Chapter 49: Letting Go
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Due to Li Sui’s influence, the progress of the projects with Mu Sheng slowed down. The weather seemed to be helping them, as it had been cold and windy recently. The snow this year came early.
To ensure safety, the government had also issued orders to suspend all constructions up high. With that, even Liu XinTian couldn’t do anything about it, he only attempted some painless little tricks in secret.
According to Tong Yan’s usual practice, before holding the shareholders’ meeting, the board of directors had to hold a self-reflection meeting, which required Lu Shang to attend. Li Sui was hesitant, he was going to find a way to avoid that. On the day of the meeting, Lu Shang woke up and changed into his work clothes, Li Sui did not expect that at all. It seemed like Lu Shang was prepared to go to work with him.
“Are your eyes okay?” Before going out, Li Sui was still worried about his health.
“It’s fine. I must go to the company at least one a year,” Lu Shang put on his glasses and smiled gently, “Otherwise, people might suspect if you’ve done something to me.”
Li Sui circled Lu Shang’s waist with his arm teasingly, he asked at Lu Shang’s ear, “Eh, what have I done to you?”
Uncle Yuen coughed uncomfortably twice, “It’s time.”
The two of them looked at each other and laughed, then they averted their eyes in embarrassment.
Ever since Tong Yan was handed over to Li Sui, Lu Shang gradually loosened his hold on the company. Especially in recent years, he hardly participated in Tong Yan’s affairs. When he walked out of the elevator, he could clearly sense order in the company, nothing was worse than when he was in charge.
The board of directors were all on their side, so the meeting went smoothly. Although Lu Shang was present, he was basically on the side lines and only occasionally made remarks. Li Sui’s attention had never been away from the Lu Shang for the entire meeting, he was afraid that Lu Shang would put on a tough face even when he wasn’t feeling well, so he arranged for the important reports to be done in the morning. When the morning part of the meeting was over, he asked Uncle Yuen to bring Lu Shang home first.
“You don’t need me for the afternoon part?”
“No, it’s all trivial things. Go back and have a good rest. Don’t forget to take the medicine.” Li Sui reminded.
It was around lunch hours now, they clashed with the rush hour. The road was badly congested. They moved less than ten meters per minute. When they got to the city centre, the car basically stopped moving.
Uncle Yuen got out of the car to have a look. He came back into the car and said that there was a traffic accident, so they probably won’t be moving any time soon. They were very close to RuiGe Hospital. Lu Shang thought about it and got out of the car.
“Are you going to Dr. Leung’s place? We haven’t gotten your medical check-up report yet.”
“Hmn, I’ll get it while I’m there, so Li Sui doesn’t have to take time to go there.”
Uncle Yuen led Lu Shang out of the elevator. Leung ZiRui was reading something, the door was open. Lu Shang suddenly came to visit, so he was unprepared. He was shocked for a second, then asked, “Why are you here, what a rare guest?”
“I’m just here to show care for single people,” Lu Shang’s gaze went towards what was in Leung ZiRui’s hand.
Leung ZiRui closed the binder quietly, “Single people have human rights too. Why did Li Sui let you come today?”
“He never restricted my freedom to go around,” Lu Shang smiled. “I was passing by, so I came to pick up the check-up report.”
“What’s the hurry?” Leung ZiRui looked down at his wristwatch, he got up and took off his white lab coat. “It’s time for lunch already. You rarely come in standing upright. I must invite you to lunch at least.”
Lu Shang did not refuse, he gave Uncle Yuen a signal with his hand before leaving with Leung ZiRui.
He knew Leung ZiRui very well, when Leung ZiRui was still a child, his father would treat Lu Shang’s father, and they played together while the grow-ups were doing their things. At that time, Lu Shang had very few friends. Leung ZiRui was the only one who dared drag him around all day long, even when Lu Shang seldom spoke. Exactly because they were familiar with each other, only a small change or movement and Lu Shang would know that something was up.
Just when Lu Shang entered the door, Leung ZiRui’s voice shook, that was his typical reaction to being nervous about something. The thing in Leung ZiRui’s hand must had something to do with him, and he didn’t want him to know about it.
After an absent-minded meal, Lu Shang was somewhat confused. Somehow, he thought the time when they were both still young. When Lu Shang was four or five years old, old Doctor Leung would pick little ZiRui up with his arm every time Lu Shang’s father visited for a check-up. While the adults were checking pulses, Leung ZiRui would cause trouble on the side, he would also check Lu Shang’s pulse for him.
“Oh, you got a terminal illness. You will die soon.”
“Stop talking nonsense, Rui!” old Dr. Leung threw a slipper at him.
As children, they said whatever they feel like, but no one would expect that to actually come true. At the age of five, Lu Shang was diagnosed with inborn coronary disease. Leung ZiRui was deeply sorry for that, he always thought that Lu Shang’s illness was his own fault. So, he devoted himself to coronary illness research for many years, even after he grew up and understood that Lu Shang’s illness was something inborn and had nothing to do with him.
In recent years, Lu Shang’s health condition had gotten worse and worse. However, Leung ZiRui was always confident about his acceptability on his own health conditions. Lu Shang really couldn’t imagine how bad his examination result must be to make his childhood friend attempt hiding them from him.
Lu Shang was not afraid of death, nor of pain. The only thing in the world that made him afraid was to make Li Sui sad.
“What are you thinking about? How can you look so serious when you are just eating a meal,” Leung ZiRui knocked on Lu Shang’s bowl with chicken bones. “Hey, don’t tell me you guys had a fight? No wonder you came by yourself today……”
“We won’t be separated even if we quarrel,” Lu Shang was deliberately angering him. “Have you heard of fighting in bed?”
When Lu Shang got back in the car, Uncle Yuen’s expression looked bad. Lu Shang closed the car door and asked, “What is it?”
Uncle Yuen seemed hesitant, but he still handed Lu Shang his mobile phone.
Lu Shang glanced at him, he froze for a second and did not take the phone, “I can’t see, are the results very bad?”
“No,” Uncle Yuen said, “It’s not the result of your physical examination, it’s an experimental record.”
Lu Shang frowned, “Read it to me.”
Uncle Yuen opened up the photo and started reading the contents as requested.
Lu Shang listened and slowly leaned back on the chair. It was as if his heart was stimulated by something, it was throbbing violently. He covered his chest in pain, his hand trembled as he reached for the medicine bottle.
Uncle Yuen hurriedly handed him the first-aid spray.
The isosorbide dinitrate (i) worked fast, after the unbearable chest pain passed, Lu Shang opened his eyes weakly, “Uncle Yuen…”
T/N: (i) Relieve medicine for chest pain.
Uncle Yuen’s eyes were heavy, “I don’t think it was Dr. Leung’s idea.”
Lu Shang closed his eyes again, his chest was still moving up and down violently, and his face was pale.
“I know, he doesn’t have the courage, it was Li Sui…”
Uncle Yuen asked, “Shall we call Xiao Li?”
Lu Shang brought the back of his hand to his forehead and looked sad, he did not say a word for a long time.
When the meeting was over, it was already dark. There were also fog on the streets, so the visibility was poor. There were not many people on the street, the vendors also closed up their stalls. Li Sui slowed down his car and made a phone call to Lu Shang.
No one picked up at that end, after waiting for a while, Li Sui guessed that Lu Shang must had fallen asleep and was about to hang up. That was when the call was answered.
“Were you asleep?” He could not help laughing a little.
“Hmn.” Lu Shang’s voice was dull. After the processing by the microphones and speakers, just a single syllable sounded special to Li Sui, he could hear a trace of laziness through the phone. He really liked that feeling from the bottom of his heart, when Lu Shang sounded lazy like that, Li Sui felt like they were long married couples. He went to work and earned money to support his family, while Lu Shang would wait for him to return at home.
“Is the meeting over yet? When will you be back?” Lu Shang’s tone was blend.
“I’m on the way home,” Li Sui turned a corner. “Have you had dinner yet? A soup restaurant opened up on East Street recently. I heard the soup there taste great. Do you want me to bring you some?”
“Just bring yourself home,” said Lu Shang. “Did the meeting go well?”
“It was fine, Liu XinTian came by in the afternoon, but he was always like that, it was nothing special, I——” As he was talking on the phone, a child suddenly came into his vision, his hands tightened, he immediately stepped on the brakes.
Luckily, Li Sui responded quickly. The car stopped half an arm length away from the child. The child on the ground was apparently frightened, he sat there with a pale face.
Li Sui unbuckled his seat belt hurriedly, he opened the door and got out. “Are you okay?”
The child was so frightened that he just stared at Li Sui blankly with big eyes, the child even forgot to cry.
Li Sui looked at him, and the child’s familiar expression shocked him.
Not far away, a young woman came running on high-heeled shoes. She must be the child’s mother. Instead of looking at Li Sui, she pulled the child up in a rage and slapped the child’s face, she shouted, “Are you blind or silly? When you see a car coming, you run out on the road? Do you have a death wish? You are just like your deadbeat father, you should just die in a car crash or something!”
The child was hurt, then he came back to his senses. He bit on his lower lip silently with eyes full of tears, but he didn’t cry.
“The child is still young,” Li Sui gently blocked her back a little.
The woman took in two hard breaths, she glanced at Li Sui and turned away.
The child froze for two seconds, then quickly got up to follow her, he was afraid of being left behind, “Mom… Don’t leave me behind…”
“Don’t leave me behind…”
Li Sui stood still and watched them gradually leaving his sight and disappeared into the fog. A faint sense of bitterness slowly surged in his heart, a feeling that he should have felt years ago suddenly rose up. The feeling was neither strong nor turbulent, but it made gouged a hole in his heart.
In the past days, he had been deliberately avoiding this matter, trying to make himself behave like he normally would. However, once something that was hidden was dug out, it would be engraved deeply in his soul, it was definitely not something that could be wipe away easily.
Back in the car, Li Sui recollected himself, then started driving again. After driving for a while, he noticed that the phone was still connected, but there was no voice from the other end. Lu Shang was probably asleep again, so he simply hung up the call.
He finally got home, Li Sui parked his car outside. As soon as he walked onto the front yard, he saw the orange lamp on top of the front door lit up. Lu Shang was sitting under the lamp in his pyjamas. He was afraid of the cold, so he wrapped himself in a thick blanket. Hearing movements, he looked up at Li Sui.
“What are you doing sitting here?” Li Sui was shocked.
“Waiting for you.”
Li Sui was stunned.
“I heard a sudden brake through the phone.” Lu Shang added.
Li Sui looked at him. The light on top of the door was not strong, it barely brightened up Lu Shang’s head, his hair looked extra fluffy under the orange light.
Lu Shang couldn’t see, so naturally the lamp was turned on for Li Sui. Seeing the light gave Li Sui a strong sense of sourness and guilt.
God took something from him, but never failed to give something else back. His childhood memories were once injuries he couldn’t even bear to face. Especially after years of fermentation, the depression in him grew, often it was like spider silk wrapping around his heart, the feeling would wander out in his nightmares.
Now he was standing in a quiet yard, looking at the person in front of him. He felt as if all the pain he once suffered had been compensated and the hole in his heart had been filled.
“I’m all right.” Li Sui walked forward and took Lu Shang hand.
Lu Shang’s palm was very cold, Li Sui tightened his grip a little. He knew that Lu Shang wanted to go out and find him, but his eyes were not working, so he could only wait at the front door.
Lu Shang was apparently not reassured with just Li Sui’s words alone. He pulled Li Sui closer to himself and detailly checked every inch of Li Sui with his hands. He was only reassured after doing that and knew that nothing had happened.
All the while, Li Sui was especially obedient and still, allowing Lu Shang to check his state. Once Lu Shang eased up, Li Sui moved forward to hug Lu Shang in his arms.
“Lu Shang,” Li Sui said after a long period of emotional prepping, he made up his mind and said, “There’s something I want to confess.”
Lu Shang turned his ears to him, showing that he was listening.
“Actually, I… I’ve remembered about my past.”
It was quiet, Li Sui waited for a few seconds, but he did not get a response from Lu Shang. Li Sui moved back slightly to see that Lu Shang’s eye whites were a little red, Lu Shang had his eyes fixed on him.
Li Sui’s heart shook, “You… You know already?”
Lu Shang’s hold on Li Sui’s hand gradually tightened, after being silent for a while, he closed his eyes. Lu Shang hugged Li Sui gently, he touched the nape of Li Sui’s neck and asked, “Did testing the medicine hurt?”
Li Sui was dumbfounded, a storm broke out in his mind, he almost instinctively answered, “No it didn’t.”
“There is no way that it didn’t hurt.” Lu Shang was so distressed that he hugged him even tighter, as if he was scared. “Did you even think about what to do in case of an accident? They’re all crazy, those doctors. Why did you listen to them?”
Li Sui felt uncomfortable and uneasy. He did not speak at all and just buried his head in Lu Shang’s shoulder.
“Were there any side-effects? Did Dr. Leung give you a thorough body check-up?” Lu Shang touched him again feeling very uncertain.
“Everything’s all right. I’m fine.” Li Sui pulled Lu Shang’s frantically moving hands into his embrace and said, “Lu Shang, I am in fact very happy that we met as kids before.”
Lu Shang listened, emotions were swelling in his eyes, after a while he whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. Don’t apologize.” Li Sui was afraid of hearing him apologize.
Lu Shang shook his head, “If it weren’t for my father, maybe you are now…”
“Maybe I can’t hold you like this now,” Li Sui tightened his arms.
“Your father and my mother, that’s the last generation’s business. I only have one question right now, did you decide to be with me because you felt sorry for me?”
“Of course not.”
Li Sui knew the answer already for a long time, but he could not help smiling warmly, having heard Lu Shang saying it himself, “Then that’s more than enough.”
The two of them hugged each other for a moment, then Li Sui let him go and asked hesitantly, “My father, is he still alive?”
“He’s alive, do you want to see him?”
“Where is he?”
“He’s in prison.”
Li Sui was slightly surprised, “How long will he have to stay in prison?”
After some thought, Lu Shang said, “Around a year more.”
“When he comes out, he will be nearly seventy years old.”
“Will you go pick him up?”
“Yes,” Li Sui said, “I’ll make arrangements for him to live out his remaining days, but I probably won’t see him after that.”
For his father, he could only fulfil his responsibilities as a son, but not fulfil filial piety. Although he had given him some warmth in his childhood, his mother’s tragic life, and the pain he felt throughout his childhood were also single-handedly caused by the man. Between them were painfulness that could never be resolved. Just forgiving the man would sully his mother’s sacrifice for him, so Li Sui couldn’t let that go.
“You should do what you want.” Lu Shang expressed his understanding.
In the middle of the night, Lu Shang woke up. Ever since he saw the report, he found that he couldn’t contain his emotions. Li Sui had to work in the day, so Lu Shang didn’t want to disturb him. Lu Shang laid still in bed, behind his neck were warm breaths, blowing on his neck regularly. In the darkness, their hands still stayed clasp together tightly even during sleep, that made Lu Shang feel at ease.
Lu Shang touched Li Sui’s arm gently, he reached the normal position for intravenous injection on Li Sui’s arm, he couldn’t feel anything abnormal there. Lu Shang gently rubbed the spot repeatedly, he felt only a burst of bitterness in his throat. After a long silence, a soft sigh came out in the dark night.
The next day, as soon as Li Sui left home, he called Leung ZiRui, only to find out that he was just as confused as he was.
“What? Are you sure?” Leung ZiRui asked.
Li Sui was about to ask further when he caught a glimpse of Uncle Yuen turning his head back. The full story was basically there in his mind, “Nothing, let’s talk next time.”
The car moved on the road steadily, neither of them spoke.
Uncle Yuen broke the silence first, “According to the schedule, it’s time to draw up the guidelines for the upcoming shareholders’ meeting this week.”
Li Sui looked out of the window and said, “It’s going to snow again.”
It was cloudy, the clouds were low, and the sky seemed to be covered up with a layer of grey dust, it looked cold and humid.
“Yes, the news said that this year is going to be a cold winter, one that’s the coldest in fifty years. I’m afraid it will be a tough one.”
Li Sui slid his finger on the mist-covered glass window, then quickly smudged what he was writing away. He looked up and said, “Uncle Yuen, open up two weeks in my schedule, I want to take Lu Shang on a trip.”
Uncle Yuen looked back at him. Although he was a little surprised by his decision, he did not oppose it.
This year, Tong Yan’s management personnel had drastic changes. People in the company were afraid that they would lose their jobs if they stood on the wrong side. Even Li Sui felt the pressure piling up, if it wasn’t for the several projects under his management, he would be in even bigger trouble.
Li Sui knew that this could not continue, he had to do everything he could to get back the shares Liu XinTian had taken. Only with enough shares in his hands would he have a say in changing the state of things.
After the morning meeting, Li Sui left Xe WeiLan behind and discussed the transfer of shares.
“The idea is good, but it’s too difficult. They won’t agree to transfer Lu Shang’s shares to you. If you want to get the shares, you need to change the company rules first. To change the rules, you need to go through the shareholders’ meeting.”
“Maybe I can try to convince them.”
Xe WeiLan shook his head, “You are too naive, moreover it’d be humiliating. Those people are all in collusion with Liu XinTian. They only look at profits.”
“I have to at least try. If Liu XinTian could go to beg the Meng family three times, why can’t I?”
Xe WeiLan was in a bind. He was unwilling to have Li Sui begging people, he also believed that Lu Shang would not wish for that either, “There’s no need. You don’t have to do that, kid. We appreciate your kindness, but it’s too mean to make you beg, Lu Shang won’t agree to that either.”
Li Sui refused to give up on the idea, “Maybe not the bigger shareholders, but the smaller ones, at least let me try.”
Xe WeiLan didn’t know what to do, Li Sui’s stubbornness was nothing less than Lu Shang’s. If he did not let him try, Li Sui would never let the subject go. Xe WeiLan thought things through, then finally pulled out the list of shareholders and began analysing them one by one.
“These three, you can try. They are some old shareholders that Lu Shang’s father persuade to invest in the company. They don’t usually care much about the company’s affairs, so they are quite neutral. If you visit them in the name of Lu Shang, they might help you.”
Li Sui got the list, he nodded and went into deep thoughts.
Li Sui decided not to rush head on to those shareholders. Instead, he inquired about the shareholders’ interests and family conditions first. Then he went to shops and bought gifts with his assistants. Only then did he drove to their homes in a common company car.
There was one thing that Xe WeiLan didn’t think of: Li Sui was very different from Lu Shang. Lu Shang looked cold on the outside, but was actually quite easy-going, while Li Sui was the complete opposite. His friendly face was quite popular with the elderlies, he was intelligent and lively, his ability in guessing people’s thoughts was very useful. After a week, he had taken down all three shareholders, they all agreed to stand on their side when the shareholders’ meeting was held.
“6%, although that’s not a lot, at least it has proven that this method is effective. I think we can take the initiative to approach the other shareholders some more,” Li Sui said.
Now that he had succeeded, Xe WeiLan stopped refuting him, but he did told Li Sui to be careful of Liu XinTian.
“What’s more, you won those three shareholders over because they were neutral to begin with. For the rest of them, I’m afraid it won’t be as easy.”
“I understand.” Li Sui nodded.
Li Sui ran around outside for several consecutive days, in the winter no less, even he began to feel the toll of it. Just as Xe WeiLan warned, the bigger shareholders were not so easy to convince. One of Liu XinTian’s underground comrades shut him outside, only leaving a short message saying that he was not free today after an hour. Xiao Zhao was so angry that he was ready to smash the door with a brick.
Li Sui tried comforting Xiao Zhao. They were at a sensitive time after all, everyone in the company was choosing sides right now, the people who followed him will definitely be affected. At times like this, any support was valuable.
When Li Sui got home after dealing with all the company matters, it was already dark. Li Sui stopped in front of the door before entering the house, he rubbed his face and took a deep breath, after making himself look more energetic, he finally opened the door.
Inside, Lu Shang was sitting at the dining table, waiting for him to come home while reading something on the tablet, he was wearing a pair of glasses.
Li Sui was shocked, “You can see?”
Lu Shang seemed to be cherishing this a lot, he stared at the data on the tablet, not even wanting to waste a second, “A little bit.”
“What are you looking at?” Li Sui walked over.
“Looking at the financial report you did this year, and the information of the potential customers you are going to sign contracts with.”
Li Sui rubbed Lu Shang’s shoulders and asked, “Are you tired? Get some rest first?”
Lu Shang shook his head, he turned the tablet and drew crosses on several customers, he said, “Here, his bank deposits are too large, check if he has a margin. If he does, that indicates they have loans. Such customers should be classified into the B category. This one here, he seemed to have inflated his assets, but the debts he had are real, the debt ratio he reported were obviously false. For thikind of customers, you can forget them. Also, this one…”
T/N: The raws didn’t specify their genders, so I typed “his” by default.
Li Sui quickly entered work mode, he wrote everything down carefully. He dared not lose focus, fearing that he might miss something. Lu Shang seldom commented on his work, unless it was a very important decision, he hardly interfered with Li Sui’s choices. This group of customers were Li Sui’s first batch, it wasn’t like he lack confidence, but with the company’s current state, a single mistake could become his opponents’ fuel. Having countless eyes on him, watching closely, exerted a lot of pressure on Li Sui.
“For the rest of the customers, I have looked over them for you, you can rest assured and sign their contract. In addition, this year’s financial report you did was good, I wasn’t able to pick out any faults.”
Li Sui was praised by Lu Shang, he breathed a sigh of relief and felt immense joy at the same time.
Lu Shang smiled gently, he placed the tablet aside and reached his hand out to Li Sui, “Come here, let me have a closer look at you.”
Li Sui walked closer and picked him up directly. He placed Lu Shang on his lap, he raised his head up and moved his face up to Lu Shang’s. Li Sui laughed and asked, “Am I still handsome?”
Lu Shang looked at him carefully, he touched Li Sui’s face, and in his eyes were nostalgia.
Before getting a reply, Li Sui moved his lower body up a bit in dissatisfaction, “Hmm?”
Lu Shang flicked his forehead and said with a laugh, “It’s fine, your handsomeness hasn’t faded yet.”
Although Li Sui wanted to have sex quite badly, he was worried of Lu Shang’s health, so he didn’t dare. He hugged Lu Shang for a while and went to the bathroom to deal with it himself. Lu Shang felt sorry for that and wanted to go in to help. In less than a second, he was thrown back out of the bathroom by Li Sui. He pulled up a long face and his voice was hoarse, “……Don’t come in. I’m afraid I’d can’t help taking all your clothes off. Once you’re better, I’m not going to let you go so easy.”
Before going to bed, Lu Shang was reluctant to close his eyes, he feared that his world would return to darkness again once he closed them. He laid face to face with Li Sui, staring at him without even blinking, as if he just couldn’t get enough of looking at him.
Li Sui looked back at him and he felt that there was something else in Lu Shang’s mind, but Li Sui wasn’t sure either. He pulled Lu Shang’s fingertips to his own lips and kissed them, “Do you have something to say?”
Lu Shang caressed his face and sighed softly, “If one day Tong Yan gets out of control, you should give up on it.”
Li Sui frowned.
“This is the last thing I need to teach you. You have to learn to let go,” Lu Shang said.