Xi Men halted his footsteps and frowned, before he turned around.
He looked straight to the partition board that is placed strategically between the public and restricted area to split the area.
Right after he passed the security personnel, he had entered restricted area, as in, only for travelers with boarding pass.
And all he sees now is just a partition board; he cannot see anything beyond that.
He isn’t sure why.
He happened to turn around and look just because he feels so.
Now that he cannot see a thing at his back, he straightened his gaze and continued walking, heading to the custom for bag check.
Xiao You is a step too late.
Or maybe few steps.
Xi Men did not hear her in such a crowded & noisy area and he had entered the departure hall right in front of her eyes.
Xiao You stood in front of the entrance to the departure hall.
This is all she could go.
Beyond that is already a restricted area, where only those with boarding pass could enter.
This is where everyone bids their friends and family goodbye and wishing them a safe trip.
She didn’t even get to do that.
*Flash of flashback.
He looked at her into her eyes.
He caressed her cheek, admiring her beauty in close proximity.
His thumb gently brushed her kissable lip.
She looked back at him.
She slowly raised her hand up and touched his face.
Giving her a small smile, he then leaned forward and kissed her.
She remembered those intense gazes he gave her.
It’s the gazes that make her come to the airport.
“If he is just a playboy, there’s no way he would give such gaze to me…” she uttered.
“But… what are the odds if he could?”
She took a deep breath and then exhaled it.
‘I won’t know what those gazes mean,’ she thought to herself.
‘I won’t know anymore,’
She lifted her eyes up and looked at the departure gate, where she can’t see a thing behind the partition board.
She paused in her thought.
‘Are you a friend?’
‘Are you a lover?’
‘But I feel you are more than just a friend and you are not a lover,’
She doesn’t know who he is to her.
Soon, she smiled bitterly after finding the perfect description.
‘Farewell, my perfect gentleman,’
She lowered her head and then turned around, and walked away.
Sitting in the living room, Xi Men’s mother turned her head around to look at the door.
“Young master,” the butler called out at the sight of Xi Men, even before Xi Men enters the mansion.
Xi Men’s mother smiled and quickly rose to her feet as she has been sitting there anticipating Xi Men’s return.
Just then, Xi Men entered the mansion.
“Hi, son, you are back,” Xi Men’s mother smiled at him.
Xi Men smiled briefly at his mother, “Hi mom,”
Xi Men’s mother approached Xi Men and hugged him.
Xi Men hugs her back.
‘Is she going to ask me why I extended my stay in Hong Kong?’ he thought to himself as they hugged briefly.
“It is 7.30pm now. Are you hungry? Do you want to eat anything?” Xi Men’s mother asked after she pulled back from the hug.
“I am beginning to get hungry. So… yeah,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll cook for you if you want me to. What do you want to eat?” she asked with a smile.
“Hmmm… I haven’t had ‘diced meat in red oil’ for a while,” he said.
She smiled, “Alright. I’ll cook it for you,”
“Thank you, mom,”
“You are welcome,” she said, and then she walked to the kitchen.
Xi Men watches his mother heading towards the kitchen, ‘Mom is not going to ask?’ he wondered.
3 days ago,
Xi Men’s mother (startled while holding onto the phone): Extending his stay in Hong Kong because of me?
Mr. Xi Men: Yes. I guess you must have nagged or pressured him too much for him to do that.
Xi Men’s mother: But what’s wrong with that? He has been working all the time; with him like this, he won’t be able to get married! I am just asking him to date. Well, preferably he dates someone before his birthday. That is all.
Mr. Xi Men: Before his birthday? It’s just months to go.
Xi Men’s mother: Yes. At least a progress or something.
Mr. Xi Men: Well, it seems that he doesn’t like it.
Xi Men’s mother exhaled her deep breath.
Mr. Xi Men: So, right at this moment, he is going to be in Hong Kong until Sunday. When he goes back home, don’t nag him already. You won’t know he might decide to run away from him and stay elsewhere permanently. Give him a break, okay?
Xi Men’s mother (exhaled deep breath): Do I have a choice, now that I know he rather extends his stay doing nothing than going home?
*Picks up a piece of diced meat and stuffs into mouth.
*Scoops rice and puts into his mouth.
*Stares at the dishes in front of him.
Sitting next to Xi Men, Xi Men’s mother watches Xi Men munching his food in his mouth.
He didn’t say a word.
Why is he so quiet?
Usually, when he eats his meal with his mom around, he would talked to her.
He would talk about his day, his work sometimes, and if he had nothing to tell her, he would ask her about her day.
And even more so right now, where he has been away for days from home, he would have asked her about how she’s been for days if he had nothing to update her about his business trip to Hong Kong.
She isn’t sure why.
He seems so different.
He is so quiet.
Or rather, too quiet.
‘Is it really that bad?’ she asked herself.
‘That… because I asked him to date, it affects his mood so much?’
‘But… he isn’t like this on the day he leaves for Hong Kong,’
‘Or… he didn’t want to be home?’
Xi Men’s mother swallowed the lump in her throat.
‘I won’t ask. I can’t ask actually, although I am very curious,’
She took a deep breath, and exhaled it a little too loud…
Hearing it, Xi Men turned his head to look at her. “Hmmm?”
Xi Men’s mother looked at him, “Yeah?”
“Are you okay?” Xi Men asked.
“Oh, yes, I am…” Xi Men’s mother responded. “Just wondered if it is delicious,”
“Oh, it is delicious,” he responded with a smile. “Thank you mom,”
Xi Men’s mother smiled. “You are welcome,”
She watches him, and noted the speed of the smile on Xi Men’s face fades.
She does note that the smile would usually stay longer on his face.
But not right now.
Not this time.
‘Something is really not right with him…’ Xi Men’s mother thought to herself. ‘Is it really that stressful to him?’
Secretary Xu stares at Xi Men who is looking at the file in hand. He noted Xi Men is rather moody today.
He walked into the office with his head looking down.
He didn’t speak much too.
‘I wonder if he is unwell…?’ Secretary Xu thinks to himself.
Xi Men suddenly reached for a pen and then signs the document in the file.
He then closed the file and passed it to Secretary Xu.
Startled to have the file extended to him all of a sudden, Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men, “Ah?” he asked.
“Signed,” Xi Men said, gesturing Secretary Xu to take the file.
“Umm… no… no comment, sir?” Secretary Xu asked, as he took the file from Xi Men’s hand.
Xi Men shook.
“Oh…” Secretary Xu replied.
“Am I expected to give a comment on this?” Xi Men asked.
“No, sir. Just… wondering if you have,” Secretary Xu said, hugging the file already.
“Anything else?” Xi Men asked.
Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men.
Did not respond to the earlier statement, which is so rare of Xi Men… and then… chasing Secretary Xu out?
His mood today is really…
“Nothing else, sir,” Secretary Xu replied.
“Thank you,” Xi Men said, diverting his gaze to the laptop now.
Secretary Xu only looked at Xi Men.
“Thank you, sir,” Secretary Xu gave a bow.
Without looking at Secretary Xu, Xi Men only nods once.
Secretary Xu then turned and heads to the door to leave the CEO room.
But he peeks at Xi Men briefly before he closed the door.
Halting her footsteps, Xiao You looked at the spot she stopped now…
Xiao You is fiddling on her smartphone as she walked, when all of a sudden someone violently crashed onto her.
“Ouch…” she felt pain on her arm.
“Oh my gosh, I am sorry!” he said.
“It’s…” she lifted her head as she speaks and…
Both of them looked at each other.
And then they are surprised to see each other.
*End of flashback.
She remembers how he looks like at that moment.
He had shorter hair now compared to the last time she sees him.
His fringe remains, however.
And he still looked as handsome, although he had aged slightly.
Or probably matured is the right word?
Well, who hadn’t?
Xiao You smiled briefly at that recollection.
She then took a deep breath and lifted her head up.
She continued walking.
Reading the document in his hand, suddenly something flicks from the corner of Xi Men’s eyes.
That prompted Xi Men to turn his head to that ‘flicking’ object to realize it is one of the lights in his CEO room had spoiled, causing it to flash intermittently.
He nonchalantly extends his hand to the deskphone and press the button.
“Secretary Xu,” he called out.
A few seconds later,
“Yes, CEO Xi Men,” a respond from the phone.
Xi Men gazes at the flicking light before he looked at the phone, “One of the fluorescent lights in my room is spoiled and it is flicking on and off now, can you…” he paused.
He looked at the flicking light again.
“Oh, spoiled, sir? Alright. I will call the electrician to come and change the fluorescent light in…”
“No, wait,” Xi Men interrupted.
Xi Men looked at the flicking light, and then looked at the deskphone, “Do you know how to change the fluorescent light?”
“Yes. Do you?” Xi Men asked.
“Err… yes, I… I do,” Secretary Xu replied.
“Bring the ladder and a new fluorescent light tube. And you’ll teach me how to change this,”
“Teach you?!” Secretary Xu is surprised.
Sitting on the couch in the living room of the mansion, Xi Men reads the document in the file in his hands.
Xi Men’s mother looked at Xi Men from the corridor.
‘He didn’t talk much today,’
She then exhaled her deep breath. ‘It’s not like he talked much yesterday either,’
‘It’s been 3 days now,’
‘I really don’t know what’s wrong…’
‘He isn’t like this…’
‘I can’t exactly derive from his facial expression…’
‘Did he really get affected because of me?’
‘But I didn’t talk about asking him to date since he came back from Hong Kong,’
‘After what his father says… I don’t dare to do it anymore…’
Xi Men suddenly presses his nasal bridge, and his mother looks on.
He folds the other free hand on his chest as he lifts his head up slightly.
Looking into nothing, he took a deep breath, and then exhaled it.
He stayed still in that position for a while.
Xi Men’s mother suddenly feels worried.
‘Is there anything I can do…?’ she asked herself.
Xi Men lowered his head slightly, about to return his gaze to his file, when suddenly his gaze strayed.
The green file on the coffee table.
He stared at the green file intently and for a while, before he slowly reached for the file.
Xi Men took the green file and placed it on top of the black file that consists of his work on his lap; and then he opens it.
Xi Men’s mother is startled to see him looking at the green file on his own accord.
‘He accepts this now…?’ she thought to himself.
Xi Men looked at the first page.
As mentioned by his mother, the details of all the ladies she had found are listed here.
Photo. Name. Age. Address. Occupation. Education and skills. Even family background and details.
Looks more like an interview than anything else.
Xi Men looked at the photo of the 1st candidate.
‘Xiao You is prettier,’ he thought to himself.
He then flipped the page to see the next one.
‘Xiao You’s smile is sweeter,’
He flipped the page.
‘Xiao You’s eyes are brighter,’
A small smile formed on Xi Men’s mother’s face.
‘He is ready, it seems,’ she smiled, and proceeded to walk out from her hideout; behind the wall purportedly to head towards Xi Men, wanting to explain more about the ladies in the file.
Xi Men flipped the page in the file again.
‘Xiao You is more…’ he thought, and then paused.
Clenching his teeth (and totally unaware with his mother is just few steps away from him), he closed the file now.
Seeing he closed the file all of a sudden halts Xi Men’s mother’s footsteps.
‘I am beginning to compare everyone to Xiao You,’ he thought to himself.
He subsequently threw the green file back onto the coffee table and forces himself to read his black file.
His mother swallowed the lump in her throat, and now cautiously turns around to walk back to the hideout she was at earlier.
Sitting by the window at the upper deck of the tram, Xiao You looked out to the view.
Today is one of the rare few days she didn’t want to go home after dinner with her colleagues.
So, when the dinner is over, her colleagues proceed to drinks while she decided to go for a stroll.
She had no destination in mind so she hops onto a tram and travels to wherever the tram goes.
Wind blew to her face, sending her hair flying all over.
She gently runs her hand to group her hair together and then slides it to the front, resting them at the left side of her neck.
Sitting next to Xiao You on the tram, Xi Men turned his head to look at her.
“Cold?” he asked, instinctively extends his hand over and wrapped it around her shoulder, gently pulled her to him and began rubbing her arm.
She turned her head and looked at him; his face is so damn close to her now.
*End of flashback.
Xiao You lifted her eyes slightly at that recollection.
She eventually took a deep breath.
“Wait! There’s a…” Xi Men grabbed her hand, holding her back from crossing the road.
Xiao You and Xi Men looked at each other.
He is holding her hand.
“…bus,” he awkwardly releases his hand; after he realized the bus had made a u-turn and drove away instead of heading towards Xi Men and Xiao You’s direction.
She smiled at him, “Thank you for being so attentive,”
He smiled. “I’ve been one since young,”
“I know. If not… how would you noted I crouched and cried by the roadside while you are in a passing car 13 years ago,” she responded, before she crosses the road.
After she had crossed the road, she noted she’s alone. She turned her head to the back and looked for Xi Men, and looked straight to him, standing at the other side of the road.
He smiled sincerely, looking at her.
Looking at his smile, her heart flutters.
His whole image…
She swallowed the lump in her throat, “The cable car station is over here, you gotta cross the road,”
*End of flashback.
Xiao You tilts her head.
When he pulled her from crossing the road, purportedly because of a bus coming to their path, it is an act that meant to pull her to safety.
But that one incident is enough to remind her about everything that had happened in the past.
13 years ago, Xi Men gave her strength and pulled her back on her feet when she was saddened after finding out the type of person Zhong Ze is.
Xi Men had been there for her; helped her gets her revenge towards Zhong Ze and encouraged her in building her confidence.
It was from then, she sees a different side of Xi Men, and finds herself falling for him.
She bravely confessed her feelings for him, but he turned her down.
And so it turns out very much later on that she has to leave the country with her parents.
Letting the wind blew to her face, Xiao You exhaled a deep breath.
It is nice to see Xi Men again after so long, but the thing is…
His appearance affects her.
From the moment he bumped onto her on the walkway…
Xiao You closed her eyes, trying to shake the thoughts of Xi Men off from her mind.
She shouldn’t think about him anymore.
After exhaling a deep breath, she opened her eyes again and her gaze went to the view in front of her.
In mere seconds of blankness in her mind, thoughts came back…
*Flash of flashback.
He looked at her into her eyes.
He gently removed her stray hair from her face.
She can’t help it that the thoughts about him came back without invitation.
She remembered his gaze.
The way he looked at her.
She also remembered his smile.
The way he smiled at her.
She had concluded that this is what one will naturally do when they are on the bed.
She looked and smiled at him too at that moment, right?
So why is there a need to analyze a gaze or a smile of one who is in the middle of pleasuring you and getting pleasured in return?
She exhaled a deep breath.
She is trying all she can, including giving herself excuses, to stop herself from evaluating and thinking too much.
She swallowed the lump in her throat, lowered her head down slightly.
All for sure is that; they had one night together.
Just one night.
He makes a move on her.
She didn’t object.
And she lets him lead the way.
Her hormones and desire to have him were overwhelming that night.
It was a great, passionate night.
She had made a mistake.
They were friends.
They were only friends, who, right now, had slept together.
More than just being smitten in the first place, she had gotten her feelings involved.
‘He had played a major role in my life,’
‘I thought I was over him,’
‘But seeing him again…’
She swallowed the lump in her throat, remembering how he left his impressions to her…
His handsome facial features.
His attentiveness, kindness…
‘I ended up falling for him again,’
Tears formed in her eyes.
‘I… have stupidly fallen for someone who is so used to sleeping around… (someone) who couldn’t love, and will never reciprocate my feelings for him,’
Biting her lower lip, she raised her hand up and gently wiped the tears in her eyes.
‘I have to move on from him again,’
‘Been thru this once, now I have to do all over again,’