Published at 27th of December 2018 05:37:53 PM
Chapter 18

October 27, 20XX (Saturday)

Sheng Palace Restaurant

"Are you really-" Ru Shi's face resembled a fish out of the water .

Mei Li giggled with her right hand covering her mouth and her eyes turning into upside down crescent moons with playfulness .

Yang nodded first before anybody could answer Ru Shi's unfinished question, "She is also my sister's high school friend, college roommate and now best friend . Her first collection was about her and Yue's friendship then the second one was apparently about my parents . "

Seeing his wife was still visibly shaken, Alexandre mumbled into her ears another secret, "I also heard from her that her paintings have more secrets buried in its canvass . Apparently, we need to buy a UV light…"

"…and to think, I brag to every possible person that I'm a fan of yours yet I still don't know about that fact . " Ru Shi said in a trance, only replying for the sake of having a reply . Her mind still processing the revealed surprising fact .

With giggles that resembled a chime on a breezy summer day, Mei Li uttered, "…please, I think the majority of the people who had bought my paintings still have no idea . "

There was a tense silence that followed . Ru Shi still looked at the giggling Mei Li dazed and in disbelief while Alexandre looked at Ru Shi with gentle fondness .

Yang observed with the usual fake smile hidden behind the white porcelain teacup he drank from . Mei Li's mischievousness was charming and her giggle had made Yang's shield of ice thaw . The CEO had developed a dangerous longing that was unlike any other- the desire to hear her happiness in the form of that bell-like laughter and chime-like giggles .

Shaking out from her stupor, Ru Shi immediately gushed to Mei Li like a true fan she truly was, "I've always like the way you paint women… and to think there was something more the painting is hiding! You're a genius! I never thought of it so . There was a rumour in the industry that Miss M was an Italian, to think that she was like me! I knew the first collection resembled someone familiar! I should have known it was Yue! I'm amazed you revealed yourself to us!"

Mei Li glanced at Yang before replying to Ru Shi, "Honestly, I didn't plan to divulge my identity and its secret before my fifth collection is finish but circumstances brought me on a standstill…"

"Would you mind if I ask what those circumstances are?"

The two males decided to choose their meals and order instead but their ears listening with interest as the two ladies continued to talk .

"My art had always been my way of expressing myself…" Mei Li's eyes turned downwards to her lap as she continued feeling depressed with the onslaught of events the run through her head like a blaring alarm to her heartbreak, "I had planned to reveal myself to the world with my fifth collection dedicating it to my then boyfriend . I had planned it to be my agreement to his proposal but I never thought it would end with this…"

The painter's voice choked up, tears swell on her eyes, and her hands grabbing her knees at the reminder of the reason why she was in Paris, to begin with . Yang hastily grabbed her cold hands, gripping it tightly while cursing her cheating boyfriend to hell .

"You remember what I told you about someone stealing my black card?" Yang asked drawing the attention of the panicking Ru Shi . He knew Mei Li could not continue her explanation . Yang could not imagine what made this beautiful person fall for a stale man .

Alexandre and Ru Shi exchanged glances before nodding to Yang's question .

"I had received a notification that it was used here in Paris to check into a hotel and immediately prompted an investigation… sadly, my supposed 'girlfriend' as she called herself was with a man, who happened to be her boyfriend…" Yang's eyes shifted to Mei Li when he felt something drip into the back of his hand that was clutching Mei Li's .

Yang's heart broke to see a strong woman like Mei Li cry . He quickly took his handkerchief, opening the folded square cloth into a rectangle then pulling the painter into his arms before covering Mei Li's eyes with the cloth . Now, only the white piece of cloth separating between her face and his left hand .

Mei Li felt her eyes being covered, she knew it was Yang's and with gratefulness, she tried to compose herself again . The cloth could not hamper the warmth of his palm; the muscled arm at her back and the man's fragrance made her easily calm . It was awkward and unfamiliar but it felt perfectly comfortable like being cocooned with blankets on a winter night .

"Oh…" Ru Shi mumbled softly, her hand that was intertwined with Alexander tightened . To be cheated, it was never easy; be it female or male .

Yang showed them a smile that was impossibly soft for his personality before turning his attention back to the silent painter in his arms . Alexandre and Ru Shi glance into each other's eyes again in surprise . Yang had never shown them such an expression before . They have always been used with Yang's hard to approach and merciless personality . Never had he allowed himself to appear soft to anybody else except his mother and sister, not even Yang's past girlfriend that followed after him like a lost puppy .

It seems that the great wall that surrounded Yang's hard has crumbled in the face of a beauty that could rival Helen of Troy's . Have Yang finally found his Achilles heel?

What surprised the Li Couple most was when Yang opened the menu with one hand and spoke with a teasing smile, "Look they have a vintage Merlot, maybe I should try the Pinot Nior again . "

Hearing Yang mentioning alcoholic beverages especially expensive ones, the waiter was on the CEO's side immediately with a notebook on hand, "I recommend you try the Old Chablis, Monsieur . "

Suddenly a small finger poked Yang's side, "Don't drink . "

Mei Li's glare towards Yang could not be seen but her displeasure could be felt .

Yang, who had moved sideways from her poke, turned towards the waiter after composing himself from the sudden attack, "It seems that I'm not allowed . Sorry about that but I'd like a cheesecake for the lady . "

Hearing the word cheesecake, Mei Li instantly took Yang's hands away from her person and jumped with excitement at Yang with an innocent question that made her look like a puppy with eyes wide and ears dropped begging for food, "…With strawberry filling?"

Yang nodded with a snicker, signalling to the waiter, and reminding himself to thank Yue for telling Mei Li's favourites yesterday night when he asked for her number . As expected of his sister, as masterful as her brother .

Ru Shi and Alexandre smiled at their interaction .

Although the painter's eyes were red at the rims, they watch as the soon to be couple continued bantering as if the tears had never fallen .

Maybe Yang's wooing wasn't going to be as hard as Alexandre previously thought . He certainly was progressing well .