*Scribble on the dotted line.
“Okay, you can pass this file back to finance department to release the fund,” Xi Men said, handing the file to Secretary Xu.
“Sure, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said, taking the file from Xi Men’s hand. “And here are your letters,” Secretary Xu extends few envelops in his hand to Xi Men.
“Thank you,” Xi Men said, accepting the letters.
“Just a reminder, sir, you have a lunch appointment today with President Huang from KS Global at Riz Restaurant, 8th floor of TK Building,” Secretary Xu said.
“Okay. Is it 12pm? Or was it 1pm?” Xi Men asked, scanning the letters in his hand, one after another.
“1pm, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
And then Xi Men saw a letter that basically garnered his attention, putting the rest of the letters down. “Alright, let me know when it is time to leave,” Xi Men said.
“Sure, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said. “Do you have or need anything else, sir?”
“No, I don’t. You can go back to your seat,” Xi Men said, reaching for his letter opener.
“Alright, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said, giving a bow.
“Thank you, Secretary Xu,” Xi Men finally looked at Secretary Xu.
Secretary Xu then left the room.
After using the letter opener to open the letter, Xi Men took the papers inside the envelope out.
He looked at the papers, and then scanned the content.
Total amount: TWD$ 0.
“Zero?” Xi Men said.
He removed the first sheet of paper and looked to the back of it, and then to the other pieces.
“No transaction?” Xi Men asked.
He returned his gaze to the first sheet again.
His gaze strayed.
He turned around and searches the stack of envelopes for last month’s statement.
Xiao You sits in front of her laptop in her room at the studio, staring at the smartphone in her hand.
Pressing her lips together, she wondered if she should whatsapp him to thank him for the snack he bought for her last night.
“Just whatsapp. Won’t do any damage…” she mumbled.
Xi Men turned his head from looking at the bills to look at the smartphone on the desk.
He casually lifted the phone up to look at the notification.
Xiao You: Thanks for the fries last night.
Xi Men smiled briefly upon reading it.
And he replied…
Xi Men: You are welcome. I hope you enjoy the food.
Xiao You looked at the fast response from Xi Men, which surprises her, as she didn’t expect to really whatsapp him at the time where he is free to check his phone.
BEEP. (*another message)
“Hmmm?” Xiao You looked at the phone.
Xi Men: Can I talk to you on the phone now?
“Talk?” Xiao You asked, her heart immediately pumped faster.
What is this?!
Shouldn’t have whatsapped him then!
She looked at the phone and there he is, calling.
Yeah, that handsome picture that she had put as his profile photo that would be displayed when he calls is now on the screen.
Taking a deep breath, she picks up the call and puts it on her ear.
Xi Men: Hello? (he ends up having to say ‘hello’ because she didn’t say anything when she picks up the call)
Xiao You: You can just whatsapp me. You don’t have to call.
Xi Men: I have something to ask you.
Xiao You’s eyes strayed.
Xiao You: Ask? What is it?
Xi Men: I have the credit card bills with me now.
Xiao You: Then?
Xi Men: You didn’t buy anything this month.
Xiao You: Yeah, I didn’t. So?
Xi Men: Why?
Xiao You frowned at such a weird question: What do you mean ‘why’? I haven’t been shopping if you want to know. Of course I didn’t buy anything if I didn’t go shopping.
Xi Men: It got me curious so I checked last month’s bill. There are some transactions in that bill, but I notice you have stopped charging things into this credit card since 2 months ago.
Xiao You’s eyes widened.
Xi Men: Assuming you really didn’t go shopping, then what about Wei Yi’s birthday present?
Xi Men: Did you happen to pay Wei Yi’s birthday present with cash?
Xiao You stood at the counter as she looked at Gina scanning the items with the barcode reader to have its price recorded down into the system.
“Here is the total amount, Mrs. Xi Men, do you want to pay by cash or credit card?” Gina asked, tilting the screen to Xiao You’s direction to show her the total amount to pay for the items she bought.
“Credit card,” Xiao You said, taking her Braun Buffel wallet out from her handbag.
As she took a credit card out, she stopped.
This credit card that she had taken out from the wallet is the credit card that Xi Men applied and given to her.
Although it bears her name, it is a supplementary card, with Xi Men as the principal card holder.
He gives her the credit for her to go shopping, and that he will pay the bills.
Xi Men doesn’t check what she bought for he doesn’t care what she buys; he just settles the bill.
In short, this is Xi Men’s credit card.
It didn’t sound or feel right for her to use this credit card anymore.
After the brief consideration, Xiao You puts the credit card back into the wallet, and she took out another credit card which she had personally applied many years ago but hardly use.
It is with different international bank that sometimes offer special privileges in and out of the country, and also as a back up credit card for her in case Xi Men’s credit card couldn’t be used in the specific merchant due to machine failure or whatever that causes the card can’t be used in that place.
Xiao You extends the card to Gina and Gina accepts the card for payment.
“Can you wrap the items as well? Make it into one gift instead of separate boxes. Just charge into the credit card if you are charging the extra services,” Xiao You said.
“Sure, Mrs. Xi Men,” Gina said, swiping Xiao You’s credit card on the machine.
Xi Men: Or did you pay using your own credit card?
Xiao You: It doesn’t matter what I use to pay. As long as I get the gift for Wei Yi.
Xi Men: Did you pay using cash or your credit card?
Xiao You: I said it doesn’t matter.
Xi Men: It is a gift for Wei Yi. I paid for all the gifts. Why isn’t it in this bill?
Xiao You: So, are you saying only you can pay for the gift and I can’t?
Xi Men (sighed): I am saying I used to pay for them. For everybody. So it doesn’t exclude this time as well.
Xiao You: So?
Xi Men: How much is that? I am paying you back.
Xiao You: For the last record, Mr. Xi Men. I worked. I own a studio. I have money to pay.
Xi Men (in frustration): I open that studio for you! I paid everything in that place including what you earn every month! They are all my money!
His eyes immediately widened up as he is surprised himself at what he had just uttered.
OH MY GOSH.
Xi Men (panicked): No, no, Xiao You, no, that is not what I meant. I mean…
Xi Men: Hello?
He lowered his phone down and looked at it, and the call has been terminated.
“Ah! F*CK!!” he yelled as he dialed Xiao You’s number again.
‘The number you have dialed is currently not available.’
He lowered the phone and then dialed her number again.
‘The number you have dialed is currently not available.’
He dropped the phone onto the table and then ran his hands on his hair. “My gosh… what have I done?!”
He immediately rose to his feet, and heads to the door.
Hearing the door opened and also seeing Xi Men emerging from his room, “CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu called, and then surprised as he saw Xi Men ran out from his room and dashes to the direction of the lift. “Ah, CEO Xi Men? Where… where are you going, sir?”
“Ballet studio!” he responded before he ran to the lift and presses the button repeatedly and hurriedly.
Xiao You: For the last record, Mr. Xi Men. I worked. I own a studio. I have money to pay.
Xi Men: I open that studio for you! I paid everything in that place including what you earn every month! They are all my money!
Xiao You’s gaze went to her laptop though she isn’t focusing at it.
‘What did you just say…?’ the thought ran in her mind.
Emotions swarmed her. Her eyes immediately went red and tears formed.
Xi Men: No, no, Xiao You, no, that is not what I meant. I mean…
Xiao You lowered the phone down and hung up the call, and out of anger she threw her smartphone onto the wall.
It hits the wall and breaks into pieces, scattering all over the floor.
Her tears fell and she ends up crying.
“I’ll never be able to leave from his grip. I’ll never be able to…” she said, as she sobbed hard.
*Door pushed open.
Katie lifted her head up as she looked at the glass door; the entrance of the studio, seeing a handsome guy dashes to her, or rather, the reception counter.
She is surprised to see him there. “Mr. Xi…”
“Is Xiao You in a class now?” Xi Men asked, his body language is showing that he is getting ready to go to Xiao You’s room.
“No, she is not in a class now. She…”
Before Katie completes her sentence, Xi Men already dashes to Xiao You’s room after hearing the first part of the statement from Katie as that is all he wants to hear.
Without checking if Xiao You is in the room via the glass door, Xi Men opened the door and took a step into the room, “Xiao You!” he called.
And then greeted with silence.
Nobody is in the room.
Apart from seeing no one, he realized he is stepping on something.
He lowered his head down and looked at the scattered pieces on the floor.
Seeing what’s on the floor prompted him to lift his right foot up to see the broken screen of the phone that had been separated from the unit was at the bottom of his foot.
Now it explains why he couldn’t call her.
It is in pieces.
She must have thrown the phone right after she hung up the call.
She must be feeling extremely sad.
He could only sigh sadly. And disappointedly.
Not only what he said is not accepted, but this is a crucial time.
Xiao You’s heart is fragile, and he has to keep on reminding himself that he needs to take great care in his words before uttering it and potentially breaks her heart even more.
However, today, he did it.
There is truth in what he said, but he could have said it properly.
Although Xi Men gives the heads up by providing this studio, Xiao You is the one working hard to maintain the studio.
What he did is just solely financial. What she gives in this studio is time and effort.
Her contribution to the studio is way so much more than what he gave.
But he just breaks everything apart with one sentence – about how it began.
Him. That he make it happen first.
He sighed again.
He really should have given it a deep thought before he let those heartless words out from his mouth.
He turned around and closed the door of Xiao You’s room.
He heads to Katie.
“Katie, where is Xiao You?” Xi Men asked, calmer now.
“10 minutes ago, she said she is going out for a walk…” Katie said.
“Out for a walk? Did she mention where she is going to?” Xi Men asked.
“No, she didn’t,” Katie said.
Xi Men then dives his hand into his pants to get his phone, only to realize his phone is not with him.
He pats the other pocket and the back pocket, and none.
Having his gaze diverted for a while, he recalls that he left his phone in the office.
He dashed out from his room to come to this studio leaving the phone behind.
He sighed, and then returned his gaze to Katie, “Do you happen to know Jin’s number?”
“No, I don’t know, Mr. Xi Men,” Katie said.
“It is okay, thanks…” Xi Men said, turning to the direction of the door.
“Goodbye, Mr. Xi Men,” Katie said.
He stopped for a brief while, he then turned around and looked at Katie. “Does Xiao You have a class later?”
“Yes, her class is at 4pm,” Katie said.
“That means she will come back to the studio,” Xi Men mumbled. He takes a deep breath and then nods briefly. He looked at Katie, “Okay, thank you,”
Katie smiled briefly. “No problem,”
“Before I forget…” Xi Men suddenly said, and then turned to look at Katie again.
“Yes, Mr. Xi Men?”
“Xiao You forgot to lock her room. Can you lock it for her?” Xi Men said.
“Oh, sure…” Katie said, immediately opens the drawer to look for Xiao You’s room’s key.
“I’ll come back in a while,”
Katie lifted her head up to look at Xi Men, and Xi Men had already pushed the glass door and left the studio.
Sitting on the bench at the park next to the building where her studio is, she looked at the people walking about.
It is frustrating and stressing her up to remain in that room, recalling that it is a gift from Xi Men (the studio) thus she decided to leave the studio as she needed a breathing space.
And her feet brought her here.
Deep breath again.
Xi Men is right.
He pays everything in the studio. He is still funding.
The studio is after all, a subsidiary of his company.
Not to mention the studio; everything she had today is from him.
Her teaching certificate, all the money in her bank account and the luxury she gets to enjoy… it is all from Xi Men.
She then spots a group of pigeons pecking on the food that is on the floor.
She looked at them, just pecking and pecking.
A couple of pigeons spread its wings and flew a little before landing on the floor and pecks on the food again.
‘You have freedom. You can fly and go anywhere you want,’
‘I am stuck here,’
Xi Men pointed on the glass. “This one,”
“Sure, Mr. Xi Men,” the salesperson said.
“Mr. Xi Men,”
Xi Men nodded at the calling. “Is Xiao You back yet?” he approached the reception counter.
“No, not yet,” Katie replied.
“Okay,” he took a deep breath. “Can you give me a piece of paper… and a pen?”
“Sure…” Katie immediately took the items as requested by Xi Men and passes to him.
She looked at him putting down a box which is in his hand on the reception counter, and now that he has two free hands, he can write on the paper.
She pressed her lips together as she looked at Xi Men writing on it.
He looked rather solemn.
“Can you pass me the key to her room?” he suddenly asked as he wrote.
A brief thought came into Katie’s mind.
Judging at Xi Men and Xiao You’s current condition, she isn’t sure if she should pass the key to him.
He had decided not to enter Xiao You’s room the other day when he came to get Emily, probably aware with his position with her.
And now, he wants to go in into Xiao You’s room…
But didn’t he head to her room just now too, before he asked her to lock the door?
Who is she (Katie) to say he can’t do it?
She is just a receptionist, and Xi Men is also her boss; since Yang Ballet Studio is a subsidiary of Xi Men Corporation.
To do what her boss asked her to.
Not just what Xiao You ordered, but Xi Men as well.
On top of that, Xi Men is Xiao You’s…
“Sure,” Katie replied, and she looked for the key from the drawer again, and then she holds onto it as Xi Men is still writing.
As soon as Xi Men puts the pen down, he extends his hand for the key in Katie’s hand.
Katie passes the key to him, and grabbing the box along with him, he heads to Xiao You’s room.
Xiao You pushed the glass door to enter the studio and wordlessly heads to the direction of her room.
“Xiao You,” Katie called and then quickly heads to her.
“Hmmm?” Xiao You stopped her steps, turned her head and looked at Katie.
“Are you alright?” Katie asked.
“Yes, I am, why do you ask?” Xiao You asked.
“Mr. Xi Men came just now, looking for you,”
Xiao You’s eyes brightened up a little bit. “Xi Men came?”
“Yeah, he went to your room,”
“Is he still in there?” Xiao You pointed at the direction of her room.
“No, he had left,” Katie said. “About 15 minutes ago,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said, relieved. “Okay,” and she started to walk again.
“But you forgot to lock your door when you leave just now, so…” Katie said, walking ahead of Xiao You to Xiao You’s room. “I have locked the door just now by the instruction of Mr. Xi Men, and now I am going to unlock the door for you,” she puts the key into the keyhole to unlock the door.
“Oh. I guess I forgot to lock…” Xiao You said.
Katie smiled. “Alright, I have unlocked the door,”
“Sure, thank you,” Xiao You said, putting her hand on the doorknob.
“No worries,” Katie smiled, and then she heads to the reception counter again.
Xiao You twists the doorknob to open the door and immediately steps on the pieces of phone on the floor, causing her to look down to the floor; momentarily wondering what it was until she saw the significant piece – phone’s screen.
She had forgotten she had thrown and damaged her phone after the conversation with Xi Men.
“Need to clean this up and get a new phone,” she said, looking down onto the floor while she closes the door behind her.
She then crouches on the floor as she picks the big pieces up.
As soon as she stood up and about to head to the desk, she saw a box on the table with a paper on top.
She heads to the table, took the paper up and glances at the box.
It is a smartphone, with the price tag still on the box.
She returned her gaze to the paper.
I am sorry about the conversation. I didn’t mean to say it like that. I know how hurtful it is to you and I know there is nothing I can do to make what I have uttered unsaid. I just wanted to say, paying for gifts has always been my task and responsibility for all these years, so I would like to assume the role; and I didn’t want you to use your money because I want you to have more for yourself, as sometimes you also need to spend on Emily or assist your parents; as well as for emergency uses.
I know you love to buy pretty dresses, luxury handbags, comfortable shoes and delicious food for yourself so you will need more of money; though you can keep the money in your savings and credit all your purchases to the credit card I gave you.
I am sure you are very sad and possibly angry with me. I saw the damages of your phone. So, I bought you a new smartphone. This is the latest model in the market so the functions may differ from the one you had. If you could not get familiar with the new phone, you can let me know and I will do what I can to help you; the settings, the apps, everything.
It is okay, you can pay for Wei Yi’s birthday gift this round. Let me do it next time, alright? And if you are tight on money, do let me know.
Xiao You bites her lips to hold her emotions as tears formed quickly in her eyes.
“Although I want to move on from you…”
She then looked at the box, and her tears fell.
“Everything around me revolves and involves you. Even this studio starts from you. How… how can I…” she sobbed, “I cannot get away from you…”