Chapter 108 – Playing Tricks
Chen Li adjusted the colors and nodded in response to Zhuge Yu’s question.
Zhuge Yu didn’t bother to ask what the name of the painting was, but he watched Chen Li’s painting seriously. Every stroke was pleasant in Zhuge Yu’s eyes, and the color was just right. Sometimes, the colors Chen Li adjusted seemed to match well in Zhuge Yu’s perspective.
Wei Chen didn’t go back to work. After about an hour, he received a document in his email. It was sent by Sheng Jiaqi’s assistant and contained notes about the meeting.
Wei Chen replied with a thank you and put his phone away. He sat not far from Chen Li, looking at him with gentle eyes.
The winter night arrived unusually early. It was just past five o’clock, and the sky had already darkened.
Chen Li’s painting was also entering its final stage, but he felt a bit stuck with his inspiration. Instead of forcing himself to continue, he looked at Wei Chen and gently patted his own stomach, saying, “I’m hungry.”
Wei Chen reached out and rubbed Chen Li’s soft hair. He said, “Let’s go home. I’ll cook a big meal for you tonight.”
Chen Li’s eyes instantly lit up, and he nodded at Wei Chen.
Wei Chen walked to the coat rack, took off Chen Li’s coat, and helped him put on his hat and gloves. He adjusted Chen Li’s coat collar, making sure the cold wind wouldn’t blow inside. Then, Wei Chen held Chen Li’s hand and they went outside.
However, Chen Li remained standing, his eyes fixed on Wei Chen.
Confused, Wei Chen turned to look at Chen Li.
Chen Li took his hand back from Wei Chen’s hand and then removed the woolen hat from his own head. He stood on tiptoes and put the hat on Wei Chen’s head. He also wanted to take off his own gloves and give them to Wei Chen to wear.
Wei Chen immediately understood what Chen Li meant. Earlier, he had hurriedly left the company out of concern for Chen Li and didn’t bring his own coat. Chen Li noticed it, so he took off his own warm items and offered them to Wei Chen.
The winter wind was cold, but Wei Chen’s heart was burning hot at this moment.
Wei Chen didn’t refuse Chen Li’s kind gesture, but he only put on one of Chen Li’s gloves. The other hand was interlocked with Chen Li’s fingers, and they both tucked their hands into their pockets. He looked at Chen Li with gentle eyes and said, “Now, neither of us will feel cold.”
Chen Li nodded, tightly holding Wei Chen’s hand that was tucked in his pocket, as if trying to transfer his body heat to Wei Chen.
Wei Chen didn’t feel cold before because he came in a hurry. But now, as they left the studio and faced the cold air, Wei Chen started feeling cold. He couldn’t help but shiver.
Chen Li noticed and looked at Wei Chen with concern, asking, “Are you cold?”
“A bit,” Wei Chen didn’t lie, “but it’s still bearable.”
“Oh,” Chen Li nodded, but his footsteps involuntarily quickened. As long as they reached the car quickly and turned on the heater, Wei Chen wouldn’t feel cold anymore.
Wei Chen felt Chen Li’s urgency and followed his quickened footsteps towards the parking lot.
Fortunately, the parking lot was not far from the studio, just a few steps away. As soon as they got into the car, Chen Li urged Wei Chen to turn on the heater.
Wei Chen obediently turned on the heater, and only then did Chen Li withdraw his hand from Wei Chen’s hand, satisfied.
The night shrouded the earth, and the cold wind howled as snowflakes drifted down from the night sky. Within moments, the world was covered in a layer of white.
In Q University’s School of Fine Arts, several professors’ studios were still lit. The deadline for the Dream Cup competition was approaching, and many people were rushing to meet the submission deadline.
Lu Xiuran was one of them. When he finished his last stroke, he stared at the completed painting for a while before putting away his brushes.
By this time, it was already midnight. The cold wind rustled the branches, and heavy snow fell, enveloping the dark world.
After tidying up his painting tools and stretching, Lu Xiuran put on his coat and prepared to leave.
But when he reached the doorway, Lu Xiuran’s steps halted. He looked towards the adjacent studio, knowing that there was a competition entry hanging in that room.
Lu Xiuran’s footsteps seemed frozen, and finally, a cold smile appeared on his lips. He took out a pre-prepared key and opened the door to the neighboring studio, walking inside.
He didn’t turn on the lights and relied only on the faint light from his phone screen to navigate. He quickly found Chen Li’s painting, walked over, and lifted the canvas. As the light from his phone focused on the canvas, a stunned expression crossed Lu Xiuran’s face, which was soon replaced by jealousy.
In the brief moment when the light flashed, Lu Xiuran’s smile carried a twisted envy and a triumphant sneer.
The night grew deeper, the wind howled, and the snow raged on.
The next morning, early at dawn, there was no sign of the snow stopping. The entire world was blanketed in white. Mobile phones sent out snowstorm warnings, reminding people to be cautious when going out.
Winter nights were exceptionally long, especially when it snowed. Wei Chen woke up within his circadian rhythm, and outside the window, it was pitch black. He turned around and embraced the curled-up Chen Li in his arms, closing his eyes, hoping to get a little more sleep.
Today was Friday, and they both had work and classes to attend. They couldn’t laze around in bed for too long.
When the sky began to grow faintly bright, the two of them had already gotten up from the warm blanket. After Chen Li finished washing up, Wei Chen had breakfast prepared and was waiting for Chen Li to come out.
Chen Li came out and sat at his usual seat at the dining table. Wei Chen poured him a cup of warm milk, and they quietly started eating breakfast.
The warm breakfast time was the same every day, yet no one ever felt tired of it.
After breakfast, Wei Chen drove Chen Li to Q University and then headed to the company himself.
Wei Chen had already read the document sent by Sheng Jiaqi the previous day. It wasn’t something important, just the satisfactory performance of the Marketing and Sales departments after their integration in the first quarter. Naturally, there would be no further inquiry into Wei Chen ending the meeting early.
Although it was winter, and the blanket absorbed most of people’s energy, the employees in the Marketing Department remained enthusiastic. The high monthly salaries motivated them.
As soon as Wei Chen entered the office area, he heard the loud morning greetings. Wei Chen nodded in response, and everyone who had stood up only sat back down after he took his seat. The habit of standing up and greeting Wei Chen every morning was not commanded or organized by anyone, but it had become an automatic practice in the Marketing Department of Changfeng Group.
Wei Chen had become a celebrity in Changfeng Group. Not only was he handsome, but he also had outstanding abilities. He was the youngest among the company’s top management and a hot figure beside the chairman. He was like a fragrant delicacy, and countless girls wanted to be close to him. Being handsome, rich, and talented wasn’t enough. Wei Chen was not only handsome, rich, and talented, but also a potential stock. Once someone got hold of this stock, they would become a winner in life within minutes.
However, when these hearts heard of Wei Chen’s married status, several of them shattered like broken glass, brushing off their infatuation. Of course, some people didn’t care.
Since ancient times, how many men could truly control their desires? And how many men believed that stolen fruit was sweeter than what they had at home? Moreover, Wei Chen, at his age, full of youthful vigor, how could he possibly resist?
In the company, there were always some self-proclaimed attractive individuals who delighted in destroying other people’s marriages.
Li Chu came from a prestigious university, had a high level of education, and was the manager of the Human Resources Department. She was widely recognized in the industry as an excellent HR professional and a recognized beauty. She had both a great figure and good looks, which attracted many CEOs and second-generation rich individuals who pursued her.
However, Li Chu had high standards, and until now, she hadn’t found anyone she liked. Those CEOs and rich second-generation individuals were just people with a few smelly coins in her eyes—lacking competence, desperate for looks, and relying on their backgrounds. But compared to Li’s background, theirs was nothing.
Because of Li Chu’s high standards, she was still single at thirty years old. She had dated a few boyfriends, but in the end, none of them met her expectations, and she had kicked them to the curb. Li Chu became interested in Wei Chen not at first sight but after several subsequent interactions that allowed her to gradually understand him. She realized he fit her ideal type.
Later, when she saw in his personnel file that Wei Chen was married, she initially reconsidered pursuing him. However, before dismissing the thought completely, she consulted some friends in the capital and learned about Wei Chen’s situation. She found out that Wei Chen’s current partner was a man and had mental health issues. It was a result of a family arranged marriage. With a loveless marriage like that, both parties were only in pain. Besides, it was rare to encounter such an outstanding man like Wei Chen, so she naturally wanted to seize the opportunity. After all, she was already thirty years old and didn’t have time to look for other men.
During the lunch break, Li Chu confidently walked into the Marketing Department, ignoring the curious gazes from others, and went straight to Wei Chen’s office.
When the knocking sound came, Wei Chen had just pressed the dial button. He was making a call to Chen Li.
As Li Chu entered, Chen Li had just answered the phone.
Just as Li Chu was about to speak, Wei Chen made a gesture with his mouth to wait.
Li Chu swallowed the words she was about to say.
“Li Li, have you had lunch?” Wei Chen said into his phone.
Li Chu couldn’t hear the voice on the other end of the call, but seeing Wei Chen’s gradually softened expression, she felt a bit uncomfortable.
“Have you finished your painting? You’re amazing, Li Li,” Wei Chen’s tone carried a hint of smile and pride. “You will definitely achieve great results.”
Although Wei Chen didn’t understand art, when he saw Chen Li’s painting, he was deeply impressed. He had a strong premonition that such a painting, when exhibited, would surely shock the world. He had full confidence in his Li Li.
Because there were other people present, Wei Chen and Chen Li didn’t talk for long. They quickly ended the call. When Wei Chen turned to face Li Chu, the gentle expression in his eyes had completely vanished.
“Manager Li, is there something you need?” Wei Chen asked, expressionless, his gaze distant.
“Well, nothing in particular,” Li Chu smiled. “I was wondering if Director Wei has had lunch. During the lunch break, I invite Director Wei to the restaurant downstairs to have a meal and discuss some management issues.”
Using a discussion as a pretext, Li Chu wasn’t worried that Wei Chen would refuse her invitation.
“I’m sorry, I’ve already eaten. If you have any questions, Manager Li, you can just ask directly,” Wei Chen said, as if he didn’t understand Li Chu’s intention.
Li Chu also knew that things wouldn’t go so smoothly, but being able to stay and discuss the issue provided her with an opportunity to get closer to Wei Chen. She didn’t believe that Wei Chen wouldn’t gradually see her qualities.
“Also, Manager Li, please open the door. I find your perfume scent a bit uncomfortable,” Wei Chen said without any politeness, not leaving any chance for idle gossip.
The smile on Li Chu’s face became a bit strained, but she still forced a smile and opened the office door. Many employees curiously looked in that direction, eager to know what would happen inside the office, after all, it involved a man and a woman.
However, they didn’t expect the office door to open so suddenly. They didn’t have time to hide. Li Chu put on a big smile, showing no sign of guilt. She gracefully returned a smile to the employees of the Marketing Department before entering to discuss the issue with Wei Chen. After all, she had dug the pit herself, and she had to fill it.
Since the door wasn’t closed, there was no sound insulation, and everything said inside could be heard clearly outside.
The employees of the Marketing Department listened attentively, but seeing that the two inside were discussing work-related matters without any gossip, they simply went back to work, feeling satisfied.