Long Bing was nervous. “Could it be Shentu Tianyin?”
“I don’t think it’s her. I called her before coming here and said that I had to stay at the company to take care of some things” Xia Lei replied.
Long Bing let out a breath of relief. “Then who could it be?”
Xia Lei took out his phone, looked at the number, and knitted his brows at once.
The caller was Tang Yuyan.
“Hey, Yuyan, what’s up?” Xia Lei picked up the phone and spoke in a sleepy voice, like he was in bed.
“You’re sleeping?” It was Tang Yuyan’s voice.
“Yeah, look at the time — of course I’d be resting.” Xia Lei made his voice sound even more drowsy.
“Who are you trying to fool? Where are you?”
“At home, of course.”
“My man’s right in front of Leiyin Home, watching. He said you didn’t come home.”
“That sneaky fox!” Xia Lei cursed under his breath but said, “Eh… I’m at my company home. You know that I have a house there.”
“Mm-hm, I’m standing right in front of your villa door now. I asked the asked Special Forces there, and they said you haven’t come home.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“You aren’t at Long Bing’s house, are you?” said Tang Yuyan.
“What are you talking about? Why would I be at Long Bing’s place?” Xia Lei bit the bullet and said, “Just come out and tell me — what are you looking for me for?”
“Okay, I’ll be straightforward. I got some news from my stepfather that you’re going to Germany. I need to go with you.”
“H, How can I let you come with me?”
“I can’t? Then from now on, I will have people following you 24/7. There’s no way I won’t find any evidence for those affairs of yours. Oh, and on your wedding day with Shentu Tianyin, I will show those pieces of evidence to her.”
Someone else probably wouldn’t do such things but this was Tang Yuyan, the eldest daughter of the Tang sect. She once wrote “Tang Yuyan was here” on his back for Shentu Tianyin to see. Were there any things she wouldn’t do?
“This bitch!” Long Bing cried angrily.
Tang Yuyan’s voice came from the phone, “I think I heard someone’s voice, a woman. Hello, is it Long Bing? Tell her to come on the line. I bought a load of pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, and other stuff. I’ll take some over to her.”
Xia Lei looked at Long Bing.
Long Bing blinked fiercely at Xia Lei and gestured with her hands.
“Ahem,” coughed Xia Lei. “If you want to bring her stuff, you need to go to her house. She’s not here with me, so there’s no way I can get her on the line with you.”
“Where in the world are you, then?” Tang Yuyan’s voice was filled with suspicion.
“I’m at… why should I tell you? I have some private matters to take care of. I can’t disclose it to you.”
“Then take me with you when you go to Germany.”
“Uh, let me think about it… Hello? Huh? Why is there no sound? Ah, the phone’s out of battery…”
“An act. Go on, show me how well you act.”
“Why’s there no sound? Damn…” Xia Lei immediately hung up. Although he couldn’t hear Tang Yuyan’s enticing voice anymore, he still felt nervous and he felt a headache coming on.
The warm atmosphere in the living room had completely disappeared due to this call.
“She wants to go to Germany too? She’s just trying to cause trouble!” said Long Bing angrily.
Annina would definitely want to go on this trip to Germany too. One Annina, and one Long Bing, were already enough of a headache for Xia Lei. If the Tang family’s Tang Yuyan, who’s always full of bizarre ideas, were to come too, his trip would be a mess. Don’t even talk about workshop building and lathe-making in Germany — just dealing with his relationship with these three was enough to make his head hurt.
“Do you want to take her along?” asked Long Bing.
Xia Lei crawled out of her embrace. “Of course I don’t want to. She’d only bring trouble.”
“Then how are you going to escape her pestering? She’s been spoiled too much by Grandfather Tang, and she must have what she wants.”
“What does she want?”
“You still don’t understand? The thing she wants is you.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly and said: “Am I a thing?”
“Of course you’re a not-thing.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Oh, no no no, I didn’t mean it that way.” Long Bing felt a bit awkward and changed the subject. “She must have one of two intentions for following you to Germany. One, political capital. You know that she’s from the Tang Sect, as well as Boss Shi’s god-daughter. There are rumors at Bureau 101 that she will be Bureau 101’s future leader. In actual fact, Boss Shi has been training her as well. She certainly wouldn’t miss a mission as important as this one.”
Xia Lei finally understood why it was that the first partner Shi Boren would arrange for him was not Long Bing, but Tang Yuyan every time there was an important mission. He could understand this situation. If one ignored the history of the Tang Sect, the present Tang Sect itself was a big clan with ties in both military and politics. The clan’s rules were also primarily focused on revitalising the family. Each Tang child also carried with this responsibility, and Tang Yuyan was no exception. It was natural that she needed to work harder with this kind of background. Long Bing was different. Other than her intention to repay the country, she had no ambition in politics.
“Then what’s the second reason?”
“That’s you, of course, you dumbass.” Long Bing poked Xia Lei. “She likes you. Even the military dogs at Bureau 101 know this, but you can’t tell?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“She likes you, and the Tang Sect likes you too. You are currently China’s Father of Rifles, and although you don’t serve the government, the amount of political capital in your hands is enough to make many politicians envious. If the Tang sect is able to recruit a man like you, they would have doubled their power. Who knows — you might even become the greatest man in Tang Sect’s history. There’s no problem with money since the Tang Sect doesn’t lack that. If you guys were to get together, you’d be well-matched in terms of social standing.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Bing, can you please teasing me? You know that I’d be okay doing other things, but my life… It’s a mess. Sometimes I feel like I’d want to live on Mars for a bit.”
“Um, to Mars?” Long Bing laughed. “Will you take me with you?”
“I will, I will.. Of course I’ll take you.” But in Xia Lei’s heart, he thought secretly, ‘I’ll have to bring you, Tianyin, Ruyi, Annina… Then I will continue to have a headache. What kind of sin did I commit in my previous life?’
“I like it when you call me Bing.” Long Bing suddenly wrapped her arms around Xia Lei’s neck. “My grandma used to call me that too.”
Xia Lei said sweetly, “Then I will call you Bing from now on.”
Knock knock knock, knock knock knock.
Xia Lei’s left eye twitched. The sofa blocking his sight disappeared from his field of vision in a blink. Then the door, and then, he saw Tang Yuyan.
Tang Yuyan stood outside the door in casual wear. She was in a white coat, light blue denim jeans, plus a new pair of New Balance sneakers. She gave off a lively and youthful feel. She could pull of the vibe of whatever she wore. When she wore a cheongsam, she was noble and gorgeous and looked like the young lady of a noble house when China was a republic. When she’s casually dressed like this, she looked like a university undergraduate, young, beautiful and oh so cute.
Tang Yuyan was actually, and quite unexpectedly, carrying a paper box. On the box were the words “Three Squirrels New Year Gift Pack”. Its stomach was quite noticeably filled with pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, peeled almonds and so on — snacks which were womens’ favourites.
Knock knock knock, knock knock knock.
Tang Yuyan knocked again.
Xia Lei was about to say something but Long Bing covered his mouth.
“I know you’re home, Long Bing. Open up! I brought you presents.”
Long Bing still kept her silence.
“Ha ha!” Tang Yuyan laughed. “Stop pretending. Your car is downstairs. If you won’t open the door, I’ll open it myself. I brought steel wire.”
Long Bing bit her cherry lips, and broke her silence. “Coming, coming!”
They got up from the sofa.
“What do we do? She’ll find out!” Xia Lei was panicky.
“Go, hide in the closet. Don’t make a sound, and don’t utter a word, no matter what she says. Leave the rest to me.” Long Bing quickly calmed down.
Xia Lei nodded, and ran towards Long Bing’s room, holding the waistband of his trousers.
Long Bing smoothed her hair, then went to open the door for Tang Yuyan.
Tang Yuyan entered the room without waiting for Long Bing’s invitation. Her beautiful eyes swept the living room, then to the room inside.
“What’d you come here for?” asked Long Bing.
“I brought you yummy food. I’m so nice to you. How are you going to repay me?” Tang Yuyan said as she laughed and continued looking around.
Long Bing took the gift from her hands and said, “I’ve accepted your gift. You can leave now.”
Tang Yuyan rolled her eyes at Long Bing.” How can you be so rude? I brought goodies over for you. yet you drive me away without even inviting me to drink a sip of water? Well, I’m not leaving today. I am going to stay here tonight.”
“You…” Long Bing was mad. “You’re so thick-skinned!”
“I’m going to use your bathroom.” Tang Yuyan suddenly started walking quickly towards the bathroom.
“No!” Long Bing reached out to grab her, but Tang Yuyan was quicker. She also had the Tang Sect’s Qinggong, so Long Bing was too slow and missed her grab.
The cunning Tang Yuyan wasn’t going to the bathroom. She invaded the bedroom.
“Crap!” Long Bing rushed into the room.
Tang Yuyan was quick. She was already opening the closet door when Long Bing entered the room.
Long Bing closed her eyes, afraid to look. She couldn’t even imagine how awkward it would be if Tang Yuyan saw Xia Lei inside the closet.
But, this imagined scenario did not come true.
There was nothing in the closet other than clothes.
Tang Yuyan abruptly bent down and peered under the bed.
There was no one under the bed either.
Long Bing was confused but relieved at the same time. “What exactly are you doing?”
“You know what I’m doing.” Tang Yuyan stared straight at Long Bing. “Tell me. There shouldn’t be secrets between us sisters. Where did you hide Xia Lei?”
“Who’s sisters with you? Also, mind what you’re saying. I’m still a single woman. Why would Xia Lei be hiding at my place?” Long Bing looked fairly serious.
Tang Yuyan stormed into the restroom. There was no one in the restroom either. Following that, she went into the study, and the other rooms, but she still couldn’t find Xia Lei.
Where had Xia Lei gone?
Long Bing took a quick glance outside the window while Tang Yuyan was busy looking for him. She spotted Xia Lei, who had just slid down the sewage pipe. She had never seen him such a bedraggled state, and she couldn’t help but laugh out loud in that instant.