Xia Lei was wheeled into surgery and Annina was stopped at the door by the doctor.
The surgery lights came on and bright white light shone on Xia Lei.
Xia Lei opened his eyes but closed his right eye immediately. His left eye could stand the brightness of the surgery lights but his right eye was normal and could not.
Xia Lei saw a male doctor and a female nurse. His left eye twitched and a small smile spread across his face.
The male doctor and female nurse took off their masks at the same time. The male doctor was Ke Jie and the female nurse was Long Bing.
“Turn the lights off; they’re too bright.” Xia Lei got up from the surgery table as he spoke. He squinted with both eyes this time.
Ke Jie switched the surgery lights off.
“What’s wrong with your nose?” asked Long Bing in concern.
“Nothing… Just a little nosebleed,” said Xia Lei evasively.
Making his nose bleed was a simple affair with his current level of acupuncture skill.
“Was it because you saw something you shouldn’t have and got so excited you got a nosebleed?” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei looked at her wordlessly. He’d thought that she wouldn’t joke like this but she didn’t seem like she was joking, looking at her.
“Pfft…” Ke Jie laughed. He had obviously imagined Xia Lei having a nosebleed after seeing Annina’s bare ass.
Long Bing gave him a glare and said icily, “What are you laughing at? To the wall.”
“Yes.” Ke Jie straightened with a thump, turned around and walked to the wall to stand straight at attention.
Long Bing took out a mobile phone and held it before Xia Lei.
There was a picture on the phone of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people. The picture was the two German agents giving Annina orders in Hai-Zhu International Hotel.
Long Bing swiped, and a second picture of the German agents appeared on the screen. The two pictures were taken in Hai-Zhu International Hotel at night and it was easy to guess that someone from Bureau 101 had secretly taken pictures of the two German agents in the hotel.
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. “You followed me?”
Long Bing did not answer. “Is it these two?”
Xia Lei nodded and said in displeasure, “Why didn’t you help me if you guys were in the hotel? Did you know how much danger I was in?”
A hint of disdain appeared on Long Bing’s lips. “What danger? Wasn’t the greatest danger you having sex with Annina? Other men would be more than eager to do it. Why so nervous? Plus, I trust you. Even if you sleep with Annina you won’t betray your country, would you?”
Xia Lei had no words of retort.
He understood. Long Bing and her people had followed him to the hotel and if she were willing, she would have had plenty of ways to foil the plans of those agents in that situation. However, she had not done anything. It looked now that she had treated this mission as a part of training and a test.
Long Bing spoke again, “You did well. Just a bit too much bleeding. Don’t blame me for not coming to rescue you - this is our territory, and everything is under our control. There is no danger to your life even if there was danger. Once out of our territory and in another country for missions, however, you’ll have to have some usable skills.”
Xia Lei sighed. “All right, I won’t blame you. I know what you want to know. This is definitely related to that mysterious spy. Europe and America know that we stole the information on Josef’s intelligent lathe. They want to make use of Annina to make me confess, then use the evidence to get what they want. And, Annina’s being forced to do this. They threatened her, saying that she would be sentenced to life imprisonment if she did not cooperate.”
Long Bing looked at Xia Lei. “What do you plan to do?”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “She’s German and she’s being threatened by German special agents. What can I do? I don’t know. I think she’s rather pitiful and she wouldn’t have run into this sort of thing if it weren’t for me.”
“If it weren’t for you, she’ll be in Europe entertaining customers for some black gang. Don’t get a guilty conscience over something like this. Just do what you should be doing,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was silent. It was easy to just ignore Annina but his conscience wouldn’t let him.
“All right, you’ll be put in a ward later. Don’t make any mistake in front of her. Try to deal with her and those two German agents. I’ll monitor those two agents and we’ll be able to catch the spy once they make contact,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei nodded quietly. He was in no mood to do a mission. He was thinking about Annina - how was he going to face her?
A few minutes later, Xia Lei was rolled out of the surgery room with a bandaged nose. The gauze was stuffed with ointment and he looked like a real patient who’d just undergone nasal surgery.
“Lukas, are you okay?” Annina came over right away once the gurney was rolled out of the room, her eyes full of worry and concern.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Don’t worry.” Xia Lei’s made his voice weak.
Long Bing pushed Xia Lei into an empty ward and even hooked him up to an intravenous drip. There were not any drugs in there but a saline and glucose solution.
Andreas, the interpreter who had accompanied Annina, asked Long Bing in Chinese, “Nurse, what illness does this patient have?”
“He’s ingested some sort of aphrodisiac drug. His nose has some inherent flaw and blood vessels burst easily when he’s overly excited. It’s fine now; we’ve taken care of it. Don’t give him drugs like that in the future. Really, he’s still young - he doesn’t have to take drugs like that. There’s nothing wrong with his body and he can leave after receiving some fluids. Okay, that’s that.” She left the ward after she was done speaking.
Andreas translated Long Bing’s words to German for Annina and he looked at Annina with a strange gaze.
Annina’s face turned red and she said awkwardly, “Um, okay, I got it. Thank you, Mr Andreas. Please go back to the hotel. I’ll stay and accompany him.”
Andreas exited the ward.
Annina sat by the bed and held Xia Lei’s hand tightly. “Lukas, I’m sorry, I… I put some aphrodisiac in the wine. I didn’t know that you had a nose problem, or I wouldn’t have done it.”
“What drug was it?” Xia Lei asked in fake-bewilderment.
Annina avoided his gaze and spoke evasively, “That, um, that’s something that would make you want me. You know. I like you, and I want you. But you’re too shy. If you could just take the initiative I wouldn’t have had to put drugs in the wine.”
Women from the west were much more open than women from the east when it came to feelings and sex. They would just say it if they liked someone and even ask to sleep with the person directly.
Xia Lei was embarrassed by her frankness. “But you know that I have…”
Annina cut him off. “That’s fake. Laura doesn’t even exist. Don’t lie to me again.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I have a fiancée. Her name’s Liang Si-Yao. You’ve seen her; she was the girl in white robes at the Expo.”
Annina’s eyes dimmed. She said nothing more.
Xia Lei did not speak either. His head was full of thoughts all scrambled in a mess.
Xia Lei and Annina left the hospital when he was done receiving fluids and they took a taxi to Hai-Zhu International Hotel. Xia Lei’s car was still in the hotel car park; he’d combined sending Annina back to the hotel with getting his car.
“Go back and rest.” Xia Lei gave Annina a hug. “Don’t blame yourself. It’s fine, I won’t take this to heart.”
Annina forced a smile. “Can I still meet you?”
“Of course. You have my number; you can give me a call and also invite me out,” said Xia Lei, “Then that’s that. Good night.”
“Lukas.” Annina suddenly called out to Xia Lei, who had turned and was walking away.
Xia Lei looked back at her. “Is there something else?”
Annina’s lips moved as if to say something, but she did not say it in the end. “Nothing. Good night.”
Xia Lei let out a small internal sigh. He got into his car and drove away from the hotel.
Annina did not have the courage to tell him the truth. He could understand. She had no other choice when she was being threatened with life imprisonment.
Xia Lei did not go to the Liang household but back to his own home.
He’d just parked downstairs when the lights in Jiang Ru-Yi’s flat came on. A pyjama-clad Jiang Ru-Yi then appeared on her balcony. She had all the right curves in all the right places and she was as sexy and pretty as ever. However, there was no smile on her face; she scowled fiercely at Xia Lei.
“What is it?” said Xia Lei with a smile, “You don’t even greet me after not seeing me for so long? And you’re glaring? What’s this for?”
“Humph! I’ve cut ties with you! Don’t talk to me,” said Jiang Ru-Yi.
“Stop that,” said Xia Lei wryly, “Right, I told you that I’d get you a gift. Have you thought of what gift you’d like?”
“I don’t want your presents. Oh, right, these are the slippers you gave me last year. Take them back.” Jiang Ru-Yi removed the slippers from her feet and flung them at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei dodged one and the other but he still looked rather beaten-up with his nose all in bandages.
“What’s wrong with your nose?” Jiang Ru-Yi seemed to have gone back to normal after venting and started showing concern.
“Nothing, it’s… I hit something at the plant.” Xia Lei smiled. “Look at you! You’re concerned for me, aren’t you?”
“Concerned, my foot! Serves you right! Haha!” Jiang Ru-Yi laughed loudly but there were some tears in her eyes.
Xia Lei looked at her and didn’t know what to say.
“Give the slippers back. I’ll buy new ones tomorrow and return these to you,” said Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly.
Xia Lei picked the slippers up from the ground and walked to Jiang Ru-Yi’s balcony to hand them to her.
Jiang Ru-Yi took the slippers and put them back on her feet, then went back into her flat without another word. The lights went out quickly.
‘She’ll ignore me for half a month this time, I guess’ thought Xia Lei as he walked listlessly into the stairwell. He went up to the second floor and was frightened by what he saw. His door was covered with brown stains which smelt of soy sauce. However, this was not the most shocking. The most shocking was that there were two sanitary napkins stuck to the door, one horizontal and one vertical, forming a plus sign.
It was obviously Jiang Ru-Yi’s handiwork. She would always do something like this whenever they argued and sometimes she would draw a turtle on his door with dirt, then write ‘Xia Lei’ on the turtle’s shell. Other times she leave a mound of sand in his doorway or sneakily put up some fly-paper…
This was the most outrageous of them all. However, Xia Lei was not one bit angry. He felt nostalgic and just a little bit hurt.
Jiang Ru-Yi’s voice suddenly came from downstairs at that moment. “Next time you bully me, I’ll use those that I’ve used! Humph!”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter