The idea of breaking up went through Tang Yi’s head many times.
Tang Yi was good looking too, but obviously not the same style as Lin Rui.
Lin Rui was always the clean-cut, pretty-boy type in a big cutout t-shirt and narrow-legged nine-quarter pants, never wearing anything but canvas shoes with his ankles exposed. Before Tang Yi, Gu Yanting had dated more than a dozen boyfriends, all of whom were, without exception, exact replicas of Lin Rui.
Tang Yi had been wearing shirts and trousers since he was in college. Now, when his wardrobe was open, there were rows and rows of properly ironed business suits. Coupled with a pair of black-rimmed glasses, wherever he went, he came accompanied by a majestic and dignified background music.
When Gu Yanting first took him out, among the table full of friends, Tang Yi was like a class teacher who had infiltrated the inner circle of delinquent students. With faint smiles, the guys dressed in fancy clothes suddenly all straightened their backs and could not help but speak in a proper manner. The punk card they tried to play in the beginning was not played well and they had to bite their tongues later.
After a few times, Tang Yi got a little more casual equipment, but he was still wearing a shirt and trousers, and his shoes were always solemn, not something a gay guy would wear.
He was not really seriously gay anyway. Except for Gu Yanting, Tang Yi had never had any romantic thoughts about anyone else. So although it was clear many times that Gu Yanting was not good for him and the two of them had many personality clashes, Tang Yi never said the word “break-up”.
This time, the thought popped up again and refused to go down.
Sitting squarely on the tip of Tang Yi’s heart, just waiting for the moment to slip out of Tang Yi’s mouth.
Tang Yi was taken to the municipal hospital by the taxi driver. The driver looked at him several times along the way and then stopped talking and only drove the car quickly. When they arrived, the driver decisively turned off the engine and got out of the car, turning around to support Tang Yi.
“Young man, don’t work so hard, your health is important…” The driver’s wrinkled face was unexpectedly kind and amiable. Tang Yi rarely showed weakness in front of people, but now at the sight of the driver’s half-white hair, his heart moved. His hand that wanted to refuse withdrew, and he bowed his head and smiled.
“My son is also in another part of the country, alas, in Shanghai. Every time he calls, it’s past ten o’clock at night, we’re all asleep here and he’s not off work yet.” The driver followed Tang Yi all the way to the hospital and waved his hand after seeing him get registered, “You don’t sound local either, so take it easy with your work and don’t get too tired. You don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, hey, worried, distressed…”
“My parents are… gone.”
The night was too dark, and Tang Yi easily let himself talk.
The moment the words were out of his mouth, he felt wrong and hurriedly smiled apologetically at the driver, “You and Auntie, take care of your health, there are still blessings waiting for you to enjoy! Your son is good, after a couple of years of hard work, it will be free and easy for him in the future.”
Tang Yi looked handsome and upright, and his words scratched the old man’s itch. The driver grinned shyly and proudly and walked away with a vigorous smile.
“Tang Yi,” a nurse shouted behind him, “why is it you again?”
An IV drip was administered and a bed was arranged.
It wasn’t a big problem; Tang Yi had to drink and socialise since he started working.
When you went to the south on a business trip you still could have it lighter; but the people of T City carried the label of being bright, generous and able to drink like there’s no tomorrow.
Tang Yi’s job was to meet the small bosses of all parties, and there were many people over there who had had the painful experience of being persuaded to drink by the people of T City. So when meeting Tang Yi, they would often hint that they would like to eat more food and drink less wine, thank you.
Tang Yi would smile and think to himself that it couldn’t be better.
However, all around T City, a good drink was unavoidable. After three years, Tang Yi’s whole body felt great, except for his stomach. Coupled with the irregularity of his meals, there were always three or four times a year in the hospital.
This time there was an order he was responsible for coming to a critical point. If it had been in the past, Tang Yi might have left after the infusion. This time, he didn’t know why he was so disheartened but he thought about it and unprecedentedly asked the doctor to arrange a bed for him.
After a sleepless night, Tang Yi lay with his eyes open until dawn and then began to call his subordinates one by one.
The first call was made at six o’clock in the morning to his assistant Xiao Yang.
Tang Yi arranged a few things, waited for Xiao Yang to write them down, and after a pause said, “In the filing cabinet in my office, the first compartment on the far left, there is the key to my apartment. You can move there for a few days.”
The apartment was located behind the company’s office building, was only about forty square metres, with one bedroom and one living room. In the past, when they worked overtime until midnight, Tang Yi invited a few people to follow him to the apartment to sleep. Xiao Yang had been there a few times and knew the place.
“Huh?” Xiao Yang was taken aback and his first reaction was that he didn’t dare.
“I won’t be able to go there these few days, and it’s a waste for it to be empty. You live so far away from the company, you stay there for a few days to get a good rest.” Tang Yi smiled, “By the way, help me take care of Tuanzi.”
Tuanzi (Dumpling) was a pond turtle that Tang Yi kept, long and round and cute, often gnawing on red jade thinking it was meat, indomitable. Xiao Yang was no longer polite and happily agreed.
Before Tang Yi hung up the phone, he softened his tone and said, “When I’m not in the company, you should learn more from Mr. Ning. Mr. Ning loves black tea, I have two boxes of Jin Jun Mei in my apartment, you can send them to him.”
Xiao Yang nodded in response. A vague and unsettling thought was about to emerge, but he was so frightened that he held it back.
The second call went to the deputy manager, Cao Zhengxuan.
“Manager Cao, it’s me.” Tang Yi’s tone became serious and the pressure got heavier, “Well, I’m taking a few days off, so you must implement the following few things.” The sound of tapping came from Cao Zhengxuan’s side, probably recording on his phone. Tang Yi sketched several important things in the marketing department one by one and asked him to do them, determining the feedback method and time.
Cao Zhengxuan immediately replied, “Here.”
Tang Yi paused for a moment and said, “It’s okay, do a good job.”
Soon after Cao Zhengxuan’s call was hung up, the people Xiao Yang was supposed to notify were all in place. The marketing department always came earlier than the company’s cleaning lady. Just after eight in the morning all the team leaders needed for the online meeting were in place.
Tang Yi sat propped up against the head of the bed. There was a window behind him; half of the curtain was missing and the sun was pouring down on him.
The meeting started and the team leaders dressed in suits were stunned.
Tang Yi was wearing a light blue shirt, with two top buttons opened revealing his straight collarbones. Tang Yi had phoenix eyes, big and bright, but with his eyebrow bones protruding, his handsome face had a murderous aura.
The crowd was used to seeing Manager Tang in a suit and wearing glasses. At this moment, seeing the man on the other side of the video frown slightly, his handsome face exposed without any covering, they suddenly felt quite shocked.
“Good morning, boss!” The new female colleague was the first to speak, smiling and greeting him on the video.
“Morning.” Tang Yi’s voice was clear and cold as he glanced at the screen, put on his headphones and said, “Yan Ke, first calculate the latest odds of winning the current Huayu project.”
The video conference took less than half an hour, but Tang Yi arranged the work for the whole week in one go. He pointed out all the possible emergencies and countermeasures for this week in every detail.
While the people were taking notes, they could not help but be secretly surprised.
What surprised them was that Tang Yi usually seldom expressed his opinions and most of the time just guided the direction of their work. Although they all knew that all the company’s order records were created by Tang Yi, they never thought that Tang Yi could remember all the order items by heart and could accurately point out the potential resistance points of each order.
However, this was where the suspicion lay. A few days ago, there was a rumour that the general manager of the marketing department was going to be replaced, and it was said that the new one was a returnee who had come straight from the headquarters. Tang Yi had been silent these days and they thought that if the returnee came to their place, their Manager Tang would show his power and squash the opponent down with the sole of his foot.
Who knew that looking at the situation now, it seemed that Tang Yi was going to retreat without a fight.
“Boss…” The female employee was shocked by the fear that Tang Yi was about to leave. She quietly glanced outside the conference room, turned her head and asked, blushing, “Boss, are you not coming to the company these days?”
Tang Yi smiled and raised his eyebrows, nodding unexpectedly.
The crowd was stunned and someone was immediately anxious, “He is just a parachutist sent by the tops, what are you afraid of? Is there some pressure from above on you? Don’t leave, what will we do if you leave, we’re with you, boss!”
Tang Yi shook his head and helplessly pinched his brow with his hand, “Don’t guess blindly.”
“We’ll follow you anyway, we’ll quit if you quit, boss, I’ll go and quit right away.”
“Stop it,” Tang Yi raised his hand and waved it, saying slowly, “Who said I’m leaving? I’m just taking a break.” He looked at each of the nervous little faces on the opposite side and smiled slowly, “You guys be good so I can be good.”
The meeting ended. Tang Yi took his phone, withdrew the SIM card inside, took another one out of the suit pocket next to him and inserted it, turned the phone on again and a few text messages came in.
— Lin Rui is sick, I’m taking care of him with Auntie Lin, you eat well [Gu Yanting]
— Sister-in-law, are you home yet? We’re all here, don’t worry, haha [Fat Sod]
— Tang Yi? I’m Shen Fan, a friend of Yanting. I saw you drink a lot tonight and your face didn’t look too good. If you need anything, feel free to give me a call, my brother is on duty at the city hospital tonight [137…1109]
Tang Yi’s fingers paused slightly and he glanced at the ward: a three-person ward, with the other two beds empty. There was a bedside table next to his bed, and in addition to the standard configuration, there was a pot of lush bamboo, layered, rich and positively delightful, placed right next to him.
Such a special care, without looking closely it was difficult to notice.
Tang Yi pondered for a moment and replied with two words, “Thank you.”
The last text message was from Tang Yi’s colleague Ning Zeyu: “The parachutist guy’s name is Lin Rui, he returned from a pheasant university(1) and will start tomorrow. Assigned to join your second department as deputy manager, not involved in departmental affairs for now.”
Tang Yi raised his eyebrows and before he could reply, a call came in.
— Gu Yanting calling.
“Hey, Tang Yi, where are you?”
Tang Yi tapped on the armrest beside the bed, “Outside, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it’s Lin Rui.” Gu Yanting hesitated for a moment and said, “He says the company he is joining is on Jianghuai Road. I talked a lot today and told him where I live.”
“Oh, what’s the matter?”
“He asks if I could rent him a room for a month or so. As soon as he finds an apartment, he’ll move out immediately.” Gu Yanting coughed lightly, and when he heard Tang Yi didn’t make a sound, he added, “You saw his place yesterday, it’s too far away from Jianghuai Road. During the morning and evening rush hours, the section of Dongshan Road alone can be blocked for an hour.”
“Oh, so.” Tang Yi smiled and said, “The house is yours, so naturally you are the one who decides.”
“You’re not angry?” Gu Yanting instinctively asked a rhetorical question and, after asking, sounded a little unnatural again, “Didn’t you quarrel with me over his photos before? I was afraid you wouldn’t feel comfortable. Of course, I really don’t have any thoughts about him now, we’re just ordinary classmates.”
“It’s okay!” Tang Yi said in surprise, “But it’s not good if you have concerns. Then why not forget it?”
“Huh?” Gu Yanting was stunned.
“Weren’t you afraid that I wouldn’t feel comfortable?” Tang Yi said, “After all, he’s just an ordinary classmate, and it’s not good for you to lose your sleep and appetite over his affairs. So…”
“He can scram where he came from, ba!”
- “Fake universities”, also called “diploma factories”, attract students under the banner of famous schools but are not recognised by the society and employers of the country where they are located.