Early the next morning, Xia Lei brought Xia Xue to Thunder Horse Manufacturing.
Once he got out of the car, Xia Lei said to Xia Xue, “Go take a look around and tell me if you see anything you can do. Do some work this holiday and learn some practical skills.”
Xia Xue grinned, “Will you pay me, Brother?”
Xia Lei spoke matter-of-factly, “Of course I will. I’ll pay you just as much as the others.”
Xia Xue pouted and looked dissatisfied but she quickly smiled again. “Brother, Mum and Dad would be proud of you if they knew. I’m proud of you too. I’ll come help you at your company after I graduate.”
“Who’ll you help if not me?” Xia Lei chided, “Go, go. Take a good look around and consider your options properly. Once you’ve decided I won’t let you change your mind.”
“Okay, I’ll go now.” Xia Xue skipped towards the workshops, looking rather happy.
The company belonged to her brother and working during her winter holidays was just for the practice. The money was just symbolic. When she needed money in the future, she would just have to ask Xia Lei for a few hundred million - how could he not give it to her?
Xia Lei went to the office but Liang Si-Yao had not yet arrived. He sat at his desk and thought about what he saw last night.
‘Why is Tang Yu-Yan here? Is she really the person Long Bing was talking about? Boss Shi’s god-daughter? And she’s the one protecting Xue? No way. Long Bing said that someone from another department is in charge of that and that person is from Bureau 101. If Tang Yu-Yan is from Bureau 101, then she isn’t the one protecting Xue. But if it’s not Tang Yu-Yan, then why did she appear close to my home? If it’s not Tang Yu-Yan protecting Xue, then who is it?’ Questions upon questions spun about in Xia Lei’s head, making him restless.
“This is a robbery!” Liang Si-Yao suddenly burst in with a shout.
The questions in Xia Lei’s head were blasted away by her shouting and he looked at her, smiling as he said, “You sure? You don’t look like a robber.”
“Why not?” Liang Si-Yao walked over and grabbed Xia Lei by the collar, then sat on his leg. “I’m a robber who takes your money and your chastity. You’re in my clutches now and don’t even think of running away.”
Xia Lei kissed her. “I’ve never thought of running away. I’ll let you rob me of my money and my chastity my whole life, how about that?”
Liang Si-Yao smiled sweetly and her hips squeezed him in some place - either intentionally or unintentionally. Her gaze was also seductive.
Xia Lei couldn’t take much more of it and had a reaction but he suddenly thought of something and hurriedly said, “Get off, quick. My sister’s here. It’ll be bad if she sees.”
“Xia Xue is here?” Liang Si-Yao got off Xia Lei and looked at the door but did not see Xia Xue.
“I told her to go look around the workshops and experience what it is like for regular workers. I’d like her to get practice at the company and experience working life, plus learn some practical skills,” said Xia Lei.
“You’re making her work in the workshops?” said Liang Si-Yao, “No, no, how can a delicate girl like her go to that sort of place? Tell her to stick with me and be my assistant. I can teach her some business management and basic capital management knowledge. These are much better than the skills she’ll learn on a workshop floor.”
Xia Lei thought for a bit. “I’ll let her choose what she wants. I’ll let her be your assistant if she’s willing.” He then smiled and said, “I’ll rest assured with my wifey teaching her.”
Liang Si-Yao looked a little fidgety. “Have you told her of our relationship?”
Xia Lei smiled and said, “I want to give her a surprise. She’s always wanted me to settle down and nags me to find a girlfriend the whole day. She will definitely be happy that I’ve found such a pretty sister-in-law for her.”
“What if she doesn’t like me?” Liang Si-Yao looked worried, as if she was going to meet Xia Lei’s parents.
Xia Lei found her reaction amusing and laughed as he said, “Nah, she’ll definitely like you. I’ll tell you a secret - she likes chocolate.”
Liang Si-Yao smiled. “I’ll go to the supermarket right away.”
“Be quick. I still have to go to my workshop and modify that gun for Long Bing,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “Guns, guns, guns, all you men like to play with guns. I’ll confiscate your gun.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Liang Si-Yao always brought him such fun and he enjoyed it.
Xia Xue made a round of the workshops and came to Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao’s office. She saw Xia Lei talking and laughing with a woman, and the two of them looked quite intimate. This was actually her first time seeing Liang Si-Yao and her height and long-leggedness made her eyes light up.
“This must be little Xia Xue.” Liang Si-Yao had been keeping an eye on the door and she’d spotted Xia Xue when she appeared in the doorway.
Xia Lei waved Xia Xue over. “Xue, come over, I’ll introduce you. This is Miss Liang Si-Yao.”
Xia Xue walked over and said politely, “Hello, Miss Liang.”
“Little Xue, oh, you look a lot like your brother. You’re so pretty.” Liang Si-Yao glared at Xia Lei as she spoke, nagging him with her eyes to introduce her as ‘sister-in-law’.
Xia Lei grinned and said, “Xue, you often nagged me to find a sister-in-law for you. Look! Your future sister-in-law is right in front of you.”
“Huh?” Xia Xue’s reaction was rather odd.
Liang Si-Yao also felt rather awkward. Why was Xia Xue reacting that way?
“I thought…” Xia Xue said halfway, then stopped herself and put on a smile as she said, “You’re so pretty, sister-in-law. My brother sure is lucky.”
She’d thought that it would be Jiang Ru-Yi and had always thought that Jiang Ru-Yi would be her future sister-in-law. She had not expected this woman before her to become her future sister-in-law when she’d come back.
Liang Si-Yao also smled. “Xue, I’ve prepared lots of goodies for you because I heard you were coming. I also got you your favourite - chocolate.”
“Thank you, sister-in-law.” Xia Xue spoke meekly.
Hearing herself being called ‘sister-in-law’ made Liang Si-Yao smile widely. She looked at Xia Lei and said, “Weren’t you going to your workshop? Why are you still here? Run along now, I’ll take care of Xue. I’ll tell her.”
Xia Lei stood and said, “Okay, then you two talk, I’ll be going to the workshop. Xue, stay with your sister-in-law and be her assistant. She’s a Harvard graduate - you’ll learn a lot of useful things if you stick with her.”
“Wow, you’re amazing, Sister-in-law.” Xia Xue looked excited.
Liang Si-Yao giggled; it seemed she liked being called ‘sister-in-law’.
Xia Lei went straight from the office to the workshop to work on the gun for Long Bing.
After work, Liang Si-Yao went with Xia Lei to his place and she did not tell Xia Lei to make dinner this time. She went into the kitchen of her own initiative. Xia Xue also went to the kitchen to help. It looked like the future sisters-in-law were getting along rather well.
Xia Lei went to the balcony while the two women were busy in the kitchen. The sky was darkening but the street lamps were not yet lit. The light seemed to be in between clear and blurry.
Xia Lei swept the surroundings with his gaze but did not find anything out of the ordinary. He looked at the road outside the walls of the neighbourhood last.
Cars came and went on the road and there were quite a number of pedestrians too. Everything looked normal. Xia Lei mocked himself internally, ‘Who did I want to see, then? A killer? Or an agent sent by the CIA? I’ve settled the matters that I should have settled - why am I still so nervous?”
Xia Lei could not get used to the sudden calm after a period of high tension and danger.
Just at that moment, a black motorcycle came slowly from the other side of the road. Xia Lei did not take particular note of this motorcycle or its rider but the motorcycle went slower and slower, till it finally stopped in a position parallel to the balcony he was on.
The rider took off the helmet, revealing a head of blonde hair.
Xia Lei was stunned when he saw the rider’s face clearly.
This woman was the one who had got in his way in the Night in Paris coffee shop! The blonde Russian woman who had made him lose the trail of that mysterious man!
The Russian woman looked at Xia Lei, who was standing on the balcony.
Xia Lei’s first impulse was to rush out, grab hold of her and ask her the whereabouts of that mysterious man who looked exactly like his father. However, he knew that there was no way he could catch up to her if he did that. She hadn’t even got off the motorcycle and could escape in a burst of speed.
‘Why did she turn up here? What is she planning to do?’ These thoughts sprang to Xia Lei’s mind.
The Russian woman took out a box of cigarettes and selected one, but threw it on the ground after just one drag. She then put her helmet back on and disappeared into the darkness of night with a burst of speed.
There was no way for Xia Lei to pursue her now.
“What’re you looking at?” Liang Si-Yao appeared behind Xia Lei.
“A strange person.” Xia Lei replayed the scene of the Russian woman lighting, then throwing the cigarette in his head. He found her movements strange and awkward.
“Strange person? Who?” Liang Si-Yao stood next to Xia Lei and looked about.
“Brother, Sister-in-law, time to eat,” came Xia Xue’s voice.
Xia Lei walked to the door instead and said, “I’ll be right back.”
“Brother, it’s time to eat - where are you going?” asked Xia Xue curiously.
Xia Lei said nothing; he opened the door and went out.
“What’s wrong with my brother?” Xia Xue asked Liang Si-Yao.
“I don’t know. I’ll go take a took. Be right back.” Liang Si-Yao went after Xia Lei.
Xia Lei ran quickly out of the gates of his neighbourhood and to the roadside where the Russian woman had stopped. He picked up the cigarette butt. It was still smouldering but he quickly saw that the filter was not a normal filter - there was a rolled up paper note in it.
Xia Lei took the paper out and opened it. On it was written one line: Meet me 8pm tomorrow, at Dayangshan Public Cemetery.
When he saw the content of the note, the face of his father, Xia Chang-He, appeared in his head and he thought, ‘This woman and that mysterious man are obviously working together. She’s asking me to meet her so does this mean that that mysterious man will appear?’
Liang Si-Yao suddenly poked her head from above his shoulder. “What are you reading?”
Xia Lei was still thinking about the mysterious man and the Russian woman who had just left so he had not noticed Liang Si-Yao approaching at all. She had already read the contents of the note by the time he’d realised and it was too late to hide it.
“Someone asked to meet me. Uh, you don’t have to bother about this,” said Xia Lei. He had not even told Xia Xue all that he knew about Xia Chang-He so he naturally did not want Liang Si-Yao to get involved either.
Liang Si-Yao smiled. “I’m not a busybody. Come on, I came to tell you to have dinner. Let’s go back or the food will get cold.”
Xia Lei crumpled the note into a ball and shoved it in his trouser pocket, then put his arm around Liang Si-Yao’s slender waist as they walked to the entrance of the neighbourhood.Previous Chapter Next Chapter