First Published on Chaleuria
17.2 – I’m Not Used To Your Fake Smile
The three walked into the Liyao Hotel’s inner hall together and instantly drew the crowd’s attention. Yao Yuan’s gaze immediately fell on Lin Zedong who was walking toward them; even after so many years, he seemed unchanged. Even at fifty, he still looked young and handsome, but Yao Yuan’s father had already… Yao Yuan shut his eyes to hide the unavoidable hatred within them.
Su Mu silently glanced at Yao Yuan behind him. He understood Yao Yuan’s feelings right now but did not wish to console him. Still wearing his habitual smile, he took several steps forward and took hold of Lin Zedong’s hand. “Uncle Lin, it’s been several years but you’re as handsome as ever. We younger folks are envious.”
“That’s right, Uncle Lin. I’m dazzled by you,” Yang Weiyu said, half in jest.
“You have a sweet tongue. Can you bear to give up that young man by your side for this old fogey?”
Yang Weiyu’s sweet objection drew Lin Zedong’s laughter, and Su Mu smiled along with them.
“And this is…” After the laughter had passed, Lin Zedong’s gaze finally landed on the young man he had not seen before. He had noticed him when they walked through the door. After all, his face was identical to that person’s from long ago.
“He’s my friend, an intern reporter. I hope you don’t mind that I brought him, Uncle Lin.”
“No need to be so polite. If he’s your friend, of course I welcome him.” Lin Zedong held out his right hand to Yao Yuan.
Yao Yuan took the hand very easily. “Mr. Lin, my name is Yao Yuan. I’m sure you remember my father. He used to work at your company, and speaking of which, I’m still grateful for your help with my father’s funeral.”
“Ah…” Lin Zedong thought for a moment, then seemed to remember. “You’re Yao Pan’s son. I was wondering why you seemed so familiar. You look very like your father. And you’re a reporter now? A good profession!”
Su Mu stood to one side, watching Yao Yuan chat with Lin Zedong while wearing an expression he was not familiar with. He was aware of what Yao Yuan was thinking: from the moment Yao Yuan had decided to follow him in, Su Mu had known he was going to take the most straightforward, and also most dangerous, route to investigating that matter. It was very like Yao Yuan’s style. All he wanted to do was finish the task, completely disregarding his own safety. Just like when he had gone to look for the foreman to collect on the debt for Wang Jiya’s father. But, Yao Yuan, when you do such things you don’t know how much it makes the people around you worry.
“Mu…” Yang Weiyu felt Su Mu’s hand tighten on her own and spoke up uncertainly.
“I’m sorry.” Su Mu quickly apologized and fixed his gaze onto his girlfriend’s beautiful face, once again suppressing the emotions that had swelled and not calmed since he had seen Yao Yuan again. Su Mu had already decided to give him up, and he would not allow himself to renege on his decision.
After saying hello, Lin Zedong left them. Yao Yuan kept watching him in secret, gaze following him as he calmly mingled with the crowd. He smiled derisively; as expected, high society was always good at putting on a front.
There was another scuffle from the door. Yao Yuan reflexively glanced over. A man was walking in; he had a handsome face but his chilly expression made one shudder. The woman next to him was smiling as beautifully as a flower, pretty and charming.
“Xia Haocen and his sister?” Yang Weiyu said uncertainly. “The Xia family and the Lin family have no dealings with each other. Why would he be here?”
Su Mu took a glass of red wine and took a small sip, his eyes locked on Lu Yunbo in the crowd. He smiled lightly. “They don’t have dealings, but the Xia and Lu families are close friends. Xia Haocen and Lu Yunbo were in the same class from elementary school through university.”
“You’re saying he came to help Lu Yunbo get the contract with the Lin Group.” Yang Weiyu glanced at Lu Yunbo who was walking toward the door.
“I’m not wrong.” Seeing the two embrace intimately, Su Mu gripped his wine glass tighter and his brother’s face surfaced in his mind. Su Mu didn’t know what had happened between them back then, but he was very aware that his brother was always alone, yet Lu Yunbo always had a different partner beside him. He knew that his brother had fallen out with his family and hidden in a tiny pub, but Lu Yunbo was still the Lu family’s successor… Su Mu swore that this time he would do whatever it took to get this contract. He would defeat Lu Yunbo thoroughly and get revenge for his brother.
“Did you mention a contract?” As a reporter, Yao Yuan was very sensitive to such keywords.
“That’s the exclusive news he kept for you. It’s definitely more exciting than his public announcement of our relationship.” Yang Weiyu smiled, as beautiful as a flower.
Su Mu glanced at him calmly then answered, “The Lin family wants to build a holiday villa in S City’s beachside area and they’re looking for a partner firm. Lu Yunbo and I are both very interested in this undertaking.”
“You and Lu Yunbo…” Yao Yuan still remembered the face-off the two had had at Yang Weiyu’s birthday banquet. He knew that Su Mu hated Lu Yunbo and would not give up a chance to steal business out of his hands, so… He glanced then at Yang Weiyu smiling politely, then glanced reproachfully at Su Mu. Is that why you announced your relationship? You’re using the Yang family’s position in the financial world to increase your collateral. Can you sleep well at night after using her like this?
Su Mu saw the look in Yao Yuan’s eyes and knew he understood everything. He had long known that Yao Yuan was much smarter than people gave him credit for; if not, he would not have…
Yao Yuan took a glass of wine from an attendant, tipped his head back, and drained it all. He felt stuffiness in his chest, but he could not tell what it was. Since finding out who Yang Weiyu was, Yao Yuan had understood that Su Mu did not really love her, had he not? Why did it only start troubling him today?
“Mu, Uncle Lin is about to give a speech. Let’s go closer to the front.” Yang Weiyu caught hold of Su Mu’s arm.
“All right.” Su Mu wrapped an arm around his girlfriend’s slender waist and walked into the crowd.
Yao Yuan remained on the outskirts. On one hand, if possible, he did not want to see Lin Zedong. After all, Lin Zedong was the person who caused his father’s death and heaven knew that when Yao Yuan had met him just now, he had wanted to beat him up. On the other hand, Yao Yuan also did not want to see Su Mu’s fake smile. Even more than that, he didn’t like Su Mu looking at him wearing that smile. Since the day they met, he knew that Su Mu could be cruel; he could be vicious and he could laugh, but he had never treated Yao Yuan as coldly and as perfunctorily as he did today.