Xiao You enters her room.
She puts down her stuffs and handbag, and then grabbed a bag which contains all her ballet equipments at the corner of the room.
Without bothering to turn on her laptop to do her work, she just walked out from the room and heads to room 9.
*Flashback to 9 years ago.
“I haven’t seen her before,” Mr. Xi Men, looking at Xi Men. He then turned to look at Xiao You. “Xiao You, which family are you from?”
The time has come.
“Xiao You is not one of us,” Xi Men immediately interrupts Xiao You.
Xi Men’s father frowned where as Xi Men’s mom tilted her head.
“Xiao You… she is San Chai’s best friend,”
“So that explains why you are staying at this hotel tonight,” Xi Men’s mother said. “But why are you staying in the hotel and not at home? You need to wake up early in the morning tomorrow to assist in San Chai’s wedding or something?”
“Xiao You is currently based in Toronto,” Xi Men said, interrupting Xiao You again, for he would prefer to settle this matter on his own. “She doesn’t have a home here…”
“Oh,” Xi Men’s mom said.
“Toronto?” Mr. Xi Men murmured, and then he tilted his head.
“Xiao You…” Xi Men looked at Xiao You, before he turned to look at his parents. “I knew Xiao You from San Chai about 4 years ago at Jing’s birthday party. At that time, Xiao You is still based here in Taipei. When Ah Si’s mom strongly protests against Ah Si and San Chai’s relationship, she had threatened as well as terminated Xiao You’s father from his job here in Taipei, leading to her entire family having to migrate to Toronto,” he looked at Xiao You again, and he extends his hand out to hold her hand. “Her father doesn’t own any big businesses like any one of us here do. Her father is just a normal man who works for a company to earn a living to support his family of three,”
Mr. Xi Men and Xi Men’s mother exchanged glances.
“So she is not anyone of us,” Xi Men repeated the statement again, and then he looked at his parents. “Dad, mom… I know Xiao You’s status is not compatible with us… but I really love her,” he said. “I really hope you are not against us,”
“So that explains why you are away from office once in a while to Toronto for the past year,” Mr. Xi Men said.
Xi Men looked at his father. “You… you knew?”
“There are times where I call back to the office to look for you but Secretary Xu told me you had gone to Toronto for a private visit,” Mr. Xi Men said. “Now I know why,”
“So, both of you have been seeing each other for over a year?” Xi Men’s mom asked.
Xi Men nodded, “Yes. And… and I have always known since young that I am supposed to be matched with a lady whose status is compatible with us… and for business purposes… but Xiao You… isn’t in that category,”
Mr. Xi Men and Xi Men’s mother looked at each other again.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat. “Dad, mom, I am sorry if I had disappointed you,” Xi Men said, lowering his head and at the same time, he squeezes her hand that is still in his grip. “I love Xiao You and I want to be with her… and only her,”
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, and she can feel his every word.
She felt bad. Her heart aches. If it is not for her… he wouldn’t be like this…
“So… you are saying if I say ‘no’ to both of you, I can’t eat my dinner in peace?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“I…” upon hearing the word ‘no’ from his father, Xi Men didn’t know what to respond to that statement because he really wants to be with Xiao You. “Dad, please… I… I love Xiao You,” and then he turned to look at his mother, “Mom…”
“I think it is very nice of you to bring her to meet us,” Xi Men’s mother said.
All of them looked at Xi Men’s mother.
“This is the first time I hear you, sincerely, said you love someone. This is also the first time I hear you said you have a girlfriend,” his mother said. “To me, I don’t care about her status,” Xi Men’s mother smiled, looking at Xiao You, “As long as she is a nice girl; that is all matters. So, if you ask me, I will not object to both of you,”
Xi Men could feel the small ignition of happiness in his heart to hear that his mother did not object to them, and at the same time, Xiao You is surprised to hear that.
He then turned to look at Xiao You to find that disbelief look on her face, and he smiled.
She inadvertently smiled back at Xi Men.
But… what about his father?
They then turned to look at Xi Men’s father.
Seeing at them looking at him, Mr. Xi Men extends his hand out to grab the glass of Chinese tea in front of him for a sip.
Silence for a moment.
“Xi Men, you knew very well since young that you are only meant to be attached to someone like us,” his father said, putting down the glass of tea onto the table again.
Xi Men felt upset with what he heard.
“But look at me and your mom,” Xi Men’s dad happened to add.
Xi Men stares at his father, his gaze (Xi Men) changes.
“We have the same status, but we do not end up happy,” Mr. Xi Men said, looking at his ex-wife.
Xi Men’s mom nodded.
“So, I felt that… the most important… is that both of you love each other,” Mr. Xi Men said, looking at Xi Men and Xiao You.
Xi Men is surprised, his mouth dropped.
Xiao You is shocked.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
“As for the business… well,” Mr. Xi Men said. “Marriages can merge businesses and brings in more deals. But I do believe that mergers, projects and deals can still happen without the need of an arranged or forced marriage. As long as the company has good reputation, generates revenue and does really well, any kinds of company will come to you and do business with you. And what’s more, I have such a capable son that is so good with managing company and grabbing projects, he alone can do so much more than what a merge from two different companies could result in,”
Xi Men remains in disbelief over what he heard.
Isn’t it a bit too good to be true…?
“You… you are not objecting?” Xi Men asked, looking at his father.
“No. I’ve learned the lesson from the marriage with your mom. I have no objection. As long as you are happy, son,” Mr. Xi Men smiled, and then he leaned nearer to the elated Xi Men, “But I hope she is not involved in triads or has any jailed history…”
Xi Men laughed. “No, dad! Of course not! She is not even close to any of that! She is just a very normal, nice and cute girl I met whose status is not the same with us,”
“Then I have no problems with that,” Mr. Xi Men smiled.
Xi Men and Xiao You looked at each other again.
Now they are happy!
“So, what are your future plans?” Mr. Xi Men asked, causing everyone to look at him.
Xi Men frowned a bit and he looked at his father stuffing a small spoonful of rice and asparagus into his mouth, “What do you mean…?”
Mr. Xi Men munches and looked at Xi Men. “Don’t tell me you actually plan to go visit Xiao You every two to three months permanently,”
“Oh… no, not really. Xiao You is still studying so I will let her complete her studies in Toronto,” Xi Men said.
“Oh? Xiao You is a student?” Xi Men’s mother asked, taking a sip of the hot soup in a bowl in front of her.
“Yes, I am,” Xiao You smiled.
“Xiao You is at her final year of her degree course now. She is subject to graduate roughly in about 7 months,” Xi Men said.
“Oh… what major are you taking?” Xi Men’s mother asked.
“Ballet,” Xiao You smiled.
“Ballet?” Mr. Xi Men and Xi Men’s mother asked.
The look on their face somehow explains something…
Xiao You could only stare at their reactions and not knowing what to say.
Is it because it is a course that they don’t like…?
“Umm, wow,” Mr. Xi Men said. “Wow,” he said again. “I didn’t know you can actually take Ballet as a major in studies. I have always assumed that ballet is just a hobby or some classes for kids to learn a new skill,”
“Actually, Xiao You loves ballet,” Xi Men said. “That is why she is taking it beyond just a hobby, to take as a career path,”
“Oh, really? Interesting. What are the job options?” Xi Men’s father asked.
“Umm… well…” Xiao You said. “Danc…”
“Professional and exclusive dancers for high end productions, or a teacher,” Xi Men immediately interrupted.
Xiao You stares at Xi Men. She is a little bit surprised to find the words Xi Men used to describe the profession of ‘dancer’ to be that… fascinating.
“So you are saying, a dancer?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
Well, not like the exceptional words that Xi Men uttered helps…
“I am supporting her to be a teacher instead,” Xi Men said.
Xiao You opens her mouth slightly as she wanted to say something, but the words end up stuck in her throat. She couldn’t say it out. She didn’t know how to say, and didn’t know if it is appropriate to say.
“There are higher demands for ballet teacher and the risk of injuries is lesser,” Xi Men continued.
Xi Men’s father pressed his lip together and then he suddenly nods. “You are right. Not everyone can be a ballet teacher. One needs to have ballet experience and skills to teach that,”
“I think it is pretty impressive to actually pursue a career based on what your hobby is,” Xi Men’s mother smiled.
Xiao You smiled briefly.
“I am currently funding her for the additional certification to teach ballet,” Xi Men said.
“Oh?” Xi Men’s parents asked.
“Yeah,” Xi Men nodded. “That will help with her career,”
“Okay,” Xi Men’s mother smiled. “That is good,” she said. “And ballet dancers are usually very elegant. It is an honor to be a certified ballet teacher,”
Xi Men and Xiao You smiled.
“So… after Xiao You graduates… she will still be based in Toronto?” Xi Men’s dad asked.
Xi Men turned to look at him, “I am actually planning to bring her and her family back to Taipei,”
Xi Men’s father looked at Xi Men for a brief while. “Okay. Looks like you already have a plan,”
“Yes, dad, I do,” Xi Men nodded.
“So, I assume Xiao You will come back and work in Taipei after graduated?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Yes,” Xi Men replied.
Xiao You could only smile briefly.
Xiao You is Xi Men’s partner during Ah Si and San Chai’s wedding the next day and they are placed and seated with Xi Men’s parents who basically had accepted Xiao You and had no problems with her status.
The event is also the first time Xiao You is being seen in public with Xi Men in Taipei.
Despite photographs are taken either officially by the invited press for Ah Si & San Chai’s wedding; or captured secretly by other media and being published in the newspaper, Xi Men made no intention at all to address who she is.
He only said she is his partner for the event when being questioned by the official press for the Dao Ming’s wedding.
He felt that it is not the right time to announce their relationship yet.
Not until she had moved and officially based in Taipei.
7 months later,
Xi Men folds his long sleeves up to his elbow on both sides.
“Looking good there, CEO Xi Men,”
Xi Men lifted his head to look at Mei Zhuo smiling at him.
“You look good too,” Xi Men smiled back at him.
“Just like you, can’t afford to wear sloppily for events like this,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Not like the word ‘sloppily’ exists in your dictionary,” Xi Men said, rolling his eyes.
Mei Zhuo chuckled, “And I assume Xiao You won’t come and meet you before her performance, huh?”
“Nope, I’ll see her after that,” Xi Men said. “She needs time to prepare. This is going to be her last performance for the University, since she is graduating in 3 days,”
“Great,” Mei Zhuo said, “But this is the first time I heard there are events like this before graduation,”
“It is her University’s tradition, and only for graduating student of Performing Arts,”
“Ahh…” Mei Zhuo said.
“Yes, and since all of them are students of Performing Arts, be prepared to be enthralled by a magnificent artistic show comprises of dancing, music and theatrical performances,” Xi Men smiled.
“I know you supported what Xiao You is doing. But you don’t have to make yourself sounding like the emcee for the show,”
Xi Men laughed and Mei Zhuo smirked.
“Oh, I forgot to ask you,” Mei Zhuo said. “Since Xiao You is migrating back to Taipei with her family, how are the procedures?”
“Everything is settled, be it documentations or accommodation. She will leave to Taipei in about 2 weeks,”
“Two weeks? You will be here for 2 weeks?”
“No, I will be going back to Taipei with you guys by end of this week,” Xi Men said. “I thought you knew,”
“I do, which is why I am surprised to hear that… but… Xiao You is already graduating by end of this week, and that means she can leave for Taipei after that. Then, why is Xiao You staying back for an extension of another week?” Mei Zhuo asked. “To pack or…?”
“Nah, she told me there is a course mate’s wedding she had to attend next week so she will go to the wedding first before coming back to Taipei,” Xi Men said.
“Course mate’s wedding? Right after graduation? Wow,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Yes. I am surprised when she told me a few months ago too,” Xi Men said.
Mei Zhuo smiled. “Oh, so can she make it to my wedding next month?”
“Definitely. She will be back two weeks before your wedding, you know,” Xi Men smiled.
“Alright,” Mei Zhuo smiled.
“Oh right. Before I forget, thank you for coming to the show. I truly believe it meant a lot to Xiao You that you come to watch her and also her entire Performing Arts class and course mates perform,” Xi Men said.
“Don’t worry. I like to see these kinds of things. Just like when Xiao Qiao performs, I just love watching her and the rests in a wonderful performance. So I’ll come even to watch this if you didn’t invite me… well, that is if I know about this event…” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men laughed. “Oh yeah,” he looked around the hotel lobby, “Where is Xiao Qiao?”
“We left the room to the lift together, just as the lift reaches our floor; she realized she left her phone in the room. I wanted to go back to the room with her, but she said we are running late, so it is best I come and meet you guys first,” Mei Zhuo said. “We seriously thought we were late…” he then looked around. “But clearly we are earlier than Lei and Ah Si since their shadows aren’t even here yet,”
Xi Men laughed.
All seven of them; Xi Men, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Lei, Jing, Ah Si and San Chai sat at the 6th row from the front, at the theatre in Xiao You’s University.
This is a yearly tradition for the University where all final year students of Performing Arts course will be performing for a one-night-event which will be held few days before graduation.
All 7 of them fly all the way from Taipei, and along with Xiao You’s parents, are here to watch Xiao You’s ballet performance, as well as Xiao You’s graduation ceremony that will be held in 3 days.
Even though Xiao You will only make her appearances in selected segments and not for the entire 3 hours because a lot of students will be taking turns to perform, they (Xi Men, F3 & partners) knew their attendance for the event meant a lot for Xiao You.
When Xiao You appears on stage at about 25 minutes into the performance to dance the ballet routine with the rest of the classmates, Xi Men’s eyes are practically glued to the stage, or rather, to her.
Lei, who is sitting next to Xi Men, glances over repeatedly to look at Xi Men.
Lei would end up smirking before returning his gaze back to the ballet routine.
The normal Xi Men would be aware with Lei whose eyes and head turned to look at him (Xi Men) but this time, because his (Xi Men) focus is at the stage entirely, he didn’t even pay attention or noticed the few times that Lei had turned his head to look at Xi Men.
Xi Men is so immerse into her performance, he practically doesn’t realize anything else that is happening around him.
In simplicity, it has nothing to do with the dance itself.
It is the person.
And on top of it, it is also what she does.
Xiao You. Dancing ballet.
She dances on her toes, lifting up her legs, turns around and doing so much more.
Graceful. Elegant. Beautiful.
He had never paid this much attention to a ballet performance.
He knew nothing about ballet.
But yet her dance movements got him mesmerized.
Xiao You dancing ballet graciously.
It brought a smile to his face.
A smile of adoration.
To Xi Men, the group performance is not a group performance but a single performance of Xiao You.
She is the only one that he is staring at, regardless where she dances at, on the stage.
“Beautiful. Extremely beautiful,” Xi Men murmured.
Lei turned his head to look at Xi Men again, and he can sense the smile from Xi Men’s eyes.
And there is love.
Lei is glad he managed to get Xi Men to pursue Xiao You 2 years ago.
And he is so sure that Xi Men had found the love of his life.
Look how happy Xi Men is right now.
He loves her, and he loves her dancing.
As stated, all of them attended Xiao You’s graduation ceremony 3 days later.
Xi Men is the happiest to see her finally graduating and deep in his heart, with this event, he knew that she is about to be back to Taipei again and will be there permanently.
All seven of them, as planned, heads back to Taipei after Xiao You’s graduation ceremony and Xiao You headed to Taipei with her parents one week later.
Xi Men had bought a luxurious condominium unit for her parents where Xiao You also stayed there.
Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao’s wedding is 2 weeks after Xiao You’s return to Taipei, and followed by Lei and Jing’s wedding 6 months later.
And in both weddings, Xiao You attended as Xi Men’s partner.
Expressing his desire to work, Xi Men requested for Mei Zhuo’s help to hire Mr. Yang to work as a manufacturing supervising manager in one of Mei Zhuo’s subsidiary companies, because Mr. Yang’s expertise is in the industry that Mei Zhuo is in.
Knowing Xiao You wants to work, Xi Men intended to extend his help to her, but she expressed her desire to find a job on her own. She didn’t want to get a job by using Xi Men’s status as he is someone extremely influential in the country; and there is a tendency everyone will want to hire her just because Xi Men asked them to, not based on her own effort.
Understanding her desire to find a job on her own, Xi Men only assists her in finding out which dance or ballet studios have vacancies for teachers so that she can submit her resumes to them and she can proceed from there.
Xiao You then found a job as an ‘Associate Ballet Instructor’ in a dance studio. She is hired as an ‘associate’ because she had no prior experience in teaching. Her certification that Xi Men had funded during her final year in University certainly helps because the certification is what prompted the dance studio to hire her despite no prior experience as a teacher.
And 6 months after working in the position as an associate, Xiao You has been promoted to a ‘Ballet Instructor’.
Xiao You has also asked Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai to be her long term advisor in case what she wears is not appropriate for her, judging at her relationship with Xi Men. She wants to be at her best. But Xiao You has matured a lot since she left Taipei years ago and she knew how to dress better and nicer, and of course, even better with the help from Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai.
Since Xiao You is now based in Taipei, Xi Men, obviously, meets up often with Xiao You. And Xiao You even paid him visits at his office.
Since Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei have gotten married, the press have turned their attention to Xi Men, as he is the last bachelor of F4, and also hoping to see if he is seeing someone.
Their focus of attention has been Xiao You, since she is being seen with him at all three weddings; Ah Si’s, Mei Zhuo’s and Lei’s.
Not only that, Xi Men and Xiao You have been seen with each other in public for lunch meals, dinner dates, movie nights, and going for shopping as well as traveling together, and because of that, their photos have been appearing in newspapers and magazines.
And the medias tried so hard to get Xi Men’s confirmation about their relationship but he had never responded to the matter to the press when he was being approached and asked.
It is not because he doesn’t admit to it, but he felt he didn’t want to expose Xiao You to his limelight just yet.
And Xiao You didn’t want to use Xi Men’s status to get things in life, such as career advancement. She didn’t want to be promoted just because she is seeing him.
She does feel that when the time is right, their relationship will go public.
Well, it is not that it is a secret now.
It’s just that because the relationship is something between Xi Men and her, as well as being known by their families and friends, there is no need to announce the relationship to the world.
Since there is no confirmation from Xi Men or Xiao You about their relationship, the press could only state that they are ‘rumored seeing each other’.
After months of speculation, Xi Men had finally confirmed their highly speculating rumors and addressed Xiao You as his significant other 3 months after Lei’s wedding.
It is at this time that Xiao You is already a ‘Ballet Instructor’ (instead of associate) which is why she is fine to be addressed as Xi Men’s girlfriend.
Life seems perfect and things fall perfectly in place.