Epilogue 8: Xin Li & Xie Yuran
In October, Zhang Muqing really did return to the country.
The Zhang family hosted a banquet for her, and both brothers from the Xie family were among the invitees.
Since losing his sight, Xie Shuo had been living reclusively, rarely appearing in public, and he had no intention of attending. Therefore, Xie Yuran was going alone.
Having heard the news from her brother, Xin Li spent a restless night feeling frustrated.
Picking up her phone, she opened and exited her chat with Xie Yuran several times.
She strongly wanted to send him an unreasonable message, commanding him not to go, but she was acutely aware that she didn’t have that right.
These days, his tolerance toward her was nothing more than just using her to pass the time, just playing with her.
Ultimately, she threw her phone away and punched her pillow for a while to vent, forcing herself to forget about it.
The next day, Xin Yu came to visit her. Seeing her looking downcast, he couldn’t help but frown and advised, “Since he’s not interested in you, don’t delude yourself into approaching him.”
Hearing these words, Xin Li became even more depressed. She also knew that what her brother said was correct, and she should cut her losses in time to save face but she was not reconciled.
Not long after the banquet at the Zhang family, the Xie family also hosted one—Xie Baiyan’s birthday celebration.
Due to Xie Shuo’s blindness, this birthday banquet was relatively low-key with only a few invited guests.
Originally, Xin Li was not on the guest list and had little interest in attending. However, upon hearing that Zhang Muqing would be there, her interest sparked, and she asked Xin Yuanhong to ask for an invitation for her.
It had been a while since she and Xie Yuran had seen each other. They had just been talking through the internet lately. Even if they were to sever ties completely, they needed to clarify things face to face.
Xin Yuanhong thought she just wanted to attend the banquet for fun, so he didn’t ask further.
On the day of the banquet, Xin Li hired a professional makeup artist and spent four to five hours getting ready. She didn’t go until she was satisfied with her appearance.
Inside the banquet hall, it was brightly lit as if it were daytime. As soon as Xin Li entered, she spotted Zhang Muqing. Compared to a year ago, she hadn’t changed much, still maintaining that dignified and elegant appearance.
Besides Zhang Muqing, Xin Li also spotted Xie Shuo’s wife, Ye An. After Xie Shuo became blind and had limited mobility, the Xie family arranged a marriage for him—someone who could take care of him closely.
The wife of Xie Shuo was quite stunning, and Xin Li couldn’t help but look a few times at her.
Initially, Zhang Muqing was talking to Xie Shuo, but Xie Yuran suddenly walked over, interrupting them and said something to Zhang Muqing with a smile.
Xie Shuo and Ye An then left, heading to a corner to rest.
Holding a crystal glass, Xin Li watched the two of them, who were chatting with a smile under the lights, from a distance. A lump formed in her heart, and she nearly crushed the glass in her hand.
She couldn’t understand what was so special about that woman that made him so devoted to her.
Then again, wasn’t she just another version of him?
She clearly knew the outcome but foolishly made the same mistake over and over again.
After staring at the two of them for a while, she turned away and walked to the side, unwilling to subject herself to further pain.
However, after just a few steps, she accidentally bumped into Ye An, who was coming from the other direction. The red wine in her glass spilled out, staining her gown.
Xin Li quickly apologized.
Fortunately, Ye An had a good temper and didn’t get angry. Xin Li accompanied her upstairs to change her gown, chatting casually along the way.
When she came back downstairs, Xie Yuran finally finished catching up with Zhang Muqing and went over to Xie Baiyan’s side to help entertain the guests.
Xin Li circled around in the crowd and found his figure. She grabbed another glass of wine and leaned against a table, sipping it slowly.
Inside the crystal glass, the red wine rippled, reflecting a shimmering light.
After a while, she saw Ye An coming down from upstairs alone. Feeling bored, Xin Li took the initiative to strike up a conversation with her.
The wine in her glass gradually diminished, and Xin Li began to feel a bit drunk. The scene in front of her became somewhat blurry.
Thus, she didn’t continue chatting with Ye An. Stepping on her high heels, she swayed through the crowd toward where Xie Yuran was.
Before she could get close, Xie Yuran’s gaze fell on her, and he paused.
As Xin Li walked up to him and brushed past him, she pretended to accidentally bump into him.
Xie Yuran raised his hand and grabbed her arm.
Taking advantage of the situation, Xin Li leaned in close to his ear and whispered, “I’ll wait for you upstairs.”
After saying that, she glanced at him meaningfully before she continued walking, heading upstairs.
Xie Yuran watched her retreating figure. Not long after, he also excused himself from the lively crowd, quietly making his way upstairs.
Xin Li was waiting for him on the balcony. Tonight, she wore a black, off-the-shoulder dress. The cool night breeze helped sober her up a bit.
Seeing him arrive so quickly, Xin Li was somewhat surprised. She thought he might ignore her or delay it for a while.
Xie Yuran approached her, his gaze sweeping over her exposed shoulders, landing on her flushed face.
“Not feeling well? Do you need to go to a room to rest for a while?”
He asked, adopting a caring host’s demeanor.
Xin Li looked at him, and the scene of him chatting and laughing with Zhang Muqing at first flashed across her mind, and her mood instantly soured.
She indeed wasn’t feeling well, but it wasn’t physical; it was emotional.
As soon as she spoke, she sneezed.
Xie Yuran glanced at her partially exposed shoulders and collarbone again, saying gently, “It’s cold at night. Wear more clothes and be careful not to catch a cold.”
Leaning back against the railing, Xin Li smiled and raised an eyebrow. “You’re this concerned about me?”
Xie Yuran didn’t respond, just looking at her.
The balcony was dimly lit, making his eyes appear much deeper than usual.
“Why don’t you ask me why I called you up here?”
Seeing him silent, Xin Li asked.
Xie Yuran smiled slightly, following her lead, “Why did you call me up here?”
Looking at him slightly drunkenly, Xin Li smirked., “Guess?”
Before he could react, she suddenly lunged forward and pressed him into the nearby corner. Gripping onto his shoulders, she kissed him.
Her movements were too abrupt, and she almost tumbled onto him. Taking a few steps back, Xie Yuran instinctively held her waist, preventing her from falling.
Their lips met, and the air grew tense in the darkness.
Xin Li gripped him, kissing him without any restraint as if venting her frustration.
The balcony directly faced the living room, and the curtains were not drawn. If someone passed by, they would be able to see what was going on.
Coincidentally, at that moment, faint footsteps sounded from the direction of the living room. Xie Yuran’s expression changed slightly. He gripped her arm and sternly whispered before pushing her apart.
Hearing the footsteps as well, Xin Li let go of him and peeked inside. She only caught a glimpse of a slender figure disappearing around the corner of the hallway.
After recognizing the person in a split second, Xin Li withdrew her gaze and looked back at Xie Yuran. Seeing his nervous expression, she inexplicably felt pleased.
She raised her chin proactively and teased, “What? Afraid of being seen?”
Xie Yuran glanced at her., “Aren’t you afraid?”
Xin Li felt a hint of guilt, but she quickly suppressed it and said, “What do I have to be afraid of?”
After all, her mother, Mrs. Xu, wasn’t around.
Meeting her fearless gaze, Xie Yuran’s expression changed slightly. There seemed to be a lingering taste of her on his lips, and the warm sensation persisted.
Feeling a rising heat, he realized that he, too, was pretty drunk.
Thinking he might leave angrily, Xin Li was surprised when he reached out to support her instead. “Let me take you to a room to rest.”
Xin Li had a bit too much to drink and was feeling a bit tipsy. She reached out and held onto his arm instead. “No need, just take me home.”
Xie Yuran turned his head slightly.
For her to come and attend the banquet, there should be a chauffeur from home to pick her up, and there was no need for him to send her back.
However, Xin Li was determined to have him take her back, gripping onto his arm with an expression of “if you don’t take me home, I won’t let go.”
He had experienced her willful, heiress temper before. After a few seconds of locking eyes with her, Xie Yuran ultimately chose to compromise.
He went downstairs and exchanged a few words with Xie Baiyan before calling his chauffeur over and leaving with her.
Throughout the ride, Xin Li leaned on him, surprisingly quiet, leaving him curious about what might be on her mind.
Xie Yuran escorted her back into her condo. Seeing that she was pretty drunk, he decided to help her into her bedroom.
The lights suddenly turned on, a bit too glaring.
He helped her lay down on the bed and pulled the blanket over her before saying softly, “Rest well. I’ll be leaving first.”
As he tried to leave, Xin Li unexpectedly embraced him from behind. “Don’t go.”
Xie Yuran was taken aback.
Xin Li wrapped her arms around his waist, resting her chin on his shoulder, and muttered, “What exactly do you mean? If you don’t like me, why do you care so much about me?”
Xie Yuran turned around and saw her hazy gaze, the corners of her eyes slightly tinged with red.
She grabbed his tie and pulled it forcefully. “Explain yourself… Are you doing this on purpose…”
She had originally decided to give up, but he chose to confuse her again.
Xie Yuran looked down, gazing at her intently. Before he could respond, his lips were suddenly sealed.
Xin Li wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him again. Afraid that he might push her away, she used a considerable amount of force.
A faint fragrance mixed with the scent of alcohol invaded the space between their lips, gradually stirring the dormant desires.
Xie Yuran encircled her waist, and before he could make a move, she pushed him down onto the bed; the fabric of their clothes was in disarray.
The soft and still lighting cast reflections of their tangled and disheveled figures…
For Xin Li, the experience of this night was not that good, and one might even describe it as quite terrible.
Perhaps it was because both of them were drunk.
The next day, Xin Li woke up early with her head throbbing and her body aching.
Xie Yuran lay beside her, eyes closed, still asleep.
When he was asleep, his features looked even more handsome. A few strands of black hair lightly rested on his forehead, giving him a somewhat girlish look—innocent and harmless, making it hard to blame him.
Xin Li turned around and looked at him, recalling the events of last night with a myriad of emotions.
Their clothes were scattered on the floor in a disheveled mess.
She got up quietly and picked up the fallen clothes before wearing them and entering the bathroom to freshen up.
The sound of running water woke up the person still in bed. When Xin Li came out of the bathroom, Xie Yuran had already put on his clothes and was sitting at the edge of the bed.
His white shirt hung loosely on him, untucked. His collar was open, revealing the dubious hickeys on his collarbone and chest.
With a towel wrapped around her body, Xin Li paused in her steps and glanced at him before continuing onward to her closet to get dressed.
They were both adults, and there was nothing to make a fuss about regarding such matters, especially since she had initiated it last night.
If one were to be particular, she had also made a loss.
The sunlight outside climbed onto the windowsill, casting a bright glow behind her. Xie Yuran watched her enter the closet before getting up to go to the bathroom, too.
There were no clothes for him to change into, so he could only take a quick shower.
After he finished showering, the bedroom was empty. He left the room and found Xin Li in the living room.
She was lying on the sofa, engrossed on her phone.
Xie Yuran walked over and stopped in front of her. He was just about to say something when the doorbell suddenly rang.
Xin Li’s eyes lit up, and she quickly got up, slipping on her slippers as she headed toward the door.
As she took the first step, Xie Yuran noticed that her posture seemed a bit awkward as if she was not entirely comfortable.