“XI MEN ZHONG ER LANG!” Mr. Xi Men called as he turned to look at Xi Men’s back.
Xi Men stopped walking, with his back still facing his father.
“If you dare to walk out from that door, you are no longer my son!”
Xi Men swallowed a lump in his throat. He then turned and looked at his father, “So, you would rather disown me… than cancelling this wedding and give me my happiness? You want to see me suffer in my marriage with Amanda?”
“I am telling you, I am doing what a father should do. Giving you THE BEST,” Mr. Xi Men said. “And I want you to understand that you don’t love Amanda now, doesn’t mean you don’t love her later and YOU will be happy with AMANDA instead of a commoner. YOU GOT ME?”
Xi Men looked at his father bitterly. “Fine… fine…” he slowly turned his head and looked away. He then swallowed yet another lump in his throat and took a deep breath before lowering his head down.
Mr. Xi Men looked at his son, and a part of him is relieved that this conversation is over. The idea of threatening to disown his son works.
“If I can get my life to run the way I want it to be, then I am willing to lose everything,” Xi Men said, with his eyes focused on the carpeted floor of his CEO room.
His father’s eyes widened up and stunned at the response Xi Men had given. “What did you just say…?”
Xi Men lifted up his head and looked at his father. “You don’t know how much it means to me to be with the woman I love,” Xi Men said, tears starting to well up in his eyes. “And since you have said it…” he bites his lower lip. “It will make things easier for you too,” he swallowed another lump in his throat. “Now you have a perfect reason to tell Mr. Lee that I am not going to marry his daughter because I am no longer your son,”
“And you are telling me you rather give up everything, even your status, than marrying Amanda?”
“To be with Xiao You? Yes. If that is the only choice you give me,” Xi Men said. “But it is indeed the only choice, right?”
Mr. Xi Men stared at Xi Men, and he had only anger in him, and he is unsure what to say or do now as his eyes slowly traveled away from Xi Men.
“You want me to be responsible, right?” Xi Men said.
Mr. Xi Men returned his focus to Xi Men.
“I am. And I really want to. Because you know why?” Xi Men asked.
Mr. Xi Men remained looking at Xi Men, anticipating what Xi Men is about to say.
“Xiao You has a daughter. And she is your granddaughter,” Xi Men said, and without a pause at all, he turned and walked to the door.
Mr. Xi Men is slightly taken aback with what Xi Men had uttered.
After taking two steps, Xi Men suddenly stopped.
With his back facing his father, “That is if you acknowledged it. But whether you like it or not, she still is my daughter and I love her to death,” Xi Men resumed heading to the door
He opened the door and walked out leaving behind his dumbfounded father in his CEO room.
PAK. (door closed)
Harry gaped yet another time. “Xi Men is engaged?”
Xiao You smiled and nodded. “But not to me,”
“I know, I mean… what? But… he said he wanted to pursue a relationship with you,”
Xiao You smirked. “But he is indeed engaged,”
Harry bites his lower lip as he frowned. “Strange. Why would he say he wants to start a relationship with you if he is really engaged? A man can’t be with two women at the same time,”
“Maybe he just said that to make you reveal things,” Xiao You said.
“From the way he speaks, he doesn’t sound like one that will do that…”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover, Harry,”
“Well, since you know him better… does he look like one to you?” Harry asked, looking at her.
Her eyes are fixed at Harry as she is caught by surprise at how he had turned the question around to her. She went quiet. “Umm…”
Harry smirked. “There you have it,” he said. “Xi Men is not someone like that,”
Xiao You smiled faintly as she lowered her head.
Harry analyzes, “I guess…”
“You know…” Xiao You interrupted.
“Xi Men took some time off to go traveling with me and Emily,”
Xiao You nodded. “On my second week in Taiwan, he took a whole week off to go to this place call Hualien with us. And about two weeks ago, he took 5 days off to go to Alishan with us. At there… he actually asked me… what I will think if he wants to be with me instead,”
“Oh? And then?”
“I said no,” Xiao You said.
“Do you think he meant… he wants to have an affair with you?”
Xiao You laughed. “Like across the world?”
“Umm…” Harry scratched his head.
“I just told him that I love my husband so much… I wouldn’t take him,” Xiao You smiled.
“Xiao You… your husband doesn’t exist,”
“I know, of course I know,”
“Did he ask you that question without knowing who Emily is to him?”
“I guess so… there is no sign that he knew…”
Harry’s eyes strayed. “Wait. So, it really IS Xi Men,”
“Hmm?” Xiao You asked as she noticed the different tone from Harry.
“Christina and I have always known that the ‘deceased husband’ you have described is referring to Emily’s real father. And I have just realized, it really matched Xi Men,”
Xiao You just smiled briefly.
“Even though I’ve only met Xi Men for a while, it is enough for me to actually capture his best essences and match them with your description,” Harry said.
“You are still not too late to know about that,” Xiao You smiled.
Xiao You breathe a sigh of relief. “Feel so much better all of a sudden,”
She looked at Harry, “I have been keeping the identity of Emily’s father for a long time,”
“Sounds like a burden has lifted up from your heart,”
“Won’t deny about that,” she smiled.
“So… how did your trips with him go?”
“Trips are great though sometimes it just feels awkward to see him there with us at times. But Emily loves him lots. And not only did he go for trips with us, he actually came to find us almost every single day we are in Taipei, which is my first week there and my last week in Taiwan. He is happy when he is with me and Emily. He takes good care of Emily, brings her eat nice food and buys her stuffs,” Xiao You said.
“And he did all that without knowing Emily is his daughter, right?”
Xiao You nodded.
Harry smirked. “He really loves you and Emily… even though at that point of time he didn’t know she is his daughter,”
Xiao You smiled faintly. “That is why…” she took a deep breath. “Sometimes… what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Besides… I am not compatible with him,”
“You mean personality?”
“I…” Xiao You said, turned and looked at Harry. “Remember I said earlier… he is rich?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
“He is rich, and from a higher class,”
Harry frowned. “So?”
Xiao You looked at Harry in disbelief, “You still don’t get it? It means you are supposed to marry someone in the similar group like you,”
This time it is Harry looking at Xiao You in disbelief, “What kind of era are you guys stuck at, huh? Today is a modern time where you are free to choose and be what you want. Why is Xi Men like that?”
“His family? How old is Xi Men? To even let his family decide his life?”
“Are you telling me he is letting his family status to decide what he has to do with his life?”
“I am afraid so,”
Harry stared at Xiao You. “I can’t believe such thing still exists,”
“Yes, it is, even though not necessarily around you,”
“And are you telling me he will let his family status triumph what he wants in his life?”
“That, I am not sure,”
“If I were him, I would strive for what I want. Family status is just a status,”
“But people all knew commoners and elites are two different classes,”
“When love is involved, everything else is nothing,”
“I hope you are not using Rose and Jack from that famous sinking ship movie as an example,”
“No, of course not,” Harry said. “Okay,” he took a deep breath. “Assuming he is not engaged or whatever higher class he is from, will you give him a chance?”
Xiao You looked at Harry. “I… don’t know,” she lowered her head down, before she turned to the other side and looked at Christina sitting down with Emily on a bench far away from them and is talking to each other.
Harry looked at Xiao You, before he looked further to see his fiancée with Emily.
“I know this is not something you can decide overnight,” Harry said. “But I highly suggest you to think about it. He will be the right person to provide you every single thing you have missed, and happiness, both to you and Emily,”
“But he is engaged, that itself means things are impossible,”
“I am sure he is going to do something about it,”
Xiao You looked at Harry. “What do you mean?”
“The news about him being engaged definitely happens before he comes over to Toronto to find me. This is what I wanted to tell you just now (*she interrupts him earlier when he was analyzing). For a guy to say he wants to get into a relationship with you when he is engaged to someone else means he wants to be with you more than he wants to be with the other woman. Trust me, if all he wants from you is just to keep you as a mistress, he wouldn’t travel to the other side of the world just to look for your mother, and then look for me, and asked about you and your past 9 years. Because he wouldn’t care as much about his mistress,”
Xiao You remained looking at Harry.
“And all his actions had depicted that he loves you more than he loves her,” Harry said. “I know it is unfair to the other woman. But he is just engaged to her. To say it rudely; at any one time, he can cancel it… before he walked down the aisle, and more importantly, before he signed that marriage certificate,”
“But that is what I didn’t want to happen,”
“He already found out about you and Emily now so it may happen,” Harry said. “And assuming if he only found out Emily is his daughter after he is married, will he stay married to her, or will he come to you still?”
“I…” she lowered her head to look down to the ground.
“Xiao You, you always think for someone else. It is time for you to think for yourself. I am not saying he is definitely leaving his fiancée. And by any means all that we have just said is merely something I wished you can take some time out to think and decide. Because honestly, right now, the ball is in his court. If he is not coming to you, you have nothing to lose. You will live like usual… and in near future there will be a man that will come your way, accepting you and Emily. But if Xi Men comes back, it is ‘the next step’, which is your decision,”
Xiao You took a deep breath.
“But of course, there can be two reasons he will come…”
“First reason will be to confront you about Emily, and second reason will be if he actually came to be with you. They are two very different things. You just gotta prepare,”
Xiao You took a deep breath and then she nods as in she understands what Harry had said.
“Anyhow, I know you love him. If you don’t have to think about anything at all or even for his situation, I know you will accept him. But… at this point, you have to put someone else’s consideration too,” Harry said, looking at Xiao You before his focus shot over to Emily.
Xiao You looked at him, and upon seeing his eyes looking over, she turned to look at Emily.
“Emily,” Xiao You said.
Harry nodded. He then turned and looked at Xiao You. “Does Emily know Xi Men is her father already?”
Xiao You turned and looked back at Harry, and then she shook.
“I came to look for you the moment I found out Xi Men came to look for my mom… and you,” Xiao You said. “I am worried the things we are going to talk is exactly about Xi Men finding out about Emily. So… I asked her to stay away from us,” she again turned to look at Emily, and then she turned to look at Harry, “But she wanted to see you and Christina, so I can’t come out on my own,”
“Mentioning of that, don’t worry about Christina because I will explain it to her later. I have told her I met Xi Men the other day, but I didn’t know how complicated the entire situation is with you and Xi Men,” Harry said.
“I am sorry,”
“It is fine,” Harry said, taking a deep breath.
Xiao You just lowered her head down and looked at the floor.
“Emily grows up knowing she doesn’t have a father. And Xi Men is not simply a random guy for her mother, but Xi Men is also her father, her real father in fact. Assuming you can accept Xi Men, but will Emily accept him too after all the years Xi Men had been missing from her life? Or what if she is really happy about knowing Xi Men is her father, can you accept him back into your and Emily’s lives, looking at his current situation?” Harry asked.
“And Emily is a grown-up child, she knew how to evaluate things and think for herself. What will she think about you, having all along knowing the father is not dead? And the worst is, in this recent trip you have made to Taiwan, she was made to believe that he is just your friend where she fondly calls him Uncle Xi Men and happily hangs around with him. Can she cope with all the stress of lies that was not supposed to be placed on her?” Harry asked.
Xiao You exhaled a worrying sigh. “You’ve made me extremely worried…”
“Also… you have been raising Emily on your own for years now. Xi Men is not irresponsible, and as said by you, is not a jerk, because he didn’t know you were pregnant. If he comes back for you and Emily, he needs this opportunity to reimburse what he hadn’t done for his daughter. He had missed out the precious 9 years of bonding time with his daughter which he will never get back but he could only treasure more in the future if you would give him the chance. And the thing is, will you stop him from doing what he is supposed to do as a father? Do you want Emily to continue growing up without a father, now that Xi Men is in the picture?”
Xiao You took another deep breath as she squeezed her nasal bridge.
“If Xi Men comes back to you, you have a decision to make: to think of it for your sake or for Emily’s sake,” Harry said.
“So…” Xiao You said as she turned to look at Emily far away, “Regardless if I accept Xi Men or not, I need to think for Emily too,”
“That is right,” Harry said. “Xiao You… for all the years, do you actually ever plan to tell Emily about Xi Men? Or do you really plan to keep it like… for the rest of your life?”
Xiao You took a deep breath and exhaled it. “All this while… I only planned to take one day at a time. I just want Emily to live happily. I didn’t want her to feel hurt that she had a rich father who didn’t want to be a part of her life. But right now, I don’t know. I am afraid she might hate him. Hating someone is very tiring. I didn’t want her to do that. And not to her father. It wasn’t her fault,”
“Firstly, how do you know if she will hate Xi Men? And next, Xi Men had always wanted to be with you, and definitely Emily, if he had knew of her existence. It is just that… I don’t know what went wrong in the middle for the past 9 years between both of you…” Harry stopped, took a deep breath and looked at the stressed Xiao You sitting next to him. “But after all that had happened and how you have told Emily to treat Xi Men as a friend in Taiwan… Emily may really end up hating you once she knows the truth,”
Xiao You closed her eyes and takes a deep breath. “Oh my gosh… I feel so… terrible,”
Harry felt partially guilty since he had makes her feel bad. “I mean, it is just a possibility but… she may not hate you too, you know,” Harry said. “I am just telling you so that you know what to expect, umm… at least,”
“It felt like I won’t be able to make things right… no matter what I do,”
“Xiao You,” Harry extends his hand to squeeze Xiao You’s shoulder. “You may not be able to make things right, but you need to do the right thing now,”
Xiao You then lifted up her head to look at Harry.
“The secret is out. Xi Men already knew about Emily. And I guess… you know what to do next,” Harry turned to look at Emily.
She turned to look at Emily. “I never knew when is the right time,”
“I guess you know the time is now,” Harry said.
Everyone, sitting at the round table in a Chinese restaurant for lunch, stared at Xi Men.
“Please don’t look at me like that,” Xi Men said, taking a deep breath.
“I am sorry, I just can’t believe what I’ve heard,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Well… the last minute call for lunch gathering did not really… I mean… it made my rescheduling for meeting…” Ah Si said, “…worth it,” he looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men glanced over to San Chai who is gawking at Xi Men. “Please don’t whack me,”
“Why didn’t Xiao You told me about it?” San Chai asked. “That you are… Emily’s father?”
“She didn’t tell anyone… no one knows… and I just happened to have found out about it myself,” Xi Men said.
“It means all of us are fooled by Xiao You thinking that Emily is the child of her and her non-existent deceased husband,” Xiao Qiao said.
“You can say so… besides Lei knowing it one day earlier…” Xi Men said. “I told him… yesterday,”
“And Jing,” Lei said, turned and looked at Jing who is sitting next to him.
“I was already surprised at that revelation when Lei told me last night…” Jing said, returning her gaze to Lei.
“How come Lei knows beforehand?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“I meet up with him yesterday,” Xi Men said.
“How come no one ask me to…”
“That is not the point,” Xi Men interrupts Mei Zhuo. “I am asking all of you out for lunch today is to tell you that Emily is my daughter, and I am going to Toronto tonight. I am going to win Xiao You back,”
“Tonight? I thought you just came back yesterday…” Lei said.
“I know. But I don’t want to waste anymore time,” Xi Men said. “I have wasted years searching for her and I don’t want to wait anymore. Not even a day,”
“Then when are you coming back?” Ah Si asked.
“No idea, perhaps until I win her, or I may not come back at all,” Xi Men said. “I really don’t know, future is pretty blur right now,”
“What?” Mei Zhuo, Lei and Ah Si asked at the same time.
“Then how about your job? Your company?” Mei Zhuo asked. “Or Amanda? Are you planning to stay in Toronto just to avoid the wedding?”
Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo and then he turned to look at Lei, “As I have told Lei… I will talk to my dad to cancel the wedding,”
Lei nodded, indicating he agreed that is what they have discussed the day before, “So, did you talk to him already?”
“How did it go?” Lei asked.
Xi Men took a deep breath and after a long pause, “I fought with him, and my dad has disowned me,”
Everyone stared at him.
“Your dad disowned you…?!” Ah Si said.
Xi Men took a quick glance at everyone before he lowered his head to look down on the table, “Yes, he disowned me. He threatened me to pick between Xiao You and my current status…” he slowly lifted his head up to look at them.
“And… you picked Xiao You?” Jing said.
Xi Men nodded. “And since I am no longer his son, he will take over Xi Men Corporation whether he likes it or not. And Amanda… since I am not his son anymore, I am not obligated to continue with the wedding. Besides, she is the reason why he and I fought. Because I don’t want to marry her and I want to be with Xiao You,”
“But he disowned you…” Xiao Qiao said. “It is a very serious matter… your dad is really against you with Xiao You?”
“Yes, he didn’t like Xiao You because she is not one of us,” Xi Men said.
They exchanged glances and some took a deep breath.
Xi Men smiled faintly. “So I am a nobody now. No career, no company, and soon no money…” he said. “And please don’t judge me, I am now just a commoner… no longer the same as you guys,”
“Nobody is judging you,” Lei smiled. “We are friends. Friends don’t talk about whether you are first class or commoner. You are THE Xi Men,”
Xi Men smiled faintly. “You are so damn lame,”
“Can’t believe you can still make a joke and laugh now,” Mei Zhuo smiled.
“A bit funny but then everything still feels blur to me. I don’t know what to think or what to react. I mean, I am still stunned… I guess. These 4 days have been really hectic to me. Going over to Toronto to find out about Emily, and then coming back to see Xiao You had already left the same day I land from my Toronto flight, and settling with my father about canceling the wedding…” Xi Men took a deep breath.
Lei extends his hand and squeezed Xi Men’s shoulder.
“I just realized I have nothing. Seriously. A part of me feels relieved that I am no longer being bogged down by a company or obligated to be the CEO Xi Men as well as being tied to an upcoming wedding that I am not looking forward to or want to happen. Now, I am free to do and be what I want to as well as the ability to chase after my own happiness. But a part of me is saddened that my dad is not supportive about this and he ripped me off everything he has given me just because I refused to marry a woman of his choice and that I want to find my own happiness – which will never be Amanda,” he closed his eyes and opened it back, “In a blink of an eye, I have nothing. I became nothing. I only have one wish, which is Xiao You. She is the only one I want and need… everything else doesn’t matter,”
“Did you even meet or talk to Amanda, at least, give her an explanation?” Mei Zhuo asked.
Xi Men shook. “No explanation needed. She claimed she has whatever weird sparks with me which is why she is dying to get married to me. But since my dad is the one that forced me into the marriage which I knew I initially agreed and now because of Xiao You; I want out, he should settle it,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to my father here. Because he is my father and it is my marriage we are talking about, I would gladly be the one to do all the dirty work by walking to the Lee family’s door and tell her straight to her face that I am not going to marry her. It is fine for Amanda to hate me. I don’t mind. But he had taken it to such extreme and he is not allowing me to be with Xiao You… the only option he left for me is to leave,”
“I am sorry for what had happened to you,” San Chai suddenly said.
Xi Men and everyone else turned to look at San Chai.
“I know this is a very difficult thing to do. To think of this from a different perspective, I think you are plain stupid. But to think of this from a friend’s perspective, I know where you are coming from. And to think from Xiao You’s best friend’s perspective, I am very honored that I am your friend and I couldn’t be happier for Xiao You. I can see that you are not just playing your part to be responsible but also because you love her. I am glad you are choosing the path to be with Xiao You. I salute you and will support you. I know you are probably worried about what I may say or do because how I used to be protective around Xiao You from you and the worst thing is that she even bore your kid which you probably knew I will kill you for it… but Xiao You had been so distant from me for the past 9 years, we have become mothers, we grew up, we matured, and I believe she knew what is the best for her. And it is very obvious you are so madly in love with her,” San Chai smiled.
Xi Men smiled. “Thank you, San Chai…”
“Don’t worry. I am not as scary or horrible as back then about protecting Xiao You. I mean, she had always been more matured than me even 9 years ago. But assuming you are doing things differently like you knew you are the father and you refuse to take responsibility… I may whack the shit out of you…”
Everyone laughed but Xi Men could only smile faintly.
“Can’t really blame you since you didn’t know Xiao You is pregnant with Emily. And you only knew it now. It is a good thing to see Xiao You with you,” San Chai added.
“I guess Xi Men has prepared to get whacked actually,” Lei smiled.
Xi Men smiled at Lei. “I really don’t know what to expect from everyone of you when I tell you the truth. I don’t want to be judged and I don’t know what you guys will think,”
“We have been best friends all our life, we will support you,” Ah Si said.
“Since you already explained it to your father, and he is not taking it too well… I guess you only have one thing to do,” Lei said.
“Yes, go and get Xiao You,” Xi Men smirked. “I am exactly doing that,”
Mei Zhuo smiled. “Just let us know if you need anything. And if you need money since you are no longer working… ping us. We will transfer them to your account,”
“Yes, and we will try to help as much as we can for you along the way to win Xiao You,” Lei smiled.
“Thanks, but I am still okay for now,” Xi Men said. “I really need Xiao You back in my life. Though my life is pretty messy now… but I think everything else is not important,”
“I can send you to the airport later,” Mei Zhuo smiled. “What time is your flight?”
“1am, so I have to go back and pack after this and leave for airport by 10pm,”
“No problem. Since I have nothing to do after this, Xiao Qiao and I can go over to your place and we will wait for you to pack and then we will go to airport,” Mei Zhuo said, to which Xiao Qiao nodded. “But 1am flight… it means you will reach Toronto at 3am Toronto time?”
“This is not a direct flight. Will have a stopover for few hours in US. Will reach Toronto around 8am. This is the earliest flight available to reach Toronto,”
“Oh,” Mei Zhuo said. “Alright,”
“Thanks, guys,” Xi Men smiled. “Thank you for still supporting me and be there for me. I only have you guys now…”
“We will back you up. All of us found our happiness. Now it is your turn and we understand this is your most crucial time. We will provide you everything and anything we could give you, all you have to do is just ask,” Lei smiled. “That is what friends are for, right?”
“The only thing we cannot provide to you is Xiao You. That will be the only thing that requires your effort,” Mei Zhuo smiled.
Xi Men smiled as he lowered his head down. “I have given up everything for her. Now… I will do everything I could to get her,”
All of the friends smiled and nodded at him. “JIA YOU!”