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“It’ll stay effective for a long period of time. I’ll give you a new one when it no longer works.”

“Alright.”

Not knowing what her mother and An Xiaoning were murmuring about to each other, Jin Qingyue interrupted their conversation. “Mother, didn’t Brother come home early today? Where has he disappeared to again?”

“He went out to handle some matters. He should be home anytime soon,” said Mrs. Jin. Not long after, Jin Qingyan returned.

It was time for lunch and everyone began tucking in quietly. Mrs. Jin broke the silence and asked An Xiaoning, “How are you coping with helping out with investigations at the police station?”

“I’m coping just fine.”

“I heard they’ve set up a special investigations unit. Which kind of cases do you usually handle?” asked Mr. Jin.

“We handle serious crimes. There are a total of four members in the department, including myself, two armed policemen, and an older, experienced policeman who has handled many cases before. We mainly deal with cases that haven’t been cracked for many years, as well as the murder case which took place recently.”

“I heard you’ve brought some men with you to Shaochuan’s place, claiming that Wang Fangfang was the cause of his parents’ death. Is that true, Sis-in-law?” Jin Qingyue said, sneering.

Upon hearing her tone, An Xiaoning did not wish to go into detail about the matter; thus, she said instead, “We can’t do much if the person involved refuses to cooperate. Am I right?”

“We shall wait and see, then. If it’s really like what you said, then perhaps something may happen again in the future. However, if you’re just spouting nonsense, then I’m afraid nothing will happen anymore.”

After a brief second of silence, An Xiaoning replied, “Wouldn’t it be outright foolish to prove the truthfulness of this matter based on a human’s life? I’m afraid it’ll be too late to realize your folly only after someone has died.”

Shi Shaochuan looked up at her and said coldly, “An Xiaoning, if nothing happens to my family in the near future, do you dare to admit to the media that everything you had mentioned before was nothing but a pack of lies you’ve fabricated?”

“Shi Shaochuan, now that you’re already engaged to my sister-in-law, aren’t you being a little too rude by addressing me by my full name? You’re already a grown man, yet you still lack such basic manners and courtesy. Being the only child, you must’ve been spoiled rotten by your family. What a brat indeed. Also, it’s best if nothing happens to your family. But, in the event that something does happen, are you going to crawl on your knees and apologize to me for your words? Do you dare to take on the bet?” An Xiaoning taunted as her face stiffened.

Shi Shaochuan was momentarily lost for words, for he could not guarantee that his family would be safe and sound.

“Qingyue’s Father and I, as well as Qingyan, know best if Xiaoning is capable or not. I don’t think there’s a need for her to prove anything to you. Shaochuan, you’re marrying Qingyue soon. Thus, you should also be addressing Xiaoning as your sister-in-law. That’s just some basic courtesy and formalities,” said Mrs. Jin, in a bid to stop the conflict.

Shi Shaochuan nodded abidingly, although he was, in fact, rather reluctant to address An Xiaoning as his sister-in-law.

Jin Qingyan remained silent while maintaining his composure.

He would occasionally help An Xiaoning to the food, which was to the joy of Mrs. Jin, for they had gotten closer just like she had wished.

Just as they were about to leave after finishing their meal, An Xiaoning noticed that Jin Qingyan had gone forth to say a few words to Shi Shaochuan, after which the latter nodded fervently with a grimace.

She proceeded to hop into the passenger seat of the Bentley.

Soon after, Jin Qingyan got atop the driver’s seat.

“What did you say to him?” she asked.

“Nothing,” Jin Qingyan answered as he buckled the safety belt and began driving.

Jin Qingyue had also witnessed Jin Qingyan speaking to Shi Shaochuan. Noticing the sullen expression on Shi Shaochuan’s face as he approached, she asked in curiosity, “What did my brother say to you?”

“Why don’t you go ask him that?” Shi Shaochuan said, staring at her angrily.

He turned sideways and got into the car while Jin Qingyue hurriedly chased after him, knowing that he was angry.

“Just what did he say?”

Shi Shaochuan turned to look at her and told her the exact words of Jin Qingyan, “He said that he absolutely despises me, to the extent that he doesn’t wish to speak a single word to me at all. He also said he would show me the consequences I shall face if I ever spoke to his wife in that manner again.”

“That doesn’t sound like something my brother would say. He would never say it out loud, no matter how much he hated someone.”

“Believe it or not, those are the exact words your brother said to me. I see it perfectly now. None of your family members like me at all. I will never step foot into your home again.”

“You’ll still have to come here, more or less. It’s my maiden home, after all. Besides, it’s not like I’m asking for you to come by every day. Alright, don’t be angry anymore. Let’s go straight to your house.”

“Ok.”

——

Gu Beicheng booked a private room at the karaoke nightclub in the evening and invited An Xiaoning to make her way there. Upon hearing that Chi Rui’er would be present, An Xiaoning eagerly agreed.

There were beer and some snacks on the table, while they sang merrily at the top of their voices.

Dressed in a floral embroidered coat along with a full face of immaculate makeup, Chi Rui’er laid sluggishly in Gu Dongcheng’s arms. It seemed she had gained a bit of weight.

Upon seeing An Xiaoning, Chi Rui’er quickly greeted with a smile, “You’re here, Ms. An?”

“Yes, long time no see,” An Xiaoning answered smilingly.

“Yeah, I heard you went on a vacation with Qingyan. Which places did you visit?” Chi Rui’er asked.

“We visited plenty of places,” An Xiaoning said calmly, though she was boiling with anger deep down.

Trying to put on a show? Game on , An Xiaoning thought to herself.

“Are you close to Xiaoning?” Gu Dongcheng asked in bewilderment.

“Yeah, you could say so.”

An Xiaoning shot a glance at Gu Beicheng as she sat down beside him. “Why is it just the three of you?” she asked.

“The rest have yet to arrive. What plans do you have to celebrate the first day of the Lunar New Year tomorrow?”

“I’ll be going about visiting in the morning and spending the afternoon with them.” An Xiaoning leaned closer towards him and said softly, “Chi Rui’er will become your sister-in-law if she marries your brother. Don’t you find that strange and awkward?”

“No, it’s not like I’d ever gotten intimate with her anyway. Besides, doesn’t Shi Shaochuan have to address you as his sister-in-law too? But then again, if I call her ‘Sis-in-law,’ you’d have to follow suit as well.” He handed her a can of beer and said, “Why isn’t Jin Qingyan here?”

“He went to the office.”

“He’s such a workaholic. It’s already the Eve of the Lunar New Year, why is he still going to the office?” Gu Beicheng scoffed.

“He’s got some matters to attend to urgently,” said An Xiaoning as she opened the can of beer and took a sip, occasionally glancing at Chi Rui’er with a smirk.

Not long after, Ye Xiaotian showed up at the door with Bai Ranran. Upon sight of An Xiaoning, he greeted, “Hey, Mrs. Jin. What a rare sight.”

“Greetings, Mr. Ye.”

He took a seat and said smilingly, “I heard you’re actively working with the police and helping them crack cases. Congratulations. Jin Qingyan has truly won in life to have married you.”

“You’ve flattered me, Mr. Ye. You’re very lucky yourself, to have gotten engaged with such a beautiful lady like Ms. Bai. You shouldn’t be drinking much since you’ve just gotten discharged from the hospital.” She then called for the waiter. “Hi, please serve us some tea.”

“Thank you.”

An Xiaoning responded with a smile, after which she proceeded to chat with Gu Beicheng. Everything seemed perfectly normal.

They sang, played games, had a few drinks, and danced merrily.

Having drunk more beer than she should, Chi Rui’er had to use the washroom urgently halfway through the activities.

Not long after she had left, An Xiaoning proceeded outside, with the excuse of having to answer an important call.

She stood by the entrance of the washroom and caught a glimpse of Chi Rui’er washing her hand. Upon seeing An Xiaoning, she said coldly, “You’re really good at pretending.”

“You’re not far off, compared to me,” An Xiaoning retorted, leaning against the basin.