Could it be that his parents recognised him?
How could that be? That was ridiculous! It was just that he couldn’t help wishing for it.
It would be great if they could really recognise him, then he could jump into their arms and cry without fear, enjoying their love and affection. If there was any place in the world where Gao Xi could let go of all his defences and cry loudly, spitting out all the congested blood in his heart, then it was only in the arms of these two elderly people. These days, he missed that warmth so much that his heart ached.
But he couldn’t. He was Shen Yun, not Gao Xi.
Shen Yun’s body was as stiff as an iron plate, as he waited silently for the verdict of fate.
But his father just asked affectionately behind his back: “Young man, are you okay?”
Both his father and his mother were particularly kind people. They were university professors and had more concern and care for young people.
They reached out just because the young man was not in a good state.
Shen Yun couldn’t help but let out a soft sigh of relief, relaxing but inevitably a little disappointed.
He didn’t dare to turn back, but barely calmed his voice and said softly, “It’s fine, thank you.”
The sound of the old people’s footsteps gradually disappeared, and their conversation reached his ears intermittently.
His mother said that it was so cold, so she should burn a few thick clothes for Xi’er.
His father said, didn’t you burn a lot of paper money, he would buy it himself.
His mother said again, why doesn’t the child report in a dream? The phone, the computer are all burned…
His father said that no news was good news. He would live well there. Xi’er had always been a child who enjoyed life very much…
In the past, his parents had never believed in such things. Shen Yun squatted down, buried his head in his knees, and burst into tears again.
A little boy stood in front of him curiously, and asked in a tender voice, “Uncle, why are you crying?”
Shen Yun raised his hand to wipe away his tears, tried to force a smile, and looked through the tears at the boy wrapped up like a small zongzi: “Uncle just got something in his eye.”
The little boy’s mother chased after him and wanted to pull the boy away while apologising to Shen Yun, but the boy stood stubbornly in front of him and asked, “Do you want me or my mom to blow at it for you? My mom is very good, she can do anything.”
Parents will always be omnipotent in the eyes of their children. Shen Yun smiled. No matter how old we grow up, we will always be just children in front of our parents. That kind of dependence, that kind of admiration will never change.
Shen Yun couldn’t help stretching out his hand and rubbing the boy’s head: “Uncle is fine, thank you.”
The little boy fumbled in his pocket for a long time, took out a lollipop and handed it to Shen Yun: “Then you can have candy. The candy is sweet. After eating the candy, you won’t cry anymore.”
Shen Yun wanted to say, I didn’t cry, but what was the point of arguing with a child? So he took the candy with the reddened eyes and curved the corners of his lips in a smile.
Looking at the little boy’s back as he followed his mother away, Shen Yun unwrapped the lollipop and put it in his mouth. It was milk-flavoured, and the sweet and creamy taste filled his mouth. Shen Yun felt his whole heart warm up.
This is how people are; no matter how much harm you have suffered, if you encounter a little bit of good, you will still be unable to avoid feeling warm and yearning for it.
Tears had already flowed too much, and there was no need for them to flow anymore.
He raised his head slightly, thinking, today was a good day, right? He talked to his father, and ate a sweet candy.
From today on, it was time to let go of it all and wholeheartedly face those things that he was supposed to face.
Today was indeed a good day.
Xu Moran and Zhao Chun arrived at Zhouquan again.
When they received the call from Zhou Lan’s assistant, they were more puzzled than anything else, as they had just finalised some of the details yesterday, and generally speaking, contacting them again would either be to notify them of the final result, or to refine the details of the contract as well as signing it.
But they just met yesterday, so either case seemed to be too hasty.
So the mood of the two men on the way here was apprehensive, as they recalled over and over again the details of the last negotiation and whether there was anything wrong.
There was no crisis they had imagined, but it was more embarrassing than a crisis.
Zhou Lan apologised straightforwardly. He smiled and said, “I’m sorry, it was my mistake. You two know that the reason why Zhouquan approached Moxi seriously at the beginning was because we needed an inspired designer like Gao Xi. It’s a pity…”
He saw Xu Moran’s face darken, and the sadness between his brows could hardly be hidden, while Zhao Chun, after glancing at Xu Moran, also lowered his head silently.
The atmosphere in the conference room was a bit awkward.
Zhou Lan changed the subject subtly: “However, I compared the plans and quotations of various design studios in the later stage. Even if there is no Gao Xi, your strength cannot be underestimated. Fortunately, you can join us.”
Xu Moran said in a hoarse voice: “Thank you, President Zhou, for your appreciation.”
Zhou Lan pondered for a while and continued: “We also talked about it yesterday. The only thing we hesitate about now is that Moxi’s design is too rigid. If there was more spirituality, we wouldn’t have to struggle to choose. Therefore, I called the two of you today to actually recommend a designer to Moxi to jointly develop Lanqiao in a cooperative manner with Moxi.”
Xu Moran and Zhao Chun looked at each other, seeing hesitation in each other’s eyes.
Zhou Lan waited unhurriedly. It was Xu Moran who took the lead in breaking the silence: “I don’t know what kind of cooperation method President Zhou is talking about?”
Zhou Lan smiled: “Don’t worry, you two. The designer will only participate in the design and the follow-up of the project, but the construction, material and accessories are still controlled by Moxi, and he won’t get involved. So you don’t have to worry about the profits of each link being thinned because of the addition of the other party.”
Zhou Lan was so frank, but Xu Moran and Zhao Chun felt their faces get a little hot. In this business, every part of the process was actually profitable for those who did it right.
Zhao Chun asked, “So is the other party only involved in the initial design stage?”
Zhou Lan said: “Not only that, the other party will produce drawings, budgets, and in the later construction process, we also hope that he will follow up throughout the whole process with the residences he designed. After all, designers and construction personnel need to communicate in many ways. However, the construction department is arranged by you. You only need to provide materials according to the requirements of the other party to cooperate with his work. Of course, each drawing of the designer is very valuable. There are twelve configurations of rooms in Lanqiao. We can also assure you that only three drawings of the other party will be used at most.”
Xu Moran and Zhao Chun looked at each other, feeling that such conditions didn’t have much impact on them, and it was rare to have a chance to cooperate with a large enterprise like Zhouquan. If you missed it this time, it might not be so easy to have a chance in the future.
Besides, even if they disagreed, it didn’t mean that others would disagree. There were too many people who wanted to eat Lanqiao.
To put it bluntly, even if the contract was unequal, as long as there was money to make, no one would hand over this kind of opportunity to others.
Before the two of them had a chance to speak, Zhou Lan smiled again and said, “Of course, we will also treat the fruits of your labour objectively and impartially. If our little friend’s design does not meet the requirements in the end, it is not impossible that his design will not be adopted at all. It’s just that Lanqiao is a whole project. I hope that during this period of time, he can come to Moxi to work with you. Of course, his salary will be paid by Zhouquan. You two can go back and think about it first. If there is no problem, we will sign the contract next week. If you have any questions, you can contact my assistant.”
Xu Moran nodded and said with a smile: “President Zhou is too polite. It’s just that there is one more designer, it’s not a big deal, just let us know. But I’m a little curious about this designer who is favoured by President Zhou. Is he famous in the industry? I wonder if I know him.”
Zhou Lan smiled: “A very young kid, it’s unlikely that President Xu and President Zhao could have noticed him. But this kid is very talented and the design style is very similar to Gao Xi. Lanqiao doesn’t have Gao Xi’s participation, after all, it’s a pity, so the addition of this person is also considered a kind of making up for it.”
Xu Moran listened to Zhou Lan’s words with a slight smile on his face, but in his heart, he was a little uncomfortable.
Zhou Lan not necessarily underestimated Gao Xi, but not everyone could be worthy to match the name Gao Xi.
He and Zhao Chun exchanged a few words in a low voice, and he finally made a decision: “We have no problem with the matter mentioned by President Zhou today. The other party is welcome to come to Moxi at any time. We also need to meet and exchange some opinions on the project.”
Zhou Lan was very satisfied with his understanding, smiled and nodded: “Then next Monday, let’s sign the contract.”
When the dust settled, Xu Moran quietly breathed a sigh of relief.
Zhouquan was what Gao Xi wanted to take when he was alive. Now he had fulfilled his wish, but Gao Xi was gone.
With indescribable sadness, Xu Moran’s eyes were red on the way back.
Zhao Chun thought he was unwilling to give a piece of the pie to others, so he comforted him: “It’s just a project, and the other party can’t take advantage of it. Haven’t you heard? It’s a kid. Maybe it’s Zhou Lan’s new little love, sent to Moxi to learn.”
Xu Moran didn’t explain. He was indeed unwilling in his heart. The project was won, but it was not perfect. He said softly: “Who is to blame? He is Party A (the leading party in the contract).”
Shen Qing was in the second year of high school this year. She usually lived in school, and came back on weekends to stay with Shen Yun.
Today was Friday. Shen Yun went to the food market to buy some ingredients. He didn’t want to buy much meat, so he bought two chicken racks (what is left of chicken after almost all meat is cut off), a little bit of pork belly and some vegetables, thinking about boosting Shen Qing’s diet.
High school students were under a lot of pressure to study, and Shen Qing also had to work in the school cafeteria every week. Her monthly salary was meagre, but she could save money on meals.
Shen Yun thought, when the things stabilised on his side, Shen Qing would quit her job, study with peace of mind, and strive to get to a better school.
A good school and a good profession, although not a panacea, were also very likely to change a person’s life.
Especially for a child like Shen Qing, who didn’t have many opportunities, this was a cornerstone of her life.
And perhaps most of all the opportunities and choices for the rest of her life would have to be built on this cornerstone, so he had to help her seize it.
While carrying a bag of food and fumbling for his keys at the door, he heard his mobile phone ring.
Shen Yun found his mobile phone. It was Zhou Lan. He put his mobile phone between his ear and his shoulder and listened to the call while opening the door.
“Come here tonight!” Zhou Lan said.
Always such a commanding tone.
Shen Yun opened the door and said with a chuckle: “President Zhou is really energetic. But not today.”
Zhou Lan didn’t say anything, waiting for his explanation.
So Shen Yun explained: “My sister is coming home, and I have to be at home on weekends, so I can’t stay out all night.”
Zhou Lan was silent for a few seconds and said, “Go to Moxi to report next Monday. The opportunity is given to you. It’s up to you if you can grasp it.”
Shen Yun’s fingers holding the phone tightened. He knocked out a cigarette. The lighter clicked crisply, and a little later his voice travelled over: “Thank you, President Zhou.”
Zhou Lan could imagine him squinting and smoking, very lonely, as if there was a barrier around him that no one could enter.
He also squinted his eyes: “Come here on Monday night.”
Shen Yun chuckled lightly: “Okay.” Then hung up.
On Monday, Moxi…
His fingers unconsciously pressed the wound on the back of his hand, and the just-scarred wound slightly oozed blood again.
It was really interesting; Shen Yun smiled.