TLP Chapter 5: The CEO (5)

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

“Mhm, she is very precious.”

He had wanted to ask her what she meant by not calling him for an entire week, but when the words reached the tip of his tongue, he felt that they would make him sound too resentful. His expression, which he hid from her, was already stiff with aggrievance.  

“Let’s eat out. What do you want to eat?”

Earlier, she had practically collapsed onto the sofa. Although it was true that he had been without a good meal for a week, he didn’t want to make her cook when she was already so tired.

Currently, they were inside his car. He was driving, while she was resting against the front passenger seat with her eyes closed.

When she heard his question, she shook her head. ”I don’t want to eat out, let’s just go back.” The movement caused her hair to rub messily against the headrest; saying that she looked “lazy” would be an understatement.

Feng Qi took a moment to think about what he could cook, but then he realized… he couldn’t cook anything. Growing up, every single one of his meals had been prepared by his family’s servants.

“Okay.”

***

As she waited for the water to boil, Qingruo placed a pan over another fire and fried an egg. When the water boiled, she put in some noodles and moved on to make vegetable soup. From start to finish, the meal took at most twenty minutes to prepare. Feng Qi was astonished.

“So soon?”

Qingruo carried the noodles out of the kitchen and pointed to the container of sauce on the dining table. “The sauce is a bit spicy, so don’t put too much,” she warned before turning back to get the vegetable soup. She filled two small bowls with it.

Feng Qi polished off the plate of simple egg noodles1 and even downed an entire bowl of soup. When he saw that she was going to collect the dishes, he quickly shot out a hand to stop her.

“You’re tired, so go rest. You can wash the dishes tomorrow,” he chided.

A shallow crease formed between her brows. “I don’t want to leave them out,” she said.

She moved her arm and tried to grab a different dish, but he blocked her again, eliciting a hint of displeasure.

As she lowered her head to look at him, a yawn slipped past her lips.

She relented.

Later, Feng Qi’s notorious band of friends called him to ask if he wanted to go out and have some fun with them. After the call, he put his phone on mute and threw it aside.

Qingruo was asleep in her bedroom. The television was off, and so were all of the lights. The balcony was speckled with the amber glow of the setting sun, and because Qingruo had left them for a week, all of the plants were slightly shriveled.

In the entire apartment, the only sounds that could be heard were the sounds of his light footsteps. He managed to find a watering can in the kitchen. After filling it up with water, he returned to the balcony and started to water the plants, albeit carelessly.

Suddenly, a flash of light assaulted his eyes, and then an extremely frightened paparazzi jumped into his line of sight, as though guilty of being caught red-handed. Qingruo lived on the sixth floor, a good distance from the ground, and the lighting was bad. When Feng Qi looked down, he couldn’t even see the paparazzi very well.

They were that afraid of his “King Yama” title, huh?

Feng Qi was in a good mood as he held a watering can in one hand and dangled the other over the side of the balcony. He even raised an eyebrow and waved at the paparazzi.

What came next was a series of camera flashes.

Already, Feng Qi could imagine the headlines of the upcoming entertainment news, but he didn’t mind. He was in a very good mood, after all.

When he returned the watering can to the kitchen, he passed by the dining room and saw the dirty dishes and chopsticks on the table. He leaned against the kitchen doorway and stared at them for a while. Then, he patted his own forehead and thought that he might actually have to go see a doctor for what he was about to do next.

The rich and powerful President Feng clumsily stacked the dirty dishes together and maneuvered them to the sink as he tried to recall how Qingruo would move her hands whenever she washed the dishes.

He dropped a bowl, but fortunately, it fell into the sink. However, when he tried to pick it up, a piece of it broke off.

The corners of Feng Qi’s lips twitched, and he proceeded to fish around the kitchen for a black plastic bag. It took quite a while, but he managed. Then, he stuffed the bowl into it and dropped the bag into the kitchen trash can.

And sure enough, when Qingruo woke up the next morning, she failed to notice the disappearance of the bowl.

Feng Qi’s chauffeur arrived to pick him up. Feng Qi told him to come up and collect the garbage first, and with that, the kitchen trash was successfully disposed of.

Feng Qi silently praised himself for his own intelligence.

***

“Are you going to work today?” he asked as he changed out of his gray slippers. Qingruo was standing at one side, holding his coat in her arms.

She shook her head. “No.”

Her voice was soft and sweet. Because she had slept early the night before, she was brimming with energy.

After she woke up, she had taken a shower and changed into a long knee-length dress. Her hair was still damp, and every slight turn of her head exuded the fragrance of her shampoo. Her ebony eyes were bright and beautiful.

Feng Qi pulled on his necktie and took his coat from her before leaning down to press a kiss against her forehead. He wasn’t sure if it was because she had applied moisturizer or something to her skin, but he tasted a strange sweetness on it. Lifting his head, he planted his lips on her damp hair and rubbed the taste away.

“The chauffeur will come to pick you up later,” he said afterward.

“Okay,” she responded softly.

Before Feng Qi got into the car, the chauffeur had already informed the other employees of the joyous day to come, and sure enough, he was right. Feng Qi smiled gently through the entire car ride.

When he entered the company, he first told the finance department to count up the overtime pay from the week before, and then he added a 30% bonus to every employee’s overtime pay.

Next, he called up the department heads and started to approve their plans —that ones that were deemed “sh*t” before— and put forward his own suggestions for improvement.

There was not a single employee who wasn’t ecstatic.

***

Feng Qi’s notorious friends had been trying to arrange a meetup, but Feng Qi kept postponing it. It wasn’t until last night that he finally agreed, and they’d tasked him with the arrangements. Feng Qi had set the time for the afternoon, taking into consideration how much his friends loved their beds.

Their meetups weren’t just for entertainment purposes only. There were several upcoming collaboration projects that had to be discussed; however, the contracts would be left for their assistants to handle. Feng Qi’s circle tended to prioritize friendship over official business.

The Feng Company was located in the center of the city. Qingruo started from her apartment and left first with the chauffeur, while Feng Qi started from the company and ended up encountering a traffic jam. When Qingruo reached the clubhouse, he was still stuck on the road.

“How the hell is the traffic bureau doing their job?”

His annoyance was obvious, even through the phone. He felt worse when he heard Qingruo give a light laugh, leaving her with no choice but to gently placate him, “It’s okay, I’ll wait for you at the entrance.”

Hearing that, he glanced out the car window and started to imagine her standing outside with the scorching sun glaring down at her fair skin… he furrowed his brows.

“No, go in first. Most of the others are inside already. You can start playing mahjong with them, they won’t dare to bully you.”

Qingruo clicked her tongue. “How big do you guys play?” she asked as she made her way into the clubhouse.

Feng Qi’s tone softened, and smiling, he responded, “Play as big as they set it. Your losses are mine, but if you win, it’s yours.”

“Okay,” she said cheerfully. He could even hear the sound of her heels clacking excitedly across the marble floor of the clubhouse. For the first time, she was showing a fervent interest in something money-related.

He touched his chin and decided that the traffic jam wasn’t so bad after all, since it would give her more time to play and win. “Actually, why don’t you set the price? Tell them to play with you, I’ll explain it to them.”

Later, when he finally arrived and pushed open the door to the gameroom, he was greeted by the sight of Qingruo swiveling her head around to stare at him pitifully. It was as though she were a kitten that had been bullied by the other little animals when her owner was gone.

The analogy had just crossed his mind when he noticed that Qingruo had already gotten up and was walking toward him with a pout on her face. She grabbed the corner of his shirt hem and gently swung it back and forth. “Feng Qi, I lost so much I’m about to cry.”

Amused, he poked the spot between her eyebrows and said, “Dummy.” He took off his coat and wrapped it around her shoulders before slipping an arm around her waist and leading her back to the mahjong table.

“How much did you lose?”

She gritted her teeth and responded with a light harrumph, “Every single round.”

Although he wanted to laugh, he held himself back and glared at the other three people sitting around the table. They all raised their hands up and protested, “Bro, we didn’t do it on purpose. We’re this close to just asking her which tiles she wants to play with.”

It wouldn’t make sense for them to deliberately gang up against her anyway. Feng Qi took a seat at the mahjong table and pulled Qingruo onto his lap. He looked at her tiles and commented, “This is a pretty good hand.”

By now, he had already guessed that she kept losing simply because she was terrible at the game, but he didn’t say that out loud. As he leaned in to draw a tile, his lips happened to level with her ear. He gently blew a breath. “Have you played before?”

Currently, Qingruo was nursing quite a few grievances. He had trapped her between his body and the mahjong table, so she could do nothing except huddle against his chest. She reached up to cover her warming ears and replied, “Yes, but I haven’t played with others in a long time.”

“Why?”

“They said they couldn’t bear to.”

“…”

As time passed, more and more people arrived, livening up the poker tables, billiard tables, and the other mahjong tables. Qingruo poked Feng Qi a few times, but he refused to let her out of his arms. Although there was air-conditioning in the gameroom, their bodies were too close together, and they had both broken out in a sweat. The stickiness was uncomfortable, so she constantly pushed at his warm abdomen.

Feng Qi enjoyed watching her struggle. After several rounds of mahjong, he won a great pile of tokens. He pushed the pile to the restless Qingruo.

“Ruo, help me count and keep track of them.”

A few people teased him, “Yo~ bro, so precious?”

Qingruo lowered her head and pretended she hadn’t heard. Feng Qi held a cigarette in one hand, and with his other, he gently rubbed her earlobe. After he did that, he put the cigarette back into his mouth and straightened his back, holding her as he drew a new tile.

He raised an eyebrow and let an enticing expression spread across his face. “Mhm, she is very precious.”

***

In this circle, it was the same women who came and went, following either one rich young master or the other. Feng Qi had a lot of problems, and a lot of money too. More often than not, the others would take his leftovers, while he himself seldom took theirs.

There was only one exception, and she was currently walking in with the president of an oil company.

When Yuxi was following Feng Qi, he and An Qi had just divorced. As a result, Yuxi had been spoiled with the best of the best. Rumors that Feng Qi would marry Yuxi if she got pregnant had run wild.

Later on, they broke up due to an unknown reason, and Feng Qi compensated her with a large number of resources. Three years ago, she rose to fame, and now she was an international star.

Feng Qi and his friends left the mahjong table and went to chat and play billiards, while some girls dragged Qingruo away to sing karaoke. It was still daytime, but a few of them had already started to dance, twisting and turning with unspeakable sultriness.

Yuxi was good at playing billiards, and after a few rounds, she switched out and automatically went to stand beside Feng Qi. She waited for him to finish speaking with his buddies before gently calling out, “President Feng.”

Her voice was all too familiar. Feng Qi wasn’t paying attention to the people around him before, but when he heard her voice, he immediately turned around and instinctually responded, “Yuxi.”

Seemingly surprised that he still remembered her name, Yuxi couldn’t conceal the happiness and joy that appeared in her eyes.

Actually, Yuxi and Feng Qi had shared a pretty good relationship. Feng Qi possessed an unpredictable temper, but as long as one didn’t touch his bottom line, he would never go too far in his occasional bursts of anger. Back when they were together, Yuxi had only wanted to climb higher, and when they split, she got a huge amount of benefits from it. Over the past two years, her popularity grew, and so did her longing for him.

Yuxi was standing with both of her hands on the billiard table, waist slightly bent, and her head lowered in a very obedient and gentle manner. “President Feng, can I invite you to a meal sometime?”

Feng Qi naturally understood her intention. He looked her up and down as she cooperated.

The tight dress she was wearing accentuated her figure, and although he wasn’t very fond of heavy makeup, he had to admit that her face was attractive. He could tell that a lot of money had been spent on its maintenance. Even if she was barefaced, she would look like she was only in her early twenties.

Yuxi believed that Feng Qi would not reject.

He leaned against the billiard table and crossed his long legs. Smiling faintly, he asked her, “What would you invite me to eat?”

Yuxi tilted her head and responded charmingly, “Naturally, we’ll eat whatever President Feng wants to eat.”

Feng Qi curved his lips and turned to look at Qingruo, who was sitting on a large sofa nearby, immersed in the singing of others.

“Qingruo,” he called out.

His voice sounded impossibly gentle.

“Hm?” She turned her head to look at him.

He beckoned, “Baby, come here.”

Yuxi became gloomy. In the past, even when she was enjoying passionate times with Feng Qi, he had never called her name with the same amount of gentleness that he called this Qingruo.

Qingruo stood up and made her way over. When she was still a short distance away, he had already straightened up and reached out for her hand, drawing her to him. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close, then he leaned down and pressed a kiss against the crown of her head.

Turning around, he sincerely offered, “Why don’t you come visit us at our home when you’re free? Qingruo’s cooking definitely tastes better than the food from any restaurant.”

The woman standing in front of her was obviously about to erupt in anger. The corners of Qingruo’s lips twitched, and she secretly pinched Feng Qi’s waist while maintaining a friendly smile on her face.

”We would be honored to have you, sister Yuxi.”

Yuxi could barely maintain the smile on her face.

“No need to call me sister, I believe we’re around the same age,” she managed to force out.

Qingruo nodded. She was too lazy to deal with the woman, so she casually said a few more things before allowing Feng Qi to half-carry her over to a sofa.

He pinched her hand and smiled. “Mad?”

She nodded, and then shook her head. “No, just that she’s obviously older than me.”

Feng Qi didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. He captured her chin and nipped it.

“Don’t mind her, she was deliberately trying to pick a fight.”

“Do we really have to invite her to dinner?”

He took in her expression and fell silent. She waited and eventually lost her patience. But she quickly regained it, and that was when he finally let out a laugh.

“I was just kidding,” he reassured, and continued, “she’s not qualified to have you cook for her.”


VIN: Although the playboy character isn’t very likable, keep in mind that this novel tells the stories of the secondary/side male characters in normal novels, and when it comes to secondary male characters, playboys are definitely not rare.


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