Navarre

    Li Tian’s mind is in chaos wondering where Song Sara went after she left the Inn. Tang Qiang said she isn’t at the Presidential Suite and Giorgio said she didn’t return to the Lattoria Hotel. Where could she have gone? Is she with that bastard Sun Zhi she likes?

     Weaving through the heavy morning traffic as he enters Milan he impatiently calls Yang James. “Did you get the information I asked for concerning Sun Zhi?”

   “The information I have accumulated so far is very sketchy. He seems to keep an extremely low profile and there are no recent pictures of him at all. A couple blurry side views taken in New York about six months ago. The Sun family is extremely protective of his privacy according to the investigator I hired. Presently from the information I gathered he has been in the United States for the past year.”

  Li Tian raises an eyebrow, so she hasn’t had recent contact with him. “How reliable are the sources?”

  “ I could investigate further, but isn’t one of your bodyguards surnamed Sun? Could he be related?”

   “No. Zheng Tielen recommended him, he knew him from his stint in Chinese Intelligence.”

    “Ex Chinese Intelligence? Why not ask him if any of his contacts can dig up more information. The guy is like a fucking ghost.”

   “That is an excellent idea but right now my focus is on locating Song Sara.”

    Yang James taps his pen on his desk,“The secretary you borrowed from Zhou Jason? She is missing?”

   “Check the Milan Airport and see if she booked a ticket to Catang City or anywhere for that matter.”

   “I will. While you are on the phone your grandfather called me earlier, he was furious. He wanted to know your schedule and when you are returning to Catang.I had no choice but to give him your itinerary.”

  “What do you mean no choice? Who do you fucking work for..me or that old fart!”

  “He said if I didn’t tell him he would immediately halt the Waterfront Development project.”

   Li Tian tightens his hands on the steering wheel. “Well let’s see whose side he takes when I send him the photos!”

    Yang James motions to the stylishly dressed woman entering his office to leave.  “What photos?”

   Li Tian’s phone beeps, he has another call, “I will call you back.”

  He touches his Bluetooth, “Did she come back?”

  Tang Qiang replies, “No, but..”

“I don’t care about anything else. Send the photos you took of you and Long An in bed to my phone.”  

After Tang Qiang hangs up he dejectedly touches his wine soaked phone. Sun Peizhi is smart maybe he can retrieve the photos when he returns.

    Navarre leaves his hotel suite and has an idea. I will call Mathilde, she is the manager of LTJ Milan.

Mathilde is putting on her new Chanel berry red lipstick to meet her friends for lunch when her phone rings. When she sees the caller her heart skips a beat. She sweetly says, “This is a surprise, I thought you were leaving for Paris.”

   “There is a problem and I can’t get a hold of Li Tian. I need you to bring your identification as manager of LTJ Milan to the airport so I can pick up the Midnight Lover Necklace. They are holding my necklace in the security office.”

   “You were stopped by security?”

   “No. I am leaving the hotel now. Li Tian’s assistant had the necklace in her possession and they detained her before she left the country. My driver can pick you up, where do you live.”

   “Why isn’t she with the CEO? The timid mouse I met at the jewelry store stole the Midnight Lover Necklace?

    Navarre’s deep voice sounds agitated, “I don’t know the details. All I know is I need to claim the necklace and catch my plane.”

    Mathilde’s eyes light up, “Of course I will go with you.” She excitedly gives him the address then quickly hangs up. I need to change this dress won’t do!  She  hurriedly picks out a tight fitting designer dress from her closet. After she zips up the back of the red dress she looks in the mirror then smiles satisfied with her alluring appearance. Red definitely is my color..  I didn’t think I would get to see him again before he left Milan.  She sprays the expensive perfume she  recently bought then touches up her makeup. Once she leaves her apartment she calls her friend, “I can’t come to lunch, something imprtant came up.”

  “Are you serious! I went to a great deal of trouble to invite my father’s friend Lorenzo’s young fiancee. I thought you wanted to convince the woman to have her wedding rings designed by LTJ Milan so you would get a huge commission. She won’t like the fact you arranged a meeting then didn’t show up. ”

  She coaxes her friend,  “ Stephie,we can reschedule, make up an excuse, I had a family emergency or my car broke down. You are a good liar..haha..come on… I can’t pass up the opportunity to spend time with Navarre. He is so incredibly sexy and talented.”

“You owe me a dinner then, or a discount next time I come into LTJ. Sweetie, don’t throw yourself at him, have some restraint. Her friend Stephanie believes Mathilde should try a different approach, she has spent over a year trying to seduce him with no results. “I’m telling you Navarre reminds me of my older brother and you have met my sister in law Veronica. Playboys like them always fall for a more innocent shy girl like Veronica. You know how many women surrounded Stefano trying to climb into his bed until she came along.”

“True Stefano and Navarre have similar domineering personalities, but Navarre is an artist, he has a different aesthetic.”

Stephanie plays with the straw in her Mimosa,”If you say so.”

Mathilde confidently sways her hips catching the attention of two men as she walks through the lobby of her exclusive apartment building. Men love my body and my outgoing personality. I really don’t get what Stefano sees in that insipid woman Veronica.

Should I meet him on the sidewalk he sounded in a hurry. 

  Stephanie continues,” Wait. I thought he ignored you every time he came to Milan.. what is going on.”

   “Well, he usually is really busy when he comes to LTJ. Right now he is picking me up to do him a favor. I can spend some time with him and..” She sees a Rolls Royce Phantom pulling up, “He is here. I will tell you about it later.”

“Have fun. I will try to smooth things over at lunch.”

Meanwhile, in the security office Sara has her head resting on her hand waiting for Navarre to arrive. She looks at the clock on the wall. She hesitates then asks the annoyed looking man sitting behind the desk, “Excuse me. If you detain me and I miss my flight will I get a refund for my ticket?”

   The Security Chief looks at the multi  million dollar necklace on his desk then at Sara, “You would need to discuss that with the airline.”

  Worried because she doesn’t have much time before the flight should start boarding, Sara responds, “Didn’t the designer say he is on his way to pick up the necklace? He didn’t say I stole it did he? I think you should let me go so I don’t miss my flight. I can’t afford another plane ticket.”

  “He only said he would come to the airport to pick up the necklace.He didn’t say anything else.”

  “Can you call him back and ask him if he knows me? He is aware the Sapphire and Diamond necklace was loaned to me to wear.”

   “I need to see proof from him he is the rightful owner and receive his permission in person to release you. Young lady, this is not a small matter since it concerns the Li Group.”

   Sara takes a deep breath, her head is throbbing and she is starving. Considering the situation maybe I tell them to call CEO Li. He can explain the circumstances and I can get my flight home. It is not as though I need to speak to him personally or see him. Why didn’t I immediately return it to him! He knows why it is broken! Well, I can’t change any of the stupid decisions I made lately..not waiting for Sun Peizhi inside the cafe…forcing myself on the CEO..Sara blushes, I have to stop thinking about that!

  I just want to go home! Sara gathers up her courage,“Excuse me.”

   The Security Chief is on his computer then looks over at Sara with a disgruntled expression.“Miss,what is it now. I am busy. The designer should arrive soon to clear up the matter.”

  “I want to make my flight. Call CEO Li, I am his personal assistant. He can clarify the matter with you. “ I give up I am weak and tired. She points to the business card still sitting on his desk.“Call his private number on the black business card.” 

   The man’s vein bulge out on his forehead and he can’t restrain his indignation. He raises his voice, “If that is the case, why the hell didn’t you say you are his assistant that at the beginning!”

   “I didn’t want to bother him.”

   ??? 

   The manly looking woman who first brought Sara to the office is talking to another guard then turns around, What an idiot! Why didn’t the stupid woman say that instead of beating around the bush and taking up the Chief’s time. The woman’s round face turns red and she clenches her meaty fists at her side as she stomps over to where Sara is sitting. She admires the Security Chief and thinks this could reflect poorly on him if the CEO of Li Group allowed Sara to take the necklace. It takes all her willpower not to slap Sara. 

  The Chief can see how angry the red faced guard is and says, “ Marla,you can go back to your post. I can take it from here.” I don’t need that obstinate woman making more problems for me.

  Marla wants to vent for him “But Chief!”

   “I said go.”

  Sara understands she should have told them to begin with so she explains, “I was hesitant to tell you because the CEO is a very busy man. I assumed his manager at LTJ could remedy the situation quickly. I apologize for wasting your time.”

  The Security Chief ignores Sara’s apology and dials the number on the black business card. Before Li Tian answers Navarre and Mathilde come through the door of the office.

   Sara recognizes them and with a look of relief on her face she motions to the Security Chief to hang up wanting to avoid involving Li Tian now that they have arrived. She tells him in a low voice, “Hang up. That LTJ’s manager.”

   The Security Chief hangs up after two rings, he didn’t want to deal with Li Tian. “You came about the necklace?”

   Navarre barely glances at Sara but she can feel the LTJ’s manager’s eyes burning a hole through her.

   The Security Chief calmly holds out his hand to Navarre, “Let me see your identification.” He wants to clear this up as soon as possible.

  Navarre hands his passport to him, “LTJ’s  manager, Mathilde Strauss, can verify I am the designer of this necklace and LTj’s design partner. He wants to cry looking at his precious necklace broken laying on the desk. He glares at Sara who hasn’t looked at him once. Damn careless woman! But… that beautiful face and slender neck…she would be the perfect model for the Competition. He shakes his head, what am I thinking.

  Mathilde approaches the desk when she does she notices the necklace is broken. Two of the rare diamonds are missing, she accusingly looks at the Security Chief, “What happened to the Midnight Lover Necklace!”

   Sara gulps feeling the tension in the room, for a store manager her aura right now is very dark and menacing. Blame your Boss and the people who tried to kill him. Stop looking at me.

  The Security Chief holds out his hand, “Your identification.”

  Mathilde hands him her ID and her badge from LTJ Milan that has her picture on the front.

  He thinks about it for a moment, they obviously recognize the necklace and the woman. The haughty woman’s badge has her picture on it and she has a business card stating she is the manager. He rubs his head, Fuck it that is good enough for me.

    Opening the drawer he takes out a document he prepared when Navarre said he was coming to pick up the necklace. He crosses out designer and writes Manager then initials it.”First. I need you to sign a statement that the necklace belongs to LTJ Milan and I am releasing it to you, Mathilde Strauss the manager of the store.”

   After Mathilde signs the statement he hands the necklace to her bypassing Navarre’s outstretched hand. Mathilde hands the necklace to Navarre and he carefully places it into a velvet case he brought with him.

 The Security Chief looks over at Sara,“What about the woman?”

  Navarre takes Sara’s hand and pulls her up out of the seat. “She is coming with me.”

  “…” Sara nervously looks back at the Security Chief as Navarre drags her along, “I need my purse and passport!’ Once we are outside of this stuffy room I will explain what happened to him. I should have just enough time to make my plane if I run to the gate.

  Navarre stops and waits for the security Chief to hand her the purse, then impatiently opens the office door. Mathilde follows behind them wondering what he is going to do to Sara. The entire trip to the airport he treated me like air and never said a word. He must be extremely angry. Well, he should teach her a lesson for ruining his beautiful necklace. 

 He turns to Mathilde, “You can go.”

 “What? Wait! Should I call the police to have her arrested.”

  Sara stares at Mathilde with a frightened expression, “I didn’t steal the Midnight Lover Necklace, you know CEO Li told me to wear it to the Bellini Reception.”

  Mathilde noticed Navarre’s eyes soften gazing at Sara’s flawless face in the office She suddenly feels upset she didn’t listen to her friend. Is Stephanie right? Do men really prefer this type of innocent looking woman, no makeup.. frumpy clothes. No..and this little slut isn’t innocent she is kept by CEO Li then stole the necklace. Irritated that Navarre has been ignoring her and staring at Sara she questions Sara, “Did he tell you to take the Midnight Lover Necklace back to China? Why aren’t you going on the CEO’s plane?”

  Sara stammers, ‘The CEO well..he..he.. had more business in Milan and my work is finished.”

  This gives Navarre an idea he has a devilish grin on his handsome face. Tian’s phone is off; she can’t call him to help her or the little assistant would have already. I will threaten her with the police so she comes with me to Paris and models my necklace. He stops Mathilde from proceeding with her questions, “I will take care of this matter, didn’t you say you were to meet an important client for lunch?”

    Mathilde’s face pales, I only said that so you would know I thought helping you was more important! “Well, I have time. I think as the manager of LTJ I should notify the authorities.”

   He scowls, “I don’t want you to interfere. I want to handle this personally. You can leave.”

   Technically Navarre is also her boss because of his partnership with Li Tian so Mathilde reluctantly smiles, “If you need any further assistance call me.”

  “En.”

  Once she leaves Sara wants to clarify the situation. “Mr. Navarre I need to catch a plane. I’m sorry your exquisite necklace was broken but you will need to ask CEO Li the details. The CEO is well aware of the necklace’s condition. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances I was unable to return the necklace to him before I came to the airport. I planned on sending it to his office in Catang City once I arrived.”

  Navarre listens then calmly informs Sara, “Unless you want me to call the police and have you arrested you need to accompany me to Paris.”

  Sara is exhausted and not sure she heard him correctly, “What did you say?’

 “I said you are coming with me or going to jail.”

  Sara’s eyes widen when he threatens her with his unreasonable demand, “I’m not going with you anywhere!” She decides she will be on the plane soon anyway “Call the CEO right now! He will explain!”

  Navarre decides to change his approach, the little assistant looks determined to catch her plane.  I don’t want to cause any unnecessary attention in the airport. There might be paparazzi hanging around.“I tried calling CEO Li on the way to the airport, his phone was turned off. I will pay you 50,000 euros. Since my necklace is broken I don’t have time to find a model. I will need to repair it before the Competition which will be held in two days. The necklace is missing two unique Diamonds so I will need to find comparable replacements which will be time consuming. Three days.”

   Sara thinks about his proposition, she is supposed to be in Milan for three more days anyway and that is a lot of money towards her bakery cafe. Zhou Jason isn’t expecting me back until then..hmmm.. “You will buy my ticket to Paris and my return ticket to Catang City?’

  “Of course.”

  “Can you reimburse me for my non refundable ticket I have right now.”

  “Not a problem.”

  “Okay.”

   While walking through the airport to the exit Mathilde realizes his driver brought her to the airport and left. She will need to take a taxi back to her apartment. She sulks thinking about his indifferent and cold attitude. I was doing him a favor, he could at least have had his driver wait for me The more she thinks about it the more she feels she should cover her own ass. The Midnight Lover Necklace is broken, I signed for it and let Song Sara go. I should at the very least alert CEO Li to the situation. She takes out her phone to call Li Tian.

   He is in the elevator of the hotel when his phone rings, why is the manager of LTJ. Milan calling me?  She knows not to call me for unimportant matters. “Speak.”

  “CEO Li..umm.. this is Mathilde Strauss. I thought I should let you know..ahh..  we retrieved the Midnight Lover Necklace from your assistant and it is broken.”

   Li Tian was pushing the button for his floor, “SONG SARA IS WITH YOU?”

   “Well no..she is with Navarre..so is the necklace.”

   “Where? Where are they?”  No! No! She can’t be with that playboy! What if she has a glass of wine!

  “The airport. Security called when she tried to leave the country and they discovered the necklace.”

  “WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THEY CALL ME!”

  He sounds furious and Mathilde feels sweat forming on her forehead, “I..I don’t know. Navarre called me.”

Li Tians aura turns black and his eyes redden with jealous rage Very good..little demoness…  first you ran away from the Inn..then you didn’t want to call me so you had Security call Navarre. How did you have his number? The bastard gave it to you at LTJ?  HA! You think you can run from me little girl? Seduce another man? You don’t have the ability to get away from me in this life! Song Sara you are my.. Li Tian’s woman!! Only mine! 

      Mathilde can feel his suffocating aura through the phone and her knees suddenly become weak. I can hear him breathing.. “CEO Li ? Hello?”

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