This year, Nanchuang’s annual party was held in Nice, France. Everyone from mid-level management to executives went. From the company’s Beijing headquarters alone, there were more than seventy people.
Chen Shan and the others were all extremely envious, and they repeatedly begged He Gu to bring back souvenirs from France. He Gu ignored them as he wasn’t planning to go anyway.
He needed to focus on finishing up his projects at hand, as well as look for a suitable renovation company for his apartment. Not only that, he also had to prepare everything for his mom and Susu’s New Year visit. All of that had to be done by He Gu himself. Although Chen Shan was his assistant, she wasn’t his personal assistant. In addition, He Gu had always been independent and reluctant to trouble others with his issues. With everything going on, it really wasn’t ideal for He Gu to go on a five-day trip to France. Considering the long travelling time and jet lag, he would be wasting an entire week.
Later on, He Gu would occasionally think back to this day and the surprising decision he made that shocked everyone around him. If he had just gone to France back then, would everything be different now?1Liz: Oh no, I’m getting another alternate canon fanfic idea…
In the last week before Chinese New Year, the company chartered a private plane and flew away from the chilling weather of Beijing toward the sunny paradise of Southern France.
Once He Gu contacted a renovation company that had long ties with Nanchuang, he decided to go see for himself the apartment he had grown up in.
The apartment was situated in the third ring. It was in a good area, and the value of the property had risen exponentially in the last decade. Although the state of the apartment was quite old and was only eighty square meters, it was more than enough for He Gu to live in by himself.
He Gu hadn’t been back to that apartment in a very long time. To be honest, he may have been consciously avoiding going back. But it wasn’t until he stepped into the space again that he realized that amongst the bitter memories, there were also hints of his beautiful and joyous childhood, as well as the fading shadow of his once wholesome family.
He Gu spent some time discussing his ideas with the interior designer he regularly worked with. As someone that worked in this industry, he had many contacts he could use for his apartment renovation—from designers, contractors, and to suppliers, he would be able to save quite a lot for this project. After going through all the details, they decided to start work after the Chinese New Year.
Having settled the renovation for his apartment, He Gu invited them all out for dinner. By the time he got home, it was already well past nine.
The moment the elevator doors opened, he could hear the sound of loud music echoing down the corridor. The sound was so clear and loud, there was no way it was coming from a television. In fact, it sounded more like a live performance.
The apartment block he lived in only had two properties per floor. Surely it wasn’t the neighbor, so could it be…
He Gu walked over and stood in front of his apartment. Even without pressing up against the door, he could hear the loud music echoing in his ears. In the quiet night, the high volume and vibrating base of the music was especially annoying. He Gu felt a headache brewing in his temples.
After pausing for a second, the first thought that popped into He Gu’s mind was Song Juhan.
He leaned against the wall, completely exhausted.
What does Song Juhan want? What is he even doing here?!
He Gu hesitated for a moment before deciding to go to a hotel for the night. As he turned to leave, his neighbor’s door was yanked open by the middle-aged woman living next door. When she saw him standing there, her expression soured immediately as she said, “Hey, Mr… Mr. He.”
“Hello.” He Gu nodded his head awkwardly.
The woman raised her voice in frustration, “What in the world is going on in your house? It’s so late already, and you’re making so much noise. My son has school tomorrow!”
“I’m sorry, some friends must’ve come over…”
“What kind of friends are they? I’ve been knocking on the door for the whole afternoon, but no one’s answered. If this continues, I’ll have to call the police!”
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I’ll tell them to stop immediately.”
“Hurry up, my son needs to go to sleep. Such inconsiderate people!” The woman complained as she slammed the door in He Gu’s face.
Helpless, He Gu took out his keys and opened the door.
The moment the door opened, the loud music stopped abruptly. He Gu’s eyes widened as he looked around. It turned out it wasn’t just Song Juhan in his apartment—he had actually brought over his entire creative team!
Apart from Song Juhan, there were also his longtime collaborators, such as his producer, composer, and others he hadn’t seen before. Sitting on the side was Song Juhan’s keyboardist, Ah Sheng, and of course, Xiao Song was also there.
At a loss for words, Xiao Song looked sadly at He Gu.
He Gu’s face darkened as he looked around, his eyes eventually landing on Song Juhan. “What are you doing here?” he gritted out.
From the side of his eye, Ah Sheng waved at him casually. “Hey, He Gu.”
Song Juhan sat comfortably on the sofa with his legs stretched out in front of him and a scatter of sheet music around his lap. “You’re back,” he said indifferently.
He Gu squinted his eyes and gritted out slowly, enunciating each word, “What. are. you. doing. here?”
Song Juhan shrugged. “They said they were lacking creative inspiration and needed a change of scene, so I brought them to this safe and comfortable place.2Liz: *heart clenches* Juhan ah, how could you still not understand how you feel for He Gu”
“What?” Song Juhan cut him off. “Why can’t I come here? It’s not like I came here to look for you. I was just looking for a place to write music.3Liz: You f*cking tsundere, just admit it, you missed He Gu!” He stated matter-of-factly.
Xiao Song had an expression on his face as if to say, “Just kill me now.”
He Gu clenched his fists in anger. “This is a residential area. There are neighbors around that are threatening to call the police!”
“Oh… I’m soooo scared,” said one of Song Juhan’s teammates sarcastically. His voice was oddly slow as his words slurred together. In fact, he seemed somewhat intoxicated.
He Gu walked towards the group of people in an attempt to grab Song Juhan so they could speak privately. As he approached them, a strange smell assaulted his nostrils. The smell was hard to describe. It was a pungent, slightly offensive smell similar to burning grass. He Gu frowned as he said, “What is this smell?”
Ah Sheng lifted his hand to his lips, then pinched his thumb and forefinger together before blowing out a deep breath. “Inspiration,” he said without a care in the world, then proceeded to burst into a fit of giggles.
He Gu’s mind blanked for a second before everything fell into place. Immediately snapping out of his daze, he realized what was going on… Were they smoking marijuana?!
All He Gu could do was stare incredulously at Song Juhan.
Song Juhan threw aside his scoresheets and raised his chin in a gesture to say “Let’s talk somewhere else.”
Quickly putting down his work bag, He Gu walked into the bedroom with Song Juhan.
The second the door closed behind him, He Gu turned on Song Juhan and said in a low voice, “What do you think you’re doing? Why have you come all this way to smoke up here!?”
“They said they needed to smoke to get inspiration.” Song Juhan stared steadily at He Gu, his eyes never once leaving the other man’s face. “Don’t worry, I never touch that stuff. I need to protect my voice.”
“But still, you can’t do this in my home…” He Gu was halfway through his sentence when he felt his words catch in his throat. He gritted his teeth and continued, “Song Juhan, I know you bought this apartment, and yes, I will return it to you soon—very soon. But right now, I’m still living here. Can you please take your friends and leave?”
Song Juhan’s expression changed instantly. “Are you honestly going to make me lose face in front of so many people?”
“What are you even doing here?! Are you here just to save ‘face’ in front of your friends?”
“Why do you care what I’m doing?!” Song Juhan shouted angrily. “I just want to come here, so what?!”
He Gu was on the verge of exploding. “You’re so unreasonable!”
Likewise, Song Juhan was pushed to his limits by He Gu’s repeated refusal. This version of He Gu in front of him was too difficult to accept. His He Gu wasn’t like this! Song Juhan surged forward with one wide step, grabbed He Gu by the collar, and swiftly threw him down on the bed. He Gu momentarily fell into a daze. Before he could even react properly, he was already pressed down and forcibly kissed.
“Mmm…” He Gu moaned as he tried desperately and unsuccessfully to push away Song Juhan. With both his hands held firmly above his head, He Gu was powerless to do anything but accept the rough kiss.
This kiss was long and full of possessiveness, as if Song Juhan was trying to mark his territory and claim sovereignty over him. The aggressiveness of it made He Gu feel a lack of oxygen supply to his brain as his body gradually weakened in response.
Song Juhan was very good at dealing with He Gu; he knew what provoked the man, and similarly what triggered his sexual desire. In the blink of an eye, Song Juhan forced his calloused hand into He Gu’s pants and started to tease his sensitive area.
“Song Juhan!” He Gu was so ashamed, he instinctively lashed out by kicking Song Juhan.
The pain made Song Juhan shiver all over. As if it was the final straw, he blew up at the other man, “He Gu, why the f*ck are you so stubborn?!”
“Have you not had enough? Why must you continue to play me like this?!” He Gu’s face was burning a deep red, his expression quite ugly as he shouted, “Didn’t you already say you were fed up with sleeping with me?!”
“That was just something I said in a moment of anger! Why the fuck are you remembering it so clearly?!”
“I remember every single one of your words very clearly!” said He Gu as he stared straight at Song Juhan with bloodshot eyes.
Song Juhan watched He Gu, observing the honest and sorrowful expression in the other man’s eyes. His heart faltered as he opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. After hesitating for a moment, he tried again, this time in a whisper, “He Gu, do you like me?”
He Gu wanted to tear the younger man to pieces.
Do you like me?
What a laughable question.
He didn’t just “like” him. He had once wished that the last six years could be his forever. He had thought that as long as he could obtain Song Juhan’s sincerity, he would be willing to give up anything in exchange. But right now, he was simply too tired—he just wanted everything to end. He wanted to live a life that wasn’t so exhausting and bitter.
That was why, at this moment, he just wanted Song Juhan to disappear from his sight, so he could allow his pain to dissipate slowly.
Song Juhan was still waiting for him to say something when suddenly a loud knock came from the living room. The knocking was so loud and rough, it instantly broke the moment between the two.
Taking advantage of Song Juhan’s daze, He Gu pushed him away and ran back out to the living room.
“Open up! Open up! Police!”
As they heard that last word, all the people in the apartment started to panic, staring wide-eyed at each other.
Xiao Song was the first to react. He jumped up and said in a low voice, “The weed, the weed, hurry up and get rid of it!” He quickly grabbed everything “suspicious” and ran to the bathroom.
“What happened? Why are the police here?!” The producer was clearly frightened as he asked nervously.
He Gu took a deep breath and calmly said, “It must be because you guys are too loud. My neighbors must’ve called the police about the noise.”
The police had lost their patience and started to kick the door. “Open up! This is the police! Open the door right now!”
Song Juhan stepped up and grabbed a few beer bottles, then started to empty its contents all over the living room floor. Next, he found a bottle of cologne and started to spray everywhere around the space as he said, “Don’t panic. He Gu, go answer the door.”
He Gu walked over to unlock the door. With the door held open slightly, he said, “Fellow comrades and policemen, we will make sure to…”
The police didn’t give him a chance to explain as they forcibly barged in. The door swung open with a violent force!
He Gu didn’t react in time before the door slammed against his forehead. The force of the door knocked him back as he let out a yelp of pain. Before long, the world started to spin around him, and he collapsed to the floor.
“He Gu!” Song Juhan rushed forward to help him, cursing loudly in the process, “How fucking dare you…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Song Juhan’s entire body stiffened.
There were a bunch of people outside the door, and in the next second, they had all rushed in—policemen, reporters, and an oddly familiar woman. It was Ah Sheng’s wife, Xiao Rui.
Looking at this scene, no one would believe the police simply showed up because their loud music disturbed the neighbors.
One of the policemen with an air of authority spoke up, “We received a tip that there were some people gathered here taking drugs.” He wrinkled his nose at the obvious smell in the apartment. As the captain of the team, he immediately barked out orders, “Detain everyone in sight and search the property!”
Ah Sheng jumped up from the floor and pointed at his wife. “Have you gone fucking crazy?!” he yelled.
Xiao Rui’s usually delicate face distorted into a savage expression. “Yes, I’m crazy! But it’s all because of you!”
“You f*cking b*tch!” Ah Sheng roared as he pounced on her.
Two policemen rushed forward and pinned Ah Sheng to the floor.
Song Juhan’s team were obviously still quite high. Their minds were foggy as they stepped forward to try and save Ah Sheng. The scene quickly turned chaotic as the policemen clashed and struggled with the rest of Song Juhan’s team.
Still in a daze, He Gu was helped up by Song Juhan. By the time his mind cleared, his apartment had become a battlefield.
Apart from Song Juhan and He Gu, only Xiao Song and the producer didn’t smoke that night. They tried desperately to break up the fight but failed miserably. As the chaos continued, the reporters scrambled to capture the scene with photographic proof.
Realizing what they were doing, He Gu moved forward to hold back the reporters. He tried to grab their cameras but was violently pushed away.
In the confusion, He Gu was pushed to the ground again, as well as ruthlessly kicked a few times.
The situation was quickly getting out of hand, and as a final resort, the captain pulled out his electric baton and instantly disabled the two people closest to him before the scene was finally brought under control.
“Who’s the owner of this house?!” shouted the captain sternly.
In a trembling voice, He Gu answered, “It’s me.”
“Organized drug party. Take them away. Take them all away!”
“This has nothing to do with him!” Song Juhan pulled He Gu behind his back, straightened up, and raised his voice above the chaos, “I brought these people here. He didn’t know anything about this.”
The captain refused to listen as he ordered, “Take them all away!”
He Gu was completely befuddled as he was handcuffed and led out.
He didn’t understand how everything was fine one second, and the next, he was being taken to the police station as a suspect for drug use.
What did he possibly do wrong?
Amidst the chaos, He Gu could hear Song Juhan’s chilling voice as he threatened the reporters. “I dare any of you to publish this… go on!”
Still muddleheaded, He Gu blinked a few times and found himself sitting in an interrogation room at the police station.
He Gu did a urine test, and, naturally, the results came back negative.
A policeman came in and threw down a stack of papers in front of He Gu. “Senior engineer at Nanchuang, eh? What were you doing with a group of celebrities?”
“You sure have a wide reach in friends,” said the police officer as he lifted his chin. “I know you’re a smart man, so go on. Tell me what happened tonight.”
He Gu was silent for a moment before he said, “I want a lawyer.”
“Even if you get a lawyer, you’ll still have to say something.”
“I have to speak to my lawyer first.” Regardless of what He Gu was going to say or not say, he needed to speak to a lawyer. He was afraid that if he happened to say one wrong word, Song Juhan’s future would be over.
For a public figure like Song Juhan, this could be a catastrophic scandal and could easily ruin his career for good. Even if Song Juhan didn’t smoke anything, once the news spread, he would face the biggest hit in his entire career, and possibly his entire life. At this crucial moment, He Gu didn’t dare say anything.
The policeman was a little frustrated, and he seemed like he was about to make a few more threats when the interrogation door swung open suddenly. One of the policeman’s colleagues walked in and said, “This punk’s lawyer is here.”
He Gu raised his head in surprise.
The policeman looked at him, then reluctantly walked out.
After a moment, a middle-aged man dressed in a suit and leather shoes walked in. He sat down with his back straight and looked directly at He Gu through his frameless glasses as he introduced himself, “Hello, Mr. He. Your humble servant4鄙人 – (bǐ rén) ‘your humble servant’ or simply ‘I’. In the raws the lawyer refers to himself as ‘your humble servant’ when he introduces himself to He Gu. is surnamed Chen, and I’m an attorney for Song Media.”
He Gu nodded, “Hello.”
“I’m here on behalf of Chief Song to help you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be nervous or afraid.”
He Gu nodded again. “So what’s the situation right now? What should I say?”
With an astute and cold expression, lawyer Chen adjusted his glasses as he said, “Mr. He, I’ll get straight to the point. Due to the fact that this incident happened in your residence, it will be difficult to prove your innocence.”
“But I didn’t…”
Lawyer Chen cut him off, “I know you are innocent, but even if everyone knew you were innocent, you could easily be innocent one moment, and not innocent the next.”
He Gu squinted his eyes, “What do you mean?”
“Mr. He, this incident was caused by Han Sheng’s divorce. He and his wife are currently fighting over the custody of their children and the share of their assets. The incident tonight was his wife retaliating deliberately. She had a premeditated plan to sabotage her husband’s future, which is why this has turned into such a big commotion. The media has been suppressed for the time being, but Chief Song wasn’t able to control the spread of the news over the internet. Although this was caused by Han Sheng’s domestic dispute, the incident has affected far more than himself. Not only Song Juhan, but his entire team has fallen victim as well. I’m sure you’re well aware that Song Juhan is a public figure. Such a scandal could be devastating to his future.”
He Gu stared unblinkingly at Lawyer Chen as a heavy feeling weighed down in his chest. Deep down, he understood clearly what the lawyer implied with his carefully chosen words.
Proofread by Ess | Edited by Lizonka