Chapter 37

Attorney Chen had been observing He Gu since he walked into the room; compared to most cases he had come across, this man seemed quite odd. In light of the situation he was in, He Gu showed no signs of fear or nerves. On the contrary, his face was completely expressionless. Attorney Chen was quite confused. He cleared his throat and said, “Mr. He, you don’t have to be afraid. You have testimonies from your colleagues, neighbors, and community security team to prove that you didn’t come home until after nine o’clock. You can claim that you had no idea what was going on.”

In response, He Gu said calmly, “In that case, what are you even doing here? Of course I knew I could prove my innocence.”

“What I want to discuss with you is Song Juhan’s problem. Before I came here, I had already spoken with him. He’s also innocent in this matter. He didn’t invite his team to your home to break the law; he purely wanted to create music. But when he found out about it, his trust in his team members and wishful thinking held him back, and he wasn’t able to stop them sooner. He’s always been a law-abiding celebrity. His only mistake is not being able to manage his people properly. But he shouldn’t have to endure such harsh consequences for it. I’m sure Mr. He can’t bear to see him like this, either.”

The unusual emphasis on the words “can’t bear” were said in an extremely provocative manner. 

It seemed this attorney knew about the relationship between him and Song Juhan. He Gu instantly understood. Before the attorney came to him, he must’ve already discussed everything with Song Juhan as well as with Song He. 

He Gu paused for a moment, then said, “First of all, he didn’t smoke, and secondly, he didn’t bring those people to his own home. I’m sure you have the ability to prove his innocence without my help.”

“But the apartment is in his name. Even Song Juhan, himself, didn’t know about that fact until today. It seems the contract was never finalized. Also, the people who committed the crime are part of his team, so there’s no way he can avoid facing charges and an open investigation. We are confident that we can save him from being unjustly wronged, but unless he is completely and utterly innocent, it won’t be enough to hold back the public’s negative views.”

He Gu squinted, “Innocent? Unjustly wronged? Attorney Chen, as a legal professional, aren’t you ashamed to say such things?”

Attorney Chen showed an uncomfortable expression before getting straight to the point. “Mr. He, we don’t have time to argue like this.”

“Since our time is so precious, you might as well be honest with me. I know you’re trying to be clever with your words, but stop wasting my time.”

Attorney Chen nodded. “I like talking to smart people. It’s efficient, so I’ll get straight to the point. I hope you can formally state that it was you who invited everyone over for a party.”

He Gu stared directly at Attorney Chen as his fists clenched tightly under the table.

There was a flicker of something in Attorney Chen’s eyes, but it vanished as fast as it appeared. “At the same time, you should state that you had no prior knowledge of their illegal activity. You simply invited some friends over for a gathering, but something came up at work so you were late to come home. By the time you found out, it was too late to stop them.” 

He Gu was speechless.

“As long as you persevere with this statement, we have complete confidence that we can help you with this case.”

Although He Gu had already guessed their purpose in seeking his help, he still felt chills in his heart when he heard it all out in the open. 

Complete confidence? In front of the law, what confidence could one truly have? What’s more, once he confirmed his official statement, there would be no turning back. He would be placed in the most vulnerable position. If Song He was cold-blooded enough, he could easily push all the blame onto He Gu just to protect Song Juhan, and He Gu wouldn’t even be able to dispute it. He would either be done for willingly allowing others to take drugs, or for knowingly giving a false statement. 

Even with the best-case scenario where he was proven innocent and all charges were dropped, Nanchang—being a large state-owned enterprise with businesses worldwide—would not let him off easily. His career, reputation, and future would end here.

He Gu tightened his fists as something caught in his throat. With great difficulty, he asked, “Is this what Song Juhan wants?”

Attorney Chen pursed his lips as he cleverly answered indirectly, “Song Juhan is one of, if not the most valuable singer in China. He’s currently contractually bound to four upcoming concerts, six ongoing brand endorsements, and many other jobs. If anything happens to him, he’ll not only plummet from the peak of his career but also be forced to pay tens of millions in breach of contract fees. Mr. He, as long as you’re willing to make this sacrifice, you can save him. If you do this, you can also make any request, anything.”

He Gu narrowed his bloodshot eyes and looked directly at the other man. “I just have one question. Is this what Song Juhan wants?”

Attorney Chen paused for a moment before he said, “No.”

He Gu stared unseeingly at the glass of water on the table, his eyes blurry and without a hint of light in them.

Attorney Chen leaned forward, and said in a soft and sincere tone, “Mr. He, can you honestly bear it?”

He Gu’s eyes ached as his lips trembled. 

Could he bear it? Could he bear to see that high-spirited man, who’d been in the spotlight his whole life, fall off his glorious stage?

Could he bear it? Could he bear to ruin his career and reputation, and let his mother and sister be disappointed in him?

He Gu’s fists tightened as his nails dug into his palm. He was trembling all over. Finally, he said, “Okay.” Those two short syllables seemed to have drained everything out of him, as if it required all his strength to just say that one simple word. He closed his eyes and thought to himself that this pain and despair must be what it felt like when one was at death’s door.

It wasn’t like he didn’t have a choice. He had always been given a choice. It was just that when it came down to it, he would always choose Song Juhan. Even He Gu, himself, wanted to cut open his head and get rid of this malignant tumor called “Song Juhan.” It didn’t matter if he’d be potentially crippled for life or even end up dying from it. At least, he could live out the rest of his life with full control of his actions and not continue down this path of living such a shallow life. 

After struggling internally for a while, He Gu convinced himself that this would be the last time. The absolute last time that he would do anything for Song Juhan. 

Song Juhan, even if I did owe you in my last life, I have already repaid my debts. You have finally—utterly and completely—hollowed me out. 

Song He slapped Song Juhan hard on the face, and the latter staggered back from the violent force.

Song Juhan paled but didn’t say a word.

“If I had another heir, I would’ve killed you right here, right now!” shouted Song He fiercely.

Glancing at his father, Song Juhan said, “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“Now you know you’re wrong?! What’s the fucking point?! Didn’t you know that the government has been tightening down on regulations and trying to set an example! Do you even know what catastrophic chaos you’ve caused?!”

“Chief Song,” Attorney Chen carefully cut in as he tried to mediate the situation. “You can’t blame everything on Juhan. He didn’t smoke after all.”

“He didn’t manage the people under him properly. That’s his mistake! Nobody gives a damn about Ah Sheng, the whole country is looking at him!” Song He pointed at Song Juhan, his finger trembling slightly. “Lately, you’ve been causing problems one after another. When will you learn to curb your arrogance?! You must’ve gone mad. Otherwise, why the fuck would you bring a bunch of people to He Gu’s home and not even think to bring your bodyguards to watch the door!?”

“Yes, I’ve gone mad.” Song Juhan sucked in a deep breath and asked, “How is He Gu?”

“Do you have time to worry about him right now? Do you even know how much laozi has to pay in damages?! Your mother is rushing back as we speak. She’s been involved in so much charity work her whole life, why hasn’t she managed to pass on any of her virtue to you?!”

“What does this have to do with my mom?”

Song He slapped him again. 

Song Juhan lowered his head. 

From the side, Attorney Chen urged carefully, “Chief Song, there’s no point in blaming him at this moment. We need to focus on solving the problem at hand.”

Song He ignored the other man and glared angrily at Song Juhan as Attorney Chen continued to explain, “In the limited time we had, we’ve managed to come up with the best solution for this situation. The media has been suppressed for now, and the news on the internet is being deleted as we speak. All you have to do now is to completely remove yourself from this incident. Ah Sheng has already agreed to take full responsibility. After all, he was the one that influenced the others to take drugs in the first place. He will state that it was him that brought the illegal drugs to the party, and He Gu will confirm that he was the one who organized the gathering. You just need to say that you were completely…”

Song Juhan raised his head abruptly. “What did you just say?”

Song He took a deep breath, forcefully suppressing his anger as he turned to Attorney Chen and said, “Go on.”

Attorney Chen adjusted his glasses warily. “The situation is like this: As long as He Gu admits that it was him that organized the gathering and that he was completely unaware of Ah Sheng and the others’ illegal behavior, then you can…”

Out of nowhere, Song Juhan yelled, “No!” 

He violently slammed his fists on the table, and a loud bang reverberated through the interrogation room. 

Song He squinted his eyes and gritted out, “I dare you to say that again!”

“I brought them there. It has nothing to do with He Gu!”

“Who the hell cares who He Gu is?! All fucking eyes are on you right now! YOU!” shouted Song He angrily.

Song Juhan gritted his teeth. “I said no. I will never allow He Gu to take the blame for me.”

“He’s not taking the blame for you, really, he’s not.” Attorney Chen rushed to defend the situation. “We have the best lawyers working to defend his case. At most, he would be condemned by public opinion, but nothing major will happen to him. Not to mention, we will compensate him generously…”

Song Juhan stared daggers at Attorney Chen as he spelled out each letter individually, “N.O. No.”

“Song Juhan!” bellowed Song He, his face glowing red as if he was about to explode with frustration. “This is the best solution possible. How dare you say no?! Do you really want to be blacklisted by the industry? Do you want to pay tens of millions in compensation damages?!”

“I. Said. No. I will not get He Gu involved in this.” Song Juhan understood his father all too well. He knew that once he was safe, in order to protect him, his father would not hesitate to make the best use of He Gu’s sacrifice.

“Who the fuck is He Gu?!” 

Suddenly, Song Juhan stood up and shouted sharply, “He Gu is my person!”

Song He’s chest heaved heavily as he said, “He Gu has already agreed.”

Song Juhan froze. “He… agreed?”

“Yes, he already agreed. Compared to you, he’s way more aware of the severity of this situation.”

Song Juhan felt a throbbing pain in his chest. It was something he had never experienced before, and it was both confusing and frightening. He stared straight at his father as he said coldly, “I don’t care what method you used to force him to agree to this, but I was the one that brought those people there. It has nothing to do with He Gu. If you drag him into this, I swear to you, I will announce this in front of the entire police force outside, the media, and the whole world.”

“Song Juhan!” Song He’s eyes were bloodshot as he struggled to control his rising anger. At that moment, he wanted to strangle Song Juhan to death.

With a gloomy face, Song Juhan sat down again. “Dad, I’m begging you. He Gu is innocent. I will take responsibility for this. I will pay the compensation damages out of my own pocket.”

Song He’s face was drained of color as he stiffened visibly, then swayed to the side. Attorney Chen instantly reached out to support him. “Chief Song, are you alright?”

Song Juhan looked nervously at his father, “… Dad.”

“Don’t call me that.” Song He spat out as he stood up and pointed his finger at Song Juhan, then he turned and left the interrogation room. 

Attorney Chen let out a long sigh.

Song Juhan raised his head to look at Attorney Chen, then said in a low voice, “Uncle Chen, you’ve watched me grow up, and I’m sure you’re quite familiar with my temper. Mark my words, if anything happens to He Gu, the first person I will come after is you.”

The older man trembled at his words. He adjusted his glasses slightly and left without another word. 

After they left, Song Juhan slumped in the chair, staring wearily at the flickering ceiling lights as his chest throbbed. 

He Gu had always been such a proper and well-behaved individual. Even though he was clearly innocent, right now, would he be scared of being implicated in this situation?

A dull ache started in his temples as Song Juhan pressed his eyes with the palm of his hands.

He Gu, you idiot, why would you agree to this…

The next day, He Gu saw two people before his inquest.

The first was Attorney Chen. He told He Gu that their strategy had changed and that he should tell the complete truth and not admit to anything. 

He Gu didn’t understand. After spending a restless night tossing and turning in the detention center, he had finally managed to prepare himself for the worst-case scenario. Never did he expect that it would all be a false alarm in the end. The sudden change of events made He Gu zone out for a while. 

Confused, He Gu asked Attorney Chen why they had suddenly changed their mind.

Instead of answering him, Attorney Chen silently stared at him for a full five minutes. He then said, “Song Juhan refused to cooperate.”

He Gu was momentarily dumbfounded, and his mind was in complete chaos. For a long while, he didn’t know how to react.

What did he mean by “refused to cooperate”? What kind of refusal was it? What exactly did Song Juhan say or do?

But Attorney Chen refused to say more and left in a rush.

The second person was his mother. She had gotten on the first flight and came all the way from Shanghai, bringing along two well-known lawyers. 

The moment He Gu saw her, he was so ashamed of himself, he couldn’t even lift his head to look at her. 

Sun Qing was not like the average woman. When she saw He Gu, she did not break down in tears or fuss about him. Instead, her calm and collected nature made He Gu feel more assured and at ease. She asked all the necessary questions and got the facts straight before discussing them with her lawyer in detail. They were confident about the case and wanted to bail him out first. 

After the lawyer finished noting down everything, he left. Now, only the mother and son were left in the interrogation room. Sun Qing finally showed an expression of concern like a mother would’ve. “Son, I definitely believe you’re innocent in this matter because I know your personality all too well. But how could you have crossed paths with someone like Song Juhan? That person in the news article last time, that was you, wasn’t it?”

He Gu nodded his head slightly, “We were… school friends.”

Sun Qing looked at him briefly. “Was it a relationship problem? I heard Song Juhan is gay, are you…”

He Gu didn’t know whether to deny it or not. There were problems between them, yet it couldn’t exactly be called a “relationship problem.” That would be wishful thinking. 

When Sun Qing noticed He Gu’s silence, she instantly knew the answer in her heart. Now, everything made sense. It explained why He Gu had never had a girlfriend, even though he was already in his late twenties. She let out a sigh. Despite the disappointment and sadness she felt inside, as a mother that ran away after her first marriage dissolved, she knew she wasn’t in any place to judge her son’s sexual orientation. So she softened her voice and attempted to comfort him, “You don’t have to feel bad about this, nor do you have to be afraid. I won’t let anything happen to you. Regarding your work, I’ve instructed someone to find out about it. Although your reputation would take a hit, as long as you’re proven innocent, Nanchuang can’t fire you easily. But even if it comes to the worst-case scenario and you do get fired, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. If that happens, you can just come work for me. It’s not a big deal.”

He Gu was silent for a moment, “I’m sorry, Mom. I didn’t think I would disappoint you like this.” He had always thought that, although he wasn’t overly successful, at the least he didn’t let down his parents. If he had known this would happen, then he definitely wouldn’t have gotten in touch with his mother. Instead, he would’ve carried this burden on his own.

Sun Qing gently patted his head. “Ever since you were young, you’ve never disappointed me. This time as well. I know it really wasn’t your fault. But I do hope you will stay far away from the likes of Song Juhan. Even if this incident didn’t happen, you shouldn’t be with a public figure who has a spotlight on his every move. Just by being with him, you won’t be able to do as you like or live freely as yourself. He Gu, you and him don’t belong in the same world. You’re very smart, and your future is limitless. You don’t need to withstand such injustice.”

He Gu nodded his head mechanically, his thoughts in a muddle. 

Translator: Hillary

Editor: Liz

Proofreader: Ess

Liz: The plugin I was using to automatically add the translator’s box at the end of each post was causing problems with the site, so I’ve disabled it (ToT)/~~~

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