The smile on Li Mingxuan’s face turned to concern when he saw Shen Xi’s pale face, “Why, didn’t you sleep well last night?”
Shen Xi nodded and moved out of the way, “Had a nightmare.”
Li Mingxuan followed him, “Do you want to sleep for a while?”
The words ‘sleep for a while’ spun around in Shen Xi’s mind. Shen Xi stopped in his tracks and turned to Li Mingxuan, “Will Cousin sleep together with me?”
Shen Xi said ‘sleep together’ very naturally, just as if asking Li Mingxuan to ‘eat together’. Li Mingxuan’s heart skipped a beat. Looking at Shen Xi’s expression, he knew Shen Xi was not joking. Struggling for half a second, he hesitantly nodded.
Shen Xi was very satisfied with Li Mingxuan’s nod and took the initiative to pull Li Mingxuan all the way through the living room to the bedroom. The bedroom was still the way he had slept before, the curtains were tightly drawn and the light was dim. Shen Xi quickly changed his clothes into pyjamas and climbed into bed, taking up half of the bed for himself and leaving the other half for Li Mingxuan.
Li Mingxuan’s gaze couldn’t help but stay glued to Shen Xi’s body, his eyes deep. Noticing that Shen Xi had left himself half of the bed, Li Mingxuan exhaled silently, suppressing the thought in his mind of pouncing on Shen Xi, and lay down gently beside him.
Shen Xi took the initiative to huddle closer and drifted off to sleep in Li Mingxuan’s arms.
The lust in Li Mingxuan’s heart turned to pity when he saw Shen Xi’s pale face, and he reached out to hold him and pat him lightly.
This was not the first time that Shen Xi had actively squeezed into his arms; almost every night that Li Mingxuan stayed, Shen Xi would curl up against him. Li Mingxuan vaguely sensed that Shen Xi seemed to be very attached to his embrace. It had nothing to do with love or lust, he simply liked Li Mingxuan to hold him.
Thinking back to Shen Xi’s early childhood experiences, Li Mingxuan could not tell the complicated feelings in his heart, but only hugged the man in his arms tighter.
Time flew by and it was almost evening in the blink of an eye. Li Mingxuan was half leaning against the head of the bed, flipping through the entertainment magazine that Shen Xi had placed beside the bed, while devoting his energy to paying attention to the sleeping Shen Xi in his arms. Seeing signs of Shen Xi waking up, Li Mingxuan put down the magazine in his hand and subconsciously touched Shen Xi’s messy hair.
When Shen Xi opened his eyes in a daze, Li Mingxuan said softly, “Awake?”
Confused, Shen Xi did not reply and instead had the intention of falling back to sleep.
Li Mingxuan gently patted him, “If you go to sleep again, you’ll wake up tomorrow. Isn’t Xiao Xi going to have dinner?”
Remembering that he hadn’t eaten all day, Shen Xi struggled to get up, rubbing his forehead while saying naturally, “What do you want to eat?”
“What does Xiao Xi want to eat?”
“Let’s eat Sichuan cuisine.” Shen Xi said casually.
The dishes that Li Mingxuan had packed and brought back last time had been thrown away because they had been left for too long, but although Shen Xi had not eaten them, he remembered the smell. At the moment he had just woken up from a good night’s sleep and somehow managed to recall it.
Li Mingxuan nodded, “Good, I’ll have Ye Han personally cook for you.”
“It’s the one you met last time.”
After a little thought, Shen Xi understood who Li Mingxuan was talking about. Last time when he lost his temper at Li Mingxuan at that Sichuan restaurant, he was watched; obviously that person was Ye Han. Although he didn’t know what Ye Han was doing at that restaurant, since Li Mingxuan said so, Ye Han must have been very good at what he did, so Shen Xi naturally wouldn’t refuse.
After quickly changing his clothes, Shen Xi was about to follow Li Mingxuan out, when Lao K’s call suddenly came in.
Shen Xi picked up, “Xinghai, what’s up?”
The word “Xinghai” really made Lao K shudder, but he immediately understood and lowered his voice, “Gao Qiulin has agreed to cooperate with us. He will meet some little directors tomorrow to propose to the board of directors to give up Shen Ji’s half negotiated contract for the household chemical line.”
Shen Xi let out a “good”. “Since he’s already agreed, then we’ll release the news first thing tomorrow morning.”
“No problem!” Lao K replied dryly, and then gossiped, “Who are you with now? Wait, don’t tell me, let me guess! Li Mingxuan?” Lao K said tentatively.
Shen Xi laughed, “Eh, Cousin is with me.”
“You’re such a lunatic!” Lao K felt that this was the only phrase that could describe Shen Xi’s behaviour.
Shen Xi chuckled softly, “Thank you for the compliment!”
The word “cousin” caught Li Mingxuan’s attention. He turned to look at Shen Xi, “Your friend?”
Shen Xi nodded calmly, “Wang Xinghai, do you remember him, Cousin? He was quite impressed with you.”
Li Mingxuan thought of that pretentious voice from last time and was not very happy about Shen Xi spending time with that man, yet he felt he was in no position to object, so he could only pretend not to care and asked, “What did he want from you?”
Shen Xi casually said, “I started a film and television company with him. He just called to say that he signed up Chen Zhiwei. We plan to make a movie and release the news to recruit people.”
“Make a movie?” Shen Xi’s words obviously took Li Mingxuan by surprise, “How did Xiao Xi think of doing this?”
The corner of Shen Xi’s mouth curved in a sneer, “Because I don’t know how to do anything else and this is the easiest, just write a check.”
Li Mingxuan was so blocked that he couldn’t speak. Shen Xi seemed to feel that it wasn’t enough, and deliberately added, “Since I don’t plan to join Shen Group, I have to find something to do, otherwise how can my father feel at ease if I just keep hanging around like this? He might even think I’m planning something secretly.”
There was a faint sense of mockery in Shen Xi’s words, and Li Mingxuan couldn’t tell how he felt after hearing them. He just felt bitter beyond belief. He wanted to say something to comfort Shen Xi, but his reason understood that it was the best thing for Shen Xi to do, so he just hesitated for a while.
Shen Xi seemed oblivious to Li Mingxuan’s complicated feelings and got in the car with great enthusiasm, urging Li Mingxuan to hurry up and drive as he was really hungry.
Li Mingxuan looked at Shen Xi’s excited smile and a thought came to his mind: if Shen Xi really had no interest in Shen Group, would there be fewer obstacles for him in getting together with Shen Xi? But on second thought, even if Shen Xi had made it clear that he had no interest in Shen Group, it would only diminish the entanglement of interests behind him, the blood ties between the two would not change. Shen Xi probably would never have imagined what kind of nasty thoughts he was having about him, right?
Li Mingxuan’s heart was torn between these thoughts and Shen Xi’s words, going up and down along the way.
Early the next morning, the various media that had been following the Yunrou incident quickly discovered a new statement on Yunrou’s official website.
“All of Yunrou’s products will be re-screened for raw materials in the near future to replace the formula to upgrade the products. Dioxane as a residue in the shampoo raw materials is a technical problem that exists not only in Yunrou’s products but also in all shampoo products currently on the market. However, the upgraded Yunrou’s products will completely solve this problem. “
As soon as this statement came out, it was frantically reprinted. All the brands in the household chemical market, whether foreign or local, were targeted in it, and the dioxane incident was once again brought to the limelight.
Although Yunrou’s official website quickly deleted the statement and announced that it was not released by Yunrou but the site had been hacked and altered, dioxane, the taboo of the entire industry, was still completely exposed.
Everything began to develop in accordance with Shen Xi’s memory of the previous life. Because of this statement, the entire household chemical industry was involved, and countless shampoo brands, large and small, that had heard of it, came out to dispel the rumours. But soon a test report of the shampoo brand sampling and testing for dioxane residue was revealed. Looking at the long list of brand names on it, the media was completely boiling!
“Ah Ji, what the hell are you doing?” Shen Dehan struggled to suppress his anger and tried his best to keep his tone as calm as possible. Just now on the board of directors, Gao Qiulin and a few little directors sneered at him, which made Shen Dehan really lose face.
Shen Ji stood in front of Shen Dehan, disappointment faintly showing in his eyes, “Father, do you also think that this statement was put up on my orders?”
Shen Dehan’s face was dark, “It doesn’t matter what I think, what matters is what others think.”
Shen Ji did not say anything, and Shen Dehan continued, “Do you know that once this statement is released, the entire household chemical industry will be offended? Even if the dioxane incident is over, do you think Yunrou can still continue to exist?”
Shen Dehan’s words seemed to imply something, and Shen Ji couldn’t help but retort, “If Yunrou wants to expand, it will have to offend the entire household chemical industry, so what’s the difference between that and now?”
“What’s the difference between healthy competition and being squeezed out by the entire industry?” Shen Dehan said angrily.
Shen Ji calmed down, “This statement did not come from my instructions, but in the end it was my mistake. Whatever punishment the board of directors will have, I will bear it all. It’s just that Yunrou is my entire heart and soul, and it’s very important to Shen Group’s future transformation, so I hope the board will treat any decision on Yunrou with care.”
Saying that, Shen Ji could not help but soften his voice, “Father, you said you will always support me.”
The expectation in Shen Ji’s words fell on deaf ears as Shen Dehan took a deep look at his most valued eldest son and let out a long sigh, “Ah Ji, you know that whatever I do is for your own good.”
“Father?” Shen Ji had a bad feeling in his heart.
Shen Dehan’s next words quickly confirmed Shen Ji’s premonition, “This morning the board of directors proposed to abandon the contract for the household chemical line that was already half negotiated. I agreed.”
“What?” Shen Ji said in disbelief, “Father, do you know how important that contract is to Yunrou right now? We have already paid the deposit, and now that the contract has been terminated suddenly, not only will we not get the deposit back, but the company will also have to pay additional compensation for breach of contract. How could you agree to this, Father?”
Shen Dehan glanced at Shen Ji and said indifferently, “Since the company’s next plan is to cut Yunrou, what’s wrong with cutting Yunrou’s household chemical line in advance.”
Shen Ji only felt his mind buzzing and immediately shouted out, “Father, Yunrou is my heart and soul.”
The expression on Shen Dehan’s face was very cold, “Ah Ji, is Yunrou important for you or is Shen Group important?”
“Father!” Shen Ji was surprised that Shen Dehan would suddenly ask this question.
Shen Dehan said coldly, “Shen Xi will soon be 23 years old, you haven’t forgotten what the will in the lawyer’s hand says, have you?”
“Father!” Shen Ji’s tone softened.
“Once Shen Xi turns 23, the will your grandfather made back then will immediately take effect, and the shares that have been in my custody all these years will be divided equally among you three brothers. You three will then have the same say in the board of directors. Ah Ji, have you ever thought about whether those people in the board of directors would like to put you on top or would like to see Shen Xi on top?”
Shen Ji fell silent, and Shen Dehan said coldly, “I don’t know what Gao Qiulin is up to but he clearly wants to use Yunrou to weaken your influence and shake everyone’s confidence in you. Ah Ji, this is a critical moment. Yunrou is doomed without Shen Group’s support, but if you insist on supporting Yunrou, you will be going against the board of directors. Shareholders don’t look too far ahead, they can only see the immediate benefits. Without the support of the shareholders, no matter what it is, it will be an empty word. Yunrou has made quite a lot of money before, so by cutting it now, the shareholders will both feel free from the current predicament and feel that you have the determination.”
Shen Ji continued to be silent as Shen Dehan lowered his voice, “Ah Ji, I know that Yunrou has a special meaning to you, and Yunrou does have a special meaning to me. But this is an extraordinary time. Before your grandfather’s will is made public, we must absolutely establish you as the heir.”
Shen Ji listened to Shen Dehan’s words in silence. For a while he said nothing and then spoke in a low voice with no expression, “Father, I understand, I will go out first.”
Shen Dehan looked at Shen Ji’s lost figure and, thinking about the way his father had insisted on making a will back then, let out a long sigh. His father had worked his whole life for Shen Group’s benefit, but in the end, he had not been able to resist the little bit of guilt he felt for Shen Xi. If it wasn’t for his father’s will back then, Ah Ji would never be in such a dilemma today!
The author has something to say:
There is a term in psychology called skin hunger, which refers to a latent but deep sense of longing to be loved, cared for and soothed. It develops when children rarely receive hugs and intimacy from their mothers as they grow up. If this feeling is too strong, it can lead to a pathological emotional need. Shen Xi’s upbringing was actually very lacking in both motherly love and family care, and I think he just falls into the skin hunger category o(╯□╰)o