PAK (*door closed).
“Wow, that guy is so smartly dressed!” Raymond said, pointing at the door where Xi Men had just left from.
“Of course. He works in the office and he’s a CEO. There is no other better attire to fit him than long sleeves shirt with suit and tie,” Xiao You rolled her eyes. “But he only wears the suit when he goes out to see customer and attending formal functions,”
“CEO?!” Raymond is surprised.
“Yes. Chief Executive Officer, if you happened not to know what CEO stands for,”
“Of course I know what ‘CEO’ stands for,” Raymond rolled his eyes.
Xiao You smirked.
“But hey, that guy is good!”
Xiao You glared at Raymond, “What do you mean by ‘good’?”
“He has all the right criteria to be your perfect man! Give him a chance!”
Xiao You frowned. “Huh? What chance?”
“I saw your body language. Come on, don’t be so cold towards him! You are in midst of divorce, right? Means you are practically single. Give that guy a chance,” Raymond said. “Poor fella,”
She finally understood what Raymond said. “Really?” she asked, giving him a boring and displeased look.
“He compliments you and brings your stuff to you personally. And he is handsome and… he seems interested with you,” Raymond smiled.
“Yes, he is handsome and he is good in nature. But he is the guy I am divorcing from. He is my ex-husband,”
The smile on Raymond’s face fades in quarter of a second. “What?” he is surprised, again.
“Correction. Soon-to-be ex-husband,” she said.
“Really?” he remained in disbelief. “He is your ex-husband?” he pointed at the door again.
“Yes. He is the guy that I have been with for 10 years, and married for seven. He is the guy that I am going to divorce from when the papers are ready. He is the guy that gives me THIS ballet studio,” Xiao You said.
Raymond is still surprised.
“And so, what is the point of having ‘all the right criteria’, huh? He is past,” she said, rolling her eyes.
Raymond only stood there and stared at Xiao You, for his mind is processing the entire situation that had just played in front of him.
“Don’t know how to answer now?” Xiao You asked, interrupting his thought.
“Oh,” Raymond immediately realized he had been quiet for a while now. “Your ex-husband is a hottie? Wow…” he happened to blurt that out for no apparent reason.
“Don’t talk like you are gay, please,”
Raymond laughed. “Geez, I love female, alright,” he said and he sits down at the corner again.
“I know,” she smirked.
“But he looks like he is still interested with you…”
“Really?” she nonchalantly asked. “If he is, then we should still be together, right? Then why would he say he doesn’t love me anymore and wants to divorce now?”
“Umm…” Raymond hummed. “Well, I don’t know. That is something between both of you,”
“Definitely,” Xiao You said, taking a black dress out from the paper bag.
Raymond just smiled. ‘But from his actions, I am pretty sure he still has feelings for you,’ he thought to himself.
“Nice,” she smiled as she looked at dress in her hand.
Hearing she said that, Raymond turned and looked at her looking at the dress. He also looked at the dress. “It is indeed nice,”
“Of course. I am the one picking it, you know,” she said.
He laughed at what she said. “So, is that your random shopping’s result?”
“No, this is not random. I am buying this dress for this Saturday’s event,”
“This Saturday? You are talking about the dinner that you are going with me?”
“Yeah, I need a new dress for that,” she said. “So, I went online shopping and found this!”
Raymond laughed. “No wonder,” he said. “So you are saying you buy this dress because of me?”
“Kinda,” she smirked. “Can’t wait to wear this!”
“Hmm?” she looked at him.
“Should I go and pick you up from your home instead?” he asked.
“I thought we’ve agreed to meet at the venue. Why do you have that thought all of a sudden?” she frowned.
“I feel quite guilty to see you put in extra effort to shop, buy a dress, and dress up… while I’ll just wait for you at the venue,” Raymond said.
“So you are saying you’ll come and get me in a cab?” she asked.
“Errr… the transportation can be arranged,” he said. “If you want a limousine, I’ll arrange that. Just for the night,”
She laughed. “Don’t be silly. We’ll just stick to the plan. I have a chauffeur to send me over,”
“Really?” he asked.
“Yes, don’t worry about that. And since it is a formal event, I am expecting you to wear formally. I am already dressing up with this dress,”
“I know. I already had the outfit ready,” he smiled. “I travel with them every single time,”
Xiao You laughed. “Great to hear that,”
“But it’s just a suit. I don’t have a tie. Is it good enough?”
“Aren’t you supposed to know whether it is good enough, since I believe you had attended a lot of functions like this?”
“I know. But what I meant was… is it good enough to match with what you are going to wear?” Raymond asked.
“Oh, yes. That is good enough,” she smiled.
“Okay,” Raymond smiled.
“Oh, I am curious about something,”
“What about?” Raymond asked.
“I thought you have a show on Saturday, then if you are going to this dinner… what will happen to your show?”
“Oh. You are right that we have shows every Saturday… and just NOT this Saturday. Because of the dinner,” Raymond said.
“Well, this is our sponsor’s dinner. Because all of us are required to attend this dinner, they did not arrange for a show this Saturday,” Raymond said.
“Ah, so it is your musical’s sponsor’s dinner… I get it now,”
“I can’t believe she is dancing to some other guys now,” Xi Men murmured and angrily gripped on the steering wheel. “And that Raymond… Raymond what? Who the hell is he, huh? Is he even comparable to me? I am Xi Men of Xi Men Corporation! I am one of the F4 and a tycoon! A big deal in Taiwan! Who does he think he is, huh?!”
Xi Men dives his hand into his pants and takes out the phone.
He just briefly looked at the screen to see the name of the caller, and without actually ‘process’ the name of the caller, he picks up the phone.
Xi Men (angrily picks up the call): WHAT!!
X: Excuse me. Did someone set you on fire?
Xi Men (rolled his eyes and finally realized who the caller is from the voice): Mei Zhuo, what’s up.
Mei Zhuo: Just to let you know that it is terrible to call someone and to be greeted with a loud ‘what’ by him when he picks up the phone.
Xi Men: Sorry about that. What’s up?
Mei Zhuo: Sounds pretty bad mood there. Are you in a mood to talk?
Xi Men: Wouldn’t be picking up calls if I don’t want to talk, but make it quick. I am driving.
Mei Zhuo: I am just calling to remind you about the Onan’s dinner this Saturday.
XI Men: Onan’s dinner? This Saturday?
Mei Zhuo: Forgotten?
Xi Men frowned.
Mei Zhuo: Onan sends us invitation card one month ago to attend their dinner this Saturday.
Xi Men: Really?
Mei Zhuo: Wait, you sound like you didn’t know. You didn’t get any invitation card? Are you saying you are not invited?
Xi Men: I don’t remember getting anything. I need to ask Secretary Xu.
Mei Zhuo: No wonder you sounded weird; because you didn’t know about it. But… Ah Si and Lei are invited as well. It would be weird that you are not invited since all of us attend Onan’s dinner every year together.
Xi Men: It is in an invitation card? Or they called or…
Mei Zhuo: Invitation card.
Xi Men: I am going back to office now. I will go and check with Secretary Xu.
Mei Zhuo: Alright.
Xi Men: You are calling just to tell me this?
Mei Zhuo: Yes. I know what you are going thru now, but I still need to remind you about this. If you are really invited to this event, please attend because you know how important Onan is to us in terms of projects collaboration and support. And that director is slightly on the sulky side. If you don’t go, you are going to offend him. Also, Onan’s dinner is always a huge event and because this is a huge event, our wives are expected to go, and I am going to clarify with you, our wives are INDEED going.
Xi Men went quiet when he heard that.
Mei Zhuo: So, you figure that out yourself.
Xi Men: Okay. I know. Thank you.
Xi Men pressed the ‘hang up’ button and then deliberately tossed the phone to the passenger seat as he drove, and almost immediately, he steps on the accelerator and speeds up.
Mei Zhuo frowned as he looked at the smartphone in his hand. “He hung up just like that?”
“CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu stands up and called as Xi Men walked past his table.
“Secretary Xu,” Xi Men stopped and turned to look at Secretary Xu. “Can you check for me…”
“Sure, what is it, sir?” Secretary Xu asked, extending his hand to grab the notebook on his table, to write things down as per Xi Men’s request.
“Do I have a dinner this Saturday, by Onan Holdings?” Xi Men asked.
“Onan Holdings?” Secretary Xu repeated, stopped flipping the pages in his notebook.
“Yes,” Xi Men said. “Mei Zhuo called me earlier and said they sent an invitation card a month ago…”
“Oh, invitation card, sir?” Secretary Xu interrupts. “Yes, sir. You have an invitation card to attend a dinner, delivered to you about a month ago. As it is addressed to you, I didn’t open the envelope but I put it on your desk,”
“You mean I really get an invitation card for Onan’s dinner? On my desk? Why on my desk? I didn’t see anything on my desk. Why didn’t you give it to me but leave it on my desk?” Xi Men asked, suddenly getting annoyed.
“Sir, you were away that day, I called you, and you said… to put it on your desk,”
“When was I away, Secretary Xu?” Xi Men mocked and feeling frustrated about it. “I have been working every single day and I am in the office every day!”
“On the day Emily is admitted to the hospital, sir,”
Xi Men’s eyes widened by slight as he looked at Secretary Xu, “You mean, on the very same day?”
“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
Xi Men took a deep breath, “My gosh. Shit. I don’t even know where it is now,” he pressed his temple.
“Has it been a month?” Xi Men asked Secretary Xu.
“I’ve lost track of time. Emily was admitted a month ago. Urgh… this is really… shit,” Xi Men exhaled his deep breath.
Xi Men gazes at Secretary Xu who is standing in front of him.
He suddenly felt bad for his outburst towards Secretary Xu.
It has been a crappy day. Or rather, seeing Raymond annoys him and spoils his day.
And he channeled all these frustration to Secretary Xu.
Understood the hard time that Xi Men is going thru now, Secretary Xu does not take offence on the frustration that Xi Men had threw at him.
“I am sorry about my outburst, Secretary Xu,” Xi Men apologizes.
Taken aback by that sudden apology, “Oh, it is okay, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
Xi Men smiled briefly, and then he exhaled a deep breath. “Secretary Xu, come into my room and look for the envelope with me,”
“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
Xi Men felt helpless.
He didn’t know what to do.
He didn’t know what he should be thinking either.
It took the two men 20 minutes to look for the envelope, and they found it placed among Xi Men’s documents on the desk.
So he really has the invitation card.
Onan is a big corporation that has business dealing and partnership with Ah Si, Mei Zhuo, Lei and his company.
Whenever Onan has a dinner, the company will extend invitations to all business partners and everyone will attend.
All four of them had never failed to attend Onan’s dinner every year.
Just like what Mei Zhuo had said, this is a huge event. Nobody dares to miss it.
And the director is publicly known as a sulky type that if you are invited to an event, you must be there or else you better give an extremely good reason.
And that director needs to be persuaded if your reason is not good enough.
What a man.
With this reason, Xi Men will go.
Or rather, Xi Men has to go.
But the problem now is…
This invitation card is also extended to his significant other; namely, his wife.
It was sent a month ago, when their separation news hasn’t been announced and revealed to the public.
He sat there biting his finger as he didn’t know what to do.
This is the time he needs Xiao You.
But Xiao You has said she is not going to the event as his happy wife.
But… she can go as his friend, right?
Just as a partner.
She has also agreed back then about this too…
To go with Xiao You, or not?
He didn’t want her to be unhappy, but… he also needed her now.
His gaze went to the smartphone on the table.
And then he thought about Raymond all of a sudden.
And that… strangely became a motivation.
“It is best that I ask if she could go… and even better if I can stop her from seeing that Raymond guy at least for one night,” he happened to mumble and then grabbed the phone off from the desk.
As he clicked on the contact list, he looked at Xiao You’s picture displayed on the screen.
“I wonder if he is still in the ballet studio now,” Xi Men murmured.
Pressing the ‘enter’ button on the laptop, Xiao You then turned her head to pull the drawer to retrieve her phone.
Upon seeing the picture on the screen, she rolled her eyes, and then picks up the phone.
Xiao You: What?
Xi Men: What kind of tone is that?
Xiao You (rolled her eyes): Look, you just came over. And now you are calling. Are you calling just to check if Raymond is still here?
Xi Men: Is he?
Xiao You (rolled her eyes again upon hearing that): REALLY? You are calling to check?
Xi Men (swallowed the lump in his throat): No. But even if I am, I didn’t do anything wrong.
Xiao You: We’ve separated. I am not obligated to…
Xi Men (interrupts): We are still married.
Xiao You: On paper. Just a piece of paper. You and I are not connected emotionally anymore, which meant more than that paper.
There is a change on Xi Men’s facial expression when he heard that.
Xiao You: So why are you calling.
Xi Men (softly): I…
Xiao You waits for him to speak.
Xi Men (in sorrow): I have a function this weekend… I actually want to ask you if you can go with me…
Xiao You (eyes brightened up that he asked her to go to a function with him): Function?
Xi Men: Yes… I call to ask if you could…
Xiao You: On Sunday?
Xi Men: No, Saturday.
Xiao You: On the day time? Lunch?
Xi Men: No, dinner.
Xiao You: Sorry, I can’t. I have plans on Saturday.
Xi Men: Oh.
‘Must be meeting Raymond. ARGH.’
Xiao You: Sorry about that.
Xi Men lifted his eyes up: Can’t make adjustment?
Xiao You: No. Sorry.
Xi Men (exhaled deep breath): Alright. It is okay.
Xiao You: Is that all?
Xi Men: Yeah.
Xiao You: Alright, bye.
‘She is saying ‘bye’ again…’
Xi Men looked at the phone in his hand.
‘She hung up my call…’
‘She… she is starting to move on from me…’
‘Raymond. Raymond Leslie.’
“This must be Raymond’s fault!” he yelled.
Xiao You puts the smartphone down on the desk and immediately covers her face, and lightly rubbed her cheeks.
“Gosh… talking to him nowadays feels so…”
She took a deep breath.
“Of all days, the function has to be on Saturday, on the same day I agreed to go to another event with Raymond,” Xiao You murmured.
She then sighed.
“Now he will be attending the function with the model,” she looked at the smartphone on the desk.
“He is definitely going with her…”
“He is going to let her take my place…”
Tears welled up.
“She is taking my place,”
And tears fell to her cheek.
After taking a deep breath, Xi Men looked at his phone on the table.
He then hesitantly takes it up and makes a call.
Rebecca: Hello there!
Xi Men: Umm, Rebecca…
Xi Men: Are you free this Saturday?
Rebecca: This Saturday?
Xi Men: Yeah. From 7pm onwards.
Rebecca (excited): Yes! Are we going for dinner?
Xi Men (took a deep breath): I have a formal event to attend this Saturday. Can you attend it with me?
Rebecca holds onto the phone, and her jaw dropped upon hearing the invitation.
‘Attend a formal event with Xi Men…?’
‘Is this a sort of…’