TLP Chapter 1: The CEO (1)

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*** = Scene change
***** = Timeskip

For once he was opening his wallet for a meal, rather than a session in bed.

Over the past few years, it was rare for Feng Qi to get drunk. As his company flourished, the number of people who dared to drink with him dwindled, and his tolerance for alcohol built up.

Tonight, he was drunk and alone.

A woman he had not seen in a long time laid in her husband’s arms. Her cheerful voice was soft and tender. The tall man kept her in his embrace and frowned when he saw the red wine in her hand. He told —demanded— the waiter to exchange it for a cup of warm milk.

Braced against one of the trees bordering the roadside, Feng Qi vomited for a long time. He felt his viscera churn, and his thoughts drift. His chauffeur was forced to support his weight as they moved along.

It was already two in the morning, so the neighborhood was silent and lit only by streetlight.

The chauffeur helped Feng Qi out of the elevator, and they were greeted by a waft of cool air.

Feng Qi’s hazy eyes and wrinkled brows gave away his inebriation1, but even that couldn’t suppress his naturally imposing aura. The chauffeur rang the doorbell and waited, his apprehension mounting as the seconds ticked by. Even so, he knew that given the circumstances, there was no better choice than this.

He heard movement from behind the doors, and then a soft and raspy reply.

“Coming.”

Calm, even after being roused.

The chauffeur eyed the door as the sound of footsteps grew louder. He was identified through the peephole before the door opened. Warm light spilled out, landing illusory heat on his clothes.

The woman’s name was Qingruo. She had a shawl wrapped over her pajamas, and her eyes were clouded with grogginess. Her hair was tied back, albeit loosely.

Her surprise when she saw Feng Qi half-leaning on the chauffeur was obvious, but her voice maintained its gentleness.

“Mr. Feng?”

Feng Qi narrowed his eyes, though at this point, his imposing aura was nothing more than a bluff; he was too drunk to even muster a reply. The chauffeur smiled.

“Pardon us for the intrusion, Miss Song, but President Feng had a few drinks. Would you mind?” After following Feng Qi for so many years, the chauffeur had become rather quick-witted.

In any case, he was just being polite. He knew that Qingruo wouldn’t reject, as her agent had already sent her address and photo to Feng Qi’s assistant. To put it bluntly, she was included in a completed business transaction. 

Earlier, Feng Qi was at a dinner party. He’d left the chauffeur with a card that contained Qingruo’s address, and the implication of that was clear—Feng Qi had planned to visit Qingruo from the start. The only problem was that he ended up encountering An Qi and getting drunk. Most likely, his assistant had yet to inform Qingruo about the visit.

The chauffeur’s goal was to drop Feng Qi off as soon as he could, wherever he could, and Miss Song’s residence had coincidentally been nearby.

Qingruo nodded and helped Feng Qi over. The man lived up to his notorious playboy reputation as he drunkenly leaned into her shoulder and breathed in, his lips curving into a flirtatious smile before parting to say, “You smell good~”

The chauffeur was still standing by the door. He turned a blind eye and was about to leave when he heard Qingruo say, “Sorry to trouble you. Please have a safe trip back.”

He glanced at her. Despite the strain of having to support half of Feng Qi’s weight with her own, her smile was very gentle and charming. The chauffeur gave her a nod and left.

***

Feng Qi had assumed that he would wake up with a pounding headache or some other form of discomfort, but when he opened his eyes and blinked, he discovered that he was actually fine.

When he inhaled, he breathed in the faint fragrance of a magnolia flower. The fragrance was as comfortable as it was clean.

After letting his eyes adjust to the sunlight, Feng Qi sat up and surveyed his unfamiliar surroundings.

To his left, there was a light wooden wardrobe, from which a few towels hung. To his right, there was a French window. Its curtains were drawn in a way that allowed for only the perfect amount of sunlight to stream in. Lastly, in a corner near the bed, there was a small desk.

Although the room was similar to a hotel room, the ambiance was different. Unlike a temporary hotel room, this room made him feel comfortable and calm despite its unfamiliarity. It seemed like a guest room in someone’s home.

For once, Feng Qi was inclined to lean back and relax. As he rested against the headboard, he basked in the rays of sunlight peeking through the curtains.

The shirt on his body wasn’t his; it was soft, but short. His legs were still clad in his own tailored dress pants, which were now streaked with wrinkles. However, he didn’t feel a single shred of embarrassment.

After he decided that he had idled enough, he got out of the bed and looked down, immediately spotting a pair of slippers on the floor. They were light blue, printed with modest floral patterns, and seemed to be new. When Feng Qi slid his feet into them and saw his heels hanging out, the corners of his lips curved into an inexplicable arch.

He didn’t like to walk around in bare feet, and the socks he had been wearing were gone; therefore, he could only compromise and comfort himself as he awkwardly moved forward.

The room was small, without a bathroom, or even a mirror. Feng Qi raised one hand to brush back his hair as he pulled open the light wooden door leading out of the room. Immediately, he found himself facing the living room.

Like the guest room, the size of the living room was modest and gave off a warm vibe. There was a table draped in a European-style tablecloth, which had a flower vase, a fruit basket, and a small box sitting atop.

From his spot, Feng Qi could see into the small box. He revealed another inexplicable smile; his cell phone and everything that had been in his suit pockets were inside.

An arrangement of stuffed animals and cushions adorned the sofa, and beside it, there stood a bookshelf filled with loosely lodged books. He stepped out of the doorway and continued to look around before finally shifting his gaze upwards. A cartoon-style clock hung on the wall and told him that it was already past eleven o’clock.

Suddenly, a noise sounded from the kitchen.

Feng Qi smiled and thought back to the night before, but he was unable to recall which beauty’s home he was in this time. In any case, waking up alone had surprised him.

As he made his way to the kitchen, he passed by the balcony. Unlike the living room and the guest room, the balcony was relatively big. On one side, there was a small table and a soft chair surrounded by a collection of plants, and on the other side was a clotheshorse2 holding back his sun-speckled black suit jacket and white shirt as they fluttered in the wind. His white socks were also there, pinched between two wooden clips.

For some reason, the sight of this balcony brought him a dash of joy and solace. He stood there in a reverie, and suddenly a person appeared at the entrance of the kitchen.

“You’re awake, Mr. Feng?”

He snapped out of his reverie and turned his head, assuming a gentle and elegant smile as the gears in his mind turned. She seemed to be that starlet his assistant passed over to him two days ago. What was her name again?

“Mhm, I’m awake.”

Qingruo gave him a faint smile and moved to the dining table, where she put down the stuff in her hands before returning. She didn’t ask him if he’d slept well and only pointed to a door. “The bathroom is over there.”

She was clad in an apron with a marketplace logo on it, a white knitted sweater underneath, and a pair of light-colored jeans. The apron seemed like a gift from a marketplace event. Her hair was tied loosely at her nape.

Was she wearing makeup? Uncertain, Feng Qi stared for a moment at her fair cheeks before nodding and heading in the direction she had pointed.

Inside of the bathroom, he found that everything he needed was brand new; the towel, the toothbrush, and even the cup was unused. As he stood there brushing his teeth, he looked down at the cotton t-shirt he was wearing and thought that this girl was rather tactful. He could keep3 her and play with her for a while.

By the time he emerged from the bathroom, he had already reverted back to his handsome “President Feng” appearance; however, his soft and unstyled hair took away a fraction of his usual coldness and made him seem more approachable and friendly instead.

Breakfast was already on the table, and Qingruo was setting out the chopsticks. A few tendrils of hair would fall forward every time she leaned down, making it seem like her hairstyle had been deliberately arranged.

Qingruo pulled out Feng Qi’s chair for him, and he sat down. All of the dishes on the table were light vegetable dishes, including the bowl of corn porridge sitting in front of him. A cup of warm soybean milk stood beside it.

From that, he could roughly guess why he didn’t feel uncomfortable despite all the alcohol he had consumed, though he wasn’t sure if he had thrown up or not. He picked up a pair of chopsticks and began to eat.

As he ate, he waited for her to request something from him. He was in a good mood, so even if she wanted a leading role in a big film, he would agree. Lifting his head, he took a moment to scrutinize her.

Barefaced, he confirmed, and it didn’t look like she had gone under the knife either. Snowy skin and exquisite facial features. Her large, bright eyes were particularly striking—they were eyes that could speak a thousand words.

Sensing his gaze, Qingruo looked up and curiously tilted her head.

“Yes?”

‘Mhm, they speak.’

Feng Qi raised the corners of his lips. For someone like her to remain unpopular after five years in the industry, she had to be either very unlucky or very careless. Maybe she had offended someone of high status. Therefore, now she wanted to put in some effort?

“Movies or dramas?” he asked bluntly, though his tone remained gentle.

“Movies,” Qingruo answered unhesitantly.

Movies were more profitable than dramas, so her answer didn’t surprise him, but what did surprise him was the explanation that she followed up with.

“They don’t take as long to film, whereas dramas usually force me to be away for a while.”

Sitting on the table, right next to Feng Qi’s hand, was a plate of bitter gourd that he had not touched at all. Noticing this, Qingruo used the back of her hand to push the plate closer toward him.

“Homesickness isn’t bad,” Feng Qi smiled, feigning ignorance to her little maneuver.

Although there was no hangover pain, he didn’t have much of an appetite. Coincidentally, the corn porridge turned out to be just the right counter. It was soft and mildly sweet, and he was actually able to finish two bowls of it. The meal left him feeling a bit stuffed.

His phone had been on mute, so after breakfast, he went into the living room and gave his assistant a call. Qingruo stayed behind to wash the dishes.

He sat down on the sofa and propped his long legs up on the table, completely at ease. He looked at the blue women’s slippers hanging off of his feet. It was a funny sight. For once he was opening his wallet for a meal, rather than a session in bed.

The chauffeur had already filled Chu Yang —Feng Qi’s assistant— in, so he was aware that his boss had gotten drunk and was currently staying in a beauty’s den. Judging from the time, Chu Yang assumed that his boss had just woken up.

“President Feng, should I push back the meeting at two-thirty this afternoon?”

“No. Just come pick me up on time, and bring me a suit.”

Chu Yang was momentarily stunned by his boss’s voice, which seemed to be full of energy and the satisfaction of a satiated stomach. However, he recovered quickly and responded, “Yes.”

After she finished washing the dishes, Qingruo took off her apron and walked out of the kitchen. She retrieved a jar of hand cream from a cabinet and unscrewed the lid as she walked over to Feng Qi, who appeared to be in a daze as he lounged on the sofa.

“Why didn’t you turn on the TV?” she asked in a very natural tone.

Feng Qi turned his head to look at her. Her slender hands were overlapping, her pretty fingers crossing and intertwining to spread the hand cream evenly over her skin. It was a beautiful sight.

“Can you turn it on? I’ll take a look at the evening news.”

“Okay,” she nodded and walked over to turn on the television. After switching to the news channel, she moved to a corner of the sofa and sat down.

As Feng Qi watched the evening news, Qingruo was half-asleep, her chin cupped in one hand that was propped up by her elbow.

When she was woken up last night, she had made him hangover soup, changed and washed his clothes, and even spent half an hour massaging his acupoints because she had been afraid he would wake up with a headache. It wasn’t until 4am that she had finally stopped tossing around in her bed and fell asleep.

Feng Qi cast her a glance, wondering when she was going to ask him for something and if he should take the initiative to give her a taste of the sweetness4 first.


A movie heroine,

A guest room, a meal.

It seems that I took the short end of this deal.

—【Black Box】


VIN: In case anyone was confused about the “business transaction” and “card” thing (I was), here’s an explanation: Feng Qi is a well-known sugar daddy/playboy and because Qingruo wasn’t doing too well as an actress, her agent proposed that she hook up with Feng Qi to get some roles. Feng Qi accepted the “offer” and was going to visit Qingruo for some bed activities but he got drunk beforehand.

RELEASE SCHEDULE: One arc every month.


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