Epilogue 12: Xin Li & Xie Yuran
Xin Li entered the house with light steps, but her smile faded when she saw Xu Wanqin sitting in the living room.
While she solved the issue with Zhou Zeyan, dealing with her parents would be another challenge.
Seeing Xin Li’s seemingly happy expression when she came in, Xu Wanqin thought she had been on a date with Zhou Zeyan and asked, “Did Zeyan send you back? Why didn’t you invite him in?”
Xin Li hesitated for a moment but eventually couldn’t hold back and said, “Mom, Zhou Zeyan and I are not suitable for each other.”
Xu Wanqin was surprised upon hearing her words. “You two were getting along so well. What do you mean that you two aren’t suitable so suddenly?”
Xin Li: “We’re just not suitable. I made it clear to him today.”
Xu Wanqin’s expression immediately changed, frowning. “Such a big matter; why didn’t you discuss it with me and your dad beforehand?”
Not wanting to argue with her, Xin Li suppressed her frustration and said, “Discussing it wouldn’t have changed anything. I really don’t have any feelings for him. I’m sleepy, gonna go to bed.”
Without giving Xu Wanqin a chance to respond, she quickly went upstairs.
Xu Wanqin sighed helplessly as she watched Xin Li’s retreating figure.
That night, after Xin Yuanhong returned home from his social gathering, Xu Wanqin informed him about the matter.
Xin Yuanhong, unlike Xu Wanqin, was not as easy-going. The next morning, during breakfast, he questioned Xin Li. He was in the middle of negotiating a partnership with the Zhou family, and any complications at this time were unacceptable.
Xin Li restrained her impulses this time and didn’t argue with him. She remained silent, letting him scold her without uttering a word.
Seeing her like this, Xin Yuanhong felt a lump in his chest. Unable to continue scolding, he suppressed his anger and went to work.
Once he left, Xin Li packed her things, preparing to move back to her condo.
Xu Wanqin came over to persuade her, “Xiao Li, don’t be so stubborn…”
Xin Li dragged her suitcase, pausing at the doorway, and asked, “Mom, am I just a tool for a political marriage?”
Xu Wanqin’s expression froze.
Xin Li said nothing further and walked straight out of the main door.
Since Xin Li hadn’t lived in her condo for a long while, it had gathered quite a bit of dust. She hired someone to come and clean, busying herself until dark.
Looking at the clean and bright room, her mood improved a lot. She lay on the sofa, legs crossed, and sent a message to Xie Yuran.
At noon, she had already informed Xie Yuran that she was moving back to her condo and arranged to have dinner together.
Xin Li: “I’m dead tired. When are you coming over?”
Xin Li: “Lying down.”
Several minutes later, Xie Yuran directly called her, “I have a matter to deal with later. How about we have dinner tomorrow?”
Xin Li had just quarreled with her family and was feeling a bit down. She initially wanted him to comfort her, but now that he dipped on her, she couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. “Alright, take care of business first.”
After hanging up the call, she punched the pillow in her arms unhappily before getting up and going out to find a restaurant nearby to have dinner.
Upon returning home, she entered the study and started designing on her laptop.
The entire condo was quiet, with just her inside. In the middle of sketching, her phone, placed beside her, suddenly vibrated.
With a glance, she saw that it was her brother calling her.
“Argued with Mom and Dad again?”
Xin Yu asked as soon as she answered the phone.
Lately, Xin Yu rarely stayed at home, so he hadn’t witnessed the scene this morning. He had only heard about her moving out from their mom, Xu Wanqin.
Pursing her lips, Xin Li mumbled, “They insist that I marry Zhou Zeyan, but I really don’t have any interest in him.”
Xin Yu had always been protective of her, so upon hearing her words, he didn’t erupt in anger like Xin Yuanhong. Instead, he changed the topic and asked, “Any plans tomorrow? Wanna go to the equestrian club with me?”
Feeling irritated, Xin Li wanted to go out and clear her mind, so she readily agreed, “Sure.”
Xin Yu: “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning then.”
After talking with Xin Yu, Xin Li looked at her nearly completed draft. Feeling a bit tired, she closed her laptop and went to take a shower.
Coming out of the bathroom after taking a shower, Xin Li walked toward her bed, preparing to sleep, when her phone suddenly rang.
She picked it up and answered.
Xie Yuran’s slightly tipsy voice came through, “Are you asleep?”
Sitting down at the edge of the bed, Xin Li replied, “Not yet.”
Xie Yuran: “Come and open the door.”
Xin Li was stunned for a bit before quickly walking out of her room.
Opening the door, Xin Li found Xie Yuran standing outside, dressed in a white button-up, looking exceptionally good-looking.
Her eyes lit up. “Didn’t you say you had something to do?”
Xie Yuran smiled. “I wanted to see you.”
Entering the condo, he closed the door behind him, and concerned that she might be upset and still hadn’t eaten, asked, “Have you had dinner?”
Xin Li smiled, and the previous displeasure she felt seemed to vanish in thin air with his arrival.
Relieved, Xie Yuran embraced her shoulder and led her further inside.
Xin Li caught a faint scent of alcohol from him and asked, “Have you been drinking?”
Xie Yuran loosened his tie and sat on the sofa. “I had a little at dinner tonight.”
Turning around, Xin Li went to the kitchen and made a cup of tea before handing it to him.
Accepting the tea, Xie Yuran held her hand and pulled her to sit beside him.
He took a few sips of the tea before placing the cup down on the coffee table and asking, “Are you still hungry? How about I accompany you for a late-night snack?”
Xin Li shook her head. “No thanks, I’ve already taken a shower.”
Xie Yuran’s gaze fell on her, noticing she was wearing a light and thin nightgown, revealing a large expanse of her snow-white collarbone.
Sensing his gaze, Xin Li didn’t avoid it and raised an eyebrow. “Where are you looking?”
Having had some drinks, Xie Yuran’s eyes lost their usual clarity, gaining a hint of drunken haziness.
He focused on her for a few seconds before leaning closer and whispering, “Looking at my girlfriend.”
Xin Li’s heart skipped a beat, and the next moment, her lips were gently kissed by him.
She tilted her head up slightly as her fingers clutched his shoulder, exerting a little pressure.
Their breaths intertwined between their lips as the fragrance of shower gel mixed with a subtle hint of alcohol. The curtain swayed in the night breeze, creating a rhythmic dance.
After a while, Xin Li felt her nightgown being lifted. Suddenly, she remembered something, and the remaining trace of reason prompted her to stop his hand.
Pushing him away, she looked up and said, “I’m going to the equestrian club with my brother tomorrow, and he’ll be coming to pick me up early in the morning.”
Xie Yuran paused and withdrew his hand before looking down at her. “I’ll go with you.”
Xin Li mentioned this to remind him to be discreet, but he seemed to completely miss her point and hastily said, “Let’s not for now. My brother doesn’t know about us yet…”
As soon as she said that, the expression on Xie Yuran’s face became a bit muted. He let go of her and sat back.
Xin Li held his hand, observing his expression. “Angry?”
Xie Yuran remained silent.
Xin Li leaned forward and embraced his waist, coaxing him, “My brother has a bit of a bad impression of you from the things before. If we tell him about us now, he might end up punching you.”
She concealed the reason involving her parents and pinched his chin, saying, “Who told you to dip on me tonight? I thought you were busy tomorrow; else, I wouldn’t have agreed to him.”
After hearing her words, Xie Yuran’s expression softened.
The night outside deepened. Holding her waist, he massaged his temples and said, “Go to bed early. I’ll go back first.”
As he stood up, Xin Li followed suit. Noticing his discarded tie, she picked it up and handed it to him. “Your tie.”
Taking it, he walked toward the door.
Sending him to the door, Xin Li tiptoed to kiss him. “Goodnight.”
Finally, a smile appeared on Xie Yuran’s face. “Goodnight.”
Early the next morning, Xin Yu came to pick up Xin Li.
Together, they went to the equestrian club in the suburbs, and to their surprise, they saw Xie Yuran there.
Xin Li was taken aback.
Xin Yu also paused and glanced at Xie Yuran before turning to look at her.
Afraid that Xin Yu might notice something, Xin Li quickly withdrew her gaze, pretending as if they had no connection. However, she couldn’t help but sneak a glance at him from the corner of her eye.
Not long after, the two of them went to change into riding attire.
Xin Li managed to change ahead of Xin Yu. Seizing the opportunity, she secretly pulled Xie Yuran aside and asked, “Why are you here?”
Xie Yuran asked insipidly, “Why can’t I be here?”
Xin Li: “……..”
The equestrian club wasn’t owned by her family, so he was indeed allowed to be there.
“Then, don’t get too close to me later, in case my brother was to find out,” Xin Li instructed.
Xie Yuran neither agreed nor disagreed, just looking at her.
While they were talking, Xin Yu also came out after changing into his riding clothes. Xin Li quickly turned around, preparing to go choose a horse.
Just as she was about to take a step, her hand was suddenly grabbed. Xin Li turned back and tried to free herself. “Let go quickly…”
Seeing that Xin Yu was coming their way, she became anxious and tried to break free.
“My brother is coming over; let go quickly!”
Before Xin Yu approached, Xie Yuran finally let go of her hand.
Xin Li gave him a warning look that seemed to say, “If you mess around again, go back and kneel on the keyboard.” She then greeted her brother with a smile, “Ge.”
Xin Yu looked past her and glanced at Xie Yuran, who was not far away, meaningfully.
Feeling a bit guilty, Xin Li pulled him to another side to choose horses.
Perhaps it was the warning look from Xin Li that deterred him. During horseback riding, Xie Yuran didn’t get too close to her. He kept a certain distance, following from afar.
Xin Li hadn’t gone horseback riding in a long time. After a few laps, she decided to take a break. However, she accidentally twisted her foot when she dismounted.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a serious injury, just a slight pain when walking. She didn’t dare to exert too much force. After returning to the lounge, she headed to the restroom.
When she came out, she saw Xie Yuran waiting outside.
He stepped forward to support her. Looking at her foot, he asked with a frown, “Did you sprain it?”
The surroundings were open, making it easy for others to see. Xin Li hurriedly tried to push him away, saying, “I’m fine…”
Ignoring her protests, Xie Yuran embraced her waist, attempting to lift her up.
Just then, footsteps sounded from behind. Xin Li’s heart skipped a beat, and she quickly freed herself from Xie Yuran, moving to the side.
It wasn’t until she turned a corner in the corridor and saw no one was there that Xin Li leaned against the wall, relieved.
She looked at Xie Yuran, who followed after her, whispering, “Didn’t I tell you not to stay too close to me? What if we’re found out?”
Xie Yuran stared at her, his expression turning somewhat soured. “Am I that disgraceful to be seen with?”
Xin Li was taken aback.
His expression was glum, seemingly genuinely upset.
“No…” Xin Li was about to explain when footsteps approached once again.
Xin Yu appeared at the corner, observing the two of them.
Xie Yuran glanced in his direction and said nothing more before following Xin Li’s suggestion to leave from another direction.
Xin Li instinctively wanted to call him back, but before she could speak, Xin Yu had already walked up to her.
“Why are you entangled with him again?” Xin Yu questioned.
Feeling bothered by Xie Yuran’s words just now, Xin Li decided she was too tired of hiding, so she directly admitted, “Ge, we’re together now. He’s my boyfriend.”
Xin Yu frowned. “Since when?”
Xin Li: “A while ago.”
Xin Yu finally understood why she had suddenly rejected Zhou Zeyan. He couldn’t help but feel a headache. “Is he the only option for you?”
Looking into his eyes, Xin Li softly said after a moment, “Ge, I really like him.”
No matter how good others might be, they were irrelevant to her.
Xin Yu was always unable to bear seeing her in such a pitiful state, so he softened his tone after a moment of silence and asked, “What do you plan to do about Mom and Dad? Do you intend to keep it a secret forever?”
Xin Li paused before replying, “I will find the right time to confess to them, but please don’t tell them for now.”
Xin Yu naturally wouldn’t tell on her, saying reluctantly, “Let’s go get lunch.”
They returned to the lobby, but there was no sign of Xie Yuran.
She looked around but couldn’t find him anywhere.
Did he really leave in anger?
Did he have to be this petty?
Taking out her phone, Xin Li called him.
After a bit, he answered.
“Where are you?”
“I have something to attend to, so I went back to the city.”
His tone was somewhat cold, and Xin Li asked, “Are you really angry?”
There was a faint, indistinct, clamorous noise from the other end. Xie Yuran must be on the road. After a while, he said, “No.”
Xin Li continued, “Let’s have dinner together?”
“En,” came the reply.
Around 4 p.m., Xin Li returned to her condo, feeling sore all over. After taking a shower, she lay on the bed like a corpse.
As the sun set, Xie Yuran finally came over.
Hearing the doorbell, Xin Li quickly got up from the bed and rushed to open the door.
Before Xie Yuran entered the door, she threw herself into his arms, hugging his neck tightly. “You’re here!”
Xie Yuran was pushed back half a step by her sudden embrace but quickly recovered, holding her waist.
Her body wash wafted through the air as Xie Yuran embraced her waist and walked inside. In contrast to her enthusiasm, he was much calmer.
Seeing him silent, Xin Li planted a kiss on his lips. “Still upset?”
Xie Yuran looked down at her; any lingering anger faded away in the face of her playfulness.
He asked, “Didn’t you mention going out for dinner?”
Xin Li smiled. “I’ll go change. Wait here for me.”
With that, she kissed him again and turned to enter her room.
Her touch on his lips felt like a dragonfly skimming the water. Xie Yuran watched her retreating figure and smiled.
After changing, Xin Li did some light makeup and came out of her room.
The two went downstairs and headed to a nearby restaurant.
After dinner, it was still quite early, so Xin Li pulled Xie Yuran for a stroll in the park next to the restaurant.
As they walked, a young couple passed them; the girl held a bouquet of vibrant roses.
Xin Li glanced at them and couldn’t resist poking Xie Yuran’s chest. “Look at you. Since we met until now, forget about gifts, you haven’t even given me a single strand of flowers. Yet, you have the nerve to be angry with me.”
Xie Yuran grabbed her finger and interlocked his hand with hers. Suddenly, he asked, “Is your birthday coming up soon?”
“There’s still five more days,” Xin Li raised an eyebrow. “You still remember? I thought you had long forgotten.”
Xie Yuran recalled the bites she gave him on her last birthday night. He leaned down to her ear and said, “You bit so hard; how could I forget?”
Xin Li: “…….”
Xin Li’s ears went slightly warm, glaring at him. “Who told you not to prepare a birthday present for me?”
After strolling for a while, Xie Yuran sent Xin Li back to her condo.
Once inside, Xin Li held onto his arm, showing no intention of letting go.
Leaning against him, she looked up and asked, “Have you figured out what present to give me this year?”
Xie Yuran smiled slightly but didn’t answer.
Xin Li grabbed his collar and raised her chin before saying willfully, “If you don’t prepare anything this time, I’ll…”
Xie Yuran glanced at the collar she had pulled open and asked, “What will you do?”
Xin Li tilted her head and nibbled his Adam’s apple before pushing him down onto the sofa. Kneeling beside his legs, she looked down at him with a playful glint in her eyes.
With a hint of a smile on his lips, Xie Yuran lay casually, letting her take the lead.
Xin Li leaned in, sealing his lips with hers.
Suddenly, she pushed him away and got up, sitting beside him.
Xie Yuran immediately felt the weight off of him and was momentarily stunned before sitting up, too.
Xin Li smiled at him, her face still flushed, but she was clear-headed. Her bright eyes sparkled. “It’s so late. Aren’t you gonna go back yet?”
Looking at her, Xie Yuran’s eyes were fervent.
Xin Li grabbed a pillow to put in front of her body before reminding him once more, “You should head back now.”
As if he hadn’t heard her words, Xie Yuran leaned in closer and took away the pillow that separated them before holding her slender shoulders.
The night had deepened, and the moon cast a faint light, silently falling through the window.