Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 48

A black Maybach pulled up in front of the airport terminal. Su Tao glanced at the WeChat payment code that Xie Jin had pulled up and twitched her lips helplessly as she took out her phone to scan and pay the fare.

"I still have some unfinished work, so I'll only be able to go back to Jiang City in a couple days," Xie Jin said slowly.

Su Tao didn't contradict his casual use of the word "back" in referring to Jiang City.

"Of course, if you want me to be able to come back a few days earlier..."

Xie Jin turned his face and leaned forward, tapping his lips. "A kiss, and I'll come back a day earlier."

Su Tao: "Never mind, goodbye."

Su Tao opened the car door to get out when her hand was suddenly grabbed. A warm palm enveloped her small hand, the long articulated fingers massaging her fingertips.

Xie Jin raised his other hand and tapped his cheek, blinking his deepset eyes as he compromised, "A kiss on the cheek is fine too."

Su Tao: "..."

She silently retrieved her hand and got out of the car, leaving Xie Jin with an elegant departing view of her back.

"A kiss isn't necessary. Just say something," Su Tao was already walking away when Xie Jin's voice lowered in disappointment as he murmured to himself, "Say something and I'll go with you right now."

Le Xuan and Xiao Ke accompanied Jiang Qi to film his MV. According to Le Xuan's report, Jiang Qi was very cooperative at work, which made Su Tao very gratified.

But this gratification only lasted half a day before Jiang Qi suddenly appeared in the hot search rankings.

The hashtag "#JiangQi Fu Chengcheng sweet interaction#" squeezed into the top ten hot searches in no time.

Su Tao clicked in and saw paparazzi videos and photos.

On set, it must not have been during filming because Fu Chengcheng had her arm wrapped around Jiang Qi's. She was on her tiptoes whispering something in his ear, both of them laughing together.

The photos were even more ambiguous.

Fu Chengcheng leaning on Jiang Qi's shoulder, Jiang Qi leaning on her head.

The two gazing sweetly at each other.

Holding hands.

It was unclear whether it was during filming or not, leaving room for imagination.

These fans would only vent in their own fan forums, not yet losing their rationality.

The key was that Fu Chengcheng then posted a Weibo that instantly rocketed this trending topic into the top five.

Fu Chengcheng v: This is my first time filming a duo MV, it's pretty tiring but also very fun. I want to share a little trick for staying happy at work - devote your heart fully to the job, and you won't feel tired no matter how exhausting it is.

Picture: Fu Chengcheng with eyes closed and head tilted back. Jiang Qi leaning in close, their lips less than a centimeter apart.

What does "devote your heart" mean?

The picture is so ambiguous, is this an official announcement of their relationship?

Jiang Qi has a lot of female fans who instantly flooded Fu Chengcheng's Weibo profile, the comments full of scolding. Fan emotions were extremely polarized.

Marketing accounts were churning out speculation about the two's relationship en masse.

They even dug up interactions between them during the training camp period. Under edited clips, originally very normal interactions seemed intimate and ambiguous.

Many bystanders were starting to believe the two really were together.

Jiang Qi fans also flooded Su Tao's Weibo, demanding clarification on the relationship status, waiting for an official denial.

At this time, Su Tao was busy coordinating the PR and tech departments, using her media connections at high cost to buy back the paparazzi videos and photos of the two.

She also had the fan club managers organize counterattacks, not giving marketing accounts the chance to exploit this.

Because Fu Chengcheng's Weibo post was so ambiguous, Su Tao could claim it was just hype for the MV, mere delusional speculation by fans.

At this point, it wasn't suitable for Su Tao to post a clarification in the company's name.

She first had to negotiate with Fu Chengcheng's agency to understand their intentions.

The MV was filmed in Chongqing. Su Tao called Fu Chengcheng's agent wanting to resolve it over the phone, but they insisted on meeting in person in Chongqing. Sensing something wrong, Su Tao still bought a plane ticket to fly over.

After landing in Chongqing, Le Xuan called Su Tao saying she was there to pick her up, the car parked in the parking lot.

Su Tao found the car and upon opening the door saw Jiang Qi dressed in hip hop fashion also sitting inside, blinking his clear eyes at her.

Su Tao's expression darkened. She immediately got in the car and questioned Le Xuan, "Why did you bring Jiang Qi at such a sensitive time?"

Le Xuan looked at Jiang Qi but didn't say anything else, just silently acknowledged her mistake: "Sorry boss, I didn't consider carefully enough."

"It's not Le Xuan's fault, I insisted on coming along," Jiang Qi explained frankly, not letting Le Xuan take the fall.

Su Tao looked at him coldly: "I'm meeting Fu Chengcheng's agent. If you're seen together it'll make people speculate. You're not allowed to leave the car or show your face later. If you keep being stubborn, I'll..."

"I know," Jiang Qi calmly cut her off, a trace of helplessness passing through his clear eyes leaving only obedient compromise. "I won't leave the car or show my face, I'll wait here for you."

Su Tao looked at him suspiciously but didn't say anything, her expression still somber.

"Nothing happened between me and Fu Chengcheng, don't get the wrong idea," Jiang Qi said as he watched Su Tao's displeased face. "Most of the online stuff was required for filming. The director even planned a kissing scene but I didn't agree to it."

Su Tao narrowed her eyes at Jiang Qi: "You didn't agree? Why didn't you agree? The director has their own ideas for filming, kissing scenes are basic work for actors. Even idols need to be professional, let alone you wanting to become a professional actor."

Su Tao's words left Jiang Qi stunned for a good while. His brows gradually furrowed as he stared at her, deep sadness and disappointment in his eyes.

He didn't say anything, just turned his head away, tugging his hat low over his eyes as he slowly closed them, not letting Su Tao see the two tears that fell.

The car drove smoothly all the way to the appointed private club.

Su Tao brought Le Xuan to the meeting, leaving Xiao Ke to nominally accompany Jiang Qi but really to keep an eye on him.

When Su Tao arrived at the reserved private room, seeing nearly half the table filled with people including Fu Chengcheng sitting among them, her concerns were confirmed.

For them to brazenly have Fu Chengcheng meet with Su Tao at this time, their intentions to hype up the CP were already very obvious.

Almost everyone from Fu Chengcheng's management team was there, very enthusiastic towards Su Tao and Le Xuan. Su Tao even suspected they had brought paparazzi to follow them.

She kept a calm expression but secretly messaged Xiao Ke, telling her to hurry and have the driver take Jiang Qi away so he wouldn't get caught on camera.

During the meal, Fu Chengcheng's agent Li Yao, notorious in the industry for hyping scandals to boost artists, predictably kept bringing up Jiang Qi, and finally directly laid out their plans to hype up the CP on the table, promising many resources in exchange.

These included joint endorsements, filming projects, and more. If Su Tao agreed, these resources would be shared with Jiang Qi immediately.

Su Tao lowered her gaze as she put down her phone, then raised her head, eyes clear and tranquil like autumn waters. "Thank you for your kind intentions Yao jie, but Jiang Qi isn't looking to tie himself to a CP right now."

Li Yao's rather big eyes didn't stand out on her round face. She looked at Su Tao with some dissatisfaction. "Su Tao, these are top resources in the industry. Think carefully."

Su Tao gave a faint smile and slowly said, "Top tier resources - I'm not lacking either, Yao jie."

DG was currently the best business resource for Jiang Qi. As for the TV projects she mentioned, they were just idol dramas adapted from trendy IPs that she had bought, which Su Tao didn't think very highly of.

Li Yao's expression changed, her words turning acidic: "Su Tao, there's an unpleasant saying, but as your elder sister I still have to tell you - don't fail to appreciate kindness."

Su Tao's expression completely darkened. She picked up her bag and stood up, not wanting to waste more words with them. "Yao jie, you are my senior, I respect you. I appreciate your kind intentions, and won't be intimidated if you don't show me kindness. Since our paths differ, I'll take my leave first."

"Su Tao!" When Su Tao reached the door, Li Yao's sharp voice came from behind. "Whether you cooperate or not, I have ways to drag your company down. I advise you to consider carefully!"

Su Tao suddenly turned back, sharp light flashing in her clear eyes as she stared at Li Yao, making the other woman's gaze shrink back for a moment.

Su Tao's voice was steady and resolute, clear as a spring: "Yao jie, I'll say this bluntly - if there are any more scandals between Jiang Qi and Fu Chengcheng, I will reserve the right to take legal action."

Because the MV was being filmed in Chongqing, and the Yingfeng Video Platform was holding an event called "Yingfeng Night" in Chongqing, the program team of Chengtuan Zhi Lu was given a last minute performance opportunity at the event. This would be the new group's first performance after forming, but other than Jiang Qi and Fu Chengcheng who were already in Chongqing, the other team members had to rush over from all parts of the country.

Luckily the performance was a routine they had already done on the variety show, so they didn't need to rehearse beforehand. They just needed to go through it together right before the formal performance the day after tomorrow, and do two more run throughs, and that would be good enough.

But because of the recent scandal, Su Tao didn't dare let her guard down. Especially since the event organizers had booked Jiang Qi and Fu Chengcheng at the same hotel. With the other members not having arrived yet, Su Tao wanted to change Jiang Qi's hotel at the last minute.

Just changing the hotel wasn't enough, it would look too deliberate. It just so happened that Gu Yiyan was filming a movie directed by Huachuan Jiang in the nearby town of Liuzhen, only a two hour drive away. Su Tao made the decision on the spot to take Jiang Qi to visit Gu Yiyan on set.

When Su Tao and the others arrived, it was already after 8pm. Gu Yiyan, who didn't have any night scenes to film that day, was already waiting for them outside the hotel.

"Sis." Gu Yiyan flashed her little white teeth at Su Tao in a sweet smile.

Su Tao patted Gu Yiyan on the shoulder, smiling gently: "Sorry for disturbing your rest so late."

"I'm thrilled you came to visit me on set." Glancing at Jiang Qi who had gotten out of the car looking gloomy, she joked: "Thanks to my junior brother here."

Gu Yiyan surreptitiously looked around before leaning in and whispering to Su Tao: "There are paparazzi around."

Su Tao's expression sharpened. She knew the agency's staff had followed them here, but according to Gu Yiyan, the paparazzi must have already been lying in wait.

Clearly someone had leaked the news.

Gu Yiyan filming in Liuzhen wasn't a secret, but the only person who knew she didn't want to stir up scandals and would avoid staying at the same hotel as Fu Chengcheng ahead of time was Li Yao.

Su Tao lowered her eyes, guessing at Li Yao's motives. She predicted that Fu Chengcheng might also come to this hotel.

Li Yao really went to every length imaginable. She was just relentless!

After getting Jiang Qi settled into his room, Su Tao had him go to Gu Yiyan's room instead.

She sent Le Xuan and Xiao Ke out to buy meat for a spur of the moment BBQ party on Gu Yiyan's balcony.

Although it was an awkward gathering orchestrated by Su Tao, both Jiang Qi and Gu Yiyan were dancers, and they found they had a lot in common as they chatted.

The two sang, danced, and played music together. Su Tao, Le Xuan and Xiao Ke were responsible for grilling meat and cheering them on. They were all having a great time.

As they played, Su Tao kept an eye on any movements downstairs at the hotel entrance, across the street, and even in the adjacent rooms.

Only after seeing that the few fan groups Le Xuan had secretly joined had all taken photos and videos, did Su Tao finally relax.

Su Tao also kept a close watch on any news about Fu Chengcheng, and had slipped into a few of her fan groups as well.

Sure enough, Fu Chengcheng was photographed entering this same hotel.

Su Tao sneered and had Le Xuan use her alt account to post the news of Fu Chengcheng staying at this hotel to Jiang Qi's fan groups.

Right on cue, all sorts of stealth photos and videos started circulating in Jiang Qi's super-topic forum within five minutes - high definition photos and footage of him with Gu Yiyan, even audio of them singing together.

It provided irrefutable visual evidence from all angles that Jiang Qi was with Gu Yiyan and his management team, and had no interactions with Fu Chengcheng whatsoever.

The fans finally extinguished their anger, applauding Jiang Qi's method of self-proving his innocence. They felt bad that he was still up so late and promised to never doubt their idol again.

Amidst everyone's attention on Jiang Qi and Fu Chengcheng, only Xie Jin wore a dark expression, his pitch black gaze fixed on the secretly taken photo of Su Tao walking side by side with Jiang Qi.

Jin Chuiwen had been so busy lately that he felt his memory was deteriorating.

He heard that using the left hand more often could improve memory, so he spent a fortune to buy a pair of walnuts, planning to practice cracking them open with his left hand.

After reporting work, Jin Chuiwen left, forgetting the walnuts on the boss's desk.

When he returned to retrieve them, he watched as the boss grabbed one walnut and crushed it effortlessly with his bare hands.

His walnuts...

Before Jin Chuiwen could recover from the heartache, the boss's icy words snapped him back to reality.

"Book a flight to Chongqing, the earliest flight available."

The overnight gathering with the goal of countering scandals ended at midnight.

Afraid of delaying Gu Yiyan's filming the next day, Su Tao didn't let Jiang Qi stay overnight in her room.

She and Le Xuan personally escorted Jiang Qi back to his room, drew the curtains for him, and didn't immediately leave. She was worried Fu Chengcheng would come knocking on his door.

After coming all this way, stirring up trouble was Li Yao's style after all.

While Jiang Qi showered, Su Tao stood guard with her ears pricked, listening for any sounds outside the hotel room door. At the slightest noise, she would run over and peer through the peephole to check outside.

"Feels like you're filming a spy thriller." Jiang Qi's deep voice contained a hint of amusement as he teased her.

Not noticing anything amiss, Su Tao turned around. Jiang Qi was wearing the hotel bathrobe, chest exposed, enveloped in the scent of shower gel.

His hair was still wet and unblow dried, a droplet of water dripping onto his long eyelashes that he casually flicked away.

"You should rest first. I'll stay here with Le Xuan a bit longer. If there's no activity, we'll leave."

Su Tao had originally wanted to stand guard outside the door, but that would put her in light and the opponent in darkness, allowing them to act after she left.

Yet she couldn't very well stand guard all night, so she chose to lay an ambush inside the room to nip any thoughts of Fu Chengcheng's in the bud.

Glancing over, Su Tao saw Le Xuan already nodding off in the chair.

She was also tired after today. Su Tao didn't have the heart to wake her, thinking she'd deal with it when they were leaving.

Suddenly her vision was obstructed as Jiang Qi strode up to stand in front of her. His clear eyes once again ignited with fiery heat. He leaned both arms against the door, trapping Su Tao between him and the door. His head slowly drew nearer.

With Jiang Qi wall-slamming her, Su Tao felt the scorching aura he exuded after his shower sweep over her like a heatwave. Her cheeks also turned crimson.

"Jiang Qi, don't you dare!" Su Tao turned her face away to avoid him as he got closer, shouting sharply to stop him.

Jiang Qi's lips halted just one centimeter from Su Tao's cheek, not quite daring to make contact in the end.

His breath caressed Su Tao's ear as he whispered softly: "If I listen to everything you say, will you give me a chance and allow me to like you?"

Su Tao lowered her eyes, sighing lightly. She seemed about to say something but Jiang Qi raised a finger to stop her lips.

He didn't want to hear it. She definitely wouldn't agree.

"If I'd known loving someone would be so painful, I definitely wouldn't have taken the initiative to speak to you that day on the beach at sunset."

Jiang Qi's voice carried a sob. The tears he had recently shed were to repay a past debt of the heart.

It was his just deserts.

"Listen to me sing a song I wrote myself. After singing this song, I promise I won't like you anymore."

Jiang Qi's mouth lifted in a tranquil, detached smile. It would have been more convincing if not for the tears in his eyes.

He straightened up, wiping away the tears, and walked over to Le Xuan, kicking her foot lightly. "Help me buy a bottle of water."

Le Xuan rubbed her bleary eyes and glanced at Su Tao, leaving after getting her nod of approval.

Jiang Qi sat on the edge of the bed hugging his guitar, head lowered. His bangs had naturally dried into soft wisps on his forehead. His long, slender fingers strummed the strings, eliciting pleasant music.

"That seaside at our first meeting, the sunset dyeing your face,

So beautiful, so sweet.

Our second meeting that day, your smile climbing into your eyes,

So bright, so dazzling.


Don't know when I started caring about your messages,

Don't know when I started looking forward to seeing you everyday.


My girl, I want to keep you by my side, gazing at your face always.

My girl, if I could go back to that day, I'd definitely not say goodbye to you."

The gentle, clear voice sang lowly, telling of secret admiring feelings, making listeners' hearts sweetly sore.

Watching Jiang Qi earnestly singing and playing, Su Tao realized he was very suited for this kind of slowly recounted ballad.

If released, this song would surely ignite another wave of popularity.

As the last note faded away, Su Tao gathered her wandering thoughts and said with a faint smile, "The melody is beautiful, the vocals are flawless, just tweak the lyrics a little more and it'll be ready for release."

Jiang Qi's long eyelashes fluttered as his fingers clutched the guitar strings tightly. He was silent for two seconds before saying slowly in a low voice, "I won't release this song. I wrote it for you and will only sing it this once."

Su Tao didn't know how to respond, she just looked at him quietly.

He kept his head lowered the entire time, the atmosphere seemed to solidify along with his current feelings of despair and dejection.

The mood was shattered when the door was suddenly knocked on loudly. It was probably Le Xuan returning. Su Tao took a deep breath to collect herself before getting up to answer the door.

But it wasn't Le Xuan standing outside, it was Fu Chengcheng.

Fu Chengcheng clearly hadn't expected to find Su Tao in the room. She had seen Jiang Qi's manager leave, so why was there someone else in the room?

"Did you need something?" Su Tao felt relieved, she had finally caught Fu Chengcheng red-handed.

"Oh...I wanted to borrow a phone charger from Jiang Qi." Fu Chengcheng quickly made up an excuse.

"Jiang Qi needs to rest, he doesn't have any extras. The hotel front desk has some, you can go downstairs now to borrow one from them."

Su Tao's thinly veiled attempt to drive Fu Chengcheng away left the girl too embarrassed to continue making excuses. After all, she was just a young girl, her face flushed red as she awkwardly left.

Su Tao glanced back at Jiang Qi, he also looked up at her.

But only for a moment, he averted his gaze as soon as she looked over.

"Rest early, good night."

Su Tao said and then closed the door from outside. She stood in the hallway and took two deep breaths, finally relaxing now that she had caught Fu Chengcheng lying in wait. She was also ready to go back to her room and rest.

Walking on the soft carpet, she suddenly heard a hurried door closing.

She hadn't noticed any open doors, so where did that come from? Could it be someone was hiding behind a door to secretly observe her, and in their panic at potentially being discovered, hastily closed the door?

But that level of composure wasn't typical for paparazzi trying to sneak photos. Even if caught, they wouldn't react so frantically.

Su Tao walked towards the source of the sound, thinking all the spy games today had improved her investigative skills. She had an inkling who it might be, although she also felt it was unlikely. But to verify her guess, she video called Xie Jin.

The video ringtone immediately sounded from the next room over. Su Tao slowly approached and pressed her ear against the door to listen for movement inside.

The video connected, showing Xie Jin's usual extreme close-up angle with the camera held high to only capture his face.

"Where are you?" Su Tao asked.

"Home, of course." Xie Jin naturally replied.

"Point the camera down, let me see."

The camera instantly panned down, landing on his muscular bare chest as he shamelessly said, "Want me to go lower?"