“Why are you hiding here?” Jiahui whispered.
“What did Chu Yichen tell you?” He deleted the text message from the phone and gave it back to her.
“Brother Chen said that you took over the company affairs and was sent to C City for a period of time. Then he said that Auntie wanted to go out and relax, so he asked me to accompany her.”
“My mother?!” Chu Yunhan was shocked. “…How did he find my mother?”
” ‘Find’? What do you mean? Didn’t Auntie always live in the villa in Beishan?”
Of course not. The day before the accident, he asked Hui Lang to pick up his mother from the villa and sent her to a nursing home in H City. This was done so secretly, how could Chu Yichen find out her whereabouts? Had he been observing Hui Lang’s people already? Had he anticipated that Hui Lang would turn out to be a traitor? Perhaps Chu Yichen had even been aware of the things he participated in at that time? Then why was he lured into the trap by his phone call?
Seeing Jiahui’s puzzled look, he couldn’t tell her the truth, so he had to play dumb. “It’s nothing. How is my mother’s condition? Is she in good health? There were no problems on the way, right?”
“She’s fine. When we went out to play with Brother Chen, the arrangements were very thoughtful. Auntie was very happy and was in a good mood all the way. Be honest, did you and Brother Chen quarrel? Don’t cause him trouble. He’s busy to death. He has so much to do every day, it’s been a long time since I had a meal with him. By the way, we went to Sweden…”
“Shhh, keep your voice down!” Chu Yunhan interrupted her unceasing chatter and said, “Next, I want you to do a few things for me. I can’t tell you the reason right now. I promise to explain it to you later. Please don’t ask now, okay?”
Jiahui saw him looking solemn and was somewhat at a loss. “…Okay. What’s the matter?”
“First, don’t let anyone see you when you leave here. Act as if you haven’t seen me and don’t know that I’m at home.”
“Oh,” she agreed, suppressing her curiosity.
“Second, don’t show your cell phone to anyone. If you receive a call from an unknown number asking for me, tell them I’m in the old house of the Chu family.”
“Third, help me take care of my mother and find an excuse for grandpa to send someone to take her back to the Zhou house.”
“But Auntie said she’s used to living in the Beishan villa…”
“She must leave there!” Chu Yunhan said anxiously.
Jiahui was taken aback by his attitude, but the two grew up together and trusted each other. Since this was his request, he had to have his reasons, so she nodded and said, “Oh, I see.”
After Jiahui left, Chu Yunhan quietly slipped out of the storage room. He wanted to go back the same way he came, but unexpectedly a bodyguard ran into him halfway through and escorted him back to his room. As a result, he was not given any food for two whole days and was not allowed to leave his room. Chu Yunhan felt that Chu Yichen treated him like a pet, just like Sou. When he was obedient, he was allowed to walk in the yard. When someone came, he would be tied up with a chain and wag his tail for food. When he was disobedient, he would be starved.
He couldn’t live such a life.
However, in the current predicament, all he could do was wait, like a lion shivering in a circus caravan, waiting for the bard who was willing to lend him a hand.
Every morning, the sun rose slowly from the east, and red clouds filled the sky, shining brightly upon the black tiles on the roof. In the evening, the light gradually faded, night fell, and a crescent moon shone in the sky dotted with stars. Time had never been so slow, so slow it made one’s heart barren.
The bored Chu Yunhan leaned against the window all day long and stared at the sky in a daze, waiting anxiously for the response that was yet to follow.
On the tenth day after Jiahui’s visit, Chu Yichen informed him, he would attend an event with him.
“Shengjing Group’s charity dinner.”
Hearing the news, Chu Yunhan’s heart jumped wildly, but he faked disdain, “I’m bored, I’m not going.”
“I thought you wanted to go out for a long time now.” The man looked up. “Since you don’t want to go, then forget it.”
He was stunned by the sudden blow. Deeply regretful, hating himself beyond words for courting disaster, he uttered stammering, “Uh, it would still be better to go out for a stroll. It’s too bring in the house.”
Chu Yichen looked at him for a while and said, “Go change.”
A dark blue suit had been prepared for him. Chu Yunhan never liked dark colors, they always felt mature. However, at this moment, he was not in the mood to care about whether he looked good or not. His mind was numb and messy, and he even tied his necktie wrong several times.
He hadn’t chosen the wrong person, that guy was still reliable. Now he could finally get out of this cage, but what was the next step? What arrangements had that guy made? Nothing was clear at the moment, he could only cross the river by feeling the stones. It was a rare opportunity, so he had to be very careful.
In the back seat of the car, the two sat side by side, silent all the way. It was not until they entered the venue that Chu Yichen spoke, “To the outside world, you are still the eldest master of the Chu family, so watch your mouth.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be a good puppet. I won’t cause you any trouble,” he said mockingly, glancing at Bai Xiao, who was following behind him.
However, this kind of dinner party was very boring, gathering in twos and threes, talking about the event, each consolidating and expanding their network. He hadn’t showed up for a long time, and as soon as he arrived, he saw a few acquaintances, who gave him a wink.
Chu Yunhan knew they had to stay away from him because of Chu Yichen, so they couldn’t come over to say hello. However, he was now a “prisoner”, so he couldn’t run over and hang out with them, and had to pretend not to see them.
“It’s really rare for Mr. Chu to honor us by coming in person. Your presence brings light to my humble dwelling,” he heard a voice, and then saw a middle-aged man with a beard walking towards them. This was the second son of Sheng Weiyong, the president of Shengjing Group, and the owner of the southeast district, Sheng Guang.
With a smile on his face, Chu Yichen stretched out his hand in a handshake, “How could the Chu family not honour Shengjing’s invitation?”
“I have always heard that President Chu is handsome and confident, and sure enough, seeing him today, he really is a man of extraordinary bearing,” said a young man behind Sheng Guang. He was wearing a tailored white suit, the corners of his mouth curved in a disdainful smile. Chu Yunhan’s gaze fell on him and moved away unnaturally for fear he could reveal something.
This person’s name was Sheng Ming, Sheng Guang’s younger brother born of the same parents, the fifth in line, also known as Wu Ye. He had the nickname Shen Nanjiu, implying that even the gods would have difficulties saving the people he laid his gaze upon.
The reason for this alias was that the Sheng family also started out in the underworld. Their nest was in the north, but in the past few years they had positioned people in the DPRK. The longer their claws, the stronger their hold over K City. The newly opened nightclub in Chengnan was their property, and it had more or less affected Lihao’s business.
Chu Yichen smiled faintly, “Thank you for your praise. President Xiao Sheng is a young talent with a bright future.”
After the act of complimenting each other was over, they proceeded to take their seats. Next, some classic methods of asking for donations followed, like telling a few children’s tragic stories, and taking out a few rare objects to auction. Business tycoons spent a lot of money to show their compassion.
Chu Yunhan couldn’t help but look in Sheng Wu’s direction, and then simply stared down at the wine glass in front of him. After sitting for a long time, he found an excuse to go to the washroom. Bai Xiao followed him to the door. He went around the bathroom and, having found no clues, got anxious.
Was that guy planning to help him escape? Now was the best opportunity. Besides, who knew when he would get another chance… He sat on the toilet for a long time waiting. Not until Bai Xiao came in to look for him did he leave the washroom with a sullen look. After that, he just sat absent-minded like a puppet. He didn’t care about the performance on the stage or what the people in the audience talked about.
Nothing happened until the end of the banquet.
Hei Yu whispered a few words in Chu Yichen’s ear. The man pondered for a moment and said, “I have something to do, you go back first.”
Chu Yunhan got in the car followed by Bai Xiao, leaned back in the back seat disheartened, and closed his eyes in silence. About ten minutes later, the driver suddenly made a sharp turn and stepped on the brakes. Driven by the strong inertia, the whole car made a semicircle and skid off the road. His head knocked painfully against the car window, breaking it.
“Don’t move!” ordered Bai Xiao with a cold expression, and drew his gun in a swift motion.
Chu Yunhan’s head was dizzy and he saw stars in his vision. In a daze, he heard several gunshots coming from behind, and the tires flattened. Then Bai Xiao dragged him out of the car. He stumbled, took a few steps, and finally stopped.
There was a circle of men in black suits before him, holding guns.
“Who are you?” Bai Xiao asked in a low voice, his face earnest.
“We met just now. Did you forget me so soon?” a familiar voice rang, and the man in the white suit walked in front of everyone leisurely, with a malicious smile.
“…Sheng Wu?” Bai Xiao shielded Chu Yunhan with his body. “What are you trying to do?”
“According to the cliché, it should be called… ‘hero saves the beauty’.”
“What?” Before Bai Xiao could react, Chu Yunhan hit the back of his neck and he fell to the ground. A man in black immediately took away his gun and held him down. Before losing consciousness, Bai Xiao struggled to hiss through gritted teeth, “Chu Yunhan, you despicable villain!”
Chu Yunhan was panting slightly. It was his hand just now. The children of the Chu family had all learned self-defense techniques early in their childhood to deal with sudden danger. The hand knife was the easiest way to overwhelm an enemy. He saw someone raise their gun and hurriedly shouted, “Don’t kill him!” The additional excitement made his head dizzy and he almost fell to his knees.
“If you don’t want him dead, we won’t kill him, what are you so anxious about.” Sheng Ming grabbed him in his arms, saw the wound on his head, clicked his tongue twice, took out a handkerchief to press on the wound for him, and laughed, “Scars are unsightly, beauty.”
“You fucking almost killed me!” he couldn’t help cursing.
“So you should wear a seat belt in the car.” Sheng Wu smiled, helped him into his car, bent over to fasten the seat belt for him, and said, “No one will bother us now. We can properly discuss it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The hero’s reward for saving the beauty.”
Chu Yunhan’s heart sank and he said, “You are taking advantage of the situation.”
“Yeah,” he confessed upfront. “Nevertheless, l know the truth. You disappeared shortly before Hui Lang’s rebellion in the Black Hawk Club, and then there was no news at all. So I guessed you must have been involved. Yet, there was no news of your death, nor did you show up, so you were probably locked up. After I received your message, I was even more convinced of this. Getting you out of Chu Yichen’s hands is very difficult. It wasn’t hard to snatch you, but it will be hard to deal with the aftermath. Even if I did it neatly and that guy didn’t find out anything, it’s easy to guess that it was the Sheng family’s hand.” He smiled at Chu Yunhan and said, “The Sheng family’s foundation in K City is not stable yet. Dad warned us not to make enemies. For you, I risk being chased down by Dad and Chu Er at the same time. Shouldn’t I ask for a reward?”
“What do you want?”
“What I want, you should know very well.”
“…” Chu Yunhan avoided his gaze for a long time, and finally said softly, “I’m really not…I’m not gay…”
“Having escaped from the Chu family, it would be difficult to stay in K City, where Chu Yichen covers the sky with one hand. Apart from me no one else can give you shelter.” Sheng Ming folded the handkerchief in his palm. “I won’t deny that I am taking advantage of the situation, because I have never been a good person. I only know that now is the only and best opportunity to make you agree. Ever since we met three years ago, I have been waiting for this opportunity, and I even took the initiative to ask my father to arrange for me to stay in K City, all for you. If you agree, I will take you away. Whether you want to go to the north or abroad, it’s up to you.”
Yes. Chu Yunhan was aware of Sheng Wu’s intention as well as of his sexual orientation. In that misfortunate encounter, he was almost forced on the bed. Afterwards, he managed to kick him and he rolled to the ground. The exchange of blows resulted in a friendship. However, in spite of calling him a friend, Chu Yunhan was actually a bit afraid of him. He saw that his eyes were too hot, sometimes even making him feel naked, so later he deliberately alienated him.
The reason for asking him for help this time was because there was no other way out. Only this person could help him.
And what Sheng Wu wanted was him.
A man together with another man… he couldn’t accept it. But now there was no way out. He didn’t want to be locked up for life. He could only agree to his conditions first, and make plans later, after running away from Chu Yichen.
“Okay, I agree,” Chu Yunhan said with little confidence.
Sheng Wu seemed to have expected that he would agree, and smiled. He hooked his tie with his fingers, moved his face close to him, and said softly, “Then, pay a deposit first.” After that, he pressed his lips against his. His tongue slipped into Chu Yunhan’s mouth, wrapping around his.