Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 50

"We don't need to hurry to buy a house in Jiang City. It's getting late today, so let's go tomorrow instead. What we should be most concerned about now is the zodiac sign and birth month of our child. It's said that one's astrological sign greatly impacts their personality..."

Su Tao just silently watched as Xie Jin immersed himself in his own world.

He seemed to have already considered the baby formula brand, elementary school district, and even which university the child would attend in the future.

"Xie Jin, stop for a moment," Su Tao helplessly called for him to halt his endless musings, handing him a plate. "Bring the steak over. Let's sit down and have a proper discussion."

Xie Jin felt there were many things that needed careful research, so he obediently carried the plate over to the dining table, prepared to make plans with her.

In order to promptly avoid any misunderstanding on his part, Su Tao directly clarified, "I'm sorry, I used you as a human shield without consulting you first."

Xie Jin's smile froze on his face as he was finally pulled back from the world of his imaginings. He slowly froze over, becoming a still picture.

After a long pause, his long eyelashes finally fluttered as the corners of his mouth turned down. His pitch black pupils dulled and darkened, his eyebrows knitting together slightly as he looked at Su Tao and asked her word for word, "A hu-man shield?"

Su Tao apologetically cut the steak on the plate into pieces and switched their plates, continuing to cut while also alleviating her guilt.

"The situation was urgent at the time. Li Yao kept spreading rumors, so I needed a convincing reason to reassure fans. Wasn't the CP we hyped up before coincidentally gaining popularity? So I just conveniently used it..."

Xie Jin's breathing hitched as he slowly frowned, "When did I ever hype up a CP with you? Everything I posted on Weibo was truthful."

The steak was also fully cut. Su Tao truly didn't know what else she could do to alleviate her guilt, so she clasped her hands together, picking at her nails. One cracked nail that was already chipped had another piece pried off by her, and with a bit of force, the nail was ripped off completely, tearing the cuticle.

"Ow!" The piercing pain made Su Tao suck in a breath.

Xie Jin immediately grabbed her hand, looking at the blood flowing from her fair finger. A stabbing pain went through his heart and he couldn't help but complain, "I told you to take calcium supplements but you never listen. You don't eat calcium pills, seafood, or even like drinking picky..."

Xie Jin suddenly realized he didn't yet have the right to scold her. She had only used him as a human shield, not wanting to get back together with him. They didn't have any relationship right now.

There was a heavy stone pressing down on his heart. He silently got up to find the first aid kit, took out some iodine disinfectant to apply to her wound, and put on a bandaid, not saying a word.

Su Tao observed his expression and tried to speak lightly, "Didn't you say you wanted fair compensation for your efforts? You can calculate how much money I owe you."

Xie Jin lowered his eyes, silently wrapping up her bandaid. After a long pause, he finally slowly glanced up, "Fair compensation is to turn the lies into truth."

Su Tao: "..."

Xie Jin walked to stand in front of her chair, half-crouching to look at her face-to-face at close range. His deep, dark eyes were like a pool reflecting her face. "Little Taotao, I've always been afraid to ask, worried about disturbing our current harmony. But since it's out in the open today, I want an answer. Have you forgiven me?"

Su Tao met his gaze and immediately nodded, "I've forgiven you."

No matter if it was a misunderstanding or the contradictions caused by his behavior, he had genuinely changed now.

But forgiveness also meant letting go. She only wanted to devote all her energy into her career now, fulfilling her ambitions. She didn't want to spare any more effort on other things.

"Then can we start over?" Xie Jin asked the question he'd always wanted to ask, his eyes full of hope as he anticipated the answer he desired.

Su Tao's gaze flickered slightly as she slowly lowered her eyes, long lashes covering her eyes to hide her emotions. "I don't want to date right now."

The light in Xie Jin's eyes dimmed, unconcealable disappointment filling them. There was a faint pain in his chest, like little needles occasionally pricking him - not enough to be fatal, but very tormenting.

Su Tao looked at the two plates, one untouched and already cold steak between them. She got up, walked past Xie Jin to the living room, and curled up on the sofa, fiddling with her phone.

After a moment to collect himself, Xie Jin stood up with a deep breath to calm his emotions. He picked up the steaks and went to the kitchen, turning on low heat to reheat the cold meat before taking a fork and a plate of steak to the living room.

He sat down beside Su Tao, spearing a piece and bringing it to her lips.

Su Tao glanced at him while messing with her phone, reaching to take the fork only for Xie Jin to evade her grasp. He brought the steak back to her mouth and directly ordered, "Open your mouth."

The guilt in her heart made Su Tao look at him and obediently open her mouth, eating the steak.

Xie Jin proceeded to feed Su Tao piece by piece until the plate was finished. He then went to reheat the other plate.

While heating the steak, Xie Jin could faintly hear Su Tao's voice in the living room, seeming to chat with someone on WeChat.

He cocked his ear to listen while heating the steak, catching snippets.

"Help me find one... you can set the price... Yeah, I'll just clarify it on Weibo... hurry... Right, preferably tonight."

After turning off the heat, Xie Jin walked to Su Tao with a dark expression, heavily setting the plate on the coffee table to demonstrate his displeasure.

"Find what?" He asked in a low voice, his cold gaze falling on her phone, clearly ready to snatch it if she didn't confess.

Su Tao didn't plan on hiding anything from him at all and directly admitted, "I can't fulfill your conditions, so I have a new CP partner candidate lined up to clarify things on Weibo later."

Xie Jin's breath hitched, his chest instantly feeling stuffy and limbs turning cold as his heartbeat became irregular in an instant.

"New CP partner?" Xie Jin clutched his chest, forcefully suppressing his fury. "You talk about it like buying vegetables at the market? You just posted on Weibo that I'm your current boyfriend, not even one night has passed, and you're changing it already?"

Su Tao's soft, gently sticky voice was like a punch into cotton when Xie Jin was on the verge of losing control, dissipating some of his anger.

In the end, his tightly clenched fist relaxed as he let out a defeated sigh, the hoarseness in his tone fully conveying his compromised helplessness.

"Calculate how much is suitable, and I'll pay you that much to be your human shield."

Su Tao looked up at him in surprise, asking, "Really?"

"But I have another condition," Xie Jin immediately regretted it a little and added a bargaining chip. "I want to sleep with you, just innocently sharing a bed. Don't get any ideas."

Su Tao gave him an incredulous look. Who was getting ideas? It was him always taking things in a perverted direction.

She felt his condition went too far. No matter how innocent, it was still a man and woman sleeping in one bed. Which non-couple could do that?

"Then I'll just spend money to find someone else." Xie Jin flicked Su Tao's forehead, clearly ready to make her regret it if she dared mention finding someone else again.

He compromised again, proposing another demand. "Then change it to you must accompany me for meals everyday. Even if we're in different places, we'll eat together over video call."

Su Tao thought about it. Although this condition was also not quite normal, it was still more acceptable than sleeping together. She nodded, agreeing to the deal.

Under Xie Jin's scrutiny, Su Tao informed her colleague over voice message that she didn't need them to find anyone for her anymore.

After receiving their affirmative reply, Xie Jin finally relaxed.

Su Tao raised her phone to selfie mode and actively sat next to Xie Jin. "Help me take a selfie. Fans will question it if we don't interact."

"That will cost extra," Xie Jin coldly said, clearly still upset.

"The price is negotiable."

Su Tao smiled slyly with narrowed eyes, stretching out her arm so the two faces showed on the selfie screen.

With Xie Jin's face being so photogenic, Su Tao could only rely on angles to "outshine" him.

Xie Jin glanced at Su Tao, who had suddenly become competitive for no reason. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly. The moment she finally found the perfect angle and pressed the shutter button, he leaned down and kissed her on the face.

Then he said impassively, "When showing affection, you have to take intimate photos like this. Otherwise, who will believe you?"

Su Tao looked up at him with astonished doe eyes.

He raised an eyebrow and spoke in a businesslike, ruthless tone. "What are you looking at me for? For interactive photos like this, there's an extra charge. I'll add it to the card you gave me directly."

Su Tao: "..."

Su Tao posted the photo showing affection from yesterday. Amidst the flood of congratulatory comments, the most popular pinned comment said: It feels a bit contrived. Is Xie Jin the kind of person who likes flashy displays of affection?

There were both rebuttals and agreements below.

The rebuttals said: Didn't you watch the show? One look from Su Tao and Chairman Xie cowers. Is there anything he won't do for Su Tao?

The agreements said: It's precisely because Xie Jin likes Su Tao so much that isn't it possible Su Tao is taking advantage of Xie Jin's feelings to help clear up her scandal with Jiang Qi? After all, taking an intimate photo is so easy.

There were people on both sides, but most didn't believe Su Tao and Xie Jin were really together. After all, Su Tao had never shown any affection for Xie Jin in public.

As Su Tao browsed the comments from netizens, she felt a little worried. After all, blocking comments doesn't solve the root issue. What she needed now was powerful proof.

It just so happened that the famous film director Na Liang's 70th birthday banquet was coming up, and he had invited Su Tao.

Na Liang could be called the golden director of the last century. The films he directed had all become classics, and many stars rose to fame by acting in one of his movies. His popularity in the industry goes without saying.

Not just anyone was invited to Na Liang's birthday banquet. Everyone wanted to attend. After all, the invitees were all top-notch in the industry. Whether it was affirmation of one's status or expanding connections, there was only benefit to be had and no downside.

As the boss of Jingyang Entertainment, even Zhang Qi Guang didn't have the qualifications to attend, but Su Tao was invited. This was still giving face to her mother in the end.

When Su Tao learned that Xie Jin was also on the guest list, she started thinking about how to take advantage of this exposure and shatter the doubts of fans and netizens in one fell swoop.

Na Liang's birthday banquet was being held at his villa halfway up North Mountain.

Because so many big name stars and top-tier celebrities were attending, it naturally attracted a lot of media as well.

Su Tao deliberately asked Xie Jin to arrive together so they could make an appearance in front of the media.

Su Tao's look today was still produced by makeup artist Jiajia. She wore a light purple halterneck shoulder-baring long dress, gentle and refined. The deep V-neck design showed off her womanly charm.

Her half-up princess hairstyle was held in place with just a single pearl hairpin, which along with her beautiful features and exquisite makeup, meant Su Tao was just as dazzling as any female celebrity when she appeared.

If her looks were on par, then standing next to Xie Jin as he thoughtfully draped his own suit jacket over her shoulders made her even more enviable.

Even just standing there expressionlessly, Xie Jin gave off a commanding aura like that of an emperor.

But standing by his side, Su Tao not only didn't become a supporting character under his attentive care. On the contrary, she vaguely exhibited the air of a queen. With just a casual glance at Xie Jin, she was arrogant and fearless.

It wasn't that Su Tao was arrogant, but on such a hot day, he had draped his jacket containing his body warmth over her, causing sweat to seep out at her temples. She glared at Xie Jin in great dissatisfaction, but he pretended not to see.

"Why did you put your jacket on me?" Su Tao said quietly to Xie Jin, wanting to take the jacket off.

Xie Jin spoke nonsense with a straight face and steady heart. "The weather is too cool. I was afraid you would be cold."

"Take it off." Su Tao glared at Xie Jin.

Xie Jin's expression froze. Reluctantly, he removed the jacket from her body. He wished he could directly cover those cameras shamelessly taking photos of Su Tao.

The two of them bickered their way past the long line of cameras. Once they passed through the villa to the swimming pool area, the poolside party officially began as dusk fell. With the sea beyond the mountain and the lingering glow of sunset, the party started.

Although Na Liang was still quite robust for his age of 70, he still couldn't handle the lively music and overly noisy atmosphere. After cutting the cake, he sat in a rocking chair on the balcony of the second floor of the villa, watching the sunset.

In fact, this poolside birthday bash was the idea of his grandson, Na Zheng Lai, the currently popular blockbuster director who had already earned billions at the box office.

Na Zheng Lai really liked lively scenes and was very popular in the industry, so Su Tao deliberately chatted with him for a bit. Xie Jin accompanied her the whole time.

Because the music was a little loud, whenever Na Zheng Lai leaned in to talk to Su Tao, he had to get very close.

But each time he got near, Na Zheng Lai could feel a strong cold aura sweeping over. It didn't feel like late summer or early autumn, but rather the depths of winter.

"Chairman Xie, Boss Su, make yourselves at home. I'll go greet some people over there." Na Zheng Lai really couldn't stand Xie Jin's icy gaze, so he chose to leave.

"When are we leaving?" As soon as Na Zheng Lai left, Xie Jin urged her to leave with him.

"We just got here." Su Tao wanted to connect with everyone here and was even worried she didn't bring enough business cards.

Xie Jin followed her around like a little tail, going wherever Su Tao went. Wherever she went, he followed. Anyone who actively tried to chat with him, he ignored. His eyes never left Su Tao.

Finally unable to stand it, Su Tao pulled Xie Jin to a less crowded spot and gently said, "There's no more media here. You can move around freely now. You don't have to keep following me."

Xie Jin shook his head and spoke as if he had great professional ethics, "That won't do. You hired me, so I must fulfill my duties."

Su Tao's face sank. With him on her heels, everyone spoke just a few sentences before ending the conversation. How was she supposed to socialize when she couldn't even hand out her business cards?

Su Tao surveyed the entire scene and saw a circle of tycoons sitting together. She recognized several of them. They had just come to talk to Xie Jin earlier, but he ignored them.

Su Tao took the initiative to grab Xie Jin's hand and led him over to the tycoon circle.

All the way as he was pulled along by the hand, the corners of Xie Jin's mouth raised imperceptibly and the cold aura around his body disappeared. Pressing his lips together, he had the appearance of someone with surging emotions in his heart.

But in a flash, Su Tao pressed him down into a seat. She handed out her business cards and greeted those nearby. Then she patted Xie Jin on the shoulder and smiled faintly, "You sit here and chat with everyone. Don't wander off, okay?"

It was like a mother who was annoyed by her unruly child and left him at daycare to happily play by herself, urging him to get along happily with the other children.

Not far from the tycoon circle was a group of currently popular young celebrities. Everyone held a glass of champagne and sat together on a curved outdoor sofa, playing a dice game.

Among the young celebrities was Liu Xiangyi, who felt very familiar with Su Tao and actively went over to chat.

"Chairman Xie, Boss Su, long time no see." Liu Xiangyi came over with a glass of champagne and greeted the other tycoon bosses sitting there as well.

"What are you guys playing?" Su Tao seemed to have found a breakthrough and asked.

"Rolling dice, kind of like truth or dare." Liu Xiangyi invited, "Would you two like to join? Come on over."

Xie Jin disdainfully glanced at the noisy crowd and felt it was childish. He shook his head uninterestedly.

"I'll play." Su Tao immediately agreed and followed Liu Xiangyi to the young artist group.

Xie Jin, whose heart had just been surging with emotion, watched Su Tao's cheerful figure as she abandoned him. His face instantly turned black.

The cold, gloomy aura once again swept over his entire body. He coldly turned to look at the tycoon bosses secretly staring at him and spoke in a low voice, "Let's chat."

"Is it okay for us to leave like this?" Liu Xiangyi glanced back at Xie Jin's murderous gaze and felt he might be assassinated.

"It's fine." Su Tao patted Liu Xiangyi's arm to reassure him.

Su Tao enjoyed hanging out with young people. Their youthful energy, on top of all being popular top-tier celebrities, she would profit from poaching any single one of them.

The game they were playing was actually just a spinning wheel with dice. It had many punishments and privileges written on it.

Answering a question; choosing someone to ask you a question; taking off an article of clothing; granting the request of the person to your left; choosing someone to sing a song; the person to your right dances, and so on.

Su Tao looked at the dozen or so punishment options on the spin wheel and felt that the person who had prepared this wheel was truly talented.

Since Su Tao had just joined, it was her turn to start. She spun and landed on "Answer a question" for her punishment.

Of course, if she didn't want to do the assigned punishment, she could drink a glass of wine instead.

"Alright, who's asking?" Su Tao readily accepted the punishment.

Several people spoke up at the same time, surprisingly asking the same question in unison: "Are you in a relationship with Mr. Xie?"

After asking, everyone burst out laughing. It was clear Su Tao and Xie Jin's relationship was something they were all concerned about.

Su Tao smiled and nodded, tacitly admitting it.

This made everyone cheer and applaud again.

Their chorus of agreement could be heard loud and clear by the big shots next door.

The CEO of a certain venture capital firm who had just been rejected with a “not interested” after discussing a collaboration with Xie Jin, heard the cheers next door and knowingly smiled, saying: "Our Mr. Xie and the great agent Su Tao really are a perfect match. They look especially like a married couple."

Xie Jin slowly turned his head away from Su Tao's direction and looked at him, satisfaction filling his deep eyes. "Hmm, good eye. Let's discuss that collaboration you mentioned earlier."

After a round of the game, it was Su Tao's turn again.

She pressed the button and the dice finally landed on: Hug the person to your left.

"Hug the person to your left, that's Liu Xiangyi!" A woman with a loud voice read out the punishment on the wheel.

Liu Xiangyi, who was sitting to Su Tao's left, froze up, and immediately felt a sense of gloom. He looked in the direction of the feeling and saw Xie Jin walking over with a sinister look, exuding a murderous aura.

Liu Xiangyi immediately stood up and jumped far away, waving his hands in panic as if he were a frightened young bride fearing harassment: "No, no, Teacher Su, can I just drink instead? I'll take the penalty."

As he spoke, Xie Jin had already approached. His face was dark and his eyes sinisterly scanned the room before finally settling on Su Tao.

Xie Jin had a reputation for being cold and vicious with his words. Just as everyone expected him to scold them, Su Tao raised her face and gently asked: "What's wrong?"

Only then did Xie Jin put away his sinister gaze. Although his voice was low, it lacked the viciousness and coldness everyone imagined, instead being unexpectedly gentle: "I want to play too."

Everyone: "..."

But we don't want to play with you...

However, Su Tao happened to need to use the bathroom, so she voluntarily gave up her spot to him, saying: "Perfect, I'm going to the restroom, you can play a round for me."

When Su Tao said this, everyone mentally cried out.

Xie Jin: ...Take me away.

Everyone: ...Take him away.

But Su Tao held Xie Jin down when he tried to follow her, forcibly sitting him back in the seat so he couldn't come with her. She patted his shoulder, signaling for him to stay and play a round.

Although Xie Jin was extremely unwilling, he obediently sat down.

After Su Tao left, Xie Jin stopped concealing his overbearing aura at all.

The sky darkened and colorful lights lit up the surroundings. But the rainbow lights reflecting in his pitch-black eyes didn't have a hint of romance, instead appearing eerily peaceful against the sinister swamp, making them seem even more horrifying.

Liu Xiangyi, sitting next to him, couldn't help but shift away, trying to get as far as possible from this gloomy big shot to avoid being affected.

"Let's play," the cold voice lazily spoke.

Everyone obeyed as if following an order, placing the spin wheel in front of him.

Xie Jin lazily reached out and pressed the button. The three dice spun around inside, finally stopping at a total of eight points.

Everyone looked to the punishment for eight points: Post an embarrassing selfie.

Xie Jin's gloomy gaze stared at the five words, then he slowly raised his eyes, looking at everyone. "Should I post it?"

Everyone quickly waved their hands: "No need, no need, no need..."

"No need?" Xie Jin reached for the champagne Su Tao had left on the table. "Then what's the point of playing?"

No one knew if it was on purpose or an accident, but the champagne glass fell to the ground and shattered.

He looked at the pieces on the floor, a hint of a sly smile on his lips, and came up with a plan. He reached down to pick up the sharp shards, instantly cutting his index finger.

Xie Jin straightened up, satisfied as he held up his hand and looked at the blood flowing from the wound down to his palm.

The inadvertent bloodthirsty look in his eyes frightened everyone.

His expression was too bizarre and creepy. Several timid female celebrities had already gotten up and backed away, covering their mouths.

But Xie Jin didn't realize he had scared people. To him, using an injury to make his little peach agree to leave this place seemed perfectly normal and beneficial. He didn't know why they were backing away.

Right then Su Tao came back. Seeing the scene before her, she quickly went to Xie Jin's side and asked: "What happened?"

Xie Jin immediately changed his expression, holding out his bleeding hand to Su Tao and complaining resentfully: "They bullied me."

Everyone: "..."