Why didn’t his father like him? This was a question that Shen Xi had never been able to understand when he was a child.
Father would smile affectionately at his brothers, Father would hold Shen Cheng high in his arms, Father would take his brothers to the playground, Father would praise his brothers as his beloved sons, but Father would never notice him in the corner and would never meet his longing eyes.
The little Shen Xi wondered why this was so. He once asked his mother this question, which resulted in a big fight between his mother and his father that very night. Shen Xi, who was hiding under his mother’s bed, clearly heard his father’s angry shout, “I didn’t want that child from the beginning, it was you who insisted on having it.”
That child, did his father mean him?
Shen Xi felt as if he understood something and yet he didn’t understand anything.
That night he did not go to bed as he always did, but slipped out of his room when his mother was not looking. He wandered alone into the empty hallway of the Shen family home, and then he saw his father.
In a room that was often locked in the corner of the third floor, his father stood motionless like a statue, looking at the large and small photo frames hanging on the wall. Inside all the frames there was a person, a woman Shen Xi did not know.
His father’s face had an expression that Shen Xi had never seen before, wistful and tender, and Shen Xi looked on, dumbfounded, not even knowing when his mother appeared behind him.
Father and Mother had another fierce quarrel, and then his mother picked up a chair in anger and slammed it against the photo on the wall. In the splash of glass, Shen Xi looked down at the photo that fell at his feet. In the photo, a woman smiled at him gently.
Shen Xi quietly hid the photo and took it to his grandfather. From Grandpa’s unexpected exclamation he learnt the woman’s name – Fang Yun, the mother of Shen Ji and Shen Cheng.
After the death of his mother and grandfather, Shen Xi grew up day by day and from outsiders, he heard more and more about Fang Yun, his father’s beloved woman.
Beloved? Shen Xi laughed coldly in his heart. Then what was Zhou Mingmei?
Shen Xi’s memories were only fleeting when an unfamiliar female voice reached him from across the room, “Mr. Shen, how much do you intend to pay?”
Shen Xi looked quietly at the woman who was talking. Chu Qianqian, the person Lao K had found for him.
Chu Qianqian looked about twenty years old, with thin eyebrows, big eyes and fair skin, and her face was more similar to that woman’s than Zhou Mingmei’s. Unfortunately, too much makeup made her look a little dissolute and ruined the graceful expression integral to that face.
Shen Xi lowered his eyes, “How much do you want?”
Chu Qianqian slowly exhaled a ring of smoke at Shen Xi, “Five million, not negotiable!”
Shen Xi laughed softly, “You think you’re worth that price?”
Chu Qianqian leaned forward and the V-neck of her blouse shifted, revealing a white piece inside. She glanced at Shen Xi flirtatiously and said meaningfully, “Do you think I’m worth it?”
Shen Xi looked blankly and commented impartially, “But that’s it.”
Chu Qianqian immediately straightened up and glared fiercely at Shen Xi, who laughed in reply, “I’ll give you ten million. One year. Find a way to stay by his side and make him fall in love with you.”
Chu Qianqian was obviously taken aback by this number, then reacted, afraid that Shen Xi would backtrack, and quickly nodded, “No problem.”
Shen Xi looked at her and said softly, “Don’t think that this matter is easy, that man is not the kind of man you used to have around you. If it wasn’t for this face of yours, believe me, even if you stood naked in front of him, he wouldn’t look at you.”
Perhaps because of the seriousness of Shen Xi’s words, Chu Qianqian put away her careless expression, “Who is the man you want me to seduce?”
The corner of Shen Xi’s mouth hooked up, “You must have heard of his name, Shen Dehan of the Shen Group, my father.”
Chu Qianqian looked at Shen Xi in surprise, “Shen Dehan? You’re asking me to seduce your father.”
Shen Xi looked at her reaction with amusement and nodded.
Chu Qianqian looked incredulous, “You’re not afraid that I’ll make you a younger brother?”
Shen Xi was amused by this statement and could not help but laugh out loud. Half a second later, Shen Xi stopped laughing and said, “If you are really capable of getting pregnant, I will pay an extra 10 million regardless of whether the child is born or not. Of course, whatever my father gives you during this process will be yours after it’s over.”
Chu Qianqian stared at Shen Xi seriously for a while, making sure that Shen Xi was not joking, and finally nodded fiercely, “Done. This money is enough for me to spend for the rest of my life.”
Shen Xi smiled in satisfaction and gestured to the bag beside him, “Go wash your face and change your clothes for me to have a look.”
As Chu Qianqian disappeared, Shen Xi’s eyes fell on a photo on the table. The woman in the photo was wearing a white dress and was smiling gently at Shen Xi. He reached his hand to block the woman’s smiling face.
But after a while, Chu Qianqian walked out; she had washed away the glamorous makeup on her face, and a white dress made her look extremely pure.
Shen Xi looked straight at that face and smiled faintly.
“You’re such a lunatic!” This was Lao K’s comment to Shen Xi after Chu Qianqian had left.
Shen Xi raised his eyebrows, “Many thanks for the compliment.”
“Do you think Shen Dehan will be tempted?” Lao K was a little sceptical.
The corner of Shen Xi’s mouth curled up, “Why not? A young and energetic Fang Yun is no less than the best aphrodisiac for my father who is now old and frail.”
Lao K laughed, “Shen Ji will definitely hate you to death.”
Shen Xi’s expression was pleasant, “I’m just trying to be a filial son. What’s more, there’s already a Zhou Mingmei. One more Chu Qianqian is nothing. Shen Ji and Father have a strong father-son bond, so I’m sure he will understand Father.”
Lao K had a look of amusement on his face, “Zhou Mingmei is not easy, she might make trouble.”
Shen Xi lowered his eyes, “That’s exactly what I hope for.”
Yes, that was exactly what Shen Xi hoped for.
There had been three women in Shen Dehan’s life. The first woman was Fang Yun, Shen Dehan’s true love, the second was Shen Xi’s mother Han Rou, and the third was Zhou Mingmei.
For Han Rou, if her marriage to Shen Dehan was a tragedy, then Fang Yun was the source of the tragedy, and Zhou Mingmei was the driving force behind the tragedy.
When Zhou Mingmei met Shen Dehan, he had just married Han Rou. At that time, Zhou Mingmei was only eighteen years old and had just entered the entertainment industry as a newcomer to an entertainment company. Because of Zhou Mingmei’s appearance that resembled Fang Yun, she quickly became Shen Dehan’s mistress and had since disappeared from the entertainment circle.
If things stayed this way, it would just be an ordinary incident of a rich businessman keeping a woman on the side. Not to mention the fact that up until this point Han Rou had been kept in the dark, believing that Shen Dehan’s heart was full of Fang Yun and secretly competing with the deceased.
But soon, as smart as Zhou Mingmei was, she understood from Shen Dehan’s attitude towards Han Rou that Han Rou was not to Shen Dehan’s liking. In the beginning Zhou Mingmei wanted nothing more but to follow Shen Dehan in peace and live a prosperous life without worrying about food and clothing. But as Shen Dehan and Han Rou’s relationship got worse, and with Zhou Mingmei’s pregnancy, her desires grew larger step by step. Why should her own child bear the name of an illegitimate child and why can’t he be the rightful young master of the Shen family? This thought fermented in her mind with the news of Han Rou’s pregnancy, and comparing the different lives of the two children in the future, Zhou Mingmei began to calculate step by step.
It didn’t take long for Zhou Mingmei to reveal her existence to Han Rou, who predictably went for a kill. Coincidentally, Shen Dehan saw how Han Rou was bullying poor Zhou Mingmei.
As Zhou Mingmei expected, Han Rou’s relationship with Shen Dehan deteriorated further and they argued every day. And Shen Xi was also forced to come into the world early during one of their quarrels. On the other hand, Zhou Mingmei, who got pregnant before Han Rou, gave birth almost two months later than Han Rou.
At that time, Han Rou’s relationship with Shen Dehan broke down completely. Shen Dehan was not happy about the birth of Shen Xi, but was very happy about the birth of Shen Rong.
All this was seen by Zhou Mingmei, who thought that her wish would soon be fulfilled. But unexpectedly Elder Shen scolded Shen Dehan for his affair with Zhou Mingmei and announced that Han Rou was his only acknowledged daughter-in-law, completely cutting off Zhou Mingmei’s hopes.
Later, Han Rou jumped out of the window to her death, and Shen Xi was not liked by Shen Dehan. Zhou Mingmei became the only woman around Shen Dehan until today.
Shen Xi thought, of course he hated his father, but how could he forget about that woman?
With the appearance of the young and energetic “Fang Yun”, would his father still be attached to the old and declining Zhou Mingmei?
He had not forgotten that his father had always told Shen Ji that Zhou Mingmei was just a substitute for their mother. Since she was a substitute, it was only natural that the old one would be replaced by the new one, right?
Shen Xi smiled faintly. He wanted Zhou Mingmei to go through what his mother had suffered back then, little by little.