Qiu Qingcang's hands were trembling from anger.
Ten minutes ago, this man called He Zhou was sitting in his study and speaking to him as a business partner. Qiu Qingcang even felt admiration for He Zhou's keen business acumen and bold tactics. He lamented the fact that he was getting old, that one day the talented younger generation would usurp him.
Who would’ve known that ten minutes later, the young man who had intimidated him would be busy undressing Qiu Qingcang’s only son.
To be honest, if his wife hadn't been by his side, Qiu Qingcang would have sucker punched him regardless of the consequences.
"Put your clothes back on and get out here!" He reprimanded in a severe tone.
Zhong Yabai gave Qiu Yanzhi and He Zhou a sad look before silently closing the door for them.
Looking at her furious husband, Zhong Yabai sighed and took him to another bathroom to wash his ink-stained hands. “Sigh, don’t be so angry. Didn’t you tell me yesterday that you suspected something was going on between those two..?"
"I thought they just had a crush on each other, but look what they're doing now!"
Qiu Qingcang had to take a deep breath before he could barely rein his emotions. "It’s so early in the morning. Yanyan just woke up, but they already had the guts to do such things right under our noses! Just think about how much further they would've gone if they were truly alone…”
Qiu Qingcang could not continue. Finally, he just grit his teeth and spat out one last remark.
Qiu Yanzhi could hear the conversation outside through the door. He felt very wronged.
He pushed He Zhou away and glared at him again.
Qiu Qingcang sat on the sofa. Across from him were his son and his former business partner. He rumbled, "Hurry up and tell me what's going on."
Qiu Yanzhi was wracking his brain for a way to explain the scene just now, but then a dry and warm hand covered his. This hand interlocked their fingers with an irresistible amount of force.
He Zhou looked at Qiu Qingcan. "Mr. Qiu, your son and I are in a relationship."
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment. He quickly denied, "No we're not!"
He Zhou looked at him gently, "Yanyan, let’s not hide it from our dad anymore. The cat's out of the bag.”
Qiu Qingcang frowned, "Wait a second...what did you just call me?"
He Zhou gave Qiu Yanzhi another fond look before turning to Qiu Qingcang. Every fibre of his being conveyed his sincerity, "We’re getting ready for marriage."
What the f*ck are you on about He Zhou?! Are you crazy?!!
Qiu Yanzhi was caught off guard by this sudden development. For a moment, he could only watch as He Zhou spouted more boldfaced lies right in front of him. Shock and panic flooded his brain, making him temporarily forget how to even retort.
"Nonsense!" Qiu Qingcang frowned.
“How long have you two known each other for? How much could you possibly understand about Yanyan in that short amount of time?! Can you take responsibility for these words of yours?!!”
He Zhou lowered his eyes and spoke slowly, "We've been together for over four months, but Yanyan's known me for years. Yanyan's birthday is on July 20, 1998, his favourite colour is blue, he likes sunny days the most, and his favourite food is wontons.”
“The place he wants to go visit the most is Hongming Island because he thinks the sunset there is absolutely stunning. He’s also a bit superstitious. For example, the password on his phone and his bank card PIN are both 666888--”
"Shut up He Zhou!" Qiu Yanzhi’s ears became redder with each fact exposed by He Zhou. "Dad, it's not like what he said!"
Qiu Qingcang glanced at Qiu Yanzhi. He picked up the phone his son had placed on the table and entered the password He Zhou just said.
The phone was smoothly unlocked. Since the phone password was correct, the bank card PIN was a no brainer.
Zhong Yabai glanced at Qiu Yanzhi and complained: "This kid, why are you willing to give so much to a person just because you like them. You two aren’t even married yet, and you’ve already told him your bank PIN?”
Qiu Yanzhi shook off He Zhou's hand and gave him a cold look. Then he said to Qiu Qingcang, "Dad, don't listen to his nonsense! I have no relationship with him at all!”
"No relationship at all?" Qiu Qingcang frowned, "Then what were you two doing in the bathroom just now?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
How was he supposed to explain this?
The truth would just make things weirder. What, was he just supposed to be honest and say that He Zhou was just helping him button up??
Qiu Yanzhi, did you just get kicked in the head by a donkey this morning? Why’d you just stand there and let He Zhou fucking button your shirt?? Did you forget that he’s no longer your husband?!
"He's angry with me." He Zhou sighed helplessly as he directed a look filled with tenderness at Qiu Yanzhi sighed hopelessly.
"Yanyan wanted to get married on Hongming Island, but I thought that location was too far away. Yanyan, I know I was wrong. I’ve already bought out Hongming Island, so don't be angry with me anymore, okay?"
He Zhou, you shameless wretch, stop twisting the truth!!!
Qiu Yanzhi was so angry that he almost had a heart attack. He was just about to issue a sharp retort when Qiu Qingcang cut in: "A wedding? So soon? When are you two going to get married?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "I don't plan to get--"
"Next month." He Zhou squeezed Qiu Yanzhi's hand and turned to smile at him. Warmth radiated from every one of his words. "Yanyan even asked a professional to divine an auspicious day. They said that the sixth of next month is suitable."
Qiu Qingcang said in a deep voice.
Qiu Yanzhi secretly got excited.
That’s right, Dad! Just like this!! Turn him down hard!! I just knew you were the one who understood me best! Tell He Zhou to face reality already!!! Please continue to beat up this pair of fake lovebirds!!
Qiu Qingcang had a very serious expression on his face, "Next month is too soon. Have the wedding next year."
Qiu Yanzhi was dumbfounded. "Dad--"
Qiu Qingcang sighed, "Yanyan, I can see how fond you are of He Zhou. I still think that you two are rushing into marriage, but Dad will support your decisions no matter what.”
"Dad, I’m not going to marry him!" Qiu Yanzhi jerked to his feet. “He Zhou is out of his mind, he’s been talking out of his ass! I don’t even know him! We met for the first time yesterday!”
“You don't know him?" Qiu Qingcang frowned, "Then why did you ask me about He Zhou last night?"
Unfortunately, Qiu Yanzhi’s questions yesterday were suspiciously detailed, ranging from when He Zhou had mentioned him to how much He Zhou had drunk at Qiu Qingcang's birthday celebration. It was quite obvious to anyone looking how ‘interested’ he was in the man.
Qiu Yanzhi secretly clenched his fists, not knowing what to say.
"Don't make a scene in front of Mom and Dad." He Zhou stood in front of Qiu Yanzhi and said soothingly, "If you want to ask anything in the future about me, just ask me directly. "
He paused for a moment, looking down into Qiu Yanzhi's eyes. His ink-black pupils shone with heavy emotions, "Yanyan, I'm different. I wouldn't lie to you."
Qiu Yanzhi looked into his eyes and pursed his lips slightly, unable to muster a reply.
Qiu Qingcang glanced at the two of them. "Don’t let disagreements fester. If Yanyan is still angry with you, I don’t think it’s necessary for you two to get married yet."
He Zhou held Qiu Yanzhi's hand. "Don't worry, Dad, Mom. I will make it up to him. Yanyan promised to do something with his classmate in the afternoon. It’s almost time, so we’ll be leaving first.”
Now that things had come to this point, anything Qiu Yanzhi said would be used against him. But the sudden turn of events that led to his engagement after waking up really made his head spin. More importantly, his mainline quest for this round was to capture Ye Mingxu!
--The current situation was a hundred thousand miles away from his goal.
Qiu Yanzhi took a few deep breaths to calm down.
It's okay. This is just a minor setback. I’ll just tell my parents after a few days that He Zhou and I broke up.
By the way, according to the last game's timeline, Meng Qikang was coming back next week. When that time comes, Qiu Yanzhi would just say that the reason they broke up was because he couldn't accept that He Zhou already had someone in his heart.
No matter what, his parents were biased towards him. Furthermore, Qiu Yanzhi was a living, breathing human being! Nothing He Zhou could say was going to be enough to force him into getting married!”
There was absolutely no way.
At the very least, Qiu Yanzhi was a player, and He Zhou was just an NPC. Victory would always belong to Qiu Yanzhi in the end.
With that, Qiu Yanzhi finally managed to calm down. He let He Zhou lead him out of the house by his hand.
Then, under his parents' watchful eye, he got into He Zhou's car.
Only when he was sure that they couldn’t see anymore did Qiu Yanzhi unbuckle his seatbelt. He glared at He Zhou. “Stop the car.”
He Zhou didn't listen.
The corners of Qiu Yanzhi’s mouth tucked up into a sneer. “Mr. He must be insane. Aren’t you afraid of being struck by lightning after uttering those ridiculous lies?”
"Young Master Qiu, you weren’t too bad at cooperating with my lies.”
"When have I ever cooperated with your lies?"
“If you weren’t trying to cooperate with me, then why did you ask your father about me? Do you like me that much? Are you that interested in me?”
“What are you babbling about? I just found you annoying, so I wanted to see if there was a way to avoid you in the future."
"Then what about just now in the washroom? When I was buttoning your shirt, why didn't you push me away?"
He Zhou turned his head to look at Qiu Yanzhi, his gaze burning.
Qiu Yanzhi could not meet his eyes. He said defensively, "I didn't react in time."
“You didn't react in time?" He Zhou laughed lightly as he pulled the car over to the side of the road.
He looked at Qiu Yanzhi, his gaze sullen: "Didn't react in time to what? To the fact that I’m no longer your husband?”
Qiu Yanzhi turned to look at him. "He Zhou, can you stop saying such strange things to me? I really can't understand what you're implying."
"Then listen carefully.”
He Zhou stared straight into Qiu Yanzhi's eyes. His deep black pupils seemed to draw people in like a magnet.
"Qiu Yanzhi, whether you’ve lied or not, whether you remember or not…everything you’re going through now is because you owe me.”
He Zhou paused for a moment, his tone calm and restrained.
“You have to pay me back."
Qiu Yanzhi’s pulse immediately started racing. For the first time, he felt like He Zhou's deep black pupils were like a penetrating mirror that could see into people’s souls, a gaze that was impossible to hide from.
They made Qiu Yanzhi look away somewhat sheepishly. While he glanced down to unbuckle his seatbelt, he muttered, “...You lunatic. I have no idea what you’re saying anymore. There's no way I'm going to marry you."
Qiu Yanzhi was about to open the car door and walk down when he heard He Zhou speak again, "I signed a big contract with your father this morning. Elderly Mr. Qiu is too old to even pick out the loopholes in it."
Qiu Yanzhi froze.
He turned back. "What do you mean by that?"
He Zhou's dark eyes were devoid of all emotion. "If I were to take certain actions, all of Mr. Qiu’s hair might go white overnight."
Qiu Yanzhi’s lips were pressed into a thin line as he warily regarded He Zhou. “You’re just trying to scare me. My family’s company is not something you can bring down so easily.”
He Zhou looked at him. “Do you want to put those words to the test?”
"He really can do what he said." Big Yellow swooped in and flew in front of Qiu Yanzhi’s eyes, whispering in warning, "Did you forget what his role is in game?"
Like how Ye Mingxu's appearance on the basketball court could always cause the crowd to cheer...
All of the game's capture targets came with their own hidden attributes.
Like how that singer was sure to become a superstar...
Like how that school idol would definitely be the top student in every exam...
Like how that artist was guaranteed to be a talented genius...
He Zhou's role was a CEO.
His hidden attribute was that he could always turn the tide in the business world. A phone call from him was enough to bankrupt the richest of moguls.
What's more, He Zhou had retained his memories from the last round. His knowledge of the future allowed him to control the markets with an iron fist. Anyone who went against him was as good as ruined.
Besides, this trashy game never failed to disappoint when it came to making things tougher for Qiu Yanzhi.
Qiu Yanzhi stopped talking. His hand froze on the car door’s handle.
He Zhou came over and thoughtfully refastened his seat belt for him, saying gently: "Didn't you say you were going to that student's house for dinner today? Let's go, I'll come with you."
When He Zhou re-fastened Qiu Yanzhi's seatbelt and looked up, he saw that familiar yet foreign bite mark left by some other man on Qiu Yanzhi's neck again.
...A much lighter shade than yesterday, but it was still an eyesore.
He Zhou’s gaze darkened.
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly asked, "...Today in the bathroom, did you do that on purpose?"
Did you deliberately pose in an ambiguous way?
Did you deliberately leave the door unlocked?
Did you deliberately let Dad stumble upon us?
...Did you deliberately try and force me to marry you?
"No, I did try to lock the door at the time."
He Zhou paused for a moment, then slowly said, "Because I wanted to do something far more excessive to you."
Qiu Yanzhi frowned, "...What?"
He Zhou reached out his right hand, covering Qiu Yanzhi’s entire neck. His thinly calloused thumb slowly rubbed that bite mark.
Having your neck held by someone was like entrusting them with your life. It really inspired a lot of anxiety, and with good reason. Qiu Yanzhi frowned uneasily and tried to break free.
Alas, he was completely restrained once again.
"Do you know what I wanted to do then?" He Zhou's voice was quiet and raspy.
His thumb rubbed that bite mark again with quite a bit of force. The unfamiliar touch almost caused a shiver to run down Qiu Yanzhi's spine.
Then Qiu Yanzhi heard He Zhou say those terrifying words in the softest of whispers.
"I thought, ‘I would do anything to erase this trace, even if I had to use a knife to scrape it off.'”