You Have the Right to Keep a Secret Love

Chapters List

Chapter 12: Bad Girl Appeal

Although she knew it was fake, at this moment, Qi Xi's heart couldn't help but tighten with nervousness, and it was pounding wildly.

Gu Yan was the type of person who relied on his good looks to be aggressive.

Facing Gu Yan's cold gaze, Qi Xi truly felt a bit flustered, as if she was caught in the act.

Gu Yan became serious, emitting a strong aura of intimidation.

With Gu Yan's appearance, Qi Xi was completely caught off guard, and of course, so was her supposed "blind date." The man hesitated for a moment, then politely looked at Qi Xi and smiled, "Who is this?"

Gu Yan's tone was chilly, "Oh, Qi Xi's boyfriend."

The blind date seemed composed and inquired, "She has a boyfriend now? Hello, I am..."

But unfortunately, Gu Yan's voice was extremely aloof, "I have no interest in who you are." He looked at Qi Xi, "Let's go."


Even after getting on the backseat of Gu Yan's bicycle again, Qi Xi was still a bit bewildered.

"He seemed alright, and I wanted to chat a little longer. I even sent you a message saying there's no need to call. Why did you come anyway?"

Riding the bike, Gu Yan's voice remained calm, "Oh, I didn't see the message earlier. I thought you didn't answer the phone because someone snatched your phone and hung up. So, reluctantly, I came to look for you."

Recalling the awkward scene just now, Qi Xi felt her scalp tingle a bit. "And your attitude was way too cold! I feel like I won't have a chance to be friends with him in the future... Your boyfriend act was over the top, Gu Yan. Don't you think being overly jealous is not a good thing? It's not very masculine for a man to be that jealous. You went a bit too far!"

The moment she spoke, Gu Yan visibly became displeased. His voice sounded irritated as he argued, "I don't think there's anything wrong with my act. Why can't a man be jealous? You seem to have a gender bias. Is jealousy an exclusive trait of women? Women can be assertive, and men can be jealous too. Gender shouldn't be limiting."

Sitting on the backseat of Gu Yan's bicycle, Qi Xi couldn't see his face, but just from his voice, she could imagine how sour he looked. This man was clearly upset as he said, "I think my attitude was already quite good. If I were really your boyfriend, my attitude would be even worse."

"..." It seemed that Gu Yan sounded a bit angry when he pretended to be her real boyfriend.

Qi Xi was a bit surprised by this, as she didn't expect Gu Yan to be the jealous type. He didn't look like it... He appeared composed and steady. So he actually had such possessiveness inside? That's why he couldn't let go of her "White Moonlight"?

*White Moonlight - someone that you used to be in love with.

After Gu Yan finished speaking, he paused for a moment before speaking in a more natural tone, "Why are you silent? I came to pick you up; are you disappointed?"

Qi Xi collected her thoughts and didn't dwell on unnecessary thoughts. She earnestly explained, "No, it's not that. But I thought the overall situation was okay, so I wanted to have a proper meal and give it a try."

"Many things start this way. At first, you think it's okay, have a meal, then you think it's okay, date, and eventually you think it's okay, marry. The reason why our law firm handles so many divorce cases is because there are too many people who settle for a vague 'okay.'"

Qi Xi felt somewhat moved. "Gu Yan, you can actually speak in such long sentences! Haven't you noticed? You've said so many words today!"


"So you won't settle for less?" Qi Xi pondered for a moment, feeling somewhat curious. "What if the girl you like never reciprocates your feelings? Will you completely give up on pursuing another relationship?"

The evening breeze tousled Qi Xi's hair, and she brushed it back. "Of course, if you don't want to talk about this, we can change the topic."

However, to her surprise, after a prolonged silence, Gu Yan didn't avoid the topic:

"I have considered not liking her anymore and starting anew."

Gu Yan's voice remained as cold and indifferent as ever, but Qi Xi sat up straight.


She might have made a breakthrough into Gu Yan's inner world, becoming a good colleague who could ease his emotional troubles, and truly mending their frosty relationship!

Although Gu Yan didn't show much more, when Qi Xi's gaze went past his straight back, she noticed a faintly tense and prominent vein on the back of his hand, holding onto the bicycle handle. This was a posture that required great force to display.

He cared so much about her...

At that moment, Qi Xi didn't know what to feel.

From university to the workplace, she had been solely focused on gaining her father's approval, cutting off all other emotions. She was afraid that being in a relationship would affect her grades and was determined to become the best.

Qi Xi felt that she had no regrets about her journey so far.

Yet, at this moment, perhaps due to the ambiguous wind or the gentle night, she suddenly felt an empty melancholy. If she could be liked and cared for wholeheartedly by Gu Yan, it seemed precious too. It was as if this kind of youth was worth cherishing.

For things in the past that couldn't be changed, Qi Xi chose not to dwell on them. So, she shifted her attention back to Gu Yan's back and decided to change the subject. "So, what happened later? Why couldn't you start anew?" She added, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Gu Yan's voice sounded a bit muffled, but he still answered Qi Xi, "Every time I wanted to give up, she would always reappear."

Although this youthful excitement was touching, but...

"She's a total jerk!" Qi Xi couldn't hold back her indignation. "She's just stringing you along, using your feelings for her like flying a kite. Whenever you drift too far, she pulls you back. She's so manipulative! Look, she rejected you, but she keeps showing up in your life, making you think about her now and then, it's like an addictive drug you can't quit!"

Gu Yan glanced at Qi Xi. "Yes, she's quite cunning."

"Is she very beautiful?"


"Great figure too?"


"What about her grades? Are they excellent too?"



Gu Yan's tone was light, as if it would scatter in the wind at any moment. But from the end of his sentences, Qi Xi could sense his feelings for that girl.

In Gu Yan's eyes, she must be perfect in every way, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This was an entirely high-level player! No wonder Gu Yan was caught in her snare.

Qi Xi understood in her heart, "So she treats you well?"

This kind of girl probably often claimed to be just friends, yet her tenderness and care towards Gu Yan gave the illusion of a special connection, fostering hope. In this ambiguous state, even if his confession was rejected, Gu Yan remained captivated and consumed by his feelings, trapped by the allure of it all.

But when this question came up, Gu Yan's answer was unexpectedly negative: "No, she treats me poorly."


Then why are you still chasing after her???

Qi Xi was stunned. "How bad is she treating you?"

"Whatever she gives me is always wrong, always something I don't like."

Even Gu Yan's usually calm voice showed a hint of emotional fluctuation. Qi Xi could tell that he was holding back his anger and was somewhat unhappy, but perhaps due to his genuine feelings, he kept it to himself.

This is too much!

Though she wasn't the one experiencing it, Qi Xi felt suffocated just thinking about it. "Gu Yan, you can't let her treat you like this! If someone gives you something you don't like, you should clearly tell her that you don't like it. Why should you compromise and accept it?"

Gu Yan's usual personality seemed tough and not someone who would compromise!

However, Gu Yan's logic completely caught Qi Xi off guard. He calmly turned his head and gave her a glance. "At least she gives me things. If I clearly reject her, she might stop giving them."

"... Gu Yan, man, you need to stand up for yourself!"

"Although I know you really like her, I think this kind of girl has some issues with her character. Even if she keeps you as a backup, she should have some professional ethics and at least understand your preferences. It seems like she doesn't care about you at all. Maybe you should consider liking someone else instead."

This girl was clearly not putting in any effort for Gu Yan. Look at herself; she offended Gu Yan and still wanted to mend their relationship. She even took the effort to find "The Complete Gu Yan," which wasn't hard to find if someone just put in a little effort to do it.

As Qi Xi recalled this, she felt lucky. Thanks to "The Complete Gu Yan," she could appeal to his preferences and give him things he truly liked. This quickly brought them closer and improved their relationship.

Unfortunately, Gu Yan seemed adamant about this terrible girl. No matter what Qi Xi said, he didn't seem to think she did anything wrong. "She's not the problem; she just doesn't like me."

Although Gu Yan's tone was calm at the moment, Qi Xi detected a profound sadness and love-filled forbearance in his voice.

Gu Yan, you're too pitiful and humble!

Who would have thought that the usually assertive and dominant Gu Yan, who easily excelled in any activity or competition, would also face unrequited love? In an instant, Qi Xi remembered her own unrequited first-place achievement, and she empathized. She suddenly felt that she and Gu Yan were both castaways in the same world, and they should sympathize with each other and make a great team!

Qi Xi typically didn't intervene much in personal matters of love, but this time, she was genuinely concerned. "Gu Yan, find someone else. This girl is not right for you. So what if she's beautiful and has a great figure? There are plenty of people who like you and pursue you, and there will surely be someone who meets your requirements and gets along well with you. It seems like this girl doesn't have a good character. You should quickly move on and start anew!"

Unfortunately, Qi Xi's heartfelt advice only earned her a cold look from Gu Yan. He glanced back at her and then looked ahead at the road. "They're not her."

He sounded as if he was stubbornly declaring--

"I like girls with bad personalities."

"..." Qi Xi was speechless. Men can be so stubborn!

But then Qi Xi thought again and felt some sympathy for Gu Yan. She couldn't blame him; after all, this girl's level was so high that every time Gu Yan tried to give up, she would appear and lure him back in. Gu Yan suffered from lovesickness and liked her so devotedly that even if he rationally recognized her true nature, emotionally, he couldn't get over that hurdle. Wasn't he still being controlled by her in the end?

"How about this: the next time that girl comes to see you, and you find it hard to refuse her and keep your distance emotionally, just come to me. I'll help you put a stop to it. I'll be the one to break the 'swan' couple apart!"

*棒打鸳鸯 translates to "to beat a mandarin duck with a stick". It is a metaphor meaning "to break up a couple."

Gu Yan had stepped up several times to help her by pretending to be her boyfriend. It wasn't a problem for Qi Xi to return the favor.

But Gu Yan frowned; he seemed to want to reject Qi Xi's proposal.

This displeased Qi Xi. "What's wrong? Am I not qualified enough for you? I look pretty good, and I'm good in various aspects. Apart from my nice personality, I'm at least on par with that girl you're so hung up on, right?"

"Your personality is nice?"

Qi Xi was quite confident. "Isn't my personality good?"

"Is it good to publicly scold me at the graduation ceremony?"


Alright, fine. It's my fault for meddling too much. I somehow got myself involved in this.

Qi Xi quickly tried to make amends. "Anyway, in everyone's eyes, I have a good personality. But let's not dwell on the past. Let's look forward to the future. Let's focus on working well with your sister. We'll definitely make a lot of money together. Matters of love could only hinder our progress. Let's talk about something else. How about setting a small goal? What will you do when you make ten million?"

"I'll give it to her."


Qi Xi was at a loss for words. Gu Yan really had to get over this hurdle: "Ten million! Why would you give that girl ten million? What does she need it for?"

"I'll give her ten million, and maybe she'll marry me on the spot."

No way!

Qi Xi wanted to roll her eyes. "Wow, she's that money-hungry? She'll marry you for ten million? Is that true love? Gu Yan, as a man, you should have some backbone. Why do you like such a money-grubbing girl? And she's so shallow too. If she's so money-hungry, she should at least demand 100 million to marry someone!"

"..." Gu Yan's face showed an expression that said he didn't want to continue this conversation.

"Never mind, even if you give me 100 million, I wouldn't marry you." Qi Xi sat on the back of Gu Yan's bicycle, letting the evening breeze play with her hair. She looked at the busy traffic not far away and decided to clarify things for herself. "I probably won't even date anyone."

Gu Yan paused for a moment. Apparently, this topic piqued his curiosity. He asked Qi Xi swiftly, "Why?"

"It's my dad. He never approved of girls. He thinks being a lawyer is not suitable for a girl and that women can't make it in their careers. He believes a woman's only success is to find a good husband, get married, and have children early. But I'm not like that. I want to show him that what men can do, we can do too."

"What does that have to do with dating?"

Qi Xi shook her head, flipping her hair. "Dating men ruins them, right? My dad got that one right."

Gu Yan replied with a sarcastic tone, "I see that you were chatting quite well with the guy from the blind date today."

"I just wanted to have a proper meal with him. I thought he had some experiences that I could learn from. But dating? No way. Men are stumbling blocks on the path to progress."

Love matters can easily bring people closer, and Gu Yan was clearly interested in this topic. "So you'll wait until you're established in your career before considering dating?"

Qi Xi nodded. "That's right. At least I want to achieve some success in my career."

"So, you didn't go to Columbia Law School because of your father?"

As soon as this topic was brought up, Qi Xi felt unhappy. "Yes, my dad thinks girls don't need to study so much. He forced me to get a stable 9-to-5 job and marry and have children early. But I refuse. I want to work in a law firm for a long time, just like your sister, until I become a great paralegal."

But not talking about it was better. Once the topic of studying abroad came up, Qi Xi thought of Gu Yan. "Right, didn't you write in your job intention survey that you planned to work in a law firm? Why did you change your mind and decide to go to the United States later? You got an offer from Columbia Law School, but you didn't go. Can I ask why?"

This question was quite personal. At another time, Qi Xi wouldn't have asked, but the atmosphere was right now. Qi Xi opened her heart and shared the inside story of her missed opportunity with Columbia Law School. She felt that sharing her regrets with Gu Yan might bring them closer together. Maybe after this evening, Gu Yan and she would become even closer friends!

However, just when Qi Xi thought that Gu Yan's silence was him considering how to express his career change, she heard Gu Yan finally say two words—

"You can't."


Gu Yan's voice was calm, so calm that Qi Xi thought she must have misheard.

She had poured out her own troubles, but why couldn't he offer some comforting words in return? Isn't that a normal way to interact in modern society?

Instead, Gu Yan had a cold face, and it seemed like he was sulking. He stopped the bicycle, looked at Qi Xi, and seemed to be in a bad mood. "We're here. Get off."


I know you can't go to Columbia Law School, and it must be hard for you. But why are you so upset?

It's not like I'm the one who made you change your career plans!

With this attitude, I won't treat you to durian anymore!


Back at home, the first thing Qi Xi did was send money to tonight's "blind date."

After ordering, Qi Xi carefully checked the bill, knowing the cost of the meal. She also had the guy's phone number, so she found him on Alipay and decided to transfer the money directly. Although the price was a bit high, they had agreed to go Dutch, so there was no debt of gratitude.

However, when she transferred half the money, the guy promptly refunded the money with a message—

"Your boyfriend already paid."


He paid the bill again? Why didn't he tell me!

She immediately called Gu Yan and confronted him. Gu Yan's attitude was quite calm. "I forgot to tell you."

Qi Xi felt speechless. "How could you forget? Weren't you out of money for meals? Besides, I was planning to go Dutch with him. That way, I'd only pay half, and he'd cover the rest. But because you paid, I'm at a loss for the whole bill."

Gu Yan remained composed. "If the 'boyfriend' comes to take his girlfriend out with another man, should he not even pay the bill? Of course, I had to buy the meal; otherwise, what if that guy thinks I'm not up to the task and continues to pester you?"

He paused, and his tone turned a bit sarcastic. "Of course, maybe I'm overthinking it."

Having said that, Qi Xi also felt a little embarrassed. After all, Gu Yan was only helping her out of obligation!


Qi Xi almost wanted to kneel down over the phone. "So, I owe you even more now..."

But Gu Yan couldn't help but snort coldly. "Can you repay all that you owe me?" he said coldly. "With so much debt, are you afraid of owing a few more bucks?"

That's true...

"Stop thinking about blind dates and love. Spare some time to work for my sister." The man on the other end spoke coldly, "I don't want to talk anymore. I need to work overtime. Hanging up."

What a heartless and ruthless man.

Despite Gu Yan's cold and heartless demeanor, Qi Xi still cared. She opened "The Complete Gu Yan" and decided to prepare tomorrow's meal.

Tomorrow afternoon, Gu Yan would be accompanying Gu Xuehan to handle the custody dispute case with that old Taoist, and in the morning, he had a client meeting. He was likely to be busy and wouldn't have time to go out for lunch.

At this moment, a friendly bento* was needed!

*Bento - single-portion takeout or home-packed meal.

There was a microwave oven in the co-working space. Qi Xi planned it well; she only needed to make the bento and have Gu Yan warm it up during his short lunch break. Anyway, it was better than the greasy, salty, and sugary takeout! Besides, Qi Xi was quite confident in her cooking skills.

According to "The Complete Gu Yan," Gu Yan loved cilantro, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, rice, and sweet things.

Qi Xi thought for a moment and prepared a sumptuous bento that matched his preferences—sweet and sour pork ribs, stir-fried cilantro, and stewed tofu with shiitake mushrooms— all of Gu Yan's favorite dishes. She then added a generous portion of fluffy white rice and sprinkled it with black sesame seeds. After packing it into a bento box, it looked not only visually pleasing but also delicious and aromatic.

After finishing the meal, Qi Xi handed the bento box she had prepared for Zhao Yiran. Zhao Yiran received it and immediately began to praise her, but her praise didn't seem sincere because after a while, Zhao Yiran continued scrolling through her phone—

"So happy! So cruel!"

Zhao Yiran's eyes were full of yearning. "Did you see it? Ai Xiang's wife, Chen Xiang, opened a Weibo account. They're showing their love for each other every day. Shouldn't we have a chance at this too? This couple is giving us single folks some hope!"

Qi Xi was taken aback. Due to the confidentiality of client information, she couldn't say much to Zhao Yiran. She simply opened her phone, and she quickly understood what Zhao Yiran was looking at.

Chen Xiang, who had always lived in Ai Xiang's shadow, had opened a Weibo account and started interacting frequently with Ai Xiang. Their daily lives were now filled with affectionate moments. Chen Xiang even showed her face and accepted interviews from several self-media platforms, openly discussing the details of their relationship and recalling their love story.

In the interview, Chen Xiang was confident and elegant, speaking warmly of Ai Xiang with a mix of shyness and affection, and if Qi Xi hadn't personally experienced it, she wouldn't have been able to imagine what Chen Xiang had been through—on the surface, her marriage with Ai Xiang seemed blissful, and there was no sign of any shadow.

That's how Chen Xiang portrayed it, and that's what the majority of netizens thought. The internet was filled with blessings and envy for their marriage.

Did Ai Xiang finally realize his mistake and mend his ways?

However, when Qi Xi curiously clicked on Ai Xiang's Weibo, she no longer thought so.

Chen Xiang's protegée, who was now a minor celebrity, was also frequently posting lovey-dovey content—

"Boyfriend bought me a car."

"Boyfriend specially bought me this bag."

"After searching through several shopping services, my boyfriend finally got me this pair of shoes in my size."

Accompanying the captions were pictures of luxury car keys, Hermès bags, and designer shoes.

Between the lines, she boasted about her boyfriend and showed her possessiveness, seemingly competing with Chen Xiang to flaunt their love.

As the minor celebrity wasn't that famous, nobody bothered to dig deep and find out who her boyfriend was. The comments section was filled with blessings and envy, saying, "So cruel! Sister is so lucky. Beautiful sister has a boyfriend."

Clearly, Ai Xiang hadn't truly returned to his family, and the minor celebrity didn't stop either. It seemed that Chen Xiang's marriage was brewing an even bigger storm.

However, none of that concerned others.

Even Zhao Yiran, who was so concerned about Ai Xiang, lost interest in the matter after watching Ai Xiang and Chen Xiang's interview for ten minutes. Instead, she turned to Qi Xi and began discussing the bizarre cases they encountered at work recently.

Qi Xi quickly brushed aside thoughts of Chen Xiang's situation as she had more important things to focus on—working diligently and uniting with her colleagues.

Early the next morning, Qi Xi was full of confidence as she brought the bento with her.

As expected, Gu Yan was busy all morning and didn't have time to eat. Qi Xi seized the opportunity and handed him the warm bento.

"Gu Yan, this is a lunch I specially prepared for you."

Even though she had already researched "The Complete Gu Yan" and tailored the bento to his tastes, Qi Xi wanted to create a feeling of mutual understanding between her and Gu Yan: "The dishes are just something I randomly prepared, but I have a feeling that you'll like them."

Gu Yan hesitated for a moment, then lowered his gaze, took the bento box, and thanked her succinctly.

Although there was no special expression on his face, Qi Xi could sense that Gu Yan was appreciative. There was even a slight hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth. After all, who would want to go to court on an empty stomach? Her gesture was undoubtedly a kind gesture.

Although Gu Yan remained calm, the moment he opened the bento box, a look of great surprise appeared on his face.


Qi Xi had arranged the presentation adorably, and all the dishes—cilantro, shiitake mushrooms, rice, tofu, and sweet and sour pork ribs—were Gu Yan's favorites. How could he not be surprised?

Qi Xi felt proud of herself. "I spent all night preparing this. How is it? Does it suit your taste?"

Gu Yan was probably touched. He held the bento box and stared at the sumptuous meal inside for a long time before finally nodding with a simple "Hmm."

"Then you should eat more! Your court session in the afternoon will probably last quite a while!"

Gu Yan didn't say anything further. He sat down with the bento box and started eating. However, under Qi Xi's intense gaze, he seemed somewhat awkward while eating. Qi Xi even felt that the way he held his chopsticks was a bit stiff.

If it were her, she wouldn't be comfortable with someone watching her eat either. Qi Xi immediately looked away.

However, when she looked back at Gu Yan after playing with her phone for a while, she found that he had almost finished the bento!

Gu Yan was known for his slow and meticulous eating habits, so how could he finish it so quickly? It seemed like only a wolf could devour food like that.

Gu Yan, on the other hand, was quite composed. He faced Qi Xi's astonished gaze and calmly said, "I'm in a hurry."

Qi Xi checked her watch. "But... isn't there still some time before the court session?"

So fast, he probably didn't even have time to chew! He couldn't fully appreciate the taste of the meal!

Gu Yan remained calm, "I'm hungry."

Indeed, Gu Yan was probably genuinely hungry. He had been energetic when he came out of the conference room, but now his face looked a bit pale. Apparently, he had to force himself in front of the clients earlier. In reality, he was already at the end of his tether. Now, in front of Qi Xi, he no longer needed to pretend and revealed his famished and fragile state.

A bit pitiful.

But this also greatly encouraged Qi Xi—she felt that she was getting closer to Gu Yan!

After all, the usually flawless and perfect Gu Yan had revealed his vulnerable side in front of her! Look at his weak complexion now! It wasn't an act; it was the genuine struggle for survival!

Qi Xi was instantly filled with care and friendliness. "Do you have plans for dinner tonight? Why not join Zhao Yiran and me? I'm planning to make coriander egg pancakes, tofu fish soup, and sweet and sour pork..."

Before Qi Xi could finish listing her menu, Gu Yan's refusal came swiftly and decisively. "No, thanks!"

He looked at Qi Xi with complex eyes. "I've been on a diet recently. I won't eat dinner."

"But your figure is already great! You don't need to lose weight!"

"I still need to. One should strive for perfection."


No matter how Qi Xi persuaded him, Gu Yan had made up his mind. Even when he left for court with a look of mental exhaustion, Qi Xi couldn't quite understand. Was Gu Yan's great physique not a result of exercising and fitness, but rather achieved through dieting?

Thankfully, Qi Xi soon had no time to think about Gu Yan's body management anymore. She received a message from Cheng Junliang:

"Qi Xi, can you lend me ten thousand yuan?"

Cheng Junliang was Qi Xi's college classmate, and he had also been in the same dormitory as Gu Yan. Although Qi Xi didn't know him well, she remembered he was a decent student, coming from a not-so-well-off family, and had relied on government grants to get through college. He had originally secured a position through graduate school, but to ease the burden on his family, he hastily joined a small law firm after graduating.

Qi Xi told Zhao Yiran about this incident on WeChat.

Zhao Yiran replied almost immediately, "Cheng Junliang? He asked you for money too?"

Zhao Yiran sounded very understanding when she learned about it and advised, "You must not lend him money. He's been borrowing money everywhere since last week. At first, we thought his account had been hacked, but after confirming with him, it was really him. He has already borrowed money from all our classmates once. When someone who knows him a little better asks him the reason for borrowing, he gets evasive and secretive, which shows he must have some hidden agenda. Sure enough, he hasn't returned any of the money he borrowed before."

Zhao Yiran was a bit exasperated. "How dare he ask you for ten thousand? Who does he think you are, a big spender? He still owes me a thousand! Just block him for peace of mind."

While what Zhao Yiran said made sense, Qi Xi still felt somewhat concerned.

During college, Cheng Junliang was quite popular due to his good looks and gentle personality. Many girls pursued him, but he turned down all of them, leading a frugal and disciplined life. So why would someone like him, who was so self-disciplined, be borrowing money from everyone and even ask someone he barely knew for such a large sum? Could he be trapped in some loan shark scheme?

After thinking it over, Qi Xi finally decided to call Cheng Junliang. "Cheng Junliang, you need ten thousand yuan?"

As expected, Cheng Junliang's voice was hesitant. "I know it's strange to ask you for money. If it's inconvenient, then forget it. Sorry for bothering you."

The more he acted like this, the more suspicious Qi Xi became. She steadied her emotions and said calmly, "Ten thousand is quite a lot. If you want it, you'll have to write me an IOU in person. Let's have dinner together tonight, and you'll treat me."

Sure enough, Cheng Junliang's voice was filled with unexpected joy. "You're willing to lend me? That's great! Don't worry, I'll write an IOU, and I'll definitely repay you afterward."

Qi Xi and Cheng Junliang confirmed the time and place, and she immediately sent a victorious message to Zhao Yiran, "Just you wait. If Cheng Junliang doesn't have any genuine problems, I'll at least help you get back your one thousand tonight!"


The court session of Gu Yan dragged on until it was almost time to leave work. At this moment, Qi Xi was packing up her computer to get ready for her appointment when she saw Gu Yan and remembered something.

"Gu Yan, did Cheng Junliang ask you for money? If he did, show me the screenshot of the transaction. I'm meeting him tonight, and he plans to borrow ten thousand yuan from me."

Gu Yan furrowed his brows. "He didn't ask me. You're having dinner with him tonight? Just the two of you?"

Qi Xi nodded. "Yes, we set the time, and I'm leaving soon."

But as Qi Xi was about to leave, Gu Yan's voice sounded:

"I have no dinner tonight."


Qi Xi stopped in her tracks, surprised. "Aren't you not eating dinner tonight to lose weight?"

Gu Yan's voice sounded a bit sullen, and he glared at Qi Xi. "Do I still need to lose weight? Are you mocking me for being fat?"


You were the one who said you were on a diet!

"Anyway, I'm hungry, and I want to eat." Gu Yan's voice was calm and straightforward. "But I have no money left."

He looked at Qi Xi and continued, "The money was spent on your blind date."


Okay, okay!

"If you don't mind, do you want to join me for dinner with Cheng Junliang?"

Gu Yan's voice seemed reluctant. "Okay, I guess."

Although he said so, he walked faster than Qi Xi. "Where are we eating?"


Qi Xi chose an affordable food stall, and even though the atmosphere was lively, her table with Gu Yan felt out of place.

Sitting in a row, Gu Yan and Qi Xi looked at Cheng Junliang across from them. Gu Yan didn't even bother with pleasantries and asked with scrutiny and vigilance, "Why are you borrowing so much money from Qi Xi?"

Though the atmosphere was a bit heavy, from Gu Yan's expression, Qi Xi believed that he was going to complain that Cheng Junliang wasn't considerate enough. Even when he borrowed money from someone unfamiliar like Qi Xi, he hadn't asked Gu Yan, who used to be his roommate.

After all, Qi Xi had already told Gu Yan that Cheng Junliang was meeting her tonight to borrow money. Gu Yan willingly accompanied her, probably out of concern for their fellow classmate. Thus, he wasn't averse to lending him money to help him out, otherwise, who would want to get involved in such borrowing situations? They all wanted to run away as fast as they could.

As expected, the next moment, Gu Yan spoke, "Don't borrow from her."

Just when Qi Xi thought Gu Yan was going to be generous and say, "Ask me instead," Gu Yan's words came out with emphasis, "She still owes me quite a bit of money, so she can't lend it to you."


This development seemed off...

Cheng Junliang looked embarrassed, while Gu Yan calmly sipped his tea.

After a moment of silence, Cheng Junliang couldn't hold back anymore. He sighed, looking ashamed and helpless. "I'm sorry. Let's forget about the borrowing. I remember all the money I borrowed from our classmates, and I promise to repay it all..."

As Cheng Junliang spoke, he was about to get up and leave. At that moment, Gu Yan spoke again, "How much do you need?"

Cheng Junliang seemed flustered. "I still need ten thousand."

"I'll lend it to you."

Not just Cheng Junliang, even Qi Xi was surprised. The only one who remained composed was Gu Yan himself. The creditor pursed his lips and said, "But you need to be honest about why you suddenly need so much money."

Cheng Junliang had already felt hopeless about borrowing money, but now things took a turn, and he could no longer pretend to be strong. Finally, he revealed the truth behind his need for money:

"It's not because someone in my family is sick, and I haven't taken out an advance loan or borrowed money from online lenders. I need money simply because I messed up a case."

As Cheng Junliang explained the situation, exhaustion and pain appeared on his face. "Although I was an above-average student in school, English was my weak point. Nowadays, big law firms like the one I wanted to join assess candidates' English proficiency. I couldn't meet the requirements and couldn't get in. I thought about making money to support my family, so I joined a small law firm. It's smaller, but they offer a bonus based on the cases you handle, making it sound like I would have more freedom and as long as I worked hard, I could earn as much as I would in a big firm."

"But after joining, I realized that I was being too naïve. The small firm only handles petty civil cases, and new lawyers like us couldn't even expand our client base. Dealing with those trivial cases, we could be extremely busy and exhausted, but in the end, the clients might suddenly withdraw the case, or refuse to pay, or the case couldn't move forward. It's a mess, and I hardly earned anything..."

As Cheng Junliang narrated his story, Qi Xi and Gu Yan finally understood the truth behind his borrowing.

He had finally taken on a loan dispute case. Though the amount involved was small, there was a clear loan agreement and evidence of financial transactions, making it relatively easy to handle. However, the problem arose from that loan agreement.

"The client gave me the original loan agreement, and I put it on my desk. But during those days, I was helping my mentor lawyer organize files, and somehow, the original loan agreement got lost, and I couldn't find it no matter how hard I searched."

Cheng Junliang lowered his gaze, looking ashamed and embarrassed. "Now, because of the loss of the loan agreement, the case is at risk of losing. The client is demanding that I compensate them for the money; otherwise, they threaten to protest outside the law firm. They even found my parents' contact information and harassed them, demanding I repay the money immediately..."

Finally, Qi Xi understood. "So, the reason you avoided telling anyone about borrowing money is that you felt embarrassed?"

Cheng Junliang reluctantly agreed, "This kind of thing sounds too bad if it gets out, and it really is my fault for making such a basic mistake. I know everyone is curious about why I need to borrow money, and I could have lied, saying a family member suddenly fell ill and needed money urgently, but I didn't want to deceive anyone."

"So, you chose to evade and not say anything?"


Cheng Junliang seemed anxious. "But I promise I'll repay the money. I remember the favor of everyone who is willing to lend me money, but it might not be that soon..."

Seeing Cheng Junliang wearing a shirt that had already turned pale, Qi Xi felt uneasy. "How much was the amount on the lost loan agreement?"


Even though she knew this sum was likely not small, hearing the number made Qi Xi gasp. A new intern lawyer like Cheng Junliang in a small firm probably wouldn't make this amount even after two years of work, let alone covering rent, food, transportation, and other expenses...

"You said you only need 10,000 more, so you've already borrowed a total of 110,000 from classmates?"

Cheng Junliang lowered his head. "I asked other classmates and relatives and borrowed nearly 50,000."

"Then what about the other 60,000?"

"I borrowed from online lenders."

Qi Xi felt a headache coming on and wanted to facepalm. "The problem is, online loan interest rates are so high, and there's a repayment period. This money won't be easily accessible in the short term. After the 60,000 yuan online loan matures, what do you plan to do? Borrow from another platform to pay off the first loan? Then let the accumulated debt snowball bigger and bigger? As a law student, now an intern lawyer, do you not know what happens to those who fall victim to online loans? You're so young, and yet you're ruining your credit. In the future, you won't be able to get a mortgage, car loan, or any other loan, and you might even get harassed with debt collection calls until you break down!"

Gu Yan remained calmer in comparison. "What does your law firm say about this? Normally, as an intern lawyer, you shouldn't handle cases independently. When such a mishap occurs, isn't your mentor lawyer also at fault for not reminding you of the risks? They should communicate with the client, report to the law firm, and the firm should take responsibility and help minimize the losses."

But as soon as he mentioned this, Cheng Junliang's expression worsened. "I didn't dare to say anything. My mentor lawyer is very strict, and even though they didn't warn me, I know it was my own negligence. The client had no pockets on them and said they were moving, fearing they would lose the original document. They asked me to keep it for a few days, and I softened my heart and agreed. But even though I put it on the table, it disappeared when I looked for it later."

"If I confess this to my mentor lawyer, the law firm will definitely fire me. They won't take responsibility for the 120,000 yuan compensation. They have no fault in this matter. If that happens, not only will my reputation in the legal field be ruined, but I might lose my job, and then I won't even have the ability to repay the money..."

Qi Xi and Gu Yan exchanged glances and realized they were probably thinking the same thing. And, indeed, Gu Yan's next words confirmed Qi Xi's suspicions.

"So, you're saying that this client lent the defendant 120,000 yuan, and there's a handwritten loan agreement from the other party. Currently, the client is hoping to use legal means to enforce the return of this loan. As a result, you lost the original loan agreement, and now the client has come to you, demanding 120,000 yuan as compensation?"

Cheng Junliang nodded, "Yes, that's right."

Qi Xi continued from where Gu Yan left off, "So, why do you have to compensate them? You shouldn't have to!"

Cheng Junliang looked puzzled.

"Loss of evidence doesn't necessarily mean losing the lawsuit!" Qi Xi looked at Cheng Junliang. "Losing the loan agreement indeed weakens the case for winning, but it doesn't mean you can't win the lawsuit at all. Between your client and the defendant, there might be other pieces of evidence that can prove the existence of this loan. Besides, even without the loan agreement, as long as the defendant doesn't know the evidence is missing, they might still admit to the loan due to guilt."

Gu Yan also pursed his lips. "Originally, you had the original loan agreement, which would have led to a victorious outcome in the case. You could have applied for compulsory execution on behalf of your client. Now, even without the loan agreement, if you can achieve the same result for your client and secure a win, the absence of the loan agreement won't have any impact. You don't need to compensate the 120,000 yuan yourself."

The words were like an awakening for Cheng Junliang, who suddenly saw the light. He tapped his forehead, "Why didn't I think of this? I was only considering that I had to pay for my mistake, my mind was fixated, and I didn't think of the solution you both mentioned!"

"In any case, communicate with the client, ask for their cooperation in providing additional evidence, and do your best to win the lawsuit. You won't have to bear the burden of 120,000 yuan."

Cheng Junliang's spirits lifted instantly, "That's right!"

After he finished speaking, he looked at Qi Xi and Gu Yan, "Thank you both! I'll contact the client right away!"

Hastily, Cheng Junliang rushed to communicate with his client, thanked them for the meal, and hurriedly left, leaving Qi Xi and Gu Yan waiting for dessert.

As soon as Cheng Junliang left, Qi Xi couldn't resist boasting, "See, I have good popularity. In the end, he didn't borrow the last ten thousand from you; instead, he asked me for it. It shows that deep down, he still thinks I'm generous and reliable."

However, Gu Yan glanced at her and mercilessly interrupted Qi Xi's self-praise, "I think it's because he believes that only you look foolish enough to be easily deceived into lending money."


"Why lend money to other guys without thinking?"

"Huh? Why not?"

"You still owe me money, and you're asking me why? Do you plan on owing me while lending money to others to solve their urgent needs?" Gu Yan coldly declared, "From now on, I'm your creditor, with top priority and preferential rights. Pay attention to that."


Qi Xi thought for a moment and found it difficult to refute. She decided to appease her creditor, "You seem not to have eaten enough. Would you like to add some dessert? I heard their durian pastries are particularly delicious..."

Before she could finish her sentence, Gu Yan almost impatiently cut her off, "No need!"

The man coughed and said calmly, "Save your money, pay me back sooner, and stop buying random desserts. Until you've repaid my money in installments, no more durian."

"Then I won't be able to treat you to durian as usual..."

Qi Xi thought that if she said this, Gu Yan might release her from the obligation of providing him with fruits as offerings. However, this man didn't hesitate at all and said directly, "That's okay. Eat something cheaper, like apples."



Love what you read?

Support Me
Previous Next

We use Disqus for site comments. Please be aware that clicking the button below will load comments powered by Disqus. If you have privacy concerns or do not wish to load additional data, you may want to avoid clicking the button.