Love/Hate – Chapter 15

“XIAO YOU!!!!” San Chai yelled out loud and rushed over to hug Xiao You.

“Hi,” Xiao You smiled at her, as her best friend dashed to her and wrapped her hands around the poster model. “Take it easy, take it easy…”

All of them stared at Xiao You, and then stared at her from top to toe. They really couldn’t recognize her, until San Chai acknowledged it is her at the first place.

“Hi Xiao You…” Ah Si started off, extending his hand out for a handshake.

“Hi, Ah Si,” Xiao You turned and grabbed his hand.

“Nice to see you again. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Ah Si smiled.

“Thanks,”

Xi Men stared at her, his eyes completely focused at her.

“You look stunning now, Xiao You. You look fantastic,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Thanks,” Xiao You said.

Xiao You looked at Xi Men staring at her.

“Xiao You? Is it really you?” Xi Men asked.

“Did not expect it is me, right?” Xiao You said at him.

“I…” Xi Men said. “Welcome back…” extended his hand slowly.

“Thank you,” Xiao You said, and grabbed his hand.

‘Soft hand…’ he thought to himself, until Xiao You released her hand from his grip.

“I miss you so much, Xiao You! When did you come back?” San Chai asked.

“It’s been a while,” she answered.

“Are you coming back for good? Will you stay?” San Chai asked.

“I am here for work. I was offered a job,” she replied.

“A job?” Mei Zhuo and Xi Men asked, looking at Lei.

“Don’t look at me. My agent found her. I didn’t know until she acknowledged it is her,” Lei said.

“When did you know it’s her?” Mei Zhuo asked. “Today?”

“Don’t ask so much, will you? Ask her,” Lei said.

They then looked at Xi Men, who had his gaze at her.

“Look at him,” Lei softly said at Mei Zhuo.

“I know,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Sit down, Xiao You, sit down…” San Chai immediately pulled Xiao You to sit next to her, “I can’t believe it’s you…”

“I can’t believe it’s you too… you look so different,” Xi Men mumbled as he sits down on his place.

“You are working with Lei?” San Chai asked.

“Not exactly in that sense. I am engaged with his new clothing line. So… possibly it is not working WITH Lei, maybe it should be working UNDER Lei,” Xiao You said.

“Errr, what are you doing there with Lei’s clothing line?” San Chai asked.

“Just a poster model,” Xiao You said.

“Is that what you do overseas?” Mei Zhuo asked. “So that is how his agent found you?”

“Yes,” Xiao You said.

“You saw us yesterday at Lei’s set. Why don’t you call us and acknowledge?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Let’s just say I am waiting to be acknowledged instead,” Xiao You smiled cynically. And then looked at Xi Men. “Like now, you are so in awe of staring at me,”

And they all turned looking at Xi Men who wouldn’t even blink at the sight of her.

Xi Men immediately looked at all of them staring at him. “I am just surprised,”

“All guys will surely… err… look at pretty girls,” Mei Zhuo said. “After all, Xi Men is single… single guys would ogle more,”

Xi Men glared at him when all laughed besides Xiao You.

“I am not surprised. Nature of all guys regardless married or not, am I right?” Xiao You said, putting the napkin on her lap. “You all stare at me as well,”

All of them immediately stopped laughing.

“I have been in that position of many people ogling at me. So I am used to it,” Xiao You said.

“Oh well. She silent the entire set’s people. You can see how much attention she is getting,” Lei said, his turn to put the napkin.

“Entire set?” All of them asked.

“Yeah. She’s good,” Lei said.

“Thanks for the compliment,” Xiao You said at Lei.

“So when can I see the final poster?” Mei Zhuo playfully asked. “I also want to see if someone will stare at the poster in awe or not,” he then glared at Xi Men and Xi Men obviously glaring at him.

“When it is subject to release,” Lei smirked.

“Don’t worry. I am not expecting people will ogle at my poster, when people can ogle the real person sitting here now,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men looked Xiao You. “I don’t…”

“You don’t have to explain,” Xiao You interrupted.

“But…” Xi Men said again.

And Xiao You interrupts again, “I did not mean you. I am saying people in general which includes ladies and gentlemen,”

Xi Men quiet.

“Anything to say, Mr. Xi Men?” Xiao You asked.

All of them looked at Xiao You.

Xi Men stared at her, at the way she called him. He shook. “No,”

“Okay then,” Xiao You said.

They all looked at each other, and then Xiao You continued talking with San Chai and Jing as well as Xiao Qiao sitting a little bit far from them but trying to listen to her.

Mei Zhuo, sitting next to Xi Men, turned and looked at Xi Men, before he suddenly placed his hand on Xi Men’s chest.

Xi Men looked at him. “What are you doing? Why are you molesting my chest?”

“I am trying to feel your heartbeat,” Mei Zhuo said.

Xi Men pushed his hand away. “What heartbeat. It has nothing to do with you,”

“You mean you don’t have heartbeat?” Lei asked.

Xi Men glared at Lei. “If I say ‘no’, will you leave me alone?”

“No, if you say no, I will report you to the authorities so that they can examine and maybe do some autopsy on you to verify how come you have no heartbeat,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Hey,” Xi Men said. “You annoyed me, and you two ganged up to bully me,”

“Bully you? We care for you, buddy,” Lei said.

“You don’t say you care for me when you shove me to the authorities to slice up my flesh and test some science stuff on me,” Xi Men said.

“Why can’t you take your eyes off from her?” Lei asked.

“What?” Xi Men asked.

“From her. HER,” Lei emphasized.

“I didn’t look at her,” Xi Men said.

“You did not look. You ogle at her,” Mei Zhuo said. “You don’t have to lie. We saw your eyes,”

They all then looked at Xiao You who is smiling with the ladies.

“She obviously treats the girls better. What did I do wrong?” Lei asked.

“What?” Xi Men and Mei Zhuo asked.

Lei looked at them. “Nothing,” he said.

“I still remember that look on your face when Xiao You came back when we are in University,” Mei Zhuo said, clasping his hands together.

Xi Men turned and glared at Mei Zhuo, “What look?”

“Oh, that VERY HAPPY look,” Mei Zhuo said, and then smiled sarcastically at Xi Men.

“What very happy…” Xi Men said.

“Don’t lie. I know,” Mei Zhuo said. “Hey, how’s the search so far for XYZ?”

Xiao You immediately turned and looked at them.

“XYZ? Nah… no news,” Xi Men said. “Just the same,” he then saw Xiao You looked at him. “Errr… anything?”

“No, I was just listening to what you were saying,” Xiao You said.

“What are you guys talking about?” San Chai asked.

“Xi Men is looking for Miss XYZ,” Mei Zhuo said. “But to no avail,”

Xiao You turned looking at Lei and Jing.

Jing looked at Xiao You. Lei did not want to look at Xiao You thus he looked at Xi Men, pretending to try focusing on Xi Men and his words when all he is doing is to avoid looking at Xiao You.

“Miss XYZ? The one sitting with us at Lei’s annual dinner?” San Chai asked.

“Oh? You are looking for her?” Ah Si asked.

“Oh well… yeah,” Xi Men said, then looked at Xiao You and then turned away. “Kinda,”

“What? Kinda? Come on dude, you say YEAH and then you say KINDA so which is which?” Ah Si asked.

“It is a ‘yeah’,” Mei Zhuo said.

Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo for busting it. He was trying to protect himself because he felt uncomfortable talking about this Miss XYZ in front of Xiao You.

Imagine you are talking of some other woman in front of a lady that you… oh well, probably your feelings for her were complicated as you are not sure what she holds in your heart and it still is now.

“So, tell me about this Miss XYZ,” Xiao You suddenly said.

All of them turned looking at Xiao You. She looked up and straight into Xi Men’s eyes.

Xi Men at that moment felt like she is throwing knives and swords at him. He immediately looked down, trying to avoid her eyes, before he took a deep breath and looked up again. He felt that she is trying to kill him with her eyes like he offended her or something. Instantly at that moment, he felt that she is different compared to the last time he’d seen her. He knew it but he couldn’t point a word to describe it.

“She is just another girl I met in Lei’s company’s annual dinner a couple of weeks ago,” Xi Men said.

“If she is just another girl, you won’t go about searching for her, would you?” Xiao You asked.

Xi Men silent.

“I guess she is more than ‘just another girl’ for you,” Xiao You smirked.

Xi Men looked at her. She is good in playing with her words, and even her eyes. When she smirked, the eyes seem to be cynically smiling at him stating ‘you can run but you can’t hide’.

“Whether she is or not, I know it myself,” Xi Men said.

“You better be sure about that,” Xiao You said. “But the great Xi Men…” she stopped and all eyes were on her. “Due to your reputation, you don’t need that one ‘just another girl’. In fact, you can just find anyone, so… not necessary that ‘just another girl’,” she rolled her eyes.

“What did you know about my reputation?” Xi Men asked.

“You know it better than I do,” Xiao You said. “And you know, I don’t care about that,” she took her glass and takes a sip.

“You…”

“You don’t have to explain to me for I don’t bother nor care about your playboy life. I don’t care about her either so you can save your breath,” Xiao You said.

“I am not a…”

And Xiao You interrupted, “Dinner!”

Xi Men could only opened his mouth and uttered no words. Mei Zhuo looked at Xi Men stunned with the words that Xiao You mentioned of him. And Lei feel the pain of being lambasted by Xiao You. He was a victim, until he decided that he needs to fight for himself because Xiao You will not back down. She definitely has become one mysterious person.

**********

After dinner,

“Awww… I wish I could be here the next few days so we can talk until dawn,” San Chai said. “For a moment I wish I don’t have plane to catch tomorrow…”

“It’s okay. I need to work anyway so we can do it next time when I don’t have to sleep,” Xiao You said. “Then only we can talk until dawn,”

San Chai stunned. “I mean… we can have more time to talk… not necessary until dawn,”

“I get what you mean. It’s okay. Spend more time with your husband. It’s your vacation. I’ll be in Taipei for a while,” Xiao You said. “We’ll catch up when you are back,”

San Chai smiled though she is still surprised with the way Xiao You speaks. “Okay,”

“Xiao You, where do you stay? Do you want us to give you a lift?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“I’ll be fine, thanks,” Xiao You said.

“It’s quite late if you are going back alone,” Ah Si said.

“Yeah, we can give you a lift,” San Chai said.

“I’ll be fine,” Xiao You said again. “ALONE,”

“Are you driving?” Xiao Qiao asked.

“No, I’ll…”

“I’ll give you a lift,” Xi Men said.

All of them turned looking at Xi Men.

“Yes, I’ll give Xiao You a lift. After all I am driving alone,” Xi Men said.

“I don’t need your lift,” Xiao You said. “You can keep it to yourself,”

“I insist. It will be safer for you and…”

“Explain to me how safe is taking a playboy’s ride?” Xiao You said.

All of them stunned with her statement.

“Are you classifying me as a playboy that will take on any girls?” Xi Men asked, annoyingly.

“YES!” Xiao You exclaimed. “I saw your stare at me the entire dinner. I saw the way you look at me. Don’t deny it because I see it!”

“Who in this gang is not looking at you, Xiao You? You tell me!” Xi Men said. “First, we’ve not seen you for the past 6 years. Tonight, you just show up and of course all of us are looking at you. You are the spotlight for tonight! And besides, you…!” he stopped suddenly.

“What?” Xiao You questioned. “Me what?”

Xi Men took a deep breath. “You are prettier now than you are 6 years ago,”

“For that, I thank you. In another words, your stare?” Xiao You pointed at him. “You – pervert,” she said and turned.

“YOU…!” Xi Men said, pointing at her as she walked away without saying goodbyes.


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