Shen Fan arranged everything very quickly after Tang Yi agreed, even using the weekend for it.
By Sunday afternoon, Tang Yi heard the news that Lin Rui had arrived in T City.

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Naturally, Lin Rui wouldn’t have contacted him as soon as he returned; the news was from Fat Sod.

After Gu Yanting returned to the company last week, he asked Fat Sod to send the spare key to Tang Yi.
He was afraid that Tang Yi wouldn’t accept it, so he texted Tang Yi almost every day, saying that the home over there was heated, but no one was home during the previous pressure test, and he didn’t know if the heating had run out of water.
The company also said that when he left, the gas seemed to be left on, and there seemed to be food in the house, so he didn’t know if it would attract mice.
In short, it was all kinds of worries in hope that Tang Yi would go over and take a look.

Tang Yi didn’t intend to go back.
He and Gu Yanting were not really together again.
Moreover, compared to the previous state of being together every minute and him being deeply in love, this current relationship was much more comfortable for him.

He didn’t say it explicitly, but Gu Yanting sensed it, so he turned to Fat Sod and softly asked him to send Tang Yi the key to his house anyway, so Tang Yi had to accept it.

Fat Sod wasn’t happy at first.
Two years ago when Gu Yanting left, Fat Sod had thought that he would no longer have anything to do with Tang Yi, his “friend’s object”.
But who knew that whenever he was in trouble, Tang Yi never looked on with indifference and never said a word when he contributed money or help.

In his heart, Fat Sod knew that he was taking advantage of Gu Yanting’s shadow.
Tang Yi basically had no contact with him.
The reason why Tang Yi  helped him was, one, that Tang Yi himself was a cold-faced and warm-hearted person.
Although he didn’t make many friends and had been repeatedly labelled as too deep and sophisticated, in fact once he trusted someone, he was a sincere person.
Secondly, Tang Yi was a man of deep affection, if not to others, but at least to Gu Yanting.

Fat Sod didn’t repay him for taking care of him.
At first, he felt grateful and guilty.
Later, when he learned that Mom and Dad Gu also received things occasionally, his mood became complicated.

It was true that Gu Yanting should not have broken Tang Yi’s heart for Lin Rui, but when Gu Yanting had done so, they, his friends, had not genuinely stopped him.
Fat Sod, who was considered conscientious among those people, had only slightly reminded him.

At the root of the matter, it was their crowd who, when comparing Tang Yi to Lin Rui behind their backs, thought from the bottom of their hearts that Tang Yi was no match for Lin Rui.

Lin Rui was their classmate at the university.
Although his personal style was not very good, he wasn’t a bad person.
He was loyal, he would help his friends, he would give a hand when he saw an old man or a child in need of help, and he had lent money to his classmates.
He usually wore designer clothes, so when he did these things, he was very popular.
Tang Yi, on the other hand, was an ordinary person, so when he did the same things, it seemed to be a matter of course to everyone.

Between the two, in the eyes of those fox friends, the only thing worth comparing apart from their looks was their family status.
Tang Yi’s looks were good, but they gave people an overly serious feeling, while Lin Rui’s slightly charming innocence was more likely to arouse men’s hormones.
As for the family situation, they all started tasting the coldness of the world only after their graduation; but imagine the struggles of a humble child whose efforts for ten years were not even worth a warm word from the old man who was not his father.
Meanwhile, Tang Yi’s hardships, struggles and patience were at best rewarded with a “not easy” sentence.

Every man thinks that the flowers at home are not as fragrant as the wild flowers.
When Gu Yanting broke up, Lin Rui held a birthday party for him, and these people were not shy about heckling at the party.
Someone even whispered the word “pretentious” with disdain when he mentioned Tang Yi.
At that time, Fat Sod didn’t say anything, but inwardly, he was also biassed towards Gu Yanting and felt that Tang Yi had acted a bit too extreme.

At that time, he had not yet met his girlfriend and was with his first love.
But later on he encountered the same shit, and only when Tang Yi came to his aid afterwards when he was most depressed did Fat Sod empathise with him and feel that kind of frustration and anger.

Fat Sod felt it was retribution, and every time Tang Yi helped, it deepened the guilt he felt inside.
This was also the reason why when Gu Yanting first came back and wanted his advice, Fat Sod didn’t even think twice about putting a stop to it.

Now that Gu Yanting begged him for help, Fat Sod had a hundred unhappy feelings in his heart.
He delayed the delivery of the key until Lin Rui suddenly posted a message in the group of classmates about returning to T City.
Then Fat Sod hesitated for a while, drove a small car under the pretext of delivering the key, and actually went to report the news.

Gu Yanting didn’t expect to be backstabbed.
When Fat Sod arrived at Tang Yi’s apartment, the first sentence that came out of his mouth was, “Brother Tang, that kid Lin Rui is back.”

When Tang Yi opened the door, he was talking to Gu Yanting on the phone, and he froze for a long time before he reacted to the cold air coming in together with Fat Sod.

He was stunned for a moment and turned sideways to give way, so Fat Sod entered the door with a big grin and changed his shoes, saying in a loud voice as he did so, “Boss asked me to bring you the key, hey, I guess he wants to get back together! I’m telling you, Brother Tang, you can’t say yes too easily, once the surnamed Lin comes back, you’ll see the dog can’t stop eating its shit.”

Fat Sod’s voice was loud, and what he said was transmitted word for word into the phone.

Tang Yi was really unaware that Lin Rui had arrived so soon.
These two days Gu Yanting was having a fit about flying over to see him, saying he would stay overnight before leaving.
He didn’t agree, so Gu Yanting switched to a non-stop attack of phone calls and text messages.
Tang Yi wanted to sort things out properly after Lin Rui’s arrival but almost everything was disrupted now.

Of course he didn’t mention the fact that Lin Rui was coming back.

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Gu Yanting was so shocked that there was no sound on the phone.
After a long time, he was about to scream, cursing Fat Sod, when Tang Yi hung up quickly.

Fanfan jumped over happily and leaned to Fat Sod’s feet, sniffing vigorously.
Fat Sod picked up the puppy in surprise and looked at it for a long time.
The more he looked at it, the more he liked it.
He happily hugged it in his arms and consciously found a place to sit down.

Tang Yi poured a cup of water for him and put it aside.
When he sat down, he listened to Fat Sod persistently lobbying him, “Brother Tang, you can’t be soft-hearted.”


Tang Yi smiled and glanced at him, somewhat surprised, “What am I soft-hearted about?”

“Boss, he asked me to give you the key.” Fat Sod pulled the keys out of his pocket, put them on the coffee table, pushed them forward and said, “This is probably to stir up emotions to fool you.”

After he finished speaking, he seemed to think that it wasn’t very appropriate to sell his brother so badly, so he explained very objectively, “He hasn’t touched anything at home.
When he came back last time, there were mice, so he had to hire house cleaners to clean it for a day.
Then, probably because he was distressed, he asked me to look after the house for a month and hire a housekeeper to clean it once a week.
If you go back and look at it now, I don’t think anything has changed there.”

After stating the facts, he coughed and returned to his central idea, “But this is just this month, it wasn’t like this in the previous two years.”

Tang Yi held the cup in both hands and listened to what he said.
When he turned his head, he saw Gu Yanting calling again.
He raised his eyebrows and muted the ringtone, threw the phone to the side and motioned to Fat Sod to continue.

In fact, it was not that Fat Sod didn’t want the two of them to reconcile.
At the end of the conversation he sighed and said with some emotion, “Boss is determined to get back together, and he really hasn’t touched anyone in the past two years.
But I can’t put any faith in him.
He used to have such a crush on Lin Rui.
I don’t think anyone can believe that Lin Rui will ever be just a passer-by for him.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope you two can reconcile, but when I think about Lin Rui still standing here, I don’t think the matter can pass just like this.”

His words were basically the same as Shen Fan’s, but they were much more heartfelt.
Tang Yi held his cup of water, lowered his eyes and watched the water rippling in circles.
After a long time, he slowly nodded.

Fat Sod sighed and asked him, “So Brother Tang, do you still have faith in Boss then?”

Tang Yi thought for a long time before giving a very vague answer.
Who knew that not half a day later, when Shen Fan told him that he had settled in the hotel and asked him to go over for dinner, he would be asked the exact same question again.

The two of them hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
Shen Fan sat in the restaurant, frowning, waiting until Tang Yi sat down opposite him before regaining his senses.
Tang Yi had lost a lot of weight compared to a month ago, but he looked quite energetic.
Shen Fan didn’t say anything until he finished ordering the food, then looked at Tang Yi and asked, “Why have you lost so much weight?”

Tang Yi smiled and finally said indifferently, “If you hadn’t stuffed Lin Rui in, it might have been better.”

“……” Shen Fan’s expression stiffened slightly for a moment before he looked across the table, “Tang Yi, how much confidence do you have in Gu Yanting?”

Tang Yi narrowed his eyes and didn’t answer.
Shen Fan stopped keeping listeners in suspense and simply said, “I didn’t like him at first.
He’s a simple man, to put it nicely; but to put it bluntly, he’s stupid.
He’s useless in society, he relies on you for everything.
Not to mention the fact that he was eating from the bowl and looking at the pot.”

“But he’s not anymore,” Tang Yi smiled, “even if he made mistakes, he needs to be given a chance to reform.
Why do you bother to look down on him so much?”

“Yes, he’s quite capable now.” Shen Fan paused, and only after a few seconds did he smile oddly, “But do you believe it?”

“He’s already come to see you, hasn’t he? What good things did he say? He’s making money now? He’s capable?” Shen Fan said indifferently, “Do you really believe it? Or are you also surprised in your heart?”


“Have you asked him what he did in the past two years? How did he rise, how did he make a fortune, which talent was found in him to elevate him… What does he currently do for a living?”

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Tang Yi’s pupils shrank fiercely, and he didn’t speak for a long time.
Shen Fan obviously had another deep meaning in his words, but Tang Yi deceived himself and found that he didn’t want to know this.
These were the insecurities and doubts that lay dormant deep in his heart.

Did he believe it? Gu Yanting had gained momentum in one fell swoop, and he did have some talent, but could his talent help him reach such a high position at once?

The answer was no.

But he hadn’t asked, his subconscious was preventing him from asking these questions.


Shen Fan’s face was a little tired.
While Tang Yi was pondering, he saw the slight stubble that appeared on Shen Fan’s face, as well as the faint blue shadows under his eyes.

The waiter quickly brought the dishes, and as the two of them fell silent.
Four dishes and one soup were put in front of them.

Shen Fan declined the waiter’s gesture, instead personally scooping the soup for Tang Yi.
As he set the soup bowl aside to wait for it to cool, he raised his eyes to look at Tang Yi and finally paused under the latter’s gaze, giving up after filling half of his own bowl and asking Tang Yi, “Do you want to know?”

“……” Tang Yi opened his mouth and didn’t say anything.

Shen Fan said, “You want to know, but you don’t dare to know, right? You see, between the two of you, even without Lin Rui, you don’t fully trust each other, you don’t fully trust him.” He paused and added, “You don’t trust yourself completely either.”

“And then what?” Tang Yi laughed vaguely, “It’s not a big deal.”

Shen Fan looked at him without continuing to speak.
Tang Yi also smiled in response and ate and drank without mentioning the topic further.

The problem between him and Gu Yanting was indeed not only Lin Rui.
The two of them often had cold wars before they broke up.
Tang Yi was busy at work and earning a high income.
The previous inconsistencies in Gu Yanting’s words and actions had already made him feel cold, so the further he went the less willing he was to take care of the other’s feelings.
The most common thing was that he would occasionally show disdain for Gu Yanting’s income.

When the two broke up, his words were not just a knife in Gu Yanting’s heart.
He coldly told Gu Yanting that he wasn’t mature enough and good enough, that he earned little money and that their family had to rely on Tang Yi alone.
Gu Yanting’s eyes were red at the time.

In the past two years, Gu Yanting had travelled far away from his hometown, and now he was stalking again after returning.
One of his strengths was that he himself was capable now and no longer a dumb kid who had nothing.
In fact, after the separation, Tang Yi also regretted that remark.
That wasn’t what he had in mind.
It was purely to retaliate against Gu Yanting.
However, the water was spilled and if he now denied what he had said, who would believe it?

In fact, he would rather it was Gu Yanting who had hit the jackpot and soared to the heavens.

Shen Fan looked at him and saw that he was lost in thought.
After a while he put some food in Tang Yi’s bowl and couldn’t help but say, “I owe Lin Rui’s father a favour.
Lin Rui wanted to come back to T City for a long time, but I kept putting it off.
A few days ago his mother found out that she was sick.
It hasn’t yet been diagnosed whether it’s benign or malignant.
His father asked for help and I let him come back.”

Tang Yi couldn’t help but be shocked when he heard this and raised his eyes to look at Shen Fan.

Shen Fan coughed lightly and said, “Of course, there was also a selfish desire to see him stop you and Gu Yanting from reconciling.”

Tang Yi: “……”

“But you don’t have to have any difficulties in the company.
Just give him a position of any kind, with salary allocated from headquarters, and if you don’t want to see him, it’s fine to give him an idle position and give him a leave of absence.”

Tang Yi gave him a serious look and smiled, “Then I might as well give him a tiring job running errands to torment him.” He paused, but eventually couldn’t hold back and asked softly, “Yanting, is his job in the past two years okay?”

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His expression was somewhat nervous, and Shen Fan’s smile faintly became stagnant.
Only after a moment did he slowly say, “The job is fine, it’s just that the reason he made it to Huayuan was because he had been mistaken for Zhou Hao by Huayuan’s General Manager Fang.”

Shen Fan raised an eyebrow, looked at Tang Yi and said, “He does have some talent, but by his education and knowledge, he originally wouldn’t have had these opportunities to develop.”

Tang Yi’s breathing stalled for a moment.
Shen Fan paused here when he saw Tang Yi’s face turn white, his fingers trembling slightly.
Tang Yi opened his mouth several times, but ultimately failed to say anything.

Shen Fan knew that there was no point in stopping halfway through the sentence.
He waited for a while, and when he saw Tang Yi leaning back motionlessly on the chair, he slowly said, “Was there a push behind it? Has Zhou Dongchuan already learned about it? I have been looking for someone to investigate it for a long time without any clue.
But one thing is clear: Gu Yanting is not the Gu couple’s biological child.
The Gu family changed the house they lived in, but the previous neighbours knew that the child had arrived at the Gu family when he was five or six years old.
Gu Yanting is straightforward at heart and I’m afraid he doesn’t remember any of this.”

“He’s carefree today with a high salary and is enjoying himself, but do you know what he’ll be facing before too long, perhaps?”

“He’s a cub that’s been bred to be a sheep, and sooner or later he’s going to be thrown into a blood pit to be slaughtered.”

The mobile phone placed on the dining table suddenly buzzed and vibrated.
Tang Yi felt his body a little weak and glanced at the phone from afar, then his eyes dodged somewhat hastily as if they were scalded.
Shen Fan’s gaze moved; he waited until the words “Gu Yanting” had gone dark on the screen and the phone had returned to calm before he sighed softly.

He was silent for a while, and then said quietly, “I didn’t support you and Zhou Hao before because I didn’t want you to get involved with the Zhou family.
If you really can’t change your sexual orientation, I’d even agree with you finding someone like Lin Rui.
Or someone a little more simple.
At least you should be able to hold him down.”

Tang Yi laughed hoarsely and bitterly, “Don’t disgust me, what’s the matter with pulling Lin Rui into it?”

“I’m serious,” Shen Fan sighed.
“I didn’t expect you to still like Gu Yanting.
If you have to like this kind of face, then it might as well be Zhou Hao.
The two of them look 70 or 80% alike but Zhou Hao at least has the ability to take charge, so you won’t have to shield him from the wind and rain.
But Gu Yanting is different.
He doesn’t even know why he’s in Huayuan now.
If you’re with him in the future, you’ll be the one who will have to cover him in a hail of bullets.”

“You’re thinking too far ahead.
The Zhou family has plenty of illegitimate children out there, and Zhou Hao said that everyone else… is worthless in the eyes of the Zhou family, except for the one who was recognised at home.”

The candles in the chandelier on the dining table cast down a golden light.
Tang Yi slowly leaned forward and reached out to press the phone.
The phone’s case was cold and so were his fingertips.
The phone showed seven missed calls from Gu Yanting.
His fingers slowly slid over and he heard Shen Fan whisper, “That’s true.”


“But back then, Zhou Dongchuan liked his younger son.” Shen Fan said in a low voice, “Zhou Hao was only later recognised by the Zhou family.”

“I don’t believe it… even if that’s the case, Yanting doesn’t necessarily have to be manipulated by others.” Tang Yi was halfway through speaking and surprisingly found it a little difficult to breathe.
He calmly reassured himself in his heart and took a deep breath, but his mind refuted him with unparalleled clarity.

Just because Gu Yanting wouldn’t necessarily be manipulated by others didn’t mean that others wouldn’t try to do it.
If Zhou Dongchuan was brooding over what happened back then, even if he no longer had any feelings for Gu Yanting, he would inevitably make use of him to warn those who disobeyed him.

For example, Zhou Hao…

Tang Yi swallowed and then slowly said after a long time, “Brothers… don’t necessarily have to…”

Shen Fan raised his eyes to look at him.
Tang Yi met his gaze and said “Maybe, it will be like you and me…”


Tang Yi: “Really?”

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Shen Fan looked at him, raised his hand and slowly pressed it to his brow for a long time before shaking his head with a clear, cold expression, “No.”

“Tang Yi, how do you know that I didn’t guard against you?”

Tang Yi: “……”

“I knew about the fight between Huayuan and the Zhou family a little earlier than you did at that time.
Although it was true that the company’s finances were tight, even if the head office didn’t have problems at the time, it’s hard to guarantee that I would have immediately lent a helping hand to you in the first place.”

Shen Fan paused with some embarrassment but still said frankly, “The opportunity of a snipe fighting a seashell is rare.
If I could use the subsidiary as bait and end up with several times the profit, it would be hard for me not to be tempted.
Of course, afterwards I would give you several times what this subsidiary had as compensation.”

Tang Yi’s face changed for a moment, and then he slowly looked away.

Shen Fan clasped his hands and quietly exhaled.

After a short while, he heard Tang Yi say softly, “I knew.”

Shen Fan froze for a moment, “When?”

“Last weekend.” Tang Yi raised his hand and put it back down, “Gu Yanting reminded me that this subsidiary might just be used as a pawn.
I was so stunned that I said “would ER be used as a pawn one day too?” He stubbornly corrected me, saying it wasn’t ER, it was just this subsidiary.”

“……” Shen Fan was startled, and said after a long time, “Count on him having a brain.”

“Shen Fan, can I make a request?” Tang Yi smiled faintly.

“What request, you say?”

“I want to buy all the shares of this subsidiary.” Tang Yi said, “All of them.”

When he went home, there was snow floating in the air.
Tang Yi walked along the way back for a while in a daze before reacting.
He slowly stopped, stretched out his hand and watched the bigger snowflakes fall into his palm, slowly melting into nothingness.

He remembered the first Mid-Autumn Festival when he followed Gu Yanting back home.
Mom and Dad Gu were waiting for them at the bus stop.
That year, it was cold very early, and it was already quite late at night when they came because Gu Yanting waited for him.
When they got off the bus, their hands were red with cold, and when they got home, the table was full of cold dishes, and Mom Gu was rubbing her itching hands as she heated them up one by one.

That day Gu Yanting introduced them with a silly smile, “My dad, my mom.” Tang Yi’s heart was incomparably envious as he was thinking: this will be my dad and my mom too in the future.

Tang Yi understood Shen Fan’s concerns.
In addition to the various problems that Gu Yanting would face in the future, there was also the fact that Zhou Hao was still the second largest shareholder of ER.
If Zhou Hao and Gu Yanting faced each other one day, Shen Fan would choose to support Zhou Hao no matter what his purpose was.
Tang Yi’s position would be very awkward then.

When Tang Yi told Shen Fan that he wanted to buy all the shares of the subsidiary and completely sever all ties with the head office, Shen Fan was silent for a long time and couldn’t help but say, “You are crazy.”

He was crazy.

After a long pause, Tang Yi finally replied to the question that Shen Fan had asked as soon as he arrived.

— Tang Yi, how much confidence do you have in Gu Yanting?

— No confidence.
But I love him.

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