At a pier… 9pm.
Xiao You folded her hands on her chest as her mind is busy firing at all directions.
Emily sat next to her enjoying the breeze while her wandering eyes (Emily) are on the lookout.
What is Xi Men up to; that he would come all the way to Toronto to do this?
Everything seems well planned; right behind her back.
Xiao You slowly turned her head to look at Emily. Xi Men asked for their address from Emily, and Emily hadn’t say anything about giving the address to Xi Men to her.
How is she supposed to ask Emily about it?
“Uncle Harry is here!” Emily suddenly said, and she jumped down from the bench.
Xiao You immediately turned to where Emily heads to.
“Uncle Harry! Aunty Christina! I miss you!”
Harry and Christina are walking towards them, and Harry smiled as he opened his arms wide when Emily rushes to him and hugs him.
And Xiao You rose to her feet, and walked to them, grabbing the few paper bags that she had placed on the bench along.
Christina smiled at the sight of Harry and Emily hugging.
“I miss you too, Emily,” Harry said, wrapping his hands around the 8 years old kid.
Emily relieved from the hug, “Aunty Christina!” she said and immediately heads to her (Christina) and hugs Christina.
“I miss you too, how is your trip to Taiwan?” Christina asked, hugging her back.
“Awesome!!” Emily said excitedly. “I love it!”
“Hi Harry,” Xiao You smiled as she friendly-hugged Harry.
“Welcome back Xiao You,” Harry hugged her and said.
And after the hug, Xiao You shifted to Christina, “Christina, miss you so much,” she hugs Christina.
“I miss you too. I envy you,” Christina said, hugs Xiao You back.
“For the vacation?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes,” Christina smiled.
“We can go together next time,” Emily smiled. “I want to go again,”
“Wow, you really love the place, huh?” Christina asked.
“Yes! Aunty Christina, you must go,”
“Alright, but not for 6 weeks. You know Uncle Harry can’t take such a long leave,” Christina smiled.
“Okay!” Emily said. And then she took over the few paper bags from Xiao You’s hand. “This is for you and Uncle Harry,” she handed the bags to Christina.
Christina took the bags and opened up the bags to take a glimpse of what is inside.
“Whoa… so many?” Harry asked, looking at the boxes of biscuits and other stuffs.
“Just some biscuits, and some souvenirs from Taiwan,” Xiao You smiled. “Local delicacies,”
“Thanks,” Christina said.
“Since you have just arrived this afternoon, why don’t you rest a bit more? Why do you ask to meet up so soon?” Harry asked, switching his gaze from Emily to Xiao You.
Xiao You smiled slightly, she lowered her head and then lifted it up again and looked at Harry with a concerned face. “I want to talk to you,” she looked at Harry.
“Me?” Harry asked, and he turned to look at Christina.
“Yes, you. But…” Xiao You said, glanced over to Emily.
Christina, noticing and understand the hint; smiled, “I’ll walk around and talk with Emily,”
“I am sorry, Christina. I’ll make sure I explained to you in a bit,” Xiao You said.
“It is okay. Harry can tell me later,” Christina smiled, “I can ask more about Taiwan from Emily,”
“Thank you,” Xiao You smiled as she puts both her hands into her trench coat’s pockets.
“Emily, we’ll take a walk around the pier. And tell me more about your vacation,” Christina extends her hand to Emily.
“Sure!” Emily said as she placed her hand into Christina’s hand.
Harry smiled, as he looked at Christina walking away with Emily in hand.
Xiao You looked at Emily walking away and smiling as well as talking happily with Christina.
He then turned to look at Xiao You. “What’s up?”
Xiao You looked at him, and then she turned around to see the bench that she was sitting at just now is still not occupied. “Let’s go to the bench and sit, Harry,” Xiao You said, as she heads towards it.
Harry frowned and seeing her walking towards it, he followed her.
She sat down on the bench, overlooking the sea. And Harry sits down next to Xiao You.
“Are you alright, Xiao You? You looked bothered,” Harry said. “Something happened?”
Xiao You, with both her hands remained in the pockets, swallowed a lump in her throat. “My mom told me… my friend came,”
“From Taiwan…” Xiao You’s eyes strayed.
Harry smiled. “Ah, yes, Xi Men,”
“Mom said you met him…”
“What did you guys talk?” Xiao You asked, turned and looked at him.
Harry smiled. “You,”
“What is it about me that you guys talked?” Xiao You asked.
Harry took a deep breath, “He is wooing you, I know, I’m happy for you,”
Xiao You’s eyes widened as she looked at Harry. “He told you that?”
Harry nodded. “He is a nice guy, Xiao You,”
“I know,” Xiao You said, looking away. “He is like… one of the nicest guys I have met,” she swallowed the lump in her throat. “What did you both talked about?”
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about him. I asked you the other day on the phone call and you said there is none,” Harry said. “Give yourself a chance, Xiao You. I know Emily could be a deterrent, but if Xi Men…”
“Just tell me what both of you talked about,” Xiao You said, with slight tinge of frustration in her voice. “Alright?”
“Why… you looked upset,” Harry said, looking at Xiao You. “I have never seen you reacting like this,”
“We are best friends, right?” Xiao You looked up and stared straight at Harry.
“Yes, of course,”
“So, due to our friendship, just tell me what you guys have said. Please,”
Harry is slightly taken aback by that ‘please’ word. It was pronounced with a slight hint of frustration and begging tone but yet it is serious. They have been great friends for a decade, though they do say ‘thanks’ and ‘sorry’ as well as ‘please’ to each other and be polite and casual, they don’t have to say ‘please’ to that extent of tone. Now this must be really serious.
He could only look at Xiao You seemingly begging for Harry to spill what he had said to Xi Men.
“Your mother called me up, and he is already at your house at that time… he took over the phone and said he wanted to meet me because Emily has been talking to him about me,” Harry said. “So I agreed to meet him plainly because he mentioned your name. I mean, I wouldn’t go out and meet some strangers, but it is because the call is made by your mom, and he mentioned you,”
“I have never seen him before. But I knew it was him the moment I went to the place. And he gawked at me for a long time, I don’t know why,” Harry said. “He eventually asked if by any means… I am linked romantically with you in the past,”
Xiao You smirked as she looked out straight to the sea in front of her.
“I can see from his face that he is really concerned. He wanted to know so much about you. But due to respect and him being a stranger, I didn’t tell him anything at first. Until he convinced me that he wants to be with you, he wants to know how life has been for you… and that he has been in love with you 9 years ago before you migrated over to Canada,”
Xiao You’s smirked faded, but remained looking straight when she heard the word ‘love’.
“I can sense his sincerity about how he felt for you and that he admits he loves you,” Harry said.
She took a deep breath. “And then…”
Harry senses the uneasiness in Xiao You’s body language. “He asked about how we met. He asked about your life in Toronto for the past 9 years. So, I told him about University, about…”
Xiao You turned to look at Harry, “Did you tell him I am not married?”
Harry is slightly terrified at the facial expression that Xiao You gave him. He swallowed a lump in his throat, “Yes,”
“Gosh!” Xiao You raised her head to look up to the sky and then she lowered her head down and looked at Harry, “Why did you tell him?!”
“You clearly know it is a lie to say you are married,”
“There is no exception to him! Harry, you know I told everyone the same thing; that I had a husband but he died!”
“He specifically asked about your husband and he asked why is Emily’s surname Yang and not your husband’s surname,”
“I named my daughter after my surname so that she can grow up well and happy and wouldn’t be reminded about her father!”
“But naming your daughter after you doesn’t mean people will stop asking about her father,”
Xiao You stopped. She then took a deep breath.
“Xiao You?” Harry asked, out of concern.
“You are right. People will never stop asking,” she sadly said. “No matter what I do to protect Emily, people will never stop asking, never stop speculating…”
“Xiao You, I am sorry if you do not want to tell him about this, but honestly, this is not something you can lie about and I am telling him because I want him to know the truth before both of you gets into a relationship. Honesty is a must for all relationships,”
“I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him…” she said as she looked away.
“He is a nice guy. He loves you and he loves Emily. I didn’t want you to let this good chance go,”
“You won’t understand…” Xiao You said.
“And I am helping you, and I really want you to find your happiness,”
“You are not helping me…” Xiao You mumbled but loud enough for Harry to hear it and she puts her hand on her forehead.
Slightly offended with her statement, “Xiao You, stop sabotaging yourself already,” Harry said.
Xiao You looked at Harry.
“For 9 years you have chose to remain single and keep using Emily as the excuse to not date and so forth. You have never tried going into a relationship with someone to know if he would love you and also love Emily like his own child,” Harry complains.
She turned her head away and looked straight.
“Remember Gavin Kang?” Harry asked.
Xiao You’s eyes strayed. “What about him?”
“He is one of the guys that likes you and even Emily… and gets rejected by you,”
Xiao You just took a deep breath and then exhaled it.
“Asides from Gavin, I have seen guys trying to get near you and you reject them without considering them at all. Both Christina and I are deeply saddened that you do not want to give yourself a chance to be happy and seek happiness that some guy who is in love with you can provide you,”
Xiao You didn’t say a thing.
“This guy came to me to ask about you, and yes, I am in no position trying to set you up with a match or a date because it is your life, but I am not going to let this one possible chance of you seeking happiness pass by,” Harry continued. “Xiao You, I am not asking you to jump into a marriage with him, but just to go out on a date and have a normal candlelight dinner and watch some movies, and perhaps you can bring Emily out as well in the dates and see how he reacts around her. If he really loves you and Emily just the way you have expected, then you can go to the next step. But if he is not what you wanted, then you moved on. I know Emily is a huge concern to you but you need to give yourself a chance. I am not saying all guys will definitely love a woman with a child because I knew some who don’t, but there are some who would. Like Xi Men,”
Xiao You’s eyes strayed by slight at his mentioning of ‘Xi Men’.
“So yes, like it or not, I told him about you because I am doing it for you as your best friend,” Harry said.
“He came all the way from Taiwan to look for you and asked you because he cannot get all the information he wanted from me,” Xiao You said.
“He said he came because of a business trip,”
“I don’t know whether he is really coming over to Canada for a business trip, yes, he probably has business to do here, but I don’t think that is main motive. I truly believe his prime motive of this trip is definitely not the business but to seek answers and the truth from people close to me,”
Harry sighed. “Okay, fine. Assuming he really come just to find out more about you, I can say he is full of sincerity. He came because he can’t get them from you. Imagine, how many guys will really travel 14 hours to find out about the woman he wanted to be with? And he found out about me being your best friend so he came to ask me, and at one point, thought I was his rival…”
“Yeah. Weirdo,” Xiao You murmured. “But Harry,” she said with frustration, “You don’t have to tell him the truth about my deceased husband. You could just tell him what you know, the same way I tell to other people,”
“I am your best friend for 9 years but I know nothing much about your husband other than ‘he is nice and he died in an accident before Emily was born’. I can’t even tell more about your non-existent husband and if I were to create a story up, it will not be sync with yours. So what kind of best friend am I, Xiao You?”
Xiao You looked at Harry, and then she lowered her head down.
“Because he doesn’t exist, Xiao You. Me as your best friend for 9 years, do not even know who your ‘deceased husband’ is, so how do you want me to lie to him, huh?” Harry asked. “And besides, I don’t even want to lie to him. I want him to know the truth about you, just the kind of person you are,”
“Of all people to tell the truth…” Xiao You raised her left hand up and covered the left part of her face. “Why him…”
“Because I saw what happened to Gavin. Gavin didn’t know you are not married and thus he approached you carefully for fear of making you upset since you are not ‘over’ the ‘death of your husband’. If he knew the truth about your ‘deceased husband’, he would approach you differently,” Harry said.
Xiao You looked at Harry for telling her something that she didn’t know.
“So yes, I felt bad for concealing the truth from Gavin. And right now, I don’t want the same thing to happen between you and Xi Men,” Harry said.
Xiao You then looked straight again, and she sighed.
“Look, I am actually honored when I heard from Xi Men himself saying that he loves you. And I have never met anyone so committed and so passionate into trying to win you and want to be with you. And he seems to be really close with Emily, or else he wouldn’t know about me from Emily. If he loves you and he can mingle well with Emily, I am sure things will work out for you and him. Just treat it as though I have screened him for you. Emily shouldn’t be the reason to deter you from finding your significant other. In fact, she should be the reason for you to find a better person to be your significant other,”
“You don’t know him, Harry, why are you talking on behalf of him?”
“I don’t have to know him well to talk on behalf of him. I want you to be happy, Xiao You,”
“What makes you think I am not?”
“You are, but I want you to be happier than what you are and what you have right now. You have never dated because of Emily and I didn’t want you to continue like this,” Harry said. “I don’t even know what went wrong and why you are like this…”
It is because of Xi Men.
Prior to meeting Harry, Xiao You already had an idea on what would be Xi Men’s motive to come to Toronto and doing all of these quietly behind her back.
Upon listening to what Harry had said about his meeting with Xi Men, she could almost confirm 100% that she is right about Xi Men’s motive.
Deep inside her, she desperately hopes Xi Men came with a different motive. But each and every single point that Harry had mentioned about what he had talked to Xi Men, just confirms her thought and speculation.
Now, one more question left to ask Harry.
Something so petrifying for her to ask, but she needs to know…
Harry looked at her.
“Did he ask you… when and how I get pregnant?” her gaze to him is full with fear.
Harry looked at her, his eyes strayed a bit. “Yeah… he asked…”
Xiao You closed her eyes, “What did you tell him?”
“I said, a few months after your transfer, there is a school break and you went for a trip. That is when it happened,”
It is confirmed. His motive to Toronto is exactly what she had expected.
Her heart dropped.
She didn’t want this to happen at all.
Her nightmare has begun.
“He knew… he already found out…” Xiao You buried her face in her hands for a brief while before she raised her head up and looked at Harry. “You shouldn’t have told him!” she suddenly yelled.
“I can’t believe you are still sabotaging yourself until the end,” Harry said, after seeing her reactions.
“I didn’t sabotage myself!” Xiao You said, reacting wildly. “Those few lines give them away. Someone as smart as him would know what it means!”
“What are you talking about? What give them away?”
Xiao You’s head is straight but her eyes are strayed, “Xi Men manipulated you into telling him about me and Emily. I didn’t know what went wrong in the middle. I didn’t know how he knew. I have tried in so many ways to make sure it didn’t happen. He must have found out in Taipei. He didn’t come to Toronto for business trip. He came to find out the truth,”
“Huh? I still don’t know what you are talking about,” Harry said.
She looked at Harry, “Don’t you feel weird for someone to ask you about a specific detail of when and how I got pregnant?”
“I don’t understand,”
“No one will come to you and ask you HOW and WHEN it happened. Nobody is interested in finding out I got pregnant few months after my transfer to Toronto, you got what I mean? For a matter that had happened 9 years ago, nobody will ask that anymore,”
Harry frowned, as what Xiao You said makes sense. “You are right…” he scratched his own head before he looked at Xiao You again, and this time, Xiao You is squeezing her nasal bridge with her eyes closed. “Xiao You, what is wrong? You seemed a little concerned about this…”
Xiao You opened her eyes and turned to look at Harry. She took a deep breath and swallowed a lump in her throat while Harry is waiting for her respond.
“Xi Men is Emily’s father,”
Same time, the other side of the world.
Xi Men lifted up his head to look at Mr. Xi Men who had just entered his CEO Room. “Hi dad,”
“Didn’t see you for the past few days,”
“Yeah… was away…” Xi Men looked at Secretary Xu closing the door behind his father.
“Right… I supposed, not for business, right?” Mr. Xi Men walked over and sits down in front of Xi Men and clasped his hands together and smirked.
Xi Men shook as he turned to look at the computer. “How do you know?”
“Secretary Xu would have gone with you if it is a business trip,” his father said and looked at Xi Men.
“I see,” Xi Men said, and then he happened to mumble. “So someone eventually knows it is not business trip if I go off without Secretary Xu,”
Mr. Xi Men remained looking at Xi Men, and eventually tilted his head. “You look quite tired,” he frowned.
“Didn’t get to sleep much last night. Have slight trouble adjusting to the time zone here. Suffering from jetlag,”
“Jetlag? Went to some different time zone countries?”
“Yes, 12 hours difference,” Xi Men said. “So I should be sleeping now, but I have things to do so I can’t sleep on day time now, and I need to train the body to adjust to the time in Taipei again,”
“Alright… so is it okay if I come to ask and follow up with you about Hex project?”
“Before that, I have something I want to talk to you,” Xi Men said, taking a deep breath.
“Really? What about?”
“I want to talk about Amanda,”
“Mentioning of that, I heard from Amanda that you didn’t spend some time with her for the past 7 weeks,” Mr. Xi Men said. “She had complained to her father and ultimately it has come to me,”
(*7 weeks because the last time Xi Men spends time with Amanda is the awkward dinner between F3 & wives with Xi Men & Amanda which happens 1 week before Xiao You came thus a total of 7 weeks)
“That is what you have to expect from some elite woman,” Xi Men rolled his eyes as he complains.
Mr. Xi Men frowned. “What?”
“Dad, you know I am a workaholic. I have a company. I don’t spend time at home. So what makes you think I have time to spend it with her?”
“I didn’t ask you to spend 24 hours a day with her. Just spare some,” Mr. Xi Men said. “She is going to be your wife soon,”
“So what did you respond to her when she complained that?” Xi Men took a deep, frustrating breath.
“She told her father, not me. I said I don’t know what you are up to. Besides, as you know, I don’t really care much about what you do because you are not a kid to be monitored all the time,”
“I will not marry Amanda,”
Mr. Xi Men’s eyes focuses straight to Xi Men’s eyes. “What did you just say?”
“I am not going to marry Amanda. I want to cancel the wedding,” Xi Men said.
“What are you talking about?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“I have never loved Amanda. I can’t imagine myself marrying someone like her and spends the rest of my life with her. And look at her. She wants me to spend my time with her when I obviously said I DO NOT have time,”
“I told you before, Xi Men, you don’t love her now doesn’t mean you don’t love her next time. And about the time, just a few hours a day. And it is just a small thing. You don’t have to cancel the entire wedding just for that one small thing. Why can’t you compromise?”
“I already have someone I love,” Xi Men said.
His father frowned. “Who? From which family?”
“Her name is Yang Xiao You. She is not from any rich or elite family,”
“So she is a commoner?”
Xi Men despises his father for having to put it that way, “Yes,” he had to reply.
His father looked at him implausibly and at the same time amazed with what he had just heard. Soon he laughed. “You know you can’t be with a commoner,”
“Why? Just because you said so?”
“To be with a commoner is a joke. And your so-called feeling with her is going to just be a temporary feeling. Amanda is your real, true love,”
“Don’t tell me who is my real, true love when you are not me,” Xi Men said. “I said it. I am not going to marry Amanda, I don’t care,”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Xi Men. Your wedding is in 4.5 months,”
“I am being serious here. I will not marry Amanda. And if you insist to have it on, I will never attend, that is for sure,”
“Xi Men!” Mr. Xi Men smacked his hand on the table.
“I told you before, the reason I go out with Amanda was to stop you from nagging me about finding a girlfriend. And now I am telling you I am in love, and you are stopping me? What is your angle here, dad?”
“Angle? You agreed to marry her! And Amanda said there are sparks between both of you,”
“Sparks? Look at my eyes, do they look like I have feelings to her?”
“Xi Men! Amanda is perfect for you!”
“Like what?” Xi Men asked. “Knowing how to dress up and eat politely with the right cutleries that are placed on the table? Is that what you care? Yes, I can tell you, she is nice and friendly, and sooooooooo elite. And she is possibly someone everyone wants to be with, but not me. I can only treat her as a friend. She probably has some electric or fire sparks at me but I have none at her. Not even ice cold sparks!” he said. “How do you want me to spend my life with someone I won’t love?”
“Like how I did with your mom?”
“You really want to use that as an example? Okay, fine. Then look at you now with mom. What happened in the end? And you want me to go thru this? I am going to walk the same path like you, dad!”
“Mine is a failed case. And every case is different. As long as you put in effort, yours will be alright,”
“Yes, every case is different. And you know what is certain? I will not be happy. She will not be happy. And you will have no grandchildren,”
“I don’t like it that you use this to threaten me!”
“I am not threatening you. I am telling you the truth. Now everybody is happy, right?” Xi Men said.
“What is your problem?! What is wrong with Amanda that you would strongly protest like this?!”
“I am your son! Why do you love her so much to be your daughter-in-law instead of prioritizes me as your son? And all you do is ask me to marry someone I don’t love to destroy my life,”
“You are my son! Why would I want to destroy your life, huh? I am setting you up with Amanda because I am helping you! I am finding you a good wife, that is why I pick Amanda! And because you are my son, I care how and what a good wife would do for you! I give you education and I give you a company so why can’t you marry someone that lives up to your reputation rather than a commoner who has nothing!”
“Did you just say you are trading my life?” Xi Men asked in disbelief.