Tang Yi was terribly stubborn in certain matters. He didn’t want to admit that he still put Gu Yanting in a special position, but this was really the case.
Five years ago, when they first met, he would not allow others to bully Gu Yanting, and he used his own early trials and tribulations as capital to drive away those around Gu Yanting who had evil intentions or who were two-faced. The two of them had been together for three years and broke up for two years. When they were good, Tang Yi was as sweet as honey, but when he was really angry, he was ready to fight to death. Who knew that after all the twists and turns, with their relationship still not clear now, Tang Yi still wouldn’t allow anyone to hurt Gu Yanting in any way.
This relationship was much deeper than he had thought.
If it had been Shen Fan or Zhou Hao involved in what happened today, Tang Yi would never have made the same choice. The wealth he had accumulated over the past few years wasn’t enough for him to squander like that. What’s more, buying all the shares in the company would mean, on another level, severing ties with the head office, the more important level here being the human relationship.
Shen Fan initially chose to control this subsidiary by mutual agreement, placing most of his shares in Tang Yi’s hands, not only because he didn’t care about its business at the time but also because of his trust in Tang Yi. Now that Tang Yi had made such a request, he appeared to be a bit ruthless and overbearing in comparison.
Of course, the Shen Fan of two years ago, when he first took charge of the business, was not the same as the Shen Fan of today, who had been immersed in business battles, large and small, for a long time. The emotions of heartache and guilt that would override reason had slowly faded, and he had learnt to weigh the pros and cons rationally and try to find the best balance.
Tang Yi clearly saw the struggle and hesitation in Shen Fan’s eyes. So his gaze sank slightly and in a flash he made another decision – if Shen Fan didn’t agree, then he’d choose to leave ER.
Once his career was what he was most proud of, and what he had always been better at than Gu Yanting. A more decent job and a higher salary were the foundations of his dominant position in the lives of the two of them, and apart from the financial satisfaction, they allowed him to enjoy that feeling of control and sense of presence under Gu Yanting’s adoring and envious gaze. At one point he couldn’t even tell whether he liked Gu Yanting as a person or enjoyed the thrill of conquest and control.
Yet today none of this was important any longer.
He was ready to let go of these things completely, and now all he was waiting for was a verdict from Shen Fan.
The walk back was long, and although it was all in the city, it still took a lot of time. Halfway through the journey, the snow started to fall. Flakes of snow drifted under the streetlights, floating in the air and gently lifted by the wind.
Tang Yi was walking forward with his hands in his pockets when he remembered the seven or eight missed calls from Gu Yanting. So he rubbed his hands, took his phone out and called back.
There was no answer, and the call disconnected automatically after a busy tone. He didn’t know if Gu Yanting didn’t see it or if he was angry, but Tang Yi breathed into his hand and put the phone back in his pocket again.
When he walked to Jianghuai Road, there were finally more people. There were snow-melting agents sprinkled by the municipal authorities on the road in advance, and the speed of the cars going back and forth wasn’t affected by the snow. When Tang Yi walked to the last intersection, his mobile phone chimed. After he crossed the road, he fished it out and took a look. It was a text message from Gu Yanting.
— Are you asleep?
Tang Yi rubbed his hands and sent him back a single word, “No.”
Almost as soon as he sent it, Gu Yanting replied, “I’m not asleep either. What are you doing?”
Tang Yi’s frozen hands were a bit stiff and the temperature of his fingertips was low, which made the touch screen not very sensitive. He wanted to call, but after a pause, he felt that this scene was very familiar. When he and Gu Yanting first got together, it wasn’t convenient to call every day. At that time, the phone bill was very expensive, and only the couple card and family number on campus were more cost-effective. They didn’t have an associated account, so many times they happily sent all kinds of boring text messages.
Have you eaten yet?
No, and you?
Are you asleep?
Just about to go to sleep, what about you?
Hey, I haven’t seen you for a long time, so I miss you a little bit.
En? Are you okay, what are you smoking?
If you’re fine, go to bed, I miss you too.
Tang Yi looked up and saw that he would soon be at the apartment, so he sped up. After walking for a while and feeling uneasy, he stopped again, breathed into his fingers, put his right hand into his collar and pressed it to his neck to warm it up for a while before finishing his reply.
— I’ll be at the apartment soon. What about you?
— Me too.
Tang Yi smiled, froze for a moment as he was about to put his phone away, and clicked on it again. Soon, Gu Yanting sent over another message — look up.
On the avenue in front of several apartment buildings, there was a man wrapped in a black down coat. Only his head was exposed, and a thick layer of snow had fallen on top of his head. When Tang Yi looked up in surprise, the man was quickly pulling himself together to stand upright in a casual yet high-spirited pose. It was a shame that the grin on his face was a bit lopsided and his appearance didn’t have the Matrix-like coolness he tried so hard to convey. Instead he looked like a big goofball.
Tang Yi put his phone back into his pocket and ran a few steps while shouting, “Why are you here?”
Gu Yanting just smiled brightly. Only when Tang Yi got closer did he realise that Gu Yanting was carrying the dog in his arms. The puppy was tucked inside his coat, revealing only his furry head. Tang Yi didn’t know what expression to use to face Gu Yanting for a while, but when he saw the little construction, he lowered his eyes and reached out to scratch the puppy’s chin with his index finger.
Gu Yanting also stretched out his hand and scratched it too, muttering as he did so, “I missed you.”
Tang Yi: “……”
“Fat Sod told me who’s here, I was worried, so I came to take a look.” Gu Yanting paused and carefully glanced at Tang Yi’s face.
Almost the instant he heard “who’s here”, Tang Yi’s smile froze.
The movement of his hands stopped and he slowly let out an “oh”. The surprise and even a little joy he had just felt disappeared without a trace, and after a while he withdrew his hand and took a step back silently.
Gu Yanting’s eyes turned complicated. Tang Yi’s expression changed so quickly and it was obvious that a big displeasure was written on his face. He had said something wrong, so he had to hold the dog and walk home first.
When the two of them took the elevator, Gu Yanting implicitly expressed that he had been waiting downstairs for more than an hour, but couldn’t get Tang Yi to turn his head and look at him, let alone mix a bowl of ginger soup that he hated but looked forward to.
When Tang Yi finally came home and went straight into his bedroom, Gu Yanting had to fend for himself, rummaging through the kitchen for a piece of ginger, wrinkling his nose and pouring a cup of brown sugar ginger water, which he then delivered to Tang Yi’s bedside.
Tang Yi was sitting on the bed reading a book. Gu Yanting called several times in a row. Seeing that Tang Yi didn’t move and looked engrossed in reading, Gu Yanting uncomfortably shifted from foot to foot in place. Finally, he couldn’t help but put his hand on Tang Yi’s book, sigh and say, “If you don’t want to mention him, let’s not mention him. I rushed all the way over, don’t be so cold-faced.”
“Don’t you know if I want to mention him or not?” Tang Yi took off his glasses and tossed them aside, looking coldly at Gu Yanting, “You came all the way over here so worried, what kind of face do you want me to give you?”
Gu Yanting, who was aggrieved and wanted to say something, was stopped again. Finally his lips moved and he said, “I just didn’t feel at ease, ah, you didn’t come back so late, I thought… you and him…”
“Thought what?” Tang Yi snorted, “Thought I had done something to him?”
“……” Gu Yanting was stunned and blinked again before he slowly let out an “ah”. His expression was somewhat complicated, and only after a moment did he suddenly say, “No, I was afraid he had done something to you…”
Tang Yi frowned, feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He didn’t say anything more, just looked at the shocked Gu Yanting.
Gu Yanting swallowed several times before he asked apprehensively, still with a shocked expression, “What could you do to him, no, you and Shen Fan… were you…” He saw Tang Yi suddenly raise his eyes and look over, hurriedly stopped, held up his hand and said, “Fine, fine, you said not to mention him, can you drink the ginger soup first?”
“…no,” Tang Yi raised his eyebrows, looking at Gu Yanting who wanted to say something but handed over the small bowl instead, and hesitantly asked, “Did you hear Fat Sod say… What did you hear?”
“It’s not much, it’s just that Shen Fan is back… asking you to meet him at the hotel.”
Gu Yanting watched Tang Yi’s movements pause for a moment and shut up. He waited until Tang Yi had finished drinking, washed the bowl and then wandered back, saying rather unpleasantly, “Even if you were on top, I’m still jealous.”
In Tang Yi and Gu Yanting’s relationship, the one who was represented by “who’s here” had always been Lin Rui. Tang Yi wasn’t unhappy when he saw Gu Yanting suddenly appear today, but when he heard the words “who’s here” and “worried”, he couldn’t help but feel depressed again. So now, after making a big fuss, he remembered that when Shen Fan called, Fat Sod had also heard it.
Gu Yanting probably heard the keywords “Shen Fan” when he was looking for Fat Sod, and then his imagination worked and made up a scene where his first love’s ex-boyfriend repented and came back to chase Tang Yi and met him at the hotel to plot an affair.
Tang Yi was a bit embarrassed and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when he came to his senses. Seeing Gu Yanting standing aside, obviously still dwelling on Shen Fan’s matter, he couldn’t help but cough lightly and said somewhat seriously.
“Come over here.”
Gu Yanting complied and sat down. Tang Yi moved inside the bed again and patted the place he had just vacated, “Sit here.”
Gu Yanting’s trouser legs were still wet from the melting snow, and he hadn’t had time to change his clothes since returning home. He hesitated whether to stand up, and then he heard Tang Yi change his mind again, “Forget it, go take a hot shower to warm up.”
Tang Yi stretched his foot from under the blanket and gave Gu Yanting’s butt a kick, raising his chin to point at the wardrobe, “Go and find yourself some pyjamas to wear.”
Gu Yanting found a pair of pyjamas and also found an identical one for Tang Yi. His desire to wear a couple’s outfit was naked and straightforward, but he wasn’t very confident when he handed them to Tang Yi. Tang Yi had a good time watching him push the pyjamas towards him, and then push again. The colourful expression on Gu Yanting’s face could be jealous or startled but his eyes were moist and full of all kinds of emotions.
There was a moment when Tang Yi suddenly had the urge to turn into a beast.
When Gu Yanting finished his shower, he changed into the pyjamas and came out rubbing his hair. He looked up and saw Tang Yi already sitting on the sofa. Tang Yi had also changed into the pyjamas Gu Yanting had taken out and his skin seemed even whiter and more delicate against the velvety material. He wasn’t reading a book at the moment but was changing TV stations one after another.
Gu Yanting’s gaze stopped on his body for a moment, then he walked over and sat next to Tang Yi, a little surprised, “Why are you here?”
The heating in the apartment was not very hot, so the air conditioner was turned on in the bedroom and it was much warmer and more comfortable than the living room.
Tang Yi’s features looked much softer in this light. He put the remote control aside and lowered his eyes in contemplation for a moment before looking at Gu Yanting and saying, “I have something to say to you.”
“I want to buy the remaining shares of the T City company, so that it won’t have anything to do with ER in the future.” Tang Yi finished with a smile and another sigh.
He actually wanted to tell Gu Yanting everything about the current situation, he didn’t want the latter to remain in the dark all the time. But at the bottom of his heart, he couldn’t help but feel a little hesitant – what if it was Shen Fan who was overthinking it? What if Zhou Dongchuan didn’t care about it? What if the past would not be mentioned?
Should he hide it from Gu Yanting or take the risk of telling him? Would Gu Yanting be able to accept it? Would he be devastated? What would happen to Mom and Dad Gu?
Tang Yi thought for a long time without a clue, and could only choose his own part to say first.
Gu Yanting was visibly taken aback for a moment, then opened his eyes wide in disbelief and looked at Tang Yi, “Are you crazy? How much does it cost? Aren’t you fine the way you are now?”
Tang Yi didn’t say anything.
“You really want to do this?” Gu Yanting was a bit confused as he reached out and touched Tang Yi’s head. Tang Yi gave him a cool look, and he withdrew his hand again.
After a while, he suddenly stood up and walked quickly to the bedroom. He took out his mobile phone, flipped through the drawer under the TV cabinet and found a piece of paper and a pen.
Tang Yi was dumbfounded for a while, and when he returned to his senses, he was a little puzzled by Gu Yanting’s actions, “What are you doing?”
Gu Yanting said, “Counting how much money I have, ah.”
“I don’t think you have enough money, do you?” Gu Yanting looked back at him and said, “Right? Do you? Let me calculate how much I have here in total.”
Tang Yi gave him a silent look, thought for a moment that something wasn’t right, and asked him suspiciously, “You don’t even ask me why?”
Gu Yanting was busy checking the balance on his bank card. When he heard the words, he turned his head and asked, “Why?”
“Oh.” Gu Yanting turned back, and after a moment turned again, looking at Tang Yi with the pen in his mouth and grinning, “I know what you mean. No matter why, you must have a reason for doing so, so how could I stop you.”
Tang Yi curled his leg and leaned on the corner of the sofa, one hand propping up his forehead, watching Gu Yanting checking the accounts from a distance.
When he heard what Gu Yanting said, he wasn’t moved by any emotion, just a little speechless. He finally sighed, “You give me the money, are you not afraid that I will lose everything? The company has just gotten out of trouble, and now the cooperation with Kaisheng is purely a loss of money. Even the project of the educational institution and the network that we won half a year ago have been given to them.”
There must be sacrifices in every cooperation. Tang Yi had never told anyone about this, and outsiders were quite envious of their success in getting through their difficulties, but in fact only he knew how dangerous it was to bring Kaisheng into the alliance of interests that he had so easily formed. Of course, at the moment, Kaisheng’s boss looked like a generous person, but after Tang Yi’s experience with Yan Ke, he no longer had that much confidence in his ability to read people.
Gu Yanting really didn’t care, and even said somewhat indifferently, “It doesn’t matter, no big deal, we’ll just start all over again.”
Tang Yi was once again speechless and finally sighed, “…you think too simply.”
He didn’t know if Gu Yanting wasn’t thinking about bad things at the moment, or if he really didn’t care about the small amount of money he had saved up over the years. Although it seemed to him that it was mostly the former. Perhaps Gu Yanting had a kind of blind trust in him to think that this matter was not a big deal apart from being crazy.
Tang Yi frowned, then in the next second, he felt a weight on his brow. Gu Yanting’s palm lay over his forehead, first pressing it gently, then switching to his thumb to carefully rub it. He was fully turned sideways, his other arm propped up on Tang Yi’s other side, his upper body slightly leaning towards Tang Yi.
“I know you’re worried, and I know there will be risks involved in this matter. But what can you do that doesn’t have risks? It’s always worth trying.” Gu Yanting’s voice was light but firm, like he was saying something he had been thinking about for a long time, “My money is yours anyway, I can still earn it again if I lose it all, but I don’t want you to have regrets.”
He said it naturally, without having any melodramatic expression. Tang Yi felt a sharp sting in his heart, followed by a warm and soft emotion wrapping tightly around him, and with Gu Yanting rubbing the centre of his eyebrows, he regained his calmness.
His frown slowly smoothed out, and after Gu Yanting’s movements eased, he suddenly asked with his eyes closed, “Yanting, let’s talk about your work over the past two years, I haven’t heard you tell about it.”
Gu Yanting’s experience over the past two years was somewhat legendary. However, when he recounted it in detail, Tang Yi realised that Shen Fan’s claim that Gu Yanting didn’t have much ability and that he had no chance of getting ahead if it wasn’t for his face that resembled Zhou Hao’s was also just a subjective assumption.
Gu Yanting obviously sensed that Tang Yi had something on his mind, so he skipped over the part where he followed his cousin to Hunan, and even the first part of his time in Guangzhou, but picked only the good things to talk about. He talked of his recklessness and lack of understanding of the rules at the beginning, omitting the details of the abuse he received, and of the first deal he negotiated with bravery and courage, again omitting the ugliness of drinking so much that he couldn’t sit in a chair and slipped under the table.
He was so desperate at the beginning that he even had a tendency to self-abuse. He was full of hatred for Tang Yi, and used all his mixed emotions of resentment and regret in his work. But when he really faced Tang Yi, he couldn’t talk about it, and only talked about the amazing encounter he had with Huayuan.
At that time, Huayuan was still their client. Gu Yanting was taken that time by the company leader to accompany a female boss of Huayuan for a drink. At that time, the female boss was very interested in him and asked many personal questions, then two days later asked him to meet again at Huayuan.
He later learnt that this female boss had been poached by Huayuan from another fund company. But at the time he didn’t know any better and just went to the appointment as a courtesy to the client. This female boss then asked him a very simple question.
At that time, Huayuan had invested in an internet company, and the female boss jokingly asked Gu Yanting if he would follow up if the internet company launched a second round of financing.
At that time, Gu Yanting had forgotten all the few economic theories he had learned in university, and he apologised honestly, saying he didn’t understand these things at all. The female boss smiled and said, “It’s just a hypothetical idea, like assuming you won a five million lottery, what are you nervous about? Just go with your intuition, will you follow up or not?”
Gu Yanting instantly smiled and said he would follow up if he wasn’t short of money.
The female boss nodded, and after chatting for a while asked him in turn what he would consider to do if the company had more than one investor.
Gu Yanting wasn’t even able to take a sip of water at that meeting. The female boss’s questions were odd and unconnected, and he was only asked to answer according to his instincts.
After the meeting Gu Yanting successfully signed the contract with Huayuan, and then a week later he was poached by Huayuan.
The latter thing Tang Yi didn’t understand very well, but he did understand that Gu Yanting’s job now was to find cases to invest in. Huayuan already had some old people in the venture capital industry and had a superb position in this part of the industry. Gu Yanting, on the other hand, was too young to attract a lot of attention.
Even though he was born with a certain talent, he had never stopped studying and furthering his education during this period. But even so, it was the industry reports and project analyses of the professionals on the team that ultimately determined whether a case he was interested in would be selected.
However, at the moment, the mood in the capital market was not high, and the time frame for a successful project to pay off was too long, at least two to three years. Huayuan was very wealthy, so it never skimped on their salaries. Although Gu Yanting’s income was high, it wasn’t something exaggerated in comparison with the whole department.
Tang Yi slowly breathed a sigh of relief when he heard it. So it seemed that Gu Yanting did have a business intuition different from normal people. Perhaps he had inherited the genes of the Zhou family. The good thing was that what he was doing now wasn’t exactly the same as Zhou Hao.
Remembering Shen Fan’s speculation, Tang Yi hesitated for a moment and asked, “The acquisition of that technology company nowadays is also related to you?”
Gu Yanting shook his head and laughed, “No, I just happened to come up with a bad idea and then the company acquired them as a labour force.”
Tang Yi looked at him, “When did that happen?”
“Just last time when I went back,” the corner of Gu Yanting’s mouth curled up, “Zhou Dongchuan was too mean to use you as a weapon. But that idea of mine didn’t help, their relationship was much more complicated, I was just along for the ride.”
Tang Yi opened his mouth, surprisingly not knowing what to say for a moment. He could only laugh and tease Gu Yanting about his encounter back then, “You’re quite capable too, able to trick people at the first meeting.”
“Not really,” Gu Yanting hesitated for a moment and said slowly, “I wasn’t tricking her, I was really optimistic about that company.”
Tang Yi was taken aback for a moment.
“In the past, when I just graduated, I also wanted to run a company like that. So I looked up a lot of information. I had faith in them and I really hoped that they would do well.”
The snowflakes outside the window got bigger and heavier, and the world was white, the usually dark night sky brightened by the snow. Tang Yi’s mind was exploding, and many ideas and words seemed to be blown away to faraway places.
When they just graduated, Gu Yanting was obsessed with starting his own business, and Dad Gu had scraped together more than 100,000 yuan. When Tang Yi cut him off halfway, Gu Yanting’s eyes turned red but finally he was forced to give up and, wearing a proper suit, went to report to the design agency, carrying Tang Yi’s “kindness” on his back…
And for quite some time afterwards, his eyes showed longing and helpless compromise.
Tang Yi suddenly dreaded to think what kind of emotion Gu Yanting felt when he saw that the company he wanted to create had been brought to fruition by someone else.
Tang Yi often asked himself: does Gu Yanting love me?
The answer in his heart was no.
He was too young, stubborn and proud, but at the same time, he had a preconceived notion of everything Gu Yanting was doing towards Lin Rui. He felt it was a one-way love. Therefore, his dedication was love, and Gu Yanting’s concessions were a matter of course.
He had never even thought of giving Gu Yanting a chance, as Gu Yanting did to him today.
— I can still earn it again if I lose it all, but I don’t want you to have regrets.
Tang Yi slowly regained his senses. Gu Yanting was looking at him with some worry. He raised his eyes slightly and moved his lips without speaking.
Tang Yi’s eyes gradually became clear and a little smile lit up his face. He leaned forward and reached out to grab one of Gu Yanting’s hands over to play with it.
Gu Yanting was a little confused, “Huh?” He then quickly understood and said with a smile, “It’s nothing, I guess I couldn’t have done it if I tried to do it at that time.”
“You didn’t have a good time at that design company back then, did you?”
“It was okay.”
“Did you ever regret or resent me?” Tang Yi cocked his head and looked at him seriously, “I might have stood in the way of your success.”
“No.” Gu Yanting was slightly surprised and answered while cupping Tang Yi’s bare foot with his palm and pulling it into his arms.
“Gu Yanting,” Tang Yi let him move, and when he felt a warm touch on his instep, he asked in a low voice, “Have you ever done this to Lin Rui?”
“……” Gu Yanting gave him a look and shook his head, “No.”
“Am I important or is your career important?”
“Am I important or is Lin Rui important?”
Gu Yanting had said various words of reassurance more than once, yet Tang Yi had never heard them in his heart. He had preconceptions about Gu Yanting and sentenced him to death, and had never thought that Gu Yanting would have the possibility of repentance. Perhaps the shock he received today was too great and the emotions in his heart were too complicated.
He asked the questions and poured out the grievances in his heart so directly without any warning.
His tone was still a bit stuffy, and there were also some inexplicable complaints.
Gu Yanting didn’t say anything this time, and Tang Yi kept looking at his pyjamas after he asked. Time stagnated for a moment, and then he heard Gu Yanting’s slow and serious answer.
“I used to like him, whether it was gratitude or admiration, or even defiance. But that was never love, and he can’t compare to you. I have done some things wrong, but even then, I had no thought of comparing him to you. When he was courting Shen Fan, I even contributed and gave my sincere blessing to him. I didn’t break my heart about who he was with and what he was doing with them either.”
“But you’re different, Tang Yi, I went crazy with anxiety today when I heard that Shen Fan had come back for you. The plane bumped badly several times on the way here, and all I could think about when other people were turning white was that I had to see you. I couldn’t imagine you with any of the men, I was jealous when you smiled at them. There were times in the past two years when I indisputably abused myself, and I had thoughts of just dying and waiting for you to regret it. I even cried when I thought of you for a while. I understood love too late, but it never occurred to me to give it to anyone else.”
“I didn’t dare to come back, just afraid I wouldn’t be able to resist coming to haunt you and I wouldn’t be good enough for you.”
“……” Tang Yi didn’t know when he reached out and touched Gu Yanting’s face; his entire being was in a bit of a trance. This wasn’t the first time he had heard these words, but it was the first time he began to believe them. Then, he seemed to see Gu Yanting’s bewildered and sad face in the countless dark days of the past two years.
He didn’t speak again, his gaze darkening slightly as he focused on the movements of his hands. His fingers slowly slid down from Gu Yanting’s forehead, touched the bridge of his straight nose, and finally landed on the corner of his lips.
“You know what? I quite like you here.” Tang Yi said softly, and his upper body slowly leaned forward a little. He stopped just as the tips of their noses were almost pressed together.