The good-looking man stood next to his Bentley as he watched the goddess board a filthy truck and leave with a scruffy-looking man.
Some other people waiting at the bus stop burst out laughing at this scene. Someone said, "Babes are attracted to bad guys. Buddy, you're not bad enough."
The good-looking man gave a self-deprecating laugh. "Even if the Joker and Loki were here, it would be of no use. That's her boyfriend, but soon she'll be my girlfriend."
In the pickup truck, Li Du said, "Is that guy going after you?"
The lady doctor said, "Maybe. He's Johnny Graz, a physicianboth young and talented. Maybe you feel the stress. Many lady doctors, nurses, and patients fell at his feet when he first arrived."
"No problem," Li Du said breezily. "As long as my Sophie's not charmed by him."
The lady doctor shook her head and said, "Not necessarily. Your Sophie's not someone with firm resolve, especially when you're always away from her."
Li Du said, "But I'm not in the battle alone, am I?"
He turned his head and whistled. Ah Ow and Ah Meow, who were lying behind the two front seats, leaped straight into their arms.
Sophie giggled. "Knock it off, guys. Smooches for you guys when we get home, okay? Have you missed me? We've been apart for so long."
"Of course. I think of you every day." Li Du started to sweet-talk her.
"Sorry," Sophie drawled. "I was asking Ah Meow!"
Li Du was speechless.
The reunion, after a brief parting, was even sweeter than being on honeymoon. As soon as the car arrived at Sophie's door, Li Du stopped the car and took Sophie into his arms immediately. Then, he kissed her.
Sophie responded passionately. Ah Meow, Ah Ow. and Crispy Noodles cried out.
They had been in Sophie's arms. When Li Du came forward, they were squished in the middle like the filling in a sandwich.
This way, when Li Du tried hugging Sophie, and Sophie tried desperately to go into his arms, they were squished so tightly that they could hardly breathe. And so they could only cry out in protest.
Like how one would pull radishes out from the ground, he pulled each one out before throwing them in the back seat. The three of them sat in the back seat gasping for breath, as though their lives had been at stake.
The two of them made out in the car until it got dark, and then continued back in the house on the sofa. Li Du then fixed them something to eat, before they resumed canoodling.
Unfortunately, they could do nothing much else except kiss. A volcano was mounting within Mr. Li's body, and by the time he was about to leave, it was almost at the brink of eruption.
Back at Pine Tree Tops, he saw Luo Qun sitting on the sofa reading when he opened the door.He chuckled, "Oh, very hard-working. Why? Getting ready for the next level?"
Luo Qun raised her head and gave him an icy glare.
"What's the matter?" Li Du was puzzled.
"The opals we found were all fake. Where's the real gems?"
Li Du gave a hollow laugh. "What did you say? What do you mean the opals are fake?"
Luo Qun pursed her lips. "I knew you had something to do with this case. Obviously, the real ones have been stolen by you."
With a blank expression, Li Du said, "What are you talking about?"
"Still feigning ignorance, and giving me such a reply," Luo Qun said with animosity. "You stayed in the national park for more than ten days. You mean you haven't heard the news about the fake fire opals?
"You already knew that the police found fake fire opals when I asked you. If you really had nothing to do with this matter, you would have answered me with 'I don't know' instead of acting like some b*tch, going on and on with 'what's the matter?' and 'what are you talking about?'"
Luo Qun was nasalizing her words, similar to how Sophie had earlier in the evening. However, Li Du had been amused by Sophie while Luo Qun's voice sounded penetrating.
This lady had managed to attain her police officer position through her sheer ability.
Li Du remained composed and said, "You know me, when I work"
"Okay, okay, don't worry," Luo Qun interrupted. "No matter where the real opals are, this case is closed. I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity."
Li Du was choked up with a profound sense of resignation.
Luo Qun stretched her body, and said listlessly, "Good night, my unorthodox tenant. But seriously, thank you for your help. This time, I really got all the limelight."
The squad assembled by the state police bureau had solved the case within two days of arriving at the national park. This had brought glory to the bureau, and so it had contacted the media to highlight its capability.
Most of the credit had been given to Luo Qun, and hence, she had been well-profiled in the media, together with the bureau.
Now, Luo Qun's position in the Flagstaff police station was rising. She was no longer the easily-bullied Chinese lady police officer but had transformed into a model example for all minorities.
This was something very interesting that had been occurring in the various industries in the United States. In many industries, the whites usually discriminated against minorities, but this was usually more prevalent in the lower ranks. If they rose through the ranks, being a minority actually gave them an advantage when it came to getting promotions and publicity.
For the Americans, it had become politically correct to support and echo the views of minorities. Of course, at this time, the African Americans were often those who enjoyed the most limelight.
Previously, Luo Qun had always been oppressed by her colleagues at the police station. But after Li Du had helped improve her interpersonal relationships and Alison became her partner, she continued to excel and gradually rose through the ranks.
And this time, since Luo Qun was the one who had successfully cracked the case of illegal exploitation of state resources in the national park, the state bureau had pushed her into the public arena through the media.
At this point, she was in a higher position at the police station, almost like the local police chiefno police officer would dare offend her. Whenever there was a need to face the media, she was the one fronting it.
The next day, Li Du bought a newspaper when he was out jogging, and found out more from the newspaper. Several local media agencies had written a special feature on Luo Qun and referred to her as the "golden lady defender."
After reading the newspaper and eating his breakfast, Li Du contacted the appraisers that both Christie's and the Los Angeles Art Collection Center had appointed to appraise the oil paintings.
The other parties requested to make a visit to conduct the appraisal but as Li Du had recalled how his fellow countrymen had tried to swindle him and left him with bad memories, he changed their meet-up location to a caf instead.
After he hung up the phone, he brought the two paintings to the caf. After more than half an hour, the two groups of experts appeared one after another.
First were the appraisers from Christie's International Oil Paintings Department. There were four of them, all in their fifties or sixties.
As soon as they finished introducing themselves, and the two appraisers from the Los Angeles Art Collection Center arrived. These two appraisers were much youngerunder forty years old.
The two parties shared a common characteristic: they didn't seem to place much importance on this matter and maintained a relaxed attitude.
Li Du felt affronted for having been kept waiting for half an hour. These people had also taken more than 20 days to set up this meeting; since the time Roger had helped link them up.
These people were not there to work in vain. For the appraisal of the two paintings, he would have to pay a total of 80,000 dollars in fees. In the end, the other parties seemed very callous and indifferent, which made him feel even more affronted.