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Home > Hello Mr Major General

389 Ill Make An Exception For You

 When the landline in the dorm room rang, neither Gu Nianzhi nor Ma Qiqi heard it at first. Everyone had a cellphone nowadays and some even had multiple ones; who would still call a landline? It rang without notice until Gu Nianzhi's phone also rang. Hearing Huo Shaoheng's ringtone, Gu Nianzhi froze before reaching over to unlock it and placing her face against the cold screen to mumble a drunken, "Hello."

"You're drinking? Where are you?"

Gu Nianzhi giggled then stumbled up to her feet with the phone and said to Ma Qiqi, "I'm going to take a call, you eat first."

Ma Qiqi waved her hand and stuck out her tongue, "Go, go, it's even better when I 'it' by myself. I'm telling you, I'll 'it' all the food if you come back too late!"

"Yeah, yeah! 'It' everything if you can!" Gu Nianzhi mimicked Ma Qiqi's drunken slur before drifting back to her own room. Once she got inside, she shut the door and leaned her back against the door. "Huo Shao, you finally have time to call me?"

Huo Shaoheng was worried and thought, she is already quite drunk.

"Where are you right now?" Huo Shaoheng asked again, leaning back into the chair; his back was slightly sore and Gu Nianzhi was adding to his stress. He reached his arm behind his back to massage his shoulder and closed his eyes.

"Aren't you 'all seeing?' Don't you have a global positioning system? How do you not know where I am?" Gu Nianzhi cupped the phone to her ear, the alcohol emboldening her to bicker with Huo Shaoheng. This saucy side of her would have been dialed down if she were sober.

Huo Shaoheng spun his chair around and stood up to leave the basement mechanical room of the Central Control System. He walked up the stairs to the first floor then opened the two large bulletproof glass doors and stepped out onto the empty field in front of the Special Operations Forces administrative building. This was an empty square with nothing else around it. Not even a tree was to be seen; there were only large fields of grass and clumps of flower bushes. Of course, it was still early in spring so the grass hadn't emerged and the flowers were yet to bloom. On the side of the square were metal benches with slatted backs. Huo Shaoheng walked to a bench and sit down, lighting a cigarette and deeply inhaling from it. Gu Nianzhi waited for a long time but Huo Shaoheng still wasn't saying anything, so she was getting nervous. A sheen of sweat formed on her forehead. She was sobering up. Using her free hand to support herself up, she stumbled towards the sofa by the wall. When she reached it, her legs gave out and she slumped right onto it. Reaching out to grab her little panda pillow, she bit her tongue so that she wouldn't speak first because she was afraid that she'd blurt out an apology and give in.

Huo Shaoheng took a few more deep draws from the cigarette to refresh his mind from the world of numbers and sequences earlier. "Nianzhi," he said her name slowly. "Where are you right now?"

It was still the same question-he wouldn't give up until Gu Nianzhi answered. She wanted to kneel down in surrender because she didn't have the steely tenacity like Huo Shaoheng, who had endured years of training and experience. She was just a normal girl, so how could she begin to compete in a battle of wills against a former special forces trainer?

"I'm in my dorm room." Hu Nianzhi mumbled as she stared blankly at the geometric pattern rug on the floor.

Huo Shaoheng blew a puff of smoke and eased his tone. "Ok, that's good then." He paused then smiled. "Why did you lose your temper?"

"You've spoiled me." Gu Nianzhi replied dryly. "You're the one who spoiled me but now you're saying I have a bad temper? How does that make sense?"

Huo Shaoheng was confused. What? How was this my fault too? He flicked the ash from the cigarette as he held it in his finger but stopped smoking. "Then, I won't spoil you anymore."

"No, you have to keep spoiling me!" Gu Nianzhi straightened her back and hugged the small panda pillow even tighter as she stressed to him, "You can't stop spoiling me. I'm used to it now."

Huo Shaoheng laughed, "Ok, I'll keep spoiling you if you'll be good."

"If you're only spoiling me when I'm good, that means you're not really spoiling me, " Gu Nianzhi retorted. "Also, you were so mean to me today!"

Huo Shaoheng smiled and started to laugh quietly. After a while he threw the cigarette butt into a garbage can. Lazily stretching his long legs onto the bench, he said, "You're not mad anymore?"

Gu Nianzhi rubbed her chest and found that her earlier displeasure had disappeared without a trace. She really wasn't angry anymore, but the problem was still there. She clearly recognized the problem this time too, so Huo Shaoheng had no way of charming his way out of it.

"Huo Shao, I'm not angry anymore but can I ask you something?"

Gu Nianzhi's tone had calmed down and the hint of tears had left her voice. Huo Shaoheng sighed in relief and guilt rose in his chest. He became more gentle. "Yeah, ask me."

"The thing is..." Gu Nianzhi cupped the phone with one head and wrung the little fringe on the side of the panda pillow as she contemplated where to start.

"Just ask. Why are you hesitating with me?" Huo Shaoheng put his hands at the back of his neck to rest his head as he looked up at the stars. They were shining especially bright, sparkling like diamonds sewn into the finest black velvet. Although the temperature was cold, it was helping to clear his head right now.

Gu Nianzhi blurted out, "Who did you go out with today?"

Huo Shaoheng leaned forward. "Why are you asking?"

"Of course there's a reason." Gu Nianzhi bit her lip reluctantly. "I saw a photo."

Huo Shaoheng instantly recalled Xie Dezhao and Xie Qingying. He had deliberately gone out to meet Xie Dezhao at a European-style cafe today, but Xie Qingying had also come over to speak with him when they walked out. However, none of them had taken a picture.

"What photo?" Huo Shaoheng didn't plan on telling Gu Nianzhi about the Xie's because they hadn't finished investigating Gu Xiangwen. He didn't want to the Xie's to know about Gu Nianzhi's relationship to them. "If I was the one photographed, you should let the photographer know that it is illegal and that they face serious consequences."

Gu Nianzhi smirked at the thought of Miao Yunxiao's anxious face when face with that news but then replied bitterly, "No, it's actually not only that. I also heard that the military is matchmaking you right? My classmate said you're her cousin's future husband. "

Huo Shaoheng was slightly taken aback. He used to think that in moments like this, Gu Nianzhi was like a child losing her temper because she couldn't have candy. However, she had grown and changed and her words now made him take her seriously.

"Who did you hear that from?" Huo Shaoheng was frustrated. "That's something even I don't know about and you're taking it seriously?"

"I'm not taking it seriously, but I'm worried that if we keep on going like this that the military will really try to introduce a girlfriend to you." Gu Nianzhi sniffled again and let go of the pillow to grab a few tissues from the side table by the sofa to blow her nose with. She grumbled, "What will you do now? Are you going to accept this?"

So that was what had upset her. Huo Shaoheng was embarrassed to acknowledge how nervous her anger had made him. If Gu Nianzhi had asked him this a few days ago, he really wouldn't have known how to answer. But he had a clear idea now.

"I already have a girlfriend. Why would they need to introduce me to another?" Huo Shaoheng shot back at her.

"You overhead false news. You should be careful not to blindly trust what people gossip about in the future."

Gu Nianzhi was livid at his words. "Huo Shao, so now I can't even listen to others gossip? Weirdly enough, that's the only thing I have to go on when it concerns you, since you don't tell me anything anyway!" Gu Nianzhi said angrily, yet her heart had already warmed at the sound of Huo Shaoheng calling her his "girlfriend" for the first time. Was she finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel?

Huo Shaoehng stayed quiet for a while, then tapped his fingers on his leg gently and said quietly, "Don't fuss, Nianzhi."

"Too late! I'm already fussing. I'm on a roll!" Gu Nianzhi rolled around on the sofa with the small panda pillow in her arms. "How are you going to console me?"

Huo Shaoheng was realizing that Gu Nianzhi was growing bolder with him, so much that she was daring to say such suggestive things to him. She had no qualms about asking him to console her. Huo Shaoheng clasped his hands together to support his chin and rested his elbows on his legs as he leaned forward on the metal bench. After quietly waiting for her to stop her grumbling he finally said, "What happened with the photo?" He had figure out what was going on with these two issues before they could talk.

Gu Nianzhi had been about to bring it up, so she reiterated Miao Yunxiao deliberately showing her the photo. "She thought I was your mistress, so she's been jealous all this time."

Huo Shaoheng chuckled. "Then are you willing to become my mistress?"

Gu Nianzhi was shocked. Oh my god! Is Huo Shao flirting with me?

She was speechless. Heart pounding wildly, Gu Nianzhi felt a stream of warmth spread through her limbs and organs. Like a dried out field finally receiving rain, she could feel life coursing through her again. ".No!" Gu Nianzhi's eyes shimmered, her happiness overwhelming her.

"Being a mistress is considered an improper romantic relationship. I want to have a proper relationship with you-in other words, I'm your girlfriend."

Huo Shaoheng was a little stunned by her words. The older she grew the harder she was becoming to tame-being a guardian was no easy task, yet why did he savour it so much?

"I'm...considering it." Huo Shaoheng finally gave in. He wanted Gu Nianzhi to finally see a hopeful future.

Luckily she was still understanding, otherwise any other woman who heard his promise of "considering it" after all this would have lost their temper. Gu Nianzhi also knew that when Huo Shaoheng was willing to say he was considering something, it meant that he was basically very certain. He was not someone to say that unless he was very confident.

"Really?!" Gu Nianzhi was overjoyed as she bounded up from the sofa. "Are you really...considering it?"

"Yes, I am." Hip Shaoheng got up and walked towards the administrative building. The myriad of stars in the sky made his mood brighten.

Gu Nianzhi was also feeling better, so she tried to take advantage of it. She asked indirectly, "Huo Shao, are you still working overtime tomorrow?" The next day was Saturday so most people were typically off.

Huo Shaoheng tucked his hands into his trouser pockets and walked back slowly. "There's still a bit of work to finish up. What is it? Is something happening?"

".No, well actually..." Gu Nianzhi stopped and then tried again. She mumbled, "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Do you have any plans?"

Huo Shaoheng paused before saying, "I never celebrate Western holidays. Have you forgotten this?"

Gu Nianzhi really had forgotten it. She had been completely caught up by all the excitement from her classmates. Looking down in shame, she quickly tried to salvage her pride. "It's just something I remembered. Anyway, I need to prepare for a thesis tomorrow so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to leave."

"Oh. Well, study hard." Huo Shaoheng entered the administrative building and was approached by several subordinates reporting about work. He said to Gu Nianzhi, "Ok, I have work to take care of of. Bye."

Gu Nianzhi looked at her phone but Huo Shaoheng has already ended the call. She lay in the bed for awhile and waited for her mood to recover before opening the door. Ma Qiqi was lying drunkenly underneath the table. Gu Nianzhi was amused and she helped Ma Qiqi back to her own room for bed. Gu Nianzhi went to go shower to rid her body of the smell of beer and fried chicken before going to bed herself. Although it was a shame that she had no Valentine's Day plans tomorrow, she still understood that Huo Shaoheng's work was more important. As long as she could officially become a couple of him, she wouldn't mind not celebrating Valentine's Day for the rest of her life.

...

Huo Shaoheng went back to his office to read through his subordinates' reports and listen to their analyses and details. He gave several pointers before allowing them to continue their investigations.

Yin Shixiong came in carrying a stack of files and said to Huo Shaoheng, "Mr. Huo, Little Ze isn't here tomorrow. Should I give all of this to you?"

Huo Shaohen immediately turned his chair around and asked him, "Little Ze is already on vacation?"

"No, he'll start after midnight." Yin Shixiong grinned. "What is it? Does Mr. Huo regret giving him time off?"

Huo Shaoheng shot him a look. "Have him come here and help me check a phone number."

In order to prove that she wasn't making a fuss over nothing and that there was really a photo, Gu Nianzhi had given him Miao Yunxiao's phone number earlier. If he remembered correctly, she'd said that there was a photo of him on a date with a girl at a cafe, stored in this classmate's phone. Huo Shaoheng knew this had to be about Xie Qingying, but he couldn't completely dismiss this as unfounded gossip. He could understand Speaker Long's intentions, but couldn't accept it. However, considering Xie Qingying's physical appearance, Huo Shaoheng was still worried that Gu Nianzhi would overthink it if she saw the photo again. Yin Shixiong called Zhao Liangze over and Huo Shaoheng gave him the phone number to check. In less than 10 minutes, Zhao Liangze had accessed Miao Yunxiao's phone and located her photo album. Because the ones of Huo Shaoheng, Xie Qingying, and Xie Dezhao was the most recent, he was able to pull them up right away.

Selecting the two photos, he sent them to his inbox then completely deleted it from Miao Yunxiao's phone as well as her Cloud storage account. However, Zhao Liangze also found photos of Miao Yunxiao and Xu Piaohong together as he went into the Cloud storage account to delete the photos. He selected a photo album and showed it to Huo Shaoheng.

"Huo Shao, this policewoman Xu looks pretty decent. I think she's better looking than Xie Qingying." Zhao Liangze said as he winked at Yin Shixiong.

Yin Shixiong instantly jumped in, "Miss Xu is pretty indeed. Miss Xie would never pass the background check." Xie Qingying has grown up abroad and held foreign citizenship, so her background would never allow her to come the wife of a high ranking military official. Speaker Long had gotten so overly excited that he had made all that fuss about the family giving up their foreign citizenship, but it had actually been a ruse to prevent Huo Shaoheng from getting involved with Gu Nianzhi. Although, it was too late; Huo Shaoheng vowed to himself that their relationship would never fray at this point.

Huo Shaoheng ordered Zhao Liangze, "Go investigate Deputy Chief of Staff Xu. It looks like something is wrong with him, since he's so keen on making powerful connections."

Zhao Liangze quickly replied, "Can I check on him after my vacation tomorrow?"

"Yeah, this is not urgent. You can leave for vacation first." Huo Shaoheng waved at Zhao Liangze in dismissal.

Yin Shixiong looked at Zhao Liangze run off and chuckled. "Mr. Huo, Little Ze has finally come to his senses. He planned a Valentine's Day surprise and even invited his crush to a dinner."

Huo Shaoheng massaged his temples with his right hand for a while before asking, "Valentines' Day? Why is everyone celebrating Western holidays now?"

First it was Christmas and Valentine's Day, now there was Halloween too. Did that mean they would have to celebrate Thanksgiving as well?! Huo Shaoheng thought.

"That's where you're mistaken, Mr. Huo. All the young girls love this and on that day they all compare amongst each other to see whose boyfriend is the most handsome, richest, has the nicest car, gave the nicest gift. In other words, as soon as it's Valentine's Day, the Wechat moments are flooded with pictures of all sorts of roses, chocolates, and even diamond rings. For a single person, however, Valentine's Day is the most depressing!" Yin Shixiong described it all very excitedly. "Now I want to find someone to spend Valentine's Day with too!"

After a moment, Huo Shaoheng asked, "Do students in university celebrate this too?"

"Of course! This holiday first became popular on campuses and that's the place it hits the hardest." Yin Shixiong took out his phone and pulled up a random university website to show him.

"Look, they are hanging two large red hearts at the campus entrance. It's enough to make any single person want to cry."

Huo Shaoheng saw that it happened to be Gu Nianzhi's B University. He looked down, "Thank you for telling me all this. You may leave now."

After Yin Shixiong left, Huo Shaoheng held a pen and tapped it mindlessly on the desk until he gripped it firmly and made a difficult decision.

...

On Saturday morning, Gu Nianzhi woke up early and brought two sets of breakfast back to the dorm room-one on the table for Ma Qiqi and one for herself. After finishing the food, she knocked on Ma Qiqi's door.

"Qiqi, I'm going to study at the library. I've left breakfast on the table. Make sure to eat it." Inside the room, Ma Qiqi, lay in bed with a raging headache and held her head as she gave out a weak wail to indicate she understood. Gu Nianzhi walked out with a smile. She had gotten up especially early in order to avoid annoying people who liked to invade on others' privacy-in other words, Miao Yunxiao. Gu Nianzhi couldn't help thinking about her with bitterness.

...

When Gu Nianzhi was in the library she could truly ignore anything that happened outside the building walls because she was solely focused on reading. She didn't leave once except to buy a burger for lunch. In the evening, she received a call from Yin Shixiong saying someone had sent her something so she finally shoved everything into her bag and left the library. Riding her bike back to the dorm building, she saw many girls pointing at a flashy car. She looked at it closely; it seemed to a sports car with a Ferrari logo. A tall man in a sleek sports suit suit that was filled out by his broad shoulders and fell about his narrow waist leaned against the car door with both hands in his pockets. He looked stared straight ahead and completely ignored the passing throngs of girls pointing at him.

The man was Huo Shaoheng! Gu Nianzhi's eyes widened and her jaw nearly dropped. She froze as Huo Shaoheng walked up to her and offered his han. "I'm here to pick you up for Valentine's Day."

Gu Nianzhi asked dumbly, "But don't you never celebrate Western holidays?"

"Yes, but I'll make an exception for you." He took her hand firmly.