You Have the Right to Keep a Secret Love

Chapters List

Chapter 7: Find Someone Better

After finishing the durian and airing out the room, it was already 10 o'clock at night when Qi Xi and Gu Yan left the law firm.

Qi Xi's mouth was filled with the taste of durian, making her uncomfortable. She decided to go to the convenience store downstairs to buy some gum.

Gu Yan didn't leave either, just glanced at Qi Xi and followed her into the convenience store.

"You don't need to accompany me... You can go first," Qi Xi said.

Gu Yan gave her a glance. "Do you own this convenience store?"

"..." Okay, she was just being presumptuous.

At this hour, the convenience store had few customers, and the shop assistants seemed half-asleep. After getting the gum, while casually picking out some snacks, Qi Xi heard the sound of the shop door being opened again.

Subconsciously, she looked toward the sound and saw a pair of somewhat familiar eyes—slightly drooping, triangular eyes.

The person was wearing a mask and a hat, with slightly dark skin and a slightly plump figure. However, the woman who entered with him, also wearing a mask, had fair skin and a beautiful face. Her killer long legs were accentuated by high heels, making her a head taller than the man she was with.

The two didn't show intimate physical interactions during their brief time in the store, but from their occasional glances at each other, Qi Xi clearly sensed an ambiguous atmosphere.

Why did this man look so familiar?

And until the person paid and left, Qi Xi suddenly realized.

She knew why he seemed familiar! Wasn't that man just Ai Xiang, who was supposed to be out of town at the moment?! Qi Xi had recently looked up his information out of curiosity, and she remembered seeing his interviews. No wonder he looked so familiar.

It was quite subtle and strange for Ai Xiang, who should have been on a business trip, to appear here late at night with a woman trying to make a living. Qi Xi found herself pondering over the situation.

She quickly shared her discovery with Gu Yan, "Do you think Ai Xiang is having an affair? I'm worried for Chen Xiang. I actually felt strange when I received the package earlier, but I've been struggling whether or not to hint at something to Chen Xiang..."

Although Gu Yan claimed to be coming to the convenience store to buy something, he had been browsing for a while and didn't seem to have picked anything up. After hearing Qi Xi's words, he responded nonchalantly, "Couples occasionally have secrets and need space. Maybe he's busy with his novel project or has told a white lie. Even though he just came to the convenience store with a good-looking woman, it's not certain they have any unclear relationship."

This was exactly where Qi Xi hesitated, as she had also been jumping to conclusions.

But... Qi Xi still felt a bit uneasy in her conscience. She couldn't help but think that Ai Xiang's success was largely built on Chen Xiang's sacrifices.

While she was still pondering, Gu Yan seemed to have made up his mind about what to buy. Qi Xi watched as he walked to the cashier, said something to the shop assistant, and then...

Then, Qi Xi watched in disbelief as the shop assistant handed Gu Yan a box of condoms.

Gu Yan was buying condoms in the middle of the night?!

Wasn't he single since he didn't manage to catch the girl he liked? How come his nightlife had suddenly become so colorful? Why was he buying condoms? So...

Staring at Gu Yan with wide eyes, Qi Xi asked, "So, later on, did that girl confess to you? Was the misunderstanding cleared up? If it's still necessary, I can explain things to her in person! I'll help clear your name further! That way, you two can deepen your relationship even faster!"

The result was fine as long as it wasn't brought up. But once it was mentioned, Gu Yan seemed to recall a scene from the graduation ceremony and his expression immediately soured. "No need, the misunderstanding has been cleared."

Oh, it was cleared! That's great!

As long as Gu Yan's love life went smoothly, it seemed even more hopeful for her and him to restore their friendly relationship.

But before Qi Xi could congratulate Gu Yan on successfully getting out of being single, she saw him raise an eyebrow, expressionless as he said, "She knows it was a misunderstanding, but she still doesn't like me."

Oh no...

Qi Xi cautiously asked, "Then, buying these... Is it to get drunk and indulge yourself late at night?"

Gu Yan's face darkened, showing a rather exasperated expression. "Who do you think I'm buying this for?"

Fearlessly, Qi Xi pressed further, "For whom?"

Gu Yan replied impatiently, "For you."


This wasn't good... What did Gu Yan mean by this? What was he implying with this?

Still in shock, Qi Xi heard Gu Yan continue, "I told the shop assistant that I wanted the same thing the guy just bought."

Qi Xi was confused for a moment and then finally realized, "So the shop assistant gave you this?"

"Yeah. The shop assistant probably thought I was a young guy who was too shy to ask directly, so they didn't suspect anything and just gave me this."

I see!

So the guy just now bought condoms! So, Qi Xi's speculation was correct; Ai Xiang was indeed having an affair.

Gu Yan nodded, "Now you can confirm that he really has a problem."

Qi Xi sincerely said, "Gu Yan! You're so clever!"

In response to her praise, Gu Yan retorted sarcastically, "Weren't you just saying I wanted to indulge myself?"

He must have redirected his anger from not successfully pursuing someone...

Qi Xi immediately patted Gu Yan's shoulder in solidarity, "Since the misunderstanding about the graduation ceremony is cleared, and that girl hasn't accepted your confession, it's evident that her taste is not great; she might be blind."

Gu Yan glanced at Qi Xi and said, "Hmm."

Surprisingly, he actually agreed with Qi Xi's viewpoint for once! Comforting a friend whose feelings were hurt was a way to elevate their relationship. Qi Xi continued, "It's alright, Gu Yan! You are so talented and have a bright future ahead of you. Find someone else, someone even better!"

Unfortunately, Qi Xi miscalculated the speed at which a heartbroken man can change his mind. He had just joined her in criticizing the girl's taste, but now Gu Yan was becoming irritated again.

He glared at Qi Xi, saying, "I'm not changing. Do you have any say in that?"

With that, he tossed the box of condoms into the trash can and stormed off with a dark expression.

Qi Xi was stunned. Why was Gu Yan so stubborn? If he couldn't win her over, what else could he do? Fine, if he didn't want to change, then he didn't! After all, it's not like it was her running into a wall!


However, Qi Xi quickly forgot about this little episode because she began to think about how to remind Chen Xiang more appropriately.

As luck would have it, the next day, because of the successful termination process, Chen Xiang brought some handmade cookies to give to Gu Xuehan. Since Gu Xuehan was out for a court hearing, Qi Xi received Chen Xiang instead.

After chatting for a while, when Chen Xiang was about to leave, Qi Xi took out the book she urgently bought from the bookstore that morning. "Ms. Chen, can you trouble Mr. Ai Xiang to give me an autograph? My friend is a big fan of Mr. Ai Xiang and hopes to have a signature."

Chen Xiang agreed without any suspicion and smiled.

Qi Xi returned a smile, pretending to be casual as she said, "Actually, last night my friend and I accidentally bumped into Mr. Ai Xiang downstairs. But at that moment, I was too nervous and didn't think to ask him for an autograph on the spot. Luckily, you came today, so could you please give the book to Mr. Ai Xiang?"

Sure enough, Chen Xiang's eyebrows furrowed. "You saw him last night?"

"Yes, at the convenience store downstairs. He must have just finished work, and he was accompanied by a staff member. They bought something and left immediately."

Chen Xiang's expression indeed turned serious. "Was the person he was with a woman or a man?"

Qi Xi smiled, "A female staff member."

Chen Xiang's face had become grim, but she still maintained composure and smiled at Qi Xi, though it was rather forced. "Then, she's probably his assistant. He might have been working on a draft last night."

However, Qi Xi could clearly sense that while saying this, Chen Xiang was struggling to maintain her composure.

Chen Xiang was a smart woman, and Qi Xi had subtly hinted at the unexpected last night without revealing everything. The convenience store downstairs had 24-hour surveillance. If she really wanted to investigate, she could find clues for sure. If she chose not to investigate, Qi Xi's feigned ignorance provided her with a way to save face, allowing Chen Xiang to turn a blind eye to it.

Soon, it turned out that Chen Xiang couldn't turn a blind eye to the situation. Three days later, she returned to the law firm and had a meeting with Gu Xuehan.

"Ai Xiang is having an affair, and I want a divorce. I hope you can fight for as much of the property as possible for me."

Chen Xiang's face looked pale and exhausted. She seemed to have aged ten years in an instant, filled with resentment and unwillingness. "His success today is all because of me. I created the world of 'Encountering Immortals' and even built the emotional storyline for the male lead, as he couldn't handle romantic scenes. I also designed several well-received female characters. But now, he's treating me this way. When he had no money, he relied on me entirely. I never thought he would have an affair right under my nose."

It was clear that Ai Xiang's actions had greatly devastated Chen Xiang. The usually calm and restrained woman was now pouring out all her grievances about the unhappy moments in her marriage.

With red eyes, Chen Xiang continued, "Do you know who he's having an affair with? It's a girl from my high school! I brought the wolf into my own house!"

"She came from a remote rural area, had a humble family background, and average grades. However, she was quite good-looking, so she applied to an art school. But with so many beautiful girls in the art school, she wasn't remarkable and didn't have many opportunities after graduation. She only got some small supporting roles and some commercial performances, struggling to make ends meet. I've been supporting her since high school, and seeing her in this situation after graduation, I always wanted to help her."

Chen Xiang mentioned this with great pain. "During the filming of the TV adaptation of Encountering Immortals,' the director wasn't satisfied with the script, and they couldn't find a reliable screenwriter. So, they had Ai Xiang join the team to write the script. It was because of that, he got to know some people in the film and television industry. I thought since he had some connections, I would ask him to introduce that high school girl to them. As luck would have it, the original actress for the third female lead in 'Encountering Immortals' had a scheduling conflict. So, that high school girl ended up playing that role."

"My original intention was to help her, thinking she had a hard time and that I should give her some opportunities. Also, I felt that the atmosphere on the set was complex, and I couldn't follow Ai Xiang around with our child. So, having my school girl around, I thought she could keep an eye on him."

Chen Xiang's tears finally rolled down. "I never expected that she would be so ungrateful. She started taking advantage of her role on the team, and when she worked closely with the scriptwriters, I asked her to take care of Ai Xiang, but I never thought she would take care of him in bed."

Qi Xi sympathized with Chen Xiang and tried to comfort her. However, Gu Xuehan interrupted her calmly, "Complaining and crying won't change the current situation for a woman who's been cheated on. Instead of wasting time on that, why don't we go through all of Ai Xiang's assets and get ahead in securing a fair division during the divorce?"

"We have two properties, but both were purchased with the down payment from my family and registered under both of our names. I also paid off the loans in the early years. It was only after 'Encountering Immortals' became popular that he started contributing to the repayments. Now, if we divide the properties, I'll be the one losing money..."

"What about his new book and film rights income?"

The previous film company did say that Ai Xiang received money and bought a house, which also appreciated...

Chen Xiang lowered her head. "That house was bought under his parents' names with full payment, as the property tax was high for the third house..."

Gu Xuehan asked about Ai Xiang's other income, but unfortunately, Chen Xiang had no knowledge of how much liquid assets he had. She only knew that he set up a studio, claiming to start his own business, and he wanted to invest in film and television projects with the copyright as a form of contribution with film companies. However, she had no control or knowledge about the studio's accounts and fund flow.

But soon, Chen Xiang took out a USB drive. "Since I suspected Ai Xiang of having an affair, I installed surveillance cameras at home and recorded videos of him being affectionate with my school girl when I wasn't around. This should be enough to prove that he cheated on me and that he's at fault in our marriage. Can I get him out with no assets left?"

Not only Gu Xuehan but even Qi Xi felt like sighing.

If you don't even know the details of his assets, how can you talk about him leaving with nothing? Besides...

"When one party has an affair, it's true that the court may consider awarding less property during the divorce. But this completely depends on the judge's understanding. Some judges believe that even if a person has cheated, if they are the main contributor to the wealth, they may not be awarded less. For example, in the case of a full-time housewife and a wealthy businessman, most of the marital assets were acquired through the businessman's work income. So, if the businessman cheats, the court might not award them less or even any assets. This could be seen as unfair. Therefore, many times, it's a 50-50 split that is awarded."

Upon hearing this, Chen Xiang didn't seem too shocked. She clenched her teeth and said, "I don't need the money. I didn't marry him for his money, to begin with. I loved him when he was good to me! I don't want the money. I just want them to be punished. I want him to suffer. I want to expose this pair of scoundrels on the internet! I want his fans to see what kind of person he really is!"

"A man losing feelings for you, cheating behind your back—no matter how much you expose him, the impact is merely temporary. In the vastness of the internet, strange stories emerge every day, and public opinion swiftly moves on to new hot topics. He can easily rely on time to whitewash his image. The only bargaining chip you hold is this evidence of his infidelity. If you play your cards too quickly and haven't thought about what you truly want when you expose him, you'll lose all control in this divorce settlement. Your husband might just decide to lie low, thinking that since he's already been exposed, there's nothing left to lose."

"A man who no longer has feelings for you and cheats behind your back won't remember you no matter how much you cry and expose him. The only way to truly get back at a man is to make him lose money, to take away all the assets that can be divided during the divorce, so he knows the consequences of not honoring the marriage contract."

Gu Xuehan's voice was calm and rational. "If you fight for your life because of a man, he won't remember you. But if you take away his money, he'll remember you for a lifetime. Men are much more realistic than women. Even if you killed your school girl with a knife now or jumped off a building with your child, your husband will be in pain for a while. But as long as he has money, he'll soon meet new women and have new children. A wife, a mistress, a child, nothing is irreplaceable. For a man, what's most irreplaceable is his money and himself."

Qi Xi didn't know if Chen Xiang had taken it in, but in any case, she and Gu Xuehan signed the agency contract, hoping Gu Xuehan would handle the divorce case and fight for a larger share of the assets.

As soon as Chen Xiang left, Gu Xuehan assigned tasks to Qi Xi and Gu Yan: "Based on the clues Chen Xiang provided, go and investigate Ai Xiang's other sources of income, especially related to his affair partner. Ai Xiang has probably spent a lot of money on the other woman, which is marital property. If we find evidence, Chen Xiang can claim her share of it."

For Gu Xuehan, this might have been just another ordinary case among the many she had handled. However, for Qi Xi, it was the very first formal case in her life.

She attached great importance to this case.

So did Gu Yan.

The two of them almost competed in their efforts to go out and investigate, and finally, a week later, they handed in a satisfactory report to Gu Xuehan.

"This is the consolidation of Ai Xiang's assets, including his royalties and the property and car he bought for the other woman. But it's difficult to obtain information about his studio's revenue. Once Chen Xiang files for divorce, Ai Xiang will probably manipulate the studio's profits and even create debt. We might need a professional audit team to step in and fight for our rights regarding this part."

Gu Xuehan looked at the list submitted by Qi Xi and Gu Yan and nodded, "Well done. Now, let me ask you, if we simulate the follow-up actions, how do you plan to proceed? Especially with the evidence of Ai Xiang's affair? How do you intend to use it?"

Qi Xi thought for a moment and replied, "Now that we have gathered as much information as possible about Ai Xiang's assets, Chen Xiang can confront him. With the video evidence of Ai Xiang's affair, we have solid proof. Once negotiations begin, and if he refuses to compromise on the division of property, we might have to proceed with a lawsuit. Although the court usually considers affairs as a factor to award less, at least the video can prove Ai Xiang's fault, and we can strive for a larger share of the property division."

Gu Xuehan nodded, "That's a standard approach. And you, Gu Yan, do you have anything to add?"

Gu Yan looked at Gu Xuehan and said, "I think we can also sue the other woman simultaneously. Of course, it's challenging to gather evidence. In situations like this, the original wife often gains the upper hand when the cheating party agrees to reconcile with the family and reveals the financial details of the money provided to the other woman. Only in such instances can the original wife win the case. If Ai Xiang doesn't cooperate, the probability of us winning is low. However, suing the other woman can at least make her panic and involve her in the legal process. She will have to divert her attention and energy to deal with lawyers and be dragged into negative emotions. The chances are high that she will start fighting with Ai Xiang, and he might make concessions in the property division to appease her and stop her from harassing the original wife."

Gu Xuehan smiled, "As newcomers, both of your handling approaches are good. Especially this detailed list of assets, it shows you've put in effort." But Gu Xuehan didn't elaborate on how she would handle the case herself. She just checked her watch, "Chen Xiang will be here soon, and I'll communicate the plan with her."

Almost as soon as Gu Xuehan finished speaking, the front desk called – Chen Xiang had arrived.

Gu Xuehan, accompanied by Qi Xi and Gu Yan, entered the meeting room.

Gu Xuehan was always neat and efficient. She showed Chen Xiang the list of evidence, and just when Qi Xi thought she would explain the plan that Qi Xi and Gu Yan had come up with, Gu Xuehan only smiled and presented a completely different approach -

"By using the video evidence that you legally obtained from your home's surveillance and Ai Xiang's signed film and television copyright contracts, we can bypass the complex litigation process and achieve a divorce agreement through negotiation, where you get the majority of the property division."

Not only Qi Xi but even Gu Yan was slightly surprised, wide-eyed.

Was Gu Xuehan just boasting? It was well-known that lawyers couldn't exaggerate the possible outcomes of a case to their clients. Merely with this evidence, reaching the stage of divorce and confrontation between the couple would be unsightly. They wouldn't care about relationship or who was at fault; they would simply focus on the division of property.

However, Gu Xuehan was quite confident. In the unbelieving eyes of Qi Xi and Gu Yan, she took out a copy of the film and television authorization contract for "Encountering Immortals," which Chen Xiang had previously supplemented.

"Pay attention to Article 15 on breach of contract here: 'From the signing of this contract until the first round of broadcasting is completed, if the party B author commits serious violations of social ethics such as crime, breaking the law, violating public order and good customs, involved in illegal activities such as pornography, gambling, and drugs, or violates relevant regulations of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, resulting in negative public opinions about oneself, leading to negative impacts on Party A, authorized works, and adapted works, Party A has the right to terminate the contract, demand Party B author to refund the authorization fee, and compensate Party A company and the film and television project investor for all economic losses, including but not limited to the total investment of the adapted work, the cost of hiring lawyers for rights protection, etc.'"

Gu Xuehan smiled with an air of confidence, "Currently, 'Encountering Immortals' is airing, and if you publicly denounce Ai Xiang's immoral behavior of having an affair while married, especially when the affair involves an actress who plays the third female lead in 'Encountering Immortals,' according to the current regulations governing the media's handling of immoral celebrities, and considering Ai Xiang's status as a renowned author of a husband-doting genre, his affair would definitely have a significant negative impact. It will undoubtedly affect the broadcast of the 'Encountering Immortals' project. In such a situation, if the production company wants to claim compensation, do you think Ai Xiang can handle it?"

"What's more, if he wants to continue making a living as a writer in the future, if his reputation is completely ruined, will he be able to license future projects? Even if he manages to license them, the production companies will undoubtedly assess the risks associated with his negative publicity, and it's highly likely they will pressure him to lower the copyright prices. Some might even terminate the contract and seek compensation. In short, the impact on him would be unprecedented."

As Gu Xuehan spoke, she looked at Chen Xiang, "If you confront him before 'Encountering Immortals' finishes airing and our lawyers get involved, we can control the negotiations and ensure there's no extortion involved. We can certainly leverage this clause to force Ai Xiang to compromise on the division of property, ensuring his future development."

As she spoke, Gu Xuehan's words made both Qi Xi and Gu Yan feel as if they had a sudden realization—

Legal rights protection was a systemic job, and all the fragmented evidence they had gathered could potentially form a key logical chain that would drive the case.

Because the "Encountering Immortals" film contract was signed several years ago, and Ai Xiang had already used the income he earned back then to invest in his studio and purchase a property registered under his parents' names, neither Qi Xi nor Gu Yan had considered revisiting that money and contract. Instead, they had focused solely on the recent financial accounts of the studio.

Qi Xi only thought from Chen Xiang's standpoint, using all the available resources to confront Ai Xiang. But she hadn't thought of leveraging external forces—individuals against individuals, especially in a marriage, where it was difficult to achieve a complete and thorough victory, especially when one of the parties was already engaging in targeted actions like hiding assets. In such a case, the other party would be at a disadvantage. However, if they introduced capital, leveraging the power of the capital against the individual, the result could be far more efficient.

Gu Xuehan gazed at Qi Xi and Gu Yan, "The film company that produced 'Encountering Immortals' had faced a loss of over 100 million yuan a couple of years ago due to a lead actor's immoral and illegal behavior, which eventually led to the project not being aired. At that time, the contract didn't include these breach clauses for the lead actor, so they had to bear the loss themselves. But companies only stumble once. Once they've suffered a loss, future contracts regarding such issues will become even more stringent. So, I kept an eye on the 'Encountering Immortals' contract and, indeed, found this clause beneficial to us."

Qi Xi was filled with admiration and awe for Gu Xuehan.

For her to become a partner at such a young age, she truly had outstanding skills.


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