EYR 16 – 20

Chapter 16

Oh, Can’t You See?

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Xiao You’s eyes slowly opened the next morning. As they allowed the blinding sunlight in, she encountered something that she never thought possible in this lifetime.

A man’s naked chest was six inches from her face.

“Oh my God! What happened last night? I was drinking with Pace. I guess I passed out after my pathetic confession, but then what happened?” Xiao You began to murmur.

“Who is he? Did I lose my virginity to some stranger?”

“Oh, Ximen I wanted you to be the first one,” she moaned.

As her eyes moved across the broad expanse, one realization came to mind. At least he wasn’t that bad. In fact, his chest was quite sexy.

“Wait, what am I thinking?!!” her eyes jerked to the strangers face, and burst open in shock when she saw who it was.

“Oh, thank God, it’s Ximen. At least I lost it to him. Wait a minute . . .”

“AHHHH!” she screamed, shooting up in bed.

Ximen awoke with a start.

“What? What happened?”

Xiao You had begun to moan in pain, as her yelling, his loud questions, and her quick movements had awakened the worst hangover she had ever had.

Well, the only hangover she had ever had.

She got up and ran to the bathroom. She was relieved to discover she was still wearing the dress from yesterday. He quickly followed. As she began to retch over the toilet, his arms gently came around her to support her fragile body.

Xiao You closed her eyes in pain and mortification. Tears had begun to run down her face. This was Gods way of punishing her for drinking last night. Not only was she in the worst pain of her life, Ximen was here to witness her downfall.

As she sat there in the end she could only mutter to herself, “I bet Ximen never gets a hangover. He probably just jumps out of his mei mei’s bed and goes off to work. Idiot. Him and me. What was I thinking? What made me think that I could pretend to be even a little bit like him and get away with it?”

Xiao You brushed her teeth and allowed Ximen to assist her outside.

She was feeling a bit mad at him for the moment.

As she sat on the bed, he brought her a hangover remedy that would be sure to get rid of all the aftereffects of the liquor.

He insisted that she drink the foul smelling brew, “I swear by it,” he said.

“See, Xiao You,” she consoled herself, “he’s only human. Just a really smart one. He has the cure ready before he takes the poison.”

Xiao You forced herself to drink it. As soon as she was done she began to gag, but she found that within the next fifteen minutes the effects of the hangover were slowly fading like a bad memory.

As Xiao You finally opened her eyes, she was Ximen rifling through her wardrobe. He brought out another short skirt like yesterdays, and a light blue blouse.

“Ei, what’re you doing, Ximen Shiao Ye,” she demanded as she bounced up off the bed.

“I want you to wear this, Rainie. You looked good yesterday,” he finished, smiling.

“I told you yesterday that I won’t wear those clothes anymore,” she argued.

They began to fight over the clothes, and in the process ended up falling on the bed.

Ximen landed on the bed and reached out to break her fall resulting in her finding herself on the bed with him once more. Only this time she was astride him, rather than laying a good distance away.

As the fall caught up to Xiao You she began to moan from the headache. Her head went down to burrow in his neck, and his arms pulled her closer in reflex.

Xiao You continued to moan and squirm trying to escape her headache.

Ximen’s eyes widened when he felt his body stir to life. He could feel himself hardening, but he couldn’t push her off this time. She was in too much pain, and any sudden movements would lead to more pain.

Xiao You wriggled into a more comfortable position, his heat soothing her headache.

Her nose was buried in his neck, and she was enjoying the scent of him. Her arms went around him, and she snuggled closer.

As her headache began to quiet down, she began to notice more and more things.

One of those things was his hardening body underneath her.

She felt a growing bulge as she lay astride him.

Xiao You froze. This was a week for firsts.

She was working for Ximen for the first time.

She almost got run over for the first time.

She got drunk and had a hangover for the first time.

She awoke with a half naked man in her bed for the first time.

And now she was in close proximity with an aroused man for the first time.

The last two were things she thought would never happen, because she had never hoped that Ximen would care for her that way. And no one else would’ve done.

She slowly sat up, and looked down at Ximen. He was staring back at her. Her hands were braced on his naked chest, and they slowly clenched as she fought the sensations her body was experiencing.

She slowly got off him.

Ximen sat up on the bed, and stared at Xiao You’s blushing face. At least she wasn’t indifferent to him. If he had to use his body to get her back, he was ready and willing.

Anything for love. Right?

“What were you doing in my bed?” she finally asked, breaking the silence.

“I brought you home last night. Because you were passed out, and I’m sure you’ve never done this before, I wanted to keep an eye on you.”

“Ximen, your room is across the hall. How hard is it to walk two steps to check on me?”

“Um . . . I’m too lazy?” he finally offered up.

What else could he say? That he wanted to sleep with her? That he wanted to wake up with her in his arms? That would only scare her.

Control. That was the word of the day. The week. Probably the whole damned month. He had to control himself and be gentle with her. She was too innocent.

“So, you met Xiao Qiao yesterday?” Ximen finally said when she continued to look at him with suspicion.

“Xiao Qiao, no never heard of any Xiao Qiao. I met this great girl last night, her name’s Pace,” Xiao You said in confusion.

“Pace,” Ximen questioned in confusion.

“Yeah, Pace. She’s from America.”

“Yeah, Xiao Qiao’s—”

“The poor girl,” Xiao You interrupted, “she’s in love with this jerk of a guy, but he doesn’t love her. Did you know she’s waited for so long, like ten years, and that jerk hasn’t even said I love you?” she confided in a horrified tone at someone being that stupid.

Ximen’s eyes widened in confusion.

Yes, Xiao Qiao was from America, but hadn’t Mei Zhuo and her just been introduced? And Mei Zhuo wouldn’t be that stupid, right? He must’ve told Xiao Qiao he loved her when it was so obvious to everyone that he did.

Maybe Xiao Qiao had just wandered in after Xiao You had passed out.

That didn’t make any sense, but what other explanation could there be?

He had real doubts about that Pace girl though, she had left Xiao You passed out all alone.

“Ximen?” Xiao You’s sweet voice called out. “What were you thinking about?”

“Nothing. Shouldn’t you be getting ready for work?”

“Work.”

“Yes, work. Aren’t you supposed to be taking care of me? You know, I didn’t even get to lunch yesterday because I got a call, and the client wouldn’t let me go,” Ximen complained.

“Really, Ximen,” Xiao You said in exasperation, “grow up!”

Xiao You walked to the wardrobe.

“What are you doing?” Ximen asked.

“Getting clothes,” Xiao You said.

“What about these?” Ximen held up the shirt once more.

“No,” Xiao You snapped.

Ximen stepped in front of Xiao You, intent on stopping her.

“Ximen,” she whined.

“Xiao You,” he mocked back.

. . . . . . .

His eyes widened.

Her shocked eyes stared back at him.

He was frozen in one place waiting for the storm to break.

“You knew who I was?” she questioned in shock. “How could you be so cruel? You knew who I was and you didn’t say anything. Do you dislike me that much that you would pretend not to know me? I can’t believe you,” she ended her tirade in a scream.

Xiao You pushed him out the door and slammed it shut in his face.

She leaned against the door, smiling. That would get him to back off for a while. The idiot. That sweet, incredibly sexy idiot.

On the other side of the door Ximen began to think about how Xiao You had reacted. She wasn’t the kind of girl to shout over something like this, though he didn’t know how she would act if her temper really boiled over. All he knew was that she hadn’t been that mad.

He just had a feeling.

Knock. Knock.

Xiao You opened the door and peeked out.

“So you knew, huh?” he asked sheepishly.

“Well, duh,” she said sarcastically. “I know you haven’t gone blind. And calling me Xiao You to my face was a bit much, you know.”

They both smiled at each other, gazing into one another’s eyes.

“Come on, wear the skirt,” he wheedled, finally breaking free of the effect Xiao You had on him.

“No.”

“Why not?” he asked in exasperation.

“I don’t want guys leering at my legs like you were,” she finally said, completely ignoring the fact that she had liked him looking.

“I wasn’t leering, I was appreciative,” Ximen protested.

“Fine, no appreciation either.”

“Come on, you in a short skirt, your sexy little glasses . . . I have to admit that you have a certain power over me. If you promise to wear them, I’ll do whatever you want for today.”

“Please,” she snorted, “we’ll be in the office all day. When will I have time to do my thing? I want a full weekend.”

“But, I work—”

“Take it or leave it.”

“Fine, I’ll take it.”

“Good,” Xiao You slammed the door shut once more.

She leaned against the door, smiling. She couldn’t understand Ximen’s fascination with her legs, but if that got her a date with him, she was willing to flaunt to his heart’s content. This time the date would be because she wanted it, not because he wanted to help someone else. She was happy.

Ximen stood outside her door, smiling. He might have to lose a day’s work, but he not only got a date with Xiao You, he also got to see Xiao You in a short skirt. Well, okay, a shortish skirt. He was happy.

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Chapter 17

You Belong to Me

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That first day she insisted on going to an amusement park. She hadn’t been to one for a long time, and stupid Zhong Ze and his argument with Dao Ming Si had tainted the memories of her last trip.

Xiao You hadn’t had such fun for a long time. It really felt like a date.

Ximen had complained at first, but he had gotten into the mood after a while, and had been bringing her cotton candy, going wherever she wanted, and holding her hand.

They had gotten their pictures taken in a picture booth, and he had insisted on taking half the pictures when she had planned on hogging them all.

It was weird. Ximen had been acting weird all week. She had hoped that this childish place would snap him out of it, and make him see the real her.

She knew that they wouldn’t fit together. If Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si couldn’t do it, when HE had been obsessively in love with her, what chance did she and Ximen have?

Xiao You’s eyes widened when she saw someone she had never thought to see at an amusement park. His last trip had been horrible, but she guessed memory loss might have gotten rid of that problem.

“Hey Ximen,” she said, “What is Dao Ming Si doing here?”

“Ah Si? Where?” Ximen asked incredulously.

“Over there,” Xiao You pointed, “Hey Dao—”

Ximen put a hand over her mouth and quickly dragged her out of sight.

“What are you doing?” Xiao You asked in shock.

Ximen looked at her and then back at Dao Ming Si, who was still standing there obliviously, “I don’t know. It was just a reflex I guess.”

“Why would you hide from Dao Ming Si? Isn’t he your friend? Did you two have a fight?” Xiao You asked.

“I don’t know. Yes. No. Stop talking for a while, please,” Ximen said in frustration.

He knew that if Ah Si was here, Shan Cai would be also. He didn’t want Shan Cai protesting their relationship and warning Xiao You of his intentions, not that Shan Cai knew what his real intentions were, but he did not want Xiao You to be forewarned.

“Um, what’s he doing here anyways?” Xiao You asked.

“Well, you know Ah Si lost his memory, right?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Well he got it back, but he’s changed. I have to admit that he’s a better man for it. Though we did it miss the old, confident Ah Si while he was gone,” Ximen explained.

“That doesn’t answer my question, what’s he doing here?” she asked again.

“I guess he likes amusement parks now,” Ximen ventured a guess.

“Poor Shan Cai,” Xiao You sighed.

“Why?”

“Well, didn’t she lose him to Princess Yesha?” Xiao You snapped back, thinking about the pain her friend must have gone through.

“To have the man you love, and who loved you, choosing another woman over you, it must be sooo painful,” Xiao You wondered out loud.

“Did you miss the last episode?”

“What? Weird way of putting it, but I missed the last few. Shan Cai and I lost touch,” Xiao You explained.

“Well, Dao Ming Si got his memory back and chased her to Barcelona where they reunited,” Ximen said, filling her in.

“What,” Xiao You was shocked and happy for her friend at the same time. It couldn’t have happened to a better person.

“They’ve been together for the past year and quite happily so,” Ximen concluded the update.

Xiao You’s hand unconsciously clutched Ximen’s as she saw her friend come up and share a kiss with her soulmate. Though that was a surprise; looked like Shan Cai had overcome her avoidance of public displays of affection.

As they stared at the oblivious couple, Dao Ming Si and Shan Cai started arguing.

“Pighead,” Shan Cai shouted at Dao Ming Si and ran off.

“Ei, you stupid woman,” Dao Ming Si shouted in frustration chasing her, “What did I say? Get back here.”

Xiao You slowly became aware of where she was and what she was doing.

While staring at the romantic and then funny scene between the crazy couple she had moved their joined hands to place them near her heart. In the process she had brought Ximen so close that when she looked up, their lips were mere inches apart.

She caught Ximen staring at her lips.

He began to move closer, bending down to kiss her.

“Eeek!” she shouted running off in embarrassment.

“Xiao You!” Ximen shouted after her, “What did I do?” and began to chase her.

Xiao You was running swiftly through the crowd, quite unsure about the reasons for her flight, but she just knew that she had to get away. If she allowed another kiss to happen, things would just get too confusing.

Fate decided to take a hand, and she ran smack dab into a person she had no desire to see.

Xiao You landed on her bottom, the breath knocked out of her. She lay there winded.

“Ei, watch where you’re going!” an angry voice said.

“Sorry, sorry,” Xiao You said, as she got up.

“If apologies were any good what would we need the police for?” the angry voice said, running off without a backwards glance.

Ximen finally caught up with Xiao You and grabbed her arm.

“Your friend is quite rude, you know,” she finally said, staring after Dao Ming Si.

“Hey, I said he changed. He would have to be a completely different person to stop saying things like that,” Ximen argued.

“And why were you running away from me?” he asked, angry now.

“I don’t know,” she confessed.

“Shiao Jie, people don’t run away from their dates for no apparent reason,” he stated.

“Date, you think we’re on a date?” Xiao You incredulously asked.

“Aren’t we?”

“No.”

“This was meant to bore you and entertain me. It was supposed to make you see the real me, so that you would leave me alone,” Xiao You ground out, getting angry herself.

Why was he making this so hard?

“Leave you alone? What do you mean?”

–FLASHBACKS—

The morning after the all day drinking with Pace, Ximen had dropped her off at her desk. Instead of kissing her on the forehead, he had softly kissed her on the cheek.

She had been left openmouthed as he walked into his office, whistling.

Throughout the day he would call her in for dictation, only to sit there staring at her.

The last time she had asked in frustration, “If you fool around like this all the time, how do you get any work done?”

“I don’t do this all the time.”

“Yeah, right,” she scoffed.

“Well, Secretary Xu isn’t as sexy as you, and I’m sure he doesn’t swing that way,” Ximen had argued his case. “So, why would I do this with him?”

Xiao You had only shook her head at his weird behavior, and had stalked out.

“If you don’t have any work to do, I do, so stop bothering me!” she ordered.

The next day he had left her alone.

At the end of the day as she got ready to leave, he had ordered her to do some filing.

She had stood there filing in his office while everyone had left the building.

She hadn’t been afraid. At least not then.

He had quietly come up behind her.

The first she had known of his presence was when his arms came up to close the filing cabinet.

She had instinctively moved back and had come up against his hard body.

When she moved to get away, his arms had come around her.

“What are you doing,” she had finally whispered.

“What do you think?” he murmured against her sensitive ear.

He began to nibble on her ear, and then moved down her neck.

His lips kissed a line down her nape. Reaching the base of her neck, Ximen turned her a little, and began to suck.

Xiao You became short of breath, as his lips, teeth and tongue tasted her skin.

He began to move against her body, and she couldn’t stop her body from moving into him, rubbing herself against his hardness.

He had moaned in her ear as her body came into contact with his.

His hands moved up her body to cup her softness.

Xiao You arched her back, unsure of what she wanted, but knowing she needed some sort of relief.

They had then heard the whistle of the security guard outside.

They had sprang apart, just as the door opened.

The security guard had been very apologetic, but the mood had been destroyed.

Ximen knew that Xiao You wouldn’t give him a second chance to get closer to her that night.

He had conceded defeat for that night.

And the third day he had kissed her for the first time. Really kissed.

As she had stood behind his desk, fixing a bug on his computer, he had pulled her down into his lap.

“What are you doing?” she grasped, struggling to get up.

“What will people say if they came in to see their manager acting like this?”

“They’ll say it’s about time. They know I haven’t had fun for a long time. I deserve this,” he said confidently.

“You?”

He nodded.

“No way!”

His answering nod said “yes way”.

“How long?” she queried in fascination.

“Since I’ve been working here,” he confessed.

“No way,” Xiao You’s shock made her forget her position in his lap.

Ximen had began to play with her ear.

Her eyes closed as his tongue began to play.

“Stop…it,” she finally whispered.

“Can’t,” he had mumbled.

There had been complete silence.

Ximen had tipped her face down and begun to kiss her, rubbing his lips against hers, moving his tongue against her sealed lips, and finally beginning to thrust into her mouth when she finally invited him inside.

The kiss had started out chaste. It had ended up being wet, carnal, and had mimicked the act of making love. Even Xiao You, the complete innocent she was, had known that.

His hand had moved to unbutton her shirt, slipping inside. He had finally cupped her, kneading her, as he continued to make love to her with his mouth.

She had unconsciously arched, pushing herself deeper into his hand.

Xiao You had learned all about kissing that day.

His lips had been like magic, and she had fallen under the spell with nary a protest.

Once again they were fated to be interrupted.

The sound of someone clearing their throat had brought Ximen out of a sexual haze.

His eyes had encountered Mei Zhuo’s, as he stood in the doorway.

Xiao You’s lips had sought his and he had to whisper a warning in her ear.

She had looked at him wide eyed, afraid to turn her head to confirm what Ximen had said.

“Hey, Ximen, wattcha got there?” Mei Zhuo asked.

Xiao You quickly gotten up, and had quickly fixed herself.

Ximen had gotten up as well, shielding her from Mei Zhuo’s eyes.

His hands had reached to push her trembling fingers aside, and buttoned up her half-open shirt.

His eyes had lingered on the small bruise he had left on her skin the day before.

He had lightly fingered it, and Xiao You had glared at him balefully for reminding her of the hickey.

“Hey, Mei Zhuo,” he had finally turned to greet his friend.

Xiao You had taken the chance to slip quietly out the door.

As she closed the door she had heard Mei Zhuo ask, “So, Xiao You’s back, huh? And you didn’t think it pertinent to tell us this?”

“Mei Zhuo,” she had called out, “I don’t want you telling anyone about this, understood?”

“Understood,” he had saluted at her.

As she had finally closed the door, she could hear his laughter on the other side.

–End of Flashbacks—

Ximen had told her later that Mei Zhuo had promised not to tell, not letting her know that he had done so to prevent Shan Cai from interfering.

He had explained that Mei Zhuo had come over to talk about his fiancé, Xiao Qiao, who had been avoiding him.

Ximen wanted her. That had been made apparent in the past few days.

But for how long and with what kind of commitment. He hadn’t said, and she was afraid that she would succumb without any sort of commitment on his part.

Over the past year and a half she had matured. She wanted him, but would only give herself to him in love, not lust.

She had at least that much respect for herself.

When it came to Ximen, she was weak. She had admitted that to herself a long time ago. Ironically, when it came to Ximen, she was also more confident than she had ever been. She had found her courage only with his help.

But she didn’t have time to think about that paradox right now. Her virtue was in danger of being stolen by the Taiwanese Don Juan!

“Ximen, you need to back off,” she looked him straight in the eyes.

“Why now? Why are you doing this now when I’ve already accepted that we can never be together.”

“You’re here, and I want you,” he finally said, “I don’t care even if you have a boyfriend back in Canada.”

“Boyfriend, what boyfriend? I don’t have a boyfriend. But you would have me break up with him just because of “want”. You would want me to leave this GREAT guy just to be with you for one week. Get real, Ximen,” she said in disgust.

“No,” he clarified, “It’s not just want, I have feelings for you. And you don’t have a boyfriend, you just said so.”

“Are you deliberately trying to be obtuse? Feelings, what kind of wishy-washy word is that. Tell me exactly what you feel. If it’s true enough, I might consider breaking up with this guy you have me linked to,” she yelled.

“Just feelings, OKAY?” he shouted.

He had not wanted to do this now. Not in this place. Not so publicly. But she was forcing him to confess her feelings with the threat of a boyfriend. Hadn’t she said there was no boyfriend, then why was she bringing him up repeatedly?

“I like you alright? I want to touch you when you’re near me. I want to know how you feel in my arms. I want to know how you taste. I want to memorize your scent. I want to know how you look in the mornings . . . how you look when you’re under me . . . how you look when you come,” he whispered the last parts so only she could hear.

“I LIKE YOU,” he shouted, thinking that Xiao You could give his father lessons in interrogation methods.

“You don’t have to shout, people are staring” she finally uttered.

Her eyes had grown bigger and bigger as he vented his “like” for her. She couldn’t believe her ears.

Ximen wanted her. He liked her, but he also wanted her sexually.

“I always thought I was too innocent for you. I never thought I could arouse you,” Xiao You said happily.

Ximen relaxed when he saw her reaction. She wasn’t angry, she wasn’t shocked . . . she was happy.

Her happiness was making him happy.

“Xiiaaoo Yoouu!!” a voice yelled in the quite crowd breaking the silence of the gaping crowd.

Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si had been leaving the park, having made up, when they had seen the commotion. Shan Cai had insisted that they go investigate.

They had heard a man declaring his “feelings” for a woman.

“Why doesn’t the idiot just say he loves her? Ei Shan Cai, he must be like you. He’s too scared to express his feelings,” Dao Ming Si had tactlessly said.

Shan Cai had bopped him on the head, and had walked into the crowd, ordering Dao Ming Si to make a path for her.

She had been shocked to see an openly frustrated Ximen and a smiling, dazed Xiao You.

“Xiiaaoo Yoouu!!” Shan Cai had screamed from the crowd.

Xiao You saw her best friend waving from the crowd, and had glared at Ximen as if to say that this discovery was all his fault.

Her eyes also showed chagrin. She didn’t know why she had thought she could hide from these people. Mei Zhuo had recognized her even though she had hidden behind Ximen the whole time. And now Shan Cai recognized her in her baggy clothes, and with her bangs hanging in her face.

Shan Cai ran up and started in on Ximen. Her body moved to shield Xiao You from Ximen’s eyes, and she began to move backwards, moving Xiao You away from Ximen’s sphere of influence.

“What do you think you’re doing to Xiao You? Embarrassing her like this. What are your intentions, Ximen?” Shan Cai demanded.

Forget his father, Xiao You must have learned the art of interrogation from Shan Cai; she asked questions and used the threat of stealing Xiao You away from him to get answers.

“Shan Cai, you can’t take her away,” Ximen declared, moving forward to grab Xiao You’s arm.

“And why not?” Shan Cai asked.

“She’s mine,” Ximen said, and turning to Xiao You, said, “You belong to me.”

“Belong to you? I’m not some possession,” Xiao You protested.

“Ei Xiao You, that was actually sweet,” Shan Cai said.

“No, it wasn’t. Ximen, I’m waiting, say it clearly. I want the words. Don’t be like poor Pace’s boyfriend.”

“Fine! I love you! Happy?” Ximen said, his dreams of a romantic evening, roses, candlelight and a declaration of love going up in smoke.

He was supposed to be in control! She was supposed to be shy and afraid. But here she stood like an amazon woman, courageous, daring him to speak what was in his heart.

He had been forced to change his plans, and he didn’t like it one bit. Strangely enough, his anger didn’t last long.

His courageous Xiao You was back.

He had missed her so much.

“Good,” Xiao You said with a huge grin, “now prove it.”

“Man, that was pathetic,” Dao Ming Si said in commiseration. “Ouch, Shan Cai!”

“Dao Ming Si, you pighead, shut up!”

To be continued . . .

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Chapter 18

If At First You Don’t Succeed . . .

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–FLASHBACK—

“Xiao You, will you—” he began.

Xiao You’s eyes had widened in surprise.

“Will you go out with me tomorrow night?”

When he had finished the question there had been relief, but buried underneath that there was a bit of disappointment.

–End of FLASHBACK—

DATE #1 –

Xiao You was really excited.

Today was their first date.

She hadn’t known what to wear. She considered calling Shan Cai, but when had Shan Cai ever had any fashion sense?

F4 had had to dress her on numerous occasions to prevent her from making another faux pas like the one that had occurred at Jing’s party.

Xiao You had called Pace.

Pace had met her at the Breeze Center, and they had shopped there, quickly finding the perfect black dress, with accessories to match.

When Xiao You had marveled at Pace’s ability, the other woman had mumbled something about spending hours shopping.

There was a knock on the door.

When Xiao You opened the door the sight that met her eyes mesmerized her.

Ximen looked incredibly sexy in a tux. His eyes were warm and loving.

As she came outside his scent came to envelope her.

She had had a similar mesmerizing effect on Ximen. Her hair had been swept up, and her dress clung to her body in all the right places.

But Xiao You was Xiao You, so it was ankle length, and she still had on her glasses.

Ximen was beginning to find her glasses sexy as well.

There was nothing about Xiao You that wasn’t.

When they arrived at the restaurant, Xiao You’s eyes widened in surprise.

This was nothing like the restaurant they had gone to on their “To save Dao Ming Si’s and Shan Cai’s relationship” date. This was much more elegant and much more exclusive.

Ximen had wanted to eat in a private lounge, but Xiao You had insisted that half the fun of dining out was to be part of a crowd. Something about seeing others falling in love helped her to enjoy her dinner more. He hadn’t gotten it, but he wanted to make her happy. He came to regret that decision.

As they sat at the table, Ximen began to ask her about Canada.

She told him about her family’s circumstances, not wanting to hide anything, but not making herself seem pitiful either.

“Ximen, I haven’t seen you in a while!” a female voice called out.

As Ximen and Xiao You looked up, a sexy woman came over. She had the kind of body that Xiao You could never hope to have. At least not without plastic surgery.

“Ximen, baby, how about a repeat,” the woman said into Ximen’s ear.

Ximen was panicking. He didn’t know how to act. Xiao You sat there staring at him, and his mind was a complete blank on how to get rid of the other woman.

Fortunately the waiter quickly came to escort the guest away. Ximen reminded himself to leave a big tip for him.

Xiao You sat there staring at him.

“What about your love life, you mentioned that you fell in love and that made all the stuff happening in your life a little less burdensome,” Ximen inquired, clearing his throat.

As soon as the words left his mouth he closed his eyes and winced. This was definitely not the time to remind Xiao You about love lives.

Xiao You looked at him, and finally decided to answer when she saw how uncomfortable he had become. She had never blinded herself to Ximen’s past, and this was part and parcel of loving Ximen.

“I fell in love with computers,” she said with her sweet smile reappearing.

“Computers. You mean that my Xiao You became a computer geek?”

“Ei, you better be happy that it was computers. I can work on those anywhere. If this relationship really goes places I won’t have to choose you over my career,” she joked.

He began to laugh at the thought of how jealous he had been. Computers. They were the most unromantic things in the world.

Xiao You, growing irritated at his laughter, said, “If you don’t shut it, YOU will have to relocate if we get married.”

Ximen stopped laughing.

As they ate their dinner, continuing to talk about their lives, they heard another voice.

“Ximen, darling, I haven’t seen you in a while. Where have you been?”

Ximen’s eyes closed as the second woman came up to the table.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Xiao You asked.

“Oh, are you the current weekly flavor, I’m one of the past ones,” the gorgeous redhead said.

“Well, you have the wrong person. This isn’t Ximen,” Xiao You said seriously.

“I’m sorry? You’re kidding right?” the redhead asked incredulously.

“No, this is actually my boyfriend from the west. You know how plastic-surgery-crazy they are back there. Well, I once saw Ximen Zhong Er Lang’s picture in the news and forced my boyfriend to get plastic surgery.”

The redhead looked at her in disbelief.

“Oh, don’t worry. He was willing. You see I’m the rich one in this relation—ship,” Xiao You winced as Ximen kicked her under the table.

“This was what he looked like before,” she said, pulling out a picture of Qing He.

The redhead looked at the picture, made a disgusted face and left.

Xiao You began to laugh when she noticed Ximen’s shocked gaze on her.

“Look, you have your past, and we can either ignore it or face it head on. You deal with it your own way, I’ll deal with it in my way.”

Ximen could only shake his head at the mischievous side of Xiao You. This was yet another persona that he could fall in love with.

Xiao You and Ximen began on their dessert, and were discussing Lei’s and Jing’s relationship when they heard another female voice calling Ximen.

This time the woman came up to Ximen and actually kissed him.

Xiao You’s eyes widened in anger, uncaring that it was only on the cheek. This woman had the nerve to kiss her Ximen after he had become HER Ximen.

She got up and tapped the woman on the shoulder.

When the lady turned, Xiao You mashed her cheesecake into her face.

“Xiao You,” Ximen admonished her, “This isn’t one of my weekly mei meis, it’s Xiao Tze.”

As Xiao Tze began to wipe the cake off of her face, Xiao You vaguely recognized the face of the smiling, monkey girl she had briefly seen in the cake shop that day, long ago.

“I’m really sorry,” Xiao You said with a grimace.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Xiao Tze said with a smile. “I guess that must’ve been happening a lot. It is Ximen.”

“Yeah,” Xiao You admitted.

“If you’ll excuse I should go clean up and get back to my date,” Xiao Tze said. “I like you Xiao You, hope to see you again.”

When Xiao Tze left, Ximen stood there looking at the little warrior standing in front of him.

When she finally couldn’t take the silence anymore she looked up.

“What?!! Fine, I’ll admit it. This is hard. I’m jealous!”

“Ugh, let’s just go home, okay?” she finally said as the silence continued.

The night had ended in Ximen’s silence and Xiao You’s anger.

“There was nothing he could say that would erase his past,” Ximen thought.

“There was nothing he could say that would erase his past,” Xiao You thought.

DATE # 2 –

Xiao You was really excited.

Today was their second date.

After a week of working, he had promised to take her someplace else. Somewhere he had never been with his mei meis. That was kind of hard, if you thought about the numerous women he had had, but she knew that Ximen could do it.

Once again, Ximen knocked on her door.

“Let’s go,” he said softly, looking at her in pink dress, her hair covering half her face, and her glasses planted firmly on.

“Yes, lets,” she agreed, already moving.

As they stepped outside the mansion, Xiao You had the misfortune of stepping on crack, breaking her heal, and spraining her ankle.

Ximen had looked on incredulously.

Not only was their second date ruined, but Xiao You had gotten hurt.

He knelt down and picked her up in his arms.

She had become pale from the pain, but she wouldn’t cry. Her pride wouldn’t let her.

His heart clenched at the pain she was going through, wishing that he could take it away.

“Butler Ping, please call a doctor,” he ordered, moving up the stairs.

Ignoring her protests, he took her back to her room.

Settling her down on the bed, he took off her shoes.

“Ximen, I’m alright, it’s just a sprain. I don’t want to r—” Xiao You protested.

“Enough,” he cut in, “I know you’re in pain. I can see it in your eyes. And who says our date is ruined, we can have a date right here.”

“Really?” she asked.

“Really,” he said.

His hands came up take off her earrings. His hands swept her bangs back.

He slowly leaned down to give her a gentle kiss.

“Tell me what plans you had tonight,” Xiao You said.

“What?”

“Well we can’t go now, and I want to imagine it. You know, the kind of fun we would’ve had. Please,” Xiao You pouted at him.

“Fine, fine I’ll tell you. Just don’t stick that lip out at me,” he said, laughing.

“Why?”

“Because it makes me want to do this,” he breathed out, capturing her mouth.

His lips caressed hers gently, and his teeth nipped at her bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth.

His tongue came out to lick at it, soothing the sting, and then slipped inside.

Her tongue rose to meet his. He pushed her against the pillows as their tongues began to duel, as the kiss grew more voracious.

Her fingers combed through his hair, gripping at the ends.

The sound of a clearing throat interrupted them.

Ximen pulled back and stared down at Xiao You’s swollen lips, glistening in the bedroom light.

He turned to look at the door.

“Shao Ye, the doctor is here,” Butler Ping said nervously.

Ximen nodded and moved back to let the doctor examine her ankle.

As foretold, it was sprained, and Xiao You was ordered to bed rest for the next two days.

Ximen agreed with the doctor, ignoring Xiao You’s protests that all this fuss was unnecessary.

“The fuss is completely necessary,” a voice called from the doorway.

“Uncle,” Xiao You protested, “I’m fine. I just tripped. If I’m out, who will look after Ximen.”

President Ximen walked into the room.

“Er Lang is a grown boy, he can take care of himself. Young lady, it’s you I’m worried about. What have you done to yourself?”

“I just tripped. Even kids can do that,” Xiao You argued.

President Ximen sat in a chair by the bed.

“Er Lang, what are you doing sitting on Miss Yang’s bed?” he asked.

“Uh, dad, you know, I—”

“Miss Yang must think you so rude, get up. And go get that fool of a doctor prescribe her some pain medication,” he ordered.

Ximen quickly got up and ran out. His concern for Xiao You outweighed his irritation over his parent’s interference.

Xiao You watched him go.

Uncle looked like he was ready to sit there for the long haul.

“Uncle, I wanted to talk to you,” Xiao You began tentatively.

“Yes?” he asked.

“I wanted to let you know you don’t have to run interference for me anymore,” she finally blurted out.

“Ximen confessed he loved me,” she said, reddening.

“Uhh. You think he means it?” he asked.

“Yes, of course he does, your son would never say it unless he meant it,” she countered.

President Ximen nodded in satisfaction.

“But I still think we should run some interference. We want him to fight for your love. Didn’t you say you wanted him to prove it?”

“How did—”

“That doesn’t matter, let’s see how far we can push him,” he muttered from the side of his mouth as Ximen came rushing back in.

President Ximen sat there for the next few hours, refusing to leave Ximen and Xiao You alone together. And monopolized her attention completely while there.

Xiao You could see Ximen getting angry.

Xiao You finally said out of desperation, “I’m sleepy.”

Uncle nodded and dragged Ximen out. He told him he would be sleeping in his son’s room tonight.

“I brought Rainie from Canada. She’s hurt and alone here. I feel like I should be close by, like a parent, just to make sure she’s okay. If her condition worsens, how could I face her parents? I know you’d understand.”

President Ximen had closed Xiao You’s door, but left his open.

“There’s no way I can even sneak in,” Ximen muttered in frustration.

Ximen finally gave in to the need to be in contact with Xiao You.

Xiao You lay in the darkness, missing Ximen. Her phone began to ring.

“Wei,” she softly answered.

“Xiao You,” Ximen’s soft voice could be heard over the line. “What are you doing?”

“What else could I be doing? I’m lying here, in bed, alone and missing you like crazy. I wish you were here,” the longing could be heard in her voice.

“Me too, I wish I was there with you,” Ximen admitted in a driven tone.

“Tell me about our date,” she finally requested to distract them.

“Well, we would’ve gone to our rooftop. I had dinner planned, and we would watch the sunrise and see your message.”

“My message? But Xiao Gen—”

“I never saw the message with her,” he interrupted. “She wasn’t the one who showed it to me.”

“Our chance was long over before I met you. She had moved on in a few months. I was the only one stuck in the past.

You showed me the message, Xiao You. You were the one who cared enough to ask, to search, and to force me to see.

That message represents your love for me, more than it ever did hers. I knew that even as we stood on the rooftop that day.”

“Then why—”

“Then why did I let you go a second time? You’ve never asked that before,” he paused as if waiting for her to respond.

Xiao You was too choked up, unable to make her throat muscles work. She could only gulp down her tears.

Ximen heard the sound and recognized it for what it was.

“Xiao You, you know that I rejected Xiao Gen, but never why. I don’t know if you know about my parents, but my father was a womanizer.

I hated everything he represented. He hurt the only woman I loved in the entire world. My mother. She’s a wonderful woman, and I didn’t think he loved her.

I come from those genes. You’ve heard of the sayings, ‘like father, like son’ or ‘blood will tell’, and I always knew that I would be like him.

I was afraid. I was afraid to hurt you. You’re just like my mother. She is the sweetest woman in the world. Anyone who meets her can’t help but fall in love with her.

You’re like that. You touched my heart, even when I thought I had locked it up and thrown away the key. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I would if we were together.

It was only a year ago that I learned about my parents’ history. How my father has always loved my mother, but she never loved him. His unrequited love led him to seek solace in the arms of other woman.

I don’t care about his womanizing. I don’t care that they’re divorced now, because that did make one of them happy.

I care that he has loved my mother for the past twenty odd years. He had it in him to be constant in his devotion, and I inherited that.

That freed me like nothing else.

That freed me to love you,” he concluded.

There was complete silence on the other side.

“Xiao You, are you there?” Ximen asked.

He heard a soft sniffle on the other side.

“Oh, Ximen, I could’ve told that you would never hurt me by loving me,” she finally wailed.

“I want to touch you right now,” he whispered.

“I want you beside me,” she whispered.

“We can’t,” he groaned out.

“We can’t,” she agreed.

“Then goodnight,” she said.

“Wait, don’t turn the phone off,” he called out. “Leave it on, pretend we’re sleeping together. I want to hear the sound of your breathing.”

“Fine,” she agreed.

He could hear the smile in her face.

“But you’re paying my phone bill.”

Both laughed and saying goodnight, fell asleep.

Xiao You’s last thought before going to sleep was that maybe Uncle’s interference hadn’t been a curse but a blessing in disguise.

DATE #3 –

Xiao You was really excited.

Today was their third date.

It was two days later, and she had to go to work the next day. But tonight was theirs.

Ximen had promised her that they would go to the rooftop tonight to watch the sunrise and see her message.

She would get to spend the night in his arms.

Ximen came home, looking grim.

“What is it now,” Xiao You moaned.

“Shan Cai ordered a group gathering tonight. She said she wanted to introduce you to Jing and Xiao Qiao. She threatened to convince you that I was a bad guy if we didn’t go.”

“What!!”

“So, I agreed,” Ximen continued.

“What, why?!!”

“Because I don’t want anyone filling your ears against me,” he sheepishly confessed.

Ximen and Xiao You walked into VS half an hour later, hand in hand. And if their hair was a little mussed, their lips a little swollen, no one would begrudge them those extra 15 minutes.

Everyone was there.

Dao Ming Si was arguing with Shan Cai. What else was new?

Lei and Jing were sitting in a corner.

Qing He and Mimi were there, both giggling over something.

Mei Zhuo was there with . . . out Xiao Qiao.

Shan Cai saw Xiao You. She pushed Dao Ming Si aside, and ran to hug her.

“Xiao You, how have you been? Has Ximen been treating you right?”

“Yes, mother hen,” Xiao You smiled. She loved her friend, and appreciated Shan Cai’s worry on her behalf.

“Come with me,” she ordered, pulling her away from Ximen.

“This is Jing, you went to her party a few years ago, remember?”

“Yes. Hello, nice to meet you,” Xiao You greeted her.

“Nice to meet you,” Jing smiled, “I can see why Ximen has fallen in love with you.”

“Thank you,” Xiao You blushingly replied.

“And this is Mimi, she is Qing He’s main squeeze.”

“Hello,” Xiao You said, staring at the awe apparent in Mimi’s face. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. I am just in awe of meeting the woman that has stolen Ximen Shao Ye’s heart. He hasn’t been out on a date for a long time, and he never socializes anymore. Did you know he—”

“Mimi, that’s enough,” Ximen interrupted.

Xiao You’s eyes had widened. She knew that Ximen had told her about no dating, but she hadn’t really believed until now.

She turned to give Ximen a soft kiss accompanied by teasing from all their friends.

A few hours later, Shan Cai and Ah si were fighting. What else was new?

Qing He was out cold, Ah Si had knocked him out, which was the reason for the argument.

Mimi was staring vacantly into space.

Lei had fallen asleep.

Next to him, with her head on his shoulder, was Jing. She had fallen asleep before him. He had decided to keep her company.

Mei Zhuo sat in the corner with Ximen and Xiao You. He had had quite a bit to drink.

“Xiao Qiao’s been avoiding me. I don’t know what to do,” he groaned in frustration.

“I have a friend, Pace, from America. She’s avoiding her boyfriend too. He’s in love with someone else,” Xiao You confided.

“But—”

“So, I told her to break up with him,” Xiao You concluded.

“How could you say that?” Mei Zhuo asked. “Is she sure he’s in love with someone else, what if he isn’t, what if he loves her and she breaks his heart for nothing?”

“Well, if he loves her that much, shouldn’t he take care of her love? Do you know that he hasn’t even said he loves her?” Xiao You asked incredulously.

“Oh, your poor friend,” Mei Zhuo said in pity. “What kind of idiot is he? People are like plants and love is water. We need love to live. Your friend needs to know she’s loved . . . oh God, fuck!!!” Mei Zhuo tried to run out the door.

At that moment, when he was the most drunk, Mei Zhuo had a moment of lucidity.

In trying to get to Xiao Qiao as fast as he could, he missed the chair right in front of him. He tripped and flipped over it, landing on the other side.

Ximen and Xiao You looked at each other in confusion, and then hurried to the other side.

He was winded, but still conscious. He called his driver, as he lay on the lounge floor, and raced out to meet him.

Ximen lightly kissed Xiao You’s bare shoulder, as she smiled at him.

They didn’t know what had happened, but as long as he wasn’t driving, they didn’t have to worry.

The couple calmed down Ah Si and Shan Cai, awoke Lei and Jing, got Qing He and Mimi a ride, and went home.

Sad to say, but this was their best outing so far.

DATE #4 –

Xiao You was real—Oh, who was she kidding?

If this one went off without a hitch, it would be a miracle.

Ximen had kissed her outside her door last night, and had whispered that they would go on a picnic today.

She had happily agreed.

No restaurants. No high heels. And no last minute demands from their friends.

There were almost out the door, when her cell phone rang.

“Wei,” she answered with dread.

“Rainie,” a tearful voice asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

“It’s me Pace, could I please see you right now?” the voice finally said.

“Right now? Um, I’m kind of busy,” Xiao You finally said, knowing that she would go. What else could she do? Her friend needed her.

“Please.”

“Fine, where do you want to meet?” she asked with resignation.

“VS, thanks.”

Xiao You looked at Ximen, and he groaned. Looked like the fates were conspiring against them.

But it wasn’t all bad. They had learned a few things in that time. Like her limit to the number of ex-girlfriends she could meet smiling in one day, and the reasons for his rejections, and how crazy Mei Zhuo could be.

“Go,” he finally said.

“What about you?”

“I’ll probably do some work. Try to come back early so we could do something this evening,” he requested.

After sharing a quick kiss, she left.

–at VS—

“My boyfriend came to see me last night and said I love you.”

“That’s great news. You must be so happy!! . . .

Why aren’t you happy?” Xiao You asked.

“He was drunk!” Pace wailed.

“What?”

“Don’t you see? I don’t mind him drinking once in a while.

But being drunk when he said I love you?

What kind of man does that?

Only someone who’s forcing himself to say I love you. Now I know he’s in love with that Ai Sha. He couldn’t even say it while sober.

Maybe he needs to be drunk in order to imagine spending the rest of his life with me.”

Xiao Qiao broke down in tears when she contemplated the end of any hope for them.

Last night she had been so happy. Mei Zhuo had called her to come downstairs. He had been standing near the hood of his car. For the first time since she had known him, he hadn’t been driving.

He had smiled his beautiful smile.

And looking her straight in the eyes he had said, “I love you, Xiao Qiao. I just wanted to let you know. I love you so much,” his voice had broken over the ‘so much’.

Her eyes had teared up at this declaration. For a moment everything had been alright. But then he had moved. Moved and stumbled.

It was only then she had realized that he was drunk.

He had smiled at her again as he caught himself on the hood of the car.

She had stared at him, and what she had thought was true emotion in his eyes took the form of an alcoholic haze.

His words became empty, and her world shattered once more.

The man she loved had just showed her what he thought of her.

He had to get drunk to confess his love.

She had run off without a word. But before running away, she had smiled once more, and kissed him softly on the cheek.

Mei Zhuo had passed out watching Xiao Qiao walk away, with a hand clutching his cheek and a smile on his face.

She looked at Rainie, “I’ve received an offer to play at Carnegie Hall for the next three years. I think I’ll say yes.”

“Is there no hope, Pace?” she asked.

“He doesn’t love me. We’ve been going out for a year and he’s never said it. The first time he does say it, he’s drunk. He can’t even face me, soberly, and say it. I can’t . . . I can’t do this to myself anymore. I’m going to leave,” she decided.

“When will you tell him?”

“I won’t. It may be selfish, but I want to spend every moment I can with him. I won’t ever see him after this. She can have him back when I’m done, but right now he’s mine.”

“It’s not selfish. Be happy,” Xiao You wished her friend good luck.

Her heart broke for this woman sitting in front of her.

They had both loved unthinkingly.

But she was the one that had gotten lucky.

–at the Ximen Mansion—

“So, how was it?” Ximen asked.

“She’s breaking up with her boyfriend,” Xiao You said on a sigh. “She’s given up. She loved this guy for ten years, but now she knows she can’t be with him.”

“Forget it, what did you do?” she asked him.

“Mei Zhuo called. He was really happy.”

“Why?”

“He wouldn’t say, but he said there was something he had been afraid to do for a very long time, and he did it last night. He doesn’t remember much about it, but his driver assured him the response was good. Now he won’t ever lose the most precious thing to him.

He talked my ear off, making all these plans for the future. He wants to start working seriously. He says he has a reason to work now.”

“Good for him,” Xiao You was happy for him. While one friend was losing everything, the other friend was gaining a future. While she was truly happy for him, she was truly sad for Pace.

Xiao You kissed Ximen, and the effect was explosive.

His hands came up to capture her face.

As he began to seriously kiss her, the phone rang.

He growled in frustration.

“It’s your phone,” he told her.

“Leave it,” she moaned, pulling him down to recapture his lips.

“It might be important.”

She picked up the phone.

A female voice asked, “Are you with Ximen right now?”

“Who’s this,” Xiao You asked.

“You don’t need to know that. You just need to know that your boyfriend spent the past few hours in my bed. He enjoyed with me what he couldn’t get at home.”

Xiao You listened to the voice expressionlessly.

She looked at Ximen. He was playing with her fingertips, kissing each one.

She looked as his lips curved in a smile.

She looked into his eyes. They held complete love for her.

“You’re lying. Don’t call here again,” she hung up the phone.

Ximen moved forward to nuzzle her neck, “Who was it?” he asked.

“No one. No one important. Now where were we?”

******************************************************************

Chapter 19

Very Moment – Ximen/ Xiao You

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hi. This is Dao Ming Si. I just wanted to let you know there will be a meteor shower at twelve midnight. Shan Cai insisted that I tell you so that you could experience this magical moment with your ladyhr—loves. Enjoy.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They had finally had their perfect date.

Ximen had brought her to the rooftop once more.

The place was lighted by candlelight, and the fragrance of roses permeated the air.

When the meteor shower had started, Ximen had told her he had especially ordered it for her. Xiao You’s eyes had filled with tears; this meteor shower reminded her of one she had seen so long ago. When she had seen it for the first time she had felt as if something big was about to happen in her life. It was only a few months later that she had met Ximen.

They had had dinner while gazing at the stars.

Her eyes had focused on him throughout. She couldn’t keep her eyes from constantly tracing his beloved features.

He was the most beautiful man she had ever known.

She knew that he was a nice man. She knew that he was a caring man. She knew that he was a romantic man. She had discovered that he was also very insecure, but when he let go he was also a very loving man.

Today she had seen how romantic he could be.

When she had met him for the first time, she had been nervous. His looks had charmed her.

Only on subsequent meetings had she discovered the man behind the mask, and it was that scared little boy that had made her fall in love.

“So . . .,” Xiao You began.

“What,” he asked, smiling.

“Why now? Why so suddenly?” she blurted out. “Why did you confess your love so suddenly? You discovered the truth about your parents a year ago. And you realized you loved me at the same time. I came back to Taiwan, and you pretended not to know me. So, why did you reveal your feelings in front of the entire world?” she finished.

A part of her couldn’t help but wonder at this sudden outpouring of love. She believed him, but she couldn’t silence that little voice inside of her.

He blushed.

Xiao You was shocked. Her Ximen was blushing! She had never thought to see the day.

“I’ve put you through so much,” he finally began. “I rejected you twice, once in front of Ah Si and Shan Cai.”

“H—?” Xiao You began.

“Ah Si let it slip once. I ridiculed your love. I told you to play with other guys. And I kicked you out of my life that second time, after all the effort you had gone through. That second time was the hardest,” he admitted.

Xiao You looked at him, “So this was out of guilt?”

“No,” he vehemently denied, “There’s no guilt. Maybe a bit of penance.”

“What do you mean?” she was still confused.

He moved over to kneel down beside her. His hands reached out to cradle hers.

“You’re courageous Xiao You. You’re more courageous than I have ever been. You chased after me, and boldly confessed. Twice I shot you down. Twice I made you feel like you were nothing,” he leaned down to kiss the center of palms.

“In order for me to be worthy of you, I had to be as courageous as you. My first inclination had been to gently lead you to express your feelings first. My first inclination was to have you risk your heart once more. I wasn’t going to confess, not until I had the words from you. But you pushed and pushed,” he muttered.

“I could’ve escaped that situation, but at that moment I didn’t see the point. I love you. It was my turn. And I didn’t want to be a coward any longer. Do you understand?”

“So, you wanted to say I love you to make up for embarrassing me before?”

“Dao Ming Si and Shan Cai were there too,” he offered, “Doesn’t that make it come around full circle?”

“For a full circle, I should’ve offered to date, kiss or sleep with you in response,” Xiao You muttered.

“What?” Ximen asked.

“Nothing. Look it’s almost 5:30, come on,” she urged.

As the sun appeared over the horizon, it highlighted the billboard once more.

Instead of the message he had come to expect, it was something else entirely.

Ximen,

I love you too,

Your Xiao You.

Ximen’s eyes stared at the message emblazoned there for the entire world to see.

She had said she liked him. She had propositioned him. She had searched for who knows how long to find the billboard.

She had finally expressed her feelings for the world to see.

As he stared at her declaration, he realized one thing.

Words were important. And these words, coming from her, made him feel like the luckiest, most loved man in the world.

“Say them,” he commanded.

“What?”

“You know what,” he whispered against her lips.

“I love you, Ximen Zhong Er Lang,” Xiao You whispered, “Take it however you may, but you will never get rid of me now.”

“I wouldn’t want to,” he whispered in her ear, as he tongue came out to lave the delicate shell.

His arms came around her, and as he deepened the kiss, he knew only one thing.

It paid to take a gamble.

Because Xiao You was finally his.

Chapter 20

Another Moment – Dao Ming Si/Shan Cai

Dao Ming Si brought a blindfolded Shan Cai into his home.

Reaching around her, he finally took it off, wanting Shan Cai to see the surprise.

The room was filled with strawberries.

Shan Cai’s hand flew to her mouth; she didn’t know how to react.

“I wanted to tell you something,” he said, showing her his dimples.

“What?” she asked in a whisper. She was suddenly afraid.

Wherever she looked she only say strawberries. Cushions shaped like them, the walls covered with them, and the room was filled with strawberry-shaped balloons.

“I wanted to cover every surface with strawberries,” he finally admitted.

“Why?” she finally asked.

“I want to make sure that I would never forget my promise to you again. I wanted to make sure that I would never forget you again,” he said huskily.

“Ah Si, it wasn’t your fault,” Shan Cai pointed out gently. “It was fate testing us. It WASN’T your fault. You lost your memory, and became dependent on the person who saved you. You told me that you held on so tightly because she was your safety net. Without her you would’ve been all alone in a world of which you had no memory. I told you I understood.”

“But, you have to—you have to promise that you’ll always stay with me,” he finally said. “If I do lose my memory ever again, I want to depend on the person I love. No one else.”

Shan Cai’s eyes began to overflow with tears. She began to move towards him. His next statement stopped her dead in her tracks.

“My father came to see me at work today.”

Shan Cai looked at him fearfully. They had been together for a year, but everyday she lived with the fear that his family would split them apart once more.

They had been happy in that year.

Although he was no longer rich, her parents had accepted him anyways. They saw how happy he made her. Her father had even gotten him a job; that had, admittedly, been a shock at first.

But now it seemed that his family was creeping out of the shadows to snatch him away from her once more.

Shan Cai ran to Dao Ming Si, wrapping her arms around him. Her face was hidden in his shirt.

“What did he want?” she asked.

Dao Ming Si wrapped his arms around her.

“He wanted to tell me that my mom would no longer bother us.”

Shan Cai looked up incredulously.

“I know. It seems that he exploded when he found out about her machinations from a year ago. He doesn’t care about his family as much as he does about his business, so it took him a while to learn that I had rejected the Dao Ming name and left the house.”

Shan Cai’s eyes had grown wider and wider as she listened to Ah Si. She didn’t know what to think about his father’s interference.

“That means,” he said, looking down at her, “That in order to persuade me to come back into the fold, he will keep my mother on another continent. He wants his heir back.”

“Why?” Shan Cai asked in confusion.

“It seems that he is sick, and the news that there is no heir in the shadows to take over should something happen has caused the Dao Ming stock to plummet. Although we’re rich, even a little fluctuation like that bothers him. And if he doesn’t get better soon, a continuous decline would eventually force them to go bankrupt. He told me that I, as the heir, had a duty to all our employees to put aside my anger and return,” he finally ended in disgust.

“Why would your mother listen to him? She really hates me,” Shan Cai muttered.

“I know,” he leaned down to kiss her, “But she buckled under his threats. He threatened to strip her of the power she loves so much.”

“So, she will accept me because she wants to retain her control over the Dao Ming Empire?” Shan Cai finally asked.

“Yes,” Ah Si said, “I know you wanted her to accept you freely. But she’s not that kind of person. She doesn’t care about my happiness, she would only ever think of me as a tool to further her business interests. If she can think that about her own son, then what hope is there for . . . ”

Shan Cai sighed. As she stood there, listening to Ah Si’s heartbeat, her eyes wandered across the room.

He had planned this for her. When promising to give her strawberries all her life to pay for the one he had taken, he had also promised to keep her happy.

She saw the love that had gone into planning this surprise, and she didn’t want her disappointment to taint his efforts.

She knew that Dao Ming Feng would never accept her. A woman, who would allow her own son to starve himself, imprison him, and manipulate an amnesiac, would never bend enough to accept her.

But it seemed that Dao Ming Feng loved her power more than she loved her desire to keep Shan Cai away from the Dao Ming name.

Shan Cai looked up into Ah Si’s anxious eyes.

She leaned up to kiss him, and then smiled.

“It doesn’t matter. If you want to go back, I’ll be there to support you 100%. I don’t need her approval, I just need your love.”

Dao Ming Si breathed out a sigh of relief and leaned down to kiss her.

His lips feathered across hers. Once. Twice. Three times. His arms pulled her close.

Finally his tongue sought entry. Shan Cai complied.

As the kiss deepened, his hand moved up to cradle a breast.

“Dao Ming Si, pighead!” Shan Cai pulled back, “No funny business before marriage!”

She ran to the door. Reaching it, she turned around and stuck her tongue out at him, running away laughing.

“Ei, pighead Dao Ming Si, we missed the meteor shower,” he could hear her shout from outside.

Dao Ming Si’s face broke out into a full-fledged grin.

He had already decided what he was going to do.

It felt good to know that Shan Cai would always be by his side.

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