When I first met you
He remembered back to six months ago when he met her for the first time. It was mid-April, and the sky was as bright and beautiful as it could be after the rain. The grass was wet, but a refreshing vivid green and the air smells like spring.
He sat near the window inside a coffee shop that day, and the shop was closed by his office. His full name was Yang Tian-Xu. Yang was his surname, and his birth name—Tian-Xu.
As a direct descendant of the Yang Family, he knew his burden. Many remembered the ‘Generals of the Yang Family’ to be nothing but folklore. The Yang family’s histories were long forgotten by many, however, their descendants still remembered and worshipped their family’s history.
It took no effort for him to keep himself busy when he stared outside the window. The busy street kept him entertained as he sat across from Jin Qi-Long, who was both his friend and business partner.
Jin Qi-Long and Yang Tian-Xu were childhood friends with different personalities. Yang Tian-Xu was always the serious type, never mixing his personal and business matters together. His friend was more playful and liked to goof around, be it personal or business. Amazing how they remain as friends since they were five.
Today’s meeting was to discuss a new product that Jin Qi-Long’s company were supposed to release in August.
Yang Tian-Xu’s company was a family business, known as Yang Corps. They were a large corporation in the country, but their main office was in a city known as City Y. Legal offices, medical walk-in-clinics, hospitals, banks, and real estates were a small portion of their operations. But if the business they invested in could gain them wealth, Yang Corps would invest.
Despite not needing to provide for his family, Yang Tian-Xu was a workaholic. Wealthy, but he still had goals to have Yang Corps become even more prominent. He took over the marketing and advertising departments of Yang Corps.
They scheduled a meeting today, to discuss the auditions plans for the commercial. However, Jin Qi-Long’s only interest was women. He wanted the famous singer, Lee Yin-Yin to become the lead actress in the commercial for his new product.
Yang Tian-Xu just sat and listened while the guy rambled on about how beautiful this actress and singer was. Yang Tian-Xu had a suit on, and he looked dashing and handsome as every girl that walked by would sneak a glance at him.
A handsome young and successful businessman—he sat with his back straight, he had an aura around him that showed his confidence. He had everything anyone ever wanted: money, power, even women if he desired. He listened to Jin Qi-Long talk as he sat still. The discussion was about random things—where it wasn’t essential or business related. The topic did not interest him, and he stared outside the window, again.
Outside on the busy street, with plenty of people moving back and forth. He stared at a homeless man who sat there with his pet dog across the street. They both looked as if they had eaten nothing for days and were dirty. Yang Tian-Xu stared at them with pity in his eyes.
Life must suck for them, he thought. Then a girl—who looked like she was still in High School—walked by—dressed in a simple light-blue T-shirt and a pair of ripped up dark-blue jeans, her shoulder-long black hair dangling in the wind.
She didn’t just walk past them, she smiled and gave the homeless man a bag. Grateful for anything he could have, he nodded in appreciation as he opened to see it filled with food. He hurried to grab a bite, snatching a sandwich from the bag, munching it fast as he thanked her.
The girl gave him another bag. Pet food, it was the one with balanced nutrition for dogs. She then smiled at the dog as she bent down to pat its head. She got up and left with a sweet innocent smile on her face, she waved farewell to them both. Yang Tian-Xu did not notice, but his eyes followed her for a minute or two before he turned his attention back to Jin Qi-Long.
The guy continued his talk about how great this Singer was as if Yang Tian-Xu cared. Because they had been friends for a long time, Yang Tian-Xu let him continued talking nonsense. The two spent at least two to three hours at the cafe, but it was just the chattering voice of Jin Qi-Long as he rambled on about the super-hot girl: Lee Yin-Yin, who was also an actress and a model, however, Yang Tian-Xu nodded—not giving a care about anything else.
The time passed by slower than he wanted it to as he saw the time displayed 1:35 p.m. on his cellular phone. Yang Tian-Xu ended their meeting, “Hey, it’s getting late. I have to go back.”
Jin Qi-Long protested and complained, “Aw! But why? We can go out for a drink, it’s rare for us to hang out, you’ve been so busy.” He wanted his friend to stay with him, hang out, grab a bite to eat and talk about girls. But Yang Tian-Xu rejected his offer as he got up from his seat.
“Yeah, I have a lot of documents to look over and sign.” Going their separate ways, Yang Tian-Xu left the coffee shop.
A busy day in the area meant no parking space close by, so he parked at a park-aide up the street from the cafe. As he walked over, he passed by the homeless man and the dog. However, just like anybody else he passed by, he ignored them and only took a glance.
He climbed into his expensive looking car and left the park-aide. As he drove out, the road packed with ongoing traffic, he waited another three minutes before squeezing into the main street. During the three minutes he waited, he saw her again. This time she was helping an older lady as she pushed a cart of recycled bottles—trying to cross in front of him. The girl up close looked so petite, yet she acted as if she could push the whole cart herself, not allowing the old lady to help her.
Once they crossed over, the girl would smile and help the woman secure the cart before leaving. Watching her somehow made his heart skip a beat.
What the heck am I thinking? The corners of his lips curled up, and he surprised himself with his thoughts.
He drove out as soon as he got his chance, sometimes he would look at his rear-view mirror hoping to catch a glimpse of her. The drive back to his office building wasn’t long, he got off his car, and his assistant—Tseng Kuan-Yin went to the driver’s seat and drove the car off a parking spot for him in the underground parking lot.
The prized company name, Yang Corporation, also known as ‘Yang Corps’. The proud and majestic logo of Yang Corps hung outside of their headquarters. The two security greeted him, “Good afternoon, President Yang!” as they stood guard outside while Yang Tian-Xu entered the building. Inside the building, as he got in—the staff greeted him.
There were two other security guards on duty inside the building. The older looking man greeted him with a simple, “Good afternoon, Mr Yang.” The other guard looked younger, he was nervous as he bowed his head down and shouted, “Welcome back, President!”
He got inside, and the front receptionist greeted him with a bow, he walked his way to the elevator. An elevator-greeter lady was standing there to welcome him. Instead of asking him, “Which floor?” she decided he would go to the highest floor. A man with such superior status within his own family-operated company, his final destination must be at the top, she imagined.
With eight floors total, starting at the bottom at ground level, the lobby hosted the customer service counter in the building’s centre. It allowed the staff to greet the customers or clients as soon as they stepped foot inside.
At Yang Corps headquarters there was only a limited amount of office space available for rent, with a high rental price. However, Yang Corps had other locations and malls as well for small business owners to rent. Yang Corps was a huge company, and they had the lion’s share in Real Estate Development.
The first and second floors were a part of the shopping centre while the third floor was the food court and an extension of the shopping mall. The fourth and fifth floors were office spaces, (like lawyers’ or doctors’ offices, and so on). Marketing, Advertisement, and Human Resources were on floors six and seven.
Employees had access cards for their respective level, and Visitors must sign-in at the reception desk. The final floor belonged to Yang Corps and functioned as its Headquarters, it was inaccessible to the public, and only people of importance within Yang Corps had access to it—no exception.
The lift attendant instantly thought he would go up to the eighth floor. However, as she pushed the button, he immediately reached out his index finger to push the button for the seventh floor.
She quickly apologised. Yang Tian-Xu remembered a Chinese idiom his grandfather once used, so he told her, “It’s alright, it’s not like you’re a worm in my stomach, how could you know what I want?”
The girl was embarrassed as she blushed, she stood by his side through the entire trip up, it was a good thing the whole journey was 30 seconds long. However, she could feel the pressure of standing next to the only heir of the Yang Family. The elevator reached the seventh floor. Yang Tian-Xu got off, and she bowed her head to see him off. Yang Tian-Xu walked with complete confidence, as always.
It was 2:00 p.m., the office was busy, and the staff greeted Yang Tian-Xu as they saw him passing through. It didn’t take long for him to reach the office on his long legs. The sign on the office door display was ‘Manager Jiang Fei’. He was the manager in charge of this floor. However, with his sudden disappearance, it gave Yang Tian-Xu a colossal headache.
It could be possible for him to leave all work to Assistant Tseng, but he wouldn’t do that and neglect his duty as Yang Corps’ President. Yang Tian-Xu was an extreme workaholic, it’s never his nature to do something like that. Also, his assistant might end up hospitalised with all the amount of duties and responsibility—he would get stressed to death with all the other workload related to the different departments of the company.
Nothing was missing or stolen, and it wasn’t like Jiang Fei ran away, he was a trustworthy and well-organised employee of Yang Corps. The manager, Jiang Fei’s disappearance was a misfortune. Missing for two years on a plane along with 239 people on the flight, he disappeared without a trace. No one knew for sure what had happened, but everybody wanted answers.
Families and friends continued searching for the truth but found nothing. People wanted to know, hoping that their loved ones would return home safely. With those thoughts, they did not give up, missing them every day, hoping for a miracle. However, they had to carry on with their lives. Yang Tian-Xu needed to find a replacement, but for now, he couldn’t find anyone he could trust as much as he did with Manager Jiang.
When he got inside the office, he pulled out the chair and sat down at the desk. He didn’t immediately work on the computer. He sat there and closed his eyes as he felt all the anxiety from the piles of documents on the table. Suddenly, the images of the girl appeared in his mind.
He found himself thinking again, If it was me… Would I have been so kind?
A corner of his lip curled up again. Then he shook his head as he said. “Why did I think of her!?”
Time quickly passed by before he realised it was already late. The staff went home, one by one, while he remained in his chair, lost in his thoughts. A knock on the door and his assistant—Tseng Kuan-Yin’s head popped in. “Hey boss, if there’s nothing else, I’ll leave for the day, okay?”
“Sure thing.” He said, Yang Tian-Xu was a man of few words, but he was competent in his line of work. He had a lot of work as the president of a significant enterprise company.
Although his assistant helped out a lot, he did most of the work; Yang Tian-Xu needed to read over the documents—sign them. Once he could find a proper replacement for Manager Jiang, his workload would lessen, but for now, he had to monitor the projects on the seventh floor.
The plane disappearance was massive news in the country, but people’s lives must go on; with work seemingly endless, Yang Tian-Xu needed a break for a minute. He thought about how it could have been, if he were on that flight instead of Manager Jiang Fei, he would have been the missing one.
“Life is too short.” He thought—as her smile reappeared in his mind.
By the time he realised how late it was, he took his laptop and a USB drive and placed them in his suitcase as Yang Tian-Xu left his office, the entire floor was already empty as he walked out.
The current time was 5:32 p.m. as he walked into his car in the underground parking lot. He got in and started the engine, and drove out to the gate, he paused for a minute to remember the girl from this afternoon. He thought about how bright her smile was as she helped the elder-lady push the cart, and how sweet her smile was as she patted the dog’s head.
He shook his head, bothered by his thoughts as he said, “What the heck am I thinking about?!” Feeling a little frustrated with himself, he lifted both his hands up to ruffle his hair. Then he closed his eyes for a minute. He calmed down and continued to drive home.
An expensive car, with a costly mansion at the top of a hill with the most beautiful scenery of the city, he looked as if he was born of a wealthy family—which he was. Yang Tian-Xu, the only heir of the Yang Family household with a heavy burned on his shoulders.
The Yang Family dates back during the Song Dynasty period. Their family had become the most potent family again since Ancient China. Carrying the family’s name had more pressure—ten times heavier on his shoulders compared to his work.
Among these powerful families—three of them had power and status equal to the Yang Family. These families were the Tong, Pan, and Cheung. Since the Song Dynasty, the Pan and Yang families were like enemies. Although it had been thousands of years ago; they still remained as enemies. A thousand-year-old grudge could not be resolved with ease; enemies remained as enemies no matter how long time passed.
When comparing the Cheung Family and the Song Dynasty’s emperor would be a little far-fetched comparison. However, as the mayor of City Y, their influence in political matters within the city would be like a king. City Y’s current mayor was Cheung Wai-Ma, who was the head of the Cheung Family, he was also Yang Tian-Xu’s grandfather.
The Pan and Yang families were both semi-related now through the Cheung Family. Mayor Cheung’s first daughter, Cheung Yun-Er married Pan Rong; who was head of the Pan Family, and Yang Tian-Xu’s father, the eldest son—Yang Fei-Hung married Cheung Lan-Er, who was the second daughter of Mayor Cheung. Cheung Lan-Er gave birth to Yang Tian-Xu, which made Pan Rong—Yang Tian-Xu’s uncle by marriage. Although considered as families, the Pan and Yang Family still harboured secret hate between each other.
Yang Tian-Xu was the mayor’s grandson, and the relationship gave the Yang Family a significant boost in power. The Pan Family had the same amount of power and wealth as the Yang Family. However, unlike Cheung Lan-Er—her sister—Cheung Yun-Er was in fact childless; even though she was the eldest daughter of Mayor Cheung.
Mayor Cheung and his second wife had a son, twelve years older than Yang Tian-Xu, named Cheung Yun-Bo. Yang Tian-Xu was still the mayor’s only grandson. Cheung Yun-Bo was someone unmarried for the moment and had no intention of getting married any time soon.
Cheung Lan-Er worried about her son, what if he wishes to stay unmarried like his uncle? She wanted her Tian-Xu to marry someone she could be proud to have as a daughter-in-law. Someone like Tong Yue-Yan—who belonged to another powerful and wealthy household that could match the Yang Family.
The Tong Family had more power in City A than they did in City Y; however, they were still thriving in City Y as one of the four largest family-operated businesses in City Y. And their family head was currently the Mayor of City A—the second largest City in the Country. If Yang Tian-Xu married Tong Yue-Yan, it would be like a cherry on top of a cake. It would be just too perfect.
Yang Tian-Xu opened the front door and was greeted by his mother as he entered. Cheung Lan-Er had Tong Yue-Yan with her as a house guest. Both his parent and Tong Yue-Yan sat together in the living room chit-chatting while having tea and biscuits that Tong Yue-Yan had brought with her as gifts from City A.
“Tian-Xu, my son. You sure are home late today.” She gave him a disapproving look for being so late, “Did something happen at the company?”
“Mother, it’s only 6:00 p.m., it is still pretty early. I have a few urgent contracts I need to go over before returning home.” He said, as he hugged his mother, she would give him a peck on the cheek, as he was her one and only child.
Even though he was a little later than he should have been, but that was because Yang Tian-Xu had been busy with the thoughts of the girl he had met today. And he had kept dozing off at every red light—consistently being honked at. However, that reason, he would keep to himself.