"You are not going to drink that?" the Old Man said when he saw Lily only offered a toast but did not drink the champagne. He gave Lily a stern look, a direct response to her rudeness.
"I don't do alcohol." Lily smiled. "I used to… but not anymore."
The Old Man grunted until her gaze fell into Lily's stomach. Then a tinge of understanding flashed in his eyes. "I see." He nodded. "My apologies then."
"I will drink that." A voice interrupted them and before anyone could say anything, Zhou Lanying already got the glass and drank its contents. She held the empty glass and gave both Lily and the old man a smile. "I hope you don't mind."
"Oh... please… Miss Lily here is a good friend." Zhou Lanying's sudden declaration instantly caused some murmurs from the people who heard them. "I mean… I considered her as one. After we met in Paris… In one of my recitals. Ah… was that two years ago?"
Lily lifted an eyebrow before she nodded. "Almost three years. Actually." She gave them a sweet smile. "How have you been?" The turn of events was unexpected. Even Lily did not think that Zhou Lanying would do something like this. However, she still went with the flow.
"Good. Everything is good." Zhou Lanying gave her a sweet smile. She then shifted her gaze at the Old Man. "I was looking forward to seeing you tonight, Miss Lily. When I heard that you are coming, I totally got excited."
Zhou Lanying's face was full of smiles as she talked to Lily like an old friend, creating a barrier between Lily and Old Man Dongfang. It was as if, she does not want Lily to talk to the Old Man at all.
"I didn't know that Miss Zhou is actually very well informed." Dongfang Lu joined the conversation after Zhou Lanying started talking about stocks.
"I love music and everything about it. However, I also majored in business administration and management when I was in Paris. I got a lot of experience when it comes to managing the… family business too." Zhou Lanying answered. The confidence in her voice was unmistakable.
Lily only smiled as she listened. According to her files, Zhou Lanying was smart. Smarter than her two younger brothers. She graduated college before her twenty-first birthday and started working in the Zhou Co., immediately. But a few years ago, she just stopped.
She stopped working and started doing drugs. She also decided that music was her calling, so she started playing Piano more. This made the current patriarch furious. Some say that he almost disowned Zhou Lanying after her first concert. While some say, he had slapped Zhou Lanying so hard, she lost a tooth.
These were all rumors. However, the Dongfang family knew that some of these rumors were true. It was true that Zhou Lanying received a slap from her grandfather. It was also true that he almost disowned her. However, her two brothers begged their grandfather to give her a chance. They convinced him that there is still a chance that their sister will change for the better.
Sadly, this did not happen. In fact, Zhou Lanying's reputation became worse as months passed by. She started drinking too much. She slept around with various men, second generation heirs and people that she just met.
This made it hard for the old man to find a husband for her. Lily knew that the purpose of this gala was to make people think that everything about Zhou Lanying were all rumors. She also knew that the old man found a possible husband for Zhou Lanying. Someone that would not care about her reputation at all. The old man thought that they could use this gala to at least show that Zhou Lanying is not as scandalous as the rumors say. But… Lily knew this won't change a thing.
Not after she drank the champagne from Old Man Dongfang.
Lily watched as more and more people joined them. Men and women started to gather around, joining in the conversation with smiles all over their faces. While everyone in this room already knew of the Zhou family's motive, many people still pretended that they were unaware. Some of them chose to get close to Zhou Lanying. They smiled and gave compliments as they chuckled, making sure that they let the world know that they were acquainted. After all, she was a Zhou. She was someone whose family could easily crush most people from this room. Moreover, her future husband is another influential person who was born in China but grew up in the west.
"Hehehe… I was going to say that you have a really... really hot bodyguard." Zhou Lanying's whisper towards Lily woke her up from her stupor. "I didn't recognize that this was someone from the Yang Family. Good… Good choice."
Lily nodded as she glanced at the woman who was already beaming inappropriately at everyone.
"You are very pretty too… Hehehe… If I am a man I would never let you go." Zhou Lanying whispered. Before she looked at one of the women surrounding them. "Miss Chen… I heard that you married someone from a prominent family? Someone rich but…"
"Alright. Let's go. We are going." Lily suddenly interrupted as she held Zhou Lanying's arms. "She's already drunk." She sent a meaningful look towards the old man. "I will make sure that she gets home safely."
"But Miss Zhou will still perform, right?" the woman called Miss Chen said. Concern laced his tone but her eyes contain some mockery. "I came here because I heard that Miss Zhou will perform one of the piece that she composed all by herself."
"Oh… right! The performance. I need to perform first… Okay, old friend?" Zhou Lanying said as she tried to remove Lily's hand from her arm.
"No… she is drunk." Lily said sternly as she roamed her eyes to the people around them. "I will invite everyone in an orchestra in the next few days. By then… Miss Zhou will perform her masterpiece. If you say that you came here because of her performance and not because of the charity cause, then… please give your name to my secretary. I will pay you back for your tickets and triple it as a compensation for the inconvenience that I have caused." She gave everyone a cold smile.