“You can see, right?”
Her statement struck Xie Shuo like thunder. He froze, and it felt like a cold bucket of water was poured over him, devastating a precious illusion and leaving him shivering.
He looked at her directly, not daring to move.
Ye An brought her hand up and waved it in front of him. “Can you sense the shadows?”
Xie Shuo was relieved seeing the curious expression on her face. He didn’t answer her and lowered his gaze to hide the new light in his eyes. His slender fingers traced upward from her collarbone to her lower jaw. He held her face in his hands and lightly pressed his lips against hers.
With his eyes closed, he bowed his head to kiss her.
Ye An wanted to ask a question, but her lips were soon blocked.
At first, the kiss felt like the winter snow, cool and calm. Gradually, warmth spread, raising the temperature little by little.
Ye An gasped and tilted her head up subconsciously, but the man followed her movements. He captured her lips and pried them apart.
Their breaths intermingled amongst their lips and teeth. Ye An moved away, almost out of breath.
She was dizzy and clasped his shoulders firmly enough to turn the tips of her fingers white. She was oblivious to the changes in his eyes.
The night was quiet outside of their windows. The shadows of the trees swayed gently, and the moonlight rippled like waves.
There were indistinct sounds in the quiet tranquility, and the air was heated with a fiery passion.
After some time, the sounds finally stopped. Ye An’s entire body was weak. She lay in Xie Shuo’s arms and breathing quickly. Her face was still flushed, and her lips were a vibrant red, like roses fully bloomed. Her appearance was radiant and feminine.
Xie Shuo wrapped his arms around her and stroked her back gently to calm her down.
The night was cold, but there was a fine layer of sweat on his temples. Ye An breathed in the clean scent on the man’s body. Her heart beat rapidly, and it continued to do so for a long time.
The two didn’t make it to the last step. It was Ye An’s first time here, and she was not comfortable enough in such an unfamiliar place. Most importantly, she didn’t want children yet, and there weren’t any contraceptives here.
Although Grandfather Xie had been pushing the idea of having children, Xie Shuo’s condition needed someone to take care of him. With their current situation, it wasn’t suitable to start a family. Moreover, their relationship wasn’t that intimate, to begin with.
Xie Shuo must have shared her concerns and restrained himself without having her tell him.
The two lay quietly in each other’s embrace for a while. The fire in Xie Shuo’s eyes faded, and he resumed his usual indifference. He looked down at her and caught a glimpse of her flushed cheeks, which appeared rosy under the lamp lighting.
“Are we going home tomorrow morning?” Ye An asked him softly.
Recalling the slip-up from earlier, Xie Shuo avoided her eyes. His voice was gentle. “Later in the day. Let’s go to the company first and then home in the evening.”
“You still need to go to the office? Has it been busy lately?”
“Yes, there are a lot of things to take care of since it’s the end of the year.” Xie Shuo was unusually patient with her after the events that had just transpired.
Ye An looked up at him to be met with his Adam’s apple and smooth jawline. The collar of his shirt was slightly open, leaving his sharp collarbones and the accompanying marks on display.
Her heart began to pound again, and she couldn’t help but stretch a finger out to poke the half-exposed collarbones.
Xie Shuo grabbed her fingertips, held them in his palm, and whispered, “Sleep well.”
His breath fanned across her forehead, and the scenes from just then flashed through her mind. Ye An’s face became warm, and she got up to turn off the lights before laying back down and wrapping her arms around his waist.
Ye An turned to angle her face near his. As she listened to his heartbeat, her eyes gradually closed.
Her frame was soft, and Xie Shuo lifted his arm to wrap around her body. Thoughts flew through his mind, rendering him unable to sleep, and his gaze was complicated. It took a long time for him to fall asleep.
The next day, Ye An accompanied Xie Shuo to the company, the two leaving the Xie residence sometime after one in the afternoon.
Xie Shuo still didn’t let Ye An into the office to assist him and had her wait in the lounge. Fortunately, he didn’t have her wait too long before getting off work.
The winter night was dark, and the remnants of twilight were clear. The sun set into the shoulders of the horizon, leaving a slight crispness behind.
Ye An had originally wanted to continue what they had not finished the last night since the atmosphere seemed just right, but she suddenly caught a cold.
She leaned on Xie Shuo’s shoulder on the way home with watery eyes and a red nose, appearing as if she had been wronged in some way.
Xie Shuo touched her cold fingers and frowned before taking both of her hands to massage them gently.
Her hands quickly warmed up. Ye An looked up at him and leaned into him before lowering her gaze.
Not long after arriving home, Ye An caught a fever and lay on the sofa with a flushed face.
Xie Shuo held her hand as he had Aunt Zhou bring hot water upstairs. “Call Dr. Zhang and have him come over.”
Ye An grabbed his sleeve and said hoarsely, “No need, I just have a cold. It’s late now, so I’ll just take some medicine and go to sleep.”
As she spoke, her eyelids drooped, and her breathing evened out. Xie Shuo estimated that she didn’t want to take any shots, so his thumb stroked the back of her hand as he asked Aunt Zhou to bring some fever medicine.
Ye An took a warm bath, two more fever-reducing pills, and then climbed into bed. She dizzily wrapped the blankets around herself in a cocoon.
She rarely got sick, so becoming sick so suddenly was alarming. Her appearance was no longer youthful and fresh; instead, she was shriveled and shrunken into a ball.
This was the first time Xie Shuo had seen Ye An in this state. He leaned against the headboard and looked at her, recalling when he was sick before he had regained his sight. With a soft gaze, he reached out to pull her into his embrace.
Ye An’s mind was muddled, and she pushed against his chest weakly. She wanted to prevent him from getting too close and subsequently sick, but she didn’t even have the strength to speak out.
His chest smelled clean and pleasant, reassuring her of his presence. Ye An quickly fell into a deep sleep soon after, wrapped in his embrace.
Xie Shuo lowered his gaze to look at her frail expression. He moved a lock of his hair away from her cheek with gentle eyes.
Suddenly, a blurry image crossed his mind, and he felt as if the face in front of him seemed somewhat familiar as if he had seen it before.
However, the image only lasted for a fleeting moment, and Xie Shuo regarded it as nothing more than an inkling. He chose not to think of it anymore and tucked her further into the blankets.
Over the next few days, Ye An no longer accompanied Xie Shuo to the company, and she stayed home alone to recuperate.
When her cold got better, Ye An wanted to return to the company with him, but she was rejected.
The sun shone brightly through the window, showing off the man’s slender figure. He put on the blazer that originally hung on his arm and turned slightly. “You don’t have to come with me everywhere I go in the future.”
Ye An, who had just gotten up from the bed, immediately sat back down with a stunned expression. “If I don’t come with you, how will you eat and walk places? Also, don’t you need someone to read your documents to you?”
Xie Shuo said lightly, “Zhong Fu will do those things.”
Ye An: …Zhong Fu feeding him…why did this scene feel so weird?
Xie Shuo sneakily glanced at her before raising his arm to straighten his cuffs.
She almost found out about his recovery that night. If she were to always accompany him, problems would appear soon.
He couldn’t act perfectly all the time, and she wasn’t easy to deceive either.
After straightening his sleeves, Xie Shuo walked out of the bedroom.
Zhong Fu was already waiting downstairs. Ye An got out of bed to change and walked to the floor-length windows to see a familiar car driving out of the garden.
The sunlight shone diagonally through the window as a faint sense of loss suddenly grew in her heart. There suddenly seemed to be an empty hole in her chest.
She raised her hand to press against the glass. A blurry image was reflected, showing slender fingertips and a fair wrist in window panes.
Routines were truly scary. For the past six months, she abandoned everything in her life to stay with him every day. Now that she had succeeded in her goal of cheering him up and achieving some free time, she wasn’t quite accustomed to it.
Ye An sat on the sofa for a while after eating breakfast. She picked up her phone and opened up the work studio group chat.
During this time, the group chat was relatively quiet. Most of the content in the chat was from yesterday.
She clicked on Xiang Quan’s name and started typing.
Ye An: [Do you need any help?]
Xiang Quan replied almost instantly: [Are you finally free?]
Ye An chuckled out loud.
Another message came through. [There are no roles that will fit you at the moment, but I recently signed a few new people, and my head hurts. Can you come and give them some tips if you have the time?]
Ye An hesitated for a while before asking: [Now?]
Xiang Quan: [Just before one o’clock in the afternoon.]
Ye An: [Ok~]
After lunch, Ye An changed clothes and went out, purse in hand.
She arrived at the studio just past one.
Aside from the newly signed artists, there were also many familiar faces. When everyone saw her, they all gathered around to say hello.
Xiang Quan was so busy that he had no time to catch up with her. He took her and a few newcomers directly to the recording studio.
Even though Ye An had remained relatively low-key recently, her previous work and fame were still there. Even if they had not met, the new artists knew of her name and looked at her in wonder.
Ye An hadn’t worked in a long time, so it took a while for her to completely ease her nervousness.
When she was focused, she had an icy aura. No one dared to gossip or giggle, so everyone was completely silent and attentive.
She was busy until six o’clock when she finally packed up and prepared to go home.
Xiang Quan walked over and asked, “Do you remember the voice acting program that I asked you about last time?”
Ye An picked up her bag and looked up. “Yeah, what’s up?”
Xiang Quan replied, “They need a position filled temporarily. Do you want me to try to reserve your name for the spot?”
Ye An thought for a while and responded, “How long will the recording take?”
Xiang Quan said, “If everything goes as planned, it can be done in a day or two.”
“All right, can you get it for me?”
“Yep, I’ll let you know.”
Ye An said, “I’ll be leaving then,” before walking out of the studio holding her purse.
In the break room, gossip and chuckles sounded. Everyone worked overtime before they gathered together for a takeout dinner.
“…She’s so pretty. Look at her skin and body; I’m so jealous!”
“Her Weibo says that she’s married, but isn’t her husband blind?”
“What a pity…”
“How is that pitiful…”
The chatter continued on, but when someone caught a glimpse of her coming, they hurriedly went silent.
Ye An’s gaze swept over them. She ignored them with an indifferent expression and walked directly out with a straight back.
After taking the elevator downstairs, she called Xie Shuo.
Xie Shuo had the latest software update installed on his phone, which made it more convenient for him to pick up calls.
“Are you going home for dinner tonight? Do you want me to pick you up?” Ye An asked softly.
The man’s cold voice sounded through the phone, “You can eat first. Zhong Fu and I are together right now; we’ll be back later.”
Ye An’s heart stopped, and she became irrationally annoyed.
Zhong Fu, Zhong Fu. It’s always Zhong Fu… go be with Zhong Fu then!
She hung up angrily and stuffed her phone back into the bag. Her footsteps became louder, and every step she took vented her frustration.
The twilight evening went dark, and the night silently descended.
When she arrived home, it was already night. The lights were turned on in every room, and the light and shadows flickered in glass windows.
Ye An ate dinner alone, which felt a bit unsettling. She wrapped herself in a blanket and lay on the sofa for a nap.
The mahogany embroidered blanket and the elegant peony pattern made her face appear even paler.
The bedroom was silent apart from her steady breaths. After some time, the door was pushed open, and a tall figure walked in.
Seeing the figure curled up on the sofa, Xie Shuo stood in place, and his body relaxed.
He walked to her slowly. She was sleeping on her side with her legs bent in the fetal position. Even with the blanket, her toes were exposed.
His eyebrows furrowed slightly, and there was a trace of unhappiness on his face.
Xie Shuo stared at her for a moment. Worrying that she would be sick again, he bent down and reached out to touch her forehead.
He didn’t dare to stay for too long and quickly removed his hand soon after.
After confirming that she was okay, Xie Shuo left her alone and turned to enter the closet.
The light came on automatically. He took off his suit jacket and hung it up before loosening his tie and unbuttoning the first button of his shirt.
Ye An was lightly sleeping, and when she heard a faint rustling noise, she tried to lift her eyelids several times before successfully waking up.
She was still dazed after just waking up. After lifting the blanket from her body and getting up, Ye An stood in place for a few moments before following the sounds to the closet.
The soft halo of light flooded her peripheral. A man stood in the light. The lithe figure wore a black dress shirt tucked neatly into the waistband of his pants, appearing visually aesthetic and pleasing to the eye.
His body was faced towards her as he slowly loosened the cufflinks, revealing a portion of his wrist.
A tie had fallen to the side of the closet, obviously dropped by Xie Shuo just a moment earlier. After loosening his cuffs, he bent down, grasping the tie instinctively and accurately.
Ye An looked at him confused, feeling that there was something contradictory about his actions.
After noticing her arrival, Xie Shuo’s fingertips froze, not daring to move.
Author’s note: One lie only leads to countless others, you silly goose; you’re just digging your own grave!