Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 52

Xie Jin stared blankly for a long while, the corners of his lips curled up. Under the wall lamp, his tall figure was stretched into a long shadow.

The shadow stepped forward, completely covering up the other slender shadow.

"You're asking me to sleep with you?"

Xie Jin stood in front of Su Tao, his pitch-black pupils glimmering brightly. His slightly red nose showed that he had just cried. His fair skin was also flushed red, making him look tender and delicate.

Su Tao couldn't help but pinch the smooth skin. She wondered how he maintained such good skin despite his poor sleep. "Yeah, let's go to bed. I'll go remove my makeup."

At first, Xie Jin leisurely unbuttoned his cuffs, took off his watch, and slowly undid his collar, because he didn't want to leave the room. He wanted to wait until she finished washing up before he went.

But as the sound of water came from the bathroom, Xie Jin's heart grew impatient. He quickened the pace of undressing and lay in bed, experiencing the joy of happiness in advance.

He wrapped himself in the quilt, listening to the sound of water from the bathroom. The scent of shower gel and shampoo wafted through, seeming to carry Su Tao's body fragrance, teasing his nose.

He knew his little peach was in this room. Soon he could hold her and sleep with her. This sense of reassurance made Xie Jin's eyelids grow heavier.

The sound of water in the bathroom somehow turned into the sound of wind mixed with the flowing water under the bridge.

He stood on the pedestrian sidewalk on the bridge, facing the wind and gazing at the distant river water. The hubbub of traffic behind him was like bustling background noise, noisy as usual, disgusting. Nowhere in the world was pure and beautiful anymore.

At 24, he had tasted the coldness of human relationships and experienced all the vileness and filth. Finally, he had tripped up everyone and obtained everything he wanted.

Yet suddenly, he lost his direction and goals. Why was he still alive?

His body and mind were as dirty as this world. He should be buried deep in these waters, becoming nourishment for the earth and oceans, because he couldn't see the light while still alive.

Leaning his arms on the railing, he jumped up and sat on it. The strong wind blew up his windbreaker. He spread his arms, closed his eyes, and wanted to fly with the wind.

Suddenly, behind him came the melodious sound of a violin, drowning out the noisy sounds.

The violin's melody was slow and melodious, with a touch of sadness that tugged at his heart. It also allowed him to feel an unprecedented sense of tranquility, as if cleansing his soul.

He slowly opened his eyes and looked back. A slender girl's long hair fluttered as she seemed lost in her own music.

From the girl's serene face, he saw frustration, sorrow, and a kind of indifference after seeing through worldly affairs.

Her clear eyes were difficult to look into closely. The more he looked, the more he would fall into a bottomless whirlpool that could suck people in.

Although she was as withered as dead branches, her spirit was still undying.

As the song ended, those poppy-like eyes looked at him. It turned out she had deliberately played this song for him to hear.

"Brother, are you going to jump down?"

Unbelievably, her voice was as clear as a spring, yet she had asked such a cruel question.

"I can keep you company."

He looked on as the girl struggled to climb onto the railing and sat beside him. She was so weak. If the wind blew a little harder, it would really blow her down.

Yet a gentle smile hung on her serene face. She even raised her fair little hand and stroked his head over and over, just like when his dad passed away and comforted him not to cry.

"My mom often stroked me like this too. Today is her memorial day. I want to go find my mom."

"I also want to find my dad."

The girl's bright eyes stared at him as she smiled lightly. "Brother, you're so good-looking. You must be the angel taking me to find my mom. When I see my mom, I won't be so tired anymore."

He was an angel? He had always felt like a devil.

She must be the angel.

He wanted to take back his previous thoughts.

Perhaps in this world, there was still a unique place of purity and beauty.

As his head was gently stroked over and over, Xie Jin slowly opened his eyes. Through the mist, he saw the serene face of the girl in his dream.

She used a tissue to wipe his eyes, and his vision became clear. He saw the girl's face clearly. Her long hair had become a short bob cut, but her eyes were still as clear as ever.

"Why are you crying? Did you have a nightmare again? Didn't you say you wouldn't have nightmares if you slept with me?"

As her gentle, spring-like voice sounded, his consciousness gradually returned.

This was his little peach.

The girl on the bridge who was willing to climb onto the railing with him eventually became his little peach after he held her down.

She relied on him a lot, and he relied on her even more.

He had never dreamed of the day they first met five years ago until today. Only after dreaming about it did he know that he remembered every detail of that day clearly.

Xie Jin buried his head in the crook of her neck, nuzzled against her, and smelled her scent. He regretted that he had fallen asleep first last night!

"What did you dream about?" Su Tao asked again, looking at his bloodshot eyes. She began to suspect her own XXX ability was ineffective.

Xie Jin stretched out his arm and pulled her into his embrace. Her cool nose pressed against his hot chest, warm and cozy.

"I dreamed about the first day we met. I held you down from the railing. You said, how dare you be so bold? You're so thin. What if the wind really blew you down?"

Because of the realism of the dream, it left him apprehensive afterwards, the apprehension after a narrow escape.

He even wanted to slap himself in the dream twice for being able to calmly watch her climb onto the railing. How dangerous.

Su Tao chuckled softly. "It was so long ago. You're only starting to feel afraid now. Besides, back then, both of us were so disappointed with life. How would we know to feel afraid?"

That was true. Back then, they didn't know there was anything worth fearing in life.

Only after having someone they wanted to cherish did they learn to revere life.

Su Tao's cell phone ringtone abruptly interrupted their intimacy. Xie Jin was unhappy that the person in his arms had left to answer the call. He stared resentfully at the phone in her hand.

"Little Jie...What? When did you discover it?...Why are you only reporting it to me now?...You shouldn't have waited until things were out of hand before telling me to handle it! ...Sun XiaoJie, let me tell you, if Tong MingXuan does anything rash before I get there, you can wait for your termination notice!"

It was rare to see little peach so angry that Xie Jin immediately withdrew his resentful gaze, afraid her bad mood would affect him too. He asked gently, "What's wrong?"

While getting up and packing, Su Tao said with a heavy face, "Tong MingXuan has an underground girlfriend that I didn't know about. Today, Sun XiaoJie said he wants to make this girlfriend public. He happens to be shooting a TV series at Beicheng Film and TV City. I have to go take a look."

"Oh," seeing her gloomy expression, Xie Jin didn't dare say much, only asking, "Will you come back for dinner tonight?"

"I'll try to."

Xie Jin pouted unhappily and mumbled, "Try to? Didn't you promise having dinner together was the condition for me being your human shield?"

Hearing his soft complaint, Su Tao felt his aggrieved wife act was quite cute. "Alright, I'll definitely come back."

Xie Jin lifted his eyes, finally curling his eyes and mouth into a smile. He nodded happily.

Xie Jin wanted to drive her to the studio, but Su Tao knew he also had urgent business to handle at his company. So she randomly grabbed a set of car keys from Xie Jin's garage and took one of his cars to drive herself.

She was anxious, which caused her to overlook the car's condition. It wasn't until the car prompted her that she realized it was out of gas.

But she had already driven to the suburbs where there were no villages ahead and no shops behind. As far as she could see, there was not only no gas station, she couldn't even get a taxi.

After adding several times the fare, she finally got a driver to take the order from the ride-sharing app, but it would take forty minutes to arrive.

Su Tao was anxious by the roadside when suddenly an SUV stopped in front of her. The driver's seat held a familiar face.

Her rumored high school sweetheart, Zhong Siwei.

Encountering Zhong Siwei by chance happened to solve Su Tao's urgent need. She had wanted to properly thank him, but suddenly received paparazzi shots from the PR department. The photos showed Tong MingXuan intimately returning to a hotel with his girlfriend and were already spreading online.

As Zhong Siwei drove, he secretly glanced at Su Tao. "My company had some business in the suburbs here. I didn't expect to run into you. Last time..."

Xie Jin's phone call came in, and she answered it with a serious expression, "Okay, let's control the commentary first, pay attention to the hot searches, don't let it get into the top 50. I'm about to go see Tong Mingxuan."

After hanging up the phone, Su Tao asked Zhong Siwei, "Sorry, what were you saying just now?"

Zhong Siwei said, "Oh, I was saying about the last gathering, my girl..."

Su Tao's phone rang again. She looked at Zhong Siwei apologetically and answered the call, "Did you find out anything about the woman? Okay, send me the information."

Su Tao apologized again, "I'm sorry, I have some urgent matters here. You were saying something about the gathering?"

Zhong Siwei said, "It's just that my girlfriend did something inappropriate, and I want to explain to her on her behalf..."

Su Tao received the information about Tong Mingxuan's girlfriend, who was a theater actress and Tong Mingxuan's former classmate.

After looking through the information for a while, Su Tao finally reacted and realized Zhong Siwei was still talking. She had been so rude, "I'm really sorry, I..."

"It's okay, you're too busy. We can go eat after you're done with everything." Zhong Siwei was quite understanding, easing Su Tao's awkwardness.

Su Tao didn't want too much contact with him, but for now she had no choice but to say, "I should be the one to treat you to a meal, thank you for going out of your way to drive me here. How about another day..."

"Let's do it today. I just finished up my business and I'm free today. I can drop you off afterwards."

Given his perfectly reasonable suggestion, Su Tao had no reason to decline, so she nodded in agreement.

When they arrived at the filming location, Tong Mingxuan's assistant brought Su Tao to the dressing room.

Although Tong Mingxuan was only the second male lead, the producer Wang still gave him the treatment of a main character in order to curry favor with Su Tao's boss Xie Jin. Tong Mingxuan's scenes were also greatly increased, and even the ending hinting at the second lead getting the girl.

Tong Mingxuan had only been with the crew for three days. When he signed the contract, it was made clear whether he had a girlfriend, because the production wanted to coordinate publicity, hoping to see which character the audience ended up liking more and then hype up a romance between the female lead and him. If Tong Mingxuan exposed his relationship at this critical juncture, it would not only violate his contract but also force Su Tao to completely redo her plans for him.

Just as Su Tao arrived outside the dressing room, she heard Sun Xiaojie's slightly sharp voice coming through the door left ajar.

"How could you be so reckless? You're ruining yourself and now you want to ruin me too? Su Tao said if I can't stop you, she's going to fire me!"

Su Tao stopped in her tracks and signaled to her assistant to keep quiet while she listened by the door.

Tong Mingxuan was clearly intimidated by Sun Xiaojie's aura and could only mumble, "Sister Tao wouldn't do that..."

"You still don't understand what kind of person Su Tao is? She looks pretty amiable but she's a ruthless villain who will crush your bones and suck out the marrow. Can I overpower her? Even someone on Liu WanTao's level got forced out by her. You think she wouldn't?"

Tong Mingxuan's voice was full of helplessness and confusion, as if being driven mad, "Then what do you want me to do? I can't lose Qingqing again. I have to go public. If it really won't work...then I'll quit the industry."

"Are you crazy..."

Su Tao suddenly pushed the door open, interrupting Sun Xiaojie's sharp voice.

Her bright eyes calmly glanced over Sun Xiaojie's shocked face before settling on the dejected Tong Mingxuan clutching his own hair. She said to Sun Xiaojie, "Please go out for now."

Seeing Su Tao's abnormal expression, Sun Xiaojie realized her words from earlier were overheard. She wanted to explain but didn't know what to say. She could only glare angrily at the assistant standing by the door, "Why didn't you make a sound?"

Su Tao gazed at Sun Xiaojie. Her calm voice rang clearly, "First, you didn't shut the door tight yourself yet you blame others for eavesdropping. You should be glad it was me who heard it. Second, we'll settle your mistakes later. For now, go out!"

Su Tao didn't want to hear her prattling on inside.

After Sun Xiaojie and the assistant left, Su Tao sat down across from Tong Mingxuan and grasped his arm to stop him from pulling his hair.

"You and Qingqing were university classmates?" Su Tao didn't escalate the conflict and instead took a gentle conversational approach, asking slowly.

Tong Mingxuan was surprised that Su Tao knew about his classmateship with Qingqing. He finally looked directly at Su Tao and nodded.

Su Tao's voice remained steady and unhurried, not putting any pressure on him. "Why must you announce it publicly? Doesn't Qingqing hope that you don't keep dating underground? Is that right?"

Without the extreme mindset he had when facing Sun Xiaojie earlier, Tong Mingxuan explained properly, "Before, I didn't value Qingqing because of my career. She wanted to break up with me a while ago, only then did I realize she's just as important as my career. I finally got her back with great difficulty and promised her I would announce our relationship publicly to give her a sense of security. I don't want to lose her again."

In fact, Su Tao could completely understand Tong Mingxuan's feelings. She said gently, "I support you announcing it publicly."

Tong Mingxuan was stunned, thinking he misheard. He asked again, "Sister Tao, you, you support me announcing it publicly?"

"Yes, if you've really thought it through clearly and still have the courage to announce it, then I'll support you."

Su Tao brought up the contract originally signed with Wang's company and showed it to him, explaining slowly, "The contract for this drama stipulates that you cannot date anyone. If you announce your relationship, we'll have to terminate the contract with the production team. And this drama was supposed to boost you from a third-tier to second-tier actor. If you lose this opportunity but still announce your relationship, I'll have to change my plans for you to more of a road focused on acting skills."

"But with your current level, you haven't reached that yet. For your long-term development, I'll arrange more acting lessons for you and also connect you with theater resources. When your reputation and skills improve, I'll get you roles in films and dramas that can showcase your acting abilities."

Su Tao laid out the reality plainly before Tong Mingxuan. "The time spent accumulating experience depends entirely on yourself. It could be as short as two to three years or as long as over ten years. I can find many new artists, I won't force everyone to go down the idol path just for money. I'm willing to strike a balance between your personal wishes and effective development."

"Now, it's up to you to make the choice."

Su Tao was in no hurry either. She had explained things clearly, not wanting Tong Mingxuan to make rash decisions he might regret.

Whatever he ultimately chose, Su Tao would respect it.

"Take some time to think about it, or discuss it with Qingqing too. I'm in no rush for an answer." Su Tao got up, preparing to leave. "Oh right, does Sun Xiaojie already know about your girlfriend situation for a while?"

Tong Mingxuan hesitated briefly before nodding, "Back when I was under Manager Liu, I already told Sister Sun. Because at the time I was about to break up with Qingqing, so Sister Sun didn't report it to the company."

Su Tao nodded and asked again, "Does Sun Xiaojie often pressure you like just now? Do you want to consider changing to a different manager?"

Tong Mingxuan was even more hesitant this time. He had never been a very decisive person. But from his expression, Su Tao understood. She patted his shoulder and left the dressing room.

Sun Xiaojie was waiting right outside. When she saw Su Tao, her expression instantly turned cold, none of her usual gentleness and tolerance remained. She simply stated bluntly:

"1. Concealing an artist's relationship and not reporting it is a major offense.

2. Frequently pressuring artists causes them serious psychological distress.

3. Reckless and careless work, poor business capabilities.

For the above reasons, you are fired. Go back to the company to complete the departure procedures."

Sun Xiaojie was stunned in place, never expecting Su Tao to be so decisive about firing her.

Under Su Tao's cold gaze, she couldn't even voice any objections. She watched helplessly as Su Tao's back moved further and further away before sinking to the ground powerlessly.

After leaving the dressing room, Su Tao informed the on-site director and producer that she needed a day to handle things. The rumors had been suppressed for now. She would personally discuss the contract violation issue with Boss Wang herself and shoulder all resulting losses.

With all issues temporarily settled, Su Tao left the filming location. Zhong Siwei's car was still parked outside as expected.

Su Tao found a nearby restaurant to treat him to a meal as thanks.

Su Tao didn't care about the restaurant's environment or menu, just wanting to express her gratitude and then hurry back to deal with work matters.

However, Zhong Siwei was very serious about this lunch, and kept asking Su Tao about her tastes.

Su Tao, on the other hand, kept replying to Xie Jin's WeChat messages.

[Xie Jin: Are you done with work? Is everything going smoothly?]

[Su Tao: Yeah, I'm done with work for now. There are still some follow ups I need to deal with. I won't be going back to Jiangcheng these few days.]

Xie Jin immediately sent an emoji pack over. It was the crying then laughing GIF of Su Tao from last night, with the caption: Cried and cried, then laughed.

Su Tao: ...

He really made it into an emoji pack!

This is too embarrassing!

[Su Tao: Delete it.]

[Xie Jin: I won't delete it.]

The two of them got into a heated debate over the emoji pack. Over here, Zhong Siwei waved his hand in front of Su Tao's eyes and eagerly asked, "Su Tao, Su Tao, do you like cappuccinos or caramel macchiatos?"

"Americanos," Su Tao replied absentmindedly to Zhong Siwei while strongly demanding that Xie Jin delete the emoji pack.

[Su Tao: If you don't delete it, you can make your own dinner tonight.]

[Xie Jin: Little Taozi, you're threatening me now?]

Zhong Siwei: "Can you eat spicy food?"

Su Tao: "Yes."

[Su Tao: Yes, I'm threatening you. Delete it.]

[Xie Jin: Fine, threat successful. I deleted it.]

[Su Tao: Anything else?]

[Xie Jin: I won't tell you.]

Su Tao could imagine Xie Jin's infuriating expression right now. She was furious.

Zhong Siwei: "Su Tao, you like to eat..."

Impatient to start her passionate reprimand of Xie Jin, Su Tao impatiently interrupted Zhong Siwei's endless questions: "Love, whatever you love, I love too. Just order, don't ask..."

Su Tao froze.

She looked at the chatbox, realizing that in her impulsiveness and irritation just now, her fingers had quickly typed and sent what she was saying.

[Su Tao: Love]

[Su Tao: Whatever you love, I love too]

[Xie Jin: ?]

[Xie Jin: ???]

[Su Tao: Sent to the wrong person...]

[Xie Jin: Of course I know it was sent to the wrong person! The question is, who were those two sentences meant for?]