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735 This Won’t Be Taken Lying Down 1

 "Cousin won't be going tonight?" Huo Jialan said as she looked at old Mr. Huo. "Grandfather, should we visit cousin?"

Fan Jian's heart skipped a beat. Did I go overboard and cause an undesirable effect? He coughed and said, "Mr. Huo has instructions to take you back to the Huo family's mansion in the army. Please be understanding, Miss Huo. I have to follow orders."

It was the nature of a soldier to adhere strictly to commands or orders. Grandfather Huo thought about it and nodded. "Take us back, then. I'll give Shaoheng a call to see how he is after we get back."

Since Grandfather Huo said that, Huo Jialan had no other option but to remain quiet.

Huo Guanchen was at the main door waiting for them. When Grandfather Huo exited the car, Huo Guanchen went forward happily. "You're back, father."

"Yes." Grandfather Huo looked around, supported by his walking stick.

It was about three or four in the afternoon. The mansion was quiet and empty, without anyone walking around. There were trees planted along the passage, and one could hear the leaves rustling when the wind blew. Even though this was not as grand as the Xie's mansion in France, it was Grandfather Huo and Huo Jialan's favorite. It was home. They had stayed there for so many years, of course they developed feelings towards this place. It wasn't just a place of pretty things to them.

Huo Guanchen supported Grandfather Huo by his arm and entered the mansion. Fan Jian quickly drove away and returned to headquarters to report to Huo Shaoheng.

...

Huo Shaoheng looked up from his desk at Fan Jian. "Okay. Noted. You've done well. You can go and rest. We have nothing else going on today." It was Sunday, and it was supposed to be Fan Jian's turn for a rest day, anyway. He breathed a sigh of relief and reported some minor things before leaving Huo Shaoheng's office.

Huo Shaoheng completed some work on his computer before checking his watch. It was almost half past four in the afternoon. Just when he was about to call his mother, Song Jinning, the landline rang.

He answered the phone. "Yes."

It was the call control officer. "Mr. Huo, your grandfather is calling to ask about your health."

Huo Shaoheng did not wish to answer Grandfather Huo's call. "Still have a fever. When I've recovered, I will return the call."

"Yes, sir." The call control officer understood what to say. She kindly rejected Grandfather Huo. "Grandfather Huo, Mr. Huo is still resting and not answering any calls. When he recovers, he will return your call."

Grandfather Huo almost smashed the phone upon hearing a politically correct reply. However, he could not take it out on the officer. Therefore, he controlled his anger and replied flatly, "Alright. Let him rest. Get him to come home after he has recovered. We should gather as a family."

"Yes, sir." After Grandfather Huo hung up, the officer forwarded the voicemail to his mailbox. Of course, Huo Shaoheng did not listen to it immediately, as he was calling his mother, Song Jinning.

"Will you be going to the inauguration tonight?"

"Yes I am. I'm one of the leaders in this industry. The education minister will be going with us." Song Jinning spoke to Huo Shaoheng with her Bluetooth earpiece. She was still typing on the keyboard, looking at the trial experiment's data analysis.

Huo Shaoheng knew that his mother wasn't someone who liked attending public events, and she would try her best to stay away from events like these. He did not expect her to attend this ceremony, either. He lowered his voice. "You can not go if you're busy. Would there be a problem?"

"How could there not be a problem? The problem would be huge." Song Jinning massaged her temples. She had lost almost 16 years of time. When she woke up after 16 years, she realized that almost everything had changed.

Even if she didn't talk about anything else, 16 years ago, when her father was the President of the Institute of High Energy Physics, all their funds came from the government. All they had to do was to continue with their experiments, and they did not have to worry about anything.

However, their funds came from the departments of education and finance, which meant the cabinet. Whenever they required funding, they would have to type a report to request it. They wouldn't even know if they would get it unless someone had connections.

Song Jinning did not feel comfortable about it in the beginning, but she had been academically inclined all along and picked things up really quickly. That included social skills. She wasn't good with socializing in the past, because it wasn't necessary. However, it was a requirement now. After being taken advantage of twice, she had grown clever. Each time she submitted a request, it would definitely get approved.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Dou, whom she was so familiar with, had stepped down just a couple of months back. Now, the new Prime Minister would be taking his place. Therefore, it was important for him to know about her existence. After she managed to build a good relationship with the new Prime Minister, it would benefit their institute greatly.

Huo Shaoheng listened quietly to Song Jinning telling him how she had met with so many difficulties over the past few months, and how she managed to overcome each and every one of them. From being a President of the Institute out of nowhere, to a president who was respected by the entire institute, she had indeed gone through a lot. She was busy, but it was extremely fulfilling for her.

Huo Shaoheng had heard about Song Jinning's difficulties and had requested that some of his friends in the cabinet keep a look out for her. He was worried that something might happen. However, Song Jinning was extremely capable. There hadn't been any situations that she could not handle during the past few months. Up until now, she hadn't required any special secret help from Huo Shaoheng's connections. Therefore, Huo Shaoheng smiled and listened to how his mother felt so proud of herself without stopping her.

"...Therefore, I have to be there tonight. Your mother isn't a weirdo who only lives in the laboratory." Song Jinning looked at the data churned from the computer happily. "Let me tell you, Shaoheng, my trial experiment from the computer has been really successful. After running it through a few more times, I will be able to get into the real experiment!"

Huo Shaoheng sat up straight. "Really? Congratulations! However, if you really want to kickstart the experiment again, please type a report to the army instead of the cabinet."

"Okay." Song Jinning replied in a sing-song voice. She was smart enough to understand Huo Shaoheng's hidden meaning. "I will make sure that it's highly confidential."

"Please do. And do not mention this to anyone," Huo Shaoheng reminded her and turned on his laptop to look at the CCTV in the institute. He deleted their conversation just now, so that even the CCTV over at the institute did not have any trace of it.

Song Jinning stopped talking about this and changed the topic. "Will you be there too, Shaoheng?"

Shaoheng shook his head. "I'm down with a fever. Not going."

Song Jinning was momentarily speechless. "Fever? And you're still on the phone with me for so long? Why aren't you resting? Remember to drink more warm water and don't stay up late anymore." Song Jinning was extremely worried. She did not think about whether Huo Shaoheng was telling the truth.

Huo Shaoheng smiled, and his tone softened. "Yes. I will rest." Then he asked again, "Have you prepared your gown for tonight?"

"Gown?" Song Jinning's brows furrowed. "I'll just wear a black dress. I have quite a few of them." She would pair it with a pair of black-rimmed glasses and an old-fashioned hair clip before putting a white lily brooch on her dress. It made her look at least a decade older.

Song Jinning's looks were akin to a bug in her system. She was almost 50, but due to being injured for 16 years, her aging had stopped during that time. She looked the same as she did 16 years ago. Her skin still was fair and supple, her features deep and sharp, but the innocence in her eyes was gone. Cheerfulness and a carefree spirit took over. She was glamorous and eye-catching, like a flower that had just bloomed. Nonetheless, Song Jinning liked dressing old because for her position, earning respect was easier if she looked older. It would also avoid unnecessary problems.

If Song Jinning did not want to go, it'd be fine. Huo Shaoheng wouldn't force his mother to do something she didn't like. However, Song Jinning was excited about going, as she wanted to be in the midst of society. Therefore, Huo Shaoheng changed his mind and wanted his mother to be in the spotlight for once.

He truly felt that he should be putting out something, as the entire Huo family seemed to have been stepped on already. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could order them around. He had put up with this since he realized that the trip to America had been a trap. He would not take this lying down.

"Mom, please don't wear that black dress." Huo Shaoheng called her "mom." He never did. Tears welled up in Song Jinning's eyes. Her son had called her "mom." Of course she would agree to anything he said!

Therefore, when Huo Shaoheng suggested sending a gown over, Song Jinning replied immediately, "Sure. I am in the laboratory. You can send it here."

Huo Shaoheng acknowledged and hung up. He went to his room and took out the gown, matching jewelry, accessories, and bag he had prepared for her some time back and put them in a suitcase. Then, he brought it to the main door of his mansion.

These gowns, jewelry, shoes, and bags had been prepared for Song Jinning initially to wear at Huo Shaoheng and Gu Nianzhi's wedding. There were a few sets of them. One of them was just right for an event like tonight's.

...

Huo Shaoheng drove a pearl-blue Mercedes Benz Mulsanne, and he brought a makeup specialist along with him. Fan Jian drove the silver Bentayga SUV and followed behind them.

The two cars arrived at the institute one after the other and stopped in front of the building where Song Jinning was working. Huo Shaoheng took the suitcase and went up to the building along with the makeup specialist.