The two BMW M6s stopped in the neighbourhood under the flats and all the neighbours came flocking with looks of awe.
“Aren’t you Master Liang’s little girl? Driving such a nice car - you must’ve struck it rich.”
“What rich? She’s being kept.”
“Rubbish. Master Liang’s strict. Her boyfriend must’ve bought it for her; her boyfriend has a company. There, right there! That tall and handsome guy.”
“Such a matching couple… How envious. My daughter is with a worker-type and is even renting a place with that punk. Sigh, it’s so infuriating.”
Plenty was said about her but Liang Si-Yao did not care how the neighbours looked at her or criticised her. She was in the best mood ever; everyone was great and she was friendly to all. This was probably what a newly-wed bride was feeling when she gave out wedding favours.
Liang Zheng-Chun held his Yixin clay teacup in one hand on the fifth floor balcony and watched Liang Si-Yao and Xia Lei park their luxury cars. There was a look of misgiving on his face as he said, “Why change cars? And they’re the same model too - what’s the meaning of this?” He suddenly grinned. “Is this a matching couple thing?”
Liang Si-Yao opened the door and walked in, followed by Xia Lei carrying a big bag of gifts.
“I bought you some tea leaves, Master.” Xia Lei smiled.
Liang Zheng-Chun frowned. “Why buy me more tea leaves? I haven’t even finished the ones you bought the last time. What a waste. You should save up and use your money for marriage and kids.”
Xia Lei smiled in embarrassment. He worried over being able to provide for a family in the past but he didn’t now. He couldn’t talk back when his Master was chiding him, however, so he listened quietly.
“Dad, Xia Lei is doing this to show filial piety. Don’t scold him.”
“Okay, okay, I won’t.” Liang Zheng-Chun remembered about the cars downstairs and said, “You two bought cars?”
Xia Lei nodded. “Yes, we did. We need it for work; it’s a necessary expense.” Liang Si-Yao taught him to say that.
“That car’s really nice. How much does one cost?” asked Liang Zheng-Chun.
Xia Lei was about to answer when Liang Si-Yao intercepted and said, “150,000 each.”
“So expensive?” Liang Zheng-Chun looked surprised.
Xia Lei gave Liang Si-Yao a look. Were there others like her who lied to their own fathers?
Liang Si-Yao smiled and said, “Xia Lei is the boss of a company and he needs a calling card when doing business. Other business owners drive cars which cost a million and up. This 100,000-something car isn’t that expensive. He’s already been quite thrifty.”
“Thrifty’s good, thrifty’s good.” Liang Zheng-Chun was approving.
“I’ll go to the kitchen and make dinner. You guys chat,” said Liang Si-Yao.
Liang Zheng-Chun gave his daughter an odd look. Liang Si-Yao would always opt to do just the eating when Xia Lei was here - why did she volunteer to cook today?
“Master, how about the martial arts conference?” Xia Lei remembered about the event.
“I’ve registered but the event is only happening after two months. We can prepare some materials during this time and promote the history and traditions of our Wing Chun at the event,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“Fellow Disciple Lu said he’d like to participate. Did he ask you?”
“He did. I’ll take him along since he wants to go. I want to take you too but you’re too busy,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“I’ll go with you, Master, and have a look around if there isn’t anything important for me to tend to,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Zheng-Chun smiled. “Yes, looking around is good too.” He paused, seemed to think of something, and said, “A friend of mine told me that there’s a Chinese American movie star who’s claiming to be Bruce Lee’s third-generation descendant. He claims that his is the true Wing Chun. My friend says that this man is going to participate in this martial arts conference and wants to exchange pointers with martial artists, especially with us Wing Chun descendants.”
“Didn’t Bruce Lee pass away in the 70s? What descendant? I’ve watched his movies but those were just movies,” said Xia Lei.
“I’m not too sure either. My friend didn’t give details.”
“Maybe it’s just a gimmick. Movie stars these days can do anything to get famous. Master, I don’t think this is anything to be concerned about. It’s just a movie star. He’s no match for you even if he challenges you to a fight.”
Liang Zheng-Chun sipped his tea. “I’m not worried at all. And, don’t rush to fight. The aim of learning martial arts is not fighting but cultivation of body and mind.”
Xia Lei nodded and looked like he had received his instruction. “Yes, Master, you are right.”
Liang Si-Yao’s voice came from the kitchen at that moment. “Lei, come help.”
“Master, I’ll be going to help her.” Xia Lei stood and walked towards the kitchen.
Liang Zheng-Chun was pleased and spoke to himself, “It’s nice that the home’s all lively. Now, if we had a little one as well…”
In the kitchen, apron-clad Liang Si-Yao was so busy that her head was all sweaty. She pointed to the sink. “Help me wash the peppers, then fry them with the pork to make sautéed shredded pork with green peppers and we can start the meal.”
“Mm.” Xia Lei gave a grunt and walked to the sink from behind Liang Si-Yao.
The kitchen was small and there was only a little space behind Liang Si-Yao, who was standing in front of the gas stove to cook. Xia Lei angled his body sideways and moved carefully through the gap. When his body was right behind hers, a drop of hot oil landed on the back of her hand and she jumped back, pushing him to the wall.
Xia Lei couldn’t move; he was stuck between a wall and Liang Si-Yao.
Xia Lei moved towards the doorway but Liang Si-Yao seemed to have the same idea and moved at the same time. They moved at the same time and in the same direction and both were still stuck. Their faces turned red.
They hesitated, then Xia Lei tried to squeeze his way forward and Liang Si-Yao did the same…
After more of the same result, Xia Lei gritted his teeth and said in a strained voice, “Don’t move.”
There wasn’t a spot that wasn’t red on Liang Si-Yao’s face. Her voice trembled as she said, “I won’t move. You, you hurry up and move away.”
Xia Lei squeezed inside and finally got through.
Liang Si-Yao quietly let out a breath of relief. She was very embarrassed but she still snuck a look at the place between Xia Lei’s legs out of the corner of her eye. Her jaw dropped.
The contents of the wok suddenly caught fire and the smell of something burning burst out of the kitchen.
Liang Zheng-Chun, who was drinking tea in the living room, hurried over to see the kitchen filled with smoke and his daughter and disciple working to put out the fire. He froze for half a beat before asking suspiciously, “What were you doing? Two of you in the kitchen and you’re still burning food?”
Liang Si-Yao and Xia Lei looked at each other and avoided Liang Zheng-Chun’s eyes.
Liang Si-Yao laughed after her father walked off. “My dad nearly saw us. You think he’ll hit us if he’d seen us just now?”
Xia Lei imagined the scenario and stuck his tongue out. “I don’t know.”
The two of them were suddenly silent. He looked at her and she looked at him; the air in the kitchen seemed to have stilled. An invisible force seemed to be pushing their heads towards each other, slowly, slowly moving closer.
Liang Si-Yao closed her eyes, thinking excitedly to herself, ‘He’s going to kiss me! He’s going to kiss me…!’
At that moment, Xia Lei reached a hand out to Liang Si-Yao and picked a small piece of celery leaf from the corner of her mouth. He laughed as he said, “You’re such a dirty little cat! Haha!”
Liang Si-Yao paused, then suddenly used the cooking spatula to smack Xia Lei on the butt…
After dinner, Xia Lei received a call from Qin Xiang.
“Lei, that guy stole what you’d left in the workshop. I’m following him now. Looks like he’s waiting for the person who hired him to contact him. Come over and take a look; we’ll reel in the big fish.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there. Send me the address if you have it,” said Xia Lei. He hung up and said to Liang Si-Yao and Liang Zheng-Chun, “Master, Senior Disciple, I have to go out to attend to some matters. Don’t wait up for me.”
“What matters?” Liang Si-Yao’s eyes were full of disappointment and sadness. She was looking forward to something romantic and blissful happening that night but Qin Xiang had called and ruined it.
Xia Lei told her about the spy in the company and said, “I’m going to see who hired him.”
“Want me to go with you?” said Liang Si-Yao.
“No need. I have Qin Xiang to help me and he’s experienced in these things.”
“Then you be careful,” nagged Liang Si-Yao.
Xia Lei nodded. “I’m going off, Master.”
“Don’t be reckless or do anything against the law even if you find the guy,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“Nn, I’ll remember that.” Xia Lei left the Liang household.
After he left, Liang Zheng-Chun looked at Liang Si-Yao staring blankly into space and laughed as he said, “You silly girl, he’s already left. What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking of… company matters.” Liang Si-Yao blushed.
“Liar.” Liang Zheng-Chun chuckled. “You’re like your mother; your face turns red when you lie. You like him, I can tell.”
“Dad!” Liang Si-Yao’s face turned even redder.
“Just tell him you like him. You’re usually so straightforward - why have you become such a coward when it’s your own matter now?”
“Dad, I’m a girl. Girls don’t say these things first; it should be him saying it first.”
“Xia Lei is a shy man. Will the two of you keep going on like this if he doesn’t say anything?”
“Stop bothering with this, Dad. What, are you afraid that I won’t be able to get married?”
Liang Zheng-Chun waved his hand. “All right, all right, I won’t say any more. Xia Lei is handsome, capable and kind. There must be quite a few women who like him, eh? If someone else snatches him up first, oh dear, someone will regret it won’t she?”
“I’m ignoring you!” Liang Si-Yao ran huffily into her bedroom. She sprawled on her bed and recalled what had happened in the kitchen and her face became redder and redder the more she thought about it…
A BMW M6 with no license plate galloped under the shroud of night. The scene in the kitchen was also replaying itself in Xia Lei’s head. It was the closest contact he’d had with a woman in all his years. Liang Si-Yao’s beautiful legs and Liang Si-Yao’s round buttocks in those positions… wasn’t it like those sort of positions if they didn’t have any clothes between them? He almost…
The mobile phone message alert tone suddenly beeped.
Qin Xiang had sent him a message: I’m outside a Night in Paris coffee shop. That guy went in alone and I haven’t seen him meet anyone yet.
Xia Lei stepped on the accelerator and the BMW M6 charged forward like a wild steed.
Night in Paris coffee shop - he knew that place and he would never forget it. It was where he had seen the man who looked exactly like his father, Xia Chang-He.
‘Night in Paris coffee shop again? Could it be her?’ Xia Lei suddenly thought of a person - Chi Jing-Qiu.Previous Chapter Next Chapter