Table For Two Chapter 202
Qing Qing looked inside the box because something caught her attention. Resting on top of her father's fresh produce was a yellow envelope about the size of A4 paper. She picked it up and demanded, "What is the meaning of this?"
"Didn't I tell you, I'm here to help?" Xiu Ling explained. "Inside the envelope is a cheque for fifty thousand dollars. It should be enough for you to temporarily retire. Go back home to accompany Uncle Qing Hai, he misses you a lot.
"Or you can bring him to go travel. It matters not to me as long as you leave this city permanently. Yes, this means that I need you to quit filming the upcoming sequel to Bringing Nation's Husband Home. Say you're sick or you've been given a better offer elsewhere. After all, you're so good with words, so I'm sure you can come up with something."
"But what about my career and the life that I've built around me?" Qing Qing shot back.
Xiu Ling smiled patiently like she was talking to a child. "Do you think you have the rights to discuss conditions with me? In any case, I don't mind you staying in the business but I need you to find a new agency, one that is different from Joann. If you know what's best for you, you'd pick only certain projects, who knows, perhaps you might find a new acting character that suits you better."
The mention of Joann's name reminded Qing Qing of a question that she had been meaning to ask Xiu Ling. "Did Joann set you up to do this?"
"No." Xiu Ling answered honestly but of course Qing Qing wouldn't know that. She probably believed Xiu Ling was just brushing her off.
Qing Qing waited for Xiu Ling to elaborate but she didn't. Silence stretched between them but Xiu Ling did not seem bothered by it. It felt like she was giving Qing Qing the time to think, after all, this was going to be a big decision.
Even though Xiu Ling did not openly threaten the girl, the message that she was trying to say was clear, leave the city or be prepared to face the consequence.
In this battle of wits, Qing Qing was clever enough to know who was the clear victor. Xiu Ling had identified her Archilles' Heel but in return, she had nothing on her. The power structure between them was one-sided and Qing Qing was aware who the winning party was.
After making sure there was no way she was going to wiggle out of this, Qing Qing surrendered, "Fine, you win. I will leave this city and you'll never hear from me again."
Even though Xiu Ling had already expected that result, she still smiled when she heard the promise from Qing Qing's lips. "I hope you'll hold onto your words."
Now that the victor and the loser had been decided, the warring party could be more candid with their words. Something had changed in the dynamics.
After the horns of war had died down, Qing Qing felt like she could finally speak her mind. There was no need to twist and turn her words anymore, the battle had been decided and the spoils had been taken. Even though she had lost, a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Qing Qing knew she was no match for Xiu Ling so she stopped putting her guard up. Try as she might, she was not going to outsmart the woman, so she was not going to waste time trying.
Qing Qing admitted freely, "Honestly, if I was you, I wouldn't have given my opponent the chance to strike back. I don't understand why you've spared me and not only that, had given me the resource to rebuild myself. Aren't you afraid that I'll return to haunt your dreams?"
Xiu Ling smiled charmingly and confidently. "That has never been my worry but I know, even at your maximum potential, you're not going to be my match. Of course, I'd advise you not to try that because I might not be so charitable next time."
Xiu Ling's words were said with a smile but the weight of the threat behind it was real. As much as she hated to admit it, Qing Qing had to agree. After their crossing of swords, the young woman knew she was leagues behind this particular opponent. When she took the first step, Xiu Ling had already seen 10 steps ahead of her. Qing Qing wouldn't say she would never be Xiu Ling's match but at least for the foreseeable future, that was not going to change. Xiu Ling had the ease of a queen who ruled an empire.
Since she had already lost, Qing Qing saw no reason to suffer further humiliation. She picked up the box and stood up. "I don't want to take up any more of your time, I'm sure it's very valuable."
Xiu Ling nodded wordlessly.
When Qing Qing's palm was curled around the doorknob however, the young woman turned around and said, "Actually, I have one last question."
"You said Joann had no idea you're doing this for her. Meaning you're doing this on your own volition?"
"Because she's my friend."
Qing Qing could not wrap her head around that concept. Ever since her arrival at the city, she had depended on no one other than herself. She couldn't accept that a person would help another without reason, especially among two females. She had always had the need to watch her own back in case someone was plotting against her. She had no real friends, all she had was liabilities, or pawns.
Qing Qing laughed a curious laugh. "Perhaps that is why I've lost. It's a 2 on 1 fight."
"Perhaps..." Xiu Ling concurred with a cryptic smile.
It was worth noting that Xiu Ling did all these without Joann's knowledge. She had arranged for Lin Kang's men to standby at the cafe where Joann and Sylvia were to meet with Qing Qing so should if it lead to a physical altercation. Her best friend and her daughter would be protected and the news would not leak.