“Are we cutting the trip short? Are we going back to our own cities? Is that why you took the photo of Eiffel Tower in the morning because we will not be seeing it again tomorrow?” Xiao You asked.
Xi Men smirked as he lowered his hand down to look at the smartphone in his hand, and then he returned his gaze to her, “None of us are any better from the other. We will go ahead with the plan. The week will resume. The trip will continue,”
Xi Men pats his face with water from the tap in the bathroom.
He then lifted his head up and looked at the mirror.
With water droplets on his face, he stares at his image in the mirror.
Leaning nearer to the mirror and looked at his mirror image, he uses his fingers to swipe the water droplets away from his face.
His eyes widened.
He reached for the door knob, twisted it and opened the door at the speed of light.
“Xiao You!” he called immediately.
With her back facing him, Xiao You is hooking her black bra at the time when he opened the door and called for her.
Hearing he opened the door and called for her from the back, Xiao You is surprised.
He is also surprised to see… what he is seeing now.
She thought she could use this time to get dressed up while he is in the bathroom.
It is not like he has never seen a woman’s body before; in fact, among F4, he had seen the most; well, with Mei Zhuo.
But Xiao You’s body is… well, WOW.
Curves at all the right places.
Knowing it is not something new for Xi Men to see a female body, Xiao You had no attempt to hide or desperately covers herself but instead continued with her pace to hook up the bra and then grabbed the long sleeves white shirt she had placed on the bed and puts it on.
She then turned around and looked at Xi Men, as though nothing had happened, “Yeah?” she asked.
Xi Men looked at Xiao You, still surprised at what he saw earlier.
And she has to wear a white shirt over a black innerwear!!!
“Hey,” she waves her hand in front of Xi Men’s face. “Don’t do it like you’ve never seen a body of a female before,”
“Oh,” he blinked after she moves her hand in front of him.
“What’s up?” she asked, putting her hands on her waist.
“Umm…” he suddenly forgot what he wants to talk to Xiao You, and then his eyes strayed. “Umm…”
Xiao You tilts her head as she waited for him.
“AH, yes,” he said, finally remembers. “Can you see my face?” he pointed at his face.
“See your face for…?” she asked, casually looking at his face. “What’s wrong with your face?”
“Is it red?” he asked.
“Red?” she asked, and then she looked again. Her eyes widened and she puts her hands on his face, turning his head to the left and right, to find the angle to see the redness properly. “Yes, it is red. Your face is hot too. Hey, you have sunburn!”
“Ah… crap,” he groaned and she released her hands from his face. “So it really is sunburn. But I thought there is no sun yesterday,”
“Overcast sky doesn’t mean there is no sun or no UV. You will still get it if you are at the outdoors,” she said.
“Urgh,” he touched and pressed his sunburned face.
“You could have known when it feels hot. Don’t you feel hot on your face?” she asked. “And you could have known last night…”
“I didn’t give it a thought. Until I saw my face in the mirror just now,” he said.
“Oh. You didn’t use sun protection cream yesterday?” she asked.
“No, I didn’t,”
“Use it today,”
“I didn’t bring any,” he said, already feeling grumpy.
“I do! I can lend it to you,” she said.
“What’s the point? I already have sunburn on my face,” he said, pointing at his face.
“It didn’t matter. You should apply to protect your face today,” she said, going to her luggage. “And I have aloe gel, put it on first. Let it dry up and then apply the sun protection cream later. Let me find it in my bag,”
“Wait, wait, wait. I am not done yet. I’ll apply that on before we go out,” he said.
“Oh, okay,” she said, holding onto the two bottles in her hands.
He went back into the bathroom and closed the door.
“Hmmm… I’ll take the black jacket today,” Xiao You said, extending her hands into the wardrobe and takes the jacket.
She then heads to the living room with the jacket in her hand.
Xi Men is sitting on the couch in the living room doing something on his foot…
Xiao You frowned, wondering what Xi Men is doing.
She approaches Xi Men, noticing Xi Men is… bandaging his third toe of his left foot?
Xi Men happened to raise his head up to look at her, immediately turning his leg and his body to the other side. “Ah, you are ready,” he said, swallowing a lump in his throat. “Give me a moment, I’ll be ready soon,”
“Xi Men, what are you doing?” she asked, sitting down on the couch in front of him. “Why are you bandaging your toe?”
He glances at her, and then he returned his gaze to his toe, “I have blister,”
He was trying to keep it from her. But he didn’t know it will take him this long to bandage his toes.
“Yeah,” he said.
“From the walk yesterday?”
“Oh,” she replied. “Is it painful?”
“Bearable,” he said.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Is it because we walked too much yesterday?” she asked.
“It is okay,” he smiled briefly.
She didn’t know what to respond.
She looked at him bandaging his toe, and soon her eyes traveled to his other foot. Her eyes widened as she realized there are another 3 bandages on his right foot.
“Xi Men, how many blisters do you actually have?” she asked.
He curled up the toes on his right foot. “Umm… few,” he said.
“Few? FEW?! Like, how many?” she asked.
Since she had seen them and she is asking now… he couldn’t hide from her.
He casually looked at her, before he returned his gaze to his toe again. “6,”
“SIX?!” her eyes widened. “You have 6 blisters on your feet and you are not telling me?!”
“It is nothing, Xiao You,” he said. “Why do you make such a big hoo-hah about that?” he reached for the box of plasters and takes another one out.
“You said ‘blister’ so I thought it was just one! It is supposed to be ‘blisters’!”
“Look, it is okay,” he said, “It is just blisters. Nothing to worry about,”
“It really is okay. Blisters will heal, you know,” he said. “I am fine, don’t worry,” he assured, giving her a smile.
Seeing that he smiles, she also smiled briefly. “It must be because we walked too much yesterday…”
“Well, you have to walk to see the city,” he said.
“Do you have any idea when blisters started appearing…? Like, middle of the day? Or… end of the day?” she asked.
He tilts his head. “I think it begins somewhere after Champs-Élysées or Place de la Concorde,”
“Actually, I am not sure. I didn’t pay much attention to it as to when it begins. I know the pain starts to bug me at Opéra Garnier,” he frowned, “Or was it Jardin des Tuileries… or… umm, nevermind,”
She smiled faintly. “Don’t worry, we are not going to walk that much today,”
“It is completely fine. Just do it as per your plan. You don’t have to accommodate me,” he said, looking at her. “Which is why I try not to let you know because I knew you’ll gonna do that…”
“No, no, no. It is not that,” she shook and waves her hand. “Today, the places we are going are not exactly too far apart from each other, and even if it is far, we have to travel by subway because it will be way too far to walk,” she smiled.
“Really?” he asked, bandaging his 5th of the 6 blistered toes.
“Yes,” she smiled. “It might be hectic, but we won’t be walking as much as yesterday,”
“Alright,” he smiled back at her.
“So… do you happen to have blisters issues when you travel… that you brought a box of plasters with you?” she asked.
“A box of plasters?” he asked, and then he looked at the box next to him, “You mean this box?” he pointed.
“Yeah, and it is kind of a big pack too,”
“No, I didn’t bring it from home. This box was bought here in Paris,” he said.
“Bought here in Paris? When did you buy it? I don’t remember seeing you buying this,”
He smirked. “I called the receptionist at the hotel lobby and asked them to buy this for me last night. I specifically asked for a box of 100 pieces because a box of 10 pieces wouldn’t be able to last the whole trip. You see… I already used 6 now. I have to use tomorrow and the next few days too. So a box of 10 definitely isn’t enough,”
“Last night? I don’t remember anyone came to the suite to pass to you,”
“I told them not to come up to the suite to pass me the box, and instead I will go down and collect it when they have bought it,” he said.
Her eyes strayed for a while. Now it sounds… familiar.
“Is that when you leave while I was in the bathroom?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“But… why didn’t you ask them to bring it up? Since… you said this is a luxurious hotel, I don’t think they will have issues to walk up here and pass you the box,”
“Because I was trying to hide it from you,” he said.
“What? Trying to hide from me? Why?”
“I didn’t want you to know I have blisters. I didn’t want you to feel bad. I didn’t want you to adjust the itineraries because of me. But you still found out now,” he said, and then he points at her. “And I repeat again, don’t change the itinerary for me,”
She rolled her eyes. “I am not going to. In fact, there is no need to. Let me tell you the itinerary now. We are going to La Conciergerie, Saint Chapelle, Notre Dame and Musée du Louvre today. So, is that okay with you?”
“I have no idea how far apart they are from each other, but…” he then looked at her. “But yeah, come to think of it, I wouldn’t know as well if you had changed them to accommodate me,”
She looked at him, “You don’t trust me, huh?”
“It has nothing to do with whether I trust you or not because the truth is, I wouldn’t know if you had lied to me,”
She rolled her eyes again, and then she looked at him laughing as he bandaged his toe.
Looking at him rather ‘passionately’ bandaging his blistered toe… or toes, she felt bad.
They walked so much yesterday until he had blisters on 6 of his toes and he didn’t complain.
And he is sunburned too.
Smacking the jacket in her hand down onto the couch that she is sitting, she rose to her feet and heads to the bedroom.
“Ahhh… done bandaging,” Xi Men said, sitting straight up and straightened his legs.
He spreads his toes and looked at the bandages wrapped around the 3rd, 4th and the last toe of both feet.
“I have never imagined Paris could do this to me,” he said. “I don’t remember suffering from so many blisters at one time,”
Walk too much.
“And I am always chauffeured to my destinations so I never had to walk so much…” he murmured.
Xiao You emerges from the bedroom and walked towards him with two bottles in her hands.
Xi Men happened to raise his head up and looked at her since she is walking towards him.
“You haven’t applied aloe gel and sun protection cream,” she said.
“Oh,” he said, taking the bottles from her hands.
“This is aloe gel. Put this first,” she said, pointing at the transparent bottle with green contents on his left hand. “It will soothe and cool your face down slightly,” she then sits down next to Xi Men.
“Okay,” he said, opening the cover and pours the aloe gel into his hand.
He then puts it on his face.
“Hmm… cooling,” he smiled as he applied it on his face.
“Yeah, it is,” she smiled.
She looked at him applying the aloe gel on his face.
Sunburn. Blisters. Walk too much.
Hurtful revelation last night.
These painful events are enough for Xi Men to cut the trip short.
She remembers how he reacted last night.
He must have gone to bed mad.
But… he still chooses to continue the trip.
“I’m done with the aloe gel,” Xi Men said, putting the bottle of aloe gel on the coffee table.
Upon hearing he talks, it wakes her up from her thoughts.
“Am I supposed to put this now?” he asked, pointing at the sun protection cream bottle.
“Oh yes,” Xiao You replied. “But give your face a bit of time to absorb the aloe gel before you apply the sun protection cream,”
Xi Men is holding the bottle but upon hearing what Xiao You said, “Oh, okay,” he said, putting the bottle down onto the coffee table again. “Then I gotta wait for a while,”
“In the meantime, I’ll go and get my jacket,” he said, standing up and holding the box of plasters.
“Okay,” she said.
He walked towards the bedroom to put down the box in his luggage, and then heads to the wardrobe to get his jacket, before returning to the living room again.
Putting down his jacket onto the couch, Xiao You suddenly rose to her feet.
Thinking she wants to walk away from the couch to the bathroom or bedroom or wherever she felt like going, he moved slightly in order to make way for her to walk.
She walked to him, and suddenly hugs him, wrapping her hands around his waist.
He is stunned; his eyes widened and his hands… they are halfway in the air.
He didn’t know what is going on.
“Xi Men, I am sorry,”
He lowered his head by slight, “About?” he asked. “Sunburn? Blisters? I said it is nothing, right?”
“About last night,”
He lifted his head up upon hearing that. He immediately swallowed the lump in his throat.
“Xiao You, there is nothing to be sorry for,” Xi Men said. “I actually appreciate that you tell the truth,”
‘Appreciate that I tell the truth?’ she asked herself.
She slowly released her hands from his waist, and gradually pulled back from the hug.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat. “At least I know what it means to you. And I know it now rather than later, or never,”
She looked at him. “I… I thought I ruined your day. I mean, your night,”
“Well, you did,” he smiled faintly.
She didn’t understand why he is smiling.
“But like I’ve said, none of us are any better than the other. I have no right to be mad at you just because I didn’t know yours like you know mine,” Xi Men said. “So I am really glad with your honesty,”
She looked at him, and then she lowered her head down.
“Xi Men, I didn’t pretend… I really treat you as a friend,”
“Okay, I’ll take your word for it,” he said.
She lifted her head up and looked at him. “You will?
He smiled. “Because that is what you said,”
She pouted slightly, and she lowered her head down again.
“For the rest of this trip… I just want you to be honest with me, just like I am honest with you. I want you to be yourself,” he said, looking at her, and then raised his hand and pats her head. “And don’t force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do, or say things you don’t want to say. Because I will not do that to you too,”
She raised her head to look at him again.
“Even though I know what we have now will only last for a week, everything about yourself or your characteristics apply. You don’t have to create a character or attitude to fit the week. I don’t need that. I am only here to fulfill the one week wish, and you are here to repay the gratitude. So I just want to see ‘you’ and I am here to date ‘you’. Not someone you forced yourself to be,”
Xiao You smiled faintly.
He smiled as he took a step forward and wraps his hands around her, engaging in a hug as she puts her hand around his waist. “Let’s just enjoy the week. And give our best to make the trip great,”
She smiled and nodded in the hug.
He remained smiling as he hugged her tight.
It felt good.
“I thought we are really leaving back to home today,” Xiao You said.
He smiled. “What makes you think of that?”
“Because last night, you do look like… umm… going to give it a thought,”
“Well, I did thought about that,”
“Oh?” she asked, releasing her hands.
“Thankfully I didn’t make a decision last night, because if I did, I will definitely cut the trip short,” he said, also releasing his hands and both of them took a step back.
“Oh,” she said. “Well… this morning, you gave me a fright,”
“Yeah. The sound of the door closed woke me up and then you are not in sight. I thought you’ve left and leave me alone,”
A small laugh escaped his mouth.
“I thought you said you are alright to be alone,” he said.
“I mean, I am alright to be alone if I am being informed and acknowledged. Not abandoned,” she said.
He laughed. “So, is that why you call for me and even got down from the bed to look for me?”
She looked at him. “Like I said, I don’t like to be abandoned. I already heard and felt it last night when you left to the lobby to take your box of plasters. And after the intense conversation, the feeling kind of grew. It is not a nice feeling,”
“At least I know you will come back after leaving for a brief while to take your box of plasters, but it is frightening if you happened to leave this morning without telling me…” she said.
His smile fades.
He lowered his head, looked at her left hand, and then reached for it.
“I won’t leave you alone without informing you, alright?” he said, gripping onto her hand.
She lifted her head up to look at him and nodded with a smile. “Alright,”
He lowered his head down and plants a kiss on her right cheek.
“I’ll apply the sun protection cream and then we can go out,” he smiled, releasing her hand and walked passed her to the couch.
She stood there stunned with what he had just done.
She felt intense heat due to the hot blood rush in her body.
But soon, she lowered her head down and smiled bashfully.
Xi Men sits down on the couch as he grabbed the bottle of sun protection cream from the coffee table.
His eyes strayed.
‘Did I just kiss her…?’
His heart thumps.
And he thought to himself. ‘I am not only beginning to say things straight from my heart, I am also beginning to do things beyond my control…’