Half a minute after sending the company’s monthly financial report to here boss, Irene Felton on the other side of the ocean received a reply: Come online for a meeting.
She looked up at the standard clocks showing the different time zones, hanging opposite the desk, and confirmed that Li Shu’s local time was 12:30 in the middle of the night.
His subordinates were already accustomed to Li Shu’s work rhythm, so it didn’t take long for them to gather in the video conference efficiently.
Li Shu’s video had started very early, but there was no one sitting in front of the camera. When all the executives had arrived, he came over with a water glass.
Irene had already sent the financial report to the executives, and everyone silently flipped through the report, waiting for Li Shu to speak.
“I’m not satisfied,” Li Shu said.
Irene stopped typing and glanced at Li Shu, her heart sinking.
Li Shu was one of the youngest and most promising entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He was born in an ordinary Chinese middle-class family and was the first child in the family. His father was a mechanical engineer, his mother was a housewife, and his grandfather was a military officer. After the war, he brought his family to settle in the United States and took root there from which a huge family of relatives spread out.
Similar to the stories of most Silicon Valley geniuses, Li Shu had a lonely childhood with a strong thirst for knowledge and excessive self-awareness. He liked to hide in the basement of his home and study. It wasn’t until he entered university, joined a fraternity, and met people who shared his interests, that he naturally created a small but stable social circle.
When he was nineteen, his roommate’s account was mistakenly deleted due to a statistical flaw in the video website. Li Shu used his two-year bonus to rent a server, bought a new computer, and founded EPS with his roommate. The first version of the program was written in the corner of the dorm common room.
Six months later, they won the investment of their first venture capitalist. In the past ten years, the company had gone through a huge scandal, then barely saved itself from danger. It had been brought back to life from the brink of bankruptcy. It had also turned against investors, confronted others in court, and dominated the headlines in the Bay Area for weeks.
The biggest label that the media put on Li Shu was weird.
Li Shu ran a streaming media and environmental protection company and he was particularly good at using public opinion to create momentum, but he was extremely disgusted by media attention and almost never appeared in public.
He owned two adjoining glass buildings in the South Bay Area and spent most of his time in Silicon Valley working in a bizarre half-glass, half-cement office that he built on the 45th to 47th floors of the main building.
Those with ulterior motives compared this building with the pictures of the bell tower of Notre Dame de Paris, guessing that Li Shu must be like the ugly eccentric in the bell tower, so he hid away and did not want to show himself.
But those who know a little about Li Shu and his company know that such remarks were not completely true. Li Shu’s appearance had nothing to do with ugliness, but there was something strange about him.
Irene joined the company five years ago and was Li Shu’s secretary, handling all kinds of affairs for Li Shu. She was the person who had been in contact with Li Shu for the longest time in the whole company. She still could not correctly predict Li Shu’s decisions, and felt frightened of him from time to time.
Fortunately, since three years ago, Li Shu had become more like an ordinary person. He began to commute between San Francisco and S City frequently and even stopped working for ten minutes without warning after receiving a message or call from someone.
Sometimes Irene even began to fantasize that as long as he stayed in love long enough, Li Shu would one day be turned into a normal boss.
——But tonight, in light of her experience, Irene felt that Li Shu was in a bad mood.
Li Shu was still wearing his home clothes, and the person who was supposed to be by his side was not there.
He took off his glasses and put them aside. Then he casually checked the financial report with the executives and asked about the progress. When the executives spoke, he looked down at the screen and pursed his lips.
Halfway through the meeting, Li Shu suddenly interrupted them for half a minute, muted the video, and answered a call.
After hanging up the phone, Li Shu continued the meeting without distraction or excitement, and proceeded to correct the mistakes of his subordinates.
Ten minutes later, something weird happened.
When Irene lowered her head to type, she suddenly heard a strange sound, like the outgoing call beep from a mobile phone.
She raised her head suspiciously and noticed that the executives in the video conference had different expressions, so she subconsciously glanced at the chief financial officer sitting on her left, and the chief financial officer also looked at her and made a “boss” gesture.
The speaking speed of the data team leader who was speaking had also slowed down, as he looked at Li Shu with slight hesitation.
After Li Shu noticed it, he hit the table with his index finger, picked up the phone, turned down the volume of the phone, and then signaled to the supervisor: “Continue.”
This outgoing call was automatically disconnected because it went unanswered for a long time. The atmosphere of the meeting relaxed for about five seconds, then Li Shu picked up the phone again and redialed.
In any case, Li Shu was sure that his mood must be calmer than Shen Yiyou. Shen Yiyou was very angry, and if he did something impulsive, he would regret it.
Li Shu listened to the brief analysis of the executive on the screen and recalled the call just now with his mind divided between these two things.
The background the phone call had been very noisy, like if he was at a mixed entertainment place.
Li Shu was thinking about the meaning of this call, whether it was Shen Yiyou who was really drunk, and the other party didn’t know that they had broken up, so he called, or Shen Yiyou had regretted it, and wanted to get back with him.
The electronic clock screen placed on the desk suddenly lit up, showing the time to be one o’clock in the morning.
Li Shu put his hands together, and while correcting several mistakes in his subordinate’s data understanding, he began to think that if Shen Yiyou really regretted it, he could leave a little leeway for Shen Yiyou to come back.
So, he picked up the phone on the desk and pressed Call Back.
He lost his headset somewhere, and his subordinate was still speaking, so after dialing the call, he turned on the speakerphone and put the phone on the desk.
The first call went unanswered, and Li Shu guessed that Shen Yiyou was still angry that he had hung up the phone just now, so he patiently made the second call.
Shen Yiyou still didn’t answer.
Li Shu still didn’t have much fluctuation in his mood, he wasn’t Shen Yiyou and wasn’t so emotional, so he wouldn’t be annoyed with Shen Yiyou for not answering the phone.
While communicating with his subordinates, he redialed more than twenty times.
For some reason, the atmosphere of the entire video conference had become very subtle. The voices of the executives were alternately loud and quiet. Li Shu ignored these details. He only knew that Shen Yiyou would not answer his phone.
After the video conference, Li Shu edited a message and sent it to Shen Yiyou: “Be mature.”
After thinking about it, he sent another message: “Answer the phone.”
Li Shu didn’t need much sleep, and he wasn’t feeling sleepy even though it was two o’clock in the morning. He stared at his phone and waited for fifteen minutes without receiving any response.
Maybe he fell asleep, Li Shu thought, Shen Yiyou liked to mute his phone when he slept, even turning off the vibration. If Li Shu’s subordinates did this, they would have been fired by Li Shu long ago, but Shen Yiyou was not Li Shu’s subordinate, and Li Shu could never really do anything to Shen Yiyou.
Twenty minutes later, Li Shu picked up the phone and called again. To his surprise, this time, the phone was picked up.
“Hello sir,” a male voice that Li Shu had never heard came from the other end of the call, “I’m not the owner. The owner left his phone in our store. Is he your friend?”
Li Shu only hesitated for two seconds before saying “yes”. He heard himself say, “He drank too much and fell asleep. Where is your store location, I’ll come and get it.”
The other party reported the store name and address to Li Shu, and Li Shu called out his driver and assistant in City S, giving them ten minutes to come below his apartment.
Li Shu walked downstairs in time, and the doorman of the apartment building opened the door for him.
The rain had stopped a while ago, but it had restarted along with strong winds. The icy rain blew onto his pants and shoes. He took a step back and saw his car turn and drive up the ramp, slowly stopping in front of him. The driver got out of the car and respectfully opened the door for him.
Li Shu himself could not drive, and he was also opposed to Shen Yiyou driving. He was involved in a car accident in his childhood and nearly died, so he believed that professional things should be done by professional people. So, he hired the best driver to drive his vehicle.
After leaving the apartment, the rain eased a little.
The club where Shen Yiyou dropped his mobile phone was not far from Li Shu’s apartment, and it didn’t take long for them to arrive. The club staff who had talked with Li Shu on the phone, stood at the crossroads with an umbrella, waiting for him.
Li Shu got out of the car and walked over with his assistant.
Wearing a black suit, the clerk glanced at the car Li Shu had been sitting in, and gave Li Shu a professional smile, saying that the phone was found by the cleaner under the sofa just now, and politely asking about the owner’s situation.
Li Shu didn’t answer, took the phone and glanced at his assistant.
The assistant immediately took out his wallet, tipped the clerk, and returned to the car with Li Shu.
Shen Yiyou’s phone was heavy, Li Shu held it quietly for a while, and the screen lit up, indicating that there was a missed call that needed to be called back.
Although they had broken up, Shen Yiyou had not had the time to change his mobile phone screensaver, and it was still a photo of a painting given to him by Li Shu.
The car drove smoothly, but it was very dark in the car. When he was about to get to his residence, Li Shu unlocked Shen Yiyou’s mobile phone and deleted the calls and text messages he had sent.
There was no other meaning, he just didn’t want Shen Yiyou to misunderstand that he wanted to take the initiative to ask for a reconciliation.
When he came back to the apartment, it was three o’clock in the morning, and many lights on the river had gone out, while the rain had stopped again.
Li Shu stood by the floor-to-ceiling window and watched for a while, then turned up the air conditioner a little.
He looked around the living room and found no trace of Shen Yiyou, then he went to the bedroom and bathroom to look around. Shen Yiyou had left nothing that he had brought here, and it seemed that no one but Li Shu lived in the apartment.
Li Shu still couldn’t understand why Shen Yiyou asked his friend to call him, so he turned off the light and lay in bed.
Li Shu was the kind of person who was very particular about order and habits. When he was in the apartment bedroom in City S, Shen Yiyou must be lying on Li Shu’s left side, while Li Shu must hold Shen Yiyou in his arms and put his arms around Shen Yiyou’s waist, in order to fall asleep.
But Shen Yiyou won’t come back tonight at least.
Li Shu hugged the quilt very lightly, wanting to smell the leftover scent of Shen Yiyou.
But Shen Yiyou hadn’t stayed here for a few nights, and the smell had long since dissipated, so Li Shu didn’t smell anything.
T/N: Why am I getting a feeling that LS is a tsun….
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 Referring to the story of Hunchback of Notre Dame.