Bai Meilin knocks on the door as Emmi finishes applying her delicate makeup. She decided the occasion called for a more sophisticated look so she searched youtube tutorials for ideas. She puts down the tube of pink lipstick. When she answers the door Bai Meilin gasps, “Oh my God! Emmi, you look so beautiful!” She touches Emmi’s curled shiny black hair that is cascading down her slender bare back. “Your hair…you should wear it down more often. So pretty!”
Emmi laughs , “Look at you! Is that dress from Chloe Designs? It is perfect! You look like a celebrity!”
Bai Meilin blushes then giggles “A celebrity ..haha..Well,since Henri Armand is coming I decided to wear one from her latest collection.” She has a mischievous smile as she pulls Emmi into her room. “My brothers don’t let me drink alcohol but I am a little nervous so I snuck a bottle of Champagne. Let’s drink before we go downstairs.”
Emmi wrinkles her nose, “Meilin…I don’t know..wouldn’t your brothers be angry then if they found out?” I don’t want to pull the tiger’s tail…your elder brother is not someone to mess with!
Bai Meilin pops the cork of the expensive Champagne, “Don’t worry, I will only have a glass to calm my nerves.” She pours the bubbly wine into two fluted glasses then hands one to Emmi, “A toast to our friendship.” She clinks her glass with Emmi’s then takes a sip, “Oh the bubbles are tickling my throat! Yummy! What do you think?”
Emmi’s eyes are sparkling, “Very tasty!” She looks at the bottle and gulps, “Mei..Meilin this Champagne it..it costs over ten thousand dollars a bottle!” She watched a show once where several wine connoisseurs went to France and discussed different wines.
Bai Meilin looks at the label, “Really? That must be why it tastes so good. I just grabbed it from the wine cellar while you were bathing. I brought two.” She points to another bottle. When she notices Emmi’s stunned expression she smiles, “Don’t worry my brother won’t notice. He doesn’t drink Champagne; someone must have given it to him. He probably has never entered the part of the wine cellar with the chilled wines. Cai only drinks nasty whisky and Chenxi doesn’t drink after the incident I told you about when he was in High School.”
She smiles, “Drink. I brought a fruit plate. Try the strawberries, really juicy and sweet.” She sticks it with a toothpick and feeds Emmi.
Emmi sighs, “The combination of the Champagne and fruit is really good.” She sips the sparkling wine as she looks out the floor to ceiling window. “You are right I was a little nervous too and the Champagne is relaxing me.”
Bai Meilin pours them each another glass, “You always seem so self confident. You get nervous too?”
“Well I like to think I am a competent person who can handle most situations… but faced with meeting my idol…I am definitely nervous!” She sips the wine, “Not to mention I have never attended a dinner party like this.”
Bai Meilin holds her hand, “We will need to rely on each other then and be strong!” She knocks her glass with Emmi’s then sets down the crystal fluted glass. I better not have this second glass… I lied to Emmi, I really can’t drink but I knew she would enjoy the Champagne. I heard her talking to Ruan YaoYao one day and they were discussing their love of wine.
Before very long Emmi has finished all the berries… plums and the bottle of Champagne while Bai Meilin watched her with an adoring look.
There is a knock at the door, “Young Miss, the guests are arriving, The Eldest Young Master said for you to come down.”
Bai Meilin holds Emmi’s hand, “Ready?”
Emmi’s eyes are twinkling and her cheeks are slightly flushed, “You?”
“Ready! Let’s go see if your idol has arrived.”
When they reach the top of the stairs Bai Meilin clutches Emmi’s hand. Emmi looks down the stairs and her heart is racing, I actually am quite nervous.
Bai Cai looks up to see his little sister with a huge grin holding Emmi’s hand. The bright smile makes his heart melt, Little Mei looks so happy and…confident?
When they reach the bottom of the stairs, Bai Cai lovingly touches his sister’s hair, “Little Mei you look beautiful.” He then greets Emmi, “Miss Chen.”
Bai Meilin scrunches up her nose, “Brother, don’t you have something to say to Chen Emmi?”
Emmi’s face turns red and Bai Cai lips curl up in a slight arc, “Miss Chen, you also look very pretty.”
Emmi wants to find a hole to crawl into..Meilin..did you have to say that! She politely replies,“Thank you Mr. Bai.”
Meilin grabs his hand so on one side is Emmi and the other is Bai Cai, “Brother, I can’t wait to see the Pavilion!”
The scene of the very short girl dragging the tall taciturn man and an unknown beautiful girl towards the tunneled entrance to the Pavillion did not go unnoticed by the people who were arriving. They heard his sister was an introvert and very shy. That seems to be a rumor witnessing the lively looking lttle girl in front of them.
Bai Cai is helpless when it comes to his little sister so he ignores the strange looks of the guests they pass by. As long as MeiMei smiles like this I am willing.
When the three arrive at the Pavillion both Emmi and Bai Meilin are astonished. The interior is elegantly decorated. Fresh Peonies and candles are on top of white linen covered round tables and a magnificent crystal chandelier is hung in the middle of the Pavillion. The room is comfortably heated and outside the large windows the view is spellbinding. Snow is falling on the picturesque garden which is lit up with twinkling lights on the plum blossom trees glistening with powdery snow. Emmi can’t help but exclaim, “So beautiful..like a wonderland..”
Bai Meilin hugs her brother’s waist, “Brother, I love it!”
He wraps his arms around her petite frame and his voice is full of emotion, “MeiMei, smile like this more often okay, it makes brother very happy.”
Emmi is watching this heartwarming scene when she hears someone say her name and she turns around, “Jean Paul?”
He pulls her to the side and speaking perfect Chinese he admonishes her, “Girl, do you know how many times I have called you since I arrived in China!”
She has a stunned expression, “Why..why would you call me?”
He has his hand on his hips, “Honey, Because of the dress you are wearing! “
Emmi furrows her delicate eyebrows together and looks down at her dress. “I don’t understand.”
“Come sit..we need to talk.”
Bai Meilin and her brother are talking so Emmi nods and follows him. He grabs two glasses of red wine from a waiter’s tray and hands one to Emmi. She takes the wine from him and smiles, He certainly is a little eccentric. Jean Paul sits at a small table by where the bar is set up and Emmi also sits down, “Why were you calling me?”
“You are my new assistant, why wouldn’t I call you?”
Emmi thinks maybe she is a little tipsy from the Champagne, “Jean Paul could you make sense.”
“I am here in China to collaborate with you on my latest collection. A fusion of Chinese and Western design. The dress you are wearing is why I made you my assistant. I think together we could stir up some waves in the fashion industry. When I first saw you at the Paris Competition I couldn’t take my eyes off your dress. The exquisite embroidered peonies, the way the lines of the dress were perfect, the pristine white scattered with the vibrant flowers was bewitching. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.”
Emmi laughs at his exaggerated expression, “I am flattered but I can’t be your assistant. First, I am not qualified, I haven’t received my degree and secondly I don’t have time.”
“I can work around your schedule and the pay…well I don’t know any college student who can turn down $5,000 USD for working part time doing what they love.”
Choking on her wine Emmi’s eyes light up, “How..how much did you say?”
“5,000 a month.”
Han Qing walks up to the table, “Jean Paul! You naughty boy! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to China. I would have put you on the cover of my next issue.”
“Get lost. I’m busy.”
Han Qing has a sarcastic smile as she stares at Emmi, “Isn’t she a little young for you?”
Jean Paul sneers, “Honey,don’t be jealous because you are past your prime…Thirty is around the corner isn’t it? and you’re still single?…none of the blind dates your family set up worked out?”
She digs her fingernails in her palm then her eyes sparkle with bad intentions. She bends down and whispers something in Jean Paul’s ear and his delicate face turns bright red. He glares at Han Qing, under his breath he whispers, cunning bitch..dare threaten me.. hmmph…I guess I have no choice…”Fine.” He points at Emmi, “But you need to include my assistant in the photo shoot.”
Han Qing narrows her beautiful brown eyes while sizing up Emmi who has her head lowered while sipping her wine as though she is invisible. Picking up Jean Paul’s wine glass Han Qing takes a sip leaving a red lip print. “The girl has good visuals. I can do that.”
The corner of his mouth twitches, “I drank out of that glass you know!”
She ruffles his perfectly styled red hair, “I know. I will call you with the details.”
Han Qing has a satisfied smile as she glides across the floor in her 10cm red high heels towards a group of people.
After she leaves Jean Paul slams his hand on the table, “HAN QING!” He regains his composure and calmly asks Emmi, “Where were we?”