Tian Rou’s words were aimed at Lu Chenzhou in particular, and she spoke so clearly and loudly that Baldy couldn’t help himself from tugging on her shoulder.
Tian Rou glanced at him. “What’s the matter?”
Baldy scratched his head as he felt a headache start to develop. Having a girlfriend like Tian Rou was very tiring—in the past, he had just said whatever he wanted, and whatever made him feel good. But ever since he started dating this lass, he had become the mediator who had to smooth things over between her and the people she provoked.
But before Baldy had a chance to say anything that could de-escalate the situation, Tian Rou threw out another bombshell. “Oh, that’s right. Director Lu, you might not know this yet, but my Cheng Xi even found a boyfriend over there. He’s very handsome! I have a picture. Do you want to see?”
Baldy was left speechless.
At this point, he had already given up trying to salvage the conversation.
True to her word, Tian Rou really did pull up a photo on her phone before showing the screen to everyone at the table. “Look! He’s handsome, isn’t he?”
Frankly speaking, this man really was quite handsome. The photo was of Cheng Xi and that man sitting down together. Although the two of them weren’t acting particularly intimate in the photo, they were both smiling in an easygoing fashion, as if the photo had been taken in an impromptu manner. The man in the photograph looked to be around thirty years old, had a handsome, sharp, but surprisingly amiable face, and when he smiled, he had a particularly gentle demeanor.
Compared to this sort of man, Lu Chenzhou seemed like a block of ice—handsome, certainly, but far too cold!
Lu Chenzhou didn’t even deign to glance at the photograph, which made Tian Rou furious. At the same time, she also felt a sense of injustice for Cheng Xi—whenever they chatted, her words and tone intimated that she still hadn’t forgotten about Lu Chenzhou, and that everything she said about having a new boyfriend was made up. The only reason Cheng Xi had even sent this photo to Tian Rou at all was because Tian Rou had asked if she’d met any handsome men over there. Cheng Xi had told her that he was a cadre working in the civil administration and that he was nice and gentle. Tian Rou had immediately asked if she planned on dating him, but Cheng Xi laughed and replied, “Don’t joke around! His child’s already a teenager, and I’m just sending you this image to let you know that I’m doing well. It’s not as terrible down here as you all seem to think.”
While it might not be that terrible down there, Cheng Xi was nonetheless unable to come back. On some level, Tian Rou was afraid that she’d set down her roots in Gansu and stay there for the rest of her life. A fierce smile appeared on Tian Rou’s face now. If Lu Chenzhou didn’t want to look at it, then she’d simply force him to. “Director Lu, I’m going to send it to you, so that you can see how charming our Cheng Xi is.”
And then, ignoring Baldy’s pleading gestures, she really did it.
Baldy swore inwardly. ……Shit!
He wasn’t going to bother himself with her actions any longer!
But, unexpectedly, Lu Chenzhou didn’t respond to Tian Rou’s provocations at all. Throughout this entire conversation, he’d simply continued to play games on his phone, completely ignoring Tian Rou’s words and gestures.
But Baldy didn’t believe that Lu Chenzhou would truly let it go just like that, and his apparent calmness only made him more worried. When everyone finished eating and was about to leave, Baldy motioned for his meddlesome girlfriend to leave first. He on the other hand, stayed until the very end, quivering with fear as he said to Lu Chenzhou, who was still staring at his phone, “Zhou…… we’re going to leave.”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t raise his head.
Peng! Suddenly, without any prior sign, Lu Chenzhou exploded. He stood up and threw his phone against the floor, smashing it to pieces. The phone ricocheted off and hit the wall, leaving a big hole.
Baldy was shocked speechless. “……”
Why’d she have to provoke him?! I’m about to piss his pants!
Lu Chenzhou coldly said, “Tell her that if she messes around like this one more time, I’ll kill her.”
Baldy pleadingly said, “……she doesn’t understand you that well.”
But Lu Chenzhou didn’t respond. He just glanced back at Baldy one more time before leaving without a second glance.
When Lu Chenzhou pushed the door open to leave, Tian Rou had still been eavesdropping on them with her ear to the door. So when the door suddenly opened, she almost fell on top of him.
Lu Chenzhou didn’t even glance at her as he swiftly walked out, brushing by her shoulders.
Tian Rou didn’t know how close she had scraped by death as she made a face at his back before running inside. “Baldy, you’re alright, aren’t you……” Then she saw the phone lying on the ground, causing her to curse, “Wow, he’s really rich! He wrecked an expensive phone like this out of nowhere.”
Baldy was completely speechless by now. He grabbed her wrist and weakly pleaded, “Please, can you just shut up?”
Tian You just smiled in response. She looked outside the window, cozied up to Baldy, and then asked in a particularly happy tone, “Is Lu Chenzhou mad?”
Baldy nodded. “He said that if you did something like this ever again, that he was going to kill you. Please, stop provoking him. Haven’t you realized how abnormal he’s been acting this entire year?”
Baldy felt like he must have committed some immeasurable sin in his past life to end up saddled with a woman like Tian Rou! Even worse, while the two of them were heading back, Tian Rou even called Cheng Xi and left a loud voicemail. “Cheng Xi, I got revenge for you today! Lu Chenzhou was so furious that he stormed out of the room.”
Baldy really was quite curious about how Cheng Xi would respond, but she never called back. Thinking of the time, Baldy was quite surprised. If she wasn’t responding to messages at this time, then there was an 80% chance that she’d actually gotten a new boyfriend. When his thoughts reached this point, he tried to squeeze some more information from Tian Rou. “Is Dr. Cheng really dating someone over there?”
If this was fake news, then there was a chance that he could still salvage things with Lu Chenzhou.
But Tian Rou was willing to lie even to her boyfriend, and she nodded seriously. “It’s true. Cheng Xi met him while starting up her organization. He’s young but already a vice-bureau chief. Besides that, he’s also talented, smart, gentle, and very attentive towards Cheng Xi.”
Tian Rou said all this in one go, as if she hadn’t come up with it on the spot. It was a flawless deception.
Baldy gripped the steering wheel in agony as he cried out, “Then we’re dead!” He could already see the bloodshed in the near future.
Tian Rou asked, confused, “What’s the matter?”
Baldy only sighed lamentably, wanting nothing more to do with his oblivious girlfriend. “Haven’t you noticed that Boss Lu never got over Dr. Cheng?”
Tian Rou laughed coldly. “What sort of reason is that?” After all this time, though she’d long since understood why Cheng Xi had been reassigned away, she still didn’t know that Lu Chenzhou was mentally unsound. Thus, her tone was particularly imperious as she said, “He liked her so much that he backstabbed her? Oh, and then after that, he said, ‘My dear, I love you! I backstabbed you because I can’t bear to be with you, and I’m kicking you to the border to protect you!’ Who in the world does he think he is? The emperor with an entire harem trying to gain his favor?” As Tian Rou worked herself into a self-righteous fury, she even started yelling at Baldy. “All men are wretched! They never appreciate us when we’re here and only plead for us to return when we’re gone. Disgusting!”
Baldy covered his face with his hands.
He raised a hand, carefully stating, “I still cherish you very much.”
“I’m talking about you and your previous girlfriend!”
He decided to shut up at this point.
Because, just like Tian Rou, he couldn’t understand what Lu Chenzhou was doing at all. But since he had known Lu Chenzhou for so many years, he was sensitive to Lu Chenzhou’s moods. Ever since Cheng Xi had left, Lu Chenzhou seemed to have become a volcano always on the verge of erupting with black clouds continuously gathering overhead.
Baldy reflected on the day’s events, and on the following day, he pushed his own commitments aside to talk to Lu Chenzhou. But in the end, Baldy wasn’t able to see Lu Chenzhou, because he was neither at work or at home. In fact, no one knew where he was.
At the end of the year, when Donglai had its annual shareholder’s meeting, Lu Chenzhou only showed up for a brief moment before vanishing again, and the task of hosting the meeting had to be relegated to a vice-director.
After that meeting, due to Lu Chenzhou’s recent lack of effort and poor results over the last half year, some shareholders proposed removing him from the leadership and reinstating his father. Rumors of this transfer spread far and wide, and Donglai was mired in gossip for quite a while afterwards.
On January 20, before the matter with Donglai could be settled, the Lunar New Year once more came around. Just as Tian Rou had predicted, Cheng Xi didn’t return.
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, right before the New Year festivities were completely over, news that Donglai Corporation had manufactured a fake vaccine erupted, and it became the focus of the entire nation.