Full Level Bigshot Only Takes the Career Path Chapter 77
Zhao Yao didn’t quite know how to explain the matter of Aunt Zheng inviting him home for dinner to Pei Mingzhan. First of all, it might seem like he had a close relationship with the Zheng family to outsiders. But in reality, apart from those faint childhood memories, he didn’t have much of a connection with them. So, when faced with the warm-hearted Zheng family, he couldn’t help but feel embarrassed and awkward whenever he thought of his past distant behavior.
Zhao Yao couldn’t quite put his finger on what he felt about the Zheng family. In his past life, he hadn’t been the best person and had failed to appreciate the kindness of the Zheng family, essentially pushing them away. When he came to visit the Zheng family, he never expected such a warm welcome. The Zheng family members didn’t even mind his previous distant behavior and, to his surprise, they even extended an invitation for him to stay and celebrate the New Year with them.
Even now, upon hearing that he was out with Pei Mingzhan, Aunt Zheng extended an invitation, insisting they must come over for dinner that evening.
“She’s very warm-hearted and mentioned she wants you to join us for dinner at our place tonight,” Zhao Yao paused for a moment, “You can refuse if you don’t want to.”
Pei Mingzhan sat beside him, unscrewing a water bottle and taking a couple of sips before asking, “Why would I refuse? I should pay them a visit.”
Zhao Yao paused for a moment.
Pei Mingzhan continued on, lost in his thoughts, “How about after we’re done strolling around, we pick up a few things? Even though I brought a little something during our morning visit, it wouldn’t be proper to show up empty-handed for a dinner invitation…”
Zhao Zhikai wasted no time in assigning someone to handle the matter after learning about Bai Chengxue. But Zhao Changshuo had already taken the initiative in this matter. And now, engaging in further actions would only dirty his hands. Originally, he had dismissed Bai Chengxue and her child, considering her nothing more than an empty-headed beauty. Otherwise, his elder brother wouldn’t have brought such a person into the family in the first place.
The fact that the Zhao family’s patriarch had been married three times attracted significant attention from the outside. And yet very few people dared to discuss it openly. His elder brother’s first two wives were far from ordinary, especially Zhao Yao’s mother, a woman who was a completely different person beneath her appearance. Zhao Zhikai still remembered how she had orchestrated things behind the scenes in the Zhao Group, a figure worthy of admiration and respect. She even made his elder brother somewhat wary of her. It was unfortunate that she had passed away at such a young age due to illness.
Due to Zhao Yao’s mother, his elder brother had chosen someone like Bai Chengxue as his third wife. A woman who wore her emotions on her sleeve, making it easy for anyone to see right through her. The Zhao Group didn’t need a woman who could jeopardize the chairman’s position but instead required someone who could be taken to parties and gatherings, someone who craved only superficial appearances and fame.
Bai Chengxue was exactly that kind of person.
He believed Bai Chengxue was only capable of buying designer bags and throwing parties, at most, using her charm to manipulate some insiders within the group to pave the way for their son, Zhao Qizhen. But he never anticipated that one day he would be proven wrong. Bai Chengxue had, in fact, taken advantage of her own resources to establish a rather sizable company on the outside, and this company was even involved in confidential internal documents of the group.
If it were just a matter of finances, he could help resolve it without much trouble. Establishing a company was a minor issue. The real problem lay in Bai Chengxue’ affecting the interests of the group. Given the current circumstances, if he were to take action and protect Bai Chengxue, he would go against the shareholders who were not yet firmly committed. Zhao Changshuo already held a significant advantage, and if this situation further strengthened his position, he would completely lose all his leverage.
Zhao Zhikai threw the ashtray down, his face darkening as he said, “That foolish Bai Chengxue, if she had committed these acts, she should have been more careful not to leave any evidence. Now, not only has she landed herself in trouble, but she nearly dragged Zhao Qizhen into it as well.”
Several other people were still present in the office, and one of them spoke up, “Boss, we’ve investigated this matter. It’s true that the group’s affairs went through Zhao Changshuo, but before that, Bai Chengxue had attempted to use this company to deal with Zhao Yao. Although it failed.”
Another person chimed in, saying, “We followed this thread and discovered that Bai Chengxue’s company primarily faces market pressure from the Zhao Group. The supervisor in charge of raw material procurement for this company has some connection to Zhao Yao. Could it be that Zhao Yao informed Zhao Changshuo about this matter?”
“And regarding the internal crisis that company is currently facing, there are discussions about a potential acquisition from external parties. When we continued our investigation, we found some connection to the team handling Zhao Yao’s mother’s asset management as well.”
Others began to consider this possibility as well, thinking that Zhao Changshuo, despite his prestige, might have had Zhao Yao lurking in the shadows. Originally, they hoped to intensify the conflict between Zhao Changshuo and Zhao Yao by using Zhao Qizhen, but they didn’t expect that these two individuals would be so composed and would seize the opportunity presented by Bai Chengxue to orchestrate such a significant turn of events.
“Do you think your self-righteous methods can deal with Zhao Yao?” Zhao Zhikai gazed at the subordinates discussing below, growing increasingly agitated. “Investigating these matters might not be difficult, but as long as Zhao Yao puts in some effort, do you really believe it will be so easy to uncover his team’s activities? Zhao Yao is obviously not trying to hide anything. Previously, he hadn’t even exposed his relationship with Zhao Changshuo, and now he’s practically inviting you to investigate. He’s smarter than anyone thinks.”
Having watched Zhao Yao grow up, Zhao Zhikai believed that Zhao Yao was the most suitable candidate among the three brothers to occupy this position in the Zhao family. He was capable and efficient in his actions, never hesitating when it was necessary. Zhao Zhikai had initially thought that someone like Zhao Yao would be the prime target and the most formidable competitor against Zhao Changshuo. But to his surprise, Zhao Yao had stepped back from the competition early on, and engaged into the entertainment industry, which he found rather laughable.
However, the thought that Zhao Yao might have had a hand in Zhao Changshuo’s recent swift and ruthless actions left Zhao Zhikai somewhat apprehensive. In his observation, Zhao Yao had been a somewhat clever yet unpolished young man. But now, the cunning and methods he displayed seemed more like those of a seasoned fox in the business world. He was unafraid of provocation, but those who provoked him never fared well.
Bai Chengxue was a prime example, and she was used by Zhao Yao to intimidate everyone.
He made no effort to conceal any of the traces of his manipulation in this matter. His intention was clear. He wanted those investigating this incident to understand the consequences of provoking Zhao Yao time and again.
This was the true essence of a young man not yet twenty-five, with relatively shallow capital accumulation, but who could make the most of their existing resources and connections. Zhao Zhikai suddenly felt a sense of relief. He was dealing with Zhao Changshuo and not Zhao Yao. If Zhao Yao were still within the group and being groomed by him for a higher position, it would likely be an even more challenging task to smoothly take over the reins of the Zhao family’s power in the future.
“Boss, are we going to leave this matter unattended now?”
Zhao Zhikai frowned slightly. “We won’t meddle with Bai Chengxue’s affairs. We need to find a way to take out Zhao Qizhen and shift all the blame onto Bai Chengxue. As for Zhao Yao, dealing with him won’t be as straightforward. Give me some time to think about it again.”
He also had Huang Wenjun buried in Zhao Yao’s team. Dealing with Zhao Yao couldn’t be a gradual process. It needed to be a decisive blow.
Otherwise, with Zhao Yao’s capabilities, once he seized an opportunity, the consequences of his counterattack would be immeasurable.
Originally, Zheng Leqi was quite conflicted about his cousin’s matter, but seeing how calm his parents were, he felt like he was overreacting. He watched as Uncle Wang, who had come with his cousin, helped in making dumplings, while his own mother, wearing an apron, was busy in another corner. Unable to resist any longer he went to his brother and asked, “It’s not the New Year’s Eve dinner tonight, is it? Why is Mom so busy so early?”
In previous years, they would give their servants time off during the New Year, and his mother would personally take charge of the New Year’s Eve dinner. But it was still two days away from the actual New Year, so why was his mother already thinking and organizing all of this? The preparations seemed quite grand.
His older brother was sitting on the sofa, engrossed in playing a video game. When he heard Zheng Leqi’s question, he casually replied, “She said cousin is bringing some people over for dinner tonight, and she wanted to cook something herself. She started bustling around right after finishing a video call.”
Zheng Leqi perked up. “Is it Pei Mingzhan?”
His older brother nodded twice. “You still haven’t gotten his autograph this morning, right? I’ll get it for you tonight.”
In the blink of an eye, evening had arrived. Aunt Zheng asked Zheng Leqi to go outside and check. The guests should be arriving soon. Zheng Leqi set down his phone and made his way outside, where he saw an unfamiliar car parked in front of the house. Pei Mingzhan stepped out and handed the keys to the security guard by the door, while his cousin, wrapped in a scarf, emerged from the passenger seat with a somewhat tired expression on his face.
Zheng Leqi hurried over and greeted them warmly, “Cousin, Pei Ge.”
Pei Mingzhan remembered the boy who had been staring at him in the morning. “Hello.”
Zhao Yao nodded slightly, taking in the lively atmosphere at the Zheng residence. Even his uncle was busy in an apron, as if the whole family was bustling around. This lively scene immediately reminded him of Yao Bai’s family. The New Year season was just as festive there, but the Yao Bai’s house was, after all, a friend’s family. Thinking of this Zhao Yao felt more envious than ever.
However, when he witnessed this bustling scene at the Zheng residence, he couldn’t help but feel an inexplicable sensation. It was quite strange, but he didn’t hate it.
Soon, Uncle Zheng approached and asked about how their day had been. Pei Mingzhan handed over the gifts he had brought and said earnestly, “Uncle Zheng, sorry for the trouble.”
Uncle Zheng only said, “Why bring gifts? Just consider this place as your own home.”
Pei Mingzhan smiled faintly, “It’s only right.”
Zhao Yao and Pei Mingzhan sat outside while the others seemed to be wrapping up their tasks. Zhao Yao noticed that Zheng Leqi’s gaze had been lingering on him and Pei Mingzhan. So, he asked, “How are you, Leqi?”
At this moment, Zheng Leqi’s brother, sitting beside him, spoke up, “Cousin, Xiaoqi wants to ask Pei Ge for an autograph but was too shy to ask.”
Zheng Leqi shot his brother an annoyed look, and Pei Mingzhan smiled upon hearing this and asked, “Is that what this is about? Should I sign it now?”
Zheng Leqi had to retreat to his room to get a piece of paper. While Pei Mingzhan was signing his autograph, on the other side, Zhao Yao resumed his conversation with Uncle Zheng about market matters. He didn’t quite grasp all those technical terms. When Pei Mingzhan had finished signing, Zheng Leqi whispered, “Pei Ge, are you and my cousin a couple?”
Pei Mingzhan hesitated briefly and then smiled, “You can ask your cousin about that.”
Zheng Leqi accepted the autograph and then turned his head to look at his cousin.
As the group discussed market matters, Zheng Leqi struggled to follow the conversation. When the time was nearing, the household staff came to remind them that they could move to the dining room. This was the first time Pei Mingzhan had visited the Zheng family since becoming an adult. He used to frequently visit Zheng’s family in the past, but those visits were to their old rural estate. Considering the attitude of the Zheng family’s couple during this visit, he couldn’t help but think that the Zheng family hadn’t changed much from before.
“Watching the two of you together always brings back memories of when you were just little children. You’ve grown up so quickly,” Uncle Zheng reminisced. “I heard that you two have co-founded a live-streaming platform. My friends say it’s a new industry with a promising future. Young entrepreneurs should support each other, and if you ever encounter any difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of your elders.”
Aunt Zheng chimed in, “Young people nowadays are more knowledgeable than you know.”
Uncle Zheng smiled and said, “Indeed, that’s right. Come, let Uncle raise a toast to you both.”
In Zhao Yao’s glass, tea had been thoughtfully poured instead of wine. He raised his cup in return and then heard his uncle bring up another topic.
Uncle Zheng set down his glass and with a slightly teasing tone asked, “Xiao Pei, you’re not getting any younger. Now that you’ve left the entertainment industry and returned here, it’s time to think about relationships once your career is stable, right? Do you have a partner?”
At this point, Aunt Zheng gently touched her husband’s arm. “These young folks are busy with their entrepreneurial business. Who has time to think about such matters, right Xiao Pei? Your uncle likes to nag about these things after a few drinks. Don’t mind him.”
Uncle Zheng added, “Marriage can wait, but it wouldn’t hurt to be in a relationship first. The same goes for you, Xiao Yao. Establishing your career is important, but building a family is also important. You need someone to support each other.”
Zhao Yao paused for a moment before saying, “Actually, I already have a partner.”
Uncle Zheng and Aunt Zheng were momentarily surprised, and then Aunt Zheng asked, “Why didn’t you bring her 1 over for the New Year? Which family is she from, and how did you meet her?”
Uncle Zheng laughed, raising his glass as if to have another drink. “That’s great news!”
“Today, I brought him with me,” Zhao Yao hesitated for a moment and then continued, “I forgot to introduce him. Pei Mingzhan is my boyfriend.”
Pei Mingzhan smiled and said, “That’s right, Uncle Zheng, Xiao Yao and I are in a relationship.”
The Zheng couple were left momentarily stunned by this news. Aunt Zheng was particularly surprised, and Uncle Zheng nearly lost his grip on his glass.
On the other side, Zheng Leqi’s brother was already dumbfounded, while Zheng Leqi looked at his parents with a puzzled expression. Wait, weren’t his parents already aware of this? They had even mentioned how close the two of them were from a young age earlier today. Why did this suddenly feel strange?
While the Zheng couple may have taken a moment to process this unexpected revelation, they refrained from commenting on the youngsters’ relationship. They had heard about the two men being together, but the fact that it was Zhao Yao and Pei Mingzhan was quite surprising. Still, matters of their children’s emotions were not something their elders could intervene. The Zheng family had always refrained from interfering in their children’s romantic matters.
However, the idea of these two young men being together left the Zheng couple somewhat dazed. They suddenly recalled the rumors circulating online, as well as Zhao Yao’s social media posts from earlier, which had depicted them as close friends going out together. When viewed through this new perspective, it did seem like they were on a date rather than just two buddies hanging out.
Uncle Zheng asked cautiously, “How long have you been together?”
Zhao Yao replied, “Not for very long, we only decided to be in a relationship recently.”
A moment of awkwardness settled at the dinner table, and seeing her husband stunned, Aunt Zheng continued, “This is actually quite nice. Young people should explore their love life and communicate openly when they face issues in their relationship. Don’t keep things bottled up. By the way, Old Zheng, the bottle of wine you mentioned last time, I’ve brought it over. Coincidentally, Xiao Pei is here, so you two gentlemen can enjoy it together.”
Uncle Zheng suddenly snapped back to reality and said, “Right, right, bring my wine over here.”
With that one sentence back and forth, the awkward atmosphere at the table was shattered. Zhao Yao had initially thought that his uncle and aunt might ask more questions, but they didn’t ask further. Once they were sure that the two young people were really in love, they briefly discussed some important points to consider in their relationship. They didn’t dwell on the topic but shifted the conversation towards the upcoming Chinese New Year.
On the other side, Zheng Leqi’s older brother had been pulling Zheng Leqi aside, eager to find out what was going on. After the meal, they were all deep in thought, with their main focus on the fact that Pei Mingzhan and Zhao Yao were in a romantic relationship!
The meal lasted quite a while, and by the time Uncle Zheng had a bit too much to drink, the dinner finally came to an end. Since Pei Mingzhan had driven there himself and couldn’t drive after drinking, Aunt Zheng suggested he stay the night.
But Pei Mingzhan responded, “It’s alright, I’ll just call for a designated driver.”
Aunt Zheng arranged for one of the family’s drivers to take Pei Mingzhan back home.
Walking out together, Zhao Yao accompanied Pei Mingzhan. The cold wind hit them, dispersing the scent of alcohol clinging to Pei Mingzhan’s body. Zhao Yao was concerned when he smelled the aroma of liquor, “Once you get back, take a shower and rest early. It’s getting cold, so be careful not to catch a cold.”
Pei Mingzhan gently reached out and pulled Zhao Yao into his arms, saying, “Let me hold you for a while, nothing more.”
Zhao Yao noticed Pei Mingzhan was still quite sober even after drinking, so he allowed him to hold on. Lately, Pei Mingzhan had developed a fondness for nuzzling into Zhao Yao’s shoulder. Typically, he carried the subtle scent of mint, but tonight, there was a hint of the stronger fragrance of alcohol. Zhao Yao hadn’t enjoyed high-proof liquor for a long time, and the sensation of being rubbed by Pei Mingzhan made him feel a little hot all over.
Zhao Yao did not wear a scarf when he came out, and his bare skin was blown a little cold by the cold wind. This exposed skin clashed with the faint scent of alcohol that lingered around Pei Mingzhan, leading to a slightly uncontrollable sensation.
Both of them were young and energetic men, highly sensitive to each other’s bodies. But given that they were in the Zheng’s residence, Zhao Yao was concerned that things might get out of hand. He reminded, “Don’t move around. I’m feeling a bit hot.”
Pei Mingzhan laughed softly twice but remained quiet. He leaned slightly on Zhao Yao, appearing somewhat peaceful.
Zhao Yao asked, “Pei Mingzhan? Are you drunk?”
Pei Mingzhan replied, “I’m not drunk. I just don’t want to go back.”
Zhao Yao suddenly felt like Pei Mingzhan was acting a bit like a spoiled child when drunk. “Then, stay here for the night?” he suggested.
“No, I won’t stay,” Pei Mingzhan replied after some time. “Let’s move in together when we get back to S City. We can either stay at my place or yours. It doesn’t matter. I want to be able to see you as soon as I finish work.”
Zhao Yao was slightly intoxicated by the faint scent of alcohol on Pei Mingzhan. Pei Mingzhan’s hand rested loosely on his waist, as if he were leaning his entire body against him. But Zhao Yao knew that Pei Mingzhan hadn’t completely let go of his grip. He reached out with his hand, subtly sliding his fingers inside Pei Mingzhan’s sleeve, and the searing heat within excited him even more.
He tilted his head slightly and placed a gentle kiss on the side of Pei Mingzhan’s face. Then, he followed along the direction of his face, planting a kiss near the corner of his mouth.
The confusing scent of alcohol hung in the air around them, and in the brief moments when their lips met, Zhao Yao whispered, “Alright.”
The driver had silently parked the car nearby and turned off the engine, waiting patiently. Pei Mingzhan was worried that if they continued kissing, things might escalate further. So, he lowered his voice near Zhao Yao’s ear, “Xiao Yao, your uncle and aunt are really nice. Sometimes, you don’t have to push yourself so hard.”
Zhao Yao paused but didn’t respond.
Pei Mingzhan continued, “After the New Year, I’ll come to pick you up and take you to my place. Then, we can visit the countryside where I used to live. How does that sound?”
Then he released Zhao Yao and walked to the car door parked beside them. “Get in quickly, it’s cold outside.”
“Be careful on the road,” Zhao Yao said.
Pei Mingzhan got into the car, and the driver quickly drove away.
Zhao Yao stood outside the Zhao residence for a while, gazing at the car gradually fading into the darkness of the night, until the taillights disappeared from view. He adjusted his collar slightly, and it seemed like Pei Mingzhan’s presence had not completely dissipated.
Suddenly, he felt that being in love was truly a wondrous thing. The feeling of being cared for by someone who might be younger in age but so mature in mind gave rise to an indescribable sense of reliance.
On the other side, in the Pei family, after Mother Pei heard that Pei Mingzhan wouldn’t be coming home for dinner he asked Elder Brother Pei. She found out that Pei Mingzhan did not come and went to Zehng’s family for dinner. Mother Pei couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. After all, they were both having dinner, so why didn’t he come home?
When Pei Mingzhan returned from the Zheng family, his mother was already seated in the living room, looking at him. As soon as he approached, she asked, “Did you go shopping for clothes with Xiao Yao in the afternoon? Why didn’t you bring him home for dinner?”
After she finished speaking, she caught a whiff of alcohol on Pei Mingzhan’s body, so she quickly had someone prepare a sobering soup.
Pei Mingzhan’s elder brother sat next to him, reading some documents. He was a bit surprised by Pei Mingzhan’s appearance and said, “I thought you were drowning your sorrows in alcohol. Why did you go out for dinner and drink so much? Did you have a breakup?”
Although Pei Mingzhan had a fair amount of alcohol, he was still sober. He took off his scarf and replied, “How could I have a breakup? I went to meet my boyfriend’s family.”
Pei Mingzhan’s older brother was taken aback by his words. He knew that Pei Mingzhan had feelings for Zhao Yao, but now he had a sudden realization, “You’ve made progress? When did this happen?”
The members of the Pei family were well aware of Pei Mingzhan’s sexual orientation. It had caused quite a stir in the past, and his entry into the entertainment industry was only part of the reason. The larger part was Pei Mingzhan coming out to his family. While he had been a mischievous troublemaker in his younger days but as he grew older, his character gradually stabilized. Originally, the Pei family had expected Pei Mingzhan to follow their arrangements and work in the Pei Group as planned. However, things took a sudden turn when Pei Mingzhan declared his attraction to men, and then pursued a career in the entertainment industry.
Big Brother Pei knew what kind of person his younger brother was. At least back when Pei Mingzhan was in his teens, he was so pure that he hadn’t even had a girlfriend. How could he suddenly develop an interest in men? So he sent someone to investigate and, to his surprise, couldn’t find any information about Pei Mingzhan’s boyfriend. The source of this coming out of the closet was also utterly unreasonable.
The Pei family was not particularly bound by traditional beliefs, and they didn’t let Pei Mingzhan’s sexual orientation influence their thinking. At first, they were a little confused, but as time went on and Pei Mingzhan chose to leave home and explore a different world, the issue of coming out gradually faded into the background. Later on, due to certain circumstances, Big Brother Pei learned that the reason behind Pei Mingzhan’s coming out might have something to do with Zhao Yao. Then, because of an unexpected incident on the set of “Mi Ying,” he discovered that Pei Mingzhan was pursuing Zhao Yao.
“It’s been a while,” Pei Mingzhan nodded with a hint of a headache. After pausing for a moment, he continued, “I’m still in the early stages. I was planning to wait for him to make a move.”
Mother Pei happened to overhear the conversation between the two brothers when she approached. She paused slightly as she held a bowl of hangover soup. “Early stages of what? Are either of you in a relationship?”
I was out the whole day yesterday and just came back today. And I’m officially an Aunt! My brother’s child was born yesterday! (˶ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ˶)
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If there are any mistakes/error, feel free to comment it down below.
- Usually he/her has the same pronunciation but different character when written in Chinese. And usually in these settings they thought a guy say partner = girl partner.