His widened eyes met mine in recognition, clearly stunned at my sudden appearance before he shouted my name, “Zhi.”
I knew that Ho Cong worked in Datong Electronics, and I was actually considering the possibility that I might meet him on the way here, but I had not foreseen that this would happen.
Truthfully, this was a terrible coincidence.
Sang Qi’s gaze shifted back and forth from me and Ho Cong, and upon guessing that we had a shared history together, the corner of his mouth lifted in amusement before asking, “Manager Ho, do you know my new secretary?”
Ho Cong was taken aback by the introduction, “The new secretary?"
Seeing Sang Qi’s shrewd grin, I realized that he intentionally took me here to gauge my reaction.
As Xu Wan had said, it was indeed unnecessary for the head secretary to attend social activities.
He had known my situation well from the start, but here I was, foolishly underestimating my rival all this time.
There were four people in total here: Sang Qi and me from Dayu Group, and Ho Cong and his chairman from Datong Electronics.
It was not a usual occurrence for someone like Ho Cong’s position to attend this kind of appointment, so it was not so far off to say that Sang Qi probably set this up.
He plotted to embarrass me.
I smirked at his strategy. There was only so much that research could do, in the end, he did not seem to know me that much as he would have initially thought.
I had experienced many embarrassing moments in my life, and this was a mere child’s play for me.
And so, I made myself at home while they were heatedly discussing at the table.
I ordered a lot of expensive dishes from the menu after receiving permission from Sang Qi that he would let me order whatever I liked. I happily indulged myself in rare delicacies, and especially pampered myself with huge crabs of all kinds.
Once the dishes came up, Sang Qi quizzically looked at me and asked, “Are you hungry?”
“Yes, why am I here if I’m not hungry?”
He pursed his lips and sighed, “Order two more vegetarian dishes.”
An expected meal for the rich people, perhaps. They had to eat vegetables when eating out to maintain a certain image of sophistication, but we poor people took this as a chance to consume what we were normally not presented with on the table.
As the waiter handed out the steaming plates, I focused all my attention on devouring the scrumptious feast.
Ho Cong was watching me intently, and then secretly peeled his crab claws and put them on my plate.
I used my chopsticks to nonchalantly push them aside, purposely not eating what he gave me.
This subtle move did not escape from Sang Qi’s sharp eyes. He smiled lightly, expertly hiding his jeer and asked, “Mr. Ho, you’re remarkably tender to girls. I appreciate that you take good care of my secretary, may I know if you are married?”
Ho Cong sheepishly grinned and pushed up his black-rimmed glasses, “Yes, I’m married.”
“I heard that Ho's wife is a beautiful woman,” The chairman remarked, “She's a journalist. Manager Ho is really a lucky guy.”
The chairman had not seen me, nor had I.
An understandable fact, since Ho Cong could not invite high-ranking leaders to dinner. He could probably only invite the general manager at most.
I munched away, unbothered, and used a little hammer to hit the crab's big claws. Much to my disappointment, I had smashed it by exerting too much force behind my strike.
I pried the hard shell away from the crab meat, totally engrossed in my task when my cell phone rang. With smeared crab oil all over my fingers, I clicked the message with the back of my hand. It was from Ho Cong.
It said, “I suddenly recalled that you can't eat crabs.”
I dropped my phone in my bag carelessly and continued to enjoy the cuisine.
Some people did say that pregnant women could not eat the seafood, but a friend of mine lived by the shore and had still given birth to three healthy children. Her main courses consisting of crabs during her pregnancy only resulted to her babies being of robust statures after labor.
Besides, I did not plan to keep the child, so I could eat whatever I liked.
After a while, I became too full to eat more. On the other hand, Sang Qi and the others did not eat much, so I schemed to pack these dishes as snacks while watching TV after I go back home for the night.
Sang Qi asked me to pay the bill, so I reached out my hand to him in turn, “Give me the money.”
He left a card for me to take and headed for the cashier.
“Zhi,” Ho Cong’s voice rang behind my back.
I knew that he would follow me, but I did not bother acknowledging him.
It did not work, seeing as he decided to block my path instead, “How did you become the secretary of Sang Qi? Didn't you resign and stay in a villa? ”
“I didn't quit. I was fired,” I corrected him, “Mr. Ho, are you responsible for watching me give birth after selling me out and taking the money?”
“Zhi,” He coaxed me to lower down my guard, tolerance and patience oozing out of him in waves, “I know you’re angry with me, but it has already happened. Can’t you be more realistic?”
I handed out the payment to the teller accordingly and nodded in thanks upon receiving it back after the transaction.
“How? Please tell me. ”
“You’ll just have to give birth as planned, and then I'll take you home in person. We'll live the same way as before, okay?”
My face set in stone, feeling sickly at the massive amount of crab meat I had swallowed that now stuck at the very pits of my stomach.
I really wanted to vomit it all out to his face as my fury rose in alarming levels at his words, but I could not waste such fine cooking on him.
“I’m gonna give birth for another guy, and you say that you can still accept me?”
“Yes, I can do that, Zhi.” He grabbed my hand affectionately to show his resolution, “Zhi, please believe me. I won’t be ashamed of you as long as you have a baby. If it's a boy…” His face was lit up, beaming in unrestrained joy, “If it’s a boy, it’ll be a hundred times better.”
At his exclamation, I confirmed that the other family needed someone to carry on the family line, so a boy would have been the perfect outcome from this outrageous event.
Nevertheless, Ho Cong's reaction incited bafflement to arise from me.
He behaved normally when he saw Sang Qi, and he had not exhibited any unusual behavior when he saw us together.
However, it was he who sent me to sleep with him, and it did not make any sense that he seemed to know nothing of these matters at all.
I calculated him with a seriousness that prompted him to listen to me, “Ho Cong, answer my question honestly.”
“Well, go ahead.”
“How much do you get after I give birth?”
His face immediately turned red, instinctively resisting to answer my query, “No, it's impossible.”
“I’m gonna give birth to someone else’s baby, but you can't get any money? Are we the one losing in this filthy business?” I laughed.
He appraised me, genuinely wondering if I was being ironic or plain mad.
But then, if anyone knew how well I never abided by the rules, it should be none other than Ho Cong.
Biting his lip hesitantly, he mumbled, “Won’t you get angry if I tell you the truth?”
“I'll only be angry if you don't get a dime from this.”
Relief doused over his tense form in an instant, “Zhi, you’re a smart girl so you won’t be entangling yourself in unnecessary things.”
“How much?” I insisted.
Slowly, he raised two trembling fingers to me.
I dithered, furrowing my brows at him, “Twenty million yuan?”
He jerked violently, as if I had scalded him with a heated iron, “No! It’s two million yuan.”
Two million yuan?
I laughed, frenzied. A hand brushed through my hair in disbelief, almost falling down to the floor at my weakening knees before I supported myself by leaning on the wall.
“Are you kidding me?” He sold me out for two million yuan?
“The market is difficult nowadays, so money is hard to earn.” He sighed, resigned, “It's just two million yuan. Zhi, I can assure you that you will get one million yuan in a red envelope after your labor. I don't want a cent of your income.”
I scoffed at his audacity; should I be groveling and thanking him for his kindness and generosity?
Clenching my hands into fists, I raised my arms without thinking and landed a hard strike to his face in full power.
Unfortunately for me, Sang Qi and the chairman came out of the elevator and had witnessed the chaotic scene I had caused as a result of my recklessness.
Ho Cong had not expected me to hit him, much less do it in public.
A passing thought went through my head as I noticed the facial expression Sang Qi sported. He had a faint, entertained smile on his face, as if he was watching a televised drama.
The chairman who was gaping in astonishment finally closed his mouth and yelled, “What's the matter between you two?”
I put up an act in a flash; clutching my trembling palms to my chest and told them in a shivering voice, “Manager Ho molested me.”