Xie Shuo avoided her gaze and remained silent, evidently admitting it.
Ye An looked at him, and her anger that had been building up for over a month suddenly exploded. “You didn’t want a divorce, so you deliberately lied to me?
Did you find it amusing to have me fooled every day like a fool?
Do you even know how I…”
As she was about to say, “worried about you,” the words caught in her throat, and she swallowed them back.
He hadn’t expected her to still remember this matter. Xie Shuo felt a bit troubled, hesitated, and then had to relent and admit his mistake, “I was wrong in this matter. At that time, I was busy dealing with company matters and didn’t think it through…”
At that time, he had subconsciously wanted to avoid the topic of divorce, so he had kept it from her. Later, as he got busier dealing with Zhang Junfeng’s matter, he didn’t want to divert his attention to this matter, so he continued to keep it a secret.
Originally, he had planned to confess to her once things settled down a bit. However, he hadn’t expected the truth to come earlier than planned, and in such a tense situation at that.
Ye An pursed her lips, clearly not appeased by this explanation.
“What can I do to subside your anger?”
After a while, Xie Shuo asked.
Having hardly ever comforted a woman in his life, the Eldest Young Master wasn’t sure how to go about it.
Hearing his not-so-sincere apologetic tone, Ye An’s was even more angry.
He thinks just saying sorry would calm me down?
For over a month, there was no explanation. If she hadn’t brought it up today, did he think this matter was already forgotten?
Ye An was so angered by him that she had a headache, so she could only console herself…
Forget it, with his straightforward personality, if he didn’t have good looks and a privileged background, he’d probably be single for life. She shouldn’t expect him to become more understanding suddenly.
After a while, she managed to calm her anger and looked out the window. Her tone softened as she continued, “You just said that you think things are fine as they are, but I don’t feel the same way…” She turned around, her gaze fixed on his face for a moment before she continued, “I’ve seriously considered it many times over this past month. I still think it’s better for us to stick to our agreement and get a divorce.”
Xie Shuo hadn’t expected her to be so resolute in her stance. After all, she had always been attached to him in the past. He frowned and asked her the same question she had asked him earlier, “Why?”
Ye An gazed at him. The man before her had a stern expression, and his deep, black irises had regained their vigor, reminiscent of the past.
She smiled. “Because I don’t want a marriage of convenience, and you no longer need someone to take care of you.”
Seeing her smiling, Xie Shuo frowned even deeper. “You think this is a marriage of convenience?”
Ye An tilted her head slightly. “Isn’t it?”
Meeting her gaze, Xie Shuo felt vexed. He had thought her care and attention were signs of affection, but now it seemed that they were just compromises.
Suddenly, he didn’t want to continue the conversation with her. He got up from the sofa. “You’re upset right now; it’s not a good time to discuss this. Let’s talk when you’ve calmed down.”
Ye An raised her voice to stop him.
Xie Shuo halted, his aura turning cold, and his expression turning sour.
“I’m very calm right now, and I’m not acting out of anger.”
The room went silent for a moment before Ye An’s voice broke it once again.
“Haven’t you always been curious about why I agreed to marry you in the first place?”
There were certain things she hadn’t intended to say, but as things have reached this stage, she had no choice but to be completely transparent with him.
Xie Shuo looked up, a flicker of interest flashing across his eyes.
Ye An said slowly, “Actually, this marriage, in the beginning, was initiated by me. I approached Ye Yuan Nian and hinted at him to offer it.”
She looked at him and smiled.
“Five years ago, we met once. You’ve probably forgotten about it, right?”
Seeing his stunned expression, memories flooded her mind at that moment.
Ye An had always felt that her childhood and teenage years were like a screenplay straight out of a melodramatic romance novel.
Just a few years of living a carefree life as a little princess, there was a sudden crash—her parents got divorced.
In the beginning, she had naively hoped that her father would come to find her and her mother someday. But she never expected that she’d hear the news of Ye Yuan Nian’s remarriage instead.
As she grew a little older and finally adjusted to a single-parent life with just her mother, and as she prepared to study hard, pursue her dreams, and become a pillar of the country, reality dealt her another heavy blow.
The year when Xia Jin was diagnosed with a tumor, she was 16 years old and had just started her sophomore year of high school.
Due to the need for long-term treatment, Xia Jin couldn’t take care of her anymore. Against her wishes, Xia Jin sent her back to the Ye family.
As a teenager, she was impulsive and resolute in her actions, full of thorns from head to toe. After arriving at the Ye family, she would frequently talk back to Ye Yuan Nian and argue with Ye Man. Eventually, she started living at school and refused to come home.
When she finally turned 18, legally an adult, and got into university, she was finally independent. She completely cut ties with the Ye family and ceased all contact.
At that time, Xia Jin’s illness hadn’t been cured yet, and the family savings had dwindled. She had to take on the burden of expensive medical bills and find various part-time jobs to earn money.
She was beautiful, had a talent for dubbing and singing, and was considered a prominent figure on campus.
Once, she participated in making a short film with her classmates that went a little viral online. This caught the attention of a director who invited her to join the entertainment industry, even offering a high remuneration.
She was enamored by the rosy prospects and high remuneration that the director presented, and without any hesitation, she signed the contract. She was so naive that she didn’t even seek help to review the terms or have someone verify them for her.
A few days after signing the contract, she was taken to a private club to meet with two investors.
At that time, there was also another girl with her. The director told her that they just needed to accompany the investors for drinks. Although she hesitated, she eventually agreed after considering the medical expenses for Xia Jin’s treatment and having someone else there.
At first, it really was just accompanying them for drinks, enduring some inappropriate behavior, but the investor she was with, CEO Cheng, got drunk and suddenly went crazy. He grabbed her by the hair and tried to push her onto the sofa.
The overhead lights flickered as she struggled desperately. She was slapped several times and almost lost consciousness. In the midst of the chaos, she managed to kick him when he wasn’t expecting it and finally escaped through the door.
That night, it was drizzling on a chilly spring day.
In the dim and long corridor, with her injured foot, she stumbled and fled. But after only a few steps, she ran into someone and found herself in their embrace.
A clean and refreshing unfamiliar scent brushed against her nose, like the first snow of winter. Startled, she looked up and met the gaze of a young and stern face, remaining stunned for a moment.
That year, Xie Shuo was only 22 and in the prime of his youth, untouched by his later tribulations. His eyes were neither murky nor dispirited, excluding an air of affluence and elegance.
He helped her up, showing a slight frown at her disheveled appearance.
Just at that moment, CEO Cheng, who reeked of alcohol, came chasing after her, cursing loudly.
Ye An couldn’t help but tremble, instinctively grabbing onto the young man’s arm in front of her. The expensive-looking fabric of his suit got wrinkled from her grip, and it even got dirty.
Her voice trembled.
Xie Shuo glanced at her pale and slender fingers. Immediately, Ye An shrunk back and withdrew her hand, her cheeks swollen and her lips smeared with bloodstains. Her beautiful eyes were watery, her face marked with tears that hadn’t dried yet, looking disheveled and pitiful.
CEO Cheng approached with unsteady steps, but when he saw someone blocking his way, he halted and looked at her before turning to face Xie Shuo. He squinted his eyes into slits, smirking. “Trying to play the hero and save the damsel in distress?”
Behind Xie Shuo, his assistant Zhong Fu was also present. Seeing the situation, Zhong Fu stepped forward and handed over a business card, offering a polite greeting.
CEO Cheng squinted as he looked at the business card, and within a second, his expression changed into a smile. “So it was CEO Xie…”
He glanced back at Ye An with a hint of reluctance before saying drunkenly, “CEO Xie, this was someone I brought along. You see…”
The implication was clear. They were all business people, and it wasn’t worth quarreling over a stranger.
Hearing this, Ye An tightly grabbed onto Xie Shuo’s sleeve with despair written all over her eyes as if she was drowning and clutching at a final straw.
Glancing at her once again, Xie Shuo noticed the teardrops glistening in her clear eyes. He paused for a moment before turning around to say, “She’s just a young girl. Since she’s unwilling, why should CEO Cheng insist? Could CEO Cheng consider it as a favor to me?”
After saying that, without waiting for a response, he quietly instructed his assistant, “Zhong Fu, escort her out.”
Ye An looked at him, her grip loosening as she struggled to believe it — had he truly helped her?
He, however, didn’t look at her again and continued talking with CEO Cheng.
Walking out with Zhong Fu, Ye An couldn’t help but turn back and take a look. The man stood tall and noble under the light, radiating brilliance.
Zhong Fu escorted her safely outside of the private club and nodded at her before turning back to go inside.
The night was dark, and the rain continued to fall, pitter-pattering, but lighter than before.
Ye An gazed at the rain falling from the sky, lost in thought for a moment before walking along the street without any particular destination in mind.
She was wearing a white dress, her long hair scattered behind her back. The shoulders of the dress had been torn, and her feet were bare. Her fair and tender feet stepped on the damp ground, the water seeping between her toes.
She didn’t know where to go, feeling utterly lost. In the end, she found herself sitting on a bench by the street.
The drizzling spring rain fell gently on her, dampening her hair and dress, and sending a chill deep into her bones.
She sat there in a daze, gazing at the bustling street before her. The lights were vibrant, and cars passed by, splashing water droplets in their wake.
For a brief moment, a surge of resentment welled up within her.
She hated everyone. She hated Xia Jin for burdening her with so much, she hated Ye Yuan Nian for abandoning her and her mother, and she hated fate for refusing to show her even a shred of kindness.
Things that others could easily have, she could only dream of.
A passerby with an umbrella walked by and seeing her like this, kindly asked, “Miss, are you okay? Do you need me to call the police for you?”
Ye An shook her head.
The passerby left, and she gazed at the vehicles passing by on the street. Thoughts of Xia Jin’s medical expenses and the penalty of the contract she would have to pay crossed her mind. Suddenly, a thought emerged… she wanted to end it all, to put an end to everything.
Ending it all would mean she wouldn’t have to face anything anymore.
After all, no one really cared about her.
She got up from the bench, barefoot, and slowly walked to the edge of the road. The drizzle fell on her body, and her dress clung to her skin, sending a bone-chilling cold through her.
Cars were passing by, and some splashes of water hit her bare ankles. As she walked to the edge of the road, just as she was about to step onto the pedestrian crossing, a black sedan suddenly came to a stop right in front of her.
The car window rolled down, revealing a handsome face illuminated by a warm light. His deep eyes, high nose, lips, and clean jawline all came into view.
He asked her insipidly, “Where’s your home? I’ll take you back.”
Ye An was taken aback, looking at him dazedly.
Perhaps because she just experienced that unpleasant and distressing situation, she suddenly had a feeling that he might have ulterior motives toward her too.
But she didn’t refuse. After being taken aback for a few seconds, she bent down and got into the car.
If it was destined to be inevitable, then so be it. There wouldn’t be a difference, no?
Anyhow, it couldn’t be any worse.
After getting into the car, she gave the address of her campus. He instructed the chauffeur to change routes, and noticing her feet were bare, he handed her a pair of spare slippers and a towel.
The slippers were clean, and she slid her icy feet into them. Glancing at him, her feet arched slightly due to nervousness.
After drying her hair and face, she hugged her arms and shivered. Seeing this, he handed her a blanket.
She reached out to take it and inadvertently caught a glimpse of the watch on his wrist — a brand from Germany, quite valuable.
Wrapped in the blanket, the chill that had been clinging to her body began to dissipate, and she felt much warmer. Her emotions also began to settle down.
He didn’t speak to her and didn’t pay her much attention either. He took out a document and placed it on his lap, his slender and fair fingers flipping through it with a focused expression.
She couldn’t help herself and stole a glance at him while gripping the blanket tightly. She saw his side profile, cold and stern, attractive to the point it made her heart race.
It was as if a cluster of flowers quietly blossomed in her heart. She withdrew her gaze, but after a few seconds, she couldn’t resist stealing another glance.
The streetlights kept flashing past the car window. After some time, a sudden, earth-shattering growl echoed through the silence, very clear and distinct.
She stiffened and instinctively looked up, happening to meet his sidelong gaze. In his pitch-black eyes, his gaze was cool and clear, much like the rain outside the car window.
The rumbling in her stomach continued, indicating her predicament.
She clenched her fingers, embarrassed to the point that her cheeks and ears were burning. She wished she could find a hole to hide in and disappear completely.
Embarrassed, she looked down, not daring to look at him again. Just when she was feeling vexed, a slender hand extended toward her, holding a piece of cake between its fingers. The cake was neatly placed in a small box as if it were taken from a soiree or banquet.
She was once again taken aback, raising her gaze to look at him. After half a day of hesitation, she reached out and took the cake from his hand.
It was a strawberry cake, with pink flowers sprinkled over the cream. It had a delicate sweetness without being overly rich.
Taking a bite, she suddenly felt her eyes welling up with tears.
She remembered when she was a child, back when Xia Jin and Ye Yuan Nian were still together, and she was still their little princess. There would be someone preparing such a cake on her every birthday.
But that was a long time ago, and reminiscing it now, those memories seem so faded and distant.
Now, this slight warmth came from a stranger whom she didn’t even know.
She slowly scooped the cake into her mouth, one spoonful at a time, tears falling like beads off a broken string.
She turned to look out the window, unable to hold back her tears.
Meanwhile, he seemed to understand that she didn’t want to show her vulnerability and embarrassment in front of others. He glanced at her and then averted his gaze, not attempting to console her.
When they arrived outside the campus, the rain had mostly stopped, but the air was still damp with moisture carried by the wind, brushing against one’s cheeks.
She got out of the car and turned around, looking at him through the window.
He sat inside the car, giving a slight nod and a barely noticeable curve at the corner of his lips in acknowledgment. It seemed like he was signaling something, and then he instructed the chauffeur to turn around.
From beginning to end, he hadn’t even asked her name, let alone shown any intentions or thoughts toward her.
A true sense of a noble and benevolent character.
Watching his car fade into the distance, Ye An stood for a long time in the chilly wind. It felt as if she was in a dream, and she even forgot to thank him before he left.
That night, she stayed awake, thinking through many things and deciding not to complicate things for herself anymore.
She went back to the Ye family and asked Ye Yuan Nian for a sum of money, settling the breach of contract penalty and the medical expenses for Xia Jin, returning to her normal life.
It was over half a year later that she learned of his name and identity by stumbling upon an interview of him by chance one day.
Under the spotlight of the media, the young man appeared confident and radiant, capturing everyone’s attention.
Later on, she began to follow his updates and news, and every time she heard his name, she couldn’t help but pause for a moment.
Did she like him?….
At 18, it was the ripe age when girls yearned for love, and he entered her life in such a way. At her darkest moment, he brought light and hope to her.
To say that she was not moved would be untrue.
But it was only this and nothing more. He was an unattainable God’s favored one, and to him, she was just a girl he had helped in passing, like a stray cat or dog on the roadside.
So she never imagined their paths would cross again, until… news of his car accident and resulting blindness spread.
When she heard the news, she was shocked, unwilling to believe, and refusing to accept it.
How could someone as good as him end up with such a fate?
Later, after much hesitation, she couldn’t resist her lingering thoughts. She went to find Ye Yuan Nian to inquire about the truth of the news. Upon learning that the Xie family was looking for a political marriage, she manipulated Ye Yuan Nian into arranging this marriage.
Listening to Ye An’s recounting of the past, Xie Shuo also began to recall his memories.
No wonder he sometimes felt that she looked familiar as if he had seen her somewhere before.
They indeed did have some interaction before. His reasons for helping her were actually quite simple. Firstly, that club was under the Xie Group, and if something were to happen, it wouldn’t reflect well on them. Secondly, she was just a teenager at the time, looking disheveled and pitiable. As a grown man, he couldn’t simply turn a blind eye to someone in distress.
As for driving her home, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
That night, as he left the club and his car traveled through the streets, he saw the girl sitting forlornly in the rain, looking disheveled through the car window.
Later, she got up and started walking toward the middle of the road, her steps unsteady, her figure frail. He sensed a hint of despair from her, and his heart couldn’t bear it. Thinking that helping her was just a small effort, he stopped the car and called out to her.
He never imagined that a thoughtless action from many years ago would be remembered by her for so long.
Ye An looked at him and said softly, “I agreed to marry you just to repay the favor from back then. Now that your vision is restored, I achieved my goal and can leave now.”
From this, many things were explained. Why she would take care of him attentively, tolerate his cold words and remarks.
However, even with everything explained, Xie Shuo felt even more vexed, frowning deeply.
After a long while, he sat down beside her and said, “Even if that’s the reason behind it all, there’s no need for a divorce.”
With him stalling and not willing to relent, Ye An couldn’t help but tease a bit with a smirk. Looking into his eyes, she said in a playful tone, “Our marriage was originally a political one without any feelings involved. Why are you so adamant about not getting divorced? If you keep this up, I might misunderstand and think you’ve fallen for me.”
Xie Shuo just felt that her smile was so dazzling. He pursed his lips together, neither confirming nor denying it.
His reaction surprised Ye An. She had thought he might mock her for being presumptuous, considering he had always treated her with disdain.
“You’ve really fallen for me?”
Leaning in closer to him, she smiled with mirth. Her fingers tightly gripped the edge of the bed, revealing her true emotions.
Xie Shuo didn’t deny it, perhaps thinking admitting his feelings was akin to slapping his own face.
“You’re not saying anything, so I’ll take that as a yes.”
Leaning back and suppressing the turbulence in her heart, she sat back down and said lightly, “What you’re feeling isn’t ‘like’; it’s just that you’re used to having me around. If I were in your shoes, and someone took care of me for half a year when I couldn’t see, I’m sure I’d also grow accustomed and dependent.”
Xie Shuo looked at her once again.
Before he could retort, Ye An continued, “If you really liked me, how could you not even know if I’m angry or not?
In the past month, how many times have you cared for me?
Moreover, during our time together, when did you take the initiative and not me?”
Even after something as intimate as that happened, the very next morning, he could casually leave her behind and go about his work, without a word of comfort or concern afterward.
Some things could be brushed aside without dwelling on them too much, and she could remain calm and composed. However, the situation had changed now.
He had returned to his original life and self, no longer needing her.
“My parents divorced when I was a child, so I’ve never experienced a sense of family. Hence, I can’t bear to settle for a relationship or marriage.
If you had remained blind, we could’ve continued like this without any issues. But now that you can see and have other options, there’s no need to settle anymore…”
She looked at him and broke into a smile.
“Xie Shuo, you’re great. I’m sincerely happy that you can see again.
This marriage is my own choice, and I’ve never blamed you for it.”
She had a pair of beautiful eyes, clear and bright as if they could see through everything at a glance.
Gazing at those eyes, Xie Shuo was a bit dazed as he listened to her calm and candid words.
“You should be with the person you truly love, and I also want someone who truly loves me, without any other emotions mixed in, whether it’s gratitude or habit.
I don’t want you to regret someday, and I certainly don’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
Back then, when she married him with a heart full of courage, she didn’t have many expectations, and her feelings for him were just a passing thought. But now, she knew that she had fallen completely in love with him.
Feelings, once they took hold, could make a person insatiable, causing them to uncontrollably yearn for more.
In the past, she could tolerate his indifference and his lack of concern, but recently, she clearly felt her own greediness growing. She desired to possess him, longed for his response, and yearned for a reciprocated affection.
Rather than ending up disappointed, it was better to withdraw now while she was not fully entrenched.
What she least wanted to see was a day when they grew tired of each other, erasing even the initial gratitude and affection she had for him.
She smiled. “So, let’s get a divorce.”
That statement sounded in the room, with no other sound breaking the silence for a long time.
As the words left her mouth, a sharp pang struck Ye An’s heart, her fair and slender fingers clenched into a fist.
Looking at her, Xie Shuo wanted to say something, yet at that moment, he found himself at a loss for words.
Her denunciations were indeed accurate. All this time, he hadn’t really cared about her. In the beginning, he had even felt annoyance and disdain toward her, seeing her as shallow and vain. The occasional kind words he had for her were merely the result of his good mood, a slight indulgence toward her.
He had grown accustomed to her initiations and forgiving nature. That’s why, even when he had deceived her before and knew she would be angry, he hadn’t thought about appeasing her.
In his memories, no matter how terrible his actions were or how cold his attitude might be, after a day or two, she would naturally move past it on her own.
However, he hadn’t realized that all of this was based on his blindness. It was because he was down and out that she was willing to accommodate him in every way.
At this moment, no matter what he said, it seemed futile. It was clear that she had made up her mind to clarify things with him today.
Xie Shuo fell silent for a while and could only bring up his grandfather. “Divorce isn’t as simple as you think. Chinese New Year is almost here, and we still need to visit Grandfather. He’s old and can’t handle the shock.
This matter can wait until after the New Year. Let’s both calm down first and think some more about it.”