Staring at the ceiling, Sheng Jiaoyang slowly spoke her honest thoughts.
"I think that I like you, but I can't deceive myself, and I don't want to lie to you. I like you only to the point of not disliking being intimate with you, nothing more. I can't long for you every day as I did with my first love, and whenever you’re being too intimate, I feel extremely burdened."
Shen Zhining listened quietly and didn’t speak.
"I don't have the courage to love someone again. I may never fall in love with you."
After a person has loved someone wholeheartedly, it would be difficult to love another person as much as before.
This was reality.
The room was silent and Sheng Jiaoyang no longer spoke, just waited for his reply.
After a good while, when she was about to fall asleep, she heard Shen Zhining dully say, "Let’s sleep." These were the only two words he blurted out.
Sheng Jiaoyang shivered in her heart, but she sneered at herself. It was difficult for her to accept those words, not to mention Shen Zhining!
Sheng Jiaoyang was supposed to feel sleepy, but she wasn’t. She couldn’t fall asleep, even with her eyes closed.
She suddenly felt that she was being hypocritical, getting intimate with Shen Zhining and rejecting him at the same time. She shouldn’t be like this, but she couldn’t control her feelings.
As dawn approached, Sheng Jiaoyang finally fell asleep. When she woke up, Shen Zhining was already nowhere in sight.
The flattened blanket beside her seemed to indicate that Shen Zhining hadn’t slept there. She stared dazedly at it and didn't know whether she was relieved or disappointed.
She should be happy. After all, she didn’t love him, so it was good to clear things up so that they could make a clean break. If that was the case, she wouldn’t need to back out of this when it was time to get married and wouldn’t hurt him deeply.
But now, Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t feel happy and was instead feeling particularly confused.
After a while, she sat up and reached for her cell phone on the nightstand to check the time, but she touched a box instead. She paused and turned to see a beautifully wrapped gift box on the nightstand.
Her expression changed. As her fingers touched the edge of the gift box, she abruptly paused.
It was Shen Zhining, he’d left this gift box here.
Her glasses were also placed neatly next to the gift box. Her hand moved and she picked up her glasses before putting them on.
After taking a deep breath, she got out of bed without taking a second look at the gift box.
While walking down the stairs, she heard Liang Dahui say with a high-pitched voice, "Hey, our birthday girl is awake!"
Sheng Jiaoyang walked on indifferently, her gaze sweeping across everyone in the living room. Sure enough…she didn't see Shen Zhining.
She didn’t bother asking when he’d left.
"Jiaojiao, did you sleep well last night? Are you hungry? I left you some porridge and bites in the kitchen. Would you like to have some now?" Xu Qing gently asked.
"No, it’s almost lunchtime."
Afterwards, Sheng Jiaoyang politely greeted Grandmother Xu, who was sitting on the sofa holding a glass of water.
Seeing that Xu Ping, Xiao An, and Xiao Hu were nowhere in sight, she asked Aunt Zhang where they were. Aunt Zhang was bringing fruit to the coffee table and replied that they were playing in the children's playroom.
Then, a ringtone sounded. It was the videophone installed next to the entrance hall.
"Who would come over at this time?" Aunt Zhang muttered as she walked over.
She first took a look at who it was and saw a refined-looking man standing outside the gate, carrying something in both his hands. As soon as Aunt Zhang saw that, she answered the videophone. The man greeted her politely. She asked him about the purpose of his visit before asking him to wait for a moment.
Grandfather Yang and An Jing were in the study, so Aunt Zhang went to Sheng Jiaoyang instead.
"His surname is Sheng?" Sheng Jiaoyang narrowed her eyes.
She cast a glance at the gate before instructing, "Let him in."
The middle-aged man was none other than Sheng Xun. But, what was he doing here at this time?
After a while, Aunt Zhang led a man into the living room.
The middle-aged man wore a dark grey coat, and he seemed to have aged quite a bit. It really is Sheng Xun! He was carrying a cake in one hand and another bag in the other.
"Ahh? Brother-in-Law, what are you doing here?" Liang Dahui asked with a surprised expression.
Sheng Xun just looked at Liang Dahui with an expressionless face. He handed the bag to Aunt Zhang, and then walked to Sheng Jiaoyang with the cake in his hand. He stared at her with a profound gaze, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips as he said, "I know it's your birthday today, so I bought you a cake."
"We’re neither relatives nor friends, so I can't accept this,” Sheng Jiaoyang declined.
Sheng Xun’s expression didn’t change as he continued, "This is your favourite mousse cake."
Sheng Jiaoyang's expression changed. She examined Sheng Xun’s expression carefully, but she couldn’t make out anything.
Mousse cake was her favourite, but it wasn’t Xu Jiaojiao’s favourite cake.
So, what was he trying to say? He’d found out her identity?
"Thank you." Sheng Jiaoyang accepted the cake anyway and handed it to Aunt Zhang.
"Brother-in-Law, why are you here today? Are you here to see Mr Yang?" Liang Dahui walked over.
Sheng Xun’s eyes darkened slightly as he replied, "I’ve already divorced Liang Xiaohui, so don't call me brother-in-law from now on."
"What? Divorce? When did this happen?" Liang Dahui was surprised.
"We divorced last month. She didn’t contact you?" Sheng Xun glanced at Liang Dahui with a sneer.
Sheng Jiaoyang suddenly chuckled. When she saw Liang Dahui looking at her, she smiled and said, "I'm sorry, I wasn’t gloating about this. But, it looks like your sister is indifferent towards you. She didn't even tell you about such an important matter."
Liang Dahui’s expression turned ugly.
Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t bother to look at her any more and turned to Sheng Xun instead. "Although you divorced her because she stole things, you must’ve given her a lot of alimony, right? Otherwise, based on her personality, why would she be willing to give up so easily?"
Sheng Xun remained silent and just stared at her with a complicated look in his eyes.
When Liang Dahui heard the words ‘you must’ve given her a lot of alimony’, her eyes lit up and she hurriedly asked, "Where’s my sister now?"
"You'll have to ask your sister that,” Sheng Xun coldly replied.
The corners of Sheng Jiaoyang’s lips turned up slightly. Then, she turned around to walk away, but she was stopped by Sheng Xun.
"Could I have a word with you?" Sheng Xun asked.
Sheng Jiaoyang cast a sidelong glance at him, a glint flashing within her eyes as she replied, "Follow me."
"Hey, you!" Liang Dahui reached out to stop them, but she was held back by Xu Ze.
"Don’t bother them," Xu Ze interrupted.
Liang Dahui unhappily retorted, "What do you mean by bothering them? One is your niece and the other is my brother-in-law. They’re neither relatives or friends, so what would they need to talk about?"
"They naturally have their own business to discuss, and it’s probably something they don't want others to know since they want to speak in private."
"A man and a woman alone…don’t tell me that my brother-in-law divorced my sister because of her!" Liang Dahui's expression turned sinister.
"What nonsense! Jiaojiao has a boyfriend. Alright, stop guessing and go have a chat with Mother." Xu Ze pushed Liang Dahui towards the sofa.
Meanwhile, Sheng Jiaoyang and Sheng Xun entered the studio and sat down on the sofa in silence.
"What did you want to say?" Sheng Jiaoyang initiated the conversation.
Sheng Xun looked at her and unhurriedly said, "You’re very familiar with Jiaoyang’s room, but you’ve never been there before."
Sheng Jiaoyang remained silent.
"I've thought about it for a long time and made a lot of guesses, but no matter what, it is impossible for you to know the room like the back of your hand when it was your first time there. Unless…"
He paused and continued, word by word, "…You’re the owner of the room."
Sheng Jiaoyang's eyes flickered, but she didn’t respond.
"I know how much Father cared about Jiaoyang, but now he isn’t sad about her passing away. In fact, he’s being so kind to you, who’s totally unrelated to him. Tell me, what’s the reason?"
"It’s because my grandfather and I were brought together by fate."
Sheng Xun looked at her and suddenly smiled as if he was relieved from a burden. "You haven't changed at all."
Sure enough, he’d recognised her.
Sheng Jiaoyang’s lips slightly trembled. She didn’t expect that her father, who’d ignored her all this time, would actually recognise her without any hints.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said indifferently.
"Jiaoyang," Sheng Xun softly called out.
Sheng Jiaoyang calmly looked at him. She didn’t admit or deny it.
"People always like to make blunders, and they won’t recognise the importance of something until they lose it. Jiaoyang, I've let you down all these years."
"My name isn’t Jiaoyang, I’m Xu Jiaojiao."
"Jiaoyang, there’s no one else here, so you don't need to be like this. I'm sorry that I neglected you all these years. But deep down, you’re my only daughter."
Sheng Jiaoyang sneered, "It's too late, Jiaoyang had already passed away. Don't forget, you attended her funeral."
"When Jiaoyang was alive, she only encountered Xu Jiaojiao once, and that was when the car accident happened. Yet, Father unexpectedly asked you to go to Jiaoyang’s room to look for something. Only Jiaoyang and I knew about that hidden compartment in the wardrobe. Jiaoyang’s accident happened too abruptly, so there’s no way that she’d have the time to tell others about the hidden compartment."
"How do you know that we’ve only met once? Before that, we’d been in contact with each other over the internet. We were close friends who talked about everything. But, we were somehow brought together when the car accident happened," Sheng Jiaoyang said those words with a serious look, which made it hard to tell whether her words were true or false.
Sheng Xun slowly smiled. "Although I haven't actively cared about you all these years, it didn’t mean that I was oblivious to everything concerning you."
Sheng Jiaoyang was stunned. She carefully examined his expression and saw that he was telling the truth.
"I would ask my assistant to give me reports about you every once in a while, to see what you were doing. Although I didn’t have a complete understanding of your activities, I still had a general idea of what you did."
Sheng Jiaoyang’s eyes widened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace
Enjoy the first bonus chapter~