Balance of the part, somehow cut off when posted....
“I love you too Yen, and miss you so much, and I am not old – just tired from your family and friends! Good night, my little one.” I handed the phone to Ping who had sat up, rubbing her eyes, and she motioned me away – what, this is my house and my mobile, but I went as instructed. How had Yen known Ping was here to talk to – that girl should be recruited by some Secret Service, I decided, as I locked the door, washed a glass or two, cleaned my teeth and left Ping still talking as I headed to bed, and slept immediately, vaguely stirring some time later when Ping eased in beside me, kissed me lightly and softly whispered “Good night, Mr. Steve, the man of my love also.” But I was asleep, thought the words were from a dream.
I woke through the night to use the toilet, climbed back in and spooned behind Ping, an arm across to cuddle a breast, and she sighed as we returned to sleep. In the morning when my alarm rang, she was gone, perhaps again wanting me to know she could sleep with me without disturbing me. I readied and went to work when Long arrived, only for the boss to ask if I could fly back north; the new client was ready to rush the project forward, but the boss was a little concerned the office wasn’t ready, the final contract not yet signed, and government permits not quite complete. He wanted me to tie up all the loose ends and be certain all was in order. I understood his concerns; I had similar and had already begun an analysis of our client company, so I phoned my contact at our auditors, and asked what info they could give me, please either fax it or send to me a prelim report by email. On the phone he told me not to worry; everything they had found pointed to a stable and financially solid and liquid company, with stable management and a good track record with similar projects, all in the centre to the north of the country. That eased most concerns so I repeated my request for a written report, and advised the boss of results so far. My secretary came to give me a flight ticket for 3 hours hence, so the boss told me to go and pack and call him this evening. Back home to greet Mrs. Phung, tell her I’d be away a day/2/3, didn’t know, but it was ok if Ping came while I was away. Packed my bag, and headed off in the car to the airport.
I phoned Ping, but she was probably in class, so left a voice-mail telling her. Then I phoned the northern office, and naturally Tinh answered; “Chao Anh Steve” she answered when she heard my voice, addressing me politely in Vietnamese, “We already have your flight details, and a car will pick you up; Mr. Ban would like to see you for a short time in the office, then a car will take you to your hotel, same one as before – is that suitable for you?” “Thank you, Tinh, you seem well organized; see you later this afternoon.” And probably evening if I guessed correctly – no, I had work to prepare, tonight would be alone, and I promised myself this. The network was too tight on me, I needed some space, but could I get it?
I checked in, had a beer while waiting and then off again. A last thought: the photos – they would have to wait.