Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 41

Everyone was still in shock at Xie Jin's double standard attitude when he took Su Tao and left.

The female class leader, with a "shocked" expression on her face, quickly sent a message in her bestie WeChat group:

"Can you imagine what Xie Jin would look like when acting pitiful?"

"Please refer to the image of a Northeast tiger turning into a little kitten."

After leaving the restaurant, Xie Jin walked with a limp behind Su Tao, pretending to be in pain. As soon as they stopped at the entrance of the restaurant, Su Tao turned back. Xie Jin immediately put on a pained expression again and took the chance to unlock the car.

"Stop pretending," said Su Tao indifferently as she got into the car.

Xie Jin looked embarrassed and got into the car as well. Without waiting for Su Tao to question him, he took the initiative to confess everything that was on his mind.

"I came after you when I heard from Su Yangxing that Jiang Qi was going to confess to you."

Su Tao's doe eyes widened in surprise. In an instant, she recalled Jiang Qi's ardent gaze when he saw her earlier, and that strange feeling. Her heart tightened.

The phone suddenly rang. Speaking of the devil, it was Jiang Qi's name on the screen.

Su Tao's hand shook and the phone was snatched away by Xie Jin. "She's busy now and doesn't have time to take your call."

After saying that, he hung up the phone.

The phone rang again. Xie Jin was about to turn it off directly when Su Tao's fair hand grabbed it back and answered the call.

Jiang Qi's furious voice could be heard clearly from the receiver in the quiet car: "Let me speak to Su Tao!"

Su Tao pressed Xie Jin down as he was about to get up in anger, and calmly said to the phone, "It's me."

Jiang Qi's voice softened and he complained, "Why haven't you come back yet? I've been waiting for you for so long."

Su Tao said, "Jiang Qi, I really can't get away from here and won't be able to go back. I've ordered a cake and some dishes for you. If you like lively events, I can ask my colleagues to go and accompany you."

There was silence on the phone for a long while, then Jiang Qi's low and suppressed voice came through, "What about you? I only want you to spend my birthday with me."

Su Tao tried to keep her tone light: "I'll give you a big red envelope, congratulating you on getting one year older."

Jiang Qi's unrestrained disappointment could be heard from the receiver: "I came all the way back from North City to look for you, just so you could spend my birthday with me. As my agent, you can't even accompany me on my birthday?"

Su Tao took a deep breath and let it out slowly, maintaining a calm tone. She said meaningfully, "Jiang Qi, don't be unreasonable. I'll book a hotel and return flight for you tomorrow..."

"Did someone say something to you?" Jiang Qi suddenly interrupted her words, "Was it Su Yangxing?"

"Jiang Qi, happy birthday."

Su Tao hung up the phone. She immediately called Le Xuan: "I'm sending you a location. Go find Jiang Qi right away and follow him. Don't let him run around. I've booked a plane ticket for you too. Send him on the plane tomorrow."

After ordering the cake, dishes, hotel, and plane tickets, Xie Jin had already driven to the building where she lived.

Watching the video report sent by Le Xuan that she had found Jiang Qi and was drinking with him, Su Tao felt slightly relieved.

Le Xuan had the easygoing nature of a boy but also the attentiveness of a girl. She was extremely capable in both work skills and adaptability, so Su Tao was at ease leaving Jiang Qi to her.

Xie Jin got out of the car and searched his surroundings with the posture of a sniper looking for a shooting spot at 360 degrees.

"That brat didn't chase here, did he?"

Su Tao curled her lips and said lightly, "You think he's like you?"

Xie Jin snapped out of his sniper mode and realized Su Tao was mocking him for being unscrupulous.

He suddenly recalled that his injured foot had been exposed and hurriedly walked ahead, locking himself in the spare bedroom as soon as he got in the door.

Su Tao knocked on the door, "Aren't you eating dinner?"

A muffled voice came from inside, as if his head was covered by a blanket, "Don't try to trick me. As soon as I come out you'll send me away."

Su Tao: "..."

Early next morning, Su Tao received a report sent by Le Xuan from the hotel that she was going to send Jiang Qi to the airport. Su Tao felt at ease and went to the company. But less than half an hour later, Le Xuan called again.

"Boss, Jiang Qi is missing. He had been quite cooperative with me so I lowered my guard. Just in the short time I went to the bathroom..."

"When and where did you lose him?" Su Tao was exceptionally calm at critical moments.

"At the hotel. I urgently needed to use the bathroom so I told him to wait for me outside, but when I came out he was gone. I've searched the hotel but he's probably left already." Le Xuan was both anxious and remorseful. She had already searched the hotel and estimated that he had left the hotel already.

Looking at the elegant figure standing outside the office door, Su Tao sighed softly, almost imperceptibly. "No need to look anymore. He came to the company."

Su Tao didn't get up when Jiang Qi entered the office. Her clear and bright eyes watched as he closed the door behind him and locked it.

Su Tao's brows furrowed slightly. Just as she was about to speak, Jiang Qi blocked her in the chair in three big strides.

He leaned over her, grabbing the armrests on both sides of the chair, and brought his handsome face right up to Su Tao's. The playfulness usually seen in his bright eyes was gone, replaced by indignation mixed with tenderness. "Are you deliberately avoiding me?"

Su Tao shrank back against the chair back, left with no room to evade. She could only stop him verbally, "Let's talk properly."

Jiang Qi still maintained that posture, his ardent gaze fixed on her as he swallowed hard. His voice was somewhat hoarse, "You know I like you, don't you?"

Su Tao's breath hitched. She thought her attitude had been very clear. If Su Yangxing's information was wrong, her words yesterday would have been harmless.

If it was true, Jiang Qi was so smart and concerned about face, her attitude was telling him there was no possibility between them and he should have just let it go to preserve both their dignity.

Yet now, it was obvious he understood but was still confessing recklessly.

"So, your attitude is rejection, right?" The indignation in Jiang Qi's eyes slowly faded away, filled instead with heartbreak and unwillingness.

Su Tao tilted her head slightly and lowered her eyes, "Jiang Qi, we are just cooperative partners."

"Your brazen confidence somehow reminds me of my brother sometimes, so I've always seen you as a brother. But for me, you've always been that little girl I met collecting bottles on the beach. You asked why I always wanted you as my assistant. It's because I want to keep you by my side all the time. I've never had this feeling for anyone before."

Jiang Qi spoke more and more agitatedly, his ears and cheeks flushed red. He had never confessed to anyone before. Usually he would casually flirt a little and the girl would turn red and understand his meaning, then take the initiative to fawn over him.

He really didn't know confessing required so much courage.

"I admit, I was a little frivolous at first. I've always easily gotten girls to like me. I've never really liked anyone before. I didn't know what it was like to like someone - looking forward to her calls and messages every day, wanting to hear her voice every day, wanting to see her every day, even willing to compromise and do things I don't want to do."

Jiang Qi swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down. Finally, he solemnly said those words, "Su Tao, I like you. I don't want our relationship to just be agent and artist. I want to be your boyfriend. Is that okay?"

Upon hearing this, Su Tao finally slowly raised her eyes to look directly into his. She heaved a deep sigh, her face aloof as she said, "No, it's not okay."

Taking advantage of his stunned state, Su Tao lifted one of his arms and got up from the chair, standing by the door in preparation to leave at any time.

Jiang Qi saw her guarded posture and let out a bitter laugh which finally turned into bitterness that seeped into his heart.

"What you just said, someone's already done that to me before, and I didn't like it. Jiang Qi, not to mention I can't accept your confession style, just our identities alone mean there's no possibility of development. Moreover, I'm four years older than you. I would absolutely not accept you."

Su Tao's words could be described as heartless.

She left no room for maneuver, cutting straight into his heart. Completely eliminating any fantasy he might have.

"If you can't get your feelings back, I'll have to assign you an executive agent," Su Tao said as she opened the door and beckoned to Le Xuan in the workspace outside, "Change the plane tickets, I'll personally take you to the airport."

After finishing speaking to Le Xuan, Su Tao turned her head back to the dispirited Jiang Qi.

"Jiang Qi, there is only one final left. Train well and come back with a first place. In the future, you will have hundreds of thousands, even millions of fans going crazy for you. You will stand on the brightest stage and receive the most enthusiastic applause and cheers. By then you will realize that what you want now is insignificant. You will get something better."

Su Tao looked at him with bright eyes full of yearning, as if she could really see Jiang Qi, the most dazzling under the starlight, in the midst of the crowds.

That should be his dream.

Jiang Qi slowly straightened up, not at all encouraged by Su Tao's words. He slowly walked to her side, the corners of his mouth curled up in a barely discernible bitter smile, his tone full of sarcasm.

"If success requires sacrificing what you want most first, isn't that very sad? By then, it should not be enjoyment, but emptiness."

Su Tao's expression was unmoved, her tone almost ruthless as she refuted, "Then not succeeding, you still won't get what you want, which is even more empty."

Jiang Qi was taken aback, frowning at Su Tao, stunned for a long time.

This time Su Tao personally sent Le Xuan and Jiang Qi through security, and stood at the exit until Le Xuan sent a message that they had boarded the plane before she finally felt relieved and let out a breath.

On the way back, Su Tao received a call from Li Yajie.

"Taozi, I have a good news and a bad news."

The corners of Su Tao's mouth that had curled up from the first half of the sentence dropped again with the second half, "My sister, how is there still bad news?"

Li Yajie also sighed, and this sigh made Su Tao's heart thump, intuitively sensing that this bad news must be extraordinary, even Li Yajie couldn't resolve it.

"I won't mention the good news, it's basically confirmed that Jiang Qi will be the spokesperson for DG's new product."

With the worrying mood brought by the bad news, this good news could no longer excite Su Tao, "What's the bad news?"

"The bad news is that the DG contract is now in Jiang Nian's hands. He wants to meet you before he signs the contract."

A trace of gloom flashed across Su Tao's eyes. After thinking for a few seconds, she asked, "Sister, do you know the whereabouts of Qin Xuexi?"

In front of Jiang Nian's old villa, Su Tao took a deep breath twice, clenched the handbag in her hand, and pressed the doorbell.

Led through the front gate by a servant and brought to the backyard.

In the same location, the mood was completely different from the last visit. Jiang Nian was nearing seventy years old, yet preserved like a sixty-year-old. Only his sagging cheeks made him look more like a butcher than a businessman.

He was silently fingering a string of prayer beads, quietly watching a group of birds landing on the branches. On the table was a toy gun.

Su Tao hesitated for a moment, then saw him suddenly grab the gun from the table, aim at the birds in the tree, and fire a shot that startled the birds into scattering away.

Although it was harmless, it was enough to deter Su Tao.

"Sit down."

Without turning his head, Jiang Nian's old hoarse voice sounded like a gas leak. But it was steady and calm.

Su Tao silently adjusted her breathing to steady her heartbeat, then walked to the position opposite Jiang Nian and sat down. She took out a box of aloeswood from her handbag and took the initiative to speak, "Mr. Jiang, nice to meet you. This is a small gift."

This box of aloeswood had high collectible value. She had specially asked about his preferences before buying this not inexpensive gift.

Su Tao had heard that people with strong murderous tendencies especially liked worshiping Buddha and meditating when they grew old, perhaps because they were afraid of going to hell after death.

Jiang Nian took the box of aloeswood and opened it to smell it, looking intoxicated, as if he really knew how to appreciate it, "You shouldn't have spent so much."

"As long as Mr. Jiang likes it, I came today to discuss the contract at your request. Please feel free to make any conditions."

Su Tao knew Jiang Nian had been trying to undermine her psychological defenses with his overbearing attitude, so she simply brought the conversation out in the open, to bring their standings back to the same level, so she wouldn't be so passive.

Only then did Jiang Nian glance at Su Tao, scrutinizing her for a long time, his eyes full of oppressive force.

However, Su Tao was used to Xie Jin's sinister gazes, so she accepted his gaze oppression relatively well, without too much discomfort.

Su Tao's composure made Jiang Nian nod, unable to discern if it was meant as a threat or praise.

"You exposed my lover's trickery against me. Should I thank you or punish you for it?" The old hoarse voice said sarcastically. He was still observing how long Su Tao could keep up the pretense.

Su Tao's composure skills had been honed since childhood. Even if she was extremely flustered inside, she would never let it show, "Neither."

Jiang Nian raised his eyebrows, waiting for her explanation.

"I helped you avoid a big ploy of fake prince scheming for your assets, but at the same time I shouldn't have secretly investigated your private affairs, offending your taboos. So the merits and demerits cancel each other out. You don't need to thank me or punish me."

"Hmm, a smart one."

That murmur from the old hoarse voice sounded like a gas leak, making Su Tao's ears uncomfortable.

"But you got rid of my lover, how will you compensate me for that?"

Su Tao's expression froze. She hadn't expected him to be thinking along those lines. She was at a temporary loss for words.

This time Jiang Nian didn't beat around the bush, directly bringing it up, "That Xue Xinzi of yours isn't bad. Why not give her to me as compensation?"

The atmosphere instantly became deathly still. Perhaps sensing this eerie silence, the birds flew away in groups again.

Su Tao's fair hands gripped the handbag strap tightly, breaking a fingernail, trying hard not to reveal a hint of disgust and nausea.

She took out her phone, pulled up a recording, and directly hit play without saying a word.

Qin Xuexi's ghastly wailing came from it, startling the birds that had flown back to the trees into flying away again.

Qin Xuexi: [You and Jiang Nian should both die! Do you think I wanted a child just for the assets? I can't get pregnant or I'll die by that old beast's hands sooner or later! You're both executioners!]

Su Tao: [You mean Jiang Nian abused you?]

Qin Xuexi: [Abuse? You call that abuse? That's beating! Look at me, open your dog eyes wide and see clearly! I'm holding each of these scars responsible on you! Su Tao, I will also make you taste being pressed and beaten by a beast!]

Su Tao: [Why do you blame Jiang Nian beating you on me? You can't deal with him, so you pick on a soft target?]

Qin Xuexi: [Of course I have my way to deal with him!]

Su Tao: [What way? Sue him for intentional injury? He can easily smooth that over in minutes, don't be childish.]

Qin Xuexi: [Do you think I'm an idiot? I... none of your business! Rest assured, after I'm done with Jiang Nian, you're next. Neither of you will come to a good end!]

After the recording ended, Su Tao calmly took out another envelope and placed it in front of Jiang Nian, "I provoked Qin Xuexi into revealing that she went to your competitor, Shangyu Technology. She provided them with a lot of DG information that she must have collected from you over time."

Jiang Nian's face was already black. His gloomy gaze fell on the envelope as he set down the prayer beads heavily on the table and opened it.

Inside was evidence of Shangyu Technology's series of malicious acquisition actions to take over DG's shares.

Ever since she saw the scars revealed on Qin Xuexi's arms last time, she was certain Jiang Nian had abused her, and her hatred must run deep. She would definitely seek revenge against Jiang Nian.

She had to come fully prepared for this trip to Hongmen Banquet in order to get out unscathed.

Judging from Qin Xuexi's hysterical state last time, Su Tao knew she only needed to provoke her with words to draw out a lot of content.

She just didn't expect to uncover such a big matter.

Shangyu Technology wanted to manufacture black PR for DG, use public opinion to drive down DG's stock price, and then maliciously acquire it to oust Jiang Nian and Li Yajie.

This was investigated with Xie Jin's help.

Not to mention whether they would succeed in the end, just the damage to DG's reputation affecting Jiang Qi's endorsement had formed a community of shared fate with Su Tao.

Although Jiang Nian was disgusting, she could not stand by and watch DG get into trouble. Qin Xuexi had misdirected her revenge.

After Jiang Nian put down the envelope, he picked up the prayer beads again and watched the birds with composure, "Xie Jin helped you investigate this, right?"

Since he knew about Xue Xinzi, he must have seen the Growing Together show and naturally was aware of some of her interactions with Xie Jin.

Su Tao didn't refute.

Jiang Nian clicked his tongue twice. His old smoker's voice couldn't help but cough. After a good while, he finally stopped, his disappointed face full.

"Xie Jin was actually willing to investigate this for you. Do you know how many spies had to be wasted to find this out? Do you know how much a business spy is worth? Tsk tsk, such a promising future business giant, how can he be so affectionate?"

In front of Jiang Nian, Su Tao, who was trying to remain sober and calm, was startled for a moment and forgot the rules. She was stunned.

She didn't know how Xie Jin found this out, and Xie Jin never told her. It only took him three days to easily get the results directly to her.

She had never been involved in a business war and did not know how much it cost to cultivate a business spy, but she knew it was absolutely not an ordinary investment that could cultivate it.

If she had known the cost was so great, she would never have asked Xie Jin for help.

"I recognize your favor, as well as Xie Jin's." Jiang Nian's old smoker's voice brought Su Tao's thoughts back. Seeing Jiang Nian take out the official seal and stamp it down, "The endorsement contract, take it away."

Su Tao absentmindedly left the villa, looking at the contract in her hand, and let out a long sigh of relief, texting Le Xuan to prepare for the subsequent endorsement matters in advance.

After putting down her phone, Su Tao dialed Xie Jin's number, hesitated for a moment, and then clicked back into WeChat again. In the chat dialog box with Xie Jin, she hesitated again before finally putting down her phone and driving away directly.

On the gray fabric sofa, Xie Jin was frowning at the computer screen. On the video conference, Tianjin executives had tense faces, with highly nervous expressions watching the enlarged handsome face on the video.


Xie Jin just coughed lightly, and all the executives reacted reflexively and shrank back. Then they all reacted that it was just a video, and embarrassingly sat back.

Xie Jin's gloomy voice rang out, full of anger, "A deleted video that still hasn't been restored after two full weeks, does the Information Department still have a reason to exist?"

The head of the Information Department lowered his head to his chest, his voice low, "That model of computer is special, the parts still haven't..."

The words of the head of the Information Department stopped abruptly due to Xie Jin's increasingly gloomy expression, "It's because I didn't work hard enough, I'm sorry."

Xie Jin's frozen face finally thawed a little, and slowly opened his mouth with undoubted authority, "Three days. If you can't find it, take responsibility and resign."

Tianjin's sky-high salaries were not for feeding idlers.

For a while, there was dead silence in the video conference, and no one dared to speak out at this time to provoke him.

In the quiet environment, the rustling sound of the door opening was exceptionally clear in the video. Then a voice as clear as a spring came, "What's that smell?"

The executives' expressions tightened, making sure the voice didn't come from their own homes, before letting go of their hearts.

Then, everyone was amazed to find that the boss suddenly looked up happily. The gloomy and depressed look in his eyes just a second ago suddenly shone brightly, containing a smile they had never seen before, "You're back, I fried you a steak...steak!"

The dumbfounded people watched as Xie Jin got up and walked arrogantly across the video in a tender yellow apron.

Executives: "..."