“I heard from Lei that you were arguing with Xi Men at the parking area just now,” Jing said. “Is everything alright with you and Xi Men?”
Xiao You looked at Jing, and then she smiled, rather forcefully, “Yeah, everything is okay,”
“Really? How did Lei know?” Xiao Qiao asked, looking at Jing.
“Lei said all the guys knew. They could see from where they sat,” Jing said.
“Oh, I haven’t gone to talk to Mei Zhuo since the kids start coming in. I am so busy handling Wei Yi and some friends of hers. And all Mei Zhuo does is just eating!” Xiao Qiao said, causing Jing and San Chai laughed while Xiao You smiled faintly.
It is funny, but she couldn’t bring herself to laugh.
“So what are you guys arguing about?” San Chai asked, looking at Xiao You.
Isn’t that a bit straight forward…?
“Nothing. Just small matters,” Xiao You said. “Every… couple… fought, right?”
She has hesitation in saying the word ‘couple’ but… well, she just has to say it.
“Oh,” San Chai replied. “I understand. Alright, I hope things are now better for you and him,”
Xiao You smiled faintly and nodded.
“Sorry, ladies. I’ll be right back. I need to go to the bathroom,” Jing said, standing up.
“Sure,” all three of them replied.
And Jing walked away.
“Oh! Why aren’t you eating? The food is not suitable or something?” Xiao Qiao asked Xiao You, realizing that three of them are eating and Xiao You is not.
“Oh, no, no. It is not that the food is not suitable. I will eat in a while,” Xiao You smiled briefly.
She didn’t have any appetite at all.
The argument has placed an effect on her.
“Ah, okay,” Xiao Qiao smiled as then she scoops up a spoonful of soup, and is about to put it into her mouth, “AH!” she dropped the spoon back into the bowl of soup.
San Chai and Xiao You looked at Xiao Qiao as she stands up.
“Hmmm?” San Chai asked. “What’s going on?”
“I have just remembered I need to talk to the maid about the cake,” Xiao Qiao said. “Be right back,”
“Oh, sure,” San Chai and Xiao You said, seeing Xiao Qiao walking away.
And then San Chai’s gaze was about to turn to look at Xiao You and said something, until she saw something… else.
“Ah! Dao Ming Chen!” San Chai suddenly yelled and stood up.
Xiao You turned her head to look at San Chai, and then looked around, looking for Chen.
San Chai heads towards her son, stopped him from running, and then started nagging at Chen.
Xiao You looked at San Chai talking to her son.
Xiao You inadvertently just turned her head to look for Emily and then she saw Emily happily staring at the clown making something out of the balloon expertly.
Xiao You just smiled faintly.
Although she doesn’t enjoy this, she is glad that Emily does.
At least for Emily, her parents are here, with her, together.
Xi Men looked at the catered food. He looked from left to right, and right to left again.
“Why are you looking at the food here like that?” Mei Zhuo asked. “Not suitable or something?”
“I don’t know what to take,” Xi Men said. “And the food selection is very suitable for kids’ palate. They love these things. Sausages, hash brown, fried chicken…”
“What do you expect? It is Wei Yi’s birthday. Her friends are invited. Of course you serve them their kind of food,” Mei Zhuo said. “It is only once a while. Xiao Qiao will definitely kill me if we get Wei Yi to eat these all the time…” he happened to scratch his head.
Xi Men smirked. “I understand,”
“But if you want some rice… there’s fried rice there,” he pointed.
“I’ve taken some,” Xi Men said, showing Mei Zhuo the plate in his (Xi Men) hand.
“Oh. Okay…” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men remained looking at the food, wondering which one to take.
“Are you and Xiao You okay?” Mei Zhuo asked.
Xi Men is surprised to hear that.
Did Mei Zhuo found out about their separation?
How did he know?
Xi Men turned to look at Mei Zhuo. “What do you mean?”
“I saw you arguing with Xiao You just now near your car. I hope both of you are okay,”
“Oh, that,” he felt relieved that it is about the argument earlier that Mei Zhuo saw, not about their separation. “Umm, we are okay. Just some… argument,”
“I see,” Mei Zhuo said.
“You can see us… from here?” Xi Men asked.
“Yeah. Full view,” Mei Zhuo said.
“I see,” Xi Men said.
“It is very normal for couples to argue,” Mei Zhuo happened to smile.
Xi Men just smiled to that statement. “Yeah,”
“But it looks like a pretty major argument from how I see it,”
“Well. Already persuaded her?” Mei Zhuo asked.
Xi Men smiled again. He wasn’t sure what to say though. “Kind of,” he ends up replied.
Mei Zhuo puts his hand on Xi Men’s shoulder. “Women are like that. I thought you knew,”
“I know, Mei Zhuo. I know,” Xi Men said.
Mei Zhuo smiled. “Alright,” he said. “But she sure looks affected by the argument,”
Hearing Mei Zhuo said that, Xi Men turned his head to look at the table where the F4 wives are sitting at. Xiao You is sitting alone, right now.
Seeing she is alone, he is surprised.
Why is she alone?
Where are the rests of Mrs. F4?
“Where is San Chai, Jing and Xiao Qiao?” Xi Men asked.
Mei Zhuo turned his head around and saw Xiao Qiao talking to a maid.
And then finds San Chai is nagging at Chen.
Jing is nowhere to be found.
“Xiao Qiao is talking to the maid… San Chai is scolding her son, and Jing… no idea,” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men happened to look around as to search the ladies like what Mei Zhuo had said.
“Whatever is happening between you and Xiao You, I hope things are better for you, alright,” Mei Zhuo said, squeezing Xi Men’s shoulder. “I don’t think it is nice to sleep together on the same bed at night with the argument unresolved,”
Xi Men smiled faintly and nodded, “I know,” he replied, and his gaze lands at Xiao You again.
She is clasping her hands on the table as she looked at the kids enjoying the balloon party.
There is something unsettling and uncomfortable to see her sitting there on her own.
And there is no plate of food in front of her.
Maybe… Mei Zhuo is right about the argument has affected her, that she has no appetite to eat?
Xi Men lowered his head, and then he starts looking at the catered food again.
He then moved around and at selected dishes or food, grab one or two pieces/serving.
Mei Zhuo frowned a bit as he watches Xi Men. “Now you are moving a bit fast…”
Xi Men didn’t reply him.
“Oh, by the way,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Hmm?” he asked without looking at Mei Zhuo.
“If you want to drink some alcohol, go get them at the bar inside the house,” Mei Zhuo said. “Self service though,”
“Okay,” Xi Men replied, also without looking at Mei Zhuo.
Mei Zhuo looked at XI Men for a while, and then suddenly Xi Men turned and faced Mei Zhuo.
“Hold this,” Xi Men directed, extending the plate of food.
Instinctively Mei Zhuo lifted his hands up and hold onto the plate that Xi Men had asked him to hold, and about a split second later, Mei Zhuo came to his senses and realizes that he is holding onto the plate just as Xi Men had directed him to.
“Why are you asking me to hold this?” Mei Zhuo asked with a frown, and then he looked at Xi Men grabbing a new plate, and heads to the whole metal container containing fries.
And starts filling up the plate with it.
“Eh, why are you alone?” Jing asked and sits down, looking at Xiao You sitting there on her own.
“San Chai is talking to her son and Xiao Qiao is talking to her maid…” Xiao You said.
“Oh, really?” Jing asked, and then she turned her head around and already seeing Xiao Qiao approaching their table.
And yes, San Chai is still nagging her son.
“Where is San Chai?” Xiao Qiao asked, pointing at the empty seat of San Chai.
“Talking to her son,” Jing said, as she scoops a spoonful of rice from her plate to eat. “But looks like she is nagging or probably… scolding him…”
Xiao Qiao laughed at that respond.
Xiao You lifted her head up, turned and looked at Xi Men standing next to her.
Jing and Xiao Qiao also turned their heads and looked at Xi Men.
He puts down a plate of food in front of Xiao You. “Have some food,”
Xiao You looked at the plate in front of her.
That’s a lot of food…
Although she noted the food items in the plates looked delicious, it did not entice her to eat.
And then suddenly another plate is being put down too.
A plate of fries.
Now this gets her attention.
“They are all kids’ favorite. I picked few pieces of them. And I know you love fries, so I get them for you too,” he said. “So… just eat something,”
“Thank you,” she said, turning her head and looked at him.
He just nodded with a smile and then he walked away.
And all of them looked at him walking away, including San Chai who was just walking to their table after she had done nagging the son and stopped short of few steps from the table when she saw Xi Men at their table.
“Look at that, so sweet of him,” Jing smiled. “Despite the argument, he still come over and passes you some food. And more so, the food that you like to eat,”
San Chai smiled as she sits down on her seat now.
“Whatever the reason your fight is, just forgive him already,” Xiao Qiao smiled.
All four of them turned their heads again.
It is Xi Men again.
“I forgot to bring you spoon and fork,” he said, putting the eating utensils down on the table.
“Thank you,” Xiao You said again.
Xi Men smiled, and walked away, again.
“Look, that is not going to happen if it is Ah Si,” San Chai said. “He’ll ask me to take my own fork and spoon if he had forgotten,”
“Trust me, if you just had a fight with Ah Si and he is trying to persuade you back, he will do that,” Xiao Qiao said. “I am pretty sure Xi Men is just the same. Or rather… all guys are the same!”
Jing, San Chai and Xiao Qiao laughed.
Xiao You could only smile.
She slowly takes up the fork and then pokes it onto the fries that Xi Men had brought for her.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU…”
And everyone clapped after they have done singing the birthday song.
“Now, Wei Yi, make a wish…” Xiao Qiao smiled. “And then blow the candles,”
Wei Yi clasped her hands together and closed her eyes as she makes a wish.
She then opened her eyes and blows the 6 candles on her birthday cake.
Everyone clapped again.
“Mommy and daddy love you,” Mei Zhuo said, and both he and Xiao Qiao leaned forward to kiss Wei Yi, with one person at each cheek.
Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao held the small hands of Wei Yi on the knife to cut the cake together.
And then Xiao Qiao passes the knife to a maid and asked the maid to cut the cake and another maid will help to distribute them to the guests.
The guests slowly walked away, with some kids continuing with their fun time and some parents mingle around.
And most kids are standing around the cake area, waiting for their cake(s).
Xi Men scans around to see each parent is basically attending to their kid(s).
Lei and Jing are talking to each other with Alex standing in front of them, waiting to get his slice of cake.
Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao are talking to Wei Yi.
San Chai is seen nagging at Chen again and Ah Si is monitoring the other two kids on his own, Mei and Qiang.
Emily is seen happily staring at the cake while Xiao You is crouching behind Emily.
Xi Men thinks it is not appropriate to stand next to Xiao You at this moment, so he turned around and casually walked into the house and heads to the bar.
He then poured himself a glass of vodka from Mei Zhuo’s mini bar.
Holding onto the glass, he sits down on the high bar chair.
“Here, Emily, have a slice of cake,” the maid said, passing a slice of cake to Emily.
“Thank you, sister Yen!” Emily said. She then turned around and looked at Xiao You. “Mommy! I got a cake!” she said happily. “I get to eat first!”
“Emily,” Xiao You smiled. “Be a nice girl, pass this slice of cake to daddy first and then take another slice to yourself, alright?”
“Oh…” Emily turned around and starts looking for Xi Men. “Where is daddy?” she asked as her tiny hands hold onto the plate.
Xiao You eventually looked around to look for him for Emily. And then like an attraction or magnetic or something, she looked into the house and found him sitting alone at the bar.
“Daddy is inside the house,” Xiao You said.
“Oh?” Emily turned her head to look inside the house too. “I go in and pass to him, okay?”
“Yes dear, and you can only walk to daddy. Do not run and don’t drop the cake,”
“Okay, mommy,” Emily obediently walked into the house, to pass the cake to Xi Men as asked.
Xiao You smiled looking at Emily walking away.
“Ah, where is the Emily?”
Xiao You turned to look at the maid that had passed the slice of cake to Emily earlier. “She is inside the house, Yen. Why are you looking for her?”
“Oh, I forgot to pass a fork for her to eat the cake…” Yen said, raising the fork up.
“Oh,” Xiao You said, immediately recalling that the plate that Emily was holding, indeed did not have a fork. She then looked at the maid, “You can pass to me. She is bringing the cake to Xi Men. Please pass another slice of cake to Emily when she returns later,”
“Sure, Mrs. Xi Men,” Yen said, passing the fork to Xiao You.
Xiao You nods once and the maid walked away.
Nobody knows she is no longer Mrs. Xi Men, but yet she has to acknowledge that calling.
Not everyone can be addressed as Mrs. Xi Men, but now, the calling does not sound as fitting and comfortable to her anymore.
But even if both she and Xi Men have legally divorced and everybody already knew, that calling will still be used to address her.
Just like Xi Men’s mother; she is still being addressed as Mrs. Xi Men today even after she has divorced from Xi Men’s father for more than a decade.
It looks like she will follow the same footsteps of Xi Men’s mother. And also, understands the exact feeling his mother has as being called Mrs. Xi Men although she no longer is.
Xi Men, who is staring at the glass of vodka in his hand, turned his head upon hearing the calling and looked at Emily approaching him. “Emily?” he asked, and then he saw her holding the plate which has a slice of cake.
“Daddy, mommy said to bring you this slice of cake,” Emily walked to him.
“Oh?” Xi Men puts down the glass of vodka on the bar and then he got down from the high chair since Emily wouldn’t be able to reach his hands seeing that he is sitting so high up.
Emily passes the plate to him.
“Thank you, sweetie,” Xi Men said, looking at the slice of cake.
Emily then turned around and ran out of the house, because she couldn’t wait to get her own slice of cake now.
Xi Men puts the plate on the bar now, and he sits on the chair again.
He grabbed the glass of vodka and takes a gulp before putting the glass down again.
He stretched his hand to take the plate which contains the slice of cake.
“You need this,”
He turned his head and looked at Xiao You walking to him with a fork in her left hand.
Xi Men turned his head to look at the plate in front of him and realized there is really NO fork.
He turned to look at Xiao You and extends his hand to take the fork from her hand. “Thank you,”
“You are welcome,” she said, and when she turned around…
“Mrs. Xi Men, here is your slice of cake,” Yen smiled as she approaches Xiao You. “I remember the fork this time,”
“Oh,” Xiao You accepted the plate from Yen. “Thank you,”
“You are welcome,” Yen said, turned around and walked out of the mansion.
Xiao You stood there looking at the plate in her hand, and as she is about to take a step, wanting to go out…
“If you don’t mind… you can sit here to eat your slice of cake,”
Xiao You turned to look at Xi Men when he said so, and he is looking at the bar chair next to him, indicating the ‘seat’ that he offered.
Didn’t plan to sit on the chair next to him, she heads to the high chair next to the chair that Xi Men had asked her to sit at (*in short, 2 chairs away from Xi Men).
Xi Men felt a bit uncomfortable that she sits so far from him, but the reason why she chooses that chair is not unknown of.
Seeing that she begins eating the cake, it prompted him to also eat his’.
Silence as both of them ate their own slice of cake.
He presses his lips together for a while as he thinks of something to say.
“I didn’t expect you will pick up my call when I call you the other day,” he breaks the silence.
Xiao You slows down the munching speed in her mouth when she heard that, though did not turn to look at him. A few more munches and then she swallowed the cake.
“If you didn’t want me to pick up the phone, then why do you call?” she asked.
“I want you to. It’s just that I didn’t expect you will pick it up,” he said, and then puts a bite into his mouth. “I thought of dropping you a message instead but it might take you a while to reply… like last week,”
“I was in my class,” she replied, looking at the cake in her hand, and then conveniently dives the spoon into it to make a small bite-size piece.
She stuffs another bite into her mouth. “And if you call, I will pick it up,”
Xi Men turned his head and looked at her.
“Because I am sure if you call, it meant something urgent. Or else you will just send me a whatsapp message,” Xiao You said, remained looking at her cake.
“Oh…” he slowly turned his head away from looking at her.
“And you will not call and say you just want to hear my voice,” she said.
He lowered his head down and looked at the slice of cake.
“So, yes. If you call, I will pick it up,” she said, finally turning her head to look at him since the conversation begins. “Who knows there’s something important about Emily that you want to tell me,”
Xi Men nodded slightly. “You are right…”
She didn’t say further and turned her head to look at the cake, and then stuffs a bite of it into her mouth.
He had never thought of it in that way. He just thought that, if she were to call him, he may not pick up the call as there is a possibility that she will call him and begs him to go back to her.
Now, this is very different.
He never thought what if she calls him means emergencies or something other than wanting him back.
He slowly turned his head to look at her, and now he realized she hasn’t made a phone call to him at all over the span of 3 weeks ever since they had separated. All she did was replying his whatsapp messages about Emily; that she just discussed the day and time that Xi Men will meet up with Emily.
Come to think of it, she had only asked him to go back to her once, and that was the same night Xi Men asked for separation. And after Xi Men had walked out from the door, she hasn’t even said or pleaded him to come back at all.
Not even the very next day where things are still fresh.
It has been 3 weeks now.
It is not that things are not fresh anymore as it hasn’t been a long time but at least, some days had already passed since that fateful day.
He had really expected that she will plead him to come back… but she didn’t do it at all.
He suddenly realized that this woman he had been with for 10 years had already matured way beyond his imagination and expectation.
He had no idea if she had actually matured slowly throughout the years that he doesn’t realize, or she had suddenly matured, changed or being different because of what happened.
Here she is, eating her slice of cake silently and had no intention to start a conversation with him.
Maybe she didn’t want to talk to him.
After all that they have argued just now, it did felt awkward to face each other now.
It is a first to them.
They have a remarkable relationship over the years.
They have disagreements but they hardly fought, and definitely not to this extent.
Or maybe there is really nothing else to talk between them which is why they are not talking to each other now.
But he felt weird for not talking to her…
The silence between them is really killing him.
“Just now, as I sit here… I have given some thoughts about how to tell Emily…” Xi Men uttered.
Xiao You didn’t respond nor looked at him.
“I did thought of telling her that we are living separately now… but a part of me feels that… if I were to tell her, she might end up telling Alex, or Chen, Mei or even Wei Yi when they meet up during one of our arranged dinners. As you know, kids do not know what to say and what not to say… and these kids might tell their parents…” Xi Men said, and then he turned to look at Xiao You.
Xiao You is basically scraping the plate clean with the fork in her hand.
“If that happens, the F3 will find out about what happened,” Xi Men said.
“They will know sooner or later,” she said, without looking at him.
“But not like this. Not thru my daughter,” Xi Men said. “Not thru the kids,”
“So what do you plan,”
“I thought of… I mean, I know it might be hard on you…” Xi Men said.
“Having to continue lying to Emily until the news is out… that is when I will tell her…”
“Actually you don’t have to do anything anymore,” Xiao You said.
“What do you mean?”
Xiao You turned to look at him. “Have you forgotten what I told her in the car? I said you are staying back at the mansion now to take care of the house. It is simple enough for her. She doesn’t have to know what happened between us now. She is too young to understand what ‘divorce’ is anyway. Even if she blurts out to your friends’ kids that you are staying back at mansion, it will still turn out that you are staying at the mansion to ‘take care of it’ because ‘grandpa isn’t around’,”
He looked at her, and then he lowered his head down and stuffs the last bite of cake into his mouth.
She straightened her head. “If the matter had reached your friends, they will not even give it a thought that you and I had separated. They know fairly well about our relationship throughout the years. They will believe that you have gone back to the mansion for whatever reasons valid enough to make you stay there rather than the penthouse,” she said.
He munched as he processes the matter in his mind.
“At that time, you can lie to your friends by giving whatever reasons you want,”
He gazes at her upon hearing she said that.
She just speaks without looking at him.
He knew the argument has greatly affected her, thus making her turn cold towards him.
Yes, he can sense the coldness she gave him… and it makes him extremely uncomfortable.
He hoped it is just for tonight… he hopes she will wake up feeling alright again after that.
“You can tell your daughter about the divorce later; when you’ve found or gathered your guts, whichever,” she coldly said. “Years later, maybe,”
Xi Men looked at Xiao You apologetically.
Xiao You eventually gets down from the bar chair. “Don’t drink too much. You still need to send me and Emily back to the penthouse,” and she walked away.
And she still didn’t call him by his name.
Alex is Lei & Jing’s son.
Wei Yi is Mei Zhuo & Xiao Qiao’s daughter.
Chen is Ah Si & San Chai’s older son.
Mei is Ah Si & San Chai’s daughter.
Qiang is Ah Si & San Chai’s younger son.