Xia Lei busied himself with work till ten in the evening and it was long dark when he left the company. Liang Si-Yao came by in the afternoon after work asking him to go back with her but he’d rejected her because of work. This was also reasonable - he couldn’t keep going to his Master’s place when he had his own place to go home to.
He drove alone on the highway with only the lights of the buildings and neon lighting before him. Xia Lei was also alight with thoughts which he could not quiet.
‘I’ve only completed about 3% of the machine after a long day of work. I’ll need over a month of time to be able to finish up the whole machine and I’ll have an intelligent lathe then…’
Being able to complete an intelligent lathe in a months’ time was a feat that no machinist could do alone. However, Xia Lei was different. He could process high-precision parts with normal lathes using the power of his eye and remember all the drawings and circuits at a thought. He may be one person but his output was definitely not lower than that of a professional team!
China Industrial Group had all the needed drawings and software programs so it was definitely building the intelligent lathe Josef had designed, and definitely had an elite team working on it. They may not progress more quickly than Xia Lei, however.
‘I thought China Industrial Group would come looking for me after I returned from Germany. Maybe not a personal visit from Mu Jian-Feng but at least a visit from a department head like Zhou Wei or Jiang Xin. Nobody turned up, though. Not even a phone call. What’s the meaning of this?
Mu Jian-Feng placed a large normal purchase order the last time and a month has passed since then. The order has been completed five days ago but there hasn’t been any more new normal purchase orders from China Industrial Group. Are they cutting ties? Or are they not even giving my small company a second glance? Is working with Thunder Horse Manufacturing an embarrassment to them? Have they ceased all contact now that they feel they won’t need me anymore?’
These thoughts circled about in his head and the feeling of being abandoned made him uncomfortable.
He came back to his neighbourhood before he knew it and he parked, then alighted from his vehicle.
“Oh my, isn’t this Lei?” A sweet female voice suddenly said.
Xia Lei glanced over and saw Jiang Ru-Yi on her balcony. He walked over and smiled as he said, “What are you doing up so late and not sleeping?”
“I bought a selfie stick. I’m taking pictures.” Jiang Ru-Yi waved the stick in her hand and looked rather proud of herself.
“Playing at selfies so late at night? Aren’t you worried that the pictures you take will scare people?”
“Damn you. I’m gorgeous. I look good at every angle.” Jiang Ru-Yi rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “You, on the other hand, didn’t you get betrothed to the Liang household? Got kicked out after an argument with the wifey?”
Xia Lei’s smile froze on his face. The times he’d won in over twenty years of arguing with Jiang Ru-Yi could be counted on the fingers of his hands. This evildoer was his nemesis in life.
Jiang Ru-Yi’s gaze fell on the shopping bag Xia Lei was carrying in his hand and her dark round eyes shone. “What’s in the bag, Lei?”
Xia Lei lifted the shopping bag, waved it around in front of Jiang Ru-Yi and said slowly, “This is a dress I bought in Uniqlo in Jing-Du. I was going to give this to you but I’ve changed my mind.”
“Why?” Jiang Ru-Yi grew anxious.
“You cursed me earlier. Why should I give it to you? I’ll keep it and give it to Xue when she’s gained weight.”
“You calling me fat?” Jiang Ru-Yi glared at Xia Lei and looked about to explode but she smiled in the next instant. “I’m just kidding, Big Brother Lei. Give me the dress and let me try it on. I’ll take a picture and send it to my friends - those bitches will be so jealous!”
Xia Lei handed the bag to Jiang Ru-Yi.
Jiang Ru-Yi took the bag and said, “Come in. I’ll open the door for you.”
“It’s already so late…” Xia Lei looked embarrassed.
“I’ll go to your flat if you don’t come to mine. Which do you prefer?”
“Open the door.”
After opening the door, Jiang Ru-Yi shoved her phone and selfie stick into Xia Lei’s hands and, bag in hand, ran to her bedroom to change.
Xia Lei turned the selfie stick over in his hands, pulled it out to maximum length, then shortened it. A thought suddenly came to him, ‘This selfie stick can only be lengthened and shortened. The shadow of the selfie stick can be seen in a lot of pictures and that affects the beauty of the picture. Won’t it be better if it can bend?’
With this thought in mind, he stuck Jiang Ru-Yi’s phone on the stick and took several pictures at different angles. Every picture taken had the shadow of the stick in it and didn’t look nice.
He then took out his phone, opened the JD* client and entered ‘selfie stick’ in the search bar. A long item list of selfie sticks appeared on his screen and regular sticks were being sold for 80 to 90 yuan while better ones were over 100. Materials cost-wise, each stick would take less than ten yuan to produce!
This is a profitable product!
More importantly, there wasn’t a fully-adjustable selfie stick on the market yet!
A great plan was conceived with a stroke of inspiration. Xia Lei was very pleased with himself and he thought, ‘I’ll draw the design on paper once I get back and take it to the patent office. This little product will surely sell well!’
Jiang Ru-Yi walked out of her bedroom at that moment.
Xia Lei had bought her a long, tight-fitting red dress with a low neckline.
Jiang Ru-Yi looked at Xia Lei and giggled. “Lei, did you peek at me in the shower or something?”
Xia Lei froze. “Don’t talk nonsense. When did I ever peek at you in the shower?”
“How did you get my measurements down so well if you didn’t peek? If this dress were cut a little differently it would’ve been too big or too small. How can it fit so well?”
Xia Lei gave a dry cough. “I asked the sales assistant for help. I described your body shape and the person recommended this dress. The sales assistant was very professional.”
In actual fact, there was no sales assistant and he’d looked at Jiang Ru-Yi’s body several times with his X-ray vision. He knew better than her what her measurements were so there was no way he’d get the size wrong. It was the same with Liang Si-Yao but she hadn’t asked him questions like these.
Jiang Ru-Yi turned around, exposing a snowy back to Xia Lei. “Help me zip up.”
Xia Lei glanced at her and saw that she had no bra on. “You… Why aren’t you wearing a bra?” he asked awkwardly.
“Are you dumb? Dresses like these don’t require bras.” Jiang Ru-Yi was not shy at all. “Hurry up and zip me up. Are you taking the chance to peek at me?” she chided.
“Do I still need to peek? I’ve already seen it…” grumbled Xia Lei under his breath.
“What did you say?”
“Uh, I said you have a nice figure.”
“Hee hee. Hurry up.”
Xia Lei was careful and zipped Jiang Ru-Yi up successfully.
Jiang Ru-Yi took selfies with her selfie stick and sent them to her friends in her WeChat group.
“How much did you pay for the selfie stick?” asked Xia Lei.
“88 yuan. I can sell it to you for 100 if you want it, and I’ll get myself a new one,” said Jiang Ru-Yi.
Xia Lei was irked. “The dress I bought you cost 2,000 yuan, you know? You’re still going to ask me for 100 yuan?”
Jiang Ru-Yi grinned. “I was just kidding. Take it if you like it. I took enough pictures already anyway. Those girls… Eh, they’re asking who’s that beside me. How should I reply?”
Xia Lei looked at the phone screen and found that he was in every shot of the pictures she had taken. Some girls who looked about Jiang Ru-Yi’s age were asking who he was. One was a police officer too, judging from their profile pictures.
At that moment, Jiang Ru-Yi swiftly typed out a word - Boyfriend.
The girls shot messages back right away.
‘Damn, when did you get such a handsome boyfriend?’
‘Why didn’t you bring him out to meet us?’
‘I’ll steal him from you!’
‘I’ll trade you cash for him. How ‘bout it?’
Xia Lei did not know whether to laugh or to cry when he saw those messages. He looked away and pretended not to have seen what those girls had written. “Ru-Yi, lend me the selfie stick. I’ll return it tomorrow.”
“Where’re you going?” Jiang Ru-Yi’s fingers flew across her phone screen.
“Home, of course. I’m not going to stay overnight at your place, am I?” said Xia Lei.
Jiang Ru-Yi rolled her eyes at him. “Ha! So you did have an ulterior motive when you bought me this dress, you pervert.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Back home, Xia Lei was met by a cold home. No one had cleaned up in a month and the furniture was covered in a layer of dust. Xia Lei walked to the television cabinet and used a cloth to wipe the family picture clean.
The glass bottle was still behind the family picture and the pill sat quietly in the bottom. It seemed to have a hidden story.
Xia Lei’s gaze landed on the bottom of the glass bottle and he saw a Russian word - осторожно.
This meant ‘caution’.
When he had chased after that mysterious man more than a month ago in that cafe, the man had left this Russian word on the table. He was now seeing this same word in his home. This meant that that man had come into his home!
Xia Lei’s head was awhirl. ‘Could it be… He’s really my father? But… Why won’t he meet with me? What is his identity?’
That mysterious man’s face appeared in his head again and he looked at the picture of his father, Xia Chang-He. The two faces, when compared side by side in his left eye’s vision, were a 100% match!
Xia Lei was surely going to be sleepless this night.
*Jing Dong - an online marketplace like eBay / AmazonPrevious Chapter Next Chapter