The town of Werden was a scene of enchanting tranquil beauty in the afternoon. Residents of the town who’d heard the news that Josef was back brought flowers and gifts. Xia Lei and Annina helped to greet and take care of the guests and they did not stay long. They expressed their sympathy and left soon after.
Annina, who was helping Josef sort through and order his things, also said, “Let’s go, Lukas, Josef needs a quiet environment to rest.”
Xia Lei was not very willing to leave; he was hoping that Josef would occupy Annina and he would then have a chance to steal the information he wanted. However, he could not find any excuse to stay when Annina talked about leaving so he replied, “Sure, let’s go.”
“It’s okay, you guys can stay.” Josef did not want Annina to leave - he wanted Xia Lei to leave.
“You need to rest, Josef. Give me a call if you need anything. We live close to each other so I only need a few minutes to come over,” said Annina.
“Okay. Come over for dinner tonight,” said Josef.
“We’ll see how it goes,” said Annina.
“Yeah, Annina, let’s accompany Josef tonight. He’ll be lonely on his own,” said Xia Lei.
Annina rolled her eyes at him and thought to herself ‘You idiot. You know that he’s interested in me and you still want me to spend time with him! I rejected him because of you.’
Josef quickly said, “It’s settled then. See you tonight.”
Annina brought Xia Lei out the door with her and to her house. After they walked into the woods, Annina spoke, “What’s the meaning of this, Lukas?”
Xia Lei pretended to not know what she was talking about. “Meaning of what?”
“You’re deliberately creating an opportunity for him and me to be together! Are you trying to pair us up?” said Annina angrily.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Am I such a person? I really think that he’s in poor health since he’s just been discharged. It’s also good if we accompany him. I have no other intention.”
He was not creating an opportunity for Josef and Annina to be together but creating an opportunity for himself to steal information. He’d never tell Annina that, though.
“It it true?” Annina looked disbelieving.
“Need me to swear?” said Xia Lei.
Annina suddenly reached with her hand to hold Xia Lei’s lips. “There is no need to swear. The Lord will hear you. Don’t swear unnecessarily.”
She was a Catholic and was not particularly religious but she was sensitive about things like swearing. She was, in other words, a little superstitious.
“Let’s go to your place. We’ll come back later,” said Xia Lei.
Annina probed as she walked. “Lukas, won’t your wife mind if you don’t go home?”
“She…” Xia Lei braced himself. “She’s an honest person. She’s never asked me about my work nor asked me where I’ve been.”
“She trusts you. You must be very trustworthy.” Annina sounded sour.
“Nature calls. I’m going to take care of it, so why don’t you go ahead? I’ll catch up with you later,” said Xia Lei suddenly.
“Yeah, okay.” Annina smiled and went ahead on her own.
Xia Lei walked off the little path and went towards Josef’s house. He stopped about ten metres away in sight of Josef’s house. He kept his gaze fixed on the house. He wanted to be sure of one thing - would Josef hurry to install the completed CNC on his machine at this time?
Rustling suddenly came from behind him.
This was not the rustle of leaves being blown by the wind but of feet shuffling through fallen leaves. Xia Lei’s first reaction to hearing the rustling was to look back and see who it was but remembered something. He was chatting with Annina just seconds ago so who else could it be other than Annina?
What did Annina turn back for?
The question flashed in Xia Lei’s mind and he found his answer in a few seconds. He smiled wryly, then braced himself as he pulled his zipper down…
She wanted to have a look at him, huh? Well then, he should sacrifice at least this much for the mission!
A strong stream of liquid arched through the air and hit the ground three metres away at its furthest from Xia Lei.
Annina, who had circled around to the side of Xia Lei, covered her mouth, stunned.
Xia Lei pretended not to know that she was there. He stared straight at Josef’s house. He was thirty to forty metres away from Josef’s house and this distance was no obstacle to him using his X-ray vision. His left eye twitched and the situation in the house was laid bare to him.
Josef was in the study typing at his desk, looking focused and excited.
‘He’s already preparing the CNC program’ Xia Lei quietly made a judgement, then shook twice and put his little soldier back into the barracks.
Annina ran towards her home on light feet and her long legs went as fast as the wind.
“Pervert,” muttered Xia Lei. He didn’t feel like he’d been taken advantage of and wasn’t disgusted either but felt like it was natural. Compared to the harassment he had endured the past month, being seen for a short time was nothing to be worried about.
Annina did not run off very far; she stood in front waiting for Xia Lei.
When Xia Lei walked over, he saw that her cheeks were pink and she looked nervous. He knew very well why and opened his mouth to talk about something different. “Annina, why doesn’t Josef invite you to see his intelligent lathe? Aren’t you curious about it at all as a senior mechanic?”
“He’s a cautious person and doesn’t trust people easily. I’ve only heard him talk about it but never seen the actual thing,” said Annina.
Josef was indeed that sort of person. He had four very close friends but he had cut off contact with them after the gun attack. Hans had not wanted the gang members to hurt Josef at all and it was all a mistake. This showed that Josef was very guarded and would not easily trust anyone, not even Annina.
Xia Lei laughed. “I’ll have no chance at all then if even you have not seen it.”
“You want to see his intelligent lathe?” Annina looked at Xia Lei.
“I’m just curious. It’ll be nice if I can see it but it won’t bother me if I don’t either. A mechanic like myself can only use the normal lathes anyway. I’m no match for a senior mechanic like you. I’m satisfied with my lot in life,” said Xia Lei.
“Don’t put yourself down like that,” said Annina, “I know what you’re capable of because I’ve worked with you. Don’t worry, I’ll recommend you to the company’s higher-ups for a promotion and salary increase when I get the chance.”
“Thanks, but there’s no need.” Xia Lei spoke politely but in his head, he thought, ‘I’m a chairman. What do I need Krupp MaK Maschinenbau to give me a promotion for? That day will never come.’
Thinking of his imminent departure, Xia Lei could not help glancing at Annina. He felt a twinge of loss for some reason.
Annina stared straight at Xia Lei. “Why don’t you need it?”
Xia Lei gave a small laugh. “If the company promotes me I’ll be moved to another position. I like working with you. I don’t mind earning less.”
Annina beamed and gave Xia Lei a tight hug, then kissed him on the cheek. “You’re such a good man. I won’t recommend you, then.”
“What are we going to do with a whole afternoon ahead of us?” said Xia Lei.
Annina looked at Xia Lei all smiles and said teasingly, “You can do whatever you want.”
Xia Lei couldn’t meet her eyes nor respond to her thinly veiled hints. “How about I make you a waterwheel?”
“A waterwheel?” said Annina in surprise, “What for?”
Xia Lei smiled. “I see a river right on your doorstep. A waterwheel will make your place look much nicer.”
He was going to leave Germany soon and would probably not be able to say his goodbyes so he wanted to leave her something as a souvenir.
“Sure, let’s make a waterwheel.” Annina obviously didn’t look too pleased about it but Xia Lei seemed quite insistent so she went along with it.
A waterwheel as tall as a person stood on the banks of the river after an afternoon’s work. The clear river water ran through the waterwheel, turning it and the waterwheel scooped up river water and and poured it out again. Annina’s house was the picture of elegance.
Annina put the tools away and smiled happily as she looked at the waterwheel.
“Let’s go. We should be heading to Josef’s place now,” said Xia Lei.
“No, wait,” said Annina.
“What else do you want to do?” asked Xia Lei.
“Let’s take a picture in front of the waterwheel. I’ll go get my camera.” Annina ran into her home to get her camera without waiting for Xia Lei’s response.
Xia Lei stood before the waterwheel and waited for two minutes for Annina to bring out a SLR camera and stand. She fixed the SLR on the stand, then set it to automatic camera mode and went happily to Xia Lei’s side to hold him intimately by the waist.
The SLR clicked continuously as it took pictures.
Annina changed her pose several times; holding him by the waist, making silly faces, and a fighting pose where she pretended to be punching Xia Lei. Xia Lei posed normally at first and just smiled but he was soon infected by Annina and relaxed, making silly poses to match her.
He was going to leave Germany so leaving the woman who liked him some good memories of himself was nothing bad, was it?
The camera took tens of pictures in one go and finally stopped.
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring…
Annina’s phone suddenly rang.
“That must be Josef. We should go over,” said Xia Lei.
Annina took her phone out and glanced at it with a frown. “It really is him. He sure knows how to pick the time, huh.” She leaned in close to Xia Lei’s ear and said, “Don’t go home tonight. Cheat on your wife with me.”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter