Emmi Needs Money

  Inside the Chen Mansion, the aroma of the fragrant congee wafts out from the kitchen as Emmi walks through the dining room. Wheeling a suitcase filled with the clothes she took from her cousin Ji’s closet into the kitchen, she feels a little guilty. Her cousin, Chen Ji is in Thailand negotiating a contract and won’t return until the end of the month. She rationalizes the situation to relieve her guilt, Cousin has so many clothes he hasn’t taken the tags off of yet he won’t notice a few missing.

     Emmi walks over to Grandma Kang and picks up a piece of green pepper off the cutting board. “Smells delicious!”

   “I made chicken and ginger congee, eggs with tomato, rice and the scallion pancakes. I packed an insulated container, it is over on the far counter. I put in some vegetable buns your friend can have for lunch.”

  “Oh..” I didn’t think about lunch, I will be gone all day. “So thoughtful of you! Thanks so much!”

   Grandma Kang can’t help but think of Emmi’s mother, the Young Miss is so much like her mother when she was young. Beautiful..kind.. As tears form in her eyes thinking of how she was mistreated then passed on early. Grandma Kang turns towards the door wiping her eyes when Butler Han comes into the kitchen, “Miss are you ready to return to University?”

   “Yes, but first I forgot something at my studio. We need to stop by there first.”

   “I will pull the car around.”

     Emmi follows him outside, turning around waving at Grandma Kang who is standing in the doorway of the kitchen. Once gets into the backseat of the black Maybach, she hesitates, “Butler Han. Ummm.” Emmi bites her lip deciding if she should be honest with him. She decides he won’t tell anyone. “Actually,my friend is staying at the studio, so I am dropping off the food there.”

    Butler Han responds, “Miss, you needn’t worry your mother asked me to watch out for you. I won’t stir up any unnecessary trouble..”

    Relieved she can count on him she smiles, “I knew I could trust you! So after I drop off the food, we need to stop by Dr. Liu’s clinic. I have some medicinal herbs for him.”

    Butler Han pulls up to the edge of the woods where the road stops and Emmi gets out of the car, “I won’t be long.”

    When she enters the studio she sees Zhen Sihao has his eyes closed laying on the daybed . Should I wake him? The food would be better hot. He is paying me a lot of money for the week. She places his breakfast on a small wooden small table then takes out a pair of black athletic pants and  gray cashmere sweater from the suitcase. These look like they should fit, cousin is a little shorter but not much…and this man looks like his build is similar, maybe a little more muscular…. the home clothes shouldn’t fit too badly. 

   Holding the clothes in her hand Emmi touches his shoulder, before she can say ‘wake up’  his large hand  grips her neck squeezing until Emmi can’t breathe. Zhen Sihao’s eyes are blazing, staring at her as though with cold eyes as though he is in a trance. Emmi drops the clothes onto the floor as she gasps, “AHHHH.. KEKE..” then puts her hand on his trying to loosen his hand from around her neck. Emmi’s eyes are watering and turning red, I’m gonna dieeel! He suddenly comes out of his daze then abruptly let’s her go. Catching her 6cm heels on the quilt hanging off the bed, she stumbles backwards away from the bed. Coughing while holding her neck, she has a terrified expression as she looks at him in shock. Her voice hoarse from the pressure he exerted on her throat she spits out, “Are you..you crazy!”

   “You shouldn’t sneak up on a person.”

   “I didn’t! I was waking you up to eat!”

    Unreasonable psycho! She doesn’t want to deal with him, what can I do? I will just avoid him. I need the money he offered to pay for the week. Still rubbing her neck, she points to the  clothes on the floor and the table with the food laid out. After getting a bottle of water to try and soothe her throat she shoots daggers at him with her eyes then storms over to the shelf where she keeps her medicinal herbs.Emmi wonders why she bothered to save him as she packs several  jars of herbs in her backpack. Just think of your tuition..

  He rubs his chin as he watches Emmi, hard to believe this is the same girl in the bunny pajamas. She is wearing a dark blue dress that accentuates her tiny waist and provides an alluring contrast with her snow white skin. She has her long black hair loosely curled and is wearing delicate makeup…the little thing looks… breathtakingly beautiful.

   Emmi feels his eyes on her and she whirls around, her voice sounds raspy, “What are you looking at?”

  “Where are you going?”

  “I have a presentation at school today not that it is any of your business.” She clears her throat, “Now thanks to you I can barely talk. I’m leaving. ” She points her slender finger at the clothes on the ground.”Also, there will be an extra charge for the clothes.You can see the tags are still on them . I will give you a 50% discount, I doubt you could afford the full price so I am giving you a break. ” I wasn’t going to charge you but I am really pissed off!

She is almost at the door when he stands up holding the walking stick in one hand to support himself and the quilt in his other hand to cover his lower half. “Stop.” He has a demanding tone, “You need to buy me a phone so I can contact my work.” He wants one that is untraceable- a burner phone. “Just get me a cheap prepaid phone at a convenience store.”

   “ Forget it!I don’t have any extra money. You can use my phone when I get back.” Why would I do him any favors, if it weren’t for the 8000 yuan I would kick him out now..

   “Aren’t you selling those medicinal herbs in your hand?” He decides to point out the money he will pay so she will do it. “Once I have a phone I can transfer the 8000 yuan to you on WeChat.”

   Emmi perks up when he mentions transferring the money, then raises an eyebrow,, “Okay but the money for the phone and clothes is extra, not included in the 8000 yuan.”

    He smiles looking at her puffing out her cheeks with an aggrieved expression, he likes to see her angry expression, it is really cute. “I haven’t received my salary this month, I might need to pay you in installments. The 8000 yuan is  all my savings.” 

   Emmi softens her gaze, “You are this old and you only have managed to save 8000 yuan?”

   “…”   Looking at the girl’s deep green eyes full of pity Zhen Sihao doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, he just made a record breaking billion dollar deal.

 “Fine.” She forgets she is mad at him for choking her after hearing how poor he is.Maybe he lives in a dangerous neighborhood and needs to be on guard for someone attacking him when he is sleeping. “I am leaving, don’t answer the door. I don’t need any more problems than I have now. If that old fart thinks he is getting my …anyway. just.don’t answer the door. Oh. and don’t get your wounds wet, I can change the bandage and clean you up when I get home.”She teases, “No charge that is included in the 8000 yuan. haha..”

 Zhen Sihao has a smile that goes all the way to his eyes as he watches Emmi leave. No charge..hahah.  He touches his face, whatever medicinal herbs she applied to my injuries appear to be working rather well.  He slowly walks over to the shelf where Emmi stores her herbs. He picks up one reading the label, Interesting.

   Looking over at the variety of steaming dishes on the table stimulates his appetite.  His thin lips curl up as he sits down to eat. I’m surprised the little miser didn’t charge me extra for meals..haha… 

  Emmi walks back to the car, as she gets into the backseat she puts her backpack with the medicinal herbs on the floor. After she buckles her seatbelt she apaologizes, “Sorry it took me so long.”

  “To Dr. Liu’s clinic then?”

   “No. I almost forgot the clinic is closed on Monday morning, he will be home until noon.”

   Butler Han turns the car around and takes a side road that leads up to the highway. 

    When they arrive at Dr. Liu’s home, Emmi knocks on the door and his wife answers, “ Emmi, I haven’t seen you in a while. Come in, he is in his study..”

   “Thank you Auntie Liu.”  As she follows her,she notices a new photo of their son in a silver picture frame on the table and picks it up for a closer look.“When will Brother Ling come back from abroad.” She stares at the slender man wearing a white coat standing next to an elderly man. Her heart skips a beat, so handsome. He hasn’t changed since the last time I saw him. No..he is even more handsome!

    Mrs. Lui’s face lights up at the mention of her only son. “Wednesday..He graduated a month ago but he has been traveling.”

   Emmi tries to conceal her inner joy at the prospect of seeing the outstanding man of her dreams again. She casually asks,  “Oh.Is he going to work at the clinic with Dr. Liu?”

   “I don’t think so. We want him to stay in Huangdan but he has his heart set on research. You attend A University right?”

  “Yes.”

   “ Ling is doing a series of lectures starting on Thursday..”

   Emmi’s green eyes light up, she has had a crush on Liu Ling since the first time she saw him at Dr. Liu’s Clinic. Her grandfather brought her along when he delivered some medicinal herbs, she was in Middle School at the time. Unable to contain her excitement knowing she can see him on campus her eyes sparkle,“I will look forward to attending his lecture!”

   Mrs. Liu has a puzzled expression, “Aren’t you studying Fashion Design?’

   Emmi blushes, “Well yes, but…”  Dr. Liu walks out from his study and Emmi smiles, “Dr. Liu,I brought the herbs I told you about. She opens her backpack, “The Nindrus Griyo is especially potent, I used the method grandfather taught me and the roots are very thick. Here, smell.”

  Emmi hands one of the roots to Dr. Liu  and Mrs. Liu holds her nose, “I will leave you to your business.” She leaves the living room fanning herself,  potent? Stinky is more like it!

    “I am impressed. What else did you bring?”

    Emmi takes out the other medicinal herbs she brought and they discuss the price. The doctor is very satisfied with their quality. “Girl, you should consider studying traditional medicine. With the foundation your grandfather gave you I think you could do well.”

   She waves her hand,“Thanks Dr. Liu but it is more of a hobby. I want to be a fashion designer.”

  “I was thinking if you are interested Ling could show you around the new research facility by the University. He could tell you about the study program, You might find it interesting.”

  “Well, yeah..  I should keep my options open! I would really like that!  Are you sure he wouldn’t mind?” Oh My God! A personal tour..spending time with him..I could treat him to a meal..

    After they finish discussing the medicinal herbs she will bring him next week Dr. Liu pays Emmi then slowly walks her to the door. “Remember as soon as the Silver Berji blooms you need to pick it and dry the flowers.”

  “I will.” 

   The old doctor watches her leave, What a sweet girl, it is a shame she lives with those damn Chens. They are so wealthy yet the poor girl has to sell medicinal herbs. He shakes his head, it’s a shame her mother passed away so young and now the old man is gone too. She can only rely on herself now.

   In the back seat of the Maybach Emmi opens her backpack and looks at the money Dr. Liu gave her for the medicinal herbs, that should be enough to buy the stupid phone and leave me money for the sewing supplies I need. “Butler Han, could you stop at the convenience store? I need to buy something before school.”

   Emmi leans back on the seat and closes her eyes thinking about Liu Ling..Thursday..! I can see him .. I can really see him again..it has been so long will he even remember me?

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