Someone brought Xia Lei to the door of Shentu Tian-Yin’s office. Fu Ming-Mei was standing there and she rolled her eyes at Xia Lei as soon as she saw him.
Xia Lei knew what she meant by that and he shrugged helplessly.
“Sigh, you. Not even a phone call,” Fu Ming-Mei chided quietly. “And I kindly reminded you too.”
Xia Lei smiled. “Aren’t I here now? Being here in the flesh is surely more sincere than a phone call.”
Fu Ming-Mei glared. “Hurry up and get in. Make sure to make her happy.” She opened the door.
Xia Lei walked in.
It was a fairly impressive and luxurious office, all in cool colours, of course. The place exuded cold and seriousness. Shentu Tian-Yin was at her desk looking at a white Apple monitor. She looked up to glance at Xia Lei when he walked in, then smiled and waved at him to tell him to come over.
Xia Lei was worried that she would be upset at him and give him a bad attitude or something but she was calm, and even smiling. He did not know why but he relaxed a little. He walked over and said, “I really am sorry, Tian-Yin. Recently, I…”
“Sh.” Shentu Tian-Yin put a finger on Xia Lei’s lips.
Xia Lei thought she did that because she was having a video conference but soon found out that she was watching the footage of him hitting Ahn Suhyeong and stepping on him.
Shentu Tian-Yin smiled. “I’ve watched it three times.”
Xia Lei paused. This was Angel Wings Building, the headquarters for Vientaine Group in Jingdu, so of course Shentu Tian-Yin would have received a report of what had happened in the lobby, and watched it all on the surveillance system. It would have been easy enough for her to stop it but she had not and just watched - three times. He could not fathom her thoughts.
“Have a seat. I’ll get you something to drink.” Shentu Tian-Yin stood and went to the wine cabinet.
Xia Lei sat on the sofa and watched as Shentu Tian-Yin poured him wine. He was confused by her attitude today but did not ask about it.
Shentu Tian-Yin came over with two glasses of wine and handed one to Xia Lei. She clinked glasses with him and smiled and she said, “To our reunion.”
“Reunion?” Xia Lei laughed. “Why say that?”
Shentu Tian-Yin sat opposite Xia Lei. She drained her glass, then looked straight at Xia Lei.
“Okay, to our reunion.” Xia Lei drained his glass too.
Shentu Tian-Yin then said, “You know why I didn’t stop what was happening in the lobby?”
Xia Lei shook his head. He could guess the thoughts of many people but Shentu Tian-Yin was difficult.
“He was constantly making trouble for you in South Korea and he even disrespected me in the hotel cafe. Only you can teach a lesson to a person as self-important and arrogant as him.” A faint smile appeared on Shentu Tian Yin’s lips. “It was really satisfying. So much that I watched it three times.”
“You dislike him? Then why are you collaborating with him and doing a mobile phone project?”
“Business is business. Besides, it wasn’t me who hit him.” Shentu Tian-Yin was a smart woman indeed and there was no finding fault with what she said or did.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I was worried about your collaboration with Shinyeok Group but it seems my worry was misplaced.”
“Why say that?”
“You’re better than me at doing business. I was afraid that you would be duped by Shinyeok Group but I’ve only just discovered that the one who should be worried is Ahn Suhyeong,” said Xia Lei.
She, as a single woman, had risen up in Vientaine Group despite the terrible internal strife. Today, all her opponents had fallen and she was advancing Vientaine Group further; it had expanded by a third compared to the previous year. Would a woman like her need him to worry about her getting duped?
“You could tell?”
“You have a project you’re collaborating with Shinyeok Group on in South Korea, but you cannot control it. So you came up with a mobile phone project that’s in China so you can control it and Shinyeok Group can’t. Ahn Suhyeong is far behind his father in terms of caution and smarts so the one to benefit the most from this project is, of course, Vientaine Group. Is this right?”
Shentu Tian-Yin smiled. “You understand me best after all.”
Xia Lei suddenly felt like all the business acumen he had accumulated till now was like a blank sheet of paper. His capabilities in the field of business was far behind his combat capabilities.
Just then, Shentu Tian-Yin let out a soft sigh. “Lei, I don’t care what others think of me - I only care about what you think of me. I hold no reservations towards you but you don’t understand me. I want to get to know you very much but you keep avoiding me. You have too many secrets. They’re like the smog hanging over Jingdu; I can’t see you clearly.”
Did she know something? Xia Lei was struck by a thought but he showed no reaction. “What are you trying to say?”
“You were asking why I said this was a reunion, right? I’m getting back to your question now,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei smiled and waited for her answer.
Shentu Tian-Yin dipped her finger in the wine in her hand and wrote three numbers on the coffee table: 101.
Xia Lei stared blankly. He then thought of Gu Ke-Wen. If he was right, Shentu Tian-Yin probably knew about the existence of Bureau 101 because of Gu Ke-Wen.
“I’d never have expected you to be an agent for the nation,” said Shentu Tian-Yin, “I now know what a special status you have and this explains so much of what confused me. You must have gone on some secret mission when you suddenly disappeared for a period of time after coming back from Korea, right?”
Xia Lei nodded. She already knew of the existence of Bureau 101 and about his other identity so it was needless to hide it anymore.
“That’s why I said our meeting today is a reunion. I think I’ve only truly understood you now. This is the same feeling as when I first met you.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “It was Gu Ke-Wen who told you, huh?”
Shentu Tian-Yin neither confirmed nor denied it.
“There were some things I kept from you, but not because I was hiding it deliberately - it’s better if you don’t know anything about it,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tian-Yin smiled. “I know. I’ve heard a lot of these sort of lines in Hollywood spy films. Let me tell you a secret - when I was a young girl my dream was to be a secret agent, not a businesswoman. I wanted to be a female agent, one who’s strong like the agent Angelina Jolie played in ‘Salt’.”
Xia Lei recalled the Bureau 101 agents who had died in Afghanistan. “Trust me, you won’t like that sort of lifestyle. Really.”
Shentu Tian-Yin pursed her lips. “I knew you’d say that.”
It was a small, playful movement but it showcased her warm and adorable side as a woman. She sat at ease opposite him with her beautiful face and slender figure. Her quiet gaze and her sexiness seemed to speak to him. Xia Lei suddenly felt the feeling he had when he had first seen her - she was like a celestial out of a painting, otherworldly, out of reach but tempting one to get closer, to fantasise.
The two of them grew quiet. Their eyes met and their gazes were loaded with meaning. Past misunderstandings, the many guesses all melted away.
Looking at Shentu Tian-Yin’s tender, painted lips made Xia Lei have an sudden impulse to kiss her. She was a goddess he had fantasised about for a long time after all and he had even dreamed about making a family with her. The desire to get her had been buried deep in his heart all along and was only just re-awakened, hence the impulse.
Two minutes passed with them just looking at each other.
“I… I’ll pour some wine for you.” Shentu Tian-Yin was a woman not as bold as Xia Lei. She avoided his gaze and went to take the wineglass.
“I’ll do it.” Xia Lei stood too to take the glass.
Their hands grabbed the wine bottle at the same time and touched. Both of them felt a jolt of electricity go through them in that instant; it was subtle. More interestingly, neither of them let go. Their gazes met again, heavy with meaning.
Then their heads drew slowly closer to each other… Closer… Closer…
The door to the office opened all of a sudden and Fu Ming-Mei appeared in the doorway.
Shentu Tian-Yin and Xia Lei’s lips nearly met - they were just two to three millimetres apart. Shentu Tian-Yin was the first to draw back, her face red. “What is it?”
Xia Lei was embarrassed too and he pretended to be pouring wine.
“Oho?” A smirk appeared on Fu Ming-Mei’s face. “Sorry, did I interrupt you two?”
Shentu Tian-Yin glared at her.
Fu Ming-Mei sobered. “The security department chief says the police have come to investigate the situation. Nn, and there seems to be people from the Korean embassy too.”
Shentu Tian-Yin wrinkled her brows. “Ahn Suhyeong made a fuss and escalated it to an international dispute?”
Fu Ming-Mei spread her hands. “That I don’t know.”
“What do they take my place for? Hold them off,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Yes, right away.” Fu Ming-Mei turned to leave.
Before she got out the door, however, Gu Ke-Wen appeared in the doorway and coincidentally blocked her way. She went straight to the point. “You can’t settle it like that.”
Xia Lei was not surprised that Gu Ke-Wen had turned up at this time. He watched her and tried to guess her role in Vientaine Group.
Fu Ming-Mei spoke a little discontentedly, “You mean you have some brilliant idea, Assistant Gu?”
So Gu Ke-Wen was now Shentu Tian-Yin’s assistant. This surprised Xia Lei.
“Speak, Ke-Wen,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Mr Xia did injure someone, and not just one. Ahn Suhyeong’s father is an old hand in the world of South Korean politics and uses strong-handed methods. Since people from the Korean embassy are coming it’s a sure sign that they want to take Mr Xia in for questioning. If we stop them we will become the party responsible, and possibly draw the ire of Ahn Geungan. This is not a wise move,” said Gu Ke-Wen.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei. She was troubled.
“I’ll just go with them. Don’t worry, they can’t do anything to me.”
“Then I’ll accompany you to the police station,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“No, you can’t handle it like that,” said Gu Ke-Wen.
Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Gu Ke-Wen.
“With the Korean embassy in play, it is sure to be escalated to higher levels. The smartest thing to do now is to have Mr Xia leave unnoticed. Go back to your military factory, where there’s military secrets and strict martial law. The military will be the first to disagree to the presence of Koreans there,” said Gu Ke-Wen.
Xia Lei suddenly laughed. He felt that Gu Ke-Wen had matured and become smarter without the protection of her father and brother.
He was laughing, but his heart was heavy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter