194 Sweet Thing 2in1
That night, Yao Zhixing and Fang Mo did come over for dinner. Even though they were both Han Chu's friend, they did not have chance to meet up with this friend often. The amount of times they saw each other in a year could be calculated on both hands. Furthermore, when the two heard that Han Chu would be staying in San Lin City for at least half a year this time, they were naturally intrigued. The two busybodies came over because they would not give up this valuable opportunity for gossip.
There were five people invited for dinner, so six to seven dishes should be enough. Since the oven at Ye Shuang's kitchen was the largest kind, she shoved a fat chicken into it. The chicken meat had been marinated for hours, and the stuffing included fried shiitake mushroom, carrot, meat pieces and mashed potatoes. When the chicken was shoved into the oven, it was slathered with multiple layers of sauce. Basically, it was an updated and tweaked version of the braised turkey she had cooked for Christmas. Ye Shuang believed with this one dish, it should be enough to feed three to four large men.
Then, she moved to prepare tofu, sausage, chicken offal, and other stuff to set up a cold plate. Other than that, she also whipped up some home-cooked dishes like scrambled eggs, sweet and sour pork, fish soup, and braised ribs. In a matter of minutes, Ye Shuang managed to come up with a table full of delicious and scrumptious looking dinner.
Han Chu had a job to follow up that afternoon while Anthony as well as Fang Mo had their own companies to look after. Of all the guests, Yao Zhixing was the freest. He came over when he was informed food would be served. Therefore, he was the first guest to arrive, and he did not come empty-handed. He carried with him a box of Xue Mei Niang, a type of Chinese pastry. When Ye Shuang saw that, she commented with a smile, "Is that for Brother Han?"
Of the whole group, the only female was Ye Shuang, but she did not have much of a sweet tooth. Furthermore, when Yao Zhixing normally visited her, he would bring fruits. However, since he had brought dessert with him, it was most likely not for her but for Han Chu. Thinking back to how Han Chu's apartment would be filled with various sweet munchies whenever he was around, Ye Shuang could confirm that the man had a sweet tooth.
"When Xiao Han has a sweet thing in his mouth, it is when he is the easiest to talk to. Well, we're here to dig for some gossip, right?" Yao Zhixing smiled back. He admitted this easily as he followed Ye Shuang to walk into the kitchen. He helped Ye Shuang move the dessert out from the box and placed it on the plates that Ye Shuang retrieved from the kitchen cupboard. While they were doing that, Yao Zhixing asked, "Has he really told you that he has run away from home? Is it related to something in his family?"
"Yes." Ye Shuang also had her own speculation. "It did not sound like something particularly serious. I guess it is about some small conflict that originated from a clash of opinions."
Yao Zhixing scratched his chin while he was deep in thought, and his eyes lit up with mischief. "Could it be that Xiao Han has already reached that age‽"
"That age?" Ye Shuang asked the man for clarification.
Yao Zhixing chuckled and continued his extrapolation. "Well, you know the age for marriage… I believe this has to be it. Normally, the people in his family would not get married too late in their lives. Furthermore, Xiao Han is already twenty-six or twenty-seven, so it is about time for them to urge him to get married."
Ye Shuang glanced at the man with suspicion. After making sure the man was not using Han Chu to make fun of her, Ye Shuang pouted and said, "How is that considered a big thing? After all, even for men over thirty, it is not too late for them to get married then. This is a more urgent deal for females. After all, we have to consider the issue of our biological clock."
"It is because it is not a big deal that it is annoying," Yao Zhixing countered. "If it is really something serious, then of course, he will be able to treat this seriously and call for the whole family to sit down to talk this over, to discuss everyone's opinion and contribution. Then, after hearing what everyone has to say, they will decide whose opinion to take or so on and so forth.
"However, since this is not something serious and with the passion and urges from the female elders in the family, it is impossible for him to resist this order fully and make a huge deal out of this. It will seem like he is making a mountain out of a molehill; therefore, his solution is to evade it, and since it cannot be evaded when he was at home, the only choice is to escape from home."
Just as Yao Zhixing was happily coming up with hypotheses for Han Chu's action, Han Chu's voice came from the front door. "I'm not doing all this because of marriage and dates."
Then, the two in the kitchen turned their heads around and saw Han Chu walk slowly in through the door. Ye Shuang glanced at Yao Zhixing, and the man also turned to look at her. Then, Yao Zhixing patted himself on the back of his head, remembering that he had forgotten to close the front door when he walked into the room earlier. Han Chu glanced at Yao Zhixing with clear dissatisfaction in his eyes. He walked over and grabbed a piece of the milky Xue Mei Niang from the plate. After he took half a bite of the sweet pastry, he said, "You two need to stop gossiping about my private business. In any case, it is a form of family shame."
Yao Zhixing shrugged. Since the man had already put it that way, naturally, he would stop covering it like a thirsty reporter. The three took the dessert to the living room to continue their conversation. They chatted for almost half an hour before Fang Mo and Anthony arrived. Then, they all moved to the dining room for dinner.
Ye Shuang's cooking skill was guaranteed. Since the guests were all friends and knew each other well, with good food and free alcohol, it did not take long for the atmosphere to turn rowdy. The best part of the dinner was the gossip. They started from the reason why Han Chu decided to move to San Lin City for half a year, to the cold chain cooperation between Yao Zhixing and Fang Mo, to the recent activity and movement of Zhou Yue and his group of 'friends', and finally, to the news of the few people jumping ship from Ye Shuang's talent storage.
Since the guests were only so few and they were all trusted confidants, when the topic of conversation fell on Ye Shuang, she sighed honestly. "It is true that I don't think it is worth to pursue these few people for what they have done, but I still feel rather annoyed."
"It is normal for you to feel like that. If you felt nothing, then you'd be the weird one." Han Chu picked at a piece of mushroom stuffing that was stir-fried with seasoning and sauce. He chewed on it and explained lightly, "For example, if you realized you dropped ten dollars when you went out shopping, would you waste one hundred dollars to call a taxi back to the place to find just ten dollars? Everyone knows how stupid that is, but in reality, most people would still do something like that. For example, after a break-up, people will still be devastated and cry like there's no tomorrow even though they know no matter how many tears they shed, the love would not return. Even worse, they might risk their job because they would be too distracted at work. They know if they allow themselves to be defeated, their family will be worried, but some would still attempt suicide."
Fang Mo smiled and added, "A normal person's way of thinking will not follow the standard for investment and loss closely. However, I also think it is not a good deal to waste another one hundred dollars for the sake of ten dollars… I've also heard about Miss Ye's reputation among my circle of friends, but I did not realize something like this has happened in the middle.
"However, if this was me, I would decide what to do depending on the consequences of the whole incident and not make a decision based on the preceding events and reasons. There is nothing you can do if you feel annoyed, but if you keep getting stuck on these smaller details, you will not have time to do other things that are more important and worth your time."
"Miss Ye‽" Yao Zhixing chuckled. "You're already at her place having dinner, why are you still standing on such ceremony?"
Fang Mo thought about it and laughed. "You're right, then I shall call you Xiao Shuang. I hear that's how they refer to you."
That was mainly to separate her from her male form. Ye Shuang rolled her eyes, and it was then that she realized a chicken wing had landed in her bowl. Following the pair of chopsticks that quickly retracted itself, Ye Shuang saw Anthony was happily munching on a chicken drumstick. When the man felt Ye Shuang's eyes on her, he giggled and urged, "Quick, there's five of us and two chicken wings and two drumsticks. You gotta move fast if you don't want to lose out."
Han Chu shot him a frosty glare.
Anthony thought about it and quickly helped Han Chu grab a chicken drumstick. He placed it inside the man's bowl, and his lips curved into a smile. "Now, aren't I your bro‽"
Then, he turned to Yao Zhixing and Fang Mo with a face filled with innocence.
Yao Zhixing glanced at the roasted chicken that only had one chicken wing left, and his chopsticks went toward the bowl of fish soup. "I prefer to have fish."
The gauntlet of eyes focused on Fang Mo, and the man felt like laughing. He had been to so many dinners and parties, but this was the first time that he had seen guests fighting for chicken wings and drumsticks while seated at the table. They were all people with background and identity, and they were not in a time of drought and difficulty; did they need to do this‽
As mentioned earlier, Ye Shuang was the only female at the table. Although, of the four people there, at least two of them did not see her as a woman. After some contemplation, Fang Mo picked up the last chicken wing and handed it over to Ye Shuang. "Miss… Xiao Shuang is the cook, so this should go to Xiao Shuang."
Han Chu did not have the time to deal with minor things like this. He glared at Anthony before standing up and walking into the kitchen to find a knife and fork to deal with the chicken leg in his bowl. Most who had spent their time overseas would pick up this technique of taking meat off the bone with just a fork and a knife. The difficulty of this skill was similar to foreigners learning how to use chopsticks.
"In any case… Doing something because of emotions is the something that is definitely not worth it. If you are really not feeling satisfied in your heart, then what do you need to make yourself feel better? Take revenge‽ Good, then at what point will the annoyance disappear from your heart? Making them lose their job and their family? That would be going too far. Ruin their name and reputation? Firstly, they do not have that to begin with, and secondly, do you know how much time would be wasted if you do something like that?"
As Han Chu cut the chicken drumstick, he did not forget about the topic that they were discussing earlier. "You can choose to waste another one hundred dollars to find the ten dollars that you have lost. Personally, I do not advise or agree with that, but I will not stop you."
"It won't be necessary." Yao Zhixing picked at the fish bones half-heartedly. "After they leave your employment, they will be doing this alone. Even though they can save the commission that would have been given to Xiao Shuang, without Xiao Shuang acting as their shield, do you think they can handle the people that they're investigating on their own?"
Since those private children and mistresses came after Ye Shuang due to the investigation, naturally, they would come after other people that investigated them as well. Ye Shuang had already set up a powerful shield for herself. If the few people who jumped ship still took the job from Ye Shuang, others would not have come after them, at most, they would grit their teeth and scold Ye Shuang behind her back.
However, now that they lose Ye Shuang's protection, how hard could it be to ruin them‽ They could find or hire several ruffians to do the deed. The few who set up a PI office did not have any background or connection. On top of that, they were shouldering the sin of betraying their original workshop. Therefore, with no aid coming from any side, it was only a matter of time before they were squeezed dry.
After hearing what Yao Zhixing had to say, Ye Shuang did feel better, and thus, the topic of conversation was concluded. The dinner continued with the topic going around the table, from the smooth cooperation between Anthony and An Zixuan to the marriage of Fang Mo's sister.
As long as one had a seat at the table, one had to contribute something to the conversation. There was no escape.
While Han Chu did say he was going to stay for at least half a year at San Lin City, it did not mean that he was going to stay at home for that half a year. If he ran into a big case or any large city was holding any big event, Han Chu would show up with his trusty laptop. The time he spent at San Lin City was at most two to three days every week, but even so, Ye Shuang still had her caution.
It was easier to explain to other people. Whenever she changed gender, she could come up with the excuse that she was needed somewhere else for work; no one would purposely push further to ask for the details. However, Han Chu was Ye Shuang's direct boss. This meant that Ye Shuang's go-to reason would not be that useable.
Going for work‽ Fine, I don't care about the contract details, but if you go out to 'work' so often, how come there is no record of anything in my server
If this happened for a few more times, Han Chu would definitely discover something was wrong. In other words, if she kept using her old excuse, it was a matter of time until she was exposed.
With no other option, Ye Shuang could only come up with the mirage that she did not stay at the neighboring apartment often. She would need to move back to her parent's home for about two days or find a hotel outside to stay for the night. In any case, she could not have constant interaction with Han Chu.
Since he had lost the chance to steal dinner and lunch from Ye Shuang, Anthony felt down because of this for quite a long time.
One week passed by just like that, and it soon came time for Ye Shuang to depart to Chaohai. Dragging the luggage that she had packed and prepared early that morning out the apartment, she hailed a cab to bring her to the airport. The plane ride from San Lin City to Chaohai would take around two hours. She departed in the afternoon and would arrive at the hotel at around late afternoon.
When she arrived, she would meet up with the Mo family who arrived one hour earlier than she did. They would go to dinner together. After that, since the authors would be preparing for the symposium and had no time for Ye Shuang, she decided to join the Mo family at the beach.
"Sister Ye, do you know that my uncle is going to shoot that historical drama‽" Mo Xiao Xia hugged Ye Shuang's arm while Elder Mo and Madam Mo walked ahead of them, holding their grandson between them. As they walked, the chatty Mo Xiao Xia kept grumbling to Ye Shuang. "Brother Luo helped me secure a character for a woman of royalty in the film, but I want to cameo as Bei Song's Hwa Mulan. Can you help me convince Brother Luo and my uncle‽"
Ye Shuang looked at Mo Xiao Xia's sweet and silly girl next door image, and she sighed. She patted the girl on her head and cruelly dashed her hope. "Listen to your Brother Luo, your personality and appearance is not suitable for the character, Hwa Mulan."
Mo Xiao Xia pouted, and the two elders who walked in front tried to hold in their laughter. It was not the first time that Mo Xiao Xia had brought this up. She had been trying to convince Boss Mo of this back at home. This film was going to be Tian Mo Media's biggest film this year. Due to the large cast, it would be the perfect chance to promote quite a number of new stars.
The main cast aside, even the side characters and the cannon fodder character had a long list of people fighting for them. At the end of the day, Mo Xiao Xia was a newbie at the scene, so the fact that she could score a role as the woman of royalty was also good enough. If not for Luo Mingxin and Ye Shuang, she would not have obtained this role. Hwa Mulan‽ Ha!
"What is so exciting about a stuck-up female character?" Mo Xiao Xia still had not given up. "How about I play the emperor's favorite concubine‽"
Ye Shuang laughed. "You're still that fixated on the character of Hwa Mulan‽"
Thinking back to the character list of the novel, that concubine was the person who forced Hwa Mulan to commit suicide to prove her honor after the emperor accepted Hwa Mulan as his daughter after her female identity had been exposed.
After tussling Mo Xiao Xia's head again, Ye Shuang smiled. "Don't think too much already, just use this opportunity to train your acting. When Celebrity Luo wants to shoot that Bei Song adaptation, then perhaps you'll be good enough to demand a role that you like."
Mo Xiao Xia did not look satisfied. She bit on her lips and wanted to say something more when a loud commotion came from somewhere ahead of them.
Ye Shuang followed the voice and saw a familiar-looking woman beating a familiar-looking man while screaming, "You bastard! You've have been checking that woman out, haven't you‽"
Xiao Zhu Hou…