Chapter 160 – More Contact
When Chen Shihuai left the Wu residence, his face was pale, an unexpected outcome for him today.
He didn’t even think that the grandson he had been ignoring all this time would have such a status after leaving the Chen family. Zhuge Yu’s student, the junior disciple brother of the Wu family’s son.
If he had known earlier about the connection between Chen Li and Wu Zailin, a few days before the banquet, he would have brought Chen Li back to the Chen family no matter what, to attend Secretary Wu’s birthday celebration together, rather than bringing Chen Qing, his disgraced grandson.
Chen Qing’s expression wasn’t pleasant either. He had always considered Chen Li to be a fool, someone who couldn’t even speak properly, but now reality told him that Chen Li had become the junior disciple brother of the Wu family’s son, holding the crucial connections their Chen family needed at this stage. Chen Li was a fool! How could this fool have such connections?
The grandfather and grandson sat in the car with their own thoughts, not speaking. It was a while after they left the government compound that Chen Shihuai, who had feigned sleep since getting into the car, said, “During your trip to the capital this time, get in touch with Chen Li more. After all, he’s your younger brother.”
‘So now that he’s useful to you, he’s my younger brother?’ Chen Qing thought with a slight sneer in his heart, but on his face, he didn’t reveal any hint of his thoughts and obediently replied, “Sure, I’ll try to get along with Chen Li.”
“Also, put some effort into your interactions with Wei Chen. While you learn from him, also cultivate a good relationship.”
Although Wei Chen had hindered Chen Li from returning to the Chen family this time, and much of Chen Shihuai’s annoyance stemmed from Wei Chen, Wei Chen’s abilities were beyond doubt.
Chen Shihuai had lived for many years and had passed the age of impulsiveness. There was much Chen Qing could learn from his interactions with Wei Chen. So, why should he prevent it? Moreover, whether Chen Li could return to the Chen family now depended on Wei Chen’s attitude. If Chen Qing established a good relationship with Wei Chen, and with Chen Qing’s persuasion, Wei Chen wouldn’t easily refuse Chen Li’s return to the Chen family. Chen Shihuai’s mental gears were turning, but his expression remained unchanged.
Chen Qing once again nodded obediently, but he felt inexplicably resentful. Why did he have to take the initiative to interact with Wei Chen? In the past, wasn’t Wei Chen the one who wanted to be with him all the time?
“However, you shouldn’t get too close.” Seeing that Chen Qing agreed so readily, Chen Shihuai reminded him.
The Chen family and the Wei family weren’t one family after all, they were even competitors. It was fine for Chen Qing to interact with Wei Chen, but he shouldn’t get emotionally attached. They should maintain a relationship they could use.
“I know,” Chen Qing answered. That’s how he used to see it too. He even found it amusing to see Wei Chen’s efforts for him.
The rest of the journey went without conversation, and they returned quietly to the main residence. Chen Qing didn’t get out of the car, instead, the driver took him back to the Chen family.
Once Chen Shihuai was out of sight, Chen Qing’s tense back immediately relaxed, and he bent over slightly. He was wearing more clothes due to the early spring weather and his formal attire for meeting Wu Zhang. The clothes were a bit too tight, and the pain in his injured back was intense. However, he couldn’t show any signs of discomfort in front of Chen Shihuai.
Now that he was out of Chen Shihuai’s sight, Chen Qing quickly took off his suit jacket. The pain made him break into a cold sweat on his forehead. By the time he got back to the Chen residence, Chen Qing couldn’t stand anymore and lay down on the sofa.
Du Lixun was at home at this moment. Seeing Chen Qing’s appearance, she knew he had been punished by Chen Shihuai. She walked up to Chen Qing, gently touching the wounds showing through his white shirt. A flash of concern passed over her face for an instant before she resumed her dignified demeanor.
“Alright, consider this a lesson for you. It teaches you not to rush even in urgent situations. Impatience leads to mistakes.”
She didn’t inquire about the outcome of this visit to apologize. She generally refrained from getting involved in the Chen family’s matters, but at this moment, it was hard for her not to feel some resentment towards Chen Shihuai. With those few lashes, there was no mercy shown, and they didn’t even consider that Chen Qing was his grandson.
Of course, Du Lixun didn’t reveal such emotions. Her demeanor remained composed and calm.
Chen Qing had indeed learned a lesson this time, but upon being spoken to by Du Lixun in this manner, he still felt somewhat wronged. He didn’t cry, but his eyes couldn’t help but slightly redden.
In the end, Du Lixun couldn’t hold back any longer. She reached out and ruffled Chen Qing’s hair, her eyes full of affection.
“Mom, Grandpa wants me to interact more with that fool.” Chen Qing suppressed his feelings of grievance and shared this with Du Lixun. In reality, he wasn’t very eager to meet that fool; seeing him made him feel embarrassed.
Du Lixun’s gaze darkened slightly as she said, “Just do as your grandfather says.”
“But, Mom…” Chen Qing opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but he ultimately found himself unable to defy his grandfather’s intentions.
“Aqing, you don’t need to worry,” Du Lixun gently touched Chen Qing’s forehead and calmly said, “What belongs to you, Mom is watching over it.”
Time flew by, and the winter vacation came to an end. The new semester began, and Chen Li remained an auditing student at Q University’s School of Fine Arts. However, compared to when Chen Li had first arrived at Q University, his reputation as an auditing student had become much more prominent.
As the winner of the Dream Cup’s gold prize, his paintings were now fetching millions, an achievement that seemed unattainable for the art students still striving on their artistic journeys.
Yet, no one envied Chen Li; his painting skills were truly awe-inspiring. If not for his withdrawn nature, he might have been surrounded by art students eager to learn from him every time he attended class.
While he and his peers didn’t interact much in class, Chen Li noticed their acceptance. Perhaps for this reason, after finishing his first day of class, Chen Li made a decision deep within himself.
He wanted to try to integrate into a group, to overcome all his fears and insecurities. Maybe, they weren’t as terrifying as he imagined?
So, on the second day of school, during breakfast, Chen Li made a bold request to Wei Chen. This was his first step toward bravery.
“Achen, can you buy me a bicycle?” Chen Li nibbled on his bread, looking at Wei Chen earnestly.
“Why do you want a bicycle?” Wei Chen was puzzled, but he had a suspicion. He wasn’t quite sure about his feelings at the moment.
Chen Li didn’t reply immediately. He chewed his bread slowly until he finished it, then said, “I want to try going to school on my own.”
Chen Li’s expression was serious and sincere, but within his earnest gaze, there was still hesitation. Wei Chen easily detected this uncertainty; he knew that despite Chen Li’s decision to go to school on his own, he would still be afraid, afraid of interacting with people on his own.
However, Wei Chen didn’t refuse. Instead, he reached out and ruffled Chen Li’s hair, speaking gently, “Sure, but you’ll have to work hard, Li Li!” While he felt reluctant, his words were encouraging.
Chen Li taking the initiative was a positive step. Chen Li nodded, and a faint smile formed at the corners of his eyes and lips, directed towards Wei Chen.
Wei Chen couldn’t help but bend down, stopping at the corner of Chen Li’s lips, and extending his tongue to reach the jam at the edge of Chen Li’s lips. It was sweeter than the jam on the bread he held in his hand.
After this brief exchange, Wei Chen finally asked a crucial question, “Li Li, can you ride a bicycle?”
Chen Li shook his head and looked at Wei Chen with a hint of certainty, saying, “Achen will teach me.”
“Yeah, I’ll teach you,” Wei Chen replied, his eyes filled with a smile.
When Wei Chen finished work and went to pick up Chen Li, the latest model of bicycle had already been delivered to their doorstep. As soon as Chen Li exited the elevator, he saw the bicycle.
Chen Li looked at Wei Chen with surprise; he hadn’t expected Wei Chen to act so quickly.
“I bought the bicycle for you. Is there any reward?” Wei Chen held Chen Li’s hand, leading him to the bicycle, and asked. Although his face showed no expression, his eyes radiated tenderness.
Without hesitation, Chen Li pecked Wei Chen’s cheek. Then, thinking this reward wasn’t enough, he turned Wei Chen’s face and pressed his lips to Wei Chen’s, giving him a passionate, sweet kiss as a reward. Chen Li knew that Wei Chen would surely like this reward.
Indeed, Wei Chen enjoyed this reward and felt it wasn’t enough. When Chen Li pulled away, Wei Chen leaned in, pressing Chen Li against the wall and asking for several more passionate kisses. Chen Li didn’t refuse; he readily offered this reward, knowing that it was something Wei Chen desired.
After dinner, Wei Chen pushed the new bicycle while accompanying Chen Li downstairs, intending to start teaching Chen Li how to ride it.
Wei Chen checked the bike for any issues, rode it around himself to confirm it was fine, and then began teaching Chen Li how to ride step by step.
Chen Li was actually quite clever and had good balance. After about half an hour, he could ride quite a distance with a wobbly but steady rhythm. Feeling confident, he sped up the pedaling, but in his excitement, he lost his balance and the bike tilted to one side.
Wei Chen was watching Chen Li closely the whole time. When the bike started to tilt, Wei Chen hurriedly moved closer. However, instead of preventing the fall, they both tumbled onto the grass by the roadside. Wei Chen positioned himself to cushion Chen Li’s fall, holding him securely in his arms.
“Li Li, are you hurt?” Despite the fall, Wei Chen immediately checked on Chen Li’s condition, worried he might have been hurt even slightly.
Chen Li quickly shook his head. Wei Chen had protected him well, and he wasn’t hurt at all; he didn’t feel any pain. In fact, he was more concerned about Wei Chen.
Looking at him with worry, Chen Li asked, “Achen, are you alright?”