Life had been a little bit calmer since Ian had been last robbed. He managed to write a best seller, one he was particularly proud of, and unfortunately, a flop. But no matter, he had a great idea for a children’s story he was going to try next! Sculpting was going very well-he had made it to skill level seven, and just produced a beautiful sculpture of a mermaid, that had fetched a pretty simoleon on the market. But supplies were getting low and he thought maybe it was time to take a trip. He counted his simoleons and did some research on his phone for trip costs. China appeared to be the cheapest trip, so he made preparations to leave the next day. Life never does go as you plan…Ian was robbed for a seventh time that night! There was just no getting around it, so he spent the eight hundred and ninety-five simoleons and installed a burglar alarm. This set his trip back for two days, while he worked hard to recoup the money. He needed every last simoleon he could pull together, to pay for the trip and still have enough money to buy his supplies. He really wished he was a violent man so he could give that burglar a good “talking” to, and he would never return.
Ian’s five hour flight to China went well, considering his hatred for flying. His seatmate chatted him up while he gripped the seat arms and kept his eyes tightly closed.
“See that really wasn’t so bad” the elderly lady said to him when they had finally landed and the plane had stopped taxiing to the loading door.
The bus ride to the mountain village Ian was heading to, was about an hour-long. He had already made plans to stay with a local couple for his stay in China, which was a decision based from a previous visit. He found the Shang Simla home base camp to be too crowded, and the establishment was never kept well cleaned. In fact, with all the rotten food and dirty dishes sitting around, it could be down right putrid. The owners also played music twenty-four hours a day, right outside the bedrooms. It was not a place that he ever wanted to stay at again. So this time, he would be the guest of the Wang family, Shen and Maya.
When he arrived at their house, he walked up to the gate and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was in her yard tending to her garden and the sunlight from behind her created a glowing halo around her whole body. He stumbled towards her in a slight daze knowing he just had to meet her, all the while hoping she was the Wang’s daughter. Notice him there, the woman turned and walked to the gate.
“Good morning,” she said. “I’m Mrs Maya Wang. Have you just come to visit our small town?”
“Yes, good morning. Nice to meet you,” he said then bowed his head in the customary Chinese greeting. “I’m Ian Bell,” he replied, all the while focusing on the word Mrs, over and over in his head. Married, just his luck.
After opening the gate, she invited him inside to meet her husband.
Once he was settled in the small, simple living room, he noticed Shen wave his hand and Maya left the room. The two men discussed their working lives and then, the reason Ian had come to China.
“I understand that you would be the person to speak to, about a particular ingredient I am looking for, to make a special kind of paint I use in my paintings,” said Ian.
“Painter?” Shen replied. “Can’t stand art myself. Never could make any sense of what art and what doesn’t Incredible waste of time, if you ask me!”
Ian was not impressed by the man’s candor. Shen came across as very ignorant, however Ian had been warned that Shen was also a ruthless business man, so he decided to bite his tongue and continue on.
“Do you think you could get it for me?” Ian asked.
“I will have to look into it. It’s a very rare item you are asking for you see. It may take time.”
Ian took the word “time” to mean money, and although he didn’t have much, this was an item that he didn’t want to leave China without. His only hope was that he would be able to collect as many gems and minerals in the mountains, to make up for this little spending spree of his. It was then Maya entered the room, with tea on a tray. She served the men and once again was dismissed from the room. Ian and Shen continued to discuss minor details of their lives until Ian had finished his tea. he then stood, excused himself with a bow and explained he wanted to get started on exploring the hills. He left the room and from behind him, he heard Shen switch on the tv. Walking into the kitchen, he stopped to thank May for the tea. She bowed to him, without looking him in the eyes.
“I will be heading out now to the mountain hills. When will you be serving dinner?” Ian asked.
Maya glanced up at Ian and then towards the living room door. Turning to Ian she nervously said, “We eat at six. With that be enough time for you to be out in the hills?” She smiled, a beautiful inviting smile, that quickly disappeared after one glance towards the living room door. She stood there staring at the floor, nervously clasping and unclasping her hands.
“Six should be fine. Thank you Mrs. Wang. I shall see you then. Wish me luck that I don’t get lost.”
Ian turned and was almost out the door when he heard her very quietly say, “Good Luck!”
Ian had a very productive day in the hills and had collected more than he had expected. While he walked through the long green grasses up and down the hills, he couldn’t seem to get Mrs. Wang out of his mind. He had never seen a woman so beautiful, yet so nervous and obviously afraid of her husband. He thought of the loving relationship his parents had and it brought on even more worry. He admitted he didn’t know much about Chinese culture, for the last time he had been here, was with his parents as an early teen. He was thinking about customs and traditions back then. All he wanted to do was explore the hills and fish with his father. He wondered if this was normal behaviour for women in China, or if it was just this particular couple.
He arrived back at the Wang home just a little past five thirty. He wanted to have time to shower before dinner to look a little more presentable for their first meal together. He walked in through the kitchen door and found Maya cooking at the stove. She stopped stirring in the pot and bowed to him. He bowed to her and explained that he would like to clean up before dinner.
She showed him to his room and the adjoining bathroom and said “Mr Bell. If you would like, I could show you some of the best placed to find the things you are looking for. It would save you a lot of time and running around.”
Ian couldn’t believe the change in Maya’s demeanor. She was looking him directly in the eyes and smiling as she spoke. Gone was the nervous wringing of her hands and what he saw before him was a very happy relaxed person.
“I would like that. When would you have time?” Ian replied.
“I’m very busy tomorrow. However, I could help you the day after that, unless Shen decides he has something he needs me to get done.”
“That’s great. I will look forward to that then.””Dinner will be soon.”
With that she bowed and closed the door behind her. As she walked away, he heard her singing.
Ian got through his shower quickly and changed into clean clothes. He wanted to be downstairs before Shen came home from work. He was just walking in the door when Ian made it down the stairs into the kitchen. Shen took no time to greet his wife, or to even look her way, but greeted Ian and sat down at the table. Ian stopped and waited, in hopes that he could pull out Maya’s chair for her. However, Maya served the men and went to stand by the wall, staring at the floor. Ian sat down across from Shen and began to eat his dinner of noodles and sauce. He tried to keep his focus on his meal in front of him, but he couldn’t help but glance a few times in Maya’s direction. Never once did she look up from the floor. When he finished, Ian stood and gathered his plate.
“You can leave that. She will do it,” said Shen, who stood and walked away from the table towards the living room. When he had disappeared behind the door, Ian grabbed both plates and walked to the sink.
“No please,” Maya whispered, looking nervously towards the living room door. “Please let me do that.””You haven’t eaten. When do you eat?”
“I will eat when all my chores are done, ” she replied.”Could I help you at all?” Ian asked.
“No. No, please!”Hearing how frantic she was, he passed her the plates and walked outside to look at the night sky. Silently speaking to his father, he asked for guidance in this matter, but no words came. The whole scene had left him feeling very awkward and he had no desire to return to the house and sit with his host to watch television. He began to walk down the dirt path, his focus deep on all kinds of thoughts when he stumbled upon a very narrow path way that led him to a small house tucked in behind many weeping willow trees. He would have missed the path, if it hadn’t been for a pile of rocks at the beginning of the trail, that intrigued him and set him forward.
Walking up to the door, he was greeted by Sun Kim; a very pretty woman, who was living with her sister and brother-in-law. Both chaperones were out for the evening, but Sun invited him in any way. He was reluctant to go in, not wanting to leave Maya alone too long. But Sun insisted and he didn’t want to appear rude. There was something about her demeanor that he couldn’t put his finger on at first, but not long after he entered the house, he knew exactly what is was all about.
Sun’s advances were quite skilled and irresistible. She was a very sexy woman, who knew how to move her body in ways to tempt a man. He stopped to consider if flirting back was the right thing to do, but hey, he was a guy after all. So he let her spin her seductive whiles, all the way into her bed. She was thrilling in every way and by the time it was over, his legs were like jelly and his heart was pounding like he had just run a marathon. When he had gained the ability to move, he got up to leave when she pulled him into the shower.
Once again she seemed to know exactly what she was doing, and when they stepped out of the shower, she asked him to stay the night. Ian declined as politely as he could. She was a beautiful woman, but she was not for him and truth be told, he had been thinking about Maya since he stepped into the house; wishing he was with Maya, instead of Sun. Then he felt guilty, for thinking about a married woman the way that he had, however it only strengthened his desire to get back to Maya as quickly as he could. So he said goodnight and headed out into the dark to find his way back to the Wang house.
The house was quiet when he returned, so he tiptoed his way up the stairs, and to his room above the kitchen.The following morning, Ian had just risen when he heard Shen’s angry voice.
“What is the matter with you? How long am I going to have to wait?”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” was all he heard Maya say.
Ian walked to the top of the stairs that led into the kitchen, quietly listening and trying to decide what to do. It was not his place to interfere, but…was that a slap? Next thing he heard was the outside door slamming. Ian went to the window in the hallway, to see Shen walking in the direction of town. Ian continued down the stairs, and found Maya sitting on a kitchen chair crying.
He went to place his arm around her shoulders, when she suddenly realized that he was there. Jumping to her feet and wiping away the tears, she greeted him good morning with a bow.
“Mrs Wang,” said Ian. “Can I help you?”
“No. I am fine. What would you like for breakfast?” replied Maya. Not wanting to let it go, Ian persisted.
“Mrs. Wang, you need help. Please tell me what is wrong.”
“Mr. Bell. I appreciate that you are trying to help. But I would rather not say. It’s really quite personal.”
“All right then. But there is something you can do for me. Please call me Ian.”
“Ian,” she replied nodding her head. “But I will only do so, when my husband is not home.”
Ian agreed “Now what is on your schedule for today?”
Surprised that he asked, she quoted the list of chores that needed to be done. “Hmmm, okay. I am going to do these three, you finish the last few then I would like a tour of your beautiful mountainside. How does that sound?”
So together they worked hard and when they were finished, she took him to Orchard camp; a small area just above the falls. Ian could not believe how different Maya was, away from her husband and her prison of a home. It was like she lit up and was full of peace and serenity. She had quite the wonderful sense of humor and her laugh, brought smiles to his face, even at the thought of it.
Wanting to get some sketches of the falls, he asked her to pose in the chair at the edge of the hill.
It was the best he could do, as the terrain below this, was all uneven and full of rocks. She was unsure at first but she eventually slid into the chair and stared off into the distance as he sketched her. They spent the afternoon trading stories about their lives and when it was time to leave, he had her stand by the fence to take pictures of her in front of the waterfall.Once again she refused to look at Ian or directly at the camera. Ian assumed it had something to do with Chinese customs or perhaps Chinese women in general.
The next morning after Shen had left, they worked together again to clear her chore list as quickly as they could.
Maya took Ian to see the Terracotta army statues high up in the hills. She was wonderfully versed in Chinese history and told him all about the meaning of the statues, and who the army had been to the town. She seemed very proud of her heritage, and he wished he had the same kind of stories to tell her in return.
After everything he had learned today, farm stories just didn’t seem important enough to share. He did however, tell her all about growing up in the country with his parents. After that, she took him to a few places she knew to be rich in mineral deposits, and he gathered quite the load before it was time to head back to the house.
The following morning, Ian awoke and went downstairs in search of breakfast. He grabbed himself a plate of left over dinner and sat down at the table to eat it. Maya walked in and asked him what he was doing.”I’m saving you from having to cook breakfast,” he smiled at her.
Maya sat down at the island.
Ian stopped eating and asked her to join him, but Maya shook her head no. “I can’t she replied.” So he continued eating. When he finished, Maya told him she had a surprise for him.
“I have the whole day without any chores to do. I got up very early this morning and completed them all. I really want to show you a few places today. But I need to get changed first.”
Maya took Ian to a large list of places to find minerals and gems, but she was leaving the best for last. She knew this was going to get her in big trouble with her husband but it was a risk she was willing to take, to repay Ian for the kindness he had shown her.
“Ta da!” she sang to Ian. But Ian was too busy thinking about Maya to pay attention to what was so fascinating.
“Ian, look.” Ian took his eyes away from Maya to see what she was showing him.
“You know that ingredient you need to mix that special paint? You can get it right over there.”
All of a sudden, Ian understood what Maya had done. Not only had she brought him to a place where he could get everything he needed, but she had done it at great risk to herself. He was so filled with emotion, that he presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
After they were done harvesting as much as they could, Ian asked Maya if they could sit down for a while and rest his aching feet. she was in such a good mood, he didn’t want to see the day end and he knew that time was running out for their little adventure. Taking down her hair and running her fingers through the long strands, Ian was mesmerized by it all. Maya just looked so beautiful in the sunlight, which made her long black hair, glitter and shine. Sometimes when she looked at him, he felt she could see straight to his heart and he couldn’t resist any longer. Leaning towards her he softly kissed her lips.
“That was my first kiss,” said Maya. Ian looked at her surprised. “Shen has never kissed me. Could, could you maybe do it again?” and so he did.
But after a moment Maya pulled away and stood up shaking her head.”No. No, this is wrong. I’m married Ian.”
“You’re not married. You’re in bondage! There is a big difference.”
“But still, it’s wrong Ian.”
Ian took her in his arms to hold her close. She resisted at first, stiffening in his arms.
“I must go. I can’t be late.” Maya hurried ahead of Ian, in what could only be viewed as a sense of panic, to get home to a man who didn’t love her or care for her at all. Self preservation, Ian told himself. When alone, he saw the real Maya, but this other side of her, was a learned skill to survive in a hopeless situation. A hopelessness that he too was feeling, at leaving her behind.
It was late when they returned and Maya was frantically trying to get something on the table for dinner. After repeated attempts to help Maya, he went upstairs to shower and get ready for his host. Just as he stepped out of the shower he heard Shen’s loud voice from below, yelling at Maya in the kitchen.
“Why isn’t dinner ready. I work hard all day to support you and give you this luxury you live in. When I come home I’m hungry and the least you could do, would be to have dinner ready when I arrive. Good for nothing wife. Don’t know what I paid for! Guess I will eat in town then!”
Ian tried to towel off and dress quickly but by the time he had done so, he heard the door slam. Ian raced down the stairs to find Maya, but didn’t see her in the kitchen. He found her sitting on the couch in the living room; a place he had never before seen her enter, unless commanded.
“Maya! Are you all right?” Ian saw the red marks on her arms and was instantly furious.
“This is all my fault. I shouldn’t have kept you out. I’m going to beat the living crap out of him,” he said as he started to rise. Maya grabbed for his arm.
“No. No, Ian I’m fine. See,” she said holding up her arms rubbing them with her own hands to show she wasn’t hurt.
“It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have been out. No one else’s fault but my own. I deserved it. I will just have to do better.”
“How can you say this is your fault. That man is a monster. Why do you let him treat you the way you do?”
“Ian, that man is my husband and unfortunately things in China, are greatly different from your western world. Now if you excuse me I must go and change.”
After Maya had changed, she quickly made him a meal for his dinner and waited for her husband to come home. She asked Ian to go to bed on the promise that he wouldn’t interfere in anything he heard when her husband did come home.
She knew she was not allowed to retire for bed until Shen did first, so she waited. It was quite late when he arrived and he was a little bit juiced when he did. Maya rose to greet him and he started making advances on her. Maya was not impressed and asked if they could go to bed. Shen’s version of going to bed was very different from Maya’s and she tried to refuse him. Shen became immediately angry reminding her that it was her duty as his wife.
Luckily for Maya, by the time she helped to get her very wobbly husband upstairs, he passed out on the bed. Maya undressed him as best she could and crawled into bed beside him, relieved that she had been given a nights reprieve, from his version woo hoo.
The next morning Maya got up early and left the room before Shen awoke. She wanted to make sure she had breakfast on the table, so she didn’t have a repeat of last nights episode. When Shen woke up, he went in search of his wife and began to demand she return to the bed for woo hoo. Maya refused him, which is something she had never done before. She didn’t know what had gotten into her, but she just couldn’t get into that bed and let him get on top of her again.
“You little wench! I’m your husband and you don’t refuse me!” threatened Shen.
Then he slammed her back against the wall and walked away. He got dressed and left the house in a huff.
Maya held back the tears as she got dressed and walked down the stairs into the living room. She couldn’t hold back the tears any longer, and sat down on the couch to cry. Ian found her there moments later.
CC Used In This Chapter
Jesse and Marie Chair Poses by Mypalsim1