Treat Me To Soy Milk
In the office, Ning Yuan-Shan personally poured a glass of red wine for Xia Lei, then poured one for himself and Ning Jing. For a man of his status, this action showed a high level of respect for Xia Lei.
"Thank you, Uncle Ning." Xia Lei spoke respectfully to his elder.
Ning Yuan-Shan chuckled, "What's with the formalities? We'll be family sooner or later. You'll have to call me 'Second Uncle' too in the future."
Xia Lei did not dare reply. He knew that Ning Jing had lied that he was her boyfriend to help him get the contract for this job. It was awkward enough in the beginning - if he said more and added to the story, it would become so awkward he could die from embarrassment.
"Uncle!" Ning Jing was upset, "Can you not say things like this? Didn't you want to talk business with Lei? Go on, do business."
Ning Yuan-Shan laughed dryly, "Sure. Let's talk business, Little Lei."
Xia Lei quietly let out a breath. "Yes, Uncle Ning. Please go ahead."
Ning Yuan-Shan spoke, "You did beautifully this time. Seeing those stubborn old farts eat their hats made me very happy indeed - you really wiped the floor with them. These high precision processing parts are very important to us since they are related to... Forget it. There are some things you don't need to know and I can't talk about. How about this - we provide the materials and equipment and you'll be in charge of processing. When you have completed the job, your remuneration will be one million yuan. Is this acceptable, Little Lei?"
"A million?" Xia Lei's jaw dropped in shock.
Ning Yuan-Shan asked questioningly, "Why, is it too little?"
"No, no, no. I meant... " Xia Lei was about to say more, but he changed his mind, "It doesn't matter if it's more or less. The most important thing is completing this purchase order. Yep, I have no problems on my side. I accept."
"Haha, decisiveness. I like young people with this trait. Let's have a toast to our meeting and cooperation." Ning Yuan-Shan raised his glass.
The three of them clinked glasses and drained their glasses. Xia Lei took note of the red wine in the wine cabinet - it was a locally produced Great Wall brand red wine. The most expensive of their bottles was only over 200 yuan. His choice of wine made it clear that this Ning Yuan-Shan was not one to wield power for his own ends and advantage but a true nationalist who worked wholeheartedly for his country.
Ning Yuan-Shan's offer of one million was not because Xia Lei could be his 'future in-law'. This high precision processed parts could not be obtained from overseas and no one else could produce it locally. Based on this, it was no problem even if Xia Lei wanted more remuneration for his work. However, Xia Lei was also a realistic man and wouldn't shake the tree for more coconuts to fall. If he did that, would Ning Jing still treat him as her friend?
Ning Yuan-Shan was swift and decisive as expected. He quickly had Chi Jing-Qiu draw up a contract and signed it with Xia Lei.
"Little Lei, stay here for this period of time. I'll get my secretary to handle your accommodations. Let Secretary Chi know if you need anything." Ning Yuan-Shan was chuffed after signing the contract.
"Must I stay here? I can just come early in the morning," said Xia Lei.
Ning Yuan-Shan leaned on Xia Lei's shoulder and whispered conspiratorially in his ear, "My good nephew, this is really quite urgent. I won't keep it from you; my bosses have given me an ultimatum and I have to solve this problem in half a month. Bear with it for a few days, work overtime as a favour to your Uncle Ning. In the future, when you and Ning Jing get married, I'll give you more toasts at your wedding feast. When you two have children, I..."
Xia Lei quickly cut him off before he could finish, "Okay, Uncle Ning. I'll stay here for the next few days and work on completing the order."
"Hoho, family is best after all." Ning Yuan-Shan gave Xia Lei a bear hug.
Ning Jing looked at the hugging Ning Yuan-Shan and Xia Lei and smiled awkwardly. She did not hear what Ning Yuan-Shan had said to Xia Lei but she could guess.
"Ning Jing, you can go back on your own. I'll be borrowing Little Lei and keeping him here for the next few days." Ning Yuan-Shan seemed worried that Ning Jing would take Xia Lei away and quickly ordered her to go home.
Ning Jing giggled, "That's so you, Uncle, to abandon your benefactor after achieving your goal. Ah, but you are still my Uncle. Okay, I'll be going. I'm leaving him here but you have to watch him and make sure he doesn't sneak away."
"Who would dare?" Ning Yuan-Shan glared.
Ning Jing and Ning Yuan-Shan were just joking around but Chi Jing-Qiu, who was standing in a corner, had a strange expression on her face, her thoughts indiscernible.
Xia Lei walked Ning Jing out and they chatted as they walked. "Big Sister Ning, I really don't know how to thank you this time."
Ning Jing pouted and said playfully, "Thank me? What for? You earned that money with your skill. I was just the connecting thread. There really is no need to thank me."
"Well, that's true too but I know that I wouldn't even be able to step through the doors of East Wind Heavy Industries if it were not for you, let alone have a talk with your uncle and sealing this deal."
"Okay, okay, you really want to thank me?" said Ning Jing, "Then hurry and complete this order. It's very important to my uncle and also important to this country. Completing it can be considered your thanks to me. This is more important than any gift."
"You really don't want a gift?" Xia Lei wanted very much to gift her something.
"Mm. I won't object if you really want to buy me something. How about this - treat me to a meal after you complete the order," said Ning Jing.
"Sure, when I finish this I'll take you to the best Western restaurant," said Xia Lei.
Ning Jing smiled, "I don't like Western cuisine, I like Sichuan. Bring me to a Sichuan restaurant when you finish the job."
Xia Lei paused, then nodded.
Ning Jing left, all smiles but Xia Lei stood and watched her walk away. He thought of Jiang Ru-Yi and how she had dragged him to eat Sichuan cuisine when he'd wanted Western. Now when he'd wanted to treat Ning Jing to Western, she chose Sichuan instead. Different women, different cuisine.
"Lei, she's walked off. Can't bear to let her go?" A female voice came from behind him.
Xia Lei turned and saw Chi Jing-Qiu. She looked dignified and delicate and a mature, seductive fragrance came from her. Women like her had no shortage of attention from men wherever she went. However, Xia Lei's interest was not roused at all by this woman whom he had a secret crush on years ago.
"When did the two of you meet?" Chi Jing-Qiu seemed very interested in Xia Lei and Ning Jing's 'love history'.
Xia Lei gave a random time frame, "Half a year, I suppose. Half a year ago."
Chi Jing-Qiu tutted, "I really couldn't tell that you would be able to catch the young lady of the Ning clan. You'll probably use your connection to Ning Yuan-Shan to secure a job with East Wind Heavy Industries next, won't you?"
Xia Lei gave her a look. "Jing-Qiu, please don't think everyone is like you, okay?"
Chi Jing-Qiu was not angry. Her face still had that nice, attractive smile, "We are actually the same, aren't we? My family was poor when we were students too. I also wanted pretty dresses like the other girls had. I also wanted to go with others to KFC, to Starbucks to try the food but I had no money; I could only keep these wants to myself. Aren't you the same? I was the prettiest girl in class. If you wanted me, you would have also wanted the best things but you didn't have the qualifications. Did you know that if you had just invited me to Starbucks, and not given me some rubbish love letter, you would have had me? We may not be like this now if that happened, don't you think so?"
Xia Lei was quiet; he did not know how to answer her question. He felt an inexplicable twinge of hurt in his heart. No matter what this woman in front of him had turned into, she was still someone he had had feelings for. Her character and the things she did may be repulsive but everyone had the right to chase after a better life. Was it wrong for a woman to want to lead a more comfortable life? This is a world full of desires - the rich want to get richer while the poor want to get rich. Men want to get beautiful women and women want everything a top-quality man could give. Humans live in an environment of desires once they're born, so who can truly escape from it?
"Lei, tell me, if you could turn time back, would you use another method to woo me?" Chi Jing-Qiu eyes radiated warmth, "Would you treat me to Starbucks?"
Xia Lei thought for a bit, then grinned and said, "I'll treat you to soy milk. Would you go?"
Chi Jing-Qiu shook her head, "I hate that pungent smell."
Xia Lei shrugged, "Then too bad. If time turned back I'd still be a poor boy. I can only treat you to soy milk and you wouldn't go. Our story would still have this sort of ending."
Chi Jing-Qiu giggled, "That was then. My tastes have changed. If you treat me to soy milk now, I'll definitely go. Lei, treat me to soy milk."
Her smile was innocent and sweet and her bountiful breasts jiggled with her laughter like ripples in a pond.
Lei, treat me to soy milk.
Could her signal be any more obvious?
What she wanted was not just a cup of soy milk - she probably wanted the whole soy milk machine.
Xia Lei's scarred heart felt like it had returned to his high school days. He used to fantasise about being with this woman - even holding her hand while walking would be enough. She had rejected him then but she was giving him an obvious signal now. If he were willing, he could have her just like that and fulfill his high school fantasies. It would be a lie if he said he was not tempted but he was not the old him anymore.
"Let's not talk about things that have passed. Take me to my accommodations," said Xia Lei.
Disappointment flashed in Chi Jing-Qiu's eyes and she shrugged awkwardly, "Okay. Follow me."
Xia Lei followed her to his accommodations and kept a two-step distance between himself and her. He did not speak a word to her on the way there and Chi Jing-Qiu made no further advances; they maintained silence.
The regular workers had rooms downstairs and the mid-level residences were for the shift-workers. However, Chi Jing-Qiu brought him to a standalone villa. The villa had two storeys with gardens in front and back. The second storey also had a wide viewing balcony with a view of the seascape in the distance.
"What place is this?" Xia Lei finally broke the silence between them.
Chi Jing-Qiu rolled her eyes at Xia Lei, "I thought you'd never speak to me again."
Xia Lei laughed, "Why wouldn't I? We were classmates, not enemies."
Chi Jing-Qiu then said, "This is the accommodations for receiving esteemed guests. Chairman Ning specially instructed me to make arrangements for you to stay here. He's very nice to you."
Xia Lei cut her off, "I'll just go in on my own. You can go about your duties now."
Chi Jing-Qiu seemed to have no intention of leaving and barged into the villa instead, saying as she went, "That won't do. You're Chairman Ning's big star right now so I have to make sure you're happy or he won't forgive me."
Xia Lei gave a mental cry at her troublesome attitude but this was not his home and he could not bar her from entering. His hands were tied.