“Emily, are you sure you want to sit there on your own?” Xiao You asked, looking at Emily.
Emily wanted her parents to sit together, so she asked Xi Men to move over to sit with Xiao You, while she (Emily) moved to Xi Men’s previous seat. But since Xi Men’s seat is an aisle seat and the seat next to it, which is a window seat, is vacant; she sat at the window seat instead so she get to see the views out of the plane.
And Xiao You is sitting at Emily’s previous seat – a window seat, and Xi Men is now at Xiao You’s former seat.
“Yes, mommy, I want you and daddy to sit together so both of you can talk,” Emily smiled. “I’ll be good here. There’s no one sitting next to me so I can have two seats!”
“Sweetie, your butt is very small; you don’t need two seats,” Xi Men said, looking at his cheeky daughter. “And actually, you don’t have to do that. Your mommy and I are only separated by an aisle, we can still talk like that…”
“You can’t talk like that all the time, you’ll end up tired and not talking to each other,” Emily said.
Xi Men and Xiao You stared at Emily, and then they just give up.
“Doesn’t matter then. Since nobody is sitting there anyway,” Xi Men said, looking at Xiao You who is sitting on his left.
“I know,” Xiao You said, taking a deep breath. “The first class cabin is only half full,”
“She can really have two seats on her own… that is if she wants to do that,” Xi Men said.
“She is doing exactly just that,” Xiao You smirked, takes a deep breath and then looked at Xi Men.
Xi Men smiled in respond. “So… wanna tell me what are you looking at in the airport just now?”
“Looking? Looking at what?” she frowned.
“I don’t know. When I was checking in, I saw you looking around like finding something,”
Xiao You stared at Xi Men. “Nothing. Maybe I am just a bit too sensitive about it,”
“Come on, you can share with me. And then I’ll tell you if you are sensitive or not, well, that is, in my opinion,” he extends his hand over and gripped her soft hand.
Xiao You bites her lower lip. “I…”
“Oh well,” she took a deep breath. “I saw people taking photos, as you know, which is very normal…”
“Yeah… they are probably too fascinated with the airport,” Xi Men smirked.
“Hmm?” Xi Men looked at her.
“I noticed they are taking photos at the direction of me… it felt like they are taking photos of me,”
Xi Men frowned, but soon he smiled. “Must be because you are pretty,”
Xiao You rolled her eyes. “Xi Men…”
“Alright, alright,” Xi Men smiled. “Not gonna tease you. So…” his smile faded and then he frowned as he suddenly remembers the weird sounds he heard last night at the carpark of the hospital.
The sounds he heard… come to think of it, it does seem like…
CAMERA’S SNAPPING SOUND.
His eyes widened all of a sudden.
Xi Men looked at her, his eyes looking extremely normal now. “Yes, honey?”
“Your eyes grew all of a sudden,” she pointed at him. “Well, just now,”
“Umm, I just thought of something…” he said.
“Nothing,” he smiled at her.
“Yes. Just something about work,” he had to lie. “Just thought of it, but nothing urgent,”
“Oh. So, what do you think?” she asked.
“About what I just told you… if I am sensitive…?” Xiao You asked.
“Oh, I think…” he stopped and he also wonders if Xiao You is sensitive about it.
Since Xi Men is thinking about it, he had happened to stop talking; and right at that time, a flight attendant stops right next to him; had no idea she had interrupted their conversation and also his thought.
“Good day, sir. Would you like to have a copy of the newspaper?” the flight attendant asked. Her left hand is holding a small stack of newspapers, and her right hand is partially extending one of it.
Xi Men lifted his head up to look at the flight attendant, and seeing the newspaper in her hand, he instantly remembered he hadn’t read the news today.
“Sure, thanks,” Xi Men said, taking the newspaper from the flight attendant.
“You are welcome,” and then the flight attendant walked away, heading to another passenger to prompt the same service.
Xi Men looked at the newspaper in hand, and then he turned to look at Xiao You. “We were talking about you saying you felt someone takes your photo… right?”
“Don’t worry about it. I guess people just happened to take photographs of the place and you were looking right into it,” he assured her.
She smiled briefly. “Can’t really convince myself about that but I’ll take your thoughts in it,”
He smiled. “Don’t worry too much. If there’s anything, you know I am here,”
She just smiled faintly. “Okay,” she said, and then she slowly turned her head and looked out of the window.
After realizing she is enjoying the view outside the window and not talking to him, he decided to look at the newspaper since he hasn’t read any news for the day yet.
He took the newspaper up and read it.
Article by article.
Column by column.
Page by page.
‘Mrs. Dao Ming, wife of CEO Dao Ming was admitted to hospital purportedly for check up.’
Xi Men smirked upon reading the title of the next article he is going to read.
There is a few pictures right underneath the title. (*articles on website and newspapers are not printed in the same outline. Articles on website highlight the news first and articles on printed materials/newspapers put pictures first)
He looked at the pictures and that is when one of it had grabbed his attention, immediately causing his smirk to fade off instantly and his eyes widened before he even read the article.
The unclear photo shows him, Xiao You and Emily leaving the hospital!
Anyone can see and recognize it is Xi Men since he is a prominent figure in the country!
But thankfully, because of the angle of both Xiao You and Emily are facing slightly to the other side when the photo is taken, their faces are not shown clearly.
Publics wouldn’t be able to see or recognize the faces clearly, but to those who have seen Xiao You and Emily before, they knew this is exactly them.
Xi Men stared at the photo for a really long time.
He had just remembered… this is exactly the same time he heard the odd sound; which he had just found out right a couple of minutes ago that it is a camera’s snapping sound.
He then diverted his gaze to quickly read, or scan the article.
‘Dao Ming Corporation’s CEO Dao Ming Si’s wife has been admitted into the hospital…’
‘An hour later, Mrs. Dao Ming was seen leaving…’
‘During the one hour of stay in the hospital…’
‘CEO Xi Men Zhong Er Lang from Xi Men Corporation came to pay a visit…’
‘CEO Xi Men is spotted leaving the hospital with a woman and a young girl in tow and they are seen really close to each other…’
He reads it over again.
He felt as though his blood had drained out of him.
It has been confirmed.
They have been found out. Media has found out about Xiao You.
Xi Men suddenly felt his left hand, that is holding the newspapers, is being gripped on. He lifted his head and turned to look at Xiao You who is looking at him.
She holds his hand to actually grab his attention and to move his focus away from the newspaper.
“Why are you looking at the newspaper like that?” she asked, and then she suddenly looked worried about him as he looked pale. “Xi Men, why are you… looking like that? Are you alright? Are you sick?”
“Xi Men…? Are you okay…”
“We’ve been spotted,” Xi Men said. “No…” he stared at her, “You’ve been exposed,”
Lei squeezed his nasal bridge as he gets his brain into overdrive mode to run.
“Has he ever mentioned about his plans on exposing Xiao You in future?” Ah Si asked, as all of them are now at Ah Si’s office.
Lei puts his hand down. “He has never told me about it but he shouldn’t have any problems about announcing Xiao You to the world. But I don’t think the last sentence of this news is fair,”
“Which is why I said Xi Men is going to be extremely mad,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Secretary Xu had called me this morning,” Lei said, taking a deep breath. “He said the phone on his table (Secretary Xu’s table) has never stop ringing; all calling in to find Xi Men,”
“This is bad,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Xi Men is now on the way to Toronto, which is why Secretary Xu and us, can’t reach Xi Men. Secretary Xu feels stuck. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to say and how to handle this. I really pity him, he is totally stressed up,” Lei sighed.
“And this is Xi Men’s personal matter but yet Secretary Xu is the one handling it…” Ah Si said.
“I’ve told Secretary Xu to tell them that he had no idea about it as a mean to stop the media from calling. But the problem is still there and hasn’t been solved. They will still call until someone says something about this. It won’t be solved until we get Xi Men,” Lei said.
“But we won’t be able to reach Xi Men until he reached Toronto. What time will he reach there?” Mei Zhuo asked.
“Should be 11am in Toronto, which is… 11pm Taiwan time tonight,” Lei said.
“It is only 10am! We have 13 hours to wait still!” Mei Zhuo said. “Do you know how bad this news will slowly become at every passing minute if nothing is being responded to about this news? It is like Xi Men is avoiding it and it is a truth or something,”
Ah Si and Lei looked at Mei Zhuo.
“So are you saying we need to address this matter on behalf of Xi Men?” Ah Si asked, looking at Mei Zhuo.
“Umm, I didn’t say that. I mean because Xi Men is not around, it might elevate to a disastrous state…”
“And that means if we didn’t want that to happen, we have to at least say something on behalf of Xi Men to the media,” Lei said, interrupting Mei Zhuo. “In that way we can stop the media from guessing and write inappropriate things just because Xi Men is not here, and then we can buy some time to wait until at least Xi Men had landed in Toronto before we get in contact with him,”
“That’s a good way… but… how?” Ah Si asked.
Mei Zhuo nodded in agreement.
All of them sit there brainstorming, finding the right thing to say or do on behalf of Xi Men since he is not reachable now.
“I know what to do,” Lei said, immediately takes his phone out.
Xiao You stared at Xi Men in disbelief.
“So this is why people are going after me in the airport? They tried taking photos of me because of this?” Xiao You asked.
Xi Men took a deep breath. “I didn’t see anyone in the airport, but I do feel someone is taking our photo last night. And this is it,” he pointed at the picture in the newspaper. “If someone is really trying to take a photo of you this morning, he must have followed us from our home to airport…”
“So you are saying you have an idea about this last night?”
“Not in this way. I heard some odd sounds but I see no one and I didn’t give much thought about it until you mentioned about possibly being photographed in the airport just now,” Xi Men said, exhaling a deep breath. “They must have come for San Chai last night, thinking she is going to give birth; but ends up seeing us together and then took a photo of us and even write about it,”
She grabbed the newspaper from his hands and reads it.
Xi Men tilts his head slightly as he looked at Xiao You reading it.
“I can’t believe this is happening when I am in the ‘air’ now,” Xi Men said, straightening his head. “Of all times,”
Xiao You’s face suddenly changed to seriously upset and she eventually smacks the pages of the newspaper close and then threw it harshly to Xi Men.
Xi Men is appalled by her action that the newspaper was flung in anger at him that he turned to look at her.
Her eyes have turned red, and tears had formed at the speed of light.
Xiao You gritted her teeth in anger as she turned to look out of the window, and the tears fell down to her cheek.
“Xiao You, why? I thought I’ve told you this is going to happen… that people will find out about you…” Xi Men immediately rubbed her arm. “Don’t be like this…”
“Did you even read the last paragraph?!” she gets rid of his hand that is rubbing her, before she wiped her tears.
“Last paragraph? Yes, I did. What about it…”
Now this is a tough job to persuade her. He had never seen her getting utterly upset like this.
“What about it?! And you ask me what about it?!” she looked at him.
“Honey, shhh… shhh… we are on a plane…” he tried to calm her down.
She took multiple deep breaths, as she tried to hold her tears and control the immense sadness in her heart. She felt her heart (as in the organ) wrenched, causing her to put her hand on her hurting heart. She felt terrible, mentally and physically.
“Xiao You…” he begins to panic upon seeing her like this. “Xiao You, I am sorry I have never made an official announcement about you prior to this because I thought of only announcing it once you have agreed to marry me,” he tried to grip her hand but he also dares not to do that since she had just removed his hand from her.
The pull in her heart dies down but she is still sad as ever.
She covers her face and sobbed.
He felt so bad right now.
He swallowed the lump in his throat as he didn’t know how to persuade her.
And her cries worsen at every single breath, which worries him even more because it meant the wish to make her stop crying gets tougher at every single second.
“Xiao You, I promise you we will get our privacy. Please don’t let such news affect you. And… and we’ve been going out to public places like all the time, and you should have known that they will see us and take photos of us…”
She raised her head and stared at him angrily, “So I am the other woman now?” she asked. “That is not what you told me back then and I trust you completely! So this is your true intention on what I am to you? The other woman?”
He frowned as he doesn’t understand. “Other woman? What other woman?”
Did he miss out something?
He took up the crumpled newspaper and then finds the page where the article is.
He found the page and of course, the article. He reads the lines again and then he had just realized he actually didn’t read the last paragraph. He had missed out that last paragraph.
That extremely crucial paragraph of the article.
‘CEO Xi Men was previously engaged to Miss Amanda Lee, daughter of President Lee of Hex Corporation, and the engagement have been called off just 2 months ago. Could this woman be the reason that the relationship between CEO Xi Men and Miss Amanda Lee falls apart?’
His eyes widened up.
“WHAT THE F*CK DID THEY WROTE?!” Xi Men yelled as his hands gripped the newspaper so tight he got it crumpled even more than it has been.
“Daddy… shhh…” Emily is embarrassed that her father is screaming on top of his lungs in the first class cabin.
Xi Men, still in his shocked state, looked at Emily and then he covered his mouth.
“SORRY!” Xi Men has to add.
Emily covered her face. “I am going to pretend I don’t know you for the rest of the flight…” she mumbled.
Xi Men looked at the article in the newspaper again.
He can’t believe what he read from the article.
“So? What now? I ruined your relationship? Didn’t you say you don’t like her and you don’t have a relationship with her?! Are you completely happy now that you have misled me to believe what I shouldn’t have believed?”
Xi Men turned to look at Xiao You. “NO! I have never misled you and I have never lied to you! And I didn’t have a relationship with her! This article is writing misleading stuffs! They shouldn’t write like this even though it is just a question! People end up thinking it is the truth! Shit!” he said, looking at the newspaper again.
“But that is what they think of! This is what they write and what everyone will read and believe!” Xiao You said.
“But this is not the truth! They don’t know us!” Xi Men said. “The true story about us!”
More tears rolled down her cheek as she gritted her teeth in anger and sadness.
Xi Men looked at Xiao You as he felt terrible too. He reached forward to wipe her tears, “Xiao You… please trust me… I didn’t lie to you about Amanda and me. And what the media wrote is too much…”
She sniffed. Her cries have slowly softened up upon hearing him say that.
“I need to fix this right now…” he said, diving his right hand into his pants to take out his phone.
And then he saw a cute plane icon on the top.
For a brief second he wondered what that is, and then he just remembered.
He’s on flight mode!
He can’t make a call now!
“Oh, f*ck. It had to happen when I am flying!” Xi Men complained.
He raised his left hand up to look at the wrist watch.
“Shit. Still have 13 hours to land. I am screwed up,” Xi Men said, slides his hand thru his hair. “Oh… gosh…” Xi Men closed his eyes as he leaned his head back to the seat.
Why is this happening when he had just hopped on the plane to go off for a personal trip?
He wouldn’t be able to address this matter immediately.
He had to wait for a week later to come back and talk about this.
But what and how will the news traveled and turned to by the time he came back?
Why of all times, now?
Why not earlier?
Why not later?
Why not when he can actually grabbed the phone up and calls for press conference or does whatever he needs to do to clarify this matter?
This is going to affect Xiao You’s reputation.
He can’t do anything now…
There is nothing he can really do…
He opened his eyes, and then he turned to look at Xiao You.
He extends his hand over and gripped her hand. “I can’t do anything now but I promise you I’ll settle this,” he said.
She slowly turned to look at him with her reddened eyes.
He squeezed her hand. “I won’t let the media to write improper things about you and about us. I will clarify the matter and I will fix this,”
“How?” she asked. “We are going to Toronto now,”
“I’ll make some calls when we’ve land in Toronto and see how the things will work from there. But I know I can only face the press when we go back to Taipei,” he swallowed the lump in his throat. “Xiao You, promise me one thing,”
She remained looking at him, without saying a word.
“Please trust me. Don’t let an article like this affects you and sways your thought,” he slowly spreads her fingers so he can clasped her hand in his. “I just need you to believe in me,”
She nodded in sadness. “Just fix this right…”
“Yes, I will. I’ll fight to give you back the honor that is supposed to be yours,”
She smiled but she also wanted to cry upon hearing that.
“I’ll never let you to be labeled as the other woman: you are not one, and will never be one. You, are the reason I am here today,” he said. “You are my only woman,”
She smiled, and nodded. “Okay…” she softly said.
“And promise me one more thing,”
“What is it?” she asked softly as well, as she tried to control her emotions now.
“Since we are going to Toronto and we will be there for a week… I don’t want you to be bugged by this matter and let it affects your excitement in this trip. I want you to enjoy this trip,” Xi Men said, leaning over to her side and caressed her jaw. “If there is one person that needs to be affected by this matter; it will be me, not you,”
She looked at him, she really feels like crying again right now.
“Because I am the one that caused this. I am sorry; I didn’t expect things will turn out like this. I didn’t want to see you upset like you are now. I love you so much to see you hurt,” he caressed her cheek now. “Just promise me you will enjoy this trip like you have always wanted to,”
She nodded, her tears fell.
He smiled, his thumbs wiped her tears. “I love you,”
“I love you too…” she said.
He leaned over and was about to kiss her, but he stopped.
With his lips just an inch away from her lips, “Can’t make out with you now because we are at a public area… people might throw us off the plane for public display of affection…” he mumbled.
She lets out a small laugh in between her tears upon hearing that.
“It’s okay. I’ll wait until we are in private to kiss you passionately. But for now, a brief kiss is fine,” he said, and then he did just that; kissing her briefly on her lips.
“That’s CEO Xi Men’s honorary secretary!”
“Secretary Xu!” the press called out and all of them dashed towards him when they saw Secretary Xu walked out from the lift.
“Secretary Xu! Where is CEO Xi Men? Why isn’t he addressing this?”
Secretary Xu could only last as far as the few steps he had walked before the press had taken all the available space in front of him, and he gives a quick bow to the eager media representatives.
“CEO Xi Men is not in today. CEO Hua Ze from Hua Ze Corporation, CEO Ling from Ling Corporation and CEO Dao Ming from Dao Ming Corporation had mentioned that they will be addressing the issue on behalf of CEO Xi Men,” Secretary Xu said.
“Please excuse me,” Secretary Xu interrupted whoever is talking, before squeezing himself in the crowd of press personnel and heads towards the entrance of Xi Men Corporation.
The press followed Secretary Xu, and they keep asking questions while walking, and Secretary Xu didn’t entertain at all.
All of them stopped asking when they realized there is a black Lexus in front of the building.
Secretary Xu headed to the Lexus and before he could reach to open the door, two passenger doors and the driver seat’s door opened.
Mei Zhuo is behind the driving wheel, sitting next to him on the passenger seat is Ah Si, and Lei emerged from the back passenger seat.
“CEO Hua Ze!”
“CEO Dao Ming!”
Secretary Xu immediately stood aside as the three CEOs stood together, and there is commotion as all of the press representatives ask questions altogether, hoping the CEOs will answer them.
Lei raised his hand up to demand silence from the press.
After a brief discussion with Ah Si and Mei Zhuo earlier, Lei had decided to take lead in this… since it is his idea, after all.
Seeing Lei’s hand signal has really silent the place.
“We know why all of you are here; it’s because of the news,” Lei said, and then he briefly looked at Ah Si and then Mei Zhuo, and then returned his gaze to the crowd, “Before I start, I would like to say that Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and I are here today to address this issue on behalf of Xi Men. Xi Men did NOT try to hide or avoid from addressing this issue and ask us to come, but it is because he had left Taipei early this morning to attend a private function overseas. Please be fair to Xi Men that he can’t address this issue now because he is not around and do not try to speculate things just based on an article like this. Please try to understand,”
“CEO Hua Ze, what is your opinion about the cancelled wedding of CEO Xi Men with…”
“All three of us have read the article, and I can tell you all of us are not pleased with how the purported question in that article had been outlined. We are not taking any questions and we are not going to comment any further about the article other than showing how displease we are with it. We understand your freedom to write, but we do not understand your need to write or question inappropriate stuffs based on your understanding and speculation to sell an article. We do not know if Xi Men had read this article, but we will make sure he knew and we are pretty sure he will be extremely pissed with how that question is being written and portrayed. Please kindly wait for Xi Men to return to Taipei to address this issue, the article, along with your questions. He will keep you informed,” Lei added. “And before I forget, this is Secretary Xu; the honorary secretary of Xi Men in Xi Men Corporation, not in Xi Men’s personal life. Calling in and asking him about Xi Men’s personal life will only waste your effort and your time. So stop harassing him, and start respecting him,” he looked at Secretary Xu, and Secretary Xu bowed at Lei as a sign of respect.
“Awesome, dude,” Mei Zhuo, who is standing at Lei’s right, softly said. “Awesome,”
“Can someone tell me why am I always the one addressing Xi Men’s issues? I am the one got my head on chopping board in front of Xi Men’s dad and now I am the one facing the press to settle this?” Lei softly asked at Mei Zhuo and Ah Si.
“Last time, you are the one that decides to go against his dad and we weren’t part of your plan. This time, even though we are part of the plan, you are the one that suggests this so take charge, dude,” Ah Si, who is standing at Lei’s left, softly said.
“Urgh…” Lei groaned.