67 Business Trips and Enemies

Lai and Bai were driving to Hengyuan the day before the banquet. They went shopping, and boy were the clothes pricey.

Lai had never seen so many zeros on a garment before. It was too expensive for her. Even accepting the clothes from Bai made her antsy.

"Isn't this too expensive, Mr. Ying?" she inquired, her lips pressed together.

"What? This?" he shrugged and pointed to the clothing, "This is really nothing. Furthermore, as Nero Inc. representatives, we must dress the part."

She sighed, not knowing what to say. He observed her expression; she was clearly agitated. It reminded him of how unique she was. How she wasn't interested in material things.

Even though she had the option of purchasing the most expensive dress in the boutique, she chose the least expensive - not that it wasn't beautiful.

"Help me pick a suit," he said, motioning her to follow him.

He went to the suit and tuxedo aisle, where he found a variety of suits and ties. After a half-hour of digging, they discovered a suit they thought was superb.

They exited the boutique after checking out and loaded their belongings into the back of the car, a black Lincoln Navigator 2020. It was a large luxury SUV.

The SUV's three rows of orange leather seats provided them with exceptional comfort. It made their long journey more pleasant.

They'd stuffed their suitcases, office supplies, and stationery into the trunk.

Bai was overjoyed about the banquet because it meant he'd be with Lai 24 hours a day for the next two days. To him, it felt more like he was going on a vacation with his treasure than a business trip.

However, he promised himself that when the time came, he would go on a "real" trip with her. Lai gazed out the window as they drove through the countryside, admiring the beautiful scenery.

The lovely flowers on either side of the road gave the impression that they were driving through a large garden. Small animals and insects could be seen on the road from time to time. She couldn't help but smile as she felt at ease and comfortable.

They had left Qingzou at 9:00 a.m. So, with all their stops, they drove for 9 hours. It was already 6 p.m. when they arrived at their hotel. Lai could tell Bai was tired. The hotel concierge, dressed in a purple uniform, greeted them professionally.

"Greetings, and welcome to Antiquity Hotel," he said with a smile, "Please let me know if you require any assistance. Please follow me to the front desk to check in."

They followed the concierge and came to a halt in front of the front desk receptionist, a brown-haired young woman with light blue eyes.

When she saw them, she smiled. The concierge bowed and walked away, leaving them to attend to other arriving guests. Their room number was being worked on by the receptionist.

She handed over the card key to Bai. Following that, an employee assisted them with their luggage. They exited the elevator and walked to the room. The door opened when Bai tapped the card key on the lock.

Lai almost did a double-take when she stepped inside. The room was enormous, spacious, and luxurious, like something out of a movie. The employee had left them after moving their luggage inside.

"Your room is that one," Bai said, pointing to the door across the room, "while mine is the one opposite it. Place your luggage there right now, and we'll go out to have dinner."

Lai nodded and went to her room, picking up her luggage. She did another double take when she opened the door.

The room featured a king-size bed in the center, a small workstation opposite the bed, a large wardrobe in the corner, and two sliding doors leading to the bathroom.

"How much would this room cost per day?" she mumbled as she examined the room while putting her luggage away, "Rich people are on a whole other level when it comes to living in luxury than us common folk."

When she was done, they went out for dinner at one of the many restaurants found within the hotel.

'Hmm, another luxury meal,' she thought as she looked at the plate in front of her.

She grabbed her knife and fork. She found it difficult to cut the meat because she wasn't used to eating such fancy dishes.

The stares she was getting from the other fancy-looking, wealthy customers didn't help. It made her nervous and agitated.

They'd both ordered the same thing. After seeing her struggle, he cut the meat for her.

"Here," Bai said, removing her dish and replacing it with his.

'It's so freaking embarrassing,' she blushed, staring at the cut meat instead of at him.

"Thank you," she mumbled, prompting a smile on his face.

'She's embarrassed,' he said as he started eating the meal in front of him, 'How cute.'

They ate quietly. The red wine they had ordered went perfectly with their meal. It was delectably enticing. She felt like she was on cloud nine every time she took a sip.

'This is so delicious,' she smiled, taking another bite, 'Though very expensive. Why pay so much for such a small quantity? $20? With that much money, I could buy nearly five meat dishes at Granny May's Hut.'

They went to the elevator after they finished their meal. The doors opened, and a young, attractive man emerged.

That man came to a halt when he saw Bai. She noticed that Bai and the man had been staring at each other for quite some time.

'Um, do they know each other? Friends?' she wondered as she looked at them, 'Nah. Something doesn't seem right.'

"Bai Ying," scoffed the young man.

"Lay Ming," Bai scoffed back.

Lai blinked surprisedly. The ferocity and malicious aura she sensed indicated that these two were nowhere near being friends.

"Can't say I'm happy to see you again," the man said, his jaw clenched.

"Well, the feeling is mutual," Bai raised an eyebrow.

"Let's go," he said as he looked at her and took her hand in his.

The man clicked his tongue as they entered the elevator and stared at them. As the doors closed behind them, the two men exchanged piercing stares. She could hear Bai sigh and let go of her hand.

'What in the world was that? What was with that menacing aura?' she wondered, glancing at Bai, who had gone silent, ' I could detect animosity and hostility between them. Is he Mr. Ying's enemy?'

She wanted to ask who that man was, but she decided against it because of his glum expression.

It was finally the day of the banquet, which was to be attended by all of Cedoria's businessmen and women. This banquet was held twice a year - the second week of April and September.

The banquet was designed to facilitate networking. It was an ideal opportunity for business owners to expand their network and find potential sponsors or investors.

And even both.

Lai was getting dressed. She put on the dress Bai had purchased for her and her shoes and accessories.

"Ah, my hand can't reach the zip," she groaned as she tried to zip up her dress, "I need help."

She was hesitant to call him. It would be strange to ask for his assistance. At least, that's what she thought. Admittedly, she had no choice but to call out to him.

She was a blushing mess when he arrived. Her face flushed at the prospect of him seeing a portion of her bare back.

"I c-can't reach my zipper," she stammered, avoiding eye contact, "Uh, um... I'm sorry, but please assist me in zipping up my d-dress."

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