At my accusation, I turned around and left the scene; paying no heed to the stunned eyes of the chairman and Ho Cong.
I walked out of the restaurant in haste with Sang Qi following behind me.
His wicked laughter roared and rung in my ears painfully, "Manager Ho really offended you?"
“If not, why did I hit him?" I answered calmly.
He hummed, merely agreeing for the sake of it and chose not to talk anymore.
He knew the relationship between me and Ho Cong but he did not reveal it.
Neither of us confirmed anything, and it was certainly an exhausting and strategic game we played to outsmart each other. After all, a battle between high intellectuals was more interesting than any fight we were engaged in.
I got in the car with the assumption that we were going back to the company, but his order debunked my previous theory as he got in the vehicle after me, "Go to Shengtang."
Shengtang was the mall where I met him and Yao Keyi that day. What could we possibly do there?
The driver drove to the destination as planned, and Sang Qi got off the car first before me.
I had fallen asleep after the tiresome event and the huge meal I had eaten, so I was not aware that we had arrived.
However, Sang Qi had woke me up by abruptly pulling my door open and grabbing me in an attempt to steady my disoriented form.
Surprised, I drowsily puzzled over him, "What?"
He let me go and moved forward, leaving me to sprint to keep up with his long and fast strides.
He walked into the same boutique as that day we met with me trailing after him closely.
He nudged his head to the dress at the center of the window and said to the salesgirl, "Get that dress for her."
The woman immediately followed his command regardless of the fact that Sang Qi had come to buy the same one for Yao Keyi yesterday.
The shop assistant went to get the article hurriedly. There were only two pieces in total, and both were in free size.
"You want to buy one for me?"
"Don’t you have my card?" he playfully remarked, a faint smile forming on his lips.
With a jolt, I rushed to grab the forgotten card out of my pocket and gave it to him, "I haven't gotten my salary yet. I don't want to have an advance."
"I’m giving it to you," he put away the card, "So you won’t be too shabby tonight."
I knew that I was poor, but I also liked this dress a lot.
Although Yao Keyi also had one, it did not matter. There were only two of the same dress in this city, and I usually wore the same 99 yuan worth T-shirt as the old ladies’ in the supermarket.
The salesgirl handed over the garment respectfully and said, "Miss, you can go in and try it on."
She followed me all the way to the fitting room and assisted me as needed. When I opened the door and entered, she stood on her tiptoes to block the gaps between the door frames with her hands.
I was not wearing high heels but I was still taller than her, so I really did not need her to block the view. Nevertheless, I resumed with the task at hand.
After changing my clothes, I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself.
The old saying, “Clothes make the man” was indeed true.
I smirked triumphantly, praising my good taste. I had initially thought that I looked better than Yao Keyi, and I was proven correct upon seeing my reflection.
The Dark Khaki satin fabric of the garb with its coffee edges gave a decent outline of my figure.
And thankfully, my pregnancy was still in its early weeks, so any bump that was to manifest later on had yet appear.
I tucked my short hair behind my ears and smiled softly in satisfaction at the image of myself.
A noble aura exuded from me and spoke of the distinguished regality that I had only seen from the elites around me.
As I mused, Sang Qi’s form suddenly emerged in the mirror. He stood behind me, clearly emphasizing the huge gap of difference in our heights.
"Not bad. Do you have earrings?"
Just as I was about to confirm that I do have some in my possession, he refuted, "Well, go buy a new pair now. You probably have a discount for it because of the dress."
Well, I guess I should thank him.
But then, they were for me, and expressing gratitude could mean that he would be taking it as a sign that I had surrendered from our hidden battle of wills. I was not planning to give anything up just for free items.
And so, we concluded our shopping after buying the dress, new high heels, shiny diamond earrings and a handbag.
I did not say any word of appreciation as I had decided beforehand, and even accepted the luxuries from him superciliously.
He looked at me strangely, "You’re really different from other women. They all say thank you when they receive my gifts, but you’re not even polite enough to do that."
"If you want to hear it..." I cut myself off, leaving him anticipating my next statement but to his dismay, it never came. I was just too mean to recognize his kind efforts.
We finished quickly with him giving me half a day off so I could go home and fix myself up.
Contrary to what he likely expected me to do, I slept for the whole afternoon and got changed within 20 minutes. The driver, Ho, had been awaiting for my descent, and had dutifully taken me to the banquet as scheduled.
I had seen the world and been to many places before, so my personality had excluded timidity in its category. I was an outspoken and a well-informed journalist, and I carried myself as such.
Furthermore, I was Sang Qi’s plus one tonight, so I had to do my best to live up to his esteemed reputation. He was had cleverly matched my dress with his light beige suit, signifying that I was to be his respected pair for the event.
He had handled the difficult color with a grain of salt, effectively flaunting his high taste for fashion upon managing to pull off his pristine outfit.
He motioned for me to link my hand around his arm in courtesy and carefully maintained a set distance between us to highlight our lack of affection for each other.
There were many high-ranking officials and dignitaries in the banquet. In the past, I would have used the opportunity to think heavily on how to satiate the itch of digging more news on these individuals.
But today, I came here thinking only of the delicious food.
Food came first; nothing else mattered after.
Entering the venue, Sang Qi was bombarded by varying acquaintances and soon, was surrounded by hordes of people. In the meantime, I used it as a chance to escape and find the catering area. I skipped the salad and drinks, and went straight for the seafood and hot dishes.
Honestly, who would be so foolish to come here for the cold dishes? My favorite was seafood; for example, crab legs as large as human arms were ones that I would never deny myself from consuming greedily.
When I was in the process of picking up shrimps using tongs, I heard a shrieking, angry voice behind me, "Vixen!"
What a familiar name.
I turned around and saw Yao Keyi standing in front of me.
She wore the same dress as me, the same earrings, the same high heels, even the same handbag clutched in her shaking hands.
My brain halted. Before I could comprehend what exactly was going on, I saw Yao Keyi raising a furious arm at me.
I closed my eyes tightly in preparation as her slap hit me firmly on the face. Her sharp nails scratched my cheek, leaving a long, red line to mar my features. I touched it tenderly before wincing in pain, drawing my hand back as I did and caught sight of a bloodstain on my fingertips.
She was about to hit me again, but I luckily foresaw it and tightly grabbed her by the wrist to stop her attack.
My face hurt a lot, but I had no time to take care of it for now.
"Miss Yao, what are you doing?" I sneered at her, enduring the throbbing originating from the side of my face.
"Vixen! You vixen!" Yao Keyi screamed continuously as if she was about to go mad, "I was invited by Sang Qi to this banquet tonight! What are you doing here wearing the same outfit as I?"
Sang Qi invited her?
I looked back, searching for the culprit leisurely residing on the other side of the venue.
He was holding up his wine glass and mockingly pointed it to my direction as a response to my furious glare before raising it and drinking the wine. His malicious intentions were delivered; I understood it all perfectly.
I recalled everything that had happened since this morning and sorted it out.
He asked me to send Yao Keyi away in return for giving me a job, and then he took me for lunch, where we ‘coincidentally’ met Ho Cong.
He bought me clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry, and took me to a banquet in the evening, but he also bought the same things for Yao Keyi.
He had cunningly invited Yao Keyi to the same ball, knowing that she could not help embarrassing me upon seeing our similar attire.
My grip tightened around her arm, eliciting a yelp from her. I scowled and stepped back, picking up a cake to throw it on Yao Keyi.
She floundered and cried in outrage at the mess on her chest, all the while jumping and pointing accusingly at me as she threw a tantrum.
She cared a lot about her appearance, and so she quit arguing with me in favor of cleaning up in the restroom.
I quickly left the venue through the back door, seething at the knowledge that I was played with.
I thought I was very smart, but in the end, I still fell under the mercy of Sang Qi.
He played tricks on me from the very beginning, and never had any intention of giving me a job.
He had used Yao Keyi to humiliate me and let me cower from our scuffle.
Nevertheless, I was fortunate to know how to deal with a woman like Yao Keyi, so I had fallen back before she embarrassed me too much.
I hurriedly called a taxi to go to the hospital for a check-up on my wound. Yao had painted her nails with nail polish, so I was afraid that the chemicals would have infected me.
I might have to be independent for the rest of my life, so a beautiful face was still a must for me.
I went to the ER in an instant, and the doctor prescribed me medicine for the shallow wound. He told me that it was nothing serious, but also suggested that I should pay more attention in getting a good rest in the following days before assuring me that it would not leave a permanent scar on my face.
Checking myself out with a mirror, I observed that the wound was not too deep as was said, but it was still quite long.