“Congratulations, Mr. Zhu… or Mr. Xi Men?” one of my clients scratched his head as he extends his hand out.
“I’m both,” I smiled as I took his hand for a handshake with my right hand. My left hand is placed at Xiao You’s waist. “Thanks. I’ll see you at the dinner tonight?”
“Sure, sure,” he responded before he walked off.
The wedding ceremony has just over, and all the attendees are slowly leaving the place.
I turned to look at Ah Si and smirked. “Yo,” I responded. Mei Zhuo and Lei were behind Ah Si.
“Dude, how did this happen?” Ah Si looked at Xiao You.
“XIAO YOU!” San Chai screamed and ‘attacked’ my wife by slamming herself on my Xiao You for a hug. “I couldn’t believe it’s YOU!!!!!”
“Oi!” I yelled at San Chai. “She’s my wife, please take care of her! She’s delicate and fragile!”
All of them laughed at me, including Xiao You who actually hugs San Chai back. Then Jing and Xiao Qiao hugged her respectively.
“Xiao You… how did this happened?” Jing asked, after her hug at Xiao You. “Did you know when you reveal yourself during the wedding, all of us were stunned?”
“And even San Chai were too stunned to scream!” Mei Zhuo said.
“What did you know! You were stunned as well, how sure are you I did not scream!” San Chai glared at Mei Zhuo.
“I am sure because if you scream I would have been awoken by your scream when I got myself stunned!” Mei Zhuo said and all of us laughed.
“You are Kanako?” Lei asked Xiao You. “I was trying to see your face just now but I cannot see it clearly due to the veil,”
“And you saw her in the bride’s room just now, that is why you became extremely different? Now everything makes sense!” Mei Zhuo said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You didn’t ask how she looked like,” I smirked at Mei Zhuo.
“DUH!” Mei Zhuo yelled. “Did you even know it’s her before the wedding? Before meeting her just now in the room?”
“Actually nope. I only found out in the room. So, just a few minutes before you guys did,” I smiled.
“But… how?” Lei asked, looking at Xiao You. “Why…”
“My parents passed away and I became Mr. Toshihiro Matsuyuki’s adopted daughter. And I changed my name to Kanako Matsuyuki,” Xiao You said. “That name has already been submitted and approved by the national ministry in Japan,”
“But why did you leave Xi Men?” Jing asked.
Xiao You looked at Jing. “Past. I decide to…”
“Don’t ask that on my wedding day please,” I said, pulling Xiao You to me. “You can ask her all you want from tomorrow onwards, after my wedding,”
“But…” Mei Zhuo said, and I interrupt him.
“She’s all mine today,” I smiled.
Xiao You laughed. “We still have more than 7 hours to go before the dinner,”
Something struck my mind. 7 hours!
“Are you going home with me now?” I asked her.
“But my stuffs are still at hotel. I need to go back to hotel and as planned, to prepare myself in the hotel and then go to the dinner venue straight,”
“If only I know you are the one I am marrying then I wouldn’t even allow you to stay in the hotel,” I said as I took out my Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1.
“What are you doing?” Xiao You asked.
“I want to make some changes. I did not put in too much effort into this marriage. So I want to do something about this,” I searched through the numbers.
“At this moment? Isn’t that a little too late already?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“I’ll do what I can because Xiao You has been doing everything for the wedding but I didn’t care a lot,” I found my number and I pressed my phone to my ear.
“Now you know,” Ah Si said. “What a bad groom you are,”
“Miss, why didn’t you follow master Ken back home?” Emi asked, as Katsumi is removing my make-up while my hairstylist, Yuriko is detangling the hairclips she put in earlier to style my hair for the wedding ceremony.
“He has something to do. Plus, it’ll be a little rush if I follow him and then he has to send me back here for the wedding dinner. I need to change and make up also… so time is a constraint,” I said. “And I need some sleep…”
Emi laughed, “Sure, miss,”
“The dinner will start at 7pm, but I need to be at the dinner venue by 6pm. What time should I start make-up and hairstyling?” I asked Katsumi and Yuriko.
“You are going to the dinner venue at 6pm?” Yuriko asked me.
“Then I’ll start fixing for your hair at 4pm,” Yuriko said.
“4pm?!” I asked.
“Yes. You will have 3 different hairstyles later due to 3 different types of dinner dresses you had, Kanako,” Yuriko smiled. “So I needed to tie all your hair up for the first dress, and for the second dress, your hair will be like this,” she abruptly played with my hair lifting it here and there to describe to me how I will looked like, “And at 3rd dress, all these will come down, and it will be like this,” and she played with my hair again.
I do not have a clear idea what she is doing, but for being my professional hairstylist I trust her and just let her do the wonders. I turned looking at Katsumi. “And Katsumi? What time will you start?”
“It will be 4pm also,” Katsumi smiled.
“Alright then. So I have…” I looked at the clock, it’s close to 12pm. “I have about 4 hours of sleep,”
“No, miss, you need to shower and pack up and bring all of these over to the room behind the ballroom and…” Emi said.
“So what time am I supposed to wake up?” I looked at Emi.
“You need to wait until they are done, and I’ll get you lunch now so you can sleep earlier at perhaps about 1pm and…”
“Oh yeah… I’m starving… but I can’t sleep just yet after lunch… it’s fattening…” I said. “If that means… I could only sleep at 2pm?”
“And you need to wake up before 3pm to shower and packing and…” Emi said, but I interrupted.
I clutched my notebook computer in my right hand and I reached the wedding dinner venue: ballroom of Grand Maple Imperial, to see all my friends already there.
San Chai, Jing and Xiao Qiao are responsible at the front counter to mark the guests list and Ah Si, Lei and Mei Zhuo will be responsible to direct the guests to their tables. I also had told the hotel manager that I needed some help from them to have some of their people to help directing my guests upon their arrival. Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei will only be able to help direct some, but not all the guests.
I’ve told my friends beforehand that if they are tired, switch their places with each other, or just stay at the counter and let the hotel people to direct them.
And what they respond to me was…
“We can handle it, no worries!” I remember Mei Zhuo said arrogantly.
But then, when I looked at them working at the ‘registration counter’ now…
They looked like octopus, particularly because they were multitasking, and to grab the papers that I have passed to EACH of them and have no idea why are they grabbing each others’ list, and then extending their hands here and there to grab something.
I let out a deep sigh.
It’s been a tiring day for me, wedding ceremony in the morning, then I worked through the hours with my notebook, and then I come straight to here for the wedding dinner without proper rest.
Then I witnessed Ah Si and San Chai arguing with each other.
It’s just 5.40pm and they have already been like this. My guests will start coming in after 6pm. Can I picture by 7pm all these 6 friends of mine will totally passed out and pissed off with each other?
I shook my head.
I am ‘mentally preparing’ that the next table of mine, which I have reserved for my friends and their kids, might just be empty as if none of them wanted to sit with each other, or passed out due to their hectic ‘work’ at the tables erected outside the ballroom. I practically smirked at my own thought when I can picture that in my mind.
I lifted my head and I looked at them, when I have just realized I have stopped my movement and stood at the walkway when I saw all of them working inefficiently.
“Why are you standing there?” Mei Zhuo yelled out.
I walked to him. “To see you and the rests trying to ruin my wedding dinner,” I said shortly. “Come on, guys. I gave each of you ONE same list and why are you snatching each other’s?” and then I looked at Ah Si. “And you are grabbing the human ‘traffics’ by fighting with your wife in front of the ballroom. Thanks but no thanks, I don’t need publicity for my wedding dinner after I have 3000 guests,”
All of them silent.
“Okay, these chaotic situations had never happened before to any of your weddings and now it is happening to mine. What happened?” I asked, letting out a deep breath.
“Ah Si and San Chai were just fighting about the kids. They actually…” Jing said, looking at Ah Si and San Chai. “Their kids actually tore the lists earlier… so we are left with two… Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao’s,”
“Two? What about yours and Lei’s?” I asked.
“Ah Si kept ours and is supposed to pass it to us today… so…” Lei said. “Four lists are together and…”
“Okay,” I nodded, as I closed my eyes and take another breath. The four lists are together and Ah Si’s kids tore them all together. Easy mathematics.
“Why… you are not mad?” San Chai asked apologetically.
“Could I?” I asked, looking at San Chai. “Your kids tore my lists, and you both fight like mad in front of the ballroom. Everyone snatching each others’ list. Is fighting going to help getting back the list to one piece?”
“We…” Ah Si said.
“Either get the list photocopied or I see if there is any way I can print that out again for you,” I said.
“I’ll look for a photo-copier machine,” Ah Si immediately said.
“This is your hotel. Go to your office and get it done with. Don’t tell me your office don’t have a photo-copier machine,” I said.
Ah Si is such a blur case.
“I’ve never thought about it, sure, I’ll go…” Ah Si said, taking one of the available lists. He looked at what I am clutching. “Why are you bringing your computer?”
“This is what I can do for the wedding dinner,” I said. “Is Xiao You here already?”
“Not yet. Xi Men, you look tired,” Xiao Qiao said.
“Pretty much. Been hectic about this,” I said, patting on the notebook that I stored in a notebook bag. “I need to find the manager-in-charge for the ballroom, so, you guys don’t fight again, and ask for help if needed,” I squeezed my nasal bridge. “Please, I am very tired for this already. I just want this to work out, for me, for Xiao You,”
“We will, we’re sorry,” Jing said.
“It’s ok,” I said. “Thanks, guys,” I walked forward.
“But what have you been doing that causes you this tired?” Mei Zhuo asked, extending his hand out and halted my steps.
“Brain overruns,” I said, lightly pushed Mei Zhuo’s hand and continued walking.
I walked into the ballroom to see all the waiters at work, trying to ensure the decorations on the tables or surroundings are perfectly placed, including the walls, ceilings and pillars. The color theme for the tables are red and white, as under the luxury orangey-yellow lights that lighted the entire ballroom; all the decorations, colors and theme really shows out. I wonder how did Xiao You notifies the hotel on how she wanted the decorations to be.
Wait, on that very same day I meet her for coffee and after that I came to this hotel for food tasting with my buddies… I saw one person who passed by that looks like Xiao You. Is she the one that I ACTUALLY saw that day?
I still thought that I missed her too much that I could have thought other lady that passed by is her.
I think she is the one that I saw, she came over to the hotel and get all of this done.
Sigh… I feel really guilty.
I looked down on my notebook, at least it put a smile on my face. I have done something using this notebook for the past 6 hours. I took a quick shower and get myself fix before I speed to this hotel.
I hope what I’ve done will pull off later, at least to compensate for Xiao You’s hardship in trying to make this work for her wedding with… Ken, despite she doesn’t even know him.
Because she didn’t know I was Ken. Nor I know she is Kanako.
This is the only thing left that I can do to give her the best wedding ever.
I hope she’ll love it.
“Good day, Mr. Zhu,”
I immediately turned. Ah, the manager-in-charge, Sam, is standing next to me.
“Congratulations, Mr. Zhu,” he said.
“Thanks, Sam. Hey, I have something I need to talk to you,” I said, placing my hand on his shoulder and walked away.
I saw San Chai, Jing and Xiao Qiao busily referring the names of the guests in the list and tell them where they sat, and I saw Ah Si, Lei and Mei Zhuo welcoming the guests and gave them a very truthful smile, and all of them walked in into the ballroom with the guests, leaving the ladies at the table.
The ‘registration’ table has been decorated with red and white, as per my demand to the hotel. I saw a flower basket at the side of the table also. I approached the table. Xiao Qiao looked up at me.
“Hi, pretty,” Xiao Qiao teased.
“Hey, pretty,” I teased her back.
“Xiao You,” Jing and San Chai called out to me.
“Hello,” I smiled, waving at them.
“Gosh, you look wonderful!” San Chai yelled out.
I am wearing a maroon satin gown, in which another two more gowns that I will be wearing later are violet and green colored satin gown.
“Thanks!” I smiled. “Is Xi Men here already?”
“Yes, he’s here,” Jing said. “Oh, he said he went to look for the hotel manager too, so…”
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t know. He didn’t say anything,” Jing said.
“Oh…” I said.
That’s weird. Xi Men and I decided to meet here, but I didn’t know he is going to meet the manager or there is anything we had yet to plan.
“She is…” San Chai looked at Emi, who is standing next to me. “Your bridesmaid, right?”
“Oh,” I turned at Emi. “She is Emi, my assistant from Tokyo,”
Emi looked at me. “Assistant?” she then looked at San Chai. “I’m her servant,”
“Assistant,” I repeated. “And this is my hairstylist and make-up artist respectively. Before the dinner starts I want to them to get some makeover to Xi Men first,”
“Why, I didn’t know Xi Men is so unruly he needs that… or vain,” Mei Zhuo said as he approached me. “You’re beautiful… Kanako,” he smirked.
“Thank you, Mr. Ling,” I smiled. “Make-up and hairstyling can do wonders, you know,”
“I know,” Mei Zhuo smiled. “The room for you to put all your stuffs is there,” he pointed over a door. “So you can put your gowns, make-up cases and…” he looked at Yuriko’s hand-carry case. “Hairstyling case, I supposed,”
“Thanks, Mei Zhuo,” I smiled. “Do you know where is Xi Men heading to? I heard from Jing he went to look for the manager,”
“I am not sure…” Mei Zhuo scratched his head.
I turned and I saw Xi Men emerged from the entrance of the ballroom. I smiled.
“Hi there,” I said.
“You just reached?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Master Ken,” Emi called him.
Xi Men acknowledged Emi. “Come, let’s go to your room,” he placed his hand on my waist and lead me to the room as showed earlier by Mei Zhuo.
“I heard from Jing you went to meet the manager,” I said as I walked with him into the room.
“Yeah, I changed my mind and have another plan,” Xi Men said as he opened the door for me.
“Really? What’s that?” I asked, walking into the room. Emi, Katsumi and Yuriko immediately placed their things on the tables and Emi opened up the box and took my gowns out and hung it up.
“Remember we agreed over the mails that I will walk with you from the entrance into the ballroom at the beginning of the dinner?” Xi Men looked at me.
“I’m not going to do that,” Xi Men said as he sat down.
“No? Then?” I asked. “I am walking alone? How could you!”
“No, no, no!” Xi Men exclaimed, waving in front of me. “I don’t mean that!”
Xi Men smiled as he held my hand. “Those are too common. We’ll do something different,” he said. “Here’s a spoiler for you. Just now while I was at home, I took hours to do something… which I will show during the dinner,”
“Really? What’s that?”
“That’s the most ‘spoiler’ I can give you. You’ll see something during the dinner,” he smirked.
I frowned. “And you said we’ll do something different, what was that?”
Sam is surprised. Xiao You is surprised.
Okay… Xiao You is not so surprised anyway.
I did not tell her to be exact what will happen, but I tell her that instead of walking in into the ballroom with me to start the dinner, she will be waiting for me to pick her at the entrance to the ballroom.
She doesn’t seem to like it, but she just agreed, and I remember she said…
“This better be good, Mr. Ken Zhu!” she yelled at me.
The entire thing sounds complicated? Not really.
Those that we always see, walking in into the dinner hall with your partner, it’s so common.
I wanted it to be special for Xiao You, so I am doing something different.
I call this romantic.
This will be the one and only thing I can do for Xiao You for the wedding.
Now, why Sam is so surprised?
He did not expect I am going to change this at the very last minute. But I am the customer. I am the groom tonight! He has to do this for me!
And I don’t care!
This is what I want to do and only Xiao You deserves this!
No other woman!
Well… errr… maybe Kanako. Hahahahahaha. Kanako is Xiao You anyway.
“Hey,” somebody pushed me on my back and I almost lost my balance, taking a step forward. I turned and looked at Lei, who has actually intended to do that to me.
“Why are you smiling alone?” Lei asked.
“Oh, do I?” I asked.
“Well… yeah,” Lei said. “Anyway, you’ve talked to your parents and Toshihiro already?”
“Yeah, they’re at the primary table (*primary table, in terms of marriage is to be seated by the newlyweds and immediate family of the newlyweds only),” I said. “Toshihiro asked me about the incident in the morning. And talking about that could kill me, just because Toshihiro asked me,”
“What about it? Which one?” Lei asked.
“You see… I ask my dad to tell Toshihiro that I agree on the marriage, and I will contact him personally. I told him my surname is Xi Men but I am fondly called as Ken Zhu… so he didn’t know I have my own empire in Taipei besides TWBC. And he told me Xiao You wanted to move on from her past, but he wonders why Xiao You is confessing her real name this morning. So he asked me if I drugged her,”
Lei laughed. “That’s funny. But why are both of you confessing anyway? The ‘a.k.a.’ sounds very nice to pronounce?”
I smirked at Lei. “It wasn’t such a bad idea actually. I have been Xi Men and Ken Zhu all this while. Each time I give away my business card, I have to explain to those people why the name is Ken Zhu and basically… they will ask me about TWBC very soon after. Just like all of you. And since confusions’ all up in the media about Ken Zhu and Xi Men, like Ken Zhu gets better in business and contributing to the economy and Xi Men is slowly getting out of sight in business…” I looked at Lei. “It’s kinda fun to have double identity,” I smirked. “Because of Xiao You leaving me in the past, I became Ken Zhu… and when I stood in front of her this morning, knowing that I am marrying her, I know she gives me back my true identity: Xi Men. I guess I owe the world an explanation too… so, I just go about what my heart wants me to. Confess that I am both Ken Zhu and Xi Men,”
“And Xiao You? Why is she confessing herself as Xiao You if she has been widely known as Kanako Matsuyuki?”
“Actually Xiao You just followed after me. Her name has officially changed to Kanako in Japan… With the new identity and due to what happened to her, I know her reason why she wanted to leave me. But now that she marries me, so I guess she need not move over her past like how she wanted it to be anymore… I supposed she wants to be Xiao You again,”
“It’s good to see you ‘back’, Xi Men,” Lei smiled. “Glad to see you marrying her actually. It was a shock of our lives when we heard her saying her vow that she is ‘a.k.a. Yang Xiao You’ and my first thought was like… ‘you’ve gotta be kidding!’ because technically… how can she be!”
“But she is, right?” I smirked. “And you know what, we both love the uproar we have caused this morning!”
“Good for YOU!” Lei smacked me on my back. “We almost have heart attacks, okay!”
“Hey,” I patted Lei. “Since I have been widely known as Ken Zhu, I am planning to add that name into my real name,”
“YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING! For goodness sake your name has been extremely long and you wanted to add another two more words inside?!” Lei snarled.
“Why not? Xi Men Zhong Er Lang @ Ken Zhu,” I pronounced my name in honor.
“I pity your kids all of a sudden,” Lei said, placing both his hands inside his pants’ pocket.
“Why?” I asked.
“You see,” Lei looked at me. “I’m even considering the problem to tell my kids that their surname is Hua Ze and not Hua. And now… for your case,” Lei placed his hand on my shoulder. “You have to tell your kids that your surname is Xi Men and your real name is 5 syllable, and then you are ALSO widely known as Ken Zhu… and then you have to tell them their mother’s name ORIGINALLY is Yang Xiao You but changed her name to an extremely complicated Japanese name for a kid to pronounce, Kanako Matsuyuki due to something extraordinary happenings in her life,” Lei said. “Hmm… it doesn’t sound as complicated when I explain it like this… but I don’t think your kids need to have super brain to understand all that happens in just one breath like how I explained,” he smirked. “Good luck, Xi Men Zhong Er Lang a.k.a. Ken Zhu,” his smile faded off almost immediately.
I laughed. “Thanks, dude,”
“I hate that long name. Your kids will be screaming for help trying to remember his or her father’s name… not to mention have not even try pronouncing mom’s,” Lei said.
I laughed again.
“To be honest, Xi Men,” Lei looked at me. “You have been in contact with her via emails for 2 months. Isn’t there any single clue to tell you that it’s Xiao You? Or maybe for her, it’s Xi Men talking to her?”
“I personally didn’t even think about it… it didn’t come across to my mind, Lei,” I said. “When I first heard her voice, I thought it was all my imagination. But I am pretty comfortable with her in the emails…”
“Fate… inevitable,” Lei smirked.
I recalled something, and my eyes wide opened. “Lei,”
“What?” Lei asked.
“I remembered so well right now… that day I went to meet her for coffee… she handed me her wedding invitation card… even though I pushed it away, I still take that card back!” I looked at Lei. “She took the one on the left, when her card is on the right. It was my card she took!”
“Does that mean you both changed cards already that time?”
“YES! And I didn’t know it! I thought I have taken back mine… but, we exchanged… and if only both of us looked at the cards there and then, we would have known we are marrying each other!”
“And you only know it one month later. CONGRATS,” Lei said sarcastically.
“Hey!” someone yelled. Unmistakably the voice is Mei Zhuo’s.
Both Lei and I turned to see Mei Zhuo walking to us.
“It’s 10 minutes to 7pm, so your wife is asking you to touch up, and we have about 3200 guests turned up. Some of them brought kids,” Mei Zhuo said at me. “Your guests list states all guests have arrived, so you can start the dinner anytime once you are ready,”
“Okay, sure. Thanks. All of you take your seat. You know your table, right?” I patted Mei Zhuo.
“Yes,” Mei Zhuo and Lei said.
“Great, the dinner will start soon,” I smiled as I walked out from the ballroom.