“Do you think, separation could be the key to solve this problem?” Raymond asked, looking at Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at him. “Separation…?”
Raymond looked at Xiao You and nodded. “Have you ever thought of it?”
“I…” Xiao You stammered as she slowly straightened her head.
“With separation, you will stop speculation and stop putting yourself in agony wondering whether he lied or not,”
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat.
“But separation means you will have to walk away from him,” Raymond said. “Permanently,”
Xiao You sits there quietly.
“It probably is the best solution now,” Raymond said. “But even if that is a best solution, you chose to go back to him, right?”
Xiao You returned her gaze to him.
Raymond smiled. “So, I plead you, not to think about separation,”
She looked at him, she doesn’t understand what he is trying to say.
“A small part of you probably think separation is the solution. But no. Don’t,” Raymond said. “Do you remember our conversation… on the day you told me you are back with him?” he asked. “After Xi Men’s accident?”
*Flashback. (continued from chapter 79)
Xiao You: Raymond… I have something to tell you.
Raymond: Hmmm? What is it?
Xiao You: I… I have gotten back with Xi Men.
Xiao You: Raymond?
Raymond: Is that a good thing or a bad thing, based on your tone?
Xiao You (lowered her head down): You know I still love him…
Raymond: Did you go back to him because he begs you to, or did you decide this on your own?
Xiao You is taken aback to hear that question from Raymond.
Xiao You: He did beg me.
Raymond: So, you gave in to that?
Xiao You: Actually… no.
Xiao You: I was afraid of having to live without him. My heart dropped when I saw that accident on the TV. I was really worried about him. I was so afraid that he died and I have to live on my own in this world…
Raymond: Are you going to be with him for good?
Xiao You: Yes… he is still my husband…
Raymond: So, after so long, an accident has to happen to show you what your heart really wants?
Xiao You’s eyes brightened up slightly.
Xiao You: Ray… Raymond?
Raymond: You were saying back then that you wanted to proceed with divorce after finding out he didn’t sign the 2nd document. But he only has to go thru an accident for you to realize the divorce is not what you want.
Xiao You pressed her lips together.
Raymond: You felt betrayed when you found out he didn’t divorce you, but your heart aches unbearably when you found out he almost died and that means, you almost lost the love of your life.
Tears formed in her eyes.
Raymond: Xi Men did not divorce you because he discovers he still loves you and he wants to be with you. It may be a silly decision of him thinking he doesn’t love you anymore but at least he found out he still does before he idiotically signed that document to divorce you officially. And after finding out all of these, you wanted to divorce him because you wanted to put an end to this emotional torture that he had placed in you. You wanted to stop him from having this privilege. I know you are hurt, and I know you are contemplating the divorce to protect yourself. I do not think you are wrong in doing anything to protect yourself. Signing the divorce documents back then was for him, because he wanted to, although I disagree with the actions, but this time, if you have decided to divorce him just to protect yourself, this will be a mistake on your part.
Tears rolled down her face.
Raymond: Because I know how much you love him and how much you want to be with him, Mrs. Xi Men.
Xiao You sniffs.
Raymond: I don’t agree with the divorce, but I think it is acceptable to put him in waiting line to get your forgiveness after what he had put you thru.
A small laugh escapes Xiao You’s mouth as tears continue to stream down her cheeks.
Raymond: I don’t mean to be cruel, but let’s just say, I am glad this accident happened to make you realized what you felt and what you really want. And thankfully he is in great health other than injuring his arm.
Xiao You could only smile faintly and then she sniffs.
Raymond: I am happy for you, Xiao You. I am glad you are back with him before I leave Taipei. I was worried what might happen if this did not settle before I leave.
Xiao You: Thank you, Raymond.
Xiao You nodded. “Yes, I remember…”
“That accident has made you realized you are afraid of losing him. The last few months have been turbulent and tough on you and now that you are finally back with Xi Men, will you let this matter determines if you should be with him?” Raymond asked. “Separation is the best solution for everything. And it means, it could settle all these speculations, but unfortunately it doesn’t solve the real problem and most importantly what your heart wants; which is him, Xi Men, and I believe you knew that too,”
Xiao You looked at Raymond. “Raymond, what is your point here? Why are you instilling this ‘separation’ (*as above) thought to me?”
“I am sorry for doing that. I was watching your reactions with each question posted to you just now. And in truth, I am trying to make some sense to you because I am going to leave soon and I just want to make sure you will not even give ‘separation’ a thought because you’ve done that before. If I don’t do this to you now, I do not know what might happen after I have left,” Raymond said. “Because both of you had separated once, and you even had the thought to go ahead with divorce few weeks ago. I am just concerned what you might think or come up with in the future, so I am testing you with this,”
Xiao You rolled her eyes. “Test me with this…” she murmured in disbelief. “Urgh,”
“And what I am trying to tell you is, one way or another, this thought may come; which I hope it will not, when problems arise but separation will not solve your problem entirely. Please remember this; instead of walking away, solve it, because both of you still love each other, there is a way to solve this,”
Xiao You exhaled her deep breath. “I didn’t say I am walking away…”
“I am just afraid you will. So it is best I take action first,” Raymond said.
“I get it now. You are trying to make sure I stay focused… and not running away by initiating separation just because that is probably the best thing to do,” Xiao You said.
“Good. That’s exactly what I meant,” he said, “So, let’s get back to the main topic, shall we?”
Xiao You sighed now.
“Xiao You, those few meetings he had with Rebecca have happened. It is in the past. You know there is no way you can undo it. There is no way you can fix it,” he said.
Xiao You looked at Raymond gloomily.
“And for the fact, it will always be there, and if you could not accept it, this matter will always stay around. This topic will pop up all the time because you could not live thru it,” Raymond said. “Which, sadly, may really become the reason your marriage to Xi Men to break apart. After all you and Xi Men have been thru in past months and finally get back together, do you really want to ruin your marriage in the future?”
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat. “I know. And truth to be told, it is difficult for me to accept. I really, really wonder what Xi Men and Rebecca had; if there is anything happened between them. And it just feels like I have been stabbed by this thought and fact,”
“Do you want to know what I knew?”
Xiao You looked at Raymond.
“Xi Men didn’t lie to you. There is really nothing happened between him and Rebecca,” he said.
Xiao You is surprise upon hearing that. “How… how do you know?” she asked. “Did he tell you or…”
He shook, and then smirks. “Do you think he will tell me, after his outrageously jealous actions towards me has been shown to you?”
She looked at him. “Oh…” she murmured.
Seeing Xi Men is so overly unhappy with Raymond, there is no way he will talk to Raymond and specifically talk about this.
“Then… how do you know?” Xiao You asked.
“I just knew,” he said. “Because, the Xi Men I know; has always been in love with you although he had separated from you,”
Xiao You remained staring at Raymond, before she lets out a small laugh. “What kind of ridiculous thing you are saying… based on your ‘just-knew’ feelings…”
“Do you remember the first time I met him?” Raymond asked.
“I know you met him a few times but I don’t exactly remember which one is the first time…”
“At your ballet studio. I was there to watch you dancing. He came to pass you your dress. We were introduced to each other by our name then,” Raymond said. “That is the first time I meet him,”
“Oh, right…” Xiao You said. “What about it?”
“I told you back then, ‘don’t be so cold towards him, give this guy a chance’,” Raymond said. “And that is when you told me, he is your soon-to-be ex-husband,”
“Ah, yes. I said that,” she immediately recalled.
“Because, I already knew at that time; he is in love with you,” Raymond said. “Or rather, he is STILL in love with you,”
Xiao You looked at Raymond. “Really?”
“Yes, I can sense that based on his facial expression and body language. I really questioned why he asked for separation at that time when he is still in love with you. And I already know; he has been treating me as his rivalry since that meeting,” Raymond said.
“And I guess, I stirred his anger when we were at the formal dinner. Because you were there, next to me,” Raymond said. “And well, that night, as the lead of the musical, I am getting all the attentions and recognitions; and it is obvious he didn’t get any. And also, although you have separated from him, you are still his wife legally but that night, you are standing next to me, sharing the same limelight with me. He’ll treat it as though I have stolen his honor,”
Xiao You looked at Raymond.
“And that night, he brought Rebecca, if you remember,” he said.
“Yes, I remember that. So damn clear,” Xiao You replied.
He smiled as he knew how unhappy Xiao You is when it comes to Rebecca. “Rebecca was following him that night. He doesn’t really care about her. It was as though… he was there, alone,”
“You… saw that?”
“Yes, and also, if he offered to send my partner home and not his own partner… what do you think?” Raymond asked.
Xiao You finds herself smiling.
“Seeing how he treated Rebecca… I don’t think he can bring himself to do whatever you had described,”
Xiao You’s smile fades. “But that still doesn’t mean they didn’t sleep together… or prior to that… night,”
Raymond took a deep breath. “Let’s see,” he folded his hands, and Xiao You looked at him. “He had admitted he went for meals with her. He had also admitted going around with her. Then why not he just admits sleeping with her if it really happens?”
Raymond interrupts. “If he had slept with her, this is the right time for him to tell you because just like you have said, he did no wrong because both you and he had gone separate ways during that period,” he said. “And this is the only time where he can openly admit he slept with her knowing he did not cheat on you. So why would he choose to lie to you when this is the right time to confess? Is there any benefit if he lied to you about sleeping with Rebecca?”
Xiao You looked at Raymond. “Maybe he is not admitting to it because he is afraid I will walk away from him,”
“I think he is more afraid of you walking away in the future after finding out he lied,” he said.
Xiao You pressed her lips together.
“Xiao You, if Xi Men said he didn’t sleep with her, take it more than a face value and trust him. He is your husband. You should be able to spot when he is honest and when he is not,” he said.
Xiao You looked at Raymond, “You sound like you know my husband more than me,”
Raymond smirked. “I don’t. I just know what guys think,” he said.
Xiao You smiled faintly.
“And I thought you’ve been with him for over a decade and you will know how to spot that from him,” Raymond said.
“Well… he did not look like he is lying… but… I just can’t… trust that,” Xiao You said.
“Because it involves another woman, right?”
Xiao You only gazes at Raymond.
He clasped his hands together and puts it on the table. “Trust him, Xiao You. And trust me. I personally feel he doesn’t sleep with her. And when every bit of his flesh is spent on loving you and being jealous of me, I don’t think he has anything left for him to have even the slightest desire to sleep with Rebecca,” Raymond said.
Xiao You laughed upon hearing that.
Raymond smiled as he looked at Xiao You laughing.
“I think his actions itself all this while are self-explanatory,” Raymond said. “About how he actually felt about you,”
Xiao You smiled. “So… you’d think he didn’t sleep with Rebecca?”
“I thought I have said that just now. You don’t believe me?” Raymond asked.
“I know, but… I just want to make sure… I mean, since you gave an in depth evaluation, I really appreciate your view,”
“No,” Raymond shook. “I don’t think he did,”
Xiao You exhaled a deep breath. “Alright…” but somehow, still not very convinced about it.
“And just so you know, what he told you basically matches the body language that I saw with my eyes,” Raymond said.
She smiled faintly.
Raymond tilts his head. “Actually,”
Xiao You looked at Raymond. “Hmmm?”
“I did sense a little hostility in Xi Men when it comes to Rebecca. There is this… boundary,” he said.
“Boundary?” Xiao You asked, suddenly she is very interested with this.
“I don’t know how to explain that. I just have that kind of feeling when I saw him and her at the dinner. It is like he is setting a boundary with her. I don’t really know,” he said. “Maybe it is a guys’ thing,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said.
Raymond lowered his head down and looked at the ice lemon tea in front of him, “With that kind of feeling… nobody’s gonna get any action that night,” he then sipped the tea.
Xiao You shifted her gaze to look at Raymond upon hearing that.
What Raymond had just uttered seems to be the point that… solves it.
She felt the uneasiness, trouble and worry left her just like that; just like a flick of finger.
Raymond looked back at Xiao You, “Ah, shit. Sorry about that. That’s a slip of mouth,”
Xiao You chuckled. “For some reason, that makes me feel better,” she pointed at him.
“Oh, really?” Raymond laughed.
“Oddly enough, yes. Better than ever,” Xiao You said.
Raymond smiled and leaned his back against the chair. “That’s good,”
“Just for some reason, I trusted your feelings and instincts,” Xiao You said. “And everything you said is pretty spot on. It makes sense… and feels… right,”
Raymond smiled wider.
“Thank you very much, Raymond. You’ve helped me a lot during these crucial months,” she said.
“You are welcome,” Raymond said. “But there is also one person you need to thank, and I don’t mean you have to meet this person to thank, but just be thankful in your heart,”
“One person? Who?”
“Huh? What? Why?”
“Because her appearances next to Xi Men has showed you that, despite Xi Men had a chance to be with someone else after separated from you, he still comes back to you because he loves you,” he said.
Xiao You looked a Raymond, and then she smiled.
“But there is also one thing I need to advise you,” Raymond said.
“Advise?” Xiao You asked.
Raymond nodded. “Both of you had separated for a few months, and in these few months, a couple of things had happened, for example, Rebecca… and me, while you are unhappy with Rebecca, he is also unhappy with me,”
“I’ve told him you are just a friend. What else is he unhappy with?”
“Just like he told you nothing happened between him and Rebecca, you still find it a little hard to believe, right?” Raymond said. “It is the same with him when it comes to me,”
Her eyes brightened up a bit, understood this finally. “Oh,”
“Regardless what the matters are, what I am saying is, there may be a slight change in your relationship with Xi Men; either for better or for worse,”
“Just a possibility. Just like both of you are sharing weird conversations now, it is weird because you are uncomfortable, so is he. I don’t know how long and how far these changes may bring or cause to you, but do expect them. If it changes your relationship for better, I am happy for you, but if it changes for worse, do not give up. Keep working on it. These changes will bring out the best from both of you to make your relationship stronger than ever. Always remember why both of you are back together,”
Xiao You smiled, and then she nodded. “I understand, Raymond. I will work on it,”
He smiled. “That is good,”
She took a deep breath and exhaled it, feeling calmed and relaxed.
He looked at Xiao You smiling and then takes a sip of her strawberry smoothie.
That delighted look on her face.
He smiled after seeing this.
However, something seems… odd.
Based on what she had said…
They have been together for 5 days now but seeing she has issues about Xi Men and Rebecca…
Does this mean…
“Can I ask you something extremely personal?” Raymond asked, tilting his head.
“What about?” she looked at him.
“Since getting back together with Xi Men, how is your intimacy with Xi Men?”
Her eyes widened and face gets red, “Why… why do you ask?”
Seeing her blushed face, “Babe, I am not interested with the details. I am just asking if any intercourse had taken place. That’s all I want to know,”
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
“Come on, we are adults. Intimacy is normal between couples,” Raymond said. “So, any?”
She swallowed another quickly-formed lump in her throat again. “Well… he wants to but…”
“Since I hear a ‘but’ there so I supposed you didn’t,”
She looked at him. “I actually feel bad for him but… I somehow… just didn’t want to,”
“Hmmm… that explains,” he said, folding his hands on his chest.
“What… what do you mean?” she looked at him.
“I feel you have not open up to him completely yet. Despite accepting him back into your life, you still have doubts with him regarding Rebecca. I really wondered if it affects the intimacy. And well, you have answered it: it did,”
She looked at him for a while, before she slowly straightened her head and then takes a sip on her strawberry smoothie.
“Subconsciously, you didn’t want to do it with Xi Men because you don’t entirely believe he had nothing with Rebecca,” he said, “Well… since we’ve talked about Rebecca just now and cleared the issues, it should help you now. I guess you don’t have issues to sleep with your husband now,” Raymond smiled, lowering his head down to take a sip on his ice lemon tea.
She glared at him. “Hey, you should leave it as my personal matter, you know?”
“I know,” Raymond smirked, but still wants to tease her. “So, you and him tonight…”
“Can we talk about something else now?” Xiao You uttered almost immediately.
He laughed after teasing her. “Fine. I get that. I’ll leave that to you and your beloved husband,”
She threw a smack on his arm. “Making fun of me, huh?!”
He remained laughing. “I am leaving in days! You should give me that privilege (to make fun) even if it’s only for a minute!”
She laughed, and soon her laughter fades, “Ah, mentioning of that, what time are you leaving on Monday?”
“My flight is at 3pm,” Raymond said. “Why? Do you want to come and send me off at the airport?”
“Can I?” Xiao You asked.
Raymond smiled. “If you want to, I don’t mind,” he said.
Xiao You smiled. “I will check my schedule. If I don’t have any classes, I’ll meet you at the airport,”
“Sure,” Raymond smiled, and then he exhaled a deep breath. “The musical is finally ending this Sunday and I am going home on Monday,”
“I am sure you miss your family,”
“Of course,” Raymond said, looking at Xiao You. “Ah. Remember you said just now, Xi Men told you he loves the musical now because of you?”
“Yes,” she said, looking at Raymond. “But I don’t know why…”
“Since you are going to watch the closing show this Sunday, ask him why he loves the musical. That’s a perfect opportunity for you to ask. If you could, inform me the reason after that,” Raymond smiled, and gave her a wink. “Although I want to say I am curious as to why he suddenly loves the musical, but I decided to tell you; I want to know because it involves my work,”
“Oh, there is also one thing, before I forget,” Raymond said.
“What is it?” Xiao You asked.
She bites her lips as she stood at the stage door.
She keeps her eyes around, trying to spot for that one particular person.
She has been waiting there for over an hour.
She is so much more resourceful than Xi Men.
Using search engine, she found out that casts of performances in theatres will go in and out of the theatre via the stage door.
And since the musical will start at 8, casts will start heading over to the theatre at 3pm.
Unsure what time he will go to the theatre, she decided to head over at 3pm and wait.
After waiting for more than an hour… finally.
Finally, he has arrived.
He walks to the stage door with his right hand in his pants’ pocket.
“Hi,” she immediately approaches him and said.
He halted his footsteps and looked at her. He tilts his head.
She looked familiar.
He felt like he had seen her somewhere before.
And in that split second, he recalled, before she said further.
“Rebecca,” he interrupted and said. “You are Rebecca,”
He remembers meeting her at the Onan dinner, where she attends with Xi Men.
Rebecca smiled. “Yes, Mr. Leslie. I am glad you remember,”
“Just call me Raymond,” he smiled.
“You came to look for me?” Raymond asked.
“Yes,” Rebecca said.
“Umm… anything I can do for you, Rebecca?”
“Do you have some time to talk?” Rebecca asked.
“Ummm… not much, as I have to go to work,” he said.
“Just a few minutes,” Rebecca said.
“Well, if it is just few minutes, alright. We can talk here,” Raymond said.
Rebecca looked around.
Raymond gazes to the left and right as well when Rebecca does that.
After noting no one is nearby, she returned her gaze to him and said, “I know you are seeing Miss Xiao You,”
Raymond’s eyes strayed.