“Good morning, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu stands up and greets as he saw Xi Men passing by his table to head to the CEO room.
“Good morning,” Xi Men said, and then he stopped in front of Secretary Xu’s table.
Seeing that Xi Men stopped at his tracks, Secretary Xu immediately grabbed the little notebook he had on his table, and a pen. He is ready to write down whatever stuffs that Xi Men is about to ask him to do.
Xi Men closed his eyes and squeezed his nasal bridge. “I have a massive headache. Can you bring me some painkillers? Paracetamols will be good,”
“Oh, okay, sure, sir,” Secretary Xu said, putting down the notebook and pen on his table.
As soon as Xi Men continued his footsteps to walk to his CEO room, Secretary Xu hurriedly went off to get the first aid kit.
Xi Men enters the CEO room, and instantly felt quietness…
Or rather, loneliness.
He then walked towards his chair, and on his way there, he takes off his suit. As he reached his chair, he puts the suit on the chair, and he basically crashed his butt on the chair.
He rests his head on the chair.
10 years ago.
2 years after the billboard incident. [1 year after graduation/5 months after MG2]
Xi Men and Lei sat at the bar in VS enjoying glasses after glasses of vodka.
Lei smiled and suddenly lets out a small laugh.
Xi Men lifted his eyebrows slightly and turned looking at Lei while his right hand is still gripping the glass. “What’s so funny?”
“Last time, at one call… we can just come out for beer over here at VS. But now…” Lei said. “It is so tough to gather four of us together now,”
Xi Men looked at Lei, and then a small laugh also escaped his (Xi Men) mouth. “Can’t help it that everyone is busy dating now…” he said, “You know, I guess I should be thanking Jing since she is not in Taipei today so that you can drink with me,”
“She will be back tomorrow,” Lei smiled as he looked at Xi Men, “So, something bothers you?”
“Bothers me? No,” Xi Men replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I was just wondering because you called me out for beer,” Lei smiled.
“Not exactly. I mean, it is still early. I just didn’t want to go back to the mansion… yet,” Xi Men said while his finger circles the brim of the glass.
“Isn’t it nice to go back home and rest?” Lei asked.
Xi Men smirked. “It is. But today is not the day I want to do that,”
“I remember you used to love going back to the mansion,” Lei said, circling the base of the vodka glass on the table.
“That is because my mom was still here. But since she moved to Kaohsiung to open an art center, there is no reason for me to go back so early anymore. And it is quiet at the mansion now,”
“It sounds like you need a woman too, Xi Men,” Lei smiled.
Xi Men lifted up his eyebrows and looked at Lei, and then he just smirked. “I don’t need any,”
“I always wonder…” Lei said.
“About?” Xi Men asked, looking at Lei.
“You and Xiao You,”
Xi Men’s smirk fades, and he grabbed the glass of vodka and empties it.
Lei smirked upon seeing Xi Men’s reaction. “Tell me,”
“There is nothing between me and Xiao You,” Xi Men said.
“Really? Then why is your face like that?” Lei asked, pointing at the expressionless face of Xi Men.
“I am just tired,” Xi Men casually replied, as he refills his glass.
“Ohhh… you are tired all of a sudden when the name ‘Xiao You’ is mentioned,” Lei teased.
Xi Men just took a deep breath and refused to look at Lei in the eyes.
“2 years ago…” Lei said.
Xi Men’s eyes strayed, wondered what Lei is about to say.
“Xiao You came back from Canada, and… you changed ever since,” Lei said.
Xi Men just glances over to Lei when Lei said that.
“So, are you sure there is really nothing between both of you?” Lei asked.
“We just talked a bit. Nothing else,” Xi Men said.
“Wow? Just ‘talked a bit’ and you became different?” Lei asked.
Xi Men then frowned. “Why did I ask you out for beer again? I am totally regretting this,”
Lei could only laugh.
“Ah… I really salute Xiao You,”
Xiao You again.
But he is curious as to why Lei will say so.
“Why do you say so,” Xi Men said casually as he took another gulp of the vodka.
“After she showed you the billboard and left… you became a ridiculous no-woman man from an ultimate playboy,”
Xi Men immediately gave Lei a sidelong look.
“I seriously wonder what happened that would change you,” Lei said.
“Nothing. I am just bored with that kind of life,” Xi Men said.
“Trust me. Something huge has to happen to leave an impact and change you,” Lei said. “At the time when you changed, Xiao You was here. And if you ask me, 2 years ago, there is nothing else that had happened, that would possibly changed you… besides her,”
Xi Men took a deep breath, and he inadvertently scrapes the base of the empty vodka glass on the table.
“So, since you are not saying anything… I assume you are admitting it now?” Lei asked.
“Silence doesn’t mean admitting. I just choose to be silent because I know the more I said it is not, the more you will say it is towards me,” Xi Men said, took his glass of vodka up and was about to put it to his mouth; only realizing it is empty.
Lei smirked that Xi Men didn’t even realized he had emptied the glass of vodka beforehand. He extends his hand to grab the bottle of vodka and then refills it up for Xi Men. “You can always deny it, Xi Men,” he said. “But me… and everyone else knows better. And I am extremely sure you knew the truth in your heart,”
Xi Men twirls the vodka in the glass lightly.
“If you don’t go and fight for your love, I am worried it might be too late,” Lei said.
Xi Men’s eyes strayed for a brief moment before he then looked straight again. “What is there to fight…?”
“Love will not come to you if you don’t take the opportunity. You don’t stand there and expect ‘the love’ to go to you,” Lei said, gently twirls his own glass of vodka.
Xi Men turned to look at Lei.
“You are a smart guy, Xi Men. I am sure you know what I am talking about,” Lei said, turned and looked at Xi Men, and smirks.
Xi Men smirked as he then looked straight and takes a sip of his vodka. “You are good, Lei. Nothing can be kept from you,”
“Thank you,” Lei smiled cynically.
“I know the motive you are doing this,” Xi Men said.
“So what am I doing?” Lei asked Xi Men.
“You won’t let me go if I don’t say it tonight,” Xi Men looked at Lei.
“I am not that bad,” Lei smirked. “I am just making sure the guilt lingers in you,” he then raised his glass of vodka for a sip.
Xi Men smirked as he stares at the glass of vodka in his hand. “That itself already sounds as bad,”
Lei laughed. “So, what do you want to tell me then?”
Xi Men then took a deep breath. “I have never told anyone about this,”
“I know,” Lei smiled.
“Xiao You is indeed a very special lady. She is different,”
“I know that too,”
“And yes, I do have feelings for Xiao You,” Xi Men said.
“Ahhh… we have always known that. It is quite refreshing to actually hear it from you personally,” Lei smirked. “Nice confession,”
Xi Men stares at Lei, and then laughed sheepishly himself (Xi Men).
“Feelings well kept for 2 years, huh,” Lei said.
“You just said you all knew,”
“I mean we all indeed know. But you kept it well within yourself, towards a woman, silently,” Lei said, looking at Xi Men. “And not deciding to do anything about it,”
Xi Men then looked at the glass of vodka again. “To be honest, it is not easy,”
“Why make it so difficult for yourself?” Lei asked.
Xi Men turned to look at Lei again.
Lei smiled as he lowered his head slightly. “Just like you, I have feelings for Jing. After much consideration, I decided to go to Paris and look for her. That was last year. And I am glad she isn’t seeing anyone,” Lei said. “But there is a pursuer…”
Xi Men’s eyes brightened up as he looked at Lei.
“He is quite a hardcore chaser I should say,” Lei smirked. “I was a bit… hmm… threatened,”
“You mean, he threatened you?”
“I mean, I felt threatened by his presence. It is like… I need to fight for Jing’s attention,”
“But I guess… he is also threatened by my presence that I came into the picture all of a sudden… so he stepped up to try winning Jing,”
“And then?” Xi Men asked.
Lei suddenly smiled. “The only way to win from the other guy is to move her back to Taiwan,”
Xi Men is surprised with what he heard. “Move her back?”
“I don’t mean moving as in smuggle her or force her to come back,” Lei said.
Xi Men rolled his eyes. “I never said smuggle or force. How on earth you would think I might be referring to that?”
“With that surprise face of yours,” Lei pointed at Xi Men’s face.
“Like, all of a sudden my surprise face has words written on it?” Xi Men pointed at his own face.
Lei rolled his eyes. “Anyway, I asked her to come back… and she agreed,” he said. “After few years abroad, she does feels like coming back home,” he smiled.
Xi Men also smiled.
“I felt like I’ve won a fight the moment she agreed to come back,”
“And what about that guy?”
“Despair. Jing actually felt sorry for him. But she told him she wants to be with me… and go home,” Lei said. “Somehow I felt sorry for him too. I probably have voice out such a drastic question to ask Jing to come back and when she agreed, it crushed the other guy’s heart…”
“I can picture that. If I were the other guy, I’ll probably hate you,” Xi Men said. “No, hate is not enough to describe how I might feel,”
“I know. It is a really awful feeling, but Jing apologizes to him… and I did too,”
“Yes, I lose my sleep for 2 days because of that,”
Xi Men laughed. “You love sleep so much and yet you could lose your sleep because of that?”
“Trust me. Some matters don’t bother you. But for those that did, it will make you lose your sleep, lose your appetite and even make you lose everything you’ve thought you wouldn’t,” Lei said. “Sometimes, even your money, your pride or your life,”
Xi Men’s laughter fades to a smile. “Well, I do believe there is a truth in that,”
Lei then looked at Xi Men. “Definitely. I am pretty sure you know how it felt. For you’ve lost your playboy lifestyle too when Xiao You left,”
Xi Men’s smile immediately fades upon hearing that.
Lei smiled. “The reason I am telling you about me going to Paris to get Jing is because I felt we might have a similar situation,”
“And if I had hesitated and then late to pursue Jing… I guess, she will be with someone else now,” Lei said, taking a deep breath.
“Xi Men,” Lei looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men looked back at Lei. “Hmmm?”
“Trust me. Take your chance now,” Lei said.
Xi Men smirked. “You asked me to take my chance, then, do you know what Xiao You’s condition is now, for me to actually ‘do something’ about it?”
“Whatever her condition is, I believe you should go and find out. If she had moved on from you, then at least you know you’ve given yourself a chance to do something, rather than giving yourself an option to beat yourself up one day in the future wondering why you had never taken the chance,” Lei raised the glass of vodka up and takes a gulp.
Xi Men again, scrapes the base of the glass of vodka in his hand on the table.
“You have to remember. At the end of the day, it is your life’s happiness and no one else. Once she is gone, it is gone. You will never get the same feeling again. Unless, you are darn sure that you will meet someone in this life and gives you a better and more meaningful life that you are willing to risk losing this chance of a lifetime. But honestly, how many chances are there for a person in this life? Things will never go your way all the time, Xi Men,” Lei smirked as he looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men looked at Lei, and then he looked straight, to his glass of vodka again.
“Here’s what I know,” Lei said, prompting Xi Men to turn and looked at Lei again. “I haven’t heard any news that Xiao You is seeing someone…” Lei paused, “But I know she is not married yet,”
Xi Men pressed his lips together.
“So… is that good enough for you to do something and hope things will turn out good for you?” Lei asked, looking at Xi Men.
2 weeks later,
Xi Men sat at the back of the cab and he looked out of the cab to the buildings and cars passing by next to them as the cab drives towards his destination.
Lei is right.
He needs to take the chance to make it happen.
And what’s scarier is that… Xi Men just buys a plane ticket, hops on the plane and heads to the destination, without knowing what Xiao You is up to, what she has been doing, and whether she is seeing anyone; other than what Lei told him which Lei ‘believes’ in.
Too many questions.
Xi Men took a deep breath, close his eyes and leaned back to the seat. He is so anxious.
He has not planned what to say or what to do even though it took him 2 weeks from the beer outing with Lei to agree with such decision.
“Get her back,”
He remembers that was what San Chai said when he asked her for Xiao You’s address a couple of days earlier.
And he also remembered that it took him a long time to find the courage to seek San Chai to get the address. He even prepares himself to receive punches from San Chai for having utmost feelings for her best friend which she is against of and defended way long, long time ago.
However, it turns out so simple and easy that when he asked for it, San Chai speaks of nothing else but asked why it took him so long to do this. She casually took a piece of paper and writes the address down. And it seems that she had memorized the address that she needs no reference for it.
Xi Men didn’t expect it to be this simple. And he is worried for nothing. And it took him days to brave himself up to meet with San Chai… for nothing.
He smiled as he remembered these.
However, all of these are not up to what he worried the most: Yang Xiao You.
He asked San Chai about Xiao You and San Chai said nothing about her.
Now, he really knows nothing about Xiao You. He has to find out about Xiao You all by himself.
Xi Men immediately turned his head and looked at the cab driver who had just stopped the cab,
“This is the house,” the cab driver pointed to the house on the left and at the same time, passes the paper containing the address back to Xi Men.
Xi Men looked at the house that the cab driver had pointed. “This one?” he asked the cab driver.
“Yes,” the cab driver confirmed.
“Alright…” Xi Men paid the fare as indicated by the cab meter.
“Thank you, sir,”
“Thank you,” Xi Men replied as he then opened the door of the cab and gets out.
He stood in front of the house that the cab driver had pointed as the cab zoomed past behind him.
He looked at the house, as though studying the architecture, while deep in his mind he is thinking how he should proceed from here.
So many things are running in his mind.
He wasn’t quite sure how long he had stood there until…
Xi Men immediately turned to his right upon hearing it, to see someone is standing at about a meter away from him, looking at him.
“Are you looking for… some house?” the man tilted his head and asked.
“Oh, umm…” Xi Men immediately felt embarrassed. “I…” he dives his hand into the pocket to take the note out. “I am looking for this address…” he passed the note to the man.
For some odd reason, he knew the house in front of him is the house he is looking for, but… since someone already noticed him and asked that… he just wanted to evade awkwardness.
“This is my house,” the man replied.
Xi Men is stunned, looking at the man. “Your… your house?”
“Yes,” the man looked at Xi Men and passes the note back to him (Xi Men). “This one,” he pointed at the house in front of them. “Are you looking for someone?”
He saw Xi Men carrying a bag. “You don’t look local to me,”
“I am from Taiwan…”
“Yes, I am. Umm… I am looking for… umm… Yang Xiao You…” Xi Men said.
The man smiled. “She is my daughter,”
“Ah?!” Xi Men immediately reacted. “Oh, uncle. Hi uncle,”
The man nods in acknowledgement. “And you are…?”
Mr. Yang frowned. “Xi Men?”
Mr. Yang’s eyes strayed. “Anything to do with Xi Men Corporation of Taiwan?”
“Umm, it is my father’s company…”
Mr. Yang’s eyes brightened up. “Oh,”
Xi Men felt immense awkwardness instantly. It felt like a background check…
“Umm… uncle, is… is Xiao You around?” Xi Men asked.
“I think so,” Mr. Yang said, lifting his left hand up to look at the time on his wristwatch. “Yeah, she should be home…”
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat.
“Come in,” Mr. Yang smiled at Xi Men, before he headed to the house.
Xi Men could only stare at Mr. Yang, who is walking away, for the sudden invitation.
He is not at all ready!
Xi Men’s heart beats extremely fast and he didn’t know what to say if he were to meet Xiao You.
He felt so pressured now; he raised his left hand up and covers his forehead.
“This is all Lei’s fault…” Xi Men murmured as his eyes closed.
Xi Men immediately opened his eyes and looked at Mr. Yang standing at the door of the house which he had opened.
“Are you alright?” Mr. Yang asked.
“Oh, umm… yeah, I am fine,” Xi Men immediately plastered a smile on his face.
“Are you having a headache?”
“Oh, no… umm…” he is so darn sure that Mr. Yang saw him putting his hand on his forehead… “Just jetlag…”
Xi Men wasn’t sure why he uttered that. He slept like a log on the plane, and he miraculously wakes up totally adjusted to Toronto’s timezone.
“Slightly,” Xi Men lied further and he walked to Mr. Yang.
“Hi dad! You are home!”
Mr. Yang turned around to look into the house and smiled.
OH. MY. GOSH!
Xi Men’s eyes widened and his stomach churns upon hearing that voice.
He ended up froze at the walking position, having just stopped precisely three steps away from the door.
Xi Men is so darn sure who the voice belongs to.
“You have a guest!” Mr. Yang said.
“Guest? Who?” her voice gets nearer to the entrance.
Xi Men felt that his heart is about to explode…
She opened the door wider…
And they meet in the eyes.