“You weren’t like this before.” Sheng Jiaoyang stared at Shen Zhining, who seemed to have become another person.
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh? You know me that well?”
“You… Ning Xiaoruan said that you were asexual.” Sheng Jiaoyang’s gaze moved away, tossing the blame onto Ning Xiaoruan.
Shen Zhining narrowed his eyes, a threatening light flickering through them.
Sheng Jiaoyang saw his expression change and silently gave a prayer for Ning Xiaoruan before continuing, “You didn’t even like Daisy, despite how pretty and curvy she is. Before, you’ve never been attracted to female charms.”
“Heh!” Shen Zhining snorted, his meaning unknown.
“What, am I wrong?” Sheng Jiaoyang blinked.
“You go to bed with a man just because you like his looks, huh?”
“What?” Sheng Jiaoyang was stunned and momentarily wondered if something was wrong with her ears.
“My heart decides who I like. If I want to become closer with them, they’ll be the one I like.”
He paused and reached out to touch her cheek. He stared at her. “But, you’re a mistake.”
“Me?” Sheng Jiaoyang was astonished.
He lowered his head and approached her, his breath spraying on her face as his deep, magnetic voice reverberated beside her ear.
“Even when I hadn't ascertained my feelings yet, you were the only person I wanted to be intimate with.”
Sheng Jiaoyang felt her heartbeat quicken. If she had to grade this confession, she’d definitely give it full marks; she even felt her face flush and heart thump.
She licked her lips. “Can you let me up first? My back is getting sore.”
In fact, she was leaning on the table, so her back wasn’t really stressed. However, she felt that their current position was rather dangerous, like she could be devoured by a certain beast at any time.
Shen Zhining stared at her for a moment before finally pulling her up.
“The Lin Family’s banquet is the day after tomorrow. We’ll be attending it together.”
“But, I want to go with Grandfather…” she hadn’t finished speaking when she was abruptly interrupted.
“Want me to kiss you until you agree?” Shen Zhining tilted her chin and asked, his tone part teasing and part serious.
Sheng Jiaoyang flushed red as she shut her mouth. Shen Zhining was too wicked, so she could only obediently accept her fate.
“Let’s go, I’ll send you back.”
Sheng Jiaoyang looked at him, surprised that he’d send her back so soon.
Shen Zhining’s lips lifted. “Don’t you have class tomorrow morning? Don’t tell me you don’t want to go back tonight because you can’t bear to be apart?”
“Of course not!” Sheng Jiaoyang hurriedly picked up her bag and jacket.
“Put on your jacket, it’s cold outside.” Shen Zhining took the jacket and helped her put it on before leaving the room.
That action of his really was quite considerate, causing Sheng Jiaoyang to glance back at him a few times in wonder. She adjusted her coat and picked up her bag before following Shen Zhining out of the restaurant.
When they were in the car, Shen Zhining actually took the initiative to ask her things, like if any teachers were still targeting her at school, if she had any plans for work, etc. Since he’d asked, Sheng Jiaoyang replied, making conversation about how she was planning to attend her school’s New Year’s evening party, and about how she was going to pick up a literary film.
The two seemed to have returned to the time when they lived together, making small talk about their lives. The only difference was that now, Shen Zhining’s eyes were much softer when he looked at her.
After arriving at her house, Shen Zhining didn’t follow Sheng Jiaoyang inside and just watched her leave.
Sheng Jiaoyang released a sigh of relief as soon as she closed the door behind her, feeling much more confident in her own home.
“Jiaojiao, you’re back,” Grandfather Yang greeted her in the living room.
“Grandfather, have you had dinner yet?” Sheng Jiaoyang walked over.
On the TV was a broadcast of the variety show Sheng Jiaoyang had participated in earlier.
“Of course, I have. What’d Jiaojiao eat?”
“Steak and foie gras,” Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t mention the candlelit dinner and just casually said two dishes before changing the topic. “Why are you watching this?”
“Because you’re in it, and it’s also quite interesting.”
Sheng Jiaoyang chatted with him for a bit as she watched TV with him before returning to her room.
The next day, Sheng Jiaoyang went to school as usual. As soon as she walked in, her classmates began to tease her.
“Jiaojiao, was that a date with your boyfriend last night~?”
“I was just saying how you couldn't possibly have broken up, the paparazzi just like to stir up drama.”
Sheng Jiaoyang knew what had happened in an instant. “Did somebody take pictures?”
“Yep, yep!” The lucky person who’d managed to become Jiaojiao’s deskmate hurriedly pulled out her phone and gave it to her to take a look.
A big picture of her and Shen Zhining walking out of the elevator filled the screen, with another picture of him opening the car door for her.
“Jiaojiao’s boyfriend is so gentle! He’s also tall and handsome, he looks perfect with Jiaojiao!” the deskmate gushed, her voice filled with admiration.
Sheng Jiaoyang choked silently, now knowing that she had to be more careful about her privacy in the future. Thankfully, they’d booked a private room, otherwise, they wouldn't have had any privacy at all.
While she was in class, Gu Zhou called her to say that Cen Jin was returning today and would arrive at the airport at 11. She thought about how she’d stood him up the last time, and decided to take the initiative to pick him up at the airport to show her sincerity.
Sheng Jiaoyang still had a class though, so she requested leave.
Sheng Jiaoyang arrived at the airport early. She knew which exit Cen Jin was coming out of and parked nearby. However, the odd thing was that even though Cen Jin’s flight had already landed and the other people from his flight were already coming out, Cen Jin still hadn’t appeared. She decided to directly call Cen Jin.
“Yeah?” Cen Jin sounded rather impatient, clearly not in a good mood.
“Director Cen, it’s Xu Jiaojiao. Have you left the airport yet?”
Cen Jin seemed startled. “You knew I was returning today?”
“Gu Zhou told me. I’m very sorry about last time! Something happened and I couldn’t see you, so I wanted to apologise to you in person today.” Sheng Jiaoyang’s words sounded very sincere and polite.
Because of that, Cen Jin’s tone improved. “Are you waiting outside the airport?”
“My luggage still hasn’t come out and I don’t know how long it’ll take. It’d be better if you head back first and make an appointment for the afternoon or evening.”
“I don’t mind, I’ll wait outside for you.”
Sheng Jiaoyang's attitude greatly improved Cen Jin’s impression of her as he told her to find a cafe to wait for him in before hanging up.
But, Sheng Jiaoyang still didn’t leave, continuing to stand not far from the exit and staring in its direction, waiting for Cen Jin.
Hearing her name, Sheng Jiaoyang looked over and raised an eyebrow when she saw Lin Yu walking over.
“It really is you. You also came to pick someone up?” Lin Yu smiled.
“Yeah.” Sheng Jiaoyang rubbed her tightly wrapped mask and the oversized hat that she was wearing. “How did you recognise me?”
“Your posture makes you easy to spot, even in a crowd.”
His words were very flattering, causing Sheng Jiaoyang to smile. She glanced at the exit as she asked, “Are you picking up a relative or a friend?”
“Actually, the person I came to pick up is also someone you know,” Lin Yu said.
Someone I know? Sheng Jiaoyang turned to look at Lin Yu, a silent question in her eyes.
Lin Yu smiled. “It’s my cousin, Lin Yan.”
Sheng Jiaoyang controlled her expression, her face tensing for a short moment.
“Oh, right, Auntie also came back with Cousin this time,” Lin Yu added.
“That’s good, Auntie Lin probably hasn’t seen her relatives for a long time.”
“Right, I wasn’t even born when Auntie left. It’s already been over twenty years. Grandpa actually misses Auntie a lot. Ever since he found out that she was also coming back this time, he’s been so excited that he couldn’t sleep,” Lin Yu sighed.
“He’s here.” Sheng Jiaoyang saw the prominent mother and son pair protected by bodyguards.
Lin Yu looked over and also saw them, hastily waving them over. “Auntie, Cousin, over here!”
They heard the shout and walked over.
“Xiao Yu,” Lin Xuejun called softly before noticing the person standing beside him. “You brought a friend?”
Lin Yu smiled. “Aunt, you know her, she’s Jiaojiao.”
Sheng Jiaoyang pulled off her mask and greeted Lin Xuejun. “Auntie Lin.”
She didn’t dare to look at the man beside Lin Xuejun, who was staring at her with a scorching gaze.
“You two…?” Lin Xuejun hesitated as she looked at them.
“We just happened to meet each other here. I also came to pick someone up,” Sheng Jiaoyang said immediately after.
“Who are you picking up?” Lin Yan asked as he stared at her.
Lin Xuejun turned to look at Lin Yan, astonished. When she saw the lost look in his eyes, her face changed as she inspected the girl in front of her with an ambiguous gaze.
Sheng Jiaoyang ignored the change in Lin Xuejun’s expression. Under Lin Yan’s stare, she had no attention to spare. “A friend.”
“Why don’t you guys head out first, my friend will come out soon.” Sheng Jiaoyang deliberately glanced at the exit, not expecting to actually see a person who looked very similar to Cen Jin’s photographs. She hastily bid farewell, “My friend is here, so I’ll be going first.”
She didn’t glance at Lin Yan again as she hastily walked towards the exit, greeting a bearded man pulling his luggage.
“Is that her boyfriend?” Lin Xuejun seemed to casually ask herself.
As she said that, she especially snuck a look at Lin Yan’s expression. When she saw his face change slightly, her expression also turned heavy.
“That shouldn’t be Jiaojiao’s boyfriend. I’ve seen her boyfriend before, and he’s a very outstanding man.” Lin Yu said after hearing his aunt’s murmurs.
“You’ve seen him?” Lin Yan stopped following Sheng Jiaoyang with his gaze and turned to look at Lin Yu.
Lin Yu smiled as he thought of the young possessive man by Xu Jiaojiao’s side at Grandfather Yang’s banquet the day before yesterday. He patiently answered his cousin’s question, “Yep, they seem to have a pretty good relationship. I heard that they’ll also be attending Grandfather’s birthday feast tomorrow. I’ll introduce you to him! You two both grew up abroad, so you should have something in common to talk about.”
Lin Yan lowered his eyes, his long lashes concealing his emotions.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Kiki | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace