The Starlight Club

   Ye Yunxian finished the bowl of spicy noodles and downed the last of his third bottle of beer . He impatiently looked at his watch then called Murong Hui. “Where the fuck are you? “

   Murong Hui gritted his teeth at his friend’s annoyed tone. I rushed as fast as I could you ungrateful asshole! “ I am pulling up now. Order me a bowl of noodles. Not the spicy beef, Pork and Mushroom.”

   “Hell no. I don’t have time for you to eat.”

   ???

    “I need you to take me to Changde Park.”  He walked out the door and saw Murong Hui in a silver BMW.

   He got into the passenger seat, “Where did you get this car?”

   “I borrowed it from my sister. I had to lend her the Lamborghini, if anything happens to it you are responsible.

”You worry too much.”

  Murong Hui honked the horn as he almost side swiped another car as he entered the flow of traffic. Ye Yunxian quipped, “SuSu should be more concerned about your driving skill.”

  “Why do you want to go to Changde Park?”

  “Kang Jimmy was found dead.”

   “Kang Jimmy is dead? I’m not surprised.” Murong Hui saw him last night at a Club when he stepped outside to sober up and smoke a cigarette. Kang Jimmy looked high as fuck and was arguing with a skinny man dressed in torn jeans and a short sleeved black t shirt. The skinny man was  spitting out threats. Kang Jimmy swung his fist but the man easily dodged then kicked him in the chest. An older model car pulled up  and the gangster hopped into the backseat then the car sped away.

  Everyone knows Kang Jimmy has a short temper and lately has been on a downward spiral. There have been rumors in the Circle of his heavy drug use. Since his wife left him he has been partying hard every night. I saw him last night outside The Starlight Club arguing with a gangster.”

  “What did the gangster look like?”

  “It was dark and he was wearing a cap so I couldn’t see his face. He was short… muscular. Yeah.. he had a tattoo on his arm.” He noticed the tattoo when the man raised his arm to block Kang Jimmy’s punch.

  “What did the tattoo look like?”

  “Maybe a spider, it was red and black.”

  “Could it have been a scorpion?”

  “Maybe.”

  Ye Yunxian had a serious expression. A pissed off drug dealer might mutilate Kang Jimmy before he killed him. Send a message.

   “Let’s go to The Starlight Club .”

   “I thought you wanted to go to Changde Park.”

   “The Club.”

   Murong Hui made a sharp turn at the next street, “Do you take me for your personal driver?”

  “ Stop whining.”

   When they arrived at The Starlight Club Ye Yunxian and Murong Hui sat at the bar. 

   The bartender recognized Murong Hui and had a big grin on his face. My night is looking good already, Mr. Murong is a big tipper. I wonder who the man is with him? “Mr. Murong, what can I get you to drink?”

   “I will have a glass of Merlot. Let me see the menu.”

   The bartender looked over at Ye Yunxian, “What would you like?”

   “A beer.”

     The bartender handed Murong Hui a menu and went to get their drinks. When he returned Ye Yunxian said in an overbearing tone, “Tell Ruan Ning to come over.” Ye Yunxian wants to look at the security cameras.

   “Miss Ruan? The Boss isn’t here. She doesn’t come to the Club until around ten.”

  Ye Yunxian had an overbearing tone when he said, “Call. Say Ye Yunxian is here.”

   The bartender glanced at Murong Hui. Who is this guy? 

  Murong Hui knew the bartender had no idea of Ye Yunxian’s identity because he kept a low profile. He nodded, “Do it.”

   Ye Yunxian gulped down the beer then laughed at the expression on the bartender’s face. “Hui, since when did I need your help?”

   “He doesn’t know you are Young Master Ye. He thinks if he calls Ruan Ning for some random guy he will lose his job. You know what a bitch Ning’er can be.”

    Murong Hui ordered food then said, “Do you want to move to a table?”

   “No. I can see the entire room from here.”

   The bartender returned from making the call wondering who the man was that could make his boss nervous. When he relayed the message she stuttered and said to say she would be right there. “Miss Ruan will be here shortly.”

   Ye Yunxian responded, “I will have another beer.”

    Murong Hui’s eyes lit up when his meal arrived. He picked up a shrimp with his chopsticks but dropped it when he saw Ruan Ning approaching. Normally she dressed like a man to avoid being approached by customers. She was taller than an average woman, had short slicked back hair and an adrogenous look. Tonight she was wearing a short red pencil skirt and a ruffled sleeveless white silk blouse. Ruan Ning’s black hair was curled and swept to the side with a diamond clip. She applied delicate makeup and painted her lips a sultry deep red.

   She saw Murong Hui’s surprised expression and blinked her eyes signalling him not to say anything. The three of them went to University together and were close friends. She hadn’t seen Ye Yunxian since her  University roommate’s wedding a year ago. Ye yunxian was always her ideal man, incredibly handsome, smart  and aloof. She compared every man she dated to him, in her eyes he was an unattainable male god. She was shocked when the bartender called and said he was at her Club. 

    She greeted Ye Yunxian with a bright smile startling the bartender. “Ye Yunxian, long time no see.”

    Ye Yunxian sets down his beer, “Can we talk in your office?”

     Ruan Ning tried to control her breathing so she didn’t appear as anxious as she felt seeing him again.  “Of course.”

   He followed her into a luxuriously decorated office. A spectacular view of  the cityscape could be seen from the floor to ceiling window behind an antique desk. The furnishings were a fusion of Chinese and Western design inspired by a drawing she once saw in his dorm room.

   The  familiar design didn’t go unnoticed by Ye Yunxian but he refrained from commenting. He was aware of her admiration for him but never encouraged Ruan Ning. Murong Hui was his best friend and he knew that he liked the woman since they were freshman at A University.

   “I need to see your security footage from last night. Both inside the Club and the perimeter.”

   She protected her clientele from any unwanted scrutiny that was part of the allure of The Starlight Club. She had tight security and the Club was membership only.

   Ruan Ning hesitated, “So you are here on police business? Ye Yunxian, I don’t know if I can give you access. It could affect my business.”

   “Ning. It would be more conspicuous if I had to get a warrant. I don’t want to do that. I have no intention of involving your Club. Kang Jimmy was murdered last night and I have reason to believe he met with the man outside of your Club. I want to see who he was with previously and get a look at the man. Nothing more.”

  She holds onto the edge of her desk and her pretty face pales, “Kang Jimmy was murdered?”

  “Yes. Are you familiar with him?”

  “Well, he was a frequent customer. He used one of the private rooms for business meetings.”

   “Did he reserve one last night?”

   “I would need to check. Last night I wasn’t at the Club. I was at my parent’s home, my brother just returned from England.”

   “Can you check?”

   “Ye Yunxian, I will cooperate but don’t drag my Club into it. I respect the Club member’s privacy.”

   “I can’t give you my word until I see the tapes. One way or another the footage needs to be viewed. If I don’t see anything illegal there will be no problem with that.”

  Ruan Ning knew Ye Yunxian’s personality; he would never cover anything up in the name of friendship. I can only hope that bastard Kang Jimmy wasn’t using my Club for illegal activities. “I will check the reservations.”

   Ye Yunxian sat on the couch and leisurely stretched out his legs watching her look on her computer.

   Murong SuSu, Chen Nuying and Skye happily walked arm and arm into the  Starlight Club. Skye glanced around and remarked, “This Club is really cool.”

   “I thought you would like it. Starlight is one of the most popular Clubs in Shanghai.  I had to beg my brother for the membership card.”

    A beautiful woman in a red Cheongsam led them to a table by the window. Murong suSu commented, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t get a private room, they are hard to book.”

   Skye smiled, “I like this. Private rooms are nice but I like to be by the dance floor and see all the action.”

  “Well, it is early, it doesn’t get busy until after ten, that is when the music starts. But the food is delicious. Are you hungry?”

   “I could eat.”

    A handsome server  approached the table, “Would you ladies like something to drink?”

    Skye looked at the other two women, “Would you like a bottle of Champagne? I want to celebrate our meeting.”

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