Pretend to be My Boyfriend
“I’m not kidding,” said Xia Lei.
Chi Jing-Qiu looked at Xia Lei with eyes full of contempt, “Classmate Xia, when did you become this sort of person?”
“Become what sort of person?”
“A liar,” Chi Jing-Qiu added, “A liar who lies even to himself.”
Xia Lei looked back at her but just smiled and didn’t bother to say more. This was a chance meeting and he was not his high-school self anymore. However, she seemed not to have changed from her high-school self – she was still proud and heartless. He was not angry at all when faced with her questions and cynicism because it was not worth it. He didn’t even want to speak a word more with her; it was too tiring and unnecessary.
Chi Jing-Qiu, however, thought Xia Lei’s silence was because she had hit a nerve and she smirked, “I was right, wasn’t I? Classmate Xia, I’ll give you 30 seconds to leave and go where you should be going. This is not a place for you to loiter about in. If you’re still sitting here after 30 seconds I’ll call security. You don’t want that to happen, do you?”
“Classmate Chi, I really don’t want to waste breath on you since it’s tiring. I’ll put it this way – if I leave right now, and leave due to you, your Chairman Ning will definitely take you to task.”
“Looks like I’ll have to call security.” Chi Jing-Qiu took out her phone and got ready to dial.
Xia Lei did not bother explaining himself. He picked up a magazine and started flipping through it.
Just then, a middle-aged man walked through the doorway. He was not tall – maybe a little under 170cm. His fat face and beer belly made him look like one of those underachieving people who lacked self-discipline.
“Darling, what happened?” The middle-aged man called Chi Jing-Qiu ‘darling’ as soon as he entered, unabashedly showing his affection for her.
This greeting shocked Xia Lei. The line Chi Jing-Qiu wrote on his love letter hovered in his head: I like boys like Wu Qi-Long so, Classmate Xia, are you a boy like him?
Is this dear friend here the sort of boy like Wu Qi-Long?!
Xia Lei started laughing all of a sudden; he couldn’t hold it in anymore. If anyone said that that man there was Wu Qi-Long and not Wu Meng-Da*, he would smack him silly.
Seeing Xia Lei laugh out of the blue, the middle-aged man demanded rudely, “Who are you?”
Before Xia Lei could answer, Chi Jing-Qiu spoke first, “Hubby, his name’s Xia Lei. He was my high school classmate. I think he’s here today to make trouble for me; he’s loitering in Chairman Ning’s exclusive reception room and wouldn’t leave.”
The middle-aged man’s face darkened in anger. He pointed at Xia Lei and commanded, “Get out!”
Xia Lei laughed as he said, “Please use a more courteous tone, Mr. Wu Qi-Long.”
“Wu Qi-Long?” The middle-aged man paused, “Who is Wu Qi-Long?”
Xia Lei looked at Chi Jing-Qiu and pretended to look surprised, “Isn’t your lover Wu Qi-Long?”
“Darling, what is this? Who is Wu Qi-Long? When did this Wu Qi-Long appear?” the middle-aged man asked suspiciously.
Chi Jing-Qi stamped her foot in anger, “Wu Qi-Long is a Taiwanese singer! You’re so embarrassing!”
“I…” The middle-aged man’s fat face turned the colour of pig liver. He knew then that Xia Lei had baited him and he stepped towards Xia Lei, ready to throw a punch.
As that moment, Ning Jing walked in, followed by a tall, dignified elderly gentleman.
As soon as they saw Ning Jing and the tall old man, Chi Jing-Qiu and the middle-aged man bowed respectfully and greeted, “Chairman Ning.”
This tall elderly gentleman was East Wind Heavy Industries’ Chairman, Ning Yuan-Shan. Chi Jing-Qiu and her husband were respectful towards him but Xia Lei just dipped his head slightly.
Ning Jing spoke, “Uncle, this is the person I told you about; Master Xia.” She turned to Xia Lei, “Master Xia, this is my uncle, Ning Yuan-Shan.”
Xia Lei got up from the sofa and stretched both hands out to Ning Yuan-Shan for a clasping handshake, saying, “Greetings, Chairman Ning.”
Ning Yuan-Shan extended one hand and shook hands with Xia Lei. There was no need to use both hands since Xia Lei was of the younger generation. They shook twice, and Ning Yuan-Shan said, “Master Xia, I was intrigued when Ning Jing spoke of you. I am glad you came today. Come, let’s sit and chat.”
“Of course, please have a seat first, Chairman Ning,” said Xia Lei.
Ning Yuan-Shan chuckled in appreciation of Xia Lei’s politeness, then he saw the gaping Chi Jing-Qiu who was standing next to them and a wrinkle appeared between his brows. “Why are you still standing there? Hurry up and serve tea to Master Xia.”
Chi Jing-Qiu came to her senses and scurried off to make tea. Her cheeks flamed as she remembered the tone she’d used with Xia Lei and how she had been chided for not bringing Xia Lei some tea. The slap to her pride was a harsh one. She didn’t understand how a poor beggar-boy she’d rejected years ago could become so distinguished now.
Ning Yuan-Shan looked at Chi Jing-Qiu’s husband and said, “Liu Shuai, why are you still standing around? Don’t you have work to do?”
“I… I’ll be about my duties, Chairman Ning.” The man named Liu Shuai moved faster than the wind.
Chi Jing-Qiu carried three cups of tea over and set the first one before Ning Yuan-Shan, the second in front of Ning Jing and the third before Xia Lei. As she set the tea before Xia Lei, she looked at him, her gaze showing a mix of emotions.
“Thanks,” said Xia Lei quietly.
“Y-You’re welcome,” said Chi Jing-Qiu awkwardly.
Xia Lei didn’t speak to her again.
“Secretary Chi, bring a notebook and a pen. Take the minutes of our talk,” said Ning Yuan-Shan.
“Yes, Chairman Ning.” Chi Jing-Qiu turned to fetch a notebook and pen. She was a shrewd woman and could discern things easily but she felt like she was out of her depth this time. She could not figure out what the high and lofty Chairman Ning would need to discuss with the little punk, Xia Lei.
Chi Jing-Qiu had not yet gone back to her place when Ning Yuan-Shan spoke, “Master Xia, I like to be direct in my dealings. I hope our talk will also be held in a straightforward manner.”
Xia Lei smiled. “It’s perfectly fine, Chairman Ning. Please, speak your mind.”
“All right, I’ll be frank,” Ning Yuan-Shan continued, “I believe Ning Jing has already told you a little bit of the situation before you came today so I shall not repeat it. I would like to ask – If I hand an extremely important purchase order to you for completion, would you be able to do it?”
Xia Lei thought for a while before replying, “That would have to depend on the quality requirements of the processing and the volume of the order. My workshop is small and I only have three people so large orders are impossible.”
Ning Yuan-Shan smiled. “You are a realistic man. I’ve met many who boasted about how big their companies were and how many employees they had but you say you only have three. I like your honesty.”
Xia Lei smiled politely and listened but did not interrupt.
Chi Jing-Qiu sat behind Ning Yuan-Shan with a notebook. She gave Xia Lei a look and a trace of a mocking smile could be seen on her lips though she looked quiet and gentle.
Though he knew what sort of woman she was, she was still a beauty with a good temperament if you ignored her negative traits. Xia Lei had been attracted to that characteristic when he was younger but he was not the same young boy any longer. No matter how perfect she was, he could not find a shred of excitement or feelings which he had had for her. He felt nothing, nada, zilch.
“You don’t have to worry about that, Master Xia,” Ning Yuan-Shan continued speaking, “We have never done large orders for precision processing. We used to import the parts we needed from America and Europe when technology blocks weren’t as strict. Now that strict restrictions have been put in place, we are unable to purchase the things we need. At the same time, our nation’s precision processing industry is seriously lagging behind. This is very unfortunate for our country’s economic and infrastructural development…”
Ning Jing suddenly interrupted Ning Yuan-Shan, “Uncle, you’re starting to ramble on about major principles again. I’ve heard all this three times already.”
Ning Yuan-Shan chuckled, “You cheeky girl. You’ve been spoilt by me and your old man; no respect, hmm?”
“Oh, Uncle.” Ning Jing looked displeased.
Ning Yuan-Shan laughed, “All right, all right, you win. I’ll get back to business. So it’s like this, Master Xia. Our company urgently needs some precision processing done and it is just a small quantity. However, the quality and precision required are very high. We have consulted several domestic machine manufacturing companies and they have the equipment but no one who can do it. Even when they tried, the resulting parts did not meet requirements. If you are able to do this, our company shall provide the processing equipment and material needed. We have samples too. You don’t need to understand what these processing parts are used for and only need to do a batch according to our specifications. What do you think? Are you willing to try?”
“No problem. I’m willing to give it a try,” said Xia Lei.
“Good! I like daring young people like you,” said Ning Yuan-Shan, “Now, tell me what you would like to request – what do you need?”
“Let’s talk about that when I can actually do it. I would like to see the originals of what’s to be processed and your processing equipment. Is this all right?” said Xia Lei.
“Of course, I’ll take you there right now.” Ning Yuan-Shan got to his feet, ready to go. He looked at Chi Jing-Qiu and said, “Secretary Chi, there’s no further need for minutes. Go to the workshop and ask them to prepare what we need.”
“Yes, Chairman Ning. Right away.” Chi Jing-Qiu did not dare dilly-dally; she hastened to leave the reception room before Ning Yuan-Shan got to the door.
Out the door, Ning Yuan-Shan walked ahead and Xia Lei and Ning Jing followed him to a workshop.
Ning Jing spoke softly, “Master Xia, Secretary Chi was looking at you weirdly. Do you know each other?”
She was quite observant, this girl. Xia Lei replied quietly, “Yes. We were classmates in high school.”
“I see.” A sly smile appeared on Ning Jing’s face, “That look that she gave you… I guess you two have some sort of history?”
Xia Lei smiled but did not want to continue discussing the topic and changed it. “Right, Big Sister Ning, why didn’t your uncle ask me about my qualifications? This is a big job and he believed me just like that – it’s not normal.”
One was a huge enterprise and the other a little independent workshop by the road – and the two concluded a business talk just like that. This situation only existed in television dramas. When repeated in real-life, it was fairly abnormal.
Ning Jing was quiet for a bit before she spoke, “You really want to know why?”
Xia Lei was nonplussed, “Of course. Your uncle was so nice to me. I wanted to ask you about it just now and I still can’t figure out why he’s being so nice.”
Ning Jing suddenly smiled wryly. “Okay, I’ll tell you. My uncle didn’t agree at first and said I was being unreasonable. Then I told him you were my boyfriend and he agreed and even asked to meet you.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Ning Jing was turning pink, “Um… I was lying to my uncle so don’t take it seriously.”
What else could Xia Lei say?
*Wu Meng-Da – A famous Hong-Kong actor. He was in some of the best movies.