Xi Men lifted his head up to look at the allegory under the dome over the tomb of Napoleon, just like many other tourists did.
Xi Men turned his head to his left and looked at Xiao You.
“Nice?” Xiao You asked softly, turning slightly and positioned herself to tilt her shoulder towards him as she showed him the photo she had just taken in her smartphone.
It is the allegory that he was looking at.
“Nice,” he smiled.
“I am done here, wanna go?” she whispered.
“Sure,” he replied softly.
Both of them then heads to the exit and walked out from the place.
He followed right behind her.
The moment they are out, Xiao You turned around, leading Xi Men to halt his steps and looked at her standing in front of him.
She also looked at him, finding it odd that he stood right behind her.
“What is it…?” he asked.
“I want to take a photo here…” she said.
“OH,” he said, immediately moved aside.
And Xiao You raised her smartphone up to take a picture of the exterior of the place.
Les Invalides is a complex of few buildings, consisting of museums, hospital, church, retirement home and mausoleum.
And Xiao You only wants to go to the mausoleum.
The moment they entered the place, it is just quietness.
People took photos quietly and they whispered to each other.
Nobody dares to speak or talk loudly in the place.
And that prompts Xi Men and Xiao You not to talk too much to each other as well.
They only exchanged brief words and whispered to each other when necessary.
That short moment of not talking to each other felt like it has been forever since they talked.
Xi Men bites his lower lip as he gazes at Xiao You taking pictures of the mausoleum.
And then he saw Xiao You lowered the phone, and looked at the photo she had just taken.
“So, where are we going now?” Xi Men asked.
Gazing at Xi Men after hearing he said that, she then dives her hand into her handbag, “Let me see…” she takes a folded paper out.
“Hmmm? What is that?” he asked.
“The ‘places’ paper,” she replied, looking at the paper.
“Oh. You decided to bring it out with you today?” he asked.
“I always have it with me, but I didn’t use it because I know where to go and remember how to get there,”
“Ah, okay…” he said.
“Hmmm?” he asked.
“We are only one station away from Musée Rodin,” Xiao You said, pointing at the paper.
“Musée Rodin? The museum that dedicates to the works of French sculptor which includes ‘The Thinker’?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said, lifting her head up and looked at him. “But… are you interested?”
“Me?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yeah,”
“It doesn’t matter if it interests me or not. If you want to go, we can go,” he said. “You don’t have to ask me,”
“Why do you ask me if I am interested all of a sudden?” he asked.
“I just didn’t want to make you bored,” she said.
He looked at her, and then he chuckled, partly in disbelief. ‘Bored? You never ask me that when you plan to go some…’
“The arts and sculptures at Musée Rodin are different. It doesn’t seem to suit you…” Xiao You said, interrupting his thought.
He looked at her, “You sounded like you knew what type of art suits me,” he said.
“I am saying that based on what you’ve told me, that you visited Musée du Louvre multiple times, I think you like those arts more, or… prefer paintings,”
He laughed. “Actually you are incorrect,”
“I am not interested with art,” he said. “Not at all,”
“But I see it anyway. Paris is the land of arts,” he smiled, and then his smile fades when he said the next statement, “But not Center Pompidou,”
She laughed harder upon hearing that.
“I’m sorry I don’t like it!” he jeered.
“Nobody say you must like it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and view. You don’t have to like what other people likes,”
“Yeah, I don’t have to eat what you want to eat, you know?”
She laughed as she knew what he meant.
“Come on! Are you still mad about that ice-cream?” she asked.
A small laugh lets out from his mouth, “I am not mad. I have never gotten mad about that nor find a need to do so, especially over an ice-cream. I was… I mean, completely… I don’t know what word would describe best; surprised is an understatement, that you’ll buy one and basically forced me to eat it just because you don’t want to be seen eating alone!”
“Correction, eating alone in the cold autumn. So it is best to do that with someone else so that I wouldn’t look like an idiot,”
She laughed again.
“I’m sorry about that,” her laugh fades and she smiled.
He just smiled, “Anyway, it is just an ice-cream,” he said.
She smiled again. “So…”
“Since you said Musée Rodin is just nearby, we can go for it. We are here anyway,” he said.
“Are you really sure about that?” she asked.
“Trust me, I don’t know art but I appreciate them,” he said. “And it is ‘The Thinker’,”
She smiled. “Alright…” she looked at the itinerary again. “So… we will go over right now,”
“Alright,” he said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
With Museum Passes, they skipped the ticketing queue again.
The guards that are manning the entrance saw the pass in their hands, immediately asked them to enter straight the place; no queuing up is needed.
And both she and Xi Men enter the museum.
“Ooohhhh!!! The Thinker! The Thinker!” Xiao You excitedly said as she saw the famous sculpture in the garden of the museum.
Every single time when she reacts like that, it just makes Xi Men laugh.
And then she will give him a glare, and sometimes a painless whack.
“Stop laughing! Take photos of me!” she said.
He laughed harder. “My gosh! That’s funnier!”
He covered his mouth and controlled his laughter as she glared at him.
After his laughter dies down, she sulkily stuffs her phone into his hand and heads to the sculpture.
“Awww… someone has pouty lips,” he said.
He smiled widely as he raised the phone up, ready to take photos of her.
And… well, this is the wonder for being a woman.
No matter how bad mood or angry one is, when it is time to take photos, she would have no problem to smile.
Thru the screen of the phone, he looked at her smiling sweetly at him.
He inadvertently smiled at that sight.
She really has a sweet smile.
“Are you taking photo of yourself?” Xiao You suddenly asked.
Xi Men lifted his gaze up and then looked at her, at the same time, his smile fades, “What? Why should I?”
“How would I know if you had just pressed the button to use the front camera to take photo of yourself instead and left me waiting for my photos to be taken?”
He chuckled, “I wonder how you get that thought that I might be taking photos of myself,”
“You were smiling at the screen,” she said.
“I was laughing at you, have you forgotten?” he said it as a comeback statement.
Xi Men immediately bursts into laughter and Xiao You is shocked.
“WHAT THE HECK!” she yelled. “You intentionally took photo of me being annoyed!”
Xi Men laughed and Xiao You ran to him, smacking him playfully already.
He looked at the photo that he had just taken and at the same time, Xiao You tried to snatch the phone from him because she wants to see what he had taken.
Xi Men laughed hysterically as he captured a candid photo of her basically yelling at him.
She grabbed the phone and looked at the photo, “ARGHHHHH,” she uttered with frustration.
“Come on, I’ll take a good one for you now,” he said, taking the smartphone from her hand.
“You better be!” she said.
He laughed, “Yes, I will,” he said. “Go and pose with the sculpture,”
She exhaled a deep breath and then walked to the bronze sculpture.
She stood there and she smiled.
He smiled again at that, “Ready? One… two…”
Xi Men stared at the marble sculpture in front of him.
Xiao You saw his concentration on the sculpture, that she looked at the sculpture, and then returned her gaze to Xi Men.
For some reason, he is just staring at it.
Xi Men turned his head to his right and looked at Xiao You looking at him, and then she gazes over to the sculpture that he was staring at.
“Is it THAT interesting?” she asked, folding her hands on her chest.
He smirked, returning his gaze back to it. “This is also another famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin,”
“I know. The Kiss,” she said.
“I wonder what’s about it that makes you… stare at it?” she asked.
“Does it mean something as well if I stare at you?” he asked, looking at her.
Slightly taken aback with what Xi Men said, “Well, why not, you tell me?” she looked at him, straight into his eyes.
He had temporarily forgotten that they had slept together last night.
And she knows that if she were to say that, there is a tendency that she might stir the guilt up for Xi Men, which had seemingly disappeared since their visit to Saint Chapelle earlier in the day.
There is a change in his gaze when she said that.
He lowered his head slightly, smiled faintly, and then he returned his gaze to the sculpture.
“Yeah,” he suddenly said. “That is a very dangerous thing to do,”
“Dangerous?” she asked.
He turned to look at her, “Staring at you is dangerous,”
She smirked, “Really?”
“Yes, you won’t know what might happen next,” he replied with a smirk. “And you’ll only remember after the whole ordeal has ended,”
She laughed at his description. “I don’t know I have superpowers,”
She looked at him, and then at ‘The Kiss’ again. “This is the first time I see you spending such a long time looking at something so attentively,” she said.
“So, are you teasing me or something?” he asked.
“You said you are not interested with art,” she said.
He smiled. “But I appreciate them,” he said, looking at ‘The Kiss’ again.
“I know. You’ve said that a couple of times,” she said. “But your mother loves art, how come you don’t?” she looked at him.
“She doesn’t start drawing until I was born, that is why I don’t get that trait from her,”
She chuckled at his explanation.
He just smiled.
She returned her gaze to the sculpture. “So… you are staring at it, wanting to imitate them?” (*them because there are two people in the sculpture)
“Imitate?” he asked, turning his head and looked at her again. “Why do I need to do that?”
“I don’t know. Their kissing position looked very artistic to me. Perhaps, you wanna imitate this exact position that is why you are staring at it,”
He chuckled. “Really? With who?”
She looked at him.
His smile fades immediately and then he turned away, swallowing the lump in his throat.
“Well, of course with someone that you love,” she said, then turned to look at the sculpture.
He smirked upon hearing her respond. “Do you know the story behind this sculpture?”
“Story?” she turned to look at him again, “There is a story behind this?”
He nodded with a small smile on his face, “It is based on a poem. What we see here is that this couple is exchanging their first kiss. Later on, their adultery is discovered by this woman’s husband and the husband then killed them,”
Xiao You’s eyes widened. “A… adultery?”
Xi Men nodded. “I agree with you that the position is artistic, but then…” he gives her a worried look, “I’ll let them keep their signature position,”
She looked at him, and then she chuckled.
He smiled at her.
“Then why do you look at the sculpture for so long?” she asked.
“Because it is fascinating,” he smiled.
“Isn’t that what I asked in the first place?” she asked.
“Yes, it is,” he said. “It’s just that I didn’t answer you,”
She glared at him, and he laughed.
“Sheesh,” she hissed.
A couple of seconds later, after her glare fades and his laughter dies down,
“So,” she said.
“I am surprised that you know the story behind this sculpture,” she said. “Because you didn’t seem like you… you will know,”
“Anyone will know,” he said.
“Huh?” she asked. But she didn’t know! She doesn’t understand.
“With this,” he turned to the right to face her and then suddenly extends something to her.
Unsure what it is, she took it from his hand and before she looked at it…
“It is in the brochure that I took at the entrance. I read it while you were looking at other sculptures. So, of course anyone who reads this will know the story,” he said and bursts into laughter as he coolly walks off.
She glared at him after realizing he had passed her the brochure and that is how he found out the story of this sculpture.
“XI MEN ZHONG ER LANG!”
“This feels like the longest train ride we have ever taken,”
Xiao You turned her head to look at Xi Men sitting next to her in the underground subway train on the way to their next destination.
“Yes, the station we are going is the last station of the line,” Xiao You replied.
“It is a business district. We are going to see La Grande Arche de la Défense,”
He frowned. “Umm…”
“Never heard before?”
“Never heard before. But I might have seen it before,” he said.
“Actually we saw it from Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe,” she said.
“Yeah. But you may not have noticed…”
“Hmmm,” he hummed. “But the sun has set. The sky is getting darker, and you still want to go and see the place?”
“I saw photos of it at night and it looked nice. There are some photos taken with sunset as the background which is magnificent, but…”
“Ah, sunset! I’ve completely forgotten about the sunset…” Xi Men leaned nearer to Xiao You to gaze out of window of the metro only to just see darkness. And then he immediately recalled that they are at the underground.
He finds it hilarious to even try to look for the sky when he is at the underground.
Xiao You chuckled briefly at what he has done.
That silly event couldn’t be undone.
He could only swallow the lump in his throat due to embarrassment.
He then tried to recall if the sky is clear today, “But… I think… it looks like…”
“There are no beautiful sunsets for the last three days and it seems to be the same for today,” she said.
“Oh,” he said. “Umm, sorry for the interruption. We were talking about the place of attraction and then suddenly we diverted to the sky and sunset,”
“No worries,” she smiled.
She suddenly remembered something. “Ah, I have just recalled,”
He looked at her. “Hmmm?”
“We haven’t transferred the photos we’ve taken using our phones to each other,” Xiao You said.
“Ah… you are right,” he replied. “I’ve completely forgotten about it,”
“Ah, shoot. It is day 4 today already. It means we have 4 days of photographs to transfer,” Xiao You said. “And that’s a lot of photographs…”
“Hmmm… I know a way we can share photographs with each other without the hassle of transferring one by one thru the phone,” he said.
“Which is?” she asked.
“I am using a website that lets you store your files online and you can access it wherever you are. They call it cloud storage. I can create a folder to put all the photos and share it with you. You can also put the photos into the folder and I can get them,” he said.
“Oh, that sounds like a good idea,”
“Yeah, you can either transfer the photos from your smartphone to computer before you upload it into the folder, or if you can do it via the phone. You can upload a whole batch of photos. I think this way will be better than transferring the photos to each other’s phones,”
“Upload via phone? You mean there is an application for it instead of solely doing it via the computer?”
“Yes, you just need to download the application into the phone. I have it in my phone,” Xi Men said. “So, it is up to you if you want to start doing it tonight via the phone, or you want to go back to Toronto and do it thru the computer,”
Without giving much thought to it, “I think we can start tonight,” she replied.
“Alright then. We’ll do it when we go back to hotel later since we need the Internet connection to download the application for you and also for the transfer,” Xi Men said.
“Okay,” she said. “So, how did you come to know about this cloud storage thingy?”
“Lei discovered it and then informed all of us. We needed something like this to transfer and share files pertaining to work and also sometimes sharing their personal photos,”
“Ahhh, interesting,” Xiao You said.
“Yeah. Initially the files they share are all about work, because we are business partners,”
“And then it begins from when Mei Zhuo starts sharing the photos he took of Ah Si and San Chai’s son’s birthday… and that is when everyone starts sharing photos about their kids, travels and every single thing they feel like sharing… and even pictures of food they are going to eat in 30 seconds!”
She laughed upon seeing his reaction.
“Anyway… it is good that they are doing that. It shows how happy they are,” he said.
She smiled briefly.
“Then, what about you?” she asked, turning her head to look at him. “Are you happy?”
Xi Men looked at Xiao You, and then he smirked, straightened his head again, “I think so,”
“You think so?” she repeated after him.
“I have never asked myself that…” he said.
She then smiled faintly. “Then you can start thinking about it now,”
He smiled. “But I am proud of my career and my achievement as a CEO,” and he turned to look at her. “I am happy with that,”
Her smile grew wide. “That’s nice to hear,” she said, looking straight right now.
He wanted to ask her if she is happy with her life but they heard an announcement from the metro.
“Next station: La Defense.”
“We’re reaching the station,” Xiao You said.