An Xiaoning scanned her surroundings and exclaimed in awe, “This is a really great place, beautifully surrounded by mountains and nature. I find it really therapeutic, just staring at the calm waters of the river.”
“We used to come here to fish all the time, but we’ve stopped coming so frequently, due to our busy work schedules. However, this is still the first place that comes to mind whenever we feel like fishing. There are plenty of fishes in this river,” Jin Qingyan explained to An Xiaoning as he pushed the fishing rods aside slowly.
“Qingyan has never once caught as many fishes as I have, though. I’m an expert at fishing,” Long Tianze said with a confident smile.
“You forgot to mention that the ones I catch are way larger than yours,” Jin Qingyan retorted.
“How about we have a match today?” he suggested.
Jin Qingyan quickly accepted the challenge, “Sure.”
The two of them proceeded to cast their rods into the water at the same time.
Resting her chin in her hand, Mei Yangyang engaged in a casual conversation with An Xiaoning while they enjoyed a moment of tranquility and peace.
Soon after, Long Tianze retracted his rod forcefully all of a sudden, and a huge grass carp emerged from the water. It continued to struggle in an attempt to escape, flailing about in the air.
Long Tianze proudly placed the grass carp into his fishnet and bragged about his achievement to Jin Qingyan, “Did you see that? I just caught a humongous fish.”
Seeing how conceited Long Tianze was, Jin Qingyan said nonchalantly, “It’s just a grass carp, it won’t be worth much.”
“Hmph! Look at yourself, you can’t even catch one. Sour grapes,” Long Tianze sneered.
“Who said I can’t?” Jin Qingyan retorted.
As soon as he finished his sentence, Jin Qingyan caught a red snapper with his rod.
“A red snapper, not too bad, Qingyan. Why didn’t you catch a shark?”
“Why don’t you show me how to catch one, since you’re so good at this?”
Over the span of the afternoon, the two of them managed to catch plenty of fishes in their net.
They each had their own strengths — Long Tianze had won the match in terms of quantity, whereas Jin Qingyan had won in terms of size and value of the fishes caught.
On the way back, Long Tianze suggested, “Let’s have a feast of fish tonight, each dish prepared in every possible way — doused in sweet and sour sauce, steamed, braised, stir-fried with fermented pickles, stir-fried with dried chili, poached, etc. How does that sound?”
“It’s all fish. Are you sure you can stomach that?” Jin Qingyan scoffed in disapproval.
“Why not? Every dish is going to be prepared differently and taste different from each other. I’m salivating just at the thought of it.”
“Glutton,” Mei Yangyang interjected.
Upon hearing her remark, Long Tianze answered with a grin, “Yes, I’m a glutton, and I’m going to eat you.”
Mei Yangyang cocked her head towards the side and looked out of the window, pretending not to have heard anything.
Just as they were waiting for dinner to be served, the news broadcasted on the television had shocked them greatly.
It was reported that Bai Ranran had publicly announced on her Weibo page that she would be calling off her wedding with Ye Xiaotian. In order to avoid speculation, she included the reason for her decision in the announcement, claiming that it was entirely due to her personal reasons and that she had decided not to get married anymore. She had shifted all the attention to herself.
The piece of shocking and abrupt news had caused a major uproar, since it was not too long ago that they had announced that they would be bringing the wedding forward to an earlier date.
Upon hearing the news, Mrs. Ye hurriedly gave Bai Ranran a call, but the latter did not answer. Thus, she proceeded to call Ye Xiaotian instead to ask about what was going on. However, he mentioned that he had also just received the shocking piece of news and that she did not discuss the matter with him prior to the announcement.
Since he could not get through to her over the phone, Ye Xiaotian had no choice but to search for her personally.
Both the Ye and Bai families were puzzled and perplexed at her abrupt decision.
They took turns to question Bai Ranran. However, she had insisted on standing firm on her decision.
Knowing very well how much Bai Ranran had yearned to become Ye Xiaotian’s wife, her family members began to interrogate him upon his arrival, questioning if he had forced Bai Ranran to call off the wedding.
Ye Xiaotian had no choice but to explain again that he had also just found out about the matter from the news on the television, emphasizing that he would never do something like that.
Puzzled and confused by Bai Ranran’s decision, Ye Xiaotian decided to look for her in her bedroom.
The lights were on in the room while she laid in bed with her eyes closed, yet to fall asleep. Upon hearing the incoming footsteps, she opened her eyes.
Seeing that it was him, Bai Ranran spoke up, “I know I didn’t discuss it with you earlier, but, Xiaotian, I just realized all of a sudden that I had been living for your sake the past few years, so much so that I had completely lost myself. I’m still young, and I ought to spend some time alone, living for no one but myself.”
“Ranran…” Utterly convinced by her words, Ye Xiaotian said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have me take care of you for the rest of your life?”
“Who knows how long more I’ll get to live? Xiaotian, you don’t love me at all. You treat me well and give in to me, not because you love me, but because of something else. Starting from tomorrow, I’d like to go out there and explore whatever the world has to offer,” she said, hanging her head low.
“But you have to visit the hospital every other day… If you’d really like to go exploring, I’ll go with you and we’ll bring along the doctor and your blood donor. How about that?” said Ye Xiaotian.
Shaking her head, she refuted, “There’s no need for that. I’ll bring them along myself. You don’t have to worry about those.”
“Xiaotian! Please respect my decision and grant me my wish, alright? Just take it that I’m begging you,” she snapped, glaring at him sternly.
“If this is really what you want, I’ll go ahead with your wishes. But, Ranran, you’ll always be the dearest kin of mine, even if we can’t become husband and wife. I’ll never forget the sacrifices you’ve made for my mother.”
Tears welled up in Bai Ranran’s eyes as she nodded and said, “Okay, thank you, Xiaotian. You may take your leave.”
After the door was closed, Bai Ranran broke down in despair and began crying out loud while covering her face with the duvet.
As soon as she was done crying, she felt a sudden, acute pain in her stomach. Clutching her gut in pain, she began tossing and turning in bed.
The sharp pain lasted for several minutes, which made her feel like it was the end of the world.
Bai Ranran suddenly realized that she had been so preoccupied with the fact that she had less than three months left to live that she had forgotten a crucial question: What would be the cause of her death?
Thus far, she was aware that the only condition she was plagued with was the disorder which hindered her from producing her own blood. However, the doctor had mentioned that she would be able to lead a normal life, as long as the blood transfusions were regular and consistent.
She was never told that she would die in a short period of time.
She hurriedly sent An Xiaoning a text message to ask about the question she had.
In no time, An Xiaoning replied: “Heart failure.”
Bai Ranran sprung up immediately and hurriedly got dressed before rushing down to the hospital.
She had wanted to verify if the prediction was true.
After her cardiovascular checkup, the doctor did not inform her of the results right away, but instead proceeded to engage in a discussion with the other doctors.
She waited anxiously for the results. “Ms. Bai, your condition appears to be a little complicated and we’ve yet to come to a conclusion. Please proceed for a blood test now.”
“Alright,” she agreed cooperatively.
After waiting for an hour…
The results were finally out.
“Ms. Bai, could you get your family to make a trip here?”
“Please just tell me the results, I am ready for it. I’ve already prepared myself for bad news prior to coming here, more or less.”
“Alright then. We’ve found that your heart is beginning to show signs of functioning abnormally. According to the blood test, your blood sample was shown to contain traces of the SIA virus, a kind of virus that causes sudden and tremendous heart failure. It is known to have a certain incubation period, during which infected patients will not feel any symptoms at all. Infected patients would usually end up in an abrupt death, shortly after the first signs of sudden discomfort. Just how did you contract such a rare virus?” the doctor said solemnly.