Can You Hold Me For A While?
“Fuck!” Qin Xiang looked very angry, “Don’t you get it? Gu Ke-Wen is not someone you can go against; she gets what she wants. She won’t let you off for ruining things for her. Fighting with her is like smashing an egg on a rock! Tonight was just a threat - it will be real later! You want that to happen?”
Gu Ke-Wen’s Barbie-doll face suddenly appeared in Xia Lei’s mind and this lit the flames of his anger. If Gu Ke-Wen were in front of him right now he would probably not be able to stop himself from tearing apart that pretty face!
“Give up,” said Qin Xiang, “You’re no match for her. It’s not worth it for a widow.”
“You shut up!” shouted Xia Lei, “Tell me who your boss is!”
“You really want to know?”
Xia Lei glared at Qin Xiang, “Speak!”
Qin Xiang smiled even though Xia Lei scolded him, “Sure, I won’t stand in your way since you’re so eager for death. His surname is ‘He’ and I don’t know his real name but people call him ‘He Lao-Qi’. Anyone who hangs around Hai-Zhu City must obey him to some degree.”
“You’re his underling?”
“No. He’s got some dirt on me.” Hate flashed in Qin Xiang’s eyes, “You’ve seen it. I have my own hair salon and I’m running a legitimate business. I have no intention of being entangled in your affairs.”
“What does he have on you?” Xia Lei probed.
“I’ve already told you everything I know. Get out and don’t look for me again.” Qin Xiang pointed to the door.
“I can guess even if you don’t say it. It must be something that’s unlawful. You remember this too. This is my last warning - don’t mess with me again!” so saying, Xia Lei walked to the door.
“Wait!” Qin Xiang stopped him, “Don’t mention me if you really go looking for He Lao-Qi.”
Xia Lei’s stopped in his tracks. He nodded, then left Qin Xiang’s hair salon.
QIn Xiang was just a foot soldier being used by others and he still had a sick mother to take care of so Xia Lei did not want to trouble him. Besides, he had already obtained the information he wanted.
Back in the car, Xia Lei sat quietly for a while, then took out his phone to call Liu Ying and warn her of this person called He Lao-Qi.
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring…
Before he could dial, his phone suddenly rang and the number on the CallerID was Liu Ying’s.
Xia Lei accepted the call, “Hello, Big Sister Liu. I was about to call you…”
“Sob…” Liu Ying was crying over the phone.
Xia Lei’s heart sank. “What happened, Big Sister Liu?”
“I… Sob… I was in a car accident,” Liu Ying choked.
“A car accident? Is it serious? Where are you?” Xia Lei asked anxiously.
“I’m in the People’s Hospital… Ward 8 on the 12th floor. Please come. I have something to tell you.” Liu Ying’s voice seemed full of tiredness.
“Okay. Don’t worry, I’ll be right there.” Xia Lei stepped on the accelerator and headed towards the People’s Hospital.
It was nearly midnight and there were few cars on the road. Xia Lei increased his speed to 60km/h. This was the maximum speed a newbie like him could handle.
‘Qin Xiang entered my home and left a threatening mark and Liu Ying had a car accident on her end. This is not a coincidence. It must be Gu Ke-Wen’s revenge!’ Xia Lei pondered the day’s events as he drove.
Twenty minutes later, Xia Lei arrived at the People’s Hospital. He rode the lift to the twelfth floor and came to Ward Eight and saw Liu Ying lying on the hospital bed. She had a leg wrapped in bandage and her face had several scratches made by broken glass.
Liu Ying’s nanny was also there and she was holding Liu Ying’s son.
Xia Lei’s line of vision suddenly stopped on Liu Ying’s son’s neck. It was red, as if it had been scrubbed hard. Then he saw several ‘X’-shaped patterns on his neck. The patterns had been wiped away but he could still see faint prints.
Xia Lei understood what had happened at once. Qin Xiang had only left a threatening mark after entering his home but Liu Ying had got into an intentional car accident and the perpetrator had left threatening marks on her son’s neck on top of that.
“Take him outside,” Liu Ying instructed the nanny when she saw Xia Lei enter the ward.
The nanny made a sound of agreement and carried the child, fast asleep, out of the ward.
After the door closed behind them, Liu Ying cried, “Lei, wuuuh… I’ve had enough. I don’t want to live like this anymore.”
Xia Lei sat by her bed. “Have you made a police report?”
Liu Ying shook her head, her tears flowing, “I don’t want to call the police. It’s useless; the Gu clan is too powerful. I am just one woman and I have a three-year-old son. What can I fight her with?”
“You mean you’re going to forget it?”
“What else can I do? I’ve thought about it. I don’t want to live in fear. It’s fine if I die but my son should not be dragged into all of this… I’m sorry, Lei. I’ve signed an agreement with Gu Ke-Wen before I called you over. The patent is hers. Nice Moves Sports Equipment Company is hers too,” said Liu Ying.
Xia Lei was surprised and indignant but Liu Ying had already signed an agreement and it was useless for him to say anything. They had gone through such struggles to get this result; he felt an unprecedented frustration.
“I’m sorry…” Liu Ying choked, “I want to start a company with you but the whole thing has fallen apart before I even registered it. I promised to give you 20% of the shares…”
Xia Lei cut her off mid-sentence, “Don’t talk about it. The company is gone. I don’t want any of your money.”
Liu Ying insisted, “No, no, no, you put in a lot of work for this too. I would have sold my shares and the patent for 25,000,000 to Gu Ke-Wen if it were not for you. You raised the price to 40,000,000. I have to give a portion of that amount to you no matter what.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly, “You are left with just that money now. I really don’t want your money.”
“Lei, I know you want to start a company but you lack funds. Listen to Big Sister. I’ll give 20% of the 40 million to you. Take this money and grow your business.” Liu Ying grasped Xia Lei’s hand, “If you still want to reject me, we shall not be friends any longer.”
Xia Lei was silent for a bit before he spoke, “Okay. You can just give me five million. Count it as a loan and I’ll return it to you later.”
“I won’t accept your returns,” said Liu Ying, “I’ll transfer five million to you when the bank opens tomorrow. Let me know if it’s not enough. Don’t even think about taking out a bank loan; the interest is very high.”
Xia Lei was touched. He nodded.
Liu Ying seemed to relax. She let out a sigh and a bitter smile appeared at the corners of her lips, “I don’t know why but I feel relieved after handing everything over to Gu Ke-Wen. I don’t have to worry about harm coming to my son anymore. This feeling is more important than anything for me.”
This was the nature of mothers; she was willing to give up everything to protect her child. She would have been willing to give up her life without hesitation, much less a patent. Xia Lei did not have children but if this happened to him, he would give everything to protect Xia Xue as well, even his life.
Liu Ying looked at Xia Lei, “Promise me you won’t fight Gu Ke-Wen again. You are no match for her.”
Xia Lei nodded again, “I promise.”
“That’s good. Can you hold me for a while?” said Liu Ying in a small voice.
Xia Lei hesitated but he still reached his hands across and held Liu Ying lightly in his arms.
Liu YIng spoke in his ear, “Don’t be mistaken. When I hugged you on the streets that night it felt like I was hugging my husband. I want to experience that feeling again before I go.”
“You’re going? Where?” Xia Lei asked, surprised.
Liu Ying spoke softly, “This city has broken my heart. I don’t want to stay here anymore. I’m thinking of going to Australia for a while. You can still call me; I won’t change my number.”
Xia Lei’s was depressed but he forced a smile, “It’s good to go out for some fresh air.”
“Don’t speak. Just hold me like this for a while more.” Liu Ying closed her eyes. She seemed to be re-living some emotions and remembering something.
Xia Lei held her like that and did not speak a word. Though it was an intimate embrace, his heart was calm and there were no inappropriate thoughts. He lost track of time and discovered that Liu Ying had fallen asleep in his arms when his arm started feeling sore.
Xia Lei gently laid Liu Ying down and looked at her before he turned to leave.
The nanny was still holding onto Liu Ying’s son and sitting on a chair along the corridor. She stood when she saw Xia Lei come out.
“Big Sister Liu is already asleep. Be quiet when you go in. Don’t wake her up,” said Xia Lei.
The nanny made a small sound of agreement and carried the child into the ward.
Xia Lei looked back - the door to the ward was closed. He knew well that this meeting was most probably the last. What they had gone through together flowed through his mind like spring water. Scene after scene appeared before his eyes, making him feel like all that had happened years and years ago. These scenes were then covered in dust and they faded gradually, not to be retained. His eyes were filling up.
“Damn it!” Xia Lei’s fist hit the wall. “You can seize what you want just because you’re rich and powerful? That patent was the most precious present that Liu Ying’s husband had left her but she could not hold on to it. She could only give it to the one who harmed her in humiliation! Gu Ke-Wen, just you wait! I will have my justice!”
‘Justice is blind’ - this was a lie.
There has never been any unbiased justice in this world. Even if there was, it was gained through fists and strength.
If he wanted justice from Gu Ke-Wen, he would need a fist as hard as hers and strength like hers. Xia Lei lacked both but he had time.
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