LMA – Chapter Three
A Lamborghini swished along a road like wind passing pedestrians. It stopped in front of a college.
Students admired the hot Luo An Hai stepping out of the Lamborghini in a designer dress and black heels.
The students were envious Luo An Hai had the world in her hands at the age of twenty-one. She used her trust fund inherited from her mother and maternal grandfather to invest in IT startup companies, which grew into multi-million dollar businesses. Two years later, she bought private planes and luxury cruise ships for rich clients to travel the world. Her beauty and success attracted many suitors, but she would always break their hearts after a brief fling.
Luo An Hai’s patience was limited to three minutes.
One minute later, the little boy Han Ting Hua who turned into a tall handsome man with a mysterious aura was walking toward the Lamborghini accompanied by a pageant queen beauty, Miss Angel.
At the college it was rumored the aloof Han Ting Hua only reserved his charm and smiles for Angel. Even though the female students were jealous of Angel, they acknowledged Han Ting Hua and Angel made an attractive couple.
The truth was Angel had confessed her love to Han Ting Hua, but he rejected her. She didn’t give up hope because she believed he would fall in love with her later down the track.
Han Ting Hua didn’t dispel the rumor that he was dating Angel because it stopped his classmates from stalking him.
‘Han, isn’t that your big sister?’ Angel asked, holding onto Han Ting Hua’s arm.
The students were curious about the relationship dynamics between Luo An Han and her step-mother’s adoptive son, Han Ting Hua. Were they step-sibling rivals or did they have a close bond?
Angel was pleasantly surprised when Han Ting Hua draped his arm around her shoulder for the first time, which made her blush.
‘She’s not my big sister,’ Han Ting Hua said.
Han Ting Hua let go of Angel, and he walked to the Lamborghini without a backward glance at Angel.
Luo An Hai sped off the moment Han Ting Hua sat in her car. She glanced at Angel standing at the gate in the rear-view mirror, and knew Angel’s pageant beauty wasn’t enough to capture Han Ting Hua’s attention.
Han Ting Hua was disappointed Luo An Hai didn’t react after seeing him standing close with Angel.
At a red light Han Ting Hua frowned when Luo An Hai picked up a box of cigarettes.
‘Little boy, your little girlfriend has a hot body,’ Luo An Hai said, smiling coldly. ‘Don’t play with fire. I don’t want the media to report a homewrecker’s son knocked up an heiress. But if you want to follow in your mother’s footsteps, go ahead and dig for gold.’
He grabbed her box of cigarettes and put it back in the center console glove box.
‘Uncle Luo won’t be happy if he smells smoke on your clothes,’ he said.
He dismissed her insults. Years of living with her made him realize if she couldn’t get a rise out of someone she provoked then she would be the one who ended up frustrated. For years she never hid her hatred toward him and his adoptive mother.
She was frustrated he didn’t react to her insult.
‘Stay out of my business,’ she said, picking up the box of cigarettes again. ‘You only need to worry about acting like a good person in front of my father.’
‘Today is uncle Luo’s birthday,’ he said. ‘Do you want to upset uncle Luo on his birthday?’
Her father’s birthday was the reason she agreed to have dinner with her father, Mai Fang and Han Ting Hua at the hotel restaurant she owned.
Over the years her relationship with her father had been tolerable. She bit her tongue whenever she disagreed with her father because the image of her father sobbing uncontrollably after her death haunted her.
She grudgingly put the packet of cigarettes down, and glanced at Han Ting Hua’s indifferent smug face.
‘Every time you open your mouth, uncle Luo is on the tip of your tongue,’ she said. ‘Too bad you were born a male. If you’re a woman then you can jump into my father’s bed, and the world will be your oyster. It’ll make your mother proud that you followed her shining example.’
‘Green light,’ he said, leaning back on his chair and closing his eyes.
His calmness only fuelled her frustrations. She feared he would still turn into the frustrating man who held the photo of her on his last day.
‘What’s wrong?’ he asked.
He opened his eyes because she didn’t kick him like usual whenever she couldn’t get a rise out of him. He was surprised there was a look of anxiety in her usually calm eyes. Anxiety? The Luo An Hai he knew was strong and independent, there was no room for anxiety in her life. He must have imagined the look of anxiety in her eyes.
Later at the Luo’s five star hotel, Luo An Hai and Han Ting Hua walked toward the VIP room in the hotel restaurant.
Luo An Hai had designed the hotel and restaurant. It was her holistic research, attention to detail, and marketing strategies that made Luo’s hotel a famous luxury hotel internationally. But her hard work wasn’t acknowledged by her father. In her father’s eyes she couldn’t hold a candle to Han Ting Hua.
In her second lifetime she didn’t fight to be CEO of Luo’s company. Instead she chose to live her own life because she knew how tiring it was to fight for everything that was her birthright. She remembered in her first lifetime at the age of twenty-four she had developed a chain of hotels around the world for Luo’s company, but her father gave the twenty-year-old Han Ting Hua a higher position than hers at Luo’s company. Even if she no longer fought for the CEO position in her second lifetime, she wanted to see how Han Ting Hua was going to get the board members and shareholders on his side.
Han Ting Hua was in a sour mood like Luo An Hai. He remembered the magazine covers his classmates showed him. On the covers were photos of Luo An Hai smiling seductively in the arms of a rich heir, Mr. Hunter. Whereas the only smiles he received from Luo An Hai were smiles of contempt and condescending smiles.
‘Why are you staring at me?’ she asked.
He was too absorbed about the countless magazines he threw in the college bins that he didn’t realize he was staring at Luo An Hai.
‘How do you know I’m staring at you if you’re not staring at me?’ he asked.
A waiter interrupted the tension between Luo An Hai and Han Ting Hua.
‘Miss Luo, Mr. Han, welcome,’ the waiter greeted. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Luo are waiting at the table Miss Luo reserved.’
Luo Cheng Hua was happy to see his daughter, but his daughter’s long face dampened his happy mood.
‘An Hai-’ Luo Cheng Hua said but Mai Fang pulled his shirt sleeve.
Luo Cheng Hua held back his lecture.
‘Mr. Luo, do you want me to bring out the main course?’ the waiter asked.
Luo Cheng Hua nodded, and the waiter walked to the kitchen.
Luo An Hai and Han Ting Hua sat on the two empty seats while Mai Fang served the entrée.
‘An Hai, you should eat the herbal soup to line your stomach,’ Mai Fang said.
Luo An Hai calmly accepted the bowl of herbal soup from Mai Fang.
‘An Hai, where are your manners?’ Luo Cheng Hua asked. ‘Will it kill you to say thank you?’
Luo An Hai silently ate the bowl of herbal soup because she didn’t want to fight with her father over something trivial.
‘Cheng Hua, it’s fine,’ Mai Fang said. ‘We’re family. Xiao Hua, you should eat the herbal soup too.’
‘Mother, don’t worry about me, I can serve myself,’ Han Ting Hua said, passing a gift to Luo Cheng Hua. ‘Happy birthday uncle Luo. It’s something small to add to uncle Luo’s collection.’
‘You shouldn’t have,’ Luo Cheng Hua said, opening the chest. ‘It’s a beautiful pair of jade bracelets.’
‘Uncle Luo, the bracelets suit you and mother,’ Han Ting Hua said.
‘Xiao Hua, where did you get the money to buy an extravagant gift?’ Mai Fang asked.
‘Work,’ Han Ting Hua said evasively.
Han Ting Hua knew his adoptive mother wouldn’t approve of him trading shares.
‘Work?’ Mai Fang asked. ‘Where are you working? You should focus on your studies.’
‘Mai Fang, let Xiao Hua be,’ Luo Cheng Hua said. ‘He’s a smart lad. Let him live his own life.’
Luo Cheng Hua approved of the listed companies Han Ting Hua bought shares from.
‘Let me put the bracelets on you,’ Luo Cheng Hua said.
‘Cheng Hua, you only know how to encourage Xiao Hua’s antics,’ Mai Fang said.
Luo Cheng Hua and Han Ting Hua’s smiles mirrored each other.
Luo An Hai felt like the fourth wheel. She wanted to quickly eat dinner and leave.
‘An Hai, try the delicious steak,’ Mai Fang said.
Luo An Hai put back the pieces of cut steak Mai Fang put into her bowl, and she noticed her father’s disapproving frown. Then she picked up steamed vegetables.
‘Aren’t I allowed to eat vegetables?’ Luo An Hai asked.
Mai Fang held onto the Luo Cheng Hua’s arm.
‘An Hai, you should eat more,’ Mai Fang said. ‘You lost too much weight.’
Luo Cheng Hua regretted he was busy setting up Luo’s company that he didn’t make time to spend with his daughter when she was younger. He hated the distance between him and his mature daughter, but he didn’t know what to do to build a close relationship with his daughter. Although his daughter’s disrespect toward Mai Fang and Han Ting Hua upset him, he was proud of his daughter’s achievements, and boasted about his daughter to his friends and clients.
‘An Hai, I heard you’re dating Hunter,’ Luo Cheng Hua said.
Luo An Hai was surprised at her father’s interest in her private life.
‘Today I received a phone call from Hunter’s father,’ Luo Cheng Hua said. ‘He said Hunter wants to marry you. Do you want me to prepare an engagement banquet for you and Hunter?’
‘Engagement?’ Mai Fang asked. ‘An Hai is too young to get married. Cheng Hua, how do you know whether Hunter’s feelings toward An Hai are genuine?’
‘I heard Hunter is head over heels in love with An Hai,’ Luo Cheng Hua said. ‘An Hai, how do you feel about Hunter?’
Luo An Hai took out her phone and called Hunter. ‘It’s me. Hunter, let’s breakup. You shouldn’t have taken our relationship seriously. I thought you understood it was just a fling. Bye.’ She put her phone back in her bag, and looked calmly at her father. ‘What else are you curious about?’
‘An Hai!’ Luo Cheng Hua called. ‘How many men do you want to toy with? When are you going to start thinking about settling down?’
Luo An Hai shrugged her shoulders. ‘Are you suggesting I should get married and have an affair like you?’
Luo An Hai bit her tongue. She regretted saying something to upset her father.
‘I should go,’ Luo An Hai said, standing up. ‘I’ll only ruin the atmosphere if I stay.’
Luo An Hai took out a gift box from her bag and passed it to her father. She bought a jade smoking pipe to add to her father’s collection. Her father didn’t smoke, but he loved collecting vintage art pieces and took pride in his smoking pipes collection most.
‘Happy birthday,’ Luo An Hai said and walked out of the VIP room.
Luo Cheng Hua regretted losing his temper. He opened the gift box, and stared with a heavy heart at the jade smoking pipe his daughter gave him.
‘Cheng Hua, don’t be upset with An Hai,’ Mai Fang said. ‘Look at the beautiful jade smoking pipe she gave you to add to your favorite smoking pipe collection.’
Han Ting Hua looked at Luo An Hai’s fading back. He turned back to the table, his adoptive mother nodded and he quickly chased after Luo An Hai.
End of Chapter Three