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(The truth about lies)

"And that's all it is?" David asked, looking at Charles.

He still couldn't believe everything Charles told him. "But in her house, why did you have to take off your suit jacket?" David inquired.

'It wasn't so hot,' he thought, but afraid to voice out his opinion.

"When she said her bathroom light needed changing, I simply offered to do it for her. So, I had to take off my coat. Is there anything wrong with that?"

Charles was baffled at David's persistent questioning.

"So you mean to say there was nothing to it?" David continued, a little stunned.

When Charles was leaving Leila's house, she said something that sounded ambiguous which David took to mean as a hidden relationship between the two.

Apparently, he was wrong and the truth was Leila was taking advantage of Charles to deliberately mislead David and everyone else. David shook his head in disbelief.

"Of course, that's all the truth," Charles stressed. "What were you thinking?"

What David was suggesting made him uncomfortable.

The man had been working for him for years and never had he said anything out of line, to Charles' recollection. But this line of questioning now caught him off-guard. "What are you trying to say?" Charles insisted.

"Just say it!" he barked at David. "Well… recently, there's been a rumor going around the office that you and Leila…"

David paused, gathering the courage to continue. "I know it's not very proper for me to say these things, Mr. Lu, but rumor has it that you're having an illicit relationship with Leila. And after what we witnessed at Leila's house today…

Those rumors will surely get worse," he looked worriedly at his boss.

"People are saying Leila and I have an affair?" Charles said, his tone incredulous.

He sat in silence absorbing what he heard. He obviously had no idea how such rumor started. Charles always thought he had maintained a strictly professional relationship with Leila, he as boss and her a subordinate. And he couldn't remember ever doing or saying anything inappropriate. So he tried to think of what started the unpleasant talk.

"That's right, Mr. Lu," David affirmed, looking at Charles.

It became clear to him that the man knew nothing about the rumors. He was clueless about the fact that there was already talk in Shining Company that if such affair went on, Leila would soon be replacing Autumn. That was why certain people were already trying to suck up to Leila.

He sighed, and with a heavy heart said, "Mr. Lu, I've been working for you for many years now. And you and Mrs. Lu, I know how you got here.

I just want to remind you to pay more attention to what's going on around you, and to distance yourself from Leila. What's more, in the end, it doesn't matter what people say." He paused, then emphasized, "What matters is what Mrs. Lu thinks about it."

Charles pondered David's words. "I see."

It suddenly became clear to him about Autumn's behavior recently. 'No wonder Autumn was angry at me for no reason. It really seems that I don't notice a lot of things.' He clapped David on the shoulder. "Thank you for telling me all these. I will start paying more attention."

"That's good, Mr. Lu. Ah, can you please drop me off at the corner?" David requested.

Getting off the car, he felt relieved that he was able to talk to Charles. Now, he had to take a taxi back to Leila's house because he left his car there.

Meanwhile, Leila was no longer in the mood to cook after Charles left. She was considering going out to dinner with her co-workers who came to visit. The woman had a very good idea that everyone who saw Charles with his coat off in her house no longer had doubts about their rumored affair. And they all wanted to get on Leila's good side. "Let's go to that new restaurant nearby, Leila," one of them suggested. "I heard the food there is quite good."

Another one quipped, "What's good about that restaurant? I think we should try out the place which specializes in boiled fish with pickled cabbage and chili. It's been there for more than a decade, so it must have an excellent menu."

"Oh don't argue, you two!" Leila admonished them. She did not want to hear any argument. "Look, you know my face is hurting now so I can't eat spicy food, let alone soy sauce. Why don't you guys just go out and have whatever you want."

Then she quickly added. "And I… will stay home and cook noodles for myself. But I promise to treat you all to a hearty meal once my face is healed. How's that?"

The two women who started to argue looked at each other at a loss for words. Everyone agreed with Leila's suggestion to go out and eat. More than the food, what they really wanted to do was to talk more about Charles and Leila's supposed relationship. They hesitated, and tried asking Leila again.

"Please join us," one girl pleaded. They felt there was no point going out to dinner if Leila didn't join them.

Still, Leila refused, "Sorry to disappoint you all. But this bruise on my face is not only painful, it might scare someone who sees it. Besides, I'm already a little tired and would rather get some rest."

Liz, who was closest to Leila, decided it was best to leave her alone. "Leila's tired, guys. So, let's not force her." She proposed, "Let's just have dinner together once Leila recovers and returns to work. For now, let's allow her to get some rest."

The others looked contrite. "You're right. We should let Leila rest."

Everyone nodded in agreement and prepared to leave.

Leila then pulled Liz aside and whispered, "About what I asked you to do…

How are things going?"

"It's going very well, actually. Don't you believe in my ability?" Liz replied quietly. Then she laughed. "Now that it has gone viral in the company, everyone believes it to be true. And Leila, you better not forget what I did when you become the new Mrs. Lu."

Leila joined in the laughter. "Of course I won't forget!"

Then she added, "Rest assured your efforts will be rewarded."

In a conspiratorial tone she reminded Liz, "Please spread the word about what you saw in my house today. But just be subtle. Don't say everything but leave something to the imagination."

She then gave a sly smile.

Liz nodded and gave a small wink.

"No problem. Now we have to leave so you can rest."

Her co-workers bade Leila goodbye.

After they left, Leila saw David coming back. She hesitated, then went out to greet him. "Hi, David! I thought you left with Mr. Lu?" She wondered why he returned. "Why did you come back?"

Voice lacking emotion, David explained, "I finished what I had to do and I've come to pick up the car."

Then remembering why they visited in the first place, he told Leila, "I hope you get well soon. I've got to go now. Goodbye."

"Wait!" Leila suddenly caught David and asked, "You didn't say anything to Mr. Lu... that you shouldn't, did you?"

"I'm sorry. I don't understand what you mean. What exactly are those things I shouldn't be saying?"

Leila drew her brows together in annoyance. She knew David was not in favor of her wily approaches towards Charles. So the woman imagined that if she did finally get Charles, the first thing she would do was fire David.

But until then, she had to bear with him.

She calmed herself with a deep breath and said, "You are my senior, David. You joined the company way ahead of me. And I know Mr. Lu thinks very highly of you. I know there is so much more that I need to improve on, and I hope to learn a lot from you. Now, if I do something wrong, I would appreciate being told about it to my face. I am willing to correct my mistakes. As to those that can't be corrected... I'd appreciate you to…"


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