Chapter 2 Eavesdropping

Sara stops at the front desk, “Excuse me, I want to check out the hot spring before I take my grandmother there, could you give me directions?”

     “Certainly.” The desk clerk gets out a printed map and hands it to Sara. “We have a courtesy cart for guests that aren’t able to walk the distance to the hot spring.” He points on the map, “But if you are walking there now follow the path with the blue signs at the fork in the road right here.”

    “Thank you!” Sara walks out the door looking for the path to the hot spring.

   Li Tian and Alexandre walk along the path both agreed not to bring their body guards with them,when they reach the hot spring they enter the changing room. Li Tian has a faint smile discussing the transaction  while both of them are in the hot spring there is no chance of being recorded. It was on a whim he decided to suggest the hot spring but now he realizes it will prevent any leaks.

    After the two men get into the steamy water, Alexandre leans his tall body back onto the edge, “Tian,  I am jealous this feels great! I should purchase a villa with a hot spring.”

     Li Tian responds, “I forgot how relaxing the mountains are I haven’t been here since last year. Enough small talk let’s get down to business, I have a buyer for all the weapons but we should be clear on one thing. I know these weapons are not the best you have in your possession. I do have an impatient buyer who I can sell them to at a decent price so I will let you unload these inferior quality weapons to me. But, I expect a discounted price on the latest Russian weapons you stole last week.”

    Alexandre smiles as he runs his fingers over the water , “Your intel is very good my friend. I barely have received the Russian merchandise and you are aware of it.”

    “It is amazing what people will say when they drink too much vodka and are fucking a beautiful woman.” This loose lipped informant has served his purpose time to have him eliminated.

    Alexandre will need to kill the Russian he was the only one who could have breached security. “What kind of discount are we talking here, I had to bribe quite a few people and the operation itself was costly.”

   “I will pay the price you named for the first shipment of HK416s and missiles. But I want a 20% discount on the second shipment of the latest models.”

    Alexandre scoffs, “You must be kidding me. There is no way I will give that type of discount , these are the latest most reliable weapons to instantly take down a target. Do you know how much the Africans are willing to pay for them?”

    “If it was that easy you would bypass me and go directly to those buyers. Let’s face it you need me and my network. I’m saying only 20% in light of the fact we are on friendly terms if that changed, well…”

   The Frenchman’s face turns red as the anger boils up inside of him, “My people do all the dirty work and you make a hefty profit by merely being the middle man!”

    “That is how it works Alexandre, you aren’t new to this game don’t act shocked. You may have the supply but without someone to move your product smoothly the consequences could cost you more than money.”

   Alexandre laughs at his inability to read the formidable man next to him , “You motherf***ering bastard! I should have known you accepted the price too easily on the first shipment! You had this planned from the moment we hijacked that truck.”

    “I’m glad to see you are able to see the big picture. I’m not someone to fuck with…I know you and Ping Cheng’s brother planned on inciting him to have me killed on my way here. I’m going to let it slide this time, but you shouldn’t underestimate me in the future. If you didn’t have some value to me Alexandre you wouldn’t leave this hot spring alive.”

   “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

   “I did just tell you not to underestimate me..you should let it go. Also, don’t have Ping Qinhe killed, I know right now you are cursing him for blowing the hit on me. I need him in the future. As soon as I receive the delivery I will wire the money into your account. Same warehouse we used previously my men will be waiting for delivery on Monday night.”

    Sara took a wrong turn and is about to walk up to Li Tian’s private hot spring when she hears the two men talking. Her face pales as she tries to hide behind a bush, weapons? he could kill the man with him? She recognizes his voice, he is the man with the dark aura from the tea house. 

     Oh my God! What if they see me will he kill me? She nervously peeks over the bush to see Li Tian and Alexandre stepping out of the hot spring naked putting on the white robes.

   Stunned by the situation when they enter the changing room she runs back down the path as fast as she can not stopping until she gets close to the resort. She crouches down trying to catch her breath, thank God they didn’t see me! 

     Should I tell Grandma we should leave the resort? No that would look strange, I will just avoid them should I see them again. What the hell talking about that kind of thing right in a public hot spring, how brazen of them! I knew that man’s demonlike aura was too dark  when I ran into him, I hope I never see him again!

   A  middle aged man and  woman pass Sara as she is trying to catch her breath, the woman has a concerned look on her face, “Miss, are you alright?”

   Startled Sara mumbles, “Huh?” When she sees it is a pleasant looking couple she stands up still out of breath, “Yes..yes..I just went running and am a little out of breath. Thank you for your concern.”

   The woman has a worried expression,“You look very pale maybe you should go see the physician at the resort.”

   “No, I just need to sit down and hydrate.”

   The man furrows his brow, “Sit on the bench I will get you a water bottle.”

   Sara’s legs do feel shaky she hasn’t run like that since she was in high school. “I will bother you then.” She pats her chest her heart is still racing from the scene at the hot spring. The man’s wife sits with her and hands her a handkerchief. “Just try to relax dear.”

   Sara’s cheeks are flushed and sweat is pouring off her forehead she isn’t sure if it is from the over exertion or fear. “You are so nice thank you.” The woman turns pointing to a sign, “You shouldn’t run on the path to the hot spring, they have a better jogging path over to the left.”

  As she is wiping the sweat from her flushed face  Sara immediately shakes her head in denial,“No..no..I wasn’t at the hot spring.”

   The woman has a quizzical look on her face listening to Sara, the poor girl sounds frightened did something happen to her at the hot spring. Wang Yu Yan owns the coffee shop down the street and knows the path the girl was running down definitely was the one that goes to the hot springs.

   Her husband comes over with the bottle of water, “Here you go.” Sara takes the bottle of water, “Thank you so much.” She gulps down some water, “Ahhh..that tastes good.”

   The woman stands up then holds her husband’s hand they were on the way to the tea house for dinner when they saw Sara looking like she was going to faint. “My name is Wang Yu Yan and this is my husband Wang Nianzu, we own the coffee shop down the way. If you have any questions about the town come ask us.”

   “I will.” Sara stands up and bows, “I am Song Sara and thank you again for your kindness.” Sara sits back down on the bench trying to calm down. She drinks the water watching the people walk by maybe she misheard, yeah they must have been joking around. She shakes her head…Sara you were being melodramatic running all the way back here. She rubs her calves, damn am I out of shape.

    After she finishes the water she tosses the empty bottle towards a waste can nearby and misses the container, she stands up to get it when a handsome man bends over and picks it up tossing it in the can, Sara smiles at him embarassed, “Thank you I should have walked over to throw it away.”

   He has a sexy French accent, “That was a terrible throw.” Alexandre recognizes her soft voice, she is the girl who was in the room next to them at the tea house she is as beautiful as her voice , her delicate face is clean and she has dazzling blue eyes. It is too bad I need to leave soon.

   Sara blushes and is about to try to say something witty when she notices the man next to Alexandre her face blanches, blinking her long black eyelashes a few times she can’t believe the two men from the hot spring are standing in front of her.

      Sara stutters as she feels Li Tian’s cold eyes on her, “It.. it is YOU..” She suddenly hurries off towards the resort her legs shaking glancing back to make sure they aren’t following her.

   “…” Li Tian watches her run away like she saw a ghost. He has a murderous glint in his dark eyes looking at Alexandre, “Don’t say anything.”

     Alexandre refrains from laughing he doesn’t want to provoke Li Tian, “I will be leaving then, expect the delivery around eight on Monday.”

   “Remember what I said, I would like to have an amiable relationship with you.”

   “I think I would rather be your friend than your enemy.” He motions to a black Bentley the driver pulls over to where he is standing. When the Frenchman is in the car he smirks, Li Tian keeps the elegant facade of a CEO but that little girl sensed his evil aura. He lights up a cigarette thinking about Sara’s reaction to Li Tian…interesting girl.

    Li Tian calls Yang James, “The deal is done. I will be returning after dinner I am meeting an old friend.

   “Boss, I sent men to clean up the area on the highway but one of the men survived, he escaped into the woods.”

   “That isn’t like you to leave loose ends James… I’m disappointed. Find him.”

    “I have a team looking for him now I wanted to inform you I will await my punishment when you return.”

     Li Tian hangs up the phone, today has been tiring it will be good to see Wang Nianzu. He goes to the Presidential suite to shower before dinner the image of the girl looking at him like he was the devil incarnate pops into his mind. Black lines form on his forehead as he unbuttons his shirt, what a little idiot!

     Sara slows her pace when she enters the resort glancing back she doesn’t see them following her…calm down Sara they didn’t seem to know you were eavesdropping at the hot spring.

     Two days later…

       Sara holds her grandmother’s hand, the weekend flew by at the resort now she is at her grandmother’s house saying goodbye. “Grandma, I will be busy for the next few weeks but as soon as I can make time I will come to visit. If you need anything though please call me.”

   “Don’t worry about me Sara! I always have the Hong family next door they come to check up on me regularly. Ever since I tutored that boy of theirs when he was in Middle School they are like family.”

   “How is Hong Yang anyway? He must be in college by now.”

    Woo Hua’s face lights up she loves that boy like he was her own grandson, “Little Yang is attending A University he entered this Fall with a full scholarship!”

   Sara remembers the short roly poly boy when he would come over for his tutoring session she smiles he always had a meat bun stuffed in his mouth. “That’s great!”

   “Yes, he turned into quite the handsome young man.”

   Sara feels pretty sure her grandmother is exaggerating then she shows her a picture of Hong Yang. Sara’s mouth hangs open, “Grandma are you sure this is the little fatty?”

    Woo Hua gives her a stern look, “Sara!”

   Sara starts laughing, “It is hard to believe this is the same boy who used to need to take a break from study every half hour for a snack! He looks like a celebrity! How did he grow so tall and i don’t remeber those dimples.”

   “He went through a growing spurt in High School and joined the baseball team. Little Yang is in the acting department at University, his mother said he is very talented.”

   “Well be sure and tell the Hongs I said hello. I need to catch the bus back to the city or I will miss the last one.” Sara hugs her grandmother then rolls her small piece of luggage to the door.

  “Call me when you arrive home Sara.”

   “I will Grandma.”

   Once on the bus headed to Catang City she closes her eyes. As she drifts off to sleep she thinks the weekend would have much more relaxing if she had never run into that man with the dark aura.

      Everywhere she and her grandmother went she pictured him popping up and saying he was going to kill her for witnessing him and the Frenchman at the hot spring.

   When she arrives at her small apartment she shares with her best friend Bi she immediately falls onto her bed. She needs to get up early to bake a cake before work.

   Sara tosses and turns during the night imagining being caught by the dangerous man. His handsome face is contorted in anger as he instructs his beastly looking henchman in a cold voice, “Kill her!”

     “Certainly.” The desk clerk gets out a printed map and hands it to Sara. “We have a courtesy cart for guests that aren’t able to walk the distance to the hot spring.” He points on the map, “But if you are walking there now follow the path with the blue signs at the fork in the road right here.”

    “Thank you!” Sara walks out the door looking for the path to the hot spring.

   Li Tian and Alexandre walk along the path both agreed not to bring their body guards with them,when they reach the hot spring they enter the changing room. Li Tian has a faint smile discussing the transaction  while both of them are in the hot spring there is no chance of being recorded. It was on a whim he decided to suggest the hot spring but now he realizes it will prevent any leaks.

    After the two men get into the steamy water, Alexandre leans his tall body back onto the edge, “Tian,  I am jealous this feels great! I should purchase a villa with a hot spring.”

     Li Tian responds, “I forgot how relaxing the mountains are I haven’t been here since last year. Enough small talk let’s get down to business, I have a buyer for all the weapons but we should be clear on one thing. I know these weapons are not the best you have in your possession. I do have an impatient buyer who I can sell them to at a decent price so I will let you unload these inferior quality weapons to me. But, I expect a discounted price on the latest Russian weapons you stole last week.”

    Alexandre smiles as he runs his fingers over the water , “Your intel is very good my friend. I barely have received the Russian merchandise and you are aware of it.”

    “It is amazing what people will say when they drink too much vodka and are fucking a beautiful woman.” This loose lipped informant has served his purpose time to have him eliminated.

    Alexandre will need to kill the Russian he was the only one who could have breached security. “What kind of discount are we talking here, I had to bribe quite a few people and the operation itself was costly.”

   “I will pay the price you named for the first shipment of HK416s and missiles. But I want a 20% discount on the second shipment of the latest models.”

    Alexandre scoffs, “You must be kidding me. There is no way I will give that type of discount , these are the latest most reliable weapons to instantly take down a target. Do you know how much the Africans are willing to pay for them?”

    “If it was that easy you would bypass me and go directly to those buyers. Let’s face it you need me and my network. I’m saying only 20% in light of the fact we are on friendly terms if that changed, well…”

   The Frenchman’s face turns red as the anger boils up inside of him, “My people do all the dirty work and you make a hefty profit by merely being the middle man!”

    “That is how it works Alexandre, you aren’t new to this game don’t act shocked. You may have the supply but without someone to move your product smoothly the consequences could cost you more than money.”

   Alexandre laughs at his inability to read the formidable man next to him , “You motherf***ering bastard! I should have known you accepted the price too easily on the first shipment! You had this planned from the moment we hijacked that truck.”

    “I’m glad to see you are able to see the big picture. I’m not someone to fuck with…I know you and Ping Cheng’s brother planned on inciting him to have me killed on my way here. I’m going to let it slide this time, but you shouldn’t underestimate me in the future. If you didn’t have some value to me Alexandre you wouldn’t leave this hot spring alive.”

   “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

   “I did just tell you not to underestimate me..you should let it go. Also, don’t have Ping Qinhe killed, I know right now you are cursing him for blowing the hit on me. I need him in the future. As soon as I receive the delivery I will wire the money into your account. Same warehouse we used previously my men will be waiting for delivery on Monday night.”

    Sara took a wrong turn and is about to walk up to Li Tian’s private hot spring when she hears the two men talking. Her face pales as she tries to hide behind a bush, weapons? he could kill the man with him? She recognizes his voice, he is the man with the dark aura from the tea house. 

     Oh my God! What if they see me will he kill me? She nervously peeks over the bush to see Li Tian and Alexandre stepping out of the hot spring naked putting on the white robes.

   Stunned by the situation when they enter the changing room she runs back down the path as fast as she can not stopping until she gets close to the resort. She crouches down trying to catch her breath, thank God they didn’t see me! 

     Should I tell Grandma we should leave the resort? No that would look strange, I will just avoid them should I see them again. What the hell talking about that kind of thing right in a public hot spring, how brazen of them! I knew that man’s demonlike aura was too dark  when I ran into him, I hope I never see him again!

   A  middle aged man and  woman pass Sara as she is trying to catch her breath, the woman has a concerned look on her face, “Miss, are you alright?”

   Startled Sara mumbles, “Huh?” When she sees it is a pleasant looking couple she stands up still out of breath, “Yes..yes..I just went running and am a little out of breath. Thank you for your concern.”

   The woman has a worried expression,“You look very pale maybe you should go see the physician at the resort.”

   “No, I just need to sit down and hydrate.”

   The man furrows his brow, “Sit on the bench I will get you a water bottle.”

   Sara’s legs do feel shaky she hasn’t run like that since she was in high school. “I will bother you then.” She pats her chest her heart is still racing from the scene at the hot spring. The man’s wife sits with her and hands her a handkerchief. “Just try to relax dear.”

   Sara’s cheeks are flushed and sweat is pouring off her forehead she isn’t sure if it is from the over exertion or fear. “You are so nice thank you.” The woman turns pointing to a sign, “You shouldn’t run on the path to the hot spring, they have a better jogging path over to the left.”

  As she is wiping the sweat from her flushed face  Sara immediately shakes her head in denial,“No..no..I wasn’t at the hot spring.”

   The woman has a quizzical look on her face listening to Sara, the poor girl sounds frightened did something happen to her at the hot spring. Wang Yu Yan owns the coffee shop down the street and knows the path the girl was running down definitely was the one that goes to the hot springs.

   Her husband comes over with the bottle of water, “Here you go.” Sara takes the bottle of water, “Thank you so much.” She gulps down some water, “Ahhh..that tastes good.”

   The woman stands up then holds her husband’s hand they were on the way to the tea house for dinner when they saw Sara looking like she was going to faint. “My name is Wang Yu Yan and this is my husband Wang Nianzu, we own the coffee shop down the way. If you have any questions about the town come ask us.”

   “I will.” Sara stands up and bows, “I am Song Sara and thank you again for your kindness.” Sara sits back down on the bench trying to calm down. She drinks the water watching the people walk by maybe she misheard, yeah they must have been joking around. She shakes her head…Sara you were being melodramatic running all the way back here. She rubs her calves, damn am I out of shape.

    After she finishes the water she tosses the empty bottle towards a waste can nearby and misses the container, she stands up to get it when a handsome man bends over and picks it up tossing it in the can, Sara smiles at him embarassed, “Thank you I should have walked over to throw it away.”

   He has a sexy French accent, “That was a terrible throw.” Alexandre recognizes her soft voice, she is the girl who was in the room next to them at the tea house she is as beautiful as her voice , her delicate face is clean and she has dazzling blue eyes. It is too bad I need to leave soon.

   Sara blushes and is about to try to say something witty when she notices the man next to Alexandre her face blanches, blinking her long black eyelashes a few times she can’t believe the two men from the hot spring are standing in front of her.

      Sara stutters as she feels Li Tian’s cold eyes on her, “It.. it is YOU..” She suddenly hurries off towards the resort her legs shaking glancing back to make sure they aren’t following her.

   “…” Li Tian watches her run away like she saw a ghost. He has a murderous glint in his dark eyes looking at Alexandre, “Don’t say anything.”

     Alexandre refrains from laughing he doesn’t want to provoke Li Tian, “I will be leaving then, expect the delivery around eight on Monday.”

   “Remember what I said, I would like to have an amiable relationship with you.”

   “I think I would rather be your friend than your enemy.” He motions to a black Bentley the driver pulls over to where he is standing. When the Frenchman is in the car he smirks, Li Tian keeps the elegant facade of a CEO but that little girl sensed his evil aura. He lights up a cigarette thinking about Sara’s reaction to Li Tian…interesting girl.

    Li Tian calls Yang James, “The deal is done. I will be returning after dinner I am meeting an old friend.

   “Boss, I sent men to clean up the area on the highway but one of the men survived, he escaped into the woods.”

   “That isn’t like you to leave loose ends James… I’m disappointed. Find him.”

    “I have a team looking for him now I wanted to inform you I will await my punishment when you return.”

     Li Tian hangs up the phone, today has been tiring it will be good to see Wang Nianzu. He goes to the Presidential suite to shower before dinner the image of the girl looking at him like he was the devil incarnate pops into his mind. Black lines form on his forehead as he unbuttons his shirt, what a little idiot!

     Sara slows her pace when she enters the resort glancing back she doesn’t see them following her…calm down Sara they didn’t seem to know you were eavesdropping at the hot spring.

     Two days later…

       Sara holds her grandmother’s hand, the weekend flew by at the resort now she is at her grandmother’s house saying goodbye. “Grandma, I will be busy for the next few weeks but as soon as I can make time I will come to visit. If you need anything though please call me.”

   “Don’t worry about me Sara! I always have the Hong family next door they come to check up on me regularly. Ever since I tutored that boy of theirs when he was in Middle School they are like family.”

   “How is Hong Yang anyway? He must be in college by now.”

    Woo Hua’s face lights up she loves that boy like he was her own grandson, “Little Yang is attending A University he entered this Fall with a full scholarship!”

   Sara remembers the short roly poly boy when he would come over for his tutoring session she smiles he always had a meat bun stuffed in his mouth. “That’s great!”

   “Yes, he turned into quite the handsome young man.”

   Sara feels pretty sure her grandmother is exaggerating then she shows her a picture of Hong Yang. Sara’s mouth hangs open, “Grandma are you sure this is the little fatty?”

    Woo Hua gives her a stern look, “Sara!”

   Sara starts laughing, “It is hard to believe this is the same boy who used to need to take a break from study every half hour for a snack! He looks like a celebrity! How did he grow so tall and i don’t remeber those dimples.”

   “He went through a growing spurt in High School and joined the baseball team. Little Yang is in the acting department at University, his mother said he is very talented.”

   “Well be sure and tell the Hongs I said hello. I need to catch the bus back to the city or I will miss the last one.” Sara hugs her grandmother then rolls her small piece of luggage to the door.

  “Call me when you arrive home Sara.”

   “I will Grandma.”

   Once on the bus headed to Catang City she closes her eyes. As she drifts off to sleep she thinks the weekend would have much more relaxing if she had never run into that man with the dark aura.

      Everywhere she and her grandmother went she pictured him popping up and saying he was going to kill her for witnessing him and the Frenchman at the hot spring.

   When she arrives at her small apartment she shares with her best friend Bi she immediately falls onto her bed. She needs to get up early to bake a cake before work.

   Sara tosses and turns during the night imagining being caught by the dangerous man. His handsome face is contorted in anger as he instructs his beastly looking henchman in a cold voice, “Kill her!”

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