An Xiaoning laid in bed and recalled the first thing she said when Gu Beicheng wrapped her in his arms on the sidewalk earlier.
“I told you just now, I don’t have the courage or confidence to get married for the third time. Besides, I don’t plan to get into another relationship from now on.”
To which Gu Beicheng answered half-jokingly, “Are you planning to become a nun then?”
“Perhaps,” she answered coldly, after which she turned around and began walking back to the ward.
In a bid to give himself an out, Gu Beicheng said, “Alright, fine. I don’t plan on getting a girlfriend either. Tell me when you decide to change your mind one day, let’s get married and become doubly related.”
“Haha, sure,” she played along and gave him an out.
An Xiaoning continued to lie in bed, without a tinge of sleepiness at all.
She picked up her phone and began looking through her contacts list. She felt a sudden urge to send Jin Qingyan a text message but decided to dismiss the idea entirely after giving it some thought.
Technically speaking, they were yet to be officially divorced. Thus, she was still his wife and Jin Qingyue’s sister-in-law by name. Hence, she wondered to herself if she should still attend Jin Qingyue’s wedding.
It should be fine not to turn up, using her injury as an excuse.
An Xiaoning felt a sense of comfort at the thought of the mansion she owned, which was like her safe haven.
After a sleepless night, An Xiaoning proceeded to give Mei Yangyang a call when morning arrived. She then instructed the latter to bring her a set of clothes from her clothing store, as well as a pair of boots from the store next door.
Mei Yangyang arrived at the hospital ward at 8 o’clock in the morning with bags of clothing and shoes. “Sis, where are you planning to go?” she asked.
“Out of here. Go settle the administrative procedures to get me discharged, Gu Beicheng will be here to pick me up in a while,” she instructed Mei Yangyang.
She changed into the fresh set of clothes and realized that her hair was tangled in knots, due to the fact that she had not showered in days.
I must get my hair washed today , she thought to herself.
Jin Qingyue’s wedding was lavish and grand.
Although Shi Shaochuan had politely declined to invite any media personnel, photos of their wedding were, nonetheless, exposed and subjected to the scrutiny of netizens online.
Some netizens were cynical about their choice to get married at such an untimely period, given that three of Shi Shaochuan’s family members had just passed away not long ago.
However, some had thought the opposite — it must be true love, precisely because he was still insistent on marrying Jin Qingyue, despite the recent unfortunate events.
There were mixed reactions and opinions amongst the netizens. On the other hand, the public did not react much to the fact that An Xiaoning did not attend the wedding, perhaps because it was understandable for her not to show up, especially since she was heavily wounded and had just suffered a miscarriage.
Having understood her plight, they did not amplify or focus their attention on the matter.
Yet, news of the embarrassing slip-ups that occurred during the wedding quickly spread across to netizens online.
It quickly became the talk of the town and a hot topic of discussion amongst many.
Firstly, there was Shi Shaochuan, whose trousers’ zipper came undone right after the solemnization ceremony ended, an amusing sight which the guests had managed to snap photos of and upload online. Next, it was Jin Qingyue’s turn to embarrass herself by tripping over herself in heels during the toasting ceremony, after which she excused herself before she had even finished toasting.
Last came the news of an anonymous female netizen claiming to be Shi Shaochuan’s ex-girlfriend of many years, who took to the internet to expose all of Shi Shaochuan’s strange and peculiar habits, as well as some awkward and embarrassing situations he was embroiled in, in the past.
What should have been a joyous occasion worth celebrating had turned into a disastrous event, causing Jin Qingyue to grow into an uncontrollable rage as she trembled in exasperation.
Shi Shaochuan had no choice but to explain himself profusely and continuously try to placate her. He promised over and over again that the rumors online were untrue and that any anonymous netizens claiming to be his ex-girlfriends were merely putting up false accusations.
However, Jin Qingyue was not convinced at all, especially since the exposé about his strange habits was indeed true.
Extremely upset at how badly her wedding had turned out, Jin Qingyue burst into tears and began throwing a tantrum, which she kept up with until Mrs. Jin entered to comfort her.
The Jin family, who had disapproved of Shi Shaochuan right from the beginning, were cross at the sight of him.
An Xiaoning basked in the sun while leaning against a chair in the backyard. Holding her phone in her hand, she began scrolling through news reports of the wedding.
She paused the news video she was watching at the instant that she caught a glimpse of Jin Qingyan on the screen.
In the video, he appeared to have lost some weight, evident from his now-sunken cheeks. Clad in a bespoke suit, he stood there with a blank expression on his face, not giving away any clues of his true emotions.
An Xiaoning set her phone aside and closed her eyes while giving her legs a huge stretch. The warm rays of the sun shone down on her, as if it were a pair of warm hands, gently caressing her face.
Every now and then, she would be reminded of her conversation with the gynecologist who operated on her.
“Doctor, since my womb was ruptured in the process of getting stabbed and I even suffered a miscarriage, will I still have a chance to conceive in the future?”
“Mrs. Jin, based on your condition, you will still recover gradually if you take extra care of it.”
“I’d like to hear the truth.”
“I’m speaking nothing but the truth, Mrs. Jin. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to conceive in the future, as long as you take good care and nourish yourself with the right supplements. It shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Alright, thank you.”
An Xiaoning opened her eyes all of a sudden, only to be momentarily blinded by the striking rays of the sun. She sat up and returned inside her house, after which she took out the human mask she had purchased.
“Sis, where are you going?” asked Mei Yangyang, upon seeing that An Xiaoning was headed for the door.
“I’m going out for a short while, I’ll be back soon.”
“What would you like to buy? I’ll get it for you, or I’ll accompany you instead,” said Mei Yangyang as she placed the broom aside and walked towards her.
“Yangyang, I’ll be back real soon. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Look, I have this. Can’t recognize me, eh?” An Xiaoning answered as she put the mask on, which shocked Mei Yangyang greatly.
“Wait for me at home, I’ll be back in a bit.” An Xiaoning removed the mask and exited the door.
Still feeling a little worried, Mei Yangyang hurriedly chased after her and said, “Sis, call me if anything happens.”
Since An Xiaoning did not get Gu Beicheng to send his bodyguards, the ones standing by the entrance at the hospital, whom she then asked to leave, had belonged to Jin Qingyan.
It was not that she was brave; rather, she found that it would not be appropriate to have Jin Qingyan’s men following her around. Besides, she would be carrying out her task while wearing the mask, which meant no one could recognize her true identity at all.
After walking a distance, An Xiaoning hailed a taxi and arrived at another public hospital in the city.
She headed to the gynecological clinic again for another checkup.
Having used a false name and age, no one could tell that she was An Xiaoning.
Thus, the doctor was straightforward and frank about the results of the checkup.
“After looking at the test report, I’ve found that you were stabbed in a critical spot, right smack in the middle of your womb. Thus, the damage done will be permanent. In addition, scarring had developed at the spot where fertilized eggs are to be embedded, which means it’ll be hard for you to get pregnant again, though it’s also entirely possible that you may no longer conceive at all. In such cases, you’d have to be very careful throughout the entire course of pregnancy, should you manage to become impregnated. You’ll have to ensure that you’re in a constant good mood, rid of any negative feelings or emotions, and take your medicine regularly. As long as you stick to that, there may still be a chance for you to conceive.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” An Xiaoning thanked the gynecologist before standing up to leave with the report in her hands.
At this point, An Xiaoning knew for sure that she would never have the chance to conceive again for the rest of her life, since the gynecologist was merely trying to make her condition sound more optimistic.
It was right to get a divorce, after all , she thought to herself with a lopsided smile.
Standing by the entrance of the hospital, she stared at the passing cars and pedestrians on the road, unable to restrain her emotions as tears began to stream down her face.