Love/Hate – Chapter 10

One week later. VS. 10pm.

“Do you think Xi Men will come?” Lei asked.

“I have called him just now and he said he is coming,” Mei Zhuo said, sipping at his beer.

“Oh well, okay they,” Lei said, dunking his head and drinks his beer.

“Here he comes,” Mei Zhuo said, looking at the entrance.

Lei turned and looked at Xi Men clad in a tee and jeans walking to them.

“Hey guys,” Xi Men said, sitting down on an empty chair.

“Hey,” Mei Zhuo and Lei said, staring at him from top to bottom.

Xi Men turned at the waiter that passed by and ordered beer. He then looked at Lei and Mei Zhuo looking at him. “What are you guys staring at? Something on my face or my hair is unruly?” he patted his hair.

“You wear tee and jeans,” Lei said.

“So?” Xi Men asked. “You both too!”

“It’s been a while since we last see you wearing tee and jeans because you were always busy with your work, so you always come for meals or something with us directly from your office therefore you donned office wear,” Mei Zhuo said. “You went back home?”

“Or you didn’t work today?” Lei asked. “So you come to VS from your house,”

Xi Men smirked, “I never knew you guys pay attention to my outfit,”

“I should say we never did. We don’t pay attention. But when things like this happen, it is one of the extraordinary events which is why it just caught our eyes!” Lei said. “And that causes us to ‘pay attention’ when we actually don’t!”

Mei Zhuo laughed at Lei’s statement and he nodded, “I couldn’t agree more!”

Xi Men laughed. “Shit, now it became one of the weird events that I wear jeans with a tee,”

“So did you went home or you did not go to work?” Mei Zhuo asked, his laughter slowly fades.

“I did go to work,” Xi Men said, his laughter also slowly fades. “Just that nowadays I went home earlier,”

“Huh? Why? Business is really that bad?” Lei asked. “I thought your company is expanding,”

“No,” Xi Men said. “Not as in there is no business. As you said, company is expanding and my work did increases,” he said. “It’s just that I have stuffs to do, so it is best to do after working hours,”

“That is Xi Men talking, really? What stuff is that, that causes Xi Men willing to leave office early to do it?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“I am looking for someone,” Xi Men said.

“Who?” Lei and Mei Zhuo asked simultaneously.

Xi Men sighed. “I don’t know who she is, that is why I am looking for her,”

“And why not you hire a PI?” Mei Zhuo asked. “I thought that has always been their job,”

“You don’t tell a PI to look for a girl for you when you have nothing to furnish him,” Xi Men said.

“What, you really have NOTHING to furnish your PI at all? AT ALL???” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Yes, that is how bad that is! I know nothing about this girl,” Xi Men sighed.

“A girl?” Lei asked.

“Yeah,” Xi Men said. “So… the only thing I can do is ME looking for her all by myself,”

“Which girl is this, until Xi Men has to look for her by himself?” Mei Zhuo asked.

Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo, “Hey, you should remember. Miss XYZ?”

Lei stunned looking at Xi Men.

“Miss XYZ?” Mei Zhuo said. “Who? But that name sounds familiar,” he frowned.

Xi Men glared at Mei Zhuo, “We met her during Lei’s company’s annual dinner. Don’t you remember?”

“OHHH! The girl that I intro myself as ABC hah!” Mei Zhuo laughed.

“So you are looking for her?” Lei asked, pretending he didn’t know the real identity of XYZ.

“Yeah… the problem is you don’t tell your PI that you are looking for a girl with that particular body size or eyes’ sparkling, right? And I don’t have photo of her too. How do I show it to the PI? He would probably end up giving me millions of photos of all the girls bearing such criteria,” Xi Men said. He then sighed. “I’ve been looking for her for a week,”

“If you can’t ask your PI to locate her, how do you do it by yourself?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“If I tell you, you would probably laugh at me,” Xi Men said. “I remember how her waist is shaped on my hand. I remember those eyes. I remember that familiarity when I look at her… so I am trying to see if I can stumble onto her in person anywhere on road, or photos on Internet or something…”

Mei Zhuo bit his lips trying to hold his laughter.

Lei frowned, trying to stop from smiling.

“See?!” Xi Men pointed at them. “I knew you’ll gonna do that!”

“Try going near a girl and place your hand on her waist. And then see if she is familiar. Then tell me if you earn any slap from her,” Mei Zhuo said. “And a calling of pervert,”

“And perhaps a police report and then you need us to bail you out from police station,” Lei said, smacked his hand on Mei Zhuo’s shoulder and looked at Mei Zhuo, “Be prepared to receive a call from the police to bail him out,”

“And headline for the next day’s newspaper,” Mei Zhuo laughed.

“Hey, enough, enough!” Xi Men said.

“From a different perspective…” Lei raised his hand and then covered his nose and mouth. “Now, look at me. All you can see is my eyes. Can you recognize me?”

Xi Men looked at Lei. “Of course I recognized you. You already covered your face at the annual dinner last week and I still can recognize you,”

“You already know me for years, Xi Men. But you only know her for that few hours, how do you find those eyes?” Lei asked.

“Hey, don’t be surprised. National Geographic looks for a girl in their photo collection and they found her after many many many years later,” Mei Zhuo said.

“I think it took them a decade or something, I don’t remember. It is one in a gazillion chance,” Xi Men said. “But I really hope to find her,”

“Why do you want to find her anyway?” Lei asked.

“She…” Xi Men said. “She just have that something in her that captures me…” he then looked at Lei, “Hey, you have that annual dinner list, right? Can you look for her for me?”

Lei with his eyes wide open, looked at Xi Men.

“Hey, you might be able to help Xi Men with that, you know,” Mei Zhuo said.

“First, that list is confidential! We do not reveal the attendees. Second, I don’t hold the list as it is another department’s responsibility, which I don’t know what department is that, and since it’s already a week, the list should have been gone or thrown out, and third, you thought there’s picture of everyone with mask will be pasted on the name list next to their names?” Lei asked. “If I glance thru the names, I won’t even know which one is XYZ!”

“Maybe someone with the initial XYZ as a part of their name?” Xi Men asked.

“Which part of his name has ABC?” Lei pointed at Mei Zhuo.

“Err…” Mei Zhuo said when Xi Men looking at him.

Xi Men then turned looking at Lei. “Look, no harm trying,”

“It is just a pseudonym, Xi Men,” Lei said. At that moment he thinks for a while why did Xiao You took XYZ as her nickname… probably it’s because the alphabet XYZ holds similarity to her name’s initial so she took XYZ instead of XYY. Xi Men is so right about that.

“If you don’t want to help, just say it, instead of giving me tons of excuses,” Xi Men said.

Lei stared at him, and yes, Xi Men is right. Lei is practically giving tons of excuses, but it is not supposed to be interpreted that way… as in, even if he didn’t want to help, Xi Men shouldn’t see it in a way that Lei is not helping him. But it seems things have gone to this stage that Xi Men assumed Lei refused to help him.

“I am not giving you excuses. I am giving you the facts. I don’t see a reason not to help you, alright?” Lei said.

“Oh well, what Lei says makes sense too,” Mei Zhuo said. “Anyone can just take the name XYZ. Even if given to Lei to look at the names in the list, he won’t know who’s who. Don’t blame Lei. He is right about it. We are friends. He will help if it is doable,”

“Yes, I will if I could,” Lei said.

“Sigh… I thought I saw some hope there. Now it’s gone…” Xi Men continued sighing.

Lei took a deep breath. Deep down inside his heart, he is relieved that Xi Men has given up on his side and no longer push him to reveal the list, which will make Lei really guilty because he had agreed to Xiao You.

Mei Zhuo smirked, “But hey, I keep thinking of that girl in your office,” he looked at Lei.

Lei turned and looked at Mei Zhuo with his eyes open. “Hello! You are married!” Lei said. “Stop thinking of other girls!”

“I don’t mean thinking of her in that way!” Mei Zhuo said. “It’s just that familiarity thinking and I was hoping to see her again to know who she is,”

“Who?” Xi Men asked.

“Last week I bumped onto this girl at the lift at Lei’s office,” Mei Zhuo said. “I looked at her and she is just familiar… but I can’t… I don’t know who she is,”

“Maybe just someone you talked or meet before? Some clients or staff…” Xi Men said.

“I wish for a clarification on that,” Mei Zhuo said.

“What, now it’s your turn to look for a girl too?” Lei said.

“I don’t mean that,” Mei Zhuo said. “But I do want to know…”

“Ain’t that the same meaning as looking for her?” Lei asked.

“I said NO,” Mei Zhuo said. “You annoyed me!”

Lei and Xi Men laughed.

“Okay, look. Sometimes it’s just someone who looks similar. Does not mean they are the same person that you said you think you knew. I advise you to stop thinking about her before Xiao Qiao found out and then she chase you out of the house,” Lei laughed again.

Xi Men laughed, “That is so mean of Lei,”

Mei Zhuo glared at Lei. “Now that you’ve said it, if she does, it is for sure YOU are the one telling her about that and hint the wrong message as well!”

Lei and Xi Men laughed.

“Come on, let’s drink!” Xi Men said, taking his beer up.

Mei Zhuo and Lei followed Xi Men by taking their drinks up.

Deep in Lei’s thought, “One wants to look for Xiao You, one is thinking and dying of clarification of Xiao You… both are actually referring to the same person… but yes indeed… Xiao You has changed so much, that none of us recognized her anymore…” he drank his beer.

**********

“You mean Xi Men is looking for Xiao You?” Jing asked.

“Yeah, and he asked me to check the list. But somehow, at that moment, I was thinking that I have promised Xiao You… so…” Lei said.

“You did the right thing, dear,” Jing said. “You can help Xi Men if Xiao You has not said that before. But because she did it first and both of us agreed to keep it secret for her, then we should keep it,”

Lei smiled lightly. “Xi Men is my buddy… indeed I feel guilty for not be able to tell him,”

“The Lei I know is able to justify what is right and what is wrong,” Jing smiled. “Oh well, why did Xi Men wants to look for her?”

“I don’t know. He just said there is something in her that captured him,”

“Huh?” Jing asked.

He nodded, and then Jing sighed.

“Xi Men is looking for the identity that Xiao You is trying to protect,” Lei said. “And Xiao You wants her identity XYZ ‘dead’,”

“There must be a reason why Xiao You wants that identity to be kept secret. And from the looks of it, Xi Men does not look like he has any important reason or excuse to look for Xiao You,”

“Other than saying there is something about her that captured him?”

Jing laughed. “You know… is it going to be a big deal if he did not manage to find her?”

“I don’t know…” Lei said. “He didn’t say anything else so I really have no idea,”

Jing took a deep breath. “To be honest, this is between Xi Men and Xiao You. We are just outsiders. We should only help when it is necessary. If Xiao You wanted to let Xi Men knows she is XYZ, she should let him know by herself…”

“I agree,” Lei said. “From the looks of it… she really indeed wants to keep her identity secret from Xi Men. Since she spent few hours of the annual dinner with him and dance with him but yet he didn’t know she is Xiao You…”

Jing laughed, “Then you can blame Xi Men himself for not knowing who she is beneath the mask,”

Lei smirked. “I will respect Xiao You’s request to keep her identity secret. And if Xi Men is destined to know she is Xiao You, then the truth will reveal by itself, all in time,”

Jing nodded.

“But in the meantime I’ll try to dig information from Xi Men to know why he is looking for Xiao You. If it is really important, I will have to tell him in the end,” Lei said.

“That’s the Lei I know,” Jing smiled.

Lei smiled.

“And it’s also funny that Mei Zhuo saw Xiao You and he does not recognized her as well,”

“That proves that she changed so much that no one recognizes her. It took me so long to recognize her too you know,” Lei said.

“And Mei Zhuo is now looking for her too!” Jing laughed.

“Funny, isn’t it?!” Lei laughed.

And they laughed together.


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