The manager felt very embarrassed that he was afraid of a young boy, but there was another thing that was even more embarrassing. The manager seized his wife’s arm. “Tell me clearly. Didn’t you say that Mai Ding was pestering and harassing you, then what’s this all about with Gao Guo?”
“In the end, you still don’t believe me!!” The manager’s wife continued to deny it. Gao Guo pretended to be innocent and explained, “She just approached me to talk about Mai Ding. If we really had anything going on, we wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it in the company. The reason we went to the stairwell was because your wife didn’t want to cause any more misunderstandings and hurt you. In the end, some people just enjoy inciting quarrels.” Gao Guo intentionally or unintentionally, glanced at Sister Hua as he spoke. The manager thought that Gao Guo’s words made sense.
An Ziyan was able to guess what possibly had happened just based on a few of their words. When Gao Guo was about to head toward the manager’s side to further sway him, An Ziyan stretched out his foot. Gao Guo tripped and almost fell down. He angrily turned around and met An Ziyan’s indifferent face, “I don’t care whose wife you want to get with. Your biggest mistake was dragging Mai Ding into this.”
“I’m just judging the matter as it stands. He even met up and had a meal with another man earlier. You didn’t know this, right? How can you be sure that he didn’t hide this matter from you?” Gao Guo remained calm as he spoke clearly and reasonably. He had been doing this for a long time. He really could stir up other people and could say manipulative words with conviction, spinning lies until they sounded like the truth, provoking conflict where there was peace .
( The author uses the idiom「能把死的说成活的」which literally means ‘able to talk the dead into being alive’ and is used to describe when someone skillfully speaks with false conviction and assurance, twisting facts and logic until what was innocent looks evil or what was logical looks illogical, for purposes of manipulation and deception. A bit like gas-lighting.)
“I wish he had the brain to hide matters from me.”
“What do you mean!?” From the back, Mai Ding glared at An Ziyan. An Ziyan did not pay attention to him as he continued to talk to Gao Guo, “I don’t wanna waste time dealing with your relationships with women. I’ll only give you one choice, take back all those words about Mai Ding.”
“Are you trying to threaten me and make me tell lies? He did it. Can I say that he didn’t? Do you want me to ignore my conscience and disregard the harm done to the Madam?” Gao Guo became a messenger of justice and the manager’s wife cried in grievance. If the person involved had not been Mai Ding, he himself would quickly believe that Gao Guo was innocent. Gao Guo’s eyes were firm and his words were sincere. An Ziyan impatiently clicked his tongue, “So you still wanna play, then I’ll play with you for five minutes.” He looked at the time.
“This isn’t a game. Can’t you see that people got hurt because of Mai Ding? You even dragged me into this. Manager, if you really don’t believe me, then feel free to investigate me. I have nothing to hide.” The manager was in a dilemma. Now, the situation was confusing. He seemed to have blamed Gao Guo wrongly. Did Mai Ding really look for a man to help him absolve himself?
“Then investigate him. It seems like we can find out a lot of things. For example, you leaked the lowest price of the company’s ‘Qing Li’ project list to a rival company; you two went to ‘Seven Days’ Hotel last month and rented a room; or like how that watch on your wrist was bought using the money from the cuckold manager.” An Ziyan spoke slowly and reasonably with evidence. The ‘Qing Li’ project was from the time when he inadvertently glanced at Gao Guo’s document that day. As for the other things, they were all made up by An Ziyan. Comparing their treacherousness, Gao Guo fell short and perhaps, not just by a little.
“You’re slandering me! That’s not true!” Gao Guo was flabbergasted. How did he know about the ‘Qing Li’ project? That list was indeed in his hands, but he never did any of the things that An Ziyan had said!
“If it’s not true, then the investigation will prove your innocence, right? Cuckold, he demanded an investigation on his own accord.” An Ziyan turned around and stared at the manager who had an unsightly expression. “I’m curious about something. Isn’t Mai Ding just an intern? Your wife was so threatened and harassed by Mai Ding that she was afraid to tell you. She obviously could make Mai Ding leave with just one word, but she didn’t. Instead, she talked about it with someone else, suffered in silence, and let Mai Ding stay in the company and continue to harass her?”
“He’s talking nonsense. Mai Ding used very despicable methods. That’s why…”
“You know better about that than anyone.” An Ziyan taunted.
Sister Hua chimed in from the side, “That’s right, Manager. Think about it carefully. We can’t say much because we don’t know the truth. As it happens, Gao Guo, who usually acts like nothing is of concern to him, is unusually proactive today. Besides, even if your wife’s afraid, why would she specifically look for Gao Guo to discuss it. Usually, you don’t see their relationship being so good to this extent. Since their relationship’s so pure, they certainly won’t be afraid of your investigation.”
Mai Ding, who wanted to speak but could not cut in anywhere, was anxious and helpless behind An Ziyan. Gao Guo’s expression changed. A moment ago, he only told the manager to investigate in order to increase his credibility. If the manager believed him, then he would not investigate it. However, if the manager was to really investigate this matter, then their affair would be exposed sooner or later.
“Why would you investigate me?!” He shouted.
“Feeling guilty, am I right?” Sister Hua said. The manager inwardly wanted to push everything to Mai Ding, so that he could comfort himself that he was not a cuckold, but things were getting clearer and clearer. Being called a cuckold directly by others was intolerable to a man’s dignity. He turned his anger on his young and pretty wife. “Stop crying. Did you and Gao Guo go to Seven Days Hotel?”
“Others have seen it. They can even say the hotel’s name!”
“He’s talking nonsense. The hotel that we went to last month wasn’t ‘Seven Days!’ How could he have seen us? He made it all up!” She blurted out angrily and after that, the two were stupefied. An Ziyan raised his hand to confirm the time and then lazily said, “It’s been five minutes.” After completing his sentence, An Ziyan ferociously hit Gao Guo’s face with his fist. Gao Guo’s expression twisted and he took a few steps back.
“You fucking…” He had not finished his words when he was interrupted by another painful attack.
“You fuc…” Then, another painful attack landed on his abdomen.
“You…” And again.
He fell back again and again. As long as he dared to open his mouth, the price paid with pain became higher. Finally, he did not dare to speak and just stared at An Ziyan. An Ziyan loosened his fist and moved his fingers. “As expected, I still like this kind of way.” Surrounded by surprised gazes, An Ziyan grabbed Mai Ding’s hand. “I definitely don’t want you to stay here by yourself again.”
Mai Ding actually did not want to go. It was not at all easy to find an internship and he was starting to become familiar with the environment. However, when Mai Ding looked at his colleagues, most of them looked at him with a gaze that Mai Ding was familiar with. Thus, Mai Ding picked up his bag and stared at Gao Guo. “It’s good that you looked down on my feelings. I don’t need people like you to understand me.”
An Ziyan dragged Mai Ding away. Mai Ding looked back at the office and he could hear the manager’s furious curses coming out from inside, as well as the sound of the manager’s wife crying, and the whispers of the others.
This was the first lesson that society had given to Mai Ding.
Mai Ding, who was trying to keep up with An Ziyan’s footsteps from behind, could not help but secretly look at An Ziyan from the side. “According to your usual temperament of not being able to stand troublesome matters, you would have immediately dragged me away. What happened today?” He obviously knew what happened. As much as An Ziyan could not stand troublesome matters, he was still willing to take the time to help him clear things up.
“I’m quite free today.”
This guy simply did not tell the truth. After An Ziyan took a few steps, he suddenly stopped. “Hey, how about you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me if you’re sad.” He said with a harsh tone. The corner of Mai Ding’s lips curled lightly. When it comes to sadness, there was quite a lot of it. The disappointment just then, the helplessness, and the humiliation. However, before he opened his mouth, the feelings gradually got diluted by An Ziyan. Eventually, he could not find any sorrow to pour out.
“Then what will you do if I’m sad?”
“I’ll watch from the side.”
Mai Ding was about to glare when An Ziyan hugged him, braced him in his arms, and clasped his fingers. “Is this okay?” He gently asked. It took Mai Ding a few seconds to softly mumble, “I really wanna say no.”
“Then is it okay or not?” He put a slight force in his arms and left no gaps.
“Then did it fool you?”
“Don’t ask me all the time.”
With you, I really could ignore everything: how others look at me, how they talk about me. I have you.
There was a matter that Mai Ding perhaps did not care about. Time had always been changing. The polygamy phenomenon in the ancient times and such seemed very absurd in the present day. The people at that time probably could not imagine a man without long hair and that women could wear short skirts. People’s thoughts and ideas would change with time. Perhaps, if they keep persevering, they could wait until the day when the feelings between them would become an entirely natural matter. Of course, Mai Ding did not care. Even if he could not reach that day when he could be accepted by everyone, he had already reached An Ziyan.