Rui and Henri Meet

LiMei barely catches the bus, she ran across the street when she saw it coming. Now sitting in the back catching her breath she looks out the window, the leaves are turning and the wind is blowing.

      Last Autumn she was in France with Kuang Bo, the countryside was beautiful like this the large trees by the vineyard were awash in golden tones, red yellow, gold. After an assignment Kuang Bo told Kuang Fu he had a complication to delay their return,he brought her to this small town they stayed for the weekend before returning to the Black Sky Compound.

     It was quaint, the people were very friendly, she laughs recalling how Kuang Bo would flirt with the old woman who ran the Inn. She would blush as though she was a young girl again, swaying her hips as she walked away. Kuang Bo allowed her some freedom while they were there, while she was out walking she met a handsome French soldier whose family was from the town, he came from the base outside Paris to attend the funeral of his grandmother’s close sister. They both had stopped at a cafe and were seated on the patio across from each other.

      After exchanging glances the tall handsome man came over to sit by her, he spoke English with a sexy French accent. 

     He was French-Tunisian he said , his eyes were as black as obsidian and had smooth tanned skin, she was very attracted to him. She noticed a tattoo on his forearm, Rune letters. When she asked him what they meant he told her ‘Invincible Immortal’. So sexy.. They spent the day together walking along looking in shop windows, laughing, he was quite shameless.

     As the two of them finished dinner she saw Kuang Bo across the street watching her so she abruptly said good bye to the handsome soldier before she would bring trouble his way..she felt a twinge of sadness as she bid him farewell. Funny how strangers meet, forming a bond which is broken as quickly as it was formed because of circumstances.

     LiMei sighs..Huh.. why is she thinking about the French soldier now, maybe speaking French to Henri Armand last night brought back the memory. It was after that trip she decided to learn French thinking she would like to live in Paris one day maybe they would bump into each other on another brisk Autumn day.

     The bus arrives at her stop she walks down to her apartment, she sees Grandpa Du in the yard. She waves to him he motions for her to come over, that’s right she needs Chang’s phone number she can ask him. 

     “Little girl I let the delivery man with the groceries into your apartment, I kept a good eye on him while he was inside. Grandma Du put everything away for you. I’m glad to see you ordered some healthy food, Chang said all you eat are instant noodles.”

     What? I didn’t order any groceries..”Grandpa there must be a mistake I didn’t order any groceries.”

     “ The delivery driver left a receipt I put it on your table it was folded up so I didn’t look at it. Would a relative of yours have purchased them, there were many expensive fruits and meat.”

     “Excuse me Grandpa I’m going to go look, Oh yes I need Chang’s phone number I lost it.”

    “Come down after you check on the groceries, I will give it to you.” He was gardening his hands are covered in soil so he can’t check his phone for the number right now.

     LiMei walks up the stairs to her apartment, she sets down the bouquet to open the door. When she enters her apartment she sees on the counter there is a bowl of fruits, she opens the cupboards there are spices, rice, noodles they are filled with a variety of groceries. She opens the fridge there are juices, milk, meat vegetables. The freezer is also full. Who would do this?

     This is more food than I could possibly eat, I will share with the Du family, but who sent it to me. She sees the paper on the counter as she unfolds it she see it was ordered by Henri Armand. Haha… did he think I ate like a starving beggar when they went to the small restaurant? That was very thoughtful of him to do this for someone he barely knows.

     She will need to thank him, he said he is staying at the Crescent Moon Hotel when she goes to work she will send a message to his room. tired, she plops down on the bed, she gets her new phone out of her purse, should I call Rui? 

     First she should check her schedule at the Crescent Moon, she looks up the number then saves it in her phone, “Kitchen Manager, it is Feng LiMei, I just want to confirm the time I need to be into work tonight.”

      “Feng LiMei I am glad you called, I tried your phone but no answer. I need you to switch shifts with QiQi, she will work tonight and you will work her shift tomorrow night, can you accommodate me? She has an exam at the University tommorow.”

     “Kitchen Manager that is great! I just started my new day job and I am rather tired I can work tomorrow night instead, what time?”

     “Same shift you would need to be here at six o’clock. “

     “Alright, let me give you my new number.”

     “LiMei your extra uniforms are here also you can pick up anytime.”

    “Thank you!” LiMei hangs up she can call Rui then take a nap.

     At Hushang Entertainment Qiao Rui is watching a new singer audition, she is attractive but her voice is nothing special. It is too noisy to have a conversation with Henri Armand, why did I need to come here, the Frenchman could come by my office. 

     As he is grumbling to himself his phone rings, his eyes light up he didn’t expect LiMei to call him this afternoon. Without saying anything he moves away from his seat it is too close to the stage. “LiMei?’

     LiMei can hear singing in the background where is he? “Rui, I got off early and I don’t need to work at the Crescent Moon..”

     “What?” He can’t hear her very well, “LiMei let me walk outside I am at Hushang Entertainment with Chen Huan he is having auditions.”

     She wonders why Rui would be at an audition does he know a participant? “Okay.”

     Rui leaves the room and walks to the garden outside. “What were you saying?”

     “I wondered if you would like to come to my apartment for dinner tonight?” She doesn’t feel like going out they could sit at the table on the balcony to eat.

     “You want to make dinner for me?” He can’t believe it he never expected her to forgive him this quickly.

     “Well I think we have some things to discuss and it would be strange to do it in a restaurant. I happen to be off tonight and I like to cook.”

     What does she mean by that, is she going to tell me she doesn’t want to see me anymore. It would be awkward to break up in a restaurant. I can’t let her leave me! Yes, at her apartment I could persuade her to give me another chance.

    “What time should I come over?”

    “Seven o’clock would be good.”

    He loves hearing the sound of her light sweet voice, “I will be there.”

    LiMei’s heart is beating wildly, why does his voice make her heart beat like this.

Rui’s voice is low and sexy, “See you then.”

    When Rui enters the auditions he has a smile on his face, he was worried she wouldn’t call him and he knew he couldn’t be aggressive after last night.

    Chen Huan is surprised Qiao Rui never smiles breaking the stone cold look he usually has on his face. “Rui who was that on the phone?”

     “I have an appointment later, when are these auditions over I would like to see what you need from me Henri.”

     Chen Huan doesn’t need to be here he just enjoys seeing the fresh faces. The Variety Show is his new project but he has a capable Director to oversee it with the other judges. “We can go to lunch, I just wanted Henri to see the talent we will be using for the show his costume designers are handling the wardrobe for the participants.”

    He is starving, the woman from last night kept him up all night then he had to rush over to meet a client at his office. After he realized he was drugged he took her to a VIP Suite, she is a professional so she willingly participated in the nocturnal activities. He is wondering who would be that bold, it wasn’t her he could tell by her surprised reaction when he confessed the situation to her.

      Xiaobo’s girls will be fired if they are found giving any customers drugs. She only mentioned her price and what she was willing to do for him.

     When he was rational this morning he remembered picking up Jianyu’s glass of whiskey, did the girl named Kathy plan on drugging his brother, she works at his company. 

     I will need to mention it to Jianyu when I see him, she came with the woman I saw with a badly beaten face leaving in the morning from a VIP Suite down the hall.

     “Where do you want to eat?”

     “Somewhere close I want to go back to the hospital this afternoon.”

    “ I know a Middle Eastern restaurant that is unusual and quite good.”

     They leave Hushang Entertainment and meet at Byblos Restaurant. The interior gives a person the feeling they are in Morocco, a beautiful dark haired woman with exotic features wearing a belly dancer’s outfit takes them to a table. Qiao Rui wonders how Chen Huan finds these places. The woman seems to know him and brushes her chest against him as they walk to a table.

    “Henri what did you want to discuss with me ? I would think there are people better versed in the subject than me.”

    “I am going to get to the point Doctor you have a medicinal herb I want and I am willing to pay you twice what it is worth.’

     “I don’t sell my medicinal herbs I collect them for my own use and my mentor’s.”

     Chen Huan receives a call from Hushang Entertainment, a girl has barged in looking for him saying he had promised her an audition. She is causing a scene and kicked a security guard. The Director knows Chen Huan doesn’t want any scandals attached to his new show so he called him right away. They have her in his office telling her Chen Huan will be arriving back soon.

     “I have a problem at the auditions I will need to go back, it is nothing to worry about just needs my attention.” He doesn’t want to alert Henri, he is his biggest investor.

     After Chen Huan leaves Henri begins to try to persuade Qiao Rui, he needs to procure that herb for Uncle Xinghi’s experiments. He hasn’t been able to find out where the rare herb was discovered or he would send his men.

    “Mr. Armand I am curious why a CEO of a fashion house would want an herb whose use hasn’t been fully explored yet but may enable a person to heal at an astronomical rate after being wounded without leaving any scar tissue.” Qiao Rui is suspicious of him he exudes a dangerous aura that is contrary to the sophisticated and genteel image he projects.

     Rui can tell he has had strong martial arts training from sensing the internal energy he possesses. Last night he didn’t have time to assess him but sitting here now he definitely felt the tension increase when he refused his offer, he has a murderous gleam in his eyes.

     “Of course it isn’t for me, I have a friend who works with severely injured men in the French Special Forces and he told me of the rare herb’s existence. I told him I would do my best to secure it for him being the patriotic man that I am.”

     Qiao Rui doesn’t like to play games, “How did you find out I have it in my collection?”

    “We have a mutual friend.”

     “I find that hard to believe, we don’t travel in the same circles and I just returned to Pushong City earlier this year.”

    Kuang Bo is about to explode, his facade of Henri Armand has fooled everyone but the good Doctor it seems, he can tell by his expression …can see his killing intent and is trying to push his buttons. Am I going to have to use the little girl to get what I need?

    “Dr. Woo”

    Qiao Rui is shocked when he mentions him, he knows Zixin would never tell anyone he owns this herb, they are in the process of exploring its potential only as of a month ago.

    “How do you know Dr. Woo?”

    “I met him a few years ago in the mountains at his Clinic.” He is going to see if the mention of the mountain clinic ruffles his feathers.

     Qiao Rui now knows Henri Armand has connections in the Underworld to subtly threaten him with the reference to the mountain clinic. He maintains his composure. “Dr. Woo went to Cambodia to visit a friend he should be back Friday, let me discuss it with him.”

     Kuang Bo is surprised when Qiao Rui says this Uncle Xinghi mentioned he and Woo Zixin were friends but had a falling out several years ago could he have been going to see him?

    “I am leaving to go back to France I can return on Saturday we can continue discussing the matter after you speak to Dr. Woo.”

     If he isn’t agreeable at the time I will have to kidnap Feng LiMei my identity as Henri Armand is getting tiresome, then I will announce the sale of Henri Couture to my other identity of Feng Sheng. 

     He can begin his new life as a legitimate businessman and no longer wear masks. This decision is ahead of schedule but he wants out, he needs to find a way to convince his brother to let him leave the Black Sky Organization. If I can’t convince him I will need to eliminate him.

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