Xiao You stirs the cup of black coffee in front of her, “Thank you,” she said, smiling at Raymond who is sitting next to her.
“No worries about that,” Raymond replied.
Xiao You’s smile fades slightly, and then she took a deep breath.
“You told me to stay by your side the whole night at the event. So… I do exactly that,” Raymond said.
Xiao You’s smile grew slightly. “Yeah. You did the right thing,” she took a deep breath. “But… when he came to me… you look like you knew…”
“Actually, when you tell me you want me to stay by your side the whole night, I find that your request is odd,” Raymond said. “And then I saw him coming out from the balcony you were in,” he looked at Xiao You. “I supposed… he may have talked to you, and somehow makes you uncomfortable,”
“Uncomfortable?” she asked.
“You wouldn’t ask for a bodyguard to stay by your side, eh?” he pointed at himself.
She then laughed. “I am sorry,”
“Just kidding,” he smiled. “So… I guess he is the reason you decided to stay back in the event and makes you ask that from me. That is why when he approached you, I take note. And when you pulled back, I assist you,”
She smiled. “Thank you again,”
“No worries again,” he said, following after her.
Both Xiao You and Raymond glanced over to Xiao You’s smartphone on the table with its notification light blinking.
“Hmmm?” Xiao You took her smartphone up and takes a look at it.
Her eyes strayed upon seeing that name.
Xi Men: Where are you.
Xiao You types to reply the message.
Xiao You: Out.
She dropped the smartphone onto the table with her annoyed face.
“What’s with the face?” Raymond asked.
“It is him,” she said.
“Oh? Looking for you?” Raymond asked.
“Yes. And so damn rude. He asked me where I am without a question mark! I can picture how his face would look like when uttering that statement,” Xiao You said.
Raymond smiled, and then soon he chuckled at Xiao You’s reaction.
“OUT? That is all she said?!” Xi Men yelled as he looked at the screen of his smartphone.
Xiao You rolled her eyes upon receiving yet another message and took her phone up again.
Xi Men: Where.
Type. Type. Type.
Whatsapp from Xiao You.
Xiao You: SOMEWHERE.
Blood boiled. Anything will be cooked when dipped in his blood.
Exhaling her deep breath, she lifted the phone up again.
Xi Men: With Raymond?
Xiao You’s eyes strayed.
She then gazes at Raymond.
Raymond looked at her, seeing that she is looking at him with the phone still in her hand, “Hmmm?” he asked.
“My husband is asking if I am out with you,” Xiao You said.
Raymond stared at her for a while, and then he chuckled. “That’s a… hmmm. Interesting question,” he said, and then he turned his head and looked around the coffee house they are in.
“What are you doing?” Xiao You asked, noting he is looking around.
“Just wondering if he is here,” Raymond said, turning his head to look at her again. “Since he is asking that,”
“This is pure guessing,” Xiao You said, pointing at the smartphone.
“How do you know?” Raymond asked.
“He is the type of person that will be in his office at this time, and the highest likelihood he whatsapped me now is because he is at my studio and I am not there,”
“Serious?” Raymond asked.
“Wait and see,” Xiao You said.
She begins typing in her phone.
Xi Men looked at the screen.
Xiao You: Who I am with is none of your business. If you saw me, come and say hi.
Xi Men took a deep breath as he stared at the screen.
Another new message.
Xiao You: I DARE YOU.
Xi Men gritted his teeth as he lowered his phone down.
He gripped the steering wheel tightly as he is sitting at the driver seat of his Mazda, and then slapped the steering wheel out of anger.
“She is spending time with him now at somewhere out there,” he said. “And I have to f*cking wait until 4.30pm!”
“Raymond?” the backstage crew asked, “He usually comes around 4.30 to 5pm,”
“4.30-5pm?!” Xi Men exclaimed.
“Sometimes 5-ish,” the female backstage crew adds.
“OR 5-ish!” Xi Men continued to yell after recalling the conversation. “What the hell! I have to give up my whole day for him!”
Xiao You pushed the door and entered her ballet studio.
“Hi Xiao You,” Katie said, upon seeing Xiao You.
“Hey Katie,” Xiao You said, turning to head to her room.
She then stopped.
She turned around to go back to the reception where Katie is, “Katie,” Xiao You called.
“Yeah?” Katie asked.
“Did Xi Men say anything when he came just now?” Xiao You asked.
Katie frowned as she looked at Xiao You. “Huh?”
Xiao You looked back at Katie, analyzing her (Katie) facial expression. “Xi Men came, right? Did he say anything?”
“No…” Katie said. “I mean,” she shook her head slightly. “Mr. Xi Men didn’t come,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said. “So, he called over, right?”
“Umm… no…” Katie said, frowning at Xiao You.
“No?” Xiao You repeated after Katie.
“No,” Katie confirmed. “He did not come over nor did he make a phone call over. I have not heard a thing from Mr. Xi Men today,”
Xiao You frowned, and then she tilts her head slightly. “Then how did he know I am out?”
With his hands in his pants’ pocket, Raymond walked towards the stage door at the theatre, getting ready for work.
As he gets closer to the stage door, he saw someone leaning against the wall next to the stage door with his head looking down and his hands folded on his chest.
Raymond tilts his head a little as he looked at the guy, whose hair, with the power of gravity, had pulled his fringe down and the angle has perfectly covered the side profile of the face that Raymond wants to see.
Very well dressed.
As Raymond approaches the stage door, the guy suddenly lifted his head up.
His fringe rests properly on his face and then he turned to look at Raymond.
Their eyes met.
Raymond’s footsteps stopped and the guy immediately stands up straight from leaning his back against the wall.
Raymond then smirked. “Looking for me?”
The other guy smirked as well. “Yeah. It’s tough to catch you,”
“Tough? Why do you say so?” Raymond tilts his head.
“I have to come here 4 times to finally get you,”
Raymond chuckled. “4 times? Really? As far as I am concerned, every single minute of your time is very precious. To have you waste them here to wait for me… hmmm…”
“I truly hope it is worth it,”
“You could have asked your wife. She knows where I stay, where I work and the time I need to get to work, so you don’t have to spent them all here to wait for me,”
“Asking from her would lead her to ask hundred and one (101) questions on why I want to know these. And I don’t think she will ever answer me after all the questions. I guess, it is best to go with what I know; your workplace. You will be here definitely,”
Raymond smirked. “Of course,”
He took a couple of slow steps to Raymond. “So, have a couple of minutes, Mr. Raymond Leslie?”
“No more than 20 minutes, Mr. Xi Men,” Raymond said.
“Good with me,” Xi Men replied.
Xi Men clasped his hands together as he sat on the bench placed not too far away from the stage door. Sharing the same bench with him is Raymond, who sat at the other edge of the bench, approximately half a meter away from Xi Men.
While Xi Men suggested a coffee house for their talk, Raymond suggested to just talk at this bench because he wanted to make this quick and then he can proceed to the stage door and go to work.
After all, he is here at this theatre for work. So, his priority is work, and is only forking 20 minutes for Xi Men because Xi Men is here for him.
Raymond gazes at some people passing by in front of him while he waits for Xi Men to speak. He had nothing to talk to Xi Men, so he doesn’t need to start a conversation.
He can just wait for 20 minutes to pass by in silence and then leave for work.
“I know you are seeing her,”
Raymond turned his head to look at Xi Men after he (Xi Men) finally said something.
“I know you have been spending time with her,” Xi Men adds.
Raymond smirked as he knew the tone that Xi Men is giving him. He (Raymond) already knew where the conversation is going even though this is just the beginning.
“So?” Raymond asked.
“I hope you don’t need me to repeat this,”
Raymond tilts his head.
“Xiao You is still married to me,” Xi Men said.
A smile formed on Raymond’s face.
“I want you to stop contacting her and stop meeting her,” Xi Men said.
Raymond folds his hands on his chest.
“Do you get me?” Xi Men asked, turning his head to look at Raymond who is sitting so comfortably on the bench.
Raymond looked at Xi Men’s eyes. “Is that all?” he calmly asked.
Xi Men is slightly taken aback by that respond.
“Is this the reason you came to look for me? For 4 times? Just to say this?” Raymond asked.
Xi Men looked at Raymond.
What is that supposed to mean then?
Raymond chuckled in disbelief. “So, you came just to tell me to back off from your wife?”
Seeing Raymond’s reaction angers him, “Yes, Xiao You is still my wife, and you know very well about that,” Xi Men said.
“The last thing I remember and was told about is that both of you are separated,” Raymond said. “So, she is back to the market,”
“I said, she is still my wife!” Xi Men raised his voice.
“She is just your wife in the name of law! To you, she isn’t your wife anymore!” Raymond attacks back.
Xi Men looked at Raymond.
“In case you forgot, let me remind you that you have already called your lawyer and starts processing your divorce papers! Once you and Xiao You signs that, it officiates by law that she is not your wife anymore!” Raymond added.
Xi Men remained looking at Raymond, and he breathes deeply.
How is he supposed to win this thing and to successfully asked Raymond to stay away from Xiao You?
“You are already seeing Rebecca. Why can’t Xiao You go out and meet someone else? How can you be so selfish to guard her and stop her from meeting new people?” Raymond asked.
Xi Men stared at Raymond.
Raymond tilts his head a little and looked at Xi Men. “I hope you understand your current situation, Mr. Xi Men. Your choice is leave her. When you let her go, she has the right to see anyone she wants and even be with them,”
“Raymond,” Xi Men called. “I didn’t want her to leave the country. She needs to stay back in Taiwan,”
Can’t leave country.
Needs to stay in Taiwan.
Raymond smirked. “Then tell her that. Not me,” he said. “It is not my problem,” he tilts his head a little. “And who knows if she leads a better life out of the country?”
“I can’t afford that!” Xi Men said. “My daughter…!”
“Listen,” Raymond interrupted, stopping Xi Men.
Xi Men looked at Raymond.
“Xiao You is a nice person. She is bound to find someone someday. You can’t afford to control her all the time from seeing anyone and be with him or leave the country with someone else who could make her happier than she is now,” Raymond said.
Xi Men’s heart wrenched at the thought of it.
“Xiao You is so lovable that someone else will definitely love her even though you don’t love her anymore,” Raymond said. “So how many can you fend off, Mr. Xi Men? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? Are you going to do that and let Xiao You live without a proper love from a man she deserves until the day she dies?”
Xi Men could only look at Raymond.
“Let me tell you, Mr. Xi Men,” Raymond stared at Xi Men intently. “You and I know very well that Xiao You is still your wife because both you and Xiao You hadn’t signed that divorce papers. But you and I know very well too that you and Xiao You had already separated and lead separate lives. You had moved on and are meeting someone else now, and that means, so can Xiao You,”
Xi Men grits his teeth.
“You let her go, Xi Men. You did,” Raymond said, looking at Xi Men.
Raymond could spot the sorrow in Xi Men’s eyes.
“So, you can only blame yourself for whatever is happening,” Raymond rubs it in.
Xi Men closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Raymond looked at Xi Men. “If you want to stop Xiao You from doing that, there is a choice,”
Xi Men opened his eyes and looked at Raymond. “What choice?”
“Hmmm…” Raymond folded his hands on his chest. “I think it is not possible for you to do that,”
“What choice?” Xi Men repeated.
“You wanna know?” Raymond gazes at Xi Men.
“Don’t divorce. Get back with her,” Raymond said, causing Xi Men to look at Raymond, emitting odd vibe (Xi Men). “And love her the way you have always did,”
Xi Men gave Raymond a very odd gaze.
“And then you will have that ‘husband power’ to stop people from meeting your wife,” Raymond said, “Because she is taken; and she is your lovely wife, giving absolutely no reason for anyone to come after Mrs. Xi Men; the one and only love of Mr. Xi Men,”
Xi Men straightened his head.
Raymond smirked as he looked at Xi Men with his (Xi Men) weird body language. “Can’t do it, right?” he said.
Xi Men didn’t say anything.
“So, you have to let her meet someone else,” Raymond said.
Xi Men turned and looked at Raymond again.
“It is her freedom anyway,” Raymond said. “Right?”
Xi Men exhaled a deep breath.
Now Xi Men really hates that face of Raymond. Really feels like punching him.
“I think our conversation is done. If you have nothing to add, I would like to go to work,” Raymond said, looking at Xi Men. “I need time to prepare for the musical,”
Xi Men took another deep breath. “If I had to plead you to leave Xiao You, will you…”
“Then leave Rebecca and go back to Xiao You,” Raymond interrupts. “And love her more than any guys out there could,”
Xi Men could only look at Raymond.
He is Xi Men.
He doesn’t plead. And if he had to beg someone, it is already a desperate situation.
But in this situation, he really pleads… but it still doesn’t work…
“If you choose separation and want to divorce, then you have no right to demand anything,” Raymond said.
Fists formed in Xi Men’s hands.
“Before I leave,” Raymond said.
Xi Men’s gaze went to Raymond.
“I want to tell you that it is your loss to let her go,” Raymond said.
Xi Men remained looking at Raymond.
“And that means, you are giving someone else ‘the perfect chance’ to be with Xiao You,” he smirked at Xi Men. “So, thanks, man,”
Raymond saw the fiery gaze in Xi Men’s eyes.
“Good day and stay happy,” Raymond smiled at Xi Men and (Raymond) stood up, leaving the bench.
Xi Men clutched his fists tightly, so tight that he felt he could break his fingers just like that.
He felt so pissed off as he looked at Raymond walking away to the stage door.
As soon as Raymond leaves the bench with his back at Xi Men, after taking a few steps, the smile on Raymond’s face fades.
He took a deep breath and then pressed his lips together.
He heads to the stage door, twisted the door knob and enters.