Chapter 273 - Apology

"Jiaojiao, you are finally back."

Sheng Jiaoyang heard this question the moment she entered the filming studio. She cocked an eyebrow and asked, "What happened?"

The director hadn't called her for the past few days, which meant that there weren't any filming issues. But then, the production crew shot inquisitive glances her way. So what exactly happened?

"The guy who came to cause a ruckus before has been waiting outside the filming site and looking for you. That dude is amazing, he doesn't come looking for you when you are around but comes the moment you went on a break."

"Damn, he’s so gutsy!" Zeng Huan was furious.

Yet, Sheng Jiaoyang didn't get worked up and asked calmly, "Did he mention why is he looking for me?"

"No, but he came with a bouquet of roses every time."

Sheng Jiaoyang wasn't someone with a passive personality. She immediately called Zeng Daren and went straight to the point. "I heard that lately, your son has been waiting outside the filming site and looking for me, do you know about this?"

"Miss Xu, our Zeng Yuan is there to apologize."

"Oh? I thought he was here to create scandals for me."

"… What did this rascal do again?" Zeng Daren asked exceptionally cautiously.

"I heard that he stood around waiting with a bouquet of roses every day. Are you sure he is not trying to give the media something to talk about?"

On the other side of the line, Zeng Daren was stupefied. What is this rascal trying to do?

"Miss Xu, don't worry, I will educate him well!"

Sheng Jiaoyang didn't take to heart what Zeng Daren said. She hung up the call and went for her styling.

After changing into her ancient outfits and setting her hair, Zeng Huan came forward and told her that Zeng Yuan was here again.

"Did he bring flowers again?"

"No, but he hung a sign around his neck. The four words, 'Offering a humble apology' is written on it."

"Get someone to watch him and make sure he doesn't cause a scene again."

"Jiaojiao, then are you going to see him now?"

Sheng Jiaoyang placed her hand on the armrest for the make-up artist to paste the nail stickers on her nails and said, "Let him wait, since he is here to apologise, he should show his sincerity in apologising."

Zeng Huan exited the room.

"Done." The make-up artist quickly finished pasting the nail decals on Sheng Jiaoyang's nails.

Sheng Jiaoyang was going to stand up and head to the filming studio when the make-up artist said, "Jiaojiao, you should remove the ring on your hand first in case you forget and it becomes a blooper."

The others in the dressing room looked over.

Sheng Jiaoyang lowered her head to look at the ring on her middle finger. Ignoring the gaze of the others, she thanked the make-up artist and left the room.

She just took a few steps out of the dressing room when she recalled that she had left her phone behind. So she then turned back to get her phone, but just as soon as she reached the dressing room's door, she heard the chatter from within.

"That can't be, right? With her current popularity, she wouldn't probably get married without saying a word, would she?"

"She hasn't reached the legal age to get married yet, how would she dare to say anything about her marriage?"

"Xiao Fen, I think she was wearing the ring on her middle finger, right?"

"Yeah, so stop speculating, she isn't married yet."

"Did she wear a ring before?"

"That… I don't think so."

"So she hasn't been here for the past few days because she went to get engaged? She is still so young and with a rising career, why does she have to get herself tied down so soon?! Look at the others with high popularity, who'd get engaged or married this early?"

"Could she be pregnant?"

"Who's pregnant?"

"Xu Jiaojiao!" The person responded before realising that it was Xu Jiaojiao herself who asked that question.

Everyone felt awkward having been caught for talking bad about someone behind their backs. The dressing room went exceptionally silent in an instant.

Sheng Jiaoyang scanned the dressing room, took her phone and left without another word.

A few moments later, someone finally heaved a sigh of relief and mumbled, "Aiya, we'd better not gossip behind others' back anymore. It's so embarrassing to be caught by the person herself."

"What's there to be afraid of? She can't do anything to us."

"That being said, it's not a very nice thing to do."

Of course, Sheng Jiaoyang didn't know what the people in the dressing room said after she left but it didn't bother her. She was used to others talking about her behind her back. When she just came back to China last year, almost everyone around her would talk about her behind her back, Lin Yu's disreputable gang of friends would even throw shade at her in her face. If she was in a good mood, she would just ignore them and not start a dispute, but if she was in a bad mood, she would directly fire back at them.

As for what the few people said just now, she didn't take it to heart a single bit. After removing the ring and passing it to Zeng Huan for safekeeping, she entered the filming site.

When it was time for the lunch break, Sheng Jiaoyang heard that Zeng Yuan was still waiting outside and asked Zeng Huan to bring him in.

Sheng Jiaoyang almost couldn't recognise the young master of the Zeng Family when she saw Zeng Yuan.

The man standing before her was covered in bruises, his eyes were swollen like panda eyes, his arm was in a cast and covered with bandages, and hung around his neck, in front of his chest was a sign that wrote in crooked characters, "Offering a humble apology." He looked extremely pitiful.

The man lowered his head; a far cry from his pompous and arrogant attitude before.

"Offering a humble apology… For?" Sheng Jiaoyang asked intentionally.

Zeng Yuan lifted his head and looked at her with bitterness in his eyes as he said, "I'm sorry for my bad attitude before. I am a jerk. You can punish me as you deem fit but I only beg for your forgiveness."

Sheng Jiaoyang looked at Zeng Yuan's swollen face with great interest. She appreciated it for a few more seconds and said slowly, "Originally, I planned to donate the money you lost in the bet, yet you disappeared without a trace after the auction."

"I'll double the donation amount in your name, I only ask for your forgiveness."

Hearing his words, Sheng Jiaoyang studied Zeng Yuan in astonishment. This dude actually understood the overtone in my words, he seems to have improved. Mr Zeng could really bear to beat the treasure of their entire family into such a state. Sheng Jiaoyang was really curious about the thoughts of the others in the Zeng Family when they saw the bruised Zeng Yuan.

"I don't like to hear all talk without action," Sheng Jiaoyang leaned against the back of her chair.

The rational Zeng Yuan understood immediately and replied, "I will donate to the Red Cross as soon as I return home."

"That's too simple. I can't feel your sincerity."

"Then what do you want me to do before you are willing to let me off?" Zeng Yuan looked at her bitterly.

Sheng Jiaoyang raised an eyebrow. Let him off? What an interesting choice of word. Intrigued, she asked, "What have you been through these days?"

A shiver ran down Zeng Yuan's spine. He seemed to be reminded of what happened recently as he bowed his head low and muttered, "Shouldn't you already know? Yet, you are still asking me."

"What did you say?"

"Nothing, I didn't say anything. Madam, just tell me what do you need me to do, I'm begging you!"

"I've been to poor mountainous areas for filming before. Many children there are forced to drop out of school early to help support their families, but this will not fundamentally solve the family difficulties as their next generation will walk their old paths and every generation will remain poor."

Sheng Jiaoyang then paused and deliberately observed Zeng Yuan's expression. Seeing that he was listening attentively, she continued, "I want you to use this sum of money to sponsor those children who want to study. Remember, it's not a one-time stint. I want you to sponsor them until they don't wish to study anymore. Regardless if they want to attend college or do postgraduate studies, you have to continue to sponsor them. And, you must at least sponsor five of them."

Zeng Yuan looked at her disgruntled, but at the thought of his miserable days recently, he promptly agreed without hesitation.

"I want you to do this personally and cannot entrust someone else to do it in your stead. Also, you must follow up on this at all times and update your progress onto Weibo; I'll be following you. If you can't do it—"

Sheng Jiaoyang's lips curved up. "You will be much worse off than how you are now."

Zeng Yuan was terrified. In his eyes, Sheng Jiaoyang's smile was like the devil's smile.

"Go on, it's time for you to show what you are capable of."

Zeng Yuan left in a hurry, and also out of fear that she would bring up more ridiculous requests.

Seeing Zeng Yuan, who originally had his head held up high in the air, becoming such a docile existence, Sheng Jiaoyang was really piqued as to what happened to him recently.

She felt that he was most probably beaten up more than once before he became a good person. People like him, who was spoiled rotten from young, wouldn't turn good just from one beating, and would rather turn more rebellious.

Zeng Daren would know the best about what happened to Zeng Yuan.

Sheng Jiaoyang made another call to Zeng Daren.

"Miss Xu, did that rascal apologise to you properly?" Zeng Daren questioned the moment the call was connected.

"That's a pretty huge change, how did you manage to do it?" Sheng Jiaoyang asked about her own doubts.

"Erm… Miss Xu, you don't know about it?"

Sheng Jiaoyang found it strange. "What am I supposed to know?"

"After I brought Zeng Yuan home previously, I really made the decision to discipline him so I begged the rest of the family to cooperate with me. Then, I cut off that rascal's allowance. Without any allowance, he didn't even have money to rear his horse anymore. He couldn't ask for any money from the family and went to borrow money from his friends. I was prepared for a long fight with this rascal, but soon after he was beaten up, his friends as well."

"Erm, but what has this got to do with me? I wasn't the one who called those people to hit him. I didn't even know about this."

"Miss Xu, the four groups of people said…"

"Wait, four groups?" Sheng Jiaoyang heard a crucial piece of information.

"Yeah, that rascal was beaten up four times, and those friends who took him in were beaten up as well. I dare say, the four groups of people are taking this out on him on your behalf."

"I thought you were the one to beat him into such a state."

"I can't bear to and don't dare to, or the two elders at home would tear me apart." Zeng Daren sighed, "Miss Xu, Zeng Yuan really knows that he was wrong. Can you please be lenient and let him off. He sleeps on tenterhooks every night. He was hiding at home and someone sneaked in and pretended to be a ghost to scare him. Another group of them caught him but only dealt blows to his face. And there's also another group who didn't hold back and even broke his arm."

"…" So, so many things happened. Sheng Jiaoyang was surprised.

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: Cosy | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace