“Hello, I am…” The call connected and Xia Lei hesitated before he used German. “I am Lukas. Where are you?”
Annina’s voice, full of excitement, came from the phone, “You finally admit that you’re Lukas, you liar.”
Xia Lei bit the bullet. “Where are you?”
“I think I’m in a hotel called Hai-Zhu International. I’m on the sixth floor, room 508,” came Annina’s voice.
“Wait for me. I’ll be right there.” Xia Lei hung up.
Ten minutes later, Xia Lei drove to Hai-Zhu International Hotel and took the lift to the sixth floor.
He walked out of the lift to see two blonde-haired, blue-eyed Germans walking towards him in the corridor. One was the German businessman interpreter and the other was a businessman who had placed an order with Thunder Horse Manufacturing. Xia Lei recognised them both. The interpreter was Andreas and the businessman was Leo, the owner of a retail brand in Munich.
“What are you doing here, Mr Xia?” greeted Andreas warmly in Chinese.
“I came to look for Miss Annina,” said Xia Lei with a smile.
Leo spoke in German, “Mr Xia, you must be gentle with her and resolve the misunderstanding between yourselves. Annina is a good girl; we all like her a lot.”
Xia Lei pretended to be confused. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand German.”
Andreas translated Leo’s words for Xia Lei.
Xia Lei nodded. “I will. I’ll talk it out with her. This is why I’ve come today. Well, I’ll be going over now. Goodbye, gentlemen.”
The two Germans nodded politely and watched Xia Lei walk to Annina’s room.
“This young Chinese man is skilled,” said Leo softly, “The automatic skateboard he designed is excellent.”
“It’s Miss Annina’s first time in China - how did she get to know him?” said Andreas.
Leo shook his head. “No idea. I’ve asked but she refused to say anything.”
“Never mind. This doesn’t concern us.” Andreas turned his gaze away and walked to the lift lobby with Leo.
Xia Lei came to room 508 and his left eye twitched, revealing the situation in the room.
Annina was putting on makeup at the dressing table. She had changed into a black dress, matched with a white scarf. The black and white contrast made her look even more elegant, mature and sexy.
As Xia Lei watched, Annina stood from the dressing table and picked up a bottle of perfume. She sprayed under her arms, then twice on her perky twin peaks. Finally, she gently lifted the hem of her black dress and sprayed perfume on her legs and between her legs.
Xia Lei felt as if the perfume had been sprayed on his eyes and he could not maintain his X-ray vision any longer. He groaned internally, ‘Those actions, she’s going to… What do I do?”
After much hesitation, Xia Lei braced himself and knocked on the room door.
The door opened and Annina came into view, full of smiles, expectation and emotion. She was as sexy, enchanting and thought-provoking as ever but Xia Lei felt only guilt. He had used her and then disappeared from her world with a ‘death’. He would have never appeared in her life again if it weren’t for this coincidental encounter, and she would have had him as a memory her whole life. This hurt, this debt, how could it be covered with just some words?
Their eyes met and there was no sound, but it was as if they’d had a night’s conversation.
Xia Lei lost to Annina’s intense gaze in the end. He shrugged. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
Annina snapped to attention. She hurriedly let him though and closed the door after Xia Lei walked in.
“I’m sorry, Annina. I lied to you.” Xia Lei turned to look at her. She had seen through him, so it would be too hypocritical of him to keep pretending.
“I accept your apology, and I forgive you,” said Annina with a smile.
He was forgiven just like that?
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Sit, have a drink. I prepared red wine.” Annina walked to the coffee table and poured two glasses of red wine. She handed one to Xia Lei and kept one for herself.
The red wine was in the decanter - it seemed she had prepared everything.
Annina clinked glasses with Xia Lei. “To our reunion. Cheers.”
Xia Lei gave her a smile and drained the red wine in his glass. He then asked probingly, “Annina, why have you turned up in a group of businessmen? You’re a machinist, not a businessman.”
Annina looked at Xia Lei, all smiles. “Getting into your role so quickly?”
Xia Lei paused slightly. “What role?”
Annina sat on the sofa and lifted a leg in a leisurely manner. “Come, sit down. We have to have a good talk.”
Xia Lei forced himself to sit next to her. “Speak. Tell me, why have you appeared in a business group like this?”
“Why do you want to know?”
Xia Lei laughed. “I, I’m just asking.”
“Just asking?” Annina looked straight at Xia Lei. “You’re a spy.”
Xia Lei’s smile froze on his face. He was not a spy but he was indeed acting like a spy when he’d gone to Germany. He had no retort when Annina called him a spy. He also reached a conclusion - Annina had already reached the most dangerous link.
“What, you don’t want to admit it?”
“You’re mistaken. I’m not a spy,” said Xia Lei.
“Stop pretending. I know what you joined Krupp MaK Maschinenbau for. You became my assistant for that aim too.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Tell me then, what is this aim?”
Annina put her fair face close to Xia Lei’s cheek and said in his ear, “Josef’s intelligent lathe. Don’t deny it. Don’t insult my intelligence. You are a Chinese spy.”
“If I’m a spy then I could just kill you and solve the problem. But you invited me to your room - aren’t you afraid?” said Xia Lei.
“Hahaha…” Annina laughed lightly, “I know you. You’re not a bad person. You could have ignored me at that bar but you saved me. And in the woods - you could have just left me and made your escape but you didn’t. You taught me how to use a gun; killed those gang gunmen before me eyes. If you wanted to kill me you had many chances to do so in Germany. But you didn’t. You won’t hurt me - am I right?”
Xia Lei had no words of response. He now understood that Annina had not come to her conclusion by feel or guesswork, but with a solid basis, which was the night where he had killed off those black gunmen in the woods. It was simple - how could a normal machinist have that sort of ability? If it was a spy, however, it would be totally possible.
Should he confess?
Xia Lei was perplexed as that thought popped up in his head. ‘She appeared out of nowhere and I asked her twice why she had appeared with a group of businessmen but she kept avoiding the question. This is a simple question; why won’t she answer?’ thought Xia Lei to himself.
This bit of perplexity made him wary.
Being honest with Annina was nothing much; from his personal point of view, he trusted her. However, if he took the perspective of the country’s interests into consideration, he could not do that. Besides, Annina’s appearance was unexplained and he would end up in big trouble if he just casually admitted it, especially if she was being used or threatened by someone!
Xia Lei’s wariness made his left eye twitch and he started investigating every nook and cranny of the room.
He discovered a pinhole camera in the wall-TV in under thirty seconds. The camera was facing Annina and himself.
So there was something amiss!
“Why aren’t you talking?” Annina stared at Xia Lei. “Do you intend to keep lying to me?”
“I…” Xia Lei pretended to be searching for words to say while he continued surveying the room.
He quickly found a listening device installed in the bottom of the lamp by the bed and a pinhole camera in the painting above the bed. The pinhole camera was facing the bed, so if he and Annina did any adult things on that bed, it would all be recorded clearly.
“Have another glass. You look nervous.” Annina poured another glass for Xia Lei. “Red wine relaxes people.”
Xia Lei took the glass but did not drink again. He put it on the coffee table. “All right, I’ll tell you but you cannot tell anyone. Promise me.”
Annina hesitated, but she still nodded.
This hesitation confirmed something for Xia Lei. He relaxed and said evenly, “You’ve already seen it. I am the boss of a manufacturing company in China. I’ve always been dissatisfied with our less advanced industry. I wanted to go to Germany to learn some advanced skills…”
As he spoke, he fixed his gaze on the wall opposite him and his eye twitched. The wall disappeared before his eyes.
Two blonde-haired, blue-eyed men sat on the sofa in the next room, staring intently at a notebook computer. The computer displayed a video of his conversation with Annina.
He focused his gaze on the two men’s lips and lip-read their conversation.
“What he's saying is all lies. This guy is too wiley,” said one blonde man.
“Has he discovered something?” said the other.
“Impossible. He should leave if he’s discovered something.”
“Let Annina to sleep with him. It’s almost time for the drug to take effect.”
“Yeah, men will be willing to say anything in bed.” The blonde man who spoke picked up the transmitter on the coffee table. “Sleep with him.”
This was an order.
Xia Lei stopped using his X-ray vision and sorrow filled his heart.
Annina was no longer the naive, adorable machinist. She had come prepared.Previous Chapter Next Chapter