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Note: TRB Book II Chapter Two is TPT & GJWen’s Side Story Two.
‘You don’t want to admit you’re gullible?’ Tan Pan Ting asked.
‘Yes, yes, I’m gullible,’ Gu Jiao Wen said.
‘Mr Hateful, it’s your fault I missed breakfast time,’ Tan Pan Ting said.
Gu Jiao Wen began putting on clothes. ‘We’ll go outside and eat. Besides, today is Sat.u.r.day. You don’t need to go to work.’
Even if Gu Jiao Wen was shameless, Tan Pan Ting wasn’t shameless. She didn’t want everyone speculating why they didn’t show up for breakfast.
When Gu Jiao Wen and Tan Pan Ting entered the dining room, they did miss the breakfast service. The elders finished eating breakfast. Only Gu Jiao Mai who woke up late was at the dining table, and smiling cheekily at them.
‘Good morning Jiao Wen, Pan Ting,’ Gu Jiao Mai greeted.
‘Good morning,’ Tan Pan Ting said shyly.
Since Tan Pan Ting moved into the Gu Mansion, at most she saw Gu Jiao Mai twice a month. But lately Gu Jiao Mai was at the Gu Mansion on the weekends.
‘Lately you’ve been too free,’ Gu Jiao Wen said.
Gu Jiao Wen sat at the dining table and saw aunty Zhang bring reheated plates of food onto the dining table. Aunty Zhang didn’t forget to bring the special nutritious bowl of soup for Tan Pan Ting.
‘Not too free,’ Gu Jiao Mai said. ‘I’ve been researching, and training two new a.s.sistants to lighten my workload.’
Gu Jiao Mai slurped a mouthful of congee.
Tan Pan Ting didn’t know why, but she thought her big sister-in-law looked more tired than usual.
‘Big sister, what’s your new research project?’ Tan Pan Ting asked.
‘A side research project,’ Gu Jiao Mai said.
‘What side project?’ Tan Pan Ting asked. ‘Big sister, are you developing a new fragrance or a cosmetic line?’
Tan Pan Ting thought Gu Jiao Mai was capable of creating quality fragrances and makeup.
Gu Jiao Wen coughed and looked like he was choking.
‘Jiao Wen, what’s wrong?’ Tan Pan Ting asked. ‘Did I guess right?’
‘Yes, yes,’ Gu Jiao Wen lied.
How could Gu Jiao Wen say his big sister was developing a new gun range? Guns were different to fragrances and cosmetics.
‘Liar,’ Tan Pan Ting said to Gu Jiao Wen and looked at Gu Jiao Mai. ‘Big sister, you can tell me. I promise I won’t tell anyone. Big sister, you can trust me with secrets.’
‘It’s nothing important,’ Gu Jiao Mai said. ‘I’m developing a new gun range.’
It was Tan Pan Ting to cough. ‘Big sister, are you joking?’
Tan Pan Ting couldn’t believe a feminine woman like Gu Jiao Mai would make weapons.
‘Do I look like I’m joking?’ Gu Jiao Mai asked.
Gu Jiao Mai ate another bowl of congee and sighed in a satisfied manner. ‘Home made congee here still tastes the best.’
‘If the congee here is good, why don’t big sister move back here?’ Gu Jiao Wen asked. ‘And you can eat congee every day.’
Gu Jiao Mai shook her head. ‘It’s too far from the work site.’
‘Big sister, if it’s inconvenient to travel, why don’t you agree to have surgery?’ Gu Jiao Wen asked. ‘A fifty percent success chance is better than zero percent.’
Gu Jiao Wen didn’t understand why his big sister didn’t want to have leg surgery.
Gu Jiao Mai satisfied face turned cold. She couldn’t argue with her little brother. But she glared at him and put her bowl of congee down.
‘I heard big brother Gu Wu’s back today,’ Gu Jiao Mai said. ‘Remember to come home early for dinner tonight.’
If Gu Jiao Mai didn’t remind her little brother and sister-in-law, Gu Jiao Wen would have taken Tan Pan Ting out on the weekend.
‘Yes big sister,’ Tan Pan Ting said.
Tan Pan Ting wasn’t close to her big brother-in-law, Gu Jiao Wu. She hated seeing Gu Jiao Wu’s usual cold face.
‘Big sister, how did you know big brother is back today?’ Gu Jiao Wen asked.
‘Last night, aunty told me,’ Gu Jiao Mai said. She wiped her mouth with a napkin. ‘Something about a formal work meeting on Monday. Perhaps big brother is back for the meeting and will stay several days.’
Gu Jiao Wen understood, nodded and turned to Tan Pan Ting. ‘I’m free today. Where do you want me to take you out today?’
‘I don’t need to work today so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment today,’ Tan Pan Ting said. ‘Since you’re free, come with me to see the doctor.’
Tan Pan Ting had a stable pregnancy. She was looking forward to having a second ultra sound at six months, and she wanted Gu Jiao Wen to come with her to the hospital.
‘OK, we’ll go to the hospital together,’ Gu Jiao Wen said.
Gu Jiao Mai glanced enviously at Tan Pan Ting’s stomach, and wheeled her wheelchair back to her childhood bedroom. Gu Jiao Mai thought perhaps she wasn’t fated to have a child in this life.
On the plane, Gu Jiao Wu carefully put his bag in the overhead compartment and sat in his allocated seat. He was departing from the south. June was a hot month in the south, so he wore a loose white shirt and pants.
Gu Jiao Wu picked up a newspaper, read and didn’t pay attention to the pa.s.senger next to him.
‘h.e.l.lo Executive Gu,’ a lady greeted.
The lady offered her manicured hand to Gu Jiao Wu. He looked at her face, and was startled briefly before composing himself.
‘h.e.l.lo,’ Gu Jiao Wu greeted.
The lady waited for Gu Jiao Wu to shake her hand. ‘Executive Gu, I’m sorry if I’m bothering you.’
‘No, you haven’t,’ Gu Jiao Wu said.
Gu Jiao Wu shook the lady’s hand, quickly retrieved his hand and he looked wearily at her.
The lady smiled comfortably. ‘Executive Gu, I’m sorry if I come across as too forward. Even though you were working in the south for a year, but your reputation precedes you and I was excited to meet you in person.’
Gu Jiao Wu wasn’t interested in the usual rehea.r.s.ed flattery he heard from many people.
‘It’s part of my work duties,’ Gu Jiao Wu said.
‘It isn’t easy to perform your work duties,’ the lady said.
The lady was confident in her looks like the way her white shirt hugged her chest.
‘Um,’ Gu Jiao Wu said and read the newspaper.
Gu Jiao Wu didn’t want to chat with the lady, but she was persistent.
‘I work for a northern company and often take business trips to the south,’ the lady said.
The lady looked at Gu Jiao Wu’s indifferent face, and persisted to engage him in conversation.
‘I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce myself, I’m Li Lam and you can call me Xiao Lam,’ Li Lam said.
‘Miss Li,’ Gu Jiao Wu said politely.
‘Miss Li sounds too distant,’ Li Lam said. ‘You can call me Xiao Lam. My close acquaintances call me by my nickname, Da Da.’
Gu Jiao Wu’s hands gripped the newspaper, but he looked calmly at Li Lam.
‘Miss Li, we’re not close acquaintances,’ Gu Jiao Wu said.
Gu Jiao Wu’s eyes were colder than his tone of voice, and intimidated Li Lam.
‘Yes, we’re not close acquaintances,’ Li Lam said and laughed awkwardly. ‘I don’t know why Executive Gu look so familiar like we’ve met before, and I wanted to chat with you. I’m sorry if I’ve bothered you.’
‘No need to apologize,’ Gu Jiao Wu said.
Gu Jiao Wu ignored Li Lam and read again.
The captain announced the plane was experiencing turbulence. Gu Jiao Wu wasn’t affected by the turbulence and kept reading. But a fragrance disturbed his nose, he looked up and saw Li Lam looking over his shoulder and reading the newspaper. He folded the newspaper and put it away.
Two hours later the captain announced preparing the plane for landing, Gu Jiao Wu opened his eyes and realised he had slept.
‘Executive Gu, you’re awake in time for landing,’ Li Lam said.
The plane landed, Gu Jiao Wu stood and looked for his bag. He was unsettled why he slept, he rarely slept on planes. He didn’t bother replying to Li Lam. But he noticed a silver bag next to his bag. A faded photo tag was attached to the silver bag… was it Da Da? Was he seeing double?
‘Executive Gu, can I trouble you to get my bag?’ Li Lam said.
Gu Jiao Wu silently pa.s.sed the silver bag to Li Lam.
‘This is a photo of my big sister,’ Li Lam said. ‘My identical twin big sister. Do you think we look alike?’
End of Chapter Two
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