I feel it’s necessary to remind you that we’re getting engaged next month. It would be best for you to break up with Wei Lai in advance.

Zhang Yanxin stared at the message for several seconds before closing his phone, not responding.

He looked toward the sofa not far away, where Wei Lai was facing away from him, bending down to retrieve something from her purse. Her cocoa-brown bodycon dress perfectly outlined her graceful figure.

Tomorrow was his birthday, and Wei Lai had booked a private room at Riverside Restaurant to celebrate in advance.

Zhang Yanxin massaged his temples, withdrawing his gaze from Wei Lai. Instead, he looked out of the window onto the river, where fishing lights twinkled on both sides of the harbor, and yachts passed by from time to time.

Wei Lai returned to her seat after fetching the item, placing her carefully prepared gift on the table. She gently pushed it toward Zhang Yanxin, who was still looking outside the window, and asked cheerfully, “What are you looking at?” Picking up her wine glass, she clinked it against his, saying, “Happy birthday, always love me.” 

Zhang Yanxin turned back with a faint smile, raising his wine glass and taking a sip of his wine.

Wei Lai leisurely sampled her wine, occasionally glancing at the birthday gift on the table.

However, Zhang Yanxin didn’t notice the new addition on the table, nor did he pick up on her subtle glances.

The brown gift box was not small. Even in the dim lighting of the surroundings, it stood out on the white tablecloth, but he remained oblivious.

Wei Lai’s gaze wandered, finally meeting Zhang Yanxin’s enigmatic gaze.

“Wei Lai,” Zhang Yanxin took another sip of red wine, swallowing with slight force, “you can set any condition with me, as long as it’s within my capabilities.”

Wei Lai smiled and refused without hesitation, “It’s me celebrating your birthday. I don’t need any gifts.”

She hadn’t grasped the meaning behind Zhang Yanxin’s words.

Putting down his wine glass, Zhang Yanxin picked up his phone and sent a message to his secretary.

She had no intention of asking for a gift. Wei Lai stood up, leaning over the table with her hands on the edge, about to kiss him when he said, “It’s not a gift. If you haven’t decided what you want, then I’ll transfer the villa at Jiangan to your name, I’ll arrange for Secretary Liu to handle it. Besides the villa, you can set another condition.”

Jiangan was a newly developed residence area in the city over the past few years, and the prices for each detached villa were staggering. The homeowners in the area were either wealthy or influential, and Wei Lai had never imagined being able to afford a villa there on her own.

Why is he suddenly giving me such an expensive villa?

A sense of unease surged within her.

Zhang Yanxin continued to type on his phone, keeping his gaze lowered. Throughout, he was instructing his secretary, deliberately avoiding looking at Wei Lai, unwilling to see the expression on her face at this moment.

After a brief pause, he added, “In the future, if you encounter any troubles you can’t handle on your own, feel free to reach out to Secretary Liu. He will help you take care of it. It’s inconvenient for me.”

Wei Lai was initially taken aback, and after realizing it, she let out a sarcastic and self-mocking chuckle.

With his words reaching this point, what else was there for her not to understand?

After sorting out the transfer of the villa with Secretary Liu, Zhang Yanxin finally put down his phone. Only then did he notice Wei Lai leaning on the table, seemingly about to kiss him. He reached out to hold her shoulder, but she suddenly leaned back, avoiding his touch, and sat down. He grasped nothing.

Their eyes met.

Wei Lai’s eyes, filled with both sorrow and restraint, scrutinized him inch by inch, from his cold gaze to his prominent nose. Despite being so familiar with him, she now felt like she was looking at a stranger.

In terms of family background and financial strength, he was the unequivocally dominant party. Therefore, breaking up could be so sudden, without any warning, without needing any reason, and with no explanation to offer her.

Perhaps he had loved her during their time together, but when it came to ending things, he was truly ruthless. Here she was, celebrating his birthday, and he chose this moment to break up, showing no concern for how devastated or hurt she might feel.

If she were in Zhang Yanxin’s shoes, she would at least wait until after celebrating the birthday before mentioning a breakup. She would also try to be as suave as possible when giving the breakup fee.

But, he was not her.

For him, this relationship was just a pastime. The only one that was serious was her.

Zhang Yanxin waited for her to explode in anger, but she ultimately did not question him.

“Within the next five years, ensure that all major clients of my dad’s law firm remain retained. Additionally, any new companies entering the Jiangcheng Industrial Park should be prioritized for introduction to my dad.” She didn’t pretend to be noble, straightforwardly laying out the conditions for the breakup, bringing an end to their two years and four months of a relationship.

Back when he first met her and pursued her, it was through sending business to her dad’s law firm.

And now, it was concluding similarly.

Zhang Yanxin agreed to her condition. “No problem.”

She didn’t raise a fuss, didn’t create a scene, and didn’t cling to him. Feeling guilty, he inexplicably wanted to compensate her more, “Is there anything else…” you want.

In the middle of his sentence, he noticed the gift box beside her. The logo on the box was all too familiar to him—it was the brand of watches he often wore.

Her entire year’s salary would barely be enough to afford one.

“For me?” His voice became hoarse.

Wei Lai maintained a carefree expression, smiling. “For someone worth gifting to.” She grabbed the box and walked toward the sofa.

With her back to Zhang Yanxin, she took a deep breath, calming herself against the unexpected breakup.

Despite constantly telling herself there was no need to be sad over a man like him, it proved futile. How could she not feel sad after being together for over two years?

She put away the watch and pressed the bell to summon the waiter.

The restaurant manager entered, accompanied by two waiters.

She didn’t have such a grand presence to warrant the manager’s service; it was to give face to the other person in the private room.

The manager stood at the door and asked Zhang Yanxin with a smile, “Mr. Zhang, can we start serving the dishes?”

Zhang Yanxin remained silent and waved his hand to indicate for them to leave.

Wei Lai spoke up, “Manager Lu, please see my guest out. Thank you.”

There were only two people in the private room tonight, and she was the host tonight. The only guest referred to was Zhang Yanxin.

Manager Lu could only let out an awkward laugh. Even if he were given more courage, he wouldn’t dare to “escort” Zhang Yanxin out, unless he wanted to lose his job at the restaurant.

In preparation for tonight’s birthday dinner, Wei Lai had reserved this riverside private room two weeks in advance. After a busy afternoon arranging the room and ordering the cake, with even the appetizers yet to be served, she unexpectedly asked the birthday boy to leave. Manager Lu couldn’t comprehend her actions. Even if they were arguing, they shouldn’t be at such a moment.

Just as the manager struggled with the situation, Zhang Yanxin stood up, grabbed his suit jacket hanging in the closet, and put it on. His gaze never left Wei Lai throughout the entirety.

Wei Lai was busy tidying her purse with her back to him, so he couldn’t see her expression.

Zhang Yanxin wanted to say something but hesitated to do so. In the end, he decisively walked toward the doorway.

With a click, the door closed.

Wei Lai no longer needed to maintain a facade. She stood by the floor-to-ceiling window, arms crossed, for an unknown duration. The manager and the waiters didn’t disturb her. 

Her phone on the table suddenly rang.

“Where are you? The dress has arrived. Do you want it sent to you, or will you come pick it up?” The voice on the other end was cold and flat.

The caller was Wei Lai’s stepsister, Zhao Yihan. Her dad and Zhao Yihan’s mom had recently obtained their marriage certificate, ending their ten years of dating. They planned to have a simple wedding scheduled for two months later. 

Her stepmom had bought each of them a maxi dress for the occasion, to be worn on the day of the wedding banquet.

Over the years, Wei Lai had maintained a distant relationship with this stepsister of hers, who shared no blood ties with her, each minding their own business. They saw each other two to three times a year and rarely had conflicts but were not particularly close either.

When her dad and stepmom first met, Wei Lai had just begun middle school. Afraid it might affect her studies, her dad had refrained from remarrying, just dating only. Her stepmom, in consideration of her own daughter, waited until Zhao Yihan’s career and personal life were steady before considering her own marital future.

Wei Lai spoke into her phone, “Send it to my condo or my mom’s office; either is fine.”

“Okay, I’ll send it to your condo.” Zhao Yihan was about to end the call but couldn’t resist adding, “By the way, I heard Zhang Yanxin has a fiancee. Make sure you’re not the third party.”

“I broke up with him. Just today.”

Originally, Zhao Yihan didn’t want to get involved in this distant sister’s affairs. Perhaps out of boredom, she asked, “Where are you? If it’s on the way, I can drop the dress off for you.”

Wei Lai: “At Riverside Restaurant, getting ready to enjoy a free feast.”

She asked, “Are you free? If you don’t mind, wanna join me?”

Zhao Yihan wasn’t naive. Tables at Riverside Restaurant needed to be booked well in advance, so there was no such thing as a free meal. “You’re so generous.”

“It’s not me who’s generous; I’m just lucky, a stroke of luck.”


Zhang Yihan was near Riverside Restaurant, and she arrived in about ten minutes.

The person who escorted her to the private room was Manager Lu.

Manager Lu had just escorted Zhang Yanxin to the restaurant’s entrance. Zhang Yanxin had instructed him before getting into the car that Wei Lai had drunk wine and couldn’t drive, so he wanted him to take care of her and ensure that she safely reached home.

Manager Lu, being entrusted with this responsibility, faithfully carried out the task and escorted Zhao Yihan to the private room.

He was unaware that Wei Lai and Zhang Yanxin had completely broken up. He thought it was just another lover’s quarrel, as had happened before. Wei Lai and Zhang Yanxin were regulars at the restaurant, and within these two years, he had witnessed Zhang Yanxin coaxing Wei Lai on numerous occasions, not fewer than the number of times he had seen them argue. 

The difficulty tonight lay in the fact that the meal tonight had been meticulously prepared according to Wei Lai’s specifications. Now, with the two of them parting ways without even sharing a meal, he was concerned about what discount to offer Wei Lai when settling the bill later. 

Considering this, Manager Lu looked at Zhao Yihan and said, “Your sister has a strong temper. Today is Mr. Zhang’s birthday after all; they shouldn’t be having a falling out. Please talk to her and try to resolve the situation.”

Zhao Yihan, displeased, unconsciously defended Wei Lai. Without much concern, she retorted, “I’m not like Manager Lu; I don’t like meddling in others’ affairs.”

Manager Lu choked. This was an overt implication that he was too nosy.

He had met with Zhao Yihan a few times before, and she was stern every time; her words were always sharp. Tonight was no exception.

As the elevator reached the 42nd floor, Zhao Yihan strode out decisively. 

Inside the private room, Wei Lai sat at the dining table, absentmindedly swaying the red wine glass in her hand, constantly glancing at the men’s watch on the table.

After Zhang Yanxin left, she took the gift box out of her purse again, contemplating how to deal with the unworn watch.

As the door to the private room opened from the outside, Wei Lai turned around to look.

“So fast?” Saying this, she brought the wine glass to her lips, casually tasting the wine, subconsciously masking her distraction from a moment ago.

Zhao Yihan entered. “It’s rare to have a feast. I didn’t want to miss out.”

Manager Lu, standing at the door, instantly understood and promptly instructed the kitchen to prepare the dishes.

Due to their infrequent meetings and lack of common interests, a brief silence enveloped the room after Manager Lu closed the door and left.

“You just broke up, and you can still eat?” Zhao Yihan broke the silence, speaking straightforwardly.

Wei Lai, seemingly indifferent, replied, “The dishes here are expensive. It would be a waste not to eat them.”

Zhao Yihan had no words in response. She hadn’t expected that this sister of hers had been dumped while celebrating someone else’s birthday. She placed her purse on the sofa and took off her white button-up. Taking a glance at the closet and estimating it to be five or six meters from the sofa, she decided against hanging the button-up. Instead, she casually draped it over the back of the sofa.

Wei Lai noticed that her sister was someone who saved herself from trouble if she could. She would rather let her button-up wrinkle than walk a few extra steps to hang it up.

Yet, she specially came to bring the dress for her. 

Putting down her wine glass, Wei Lai stood up just as Zhao Yihan walked over to the table. She glanced at Zhao Yihan’s shoes—light-colored flats. Zhao Yihan had always been slender and tall, consistently about four or five centimeters taller than her. It seemed she had grown even taller now, at least more than five centimeters taller now.

“You seem to have grown taller,” Wei Lai said, searching for a topic.

Zhao Yihan replied with an “En” as she pulled out a chair and sat down. She had indeed grown taller by two centimeters. During a recent health check-up, she measured her height to be 174.5 cm. At 27, she was surprised to find herself still growing taller.

Pouring herself a glass of red wine, Zhao Yihan turned around to find Wei Lai holding a clothes hanger and hung her expensive white button-up in the closet.

If it was in the past, whether it was her personally bringing the dress to Wei Lai or Wei Lai hanging up her clothes, such things would never have happened.

For a moment, Zhao Yihan found it hard to determine who had truly matured.

She couldn’t bring herself to say sentimental words, and expressing gratitude seemed unnecessary. Turning around, she took a sip of wine. The watch box on the table caught her eye. The box was opened, and she looked at the expensive watch inside and asked uncertainly, “Bought it for Zhang Yanxin?”

Wei Lai nodded.

The watch strap of this watch had been custom-made, incurring additional costs. Wei Lai’s annual salary wouldn’t be enough to buy this watch. Zhao Yihan clicked her tongue, saying, “So generous.”

Adding, “Affectionate.”

“He usually spends even more on me, and in the past two years, he has brought in a lot of business for my dad.” Wei Lai didn’t elaborate on other details.

Zhao Yihan gestured her chin at the watch. “Now that you’ve broken up, how do you plan to deal with it?”

Wei Lai had been considering this problem. There was no need to keep such an expensive watch, and there wasn’t a suitable person to give it to. “When I’m free, I’ll ask around in the industry to see how much I can sell it for.” Even if it hasn’t been worn, opening the box has already resulted in a significant loss.

Without responding, Zhao Yihan sent a message to a friend. This friend was the manager of the flagship store of this watch brand in Jiang City and was well-versed in the market. 

She briefly explained Wei Lai’s situation and asked her friend, “Will there be a considerable loss in value?”

The store manager found information about the order for this watch. “Wei Lai went through a lot of trouble for this watch, queued for over seven months, and even had to buy an equal amount of items to finally get it. Now she wants to return it? Did her boyfriend find the watch too cheap and not want it?

Zhao Yihan: “They broke up, and the watch wasn’t given.

The store manager expressed regret, not just for the separation of an ideal couple but also for the watch that Wei Lai had put so much effort into but hadn’t had the chance to give away.

Zhao Yihan: “See if there’s any way to help her minimize the loss.

Store Manager: “Aren’t you indifferent to this fake sister of yours? What’s gotten into you today?

Zhao Yihan didn’t disclose to outsiders that it was because Wei Lai had hung her button-up in the closet.

She dodged the question. “Are you working tomorrow? We’ll come see you after work.

Store Manager: “I’m here now.

Zhao Yihan inquired further: “Aren’t you supposed to be off today?

Store Manager: “Sudden change. We have a VVIP customer coming to the store tonight to choose a watch. It seems he’s here for a conference. His watch accidentally got scratched and damaged when a friend dropped it on the floor. He needs a watch to wear for the time being. I don’t even know which big shot it is, but it’s surprising enough to have the regional manager fly over. How could I take a day off?

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