The living room was very clean. It was already late when Tang Yi slowly finished his shower last night. When he came out, the lights in the living room were also turned off. Now that he closed the door behind Zhou Hao, he turned around and realised that the living room had been cleaned up.
The floor was clean and tidy, and the pile of papers on the coffee table and the pile of beer cans next to the coffee table were gone. There was also a pot with a small green plant on the TV cabinet, a little white bud standing beautifully in the midst of the leaves. Tang Yi froze for a moment before he remembered that it was a spathiphyllum he had put in the corner and hadn’t bothered with for days, and thought it had withered away.
The winter sunlight was spreading from the corner of the balcony, all the way down to Tang Yi’s feet. He turned around for a moment in a trance, then quickly came back to his senses and let Zhou Hao sit down on the sofa before going to the bedroom without saying a word.
This little unexpected discovery made Tang Yi’s tense heart relax a little bit.
In fact, he didn’t want to see Zhou Hao right now. Tang Yi felt a little irritable, not to mention that according to Zhou Hao’s style, this conversation would mostly become another form of persuasion. Zhou Hao stubbornly believed that he was right, that he was older and had more success in business than Tang Yi, in addition to being more experienced in the ways of the world. But now that the man was here, Tang Yi didn’t want to be evasive.
Gu Yanting was still sitting on the bed wrapped in the blanket. His hair was messy like a bird’s nest, but his eyes were wide open. Tang Yi closed the door and made a silent gesture at him. Then he ignored him and quickly changed clothes in front of the wardrobe.
Gu Yanting was really cooperative, keeping his mouth shut the whole time, only watching Tang Yi’s movements without blinking. When Tang Yi was about to open the door, he hesitantly moved forward and asked in a very low voice, “Are you going out?”
Tang Yi looked at him and didn’t intend to say anything.
Gu Yanting was obviously very cautious as he stretched out his hand and pulled on Tang Yi’s clothes, waiting for him to take two steps back before saying slowly, “I’ll wait here for you to come back. But I have to go back in the afternoon, I have a very important meeting I have to attend tomorrow morning…”
When Tang Yi heard this, he took his glasses and turned to leave. Gu Yanting rushed forward again and shouted in a whisper, “At least have a meal with me, ah…”
The quilt was pulled down a little during the dawdling, and when Tang Yi impatiently turned his head, he happened to see half of Gu Yanting’s bare chest. Before Gu Yanting could react, he saw Tang Yi suddenly smile coldly, come over and give him a condescending look, “So capable, huh? Fully naked?”
As Gu Yanting jumped under the covers and rolled quickly to the opposite side of the bed, Tang Yi closed the door and left. Gu Yanting sighed in silent relief and couldn’t help but feel grateful to this colleague who had come to find Tang Yi.
There was nothing wrong with sleeping naked, but in his case, sleeping naked meant that his hormones were out of balance and he was going to be bestial. He didn’t dare to touch Tang Yi last night, but that didn’t stop him from smelling Tang Yi’s scent through the two quilts for half the night. Tang Yi guessed it by looking at him, and if there wasn’t someone outside, Gu Yanting would have been kicked out of bed on the spot.
Gu Yanting lay on the half of the bed that Tang Yi had slept on and let out a sigh when he heard the door close. He did praise that “colleague” who had appeared just in time, but of course he never thought that it was the very same Zhou Whatever who he had cursed so many times last night.
Zhou Hao drove until he stopped in front of a cafe, and the two of them walked in. Tang Yi sent a text message to Ning Zeyu while waiting for his order to be taken, telling Ning Zeyu that he had to go out and would see him at the office this afternoon. The waiter just left when he put his phone down, and Zhou Hao turned to look at him, a smile on his lips and his expression gentle, no different from two years ago.
Tang Yi suddenly remembered that when the two of them first met, Zhou Hao was waiting for him in his car parked across the road. At that time the two of them were not familiar with each other. Later on, during the two years they spent together, Zhou Hao had treated him well far beyond the scale of their relationship. To be fair, the difference between them was too great and it was difficult to be equal in their contributions. Tang Yi’s material rewards were not what Zhou Hao wanted and he didn’t lack gold and silver, but he would still solemnly accept Tang Yi’s gifts every time anyway, just to give Tang Yi a peace of mind.
He said he would not force Tang Yi, and he really did what he said, rarely asking for anything in the past two years. If you looked at the situation as an outsider, it had always been Zhou Hao who had suffered more.
Tang Yi sat quietly across the table, and it was only after the waiter brought the coffee and dessert that the silence between the two was broken.
Zhou Hao pointed at the butter cookies on the plate and said, “I just learned to bake them before your birthday. I made you a box of them and they’re still at home.”
Tang Yi hummed and after a moment said “thank you”.
Zhou Hao looked at him and said somewhat helplessly, “Don’t be so polite. I know you’re still angry about the company, and I’ve come to see you today because I want to make things clear. After all, we can’t have a rift over some unnecessary misunderstanding.”
He paused for a moment and said, “I was getting along and interacting with you purely out of my own interests, there was no element of business in this. It is true that we often discussed the company’s affairs in these two years, but I have not passed a single word to others, including my father.”
Tang Yi was stunned for a moment and raised his eyes to look at him.
Zhou Hao looked straightforward and added lightly when Tang Yi looked over, “And you know, with a company of this size, there’s absolutely no need for me to take matters into my own hands.”
Tang Yi’s eyebrows twitched for a moment, and when Zhou Hao finished speaking, he nodded after a moment of silence, “You’re right. But it doesn’t make any difference.”
“Two days before my birthday, you were making cookies. But I was accompanying people to drink at the time.”
He drained his cup of coffee, waiting for the deeply roasted, sour and bitter taste to slowly dissipate, before smiling and continuing, “Before the Huayuan incident was exposed, two engineers left without saying goodbye. The company almost fell into chaos. The company’s unclear organisational structure and uneven staffing have a long history of problems. I have had a good life in the past two years and I have become accustomed to gradual progress. According to the plan, these hidden dangers could be gradually eliminated at the beginning of next year, but I didn’t expect that there would be a problem at the last juncture. My first reaction at that time was regret. I regretted my arbitrariness and failure to listen to the old employees’ words to reform earlier. I regretted my arrogance.”
The atmosphere in the cafe was peaceful, and Tang Yi’s tone was very calm. Zhou Hao’s eyes moved slightly and he let Tang Yi speak.
“So I prepared for the worst from the start, and then visited the most crucial companies one by one with Lao Ning. I drank a lot in those few days… You know, there are people at work who come to the office acting like big bad wolves. But as soon as the customer is ready, they immediately become complacent and behave like spoiled kids. In addition to drinking, I said so many words of begging I had never imagined I would have to say. When Shen Fan handed over the company to me, you don’t know how happy I was. Not for any other reason, but just to become the boss and never have to suck up to anyone again.”
Zhou Hao’s mood was a bit complicated at this moment. He hesitated for a long time and finally didn’t know what to say. He could only promise, “Follow me, and you will never have to suck up to anyone again.”
“……” Tang Yi and Zhou Hao looked at each other for a moment and Tang Yi smiled, “No, I’ll still have to suck up to you.”
Zhou Hao: “……”
Tang Yi sighed and asked him, “The premise of your public-private distinction is that we are not in a hostile relationship. As long as there is a conflict of interest between us, will you choose me, or the company?”
Zhou Hao was silent for a while and finally said, “…things are not black or white, there will always be other solutions.”
“Oh?” Tang Yi inclined his head to look at him, “Then let’s take a step back and imagine. If, according to what you said, I work in your company, you must give me a position that is not low, whether it is in compensation or otherwise. But Zhou Hao, is your company ironclad? Are there no interest camps? If so, how can you be sure that I will be on your side?”
“…You can be on the opposite side,” Zhou Hao sighed, “and generally speaking, I will be the one to win in the end anyway. Even if I’m unfortunate enough to be defeated by you, it’s because I’m not as skilled as you, and I won’t hold it against you.”
“That’s you, not me.” Tang Yi shook his head, “If I lose, I will definitely be angry, and if I lose repeatedly, there’s no guarantee that I won’t get annoyed and have evil thoughts. You and I share the same bed, aren’t you afraid that I will bring my knife to open your belly in the middle of the night in a fit of anger?”
The words were a bit rude, but they lightened the atmosphere a little. Zhou Hao smiled and shook his head, and Tang Yi gazed at him for a long time before finally saying softly, “I’m sorry, I don’t have the courage to be with you.”
Zhou Hao’s fingers that were squeezing the coffee cup shook almost imperceptibly. He took a sip with his eyes lowered and didn’t put the cup down for a long time.
Their first meeting was slightly romantic, a mature, cold man going to pick up his stray son, and after an unpleasant meeting with the son’s mother, seeing a gentle, modest man, wearing a beige tweed trench coat, the corners of his lips turned up in a smile as he squatted and slowly wiped away a bit of dirt from the child’s face with his thumb.
They had reservations about each other, but were trying to approach each other carefully. Zhou Hao changed a bit in the past two years. After quitting the habit of hunting in South Africa, he donated tens of thousands of dollars to a broadcasting company in the United States that aimed to expose such behaviour. Tang Yi also inadvertently gave him a lot of privileges, preparing gifts for his parents and family, even his housekeeper, and talking warmly with him about many topics.
However, they didn’t go further in the end. One of the reasons for this was the difference in perception of their status, but the more fundamental reason was that neither of them had the courage and drive to give absolutely anything. While they tried to reap the benefits of their relationship, they kept bargaining for what they were about to sacrifice.
Tang Yi’s lunch was a bowl of instant noodles made in the office.
When Xiao Yang brought the noodles over, he also brought over two tea eggs bought from the convenience store. Tang Yi looked at him in surprise and Xiao Yang smiled at him suspiciously, “I read a book that says eating more egg yolks helps improve your aura or smell or something. In short, it increases your personal charm and attracts peach blossoms (love affairs)…”
Ning Zeyu nearby protested with a sunken face: why don’t I get them, ah, this treatment difference is a little big, I also need some peach blossoms and cherry blossoms, there’s no one in my bed in winter…
Xiao Yang opened his eyes wide and said he got the last two, there was no more.
The two of them talked and joked. When Tang Yi heard about someone in bed, his face suspiciously flushed and he silently gave one egg to Ning Zeyu.
“Hey, Lao Tang is good,” Ning Zeyu grinned broadly without noticing anything unusual. After taking a few mouthfuls of noodles, he padded over to Tang Yi’s side, “We have the whereabouts of Ma Sinian and Wang Xiangming. I haven’t verified it yet, but I guess these two are trying to stall for a while before jumping ship.”
Ma Sinian and Wang Xiangming had a high status in the company and were in charge of the company’s core technology, so they were asked to sign a confidentiality and non-compete agreement when they first arrived at the subsidiary. According to the relevant regulations, they were not allowed to work in the industry for two years after leaving the company. During that time ER would give them a certain amount of compensation. But these two people had done such things, how would they dare to come asking for it? The two of them wanted to avoid the limelight and then quietly find a good position in some company.
Tang Yi nodded, his gaze gradually getting cold, “What about Yan Ke?”
“I also found out a little bit about this ass…” Ning Zeyu wanted to say something but stopped, looking around. Tang Yi knew his concerns and patted him on the shoulder, “Eat first, let’s go to my office after eating and talk.”
The two of them finished eating in the lounge and had just left before a figure flashed out from the pantry.
Ning Zeyu returned to the office with Tang Yi and glanced out, waiting for the door to close before frowning and saying, “Yan Ke’s matter is a bit complicated. We are only guessing now, we don’t have any evidence to prove that he took bribes yet, so it’s a bit difficult to apply for judicial intervention. And this kid can still hang around the company like nothing happened, which really strikes me as a bit sinister.”
Tang Yi nodded. He closed his eyes slightly, his fingers tapping on the armrest rhythmically. After a while he suddenly opened his eyes and asked Ning Zeyu thoughtfully, “What do you think you would do if you found evidence of Yan Ke?”
“Me? Of course I would kill the bastard!” Ning Zeyu sneered, “Not only him, but Huayuan won’t get away with it either, we’ll have to drag it down to lose three layers of skin even if it’s the last thing we do! What do you think?”
“I originally thought the same thing,” Tang Yi mused, “but now I’ve changed my mind.”
Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu discussed the matter in the office until late. During this period, the company’s management personnel were constantly called in and out. Everyone looked solemn. When they came out, they seemed to have accepted some sacred mission, the corners of their mouths pursed in an almost identical manner.
At the end of the day Tang Yi received another phone call from a fellow boss, and both he and Ning Zeyu looked so happy that they ran to the clubhouse designated by the other party without even bothering to eat dinner.
The biggest problem for the company now wasn’t Huayuan itself, but the series of subsequent reactions caused by this incident. It was the end of the year, the time when many people were trying to delay payments, and the Huayuan incident provided a valid excuse for everyone. Not to mention the fact that there were other companies, large and small, who were working with ER for the first time and whose trust was limited, and who were now making all sorts of demands just to be on the safe side.
It was too late for Tang Yi to find someone on the spot, and finally he and Ning Zeyu had an idea and simply found a companion. The decision to outsource the business was easy to say but difficult to do. If ER wanted someone else to take up the offer, it had to give up part of its benefits. At this time it was inevitable for ER to be robbed and for the other party to make a fortune. Not only could they not make money, they also had to pay their own employees a high commission.
In addition to this, it was also difficult to determine the mode of cooperation. Outsourcing was difficult to explain to customers, and many hard-won customers would be lost. However, the other party also would be worried about ER poaching in disguise.
In addition, large-scale business outsourcing would break a certain balance in the industry, and it was unknown whether it would lead to counter attacks from other forces.
The war-addicted component in Tang Yi’s blood was finally awakened and he resolutely cleaved the path. He had no intention of retreating from the start, but chose to throw all his money at it to fight to the death, to let the net break even if the fish died(1).
His initial target was Huayuan; then after realising that someone was manipulating him, he patiently waited for the opponent to show his fangs.
It was just that even after a thousand calculations, he didn’t expect the other party to be Zhou Dongchuan together with Zhou Hao.
The question Tang Yi asked Zhou Hao today didn’t end up getting a clear answer – if you have to choose between me and the company, will you choose me or the company?
In fact, no matter which one Zhou Hao would choose, Tang Yi was going to tell him: so would I. If you choose the company, then don’t blame me for turning against you and ruthlessly giving a tooth for a tooth.
If you choose me, then I’ll lose the company and put you first.
The feelings of adult men and women are hardly ever pure enough to not talk about any interests. Everyone’s love capital is nothing but money and body. These are the economic basis. Zhou Hao was seeking both, and what Tang Yi was seeking was not to lose and not to owe.
Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu kept talking to this old boss late into the night, and only separated when it was close to eleven o’clock. When Tang Yi got into his car, he suddenly thought, Gu Yanting has already left, right?
The brightly lit city never feels lonely, but after eleven o’clock the intensity of the streetlights decreases and most of the lights in the residential areas are quietly extinguished.
Some loneliness always reveals itself inadvertently then, and after that it grows rampantly. There are few people in this world who are absolutely lonely. Girls always have a couple of girl friends, men also have brothers and friends. If they are in a good mood, they can meet and have fun, spend money and eat. The day will pass in a flash, and when the new one appears on the horizon, you won’t be alone.
But it was difficult for Tang Yi to do it. In addition to the label “orphan”, he also carried “gay” on his back. In order to avoid criticism and keep his distance from other people, he created a vacuum zone around himself, with no one approaching and no one caring.
As the taxi drove slowly along Jianghuai Road, Tang Yi’s arm rested on the window. After a few moments he gave an address that he had not mentioned for a long time.
When he reached the place he thanked the driver and walked very slowly every step of the way. When he finished climbing the stairs and reached the door that he had slammed two years ago, Tang Yi was in a daze, thinking, “What am I doing here?
After standing for a while and having no answer, he actually just wanted to have a look.
There was a place for a spare key on the flower stand at the door. Tang Yi reached out and touched it, and when he was disappointed and about to withdraw his hand, his fingertips found something cold.
The key was still there.
When he opened the door, he had to insert the key a few times before aligning it with the keyhole. All the nervous apprehension and inexplicable anxiety dissipated the moment he opened the door.
The entrance hall was the same as before, and outside the shoe cabinet were two pairs of striped cotton slippers, one grey and one white, the same pairs that he and Gu Yanting always wore. Tang Yi took a slow breath, and in the light from the corridor, he saw the living room that looked exactly the same as before. Even the position of the side table hadn’t changed.
Tang Yi stood at the door for a long time, but finally didn’t go in, locked the door and put the key back.
When he returned to his apartment, Fanfan was already waiting at the door, so Tang Yi opened the door, stroked his head, filled his water bowl and cleaned up his toilet. After all the work, he didn’t even have the energy to take a shower. Tang Yi suddenly looked at the plant on the TV cabinet and found it more and more unpleasant. After throwing the flower back into the corner, he rubbed his face and went to bed.
The quilt on the bed wasn’t folded, so Tang Yi cursed Gu Yanting in his heart and sighed as he laid down on his back.
There was a muffled thud against the back of his head. Tang Yi didn’t know what he was lying on but he bounced up instantly in pain. When he turned on the light, he was startled, and after three seconds of staring at the man who was grimacing and also holding the back of his head, his angry words stuttered.
“Get get get lost! Gu Yanting, get out!”
- Either the fish dies or the net breaks, a metaphor for a life-and-death struggle between the two sides.
3 thoughts on “Break-up Chapter 42”
I guess it’s good that TY’s heart wasn’t completely in ZH would be more painful and difficult to overcome, plus GTY doesn’t seem so scum a little silly to me anymore more than anything. would be more painful and difficult to overcome, plus GTY doesn’t seem so scum a little silly to me anymore more than anything.
Thanks for the chapters!! 🤗🤗
Sorry for that but my phone seems to rebel lately 😩
TYi’s heart was most definitely not on ZH, otherwise he wouldn’t feel so lonely these two years, even though there was such an outstanding guy courting him. I like GYT, too, especially when reading about him the second time. Even his silly manners seem cute 🙂 🙂