The little barbecue restaurant is a short walk around the corner from the hotel. When they enter, an elderly man greets them, “Little Shi who is the beautiful girl?”
Emmi blushes and Han Shi smiles, “Grandpa Wu, this is my friend from University, Chen Emmi.” Emmi says hello and politely bows.
The old man picks up a couple paper menus, “Come, follow me.”
The small restaurant is very busy and all the tables are full. They wind through several tables towards the back to a stairway. Han Shi and Emmi follow behind him up the narrow wooden stairs. There is a short hallway with four doors at the top of the steps. He takes them to a room at the end and opens the door, “ I will send Bingbing right up.”
Emmi looks at Han Shi with a puzzled look on her face. The room has a big window with a little balcony outside, it appears to be one of the small restaurant’s only private rooms.
Noticing the look on Emmi’s face to avert suspicion he says, “We are very lucky, Grandpa Wu must not have a reservation for the room.” Grandpa Wu’s grandson was a subordinate of Han Weisheng’s in the military. When he heard the restaurant was being targeted by a local tyrant demanding protection fees he helped the old man out. He crushed the gang and sent the leader to jail. So when Han Shi comes to eat with friends Grandpa Wu gives him a private room.
Grandpa Wu’s daughter Bingbing carries in a tray with several plates with different barbecued meat on skewers. Two bowls of rice and Long Noodle Soup. Emmi enjoys the barbecue, “I think that is the most tender spicy pork I have ever eaten.” She reaches for her glass of water and gulps it down, her eyes are watering from the heat . While waving her hand in front of her face she sputters,“Wow… haha.. my mouth is on fire.
Han Shi thnks Emmi looks very cute as she puffs out her flushed cheeks, he heatily laughs, “Well I would have warned you that skewer is their signature super spicy pork. But you didn’t give me a chance you put the meat in your mouth so quickly.”
Emily’s face turns bright red, “Haha..weIl, I couldn’t resist when I saw how delicious the glaze looked on the little pieces of pork.” She dabs her mouth with a napkin, “ I will have to come here often when I begin working at the hotel.”
He’s curious why she would want to be a server, she always gave the impression of being a very serious student. “What made you decide to work at the hotel? Won’t working interfere with your school work?”
Since Emily believes he also needs to work to pay his tuition she feels comfortable with him. “No.I am only going to work on the weekend. I have some plans and I need some extra money.” She takes a sip of water, “Like you, I need to pay my tuition and some living expenses. The money I make from selling medicinal herbs and my live stream I use for that. The money I hopefully make at the restaurant I can use for the supplies I need.”
He had no idea she was working so hard. “You grow medicinal herbs?”
“Well, it was my grandfather’s herb garden. I used what he taught me to expand a little and grow some different medicinal herbs. I sell them to a doctor in the town by where I live.”
He puts down his chopsticks and stares at Emmi with an admiring look.“That’s impressive.” Most of the girls that he knows are spoiled and they’re only hobby is shopping.
“I just really enjoy growing them and I’m happy that I can make some money too.” Emmi finishes her rice.
Bingbing comes into the room to clear their dishes and Han Shi slips her his credit card while Emmi is looking in her purse. She takes out her wallet and some cash, “Even though the meal is free I want to give Bingbing a tip.”
Han Shi always gives a big tip but can see Emm’s sincerity “No. She will be insulted if you do. Maybe next time you could bring some of your medicinal herbs for Grandpa Wu . He has some stomach problems but is very stubborn and won’t give up spicy food. His body can’t handle it like he used to but he refuses to change his eating habits.”
“Of course that’s a great idea.” Emmi’s phone rings and she frowns. What does he want? She ignores the call.
“Chen Emmi, do you think you could add me to WeChat. Then if we are both working we can come back here and eat together. I am not always in the front of the hotel working, sometimes they have me unload supplies.”
“Sure maybe on your lunch hour we can eat before I start work. I think they’re going to put me on the evening shift on Friday Saturday and Sunday. Do you work those days?”
No, but I will now. “I do.”
They leave the room and walk down the stairs. Emmi’s green eyes sparkle, ” I am so full.” She pats her stomach. “The skewers were so delicious. Thanks for lunch!”
We should definitely come when you start working at the hotel.”
Emmi’s phone rings as they walk through the still crowded restaurant, him again…well maybe it’s important. She answers sounding abrupt, “What?”
Zhen Sihao hears all the noise in the background, “Where are you?”
Emmi scrunches up her nose, “Eating lunch with a friend. What do you need?”
He could hear Han Shi when she answered the phone. “What friend? I thought you had an interview.”
” Wang Hao I thought you needed the laptop to do your work. How are you so free to worry about my afternoon?”
“Don’t flatter yourself little girl. My face itches and I can’t concentrate on my work. Do you have something to stop the itching. “
“In the medicine cupboard there is a white bottle. Take a swab and carefully dab on the cream on your face. DO NOT RUB! DO NOT GET WET!”
“Shouldn’t you be taking care of your patient? I should dock your pay gor your negligence. When are you going to be back the bandage on my leg needs to be changed.”
“I told you around dinner.” Angry he mentioned docking her pay she stomps her heel. “Don’t even think about taking one yuan out of my pay Old Man! I didn’t offer twenty four hour unlimited service!” Emmi angrily hangs up the phone then mutters “Cheap..So cheap!” Zhen Sihao has a devilish grin on his face when Emmi hangs up on him picturing her expression.
Han Shi walked to get his card from Bingbing and came back only hearing the last part. He gulps and has a shocked expression. She services old men? No! No way! “Chen Emmi is everything alright?
“Yeah, I just hate cheap old men!” Zhen Sihao sneezes as he walks to the medicine cabinet.
“…” She really has a rough life…
Emmi laughs, “Sorry you had to see my little temper..haha..I have a patient who is very disagreeable and hard to get along with.”
Han Shi sighs and his face turns red thinking of what he was imagining. “Oh that explains it.”
“Nothing..nothing.” While they walk down the sidewalk Han Shi wishes he didn’t promise he would return in an hour. Emmi looks down the busy street. “Han Shi do you know which direction the Zhen Group’s building is located.”
He wants to ask why but he points to the next street. “You should take a taxi it is about three streets over then another ten blocks.”
“Thanks. I like to walk.”
He looks at her high heels, “It will be difficult in those heels. I could get my friend who is a driver for the hotel take you.” Actually he is my driver but I can’t tell her that.
“Thanks but I want to walk off lunch and I brought some tennis shoes. I haven’t walked along the ocean in a long time so I also thought I would go there.”
Dammit! I want to go with her! Why did I say an hour lunch? I should have said three!