Their relationship was done, just like that. If Liang Si-Yao had not been from the CIA, Xia Lei would have married her, had children with her and grown old with her. However, would Liang Si-Yao have returned from America to fall in love with him if she weren’t CIA? This was simply a matter with no solution.
Back at the company, Xia Lei still looked like he had lost his soul. He was thinking of how he would face Liang Zheng-Chun - he was his Master after all and was sometimes a father, sometimes a teacher. Liang Zheng-Chun also hoped for him to marry Liang Si-Yao and for them to grow old together. But this had happened - how was he going to explain things to Liang Zheng-Chun?
“Brother, where’s Sister-in-law?” Xia Xue had arrived at the office early in the morning.
“Your Sister-in-law, she…” Xia Lei smiled bitterly, “She’s gone to America.”
“What for?” Xia Xue looked curious.
“She has something she has to do; I’m not very sure either. She left in a hurry. Don’t ask anymore,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Xue tipped her head sideways as she looked at Xia Lei. “Had a fight, Brother?”
Xia Lei glared at her. “Get to work. What’s with the blind guess?”
Xia Xue pursed her lips. “You’re my elder brother so I can tell right away when you’re lying. You’re unhappy and you’re lying, so this means you two must have had a fight, and a serious one at that, otherwise Sister-in-law wouldn’t go to America.”
She was his sister indeed - she knew the long and short of it and there was no pulling the wool over her eyes. Xia Lei sighed. “Don’t call her Sister-in-law anymore. She’s not and she will not come here again. You do her job in the meantime.”
“You guys broke up?” said Xia Xue in surprise.
“I said don’t ask. Why are you still asking?” Liang Si-Yao was like a wound to Xia Lei. He was talking to his sister about her but it felt like she was pulling at a scab; it hurt.
“Okay, okay, I won’t ask. But Brother, don’t be too sad. It’ll all pass.” Xia Xue giggled at that point and said in consolation, “And Brother, I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to find a partner in the past because we were poor. It’s different now. You’ll find a woman you’ll love.”
Xia Lei smiled bitterly and said nothing more. He walked over to his office desk and sat quietly, thinking.
Xia Xue made a cup of tea for him. After a while, when she thought he was a little better, she said, “Brother, there are many things I don’t know. Giving me all the tasks that Sister-in… Miss Liang was handling is impossible. I can’t do it. You’ve got to hire an assistant, nn, and a secretary.”
Xia Lei did not seem to have heard Xia Xue. He stared blankly at the tea she had made for him.
Xia Xue sighed. “Brother, you are a super strong man in my eyes. It’s fine if you’re depressed for a while but you’ve got to pull yourself together. The company still needs managing even if you’re sad. Hundreds depend on you for their livelihood.”
Xia Xue was like Xia Lei. She had learnt to be strong from childhood and was also a fairly perceptive girl.
Xia Xue’s words finally reached Xia Lei and woke him up. He stood and made two crazy laughs, then said, “Mm-hm, let the past be the past. You’re right. The company has to be managed and hundreds are depending on it to feed themselves.”
Xia Xue smiled. “That’s my Brother.”
“You said earlier that I have to hire an assistant and a secretary - do you have anyone in mind?” said Xia Lei.
Xia Xue spoke laughingly, “Brother, I’m just a first-year student; I only know teachers or students. I can’t help you - you’ll have to find one yourself.”
Xia Lei sat back in his chair and mulled over who to hire. He thought of Annina, but Annina must not show herself, so she could not be considered. However, he could not think of anyone who could replace Liang Si-Yao’s position other than Annina.
At that moment, Guan Ling-Shan appeared in the doorway of the office, hugging a document folder. She first knocked on the door, then said in a small voice, “May I come in, Chairman Xia?”
Xia Lei nodded. “Come in.”
Guan Ling-Shan walked in and smiled as she greeted Xia Xue, “Good morning, Miss Xia.”
“Morning, Big Sister Guan. Heh heh.” Xia Xue laughed oddly, because nobody had ever greeted her with ‘Miss Xia’ before. She seldom had the experience of being respected like this.
Guan Ling-Shan went to Xia Lei’s desk and put the document folder before Xia Lei as she said, “Chairman Xia, this is this month’s wage reports. Please take a look and sign off on it if there are no problems and wages can be paid out today.”
Xia Lei flipped through it and signed casually.
“I won’t disturb you further, Chairman Xia. I’ll be going now.” Guan Ling-Shan took the document folder.
“Hold on.” Xia Lei called Guan Ling-Shan to a stop.
“Is there anything else, Chairman Xia?” Xia Lei’s tone had been different and it made Guan Ling-Shan a little nervous. She was an extremely shy and sensitive girl who was also very timid. She would always get inexplicably shy, nervous and afraid in front of Xia Lei.
Xia Lei knew her character well and he spoke with a smile. “Don’t be nervous. I’m not a tiger so why are you so afraid of me?”
Guan Ling-Shan’s face turned red again. She reached with a hand to push her spectacles up in a clumsy attempt to hide her nervousness.
“Right, what was your major in university?” said Xia Lei.
“I majored in secretarial studies, and, and did self-study for business management but I haven’t received my degree certificate yet,” said Guan Ling-Shan.
Xia Lei smiled. “Good. You’ll do.”
Secretarial studies - that was a field of study specialising in training up secretaries. She had also done some self-study for business management so she was the best person to take over Liang Si-Yao’s job. Of course she wasn’t as great as a Harvard graduate like Liang Si-Yao but she would excel if given the chance and the room to learn and adapt.
Guan Ling-Shan did not know what was going on, however, and grew more nervous. “What do you want me to do, Chairman Xia?”
“Miss Liang has gone back to America. You’ll take over her position,” said Xia Lei.
“Huh?” Guan Ling-Shan was shocked.
“Pick someone in the finance department to take over your duties, then come here to work. Finish up the transfer today and come here to work tomorrow,” said Xia Lei.
“I…” Guan Ling-Shan looked excited. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Chairman Xia. I, I will proceed with the transfer immediately.”
There was no one who did not want to advance in business. As for the reason for the transfer, it was not something for Guan Ling-Shan to worry about.
“Awesome, Brother. You’ve solved the problem so quickly.” Xia Xue said with a smile, “Big Sister Guan is very suitable to be your assistant. She has a good personality. Now you’re just missing a secretary. What sort of secretary do you want?”
“An assistant is enough. I don’t need a secretary for now. I’ll think about it if the company grows again,” said Xia Lei.
At that moment, Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly appeared in the doorway, dressed in her police uniform. She carried a large plastic box in her hands.
Xia Xue saw her and smiled. “What are you here for, Big Sister Ru-Yi?”
Jiang Ru-Yi stomped in and glared at Xia Lei before she spoke to Xia Xue. “Xue, go outside and guard the door. I want to have a talk with your brother.”
Xia Xue paused, then gave a secretive laugh. “Ho, okay, I’ll guard the door.”
Jiang Ru-Yi had taken care of her since she was a child and was the best candidate for sister-in-law to Xia Xue.
Xia Xue closed the door behind herself when she left the office, and actually did stand in front of the door to guard it. She wasn’t entirely obedient though; she watched her brother and Jiang Ru-Yi through a crack in the door. She was curious about what Jiang Ru-Yi had to say to her brother.
Xia Lei had already known what Jiang Ru-Yi came for when he saw the box in her hands. He had put the box with the sniper rifle parts in the boot of his BMW M6 and had totally forgotten about it when he had exchanged cars with Jiang Ru-Yi in the morning.
Jiang Ru-Yi put the plastic box on Xia Lei’s desk, then took a pair of handcuffs from her uniform belt and put them on the table. She said not one word the whole time.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “What’s this? Pantomime?”
Jiang Ru-Yi glared at him. “Our ties are still cut. I don’t want to talk to you.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Are you going to cuff yourself or should I do it?” said Jiang Ru-Yi.
“Cuff, my foot. I know why you’ve come here. Leave the item and you can go,” said Xia Lei.
“What ‘go’?! When did you get so brave that you dare talk to Chief Jiang like this?” Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly grabbed Xia Lei’s arm and twisted it, then put her upper body weight on Xia Lei’s back, holding him in a lock.
Ten Jiang Ru-Yis wouldn’t be able to take him down if Xia Lei wanted to resist but he did not resist. He hadn’t let her bully him in a long while so he was going to let her bully him a little.
Outside the door, Xia Xue’s face turned red. “Oh wow. When did Big Sister Ru-Yi become so fierce? It’s the middle of the day and I’m still around - what is she thinking of doing with my brother?”
“Speak! What’s with the things in the box?” Jiang Ru-Yi looked aggressive.
“Let go of me first. Xue is outside. It’ll be embarrassing if she sees,” said Xia Lei.
“What’s there to be embarrassed about? You were my horse when we were kids. I rode you all around the yard and Xue even used twigs to whip your buttocks to make you run faster. Have you forgotten?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“I can’t help you if you don’t talk.” Jiang Ru-Yi let go of Xia Lei in the end. “A female corpse was discovered at Dayangshan Public Cemetery, shot by a sniper rifle. You understand me? What you have in the box is sensitive material. It’ll be big trouble if people know about it.”
Ties for ties and care for care, this seemed to be Jiang Ru-Yi’s logic.
Xia Lei’s heart warmed and he smiled as he said, “Don’t worry, you know I won’t do anything illegal. The thing in the box is for Long Bing. She asked me to work on it a little. I can call her over if you don’t believe me and you can ask her yourself.”
“It’s really Long Bing’s?” Jiang Ru-Yi looked at him suspiciously.
Xia Lei reached out a hand and smacked her on the head. “When have I lied to you?”
Jiang Ru-Yi rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “What did you hit my head for? I’m stupid enough - I’ll get more stupid if you hit me more. So you’re doing this so that I’ll be easier to cheat, huh?”
Xia Lei opened the plastic box and looked inside, then closed it again.
“Where’s Liang Si-Yao?” asked Jiang Ru-Yi investigatively, “Why don’t I see her here?”
“She… went to America,” said Xia Lei.
“Hahaha… Hahaha…” Jiang Ru-Yi laughed so hard her breasts jiggled; it was a mesmerising sight.
“Are you mental? What are you laughing about?”
“How much did she cheat from you?”
“Cheat, my foot. I don’t want to talk about it. Leave this item here with me - I still have to deliver it to Long Bing,” said Xia Lei.
“Give me the car keys.” Jiang Ru-Yi stretched out a hand.
Xia Lei paused. “Didn’t I already give you the car keys?”
“My car keys. Who wants your stupid car?”
“We exchanged our cars. That car is now yours.”
Jiang Ru-Yi glared at Xia Lei. “You moron! Have you seen a police officer making a few thousand a month driving a car worth over two million? People thought I’d taken bribes when I drove it to work. Enough nonsense. Give me my car keys or I’ll restrain you and take it by force.”
Xia Lei gave the keys to the Polo to Jiang Ru-Yi.
Jiang Ru-Yi stretched out her other hand.
“What else do you want?”
“You’ve got to pay for the petrol you used when you drove my car, right? Are you going to give it to me, or not? I’ll restrain you and take it by force if you don’t give me money.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
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