“Go into the kitchen and bring me the red chili seasoning, it is on the counter.”
Zhen Sihao is lost in thought and doesn’t respond so Emmi repeats herself, “Wang Hao! Go get the chili and bring the rice. I don’t want the fish to burn or I would go get it.”
He has a slight smile as he goes into the Art Studio, the little bunny girl looks very cute when she is giving me orders…haha.
While he is gone she flips the savory fish over with the spatula, smells so good… the fish is going to be delicious.
Zhen Sihao sets the bowl of rice on the table then walks over to Emmi with the bottle of chili powder. She sprinkles the red powder on one of the fish.
“Why did you only put the spice on one fish?”
She matter of factly answers, “You can’t eat spicy food after being poisoned by the Demon Snake venom. Almost done, hand me a plate.”
Emmi places a skewer of grilled vegetables and a piece of fish on the plate. “I’m going to eat on the patio. You should go inside.”
He raises his eyebrow, “Chen Emmi, could you stop telling me what to do? I will eat out here.”
She wrinkles her eyebrows together as she fixes a plate for herself. “Wang Hao, you are the worst patient ever!” She sits at a small wooden table by a space heater. “Suit yourself but if you catch a cold, don’t expect any sympathy from me.”
He bursts out laughing, “Girl, I don’t think you ever showed me any sympathy.”
She points her chopstick at him, “Wang Hao, I resent that. I dragged you, a strange man, when you were lying on top of my precious medicinal herbs with great effort into my studio. I then spent several days carefully treating your injuries.”
“That is true, but I don’t recall you showing me any tender care.”
Pfft! So ungrateful! She ignores him and takes a bite of fish then says, “I want some wine.” She walks into the studio. No compassion! I didn’t even mention how expensive and rare the antidote for the Flower Demon Snake is! I should charge him!
Emmi returns with the bottle of wine and one glass.
She has a mischievous grin when she sees his irritated expression, “Wang Hao, you can’t drink wine.” Emmi pours the wine then tauntingly swirls the wine around in the glass.
Zhen Sihao reaches across the small table and grabs the glass.“Can.” He drinks the wine, finishing the glass in one smooth motion. Then his eyes light up and he looks at the bottle, “What winery makes this wine?”
Emmi puffs out her cheeks, “YOU! YOU! I have never met a man more shameless than you!”
He likes to see Emmi’s angry expression, “I am not shameless, just thirsty, you put too much salt on the fish.”
She shakes her head, “Like I said, shameless, I didn’t put any salt on the fish at all.” She takes a bite of the flaky fish and after she swallows she sighs, “Perfect.”
“I will pay you for the wine and antidote, are you happy now.”
“Do you think all I care about is money? You were paralysed an hour ago, do you think it is a good idea to drink wine?”
Zhen Sihao chuckles, “You want me to believe that you are showing concern for me now? I think you are angry with me and don’t want to share the wine.”
Emmi’s face is flushed with anger, “Wang Hao, call your driver.”
“You are so childish. Why not admit it.”
She slams down her chopsticks. “You are right, I am angry with you, but that doesn’t make me childish.” Emmi’s green eyes are blazing and she has an aggrieved expression. “ I think I have treated you with kindness. I could have called the police or sent you to a hospital and washed my hands of you. But you asked me not to and I felt sorry for your situation.”
Emmi’s eyes have a layer of mist forming and she is trembling.“ Do you think I wasn’t worried every minute that a strange man would be discovered in my Art Studio? I am already treated unfairly by my Uncle and my Cousin Chloe takes every opportunity to slander me at school. If you were discovered..well… How could I explain it? No matter how I explained, they wouldn’t believe me. They use every chance they get to trample on me.” Tears are beginning to roll down her cheeks, “My reputation would be completely ruined. I am trying my best to work hard to get away from my family and be independent but I don’t have the resources right now.”
Listening to Emmi pour out her heart he feels his chest tighten as she reveals her vulnerable side to him. He wants to crush the Chen family for hurting Emmi. He wants to tell her he is Zhen Sihao and he can give her whatever she wants. But all he can do is say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong” Words he has never said to anyone before.
Emmi can’t help but notice him staring at her with a pitying look. “Wang Hao, stop looking at me like that!” She straightens her back and proudly declares, “You don’t need to feel sorry for me. I will rise to the top and be a famous fashion designer one day!”
After wiping her tears with the sleeve of her coat her lips curl up in a slight arc, “Let’s drink some wine.” She pours him another glass and then lifts the bottle and drinks from it. “Haha..well now you know how pathetic my life is.”
Zhen Sihao’s bottomless dark eyes are filled with turbulent emotions as he watches Emmi tilt the bottle and let the wine pour into her small mouth. Little girl you don’t need to suffer any more grievances..you have me now… I will clean up the people that dare to hurt you.
He lifts his glass, “ Chen Emmi, I believe you can do whatever you set your mind on.”
Emmi looks up at Zhen Sihao with watery eyes embarrassed that she bared her soul to him. She fills his bowl with rice to ease the awkward atmosphere. “Eat before the food gets cold.”
Zhen Sihao gazes adoringly at Emmi’s breathtakingly beautiful face, in the moonlight her innocent eyes are misty and flicker like stars and his heart skips a beat. Restraining the temptation to hug Emmi into his embrace and kiss her dense black eyelashes glistening with teardrops he quickly shifts his eyes away.
He chokes back what he wants to say and picks up a piece of fish with his chopsticks, “Chen Emmi, I looked at your sketches, I meant what I said, I think you are very talented.”
She sets down the bottle of wine and laughs. Emmi’s eyes bend into crescents and she smiles, “Wang Hao, you don’t need to turn on the charm because I showed you my heart. I do appreciate you interceding with Zhen Sihao for me. I love this cabin and gardens.” She drinks some more wine, “If you like this Peach Blossom wine I can give you a bottle to take with you. My grandfather and I made it before he passed away.”
“I was going to tell you that anyway. If you want an internship at YRan I can show your designs to Zhen Sihao.”
Nervously gulping down the wine she then blurts out, “ ZHEN SIHAO! NO! I mean… I am going to be busy. I’m not ready.” Emmi’s face pales remembering the Chen banquet when she enthusiastically approached Zhen Sihao for a summer internship. She naively thought this would be a chance to shine. When she approached him he insulted her in front of a group of people.
‘Zhen Sihao’ sneered as he knocked away the portfolio in her outstreched hand. He then mercilessly ridiculed Emmi in front of a group of people which included her cousin Chloe and her friends. They were laughing loudly which caught Chen Yihong’s attention. He stormed over and roughly dragged Emmi out the door.
Once outside the banquet hall he slapped Emmi’s face several times berating her for being a useless burden. She can still picture his sweaty red face contorted in anger because she lost his face in front of the head of Zhen Group. While she was home recovering Chen Chloe posted what happened at the banquet on the school forum. She shudders recalling the humiliation when she returned to school.
Emmi stands up to get another bottle of wine then feels dizzy from a combination of drinking and the disturbing memory.
Zhen Sihao immediately reacts, pulling Emmi into his arms before she falls. He lifts her limp body and hurriedly carries her into the studio then lays her on the small bed. Is she drunk?