Drunk In Love (Years of Intoxication) - Chap 6
He Gu smiled lightly and said, “Feng Zheng, you probably have a little misunderstanding about my relationship with Juhan. For many years, we’ve only been each other’s companions. Whether his sex scandals are fake or not, they have little to do with me.”
He decided to tell the truth, because he didn’t want Feng Zheng to dwell too long on this issue. But personally, he roughly felt that it would be better for him to say it first than to wait until Feng Zheng found out by himself. This way, he would appear more undisturbed.
Feng Zheng unconsciously clenched his fists, and his voice sank. “So Song Juhan wasn’t joking when he said that you were a member of his harem.”
He Gu made a show of laughing lightly.
Feng Zheng leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms in front of him, and looked at He Gu. His pair of long, narrow, and deep eyes burst with a sharp light that seemed to cleanly tear off people inside and out.
He Gu was uncomfortable all over with the way he looked at him, so he picked up his wine glass and took a drink.
“For all these years, you and Song Juhan have been friends with benefits?” Feng Zheng’s tone was cold and tinged with anger.
He Gu paused, and his tone became three times more serious. “Feng Zheng, my relationship with Juhan has nothing to do with outsiders. Today, I am giving you a welcome dinner. Let’s not talk about other people.”
“What, I can’t even ask? If there was no Song Juhan, you would have been my man.”
He Gu sighed. “Let’s not talk about what happened in the past. It was years ago.”
Feng Zheng leaned in close to him, his obsidian pupils hiding a coldness that made one shiver as he sent an arrow through He Gu’s heart. “But you like him.”
He Gu’s heart faltered. To hide it, he lowered his head and didn’t speak.
Feng Zheng sneered. “You like him. All these years, you’ve slept right next to him and watched him change this and that, yet dare not say a damn thing. He Gu, aren’t you being cheap?”
He Gu snapped and threw away his chopsticks. He looked at Feng Zheng without expression. “Feng Zheng, I didn’t invite you to dinner to lecture me. Whether I’m cheap or not, it has nothing to do with you. Let’s not see each other again. I wish you a bright future.” He stood up vacantly.
Feng Zheng also stood up right after and yelled, “I’m just not reconciled!”
He Gu was startled.
“Why did you pick that son of a bitch? He doesn’t like you at all. What do you want? What can he give you that I can’t?”
He Gu turned around and calmly looked at Feng Zheng. “It’s not Song Juhan’s fault that he doesn’t like me. He doesn’t owe me anything, nor do I want anything from him. We are all adults now. How I choose to live and who I choose with is my own business. Goodbye.”
He stepped out of the private room, paid his bill at the front desk, then went out without stopping.
When he came out, he realized he had left his umbrella in the room. He had to walk fast under the drizzle.
He ran to the parking lot in one breath, opened the car door, and got inside the car. Only then did he take off his strong front.
“He Gu, aren’t you being cheap?”
Feng Zheng’s words were like needles piercing his heart, making his face feel hot till now.
Actually, except for things related to Song Juhan, he had a strong sense of dignity most of the time. He could accomplish nearly impossible tasks for his dignity, undertake responsibilities that he could not have undertaken for his dignity, and give up the opportunity of promotion and salary increase for his dignity. It seemed like he had been building his dignity high elsewhere just to have a little left for himself to be smashed to pieces by Song Juhan.
Of course he knew shame and embarrassment, but as he said, he had chosen it himself. He didn’t harm anyone, and he wasn’t breaking the law, so if he was being cheap or not, why the fuck should others care?
Why was he doing this? He wasn’t trying to be decent and perfect; he just wanted to have no regrets.
He regretted meeting Feng Zheng. Spending money on unpleasant things was simply awful.
He admitted that he had been attracted to Feng Zheng back then. Feng Zheng was perfect. He had a sparkling family background, a handsome face without any flaws, and was extremely intelligent and outstanding. And they were not just schoolmates. That multinational company he interned at during his senior year was also named Feng. So the two of them becoming friends was a matter of course.
Compared with the misty admiration for Song Juhan that had arisen because of that brief afternoon together during his third year in high school, his affection* for Feng Zheng was clearly more real. At the very least, Feng Zheng wasn’t unattainable. If Song Juhan hadn’t returned to China, or if he had only arrived at a later time, then He Gu would surely have stayed at the Feng family company.
*好感 – can also be simply translated as “good opinion” or “favorable impression.”
However, he didn’t feel much guilt towards Feng Zheng today. Because at that age when he longed to fall in love, hiding his affection for Feng Zheng and sounding him out by starting as friends, he felt that Feng Zheng, clever as he was, actually knew everything. He simply acted leisurely about it, staying not too far, but also not too near. If it weren’t for Song Juhan’s appearance, then Feng Zheng, whose eyes were above his head*, wouldn’t have changed from regarding He Gu as someone dispensable to someone indispensable.
*眼高于顶 – a metaphor for someone used to describe a person who has a sharp eye and a strong ability to distinguish. It is also used as a metaphor for being proud and arrogant and having no one in sight. (Baidu)
The same went for Song Juhan. If there was no Feng Zheng, a well-matched rival, then he probably wouldn’t even remember He Gu’s name.
Men ah, they were all like this. They all wanted to prevail over others. He saw it very clearly at that time. Neither Song Juhan nor Feng Zheng liked him; they just enjoyed the thrill in thwarting a rival. He was just supposed to be the fisherman sitting and waiting to reap the benefits of their fight*, but unfortunately, he liked Song Juhan.
*坐收渔翁, 之利的赢家 – The full idiom is “When the clam and the sandpiper fight, the fisherman sitting in waiting will catch them both.” It’s about how when two people can’t agree, a third party will take advantage of the chaos to gain everything.
Once you like someone, you lose right from the start.
He Gu sighed deeply, started the car, and drove home.
Halfway there, he received a text message from Feng Zheng with only one* word: Sorry.
*The raws actually say “three, short words” coz in Chinese, you write “sorry” as “对不起”
He didn’t reply. Instead, he deleted Feng Zheng’s number.
He didn’t know what Feng Zheng’s intention was for today, but it certainly wasn’t because of an old love for him. Although the two of them hadn’t been in touch in all these years, he’d been able to occasionally get news of Feng Zheng from his old schoolmates. The young heir of the Feng family had always been the object of everyone’s attention; it would be hard for him not to know. In these years, Feng Zheng hadn’t been idle.
He could guess Feng Zheng’s indignance and shame after being stepped on by Song Juhan upon returning home. The loss and defeat from six years ago all came rushing back to his mind. So the more he felt his face hanging loosely, the more he wanted to pull it back*? This was probably the case. Aside from this, he couldn’t think of any reason why Feng Zheng would still be interested in him.
*面子上挂不住 – “face hanging loosely” or “face not hung securely” or simply “losing face” is an idiom describing feelings of shame. And likewise, “pulling it back” is about regaining one’s dignity.
Many people thought He Gu was not familiar with the ways of the world, but in fact, he was just not very sociable. He could see through people better than others. Sometimes, it was very exhausting.
The news of Gu Qingpei’s departure soon spread in the company. He had already submitted his resignation letter, so there was nothing to hide.
He Gu heard rumors that Gu Qingpei’s annual salary increased after he was poached, and he was very happy for him. If Gu Qingpei really made a career out of his new company, it would not be a bad idea to give himself another option.
Gu Qingpei’s subordinates planned to hold a farewell drinking party, inviting all the employees who were on good terms with Gu Qingpei, excluding the big bosses. He Gu was among those invited.
On Friday afternoon, He Gu drove a few colleagues to the bar* they had a booking at. That dajie who always spoke unrestrainedly with him was also in the car.
*酒店 – can also mean hotel or restaurant, but since author said “drinking party,” then maybe it’s at a private room in a bar.
As soon as she got into the car, that dajie looked around, clicked her tongue, and said, “Chief He, it’s my first time riding in your car. This car must cost millions, eh?”
He Gu just gave her an “en,” and looked straight ahead.
“Chief He is young, promising, and also handsome. Really, Mr. He. And I don’t mean to boast, but my niece and you are really suitable. She has a height of 1 meter and seven, and her skin is fair and clear. Right now, she’s working in a bank with an annual salary of 300, 000 yuan.”
Chief He smiled and didn’t say anything.
Chen Shan coughed, quietly elbowed that dajie, and furtively gave her a meaningful look. Their Chief He doesn’t easily lose his temper, but his personality was also very cold. This dajie really didn’t know how to read other people.
That dajie said disappointedly, “Chief He, what kind of girl do you like? Can I introduce you to some? I know many who are of the right age.”
He Gu frowned a little. From the moment he entered the company until now, many had wanted to set up a girlfriend for him. From the management to the staff, they were like flies he couldn’t get rid of. It seems that the older he got, the less tolerant people around him were of his being single. Being pestered all the time was also quite annoying, so he coughed and said, “Yang-jie, you’ve been troubled, but I don’t intend to get a girlfriend, and I also don’t want to get married.”
Yang-jie’s eyes widened. “Why?” Her gaze couldn’t help but wander down, wondering if there was something wrong with He Gu.
That look was rather rude, and the others in the car felt embarrassed for her, pinching themselves in cold sweat.
He Gu was a little amused, but he wasn’t without any tolerance, and he said calmly, “When I was a child, my parents had a bad relationship. My father died when I was in high school, and my mother never came to visit me again after she remarried. I don’t trust marriage, so I won’t marry.”
Silence fell in the car, and after a while, Yang-jie said “Oh,” not knowing what to reply.
He Gu looked at her in the rearview mirror. “Many thanks, Yang-jie, for your good intentions. But I came to the company for work, not to find a girlfriend. I hope that, in the future, things that have nothing to do with work will not be mentioned in front of me.”
There was no rise and fall in his tone, but the warning implied by that look in his eyes made Yang-jie shiver.
Who in the company didn’t know that He Gu was usually cold and apathetic, but that once he fell out with someone, would never give that person any face.
Along the way, no one dared to speak up.
At the bar, Chief He led the people to a private room, where some of their colleagues had already arrived. They were singing, and on the table next to them were rows of wine.
“Chief He has come.”
He Gu nodded at them one after another. “Where’s Chief Gu and the others?”
“They got stuck in traffic. Chief He, are you going to sing?”
“I’m tone-deaf. You guys sing. I’m going to make a call.” The private room was full of young staff members. None of his peers or superiors had arrived. These young people would be uncomfortable with him around, and he was also uncomfortable with them, so he simply grabbed his phone and went out.”
He walked down the corridor to a balcony, and was just about to open his phone to check the news when Song Juhan’s call came in.
He Gu lit up and immediately answered the call, “Hello, Juhan.”
“En, what are you doing?” Song Juhan’s tone sounded lazy. His languid tone, slightly husky voice, and accent with an inexplicable sense of exoticism had been hailed by the media as one of the sexiest voices in the world. Although it was nothing more than a compliment, it was true for He Gu, especially so when it came to that low, suppressed gasp Song Juhan would make when letting out his desire at his peak. It could literally make one’s ears orgasm.
Truly deserving of being a singer who’d been popular for years. Song Juhan had a voice that was born to eat this bowl of rice*.
*天生就该吃这碗饭 – I’m not quite sure, but I think He Gu is saying that Song Juhan had a voice that was really suited for his job.
After a brief daze, He Gu said, “I’m at a dinner party.”
“That’s boring. Come keep me company.”
“Leaving right now is not good. Maybe a little later?”
It was silent on the other end of the phone. “No, come over now.”
He Gu said softly, “I really can’t leave right now, but I’ll try to leave as early as I can, okay?”
“Up to you.” Song Juhan’s tone was obviously not very happy. He then hung up the phone.
He Gu was holding his phone and hesitating when the elevator doors opened, and he heard Gu Qingpei’s hearty laughter. He cheered up and greeted him with a smile, “Chief Gu.”
“Hey, Mr. He. You came so early. Come, come, come, let’s go to the room. What are you doing standing around here?”
“I was making a call.”
“Oh, who?” Gu Qingpei smiled and winked. That teasing expression paired with his handsome face was really quite charming. “Is it your girlfriend urging you to go home for dinner?”
“No.” He Gu smiled. “Let’s go. Most of them are here.”
At the dinner table, Gu Qingpei was smooth and slick as usual. He gave a brief description of what he planned to do after leaving his job, and what his new company was like. Of course, he also gave his old employers enough face, telling the employees to work hard and so on. Even though not a single one of his superiors were there today, he was still talking rigorously.
A subordinate asked about the company Gu Qingpei was jumping ship to, “Chief Gu, that’s a company owned by the Yuan Clan holdings, right? I heard that the Yuan Clan took 6, 000 mu* of land in Pearwater Bay this year. That’s a really big deal.”
*亩 – classifier for fields; unit of area equal to 1/15 of a hectare
By the way, the Yuan here is the surname of the male lead in Zheng Feng Duijue. His name is Yuan Yang, and he’s Gu Qingpei’s gong haha. You will see him later in the story.
“Yuan Lijiang always makes big deals.”
Gu Qingpei smiled, “Yes, I will also be involved in that project. If you guys are interested in building commercial housing in the future, come to me and I’ll give you the internal price.”
“Wow, thank you, Chief Gu.”
A female employee said with a smile, “Hey, I’ve also heard news about the Yuan Clan. I saw on the Internet that Yuan Lijiang’s eldest son is super handsome. The photo was very fuzzy and was taken secretly, but he’s really super handsome.”
“Very fuzzy, but you can still make out how handsome he is? There must be a problem with the angle.”
“See for yourself. I’ll show it to you…”
A few of the young employees began to gossip, and Gu Qingpei looked at He Gu with a smile, “You didn’t eat much. Is the food not to your liking?”
“No, I’m just on a diet, so I eat less at night.”
“Oh, that’s a good habit. I also have a vegetarian diet at night. Once a man is over thirty, his metabolism drops and he gets fat easily.” Gu Qingpei thought for a moment. “You’re not thirty yet, right?”
“Twenty-eight, about the same as Chief Gu.”
Gu Qingpei shook his head with a smile. “Do you also find me incomprehensible? In my thirties, and in this position, my life is already so stable, and yet here comes a big upheaval.”
He Gu said, “I think Chief Gu has already carefully considered every step. Besides, with the higher annual salary there, it won’t be such a big upheaval.”
Gu Qingpei’s smile deepened, and he looked elated. “Good point.” Then he picked up the wine glass in passing.
He Gu also quickly raised his glass, rushing to take the lead to say, “I’d like to propose a toast to Chief Gu. I wish you the best in your new environment and in realizing your ambitions.”
Gu Qingpei clinked glasses with a smile, then drank everything in one gulp.
After dinner, some of them sang, some gossiped, and some drank wine. While chatting with Gu Qingpei for a while, He Gu couldn’t help but look at his watch twice.
Such a small gesture was noticed by Gu Qingpei. “What’s wrong? In a hurry to leave?”
He Gu said awkwardly, “Uh, there’s a little matter…”
“Oh, you can go ahead then.”
“Sorry, Chief Gu. I’ll treat you to a meal some other day.”
Gu Qingpei smiled and said, “Done. Count it as you owing me a meal. Can you drive? Should I let a driver send you off?”
“I only drank a little, it’s no problem.”
“Okay, be careful on the way.”
“Thank you, Chief Gu. Let’s meet again some other time.”
“See you later.”
As soon as He Gu left the private room, he quickened his pace and headed for the parking lot. Currently, it was just after eight, much earlier than he had expected. It wasn’t far from Song Juhan’s apartment, and if he sped up, he could get there by eight-thirty.
Fortunately, there was no traffic jam at this hour, so he soon arrived at the place. On the way, he bought the small crab roe wontons that Song Juhan loved so much downstairs, then took an elevator upstairs.
He rang the doorbell, and when the door opened, he froze when he saw the person opening it.
It was an unfamiliar and pretty-looking teenager.