The owner of the beautiful face was Annina.
Xia Lei and Annina’s story could be turned into a spy war movie. In that movie, he would be a resourceful special agent and she, the kind girl who was kept in the dark. She thought she would have a romantic story together but their story had just a beginning, no end.
“What are you doing, Lei? Come, greet them. These are businessmen from Germany,” said Hu Hou nervously when he saw Xia Lei stand dumbly in one spot.
Annina looked over at him at that moment. Their eyes met and the Expo seemed to have been blasted away, leaving just her and Xia Lei. A mineral water bottle slipped from her hand and thunked to the floor but she did not move; she stared straight at Xia Lei, as if afraid that he would disappear if she blinked.
‘Lukas’ was like a knight from a foreign land to Annina. He had swept into her life, saving her from danger and stealing her heart. However, when her heart filled with love for him and she had been prepared to give him that love, he disappeared.
Annina could not forget that night in Josef’s house, those masked gang members had fired at Lukas and even his body had vanished in the end…
She thought she’d never see Lukas ever again but she had unexpectedly run into the dead Lukas when she came to visit an Expo in China. This sourness and bitterness in her heart was as if a bottle of mixed flavours had tipped over; sour, sweet, bitter and hot all rushed all bubbled to the surface. Tears welled up in her blue eyes even before she was able to say a word to Lukas, threatening to fall at any moment. However, a faint smile appeared on her lips, the world’s sweetest, most joyful smile - was there anything more joyful than the resurrection of the dead?
The two of them stared wordlessly at each other and Hu Hou, who was to the side of them, wrinkled his brows. He stopped calling out to Xia Lei and walked over, and the hand which was waving at Xia Lei changed to waving the foreign businessmen over.
Xia Lei was so nervous he could die. He wanted to turn around and run away but on second thought, Annina had already seen him - running now would mean he was guilty of something. There was no running from the temple if he was a monk; there was no choice and he just had to bite the bullet.
Hu Hou said with a smile, “Everyone, let me introduce you. This is our Hai-Zhu City’s…”
Before he could finish, Annina took two leaping steps forward and hugged Xia Lei.
Xia Lei froze. Annina’s chest was very soft and bouncy but his brain was blank and he felt nothing.
“You know each other?” Hu Hou was astonished. He did not know any German but the two of them were hugging so they should know each other, right? However, Xia Lei was unable to answer this simple question.
“Lukas, Lukas…” Annina squeezed Xia Lei tight and seemed to be losing it, “This must be a miracle. I thought I’d never see you for the rest of my life. The Lord must have let you appear before me again, it must be…”
Next to the Thunder Horse Manufacturing booth, Guan Ling-Shan suddenly pulled nervously at Liang Si-Yao, who was organising the purchase orders. She pointed at Xia Lei and Annina.
Liang Si-Yao looked over and was dumbstruck.
“I’ll go ask… What situation’s that?” Guan Ling-Shan pushed her spectacles up and said in amazement, “Is that foreign girl Chairman Xia’s…”
Liang Si-Yao glared at Guan Ling-Shan. “What rubbish. That’s just… that, that is an overseas greeting custom.”
“Sure. Take it as me saying too much.” Guan Ling-Shan muttered, “But it’s been one whole minute and they’re still hugging. Which country’s custom is that?”
All the happiness had drained from Liang Si-Yao’s face.
Annina finally released Xia Lei and wiped at the tears in her eyes. “Lukas, don’t you have something to say to me?”
Xia Lei had not said a single word to her so far and her heart was breaking.
Xia Lei looked at her and braced himself. “What are you saying, Miss? I don’t understand German.”
“You…” Annina could not believe it. She did not understand Chinese but she could guess what Xia Lei had said. She was sure that Xia Lei was Lukas because she was familiar with his smell - and how could there be someone who was 100% alike? What hurt her most was this - he was obviously Lukas but why did he pretend not to know her when he met her? He had no smile and only spoke to her in the Chinese language she did not understand.
The interpreter for the foreign merchant group walked over and helped relay Xia Lei’s words to Annina.
“Lukas, have you forgotten me?” asked Annina, hurt.
The interpreter relayed Annina’s words to Xia Lei.
‘I’m sorry Annina. I don’t want to do this either but if I acknowledge that I know you I might cause an international dispute…’ thought Xia Lei, but he steeled his heart and said, “Miss, my name is Xia Lei, not Lukas. You must have the wrong person.”
The interpreter translated Xia Lei’s words for Annina again.
Annina could not hold back the hurt she felt and her tears rolled down her cheeks in two lines. She bit her lip and said nothing more.
The group of foreign businessmen looked oddly at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei acted embarrassed and shrugged. “This lady must have the wrong person. This is our first time meeting. I must resemble a friend of hers. Heh heh, all right, I should promote my company’s new product. It’s an automatic skateboard, very trendy, very cool. You will like it.”
The interpreter went to work again and the foreign businessmen all went over to Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s booth. One of the foreign businessmen gave Annina some words of consolation before he went to the booth.
Annina did not move. She stared straight at Xia Lei. “Why? Is it because of your wife? Do you lack the courage to even acknowledge me because of her?”
Xia Lei held both hands out. “Miss, I’m sorry, I really don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“I know you are Lukas. I also know that you understand German.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “You have the wrong guy, really. I’m really not… I really don’t understand what you’re saying.” He nearly let it slip. Cold sweat popped out on his back.
Annina shook her head. “You can’t fool me. You’re Lukas - I know your smell.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Is there something preventing you from speaking?” asked Annina.
This question made Xia Lei nervous; he was afraid that she would link him to Josef and Josef’s intelligent lathe.
It was totally plausible because Annina knew about Josef’s intelligent lathe too and he had been ‘killed’ in Josef’s home. She would never have made a link in her life if she did not meet him here, but she had appeared before him even though the world was so big. She was clever so wouldn’t she think deeper and connect the dots?
Xia Lei’s nervous reaction did not escape Annina’s eyes and the look in her eyes turned strange. She looked at Xia Lei and seemed to be thinking something but she did not speak again.
“Please excuse me, Miss. I have to go take care of some customers.” Xia Lei did not dare stay with her any longer and he turned to walk towards the booth.
Annina paused, then followed closely behind Xia Lei, heading towards the booth.
Liang Si-Yao didn’t bother with the foreign businessmen and walked to Xia Lei. Before she got close, however, she saw Xia Lei blinking furiously at her and twisting his lips about, as if trying to hint at something. She was confused - what was going on?
Xia Lei was also thrown off-kilter and overlooked the fact that Annina did not understand Chinese. He was also worried that the interpreter would translate his words for Annina so he did not dare to talk to Liang Si-Yao. However, though he wanted to step around Liang Si-Yao, his hesitation resulted in her wrapping herself around his arm and waist intimately.
‘I’m dead…’ Xia Lei sighed internally and he hung his head.
Long Bing had acted as his wife in his month in Germany. Annina often sent him home on her bicycle after work so even if she did not go up, she had still seen what Long Bing looked like. Now, Liang Si-Yao had wiggled into his embrace intimately right in front of Annina - how could a woman as smart as Annina not figure it out?
This wasn’t the worst of it, however. The worst was that Liang Si-Yao’s intimate behaviour would direct Annina’s thoughts to a dangerous direction! What sort of person would fake a marriage? What sort of person would get resurrected after being shot dead? Were these not obvious enough?
This girl! Why was she acting all lovey-dovey right now?!
As expected, Annina first froze when she saw Liang Si-Yao wrap herself in Xia Lei’s embrace, then she looked surprised, and finally she smiled.
She walked straight to Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao and reached out to pat Xia Lei on the shoulder, saying quietly, “Lukas, my phone number’s the same. Give me a call later; let’s talk.”
Xia Lei wanted to slam his head into a wall.
Liang Si-Yao gave Annina a look and said unhappily, “What did you say?”
Annina laughed and said, “You’re not his wife. Stop acting, I’m no fool. You’ve fooled me once but you can’t fool me the second time.”
Liang Si-Yao did not understand German. She looked at Xia Lei, waiting for him to translate for her.
Xia Lei just looked at Annina, anxiously trying to guess what level of linking she’d achieved.
Annina suddenly drew close to Xia Lei’s ear right in front of Liang Si-Yao and said in a low voice, “You have a secret.”
Xia Lei wanted to say that he did not understand but he could not say it anymore.
“I’ll wait for your call. You’ll regret it if you don’t call me.” Annina suddenly kissed Xia Lei on the cheek.
Xia Lei froze. Liang Si-Yao froze. Annina walked calmly into the group of foreign businessmen.
“She… Who’s she?” Liang Si-Yao looked suspiciously at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei smiled wryly, “I know what you’re thinking but it’s definitely not what you think. You know that I went to Germany for a period of time. Her name’s Annina. She’s a colleague from Germany and an elite machinist.”
Liang Si-Yao pouted. “A colleague who cried because of you? She even kissed you in front of me! I would have slapped her already just now if it weren’t for today’s special situation.”
“It really isn’t what you think.”
“Then what is it?”
Xia Lei felt like his head was about to explode.
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