“You look good, son,” Xi Men’s mother smiled, looking at Xi Men in admiration.
Xi Men smiled upon hearing the compliment, “Thanks mom,”
Mr. Xi Men looked at Xi Men clad in a white tee with a navy blue blazer and jeans, looking absolutely fine.
“It feels like it is your wedding day instead of proposal day,” Mr. Xi Men said.
Xi Men chuckled, turning to look at his father. “I will wear something better than this for my wedding, dad. And definitely not jeans,”
“I know,” Mr. Xi Men patted Xi Men’s shoulder with a smile.
“I want to look presentable and good today… so… I go with this,” Xi Men smiled.
“It is very good, Xi Men,” his mother said. “So good that I think no one will say no to you…”
Xi Men chuckled. “Thank you, mom,”
Xi Men’s mother smiled.
“Thank you, mom and dad… for coming from Taipei and New York to witness this… though I cannot guarantee my proposal is going to be successful…”
“I have to say, I am surprised when I received your call, asking me to come for this. I mean, I have just returned to New York and then I have to come over to Hong Kong again… though this is considered a personal trip and not a business trip…” Mr. Xi Men said. “But above all; I am glad, son, that you want me to be a part of this,”
Xi Men smiled.
“And actually, this is a good opportunity for me to see the woman. I am very interested to see her,” Mr. Xi Men said.
“Me too,” Xi Men’s mother said. “Even just a glimpse of her would do,”
Xi Men chuckled briefly at that.
Mr. Xi Men and his ex-wife exchanged glances with a smile.
After Xi Men’s chuckle fades, he exhaled a deep breath.
Xi Men’s mother looked at Xi Men. “Nervous, son?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Xi Men answered, swallowing the lump in his throat. “Because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if she will accept me,”
“Don’t be nervous, and stay positive, be confident,” Mr. Xi Men said, patting Xi Men’s shoulder again. “Even if she rejects you, stay positive still, son,”
Xi Men nodded as he took a deep breath, and then slowly holds onto his mother’s hands.
“Your hands are cold, Xi Men,” his mother commented.
“That’s how nervous I am,”
“Take it easy, son,” his mother pats his hand.
“Trying to, mom… I am trying to…” Xi Men said, swallowing the lump in his throat. “Anyway… we need to leave the hotel now. It takes a while to get to the peak,”
“Okay, let’s go,” Xi Men’s father said.
After Lei closes the door, “We can leave now,” he said to the chauffeur.
“Leave?” Xi Men’s mother asked, and everyone looked at her. “But Ah Si and San Chai haven’t get into the car yet,”
“Oh, they will be taking Xi Men’s chauffeured sedan instead,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Isn’t this a 10-seater car? There’s still space for them, right?” she asked. “There are 7 of us and adding the chauffeur it’s only 8,”
“We are going to different destinations. We’ll go up to the peak where as Ah Si and San Chai will be at the tram station at the base,” Xi Men said. “That is why they are taking my chauffeured sedan and we are taking Lei’s chauffeured 10-seater car,”
“Base? Why so?”
“They are on a stakeout,” Xi Men said.
“Stakeout?” Xi Men’s mom asked. “What stakeout?”
Xi Men, Lei, Mei Zhuo, Jing and Xiao Qiao exchanged gazes.
Xi Men’s parents do not know their plans, thus the questions.
“Yes, what stakeout?” Xi Men’s father asked this time.
Xi Men then looked at his parents. “Let me explain…” Xi Men said. “We have some plans…”
Xi Men’s parents looked at Xi Men.
“They are there to look out for Xiao You. Once Xiao You gets into the tram station, they’ll take the car up to the peak and join us,” he uttered. “And even them…” Xi Men pointed at Lei, Jing, Xiao Qiao and Mei Zhuo, “…are also on a stakeout at the peak later,”
Xi Men’s parents exchange glances with each other.
Standing at a corner hiding away,
“To be honest with you, if Xi Men did not show us their pictures, I don’t think I’ll be able to recognize Xiao You,” Ah Si said, looking to the left and right.
“I wouldn’t too. She has changed so much,” San Chai said, folding her hands on her chest. “Have you forgotten how surprised I was when I see the photos the other day? I can’t believe on her massive changes!”
“Then how on earth could Xi Men recognize her for the first time?” Ah Si asked.
“Well, despite Xiao You changed a lot, she is still Xiao You. I mean, it’s not like she has plastic surgery and changed her face. She just has a change of hairstyle and the makeup on her face makes the differences,” San Chai looked at Ah Si. “Besides, it wasn’t a glance or someone passing by. He met her face to face,”
Ah Si looked at San Chai, and he smirks, “True,” he said. “And we all know how significant she is to Xi Men, so he definitely recognizes her no matter what, eh?”
San Chai smirks upon hearing that.
Both of them straightened their heads and then also looked around, scanning the crowd.
“This Xi Men is giving us the toughest job; to look out for one person we have not seen for 12 years in a crowded place,” Ah Si said.
“Well…” she paused, tilting her head.
Ah Si’s head had turned to the right, but when he noted San Chai had her words paused, he turned to look at her; wanting to know what’s wrong, and right at that moment, she smacks him repeatedly.
“It’s Xiao You! It’s Xiao You!” she said.
He looked to where she is looking at, and it took him a while to take note of Xiao You as he could not recognize her at first glance; and he watches her entering the station and goes to the female employee, passes the ticket to the employee, and then goes thru the turnstile, entering the paid section.
“Okay! Now we gotta go,” Ah Si said, turning around with San Chai to head to a waiting car while he dives his hand into his pants’ pocket to take his phone out.
Sitting in a secret room at the ground floor of the building allotted by the management,
Xi Men, who has been holding onto the phone in his hand, lifted his hand up; while Lei and Mei Zhuo dives their hands into their pants’ pocket to take their phones out upon hearing the beep.
“It is Ah Si,” Xi Men said, looking at the screen of the phone. “He is sending voice note in the group chat,” and he clicked ‘play’.
Ah Si at whatsapp voice note: Xiao You sighted. She has entered the station. San Chai and I are coming up now.
Xi Men took a deep breath before exhaling it nervously.
He then pressed the ‘record’ button to reply with a voice note, “Sure, thank you,” he said, sending the voice note after that.
Xi Men then looked at everyone in front of him who is also looking back at him (Xi Men).
“Since Xiao You is on the way, Xiao Qiao and I will go to our stakeout corner now,” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men nodded, “Alright. Thank you,”
“Take it easy, dude,” Mei Zhuo said, standing up.
Xi Men smiled at him, “Trying to calm my nervousness,”
Mei Zhuo chuckled. “I understand that feeling, well, alright, I need to go now,”
“Sure. Thanks,” Xi Men smiled. “See you later,”
“See ya,” Mei Zhuo smiled, patting Xi Men on his shoulder before he leaves with Xiao Qiao.
“I’ll be going to my stakeout corner now too,” Lei said.
“Okay. Thank you, Lei. See you later,” Xi Men said.
“Alright,” he then looked at Xi Men’s parents, “See you later, uncle and aunty,”
“Sure, see you,” Xi Men’s parents replied.
Lei gave a brief nod to them and walked away with Jing.
“Where are their stakeout corners?” Mr. Xi Men asked, as he watches Lei & Jing and Mei Zhuo & Xiao Qiao walking away.
“Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao will be right outside of the tram station, to see Xiao You heading to the building (where it houses the observatory deck). Lei & Jing will be at the 3rd floor of the building leading up to the observation deck, so he will be able to see Xiao You on her way up to the observation deck,” Xi Men said. “Their stakeout is meant to spot and watch out for Xiao You, so that we will know where Xiao You is and also to know if she on her way to the observatory deck,”
“And what about us?” Xi Men’s mom asked.
“We’ll be waiting right here… until 8pm,” Xi Men smiled, and then his gaze lowered to the bouquet of roses in his grip, where he had collected from florist while on his way up to the peak. “Until 8pm…”
Both of his parents looked at Xi Men.
“You are not nervous to meet up with a client for a billion dollar project, but you are nervous to propose to a woman?” Xi Men’s father asked.
Xi Men looked at his father and he chuckled, “Sorry, dad. I can’t help it,”
Xi Men’s mother smiled and patted Xi Men’s back, “It is going to be okay, son,”
Xi Men smiled, and then took another deep breath.
“It’s been a while… and she isn’t up (to the peak) yet,” Xiao Qiao said.
“Maybe it is crowded at the base’s tram station, so it takes a while for her to come up,” Mei Zhuo said.
“Are you sure you did not miss her out? I mean, I may miss her because I have never seen her in person before so I couldn’t recognize her…” Xiao Qiao said.
“This is the reason why Xi Men puts us here instead of the base. Because there’s only one pair of eyes to look out to Xiao You (*he is referring to himself),” Mei Zhuo looked at Xiao Qiao, deadpanned.
Xiao Qiao smacks Mei Zhuo on his arm. “So are you saying I am not helpful here?”
“OUCH… I didn’t say that. You said that yourself,” Mei Zhuo said, rubbing his painful arm now.
Xiao Qiao glared at Mei Zhuo for a brief while before she straightened her head to look at the station where a batch of people is coming out from the station.
There is a slight change on her face.
“Honey, the one wearing black v-neck shirt with body-hugging jeans…” Xiao Qiao said, pointing to the woman who is walking out from the station. “She looks just like Xiao You from Xi Men’s picture…”
Mei Zhuo quickly looked, trying to spot for the person that Xiao Qiao has mentioned.
Just like what Xiao Qiao has said, she looked exactly as in Xi Men’s picture.
But because the Xiao You he (Mei Zhuo) remembers does not look like this, Mei Zhuo had to stare at her for a moment to confirm.
He then noted the facial features.
“Xiao You. It is Xiao You,” Mei Zhuo said.
Both Mei Zhuo and Xiao Qiao watched Xiao You leaving the station, and entered the building where the observation deck is.
“She is heading there,” Mei Zhuo said, diving his hand into his pants’ pocket and takes his phone out.
After tapping the screen, he then pressed the ‘record’ button to leave a voice note.
“Xiao You sighted. She has exited the tram station. She is on the way to the building now. Lei, over to you now,” Mei Zhuo said.
*Press ‘record’ button.
“Got it,” Lei replied to Mei Zhuo.
Once receiving that information, both he and Jing looked out from the store they are hiding at to catch a glimpse of Xiao You.
“I am suddenly excited for this stakeout,” Jing said. “Feels like a private investigator or something,”
Lei chuckled, “You don’t get to do this all the time,” he said, and then looked out of the store again as Xiao You has to walk passed by the store to go to her destination.
“I know,” Jing said, looking out too. “That is why I am excited,”
Nervousness in Xi Men builds up.
Hearing she has arrived increases his nervousness, more than he initially has.
Lei: Xiao You sighted. She has gone up to the observation deck.
Xi Men felt his heart is in his mouth now.
And feels more like panic attack.
He then swallowed the nervous lump in his throat.
He raised his phone up and records his respond with a trembling voice, “Thank you for the update, Lei,”
Ah Si, who had came up from the base via Xi Men’s chauffeured sedan with San Chai and joined Xi Men at the secret room, patted Xi Men’s shoulder. “Steady, bro,”
Xi Men exhaled his deep breath from his lips.
Lei: No problem. Jing and I won’t be going down (the building). We will be waiting for you here.
“Okay,” Ah Si said, reading the message. “Makes sense for Lei to wait for us there; all of us has to go up to the observation deck anyway, so, not quite wise for him to come down the building and go back up again,”
Xi Men nodded, barely processing what Ah Si had said.
“Dude, take a deep breath…” Ah Si said, squeezing Xi Men’s shoulder. “Inhale…”
Xi Men inhaled as ordered.
Xi Men exhaled as demanded.
Xi Men inhaled again.
Xi Men exhaled again.
He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down, swallowing yet another quickly formed lump in his throat.
“Bro, it’s time to go,”
Xi Men opened his eyes after hearing it, and both he and Ah Si turned their heads to the right and looked at Mei Zhuo saying that.
“Yes, it’s time to go,” San Chai agreed. “And it will take us about 5-10 minutes to go up, that is if there’s a large crowd,”
All of them looked at Xi Men who is staring at San Chai.
After Xi Men swallowed another lump in his throat again, “Yeah, we should go,”
But he doesn’t move despite saying that.
He took a really deep breath and exhaled it loudly.
He then stands up, and everyone followed.
However, that is all he did. His feet seemed to be glued to the floor, barely moving an inch.
He is so damn nervous about this, and everyone could see it on his face.
‘Xi Men, you can do it…’ he told himself. ‘Calm down. This is the moment. You can’t let her see your nervousness like this,’
About 30 seconds later, he nodded to himself and exhaled a deep breath again –louder than ever.
He lifted his head up and straightened his back.
A glimpse of confidence could be seen in his gaze.
He walked ahead; and everyone else followed him.
Xi Men extends his ticket, which is marked with black lines, to the female employee working at the turnstile machine.
Seeing the black lines on the ticket, the employee knew who he is.
Even if there is none (lines on ticket), everyone (the employees) would have known by the sight of the bouquet of roses in his hands that he is here for the surprise event.
“Mr. Xi Men, Miss Yang has already arrived; my colleague has directed her to the allocated box for her viewing,” the female employee said, inserting the ticket into the turnstile.
“Thank you,” Xi Men said, and he pushed the turnstile to enter.
“What allocated box, son?” Xi Men’s mother asked as she is the next to enter.
“The management has taped an area in a form of a box at the observatory deck where Xiao You can see the proposal. That space offers the best view. And not just that, the taped area means anyone else is off limits, and it will give me ample space later,” Xi Men smiled.
“So, you mean, all the staffs here knew you are proposing?” Xi Men’s mother asked.
“Yes. All of them know. Xiao You’s ticket is marked, so they only have to see her ticket to know who she is and brought her to the taped area and they will make sure she looked out to the view when it is time so she won’t see me approaching her,” Xi Men said.
“Where is the taped area?” she asked.
“At the corner,” he replied. “Just for her,”
Xi Men’s mother smirks. “Looks like you plan this really well…”
“I did, mom. I did,” he smiled.
“Seeing you go extra length just to make a perfect proposal… I can see how much you love her. I hope she accepts you,” Xi Men’s mom tapped his cold hand.
Xi Men smiled wider, “That’s what I hope too, mom,”
“Okay, we’re all in (entered the area after the turnstile machine), we can go up now,” Mei Zhuo said.
Just one floor up and they will be at the observation deck.
“Alright,” Xi Men responded, “And guys,” he looked at all of them. “Before we go up, I have to say something,”
All of them looked at Xi Men.
“Thank you very much for making this happened for me and helped me out. From here on, you guys don’t have to do anything anymore, other than witnessing me proposing to her,” Xi Men said. “It is my turn now,”
Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Ah Si and San Chai smiled.
“Thank you again,” Xi Men gave them a small bow.
“Ah, you don’t have to do this (the bow),” Lei quickly made Xi Men straightened his back up. “We ought to help you, because we are brothers,”
“Yes,” Mei Zhuo and Ah Si agreed.
Jing, Xiao Qiao, San Chai and Xi Men’s parents smiled.
Xi Men smiled back at them.
“Just go and get her,” Lei said. “All the best,”
“Thank you,” Xi Men smiled.
“Good luck, buddy,” Mei Zhuo said.
Xi Men nodded, “Thanks, I needed that,”
“You can do it,” Ah Si smiled.
Xi Men smiled and nodded at Ah Si, “Thank you,”
“Let’s go now,” Lei smiled, and puts his hand around Xi Men’s shoulder.
Xi Men nodded and all of them head to the escalator.
“Just to let you know that I won’t be approaching Xiao You until it is about time. She has to first see the proposal message before I approach her,” Xi Men said, taking a step onto the escalator.
“Okay,” Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si said.
The beautiful bouquet of roses in Xi Men’s hands is gaining attention from anyone that sees it.
Seeing the attention he is getting, Xi Men hides the roses behind him.
He doesn’t mind the attention to his roses but the last thing he wants is to have them talking about it and then the news traveled or sort among them and then lets Xiao You overheard it.
The moment the escalator reaches the top where the observation deck is, the whole entourage walked to the left. They found themselves a good spot far from Xiao You so Xiao You would not be able to see them.
And Xi Men keeps looking at Xiao You; for he hasn’t seen her for a week, and also, wanting to see her reaction from his proposal message that will be displayed on the tower in minutes.
“That tower, right?” San Chai asked, pointing to the view.
“Yes,” Xiao Qiao replied.
“Look out for it…” Jing said. “Can’t wait to see it again!”
“Starting!” San Chai, Jing and Xiao Qiao said ecstatically.
Xi Men’s parents looked out to the tower too, as they have not seen it before.
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat, as he gazes at Xiao You who is looking straight to the tower faraway in the night view.
This is it.
‘Yang Xiao You’
He watches how her facial expression changed, how the surprise plasters on Xiao You’s face.
‘Will you marry me?’
He watches her jaw dropped, staring straight at the tower that just blasted his proposal publicly.
Most visitors at the observation deck noted the message on the tower too, and they began talking about it.
He looked at Xiao You still startled at the message.
It is the time now.
He walked out from the hideout, revealed his flowers from the back and walked towards Xiao You while he dives his hand into his pants’ pocket & takes out a jewelry box; and the male employee that is protecting Xiao You in her spot in the taped area moved away upon seeing Xi Men walking towards them (male employee and Xiao You in the box).
Lei, Jing, Mei Zhuo, Xiao Qiao, Ah Si, San Chai and Xi Men’s parents looked as the entire scene unfolds in front of them.
Xiao You still has her jaw dropped at the message on the tower, completely unaware Xi Men is approaching her.
The moment he reaches her…
“Xiao You,” Xi Men calls out.
Xiao You immediately turned her head to look at Xi Men, instantly surprised with his appearance right there.
Seeing the flowers in his grip,
“Oh… oh my… gosh…” she covers her mouth.
He then opened the small box in his hand, flashing a gorgeous ring.
She is stunned with sight of the ring.
“Xi… Xi Men,” she finally finds her voice.
Xi Men smiled at Xiao You.
His surprise works.
She lowered her gaze to the stunning ring in the jewelry box.
“Will you marry me?” he asked, looking straight at her.