“Xiao You… if you are going to abort the baby… would you tell us who the father is?” Xiao Qiao asked.
Xiao You smiled lightly. “If I am going to abort it… I still don’t see a reason to tell who the father is, right?”
“So the baby DOES have a father,” San Chai said, pronouncing each of the words.
All of them looked at San Chai.
“What?” San Chai asked.
“Of course the baby has a father, San Chai,” Jing rolled her eyes.
“Of course I know that,” San Chai said.
“Then why that statement?” Xiao You asked.
“Because you keep saying there’s no father, there’s no father, there’s no father!” San Chai said. “Kids are so going to believe you that you get pregnant without a man. But to us…” she put her hands on her chest, “You do not want to say there is really a man, and you finally acknowledge it though you still want to keep him secret from us,”
Xiao You rolled her eyes. “Of course there is a man!”
“Who is it?” Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai said at the same time.
“No, I am not gonna tell it,” Xiao You said.
“Ahhh…..” they said together.
“What?” Xiao You asked.
“We are so close to get the answer!” Jing said.
“Yeah!” Xiao Qiao said.
“Urgh,” San Chai said.
Xiao You laughed. “No,” she said, and then the laughter fades, not even forming a smile. “Life has to go on for me. Having a kid is not an option for me now, not at all,”
“But…” San Chai said, and then she placed her hand on Xiao You’s tummy. “Are you ready to… abort?”
Xiao You swallowed the lump in her throat and silence filled the air, as she stared at San Chai’s hand on her stomach.
“Xiao You?” San Chai called.
“I am not ready to go through anything at all, San Chai,” Xiao You responded. “I am not ready to see the belly bulge with a living human inside. I am not ready to go thru the life of bearing and raising a kid on my own. I am not ready to support another human being. I am not ready to be a mother. I am not…” she stopped.
“Hm?” they questioned, as Xiao You stared her face straight. Straight to the balcony.
“I am not ready to go through abortion… as well,” Xiao You said.
“If that is the case, then why…” Xiao Qiao said.
“I am not ready to see transformation in life, but…” Xiao You said, slowly turn and look at Xiao Qiao. “As much as I am not ready to hold a responsibility to raise a kid, I am not ready to see my baby pulled out from my body and robbed off its life,” she then lowered her head.
“Awww…” San Chai, Xiao Qiao and Jing said, and then they approached Xiao You and hugged her.
“But… decision has to be made… regardless,” Xiao You said. “It took me 2 weeks… I really didn’t know what to do and what to decide,”
“Have you put anyone into consideration in this?” Jing asked.
“Anyone? What do you mean? And who?” Xiao You asked.
“Like, Xi Men?” Jing asked.
“Why? Why him?”
“He has been taking care of you for 2 weeks, I think he can be a good guardian for your kid if you wanted to raise him or her up,” Jing said.
“It takes a lot of effort for a single guy to choose to deal with a pregnant woman when he can go out with other woman. But, there is always a reason why a guy picks the girl,” Xiao Qiao said. “I can see that Xi Men truthfully wanted to take care of you,”
“As much as I don’t like Xi Men for you back then, I felt that he is a nice person in this situation and he gladly… no, he forced his way in to take care of you and your baby,” San Chai said.
Jing nodded. “A single guy like him… why he choose to take care of you?”
“Have you thought about him, trying to make up what he did back then?” Xiao You asked with her face blank.
“I don’t think he is. We can see the way he cares for you,” Jing said.
“Even if he is, do you think a guy will care for you like… his life? I mean… look at this house,” Xiao Qiao said.
And all of them blindly followed her instruction to look at the house.
“What do you want us to look at?” Xiao You said.
“I mean… err… I mean, look at what he has done for you. In this house, he makes sure you are comfortable. He works from home so he can monitor you…” Xiao Qiao said.
“Surveillance,” Xiao You corrected. “Big brother is watching,”
“Okay, I meant… you see, he cooks you food, he makes sure you are well fed, healthy, and what you requested… is and are always granted,” Xiao Qiao said.
“How do you know it’s always granted?” Xiao You asked.
“Then what is not?” Xiao Qiao asked.
Xiao You quiet.
“Going out from the house,” Jing pointed.
Xiao You pointed back at Jing indicates ‘that’s the one!’ “Yes, he did not allow me to go out from the house,”
“Okay, maybe that’s something. But, do you feel the house is different now?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“It has always been like this, Xiao Qiao,” Jing frowned.
“More homely?” Xiao Qiao looked at Jing.
Jing frowned again, and then eased up. “Oh yes, definitely,” she smiled. “A feel of woman’s presence,”
Xiao You rolled her eyes.
“Yes, a house with woman has a homely feeling,” San Chai smiled.
“It is never a home until there’s a woman,” Xiao Qiao smiled.
“I think all of you have been ‘infected’ by your men that you guys speak like them now,” Xiao You said.
Xiao Qiao, Jing and San Chai laughed.
“But, Xiao You, seriously, you gotta think properly about this,” Xiao Qiao said, pointing at her tummy. “We are against you aborting it, because it’s somehow, a life, but, we cannot decide for you to keep or reject the baby, whatever you have decided, we’ll support you, okay?” she held Xiao You’s arm.
Xiao You smiled, when Jing and San Chai nodded.
“Have you… scheduled with your doctor?” Jing asked.
“Actually I do,” Xiao You said.
“So you have decided? Then what’s with all the talks we just had…?” San Chai asked.
“Actually,” Xiao You interrupts San Chai before she goes further and lost control. “When I call the doctor to set the appointment, I am determined to go ahead with the abortion at the moment. But right now, as time goes… I have a lot to think, and thought about a lot of things,” she looked at them. “Despite I have made the call, my heart feels… heavy,” she took a deep breath.
“How did Xi Men take it?” Jing asked.
“Why do you ask?” Xiao You asked.
“Well, I feel that he…” Jing turned to look at the balcony. “He just looked different,” she turned again and looked at Xiao You. “How did he take it?” she asked again.
Xiao You sits there quietly for a moment, seems to gather the words in her mind. “When I first tell Xi Men that I wanted to go for abortion, I was in the mall with him. And I feel that, he did not seem to take it well. I can see that instant change of his face when I tell it to him. He became very quiet. The entire drive home from the mall was utterly quiet, which is so not him. He usually would try to talk if I wasn’t talking, or switch on the radio to listen to the music, but no. He didn’t. He did not speak, did not turn on the radio. Nothing. He just drives back home. The moment he reached home, he headed straight to the study room, closed the door and never came out. He only came out from the room at 6.30pm to ask me what I want to eat so that he can cook, or buy or something,”
“Well, at least he still asked you,” San Chai said.
“Yes, he ordered some Japanese Bento set for me,” Xiao You said. “Delivery,”
“Yeah, he doesn’t even want to go out from the house,” Xiao You said. “The only question he asked me the rest of the evening was, ‘do you want to let the F3 know about your decision?’ and I said, ‘no, not now’ and that was it. He said ok and left to his room again. It is like, all of a sudden he became very quiet, very emotional, very different person. Around 10, after there’s nothing to watch on TV, I went to my room. Perhaps he was waiting for me to enter the room, because not too long after I enter my room, I heard he opened the door and walked out from his room,”
“Where did he go?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“Just the living room. He sat next to this stereo set listening to the same damn song over and over again from 10pm until 8am this morning. He fell asleep on this couch. When I woke up this morning and emerge from my room, I can hear the same song still playing and he is asleep on the couch,”
“What song was that, that he has to repeat it… and never get bored of?” Jing asked.
“Can Hear Love by Ken Zhu,” Xiao You said.
“What song is that?” San Chai asked.
Xiao You hummed the song to her.
“Wow, you remember the song?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“Given to you, you only listen to one single song for few hours or for few days, will you remember it?” Xiao You asked.
“Right…” Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai said.
“Can Hear Love… hmm, sounds like it has some meanings, probably?” Jing asked.
“I am not sure,” Xiao You said. “I look at him, and I guess, he probably has a lot to think that he would sit next to the stereo and fall asleep when he should be sleeping on his bed. And since I already made my call to the doctor, I don’t see a reason to delay further to inform you guys. Besides, looking at his condition like this, probably he will be better to talk to his buddies,” she looked at them. “I don’t know when he made the call to your men, but the sole reason is to inform you that I have made the call and set the appointment. I do not ask for your advices to keep or not to keep the baby,”
“Xiao You, do you know that you are undecided?” Jing asked.
Xiao You looked at Jing. “I know,”
“So is there any possibility for you to change your mind?” Xiao Qiao asked.
“I don’t know,” she sighed. “This is one of the biggest decisions I have to make. And it is for life,”
“Can I off topic for a moment,” San Chai said, putting it in a statement and not question.
“What’s up,” Xiao You said.
“You said… looking at HIS condition like this, probably it is better to talk to his buddies. So, you mean you are only telling us because you felt that he needed to speak about it to his friends? Because he cannot take it? Because he was quiet the whole day? Because he slept on the couch, you felt sorry for him? So you mean, if he is not reacting this way, you would not have let us know? And you will go for the abortion quietly, silently and then only inform us after you have aborted it? And why is it that, I noticed, in your sayings, that you are doing this gathering because of Xi Men?” San Chai asked. “Nothing but XI MEN?”
Jing and Xiao Qiao looked at San Chai, and then at Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at San Chai. “First of all, you asked too many questions it confused me. Secondly, I didn’t say I did not want to inform you guys about my planning to abort. I only tell him to inform you guys later. And third, what are you talking about me concentrating on Xi Men’s emotion and doing everything for him?” she frowned at San Chai.
“Did you actually develop some kind of feelings for Xi Men?” San Chai asked.
“I thanked him for taking care of me,”
“And that’s about it?” San Chai questioned. “To me, it feels far more than that,”
“Nothing more than being grateful to be protected by him. Don’t you forget he did not allow me to go out!”
“And for that you will not like him? Look, I have something seriously need to speak out, Xiao You,” San Chai said. “I had enough of keeping this,”
“What?” Xiao You asked.
Xiao Qiao and Jing looked at San Chai, wonder if San Chai has decided to not keep the secrets secret anymore?
“When you first came back to Taipei, you did not inform me at all, I don’t know what kind of friend I had become to you because you do not keep in touch with me, you do not seem to be treating me like a best friend, and you did not tell me what happened to you when you are in Canada. And I know nothing about you in London! You came back here treating all the guys differently like they have in some part of your life killed you. Next, you attended Lei’s company’s dinner and you appeared to be Miss XYZ and I didn’t know it is you. You slept with Xi Men, fainted, get into the hospital, and all hell breaks loose. I didn’t know you suffered mental torture in Canada. I didn’t know you hated Xi Men up to that extent that you hated the rest of F3. I didn’t know you waited Xi Men at airport and literally all your life in Canada for him to come and at least wait for him to contact you. Do you know how painful it is for me to know all of this happened to you and I know not even a single thing about it?” San Chai asked her. “It puts a point where I am not your friend at all, least to say your best friend from the cake shop,”
Xiao You kept quiet.
“I know in life, friendships changed. We lead separate and different lives, and I am married. I admit I changed too for I am somebody’s wife. However, does it mean that I am not San Chai anymore?” San Chai asked. “Do you know that you have let this matter of Xi Men, that being a jerk, did not contact you and look for you in Canada eats you up mentally and emotionally that you changed because of that? This is all your personal issue with your mind that you have to hate him to move on with life. This, at the end, is still your personal issue and has nothing to do with Xi Men. Psychologically people do get affected mentally and emotionally by many things and stuffs in life that it will affect the way one thinks and reacts,”
“So you are telling me that I am sick and psycho?” Xiao You asked.
“No, in terms of psychology, this is normal because one grows and become a better person. But personally for me, you let this eat you up that your mind and soul takes it and blames it all on Xi Men not because he did something that really hurt you, but because he did not do something that he scared it will hurt you. You dramatically changed because you couldn’t let it move past you and you take it as your life. Your life has been full of hatred to Xi Men that every single point of your life’s failure or near fail is pointed to Xi Men. He is not at fault at all and when you told him about how much you hated him, he try to make changes in your life and asked us how and what can be done. He asked us if he really made a mistake. And then we come to a conclusion that this is something to do with mentally and emotionally, and in some ways, his fault as well. He said he wanted to take care of you, I personally felt that, he did that not because he felt sorry or trying to make things right, but he is trying to let you see that life is not all about hatred. Honestly, hating someone is tiring. It is really not his fault for your life turn out like this. It is just that he is co-related to it and he feels bad about it. If you want to come to this term, shall I be hating you to the core for refusing to let me know everything about you, refusing to reply my emails, refusing me…”
“Wait…” Xiao You closed her eyes. “What do you mean it is not his fault? What do you mean I hate him because he did not do something he is scared that it will hurt me?” she opened her eyes.
Jing, Xiao Qiao and San Chai looked at each other.
“Tell her,” San Chai said.
“Xiao You…” Xiao Qiao took a deep breath. “There was this once, Jing, San Chai and I sit down for a coffee 5 years ago and talk about you,”
Xiao You looked at Xiao Qiao.
“There is a revelation. Xi Men, being so secretive about himself that even his buddies do not understand him, has actually headed to the airport the day you left,” Xiao Qiao asked.
“What?” Xiao You asked.
“He was informed the wrong time of your flight. He reached there 2 hours after your flight departed, thinking there’s 4 hours more before your schedule flight,” Jing said.
“What?” Xiao You repeated.
“He spent the earlier time to buy you gifts and roses. He thought your plane is 8pm. So he reached the airport at 4pm only to find out the flight to Canada on that day only has one flight, which is 2pm,” Xiao Qiao said. “Mei Zhuo was with him,”
Xiao You gaped.
“He was devastated, Mei Zhuo said that he dumped everything he bought into the rubbish bin, and he head home, completely sad,” Xiao Qiao said.
“A year later, he wanted to go and look for you in Canada. He bought the flight ticket. I was in his office with Ah Si and I saw it torn in pieces in the rubbish bin,” San Chai said. “I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t know why he buys it and he didn’t go. We didn’t ask because we have never heard him mentioned about going to Canada. And I cannot say I rummage it in the rubbish bin,”
“So you should see it now. He did try to see you, but it didn’t happen. It was not his fault for causing you hatred in your life. It is all your mind and soul, trying too hard that you dragged him as the prime reason for the hatred, and that caused you to hate him for every single thing in your life. He only plays his part now to let you ease your hatred on him, on life and look at the brighter life,” San Chai said.
“Why didn’t he tell me?”
“To him, past is past. He doesn’t see a point to explain all of this just so you can stop hating him in a split second. He sees that the past forms and shapes who you are today, Xiao You. He wants to show you that hating him is fine but there will be no use of you still hating him. He is showing you that there’s someone that still cares for you and…” San Chai said, and then folding her arms on her chest. “And I still think he have feelings for you despite he keeps on denying for the past 6 years,”
“We are all your friends. We care for you, it’s just that, he cares for you more,” Jing said. “How many men out there are willing to take care of a girl and take her unborn baby as his’ without knowing who the father of the baby is, or how the baby conceived, and he risk everything – his bachelorhood, and even his status as a CEO marred by the media because of her? Because of you, Xiao You?”
“It is either he doesn’t care about his status, cares so much for the girl, or he likes the girl,” Xiao Qiao said. “Or, looking for some other motives like fame from her,”
“Or simply because he has nothing to do,” San Chai said. “Your pick,”