“Thank you, Jin,” Xi Men said at Jin who had carefully assisted Xi Men to get into the back of the car.
“You are welcome, sir,” Jin said, as he looked at Xi Men adjusting his sitting position in the car.
He even helped Xi Men to buckle the seatbelt, just in case Xi Men couldn’t extend his hand over to do it. Jin then slammed the door close.
Xi Men took a deep breath.
Jin then opened the door of the driver’s seat and then he climbs in and starts the car engine before he buckled up his seatbelt. “So, sir. Where should we go to? Penthouse or mansion?”
Xi Men had never thought of it.
Penthouse or mansion?
Xi Men didn’t know where he should go.
“Umm… did Xiao You mention where to send me to…?” Xi Men happened to ask.
“No, sir. Ma’am didn’t say anything about that…”
Now this is going to be tough.
He didn’t want to go back to the mansion, but yet he is not sure if Xiao You is ready to have him back to the penthouse.
“I… I think I want to go to my office,” Xi Men said.
“What?” Jin happened to blurt that out, before he quickly covered his mouth for the slip, as he felt rude to have uttered it like that.
Not even minding the tone as he knew Jin is uttering it out of surprise, “Why…? Is it really that bad if I say I want to go to my office?”
“Sorry, sir. I personally think it is just… I mean… you have just been discharged from the hospital. You are supposed to rest…” Jin said.
Xi Men sighed. “I know. But I don’t know where I am supposed to go,”
“Umm…” Jin didn’t know what to do too.
Xi Men sits in the car and looked out of the window, wondering where to go.
After thinking for a while, he thinks he knows where he wants to go now.
There is a place he can go now.
“Jin,” Xi Men called, leading to Jin turned his head to look at his master, “Send me to Xiao You’s ballet studio,”
Ma’am’s ballet studio. That’s acceptable.
“Alright, sir,” Jin said, immediately engaged the car into D [Drive] gear and exits the parking bay.
After seeing Jin drove passed a BMW (that belongs to some visitor to the hospital) that is parked few bays away from Jin’s bay, “Ah, before I forget, Jin, drop by at a newsstand and get me a copy of the newspapers today,” Xi Men said.
Xiao You had just finished her class as she walked towards her room in the ballet studio with a bunch of keys in her hand.
She is about to stuff the key into the keyhole of the door to her room (to unlock the door) when she noticed there is someone sitting in her room, that she can see from the glass panel on the door.
She froze at the sight of it for she didn’t expect to see someone in her room.
It is Xi Men. His back is facing the door and his right hand is on his phone.
She heard him engaging in a conversation on his phone but couldn’t hear him well because he is speaking rather softly and the door in between them did muffle the sound even more.
She then turned and looked straight to the reception counter.
With her right hand gripping onto a bag which contains her ballet equipment, she walked to the reception counter instead of going into her room.
“Katie, why is Xi Men in my room?” Xiao You asked.
Not like Katie will really know why Xi Men is in the room…
“Umm, I don’t know. He just came and said he will wait for you in your room so he asked me to open the door…” Katie said.
“Oh, how long has he been in there?” Xiao You asked.
Katie glances at the clock, “Not more than 15 minutes,” Katie said.
Xiao You stood there wondering for a while, and then she turned her head to the direction of her room, before she straightened her head (facing Katie but not looking at Katie).
She then grabbed the phone receiver up from the desk phone and pressed the numbers on it to make a call while Katie watches.
Xiao You: Jin, this is Xiao You.
Jin: Oh, hi ma’am.
Xiao You: Jin, why is Xi Men here? Why didn’t you send him home? You know he needs to rest since he has just been discharged from the hospital.
Jin: Umm, ma’am. Sir didn’t know where to go.
Xiao You: What do you mean he didn’t know where to go?
Jin: He didn’t know if he should go back to the penthouse or the mansion. He was asking me if you told me where to send him to…
Xiao You (surprised): Ah?
Jin: Yes, ma’am. I didn’t know too… so he asked me to send him over to your ballet studio.
Xiao You (took a deep breath): Oh.
Jin: I can feel he didn’t want to go back to the mansion…
Xiao You turned her head to look at the direction of her room down the corridor.
Jin: Ma’am, I am sorry.
Xiao You: It is okay, Jin.
Jin: If you are unhappy, I can come and get master now…
Xiao You: Don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to him and if I need you to come, I’ll call you.
Jin: Alright, ma’am.
Xiao You: Thank you, Jin.
Xiao You then hangs up the call, and then she took a deep breath.
Xiao You turned to look at Katie. “Yes, Katie?”
“Are you alright with Mr. Xi Men here?” Katie asked.
Xiao You smiled briefly. “Yes, I am fine. Why do you ask?”
“Umm…” Katie finds that question weird. “Because you are not on good terms with him…?”
“Oh, that,” Xiao You said. “Katie,” she pats Katie’s shoulder. “Let me tell you something. But you cannot tell anyone else,”
“Ah? Sounds so secretive,” Katie said.
Xiao You looked around to make sure no one else is there, she then leaned over to Katie’s ear and whispered, “Xi Men and I are back together,” she smiled and she then slowly backs away.
Katie gaped upon what she heard, and she turned to look at Xiao You with a finger on her lips (Xiao You) to ask her (Katie) not to spill it.
“Wow, that is a great news… congratulations!” Katie said.
“Thank you,” Xiao You smiled. “Just like last time, I trust you not to spill this out until the media knows,” [*last time = Xi Men and Xiao You’s separation]
“Yes, sure,” Katie smiled.
“Thanks. I’m going in now,” Xiao You said.
“Okay,” Katie said, smiling happily.
Xiao You walked down the corridor to her room. She stood in front of the door and looked at Xi Men’s back again, from the glass panel. Xi Men is still on the phone.
Knowing the door is unlocked already since Xi Men is inside the room, she twisted the door knob and opened the door slowly, so as not to disturb Xi Men since he is on a call.
Xi Men turned around to look at the door with the phone on his ear upon realizing Xiao You had entered the room.
Despite opening the door quietly and slowly, she really didn’t know how Xi Men can still detect that she is entering the room.
Xi Men smiled as he looked at Xiao You, who is holding onto her ballet equipment bag, puts her ballet equipment’s bag down and heads to her seat.
Xiao You smiled back at him.
“So that is the only option?” Xiao You heard Xi Men said at the phone.
Xiao You then sits down on her chair and logs in into her laptop.
“Okay,” Xi Men said. “Sure, thank you,”
And Xi Men hangs up the call, and then looked at Xiao You.
“Hi darling,” Xi Men smiled.
“Hello,” Xiao You smiled. “Nice shirt you have there,”
Xi Men looked down to the shirt he is wearing, which is very obvious that it is the very shirt that Xiao You had bought and asked Jin to bring it to Xi Men to wear before he is discharged from the hospital.
“Thank you,” he smiled as he lifted his head back up to look at Xiao You. “I know you bought it,”
“Hope you like it,” she smiled too.
“I don’t really favor knitted shirt but I think it looks good on me,”
“Care to tell me… out of so many tops, why a knitted shirt?” he asked.
“Other than a formal shirt, only a knitted shirt like this fits a formal pants and dress shoes,” she smiled.
Xi Men immediately lowered his head down again.
Ah. She is right.
Because Xi Men is wearing the pants and shoes he was wearing when he was involved in the accident last night, she knew he needs to wear a top that matches them.
“You saw my folded clothes in the drawer,” Xi Men said.
“Yes. So I know what to buy,” Xiao You said.
“You can buy another shirt,”
“Actually I am not sure if you’ve put on or lose weight,”
“My size didn’t change,”
“From one glance, you looked about the same but I don’t dare to say the same thing when it comes to clothes since it has been months…” Xiao You said, and then paused.
Xi Men immediately quiets when he heard that.
“Umm, I don’t think your size will change that much, but I am worried that I may end up buying a shirt that doesn’t fit… so on a safe side, I decided to buy a knitted shirt since it is stretchable. It will be able to fit your body perfectly…” Xiao You quickly adds.
“But, really, it looks good on you,” Xiao You smiled, double clicking stuffs on her laptop.
“Thanks,” he smiled as he lowered his head to look at his grey top. “Despite you are saying about the probability of size change… you didn’t buy the wrong size of the boxer,”
Xiao You stopped for a while. “Umm…”
“I know the boxer’s material is stretchable,” he fills in for her. “So you will say it will fit me even if I’ve gone slightly fatter or thinner,”
Xiao You just smiled. “Yeah…” she softly said.
“I… I am sorry about the shirt,” Xi Men said.
“Sorry? What do you mean?”
“The shirt I was wearing yesterday… is a shirt you bought for me…”
She looked at him and then recalled the light blue (and stained as well as torn) shirt in the drawer she saw this morning, which prompted her to go and buy the knitted shirt for him.
When she saw the shirt, she knew she bought it for him long time ago.
“Oh,” she said.
“Yeah… I tore it…”
It is not like he tears it with his hands.
She just smiled briefly. “It is okay. I can get you another one,” she said. “Most important is you are fine,”
“The shirt did a pretty good job, I should say,” she suddenly said.
He doesn’t understand. “Good job? What do you mean?”
“I am pretty sure the shirt had protected you from a more serious injury than what you had now. Imagine if you are wearing a short sleeve or sleeveless; your injury could be more than just bruises and road rash,”
He flinched at the thought of it. “That sounds painful already…”
She chuckled at his reaction. “So, who were you talking to on the phone just now?”
“My car’s insurance agent,” he replied.
“Yes, I need to know what will the insurance company do and what I should expect from here,”
“Mentioning of that, have you seen the condition of your car?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes,” Xi Men said, lifting up the newspaper that he had asked Jin to buy while he was on the way to her office, and he showed it to her. “Other than briefly seeing it from websites via my smartphone, I get a clearer picture, I mean, pictures of my car here from the newspaper. This is the headline of the day,” he said. “Damage is very bad,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said. “You mean you only saw it from the pictures? Don’t you want to go and see the damage of your car with your eyes?”
“I do. I’ll probably go and see the car at the police station later,” Xi Men said.
“Oh,” she said, as she typed something into the computer.
“Do you want to go with me?”
“See the car,”
“I will decide later…” Xiao You said, continued typing.
He looked at her concentrating on the laptop, “Are you updating students’ performance and improvement profile?”
“Yes,” Xiao You smiled.
“Alright,” Xi Men said, knowing that at the end of every class, Xiao You will update the record file so that she knows which student needs extra attention or a particular assistance in certain movements, or is doing very well in the classes.
He smiled faintly, and as he didn’t want to disturb her with more talks and lets her do her work; he looked at the newspaper that he had laid on the table.
As he stares at the photo of his damaged car in the newspaper, he recalled the conversation he had with his insurance agent just earlier about settling the car.
He inadvertently tried to fold his hands on his chest, only to be greeted by the sharp pain from his left arm in the action.
“ARGHHHHHHHH…” he grimaced at the pain with his eyes closed.
Xiao You immediately lifted her head to look at Xi Men gripping onto his left arm. “What happened?”
“I forgot about my injury again!” he could only gripped his arm.
Xiao You stares at him groaning at his pain that lingers. Her heart wrenched at the sight and she felt bad for him.
After the lingering pain is bearable, Xi Men slowly opened his eyes though his right hand is still gripping onto his left arm.
And he stared at Xiao You who is staring back at him with a very worried look.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“Yes, I am…” Xi Men said, but the lingering pain did make him still cringe a little. “Don’t worry about me, alright? I am okay,” he tried to smile.
“It must be really painful,” she said, and then exhaled a deep breath.
“Not as painful as having to live separately from you,” he lowered his head down and looked at his left arm right after he said that.
She looked at him smiling faintly as he looked at his arm. “Xi Men…”
“Hmm?” he lifted his head up to look at her.
“Is it really that lonely to stay in the mansion?” she asked.
Xi Men looked at her, didn’t say a word for brief while. He then lowered his head and exhaled a deep breath.
“Such a big place with so many rooms. So many maids walking around the place… so, it wasn’t quiet,” he said. “But for me… it is lonely,”
She looked at him.
He then looked at her. “It kind of reminds me of how lonely I was during my University years. Those years where I live knowing I will someday overtake my dad’s company and everything else is uncertain,” he then took a deep breath. “After I married you… for the last few years, I am used to going home to see you and Emily. I notice this is what I have been doing and adjusted to. My life with my family. So it is completely different to live on my own again. That is why… it is lonely,”
“Come back home, Xi Men,”
His eyes widened upon hearing that. He stared at her. “What did you just say?”
“I said… come back home,” Xiao You said. “Penthouse is your home. Not the mansion,”
Such a simple sentence, but its meaning is enough to stir up emotions in him.
Tears formed in his eyes almost immediately.
“Home is not complete without you,” Xiao You adds.
She makes it sound as though she kicked him out from the house, but in fact, he is the one that stepped out of the house. And now she is asking him to go home…
He clenched his teeth underneath the closed lips as he tried to hold those tears. He then swallowed a lump in his throat.
“I… I don’t want to go back to the mansion… but… but I am afraid you don’t want me to go back to the penthouse…” he murmured. “I don’t dare to ask…”
The tears fell.
She smiled briefly as she stood up and walked to him, “There is no point to stay separately when we are a family… so, Xi Men, come home,” she sits down on the other empty chair; next to Xi Men.
He nodded. “I… I am going home…” he then raised his right hand up to wipe the tears on his face.
She remained smiling and nodded in acknowledgement.
He then extends his right hand over to her, and gently pulled her to him, embracing her with her cheek on his chest. “Thank you, Xiao You… thank you…”
She is glad that he is going back home now. She closed her eyes in her embrace, and out of nowhere the whole scenario of Xi Men walking out from the family months ago played in her mind.
It is a truly heartbreaking moment for her.
She cried for days and it took her weeks and months trying to get over it but she couldn’t.
If the matter does not bring tears to her eyes, she can feel herself dying whenever the scene is played in her mind.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and she can feel her tears formed in her closed eyes.
“Oh,” Xi Men uttered, causing Xiao You to open her eyes and slowly pulled back from the embrace.
Xi Men dives his hand into his pants and takes out her wedding ring.
Xiao You looked at Xi Men holding the ring.
“Xiao You, I would like to…” Xi Men said, and then noticed her teary eyes. “Are you alright?” he changed the subject all of a sudden.
“What is it that you want to say?” Xiao You asked, looking at him.
A tear fell onto her face.
Seeing the tear, a part of him feels sad too.
Since she has asked him to, “I…” Xi Men looked at the ring he is holding. “This ring survives the accident with me. It belongs to you, so I would like to give it back to you but…”
She looked at her wedding ring.
“We know very well what this ring holds. And… you have said before that you don’t want to see this ring…” he said, looking at her longingly. “So… if you don’t like this ring anymore… I will get you a new ring,”
She turned to look at him.
“Because, there is no use if you are unhappy with this ring,” Xi Men said. “I will get you a new one, and if you don’t like the design of the new ring, I will keep buying until you love one of it,”
She smiled briefly, and another tear fell.
He looked at her, is she shedding tears because of this?
“I want to know now… will you wear this again? Because if you are not, I will go out and buy a new one now,” Xi Men said.
Her smile remained on her face.
Xiao You slowly raised her hand up and extends to Xi Men, spreading her fingers slightly, as an indication.
“You’ll take this?” Xi Men asked for confirmation.
Xiao You nodded, and the act of her nodding caused even more tears fell.
Xi Men gently holds her hand, and then he slides the ring into her ring finger.
The memories of him sliding the ring into her ring fingers flashbacks into his mind.
He did this during his proposal.
He also did this at their wedding ceremony.
The thought itself brought tears to his eyes.
“Thank you…” he choked in his voice.
Xiao You bites her lips and she nodded.
He pulled her to him and he embraced her tightly. “I love you, Xiao You. I really, really love you…”
She nodded in the embrace, and more tears fell.
Xi Men rubbed her back.
She had accepted him back into her life.
But… what if…
What if he leaves again…?
He heard her sniffs.
And then… he heard her begin to sob.
Xi Men continued to rub her back, until she begins to tremble and sob harder.
Suddenly, he felt that this is not right.
Why is she crying so hard now?
And she had not said a thing for a while and all she did is just nodding…
Her eyes had also reddened way before he talked about the ring.
Xi Men slowly pulled back, looked at Xiao You who is struggling with her sobs.
“Honey, why?” Xi Men asked as he holds onto both of her arms.
She continued to cry.
“Xiao You? Why? Are you alright?” he asked worriedly. “Tell me…”
“Xi Men,” she called, the scene of Xi Men leaving the penthouse and her remains fresh in her mind. “If anything is not right… please talk and discuss with me first… don’t… don’t just walk out like that…”
He doesn’t understand why she will say something like that out of sudden.
What does she mean by…
His eyes widened.
He didn’t know what makes her remember or recalled the fateful night all of a sudden, but he knew it must be tough for her. And he needs to address it to comfort her.
He pulled her over and hugged her again; her cheek on his chest and his chin touched the top of her head.
“I am sorry, Xiao You. I will not walk out like that again. I promise you I will not…”
“Please don’t break my heart again… it hurts tremendously…”
He knew it hurts her, because it hurts him too. But he knows how terrible one at the receiving end will feel… at least he sees this coming (when he walks out on her), but not Xiao You.
If it hurts him so much, it will hurt her even more. Probably so much more than he could ever imagine.
It is truly his fault for making her heartbroken and sad.
“Yes, I promise you, Xiao You. I am coming home and I am not going to leave. I will not. Ever again…” Xi Men said, tightened the hug.
She nodded in his embrace. “I will trust you… one more time,” her voice trembled.
She has said it.
This is definitely the crucial ‘one more time’ for Xi Men to make things right.
It is the one and only chance.
There will never be another chance if he screws up again.
He nodded, “Just one chance is enough to show you how sorry I am…”
She smiled gratefully as he embraces her appreciatively, and she lifted her hands up and circled him around his neck and hugged him; placing her chin on his shoulder, and then she begins to let loose and sobs extremely hard.
His heart wrenched upon hearing her sobbing like this.
He had never heard her cried like this in his life.
He realized that this is exactly the knot in Xiao You’s heart that she had kept from telling him when they talked this morning. [*referring to chapter 78]
She is still afraid.
She is still worried.
And she is still heartbroken over what happened to them.
He knew he had hurt her bad.
He broke her.
But despite all that, she took him back because she loves him; and solely trusts him based on nothing other than his undocumented & unproven words to give him her heart again.
As he hugged her tight, he knew he had to work harder to show her that their relationship is going to work, and it will work.
He’ll work on it.
He’ll definitely work on it.
He will not give up on them again.
And he had just realized she is crying into his new knitted shirt.