It was spring, and flowers were blooming as far as the eye could see.
After getting in the car to go to the Xie residence, Ye An suddenly felt a little bit of regret.
A week ago, her absent father, Ye Yuan Nian, abruptly found her and said that the Ye family needed to enter into a marriage alliance. Because she was the eldest miss of the Ye family, he wanted her to marry the eldest young master of the prestigious Xie family, Xie Shuo.
When Ye An was in elementary school, her mother, Ms. Xia Jin, divorced Ye Yuan Nian. At that time, the Ye family did not have the same social or financial influence as it did now nor was there a throne that needed to be inherited. Xia Jin had risked everything to gain custody of her daughter.
Ye An, who was only a few years old, left the Ye family with Xia Jin.
Not long after, Ye Yuan Nian remarried and had a new family.
In all these years, Ye Yuan Nian had hardly fulfilled his responsibilities as a father and their father-daughter relationship had been nonexistent. They were practically strangers, so when Ye Yuan Nian approached her about the marriage alliance, her first instinct was to laugh. She wanted to throw her cup of coffee at his face and tell him to scram as far as he could.
However, she couldn’t.
Seven years ago, Xia Jin couldn’t take care of Ye An for some reason and sent her back to the Ye family. Later, Xia Jin was so desperate that she had even asked Ye Yuan Nian for a large sum of money.
Even though Ye Yuan Nian didn’t use this debt against them, Ye An hated owing others favors, even more so to the Ye family. So instead of throwing her coffee at him, she agreed to his request in the heat of the moment and sold herself away.
Ye An rubbed her temples as she gazed at the fresh spring scenery outside.
She really was the Virgin Mary, it’d be a pity for her not to act in a melodrama.
As she was zoning out, Ye Yuan Nian tentatively called out to her.
Ye An turned around and saw the complicated emotions written all over his face.
After mulling for a while, Ye Yuan Nian finally said, “You remember everything that Daddy told you before, right?”
As he was afraid of Ye An throwing a fit and ruining the relationship between the two families, he had listed out a long string of precautions for her to take note of before leaving. He was close to having her sign a letter of guarantee in black and white.
“Don’t feel wronged… Daddy’s doing this for your own good. I don’t want you to feel so stressed in the future… Xie Shuo’s blindness is temporary, and there is hope for a cure. The Xie family has already invited internationally renowned experts to check up on him regularly. It’s very possible that his vision will return one day…”
Ye An really did not understand Ye Yuan Nian. Since he didn’t trust her, why on Earth did he come find her? Was he so muddle-headed because of his old age?
She listened drowsily and interrupted him impatiently, “En, okay–I didn’t sleep well last night, I’m going to take a nap; tell me when we get there.”
After she finished speaking, Ye An leaned against the seat and closed her eyes.
Ye Yuan Nian was speechless.
About half an hour later, the car drove through the lush and green scenery of the wealthy neighborhood and stopped in front of the Xie manor.
Ye An was woken up by Ye Yuan Nian and opened her eyes in a daze. After adjusting her expression, she followed him out of the car.
The moment her feet landed on the ground, the rays from the sun bathed her in warmth, and the faint fragrance of the flowers swept under her nose.
The waves in the nearby lake rippled softly, reflecting the light and shadows from the clouds in the sky. Ye An looked up at the sky, basking in the scenery.
As expected of a blue blood family, the scenery exuded an aura of aristocracy everywhere possible that ordinary people couldn’t match. Although the Ye family was also rich, they could not compare to the Xie family. At best, the Ye family could be considered as a nouveau riche family with little to no foundation.
Standing in front of the oil painting-like garden and duplex villa, Ye An suddenly felt that her decision was not so difficult to accept.
Wasn’t it just a marriage alliance? Wasn’t it just marrying a blind man? She could accept it!
The housekeeper for the Xie family welcomed them and led the two of them inside.
Xie Shuo’s father, Xie Baiyan, was waiting in the drawing room. He appeared to be in his early 50s with his hair mostly white, and the vicissitudes of life could be seen on his face. He had experienced the ups and downs of life.
However, he didn’t seem to have grown stout through the years as compared to Ye Yuan Nian. Instead, Xie Baiyan still retained his elegance and handsomeness from his youth.
Under Ye Yuan Nian’s hint, Ye An politely greeted, “Uncle Xie.”
Xie Baiyan nodded in response and looked at her from head to toe, then revealed an amiable smile.
Ye An wore a pure white dress, appearing gentle and virtuous. Her eyes were bright, and she smiled vibrantly.
When he had heard that Ye An was the daughter taken away by Ye Yuan Nian’s ex-wife and hadn’t been raised up in the Ye family, he felt that they lacked sincerity and was quite dissatisfied.
However, after seeing this bright-eyed and elegant young lady, he felt that she was not a bad match for his son.
After everyone had taken a seat, Xie Baiyan exchanged pleasantries with Ye Yuan Nian. He then turned to ask Ye An amiably, “Is An An still in school?”
Since the two families were having a marriage alliance, the Xie family must’ve already investigated her background, including whether she had dated before or not. This was just a conversation starter.. As she maintained her proper sitting posture, Ye An glanced at Ye Yuan Nian–who was afraid that she would spout nonsense–and replied in a proper and polite manner, “I have already graduated and am currently signed with a studio as a voice actor. ”
“Is your work stressful?”
“It’s been okay.”
Every question had a curt reply, and it seemed like an interview more than anything.
Xie Baiyan nodded and then asked, “You haven’t met A’Shuo yet, right?”2
Ye An paused, and then laughed while saying, “I’ve seen his interviews online before, does that count?”
The way she said it was so witty that Xie Baiyan couldn’t help but laugh, and the original serious atmosphere instantly eased a lot.
As they chatted and laughed, Auntie Zhou, a servant of the Xie family, came downstairs and walked over to Xie Baiyan’s side. She whispered, “The Eldest Young Master said he’s not coming down, and you can do whatever you see fit.”
At that, Xie Baiyan frowned and felt a headache coming on.
This marriage was indeed an agreement between the two families, but the bride’s side had already come to visit. This son of his refusing to be seen was truly inexcusable.
Ye Yuan Nian heard these words and asked with concern, “How is Xiao Shuo’s health recently?”
Xie Baiyan smiled and said, “There aren’t any serious problems now, but his doctor urged him to recuperate so it isn’t quite convenient for him to go out…”
No matter how much he needed to rest, it wouldn’t be to the point where he couldn’t even come downstairs. It was obviously just an excuse. Ye An thought that Ye Yuan Nian would at least show a hint of displeasure, but that appeared to not be the case. Ye Yuan Nian did not show any unhappiness and continued to laugh in understanding, “One’s health is more important, it’s better to let him rest…”
Was this a marriage alliance, or was this a unilateral display of boot-licking?
Ye An smiled stiffly and almost rolled her eyes at him.
Was it too late for her to sever their father-daughter relationship?
After Xie Shuo refused to show up, the atmosphere became awkward again. Ye An didn’t know what to say, so she kept silent.
Xie Baiyan lightly coughed and suddenly asked her, “An An, are you clear on A’Shuo’s condition?”
Ye Yuan Nian hurriedly looked at Ye An.
Ye An tacitly understood and immediately started her acting. With a concerned tone, she asked, “Did he hurt his eyes?”
Xie Baiyan nodded.
Ye An smiled slightly, “Father has already told me about this; don’t worry too much. The study of medicine is becoming more and more advanced, he will definitely get better in the future.”
After seeing her clear gaze free of any reluctance and, conversely, her assurance to him, Xie Baiyan was relieved. Although this was a marriage alliance, he didn’t want to force the other into doing anything. Rather than hide it from them until after marriage, it was better to make everything clear in advance.
Ye An pondered for a while, then tentatively asked, “Uncle Xie, can I go up and see him?”
Xie Baiyan didn’t expect that she would take the initiative to go see Xie Shuo. Surprised, he replied with a smile, “Of course, you can. The two of you can chat and get familiar with one another.”
He turned around and asked Aunt Zhou to lead her upstairs.
Ye An got up from the sofa and ignored Ye Yuan Nian’s apprehensive glance. She then followed Auntie Zhou upstairs.
The second floor was completely quiet and void, not even a single piece of chinaware in sight. The floors were smooth and cold.
As they arrived at Xie Shuo’s room, Auntie Zhou knocked on the door: “Eldest Young Master.”
Quite some time passed by without any response.
Auntie Zhou was about to knock again, but Ye An stopped her, “You can go ahead first, I’ll be fine.”
Auntie Zhou glanced at her hesitatingly, seemingly not reassured but ultimately turned around and left.
After Auntie Zhou left, Ye An took a minute to compose herself to seem like a gentle and virtuous lady. Looking at the closed door in front of her, she paused for a moment, then finally knocked.
Her knocking had a pattern: three knocks, and then two knocks, as if she was playing an interesting game.
After a long time, a voice finally transmitted from inside, “Come in.”
She could vaguely hear the impatience in the muffled voice through the door.
Ye An’s composed expression fell apart for a moment.
Holding the gold-plated metal handle, she looked down for a few seconds before she turned it and opened the door.
A muffled scent emanated from the inside, making her feel a chill in her bones. The air was stale, and the room felt as if it had not seen the sun in a long time.
The curtains were shut tightly with the lights off. The lighting was dim as if it was from the cracks of a curtain covering a cage.
With the scattered light from outside, Ye An could make out a figure sitting down on a sofa.
The man was wearing a dark knit sweater, sitting there silently like a sculpture, causing him to blend in with the darkness around him.
His appearance was handsome, but his expression was cold. He had a tall nose bridge and strong eyebrows with a fair complexion; his gaze was deep and dark.
He slightly turned at the sound of the door opening.
The pair of dark eyes focused on her, and as their eyes met, Ye An felt her heart jump.
The outside spring scenery was bright and beautiful, but she faintly heard the dense patter of rain, and was brought back to that night.
That night from a long, long time ago.
- An An is meant to be an endearing form of address
- A’Shuo is Xie Shuo’s nickname