“Have I really lost weight?” Xia Lei had never once felt that way. On the contrary, his weight had been pretty constant for a while now. There was no way he would’ve thinned.
Shentu Tianyin chuckled lowly. “I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t seen you in a very long time. You look thinner than you were in the past. Have you been overworking? Or could it be because of your wives?”
Xia Lei couldn’t come up with a response.
Under normal circumstances, it would be impossible for a man to handle five women. Not only was Xia Lei able to satiate their sexual appetite, but he also had the energy to spare. Despite that, for Shentu Tianyin to say those things bore another flavour. She wasn’t the kind to joke around or talk dirty. It seemed that she was comfortable enough around Xia Lei to joke and speak freely.
After all, they were once in love. There was a time where they knew each other like the back of their hand. Even sitting together in silence made it easy to find hints of the warmth and intimacy they shared before.
“Uh... Sorry, I shouldn’t run my mouth like that. I’m not your wife anymore and you have the freedom to not answer me,” said Shentu Tianyin.
Wasn’t this just another way of getting his answer? Xia Lei forced a smile. “I’ve been spending time recently with a lot of activities. I clock-in to work every morning and tend to my children at night.”
There was a beat of silence. Shentu Tianyin asked, “Are you happy now?”
Xia Lei nodded firmly. “I’m very happy with life. My wives and children are great and I really appreciate everything I own now. How about you? Have you been doing alright lately?”
Shentu Tianyin returned a bitter smile. “Do you think I’ve been doing alright? I… I just can’t forgive myself and you’ve… Honestly, it’s too late to say anything now.”
She had divorced him and Xia Lei was already a husband to five women. He even had four children now. There was no return to what they were before. It was impossible for them to revert to their shared life.
The atmosphere in the office was suffocatingly awkward.
“Haha.” Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Shall we talk about something else? I see that Vientiane Group has been doing well on the American share market. You’ve managed to raise the entry to twelve American dollars. With the one billion dollar worth of Vientiane shares in my hand, I’ve been able to gather a fortune with you.”
Shentu Tianyin stared at him hard. “How long are you planning to keep up with this lie?”
Xia Lei was slightly stunned. “Huh?”
“I know you were the one who helped Vientiane Group through tough times. It was all thanks to your help that Vientiane shares were able to see a rise in the American share market, no?”
“Ah, so you mean that.” Xia Lei chuckled. “Since I was going to profit, I might as well help you out rather than helping someone else. After all, we’re friends aren’t we?”
“Just friends?” A slight sadness glimmered in her eyes.
Xia Lei could decipher her subtleties but he didn’t know what to say.
“Why are you so kind to me? I’ve betrayed you and yet you offered me a choice under that situation. But between you and the Vientiane Group, I’ve chosen the latter. You should despise me. Why are you still so nice to me?”
Xia Lei’s lips were pulled into a taut smile. “I could understand where you were coming from. In that situation, the country wouldn’t have done much to me. If they decided to punish you, you would’ve been slapped with a death sentence or life imprisonment due to the sheer amount of money involved. I gave you the choice and you chose the Vientiane Group because it was the blood, sweat and tears of you and your father. Vientiane Group is an important part of your lives…”
Shentu Tianyin interjected sharply, “You still think of me, don’t you?”
Was that true? Did his heart still have a spot for Shentu Tianyin?
Was Xia Lei still in love with her?
He had never once indulged in those thoughts. Now that he was faced with the question, he really had no answer to offer. After the divorce, he had fooled around and gathered a mountain of gorgeous wives and created many children. Xia Lei even had a long-term affair with Tsukino Kyoko. His sex life was exceptionally well-rounded. But what about Shentu Tianyin? She had abstained from any form of intimacy without a single dating scandal, let alone a real boyfriend. With her beauty and status, it was natural for her to gather a crowd of admirers.
In another sense, the divorce was a kind of relief to Xia Lei; he had managed to obtain true happiness. On the other hand, it had only brought solitude, pain and hollowness to Shentu Tiayin.
“There’s no one else here, your wives are not present either. Can’t you just tell me your answer? It really is important to me,” said Shentu Tianyin.
Xia Lei sighed. “Tianyin, what will you gain from this? What would the answers do for you? You should…”
“You should move on. Forget about me and seek out a man that can love you then spend the rest of your lives in bliss. You deserve happiness and you shouldn’t continue to dwell on the past,” answered Xia Lei. Inexplicably, expressing those thoughts pricked his heart a little.
It was rather upsetting for a man to see someone he had loved before to be together with another man. However, Xia Lei was willing to let her go. He had moved on. It just wasn’t fair for him to take up a spot in her heart and body. Everyone deserves to be loved. It was utterly selfish to do that to her.
“Sure. But you should help introduce one to me,” said Shentu Tianyin.
“Introduce one to you?” Xia Lei didn’t know if he should cry or laugh. “I…”
Shentu Tianyin interjected him once again, “But I have a condition. I want someone like you.”
“Like me?” Xia Lei wasn’t sure what that meant.
“Yes, a copy of you.” Shentu Tianyin elaborated, “Same height, same weight, same face, same eyes. You know I’ve always been fascinated by your eyes. Oh, yeah. He needs to have the same capabilities as you.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“I’m Shentu Tianyin. If I need a man, I only want the best the world has to offer. My ex-husband is a national hero and if I were to re-marry, would I settle for a peasant?” Shentu Tianyin’s gaze was burning.
It was from the heat in her eyes that Xia Lei could tell that she had never once forgotten about him. She was still madly infatuated with him. He could even understand her abnormally high standards. She was Shentu Tianyin, the queen of the Vientiane Group. She had all the rights to be the most arrogant woman on the globe. The only man that could dominate her was right in front of her.
However, it was impossible for them to get back together after missed chances.
“Uh…” Xia Lei offered a sheepish smile. “I think we should drop the topic. Don’t you want to meet my children? Let me bring you over.”
The melancholy clouding Shentu Tianyin’s eyes grew thicker.
Just as Xia Lei stood, Qin Xiang abruptly appeared at his door with a pinched expression. “Old Xia! Bad news!”
Qin Xiang was probably the only person in the whole Thunder Horse Organization that dared to call Xia Lei ‘Old Xia’ or ‘Babe’.
Xia Lei snapped his attention over. “What’s wrong?”
“Your wives are here!” Qin Xiang turned around and spared his back a glance. “They’ve arrived at the stairway! I’m gonna run! I’m already in danger for warning you! You better remember to buy me a meal next time!”
Before Xia Lei could say anything, Qin Xiang had fled towards the stairway on the other end of the corridor. Just as he was gone, multiple heel clackings along with the rolling of wheels were heard coming towards the office.
The sudden appearance of his wives instilled some fear in Xia Lei despite being innocent.
Shentu Tianyin was calm. After Qin Xiang’s abrupt interruption, she shifted into a different demeanour. She turned from into her typical ice queen self from a soft feminine woman. Unhurriedly, she brought out an envelope from her handbag. “Director Xia, let’s talk about business.”
“Huh?” Xia Lei was surprised.
The four women entered the office, each of them pushing a baby stroller in. In every carrier sat an adorable baby.
Liang Siyao was the first to speak, “What a coincidence to see you here, Miss Shentu.”
Shentu Tianyin nodded slightly and greeted, “Long time no see, Siyao. It’s nice to see you again.” Then, she extended her pleasantries to Fan Fan, Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi.
Xia Lei smiled. “What brings you here, my loves?”
Fan Fan answered, “Your precious daughter has been asking to see her papa so I brought her here. Your daughter seems to be closest to you.”
Just as Fan Fan’s voice fell, Xia Fan responded, “No want papa. He has no milk.”
Xia Lei went rigid.
Shentu Tianyin was surprised. “She can already speak and think clearly?”
Fan Fan replied, “Well, it’s all thanks to her father’s genes. She’s really smart.”
Honestly, the babies were beyond smart. That, Fan Fan was aware.
Shentu Tianyin studied all four of the children with a weird expression. She had once desired a child with Xia Lei but that wish was never realized. Seeing that Xia Lei had birthed intelligent children with his current wives really made it hard to not think about her regrets.
“Miss Shentu, what brings you here today?” asked Liang Siyao.
That jerked Shentu Tianyin back to reality. She answered, “Well, you see, the Vientiane Group has a mining spot in Nigeria. They used to mine barite from it but the output was small, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Recently, our geologists had found a very special metal from within. It’s probably a rare metal.”
“Rare metal?” Xia Lei was shocked, not because that a rare material was found in the Nigerian mine but that Shentu Tianyin actually came here with an official motive.
Shentu Tianyin went on, “Yes, a rare metal. It’s something that has never existed. Our experts had yet to name it. While we’re unsure about much of its properties, there’s one thing we’re sure of…” She paused. “Our experts say that the rare metal is capable of absorbing electromagnetic waves.”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. “Do you have a sample of the rare metal? I’ll like to take a look.”
“Yes, but it’s in my office,” said Shentu Tianyin.
“I’ll…” Just as Xia Lei wanted to express his desire to follow her back, he quickly swallowed those words as soon as he noticed the stare of his wives.
“You should report this to the country.” Fan Fan explained, “It’s a big issue and requires confidentiality. It’s best not to let the Nigerian government know about this too soon.”
Shentu Tianyin replied, “I’ll be reporting this to the government soon but that area has been plagued by war at the moment. I won’t be able to start mining the rare metal yet. However, there is something I must say. I have been visited by four Americans yesterday that claim to be part of some international mining company. They expressed their wishes to purchase the mine from me.”
Inexplicably, Xia Lei was abruptly reminded of a recent intel. A couple of dangerous figures had entered through their borders from America. He was initially unbothered by it but now that Shentu Tiayin said that four Americans had visited her with intentions to buy over Vientiane’s mine in Nigeria, Xia Lei couldn’t help but piece the two together.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
have a nice day!