Wrong Turn

LiMei walks along the path, it is well lit so she can easily see her way, the distance is a bit farther than she expected it to be. A large mountain range looms in the background a few mountaintops are covered in snow. The pathway weaves through a forest, she can hear the sounds of animals howling, it is in a wilderness setting she isn’t surprised. 

     She laughs to herself thinking of the forest Kuang Fu had dropped her into when she was training, no nicely lit pathway there..haha.

     LiMei can see the hot spring up ahead the steam rising from it, there are two signs one for the women’s area and one for the men’s. The two area seem to be divided by a natural rock formation, that’s cool. LiMei goes into a small building marked women’s inside there are towels a dressing area and showers. 

     She takes off her track suit and white baseball style cap she wore then stands under the shower. When she is finished she wraps a towel around to go to the hot spring. She was going to leave her underwear on if anyone else was there but it is so late she is the only person.

     Grabbing a bottle of water from a cooler she heads over to the hot spring. LiMei  drops her towel slipping into the water. Ahhh..heaven, she can feel the heat from the water all the way to her bones. Her muscles are tired from dragging Rui, she isn’t in top form since she moved to Pushong or it would have been easy to lift him. She leans her head back and takes her hair out of the pony tail so her ink black hair cascades down her back into the water.

    Chen Jianyu walks along the path thinking how far is the damn hot spring? It has been years since he came here but he thought it was closer. He can hear the night sounds coming from the forest, he grew up sheltered in the city so he is a little unnerved thinking an animal might rush out of the forest and attack him. He decides his fear is ridiculous, they wouldn’t have a resort where there are wild animals.

     He walks by the women’s area it looks like there is a woman in the hot spring, he can only see her long hair from where his walking. He shakes his head, it is rather  late for a woman to venture out maybe her husband is in the other side of the hot spring.

     He goes into the men’s changing room, he exits wearing only a towel around his waist. LiMei can see his back as he walks over beyond the rocks, she is admiring his physique, he is tall and trim, she wasn’t expecting to see anyone else here this late. Closing her eyes she forgets about the man, LiMei thinks about Rui. 

     She will need to protect him from his brother, when he finds out his scheme failed he will definitely form another plot. Rui is too gentle of a man to deal with the scheming of these unscrupulous people, she will teach them not to mess with him again. She won’t kill them but she will make sure they don’t bother her Rui again.

     Chen Jianyu takes off his towel sinking into the hot spring, he has his bottle of wine on the edge. He didn’t bring a glass so he tips the bottle to his mouth. This is exactly what he needed! His mind needs to relax then he can focus on the negotiations on Monday. He looks up at the moon he can’t remember the last time he was able to get outdoors and enjoy a moonlit night.

     After this deal is completed with the Zhao Corporation he is going to his family’s  resort outside Bashu City sit on  the beach, eat fresh seafood. His mind has been in chaos lately over that damn girl, if the lead Wang Li got from the cab company doesn’t have a good result he has exhausted his ideas for finding that girl. There is always Xiaobo but he is busy helping Han Weisheng right now. 

     Why does his mind keep returning to her...she bewitched him! He drinks the wine letting the heat of the water relax him.

     LiMei soaks for awhile she is beginning to feel sleepy she should return soon. Chen Jianyu is ready to leave he has finished the wine, between the two bottles of wine and the relaxing effect of the hot spring he is feeling a little drunk. It is also getting windy and the temperature is dropping, he can’t afford to miss the meeting on Monday, old man Zhao has been as patient as he will be changing the meeting time twice. He can’t catch even a cold.

     They both enter their respective changing rooms, shower and put on their clothes. LiMei dries her hair with a hair dryer provided and puts her cap on, she grabs a water she is thirsty from sitting in the hot water of the hot spring. Chen Jianyu has started walking in a leisurely pace down the path headed for the resort, he wishes he had got a water from the cooler he is thirsty.

     LiMei sees a man in front of her walking slowly, is he drunk? It isn’t her business, she wants to get into her bed and sleep it has been a long day. As she approaches him she is going to nod and keep going but as she does he grabs her arm lightly, it startles her. 

     Before she says anything in a hoarse voice he says, “Miss do you have another bottle of water? I’m very thirsty.” He sees her holding a water bottle.

     She has her cap down so he can’t see her face well. In a soft voice she says, “I don’t, but if you don’t mind drinking from mine you can have some of this one.” Chen Jianyu is dying of thirst he doesn’t even care at this point he politely says , “Thank you.” LiMei hands him the water. Chen Jianyu drinks from the bottle, water has never tasted so good.

   It is beginning to get very windy the lights that are hung on the pathway are swaying, suddenly a tree nearby is uprooted falling onto the lights short circuiting all of them, the lights along the pathway go out instantly.

    “Fucking Shit!” Chen Jianyu almost drops the bottle in his hand. “How the fuck are we supposed to find our way back?”

     LiMie wants to laugh the man stands 185 cm tall and right now he sounds like a frightened little boy.

     “We should stay together I have a flashlight on my phone, don’t you also?”

    “ WelI umm..I didn’t bring my phone.” he was concerned with the wine and snacks at the time and didn’t bother to put his cell in his pocket.

     “…”

     “Yours should be good, we just need to walk closely together.”

     LiMie looks at her battery she has 67% left. Hopefully that is enough. “When we get closer I will call the resort to send someone for us but there is no reception out this far.”

     Chen Jianyu is pissed he didn’t bring his phone. “Alright.”

    “Hold my hand.” LiMei reaches out her tiny hand towards him.

     Chen Jianyu takes her hand. It is so small in his, he looks down at her she is slender the track suit is baggy on her, he can’t see her face because of the cap being pulled down. He isn’t sure if this is appropriate but it can’t be helped. The light from her flashlight is not that bright, it must be a cheap phone, but the track suit she is wearing is a name brand. Who is this girl? 

     They walk along the pathway silently, LiMei is holding the flashlight in her free hand, the stream of light is sufficient but not great. After they walk for awhile she feels they should be getting closer to the resort but she only sees forest in front of them. The phone battery has dropped to 54%, this isn’t good. 

     He seems calm now she doesn’t want to worry him but she is afraid they took a wrong turn and are in the nature trail part of the resort. Could the wind have spun the signs around?

     “Sir.”

   “ Chen Jianyu.”

     Oh Shit! She never took a good look at him concentrating on lighting the way, it can’t be! It is true enemies are sure to meet on a narrow road. She involuntarily squeezes his hand. What the hell is he doing here? LiMei calms herself, he didn’t recognize her, she just needs to get back to the resort before he does. She pulls her cap down further.

     She tries to disguise her voice, maybe he doesn’t even remember her at all and she is being paranoid. “We took a wrong turn, I don’t have enough battery on my phone to light the way back. We should find a place to rest until morning.”

     Chen Jianyu looks down at the petite girl beside him, “What?”, He noticed she tightened her grip on his hand she must be frightened. He calms down, “We were on the path we should keep walking.”

     “I think the wind blew down the sign we entered the hiking area.”

     Chen Jianyu has never been in the woods in his life, now he is stuck here with a girl. He wants to act like he knows what to do but he has no idea.

     LiMie decides to take charge of the situation she can’t see his face but is sure he has never been in the forest before.”I went to Wilderness Camp in the Summer when I was growing up I can make a fire so we will be warm. It will be light in a few hours we can walk back then.”

     Chen Jianyu is feeling helpless. “I will get some wood. Shine your flashlight this direction.”

     As she shines it in his direction she gets a good look at his face it is the beast, she would like to seek revenge for the marks he left on her neck but she decides this isn’t the time. She is starving she ate hours ago her stomach is grumbling.

     Chen Jianyu brings back some branches and twigs.

     “Do you have a lighter?”

     “No. I thought you did when you said you would make a fire.”

     “Do you have a knife then ?” She thought he would have a lighter remembering the faint smell of cigarette smoke when she was close to him that night.

     “I have a pocket knife”. He brought it to slice the apple he brought with him to the hot spring.

   “Give it to me.” She opens it up, running her finger down the blade it is small but sharp. “This will do.”

     Chen Jianyu thinks this girl’s bossy tone sounds familiar.He would like to get a better look at her face but her cap is pulled down.

     LiMei looks through the wood he gathered, okay, this small cedar log is dry might work. She finds a piece of a cedar branch to use as a spindle, this is going to be a pain in the ass but at least he had a knife.

     “Pile the branches and small logs in a pyramid shape I am going to try to get a spark to start a fire”, she cuts a V shape in the log then takes the spindle spinning it as fast as she can using friction to create a spark in the whole she cut in the log.

     Chen Jianyu is watching her, he wants to laugh as if that is going to start a fire, does she think she is in some movie. Suddenly a spark is created and catches fire she places the small log in the stack of wood. Chen Jianyu’s eyes can’t believe she actually did it.

     She put some small twigs to catch the fire faster, then sits down with her arms around her knees waiting for the flames to get bigger, at least it will be warmer with a fire. She is so hungry.

     LiMei doesn’t say anything to Chen Jianyu she is ignoring him. The fire is starting to get a nice size, She can hear rushing water there must be a stream nearby, maybe she could catch some fish, she is now thanking Kuang Fu for giving her survival training.

     “Hey Chen Jianyu!”

     He is staring into the fire still thinking about her making it with a fucking stick and log. “Yes?”

     “I’m going to see if there is a stream nearby I hear water, I want some fish.”

     How can she hear water he doesn’t hear anything, is she crazy? “I think you should stay here it will be light in about five hours.”

     “I wasn’t asking for permission, I’m telling you where I’m going.”

     “I should go with you then, you shouldn’t go by yourself.”

     “What could you do?”

     “…”

     “You need to watch the fire. Do not!..I repeat, do not let that fire go out keep putting wood on it.” No way is she doing that again her hands are raw. She is going to put them in the cold water of the stream

     In the firelight he sees her leaving, a slender girl in a pink and white track suit with a white baseball cap stomping off with a stream of light from her flashlight. No pampered girl staying at the resort could do what she just did. I bet she is an employee and came up to the hot spring late at night thinking no one would be here. His lips curl up in a smile, interesting girl.

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