Where Have You Gone, Hubby?
Strong women were still women and they sometimes still need a man to lean on.
In Liu Ying’s eyes, Xia Lei was the man she could lean on.
Xia Lei thought for a bit, “The more you act like this the more unscrupulous they will be. Have you thought about it? They’re just sending a thief now and a threatening SMS. If they lose patience and hurt you and your child, what will you do? Unless you sell the thing they want to them…”
“Over my dead body!”
“Then make a police report,” said Xia Lei.
Liu Ying hesitated but took out her mobile phone in the end, “Yes. I’ll make a police report now.”
At that moment, Lin Bo-Wen walked towards them, shouting from afar, “CEO Liu, I have a friend who wants to get to know you. Would you be willing to meet with him?”
Xia Lei shot Liu Ying a look and she got the hint and put her phone away.
Lin Bo-Wen spoke again, “He’s over there. I’ll take you to him, CEO Liu.”
“What does he do?” Liu Ying didn’t want to go.
Lin Bo-Wen was discerning and he explained, “He’s in the retail business and has supermarket chains and brand shops all over the country. I think it will be advantageous for our company if you get to know him.”
His words were convincing to Liu Ying. She looked at Xia Lei, as if to ask for his opinion.
“Go ahead, Big Sister Liu. You don’t have to mind me,” said Xia Lei.
“Then wait for me. I’ll be back soon.” Liu Ying left him with these words and walked off with Lin Bo-Wen.
The person who wanted to talk to Liu Ying was a chubby middle-aged man in his early forties. He wore a Patek Philippe watch and had a valuable jade necklace around his neck, giving one the impression of a rich and powerful man. When Xia Lei looked over, Lin Bo-Wen left the table and walked towards a young woman.
That young woman looked a little similar to Lin Bo-Wen. She wore a cutout dress and looked sexy and beautiful; a very eye-catching woman.
Xia Lei had a thought, ‘Could that be Lin Bo-Wen’s younger sister, Lin Ya-Ru? What are they talking about?’
Curiosity got the better of him and he focused on Lin Bo-Wen and the young woman, using his lip-reading ability to decipher their conversation.
“Brother, who is that guy who’s following Liu Ying around?” So it was his sister, Lin Ya-Ru after all. She glanced over at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei quickly avoided her eyes, then changed his angle and continued to observe her and Lin Bo-Wen, lip-reading their conversation.
“Just a poor boy. He has a workshop and Liu Ying signed a long-term supplier contract with him,” said Lin Bo-Wen.
“Was it him who got the design plans back?” asked Lin Ya-Ru.
“It was him. We wouldn’t have to be so passive if it weren’t for him,” said Lin Bo-Wen.
Xia Lei was thunderstruck after lip-reading Lin Bo-Wen’s words. There was something suspicious about this Lin Bo-Wen after all!
“He’s already pushing. We have to settle this quick - we can’t fail this time,” said Lin Ya-Ru.
“Don’t worry. A widow and a little boy aren’t going to be our match.” As he spoke, Lin Bo-Wen looked at Liu Ying and the middle-aged man.
Xia Lei looked over too and focused on the corner where that middle-aged man and Liu Ying sat. Liu Ying was sitting with her back towards him and he could not see her face. He could not lip-read her, but the middle-aged man was facing him and he could see his face and read his.
“... CEO Liu, I’m not boasting. If you hand your product to me to sell, large volume retail traffic is no problem based on all the channels available to me. I’ll tell you honestly that I am building shopping centres in Ming-Kun City and Sichuan City to develop the Western market. Your product will be selling well in the Western regions when the time comes…” The middle-aged man boasted, his spittle splattering everywhere.
‘This guy… Nice Moves Sports Equipment Company’s most important product is the automatic surfboard. Can this product sell well in the Western regions? Is the consumer going to surf in the mountains and ravines? This is a mistake. Why hasn’t Big Sister Liu discovered it?’ thought Xia Lei.
The middle-aged man poured Liu Ying a glass of wine, smiling as he said, “CEO Liu, let’s have another toast for our collaboration.”
Xia Lei could not see Liu Ying’s face or hear her voice but he saw her raise her glass. He suddenly thought of something and his left eye moved to the raised glass in Liu Ying’s hand. The wine glass was instantly ‘brought forward’ to his eye and magnified.
The scarlet wine had some light-coloured powder in it that was difficult for the naked eye to see. It was dissolving fast and the undissolved bits settled in the bottom of the glass, forming a thin layer of sediment. Red wine normally had some sediment too but those were purple-red and not an almost-white pale colour. The wine had obviously been spiked.
A drugged woman would not behave normally no matter what one said to her.
Xia Lei walked over with quick steps but Liu Ying downed the glass before he could get to that corner.
The middle-aged man got up and went to Liu Ying’s side to support her while saying, “CEO Liu, you’re drunk. I’ll send you home.”
Liu Ying, supported by the middle-aged man, was mumbling something but she could not be heard clearly.
A few other guests nearby looked over contemptuously. It was a shameful thing to get so drunk at such a high-class party.
Lin Bo-Wen suddenly discovered Xia Lei walking quickly over and moved to intercept, smiling as he said, “Mr Xia, I was just looking for you. Let’s go over there and chat.”
Xia Lei nimbly side-stepped Lin Bo-Wen. Lin Bo-Wen reached to pull him back but was a beat too late. In that instant, Xia Lei arrived by Liu Ying’s side and reached for her other hand, not letting the middle-aged man take her away.
The middle-aged man looked at Xia Lei in surprise and his face darkened immediately.
Xia Lei smiled, “Leave her to me, good sir.”
“Who are you?” The middle-aged man spoke stormily.
Xia Lei kept his face natural and polite, “I am her Younger Brother. We came together. I’ll send her home since she’s drunk. Is there a problem?”
“You…” The middle-aged man was not willing to let her go but he had no excuse to take Liu Ying away with him
It was a normal thing for a drunken woman’s younger brother to bring her home if she were drunk. A man who made her drunk wanting to take her away - now that was not normal.
The middle-aged man loosened his grip on Liu Ying’s hand rather reluctantly and glanced over at Lin Ya-Ru.
Lin Ya-Ru and Lin Bo-Wen walked over.
A charming smile appeared on Lin Ya-Ru’s face as she looked at Xia Lei, “Isn’t this Mr Xia? I often hear Big Sister Liu talk about you. It’s a rare chance for you to attend a party like this so I guess you don’t want to leave so early, do you? How about this - hand Big Sister Liu over to me, I’ll bring her to the rooms to rest and make her sour plum soup or something to help sober her up.”
As she spoke, Lin Ya-Ru moved to support Liu Ying.
Just then, Liu Ying muttered, “I want to go home… Hee hee… So many stars…”
“Hear that? Big Sister Liu says she wants to go home. That’s it. I’ll send her home. I don’t want to hang around at this party.” So saying, Xia Lei helped Liu Ying towards the hall exit.
Lin Bo-Wen, Lin Ya-Ru and the middle-aged man exchanged looks. The three of them were itching to chop Xia Lei to pieces and turn him into meat sauce. Unfortunately, in the real world, they could only watch as Xia Lei helped Liu Ying get away, slowly disappearing from their sight.
After they walked out of the hall, Xia Lei felt like a rock had been lifted off of his heart.
Things had changed. He could confirm that Lin Bo-Wen was the traitor by Liu Ying’s side and he did not work alone. His sister Lin Ya-Ru was one of them and there was also the unknown middle-aged man, plus the transvestite thief. This was not all - Lin Ya-Ru had mentioned a person, and that person was most likely the mastermind behind these four individuals. Unfortunately, neither Lin Ya-Ru nor Lin Bo-Wen had mentioned that person’s name.
‘I have no evidence and that transvestite did not show his face either. Even if I revealed Lin Bo-Wen as a traitor, he could just deny it and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. It’s better to let things settle down and not inadvertently alert the enemy. I’ll see how it goes after I send Big Sister Liu home’ thought Xia Lei to himself.
“I want to sleep…” Liu Ying suddenly spoke.
Xia Lei cleared his head of thoughts and supported her as they walked towards the carpark, saying, “I’ll bring you home right now.”
“Hubby… I miss you… Where have you gone…?” Liu Ying looked blearily at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei felt a twinge of sympathy for her and couldn’t bear to dispel her delusion. He spoke gently, “I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve been at your side, always.”
Liu Ying suddenly hugged him by the waist and planted a kiss on his lips.
Soft, moist lips and a clumsy, reckless tongue brought sensations he had never felt before. Xia Lei froze. He wanted to push her away but couldn’t bear to. He finally turned his head away. He was not the sort to take advantage of people after they had been drugged.
Liu Ying still wanted to get close to his face but Xia Lei held her by her waist, carried her and said, “I’ll take you home.”
“Let’s go home and sleep, Hubby…” Liu Ying said dreamily. She curled up in Xia Lei’s arms and was quiet as an obedient child.
Xia Lei carried Liu Ying to her Audi Q7, then found the car keys in her handbag and opened the door. He laid Liu Ying on the backseat of the car. He walked to the driver’s seat and stopped suddenly, looking at the steering wheel and frowning deeply. He’d just remembered a problem - he wasn’t good at driving.
Lin Bo-Wen and Lin Ya-Ru appeared in the doorway, followed by the middle-aged man. The three of them looked straight at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei did not look directly at them but discovered them in his peripheral vision. After spotting them, he bit the bullet and got into the driver’s seat. He started the engine, drove carefully out of the carpark, and entered the road which headed down the hill.
He was very nervous in the beginning and the car did not go above a person’s walking speed, but after a while, he slowly got used to it and was not so nervous any more. After getting a little more used to it, he increased the speed to 40km/h, then drove towards Gold Coast.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter