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Jed leaned forward, his arms on the table. “I wanted to ask you, now that I’ve had a little time to think about something you said. About how this business espionage, as Angela called it, might affect our business relationship—”

Jung-Shan smiled and reached across the table, surprising Jed by touching his lips with her fingertip. “No talk of business while dining, remember?” Jed smiled. Jung-Shan smiled back. They sat quietly, just smiling at one another.

Jed gazed into her eyes, barely visible in the dim restaurant. “Jung-Shan. I love saying your name. What does it mean? Translated into English, I mean, what is it?”

“Jung means to embrace the whole world. Shan is Chinese for coral. My parents gave me this name because coral is for happiness, good luck, and strength of character.”

“That’s very interesting,” said Jed. “Um . . . can I add something?” Before she could respond he said, “You have the most beautiful eyes.”

Jung-Shan cast her gaze downwards, shielding her eyes with her hand. “Jed, I already told you it is not polite to stare.” 

“I’m sorry,” he said, paused, thought, then decided to blurt it out: “It’s just that you’re so beautiful. Not just your eyes, but, um, all over. It’s hard not to want to look at you. All the time.”

“Thank you, Jed,” she said, continuing to avert her gaze. “But please remember always, we have a business relationship.”

Cognac and Conversation