is not awkward at all.
Despite not talking to each other, they feel comfortable in the silence.
It has been 13 years.
He had loved her for 13 years.
He has aged, though still as handsome.
Yet his love for her has never changed.
Xiao You straightened her head just as the lift’s door opened.
Both of them walked out from the lift and heads to the penthouse, where Xi Men opens the door.
She entered the penthouse first, followed by him.
As soon as he closes the door and locks the door & hooked the chain…
Xiao You turned around and looked at him, “Xi Men,” she called.
“Hmmm?” he looked at her and stood right there.
Xi Men tilts his head slightly as he waited for her to continue.
“The three days,” she said, looking at him.
He looked at her upon hearing it, with slight change on his facial expression.
Who would NOT remember THAT three days?
“What about it?” he asked, looking tense.
“You haven’t taken up the 3rd day,” she said.
“When are you going to take it up?” she asked, looking at him.
He is taken aback with that question that comes out of a blue. “Take it up?”
She nodded. “When?”
“I have told you before, right? I am not going to take it up,” he said, moving away and refusing to meet her eyes.
“Xi Men…” she called out to him as he walked passed her.
He halted his steps, turned around and looked at Xiao You, “I have said it before, I asked 3 days from you back then to show you what kind of person that I am and how I will treat you when you are with me. And after 3 days, I have to let you leave me. The reason I didn’t take the 3rd day is because I don’t want you to leave,” he said. “So please don’t ask me. I will not take the 3rd day up,” he walked again.
“I said it again, I am not going to take it up so don’t bother asking,” this time he said it while he is walking.
Xiao You heads to him and reached for his hand, holding it and that action halted his steps, “If that is what you said, then, listen to me,”
Standing there, he lowered his head to look at her hand on his’.
“I have decided,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men lifted his head up to look at her.
“The third day has to happen,” she said, looking at him.
His eyes widened to the max.
No. No way. NO F*CKING WAY.
“I am sorry if I had been selfish. I said I am not going to let you leave me,” he said, still surprised.
“Whether you like it or not, it is going to be tomorrow,” she said.