With a hand in his jeans’ pocket, which Rebecca hooks her hand into, Xi Men handed two tickets for inspection with the other hand.
After checking the tickets, the staffs returned the tickets and also handed two program books to Xi Men.
The program book isn’t for everyone.
Only holders of VIP seats, or categorized as the most expensive seats in the theatre will be given program books by default.
Xi Men took the books, and then he briefly looked at the cover of it as he enters the foyer with Rebecca.
“What is it?” Rebecca asked, looking at the books in Xi Men’s grip.
“Program book,” Xi Men replied, passing both copies to Rebecca.
“One is enough,” Rebecca said, trying to take the copy on the top.
“Take both. I don’t want it,” Xi Men said, stuffing both copies of the program book into Rebecca’s hand.
Raymond is basically ‘inside’ that book. Regardless whatever character Raymond is acting as, Xi Men didn’t want to open the book and see his picture.
But if he holds a really minor character…
Then Raymond’s face won’t be there.
But what if his name is mentioned?
The program book is not important.
The musical is.
He is here to watch the show, not to read the book and find out what he acts as and then begins to critic his performance.
Although he is tempted to do so, but he felt it will not do justice to the musical, since he knew what he will do is to watch out for Raymond’s appearance in the musical and then stares at him (Raymond) the whole time.
It is best to not spoil his own mood.
He gazes at Rebecca, and Rebecca is flipping the program book, briefly browses it.
He stood there in the middle of the foyer as they wait for the theatre door to open.
He remembered he was here more than a week ago, purportedly to look for Raymond but ends up making repeated trips just to confront him.
At the end of the day, he still loses to the confrontation.
He exhaled his deep breath fiercely thru his nostrils at the thought of it.
He exhaled his breath so loud that Rebecca could hear it, prompting her to lift her head up and looked at him.
“Xi Men?” she called.
Xi Men turned to look at Rebecca who is looking at him. “Hmmm?”
“Are you alright?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You looked… frustrated,” Rebecca said.
“Just thought of something,” Xi Men replied.
“Oh,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men isn’t saying anything or talking to her.
Rebecca could only press her lips together.
Why is it so hard to get this guy to open up?
“You are moody today as well. In fact… today is the moodiest I have ever seen of you,” Rebecca said.
“I know,” Xi Men answered shortly to Rebecca.
‘Who wouldn’t be moody? Tomorrow is the day I am officially divorcing my wife. And I am here today to watch a musical where one of the casts is going after my wife. When tomorrow comes and I signed the papers, this guy is free to officially make my wife his girlfriend,’
‘What I am doing is going to benefit this guy the way he wants to.’
‘This sucks. I hate this,’
“Are you stressed about something?” Rebecca asked.
“You know you can tell me,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men just took a deep breath.
“You can share with me…” Rebecca said, trying to push for it.
He gazes at her, “In case you don’t know, I am not the kind of person that says what is in my mind,” Xi Men said.
“I…” Rebecca looked at him.
‘Wait,’ his eyes strayed at this sudden thought, ‘That is not the case.’
‘When I was with Xiao You, I told Xiao You everything.’
‘Everything. Every single thing in mind,’
‘This thing about me that keeps everything hidden in me… is the Xi Men during playboy years back in University days,’
‘This is me before I went to Canada to pursue Xiao You…’
‘I have gone back to becoming Xi Men that I am in the past…’
“You can break the rule,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men looked at Rebecca, “What did you just say?”
“I am saying… you can break the rule and tell me what you are thinking,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men stared at Rebecca intently, “This is me. I don’t change for anyone,”
‘But I changed for Xiao You…’
‘No, Xiao You made me change on my own…’
‘And for better…’
Seeing the gaze he gave her, she realized she shouldn’t have said that and he really doesn’t like that idea. “I am sorry. I don’t mean that…” Rebecca said.
He took a deep breath. “Nevermind,” he casually said, and turned his head to look at the theatre door, waiting for it to open.
Rebecca could only press her lips together again.
His moodiness is really unpredictable. She didn’t know what to do to make him better.
She felt their relationship hadn’t improved at all.
But she is not willing to give up. She will not give up.
This is after all, Xi Men F4.
“I want to go into the theatre and sit down already,” Xi Men said.
“I think the door will be opened soon,” Rebecca said.
“Yeah, it should be,” Xi Men replied.
Just right at this time, the theatre’s door opened.
“It is open now, let’s go,” Xi Men said.
“Okay,” Rebecca smiled faintly.
Both of them entered the theatre and then found their seats at the 3rd row from the stage. They sit down comfortably on their seats.
“Thank you, Xi Men,” Rebecca said.
Xi Men turned to look at Rebecca. “For?”
“Watching this musical with me,” Rebecca smiled.
He looked at her, and then he smiled briefly, “No problem,” and he straightened his head, looking at the stage.
‘This is Xiao You’s favorite musical, yet I have never watched this with her, but instead, I watch it with someone else…’
Rebecca opened the program book in her hand, and after she had flipped and browses the pages in the book, she starts all over again, this time to read whichever portion she wanted to.
She looked at a photo, and then she looked at the name.
Raymond Leslie; the lead – Phantom.
‘Raymond Leslie?’ she frowned a little bit. ‘This name sounds very familiar,’
She looked at the photograph.
She couldn’t really recognize the person though she felt she had seen him somewhere before.
‘Raymond…’ she repeated in her mind.
‘Have I actually seen him before?’
She still couldn’t figure out until the musical starts.
When the musical begins, Xi Men’s eyes inadvertently scanned the actors coming out on stage, trying to spot Raymond despite repeatedly telling himself not to do that as it would be unfair for the musical.
Although his eyes looked around the stage to spot for Raymond, he failed to spot him (Raymond) among all the actors.
But soon, Xi Men began to get immersed into the musical.
It is like a magnet; he is being pulled to actually watch the musical and gradually forgets about Raymond’s involvement in the musical.
And even when Raymond came up on the stage, he (Xi Men) doesn’t know because for Raymond’s character, he had a wig on and his face is fully on makeup and also half (of his face is) covered by the epic and famous mask; masking his appearance completely for Xi Men.
It was only the 15 minutes break that comes in after about an hour into the musical that makes Xi Men realized he had been drawn into watching the musical.
It was also during this break that Xi Men realized he hadn’t seen Raymond on the stage at all.
Maybe, he (Raymond) hasn’t come out on the stage yet?
Then what kind of minor character Raymond has, that he is not on the stage during the first half?
But now, Xi Men had no interest to know what character Raymond is acting as. He just wants to watch the musical and know where the story is going.
He couldn’t wait for the break to end.
He wanted to know what happened next.
And when the break ends and the musical resumes, Xi Men’s eyes are practically glued to the stage.
As the musical progresses, he understood the phantom’s obsession, fascination, adoration and love.
He understood why the phantom is willing to do anything to keep the lead actress next to him, including committing murder.
But the lead actress has fallen in love with someone else who seemed perfect… who loves her too.
And then, the final scene.
The remarkable final scene.
The phantom had given his ring to the lead lady, as he wanted to make her his wife, and then her lover appears; trying to get her, trying to rescue her.
The phantom threatened to kill the lover, and asked her to make her choice.
Xi Men watched the scene without turning his eyes away for a second.
It is a very emotional scene.
In the end, the phantom lets both of them go despite he loves her so much…
He lets them go…
Just when everyone in the theater feels really sad for the phantom, the lead lady returned to the scene… and returned the ring he had given to her, back to him.
And she left.
There is something gripping about this scene.
It makes Xi Men clenched his teeth and swallowed the lump in his throat, and also fists formed on both of his hands.
The phantom sings and… disappeared!
That is the end of the musical.
The casts of Phantom of the Opera gave their bows to the never-ending applause and the standing ovation given to them.
The acting, the dance, the songs, the story.
The whole musical really blows one minds’ off.
Not to mention, it leaves a deep impression in Xi Men and he even got so troubled and disturbed by the flow of the musical.
He felt so uneasy right now.
When the musical ends and everyone stood up to give the casts their deserving standing ovation, Xi Men did too, it’s just that his mind remained bothered.
Now that the show has ended, parts of the musical played in his mind, and eventually felt that he could relate his life to some parts of it.
The feeling is somehow… a perfect blend of enlightening, empowering and discovering himself.
As everyone leaves the hall,
Xi Men turned and walked off on his own, forgetting Rebecca; but Rebecca is following closely behind him.
“That’s a nice musical,” Rebecca smiled as she immediately walked next to Xi Men.
Upon hearing that, Xi Men turned his head to look at Rebecca next to him, only to remember that he is watching the musical with her.
“Oh,” he replied.
“Ohh, I love the musical so much!” she exclaimed.
All of a sudden her voice feels like an out-of-tune shriek that irritates his eardrum. “Oh really,” he said nonchalantly.
“Of course! Nobody hates that musical!” she said again.
Suddenly he questions himself on why he actually answers her, giving her opportunity to say something with that voice that he begins to get annoyed with.
“Whoever hates the musical must be a weirdo,” Rebecca adds.
He closed his eyes upon hearing her voice again, and he just walked straight and takes a deep breath.
His mind is already filled and troubled by the significant portions of the musical that leaves a deep impression; he didn’t need more of this voice that all of a sudden irritates him; troubling him up even more.
Totally unaware with how disturbed Xi Men is, “I am so glad we get to catch this sold-out show. Everything is so nice about this show and…”
“Rebecca,” Xi Men interrupted as suddenly, he felt he couldn’t listen to the voice anymore, and he stopped in his steps.
Rebecca stopped in her steps and looked at Xi Men. “Yeah?”
Without looking at her, “Don’t call me anymore,” Xi Men uttered, as he turned away and walked again.
Shocked with what Xi Men had said, “What?! Why? What happened?!” she asked as she quickly catches up with his steps. “What is going on? Why are you saying this all of a sudden?”
Turning his head and giving her a glare, “I HATE Phantom of the Opera, okay?!”
She is stunned. She had just said ‘whoever hated the musical is a weirdo’. He must have been offended with what she had said.
“No, no… I am sorry. I don’t mean to say whoever hated the musical is weird, I mean… I didn’t know you…”
“So? Just because I said now that I hated the musical, haters are not a weirdo anymore, right?” he looked at her. “Just because I said so?”
“I…” she looked at him.
“Nobody must share your sentiment towards a particular stuff. And to you, whoever doesn’t is a freak in your eyes. And don’t you think that is rude and very disrespectful to people’s opinion?” Xi Men asked.
“I don’t mean…”
“That is good enough,” he interrupted, “I don’t want to be in contact with someone so disrespectful like you,” Xi Men said, continuing his steps.
He felt he had enough.
He felt he needed to get rid of her.
He can’t stand her voice anymore.
He didn’t want to be in contact with her anymore.
Right now, he is just going to say anything, simply anything to just get rid of her, even if he did not mean what he says.
“But… but… you are breaking up with me just because I said that…?”
Xi Men stopped in his track and turned around, looking at Rebecca. “What did you just say?”
“Xi Men, I… I am sorry. It is just a slip of mouth… I mean… I didn’t mean it…” Rebecca stuttered, knowing how mad Xi Men is, upon hearing what she said.
“Break up?” he asked her back. “Break up?” he repeated in disbelief. “What do you mean ‘break up’?”
A slight tinge of hope appears in Rebecca’s heart, for it seems that Xi Men is not going to leave…
“Rebecca, you and I were NEVER in a relationship,”
Rebecca is surprised. “What…?”
Xi Men looked at Rebecca. “I have never treated you as a girlfriend. If you and I have never had a relationship, how is it possible to break up?” he asked her back.
Rebecca stared at Xi Men completely taken aback with what she had heard.
Never had a relationship?
Then… what are they?
She had always assumed they are, since they went for meals or shopping together… though she herself cannot exactly pinpoint when they actually ‘start’ seeing each other.
But she thought it was a confirmation from him when he asked her to attend the Onan’s dinner with him and lets her hook her hands into his arm!
And right now…
What about all that she had boasted?
She had told her friends and colleagues that she is dating him and someday will become his wife, after his divorce with Xiao You is finalized.
And they envied her, if they are not they would have already, since she is with Xi Men of F4; the most influential group of handsome businessmen in Taiwan.
She is so ready to be called Mrs. Xi Men and soon to obtain partial of his popularity and fortune.
But right now…
All of a sudden, everything seems to have crumbled down.
It is not as she had expected. Not at all.
But… but she can still fix it, right? If she is by his side, she can make him love her.
Xi Men looked at her, finally found out what this meant to her.
“Xi…” she took a step forward.
Xi Men extends his hand out to stop her from getting nearer to him. “I can’t believe you think you are my girlfriend,”
“I… but… we go out together! You bring me to dinners… events…”
“Yes, but that doesn’t signify anything,” he said, “To me, all along, you are just a friend that goes out for dinner with me and asking me to go shopping with you,”
“Just a friend?” she asked.
He looked at her as he smirked in disbelief. “How can you think that you are my girlfriend, when I don’t even hold your hand, kiss you or bed you?”
She knew what he is talking about, because she is the one that holds his arm.
She is the one leaning over to kiss him on his cheek.
She is the one trying to get him, trying to be close to him, and trying to make him like her.
She tried. Nothing worked. Not even a bit of it.
“You… you don’t even have feelings for me?” Rebecca asked.
“No,” Xi Men answered without hesitation.
He looked at her. Apparently they have never been on the same page.
He treats her as a friend, as someone whom he can go out and dine with on his boring days.
But she assumed she is his significant other.
Something making whole load of sense crept into his mind, causing a slight change in his gaze.
Now, on top of all reasons, even above her voice that seemingly gets to his nerve, he needs to make her go away for sure.
“To think like that, either you are desperate, or you are probably only after my fame and riches,” Xi Men said.
“No!” Rebecca could only react, though she knew very well there is truth beneath what he had just said, but of course, she couldn’t afford to let him know…
Seeing the way she responded with a loud no, it means he is right.
Things have gone completely out of hand for Rebecca.
She is unsure how to fix this, but she feels there is a need to do something about this, because doing something would mean there is a chance to make him like her; rather than she did nothing at all.
“Xi Men, I really like you,”
Xi Men smirked and then exhaled his deep breath. “Sadly, I don’t. Whatever it is, sorry I don’t like you back,” he said. “Take care,” he turned around and takes a step forward.
Xi Men didn’t stop at her calling.
He is walking away now.
She needs to talk to him. She needs him to listen to her.
A chance to make this right and a chance to make him likes her.
If he walks away like this, she won’t be able to win him again.
Yes, she can talk to him even just in the short ride home!
“You drove me over! Aren’t you going send me back home?” she yelled out loud, grabbing his attention since she wants him to stop walking.
He stopped walking, and then he turned around and looked at Rebecca again. “The nearest subway station is just a few minutes’ walk away. There are also buses and cabs right outside of the grand theatre. Pick your choice,” he continued to walk again.
She couldn’t believe what she heard. “What?! Subway? Bus or cab?! I can’t believe you are asking me to take public transport!” Rebecca yelled.
She can’t believe he could be this heartless.
Didn’t Lei shoot him with responsibility during the corporate dinner last time?
How come it works when Lei says that but does not work when she did it instead?
He stopped his tracks and turned around to look at Rebecca again, “If my wife as Mrs. Xi Men can take public transport to go to work, why can’t you?” he asked.
She went dumbfounded upon hearing what he said.
“Don’t call me again,” he repeated, turning around and walked away.
Rebecca sits in the subway train on her way home after Xi Men ditched her.
Gripping onto the program book in her hand, she felt bad for whatever she had said that makes Xi Men unhappy.
She realized that at this point of time, things are tougher than it is, as damages have been done.
“Is there any ways I can make him like me…?” she asked herself. “I really like him…”
She likes him. His face. His money. His status; although she had not managed to obtain or enjoy any of it yet.
Didn’t his expensive watch attract her immediately the first time they met?
But he had speculated that she may be eyeing his fame and money, which means if there is anything she can do or ‘fix’ in the future, she needs to approach him carefully.
She exhaled a deep breath.
She then lowered her head down and opened the program book again, looking at it.
“This name is really familiar…”
She took a deep breath as she looked at the photo.
The face is also familiar…
This picture… it does resemble a little to…
She lifted her head up and her eyes widened.
“Raymond Leslie. Xi Men’s wife’s new boyfriend in the dinner I attended with Xi Men,” she said. “Maybe Xi Men knows Raymond Leslie is the phantom…” she uttered. “Maybe that is why… Xi Men hates the musical. Perhaps that is why… Xi Men is… mad,”
“Gosh…” she slaps her forehead.
Xi Men gripped the steering wheel tightly as he stepped onto the accelerator and his focus is completely on the road.
The musical is absolutely haunting. Everything about the musical is playing repeatedly in his mind.
The story. The songs.
It reminds him of Xiao You.
“Now I know why Xiao You loves this musical so much… so damn much,” he murmured.
The whole musical is beautifully presented.
Scenes after scenes and the flow of story…
The most heartbreaking thing is during the final scene.
The phantom lets his love one go and he disappeared.
That scene grasped Xi Men’s heart and affects him tremendously.
“I love Phantom of the Opera now… I love it so much it hurts,” he said, tears formed in his eyes.
He stopped at a junction where the traffic light has just turned red.
He engaged his car into N gear [neutral] as he has to wait for his turn to go.
The final scene of the musical keeps repeating itself in Xi Men’s mind.
That scene stirs all the emotions in Xi Men.
A tear finally fell down to his cheek.
“Love is wonderful but yet it is also a weird affection,” Lei said to Xi Men. “It makes you happy but at the same time it has a tendency to make you sad. It can make you feel on top of the world, but it can make you feel as though you are stuck in hell. It can make you go euphoric, but has the tendency to make you go insane. It can be the reason for everything, but can be taken for granted because of it. It makes you acknowledge the feeling is there, but yet it can make you feel it is gone… when it actually still lingers,”
He sniffed, “I finally understand it,” his right hand gripping onto the steering wheel tightly, “I have just realized… I have just realized I am an idiot…” he then leaned forward, having his forehead onto his right hand that is holding onto the steering wheel and closed his eyes. “Xiao You… I still love you… I still love you very much…”
He sobbed uncontrollably at the driving seat of his BMW.
[*author’s note: To clear the air; XM told Rebecca he hates the musical is just an excuse to drive her away]