Li Mingxuan’s rush back to Zhongjing from Haicheng overnight was inadvertently discovered by Li Xiyong early in the morning.
Li Xiyong did not mean to check Li Mingxuan’s whereabouts; he just suddenly had something to contact him about but found that Li Mingxuan’s mobile phone was switched off, so he had to call Li Mingxuan’s assistant. The assistant answered the phone and said that Li Mingxuan had come back to Zhongjing last night because of an urgent matter, and there was a feeling in his words that he was covering up for Li Mingxuan.
What was the reason for Li Mingxuan’s return to Zhongjing? The assistant faintly felt that he seemed to understand, but he didn’t dare to think about it. Fortunately, Li Xiyong didn’t ask anything, and the assistant breathed a sigh of relief, feeling somewhat guilty.
Li Xiyong hung up the phone calmly; there was no slightest trace of anything different from the outside, but in his heart he was very shocked.
Li Mingxuan had rushed back to Zhongjing overnight, for whom? Where did he go instead of home? These two questions kept haunting Li Xiyong’s mind. He kept thinking about their father-son conversation before Li Mingxuan’s business trip, and Shen Xi’s name vaguely emerged in his memory.
As a father, he knew Mingxuan’s character very well. Mingxuan was not an impulsive person, and if he really rushed back to Zhongjing overnight for Shen Xi, then he really had Shen Xi in his heart. All these years, Li Xiyong had watched Mingxuan being alone and hoped that he would meet someone he liked, but why would that person be Shen Xi?
Who was Shen Xi? Shen Xi was Mingxuan’s cousin, the man who held one-third of the inheritance rights of the Shen family, and the outcast of the Shen family.
Not to mention the blood relations between the two, just Shen Xi’s status was not suitable for the two to be together. Li Xiyong had been close to the Shen family for many years, certainly because he was a relative but also because Li Xiyong knew Shen Dehan and had never interfered in any of the Shen family’s affairs. If Mingxuan and Shen Xi really got together, then what would be Mingxuan’s position in the future when the Shen family’s brothers started fighting each other? Even if Shen Xi was as incompetent as he appeared and had no interest in Shen Group, was Dehan going to suspect that Mingxuan approached Shen Xi on purpose? Would he think that Li Xiyong was behind all this and even instigated it?
Li Xiyong let out a silent sigh; he had seen Mingxuan’s special attitude towards Shen Xi before. The reason why he only hinted and did not explicitly say anything was precisely because he believed in Mingxuan’s judgement. Mingxuan himself would know what choice to make.
It was only when Li’s Li Xiyong listened to the cover-up attempt in Mingxuan’s assistant’s words that he felt he could not believe his own judgement anymore. At this point, Li Xiyong could only hope that it was all a guess on his part and that Mingxuan knew what he was doing.
When Li Mingxuan arrived at the office, it was already past ten in the morning. To his surprise, his father already knew about his return and sent his secretary to his office early in the morning to say that he wanted to see him.
Li Mingxuan knew that his father must have guessed something, and he had planned to confess to him directly, so he appeared in front of Li Xiyong with a calm demeanour.
Li Mingxuan’s expression was very frank, with a subdued look on his face, his eyes looking at Li Xiyong openly.
Li Xiyong’s heart sank. He had known his son for many years, he only needed a glance to understand what Li Mingxuan wanted to say at this moment. Although Li Mingxuan acted very calmly, the joy that was faintly emanating from his body was very obvious.
Li Xiyong thought for a moment and said, “Mingxuan, accompany me to the rooftop for a walk.”
The rooftop that Li Xiyong was talking about was located on the top floor of Li Group, and because of the open terrain and good view plus the proper care of the property, it was very popular among the staff. Everyone was willing to come up here for a walk during their lunch break.
It was the time for work now, and the rooftop was quiet; the only two figures, Li Xiyong and Li Mingxuan, could be seen there.
Li Xiyong did not say anything, just gazed at the distant scenery in silence. Li Mingxuan stood quietly behind his father, also not saying a word.
After a while, Li Xiyong finally turned to look at Li Mingxuan, “Mingxuan, do you still remember the words I told you before you left the country?”
A trace of nostalgia flashed in Li Mingxuan’s eyes and he nodded, “I remember.”
Li Xiyong said in a low voice, “I warned you a long time ago that a man’s erection is not bound by morality, but the most fundamental self-control is indispensable if you want to be a successful man. Do you think you have achieved that?” Li Xiyong’s voice was already vaguely strict.
As long as Li Mingxuan could remember, his father would hardly ever speak to him sternly. The only time he remembered hearing such a strict tone was when he confessed his sexuality to his family a few years ago. He knew that his father had always had high hopes for him, and even at his most difficult time, he had been the one who supported him quietly.
Li Mingxuan smiled bitterly in his heart. When he remembered this sentence, he never expected that one day he would lose control for another man and even confront his own father. His promise to Shen Xi flashed in his mind, and guilt appeared on Li Mingxuan’s face, “I’m sorry, Dad, I can’t do it.”
Li Xiyong’s disappointment was beyond words. He looked at Li Mingxuan deeply, “Why Shen Xi?”
In Li Mingxuan’s past, there had been too many outstanding men and women. Even now, Li Mingxuan was surrounded by countless exceptional people of his age; why did he fall for Shen Xi?
Li Mingxuan smiled bitterly, “I don’t know.”
The first time he and Shen Xi met on the plane was a complete accident. If it hadn’t been for the reporters and if Shen Dehan hadn’t been hospitalised as a result, he and Shen Xi would have had no more intersection. He never expected that there would be so many accidental meetings between him and Shen Xi after that, and time after time, he would get to know Shen Xi better and better, and Shen Xi would become more and more vivid in his heart. He was not sure why he was attracted to Shen Xi in the first place. Was it because of pity or simply because he was attracted to Shen Xi’s body? Or was it the night when Shen Xi was injured and he finally discovered a soft and sensitive heart hidden under Shen Xi’s sharp shell?
Li Mingxuan recalled his past with Shen Xi little by little, and even he did not realise how tender the look on his own face was at this moment. Li Xiyong’s eyes fell on Li Mingxuan’s face and his heart trembled fiercely.
Li Xiyong fell silent. He could see that Mingxuan’s attitude was very serious, just as it was when he had insisted on confessing his sexuality to his family back then. As a father, he knew Mingxuan’s temperament very well. Once he had decided on something, he would never change his decision easily. Back then, under the threat of Grandpa Li’s serious illness and with the pressure of the whole family piling on him, Mingxuan still refused to relent and finally his family compromised and accepted his sexuality. This time, Li Xiyong could not help but smile bitterly in silence.
Li Mingxuan did not know what was going through his father’s mind. He did not want Shen Xi to be misunderstood by his father. He looked at Li Xiyong with a serious expression, “Dad, this matter is my fault, it was me who first had thoughts about Xiao Xi. Xiao Xi was merely seduced by me.”
Li Xiyong grunted, “No matter who seduced who, are you together now?”
Li Mingxuan nodded, his expression gentle, the joy in his eyes spreading out once again.
Li Xiyong looked at the joy in Li Mingxuan’s eyes and finally chose to compromise, “Then what are you going to do? Keep this matter hidden from your mother and uncle?”
Li Mingxuan shook his head, resolute, “I want to be with Xiao Xi openly and honestly.”
Although Li Xiyong had already guessed this answer, he could not help but give Li Mingxuan a look, “Do you know what you are saying?”
Li Mingxuan’s expression was calm, “I know.”
Li Xiyong let out a silent sigh, “What will you do if the Shen brothers fight with each other in the future?”
“Xiao Xi started a company on his own.” Li Mingxuan’s implication was that Shen Xi was really not interested in Shen Group.
Li Xiyong gave Li Mingxuan a deep look, “You yourself know what you and Shen Xi will have to face together. Your father only hopes that you will not regret it in the future.”
Li Mingxuan said “en” in a quiet, firm voice.
While Li Mingxuan and Li Xiyong were talking on the rooftop, Shen Ji with a sullen face was listening to the board of directors meeting held by Shen Dehan.
At that moment, one of the directors was speaking, implying that the Yunrou incident had caused great damage to Shen Group and that someone had to step forward to take responsibility for it. As he spoke, the director’s gaze kept falling on Shen Ji as if inadvertently but with a very clear implication.
Shen Ji’s face was very ugly and he tried to stand up several times but was stopped by Shen Dehan’s eyes.
When the director finished speaking, Gao Qiulin took over with a smile, “Dehan, I know you have always been clear in your rewards and punishments, so I’m sure you don’t need us to say anything about this, you must already have an idea in mind.”
Another director immediately interjected, “Director Gao is right, the chairman has always been clear in his rewards and punishments, so he will definitely give us a satisfactory explanation.”
Shen Dehan tried to suppress the anger in his heart and swept a faint glance over the crowd, “Yunrou is still a part of the group. I will definitely give everyone an explanation when Yunrou is dismantled and sold.”
Gao Qiulin raised his eyebrows, “Dismantled and sold? I heard that Ah Ji is not willing to sell Yunrou and is secretly preventing the company from contacting interested buyers.” When he said this, Gao Qiulin turned to Shen Ji, “Ah Ji, you wouldn’t really do that, would you?”
Shen Ji met Gao Qiulin’s eyes. The provocation in Gao Qiulin’s gaze stung him deeply. He tried hard to calm himself down, “Uncle Gao must have misheard, the decision to sell Yunrou is the decision of the board of directors, how could I go against the board’s wishes?”
Gao Qiulin took it in stride, “Then I guess I misheard.”
A trace of vigilance flashed in Shen Ji’s eyes. Gao Qiulin had been at odds with his father recently; he did not believe that Gao Qiulin would compromise so easily.
As expected, Gao Qiulin suddenly changed the subject, “Speaking of which, Xiao Xi has also graduated from university this year, right? How can a boy not have a career? Dehan, I think you should let Xiao Xi enter Shen Group as well, anyway, both Ah Ji and Ah Cheng are here, and only Xiao Xi is not, you can’t be too biassed!”
These words from Gao Qiulin immediately gained a lot of approval among the directors. Some even said that the jewellery company under Shen Group was precisely the Han family’s property back then, so it would be better to let Shen Xi learn how to manage it.
Shen Dehan’s face turned ugly, but Gao Qiulin did not seem to notice and continued talking about the plans for Shen Xi.
After the board meeting, Shen Dehan returned to his office with a gloomy face, Wang Changlin following him.
“Dehan, I remember that the doctor ordered you to control your emotions, it’s best not to get angry.”
Shen Dehan took a few deep breaths, “You didn’t see the way Gao Qiulin brought up Shen Xi to force me to make Ah Ji resign from his position as general manager, how do you think I can not get angry?”
Wang Changlin’s eyes flashed, “Does Director Gao mean to let Shen Xi enter Shen Group?”
Shen Dehan nodded with a gloomy face.
Wang Changlin pondered for a moment, “Dehan, Ah Ji is on the cusp of the storm right now, have you thought of letting him avoid the limelight for a while?”
Shen Dehan frowned, “Of course I’ve thought about it, but if Ah Ji resigns as general manager, there is no suitable candidate by my side for now. If it is Gao Qiulin’s man who takes over the top position, wouldn’t Ah Ji’s hard work for so many years be wasted?”
Wang Changlin laughed, “Dehan, have you forgotten that there is Ah Cheng? The board is now forcing Ah Ji to take responsibility for the Yunrou incident. If you keep carrying on like this, it won’t be a good thing for Ah Ji, and the shareholders will inevitably have some thoughts. Why not simply let Ah Ji change his position? Anyway, as long as he is at Shen Group, Ah Ji will always have a chance. You can assign Ah Cheng to take up the position of general manager that Ah Ji gives up. With him, you can not only block the mouths of the board of directors, but also help Ah Ji to guard his position. The two brothers have always had a good relationship, are you worried about them turning against each other?”
Shen Dehan’s expression eased up; Shen Cheng was indeed a better choice under the current circumstances.
Thinking about Shen Cheng’s history of hanging around, Shen Dehan worried, “Although Ah Cheng is also in Shen Group, he has always been here just nominally. I am worried that he has little experience.”
Wang Changlin thought about it for a while. “Why don’t we arrange for an experienced assistant for Ah Cheng? Anyway, Ah Cheng will occupy the position nominally, Ah Ji will handle the big things, and the assistant will be enough for the small things.”
Shen Dehan nodded approvingly, and Wang Changlin added, “It would be best if Ah Cheng’s assistant was familiar with Ah Ji, so that the two brothers could communicate easily.”
Shen Dehan pondered, “What do you think of Lu Gesen? This young man is very good, he is now Ah Ji’s assistant, so it is appropriate to put him next to Ah Cheng. He’s not too old, he’ll be easy to talk to for Ah Cheng.”
Wang Changlin nodded, “Dehan, you have a good eye. If you say so, Lu Gesen is indeed very suitable.”
Shen Dehan immediately instructed his secretary to ask Lu Gesen to come over. Wang Changlin smiled and got up, “I’ll go out first if there’s nothing else.”
When Lu Gesen arrived at Shen Dehan’s office, he brushed past Wang Changlin, and when their eyes met, Lu Gesen’s always serious expression softened.