Lei rubbed his forehead with his fingers after he hung up the call.
He took a deep breath and then worked his fingers on the smartphone…
While still debating with himself for the last 20 minutes if he should call Xiao You’s parents up just to ask if she is at their home because he is worried with their wrath…
Xi Men quickly clicked the screen of the smartphone as he reacted to the new notification of whatsapp message, for a moment mistaken it for an incoming call.
After realizing it is not an incoming call, he sighed.
He unlocks the phone and looked at the whatsapp message.
“Lei?” he murmured.
Lei: Guys, you can stop the search now.
Xi Men’s eyes widened.
‘Stop the search?’
Lei: My wife has just called. Xiao You is at my place.
Xi Men thought his heart stopped when Lei informed to suspend the search.
He could finally breathe again when Lei mentioned Xiao You is at his home.
Xi Men: Is she alright?
Lei: Yes, she is good. I am going home now. All of you can go home too.
Xi Men decided to give Lei a call…
He pressed for Lei’s number and then puts it on his ear.
Lei picks it up at the first half of ring.
Xi Men: Le…
Lei (interrupts): Jing called me and said Xiao You is at our house now. Since she has been found, you can go home and rest.
Xi Men is surprised to hear Lei said it almost instantly, as though he does not need to breath.
Xi Men: Lei, I… can I come to your…
Lei: No. Jing told me to come back alone and she specifically said Xiao You didn’t want to see you.
Xi Men lowered his head down a little: Alright…
Lei took a deep breath: Xi Men, I don’t know what you have done that would make Xiao You like this, but be glad that she came to my house than loitering somewhere in Taipei. I want to go home now. And you, go back to your home. I’ll keep you updated.
Xi Men: Okay…
Lei hung up the call.
He (Lei) puts on the signal to turn to left, and then he speeds back home.
And lastly, Xi Men doesn’t have to call up his parents-in-law.
What a relief.
Lei nodded to his butler as he immediately heads to the living room, meeting Xiao You and Jing who are sitting on the couch.
Jing turned and looked at Lei, and she smiled.
Lei replied the smile, and then he looked at Xiao You who is sitting on the couch opposite Jing.
Xiao You took a deep breath and then forces a smile on her face. “Hi, Lei,”
“Hi, Xiao You,” Lei said, taking his seat on the couch, next to Jing (and facing Xiao You). “Xi Men gave us a call and asked us to look for you,”
Xiao You smiled slightly, “I am sorry I’ve made you guys worried,”
“It is okay,” Lei said. “At least we know you are safe and sound, in my house,”
“I assume, Xi Men knew I am here…”
Lei nodded. “Yes, he knew. As least, he can stop searching for you and also stop calling each and every one of us every few minutes if we found you or not,” Lei said.
Xiao You pressed her lips together.
“Don’t worry, I asked him not to come over to my house,” Lei said.
Lei smirked, “I’ll call him over if you want him to,”
“No, no,” Xiao You said, waving her hands. “No, I don’t want to see him,” she lowered her head a little.
Lei and Jing took a deep breath at the same time, and then they exchanged glances.
“So…” Lei uttered, leading Xiao You and Jing to look at him. “I heard from Jing that…” he glances over to his wife, before returning the gaze to Xiao You, “…you want to see me,”
Xiao You bites her lips, before she uttered, “Yeah,”
“What is it about?” Lei asked.
Xiao You clasped her hands together, “My divorce,”
There is a slight change in his gaze.
“Is the divorce papers… voided?” she asked.
It is as though blood left Lei’s face, and perhaps his body.
Jing frowned. “Voided?” she looked at Xiao You. “You mean, the marriage is voided?”
“No,” Xiao You said, still looking at Lei. “Not the marriage. The divorce papers, I mean,”
Not the marriage but the papers?
Did she know what is she talking about?
Jing turned to look at Lei, since Xiao You is looking at Lei.
Lei remained looking at Xiao You.
He could see Jing is looking at him from the corner of his eyes.
He briefly turned and glances at his wife, before he returned the gaze to Xiao You.
“Xi Men told you?” Lei asked, looking at Xiao You.
Xiao You stared at Lei, “I just wanted to make sure if it is the truth,” Xiao You said.
Lei swallowed the lump in his throat.
It feels like an intense confrontation now.
“Yes. It is true,” Lei said.
A smirk of disbelief slowly formed on Xiao You’s face.
“It is true that the divorce did not go thru. You are still married to Xi Men,” Lei said.
Shock, disbelief and amazement are all blended into one.
Jing didn’t know which one she is feeling more of, but she could only gape at what Lei said.
But… what is actually happening?
“What… what are you talking about…?” Jing asked, looking at Lei.
Lei extends his hand and gripped onto Jing’s hand. “I will explain,”
“Are you saying the papers are fake?” Jing asked.
“No, they are real. It’s just that Xi Men didn’t sign the document,” Lei said.
“He did sign that,” Jing said. “He signed it, and then swapped the copy with Xiao You…”
“He didn’t sign the 2nd copy,” Lei said.
Jing looked at him. “Didn’t?”
Lei shook. “You chase after Xiao You after Xiao You left the room with the divorce papers that she had signed. If you remember, at that time, Xi Men hadn’t signed the copy of divorce papers in front of him. Xi Men couldn’t sign that. And since he can’t sign it, the lawyer has officially voided the document,” Lei said. “So, this means, the divorce did not happen,”
Looking at Lei in disbelief, “You have been keeping this from me all along?” Jing asked, retracting her hand from his grip.
“I was forced to do so,” Lei said, looking at Jing and gripped her hand again, this time, tighter. “Jing, don’t do this to me now,” he persuaded. “Not when Xiao You is here,”
Jing then turned to look at Xiao You sitting in front of them. She silently took a deep breath.
She then forcefully retracts her hand from Lei’s grip and stands up, heading towards Xiao You and sits next to her.
Lei knew what that means.
He knew Jing is unhappy with him, but because Xiao You is around, Jing is just trying to hold back from getting into a fight with Lei in front of their guest.
“Xiao You, are you alright?” Jing asked, consoling Xiao You.
Xiao You smiled and nods briefly. “I think so,” she then raised her head up and looked at Jing, and then turned to look at Lei, as she (Xiao You) knows what situation she has gotten both Lei and Jing into. “I am sorry for causing that mess to both of you,” Xiao You said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jing replied without looking at Lei.
Lei could only silently curse at Xi Men for causing this to him and Jing.
“I am sorry for playing a part to keeping this from you,” Lei said, causing Jing to look at him.
Xiao You slowly turned her eyes to look at Lei.
“Xi Men had put me in a very difficult situation,”
“I know, it is not your fault, because he asked you to keep it from me and everyone else,” Xiao You said, and slowly extends her hand and gripped Jing’s hand, “Jing, don’t blame him,”
Jing turned to look at Xiao You, with tears brimming in her eyes (Xiao You).
“Because after all, this matter is between me and Xi Men. Lei would not know what to do either,” Xiao You said.
Jing turned to look at Lei.
Lei looked at Jing, practically giving her sad and pleading gazes.
He then heard Xiao You exhaled a deep breath.
“I can’t believe this whole thing…” Xiao You said.
Jing and Lei looked at Xiao You.
“I am mad. I felt taken for granted,” Xiao You said.
That is understandable.
“He is the one that wants to divorce. And he is the one that can’t sign the document,” Xiao You said, “I was made to believe I have divorced him, and I was made to believe he doesn’t love me anymore,”
“What I know is, the moment Xi Men found out what he is feeling; that he still loves you, he didn’t know what to do. He wants to be with you still, that is why he can’t sign it, but he knew he had hurt you, which makes the entire thing harder than it is,” Lei said. “I believe he felt… terrible,”
“I have been blaming myself and that it is my fault that he doesn’t love me anymore,” Xiao You said.
“I…” it is not like there is anything that Lei can say.
Xiao You looked at him, and then she smirked in disbelief, and when tears fell, she lowered her head slightly. “For the past months, because of him, I can’t sleep at night. I have shed a lot of tears… I have to force myself to be strong, to put up a brave front and pretend I am fine with this separation…”
Jing puts her hand over to Xiao You’s shoulder and squeezes it.
“Those are the worst months I have ever had in my life,” Xiao You said, more tears falling. “I was literally dying in those months, living without my soul and how I drag myself to live every single day. I really wished I am dead because I couldn’t stand another day living like that,”
Hearing it, tears formed in Jing’s eyes too.
“And thankfully there have been good days in between to make such miserable days better than others,” Xiao You said.
Lei and Jing exchanged gazes.
Xiao You bites her lower lip and trying hard to control her emotions, “I am practically begging for the day where I can really start living again and not having to shed another tear for him comes,” she sniffed. “And for a moment, the divorce marks as another step to approaching this. But it is really painful and heartbreaking for me to sign that document…” tears rolled down again, “To divorce from him… to officially split from him…”
“Xiao You…” Jing sniffed, and then rubbed Xiao You’s arm.
“And then all of a sudden, he said… we are not divorced?” Xiao You asked, looking at Jing. “I was struggling to survive every single day. I have to force myself every single day for months to stop loving him, and now he is saying we are not divorced because he loves me still? Do you know how much effort have I put in all these… torturous months…?”
Jing nodded, “I know, Xiao You, I know,” she tries to console Xiao You.
“What is he up to, huh?”
Lei and Jing looked at Xiao You, as Xiao You wiped her tears.
“Did he just want to test about how I felt for him? If I still love him? Did he intentionally put me into this whole emotional roller coaster for fun? For this shit?” Xiao You asked, looking at Lei. “Does he know how awful I felt over this?”
It felt as though she is scolding Lei, but she is actually venting her discontentment, and that she is just looking at Lei.
“These few months have been torturous for me… and I gathered all of my courage and strength to sign that divorce papers; cried so much, went into depression and even fell sick, and then he came over and say, it is voided. What the hell!”
“I am sorry…” Lei could only say.
Xiao You sniffed again, controlling her emotions and wiped her tears, “No, I am sorry. I… I am not blaming you, I am just…”
“We understand,” Lei and Jing said at the same time.
“We’ll let you vent as much as you want, Xiao You,” Jing said. “It is okay,”
Xiao You pressed her lips together and sniffs hard again, while Jing and Lei looked on.
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat and wiped her eyes, trying to get rid as much tears as possible so no new or fresh tears will fall to her face. “I think I needed some time alone,”
Lei and Jing stared at Xiao You upon hearing that.
Xiao You had that ‘time alone’ before and… well, something serious happened at the end of it. She went into depression, fallen ill and admitted into the hospital.
“Some time alone?” Jing asked in surprise.
“Again?” Lei asked, worriedly.
Xiao You caught on upon hearing that, understood what they are saying, and she puts a smile on her face. “Umm… I mean… probably… away from Xi Men while I think about this,”
“Oh,” Jing said, exchanging gaze with Lei and breathes a sigh of relief, “So, you are okay with having us around…?”
Xiao You smiled as she looked at Jing and she (Xiao You) nodded. “Yes,”
“Phew,” Lei said, garnering looks from Jing and Xiao You.
While Jing glared, Xiao You chuckled slightly at Lei’s reaction.
“I guess I shouldn’t have said that,” Xiao You said, with a small smile on her face.
“I think that’s something very scary to hear from you after… umm, what had happened a couple of weeks back… you know,” Lei said.
Xiao You smiled. “I am sorry,”
“It is okay,” Jing smiled, and rubbed Xiao You’s shoulder. “We are here whenever you need us,”
Xiao You nodded. “I know. Thank you so much for being there for me,”
Lei and Jing smiled.
“You are welcome, Xiao You,” Lei said. “But I want to ask…”
Xiao You turned to look at Lei. “Hmmm?”
“You said, you wanted some time to think about this. And I guess, it may be a little too early for me to ask, but, what… what do you want to think about, actually?” Lei asked. “That is, if you know or have any idea about…”
Xiao You nods. “I do,” she said. “When I was on my way here in the cab…”
Sitting on the couch in the dark living room of the mansion with a can of beer in his hand, Xi Men turned his head slowly to look at the smartphone he had tossed to the seat next to him.
Upon seeing the name on the screen, his eyes widened; garnering his full interest.
Putting the can of beer down on the coffee table, he immediately grabbed the phone and picks up the call.
Xi Men: Lei.
Lei: I hope I did not wake you up.
Xi Men: No, no you didn’t. How is…
Lei: You are not asleep yet? It is already 2am.
Xi Men: No, I haven’t. And… it’s 2am already? (turning his head to look at the clock)
Xi Men: How is Xiao You?
Lei: She had gone home.
Xi Men: Gone home? Did you send her home?
Lei: My driver did.
Xi Men: Oh. She just left?
Lei: She left probably 20 minutes ago.
Xi Men: 20 minutes ago?
Xi Men: Then why did you call me now and not 20 minutes ago when she leaves? Why did you have to wait for 20 minutes…
Lei (interrupts): You have the nerve to ask me to call you immediately after she left?!
Xi Men (slightly taken aback with the tone): Umm… you… umm… alright?
Lei: Because of you, I took 20 minutes to persuade my wife!
Xi Men: Me…? What happened?
Lei: Have you forgotten about asking me to keep your divorce thing a secret? Your wife came to ask me for confirmation if it is really voided, and Jing is angry that I keep this from her.
Xi Men: Oh.
Lei: I am thankful that Xiao You asked Jing not to be mad at me for keeping this from her. And still, it took me 20 minutes to persuade her. If Xiao You did not assist in this, I wonder how long it might take me; 2 hours probably! It is all because of you!
Xi Men: I… I am sorry, Lei.
Lei: Yes, you better be!
Xi Men could only lower his head a little with the phone on his ear.
Lei took a deep breath and calmer now: She said she wants to be away from you for a while now.
Xi Men lifted his head up: What?
Lei: She said she needed time to think. She probably wants to know what would be the best thing to do now. She felt she had been taken for a ride by you.
Xi Men lowered his head down again: She is probably pissed off.
Lei: She is. She’s unhappy. She’s upset. She’s angry. She’s frustrated.
Xi Men: She already ran off from me before I could explain…
Lei: Do you seriously think your explanation will make things better? Like, she will be laughing out loud to hear that the divorce didn’t go thru and then hug you in happiness? And you want her to treat the suffering she had for few months as though it had never happened?
Xi Men: I know the few months have been torturous…
Lei: It has been hell for her. (paused) And I guess it is the same to you.
Xi Men: I admit…
Lei: Which is why I don’t think she is willing to forgive you after all that you’ve put her thru.
Xi Men’s eyes stark opened: Not willing to forgive?
Lei: I mean, at least, not for now. Not immediately.
Xi Men: Oh.
Lei: I don’t know how long it may take her, but, just be patient.
Xi Men: I know…
Xi Men: Hmmm?
Lei: Should I tell you this…?
Xi Men: What is it? Just tell me.
Lei: Umm… I also want you to prepare for the worst.
Xi Men: Worst?
Lei: Well, Xiao You had mentioned…
“You said, you wanted some time to think about this. And I guess, it may be a little too early for me to ask, but, what… what do you want to think about, actually?” Lei asked.”That is, if you know or have any idea about…”
Xiao You nods. “I do,” she said. “When I was on my way here in the cab…” she clasped her hands together. “I did give it a thought. A very deep thought, in fact,”
“About?” Lei asked.
Xiao You bites her lower lip. “This whole thing has been utterly heartbreaking. It felt really terrible…”
“We know it’s been hard on you…” Lei said.
“I want to stop exposing myself to these heartbroken events in the future. Because I could not cope with this anymore…” Xiao You said. “I really… don’t think I can take it anymore,”
Lei and Jing understood what she is talking about.
After all, Xiao You has been thru a terrible phase of her life. So it is understandable that she said she cannot cope with it anymore.
“I… I may want to… put an end to this,”
“End? As in, going back to Xi Men?” Lei asked.
Xiao You looked at Lei, smiling briefly. “My heart has suffered massive damage. Even though I still love him, I don’t think I can take it anymore…”
Lei and Jing’s eyes widened, as they understood what it means now.
That… that’s a different kind of ‘end’.
“Are… are you… serious?” Lei asked. “Look at it from a different side, Xiao You. Xi Men has been an idiot that he didn’t tell you about the divorce is being voided because he is afraid of hurting you after seeing how you reacted when you sign it…”
“But I am sure you know he had contemplated if he wants to sign it again in the future,”
“But you know now that he is not going to,” Lei said.
“I don’t like the thought that he could put me thru that,” Xiao You said.
Lei looked at Xiao You.
“And how many times will he continue to do this to me?” Xiao You asked. “Do you know how bad the impact of this divorce to me is? To break it to me that we are not divorced after so many weeks later, and also… there is a tendency I am going to go thru this again in the future? Does he think my heart is made of steel? Unbreakable? Or rubber? Will bounce back and be alright?”
Lei had no words to respond.
Xiao You took a deep breath. “Sometimes I felt love is grander than anything, but sometimes I felt my love for him has allowed him to do this to me. I am not sure what I am capable anymore and what I am willing to go thru anymore,” she said, sniffing hard. “It hurts to continue loving him. It hurts as well when you let the one you love does this to you,” she said. “Love hurts. Love hurts in any way; one way or another,” she uttered. “At least… if I put an end to this, I can guard my heart and he will not have a chance to toy with my feelings anymore,”
Lei and Jing looked at her.
“It is painful, but I guess I am willing to go thru the divorce once more… for myself,” Xiao You said.
Lei and Jing happened to exchanged glances with each other upon hearing that.
Not looking into anything in particular, Xiao You then chuckled as she wiped the trail of her tears. “Actually, I don’t know what I am talking about anymore. My emotions are all over the place. I don’t think what I am thinking now is going to be the right thing to do. I really needed the time to think and decide,”
Xi Men’s jaw dropped.
Xi Men: Oh… my… gosh…
Lei (breathes furiously): I’ve told you, Xi Men! I told you so! I’ve told you to get her back the moment you said you love her! And look at what happened now? Not wanting to hurt her by hiding the fact about the divorce had never taken place? You hurt her even more now because of that!
Xi Men does not know what to react… to the news and to Lei’s outburst.
Lei: And that bullsh*t you said about wanting some time to think if you really want the divorce? That’s the one that kills you now, Xi Men. She is seriously afraid to get hurt by you again.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat.
Lei: I know that when you said you could not sign that document, there is no way you will do it again in the future! But you…!
Xi Men lowered his head down slightly.
Lei then took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh, calming himself down.
Lei (swallowed the lump in his throat and calmed himself): You already heard what she said. I guess, this whole thing hits her really hard that she would contemplate divorcing you as the way out although she still loves you. Jing and I are surprised to hear this coming from her, because we know she really loves you.
Tears formed in Xi Men’s eyes.
Lei: I’ve tried my best for you, Xi Men. That is all I can do. Now it is all yours. I hope you don’t give up on that. And this means you need to work harder to win Xiao You back now. Or else you are going back to the lawyer office and sign that document that you dreaded and lose Xiao You for sure.
Xi Men dropped his head upon hearing that, and seconds later, he dropped his hand, which is holding onto the smartphone, onto the couch.