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Trying to keep him in suspense, An Xiaoning said, “Make a guess.”

“Give me a hint. Tell me if it’s a male or a female, young or old. I’ll probably be able to guess after you let me know the details.”

“Make a guess.”

Jin Qingyan pinned her down and said, “I’m too lazy to guess, tell me, quick.”

An Xiaoning then mouthed the words with her lips.

“Really?” asked a startled Jin Qingyan.

“Of course.”

An Xiaoning sprung up and said, “Let’s go upstairs.”

Jin Qingyan carried her bag for her as they headed upstairs together and turned on the heater in their bedroom. “Shi Shaochuan is so obnoxious. I reckon he’s going to learn his lesson very soon. He has never shared a close relationship with his parents. I’ve always felt that he was closer to his grandma, from what I observed during my stay at his house. His parents are rather reasonable though, unlike his grandma, who has practically spoiled him rotten. You have no idea how startled I was when I saw Wang Fangfang.”

“I do believe in the existence of supernatural beings, but Shi Shaochuan doesn’t. That’s why he’ll never be guilty or remorseful towards the deceased. I know you don’t wish to see any more deaths because of this matter. But clearly, there’s nothing you can do, Xiaoning. We can only wait for him to realize it himself.”

An Xiaoning closed her eyes as she reached both her hands out, waiting for a surprise. “What is it?” she asked.

“Open your eyes and have a look,” said Jin Qingyan as he placed a long red box onto her hands.

She opened her eyes slowly to realize that it was a bright and sparkly red ruby necklace, which she instantly loved to bits.

She took a look at the logo on the box and exclaimed, “Wow, it’s from a prestigious brand. It’s beautiful. Must’ve cost a bomb.”

“Let me put it on for you,” he said, picking up the necklace.

An Xiaoning turned to the side to have her back facing him. She held her hair up while he stood behind and helped her put on the necklace.

An Xiaoning stood before the dressing table and admired the necklace on her neck as she kept her eyes peeled on her reflection in the mirror.

“Tell me, how much did this cost?” she probed.

“Just keep it. You don’t have to know how much it cost, it’s our money anyway.”

She smiled in joy.

Jin Qingyan would forever remember how pure and heartwarming her smile was.

It was a moment he held dear to his heart.

“Just how much did it cost? I just want to know. Tell me quick.”

“This much,” he said, pointing a finger out.

“10 million?”

“100 million.”

An Xiaoning gasped in shock. “One… one hundred million?”

“You’re worth it. Xiaoning, the necklace looks beautiful on you. Don’t ever take it off,” he said, holding her hand in his.

“What if it falls off my neck…” she asked worriedly. How could she move about freely with a hundred million dollars hanging on her neck?

“It will never fall off, no matter how hard you move about. Don’t worry.”

“But, I still think it’s safer to keep such an expensive and precious necklace at home.”

“Xiaoning, you have to wear the necklace to truly appreciate its value. There’s no point in keeping it at home. I’d like to see you wearing it every day,” said Jin Qingyan as his smile faded a little.

“Alright then, I won’t be responsible if it goes missing though.”

“Okay, I’ll get you another one if that happens.”

“Is this a New Year’s present for me?” she asked, refusing to take her eyes off the necklace. It was simply too mesmerizing.

“Yes, come here.”

An Xiaoning walked towards him and sat on his lap while throwing her arms around his neck. “Hubby, you actually bought me such an expensive necklace. How generous of you.”

“You’re my wife, it’s only normal for me to splurge on you.”

She nodded in joy and showered him with kisses.

After continuing their conversation for a while, the exhausted An Xiaoning soon fell asleep while Jin Qingyan rested his head against the bedhead. The warm yellow light from the nightlamp cast across every contour of his face, causing his striking features to stand out perfectly.

Every now and then, he would peek a look at An Xiaoning, who was sound asleep.

——

The snow had gotten lighter during the night, though the roads were still paved with frozen snow in the morning. The floors were so slippery that one could slip and fall easily.

An Xiaoning and Jin Qingyan had woken up early in the morning to go about visiting houses for the Lunar New Year. The first stop was the Jin family’s mansion, followed by the homes of Jin Qingyan’s other relatives. According to customs, married women were only allowed to visit their maiden homes on the second day of the Lunar New Year. However, they decided to also make a trip down to the Gu family, since they would be away for skiing the next two days.

After lunch, the group of five boarded the camper van which was driven by a chauffeur.

They headed towards a ski resort in B City.

Along the journey, everyone chatted merrily amidst boisterous laughter.

They were all engaged in continuous chatter, especially Long Tianze, who could not stop cracking jokes.

He would occasionally tease Mei Yangyang, feeling exceptionally thrilled whenever she got shy or embarrassed.

They took the expressway and finally arrived after a two-hour journey.

To their surprise, Jin Qingyue and Shi Shaochuan were also on a trip at the ski resort.

“What a coincidence. Let’s go skiing together,” Jin Qingyue suggested.

“Nah, it’s fine. We don’t want to play gooseberry,” said Long Tianze, raising his chin proudly.

As soon as he finished his sentence, he turned around and left.

“Fine, you guys go ahead then. We’re going upstairs to get some rest. We’ve been playing for a while,” said Jin Qingyue as she pulled Shi Shaochuan along and strode towards the elevator.

The rest of them then continued walking.

After arriving at the ski area, An Xiaoning confessed, “Actually, I don’t know how to ski.”

“I know how to, I’ll teach you,” said Jin Qingyan.

“Yeah, let Qingyan teach you, a position especially for the both of you,” Long Tianze interrupted.

“Long Tianze, watch what you’re saying,” An Xiaoning chided.

“You just have a corrupted mind, Sis-in-law. Am I right?”

“Actually, I can’t ski either,” Mei Yangyang blurted.

“I’m here to teach you, aren’t I? I haven’t skied in a while. Let me show you guys how skilled I am,” Long Tianze said confidently, all geared up and ready to go.

He began skiing as soon as he finished speaking. All of a sudden, he skidded and tumbled over on all fours while the rest watched on in shock.

The severity of the fall was evident from the expression on Long Tianze’s face, who winced and grimaced in pain.

Mei Yangyang stepped forward to help him up carefully. However, she too slipped and fell on the slippery snow before she could even reach him. Fortunately, she had held onto Long Tianze for support and did not suffer too bad of a fall.

The rest burst into laughter upon the amusing sight of Long Tianze stumbling and falling, over and over again.

“Tianze, how long have you not been skiing? You’ve become so rusty, it’s awfully horrendous.”

“Let me bring you a ski coat. You’re going to kill yourself if you keep falling over like this,” Jin Qingyan exclaimed, gesturing at Long Tianze.

“I’m putting this on, not because I’m afraid of falling, but because I don’t want to dirty my precious self,” said Long Tianze as he put on the ski coat.

Everyone else proceeded to put on their ski coats one after another.

Over the afternoon, Long Tianze gradually regained his dexterity and guided the inexperienced Mei Yangyang along.