Xu Xinyi, who was being called the overbearing president’s replacement lover for no reason, did not know that she was so pitiful in other people’s eyes.
And Yi Yang, who had been labeled as a man who enjoyed ‘overbearing president’s replacement lover’ play, and was seen as an irredeemable scum and general bully, also did not know that he was so evil in other people’s eyes.
Currently, he was so busy with his work that he had to push his lunch back an hour.
He was a lonely CEO who always ate lunch alone.
“Zhao Bin, is that the lunch your girlfriend made for you? Isn’t that nice?”
“When will you two get married? How long have you two known each other now? I remember that when I joined the company last year you didn’t even have a girlfriend?” The speaker’s voice sounded half-joking, “As for me, ah~, I missed my chance. I can only blame myself that I didn’t grasp it.”
“Zhao Bin, isn’t your girlfriend beautiful? When are you going to get married?”
“Let’s talk about it again two years from now. We’re still young and in no hurry.”
“Say, do you think President Yi is married or not? I read some rumors online that President Yi is secretly married. Zhao Bin, you are the one who has been around President Yi the most, do you know?”
Zhao Bin smiled bitterly. “Don’t tease me. Even if I knew, I wouldn’t dare say it.”
“Come on, we won’t tell.”
“You could talk about it a little. Or… at least you could give me a hint.”
“Ahem…” Someone coughed to interrupt and then whispered, “Stop it. President Yi is around.”
The several people in the break room were all startled and did not dare to speak again. They just bowed their heads, brewed their coffee, and warmed up their lunches while minding their own business.
Hearing the room suddenly fall silent, Yi Yang really felt that Zhao Bin was too dutiful as an assistant. His mouth was too tight, even while his colleagues were creating a fun atmosphere. It would be fine if Zhao Bin gossiped a little, or other people would think he was a stingy boss.
When Yi Yang arrived back at his office he spotted some notifications on his phone. There were several messages about Xu Xinyi from Weibo.
They said that Xu Xinyi recently, with great fanfare, signed on several young fresh meats and young actors with potential. Yi Yang, remembering the half-nude man on her phone that night, thought about it, and then called Zhao Bin into his office using company’s inside line.
He really should keep an eye on her.
Seeing Yi Yang’s serious face made Zhao Bin feel uneasy.
Judging by his experience, Yi Yang must have an important matter for him if he was making a serious face.
Could it be that the words his co-workers were saying in the break room had been heard by President Yi so now he called Zhao Bin here to settle accounts?
Zhao Bin looked at Yi Yang nervously. “President Yi, you were looking for me?”
“En,” Yi Yang looked at him calmly and his expression was the same one he usually wore when thinking about important matters. While Zhao Bin was struggling to mentally prepare himself, he heard Yi Yang slowly ask, “Do you have a girlfriend?”
Zhao Bin’s hanging heart was suddenly let down. From the terror he was feeling before to this sudden sense of relief, the contrast was too large to be believed.
But he was stunned to hear his boss mention this kind of personal topic.
He couldn’t figure out the boss’s intention, so he decided to just tell the truth.
“…yes, I do. “
“Does your girlfriend make you a lunch every day?”
Yi Yang seemed like he did not quite understand, “Is the food in the company canteen not good enough? I seem to recall that the company canteen is free for employees.”
“The company canteen is fine. It’s just that my girlfriend will always cook a little more after cooking dinner at night and then give that to me in the morning.”
“Your girlfriend cooks for you every day?”
“Yes, her company is close to our house and she gets off work early so she’s always home before me. Since eating out is too expensive, she likes to cook every day.”
Yi Yang nodded.
“What else does she do besides cooking for you every night?”
“…President Yi, this…” Zhao Bin didn’t quite dare to say that this was his private matter, and what does it have to do with you? People had to eat after all, so in the face of his boss, he could only say, “If she doesn’t have anything else to do, she will watch a drama on TV while I read a book.”
“What about on the weekends?”
“On weekends… we occasionally go out. We go to the movies or maybe out to eat. I’ll go shopping with her, or we might cook a meal together.”
“Watching movies, shopping, and cooking?”
“Those things can all improve the relationship between a man and a woman.”
Yi Yang nodded thoughtfully.
“How long have you been together?”
“Two years?” That was about the same as how long he had been married to Xu Xinyi. “Did you chase her, or did she chase you?”
It seemed his boss intended to ask about his private affairs all the way to the end. Zhao Bin could only smile and say, “I chased her.”
“How long did you chase her?”
“A month. Is something the matter, President Yi?”
Yi Yang hesitated briefly. Then he just flashed a smile that said ’I’m a boss who cares about my subordinates’, “I care about my employees.”
Zhao Bin smiled awkwardly and said, “Thank you, President Yi.”
“You got together with her in a month. That’s pretty good.” Yi Yang cleared his throat and leaned back in his chair. “When you were chasing your girlfriend… That process… I mean… What do women like…? How do you make them happy…”
Yi Yang was silent for a long moment before he seemed to gather his thoughts and said. “I just meant, how did you do it so quickly?”
“For me, it was not very difficult. My girlfriend recently told me that she actually liked me already when I started to pursue her, so she agreed as soon as I approached her.”
“She liked you, but you chased her for a month?”
“That’s just what women do. In fact, even when I first started chasing her, I thought that she probably liked me already. But she always refused to admit it, only now that we have been together for a while, she told me that she just wanted to test me a bit.”
Yi Yang continued to ask: “You thought she liked you? Then how do you know whether a person likes you or not? “
Zhao Bin finally understood. The boss was trying to learn how to chase a woman by asking him about his relationship.
But weren’t President Yi and Mrs. Yi on good terms?
Had a crack appeared in their relationship recently?
He dared not give advice on this matter. But after thinking quickly, using the brain that was qualified to become the president’s assistant, he cautiously replied, “You can just ask her directly. Girls are all thin-skinned and can’t stand that kind of direct question. If she blushes when you ask, that means she likes you.”
Just ask her? Would that work?
Yi Yang could almost imagine Xu Xinyi looking at him with her cheeks tinged with red and saying, ‘Husband, of course, I love you’.
Not to mention forcing out a blush, Xu Xinyi could even make the tips of her ears all the way down to her toenails turn red if she wanted to. This method was no good.
“Is there anything else else?”
“There is another thing. If a girl really likes you, even if she tries to hide it, you will be able to see it in her eyes. For example, if she sees you with another woman, she will unconsciously lose her temper and act jealous.”
Yi Yang nodded. He seemed to finally see a way through the fog ahead.
“Hm, I understand. Recently, you have been working hard. Go to the finance department and get a 50% increase in your salary.”
“Thank you, President Yi!”
That evening, Yi Yang came back early from work.
“Yi Yang, you’re back? It seems that recently, something came up at Aunt Chen’s house so I gave her a few days off. Tonight we will just go out to eat because the new cook won’t arrive until tomorrow.”
The Yi family were usually very particular about food, and Aunt Chen alone had been in charge of making their food for many years. But she only cooked for the Yi family. As for the other Yi workers’ meals, the security guards, and so on, they were not within the scope of Aunt Chen’s responsibility. Thus with Aunt Chen Chen gone only the Yi’s themselves needed to find food.
Xu Xinyi came down from upstairs. “Grandpa, mom, is Yi Yang here? I finished getting dressed. Let’s go.”
When she spoke, Yi Yang remembered what Zhao Bin had said today, and then recalled that the day he intended to divorce Xu Xinyi, Xu Xinyi had made him a table full of seafood.
Although he had not eaten the meal she made that day, he remembered that it had looked quite tasty at a glance.
Xu Xinyi’s cooking skills were probably pretty good.
“Don’t bother. I can just help Xinyi make a meal tonight.”
Xu Xinyi was stunned. She froze in place and wondered if she had misheard. For a long moment, her ears seemed to be ringing. “What?”
Yi Yang took off his coat and rolled up his sleeves. “I remember you are quite a decent cook, so you might as well take this opportunity to show the elders your skills.”
“Really?” Old Master Yi was surprised and asked, “Xinyi, you can cook?”
Xu Xinyi: “I…”
Yi Yang interrupted: “Yes, she made me a whole table of seafood in the past.”
“A table of seafood?” Mrs. Yi also sounded interested. “Xinyi, I would never know that you were such a good cook unless Yi Yang said something. Since you have the skills, you can cook tonight. Let mom here have a taste of your ability.”
Xu Xinyi wanted to speak but didn’t know what to say.
–“When did I cook a table of seafood? There was no such thing. What is Yi Yang trying to do here?”
“Let’s go see what’s in the kitchen.” Yi Yang said as he turned to walk to the kitchen.
“Then, thank you in advance, Xinyi.”
Old Master Yi sighed and sat down comfortably. “It just so happened that I didn’t really want to move my old bones. It’s really too troublesome to go out for a meal.”
“…but, my cooking is not very good.”
Old Master Yi and Mrs. Yi smiled awkwardly and said, “Well, that’s… it’s fine. If it comes to it we can still go out.”
Xu Xinyi sensed that they were suspecting her. A kind of ‘you can cook but you don’t want to cook for me’ sentiment seemed to be written on their faces.
So she decided to give it a try. Although she hadn’t been in a kitchen for a long time, it’s not like she had never cooked.
Her cooking should be good enough, right?
“Grandpa, just sit down and relax. I’ll go cook.” She rushed to the kitchen. When she saw Yi Yang, she asked him: “Can you cook?”
Yi Yang was a man who had never stepped foot into a kitchen, how could he know how to cook?
But just because a man has never eaten pork doesn’t mean he had never seen a pig run.*
Thinking of the cooking scenes he had occasionally seen on TV and the few times he had boiled an egg while abroad, he slowly replied, “I should be able to.”
Xu Xinyi automatically filtered out the word ‘should’.
“OK, then you check what’s in the fridge.”
Yi Yang quickly took out all the ingredients in the fridge.
There were some beef and shrimp that had been bought today, a whole chicken that had not been chopped up, and all kinds of mushrooms that neither Xu Xinyi nor Yi Yang recognized.
“Why are you taking everything out?”
Yi Yang said confidently: “The food in the company canteen is not very good so we should make some extra. I can take it into the company tomorrow.”
“What should we do first?”
Xu Xinyi looked at the pile of ingredients in front of her and began to analyze. “Aunt Chen was probably planning to make soup.”
Yi Yang took that as a cue to start washing the chicken and the mushrooms.
For the first time in his life, this noble young master cleaned a dead chicken body and then carefully washed the dirt off of some mushrooms.
“And what next?”
Xu Xinyi took advantage of the time while Yi Yang was washing vegetables, to search for chicken soup recipes on Baidu. Then she found a large pot for cooking soup and commanded Yi Yang, “Put them in.”
“Put all of it in?”
Xu Xinyi nodded.
Yi Yang stuffed the chicken and mushrooms into the pot.
It was truly the blind leading the blind in the Yi family kitchen.
“Do we add the water?”
“Yes. Go ahead and start.”
Yi Yang started to pour, “How much?”
Xu Xinyi surreptitiously looked at her phone, “…that should be enough.”
“Not yet, they need to be added later.”
Yi Yang turned on the burner to start cooking the soup.
Then Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang stared down at the beef and shrimp. This was a little tricky.
“Should we steam or stir-fry the shrimp?”
“What about the beef?”
“OK. How do we cut this beef?”
“I’ll do it!” Xu Xinyi grabbed a knife and fruitlessly tried to cut it a few times before giving up. “…you’d better do it.”
“How much oil does it need?”
“Err, you don’t know how much oil?”
“Pour the oil in quickly! The pot is turning red!”
Shhh- (tl note: oil pouring sound I guess)
Xu Xinyi hissed and quickly hid behind Yi Yang to escape the spatter.
“It seems we need to pour in some wine to add flavor.”
“What are you doing? The pot is on fire! Hurry up, put out the fire!”
“I’m cooking. Shut up!”
The two waiting elders carefully approached the kitchen and then listened to the noises coming from inside. They calmly exchanged smiles and then returned to the living room without saying a word.
“How much salt do you need to put in?”
“Why are you asking me? You’re the one cooking!”
“…is it alright to put in so much?”
An hour went by.
Yi Yang: “…don’t you know how to cook?”
Xu Xinyi: “Didn’t you say that you could cook?”
“Didn’t you make me a seafood dinner before?”
Xu Xinyi was too embarrassed to admit that it had been take-out.
After being busy for an hour the two of them surveyed the fruits of their labor. There was a pile of burnt beef, some bitterly salty chicken soup, some black lumps that might have been steamed shrimp or maybe vegetables, and they unanimously decided to open the take-out software of their phones.
Xu Xinyi lowered her voice. “There is no take-out around here. Do you know of any local take-out places?”
“Aunt Chen is usually in charge of these matters. How would I know?”
“So what do we do now?”
Yi Yang was silent.
“This is all your fault! Wouldn’t it have been fine to eat out? But you had to do it yourself!”
“Xinyi, is the meal ready?”
Xinyi said in a loud voice, “Mom, just wait a while longer. It’s almost done.”
Mrs. Yi said with a smile, “OK, don’t worry, take your time.”
“I think… let’s go out to eat.”
Xu Xinyi nodded, “OK, let’s go out to eat.”
The two of them walked out to the living room side-by-side.
“Grandpa, mom, let’s eat out.”
The two people who had been waiting for dinner were surprised. They looked at Yi Yang. “What happened?”
Xu Xinyi smiled guiltily and said, “I couldn’t cook well.”
“It’s alright. This is the first time you’ve tried cooking. Even if you didn’t do it well, you should at least let your mother and I have a taste.”
“No, it will taste bad, trust me!”
When Xu Xinyi said so much, the Old Master and Mrs. Yi started to become more interested.
“We won’t know if it’s bad until we’ve eaten it. Don’t worry so much. Everyone has a first time once. Let’s see what kind of delicious food you’ve made.”
Saying so, they walked over to the kitchen.
The kitchen floor was covered with spilled water and the stove was covered with spilled oil. Meanwhile, the plates were very dark. There were vegetables, beef, shrimp, and chicken soup.
“…this shrimp looks good. I’ll try it.”
Mrs. Yi picked up a shrimp to taste.
“Xinyi, this shrimp, did you peel it?”
“…I forgot. “
Old Master Yi appeared and said, “It’s fine. I’ll try this soup. It looks good.”
Old Master Yi took a sip of the soup and his face flashed green for a second.
“Dad, what’s wrong?”
Old Master Yi waved. “It’s nothing. We can just try again next time.”
Then he whispered in Mrs. Yi’s ear, “This… bring me two of my blood pressure pills.”
Mrs. Yi understood immediately, she said to Old Master Yi with a smile. “Alright, let’s go out to eat.”
Xu Xinyi hurriedly helped Old Master Yi out of the kitchen.
Yi Yang looked around at the mess in the kitchen and his face was stormy.
This was nothing like the gentle scene in his imagination. Instead, it was just like a chicken and a dog jumping around and almost burning down the kitchen.
He recalled what Zhao Bin said today: Cooking could improve a relationship?
He felt that if he cooked a few more meals like this, he would want a divorce.
*An idiom. I feel like it’s pretty self-explanatory? Just because a person has [never done X] doesn’t mean they haven’t [seen X done] – which then gives them some (probably baseless but maybe not) confidence that they can [do X] too.
tl note: Just putting this heads up here since I made some changes last night: the number of advance chapters my Patron’s receive expanded today so if you are a Patron there are now more chapters (from my other project) to read now at all tiers.