Xi Men, who is staring at his glass on the bar in VS, turned his head to his left. He then smiled briefly.
“Yes,” he said. “Hmmm…” he tilts his head. “Rebecca?”
She smiled. “I am glad you still remember me,”
“But I don’t remember your surname,” he said.
“Ke,” she replied.
“Ah, right. Rebecca Ke. If I am not mistaken, you are a model, right?” he asked.
“Yes,” she smiled. “I came here every single night for the past 3 weeks, hoping to meet you again and I am so devastated you didn’t come,” sitting down next to him uninvited.
“Is it that disappointing?” he asked, taking his glass of beer up for a gulp.
“Yes, I go back every night disappointed that you didn’t come. I was thinking if you could have gone somewhere else,” she said.
He smiled. “I’ve been frequenting VS for years. It’s just that I don’t go to pub all the time,”
“Well, I am glad I get to meet you today again,” she smiled.
“Right… I think I said I will call you after dropping you at the metro station,”
“You don’t have my number,”
Xi Men looked at her, “I don’t?”
“We didn’t exchange number,” she said. “Wow, you don’t even remember if you had my number…”
A small laugh escapes his mouth. “I am sorry about that,”
“Well, that itself already meant you don’t intend to call me,” she said.
There is really no intention to call.
“I’ve been extremely busy,” he said instead.
“Sad to say that I am upset to know you didn’t even think about me,” she said, pouting slightly.
Think about you?
Like, for what?
“Oh,” Xi Men casually replied.
“So… will you buy me a drink?” she asked.
“Go ahead,” Xi Men said.
Rebecca flagged the bartender and orders, “Sea Breeze,”
“Sea breeze?” Xi Men asked.
“Yeah,” Rebecca said, looking at Xi Men.
He tilts his head a little, “Isn’t that what you ordered the last round?” he asked.
“Oh, you remembered?” she asked.
“Umm… actually, the name rings a bell so I just recalled you ordered that last time,” he said, taking his beer up for a gulp again.
She looked at him. ‘I need to work harder for you to remember me…’
She smiled briefly when her drink has been served to her.
She then casually glanced over to the ring on Xi Men’s ring finger.
Since there is a brief silence, Xi Men ends up glancing over to Rebecca, and noticed that she is looking at his ring.
His eyes gazed down to look at his hand, and he happened to tilt his hand so that his eyes get to see his wedding ring.
That movement of his hand distracts her. She lifted up her eyes and looked at Xi Men staring at his wedding ring.
“It is my wedding ring,” Xi Men said.
There is a change on her facial expression upon hearing that.
He returned his gaze to this glass of beer and he raised it up for a gulp.
It is not that she didn’t see it coming since she already saw the ring on his hand the last time she met him, but part of her holds hope that this is not his wedding ring; even more so when he didn’t want to talk about it the last time.
She is hoping it is just a ring that holds no significance to him.
She can hold onto the unknown fact about the ring and gets close to him, but now that he had said it…
“Oh,” she said. “Umm… if you are married, then I guess…”
He looked over to her after putting down the glass of beer. “You guess what?”
She then looked at him, and smiled briefly. “Nothing,”
She is basically smitten with him when she first knew him 3 weeks ago. Xi Men is smart, handsome and rich; he has the perfect package: although she did sense some coldness from him – as he dumped her at the metro station and asked her to go back to her home by herself; but she still likes him anyway, which is why she decided to come to VS every single night hoping to meet him again.
She felt that someone like him is compatible with her, since she is a model.
Oh, and this had to be repeated; he is rich! It means he is financially stable and… yes, good for her when it comes to shopping.
To hear that he is married… it means she doesn’t stand a chance at all.
And she didn’t want to be someone’s mistress.
She didn’t want to be labeled as the 3rd party.
And she wanted to stand a chance to be a lawful wife.
“But I have separated from my wife,” Xi Men said, lifting the glass of beer up for a gulp again.
Her eyes brightened up.
Now that is different.
“Oh,” Rebecca said.
He tilted his head as he stares at his beer.
“Then why are you still wearing it? Because you love her still or you couldn’t let her go?” she asked.
He looked at his wedding ring again, “There’s a reason but not the two you have just mentioned,”
Rebecca just smiled. “Is this the reason why you come to VS?”
Xi Men smiled faintly, “Sort of,”
“I hope you’ll feel better after this,” she smiled.
He knew a couple of glasses of beer won’t make things better. In fact, alcohol can only drown sorrow temporarily, not permanently. It won’t change a thing about his separation with Xiao You.
He smiled as he turned to look at her. “I was supposed to send you home the last round but I didn’t. Let me do that today,”
She looked at him and smiled sweetly, as he offered to send her home. “Sure,”
“Here, right in front,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men stopped his BMW right where Rebecca asked him to.
Xi Men tilts his head and looked at the apartment building next to his parked car. “So this is where you stay?”
“Yes,” Rebecca said.
“Umm… since you send me home… do you want to come in?” she asked.
He shook. “Nope,”
That’s a fast rejection. There is no hesitation at all.
“Really? I can make you a cup of coffee,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men smirked. “I took alcohol for a reason. Not to be cleared by coffee at the end of it. If I wanted to drink coffee, I would have taken it way before this,”
“Good night,” Xi Men said coldly.
“Good… oh, wait. We haven’t exchange numbers…” Rebecca said, dives her hand into her handbag to take her phone out.
He looked at her, partially uninterested to exchange numbers with her even though he mentioned before that he will call her; that is also after dropping her off at the metro station.
But seeing her eagerness, he casually took his phone out.
He hadn’t exactly been exchanging numbers with ladies since he dropped the playboy lifestyle.
He wasn’t quite sure why, but since she wants to exchange the numbers… he just abides.
She took her phone out and waits for him to tell her the number.
He looked at her and then he uttered his number, looking at her keying in his number into her smartphone.
The funny thing is, he is the one that usually asked for a girl’s number. But this time, he is being asked for his number instead.
She called the number and saw Xi Men’s smartphone rang in his hand.
She looked happy to see his phone rings.
“So, can I call you or message you? Is there a period where I shouldn’t text you?” Rebecca asked.
“Message or whatsapp is preferred. I am usually busy so I don’t want calls to interrupt me,” he said.
“Okay,” she smiled. “So… I am going now, I hope to see you soon,”
He just smiled. “If there is a chance,”
“There will be. I have your number,” she smiled. “We can arrange for dinners or meals… anytime when you feel like it,”
He looked at her.
Asides from going to dinner with Emily at times, he is really eating alone most of the time.
Maybe it is a good idea to eat with Rebecca when he just feels bored.
“Sure,” he replied.
“Goodnight,” Rebecca smiled, as she opened the door.
“Goodnight,” Xi Men said, looking at her getting out from the car.
She then closed the door nicely and she waved at him as she stood outside of the car.
He smiled briefly and seeing she waves at him, he casually waves back.
He then turned his head to look for any oncoming cars before he swerves into the road and heads off, heading to his mansion.
‘Another week had passed.’
‘Another miserable week had passed.’
‘It has no difference with any other week…’
‘When…? When can I get thru this and live life the way I knew again?’
‘Please… someone, something, anything… help me and guide me…’
‘I didn’t want to be miserable anymore…’
‘This is torture…’
“Ma’am, we’ve arrived,” Jin said.
Thoughts mode: Exit.
Xiao You lifted her head up to look to the right, to the building where her ballet studio is located. She exhaled a deep breath.
“Why, ma’am?” Jin asked, as he heard Xiao You exhaling the deep breath.
And she didn’t look like she wants to get down from the car…
“Can you park the car for a while… I want to make a call,” Xiao You said and dives her hand into her handbag to take her smartphone out.
“Sure…” Jin said, looking at the side mirrors before he actually swerves the car and parks properly at the roadside.
Xiao You dials a number on her phone and then puts the phone on her ear.
X: Hello, Xiao You?
Xiao You: Katie, can you check if I have any class today? If I am not mistaken, I don’t have any classes but I just want to make sure.
Katie: Sure… please wait for a moment.
Xiao You lowered her head down as she sits at the back passenger seat of the BMW, waiting for Katie.
Katie: Xiao You, I have checked them; you do not have classes today.
Xiao You: Alright. If that is the case, I won’t go to the office today.
Katie: Oh, okay. So you will come tomorrow?
Xiao You: Yes. I think I have a class tomorrow.
Katie: Let me check for you.
Xiao You: Okay.
She waits for a while and heard Katie did some clicking on the computer to check the schedule.
Katie: Yes, Xiao You. You have one class tomorrow at 2pm.
Xiao You: Okay. I will come tomorrow.
Katie: Alright, sure.
Xiao You: Bye Katie.
Katie: Goodbye Xiao You.
Xiao You lowered the phone down and then hangs up the call.
Jin looked at Xiao You via the back mirror, waiting for her instructions.
Xiao You sits there, leaning her head back to the seat.
Jin pressed his lips together. “Is there anywhere you want to go, ma’am?”
“I am not sure where to go. I am feeling quite moody right now,” Xiao You said.
“Umm… do you want to go home, ma’am…?”
Xiao You shook. “I feel like going for a walk…”
“Perhaps, some parks, ma’am? Fresh air… less hectic…”
Xiao You shook.
“Some malls maybe…?”
Xiao You lifted up her head and looked at Jin via the back mirror. “Malls…”
Jin gave a small smile. “Maybe you can do some shopping… or window shopping? It may make you less moody,”
Xiao You took a deep breath and then she smiled slightly, “Yeah. I think that is a good idea,”
“Okay, I’ll send you to a mall, ma’am. But which mall would you like to go?” Jin asked.
Xiao You pressed her lips together as she looked at Jin, and then her gaze went to the road outside of the windscreen, as she is in deep thought. Her gaze then went back to Jin. “Taipei 101,”
Xiao You walked around the mall in Taipei 101 alone.
She entered shops after shops, only to come out from them empty handed.
Nothing basically interests her, and even if the things are actually attractive, she isn’t attracted to them due to her moodiness.
She has been feeling sad ever since the day Xi Men had separated from her, and as days passed by, she has slowly gotten use to not having Xi Men around.
Daily, on certain times, she will feel terrible and sad.
However, there are also better days like today, where she felt more of the moodiness than sadness.
And usually, she drags herself to work as she needed the distraction and at least, be able to be put a smile to her face in front of students.
Doing what she likes to do will be able to at least make her happy.
But not today.
She didn’t feel like doing it today.
She didn’t feel like dragging herself to work.
It has been 2 and a half months now since she had separated from Xi Men.
It has slowly dwelled in her that her marriage with Xi Men is officially over.
Emily has gotten used to staying with Xiao You only in the penthouse, and had stopped asking if Xi Men will come back home. Emily knew Xi Men is staying at the mansion, and she had never stepped foot into the mansion ever since that traumatizing day.
Xiao You’s heart feels slightly better now that the F4 and their wives, which are considered as her friends, had already known about their separation.
It means both she and Xi Men do not need to put up acts in front of the friends anymore.
Xiao You turned her head to the right, and notices the bookstore next to her.
She stopped walking and stood there, looking at the bookstore; while gripping onto the straps of her handbag.
“Since clothes and handbags don’t attract me now… maybe I should go and see some books… even if I didn’t buy them, I hope to get my mind occupied a bit…” and she eventually walked to the bookstore.
She took slow steps to see the books that are currently on discounts or promotions.
She then walked and heads to the segment one by one.
She scans the book titles on the shelves.
“If only my life has a happy ending like most of the books here…” she murmured.
She shook her head after seeing the books displayed on the shelves. “Not interested…”
“No ballet books… hmmm…”
“No, definitely not for me,”
“I hardly cook since I am so busy… I don’t even know when was the last time I cook…” she casually extends her hand out to take a recipe book, “And all I ever cook was ‘diced meat in red…’” and then she paused herself. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she forces herself to look at the book in hand and she flipped the pages. She then placed the book back onto the shelf, “No motivation to cook anyway,”
There is a book for almost every single country in the world on that bookshelf. “Ahhh… nowhere to go… and it is not like I will be going somewhere… alone,” she sighed.
Xiao You slowly walked, and reached a segment just right next to the display glass that separates the shop and the walkway outside of the bookstore.
The name of the column itself had stopped Xiao You on her tracks.
She stood there and slowly scans the title of the books, as though she is afraid she will miss something if she browses too quickly.
Among all the segments in the bookstore, this segment seems to attract her the most.
Taking just a step or two to move after she scans some books’ title, she eventually stood still after seeing the title of one particular book.
Xiao You inadvertently extends her hand out to grab the book in front of her.
She looked at the title, her eyes slowly gazes towards the fine words at the side of the cover, before she turned it around to look at the back, to see if there are any excerpts of the content of the book.
“Has anyone told you that you look beautiful when you are paying attention to things like that?”
She lifted her head up and looked at the guy standing about a meter away from her, looking at her, giving her a charming smile.
She looked at him for a mere 5 seconds, before it suddenly registers in her mind that the face is a familiar one.
A smile formed on her face when she finally recalls, “Raymond? Raymond Keane Leslie? Is that you?”
“Ah, you even remember my full name! I am so glad you remember me, Yang Xiao You,” he smiled wider.
“Oh, gosh! It is really you!” Xiao You said, smiling happily now as she moved closer to him.
Raymond had his hands spread open as she hugged him.
“It is nice to see you here,” Raymond said, as soon as the friendly 3-second hug ended.
“It is so nice to see you too. When was the last time we met? Umm… 10? Or was it 8 years ago? In University?”
“Wow, that is so long ago,” Raymond said. “And come to think of it… probably since we’ve graduated. And…” he tilted his head. “That should be 8 years ago,” he said. “And you still look the same like ever… still so pretty. Or prettier,”
“You are still the same too. Your sweet-talk-trait is still the same, like ever,” Xiao You said.
He laughed. “Some things don’t change, I guess,”
“I hope your sweet talking doesn’t get you in trouble,”
“I don’t sweet talk all the time, Xiao You. I kind of blurted that out when I saw you. Perhaps it has something to do with meeting you again, so it is just kind of norm for me to get back into those University memories and traits,”
“Well, you better be,” she smiled.
“I’m pretty darn sure about that,” he smiled.
“Oh by the way, why are you here in Taiwan?” Xiao You asked. “Traveling?”
“I’m here for work. And you?”
“I am staying here,”
“Staying here? You mean, for good?”
“Yeah,” Xiao You said.
“Like, you migrated to Taiwan from Toronto?” Raymond asked.
“Correction, I migrate to Toronto from Taiwan, only to come back here right now,”
Raymond stares at Xiao You upon hearing that, “Ah, right…” he said. “Right, you migrated to Toronto back then… and then you said you are going back to Taiwan after graduation,”
“Yes, you are correct,”
He chuckled. “Sorry about that. I have totally forgotten about it until now,”
“No worries,” Xiao You smiled. “Hey, Taipei is pretty huge, you know. For you to actually stumble on me in a bookstore like this, it is a bit miraculous,” she said. “Like, of all shops…”
“Well, first of all… I didn’t come in to see books. I was actually at the outside and I looked into the glass panel over there…” he pointed at the display glass behind him, “…for the title of the books on display and that is when I saw you. And I was asking myself… this woman does look familiar. So, I come in to have a closer look, and… it really is you,” he smirked.
She smiled again.
“And above all, there is only one Taipei 101 here, you know?” Raymond said. “I am pretty sure you know a lot of tourists will be here since it is the icon of Taipei, if not for the mall here, they will definitely be here for the observation deck upstairs,” he briefly pointed facing up to indicate the observation deck on level 89 and 91.
“Ah, you are right about that,” she smiled. “Are you here for the observation deck?”
“Already gone up?” Xiao You asked.
“Not yet. I was told at the ticket counter that the outdoor observation deck is closed right now because it’s a little foggy out there and only indoor observation deck is accessible. I wanted to experience both indoor and outdoor, so I decided to come again later or another day,”
“Oh? And you are alone?” Xiao You asked.
“No, I was with my colleagues. We decided not to go up since we won’t be able to go to the outdoor observatory,”
“Then… where are they?”
“They’ve gone for shopping,”
She laughed. “Why didn’t you join them?”
“I am not very interested with shopping. I can do that anytime though,” he smiled. “And if I had joined them, I wouldn’t have met you here, you know?”
“You are right,” she smiled. “Oh gosh, I am so happy to see you again,”
Raymond smiled. “Same with me,” he said. “So, what book are you seeing that gains your full attention?” he happened to extends his hand out to grab the book in Xiao You’s hand and tilts it to see the title on the book cover.
Xiao You’s smile faded in a split second upon Raymond’s quick action to look at the book, and she had also forgotten that the book is in her hand.
Upon seeing the title of the book, his smile fades, “Relationship Rescue?” Raymond repeats after the cover and he then looked at Xiao You. “Something went wrong with your relationship?”