I Advise You To Like Me As Soon As Possible - Chapter 12.1
Chapter 12 (part 1)
For the very first time in his life, Fu Zheng had just been ridiculed. He had thought he would have a heart attack on the spot if it ever happened, but when it actually did, he felt calm, almost detached.
This entire scene was a new and completely novel experience for him. No one had ever dared to point at him accusatorily, or speak to him in such a manner. However, when he thought about it objectively and discarded his feelings about Ning Wan's attitude, he found himself reflecting upon her words. His life had run as smoothly as it could get. Maybe he really didn't know what ordinary people lived like. Maybe he really didn't understand the hardships that they went through. He had always firmly believed that one's school was reflective of one's ability, but perhaps he had been too prejudiced.
Since Ning Wan had graduated from a second-rate law school, she would certainly feel such preconceptions keenly. And it had to be fairly said that though she didn't have a particularly good attitude when it came to him, as a lawyer she was able and professional. He had witnessed her finding the crux of a matter quickly and easily in several cases where no clue was to be found, and her handling of people was remarkable.
Therefore, the next time Gao Yuan asked about Ning Wan's abilities, Fu Zheng gave him a fairer evaluation–
"Not bad." Sitting on the sofa in Gao Yuan's office, he took a sip of tea before putting down his cup. "She has passion and dedication, just no experience with large cases. If she were to be systematically taught, she would have a great deal of room for growth."
After having been lectured by Ning Wan, Fu Zheng had gone straight to Zhengyuan Law Firm. He had an appointment for dinner that night with Gao Yuan, but since Gao Yuan unfortunately had an urgent email to reply to, Fu Zheng was waiting in his office. While Gao Yuan typed, the two men chatted.
"Didn't you have a bad impression of Ning Wan last time we spoke?" Gao Yuan asked, somewhat taken aback by Fu Zheng's answer. "She must be good if she's made you change your mind. Will you recruit her for your team?"
Fu Zheng pursed his lips. "I'll consider it."
"Honestly, it wouldn't be a bad idea. She's an old hand at this job and you wouldn't need to teach her much, just point her in the right direction from time to time. It would take a lot of the pressure off you as team leader. Plus since you'll have been working in the community for a while, the two of you will be familiar with each other. Forming a new team requires a period of learning to get along with each other, and having a familiar subordinate will put you at an advantage. By the time you're transferred back to HQ, you'll hopefully have nearly tacit cooperation with her."
Having speculated this far, Gao Yuan glanced at Fu Zheng. "So, we've established that Ning Wan is good at her job. How is her personality? Do you get along? How is your relationship?"
Without waiting for an answer, he mused, "Although I personally am not in close contact with Ning Wan, I've always felt that she has a fairly straightforward character. That's normally a good thing, but for you in particular…" Gao Yuan hesitated, "She might not feel so close…"
"What do you mean?" Fu Zheng frowned. "Are you casting aspersions on my character?"
"No, no, not at all…" Gao Yuan denied hastily, eager to survive. "It's just that you're used to being the boss, aren't you? It's normal to hold yourself a little, um, apart from others. To be a little detached. I wouldn't call it bad, you just… uh… have a noble temperament!"
Fu Zheng sipped his tea and eyed his sweating colleague. "I think I'm not half bad, all things considered." He reviewed himself objectively. "I may be the boss, but I find myself fairly approachable, and I get along alright with Ning Wan." He paused. "And of course, your description of my temperament is spot on."
"…" Gao Yang's expression was hard to put into words.
"Are you done with that email?" Fu Zheng said with some impatience. "Don't talk to me again before you're done. I'll go lie on the sofa for a bit."
Gao Yuan's office was spacious, and aside from his work desk and guest sofa, he had recently acquired a rather expensive silk-paneled screen with a landscape painted on it, allowing him to block off a corner of the office. Behind it was a small dressing room and rest area. Several suits hung from a rack, allowing him to quickly change if he had to hurry to a meeting or to court, and a comfortable couch sat there for him to nap on if he had been working overtime.
There was a reason why this screen had been somewhat pricey. Besides the magnificent landscape painting, it protected one's privacy extremely well. From the front, nothing could be seen behind.
Fu Zheng made his way to the couch behind the screen, while Gao Yuan hurried to finish up his mail. However, just as he began typing, there was a knock on the door and the woman they had just been discussing rushed in with a scowl on her face–
"Partner Gao, I can't take it anymore. I must speak to you."
Ning Wan had rushed into Partner Gao's office on impulse. She had been planning to go home straight after work, but upon being informed that a translated report she had participated in was to be revised, she had headed to HQ to finish it before clocking out.
Coincidentally, Senior Partner Gao, who was rarely in office, was here that day. Whenever she thought of Fu Zheng, she got so angry and irritated it felt like she might blow a gasket. Chen Shuo, her junior from school and a pleasant, hardworking kid, had applied specifically to come help her out in the community. If that superior young master had not squeezed him out through the old boy network, her workload would have been so much reduced by now, and the atmosphere far more pleasant.
The more she thought about it, the angrier she got, until finally she could no longer hold it in and burst into Partner Gao's office.
Gao Yuan really was at his desk, and when he saw her, a look of consternation crossed his face. "Ah, Ning Wan, you're here in the office today. How fortunate…"
This chapter is scrapped from readlightnovel.org
Her impulse was waning, and feeling her courage dying out, Ning Wan interrupted. "Partner Gao, please hear me out."
Gao Yuan was startled, but nodded for her to continue.
"I came here to make a report."
"To make a report?" Gao Yuan asked, surprised. "About who? What happened?"
"Fu Zheng, not anonymously, but under my own name."
Having said this much, Ning Wan went all in. "Chen Shuo applied for the opportunity to work in the community. He had gone through the process, passed the examination, and gotten approval. How did he inexplicably get replaced by Fu Zheng? Isn't this not in compliance with our stated process? Shouldn't the work arrangements here at our firm be fair?"
She didn't know why, but ever since she had mentioned Fu Zheng's name, Gao Yuan's expression had changed. He looked very embarrassed and restless, and his eyes constantly darted toward the silk-paneled screen in the corner of his office. He defended Fu Zheng almost without thinking. "Listen, Ning Wan, Fu Zheng is quite a good egg. He graduated from a famous school…"
Look at that! He totally got in through connections! Ning Wan sneered internally. Perhaps he had quite a background. Partner Gao had begun defending him anxiously after only a few words.
"He did indeed graduate from a prestigious school, but he has no relevant work experience in law. And worse, because he comes from a good school, he's full of superiority. He looks down on this and that as if others are below his notice, and acts as though he's gracing us peasants with his presence. He's unreliable and insincere, and the worst part is that he has no humility at all. Partner Gao, it's not a terrible thing to have no experience. What's terrible is arrogance. How can I even call myself his senior? Just because he comes from a good school, he has no respect for me at all. We just absolutely cannot get along."
Now that she had started talking about Fu Zheng's shortcomings, the words just kept spilling out from Ning Wan's lips. "He can't handle cases, he has a rigid and dogmatic mindset, he can't think outside the box, and he has trouble putting himself in other people's shoes."
"Grassroots cases out in the community are high pressure and difficult, and the work can hardly be called glamorous. It's no place to cultivate a delicate orchid."
Ning Wan paused. "I know that you arranged for him to come to the community, but I just can't work with him. That's why I'm here to report to you. I hope that you will transfer him away from the community."
By the time she was done speaking, a suffocated expression had taken over Gao Yuan' s face. He managed to squeeze out with difficulty, "But I heard that… you two were doing okay?"
"Well, we are. Right now we've only argued with each other. Neither of us has thrown a fist yet."