Two months ago.
Xue Liang, with sweat dripping from his head, squeezed out of the bus and, following the map on his phone, rushed towards Shengze Hotel. This was an internship arranged for him by an older student, and the position was an administrative assistant. Xue Liang had originally not been in such a rush, but he encountered traffic on the way and had wasted more than ten minutes. There were still nine minutes until the agreed interview time, and he would certainly lose points on his first impression if he was late.
Shengze Hotel was a high-end and modern hotel, with four buildings in front and back. The revolving door at the entrance had already spun for thirty seconds. The ample air conditioning in the lobby slightly alleviated his sweltering tension. As he waited for the elevator, Xue Liang opened his WeChat messages to confirm the room number once again: 7601.
Two minutes later, the elevator stopped at the seventh floor.
The carpet on the corridor muffled his footsteps as Xue Liang quickly walked to the suite at the end of the hallway. After confirming that the room number was correct, he pressed the doorbell. A man's voice came from inside: "The door is not locked, come in."
Xue Liang took a deep breath and pushed down the door handle.
The room was very spacious. Half-circle floor-to-ceiling windows, white gauze curtains fluttering in the breeze, and beautiful lake view outside the window. The man was sitting on a single sofa by the window, looking up and asking: "What's the matter?"
Xue Liang bowed quickly: "Hello, I am here for the interview."
This was the first time Yan Chong had seen him, to be honest, the first impression he had was that the young man was very obedient, bowing his waist very low, revealing his back, and a bit of sweat had wet the back of his white shirt.
The matter of hiring this help had always been arranged by Assistant Cui Tu, and he had heard that X University student had been chosen. Yan Chong came today to take a look at the candidate himself.
But the agreed time was three o'clock, and now it was just two-thirty, Cui Tu had gone downstairs to run some errands for him, and Yan Chong did not dislike people who were early, so he gestured for him to sit down: "You are from X University?"
"Yes," Xue Liang sat cautiously on the sofa, and seeing his hands were empty, he quickly took out a resume from his bag and handed it over with both hands, "This is my resume."
Yan Chong was stunned, took it over.
He really had no experience with "keeping" someone, and he didn't know what the so-called "getting to know each other" was supposed to be like. This little friend was so meticulous according to the job application process, which was a bit in line with his own thoughts.
Yan Chong skimmed through the resume, and encountered a word he did not recognize in the first line: "Xue..."
"Liang," Xue Liang hurriedly said, "It's a kind of bird's name."
Yan Chong thought to himself that the two of them were meant to be. His name was taken from the surname, the original meaning of "Chong" was "birds flying straight up", which was an obscure word that ordinary people would not know.
From the resume, Xue Liang was an excellent student, winning scholarships every year. Yan Chong almost felt a bit sorry for him, and asked: "You are only in your third year of university, so why are you in such a rush to come out and work? Are you still going to continue studying afterwards?"
Xue Liang was preparing to apply for postgraduate study, and it was almost a certainty. In his senior year, apart from writing papers, he had nothing else to do, so he planned to take advantage of his free time to go out and have some fun. Since he started university, Xue Liang had never asked his family for money, so the travel expenses, of course, had to be earned by himself. However, he couldn't directly say this reason, so he vaguely spoke about needing to work to earn living expenses.
Listening to him say he was still going to pursue a postgraduate degree, Yan Chong thought his family must not be well off. He felt a bit sorry, even thinking of providing assistance to him, but then he thought that since Xue Liang was able to make money through his own labor, following him wouldn't cause any actual loss to him, and it was suitable for Xue Liang, who seemed to have a strong sense of self-esteem among excellent students.
He put down his resume and made a preliminary judgment of the child, then asked other questions: "What are your specialties?"
Having heard people tell him about their interview experiences, Xue Liang knew that he had basically passed the resume test. Next, he had to show his advantages as much as possible, so he answered honestly: "I'm proficient in playing musical instruments, singing, and painting, as well as writing."
"...Very good, you're multi-talented," Yan Chong said. "I see on your resume that you're in the school's chinese performance arts team..."
Xue Liang: "Mainly responsible for crosstalk and comic dialogues."
Having heard rumors of gold masters pampering their little lovers, he didn't expect that his "golden canary" was actually a crosstalker. Yan Chong thought it was absurd and felt like laughing for some reason: "How's your alcohol tolerance? You might have to accompany me for banquets in the future."
Upon hearing this question, Xue Liang suddenly felt more confident. Seeing Yan Chong's smile, he relaxed a bit and his nervousness subsided. He even began to show his true colors, saying, "I have an average tolerance for alcohol, but don't worry, I have a strong will. As long as I don't die from drinking, I'll drink until I drop."
Yan Chong laughed and shook his head helplessly and said, "It doesn't have to be that extreme."
Not knowing whether it was because of the "sugar daddy" premise that affected his rationality, or his rebellious nature hidden beneath his usual restrained appearance, Yan Chong's impression of Xue Liang was very good from their first meeting. Compared to being docile and obedient, he was more tolerant of those with a bit of a challenging personality.
Twenty minutes later, the two had already gotten a lot closer. Just then, Zhou Wenbin called and had some urgent matters for Yan Chong to go back to the company to handle. Assistant Cui was still stuck in the Second Ring Road. Xue Liang took the lead to bid farewell. Before leaving, he asked Yan Chong when to come to work and if he needed to sign a contract. Yan Chong had already been completely brainwashed by his own imagination, so in order to take care of Xue Liang's "sensitive and fragile self-esteem of excellent students" and also to look good, he asked Zhou Wenbin to directly notify the Human Resources Department to give Xue Liang an internship contract when he came to work next week. The position was an internship assistant and the salary would go to his private account, and it was settled in a straightforward and effective way.
A twist of fate changed the trajectory of the two people's lives without them knowing. They had met the right person at the wrong time, without knowing what the future holds. But fate is like a clock striking midnight precisely, and once the bell has rung, the truth will reveal itself.
Xue Liang and Han Bowen were facing each other in the courtyard, the silence heavy like a boulder on their hearts. After a moment, Xue Liang seemed to slowly come to his senses, and he muttered, "No---"
Yan Chong's voice suddenly sounded from behind him, like someone clapping their hands in the peaceful courtyard.
Xue Liang was so startled he nearly flipped backwards. He quickly turned around and saw Yan Chong standing at the entrance, wearing a shirt with two buttons undone, slippers on his feet, his hair a mess, his gaze hazy, like he was still drunk, with an unhappy pucker on his lips as he said, "The water's boiled."
Xue Liang: "Ah? Oh I forgot...sorry, sorry, I'll go back right away." He turned to Han Bowen and said in a low voice, "This is really...I'm sorry, leave me your WeChat and I--"
Before he finished speaking, Yan Chong had grabbed his wrist. President Yan spoke solemnly like he was announcing a major decision at a shareholder meeting, word by word: "It's late, talk about it tomorrow."
"I’ll just say one sentence, then leave. Ah, don't rush." Xue Liang tried to appease him, then quickly turned back to the dumbfounded Han Bowen, saying, "He's drunk, don't mind him. This is my debt to you, if there's any way I can help you, just say the word and I'll do my best."
Han Bowen struggled for words, looking at the two of them dragging and pulling: "You..."
Seeing he couldn't convince him, Yan Chong just forced the issue, dragging him back to the villa. Xue Liang stumbled along, saying quickly, "As long as it's not against morality, I'll agree to anything, but there's only one--"
"Unless he fires me himself, I won't leave him."
Han Bowen: "Oh."
He watched as Yan Chong stopped in his tracks upon hearing those words, his expression solemn as he patted Xue Liang's head. In the gentle moonlight, he said seriously, "I won't fire you, but if you dare leave, I'll dock your salary."