Approximately one year after Xiao You had returned to Taipei; or 3 years after they’ve been together…
Xi Men laughed at Xiao You’s reaction upon seeing the view of Macau from Macau tower.
“NICE!” she said, her hands hold onto the railing and she turned to look at Xi Men.
“I think views from any kind of towers around the world are nice,” Xi Men said.
“Hmmm… you are right,” she smiled as she looked at the view.
He then looked around. “Are you up for some activities here?”
“Activities? What activities?” she asked, looking at him.
“I saw the list of items that can be done here; like skywalk and bungee jump,” he said.
Her eyes widened in shock. “Are you asking me if I want to do those scary things?!”
He laughed. “Seeing your reaction like that, I guess that’s a ‘no’ then,”
“Of course the answer is no!” she exclaimed. “Those are so scary!”
He laughed again. “You know, that bungee is the highest in the world,”
“No way! No! I don’t want to do it so don’t you even think you can drag me to do it!”
He laughed at how badly she didn’t want to do it.
“I can’t believe you are asking me if I would like to do that!” she said.
“Well, some people love those stuffs,” Xi Men smiled as he puts his left hand on her waist.
“Definitely not me,” she said, looking straight at the view.
He smiled. “Alright, I get it,” he said.
She smiled too, as she fancies the view.
“You know, I was thinking…”
“Hmmm?” she turned to look at him.
“You’ve been working as a Ballet Instructor for a year now…”
“Yeah, what about it?”
“What do you think about working for yourself?” Xi Men asked.
“For myself?” she stared at him.
Xi Men nodded. “Open your own studio and be your own boss,”
“Well, with your own studio, you can have flexible time… you can go to work whenever you feel like it, and you don’t have to go to work if you don’t have class that day…” he said. “And then I can come and pay you a visit whenever I want, rather than what we are doing now where I have to wait for you outside of your studio on certain time,”
She tilted her head and smiled. “The idea… sounds good,”
He smiled. “Glad that you agree with me. I am planning to open that studio for you,” Xi Men said.
“You?” she looked at him. “Opening a studio for me?”
Xi Men nodded. “And put it as a subsidiary of Xi Men Corporation,”
She just looked at him.
“How do you like that as a gift?” he asked.
“Yes, a gift,” he said
She smiled for a while and then her smile fades. “Why do you want to give me a studio?”
He smiled widely, “Because, you are my girlfriend,” he stood behind her and wrapped his hands around her. “The girlfriend of CEO Xi Men of Xi Men Corporation,”
She smiled again.
“Although people have already knew my girlfriend is a ballet instructor of a dance studio… it will be better if the studio is yours, than working for someone else,” he said.
The smile on her face did not last for long.
And he notices it.
“Why, darling?” he asked. “I thought you said the idea is good?”
“Yes, I said that,” she said, and then took a deep breath.
“Can I ask you something and be honest with your answer?” she asked, looking at him.
“Sure,” he said. “What is it?”
“Do you have any issue with me working for someone else?”
“Issue?” he asked her back.
He frowned a little. “Why do I have that issue? Aren’t you working with someone else now?”
“I just want to know,” she said.
“No, I don’t have. You’d think I have an issue with that?” he asked.
“I was just asking because I want to know why you have the intention to open a studio for me,”
He smiled. “Because I think that will be a great idea. Don’t you think so?”
“Well… if you ask me, I didn’t want you to do that,”
“Why not?” he asked.
“I know you can get me anything in the world, but I don’t want you to think I am interested with your money,”
He smirked, and then he chuckled. “Xiao You,” he called.
“Do you know why I love you so much?” Xi Men asked.
She just looked at him.
“Because I know you don’t love me for my money. We’ve been together for many years now. I have been buying you gifts here and there but if you did not notice, I am the one that has to demand you to accept them. You will only ask for certain things from me once in a while, but the rests, I have to ask you to take them. Never had I imagine in my life, I have to plead you to accept the things that I have bought for you,”
She smiled at the thought of it.
“But there is one thing that whenever I bought it, you will readily accept it,” he said.
“Huh?” her smile fades after hearing that.
Upon hearing that, she bites her lips and then her face slowly reddened.
He chuckled. “Yes, that shows you really, really love red roses,”
She smiled in shyness.
“So, do I need to plead you to take the studio too?” he asked.
“I prefer the idea of getting the studio myself,” she said.
He smirked upon hearing it.
There she is, starting again; rejecting his offer.
“But at the moment, I do not have the finances to open a studio on my own as I have just started working for a year,” she said. “So, maybe later,”
“Why later when you can get it now?” he asked.
“Xi Men, I have said it…”
“Xiao You, I have said it as well,” he interrupts her. “I am getting it for you because it is time for you to own one. I do not want you to get unwanted attention,”
“You told me about the hoo-hah your colleagues are making after finding out you are with me,”
“Oh, that. That’s because my colleagues didn’t know about us until you announce our relationship a couple of months ago,” she said.
“I am sure your colleagues are going to ask you many questions,”
“I don’t know. About us,”
“What’s between us is just between us. I don’t have to tell them,” she said. “I am not obligated to,”
He heaved a deep sigh. “You don’t have to face these anymore when you own a studio,”
“It is okay, Xi Men. I know how to handle them,”
“Xiao You, I sincerely want to give you the studio,” Xi Men said. “Just accept it, will you?”
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, and she took a deep breath.
She slowly turned her head away and looked at the view from the top of Macau tower.
“Xiao You, I know you don’t want me to help you financially or uses my status to do anything,” he said. “That is why you look for your own job and land into one with your own effort,”
She nodded briefly as she agrees with what he had just said.
“But I really wish to get you a studio,” he said. “You get to be your own boss. You get to manage the studio. And you get to go in and out of office as you please,”
She took another deep breath.
“And big pay,”
She gazes at him, and he chuckled upon seeing her reaction.
“Take my gift, Xiao You,” Xi Men persuaded. “I can let you find the place, plan the decoration, design the…”
“Why do you insist, Xi Men?” Xiao You asked, looking at him.
Xi Men looked at her, and then he smiled briefly.
He turned his head to look at the view in front of him for a while. “This is not what I have expected,” he murmured but loud enough for Xiao You to hear.
“Huh?” Xiao You asked.
He smiled, as he puts his right hand into his pocket.
She looked at him with that smile on his face and that hand that disappears into his pocket.
And he takes out a dark blue box from the pocket… to which her eyes followed and widened immediately at the sight of the box.
“Because I didn’t want my wife to work under the order or instruction of someone else anymore,” he said. “And I wanted freedom to visit you at work, just like how you visit me at my office,”
He opened the box, revealing a very beautiful round solitaire diamond ring, and her mouth dropped.
He looked at her eyes that are fixed to the ring, completely stunned.
He smiled. “I have planned to propose to you, but I did not expect the topic to go like this,”
Her eyes traveled up to look at him.
“Xiao You, be my wife and let me take care of you for the rest of your life,” he said.
Her eyes went teary.
Xi Men smiled, and he slowly lowered his body down, getting down on one knee. “Xiao You, marry me,”
Tears fell to her cheek.
Xi Men. Proposing to her.
She nodded and more tears fell.
Xi Men slides the ring to her finger with a smile on his face before he stood up straight again.
He smiled as he looked at her wiping her tears on her face. He raised his hand and caressed her cheek.
“Thank you,” he said. “Mrs. Xi Men,”
She sniffed and smiled, before she then lets out a small laugh after hearing the calling.
And then he leaned forward for a kiss.
Xi Men and Xiao You have their wedding held in Maldives.
They flew all the family members, relatives and close friends to the island for their wedding.
It is a very exclusive, private and beautiful wedding.
The island is also their honeymoon place.
After the wedding,
Xiao You had accepted Xi Men’s gift of a dance studio under the subsidiary of Xi Men Corporation, but she prefers to have a studio that concentrates on ballet instead of dance studio that covers all forms and types of dances.
She decides on the location of her studio, where it is located at a place that is easily accessible by subway, because she believes that accessibilities and convenience to some students whom may travel by subway or bus to the studio is an added advantage.
So a strategic location will help to bring more students.
She also carefully picks the flooring, the design, the furniture, the decorations, number of ballet rooms and everything else to how she wanted the whole place to look like.
She personally interviews potential staffs and hires.
Thus, the birth of Yang Ballet Studio.
Xiao You stood at near the reception counter inside her Yang Ballet Studio, admiring the finishing touch of her ballet studio.
Xi Men pushes the glass door and enters the ballet studio. He saw the contented smile on her face.
“Still admiring your studio?” he asked.
Xiao You looked at him and smiled. “Yes, and I can’t believe it that this studio is going to be officially open for business in 5 days time,”
“Congratulations, you are your own boss now,” he smiled.
“No… you are my boss now,” she said, “Since the finances come from your company,”
He laughed. “The company is yours. I just pour in the finance. So you are the boss,” he smiled.
She smiled, and then something caught her gaze, and she tilted her head to see. “Eh, what is that in your hand?”
Xi Men lifted up his hand and there is a long rectangular-shaped box in his hand, and it is nicely tied up. “Oh. This. Mom asked me to give this to you,” he extends the box to her.
“Your mom came to Taipei today?” she asked as she took the box from him.
“No, she posts this to my office,” Xi Men said.
“Oh? I wonder what this is,” she carries the box and puts it on top of the reception counter. She then opens the box.
It is a scroll.
Xiao You took the scroll out from the box and slowly opens it.
It is a painting of bamboos, in ink.
“Ah, this is a nice painting,” Xiao You said, looking at the scroll.
“Mom paints it,” Xi Men smiled, as he also looked at the painting.
“What does bamboos in painting meant?” Xiao You asked.
“Umm… I don’t know. I am not an art person,” Xi Men said. “But mom loves painting bamboos. And umm… some fern. I think,” he frowned.
“Oh,” Xiao You said. “So… why is she giving me a painting?”
“She said it is for your new office,” he said.
“Oh,” she looked at the painting. “Umm… does it mean I am supposed to hang this up? Since she paints this and sends this to you… asking you to give me for my new office,”
“Umm… I am not sure,” he said. “What do you think?” he looked at her.
“Hmmm… I think…” she looked at him. “I don’t know. I am not an art person either…” she is not sure what to do with it.
“Aren’t you a doing art for living as well? Ballet instructor?”
“Now that’s a very different type of art, Mr. Xi Men!”
He breaks into laughter for a moment.
Xiao You stares at the painting. “If I were to hang this, where am I supposed to hang?” she asked, looking around the ballet studio.
Xi Men also looked around the studio.
“Well, if you didn’t want to… you can choose not to hang it,” Xi Men said. “Just keep it somewhere. Not like mom will know,”
“It didn’t feel right to hang, yet it feels even worse not to hang this since your mom gives this to me,”
He took a deep breath. He looked around the entrance. “Maybe somewhere at the reception?”
She looked at the wall right at the reception. “I have designed that appropriately, the painting won’t look good there,”
Xi Men took a deep breath. “Maybe one of the ballet rooms?”
“If mom gave me 10 paintings, then I’ll put one in each room,” she rolled her eyes.
“Then… your room?” he asked. “The wall next to your table maybe? I remember it is empty, right?”
She looked at him and then exhaled a sharp breath.
“Maybe you wanna ask mom instead?” Xi Men asked. “Who knows maybe she didn’t draw it with intention for you to hang, but to just give you since you are opening the new office?”
She looked at him as she pressed her lips together. “Maybe,”
“Oh hey, are you done with the studio?” Xi Men asked.
“Hmmm, there is nothing to do here anymore since they have delivered my table. Why?”
“We are supposed to go somewhere…” he lifted his left hand up to look at the wristwatch, “…like, now, to make it on time,”
“Now? Where are we going?” she asked.
“Recently a developer has completed some luxurious residences and there are still penthouse units available. So I thought we should go view it and if it is to our liking, we should get one,” Xi Men smiled.
“Mr. and Mrs. Xi Men, what do you think about this duplex penthouse unit?” the salesperson asked.
Xi Men smiled, and then he turned to look at Xiao You looking around the empty living room.
“So honey, what do you think?” Xi Men asked.
Xiao You turned to look at Xi Men, “It is nice,”
“So, do you like it?” Xi Men asked.
Xiao You looked at the salesperson, “Can you give us some space to discuss?”
“Sure, Mrs. Xi Men,” the salesperson said, and he walked furthering himself away from Xi Men and Xiao You.
“What is it?” Xi Men asked. “If you don’t like this place, we can look for others. You don’t have to ask the guy to leave, we can just tell him straight that we are not interested,”
“This penthouse is nice, very exclusive and luxurious,” Xiao You said. “I like the view from the balcony. I love the accessibility and facilities this place has…”
“Ah,” Xi Men smiled. “It is good to know you like everything about this place. Since you like it, we’ll get it. And then I will start the hiring process to get a new batch of maids, chauffeur and butler for this penthouse,”
“But Xi Men, why are we getting a penthouse all of a sudden?”
“I have been thinking what type of residences that you would prefer other than a mansion. So penthouse it is,” he said.
“Well,” he looked at Xiao You. “You didn’t complain that the mansion is huge. But I know you’ve got lost in my mansion for a dozen times, and not only that, you haven’t even been to most parts of the mansion other than our bedroom, kitchen and living room downstairs,”
“Oh,” she said. “You… you knew,”
He laughed again, and then it became a smile. “Yes, I know,”
“But, I thought you love staying in the mansion?”
“To be honest with you,” Xi Men folded his hands on his chest. “I grow up in that mansion. I have been staying there all my life. I wouldn’t say I love or hate that place. To me, it is just a place I go back to sleep at night,”
“And yes, I know the mansion is huge,”
“Oh, you actually noticed?”
A small laugh escaped Xi Men’s mouth. “Of course I know. It’s just that I didn’t get lost in my own mansion,”
He laughed for a brief while upon hearing her respond.
She glared at him laughing until his laughter fades.
“I have to admit that, before I married you, the mansion is so huge that it gives me more loneliness than anything else,” he said.
He then smiled. “The mansion is a home now only because you are there. And if you are not comfortable with the mansion, there is no point for us to stay there and expect it to become better,”
“What we need is comfort, and each other. If the mansion is too big to make you comfortable, then we can pick a smaller place to make it cozy,” Xi Men smiled, and then he looked around. “And I think this penthouse is great for us and hopefully for our kids in the future,”
She smiled, looking around the place again.
“And most importantly, it is for you. You have to love this place in order for us to get this,” Xi Men said.
“You don’t love this place?” Xiao You asked.
“If you love it, I will definitely love it,” Xi Men said.
“Umm, does that mean you will sell the mansion?”
“No, I have no intention to sell the mansion. My dad can go back and stay if he wants to, you know, whenever he comes back,” Xi Men said. “And… the house is actually under his name, not mine,”
She laughed, and then becoming a smile and she looked around again.
“So, how is it, my wife? Do you love this penthouse?” he asked. “Should we get it?”
X: Hello, Xi Men?
Xiao You: Hi mom. This is Xiao You.
Xi Men’s mother: Oh, hello Xiao You. Sorry about that. When I saw this number on my phone, I thought it is Xi Men.
Xiao You: (laughed) Xi Men is the one that asked me to use the mansion’s phone to call you.
Xi Men’s mother (smiled): It is okay.
Xiao You: Am I disrupting you, mom?
Xi Men’s mother: No, no. I am free. I was just drawing. As usual. (chuckle)
Xiao You (smiled): Mom, I am calling to say thank you for the painting. I have received it.
Xi Men’s mother: Oh, no problem. I hope you love it.
Xiao You (looking at the painting she had laid in front of her): Yes, mom. It is very beautiful.
Xi Men’s mother (smiled): That is nice to hear.
Xiao You: Umm, mom. Can I ask you something? (and then pressed her lips together)
Xi Men’s mother: Sure, what is it?
Xiao You: Sorry, mom… can you explain to me the meaning of your painting?
Xi Men’s mother laughed on the phone call.
Xiao You: I’m sorry, mom… I… I have seen a lot of people drew bamboo but I actually have no idea if it meant something or it is just a subject for drawing…
Xi Men’s mother: So, is that why you call me?
Xiao You: Umm… yeah… (embarrassed)
Xi Men’s mother (smiled): Well, at least you call to ask me, I appreciate that.
Xiao You smiled.
Xi Men’s mother: Let’s not talk about what we know about bamboo commonly. Let’s just talk about it in terms of art.
Xiao You: Okay…
Xi Men’s mother: Bamboo is actually a symbol.
Xiao You: Symbol?
Xi Men’s mother: Yes. A symbol of longevity.
Xiao You (frowned): Longevity?
Xi Men’s mother: Though not necessarily strong physically, bamboo is actually flexible, durable and adaptable. Did you notice that bamboo does not break, even though the wind, rain or thunderstorm just went by? That is because the bamboo is able to bend with whatever comes. It can bend but can never break.
Xiao You (surprised): Oh.
Xi Men’s mother: And whatever happened, it is still standing tall and stays green all year round; which is why they say, bamboo is the symbol of longevity.
Xiao You: Oh. Now I understand why it stands for longevity…
Xi Men’s mother: Not forgetting, to be able to withstand whatever that happens and still emerge at the end of the chaos, it requires wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. So bamboo is also a representation of those as well.
Xiao You: That didn’t even cross my mind…
Xi Men’s mother (smiled): I am sure you knew and you’ve seen bamboo.
Xiao You: Yes, I have.
Xi Men’s mother: You know that in the bamboo stem, there are hollow sections?
Xiao You: Ah, yes.
Xi Men’s mother: These hollow sections of a bamboo represent that one needs to be like these hollow segments of a bamboo, which means, one’s mind need to be clear in order to make a decision or when handling things. It is very important for one to have this, because it will greatly affect the outcome on what you are doing.
Xiao You (stares at the painting now): Wow. I didn’t know bamboo can be so meaningful.
Xi Men’s mother (smiled): I drew you the painting; to wish that for your business, I hope you have the wisdom, intelligence and knowledge to manage it and I wish you on your road to success. But as you know, business has ups and downs. So, I hope you can learn to blend and bend with whatever comes to you, and never breaks. When the tough times passed, you’ll survive and be stronger. And as a boss now, a lot of things will be different compare to you being an employee. A lot more things will require you to make decisions. So you need the ‘hollowness’ like a bamboo to make the right decision in your life.
Xiao You (smiled): Thank you, mom for such a great advice.
Xi Men’s mother (takes a deep, satisfying breath): I hope I have explained it and you understand what the painting meant.
Xiao You looked at the painting appreciatively: Yes, mom. I understand it now.
Xi Men’s mother: Even though I send you the painting for your business, I hope the meaning of bamboo doesn’t restrict to your business only. I hope you can apply it to your life as well.
Xiao You: Sure, mom.
Xi Men’s mother: Mentioning of that, I am sorry I won’t be able to come for your ballet studio’s opening the next few days. So this is a small gift that I can do for you. Hope everything goes well for you and for your business.
Xiao You (smiled): it is okay, mom. And thank you for your wishes.
Xi Men’s mother: Good to know. I’ll come and visit you when I can, alright?
Xiao You: Sure, mom.
Xi Men’s mother: Alright. I need to complete this drawing before I go to bed. So, goodnight, Xiao You.
Xiao You: Thank you again, mom. Goodnight.
And they hang up the call.
Xiao You looked at the bamboo painting in front of her appreciatively, before she rolls it up carefully and puts it into the rectangle box.
“So, what did mom say about the painting?” Xi Men asked, walking towards her who is sitting in the living room.
Xiao You turned around, “Honey, we are hanging this painting up in my room tomorrow!”