Chapter 25: You Advance, I Retreat
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“And the first time I really desire a woman.”
After saying those words, Li Zhicheng raised his head and stared at Lin Qian.
As expected, her originally flushed face became even redder. Even her ears were tinted red. The usually-witty pair of eyes were now flickering and darting around the room in an attempt to avoid his gaze.
Li Zhicheng also fell silent for a moment. He languidly lifted his teacup and dipped his head to casually take a small sip.
It was needless to say that she had him in her heart. The night of the riot, after both of them had to deal with the rioters, she’d gazed at him with wet eyes that shined with many complicated feelings—some that she may not have fully wrapped her head around.
If a woman didn’t love a man, she would not gaze at him in such a way. Her gaze had sent his heart to the point of silent agitation.
He was determined to win her over. At this instant, however, after he had confessed his feelings, Li Zhicheng silently gazed at her blushing face as well as her tightly intertwined fingers resting in front of her. Even his normally-still heart that usually rested calmly in his chest was quickly beating.
His woman. She was probably the only woman in the world who could have such ownership of his heart.
But she was still hesitating. Hesitating about whether or not to come closer.
“Lin Qian.” He fixed his gaze on her and gently said, “Don’t hesitate.”
As expected, the moment he finished speaking, her expression became even more distressed. Her small white teeth bit gently on her lip and her face became as red as fire.
Just then, the phone in the separated cubicle behind her rang all of a sudden.
Then, Li Zhicheng caught Lin Qian’s face noticeably relax as if a huge stone had been lifted off her chest for a moment before she recovered and acted as if nothing had ever happened.
“President Li, I’ll go get the phone!” She guiltily cast him a quick glance before turning around and swiftly leaving, with her footsteps echoing away.
Li Zhicheng planted himself at the same spot without moving. His quiet and sharp gaze was constantly following wherever she went. He watched her beautiful side profile as she focused on her work outside.
A moment later, he cast his gaze down and slowly started to smile.
Loosening the reins would allow him to grasp her better. He could already see some hope for his success.
Lin Qian typed those words onto the keyboard and then stared at them for a moment, at a complete loss. Then, she slammed the backspace key to delete them all.
She collapsed onto the table and sighed. Out of the corner of her eye, she looked into the office only to see the shadow of Li Zhicheng pressed onto the wall, which made her sigh again.
So early in the morning and her boss had decided to confess.
Now what should she do? In this small office, it was not uncommon for them to bump into each other.
Without a doubt she harbored feelings for Li Zhicheng, who was honest and had a fighting spirit. But those feelings alone were insufficient to make her simply agree to be his girlfriend. Moreover, he was no longer the person he had been before. She had yet to fully come to terms with it.
She felt very estranged from herself. A sort of empty kind of unfamiliarity, one that she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
Except why did she experience a distasteful feeling when she thought about this?
At that moment, the phone on the table rang again.
Unexpectedly, the phone call that had basically saved her life earlier was from a shareholder.
Aida was not a listed company but its shares were clear. Li Zhicheng’s family was definitely the biggest shareholder and hence the main decision maker in the company. Apart from that, the other portions of the shares were distributed among other managerial personnel and some of the veterans. The person who had just made the call was a retired shareholder with a small portion on hand. He also used to be one of the chairman’s best buddies This was the first time Lin Qian received a call from someone of such a high profile.
He wanted to meet Li Zhicheng, and at the same time asked about the sales garnered by the online flagship store. When one read between the lines, it appeared that he was very concerned as to whether or not he would receive a payout.
Lin Qian understood immediately. For the longest time, Aida had barely scraped by. Now it was finally making a comeback right before the eyes of many. Hence, the relevant parties who would benefit would naturally hear of the news. Lin Qian did not dare to agree so easily. She estimated that there was a greater than 50-percent chance that Li Zhicheng would not meet with this shareholder, and thus did not commit to any of the possibilities.
This current call had also surprised her quite a fair bit.
It was a call from the sales manager of a large district in the Eastern Region. People like him, who were in charge of the sales of over ten stores in a large district, were very talented.
“Assistant Lin, a few of our large district managers would want to meet with President Li in person,” he laughed without humor. “The online store has currently established prices that are very low. Business was hard before, but doing it now will be impossible. What should we do?”
Upon hanging up, Lin Qian took down the crux of the two phone calls. She took a deep breath before looking at the President’s office with the door slightly ajar. Then, she stood up and walked over.
Li Zhiqiang was already seated behind the large table and lifted his head upon hearing her footsteps. He stared at her silently with his dark piercing eyes.
Before Lin Qian could say anything, her face automatically heated up under his gaze.
Damn… She silently cursed in her heart. Keeping her eyes on his shoulders, she avoided his gaze and said, “President Li, there were two calls that came in just now…” She placed the note with the important details from the call in front of him, simultaneously giving him a brief explanation. Following that, she simply remained silent and waited for his decision.
Sure enough, as she had expected, Li Zhicheng fell silent for a moment before his calm voice said, “No meeting.”
“Alright.” She gave a straightforward reply and her mind wandered quickly. In Aida’s original state of hopelessness, Li Zhicheng had taken over the reins at the crucial moment with backbreaking effort and a series of bold decisions. However, this company involving thousands of people was bigger than it seemed, and relationships between beneficiaries were complex. Him winning this segment did not equate to a revival of the company, and more importantly did not equate to him having firm control of the company. Even though there was new hope, even the slightest carelessness could make it all amount to nothing. And by then all his efforts would have gone to waste.
Lin Qian could not help but lift her head to take a look at his silent demeanor.
Even with his initial victory, the road ahead would not be easy.
Wait, what was she thinking? She was seriously still treating him as the man with insufficient experience, unconsciously feeling pity for him and thinking on his behalf.
Pfft… He doesn’t need it in the least bit.
“Is there anything else?” His clear, low voice rolled over her once again.
Lin Qian was startled, realizing that she had zoned out in his presence for too long.
She didn’t even have to look up to feel his gaze on her. It was as pervasive as oxygen, enveloping her from all directions. That question, “Is there anything else?” seemed to have a hidden meaning, which caused her heart to tense up.
The entire office was seemingly engulfed in his strong, cold aura, sinking it into an ambiguous atmosphere.
With her flushed face on display, Lin Qian lifted her head and looked at him.
He also looked at her silently with those dark black eyes of his. As usual, those eyes were so deep that she couldn’t see into their depths.
Lin Qian maintained a strong gaze. Her voice, however, became as weak as a mosquito’s. “President Li, I am personally not planning on entering a relationship right now. Sorry.”