Chapter 291 – Cooperation Again
People like them, the elderly, came from that era. If others merely felt shocked and some emotions upon seeing Chen Li’s painting, for them, it resonated differently.
This resonance stemmed from deep-seated memories of tragedy, as well as from witnessing the country’s step-by-step march towards strength, a pride born first-hand.
Undoubtedly, this art exhibition held significance. Even if Chen Li wasn’t Old Qu’s grandson, eventually, he would have agreed to let the Cultural Propaganda Department host this exhibition. It’s just that agreeing so quickly wouldn’t have happened right now.
Grandpa Qu could feel the admiration for his grandson in the eyes of those opposite him, which made him naturally proud. “Yes, he is my grandson.”
“I can see it, I can see it,” the old man repeated, understanding Old Qu’s pride. If only his grandson could hold even half of Old Qu’s thoughts, then they would understand their hardships, wouldn’t indulge as they do now.
Using this opportunity, the old man mentioned the upcoming art exhibition to the elderly present, emphasizing that they must attend. He hinted that there might be many surprises in store.
The old man’s words somewhat aroused the curiosity of these elderly individuals, and they all expressed their intent to attend the exhibition.
The old man didn’t disclose that Old Qu’s grandson was the creator of the exhibition. He didn’t want them to attend just to give face to Old Qu. Removing preconceived notions would naturally yield a different effect.
By evening, the gathering ended. Jiang Ye didn’t return with Grandpa Sheng but instead got into Wei Chen’s car. Throughout the journey, he chatted and laughed with Grandpa Qu, his purpose unclear.
Upon returning to the Sheng household, Qiuqiu had just woken up. Perhaps due to waking up alone without a familiar presence, he was crying. Chen Yunlan walked back and forth in the living room, holding him. Qiuqiu hadn’t stopped crying, looking pitiful. When Wei Chen and Chen Li returned, it was as if a savior had arrived for Chen Yunlan. She quickly handed Qiuqiu over to Wei Chen. Soon after, Qiuqiu stopped crying and lay quietly in Wei Chen’s arms, big round eyes looking around.
Grandpa Qu came over and said a few words to Qiuqiu. Giving face to Grandpa Qu calling him ‘precious baby’ repeatedly, Qiuqiu smiled in front of him, which pleased Grandpa Qu immensely.
Later, Wei Chen handed Qiuqiu over to Chen Li, exchanged a glance with Jiang Ye, who smiled back, revealing deep dimples on his cheeks.
A dozen or so minutes later, on the Sheng family’s communal balcony, the figures of Wei Chen and Jiang Ye appeared.
“Jiang Ye, just say what you want,” Wei Chen said expressionlessly, resting his hands on the balcony railing.
Jiang Ye didn’t beat around the bush. His visit to the Sheng household today was because of Wei Chen. “Let’s cooperate again.”
Wei Chen raised an eyebrow in surprise. “If I remember correctly, we have always had a collaborative relationship.”
Even though their A Zone project in Shanghai had ended, they had seamlessly collaborated on several other projects. It could be said that he and Jiang Ye had always been in a collaborative relationship, so where did this talk of “cooperation again” come from?
Jiang Ye didn’t elaborate further; he simply uttered these two simple words.
Wei Chen scrutinized Jiang Ye, sensing a tinge of hatred in his tone.
In that moment, Wei Chen understood that Jiang Ye referred to cooperation against the Chen family, not in terms of business collaboration.
Without much thought, Wei Chen extended his hand to Jiang Ye. “Jiang Ye, a pleasant cooperation.”
Jiang Ye smiled again. “A pleasant cooperation.”
Two slender hands touched briefly, yet a robust alliance was forged.
“I heard from my uncle; you intend to meddle with Changfeng Group’s Transportation Department?” Jiang Ye’s gaze fixed into the distance as he inquired.
“Yes,” Wei Chen confirmed without hesitation.
Jiang Ye turned to look at Wei Chen, smiling. “I have a way to temporarily distract the Chen family, leaving them no time to focus on Changfeng Group. Are you confident you can disrupt Changfeng Group’s Transportation Department in a short period?”
“Absolutely,” Wei Chen’s voice was resolute, devoid of any hesitation.
Even without Jiang Ye’s involvement, Wei Chen had ways to disrupt Changfeng Group’s Transportation Department. However, the method might have been more convoluted. Now, since Jiang Ye had a way to divert the Chen family’s attention from Changfeng Group, it made things easier for Wei Chen. They joined hands once again, not for simple business collaboration this time but to challenge the colossal entity that was the Chen family.
Jiang Ye left after dinner to return to school, and Wei Chen didn’t disclose their cooperative relationship with others. Everything progressed quietly and discreetly between them.
The night grew thicker, the late summer heat intensified, yet as the night progressed, a chill settled in.
In the dead of night, Chen Li was awakened by the cold. He wriggled closer to Wei Chen, only to be blocked by Qiuqiu in the middle. Chen Li, guided by the faint light, peered down and discovered Qiuqiu was awake, his big eyes shining bright without a hint of sleepiness.
Deciding not to sleep anymore, Chen Li quietly moved closer to Qiuqiu’s side, engaging in a stare-off with the wide-eyed baby.
After observing Chen Li for a while, Qiuqiu playfully blew some spit bubbles at Chen Li. Unable to resist, Chen Li mimicked Qiuqiu and blew a small bubble back before planting a kiss on Qiuqiu’s soft face. Qiuqiu grinned, revealing a toothless, pink gums.
Chen Li couldn’t help but smile too.
Wei Chen opened his eyes and saw Chen Li and Qiuqiu exchanging smiles. A faint smile graced Wei Chen’s eyes as he observed the father-son duo. Without saying a word, he propped his head up, radiating tenderness between his brows and eyes.
Sensing Wei Chen’s gaze, Chen Li looked up, meeting Wei Chen’s tender, dark eyes. He was momentarily stunned, overwhelmed by a rush of sweetness.
“Did I wake you up?” Chen Li spoke softly.
“No,” Wei Chen shook his head, feeling the room was a bit chilly. He grabbed the remote, turned off the air conditioning, and noticing Qiuqiu’s energy, asked, “When did Qiuqiu wake up?”
“When I woke up, he was already awake,” Chen Li lightly stroked Qiuqiu’s face and replied.
“A bit later, he might get hungry. I’ll prepare some formula for him. Could you check if he needs changing or if he’s wet?” Wei Chen said, getting up to prepare milk for Qiuqiu.
Chen Li checked Qiuqiu’s diaper and found that it indeed needed changing. Swiftly, he changed the diaper, and with the dryness, Qiuqiu seemed much more comfortable, kicking his legs and reaching out his hands.
Before Wei Chen returned, Chen Li continued engaging with Qiuqiu, who reached out to grab Chen Li’s hand. Chen Li extended his hand, and Qiuqiu held it tightly, as if aiming to put it in his mouth, showing signs of hunger.
Shortly after, Wei Chen returned with the prepared milk. As soon as the bottle’s teat touched Qiuqiu’s lips, he eagerly latched on, slurping down the milk in big gulps.
Chen Li felt tired, rubbing his eyes and couldn’t help but let out a big yawn.
“You go to sleep first; I’ll stay with Qiuqiu for a while longer,” Wei Chen ruffled Chen Li’s messy hair and suggested. Chen Li shook his head, insisting, “You have work tomorrow; you go to sleep. I’ll stay here and put Qiuqiu to sleep later.”
Typically, it was Wei Chen who stayed up with Qiuqiu in the middle of the night. This time, Chen Li wanted to have a turn, especially since Wei Chen had work the next day and needed a good night’s rest.
Unable to resist Chen Li’s insistence, Wei Chen relented, “Alright, I’ll go to sleep. If you need help, just call me.”
Chen Li nodded firmly and passionately declared, “Achen, rest assured, I’ve got this!”
Wei Chen leaned down and kissed Chen Li on the lips, whispering, “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Chen Li replied with a peck.
Wei Chen fell asleep quickly. Meanwhile, the milk in Qiuqiu’s bottle had run out. Chen Li took the bottle away and patted Qiuqiu’s back properly, ensuring he was comfortable to prevent spit-ups later.
Tonight, Qiuqiu seemed lively. Knowing someone was there to play with him, he couldn’t stay still in bed. As he was about to cry, Chen Li got up and lifted Qiuqiu, pacing around the room in an attempt to soothe him.
Despite feeling genuinely tired, Chen Li yawned several times during this, but seeing Qiuqiu still energetic, he decided to stay awake and continued pacing with him.
Eventually feeling a bit too tired, Chen Li sat on the bed, holding Qiuqiu. This position led him to drift off to sleep, yet his hold around Qiuqiu remained tight, an unconscious protective gesture.
Wei Chen hadn’t fallen into a deep sleep; he had been listening to the sounds near the bed. Not hearing any movements, he opened his eyes and saw Chen Li sleeping by the bedside.
Wei Chen felt both helpless and heartache, quietly getting up. He gently removed Qiuqiu from Chen Li’s embrace, but the moment Wei Chen touched Qiuqiu, Chen Li woke abruptly, tensing up. Upon recognizing Wei Chen, he relaxed, releasing Qiuqiu to him.
“Li Li, you go to sleep first. I’ll put Qiuqiu to sleep,” Wei Chen’s voice was very gentle.
Chen Li nodded sleepily, lying back down and soon emitted even breaths, drifting into deep sleep.
Wei Chen cuddled Qiuqiu for a while until the baby’s eyes closed. When Wei Chen placed Qiuqiu back on the bed, the baby turned over, his mouth slightly open, falling asleep peacefully.
Wei Chen resumed his sleep after this.
When he woke up at dawn, Wei Chen freshened up, had breakfast, and prepared to head to work. On the bed, the two – one big and one small – were still asleep, both in the same position, mouths slightly open, clearly a father-son duo.
Even when Wei Chen left for work, Chen Li and Qiu Qiu were still sound asleep.
As Wei Chen returned to Changfeng Group for work, no prior notice had been given from Sheng Jiaqi. Therefore, when he arrived at the company, it naturally surprised many people.
The most delighted were the employees of the Marketing Department. Despite Wei Chen’s several months of absence, the employees there hadn’t lost their familiarity with him. Upon seeing him in the department’s office area, they excitedly greeted Wei Chen.
Among them were new employees who, captivated by Wei Chen’s impressive appearance, asked their senior colleagues, “Is that Director Wei, the legendary figure at Changfeng Group?”
The seniors nodded eagerly. Once Wei Chen entered his office, they briefed the new employees about Wei Chen’s accomplishments once again. Although they had heard it before, the new hires were still awe-struck, internally marveling at his extraordinary presence.
The news of Wei Chen’s return to work spread throughout the company instantly. Except for Sheng Jiaqi, no one had received any prior notice. While many were surprised, some were irritated to their core.
Was Wei Chen calculating his return timing? Today, the board had planned to convene a meeting to officially dismiss Wei Chen from his positions as Deputy General Manager and Director of the Marketing Department. Many were itching to oust him while he was absent, but who would’ve expected…
The board meeting hadn’t even commenced, and Wei Chen had returned!
Who the hell would believe this was a coincidence? It had to be intentional. Otherwise, why return precisely at this crucial juncture when he could have come earlier or later?