The company really had nothing to do in the next two days apart from Gu Yanting’s order. Tang Yi hesitated for a while, and Zhou Hao made a decision for him, “Leave the customer to Yan Ke, and Xiao Zhao will pick you up tomorrow afternoon.”
Tang Yi opened his mouth, but could only close it again, and whispered in a low voice, “Do I need to bring anything?”
“No,” Zhou Hao said lightly, as if this was just a very ordinary meeting between the two of them, “I like you just the way you are.”
Tang Yi laughed, dumbfounded, but despite this, he still bought a lot of expensive gifts.
Secretary Zhao came very early the next day. After he arrived downstairs in the company, he didn’t dare to urge Tang Yi and waited until the agreed time before calling Tang Yi and saying that he had arrived.
Tang Yi walked out with his things soon after receiving the call. While Secretary Zhao was busy helping him put his things away, he realized that there was something a bit different about Tang Yi today.
It was only when they were almost at C City that Secretary Zhao realised that it wasn’t a bit different, it was too different. Usually Tang Yi wore very strict clothes, his hair was neatly combed and he had his black-rimmed glasses on. If he didn’t smile, the first impression people would have was that he was serious, and the second was that he was handsome.
But today Tang Yi not only didn’t wear glasses, he also wore a light-colored shirt. Secretary Zhao used his peripheral vision to keenly capture the brand of the shirt, and the concept of this brand, noble and elegant, was vividly represented by Tang Yi with his bright phoenix eyes. The way he sat in the back seat silently, just looking sideways out the window was enough for Secretary Zhao to keep staring at him.
It was hard for him to imagine that such a man came from a poor background and not from a wealthy upbringing like his boss who had been well clothed and fed since childhood.
He had followed Zhou Hao for many years and had seen many second-generation and third-generation members of the noble families, and there were also many celebrities and models. However, neither men nor women among them had the temperament of Tang Yi, and none of them had ever aroused Zhou Hao’s interest.
Tang Yi had appeared somewhat suddenly, and even Secretary Zhao was a bit incredulous for a while. Was it possible that Mr. Zhou also had a mortal heart? And there he thought Mr. Zhou was incapable of love.
In fact, Zhou Hao could not only fall in love, but also capture one’s heart.
After Tang Yi followed Secretary Zhao into Zhou’s house, the last thing he expected to see was Zhou Hao wearing home clothes and an apron.
The latter saw him come in, smiled and greeted him before turning around and walking back to the kitchen, followed by the nervous cook with a dazed expression.
The housekeeper took Tang Yi’s things and put them away, and then led him respectfully to the living room. Zhou’s house was not very big, even slightly smaller than Shen Fan’s house. But the feeling it gave was one of exquisite elegance mixed with pride. There were a number of Chinese ornaments in the French style of decoration, but they were not at all out of place, nothing like Zhou Dongchuan’s taste in the rumours.
The housekeeper took Tang Yi to the mini bar in the living room. After serving tea and a drink, he retreated with his head lowered. The whole process was respectful, polite and silent. Tang Yi sat down on the wicker chair. On the small table in front of him was a silver plate with dried flowers and spices, as well as a delicate vase full of coffee beans.
When Zhou Hao came out with a plate of scones, Tang Yi was sniffing the coffee beans for fun. He turned slightly and saw Zhou Hao who had already changed his clothes, looking at him with a smile. The housekeeper behind Zhou Hao was carrying jam and cream and must have been standing for a while with his eyes downcast.
Tang Yi looked at Zhou Hao for a long time before smiling, “You made them?”
Zhou Hao nodded, motioned to the housekeeper to put the things down, and then sat opposite Tang Yi. He didn’t mention why he wanted Tang Yi to come over today, he just cut a freshly baked scone in the middle, took a tea knife and lightly smeared the scone with a layer of jam, then added a little cream, and delivered it to Tang Yi’s lips.
When Tang Yi was on a business trip before, he once dealt with a particularly fussy customer and accompanied him to English afternoon tea in a prestigious five-star hotel for three consecutive days. However, he was never interested in this slightly coarse bread. When accompanying a customer, he seemed to be talking and laughing, and aptly quoting classics, but in fact, he was always thinking about how to get more money from the other party’s pocket. The afternoon tea favoured by the aristocrats often felt cold in his mouth and didn’t taste anything special. A scone was not as good as a piece of moist and soft cheesecake.
Zhou Hao watched him gently purse his lips and finally said with a smile, “Taste it, it’s my first time making it, you can spit it out if it’s not good.”
Tang Yi was startled for a moment, but was finally embarrassed to let Zhou Hao feed him, so he picked the scone up by himself.
The taste turned out to be surprisingly good.
“I know,” Zhou Hao said with a smile, “I know you don’t like to eat this kind of thing. I’ve been learning all morning today.”
Tang Yi paused while drinking tea, hearing the implied meaning. He raised his eyes to look at Zhou Hao, and the other party also looked at him, his deep eyes focused and direct.
“Many things look the same, but their essence is different.” Zhou Hao lowered his voice and said slowly, “Although Gu Yanting and I look alike, he is not me and I’m not him.”
Tang Yi: “……”
Tang Yi had known for a long time that Zhou Hao couldn’t possibly not know anything about his past, but at this moment, he looked at him cautiously, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.
Zhou Hao also raised his eyes and asked half jokingly: “If he comes back and begs to get back together, will you regret?”
Tang Yi looked calm and gave a meaningful smile, “Will this affect you?”
Zhou Hao was silent for a while, then shook his head, “No.”
“That’s it,“ Tang Yi finished drinking the rest of the black tea, fiddled with the teacup and said thoughtfully, “We are so alike.”
Zhou Hao didn’t refute this. He didn’t mind being honest about his thoughts and intentions in front of Tang Yi, which was as natural as courting the person he liked. It was basically impossible to say that he didn’t mind anything about Tang Yi’s three-year past. Although he had already investigated all those things, it was still not as good as Tang Yi telling him about it himself.
It was not a normal attitude for the other party to never mention that relationship, but many times Tang Yi was very direct in his words and actions, which made it impossible for Zhou Hao to ask for more.
Zhou Hao’s parents took Zhou Weiwei out on a trip yesterday, and there were only Zhou Hao and the housekeeper and cook in the house. Tang Yi relaxed a lot. He chatted with Zhou Hao about the company, and then went to the study to find a book to read. Zhou Hao couldn’t accompany him for a long time; in the evening, Secretary Zhao came over and reminded him that there was a charity reception in C City. Zhou Dongchuan was the first person to donate to charity in C City. He had gone on a trip, so naturally he needed Zhou Hao to take over.
When Zhou Hao was leaving, Tang Yi saw him off at the entrance. Dinner had just been prepared and the cook showed all her skills, matching the meat and vegetables very well. The flavours were all based on Tang Yi’s preferences as described by Zhou Hao. Tang Yi was originally a little moved, but when Zhou Hao was about to leave, he felt helpless again.
“En. You eat first. There are people from the Municipal Party committee at this reception, I can’t push it off.” Zhou Hao saw that Tang Yi was a little reluctant and felt faintly happy. He raised his hand and finally put it on Tang Yi’s neck, rubbing gently, “I’ll be back early.”
Tang Yi had never attended a charity reception, but he also knew that such a banquet was all for display and no one would really go there to eat. He thought for a while and felt that he was not hungry yet, so he asked the cook to cover up the dishes, planning to wait for Zhou Hao to come back to eat together.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, Tang Yi did have the idea of giving it a try with Zhou Hao. He and Gu Yanting were clearly separated. The latter left without a trace. Zhou Hao was a brilliant man who knew how to get along, and after two years together, there was no major conflict in their outlooks and habits. It was really a great choice.
But after agreeing, Tang Yi couldn’t fully commit himself to it. He had poured too much emotion in those three years; he had no reservations about his joys, sorrows, anger and happiness, but in the end he ended up parting ways. While he felt resentment towards Gu Yanting, he also felt that this was the result of his own direction. On the other hand, he was afraid that Zhou Hao’s momentary infatuation would not last. Many times Tang Yi felt that it was better to forget it. It was good to be alone. But whenever there was the New Year’s holiday, he would be greedy to grab a little warmth, even if it was just someone, and to have a home for himself.
Zhou Hao didn’t return all night. It was already noon when he came back the next day. Tang Yi waited until very late the night before, and received a call from Secretary Zhao near twelve o’clock, saying that Zhou Hao was not feeling well and had already gone to rest in the room at the hotel where the banquet was held.
Tang Yi let out a sigh, didn’t hang up the phone and didn’t know what to say, so he was silent. Secretary Zhao’s call was made privately, without Zhou Hao’s authorisation, but his intuition as a secretary made him feel that it was best to say something. When he heard Tang Yi’s silence, he couldn’t help but worry that the other party had misunderstood something.
Fortunately, after a while, Tang Yi regained his senses and said with a low chuckle, “Thank you. ”
Secretary Zhao: “What is Mr. Tang thanking me for? This is what Mr. Zhou asked me to do.”
Tang Yi smiled and hung up after saying good night. But Secretary Zhao inexplicably felt a chill down his spine and there was a kind of panic that Tang Yi would know everything through the phone line.
When Zhou Hao came back, he learned that Tang Yi was leaving. The news came from the company. Yan Ke somehow angered the Huayuan customers. It took Tang Yi a moment to react before he remembered that Huayuan was the company where Gu Yanting worked. He couldn’t help but be filled with suspicion and felt that there was a problem with Gu Yanting before he even asked. Yan Ke had been in the business for many years, from project implementation to his current position, so how could he possibly go and offend the other side?
Soon Assistant Xiao Yang found out the cause of the incident. The person in charge of Huayuan’s procurement this time was surnamed Chen, and Gu Yanting, who followed him, was just helping. Huayuan was very secretive about Gu Yanting’s status, but that Mr. Chen had explicitly asked for a kickback(1).
Originally, Mr. Chen’s coming to T City this time was a bit personal. One of his little mistresses was pregnant. Afraid of being discovered by his wife, he hid his mistress in T City to give birth here. The due date was this month. Mr. Chen took a business trip thinking about guarding the little mistress here.
He came urgently and was at the hospital for the past two days. Gu Yanting made several appearances on his behalf, and the contract was almost negotiated. Yan Ke originally received Gu Yanting’s mobile phone number and spent 120% of his mind on dealing with Gu Yanting. He didn’t expect that when he was about to sign the contract, Chief Chen would pop up asking for a kickback.
It was really normal for the software industry to ask for a kickback, and the sum Mr. Chen asked for was not too high. So if they were talking about this step in the usual way, they would basically have a deal. The only thing was that Yan Ke thought Chief Chen was just a minion and said a couple of words in between. So a good contract was about to be scrapped.
Huayuan’s order was not small. The OA system was just the front. In fact, Huayuan’s order could be several millions if not more. Therefore, ER’s competitors had already rushed from other cities to squat and wait for the opportunity to intercept the person in charge of Huayuan.
Grabbing orders in this industry was like grabbing a lifeline. Tang Yi said that he didn’t expect Yan Ke, a smart man with so many years of experience, to make such a low-level mistake. But it was precisely because Yan Ke’s qualifications and his position were high enough that with this incident, there was no one left in the company who could play the role of the good guy.
Once Huayuan’s order was lost, which old customer would introduce people here?
Tang Yi packed up and was about to go back to T City. When Zhou Hao came back, he was about to leave. The two ran into each other in the living room. They were stunned for a while and both smiled helplessly.
“You go first,” Zhou Hao hugged him, “I’ll come later.”
There was naturally no need for Zhou Hao to come for such a small matter, and Tang Yi knew that he was talking about coming to keep him company, as a sort of compensation for last night. He rubbed his brow and said, “You still have things to do here, so don’t run between places. This is not a big deal, I can handle it.”
Considering that there were quite a few competitors who were eager to snatch people right here in T City, Tang Yi didn’t even go back home and resolutely asked Xiao Yang to arrange a dinner party for that night.
Mr. Chen’s little mistress was his first love. When Mr. Chen was young, he courted this girl for two years, but as soon as he graduated, the girl thought he was too poor and kicked him away. Later on, his rightful wife was introduced to him, and after they got married the rightful wife asked her father to haul in the connections to stuff Mr. Chen into Huayuan.
Mr. Chen relied on his wife’s family for his development. At first, he lived and ate at his wife’s house. It seemed that he was no different from the adopted son-in-law(2), but in fact, the children were still surnamed Chen and the family regarded Mr. Chen as the head. However, even so, it didn’t stop him from disliking his wife’s old age after his success. When he again saw his first love who was as beautiful as a flower, he naturally couldn’t resist and fell in bed with her in a moment.
Tang Yi had been used to seeing such phoenix men(3), or rather peacock men, over the years. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It was nothing to be embarrassed about to roll up his sleeves and have a meal and a drink with his customers. Profit was paramount, and it was not for him, an outsider, to be angry about such things.
But when he saw that Gu Yanting was also at the banquet, a nameless fire burned fiercely in his heart.
When Gu Yanting knew that there was a banquet tonight, he didn’t refuse. Mr. Chen didn’t want to break up with ER completely, but considering that Yan Ke was the general manager of their major customer department, there were not many ways to smooth out the situation. So Gu Yanting could only help him as a peacemaker.
Everything seemed to go as it should have but Gu Yanting didn’t know that Tang Yi was the one who set the banquet tonight.
He looked down, chatting with Mr. Chen while being led to a private room, and then he raised his eyes and saw Tang Yi with a smile on his lips, facing the door. Tang Yi didn’t wear glasses, his hair was a little mussed and he was wearing a light-colored shirt that he didn’t often wear but must have looked particularly good in.
The moment Gu Yanting raised his head and looked at Tang Yi, the only thing he felt was a blast in his head, leaving a blank after that.
- an illicit payment made to someone in return for facilitating a transaction or appointment
- the one that lives with his wife’s family, in effect becoming a member of her family
- refers to a rural boy who marries a city girl (and has good looks) and cheats on her after the marriage