Mr. Xi Men browsed the file he is holding while Secretary Xu stood in front of him, waiting for him to plant the signature into the document.
“I thought this project with Pride Emotion Enterprise only costs TWD$10 million? How come it states TWD$24 million here?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“President Xi Men, this is the collaboration project, not the sponsorship project,” Secretary Xu said.
“CEO Xi Men collaborated with Pride Emotion Enterprise for a project that costs TWD$24 million. The TWD$10 million is a sponsorship project by Xi Men Corporation to them,” Secretary Xu explained.
“You mean we have two different projects with Pride Emotion Enterprise?”
“Yes,” Secretary Xu said.
Mr. Xi Men rolled his eyes as he took a deep breath. “I really don’t understand what Xi Men does,” he planted his signature into the document. “But he is generating massive revenue for Xi Men Corporation solely on his own,”
“CEO Xi Men is a very capable boss, President Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said.
Mr. Xi Men glared at Secretary Xu, causing the latter to immediately lower his head.
“I know my son is very capable,” Mr. Xi Men said, as he closed the file and opens another. “I know his capability. But he disappoints me to the max,” he looked at the document in front of him.
Secretary Xu did not say anything. He prefers to work with Xi Men than Mr. Xi Men.
“And how did my son remember all the projects like this? I have trouble seeing them and remembering all of them without referring to the emails or supporting documents,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“I am not sure, sir,” Secretary Xu said. “Oh, President Xi Men, Mr. Justin Wang from Sunny Corporation called earlier to ask when the meeting is going to hold. If the meeting is not going to happen, he is retracting the project from us,”
Mr. Xi Men looked at Secretary Xu. “What meeting?”
“CEO Xi Men had postponed the meeting about three weeks ago, and when you took over, sir, you mentioned you want to familiarize with all the projects before going for any meetings. So I did not arrange any meeting with Mr. Justin Wang last week, so, sir, what should I do?”
Mr. Xi Men took a deep breath, and exhaled it. His right hand formed a fist as he then supports his head with the fist, while the elbow on the table. “What is the cost of the project with Sunny Corporation?”
“TWD$38 million, sir,”
Mr. Xi Men’s eyes strayed and then his face followed suit and he leaned back against the chair by moderate force in disbelief. He took another deep breath. “I can’t believe this,”
Secretary Xu looked at Mr. Xi Men. “Ah?”
“If I am not holding a meeting with him, he is retracting that TWD$38 million project from us?”
“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
“Geez,” Mr. Xi Men said in frustration. “I cannot take over 24 existing projects of this company just like this within two weeks. I cannot attend meetings without understanding what project I am making and doing with that company. And I don’t know what the statuses of the projects are. How am I supposed to grab more projects?” he vents out. “And I already have a company in New York to attend to. Now I need to take over this as well?!”
Secretary Xu only lowered his head, without saying anything.
Mr. Xi Men looked at Secretary Xu as he (Mr. Xi Men) took multiple deep breaths as he couldn’t believe how things have turned out for him with the son willingly ditched the job just like this.
“Secretary Xu,” Mr. Xi Men called.
Secretary Xu looked up to Mr. Xi Men, “Yes, sir?”
“You know, your CEO Xi Men is madly in love with this lady call Yang Xiao You. Do you know who she is?” he asked.
“Ah?” Secretary Xu is taken aback to be asked a personal question about his boss. “No, sir. I don’t know. Why, sir? You want to know more about her…?”
“Xi Men fought with me because of her. He left this company because of her. I really want to know who she is, to have Xi Men so crazy about her,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“Umm… I don’t know, sir. I won’t be able to furnish her details to you. But if you would like to know… I can drop a call to CEO Hua Ze, CEO Dao Ming or CEO Ling to ask if they knew, since they are CEO Xi Men’s friends,”
Mr. Xi Men’s eyes strayed. “Right, Lei, Ah Si and Mei Zhuo are Xi Men’s buddies. They should know,” he then looked sternly at Secretary Xu. “Secretary Xu, call them up and ask them to go for lunch with me today. 12pm. Restaurant next door,”
“Yes, sir,” Secretary Xu said.
Mr. Xi Men tilted his head and looked at Secretary Xu’s hand, seemingly there is something on his arm. “Secretary Xu, what is that on your hand?”
Secretary Xu had momentarily forgotten that he had hung something over his hand, he lowered his head to look.
“Oh, President Xi Men, this is…” Secretary Xu raised it up. “CEO Xi Men’s attire,”
Mr. Xi Men frowned at the full set of black suit with matching pants in Secretary Xu’s hands. “What attire?”
“His wedding tux, sir,” Secretary Xu said. “His tailor just sent this over,”
Mr. Xi Men rolled his eyes and then he sighed in frustration.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si sat at the square table looking at each other, waiting for Mr. Xi Men to arrive.
“I really hate this feeling,” Mei Zhuo said, tapping his fingers on the menu laid in front of him.
“So, you are saying I enjoyed it?” Lei asked.
Ah Si smirked as he crossed his hands on his chest.
“I am saying for myself. You have your own mouth to defend for yourself,” Mei Zhuo rolled his eyes.
“I remembered I have this feeling when I met Ah Si’s mom,” Lei said.
Ah Si looked at Lei and his smirk instantly disappeared. “Why?”
“That is like over a decade ago when we helped you and San Chai,” Lei smiled.
Ah Si smiled. “I remember. Actually I am terrified of her myself too,” he laughed.
“Meeting one of our parents is no fun. Being called to meet and anticipating what they are going to say is the scary part,” Mei Zhuo sighed.
“I can imagine you shit in your pants when you get that call from Secretary Xu earlier,” Lei said to which he and Ah Si laughed.
Mei Zhuo glared at them for making fun of him, “Don’t let me caught you showing your fear when you talk to Xi Men’s dad,” he pointed at Lei.
Lei smirked. “Actually, I really don’t know what to expect or think… to be called to meet with Uncle Xi Men,”
“When I get that call… I had to postpone my lunch meeting. My secretary was shocked when I told her to postpone my appointment, because I have never asked her to postpone a meeting immediately right after I receive a call,” Ah Si said.
“Do you think it is about the company… or it is about Xi Men?” Mei Zhuo asked as he grabbed his glass of Chinese tea for a sip.
“My guess is Xi Men,” Lei said. “I don’t think he will find us if it is regarding the company. After all, we are from different companies dealing with different industries and company stuffs are private and confidential,”
“Same with me,” Ah Si said.
“But he had already disowned Xi Men, what else he wants to know about Xi Men?” Mei Zhuo said, as he puts down the glass of Chinese tea.
“Hmmm… maybe…” Lei wondered.
“Good day boys,”
F3 turned and looked at the source of the voice, and they immediately stood up.
“Uncle Xi Men,” F3 called simultaneously.
“Mmm,” Mr. Xi Men acknowledged the calling as he sits down at the remaining empty seat among them.
F3 followed suit and sits down. All three of them stiffs while Mr. Xi Men sits down in relaxation. And Secretary Xu takes his seat at the next table.
“Have you ordered your meals?” Mr. Xi Men asked as he is given a menu by the waitress.
“No… we haven’t,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Order your meals,” Mr. Xi Men said, stealing glances at them.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances before they lowered their head and opened the menu laid in front of them.
“Just relax. I won’t eat you three up,” Mr. Xi Men said.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si exchanged glances again. Their stiffness and body language must have been obvious.
“Coffee and this one,” Mr. Xi Men pointed the menu as he ordered.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si scrambled to glance thru the menu immediately to order their lunch.
Mr. Xi Men looked at them and he took a deep breath, as he adjusted his suit and moves slightly in his seat as he witnessed the F3 ordered their food.
After the waitress has obtained the orders as well as collected the menus and left, the F3 turned to look at Mr. Xi Men.
“Am I really that terrifying?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“No, no…” the F3 said together.
“But as a sign of respect… we just…” Lei said, looking over to Mei Zhuo and Ah Si, hoping they would say something.
“I see you all grow up from toddlers to becoming CEO of your own major corporations. And I know how nice you all are and how respectful you are towards the elders. You don’t really have to treat me like a stranger even though we are from different generations; and that I am Xi Men’s father. I would appreciate that,” he clasped his hands together and placed it on the table as he looked at them.
Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at each other again.
“Uncle, as a matter of fact, yes, we respect you as Xi Men’s father. And we are sorry about this because we are not used to be called up at the last minute for a lunch meeting by one of our parents. Uncle, please kindly enlightened us about the purpose of this lunch meeting,” Lei said, swallowing a lump in his throat after he is done with his formal address.
“It is about my son,” Mr. Xi Men said.
Mei Zhuo immediately looked up after he had just been played by his mind, and with him looking up, Mr. Xi Men looked at him.
“Yes, uncle?” Mei Zhuo nervously asked.
“Do you know who Yang Xiao You is?” Mr. Xi Men looked at Mei Zhuo intently.
“Xiao You?” all three of them said.
Mr. Xi Men turned slowly as he looked at Lei and Ah Si, before he returned his sight to Mei Zhuo to which he witnessed Mei Zhuo’s throat moved, obviously meant he had swallowed the lump in his throat. Mr. Xi Men then looked away from Mei Zhuo as he now looked at one after another as he didn’t want to continue instilling fear into Mei Zhuo.
That is the last thing he needed from any one of the boys in front of him. Or men. Boys. Anyhow, in his eyes, they are always the boys.
“I believe all of you know what happened between me and Xi Men,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“Yes, we do,” Ah Si replied.
Mr. Xi Men took a deep breath before he continues, “Xi Men fought with me, leaves the company and intend to end the engagement with Amanda, solely for this woman called Yang Xiao You. He is throwing everything he had away for this one woman. I don’t quite understand. That is not the son I know. He has a perfect job, perfect career, perfect life and a perfect fiancée but yet he…” he exhaled his breath fiercely. “And I seriously want to know why Xi Men is doing this that he is willing to choose her over everything else,”
Lei bites his lower lip as his eyes strayed and saw Ah Si and Mei Zhuo are exchanging glances too. So freaky.
“Judging from how you have reacted when I mentioned her name, I guess you have heard about Yang Xiao You before?” Mr. Xi Men stared at Lei and asked.
“Yes, we do,” Lei responded.
“Now, tell me everything you know about her,” Mr. Xi Men said.
All of them exchanged glances with each other.
“Anybody?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
Lei looked at Ah Si and Mei Zhuo, ‘Don’t f*cking care if he is Xi Men’s dad, I am doing this for Xi Men. For Xi Men,’ Lei thought, he then nodded lightly, before he stared straight at Mr. Xi Men.
Mei Zhuo wonders why is Lei nodding all of a sudden.
As Ah Si looked at Lei nods, he followed suit, understand that body language of Lei. He looked at Mr. Xi Men. “Xiao You is my wife’s best friend,” he said.
Lei and Mei Zhuo looked at Ah Si.
That was fast!
“Your wife’s best friend?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Yes. We know her from San Chai,” Lei continued. “Back in University years,”
“That is like…” Mr. Xi Men stopped and think, “…about 10 years ago,” he frowned.
“Yes,” Lei said. “About that,”
“So you are saying all of you know her for about 10 years now?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Yes, uncle,” Mei Zhuo said, looking at Mr. Xi Men changed his focus to gaze at him, “She is formerly based in Taipei and works in a bakery shop with San Chai. Because Ah Si’s mother threatened her family, she had no choice but to migrate to Canada,” he added. “She is one of the nicest girls we have ever met,”
“Really,” Mr. Xi Men said flatly.
“Yes,” Mei Zhuo replied. “And she played a significant role in Xi Men’s life,”
“Like how?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Or rather, Xi Men played a significant role in her life first,” Lei said, leading Mr. Xi Men to divert his gaze from Mei Zhuo to Lei. “Uncle Xi Men, I believe you knew Xi Men is a renowned playboy back then,”
“Yes, I do,” Mr. Xi Men sighed.
“He stopped being that because of Xiao You,”
Mr. Xi Men’s eyes widened as he looked at Lei. “What do you mean?”
“Xi Men helped her get back up on her feet when she was down. What Xi Men did to her, had led to Xiao You having feelings for him. Just like every girl out there, she wanted to change him. Xi Men pushes her aside after knowing her intention. And even more so, it is because she is San Chai’s best friend and he didn’t want to hurt her. But her persistence is like San Chai, she wants to be with him. She knew the only way to be with him is to be one of the ever growing list of his girlfriends,” Lei said.
“And then?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Adhering to his policy of never rejecting a girl to be with him, he had to accept. And he is determine that during this one week he is going to spend with her, he will show her what type of guy he is, because that will be only way to make her give up,” Lei said.
“And that is when everything backfires,” Mei Zhuo chipped in, and everyone turned to look at him. “Xi Men thought this is going to work, but what happened was… Xiao You is migrating that week itself. So she is determine to lose her virginity to Xi Men before she leaves, even though she knew it will be insignificant to Xi Men, but she knows it will be significant to her,”
“What should I term her, ‘stupid’?” Mr. Xi Men asked. “Or ‘innocent’?”
“Whether ‘stupid’ or ‘innocent’, that itself shows how much she loves him, uncle,” Lei said, slightly offended with what Xi Men’s father said.
And Mr. Xi Men turned to look at Lei.
“And that has showed Xi Men that women are not canned food with expiry date and women have feelings too. Even though he is masking his feelings in every single weekly relationship he was in, it doesn’t mean it is the same to everyone else. And things that are so insignificant to him didn’t mean it will be insignificant to others too. He probably doesn’t remember anymore about his first sex experience but to some people, sex is a special bonding experience meant to be shared with two individuals, especially when it comes to their first time. Everyone wants to give their first time to that special someone. To Xiao You, that ‘special someone’ is Xi Men. So yes, uncle, your son is a heartless playboy in the eyes of everyone else but to Xiao You, he is the most important and a very special person in her world. He may not be important to you, but that doesn’t mean he is not important to someone else across the globe,”
Ah Si and Mei Zhuo stared at Lei in disbelief on how he retaliated to Xi Men’s dad.
That is brave but then that is damn rude!
Ah Si and Mei Zhuo gave some fearing glances at Mr. Xi Men to see his face is actually suppressing the anger; as Mr. Xi Men clenched his teeth in anger as he looked at Lei after hearing what he said.
‘My head is on the chopping board…’ Mei Zhuo thought as he then stared at Lei. ‘Someone please tell my wife I love her if I die here right now…’
Mr. Xi Men looked away as he breathes out angrily. “Very well,” he said, and then he returned his gaze to Lei after he ‘swallowed’ the anger. “So did she give him her first time?”
“She did. But months later,” Lei replied.
“What does that supposed to mean?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“She migrated in the middle of her week with Xi Men and they didn’t sleep together. She comes back months later because she missed him,” Lei said. “And that is when they make love and your son changed 100% ever since,”
Mr. Xi Men looked at Lei. “So you are saying that is when he ditched his playboy life?”
“Yes,” Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei said together.
Mr. Xi Men took another deep breath. “So it was her,”
“Yes, it is her,” Lei said. “Xi Men finally understood what love is thru her. But just so you know, uncle, Xi Men has tried contacting her by sending her letters but suddenly she moved and he lost her. And he has been looking for her for the past 9 years but to no avail until she came back for a vacation two months ago, with her child; Xi Men and Xiao You’s daughter,”
“A daughter. You mean he seriously has a daughter with her?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Yes,” Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei said together, again.
Mr. Xi Men’s eyes strayed. “I thought he was saying it just to irritate me. Apparently it is the truth,”
“Xi Men didn’t know the child is actually his daughter until three weeks ago. When Xiao You came to Taiwan two months ago, she could have told him but she didn’t. She even created a lie to say her husband, or the daughter’s father, had died when she has never been married in the first place. She wasn’t asking Xi Men to be responsible,” Mei Zhuo said.
“If the world is black and white, Xiao You is the one that introduced colors to him,” Lei said philosophically. “Seeing how much Xiao You had changed him in his life and bore him a daughter, I wouldn’t be surprised that he would choose to ditch everything he had built himself for over 9 years for a family he was supposed to be a part of,”
“Did she force him to do that?”
“No, uncle. If she intends to do that to him, she would have done it 9 years ago when she discovers herself pregnant. Not now,” Lei said. “I am sure Xiao You is not that kind of person,”
“So confident?” Mr. Xi Men sarcastically asked.
“Yes. I can bet with my life. You can take my life if I am wrong,” Lei said.
Mei Zhuo and Ah Si stared at Lei again.
‘Call my wife…’ Mei Zhuo’s mind said.
Mr. Xi Men smirked. “I can’t imagine hearing that,” he said, looking at Lei. “To bet your life like this, it means you are really sure about Yang Xiao You’s characteristics,”
“Yes,” Lei said.
“Have you ever thought, it could be because Xi Men is rich? He is a CEO and the heir of my entire empire,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“Let’s get the facts straight, uncle. If Xiao You is really seeking those from him, that gives completely no reason for her to choose to raise a daughter which is apparently Xi Men’s child, on her own for the last 9 years without asking for monetary support or an official status as Mrs. Xi Men from him. And besides, isn’t Xi Men being stripped off of everything he had right now; no job, no career, no company, no future and most importantly; no source of income? Again, if she is really seeking fame and riches from him, I am sure she would have found out or being told about it from Xi Men the moment he headed over to Canada early last week that he is now a nobody and didn’t that mean she would have chased him away since he could not provide anything to her now? So if that is the case, Xi Men would have come back to Taipei by now already since he had no purpose to remain there anymore, right?” Lei asked.
Mr. Xi Men stared at Lei for the longest time.
“Which part of Canada is Yang Xiao You in?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“Toronto,” Lei answered.
Mr. Xi Men turned his head to look at the next table, “Secretary Xu,”
Secretary Xu immediately stood up and headed to Mr. Xi Men. “Yes, President Xi Men?”
“Book a ticket for me to fly to Toronto, Canada,”
“Yes, sir, when would that be?”
“Next available flight,” Mr. Xi Men said as he stood up and buttoned his suit, as all the F3 immediately stood up upon seeing him standing up all of a sudden. “Take Yang Xiao You’s address from these boys. And pack my lunch. I am going back to office now,” he said, as he heads to the exit.
Lei immediately closed his eyes as Mr. Xi Men walked away and exhaled in relieve.
Mr. Xi Men stopped after he took approximately of five steps, turned and looked at F3 still standing at their seats. “Boys,”
Lei stiffened at the calling and all of them turned to look at Mr. Xi Men.
“Thank you for the information. Please keep this meeting between four of us only,” Mr. Xi Men said. “Do not tell Xi Men,”
“Sure, Uncle Xi Men,” all of them said.
“Good. Enjoy your lunch. The bill is on me,” Mr. Xi Men said, as he turned and this time, really heads out of the restaurant.
After making sure that Xi Men’s father is not there anymore, all three of them dropped to their chair.
“Oh dear,” Mei Zhuo said, cupping his forehead. “That is the most terrifying thing ever. I almost died!”
“I am already DEAD!” Lei said at Mei Zhuo.
“That is so not you, Lei,” Ah Si said, smacking onto the still panicked-stricken Lei.
“Yeah! I can’t believe it when I heard you say those things to Xi Men’s father!” Mei Zhuo said.
“I can’t either,” Lei said, and he puts his hands on his face. “Urgh,” he then sits back. “I was annoyed about what he said in referring to Xiao You. That is our friend. He knew nothing about her to call her like that. He had no idea what she did that changed our buddy. And if Xi Men wins her back, Xiao You is going to be our sister-in-law,” he complains.
The waitress puts down their meals in front of them.
Lei scowls at the sight of his meal. “I am not eating,” he gently pushes it away. “I can’t eat. My stomach is churning. I have anxiety attacks,” he puts his hand on his stomach. “Enjoy your lunch, guys,”
“Enjoy? How can I enjoy this meal when I am already full due to swallowing too much lumps in my throat throughout the conversation?” Mei Zhuo said, looking at Lei squeezing his nasal bridge.
A small laugh escapes Ah Si’s mouth.
“What’s so funny?” Lei asked.
Mei Zhuo glared at Ah Si.
“Never in our life have we feared anything. Not even when we were called into the principal’s office back in Ying De. But we are all petrified at my mom, and Xi Men’s dad,” Ah Si said, few more laughs escaping his mouth.
Mei Zhuo and Lei soon joins.
Lei remained holding his stomach. “My appetite is spoiled definitely. I can feel a mini ‘laundry washing machine’ in my stomach now. I guess I have to call my secretary and say that I need to take the rest of the day off,” he complains.
“I don’t think we can enjoy our lunch today. So, wanna ask them to pack instead? You know, Xi Men’s dad is paying, it won’t be nice if he found out we didn’t eat…” Mei Zhuo said.
“Trust me I am going to bring this back home and throw it away. I can’t eat it without picturing his face there. Urgh,” Lei said. “Thinking about it makes me nauseous,”
“Come on, dude. Let’s go back,” Ah Si said, standing up and he grabbed Lei’s arm to lift him up.
“What about the food?” Mei Zhuo asked, standing up as well and instinctively grabbed the other arm of Lei to lift him up.
“I think I’ll just pack it up and I’ll figure out what to do with it after that,” Ah Si said. “Since the bill is on Xi Men’s dad. We have no choice…”
“Right… right,” Mei Zhuo said as he flagged the waiter.
All three of them glared at each other.
“My whatsapp…” Mei Zhuo dives his hand into his pants to take out his smartphone.
“Mine too…” Lei also fished for his smartphone.
“I thought it was mine…” Ah Si also takes out his smartphone from his pants.
“It is Xi Men sending message to us in the group…” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men@whatsapp: GUYS! Emily has accepted me! She called me DADDY today!
Mei Zhuo, Lei and Ah Si lifted their eyes up from the smartphone screen and looked at each other.
“Congratulations on the good news, but dude… your dad is coming after you now,” Mei Zhuo mumbled as he stuffs the phone back in into his pants.