Epilogue 11: Xin Li & Xie Yuran
Feeling as if he had been slapped in the face, Xie Yuran hesitated before saying, “I take back what I said before.”
In actuality, the major reason Xie Yuran said that they were not suitable initially was that he thought Xin Li, being a pampered heiress, would lose interest in him quickly.
After all, it was his brother that the Xin family favored, not him.
“Words that are spoken are like spilled water; how can you take them back?”
Xin Li glanced at him. “Doesn’t your face hurt?”
Xie Yuran agreed with a nod, “It does.”
Xin Li smiled slightly and suddenly asked as she remembered something. “What about Zhang Muqing then?”
Mentioning Zhang Muqing, the hint of a smile vanished instantly from her face.
Worried that she might react as she did last time and ignore him, Xie Yuran earnestly explained, “Xiao Li, when I first met Zhang Muqing, we were both just teenagers. We shared a similar background of being taken in by others, creating a sense of camaraderie. She’s older than me and usually took care of me, so naturally, I developed some feelings. However, it was just a fleeting interest…”
“Later, I realized that she was actually interested in my older brother and was only using me. So, I gradually let go of any thoughts in that regard.”
He rarely spoke about the past with anyone as it carried a tinge of embarrassment. He had always been overshadowed by his brother, and he was just merely a supporting character in the eyes of others.
Even she, initially, was supposed to meet his brother.
“Who hasn’t been a bit reckless in their youth?”
He gazed at her, his slightly intoxicated eyes reflecting her figure. “What happened between me and her is long gone. Now, in front of me, is you.”
Hearing that last sentence, Xin Li smiled again, a hint of sweetness blooming in her heart.
She suppressed her almost overflowing joy and looked up at him, pretending to be disappointed. “Oh, just in front of you?”
Xie Yuran also smiled and took her hand, placing it on his chest. “Also, in my heart.”
Through the fabric of his shirt, she could feel the warmth and the beating of his heart.
Feeling a bit embarrassed, Xin Li wanted to pull her hand back, but he held it firmly.
Xie Yuran lowered his head and gently kissed her.
Looking up, Xin Li endured his gentle touch and slowly opened her mouth, beginning to reciprocate.
After a long while, Xie Yuran finally left her lips, but he didn’t let her go. He held her waist and panted, his breath puffing on her ear.
The alcohol disrupted their thoughts. After a while, he lowered his head again, his kisses landing on her neck, becoming more pressing.
Seeing things getting out of control, Xin Li pressed a bit on his chest to stop him from going further.
Xie Yuran looked up, and with a breeze passing through the door, Xin Li became a bit sober and said, “I want to rest now. You should go.”
Xie Yuran was puzzled, not understanding why she suddenly changed her attitude.
Xin Li pushed him away and hesitated for a moment before saying, “I need to explain things to Zhou Zeyan first.”
She also had to explain things to her parents, and she feared it wouldn’t be easy.
Thinking about all this made Xin Li feel a bit restless.
Xie Yuran held her shoulders, frowning. “Are you really dating him?”
Looking up and seeing his serious expression, Xin Li couldn’t help but smile, arching an eyebrow. “If I really am, what are you planning to do?”
When she smiled, sparkles shone in her eyes, resembling falling stars. Lowering his head, Xie Yuran pecked at the corner of her lips before saying, “I’ll win you back.”
“If I really am dating him, it’s useless for you to even try.”
Xin Li shot him a sideways glance. “Who asked you to reject me before?”
This statement implied that they weren’t together yet, and Xie Yuran softened his expression.
Xin Li opened the door, pushing him out. “Alright, you should leave. I’m really feeling dizzy.”
Xie Yuran stood at the doorway. “Rest well.”
Xin Li closed the door.
As the room quieted down, she leaned against the door and touched her flushed face, suddenly feeling a sense of unreality.
The next day, Xin Li invited Zhou Zeyan to meet and have afternoon tea at a cafe.
Seeing her stirring her spoon incessantly without saying a word, Zhou Zeyan asked, “Did you invite me out to talk about something?”
Xin Li looked up and said, choosing her words carefully, “I’ve thought about it seriously these past few days, and maybe… we should call it off?”
Zhou Zeyan paused slightly before asking, “Because of Xie Yuran?”
Xin Li didn’t deny it, showing a guilty expression. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to waste your time, and I don’t want to deceive you.”
Since the last time he saw her with Xie Yuran, Zhou Zeyan had anticipated that such a day would come, so he wasn’t surprised.
He smiled. “It’s okay; we were clear about it from the start about being transparent.”
He didn’t really have strong feelings for her, just a slight interest. In political marriages, feelings weren’t the primary consideration.
Hearing his words, Xin Li felt relieved and said with a smile, “Thank you. I will explain things to my parents.”
After making things clear, the atmosphere became much more relaxed. They chatted for a while before leaving the cafe.
Zhou Zeyan politely asked, “Do you need a ride home?”
Xin Li shook her head with a smile. “No, thank you.”
Zhou Zeyan chuckled, teasing, “Waiting for someone to pick you up?”
Xin Li hadn’t thought of that, but his mention sparked a thought.
After Zhou Zeyan left, she took out her phone and wanted to send a message to Xie Yuran to have him come pick her up. However, she realized that she had blocked him.
Unblocking him, she messaged him, “What are you doing?”
Shortly after, Xie Yuran replied, “At the office.”
Xin Li: “When will you finish work today?”
Xie Yuran: “Half an hour later, what’s up?”
Xin Li: “Your girlfriend wants to invite you to have dinner. Do you want to come and pick her up?”
After sending the message, Xin Li’s cheeks blushed slightly as she awaited his response.
Inside his office, Xie Yuran saw the message on his phone and smiled before asking, “Where are you?”
Xin Li smiled and sent him her location.
As the sun began to set, the wind breezed through the bustling streets. Xin Li looked around and returned to the cafe, sitting by the window and waiting for him.
Outside the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, pedestrians hurriedly passed by. The slanting sunset created a beautiful reflection of radiance.
About an hour later, a familiar car stopped by the road. Seeing through the window, Xin Li’s eyes brightened and smiled.
Xie Yuran got out of the car and noticed Xin Li sitting by the window inside the cafe, separated by the glass.
Xin Li put her phone into her purse and swiftly exited the cafe, walking over to him.
Xie Yuran smiled slightly. “Did you wait for long?”
“It was quite a while. I almost got sick of coffee.”
Xin Li replied, sounding a bit displeased.
Wrapping his arm around her shoulder, Xie Yuran turned to open the passenger door for her.
Once Xin Li got into the car, she fastened her seatbelt and turned to him, saying, “Let’s just find a place nearby; I’m starving.”
Xie Yuran agreed and drove to a nearby Chinese restaurant.
The restaurant had an elegant, romantic atmosphere, with several couples on dates.
They chose a private room on the second floor where they could see the sunset through the window.
After seating themselves, Xin Li ordered some dishes and took a photo with her phone, her eyes sparkling.
Seeing the gleam in her eyes, Xie Yuran smiled and asked, “Do you want to go see a movie after dinner?”
Placing her phone down, Xin Li smiled, “Sure~”
As dusk fell, they finished dinner, and the night had set in.
The vibrant lights illuminated the plaza outside the movie theater, bustling with people.
They entered the movie theater and chose a rom-com.
Initially, Xin Li watched attentively, but as the plot took an unexpected turn, becoming more melodramatic, she lost interest. She began absentmindedly stuffing popcorn into her mouth.
She turned to glance at Xie Yuran, grabbing a piece of popcorn and offering it to him. Leaning in, she whispered some complaints about the plot.
Xie Yuran opened his mouth to accept the popcorn. In the dim light, the smell of popcorn quietly dispersed, adding a faint sweetness to the air.
Seeing her boredom, Xie Yuran whispered, “Let’s go back?”
Leaning against him, Xin Li glanced at the screen and said, “It’s almost over. Let’s finish it.”
After another ten minutes, the movie ended.
As the final scene darkened, the audience eagerly rushed toward the exit, chatting and complaining.
Xin Li and Xie Yuran also stood up, and as they did, someone bumped into them. Xie Yuran quickly wrapped his arm around Xin Li’s shoulder, shielding her in his embrace.
Leaning against him, Xin Li looked up at him, her heart overloading with sweetness. Even her dissatisfaction with the movie had dissipated.
Exiting the movie theater, they held hands with their fingers intertwined, strolling toward the parking area while chatting.
The gentle night breeze brushed past them. The boundary between the shadows on the ground blurred.
Back in the car, Xie Yuran held the steering wheel with one hand and asked, “Where to?”
Xin Li retrieved the seatbelt and fastened it, smiling. “I haven’t been staying at my condo. Send me back home.”
Xie Yuran started the car, merging into the swiftly moving traffic after covering some distance.
Leaning back in her seat, Xin Li looked at his side profile, feeling happy; her eyes sparkling.
On both sides of the street, streetlights formed a continuous line, stretching far into the distance.
The car entered the residential area and eventually stopped outside the Xin family’s courtyard, a distance from the main entrance.
Xin Li unbuckled her seatbelt and turned to Xie Yuran, smiling. “I’ll head in first.”
After saying that, she opened the car door and got out.
The night wind blew past, carrying a hint of chilliness. Xie Yuran followed suit, suddenly grabbing her arm.
Xin Li turned back, puzzled. “What?”
Xie Yuran looked at her, his gaze carrying a clear meaning. “Are you just going in like this?”
Xin Li paused before realizing his meaning, but she didn’t want to give in. Pretending to be clueless, she said, “What else?”
The night was hazy, and the soft light from the streetlights fell into her eyes, revealing a hint of mischievousness.
Xie Yuran pulled her in front of him and looked down at her.
Xin Li couldn’t help but suppress a laugh. She glanced around, making sure no one was near, then tiptoed and gave him a kiss.
“See you tomorrow.”
Xie Yuran finally let go, whispering, “See you tomorrow.”
Xin Li waved, looking back every three steps while heading back before disappearing inside.
Xie Yuran stood by his car with one hand in his pocket. He watched her until her figure vanished from sight before driving away.