Table For Two Chapter 187
It was unclear whether Joann made that request because she was mad at Xiu Ling for breaking the devastating news and this was part of her trying to shoot the messenger or she really thought that way. After all, Xu Jing's betrayal should be considered a family business and therefore, it was not out of line for Joann to request something like that.
Xiu Ling was quite suspicious that her friend came to terms with her husband's betrayal much readier and faster than her junior's deceit. However, since Joann had drawn the line clearly and explicitly told her to stay behind it, she was going to oblige... at least for now.
She was going to respect the boundary set by her friend but that did not mean that she was not going to overstep it when she could see that her friend need it. This might go against Joann's wishes but a friend needed to be there for her even though she had stated clearly that she did not want it. Xiu Ling was not going to let her go through this alone.
"Mom, what are you going to do now?" Since Joann had quartered off Xiu Ling temporarily from her support system, Sylvia was all she had. The young woman understood the responsibility that rested on her shoulders and she quickly stepped onto the plate. Her father might have been a disappointment but she was not going to be one.
"I believe I'll go talk to Qing Qing first." Between the two, Qing Qing was the easier party to deal with. The conflict with Xu Jing involved so many parties that were dear to Joann's heart that she did not think she would ever have the courage and conviction to deal with that. If this was only between her and her husband, Joann believed things would have reached its conclusion a lot faster and easier, but alas the reality was much more complicated than that.
Therefore, she felt dealing with Qing Qing first would give her a better perspective before taking things up with her husband.
Sylvia agreed with her mother's decision. "Mom, when are you meeting her and do you mind if I come with you?"
Joann sighed. "I will give her a call to set up a meeting... I still can't believe she would do these things behind my back. To think I've been tricked by her facade for so long. How foolish I must have been..."
"Mom, it's not your fault. She is a much better actor than we thought and we failed to see through her disguise because we weren't really paying attention. There was no reason to suspect her so it was regrettable but understandable that we have allowed her to create havoc under our eyes for so long. However, now that she is in our radar, we're not going to let her slip away from our sight anymore."
"Yes, you're right..." Joann was appreciative of her daughter's words of cheer and encouragement. Things were not as bleak as she thought because she at least had her daughter beside her.
The familial intimacy of the moment was a good enough cue for Xiu Ling. Since Joann had stated that she did not want her to intervene, this was a time that was as good as any for Xiu Ling to take her leave.
Xiu Ling stood up from the sofa and started to collect the papers that Lin Kang had given her. The rustle of the papers caught Sylvia and Joann's attention. Joann was once again impressed by her best friend's ability to read the room. Xiu Ling was leaving to give them the privacy to talk about how to deal with Qing Qing and possibly Xu Jing.
"Xiu Ling," Joann began in a serious tone, "Thank you... for everything."
Xiu Ling turned to Joann and smiled. "Don't mention it. This is what friends are for right? Remember, you can always come to me if you need anything."
Joann nodded. Sylvia piped up from beside her, "Auntie Xiu Ling, I'll walk you to the door."
"Thank you but it's alright. I can see myself out. I'd rather you stay to accompany your mother." Xiu Ling said this not only out of kindness but also she had a plan forming in her mind.
"Okay, Auntie Xiu Ling, thank you."
Xiu Ling straightened up and left the pair of mother and daughter to their plans. However, she lingered long enough to make sure she caught the name of the venue and the time as well as date of the scheduled meeting with Qing Qing.
Qing Qing had been quietly fuming since her plan to ruin Joann's career through Lee Mu and Zao Ming failed. She wouldn't have been so mad if it just failed, but her plan had fizzled and flopped with such artistry and definiteness that Qing Qing felt like she was delivered one thousand face slaps at once.
Whenever she saw Lee Mu and Zao Ming in their happy embrace on the papers or out in the public, she felt like her failure was being highlighted. Whenever she saw Joann's face appeared on the many endorsements she had acquired thanks indirectly to her plan, Qing Qing felt like slapping herself.
This was the state Qing Qing was in when she received the message from Joann. The young woman's first reaction was to find a way to use this opportunity to take her revenge on her senior but since the date was set so close to the present that she did not have the time to prepare anything.
Qing Qing considered rejecting the invitation but she believed that would arouse Joann's suspicion. She could make up a lie saying she was ill but the senior actor was naive enough that she might drop by to visit her and what was she going to say then?
Qing Qing thought about it long and hard before accepting the invitation. Even if nothing came out of it, she would be able to get a free meal. She had nothing to lose, right?