Lei lifted his eyes up to look at Xi Men twirling his fork in his plate of spaghetti with his gaze (Xi Men’s gaze) intently on the fork, making sure he gets the spaghetti on the fork.
Both of them are having lunch in a reputable Italian restaurant in downtown of Taipei.
It has been more than a week since Xi Men and Xiao You signed the divorce papers.
Because it has been more than a week, Lei decided to have lunch with Xi Men, just to check if Xi Men is coping well with the divorce, though he knew the one that has ultimate trouble dealing with this period would have been Xiao You, and not Xi Men.
But he lets Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai to deal with Xiao You.
Xi Men had repeatedly assured Mei Zhuo, Ah Si and him (Lei) that he (Xi Men) is fine, but Lei wanted to meet Xi Men to see if Xi Men is really doing fine, just like what he says; which, Lei knew, is most likely not.
Lei didn’t ask Mei Zhuo and Ah Si to join the lunch, because he didn’t know how much Mei Zhuo and Ah Si trusted Xi Men’s message.
But anyhow, if everyone is present for the lunch, it has a higher chance of Xi Men acting he is alright when he is not. So, Lei decided to do this alone.
Lei looked at Xi Men who had evidently lost some weight.
And he realized Xi Men is only twirling the fork, not exactly interested to eat.
“So,” Lei said, breaking the silence that has been lingering for a while.
Xi Men lifted his head up to look at Lei, “Hmmm?”
“How have you been?” Lei asked.
Xi Men smirked. “I’m good,”
“Really?” Lei asked.
Xi Men remained smirking. “Yeah,”
“You know it is just me right here,” Lei said.
“I know,” Xi Men said, taking a deep breath.
“You look bothered. Say anything you want to say. Ask anything you want to ask,” Lei said, looking at Xi Men.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat, “Did you meet up with Xiao You?”
Lei shook. “I didn’t. But Jing did,”
Xi Men looked at Lei, “How is she…?” Xi Men asked.
“I assume you didn’t see her? Since you asked me,”
Xi Men took a deep breath and then he nodded. “You are right. The last time I saw her was that time when we signed the papers,”
“I did send her messages to ask about her, but she never replied them. The only thing she replied is answering the questions pertaining to Emily,” Xi Men said.
“So, did you meet up with Emily?” Lei asked.
“I thought you will see Xiao You whenever you meet up with Emily,”
“Not really. She asked Jin to send Emily to my office and even specifically called Jin to pick Emily up when I am done having dinner with her (Emily). I didn’t even have a chance to go to the penthouse,” Xi Men said. “I… I was wondering… if she really… hates me that much,”
Lei tilts his head and he also took a deep breath. “Actually, she hasn’t been at her best health,”
Xi Men turned to look at Lei. “You mean she’s sick?”
Surprised at that, “How long has she been sick?” Xi Men asked.
“Fever? Flu? Coughing? What is the temperature reading?”
“Why do you show concern all of a sudden?” Lei asked, looking at Xi Men.
Xi Men looked at Lei and then he then lowered his head down and looked at his plate of spaghetti, “Divorce doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore. I am not someone who totally forgets her,”
Lei took another deep breath. “I don’t know,” he said. “This is the answer to your question about her temperature and everything,”
“You don’t know anything?” Xi Men asked, lifting his head up to look at Lei.
“All I know is that all of us found out she is sick 4 days ago when she called Xiao Qiao to ask about some medication,” Lei said. “After finding out she is sick, the ladies all went to visit Xiao You at the penthouse,”
“What kind of medication is she asking about?” Xi Men asked.
“I am not sure, but it is some powerful flu medication which Xiao Qiao took when she had once fallen ill at Seoul, Korea, a day before her performance,” Lei said.
“You mean, she didn’t see a doctor…?”
“I guess so,”
“Why? Why didn’t she go and see a doctor…?”
“Ask her yourself if you want to know,” Lei said.
Hearing that respond, “Don’t treat me like that, will you?” Xi Men asked, looking at Lei.
“Can’t help it that I disagree with what you’ve done,” Lei said.
“You probably will never forgive me…” Xi Men said.
“I just felt pity for Xiao You,” Lei said and then sighed.
And then he sighed again. Twice.
Xi Men just glances over to Lei before he looked straight. “So… you said, Jing paid her a visit?”
“Yeah,” Lei said.
“Then… is she getting better?”
“I don’t know,” Lei said. “Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai had only visited her once. Xiao You asked them not to visit her for fear they may get infected and then spreads to the kids,”
“Kids… then what about Emily? Did Emily…”
“Emily has been staying with Xiao You’s parents the moment she (Xiao You) gets sick,” Lei said. “And apparently she calls Emily everyday to talk to her,”
Lei stared at Xi Men, “And you don’t even know Emily is not staying at the penthouse now?”
“I… I don’t know. Because Xiao You insists to have Jin to come and pick Emily… I don’t know…”
Lei took a deep breath.
“Maybe that is why she didn’t want me to send Emily home, because Jin will send Emily to her parents’ house…” Xi Men murmured. “And in that way, I will not know Emily is not staying in the penthouse now and that she is sick…”
Lei sighed. “Not only the relationship breaks down, both of you even had communication breakdown,” he said.
“It is not that I don’t want to communicate with her. She is the one that didn’t want to talk to me,” Xi Men said, and he sighed worriedly. “I know absolutely nothing about her now. Absolutely nothing,”
Lei looked at Xi Men, apart from being frustrated at Xi Men, he is feeling sorry for Xi Men as well.
“I assume… she didn’t go to work?” Xi Men asked.
“As far as I know, she didn’t go to work on the few days after she signed the papers, including the day Jing visits her. However, I am not sure about the last few days,” Lei said.
“I see…” Xi Men said. “I… I guess I am the last one to know…”
“Not surprised. Since no one wants to tell you about her anymore,” Lei said.
“You could,” Xi Men said.
Lei just smirked. “So, I am the information provider now? I don’t remember that is my job,”
Xi Men smiled faintly, “Thank you for the information,” he said. “At least I know… she is sick now…”
“She got sick because of you, Xi Men,”
Xi Men looked at Lei.
“The separation happened not too long ago, and then the divorce had to happen so soon. I have to say this is a huge impact for her,”
“But she picked to sign the papers almost immediately,” Xi Men said. “She could choose to sign at a later date,”
“The document is ready. The signing has to happen someday. Is it going to help her if she choose to sign later?”
Xi Men looked at Lei, not knowing what to say.
Or rather, there is nothing he (Xi Men) can say.
“I guess, she had fallen ill because she is too sad and depressed about this whole thing,” Lei said.
Xi Men took a deep breath. “I… kinda know,”
“Do the right thing, Xi Men,” Lei said.
Xi Men remained looking at Lei.
“You know what I am talking about,” Lei uttered.
Xi Men took a deep breath, and then he lowered his head down and looked at his plate of spaghetti, twirling the fork again.
He just keeps twirling and twirling, with no intention to eat.
Yang Ballet Studio.
Katie picks up the phone. “Hello, this is Yang Ballet Studio. May I help you?”
Katie (recognized the voice, surprised, and immediately with attentive voice): Mr. Xi Men.
Xi Men: Can I check with you… (paused)
Xi Men: Did Xiao You come to work today?
Katie: No, she didn’t. She is on sick leave today.
Xi Men: How long has she been on sick leave?
Katie: 3 days.
Xi Men: 3 days?
Katie: Yes. But she hasn’t been in the office for more than a week now.
Xi Men: More than a week?
Katie: Umm… yes. Since… last Monday.
Xi Men (exhaled his deep breath): Then what about her classes?
Katie: She has cancelled all her classes for at least 3 weeks.
Xi Men (surprised): 3 weeks? You mean, from last week to the next 2 weeks?
Katie: Yes, sir, she has cancelled a total of 3 weeks tentatively. But she has notified me that she may cancel more classes if her fever didn’t go off soon. She is afraid she will infect the students even after her fever goes off… so she will only resume classes after she is completely healed.
Xi Men: Oh.
Katie: Yes, Mr. Xi Men.
Xi Men: Umm… thank you.
Katie: You are welcome, Mr. Xi Men.
Xi Men puts down the desk phone and hangs up the call.
His fingers remained on the phone receiver as the conversation lines repeat itself in his mind.
He stood up from his seat, grabbed his suit on the chair and leaves the CEO room.
He then stood in front of Secretary Xu’s table, “Secretary Xu,” he called.
“Yes, sir?” Secretary Xu said, rose his feet.
“I am going out. I won’t be coming back to office for the rest of the day. Cancel all my appointments for today. And no business calls,” Xi Men gloomily said.
“Umm… alright, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
Xi Men turned and walked off, taking an extremely long and deep breath.
Butler Pan and the maids exchanged glances as to why there are visitors.
Xiao You, who is lying on the king bed in her room, lifted her eyelids up upon hearing the doorbell.
Butler Pan immediately heads to the door and looked at the magnifying glass on the door to see who is right behind the door.
He is surprised to see it is Xi Men, and he (Butler Pan) quickly opens it.
“Master!” he called.
The maids are surprised upon hearing what Butler Pan has just uttered, thus all of them ran and heads to the entrance to greet Xi Men.
Since separating from Xiao You, Xi Men has never come to the penthouse at this hour. It is always at night, when he drops Emily.
Xi Men entered the penthouse. “I heard Xiao You is sick,”
“Umm…” Butler Pan looked at the maids, exchanging glances with them.
Xi Men passed the suit in his hand to the maid standing nearest to him, who openly accepts it. “Why didn’t anyone call me and tell me that?” Xi Men questioned the butler and the maids, before he turned his gaze to Butler Pan. “Didn’t I specifically tell you to inform me if there is anything?”
“Yes, sir, you… you did,” Butler Pan said, lowering his head down.
“Then why didn’t you call me?” Xi Men asked.
“I’m sorry, master…”
“I am the one that asked them NOT to call you,”
Everyone turned and looked at Xiao You, who had interrupted Butler Pan’s respond, is standing at the door of master bedroom, with her hand placed against the wall to support herself.
Xi Men immediately noted the changes on Xiao You.
In a span of more than a week, she is way thinner than she already is.
“Xiao You,” Xi Men called, as he turned and heads towards her.
“Why are you here?” Xiao You asked as she walked slowly towards the living room.
She looked so weak that she is basically dragging her feet to move.
“Are you alright?” Xi Men asked, extending his hand to grab her arm, to give her support as she walked.
She lifted her hand up to stop him from touching her. “How did you know I am sick?” she asked, and then she lets out some coughs.
Xi Men looked at Xiao You’s pale face. “You don’t look alright. Did you see or call for a doctor?” he holds her arm anyway.
“I am fine,” she flings her hand away from him.
He felt awful to have his help rejected. He then turned to look at Butler Pan, “Has Xiao You see a doctor?”
He is in a dilemma, where answering and not answering will get him into trouble.
Both Xi Men and Xiao You are his employer.
One wants him to answer, and the other wants him to keep quiet.
So, who should he listen to?
Butler Pan ends up shaking his head as a respond to Xi Men.
Xi Men turned to look at Xiao You, “Why don’t you go to see doctor? You will not be fine without seeing a doctor,” he said.
“It is my body that is sick! What did you know!” she growls at him.
Xi Men, Butler Pan and all the maids are stunned at that.
“Go away. Go home… I want to rest…”
“Resting without seeing a doctor or taking proper medication will not get you better,” Xi Men approached her anyway.
“I said leave…” Xiao You softly said, and then she coughed again.
“Gosh… your condition is really worrying…” Xi Men murmured, and then he exchanged glances with Butler Pan, “How long has Xiao You been sick?” he asked Butler Pan.
“7 days, sir,” Butler Pan said.
“7 days?!” Xi Men asked, surprised with the answer. “Are you saying she has been staying at home for 7 days?”
“Ma’am has been sick for 7 days but…” Butler Pan said, and then glances at Xiao You, “But ma’am has been at home more than that…”
“Since last Monday, isn’t it?” Xi Men asked.
Butler Pan swallowed the lump in his throat, and he just nodded.
Xi Men turned around and looked at Xiao You who is coughing once in a while, “Then why did Katie said you are sick for 3 days?!”
Xiao You, whose back of the palm is on her mouth as she coughed, glares at Xi Men. “Katie? Now you are tracking my sick days?” she asked. “Oh… right, you are my boss, that is why…”
“I don’t mean that. I mean… she said 3 days, but Butler Pan said 7…”
“Because I told her I will be on sick leave for the last 3 days. I didn’t tell her I am sick prior to the days before that,” Xiao You said, pressing her temple now. “I just said I am taking my days off,”
Xi Men looked at her, and then he turned to look at Butler Pan, “Call my doctor. Tell him to come to the penthouse,”
“Yes, sir,” Butler Pan said, immediately taking a step forward to head to the phone.
“I don’t want to see a doctor! Butler Pan, do not call!” Xiao You yelled, causing Butler Pan to turn around and looked at Xiao You.
Butler Pan could only stand still and looked at Xiao You and then at Xi Men.
“Xiao You! See a doctor!” Xi Men pleaded. “PLEASE!”
“I don’t need your doctor!” Xiao You pointed at him.
“I am the master of this house! I am calling MY doctor to see you!”
“I am the one staying here! I want you to leave my house! I don’t want to see you!” Xiao You screamed. “I’d rather die than seeing you in front of me!”
Xi Men is stunned with what Xiao You had uttered. “Wha… what?”
“I SAID I PREFER TO DIE THAN SEEING YOU ONE MORE TIME!” she yelled at him, before she coughed again.
Xi Men is dumbfounded over what he heard.
“We’ve divorced! Get the f*ck out of my life! I don’t need you to care about me anymore!” she yelled right at Xi Men’s face.
“Go away and leave me…!” suddenly Xiao You closed her eyes and…
“Ma’am!” Butler Pan and the maids called at the same time, and also…
“Xiao You!” Xi Men immediately reached forward as Xiao You collapsed into his arms. “XIAO YOU!!!”
With his head slightly lowered, he could only look at the floor, and his mind is in a mess.
Nothing seems right.
Felt so troubled too…
“Over there,” a male voice is heard.
Already know who that is based on the voice(s), Xi Men, who is sitting on the bench, slowly lifted his head up to look at San Chai and Ah Si who are running towards him, and stopped right in front of Xi Men.
Just as Xi Men thought both of them came first, he saw Lei, Mei Zhuo, Jing and Xiao Qiao reached them too.
Xi Men then lowered his head again.
“What happened?” San Chai asked.
After taking a deep breath, “She fainted,” Xi Men said.
“My gosh, is she okay?” Ah Si asked.
He nodded. “She has fever, flu and cough. Doctor said she is dehydrated too, so she is particularly weak,” Xi Men said. “Because she has been sick for so many days, she has been given a flu shot,”
“Oh,” everyone said.
“So, she is okay. She will stay here for a day or two…” Xi Men said. “Or maybe more…”
“Is she awake? Or she is sleeping?” San Chai asked.
“She’s over there,” he said, not answering San Chai’s question but he points at the door of the ward behind where San Chai stands, causing everyone to naturally turned their heads and looked at the door too.
“She is inside the room?” Jing asked.
Xi Men nodded. “Yeah,” he said, looking dazed.
“Can I go in and see her?” San Chai asked.
“Sure,” he replied.
San Chai heads to the door, opened it and then walked into the room with Xiao Qiao and Jing.
Xi Men’s head tilts a little, seemingly trying to catch a glimpse of the room when the ladies opened the door and entered the room.
But he sees nothing, and then the door is closed.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si catch what Xi Men did.
“You haven’t see Xiao You in the room yet?” Lei sits down next to Xi Men and asked.
Xi Men only shook his head and then clasped his hands together.
“Why don’t you go in and see her?” Ah Si asked.
Xi Men took a deep breath and he exhaled it. He had no intention to answer that.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances.
“So… why are you at her place?” Mei Zhuo asked, as he sits down at the other side of to Xi Men.
“After finding out she is sick… I just thought of going over to see her condition,” Xi Men said.
“Oh,” Mei Zhuo, Ah Si and Lei said.
“She’s been sick for 7 days and…” Xi Men stopped, and then swallowed the lump in his throat.
“And…?” Mei Zhuo asked.
Xi Men suddenly stood up. “Nothing,” he said. “I… I am going off,” he turned and walked.
“Going off? You are not going to see Xiao You? Like, you are NOT going to?” Ah Si asked, as Mei Zhuo and Lei looked at Xi Men stopped after taking two steps.
“Nah…” Xi Men said, with his back facing his friends. “I am going to fill in some forms for Xiao You’s admission… see you guys around,”
Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei exchanged glances.
Xi Men lowered his head as he walked away to the counter.
Lei frowned. ‘That is weird…’ he thought to himself.
“Guys, go and visit Xiao You. I’ll go after Xi Men and see what is wrong,” Lei stands up on his feet and said to Ah Si and Mei Zhuo.
“Alright,” Ah Si and Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men fills in Xiao You’s admittance form.
Her name. Her age. Her date of birth. Her identity card number. Her address.
Those details had found itself perfectly etched in Xi Men’s mind as he wrote them down in the form without the need to stop and recall them, and he makes no mistake with the details.
After he had filled the details, he then passed the form to the nurse sitting at the counter.
The nurse looked at the form, just to double check that everything has been filled.
“May I know what your relationship with the patient is?” the nurse asked.