After all, the Xie family was not ordinary. Marriage and divorce involve many matters. Thinking about Xie Baiyan and Grandfather Xie, Ye An hesitated for a moment before nodding and saying, “Okay.”  

After that, the entire room fell into silence, and the atmosphere became stifling. 

Xie Shuo stood still for a few seconds before striding out of the room.

Sitting on the sofa, Ye An watched his receding figure with a hint of sadness fleeting in her eyes.

A few days later, Xie Baiyan was discharged from the hospital, and Ye An finally breathed a sigh of relief, no longer needing to visit and take care of him at the hospital every day.

With some free time on her hands, she returned to the studio, planning to ask Xiang Quan to arrange a few projects for her so she could make a comeback in her career.

Little did she know that as soon as she entered the studio, everyone respectfully greeted her with, “Hello, Madam.”

Ye An: “…….”

Are y’all messing with me?

Everyone laughed and joked, diligently serving her tea and water. Some even gathered around for gossip. In an instant, it felt like she had returned to the past, to the time before she got married.

Upon learning that she wanted to take on some projects, Xiang Quan raised an eyebrow and couldn’t help but jest, “You’ve married into affluence, became the CEO’s wife, and yet you’re not enjoying the bliss at home. Why do you still wanna work?”

Ye An placed her purse on the table before glancing at him. “If you can’t secure projects for me, just say so. We can save ourselves the trouble of keeping this studio running. It might as well shut down early.”

Xiang Quan observed her expression and felt that her mood wasn’t quite good today. He then quickly went to fetch some scripts for her.

Up until Chinese New Year, Ye An was constantly in the recording studio, going early in the morning and returning late at night. She kept herself so busy that she resembled a spinning top, with no time to ponder over other matters.

Xie Shuo was equally swamped with work. Although he wished to ease the tension between them, he simply couldn’t find the opportunity to do so.

In the blink of an eye, it was already Chinese New Year. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Ye An accompanied Xie Shuo to his grandfather’s place for a family dinner.

After the car parked in the yard, Ye An got out of the car. Just as she was about to walk ahead, Xie Shuo suddenly stopped and glanced at her meaningfully. 

Ye An: “?”

Puzzled, Ye An only understood when she saw his lifted elbow before moving closer and linking her arm with his.  

The two of them walked along the gravel path, giving off the appearance of a loving couple.

Being close, she could smell his familiar, clean scent and couldn’t help but glance at his side profile. A myriad of emotions once again surged within her.

With Xie Shuo’s recovery, Grandfather Xie was overjoyed, and his spirits had greatly improved. Sitting in the living room, he was surrounded by numerous family members of the younger generation, a smile lighting up his face.

Ye And and Xie Shuo went over to greet him, and they ended up engaged in conversation for quite a while… Naturally, the topic still circled around the matter of having children.

Ye An maintained a smile on her face while thinking: We’re about to get divorced and still talking about having children? Might as well give birth to air!

The residence was filled with guests, and laughter echoed through the air. After dinner, Ye An suddenly received a call from Xia Jin.

The surroundings were loud, making it difficult for her to hear clearly, so she walked out to the courtyard while holding her phone.

“An An, are you coming back for the New Year this year?” Xia Jin asked.

Ye An hesitated for a few seconds before replying, “I’ve just taken on a few projects, so I’ll be busy after the New Year. I might not be able to go back. Once I’m done next month, I’ll return and stay for a while.”

By next month, her situation with Xie Shuo should be settled, and she wanted to take a long vacation to readjust.

On the other end of the phone, Xia Jin wanted to ask about her situation with Xie Shuo, but she couldn’t bring herself to inquire. After all, she hadn’t given him a warm reception during her last visit.

“Alright, take care of yourself and don’t only focus on work…”

In the living room, Xie Shuo set down the teacup in his hand and turned around, only to find Ye An absent.

When he was blind, she had always been by his side without fail, rarely leaving him alone.

Xie Shuo stroked the rim of the white porcelain teacup. After a moment, he got up and headed upstairs.

Upstairs, there was a small room specifically dedicated to wine storage, with mahogany cabinets exuding an antique and vintage charm.

He hadn’t even gotten near when he saw Xie Yuran holding a bottle of wine, standing at the doorway and looking slightly tipsy.

“Bro, wanna have a drink?”

Xie Shuo didn’t reply, walking straight over and entering the room with him.

The two of them sat down by the small table near the window, each pouring a glass of wine.

Xie Shuo raised his glass with his elbow resting on the table.

He looked at Xie Yuran and asked insipidly, “Is there something you want to say?”

Taking a sip of wine, Xie Yuran laughed, “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a drink like this. I remember back in high school, there was a time when the two of us sneaked out to drink until midnight. We nearly got into a fight with someone and ended up being caught by Uncle. We got scolded pretty badly…”

Xie Shuo reminisced about the past as well, and a gentle expression appeared on his face.

When they were kids, their relationship was pretty close. Xie Yuran always liked to follow behind his elder brother. Occasionally, when he got into trouble, he didn’t dare to tell anyone besides asking him for help to clean up the mess.

As they grew older and Xie Shuo began to take over the family business, they also began to drift apart.

The reason was simple: to avoid suspicion. Given Xie Yuran’s identity, being raised under the care of Xie Baiyan, he naturally had to endure a fair amount of doubt, especially after Xie Shuo’s accident.

The scent of alcohol filled the air, and the feeling of drunkenness grew stronger.

Xie Shuo lightly clinked his glass against his and asked, “How’s everything going with your company lately?”

Xie Yuran had his own company and though it might not be on par with Junming Group, it was still counted as part of the Xie family’s business.

With a smile, Xie Shuo replied, “It’s been alright.”

The suspicions and estrangement that had lasted for nearly two years finally dissipated at this moment.

Outside the window, the night drew darker. Sparse stars adorned the dark blue canvas of the sky.

Xie Shuo gradually became more intoxicated, propping his temple with his hand, looking visibly vexed.

Xie Yuran asked, “Bro, is something bothering you?”

Xie Shuo looked up and swallowed the words that formed at his lips, feeling there was no need to bring it up.

Speaking to someone who didn’t even have a wife, there was no point in sharing his troubles.

Setting down his glass, he got up and said, “I’m going to check on your saozi*.”

saozi – literally means “sister-in-law”, a term used to address your older brother’s wife 

After finishing her call with Xia Jin, Ye An returned to the living room. Subconsciously, she looked around for Xie Shuo and went around in a circle, but his figure was nowhere to be seen.

Coincidentally, his two aunts noticed her alone and walked over eagerly, pulling her over to play mahjong. Ye An couldn’t refuse and thought that since Xie Shuo could see now, there shouldn’t be any problems, so she joined in and played a few rounds.

For some reason, Ye An’s luck was surprisingly bad tonight. She lost every round, and by the end, one of Xie Shuo’s aunts couldn’t help laughing. “Hey, hey, don’t be too excessive. If A’Shuo finds out that you’re all ganging up on his wife like this, be careful he comes to settle the score with you all!”

“I won’t win this round then…”

Laughter erupted from everyone, and Ye An could only smile—her anger erupting on the inside.

It wasn’t because she cared about the money since she wasn’t lacking it now, but losing continuously like this was damaging her self-esteem. No matter how good her temperament was, it had its limits.

Just as they were joking, a figure suddenly approached, carrying a faint scent of alcohol.

Looking up, Ye An saw Xie Shuo leaning against the side of her chair. His long legs were stretched out, his face slightly flushed, and his gaze wasn’t as focused as usual. It seemed he had drunk quite a lot.

Leaning in, his warm breath brushed against her neck as he asked hoarsely, “You lost?”

Catching a whiff of the alcohol on him, Ye An instinctively frowned. “Why did you drink so much?”

Xie Shuo didn’t respond, instead reaching out to pick up a card for her.

Beside them, Xie Shuo’s aunt teased, “See, I told you all that A’Shou will settle the score you guys.”

Hearing this, Ye An’s ears turned slightly warm. Her luck had been so poor that she didn’t feel like playing anymore. She got up and offered her seat, “Do you want to play? I’ll give you my spot.”

Xie Shuo placed his hand on her shoulder, guiding her back down. “Stay.”

As he spoke, he leaned near her with one hand on her shoulder and the other reaching for a tile on the table.

His hands were beautiful, with distinct knuckles, long and clean; even the act of picking up a tile seemed particularly pleasing to the eye. 

Since his arrival, the others at the table and the onlookers nearby had grown notably quieter. Evidently, Young Master Xie held a considerable amount of authority among his relatives.

After he took over, Ye An’s tiles this round were considerably better than before. She regained her confidence and stared at the table with anticipation, her eyes shining.

Seeing the tile which completed her winning hand being discarded onto the table across from her, Ye An smiled excitedly and was about to push her tiles down when Xie Yan’s tangmei* sitting in the seat before her pushed her tiles down excitedly and exclaimed, “Mahjong!*”

tangmei – a term to address a younger female cousin from the patriarchal line

Mahjong – Mahjong is a tile-based game that was developed in the 19th century in China and it is played by four players. When you win, you declare “Mahjong”. To learn more, Google. 

Ye An: “……”

Xie Shuo: “……”

The north wind hurtled past, carrying with it swirling fallen leaves.

Tangmei felt a sudden chill behind her. 

Beside her, Xie Shuo’s aunt was first taken aback and couldn’t help but burst into laughter. Others joined in, unable to hold back their amusement.

Xie Shuo’s handsome faced instantly turned sour.

Facing his soured expression, tangmei nervously started putting up her tiles one by one, saying, “Um… I can also… not Mahjong…”

Ye An was also taken aback for a moment before glancing at the brooding man above her and couldn’t help bursting into laughter.

That night, they didn’t stay at the ancestral home. On the way back, Ye An was still amused as she thought of the scene earlier.  

She had thought he would dominate the game and recover face for her, but she didn’t expect the tide to turn over.

It seemed that even Young Master Xie couldn’t dominate everyone all the time. 

Xie Shuo caught sight of the radiant smile on her face, and his tense expression gradually eased. It had been quite some time since he had seen her smile like that. 

With the alcohol up in his head, he felt a little drowsy. Leaning back in his seat, he closed his eyes.

It was silent inside the car, and the faint light illuminated his features. 

After musing over the scene from earlier, Ye An turned around and saw his long eyelashes. Her heart stirred slightly, and she couldn’t resist reaching out to touch them. 

However, midway through the motion, she remembered something, paused, and pulled her hand back. Her smile also faded. 

By the time they reached home, it had already turned midnight. 

As the new year arrived, fireworks bloomed in the night sky, bursting open in clusters. 

Xie Shuo was quite drunk. Ye An helped him upstairs, tidied up his clothes, and got his PJs ready to take a shower. 

While tidying up, she couldn’t help but frown. “You just recovered your vision, and you’re still on meds. You should drink less from now on. What if something happens again?”

Xie Shuo watched her with half-closed eyes from the side. Her familiar, subtle fragrance lingered in the air, and her figure fuzzy. 

Ye An finished tidying his clothes and turned around to help him up. Unexpectedly, he couldn’t maintain his balance, stumbled forward, and inadvertently pinned her against the closet.

The overhead light cast its glow, and she looked up in surprise. Her fair complexion was radiant, the brightness in her eyes concealed by shadows.

A burning breath of alcohol hit her as she leaned against the closet door. Meeting his heavily intoxicated gaze, her grip on the pajamas in her hand nearly faltered.

Xie Shuo pressed against her, his expression absent-minded, as if he was trying to make out something. After a moment’s pause, he lowered his head and kissed her.

In the stillness of the night, the only sound was the rhythm of their breaths. After a while. the weight on top of her finally lifted. Xie Shuo stood upright, swaying unsteadily as he made his way out.

Looking at his retreating figure, Ye An was dazed for a moment before following him.

The next day, it was the first day of Chinese New Year, and they spent the entire day wishing a happy new year or being wished one. By night, Ye An was exhausted. After taking a shower, she collapsed into bed and fell asleep. 

Suddenly, Xie Shuo asked her, “Are we going to your mother’s place tomorrow or to the Ye family’s?”

Ye An struggled to lift her eyelids and was absentminded for a moment before realizing the question. After some thought, she replied, “Let’s go to the Ye residence.”

Although she disliked Ye Yuan Nian and didn’t want to step foot into the Ye residence again, she couldn’t ignore the fact that their marriage had initially been made with his help. If they didn’t visit, he might come knocking at their door. 

After Ye An said that, she wearily closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

Gazing at her serene sleeping face, a myriad of emotions flashed across Xie Shuo’s eyes. It took a while before he closed his eyes as well.

Early the next morning, they each held a gift box and went to the Ye residence.

When Ye Yuan Nian saw them, he became somewhat excited. His middle-aged, plump face was adorned with a wide grin. 

Ye An wasn’t particularly interested in putting on a show of father-daughter love, so after the New Year greetings, she quietly sat down and sipped her tea. However, Ye Yuan Nian’s attention today wasn’t on her but on Xie Shuo, talking to him incessantly.

Xie Shuo, who was usually so aloof and taciturn, surprisingly exhibited patience in responding to Ye Yuan Nian’s constant chatter. He even engaged in the conversation with a gentle tone from time to time. 

As the conversation continued, Ye An had drank a lot of tea and had to excuse herself to use the restroom. When she returned, she happened to overhear Ye Yuan Nian discussing an investment project with Xie Shuo. The gist of it was that he was hoping Xie Shuo could assist in some way.

Ye An’s expression turned cold, and she walked over to Xie Shuo, interrupting their conversation before he could respond. “My stomach’s not feeling well. How about we head home first?”

The words were directed at Xie Shuo, and he looked at her upon hearing them.

Ye Yuan Nian immediately asked with concern, “An An, what’s wrong? Do you have a stomachache?”

“It’s nothing, I probably just caught a chill last night.”

Ye An smiled and pulled Xie Shuo’s arm to stand up. “We’ll come to visit you another day.”

Ye Yuan Nian wanted to detain them, but seeing her like this, he dropped it and walked them to the door. 

Once they left the Ye residence, Ye An’s smile faded and she turned to Xie Shuo and asked, “Did he ask you to invest in his project?”

Xie Shuo didn’t deny it. “En, his project encountered some issues and needs additional funding.”

Ye An immediately declared, “You’re not allowed to help him!”

Xie Shuo looked at her, seeming somewhat surprised. 

Ye An’s tone turned cold and sarcastic. “I knew it. Once your vision was restored, he couldn’t wait to come and take advantage of the situation. He tasted it once, and now he wants a second helping?”

Xie Shuo remained silent. He was aware of the strained relationship between her and Ye Yuan Nian, but he hadn’t expected it to be this severe.

Seeing his silence, Ye An asked, “Do you think I’m too excessive?”

She turned her face away, gazing out of the car window, somewhat dazed, her voice softer.

“Some pains, once inflicted, can never be undone or compensated for. I’ve repaid what I owed him. Anything beyond that, I can’t give, nor do I want to.”

She had a rough idea of how much Ye Yuan Nian had gained through her marriage to the Xie family, although she hadn’t explicitly asked.

From that moment on, she had completely settled the score with him.

Xie Shuo looked at her fair side profile for a moment before reaching out to hold her hand, which was resting on her lap. “If you don’t want me to help, then I won’t help.”

Ye An’s eyelashes fluttered, and she glanced down at the hand he was holding, feeling a bit strange inside. 

She moved her fingers, thinking about pulling her hand away, but after hesitating for a couple of seconds, she ultimately let him hold it.

She glanced at him and thought to herself, once the divorce was finalized, even if Ye Yuan Nian wanted to leech off of him, he wouldn’t have the chance.

The Spring Festival quickly came to an end, and after the holiday, Ye An returned to her busy life in the recording studio, working long hours and often coming home late. 

The dubbing show she was part of before the New Year had aired during the Spring Festival, and it was well-received. Thanks to her performance on the show, her fan base had once again grown, and she gained several new followers on Weibo.

During the airing of the show, she even trended once on social media, and her identity as the wife of Junming Group’s CEO was dug up once again, generating a lot of buzz. 

During her breaks, Ye An would look at the flood of DMs and comments on Weibo, as well as the confessions in her fan club. She couldn’t help but think, Unlucky in love, lucky in work. Things don’t seem so bad.

As for Xie Shuo, he appeared to be even busier than her. After the holiday, he headed straight to Haicheng for a business trip.

With that, he was gone for a whole week.

At 4:30 pm, the sunlight cast a warm glow among the towering skyscrapers, creating a colorful reflection on the glass walls. 

After finishing his last meeting, Xie Shuo returned to the hotel and sat by the French window, closing his eyes to rest.

Zhong Fu brewed a cup of coffee and placed it on the nearby coffee table.

Leaning back against the sofa with his eyes still closed, Xie Shuo asked, “Have you booked the flight?”

Zhong Fu replied, “Yes, I’ve booked it for 9:30 pm.”

Xie Shuo uttered an “en” before continuing to rest with his eyes closed.

Seeing this, Zhong Fu didn’t disturb him and went over to the adjacent room.

The sun slowly moved westward. Xie Shuo rested for a while when he suddenly felt a stinging sensation in his eyes, even a hint of pain.

He instinctively propped his forehead with his hand, opened his eyes, and was greeted by a blurry darkness. Initially, it was just a small spot, but it gradually spread, eventually covering everything in a pitch-black void, as if night had suddenly descended. 

A hint of panic appeared on Xie Shuo’s usually composed face. He tried to widen his eyes, but the world before him remained shrouded in obscurity, and he couldn’t see anything.

After his vision had been restored, he did occasionally experience fleeting moments of shadows passing before his eyes. However, they were usually brief, and with a short break and rest for his eyes, they would disappear. He had never encountered a situation as severe as this before.

He closed his eyes again, attempting to calm himself. 

After approximately ten minutes, he opened them once more… The black haze had not dissipated; he could only faintly discern a feeble glimmer of light.

Long-forgotten fear surged within him. The pain in his eyes grew more intense. In a state of panic, he reached out his hand and found the edge of the coffee table. His pale and slender fingers gripped onto it. The veins on the back of his hand became prominent, and beads of sweat formed on his forehead.  

Suddenly, his hand accidentally brushed against the cup of coffee on the table. The cup toppled over and crashed onto the floor with a loud noise. The spilled coffee ran down the edge of the table, dripping steadily to the floor…

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