Break-up Chapter 39

Very often, the turmoil at the decision-making level should be avoided from spreading to the executive level as much as possible. Just like with Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu’s quick and stealthy actions at the drinking table over the past few days, when ER’s employees came to work as usual, they naturally had no idea what kind of ordeal three people in their general manager’s office were going through.

ER was forced into a dead end. To Ning Zeyu’s surprise, he didn’t expect Tang Yi to be able to hold back. Tang Yi’s expression was calm when he summed up the conclusion, even with a bit of cold indifference. Yet his trembling fingers gave away his inner panic and resentment. He flipped the contract several times before finally opening it. When his eyes fell on the line circled by Cao Zhengxuan with a red pen, Tang Yi suddenly grabbed the contract and slammed it on the floor, the newly bound pages scattering in all directions.

Ning Zeyu’s shock had not yet dissipated, and seeing Tang Yi like this, he could not find words to comfort him. Tang Yi paced for a while in the same place. His cheeks were bitten from within. At that moment, Ning Zeyu had the illusion that this was what Tang Yi was like, a lone wolf in essence.

Then, this “lone wolf” stopped and turned his head to spit out one word to him, “Endure.”

Tang Yi endured the choking suffocation of Yan Ke’s betrayal. The latter had single-handedly prepared this contract and subsequently left it in his office, procrastinating all the time without filing it. Cao Zhengxuan, who was as attentive as he could be, realised before Ning Zeyu that the departure of two technicians was not an ordinary incident of competitor poaching. So while Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu were placating the customers, he finally uncovered this bigger hidden danger.

It was less than a week before the agreed start date with Huayuan.

There was basically no hope for headhunting companies. T City was just a small northern city, and those who could meet their requirements preferred to develop in big companies in big cities. Moreover, the conditions of the headhunting companies were based on annual salary, plus terms such as double pay for outbound travels and paid leaves and holidays. Even if people were recruited, it would have caused an imbalance in the existing staff.

Ning Zeyu had no choice but to follow Tang Yi and pretend he didn’t know anything. At the same time, according to the strategy discussed by the three of them, he began to secretly contact the senior executives of several competitors.

Tang Yi, on the contrary, didn’t seem to care much anymore. He found some time to go to the hospital by himself and finally brought down this annoying fever. But his face was still pale, and although he was well-proportioned and well-dressed, his actions were much slower than usual, and many things he did were nonsensical and extremely unlike his style.

For example, letting food slip out when eating; squinting under a blanket all afternoon alone; sitting in the car for a long time as well as dropping his phone into the sink several times.

He no longer went out to socialise and rarely arranged anything. The only two phone calls in the last few days were on the eve of his birthday. The first call was from Zhou Hao, who was planning to come over the next day. Tang Yi was sitting on the floor in the living room, leaning against the sofa, saying back to him, “No need, I’m not free these days, let’s talk about it in a few days.”

Zhou Hao spoke in a low voice on the other end, asking him if something happened.

Tang Yi was startled, shook his head again and said, “It’s my dog, he’s sick and I have to take care of him.”

In fact, Fanfan had just a little cold, and he was alive and kicking after drinking some paediatric granules and a day of abstaining from food and water. Tang Yi subconsciously used it as an excuse, and after speaking, he inexplicably felt another burst of sorrow in his heart.

Zhou Hao on the other end smiled and said: that’s okay, call me when you have time.

In less than half an hour after Zhou Hao hung up, Shen Fan and Gu Yanting’s calls came one after another. Tang Yi only picked up Shen Fan’s, who said the cheesy “happy birthday” and excitedly told Tang Yi about Big Beauty’s birthday arrangements this year, asking what time Tang Yi would come tomorrow.

Big Beauty was very kind to Tang Yi and simply regarded Tang Yi as her second son both in her words and in her actions. Shen Fan boasted of his brother everywhere, and Tang Yi had never refused to come in the past. This time, however, he paused for a while and then asked hoarsely, “Shen Fan, the company’s affairs, you do know about them, right?”

Tang Yi leaned back on the sofa, slowly rubbing his temples while letting out a long breath, “Is there a problem with the head office’s finances?”

He sounded affirmative when he said this. In the past, when Shen Fan was chased by Tang Yi relentlessly, asked what was going on, he would immediately throw the phone to the secretary next to him, and then ask the secretary to come up with some excuse. This time Tang Yi waited for a while, but heard Shen Fan sigh deeply at last.

Tang Yi’s face finally slowly sank. He had thought about many things and had many questions, but now he opened his mouth and found that it was futile to say any of them.

Gu Yanting’s call was rejected by him. Tang Yi isolated himself completely, going out to work during the day and coming back at night to sit on the balcony in a daze and in silence.

He waited until the night before the scheduled start date of Huayuan Group, when he woke up from his dream at midnight, groped for his mobile phone and called while he was still unconscious.

Gu Yanting was sleeping soundly at the time and was about to hang up finding the phone with one hand. He squinted a second before sliding his finger down, and when he saw Tang Yi’s name, he almost jumped out of the bed.

When the call was answered, Gu Yanting’s eyes were still sleepy. He didn’t open them but called out in an extremely soft voice, “Tang Yi?”

Tang Yi was slowly waking up, listening to the familiar voice, and then before his consciousness returned, he asked in a dazed and clueless manner, “Are you cold there?”

Gu Yanting rubbed his eyes with the mobile phone in his hand. His ears perked up as he listened to Tang Yi’s almost dreamlike enquiry, and he busily whispered back, “No, it’s not cold, it’s still over twenty degrees here.”

“Oh, it’s quite cold here for me.”

Gu Yanting finally heard that something was wrong. In the three years he and Tang Yi had been in bed together, he had seen a similar situation. It was only once or twice, and it was always caused by Tang Yi’s extremely suppressed emotions. Later, Tang Yi became more mature and stable, hard enough to keep both of his hands on the pulse of his work and life, so Gu Yanting never saw him so frightened again.

After Tang Yi finished speaking, he seemed dumbfounded and didn’t make a sound. Gu Yanting didn’t dare to provoke his sensitive nerves with “what’s wrong with you”, but only lowered his voice and spoke softly and slowly to calm him down. He changed all of his statements into declarative sentences, and spoke in a low and slow voice, telling funny jokes and vulgar jokes he had heard during the day.

This time Tang Yi sank to the bottom of silence, and half an hour later, Gu Yan Ting heard the soft snoring on the other end of the conversation.

Something finally happened at ER.

Yet the employees in the company who worked from 9 to 5 were unaware of it. They checked in at the office at the right time and then started their work enthusiastically. Everyone knew that the company had lost two technical staff, but the turmoil that had arisen over this had been subdued in two or three days. Everyone took it for granted that the customers were still patiently waiting for them to deliver their work. Everything in the company was running perfectly normally and their lives were still safe and happy.

So when the company received a letter from the Huayuan Group’s lawyer, the news spread immediately and the company exploded.

Huayuan Group had obviously come prepared, and the lawyer’s letter was sent over as soon as the project’s opening day arrived, before the morning was over. The lawyer’s letter was short and concise, naming all the relevant payments in the contract, dwelling on the contractual constraints and the pros and cons of ER, first pointing out the pre-existing fact that ER’s inability to implement the project had delayed the work schedule, and then righteously putting forward a request for compensation.

Tang Yi was wearing a dark shirt that day, and when he received this letter he was sitting in the boss’s chair in his office, with a rare look of liveliness on his face. Unlike the employees, who were in a state of shock, he felt a sense of relief when the other shoe had finally fallen.

When Cao Zhengxuan told him that the contract was fraudulent, Tang Yi’s first instinctive thought was that this was definitely not the work of the competitors.

So he suppressed the resentment and anger in his chest and together with Cao Zhengxuan and Ning Zeyu started a detailed sandbox deduction from the time those two people left without saying goodbye.

What would have happened if the companies had been unrelenting in their demand for compensation?

What if they hadn’t invited those big companies to the banquet?

What if Huayuan’s order had been normal?

What if everything had gone the other way?

That morning, beads of sweat broke out on the foreheads of the three men, and Ning Zeyu cursed fiercely at the end of the deduction, “Fuck!”  After that, Tang Yi also made up his mind to let the situation unfold.

Because the result of the deduction was that the other party was a drinker not really interested in alcohol (had an ulterior motive), and the compensation was a gimmick. No matter how ER struggled, the final result was that the company’s capital chain was broken.

ER originally offered a lot of preferential conditions to customers in order to grab orders. One of the killer deals was that the customer was only required to pay 20% upfront at the beginning of the project, with the remainder to be paid in two instalments, 50% of which would be paid within two weeks after delivery. It was not uncommon for customers to be late with their payments, but at the end of the year they would pay, and the bad debt rate was minimal.

On the one hand, they had the support of the parent company, and on the other hand, they had a steady stream of advance payments from new customers for circulation, so even if the capital chain was occasionally strained, there would be no major problems. This time Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu were able to arrange their work in an orderly manner because Huayuan’s project was so large that Huayuan’s advance payment alone was enough to advance the project costs of those wrangling companies.

It just didn’t occur to them that the Huayuan Group they had pinned their hopes on was originally a trap, and Ma Sinian and Wang Xiangming’s departure was even more of a trap — they had at least ten projects under them, and once the schedule dragged on, the customers could easily haggle over the final payment on the grounds of delayed work.

If they didn’t get their project payments back, their capital chain would be easily stretched. Tang Yi’s earlier fears about the parent company, which Shen Fan had also admitted, amounted to an attitude — the parent company could not allocate money for relief at a critical moment.

And the worst part was that their company had been established for a relatively short period of time; under the rather weak corporate culture, the loyalty of the staff was generally low, with a high turnover of personnel. If people realised that the company was in trouble, those who would think about how to ride out the storm together would be in the minority; most would be more concerned about whether their salaries were going to be paid on time, whether their bonuses would be affected, and what their next salary would be if they jumped ship now.

The fewer people were left, the fewer sales there were, and the implementation suffered even more. If this went on, it wouldn’t take long for the subsidiary to close down; it would be only a matter of time.

When the deduction was completed, Tang Yi’s finger was cut by a piece of draft paper, and fine beads of blood immediately emerged from the cut.

Tang Yi would always remember that scene, the quiet, cold office, the eyes of the three big men staring at the draft paper scattered all over the table, their faces grey and defeated. Outside the frosted partition were the unsuspecting employees of the company. The older ones, such as Cao Zhengxuan, were working steadily and honestly, thinking that it was good to have a job. As long as the company was there, they would have something to fall back on in the future. The younger ones were like that girl Chen Xuan who said to Tang Yi playfully that day after accompanying him to drink, “Can the boss make the red envelopes thicker for the New Year?”

Tang Yi put the lawyer’s letter aside. At this time there were many people calling. Tang Yi asked Xiao Yang to connect the phone directly; he wanted to answer every call in person.

Among them were those who took advantage of the fire to loot and expressed their concern for their projects. There were also many who were genuinely concerned and were offering that their companies could pay the final payment in advance. Tang Yi took a pen and wrote down the names of all these companies, and when the last unfamiliar number came in, his hand shook violently.

The person on the other end of the line was very condescending, politely but forcefully expressing his company’s intention to help Tang Yi overcome the difficult times.

Tang Yi listened to the other party with his eyes down, and when he realised that the other party’s help was tantamount to a takeover, his hand on the phone almost burst with the blue veins. After the other party finished speaking, Tang Yi took a deep breath and asked for the name of the other party’s company.

An hour later he had finally gathered enough information about this company, then dialled the number against the name of the legal entity on the computer.

A familiar voice came from the other end of the line, and Tang Yi’s body broke out in a sweat at some point, his lips trembling so much that he could barely string together the words.

“Zhou Hao, thank you for your birthday present.”

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12 thoughts on “Break-up Chapter 39

  1. Seriously of all people the was never a possibility in my mind, now I understand why you said you didn’t like my poor TY and my poor ZWW 💔

    Thanks for the chapter! 😢😢

    1. I was so shocked when I read that sentence for the first time! Never saw it coming at all! I actually didn’t like ZH because he seemed so perfect he was boring, like he’s even baking scones, huh, no shortcomings at all! 😂😂 Well, he definitely stopped being boring at that moment 😂

      1. You might not believe me but I had a bad feeling about ZH when we found out he wanted to move here. I didn’t think it was because of TY. ZH was too quiet and he couldn’t be that successful in business if he was not cunning.

      2. It’s true! There will be more about family, so one can see where he comes from. Still not liking him 🙂 🙂

  2. This sly b****! I can’t say I’m surprised, the guy was willing to murder innocent animals and his behaviour towards TY was too controlled to be 100% genuine. But I didn’t expect he would attack TY directly, more like use his connection to TY to attack SF and the parent company. It sucks because now TY has to lose Weiwei too 😕

    1. I was soooo shocked with that moment when I read it first. But also relieved, because I didn’t like the guy anyway. He will show himself more complicated later. And Weiwei… you’ll see 🙂 🙂

  3. I thought about Zhou Hao but for about 2 seconds ( but I also thought about Shen Fan 🤣😅). I’m surprised but also not, I knew he was too good to be true and the whole thing with the lions was a big flag for me.
    Well, at least, there’s not a boring moment for us readers !

    Thanks for the translation ! 💕

    1. I actually didn’t think about him because I didn’t want to be prejudiced 😅😅 But I was happy it was him (and Tang Yi had a reason to get out of their dragging relationship) 🤗🤗

  4. I had an inkling on the two last chapters, the only person capable of poaching or scheming or placing spies was only Zhou Hao, am not very surprised just disappointed

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