Love/Hate – Chapter 6

“Would you like to dance?” Xi Men asked Xiao You.

Xiao You looked at Xi Men.

“Miss, would you like to dance?”

Xi Men immediately eyed the guy that extends his hand in front of Xi Men. Apparently he is the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ guy that earlier invites Xiao You to sit at his table.

Xiao You looked at him, and then she looked at Xi Men’s face. Knowing that Xi Men is offended with the guy that came from nowhere, Xiao You then looked at the ‘Phantom’.

“Sure,” she said.

Xi Men turned looking at Xiao You. Stunned! He didn’t expect that someone will ‘cut queue’ and then Miss XYZ will take his offer.

“But…!” Xi Men said.

Xiao You smiled at Xi Men before she stood up and heads off with the ‘Phantom’ to the dance floor.

Xi Men stared in disbelief.

Ah Si, San Chai, Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao looked at XYZ at the dance floor in the arms of another masked man.

“How the hell did that happen?!” Xi Men said.

“Xi Men being dumped,” Ah Si said.

Xi Men glared at Ah Si. “No I am not!”

“Then why bother?” Ah Si asked.

“But I asked her first!” Xi Men said. “And he cuts queue!”

“She did not reject you, nor accept you,” San Chai said.

“So that means you can go over and cut HIS dance’s queue,” Mei Zhuo said.

“ARGHHHHHH…” Xi Men complained.

“Maybe Xi Men has never known the meaning of being sidelined,” Lei said.

All of them looked at Lei.

“What do you mean I don’t know?” Xi Men asked.

“All these while, no girl has resisted you, right? Looks like you’ve found one,” Lei said.

“Oh yeah… Xi Men is the lady killer. Lei is so right about you. You’ve found one now,” Ah Si said.

“I have never been resisted!” Xi Men said.

“That is why I said you are dumped!” Ah Si said.

“HEY! She is not my girlfriend or what! How can I be dumped?!” Xi Men yelled.

“Either shut up or go and fight for your pride,” San Chai said.

“Yes, I will do that!” Xi Men said.

Lei and Jing at the same time sighed. San Chai just pushed Xi Men to Xiao You again. But why is Xiao You reacting so weird towards Xi Men?

“Why are you sighing?” Xiao Qiao asked Jing and Lei.

Jing and Lei looked at her.

“Nothing,” Jing smiled. “Err… I just regret buying a hand-held mask because I need to keep holding it,” she simply said something to reply her.

“Maybe that is why XYZ wears a mask instead so she does not need to hold it all the time like us. I kinda regret too,” Xiao Qiao said. “And it will be easier to dance too without keep holding on it,”

“Honey, would you like to dance?” Mei Zhuo asked Xiao Qiao.

“But my mask is the hand-held type…” Xiao Qiao said. “Not easy for me,”

“You just tag a hand on my shoulder, the other holding the mask, I will guide you,”

Xiao Qiao smiled, “Okay then. Sure,”

And then Mei Zhuo held Xiao Qiao to stand on her feet, and they proceeded to the dance floor.

“LOOK! That is what I was expecting from Miss XYZ!” Xi Men said referring to Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao.

“Unfortunately it’s not,” Lei smiled and then turned looking at Jing, “Jing, would you like to dance with me?”

Jing smiled. “Sure,”

“Dear, have you improved your dancing skills?” Ah Si asked San Chai.

“What?!” San Chai asked. “I thought it was you with the problem!”

“Why not we try and see then…” Ah Si said, glaring at Xi Men.

“Stop glaring at me when you got your partner!” Xi Men said.

“Eh, somebody with a bad mood, come honey,” Ah Si quickly rose to his feet. “Quick,”

“Wait for me!” San Chai said, stood up and ran.

Xi Men looked at his friends dancing with their partner, and he looked at Miss XYZ dancing with the ‘Phantom’ when he thought the guy she is supposed to dance with is HIM! He’s furious. Never in his life has he had being resisted by a woman. It’s a humiliation to his pride and dignity as a man, and even more so he’s FORMERLY a playboy!

Double humiliation!

“ARGH!” Xi Men exclaimed. He kept looking at XYZ dancing with the ‘Phantom’.

The song is nearing the end.

Time to earn his pride back!

Xi Men stood up and walked to them just right after the song ends. Xi Men stretches his hand out at Xiao You.

“I would like to have a dance with you,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You looked at him, and then at the ‘Phantom’. The ‘Phantom’s’ face did showed that he is not content with just dancing for one song with Xiao You.

“I will dance with you at the next song,” Xiao You said at Xi Men.

‘Next song?!’ Xi Men’s mind screamed.

“Make it two,” the ‘Phantom’ said. “I like dancing with you. You have good moves,”

Xi Men stared at the ‘Phantom’. This ‘Phantom’ is definitely trying to stop or even block Xi Men from dancing with XYZ. Delaying means hurting the pride of Xi Men even more.

Xiao You smiled at the ‘Phantom’. “If that is the case, two songs later then,” she then looked at Xi Men.

Xi Men stared blankly at Xiao You.

‘THIS IS TORTURE!’ he thought to himself. ‘Busted pride for sure!’

And then the music starts.

Xiao You and the ‘Phantom’ completely ignored Xi Men’s presence and danced their way in the dance hall. The ‘Phantom’ deliberately ‘pushed’ Xi Men aside by knocking his shoulder at Xi Men’s.

Xi Men, as being pushed, tumbled a few steps only to clash at numerous dancing couples and he quickly make his way out of the dancing floor.

‘Where to hide my XI MEN’s face?!’ Xi Men thought.

Xiao You takes a quick look at Xi Men and then turned her sight to the ‘Phantom’.

Xi Men folded his hands on his chest and sat at his place, glaring at XYZ dancing with the ‘Phantom’. She is smiling and talking with him.

“Hey,” someone patted Xi Men.

Xi Men turned. “Lei?”

“Who else?” Lei asked.

“I thought you were dancing,” Xi Men said.

“Jing said she wants to go to the ladies so we take a short break,” Lei said. “When she comes back then we’ll go and dance again,”

“Oh,” Xi Men said.

“Why is your face like this? You look angry,” Lei said.

“I hate that ‘Phantom’,” Xi Men said.

“Phantom who?”

“That one dancing with XYZ,” Xi Men said.

Lei turned and looked. “It’s her choice to dance with whoever she wants,”

“But I asked her just now and she said one song later. Then he said TWO instead!” Xi Men said.

“Are you jealous?” Lei asked.

“Jealous? Why should I?” Xi Men asked.

“If you are not, then why are you reacting in a way like it matters so much to you whoever she dance with?” Lei asked.

Xi Men looked at her, “I don’t know. Just some kind of feeling that… I don’t really like,”

“Either you are jealous, or you just don’t like the fact that you are being rejected,” Lei said. “I think you are both,”

“No I am not,”

“Then go ask another girl to dance and leave XYZ alone,” Lei said.

Xi Men looked at Lei.

Lei turned to see Jing walking out from the ladies.

“She’s back. I’m off to dancing,” Lei said, looking at Xi Men before he turned and walked to the dance floor to dance with Jing.

Xi Men looked at Lei walking to the dance floor before he then looked at XYZ.

“Then why am I so bothered about you dancing with another fella?” Xi Men asked.

**********

Two songs later, which is equivalent to a total of 10 minutes of torture for Xi Men;

“My chance!” Xi Men said.

He then walked to Xiao You.

“Miss XYZ,” Xi Men extended his hand.

“Can I dance another song with you?” the ‘Phantom’ asked.

“An agreement is an agreement,” Xi Men said, annoyed with ‘Phantom’ snatching his dance partner for the night.

Xiao You smiled at the ‘Phantom’ and released her hand from his grip due to the dance, “I have agreed to this man that I will dance with him, therefore I will dance with him,”

Xi Men smiled as he then took Xiao You’s hand.

“Maybe after this,” Xiao You said at the ‘Phantom’.

“No, no, no! No more for the night. She will dance with me from now on,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You and the ‘Phantom’ looked at Xi Men.

“Sir, you don’t rule my life and therefore you do not have the right to determine who I will dance with,” Xiao You said at Xi Men.

Xi Men looked at Xiao You, “But, Miss XYZ, I have…”

Xiao You turned and looked at the ‘Phantom’, “Opera Ghost, we shall see if there is any opportunity to dance later, thank you for your time,” she smiled at him.

“Sure do, Miss XYZ,” the ‘Phantom’, which apparently his name is instead, ‘Opera Ghost’, nodded and slowly walked off.

Xiao You turned and looked at Xi Men. “Are you jealous?”

“No, and why should I?” Xi Men said, and he stands in place to wait for the song to start so he can dance with her.

“I don’t assume it is way too much because I have been sitting at your table since the start of the annual dinner and I only dance with him for 10 minutes, for a total of 3 songs,” Xiao You said.

“It’s 15 minutes,” Xi Men said.

“Does it matter? I sat at your table for 2 hours and you are calculating with me for 15 minutes away from you?” Xiao You asked.

“I asked you to dance and he just came in, cut my chance, and…”

“It is my choice whoever I want to dance with. It is my choice whichever table I want to sit at. It has nothing to do with you,” Xiao You said. “And you should be grateful I choose to sit at your table for 2 hours and dance with him for only 15 minutes,”

Xi Men looked at her. Indeed a lady with attitude.

“I…” Xi Men said. And then he quiet.

The song then starts. All of them are waiting for the right beat to start dancing.

“Are you gonna dance with me still?” Xi Men asked.

“It’s up to you actually. I don’t doubt that once I walk away alone, many others will want to come and dance with me,”

“Then yes. I want you to dance with me all that you can,” Xi Men said.

“I think that would be too much to ask then,” Xiao You said.

“Not for me,” Xi Men said. “I love dancing with a woman that fascinates me,”

Xiao You smiled. “I hope I did not misheard what you’ve said,”

“Miss XYZ fascinates me,” Xi Men said.

And the beat thumps.

Xi Men takes lead and guides Xiao You to his embrace and the dance.

Pure silence.

Both of them manage to dance in sync with each other.

“Good dancing steps,” Xi Men said.

“Thanks, you too,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men smiled, “I was taught of these steps since young. Everyone in my family must know how to dance during these events,”

“No doubt,”

“Huh?” Xi Men asked.

Xiao You looked at him. She almost leaks out telling him that she knows who he is. “I can see in your way and body language that you are someone who does this numerous times,”

“I am a businessman, I ought to know…”

“Businessman needs to know dancing to get business? Then I supposed the clients are woman?” she said sarcastically. “Unless you dance with a man,”

‘This woman is challenging,’ Xi Men thought to himself. “As a businessman, I attend functions my clients’ host,” Xi Men said. “It will be an embarrassment if I don’t know how to dance,”

“Oh, so, that’s why, huh?” Xiao You said.

“Yes…” Xi Men said.

Xiao You smirked.

“Miss XYZ… where do you stay?” Xi Men asked.

“What?” Xiao You asked.

“Where do you stay?” Xi Men asked.

“Why? You want to stalk me?” Xiao You asked.

Xi Men laughed, “Why would I want to do that? Asking for your number would do to stalk you,”

Xiao You smirked, “You don’t know how I look. Why would you want to ask for my number?”

“Why not? I believe beneath the mask is a pretty lady,” Xi Men smiled.

“Then let those images stay alive in your head,” Xiao You said.

“Actually I crave for confirmation of that,” Xi Men said.

“Impossible,” Xiao You said.

“Why? I really want to see that face of yours,” Xi Men said.

“This is a masquerade night. I want to have my mask stays on. Besides, I am ugly. So you don’t have to see. And take my word. Don’t force me to do something you don’t want me to do,”

“Like?”

“Stomping on your feet before I ditch you on the dance floor,” Xiao You said. “Total embarrassment for Mr. Xi Men then,”

Xi Men laughed. “I like you,”

Xiao You stunned, “What?”

“You are full of character. You challenged me to the max. Each word you utter makes me wanted to know how you look like,” Xi Men said. “I wish we can be friends,”

Xiao You smirked, “So you want to tell me that you have never met anyone like me?”

“Someone as special and as unique like you that challenged me like this? Nope,” Xi Men smiled.

“I bet you do. Unless you have never met a girl before,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men smiled, a special and unique girl; and with that sentence, he remembered Xiao You. “A special and unique girl… yes. But her character and personality is different from you,”

“Oh,” Xiao You said. “Your girlfriend?”

Xi Men looked at her, “No,” he shook. “No,” he straightened his face. “I am single,” he said. “Miss XYZ, I am interested to know more about you. I really want to be friends with you,”

“Some things are meant to just stay within the border. And the border for you and me, is this annual dinner,” Xiao You said.

“You are gonna put me thru so much of misery, Miss XYZ,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You smirked, “You put yourself into the misery, not me,”

Xi Men smiled, “But I do want to see you again, I want to see us more than just being strangers in this annual dinner,”

“Just say that you want to see my face,” Xiao You said.

“Yes, I want to see your face,”

“No,” Xiao You said.

“Why? The pretty face of yours should not be hidden from sight,” Xi Men said.

“Respect my wish,” Xiao You said. “And be grateful I still talk to you. When the dinner ends, the same goes to you and me. We shall part and never see again,”

“We don’t really stand a chance to even talk after this?”

“No,”

“But why?”

“I prefer to stay that way. Some things are meant just to live within that moment,”

“Are you always this mysterious?”

Xiao You smirked, “I like that term,”

Xi Men smirked, “Do you know you have a teasing smile… so sweet yet so flirty,”

“Why? Jealous?”

Xi Men laughed, “I’m not a girl to jealous of not having a smile like yours,” he said. “Miss XYZ…”

Xiao You looked at him.

“I don’t know why you want to keep your identity a secret but I’ll respect your decision. Then, allow me to maximize the time tonight to be close to you, because tonight is the only time that I have to know you. I don’t mind the pretty face of yours beneath the mask, as long as you allow me to spend all the time I have tonight with you,” Xi Men said. “Because I know I won’t be seeing you again, so… I hope it’s not too much to ask for…”

“You really fancy me that much?” Xiao You smirked.

“Yes, if given the chance I would want to know you more than just XYZ, more than just the woman I saw in Hua Ze Corporation’s annual dinner,” Xi Men said.

Xiao You smiled.

“So… may I be able to have your maximum available time for me tonight?” Xi Men asked.

Xiao You smirked as she remained silent while dancing with Xi Men. Xi Men looked at her, waiting for her respond. Just when Xi Men felt disappointed…

“If you respect me to not showing my face, then I’ll respect and agree to your wish to spend all of your time with me tonight,” Xiao You said.

Xi Men looked at her, “Really?!”

“Oh well, if you don’t want…”

“Want! I want!” Xi Men said happily. “Thanks…”

Xiao You smiled.


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