As the situation at ER gradually became clearer, Shen Fan began to reorganise the company. Unlike the original boss’s meek style, Shen Fan was very decisive. He had been training for five years before and had worked at the grassroots level to get to know all the details, so he was naturally not soft in dealing with the demons and monsters at the top.
The only thing was that Shen Zuoyuan didn’t have many loyal subordinates, and the assistants he had left behind all turned their coats. There was no telling how much information had been sent out, both explicitly and implicitly. With Shen Fan rectifying them and with several projects going hand in hand, his weakness in terms of manpower soon became apparent.
Shen Fan wanted to promote a group of people he trusted. It was just that the company had been operating for many years, and the internal interpersonal relationships were complicated. The current status quo was also the result of the balance of power between multiple parties. Now he wanted to dismantle everything so violently and directly, and he had naturally encountered unprecedented resistance.
There was a lot of cursing and unified opposition from the board of directors. The shares that had fallen into Shen Fan’s hands after being divested over the years were not enough to counteract the joint resolutions of the other shareholders, and Shen Fan was at his wit’s end. Who knew that he would have the support of Zhou Hao at the critical moment.
Shen Fan’s original plan was indeed a bit too hasty, and some of the people he wanted to replace were also Zhou Hao’s die-hard subordinates. Zhou Hao’s support not only quelled the dispute, but also made everyone’s jaw drop.
Someone then quickly reached out to one of the most obscure names amidst this change — Tang Yi.
The branch in T City was not large, and the general manager in charge of it was a typical person who sat on his hands, eating and waiting for death. As long as the head office didn’t kick him, he wouldn’t move. The cooperation with Hexing Entertainment had come to a standstill halfway into the negotiations. Shen Fan wanted to promote Tang Yi because of his affinity, but Tang Yi’s own ability was more than enough to take care of all of this.
Shen Fan’s original plan for the T City branch was for Tang Yi to be promoted to manager; a separate department would be set up to follow up on the cooperation with Hexing Entertainment and Lin Rui would be put in charge of it. Other projects would remain unchanged, depending on Tang Yi’s arrangements as the new manager.
Who could have imagined that Zhou Hao would kick Lin Rui all the way down to the marketing department at the head office; and now Shen Fan still depended on Zhou Hao’s favour, so he could only put this little matter aside for the time being and let Lin Rui follow the people from the head office marketing department to deal with everyday business matters.
In just two months Tang Yi catapulted to the position of the general manager of T City.
In these two months, a few other not-so-small things happened. One was that Shen Fan’s many reforms finally started bearing fruit. Although Tang Yi was far away in T City, he clearly sensed the awe that everyone felt when they mentioned Shen Fan. Secondly, Tang Yi had a birthday celebration.
On that day, Shen Fan came all the way back and took Tang Yi to the Shen family. Mom Shen had already set up a table of food and wine, and a double-layer cake was placed in one corner of the spacious dining room. While eating, Tang Yi received a call from Zhou Hao and learned that the other party had arrived in T City.
Tang Yi had never mentioned anything about his birthday. Zhou Hao was busy and kept his courting of Tang Yi at the most comfortable pace for them both. The two of them were quite a bit like gentleman friends, as insipid as water. And now that Zhou Hao silently rushed over to celebrate his birthday, Tang Yi was a little bit embarrassed at this end in City C.
Zhou Hao also sighed helplessly. Tang Yi hesitated for a moment and explained with a smile, “Shen Fan is my brother. So I didn’t dare not to come tonight.”
The relationship between Shen Fan and Zhou Hao was somewhat delicate, and Tang Yi had no choice but to stand in the middle. He didn’t want to invite trouble for Shen Fan, nor did he want to hide it from Zhou Hao. He hesitated a lot whether he should tell Zhou Hao or not. After all, when Zhou Hao had initially asked him he had said that the two of them were not familiar with each other.
Zhou Hao smiled and said, “That’s good, you also have a brother to back you up now.”
Tang Yi asked him, “Aren’t you surprised?”
“No,” Zhou Hao said tenderly, “I knew. It’s just that I didn’t want you to be embarrassed since you didn’t say anything, so I pretended I didn’t know.”
Tang Yi’s work was even busier after his promotion. The former boss of T City left a mess behind. Luckily, the marketing department under Tang Yi was performing steadily, ensuring that the branch’s annual reports were not too ugly.
People in the company also saw that there must be top-level support behind Tang Yi’s overly rapid promotion. Some people even asked their acquaintance at the head office, but the results they found were shocking. The person said that Tang Yi’s appointment was the result of the support of the entire board of directors.
Speculation ran rampant in all sorts of bizarre directions, but everyone adapted as quickly as possible to the situation of a colleague becoming a boss and cooperated very positively with the various tasks.
The biggest benefit this brought was Tang Yi’s three fires to celebrate his new position(1). The first of them was to discreetly provide a small paid holiday for the clear-sighted ladies and gentlemen, Christmas and New Year’s Day combined for a week.
The company’s gala dinner was also scheduled for Christmas Eve night. Again, the finance department allocated a rather rich sum for the person in charge of this year’s party.
The day of Christmas Eve, snow suddenly fell on the city. The men and women in all departments couldn’t hide their excitement when getting off work. Even most of the beautiful women first let out a distressed “ah” when they saw the snow drifting and then said with a heroic face that they would still wear a dress at night.
The annual party was set at a hotel not far from the company. The manager of the administration department personally chose a quasi-five-star hotel, booked a banquet hall with the best location, bought a large number of bouquets and decorations with the money saved, and personally directed the girls from the administration department and the secretariat to set up the layout.
The rest of the money was then exchanged for prizes and red envelopes for the lucky draw.
The whole annual party was very lively. Handsome men and women who normally only wore business clothes to and from work all changed into evening outfits. The generous prizes and red envelopes were allocated to almost every colleague, and after the energetic performance, everyone turned their attention to Tang Yi.
The newly appointed general manager was young, handsome and single, and the administration department and secretariat were full of beautiful girls, so they all went for Tang Yi at once.
When Zhou Hao pushed the door in, Tang Yi, who was surrounded by many beautiful women, was about to drink his first glass of wine tonight.
Tang Yi hadn’t had a stomachache for a long time, so he thought it would be okay to have a drink, but when the glass came to his lips, a hand reached out to him and took the glass away.
Zhou Hao still had a superbly crafted trench coat on the arm of his other hand, and he was already raising the glass distantly towards the crowd.
“Everyone has worked hard,” Zhou Hao smiled faintly, standing next to Tang Yi, “Mr. Tang and I would like to toast everyone.”
The people in the branch were first startled by the sudden arrival of the big boss, then they all cheered excitedly and enthusiastically. Zhou Hao drank the glass in one go, then patted Tang Yi and pulled him out through the side door while most of the people hadn’t come back to their senses.
Zhou Hao’s car was parked right in front of the hotel, and only when Tang Yi got in did he realise that Zhou Weiwei was sitting in the car, surprisingly asleep.
“No way, why did you leave the child behind and go over there?” Tang Yi froze for a moment, then lowered his voice to ask, forgetting the words of thanks he wanted to say.
Zhou Hao was pulling over the passenger’s seat belt to buckle him up. Hearing this, he also looked back at Zhou Weiwei behind him, smiled and explained, “Next time I won’t.”
He was too close to Tang Yi when he leaned over, and now when he turned his head, a few strands of his hair happened to brush across Tang Yi’s face.
Tang Yi leaned back unnaturally and whispered, “You’re a really unreliable father.”
“Really,” Zhou Hao paused but didn’t move, propping his hand on Tang Yi’s seat and almost touching Tang Yi’s face, breathing out in a low voice, “It’s because I missed you.”
The number of times Zhou Hao said corny words was not much. From the time he said he would court him in October to now, almost three months later, they added up to less than ten sentences. Usually, the two of them didn’t see each other a lot. Sometimes Tang Yi might have just been out of town when Zhou Hao visited his side, or Zhou Hao might not be able to get away when Tang Yi went to C City. So most of the time the two of them just talked on the phone.
Zhou Hao was a few years older than Tang Yi, so his experience and perspective were always more mature. When Tang Yi talked to him about work-related matters, he acted as a teacher, breaking down the problems Tang Yi encountered and guiding him to make a more perfect decision.
Although most of the time Tang Yi would stick to his own opinions, he benefited from this way of discussing things, and eight out of ten calls were about business.
It had been more than twenty days since they had last seen each other, and when Zhou Hao suddenly appeared, Tang Yi was indeed startled. But when Zhou Hao dragged him out, his heart couldn’t help but feel warm.
No matter what the holiday was, it was always best to have someone with you.
So now Zhou Hao almost whispered “missed you” against his face, and even though he knew there was the child in the back seat and security guards outside the car, Tang Yi didn’t change the subject with a smile as usual.
He raised his eyes and looked at the handsome face close to him for three seconds before he gave a soft sigh.
“I know,” Tang Yi said. “Thank you for coming.”
Neither of them changed their movements, and from the side the position was so ambiguous that if only one of them moved forward a little, the corners of their lips would be pressed together.
Zhou Hao’s eyes darkened slightly, but before he could move, he saw a car suddenly light up its headlights behind him, and then a security guard came over and knocked on the window very apologetically.
Zhou Weiwei also woke up when the car started. The child was a bit cold from sleeping, and sneezed vigorously first. When he looked up, he saw Tang Yi who turned his head to smile at him.
“Tang Susu!” Zhou Weiwei was so excited that he shouted, “Tang Susu, I missed you!”
This identical opening line of the father and the son made Tang Yi’s face heat up a little. He coughed lightly, pretending not to see Zhou Hao’s deep gaze, and asked Zhou Weiwei with a smile, “Where did you miss me?”
The kid scratched his head, then clutched the right side of his little chest and said, “Here! I missed you so much that my heart hurt!”
The streets were dressed up in a fancy way on Christmas Eve night, and there was a strong festive atmosphere everywhere. Zhou Hao drove the car slowly along Jianghuai Road, as if he invited Tang Yi out just to see the scenery. The music in the car was soft and low. When they passed the intersection of a commercial street, Zhou Hao suddenly stopped for a moment and let two pedestrians crossing the road pass first.
The two looked like students, and the boy caught the girl’s hand and put it in his coat pocket, with some shyness on his face. There were not many cars yielding to pedestrians in this area, and the boy was very nervous when he crossed the intersection, shielding the girl as if he was holding a fragile treasure. Tang Yi’s gaze followed them for a long time, until the car continued on past the intersection and he couldn’t see them anymore. He remained stunned for a while and then came back to his senses.
In the end, Tang Yi suggested going to his apartment. He didn’t ask why Zhou Hao had brought Zhou Weiwei over, nor did he ask when they had arrived.
For more than two months, he had spent day and night at work, rarely thinking about any emotional issues. Gu Yanting left cleanly and Lin Rui was sent away by Zhou Hao to work as a salesman at the headquarters. All this worked out the way Tang Yi wanted it to but he couldn’t say whether he was happy or unhappy.
At first Tang Yi used to have an inferiority complex, but later, when he had gradually learned something, he couldn’t help but have the arrogance of a young man. The only thing that remained constant was his always difficult situation and the sense of loneliness that often accompanied him. He restricted Gu Yanting’s friends, yet he had very few friends of his own. Ultimately, most of the problems lay with him, as he couldn’t open his heart to others and was somewhat obsessed with bartering his emotions, weighing your heart and measuring mine, and only when both sides were even did he feel he was not at a disadvantage.
In the past few years the road got more and more narrow, and the resentment in his heart over the last year or so had long since taken over the city and occupied most of the territory. Yet looking further back, in fact, in the beginning he had actually been treated gently and the look resembling the look on the boy’s face just now could often be seen on Gu Yanting’s face. To say that Gu Yanting had no feelings for him, no, he didn’t believe it.
When they broke up, he obsessively counted Gu Yanting’s pennies and cents and felt he was wronged everywhere. Now that he was finally separated and alone, he was willing to admit that there was much more resentment in his heart. Fortunately, Gu Yanting had gone far away, Tang Yi thought, so he could be relieved.
The apartment was tiny, with one bedroom and one living room. After Tang Yi brought the guests home, he first brewed two cups of ginger tea and watched one big and one small guy drink it down.
As long as Tang Yi was around, Zhou Weiwei would be very obedient, with his hands on his lap and his big eyes blinking. Zhou Hao was also sitting on the sofa at the moment, and the way the little one and the big one looked made Tang Yi feel funny; but more than that, it was a warm and fuzzy feeling.
There were no snacks or fruit at home, and no towels or toiletries if Zhou Hao spent the night here. Tang Yi hesitated for a moment and prepared to go downstairs.
“You’re going out?” Zhou Hao raised his eyebrows in surprise, “Do you want me to accompany you?”
“No, I’ll just go to the convenience store downstairs, I’ll be up in a bit.”
There weren’t many people in the convenience store, and when Tang Yi pushed the door open, his phone vibrated. He picked it up while choosing some things.
“……” No one spoke on the other end of the line. The caller was an unfamiliar number.
“Are you sick?” Tang Yi glanced at it and hung up casually.
By the time he had finished his shopping and entered the elevator, the number called again unrelentingly.
Tang Yi looked at it speechlessly and simply pressed the answer button. When they were at the university, their dorm dealt like this with harassing phone calls and sales calls. They picked up and tossed the phone aside, continuing to play games.
When he got out of the elevator, he didn’t expect that Zhou Hao was already waiting at the door. He looked down at the things in Tang Yi’s hand and couldn’t help but let out a low chuckle, “Hey, buying these alone isn’t enough, huh?”
Tang Yi froze for a moment, lifting the shopping bag and looking at it, “What else?”
“Underwear,” Zhou Hao answered succinctly, “I forgot to bring it.”
The phone suddenly beeped with a busy tone, and only then did Tang Yi remember that the call had not been hung up just now. He put the phone back into his pocket, then handed the shopping bag to Zhou Hao.
“I’ll go down again,” Tang Yi paused and couldn’t help but glance at Zhou Hao’s legs and asked, “What size is it?”
“I don’t know.” Zhou Hao suddenly smiled, “Why don’t you measure?”
- A metaphor for the actions of a newly appointed official who always does a few influential things first to show his or her talent and boldness.