Cactus in Distress Chapter 8

Chapter 8

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Huang Shuyu came back from a one-week-business trip. As she settled down for lunch, she noticed Tang Nuo, one of her colleagues, approaching her with a plate in hand.

“What brings you here, Assistant Tang?”

Tang Nuo asked, cutting straight to the chase, “Did you accompany Chairman Chen on an inspection tour in Haidu last week?”

“Yes, I did. Why do you ask?”

“Did the inspection went smoothly?”

“Yes, it did.”

“Nothing special happened?”

Huang Shuyu recollected for a moment and recalled the scene from that night. She looked at Tang Nuo’s expectant eyes and smirked mischievously. “Of course something happened. You tell me something first, and then I’ll tell you.”

Tang Nuo asked her again, “Do you know where Chairman Chen is currently staying?”

“Where else? Jianglin Road.”

“Wrong. It’s Anshan Road.”

“Anshan Road? When did he move there? Why?”

“Did you happen to run into someone that night?” Huang Shuyu’s expression was particularly sincere, and even without her answer, Tang Nuo had already guessed it. He asked further, “A woman named Xiang, right?”

“No, not that one. The surname is…” Huang Shuyu interrupted herself, annoyed. “Can you stop asking and tell me what happened already?”

“Nothing happened,” Tang Nuo replied casually, his face showing a hint of smugness as he ate his food leisurely.

Nothing had really happened. It was just that the Boss, Chen Rui, had been acting strange this past week. It started with a sudden phone call that night, asking him to clean up the house on Anshan Road. Tang Nuo knew the house well – it was an unremarkable property in the Boss’s real estate portfolio, old and outdated with poor facilities and an inconvenient location.  He didn’t know what got into the boss’s head, but he moved into the house that very night. And just the other night, he was supposed to fly overseas but ended up changing his mind and returning home to retrieve something.

During his time in college, he had followed closely behind his senior Chen Rui, and had never seen him change his itinerary for no reason. After thinking it over, the only possibility was that the boss’s private life had changed. Perhaps an ex-girlfriend had suddenly appeared on the scene, disrupting the boss’s previously celibate and lackluster private life. It was the only explanation that made sense. And when he thought back on the Boss’s past relationships, there was only one lonely figure that came to mind – Xiang Jiayu.

Tang Nuo had crossed paths with Xiang Jiayu on several occasions. The alluring and gifted young lady had been in the same class as Chen Rui, and the two looked absolutely perfect together. The reason for their breakup was unknown, but Tang Nuo believed that it was Xiang Jiayu who broke up with his Boss.

Huang Shuyu was absolutely pissed off with Tang Nuo. She wracked her brains for a good long while, until she finally decided to march right up and confront Chen Rui. After all, her mother was close friends with his own mother, and Huang Shuyu had addressed him as “Big Brother” since the days of their infancy. So deep down, she was not all that intimidated by him. Nevertheless, she could never summon the courage to stride forth and directly address him. Instead, she came armed with a stack of documents to submit as her report.

Yet despite her valiant efforts, Chen Rui remained utterly indifferent to her presence. He continued to peruse the files before him, even after she had finished her speech and hesitated to depart.

“Brother Rui,” she called out to him once more.


“Brother Rui.”

“If you want to slack off, do it at home.” Chen Rui made a gesture to grab the phone. “I’m going to call Uncle Huang now. He’s been hounding me to send you back.”

“I won’t go back.” Huang Shuyu stamped her foot. “When did I slack off?” She prided herself on being a model employee, despite her status as a connection arranged by her mother.

Chen Rui pointed to the door, saying no more.

Huang Shuyu was so annoyed that she mustered up her courage and asked directly, “Brother Rui, do you like that sister from the other day who was hugging a pot of cactus?” She did not forget to stare into Chen Rui’s eyes, hoping to judge his honesty from his expression.

Chen Rui was stunned for a moment, then a smile crept up on his lips. “Is it that obvious?”

Huang Shuyu, however, was left feeling uncertain. She regarded Chen Rui with suspicion, and was about to press him for further answers. But before she could, Chen Rui waved her away dismissively. “Are you finished now? Then get out, get out.”

Near ten o’clock, Tang Nuo slowly parked the car downstairs.

There was no movement from the person in the back seat. Tang Nuo unbuckled his seat belt and turned to ask softly, “Chairman Chen, would you like me to escort you upstairs?”

“You may go first.”

“Okay.” Tang Nuo got off the car.

Chen Rui leaned his hand on the window and rubbed his temples with his index finger. He didn’t drink much, and he didn’t have to drink at all at tonight’s dinner party. Why did he drink it? Maybe he was absent-minded when the glass was handed to him, and he just put it to his mouth without thinking. After the first glass, he didn’t bother to refuse the second, third, fourth, or fifth glass that came after.

The clear moonlight blended with the evening breeze to sway the leaves of the trees. Chen Rui looked at the unfamiliar surroundings and suddenly remembered why he was here.

He might be a little slow, but his mind was still clear. It was strange that a person would become honest when they were a little drunk.

Chen Rui lowered the car window, glanced up, and saw that the lights were on in one of the seventh-floor apartments. If he went up, both apartments would be lit up, and the lights would be connected.

But what did it matter if the lights were connected?

Sun Yutan had taken a solid nap in the afternoon and was still wide awake in the middle of the night. She lay in bed playing with her phone and thought the doorbell was just her imagination until it rang a second time, prompting her to get up and check.

She looked through the peephole and saw Chen Rui standing outside the door. His hair was slightly damp, and he was wearing a cotton T-shirt and shorts, as if he had just taken a shower.

“What’s up?” She opened the door.

“I went out to throw something away, and the wind closed the door,” Chen Rui explained expressionlessly.

“Ah…” Sun Yutan expressed regret at the situation.

“Can I come in?”

Sun Yutan let him in and was about to ask if he needed to borrow her phone to make a call, but she saw Chen Rui heading straight to the balcony. She didn’t react for a moment, and when she followed him, she saw him moving the cactus on her railing. Her mouth dropped open in surprise, and she stammered, “You, you, you, you’re not going to climb over, are you?”

“Yes,” Chen Rui turned around and answered her, “I didn’t bring anything with me.”

“I can lend you my phone.”

“It’s already late, I don’t want to bother anyone.”

“Then why not just get a room outside?”

“No need to make it so complicated.” Chen Rui estimated the distance between the two balconies, “It’s only a little over a meter, jumping over it won’t be difficult.”

“Won’t be difficult? This is the seventh floor, not the ground level!” Sun Yutan thought Chen Rui was crazy, but he showed no signs of stopping. As he moved the last pot of cactus, Sun Yutan grew anxious and grabbed his wrist to pull him back inside.

As she got closer, she caught a faint scent of alcohol on him. Chen Rui didn’t resist as she pushed him onto the sofa.

“Have you been drinking?” Sun Yutan sat beside him and asked matter-of-factly. No wonder he was behaving irrationally.

“Just a little,” Chen Rui relaxed on the sofa. “I’m not drunk. Sun Yutan, if you don’t let me go over, where will I sleep tonight?”

“You can sleep here,” Sun Yutan suggested, patting the sofa.

“At your place,” Chen Rui looked at her with clear eyes and said slowly, “then I want to sleep in a bed.”

Caught off guard, Sun Yutan pointed to her parents’ room. “Then you can sleep in my parents’ room?”

“No.” Chen Rui grabbed her raised hand, pulled it down, and placed it on his thigh. His thumb gently stroked her wrist, causing Sun Yutan to feel a jolt of electricity. She tried to pull back, but Chen Rui held her hand tightly.

“Sun Yutan, I want to sleep on your bed.”

If it weren’t for Chen Rui’s previous actions that scared her, Sun Yutan wouldn’t have just realized what was happening now. After confirming that she hadn’t misunderstood, her ears slowly turned red.

“Is that okay?” Although he was asking, he had already pressed down on her. She was backed against the armrest, with nowhere to go, so she had to use her other hand to press against his chest. Chen Rui’s face was just above hers, less than ten centimeters away. She could clearly see her reflection in his eyes, and her own panic and feigned calmness that belonged to her alone.

Of course she was okay with it, but she still had some old wounds.

So she asked a disappointing question dryly, “Do…do you know who I am?”

Chen Rui was stunned for a moment, anger seemed to flash in his eyes, but then he smiled and said, “Sun Yutan, do you really think I’m that stupid?”

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1 thought on “Cactus in Distress Chapter 8”

  1. Okay so they both like each other. For her the crush started the first she saw him….but as for him 🤔🤔 when did it begin?? I hope the author would later give more insight of their high school years.


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