Translator’s note: Extras 3 and 4 are flashback extras about Lu Ying and Qin Zhuopu meeting each other.
“What’s going on? Why didn’t anyone tell me? ”
In the office, the newly appointed young boss poked angrily at the news headlines. The dazzling big characters were like the early morning sun outside, burning people’s eyes.
Who will give him justice? Where is the integrity of Guanhai Group!
[Migrant worker Chen Shuibian told reporters that so far, his high medical expenses had not been paid… The hospital has repeatedly emphasised that if he doesn’t have surgery, his lower limbs are very likely to be paralysed… However, the person responsible for Guanhai Group has yet to show up…]
Secretary Zhou stared at the newspaper, his face suddenly turning ugly as he said angrily: “It’s actually this old thing? Nowadays, the media likes to fan the flames to bring in traffic. Mr. Qin, please listen to me! The person in charge of Jinghe Bay has already contacted the family surnamed Chen, and the medical expenses have also been paid. At that time, they obviously settled the case, but now it has been pulled out again six months later, and they directly contacted the reporter. This is clearly greed and an attempt to blackmail. Or maybe there is someone behind it. Seeing that the Jinghe Bay project is finally coming to an end, some guys must be unable to sit still and want to jump out and disgust people. Before, Director Qin suppressed them, but now it must be because you are young and newly appointed that they want to stir trouble…”
Listening to the secretary’s righteous indignation, Qin Zhuopu’s expression didn’t ease at all.
It was now late summer turning into early autumn in Guanlan City, and the heat was raging wildly, making people restless. In the morning, the air conditioning was fully turned on in the office, but Mr. Qin, who came to work in high spirits, couldn’t calm down. He had been back in China for less than six months and took charge of the Qin family three months ago, basically forced to take up the post. Originally he had not expected to take on the responsibility so early, but at the moment the family situation was complicated and he had to take the lead.
After he took over, as he expected, all sorts of big and small things came up in the company, not to mention some elders who liked to make things worse.
“Jinghe Bay” was one of the Guanhai Group’s real estate projects, which started when his father was alive and was now waiting to be completed. It was a smooth project and Qin Zhuopu didn’t expect anything bad to happen.
“Tell the media to take it easy and contact the hospital yourself to find out what’s going on. I’ll finish my meeting in the morning and go to Jinghe Bay in the afternoon.”
Secretary Zhou frowned: “Mr. Qin is going to ‘Jinghe Bay’ in person? It’s a construction site now, so it’s not easy to say what the security situation is, and I’m afraid there are media and sneaky people around the place.”
Qin Zhuopu sneered and said disapprovingly, “I’m not any safer sitting in my office, am I?”
Secretary Zhou was speechless; Mr. Qin’s words were not unjustified. A few days ago, Mr. Qin had fired an old meritorious employee of the company whose hands were unclean, and the other party relied on being an old man and resisted. The next day, he came to the door and tried to play tricks. Although he was stopped by the bodyguards, Mr. Qin’s mood didn’t improve. There might be people behind his back who would accuse him of being ruthless and ungrateful.
In the afternoon, the suburbs of Guanlan City looked a bit eerily silent, the searing heat outside like an invisible distorted net. When Qin Zhuopu came out of the cool car, the big net immediately swooped up and enveloped him, leaving no room to breathe.
Qin Zhuopu inhaled deeply, took out his sun hat and sunglasses, put them on, turned around and walked into the large construction site of “Jinghe Bay” with his two bodyguards.
At two o’clock in the afternoon, the construction site was quiet, with only sporadic noises of operation. “Jinghe Bay” was now in the fifth phase of the project. The front had been completed and sold out. The luxurious sales office was the most conspicuous place. Qin Zhuopu paused and decided to go in and take a look. Anyway, he and his bodyguards were dressed casually today, and no one would recognise him.
As he stepped into the spotlessly clean sales office, a refreshing coolness poured over his head, making him feel extraordinarily comfortable.
The lobby was now full of people, both uniformed salesmen and customers, men, women and children, who came to see the popular properties. The start of the sales of the property was just around the corner and it was a busy time recently.
When the three of them entered, they didn’t attract any attention for a while. Qin Zhuopu walked towards the model on the table and listened to the salesman’s presentation to the other customers, and then followed them to see the showroom. When he came out, his tense face was a little warmer. He glanced at the free fruit and drinks at the bar and walked towards the water dispenser quickly, only to collide with someone. Before Qin Zhuopu could react, he heard a sincere apology: “I’m sorry! I was in a hurry and bumped into you.”
In just one sentence, who knows what magic power it contained, but not only didn’t Qin Zhuopu get angry at all, he subconsciously raised the corner of his mouth without lifting his head and said, “It’s okay…”
When he looked up, he only saw the back of the owner of the voice, his hand raised high as he left: “Thank you!” The slender figure was in a hurry, dressed in a pure white short-sleeved t-shirt and washed-out jeans that couldn’t hide the young man’s long, slender legs. The young man looked like a student.
Qin Zhuopu didn’t take this episode to heart and drank two glasses of water before entering the dirty construction area with his bodyguard.
“Huhu… Fortunately, I caught up, I was almost late!” Running back to the work shed in one breath, Lu Ying lifted up the hem of his white t-shirt and rubbed his face indiscriminately, wiping away the sweat that didn’t actually exist. But he was too afraid of the heat, and after staying in the sun for a few minutes, he felt so hot that he wanted to soak in the fridge.
After he finished work in the morning, he ate his lunch and rushed to the sales office to find an empty corner to lie on the floor tiles and take a nap under the air conditioner. The big brothers and sisters in the sales office never said anything to him and even called him to eat fruit every time he went there.
Ji Xiaofeng also looked like he had only just woken up, raising his hand to throw Lu Ying his helmet and jacket, yawning and saying: “I think it’s just moving bricks this afternoon, no need to push cement. Let’s finish early and go out for a walk.”
“Yeah! I still want to go to that place where we had ice cream last time, it’s so tasty.” Lu Ying nimbly put on his jacket and fastened his helmet, his bright eyes full of anticipation for ice cream.
Ji Xiaofeng snickered, “Of course, it’s tasty, but if you go and eat one, it will cost you two days’ salary.”
“What does that matter, I earn money just to buy delicious food.”
Ji Xiaofeng didn’t think so: “You’re really a pig, purely a foodie. Is it better eating so much than going to the amusement park a few more times?”
Lu Ying pursed his lips and said in a small voice: “You really don’t get tired of playing…” He had followed his friend to play in all the amusement parks in Guanlan City, some of them even repeatedly. To him, compared to amusement parks, of course it was the food that made him happiest! (*^▽^*)
The two of them walked into the terrible sun while chatting, and soon devoted themselves to their work.
Auntie Wang, who was in charge of cooking in the work shed, saw that the two of them had gone far away, and immediately sighed and said to her son beside her: “Wangzi, you have to study hard, otherwise you will have to be like them when you graduate, working hard to move bricks at a young age. ”
The young man wearing glasses, who was still in high school and took advantage of the break to come to his parents to get living expenses, nodded, but in his heart he somewhat disapproved of his mother’s contempt. Although the two men were working on the construction site, their stunning appearance was a rare sight. If they wanted to make money, they had plenty of foundation. They also never complained about their work and never complained about being tired. They always looked happy and had a really good attitude. Seeing them made his stressful high school life a little less unbearable.
“I see that they both work quite hard and are in exceptionally good health.” Auntie Chen joined the conversation: “I wanted to introduce some nice girls from my hometown to them, but I don’t think it’s a good idea, they’re still young and spend too much money! That Xiao Ji is always playing around, and Xiao Lu is always eating and drinking. The little money he earns is just spent for his own pleasure, he doesn’t think about saving up a bit.”
“That’s right, how can you live a life like that…”
The person in charge of the construction led Qin Zhuopu forward, carefully shuttling through the busy construction site among the sounds of various machinery. The smell of steel and concrete filled the air. It was clear that the construction site was hotter and harder than anywhere else in the scorching sun.
With a mineral water bottle in his hand, Qin Zhuopu walked, taking a sip every now and then and almost finishing the whole bottle. His hair under the sun hat was damp and his forehead, his face and his body was covered in hot sweat everywhere.
Qin Zhuopu didn’t say anything about how uncomfortable he was, and his face didn’t change.
“Mr. Qin, this is Building 12. The low building next to it is the electricity substation, and not far ahead is where the workers live.”
Qin Zhuopu nodded, “Since we’re here, let’s take a look at them all.” After saying that, he picked up the mineral water again and took a sip.
Suddenly, a figure appeared in his line of sight.
No, to be precise, it was a migrant worker trotting quickly forward pushing a cart full of bricks. He was dressed in dusty overalls, there was a helmet on his head and his strikingly upright figure was very eye-catching. As he ran, his relaxed posture was very energetic. It was as if this was not a messy construction site, but a clean and free school playground.
Was he a poor student who had come to work during the summer vacation?
Under the strong sunlight, Qin Zhuopu couldn’t see the young worker’s face, but he subconsciously moved to the side. He waited until the young worker with the cart came so close that he was able to hear the sound of heavy breathing. He couldn’t help but take off his hat; it was too hot and stuffy.
The distance got closer, and the young man looked up. His eyes were full of surprise and wonder. He stopped the cart and stood in front of them at a loss. Then he said in a small voice: “Hello, general manager…” After speaking, he lowered his head, but the next moment he suddenly looked up again for some reason and quickly glanced at the strange man next to the general manager. The young man’s white face covered in sweat turned inexplicably red.
The general manager smiled and nodded: “Xiao Lu is working hard.”
Lu Ying hurriedly shook his head, a little shy, “No, it’s not hard work, it’s just work.” As he said this, he glanced at the man next to the general manager with his eyes lit brightly
Qin Zhuopu, who had been silent, was stunned.
White, very white, so white that no amount of dust and dirt could stop it from being white, this face could not be described as simply clean and clear.
The beads of sweat on the young man’s pale cheeks looked particularly upsetting, dense like raindrops, showing how hot he was. In an instant, that was the only thing Qin Zhuopu could think of, all other matters suddenly forgotten.
“It’s a hot day, thank you for your hard work.” He reached out and handed over a clean handkerchief, his voice gentle unlike ever before. Qin Zhuopu was surprised by his own gesture.
“No, no need! Thank you! I’ll go back to work…” Seeing the handed over handkerchief, Lu Ying subconsciously chose to escape with his cart. He didn’t want to stay any longer, it must be too hot and his brain was stuffy. Why else would his brain be in turmoil and his heart beat wildly? Raising his hand to casually wipe the beads of sweat on his face, Lu Ying ran farther and farther away, and when he reached his destination he couldn’t wait to find the hose and pour water over his head… immediately letting out a shriek of ‘ow’ that scared the colleagues next to him.
“It’s burning me to death… huh!” Lu Ying covered his head helplessly. What came out of the hose was hot water! Pouring it over his head was simply fatal!
The colleagues laughed: “Xiao Lu, you are not dizzy from the heat but you’ve decided to burn a layer of skin with the afternoon water? Why are you so careless today? Are you okay?”
“Don’t burn your head bald and waste your good looks.”
“You’re not your usual self, you’re so rash. What, is there a pretty girl chasing after you? Hahaha…”
Lu Ying now had a red face and wet hair, and his heart still hadn’t calmed down. Hearing all this, he muttered, “Where are there any pretty girls…” Instead, there was a big man who looked strange… No, it wasn’t that he was strange, it was that he reacted strangely.
“Who is that?” When the young man was out of sight, Qin Zhuopu withdrew his gaze and asked offhandedly.
The general manager hurriedly answered, “That’s a little guy from the construction site, moving bricks, called Lu Ying. He also has a friend and the two of them have only been here for about three months. Don’t look at Xiao Lu’s young age, he was born with natural strength and is really good at his job. Within two days of his arrival, he had caused a sensation and I came to see him myself. I think someone even posted a video of him carrying bricks on the internet and many people found it interesting. Hehe, the main reason is that Xiao Lu’s face is so handsome that it’s a bit extravagant to come to a construction site to move bricks. I heard that a live network wanted to come and sign them both a while ago, but I didn’t expect them to turn it down.”
“Which Lu, which Ying?” Qin Zhuopu asked.
The general manager was taken aback and answered seriously, “Lu as “land”, Ying as “English”, seems to be some kind of herb name.”
Qin Zhuopu opened his mouth and sighed silently, “Such a person…” to actually see him on the construction site… But after thinking about it carefully, he couldn’t describe what kind of person Lu Ying was. He was really not just an innocent boy with outstanding appearance.
The moment he saw those clear eyes, Qin Zhuopu thought in a daze that the young man shouldn’t have been here, such a person should be in the deep valley of the green mountains and forests, carefree and running around without worries.
“This child is very inexperienced, just out of some mountains, twenty years old and has never studied, quite pitiful… I have been in contact with him a few times, he is very simple.” Happy and carefree as long as there is food, the general manager thought.
Qin Zhuopu stared: “He is twenty years old?” He thought the young man was eighteen at most.
“Yes, it’s just that his temperament is simple and he looks younger. Oddly likeable. Those old geezers on the construction site love to praise him. It’s hard to see such a young man nowadays.”
I have never seen anyone like this before either.
Qin Zhuopu exhaled deeply and shook his hot, damp head.
The heat was still scorching, but the road ahead seemed a little more exciting.
As he expected, when he turned around the corner of another building, by a small hill of piled bricks and stones, he saw Lu Ying again, working under the hot sun.
Bending over to put bricks into the cart, Lu Ying was fast and precise. Sweat slipped from time to time on his cheeks, and his face was dirtier than before, streaked grey and black. But the look of concentration still was eye-catching.
Qin Zhuopu looked away and wiped the sweat off his forehead. Stunned out of his mind, he must have been… dizzy.
The bricks were loaded, and Lu Ying turned to the cart, not expecting to see the strange man with the general manager again. As if he had met someone scary, Lu Ying ducked his head quickly and pushed the cart away, breathing hard.
General manager: “……” Why did Xiao Lu seem strange today?
Qin Zhuopu: “……” Hell, he actually felt that the young man was shy? Was Lu Ying looking at him just now?
Qin Zhuopu suddenly turned sideways, his sharp eyes sweeping over the general manager and the two bodyguards.
The bodyguards: “?”
General manager: “?”
Plain-looking, no need to worry about.
Qin Zhuopu smiled faintly, “It’s alright.”
Qin Zhuopu left the construction site very late, but it was a pity he had never seen the young man again after that.
Two days later at noon, as soon as the lunch break horn sounded, Lu Ying dashed towards the work shed, with Ji Xiaofeng following helplessly, “Can Brother convince you to stop behaving like this every time you eat?”
Lu Ying clutched his stomach as he ran, “I’m starving!”
“Haha, don’t worry, Xiao Lu, you can eat as much as you want, no one will grab it from you.” The foreman laughed, reassuring the young man.
“Young people have really good appetites, I used to be able to finish three big bowls in one go, but not now.”
When they arrived at the shed, everyone took out their bowls and chopsticks and habitually lined up for their meals.
Lu Ying was the first to arrive, so he was naturally the first to eat. Today’s dishes were three vegetarian and one meat, fried lettuce with meat, tomato and egg, stir-fried zucchini, and stewed chicken nuggets with potatoes.
The aunties’ skills were average, but anything tastes good when you are hungry. Lu Ying squatted in the shadows by the shed, eating without lifting his head.
It was not until a pair of feet suddenly appeared in front of him that Lu Ying looked up and saw the man he had seen two days ago. He had only seen the man once but he actually hadn’t forgotten him for two days and would inexplicably think of him at night.
“……” Lu Ying was completely dumbfounded.
Qin Zhuopu lowered his eyes and averted his gaze. The general manager next to him said loudly, “This is Mr. Qin, the president of our company. Today, Mr. Qin has specially brought some food for everyone… for everyone who is working hard in the heat…”
“Ah, this is Mr. Qin… so young…”
“What brings him to our place…”
“What’s good to eat?”
The aunties gathered around to help, and everyone was very happy. What Mr. Qin had sent them was all summer cold dishes. And all of them were meat dishes. Braised pig trotters, braised beef, braised pig tails, duck necks, big chicken legs… there were many varieties and the portions were big.
Lu Ying already couldn’t care about any strange things anymore. Swallowing his saliva, he looked around quickly, nimbly picked up a lot of dishes and squatted aside happily to taste them. Afraid that Ji Xiaofeng might not get a bite, he even grabbed a pig trotter for his little friend.
But Ji Xiaofeng shook his head in disgust: “I don’t want to eat it, I only want to eat vegetables.”
“Then I’ll eat them all.” Lu Ying smiled.
Ji Xiaofeng nodded, took a look at the out-of-place President Qin and muttered in a low voice: “I didn’t expect the boss to be so young and generous. I thought it was an old man before.”
“Yes, yes. Generous, so kind!” Lu Ying commented in a low voice.
Seeing the group huddled, engaged in a frenzied eating, smiling because of the food he had brought, and seeing everyone’s happy faces, Qin Zhuopu felt that what could have been just a little selfish gesture really touched his heart.
Qin Zhuopu was pulled inside by an auntie to sit under the fan. They didn’t dare to call him to eat together. From his point of view, Qin Zhuopu could just see Lu Ying’s back but he could watch it with impunity.
He found that the young man… ate a lot.
After lunch was over, the general manager’s assistant came over, hot and sweaty, and brought a few people.
The general manager immediately smiled and told everyone, “Mr. Qin said that it’s hard to work in the heat, so you should do a good job of protecting yourselves from the sun. Now come and get the sunscreen, each person a set, and there is also a repair gel prescribed by the doctor, an ointment specifically for sunburns…”
At these words, several aunties were immediately overjoyed: “Aigoo, Mr. Qin is really a great person! This is good, this is good!”
“You’re not afraid of the sun if you put it on? Then we have to try it.”
Lu Ying and Ji Xiaofeng also got their share.
Lu Ying sighed in a low voice again: “Mr. Qin is really good…”
After everyone was lively, it was time to take a nap. They were tired from work, and no one could bear to work all day. The lunch break became a very important rest time.
Qin Zhuopu was very conscious and took his people away one step early.
Lu Ying slipped to the sales office again, put the bamboo mat on the cold floor tiles in the corner of the building, lay down and fell asleep, cool and comfortable.
Qin Zhuopu looked at the person on the floor in amazement. He had never expected to see Lu Ying here again. And the other party was in this posture…
Qin Zhuopu stood in a daze, unable to walk away.
Suddenly, the man on the floor sat up, staring at him sharply.
Qin Zhuopu’s heart skipped a beat: “You…”
“Ah… it’s you.” Lu Ying exhaled, and then he nimbly got up from the floor: “Mr. Qin, Mr. Qin… I’m leaving now. I’ll never sleep here again, sorry!” After all, it was very disruptive to the ‘cityscape’ and the boss definitely didn’t like it when he saw it.
Qin Zhuopu opened his mouth with difficulty, his heart beating almost unbearably, “The work shed is hot, here is cool. You can sleep if you like…” But was this a good place to sleep?
“Really? Thank you…” Lu Ying was overjoyed and stood in place stiffly, not daring to go to sleep straight away.
“I’ll go first.”
Qin Zhuopu was very sensible and turned to leave, walking away quickly.
“…oh.” Only when the other party walked far away, turned the corner and disappeared, did Lu Ying slowly answer, then lay down again. But now he tossed and turned, unable to sleep.
He closed his eyes and quietly thought.
Every day was sunny, hot and uncomfortable. He had grown up hating the summer heat, and it was the first time he had ever spent a summer in a big city of steel and concrete. It was even worse than he could have imagined.
The summer in the city was too difficult; he didn’t like it. He had been hesitating whether to go back to the mountains to cool off or to stay in the city to work and play.
At this moment, he was lying on the cool floor, but what came to his mind was the quiet and cool night of Qixia Mountain, the sky full of stars, shining brightly.
There was one among them, particularly bright.
Mr. Qin: (Really moved; but he looks so young, what should I do?)
Lu Ying: (I must be starving to death)
Qin Zhuopu: How old is he?
General manager: Twenty.
Mr. Qin: (Happy heart)
Lu Ying: (I get so hungry every time I see that nice big guy Mr. Qin, what should I do?)
Mr. Qin: I invite you to dinner.
Lu Ying: …… ⊙o⊙ excited (even more hungry after eating!)
Mr. Qin: I invite you to dinner.
Lu Ying: (continues to eat, continues to be hungry)
Mr. Qin: I…
Lu Ying: I’ll buy you dinner today!
Mr. Qin: Good (*^▽^*)
Lu Ying: You are so nice.
Mr. Qin: ……??? (Want to die, I’ve been issued a nice guy card)
Lu Ying: Yah! Why are you fainting?