Love/Hate – Chapter 33

“Come, let me help you,” Xi Men extended his hand and took the bag from Xiao You’s hand without her agreeing beforehand. Or rather, he snatched it from her before she responded.

Xiao You did not say anything since Xi Men is so persistent about it that he just took the bag so quick enough there is simply no time for her to open her mouth and say something.

“Careful,” Xi Men said, extend his other hand and holds her arm.

“Xi Men, we are just entering the lift, and it is not like I can’t walk and need constant care about each single movement and things I do,” Xiao You annoyed.

“Oh,” Xi Men said. “I… I am just concern for you,”

“I know,” she walked into the lift.

Xi Men pressed the lift button, and then dunked his head lightly.

Xiao You stood in the lift and looked up to the digital board while waiting for the lift to reach the top floor of the building.

Ding!

The lift reached. Xi Men immediately walked out from the lift and he extended his hand out to Xiao You. Xiao You glared at him.

Xi Men dunked his head, avoiding her eyes, and still offering his hand.

“Just go and open the door of your penthouse,” Xiao You said, coming out from the lift without taking his hand.

“Yes, madam,” Xi Men said and quickly walked off.

Xiao You rolled her eyes and she followed him. Xi Men took out the keys and he opened the door. He opened the door wide for her.

“Please come in,” he said.

“That’s more like it,” Xiao You said. “At least you don’t hold my arm like I cannot walk by myself,” she walked into the penthouse.

“I am just…”

“Concern for me, right?” she said, continuing his statement.

“Yes. So much to your ‘un-liking’ I am in fact, very concern for you for you are my friend and you are pregnant,” Xi Men said. “I don’t see myself doing something wrong in taking care of you or being concern about you as well as your welfare,” he closed the door.

She turned and looked at him. “So much that sometimes you make me feel like I am a disable,”

Xi Men looked at her. “Look, I am sorry if that is what you felt. But you should take it from another perspective that people are not taking you as a disable but is taking extra care for you,”

“Just because I have a baby?”

“I do believe that pregnant woman needs more care and nutrients and stuffs,” Xi Men said.

“If I am not pregnant, you will not take care of me up to this level, right?”

“Look, I said…” he stopped. “What?”

“If I give you another pregnant lady that has the same fate as me, will you take care of her as well?”

“What I meant was… errr…”

“Nothing to say?” Xiao You asked, folding her arms on her chest.

He took a deep breath and looked away.

“Thank you for your generosity and extending your love and care everywhere. Once this is over, you can spare your love and care to someone else who needed it more,” she turned her head.

He looked at her, “Xiao You…!”

“What?”

He stopped. He took a deep breath. “I believe you are familiar but not too familiar with this place,” he then walked ahead of her. “I’ll show you my house and your room,” he just simply changed the topic.

The first thing she remembers about the house is the couch, and not to mention, his bed.

**********

Xi Men looked into the computer in his study room and scratches his head. He took multiple deep breaths and rested his head at the chair.

He then stood up and walked out from the study room to the living room in his penthouse.

He walked to the mini bar and casually grabbed a glass from the cabinet, and then browsed through the bottles of alcoholic drinks on the bar. He then grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured it out to the glass. He then took a gulp before refilling it.

He took a deep breath and then with the glass of vodka in his hand, he walked towards the study room when he saw Xiao You walks towards him.

She glanced at the glass he is holding, before she diverted her route to the kitchen, without speaking a word.

He felt awkward at her looking, and walking past him without uttering a word at all. He cannot even hear her breathe when she walked past him.

Total quietness.

He turned and looked at Xiao You who seems to treat the house like her’s as she headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge’s door.

“What are you looking for?” Xi Men couldn’t help but ask.

“Apple juice,” she said, as she took out the fruit juice from the fridge.

“Oh,” he said. He actually brought it over from her place as he bought it for her the other day, and since moving over, he moved everything he bought for her over to his penthouse.

“It’s too early for a glass of alcoholic drinks,” she suddenly said, as she poured the juice on a cup.

“Err… I don’t specify a time for drinks…” he replied. “I had a mini bar in my office so I drank ‘em there too…”

“So you’d prefer to get drunk and work?” she said casually as she sipped the apple juice.

He laughed. “I don’t get drunk easily,” he walked towards the kitchen but Xiao You emerged from it.

“So much that your blood has adapted to it and become a part of your body?” she said, as she walked to the living room, to which he follows.

“I admit I drank a lot that my body has adapted to it, but I don’t agree my blood has become alcoholic,” he smiled.

She sits on the couch comfortably as she pressed on the remote and switched the TV on. “What channels do you have here?” she asked.

“Everything,” he said. “HBO, Sports, History, Cartoon…”

“I just want to watch some local Taiwan game show,”

“HAR?”

She looked at him. “What’s with that reaction?”

“I have international channels and you wanted a local one?”

“I feel like watching some game shows and have some laughter over them,” she said, pressing the channels button on the remote control. She then raised her feet up and crossed them on the couch.

“Ah… you shouldn’t do like this…” Xi Men said.

“Huh?”

“The legs,” he said.

She frowned. “What’s up to that?”

“Err… it won’t harm the baby?” he asked.

She laughed. “Oh yes, that will crook the baby’s head,”

“What?!” he said.

She laughed. “Come on! I was just joking and you believe in it?”

He glared at her. “You scare the shit out of me,” he said.

She laughed. “Want some apple juice?” she asked.

“Nah, I have my vodka,” he said.

“Vodka? Wow,” she said. “What causes you to drink one like… in the day?” she keeps pressing the button on the remote control to search for her channel on TV.

“Work stress,” he said. Taking another deep breath.

“Maybe you should work in the office instead,” she said.

“Why?”

“You can concentrate more. Besides, I am here watching some funny game show and you might be distracted,” she said.

“I wanted to work from home so that I am flexible and I am there for you when you needed me,” he said. “And it is my own company, I have that flexibility,”

“I will be fine, Xi Men,”

“I insist. It is just for that one tiny happening that you might need me. Just that tiny little one, and at least I am there,” Xi Men said. “I know very well that you will be fine, with or without me. I don’t need your assurance because I know you will. I only meant for emergency that you might need me,”

She smiled.

“You know… sometimes, I…”

“AHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA,” she suddenly laughed out loud.

“Huh?” he asked.

“AHAHAHAHAH…” she then turned looking at him, “Oops, that game show was too funny I cannot stop laughing. What were you saying again? Sometimes what?”

He smiled at her happy laughter. “Nevermind. Enjoy your show, Xiao You. I’ll get back to my work,”

“Okay, happy working… AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA,” she laughed again.

He smiled. He has never really heard her laughing to that extent. He stood up and walked to his study room.

Even when he is working, he can hear her laughter from the living room. Inadvertently he will smile at each laugh she made.

**********

Knock! Knock!

“Come in!” Xi Men called.

“Hey,” Xiao You said.

“Yes?” Xi Men asked.

“I am hungry,” Xiao You said. “And I crave for pork chop,”

“Oh?” Xi Men looked at the clock. It is already 7pm. Time for dinner. “Okay, let me wrap this up, then I’ll bring you out to eat, okay? So where to eat the pork chop?”

“I don’t know,” Xiao You said.

“You don’t know?” Xi Men asked.

“Aren’t you supposed to know it better than me?” Xiao You asked.

“Okay, okay. I’ll ask around for you,” Xi Men said.

“Okay. Then I’ll get dressed up,” Xiao You said.

“Okay,” Xi Men said, speeds up his typing on the keyboard.

“By the way,” she said.

“Yeah?”

“No hotel, 5 stars restaurant,” she said. “I want street food,”

“Huh? Why?” he asked.

“I just crave for such taste,” she said as she walked out.

An hour later…

Xi Men looked around as he is sitting on a round chair with many people walking past behind him. He looked down to the floor on where his feet landed, and he looked around the uneven floor.

“Pork chop!” the waiter hastily placed down the plate in front of Xi Men and then at Xiao You, waking Xi Men up from what he is watching.

Xi Men looked and then frowned at the pork chop placed on the plate in front of him, while Xiao You rubbed her hands and smiled at the sight of the pork chop like she had found some diamonds.

“Yay,” she said.

He looked at Xiao You. “What is this?”

“Pork chop,” she looked at him as she took up her knife and fork.

“This doesn’t look like pork to me?” he questioned it himself.

“You can get something about the same like this at a high class restaurant. It’s just that they put it nicely and due to the presentation of the dishes, they charge you more than what you pay for this kind of stalls,” she said.

Sure enough. After he surfs the blogs in the Internet on where to get a nice and delicious pork chop, the bloggers wrote that they should go to night market where food is everywhere, just like what Jing said. He refused to ask his buddies yet another time again so he referred straight to the Internet.

Street stalls and market food is simply not his type of food. It is his first time eating at a stall and he actually hesitate to sit down on the chair in the first place, worrying the chair was just a piece of wood merely attached to few metal pieces and that it won’t be able to support his weight and his butt.

He remembered that when he reached that stall, Xiao You happily sat down on the empty chair that he rushed forward, wanted to hold her in case she falls down but clearly, nothing happened. He rushed forward to his amazement that Xiao You did not fall down at all. He then looked at the other chair and that was when he HAD to sit down because Xiao You already did.

Most of his meals have been at restaurants and he had never ever came to such stall and eat, asides from the last few times he came to buy food for Xiao You, just because she wanted it.

He wondered how can he eat at these kinds of places?

“Either you get it better here or there. Different cooks and experiences they had will make different type of pork chops, sometimes you don’t have to pay so much to get nice pork chops,” she said suddenly. “You don’t want to eat?”

Xi Men looked at her already munching on the pork chop. “Oh, how was it?” he reluctantly takes up the knife and fork.

“Delicious. Superb,” she smiled.

“Aren’t you afraid of…” he said.

She looked at him, “What?”

“Err… you know, street food… is not hygienic,”

She glared at him. “You all rich brats always think like that. You’ll miss a lot of good food, you see. Worst come to worst just food poisoning,” she rolled her eyes.

He turned to look at her, the way she speaks is like she didn’t mind having food poisoning at all.

“What?!”

“Look,” she looked at him. He stopped. “I told you I wanted pork chop. I didn’t say YOU NEED to eat pork chop,” she cut out a piece of the pork chop. “If a rich man like you could not be able to cope with eating such food, you don’t have to force yourself to eat one for me. I couldn’t thank you enough for bringing me here and I know that ever since you reach to this stall, you did not feel comfortable at all that you refused to sit,”

He looked at her.

“Don’t you think that I didn’t know about that,” she said. “Now, if you do not want this pork chop…”

“I’ll have it,” he said shortly. “I didn’t know what is so nice about this pork chop yet that you enjoyed it to the max, so I really wanted to try…”

“Go ahead,” she said, looking at him.

He stared at the pork chop for a while, and then he poke the meat with the fork while with the other hand, he run through the knife at it. He then took the piece up and he looked at Xiao You staring at him.

Xiao You raised her head at him, giving him signs to eat or leave.

He then put the meat into his mouth and then he started munching. He then looked at Xiao You.

“How?” she asked.

“Hey, not bad,” he said, as he munched even more. “This is nicer than most of the pork chops I had in the restaurants,”

“See?” she said. “I told you,”

He smiled at her.

“So you are starting to enjoy good street food?”

“You can say so. But I learned all this types of food from you, and besides, you’ve started your cravings,” he smiled as he cut another piece.

“Great. You have a lot to learn to eat. As long as you are not afraid of any rats running around near your feet,” she said casually.

Immediately Xi Men raised his feet and knocked on the table that it shakes the table and causes both of their drinks to tumble and poured the drinks on the table. Xiao You and Xi Men were fast enough to react by moving their chairs back before the drinks started flowing down to their shirts or pants.

All the customers turned to look at them.

Xiao You glared at Xi Men. And Xi Men glared at her.

“Why do you have to scare me?” Xi Men asked.

“Why do you have to react like that? It’s not like one is running over your feet now,” Xiao You said. “And you are scared of rat?”

“It is just reflex,” Xi Men said.

The waiter came quickly and wipes the table due to the poured drinks.

“Anymore drinks for you?” the waiter asked.

“Yes,” Xiao You and Xi Men said at the same time.

Luckily their pork chop is still in their plates.


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