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Bai Lu came out of the bedroom. "No need for that. I have some cash here," he said, as he handed $20k to Bao Zi, "use it first. Let me know if you need more money."
Sha Sha said, "I will go back with you together."
Bao Zi declined. "You have school tomorrow, so you shouldn't travel back and forth like this," he said to Sha Sha, and then he said to Bai Lu, "Brother Bai, I cannot receive your money. I have only worked for a few days, and I have already owed you money before. If I take any more of your money, when would I be able to pay it back completely?"
"Just take it. Your mum is in the hospital, so you should spend the money. If you need more money, just give me a call." He stuffed the cash into Bao Zi's bag.
"Thank you, Brother Bai." He was very touched.
"Come, I will walk you out. I am going back to the restaurant anyways. Sha Sha, you do not need to go today. I will bring you to visit Aunty next time." Bai Lu suggested.
Sha Sha thought about it, and she said yes while nodding her head.
Thus, Bao Zi and Bai Lu left the house. When they walked on the streets, Bai Lu retrieved a few hundred dollars and said, "Call a cab back." After he has sent him on his way, he went to the market to buy the groceries. Then he carried all the items back to the restaurant.
In the restaurant, Liu Wen Qing inspected the kitchen like a business owner. When she saw Bai Lu entering the restaurant, she hurried over to help carry the items. But, Bai Lu shifted to the side and said, "No need. Let's not dirty your clothes." He lugged all the things into the kitchen, and he started prepping the ingredients.
Liu Wen Qing observed his work through the gla.s.s window, and she said, "Since the waiter has gone back home, do you want me to help?"
"You are not working?" Bai Lu was a little bit curious, so he asked the same question previously.
Liu Wen Qing was full of pride, she spun around on the same spot with grace. She said, "How do you think that a woman like me could go to work?"
Unfortunately, Bai Lu was washing the vegetables with his head down, so he did not notice her beautiful presence. Also, he was speaking with a tone of indifference. "What do you mean by that?"
Liu Wen Qing realized that her beauty, maturity, and s.e.xiness was utterly useless against this country b.u.mpkin. Thus, she kept quiet and watched Bai Lu work in the kitchen intensely.
Bai Lu asked that question casually, and he went back to focus on preparing the ingredients. After a while, he noticed that the restaurant has become silent, so he looked up. Liu Wen Qing was staring at him with her beautiful eyes, so he smiled and asked her, "What's up?"
"You had only arrived here a few days ago, and you have already picked up the local accent of the Northern City?" Liu Wen Qing made a condescending expression towards him.
Bai Lu was stunned, and he asked, "How old are you?"
"Why not." Then he continued to work.
This woman has an excellent figure, and she possessed the s.e.xiness and charm of a mature woman. She had a face with a flawless and white complexion, which made her look beautiful and youthful. That expression that she made just now had the cheekiness of a young girl. That was why Bai Lu had asked her that question.
"Do you need service personnel? I can work for you without a salary. You just have to cook lunch for me." Liu Wen Qing offered her services again.
"No need. There will be service personnel."
Over the last few days, the restaurant was always closed for business, so there was no need for Sha Sha to come over to help. Today, the restaurant is opened for business, and Bao Zi has also taken a leave, so Sha Sha would definitely come over today.
"Where? Why is that person not here yet?" Liu Wen Qing was not convinced.
Bai Lu laughed, but he did not answer her.
"How about I help you to maintain order? When the six tables are filled up, I will inform the others so that they would not waste their time queueing up."
"You have nothing to do in the afternoon?" Bai Lu asked.
"Alright then." Bai Lu accepted her offer, and he thought, "Since there is a need to serve the customers, it doesn't really matter if there was one more or one less service personnel." Then he called Sha Sha on her phone to inform her that there was no need for her to come as there would be another service personnel in the afternoon.
Liu Wen Qing was a little triggered, and she said, "You are exploiting me." That was what she said, but she still diligently went out of the restaurant to attend to the customers.
As noon approached, when the restaurant was about to start lunch service, He San Qing arrived.
This guy had such a unique personality, and it was a real mystery as to how many red outfits he has bought. Every single day, he would parade himself on the streets dressed like the crown of a rooster. Now, he has arrived at the restaurant, and he said, "Oh, you have hired a new waitress? She has gorgeous looks. It is a waste of talent for her to work at your place. How about letting her work for me? She doesn't have to do anything much, and she could just sit around in my office. I will pay her $8k a month."
He received a look of disdain from Bai Lu. "Last time, you asked Sha Sha the same thing, but you only offered her $5k?"
"How could you put them in the same category?" He San Qing observed Liu Wen Qing with absolutely no restraint whatsoever.
"Watch your behavior. Why are you here?" Bai Lu said, with a feeling of unhappiness.
"I came here to inform you about something. I guarantee that you would be happy after listening to this." He San Qing had a mischievous smile on his face.
In a fit of helplessness, Bai Lu did not bother to respond. He busily laid out the plates and bowls on the counter.
He San Qing had to continue the story one-sidedly, "You are awesome. The station chief of the police station along the Arts School Road was reprimanded. That poor guy has just woken up from his coma. After hearing about the news, he pa.s.sed out again. There were also five on-duty police officers that were prosecuted. Fatso Chief Wu has received a verbal warning. Even Deputy Bureau Chief Sun of the Iron City sub-bureau has also received a verbal warning. Gai Yong Jia was arrested, and Gai Yong Guo had to clean up the mess by paying money here and there. Taking everything into account, in less than one day, the outcome of your punishment was apparent. Tsk, tsk. This efficiency of yours makes it so awesome."
"You are the one that is awesome! I did not even do anything."
"Let's stop talking about all these useless stuff. Le Miao Miao gave me a call to return her grat.i.tude and said that she would treat you and me to a meal. That pig of a woman, I am utterly and thoroughly convinced of her personality."
"You call her a pig after you finished playing around with her? d.a.m.n. You are also not a good person," Bai Lu said, with a look of disdain.
"I have never mentioned that I am a good person." He San Qing completely disregarded what Bai Lu has said. However, if this sentence was said by someone else, it might brew into a fight.
After pausing for a while, he said, "Anyways, I am not interested in the meal. If you are keen, then you can go by yourself."
"What do you keep spouting nonsense?" Bai Lu recalled something else, and he said, "Yesterday, you gave me the two tickets that you extorted from Gai Yong Guo, so now I have more than $10 million. Help me ask around if there are any suitable apartments."
"Are you buying it?" He San Qing said.
"But, you are not a resident of the Northern City. You do not have the temporary residence permit right? You do not fulfill the necessary conditions so the housing agency would not give you the approval. However, if you ask this Brother politely and say a few nice words, and also prepare a large feast for me, then this Brother would help you out." He San Qing teased Bai Lu.
"What use do I have for you? Just write Zhang Sha Sha on the name for the housing permit." With one single sentence, Bai Lu destroyed all of his fantasies.
He San Qing was dazed for a while, and he said, "You are awesome. That's more than $10 million. Are you just giving it all to that young girl? I am impressed. Even for such an arrogant guy like me, I have never done anything as unconventional as this. You, Sir, have really widened my horizons."
"So much bulls.h.i.t. I want an apartment with the first story and the second story together, but it should not be too close to the street. It must be the only apartment in the district so that vehicles could access freely, but it must also twist and turn around like those apartments that are supposedly facing the street."
"I understand. Basically, it is like those dumpling stores in the alley right? You are really a long-winded person."
"It is much better to not buy an apartment." Liu Wen Qing, who was listening to them talking all this while, suddenly interjected.
He San Qing tilted his head and looked at her with a deadpan expression. Bai Lu asked, "Why do you say that?"
Liu Wen Qing explained, "Firstly, you already have accommodation. Secondly, you have a business, so there's no need to buy a new apartment. If you used this $10 million to invest and expand the business, in a few years time, you would have more than just one or two apartments. For example, we could amalgamate the dumpling store and ramen shop next door and do a complete renovation to create a bigger restaurant. With your skills, the business would definitely be running at full capacity. Then we would re-position the business and increase the selling price so that we could go down the high-end route—"
Before she could finish her sentence, Bai Lu sighed, and he said, "When I hear the word high-end, why do I suddenly get a headache?"
Seeing how he completely disregarded her suggestion, Liu Wen Qing was unwilling to give up. She changed her stance and said, "With $10 million, you could make the down payment for a larger apartment, and still continue to run this restaurant. Then you could use the profits to repay the mortgage. If that continues, in five years maximum, you could own an exceptional and enormous street-facing apartment. With an apartment and also a business, wouldn't that be the best of both worlds?"
Bai Lu said, "You do not understand. I simply do not want a business that is too big." This single sentence entirely made her dumbfounded, as she did not know how to respond.
After he said this sentence, a middle-aged couple came into the restaurant. They were dressed, and they looked somewhat aged. The woman asked, "Boss, may I ask if you are able to cure anorexia in this restaurant?" No one would believe that a restaurant could cure anorexia. She had heard about this place from someone else who told her all about it. As the two of them were really at their wits' end, they decided to try out their luck and came to the restaurant.
After Bai Lu heard this, his spirit trembled with excitement. Ever since he started running this restaurant, this was the first time that a real anorexic patient has shown up, so he was naturally overjoyed. He walked out of the kitchen in two steps and said, "I cannot guarantee that you will be fully cured, but I am confident that there is at least an 80% chance of success. However, there is one particular issue. Do you have a medical report by the doctor?"
"Yes." The man retrieved a small slip of paper from his pocket.
Bai Lu took it over and read it. Then he pa.s.sed back the medical report to him, and he said, "How do you want to be treated?"
This particular question really frightened the two of them. Over the last few years, they have visited the hospital frequently, and the most common phrase they have heard was what Bai Lu have just said. The doctor would often ask them: "How do you want to be treated?" If they used the premium medicine, then the price tag would be hefty. But if they used the local medicine, then the effects would be reduced.
The couple glanced at each other, and the woman said, "What do you mean by that?"
Seeing the shocked expression on their faces, Bai Lu laughed, and then he said, "I did not explain clearly, sorry for the misunderstanding. It is like this, normally speaking, there are many different symptoms of anorexia. However, if we look at the root cause of this illness, most of the time it is a psychological problem. The best method of treatment would be to let the patient rekindle his love for food and to re-ignite the desire to eat. As for this plan, if you drink a bowl of soup that I made, you should be able to regain some appet.i.te—"
Before he could finish, the woman interrupted him and said, "To be healed by a bowl of soup?" As she spoke, she looked cautiously at Bai Lu. "Could he be a scammer? At first, this guy had the tone of a greedy physician. Now, he sounds like a street hustler that is trying to sell some energy pills. Regardless, he seems to be unreliable."
With a stern expression, Bai Lu said, "I did not say that you will be healed. I only mentioned that you would regain your appet.i.te so that you would want to eat something. However, if you want to be fully healed, then I would need to know your detailed medical history, like how long your illness lasted? Whether you have symptoms of nausea or malaise? Or if you have sustained an injury to your digestive tract or stomach..."
"That's it, he must be a scammer. The more problems he nitpicked, the more money he would be requesting for the treatment. With that stubbled head of his, he must be a bad egg that was just released from prison." The woman hesitated for a while, and she said, "Thank you, Doctor. We do not want to be treated."
"Do not want to be treated?" Bai Lu thought as he scratched his head, and he said, "Why? And also, I am not a doctor. I am a chef, the best chef in the whole wide world." As he spoke, he displayed a very cool posture. Unfortunately, after a long time, there was still no one applauding.
The woman revealed the trump card in her hand, as she said, "We have no money." She had a simple thought: "If you want to cheat on us, then we would also need to have money for you to cheat. Since we have no money, then you would not bother with us."
Bai Lu frowned and said, "You do not even have $20?"
"$20? Is that the registration fee?" Even if the cost was only $20, the woman was still not entirely convinced.
"What registration fee? How depressing. Do not say anything first, and just listen to me."
"How could you not believe me? That is really hurtful to me," Bai Lu thought. After making a coughing sound, he said, "When I asked you how you want to be treated, there were two choices. In the first method, I would make a bowl of soup for you. Aren't you afraid that I am out to scam your money? A bowl of soup is only $20. Even if I am cheating you, you would only lose $20. The other method would be to bring the patient over, and also his detailed medical history. After I take a look, I would decide on the treatment plan. Now, you can choose which method you want."