His body stiffened almost instantly, and his intertwined hands loosened. He subconsciously put his arms down, one hand vaguely fidgeting around his chair.
“Mr. Gu.” His lips moved slightly, a tiny voice barely making it out of his throat.
Gu Ze had only given him a single disdainful glance before moving his eyes to Xie Zhenzhen. “You really can cry, can’t you, Miss Xie? Look at that pitiful face of yours. Who are you trying to garner pity from?” He turned his head over and met Meng Fu’s eyes. “This guy?”
His fingers clenched even tighter, nails digging into the edge of his seat. Containing his anger, he tried his best to endure it and said neither in a servile nor a disrespectful tone, “Mr. Gu, it has nothing to do with her.”
It has nothing to do with her, so direct all your anger towards me.
It has nothing to do with her, so please, stop.
Xie Zhenzhen gritted her teeth, the tears in her eyes changing into anger. “Mr. Gu, there should be a limit to your bullying. Neither Meng Fu nor I owe you anything. You’re always so fixated on those two lives that were lost, but Meng Fu has already been punished.”
“You think that’s enough? I could just run my car over the two of you and go to prison for seven years. I’d be very happy to do that.”
“Xie Zhenzhen, stop it.” Meng Fu stopped Xie Zhenzhen. He knew that Gu Ze was able to hurt her with words laced with even stronger poison, so they were better off saying nothing at all.
“You’re wrong, Meng Fu. It’s not your fault.” Her tears finally flowed down from the corner of her eyes. Wiping her tears away, she thought to herself that she really would kill Gu Ze if she could.
Gu Ze leaned back comfortably in his chair, eyes darting between Meng Fu and Xie Zhenzhen. Then, he casually unbuttoned his cuffs. “It’s not his fault, and it’s not your fault either. It’s the fault of my wife and child. Tell me, Meng Fu. Is that so?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Gu. I’m the one at fault.” His chest felt extremely stuffy as if someone were gripping tightly on his heart. Even breathing had become difficult all of a sudden.
His lips were a little dry, so he subconsciously licked his lips. He wanted to drink some water, and more than anything, he wanted to run away from this conversation.
Gu Ze laughed. Looking at Xie Zhenzhen who was furious but still had to restrain herself, there was a bit of smugness in his smile.
“Oh, that’s right.” He seemed to have just remembered something and knocked on his head. “Miss Xie is here to ask you to get back together with her, right? But Miss Xie doesn’t seem to be sincere at all. Couples should be honest with each other. I heard Miss Xie say she’d been engaged, but besides Meng Fu and her fiancé, I’m sure there are others in Miss Xie’s love history, aren’t there? You should properly tell Meng Fu everything, you know? Otherwise, your beloved Meng Fu will just be a fool in the dark, being cucked without even knowing anything.”
“I do not need to know about that, Mr. Gu. Can we stop talking about this?” He looked Gu Ze square in the eyes, a hint of pleading in his gaze, and also some firmness.
If words could kill, then the words spat out from Gu Ze’s mouth would probably be sharper than knives.
Shimmering with a cold glint, a blade covered in blood.
“Fine, I’ll stop. It’s not my place to butt in between lovers anyway. But Meng Fu, I ‘worry’ too much about you, you know? I’m just worried that your ex-girlfriend is going to…’hurt’ you.”
He spoke words of concern, but his tone was clearly chock full of mockery.
After that, he stood up and patted Meng Fu on the shoulder as if they were good friends. Lowering his voice, he said, “So don’t get hurt.”
As soon as Gu Ze left, Xie Zhenzhen hurried to explain herself. She had been crying so hard that even her eyeliner was beginning to run, creating stains around her eyes. “It’s true, I dated two guys when I was in America. Meng Fu, I don’t know how to explain what I felt to you. I needed the security, but you weren’t there at the time.”
Because you were stuck behind the gray walls of prison at that time.
Because we’d already broken up.
“Zhenzhen, you don’t have to explain anything to me. Don’t mind what Mr. Gu says—what you did was right.” Gu Ze had already shown him the photos back then when he was still in prison. Right now, he just needed to break off all contact with Xie Zhenzhen. That way, Gu Ze wouldn’t have to hurt her anymore.
He grabbed a tissue and handed it to Xie Zhenzhen. “Don’t look for me again in the future.”
Her tears surged as soon as she received the tissue. “Are you angry?”
“I’m not.” Meng Fu felt helpless.
He missed the first love they had.
He missed those short and youthful days.
Only…it wasn’t love.
He knew that.
“I said I’d wait for you. I didn’t go back on my word!” Xie Zhenzhen continued trying to explain herself, but she knew it was impossible between them now. She knew that it had been impossible since seven years ago when they first broke up.
But she still wanted to give it a try.
Sometimes, she thought proudly to herself that she would meet another man and fall in love. That’s why she tried dating someone else. But even though she was proud, her pride couldn’t beat her heartache in the end.
She missed him very much.
And she loved him just as much.
“You didn’t go back on your word. I’m the one who’s a coward,” he said frankly.
“Fine. I won’t look for you anymore, and I won’t ever in the future either,” she answered.
Then, she looked at him with an unmistakable stubbornness in her eyes. After she wiped her tears dry, she left, heels clicking against the ground.
“Meng Fu, time for work.” Jiang Hui went over to remind him. He noticed the coldness in Jiang Hui’s voice and felt sorry. He didn’t think that Jiang Hui’s goddess would be Xie Zhenzhen.
“I saw my goddess leave in tears. So, things are over between you two, right?”
“Yeah. We broke up seven years ago.”
Hearing this answer from Meng Fu, Jiang Hui livened up in an instant. He threw his arms around Meng Fu’s shoulders. “So that means I have a chance, right? Can you give me my goddess’s number…”
“I don’t know it.”
Jiang Hui was stunned. He suddenly remembered the fact that this man didn’t even have a phone, so how could he have her contact information?
“By the way, there was a notice from above just now. Head honcho’s coming in to inspect things this afternoon.”
He didn’t care. But if he’d only asked a few more questions two hours ago, then he wouldn’t have to be so caught off guard when that man appeared.
Because, how could he have known that their so-called head honcho would be Gu Ze?
Even though Gu Ze had clearly visited the restaurant before, and no one had recognized him, how did he suddenly pop up as the boss?
The staff stood in rows, listening to Gu Ze’s routine business chatter. Meng Fu stood in the last row with his eyes staring at his feet, not looking at his shoes, just letting his mind run. He was still dumbfounded from before.
“The one in the very last row, to the right.”
He was suddenly called out, but if whoever was next to him hadn’t secretly given him a nudge, then he probably wouldn’t have heard it at all.
He looked up. “Yes.”
Gu Ze was looking at him. “What are you looking at while I’m speaking?”
He was a little nervous, and the tension caused his voice to tremble slightly when he spoke.
“I hope every single employee will listen clearly when I’m speaking.” Gu Ze swept a glance at everyone. Then, he walked up to Meng Fu and ordered, “Raise your head and look at me.”
He looked at him, watching the smug pleasure in his eyes as if he was satisfied from teasing him. At this moment, he suddenly woke up to the fact that Gu Ze wouldn’t let him go. No amount of time could wash away Gu Ze’s resentment towards him.
“Meng Fu, you have to adapt to the new environment.” Then, he slowly approached Meng Fu. He smiled and whispered in his ear, “Since you can even adapt in prison, I’m sure you’ll be just fine here.”
Panic rose from the soles of his feet to the top of his head in an instant.
“Yes,” he answered, face stiff beyond recognition. His fists were clenched so tightly that his nails were digging into his flesh, but he couldn’t feel it.
He had a strong impulse to resign, but when that all went away, only sadness was left behind. If he resigned, what other jobs would he be able to find?
Jiang Hui was constantly looking at him with a strange gaze during work. It seemed like he had something to say to him, but it never left his mouth. Meng Fu didn’t mind it at first, but when he looked up, he realized that everyone was staring at him strangely.
He asked Jiang Hui what happened, and Jiang Hui responded, “Actually, nobody’s seen the boss before other than the supervisor, so don’t take it personally. The supervisor instructed everyone not to disturb your table this morning, and it turns out it’s because the boss was sitting there. And I mean, you saw it yourself just now. The boss was obviously stern with you, but he whispered something in your ear, so everyone guessed you and the boss had a personal relationship.”
“There’s nothing personal between us,” he answered frankly.
That was unless hatred counted as a personal relationship.
“Then why’d the boss whisper to just you?”
Suddenly, he was speechless. He had no way to explain why Gu Ze whispered to him. “Probably because I did something wrong,” he said.
He ran over someone. He made a mistake.
And for that, he had to be punished.
And now that punishment was spilling into his work hours, the one time in his life he could feel at peace.
He felt tired, and he wanted to rest, but where could he do that? A coffin? That’s probably Gu Ze’s greatest wish. He thought, if he were truly resting peacefully in a coffin, nobody would be able to disturb him anymore.