Conflicted – Chapter 99

The look in Xi Men’s eyes changed, from a devastated gaze to a shocked stare.

His eyes widened, staring straight at Xiao You.

Did he hear her right?

Did she just say…

“Wha… what did you… just…” Xi Men stammered with his eyes remained wide.

She had never said she love him.

And she never responded him whenever he said he loves her.

Every single time.

Now…

She smiled briefly, with tears still in her eyes, “I said I love you too,” she repeats her words fondly.

He stares at her, still in disbelief.

His heart is beating fast.

“It… it’s… past… 10…” he continues to stutter. “It’s not… not…”

She continues to smile, “I know,”

She… she knows?

She knows it is no longer under the ‘3 days’ rules?

Then what… what is this supposed to mean?

Did… did she just hinted to him that she is staying?

And… and also, she is accepting him too?

This… this is too good to be true… right?

Right?

But… but can he be wrong with his interpretation?

Processing what she has said leads his brain to go overdrive mode.

He didn’t know what is what anymore.

His mind went blank.

He remained staring at her.

Dumbfounded is probably more of a right word now.

“But what… what do you mean…?” he blurted, and momentarily had forgotten how to breathe.

Xiao You raised her hand up and caressed his cheek and his strong jaw line, still smiling, and a tear then rolled down to her cheek, “I am not going anywhere, Xi Men,” she said, looking into his eyes.

His jaw slowly drops.

His heart beats extremely fast now.

“I am staying, Xi Men,” she adds. “I am staying back,”

SHE HAS SAID IT!

It is a confirmation!

She is staying!

Tears formed in his eyes, and a tear fell very soon after.

Hot blood rushed to his head.

He instantly feels dizzy, covered with shock.

“Oh… oh my…” he breathes convulsively from his mouth.

This is real.

This entire thing is real.

IT IS REAL, XI MEN!

He gasped for air, his left hand pressing onto his heart.

He felt his heart is about to explode.

The small smile on her face fades upon seeing Xi Men breathing like that.

Why does he look like he is having an asthma attack?

Or heart attack?!

“Xi Men… are you alright?” she asked worriedly, caressing his face with both of her hands now.

He takes a deep breath, “Yes,” he said, taking another deep breath to calm himself down. “Yes I am alright,” he adds.

“Really…?” she asked, still worried, since he looked completely unwell.

“I… I just can’t believe this… this whole thing… that you… you are… you are staying…” he choked on his words, breathing with his mouth, “I felt like I was to die of shock, but now I am about to die of happiness…”

Tears fell to her face, and she smiled, before she then chuckled. “No, silly… don’t you dare to die,”

After taking few deep breaths, he soon laughed as tears of happiness rolled down his face, “I can’t. I won’t. Do you know how much I have spent and how much I have done to have you stay by me? How can I die right now?” he cupped her face.

She lets out a small laugh.

He sniffs as he looked at her affectionately, “Thank you… for not leaving…” his eyes traveled to the tears on her face.

She sniffs too, as he gently wiped her tears.

“But…”

He raised his eyes up to look into her eyes.

But?

“There is a decision you need to make,” she adds.

The smile of happiness on his face slowly fades.

What is that supposed to mean?

Xiao You lowered her gaze, and turned her head, along with her upper body, to the right.

He watches as she reached for a very familiar looking box on the side table.

She then straightened her head and her body to face him, with the box in her hand.

“I want you to know…” she uttered as she looked at the box in her hand.

He looked at her, and then looked at the box in her hand, and then to her eyes again.

His heart is beating fast again.

What is going on now?

“(I want you to know that) You won,” she said, lifting her eyes up and looked at him.

He won?

What did he win?

“But you have two options now,” Xiao You said.

Hot blood rushed to his head again.

What is she doing now?

What two options is this?

She opened the box in front of him.

He looked at the opened box.

Now he remembers what the box is.

It’s their rings. Their couple rings.

His focus returned to her face.

“Make me your wife,” she said, lifting the box up, “Or I’m leaving you, demanding you never to come and look for me… ever again,”

His eyes brightened up.

What…

What did she just say?

W… wife?

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Make your decision now,” she looked at him.

“Is that even an option?” he asked, grabbing the box hastily from her hand and took the ring out from the box and after dropping the box onto the bed, his free hand holds her hand.

He panicked, nervous and anxious at the same time, causing him to tremble, and that leads to his grip on her hand trembled too.

Now he just needs to put the ring on her finger.

“Steady, hand, steady…” he mumbled.

Hearing what he said, she chuckled.

And that’s when he successfully slides the ring into her finger.

He looked at the ring on her finger; the ring that he had just put on.

So he had won her heart.

That is what she said.

He won.

He smiled.

But everything feels so unbelievable.

He then slowly lifted his head up and looked at Xiao You, who is smiling back to him.

“Is this… really happening?” he asked. “Are you… really going to be my wife?”

She smiled at him, and nodded. “Yes,”

Tears formed in his eyes (again) and they fell in no time, and he clenched his teeth. “Oh my gosh… I… I can’t believe this is happening,” he uttered. “I was fighting for you to stay just minutes earlier… and now…”

She swallowed the lump in her throat, and then she wiped his tears away, “Xi Men, I am sorry,”

He lifted his head up and looked at her. “Sorry?”

“The last 24 hours must have been tough on you. I didn’t mean to put you through like this. I didn’t know you’ll be this emotional, sad and bothered,”

He looked at her.

“All of these are happening according to my plan,”

His eyes brightened up slightly. “Pl… plan?”

Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat, “I have never plan to leave you at the first place after all,” she said, lowering her eyes to look at the ring on her finger, “And this ring… it was never meant to be a couple ring… but a ring that I prepared… to be engaged to you,”

“Wh… what?”

“Which is why I demanded you to buy,” she smiled.

He just looked at her.

“I’ve told you too… if the third day did not happen, nothing else can be done,” she said.

That statement rings a bell.

Right…

He recalled now.

That’s what she said yesterday.

“It is not the last 24 hours that I have prepared for, but right now; the moment after the 3rd day ends,” she said.

“Wait. I don’t understand,” he looked at her.

She looked at him. “I want the 3rd day to happen because I want to move on from it, and embark on a new journey with you,”

His gaze changed.

“You’ve waited for me long enough. And this is my answer for you; that I am ready to spend the rest of my life with you,” she said.

He slowly raised his hand up, and caressed her cheek, “So, you put me through a miserable 24 hours… just to tell me you are willing to be with me now? Just to tell me you are accepting me now?”

Hearing what he said puts tears into her eyes, and she nodded. “But when I see you in tears, it got me heartbroken. And I didn’t expect you will put up a whole fireworks show for me. I almost succumbed to it and just say I want to be with you already,”

He suppressed the stirring emotions in him, and he chuckled, “It would have been great if you had surrendered; then I wouldn’t feel miserable for hours after that,”

She chuckled too, “I am sorry…”

He smiled, and he nodded. “Apology for torturing me accepted,” he said, before pulling her to him and he embraced her.

She lets out a small laugh in the embrace.

“I love you, so, so much,” he said, tightening his hug.

“I love you too,” she replied.

He smiled.

That’s what he wanted to hear.

He’s been waiting forever to hear it.

It just sounds so good now.

So damn good to his ears.

He gently pulled back from the hug, and then kissed her on her lips.

She circled her hands around his neck as she kissed him back, engaging in a passionate kiss with him.

His kiss sends tingles down her spine.

He is so good with his lips.

She is glad; she will have this pair of lips all for herself now, for the rest of her life.

‘She’s mine now,’ Xi Men thought to himself.

‘She’s officially mine now…’

One question remains.

Xi Men breaks off the kiss a while later.

He lovingly looked at her face closely, as he caressed her cheeks.

“But…” he said, dropping the loving gaze in his eyes.

She looked at him.

“There is one thing… I don’t quite get it,” he said.

“Hmmm?”

“For one whole year… you could not accept me for one reason,” he looked at her.

“My guilt,” she rectified.

He looked into her eyes, “Yes,” he said. “Where are ‘they’ (the guilt) now?”

“They’re gone,” she responded.

“Just like that?” he frowned slightly.

She smiled, and then she shook. “No, of course they wouldn’t have disappeared just like that…”

“Then?” he asked.

She looked into his eyes; swapping to the left and then to the right, and then back to the left eye. “Two days ago… when I go to the mall…”

He looked at her.

“I met Juliana,” she said.

He is surprised to hear that. “Juliana?”

=====

*Flashback.

“Xiao You?”

Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at the woman standing in front of her, whose smile grew 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 eyes grew wide. “Ju… Juliana?”

“Oh Xiao You! It’s really you!” she smiled at Xiao You.

Juliana tried to hug Xiao You only to halt after realizing there is a rack of clothes in between them.

That prompted Juliana to walk around the rack and heads to Xiao You, hugging her (Xiao You).

Xiao You is surprised to see Juliana, but she is now stunned to receive a hug from Juliana.

Juliana… hugs her?

“How have you been, Xiao You?” Juliana asked with a smile, and then eases from the hug.

“Oh, umm, I am fine,” Xiao You smiled briefly as she looked at Juliana. She swallowed the lump in her throat. “And you…?”

“I am good,” Juliana smiled. “You still look the same,”

“You look… younger,” Xiao You smiled, causing Juliana to laugh while she herself could only chuckle forcefully. “With a shorter hairdo,”

“Thanks,” Juliana said with a big smile while she pats her hair.

“Umm… when did you come back?”

“About 2 days ago,” Juliana smiled. “It is surprising to see you here… oh, I remember we met with each other in mall too last time,”

“Yeah…” Xiao You said. “We had,”

Of course she remembers.

That is also the time where she never wanted to be ‘close friends’ with Juliana, but she (Juliana) wants it; just because she (Xiao You) is F4’s friend and she is close to the gang.

“Hmmm…” Juliana turned to the left and right, before she looked at Xiao You, “Alone?”

“Err… yeah,” Xiao You said.

“Hmmm… do you have some time?” Juliana asked.

“Time?”

“Yeah. Like, now?” Juliana asked.

“Umm… I guess…. But why?”

“I think we have a lot to catch up,” Juliana smiled again, extends her hand and grabbed Xiao You’s wrist, turning and walked out from the shop.

***

History repeats itself.

Xiao You is being dragged by Juliana, again; but differently. Not to shopping but to a coffee house for a cup of coffee.

And here they are, sitting at one of the coffee houses in the mall.

“So where have you been to the whole year?” Xiao You asked.

“I have been touring Europe,” Juliana smiled.

“Ah, that sounds nice,” Xiao You said.

“It doesn’t just sound nice. It is nice,” Juliana confirmed with a smile on her face.

A waitress came and puts down two cups of coffee on the table.

Xiao You smiled, in relate to Juliana’s respond as she looked at Juliana pulling the cup of latte towards her, and she (Xiao You) pulled the cup of black coffee towards herself.

Juliana seems so friendly towards Xiao You; it makes her worried… and also wary towards Juliana.

But then again, she (Xiao You) felt something is different about Juliana.

She couldn’t pinpoint it.

“So, how have things changed for the last year?” Juliana asked, taking the teaspoon up and dives it into the cup of coffee and stirs it.

“Hmmm…” Xiao You hummed. “I think, things have been the same,”

“Oh. How’s everyone else?” Juliana asked.

“Everyone is good,” Xiao You smiled.

Juliana smiled, “That is good to know,” she takes up her cup of latte for a sip.

“If… if you are free, you can arrange for a lunch or dinner to meet up with everyone,” Xiao You said.

Juliana shook with a smile on her face as she lowered the cup down. “Nah, I have no plans for that. I am actually quite busy so I do not have time to go out for meals with anyone,”

“Oh,” Xiao You said. “If you are busy but then we are here…” she pointed at the cup of coffee in front of her; not that she is saying anything about the cup of coffee but she is referring to their coffee session now; that if Juliana is busy, how come she is free to sit down and talk with Xiao You?

“I am free now, that is why I am here in the mall today. So, don’t worry. We can talk a little bit,” Juliana smiled.

“Oh, okay,” Xiao You smiled briefly, her turn to take her cup of black coffee up for a sip.

“Seeing you are here today… I guess, you are not working?” Juliana asked.

Xiao You remembers.

The last time Juliana was here, she knew Xiao You isn’t working.

And right at this moment, Xiao You isn’t sure if Juliana’s question meant Xiao You is unemployed or…

“The more accurate term is that, I am working, but not today. I am on a break for a week,” Xiao You rectify, putting the cup down on the saucer.

“Break for a week? Are you taking leave to do something?”

Xiao You shook, “No, it is not part of my leave. My boss awarded me a week off after working on a tough project for the last few months,”

Juliana smiled. “Sounds like a nice boss. Is it Xi Men?”

Xiao You looked at Juliana.

It is so casual for Juliana to utter his name.

“No, it is Lei,” Xiao You said.

“Oh,” Juliana said, and then she smiled briefly, “Had never imagined you’re going to work for Lei instead of Xi Men,”

Xiao You could only smiled faintly, since she feels awkward with Juliana uttering Xi Men’s name just like that.

“Umm… how long will you be here?” Xiao You asked. “Or rather, should I ask… are you back for good?”

Juliana smiled. “For now, I will be here for 3 months. I am not sure if I am leaving again after that, we will see,”

“Oh…”

“But most likely I will,”

“Oh…” Xiao You replied.

Juliana looked at the cup of coffee, “How is Xi Men?”

Xiao You lifted her head up and looked at Juliana.

She should have seen this coming right?

“Ah?” Xiao You asked instead.

“Yeah, how is he?” Juliana asked with a small smile on her face.

“He is… umm… good,” Xiao You said with a small smile.

Juliana smiled sincerely. “How are you with him?”

“With… him?”

“Yeah,”

Xiao You looked at Juliana, who is anticipating for her (Xiao You) answer.

“Umm…” that is all Xiao You could utter…

“Married?” Juliana asked.

“No,” Xiao You said, swallowing the lump in her throat, feeling awkward to that question; or rather, feeling awkward because of the asker asking this question. “We… are not together,”

Juliana tilts her head, slightly surprised. “Not together?”

Xiao You bites her lower lip, and then she shook.

Juliana turned her head slightly, “Why aren’t you both together?”


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