Renzi had mentioned Mu Chutong this name during his first date with Gu Xiaoshan. Gu Xiaoshan had been wary that Renzi would be able to list out all his exes from the first to the last, but in actual fact, how could Renzi remember so many? The only reason why Renzi still remembered Mu Chutong after so many years was because there was a huge commotion arising from their relationship then. Gu Xiaoshan had came out of the closet to his family, the situation in the house was turbulent, and he ended up moving out, all because of Gu Xiaoshan’s “first love” Mu Chutong. After that, Mu Chuton went overseas for his career with the “sponsorship” provided by Old Mister Gu, and the relationship drew to a close.
At that time, Mu Chutong did not dress as gaudily as he was now. His dressing was a little dull and boring, his appearance clean-cut, and his temperament simple but yet a little ignoble. Who would have thought that he would now turn into a flamingo? Renzi secretly took a few steps closer, only to see Mu Chutong walk to another corridor. At the corridor was a big and tall man, and Renzi took a closer look — was that not Gu Xiaoshan?
Gu Xiaoshan was not startled at all to see Mu Chutong, and instead composedly exchanged a few words with him, then they entered a room together.
“What the fuck?” Renzi swore internally.
Then, a while later, he saw Xu Yunyun walk out from the room to hail a server. It was evident that Mu Chutong and Gu Xiaoshan were not alone, and so Renzi’s heart felt a little relieved.
However, he was still very upset. He then received a text asking where he was, since he had been away for quite some time. With no choice but to return to his pavilion, he no longer had the mood to gambol about with everyone else, and so he returned to the second floor. Those two guests and the secretary had disappeared, leaving only Shu Jingyi smiling at him.
Renzi asked, “Where are they?”
“They probably went to look for you.”
Renzi laughed, “I’ve drank a little too much, feeling a little giddy, I couldn’t find my way back immediately.”
Shu Jingyi thought that Renzi was telling the truth, and never imagined that Renzi had bumped into Mu Chutong. Shu Jingyi then went along with his plan, “Do you know Mu Chutong?”
“Hmm?” Renzi gave a start, sobering up from the alcohol. “Ah… Mu Chutong? I know, he… he’s…” He did not know how to refer to him, and refused to say the words “Gu Xiaoshan’s ex-boyfriend”, so he was tongue-tied.
Shu Jingyi chuckled, “I’m sure you know him! Isn’t he Gu Xiaoshan’s university classmate?”
“Yes! He was his university classmate, his university classmate!” Renzi finally found a more appropriate label. “Right? What happened?”
“His relationship with Gu Xiaoshan is very good, isn’t it?”
“It’s very good.” Renzi laughed coldly. He heard how icy his voice was, and got alarmed.
Shu Jingyi too laughed, his eyes narrowing, and his crow feet deepening a little. “I thought so. When Mu Chutong went overseas to start his business, he even had the support of Old Mister Gu. I’ve only didn’t expect that he would really succeed, and he can be considered to have return home in glory. I just seem to have heard that he’s here at Prosperous Garden too. What a coincidence, shall we look for him to have a drink?”
Renzi felt awkward upon hearing it, and he waved him off. “No need for that. I’m tired already, I’ll like to go home and sleep.”
Shu Jingyi had wanted to bring Renzi to bump into the scene where “Mu Chutong and Gu Xiaoshan were having dinner together”, but since Renzi refused to go, Shu Jingyi could not insist, or he would seem to deliberate.
The chauffeur sent Renzi back to his house. On the way, Renzi was perturbed, and could not consider the situation properly. By the time he returned home, he saw that all the lights were on, and the living room was brightly lit as well. Renzi then asked the butler, “Is there a guest at home?”
The butler smiled, “It’s nothing. Old Mister Yu misses Young Master, and so asked him and Mr Zhi to return home for dinner. Young Master has gone to look at some reports, and Mr Zhi is currently chatting with Master in the living room.”
Renzi laughed, “Dad used to say that he disliked Ah Xuan, now it seems like he likes him quite a bit.”
The butler thought, isn’t it all thanks to Gu Xiaoshan this “vixen”? Zhi Xuan seems so much more virtuous and unsullied compared to him.
Zhi Xuan had gradually picked up the method to interact with Old Mister Yu too. He discovered that it was actually pretty easy to get along with Old Mister Yu, he only needed to just close his eyes and go along with him. Old Mister Yu heard that Renzi had returned, and so brought Zhi Xuan along to meet him. Smelling the alcohol on Renzi, he lectured him, “You’re always either staying out and never coming home, or returning home stinking of alcohol, what’s this?! Have you completely forgotten everything I’ve taught you over the years?”
Renzi was already ill at ease, and now, getting scolded, he shrank back timidly. Zhi Xuan saw this, and explained with a smile, “President Ren had been in the office the entire day to settle issues to do with the seaside event, then went to celebrate the completion of it with the subordinates after work. I heard everyone say that he’s very good, discriminating with his rewards and punishments, and has enhanced morale in the company.”
Old Mister Yu was astonished. “Really?”
Renzi was aggrieved, “Of course it’s true, my credit card records and the dinner bill are here.”
Old Mister Yu smiled, “Not bad, you even know how to keep the records and the bills now.”
It was not clear if Old Mister Yu was praising or mocking him. In any case, Renzi was uncomfortable hearing it. Together with seeing Mu Chutong together, his mood plummeted, and his upset feelings were written across his face. Old Mister Yu then said, “You’re getting more and more delicate the older you get! Getting upset over a couple of words? If you can’t tolerate my scolding now, how are you going to handle Old Mister Gu when you visit him next time?”
Renzi was dazed. “Visit Old Mister Gu?”
“Of course! Or are you and that Gu fellow just playing around? Shouldn’t you go visit his parent more often? Your Uncle Gu is smiling all the time, but in actual fact, he’s not someone you can get along with easily. When you’re his ‘beloved nephew’, no doubt he’s affable. If you want to be his family, then you’ll know his sternness! Haven’t you heard that the two Gu kids already knew how to request for their allowance in accordance to their examination results at 8 years old? The Gu family doesn’t keep idlers around. Because of me, Uncle Gu might give you preferential treatment, but you can’t go overboard.”
Renzi finally understood. Uncle Gu was very strict with his children, and Renzi had seen for himself how he expected them to be accomplished people since young. Now, this burden had fallen upon him, and he felt an immense pressure. Ever since Renzi was a child, what had he accomplished? Like this, Uncle Gu was definitely dissatisfied with him.
He was still fine with it, but now thinking about how Mu Chutong had become successful, clouds gathered on Renzi’s face.
Old Mister Yu was about to continue lecturing Renzi, but when Zhi Xuan saw the miserable expression on Renzi’s face, he butted in, “It seems like President Ren has had a little too much to drink. I’ll take him to rest first, and get some tea for him to sober up, if not he would get a headache tomorrow.” Zhi Xuan then tried to pull Renzi away.
Old Mister Yu spoke up, “Hold on!”
Zhi Xuan sighed silently, then smiled, asking, “What’s wrong?”
Unexpectedly, Old Mister Yu looked a little awkward, and could only speak stiffly, “You don’t have to call him President Ren. We’re after all family, there’s no need to call anyone president here.”
Zhi Xuan was first stunned, then smiled and promised, before dragging Renzi away.
Zhi Xuan brought Renzi to the dining room and prepared a cup of tea for him. “Why are you all distracted?”
Renzi rest his cheeks in his hands as he asked Zhi Xuan, “Do you have ex-boyfriends?”
Zhi Xuan paused, “Huh?”
“Does my brother have ex-boyfriends?”
Zhi Xuan placed the cup of tea in front of Renzi. “Why are you asking this?”
Renzi replied in distress, “I don’t know…”
Zhi Xuan took a guess. “Are you upset that Gu Xiaoshan has too many exes? But your numbers are comparable!”
Sorrowful, Renzi said, “Exactly! Then what should I do?”
“Just treat them as though they’re dead.”
“I can do that?”
“Why not?” Zhi Xuan found nothing wrong with it.
Renzi drank the hot tea, his throat a little soothed. However, the image of Mu Chutong and Gu Xiaoshan standing together again flashed across his eyes, and this made him uncomfortable. He frowned, “Aren’t you afraid that my brother would privately meet other people and do something with them?”
Zhi Xuan laughed, “Privately? We’re privately living together. If he wants to do anything, would he be able to hide it from me?”
Renzi nodded, and seemed to be enlightened. Just as he was about to say something, Gu Xiaoshan’s call came in. Zhi Xuan smiled, “You as well! Look how closely Gu Xiaoshan is watching over you!” Zhi Xuan then left the dining room, too lazy to listen to Renzi conversing with his boyfriend.
Renzi answered, “Why are you calling me so late?” A trace of annoyance could be detected in his voice.
Gu Xiaoshan naturally registered the unhappiness in Renzi’s voice, and explained, “I had to meet some clients tonight. Once it was done, I called you immediately. I didn’t expect to still be too late, did I disturb your rest?”
Gu Xiaoshan’s tone made one unable to get angry with him.
Renzi however minded it very much, and only asked, “What clients? So late?”
“It’s still that Country C project. It’s to do with the overseas expansion plan. I had dinner with a few overseas Chinese working in the restaurant industry, and discussed the possibilities of working together.”
On his way back, Renzi had already googled Mu Chutong’s information. Mu Chutong really was in the restaurant industry in Country C, and also really was a Chinese. He thought about how that room Mu Chutong entered today was a big one, and how Xu Yunyun bustled about. It really seemed to be a business dinner, and not a meeting of ex-lovers. However, he was still especially unhappy.
Renzi then felt that his unhappiness was unreasonable. He had always felt that he should never disrupt other people’s work. They were having an actual business meeting, what was he getting unhappy about?
Renzi’s feelings twisted within him, and dazed, he stopped speaking. As they were on the phone, the silence became extremely awkward.
Gu Xiaoshan waited for a few seconds, and spoke up. “What about you? What did you do today?”
“I went to Prosperous Garden for dinner today.”
“Alright, I understand.” Gu Xiaoshan thought about it, “You saw Mu Chutong?”
“Mn.” Renzi answered in a low voice.
“He was one of the guests, but I only found out today. I did not invite him in the first place, it was a friend who brought him along. If you don’t like it, I won’t see him in the future.”
Renzi immediately said, “No need for that, if you feel that the partnership is necessary, then just work with him. Work is still more important. Just… just don’t… you know, rekindle your relationship it’ll be fine.”
“What ‘rekindle our relationship’, what are you saying?” Gu Xiaoshan chuckled.
Renzi stiffened his neck, “Isn’t he your first love?”
“Nonsense.” Gu Xiaoshan denied it firmly, “Didn’t we say that you’re my first love?”
Gu Xiaoshan’s assertion was resolute and decisive, and for a moment, Renzi had no answer to that.
After a pause, Renzi slowly replied, “Oh, then fine.”
Gu Xiaoshan could hear that Renzi was still upset, and he continued, “He’s now back in the country, and is working in the same industry as me, it’ll be difficult to avoid each other in the future. But since you don’t like it, I will definitely push away all private meetings, and if I meet him again, I would definitely tell you, so you don’t have to be suspicious.”
“I didn’t say I don’t like it!” Renzi objected loudly. But he thought it over, and spoke in a small voice, “Then, do you still like him?”
“No, I only like you.” Gu Xiaoshan answered solemnly.
It was as though Renzi had fallen into a pot of honey, it was sticky and clung to him. Despite struggling, he could not get back up, and he was covered in sweetness.