Love/Hate – Chapter 2

Taipei, Taiwan. 2 days later. 3pm.

Xiao Qiao and Jing have just landed in Taipei. Both of them walked towards the arrival gate.

Mei Zhuo and Lei are both sitting at the row of seats at the arrival hall waiting for them.

Mei Zhuo then saw Xiao Qiao walking out and carrying her cello in a cello case, and Jing walking next to her. He immediately elbowed Lei and Lei, out of a sudden jumped from his seat.

“What, what? What happened?” Lei said with his blur sleepy eyes. “Where am I?”

Mei Zhuo glared at Lei, “You fell asleep?!”

Lei looked at Mei Zhuo, and then looked around. “Oh, I am here to pick Jing. I’m at airport, right?”

“What the…” Mei Zhuo said and he stood up, heading to Xiao Qiao, totally ignored Lei.

Xiao Qiao and Jing walked out and Mei Zhuo waved at them, as Lei stood next to him with both his hands in his pocket.

Xiao Qiao and Jing then approached them.

“Hi honey, how are you doing?” Mei Zhuo asked, extending his hand out to carry the cello for Xiao Qiao.

“Fine,” Xiao Qiao said, pushing the cello to him causing him to carry it clumsily.

“How is the performance?” Lei asked Jing as he took her luggage.

“Great,” Jing smiled. “When did you reach Taipei?”

“This morning,” Lei smiled. “Because I want to pick you from airport, so I asked for an early flight today instead of late afternoon’s flight,”

“Oh,” Jing smiled.

“Honey… are you still mad at me?” Mei Zhuo pouted.

“Of course. It’s my first performance in London!” Xiao Qiao said.

“I’m sorry. So sorry,” Mei Zhuo pouted again. “But I am done with the business now, so that means we can celebrate….”

“Who needs your celebration?” Xiao Qiao said.

“Awww….” Mei Zhuo said, and then he pouts.

“But don’t worry, your ticket is not wasted,” Jing slapped Mei Zhuo’s shoulder.

“Not wasted? You mean someone go with my ticket? You sell it? How much do you get?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Even if I sell it, it’s my money!” Xiao Qiao said, which Mei Zhuo immediately turned and looked at her.

“Oh yes, madam… yes… it’s your performance… your money…” Mei Zhuo said.

Jing and Lei bite their lips to hold their laughter. Mei Zhuo is scared of Xiao Qiao!

“You know what… I can’t hold it anymore…” Lei said, patting on Mei Zhuo, “I’m so sorry but… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Mei Zhuo glared at Lei. “What’s so funny?!”

Jing started to laugh, but very soon after, the laughter fades to form a smile on her face. “We met Xiao You in London, so she is the one taking the extra ticket,”

Lei immediately stopped laughing in a split second upon hearing it. Mei Zhuo stunned.

“Xiao You?” Mei Zhuo and Lei asked at the same time.

“We like that face,” Jing and Xiao Qiao said together.

“Umm…” Mei Zhuo and Lei again responded together.

“What is Xiao You doing in London?” Lei asked. “Isn’t she in Canada?”

“Career,” Jing said, shortly.

“Oh…”

“Can we go for food? I’m starving,” Xiao Qiao said, and Jing nodded.

“Oh okay,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Going anywhere after this meal?” Jing asked Lei.

“Nope. I’m going home for a rest with you,” Lei said.

“Okay,” Jing smiled, and then she turned looking at Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao, “And you?”

“After eating and sent Xiao Qiao home, I need to go back to office to…”

Xiao Qiao interrupted Mei Zhuo, “Can we eat until 6pm so that you can go home straight? Your work is supposed to finish at 6pm,”

Lei threw the back of his palm to Mei Zhuo, lightly hitting him on his chest, “She is asking you to not go back to office,”

Mei Zhuo looked at Xiao Qiao. And then he turned looking at Lei, “She’s my wife. Why do you have to interpret her signals to me, or YOU to ask or teach me to see her signals like I didn’t know?”

Lei and Jing laughed. Xiao Qiao smirked.

“Okay, I’ll not go back to office. So I’ll settle my work tomorrow, okay? I’ll drop my secretary a call and tell him I am not coming back, okay?” Mei Zhuo said.

“Okay,” Xiao Qiao smiled.

“So many ‘okays’ you had in your line,” Lei said.

Mei Zhuo glared at him, and Lei quickly walked away.

**********

“So did you manage to get anything from London?” Mei Zhuo asked Xiao Qiao.

Xiao Qiao poked the fork into the French fries and then puts it in her mouth, “Yes,”

“So do you have anything for me?” Mei Zhuo grinned.

“Yes,” Xiao Qiao said.

“Really? What is it?” Mei Zhuo asked, excitedly.

Jing continued eating her salad and Lei sipping his ice lemon tea while looking at Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao.

“You want to see it now?” Xiao Qiao asked. “Okay,” she turned to the handbag she placed behind her and then opened the handbag.

“Oh? My gift is not in the luggage… in my car?” Mei Zhuo frowned.

“Nope,” Xiao Qiao said and then she took out a pencil with a word ‘London’ on it. “Your gift,”

“PENCIL?!” Mei Zhuo exclaimed.

Lei and Jing immediately laughed out. Jing immediately covered her mouth, for fear the salad will fall out from her mouth, and Lei got choked on his ice lemon tea, and he keeps coughing.

“You don’t get an authentic ‘London’ pencil anywhere but London itself,” Xiao Qiao said sarcastically, continued eating her fries.

“Honey…” Mei Zhuo said.

“Well, of course you can get a fake one anywhere on the street but loses its authenticity since it is not from London itself,” Xiao Qiao said. “Does not serve its purpose already,”

“Looks like Miss Ying is still mad at her hubby,” Jing said, continued laughing.

“Oh well…” Lei said, as he relieved from his cough, he took a spoon up and placed it in front of Mei Zhuo, “This will be my gift for you from this restaurant,”

“HEY!” Mei Zhuo said. “SHADAP!”

Jing laughed still. Xiao Qiao at least smiled a bit on the joke Lei did at Mei Zhuo.

“The bigger gift is in my luggage, I will pass it to you later,” Xiao Qiao said.

“OH?” Mei Zhuo became very happy like a kid being offered candy.

Lei immediately took an empty plate up and put at Mei Zhuo’s place again, “This is my bigger gift for you from this restaurant,” before he burst out laughing.

Mei Zhuo glared at Lei, while the ladies start laughing. “You give me these gifts… the intentions are; a spoon to dig your eyeballs out, and put it on the plate, right?! That’s for teasing me!” Mei Zhuo said.

All of them start laughing out loud, earning glares from other people in the restaurant.

“Oops,” they said and then they covered their mouth. Their laughter slowly fades and they end up chuckled at each other.

They then quiet.

“Sigh… I really missed our F4 gathering… sit around… joke…” Mei Zhuo said, “And doing our signature thumbs up, thumbs down…”

“Things change over time… right?” Lei said. “We are now with partners…”

Mei Zhuo smiled as he lightly leaned back to the seat. “Of course things change over time… but I do wish we have gatherings once in a while,”

“Ah Si has promised to come to my annual dinner next month. He will come back solely for that… and he will leave the next day to continue his trip, so we can have that gathering that time,” Lei said.

“Oh? He said he will come back? Your annual dinner is like in the middle of his trip,” Mei Zhuo said.

“He said he will come back for 2 days for my annual dinner. And he told me it also means that San Chai can do all the shopping and then bring them home, before they continue the next round of shopping in the trip,” Lei then laughed, Jing, Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao joined in the laugh.

“And Xi Men is like… missing,” Mei Zhuo said.

“‘Missing’ in his work, you should say. Come on… that dude… nothing but work,” Lei said.”Don’t worry, he will come to my annual dinner too so you will see him that time,”

“Urgh, that is like next month,” Mei Zhuo said.

“Better than next year, right?” Lei said.

Mei Zhuo smiled, and then he turned looking at Xiao Qiao, “You know, right? Xi Men literally changed since Xiao You left,”

“Yeah, you told me about it,” Xiao Qiao said.

“But I also noticed a bit different in Xiao You when we see her the other day,” Jing said.

“You mean?” Lei asked.

“Oh well. I mean… of course she is different physically, and that she is more beautiful now… more than I can imagine when I met her during my birthday back then, but when I mention about Xi Men to her…”

“You mean she don’t know who Xi Men is?” Mei Zhuo interrupted.

“No, I mean she knows who Xi Men is… of course she knows who Xi Men is!” Jing said and all of them laughed.

“Of course, I meant she pretended she didn’t know who he is?” Mei Zhuo said.

“I mean… she looked a bit… disturbed with that name,” Jing said.

“Disturbed?” All of them said to Jing.

“Just a feeling,” Jing said. “Anyway,” she then turned looking at Lei. “We’ve bought our masks in London. The mask there is slightly different and looks nice. I guess people there quite often has costume party,”

“Oh, really? I still have yet to look for any,” Lei said.

“Just use a paper bag and put it over your head, cut two holes for your eyes, and you got a mask,” Mei Zhuo said. “Why the hassle to look or to buy any?”

Lei glared at him while Jing and Xiao Qiao laughed. “I am a Director, not a criminal!”

“This is the only time the Director can drop his image and be whoever he wants!” Mei Zhuo said.

“Of all, a criminal! You better come to my annual dinner fully wrapped up like a mummy and I’ll tell everyone the Director of Ling Corporation has gone bonkers!” Lei said.

“Can we expect Ah Si to wear a mask that looks like a pig?” Mei Zhuo said.

“He’ll look like PIGHEAD!” all of them said together and laughed.

**********

The next week.

Lei is reading the documents in his office.

His phone rang. He slides his hand into his pocket and took it out.

Lei: Hello, Jing?

Jing: Hi honey. Just a quick one. Guess who I met on my photo shoot today?

Jing has a photo shoot for a clothing brand today.

Lei: Photo shoot… ? Err… other models?

Jing rolled her eyes: Would you mind to come to the set now?

Lei: Now?

Jing: Yes, or else you’ll miss this.

Lei: Okay then… where are you? Where is the set?

Jing: This is the studio in fitness center in Seasons. Please mention it’s me asking you to come.

Lei: Okay. I’m coming now. The shoot is not gonna end anytime soon?

Jing: Not in the next 30 minutes.

Lei looked at his watch: Okay.

He hung up the call. And then he frowned. “Why did I agree to go to the set for nothing? Jing did not tell me who is at the set… and… she didn’t tell me why I should go there for…” he then shook lightly before he stood up, and walked out of his office.

**********

“I’m Teng Tang Jing’s boyfriend. She asked me to come,” Lei said at the man who blocked him from entering the studio.

“Oh, sure. I’ve been informed of your arrival,” the man then allowed Lei to enter.

“Thanks,” Lei smiled as he walked into the studio. He then saw a bunch of people focusing on a certain angle of the place. He knew that would be the photo shoot area. He then walked over.

“Hi dear!” Jing suddenly jumped out of nowhere.

Lei, at the speed of a lightning, turned and looked at Jing, “WAH! Where did you come from?”

“My mom’s tummy?” Jing said.

Lei laughed, “Of course,” Lei smiled as he leaned over and kissed her.

Jing smiled. “Actually I went for a change, so, they are taking pictures of other models,”

“Oh. And so you want me to come…” Lei said.

“Oh yeah, something to show you,” Jing dragged Lei.

“Huh?” Lei asked, and walked to where Jing dragged him to.

She pulled him to the set, where he is standing behind the photographer.

“Take a look at the model,” Jing said.

“Jing, I have you. I don’t have to look at other model,” Lei said.

“No, seriously. Look,” Jing said.

Lei then turned and looked at the set where a model is posing for photography. He then frowned.

“Looks familiar to you?” Jing asked.

“She did. Which commercial did she appear in before?” he continued to frown.

“Look properly,” Jing said.

Lei folded his arms and looked at the model. A while later, it feels like a light bulb just lightened in his brain, as something struck his mind. “She… she looks like…” he looked at her, paying utmost attention at her.

“Who?” Jing asked, and then she smirked.

“Xiao You…”


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