Wednesday, January 30, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 4

                                                  Poster credit to owner

Chapter 4: Rose of All Roses
“You want me to take on another client?” I asked, surprised
Manager Hu looked at me apologetically, “I know it’s a lot,” he said, “But this came up at the last minute. They’re coming here in half an hour and Xiang Xiang is at the last day of the conference while Tong Lei is out handling another account. You’re my last bet.”
“It’s not that I mind the extra work,” I replied, “But if they’re coming soon and I don’t have any information on them…”
“Don’t worry,” Manager Hu rushed to assure me, “I already emailed you their file, and it’s a small account so I’m sure you can handle it.”
I didn’t have any choice, did I? As if he could see the thought in my head, Manager Hu smiled at me gratefully.
“You don’t have to read through the file,” he told me, “Just briefly skim it. I’ll be meeting them with you so there’s nothing to worry about.”
I nodded and excused myself. Sitting back at my desk, I sighed. It looked like this was going to be another busy week. I opened my email and clicked on the file.  Zhen Tian Architecture Firm.  Taking Manager Hu’s advice, I merely scanned through the information. It did seem simple. They weren’t a very big company and were only requiring a financial statement and analysis. Something nagged at me as I was reading but I didn’t realize what it was until I reached the last page. Wu Zhenqing, CEO. I bit my lip. There wouldn’t happened to be another Wu Zhenqing who owned an architecture firm in Beijing, would there? I sat back, my heart beating rapidly. He was coming here. Or maybe he wasn’t, maybe it would just be his employee. No, he was coming here. For a company of this size, it was typical, almost expected, for the owner to come personally. Was this Fate’s plan? Were we all destined to become entangled in each other’s lives? I glanced at the clock. I had less than 5 minutes. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself down. Get yourself together, Zhang Xiao. He’s not Fourth prince and you’re no longer Ruoxi. With a few more deep breaths, my heart finally slowed down to its normal rate.
Manager Hu walked out then and looked at me, “They’re here.”
I nodded and gathered my stuff. He’s not Fourth prince. I repeated the thought in my head as we walked down to the meeting room. He’s not Fourth prince. He was here. I could see him through the glass, talking to some man. He’s not Fourth prince. He looked up when the door opened. He’s not Fourth prince. He’s not Fourth prince.
“Zhang Xiao?” he said, mildly surprised
A secret thrill ran through me at the sound of him saying my name. Outwardly, however, I merely smiled politely.
“You know each other?” Manager Hu asked
“We’ve met,” I answered simply
 “That will make things easier then,” he put his hand out, “Hi, I’m Manager Hu. We talked on the phone.”
Zhenqing shook his hand, “Wu Zhenqing,” he replied, then gestured to the man next to him, “This is my colleague, Yu Long.”
“Since you’ve already know Zhang Xiao, I won’t introduce her,” Manager Hu said, sitting down, “How did you two meet anyway?”
Zhenqing and I both paused and looked at each other.
“It’s a long story,” I finally answered
“I’m sorry for coming in with such short notice,” Zhenqing said, effectively changing the subject, “Up until now, we had our accounts with Shengsen, but…well, that didn’t work out.”
Shengsen Accounting Firm was currently embroiled in a very serious scandal. The government had found evidence in which the firm had falsified tax documents in order cheat clients out of their money. The investigation was still going on but they had been ordered to halt all of their businesses.
Manager Hu shook his head emphatically, “It’s such a shame. Shengsen’s CEO, Thomas Lee, was a very bright young man. Born in a rich family, graduated with an MBA from Harvard. Who knew he would turn out like this?”
“It’s because of those things,” said Yu Long, “that even if he was found guilty, the sentence wouldn’t even be that harsh.”
“Seems like history hasn’t changed that much,” I muttered, “It is still the rich who steals from the poor, and probably will get away with it too.”
Yu Long smiled at me, “I supposed you believe in ‘Royalty should be punished same as commoners?’”
 “No,” I answered firmly, “Royalty were born with privileges and opportunities that commoners could only dream of. They were offered the best schooling so they could learn the rights and wrongs of the world. They were supposed to be the elite and yet, despite their education, they knowingly commit these crimes. So how could they be punished the same? They should be punished more, more severely.”
Yu Long’s mouth fell open at the end of my tirade. I flushed as I took in the similar expression on Manager Hu’s face. I instinctively looked over to Zhenqing. He didn’t look shocked like the others. Instead his eyes bored into mine as if he was searching for something within them. My breath hitched. It felt intrusive, intimate, and strangely familiar. I should look away but somehow couldn’t. I knew, I knew he wasn’t him, and yet…in that moment, my heart had yet to realize the difference.
A small but purposeful cough broke our connection. We both jumped a little and I watched as his ears turned pink when he realized how long we’ve been staring at each other.
“So,” he said, attempting to cover his embarrassment, “we have all of our files, but I’m afraid they’re a little disorganized,” he nodded towards the documents in front of Yu Long, “We can’t retrieve any documents from Shengsen because of the investigation so we could only start from scratch. There may be things missing.”
“Don’t worry,” Manager Hu said as we took the files from them, “This is why we’re here.”
I flipped through the documents, making a mental note of the figures. There was a brief moment when I thought I felt his gaze on me, almost a flash of burn before he looked away. I kept my eyes down.
“If you found that we are missing anything,” Zhenqing said, “please feel free to call Yu Long or myself.”
“Don’t worry,” Manager Hu repeated, “Zhang Xiao is our most effective employee. I assure you that she will do an excellent job.”
I looked up and Zhenqing’s gaze met mine again. He smiled,
“That I can believe.”
A small flush crept upon my face and I forced myself to sound calm, “These files looked good. I’ll look through them and get started on the financial statement first.  If I need any other documents, I’ll give your office a call.”
Zhenqing nodded and stood up. Everyone else followed suit.
“Thank you for meeting us on such short notice,” he said, shaking Manager Hu’s hands before turning to me
Was it my imagination or did his gaze lingered on mine a second longer than necessary? As he and Yu Long made their way out, the latter glanced at me curiously. When he saw that I caught him looking, he smiled embarrassedly before following Zhenqing. I sat back down as Manager Hu walked them out. Why was I like this today? I didn’t felt this nervous when I was alone with him at the café. Was it because I knew now that this wouldn’t be the last time we would see each other? Or was it because of him? Today, he wasn’t just the kind stranger who helped me. Perhaps it was because he was with his employee, but he had a purposeful air about him, an aura of authority. It was so similar, too similar. I shook my head. No. No matter how similar he was, he still wasn’t the same man who owned me, heart and soul. I couldn’t make the mistake of thinking he was; that would be detrimental to us both.
“Zhang Xiao?”
I looked up to see Manager Hu staring at me awkwardly.
“Umm…” he coughed slightly, “You know, I can have Xiang Xiang take over the project, if you want.”
I frowned, “Did Zhen- Mr. Wu requested a change?”
“Huh? No, no. I just…” he coughed again, “I just thought you might be uncomfortable working with him. It’s obvious there’s some history between you two.”
I stared at him blankly. History? Then realizing what he must have thought, I quickly shook my head.
“It’s nothing like that. I…This is the third time I saw him. We don’t even know each other that well.”
Somehow, the truth of that statement hurt.
Manager Hu still looked unsure, but accepted my answer.
“That’s good then.”
He had a good reason to be suspicious. After all, wasn’t history all that we had?
I was ashamed to admit that, despite my other clients, I started on Zhenqing’s account first. I told myself that it was because the faster I finished, the sooner I wouldn’t have to see him anymore. But the truth was, I was curious.  I read through his information more times and in more details than necessary. Honestly, I was impressed. Though his firm was small, it had already started making a good profit after only three years. Whether he was Fourth prince or not, Zhenqing was still a very capable man.  
Knowing that I was being unprofessional, I made a point to work on something else today. I went to see the other clients, informing them of Xiao Man’s situation and that I would be taking over. Having some time afterwards, I decided to go visit a guy that I’ve been missing lately.
“Zhang Xiao?” Ge’ge said as I walked into his office, “What are you doing here?”
“Can’t I come to visit my favorite brother at work?” I asked, sitting down
“Of course you can,” he replied, “But shouldn’t you be at your work?”
“My meetings with clients ended early so I thought I drop in. I wanted to do a checkup as well as see you.”
“Are you sick?” Ge’ge asked, coming over to me, “Where does it hurt? Is it your head?”
I waved him off, “No. My colleague at work got swine flu, so they recommended we get a checkup just in case.”
He let out a sigh of relief, “Ok. I can do that for you.”
“Aren’t you busy?”
He put on gloves and grabbed a thermometer, “Never for my sister.”
I smiled as he checked my temperature.
 “So,” Ge’ge said, “I heard you went on a date with Dad’s teacher assistant the other day.”
I rolled my eyes, “It wasn’t a date. He just had some questions about the Qing Dynasty that he wanted to ask me.”
“But this isn’t your first time meeting.”
“We met at the University exhibit for five minutes,” I said exasperatedly, “It’s really nothing so can we stop with the third degree?”
“You know I’m only preparing you for Mom later on,” Ge’ge said
I sighed, “Good thing I’m too busy to come home for dinner lately.”
“You’re going to have to Friday,” he pointed out, “Better be prepared.”
I shook my head, “Speaking of which, since when did Dad started to act like Mom? You should have seen him that day. He was basically forcing Kai Ming to take me to dinner.”
“Mom believed that you’re still hung up on Huang Di,” Ge’ge answered, “She thinks that the best way for you to get over him is to meet someone new. She even asked me to introduce you to my colleagues.”
“So how did Dad get on board?”
“If Mom can get Dad to retire, what can’t she get him to do?” asked Ge’ge
That was true.
“Your temperature and blood pressure are normal,” Ge’ge stated as he wrote the information down, “I have to get some blood from you now.”
“It’s just general checkup,” I said as I watched him take out the blood tubes, “Do you need so much?”
“Since you’re here, we might as well run a more detailed test.”
I opened my mouth to protest but he cut me off,
“Now this is going to sting a little,” he said, inserting the needle
I glared at him but he seemed to be intently studying my arm. After he finished taking the blood, Ge’ge pressed a button on his intercom,
“Siu Yan, would you come in here please?”
The door opened and a young nurse walked in,
“Dr. Zhang, you called?”
Ge’ge handed her the blood tubes as well my chart, “Could you please take this down to labs?”
“Of course,”
I watched in amusement as the nurse blushed slightly when Ge’ge’s fingers brushed hers.
“So,” I said after she left, “it looks like Dr. Zhang is pretty popular with the nurses here as well.”
Ge’ge’s eyebrow arched, “Isn’t it obvious?”
I was about to retort back when the door opened again and another nurse popped in.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Dr. Zhang, but you’re needed in room 312.”
Ge’ge groaned, “Oh no. I’m not dealing with him today. Can you page Nurse Chen instead?”
“She was the one who told me to call you,” the nurse said apologetically
Ge’ge sighed, “Fine. I’ll be there in a minute.”
The nurse nodded before closing the door.
“Difficult patient?” I asked
“The worse,” he replied, “It’s this athlete who hurt his leg and had to undergo surgery. He refused to do physical therapy and just expect us to make everything OK again. You know, when I signed up to be a doctor, I didn’t realize babysitting was part of the job.”
I smiled at him sympathetically, “Well, look on the bright side. Cute nurses at your disposal.”
He snorted, “Yes, thank you. Alright. I’m going to have to go. Are you coming home for dinner tonight?”
“No way,” I replied, “I’m going to avoid seeing Mom for as long as possible.”
It was Ge’ge’s turn to look sympathetic, “I guess I’ll see you Friday then,” he said as we walked out, “I’ll try to help you out as much as possible.”
I sighed and was about to leave when he called me back,
“I almost forgot. Find time to come back next week to get your test results.”
“Next week?” I repeated, “What kind of tests are you doing that take that long?”
“Oh, just some general tests,” Ge’ge answered vaguely as he walked away, “You know, kidneys, liver, heart, etcetera, etcetera.”
“Ge!” I called, but he merely waved before disappearing around the corner.
It was another day at work. Except, there was something I had to do that I really didn’t want to. I flipped through the files again, hoping that I was wrong. I wasn’t.
“Zhang Xiao. Zhang Xiao!”
I looked up, startled.
“Are you OK?” Xiang Xiang asked, “You seem really out of it.”
“No, I’m fine. Sorry. What did you said?”
“I asked if you want to join us for drinks after work today.”
“Today?” I repeated, “It’s only Thursday.”
“I know,” Xiang Xiang said, “But after spending two days stuck in a conference room with all those accountants, most of whom are old, fat, and boring, I really need a drink.”
I laughed, “Alright. I’ll come.”
I looked back down to the files. I really might need a drink later on. I had to call him. I had to call Zhenqing. There were some documents missing, documents that I need in order to continue working. But…the thought of talking to him… I shook my head. I was being unprofessional. I had to call him…unless… I dug through my desk and found what I was looking for. I didn’t have to call him, I could just call Yu Long. Relief filled me as I clutched the business card. Grabbing the phone, I started to dial.
A male voice answered, “Hello?”
“Hello?” I replied, “Mr. Yu? This is Zhang Xiao from Huiyun Accounting.”
“Ms. Zhang. How many I help you?”
“I’m looking through your files and you’re missing the equity reports. Is there any way I can get them today?”
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized, “I’ll get someone to find them right away. Would you have time to come to our office?”
I glanced at the clock, “I can come at around 4:30,”
“Excellent. I’ll see you then. Bye-bye.”
I let out a huge breath as I hang up. It looked like I couldn’t avoid it. Though I told myself I would face whatever Fate had planned head on, I couldn’t help but feel apprehensive. Maertai Ruoxi was Eight prince’ sister in law and therefore was entangled in his life from the get go. However, as Zhang Xiao, could I not detach myself from them? Though…what do I have to be afraid of? There was no Imperial throne, no life or death fights; neither were they the ambitious men the princes were. Even if our lives became entangled, would that be so bad?
With that thought in mind, I gathered my stuff and prepared to leave.
“Xiang Xiang?” I called, “I have to go meet a client and probably won’t be back in time. So just text me the address of where you two are going, ‘kay?”
“Ok,” she replied, “See you in a bit.”
I waved my goodbyes and left.
The building that Zhenqing’s company was in wasn’t very big. The interior, however, was very nicely decorated, creating both a comfortable and businesslike atmosphere. I could see people bustling inside as I walked up to the receptionist.
“Hello,” I said, “I’m Zhang Xiao from Huiyun Accounting. I have an appointment with Mr. Yu.”
“Of course. Please wait a minute.”
She called someone on the phone before standing up.
“Ms. Zhang, please follow me.”
“I have to apologize,” she said as we were walking, “Mr. Yu is currently with a customer but he will be with you as soon as possible.”
“It’s fine,” I replied
The layout of this company was not that much different from mine, though smaller and with fewer desks. There was also a huge table in the middle of the room where I could see a few blueprints. Everyone seemed really busy; either talking on the phone or typing something on the computer. The atmosphere felt rushed; no one even looked up as we walked past.
“Please take a seat,” the receptionist said as she led me into an office, “Would you like something to drink?”
I shook my head, indicating I was fine. She gave me a smile before leaving.
I looked around the room. It was small but neat, with the furniture arranged to maximize usage space. The walls were empty except for a few photos. One, in particular, caught my attention. I walked closer to see it more clearly. It was a large picture of what seemed to be a cliff, with the sun shining behind it. From the position of the sun, it was hard to tell whether it was setting or rising. The orange rays warmed the whole scene, but the foreground was dark, almost foreboding. The photo gave a sense of both hope and melancholy.
“Beautiful isn’t it?” A voice behind me said
Like when I met the other two, my body froze. And yet, this time, there was no shock or surprise coursing through me; for, really, where else would he be? I slowly turned around to meet the smiling face of Thirteenth prince. His eyes were twinkling, a hint of mischievousness in his smile.
“Are you new here?” he asked
I shook my head
“Really? I’m sure I would’ve remembered if I met such a beauty before.”
“She doesn’t work here.”
We both turned around to see Zhenqing standing at the door, looking at Thirteenth prince disapprovingly.
“I’m sorry for the wait,” he said to me
“It’s alright,” I answered
He glanced at Thirteenth prince, “The man who has been harassing you is my cousin, Yang Guang. Yang Guang, this is Zhang Xiao.”
Yang Guang extended his hand to me, “Nice to meet you,” he leaned in closer and whispered conspiratorially, “I wasn’t harassing you, was I?”
I shook my head and he grinned triumphantly at Zhenqing.
“Aren’t you just leaving?” Zhenqing asked pointedly
“Nope,” Yang Guang answered, “In fact, I was just staying.”
He proceeded to sit down on one of the chair, ignoring his cousin’s glare.
Zhenqing sighed, then looked at me, “I’m sorry. Yu Long is still with a customer, but I got the documents you need right here.”
I took the files and was about to excuse myself when Yang Guang spoke up,
“So Zhang Xiao, what do you do, since you don’t work here?”
I glanced at Zhenqing, who was glaring at his cousin again.
“I’m an accountant,” I answered
Yang Guang stared at me for a moment, then looked to Zhenqing, then back at me. His eyes lit up as if something clicked in place.
“So you’re the accountant,” he said, grinning
I flushed, realizing that Zhenqing must have told him about me. What did he say? That I was some suicidal girl he met?
Zhenqing cleared his throat, “I’m sure you have lots to do so-”
“What could she have to do?” Yang Guang interrupted, “It’s past five. You’re off work now, right?” he asked me
“Umm…well…yes,” I answered, flustered, “But I do have plans…”
“What plans?”
I blinked. Was this normal social conduct nowadays?
“I…my colleagues and I are meeting for drinks.”
“Drinks?” Yang Guang exclaimed, “I love drinks. Would you mind if we joined you?”
“Yang Guang,” Zhenqing said warningly
Yang Guang looked at him, “Oh, c’mon Ge. It’s after work. Let’s unwind a little. I’m sure Zhang Xiao won’t mind, right?”
Who knew that, without the restraints of ancient customs, Death Defying Thirteenth prince would be even more audacious?
“I…Uh…No.” As if I could say anything otherwise
Yang Guang grinned.
“I can’t go. I still have lots of work to do,” said Zhenqing through gritted teeth
“Well, that’s a shame,” Yang Guang said, “It looks like it just me and Zhang Xiao then.”
Zhenqing whipped his head to stare at his cousin, who merely smiled innocently. I, on the other hand, didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Zhenqing closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath before turning to me, “Are you sure it’s alright for us to intrude on you and your friends?”
No, not at all.
“It’s fine,” I answered
“Great!” Yang Guang said, “So where are we going?”
I took out my cell phone and read out the name and address of the bar that Xiang Xiang sent me.
“That’s just a few blocks from here,” Yang Guang stated, standing up, “Let’s go.”
“Zhang Xiao?” said Zhenqing, “Would you mind going first? I still have some things to discuss with my cousin.”
Yang Guang looked alarmed, “What? Why? There’s no need. W-we can just talk on the way there.”
Zhenqing ignored him, “We’ll meet you there.”
Recognizing the look on his face, I nodded and quickly made to leave.
“Wait!” Yang Guang called out desperately, “Don’t leave me alone with him!”
Walking outside, I shook my head, smiling. Whether Fourth prince or Zhenqing, he still wasn’t someone to mess with.
A/N: Since Eight prince had his own chapter, I thought it was only fair that Fourth prince did too. Though he did have to share a little bit with Thirteenth prince, but I’m sure he won’t mind. All of the princes will make their appearance in another chapter or two. When that time comes, I’ll make a character list so everyone can keep them straight. 


  1. Finally, 4th prince! Does he wear casual or business like attires?

    I can imagine why Zhang Xiao cannot control her heart beats.

    1. When he's working or with associates (like in this chapter), it can be assumed that he wears business attires

  2. the story is getting more and more interesting. the 13th prince is here. i like his carefree character so much.

  3. Yea 13th prince! I love how he's still the same as in the Qing era. I'm so addicted of your story I can't stop reading lol.