The Tang family arrived before the banquet began. Tang Yunhai and Tang Tianlong along with Tang Bochuan and Zhang Yumei made their appearance. This time, Shi Boren had arranged Xia Lei’s seat with the Tang Family. Disregarding the other guests, this birthday banquet was akin to a family gathering.
Yu Shanhe and Ling Han were seated at the table beside them along with some prominent figures, which Yu Shanhe seemed to be enjoying his conversations with.
From the corner of his eye, Xia Lei watched Yu Shanhe and Ling Han. Abruptly, the latter stood up and walked towards a window. The man dug out his phone and began to dial a number.
Before Xia Lei could lock his gaze on the reflection on the glass panel to read Ling Han’s lips, his phone rang.
Who the hell was calling him at a time like this?
Xia Lei chose to ignore it, keeping his eyes on Ling Han. Ling Han, on the other hand, hadn’t said a word.
“Your phone is ringing, are you not going to answer it?” Tang Yuyan came closer in curiosity.
“I wasn’t paying attention, sorry.” It was only then that Xia Lei answered the call. Weirdly, there was no number displayed on the screen. Bewildered by it, he left the table before he picked it up. “Hello? Who…”
“It’s me.” A man’s voice rang through its speaker.
Xia Lei was stunned. This was a voice he was all too familiar with. It was Ling Han’s voice.
They both attended the same banquet. All conversations could’ve been heard clearly just by raising their volumes but Ling Han had chosen this method.
What on earth was Ling Han trying to achieve?
Xia Lei was clueless on what his motives could be.
“No need to be weirded out. I just want to talk to you.” Ling Han continued the conversation.
Calmly, Xia Lei replied, “I don’t know what is left to talk between us. It’s quite funny isn’t it, calling me like this?”
“Yeah, I agree. It is quite funny.” Ling Han continued, “But if I don’t take the initiative, would you even talk to me? You’ve decided to cease all communication, I have no choice but to do this.”
“Communication?” Xia Lei scoffed. “That’s what I’ve been desperately trying to do in the past, but you both weren’t keen on opening up a door for me. Look at how the tables have turned. You’re now looking to communicate with me? Don’t you find this pointless?”
“Well, I hope not. Let me tell you something worth a listen.”
“You’re a smart man. I’m sure you understand how to survive. You’ve already gotten what you want. There’s no need to be so hostile to us anymore. The hostility won’t do any of us good as time goes on.” Ling Han lowered his voice. “Officer Yu is trying to appease you, offering a chance for us to bury the hatchet. I think you should accept his advances to dissolve our conflict. As long as you’re willing, we all can be friends. It’s better to have more friends than enemies, right?”
Was this guy actually trying to threaten him politely or was he trying to solve the tension between them all?
No matter what the motive was, the conflict between Xia Lei, Ling Han and Yu Shanhe could never be dissolved. Their obvious involvement in the West province Dawang operation that brought Amanda and Park Taeyong to their deaths could never be resolved. Most importantly, Xia Lei himself almost died in the battle on Dawang snow mountain!
If you could forgive someone who had caused the deaths of your relatives, that would certainly not be an act of compassion but a solid proof of your idiocy. Plus, this friendly gesture offered by Yu Shanhe and Ling Han was done in response to the sticky situation. They were merely trying to protect themselves. As soon as they regain their composure and standing, would they still be friends with Xia Lei? Yu Shanhe and Ling Han were absolutely not trustworthy!
Xia Lei was clear about this. Despite that, he smiled. “Sure, no problem. I like making friends.”
“Then that’s decided. Later, come over to make a toast to Yu Shanhe.”
Xia Lei fell silent for a while before answering, “I’ll pass on that. How about this? Let’s set an appointment tonight to talk about this elsewhere? Toasting ten glasses of wine wouldn’t be a problem then.”
With that, Ling Han ended the call. He turned around to flash a smile at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei nodded faintly at him with a grin, trying his best to appear friendly.
Ling Han returned to his seat.
But Xia Lei dialled another number to make a different call.
“Hello, Director Xia. What’s the matter?” Qing Caiyue’s voice rang through.
“What is Xiao Zhu doing?” Xia Lei asked.
“She’s out for a walk.”
“A walk? To where?”
Qing Caiyue replied, “She said she wanted to buy some toys but I was busy. I let two security guards escort her to Bailu. There’s nothing to worry about, the two security guards will take good care of her.”
“Please instruct the guards to bring her back and wait for my call. I’ll be phoning later with a time and venue. Bring her over after my call, got it?” instructed Xia Lei.
“Understood. I’ll call the guards now,” replied Qing Caiyue.
Xia Lei ended the call and returned to the table. The knowledge of Zhu Xuanyue going to Bailu didn’t bother him at all. Although Zhu Xuanyue only had the mentality of a child, Xia Lei was certain that she would be safe from any harm. The only one who could lay a finger on her in existence would probably be the mysterious black-robed man. Brushing him aside, the only worry now was her harming someone else.
“Bringing Zhu Xuanyue along to the appointment would probably give me some surprises, right?” Xia Lei smirked.
“What are you smiling at?” Tang Yuyan’s voice snapped him out of it, the woman was smiling too. “Were you thinking about something fun?”
Xia Lei answered, “Oh, it’s nothing. There’s something I’d like to ask you…”
“Uncle Xia is here.” Tang Yuyan abruptly interrupted Xia Lei.
Xia Lei turned around. Indeed, Xia Changhe was approaching their table.
Tang Tianlong quickly left his seat to lead Xia Changhe over. “Brother, come, come. Make yourself comfortable. We’re just waiting for you to start the banquet.” The man’s tone was overwhelmingly friendly.
“I’m terribly sorry, the traffic was awful on my way here. Sorry for making everyone wait.” Xia Changhe began to apologize profusely. The man spared a glance at Xia Lei and the father-son pair exchanged a smile. No words were spoken between them.
Xia Changhe’s arrival was welcomed warmly by the members of the Tang family. They were already treating him as a part of the family.
Taking that in, Xia Lei could feel his temples throb. He could tell that Xia Changhe had genuinely enjoyed the sight of him and Tang Yuyan together. That must be the case, or else Xia Changhe would never bring up the topic of grandchildren and even attend the banquet today.
Despite that, Xia Lei understood the sentiments of his father. All parents would love to see their children find someone they love. The Tang family was a noble family and Tang Yuyan was their darling daughter. A union between Xia Lei and Tang Yuyan would be a powerful merging of influences and resources. Admittedly, it was mutually beneficial.
Xia Lei too had considered the implications of their marriage. Tang Yuyan had an amazing family background and she was beautiful. Every aspect of her was excellent and she was about to be promoted as the head of Bureau 101. In front of a woman that was extremely outstanding from the bottom to the top that seemed fitting around his arms, Xia Lei couldn’t help but find something missing in the image.
After they exchanged greetings, the birthday banquet began.
Each table took turns toasting each other, the atmosphere was lively.
“The more I look at Xia Lei, the more I’m fond of him. He’s so handsome and so kind, I wonder which lucky girl will be his bride.” Zhang Yumei suddenly brought the topic up.
The attention of the entire table was suddenly on Xia Lei and Tang Yuyan.
Their gazes were getting too much for Xia Lei. Slowly, he lowered his head in embarrassment.
Xia Changhe laughed breathily. “Your Tang Yuyan is a great girl. Not only is she beautiful, but her temperament is also good too. Not to mention, your family is such a powerful one. Any man who marries your Tang Yuyan is truly lucky.”
Hearing that, Tang Yuyan blushed, lowering her head bashfully. From the corner of her eye, she stared at Xia Lei.
Shi Boren, who was seated on the same table, abruptly exclaimed, “Alright, enough of this long-winded nonsense. I’m a brute and I prefer being straightforward. Yuyan and Xia Lei are both kids I’m fond of. Since both families are too shy to bring up the real topic, let me be the matchmaker today. Let’s pair these kids up, yeah?”
“Sure! I’ve got no issue with that.” Zhang Yumei was smiling so radiantly. “I’ve already taken a liking to Xia Lei the first time I met him. I really think he’s the other half of my little Yuyan.”
“They’re such a good match, they already look like a married couple.” Tang Yunhai teased.
“What do you think, Old Xia?” Shi Boren turned to look at Xia Changhe.
“I…” Xia Changhe spared Xia Lei a glance before replying with a grin. “I’ve got no objection to that. I quite like Yuyan.”
“Well, I guess we’re set. Wasn’t that easy?” Shi Boren chortled. “My birthday dinner is your engagement dinner! Hahaha.”
With that, all attention was returned to the pair.
Both their families were on board with the idea and were fond of both parties involved. However, the main characters hadn’t expressed their opinions on it.
“Oh dear, I almost forgot…” Shi Boren smiled. “The old people were having too much fun with the discussion but the real main characters hadn’t said a word yet. Yuyan, what do you think?”
“Godfather…” Tang Yuyan’s face was already flushed, but now her face had turned beet red. Her mannerism now was like a bashful teenager that radiated effeminate charisma.
Shi Boren turned to look at Xia Lei. “Xia Lei, how about you? What’s your decision?”
“I…” Xia Lei hesitated, he looked sheepish. It was obvious he was insanely nervous.
Long Bing was right, not knowing how to reject someone was Xia Lei’s biggest weakness. To make things worse, this wasn’t a matter that was easy to decline.
The Tang family had utilized Shi Boren’s sixtieth birthday to force a marriage on him, but they had done it in a way that spared him some dignity. Unfortunately, if Xia Lei was to reject the proposal in such a setting, the Tang family would certainly be humiliated. The scenario would most definitely damage Xia Lei’s relations to them. As if it wasn’t tricky enough, the marriage was something Xia Changhe gave a green light to. His father had given him life twice. Once was when he brought him to this world and the second time was when he risked his life to steal the AE capsule from the facility to cure Xia Lei of his disease. Xia Changhe had never once asked for anything in return. There was only give and never take. His father had only one wish, could Xia Lei be so cruel as to decline him of that?
The worst thing was that Xia Lei and Tang Yuyan had actually developed hazy feelings for one another.
The whole table was on the edge of their seat, especially Tang Yuyan.
“What’s with you?! Come on, tell us your decision,” urged Shi Boren.
Xia Lei inhaled deeply. “Uh…”
Before he could mutter out another word, a distressed scream interrupted him. “Brother in law! This is bad!”
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have a nice day!