The next day,
“Xiao You, what are you doing?” Xi Men pushes the bathroom door open.
Xiao You, who is wearing rubber gloves on both her hands and is holding a brush, stopped scrubbing the floor and turned to look at him. “What do you think I am doing? Painting?”
He frowned. “This is my bathroom… why are you cleaning my bathroom?”
“I clean all the bathrooms in this house,” she rolled her eyes.
“Do you want to use the bathroom?” she asked.
“Umm… no…” he said.
“Then go out and watch TV or something. Let me continue my stuff,” and she scrubs the floor.
He scratches his head as he turned around and walked away, as asked by Xiao You.
He exits his room… and saw Emily is wiping the glass tables at the living room.
He turned his head to the left and see Mrs. Yang is in the kitchen.
He had no idea where is Mr. Yang.
Everybody seems to be busy doing something.
He didn’t want to be the only person staying there and do nothing.
He walked to Mrs. Yang who is chopping the vegetables in the kitchen. “Aunty,” he called.
Mrs. Yang turned to look at Xi Men. “Xi Men, why are you standing here?”
“Hmmm… Xiao You is cleaning the bathroom… and Emily is wiping the tables in the living room. I was thinking if there is anything I can help?”
“It is okay, Xi Men. We can handle this,” Mrs. Yang smiled. “I am used to cook everyone lunch when Xiao You is cleaning the bathroom,”
“Well, I can help you in chopping that,” Xi Men said.
“I am almost done with it,” Mrs. Yang smiled at him.
“Hmmm… then what else can I help you with?”
“Not that I can think of now…” Mrs. Yang washed her hands this time. “Maybe you should just sit around, Xi Men,”
And Mr. Yang came in from the back door just in time to hear Xi Men speaks…
“Aunty… I really want to do something. I know I am not anyone to you, and you probably felt that I am just a guest but I hope someday you can accept me… when I… I mean, when I become a part of the family…” he lowered his head as he said that, and then he raised it up again, “And I really want to be someone that you can actually call out for me just to ask for my help. I know I may not know a lot of things because I am used to having maids in my home… but today I am no longer that kind of person… I wanted to learn and I know I need to learn all of these, and of course… if you don’t mind teaching me…”
Mrs. Yang smiled at Xi Men and at the same time wiped her hands dry, “Xi Men, it is not because I don’t want you to help me, but I am almost done with my preparation, which is why I don’t need your help,” she patted his arm. “And I know I can ask for your help to help me carry stuffs when I need you next time,”
A small part of Xi Men is happy upon hearing that. But… he is still not needed as of… now.
Xi Men turned to look at Mr. Yang. “Uncle,” he called.
“Would you like to help me clear out the weeds in the garden?” Mr. Yang asked.
Xi Men’s eyes brightened up. “Sure!”
Mr. and Mrs. Yang looked at Xi Men for his outrageous respond, and then they laughed.
“Why are we wearing gloves, Uncle?” Xi Men asked as he puts on the left side of the gloves after he had put on the right side.
“To protect your hands. Sometimes it might hurt and injure your hands so wearing gloves will minimize it,” Mr. Yang explained.
“Oh, is it going to hurt?”
“Just slightly,” Mr. Yang said, and then he looked at Xi Men, “Well, you can back out now if you are afraid of pain,”
Xi Men shook. “I need to give myself a chance to try this at least once before I say no,”
Mr. Yang laughed. “Alright, so… we’ll start?”
“Sure,” Xi Men smiled. “Guide me, Uncle,”
“Okay… so… this is how it works. You saw these tall ones and also the messy ones…” Mr. Yang pointed. “These are the weeds that we need to clear,”
“So, either you pull…” Mr. Yang holds onto the weed and pulls it out. “Or you can use this…” he took a small knife with his right hand and then poked into the soil repeatedly while his left hand is holding the weed. “And you will get this out,”
“Oh, okay. I got it, let me try,” Xi Men said.
“Okay,” Mr. Yang smiled, and he looked at Xi Men holds onto the weed and started pulling it out.
Xi Men pulls one after another and another and another.
“Looking good there,” Mr. Yang said.
“Thank you, Uncle,” Xi Men smiled.
Mr. Yang starts clearing the weeds too. “The weeds grow so fast because of the rain,”
“Does that mean you have to clear the weeds every time it rains?”
“Not exactly every time, but when it grows out like this, I clear them,” Mr. Yang smiled.
“I am sure your house has a gardener, so you have never knew such thing,”
“I stayed in a penthouse. No gardens to maintain,” Xi Men smiled. “But the mansion that I used to stay back then with my mom… yes, there’s a garden there and it’s a huge one,”
“Oh? Staying in a penthouse?”
“Yeah, I bought my own place years ago,” Xi Men smiled as he encountered a stubborn weed. “Ahh…”
“Try this,” Mr. Yang passed him a small knife.
“Okay…” and Xi Men poked the knife into the soil repeatedly, just the same way as Mr. Yang had showed him and he slowly gets the weed out. “YES!”
Mr. Yang laughed at Xi Men.
“Oops,” Xi Men is embarrassed with his reaction.
“You are like a kid that had discovered something awesome,” Mr. Yang laughed.
“Can’t help it that I have never done this before…” Xi Men said. “So it is like an accomplishment,”
“You are doing a good job,”
“Thank you, Uncle,”
“I notice you have good eyes for details. You watch and learn things pretty fast,”
“Umm… you can say so,” Xi Men smiled.
“That’s a good thing,” Mr. Yang smiled.
Xi Men lowered his head and then he continued pulling the weeds.
Xi Men turned and looked at Mr. Yang.
“I heard you said something about becoming a part of our family,” Mr. Yang said in a serious tone.
“Oh… that,” Xi Men said, returning his gaze to the weeds again. “Yes, I do,”
“Would you like to furnish me about that?”
Xi Men lowered his head down, “Umm…”
“Just tell me. I won’t scold, bite or whack you,” Mr. Yang said.
“Actually… I have been staying here for days now… and I wished to be treated more than just a guest… umm… because of the connection between me and Xiao You as well as Emily… and I want to be called to do stuffs and help out whenever required. And… if things are going well… I did plan on marrying Xiao You,” Xi Men then turned to look at Mr. Yang, “But I will come and ask you for her hand when it is time…”
“Not meant to be rude, but you have nothing now. How do you want me to give you my daughter?”
“I am sorry, Uncle. I have been searching for job really hard… but I guess you don’t have to worry about me wanting to marry Xiao You for a short term now…”
“Because Emily is not accepting me, and thus, it means Xiao You and I can’t be together… and that also means, I can’t marry her,” Xi Men said sadly, pulling the weed.
Mr. Yang took a deep breath. “Let me tell you this…” and there is a small smile on his face.
Xi Men stopped pulling the weed, but he dares not to look at Mr. Yang.
“Xiao You has a daughter, whom is also your daughter. And because of Emily, Xiao You has never dated anyone or be with anyone or even plan to be with anyone. But I found out she only wants to be with you. I guess if I don’t give you her hand, nobody’s gonna have her hand…”
Xi Men turned slowly and looked at Mr. Yang.
“I was testing you about you having nothing. You know, we live life as it is and simply. Yes, although it is better that you can provide some security and comfort to my daughter, but above all, the most important is her happiness. So, if you have nothing but yet she is happy with you, I will still pass you my daughter,”
Xi Men’s jaw dropped. He is stunned with what he had just heard.
“So, I understand you can’t progress further with Xiao You because of Emily. But if Emily has accepted you, are you going to marry my daughter?”
“Of course, sir! But… provided she accepts my proposal…”
A small laugh escaped Mr. Yang’s mouth. “No questions about that, of course! I don’t think you can marry her if she says no to your proposal,” he smiled. “What I meant was, are you going to marry my daughter if all things are well?”
“Yes, Uncle. I will, I will marry her. She is the only person I want to marry,”
“Okay, that is what I want to hear. You already have my permission,” Mr. Yang said.
“Really?” Xi Men is surprised.
“Yes, when all things worked for you and it is time, you can go ahead. You don’t have to come to me and ask for her hand anymore. I’ve already granted it to you now,” Mr. Yang smiled as he puts his hand over to Xi Men’s shoulder.
“Thank you, Uncle!”
“That is if everything worked for you,” Mr. Yang said, “And as you all youngster have so many things and problems… you guys should settle it. The most important to me is my daughter’s happiness and it is very obvious her happiness is you,”
Xi Men smiled happily now.
“Now, work harder on those weeds,” Mr. Yang said, pointed at the weeds in front of Xi Men.
“Yes, sir!” Xi Men started pulling the weeds again, and now, happier.
He already felt he is a part of the family now.
No longer a guest.
“Mom, where is Xi Men?” Xiao You walked to her mother at the kitchen and asked.
“At the backyard with your dad,” Mrs. Yang said.
“Oh? What is he doing there?” Xiao You asked as she walked to the back door now, which is not too far away from the kitchen.
“Helping your dad to clear the weeds,” Mrs. Yang smiled.
“Clear weeds? Two days ago, Xi Men is a laundry attendant and now Xi Men is a gardener?” Xiao You asked, as she stood at the door now.
Mrs. Yang laughed at the description that Xiao You had just said.
Xiao You, standing at the back door, looked at Xi Men and her father, whose backs are facing her; are happily talking to each other. And her father even had his hand over Xi Men’s shoulder.
Xiao You smiled at the sight.
Xi Men scrolls thru the job listing in his smartphone. He took a deep breath as none of them fits him. He lifted his head and looked up to the ceiling. He then rested his back and his head on the couch.
So many things are running in his mind.
And he still can’t find a suitable job.
Xi Men then straightened his head and looked straight at Emily who is looking at him. He quickly smiled at her.
She looked at him and frowned. She extends the TV’s remote control to him.
“Hmm?” he asked as he took it from her hand.
“I think you need it more than I do,” Emily said.
“What do you mean?”
“You look frustrated. Maybe you need to relax a bit by watching a preferred show of yours,”
“Oh… umm,” Xi Men looked at the remote control in his hand. “Why not you watch your preferred show? Since your school is going to start next week, you won’t get to watch as often after that. I can watch cartoons,” he smiled as he extends it back to Emily.
“Are you sure you don’t want?” Emily asked.
“Yes, Emily. Thanks,” Xi Men smiled.
“Okay,” Emily said, and then she sits down and presses for the cartoon channel.
He then looked down on his smartphone again and sighed.
Emily looked at Xi Men again.
Xi Men lifted up his head and looked at Emily when he realizes Emily is looking at him.
“Umm… did I… sigh too loud?” he asked.
“Quite,” Emily responded.
“Sorry…” Xi Men said.
“It’s okay,” Emily said.
Xi Men just smiled faintly. At least she talks a bit more with him today.
Xi Men lifted up his head and looked at Xiao You walking to the living room. Emily has turned her head to look at Xiao You.
“Hi sweetie,” she smiled, “What are you watching?”
“I don’t know. I just switched to this channel…” Emily scratched her head.
Xiao You laughed. “Alright, then, continue your ‘unsure’ show,” she leaned forward and kissed her daughter’s forehead.
“Okay,” Emily smiled.
And then Xiao You headed over to sit down next to Xi Men. “Hey,” she called.
He smiled at her, “Hey me after you sat down? Aren’t you supposed to say that when you are still a bit further away?”
Xiao You laughed. “Fine… so… let’s change a bit,” she said, tilting her head. “Ah! I know,” she then looked at him, and gives him a gentle punch on his arm, “Yo!”
“Whoa!” he said, “That didn’t even crossed my mind,”
He laughed too. “So, done scrubbing?” he asked.
“Ah? You knew?”
“I saw,” she smiled. “So how was it? Is this your first time plucking off weeds?”
“Yes, my first time. I salute the gardeners in my mansion now,”
She laughed. “That’s nice to hear,”
“Not something that I will like to do… but at least I learn something new and I know how to get rid of weeds now,” he laughed.
“Time to eat!
Xi Men, Xiao You and Emily turned their heads to look at Mrs. Yang putting down the dishes on the dining table.
“Okay, let’s have lunch,” Xiao You said, standing up, “Come Emily,”
“Okay mommy,” Emily said, and she hopped down from the couch and heads to the dining table.
They sat down on the dining table and started digging in.
Xi Men picks up a chicken filet and puts it on Xiao You’s plate.
“Thanks,” Xiao You said.
“No problem,” Xi Men said, and then he took up another chicken filet. But his gaze went to Emily while the chicken filet is still in his chopsticks’ grip.
He wanted to give it to her but Emily is eating rice and didn’t look at him.
He disappointedly looked down and then brings the chicken filet back to his plate.
Silence for a while.
“Xiao You, tonight both your dad and I will be going to Uncle Alvin’s house. It is a house warming dinner party so we will be there for dinner,” Mrs. Yang looked at Xiao You.
“Oh? They had moved to the new house?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes, while you were away in Taiwan. They have selected today as the house warming party so we have agreed to go,” Mrs. Yang said.
“Alright…” Xiao You said.
“So tonight, either you cook for all three of you, or you go out for dinner, alright?” Mrs. Yang said.
“Sure, mom. Have fun at the party,” Xiao You smiled.
Mr. Yang laughed. “We are there for dinner, not for the party. We’ll let the younger ones have party,”
Xi Men and Xiao You laughed.
“Let’s go out for dinner tonight,” Xi Men said, looking at Xiao You who is washing plates in front of the sink.
“Out?” Xiao You asked, turning her gaze to look at him.
“Yeah, it has been a while since we go out for meals,” Xi Men said.
“Hmmm… you are right,” Xiao You said.
“Recommend a place,” Xi Men smiled. “We’ll go for it,”
“What do you feel like eating?” Xiao You asked.
“I don’t have any preference. What about you… or Emily?” Xi Men asked.
“Do you want to ask her…?” Xiao You asked Xi Men.
“Ask Emily?” Xi Men asked.
Xiao You nodded.
“Umm… I can try,” Xi Men said.
“Jia you,” Xiao You murmured.
Xi Men smiled. “Exactly what I needed,” he then turned and walked to Emily who is sitting in the living room.
Emily turned her head upon sensing someone is walking to the living room and she looked at him.
“Umm… Emily…” he said.
She remained looking at him.
“Do you have anything that you crave for…? We can have it for dinner tonight,” Xi Men said.
“Craving? Dinner?” Emily asked.
“No, I don’t have,” Emily said.
“I’ll tell you if I have any,” Emily said.
“Alright,” Xi Men smiled slightly.
He turned around and walked back to Xiao You.
Upon seeing Xi Men turned around, Emily’s eyes strayed for a brief while as she is thinking about something, before she watched television again.
“So how was it?” Xiao You asked, as she saw Xi Men approached her.
“I asked her. She didn’t have any cravings…”
“Oh…” Xiao You said. And then she took a deep breath. “What is my daughter becoming…? No food cravings… and still can’t accept you as her father even though she likes you so much in Taiwan,”
“Come on… it is okay,” Xi Men said. “Like you have said, it takes time…”
She looked at Xi Men with a frown on her face, “You know… sometimes, you look like you have multiple personalities,”
He laughed. “How come? And why do you say that?”
“You were not like this last night,”
“Ahh… you have to remind me about that,”
“I also reminded you about the slap 9 years ago,” she added as a joke, on top of what he said.
He smiled. “Truth to be told… I guess it is something to do with being day and night. Because at night, it is quiet and peace as well as everyone around you is asleep… and you have nothing to do… so you tend to think a lot of things,”
“Oh,” she said. “Then I guess that is why you look alright in the day and changed at night,”
“Changed? I am not some legendary monster that would become something else at different times of the day,” he glared at her, and she laughed when she heard that. “Use that word properly, miss,”
“Sorry,” she laughed still. “My bad,”
“You’re forgiven,” he said. “But I am better today, I feel really good today,”
“That is nice to hear…” she smiled, as she puts a clean plate down.
“So… can I help you with that?” he pointed at the clean plate.
She looked at him pointing at the clean plate. “Oh, sure,” she said, “There’s a white cloth on your right, you can use that to wipe. And since you are 30 and not 3+0, I assume you know how to handle these without breaking them?”
“Yes, I’ll handle them with care,” Xi Men said, taking the white cloth she had asked him to.
“Oh hey, since you came to Toronto, I haven’t bring you around,” she said.
“Maybe I can bring you around tonight or maybe in the next few days before Emily’s class starts,” Xiao You said.
“It is not urgent, really…” he takes a plate up and wipes it.
“But, maybe in that way… you can… you know, bond with her,”
He looked at her. “Really?” he asked. “But she doesn’t like seeing me, what makes you think she wants to go and walk around with me or show me the beauty of Toronto?”
“Well, I am not sure if that will work… but… we can give it a try,”
He exhaled a deep breath. “Okay, we can give it a try then,”
“Oh, we haven’t even figure out what to eat tonight,” Xi Men said.
“Maybe something that Emily likes to eat? A place she likes to go? Her favorite place?” Xi Men asked. “Well, if not… then it is your choice… or maybe a place that you like to go as well?”
“Well, there is a place that we both like to go,” Xiao You said. “It is delicious and the price is quite reasonable. They have steak, poultry and seafood meals,”
“We can go there, no problems for me,” he smiled.
“Alright,” she smiled. “She loves The Ed House. I am sure she’ll agree to go there,”
“Yes, every single time,” she smiled as she looked at him.
“Emily, we are planning to go The Ed House for dinner tonight,” Xiao You smiled.
“Oh,” Emily said, looking at her mother.
“Do you like the idea?” Xi Men asked.
“And it is also one of your favorite places. I was thinking, since Xi Men came, asides from the coffee house down the road that I brought him for breakfast, I haven’t brought him to eat some nice dinner here. And we haven’t showed him around Toronto. Maybe one of these days we can bring and show him around before your school starts,” Xiao You said.
“I don’t want,”
Xiao You stunned.
That is strange. Emily had never said she didn’t want to go to The Ed House.
And also, that is a fast response from her.
“You don’t want?” Xiao You asked. “But you liked The Ed House,”
“Maybe some other nights. But not tonight,” Emily said.
“Oh,” Xiao You said, exchanging a glance with Xi Men. “So… what do you want to eat tonight then?”
Xi Men looked at Emily intently.
It is one of Emily’s favorite places. If she doesn’t want to eat there, it must be because of him.
He couldn’t help but feel a bit sad and helpless at the situation that his daughter finds it really hard to accept him. They had spent an awesome more than 3 weeks together in Taiwan but upon finding out he is her father, everything changed. Things went upside down.
She no longer favors him.
Emily turned to look at Xi Men, and Xi Men finds it weird, before she turned and looked at Xiao You. “We can go for some simple dinner… or you both can go ahead to The Ed House,”
“Mommy, can I go to Uncle Harry’s house tonight?” Emily asked, interrupting Xiao You.
Both Xi Men and Xiao You looked at Emily.
“Uncle Harry’s house?” Xiao You asked.
“Umm…” Xiao You looked at Xi Men.
“Or I can also take dinner with him and Aunty Christina,” Emily said. “Then you both can have some time alone…”
Xi Men and Xiao You frowned.
“Emily, you know, it is okay. When I need time alone with Xiao You, I will…”
“It is okay,” Emily said, interrupting Xi Men. She looked at Xiao You. “I want to go to Uncle Harry’s place,”
“Hmmm, we can plan to go to his house after dinner,” Xiao You said.
Emily shook. “Not us. Only me,”
Xiao You is surprised.
Xi Men looked at Xiao You’s expression, and then caught her looking at him.
Xi Men then looked at Emily. “If that is what you want… then maybe we can go for a quick or simple dinner… and then you can go to Uncle Harry’s house,”
Xiao You looked at Xi Men for agreeing to Emily, and then she looked at Emily too. “I cannot promise you just yet. Let me call Uncle Harry and ask if he is around. Since it is Saturday, he may be busy or he could be away for the weekend… but I will call and ask first,”
Emily nodded. “Can I have pasta for tonight?”
Xiao You and Xi Men smiled. “No problem,” they replied together.
Harry, with the phone on his ear: My house? Tonight?
Xiao You, biting her lower lip: Yeah.
Harry frowned: Emily alone? Without you?
Xiao You: Yes…
Harry: That is… really strange.
Xiao You: It is her request. I am so sorry to bug you.
Harry: Hey, don’t worry about it. But… are you sure you are not dumping her to be with me so that you can have your date night?
Xiao You: (rolled her eyes) Of course not. Do you think I am that kind of person?
Harry: (laughed) I know you are not. (laughter subsides) It is just… an unbelievable request.
Xiao You: I know. When she said that, I didn’t know what to react as well. Anyway… is it possible for you tonight? I mean, if you can’t or are not free…
Harry: Oh I am fine. I am currently out and I will be having dinner with Christina’s parents. So maybe… I’ll try to be home by around 9.30pm?
Xiao You: That will be great. Maybe I can come and pick her up at… 11? Or 12?
Harry: I truly believe there is a reason why she wants to be here without you and Xi Men. Why not I send her home? Or… maybe she can stay overnight here.
Xiao You: Overnight? She has never stayed overnight at your place. And it is not like I stayed really far from your place. I don’t think it is a good idea to give you troubles…
Harry: Hey, since when you give us troubles? I really don’t mind. And I believe Christina won’t either. But if she wants to stay overnight here, I want to give the option that she can do so. We have guest rooms.
Xiao You: I still think that is troublesome to you.
Harry: Just don’t worry about it. Maybe she really needs this. Trust me in this, alright?
Xiao You: (takes a deep breath) Alright. I tell you what. You don’t have to rush over your meal, because I will be taking my dinner too before I drop her at your place. Just take your time, and maybe when I am done with my dinner, I’ll drop you a call?
Harry: Or I can drop you a call that I am home?
Xiao You: That will be fine too. Please don’t rush over your meal. If she is going to stay at your place for the night, she had the whole night there.
Harry: Don’t worry about it. So sorry haven’t been catching up with you for a week now. So how have you been?
Xiao You: I am fine. Thanks. How about you? I’m sorry I haven’t catch up with you too.
Harry: No problem. You knew I am busy too so that is why you didn’t find me. I was rushing over a project the entire week and I finally can breathe easy when I finished it yesterday. (smiled)
Xiao You: I am glad to hear that. How about Christina? Send my regards to her.
Harry: She is good. Sure, I will send your regards to her. And I supposed even though tonight we are going to meet, it is just going to be for a while and not more since Emily has requested to meet me without you and Xi Men.
Xiao You: Yeah. How ironic. You are you my best friend but yet I am not the one meeting you and catching up with you but my daughter is.
Harry: (smiled) Emily has never made such request before so I guess it is something important for her…
Xiao You: (sighed) I really don’t know what to do.
Harry: (smiled lightly) How are you with Xi Men?