Chapter 171 - Let’s Stay Friends

"You…what are you doing here?" Sheng Jiaoyang looked hesitantly at Lin Yan as he stopped in front of her.

Lin Yan looked around and said, "Let’s talk somewhere else."

Sheng Jiaoyang glanced at the crowd of people and nodded. "Get in the car first."

She opened the car door, and as she stooped to get into the car, Lin Yan thoughtfully put his hand on top of her head to avoid her hitting the door frame.

"Is that Xu Jiaojiao's friend? He’s super handsome!”

"His mixed genes are amazing! I just looked at him up close and his facial features were excellent, while his skin was so white! I'm sure that he wasn’t wearing any makeup."

"Would someone as good-looking as him even need to put on any makeup? But, is he really not a star? He looked classier than some stars.”

“If he entered the entertainment industry, he’d certainly be very popular. How could we not know about it?"

The onlookers entered a discussion as they watched the car gradually disappearing from their sight.

Inside the car, neither of the two sitting next to each other spoke.

Sheng Jiaoyang actually didn’t know what to say.

Contrariwise, Lin Yan had so much to say that he didn’t know where to start.

The driver and bodyguard had already gotten off the car more than two minutes ago, but the atmosphere in the car was so quiet that they could hear each other’s breathing.

"You…” As Sheng Jiaoyang turned her head, her eyes met Lin Yan’s deep and charming eyes. His gaze appeared a little melancholic, yet gentle and focused.

With such an expression on his face, how could his fangirls ever bear it? This look would make them feel as if whatever he said was right and that he could do whatever he wanted.

Sheng Jiaoyang used to be a member of his fan club, but now she’d set up her defenses to counter this.

"You don't need to be so guarded around me." Lin Yan lifted his hand, but it stopped near the corner of her eye without touching her.

"What do you want to say to me?"

"Jiaoyang, how long have we known each other? Do you still remember?"

Sheng Jiaoyang merely stared at him in silence, wondering why he’d asked that.

Lin Yan didn’t wait for her reply and continued, "Six years and four months."

A trace of surprise flashed in Sheng Jiaoyang's eyes. He actually remembered it so clearly.

As she stared at his increasingly mature appearance, it would be a lie if she said that she wasn’t touched by his words. It turned out that he also had feelings for her. However, his response had come too late. She’d already lost all her courage to continue loving him.

"Thinking back to the past, I noticed that you accompanied me during my most relaxing moments. I know that I’ve realised all this too late, but I don't want to lose you. Jiaoyang, it’s been six years, don’t you miss those moments at all?"

Sheng Jiaoyang reacted as if she’d been hit by an arrow and felt a stuffy, painful feeling in her heart. Did she really not miss those times?

Lin Yan's right hand gently touched her face. He stared at her and slowly said, "Jiaoyang, I know that it’s nonsensical to say anything more in our current situation, but I don't want us to become strangers. Let's stay friends, at least. Let's not erase memories spanning over six years."

She caught the sorrow lingering in his words and felt a mixture of sadness and confusion.

"Like before, no matter if you’re happy or sad, you can always share your thoughts with me. And, whenever you’re free, let’s meet up and let me see how you’re doing, alright?" He looked at her with an expectant gaze.

Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t utter a single word to refuse him, nor could she refuse any of his modest requests.

It was just being friends with him, so what was there to be hesitant about? Her inner voice asked her heart.

In the end, Sheng Jiaoyang followed her heart and nodded.

Lin Yan smiled. His smile was so stunning that it made it hard for her to move her eyes away, and made her want to carve this image deeply in her mind.

When Sheng Jiaoyang returned home, Lin Yan's smile was still lingering in her mind.

While eating, she was absent-minded.

"Jiaojiao, did something happen?" Grandfather Yang asked with concern when he saw her like this.

Sheng Jiaoyang regained her senses and said, "I…”

Ding! Her phone suddenly beeped.

She glanced at her cell phone before guiltily looking up at Grandfather Yang. She then picked up her phone and stood up. "Grandfather, I'm already full, so I'm going upstairs first."

Grandfather Yang frowned as he stared at Sheng Jiaoyang’s departing figure. "Did she quarrel with Zhining?"

"It doesn't seem like it," An Jing said.

Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t go back to her room, and instead, went to her studio. Whenever she was in a bad mood, she liked to lock herself in her studio where she could arrange a variety of colours and vent her emotions on the canvas.

She nestled on the sofa in the studio and stared at the message on her cell phone. Lin Yan had sent her a message, telling her to rest early. She stayed in a daze for a while before snapping out of it. She then set her phone aside and went to get her drawing tools.

After arranging all kinds of colours on the palette, she stood in front of the drawing board and closed her eyes. Lin Yan’s appearance automatically appeared in her mind. She wanted to think of something else, but her brain was totally out of control.

The brush moved on the white canvas, and when the blank spots were all slowly occupied, Lin Yan's appearance was finally transferred from her mind onto the canvas.

With the last stroke, Sheng Jiaoyang stared at the painting on the drawing board. She had to admit that the poison called Lin Yan had not been entirely cleansed yet. Her heart uncontrollably skipped a beat when she saw him. She was actually happy when she heard him say: ‘I don't want to lose you’ and ‘I don't want us to become strangers’.

She didn’t like to see herself like this. It was as if her emotions were controlled by another person, and she hated this kind of feeling. What she disliked the most was the fact that she was still hesitating.

Sheng Jiaoyang raised her hand and touched the edge of the drawing board. She stared nostalgically at the person on the painting and murmured, "We can only be friends from now on."

She wanted to nail him in the friend zone, never allowing herself to go even a step further.

After covering the painting with a cloth, she turned around and walked out of the studio without looking back.

She walked back to the bedroom and saw that Xiao An was already laying on the bed. At this moment, she suddenly remembered that she’d left her phone in the studio. She was about to go back to get her phone when the bathroom door slid open and her gaze suddenly landed on the man in a bathrobe.

"You’re here again?!"

"Am I not allowed to come?" Shen Zhining slightly raised an eyebrow.

"You…forget it, I'll go tidy up the guest room for you." Sheng Jiaoyang swept another glance at him before walking out of the bedroom.

Sheng Jiaoyang entered the guest room and opened the wardrobe to take out a new set of bedding, and started to make the bed.

She turned to look at Shen Zhining standing by the doorframe, watching with folded arms, and urged, "Come here and give me a hand."

"Why bother? You weren’t uncomfortable when we slept together yesterday. Besides…I can help you warm your bed."

“…”

Sheng Jiaoyang rolled her eyes and resolutely continued to make the bed. She’d never done this kind of housework by herself before. When she’d finished making the bed she was already gasping for air and was exhausted.

"Alright, you can sleep here tonight." She patted the bed and turned to leave.

However, Shen Zhining suddenly grabbed her and pinned her on the bed.

He propped himself on top of her and raised a hand to take off her glasses. His gaze was fixated on her as he said in an obscure tone, "After meeting your old lover, you’re ready to throw me away?" His hot breath and lips inched closer to her face.

Sheng Jiaoyang squinted to adapt to the hazy view in front of her. "What nonsense are you spouting?!"

"Nonsense? Oh, isn't Lin Yan your old lover?"

Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t deny this fact.

The look in Shen Zhining's eyes darkened, and he asked with a trace of coldness, "Are you going to rekindle your old love?"

"No, we talked things through today, and we’re just ordinary friends."

"Oh, really?" Shen Zhining narrowed his eyes.

"Believe it or not, what I said is the truth." Sheng Jiaoyang moved her face away, becoming a little angry.

After studying her expression, Shen Zhining’s gaze softened. He affectionately leaned closer to her ear and said, "If I find out that you lied to me again… Haha, do you want to know the consequences?"

Sheng Jiaoyang turned to look at him, frightened by the look in his eyes. That glow in his eyes appeared as if he couldn’t wait to eat his prey alive, making her scalp go numb.

"Speaking of which, I suddenly look forward to you lying to me," he said before continuing with a smile, "So, don't let me catch you, or else you'll learn how serious the consequences are."

"I-I know. Quickly get up, I'm going to wash up." Sheng Jiaoyang pushed her hands against his chest.

Shen Zhining turned over to lay on his side.

Sheng Jiaoyang hurriedly stood up to leave. When she arrived at the door, she suddenly paused. She turned around and angrily asked, "How did you know that Lin Yan and I met today? Did you send someone to follow me? Or better yet, have you bribed my driver and bodyguard?"

"I also know about you meeting with another man in a cafe,” Shen Zhining leisurely said.

"So, you really sent someone to follow me! How could you?!"

Seeing that she was furious, Shen Zhining unhurriedly explained, "Do I even need to ask someone to follow you? Don't forget, you’re a public figure now, and there are plenty of people collecting information on you. In the past two days, I’ve received quite a few photos of your meetings with different men from an anonymous source."

"What meetings? Don't make it sound so unpleasant. I just had a chat with George the day before yesterday. By the way, you probably don't know George, but he’s Mei Niu, I mean Lina's ex-boyfriend. We just chatted about Lina when we met."

Shen Zhining remained silent.

Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t see his expression clearly, but she knew that he was looking at her, so she hurriedly added, "I'm not lying to you. You can go investigate if you don't believe me."

She hesitantly took two steps forward before walking over and reaching out her hand. "My glasses."

Shen Zhining returned her glasses.

"Have a good rest, I'm leaving first." Sheng Jiaoyang then scurried away as if she was being chased.

When she was laying on the bed after washing up, she suddenly recalled what Shen Zhining had told her earlier: ‘In the past two days, I’ve received quite a few photos of your meetings with different men from an anonymous source.’. Who was this ‘anonymous source’? What was the purpose behind sending those photos to Shen Zhining?

To destroy the relationship between Shen Zhining and herself?

Who hated her so much, to the point of not wanting to see her do well?

Sheng Jiaoyang pondered these doubts and slowly fell asleep.

Since she was worried that Shen Zhining would take advantage of this moment to make a fuss, she obediently went to school for the next few days. When classes ended, she’d go straight home to review her lessons. There’d be a final exam soon, and no matter how great her memory was, she couldn’t guarantee that she’d do well in the exam if she didn’t review the lessons.

Time flew by very quickly. Xu Qing and Li Weiqi also returned home.

Their wedding would take place as scheduled.

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace