You Have the Right to Keep a Secret Love

Chapters List

Chapter 15: Unexpected Confession

Qi Xi quickly settled the fees for her freelance legal translation work. After repaying Gu Yan, she promptly paid the final installment for the rock concert tickets and eagerly obtained the physical tickets.

Equally swift was Gu Xuehan. The next afternoon, she managed to free up some time and arranged to meet Cheng Junliang at the law firm.

"Since Gu Yan and Qi Xi have decided to take your case, you are now a client of our law firm. As their supervising attorney, I also wanted to meet you and communicate," Gu Xuehan stated.

Cheng Junliang never expected to draw the attention of a partner at the law firm. His face revealed a mix of fear and embarrassment.

Gu Xuehan was beautiful and formidable, and Cheng Junliang seemed unable to meet her gaze directly. His face flushed, and he stuttered, "Attorney Gu, hello."

"Did Gu Yan discuss his proposed strategy with you?" Gu Xuehan asked.

"Yes, he did," Cheng Junliang replied nervously.

"Well, that strategy needs to be overturned. You need to admit to the client that you misplaced the original IOU," Gu Xuehan said with a slight smile.

Cheng Junliang was perplexed. "Admitting my mistake will lead to a better outcome?"

"No," Gu Xuehan said, pursing her lips. "Admitting that you lost the original document means taking responsibility for it."

Cheng Junliang was at a loss. "Then..."

"As lawyers, especially newcomers like you, you may not be as experienced in handling cases, but the first thing you must learn is to take responsibility. It's the most fundamental professional ethics for a lawyer," Gu Xuehan said with a serious and earnest expression.

"Losing a document is not scary; what's scary is refusing to take responsibility. Granted, you could try to evade responsibility by exploiting legal loopholes, and ordinary people might do that, but as lawyers, we shouldn't."

Gu Xuehan continued, looking at Cheng Junliang. "This is the starting point of your practice. If you can't even bear the burden of your own mistakes, how will you handle various disputes and problems for your clients? How will you shoulder the pressure and responsibility of each case? How will you earn your clients' trust?"

Her words not only turned Cheng Junliang's face bright red but also made Qi Xi feel ashamed. The idea was, after all, her attempt to be clever, but now, under Gu Xuehan's scrutiny, she realized how inappropriate it was.

Cheng Junliang struggled to find the right words, "It's just that... I really have no other choice. I originally planned to admit my mistake and find a remedy with my client, but she wouldn't cooperate. She's determined to extort me, and if I admit to losing the IOU now, she will definitely demand the full amount of 120,000 yuan, which I simply can't afford..."

"Admitting your mistake doesn't mean taking responsibility for anything beyond your own error," Gu Xuehan said, glancing at Qi Xi and Gu Yan. "As lawyers, we have professional liability insurance that covers economic losses caused to clients due to negligence or mistakes. The insurance company can compensate the client accordingly. The law firm provides this insurance for all its employed and intern lawyers, and in normal circumstances, your law firm should have it for you too."

The mention of professional liability insurance brightened Cheng Junliang's eyes, but the hope faded quickly. He mumbled, "But I work for a small firm, not very formal, they might not have purchased it for me..."

Gu Xuehan remained composed, "Even if the law firm didn't purchase it for interns, your supervising attorney would have it. In this case, although he assigned it entirely to you, as an intern, you can't practice independently. The engagement letter has both your and his signatures, making it legally a joint case. As his assistant, your negligence resulted in the damage of the original document, which may lead to financial compensation. His professional insurance should cover most of it."

She blinked, "The 120,000 yuan limit is not significant. Normally, professional liability insurance for lawyers can fully compensate for it. Even if the insurance company can't cover the entire amount, the remaining gap is small enough that you don't need to resort to the worst option of borrowing from an online lending platform."

Not only Cheng Junliang, but even Qi Xi and Gu Yan were taken aback. They hadn't considered this route; they didn't even know lawyers had professional liability insurance.

Seeing their surprised expressions, Gu Xuehan understood. She glared at Gu Yan, exasperated, "You were so pleased with your previous idea, thinking you were incredibly clever, right? Why didn't you think of this? Everyone makes mistakes, and admitting them and facing the consequences isn't as bad as you imagine. Lawyers and doctors, high-risk professions, have professional liability insurance to back them up."

However, Cheng Junliang hesitated, "But... I'm afraid that if I discuss this with my supervising attorney, I might lose my job. And if we use his professional liability insurance and he gets into trouble, it could affect his future premiums. In the end, I'd be involving him..."

This made Gu Xuehan raise an eyebrow, "If only you could transfer the guilt you feel towards your supervising attorney to your client, maybe you wouldn't have tried to avoid responsibility so desperately before."

She became serious again and looked at Cheng Junliang, "Regardless of what your client does next, whether she intended to extort you or not, you should still feel guilty for losing the IOU, because you gave her the opportunity to blackmail you. But your supervising attorney is not blameless. First, he didn't warn you of the risks or tell you not to take possession of the client's original documents. Second, he disregarded this case, considering it too small and simple, so he left it entirely to you, the intern."

Cheng Junliang felt uneasy, nervously fiddling with his sleeves.

Gu Xuehan's tone was calm, but her words carried weight, "A supervising attorney is like a mentor and should guide you. After all, in firms with a profit-sharing system, supervising attorneys take a share of the income from cases handled by their interns. Why should they only take the money without accepting responsibility? Does such a good deal exist in this world?"

Seeing Cheng Junliang's hesitation, Gu Xuehan smiled knowingly, "I know what you're thinking. You're afraid of offending your boss, but as an intern, you should have the courage to bear that responsibility, just as a boss should have the courage to be accountable. Otherwise, what qualifies him to be your boss?"

Encouraged, Cheng Junliang finally mustered the courage to ask, "Then, Attorney Gu, can you help me communicate with him?"

Since Gu Xuehan decided to take the case, she indeed could act as a lawyer to communicate with and represent Cheng Junliang. However, to Qi Xi's surprise, Gu Xuehan declined.

"No, you need to do this on your own first."

Cheng Junliang's face fell as expected.

"I know it's difficult, but as a lawyer and as a person, in life, there are many things that we must face even if they are embarrassing or challenging, and we have to take responsibility for them. If you want to keep this job, you should first inform your supervising attorney and communicate with him. Not only is this a matter of showing respect to him, but it also demonstrates your sincerity in acknowledging your mistake. Moreover, are you presuming that your supervising attorney would be against you? Once he knows about this, he might handle it similarly to me. You don't even need my intervention in the future."

This time, Gu Xuehan's tone was significantly earnest, "Cheng Junliang, since you chose to be part of that supervising attorney's team, you should also respect and trust the team. Lawyers can resolve many disputes, but not all of them, as human relationships are inherently delicate. I took on your case and won't charge you, but you need to talk to your supervising attorney first and try to solve it with him before I get involved."


In the end, Cheng Junliang was given an ultimatum, and though it was tough, after listening to Gu Xuehan's patient explanation, he finally gained confidence and decided to confront his first significant mistake in his career. He would confess everything to his supervising attorney first and discuss how to handle the situation.


After Cheng Junliang left, Gu Xuehan didn't immediately let Qi Xi and Gu Yan leave the office.

She tapped the desk with her fingers, "Being able to immediately think that the other party has no evidence to prove Cheng Junliang lost the original loan agreement is like a reflex due to our professional habits. It sounds very professional, and it seems like an excellent way to avoid responsibility for the 120,000 yuan."

"But not everything in life can be solved with legal thinking. The law is rigid, but people's emotions are fluid. As lawyers, we must be vigilant about this and not always simplify everything as if we are analyzing legal cases. A true good lawyer must be empathetic, able to understand the situation from the client's perspective. So, you two need to experience more, the more life experiences you gain, the better you'll become at understanding human relations."

Gu Xuehan smiled, "You're both so young, you should interact with people from all walks of life. The Bar Association is organizing some activities soon, and each law firm needs to send one man and one woman. You two will go this afternoon, I'll approve your leave. It's good to have more exposure to society and build good relationships with the teachers at the Bar Association; it won't hurt."

The Bar Association indeed regularly organized various activities, such as Constitution Awareness Day, lawyers' consolation missions, and community legal education. Qi Xi was quite willing to participate, but she didn't expect that these lawyer activities would be entirely unrelated to the above.

When Qi Xi and Gu Yan arrived at the Bar Association for the meeting, they were taken aback when they heard the assignment given by the Bar Association teachers:

"This time, we need to film several legal education videos. Some segments require 'extras,' and each law firm is asked to send a pair. Everyone here will form teams by law firms, two people in each team. Each team will receive a complete script based on a real legal case. We will then shoot short videos for publicity and dissemination purposes. We hope you can memorize the lines and act in these videos during your spare time, and we'll arrange the shooting schedule accordingly."

Qi Xi thought it was just a regular legal education event, but when she received the script, she was dumbfounded.

Some law firms were assigned to roles related to housing lease disputes or private lending disputes, but for Qi Xi...

Qi Xi and Gu Yan received a script for a marital dispute, with an abundance of elements and involving a wide range of legal issues. Qi Xi was simply flabbergasted.

"Xiao Gang came from a well-off family and persistently pursued the beautiful Xiao Ya. He confessed his feelings every day, harassed her frequently, showered her with gifts, and was extremely attentive. He even proposed that if Xiao Ya were to enter a relationship and marry him, they could put the house and children's name under Xiao Ya's surname. Xiao Ya was moved, but she ultimately chose to reject Xiao Gang. Under the shock of rejection and fueled by alcohol he drank before confessing, Xiao Gang lost control of himself and forcefully assaulted Xiao Ya. Afterward, on his knees, Xiao Gang pleaded in agony, finally succeeding in manipulating her emotions. Using threats and persuasion, Xiao Ya started a 'relationship' with him and eventually married him. However, after their marriage, Xiao Ya developed feelings for their neighbor, Xiao Wang. This led to multiple instances of domestic violence from Xiao Gang. Their relationship improved temporarily after Xiao Ya gave birth to their child, but..."

Qi Xi didn't even need to think; she scrolled down and saw the summary of the script, which confirmed her suspicions: "However, the child was Xiao Wang's... So, Xiao Gang sued for divorce, claiming compensation for emotional distress, and they had a heated dispute over custody and child support. In the end, consumed by jealousy, Xiao Gang killed Xiao Ya and faced the consequences of the law..."


Perhaps to be more relatable and easily spread, this sensational rollercoaster plot was paired with cringe-worthy lines. The script even indicated the exaggerated body movements that needed to be performed...

As Qi Xi gaped in shock, a staff member from the Bar Association approached with a caring look, "Are you from Jinghe Law Firm? This script also includes a character named Xiao Wang. We'll find another lawyer to play that role, but the focus is on Xiao Ya and Xiao Gang, and the two of you will need to act well."

Qi Xi struggled, "Can we change the script? It's too complicated, and maybe we are too young to portray those emotions..."

"No, no. Our director personally spent three days and nights writing this script, blending elements of civil disputes, criminal disputes, and even administrative penalties. She had only one request - to cast attractive actors and actresses. Among these extras, you two have the highest appearance value, and she specifically appointed you to perform, with you as Xiao Ya," the staff member smiled and looked at Gu Yan, "and you'll be Xiao Gang."

"Xiao Gang" didn't read the script and had no idea what he was about to face. He remained calm and nodded towards the Bar Association teacher.

"Gu Yan, I think it's better for you to read the script before agreeing..."

Gu Yan, perhaps too young and naive, seemed rather nonchalant, "How hard can it be to act? It's just a reenactment of a case, we'll just go through the motions. We can't offend the Bar Association; this time, they want us to act in a script personally written by the director. If we perform well, it will definitely be a plus for Jinghe."


Fifteen minutes later, Gu Yan stared at the script, feeling like dying—

"I can't go on with this."

Qi Xi kindly advised, "We can't offend the Bar Association. This is the director's project and their priority. Let's rehearse a bit first, they'll come later for a final run-through."

Gu Yan stared at the script, already feeling hopeless.

This sense of hopelessness was fully reflected during the rehearsal—

"Xiao Ya, I like you."

Gu Yan looked at Qi Xi, his voice flat, "Just accept me. Otherwise, woman, you're playing with fire. Now, I have an ancestral chromosome to offer you. You better know your place."

Not only did Gu Yan fail to portray Xiao Gang's enchanting arrogance, but his confession also lacked any emotion, sounding more like a debt collection.

Uttering those lines with an expressionless voice, it was Qi Xi who struggled not to burst into laughter.

"No, no! Cut! Cut!" Qi Xi couldn't hold back and loudly stopped Gu Yan's lifeless performance. "It's not working like this. Xiao Gang's character is supposed to be madly in love. The emotions should be abundant. The Bar Association teacher mentioned that the lines were simplified by their director, but as actors, you can expand and freely express yourself. For example, during the confession, you should enrich the vocabulary and express your love with deep affection. When he's crazed by love, you must truly immerse yourself in that kind of obsessive and painful mindset!"

Gu Yan looked at Qi Xi with indifference, appearing like a child who couldn't be taught. "What else do I need to add?"

Gu Yan truly was Gu Yan. He could memorize these melodramatic lines in an instant, but... his portrayal lacked any heartfelt emotion!

"While this is a task from the Bar Association, it definitely won't pass like this. Here's the thing, Gu Yan, remember that time you liked that girl but couldn't get her? Though you definitely weren't as extreme as Xiao Gang, try to put yourself in his shoes and understand that kind of unrequited love pain."

Qi Xi blinked, "So, when you're confessing, put yourself in your shoes from back then, imagine me as her. If you were facing her and confessing, apart from saying 'I like you,' what else would you say? Would you say it with such a dry and emotionless tone?"

Pausing, Qi Xi added, "Sorry, I forgot to confirm. Do you still like her?"

Ever since Qi Xi mentioned the girl Gu Yan liked, he lowered his gaze and fell silent. Only when Qi Xi asked this question did he raise his head.

He stared directly into Qi Xi's eyes.

Just when Qi Xi thought he wouldn't answer, Gu Yan spoke—

"I still like her."

His voice was somewhat soft. After saying that, he looked away, as if unable to face Qi Xi, and even more so, himself.

In this moment, Gu Yan's expression remained calm and indifferent, but there was a faint hint of a crease between his brows. Although well-hidden, Qi Xi noticed a tiny trace of disappointment in his emotional depths.

He must feel disappointed.

Even if the other person didn't like him back, he still helplessly loved her.

Qi Xi hadn't experienced this feeling before, but in that moment, looking at Gu Yan, with his brows and eyes resembling distant mountains veiled in mist, she suddenly felt a slight envy and jealousy.

What kind of girl was she to be so lucky?

They hadn't even dated for a day, yet Gu Yan was so devoted.

Qi Xi took a deep breath, shaking off the messy thoughts in her mind, and looked back at Gu Yan. "Then, imagine me as her, let's do it again."

Qi Xi didn't expect Gu Yan to be more invested, but this time, when Gu Yan raised his head and looked directly into her eyes, focusing only on her eyes, Qi Xi suddenly felt flustered.

It seemed she wasn't prepared to engage in this kind of eye contact with Gu Yan.

"I like you, even if it's just quietly watching you, silently being with you. Even if I know you don't like me, I still want to be by your side. Even if I want to distance myself from you, even if I tell myself to start a new life, it seems like I can't forget you no matter what. You always appear before me."

Gu Yan's tone was calm, without much overt emotion, only the last sentence carrying a hint of slight youthful frustration mixed with helplessness.

For some reason, being looked at by those eyes and hearing such straightforward yet genuine confession, Qi Xi's heart suddenly started pounding.

It felt like Gu Yan was confessing to her.

At the graduation ceremony, when she mistakenly thought she received a confession letter from Gu Yan, Qi Xi didn't feel much at that time. But now, she felt nervous and at a loss.

It turned out that being confessed to by Gu Yan felt like this.

It turned out Gu Yan's face-to-face confession was like this.

And astonishingly, there were people who could reject Gu Yan.

Qi Xi's heart was filled with indescribable emotions, carrying the feeling of spring rain's dampness, as if mingled with the impending heat and restlessness of early summer.


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