Our Glamorous Time - Chapter 26
Chapter 26: No Regrets Over Spilled Milk (No Place of Regrets Once a Move is Made)
Ten minutes later.
Her chin propped in one hand, Lin Jian seemed to be watching with rapt attention at the screen.
However, her ears couldn't help but listen to any sound of activity coming from the office.
Thump, thump... The big boss stood up and was walking back and forth inside the office. Tap, tap,he sat down and was tapping on the keyboard. Sparse rustling noise... He was flipping through documents...
Everything was normal judging from the sounds. His day even seemed rather busy and fulfilling. There was no great chaos the likes you'd see after a breakup;no sign of sudden moodiness.
Lin Jian heaved a sigh of relief in spite of herself.
Thinking back on it, she was probably worrying for no good reason again! Someone like him should have a great control over his mood and his feelings. Or perhaps, even though she'd rejected him, things like feelings weren't all that important for him to begin with-you could just look at Lin Mochen, they were the same type of men.
But Lin Jian was a little fretful. Moving the mouse, she randomly clicked on the screen.
In matters of sentiments, to refuse, not to love him, it didn't mean you were the winner, that you could be happy and carefree. The impact of feelings is ever mutual. They were a double-edged sword.
Lin Jian had had the urge to bite her own tongue as soon as those words had left her mouth. Her tone, why had it sounded like a student admitting her mistake to her teacher? Foolish and diffident?
Then, She'd seen him sit straight behind the big desk, not moving, no expression to be seen on his handsome face from start to finish, staring at her with his deep, black eyes. Staring at her until she felt a discomforting anxiety.
Then she'd looked down and avoided his gaze, randomly found an excuse, turned around and fled.
’’What are you thinking about? Why are you absent-minded?’’ A familiar voice came in front of her.
Only then did Lin Jian come back to her senses. She looked up. Gu Yanzhi and Xue Mingtao had come in front of her somewhen, but she actually hadn't noticed them.
She immediately pushed back her thoughts and offered them a small smile. ’’Director Gu, Director Xue, is there anything I can do for you?’’
Gu Yanzhi smiled faintly and didn't speak, looking happy and relaxed. Xue Mingtao smiled as well. ’’You haven't changed yet? Not going?’’
Lin Jian finally realized in a little daze that both of them were wearing their coats. Xue Mingtao even held a briefcase, seeming about to go out. Before she could answer, she heard unhurried steps coming behind her, then Li Zhicheng's voice floated to her ears: ’’She's coming.’’
Lin Jian suddenly froze, then immediately recovered her normalcy. She looked back at him with a smile. ’’Director Li.’’
Li Zhicheng had already changed into his coat. It was still the same black one. His entire person looked straight and stern. Under his vigorous hair, the cool, black eyes were stopped on her. His voice was deliberate: ’’Get changed, we're going out.’’
Composed, impassive. Seemingly not any different from usual. Seemingly an entirely different person compared to the blazing intensity earlier in the office.
’’Alright,’’ Lin Jian immediately answered. She turned off the computer and wore her coat, then followed the three of them to the elevator.
The car traveled steadily on the road.
Xue Mingtao was the driver. Lin Jian sat beside him like before.
Because their sales numbers were still climbing today, Xue Mingtao chatted and joked with the two bigshots while he drove. Gu Yanzhi was clearly in a great mood as well. He even jokingly asked Li Zhicheng to invite them to dinner.
Lin Jian sat in the front, but her she kept glancing at Li Zhicheng from the corner of her eyes. He sat there like a pine, still and peaceful, replying now and then to Gu Yanzhi's jokes. Maybe she was simply imagining it, but his voice seemed especially slow and deep today. His cool and peaceful aura seemed to overflow in the entire interior of the car. Now and then, he occasionally looked forward, then Lin Jian could feel his eyes fall soundlessly on her, limpid as water, but also hot enough they could burn someone.
A disquiet welled up in her chest once again. She became increasingly quieter.
However, this quietness attracted someone else's attention.
Xue Mingtao steered the car into a brand new industrial park, glancing sideways at Lin Jian at the same time. ’’Little Lin, why are you so quiet today? Is your cold not gone yet?’’
Lin Jian realized then that she hadn't said a word on the way. Today should have been a joyful day, the first one after their victory. Her attitude was indeed abnormal.
As soon as Xue Mingtao's voice fell, she could feel the eyes of the two men sitting behind her gathering on her. A brilliant smile immediately came to her lips as she said, ’’Not entirely yet.’’
She originally just wanted to deal with it with a vague answer. Who would have thought? They met a red light just then. The car stopped. Xue Mingtao looked at her, full of concern. ’’Stick out your tongue, let me see?’’
Lin Jian: ’’Ah?’’
Xue Mingtao was already past forty. He quite appreciated her after they experienced this battle together, and treated her just like a big brother. He smiled when he saw her looking back blankly at him. ’’I learned some Chinese medicine before, let me see your tongue and your throat.’’
’’Oh.’’ Lin Jian turned sideways and opened her mouth at him, stuck out her tongue, ’’Ahhhh ’’
Who would have known that from that angle, she could spot with a side glance Li Zhicheng leaning back on his seat in his well-ironed suit, his hands on his knees, an inch of shirt-cuff white as snow showing underneath? He was staring at her, the expression in his eyes exactly the same as when he'd confessed to her this morning, deep and bright, and pressing at the same time.
Lin Jian's heart shivered under that stare. She even had her tongue out. Her cheeks suddenly started burning. She subconsciously closed her mouth and moved her head slightly aside, avoiding his line of sight.
Not letting him see.
Xue Mingtao gave her a strange look. ’’Why are you suddenly hiding... It looks alright, you shouldn't be infected. It's just, why's your face still so red? Do you have a fever?’’ He immediately lifted his head and put it on her forehead.
Lin Jian now could feel even more strongly Li Zhicheng's eyes stopping once again on her face, stopping on the place Xue Mingtao was touching.
Lin Jian stayed silent, her cheeks still burning. Xue Mingtao rambled on and on about how she should drink a lot of water or whatever. She didn't really listen.
Goddamnit... What the hell was this?
She'd clearly told him no already. But now, between him and her, why was there a sort of... mutual misconception, as though she already belonged to him? He seemed to latch onto her every move. And her consciousness actually acted on its own and filtered out everyone else, only to pay attention to his every move.
Maybe... it was because Li Zhicheng's aura because his simple existence demanded too much attention?
The car stopped not far away from one of Aida's brand new industrial parks.
It was already close to noon. Sunlight shone on a forest of brand-new office buildings gray and brown, the green of the trees planted everywhere in the park. The scenery was quiet and elegant.
Why did they come here? A large part of Aida's industrial parks had already been discarded, some of them serving as mortgage.
The three men were all tall and strong, walking very fast. Lin Jian followed behind them in quick strides. Along the way, Xue Mingtao introduced the situation to the two big shots in a quiet voice. Li Zhicheng walked in the front. He didn't look at her, and he didn't to her either.
Afterward, they went into a small white building three stories tall deep inside the park. In contrast to Aida's headquarters that were decorated in the style of the nineties, this place was arranged in a simple yet elegant style, black and white serving as the two main colors. It looked very modern.
A thought suddenly emerged in Lin Jian's mind when she saw this environment: this place was decorated according to Li Zhicheng's taste.
She looked up and gazed at Li Zhicheng standing by the French windows, his hands stuck in the pockets of his pants while he surveyed the industrial park's surroundings.
Why did he buy or rent a new office area? What was he trying to do?
But they didn't explain, so she held her tongue and didn't ask. The four of them visited floor by floor. Gu Yanzhi was often the one picking on the details, offering some opinions as to the decoration, while Li Zhicheng just calmly pointed out a detail or two. Xue Mingtao agreed with them and said he'd ask people to make the changes.
Now and then, Li Zhicheng would directly face her when he turned to exit a room. Her eyes still fled his. She played the fool and avoided looking at him in the eye. His side profile was calm and his steps steady as he brushed past her, nothing unusual about him.
This made Lin Jian's mood gradually calm down. That's it, let's go back to being boss and assistant, very good very good.
She actually loved working at his side.
On the third floor, the area facing south had clearly been set aside for the management. It was entirely split into small rooms, and the decoration was also a little more refined. Lin Jian was a little absent-minded when they reached a small room facing south because this room was entirely decorated with warm colors, and the office desk wasn't a deep black like in the other rooms, but a bright beige. The glass windows to the side had been built in a strange fancy shape. The whole room looked fresh and elegant.
This time, when Gu Yanzhi came inside, he merely offered a smile. He didn't say anything and didn't offer any opinion either. Xue Mingtao looked around and said with a nod, ’’I think this room is the best, the direction, the decoration, the style.’’ He smiled at Lin Jian.
Lin Jian blinked: was he asking her to express her opinion as well?
Before she could speak, she saw Li Zhicheng turn to look at her from where he stood in front of the writing desk. His voice was faint: ’’What do you think?’’
Lin Jian looked straight into his eyes, deep and black under the lighting.
She finally... spoke to him again. She replied with a faint smile, ’’I think it's pretty good.’’
Without replying, he looked away somewhere else.
Lin Jin understood maybe this office had been prepared for some new female manager?
Who was it? To make Li Zhicheng care about the decoration here, even talk to her and ask for her opinion.
Harboring her doubts, Lin Jian followed the three of them as they left the park.
Back in Aida, Xue Mingtao proposed for the two bigshots to head upstairs first, while he and Lin Jian went to find the decorators and sort through what they'd decided earlier. Lin Jian gladly accepted. She wasn't eager to go back to her office and have to face Li Zhicheng. It would be best to spend a little time away from each other.
On the way, Lin Jian finally couldn't hold back her questions anymore: ’’Director Xue, what on earth is the new office we visited today for?’’
Xue Mingtao glanced at her in surprise. ’’You don't know? I thought Director Li would have told you in person, he even told you to go check the office.’’ He laughed, then lowered his voice and said, ’’The Vinda brand is selling like hotcakes right now, Director Li is going to split the sub-brand and make it its own company very soon. Aida will be its debtor and investor. As to the rest, you'll slowly see.’’
Lin Jian suddenly froze.
So it was like this.
She had still been worried that the morning that Vinda would have to wade in Aida's swamp, worried about how Li Zhicheng would control the entire conglomerate. But looking at the new office today, Li Zhicheng had not only planned for a commercial war with their rivals on the outside, he'd even been preparing an internal reshuffling on the inside.
His had a keen and penetrating view of the entire picture. Their external victory had already been decided, and he'd already begun setting out strengthening his control over the internal situation. Step by step, each step linked to the last, every detail planned with minute care.
Just how deep were this man's thoughts?
That day, it was already seven o'clock in the evening by the time Lin Jian returned to the office.
She first went to the IT department's floor and inquired about the day's sales volume. Her mood became all the more dazzling after receiving pleasant news. And the small stuffiness she felt because of Li Zhicheng also vanished like smoke.
The boss had a formidable aura, there was no going around it. When she exited the elevator again and stepped onto the top floor, she looked at his half-closed office door from afar, and her mood that'd been relaxed for the greater part of the day seemed to tense again.
Everyone was an adult. They shouldn't feel much awkwardness interacting with each other now, shouldn't they?
He wouldn't look at her with the kind of gaze that made her heart flutter, would he?
But when she strode forward a few steps, she saw someone sitting in her seat. Someone familiar, Yang Xiru from the office of the Director-General, someone working under her.
Lin Jian approached her with a smile. ’’What's the matter, are you looking for me?’’
Yang Xiru immediately stood up from her seat with a lovable smile. ’’Sister Lin, I came up to have a look and familiarize myself first. If you have instructions for me, you can tell me in advance too.’’
Lin Jian blinked. ’’What are you familiarizing yourself with?’’
Yang Xiru also blinked. ’’The post of assistant to the director-general, of course.’’ She was a clever girl. Seeing Lin Jian a little out of sort, she immediately lowered her voice and honestly said, ’’Sister Lin, I got director Gu's call an hour ago. He said you'll be transferred very soon and told me to prepare to be the new assistant.’’
Before she could say anything, Lin Jian heard a familiar muffled male voice coming from inside the door. ’’Lin Jian, come here.’’
Yang Xiru stuck out her tongue at her, but Lin Jian couldn't find it in herself to smile. She pushed the door open, went in, closed the door behind her.
When she looked up and saw Li Zhichen sitting on the sofa with a calm expression, a thought glided through her mind
Was he transferring her away because of what happened in the morning?
Indeed, for both of them, for everyone at the office, it was the best way to handle the matter.
However, her asking to be transferred on her own initiative was one thing, him transferring her away was another.
His feelings for her only lasted less than a day, as it turned out. After meeting with a refusal, he immediately told her to beat it just like that?
’’Sit.’’ He calmly looked up at her, still looking as cool and handsome as ever. But his eyes lacked the deep intensity of earlier during the day and were more of their usual calm.
Lin Jian sat down, impassive.
Li Zhicheng pushed a document on the table in front of her. Lin Jian glanced through it: Dismissal agreement.
This thing really came out of left field. Lin Jian composed herself. She found it a little hard to believe, but it was right in front of her.
She didn't even feel like flipping through this dismissal agreement. A feeling of haughtiness filled her mind. She looked up at him across the table, steadily locking her gaze into his. ’’Is it because of this morning?’’
Her tone was ill-tempered. Li Zhicheng broke the eye contact and stared at her faintly red cheeks.
The deep and unfathomable eyes actually exposed a little smile after a while. He looked down, stretched out his hand, and opened the dismissal agreement for her.
’’What on earth are you thinking?’’ he said, his tone placating. ’’You think I'd let you go?’’
Lin Jian's heart shivered. She looked down at the document, without even the time to wonder whether there was a double entendre in his words. She saw written right in the middle of page one, ’’Since Lin Jian aspires to leave in order to assume a post in Vinda Corporation, she hereby reaches an agreement with Aida Corporation to be relieved of her labor contract...’’
Lin Jian blinked. Vinda Corporation? What Xue Mingtao had talked about, the new office space they went to visit today? This fast? Her anger vanished like smoke, replaced by doubt and curiosity.
’’Keep reading.’’ Li Zhicheng was curt and to the point.
Lin Jian flipped to another page. There was actually a new letter of appointment mixed inside. She opened it and felt shocked again.
’’Lin Jian... Assistant Director...’’
Assistant director, director's assistant. The difference was only in the sequence of words, but the status was a thousand miles apart. An assistant director was a legitimately high-ranking post, usually in charge of a whole department.
Seeing this title, Lin Jian suddenly felt her heart thump in her chest, a few words emerging in her mind moving up the world.
No wonder he brought her to the new office, no wonder they asked for her opinion about that office.
That office room... was it for her?
But she didn't say anything for a moment.
As though he could guess at her inner hesitation, Li Zhicheng said in a neutral tone, ’’This appointment has nothing to do with sentiments. From now on, you'll be the one making the decisions.’’
Very succinct words, but they instantly made Lin Jian fired up.
Right. If it had been for sentiments, he should have kept her at his side like before, rather than letting her go somewhere else. He was definitely not someone to let romance cloud his judgment and affect his work.
Since it had nothing to do with sentiments, then it was because of her abilities and accomplishments. Her abilities were indeed pretty good, and in the previous campaign, she'd indeed contributed quite some exploits.
Was that why he was letting her go and let her be a decision-maker?
Lin Jian took the contracts and stood up, her expression serious as it'd never been before. ’’Director Li, I'll definitely do my best, I won't make you disappointed.’’
Li Zhicheng sat on the sofa, his hands resting on his knees, looking up at her. ’’You'll never disappoint me.’’
Sleep was definitely hard to find for Lin Jian that night. Her thoughts raced at a hundred miles an hour.
As for Li Zhicheng, he merely arranged a chessboard in his empty, silent office, waiting for a game.
He'd grown up with his grandfather ever since he was little. He'd brought his chess skills to the point of perfection. Back then, he had been the one who'd let someone leak Chen Zheng's ancient chess records. Apart from giving him a taste of his own medicine, he'd even gained a chess partner in Ming Sheng's Director Kang, a worthwhile effort.
In the whole company, only the old vice president Liu Tong could go head to head against him.
Liu Tong gladly accepted after receiving his invitation. The two of them played against each other, facing the solitary moon outside the windows.
Looking at the first game, Liu Tong actually smiled. ’’Zhicheng, I lost five times in five games against you, but I can see a victory today for once.’’ He looked up and glanced at Li Zhicheng. ’’You're a little rash and impetuous today. Isn't the flagship online store a success already?’’
After a moment of silence, Li Zhicheng slowly answered,
Liu Tong blinked, then saw him fiddle with his chest piece before softly putting it down, faintly saying, ’’Just like a chest move, there's no place for regret once a decision is made.’’
 Assistant director: the post would be the equivalent of a vice director or vice president in an American company.