Ride To Work

  When Emmi arrives at the Mansion she goes around to the back door to enter through the kitchen. Grandma Kang sees her sneaking into the kitchen. “Miss Emmi, your Uncle has been looking for you. He is in the study.”

   “Forget you saw me!” She hurries back out the door and grabs her bicycle to go to the Art Studio.  While she is pedaling away from the Mansion she curses him. I really needed to get my shoes for work. But, I don’t have time to listen to Uncle lecture me right now. He must be extremely angry about Zhen Sihao moving the boundary line for the land development. 

  She opens the door to the Art Studio then gasps looking at everything overturned in the room. What the heck! Emmi wants to cry when she sees her sketches torn up and scattered around the room. The cushions from the daybed are ripped open, the table is overturned and one of the legs is broken. 

  Emmi picks up the seeing mannequin and the ripped dress that was almost finished for her design class. Who would do this? Why? Wait the door is intact and there is no sign of forced entry. Did Uncle do this? Looking for the deed? Or Cousin Chloe in retaliation for going out with Jiang Weiming? I can’t go to the dorm after work because it will be closed. I planned on coming back here but does someone have the key to my Art Studio? Emmi shivers, I will have the locks changed tomorrow and security windows installed. I am not going to let them scare me! I will stay at a hotel tonight and clean this up tomorrow. 

  Emmi walks into the bathroom and looks in the mirror. She wrinkles her forehead, What a day! My face looks terrible! She opens the medicine cabinet and takes out a jar of the healing cream then applies a thin layer on  her cheek. I hope it works before I go to Dr. Liu’s house. She walks to the back of the medicinal herb garden with a woven straw basket. Emmi carefully digs around the roots of the Glowing Glymin plant. After she has three in the basket she walks to the middle and picks the small red berries off the Hipaflora. I will make lipstick for YaoYao out of these berries. She picks the  delicate purple flowers then inhales their fragrance, oh smells so good! When she is finished she takes the basket into the Art Studio and packs a bag with her work clothes. I will check into the hotel before work. She sits on the edge of the wooden daybed and makes an online reservation at the hotel.  Wang Hao paid me extra money. I won’t think about the cost. I can get off work then go directly to my room.

  She calls Butler Han, I’m ready, can you pick me up now?”

  “Miss Emmi, there is a problem. Mrs. Chen told me I need to go pick up Miss Chloe.”

 “What about her driver?” 

  Butler Han hesitates, “Miss Emmi, I’m sorry but I will be Miss Chloe’s driver until further notice.”

 “I understand Butler Han. Don’t worry about me. I will get a ride to work.”

   How am I getting a ride! No taxi will come to my Art Studio and if I go up to the house who knows if they will let me leave. Emmi’s face turns red from anger, just wait! I will make lots of money with Jiang Weiming and I won’t be bullied by  you people! Who can I call?

  Emmi takes out her phone, I will promise Wang Hao to give him a massage after work. When he answers she says”Wang Hao, um..are you busy?”

  Zhen Sihao wonders why she doesn’t have her usual tone of voice. He is at the birthday party. He sets down his glass of wine and walks away from the group of people standing by him. “What’s wrong?”

  “Well Butler Han can’t give me a ride to work and well..”

  “You want me to give you a ride?”

  “Um..yes. I will definitely give you a massage after work if you can do me this favor.”

  He glances around, he hasn’t seen the person he wanted to meet  at this party. “Not convenient. I will..”

  Emmi hears a woman’s laughter in the background. Oh he is fooling around with a woman. She angrily responds,“I see. Don’t keep your date waiting.” Emmi impulsively hangs up the phone, yeah… why did I think he would do me a favor..

   He stares incredulously at the phone. The little thing fucking hung up on me! He hesitates then calls Emmi back. His face turns black and he grits his teeth when the call doesn’t go through. She fucking blocked me! Are you fucking kidding me! Who does she think she is! I wanted to tell her that I have been drinking and can’t drive, I would send a driver.Sun Zhi can feel the temperature around Zhen Sihao drop to below freezing, “Who was on the phone?”

  “No one important.” He puts the phone in his pocket. “Have you seen Jack Carsten?”

 “He was by the bridge over the pond talking to a blonde woman I didn’t recognize.”

  Zhen Sihao takes a glass of wine off the tray of a server walking by and gulps it down. “I am going to find him.” He lights a cigarette trying to calm down. Bunnygirl, I will clean you up later!

  Emmi sneezes as she puts her bag into the basket on the front of her bicycle. I can ride down the mountain and get a taxi in town. Why did I think he would help me out. Hmmph! I am terminating our agreement! No way will I give that ungrateful man a massage ever again! I will return the extra money to him too! Oh right I just blocked him. No matter, I will take out the cash then return it to him. 

  Once she is down the mountain she parks her bike by a small convenience store on the edge of town. She pants as she enters the store, soo thirsty. She takes a bottle of water from the cooler then gulps it down while she is waiting to pay behind a short fat man. Suddenly she hears a familiar voice, “Chen Emmi!”

  She looks up and smiles “Han Shi! Hello.”

  “I saw you ride up on your bike. Do you live around here?”

  “No. I can’t get a taxi where I live so I rode my bike down the mountain to get one. I need to work at Ming’s Restaurant tonight.”

  He hands her a tissue, “I am on my way to the hotel. I can give you a ride.”

   She wipes the sweat from her forehead. “Really? That would be great. Oh no wait. I need to drop some medicinal herbs at someone’s house on my way. I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.”

  “No problem. I am not in a rush. It is my day off but I was going to the hotel to pick up my check.”

 “Then I will trouble you.”

  Emmi pays for the water and follows him out to a bright yellow Lambohgini.”This is your car?”

  “Not mine. It belongs to a friend. He went abroad for a few months, he said it needs to be driven occasionally or it will have problems.”

  She smiles, “Lucky you!”

  He blushes, it is actually my car I finally got back from my Uncle. But I know you don’t like rich guys so I am lying. “Yeah. The seat belt is tricky.” He reaches over and pulls the strap. “Tell me the address and I will put it in the GPS.”

  8901 W. River Run Road.”

  “Dr. Liu’s house?”

 “You know Dr. Liu?”

  “Well Auntie Mei is a good friend of my mother’s. They went to high school together in Bashu City.”

  “Small world!’

  “Yeah. I haven’t seen them in a long time. I’m glad I ran into you.”

 “Me too. I wasn’t sure I would be able to deliver the medicinal herbs on the way. You never know how long a taxi will take to come.”

“True. If we work the same shifts I can always give you a ride.” 

 “Thanks! I am a little nervous.Tonight is my first night at work.”

 “You will do fine! Did you study the menu?”

  “Did.”

  He turns down a steep road lined with Cherry Blossom trees, “I remember when I was a kid coming to Uncle Liu’s house. This road is where I learned to ride a bike. Do you know Liu Ling?”

  Emmi’s heart starts pounding at the mention of his name, “Umm..yes.”

  “He taught me.” He points to the right, “See that tree at the end I ran into it. I flew over the handle bars into the trunk. I split my head open. He carried me all the way to his house on his back. Blood was streaming down my face all over his back. Brother Ling was such a soft hearted guy. I wanted to go down the hill and he tried to stop me but I wouldn’t listen..hahaha..he was so worried.” He lifts his bangs covering his forehead, “Ten stitches.

 “Oh my God! How can you laugh about it! So scary!”

  “It’s okay.” He pulls into a long driveway. He reaches over Emmi. “To undo the buckle you need to push this button.”

  “Thanks. She takes out the neatly wrapped medicinal herbs as he opens the door for her. They walk up to the door and Emmi knocks. Dr. Liu answers the door, he has a shocked expression on his face,”Little Shi ! I don’t know if I can call you little anymore how tall are you 190cm!”

  “Hey Uncle Liu. Almost, 185cm.”

  Dr. Liu motions to them, “Come in..come in what a surprise. How do you know Chen Emmi?”

  “We are classmates at University.”

  “I see. Mei come out to the living room, guess who Chen Emmi brought!”

  Liu Mei comes out of the kitchen followed by Liu Ling. She hurries over and hugs Han Shi. “Look at you! So grown up!” She gets a tear in her eye, “It has been too long! Are your parents still living in England?”

  “Yes. They will come back in the summer for Grandma’s death anniversary.”

  “Well, sit down. Do you want some tea or juice?”

  “No thank you.” He notices Liu Ling, “Long time no see.”

  He looks at Han Shi, “Been awhile.”

  Emmi has an infatuated gaze staring at Liu Ling but quickly looks away when he turns her direction, “Dad said you brought Hipaflora and Glowing Glymin Root?”

  She looks at the side table, “Auntie can I open the package here?”

  Liu Mei laughs, “Does it stink as bad as the last herbs you brought?”

  Dr. Liu waves his hand, he is excited to see the medicinal herbs.“Don’t listen to her. Let’s take a look.”

  Emmi smiles brightly exposing her perfect white teeth and cute dimples, “No, haha..actually the Hipaflora smells quite fragrant. She holds the flower branch up for Liu Mei to smell. “What do you think?”

  Mrs. Liu holds onto the branch, “It has a really good scent, hard to describe. The purple flowers are beautiful too.”

  “I brought a couple extra branches especially for you Auntie. Do you have a vase? The scent will fill the room and has a very relaxing aroma.”

  Dr. Liu looks at Emmi, “That is wasting good medicinal plants. Hipaflora is most potent when fresh.” 

  “I think Hipaflora is very beautiful. Medicinal plants should be appreciated for their beauty too Dr. Liu. After the flowers fall off you can dry them. After you grind them add a little Berjia powder and it will increase the potency.”

  Liu Ling has a look of admiration on his face, “That is interesting.”

  Emmi continues, “Well I think this gives the Hipaflora a dual purpose. The flowers dispel any impurities in the air. Now that it is getting colder the house can become stuffy. You will notice the air quality in the room improves having these flowers in a vase. Then when they fall off, well they can be used for their original purpose as a natural blood thinner.”

  Han Shi scratches his chin as he listens intently to what she is saying. “Chen Emmi, You are majoring in Fashion Design. How do you know so much about medicinal herbs and plants?”

  “My grandfather taught me. It is a hobby.”

  Dr. Liu can’t resist encouraging Emmi to.pursue a medical career. ” Emmi you should switch majors. With your talent..”

Liu Ling interrupts him, Dad didn’t we just discuss this! “You should follow your own path Chen Emmi. Do what makes you happy.”

  Emmi’s green eyes shine gazing at him, “Thank you Brother Ling!”


2 thoughts on “Ride To Work

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  1. Hah, Sihao, you can’t refuse a beautiful girl when she asks. Otherwise, there will be others who want to help her.

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