Conflicted – Chapter 97

*He browses his smartphone.

*She browses her smartphone.

Silence.

“I have just realized how short 24 hours are today,”

That’s random.

Xiao You turned her head and looked at Xi Men who had uttered that; and he is now lowering the phone in his hand down.

“Hmmm… where did that come from?” Xiao You asked.

“Don’t you think so?” Xi Men asked, and then turned to look at Xiao You.

Xiao You just stares at him, who is sitting next to her on the bed.

“We started the day at 10am. Did some shopping, went for lunch… then we come over to the hotel for check in… that’s almost 3pm,”

She thinks about it, and then she nodded in agreement. “Yes, it is…”

“And then we made love… and when we’re done with shower, we head for dinner… and that’s at 6.30pm,” he said.

“Oh? You keep track of the time?” she asked.

Can’t afford not to keep checking out the time…

Instead of answering her, he continues, “By the time we came back from dinner, it is already 9.40pm. And after a quick shower and sat down on the bed to relax, it is already 11pm now,”

Since he said that, it prompted her to lift her phone up to check at the time.

“Almost, I mean,” he adds.

She looked at the time.

10.45pm.

“And soon, it will be time for bed. And by the time we wake up tomorrow, it is probably 9am,” he said. “And 10am is when all of these will end…” he suddenly sighed.

She lifted her head up and looked at him.

She knew he is sad.

“So 24 hours are not as long as I thought,” he said, and then looked at her with a small smile on his face.

Seeing he smiled briefly at her, she returned the same small smile to him.

He then slowly straightened his head. “I thought I can do a lot with 24 hours. But I was wrong,”

She pressed her lips together.

“Maybe it is because I am counting down the time… thus I feel like this,” he adds.

She lowered her head slightly.

“When you always think that you still have tomorrow, you still have another day… perhaps, that is how you took things for granted, not realizing how short 24 hours are,” he said.

She lifted her head to look at him.

“I live with you,” he said. “So I have never felt I am running out of time. But now…”

She swallowed the lump in her throat.

He smirks. “There were times in the past… where I wanted to break the 24 hours down… taking one hour at each time… and that means I will have 24 days with you…”

She smiled, and then finds herself letting out a small laugh after that. “And then you won’t take the 24th hour, right?”

He smiled, and then he chuckled after that, “Yes,” he said. “But I can imagine the horror of having that 24th hour… if you are pressing me to have it like how you do to me now,” he adds. “My mind will probably go blank. I’ll probably let the hour passed by without doing anything,” he smiled. “But I don’t think there’s anything I can do within an hour since it is so short…”

“You are the great Xi Men, you will know what to do,” she smiled. “You will find a way,”

He smiled. “I never knew you have that much of faith in me,”

“Well, you are not the kind of person that will let such precious time slips away,” she said.

With the smile still on his face, he slowly reached for her hand and holds it. “I can’t believe I am letting few of those precious hours to be spent on sleep,”

She chuckled, “Sorry, it is a package,”

He smiled, and he lowered his head to look at her hand as he gently squeezes her fingers, “Hmmm? Where’s your ring?”

“I’ve kept it in the box,” she said, looking at the dressing table as that’s where she puts the box. “I have no intention to wear it to bed,”

“Oh,” he said.

She looked at his hand, and he is still wearing it.

She smiled. “Do you love your ring?”

He lowered his gaze to look at the ring on his hand, and smiled, “Yes, I do. I love it. I think I have never loved a ring as much as I do now,”

“Because I have one as well?” she asked.

He smiled as he looked at her, “Yes. And also, how meaningful it is for you,”

“So… I guess, the ring is very important to you now?” she asked.

He looked at the ring on his finger again. “I guess so…”

She smiled.

“I think I am afraid of losing it now,” he said. “Since this holds so much significance to me…”

“Hmmm…” she tilts her head, “Ah. Give me a moment,” she patted his hand to let her go.

He released her hand, and then watches her getting down from the bed, and heads to the dressing table.

She grabbed the box and then returned to the bed, sitting down again at the spot where she had just got up from.

She opened the box. “Well, if you are afraid… you can keep it here with mine… but for one night only,”

For one night.

Those three words saddened him, but he puts up a strong front instead, since he knew she didn’t want him to be sad.

He chuckled. “So, I don’t have to worry I might lose it here tonight?”

She smirked, and then nodded, “If that is how you feel,”

He looked at her beautiful ring in the box.

And since she offered…

“Well, alright. I think it is safer to be in the box with yours, than to have it slipped and rests somewhere on the thick comforter we have here in the hotel where we will be checking out tomorrow,” he removed his ring from the finger. “Looking for it might be troublesome,”

“Hmmm… you are right about that; if you lose it at home, you can still find it. But if you lose it in the hotel, you might not be able to get it back. Who knows if it got sucked into some vacuum cleaner and then got thrown away in the (vacuum cleaner’s) bag of dusts,” she said as he puts the ring into the box; slipping it into the small ring-storing compartment where her ring is also in.

He laughed.

“I’ll give it back to you tomorrow,” she smiled, closing the box.

As she turned around to put the box at the side table next to the bed, he lowered his head with the smile still on his face and looked at the time on the smartphone.

It is almost 11pm.

Just as Xiao You straightened her body to face Xi Men, he turned and gets down from the bed.

With hands on his back, he walked casually to the window of the suite, with his head looking directly to the icon of Taiwan in front of him.

Xiao You only tilts her head slightly as she looked at him walking away.

As he stopped in front of the glass window, Xiao You knew Xi Men must have been saddened about their last day, and he probably just wanted to be alone so he walked away.

Xiao You lowered her head and is about to grab her phone…

“Xiao You,”

Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at Xi Men, whose back is facing her, “Yes, Xi Men?” she responded.

“Would you mind to join me to see this beautiful night view of Taipei here?” he asked, without turning around to look at her.

If he had said that, it means he wants her to join him, eh.

She smiled briefly, and then she gets down from the bed, and walked towards him.

She stood next to him and then looked at him, as he is still looking straight to the tower.

“I am here,” she said.

He smiled, “I know,” he replied, without looking at her.

She smiled, and then straightened her head to look at the skyscraper.

It is beautiful to see it from this distance.

Such a marvelous view from this hotel, at this high floor.

Feels so privilege.

“I hope you are not bored with the view, since we’ve been seeing this view from our penthouse…” he said.

She smiled, “Well, our penthouse’s balcony does oversee the city from a different angle, and this tower is also in the view…” she said. “But that was far,” she adds, “I have never seen Taipei 101 from this distance. It is directly in front of me. And not too close that I have to lift my head up to see the entire tower… and potentially strained my neck in that process,”

He chuckled.

“So, don’t worry. I love beautiful night views. I’ll never get bored of this tower. And that means; I love this view,”

He smiled, finally glancing over to her. “That is good to know,”

She smiled back at him.

He then moved to her back, stood behind her and then hugged her from the back.

She smiled, as he leaned his head close to hers, and kissed her on her cheek.

She could feel his love.

There is never a moment she didn’t feel that.

As his lips are close enough to her ear, “Look up to the tower,” he whispered.

The tower?

She lifted her eyes up to look at the tower as directed while he remained embracing her.

“What is it that…”

A burst of colorful flames suddenly appears.

Not only her words got cut off; the view leads her jaw to drop…

***

Ah Si and San Chai lifted their heads up and then looked at each other.

“Did you hear that?” they asked at the same time.

Since they asked each other the same question, both of them quickly got up from the couch.

***

Lei and Jing frowned.

“I think I heard something…” Jing said.

“Soft and far… right?” Lei said.

Both of them looked at each other, and then quickly get down from the bed.

***

“Mei Zhuo!”

Mei Zhuo turned his head to the direction of the calling from his panic wife from the balcony of their house, “What is it, Xiao Qiao?” he hurriedly heads to her.

“It’s fireworks!” Xiao Qiao pointed to the tower far away.

Mei Zhuo’s gaze went to where she had pointed, and his eyes widened.

“It is not New Year’s eve tonight… right?” he asked.

***

Xiao You’s eyes are fixed at the beautiful sparks of lights illuminating the sky.

Different colors of light blooms in the dark night leave her breathless.

This skyscraper has a reputation of giving one of the best shows of fireworks.

“I hope you love it,”

Hearing he said that leads her to recall where she is, and also immediately remembered Xi Men is right behind her, still wrapping his hands around her.

She turned her head slightly to his direction, “You…”

“Enjoy while it lasts. I could only get 2 minutes of this,” Xi Men said, as he also looked at the fireworks while he gently tightened his hug.

She is beyond surprised.

‘Oh… oh my gosh…’

Tingles traveled down her spine.

No words could express how she is feeling.

She’s touched.

Tears pooled in her eyes as she lifted her eyes up to look at the fireworks blooming in the sky.

This is beyond beautiful.

Fireworks have never been this meaningful to her.

Tears began to stream down her cheek.

She bites her lower lip as she watched every single firework brightening up the dark night in his embrace.

Both of them just stand there… watching it in silence.

For a whole, short, two minutes.

***

“What’s the occasion today?” Lei turned to glance over at Jing as both of them looked over to the fireworks spot with Alex in Lei’s arms as he had carried his son up so that Alex can have a better view.

Jing shook, “I don’t know,” she said. “I am surprised too,”

And then…

It is over.

”Ah… no more?” Alex pouted.

All of them looked at the view for another 15 seconds.

Nothing.

“No more, sweetie,” Jing replied to Alex.

“Awww…”

“And that means it is time for you to go back to bed,” Lei said at Alex.

***

The fireworks had ended.

Xi Men smiled briefly, “It is beautiful, isn’t it?”

Xiao You lowered her head slightly and then closed her eyes, causing more tears to fall; and she tried hard to control her emotions.

He could feel her shaking in his embrace.

That takes him by surprise.

Is she alright?

He gently turns her around so that he can see her face. “Xiao You?”

Why is she crying all of a sudden?

She lifted her head up and looked at Xi Men.

“Are you alright?” he asked, wiping the tears on her face.

She bites her lower lip and nodded, “Yes,” she said. “It… it is beautiful…” she sniffed. “Very beautiful,” she smiled.

He remained looking at her.

She lifted her hand up to wipe her tears, “You set that up…?” she asked.

A smile formed on his face, finally understood why she’s in tears. She must have been moved. “Yeah. But that’s not easy to be done,”

She sniffed.

“They don’t do these. But… I begged them. Paid millions for that and pleaded them to make adjustment, and have to dine at their restaurant… they give in, but with conditions that they can only put it up at 11pm and also only 2 minutes of fireworks, and that’s also using the leftovers of what they have…”

She smiled, and then she chuckled in tears. “When did you plan for this?”

“I can’t sleep the whole night, remember? So I thought about it. And made all these arrangements this morning, before 10am,” he said. “And this is also the reason why we are staying here; to show you this,”

She looked at him, and tears continue to fall, “Thank you…”

“I hope you love it,”

“I do, Xi Men, I do…” she said. “I love it,” she proceeded to hug Xi Men.

He smiled, as he wrapped his hands around her.

‘I’ve said it, Xiao You… I will use today to make you stay,’ he thought to himself. ‘I hope I have made it harder for you to leave me… and it will be good if this could make you change your mind…’

The hug lasted only for a while, where she pulled back and sniffed, wiping the tears on her face.

He removes her hands and he, instead, is the one wiping her tears now. “I love you,” he said, and then he leaned over and kissed her.

*****

He had her lied down on the white sheets.

They looked at each other intently as he took her.

No words exchanged.

His hand ran up to her neck, and then he cups her cheek.

He leaned down and kissed her passionately on her lips, where she responded to his kiss, tasting his lips.

They couldn’t stop kissing each other, couldn’t get enough of each other.

His hand feels her smooth skin from the thigh down to the knee.

He had touched her everywhere, every bit of skin on her.

Her hand slides from his sweaty shoulder, down to his elbow, and then squeezes his arm as a reaction from the sensation and pleasure he is giving her.

She moans.

He groans.

Yet another intense session.

They never fail to make a good one.

**********

Sitting on the bed in the dark suite, Xi Men gazes over to Xiao You who is sleeping soundly next to him.

He finds himself smiling to see her sleeping peacefully.

He slowly straightened his head and looked at the screen of the smartphone that is in his hand.

‘Can’t sleep,’

‘How to sleep when my heart is dying at the thought of her leaving tomorrow?’

He gazes at the time on the smartphone.

3am.

‘7 hours to go…’

*Slight discomfort.

He puts his hand and pressed against his stomach.

‘Not sleeping well for two nights in a row. Of course stomach will act up…’

He took a deep breath as he reached for the bottled water on the side table and then takes a sip.

‘Since I can’t sleep…’

‘Then I should read some news.’

And he browses the sites on his smartphone.


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