Xie Shuo’s declaration of pursuing her was more than just a show; he didn’t immediately push her to return to the Xie family estate.
Ye An wasn’t sure how he had explained things to Xie Baiyan and Grandfather Xie when he returned home, but the Xie family had tacitly accepted her staying outside. No one had called to question her whereabouts.
However, rumors about their divorce were still circulating in private.
After resting for two days, Ye An readjusted herself, and under Xiang Quan’s urging, returned to the studio.
Just as she entered the studio, before her seat could even warm up, the receptionist knocked on her door, holding a large bouquet.
Ye An was a little surprised but stood up to accept the flowers. A curious colleague peeked into her office and asked, “An An, who sent you these flowers?”
Another voice chimed in, “Do you even need to ask? Who would be so imprudent as to encroach on CEO Xie’s territory?”
“Well, I haven’t seen flowers being sent here before…”
“Just because it hasn’t happened before doesn’t mean it won’t now…”
The hushed whispers from outside continued as Ye An remained silent. Looking down at the flowers in her arms, the delicate petals were still adorned with dew.
She absentmindedly fiddled with the bouquet but didn’t find a card attached. She smiled slightly.
There wasn’t much work to do in the morning, just organizing some files. In the afternoon, Xiang Quan came over wearily, having stayed up all night. He mentioned a promising animation movie that was looking for voice actors for the characters, asking if she was interested.
Ye An skimmed through the materials he handed her and asked, “Are negotiations done?”
Leaning against the desk, Xiang Quan said, “Almost, just depends on your schedule.”
Since the dubbing variety show, Ye An’s fame and market value have increased significantly. She no longer needed to actively vie for opportunities; contracts were lining up to work with her. There were even offers for her to transition to acting.
“I’ll take it.”
Hearing her quick acceptance, Xiang Quan couldn’t shake off the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He took a few steps away but then turned back, hesitating. “This extended leave you took, it’s not really because of a divorce, is it?”
He couldn’t be blamed for his suspicions because every time she took an extended leave, she seemed to come up with some unexpected “surprises.”
Ye An didn’t reply but gestured with her eyes to the flowers lying nearby.
Xiang Quan: “?”
Ye An smiled. “My husband sent them.”
Xiang Quan: “…….”
The afternoon passed quickly, and around 6 p.m., Ye An headed downstairs with others from the studio.
Just as they walked out of the building, she spotted a familiar car parked in front. The car window was rolled down halfway, revealing the stern side profile of a man.
Xie Shuo was sitting in the car, engrossed in reviewing documents, with his long eyelashes casting a slight shadow.
Ye An paused her steps. Since returning from Qianyue Mountain, he has resumed his hectic schedule. She thought he wouldn’t have the time to come and have dinner with her these days, but she was surprised to find that he didn’t mind working in the car and waiting for her.
The chauffeur in the front noticed Ye An coming out and informed Xie Shuo quietly.
Xie Shuo looked up, his serious expression turning gentle in an instant. Putting away his documents, he opened the car door and stepped out.
His tall and noble figure, exuding an air of grace, stood beside the car, becoming a unique sight.
“Who’s that? So handsome!”
Infatuated voices filled the air around Ye An, and someone nudged her. “An An jie, is that your husband?”
Although the rumor was clarified online, people were still gossiping about whether she had divorced or not in private, especially since they had never seen the couple being affectionate in public.
Witnessing it now left them somewhat incredulous.
Ye An felt her face warm up, and she paused before walking up to him. Remembering that he was still courting her, she intentionally lifted her chin and said in a voice only he could hear, “If you came to ask me out for dinner, I’m afraid you’ve come late. I’ve already promised to eat with them.”
Hearing this, Xie Shuo glanced at her before shifting his gaze beyond her, his expression indifferent.
Without waiting for him to speak, the others immediately understood the situation and began pushing each other to leave, waving to Ye An. “An An, we’re heading off.”
Ye An: “…….”
A bunch of spineless people!
Xie Shuo smiled and turned his gaze back to her.
Ye An felt a bit irked, thinking she shouldn’t let him have his way so easily. She turned around to leave.
Xie Shuo grabbed her wrist and pulled her in front of him, saying, “I waited for you for a long time.”
A warm breath brushed against her ear, and the brilliant spring sunset painted the sky before them. Meeting his gaze, Ye An’s heart fluttered.
It was rush hour when everyone was getting off work, with people coming and going. They couldn’t continue standing there without drawing attention. It could even lead to them becoming headline news or a hot topic tomorrow. Ye An didn’t argue with him any further and allowed him to half-embrace her as they got into the car.
After getting in the car, Xie Shuo put away the documents he had been reviewing earlier. Seeing his action, Ye An couldn’t help but ask, “You’re not planning to look at those documents during dinner, are you?”
Xie Shuo looked up and thought about the past. “How about you read them to me?”
Ye An immediately glared at him. “Are you here to invite me to dinner or to make me work?”
With this level of awareness, he still thought he could win his wife back?
Heartsore on his end!
Xie Shuo smiled. He wasn’t actually so busy. It had just been a long time since he heard her voice, and he missed it.
His gaze moved downward and settled on her fair and delicate hand, instinctively reaching out to hold it.
Ye An looked down for a moment before suddenly withdrawing her hand, smiling innocently. “Until you’ve got me, even holding hands is considered overstepping.”
Throughout the entire dinner, Xie Shuo hadn’t touched her even once.
On the way back to the condo, Xie Shuo glanced her way frequently. Recalling his cool and disdainful demeanor from the past, Ye An pretended not to notice.
They arrived at the condo at 9 p.m.
The spring night breeze was gentle and soft. This time, Xie Shuo behaved as a true gentleman. He didn’t come up with excuses to stay the night but instead extended an invitation before leaving, “There’s a friend’s party tomorrow night. Will you accompany me?”
Considering his decent performance today, Ye An didn’t tease him and graciously accepted.
Xie Shuo turned to leave, and Ye An walked him to the door. Seeing his unsatisfied appearance, she gently patted his shoulder.
Turning around, Xie Shuo felt her soft body pressing closer, with her familiar faint scent and a shallow breath like a breeze brushing past his ear.
“We can’t hold hands, but I can give you a quick hug.”
Ye An hugged him briefly, not giving him time to react. She withdrew swiftly and closed the door.
Xie Shuo was momentarily stunned and looked at the tightly shut door. After a while, a smile tugged at the corners of his lips.
Little did he know that this dragonfly’s touch of a hug would be the most intimate interaction between them for the following week.
The next afternoon, Xie Shuo finished his meeting early and was just about to go pick up Ye An when he suddenly received a call from her, saying that there was a last-minute interview at the studio related to the variety show she did before the New Year. It was going to take a bit longer, and she was afraid she wouldn’t have time to accompany him to the party.
On the phone, Ye An sounded a bit guilty as she apologized and tried to pacify him. Then, someone called her, and she hastily hung up.
Standing by the floor-to-ceiling window in his office, the smile on Xie Shuo’s face faded visibly, but he couldn’t bring himself to get angry at her.
After standing there for a while, he finally just massaged his temples and went to the party alone.
At the party, wine cups clinked together, and gambling chips lay all over; both Jiang Shiyan and Yan Fei were also present.
Everyone was chatting and laughing. Seeing the seat next to Xie Shuo empty, Jiang Shiyan arched an eyebrow with a grin of rejoicing in his misfortune. “Why didn’t you bring your wife? Did she really run away?”
Xie Shuo shot him a cold glance and ignored him, simply picking up the glass of wine in front of him and taking a sip.
Jiang Shiyan patted him on the shoulder and said, “Do you want me to impart some wisdom to you?”
Perhaps finding him too annoying, Xie Shuo finally retorted, “Do you have much wisdom?”
Eternal Bachelor Jiang Shiyan: “……..”
That night, Ye An didn’t wait for Xie Shuo to pick her up and returned to the condo by herself.
Xie Shuo had a few drinks. Receiving her call informing him that she had already arrived home, he decided not to disturb her further.
After completing the interview, Ye An immediately took on the voice acting project and the ending theme song for the animated film, as suggested by Xiang Quan.
With the film production in a rush, once the voice test was approved, she threw herself into work.
This busy schedule left very little time for her and Xie Shuo to meet during the day, except for him picking her up at night after work.
Xie Shuo had his own share of responsibilities at his company, which meant he couldn’t take care of her all the time. Their occasional dinners were also rather rushed.
Xie Shuo specifically went and searched for Ye An’s interview. In the video, her smile was bright and radiant, and her eyes sparkled as if they held the entire universe within them.
At this moment, he was starting to regret his roundabout route. If he had known, he would’ve just confessed already. Continuing like this, it might take ages to get her back.
In the past, she had so much energy and patience to be with him every day, mainly due to his blindness, accommodating him in every way. Now, as she left his side, she was still thriving.
He even started to doubt whether she was truly repaying a kindness.
Ye An had no idea that Young Master Xie had been overthinking so much. She was busy in the recording studio every day, straining her voice.
Fortunately, dubbing for a movie didn’t take as long as working on a drama. After a week, she finally finished her work.
After leaving work, she spent an entire afternoon relaxing. She decided to talk to Xiang Quan about not taking on such urgent jobs henceforth. If this keeps up, she would age prematurely, and no amount of skincare could salvage her; her voice would probably be ruined, too.
Who knew that as soon as she brought up the topic, Xiang Quan asked hesitantly, “There’s a new project that’s relatively easy, and it doesn’t require long hours or tight schedules. I’m not sure if you’d be interested, though.”
Seeing his perplexed expression, Ye An couldn’t help but wonder if this new project involved some explicit or risque content.
“What kind of script is it? Let me take a look.”
Xiang Quan: “It’s not some script. It’s a request from Director Yuan’s friend, who really likes your voice and wants you to accompany him…”
Ye An immediately took a step back. “I’m selling my craft, not myself.”
Xiang Quan coughed. “I misspoke… He asked if you’d like to work as a personal assistant for a month. You’ll be reading documents and nothing else; food and lodging are all covered.”
Ye An’s head was filled with question marks. There were actually people with such service needs!
Xiang Quan paused for a moment before adding, “Daily wage is ten thousand.”
Ye An: ….. Too much money to burn?
Ye An speculated that this friend of Yuan He might be an elderly tycoon suffering from late-stage hearing problems with poor eyesight and just wanted to have someone to talk to due to loneliness.
“Director Yuan said that his friend is absolutely trustworthy. If you’re not comfortable, he will personally come tomorrow to talk to you.”
Ye An had already conjured up a mental image of an elderly gentleman with white hair and blurry vision. She wasn’t particularly worried about being deceived by Yuan He, as she was still his CEO’s wife in name. It’s just… there was something about this job that didn’t feel right.
“I’ll think about it and get back to you later.”
Out of giving face to Yuan He, she didn’t outright refuse.
“Sure, let me know when you’ve made your decision.”
Outside the office, the setting sun cast a warm glow and painted the sky in shades of orange. Ye An looked at the time, and it was approaching 6 p.m.
Taking out her phone, she scrolled to find Xie Shuo’s contact and finally pressed the call button after deliberating for half a day.
Although they had agreed that he would pursue her again, it only felt right for her to call him first, considering she had stood him up before.
The call connected quickly, but there was silence from the other end.
Ye An absentmindedly fiddled with a pen on her desk and asked, “I’ve finished work. Do you… want to have dinner together?”
Before she could even utter “I’ll treat you,” she heard his low and deep voice from the other end, saying, “I’ve just arrived downstairs at your studio.”
Ye An quickly responded, “I’ll be right down.”
Just as her words slipped out, she felt somewhat vexed that she couldn’t keep her cool.
After she gathered her belongings, she went to the restroom to touch up her makeup and tidied her hair before heading downstairs.
Xie Shuo’s familiar car was spotted parked by the road. He was sitting inside with the window rolled down, wearing a white button-down while basking in the glow of the sunset. His side profile looked like a finely painted portrait.
Ye An walked over to the car, and the chauffeur had already opened the door for her.
“Finished with the project?”
Seeing her get into the car, Xie Shuo turned around slightly and asked.
Ye An nodded. “En, I can rest for a couple of days.”
After saying this, she glanced at him, waiting for him to suggest something like going on a trip. However, she waited for half a day without any response.
Ye An couldn’t help but feel peeved. She had just stood him up once; did he have to be angry for so long?
It wasn’t like she did it on purpose.
The scenery along the street passed by until they were seated in a private dining room at the restaurant. It was then that Xie Shuo said insipidly, “I’ll have to go on a business trip in two days.”
Ye An was taken aback.
She finally had some free time, but he was going away again.
However, she was already accustomed to such situations and didn’t show much surprise. She just asked where he would be going and then picked up her chopsticks.
Midway through their dinner, she suddenly remembered what Xiang Quan had told her earlier and couldn’t help but share it as an amusing anecdote. “Wanna hear something interesting? There’s someone who’s so weird to want to hire me as a personal assistant, specifically to read documents for him, and he’s offering a daily wage of ten thousand.”
Xie Shuo looked up and asked, “Really? Did you agree to it?”
Ye An picked up a slice of fish and placed it in her bowl. “Not yet. I’m not very interested.”
A hint of curiosity flashed past Xie Shuo’s eyes. “Why?”
Ye An explained, “Working as a personal assistant for an older person carries more risks. If something goes wrong or if the person is very difficult, it could be very troublesome.”
Xie Shuo’s hand holding his chopsticks paused, and his expression turned a little strange. “How do you know it’s an older person?”
Ye An looked up. “You don’t need to guess; it’s obvious. Why else would he be willing to pay such a high price for someone to read to him? He must be elderly, and his eyes aren’t good, which is why he’s looking for assistance.”
After a pause, she continued, “But it’s still a bit strange. He’s so wealthy, why not use AI instead?”
After a moment of silence, Xie Shuo said, “Maybe he thinks that you have a nice voice. If you have the time, you could give it a try.”
She was surprised that he was encouraging her to take on this job. Perplexed, Ye An glanced at him. Xie Shuo avoided her gaze and considerately served her a piece of spare ribs.
Ye An didn’t dwell on it and moved on.
Later that night, Ye An lay in bed, and just as she was about to drift off to sleep. As she closed her eyes, a thought crossed her mind, seemingly triggered by Xie Shuo’s unusual words during dinner.
The next morning, Yuan He surprisingly came in person to discuss this matter with her, seemingly determined to seek her acceptance of the job.
“Just one month, you can make any requests.”
The feeling of something being off crept back into Ye An’s heart as she contemplated. Once again, the thought that occurred to her the previous night flashed through her mind.
After a moment, she turned to Yuan He and asked, “Can I know the person’s name first?”
“His surname is Wen.”
Seemingly anticipating her question, Yuan He didn’t beat around the bush. He handed her the contract that he had already drafted. “This is a rough draft of the contract.”
Taking the contract, Ye An scrutinized it. It only contained the other party’s surname with no mention of their age or occupation—super mysterious.
The surname was Wen.
…. If she remembered correctly, Xie Shuo’s mom, her mother-in-law, had the surname Wen.
A light flickered past Ye An’s eyes.
After reading the contract, she mumbled to herself for a moment before smiling at him and saying, “Sure, I can sign the contract, but I’d like to meet Mr. Wen in person first.”
Yuan He was momentarily taken aback.
Ye An placed the contract back down, resting her hand on the paper, smiling. “This request shouldn’t be too much, right?”
Yuan He seemed somewhat hesitant, pausing for a few seconds before saying, “It should be fine. I’ll go and ask.”
Shortly after, Yuan He got the answer that Mr. Wen agreed to meet.
The meeting place was at a private club with a Tang Dynasty-style decor.
It was springtime, and the flowers and trees were lush. The palace lanterns hanging along the hallway were exquisite, and as the wooden doors were pushed open, Ye An followed the server inside. The room was filled with the fragrance of incense.
A massive folding screen partitioned the view, adorned with an exquisite landscape painting, making it impossible to see who was on the other side.
Ye An: …. It’s just a meeting, but they’re making it seem like an audience with an emperor.
Ye An sat down on her side of the screen, and a server approached to pour tea with graceful movements. The young tea leaves floated to the surface of the porcelain cup, emitting a delicate fragrance.
Waiting for the server to leave, she stared at the silhouette behind the partition for a moment before saying…
“Hello, Mr. Wen.”