Faced with Xie Shuo’s request to want a mile when given an inch, Ye An grinned and leaned on his shoulder, moving closer to his ear and saying in a deliberate, alluring tone, “You want me to sleep here?”
Xie Shuo looked up, his slender and long fingers resting on her waist.
In the next second, Ye An suddenly dropped her smile and said coldly, “Keep dreaming.”
With that, she mercilessly pushed him away, got up, and walked out of the room. Her departing figure was graceful and decisive, with a hint of contentment at getting back at him.
Thinking back to when they had just gotten married, she had tried every seductive trick in the book besides laying bare on top of him, but he had remained indifferent. It could be said that he had a heart of stone.
Now, the tables had turned. If she didn’t leave him hanging for a while, she would feel sorry for herself in the past, who had faced his indifference.
Besides, he had just suffered from a severe headache, so it was better for him to rest peacefully.
As Xie Shuo watched her leave, his smile remained. He sat for a while before getting up to take a shower.
In the quiet of the night, outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, the sound of the ocean tides surged, and moonlight spilled like scales.
The two of them spent their last night on the island and the following morning, boarded a private plane to return to China.
When they landed, it was just past 7 p.m., with dusk settling in and the city lights beginning to glow.
Ye An didn’t return to the Xie family estate with Xie Shuo, instead, she headed back to the condo… Even if she were to move back, she needed a couple of days to rest as her things were still all over the place.
Enduring the wear and tear of travel, when she returned to the condo, she quickly showered and went to bed, sleeping until noon the next day.
Around 2 p.m., Xie Shuo called. Ye An initially thought he couldn’t wait and was eager to remind her to return to the Xie family estate. To her surprise, he told her that Grandfather Xie wasn’t feeling well and asked if she wanted to go with him to visit.
All things considered, after she married into the Xie family, Grandfather Xie treated her quite well. Now that he was unwell, it was both reasonable and proper for her to pay him a visit.
Ye An quickly changed her clothes and accompanied Xie Shuo to the Xie family estate.
When they arrived, Grandfather Xie was sitting in the courtyard sunbathing while admiring the flowers. Seeing the two of them, he broke into a warm and kind smile, “An An is here too?”
The flowers in the courtyard bloomed like a brocade, and the sky was painted in hues of pink and lavender. Ye An walked beside Xie Shuo, holding his arm, just as she always had. She greeted in the same gentle and obedient manner, “Ye Ye*.”
ye ye – a term to address one’s paternal grandfather; wives follow their husbands in addressing their elders
Grandfather Xie glanced at Xie Shuo and then at Ye An before sighing. “You’ve suffered.”
Ye An was a bit puzzled.
After being confused for a moment, she realized that he might be referring to their separation.
As expected, he continued, “A’Shuo was muddled momentarily, but he’s come to his senses now. Don’t be angry with him. Come back home soon…”
From his words, Ye An finally learned how Xie Shuo had explained their separation to his family.
It turned out that he had taken all the blame upon himself, telling Grandfather Xie and Xie Baiyan that it was his insistence on divorce that had led to their separation.
For this, he had received a scolding. After all, she married into the family when he was blind. Now, shortly after his recovery, he was pushing for a divorce. It inevitably left a negative impression for others to think that the Xie family was unfeeling and ungrateful.
Grandfather Xie had always valued the family’s reputation, and upon learning of this, he seriously scolded Xie Shuo.
In the lovely spring sunshine, butterflies fluttered by. Ye An couldn’t help but turn to glance at the man beside her.
Xie Shuo seemed to have the same mind as her and happened to look in her direction, too.
Their gazes met, and Ye An inexplicably felt her face warming up, so she quickly averted her eyes.
Springtime had a way of making one feel a bit restless.
Grandfather Xie held their hands together and exhorted them for half a day to reconcile, which made Ye An suspect his illness was exaggerated, and that he was acting as a mediator for Xie Shuo.
Eventually, he brought up another matter. “By the way, your Uncle Xin is hosting a banquet tomorrow. He’s sent an invitation. Since I can’t attend, both you and Yu Ran should go.”
Xie Shuo obliged.
That evening, they left the family estate after dinner, and Xie Shuo, as usual, drove Ye An back to the condo.
The street lights flickered along the way, casting a warm ambiance. Ye An was gazing outside the window when she suddenly heard Xie Shuo say, “Will you accompany me to the Xin family’s banquet tomorrow?”
Ye An turned around and asked, “What time?”
Xie Shuo replied, “7 p.m., I’ll come to pick you up in the afternoon.”
Ye An nodded and said, “Alright.”
Xie Shuo, however, continued to look at her, seemingly worried.
Ye An understood that he was afraid she might stand him up like she had last time. Holding back a smile, she leaned over and asked, “What if I have something come up at the last minute tomorrow?”
Xie Shuo held her hand and reminded her, “You signed a one-month contract.”
Ye An raised her chin and said, “That doesn’t count; you haven’t even paid me my salary.”
Her eyes glistened, and Xie Shuo’s gaze shifted slightly. He raised his hand and grabbed her chin. “When the month is up, I’ll pay you.”
Lately, he had developed a habit of making such intimate gestures, and Ye An felt a tickling sensation wherever his fingers touched. She straightened up and put some distance between them.
The next day at 3 p.m., Xie Shuo had a couture gown sent to the condo, along with a professional makeup artist.
The gown was black and made of lightweight fabric that accentuated her graceful figure. As she moved, the skirt flowed like gentle ripples.
To complement the dress, the makeup artist made Ye An’s makeup to be slightly more alluring and smokey.
After getting ready, Ye An walked up to Xie Shuo in high heels and blinked. “Pretty?”
Looking at her, Xie Shuo suddenly remembered the day of their wedding and smiled before reaching out his hand toward her. “Very pretty.”
At 7 p.m., the banquet venue was brightly lit.
As they entered the bustling hall, they immediately attracted the attention of many.
Although the rumors about their divorce had been suppressed online, their gossip still circulated within the affluent circle. After all, they were rarely seen in public together.
Seeing the couple walking hand in hand in such an intimate manner, onlookers couldn’t resist but be a little surprised and engage in hushed conversations with each other.
Ye An pretended not to notice and walked arm in arm with Xie Shuo, not glancing around as they headed inside.
Due to Xie Shuo’s status, many people came over to offer their toasts and engage in conversations. Ye An accompanied him for a while but began to feel a bit overwhelmed. She excused herself to the restroom.
When she returned to the hall, she had initially intended to ignore Xie Shuo and grab a bite to eat to fill her stomach. However, in the short time she was away, a young lady appeared by Xie Shuo’s side. She wore a fitted emerald green gown, slender and slim, and was holding a glass of wine while talking to him, with admiration written all over her face.
A surge of nameless anger suddenly rushed to her head. She was right here, and he dared to attract the attention of others. Did they really think she was just a decoration?
The crystal chandeliers on the ceiling shone brilliantly, casting an intense light.
Taking a deep breath, Ye An pushed her hair behind her shoulders, revealing her exquisite and fair collarbone. She walked over elegantly in her high heels.
Coming to Xie Shuo’s side, she reached out and linked her arm with his, affectionately calling out, “Honey.”
As she spoke, she discreetly pinched his forearm twice.
Xie Shuo turned around.
Ye An glanced at him and then at the woman in front of her.
Even after seeing Ye An, the women showed no intention of backing down. Instead, a hint of disdain flashed in her eyes. Who didn’t know they were on the verge of divorce, so what was there to pretend about?
She waited for Xie Shuo to show annoyance and push her away. However, Xie Shuo looked down at Ye An tenderly. “What’s wrong?”
“I feel a little dizzy,” Ye An said in a soft, tender voice, suppressing her goosebumps.
“I’ll accompany you to sit over there for a bit?”
Xie Shuo gently held her slender fingers on his arm.
Ye An smiled. “Sure.”
Seeing the two of them leave so intimately, the smile on the woman’s face froze, and her complexion noticeably changed.
… Weren’t they rumored to have a cold relationship and be on the brink of divorce?
What’s going on?
Not only her but others who witnessed the scene were also surprised and began to discuss it quietly.
“Who said they were getting a divorce? It doesn’t look like it…”
When they reached a less crowded lounge, Ye An finally let go of Xie Shuo. She turned to face him and smiled. “Did you have a good time chatting?”
It was a loaded question, and Xie Shuo replied with a strong desire to survive, “No, we didn’t chat.”
Ye An snorted lightly, clearly not believing him.
Actually, she anticipated this kind of situation. Given his family background and conditions, once news of their divorce got out, there would be no shortage of heiresses trying to get close to him.
Xie Shuo gripped her fingers tighter and wrapped his arm around her bare shoulder before whispering, “Take a rest here and grab a bite to eat.”
Ye An poked his chest, displeased. “Why do you always attract so much attention?”
Xie Shuo smiled and guided her toward the sofa.
Ye An just had quite a few drinks, and by now, she was feeling a bit tipsy. She didn’t care about the setting. Slightly tiptoeing, she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned in close, whispering, “I’ll give you a chance to coax me.”
Her rosy lips were just inches away, and Xie Shuo’s gaze became intense.
Ye An raised her chin and instructed him, “Close your eyes now for half a minute. Don’t open them.”
Xie Shuo thought she might be a little drunk and wanted to kiss him. He smiled and closed his eyes.
However, he felt no warmth on his lips even after waiting for half a day.
With one hand hooked around the nape of his neck, Ye An pressed her fingertips against her red lips and applied them to his shirt collar.
He was wearing a white button-up tonight, and the red lipstick stood out on it, eye-catching and meaningful.
“Alright, go on with your business.”
After applying the lipstick, Ye An ruthlessly pushed him away and nudged him on the shoulder. She arched her slender eyebrow, and her expression was wanton.
Now that there was a mark, I dare anyone to covet my man.
Xie Shuo didn’t get the kiss he had wanted. He stared at her red lips for a moment before suddenly grabbing her waist and leaning down to kiss her on the lips, letting go just before she got angry. He then turned and walked away.
He walked into the crowd, holding a glass of wine, and continued to converse with others. At first, he didn’t notice, but as he observed the sidelong glances of people occasionally drifting toward his shirt collar, coupled with their meaningful expressions, he realized something was amiss. He looked down and saw the red mark.
Xie Shuo: “…….”
Seeing there were no more pests around Xie Shuo, Ye An felt pleased. She touched her warm lips, took a dessert, and sat on the sofa with her legs crossed, enjoying her snack.
Not long after, a figure suddenly appeared next to her, with slender legs under a knee-length skirt. It was none other than Xin Li, the young lady from the Xin family.
Naturally, she wouldn’t be absent from the Xin family’s banquet.
She sat down beside Ye An, holding a half-empty glass of wine, before asking, “I heard you and your husband are getting a divorce. Is that true?”
Ye An looked up, but before she could even respond, Xin Li patted her on the shoulder and continued, “No need to be sad. A man as uninteresting as him, if you’re divorcing, then so be it. There’s nothing to be sad about. I’ll introduce someone new to you later.”
She said smugly, and Ye An couldn’t help but smile.
“Let me tell you, men are all like this. The more you care about them, the less they value you…”
Xin Li seemed to be in a bit of a bad mood. As they chatted, she started pouring drinks for both of them. The lively spark in her eyes was now replaced by a tinge of melancholy.
In this kind of event, Ye An couldn’t easily refuse, so she ended up having two drinks with her.
“Isn’t it just a man? What’s the big deal? Buh-bye, then so be it. There are plenty of good-looking and sweet guys out there. Why put up with someone that doesn’t make you happy?”
Xin Li drank pretty fast, so she was drunk very quickly. A rosy blush appeared on her snow-white cheeks, and she spoke without any reservations.
Ye An held up slightly better than her, but she was gradually getting drunk. She slouched on the sofa, her long eyelashes drooping.
Xin Li held the tall crystal glass, her eyes glistening. Blinking, she suddenly asked, “Are you really getting a divorce? If so, I’ll introduce my brother to you. He’s a pretty nice guy, considerate, and gentle with women…”
Just as Xie Shuo finished socializing, he walked through the crowd and overheard this conversation from behind them. Upon hearing this, his expression instantly turned soured.
“It’s true. I’ll go get him right now. You can meet him to see for yourself…”
Xin Li placed her glass down and looked up muddlely. She swayed as she tried to stand up to call someone, but then she met a soured, gloomy face.
Upon seeing Xie Shuo, Ye An was stunned. She lay on the sofa, gazing at the figure in front of her with a bewildered expression.
Despite the bustling atmosphere in the venue, this corner felt like a brewing storm.
Xie Shuo walked up with a sour face and sat down beside Ye An before holding her waist and pulling her into his arms. “What were you guys chatting about?”
Ye Yan winced as her waist was tightly held by him. She tried to push his arm away, but he remained firm, so she snuggled in his arms and said vaguely, “Xin Li said she wants to introduce her brother to me and that her brother is much more interesting than you…”
Xie Shuo’s expression darkened even more, and he held her by the shoulder, helping her stand up before walking away with her, leaving Xin Li behind.
Ye An’s steps were unsteady, and she leaned while asking puzzledly, “Where are we going?”
Xie Shuo held her in his arms as they passed through the lively banquet hall, making their way outside under the various gazes of the guests.
In a corner, Xin Li sat back down, staring at the red alcoholic liquid in the crystal glass before downing it.
Leaning to the side, she lightly held the stem of the glass, lost in thought. Suddenly, she chuckled and got up from the sofa.
Her slim heels tapped lightly on the floor, and she took a step as she saw Xie Yuran standing not far away.
He appeared to have stood there for a long time. Through the layers of dim lights, his handsome features were somewhat indistinct, and his gaze was murky and unclear.
Xin Li paused in her steps and glanced at him before turning and walking in the opposite direction, stumbling through the crowd and disappearing from sight.
Xie Yuran stood still for a while before following her.
On the way back home, Ye An lay in Xie Shuo’s arms, occasionally pulling at his tie and playfully poking his Adam’s apple. Her eyes, like those of a curious child, shone brightly.
After fooling around for a bit, she grew a bit tired and rested against him, her fingers lightly tugging at his shirt.
Once she quieted down a bit, Xie Shuo held her hand and whispered into her ear, “Where are we going?”
Ye An looked up, a hint of bewilderment in them, not fully understanding his question. “Didn’t you say we’re going home?”
Xie Shuo smiled, his eyes slightly intoxicated. His voice seemed to resonate from his chest as he replied, “En, going home.”
When they arrived at the Xie family estate, it was almost 11 p.m.
The spring night breeze was gentle, and the fragrant flowers were enveloped in the moonlight.
Although Ye An was muddle-headed, she hadn’t fallen asleep. She kept her eyes open, and even when the car door opened, she managed to bend down and exit the car.
However, as she stepped out of the car, she staggered and almost fell. Xie Shuo promptly caught her, his arm around her shoulder, his palm against her warm and delicate skin.
Ye An was puzzled for a moment before turning around to support him. “You can’t see, so you need to be careful…”
Xie Shuo: “…….”
She was obviously quite drunk. Seeing her stagger with each step, Xie Shuo decided to just princess-carry her, walking toward inside.
Amidst the silence, the sound of his footsteps echoed.
Being suspended in the air, Ye An wrapped her arms around his neck, staring at his eyes.
“You can’t see, so how can you still carry me?”
Xie Shuo acted as though he hadn’t heard her question. He set her down on the sofa in their bedroom before sitting down beside her, loosening his tie.
Looking around the familiar interior, Ye An subconsciously thought that she had returned to the past when he hadn’t regained his sight.
She nestled close to him, and noticing him loosening his tie, she tugged at his tie.
Xie Shuo looked down and caught hold of her fingers.
His tie was still hanging loosely around his neck, and the lipstick mark from earlier was still visible. Ye An recalled the scene at first and asked while touching the mark, “Be honest, how many women did you talk to tonight?”
Xie Shuo embraced her and said, “Just you.”
“Who are you trying to fool?”
Ye An didn’t believe his nonsense, so she tugged at his tie.
“I’m telling you, if you dare to mess around with other women outside, I’ll go find someone else…”
She looked up and saw his smooth jaw. Just like earlier, when she was drunk, she had a thought to kiss him.
Xie Shuo was already accustomed to this, and his hand supported her at her lower back, allowing her to continue.
After kissing him for a bit, Ye An released him and continued to rest against him dazedly.
Holding her shoulder, Xie Shuo’s gaze landed on her rosy lips. Just as he was about to lean down for a kiss, Ye An suddenly pushed herself up against his chest and stumbled to stand firm.
“Are you going to take a shower? I’ll go get your clothes for you…”
She thought it was just like before and swayed her way to the closet.
Worried that she might fall, Xie Shuo got up and followed her.
Inside the closet, Ye An familiarly pulled out a men’s robe. When she turned around, she almost bumped into his embrace.
Seeing her in a daze, Xie Shuo took the robe, tossed it aside, and casually picked out a nightgown before wrapping his arm around her shoulder and leading her outside the closet.
“Go take a shower first.”
After entering the bathroom, he let her go.
“What about you?”
To save time, Xie Shuo reassured her, “I’ve already showered.”
Ye An relaxed and then removed the hair clips in her hair before undressing herself in front of him just like she used to.
This wasn’t the first time she had done such a thing, and she didn’t find it inappropriate since he couldn’t see anyway.
Xie Shuo neatly placed the nightgown down for her before turning around to check up on her and was slightly taken aback.
This wasn’t the first time he had seen her change as if no one was around.
The long gown fell to the floor gently like water.
In the instant her skin was exposed to the slightly chilly air, Ye An suddenly came back to her senses and realized something before turning around to look at him.
The bathroom light was rather warm, outlining her alluring curves.
Xie Shuo’s gaze intensified as he picked up the gown that had fallen to the floor, with a smile in his eyes…
“Why aren’t you continuing?”