Deep Kiss

Chapter 3. Clean Acacia Scent [1]

The He Group was the largest enterprise in Jiangcheng, with countless industries and subsidiaries all over the country. 

At the end of the year, He Shuyu was so busy that she even settled her lunches and dinners in the office. Even her team of secretaries was so hard-pressed that they were dizzy from work. 

But the hustle and bustle could finally hit the pause button tonight. 

Tomorrow was New Year’s Eve, and the last meeting of the He Group for the old year was in progress. 

He Shuyu was holding her chin up as she listened to the year-end reports from the representatives of the various branches. 


Her posture was rather careless. It was quite a departure from her usual strict and meticulous appearance.

Several of the directors looked at her several times but did not say much. The representatives who presented also noticed her absent-mindedness, but did not dare to be the slightest bit remiss.

Another project report was completed. The representative took a sip of water to continue when the door to the meeting room suddenly rapped, and the sound of arguing came through the doorway. 

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He Jinshu pointed at He Shuyu’s other secretary, sneering and cursing.

He Shuyu gestured for her to leave before saying slowly, “I am indeed very busy. What are you doing here?” 

The meeting was interrupted. The senior board members at the head office were fine because they knew a little bit about the turmoil in the He family. 

The delegates from all over the world looked at each other, curious but not daring to watch the fun. 

He Jinshu could not stand her attitude, but he knew that he had to bow down under the eaves of the house, so he held back his anger and said, “Why did you veto my project?” 

After the question was asked, He Jinshu felt a sense of shame as eyes fell on him. 

It was clear that he was He Shuyu’s father, and it was he who should have vetoed He Shuyu’s project. 

But he was only a humble man who ran a disposable subsidiary of the He Group. He was not even qualified to come to the head office for the year-end presentation. It had taken him a week to get the news that the project had been rejected by He Shuyu. 


He Shuyu was indifferent to his questioning, tapping her fingertips on the tabletop as she calmly said, “A project that is destined to lose money? Why wouldn’t I reject it?”

Her attitude gave the impression that He Jinshu was not his father, but an insignificant subordinate who could be fired at any time.

He Jinshu had not come to probe why she had vetoed his project, but to ask her to sign off on it.

But how could one endure being treated so coldly in return by her and having months of hard work evaluated as doomed to loss?   

“Who are you to say it will be a loss? This resort, if built, could be completely–“

“Could what? The sea near Coconut Island will be designated as a natural ecological reserve next year, so what makes you think you can fill up the sea to build a resort? “

He Shuyu didn’t even bother to listen to the end of his defence. She simply gave him a death sentence in one sentence.

He Jinshu’s eyes rounded. He had never expected He Shuyu’s reason for denial to be this.


The latter faintly swept him a glance: “Did you not even do the simplest research before handing in the project plan?”   

The news that the sea near Coconut Island was being planned as a natural ecological reserve was not tightly sealed. Although the official documents were due to come down next year, the matter had already been nailed down.

He Jinshu had no grounds to defend himself.

Noticing more eyes on him, his cheeks turned red and he held his anger in his heart as he said, “He Shuyu, I am your father!”

He Shuyu was not moved by his words. Her expression was still cold.

“If you were not my father, would you be qualified to stand here? Secretary Qiu, take Mr. He to the lounge while the meeting continues. “

He Jinshu was dragged away by Secretary Qiu and eventually left in a rage after messing up the lounge by smashing items. 

The atmosphere in the meeting room became a little more sombre.

The employees at He Group’s headquarters were vaguely aware that He Shuyu did not have a good relationship with her family.


She was in sole charge of the company and did not give any face[2] to her parents and relatives.

Some people privately said that she only had money in her eyes and no family ties at all.

While others said that she had been benevolent in raising a bunch of assholes, and it was only the He family that was repeatedly aggressive.

The meeting soon ended. He Shuyu knew that the various delegates were catching their flights home and that no dinner was scheduled. It was a relief.

As night fell, almost all of the people in the company who were supposed to go home had already left.

He Shuyu leaned back in her office chair and looked down from the floor-to-ceiling window on the eighty-eighth floor. She watched the brightly lit city of Jiangxi with couples and families hurrying past on the roadside, holding hands.

Secretary Qiu locked the office door and came over, whispering, “Ms. He, it’s almost ten o’clock. Aren’t you leaving yet? “

He Shuyu turned his chair and smiled, “So it’s ten o’clock. I’m a bit lost in thought. You can go first. I’ll leave later. “

Secretary Qiu had been with her the longest but knew little about her. He vaguely knew that she didn’t like New Year’s Eve.

He wanted to show a little concern but felt as though he was in no position to do so.

Moreover, He Shuyu kept her public and private affairs very separate and it was taboo for her for people to pry into her private affairs. After thinking about it, Secretary Qiu had no choice but to say, “Then, Ms. He, you go home early. I’ll leave first. “

The sound of leather shoes on the floor faded into the distance.

He Shuyu sat for a while longer before leaving the office with her bag.

In the centre of Jiangcheng, there was a river that ran through the entire city.

The winter breeze was bitterly cold. When it penetrated the seams of one’s clothes, it was as if it had turned into a dense thorn of ice, cold and bone-chilling.

Chi Xiuyuan was riding a shared electric scooter and the tip of his nose was slightly red from the cold.

He was naturally warm-blooded, but every time he passed by the river he wanted to wrap himself in ten cotton coats.

He had completed his semester half a month ago. The university was run on a day-to-day study basis. He had good grades, and the teacher didn’t have anything to say about him.

He had been working part-time from morning to night for the past half month and had earned a fair amount of money, but it was still a drop in the bucket.

The dinner party and the encounter at Infinity seemed to be just another two brief interludes that did not cause trouble in his unchanging life.

Chi Xiuyuan also knew that someone like He Shuyu would never be short of huggers[3] around.

He had just finished work and was on his way back to his rental house.

Infinity’s benefits were very good. Not only did they give everyone an early shift today, but they also gave everyone a New Year’s gift bag.

At midnight, the riverside was empty; not a soul in sight.

Fireworks were banned in Jiangcheng, and the smell of the New Year was gradually fading. There was only silence under the streetlights shrouded in darkness.

Suddenly, Chi Xiuyuan’s gaze paused.

A woman was standing by the river. Someone he hadn’t seen for half a month. She was dressed very differently from before, but he recognized her at once.

The woman was wearing a knee-length camel-coloured coat. Her chestnut-coloured wavy hair was cascading down and floating outwards in circles in the cold wind.

A cigarette was lit at her fingertips, and she let the flame of the smoke go out into the cold wind.

Her million-dollar designer bag was casually tossed at her feet, and the narrow heels of her high heels were slightly curved and more than a little sharp.   

On a night when families should be reunited, she stood alone by the riverside, with no grovelers or friends to joke around with.

She was alone against the river breeze, seemingly not feeling the cold. Her hand, which was cupping her cigarette, had its gloves off. It was exposed to the cold and blown cold and white as a result.

 He Shuyu vaguely felt that someone was looking at her. When she looked back, she saw a shared electric scooter parked by the roadside.

Chi Xiuyuan was still sitting on the electric scooter, looking at her with a complicated and tangled gaze.

He Shuyu raised her eyebrows in slight surprise, not bothering to decipher what the complexity and entanglement in his gaze were all about. After deliberating, she still greeted, “What a coincidence.”

It was quite a coincidence that they met again and again within a month.

It was probably her inaction after the dinner that made him realize she didn’t mean it that way. It allowed the young man to rein in his stubbornness and back full of spikes a little and ask, “Why are you here alone?”

The two of them were neither friends nor related, so needless to say, his words were a bit abrupt when it came down to it.

With the mindset of joking with a child, He Shuyu put out her cigarette, smiled, and said, “Don’t you think Jiangcheng is very beautiful late at night? I’ve come to enjoy the night. “

Chi Xiuyuan was not a fool. Of course, he heard the perfunctory nature of her words.

Wanting to enjoy the scenery at night?

Who would go to a deserted riverside on a winter night like this and stare into the cold wind at the black swirls of the river water, landing on the ground with cigarette butts?

Who would run to the uninhabited riverside on a winter night like this with the freezing wind blowing, just to stare at the dark vortex of the river and drop cigarette butts?

Probably because she had been bumped into by someone she knew, He Shuyu’s heart eased a little.

She put on the gloves she had taken off and was about to say goodbye to her little friend, but before she could say anything, her stomach twisted uncontrollably.    

She stumbled twice and was about to fall to her knees when she was lifted by someone’s arm. She felt Chi Xiuyuan’s breath in her ear.

“What’s wrong with you? I’ll take you to the hospital. “

His voice sounded a little worried. Supposedly, he was frightened by her appearance.

He Shuyu shook her head, “I’m fine, it’s an old problem, I have medicine in my bag. Please–-“

Once again, a twinge of pain hit her. He Shuyu sucked in her breath, feeling for the first time that her stomach pain was troublesome and annoying.

Even after swallowing two pills, the pain did not ease much. On the contrary, she broke into a sweat in the cold wind.

The combination of heat and cold made her even more uncomfortable.

“I’ll take you to the hospital!” He was no longer asking for her advice.

It was only when Chi Xiuyuan held her up by the waist that he realized that the electric scooter could only seat one person. Plus, it didn’t seem quite right to carry a sick person in the cold wind.

He Shuyu also felt that things were a bit beyond her control. The cramps in her abdomen occurred one after another. They not only protested that she didn’t eat well today but also condemned her for standing in the cold wind for so long.

She fished out a set of keys from her pocket and said, “My car is over there, I’ll trouble you.”

After saying that, she paused, “Can you drive?”

When the keys were taken, He Shuyu closed her eyes, cold sweat rolling from the front of her forehead to her eyelashes dripping onto her scarf.

Her body protested more strongly than ever before. At this point, she even wondered if she would die from the pain.

However, it wasn’t so easy to die from pain. It was then, she felt that she was picked up by the waist.

He Shuyu subconsciously hugged Chi Xiuyuan’s neck because of the sudden sense of weightlessness

The heavy coats and the layers of scarves blocked their contact.

But, while there was no skin-to-skin contact, a different type of ambiguity grew.

The young man in front of her was a little tense. He seemed to be trying to restrain himself from leaving her behind and running away for a long while.

The proximity between them showed intimacy.

The eighteen-year-old young man had a broad chest and his breath was hot. He quietly restrained himself from hitting her on the forehead.

His embrace was filled with the clean scent of soap pods, which made He Shuyu, who was accustomed to all kinds of expensive perfume, feel quite comfortable and even at ease.

She snuggled closer and the cold fragrance filled her lungs.

She didn’t know if the medicine she had just taken had taken effect, but the cramps in her abdomen were not as unpleasant anymore.

As she was placed into the passenger seat, He Shuyu curled her fingers and gently hooked his scarf.

She whispered, “It’s okay to take me home; there’s no need to go to the hospital.”

Noticing the young man’s stiffness, He Shuyu pursed her lips and smiled.

He was still young. Perhaps he had not been this close to any other woman.

He was such a good boy.

She let loose a little more, “It’s okay to go to your house.”

[1] Acacia (also commonly known as mimosa) tree parts, such as the bark, roots, and resin are all still used to create incense for rituals, in Nepal, India, and China (including Tibet).  Acacia/mimosae are used in mainstream perfuming, as well:  the scent has warm, honey, iris-like, powdery, and balsamic qualities, which enrich the complexity of fragrances.  (Aromatherapeutically, acacia is said to have properties that help to relieve stress and depression)

[2] To show or treat (someone) with respect, honor, and dignity.

[3] Short for thigh-huggers. For those who aren’t aware “to hug a thigh” means to curry favour with someone much more powerful or well-connected than you are. It originated from Buddhists, who would hug the thigh of the buddha statue while praying for blessings.

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