The lights shone in the quiet room as the flowing water sounded behind her.
Ye An walked out of the bathroom and sat down on the sofa facing the floor-length windows. She bent her legs and wrapped her arms around her knees.
The moonlight was faint in the cold night, and the shadows of the trees were wrapped in a hazy mist. She looked out the window silently with a hint of disappointment in her glassy eyes.
She was unsure of what was going on, but Xie Shuo had treated her somewhat strangely recently, and the dynamic between them was a little strange.
After returning from the research institute, Xie Shuo’s temper became calmer, and he was no longer as moody. However, their relationship had not progressed in any way, and he even seemed more alienated than before.
Their relationship was like a pool of still water, without any ripples or waves.
When he would get upset in the past, she accompanied him every step of the way and thought of ways to brighten his mood. Now, he was calmer and always busy with work, no longer needing her help. She felt dispensable.
Before going to the research institute, he had also agreed to become a good partner in their husband-wife relationship. But had he said that on impulse and regretted it? Was that why he deliberately distanced himself from her?
Ye An rested her chin on her knees and furrowed her eyebrows with a bewildered expression.
Her calves were still sore from walking in high heels several hours earlier. She massaged her calves exhaustedly and closed her eyes, gradually falling asleep.
A fair, slender hand hung from the edge of the sofa–the edges of her fingertips glowing faintly.
Time passed by slowly, and after some unknown period, the bathroom door opened. A tall figure in a black nightgown and toned legs emerged from the mist.
Xie Shuo walked over to the sofa and stopped when he saw Ye An curled up in the corner with her legs propped up.
The soft light framed her fair face, spotlighting her dazzling beauty. Her skin appeared delicate and smooth, and the tip of her nose glowed. Her eyes were closed peacefully, and her dark eyelashes curled slightly above her eyelids, casting a light shadow. Her red lips were slightly pursed, her beauty akin to roses under the moonlight. Ye An slept on her side, showing the slope of her jawline and her slender neck. The collar of her shirt covered her collarbone and revealed only a portion of her skin.
The curve of her body extended down to her waist, which he had held many times in the past.
Xie Shuo stood quietly and watched over her for a while, and a sense of surreality washed over him once again.
After seeing the light of day again, he interacted with everyone as if they had only undergone a short period of separation. Ye An was the only one who he had become familiar with but was also still unfamiliar with.
After spending seven or eight months together, he had become familiar with her voice and the scent of her body but not her appearance. He was only able to rely on his own imagination.
He had recently regained his sight and was in a hurry to deal with company affairs. Xie Shuo was so busy that he didn’t have much time to spend with her, but now that work had calmed down, he suddenly wanted to cherish her more.
The reason he married her was exactly as Ye An stated. She was just someone to take care of his dietary habits and daily life. Xie Shuo was quite unwilling to marry at first, but Xie Baiyan at the time was quite worried and put his best effort forth to persuade him. Grandfather Xie also visited at his elderly age to convince him.
With his situation at the time, the wealthy daughters of most influential families were unwilling to marry him, so they picked the eldest daughter from the Ye family with a low-profile existence. She had a normal background, no powerful connections, and no way to desert Xie Shuo, which minimized potential issues. Of course, the most important aspect was that she did not show any reluctance.
At first, Xie Shuo figured she was only there for the benefit of the Ye family and feigned her civility. After marriage, he thought she would have a cold attitude and only act half-heartedly.
However, the reality was the exact opposite. Instead of acting indifferent, she dedicated all her efforts to him. She took care of him dutifully, endured his moodiness, tried her best to cheer him up, take him outside, face the world, and allow him to assimilate to his new life.
So, she really liked him?
Previous doubts flashed through Xie Shuo’s mind once again.
Perhaps she thought to be kind to him since she had no choice and because they were married already?
Recalling the oath of her stating “divorce upon recovery,” Xie Shuo frowned with an unhappy expression and bent down.
His shadow shrank with him. He looked at her features closely, and his fingers reached out involuntarily to touch her face.
Just as his fingertips were about to touch her cheek, Ye An’s eyelashes fluttered, and she opened her eyes.
Two pairs of eyes faced each other. She looked a little confused, and her eyes were dazed from just waking up.
Xie Shuo froze. At that moment, he collected his emotions and put his slender hand directly on her face, pretending to feel around for something.
After groping around, he stepped aside and sat down on the other side of the sofa.
Ye An: “…”
If you didn’t touch it, was your butt going to land on my face?
“It’s cold. If you want to go to sleep, go take a shower and get in bed to sleep,” Xie Shuo looked straight ahead and said indifferently as usual.
Ye An rubbed her eyes, put her slippers on, and got up. Her calves were sore, and when she stepped forward, she staggered and almost fell.
Xie Shuo caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of his eye and subconsciously reached out to help.
Ye An stood in place for a moment before tiredly dragging herself towards the bathroom. Xie Shuo looked at her slender back with a deep gaze and slowly retracted the hand that was in the air.
The flowing water sounded from the bathroom again. Ye An was steamed by the heat, and her mind became more muddled.
After she got out of the shower and breathed in the fresh air, she was a bit more clear-headed.
Xie Shuo no longer sat on the sofa and was now sitting on the bed instead. He leaned against the headboard with a cold face and damp, messy hair.
Ye An glanced at him and finished her skincare routine before going to bed. She walked up to the bed and lifted the comforter before sitting down and slowly bringing her legs up.
The soreness in her calves still remained. She turned to look at Xie Shuo and recalled his strange attitude towards her recently. Ye An was inexplicably upset.
Did he actually regret it?
No, she had to test him to see what he truly meant.
Ye An’s gaze changed, and she shifted over to lean on his shoulder. She called softly, “Hubby…”
Xie Shuo turned his head to the side and met the delicate face within his reach. She blinked with long eyelashes and showed a coquettish expression.
He diverted his gaze, afraid that she would notice his actions. After doing so, he caught a glimpse of her figure under the neckline of her nightgown.
Ye An was oblivious and continued to cling to him, saying softly, “I’ve been shopping for the whole day, and my legs are sore. Can you massage them?”
Xie Shuo didn’t speak and looked away from her body.
Ye An hugged his arm and tugged at his robe. “I give you massages all the time. Can you help me out today, please…?”
She thought that she wouldn’t get a response, but her ankle was unexpectedly held by a slender yet sturdy hand.
Xie Shuo lifted the covers and held her slender ankles. He put them on his lap and began to massage her legs gently.
Ye An’s clear gaze stared at the boss: was he really giving her a massage?
Under the light, the man lowered his head and touched her calves silently with an unreadable expression.
Such a move was beyond Ye An’s comprehension. She was stunned, and it took a while for her to recover.
The man’s fingers were long and fair. He kneaded her legs with moderate strength, not too light or too heavy.
Ye An’s ears were warm, and her body was warm for no reason. Her fingers curled. She couldn’t help but want to retract her legs, but he held them down.
She pursed her lips and no longer struggled. Ye An glanced at Xie Shuo secretly and caught a glimpse of his long eyelashes, making her heart skip a beat.
With such a big change, had he really thought it through?
A strange feeling spread from her calves to her fingertips. She brought a pillow to her side and leaned on it as she watched his movements. The corners of her lips curled up in a small arc.
The uncertainties and insecurities from the past few days faded away in an instant. She rested her chin in her hands and looked at him quietly and in a happy mood.
Her mind gradually became jumbled, and the man’s sharp outline blurred little by little until his figure was eventually surrounded by a halo. Her long dark eyelashes fluttered before finally falling to a rest.
The lamp light was hazy and illuminated her slender legs that were fair as jade and were previously hidden under her nightgown.
Xie Shuo’s fingers gradually moved upwards. When they reached her knees, he raised his head to look up at Ye An and found that she had fallen asleep. Her eyelashes dropped, and her face was calm.
Xie Shuo stopped and withdrew his hands as he looked at her sleeping face. His dark gaze seemed particularly tender in the hazy halo of light.
After a long time, he put down her legs gently and pulled the covers over her. His fingertips ran across her cheek and lingered on her skin.
The lights went out, plunging the room into darkness. There was a light scent on the pillows, and he heard her long breaths, like many nights in the past.
The next day, Xie Shuo was unable to return to the company.
There was sudden news from the Xie residence that said Grandfather Xie had suddenly fallen ill.
The two did not waste time in hurrying over to the manor.
They both had solemn expressions on their faces as they got out of the car and walked through the courtyard. Grandfather Xie was getting old, and his health had been declining in the past two years. It was unsure how much longer he would have.
Ye An supported Xie Shuo and followed the housekeeper to Grandfather Xie’s room. The private doctor had just finished the examination and left, so the atmosphere in the room was bleak.
There was an exquisite old-fashioned lamp with quaint workmanship along with two stacked books on the nightstand near the head of the bed.
Seeing the two come in, Grandfather Xie propped himself up. Ye An hurriedly stepped forward to support him and put a pillow behind his back.
Xie Shuo sat down by the bad, and Grandfather Xie took his hand, saying, “A’ Shuo…”
The old man’s hand was thin and old. Xie Shuo called out, “Grandpa,” and put his hand on top of Grandfather Xie’s.
Grandfather Xie looked kindly at Xie Shuo with cloudy eyes and asked, “Grandpa heard that you went to Xiao Cen’s place a while ago; how did it go? Are you better?”
Xie Shuo didn’t have any time to tell Grandfather Xie about his recovery.
“I’m a lot better now; don’t worry.”
Grandfather Xie thought that Xie Shuo was just trying to comfort him, so the worry on his face did not fade. He patted Xie Shuo’s hand and sighed.
Seeing the frail appearance of Grandfather Xie, Xie Shuo’s gaze flashed. He held Ye An’s wrist and said in a low voice. “Can you pour a cup of tea for Grandpa?”
Ye An understood that he wanted to have a private conversation, so she got up quietly and left the room.
After Ye An left, the grandson was left with the grandfather alone in the room.
“Do you have something to say to Grandpa?”
Xie Shuo looked directly into the old man’s eyes and suddenly said, “Grandpa, I can see.”