Love/Hate – Chapter 9

Xi Men crossed his hand over to the empty spot next to him on the bed. Feeling different than he had expected, he then raised his head, slowly opening his eyes and looked at the empty spot. He then frowned. He blinked numerous times before he closed his eyes and crashed his head down on the soft pillow.

“I have the best dream ever…” he mumbled. “I have the best intimacy ever in my entire life,” he smiled. “Oh gosh… she just brought me to heaven,”

It took him a while before he opened his eyes again. “Wait…” he then looked at the empty spot. “I think that is not a dream…” he looked around. “Where is XYZ?” he said.

He looked at the clock next to his bed. It’s 10am.

It is very rare of him to sleep past 9am… what’s more it’s 10am!

He gets into deep thinking. “What happened…”

He tried to sit up on the bed but in the end he yelled… “Ouch! Painful legs!” he massaged his inner thighs. “Enough to prove I have intimacy last night!” he yelled at his legs. “Ouch, ouch, ouch,”

He closed his eyes to recall what really happened.

“Three rounds,” he said, and he opened his eyes. “No wonder my legs are pain and I am dead tired!” he yelled. “Three rounds baby!” he said, as if it is an achievement for him. But he also know that this is his best intimacy he ever had… not because he had not had any intimacy for the past 6 years, but to even compare to when he was a playboy, this is the best ever!

“Miss XYZ…” he said. “Where is she…” he looked around.

Noting that no one is at his place but he himself, he knows XYZ must have left his place when he was dead asleep. Now he won’t know who XYZ is… for sure.

“I will find her. I want to know who she is,” he said. And then he yelled all the way to the toilet due to the pain on his legs.

**********

Xiao You opened the closet in her room to look for a new set of clothes to change after her shower. Her eyes lay straight at the black mask with feathers that she wore the night earlier. She stared at it a while, before she ignored the mask and look for the right clothes to wear.

She has a contract to sign today. It took her a while to think and come with the decision of signing the contract. That is, if she signs it, she will be permanently staying in Taipei.

It is not easy to come with such decision. She has to decide if she wants to be in Taipei or not, and at the same time, this is a good career opportunity.

Some opportunity if forgoes or rejected, it will never come back.

**********

“Come in!” Lei yelled when he heard the knocks on his door.

Someone opened the door and walked in.

Lei did not bother about who is behind the door as he is focused to his computer composing email.

“Hi, Lei,” someone said. “I mean, Mr. Hua Ze,”

Lei immediately turned his head to the voice of a woman. He looked at her. “Xiao You?” he called.

“Yes,” Xiao You said as she walked to the desk and sits down in front of him, without his invitation.

“Oh… hi, Xiao You. What brings you here?” Lei asked.

“A word of thank you,” Xiao You smiled, as she clasped her hands together.

“Huh?” he asked.

“Do you remember… there is someone supposed to sign a contract today?” she asked.

Lei looked at her. “Someone…?”

“Do you remember… you have a new clothing line, you needed a model, and appointed an agent to send a letter to a model, to represent the brand?” she asked.

Lei stared at her, “Model?” he thinks deeply. “Xy Yang?” (he pronounced it See Yehng)

“It is supposed to be X.Y. Yang,” Xiao You said, correcting him. (she pronounced it X. Y. Yarng)

“X. Y. Yang?” he repeated after her. “You mean all this while I have been pronouncing that name wrongly?”

“It doesn’t matter who ate the dots out of the name,” Xiao You said. “As long as she came,”

“X. Y. Yang… you mean… It’s you?!” Lei asked.

Xiao You smirked. “Yes, it’s me; Xiao You Yang. I am fondly called X.Y. Yang in professional line,”

“Oh my gosh! I didn’t know it’s you!” Lei said.

“Now you know,” Xiao You said. “I received the mails from your agent and discussed about my payment. So now I’ve agreed, and I came. Last week’s photo shoot was from another brand,”

“I’m so glad you took the offer…” Lei said.

“I actually didn’t want to take the offer, until your girlfriend said Taipei is my home,” Xiao You said. She took a deep breath. “Anyway, she is right. I grow up here, I do feel better, but different, to be back in Taipei,”

“What do you mean by better, but different?”

“Well, I grow up here. To be back to a familiar place, of course I do feel good. And why it feels different… because I’ve left this place long enough to be a stranger in my home country,” Xiao You explained. “Anyway, back to business. Since you are offering me with such a good pay, I don’t find a reason to hesitate coming,”

“He told me you are new in the industry…” Lei said.

“Oh yes,” Xiao You said. “I am. I just got into this a few months back,”

“Okay… err… let me get the contract for you to sign,” Lei said, looking thru the drawers. “And so you will be permanent here?”

Xiao You smiled, “Yes, or else, how do I perform according to your contract? But in the meantime, according to the content of the contract, this job does not deter me from looking at other opportunities so it meant that I can still work with other companies and photo shoots,”

“You are good in reading that contract,” Lei said.

“Every word in contract is not supposed to be missed,” Xiao You said.

“Well, I know you said you have a few jobs to do in Taipei…” Lei said.

“I have actually completed all of them the past few weeks. Now only this,” she poked at the table, indicating the current one that Lei was mentioning and offering to her.

He then found the contract, and he put it in front of Xiao You. “I am very glad it was you… so that we can work closely,”

Xiao You smiled. “Thank you for the opportunity,” she opened the contract.

“You’re welcome…” Lei said.

“By the way,” Xiao You said, looking at the contract.

“Yes?”

“I know you and Jing knew about me last night. I hope my identity remains secret from everyone. It is my option to be called XYZ last night and she shall fade with the dinner when it ends last night,” she flipped the document, without bothering to look at him.

“But… you are now based in Taipei, you don’t want to see them?” Lei asked.

“That is different. Somehow someday they will know about my presence in Taipei. What I meant was the identity last night,” she said. “Miss XYZ,”

“Oh okay… I’ll inform Jing,” Lei said.

“Thank you,” she said. “The contract is okay. Can I sign now?”

“Oh sure…” Lei said. He looked at her signing the contract. “It is weird that Mei Zhuo could recognized everyone last night but you,”

“It represents that I changed beyond recognition or familiarized,” she smiled.

“You definitely changed… all of us have a hard time knowing you…” Lei said.

“Isn’t that good,” Xiao You said. “Since I have put my past behind so a change is good,”

“Huh?” Lei asked.

“I’m done,” Xiao You said, pushing the signed contract to him.

“Oh, okay…” Lei said. “But what happened to your voice last night?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. I was screaming during the photoshoot earlier in the day,” Xiao You said, touching her neck. “It’s okay right now,”

“Oh, now that explains how come your voice is different last night,” Lei said.

Xiao You smiled.

“So, I’m looking forward to work with you, Xiao You,” Lei said, extending his hand out.

Xiao You grabbed his hand for the handshake, “Thank you,”

“Did Xi Men send you home last night?” Lei asked.

Xiao You loosened her hand from his grip. “Where else do you think he will send me to?”

“So do you mean he knows where you stay?” Lei asked.

“No,” Xiao You said. “I didn’t know Mr. Hua Ze would mix both personal and professional fields together in one conversation,”

Lei smirked. “I’ll take that as a compliment instead of sarcasm, Miss Yang,”

Xiao You smiled. “Up to you,”

“I am happy that you took up the offer and would like to stay back in Taipei for good,” Lei said.

“No problem. The best thing about this offer is that I am not tied up by the contract, that I can do freelance outside,” Xiao You said. “Anyway, I got to go…”

“Not staying back, maybe for lunch?” Lei asked.

“No, not really. But thanks,” Xiao You said. “I don’t want to be seen eating lunch with a CEO, one on one. Besides, you gotta remember, my presence at the moment has not been acknowledged. And you are a man in a relationship with a fabulous lady out there. It is not good to be seen with another woman,” she stood up.

“But Jing knows you are around, that is the most important one,” Lei said as he stood up.

Xiao You smiled. “I am glad you take Jing’s feelings into consideration,”

Lei smiled at the compliment.

“But you have to remember what people say and in the end it will reflect on you and her too. You are one of the famous businessmen in the country. That makes you a celebrity. And what paparazzi do? Chase after celebrities,” Xiao You said. “Means they chase after you. Create news, impact on you and Jing,”

Lei’s smile fades off instantly. “Oh,” that’s all he could say.

“I’m going off. I have things to do,” Xiao You said.

“Oh okay…” Lei said. “Maybe someday all of us can sit together and have meals or reunion. Just so you are back now, your presence will somehow be found out by everyone,”

Xiao You looked at Lei, “I’m just an ordinary human being. It is not a need or a must to acknowledge my presence in Taipei to all of them,”

“Still, we are all friends. Friends are forever, isn’t it?” Lei said. “Like I said, someday they will know as well. Either you tell them, or they bumped onto you on road or something. It’s just a sooner or later thingy. At that time, all of us can eat together, right?” he smiled, “I know you, Xiao You. Actually you have already met all of them with your face covered which means you are partially ready to see them. So, now what’s left is just you needing to show up officially and perhaps confirming or telling them that you are staying in Taipei, whatever it is. I am not forcing you to meet them now. We will do it whenever you are ready,” Lei said. “I do hope that this reunion will happen, Xiao You,”

Xiao You smiled. “You win, Lei,”

Lei smiled. “So when you are ready to meet everyone, drop me a call so we can host a dinner or lunch or something,”

“I am not a celebrity. I don’t need such a grand entrance or grand event to be hosted by Mr. Hua Ze for me,” Xiao You said.

“With you, I am not CEO or any celebrity. I am just Hua Ze Lei. I’m just your friend,” Lei smiled. “You deserve it. I’ll be anticipating your call for our reunion,”

Xiao You smiled. “We’ll see,”

“Okay… I don’t want to hold you back. You take care,” Lei smiled.

“Sure, thanks. You too,” Xiao You said.

“Let me send you to the door…” Lei said.

“I’ll be fine, Lei. No worries,” Xiao You said as she opened the door herself and then she closed it.

Lei stared at the door. “Now I really don’t get it. It takes so much effort to talk to her now. She is so not the Xiao You that I’ve known back then…” he mumbled.

**********

Xiao You proceeds to the lift and pressed the heading ‘down’ button. She stood there for a while waiting for the lift.

DING!

The lift reached and then opened the door. She then looked at the guy emerging from the lift.

He just glimpses at Xiao You while a hand of his is stuck in his pants and walked out from the lift. Xiao You glanced at him and then entered the lift.

He turned back and looked at Xiao You and Xiao You pressed the ‘close’ button.

The lift’s door then closed.

“What is there to stare, Mei Zhuo?” Xiao You mumbled as the lift headed down to the ground floor.

“That is a very familiar face… she looked like someone I knew…” Mei Zhuo said, still standing outside the lift. “Nevermind…” he then turned and walked into Lei’s office.

Knock! Knock!

“Come in!” Lei said after keeping the contract into the drawer.

“Yo, dude!” Mei Zhuo said happily.

Lei stared at him. Did he see Xiao You when he comes up just now? But if he did, he surely wouldn’t be reacting like this… maybe a more spectacular reaction than just ‘yo, dude!’. Lei would surely respect Xiao You’s pick to remain low until she is willing to see the others face to face. As a matter of fact, Lei would prefer that Xiao You does this by herself, rather than someone else revealing her identity and that she is now in Taipei for good. She must have her own reasons to remain low. It is just by coincidence that she met Xiao Qiao and Jing in London and now being offered a job by Lei.

“Hey,” Lei responded.

“You know, just now when I reached your office, I was exchanging glare with another girl as I leave the lift and she enters,” Mei Zhuo said, with his hand pointing to the back which reflects that the lift is at the ‘back’.

Lei looked at Mei Zhuo, “Then?”

“I don’t know. She looks familiar. But I cannot recognize who she is. She looked at me for a while and then she just go off with the lift,” Mei Zhuo said. “Maybe she just looks like someone I know. She look at me and then she didn’t show me the face that she recognized me,”

“Oh,” Lei said. Xiao You definitely will recognize Mei Zhuo but with her reaction as per what Mei Zhuo described, she may just not want to be recognized and therefore pretends she doesn’t recognize him.

“Hey,” Mei Zhuo said.

Lei looked at him, “What?”

“Any idea who she is?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Who is she?” Lei asked.

“She… she, the girl at the lift?”

“I am in my room all the time. I don’t have another body or another eye to stare at the lift for you,” Lei said. “I didn’t see her, how do I know who she is?”

“True also,” Mei Zhuo scratched his head. “Anyway, are you ready?”

“Ready? For what?” Lei asked.

“Lunch?” Mei Zhuo asked. “We’ve agreed, haven’t we?”

“Oh yeah,” Lei said. “I forgot, give me a moment to finish this email,” he then diverted his attention to the computer.

“Okay, no problem,” Mei Zhuo said.


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