Gu Xia had taken a shower in the hotel room and had now reclined on the bed.
The day had been utterly exhausting.
Li Sicheng had relentlessly pursued the marriage topic throughout the day, and at night, he had driven all the way to Shanghai. Now, he was thoroughly drained.
As he lay in bed, Gu Xia found himself reminiscing about his past life, particularly his experiences with Me*tuan and El*.me.
In America, Tu Sisi was undergoing training at Charm Model Company, one of the largest model agencies in the United St*tes. The name “Charm” epitomized its purpose—to explore and showcase the charm of women.
Many of the world’s most renowned models came out of this prestigious modeling agency.
Charm Model Company occupied a seven-story office building conveniently located in Manh*ttan, not far from Tu Sisi’s residence. The exterior of the building was adorned with videos and photos of Vi*toria’s Secret model catwalks, and the word “Charm” was prominently displayed on the front.
In a spacious classroom on the second floor, Tu Sisi and a dozen other girls attentively absorbed their instructor’s wisdom. The teacher, Ruth, was a blonde woman in her thirties, once a darling of Vi*toria’s Secret herself. Most women in Asia would envy her impeccable figure. Although she was older now and married, she continued to teach at Charm Model Company, given her history with the agency.
She lectured in English, “First and foremost, you must grasp how to present your beauty and maximize your own allure. That’s the essence of my lessons for you. Have you ever wondered why some people, despite their undeniable beauty and figures, fail to exude elegance when they walk? The same holds true for many celebrities; they may appear flawless in movies and photos, but much of it is post-production magic.”
Tu Sisi nodded as she listened. She recalled how countless celebrities relied on filters and photo retouching. Their genuine appearances were often less impressive than one might imagine, especially certain internet celebrities whose unfiltered images could be quite shocking. “A face only a mother could love,” she mused, thinking of her own occasional unfiltered photos.
The class concluded, and a twenty-minute break ensued. The next session would delve into body posture and positioning.
Tu Sisi and her fellow students migrated to the lounge, retrieving the water bottles they had brought with them.
“Hi, Sisi, how’s it going?” inquired a red-haired girl sitting beside Tu Sisi.
Tu Sisi recalled her introduction as Wendy from Washington, USA. Tu Sisi replied in English, “I’m doing well.”
Wendy clasped her hands together, her tone dreamy, “Oh, I hope to grace the Vi*toria’s Secret stage one day. That would make my life perfect.”
With a reassuring smile, Tu Sisi encouraged, “With hard work, you can achieve it.”
“Sisi, your facial features are incredibly striking. You look quite similar to us Amer*cans, except for your hair and eyes. Your nose is elegantly straight, and your forehead is broad,” Wendy gushed.
Listening to Wendy’s endless commentary on her Amer*can-like appearance, Tu Sisi couldn’t help but shoot her a bemused look. Wendy was certainly loquacious, holding her own with some of the gossipy aunties in China.
Soon, it was time for the next class, focusing on body posture and stance.
Tu Sisi and her peers returned to the classroom.
Meanwhile, Gu Xia lay on his hotel bed, his stomach rumbling. He grabbed his phone and opened a food delivery app. It was a bit embarrassing for a business owner like him to resort to such apps for the first time.
He placed an order for preserved egg and lean meat porridge, along with some kebabs from a nearby eatery, then settled back to watch TV.
About twenty minutes later, a knock echoed at his door, and Gu Xia got up to answer it.
“Hello, please enjoy your meal,” the delivery boy greeted with a shivering smile, clearly chilled from the cold.
Gu Xia reciprocated with a warm smile and said, “Thank you. I appreciate your hard work.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll take my leave now,” the delivery boy replied before turning to depart.
“Wait,” Gu Xia called out.
He went back inside, fetched a cup of hot water, and handed it to him. “It’s cold winter, and it’s late at night. Have a cup of hot water to warm up.”
“Thank you,” the delivery boy gratefully accepted.
“No problem. It must be tough working this late at night,” Gu Xia said sympathetically.
“It’s not so bad. It’s better than my previous job on a construction site, and I earn more now. Although it’s a bit longer, I prefer this life,” the delivery boy admitted after taking a sip of hot water.
Curious, Gu Xia asked, “How much do you earn delivering food each day? I’ve heard that there’s been a resurgence in food delivery platforms. Is it affecting the number of orders?”
Perhaps it was Gu Xia’s friendly demeanor, or perhaps it was the lull in orders at this hour, but the delivery boy smiled and replied, “I’ve been at it for about half a month now, and I make around three hundred a day. Not bad, right? People are always eating. Let me tell you, stick to ordering from ‘Ha*Hao.’ Don’t go with other services. Those guys often aren’t properly trained, and many of them tamper with the food.”
Gu Xia nodded, confirming his suspicions about these trendy companies that would do anything to seize market share. However, this was precisely what Gu Xia had hoped for. The more desperate his competitors became, the more likely they were to expose their vulnerabilities. That’s when Gu Xia could strategize effectively.
“Got it. From now on, I’ll only order from ‘HaiHao,'” Gu Xia declared with a grin.
“Good choice. I’ve been telling my friends and family to do the same. Stick with ‘HaiHao’ because I work for them, and I know what goes on,” the delivery boy said with a nod.
“Thanks,” Gu Xia responded.
With that, the delivery boy took his leave, and Gu Xia closed the door behind him. He opened his porridge and kebabs, beginning his meal while pondering the delivery boy’s words.
As he finished eating, sleepiness crept over him. It was already three in the morning, and Gu Xia’s thoughts of work receded into the background. He was ready to call it a night.
Across the ocean, in Tu Sisi’s Amer*can home…
Tu Sisi sighed as she spoke to Hu Chao, “Hu Chao, I appreciate your feelings for me, but you know I already have someone I care about, and our relationship is strong. Please don’t waste your time pursuing me. You have the means to find someone better than me.”
“Sisi, I don’t expect you to love me. I just want to be near you and cherish that,” Hu Chao replied with deep affection in his gaze.
“This is affecting my daily life. You used to hang around me in class and drop by my house whenever you had free time. Now that I’m training at a modeling agency, and you’ve used your connections to become a shareholder in Charm Model Company, your constant presence is becoming even more problematic. Can’t you see that?” Tu Sisi lamented.
“I entered Charm Model Company with the intention of protecting you! You might not realize it, but models in the United St*tes often become pawns of the upper class. Unless you’re willing to compromise your ideals, you might also fall victim to their unwritten rules someday,” Hu Chao explained helplessly.
“But you can’t be around me all the time. It’s really getting on my nerves. Do you want me to start disliking you?” Tu Sisi implored.
“Sisi, I won’t intrude like this anymore. I just want to silently safeguard you. I promise to keep my distance once you’re married. But until then, could you please give me a chance to protect you?” Hu Chao pleaded.
Tu Sisi rubbed her temples, wondering why this guy couldn’t see reason.
“Oh, alright, but remember what you’ve said and stop hovering around me daily,” Tu Sisi conceded.
“Okay, I promise. Just don’t push me away completely. I want to protect you from afar, to watch over you,” Hu Chao vowed.
“Fine,” Tu Sisi sighed. “You can leave now. I need some rest.”
“Alright,” Hu Chao said, a satisfied smile on his face.
After Hu Chao departed, Tu Sisi couldn’t help but shake her head. This guy was truly relentless, like a persistent adhesive that refused to peel off.
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