Li Shaoting

  Outside the Shengshuan train station the fortune teller hugs her cracked phone to her stained sweater. The old woman is laughing at Li Tian’s exasperated expression as he mutters “By the sea…with someone who looks like me…”

Meanwhile, in a seaside city Sara steps off the train followed onto the platform by Li Shaoting. He smiles at Sara, “I don’t know anyone in Bashu City. Would you like to get something to eat with me?”

   Sara is looking in her backpack and pulls out the last apple, “No. I have this piece of fruit.”

  He is shocked that she doesn’t want to spend time with him and persists. “That apple at the most could be considered a snack. I hate to eat alone and since you used me as a pillow on the trip…well..you owe me a favor.”

   Sara is loosely holding her backpack in one hand and the apple in the other. Suddenly a man rushes by and grabs her backpack. Sara throws the apple at him screams, “Hey!” She starts to chase him then remembers she is pregnant and shouldn’t be hasty. The platform is crowded and she could easily trip and fall. While she is lamenting the fact that her wallet with all her cash is in the backpack, Li Shaoting has already subdued the man halfway down the platform. He is kneeling on the man’s back when a uniformed guard approaches. “What happened here?”

  Li Shaoting doesn’t release the man squirming underneath him and answers, “He is a thief. He stole this backpack.”

  The man gives the uniformed guard a look then says, “I admit it! Get off me! I have a bad back!”

  The guard takes out a pair of handcuffs, “You can leave him to me. I will take him to the security office.”

Li Shaoting lifts his knee from the man’s back. He pulls over a random person, ” He can be a witness. I need to catch a train.”

“Stand up you scumbag!” The guard and the man are in cahoots and the guard stealthy removes Sara’s wallet from the thief’s back pocket as he handcuffs him.

  Li Shaoting picks up his baseball cap from the ground. Before he puts it back on his head he runs his fingers through his hair. Several girls that are watching scream, “Hero! You are so handsome!” One girl grabs her friend’s arm, “Don’t you think he looks very similar to Emperor Tang Wu?”

   The girl next to her stares at him, “Yes…but Tang Wu is taller.”

    ??? I am Tang Wu..haha..good they think I am not or this incident would be all over Weibo.  He watches the guard put the handcuffs on the man and dusts off Sara’s backpack. He has a satisfied smile on his incredibly handsome face, now for sure the little beauty will have lunch with me.

    Sara is sitting on a bench wondering what she should do now when she sees Li Shaoting walking up with her backpack. She excitedly jumps up, “You caught him! Thank you! Thank you!”

   He chuckles, “So will you go to lunch with me?”

  “Well..okay.”

   They walk through the train station and when they are outside Sara starts walking towards a taxi stand. Li Shaoting stops her when she is waving at a taxi. “I have a driver. This way.”

  A  muscular man in a black suit wearing dark sunglasses is leaning on a black Maybach smoking a cigarette. When he sees Li Shaoting he throws the half smoked cigarette on the ground and crushes it under his foot. He has a surprised look on his handsome face then quickly returns to his emotionless appearance. Opening the back door he greets Li Shaoting, “Young Master, did you want to go to the villa?”

  “No, drive to The Harborview Hotel, we will have lunch at Ming’s.”

  Once they are in the backseat Sara has a puzzled expression, Young Master? Does he have a hobby of riding trains in the second class section? I should have noticed that although his clothes are casual they are of high quality.

   She doesn’t realize she is studying him with an intense gaze until he teases, “Am I good looking?”

   Sara’s face turns red, “Hmm..you know you are. I was just wondering why you..” He interrupts, “Why was I riding the train?”

  “Yes.”

   He lazily stretches his long legs and puts his hands behind his head. “I was running away from my obligations. I thought it would be fun to take the train.” He turns to Sara and his amber eyes are twinkling with a playful gleam, “ I’m glad I did because I met such a beautiful girl.”

   Sara wrinkles her nose, “Does flirting just come naturally to you? I am not interested in you so don’t bother. I accepted your lunch invitation because you helped me.”

  He laughs and ruffles her hair, “Girl,you are so straightforward! Haha..”

  The driver looks in the rear view mirror, the Young Master is laughing?  

  Sara says, “I want to be clear so you don’t get the wrong idea.”

  Li Shaoting hasn’t felt this comfortable with anyone in a long time. Most women fawn on him either because of his identity as  Movie Emperor Tang Wu or Li Shaoting, a wealthy Young Master.  “I don’t know anyone in Bashu City and because of my circumstances I can’t contact my friends to join me on holiday. I really only wanted someone to accompany me and in the short time I have spent with you I enjoyed your company. Don’t think too much.”

  Now Sara is embarrassed because she thought he was interested in her so she says, “Sorry I jumped to conclusions.”

  “No worries. It is good we resolved that issue so we can enjoy lunch without you feeling awkward.”

  They arrive at the Harborview Hotel and the driver opens the back door. Once inside the luxurious hotel Sara and Li Shaoting take the elevator to the top floor. When they enter Ming’s, Sara looks at her clothes, “I am not properly dressed. Maybe we could go to a smaller and less formal restaurant.”

  “My cousin’s friend owns this hotel so don’t worry, we can go directly to a private room.”

  The manager approaches and frowns when she sees their attire. She sneers, “You can’t enter.” She looks disgusted as she points at Sara’s outfit. ” We have a dress code.” The man’s clothes are somewhat acceptable..they are designer brands but those cheap jeans on the girl..forget thinking about entering.

  Li Shaoting politely responds, “I understand, we have been traveling and didn’t have time to change. I have a reservation for the Golden Phoenix room, under the name Tang Wu.”

   She realizes he is the hotel owner’s guest and bows repeatedly, “My apologies! Please forgive me! I will take you immediately.” The woman’s hands are shaking as she holds the menus. Oh my! If Director Han knew I was disrespectful to his friend..ahhh. I would lose my job!

   Li Shaoting motions for Sara who is standing frozen in place, to follow. Tang Wu? The Film Emperor that the girl in the restroom was talking about? He is a popular celebrity?

  Once they are in the luxurious private room Sara sits on the couch. She stares at Li Shaoting who is talking to the waiter. Once the waiter leaves he notices her eyes are glued on him. He can’t resist teasing Sara. “Still can’t believe how incredibly handsome I am?”

 Sara snaps back to reality, “You..you are a celebrity?”

  “Are you impressed?”

  “Well that explains why you kept looking at me expectantly…like I should know you…while on the train. Sorry. I..I really don’t watch many movies.”

  He smiles brightly, “I am glad you didn’t recognize me.” He sighs, “It is boring and tiresome  being Emperor Tang Wu. That is why I am in Bashu City, to relax away from the spotlight.”

   The waiter comes in with a bottle of red wine and pours two glasses. Sara waves her hand, “I can’t drink alcohol, could I have a glass of orange juice.”

   Li Shaoting sips the wine, “You don’t drink?”

  Sara is thinking about wine…how it got her into the mess with Li Tian and subconsciously blurts out, “Well..not now. I am pregnant.”

  Li Shaoting spits out the wine in his mouth, “You..you are pregnant?”

   “ 

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