Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 24: Avoiding Danger
Spring has already arrived, but the weather has not been very warm.
It has been raining non stop in the capital for many consecutive days now.
Looking out the glass window, Lu Yuan stared outside, and when she found that the rain did not have the intention of stopping anytime soon, she furrowed her eyebrows.
Guo Kang has always paid attention to her and seeing this, enthusiastically moved closer to her,
“Didn’t bring your umbrella? I drove today.
I can drive you home.”
Lu Yuan looked back at her documents, shuffling through for the ones she needs to photocopy by this afternoon and politely refused without lifting her head up,
“Thanks, but I brought an umbrella today.”
There were always peddlers selling umbrellas when it rains.
If nothing else, she could wait until she was off work to buy one or hail a taxi to go back home.
Lu Yuan was always so cold and calm.
She could see that Guo Kang had some feelings for her, and although she was much colder than the average person, you can’t really find fault in that.
It was lunch time and the company has a designated cafeteria.
Lu Yuan would usually go there, but when she was close to the elevator, she unintentionally heard some female employees whispering by the stairway corner.
“From the start, it was always said that Huang Yi’s construction was to be given to Yue Ke.
But now the vice chairman has gone ahead and signed the contract with Fu Hai instead.
You didn’t see it, but today the chairman’s face was as black as the bottom of a pan.
Huhuhu, when I went to refill the coffee, my hands were shaking.”
“Fu Hai is not as reputable as Yue Ke.
They had some workplace fatalities during their previous construction project.
The media even covered it for a while, and their stocks were being thrown away in response.
The vice chairman is still the chairman’s uncle, but that does not mean you can just forgo all the channels to sign the contract away.
What if something happens?”
“Who says it won’t? A couple of days ago I heard Lian Dong-Ge say that the vice chairman seemed to have secretly bought a board member’s stocks, that Mr.
Yan’s, and at such a high price too.
It was this much.”
The female employee used her fingers to indicate a number that made her companion giggle and push her lightly,
I know that Chen Lian Dong is chasing you, but you can’t just blindly make things up.
Where would the vice chairman get that much money to act like such a big fool? He’s been away from the Huo family for so many years now, even the stock money couldn’t have covered that much.”
Chen Lian Dong is Huo Yuan Guang’s assistant.
Lu Yuan has been at the company for so many days now and could approximate what the hidden factions are.
At this time, the company is split into two: one is the liberal side with Huo Ming Cheng at the head, and the other the conservative side with the leader as Huo Yuan Guang.
Huo Ming Cheng’s way of management is aggressive and has no tolerance for complacency.
By issuing layoff notices to the positions he deemed useless, the profits and benefits of some of the older board members would have absolutely been affected, in essence crossing their bottom line.
Huo Yuan Guang was used to playing the good guy, and with his façade, he has been secretly pulling those disgruntled by Huo Ming Cheng’s new way of management over to his side, and who knows what he is scheming.
Lu Yuan did not miss a single word as she relayed the information to Lu Qi.
At the same time, she felt that there were too many complicated matters in a wealthy family.
With the employees under him gossiping, how could Huo Ming Cheng not have heard? But Huo Yuan Guang, that old fox, is indeed too cunning and won’t let anyone catch his tail.
If there were any issues that came up from being partnered with Fu Hai, not only would there be damage to the Huo name, but he, as the chairman, won’t be able to escape the blame either.
Secretary Lee said, “We have been partnered with Yue Ke for so many years now, so much so that we are like old friends.
For us to not sign with them, we have probably insulted them.
Fu Hai’s CEO has also just passed away, and his sons are making a fuss, which doesn’t bode well for their company.
The vice chairman probably didn’t have any good intentions when he signed away the contract to Fu Hai so quickly.”
Huo Ming Cheng was willing to break the contract, but if he does, as the chairman, he cannot escape the fallout.
He thought about it, and his heart settled on a decision.
“We’ll have a company wide meeting in the afternoon.
Set up a meeting with the proxy CEO of Yue Ke.
And also, send the files and the ownership of the Huang Yi Yin Xiang project to the vice chairman.
The projected budget can be increased, and give him the authority to use it.
Make sure to secretly find someone to follow in detail.
Don’t leave any loose ends.”
If they can’t block the holes, it might not be a bad idea to force the snake out of its hole.
Lu Qi remembered in his past life that Huo Ming Cheng passed away in a car accident, supposedly while he was out to talk business.
Calculating the time, it should be within these next two days.
But the problem was how to save him.
This week was the group seminar for finance majors, and with a glance out the window, Huo Ming Chen could see Lu Qi, with his work lanyard, checking up on the classrooms with a group of people.
He looked quite elegant and seemed quite respectable with a thin pair of glasses on his nose, but on the inside he was a total scumbag.
His silhouette quickly passed by the window and sent another group of girls off to dreamland with his attractiveness.
With an emotionless face, Huo Ming Chen had to give himself a talking to in order to calm down; he really hated the feeling of having someone eyeing his property.
Even if Lu Qi didn’t respond back, his heart felt irritated.
Lu Qi didn’t leave and had left the group to stand by the back door, waiting for Huo Ming Chen’s class to end.
When Huo Ming Chen came out of the classroom, the first thing he saw was him leaning against the wall, looking quite bored.
This kind of posture could make anyone look like they have long legs which made it a no brainer as to why those girls always praised him as a model.
Huo Ming Chen walked to stand in front of him and stole Lu Qi’s glasses off his face.
He played with them in his hands, and like a playboy said,
“Oh big handsome Lu.
What grace, what elegance and what a soft body you have.”
Lu Qi straightened up and was a bit concerned for Huo Ming Chen’s intelligence,
“That’s a phrase to describe women.”
Saying that, he reached out to grab back his glasses, but it was fruitless since Huo Ming Chen moved away too quickly.
The other tapped his elbow and said,
“You have to play cool when you are wearing glasses.”
“Whatever handsome people do, they will always look handsome.”
Seeing that there were a lot of people waiting for the elevator, the two of them went around into the stairway.
Lu Qi tapped on Huo Ming Chen’s head and then used his cold fingers to chill Huo Ming Chen’s neck a little and explained,
“I’ve been having all nighters on the laptop, getting a little nearsighted.”
The mouth of Huo Ming Chen could never utter any good words.
He hid the glasses behind himself and used his clothes to hide him using his elbow to poke Lu Qi in the stomach.
With an expression that visibly said that he had no good intentions, Huo Ming Chen smiled,
“Don’t go watching porn all night, it has filled your head with junk.”
Lu Qi immediately responded,
“I won’t let you humiliate yourself this way.”
After he said that, he stunned himself for a moment and then lifted his eyes to see Huo Ming Chen holding his cellphone, laughing nonstop, as if it was planned.
“I recorded it! So your mind is full of thoughts about me.
If you were so deeply in love with me, you should have said so earlier.”
Lu Qi didn’t speak and hurried his footsteps down the stairs,
“This is the first time I’ve seen someone so happy to be compared to junk.”
Youth is a fast moving book written in a rush.
Lu Qi has never used the book nor has he read it.
When he finally remembers it, it has already been covered in layers and layers of dust.
The rain outside had not stopped, and the air had the smell of wet dirt.
Smooth stone steps have been covered in water, and he doesn’t know why, but he suddenly stops and looks behind him.
Huo Ming Chen seemed to have laughed so much that his muscles were failing him.
He was bent over, holding his stomach and slowly walking down the steps when he saw Lu Qi look over.
He immediately straightens up and runs down, his voice still carrying some residual laughter in his tone,
“This is also my first time being so happy to be compared to junk.”
He lifted his hand to help Lu Qi put on his glasses, and the other fulfilled his wish by lowering his head.
Huo Ming Chen rested his arm on his shoulder for a moment,
“The road’s slippery.
Lu Qi ignored his teasing eyes and slowly opened the umbrella in his hand, covering them both.
When they were in the car, Lu Qi seemed to have suddenly remembered something and asked Huo Ming Chen,
“Ah-Yuan didn’t bring an umbrella.
I promised I’ll pick her up after work today.”
“What, that’s nothing.
My family’s company is along the way anyway.
We can drop her off first.”
Lu Qi did not have any ideas on how to save Huo Ming Cheng yet.
The only thing he was sure about was that Huo Ming Cheng would die in a car crash today.
According to the information Lu Yuan sent him, the company meeting should end at around 6pm, and then at 7pm, Huo Ming Cheng had arranged a meeting to talk business with the proxy CEO of Yue Ke.
No matter what, he must stop the other from leaving.
The only person who could do this was Huo Ming Chen, but Lu Qi did not have a good enough reason to explain everything.
If he did try to explain it haphazardly, it could flip the situation around and incite suspicion towards him.
Lu Qi seemed to have something on his mind and then changed it, as he turned the car around.
Huo Ming Chen furrowed his eyebrows suspiciously,
“What, aren’t we going to pick up your sister?”
She’s not a little kid anymore.
She can buy herself an umbrella when she gets off work.”
Lu Yuan was very satisfied with her job at the company.
The way people are treated was great, work was simple and if she works hard, she might even be able to purchase a house in a couple of years.
But she did not think that she, who did not involve herself in the inheritance fight or the schemes in the background, would actually fall under her own brother’s hands.
Her colleagues only saw her go out to take a phone call and then come back with her face entirely darkened, and not just by a small degree.
Lu Yuan sat back at her desk and slouched her body.
She would momentarily lift her head and take a look at the meeting doors, in an obvious show of not paying attention to her work.
She knitted her eyebrows, and her pen kept tapping on the table.
With one last scan, she glanced at her thermos and then decided on something.
Lu Yuan stood up and with her cup in hand walked into the break room.
However, she discovered that as it was close to the time to get off work, the instant coffee powder had almost been used up, which meant that she had to go one floor down to another break room.
As it was only one floor, she decided not to use the elevator.
Who knew that as she turned towards the stairwell exit, she could hear furious whispering.
It was still working time, who could be hiding here?
Lu Yuan used the railing to brace herself as she peeked down to see who it was.
It turned out to be the vice chairman’s assistant Chen Lian Dong and the chairman’s driver, Zhang-Shu1.
Whatever Chen Lian Dong was saying, it was making Zhang-Shu’s face go grey like ash.
Unfortunately Lu Yuan couldn’t hear them clearly because their voices were too quiet.
It was only at the end of their conversation that she saw Chen Lian Dong pass a thick envelope to Zhang-Shu and even smiled, patting him on the shoulder and then walking away.
The envelope was 80% money, which looked very incriminating.
Seeing that Chen Lian Dong was going to come up, she quickly turned around and made sure her footsteps were light, heading out of the stairway.
It was just then that the elevator chimed, and she quickly went in, pressing the close door button furiously.
She was just feeling stressed out from Lu Qi’s request, when she heard a cold voice ring out loud behind her,
“It’s still working hours, what are you doing?”
Hearing this, Lu Yuan stiffened up and turned around to find that it was Secretary Lee.
The other must have wanted to find the chairman but had instead been taken down a floor by her.
She couldn’t help but laugh out loud in embarrassment,
“The break room upstairs had run out of coffee.”
The elevator doors opened then and without waiting for an answer, she quickly ran away.
In the break room, she filled her cup up to the top with warm water and added 6 bags of instant coffee in it.
There were floating clouds of dubious black things, and the smell wasn’t that great.
Lu Yuan slipped the cup lid into her pocket and went out holding the cup that was filled to the brim with coffee.
She wrinkled her nose, trying to fan away the bitter smell with her hand.
She then realized that there was a very large chance that Secretary Lee was picking up the chairman to go to Yue Ke and that it was already past 6pm.
She quickly ran back up the stairs.
Maybe the heavens above wanted to play with her today, or maybe it was just a perfect coincidence, but when Lu Yuan hurriedly ran into the office, she bumped right into Huo Ming Cheng who was just heading out.
Every drop of the black coffee from the cup in her hand splashed onto the other’s priceless suit and even got onto the folders in Secretary Lee’s hands.
Everyone’s faces changed in that moment,
In her heart, Lu Yuan wanted to curse Lu Qi to death.
She quickly pretended to be surprised out of her mind and immediately covered her mouth, bowing and apologizing nonstop,
“Sorry Chairman! It was not on purpose! I didn’t mean it!”
Huo Ming Cheng had not recovered yet from being bumped into and when he came back to earth, he found that his clothes were already ruined and even his hair was wet.
The person behind him was just about to get angry and scold Lu Yuan but was stopped by his hand.
It’s just a young lady.”
Huo Ming Cheng didn’t show any apprehension and didn’t make it worse for Lu Yuan.
Seeing this, Secretary Lee said,
“But you and Yue Ke……”
“You bring the documents over first.
Apologize to them on my behalf.
Just say that I’ll be there a bit later.
I’ll head back to the office to fix up my appearance.”
When Huo Ming Cheng gets busy, he always forgets to eat or sleep, and so behind his office, there is a small room where he could shower, sleep and change his clothes.
Lu Yuan thought to herself how she could forget about that fact, but at this moment, she was already on thin ice.
In the next few moments, she could be asked for a meeting with a supervisor and be told to grab her stuff and get out.
In his terribly disorganized state, Huo Ming Cheng walked towards his office.
And just outside in the hallway, he met Huo Yuan Guang.
When the other saw him, his face shifted and he asked Huo Ming Cheng with concern,
“Ming Cheng, this is……”
And pointed to his stained clothes,
Huo Ming Cheng didn’t explain much,
“Oh, carelessly got coffee spilled on me.”
“Right, I remember that you were just heading out.
Better go change your clothes quickly.
Don’t let the people from Yue Ke wait too long.”
“Mhmm, thanks to Uncle for your worries.”
Huo Ming Cheng nodded his head and then turned to head into his office.
In his heart, he felt that there was something not right, but he couldn’t say exactly what was wrong.
So he tried to push his concerns down for now and decided to change his clothes first.
Lu Yuan hid in the stairway and phoned Lu Qi, wanting to strangle him to death through the screen.
“I was almost killed because of you! Splashing black coffee all over the chairman and now almost ruining his business meeting.
I am probably going to be told to pack up my things and leave by tomorrow!”
Lu Qi calmly consoled her and then looked for Huo Ming Chen.
He was in the shower, and Lu Qi decided to walk to the balcony to talk,
“Where’s your chairman? How is he?”
“I saw him walk out of the office in a set of new clothes.
His face was so ominous when he picked up the phone.
I don’t know where he is now.”
Lu Yuan told him everything she heard from another female colleague,
“I heard that Secretary Lee was in a car crash.
He’s still under operation at the hospital right now.
It’s my fault.
If I didn’t pour my coffee onto the chairman, he would……”
As she kept babbling, she suddenly quieted, and her face changed.
She thought about the events she saw today and started to guess an unbelievable truth.
Lu Qi said, “If you didn’t pour coffee all over his clothes, it might have been your chairman that’s in the hospital right now.
Ok, let it go.
Don’t overthink things.
Go to bed early.”
He hung up and went back to lay on the bed, thinking that Huo Ming Cheng should have sensed that something suspicious was going on by now.
The control of the company has always been in Huo Ming Cheng’s hands.
When he inherited the business, their grandfather had even moved a portion of his shares to Huo Ming Cheng.
At this time, the one who holds the most stocks is Huo Ming Cheng and then Huo Ming Chen.
As long as he stayed in good health, Huo Yuan Guang should not be able to make too many big waves.
The sounds of running water from the bathroom started to slow down, and after a while, Huo Ming Chen walked out, wearing a silky black bathrobe.
Water was still dripping from his hair, and this made him look even paler, making that cold face even colder.
But when he saw Lu Qi lying on the bed, the coldness surrounding him seemed to dissipate into nothing.
Reflexively stabilizing the person who threw himself towards him, Lu Qi smoothed back Huo Ming Chen’s wet hair,
“Go dry your hair.
Otherwise you’re going to get sick.”
Huo Ming Chen was too lazy to move and only lazily spoke as he draped himself on top of Lu Qi,
“Don’t worry about it.
It’s going dry in a moment.”
His hair was still wet, but he likes to snuggle up in someone’s embrace.
Who knows where this terrible habit came from? Lu Qi could only grab a hair dryer from the cabinet under the bed and like a mother, dried his hair.
Tiny bursts of warm air flowed through the fingers, and the temperature was just right and not burning hot.
Huo Ming Chen closed his eyes, his long lashes creating tiny shadows.
He hugged Lu Qi’s waist, feeling very warm and breathed in and out evenly, bringing a bit of serenity into the room.
He suddenly opened his eyes and asked,
“Being with me, do you feel like you’re at a loss?”
Lu Qi stopped his movements, not sure why he would ask this, when he hears Huo Ming Chen continue,
“My temper’s not great, and I’m not very likeable.
My brother said that my personality’s going to get me in trouble one day…..”
Lu Qi thought at least Huo Ming Chen was self aware enough to understand his faults.
Huo Ming Chen suddenly unplugged the hair dryer and the noisy wind sounds stopped, leaving their ears at peace again.
Lu Qi looked at him and waited to hear what he wanted to say next,
Huo Ming Chen straightened up his body, his hand placed near Lu Qi’s collar.
Even if they had air conditioning, some sweat could still be seen on his hand,
“…… Are you with me right now because of money?”
He looked at Lu Qi, his eyes serious and sincere.
His face did not look as young, and in the lights brought a charisma that cannot be denied,
Lu Qi didn’t speak, as if to ruminate over the question, but only one minute later, he gave an answer,
“From the time I have been with you, did I ever use your money?”
Seems like there wasn’t…..
Realizing that afterwards, Huo Ming Chen felt a bit surprised.
He covered his face by dropping onto Lu Qi and frustrated at himself, couldn’t lift his head up,
Lu Qi could only move to drag him up but saw Huo Ming Chen start laughing instead.
Not coldly laughing, not mockingly laughing, not painfully or sinisterly laughing, but a laugh that was from the bottom of the heart, laughing because you were happy and you felt fulfilled.
Lu Qi didn’t know why, but his mouth started to tug up, and then he quickly controlled the urge and emotionlessly said,
“What are you laughing so crazily for?”
Huo Ming Chen shook his head, patting his face that had stiffened up from laughing,
“I myself don’t even know why I’m this happy.”
Lu Qi turned on the tv, thinking that the other was a bit loose in the head,
“Why did you ask me that just now?”
Huo Ming Chen jutted his chin out, his eyes full of arrogance.
He crossed his arms, leaning back on the bed watching the tv, and you could tell that he was very pleased,
“I wanted to ask, so I did.
Why would there be another reason.”
Lu Qi said,
“And if I just answered yes, would you have beaten me to death?”
It felt like he just escaped dying by a hair’s breadth.
But who knew that Huo Ming Chen would answer with,
“Your answers don’t have a meaning.”
And like an arrogant prince, patted his face and smugly smiled,
“If you said yes, you still have to be with me.
You say no, you still have to be with me,”
And then said,
“Since we fought last time, when have I ever treated you badly?”
This was indeed the truth.
“Haven’t you always been mean to me instead? A few days ago, you even bit me and then pressed me to the mattress to roll me over and over……”
He was spouting nonsense at this point.
Lu Qi covered his mouth, and his dark eyes stared at him, a bit helpless,
“Do you not have any shame?”
Huo Ming Chen shook his head and then grandly opened his bathrobe, revealing a light bite mark on his back, showing him the evidence.
He pulled Lu Qi’s hand off,
“Shouldn’t you let me bite you back once?”
Lu Qi said the truth,
“I’m scared of pain.”
Huo Ming Chen moved closer and pointed towards his face, saying,
“Then you kiss me a hundred times, and I won’t make a fuss about you biting me last time.”
Someone, who would hear this and have seen the situation, would know that Lu Qi has only bitten him once.
If you didn’t know, you would think that Lu Qi bit him fifty million times.
What a little thing to remember till now.
Lu Qi looked at that face coming closer and closer.
Within their breaths, he could smell a familiar scent, as if they have become one.
As Huo Ming Chen desired, he came closer and kissed him slowly, starting from the forehead.
Huo Ming Chen started to count sternly,
Another kiss on his eyelids,
Then it was the nose.
Then it was the lips and the four was not said by Huo Ming Chen before he was swallowed up by Lu Qi.
In the end, that number was lost in between their kisses.
This person was not that hard to coax.
As long as Lu Qi was willing to sweet talk him, reach out and embrace him, Huo Ming Chen is the most easily satisfied man in the world.
The black bathrobe was like a butterfly suddenly fluttering onto the ground, and then turned into a puddle of wrinkles, and like a dying flower, showing its most beautiful pose before its death.
The author has something to say:
Lu Yuan: I have the worst and most difficult job.
*1 Zhang-Shu: -shu is a suffix (means uncle) like -er where you call a man older than you that usually has children or looks like an older adult man (almost like your parents age, younger than a senior), feels like an uncle.
Just a quick note on upcoming chapter 25: it’s a fairly lengthy chapter about 3x the length than a normal chapter, and it’s been quite a substantial task to translate and edit (which we are still doing last minute edits and proofreading to).
So to help us out, Plum and I have decided to split the chapter up into 2 parts (at a reasonable point, no big cliffhangers I promise! (；´･Д･) ) which some of you might have seen updated already on the ToC page.
To my recollection, it should be the only one that is this chunky in the novel, so all other chapters in the future (most likely) would be released in its entirety.
I also just realized that it’s officially (past) one month since I started translating the novel and started this site Thank you to all those who have read here so far and continue to read, to all those who keep commenting and liking every chapter and to all those who give me feedback (and to my editor too!) and motivation to improve and continue foward! I am very grateful for you all, for joining me on this journey! ʚ♡⃛ɞ(ू•ᴗ•ू❁) Thank you!
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