A Couple So Perfect You Could Make a Gold Statue of Them
Xia Lei received a text message from Ning Yuan-Shan just as he arrived at Thunder Horse Workshop. The dinner was going to be at Polaris Hotel at 7:00pm.
‘Geeze, Uncle Ning didn’t even ask my opinion. Whatever, I’ll just go. We may work with each other in the future and it’s not a good idea to get on the bad side of a man like him. I’ll take Xiao-An and Xiao-Hong with me and let them experience more of the outside world’ thought Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An was welding and Zhou Xiao-Hong was assisting. Ma Xiao-An had worked up a sweat and Zhou Xiao-Hong had too; her sweat soaked her work clothes and the wet material clung tightly to her bum, accentuating its fullness and invoking desires and fantasies.
“Break time.” Xia Lei clapped.
It was only then that Ma Xiao-An and Zhou Xiao-Hong discovered that Xia Lei was back. Ma Xiao-An put down the welding clamp in his hands and Zhou Xiao-Hong got to her feet and headed for the water dispenser.
“No need to get me water.” Xia Lei stopped her, “You’re already tired and soaked with sweat, so there’s no need to bring me water. You should drink some yourself.”
“I’m not tired, Big Brother Lei. I’ll get you a cup of water.” Zhou Xiao-Hong wiped at the sweat on her forehead with the back of her hand, and a dirty smear appeared on her pale forehead.
Xia Lei wasn’t thirsty but when Zhou Xiao-Hong brought a cup right to his hands, he downed all the water in one go.
Ma Xiao-An washed his hands and walked over, “Lei, have you finished the job at East Wind Heavy Industries?”
“I’m done,” said Xia Lei, “Chairman Ning of East Wind Heavy Industries has offered to treat me to a meal as congratulations. It’s meaningless if I go alone so I’d like to bring the two of you.”
Ma Xiao-An shook his head, “Lei, I’d better not go to such an important place. It’s enough if you bring just Xiao-Hong and say she is your secretary.”
“You’re usually so thick-skinned so why are you being a chicken today? Is it because of Ning Yuan-Shan? Is he going to eat you up?” said Xia Lei.
“Ning Yuan-Shan is one of the big fish and I’m just a little fish. I won’t feel comfortable sharing a dinner table with him. It’s better if I don’t go,” said Ma Xiao-An.
“Big Brother Lei, I, I’m not going either…” Zhou Xiao-Hong looked even more nervous and timid. She stuttered slightly as she said, “I’m just a mountain-girl and I’ve never seen much of the outside world. Big Brother Lei, if you take me with you I’ll embarrass myself. I’m not going, I’m not going.”
“You two… Isn’t it just a meal? Why do you two have to be so afraid of it?”
“I’m not afraid, I just don’t want to go. Xiao-Hong, you can go as secretary and take a look around. Go with Lei,” said Ma Xiao-An.
Zhou Xiao-Hong shook her pretty head so hard her head looked like a rattle, “I’m not going and I’m not a secretary.”
Since talking didn’t work, Xia Lei put the 50,000 on the table, “Never mind if you two don’t want to go. This is 50,000 yuan. I’ll give it to you both as a bonus. You can use it to buy whatever you want.”
“Lei, what are you doing?” Ma Xiao-An looked at Xia Lei in astonishment. He did not reach for the money.
Zhou Xiao-Hong also spoke nervously, “Big Brother Lei, I’m happy enough that you’ve taken me in. I haven’t even been here a month so why are you giving me such a large bonus all of a sudden? I can’t take it.”
Xia Lei smiled and said, “My work at East Wind Industries earned us one million. I’d intended on giving you even more bonuses but we also need money for upgrading our machine shop so it’s just 50,000. Please don’t be upset that it’s too little and accept it.”
“Too little, my ass! Forget it, I don’t like to hear that stuff. Fine, I’ll take the money, okay?” Ma Xiao-An took two bundles of money, then added, “Xue is going to move to Jing Du to study soon. I’ll go over to your place for dinner and see if she needs anything else for school.”
Xia Lei frowned, “You’re spending money on her again. You’ll spoil her.”
“How is it as serious as you’d described? You’re her brother and I’m her Big Brother. What’s wrong with me buying her presents?” Ma Xiao-An followed his own logic.
“Do what you like, then. Remember to stay within some limits and don’t let her get into the habit of spending a lot of money. That’ll be bad,” said Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An laughed, “Yeah, yeah. You nag more than my mother.”
Zhou Xiao-Hong spoke up too, “Big Brother Ma, take me with you too. I’ll go to Big Brother Lei’s home to have dinner. Um… I’d like to buy Xue a little present too.”
“Sure, but you’ll have to wipe the tables before you go,” said Ma Xiao-An with an evil smile.
“Okay.” Zhou Xiao-Hong picked up a cloth and went straight to wiping.
“Take the money and put it away. Don’t drop it.” Xia Lei shoved money into Zhou Xiao-Hong’s hands as he nagged.
Zhou Xiao-Hong’s eyes were red; she was so moved she couldn’t speak. When she’d left her village to look for work, her greatest dream was to save 10,000 and send it home to her family and she’d calculated that she would need to work hard for a year to reach that goal. However, she’d only been in Thunder Horse Workshop for less than a month when Xia Lei gave her a bonus of 20,000. This 20,000 meant a lot to her. How could she not be moved?
“Go, go. Do your work well.” Xia Lei did not want to see her cry.
“Okay.” Zhou Xiao-Hong shoved the two bundles of money into her pockets and went to work on the tables with all her heart. Her hands moved vigorously left and right and her bountiful bosom also jiggled vigorously, almost hitting the tabletop.
Ma Xiao-An’s eyes were fixed on Zhou Xiao-Hong’s breasts. He hadn’t blinked.
Xia Lei smiled wryly and shook his head. He walked to Ma Xiao-An and spoke in a low tone, “She’s an honest, hardworking girl, I tell you. Don’t bring her any harm.”
Ma Xiao-An also lowered his voice, “Bro, what sort of person do you think I am? People of my moral conduct don’t match with people like her. I won’t harm her; I’m just looking. Looking is not a crime and she won’t get pregnant either, right?”
Xia Lei slapped Ma Xiao-An upside the back of his head, “You ass!”
Ma Xiao-An took the hit. He wasn’t the least bit angry and just continued staring at Zhou Xiao-Hong wiping tables while giggling.
In the evening, Xia Lei called a taxi to get to Polaris Hotel.
Before he could get there, however, Ning Jing called.
“What is it, Big Sister Ning?” greeted Xia Lei warmly.
“Oh, it’s bad.” Ning Jing’s voice sounded anxious over the phone.
“What happened? Don’t panic, speak slowly.”
“My uncle told my father about you. My father’s coming to the dinner tonight too.”
“What?” Xia Lei was shocked.
“My uncle made you sound like someone with supernatural powers and stopped just short of calling you the perfect son-in-law. My father was listening intently and he smiled but was also scolding me at the same time, saying how could I keep such a big thing from him. What… What should I do?”
Xia Lei felt a headache coming on, “I, I don’t know either. I’ve never encountered this sort of situation before.”
“I have no experience either. Argh, it’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have told my uncle you were my boyfriend without discussing it with you first.” Ning Jing was at her wits’ end.
“Don’t panic, you were only trying to get your uncle to meet me and help me get that contract. How could I blame you?” consoled Xia Lei.
“Never mind, what’s past is past so let’s not bring it up again. My father has a bad heart; he can’t get mad. Let’s just work together to fool him one more time.”
Xia Lei bit the bullet, “Okay, let’s pretend again. I can’t act well though, so please don’t blame me if anyone sees through it.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. You just need to change according to the situation. Okay, that should be it. I’ll wait for you at the hotel.” Ning Jing hung up.
Xia Lei was still holding onto his mobile phone, looking preoccupied. He’d thought that this was a celebratory party but it had turned out to be a family-related match-making date. He wasn’t Ning Jing’s boyfriend but had to meet her father under the guise of being her boyfriend. This matter made his head hurt when he thought about it.
“Bro, meeting the parents?” The taxi driver looked back at him, grinning.
Xia Lei came back to reality, “How did you know?”
“I heard you,” said the taxi driver, “You can’t go like that. You need to get some appropriate gifts.”
Xia Lei’s head had hurt enough but the taxi driver’s words threw him into more chaos, “How complicated can it be? I actually… Forget it, please stop at the supermarket ahead. I’ll go buy some gift.”
The taxi driver laughed, “That’s the right move.”
The taxi stopped in front of Wal-Mart and Xia Lei strode into the supermarket. He went in empty-handed but came out with a large bag in his left and another in his right hand. Ning Jing did not say if her mother would be coming but in this situation, her mother would surely come to see her ‘future son-in-law’ so he prepared two gift baskets; one for Ning Jing’s father and one for her mother.
“Bro, you’re good. Going for it like this. You’ll make the future in-laws happy” The taxi driver spoke candidly,
Xia Lei was in no mood to joke and he kept quiet. He just asked the taxi driver to hurry.
When he got to Polaris Hotel, Xia Lei paid the taxi fare and walked into the lobby. He saw Ning Jing waiting for him right away.
Ning Jing had dressed up specially for today. She wore a traditional blue and white porcelain-pattern dress, with a small, cute navy jacket above it and had a pair of simple and elegant mid-high heels on her feet. The overall effect made her aura of bookishness even thicker. There were many beautifully attired women in the lobby but she was the most special, eye-catching one. Xia Lei could not help praising her beauty in his heart when he first saw her.
Xia Lei walked over with his two gift baskets, smiling as he greeted, “I’m sorry I’m a little late, Big Sister Ning. Did you wait long?”
Ning Jing took small steps to him, looking nervous, “Stop calling me Big Sister Ning. My uncle told my parents you are 25. Call me by my nickname tonight – call me Jing.”
Xia Lei nodded, “Okay, got it.”
“Call… Call me once and try it out,” said Ning Jing shyly.
Xia Lei opened his mouth and dawdled for a bit before he could say it, “Ji… Jing.”
“That’ll work. Try to be more natural next time, don’t sound so stiff.” Ning Jing was like a military strategist on the battlefield. “And, My father’s name is Ning Yuan-Hai. My mother is Zhang Hui-Lan. My father is easy to handle – you just need to toast him at least two more times and he’ll be happy when he’s had enough to drink. My mother is more difficult – she will ask you a lot of questions. You have to be on your toes or she’ll see right through you.”
Xia Lei’s head was spinning as he asked, “What sort of questions will your mother ask?”
Ning Jing answered right away, “House, car, career situation, income, family members and the like. You’d better prepare what to say so you don’t get it wrong.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly, “Sounds like you’ve been through this before.”
A helpless look appeared on Ning Jing’s face. “My mother forced me to attend match-making blind dates over ten times. How could I not know what she’d ask?”
Xia Lei suddenly felt like Ning Jing was actually quite pitiful.
“Let’s go. I’ll hold your hand.” Ning Jing took hold of a gift basket, then grabbed Xia Lei’s arm.
Both of them felt inexplicably nervous and embarrassed the moment the two of them held hands but they pretended to act natural and walked to the restaurant together.
Though they were a fake couple, people who saw them quietly admired them when they held hands. They were a couple so perfect you could make a gold statue of them.