“Just in case you want to know, this meeting is so long overdue,” San Chai said.
“Overdue…?” Xi Men asked.
“Because Ah Si has been stopping me from coming over to rip your head off,”
Xi Men’s eyes brightened up upon hearing what San Chai said.
She is really coming over to ‘kill’ him.
Xiao Qiao lifted her right hand up and covered her eyes.
Jing exhaled a deep breath and then turned her head away.
“I already want to come and beat the shit out of you when I was told by Ah Si that you asked for divorce from Xiao You months ago. Ah Si holds me back, telling me this is between you and Xiao You,” San Chai said. “So, fine. It is between you and Xiao You. I hold back,”
Xi Men looked at San Chai.
“And then, gotten to know the papers are ready and both of you had to sign them…” San Chai said. “Fine. I put up with it too,”
Xi Men still looked at San Chai, could sense those suppressed anger in her.
“But I can’t take it anymore when Xiao You falls into depression and hospitalized after signing the papers,” San Chai said, gritted her teeth. “Because of you,”
Xi Men saw her facial expression.
“How on earth could you do that to Xiao You?!” San Chai yelled, sending shocks to everyone.
Xi Men flinched at her outburst.
“I thought you love her! How can your love for her vanishes just like that?” San Chai asked, pointing at Xi Men.
Xi Men could only look at her, as sadness immediately filled him.
“San Chai…” Xiao Qiao said, and then turned to look at Jing, whose eyes immediately meet Xiao Qiao as Jing was looking at San Chai too.
Jing stood up and heads to San Chai, “San Chai, calm down,” Jing said, putting her hand on San Chai’s shoulder.
San Chai took a deep breath, and then turned to look at Jing, “You know, suddenly I regretted coming over,”
Xiao Qiao and Jing looked at her.
“But you said you want to come,” Xiao Qiao said, looking at San Chai.
“I know. Because I really wanted to punch him,” San Chai said, turning his head to look at Xi Men, who after heard it, had immediately sits back and stick to his leather chair as he feared for San Chai’s fury.
“But I think I am too upset that I can’t even move my hand to do that on him,” San Chai said, glaring at Xi Men, and then turned to look at Jing and Xiao Qiao again.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat.
“But even if I really hit him, it may ease a little of my anger but it will pained my hand for doing it. And above all, it doesn’t change the reality,” San Chai said.
Xi Men lowered his head down.
Jing and Xiao Qiao looked at Xi Men.
“At the end of the day, it is still between Xi Men and Xiao You. There is nothing I can do,” San Chai said, and then she turned to look at Xi Men. “I seriously hope you are happy now that you have gotten everything you want,”
He lifted his head up and looked at her. “I…”
“Congratulations,” San Chai mocked. “You are a free man now,”
Xi Men could only lowered his head down upon hearing that.
“Xi Men,” Jing called.
Although he had just lowered his head, Xi Men responded to the calling, and he lifted his head up to look at Jing.
“Since we are at this topic… I wanted to tell you something too, since I guess, if I don’t tell it now, I don’t think there will ever be a chance to say this,” Jing said.
Xi Men looked at Jing, and then gives her a brief nod.
“I want you to know that… Xiao You signed the papers because that is what you want. She signed the papers because of her love for you,” Jing said.
Xi Men looked at Jing, tears slowly formed in his eyes.
“She said it herself on that day, that she still loves you, very much,” Jing adds.
Xi Men bites his lips.
“Jing, you don’t have to tell him that,” San Chai said, looking at Jing. “He will feel nothing for it. He doesn’t love her anymore, remember?”
“I know,” Jing said, looking back at San Chai, and then looked at Xi Men again. “It’s just that… I don’t want to keep it to myself,”
Xi Men could only lower his head.
San Chai looked at Xi Men, “He is now the Xi Men we first knew when he was a playboy,” San Chai said, despite looking at him, her words are to Jing. “Heartless,” she adds. “It’s just that, not as heartless as we had imagined. But still heartless,” she then rose to her feet. “Let’s leave,” she turned around.
“San Chai, Jing, Xiao Qiao… I am sorry…” Xi Men stood up and said, halting San Chai’s footsteps.
San Chai turned around and looked at Xi Men, “Do you know a part of me is guilty over what happened to Xiao You today?”
Xi Men looked at San Chai, giving her an ‘I don’t understand’ look.
“Because I felt I had encouraged you to be with Xiao You back then,” San Chai said, “Although way earlier before that, I was trying so hard not to let Xiao You to be with you,”
Xi Men’s gaze changed as he remembered.
San Chai didn’t want Xiao You to be with Xi Men. She is trying and doing everything she could to stop Xiao You and Xi Men together. (*MG1)
After seeing how much Xi Men and Xiao You had impacted each other, San Chai changed her mind.
San Chai then told him that if he wants to know more about Xiao You, he should look for her (Xiao You) on his celebratory night of earning his first billion dollar project for Xi Men Corporation. (*MG2)
“When Xiao You married you years ago, I was very happy that she had found her happiness, and that you love her very much,” San Chai said, “But I didn’t know her happiness is short-lived,”
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat.
“I gave you my best friend,” San Chai said. “But you broke her,”
Xi Men eventually lowered his gaze down for a brief while, before he lifted it up again to look at her.
“I guess, even though I am mad with you, it is not to me or anyone of us that you need to apologize to,” San Chai said. “But to Xiao You,”
Xi Men didn’t know what to respond as he looked at the three ladies leaving his CEO room.
Raymond entered the coffee house and started scanning around, before he saw a hand lifted up and waved.
He smiled and waved back, and then immediately heads to the table.
“Hey, Xiao You,” he called as he approached the table.
“Hey,” Xiao You smiled.
“Can I give you a hug already?” Raymond asked as he spreads his hands wide.
Xiao You chuckled, “Yes,” she stood up and hugs him. “I am all healthy now,”
“That is good to hear. I am glad you have recovered. You didn’t even dare to meet up with me when you are sick,” Raymond said, easing from the hug.
Xiao You laughed as both of them sits down. “Because I didn’t want you to catch the bug from me and then blamed me for making you sick!”
Raymond laughed. “I know. Hey, order me something… since I can’t read the menu,”
“I have ordered the best coffee in this place for you. It’s just that it hasn’t come,”
“Ah, okay. Thanks. You are the best,”
“I always am,” she gives him a thumb up.
He could only laugh since she can joked, “Right, you are now absolutely healthy,”
“Thanks,” she smiled. “So, are you going to leave before 4pm again?”
“Yes. I am a 4pm Cinderella. Have you forgotten?” he asked.
She chuckled. “I didn’t forget. I was just asking,”
“Why? You wanna spend more time with me today?” he asked.
She laughed at the way he said it. “Well, because we haven’t meet up for some time now, I thought you might push the blame on me for this short 2-hour meet up,” Xiao You smiled.
“Leaving at 4pm is mandatory. It is not your fault but mine. I can’t blame you for that,” he smiled.
The waitress puts down two cups of coffee. One caramel macchiato and one black coffee.
Raymond extends his hand to grip onto the saucer of the cup of black coffee and then pushed it to Xiao You, before he then pulled the cup of caramel macchiato towards him.
“Ah, you knew that’s for you,” Xiao You said, pointing at the caramel macchiato.
“Of course. You don’t drink other types of coffee other than black coffee,” Raymond said, taking up the teaspoon and began stirring the coffee.
Xiao You smiled faintly as she lowered her head to look at the cup of black coffee in front of her. “I need to learn to drink some other types of coffee now,”
Raymond looked at her, understood what she meant. She might be talking about coffee, but he knew she is actually hinting something else, by using ‘the cup of black coffee’.
“When the taste suits you, it is not easy to change,” Raymond said, lifting the cup of caramel macchiato for a sip.
She looked at him, and then she smiled, “I know,” Xiao You said, returning her gaze to the cup of black coffee and then she takes the cup up. “Who knows I can find a good one and then I began loving it more than black coffee,”
“It totally depends on whether you are ready for it,” Raymond said.
Xiao You is about to sip on her cup of coffee but upon hearing that, she paused and looked at him.
“There are cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and many other types of coffee in coffee houses everywhere. Every shop has its best coffee or best seller. Like here, this, caramel macchiato,” he looked at his cup of coffee, making Xiao You looked at his cup of coffee too (caramel macchiato). “It tastes excellent. Full of caramel flavor and the blend is superb,”
Xiao You smiled. “I think you are saying, you like this cup of coffee,”
Now, he knew her tone. She is really talking about his cup of caramel macchiato.
“Yes, this cup of coffee is great. Thanks for ordering it for me. And I understand now why it is the best coffee in this coffee house,” Raymond said.
Xiao You smiled. “Glad you like it. And you are welcome,”
“Despite this brilliantly-made coffee in this place, you still order black coffee for yourself,” he said.
The smile on Xiao You’s face fades slightly.
“Because you still love black coffee,” Raymond said.
Now the existing small smile on Xiao You’s face fades completely.
At one point, she was wondering if Raymond is talking about the cup of coffee as she felt he is talking about something else, but now, she has confirmed that it is not just the cup of coffee.
She knew and completely understood what he is trying to convey.
And Raymond smiled.
He knew too, that she was using coffee to say something more than ‘just a cup of coffee’.
Both of them looked at each other.
And so this conversation about a cup of coffee really has different meanings.
At one point, just a cup of coffee.
Another point, this is life.
Now, coffee can be used interchangeably to represent a cup of coffee, or life.
“You’ve drank black coffee for over 10 years now,” Raymond said. “It is not something you can say… change now,”
Xiao You pressed her lips together.
“When you feel it is time to try and taste other coffee, you will do it unknowingly,” Raymond said. “You will find a new taste of coffee to love, and forget about black coffee,”
Xiao You lowered her head down a little, and then she looked at the black coffee.
“So, are we going to continue using coffee to express what we actually want to talk?” Raymond asked.
She looked at him. “You started it,”
“No, you did,” he smiled.
She took a deep breath. “Oh well, I don’t need more of coffee talk. He did this to me before. I don’t want to be reminded about that,”
She took the cup of black coffee up for a sip after she said that.
He smirked as how ironic it is. She said she didn’t want to be reminded of him with black coffee, but there she is, sipping the cup of black coffee – but perhaps, she had ordered the coffee so…
He took a deep breath and his smile fades. “Actually, I have never really said this to you before,”
“About?” she looked at him.
“That I am sorry to know about what happened to you; that I am sorry to see your marriage failed and you had to go thru the miserable days of separation… and having to sign the divorce papers while you still love him very, very much,” Raymond said.
She pressed her lips together and then smiled faintly (and painfully) as a friendly gesture.
“It has been 3 weeks since the signing, and I am sad to hear that you’ve fallen ill after the signing. I think… that’s the reason that makes you ill,”
She took a deep breath.
“I hate to see that happened to you. Or rather… it is okay if both of you wanted the divorce… but…”
She looked at him, and then smirked, letting out a sigh from her mouth, “What is the point to stay in the marriage, when he doesn’t want to be in it anymore?”
Raymond just looked at her as things ran in his mind. “I hope you are coping well,”
“It wasn’t easy. You are right. I got myself sick because I was depressed after the signing,”
“Depressed?” he asked, surprised.
“Then you should have let me know. I will come and see you at once. Depression is…”
“I don’t want to see anyone,” she interrupts him. “My parents came to see me but I asked them to leave because I really, really didn’t want to see anyone,”
Raymond took a deep breath, “If only I knew…”
“It is not your fault,” she smirked. “Really,”
“But mentioning of that…” Raymond uttered. “I called you and talked to you once in a while for the last 3 weeks. You didn’t sound…”
“I was pretending I am alright,” she said.
“So you are saying you lied to me?” Raymond pointed at himself.
“Yes, I am sorry about that,” she smiled faintly. “And I didn’t even tell you I was admitted to the hospital for 2 days,”
His eyes widened in surprise; or rather, horrified, “WHAT?”
“Ah, one and a half day, I should say. You called me before I was admitted… and the next call was after I was discharged,”
Raymond rolled his eyes. “Goodness, you should have called me!”
“I am fine, Raymond,” Xiao You said. “Most important is I am here right now… in front of you, being healthy and all good…”
“And you have the nerve to say that,” Raymond rolled his eyes again.
Xiao You chuckled. “Don’t worry, alright?” she extends her hand and patted his shoulder.
He sighed. “You better tell me you are not depressed anymore now,”
She shook. “No, I am not. I went out with my girlfriends so I am not that stressed now…”
“When was that?” he asked.
“Almost everyday for last few days. Actually I was just with them an hour ago, but because you and I have agreed to meet up today, I ended early with the girls,” she said.
“Oh,” he replied. “At least knowing you go out with the girls to de-stress is a good thing…”
She smiled and nodded briefly. “Yeah, took my mind off of it… even just for a while,”
He exhaled a deep breath, and Xiao You heard it.
She understands it as a form of disappointment and frustration from Raymond.
“Hey, I am okay,” she said, rubbing his arm.
“I know,” he said.
Xiao You pressed her lips together. “You know, Raymond…”
Raymond immediately turned to look at Xiao You. “Hmmm?”
“Actually, I want to thank you,” she said, looking at him. “And I also want to apologize,”
“For?” Raymond asked.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat. “Since I meet you again in Taipei 101… I have been talking to you about my separation from Xi Men,” she said. “I felt I have burdened you and wasted your time, so I am really sorry about that,”
“Hey, don’t say that. It is okay,” his turn to rub her arm.
“And I want to thank you because you’ve helped me a lot,” Xiao You said. “Your presence has helped make my days pass by easier and get my mind off from these sad and depressive things. I was crying over the downfall of my relationship, thinking about Xi Men all the time…” she then looked at Raymond. “And then you came and helped changed the routine, making things better for me… even my sleep at night is not as depressed…”
“I am glad to be able to help you at that critical time,” Raymond said. “I mean, even if I can’t help, I am happy to be able to just sit and listen to you. Sometimes you needed that one person to do it,”
Xiao You smiled briefly and then she nods. “Talking to you makes things better for me. Way a lot better,” she said. “So, thank you, Raymond,”
“No worries,” he said. “Just remember that I will be here for you. If you really need to talk to me, please find me with no hesitation,”
She smiled and nodded. “Okay, thanks again,”
“Want a hug?” he asked, extending his hands.
She smiled, “Since you offered, why not,”
He chuckled as she leaned over to him and he hugged her briefly.
“Can I ask you something?” Raymond asked, after they retract from the hug.
“Sure,” she said.
“Actually… there is something that I don’t quite understand,”
“You seem to be sadder about your divorce than the separation,” Raymond said. “The separation had happened for a while before the divorce, but… why does the divorce breaks you down? I mean, people are usually…”
“Depressed about the separation, and then when the divorce happens, they are not that sad anymore?” Xiao You continued to Raymond.
“Yes,” he said. “For you, it is the other way around,”
Xiao You smiled briefly, and then she lowered her head down, looking at the cup of black coffee. “I…”
Xiao You’s smile grew slightly. “I guess… even though we’ve separated, at the back of the mind… it says, ‘you are still together’ in terms of law. I guess I was subconsciously living in that,”
Raymond looked at her.
“And when I signed the papers… it finally hit me that, this is a divorce, and this signifies the ending for both me and Xi Men,” Xiao You uttered.
Raymond just looked at her, without saying anything.
“I personally thought that I am doing great, that I am dealing well with the separation, that… I can finally call him by his name without thinking he is actually someone I truly love and also thinking that I have already manage to live with past and present…” she paused, and then she sighed, “And when I signed the papers, all the feelings I have for him returned to me…”
After listening to her, Raymond nodded. “I understand now,”
“It was very painful,” she said.
“Because you have never really moved on from him,”
She looked at Raymond. “Raymond, I did…”
“Well, in my opinion, you thought you did but actually, you did not,” he clasped his hands together.
“Then what have I been doing for the last few months?” she asked Raymond.
“Dealing with staying alone and living without him. Not the separation. Not about your feelings and emotions,” Raymond said.
She looked at him, ready to debate about that.
“All along, your life has been revolving around him. Day and night, it is about him. And when he said he is leaving you, you learn to be on your own again, without him by your side. But that is what you have been doing. Living on your own. You did not specifically start moving on from him emotionally. And the divorce papers finalized everything, forcefully, for you,”
She just looked at him, and then she lowered her head.
He took a deep breath. “I guess I also understand even more now,” Raymond said.
She lifted her head up and looked at him again.
“Usually, divorce is finalized only after 2 years after the separation. And in your case, it is just months. Assuming you are moving on, you do not have enough time to move on completely, therefore, the divorce affects you tremendously, and you broke down,”
She evaluates his words in her mind.
There is truth in what he said.
She firmly believes she is moving on from him, however, there isn’t enough time for her to move on and then she has to sign the papers, forcing the end to come immediately. And ultimately, her feelings towards Xi Men came back.
“So… that means… even though I have moved on from him… all of it is futile now…?”
“Yes,” Raymond replied.
“I know you still love him,”
She looked at him. “Yeah, I do and I have never denied that. But he doesn’t love me anymore,”
“I am really sorry,”
She smiled painfully. “It happens, I guess,” she then took a deep breath and then exhaled it with relieve. “Looking at the positive side, I have already signed the papers and I don’t have to go thru these emotional breakdowns in the future,”
He smiled slightly.
“And this probably gives me a very good head start to move on from him,” Xiao You said.
“You can only start moving on if you stop loving him, Xiao You,” Raymond said.
“I anticipate that day to come,”
He looked at her upon hearing that.
She then gave him a very heartwarming sweet smile. “It will happen,”
A smile slowly formed on Raymond’s face.
She took a deep, satisfying breath. “Now that I am divorced… life will be different definitely…” with a small smile on her face, she lifted up the cup of black coffee for a sip.
Raymond’s eyes then returned to his caramel macchiato, and then he took a sip of it.
And then he glanced over to her.