Mature Ms Perfect
With the deposit in hand, materials were soon delivered; the equipment gifted by Shentu Tian-Yin also showed their great worth. Xia Lei led his employees at Thunder Horse Workshop in hard work and overtime and the job which should have taken 20 days took only two weeks.
In these two weeks, Xia Lei’s lip-reading capability had reached a high level. With the power of his left eye, he was able to read everyday conversations at a quick pace. This seemed to be the greatest gain he had for the two weeks, and the profits from the business took second place.
When he’d completed the order, Xia Lei called Chi Jing-Qiu and she quickly brought someone over to collect the goods as well as to pay the balance amount.
“Not bad. Consistent quality and a good speed.” Chi Jing-Qiu smiled happily, “Our collaboration has just begun. We will definitely be able to make a lot more money in the future.”
Xia Lei smiled, albeit in non-acceptance of her words. Chi Jing-Qiu had taken 8% by doing practically nothing in this bit of business while he slaved for two weeks. Expenses such as materials and manpower were provided by himself and the profit he had from this was not over 50,000. Furthermore, since Chi Jing-Qiu was totally in charge of the contract, she was sure to have pocketed more in secret and might have even made more money than him.
This was unfair and also highlighted the importance of connections and information in business to Xia Lei. If he wanted his business to grow and prosper, he needed to build his own network of contacts and information.
“We’ve made money; how about treating me to a drink?” Chi Jing-Qiu looked at Xia Lei with a big grin, her smile indicating more than just a drink.
“How about you stay here for a meal? I’ll get Big Sister Chen to fry up her signature stewed pork vermicelli,” said Xia Lei.
“Forget it.” Chi Jing-Qiu rejected the idea right away.
Just then, Chi Jing-Qiu’s mobile phone rang. She glanced at the CallerID and walked out of Thunder Horse Workshop to a distance she felt safe from Xia Lei’s ears, then stopped and accepted the call.
Xia Lei leaned on the doorframe and quietly watched Chi Jing-Qiu take her call. He could not hear her but he could see her mouth and read her lips in real time.
“Hello, Big Sister Liu! It’s been a long time! I’ve missed you, heehee… Yep, so it’s like this – my company is now in talks with Vientaine Group about a wind power plant project. The project’s worth one billion. The whole company’s busy with this project and there’s no way we can take on your order… How about this, I know a friend who can do the job… No problem, you don’t have to worry about quality. I just helped Beech Motors transport their completed purchase order. I can guarantee that the parts he processes are even better than the craftsmen at our company’s workshop… Yep, yep, okay…”
Chi Jing-Qiu smiled happily, completely unaware that Xia Lei was looking intently at her about ten metres away. He was catching the changes in her mouth and lip shapes, deciphering her words. He had also seen the number displayed on her phone screen. A faint smile appeared on Xia Lei’s face and he looked rather happy too.
Chi JIng-Qiu was still on the phone with ‘Big Sister Liu’. “You told us before that East Wind Heavy Industries would do customised kits for 320 per set. How about this, I’ll give you a discount – 310 will do… Of course, I will let my friend make a sample for you. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied. But you have to send me a copy of the information… Yes, E-mail will do…”
After she finished the call, Chi Jing-Qiu waited till the E-mail arrived in her inbox before she walked back towards Xia Lei.
Xia Lei smiled and said, “Jing-Qiu, was that your husband? He’s checking to see if you’re skiving now.”
Chi Jing-Qiu giggled, “I can skive anytime but you can’t leave your post at work. What’s the point of you making this sort of joke at me?”
“The goods have been handed over and I offered to treat you to a meal but you turned it down. That’s it then, we’ll talk another time,” said Xia Lei.
“No, no,” Chi Jing-Qiu continued, “I don’t know if you’re lucky or I am but another bit of business came knocking.”
Xia Lei pretended to be surprised, “Oh? What business?”
“The client this time wants kits.” Chi Jing-Qiu held her phone in front of Xia Lei’s face but did not hand it to him. She moved close to him to look at the diagrams and information on the phone screen.
Xia Lei glanced at it and had a general grasp of what it was about right away. The materials and precision the client required for the kits were high but it was not the sort that was difficult to process.
“Can you do it?” asked Chi Jing-Qiu.
Xia Lei nodded, “I can. This isn’t complicated.”
Chi Jing-Qiu smiled, “Good that you can do it. Let me tell you – this is a big order. I’d already discussed the price with the client just now. I was able to get a good price after much haggling.”
“How much?” asked Xia Lei.
“260.” Chi Jing-Qiu said her price, then continued excitedly, “Lei, process a kit personally and I’ll bring it to the client. The client will be satisfied for sure and there’ll be no problems getting this contract.”
Xia Lei smiled and said, “Sure, come over tomorrow afternoon to collect it.”
“Okay, I’ll send the information to your computer right now,” said Chi Jing-Qiu.
A bitter smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s lips as he watched Chi Jing-Qiu walk to his desk to fiddle with the computer. ‘Damn it. The client gave 310 and you swallowed 50. I still have to give you an 8% commission later. You’re eating from left and right – isn’t your appetite too big?’
Chi Jing-Qiu was done with the computer quickly and went back to Xia Lei’s side. “Done. I’ve saved the information on your desktop. Take another look at it, then process a kit.”
“Don’t worry. Why, are you still worried about my work?” said Xia Lei.
“You’re honest. I like that, heehee. See you tomorrow.” Chi Jing-Qiu patted Xia Lei’s waist, then walked to her Volkswagen CC while swaying her perky bottom and hips. She started her car and led the lorry holding the goods into traffic with speed.
Ma Xiao-An came up to Xia Lei, “Lei, this girl’s flirty but her claws are too long. She takes 8% commission every time. We’re not making much profit.”
“She won’t profit for much longer,” said Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An laughed as he said, “I see she’s attracted to you. How about you turn on your pretty-boy charms and sacrifice yourself? Make her take less commission?”
“Pfft, nah. Get out,” Xia Lei scolded jokingly.
Ma Xiao-An, however, looked serious, “How about me? I can do it for the workshop. I’ll sacrifice myself.”
Xia Lei slapped him, “Enough joking. I’m serious now.” After a pause, he said, “Bring Zhou Xiao-Hong and the others out for dinner tonight. Also, give Big Sister Chen and the others their salary for the month in advance. Every person gets a 2,000 yuan bonus.”
Ma Xiao-An stuck his big thumb up, “Generous.” He then looked at Xia Lei again, “Aren’t you going?”
“I want to meet the client Chi Jing-Qiu contacted,” said Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An paused, “That Chi Jing-Qiu is a crafty woman. She went ten metres away from you to take a phone call and you don’t even know the surname of her client so how are you going to meet the client?”
Xia Lei smiled, “You don’t have to worry about that. I don’t like being Chi Jing-Qiu’s money-making tool. We’d have to find our own long-term clients.”
“Okay. I’ll explain it to everyone. This is an important matter, they’ll understand,” said Ma Xiao-An.
After chatting a little while more, Xia Lei referred to the diagrams and parameters of the processing which Chi Jing-Qiu had saved in his computer to process the kit. Ma Xiao-An led Big Sister Chen and the others to the restaurant to celebrate the completion of their first big job. Not long after they left, Xia Le finished processing the kit and he left Thunder Horse Workshop with it in hand.
On the way there, Xia Lei called the number he had memorised.
The person’s mobile phone rang only three times before the person on the other end rejected the call.
Many would not accept a call from an unknown number.
Xia Lei frowned slightly but he was not discouraged. He called the number again.
This time, it rang eight times before the person picked up. It was a woman’s voice, “Hello? Who’s this?”
Xia Lei took a small breath and used a polite tone, “Is this Big Sister Liu?”
“Yes, this is she. Who are you?” The person was not polite at all and her tone was even a little impatient.
“I am Chi Jing-Qiu’s friend. She asked me to deliver the sample to you. Is it convenient for you now?” said Xia Lei.
“I see. I’m at home so bring the sample to my home. I live at Gold Coast, Block B, number 28.” The person hung up after saying that.
Xia Lei put his phone away and hailed a taxi to the Gold Coast neighbourhood.
Gold Coast was a neighbourhood of the rich in Hai-Zhu City. It was next to the sea and one could enjoy beautiful seascapes the whole day. However, the homes there were extraordinarily expensive, even for elevator apartments. Normal people could not even dream of living there, let alone buy a unit to live in.
Xia Lei filled in a form at the guardhouse, then followed a palm-lined path forward and quickly found Block B, number 28. It was a three-storey European-styled villa valued at over ten million in the market. Even though he had neither met nor understood the client, Xia Lei could still guess some things about her based on the value of the villa. This ‘Big Sister Liu’ must be the CEO of some company. Wage-earners could only dream their whole lives about living in a villa such as this even if they worked their whole lives!
Xia Lei walked to the door and reached out to knock. However, he put his hand down again, thinking, ‘It’s our first time meeting each other. What can make her trust me? Furthermore, I’m going to cut Chi Jing-Qiu out and talk business with her to try to make her my long-term client. If I just go in like this, she may just throw me out after exchanging a few words. Wouldn’t my trip here be wasted then? No, I have to find some way to gain more of her trust…”
At that thought, Xia Lei’s left eye twitched and the secured door in front of him vanished from his sight.
An old man was sitting on the sofa watching the news in the living room. A three-year-old boy played with toys on the carpet and there was a pile of toys next to him; Transformers, LEGO blocks, remote-controlled cars, marbles and so on. A middle-aged nanny was wiping the hand-railings of the stairs, and she turned around to check on the boy next to the old man then and again.
There was no one in the living room who fit the characteristics of ‘Big Sister Liu’. Xia Lei lifted his head and looked at the second storey. The walls of the second storey dissipated like mist and a woman entered his field of vision.
She looked to be in her early thirties and had an oval face with delicate facial features, her good looks not losing at all to those women in their early twenties. However, she had already begun to lose her figure and was a little chubby – a full-figured mature woman. Even so, the fat did not affect her figure and the lines of her body were curved where they should be, big where they should be and sticking out where they should be sticking out. Add her white and soft skin and her sexiness was apparent at a glance.
The woman was changing her clothes before a large wardrobe. She took off her office-lady clothing and changed into a more comfortable cotton dress. In the 30 seconds she took to get changed, Xia Lei’s vision was filled with pale, tender flesh and skin. She was like a cream-covered cake; looking sweet and delicious.
‘Plump women can be so sexy and easy on the eyes too. This is unexpected… What am I doing? I’m here to talk business, not admire beauties.’ Xia Lei looked away and at other places in the room. Anxiety stirred in his heart. His ability had not revealed any information that could help him in his business talk.