Poison

    When Chloe gets up to leave the Rainy Day Cafe her legs feel weak and she is nauseous. Clutching her Hermes crocodile bag she staggers towards her Red Lambhorgini, her face is bloodless and she is holding her stomach.  She can’t hold back, she quickly steps into the bushes and begins retching. After she wipes her sour mouth with a handkerchief she smirks, at least I didn’t vomit in my car that I barely got back from the repair shop. 

   Once inside the car she grabs a bottle of water and rinses her mouth spitting the foul smelling water onto the ground. She takes a piece a package of peppermint gum from her purse, ripping it open as though it was Peng Min’s skin. BITCH! CRAZY FUCKING BITCH! 

   Staring at the two small vials of  poisonous clear liquid wrapped in plastic in the side pocket she curses the eighteen generations of Peng Min’s family.Once she heard the stipulation she needed to drug Liu Ling in addition to Emmi she was adamant that she couldn’t do it.. she changed her mind. She told Peng Min she refused to use the drug on her cousin and Liu Ling. Peng Min waved her phone in front of her face then her world crashed down around her. Peng Min played a snippet of their phone conversation. The venomous woman had recorded all of Chen Chloe’s tirade and her plans to ruin Emmi at the Winter Ball.

   Frightened out of her mind by Peng Min she sits in the car mulling over the situation. She chomps on the gum, You need to calm down and think…you were foolish to approach Peng Min not knowing her personality or her relationship with Professor Liu. You need an alternate plan, you can’t use this drug, it is too insidious…hallucinate to the point of losing your mind?   including Professor Liu is not acceptable..not at all!..the chances of you getting caught definitely increase. She sips the water, Even if Chen Emmi  is stupid  and has no resources to investigate afterwards Professor Liu certainly does.. He is extremely smart and analytical, I can maybe find a blind spot to dose his drink… pay someone to destroy any security footage. But that might not be enough. Once he sobers up  he will consider everyone he came into contact with as a possible suspect. He will remember me buzzing around him and become suspicious. DAMMIT! Chen Emmi! This is all your fault!

   Emmi has no idea Chen Chloe is plotting against her and hangs up the finished dress for her cousin. Satisfied she flexes her fingers, the embroidery is complicated and her fingers are sore.

   Bai Meilin walks over, “Your fingers hurt?” She takes Emmi’s hand in hers and her delicate eyebrows twist, “You are bleeding!”

  “It is nothing, don’t worry about it. I brought some bandaids.”

  “No. You need a doctor!”

  Emmi laughs, “Meilin, this happens all the time..no big deal. I brought medicine. I’m not sure if I told you but I dabble in traditional Chinese medicine. My grandfather taught me since I was young. “

   Bai Meilin’s eyes light up, “Emmi you are so amazing!”

  “Calm down..haha..I am not that amazing”, then she teases, “Well, maybe I am hahaha.” She walks over to her backpack and takes out a small porcelain bottle. Bai Meilin watches in interest as she sprinkles the white powder on her hand. Bai Meilin takes the bandaids from her, “Let me put them on for you.”

  Emmi sees her eager expression and agrees. Bai Meilin seriously unwraps the bandaids and carefully puts them on Emmi’s two fingers. She mutters, “You go through this for your cousin and she doesn’t even appreciate your effort. It makes me so mad.”

  Emmi smiles, only YaoYao has ever been angry because of Chen Chloe’s attitude towards her. She affectionately ruffles Bai Meilin’s hair, “Don’t make that face, you will get wrinkles, haha.”

  Bai Meilin laughs, “Then you will need to give me anti wrinkle medicine because everytime I think of Chen Chloe I get so angry that I want to strangle her. Or have my elder brother teach her a lesson so she doesn’t bother you anymore.

  Emmi changes the subject, “Should we go down for tea? It might get cold if we wait too long.”

  “Oh right.” She holds Emmi’s left hand that isn’t injured, “Afterwards do you want to walk in the garden and go to the Pavilion? It is really beautiful by the lake.”

   “Sure.”

  When they get downstairs Bai Cai has returned from the office and is sitting on the couch in the living room. He has changed into casual clothes and is leaning back rubbing his temples. A stack of documents is on the coffee table with a pair of gold rimmed glasses next to them. Bai Meilin wants to sneak by but he looks over when he hears movement. She hesitates then realizes it might be better to introduce them now. Her brother’s aura is somewhat softened when he is not in a suit and wearing home clothes.

  She whispers to Emmi, “That is my elder brother, I will introduce you..don’t be frightened.”

  “…”

  Bai Meilin is holding Emmi’s hand when they walk over, she says, “Brother, this is my friend Chen Emmi. Emmi,this is my brother Cai.”

  A little nervous because he does emit a ‘don’t bother me’ aura Emmi smiles brightly, “Mr. Bai, it is my pleasure to meet you. Thank you for allowing me to come to your house, it is truly beautiful.Meilin’s sewing room, she said you prepared for her, she is very lucky to have such an attentive and loving brother like you.”

  He raises his eyebrows, the girl knows how to flatter. “Miss Chen.” Suddenly his migraine flares and his face momentarily contorts in pain. He quickly regains his composure but Meilin and Emmi couldn’t help but notice. 

  Meilin suddenly let’s go of Emmi’s hand and sits next to her brother with a worried expression, “Brother, is it painful? Where is your medicine? I will go get it.”

  He has a doting expression gazing at his sister, “Little Mei I’m fine. Go play with your friend.” He actually came home early from the office because he was in extreme pain.

  Emmi sees the worry on Meilin’s face and Bai trying his best to maintain his composure.  She notices his pupils are dilated and his subtle movements are caught by Emmi. He is stiffening his body and his fist clenched to the side has blue veins bulging. She knows her advice might not be welcome but she decides to say it anyway,

  “Mr. Bai, I know you might think I am out of line but since Meilin is my friend and you have been kind enough to invite me to dinner could I feel your pulse?

  “Huh?”

  Meilin pulls on his sleeve and anxiously nods her head, “Brother, let Emmi check you.”

  “Thank you for your concern Miss Chen but I am fine.” He did read in her information that she has some knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine and is purchasing a medicinal farm with Jiang Changdon’s brother Weiming. 

  Meilin’s eyes water and she gently coaxes, “Brother, for me..do it for me. It hurts me to see you in pain.”

   He can’t stand to see his little sister upset and he pats her hand, “MeiMei, it is nothing but a slight headache. Go to the garden, the  Blue Cystal Ice Flowers were delivered that you wanted. The gardener should be planting them now.”

   Bai Meilin stubbornly crosses her hands over her chest. “Not going.” She knows how strong her brother is and he must be in extreme pain to show even a momentary flash of pain in front of a stranger.

  He looks at Emmi quietly standing to the side, Fuck..whatever. “Okay, Miss Chen, I will be troubling you then.”

   Bai Meilin kisses his cheek, “Good.”

   Emmi shyly smiles as she approaches him. He has the sleeve of his dark gray cashmere sweater pushed up exposing a tattoo of a fierce black dragon on his forearm. Emmi puts her fingers on his wrist. He watches her expression as she glances at his tattoo, she doesn’t seem to have a reaction which surprises him. He chuckles to himself, the most respected doctors in Bashu City haven’t been able to cure my migraines..but..let Meilin be happy.

  Emmi then says may I check your pulse on your neck?

  He nods and Emmi puts two fingers on his neck and her expression changes.  She looks at Meilin then at Bai Cai. He seems to have secrets. Should I say in front of Meilin or what.. Emmi smiles, “Meilin, could you get my backpack from your sewing room and a cold compress from the kitchen?”

  Before Bai Cai can protest she jumps off the couch and runs upstairs. Emmi nervously wrings her hands together, somewhat afraid. Bai Cai’s aura is oppressive now and he has a strange glint in his eyes as if he can see into her soul. Very scary..but for Meilin I can’t pretend not to know. Just be confident..he won’t kill his sister’s only friend.

  Emmi blinks her eyes and bluntly says, “Mr. Bai you are poisoned. The poison is slow acting and is gradually eroding your qi. Have you noticed when you get a migraine you also have a feeling your heart is constricting..difficulty breathing..muscle soreness… cramping in your legs? This usually occurs after you are in a stressful situation?”

  He grabs her hand and squeezes, “Who sent you to get close to Meilin… then me?”

  She is in pain, he is holding her injured hand and she tries not to cry. “No..no one..Meilin is my friend..”

  Bai Cai can see by her pure and clear eyes she isn’t lying. He suddenly lets go of her hand. “Poisoned? Impossible. My doctor would have discovered that.”

  Emmi has a strange smile and tears form in the corner of her green eyes, “Do you want to know how I know? Because I have seen this before many years ago. Unfortunately, my Grandfather wasn’t able to save…” She chokes down her tears, “My mother.”

  “Your mother had the same symptoms?
 Emmi bites her bottom lip, “Yes.” 

 “She died?”

   Emmi nods “I haven’t thought about this in a long time..” She wipes the tears at the corner of her eyes with her sleeve, “Sorry.”

   Meilin comes running into the living room clutching the backpack and a cold compress. She stares at Emmi and her brother then throws the backpack on the floor. She stomps her foot, puffing out her cheeks she looks at Bai Cai with an angry expression. “BROTHER! YOU MADE EMMI CRY!”

“…”

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