So, what happens when our OTP meets again?! Veiled barbs and hidden hurt galores in this chapter, as misunderstanding prevails. It does hurt to see Ming Xing hurting, but it’s not without nothing because the after-effects will surely prove to be different! At least, all we can do is hope for that!
SONG OF THE DAY: Preet by Jasleen Kaur Royal – Khoobsurat OST [Download]
CHAPTER 1 (Part III): A Promise.
Ming Xing desperately wanted to back out. And yet, she also wanted one more time to see him. Perhaps, it’s fate that’s conniving to make them meet again?
“This is what you need to know about him,” a crew member told her. “He’s graduated from P University with a Major in Computer Science and is also a Business Management Graduate from the same University. Then he started the Han Enterprises and Holdings and went on to become one of the richest men in China and also one of the leading Entrepreneurs. His company is present in almost every field in the Chinese Industry. And he and his friend Liu Jin, who’s the MD (Managing Director), have successfully led the company to become one of the largest private business conglomerates.”
So much has happened, and she didn’t even know. No, to be more precise, she avoided knowing anything about him.
“The Guest has arrived!” a crew-member ran into the Green Room to inform her. “And, by God, he’s so dreamy!”
Ming Xing smiled wryly. He still has the same effect he has on women that he had ten years ago. Some things never change. “Miss Li, are you ready?” asked a Crew Member.
She nodded hesitatingly, realizing that there’s no chance to back out now, even if she wants to. “Miss Li, there won’t be any break in the airing, and it will be a straight half hour programme. Since this is a technical interview, it’s better to stick to the script,” explained another crew member.
Ming Xing knew that she won’t deviate from the script even if they ask her to, because she didn’t know whether she could handle the script properly or not, now that she knew who she’s going to face. But she had to.
Since the last ten years, she’d separated her traumatic past from affecting her work. And as a thorough professional, it isn’t right for her to get affected like this. She quickly collected herself, and once the make-up man told her that she’s ready, she stepped out of the Green Room.
She’s changed into a sharp charcoal suit and a Pencil skirt, making her look all business. And then she saw him.
He’s talking with a tall and attractive woman. “Cancel the other meeting and postpone the one scheduled for this afternoon. And Serena, tell Liu Jin to meet the sellers in Japan and ask him to settle that matter down with a reasonable price,” he rapidly shot off orders.
The woman, Serena, nodded her head politely. “Yes, sir!”
He’s wearing a gray suit over a white shirt and jeans. His hair, which used to be eternally ruffled, is now unnaturally evenly combed to the side. His black eyes, which used to radiate warmth, are now filled with coldness.
And when he sees her, he appeared equally surprised. “I was expecting Mr. Mo Wen Ru,” he said, his voice cold.
Suddenly all the anger and resentment which she had locked down since the last ten years bubbled up again and threatened to burst. With great difficulty, she managed to keep her tone even, as she said, “Mr. Mo had an emergency. So I’ll be taking his place.”
This is work. And she has no choice but to separate personal feelings from it.
He nodded. A crew member hesitatingly interrupted them, “Miss Li, it’s time.”
Ming Xing nodded and entered the studio. She sat still as the technician installed the clip-on mike on her blouse. “Hello… hello… check mike… 1… 2… 3… All right!” she said. Turning to the technician, she asked, “Okay?”
He nodded and told Xue Zhao, “Sir, can you say something into the mike? We need to test it.”
Xue Zhao’s face betrayed no annoyance, as he nonchalantly said, “Hello… hello… check mike… 1… 2… 3… All right!”
Her hands unconsciously clinched into a fist when she heard his deep voice echo her words. The crew members, who’d turned silent when they’d heard him speak, hurriedly resumed their last-minute work.
They were left alone near the news-desk for some time and she wasn’t in a mood to start any conversation with him, as all the previous memories of her last days in China drew a fine line between them.
There were a few minutes of awkward silence, before he broke it and asked, “Since how long have you been working here?”
She was startled, and looked around, wondering if maybe he’s talking to someone else. Then she quietly answered, “Since the day I came back.” It was an oblique reference to the day he’d brushed her off in the airport.
“How were your days in South Korea?” he asked her.
“I guess I can call them as fun?” she replied, uncertainly.
“You must have had a lot of fun indeed!” she heard him mutter, a bit sarcastically.
She felt hurt, but ignored the barb. “I heard that Aunty Han has passed away. I’m sorry!”
He stiffly nodded. “I’m sorry too!” he said, looking away. “But I started a new life with new people. A life which doesn’t have your shadow.”
She felt as if she’d been struck by a bullet. It hurt. And yet, she couldn’t stop wanting to talk to him. It was as though there’s something that yearns to come off from her heart.
“So, enjoying your life, Mr. CEO?” she tried to joke.
He turned to stare at her closely, making her feel Goosebumps. “I’m better. And you don’t need to work so hard in trying to be normal around me. Whatever has happened in the University is just history. It was nothing, you know!”
She tried hard to swallow the lump in her throat. She couldn’t believe that he’s relegated them to some dumb college romance heap of trash. More than that, she realized that all her anger and emotions were for nothing because there was nothing really from his side. In short, they being together had no meaning at all.
Again, awkwardness prevailed in the air, and this time it was broken by a crew-member. “Okay, Li, you’ll be live in Ten Seconds.”
And then he began the countdown. Ming Xing usually disliked live shows as they made her uncomfortable. The very thought that every word that she’s speaking is being watched by millions of people at that very time on T.V. sets made her feel queasy.
“… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… You’re airing!” announced the crew-member.
“Good Evening to…” Ming Xing began her spiel. She begged her old self to return back to her for at least the coming half hour. The heavens are kind to her and granted her request.
As a result, her usual exuberance came out in full force in front of the camera, aided by the fact that even he’s here. Han Xue Zhao seemed stunned to see her so lively again, but the surprise didn’t last even for a second on his handsome face.
So, it was with the same excitement that she turned to face the cold Han Xue Zhao. That liveliness didn’t ebb away even when faced with such lacklustre reception, and the entire crew enjoyed the filming of the show for the first time ever.
Mo Wen Ru behaved like a childish boy on the sets. He’s known for his epic tantrums. So when he said that he’s sending another top star-journalist in his place, they’d all groaned expecting the worst. But Li Ming Xing has turned out to become a pleasant surprise. She’s extremely courteous and professional and does more than what is expected of her. And it’s tremendously clear that she loves her job more than anything else.
And Han Xue Zhao… words were not enough to describe his calm efficiency in communicating and his extensive knowledge on all the questions asked. He radiated power and control. And his deep voice and handsome face made almost all the ladies across the country to swoon.
That half hour turned before one could even blink their eyes.
“… This is Li Ming Xing from XX News. Thank you for watching us tonight!” she wrapped up with finesse. She could feel the energy draining from her. And once the cameras stopped rolling she was only a pale imitation of what she was just a few minutes ago.
“Thanks guys!” she smiled weakly at the crew and left the studio.
“I started a new life with new people. A life which doesn’t have your shadow.”
“Whatever has happened in the University is just history. It was nothing.”
She ran into the bathroom attached to her personal office and deposited her lunch in the basin. Sinking down to her knees, she wondered what she should do now.
For ten years, she’s stayed away from him and only returned thinking that she’s ready to face him and all their issues.
A grievous mistake had happened, ten years ago. A mistake which separated two hearts. A mistake that wasn’t really a mistake and rather, an impulse.
A promise had been made, ten years ago. A promise that had been broken. A promise that the maker didn’t even know has broken.
She walked out of the bathroom after collecting herself and faced the wall-size windows of her office.
Looking out at the stars twinkling in the Night’s sky, Li Ming Xing felt that her star has probably never belonged to his constellation.
Wow! Xue Zhao has proved to be much harder to get along with than He Yi Chen! At least, Yi Chen was overly civil to Mo Sheng! But Xue Zhao is more like the snake hidden underneath the rose, waiting to bite. You can’t blame him for the way he reacted because the guy has a sharp tongue and he had no choice but to use it. But you can’t justify the way he behaved either!
There’s no need to be so rude to the girl, even though she’s your ex.
But his anger only proves that he still cares for her, even though in a back-handed way! And the usually strong Ming Xing suddenly breaking down actually shook me up. Because it only shows how hard she works to cover up her heartbreak and act all confident in front of others.