Lily's words successfully provoked Mu Qingling. She almost snapped back at Lily but held her tongue in the end. Mu Qingling knew that it wouldn't benefit her if she lost control. Moreover, no one could fault what Lily has said; it was a harmless and innocent remark.
Mu Qingling took in a deep breath and smiled. "Of course, Miss Lily. I would love to. But my schedule is very hectic, and I'm fully booked for the rest of the year. People usually reach out to me at least half a year in advance. I'm afraid I will have to recheck my schedule before I can commit to anything."
"Alright, fair enough." Lily nodded. "How about you give us another performance right now, Miss Mu?"
"I… that…" Mu Qingling felt like she was put on the spot.
"I will triple your pay," Lily generously offered. "I know that getting Miss Mu to perform wouldn't be cheap. I tell you what, besides tripling your pay, I will also make a donation that's five times the tripled amount. What do you say? Would you give us another performance? It's for the greater good, after all." Though Lily was challenging Mu Qingling, she chose her words well and sounded diplomatic. The people around them, especially the women, couldn't help but admire Lily for putting Mu Qingling in her place.
The women present had witnessed how Mu Qingling had shamelessly thrown seductive glances and coquettish smiles towards Zhuo Jingren. Her brazen behaviour, coupled with her choice of outfit for her dance performance, instantly made all the women dislike her. What if she was the type of woman who could seduce a few men at one glance?
These women were used to seeing other women try and climb onto their men's bed. That didn't mean that they wouldn't put up a fight or be on guard whenever they came face to face with a potential threat.
However, the fact that Mu Qingling was someone from the prominent Mu family made them swallow all their displeasure. The Mu family was influential, not just in Hong Kong, but Mainland China as well. It would not be suitable for any of these women to offend Mu Qingling and by association, the Mu family.
Hence, seeing someone bravely put Mu Qingling in her place was very satisfying for them. These women all cheered for Lily inwardly. Of course, some of them couldn't help but wonder about Lily's background. Being Zhuo Jingren's woman, her background wouldn't be simple, right? Since Lily didn't hold back in dealing with Mu Qingling, this could only mean that her background was even more impressive than the Mu family.
What was even more surprising to these women was the way President Zhuo indulged Lily. Towards everyone else, he was indifferent and aloof, occasionally raising his glass at acquaintances who approached him for small talk. But towards his wife, President Zhuo was all smiles. At present, a small smile could still be seen on his face as he looked at everyone. President Zhuo seemed like a completely different person when he was with his wife.
But, why did it seem like this new amiable attitude was even scarier than his usual cold one?
"Miss Lily is right. Miss Mu, why don't you give us another performance?" an older woman butted in. "Let us all see what a spectacular performer you are. Maybe my husband and I can hire you too if we have any social events."
Mu Qingling's face immediately shifted when she saw who had spoken to her.
"Mayoress." She gave the older woman a small bow. "You are right. I will give everyone another performance. It's for charity, after all." Mu Qingling smiled at everyone before pulling her partner towards the dance floor, her face extremely dark, but the dim lighting in the ballroom helped to conceal it.
Dance for everyone? Why should she debase herself like this? The only reason why she had agreed to perform tonight was that her sources told her that Zhuo Jingren would be present. She would never have agreed to entertain other people if not for Zhuo Jingren.
Mu Qingling closed her eyes and composed herself. Soon, the familiar salsa music began to play in the background. The spotlight was now on her and her partner. When she opened her eyes again, she put on a beautiful smile and started to dance. She needed to maintain her professionalism ah.
As Mu Qingling danced, her mind couldn't stop thinking about Zhuo Jingren. His marriage came as a surprise to her and everyone. She liked the man and had been trying to get closer to him and win his heart. Mu Qingling thought that she only had to compete with her sister for Zhuo Jingren but she never thought that some unknown woman would beat her to owning the man.
Now that Zhuo Jingren was married, her family wouldn't be able to propose a marriage alliance anymore. A slight consolation for Mu Qingling was that her sister had lost as well. Without a marriage to Zhuo Jingren, her sister's status in the family wouldn't be elevated or rise significantly above hers. This would mean that her parents would be less likely to leave her sister a larger portion of the inheritance. The two sisters had been competing against each other since they were young as their parents kept comparing them against each other. Any sisterly love they had for each other gradually died over the years.
Mu Qingling felt indignant. So what if Zhuo Jingren was already married? Zhuo Jingren belongs to her and her alone. She would steal him away from that hateful woman.
With all these in mind, Mu Qingling's moves became even more sensual. She was confident that no man would be able to resist her if she went all out in her dance. She also wanted to show all the women out there that she was above them all.
Mu Qingling shook her hips gracefully and sent a provoking smile towards Lily. But little did she know that Lily and Zhuo Jingren were not even paying attention to the dance. As the lights at the audience were dimmed, Mu Qingling was not able to see that Lily and Zhuo Jingren were busy whispering sweet nothings to each other and engaging in a playful banter.
The guests who had been observing the couple from the start couldn't help but applaud Lily in their hearts. It seemed like Mu Qingling had been played by Lily. First, Lily cornered Mu Qingling to dance like a paid entertainer and then she, herself, did not pay any attention to the dance. It was as if Mu Qingling was not worth her attention.
This woman… was indeed Mr. Zhuo's wife.