Shengtian, New Century’s headquarters. 
New Century was one of the most remarkable chain plazas in northeast China, expanding its business through all large- and medium-sized cities in the four provinces. Its trustee was called He Zun, a business tycoon well-known in the whole nation.
The He family was based in Shengtian, where its members were on familiar terms with people in both political and business circles. They were considered to be among those who had climbed to the top of the social hierarchy.
It was a Friday afternoon. In a reception room on the 7th floor, Zeng Yuewei was waiting for someone, sitting on a sofa and fiddling with a coffee cup. She was without her usual elegance and sophistication, looking rather anxious instead.
Ten minutes later, she said to the buxom secretary again, "Excuse me, but could you ask him to hurry up?"
"Mr He is in a meeting. He’ll be here as soon as it’s finished."
The secretary had a pretty smile and replied in the most polite tone. The only thought that came into Zeng Yuewei’s head, though, was to splash her with a bowl of water from the Ganges. ‘What the hell? I saw you walking out of that office half an hour ago shaking your boobs all over the place. Do you think I’m blind or something?’
She sipped the coffee indignantly and plonked the cup on the table.
Just then, a voice came from outside, filled with laughter. "Why, who has pissed our Wei Wei off this time?" The voice was awfully greasy, which reminded one of a fat guy jumping out after 30 minutes spent in sauna and giving his body a good shake… yuck! Just imagine that!
Following the voice, a man in his thirties walked in. He was not bad-looking, but had a forbidding look to his eyes. He sat down in a swaggering manner. "I’ve told them before, I should be informed immediately whenever you’re here no matter what I’m doing at the moment. They just wouldn’t follow my orders. Don’t worry. Tell me who has given you the cold shoulder, I promise I’ll take care of it."
"That’s totally fine. I’ve only just arrived myself."
Despite the railing and cusses in her head, Zeng Yuewei put on a smile and said, "Mr He…"
"Hey, call me Brother Tian!"
"Brother Tian… I’ve brought you the detailed plan you asked for last time. Please take a look."
She took out a thick stack of paper and pushed it cautiously towards him. The man flipped through it carelessly and tossed it aside. "Right, I’ll look into it later."
Seeing that he could not even be bothered to exchange pleasantries, Zeng Yuewei bit her lips and kept trying. "Brother Tian, this project will benefit us both. I hope we could both take it seriously and reach an agreement as soon as possible."
"Of course, but this is a major case, I can’t take the liberty to make the decision just like that."
The man still acted completely unconcerned. Seeing that she was about to speak again, he pressed his hands together and stood up, moving next to her and dragging her into his arms. "Wei Wei, you know how I feel about you. Why go through all the trouble? All you have to do is say yes and our deal is done."
"Brother Tian, you’re always making fun of me. We still don’t know each other very well. You have to give me some time to think it over," she squeezed out an answer.
"Ok, I’ll give you some more time. Remember, though, there is a limit to my patience."
The man patted her shoulder and added, "I have a party in a few days. Why don’t you come with me? As you said, we don’t know each other well enough. Let’s work on it, then."
Zeng Yuewei‘s pupils contracted, but she soon returned to her normal self and said, "Ok, then."
"That’s the spirit! Put on something nice for the party. Don’t make me look bad in front of everyone… Well, I have other things to attend to. We’ll see each other next time."
With that, he stood up and saw her off.
Five minutes later.
Zeng Yuewei went downstairs and returned to her car. She did not switch on the engine, but only sat there in silence. After quite a while, she pounded violently at the steering wheel, making loud banging sounds.
She was defeated in the last battle against her younger brother and Zeng Shufei ended up being promoted to director. Despite her title, deputy director, the real power each of them possessed was poles apart.
That man just now was He Tian, the successor of New Century. The He family was constructing a new plaza in the southern suburbs and needed a large quantity of building and decorative materials. She took the initiative to take charge, regarding it a chance to turn things around. If she managed to close the deal, the reward would not be a mere promotion.
Unfortunately for her, the representative of New Century just happened to be He Tian, who had an unbridled temperament and was living an extremely seedy life, being quite infamous in his circle. He fell for Zeng Yuewei the first time they met and had since then been very explicit about his eagerness in getting into bed with her.
Zeng Yuewei might be a scheming woman who craved power, but she would not cheapen herself like that. To close a deal by sleeping with someone like him? She would rather bash her head against a wall.
Since she would not yield, He Tian had suspended the project. He had a long list of potential partners to choose from and the Zeng family was only one of them. Of course, he was very experienced in such things and was breaking down Zeng Yuewei’s resistance piece by piece.
Zeng Yuewei knew very well that she was taking a precarious, high-wire act, but was unwilling to give in just yet.
While Zeng Yuewei was sulking in her car, she was interrupted by the ringing of her phone, which turned out to be a call from her obnoxious younger brother. She picked up the phone impatiently, "Yes? What do you want?"
"What do I want? We were supposed to leave at four o’clock and it’s already five now. Where are you?"
"I don’t care how busy you are. You can’t just…"
"Oh, shut up! I’m on my way!"
She hung up the phone and quickly got the car started, driving directly towards the south of the city. When she reached the highway entrance, a Land Rover was already there, waiting for her. Seeing that his older sister had arrived, Zeng Shufei drove onto the highway right away without even a greeting.
Zeng Yuewei followed him. Both were driving fast.
Maybe it was a family tradition, or maybe they were just trying to impress the old lady, but they would both visit their granny every so often. They would even come and go together to show that they were playing fair.
After driving for over three hours, the two entered Bai Town’s downtown after the long summer night set in.
Dinner at Granny Zeng’s home was ready. She was glad to have her grandchildren there and the three of them sat around a small table, enjoying an affectionate family dinner as usual. Despite living in a small town, the old lady was well-informed of what was going on outside. She asked, "Wei Wei, I heard that you are in charge of the deal with New Century now?"
"That’s right. They are building a new plaza and it’s going to be a big deal. I want to have a go."
"People of the He family are not easy to handle. I’ve had dealings with He Zun before. He is definitely a piece of work. He Tian might be young, but he’s his father’s son. You have to be really careful!"
"Granny, I know what to do. Your granddaughter is a smart girl. I’m the one fooling other people, not the other way around."
Zeng Yuewei put up a relaxed face as if nothing had happened. It was partly because she was not ready to give up yet, and partly because the He family was so powerful that it would make no difference telling her, as it would only make granny worry.
Zeng Shufei picked up some food with his chopsticks and interrupted, "Granny, is the incense you ordered here yet? I thought I could have a look."
"Not yet. I’ve told Xiao Gu to bring it whenever it is ready. I’m not rushing him."
"Wow, you’ve gone out of your way to give face to such a young fellow. He must have done something amazing to deserve this."
"Be nice. He really knows his stuff," she replied. Then, something suddenly dawned on the old lady as she said, "Oh, by the way… I want to invite him over again some other day. It was very interesting talking to him; it entertains me."
"Forget about some other day. I’ll ask him now," Zeng Yuewei reached for her phone."
"Don’t. It’s late today, call him tomorrow," The old lady stopped her.
Before long, they finished the dinner and the siblings chatted with granny for a bit longer before they went to bed. There were too many guests last time when Granny Zeng was celebrating her birthday and they had to live in a hotel. Now there was only the two of them and they could spend the night in the house.
The night grew late.
Fully awake, Zeng Yuewei lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling. She had desired to excel more than others ever since she was little. She had been competing against her younger brother, her classmates, and her colleagues. When she saw a guy she liked, even if he already had a girlfriend, she still felt the urge to make him her own.
With her intelligence and her family background, she had been almost unrivalled. However, this time she had hit a brick wall. The strength of her opponent was beyond her reach and there was also that disgusting man to deal with.
For a moment there, Zeng Yuewei felt utterly confused.
When Gu Yu got the call the next day, he was playing with the squirrel.
The caller was rather straightforward, telling him that the siblings were there to see their grandmother, who wanted to invite Gu Yu over for a simple meal. He had been planning to tell Granny Zeng about the progress of her custom order and agreed to the invitation without much thinking. They set the meeting time at night.
That night, an ivory race car arrived at Phoenix Fair and beeped its horn. Gu Yu walked out of a deep alleyway from the other side. He paused a bit before opening the car door and getting on.
Zeng Yuewei had reddish short hair. She was wearing a sleeveless chiffon blouse and a pair of jeans, which accentuated her straight legs. She was not as tall as Jiang Xiaozhai, but still had a slender body. With her minimalist clothes, she looked very modern and capable.
She watched as Gu Yu sized up the interior of the car, then patted the steering wheel. "What do you think of the car?"
"Nice," his reply was laconic.
"Mr Gu… oh, this is the second time we meet and addressing you like that sounds so distant," she lifted the corner of her mouth and showed a perfect smile, hinting at something at the same time.
To others, this smile might look incredibly charming. Gu Yu, on the other hand, was slightly put off by it, for it was too perfect. The expression in her eyes, the way she talked, her tone, and even the parting of her red lips were calculated exactly to the right level.
Generally, only two types of people would smile like that—public relations personnel and escorts. He was not exactly surprised, though, for the woman had always given him the impression of being a smooth character and a sweet talker. She remained that way today.
However, maybe he was imagining it, but… there was an almost dejected look to her eyes.
Gu Yu did not give it much thought and replied, "Just call me by my name. I’m not really comfortable with ‘Mr’ either."
"Great. I’ll call you by your last name from now on, then. Well, I’m three years older than you, so if you don’t mind, you can call me Sister Wei."
Gu Yu gave her a look and ignored the proposition.
They soon reached the Zeng manor. The old lady was as hospitable as ever and welcomed him in the yard. She greeted him, "Xiao Gu, come, come. We’ve been waiting for you."
"Granny was just talking about you. I was thinking of picking you up myself…"
It was thanks to Gu Yu that Zeng Shufei was able to get the promotion. Naturally, he felt close to Gu Yu and was trying to put a hand on his shoulder. "How’s everything recently? Anything new that can surprise me again?"
"Things are going just fine. I don’t have anything new just yet."
He discreetly evaded Zeng Shufei’s hand. He was very uncomfortable with physical contact like this. ‘What if he’s a closet gay?’
They entered the dinning room as the conversation went on. The meal was much more sumptuous this time, but Gu Yu did not come here for the feast. He had a few bites and said, "Granny Zeng, I’ve collected all the necessary materials and can start in a few days. Counting in the cellaring time… Well, I can bring you the incense after 20 days."
"20 days?" The old lady thought for a moment and her face suddenly brightened up. She said with a smile, "That’s great! Oh my, the timing’s perfect."
He had no idea what that was all about and could not be bothered to ask, since she was rather implicit. The siblings, on the other hand, winced at the same time and exchanged glances with inexplicable looks on their faces.
 ED/N: Can also mean 21st Century. Apparently it’s a common name for establishments and businesses in China.