Chapter 23 — Stay far away from her.
He Xiu wasn’t as Tang Zheng believed. He had never hated his younger brother. In He Chen’s memory, the last time He Xiu had spoken to him like this was that year when he had first come to He Mansion.
At that time, He Chen had been five years-old when He Jing Long had suddenly brought back a boy, saying that he was his older brother. He Chen, as the young master of the He Family and the Zhao Family, had always been surrounded by people who doted on him excessively. As for this older brother, he was never given even a good look.
But the colder he was, the more He Chen liked to wind him up, like the one time when he had cried while searching for his mama. He had told her that, even though he had shared his favorite toy with his older brother, his older brother had still ignored him.
Zhao Ying Fang had instantaneously become furious and had lectured him in a very strict tone. That was the first time that she had acted so viciously towards He Chen, to the point that he could still remember what she had said even now.
——He Xiu is not your older brother! He is a bastard! You are forbidden from calling him older brother!
After that day, He Chen no longer carried all kinds of desserts and small toys when he sought out He Xiu. Instead, he began to learn his mama’s occasional words, mocking and ridiculing him. But regardless of how much he derided him and bullied him, He Xiu still hadn’t reacted in the slightest. It seemed as if, in his eyes, He Chen was invisible.
This bored He Chen very much. He Xiu was like an emotionless robot, neither crying nor making noise. He also never said a word to him. One time later on, he had felt aggrieved and said to He Xiu, “Who do you think you are!? Your mom is a mistress! Shameless!”
At that time, He Xiu had been just like he was right now, suddenly lifting him up by his collar before throwing him to the ground. He had pulled him up by the neck, the space between his eyebrows thick with anger. He had glared down at him and asked, “I am older than you by two years. Whose mother is the mistress, can’t you see? Mn?”
That day, He Chen had cried for a very long time, not knowing if it was because of the icy aura suddenly bursting forth from He Xiu had scared him or because of that question of his.
He Chen looked at the person who had pulled him up by the collar back then, the corner of his mouth raising into a stiff smile. “Oh, then what do you want?”
He Xiu sneered at him then said with a glare, “If I do anything, how would you be able to sail with the current growing up?1 You should know better than anyone, right?”
He released his grip on He Chen’s collar and sent him a final glare. “Stay far away from her.”
He Chen watched his departing figure and tugged at his own collar before sitting down on the sofa.
Ah, the last time it was for his mother. This time, it was for that woman. It seems that the woman called Jian Yan holds a little weight in his heart.
At that moment, Jian Yan had already finished bathing and was sitting in front of her computer drawing. Tomorrow, she had a day off, so even if she went to sleep later than normal tonight, it wouldn’t matter. 《 Satisfactory 》’s commissioning editor had asked her to draw a large poster for the collection edition. It wasn’t until she had sketched a few drafts that she recalled that she still had ten more pages of yonkama left to draw. Her brows creased lightly.
Lunar New Year was early this year. In a month’s time, she would have to go to work at Fantasy Wardrobe while drawing. It seemed that turning in her manuscript on time would be a bit more difficult.
Thinking of this, she once again sighed. Actually, she had more or less collected enough material for her new project. Even if she stopped working now, it would be no problem. In any case, Director He seemed as if he didn’t want to see her anymore. However, she had promised Zhou Wen Wen to work until Christmas. Leaving during Fantasy Wardrobe’s busiest period also didn’t seem so good…
She thought for a while. In the end, she chose to work for this month before leaving. There weren’t that many days left anyway. As for the manuscript, she could always call over her two assistants to help.
She grabbed her phone off the table, intending to tell Lin Zhen to send her two assistants over tomorrow. Her phone history showed that Lin Zhen had called her at 8:43AM.
Yi, so apparently Lin Zhen really did call me?
She hit return call, but Lin Zhen didn’t pick up even though she waited for quite awhile. Jian Yan glanced at the time and saw that it was currently only 11:00PM. She wouldn’t have gone to sleep this early, right?
Fortunately, before the call automatically ended, Lin Zhen picked up her call. “Hey, Jian Yan, I’m very busy right now, so if you have anything to say, tell me later!”
After Lin Zhen distractedly said this, she hung up the call. Jian Yan, holding the phone, hadn’t yet processed what had just happened. What could she be busy with this late?
She double clicked on her canvas and the image suddenly zoomed in.
Could it be that I had…disturbed her night life? She found a boyfriend this quickly?
Jian Yan’s intuition concluded that this was probably related to why Lin Zhen had called her that morning, but when she tried to recall that conversation, she couldn’t clearly remember what had been said. She shrugged her shoulders and set down her phone to continue drawing.
At the moment, Lin Zhen was indeed busy with the collaboration she had spoken of with her that morning. In the afternoon, pretending to be Tang Zheng’s girlfriend, she had visited his home and stayed for dinner. She could see that Tang Zheng’s parents and his older sister spoiled him very much. Not only were they very friendly to her, they also didn’t use their family’s high status to hold others in contempt.
Before, Lin Zhen had been somewhat anxious. Even though she had opened a studio and earned plenty of money, her family was merely an average, moderately affluent family and not some rich household.
The Tang Family, however, didn’t mind, especially Tang Zheng’s older sister who was also a successful career woman. She even admired her very much. The only problem was…from start to end, they hadn’t believed that she was Tang Zheng’s girlfriend.
Initially, she believed that it was because she and Tang Zheng has barely gotten to know each other, so the CP2 felt too weak, making it hard to believe that they were boyfriend-girlfriend. Later though, Tang Zheng’s older sister had remarked, “This kind of work-capable and attractive woman, how could she possibly fall for you?”
Mn, this was said to Tang Zheng.
Tang Zheng was so angry, it was unbearable. Although he had argued with her for a long time, he had still been unable to convince his older sister that Lin Zhen was his girlfriend. In the end, he didn’t even eat and just dragged Lin Zhen out to a bar to drink. Lin Zhen originally believed that the son of a rich family like him would certainly have an excellent capacity for liquor, but in reality, he didn’t even drink much before becoming inebriated.
Lin Zhen had hurriedly dragged the already-speaking-gibberish Tang Zheng away, using a tremendous amount of strength to bring him back to her house.
She also had chaser pills at home, so she fed Tang Zheng one before leaving him on the sofa in a drunken stupor. Because she had carried Tang Zheng, she was sweating all over from exertion in winter. She first went to take a bath before opening the refrigerator to find something to eat.
She couldn’t cook like Jian Yan, so her refrigerator had been empty for a long time. The only daily preparation foodstuff was noodles.
With no better option, Lin Zhen was forced to roll up her sleeves and cook noodles for herself. While she tried to cook, confused all the while, Jian Yan had called her. She had quickly answered before ending the call and continuing to cook her noodles.
After she had fished up her noodles, Lin Zhen let out a long sigh and tried a bite of the freshly cooked noodles. The flavor was the same was always, hehe.
Not knowing if it was because of the chaser pill’s influence or because the aroma of the noodles had attracted Tang Zheng, he slowly woke up.
Looking around at his unfamiliar surroundings, Tang Zheng supported his head with his hand, remaining sluggish for two seconds before looking in the direction of the kitchen. He was still able to remember that he had gotten drunk, so if his guess wasn’t wrong, this should be Lin Zhen’s home.
This house was decorated very nicely, and it was also very spacious. Lin Zhen was just like what his older sister had said, very capable.
But he refused to accept her remark about how a woman like this wouldn’t have him in her eyes.
He sedately stood up and walked over to the kitchen. Lin Zhen was eating noodles, and seeing him suddenly enter the kitchen startled her, causing her to choke on her food. “Ke— you’re awake?”
“Mn, but my head is still a bit dizzy.” His gaze swept around the kitchen, finally resting on that bowl of noodles on the table. “You actually hid here to eat alone. I also didn’t eat dinner.”
Lin Zhen had yet to put together a response when Tang Zheng asked, “You can finish eating such a large bowl of noodles by yourself? That is almost as large as our family’s washbowl.”
“…” Lin Zhen was silent for a moment. “I was careless. The entire noodle packet had fallen into the pot.”
Tang Zheng laughed and said, “It’s okay. I can help you eat.” After he said this, he casually picked up a pair of chopsticks and twirled some noodles into his mouth.
Lin Zhen: “…”
His movement was too much like the moving clouds and flowing water; she simply had no time to block him.
Tang Zheng tasted a bite. His complexion suddenly changed. He tenaciously swallowed the noodles in his mouth before pouring himself a large glass of water and taking several gulps from it.
Ke—ke—ke— Tang Zhen’s ears reddened, as if he had received a lot of provocation. “What is this?!?!”
Contrarily, at this moment, Lin Zhen serenely said, “My cooked noodles, aka——the world’s most disgusting noodles.”
Tang Zheng: “…”
“How can you eat this? Are you sure you’re not slowly killing yourself?” he asked in disbelief.
Lin Zhen rolled her eyes. “It’s food. As long as it’s cooked thoroughly, it’s edible…this is my way of cooking.”
Tang Zheng: “…”
It seemed that a successful career woman wasn’t strong in every aspect.
“Are there any more noodles in your house?” he asked.
Lin Zhen pointed at a small drawer of a lower cupboard and said, “There should be some noodles in there, though I don’t know if they are expired or not.”
Tang Zheng: “…”
He pulled out the drawer to take a look. Inside, there really were noodles. Mn, still ten days from the expiration date.
“These are still edible. I’ll cook,” Tang Zheng said as he removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves before actually beginning to cook noodles.
Lin Zhen looked at him in astonishment. “You can cook noodles?”
Tang Zheng chuckled and said, “During university, everyone was lazy and didn’t want to buy food, so we would ask He Xiu to cook noodles in the dormitory. His culinary skills are excellent. After watching him cook for so many years, I stealthily learned a bit in the end.”
“Oh…” Lin Zhen nodded, feeling as if she finally understood something.
After he finished cooking the noodles, he fished some up and gave it to Lin Zhen to taste. “How does it taste?”
Lin Zhen tried a bite. Her eyes immediately brightened. “Way more tasty than what I cooked!”
The corners of Tang Zheng’s mouth quirked up. “No one can possibly cook more disgusting food than you.”
Lin Zhen: “…”
“Right, I heard a friend say that Strawberry Gardens has already opened. Tomorrow, let’s go pick strawberries.”
Lin Zhen looked up after stealthily inhaling another another mouthful of noodles. She blinked at him. “Pick strawberries?”
“Mn, I feel that we really didn’t look very much like lovers, so if we interact more, maybe we can find that feeling.” After that, he could bring Lin Zhen back home for another meal!
“Eh…okay.” Lin Zhen thought it over for a moment before nodding. After all, this was a mutually beneficial matter. “Just the two of us? Can I bring along a friend?”
Tang Zheng blinked and asked her, “Jian Yan?”
“Sure.” Tang Zheng smiled. “I’ll ask a friend to come as well.”
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