"Happy New Year, Grandfather!" The first thing Sheng Jiaoyang did when she went downstairs was to greet Grandfather Yang.
"You didn't go to bed until after midnight last night. Why don’t you sleep a little longer?" Grandfather Yang asked with concern.
"It’s okay. Sis Ping went to bed around the same time as me, but she still got up early in the morning." Sheng Jiaoyang pointed at Xu Ping, who was playing with her mobile phone.
Xu Ping looked up and smiled. "I just can’t sleep for long stretches at a time."
"Jiaojiao, SL’s official Weibo posted a teaser ad for the minifilm shot by you and Gu Zhou this morning. Gu Zhou retweeted it on his Weibo, and I’ve also forwarded it to you. This time, you two are the top-ranked on the hot searched list, and you’ve taken another star’s limelight. I just wanted to remind you that this might stir the anti-fans."
Sheng Jiaoyang indifferently asked, "This is nothing new, right?"
True, Jiaojiao became popular with scandals and haters. Since this happens so often, she’s already used to it. Jiaojiao didn’t have many scandals to begin with, so even if she had a lot of haters, she wasn’t afraid of them drowning her.
Xu Ping let out a breath of relief after these thoughts ran through her mind. However, they still had to take the necessary precautions against this, no matter what.
In the afternoon, all kinds of invitations flooded Xu Ping's phone, and it rang off the hook.
Lina also contacted Sheng Jiaoyang, saying that orders for the perfume ‘Charming Angel’ had surged, along with orders for other products. Apparently, the effectiveness of the ad exceeded her expectations.
"We must invite Gu Zhou to dinner later!" Lina said decisively. "Shouldn't we do something more than just invite him to dinner? He’s done us such a huge favour. If you didn’t have Demon King Shen, I would’ve given you away."
"Given me away? Mei Niu, your plan is so obvious. Why don't you give up on George and give yourself away? "
"Forget it, my George is the best and I can't bear to part with him."
Sheng Jiaoyang felt sour and recalled the day they’d gone to eat hot pot together and asked, "Who’s Sven?"
"He’s a mega scoundrel and a bastard!" Lina's angry voice echoed down the phone.
"What happened? Lin Yan told me that you left to catch up with Sven. Did he bully you?" Sheng Jiaoyang frowned.
"He…" Lina didn’t know what to say.
"What happened that day? You can't even tell me? Who is Sven?"
"Do you remember that man I told you about?"
Sheng Jiaoyang suddenly remembered the picture of a man kissing Lina and probed, "Is Sven the man you almost slept with?"
"He’s Lin Yan’s friend? You knew him?"
"No, I only got acquainted with him after I hit his car at the airport. I don't know how he met Lin Yan. Jiaojiao, I suspect that they worked together that day. They must’ve made a deal. If Sven took me away, then Lin Yan could be alone with you. By the way, Lin Yan didn't do anything to you, did he?"
"What could he do to me? I have a boyfriend. However, did something happen to you?"
"I’m fine, that bastard took me away to go shopping and to get something to eat."
Sheng Jiaoyang breathed a sigh of relief before curiously asking, "Sven has his eyes on you? You almost slept together that day. Even if Lin Yan had wanted to get rid of you, there’s no need for him to ask an unrelated person to do it, unless they took the initiative to propose it."
"I don't care what he wants. Anyway, George and I finally got back together after going through so much. I won't part with him again."
"Alright then. Have you mentioned to George that Sven came to find you?"
"Why do I need to report it? Telling him equals letting his imagination run wild!"
Sheng Jiaoyang and Lina chatted for a while longer before hanging up.
Afterwards, Sheng Jiaoyang phoned Gu Zhou and a young woman answered the phone.
"Who are you?" the woman asked, her voice containing a hint of caution.
"Isn't this Gu Zhou's number?" Sheng Jiaoyang took another glance at the number displayed on her phone screen. This is definitely Gu Zhou’s number.
"He's in the shower. Who are you?"
He’s in the shower… A thought flashed in Sheng Jiaoyang’s mind. Oops, something’s going on over there. Gu Zhou has a girlfriend now?
"I'm Xu Jiaojiao."
In a room, the woman sitting against the bedhead held the cell phone with a complicated look on her face when she saw the word ‘Jiaojiao’ displayed on the screen and heard the self-introduction.
"When he gets out of the shower, I'll have him call you back." Afterwards, she hung up.
As soon as the woman hung up, she heard the bathroom door slide open.
Gu Zhou, wearing a bathrobe, came out wiping his head with a towel. He immediately noticed the cell phone in the woman's hand.
"Just now, your cell phone kept ringing and woke me up, so I answered it for you. It was Xu Jiaojiao." The woman hurriedly handed him the phone.
After Gu Zhou took over the phone, he was in no rush to check it. He just looked at the woman and asked with concern, "Are you still feeling dizzy?"
The woman's pale complexion flushed slightly as she smiled and shook her head. "I’m fine now, thank you for coming. I…I'm sorry for throwing up all over you. There’s still a set of clothes you left behind in my wardrobe. You can change into it."
"Mhmm. Then, you go on and rest. I'll cook some porridge for you." Gu Zhou turned around.
The woman reached out her hand as if to ask him to stay. She opened her mouth, but no words came out as she watched him walk out of the room.
Gu Zhou went into the kitchen and found some rice that had started to grow worms. He then meticulously washed the rice and a pot. He put the pot of rice on the stove, and started the fire. Afterwards, he took out his cell phone and called Xu Jiaojiao.
The call was quickly answered.
"Happy New Year, Jiaojiao." Gu Zhou was the first person to speak.
"Happy New Year," Sheng Jiaoyang said with a soft voice. "It looks like you’re living a comfortable life with a hidden lover in your love nest."
Gu Zhou smiled. "I wouldn’t dare to hide a ‘lover’ in my love nest,” he joked back, deliberately emphasizing the word ‘lover’.
"Am I interrupting a happy occasion?"
"What ‘happy occasion’? My friend got sick and she has no family here, so I came over to look after her."
"She’s not your girlfriend?"
"We’re just friends now."
"Oh, nowww—" Sheng Jiaoyang dragged out the last word.
Gu Zhou laughed, and he took the initiative to ask, "What’s up? Why did you call me?"
"A certain someone asked me to thank you."
"For what?" The advertisement had completely slipped Gu Zhou’s mind.
"The perfume advertisement."
Gu Zhou suddenly smiled. "Didn't you thank me already?"
"Well, Lina thinks that wasn’t enough, and she asked me to thank you properly again. But, I know that you don't need it, so I'm just calling to wish you a Happy New Year. "
They chatted for a while, and even after hanging up, there was still a smile plastered on Gu Zhou's face.
"Is Xu Jiaojiao your current girlfriend?" a voice abruptly asked from the kitchen entrance.
Gu Zhou turned and saw the woman leaning against the door frame, looking at him with a complicated expression.
"Then, do you like her?" The woman’s gaze was piercing.
"It’s more like ‘appreciation’,” Gu Zhou bluntly answered. He liked Jiaojiao, but it’s not the kind of like found between lovers. After all, there’s a huge age gap between them. In his heart, Jiaojiao is still a child. His like was more a type of appreciation towards an outstanding junior.
Seeing that he was telling the truth, the woman finally breathed a sigh of relief.
"Go back and rest. I'll call you when the porridge is ready."
"A’Zhou, I…" The woman paused. "Can we start over?"
Gu Zhou's expression remained indifferent as he stared at the haggard-looking woman in front of him. He felt slightly sorry for her as they’d still been together in the past. However, after missing out on certain things, there was no way back.
"If we were meant to walk this path together, we wouldn’t have broken up." Gu Zhou sighed.
"I'm sorry,” the woman apologised, her voice choked with sobs.
"Don't torment your body like this. Nothing is more important than your health."
"Mhmm." The woman burst into tears.
Meanwhile, Sheng Jiaoyang received a call from Lin Yan after hanging up with Gu Zhou.
"Do you want to come out for a walk?" Lin Yan gently asked.
Sheng Jiaoyang still had the urge to see him upon hearing his voice, but she politely declined. "Lin Yan, you should stay at home and spend more time with your family during the New Year."
There was a moment of silence before Lin Yan answered with an acknowledgement.
"Grandfather’s calling me, so I'll hang up first. Happy New Year, Lin Yan."
After hanging up, Sheng Jiaoyang quietly stared at her cell phone in a daze. Why did she choose Shen Zhining and reject the person she once loved? It’s because she hated worrying about personal gains and losses as those feelings were difficult to bear. She never felt this kind of uneasiness when she was with Shen Zhining.
Thinking of Shen Zhining, Sheng Jiaoyang remembered that she hadn’t wished him a happy new year yet. She inexplicably recalled that Shen Zhining had been bitterly waiting for her phone call for many days. She recovered her senses and hurriedly video called him.
He shortly picked up.
The camera shook for a moment before Shen Zhining's happy expression appeared.
"Did Jiaojiao call?" Fu Lailin’s voice asked in the background.
"Grandmother Andy is beside you? Who else is with you?" Sheng Jiaoyang noticed the background, which made it clear that Shen Zhining was currently eating.
Shen Zhining turned the phone, and Fu Lailin and Grandfather Shen appeared on the screen.
Sure enough, they were eating, and the food on the table was steaming hot!
"Happy New Year, Grandfather Shen and Grandmother Andy. I wish you both good health and all the best," Sheng Jiaoyang hurriedly said.
"Thank you, Jiaojiao. I wish you all the best with your studies and hope that you’ll grow more beautiful every day," Fu Lailin responded.
"If I can hold a great-grandson this year, I’d be extremely gratified," Grandfather Shen faintly added.
"…" So, that's what you’re like, Grandfather Shen!
As for Shen Zhining, behind the camera, a smile graced his features.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace