When Sheng Jiaoyang found Lina, the state she was in was much better than what Sheng Jiaoyang had been expecting.
This was mainly because Lina wasn’t like Sheng Jiaoyang. Unlike Sheng Jiaoyang, Lina grew up abroad, hence didn’t take such things to heart.
“Say what you have to say.” When Lina saw Sheng Jiaoyang’s complicated expression, she knew that something must be on her mind.
“Lina, I know I shouldn’t be saying much right now, but…”
Sheng Jiaoyang sucked in a breath and forced out the two words she always wanted to say but had trouble saying, “I’m sorry.”
Lina let out a laugh. She held onto Sheng Jiaoyang’s hand and spoke with a smile, “Why are you apologizing to me? You didn’t do anything to hurt me.”
Sheng Jiaoyang gave Lina a long and fierce hug. She rested her chin on her shoulder and stayed in that position silently for a few moments.
Lina patted Sheng Jiaoyang’s back gently, as if she was comforting a child. She whispered softly to her, “Jiaojiao, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ve already let things go. Once that b*stard’s had his fun, I’ll be able to live my life at ease.”
Yet, the question in Sheng Jiaoyang’s heart was: what if Sven is never going to be done with her?
She was just about to open her mouth to ask her that question when she realized that this issue was too depressing and that it was better not to ask her, in case it ruined all of Lina’s hopes.
“Lina, let’s go buy some Lunar New Year goodies. It’s almost time for Lunar New Year.” Sheng Jiaoyang deftly changed the subject.
Lina was about to give her a reply when her phone rang. She picked it up, and the colour from her face was drained, as she noticed that the call was from George. She forced a smile at Sheng Jiaoyang and told her, “Jiaojiao, I need you to help me find an excuse again.”
Sheng Jiaoyang’s gaze swept past the marks on Lina’s neck, and she nodded and agreed to help her. She took Lina’s phone and spoke with George in her stead. She told him that she wanted to spend the new year with Lina this year, and she hoped that he wouldn’t bother their reunion, considering how rare it was for them to get together and enjoy the festivities. In other words, she didn’t want George to come over to China.
Since George always believed that Sheng Jiaoyang was the one who helped to resolve the drug production issue, he was able to tolerate her better than before. Hence, he didn’t reveal any resentment towards her impulsive demands. Instead, he asked Lina to pick up the phone and told her to enjoy the reunion.
As soon as the phone was hung up, the tense expression on Lina’s face instantly became more relaxed. Sheng Jiaoyang wrapped her arm around Lina’s and shouted out, “Let’s go! Time for shopping!”
Things were substantially different a year ago. Last year, barely anyone knew Sheng Jiaoyang, and even fewer people had bothered to ask her for her signature. But nowadays, wherever she went, there would always be people who recognized her.
Since the Lunar New Year was coming soon, the stores had all been decorated with lanterns and bright colours, and the amount of shoppers had grown considerably.
Sheng Jiaoyang and Lina didn’t wear any face masks. Instead, they wore the same knitted hats, with a fluffy ball attached at the top. Although they were wearing different clothes, they both had black coats on. From just one glance, it was obvious that they must have been best friends or sisters.
Once they appeared in the mall, they immediately caught the attention of numerous shoppers. There were even some people who immediately shouted Jiaojiao’s name out loud.
Of course, Sheng Jiaoyang’s fame in the mainland was far greater than Lina’s. Long ago, people would say that Jiaojiao was lucky that she was so close to Lina, as she gained fame from the rumours and news around their relationship. But nowadays, people usually see Lina as Xu Jiaojiao’s best friend.
But Lina never cared about other people’s opinions. In fact, she was happy for Jiaojiao, and she was more certain than anyone that Jiaojiao’s future would become far brighter.
From time to time, they would be surrounded by people who ask them for photos. But the two sisters didn’t lose their spirits; they had already prepared themselves before coming out. So despite being interrupted by many shoppers, the smiles on their faces never faded.
As they walked past the window display of a major brand, Lina suddenly grabbed hold of Sheng Jiaoyang’s arm.
“Jiaojiao, look!” Lina pointed at the clothes on the mannequin.
Sheng Jiaoyang stared at it for a moment before her eyes lit up. The corners of her mouth curled up into a cheerful arc: “They ended up using Paul’s design. That’s absolutely wonderful.”
“We have been waiting for this. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint us! Looks like Director Miller must have really liked this design. In fact, he must have favoured it so much that he wanted to share it with the world immediately.” Lina was the most relaxed she had been in days.
The two sisters, both tall and beautiful, stood outside the display window in their matching outfits. As they peered in and smiled as if they were looking at a trophy, they had also attracted the attention of the shop’s employees.
“Manager, isn’t that Xu Jiaojiao?” An employee tugged on the manager's uniform with an excited yet nervous expression.
The manager turned around and glanced over at the two smiling women standing outside the display. “Yes, that’s definitely Xu Jiaojiao and Lina, the international supermodel. There may be people out there who look like them, but it’s unlikely that they would be the same height as well.”
This was a reasonable thought. It wasn’t all that surprising to find people who looked alike, especially considering how advanced plastic surgery has become. However, it was impossible for people to have the same looks, figure, and aura.
The employee that had first noticed the pair was extremely joyful. She looked as if she had just discovered a new universe. “Then, should I invite them inside?”
“No need, I’ll ask them myself.” The manager put on her friendliest smile and headed out.
“Hello ladies!” The manager bowed down slightly with an enthusiastic smile, “Why don’t you take a look inside? Perhaps, you might find something you like.”
Sheng Jiaoyang and Lina glanced at each other, before heading inside the RICHAD shop together, hoping to watch a bustling scene.
The shop was quite spacious, and there weren’t many clothes being displayed. The resting area and fitting rooms took up half of the store, but as a result, it made the shop look rather luxurious.
Sheng Jiaoyang glanced around at the clothes in the store as she tried hard to suppress her smile, “It seems like they’re all new arrivals.”
“As expected of someone who walked the runway for our brand. Your knowledge of RICHAD products really surpasses ours,” the manager responded.
“I stopped paying attention to RICHAD long ago. You should have seen this year’s new product launch; neither me nor Lina attended it. You know what that suggests, right?” Sheng Jiaoyang grinned at the manager.
The manager’s smile stiffened for a second. Something was telling her that things weren’t right, but she quickly suppressed her thoughts. She replied with a smile, “The two of you are such busy individuals, naturally you wouldn’t have had time to attend our product launch.”
She had guessed that the two of them had gotten into an argument with RICHAD’s management or designers, which would explain why they weren’t present for the product launch.
She was looking at things through RICHAD’s perspective, but she would never have imagined that the two had received the invitation to attend the product launch, but chose to turn it down.
When she heard how the manager casually complimented them, Sheng Jiaoyang chuckled softly. Then, she spoke casually to Lina, “There’s something I haven’t really told you about. Last year, I almost became the brand ambassador for RICHAD’s Chinese branch. Miller had asked me to be the ambassador and even invited me to his fashion banquet that night. But on the very next day, he instantly changed his mind and said that I wasn’t fit.”
The manager, and two other employees who were strolling around the shop, were shocked. They couldn’t believe that they would just hear a piece of news that had clearly never been made public before.
They knew that if Xu Jiaojiao became the brand ambassador for RICHAD, they would have had way more customers.
Although Jiaojiao had never stepped foot into the fashion industry, her clothing style and fashion sense received lots of praise. Many young women dressed according to her style, as if she was a textbook to model after.
This year, RICHAD’s new products revolved around youth and energy.
“Oh! That’s so sad!” Lina sighed. Of course, she was expressing her disappointment on behalf of RICHAD.
Sheng Jiaoyang smiled and continued, “And then, when I returned back to the country, Miller asked someone to invite me again. Don’t you think he’s playing with me? Does he think I’m an obedient little cat or dog that can come and go as he wishes? Does he think that our country’s celebrities should be begging for his opportunities?”
“That’s unacceptable!” an employee cried out at the injustice.
As soon as the words escaped her lips, she remembered that she was one of RICHAD’s employees. She looked over at her manager and found her staring right at her, so she instantly kept her mouth shut.
After listening to Jiaojiao, even the manager was becoming angry. But she was unwilling to lose her store manager position, so she didn’t make any comments.
Lina smiled and glanced over at the enraged employee who had just shouted out. She then turned to look back at Sheng Jiaoyang. “And then? How did you turn him down?”
“I just said that even if Miller comes to personally invite me, I wouldn’t ever touch his brand again, “Sheng Jiaoyang replied casually.
This rejection was absolutely satisfying, and it made the employees feel as if Miller had been slapped in the face. The employee who shouted out earlier appeared rather happy, as if they had gotten revenge for Jiaojiao. She had clearly forgotten that she was supposed to be taking Miller’s side.
The manager had already understood the meaning behind her words. She spoke with a soft smile, “Then, I won’t be recommending anything from our store today. I hope you two enjoy your shopping today.”
Sheng Jiaoyang glanced over at the manager. No wonder she’s the manager, she speaks much more eloquently and sensitively compared to the average employee.
“The new products are beautiful,” Sheng Jiaoyang left a compliment before she left.
The manager and her employees didn’t know that the one she was praising was actually Paul. Rather, they thought that she was able to express her approval and admiration despite her quarrels with RICHAD.
“Mingyue, this year, RICHAD’s new products are targeted specifically for the youth. They are a great fit for you. You can try them out…” A voice drifted over from the entrance.
However, the speaker suddenly stopped speaking, as she had noticed Jiaojiao.
Sheng Jiaoyang looked at the mother and daughter in front of her. She revealed no emotions on her face when she was looking at Jiang Yin, but when she looked at Pan Mingyue, a bright smile bloomed on her face.
Pan Mingyue noticed the different attitudes that Sheng Jiaoyang had, and she couldn’t help but smile at her special treatment.
On the other hand, Jiang Yin felt as if she had been isolated. The person standing next to her was her daughter, someone who was supposed to be on her side. Yet, instead of despising Xu Jiaojiao, they appeared rather close. This made her feel as if her precious daughter was snatched away from her.
“RICHAD’s new arrivals are definitely a good fit for Mingyue. Enjoy browsing around,” Sheng Jiaoyang nodded gracefully before looping her arm around Lina and heading out the door.
Once they were at a good distance away, Lina leaned close to Sheng Jiaoyang’s ear and laughed. “You’re using the same old trick again.”
Only Sheng Jiaoyang would know what Lina was talking about.
Back then, when they came across trouble at school and became the target of discrimination, Sheng Jiaoyang took the initiative to go on the attack. She broke up the clique that started it all and made them fight against one another. Then, she pretended to be the hero, successfully earning the respect and admiration of others.
Yup, that’s right. She’s good at scheming!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Kiki | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace