Tao Mu’s feelings towards Shen Chen, or the Shen family men, were very complicated. In the previous life, after he returned to the Shen family, everyone hated him, rejected him, used the sharpest words to hurt him, and used the most vicious thinking to speculate on him. Only Father Shen and Shen Chen, one just ignored him and treated him as if he did not exist while the other allowed him to enter the company after he was blacklisted by the entertainment industry. He even taught him how to do business and trade stocks and how to negotiate business deals with others. As well as how to judge whether a company had potential, and how to grasp the timing of acquisition.
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Although Shen Chen’s attitude towards him was still indifferent, he never communicated with him on private matters except for official business, and even Tao Mu could faintly feel Shen Chen’s alienation and vigilance towards him. But compared to so many people around Shen Yu who just brainlessly rejected him, Shen Chen’s attitude towards him was the best out of the entire Shen family. At least the other treated him as a living person and was willing to communicate with him.
Although all their conversations were limited to the scope of official business.
After being reborn, every time Tao Mu thought back to his experience after returning to the Shen family’s house in the previous life, in the beginning he would still feel heart-piercing pain, as if his heart had been dug out leaving just a big hole behind. But when he was adopted by Liu Yao and Meng Qi, had his own fathers and grandfather, and received his own household registration, the once unforgettable pain seemed to have reduced a lot when once again recalling the Shen family. And as a result he also had time to ponder those details covered under those intense emotions.
It was like a stray dog who had suffered from human abuse, even if it is bone skinny, even if it was bruised all over the body, even if it had conditioned reflex to be afraid and vigilant whenever seeing a human, but one day, it was lucky enough to be adopted by a kind-hearted owner who healed its wounds, healed its illness, gave him fresh food, and even pet its fur from time to time. A strong and warm love would heal those horrors and pains that lay deep in the heart and memory, allowing it to become a whole and healthy dog again. Even if it recalled the fearful and uneasy vagrant life, there would only be simple memories and gratitude for its new and happy life.
Those pains and shadows that were originally thought to remain entangled around it for a lifetime could now no longer hurt it.
Tao Mu’s situation was similar. So when he had his own family and friends, and these people were completely unaffected by Shen Yu’s halo, would not inexplicably hate him and feel that he was unkind and would not inexplicably stab him in the back, Tao Mu felt that he was finally in a relatively safe environment.
Recalling the experience of the previous life, Tao Mu was stunned to discover a detail——every time he targeted Shen Yu, he would face crazy suppression by the Shen family and Shen Yu’s admirers; but aside from this, whenever Tao Mu performed better, for example, the box office of the film that he brought capital with him into the crew breaking the record, the TV series he was an investor had very high ratings, as well as every time he won a large deal for the Shen Group or successfully helped the Group acquire a new company with great development potential and received Shen family friends and other Group shareholders’ praises, he would always inexplicably have various scandals exposed about him. Of course, it turned out that these scandals were indispensable from Shen Yu’s admirers. So Tao Mu’s attention would always shift from official business to the old grudge with Shen Yu and his admirers again. And as a result, disappoint the expectations of the major shareholders who had praised him.
Like a traveler struggling to crawl out of the mire, every time he tried his best to climb to the edge, he would be dragged into the mire again. It was like a reincarnation cycle in which hope was never seen, until death.
In the previous life, Tao Mu had always believed that these things were caused by Shen Yu behind the scenes. But in this life, when he was completely free from the influence of the plot halo and thought about these experiences again, he discovered the subtleties.
At least based on his understanding of Shen Yu, a certain brainless silly white sweet had no such kind of shrewdness and scheming. So Tao Mu guessed that these things were caused by Shen Yu’s admirers, who wanted to suppress him so as not to cause harm to Shen Yu by his existence. However, in the last few years of his previous life, Tao Mu was banned from the entertainment circle, and was called into the company to help out by Shen Chen. In order to adapt to the high-intensity working atmosphere within the Group, Tao Mu had no time to be distracted. He devoted all his energy to work. When there was a project, he often worked overtime for several months in a row, fearing that his denseness and unfamiliarity would affect the progress of the project. Until the successful end of the project would he hold his hard work over several months and offer it like one would offer treasures to Shen Chen in exchange for the other’s praise “you did well”.
Since there was no energy to think of Shen Yu at all, how could he be a threatening harm to Shen Yu? Since there was no fundamental conflict, and yet those admirers of Shen Yu would always inexplicably counterattack, ao long as he connected their counterattacks to the point in time when they occurred, some context was immediately apparent.
Perhaps the one who disliked him the most in the Shen family, and the person who didn’t want him to succeed was not Shen Yu, the cuckoo who occupied the nest, nor mother Shen and Shen Yan, who inexplicably hate him, nor Shen Yu’s admirers either. But instead, his eldest brother Shen Chen, who hadn’t shown any disgust towards him from beginning to end and even taught him how to do business.
As for the reason, after being reborn and without the plot halo, Tao Mu, who had been deeply trapped and blinded by the plot, could finally see from an outsider’s perspective.
——That was, whenever Shen Yan always yelled out “You worked so hard and so urgently to come back, is it so you can fight for the family property with elder brother” for fear that others would not hear him. And father Shen and mother Shen always saying things like, “Why can’t you be as innocent as Yu Yu who has no scheming and always treat people sincerely. Don’t always think about fighting with others.”
Regardless if in the previous life, the Shen family really disliked him, or were deliberately alerting him. When Tao Mu thought of Shen Chen complimenting him, “As expected you are my blood related little brother, you are very smiliar to me.” Every time he heard these words in his previous life, no matter how exhausted he was, he would feel that his hard work was worthwhile, at least he would be recognized by his elder brother. But in this life, when Tao Mu recalled what Shen Chen said so meaningfully, he could not help but feel goosebumps up and down his arms.
—— As expected, you are my blood related little brother, you are very similar to me. So the better you are, the more worried I will be. So I want to suppress you, and even place you by my side to keep an eye on you at all times, and never tolerate your growth to reach out of my control and threaten my inheritance rights.
In truth, this was what Shen Chen actually wanted to express, right?
Then when I was betrayed by people around me in my previous life, did you have anything to do with it as well, elder brother? When I ended up committing suicide by jumping off the building at Shen Yu’s wedding, could you be feeling relief that you could sit back and relax from now on?
Tao Mu looked at Shen Chen with an obscure expression. His profile blended into the light and shadow, that pair of phoenix eyes were narrow and long, and the ends of the eyes were upturned. When the eyes were lowered, it gave off a solemn, cold, and arrogant aura. At that moment, he looked exactly like Shen Chen who was sitting across from him.
When Shen Chen’s assistant knocked on the door and came in, he was shocked by the two men who looked like mirror images of each other. Immediately after he came back to his senses and walked to the side of Shen Chen to whisper a few words.
Shen Chen waved his hand, and his assistant quietly left. It just so happened that the waiter had also arrived to serve the dishes, and Tao Mu coldly watched as the table was placed full with his favorite dishes, unconsciously sneering in his heart.
This person, Shen Chen, always had this ability. Even though he was constantly cold-faced and expressionless, never even saying a sappy word to people. But if he had the heart, he could still make you feel that you were valued by him. He would have his subordinates investigate your past experience and all your preferences first, and then reveal one or two inadvertently during conversations. You would then have a kind of nervous delight of a noble emperor-like being going out of his way to please you.
Just like in his previous life, when Tao Mu accompanied Shen Chen on a business trip and when they ate out, Shen Chen would glance at the menu and casually order two dishes that Tao Mu liked. Of course, Shen Chen never explained to Tao Mu why he ordered these two dishes. It was just that he would not touch those two dishes while eating. Then Tao Mu would delude himself with the belief that Shen Chen had specially ordered those two dishes for him. And in his heart he would think “even though elder brother acts indifferent, he still cares about me very much. It’s just that his personality is like this and he doesn’t know how to express it”.
Not to mention that in his previous life, Shen Chen did not just carry out such habitual operations during eating and ordering food. When Tao Mu worked overtime to finish projects, and came down with a fever due to fatigue, Shen Chen would stay by his side to take care of him all night. When he was busy at work and forgot to eat, Shen Chen would send his assistant to bring him a lunch box. When his and Shen Yu’s birthday came and the rest of the Shen family was busy preparing a grand celebration for Shen Yu, only Shen Chen remembered to send him a birthday card personally written by him along with several books that ranged from how to improve one’s acting to economic management. For Shen Yu he would gift a Ferrari luxury car, a birthday gift that never changed every year. The car brand would not change, just the latest model that year.
So Tao Mu always believed that he was special in Shen Chen’s heart.
Then he gradually thought of the other as his intimate friend, an intimate friend he could die for.
And Tao Mu really did die in his previous life. Until his death, he never doubted this great elder brother who taught him many things personally.
No wonder, as when everyone around you rejected you and hated you, only one person was willing to reach out and pull you out of the mire, even if his attitude was cold and indifferent and not at all enthusiastic, but for the sake of the other’s sincere mentoring, how could you suspect that this person was plotting wrongdoing against you?
People who were drowning would only worry about the seawater that was drowning themselves. Why would they doubt that the tightly held driftwood in their hands could actually kill them?
They wouldn’t. So Tao Mu had never doubted Shen Chen in his previous life so he had never verified if the other played a part in his tragedy or not. In this life, Tao Mu had doubts, but there was no way to verify it anymore. He also didn’t want to viciously speculate about the only person in the Shen family who was good to him in his previous life just on the basis of suspicion. Anyway, he would never return to the Shen family’s house in his life, and he had no conflict of interest with Shen Chen.
In the future, one of them would be in Beijing and the other would be in Shanghai. Anyway, there was no chance of meeting, so the messy things in the previous life would be just left as it was.
Shen Chen watched with calm eyes, watching the light in Tao Mu’s eyes suddenly dim after seeing the dishes on the table, and asked in a warm voice, “Why, do these dishes not suit Mr. Tao’s appetite? Why don’t we order a few more dishes?”
“No need.” Tao Mu came back to his senses: “These dishes are very good. Mr. Shen, please continue.”
After being reborn, Tao Mu wanted nothing to do with the Shen family. But seeing as Shen Chen was able to tell him in detail about the past experiences of Yao Sheng’an and Sheng’an Group at the dinner table, Tao Mu still patiently finished the dinner that he was unsure whether it meant as amends or a bait.
After the meal, Shen Chen wanted to send Tao Mu back to school out of courtesy. After being turned down by Tao Mu, he did not insist, and drove back to the hotel by himself.
Father Shen had been waiting in Shen Chen’s room for a long time.
After seeing Shen Chen, he asked slowly: “Have you met with the kid surnamed Tao?”
Shen Chen nodded. He took off the coat and hung it on the hanger. His slender fingers plucked at his tie: “He is a very interesting young man. My assistant also said that the two of us are very similar.”
Father Shen casually agreed, perhaps even he himself did not pay attention to what he said. He just looked at his eldest son, words at the tip of his tongue.
Shen Chen frowned slightly, and without needing Father Shen to speak he said with understanding, “Grandpa Yao came to see you?”
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Father Shen nodded repeatedly and said, “I always feel that the Yao family and the Shen family have been in friendship for several generations. If we really help Tao Mu to defeat the Sheng’an Group. You also said that Tao Mu is backed by Li Xiaoheng and he also has a good relationship with the Luo Group. The Luo Group has just won the land bid in the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. Obviously, they want to enter the real estate industry in Shanghai. So if we do this, will we just be inviting a wolf after expelling the tiger?”
Shen Chen hooked up the corner of his mouth. Father was indeed getting old.
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