Love/Hate – Chapter 17

Xi Men sat in the dimmed living room of his penthouse, alone. The red wine that he poured onto the wine glass placed at the coffee table in front of him left untouched. He poured the red wine to sip initially, but in the end he didn’t even take a drop of it. He stared at the red wine and he is instantly reminded of Miss XYZ because they were having wine before committing the deed. He was so much into her that time, lust takes over. She has all the beautiful curves and yes, turns him on to the max!

He smiled, but then the smile fades off.

Now, his mind is not fully occupied by Miss XYZ as he used to be, but now it is Xiao You. He is more to ponder why Xiao You is treating him like that.

At that very moment he didn’t really bother that much of who Miss XYZ is, but he is in need of answer on why Xiao You doesn’t even want to talk to him. She has not really smiled at him sincerely.

“What have I done??” Xi Men asked. “Why is she reacting like this?”

He clasped his hands together and thinks deep.

She is already acting weird during the dinner, even before he started insisting to fetch her home. The way she speaks is killing everyone, or maybe only he is the only person feeling that.

Xi Men took a deep breath as he leaned his back to the couch, looking up to the ceiling.

For the first time in his life, he is not thinking about work when he is home. Pretty much his mind is occupied by ladies now. TWO ladies.

“What am I feeling for Miss XYZ? What am I feeling for Xiao You?” he asked himself.

Lust.

Friendship.

“Is there love with Miss XYZ besides lust and her irresistible character?” he asked.

He is reminded of her arrogant character by playing hard to get, a part of him feels that she is masking her identity with that. With mask, she can be anyone, perhaps which is why she calls herself Miss XYZ. It is indeed a challenge for him as he has left the ‘field’ for 6 years.

“But I don’t want to just have a one night stand with her. I want to know who she is…” Xi Men uttered. For the past 6 years, since he had stopped being a playboy, he has not been into anyone that he ignores all the ladies that were trying their luck on him. He has not felt like this towards anyone until Miss XYZ comes into the picture and breaks the chain. In fact, she did not come to him but he goes to her. It stirs the need in him to know who she is, that has the capability to make him crave to see her face and wants to know more than what he knew now.

“I have been looking all over for her… where is she… my gosh… is she not from Taipei? Then where can I look for her??? Is she meant to just last for one night with me?” he said. Even in the past, his ladies expired in one week, but this… this is not even ONE DAY! “No! I don’t want her to last for only one day or one week!” he suddenly yelled.

He scratches his head.

“Okay,” he takes a deep breath. “Look for her. Found her, and then decide from there. I may want more, but doesn’t mean she wanted to,” she seems to have a permanent place in his heart now. “Set,” he told himself.

Now, move to Xiao You.

He took a deep breath again. “This one… oh my gosh… how to deal with her…”

It is a question with no answer.

“I don’t know what pisses her off. I don’t know why she reacts like this. I don’t know is it me or something else. I don’t know if I did something and caused her like this. I don’t know what I did and how to seek her apologies. I don’t know so many things!” he said.

Wait.

If she meant nothing to him but just a friend, why is it so important for him to know what is happening and why she is treating him like that?

If she meant nothing more than just a friend, then why bother?

Why does he have to ask himself so many questions?

Isn’t it good enough that she comes back and can still sit together at the same table and eat?

“But she…” he said. “She sounded like didn’t want to acknowledge me as a friend…?”

She wasn’t like this when he last sees her. She is a cute, innocent Xiao You that searches the buildings to look for the billboard for him so that he will not live in grief for missing out what Xiao Gen wanted to show. And during that same trip, that is the last time she smiled sincerely at him.

**********

Xiao You hums to a song as she emerged from the bathroom, her body wrapped in a towel. She then walked to the wardrobe and opens it to get her clothes.

She immediately stops humming just when she saw the mask lies on top of her pile of clothes. She then smirked. “Looking for Miss XYZ,” she said. “I said to him never to look for me, he will never know who XYZ is, and he should not know,” and she removed her sight from the mask and she took a pair of clothes and puts them on.

She sits down in front of the stand fan and let the fan blows dry her hair. Though her hand is meddling with her hair, her mind wanders and sight is focused into nowhere.

She remembers well how much fun she had by ignoring Xi Men during the annual dinner. How many times she walked away and he keeps going after her. How the other guy in mask cuts queue to dance with her and that annoys Xi Men, even more so when she accepted to dance with the other guy. And Xi Men is willing to be annoyed and sulked just as long as he can get her to be close to him, to dance with him and stuffs.

She purposely put Xi Men into that position. Yes, she had fun. She enjoyed seeing the annoying face of Xi Men and he can’t do anything because the option is in her hand and not his’.

She enjoyed leaving and making him high and dry and wanted for more.

She knows that entire night, he had no option and she was the queen. He can’t bring himself to leave her because he can’t take his eyes off from her. He offers to send her home but instead ends up in his home and they had intimacy. Even on bed, she is the queen and he pleased her like mad.

Yes, throughout the night – from the dinner to the bed, it’s all about her.

It was as though it is a spell. He fell for her, hard. He just wanted to be with her, close.

But that was Miss XYZ. Miss XYZ was the one that gives him that kind of feeling.

“Miss XYZ is me. Miss XYZ… is Yang Xiao You,” Xiao You said. “Yang Xiao You is nobody to him. Nobody to Xi Men,”

She then looked at the fan and continued drying her hair.

Something struck her mind.

She frowned, and then looked at the dates in the calendar placed not too far away from her.

**********

Knock! Knock!

“Hello!” Mei Zhuo called out as he opened the door. “Oops,” he immediately blurted when he saw Lei is not alone, there is someone there too, whose back is facing Mei Zhuo.

“It’s okay. Come in,” Lei said.

“Oh, sorry for the interruption,” Mei Zhuo said, looking at the stranger sitting in front of Lei, as he walked in and closed the door.

“You’re already in. So no need to sorry,” the stranger said.

“Xiao You?” Mei Zhuo called.

She looked up at him. “Why? You can’t recognize me?”

“Oh… errr…. I can’t recognize you from the back,” he smiled. “How are you?”

“Nothing special happened recently,” she said. “So there is no special answer for your question,”

Mei Zhuo looked at her. “Well… just a question to ask…” he scratched his head.

“Fine, then,” she looked at him flatly.

Mei Zhuo remained scratching his head. “Oh…” he said, as he sat down on the chair next to her.

“So are we done?” Xiao You asked Lei.

“Yes,” Lei said.

“Okay then. You both go ahead. Stanley is waiting for me to go to set now,” Xiao You said, rose to her feet.

“Leaving so fast? Why not sit down and talk a few more minutes? You know, we have a lot to catch up,” Mei Zhuo said.

“I have nothing to catch up with you,” Xiao You said.

“Huh? You have story of the last 6 years to share!” Mei Zhuo said.

“You know the end of the story of that 6 years?” Xiao You asked.

“Huh?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“The end of the story is, I am here in Taipei today doing poster modeling job and currently attached to Lei’s company. That’s the 6 years’ story’s ending,” Xiao You said.

“Xiao You, Stanley is waiting,” Lei said.

Xiao You looked at Lei for a while and then at Mei Zhuo. She then turned. “See you,” she said before she opened the door and leave.

Mei Zhuo looked at Xiao You walking away before he turned looking at Lei, who is already staring at Mei Zhuo, monitoring his reaction from the beginning of the conversation between Mei Zhuo and Xiao You.

“What is that?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“What is what?” Lei asked.

“I mean… Xiao You’s way of talking?” Mei Zhuo said.

“Are you very surprised with that?” Lei asked.

“YES!” Mei Zhuo said. “She is not like that when we last seen her couple of years ago, right?”

“You are right,” Lei smirked.

“Then… then why is she like that? It sounds like a crime to even ask ‘how are you’,”

“Good that you noticed,” Lei said.

Mei Zhuo paused for a while. “You mean you know this way before this conversation happens?”

“Oh yes, Mei Zhuo. She works for me, don’t forget,” Lei said.

“Okay… did you offend her or something?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“She is already like that before I know she is working for me,” Lei smirked as he reached for the pen to sign his documents.

“What?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Do you remember I once told you about her being different?” Lei said.

Mei Zhuo snapped his fingers. “YEAH! Now I remember!”

“And that’s what I mean,” Lei said, pointing at the door for a while referring to Xiao You.

“But she is not the Xiao You we know! That is like a… pure arrogant woman with attitude problem and thought she’s in the highest class above all,”

“I am not surprised with your thought,” Lei said. “Because she is giving me that kind of feelings too,”

“So, I am not the only one being treated with all that weird attitude of hers, right?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“No. She does that with me too,” Lei said. “I’ve got used to it though,”

“What happened to her? Why is she like that?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“You asked a good question. But there’s no answer for you. When I first see her, I already felt that. But she is not like this to Jing,” Lei said. “I asked her to go because I do not want you to be attacked by her sarcastic words and left you dumbfounded, like now,”

Mei Zhuo paused. “Oh,”

“It will take you a while to digest the fact that she is no longer the same Xiao You we know 6 years ago. I do not know what happened to her that causes her to react like this to me, to you and even Xi Men. I thought initially I had offended her but I cannot figure out what I’ve done and the possibility of me offending her. And yes, it is not easy to talk to her now because every word she uttered is no more than sarcastic statements and blasting at you until you end up speechless. Truth to be told, if she is not Xiao You, I would have cancelled the contract and hire another model for my clothing line because I’ll take it that she has attitude problem,” Lei said. “And who wants to work with people that has attitude problem?”

“Yeah…” Mei Zhuo said.

“Honestly, she is damn good with the modeling thing,” Lei said.

“So how do you cope with her?” Mei Zhuo asked. “This way of talking is frustrating, you know,”

“Well, like I said, I’ve got used to it. I have to talk to her using her style, which is blasting back sarcastic statements at her if she did so at me, of course, gotta be realistic and you can’t just blast stupidly for the sake of it,” Lei said. “You will end up be the idiot of the conversation,”

“Wow, looks set you learned so much from her that you can actually speak sarcastically!” Mei Zhuo laughed.

Lei glared at him. “Trust me I can speak sarcastic remarks better than you,”

Mei Zhuo stopped laughing and glared at him, “I don’t want to be compared with you because we are all different,”

Lei smiled. “I got no choice because I have to deal with her,” he said. “So, if you want to talk to her, you have to be good at talking to her. Else, you will be like what you did just now,”

“What I did just now?”

“Dumbfounded and looked lost,”

“Duh,” Mei Zhuo said.

“That is why I ask her to go to work,”

“Yeah, right. Thanks for shooing her away,” Mei Zhuo said sarcastically. “And save me from looking stupid,” he rolled his eyes.

“You know what?” Lei asked.

“What?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Thank you,” Lei smirked.

“Sarcasm! And that bloody face!” Mei Zhuo pointed at him. “Shit you, Lei,”

Lei laughed. “See? I told you I can do it better than you!”

Mei Zhuo rolled his eyes.

Slowly the laughter fades. “One thing I know now is that… I’ve seen her reaction on you. So it is clear that she treats us, guys, differently compared to how she treated our lady partner,” Lei said.

“Did you know she didn’t even smile at me?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Do I have to be surprised with that? The best ‘smile’ she gave me is just a smirk, which is not even a genuine smile!” Lei said.

“Oh? Then I am not alone,” Mei Zhuo said. “By the way, Ah Si told me this morning that he may shorten his vacation days,”

“Why?” Lei asked. “I thought he anticipates going for a loooooooooooooooooong trip with his wife for vacation and now he wants to cut it short?”

“Ah Si said that San Chai bugs him about Xiao You; she keeps asking him about what Xiao You would be doing in Taipei, and that she is worried about Xiao You, wanted to catch up with her, bla bla bla,”

“Ah, that San Chai. She is always worried about Xiao You,” Lei said. “Can’t blame her for she is closest with Xiao You and doesn’t get to meet Xiao You for years. Now that Xiao You is back, but she is away for her trip. Of course she wants to meet and catch up with Xiao You,”

Mei Zhuo laughed. “She sees Ah Si everyday and not Xiao You,” he said. “You are right, but San Chai should know that Xiao You is independent now and is no longer the Xiao You that she has to protect all the time like what she did back then. Xiao You is now capable of taking care for herself, so San Chai, since is married to Ah Si and has this pre-planned vacation done long time ago, she should enjoy the vacation with her husband rather than worrying for Xiao You. We are all here and we can take care of Xiao You as and when needed. We all have seen how capable Xiao You is in handling her stuff now… so she should not worry for Xiao You,”

“I agree with you. And I am not surprised if Ah Si will be pissed about this shortened vacation because he has planned for this vacation long time ago. But I hope he understands that San Chai cares for Xiao You a lot. And we should also assure to San Chai that we are here for Xiao You. The best thing for both of them now is not to cancel the vacation, but perhaps to accommodate each other; to come back for more often for San Chai so she gets to meet Xiao You and after that, they should continue their trip. They should do like what they did for my annual dinner, and for Ah Si’s business dealing the other day cum the reunion,” Lei said.

“I think that is a good idea too,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Yeah. If Ah Si called you up again, tell him this. I guess it will be a win-win situation for both of them,” Lei said. “He can come back for few days to oversee his business and us, and then for San Chai to meet up with Xiao You, then go back to vacation again. I hope she will stop bugging him about Xiao You after that,”

“No problem,” Mei Zhuo said. “I hope it works for them,”

“I think it will. Major problem is from Xiao You’s side. You know, she is… different,” Lei said. “For some reasons, I felt that Xiao You would be bothered or offended by this, if this is to happen… because I sensed she wants to be alone… and not being bugged. You know San Chai will keep looking for her, talk to her… and Xiao You does not even look like a talking person now. And I feel that she doesn’t want to be questioned, doesn’t want her presence to be known because we didn’t even know where she stays or things to revolve around her, so I have a feeling she won’t like it if San Chai shortened the vacation for her,” Lei said. “Well, just my opinion,”

“Yes, I know that too. I will make sure I tell it to Ah Si to not to cancel the vacation just because of Xiao You,” Mei Zhuo said. “Judging from what I see and what I know about Xiao You, I wasn’t even quite sure if Xiao You will like it if San Chai comes back and look for her time after time, what’s more to cancel the entire trip and to look for her… most of the time?”

“Yeah, good that you share such sentiment with me,” Lei said. “At this moment, the Dao Mings are the only ones that have yet to know the major changes in Xiao You. Since the day I met Xiao You, I know she is different, though I didn’t know what happened and why she is like that, it is best not to bug Xiao You unnecessarily. Because she looks like… she hated everyone,”


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