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She shook her head, her eyes brimming with tears. “It’s not like that, it’s not like that…”

The urge inside her to say the truth was forcefully swallowed down.

During the day, she had gone to the hospital to check and found out that she was over forty days pregnant. She who was originally insistent on doing the operation for abortion was told by the doctor that, because she had done it once before, the damage was rather big. Her uterine lining was now thinner, and if she were to have another abortion operation again, there was a high risk and possibility of her being infertile for life.

She had asked how huge this risk was. The doctor claimed that it was huge, because if the uterine lining was too thin, the fertilized egg would not be able to be implanted. It was the same logic as having unsuitable soil for a seed to be planted.

Returning from the hospital, Chi Rui’er seemed to have lost her soul.

She was only 22 years old. If an operation for abortion caused her to be unable to be a mother for life, it was too much of a consequence to bear for her.

Even though technology was very advanced now to allow for surrogacy to take place, not being able to experience the process of carrying a child and giving birth to it herself would be her greatest regret as a woman.

Thus, she was hesitant about it.

She had thought about it in her room for a day and had wanted to tell Jin Qingyan. But now, she could not utter a single word.

She was worried she would question her about who the child’s father was. She could not handle it.

She was worried that after knowing who the child’s biological father was, he would be absolutely disappointed with her and not care about her anymore.

Such worries filled up her mind…

After calming down, these worries had emerged like bamboo shoots. She looked at Jin Qingyan before her and finally said, “Qingyan, I don’t have much money with me anymore, can you give me some to use?”

Jin Qingyan never stopped supporting her financially. He had always felt indebted towards her for saving him. His life was priceless, so all this while, he’d never stopped giving her money.

He immediately passed her a cheque. It was for five hundred thousand yuan.

She received it and took a look. A thought flashed through her mind: it’s lesser than before.

“If there’s nothing else, I’ll go back first.”

“Qingyan…”

He stopped in his tracks. “What else is wrong?”

“If I ask you to come over next time and you’re not busy, can you come over as soon as possible?”

“I’ll see. If I’m really not busy and there’s something urgent, I’ll come over.”

“Mmm.”

He went out and shut the door.

Chi Rui’er kept the cheque in her bag and laid down. She was still rather upset.

She was still troubled over whether to keep that vile thing in her stomach. If she were to keep it, she would be doing something against her will. But if she didn’t, she might never have children again her whole life.

This problem drove her to the edge of a mental breakdown. She was thinking whether or not there could be a better solution to it.

“Ms. Chi…”

“What’s wrong?” Chi Rui’er darted a glance at the doorway.

The lady who made food said, “Your parents have come up from downstairs again. They’re at the door now and refuse to leave. It’s cold out there at night, and if they were to stay out for the whole night, I’m afraid…”

“Let my mother in, but not the other one.”

“Are you sure that is okay…”

“Just do what I tell you to. That person is not even my biological father, even if he freezes to death, what has it got to do with me?” Chi Rui’er bellowed as she glared angrily at her.

“Yes.” The lady turned and went to the door to let Mrs. Chi in.

Seeing that she refused to let her husband in, she had no choice but to enter by herself.

“You don’t even pick up my calls now. Rui’er, do you really want to cut off ties with me and not go back to that home anymore?”

Looking at her, Chi Rui’er asked, “You came here late at night just to ask me this?”

“It took me a whole day to find out that you’re living here now. Rui’er, you don’t want your stepfather, now you don’t even want me too? I shouldn’t have given birth to only you, I should have had a few more children.” Every word that Mrs. Chi uttered upset her badly.

She retorted sarcastically, “Yeah, you should have given birth to two more daughters, for your dearest husband to have for himself.”

Mrs. Chi flew into a rage upon hearing this and gave her a slap on her cheek. “You… how could say that! Although both of you are not related by blood, he raised you since you were young. Not only are you not grateful towards him, how could you still insult him like that!”

The raw anger and pain cut deeper into Chi Rui’er’s wounds.

She looked down helplessly and did not say a word. The insult to her that was so deep made her unable to tell her mother the truth. She knew clearly that if her mother were to learn about it, it would be a huge blow to her. It might even trigger her to have a heart attack.

Thus, she could only bear it inside.

“Mother, you should go back with him, I want to rest.”

Mrs. Chi was taken aback. Seeing her lie down and turn her back on her, she was at a loss for words.

“Did you become someone’s mistress?”

“No.”

“Then why are you living here and not going to work? Where did the money come from, and all those nannies who clean and make food and the guards around here?”

“A friend is taking care of me.” It was evident that Chi Rui’er was reluctant to say more. “Go back, I want to sleep.”

Mrs. Chi turned and left. Looking at her in that state, she was actually in no mood to have a conversation with her.

When Jin Qingyan was driving back, he passed by a hotpot shop and immediately stepped on the brakes.

As it happened, he’d seen his wife’s car. His gaze was fixed on the entrance of the shop as An Xiaoning and Gu Beicheng came out together.

An Xiaoning was walking as she wrapped her scarf around her. It was probably not wrapped properly, so Gu Beicheng helped her with it.

The flame that was instantly spurting out of Jin Qingyan’s eyes was so strong that he wished he could set Gu Beicheng on fire.

Seeing that An Xiaoning had gotten on the car, he finally decided to make a move first and reached home before her.

When An Xiaoning’s car arrived at home, he had just come out from the garage and was walking out steadily in his suit.

“Where have you been until this time?”

“I went out to eat. Have you eaten?”

“I’ve eaten long ago.” He folded his hands into his pocket. “Did you have a good time eating with Gu Beicheng?”

“Yes.” An Xiaoning walked towards the living room while looking at him. “It’s so chilly outside at night and it’s snowing, what were you doing in the courtyard? Don’t tell me you were waiting for me?”

“Do I look like someone who’ll wait for you in the courtyard?”

She laughed. “Well, no, you don’t.”

When they reached the entrance, Auntie Chen greeted them. “Young Master and Young Mistress are back.”

An Xiaoning frowned. “He just came back too?”

Auntie Chen had not yet realized that Jin Qingyan was signalling him with his eyes, so she replied, “Yeah.”

She remarked as she changed her shoes, “Just now, who was the one asking me why I’m back so late? So I see, you were back only a few minutes earlier than I was. Tell me, where were you at this late?”

“I was already back quite early, but there was something I had to attend to so I went out.” He touched his nose casually as he changed the topic. “Why did both of you take so long to eat?”

“We just kept chatting and didn’t realize that so much time had passed. He just came back from B City, he’d been away for business.”

An Xiaoning went upstairs and took off her scarf and gloves. She then turned on the heater with the remote and did some simple stretching exercises.

Just as she was raising both her arms, she was hugged from behind by him, giving her quite a scare.

She turned her head to the side as Jin Qingyan said, “Actually, when I was driving back, I saw you. At the entrance of the hotpot shop.”