Take My Breath Away

Chapter 13 - An Amiable Principal

That day was a rather challenging one for the university principal who was tapping his fingers on his desk, lost in thought. However, it was not only Curtis whose mind was bombarded with questions. The students also had questions that needed to be answered such as how Debbie and the principal knew each other and whether they were closely related.

Rumors had it that the girl with a strong personality had an even stronger background; so strong that the Lu family would bend over to cover up the feisty student's mistakes.

'Is this girl's reputation so strong that even Mr. Lu doesn't dare to offend her?' the students continued to contemplate.

Suspicion was filling up the principal's office.

This was when the principal finally came to a verdict. Curtis stood up from where he was seated and picked up a notice of criticism before releasing an official statement. "I've checked and verified the surveillance tape of the classroom incident. I have also seen with my own eyes that Benton Shao ad Erick Zhang started the fight. A notice of criticism will now be printed in the campus newspaper so that it will be circulated all over the university. On the other hand, Jared Han and the other students involved have to sprint ten laps around the racetrack as a form of punishment; consider it a consequence of your childish behaviors. As for you, Dixon Shu, though you didn't engage in the fight, you will be watching over your fellow classmates. When they are done serving their sentence in the field, come and inform me."

After saying all his orders in just one go, the head of the university kept his silence.

Just as Curtis thought he had made himself clear, Benton could not help but complain, "Mr. Lu, it's not fair! Look at my face, it's all bruised and swollen. All of this trouble is just because of Debbie Nian. Are you not going to punish her?" The bloke pointed at Debbie who barely moved an inch.

The stubborn boy couldn't believe that the principal had no intention of punishing the girl who had beaten him up so good. If it weren't for Curtis' influential family, he would have thrown a fit and flipped the table that was right in front of him just to express how infuriated he was.

Debbie was just as perplexed as the boy she had beaten up. She questioned the judgement of their principal, suspecting that maybe Curtis knew about her.

Not taking any more of the chaos in the order of his school, Curtis flashed a glare at Benton and blatantly said, "Get out of my office. Debbie Nian stays."

Although the principal sounded completely calm and composed, the boy, along with his lemmings, did not dare to disobey.

They immediately did as the intimidating man said and left, but Jared and his friends were yet to follow them to the door.

They did not want to leave Debbie alone with the man. The girl's friends were worried that the principal would pin the whole situation on her. With Debbie's safety in mind, Jared pulled her behind him, faced the man behind the desk and defended, "Mr. Lu, Debbie didn't want to stir up conflict in the first place. I was the one who asked her to fight. Please, don't punish her. Let me take the consequences for my own mess."

Curtis smirked, impressed with the ability of the student before him to take responsibility. "I've heard you guys are good friends," the principal pointed out, "and it seems evidently true."

Jared nodded proudly and said, "Of course. We are the best of friends, and I'll do anything for my friend -- even if it means taking the blame."

The boy protecting Debbie had known her for the longest time; it was impossible for him to feel estranged towards her since they had met more than a couple of years back.

However, the principal always knew that this was the case -- he did his homework and had done extensive research on Debbie's family background, not excluding her friends and how their lives were lived. After all, he would not fall short of investigating even her friends; there was a lot he could tell about the mysterious ferocious girl just from knowing her friends.

"Don't worry. I won't punish her. I just need to ask her some questions. Kindly leave us," the authority patiently said.

Jared, being left with no choice but to trust who stood in a higher position than him, decided to obey Curtis. He examined both parties intensely as he was leaving with his friends. The truth was, even he wondered when Debbie and Curtis became closely knitted since his friend never really mentioned it to him.

Little did they know that the girl did not actually know the man who sat with the higher-ups of the university. All she knew was that the principal knew Carlos.

Once they were both left alone together in the room, the fearless student decided to take initiative. "Are you going to tell me that you told Carlos about, uh… the thing… I said those words in the grove…"

Debbie did not have any other idea as to why Curtis asked her to stay.

Curtis ignored her question and freed his hand of the paper he was holding. He eventually motioned at the chair before him and offered Debbie to sit.

She had no choice but to succumb to her principal's offer. She sat as she was asked to and was surprised to see that someone who was of authority was pouring her a glass of cold water.

She immediately tensed up, took the glass and put it on the desk before deciding to say something to break the ice. "Mr. Lu, could you please tell me what you plan to do? You're beginning to freak me out with all this curtsy."

Debbie had gotten herself into a lot of trouble before and whenever she was asked to see the dean, the teachers always shot her looks of pure judgement.

She found it strange that the principal did not exhibit any of the things her former educators had lived up to making her feel. Indeed, she was not used to how Curtis was treating her.

He looked at her and gave her a friendly smile. "Yes, I heard what you said in the grove, but I didn't tell Carlos about it. In other news, he already asked his secretary to look into who displayed the video during the launch event."

'What video?' Debbie thought to herself. 'What is this man talking about? What launch event?' Debbie was getting confused.

Curtis limited his words and asked her to check the headlines of the news. He asked her to stay for more than just a reason; he had more agendas to fulfill with the girl. He finally cleared his throat and began, "Carlos asked me to drive you out of the university premises. Do you know him? Have you ever offended him?"

The one who was overseeing the university had more things to oversee, after all. Being as sharp as he was, the man recollected that at that particular moment, he was watching the launch event live which took place several minutes before the accident. That was when he had received Carlos' call.

The circumstances suggested that Carlos knew Debbie way before the event.

"I've only met him a couple times before, but mostly during unpleasant encounters…" the girl responded, putting a certain sense of trust on the authority of her school's principal. She answered honestly despite the doubts she had building up inside of her.

Upon hearing what she had to say, Curtis finally realized why Carlos was so enraged at her. He knew that she was not the best at behaving which may have caused Carlos a lot of trouble.

Finally, the principal looked the student in the eyes. Out of genuine concern, he told her, "Don't worry. You may now head back to your regular classes. As for Carlos' request, let me deal with it. You don't need to bother yourself about it. If you come across Carlos again, remember that it is best to stay away. If you have feelings for him, you must toughen up and lose them. He's dangerous and he's not the kind of man that you should get involved with, much less provoke. Do you understand the things that I'm telling you?"

With her mouth opened in awe, Debbie looked at the man before her and wondered how long he had known her and why he was being so nice to her. She thought, 'I caused a rumble, but instead of punishing me, he took care of me and protected me from that hoodlum Carlos.'

The feisty girl began to feel comfort, knowing that the principal concerned himself with her as if he were her parent. She began to feel like she was being treated like his own daughter and though she could not understand where his worry for her was coming from, she appreciated it.

As she was ordered to, Debbie went back to class and immediately inquired her phone for the headline news that Curtis had told her to check out. It was then that she realized what had happened.

The person behind the conflict was her cousin, Gail Mu. When Debbie learned about her relative's betrayal, she swore to herself that the next time her cousin provoked her again, she would not let it pass.

Meanwhile, at the ZL Group Headquarters, inside the CEO's office, Carlos was chucking a cigarette he just finished smoking into the ash tray to sign a document. Without paying attention to anything else, he kept his head low and asked, "Have you found out who was behind all this?"

Tristan, who did not have much of a choice but to be honest, answered, "The vice-general manager called, His flash drive was infiltrated by a hacker when he mounted it into a device. The hacker was stealthy and swift enough to slip the video into the files but we still have no leads on who the hacker could be."

"Hacker?" Carlos scoffed. 'It must be that girl again!' the CEO thought to himself in utter ferocity, causing him to form a dent for a smile on his face.

Frustrated, Carlos threw his pen out and impatiently demanded to be left alone.

"Of couse, Mr. Huo," Tristen said. "But before I leave, I would just like to remind you that the Lu Group's anniversary party will be held tomorrow evening. Will you---"

Before the assistant could finish his sentence, Carlos interrupted and said, "I will be there."

"Who will be your partner?" the assistant asked.

The last thing Carlos wanted was to concern himself with such trivial problem; he was not particular about details and hated it whenever he had to hesitate before he could figure them out. Women was one of those things he could never understand. However, he knew he had to say something. "How about that woman named... I wanna say Olivia Mi?" the corporate executive owner said with uncertainty.

"Olga Mi," Tristan corrected.

"Alright, her." The stone-cold man nodded indifferently.

"Understood. I will now take my leave." The convenient secretary bowed.

Once he was left alone, the CEO noticed his phone beep. He had just received a text message. The text seemed to be from a private, unidentified number. Carlos picked up his phone and unlocked it to find a mysterious mail that said, "Hello, Mr. Huo. You may not remember me, but I remember you. I am your legal wife. I will be very much grateful to you if you could take time off your busy schedule to sign the divorce papers I have tendered myself. Thank you very much!"

After a brief moment of consideration, Carlos scoffed and replied, "I'll discuss it with you face to face tomorrow."

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