183. Don’t Need a Father
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Ahem. Okay, let’s get back to business. Nan Shan might tell us he doesn’t want to go but, deep in his heart, he still yearns for a father. We can’t underestimate Chu FangMing’s importance nor can we think of him as important.]
[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Indeed. We either make Nan Shan utterly disappointed in his father or get someone else to do it.]
[Yan Yan: It’s very easy to make him disappointed in his father. After all, Chu FangMing is a heartless man. It’s not hard to make YouRan understand that. However, it’d be hard to avoid hurting YouRan then.]
[Pei the Third: My brother’s right. The best-case scenario is for the Qi family to be pushed over the edge and step in to handle Chu FangMing. The most we’ll be doing is just watch and not help.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I’m just afraid of Nan Shan’s heart softening then. If he asks, it’d be hard for us to say no.]
[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. He won’t. He might long for familial love but he’s no fool. He wouldn’t butt in on Chu FangMing’s fight with his wife.]
[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’d be the best.]
YiHan put down his phone and turned to JingYuan. “Say, why are people nowadays so thick-skinned? It’s been over twenty years of not hearing a word from him. He avoids Nan Shan as if his son was the plague. The moment he sees Nan Shan doing well, he starts scampering over. He even acts as though he’s a kind, generous father.”
“To Chu FangMing, his children are his possessions,” said JingYuan. “He can ignore Nan Shan but if Nan Shan rejects him, that’s being disrespectful.”
“A kind father has a dutiful son! If the father’s not kind, how can the son be filial?” YiHan exclaimed in rage. “He participated in Nan Shan’s birth but he never raised the man, and he still wants to act as though he’s a respected elder?”
“The world is a big place,” said JingYuan. “There are all sorts of people and minds. We can’t understand his logic and we don’t need to. Nan Shan doesn’t need him anyway. It doesn’t matter what the man thinks.”
“Mn, you’re right,” said YiHan. “What he thinks has nothing to do with Nan Shan. This leech-like father is best not to be acknowledged. If Nan Shan really did go with him, the man might actually sell him off one day.”
JingYuan nodded. “It’s good enough that Nan Shan wasn’t enthralled by the man’s sweet words. Let Yan handle the Chu family. We just need to assist by backing him up.”
“True,” YiHan said. “Now is a chance for Yan to show off.”
In the Regal Hotel, the door to the Yan family’s private room opened. Chu FangMing who’d arrived a while ago stood up to greet the new arrival. His two hands reached out for a handshake as he put on a smile.
“Second Young Master Yan, long time no see,” said Chu FangMing.
Yan briefly shook the other man’s hand as he calmly said, “Sorry for making you wait, Mr Chu.”
“No, no,” FangMing hurriedly said. “I’ve just arrived myself.”
Yan walked into the room with YouRan beside him, revealing Pei and YiHan to be following behind them.
FangMing froze in surprise. Then, he smiled and said, “The Little Master Bai and Miss Yan are here too. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Pei nodded but said nothing.
“We shouldn’t be involving ourselves in a Chu family matter, but this concerns my friend,” said YiHan. “I couldn’t bear to sit around at home, so I wanted to come along. Pardon me, Mr Chu, for overstepping.”
“What are you saying, Little Master Bai? You are a busy man. You’re someone I could never have invited. It is our honour that you pay so much attention to my and my son’s matters. How could you be overstepping?”
“It’s good that you don’t fault me for it,” YiHan replied with a superficial smile. “Pei-Pei and I are only here to listen in. Mr Chu, just think of us as part of the décor.”
“You’re such a joker, Little Master Bai,” FangMing hurriedly replied. How could he afford such expensive and important décor? If Mu JingYuan heard of this, there’d be hell to pay.
“Alright,” said Yan. “Everyone, sit.”
Yan pulled out a chair for YouRan before seating himself to YouRan’s right. Pei stepped forward to sit on YouRan’s other side while YiHan sat down on the free chair next to Pei. The only seat left for FangMing was the chair to Yan’s right.
Yan didn’t bother with niceties and skipped straight to the point. “Mr Chu, I didn’t invite you here today for anything grand. I mainly wished to talk to you about YouRan. A few days ago, you visited him. It has made him very anxious.”
“I, too, only just found out about YouRan,” FangMing said with a pained face. “As a father, I’ve owed him a lot over the past years. I feel very guilty about it. That’s why I risked a visit to him, hoping we can be reunited as a family. But there seems to be a few misconceptions YouRan has about me. It has hurt me deeply, so deeply that I had no appetite for the past few days.”
Yan’s face went dark. “What you’ve said is incorrect. From what I know, you already knew of him even when he was just a foetus in Madam Xu’s belly. Furthermore, from the moment you knew of his existence until he turned seven, you had someone secretly keep an eye on his and his mother’s every action. You were so afraid that when they encounter some difficulty in life, they would trouble you and your new wife. Were you not?”
FangMing didn’t expect the young man to be so frank about the situation. The other man just ripped apart his dignity and pleasantries. His face went pale and sickly.
“Let’s not talk in circles,” Yan continued. “I’ve already looked into what happened back then. You don’t need to play any cards. I asked to meet you today not for social niceties. In order to be head of the family, Mr Chu, you gave up on Madam Xu, who had no family, and chose to enter a marriage of convenience with someone from the Qi family. It indirectly resulted in her early death. This is in the past and Madam Xu has passed away for years. As juniors, we have no way to seek justice on her behalf. However, YouRan can’t just decide his fate purely from your words. From the day he was born until now, you knew of him yet you never once done your duty as a father. Now, you think you can bring him back into your family with a few words. Don’t you find it funny?”
When FangMing realised there was no point making his case from an emotional angle, all he could say was, “We are father and son. YouRan is my son so I can’t just let him go about with someone else’s surname. It’s normal for me to want to bring him back into the family. Mr Yan, that’s not impossible to understand, right?”
YouRan, who had remained silent this whole time, then spoke up. His voice was loud and clear as he said, “I’m not using someone else’s surname. I never had a father. My mother worked hard and suffered to raise me. It is entirely natural that I use my mother’s surname.”
Yan turned to YouRan and smiled. “Of course. Even if your mother didn’t raise you by herself and you had both parents, your mother bore you for ten months. It’s absolutely natural and logical for a child to want to take on the mother’s surname.”
FangMing choked. He shot a somewhat unkind glance at YouRan before swiftly acting normal. Still, YiHan caught that brief glance. YiHan’s face immediately darkened.
“Must you say that, YouRan?” FangMing asked with a smile/ “Don’t you want to go home with Dad?”
“When I was young and immature, I once asked my mother why other kids had a dad while I didn’t,” YouRan calmly said. “My mom told me my father loved me very much. Unfortunately, he’s no longer around. So I am her baby and hers alone. Even if I didn’t have a father, she could still give me all the love I’d ever want.
“I’ve always remembered those words. From then on, I never once asked her about my dad. My mother might’ve left me early but she did give me all the love in the world. Right now, I’m living a good life by myself and I’ve long since passed the age where I yearned for fatherly love. I am very satisfied with my life as is. I do not need a ‘father’ at all.”
FangMing was furious at how unappreciative YouRan was. However, he didn’t dare show it in front of the Yan family siblings and Bai YiHan. The only sign was his inability to maintain the “kind” smile on his face.
FangMing clenched his teeth. He forced a smile as he said, “You are my son after all. Aren’t you even going to admit you have a father? I am sorry for what happened before. I’m at fault. But as I’ve told you, I will compensate you. If you go home with me, you’ll be the young master of the Chu family. I’ll make up for all the fatherly love you lacked before.”
“Mr Chu, you’re funny,” Yan blandly said. “Love from a father isn’t the same as a piece of clothing. If there’s a hole in the shirt, you can patch it up. The lack of love from a father isn’t something you can make up for. It’s just like how you can’t rewind time. Mr Chu, you yourself said you had wronged YouRan. Then, of course, it is entirely up to YouRan whether he chooses to return to the Chu family or not. It is obvious that he has no interest in being the Young Master Chu. In that case, no one can force him to go against his will. We can all just act as if this connection never existed. We’ll go back to our own, separate lives, just like before. Isn’t that fine?”
“Second Young Master Yan, you’re joking,” FangMing said with a dry chuckle. “He is my son. How can I act as if there’s nothing between us?”
Pei, who hadn’t spoken a single word since stepping foot in the room, then spoke up, “Pardon me for interrupting but there’s something I don’t quite understand. Mr Chu, other than N-…Xu-ge being your son, do you have no other talking points? My brother’s words were clear. You might be his biological father, but you had never once fulfilled your duty in raising him. Xu-ge is an adult now. He doesn’t need anyone to raise him, yet you come here at this time to acknowledge him as your son. You hold your status as his father over his head, wanting him to fulfil his duty as a son? Mr Chu, you really are a genius in business. What a brilliant plan you have.”
FangMing’s face visibly twitched. He was rendered speechless by a girl’s words but he didn’t dare do or say anything that would offend her. His face turned a pale green from frustration.
Pei didn’t plan on letting the man go yet. Her bright voice continued, “Mr Chu, even if you have an excellent plan and you’re unwilling to let go of any usable resources due to how frugal you are, the Chu family is rich and powerful. You shouldn’t need the meagre amount of filial support Xu-ge can afford, right? Furthermore, you’re not at the age where you’d need your children to support you financially, no?”
“What are you saying, Miss Yan?” FangMing responded, smile as forced as before. “I just want him to go home. Of course, it’s to experience the joys of family.”
“If you wish to experience the joys of family,” said Pei, “your two daughters would be happy to cooperate with you.”
“Daughters and sons are two different matters,” FangMing said.
“I see,” Pei said. Her face darkened. “So, Mr Chu, you look down on girls, and your wife couldn’t bear you a son to continue your lineage. That’s why you turned your attention to Xu-ge?”
“Of course not,” FangMing hurriedly replied. “They’re all my children. It doesn’t matter if they’re a daughter or a son. How could I bear to let YouRan live alone outside?”
“Pei-Pei,” YiHan whispered, “we said we’d only be here as decorations. It’s not our place to butt in on YouRan’s family matters. Your brother’s right. Mr Chu is in the wrong here. The decision lies in YouRan’s hands. Why are you worrying? Mr Chu is an elder. You can’t be rude.”
FangMing: …Bai YiHan’s words made it extremely obvious Yan Pei spoke up to support YouRan. He wasn’t in the wrong. They were just telling him he wasn’t powerful enough to force YouRan to do anything.
Hell to pay: The literal translation here is “he’d ‘flip’ faces”. It’s the exact opposite of “turn the other cheek”.
Seating Arrangement: As usual with Chinese restaurants, the table here is round. Depending on table size, Chu FangMing sat directly opposite of YouRan or they were seated on the same half of the table, meaning Yan is always in Chu FangMing’s sight when the man wants to talk to Yan.
Filial support: As part of filial responsibility laws (as ingrained by culture), children are required to support their parents emotionally and/or financially. It is mainly financial as most parents expect an “allowance” from their kids once the kids start working or when they (the parents) retire. In several countries (and US states), refusal of filial responsibility is a crime.