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314 Tantrum

 Gu Nianzhi froze. She thought over the itinerary for the next day and then couldn't help from laughing as she said, "I've thought about it and there are so many places I want to go. Huo Shao has to take me to all of them."

"Yeah. I'll be with you the whole day tomorrow." Huo Shaohang had promised her last time. Tomorrow was Lunar New Year's Eve, so they would go out to buy festive goods. Song Jinning was divorced from Huo Guanchen so she had no intention of spending Lunar New Year at the Huo manor. Huo Shaoheng had decided to stay at his official residence with Gu Nianzhi and Song Jinning to celebrate. Although he had orderlies who could easily prepare the festive goods for him, it was more meaningful for him to enjoy the celebration himself.

Gu Nianzhi clapped her hands excitedly. "Right! Tomorrow is New Year's Eve! Then does that mean the malls will close early?"

"No. They should be open until 10 in the evening." Huo Shaoheng wasn't sure, but he could also easily have someone reopen the mall if it closed. He had one or two close friends that owned malls.

"Huo Shao, you haven't gone home for New Year's for the past six years. Are you sure you don't want to go back this year either?" Gu Nianzhi didn't know of Huo Shaoheng's plans and couldn't help asking. After all, this was Huo Shaoheng's family. For the past six years, he had spent all his holidays with Gu Nianzhi as long as he wasn't away on a mission.They had returned to the Imperial Capital this year so it was just an hour's drive to the Huo Manor. Gu Nianzhi didn't know what he wanted to do.

Huo Shaoheng told her directly, "We'll spend the New Year here. You, me, my mother, and Big Xiong." His two personal secretaries took rotating shifts during New Year's. Last year Big Xiong had gone home for the holidays so this year it would be Little Ze's turn.

"Oh? Really?!" Her earlier gloominess gone, Gu Nianzhi rolled around in her bed happily. "Well then, I'd better buy lots of things tomorrow so that we will have a great New Year!"

"You want to do the preparations?" Huo Shaoheng stood up. "In that case, you'd better sleep even earlier."

"Ok, I'm going to sleep soon. Goodnight, Huo Shao," Gu Nianzhi said with a smile.

"Goodnight." Huo Shaoheng walked out and closed the bedroom door, then the suite door. He stood in the hallway for a few minutes before returning to his own suite on the other side. He wanted to smoke so he made his way to the balcony. His excited mind and body gradually calmed down, and the glowing cigarette on the dark balcony was the only light visible. Not too far away, the ambush soldiers quickly set up their telescopes when they saw a figure suddenly appear on the balcony. They sighed with relief when they saw that it was just Huo Shaoheng. Although they were very curious, they couldn't speak up due to their strict discipline and training. As Huo Shaoheng continued smoking, they sent the images captured on the telescope to the cloud drive.

...

Zhao Liangze sat alone in the central control room, watching various duty systems and writing programs absentmindedly. Yin Shixiong knocked on the door. "Are you going home for the holidays?"

Zhao Liangze shook his head with a gloomy look. "I don't want to go home this year. I'll stay here and spend New Year's with Mr. Huo and Nianzhi."

"What's with you?" Yin Shixiong walked into the room and dragged a chair over to him. "You threw a tantrum at Nianzhi a few days ago, and now you're saying you don't want to go home for New Year's. You haven't been home for two years! Don't your parents miss you?"

Zhao Liangze chuckled but didn't turn back to look at him. "They'll just pressure me to set up a marriage interview and nag at me to get hitched anyway, so it's better I don't go back. I don't want to squabble with them over the New Year."

"Huh? Wait, do you like someone?" Yin Shixiong was perplexed and dragged the chair even closer.

"I thought you knew that better than I do? You were talking about it with Nianzhi." Zhao Liangze shot Yin Shxiong a dirty look. "So you don't know anything at all?!"

"What do I know? I was just guessing!" Yin Shixiong slapped the table and guffawed. "You were giggling like an idiot these days and chatting happily on the computer. What's with the sullen face after just two days? Did that girl cheat on you?" For men, there was nothing worse than being cheated on. Zhao Liangze swung his fist at Yin Shixiong's face.

Yin Shixiong blocked him with the back of his hand and leaned away from the fist, his right hand almost reflexively reaching for his gun as he shouted, "Hey! What's wrong with you? We were just talking nicely!"

"Well, were you just talking nicely to me?!" Zhao Liangze spat back. "Why would you even say such things? Any man would be angry to hear he was being cheated on."

Yin Shixiong immediately apologized. "Jeez, I'm sorry, ok? Are you really mad now? I was just joking with you. You weren't like this before and we speak like this all the time! Why are you freaking out today?"

Zhao Liangze rested his head against his palm and muttered, "I have something going on so leave me alone!"

"Are you really that upset?" Yin Shixiong huddled closer. "What's going on exactly? Maybe I can help if you tell me."

"You?" Zhao Liangze looked at Yin Shixiong from head to toe-his beaming face was just like a fresh faced university graduate's. He couldn't help being annoyed at him even more. "Have you ever had a girlfriend? Have you ever liked someone? Stop boosting your own ego if you haven't and just leave me alone!"

"Fine! So I can't have eaten pork if I haven't butchered a pig? Do you look down on me that much?" Yin Shixiong patted Zhao Liangze's back. "Listen, I've met many people and know more about women than you do. Come here, Little Ze. Tell me everything!"

Zhao Liangze glared at Yin Shixiong again and thought about how amicable and sociable he was. Maybe he really would understand? After much thinking, he decided to tell him. They both worked as Huo Shaoheng's personal secretaries, and were comrades who saved each other's lives. There was nothing they could keep from the other. "It's actually no big deal." Zhao Liangze scratched his head and then switched off his computer. He spun in his chair to face Yin Shixiong, his arms crossed. "We're not official yet. It was a couple days ago that I wanted to... try things out with her, but she disappears on me almost all the time. She's either in a meeting, on a work trip, or her phone is off. Tell me, does she look down on me and want to push me away?" He would be happy for days when he received the occasional reply, no matter how brief or curt it was. But, he couldn't find her most of the time and it was impossible for him to stay cheerful and work without it looming in his mind.

Yin Shixiong glared at him. "Look at your silly face! Don't tell people you're Big Xiong's comrade or Mr. Huo's personal secretary. You are an embarrassment!"

Zhao Liangze's anger flared up again. Why couldn't he speak nicely?!

Seeing Zhao Liangze's hurt expression, Yin Shixiong continued, "What are you to her anyway? It's not official yet, but it's already affecting your mood? I say, comrade Little Ze, this is exactly your problem. How much do you like her anyway? And really, who is she? You've been ranting about her for so long and I don't even know her name!" Yin Shixong wasn't one to mince his words and was enjoying this too much. Zhao Liangze instantly clammed up and refused to tell him anything else. He turned the chair around to continue writing programs and wouldn't talk to Yin Shixiong no matter how hard he tried to coerce him.

Yin Shixiong could only rub his nose awkwardly and remind him, "Mr. Huo is taking Nianzhi out tomorrow, so he'll be in disguise for sure. Have someone tail them; it's even more difficult to protect them in secret. We can't let the Chief notice, otherwise our New Year will be ruined." Speaking of the New Year, Yin Shixiong continued to say, "Mr. Huo returned to the Imperial Capital this year, so do you think he'll be going back to the Huo manor to celebrate? Should we ask."

"He probably won't be going back to the Huo manor. Mr. Huo asked the orderlies in the kitchen to prepare for New Year's dinner before he arrived, so I think he'll be having a housewarming party and celebrate New Year's with everyone here."

"Oh right, we haven't had a housewarming yet!" Yin Shixiong slapped his thigh. "Yep, I'd better stay this time too. I'll go prepare some things and you can make the arrangements for tomorrow."

"Got it." Zhao Liangze finally had work to distract himself with. He opened the personnel list to make the schedule, casting the thoughts of heartache away.

...

Gu Nianzhi slept peacefully that night and woke up at seven the next morning. She couldn't stop smiling as she thought about spending the whole day shopping with Huo Shao today. This was the scene that resembled a couple dating in their mind, but unfortunately it was just a personal fantasy. Humming a tune as she ran to the bathroom to shower, she looked in the large mirror in the bathroom and couldn't help recalling their intimacy in there last night. Gu Nianzhi's cheeks flushed instantly, the colour blooming from underneath her skin. By the time she finished getting ready to go out, she seemed to glow and looked especially beautiful.

"Good Morning, Miss Gu."

"This way please, Miss Gu."

Huo Shaoheng's orderlies turned red faced when they saw her and they acted even more attentive than before. Gu Nianzhi greeted them all with a smile and sat across from Zhao Liangze and Yin Shixiong at the dining table. She nodded at them. "Brother Ze, Brother Xing, Good Morning."

"What's this? You look awfully energetic today." Yin Shixiong glanced at her with a chuckle. "What lucky thing happened? I see you have a rosy flush, so you must have love on the mind!"

Love? Gu Nianzhi touched her face and secretly agreed with Big Xion's observation-she was full of love indeed.

Zhao Liangze carefully looked at her and then rapped the table. "Nianzhi is truly getting prettier and prettier. When she becomes a grad student at B University, there'll be lots of boys pursuing her!"

"Who wants that many people pursuing them anyway?" Gu Nianzhi pouted. "I'll reject them as soon as they come. I'll make them know that Gu Nianzhi is not such an easy person. I have high taste and don't care for most people's advances." As she spoke, she glanced at the dining room door. "Where's Huo Shao? Is he up yet? Did he have breakfast already?" The love and concern in her eyes was instantly noticed by the now sensitive Zhao Liangze. He recalled that Gu Nianzhi seemed to act differently with Huo Shaoheng. He looked closely at her again. Just when he was about to speak, Huo Shaoheng came in after finishing his morning workout.

It was a chilly early morning on New Year's Eve, but Gu Nianzhi warmed up when she saw him. Slightly giddy in his presence, Gu Nianzhi looked down with a giggle and hid her smile. "Good Morning, Huo Shao."

"Good Morning, Chief."

Gu Nianzhi dragged out the chair next to her seat. "Huo Shao can sit here."

Huo Shaoheng glanced at her but didn't move to her. Instead, he sat across from her and next to Yin Shixiong.

Gu Nianzhi was embarrassed and didn't know whether to stand or sit. Zhao Linagze felt bad for her and made way to sit next to her. "Sit down, Nianzhi. Brother Ze will sit with you if Mr. Huo won't. Orderlies, where is the breakfast?" The orderlies quickly served up the food.

Gu Nianzhi had bird's nest and lotus seed rice porridge with two plates of xiaolongbao. The porridge was rich and sweet, and the xiaolongbao were fresh; the amount would normally be too much for her. However, because Huo Shaoheng had upset her, she gobbled everything up.

Huo Shaoheng had far more food than her. He was accustomed to eating quickly outside and slowly at home, so he still had a little less than half his food left by the time everyone else was already. Gu Nianzhi snuck glances at him and got even angrier when she saw that he was eating slowly, so she started clanging the tableware. Even the usually oblivious Yin Shixiong noticed that something was amiss and shared a look with Zhao Liangze.

Huo Shaoheng finally looked at her and asked, "Are you ready to go out?"

"Yeah," Gu Nianzhi said sullenly. She had to buy a lot that day; only shopping could relieve her bad mood. Huo Shaoheng had to foot the bill in order to appease her anger, and Gu Nianzhi directly told him, "I have to buy quite a few things today, but I don't have any more money in my card." She widened her eyes at Huo Shaoheng boldly. Let's see if you'll ignore me now! She thought.

Huo Shaoheng's eyes flashed. "Use my card. I'll drive us there today."

"Oh." Gu Nianzhi finally smiled. "I also want to have dinner out tonight, will Huo Shao still be able to drive?" The last time he had driven her was when he had a get together with some childhood friends. His driving seemed to be nothing special and they had called Fan Jian to pick them up afterwards.

"Are you questioning my driving?" Huo Shaoheng leaned back in his chair. "You know, I did some Formula One racing in Europe. I'm technically a professional racer."

"Oh really?" Gu Nianzhi was shocked. "Is that true? Didn't Huo Shao enlist at the age of 18?!"

"He was really a fake professional racer." Yin Shixiong chuckled. "Mr. Huo only practiced for a month and was able to compete with the professional racers and almost got first place."

So it was for a mission, Gu Nianzhi realized.

Huo Shaoheng swallowed the last bit of his breakfast and said, "It was the time I was in disguise as an unmarried couple with Dou Qingyan and spent six months in Europe."

Gu Nianzhi's mood soured again when she recalled those photos.

Huo Shaoheng silently observed Gu Nianzhi; he knew all of her expressions like the back of his hand. Her sullenness was too apparent, so he explained, "This kind of thing is normal because it's part of our day to day job."

Zhao Liangze looked at Huo Shaoheng; the Chief normally never explained himself but was making an exception for Gu Nianzhi.

Gu Nianzhi understood that it was always for his work, but she still felt unhappy about it. She had promised herself to get over it, so she could only encourage herself to keep trying.

After breakfast, Gu Nianzhi went back to her room to brush her teeth and change. She chose a high necked cashmere sweater, slim wool trousers, and knee high boots. She also wore her favourite belted mid-length leather jacket. Her sleek outfit was a perfect match with her Chanel Boy bag. Placing her keys, wallet, and phone into the bag, she then put on Prada Baroque sunglasses and walker out the door.

Huo Shaoheng had been ready for a while and was waiting downstairs. The pair seemed to have read each other's mind as he also wore a mid-length leather jacket. They looked like a couple. Huo Shaoheng also wore sunglasses, but it was a modest style, unlike Gu Nianzhi's trendy ones. However, Huo Shaoheng's features were too beautiful and any sunglasses he wore appeared to be expensive even if they weren't. His sunglasses were actually specially made by the military and had camera functions that could upload to a cloud drive.

Gu Nianzhi waved at Huo Shaoheng but still appeared a little unhappy. However, her petite face, which appeared even smaller behind the Prada sunglasses, hid her expression. Huo Shaoheng could tell right away that she was still mad-he felt quite confused and didn't want to encourage her unreasonable behaviour. Extending an arm out for her to hold, they walked out together and got inside the Mercedes SUV parked in front of the door. The car seemed plain enough; Huo Shaoheng thought the only redeeming quality was it's sturdy frame which had been modified with bulletproof glass and wheels.

Gu Nianzhi sat beside him and watched him skillfully start the car, then quickly drive out the main entrance of the Special Operations Forces headquarters. They would be shopping downtown. When they left the base, the same Mercedes SUVs also drove out in different directions. Gu Nianzhi saw this from the window and was curious enough to want to ask Huo Shaoheng. But when she thought about how she would be letting him off too easy if she forgave him so quickly, she decided to keep quiet. The anger lodged in her throat was practically choking her.