It was not anything important, so Xia Ling indicated that it was fine with a wave of her hand.
Wei Shaoyin said a quick goodbye to Li Lei, took the song sheets and hurried off. Xia Ling looked on at the sight of him leaving and thought to herself that the rumors in the industry of Wei Shaoyin being a workaholic were indeed accurate.
Li Lei was left standing alone under the luscious leaves of the peacock flower tree. Xia Ling looked down from the railing of the second-floor balcony she was in. He stared into her eyes for a moment, before giving a lazy smile and asking, “Did you like the Hibiscus Mutabilis that I asked the caretaker to bring over for you?”
She thought of the bouquet sitting in her room and answered, “Yes, they are beautiful, thank you.”
His smile became deeper.
There was silence for a moment.
Xia Ling did not want to have anything more to do with him, thus she got up and made to leave. He called out to stop her —
“Hold up, Ye Xingling.”
“Can I help you with anything else, Big Boss?” She stopped where she was, turned around and asked.
Under the splendid autumn sun, he leaned against the sprawling peacock flower tree, the golden rays of the sun shining on his face, perfectly complementing the radiant smile on his face, exuding an elusive attractiveness. He said, “I had a lunch appointment with Ah Wei originally and we happened to pass by here. We heard you singing and stopped for a moment to appreciate your performance. But who knew that he would run off because of you.”
“…..” Xia Ling was speechless. How could she be blamed for that? Wei Shaoyin had unilaterally decided to go examine the song sheets he had borrowed from her. She was just a lowly trainee in the company, what power did she have to influence the top producer of the company?
Li Lei continued in his own stride. “So, why don’t you join me for lunch?”
“What?” Xia Ling was a little taken aback at his invitation.
“Eating alone is boring.” As he spoke, he laughed and persuaded. “I promise it’s a delicious and hearty meal. I’m not lying to you.”
“Sorry Boss, I haven’t recovered fully from my injury and need to rest. Please forgive me for being unable to accompany you for lunch. Do look for someone else.” She declined politely. He was the one that felt bored eating alone, not her. In contrast, she actually enjoyed being alone here. She still had many keys to practice, who had the spare time to entertain the Big Boss?
Surprise flashed across Li Lei’s eyes. He had probably not expected that someone would dare decline his invitation.
Xia Ling thought that it was no surprise given his family background and position as the Big Boss of Skyart Entertainment. He was used to having people suck up to him, and would think that everyone would obey him unconditionally. She knew these wealthy people too well, they all had the same problem.
Yet, it was but a split second before the lazy smile returned to Li Lei’s face. “An invitation is nothing compared to a coincidental meeting. As a guest here, are you not going to give me some face as the owner of this villa?”
Xia Ling frowned as she sensed the slight pressure in his words. If she declined this second invitation it would seem impolite. As she was living in his premises she had no choice but to give in. She gave an internal sigh and agreed to his lunch invitation reluctantly. Turning, she was about to head downstairs for lunch. However, she remembered something and returned to the railings, looking down pensively.
Li Lei sensed her concern immediately and said, “Er Mao isn’t here.”
She breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed. Fortunately, that leopard was not around. Otherwise, even if it meant that she had to risk offending the Big Boss, she would definitely not go down for lunch.
She said, “Please wait a little while for me. I’ll be down after I change.”
The weather in the mountains was a little chilly. Xia Ling picked a light, khaki dress from the cupboard and then pulled on a thin cardigan. She only headed downstairs after ensuring that she looked presentable. When she saw Li Lei, he did not seem impatient at all and instead gave her a once-over, a look of approval entering his deep green eyes. He complimented. “This long dress suits you well.”
“Thank you.” Xia Ling replied.
Looking at Li Lei up close, she realized that he was even more handsome. His long and narrow eyes were slightly lifted at the sides, his thin lips lightly pulled into a half-smile. Around his neck were two army dog tags on a metal chain that had a metallic gleam, though it was unclear what material they were made of. On his lightly tan skin, it made him seem even more manly.
There was a period the army dog tags were a popular fashion accessory. Yet, he was the only one that was so compatible with it on.
Li Lei stood up and led Xia Ling in the direction of the dining hall. Making conversation, he asked, “Are you very scared of Er Mao?”
Xia Ling remained quiet for a moment.
Other than fear, she also felt hate for the beast. Ever since she had endured what Pei Ziheng put her through, she would avoid any animal that was similar to the mastiff. What’s more, the leopard had injured her. Yet, she could not tell Li Lei all of this. She simply said, “A mons…. wild animal… will always be a wild animal.” She had wanted to say “monster” but had changed her word midway to accommodate the Big Boss.
Li Lei brushed off her comment, saying, “In many instances, they are more loyal than humans.”
It was clear that that leopard was good to him. Although nobody explained the situation that she saw before, from her observation it appeared that an assassin had tried to attack Li Lei but was killed by the leopard. That leopard had been pacing and restless seeing Li Lei injured, clearly anxious and worried for him. As such, they would definitely not see eye to eye on this topic.
To change the topic, Xia Ling asked in passing, “What’s for lunch?”
Li Lei gave her a look, smiled and responded, “You’ll see when we get there.”
Xia Ling did not have any major expectations for lunch, but after hearing his reply, she could feel her curiosity rising. She followed him through the winding mountain path for a distance before she saw an exquisite jetty under the shade of the vegetation in front of them.
On the water by the jetty was a small wooden boat that could only sit two people other than the boat captain manning the oars. Li Lei took a step onto the boat first, before reaching out his hand to her intending to help her onto the boat.
Xia Ling avoided his hand and said, “I can manage on my own.”
He raised his brows lightly and naturally retracted his hand as if she had never declined his help.
She could not help but be impressed by his manners. For a Big Boss like him to give such respect to a lowly trainee was indeed uncommon. As she thought, she nimbly stepped onto the wooden boat, showcasing her perfect balance by barely rocking the boat at all. She lifted her dress a little as she took her seat. Looking up, she met his gaze as he looked at her, his eyes with a tinge of a smile.
“Tan Ying indeed has a good eye for people.” He remarked.
“Hmm?” She was a little stunned with the sudden change of topic.
Li Lei said, “You’ve practiced dance for a long time, haven’t you? It doesn’t look like you have only been a trainee for one or two years.”
She secretly gave a start. She did not expect him to be so astute. He clearly did not recognize even a song as famous as “The Scent of the Zither”, how could he tell from a single look that she had practiced dance for a long time? She picked her words carefully as she replied, “I’ve liked dancing since I was young. My family sent me to a children’s dance training class, thus I’ve been dancing since I was little.”
He smiled lightly and did not respond.
She felt a little uneasy, afraid that he had picked up on something. She asked in trepidation, “You seem to be quite the expert in the dance department?”
“I wouldn’t say I’m an expert.” He replied nonchalantly. “A few days ago when Ah Wei was torturing you kids, I watched you from afar. Your abilities are at a completely different level from the rest of the trainees.”