Chapter 66: Protect Against Fire, Thieves and Boss
Her past memories were chaotic and unbearable, making her knees buckle slightly.
She held onto the wall for support and took a hurried step backwards.
However, Li Lei continued to stare at her and close in on her, “Why? What is the reason?” Instinctively, he knew this was the key to discovering her secret. In this moment, many things flashed through his mind — her amazing singing talent, the sadness in the depths of her eyes, the unimaginable riding skills she had shown at the Nan Shan horse riding club…
He wanted to know everything about her.
But Xia Ling only shook her head and kept backing away in panic.
“You’re not going to tell me?” He continued to stare at her deeply, “Your reactions are really strange. For an artiste, even a newbie that had just debuted… you should be used to being in front of cameras. What’s more, Tan Ying and Wei Shaoyin have both told me that you are a natural in front of the camera, better than many veteran artistes.”
“So,” He concluded, “you aren’t afraid of cameras, but afraid of surveillance cameras.”
She took another two steps back helplessly.
He did not let her off and kept pressing in on her, “Surveillance cameras are everywhere even while we are walking along the streets. No normal person would have such a large reaction in front of surveillance cameras. What are you afraid of?”
“Stop asking!” Xia Ling’s voice was hoarse as she kept backing away. She could not see where she was going and fell onto the big bed behind her.
She hurriedly tried to get up but Li Lei had already come forward, leaned over and pinned her down with his two hands on either side of her body. “Xiao Ling,” His breath was beside her ears, and his voice was low and seductive, “you are hiding something. Tell me.”
“No…” She weakly mumbled.
She was trapped by him. It had been a long time since she was this close to a man, such that she was able to smell the dry, lingering smell of cigarette smoke on his body and feel his electric pressure on her. It was unfamiliar and had a inexplicable sense of danger, making her feel terrified.
She quivered slightly and used both hands to try with all her might to push him away. However, his chest was as sturdy as a rock and he did not move one bit.
“Let me go!” She finally shouted in despair, her voice shaking.
His deep-set eyes seemed keen to stare into the depths of her eyes as he used a hand to lift her chin up. Stroking her face gently, he continued coaxing, “Xiao Ling, be good, just tell me what is it.” He had always been very good with girls and no one could resist his charm. At this moment, he had shredded away all semblance of the harmless camouflage he kept on usually, revealing a tinge of danger in his demeanor, and was bent on getting his way at all cost.
Xia Ling started to understand why everyone was scared of him.
Her body started to shake more violently. Being this close to a man was an unbearable torture for her. The snippets of the past started to flash through her mind again. She was imprisoned, locked in a cage and tortured mercilessly…
Cold sweat broke out on her forehead and her breathing became rapid. She started to go into a daze.
All of a sudden, she felt the heaviness on her lift.
Li Lei had let go of her.
She did not want to waste more time thinking and hurriedly stood up from the bed, half crawling, half running back to a corner in the room, and curled up with her back tightly pressed against the cold wall. She looked at him warily, trying to take big breaths of air through her panting.
Li Lei remained where he was in the same position that he had trapped her under. Lying on his side, his white common shirt was messy with the signs of her earlier struggling, and the top button near the collar was open, showing the light brown tan of his skin and the proportionate muscles beneath. He used one hand to prop up his head as he looked at her, his deep green eyes narrowed, exuding an air of laziness as well as danger.
He did not say anything, and neither did she.
After what seemed like an eternity, he grabbed a bathrobe that was lying on the bed and carelessly threw it to her, saying, “Put this on, the ground is cold.” Although he wanted to find out her secret, seeing that she was close to tears, he felt pity for her and let her go.
As Xia Ling subconsciously caught the bathrobe, it was only then that she realized that she was sitting on the ground, which was both stiff and cold. She hugged the soft, large bathrobe to her chest but did not dare to move. She continued to stare at him nervously and completely alert.
Li Lei smiled and said gently, “Xiao Ling, the first time we met I gave you a bouquet of flowers.”
She remembered that it was a bouquet of hibiscuses that could change colour.
She did not understand why he had brought up this random topic.
Li Lei sat up and she hurriedly curled further away from him.
He kept smiling, “Don’t be afraid, I didn’t do anything to you, right?” As he spoke, he continued the topic about the flowers, “I felt then that those flowers were very suitable for you. Seeing you now, I was right. Do you know what does it mean to receive hibiscuses?”
She did not know, and did not want to know. She just wished that the Big Boss in front of her now that seemed to have lost his mind would return to his usual friendly self. Yet, things did not go as she wished. She heard him say slowly —
“They mean beauty, elegance and purity.”
She looked at him confused. She was none of those things.
He jumped away from the topic of the flowers and moved on to another that was more tricky, “What if I don’t agree to remove all the cameras?”
She felt her heart sink a little.
The man looking down at her seemed so confident and sure of himself, and also so domineering.
Xia Ling abruptly recalled what the old head of the orphanage had told her a long, long time ago in the orphanage, “Child, no one in this world will be good to you for no reason. One day when you leave this place, remember that the goodness that others show to you has a limit. Never, ever go over that limit.”
She was silent for a long while before finally declaring, “Boss, I apologize for disturbing you. I will move out immediately.” The memory of being imprisoned by Pei Ziheng was a demon from her past. She could not be sure that she could retain her sanity if she were to stay in this room with all the surveillance cameras again.
It was better to leave.
Even if it was tough, she would still find another place that she could stay and hide from Pei Ziheng.
Li Lei raised his eyebrows slightly. He did not expect such an answer from Xia Ling. This girl was more sensitive and stubborn than he had imagined. He said in a jovial tone, “I meant if. Why are you so nervous? You have two options — one, you leave the cameras, or two, you leave a path open for Er Mao so that he can come to patrol as he wishes.”
Xia Ling breathed a sigh of relief and said without hesitation, “I’ll leave a path for Er Mao.”
Just like that, the leopard had invaded her daily life. Every day, he would emerge from the hidden pathway and come to patrol her room as if he was its owner. Li Lei said, “Xiao Ling, this is a necessary precaution. You stay just next door to me, which means that the danger will not only come from Pei Ziheng. In actual fact, Pei Ziheng isn’t too much of a problem compared to some of my enemies.”
She thought of his identity — the grandson of the Li family with connections to the underworld.
She understood that what he said was likely to be the truth. The safety precautions here were targeted for his enemies in the underworld. As for Pei Ziheng, she happened to be protected against him because these precautions were already in place. After all, even if Pei Ziheng had money and power, he was just a normal businessman. He was no match to the underworld when it came to things like killing, arson and burglary.