Shen Fan’s trip was extremely disturbing. Zhou Hao’s parents had also moved to C City in the past two years, and this time he was bringing Zhou Weiwei home with him on the orders of the two elders, so that they could meet their grandson.
Zhou Hao was not on the same flight as Tang Yi. After landing half an hour early, the father and son waited in the terminal building. Shen Fan’s face was grim as he walked out side by side with Tang Yi, and he nearly confronted Zhou Hao on the spot.
Unfortunately, the latter was not afraid of him, and the little boy beside him had obviously learnt to read people’s eyes early on, so he tugged on the hem of Shen Fan’s coat and softly called him “Susu”.
The child was white and tender, his eyes were round and full of spirit, and his slightly deflated mouth was a sign of the coming rainstorm. Shen Fan didn’t wait for his heart to soften when Tang Yi already picked Zhou Weiwei up first.
“Why is Weiwei still here?”
“Waiting for Susu!”
Shen Fan felt that his soft heart was going to be eaten by dogs; at the moment simply looking at this child was unbearably annoying. Seeing that Tang Yi was about to be abducted, he stopped him hastily, “Tang Yi, my mother is waiting at home.”
Tang Yi was startled for a moment, pinched Zhou Weiwei’s little cheeks and glanced at Zhou Hao.
Zhou Hao had already picked up the child and said with a smile on his lips, “I just wanted to look at you.”
“Look at what? What the hell is there to look at?! Does he think he’s acting in a TV drama?” Shen Fan was seething in the car. The old driver who had come to pick him up turned back to look at him so often that he almost missed a red light.
Tang Yi propped his hand on the car window and gave Shen Fan a surprised look, “What are you so excited about?”
“What am I excited about? What can I be excited about? He kissed you on the face when there were so many people getting on the plane! Where’s your face! There were so many people!”
The old driver shivered and his gaze drifted from the rearview mirror to Tang Yi again.
Shen Fan was still unaware of it, gritting his teeth, his face livid, “How long has it been since then? Huh? The kiss before the flight, and he still wants to look at you after the flight? Zhou Hao is simply… hey!”
Shen Fan didn’t finish saying simply what. He was yelling in the car furiously and then he looked up and remembered that the one driving was the old driver at home and not his own assistant. After the old driver heard Zhou Hao’s name, his hands shook and he almost kissed the tree on the sidewalk of the road.
Fortunately, Shen Fan remained silent for the rest of the time, while Tang Yi seemed to be unconcerned. He took out his mobile phone and started sending messages back one by one to several friends who had sent their good wishes, not forgetting to send the same blessings to some of the company’s major customers. Since then the journey could be considered smooth and safe.
Only when they almost arrived at Shen’s house did Tang Yi finish his work. He glanced at the grumbling Shen Fan, raised his eyes and asked, “Are you done?”
Shen Fan gave him a look and added summarily, “He’s not a good thing.”
“Isn’t that just right?” Tang Yi smiled, “I’m not a good thing either.”
Shen Fan’s mother was the only one in the Shen family. Although Shen Fan had taken over ER now, the relationship between mother and son and Shen Fan’s father had not improved much. The visit of Tang Yi was a welcome addition to the family, and Shen’s mother washed her hands and made soup and watched the two of them eat before she went to her clubhouse.
Shen Fan didn’t tell her about Tang Yi’s origin. Finding her sister-in-law with her family was Shen Fan’s mother’s heart knot. Now that Tang Yi’s identity had not been confirmed yet, they couldn’t talk about it too rashly. Even if Tang Yi’s identity was confirmed, Shen Fan was not sure if he should tell his mother.
After all, if Tang Yi was really his cousin, then his uncle and his uncle’s wife likely had something bad happen to them.
After the meal Tang Yi followed Shen Fan on a tour around the not-so-large mansion. This was an old house that Shen Fan’s mother had chosen after her divorce. It had a total of three floors. When the house was bought it was not worth much. The mother and son needed a place to live at that time. Shen Fan’s mother was determined to live in a good one, and as a result picked up such a bargain. Now the market value of the house alone had increased many times over.
There was a yard in front of the house, renovated into a garden, and a vine-covered arbour had been built there. A separate circle of European-style exterior walls was built around the house, and from the front door onwards all kinds of high-tech intelligent security equipment were installed.
When Shen Fan took Tang Yi on a tour to the garden, he suddenly stopped and pointed to a cluster of flowers that were blooming and said, “My mother likes this flower very much. It was a gift from a lady who frequented the clubhouse.”
Tang Yi didn’t know what to make of it, but he took a look at the blossoming cluster of rosy red and let out an “oh”.
“Because of this gift of flowers that lady was brought to the house once as a guest by Big Beauty. As a result, the lady has taken a fancy to the house and has gone out of her way to offer the double price to buy it.” Big Beauty was Shen Fan’s name for his mother, which sounded quite novel to Tang Yi’s ears. But apparently Shen Fan was not simply chatting about family matters, so Tang Yi stood still next to him.
Shen Fan also stood still and smiled, “Of course, Comrade Beauty didn’t sell it. It didn’t go too well after that. Eventually, the lady was given a 60,000 yuan consumption card, and that was the end of it.”
“How much did this cost?” Tang Yi was surprised for a moment. The origin of the matter was just a pot of flowers, but in the end, so much money was spent for nothing.
“This flower, if you buy it in the market, is only two hundred.” Shen Fan tsked, “But ultimately, even though the matter is over, every time that lady comes to the clubhouse, Big Beauty still has to smile at her.”
Shen Fan continued, “This is society. The other party is of a noble origin, and if you don’t give in, you might be ruined. No matter whether it is her who tries to rob something the others cherish or it is my family who doesn’t know how to appreciate favours, where there are people, there are bound to be three, six, nine, and so on(1). People have their own affiliations. The only real truth can be judged by looking at people’s faces.”
It was a rare occasion that Shen Fan talked to Tang Yi calmly and reasonably, and his unsmiling appearance was quite powerful.
Tang Yi knew that there was something in his words and said with a smile, “And then?”
“And then?” Shen Fan paused for a moment, “I was afraid that you wouldn’t like what I said, or that you would think I wasn’t qualified to tell you what to do. But I really want to do it for your own good. If you can listen to these words, you can listen to them. If you can’t listen to them, let it be so.”
Shen Fan sighed, “I don’t understand why you like men. I was quite repulsed by this group for a while before. Although I later learned some things that made me change my mind, I have to say that this society doesn’t have much tolerance for you. It is not too much to say that it’s discriminatory.”
Tang Yi gave him a look and nodded, “Yes.”
“You are really like that, and I have no right to interfere. But,” Shen Fan was silent for a while before looking over, “are you sure you want to progress with Zhou Hao?”
“Is there a problem with Zhou Hao?”
“Not yet.” Shen Fan casually pinched off a grape leaf, his gaze darkening, “But if there is, I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect you. The Zhou family is the one above us, three, six, nine, we are still below.”
Shen Fan didn’t know much about Zhou Hao.
In fact, Zhou Hao himself had nothing to be blamed for; he could even be called the ultimate model of a young and talented rich second generation, in many ways putting Shen Fan to shame.
Shen Fan had already graduated from the university when he came into contact with the company, and at that time he knew that one of the company’s board members was a young man of his age who was ruthless and fierce, yet did everything in a surefire manner.
The education that Shen Fan had received since childhood was how to be a good and upright young man, to never get involved in deception, to have a forgiving heart towards others, to repay grievances with virtue and to know how to repay kindness… If you broke open Shen Fan’s brain at that time, the various ideas found in it could be printed out and properly serve as a textbook for a model of contemporary youth morals.
But this was of no use. Although Shen Zuoyuan, Shen Fan’s father, was a filial fool, he was quite gifted in business, otherwise it would be impossible to create ER. He pretended to be a pig to eat a tiger (acted weak to serve as a bait) in front of the directors all these years. He knew that business was treacherous and Shen Fan, with his personality, would definitely find it unbearable, so he let Shen Fan exercise for five years on his own.
In these five years, Shen Fan had watched how Shen Zuoyuan pretended to be crazy and stupid, sending misfortune to the East(2), and also witnessed Zhou Hao’s powerful and effective hand, learning a lot from him silently.
Today, the Shen family was still the largest shareholder of ER and couldn’t do without Zhou Hao’s backing. But the dangerous status quo of the Shen family walking on thin ice now was also the result of Zhou Hao’s connivance with other shareholders. Shen Fan listed Zhou Hao as his number one opponent for a considerable period of time, until later he learned about the situation of the Zhou family.
It really answered his opening sentence.
Where there are people, there are three, six and nine.
Lin Rui, for example, whose biological mother and stepfather were legally married, would himself have quite a lot of capital. After returning from abroad, as long as his stepfather exerted a little effort, his resources would inevitably be much higher than those of Tang Yi and Gu Yanting.
However, his status as a stepson and the power of the Wang family were still weaker than those of the Shen family, so Lin Rui had to rely on Shen Fan for many things.
But again, Shen Fan’s family background was no match for Zhou Hao’s. Although Zhou Hao was not the only son, his shares in ER were just something Zhou Hao’s father bought for his son to play with. These years, Zhou Hao used very little energy on ER, mostly dealing with his own business. However, even so, Shen Fan would have to use all his strength to gradually eliminate Zhou Hao’s influence in ER.
It’s not easy to climb high, but it’s even harder to stay low.
“You didn’t approach Zhou Hao just to spite Gu Yanting, did you?” Shen Fan turned around and asked.
“No,” Tang Yi sighed, “Gu Yanting won’t contact me anymore. No need.”
“Then you really want to date Zhou Hao?”
“Let’s see,” Tang Yi suddenly smiled, “Is there a company rule against office romance?” Without waiting for Shen Fan to answer, he added quickly, “If so, I’ll submit my resignation when the time comes.”
1. An idiom meaning that there are many grades and categories, and there are various differences
2. To use certain means not to let oneself suffer losses, but to let others bear the losses instead of oneself