Our Child Would be in Preschool Now
It was not viable for a manufacturing company to depend on processing parts for other companies and not do its own research and development of its own products. In this competitive industry, relying on China Industrial Group could temporarily solve the issue of company survival but there was no hope of expanding beyond that. If a day came where China Industrial Group did not need Xia Lei any more, then Thunder Horse Manufacturing would be finished. Xia Lei knew this very well and he also wanted his own product and his own stake in the market but these were difficult things to accomplish. Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao brainstormed till they felt like they had run out of brain juice and still came up with nothing at the end of the workday.
“Come to my place. My dad wants to eat the dishes you make,” Liang Si-Yao said to Xia Lei after work, “And you’ve improved quite a bit recently. I’d like to swap pointers with you.”
“Sure, I live by myself anyway so nobody cares if I don’t go home,” said Xia Lei.
“You really should get yourself a woman to manage your life.”
“Heh, I’ve never thought of that,” said Xia Lei. Shentu Tian-Yin appeared in his head again, and he didn’t know why.
“Let’s go. I’ll drive.” Liang Si-Yao stretched her hand out, “Give me the car keys.”
Xia Lei handed the car keys over to her and said, “I’ll buy you a car when we make money.”
Liang Si-Yao paused, “Why buy a car for me?”
“Do I need a reason to buy you a car?” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao blushed and she smiled warmly, “I won’t stand on ceremony. I’ll accept the car if you buy me one.”
The pair chatted and joked as they went downstairs and towards the car park.
The workshop employees were also done for the day and walked towards the canteen in twos and threes. They were all quite young and boisterous boys and girls and their laughter could be heard from a distance.
Liang Si-Yao suddenly remembered something, “That’s right, our workers were recruited from schools and are all youths. I think we should talk to them… about safety. It won’t be good if we get problems.”
“Didn’t we already talk to them? I’ve tasked the Workshop Directors Zhou Xiao-Hong, Yang Ben-Cai and Liu Xue-Bin to talk to them and make sure they adhere to safety guidelines. The workers must be punished if they don’t follow workplace safety rules.”
Liang Si-Yao smacked Xia Lei, her expression odd, “I don’t mean that sort of safety problem.”
Xia Lei was surprised, “Then what safety problem do we have?”
Liang Si-Yao rolled her eyes, “You dummy. I’m talking about… about safety between men and women.”
Xia Lei didn’t know what to feel about that.
Liang Si-Yao continued, “Think about it. Our workers are all so young and were recruited from technical schools and universities. They’re working together, living together in the dormitories… That sort of thing will happen, won’t it? Workplace romances and that sort of lifestyle does not matter but if they forget about being safe, it won’t be good for them to get pregnant. They haven’t prepared for becoming parents.”
Xia Lei laughed awkwardly, “It’s really complicated, huh? I’ve never thought about that. Uh, this matter…”
Liang Si-Yao cut him short before Xia Lei could say it, “Don’t ask me. You be in charge of it.”
Xia Lei said sheepishly, “I, I have no experience at all.”
“Huh? You…” Liang Si-Yao grew curious and the smile on her lips turned thoughtful, “You’re not still… that, are you?”
“Ahem.” Xia Lei avoided Liang Si-Yao’s eyes, “So you be in charge.”
Liang Si-Yao’s cheeks turned red again, “I, I don’t have any experience either.”
The two of them looked at each other and the atmosphere between them got very awkward very quickly.
How can two completely inexperienced people give a safety class to a group of youths in their springtime?
“It’s probably best to put Chen A-Jiao in charge of it. She’s got thick skin and dares to say anything. She’s also Deputy Workshop Director so it’s no problem.” Xia Lei quickly found a solution.
Liang Si-Yao looked relieved, “Then I’ll talk to her about this matter tomorrow. Let’s go home.”
‘Let’s go home’ - this line made the already awkward atmosphere more unspeakably muddled.
Before Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao could get into the car, however, a BMW came through the main entrance and stopped in front of them in the blink of an eye. The door opened and Chi Jing-Qiu stepped out, dressed in office lady attire. She was holding a golden invitation in her hand.
“Oh my, Chairman Xia, why haven’t you sent your greetings upon starting your new business? How callous of you. Have you forgotten your partner? Oh, and aren’t you going to introduce your beautiful secretary to me?” Chi Jing-Qiu had a smile on her face but as she spoke, she looked at Liang Si-Yao, who was standing next to Xia Lei.
Pretty women couldn’t bear to see prettier women.
Chi Jing-Qiu had intended to charm Xia Lei but discovered that Liang Si-Yao’s face had a pure sort of beauty on top of her perfect 1 to 9 body proportion. Her long legs which extended from her skirt were two thirds of her whole body and if put on the current judging scale of beautiful legs, Liang Si-Yao’s legs would unquestionably be the most beautiful. This woman was sexier and more beautiful than her - what did she have to charm Xia Lei with?
“Sorry, this is not my secretary. She is my senior disciple,” said Xia Lei casually.
“Liang Si-Yao.” She held her hand out to Chi Jing-Qiu and gave her a polite smile, “And you are?”
“Chi Jing-Qiu.” She shook hands with Liang Si-Yao and also put a smile on her face, “I’m the secretary for East Wind Heavy Industries’ Director Ning. Nice to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine.” Liang Si-Yao retracted her hand.
“Spit it out, Chi Jing-Qiu. What do you want?” said Xia Lei.
“Can’t I come just because I wanted to?” Chi Jing-Qiu giggled and said in Liang Si-Yao’s ear, “Miss Liang, you probably didn’t know but Xia Lei and I were high school classmates. He likes me and he even wrote a love letter to me.”
Liang Si-Yao was flabbergasted and gave Xia Lei a look.
Xia Lei shrugged helplessly. He had no words.
“Okay, okay, I made a special trip down here to hand this invitation to you, Chairman Xia.” Chi Jing-Qiu handed the golden invitation in her hand to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei opened the invitation and read the contents. He had been invited to attend an East Wind Heavy Industries dinner party and the it was Ning Yuan-Shan inviting him. After reading the invitation, he said, “Why is East Wind Heavy Industries holding a dinner party?”
“You don’t know? East Wind Heavy Industries has signed the contract for the wind power plant with Vientiane Group. Director Ning has invited celebrities as well as political and business leaders to the dinner party,” said Chi Jing-Qiu.
“I’m not any sort of celebrity. Me going would be inappropriate, wouldn’t it? Tell Director Ning that I thank him for his invitation but I shall not attend,” said Xia Lei.
Chi Jing-Qiu was astonished, “What’s wrong with you? Others can only dream of a chance like this and yet you don’t treasure it. Getting to know any of the businessmen at one of this parties will reap very real benefits. Plus, Director Ning made me personally hand this invitation to you. Who else has this honour? Would you be able to repay his sincerity if you don’t go?”
Xia Lei hesitated. He had his reasons for not wanting to go because he had essentially stolen the China Industrial Group contract from East Wind Heavy Industries. Wouldn’t it be awkward to face Ning Yuan-Shan because the contract had gone to his Thunder Horse Manufacturing?
“Go for it,” said Liang Si-Yao, “This is indeed a good opportunity. Who knows, our clients may be among those party guests.”
“Okay, then you’re going with me,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao shook her head, “I won’t be going. I wasn’t invited. Go with Miss Chi.”
Xia Lei nodded, “Okay, please let Master know. I’ll cook for him next time.”
Liang Si-Yao stepped in close to Xia Lei, “Your tie’s crooked. I’ll help you fix it.” So saying, she reached out to correct his tie.
She behaved naturally and her movements were gentle but Xia Lei was a little self-conscious.
Liang Si-Yao helped him straighten his tie quickly and said, “Go on. I’ll drive home.”
“Drive safely,” nagged Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao got in and drove Xia Lei’s Great Wall H6 to the main entrance.
“How loving.” Chi Jing-Qiu said coyly, “I didn’t expect you to set up a company so quickly. You’re quick at getting a woman too. How long have you two been together?”
“Don’t talk rubbish. She’s my senior disciple. My Master, Liang Zheng-Chun, is the descendant of Yan Yong-Chun.”
Chi Jing-Qiu smiled, “I don’t know about kung fu or whatever, but a woman straightening a tie for you… Don’t you know what that means?”
“You’re overthinking it,” said Xia Lei.
“Hee hee, no wonder you can’t get a girlfriend. You don’t understand a woman’s heart, otherwise you would have had my heart and our child would be in preschool now,” said Chi Jing-Qiu.
Xia Lei was speechless.
The car park was already full of luxury cars at Vientiane Group, including cars which cost tens of millions like Shentu Tian-Ying’s Rolls-Royce Phantom.
‘She’s here too?’ thought Xia Lei when he saw Shentu Tian-Yin’s vehicle. He then chided himself internally, ‘East Wind Heavy Industries signed the wind power plant contract with Vientiane Group so how can she not attend a dinner party like this as the president of Vientiane Group?’
Chi Jing-Qiu locked the car doors, “Please come with me, Chairman Xia.”
Xia Lei felt flattered at being called ‘Chairman Xia’ by her. Thunder Horse Manufacturing was a little company riding on the coat-tails of China Industrial Group and it had no products of its own, let alone a name in the manufacturing industry. He probably was the shabbiest chairman of all the chairmans attending the dinner party, wasn’t he?
“Penny for your thoughts?”
“Nothing. Let’s go.” Xia Lei put his thoughts away.
Chi Jing-Qiu led Xia Lei in the direction of the great hall, talking as they walked, “Classmate Xia, I won’t beat around the bush. Are you still interested in working with me?”
“You have purchase orders?”
“Of course.” Chi Jing-Qiu looked left, then right and lowered her voice, “And it’s a big order. I don’t know if you can handle this one.”
“I’ll have to see what sort of order it is first,” said Xia Lei.
“We’ll talk about that later,” said Chi Jing-Qiu, “I’ll take 8% if this goes through. What do you think?”
Xia Lei laughed, “You’re talking about commission rates when I don’t even know what the client wants yet?”
“This is my way of doing things. You just have to tell me where you stand”
“5%,” said Xia Lei, “And you have to guarantee that you didn’t hide the client’s prices.”
“Heh heh heh…” Chi Jing-Qiu suddenly pulled Xia Lei by the arm, “Deal.”
Xia Lei felt like his arm was being squeezed by something like jelly and the sensation made him a little nervous. He wanted to extraciate his hand but went along with Chi Jing-Qiu’s action in the end. He had to sacrifice something for the sake of business, hadn’t he?
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