Chapter 21 — Demonic singing winding around the beam
At noon, Jian Yan only ate candied floss taro, fermented tofu, and boiled meat along with a bowl of white rice. She had eaten her entire lunchbox clean. Four hours had passed since lunch, yet she actually acted as if nothing had happened. In one breath, she had eaten… He Xiu deliberately counted. Five plates of roasted streaky pork.
No, she had begun roasting a sixth plate.
He Xiu gazed at her, engrossed. “Did you not eat your fill at lunch?”
As Jian Yan roasted meat, she said, “This has nothing to do with if I ate my fill or not. I simply can eat a lot. My mom said that this was me making up for not eating much as a child.”
He Xiu chuckled and said, “Normally, I also don’t see you eat this much.”
“Normally, I have restraint. Today, Director He has invited me to dinner, so I naturally would put forth sincerity and eat.”
He Xiu: “…”
Hearing this, her other female colleagues, one after another, began expressing sincerity by eating more.
He Xiu didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he called for the waiter to add several more dishes.
A group of female colleagues sitting together and eating naturally resulted in a table buzzing with chatter. He Xiu also was unable to join in their conversation, so he just sat to the side and quietly roasted meat.
With a brush in hand, Jian Yan said to him, “Director He, I’ll roast. You should get something to eat.”
He Xiu looked at her and chuckled. “I ate my fill at lunch.”
Jian Yan: “…”
“If you ate your fill at lunch, you should be hungry by now.” She picked up an almost done roasted scallop and placed it on He Xiu’s plate. “You should eat more.”
“Thanks.” He Xiu raised the corners of his lips and revealed a smile to her. Jian Yan suddenly recalled that drawing of him on her computer. Forcefully moving her gaze, she stared at the variety of vegetables and meat on the grill with single-minded devotion.
After eating barbecue, He Xiu originally intended to return to work, but his staff was in a happy mood after eating and proposed karaoke. Upstairs, Starlight General Merchandise had a KTV, so they didn’t need to go very far again. It was very convenient.
He Xiu didn’t go to KTV often, and the occasions where he did go, he rarely sang. He would only sing when it was a gathering of VOICE studio members. “You all can go and sing. Come find me after, and I’ll reimburse you.”
The site manager said, “Director He treated us to a meal, so we invite you to karaoke. Don’t know if Director He is willing to do us the honor?”
Jian Yan was actually looking forward to this slightly. He Xiu’s voice was so pleasant to the ear; his singing must also be very pleasant to listen to. She wondered, Is he better than Nan Si?
Everyone looked at him with hopeful faces. He Xiu really couldn’t refuse, so he promised to go to the KTV with them. He made it clear, however, that he would not sing. He rapidly discovered, though, that each and every employee of Fantasy Wardrobe was a mic hog. Even if he wanted to sing, they might not necessarily give him the chance to.
He glanced at Jian Yan who was sitting beside him. He asked her, “Are you not going to sing?”
Jian Yan shook her head. “I don’t listen to songs often, and the songs I can sing are few in number. I don’t want to go up and lose face.”
The site manager heard her say this and clapped her hands, saying, “After the next song, let Jian Yan sing! Ha, reserve it for her!”
Jian Yan: “…”
What hatred…what enmity…
He Xiu stifled a laugh and said to her, “You better hurry and think of a song to sing later.”
Jian Yan: “…”
The songs she could sing really was few. After flipping through the song directory for a good while, she didn’t know why the first song to appear in her mind was that first song Nan Si had sung.
“Jian Yan, have you chosen one yet? Qing Qin is almost done!”
Hearing her colleague’s urging voice, Jian Yan very quickly tried to find the song 《He Loves Me Not》. She clicked on it. “Okay, okay.”
Qing Qing’s song had coincidentally just finished, and the soothing prelude for the next song quickly began playing. Jian Yan took the mic her colleague offered and immediately began singing along to the music.
“He loves me not. When we hold hands, he is too cold. When we hug, he is not close enough…”
While Jian Yan sang, Nan Si’s voice continually resounded through her mind. She subconsciously began emulating Nan Si’s style at some parts of the song. He Xiu gazed at her the whole time from his seat on the sofa, a faint smile at the corners of his lips.
Once the song finished, her colleagues applauded especially loud in praise. Jian Yan held the mic to the side and coughed. She said to everyone, “For the next song, I solemnly invite Director He to sing. Please welcome him, everyone!”
At this moment, everyone just realized that Director He had not sung this whole time. They all began booing. He Xiu remained calm in the face of this and said, “It’s better if I don’t sing. I am tone deaf. It’ll be no good if I scare all of you away.”
“Director He, your voice is so pleasant to the ear. How can you possibly be tone deaf.” Jian Yan definitely didn’t plan on allowing him to hoodwink them like this. Just a moment ago, the site manager had called for her to sing a song, and he had even thrown stones at someone who had fallen down a well, so now she was exacting her revenge.
All her colleagues agreed and said, “What Jian Yan said is right! Director He, your voice is so pleasant to the ear, so how can you possibly be tone deaf. Don’t think that because we haven’t studied much, you can deceive us!”
He Xiu muttered irresolutely to himself for a moment. In the end, he walked up to take the mic from Jian Yan’s extended hand. “Fine, since you all want to hear me sing so much, I’ll sing a song. I hope you all don’t regret it.”
After he finished saying this, he intentionally shot a glance at Jian Yan. Jian Yan, on the other hand, wasn’t scared stiff by his glare. She didn’t believe that a man with such a pleasant voice could sound so horrible when singing.
Soon, however, He Xiu vividly educated her on what ‘there is an exception to everything’ meant.
He Xiu had chosen a classic song that everyone had frequently heard and learnt by heart. After he sang for a full minute, however, no one could actually hear the melody.
Everyone in the private room was struck as dumb as a wooden chicken at his demonic singing voice.
They swore that if the one on stage singing wasn’t Director He, they would have long gone up and interrupt the song. Jian Yan also had a disillusioned expression. Director He’s singing, using the words ‘unpleasant to hear’ absolutely could not describe its quintessence.
This was absolutely traumatizing.
After three hellish minutes passed, all the staff in the private room simultaneously released a sigh of relief. They lived! Simply too touching!
The site manager took the lead and began clapping, stating from the bottom of her heart, “Director He, your handsomeness and voice go well together, but you should never sing in the future, okay?”
He Xiu chuckled and handed the mic to the next person.
Not knowing whether He Xiu’s influence was too tremendous or not, the next colleague searched for quite a while but was unable to grasp the song’s melody.
He Xiu drank a glass of lemonade and smiled at Jian Yan as he asked, “How was my singing just now?”
Jian Yan very slowly turned her head and stared at him. “I apologize, did you just call that singing?”
“Pfff.” He Xiu choked on the lemonade. He tilted his head to the side to cough. “You were the one that made me sing.”
“Mn. I am already questioning myself profoundly.”
This time, He Xiu directly laughed.
He stayed in the KTV until 7:00PM while the rest of the employees stayed behind with high spirits. When Jian Yan returned home, it was nearly 11:00PM. She weakly lay in her huge bed, thinking that she was fortunate to have the evening shift tomorrow. She could sleep in tomorrow morning.
Thinking of this, Jian Yan was a bit surprised. When had she begun entertaining thoughts of dawdling in bed? It really seemed that she had changed a lot after all this. She had been at Starlight General Merchandise for less than a month, yet the people she had interacted with were significantly more than she had in the previous year.
She suddenly recalled that song He Xiu sang in the KTV today and couldn’t help laughing. She groped for her cell phone and opened QQ to send a message to Nan Si.
「Great God Nan Si, you there? I have a little something I want to ask for your guidance.」
She waited a moment. Nan Si sent her a reply. 「I dare not offer my guidance. Whatever Teacher Tang Zhi had to ask, ask away?」
Tang Zhi: 「Mn… Is there someone whose speaking voice is very very pleasant to hear but possibly sings very very unpleasantly?」
He Xiu stared at her message and couldn’t help laughing. She had used ‘very’ twice. Did he really overdo the singing?
Nan Si: 「Possibly. Tone deafness is a natural disposition that is incurable even with a good voice.」
Tang Zhi: 「Oh…」
Nan Si: 「Why, do you have a friend like this?」
Tang Zhi: 「Mhmm… His voice is very pleasant to hear, so we originally didn’t believe him when he said he was tone deaf. In the end, he sang a song…」
Nan Si: 「Hahahahahahahaha」
Tang Zhi: 「…」
Ai, Jian Yan sighed sullenly, how can Director He be saved?
Ultimately, she decided to save her ears first.
Tang Zhi: 「I’ll listen to your song first, to prevent any nightmares when I sleep tonight :)」
He Xiu stared at her message and couldn’t stop smiling at the computer screen.
Perhaps because she relied on the good fortune of Nan Si’s singing voice, Jian Yan didn’t have any demonic singing invade her night, instead sleeping beatifically. She woke up relatively late that morning, so she had no time to draw. She headed directly to her kitchen to begin making lunch and dinner.
Because she ate comparatively rich food yesterday, she intentionally made several light appetizers today. She even cooked a pot of porridge with century egg and lean meat. When she ate in the dining hall later that day, she realized that He Xiu had also brought comparatively light dishes today.
The two of them smiled at each other. He Xiu asked her, “When did you all return from karaoke yesterday?”
“After 10:00PM. If they didn’t have early shift, I reckon it would have been even later than that.”
He Xiu smiled and said, “Fortunately, you all remembered that you need to go to work.”
“There is nothing to be done. This month’s pay has yet to be sent out.”
He Xiu bowed his head to chuckle before deliberately asking her, “Did you sleep well last night? No nightmares?”
Pu—. Ke—ke— Jian Yan choked on the porridge in her mouth and asked him, somewhat flustered, “Why, why are you asking something like this?”
“Oh, today when they came in for work, a few female employees said that hearing me sing yesterday gave them nightmares, so I asked to see if you had not escaped this either.”
“I, I was fortunate…” Jian Yan buried her head down in embarrassment so as to avoid his eyes.
“Ah, isn’t that the Chairman?”
“Where? Where? Yi, that is indeed our Chairman.”
The voices of two chatting colleagues attracted Jian Yan’s attention. She looked in their direction and saw that they were attentively watching the television.
The staff dining hall had two television screens. Normally, they liked to play some soap opera or variety show, but today, they played the seldom-watched Caijing News channel.
The news just so happened to be selecting this year’s top ten influential individuals. He Jing Long was also included in this. Jian Yan thought that maybe because the Chairman was on television today, the dining hall specially put on Caijing News?
She glanced at He Jing Long’s brief interview on the television and said to He Xiu, “I previously read the Chairman’s interview featured in a magazine as well. Your parents’ affections for one another is truly exceptional.”
Who would have imagined that He Xiu’s complexion would suddenly change. He set down his chopsticks. After a brief moment of silence, he said with a trace of fury, “Zhao Ying Fang absolutely is not my mother.”
O-huo,1 the female lead ran into the muzzle of a gun.
Jian Yan: ………… QAQ
Extremely thankful to sponsors
- Onomatopoeia for a sigh of regret, pity, helplessness ↩