Zhen Sihao is taking Emmi’s jacket off when she opens her eyes, they are glassy and unfocused. She reaches up and puts her arms around his neck, “Wag Hao, am I pretty?”

  Zhen Sihao’s Adam’s Apple rolls while tenderly gazing at her beautiful face flushed red from the wine. “Very pretty.”

  She intensely peers into his dark unfathomable eyes, “Do I have a beautiful voice?”

  “Yes. Let me take your jacket off.”

  She holds out her arms and he slides off the jacket. Emmi sighs, “That is why they hate me.”

  Emmi leans on him, “Wang Hao.”


  She suddenly tugs on his shirt, “Kiss me.”


  When he doesn’t respond she pouts and tears form in her eyes. She has an aggrieved expression and appears very fragile. “No one has given me a kiss goodnight since my Grandfather died.”

  He comes to his senses, the little girl is drunk, she feels wronged and alone. He kisses her on the forehead, “Now be good and go to sleep.”

  Emmi lays her head on the pillow then looks up at him, her misty eyes sparkling  as she sweetly smiles, “Thank you Wang Hao.” then closes her eyes.

  He covers her with the quilt. What am I going to do with you Chen Emmi? Do you know how tempted I was when you said ‘Kiss me’?

   Zhen Sihao sits on the edge of the bed and watches Emmi sleep. I should go. Or I might do something I regret. He walks outside  to the patio and extinguishes the fire. He picks up the glass of wine on the table and finishes it then makes a phone call, “Pick me up, I have been drinking. When you are at the bottom of the access road by the new development, call me.”

   While picking up the empty dishes off the small wooden table he thinks about her confession. Those bastards in the Chen family are going to pay for hurting Chen Emmi. I thought Chen Yihong was just greedy to take the deed for her studio. I had no idea she had been abused by them for a long time.  He carries the bowls and plates to the kitchen, then takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeves to wash them.

    When he finishes he walks back to the small bed and sits down. He brushes the loose hair off Emmi’s face and furrows his eyebrows, she is burning up with a fever! 

   I can’t have a doctor come here and this place is too drafty! Should I take her to the hospital?He takes out his phone, “ Ming, I need you to meet me at 7800 N. 65th St. Apartment 1908. My friend is burning up with a fever.”

  “Why don’t you take him to the hospital?”

  “Don’t ask questions, just meet me there. I should be there in a half hour.”

  Zhen Sihao nervously calls his driver, “Where are you now?”

  “I should be there in five minutes.”

  “Park facing the forest and leave the brights on.”

  Zhen Sihao hangs up then wraps Emmi in the quilt. He turns off the lights and hurries out the door. He carries her through the forest only lit up by the moonlight. Dammit! I need them to make a pathway to the access road. He sees the lights from the car and moves steadily towards them. When he gets to the black Bentley the driver opens the back door for him.

 “Drive to my apartment by the University.”

   He holds Emmi in his lap, I should have brought a wet cloth to wipe her face. He takes out his handkerchief and opens a bottle of water then pours it onto the handkerchief. He gently runs it over her face. When they are on the highway he says, “Drive faster.”

  The driver looks in the rear view mirror. He wonders who the girl is that could make the cold and indifferent CEO Zhen worried.

   When they arrive at his apartment Hou Ming is waiting by the guard station and he follows to the Underground garage.

  Hou Ming is stunned when Zhen Sihao gets out of the backseat carrying a girl in his arms. “This is the friend? Who is she?”

  Zhen Sihao steadily walks towards the elevator,  “Chen Emmi.”

  “The girl who saved you and treated your injuries?”

  “Yes. Push the button for the 19th floor.”

   “Why didn’t you send her to the hospital.”

“I was afraid someone would recognize me.”

 Hou Ming chuckles, “That’s right she thinks you are a salesman named Wang Hao.”

 Zhen Sihao glances down at Emmi then growls,“Shut up.”

 They arrive at the apartment and Zhen Sihao puts in the code. The door opens and he takes Emmi to his bed. “She was fine then suddenly had a fever.”

  “I will examine her then give her an infusion.”

  “Sihao, you don’t look very good yourself.”

  “Well, I was bit by a Frost Flower Demon Snake earlier. I just feel a little weak.”

  “What the fuck! They are extremely poisonous.”

   “Chen Emmi sucked out the poison then gave me an antidote.”

   “She did what? That might be why she has a fever. That was very dangerous of her to do that! Most likely some of the poison went down her throat. Who is this girl? The antidote is very rare because the Frost Flowers are fucking rare! 

   Zhen Sihao has a worried expression, “She has the fever because she sucked out the poison?”

   “I can’t say for sure but most likely yes.”

   “Can you do something?”

   “I can try. We can only hope if she was smart she realized the situation and took the antidote also.”

   “I don’t know… she is pretty frugal. She might not have wanted to waste the antidote.”

    “…” Hou Ming takes out a bottle of Chinese medicine from his bag to reduce the fever. “I will treat the fever and watch for signs of poisoning. Probably not life threatening but she will be sick for a couple days.”

   Zhen Sihao sits on the bed next to Emmi and holds her hand. Little fool…

   Hou Ming puts an IV needle in her other hand, “It will take a little while for the infusion to start working.” He lifts Emmi’s eyelids and holds a small flashlight to examine her eyes, “Her pupils are dilated and reacting to the light. That is a good sign.”

  “So she isn’t in a coma?”

  “No. She should wake up when the fever subsides.”

   Zhen Sihao is relieved and walks into the bathroom to get a wet cloth. He returns and starts gently wiping off her face to his friend’s surprise.

   Curious, Hou Ming asks, “Sihao, what is your relationship with this girl?”

  “Friends. I owe Chen Emmi my life. If she hadn’t rescued me and treated my injuries my father would have succeeded in killing me.”

   “I have been your friend since Middle School and I think it is more than that.”

   “Nothing more. What interest would I have in a little girl?”

   “I hope that is true. I heard about your upcoming engagement to Fang Hua. If the girl is your benefactor you wouldn’t want to get her involved. I know you oppose this marriage and it will get very messy.”

   “Do you think my father can control me?”

   “No. But my mother told me your Grandfather is back, he is the one who proposed this marriage contract to the Fang family.”

   ‘We will see. I have my own company and he has no say in what I do.”

   “You know how much importance the older generation puts on being filial. It could affect your business if you go against your Grandfather.”

   Zhen Sihao finishes wiping off Emmi’s face. “No one decides my marriage but me.” He stands up then leaves the room. Huo Ming follows him to the living room, “Sihao,you know that isn’t the way it works. Marriages are about business connections and cooperation. I will be honest I didn’t want to marry Peng Nuo. I was infatuated with a young nurse in my department, but look at us now. We are very happy.”

  “Why are you telling me all this?”

  “Because whether you admit it or not you have feelings for the girl in the bedroom. I saw the way you looked at Chen Emmi. You better get any thoughts you have about her out of your mind…it is impossible.”

  Zhen Sihao pours two glasses of wine and hands one to Huo Ming. “Nuo must have you watching television dramas. Chen Emmi saved me…yes..I feel grateful but that is the extent of my feelings.Nothing more.”

  “I don’t know if you are trying to convince me or yourself. But let me put it another way: if you do care about the little girl don’t get her involved in your dangerous and messy life. I heard Daphne Drake tried to kill you.”

  “News travels fast.”

  “You forgot my sister is friends with your cousin Fan Mi. She told her about the traumatizing incident at D’Amico’s.”

   “You certainly like your gossip. Do not tell anyone about Chen Emmi!”

   “Of course I won’t. If your father knew she saved you… that girl would be as good as dead.” Huo Ming’s phone rings, “Yes Honey, I will be home in about an hour.”

  Zhen Sihao laughs, “Yes Honey?..haha..’

  “Laugh all you want but one day you will be in the same boat as I am. I am going to wait until the infusion bag is empty, check on her fever then leave if her condition has improved.”

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