The lift reached the top floor and the door opened. I walked out from the lift, heading to the glass door with left hand in my pants’ pocket. I stood in front of the glass door, and as usual I need to press the pin number to open the glass door to enter my office. My fingers were positioned to press the numbers, but I am suddenly being struck by selective amnesia, that I don’t remember what the numbers are. Although the last time I press the same pin number was just yesterday, it felt like it was years back.
It is the same glass door that last time Xiao You left ‘stranded’ on the first day she came to work. I remember very well as it was after her lunch with me and due to the argument we had in the restaurant, she is offended and when we came back to the office, she is obviously trying to walk away from me and so when the lift opens she walked out hurriedly to just stopped in front of this glass door. She does not have the access pass so she cannot get to open the door to go in. She just had to wait for me to open the door for her. I remembered her ‘embarrassed’ face that time when she cannot get in.
The security guard is not there. Maybe he just walked off for a moment. Sometimes he would open the glass door for me, without the need for me to press the pin number.
I stood there for a moment before I finally recalled the number. I keyed in the pin number to open the glass door and I walked in into my office floor.
All my employees greeted me as usual, and I acknowledged them.
I dunked my head slightly and I squeezed my nasal bridge. A little bit headache.
I drank too much last night and now it gives me impact. Plus, I only sleep for 4 hours. Lacking of sleep contributes pain to my head.
Usually I am in the office already by this time, but due to the hangover which greeted me first thing in the morning, I took some time to let the headache ease before I start my journey to office.
I walked towards my room, and as usual, I passed by Secretary Xu’s place, which is in front of my room. As predicted, Secretary Xu will greet me every single morning I passed by his desk to go to my room.
“Good morning, CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu called.
I lifted my head up and acknowledged his greeting.
“CEO Xi Men…” he stood up.
I interrupted him. “No coffee this morning, get me tea or something. I’m having slight headache. Thanks,” I said.
I landed my hand on the door handle. I was about to open the door to my room…
“CEO Xi Men!” Secretary Xu called out again, extending his hand, as a sign to ask me to wait up.
I turned and looked at him. I recalled I interrupted him earlier, so maybe he has something important for me. “What is it, Secretary Xu?”
“President Xi Men is inside,” Secretary Xu said. “He insists to wait for you inside the room,”
I looked at the door, picturing my dad is inside the room and when I opened the door I will see him. I dunked my head slightly as I took a deep breath, already knowing why dad is here. “Okay, thanks Secretary Xu,” I said as I opened the door.
Dad was looking out to the scenery, and then he turned looking at me when I opened the door. “Morning, son,”
“Morning, dad,” I said as I closed the door.
“Why, you’re late for work,” he smiled.
“I had a bad hangover this morning,” I said as I walked to my seat. “After all, I’m only late for 20 minutes for official working hours,” I sat down as dad sat in front of me. “So you want to penalize me for being late, dad?”
Dad laughed. “Of course not,” he looked at me. “Why drink on weekdays?”
“It’s pretty usual, dad. I just had a little too much last night,” I smiled. “And you’re here for?” I rested my back against my CEO chair.
“I wanted to know your decision,” he smirked. “About marrying Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s daughter,”
I knew it.
“Son?” dad asked. “I am waiting for your answer,”
“How much do you want this partnership?” I asked.
“I do not have the answer for you,” dad responded. “In another way, I know you are just waiting for the correct woman to come to your life,”
Yes, and she’s Xiao You.
“But til today, I didn’t see any woman that had crossed your path,” dad said.
She did. You just didn’t know it.
Suddenly I realized something protrudes at the touch from the tip of my finger, little did I notice actually I have touched the scar on my neck without me realizing it. It happened too often. It reminds me of Xiao You all the time, without fail. I immediately put my hand down.
“I witnessed myself that your best friends getting married one by one, and I know it’s time for your turn. And I was just making the best decision for you, son. The woman you are waiting for may not come, or maybe it’s Kanako,”
“Kanako?” I asked, voicing out my first word after listening to him talking for quite a while.
“Kanako Matsuyuki. Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s daughter,”
“You know Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s influence. And how many people out there will come forward to ask for Kanako’s hand, if they know about her,”
“What do you mean with ‘if they know about her’?” I am surprised.
Dad clasped his palms together and he rested his back against the chair. “Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki is a very low profile businessman. He did not reveal anything non-business related. His family is his private matters. No one knows he has a daughter who has yet to get married,”
“Oh,” I looked at him. “So, his daughter is up for marriage of convenience?” I asked.
From dad’s face, I know he does not like what I’ve said. He took a deep breath.
“Don’t talk about that. How is your consideration?”
I took a deep breath. I don’t like the fact to be pushed for decision by dad about this marriage that only has business in heart.
I have always picturing myself walking down the aisle someday marrying a woman that I love. To be precise; Xiao You. I wish to be like my other buddies, but why am I being force to choose this road to marry someone that I don’t love, won’t be able to love and I will not love? Why am I being force to marry someone for the sake of business?
The thought of a clingy woman who wanted to marry me so badly sends me shivers. In my life as a playboy, I have been with different types of woman, and a clingy woman is the last person I want to get married with, unless she is Xiao You, but Xiao You is not clingy. She’s more towards requesting for my attention and pampering with me.
Again, the thought of the pair of hands of that clingy woman running on my body sends me shivers.
I know my reputation in Taiwan, and how many women out there wanted to marry me and be my wife, either for my money or my face. I guess even if I am married, I still have tremendous of ladies wanted to be my mistress, hoping to get a piece of me.
And I do not exclude this Kanako Matsuyuki from this category. I do not know how clingy she can be, but clearly, she had the advantage now since dad wanted me to marry her for the sake of her father, for the sake of business, for the sake of Xi Men Corporation.
It is depressing… very, very depressing.
“Son?” dad called.
“I have no answer for you,” I said.
“Dad,” I looked at him. “I am not interested in any arranged marriage because technically I will not love her. If you ask me if I am willing to marry her for the sake of love, sorry, that is completely out of question. If you are asking me to marry her for the sake of business, you know both parties will suffer out of it. So if you want to put me and that Japanese woman in misery, be my guest,”
“Xi Men! This….!”
“Dad!” I interrupted. “I know what I want, but if you want me to marry that Japanese woman, I will not decline but you must remember she will not be the woman I love in my life despite I married her!”
“What is love, Xi Men?!”
I stared at dad. My first thought is Xiao You. All I learn about love comes from Xiao You.
“You know nothing about love, Xi Men! If marriage with a woman makes you suffer in the end then might as well you marry someone that benefit our company!” he raised his voice.
“You married mom for both, dad, and you suffered as well!” I raised my voice as well.
“Your mother did not love me!” he yelled.
“So is my situation!” I yelled back.
“There is no love in this world, Xi Men!”
“Just because you don’t get mom’s love doesn’t mean love does not exist!” I took the file up and slammed it on the table with full anger filling my head. I took a deep breath. At least slamming the file helps me to ease a little but of my anger.
Dad silent for a while before he continued, “I do not want to force you to marry her but you must always remember what is…”
“You want me to marry her and you are indeed forcing me. Everything, and anything for the sake of business,”
“My wish is to see you…”
“Look, dad!” I slammed my fist on the desk as I took a deep breath, calming myself down.
Dad looked at me. I run my hand through my hair.
I closed my eyes, trying my best to calm myself down before I opened it and looked straight at dad.
“I respect you for asking me about this, that you did not jump at first chance to decide my marriage with Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s daughter. I am glad at least you ask for my consent, dad. But you only told me about this marriage yesterday. And you said you’ll give me time to think about this. It’s just one day and I don’t think the time is sufficient. I needed more time to do the thorough thinking,” I said. “Just… just give me more time to think about this, alright?” I looked at him.
I then covered my face with my hands.
“Son, you were so different,”
Yes, I know. I have been leading double life for the past five months and you did not know it either. I did not talk to dad.
“You seemingly change. You used not to release your anger by slamming or throwing things. Sometimes I thought you don’t even know what ‘anger’ is because for most of my life I have never seen you being angry or rather… you kept all to yourself,”
“People change, dad,” I abruptly said.
“Maybe I was just too overjoyed about this partnership, I wish to see us being related, being a family with Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki, and I was hoping you can find someone to be with, or a companion for your life… and I was hoping for the best for you too, son,”
The memory of Xiao You keeps coming back to me. I missed her dearly.
If only she was here, I wouldn’t be like this.
But somehow… it was because of her, I became like this.
I have been in misery for 5 months all because of her.
I couldn’t let my heart open because of her.
Maybe it is time to get out of misery by tying the knot with someone else, just so I wouldn’t put so much hope to myself about Xiao You again.
I told myself to take whatever route that is showed before me.
Maybe this is one that I should take.
What is life without Xiao You?
The moment she left and broke up with me, she has taken my life off too, leaving me with the shell, pining for the soul to come back.
So does life differs if I marry Kanako? I’m still living in a shell that had lost its soul, taken away by the woman I love most in my life.
No. It doesn’t make any difference.
If I can’t be happy for my love life, at least if marrying this woman can bring ‘happiness’ to business wise, why not?
After all I won’t be happy anymore.
“Son, I’m sorry. I’ll let you think, alright? Sorry for pushing you,” dad said. “I’ll be waiting for you to tell me your decision when you are done,”
“Dad,” I looked up, looking at him.
“Yes?” he asked.
I stared at him for a few moments, with silence. I took a deep breath before I voiced out, “I agree to this. I’ll marry Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s daughter,”