More than a week later.
“Good morning, ma’am,” Butler Pan said.
“Good morning, Butler Pan,” Xiao You replied as she took her seat down on the dining table, and the maid immediately serves her a cup of black coffee.
“Ma’am, just to inform you that Jin has called back and say that there is a traffic jam in the city so he might take a while to come back to get you to work,” Butler Pan said.
“Oh, did he manage to send Emily to preschool on time?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes, he did. The jam is on his way back here,” Butler Pan said.
“Okay, as long as Emily isn’t late for preschool. Ask Jin to take his time. I’ll drive myself to work today,” Xiao You said.
“Oh?” Butler Pan asked.
“Yeah, it is okay. It has been a while since I drove so I don’t mind to drive today,” Xiao You smiled. “Please get the Honda Accord’s car keys for me,” she lifted up the cup of black coffee for a sip.
“Yes, ma’am,” Butler Pan said.
Xiao You gets into her Honda Accord and starts the ignition of the car… ready to drive to work.
She gripped onto the steering wheel and stares at the dashboard for the fuel indicator and everything else.
She then smiled faintly.
*Flashback to 2 years ago.
“Come in,” Xiao You sitting in her office of Yang Ballet Studio, said.
The door opened and…
“This is for you,”
Xiao You lifted up her head and looked at Xi Men standing in front of her, handing her a bouquet of red roses.
“Hmm? What is this for?” Xiao You asked with a small smile while pointing to the flowers in his hand.
“Happy birthday, my wife,”
She is dumbfounded. “My… birthday?”
Xi Men laughed. “You must have been too busy until you forgot your birthday today!”
“Really? It is my birthday today?” she asked as she looked at the table calendar.
Xi Men laughed again. “You’ve lost track of days, my dear,”
“Ah… it is really my birthday today…” Xiao You said, pointing at the calendar.
“You know the weird part? For every single year, you are the one that will remember my birthday, and I am the one that will remember your birthday, every single time without fail,”
“That’s what makes us so special to each other,” she smiled as she took the bouquet of roses from his hand.
“I love you sweetie,” Xi Men smiled and pouts his lips.
“I love you too,” Xiao You smiled and kisses his pouting lips. “And thank you for the flowers,”
“No problem. I’ve already booked a table for two of us for dinner tonight to celebrate your birthday,” Xi Men said. “7pm,”
“Two of us? What about Emily?”
“I already asked your parents for help to take care of Emily for the few hours we will be away,” Xi Men smiled.
“Ah, so well-planned, Mr. Xi Men?”
“Of course, just to spend time with Mrs. Xi Men,” Xi Men smiled lovingly at her. “Oh, before I forget,” he lowered his head down and puts his hand into his pants’ pocket.
“Hmmm?” she asked.
He fished out a set of keys. “This is your birthday present,”
She recognized the shape of those keys, and undeniably it is a car’s keys. “Birthday present? A car?”
“Yes, it is a Honda Accord,” he smiled.
“Honda Accord?” she is surprised. “You are into extremely pricey cars. You won’t buy a Honda Accord…”
He laughed. “You know me fairly well, honey. Yes, you are right. I won’t buy a Honda Accord for myself. But for you, it is a different story,”
“You’ve been talking about this car for 3 days two weeks ago,”
“Ah? Did I? When?”
“Whenever you turn the pages of the newspaper and saw the ads, you’ll just say how sleek it looks and also the features it has,” he smiled.
“Oh… umm… I have no recollection about it,”
“You won’t talk about it for 3 consecutive days whenever you saw the ads and you’ll repeat the same thing about it,” he smiled. “And last week, when we were heading to a mall… we passed by a Honda showroom. I saw how your eyes are glued to the car in the showroom even though we didn’t go in,”
“Besides, I have always known; you aren’t exactly into sporty type of cars. You don’t favor driving fast so there is no point in buying you a Ferrari or Lamborghini. And since you are driving BMW 5 Series now, it is probably underutilized in your hand,”
He laughed. “And mentioning of that, if I don’t pick Honda Accord, I don’t think you’ll want me to add another BMW into your car collection,”
“Correction. It is YOUR car collection,”
Xi Men laughed. “Anyway… to you, a car is just a mode of transport and I know you’ll be happier with a mediocre than a super expensive, powerful yet underutilize car,”
“Talk like a pro, huh,”
He laughed. “I know my wife pretty well,” he said. “That BMW 5 Series that I had given to you is a car that I like, not a car that you like. So, it is best I give you something that you like,”
“As for your car, I went to the showroom and see… and test drove it. Pretty impressive, I should say. I’ll say… you didn’t pick the wrong car and the price is about half of the price of the BMW that you are driving,”
She smiled. “Thank you, Xi Men,”
“But I pick the premium model of Honda Accord which is the most expensive range they had, so don’t you say I am trying to downgrade your car type!”
She laughed. “No, I am happy, thank you Xi Men,”
“You are welcome,” he leaned forward with his cheek facing her. “I want my ‘thank you kiss’,”
She smiled as she leaned over and kissed his cheek.
“So, what color did you pick?” Xiao You asked.
“Oh! I love that color!”
“Now that’s great to hear,” he said.
She laughed. “Oh,” she then stopped laughing. “What will happen to the BMW?”
“It will become Jin’s official car to fetch us when we need his service,”
“I like that car. It is still quite brand new and I am not going to sell it,” he smiled.
“Alright,” she smiled.
“Anyway, your new car is already at downstairs. I have just collected it and it is now ready for its owner. You will drive it back home while I sit beside you the entire journey,” he pushes the car keys towards her.
“Is that why you demanded I must take Jin’s ride to work today?”
He smiled. “You can say so. Because it depends on your mood. You’ll decide to drive to work all of a sudden, so it is best I tell you first that we are taking Jin’s ride today,”
“Oh, saying it as though you are not the type of person that will decide to drive to work all of a sudden,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Thank you, Xi Men, for my wonderful birthday present,” she smiled.
“You are welcome, my wonderful wife,” he smiled.
*End of flashback.
“How things are so different in 2 years,” Xiao You murmured.
She lifted her eyes to look at the back mirror for a split second before she returned her gaze to the road as she drives.
She soon realized there are some odd sounds, though unsure if the sound comes from her car or the car next to her, and she hasn’t paid attention to any sound since she drives from the penthouse.
She tilted her head as she tried to listen and to confirm if the sound comes from her car or the car next to her.
The car next to her soon speeds up and goes off, but the sound didn’t leave.
“The sound comes from my car,” Xiao You murmured.
After paying a bit more attention to the sound, she realizes the sound comes from the engine.
She looked at the dashboard for any irregular reading but all of them shows normal.
If that is the case, then there is no reason for her to panic now or to park her car at the roadside.
She knew if the car can still moves despite the sound as well as normal reading on dashboard, means it is completely okay for her to drive the car straight to the workshop.
“Looks like I have to send this to mechanic,” Xiao You said, swerving the car at the junction and heads to the workshop.
“I’ll give it a check first, before I can tell you what exactly the sound is, Mrs. Xi Men,” Marcus, the mechanic said.
“Sure, no problem. Call me alright,” Xiao You smiled. “Me. Call ME,”
“Okay, Mrs. Xi Men,” Marcus said, already heading to her car to open the car’s bonnet.
Clutching onto her handbag and a document bag, she walked away from the workshop.
Turning her head to the right, she caught the sign of subway.
She smiled and she heads to that direction.
Xi Men looked at his ringing smartphone on the table.
He frowned as he saw the numbers along with the name of the caller displayed on the screen. “Marcus?” he murmured, and then he picks up the call.
Xi Men: Hello?
Marcus: Hello, Mr. Xi Men. This is Marcus. I am calling to inform you about the source of sound, parts and costs to fix Mrs. Xi Men’s car.
Xi Men frowned. ‘Xiao You? Xiao You’s car?’ he asked himself.
Xi Men: Umm, sure. What happened to her car?
Marcus: The sound from the car is actually the fan belt. I will fix the fan belt. I have also checked the gear oil and brake oil, I suggest it is time to change the oils. The costs for fixing the belts and changing the two oils will be about TWD$3000.
Xi Men: What about normal service?
Marcus: Oh, do you want to service the car as well?
Xi Men only holds the phone to his ear. He wasn’t sure when the last time Xiao You’s car was serviced.
Xi Men: I am not sure when the last time that car was serviced. I mean… I forgot.
Marcus: Oh, then let me check my record.
Xi Men: Sure. If it is already time to service, go ahead. And since you are changing the oils, maybe you can allocate a bit time to check the other parts of the car. Check the brake pad, the handbrake… do a major service if necessary. And also please fix the tires’ alignment, balancing and change the wheel rotation.
Marcus: Sure, Mr. Xi Men. I will work out on the amount and then…
Xi Men: Don’t worry about the amount. After you are done with the service, just let me know the total amount. I’ll pay you.
Marcus: If that is the case, thank you, Mr. Xi Men.
Xi Men: Just make sure they are all in good, working order. That car is her precious car.
Marcus: Definitely, Mr. Xi Men. You know my standard.
Xi Men smiled. Marcus is a very honest mechanic and he did everything exceptionally well. Marcus has always been his trusted mechanic.
Xi Men: How long, roughly, does it take you to fix the car?
Marcus: Hmm… I am not very sure because I need to check everything else as you have asked. Probably 6 to 8 hours.
Xi Men: 6 to 8 hours?
Marcus: It is just a rough estimation, Mr. Xi Men. I may be able to settle earlier too. I’ll call you when the car is done.
Xi Men: Okay, that will be good. Thank you, Marcus.
Marcus: Thank you too, Mr. Xi Men.
They hang up the call.
Xi Men stares at the phone for a while. “Xiao You sends her car to the mechanic…” and of course, he didn’t know about it.
He then decided to give Jin a call.
Jin: Hello, Mr. Xi Men.
Xi Men: Jin, did you drive Xiao You to work today?
Jin: No, sir. Ma’am drove to work today.
Xi Men: Did she call you?
Call? What call? Why would she call if she had said she will drive to work today, and even asked Butler Pan to call him and asked him to take his time driving back home since he is stuck in the jam?
Jin continued: Umm… no, she didn’t.
Xi Men: Nevermind then.
Xi Men hangs up the phone call.
He gazes towards his computer’s screen, but his focus wasn’t there.
He took a deep breath and he picks up his phone…
Call unanswered. Missed call again.
Yang Ballet Studio.
Katie extends her hand forward to grab the deskphone that is ringing on the table.
“Hello, this is Yang Ballet Studio. May I help you?”
“Katie, is Xiao You in? Or is she in a class?”
Katie is surprised to hear Xi Men’s voice at the other end of the call. “Err…” she immediately stood up as she remembered seeing Xiao You.
Xiao You is sitting at the consultation area, speaking to a parent about the ballet courses offered in the studio.
“Mr. Xi Men, Xiao You is currently doing consultation with a parent…” Katie said politely.
“When will the consultation ends?”
“Umm…” Katie isn’t sure how to respond to that question, since every consultation is not the same.
And Xi Men would have known this.
There is no specific time when a consultation will end.
But… since he asked this… maybe… something really urgent?
At the corner of her eyes, she saw Xiao You standing up with a smile and exchanging handshakes with the parent.
“Mr. Xi Men, I think the consultation is over. Please hold while I try to get her,” Katie said and immediately puts down the phone on the desk and hurriedly heads to Xiao You.
“If you have any queries, you can call us. The number is here,” Xiao You smiled as she pointed at the telephone number on the brochures that she had passed to the parent.
Katie immediately leaned forward to Xiao You. “Xiao You, you have a call…”
Xiao You turned to look at Katie. “Who’s the caller?”
“Mr. Xi Men…” Katie said.
Xiao You’s smile, which is actually the friendly smile to the parent, fades. “Xi Men?”
Katie nodded. “He sounds impatient and slightly frustrated. He calls the studio’s phone…”
“Must be because he can’t get me on my cell phone,” Xiao You murmured. And then she turned to look at the parent in front of her. “Madam Lin, sorry, I have some things to attend. Katie will send you,” she smiled. “Katie, please send Madam Lin out,”
“Sure, Madam Lin, this way please,” Katie immediately takes over.
Xiao You heads to the reception counter and picks the phone up.
Xiao You: Yes.
Xi Men: Seems like it takes you forever to pick up the phone.
Xiao You: You are not the only busy one. I am busy here too.
Xi Men (takes a deep breath): So, done with consultation?
Xiao You: Yes. Why do you call?
Xi Men: Marcus called me and tells me about your car.
Xiao You (eyes strayed): I told him to call me.
Xi Men: Marcus always calls me.
Xiao You: Yeah. Some things never changed (exhaled a deep breath).
Xi Men: Why didn’t you tell me your car is making noise?
Xiao You: It wasn’t anything big deal. The noise only started this morning when I drive so I just send it to Marcus straight away.
Xi Men: Did you ask Marcus to send you to work after you drop the car at his workshop?
Xiao You: Don’t be ridiculous. Marcus is a mechanic. Not my driver to send me to work.
Xi Men: Jin said you didn’t call him to fetch you. So how do you go to work from Marcus’ workshop?
Xiao You: Are you monitoring me or something?
Xi Men: I don’t have the desire to do that.
Xiao You: Then? Why do you keep asking me? Why do you want to know?
Xi Men: Even though we have separated, and even if we are divorced, I still prioritize your safety.
Xiao You quiets upon hearing that.
‘But it is not the same anymore,’ she thought to herself.
Xi Men: It is indeed a right thing to send the car to workshop when you heard those odd sounds, because safety is the most important. I just want to know now how do you go to work from Marcus’ workshop if you didn’t give Jin a call to fetch you.
Xiao You (lowered her head down): I took subway.
Xi Men (surprised): SUBWAY?
Xiao You (lifted up her head): It is quite convenient to take subway from Marcus’ workshop to the studio.
Xi Men: Xiao You, you could have called Jin. He is your chauffeur.
Xiao You: It is just a couple of stations away and only one interchange is required. Way faster than Jin could come to get me from penthouse to workshop and then to studio.
Xi Men: Still, at least it is safer.
Xiao You: Subway is quite safe, you know.
Xi Men: You aren’t supposed to take subway, do you know that?
Xiao You: I know and I don’t mind. I just want convenience.
Xi Men: You…
Xiao You: If there is nothing else, I would like to hang up the call. I have things to do.
Xi Men quiets for a while, while Xiao You waits for his respond.
Xi Men: I’ll come pick you up after work.
Xiao You: No need. I can…
Xi Men: I am not allowing you to take public transport. If you don’t want me to pick you up, I’ll ask Jin to come and get you.
Xiao You: I said no. I said I can…
Xi Men: Stop being so stubborn!
Xiao You: Stop being so demanding!
Xiao You had slammed down the phone.
After slamming down the phone, she lifted up her head and realized she is at the reception counter and not her room.
She looked around, meeting the eyes of her employees and thankfully, there is no customer in the area.
“Sorry about that,” she said, taking a deep breath and heads to her room.
Xi Men gaped in surprise as he stared at the phone with the call that had just been terminated by Xiao You.
“Is it even wrong for me to do that?” he asked.