Chen Jianyu nods then the three of them walk into the banquet, Lau An’s eyes widen in amazement she has been to many banquets in the Crescent Moon Hotel but this is the most magnificently decorated room she has seen. Nuan has a faint smile as expected of LE the atmosphere reflects the company both luxurious and awe inspiring. “I’m impressed CEO Chen the décor is breathtaking.”
“Thank you, we tried to work with the representative of LE to give them the ambiance they requested.”
Chen Jianyu glances around the room this is the first time he has seen this room arranged in this opulent style. The spacious room has been transformed, elegant ancient design, the crystal chandeliers have been covered with red silk, various colored lanterns are hanging down, the round tables are covered with back and white tablecloths. Tonight silk screens with ancient embroidered panels are to the sides depicting various scenes of majestic landscapes and one screen has a golden dragon that appears alive. Each table has a fresh centerpiece with red and white lotus flowers, I will have to commend the staff. The colors are vibrant and the buffet looks tempting, the large ice sculpture of a crane is eye catching.
There is an ensemble playing traditional Chines instruments giving the guests the impression they are attending a feast in the Emperor’s palace. Sun Yichen told him earlier they hired the famous Xuhan dancers to perform later for the entertainment of the guests.
A beautiful tall woman wearing a green cheongsan smiles at the group offering them champagne, Lau An and Nuan take a glass from the tray, Chen Jianyu waves his hand he wants a whiskey on the rocks. “Lau An I will leave you to get acquainted with Fan Nuan I need to talk to my brother.”
Lau An frowns I don’t want to be left with this wench! She hurries to keep up with him hampered by her 10 cm heels wishing her dress wasn’t so damn tight. She wore this black dress because it highlights her curvaceous body but Chen Jianyu didn’ seem to notice, now he basically ditched her.
Nuan wants to laugh that woman has attached herself tonight to CEO Chen but he has been ignoring her presence. She looks around for the Leng brothers when she doesn’t see them she wanders over to Chen Jianyu.
Chen Jianyu had casually taken a few long strides over to Chen Huan who is engaged in conversation with Henri Armand and Elena. He sarcastically quips as he surveys the crowd, “Have you seen the Emperor arrive yet?”
Henri laughs, “CEO Leng is making quite a statement with the décor I would say.”
Huan interjects laughing it is rare to see his brother making jokes, “Sun Yichen called the production department to borrow some props from ‘The Shameless Emperor and His Favorite Concubine’. ha ha..” He points to the embroidered screens, “You might recognize them from the drama. Speaking of which have you seen CEO Leng?”
“No we just arrived, Jianyu have you met Elena Narilov? She is in the city to appear tomorrow night at the Pushong Ballet.”
Chen Jianyu lazily sips his whiskey as he observes the elegant woman standing next to Henri Armand. then greets her, “I am looking forward to your performance. I saw you dance in Berlin last year when your ballet troupe was touring in Europe. I was very impressed with you and your partner, will he be performing with you?”
Elena eyes sparkle as she stares at Chen Jianyu’s handsome angular face thinkinghe has a cold aloof air about him much more so than his brother,Henri’s friend. Somehow his detached look makes him extremely handsome.
Quickly coming back to her senses she answers him in a thick Russian accent, “No he remained in Moscow his wife was hospitalized recently. My partner will be one of your local talents, Shirong.”
“ Zhang Shirong?”
Smiling brightly at Chen Jianyu she asks, “Do you know him?” Elena didn’t receive much information about him. She will meet him to practice in the morning, according to her agent he is well acquainted with the dance they are to perform.
Chen Jianyu has a faint smile bored at the scene already, he only made an appearance because he wants to see what Leng Shuai plans. This could be fun teasing this haughty woman with Henri I wonder if he will show any concern? He questions Lau An, “Doesn’t Zhang Shirong work at your Morning Glory Cafe?”
“…” Elena’s face darkens, is this a joke? My partner for the performance is an amateur who works at a damn cafe? How could they insult me like this!
Lau An knows Shirong’s father only has him working at the cafe to punish him while he is on school break he has been studying dance since he was a boy, his talent is undeniable. But she doesn’t like the way Elena is hungrily looking at Chen Jianyu so she slyly responds, “Yes, he works for me at my cafe doing menial tasks”Actually he practically runs the cafe if it weren’t for him being both efficient and a flower boy half the clientele wouldn’t come.
Elena’s temper is about to flare when Huan tries to smooth the situation, it is obvious An saw Elena’s interest in his brother. He sighs how long has An been at Jianyu’s side when will she realize he has no interest in her. “Elena, Zhang Shirong studies under the Dance Master Daniel I heard his father disagrees with his choice to study dance and forced him to do menial work.”
When she hears the name Daniel she relaxes, that arrogant man only takes a couple students so Shirong must be talented. When we practice tomorrow if I am not satisfied I will merely refuse to perform.
While they are discussing the balletRui enters the banquet and Chen Jianyu motions him over to them. Rui impatiently scans the women working at the banquet trying to locate LiMei then takes a few long strides over to the group.
Rui’s flawless features and noble appearance attract Fan Nuan’s attention. She wonders who this extraordinarily handsome man could be,she nudges Chen Jianyu they have become friends since the start of the Shingu project. He smirks that cold bastard always attracts women but he avoids them like they are a bunch of annoying flies.
“Rui congratulations on being named CEO of Qiao.”
“Thanks Jianyu.” He scans the room again, where is the little girl?
Lau An heard from her father that Rui finally succeeded in grabbing the CEO position, “Rui I am very happy for you.” She affectionately touches his sleeve.The temperature drops surrounding the group as Rui’s eyes narrow and black lines form on his head while pushing her hand away. If it weren’t for her father and his family colluding together five years ago… well what is done is done. If they hadn’t framed me I wouldn’t have met LiMei I would have married this scheming bitch. Maybe it is all fate. He returns to his emotionless appearance his tone is dismissive,“I’m going to the bar.”
Elena watches the interaction recognizing Rui immediately Rashid gave her a picture of him and Feng LiMei before he left Pushong City with Hamid. Rashid contacted her when he was unable to eliminate them himself assuming since she works for Viktor, Amir couldn’t trace their deaths back to him so he angrily summoned her to the city.
She confidently makes her plans as Rui leaves the group, he is her target for tonight, the banquet has just begun she has time to take care of him. She would like more information about him,Rashid was in a rush and there is little personal information about what type of woman he likes. Elena casually asks Henri,“Do you know that man?”
Henri sips his red wine,“ Qiao Rui? Why are you interested?”
She smooths her dress then flips her long dyed red hair coquettishly answering, “Henri darling I’m bored in this small city and he is quite handsome, is he married?” Elena thinks this job should be pleasurable the man is tall and well built exuding a strong masculine aura just her type…pity he will die tonight.
Chen Huan laughs, “Qiao Rui… that cold bastard? Ha ha… don’t waste your time Elena that man has ice water running through his veins. I have never seen him look twice at any woman since University.”
He glances the direction of the bar then flirts with her attempting to grap her wrist but she casually touches her hair with that hand not allowing him to touch the jade bracelet on her wrist. Chen Huan the playboy that he is shamelessly ignores her evasive action. “But I appreciate beautiful women why don’t you consider spending time with me while you are in Pushong City.”
Lau An is in a trance when they were young he followed her around and was eager for any attention she gave him. Furrowing her brow she suddenly feels very uncomfortable that he treated her like air a moment ago.
Now that he has risen to become CEO and owns two hospitals she wishes she hadn’t followed her father’s orders at the time setting him up to be disgraced. His reaction was unexpected although a few months ago he made it clear he no longer had any connection to her she expected he would at least thank her for her words.
Although they aren’t together any more he did care about her when they were younger. Lau An couldn’t miss his fleeting look of disgust as he removed her hand from his sleeve. Regaining her composure hoping no one else saw his unsightly expression she exclaims, “Have you seen CEO Leng?”
Chen Huan observes the people in the room, “No which is odd, I saw his brother Xiaosi.”
Fan Nuan interjects, “Leng Xiaosi will be representing the Leng Family tonight as far as I know.”
Across the room LiMei walks up to Chu Nancy, ”What do you want me to do?”
Chu Nancy irritated at LiMei’s late arrival shoves a tray in her hand , “Where the hell were you?”
“I didn’t know where the banquet room was located.”
“…”Chen Nancy looks down at the petite girl with an unhappy expression, seriously why is this incompetant moron working at this banquet! Miss Bing said the boss specifically asked for her to work it. She better not screw it up or I will make her pay if we lose the big tip because of her! She spits out,”Just walk around and see if anyone needs a drink, be careful if you spill on any of these women believe me you can’t afford the consequences.”
Ignoring Chen Nancy’s obvious displeasure she responds smiling,“Okay.” LiMei feels confident she has been a server before although never at a banquet but how hard can that be.”
As she walks past the buffet her stomach begins to grumble her eyes light up, wow that food looks really delicious the stupid tyrant went all out for this banquet. As she stares at the food wondering if anyone would notice her taking a shrimp a young woman in a sparkling silver dress almost knocks into LiMei’s tray. She quickly turns avoiding the collision. The woman snarls at her, “Slut watch where you are going!”
“…” Remembering Chu Nancy’s warning LiMei politely smiles, “I’m sorry Miss my fault! Would you like a glass of champagne?” She reaches out with a glass of champagne towards the woman whose face reflects her anger. “How did Yichen hire an incompetent like you.” The woman intentionally pretends to stumble knocking into the full tray of drinks in LiMei’s hand sneering at her knowing the girl will be drenched in a moment. LiMei swivels quickly turning the tray to stabilize the shaking glasses on it. Unable to catch one glass the champagne spills towards LiMei but she agilely moves sideways avoiding being splashed.
LiMei sighs at the woman’s undisduised anticipation of her being humiliated. I have only been here five minutes and already my patience is tested. Almost ready to retaliate she thinks about Rui I can’t embarrass him by calling attention to myself he has arrived probably. She decides the best thing to do is walk away from the woman before she does something she will regret. Seeing LiMei’s indolent attitude Zangwa Vivian raises her hand to slap LiMei and a man grabs her hand before it lands on LiMei. He growls, “Leave.”
“Who are you? Do you know who I am?”
Leng Shuai’s voice sounds low and threatening as he squeezes her wrist,“I don’t care who you are I told you to leave… unless you want to be escorted out.”
Rubbing her red wrist Zangwa Vivian humphs as she walks away with no intention of being ordered out by some random man. This banquet room is huge he won’t see me again, I’m not going anywhere if my father finds out I was kicked out there will be hell to pay.
After she storms off Leng Shuai has a devilish grin as he leans down brushing LiMei’s hair behind her ear whispering, “I like you better with green eyes. ”
Glancing around to make sure Chu Nancy didn’t see that scene she carefully sets the tray of drinks on a small table then trying to be inconspicuous she pulls him behind a pillar by the hem of his suit coat. He looks at her with a roguish smile, “Did you miss me?” as he pushes her into the pillar surrounding her with his long arms. LiMei’s eyes have a murderous glint as she pushes him back with her small fists,“Leng Shuai who asked you to butt in?”
He teases LiMei enjoying her angry expression, “That obnoxious woman was harassing the wait staff I can’t have that you might sue.”
LiMei scoffs at his ridiculous statement,“That woman is a guest of your cousin’s how can you kick her out? Won’t your boss get angry with you?”
“…” He presses her more tightly up against the pillar their faces almost touching, She is so cute… such a little dummy she still doesn’t know I am the Boss. “I am in charge of security and the unruly woman was causing a scene.”
She rolls her eyes as she tries to push him away,“Whatever… let me get back to work.” That cousin boss of his gives him too much free rein!
He lifts her chin staring into her eyes with an accusing tone he whispers dangerously, “I am going to need to punish you for not answering my call unless you have a good excuse.”
“I was busy.”
“…” She thinks that is a good excuse? I was busy? “Don’t you want your necklace back?”
LiMei puffs up her cheeks her eyes flash a blazing light as she raises her voice, “Leng Shuai! You said you would give the jade necklace back to me, I did everything you asked of me so I want it!”
His lips curl up in a devilish grin pretending as he looks past her shoulder, “You should lower your voice I think I see the woman in charge is walking this direction.”
LiMei kicks him in the leg then wiggles out of his arms her voice low, “Stay away from me I need to get back to work. We can talk about it another time.”
His handsome face has an amused expression and he chuckles watching her as she picks up the tray and moves through the crowd. I need to find a way to keep you by my side as a little pet you are too funny.
Meanwhile Rui has navigated through the entire room unable to find LiMei. He has seen everyone he didn’t want to see and not the one he wants to see. Dammit! Rui stands at the bar looking around the room, Fuck this stupid banquet! I need to find LiMei and get out of here, but where is she? He orders a whiskey on the rocks then gulps it down. “I will have another.”
Elena took the opportunity to find him when a few more people wandered over to talk to the Chen brothers. She stands next to him at the bar motioning to the bartender to come over then strikes up a conversation, “Qiao Rui I was at an art gallery today and I saw the collection of ancient jade artifacts you loaned them, you collect jade pieces? I noticed the rare jade necklace from the Tang Princess Taiping”
Qiao Rui’s deep eyes have a slight glimmer of appreciation for Elena that piece wasn’t labeled as such at his insistence. He wants people to enjoy the imperial jade necklace for the pure beauty of the jade not the origin. “You have a discerning eye, Miss Narilov.”
“I studied Art History at Moscow University focusing on the ancient art of China before I became a professional ballerina. I have a small collection of jade jewelry.” She alluringly pushes her wavy hair back complimenting him, “Nothing compared to your outstanding collection of course.” She holds out her wrist, “This white jade bracelet was given to me by an admirer when I first began my career and its beauty sparked my interest in jade pieces.”
He doesn’t pay attention to her he is distracted looking through the crowd for LiMei. She takes this chance to reach over and takes Rui’s hand, “If you touch the jade you can feel the energy it possesses.” When he realizes the woman placed his hand on hers he jerks his hand away but his long slender fingers brush the jade bracelet. A weird sensation runs through his body as though he doesn’t want to let go. He uses his internal energy to suppress the feeling surging through his blood. Elena smiles innocently showing a row of white teeth, “Did you feel the energy?”
Rui’s face remains emotionless although a strange shiver went down his spine as he touched the bracelet and his qi was disturbed. “No I didn’t, but the bracelet is quite beautiful, from the engravings it appears to be from the Chinguan Province during the Han Dynasty.
Elena momentarily has a strange expression in her eyes but she quickly returns to normal. I know when a man touches this bracelet he will have a surge of desire rise up in him imprinting his mind as the poison enters his skin. Is he lying? I especially wore this tonight as Rashid instructed but he doesn’t seem to be responding as if he has never seen it before.
LiMei has been looking through the crowded banquet room for Rui as she circulates with the tray of drinks. Across the room she notices Rui sitting at the bar, excited she wants to surprise him then her smile disappears…he is holding a beautiful woman’s hand and the woman is smiling at him. Who is she?