Say more, greater chance of saying the wrong thing.
“Put those boxes over there,” Elle ordered and pointed at the window under her music notes. JZ instructed his receptionist to not let anyone touch those boxes or open either of them, and for anyone who gets near the common area should not make a sound unless they have to.
“JZ, has the cafeteria started?” Elle asked in a flat tone.
He nodded his head.
Elle was looking at Xiong and asked, “Do you want to have breakfast with me?”
“Yeah,” both JZ and Xiong answered. They both looked at each other with an expression that said, “She was asking me.” JZ was mouthing, “You stay here,” while Xiong mouthed, “It would look weird if I didn’t come.”
She looked at the two of them. “Walk,” she said flatly and walked to the cafeteria with those two behind her. As they got closer to the cafeteria, JZ sped ahead of Elle and pulled out a chair for her. When she sat down and thanked him, JZ then quickly took the seat on the right of her. Xiong was not even competing.
Jing came over with the menu and handed it to JZ. “Good morning Mr. JZ. Good morning Miss Elle. Thank you. My grandma was greatly appreciative of your favor,” he said professionally with a hint of informality.
“No problem,” she said calmly with a smile.
“Why don’t you order, Elle,” JZ said and handed her the menu.
“Black tea and three bowls of vegetarian porridge. Don’t put MSG,” said Elle calmly and handed Jing the menu.
JZ over-thought and asked, “You must be really hungry, huh?”
“Do you think I’m so fat that I would have to eat three bowls of porridge?” she said angrily, her eyes burning his retinas.
“No, no, no, no, no, no! I don’t think you’re fat! I think you’re perfectly beautiful!” he quickly said, trying to save his eyes and hopefully his life.
In front of her, Elle stabbed the table with her finger and said, “One cup,” then stabbed a spot in front of Xiong and said, “one cup,” then stabbed a spot on the table in front of JZ and said, “one cup.” She went around again and said, “One bowl,” burning the nerves in his brain.
JZ looked a little panicked. He looked up at Jing and said, “You gotta help me out. You’re the only one she’s nice to.”
Jing hesitated like he did not want to be a part of what was going on.
“Jing,” she said firmly but her stare was still on JZ, “help him. Do I want hot tea or iced tea?”
“Hot tea, Miss Elle,” he formally said.
Jing went to the kitchen.
“So now I’m not nice?” she said, her stare getting more intense.
“Um,” Xiong whispered, “don’t be so mean to her. She fought off a robber this morning.”
“Someone tried to rob her?” JZ very concerned and focused his attention on the boy.
“Yeah. He was a medium-sized guy, grabbed her purse, and she hit him with it, then squished his throat with her foot. He probably targeted her because her bag was full, she’s small, and she looks beat-up. But he was proven wrong. Miss Elle is super strong like a super girl.”
“What else happened?”
“She said a bad word. I’ve never heard her say a bad word, but if she said it, then she must’ve been really mad or really something. When she squished his throat, she asked him, ‘do you want to die, bitch?’” imitating her.
Elle immediately turned her focus to Xiong. She stared at him with her mad face long enough for him to sweat in fear. “Don’t say bad words, they’re bad for you,” she said firmly, then returned her focus on JZ.
“And what did you do?” asked JZ making a reason to avoid her laser stare.
Xiong’s head dropped and he said, “Nothing.”
“Next time, you fight back or at least help her fight. I entrusted you with the responsibility of protecting her when I’m not there.” Then something in his head clicked. “I don’t want to fight this country anymore,” he recalled. “She doesn’t want to but she has to.” “You only get one more chance because she fought to have you here,” he said.
Jing brought a pot of tea and flipped three tea cups.
“That’s what she and I want to talk to you about,” said Xiong. “My dad wasn’t very happy when he found out I got an internship here. She and I convinced him to let me continue my internship here until school starts in a couple of weeks. Is that ok with you?”
“That’s fine. I don’t like you anyway.” JZ turned his attention to Elle. “Baby, please don’t be so mad. I didn’t mean to imply that you were fat. I think you’re really sexy.” Elle’s rosy cheeks grew red. “If you come back to my suite, I’ll make you breakfast in bed.” Elle covered her face with her hands. “What’s wrong, baby?”
After a minute of covering her face, she said, “Why would you say that I’m sexy in front of my student? Do you know how embarrassing it is?”
“I don’t see how that could be embarrassing. He already thinks that about you,” JZ responded to Elle. “Haven’t you, kid?” he asked Xiong.
“Don’t bring me in to this,” said Xiong with a wrinkled face.
“Xiong, go sit over there,” Elle said and pointed at a far table.
Elle stuck out her hand and said, “Phone,” flatly. He handed her his phone and she sighed as she typed. When she handed it back, he read, “He’s only 15 years old, don’t implant bad ideas in his head. He’s also a former student. Don’t describe his teacher as sexy or say anything sex-related in front of him.”
“I didn’t say anything sex-related,” he typed back.
“Yes you did. You suggested taking me back to your suite so you can make me breakfast in bed = you want to make love to me. Do you remember when I said I’m fighting this country? Do you see that the war I’m in includes fighting you? The more mistakes you make about me and with me, the more energy I have to waste to fix your mistakes.”
He realized that he did not intend to waste her energy on his mistakes. “I understand now, baby,” he said quietly.
“Don’t call me that in front of anyone,” she said flatly. “Phone,” she added, and he handed her his phone.
She typed, “When he comes back, tell him you only think I’m pretty, not sexy. Also tell him that I convinced you that breakfast in bed is a bad idea. If he asks why, tell him if the people who participate in breakfast in bed are not married to each other, it’s bad for them.” She gave JZ a few seconds to read her message, and then she called Xiong over.
JZ did as he was told. Xiong did not ask any questions. Jing brought the porridge. Elle poured the tea, and they ate in silence.