Chapter 57 - A Familiar Stranger

The contestants found that Lina treated them a lot gentler when she coached them that afternoon. Even when they asked annoying questions at times, she didn’t get upset, making them feel flattered.

Lina’s change of attitude was even more obvious to the staff that worked with her.

The change only came about after Xu Jiaojiao had asked for her autograph, making everybody curious about what she’d done to make Lina so happy in the lounge. If they were in her place, they couldn’t think of any way to make Lina’s mood change so much in less than ten minutes.

Even Lina’s assistant, Sudan, was very confused. As Lina’s assistant, she couldn’t be any clearer about Lina’s terrible mood these days. But, after being alone with that girl for a little while, Lina’s mood suddenly improved. Lina had even called her to buy some small desserts to share with the group.

Xu Jiaojiao is really something else! Sudan thought silently.

When the snacks they’d ordered arrived, the contestants were still thinking about Lina’s sudden mood change.

“You all worked hard. Come and eat first.” Lina clapped her hands to get everybody’s attention.

“Waa, Ms. Lina, I love you so much!”

Lina smiled and accepted the dessert she’d personally picked from her assistant before walking over and handing it to Sheng Jiaoyang.

“Your taste hasn’t changed, right?”

Sheng Jiaoyang knew what Lina meant. She was asking if her food preferences were the same even though she’d switched bodies. She smiled as she accepted the dessert. "Blueberry cheesecake?"

Lina’s eyes revealed her smile.

The reunited sisters shared a glance, smiling in tacit understanding.

The others watching were so shocked that they forgot to chew. They were all very confused. Why was Lina suddenly treating Xu Jiaojiao so well? Xu Jiaojiao couldn’t have used some sort of witchcraft, right?

Lina didn’t care about what other people thought as she pulled Sheng Jiaoyang over, her voice soft as she said, “Grandfather Yang’s phone is off. Ask for leave from the production team later and I’ll take you to the hospital. Grandfather Yang used to always go to the hospital to accompany you.”

“In London?” Sheng Jiaoyang paused just as she was about to open the dessert box.

“Right, in the Galledia Hospital your grandfather’s old friend opened.”

“Oh.” Sheng Jiaoyang nodded as she speared a piece of cheesecake with her fork. Ooh, it tastes good.

She was about to spear another piece when Lina’s fork sneakily stole it, delivering it to her mouth as she smiled mischievously at Sheng Jiaoyang.

Those who’d been watching the two the entire time were shocked as if they were struck by lightning.

Even if you added the time they saw each other at the last training meet, they hadn’t even known each other for more than 24 hours. How come they seemed even closer than conjoined twins?

“Those two don’t have that kind of relationship, right?” The tone of Yin Meiling’s voice was strange.

Luo Yi glanced at her. “Did you forget that Lina has a boyfriend?”

“Didn’t they break up? Besides, a lot of people are bisexual these days,” Yin Meiling retorted.

“You think Jiaojiao and Lina like each other?” Wang Wei stared at Yin Meiling incredulously.

“Wang Wei, don’t be so loud!” Pu Mingyu reminded her.

Sheng Jiaoyang turned to look at them. “We already heard it all.”

“Lina, we didn’t mean to gossip about you two behind your backs, but we’re just really curious about how you and Jiaojiao’s relationship suddenly became so good,” Luo Yi hurriedly explained to Lina.

“We’ve known each other for a long time through the internet.” Sheng Jiaoyang wrapped an arm around Lina’s shoulders. “Right, Mei Niu?”

Lina nodded with a smile.

The others suddenly understood, thinking in their hearts: Xu Jiaojiao really has good luck. An internet friend she made actually turned out to be a huge celebrity!

Luo Yi glanced at Sheng Jiaoyang, her expression complicated. So, it was actually like that… No wonder Lina acted so strange when she heard Xu Jiaojiao call her. If it weren't because of something happening in Lina's family, the two probably would’ve recognised each other.

"Jiaojiao, you two have a pretty big age difference, and your living environments are also quite different. Wouldn't there be a generation gap when you guys chat?" Wang Wei asked curiously.

Everybody listened intently. From how the two of them were eating earlier, it was clear that the two interacted equally, not Xu Jiaojiao catering to Lina. However, it was really rare for internet friends to so easily break through the 2D wall and interact this intimately when meeting for the first time.

“Nobody understands me more than Jiaojiao,” the one who replied was, of course, Lina.

An indescribable, oppressive feeling filled the room…

Everybody silently turned their heads to do their own thing, not wanting to feel oppressed a second time.

After finishing the cake, Sheng Jiaoyang went to find Yu Jing to request for leave.

Yu Jing's first reaction was, of course, refusal. How could they allow the contestants they’d brought to another country to spend the night somewhere else? What if something happened?

Lina stepped in when she saw that things weren't going smoothly. With her assurances, Yu Jing no longer protested and agreed.

Lina didn’t let her assistant follow and personally drove Sheng Jiaoyang to the hospital.

But, when they finally arrived at the hospital, they were told that ‘Sheng Jiaoyang’ had already been transferred out two days ago.

“Why didn’t Grandfather Yang tell me?” Lina felt frustrated.

Sheng Jiaoyang frowned slightly. “Could something have happened?”

“I don’t know; I’ll get somebody to ask around later. You don’t need to worry. Last time I saw Grandfather Yang, although he was depressed, his body was still alright. He even said that he’d continue to persevere and firmly believes that you’ll awaken.”

Sheng Jiaoyang felt her heart hurt as she listened to Lina’s words.

Sheng Jiaoyang understood Lina, and Lina also understood Sheng Jiaoyang. Seeing that she looked unwell, Lina reached out and pulled her towards the parking lot. “Let’s go eat!”

They sped along the roads, and in less than half an hour, they arrived at a French restaurant.

The two entered after parking the car and chose a two-person table in the corner.

While they waited for their meal, Lina asked Sheng Jiaoyang about everything that had happened after she’d become Xu Jiaojiao. Lina listened to the descriptions of the old, tattered apartment she lived in at the beginning, laughing at some parts and feeling distressed at others.

When Sheng Jiaoyang got to how she first made money by selling drawings, Lina was astonished.

"Damn, how bad is your luck to have run into Demon King Shen just by selling drawings! But, it was also good luck to have run into him. Otherwise, who knows how many drawings you'd have to sell to get that much!" Her way of saying ‘Demon King Shen’ naturally came from Sheng Jiaoyang.

"Don’t even start! Before, it would be hard to see him even once a year. However, in this short half month, I’ve come across him so many times." Sheng Jiaoyang shook three fingers at Lina in frustration.

Lina smiled. She looked at Sheng Jiaoyang's unfamiliar face and was slightly distracted as an indescribable feeling hit her. She refocused and asked, "Then, what are you planning to do?"

"What can I plan? I'll just go step by step. Mei Niu, remember to help keep an eye on Grandfather for me."

“Alright. I would’ve done so even if you didn’t say it,” Lina replied as she nodded.

Sheng Jiaoyang was just about to speak when she suddenly saw two people walking in their direction. She leaned towards Lina and whispered, “Don’t look back.”

“What?” Lina looked at her, confused.

“Honey, what would you like to eat?” a delicate voice asked in English.

Lina heard the voice coming from the table behind them and thought of Sheng Jiaoyang's warning. She was just about to turn and take a look when she heard a man's voice.

“I’ll like whatever you like.”

Now Lina knew why Sheng Jiaoyang had told her not to turn around. That voice was one she was all too familiar with.

“How about we change to a different restaurant?” Sheng Jiaoyang asked.

“Why change restaurants?” Lina’s lips curled into a cold smile as she walked towards that table with a wine glass in hand.

“George, what a coincidence.” Lina stood ramrod straight, looking down at the man who didn't seem the slightest bit surprised to see her. Her hand had just curled into a fist when it was abruptly grabbed. She turned her head to smile at Sheng Jiaoyang, indicating that she was alright.

Sheng Jiaoyang held Lina’s hand tightly, soundlessly giving support.

“Honey, is she your friend?” the blonde, blue-eyed woman sitting across from George asked.

“She was,” the man replied.

Sheng Jiaoyang narrowed her eyes, staring fixedly at the man clearly intending to ignore them. He’d once joked with her about not dating Mei Niu and breaking up their couple's world, yet it's only been half a year and he's already unfaithful to Mei Niu?

“George, aren’t you going to introduce this woman in front of us?” Lina raised her chin, her voice cold.

“Oh!” George didn’t look at Lina. “Her name’s Judy, and I’m currently courting her."

“Very good!” Lina smiled. She nodded and raised the wine glass in her hand. “George, we still haven’t settled our breakup. Come, let's toast. After this, all bridges will be burnt and each shall return to their own road."

Judy watched them in astonishment.

George fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “There’s nothing to toast about.”

A toast? To celebrate their breakup?

Sheng Jiaoyang was at the end of her patience. She snatched the wine glass from Lina’s hand and splashed the wine on George.

“Oh my god! How could you treat George like that?!” Judy immediately leapt up to wipe George’s face with tissues.

“Mei Niu, we’re leaving!” Sheng Jiaoyang picked up Lina’s bag and dragged her out the door.

George gently pushed away the woman’s hands and took out his own tissues to wipe the wine off his face, ignoring the wet patch on his expensive shirt. As he wiped himself dry, he suddenly laughed loudly.

“George, are you alright?” Judy thought that his sudden laughter was due to anger after having wine splashed on him.

At this moment, the waiter walked in with a tray and was startled to see that there was nobody left at the table he was supposed to serve.

“Put that table under my name,” George told the waiter.

“Yes, Sir. Then, may I ask if you need these two steaks?”

“No, carry them away.” George waved his hand.

The waiter nodded and carried the tray back to the kitchen.

George looked at the woman sitting across from him and said, “You can order whatever you want, I’ll pay the bill. I’m sorry, but I can’t stay tonight.”

After saying that, he got up and left without waiting for the woman’s reply.

“George, how could you just leave me here alone? That’s far too rude!” Judy, who’d been abandoned, was furious.

However, she got no reply but the music playing in the restaurant.

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: Kiki | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace