After He Gu sobered up, he went down to look for his car, eventually finding it parked on a side street in his neighborhood. Then he suddenly remembered, what about my car keys? He had already lost his spare key once, and had since forgotten to replace them. So he now only had the one set left.
Without another choice, he gave Feng Zheng a call again. Feng Zheng seemed to have just woken up from a dream as he answered, “Aiya, Lao1老 – lǎo, the use of ‘Lao’ here is not the driver’s surname, ‘Chen’ is his surname, whereas ‘Lao’ literally means old, it is a prefix used before the surname of a person to indicate affection, respect or familiarity. Chen must’ve been confused. He sent your car back but also took your keys as well.”
He Gu sighed. “Where is he now? I’ll get my assistant to go pick it up.”
“He’s normally here at my place, but his granddaughter was sick today, so he went to the hospital with her. I’ll call him to ask, then give you a call back in a sec.”
He Gu hung up and waited for a few minutes before Feng Zheng called back. “He Gu, Lao Chen took your keys with him and won’t be back until the day after tomorrow. I’m so sorry, you won’t have a car to use these next two days. I can send a driver over for you.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll get my assistant to come pick me up these two days.”
Feng Zheng repeatedly apologized as he said, “I’m so sorry. I ended up causing more trouble for you.”
“Don’t say that. It’s all thanks to you two that I got home safely.”
“It’s my pleasure. If I don’t see you safely home, I would worry as well.” Feng Zheng’s voice was very gentle. “Once Lao Chen gets back, I’ll send your keys over right away.”
He Gu started to feel a little depressed. But since there was nothing else he could do, he gave Chen Shan a call and asked if she could come drive him to and from work for the next two days. At his level, he was not qualified to have a company car, but he did have a monthly reimbursement fee of a thousand yuan for his gas expenses. Although Nanchuang’s basic salary is low, the benefits and bonuses were quite good. This was also one of the biggest reasons why he hadn’t planned on jumping ship after all these years.
Chen Shan knew that He Gu was very sensitive to being late, so she had arrived especially early in the neighborhood. After waiting for a while, she began to feel a growing stomach ache, probably from eating something bad last night. Unable to hold it in any longer, she decided to run upstairs and ring his doorbell.
He Gu opened the door, looking very puzzled. “Why did you come up here?”
Chen Shan said embarrassingly, “Chief He, I have a really bad stomach ache. Could I please borrow your bathroom?”
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He Gu was stunned. “Oh, go on then.”
Chen Shan’s face was blushing so hard as she ran into his house.
The moment the bathroom door closed, He Gu suddenly remembered all the items left lying around inside… extra toothbrush, towels, and all the other daily necessities were all in pairs. There were more than twenty bottles of colognes and numerous high-end skin care products in the cabinet. He was just changing his clothes when the doorbell rang, so his closet was also wide open. Passing by the bedroom, you could easily see the many clothes, shoes, and items filling an entire wall of his room, all clearly male and not his style at all.
Chen Shan was always a very observant and meticulous person. After seeing all that, there was no way she wouldn’t have already started guessing. It would be impossible to hide all that obvious evidence around her.
After a while, Chen Shan came out, her expression a little weird as she seemingly tried to avoid eye contact with He Gu.
He Gu was depressed as he thought to himself. After all these years of successfully hiding his sexual orientation, in the short span of two months, he had accidentally revealed himself twice, and both times were to his colleagues as well. Could this be his unlucky year?
He Gu calmly said, “Let’s go.”
Chen Shan followed behind him as they left. It wasn’t until they arrived at the elevator doors that He Gu saw, from the mirror’s reflection, that Chen Shan was stealing glances at him. With a face void of expression, and his eyes looking straight ahead, he said in a low voice, “Don’t tell anyone.”
Chen Shan shrank her shoulders in fright. “Yes, yes. Don’t worry, Chief He. I definitely won’t tell anyone!”
He Gu made a quick “en” sound, and didn’t mention it again.
By Saturday evening, He Gu decided to go pick up the keys himself after work. He gave Feng Zheng a call, but Feng Zheng said the keys were actually with him and that he wasn’t free that evening.
After what happened, He Gu didn’t want to see Feng Zheng again, so he said he would get his assistant to come pick it up. But Feng Zheng quickly said he was very busy and that he would call him back later, and then he hung up.
As one call ended, another came. It was Song Juhan. He Gu was so happy to see his call, he answered right away. “Juhan, are you coming over today?”
“No. You come here for dinner.” Song Juhan’s tone was still relatively calm.
“Sure, I’ll be right over.”
After receiving the address, He Gu changed into another outfit kept in his office, and quickly called a cab to head over.
Arriving at the restaurant, the waiter showed him to a private room.
The moment the door opened, He Gu was left dumbfounded. From where he was standing, he could see Song Juhan, Song Juhan’s father, and Feng Zheng!
He Gu’s mind was left blank for a short while as he blinked his eyes a few times to confirm what he was seeing. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. In fact, apart from those three people, there were also many others dressed in business suits and leather shoes sitting around the table.
This was not what he had expected. He had thought Song Juhan had invited him to a private dinner, or even better, a dinner with just the two of them. But he definitely did not think it would be a dinner like this. Why would he be at a gathering like this, and more importantly, what was Feng Zheng doing here?
“He Gu, you came.” Song Juhan smiled happily at him, as if the doubts and repeated questions from that phone call had never happened.
He Gu swallowed visibly and desperately calmed himself, then showed a small smile as he said, “I’m sorry for arriving late.”
“Don’t worry, the dishes haven’t even been served yet.”
He Gu nodded in greeting at the people sitting at the table. “Chief Song, Feng Zheng…”
Feng Zheng smiled at him, his expression unclear as to what he was thinking. Song He squinted his eyes and looked at He Gu. He had always known about the relationship between Song Juhan and He Gu, so he just nodded without showing any expression. “Come sit.”
He Gu sat down next to Song Juhan as the latter hooked his arm around his shoulder like close friends would, and proceeded to introduce him to the rest of the group. “This is Chief Wang, this is Chief Liu. This one I think you know already. It’s Huisi Investment’s Chief Feng.” Song Juhan stared straight at Feng Zheng with a mocking smile on his lips.
Feng Zheng chuckled. “Stop joking around, Juhan. With the relationship between me and He Gu, why would we need you to introduce us?”
Song Juhan narrowed his eyes. “Oh, really?”
Feng Zheng suddenly took out a set of keys from his pocket and placed them on the turntable in front of him. “He Gu, your keys.”
The expression on Song Juhan’s and He Gu’s face changed almost simultaneously. Song Juhan tightened his grip on He Gu’s shoulder, squeezing so hard that He Gu nearly cried out in pain in front of everyone. He endured the pain and slowly turned the turntable. The key was like a ticking time bomb, slowly approaching until it finally stopped in front of him.
He was just about to reach for the keys when Song Juhan shot his hand out and grabbed them off the turntable. Twisting them around his fingers, he said casually, “This key looks so familiar. It can’t possibly be your car keys, right?”
The keys had a large Land Rover logo printed on them. Song Juhan was asking a question he already knew the answer for. His tone was as sharp as a knife, making He Gu’s heart sink. With a low “en” sound, He Gu took the keys.
In front of so many people, there was no way Song Juhan could make a scene. So he sat up straight and kept his head down to hide the coldness and cutting edge in his eyes.
Song He was observing them throughout the entire exchange. After a moment, he slowly said, “He Gu, didn’t you have dinner with Vanessa a few days ago?
He Gu answered straightforwardly, “Yes.”
“En. She rarely has a decent meal with others.” Song He then turned to his son. “Juhan, why don’t you introduce your friend?”
Song Juhan smiled. “Everyone, this is Nanchuang’s Senior Engineer, He Gu. He’s a very good friend of mine.”
He especially emphasized the two words “very good,” making He Gu a little uncomfortable.
“Tonight is mainly to treat Xiao Feng to a meal so we can talk about our upcoming movie collaboration.” Song He lifted his chin towards Feng Zheng. “I have known his father for decades and have basically watched Xiao Feng grow up. I can’t believe we’re here talking business now. Time flies by so fast.”
Feng Zheng also complimented Song He with a few phrases.
Before long, the waiters started to serve the dishes, and in a blink of an eye, the entire table was filled to the brim with various dishes fit for a luxurious banquet. Even with all these delicious dishes in front of him, He Gu didn’t have the slightest appetite. Instead, he sat quietly beside Song Juhan, seemingly able to directly feel the growing anger radiating off the man. He Gu sat uncomfortably as if on pins and needles.
With the food served, the meal officially began, and the people around the table started to raise their glasses and toast each other. Feng Zheng got up and casually walked over with a glass in hand. “Juhan, He Gu, let me raise my glass to you two.”
He Gu stood up, while Song Juhan stubbornly stayed in his seat, only lifting his head to glare at Feng Zheng. Feng Zheng chose to ignore the latter and instead bumped his glass with He Gu’s, then said, “I had planned to send the keys over personally, but this saved me the trouble.”
He Gu’s face paled as he said, “Thank you.”
“You should get a spare set of keys made when you have some time. It’s too inconvenient like this.”
“I did think of that. It’s just that I’ve been so busy lately and I forgot.”
Feng Zheng teasingly said, “It doesn’t seem like your personality to forget things.”
The familiar vibe between the two was like adding oil to the fire, flaming Song Juhan’s anger into a burning flame. He stood up and got straight to the point. “Feng Zheng, why did you have He Gu’s car keys?”
He Gu was about to explain himself when Song Juhan turned a deathly glare his way, shutting him up.
Feng Zheng smiled. “Oh, so basically, last weekend, we went out for drinks, and He Gu got really drunk. I got my driver to send He Gu home, and also to send his car back to his neighborhood. But then my driver got confused and forgot to leave the keys. I didn’t know He Gu would also be here tonight. I was actually going to return the keys personally to him tomorrow, but since he’s here now…”
Song Juhan’s chest heaved, his fists clenched tightly behind his back as he slowly turned his neck revealing a pair of pitch black bottomless eyes. “So you two already met last weekend.”
He Gu felt a chill run down his spine. It was bad enough to have lied. What’s worse was that the lie had been exposed, and in person as well.
Feng Zheng seemed to think he hadn’t caused enough trouble, and continued to add firewood. “He Gu, you really were completely drunk last time. Look at you, you’re so skinny and all. How can you be so heavy after drinking, I nearly couldn’t carry you.”
“I need the restroom.” He Gu couldn’t stay a moment longer, being surrounded by Song Juhan and Feng Zheng’s constant tit for tat. He began to feel suffocated and out of breath.
He hurriedly put down his glass, rushed into the restroom, and subconsciously locked the door behind him.
He looked at his reflection in the mirror, his face pale and his forehead covered in cold sweat. Thinking back to a moment ago, he didn’t dare to recall the look in Song Juhan’s eyes. Luckily, there were so many people around. Otherwise, with Song Juhan’s temper, he might have flipped the table already.
But this meal would eventually end at some point. What was He Gu to do then?
He Gu had never felt this nervous before. Even after all these years of training his inner peace and calm temperament, he couldn’t control this rising fear from within.
Feng Zheng… Did Feng Zheng do this on purpose…