Xiao You slowly opened her eyes, waking up from her nap; and her focus landed straight at the ceiling of the room that she had sleep in for almost 10 years.
But being away for the last month, and getting used to the room she shared with Xi Men in Taipei, she suddenly finds herself not familiar with this room in Toronto.
Pretty normal though.
She moved and had inadvertently kicked something on her left, which surprised her.
She lifted her head slightly and looked, to realize it is Xi Men’s leg she had kicked.
She immediately remembers he is sleeping next to her.
She turned her head to the left and looked, seeing Xi Men still sound asleep. Thankfully she didn’t wake him up. Or rather, he must have been extremely tired or exhausted, due to the flight, the different time zone, and the fact that he had been in deep thought almost the entire flight.
She remembers seeing him wide awake before she falls asleep in the flight. And when she awakes from her sleep (or nap), he is still wide awake; looking very stressed.
Of course, about the article.
After the call he had made to Lei and Amanda, he didn’t look as stressed anymore.
She smiled, to see that he is sleeping well now.
Her eyes traced his perfect facial features. She had always love to do that, but didn’t get to do most of the time because she had to wake up to make him breakfast in the morning before he goes to work, and at night, even though they would go to bed together, she tends to fall asleep first before he does.
Soft and steady breathing.
She then quietly reached over her wristwatch at the side table to see the time, and seeing it is already 6pm, she decided to get up.
Her father would have reached home by now, so she wants to go and greet her father.
She combed her hair and makes sure she looks alright, before she opened the door and walked out of her room.
Mr. Yang is already sitting at the dining table reading a letter that had been delivered to the house.
“Hi dad,” Xiao You called, as she closes the door behind her and walked to the dining room.
“Hi Xiao You,” Mr. Yang smiled, as Xiao You heads to him and hugged him. “Just wake up from your nap? Must have been a tiring flight,”
“It is okay. It is night in Taipei now and it is the sleeping time over there, so we need to adjust to the Toronto’s time zone again,” Xiao You smiled.
“Where is Xi Men?”
“He is still sleeping,”
“In your room?”
Xi Men shouldn’t be sleeping with her in her room!!
Well, at least not in this house where her parents are…
They have gotten used to sharing a bedroom in Xi Men’s house that she had forgotten the same rule shouldn’t apply in this house.
For her parents, unless she is married, she shouldn’t be sharing a room with a man… umm… but… this guy… is the father of her child…
“Umm…” Xiao You didn’t know what to say.
Mr. Yang smirked. “Even though you are not married to him, I am sure both of you are sleeping in the same room in Taipei too,”
Sounds odd to talk about that with her parents.
“You are 28 years old now, Xiao You. And you have a daughter with that man in your room. So, whatever you are doing, you truly need to be responsible for yourself,”
Xiao You could only smile faintly. “Yes, dad…”
“Youngsters nowadays…” his dad continued, and Xiao You could only bites her lower lip when her father talked. “Just make sure you are not pregnant again before you get married, huh,”
“AH?” that surprised her.
“Alright, alright. I don’t wanna care about that even if you want to get pregnant before married,”
“Dad… please, not about this…” she deadpanned.
A small laugh escapes his dad’s mouth. “True. I find it weird to talk about that with you as well,” he said as he reads the letter in his hand again.
She smiled, and upon noticing how intent her father is reading the letter in hand, “Hmm… what kind of letter is it that would make you read it and not noticing me, dad?”
Her dad laughed. “Not really. This is a lawyer’s letter about our house’s sale,”
“Our house’s sale?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes, this is to verify and telling me the status. Our house has successfully been sold, and if all the things are going well, we will be able to move to Taipei by end of next month or early of the following month,” Mr. Yang smiled.
Xiao You smiled. “That’s great! Remember to courier the things you need to send back to Taipei before you moved, dad,”
“I will,” Mr. Yang smiled. “Will our stuffs clog up Xi Men’s house?”
“Oh, no, don’t worry about it, in fact…”
“I know he is my future son-in-law but that doesn’t mean I need to fully utilize that and clog up his house with our stuffs,” Mr. Yang said.
“No, dad. We already settled your accommodation,” Xiao You said.
Mr. Yang looked at her. “Xiao You, let me be honest with you. I know you are a good daughter, and that you have planned to have me and your mom to stay with you at Xi Men’s place. It is not a good idea to stay with you and Xi Men permanently since right now, you have your own family. So, your mom and I have decided to stay with you only temporarily and we will look for our place there,”
“Dad, I know about that. You and mom have told me this before when I was way younger so I remember. And what I am saying is, don’t worry about staying with us temporarily or permanently,” Xiao You smiled. “Because we already get you a place,”
Xiao You’s dad stared at her. “Huh?”
“Yes, you and mom are going to stay in a penthouse in a prestigious neighborhood,”
Mr. Yang gaped. “Pent… penthouse? In a… prestigious neighborhood?”
“Yes, dad,” Xiao You smiled. “But…” her smile fades. “I hope you don’t mind that it is actually Xi Men’s former penthouse, that we have actually moved next door…”
“Umm… an issue comes up, so we moved next door… but dad, don’t worry. The issue had settled,” she waved at him.
“I hope you are not saying the house is haunted and you asked me to stay now after you managed to chase the ghost away?”
“NO! Of course that house is not haunted!” Xiao You said, flinging her hands all over the place.
Mr. Yang laughed at her reaction.
“It’s just that I am not happy with the house because of an incident, so… Xi Men bought the one next door… we moved over… and initially Xi Men wanted to sell it, but we have decided to let you and mom stay there since the issue has been settled,” Xiao You smiled faintly. “Don’t worry, okay? When you send the stuffs over, I will move them over to the penthouse,”
“And so Xi Men is the owner of the house, right? With us staying there, it means I need to pay him the rent. But Xiao You, you know we are not rich. How am I supposed to pay him the rent of the house?”
“No, dad. You don’t have to pay him. He is not selling the place doesn’t mean he is renting it to you. And we are not going to take any money from you. He doesn’t need the money anyway. Just stay there, alright?”
Her dad smirked and then a small laugh escaped his mouth. “I have never thought in my life, that I will be able to stay in a penthouse, not to mention, in a prestigious neighborhood…”
“Because of Xi Men, everything is possible,” Xiao You smiled.
“Now I know why she didn’t tell me she needs to buy a dress or something for your wedding,”
Harry turned his head to look at Xi Men who is sitting next to him.
Both of them are at the bridal boutique where Christina is collecting her wedding dress today and also all her bridesmaids are collecting their dresses.
Xi Men, who is looking at the direction of where Xiao You is, turned his head to look at Harry, and smiled contently.
Harry smiled. “She didn’t tell you?”
“She didn’t. And I didn’t ask,” Xi Men smiled. “I was actually waiting for her to go into panic mode and starts telling me she had forgotten about the dress,”
Harry laughed. “For Xiao You, there is only a likelihood that she can’t find a dress; and almost impossible that she will forget one,”
Xi Men joined in and laugh. “I guess you understand her more than me,”
Harry smiled as he looked at Xi Men, “She is our best friend for the last 9 years, so you can’t really blame that we know her better than you would. But I am sure you will catch up with us, just take your time,”
Xi Men laughed again. “I am darn sure that will happen,”
Harry laughed too.
Both men turned to look at the ladies; where asides from Christina and Xiao You, there are a few more ladies there whom Harry claimed are their University friends.
Christina has 4 bridesmaids and Xiao You is the maid of honor.
They are the only two men in the bridal boutique.
“Oh I haven’t thanked you for coming all the way from Taiwan for my wedding,” Harry said.
“Oh, no worries,” Xi Men smiled. “I’ve promised you I will come, right?”
Harry smiled. “Still, you are a busy businessman,”
“I will still take some time out to attend your wedding. Especially that you are Xiao You’s best friend… and you have helped us a lot,” Xi Men smiled.
Harry smiled. “So, how are you and Xiao You doing now?”
Xi Men turned to look at Harry. “It’s good. All’s good,”
“Xiao You ‘whatsapp’ me and told me about the kindergarten place that you have set up for her,” Harry smiled.
Xi Men smiled again. “Yeah,”
“That’s very nice of you,”
“I actually feel bad that she gives up everything here because of me. So, I just give her what she really loves,”
Harry smiled. “Any plans to get married?”
“Yeah, I do. All the time,” Xi Men said, exhaling his deep breath and then folds his hand on his chest. “But she is not accepting my proposal,” and then he smiled a bit.
“She is not accepting your proposal?” Harry is surprised.
“Twice?!” Harry is totally surprised now. “I thought she really loves to be with you,”
“Well, she has her reasons for rejecting them,”
“Sorry to hear that it fails. Must have felt pretty bad when you were rejected,” Harry said.
“Of course felt a bit bitter, but don’t worry, Harry. I’ll work on it,” Xi Men smiled.
“That is good to hear,” Harry smiled.
“When I have successfully proposed to her, just make sure you come for my wedding,” Xi Men said, slightly nudged Harry.
“Sure, I will come,” Harry smiled, “I mean, I would love to come… but the thing is…” his smile fades.
Xi Men wondered. He looked at Harry. “But?”
“It’s about my boss,” Harry said, looking at Xi Men.
“Ah? What do you mean?” Xi Men asked.
“It’s a bit difficult for me to apply leave nowadays. Even applying for a week off for my wedding is tough,”
“What is wrong with your boss?” Xi Men asked.
Harry laughed at the way Xi Men asked that question. “We have a lot of work to do. He is reluctant to let me apply a week off for my wedding. He was persuading me to only take 2 days off. But… you know I have so many things to do for my wedding. I push for a week and I barely made it,”
“Sounds pretty bad… then what about your honeymoon?”
“Honeymoon? I didn’t even dare to think about it,”
“You are saying you don’t have honeymoon after your wedding?” Xi Men asked.
“I am not saying we don’t have. We’ll just postpone a bit,” Harry sighed and he crossed his leg. “Christina really wanted to go for honeymoon but I hate to disappoint her. So I said once I settled the projects and if I could take about two weeks off… we will go for a honeymoon. Probably in a few months time,”
Xi Men frowned. “I don’t like your boss already,”
Harry laughed. “Nobody likes him anyway, but he is my boss, so what can I do?”
Xi Men smirked, and then his gaze strayed as he saw Xiao You emerged from the fitting room in that maid of honor dress.
After a brief silence,
“Did you invite Gavin Kang to your wedding?” Xi Men turned to look at Harry.
Harry turned to look at Xi Men, “Gavin Kang?”
Xi Men nodded. “Yeah,”
Harry smirked. “I did invite him, but he can’t come. His schedule is pretty hectic,”
Xi Men pressed his lips together. “I see,”
“Why do you ask?” Harry asked.
“Oh,” Harry then smiled.
Both men turned to look at the girls.
After a moment of silence again,
Harry looked at Xi Men when he heard Xi Men speaks. “Yeah?”
Xi Men also turned his head to look at Harry. “Do you think… if I…”
“Xiao You, is the dress good with you?” Christina asked.
Xiao You turned to look at the mirror, “Yes, Christina. It is a perfect size for me. Thankfully I didn’t gain weight… especially my stay in Taipei with their glorious food,”
“Hey, Christina. Can I ask you something?” a bridesmaid, Suzanne, asked.
“Sure, what’s up?” Christina asked.
“There is this handsome Chinese guy sitting next to Harry. Who is he?” Suzanne briefly pointed.
The other three bridesmaids, Doris, Erin and Jennifer along with Christina and Xiao You turned their heads and looked at Xi Men who is talking with Harry.
“Why, you wanna get to know him?” Xiao You teased, and upon hearing that, Christina laughed.
“I have never seen him before. He is extremely good looking!” Suzanne said.
“You already have a boyfriend by the name of Alan. Get over it,” Doris said.
“I can add a friend in my friends list, can’t I?” Suzanne mocked Doris.
“But then I haven’t seen him before as well… is he Harry’s colleague? Why is he here? One of Harry’s best man?” Jennifer asked.
Christina looked at Xiao You for a while. “Well… if you want to know him…”
“Christina can introduce him to you,” Xiao You quickly adds in. “Right, right?”
Christina looked at the playful face of Xiao You. “No problem for me, you see…”
Xiao You bites her lower lips to hold her laughter.
“Christina, you could have introduced him to us if Harry has such a hunk colleague many, many years ago,” Suzanne said.
“Umm…” Christina also tried to hold her laughter. “Well, Harry and I only get to know him a couple of months ago…”
“Oh, just few months? He seems very close with Harry… like they knew each other for a long time,” Doris said.
“So… you wanna know him?” Christina asked again, and her gaze turned briefly at Xiao You.
Xiao You tilts her head with a smile as a mean ‘go ahead’.
“YES!” all the four ladies said.
“He’s totally ladies killer,” Xiao You mumbled.
“Did you say something?” Erin looked at Xiao You.
“Oh, no, no. Nothing,” Xiao You smiled.
“Harry! Xi Men!” Christina called.
Harry and Xi Men turned their heads and looked at Christina when she called out for them.
The guys stood up and headed to them.
“Yes, dear?” Harry asked as he walked to Christina.
Xi Men’s eyes are fixed to Xiao You, obviously, and his legs are bringing him to Xiao You too.
“They want to know Xi Men,” Christina said, smiling at Harry and also Xi Men.
Xi Men immediately turned his head to look at Christina upon hearing that, before his gaze turned to Xiao You who is trying to hold her laughter.
She must be having some fun.
“Ah?” Harry asked, turning his head to look at Xi Men and then at Xiao You.
Xiao You pretends as if she didn’t know anything although her lips curve up occasionally for that.
“Umm,” Harry understood that body language of Xiao You, and then he turned to look at Xi Men.
“Hi ladies,” Xi Men smiled.
Xiao You looked at him, wanted to know how he will react around her friends.
“Hi…” Suzanne, Erin, Doris and Jennifer said at the same time.
“This is Xi Men,” Harry puts his hand over to Xi Men’s shoulder. “This is Doris, Erin, Jennifer and Suzanne,” he intentionally left Xiao You out since… oh well, Xi Men and Xiao You knew each other anyway. “Our friends from University,”
“Hi Xi Men, are you Harry’s colleague?” Suzanne asked.
“No,” Xi Men smiled.
“Oh, then…? Umm, neighbor?” Suzanne curiously asked.
“I am Harry’s best friend’s friend,” Xi Men said. “Or maybe I should say…” he glanced over to Xiao You. “Soon to be fiancé,”
Xiao You looked at Xi Men sharply for what he said.
Now he is having fun.
“Harry’s best friend’s fiancé?” the four bridesmaids said.
“Soon to be. Haven’t successfully proposed yet,” Xi Men smiled.
“So he is off the market?” Suzanne asked Christina.
“Hey, I told you to focus on Alan,” Doris said.
“Can’t I just ask that?” Suzanne asked.
“Hmmm… he said he is Harry’s best friend’s fiancé…” Jennifer said. “That means a female best friend…”
“Well, it can be a guy too, right?” Xiao You chipped in.
Xi Men’s eyes widened up as he glared at Xiao You as everyone laughed.
“I know I am probably attractive to men as well, but I am only interested with women,” Xi Men smirked, at the same time defending for himself.
“Well, I am just saying,” Xiao You smirked.
“Harry’s female best friend…” Jennifer said, and then she turned to look at Xiao You.
Xiao You looked at Jennifer. “Hmmm?”
Xi Men smirked.
“Harry’s female best friend is you…” Jennifer said, and then she turned to look at Xi Men, “Are you Xiao You’s…?”
“Miss Yang Xiao You, have enough fun and messing around with my sexuality?” Xi Men smiled.
Harry and Christina laughed, while the 4 bridesmaids turned to look at Xiao You.
Xiao You laughed. “Right, but I am not your fiancée,”
“Yet,” Xi Men continued her sentence. “And as a matter of fact, I am completely straight,”
“Xiao You! You could have just told us he is your fiancé!” Erin smacks her hand down on Xiao You’s arm playfully.
“He is not my fiancé!” Xiao You laughed.
“Yet,” Xi Men continued her statement again.
“Alright, well, you could have just told us, instead of us feeling like…” Suzanne said.
“She had fun,” Xi Men smiled, now he walked to Xiao You and puts his hand around her shoulder.
“Well, Suzanne, you never asked me,” Xiao You smiled. “And… you can put him into your ever growing list of friends,”
Xi Men just smiled.
“But Xiao You… I have never seen you dated since University…” Jennifer said. “You said you only love Emily’s dad and…” she turned to look at Xi Men.
Xiao You’s smile fades. “Err, that…”
“Maybe I should clarify that for her,” Xi Men said.
All of them looked at Xi Men.
“Whatever had happened in the past, some things will change. Point being, I am with Xiao You now, and I am Emily’s dad. So, she only loves Emily’s dad, and that’s me!” Xi Men said happily.
“Good for you, Xi Men. Xiao You is a tough one to chase back then in the University. You have no idea how many guys out there tried to woo her and failed because of her love for Emily’s dad, and if you have managed to win her and be Emily’s ‘dad’, you are awesome,” Doris said.
Christina, Harry and Xiao You frowned as they looked at Xi Men, and then at the friends since they really thought Xi Men is Emily’s stepfather, well, that is also because that’s the way how Xi Men had perceived.
Xi Men smiled. “Thank you. I am indeed the lucky one,”
“Umm… right. If everyone is happy with the dress, let’s change back and then we can leave this place with the dresses,” Christina said.
Doris, Erin, Jennifer and Suzanne head back to their fitting room.
“What is that?” Xiao You asked, looking at Xi Men. “Emily’s ‘dad’?”
“I don’t think they are as close to you as Harry and Christina are, right?” Xi Men asked. “Since I have never heard you mentioned them before,”
“You are right about that,” Harry said, looking at Xi Men.
“Well, point being, I didn’t lie. They are free to interpret what I have said just now, and I know it meant as though I am Emily’s stepfather. You see, after all those great stories you have invented and maintained at University, I don’t want to break off all those efforts you have put in for years protecting yourself and Emily, and then revealed that those are not true because Emily’s dad is still very much alive. If you tell them that, you will have a lot to explain and also they will find out you have been lying to them for years, which you know, is not something nice at the same time. And if they are not as close to you as Harry and Christina are, then it means it is not important for them to know the truth. What’s most important is Harry and Christina knew the truth. So just let your friends continue with their way of interpretation,” Xi Men smiled.
“So casual of you,” Christina said.
“Well, I don’t care what others think. Most importantly is the key people knew the truth. And, we are all living a good life now. That is all matters,” Xi Men smiled.
Wait. Not with the issue in Taipei now.
“But if you really want them to know the truth, it is your decision. And if you need me to explain to them about you, me and Emily, let me know. I’ll do it,” Xi Men smiled.
“No, I think what the people know now is good,” Xiao You smiled. “Thank you,”
“You are welcome. And you look very pretty,” Xi Men said.
“Thank you again,” she said, lowering her head down in bashfulness.
“Sorry for the interruption, but Xiao You… you know you need to change, right?” Christina said.
Xi Men, Xiao You, Emily and Xiao You’s parents attended Harry and Christina’s wedding.
All four of them, minus Xiao You, are arranged to sit at the small round table, well, fit for four.
But for now, only Xi Men and Emily are sitting there as Xiao You’s parents had left to talk with Harry’s parents.
Xiao You, will not be sitting with them since she is the maid of honor for the night, thus she will be with Christina, or even Harry, almost the whole time.
Xi Men sits at the table, having his eyes fixed at Xiao You wherever she is at the venue.
The way he stares at her, it is enough to see how much he loves her.
He then lowered his head down and looked at Emily who is sitting next of him, also having her eyes at Xiao You and also at Christina and Harry.
“Emily,” he called.
“Yes, daddy?” Emily turned and looked at him.
“Mommy looked really pretty in that light purple dress, right?”
“Yes, daddy! She looked really nice in that,” Emily smiled.
He smiled to hear that respond.
“Emily… do you know what I have always wanted to marry your mommy?”
“I know,” Emily said, looking at Xi Men. “Daddy said when it is time, then you will marry mommy,”
“Your mommy didn’t accept my proposal twice… and… and I want to propose to her again,”
Emily’s smile on her face grew. “Really?”
Xi Men smiled. “Yes, I really hope she will accept me this time…”
“And… daddy has a plan, but…”
“Hmmm? What is it, daddy?”
“Will you help daddy to make this happen, though it is indirectly?”
Lei: Hey, Xi Men.
Xi Men: Hi Lei.
Lei: What’s up?
Xi Men: I tried calling Secretary Xu but can’t get thru, really don’t know why. My flight back to Taipei is tomorrow. Can you help to call Secretary Xu for me tomorrow and asked him to arrange a press conference for me on Tuesday morning… 10am?
Lei: Your flight back to Taipei is tomorrow, which this means you are only going to land on Monday night, and you want your press conference on Tuesday morning? Like… really?
Xi Men: I was supposed to rest at home on Tuesday and go back to work on Wednesday, but since the issue… well, you know the intensity of the issue… it is best if I settle it soonest possible.
Lei: Are you sure you really want to do it on Tuesday?
Xi Men: Yes, I am.
Lei: Alright then. I’ll do that for you. I’ll call Secretary Xu and ask him to arrange, and if there is anything, I’ll lend a hand for him.
Xi Men: Thanks a lot. Venue will be the auditorium in my company.
Lei: Okay. I’ll call him tomorrow.
Xi Men: Thanks. Can you ask Ah Si and Mei Zhuo to come too? Oh, bring yourself.
Lei: (smirked) Sure. We’ll come without invitation anyway.
Xi Men: (small laugh) Alright. Thanks. Oh by the way…
Xi Men: Execute the plan.
Lei: What plan?
Xi Men: That plan lah. THAT. You know, THAT THAT?
Xi Men: (groaned) The one we have all agreed as the best idea.
Lei: OH. THAT PLAN. I got it now. Like, you changed topic all of a sudden (rolled eyes). So… when?
Xi Men: Right now, you go and source around for your side first. Emily has agreed.
Lei: Alright then. Once I found I’ll update you.
Xi Men: Great. Thank you.
Lei: No problem. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Xi Men: (smirked) Rest of the trip? I am actually starting to stress now.