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Mo Li decided to give Byron a call after she was done crying.

While waiting for her husband to pick her up, Mo Li rehearsed in her head what she was going to tell him. However, she was still struggling to decide if she should come clean with him or not.

She did not wish to deceive him, but at the same time, she did not want to say anything to hurt him either. After all, he was the best husband she could ever ask for.

She had to face it sooner or later, anyway.

She stopped pondering about the matter as soon as his car pulled up before her.

Upon the sight of him alighting from the car, Mo Li stood up and walked towards Byron.

“Hey, Hubby.”

“Get in, we’ll talk about the rest inside the car,” he said as he got into the car while holding her hand in his.

Byron did not question Mo Li about the identity of the person who had abducted her the night before. Having lived for 40 years, he was aware of the vast possibilities of what could have possibly happened. Needless to say, he had already known the answer, more or less.

Despite being extremely well-tempered, the incident that occured the night before had greatly triggered him.

“Did you get injured?”

“No,” she answered, shaking her head.

“I’m sorry, I won’t bring you to such parties late at night ever again. It was all my fault,” he apologized, embracing her in his arms with his forehead pressed against hers.

Mo Li began to feel even more guilty. How could he put the blame on himself for this matter? she thought.

Mo Li was more than grateful for the fact that he had not questioned her or forced her to speak up about the truth. Yet, Byron’s magnanimity and unwavering concern, despite knowing what had happened, had caused her to feel even more undeserving of him. After all that had happened, she was indeed incredibly blessed to still be able to remain as his wife.

“I should be the one apologizing. It was trouble I had created for myself.”

Her emotions had begun to overwhelm her yet again. He did not ask her for the details of what happened between her and Ye Xiaotian the night before, neither did she tell him about it out of her own accord. However, she knew clearly that he was well aware of it.

Byron remained silent, keeping his thoughts to himself.

They arrived home peacefully.

Byron accompanied her for a while before leaving the house again.

Mo Li waited until he had left before she looked her mother up.

Upon hearing about what had happened the night before, Mo Li’s mother was sent into a great shock. She then hurried out to buy some contraceptive pills for Mo Li, like the latter had requested.

Ignoring her mother’s advice, Mo Li popped twice of the recommended dosage in her mouth, all in one go.

“You’re going to ruin your health by doing that. It’s going to cause your hormones to shift out of balance.”

“I’ll be fine, Mother. I’m going in to get some rest.”

“Alright,” said Mrs. Mo as she turned around and wiped the tears off her face.

——

Jin Qingyue arrived before An Xiaoning even began digging in on the red date porridge that Auntie Chen had prepared for her.

She had in her hands a bunch of rat carcasses, which appeared absolutely revolting as their features seemed to look deformed.

An Xiaoning rose from her seat and said smilingly, “You’re here, Sis-in-law. Come, have a seat.”

“It’s fine, Sis-in-law, I’m here to apologize to you. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” Jin Qingyue apologized half-heartedly, showing no sign of remorse at all. Clearly, she was more than unwilling to make the trip here, and her apology was definitely not sincere.

“Sis-in-law, you don’t have to force yourself to apologize if you don’t wish to. I can’t do anything to you anyway, am I right?”

“I’m… I’m sincere about apologizing. I’m sorry, Sis-in-law. Please be the magnanimous person that you are and forgive me this once. I won’t do it again.”

“Okay… hurry and take the rat carcasses away from Sis-in-law. How could her precious hands be in contact with such filthy things?” instructed An Xiaoning. She shot the servants a look, after which they hurriedly took the carcasses and left.

Jin Qingyue proceeded to wash her hands at that very instant. While walking out of the washroom, she sniffed her hands to check if they still reeked of any odor, a disgusted expression on her face.

An Xiaoning smirked in delight at the sight of her behavior.

“You’re done washing up?”

“Yes, Sis-in-law, I’ll take my leave now.”

“Alright, take care,” An Xiaoning bade her goodbye. She then picked up her phone and sent Jin Qingyan a text message: ” Your sister just came by to apologize. How did you manage to get her to come?”

To which he replied with a simple sentence: ” By cutting her financial resources.”

An Xiaoning gave a smirk upon reading his reply. What a ruthless move, indeed,she thought.

“Young Madam, you were being too nice earlier, welcoming Missy smilingly despite everything that she had done. Others would definitely be infuriated at the sight of her, if put into your shoes,” said Auntie Chen.

An Xiaoning remained silent and, instead, picked up the spoon and began stirring the bowl of red date porridge. She did not exactly have a good temper, but she was not considered ill-tempered, either — she was grateful towards those who had given her a hand in need, and she would be more than willing to try her best to return the favor within all her means, should there be a need for it.

Needless to say, she would definitely bear a grudge against those who had caused her harm or provoked her, going all out to settle the scores once and for all.

Being no saint, An Xiaoning was sure to get revenge where it’s due, though she would not forget to repay kindness bestowed upon her either.

“Boss, someone is calling you again!” An Xiaoning’s ringtone cranked as she quickly sprung up to scoop up her mobile phone from the couch. She took a look at the caller display and realized it was Gu Beicheng who had called. It came across as no surprise to her, since it had always been the same few people who called her anyway.

“I just arrived back from B City, and I’m really worn out from all that traveling. You’re the first person I wanted to see as soon as I touched down, though. Let’s meet for a meal,” Gu Beicheng said, sounding a little indistinct and muffled.

“But I just had some porridge…”

“Is Jin Qingyan beside you?”

“No, he’s not back yet.” Sensing that he had something to say, An Xiaoning asked, “Do you have something you’d like to tell me?”

There must have been a reason why Gu Beicheng had called her, for he usually would not ask to meet her, out of the blue.

“Sis, I really just want to have a meal with you. Would you allow me the pleasure to? If not, I’ll just head straight to your place to pick you up, in order to express my sincerity.”

There he goes again…

An Xiaoning had no choice but to ask, “Alright, I only had some porridge, I guess I could eat some more. Where are you now?”

“Come over then, we’ll go have some hotpot.”

“Okay, sure,” she ended the call and proceeded to change into her shoes at the doorstep.

Noticing that she was about to leave, Auntie Chen asked, “Young Madam, will you still be having dinner at home?”

“No, Gu… my second elder brother had invited me for a meal with him. Please let Qingyan know he doesn’t have to wait for me for dinner when he comes home.”

“Got it.”

An Xiaoning grabbed her purse and walked out of the living room. As soon as she stepped outdoors, she felt a sudden gust of wind and chilliness. She looked up into the sky and extended her arm, only to realize that it had begun to snow.

It had been snowing heavily throughout winter that year, with only a few days of sun, which was rare to come by.

Wrapping her scarf tightly around her neck, An Xiaoning got into her car and hurriedly made her way down to the location at which she had agreed to meet Gu Beicheng.

Given the freezing weather, it was no surprise that there were more patrons than usual at the hotpot restaurant. Fortunately, the two had managed to get themselves a seat in the crowded restaurant, seeking refuge from the freezing snow.

Gu Beicheng ordered a ton of dishes while An Xiaoning sat down and asked, “What were you doing in B City?”

“I was there to handle some business matters.”

The last time they had seen each other was at Gu Dongcheng’s birthday celebration.

Although it had not been that long, she felt that he had looked a lot more haggard and weary since the last time they’d met.

“You didn’t sleep well last night?” she asked, making eye contact with him while she placed some meatballs and meat slices into the pot of broth.

“How could I have slept well, with no woman to keep me warm at night?”

“Quit joking, you can’t get yourself a woman?” she said mockingly.

“There are plenty of women in this world, but one whom I truly adore and want to sleep with is indeed rare to come by. I’m all about self-respect and morals, alright?” he said with a chuckle.

“I don’t buy it…”

A smile formed on his face as his eyes lit up while staring at her. “Jokes aside, I heard Bureau Chief Pan had looked you up recently and asked for your assistance in investigations. Is that true?”