“Miss, black coffee,” Emi said.
I turned to my left to see Emi extending the cup of black coffee to me.
“Thanks,” I said, as I took the coffee. I blow it, to cool it down slightly before I sipped. “Emi, take a seat next to me,” I said.
“Ah… miss…” Emi said.
“It’s ok. Sit,” I said.
Emi has been too polite, she always address herself as the servant. In this house, the status of servant or master is being emphasized greatly. Servants are not allowed to sit or eat with the master. I don’t like it, and I don’t like to be treated that way. Emi slowly sat down next to me.
“I’ll get you covered if anyone complains about you,” I smiled.
Emi smiled. “Thank you, miss,”
“Take some time to enjoy the scenery here,” I said, and sipped my coffee. I am sitting in the park, enjoying the breathtaking scenery lies before me.
Somehow it reminds me of Xi Men’s place where the scenery outside his penthouse were beautiful. I missed his place. I missed him even more.
Father’s mansion is located on top of hill. So every morning I get to wake up to the refreshing air and beautiful scenery.
I closed my eyes as I inhale the refreshing air, so much that I wished it is the air right at the balcony of Xi Men’s house.
Events started to flash in my mind, and abruptly I was too immersed into the thought…
Xi Men sends me to the airport in the wee hours in the morning just to rush me for my 4.30am flight. Xi Men did not ask too much, for he knows I do not want to talk to him at the moment.
I remember he sat next to me in the airport, while waiting for the time. He gripped my hand tight.
It was all silence.
When we heard over the announcement that passengers bound to Canada can board the plane, I rise from my seat.
“Xiao You,” Xi Men held my arm.
I looked at him, into his mesmerizing eyes.
It was silence again, before he finally speaks, “You must call me,”
“I will,” I said.
Xi Men hugged me tight. “I love you, Xiao You… and you must come back,”
“I love you too, Xi Men,” I closed my eyes as tears suddenly formed in my eyes. I know what happened, but I do not know how to tell him.
Xi Men pushed me lightly to release from the hug and looked at me, and then he let a small laugh. “Silly, don’t cry. We’ll meet again,” he looked at my teary eyes.
Thing is he didn’t know I wasn’t crying because of him. It was because of what happened way back in Canada. I forced myself to smile at him.
“I know,” I said.
Xi Men leaned forward as he kissed me passionately.
I remember how much I’m drowned in his kiss and how it sends shiver down my spine. I love him very much. It is a kiss that I will remember forever.
We broke off the kiss. I looked at him… and I will not forget his face.
“I need to go,” I said.
He nodded and smiled lightly. “You must call me, ok?”
I nodded, and after a final look at him, I turned and walked in into the departure gate.
That was the last time I ever saw him.
I sat in the plane, and the conversation in the call that I have just received keep repeating itself in my mind.
I received a call from dad’s employer cum best friend, saying that my parents were involved in a head-on collision with a truck. They were pinned under the truck. They were extricated from the damaged vehicle and had been admitted into the hospital. Doctor confirms they were in critical condition, and I was called to go back Canada at once. Just so to see my parents one last time.
Dad’s boss was in Canada that time to visit dad, so when the accident happens, he was there.
The entire journey from Taipei to Canada is painful and it seems endless; seems like taking forever to reach.
I am so worried, I do not get to sleep, eat or drink in the plane.
During the entire journey, I kept in touch with dad’s boss to know about mom and dad’s condition and I told him I took 4.30am flight from Taipei.
Upon landing in Canada the first thing I do was to head to the hospital where my parents were admitted. When I was about to flag down a cab, I saw dad’s boss waiting for me outside the airport. I’ve seen him before so I recognized him instantly.
He sends me to hospital, he told me about mom and dad’s condition, asking me to prepare for the worst. He said dad did talk softly, and he is waiting to see me for the very last time. Dad and mom lost a lot of blood and the impact of the accident causes mom and dad to break their back bone, it’s just about matter of time for them to leave the world.
Upon reaching the hospital, I saw my parents were in ICU.
Doctor said dad’s condition is worse than mom’s, and I immediately attend to dad.
“Dad!” I called.
Dad slowly opens his eyes and looked at me. And I can see he tried to smile when he saw me by his bedside, and he starts speaking so softly, I leaned over to hear him talk.
I hear him telling me to take a very good care of myself, and ask me to be his boss’ adopted daughter to repay his kindness that dad has all this while been reminding me of. Without his boss, dad wouldn’t be able to feed the family after tremendous of failed interviews.
Dad said it is his last wish… and I just obeyed.
It seems like dad is only waiting for me. After close to 24 hours of pain, he succumbed to his injuries just a few moments after I promised him that I will be his boss’ adopted daughter.
I headed to mom’s side, and after hearing her talking softly to my ears to take a very good care of myself, she too, followed dad, 15 minutes after dad took his last breath.
I cried pitifully at the side of mom’s bed.
And that was the first time I called my dad’s boss ‘father’.
After mom and dad passed away, I have decided to sell off the house that I have been staying with mom and dad, I resigned from A-Cres, terminated my existing cell phone line and leave all the memories behind.
Father needs to go to Italy for business dealings a week after mom and dad’s passes, therefore he sends his assistant, Satoshi, to accompany me for the next 3 weeks to settle everything and help me out should I need his help.
And I took a drastic move to follow my father, off and away from Canada.
I settled everything in a month.
When I am all done, Satoshi and I took the plane to join dad, and that is when I officially left Canada.
I know I owe Xi Men an explanation and an apology. I still couldn’t bring myself to tell him what happened and why I am doing this. Therefore I sent him an email when I was on the plane, just telling him to forget me. And I never logged in into my email ever again.
And since the moment I have promised dad to be his boss’ daughter, I have choose to leave my past. All because of my need to repay father; for his kindness to my dad when he is living, for notifying me of dad’s accident, and for taking over the responsibility to take care of me. Therefore I have to leave everything behind. Including Xi Men.
*End of flashback.
I didn’t know when, but tears dripped down to my cheek.
“Miss…” Emi immediately stood up and rushed to somewhere, and come back with a box of tissue.
I laughed at her despite I still have tears on my cheek. “You don’t have to bring the whole box of tissue for me. Just a sheet will do,” I smiled at her. “Thanks Emi,” I took a sheet of tissue out from the box.
Emi smiled. “Miss, you can still smile when you’re sad,”
“I smile because of you, Emi. You’re just funny,” I said as I wipe my tears away.
Emi holds onto the tissue box as she smiled, standing in front of me.
“Why? What is it?” I asked her.
“Miss…” Emi looked at me. “Thank you,”
“Thank you? Why?” I asked her.
“For as long as I have worked here, miss, you treated me the best, I’m happy to serve you,”
I frowned. “Huh?”
“Serving master and his family all this while… we were often directed to do things, and never a word of thanks were uttered. But when I serve you, miss… you keep telling me thanks, you smile at me, you even ask me to sit with you…”
“Emi,” I smiled. “I don’t like being served. I used to do a lot of things by myself. And I treat you like my friend. Next time, don’t differentiate between you as servant and me as your miss. I’ll be glad for that,” I smiled.
Emi smiled. “Miss,” she called. “I heard that master is helping you to find a husband. And I wish that I can follow you to your new family after you got married. I still want to serve you,”
I looked at her. Yes, father is helping me to find someone for me to marry with. Marriage of convenience.
“Miss, can I?” Emi asked.
I smiled. “Yes, sure. You can follow me,”
“Thanks, miss!” Emi said.
At least when I’m married, I still have Emi.
I took a deep breath.
“Master is home!”
I heard one of the servants called.
“Miss, master is home,” Emi smiled.
She knows that each time father comes home, I will go and greet him. Sometimes when I meet him, he is grumpy or angry, but when he saw me he will be smiling all the while. I guess dad was right, to make me his boss’ daughter.
“Okay,” I stood up from the seat and I walked into the mansion where I will meet father in the living room. Emi just followed behind me.
When I entered the living room from the side door, father just walked in into the living room from the main entrance.
“Father,” I called.
“Xiao You,” father smiled. “How are you today?”
“Just like usual, father. Bored,” I said.
Father laughed. “You always give me the same answer,”
“Because I am doing the same thing everyday,” I smirked. “Father, when are you going to let me help you in your company?” I pouted. “Or I’m going out and look for job!”
Father laughed again. “That, you’ll have to ask your husband,”
I looked at him. “Husband?”
“Yeah. You’ll start being busy soon, preparing for your wedding. After your wedding, you want to work, you have to ask your husband,” father smiled.
I don’t get it. I went blur.
“I’ve met Ken Zhu, the president of TWBC, two weeks ago during my short trip to Taipei,” father said. “I did not tell you about my meeting with him,”
I smiled. “It’s ok. You don’t have to tell me everything, father,” I understand confidentiality of business. After all I am just his adopted daughter.
“The sponsorship with TWBC is successful. I communicate with him via conference and phone calls. And I get the sponsorship done today,” father smiled.
“Congratulations, father,” I smiled.
Father smiled. “Ken said he wants to marry you,”
The smile on my face immediately fades off. I turned and looked at father.
“So I’ve agreed on the marriage, for you,” father smiled.
“Oh,” I finally understood.
“So…” he patted my shoulder. “You won’t be telling me you’re boring anymore for you will be busy preparing for the wedding,”
I smiled at him.
“I’ll let you decide what you want to wear, the theme, the flowers, the decoration, the venue. It’s your wedding, and I want it to be special for you. You just let me know what you want and I’ll get it for you. Just hire a wedding planner to do all that for you if you need them,” father smiled. “After the wedding, you will move to Taipei. Ken told me he didn’t want to move over because of his business, so you will have to go over instead,”
“Father, may I ask, why Ken? Why Taipei?” I asked.
He smiled. “I noticed that you cannot adapt with the culture here. I didn’t know if you refused to adapt or you just can’t. And I know you were born and raised in Taipei before your family move to Canada. I guess Taipei suits you more, so I look for someone eligible from Taipei. And hey, Ken is smart, intelligent and good looking, ok?”
I smiled at the statement father praised Ken.
“I find him the best candidate, and no one other than him is compatible with my daughter. And he is still single!”
Taipei. That means I am back to the place where Xi Men is.
“So you are sure that he is still single and not a married old man trying to cheat you to marry your daughter off to be his second wife?” I asked. “Or third, or fourth, or fifth or so on?”
Father laughed. “No, he is not an old man, my dear,” he said. “He is a young entrepreneur. He doesn’t have a wedding ring on his finger so I doubt that he is married. If I found out he is married, I will not let him marry you,”
Whatever. It doesn’t make a difference if I am made his second wife or something for I don’t like him or this marriage.
“So when will the wedding be?” I abruptly asked.
“I have yet to decide. I plan to let you to. Or maybe you can talk with him, and you both work the wedding out. Do you want to go to Taipei to meet him?” father asked.
I stared at father. First, I don’t know this Ken Zhu guy and I head over to Taipei just to meet him? And second, technically I am not interested with him, but only agreed to this marriage father has made for me. I guess it will be fine for me to actually meet him up either when I wanted to meet or see him, or worst, the wedding day itself. It’s not a marriage of love. It’s just for business. For father. So meeting him or not is not important.
“I think it will be fine to talk with him via phone or Internet. So, maybe you can give me his contacts,” I said.
“Oh, sure,” father immediately said as he stuck his hand into his pants pocket, taking out a stack of business cards. “Are you sure you don’t want to meet him? He’s really, really good looking,” he scanned the business cards, looking for Ken’s, I supposed.
I smirked. Father say he is good looking, doesn’t mean he really is! My ‘requirements’ may be higher than father is!
Father found his business card. “Here, Ken Zhu of TWBC,” he extended the business card to me. “Are you sure you don’t want to see him? Besides, you keep claiming that you are bored at home so I figured you can go to Taipei as well to feed your boredom,”
“No, really,” I said as I took the card and I looked at it.
“There’s email and his phone number,” father pointed at the business card. “I’ll give him your contacts, ok?” he looked at me.
“Sure. Give him my email address and our house’s phone number,” I smiled.
Father looked at me. “Why not your cell number?”
“I usually switched it off to save the battery,” I said. “Not using it a lot anyway,”
“Oh, alright,” father smiled.
I smiled forcefully at father.
I lied. My cell phone is always on. I just did not want Ken to know my number because this marriage is all about business, and sorry to say, my cell phone is personal.
Ken, to me, is just pure business. He is nothing personal.