“A black, fully tinted Audi?” Mr. Yang asked.
“Yes, dad,” Xiao You said, as she spreads the butter on the bread.
“Alright, I’ll take note of it,” Mr. Yang said. “Any car plate number?”
Xiao You turned to look at Xi Men. “Do you remember the car plate number?”
Xi Men shook. “Didn’t pay attention to it when I first realized that,”
“Then nope. The car is parked too far to see,” Xiao You said, as she passed the bread to Emily.
“Thank you, mommy,” Emily said, taking it and straight away chomps it down. She then turned to look at Xi Men who is sitting next to her, sipping black coffee, “Daddy, are you going to sit at the kindergarten there today, just like what you do yesterday?”
“No I am not,” Xi Men smiled.
“Then? What are you going to do today?”
“Since I sat at the kindergarten yesterday; then today, I am going to sit at your school monitoring you the whole day,” Xi Men said, putting down the coffee cup on the saucer.
“WHAT?!” Emily exclaimed, and everyone else laughed at her reaction.
“I am just kidding,” Xi Men pats her head. “I am going to stay at home today,”
“Ah? Daddy… as you can see, our house backyard is really not big… you don’t have much leaves to rake…” she pouts.
Xi Men laughed. “I am not raking leaves, sweetie, don’t worry,”
“Then why are you staying at home?”
“Because your mommy asked me to stay at home,” he smiled.
“Ah? Why mommy?” Emily turned her head to look at Xiao You.
“Because your daddy sits at the kindergarten doing nothing… he will get bored,” Xiao You said.
“And since I am home, I am going to do some research with the Internet connection today,” he smiled.
“Then you are not sending me to school?” she pouted.
Xi Men smiled as he looked at Emily, “So that is why you tell me your house’s backyard is small and you didn’t want me to stay in the house, huh?”
Emily immediately lowered her head and pouted.
“I am going to walk you to school and walk mommy to kindergarten,” Xi Men smiled as he poked her nose, just the same way Xiao You do to her. “And I will get you from school later in the evening and mommy from work as well,”
“Really?” Emily immediately brightened up.
“Yes, I am going to walk you to school with mommy, and then I will walk mommy to work, and then I come back home,” Xi Men repeated.
Emily turned to look at Xiao You. “Really, mommy?”
“Yes, darling,” Xiao You said. “Now, eat your bread and drink your fruit juice,”
“Okay!” Emily excitedly replied.
“Actually, it is okay, you know. I am used to walk Emily to school,” Xiao You said, looking at Xi Men.
“I know you are fine. But the daughter wants me to walk her, you know?” Xi Men said, causing everyone to turn to look at Emily.
“Daddy…” Emily pouted since she felt she is the cause of everything.
Xi Men smiled. “Anyway… I am just teasing Emily. I want to do it too, not only because of the Audi, but for myself, for you and for Emily,”
Xiao You smiled as she looked at Emily smiling happily at her father.
“Bye mommy, bye daddy!!” Emily said, waving at them.
“Bye Emily,” Xiao You and Xi Men said together, as they waved too.
Emily then turned and runs into the school.
“Ahh, Emily is so happy,” Xiao You relieves, clasping her hands together.
“Yes, she is,” Xi Men agreed.
“She has always wanted her father to walk her to school,” she smiled. “She has always envied her friends when they have a father to walk or send them to school,”
“And today, she has both of us to walk her to school,” Xi Men contently said, as he extends his hand out. “She must be over the moon,”
“Of course,” she puts her hand into his extended hand and then they walked, heading to her kindergarten. “So… this morning when we leave our house, did you notice any black Audi?”
“Nope. No Audi today,” Xi Men said.
“Hmmm… alright. Go back carefully, okay?” she said.
“Sure,” he said. “Can I kiss you now first, since I cannot kiss you in front of the kids at your workplace?”
She smiled. “Alright, wish granted,”
He leaned over and briefly kissed her lips.
Eventhough it is just a brief smooch, it is full with love and passion.
Their faces remained within an inch away from each other even after the kiss. Both of them smiled lovingly at each other.
“I really like kissing you,” he softly said after the kiss.
“I like your lips too,” she replied.
And then they moved away from each other’s face slowly, right now walking straight to her kindergarten hand in hand.
When they almost reached her kindergarten entrance,
“I’ll come and get you after work okay?” Xi Men asked.
“Okay…” Xiao You said. “But… if you are not used to walk over to get me, it is okay. I can go and get Emily on my own…”
“The way you say it is pretty strange… but why did you say that?”
“Because… I believe you are used to driving a car to go and get someone,” Xiao You smiled.
“Well, I am practicing and finding myself adapting to walk more with you and Emily,” Xi Men smiled. “So, I will come and get you definitely. Just don’t go back without me,”
Xiao You smiled. “Alright. I need to go in now, so I’ll see you after work?”
“Sure,” he said, and then he bites his lips.
He wants to lean forward and gave her a kiss but he is reminded that he shall not do that in kindergarten, and that he already asked to kiss her earlier because he knew he can’t do it now.
“Bye Xi Men, be careful, alright?” Xiao You said.
“Alright,” he smiled, as he slowly releases her hand.
At the corner of his eyes, something caught his attention. He changed his focus from Xiao You to speedily turn his head and look at it.
He finds himself looking straight at a black car swerving in to their direction at a naturally faster speed than it should. With his sharp and quick reflex, Xi Men quickly grabbed Xiao You’s arm, which shocked her, and pulled her to stand behind him. The car stopped right next to the pedestrian walkway; just beside where both of them are standing.
Xi Men swiftly and suavely turned his head and sight to face the black Audi S8 that has stopped in front of him as his hand remained holding onto Xiao You who is standing behind him, protecting her.
Everything happened so fast. Xiao You does not even know what happened as she didn’t see the car coming towards them; all she knew is that Xi Men had instinctively grabbed and pulled her to his back and shielded her. And the next thing she knows, it was a black car and it had stopped.
It is the black Audi!
Are they the one that were being monitored?
Upon seeing the black Audi, Xiao You gripped onto Xi Men’s strong arm as she remained standing behind Xi Men.
The back passenger’s door opened, and a man comes out from the Audi.
Xi Men clenched his fists and his teeth to what, or rather, who, he saw in front of him. His eyes strayed slightly and his breath exhaled thru his nostril fiercely.
“Xi Men,” he called.
“What are you doing here,” Xi Men said angrily. It wasn’t even a question. Xi Men didn’t want to see him at all.
“Xi Men… he…” Xiao You softly called.
Xi Men turned slightly to the direction of her voice, but did not look at her.
She decided to not ask him now who the man is. She closed her mouth and swallowed the lump in her throat.
He turned to angrily look at the man standing in front of him and that man is looking back at him (Xi Men).
“Please be more considerate about other people. You are not the only person with a valuable life. There are tons of kids here,” Xi Men said, his other free hand gripped onto Xiao You’s hand that was gripping onto his arm. His hand had turned cold.
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, suppressing her fear.
“And if you want to murder one of us, it is obvious you failed,” Xi Men said, looking at the man.
“I wouldn’t want to kill any of you. There is no benefit for me,”
“So, what do you want from me?” Xi Men asked. “Mr. Xi Men?”
Mr. Xi Men?
Xiao You’s focus is now diverted to Xi Men, upon finding out the man standing in front of them is Xi Men’s father. Xi Men’s eyes shot fierce glare to his father.
Mr. Xi Men took a deep breath. “I want to talk to you,” he said. “Both of you,”
“No,” Xi Men said, looking away. “We do not have anything to talk to you,”
“I really want to talk to both of you,”
“There is no need to. And Xiao You needs to work,” Xi Men remained gripping onto Xiao You’s hand.
Mr. Xi Men looked at Xiao You, “Can I buy your time out?”
“It is school day. She is very busy. The school needs her,” Xi Men replied on behalf of Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, and she bites her lips. She understands that Xi Men didn’t want his father to get any nearer to her.
Mr. Xi Men then looked at Xi Men. “Then can I talk to you? Just you,”
Xi Men finally looked at his father, at the same time suppressing his anger. He then turned around and faced Xiao You, who is still standing behind him.
“Xi Men…” she called.
He gripped both of her hands. “I want you to go to work,” he looked at her in her eyes.
“Everything will be alright. Don’t worry about me,” Xi Men forces a smile on his face. “I will come and get you when you finished your work later in the evening,”
“Xi Men… what will your father do to you…?”
Xi Men smiled lightly. “Like you have said, he is my father. He will not harm me. And if he said he wants to talk, he really mean it,” he tried his best to convince her as he looked at her. “You are running late for your work soon, you know?”
Xiao You looked at him. He is trying to assure her everything is going to be alright. She didn’t want to let him go off on his own to talk with his father… but… but there is nothing she can do too.
She had no choice but to agree…
She nodded lightly after swallowing the lump in his throat, “Please be careful,”
Xi Men smiled forcefully and he leaned forward and kissed her forehead; completely forgotten he shouldn’t have done that there because Xiao You wanted to remain professional at her workplace.
“Now, go to the kindergarten. I want to see you go inside safely,” he said.
Xiao You looked at Xi Men, and then she turned to look at Mr. Xi Men, before she returned her gaze to Xi Men, to see a forceful smile and a nod of assurance from Xi Men, and then she turned and obediently walked to the kindergarten, clasping her hands tightly together.
Xi Men stood there as he watches Xiao You walked to the kindergarten.
“There is a patisserie at the end of this road. We can talk there,” Xi Men said first, and then he turned to look at his father.
“No problem. Now get in the car. We’ll go and…” Mr. Xi Men walked to the car.
And Xi Men interrupts. “I can walk. It is not that far anyway. And besides, your car ride is too expensive, too valuable and too much for me to take,” he puts both of his hands into his jeans’ pocket and he walked ahead.
“Xi…!” Mr. Xi Men called out, but Xi Men had already walked ahead. The elder Xi Men just took a deep breath and climbs into the car.
Xiao You walked into the kindergarten, but as she reached the entrance, she turned and she stood there to look at Xi Men walking away, while his father got into the black Audi and followed Xi Men.
Her heart just sank. She wasn’t sure what to think or what to do now.
What did his father wants now?
Xi Men stirred the black coffee in front of him with the stirrer in his right hand, while his left hand stretches forward on the table. He glanced over to his father who is sitting in front of him; focusing on the coffee in front of him too.
“I am amazed,”
Xi Men’s eyes shot up to his father upon hearing what his father had just uttered.
“I am amazed with the quick grip of yours to hold her when…”
“It is my responsibility. I’d rather something happened to me than to her,” Xi Men couldn’t care less as he puts the stirrer down and then takes up the black coffee and sips it.
His father looked at Xi Men. “My apology about how I make my grand entrance,” his turn to take up the coffee and sips it.
“With style; and almost suffered heart attack, if not murdered by the luxurious Audi S8. Such a grand death too,” Xi Men said sarcastically. “Or probably I should tell you how ‘grateful’ I am that you did not make your grand entrance in front of my daughter?”
“Don’t be rude to me,”
“I am not obligated to follow such rule when I am facing a stranger,” Xi Men said.
Mr. Xi Men stared at Xi Men. His gaze traveled down for a while before he looked up again. “How’s life in Toronto?”
“Still alive, as you can see,”
“And how are you doing with Yang Xiao You?”
“Why ask me since you had already monitored me for days?” Xi Men asked, looking at Mr. Xi Men.
His father stared at him. “Just wanted to know from your point of view,”
“Pretty good. We are building a relationship,”
A small laugh escaped Mr. Xi Men’s mouth, to which earned a frown from Xi Men. “You strongly protest to start a relationship with Amanda, but you have no problems building one with her,”
“Of course. Because I love Xiao You and only Xiao You,” Xi Men smirked. “And just like what you have seen for yourself. When in danger like how a car came towards us, I grab her and protect her first. I would totally not do that if it is Amanda,”
“Didn’t sound very gentlemanly to me,”
“Why, still grieving about the lost of a potential ‘most amazing’ daughter-in-law: Amanda? I can give you an idea. You could take her in as your daughter now since you’ve lost a son,”
His father glared at Xi Men.
“I am saying the truth. You’ve disowned me, right? And that itself is already saying I am not your son anymore,” Xi Men takes up the cup of coffee and sips it, before putting it down onto the saucer.
Mr. Xi Men just exhaled his deep breath.
“I heard you told Mr. Lee that you postponed the wedding when I obviously have said it is not going to happen,”
“How did you know?”
“His precious daughter came to find me before I left for Toronto and told me that,”
“I just want to give you room to contemplate your decision,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“I don’t need to contemplate my decision,” Xi Men replied.
“I know,” Mr. Xi Men mumbled softly as he lifted up his coffee to take a sip.
“So,” Xi Men said. “How did you manage to find me here? Hired some PIs? You can do better than that,”
“I asked your friends,”
“So, you are starting to harass my friends into telling you things about me?”
“Watch your tone, Xi Men,”
“Watch my tone? What is the worst that could happen? You already disowned me therefore I am no longer related to you. And you almost killed me and the love of my life half an hour earlier. Why is it that I have to watch my tone? To please you? Why should I?”
Mr. Xi Men took a deep breath, unsure what to say now.
“How is Xi Men Corporation?” Xi Men finds himself asking.
“Still in midst of taking over all your 24 existing projects,” Mr. Xi Men said. “Hadn’t even had the slightest chance to touch what the next 8 upcoming projects are all about,”
“Okay, take your time,” Xi Men responded.
After a brief pause,
“So, when are you coming back to Taiwan?” Mr. Xi Men asked.
“I am not going back,”
“Taiwan is your home,”
“I have nothing in Taiwan anymore to be called ‘my home’,” he then shot his father a sharp look. “I hope you are not saying you can’t handle the company, so you are asking me to go back,”
“Well, have you started working here then?” Mr. Xi Men asked, ignoring Xi Men’s latter statement.
“No,” Xi Men said, simply.
“Nobody wants to hire you?”
Pissed off with what his father had said, “If you come to see how I have been living, you’ve seen me. I am alive, I am still in one piece. You have already monitored me and possibly my entire family for a while now in your amazingly luxurious Audi S8 in a moderate neighborhood so you should already know we are a really simple family; just happy being with each other. Yes, I am living a simple life now and I am happy just around Xiao You and Emily. Every single day is passed by simply, easily and happily. Something you will not understand. And yes, I do not have a job now and I have no career; therefore it means I am not earning and you are probably despising me but that doesn’t mean I will stay down and rot all the time. I don’t have to be CEO Xi Men of the giant Xi Men Corporation to be successful. I will get back up and show you what I am capable of. If you came to persuade me to go back to Taiwan and resumed my pathetic life living like a doll to you and marrying some elite woman you desired, forget it. You asked me to pick so I picked to be disowned by you to be with Xiao You as a commoner. I have made this decision and I will stay with this decision,” Xi Men said, rose to his feet, “And I can still pay for the coffee. So I don’t owe you anything,” he turned and took two steps when his father suddenly speaks.
“That is not the reason why I came,”
Xi Men’s steps are halted. He slowly turned to look at his father suspiciously. “Then?”
Xiao You stood at the door of her workplace as she looked out to the outside, still seeing Xi Men not in sight. She bit her lower lip.
She had already finished her work about 10 minutes ago, except that she still has to wait a bit more for a kid that is still waiting for her parents to come and retrieve her from the kindergarten.
She made a call back home to her mother to ask if Xi Men went back home, but her mother said he didn’t come back home.
Her hands turned cold.
She hadn’t been able to pay full attention to her work today but she tried her best to concentrate and treat each and every kid with care, just like what and how she would do normally. Occasionally she would think about Xi Men and is really worried about what might happen to him.
She looked to the bench where Xi Men sat yesterday for almost the whole day, to see it empty right now.
Judging at Xi Men’s character, he is hardly late. He should be here already even before Xiao You finishes her work.
His father came. But what is going on…?
What could have happened to Xi Men?
A blue Honda City stopped in front of the kindergarten, but Xiao You is still looking around…
Xiao You felt a pull on her pants, and she then looked down to see a 5 years old girl tugging her pants. “Yes, Michelle?”
“My mommy came,” the young kid pointed to the blue Honda City.
Xiao You looked up to finally noticed the blue Honda City in front of her. “Oh, I’m sorry. Come,” Xiao You smiled as she extends her hand to escort Michelle to her mother’s car.
“Thank you, Miss Yang. I’m sorry for being late because I have a last minute meeting,” Michelle’s mother said as Xiao You opens the passenger door for Michelle to get in.
“It is okay, Mrs. Smith,” Xiao You smiled as she said, and then she looked at Michelle, “Goodbye Michelle, see you tomorrow,” she said.
“Goodbye Miss Yang!” Michelle waves back.
Xiao You closes the passenger door as she waves a bit, until the blue Honda City drives off. She took a deep breath, as her smile fades off almost immediately and then she turned to look around.
Still no sight of Xi Men.
Xiao You swallowed a ‘worried’ lump in her throat as she turned around and take really slow steps back into the entrance of the kindergarten. She took her phone out, so tempted to call Xi Men, but…
What if he is still in serious talk with his father?
What if his father bundled him and tied him up, transporting him back to Taiwan?
What if his father is threatening him yet again for staying in Canada with her?
Her heart feels extremely uncomfortable right now.
Her really slow steps bring to halt right at the entrance of the kindergarten.
She didn’t know what to do and what to think.
She felt so helpless.
“Xi Men… please stay safe…” she said, both hands gripping onto the phone and puts it close to her chest. “Xi Men…”
“Sorry, I am late,”
Xiao You lifted up her head and immediately turned around.
Xi Men standing suavely at the driveway of the kindergarten. His fringe stretches at the top right of his head straights down to the left, ending slightly below his left eye, on top of his cheek bone.
“Xi Men!” Xiao You calls out and she ran to him, hugging him when she reaches him.
Having a sharp and quick reflex helps as he immediately spreads his arms open when Xiao You dashes forward and hugs him.
Xi Men smiled as he then wrapped his hands around her in his arms. “I thought we are not supposed to show PDA (*public display of affection) at your workplace,” he teases.
She didn’t care that he teases her. It felt good and grateful to be able to see and hug Xi Men and let him wrapped her in his arms.
“I am so worried about you,” Xiao You said.
“I am here, right,” Xi Men smiled.
Xiao You lifted up her head and slowly eases from the hug. And instinctively Xi Men releases his grip around her too.
“How did you make it here so fast when I was seeing and looking around earlier, and you are not…”
“My father sends me here, but I asked him to drop me at a couple of houses further away because an Audi S8 right here is pretty… you know,” Xi Men said, as he holds her hands. “…attention grabber, and then I ran over because I know I am late. And I actually saw you walking really, really slow that I have ran 5 to 6 steps is equivalent to a step for you,”
She smiled. She finally realized how slow she had walked…
“I guess snails are faster than you, you know?”
She threw a light slap on his chest upon hearing that and he bursts out laughing.
“Where is your father?” Xiao You asked.
“He had a flight to catch,” Xi Men said. “So he left,”
“Oh,” Xiao You said. “What did your father say? Did he threaten you or something?”
“No, he didn’t,” Xi Men said.
“Then why did he come?”
Xi Men looked down for a while, with a faint smile on his face. “He wants me to go back to Taiwan and manage Xi Men Corporation again,”
Xiao You felt her heart dropped upon hearing what Xi Men had said.
“Oh,” she said. “So…” she suppressed her devastation, “So are you going back?”
“I haven’t reply him, because I told him I need to discuss with you,”
Xiao You lowered her head down as she bites her lips. Since Xi Men didn’t say NO to his father, it surely means he wants to go back. But she knew how much it means to Xi Men to manage Xi Men Corporation again. He had prepped his entire life for the responsibility and he gave it up because of her. And now his father flies all the way here to ask him to go back…
She had never imagined she would feel like this.
All her life, she had prepared to live without him, but she still feel so bad right now.
It hurts her tremendously that he is again at the crossroad between her and his everything.
But she didn’t want him to let go of what he needs to do for her again.
For the last two weeks that Xi Men is in Toronto, she enjoyed his presence and she is very happy with his involvement in her and Emily’s life.
To hear this from him now and the heartbreak she felt, she knew she had fallen in love with him harder than ever before.
But… but he mentioned before… he will never go anywhere without her.
He said he will still choose her again regardless of anything.
Xiao You looked up at Xi Men. “Hmm?”
“Are you okay?”
Xiao You puts on a forceful smile on her face. “Yeah, yeah…”
“I said I want to discuss with you,”
“There is nothing to discuss, Xi Men. I mean, this is your decision. If you want to go back, why not? It is your choice… I mean, you don’t have to discuss with me,” she is beginning to lose her focus; she hardly knew what she is saying.
Xi Men tightened his grip on her hands. “Xiao You, my dad wants me to go back… with you,”