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“Qingyan, since when have you become so distant and aloof, such that you won’t even allow me the chance to have a meal with you? Do you still remember how you used to arrange a ton of surprises for me, just to convince me to have a meal with you? I still remember clearly, the words you said and the way you looked at me then.” Raising her glass, she said, “Can’t you at least have a drink with me?”

Seeing that the bodyguard and cook were both around, Jin Qingyan did not wish to embarrass her. Thus, he clinked his goblet of red wine against hers lightly and took a few sips.

The smile on Chi Rui’er’s face quickly turned into a stern expression as she began to speak solemnly, “Qingyan, the secret I wanted you to know is…”

Before continuing her sentence, she shot a look at the bodyguard and the cook, signalling for them to take their leave.

The bodyguard and cook then retreated quietly. Upon seeing that they had returned to their respective rooms, she continued, “I’ve fallen for you.”

“Since when?” he asked in astonishment. Apprehensive of her words, he said, “We’ve only spent a short amount of time together after you broke up with Gu Beicheng. In fact, it was even shorter than the time I had spent with Maomao. Since when did you fall in love with me?”

“I don’t know when I did. What do you expect me to do now?” she asked, shaking her head.

“You’re really so sure that you love me?” he asked with an indescribable expression.

“I’m very certain.”

“But, it’s too late now,” said Jin Qingyan. He stood up wobbly, feeling dizzy as his head spun. For someone who could hold his liquor well, it was impossible that he had gotten tipsy from just half a glass of wine.

Having guessed that she had spiked his drink, he questioned, “You added something to my drink?”

“Qingyan, you’ve really disappointed me,” she said as she stood up, in an attempt to help him steady himself.

However, he shoved her away forcefully and snapped, “I should be the one saying that!”

He turned around and swiftly walked towards the door, only to black out shortly after taking a few steps. Chi Rui’er hurriedly inched forward to stop him from falling. At that juncture, she was more invigorated than ever.

Jin Qingyan was completely knocked out as Chi Rui’er supported him in her arms and made her way inside her bedroom.

She helped him onto the bed, after which she closed the door and returned to her seat.

She then continued with her meal slowly, in a relaxed manner.

After finishing her food, she ordered for the cook to clear the dishes. Thinking that Jin Qingyan had already left, the latter did not ask much about anything.

Chi Rui’er returned to her bedroom and locked the door from within.

Stood rooted to the ground, her hands trembling uncontrollably, as she was filled with pangs of anxiety and nervousness.

She knew that Jin Qingyan would no longer trust her as soon as he comes to.

He may just stop providing for her and showing any concern about her wellbeing.

Perhaps, he would never want to see her again.

But it was her only resort, her last and only resort…

She had wanted nothing more than to defeat An Xiaoning and cause them to end up in a divorce.

She had wanted to take the latter’s place as his wife and was determined to do whatever it takes to make the child she was pregnant with Jin Qingyan’s.

Not only will she be able to have him to herself, she would also no longer have to risk becoming infertile after an abortion.

She could kill two birds with one stone and enjoy the best of both worlds.

It did not matter even if it meant that he would no longer trust her in the future or fancy her. She could simply just try to move him again and make him rekindle his feelings for her gradually.

——

After her swimming and yoga sessions, An Xiaoning noticed that Jin Qingyan had still not yet returned home.

She took a look at the time and realized that it was already 10 o’clock in the evening.

She tried to give him a call, only to hear it dismissed immediately.

A million images began to flood her mind as she began to wonder what could have possibly happened to him.

Was he busy?

Or was he driving?

Or was he almost home?

Worried, she tried to give him another call, but it was again dismissed instantly.

Seeing the circumstances, An Xiaoning stopped trying to call him.

Instead, she laid in bed to read her book and waited for his return.

Half an hour later, she began to sense that something was amiss and decided to call him again, but to no avail.

Could he have met with a mishap?

Getting more and more worried with each passing minute, she decided to give Fan Shixin a call and instructed him to try calling Jin Qingyan.

Just like before, the call was dismissed immediately.

“There’s a location-tracking GPS function in his phone, isn’t there? Quick, show me where he is now,” asked An Xiaoning as she hurried downstairs.

“Yes, Young Madam, I’ll get to it right away. Young Sir is…” Fan Shixin murmured awkwardly, afraid to speak up after checking his location.

“What’s the matter?”

“His current location is shown to be at… at… the place Ms. Chi is currently residing in.”

An Xiaoning’s face stiffened, and she was at a loss for words.

“Young Madam…”

“You may take your leave,” she said, turning around and returning to her bed.

An Xiaoning sat cross-legged on the bed and stared at the life-sized teddy bear. “So much for getting all worried about you. Turns out you were just enjoying yourself with the love of your life. Was I interrupting you with my calls? I may appear to be nonchalant on the surface, but I actually really care about you,” An Xiaoning cursed, throwing a few punches at the teddy bear in frustration.

Feeling dejected, she hugged the life-sized teddy and laid in bed. “I actually thought I had finally gotten you to love me wholeheartedly. Turns out it was just wishful thinking on my part,” she said, sighing.

Time crawled by slowly. Soon enough, it was 11 o’clock. Then, it was half past 11, and again, the clock struck 12.

An Xiaoning tossed and turned in bed, unable to fall asleep. An idea struck her mind as she hurriedly put on some clothes, grabbed her bag and zoomed downstairs.

“Where is Chi Rui’er staying at?”

“Let me take you there, Young Madam,” said Fan Shixin, who had not slept a wink either, for he had been trying to get through to Jin Qingyan.

“Hop on.”

An Xiaoning started the engine and drove out of the mansion in no time.

Following the directions given by Fan Shixin, they finally arrived at a building situated within a luxurious residential district.

The two then walked towards Chi Rui’er’s doorstep.

After they rang the doorbell a couple of times, the cook answered the door. Upon the sight of them, she retreated slowly and greeted, “You’re here, Young Madam and Chief Fan. Please, come on in.”

“What is Young Sir doing?”

“Young Sir? Hasn’t he already left, after dinner? Sir was here for dinner with Ms. Chi. I haven’t seen him ever since I came out of my room,” said the cook while ushering them in.

“When did they have dinner?”

“A few hours ago.”

“Which room is she staying in?”

The cook knew right away who An Xiaoning was referring to. “This one,” she said, pointing at a room.

An Xiaoning stepped forward and tried to open the door, only to realize that it was locked. “Chi Rui’er, open the door,” she ordered, banging the door a few times.

The room remained silent.

“Bring me the spare key.”

“Got it,” said the bodyguard, who had been eavesdropping, and he hurriedly proceeded to fetch her the spare key.

An Xiaoning opened the door with the spare key and turned on the light, only to be greeted with a sight which had sent her into a great shock. Fan Shixin stared wide-eyed in astonishment, while the rest of the staff behind him were dumbfounded.

She was incredibly experienced in catching her cheating spouse red-handed, for it was not her first time anyway.

Instead of storming off immediately, An Xiaoning stepped forward and moved closer towards the bed. Jin Qingyan reeked of alcohol, and he was flushed red like a tomato, with beads of sweat trickling from his forehead, seemingly in a post-coital mood as he looked as if they had just done the deed.

Chi Rui’er opened her eyes and slowly sat up straight, exposing her bare decolletage. “You’re here?” she said, staring at An Xiaoning while pulling up the blanket to cover herself.

Apart from a slight tinge of guilt in her tone, she did not sound flustered at all.

“That’s right, I’m here,” said An Xiaoning as she gave Chi Rui’er a tight slap across her face with all her might. The impact was so forceful that Chi Rui’er was rocked towards the side.