One Week In Paris – Chapter 5

Xi Men tilts his head to the left and then to the right as a form of exercise, as he had just woken up from a brief sleep.

He lifted his left hand up and looked at the time on his wristwatch.

He had flown for 12 hours now.

He is about to reach Paris’ airport in 2 hours.

He smirked.

Part of him couldn’t believe he is going all the way to Paris for this ‘one week’ thing that he had owed Xiao You for 10 years.

Well, he can just treat this as a vacation.

He took a deep breath as he looked out of the window.

This is going to be his first time seeing Xiao You after 10 years.

“I wonder how she looks like now,” he murmured.

***

This didn’t sound real at all.

But it IS real.

Xiao You looked out of the window in her business class seat that Xi Men bought for her.

“I am going to Paris,” Xiao You murmured. “I am really going to Paris…”

An all expenses paid trip.

And Xi Men will be there, waiting for her.

Her heart is thumping for no reason.

Probably it is the excitement to be in Paris.

“I wonder how he looks like now,” she murmured.

***

He anticipates how Xiao You looks like now.

He smirked as he remembers her young and innocent look 10 years ago.

Shoulder-length hair. Cute and petite.

But that was 10 years ago.

He can’t expect that she still looks the same now.

A lot of things could, and had changed in 10 years.

He doesn’t have to look so far; he just has to look at himself to know that he had changed as well.

He took another deep breath.

Regardless of how she had changed to, all he know is that; the one week that he had wanted to fulfill with Xiao You since Xiao You asked for it 10 years ago, is about to start.

Part of him suddenly wondered.

Even though he is flying to Paris now, will Xiao You actually decided not to go at the last minute?

What if she didn’t board the plane?

***

Taking a deep breath, she clasped her hands together.

So many things are running in her mind.

Wait.

Her eyes strayed.

Even though she will be landing in Paris in less than 3 hours, will Xi Men actually lie to her, saying he is sitting at the airport when he wasn’t even there when she called him yesterday?

What if he didn’t board the plane?

***

He had bought plane tickets for both of them.

He had booked their luxurious accommodation.

He had also booked the timeslot to go up to the Eiffel Tower for both of them.

He had put in so much effort and money into this trip, she wouldn’t back out at the last minute… right?

“The Xiao You I know won’t be like this,” Xi Men uttered.

She had done so much work and research about Paris. She wouldn’t lie to him saying she is going to Paris when she doesn’t, right?

Swallowing the lump in his throat, he decided to put his complete trust into Xiao You, totally believing she will, and had boarded the plane to go to Paris.

***

“I have done so much work into researching the places to go in Paris… he wouldn’t just decided to say he didn’t want to go… right?” Xiao You asked, as her clasped hands slowly gets cold.

Well, she is definitely going to Paris now that she is in the plane.

She can still go around Paris on her own, without Xi Men.

But if Xi Men is not coming, it means she has nowhere to stay; since Xi Men is the one that booked and settles the accommodation.

Fear and worry grew in her.

And what if Xi Men had never planned to go to Paris in the first place, but makes fun of her since day 1?

“But we have never contacted each other for over 10 years. If he wants to prank me, he wouldn’t call me two months ago and goes along with the Paris plan for the next 2 months, including buying the flight tickets for me…” she said. “The Xi Men I know do not prank other people like this. The Xi Men I know won’t be like this…”

She took a deep breath.

“Maybe I shouldn’t think so much,” she said, shaking her head lightly. “I should trust that he did board the plane and wants to fulfill the ‘one week’ wish,”

**********

Paris. 9am.

Xi Men looked at the time on the board at Terminal 1 and he is utterly surprised.

“Whoa… 9am already?” he asked. “I got off the plane at 8am, line up to get thru the immigration and then waited to collect my luggage… and one hour passed by just like that?!”

Looking at it, he needs to speed up.

As he walked out to the arrival hall, he lifted his head up to look for signboards, left and right.

And then he saw one.

Terminal 2. Arrow points to the left. Via CDGVAL.

“Terminal 2 is that side,” he murmured after seeing the sign. “But what is CDGVAL?”

He speeds up his steps as he believes Xiao You could have already landed since it is 9am.

“Wait…” he suddenly slows down. “If I take an hour to come out… it means she might take one hour to come out as well… though different terminals, but it is about the same procedures…”

Now that is tough to say.

He then remembered.

When his plane landed earlier, a few more planes had landed around the same time too, thus it took him a while at the immigration and then collecting luggage.

It may not be the same to Xiao You, since she is at different terminal.

He lifted his head up and walked, as he pays attention if he would pass by any arrival schedule board, so he can see and check if Xiao You’s plane has arrived.

Following the signs to Terminal 2, he reached a CDGVAL station.

“Hmmm? Is this the way to go to Terminal 2?”

Ah. He suddenly remembered what he sees from the sign. Terminal 2 via CDGVAL.

Apparently CDGVAL is an airport train shuttle that connects the 3 different terminals of the huge airport.

So he is at the right direction.

He pulled his luggage and entered the CDGVAL train that has just arrived. He is going to Terminal 2 to meet Xiao You.

***

“Oh, the airport is cold…” Xiao You murmured and then folds her hands on her chest in reaction to the cold after she deplaned and stepped into the Terminal 2 building.

She casually lifted her head up and saw a digital board displaying the local time not far away.

She looked at the digits.

9.10am.

And then she saw the digits next to the clock bar.

Current Temperature: 10 Celsius.

“Whoa, no wonder it is so cold here,”

Already wearing her wool winter jacket before she left the airplane, she stood aside and takes her smartphone out from her handbag and switched it on since it has been off during her flight.

“Since he had arrived at 8am, he must be waiting for me now,” she mumbled.

Once the smartphone had started up, she typed a message.

‘I have just deplaned. Going to immigration and will be collecting my luggage. Might take a while.’

Now she just need to find out if Xi Men took the flight to Paris.

***

“2A…” Xi Men said, looking at the signboards in Terminal 2. “2A…”

He walked to the direction of where Terminal 2A is being pointed at, passing by a lot of digital boards which he hadn’t pay attention to.

As he walked for who-knows-how-long, he suddenly realized the existence of these digital boards next to him. He turned his head and looked at it properly, and realized it is a flight departure or flight arrival statuses’ boards.

He immediately searches for board for Xiao You’s flight number.

Search… search… search. Found!

Departure: Toronto. Arrival:  T2A. (*Terminal 2A) Status: Landed 8.56am.

“Great. Landed. It’s on time,” Xi Men said.

BEEP.

“Hmmm?” he lowered his head and then dives his hand into his jeans’ pocket to retrieve his phone.

A text message from Xiao You.

He clicks on it and reads the message.

After reading the message, he heaved a sigh of relief.

She had indeed boarded the plane, and she has already landed in Paaris.

Good to know. Extremely good to know.

He then replied to her message.

‘Take your time. I have just reached T2 from T1.’ (*T2 = Terminal 2, T1 = Terminal 1)

He then stuffs the phone back into his jeans and continued walking, following the 2A sign.

This time, he decided to walk slowly since Xiao You mentioned she might take a while.

***

BEEP.

Xiao You, who has just joined the queue to the immigration counter, takes her smartphone out from her handbag and looked at it.

A text message from Xi Men.

She reads it and she breathes a sigh of relief.

“That is good to know that he is here in Paris,” she murmured, before putting the phone back into her handbag.

***

Following the signs closely, Xi Men walked towards terminal 2A.

He walked and walked and walked… but there is no sign of ending (or reaching the terminal).

“My gosh… where is this 2A?!” he said as he walked and pulling his luggage.

After walking for approximately 10 minutes and STILL hasn’t reached the terminal, he suddenly worries a little.

“I better speeds up a bit… what if she has come out,” he decided to speed up his steps while dragging his luggage.

He prefers to be the one waiting for Xiao You instead of Xiao You waiting for him.

He has always been labeled as the one who arrive the earliest among F4 and even as a businessman in the corporate world, so it is not nice to reach later than her. Besides, his plane reached an hour earlier than hers.

Above all, he is a guy. It is particularly his job to protect the lady regardless of where they are; and more so in a foreign country.

Since terminal 2A is located almost at the end of the terminal, it took him a total of about 15 minutes to actually reach the arrival hall of the terminal.

He pants a little bit because he had rushed to the hall and he looked around, trying to spot for Xiao You though he doesn’t really know how she looks like now.

It has been 10 years, so he doesn’t know how much she had changed over the years.

Hmmm…

No familiar face around.

“She wouldn’t walk away and leave Terminal 2A… right?” he murmured.

Quite impossible since he told her he will be meeting her at Terminal 2A.

9.25am.

“Maybe she hasn’t come out yet,” he then took multiple deep breathes, hoping to relieve his panting as the result of his speeded up steps.

He turned his head around and seeing some empty seats, he walked over and then he sits down.

***

*Stamped.

*The guy in front of the counter grabbed his passport that has just been stamped and left.

After the guy has left, it is Xiao You’s turn.

Xiao You walked ahead to the immigration counter and passes her passport to the male officer sitting behind the counter.

“Bonjour,” she said.

“Bonjour,” the officer replied, taking the passport and looked at the first page, before he then continues with the procedures.

She stood there and waited.

After flipping a few pages later, the officer then stamped her passport and passes it back to her.

“Merci,” Xiao You said, taking her passport. (*Thank you)

“Enjoy your stay,” the officer replied in English with a small smile on his face.

“Sure, thank you,” Xiao You replied in English as well, as she then walked away.

Looking at the signboards at the airport, she followed the word ‘Baggage Collection’.

***

He sat there looking at the people walking by in front of him.

This is an extremely busy airport but since Terminal 2A is located at the far end of the whole Terminal 2, the crowd is lesser here.

Turning his head to the left, he saw a small crowd gathered at the exit with naming boards to welcome their guests, but no one emerges from the exit yet.

Not even one.

After casually scanned around and acknowledged that Xiao You is not in sight, he dives his hand into his jeans to take his phone out and starts playing with it while waiting for her.

***

Having only to wait for 5 minutes, Xiao You’s luggage is one of the first few to come out at the baggage carousel.

Xiao You stood there and waited for her dark blue trolley luggage to come to her as the carousel moves in circular motion, and then she grabbed it off from the carousel the moment it came to her.

Other passengers from the same flight with her could only stare at her as she gets to retrieve her bag first even though they have stood there to wait for their luggage before her, since they have gone and passed the immigration first.

Pulling along her luggage, she heads towards the exit, and then she slowed down as something fearful strikes her.

“I am about to meet Xi Men…” she mumbled.

Again, her heart thumped for no reason.

She hasn’t seen Xi Men ever since she left Taipei 10 years ago.

The last time she saw him was the billboard incident.

“Of course I can’t be staying here for a long time… I need to face him anyway…” she murmured.

After taking a deep breath, she continued her steps, walking out of the exit and enters the meeting point of Terminal 2A.

***

Xi Men tilted his head as he continued browsing on his smartphone, completely not aware of anyone walking out from the exit.

***

Once Xiao You emerged from the exit, she is greeted by a small crowd holding onto name or hotel boards, pointing at the boards as they looked at her.

She understands what that means.

The crowd in front of her consists of drivers or representatives from the hotel to pick up their customers or guests, with the name written on the board in their hands.

“Xi Men wouldn’t resort to do this… I hope,” she mumbled.

Xi Men, after all, is her friend.

Even though they hadn’t met for 10 years, she hopes it is not up to the extent that he could no longer recognize her to have actually made a board to meet up with her.

But anyhow, she ended up casually gazing at the naming boards, in case Xi Men really does that.

Asides from gazing at the boards, she takes a quick look on the people holding onto the boards and seeing none of them is a Chinese or has any resemblance to Xi Men, it is quite confirmed that he isn’t standing with the crowd.

With a small smile on her face, she turned to the right and walked away from the crowd with her dark blue luggage in hand.

Standing slightly further from where the crowd is, she looked to the right, trying to look for Xi Men.

“In the text message, he told me he has reached T2 from T1. I don’t think he will walk so slowly that he can’t reach T2A in 30 minutes from wherever he is,” she murmured as she turned her head to the left now.

Since the left side of where she stood at now is basically the end of the Terminal 2A, if Xi Men is not there, she has to turn to the right and walk along the way to find him.

With her head still facing to the left, she paid attention to the people who are standing around. After noticing none of the standing ones are familiar at all for her, her gaze turned to the ones sitting on the chairs.

She was about to turn her head and body to move to the right after she had fully scanned the left area, when she suddenly stopped, returning her gaze to the left.

There is someone sitting on the chair with a huge black luggage next to this person; generally quite far from where she is standing now.

And it is so far that she couldn’t see if this person is a guy or woman, so not to mention about seeing his or her face.

Judging at the body build and shape as well as the way this person is sitting; with the ankle of the right leg is placed on the left leg’s knee, she can conclude this person is a guy; because ladies hardly sit like this as ladies prefer to cross their legs, well, mostly.

His head is lowered down, as if looking at something in his hands.

If this person is a passenger from Terminal T2A, there is a likelihood he had walked away, instead of sitting there with his luggage seemingly waiting for someone, or something.

She decided to walk over and find out.

Dragging the luggage behind her, she walked towards this particular person.

After taking 60 odd steps to approach him, yes, that is how far he sat from the location of where she stood, she finally gets a clearer view of him via the side of his face.

It is him.

It is really him.

And her heartbeat increases…

***

After paying too much attention on reading the news in his smartphone, he saw something reddish from the corner of his eyes.

Gaining his attention, he lifted his head up slightly and turned to the left, looking at the reddish object; which he found out is a chili red wool winter jacket and in that split second, he realized someone is actually approaching him.

His eyes went up to look at the person who is still walking towards him.

She smiled briefly at him and stopped walking, standing precisely at two steps away from him. “Hi,” she said.

He stared at her.

‘Who is this lady?’

‘Why is she saying ‘hi’ to me?’

Spending approximately 6 seconds looking at her face, his eyes brightened up and he quickly stood up; remained staring at her, but now in complete shock.

“Xiao…” he stammered. “…Xiao You?”


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