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“If coaxing her worked, I would’ve done it long ago. It’s not like I can’t get another woman anyway, there are plenty of women who are vying with each other to be together with me!”

“You… you’re just in denial of your feelings. I’ll get going.”

“Yes.”

After taking a shower, Jin Qingyan exchanged glances with An Xiaoning just as he was coming out of the bathroom in a bathrobe.

He stood rooted to the ground and stared at her. “Let me pack my luggage first,” said An Xiaoning, appearing rather calm and collected.

Jin Qingyan did not answer and instead headed inside the walk-in wardrobe as soon as he saw her approaching.

He then sat down on the bed, unsure where he should place his hands.

The room was filled with silence, apart from the noises An Xiaoning was making as she packed her belongings.

Jin Qingyan stood up all of a sudden and strode towards the walk-in wardrobe where An Xiaoning was packing her clothes. She watched as he removed his bathrobe and cast it aside, exposing his stark naked body. Absolutely unrestrained, he continued to put on his clothes slowly, one piece after another.

It seemed he did not find anything inappropriate with what he was doing.

On the other hand, An Xiaoning was completely ill at ease.

Although they had been married for months, she was still not used to such a sight.

Hanging her head low, she picked up her speed and hurriedly packed into her luggage all her clothes, shoes, bags, and everything else she had bought with her own money. However, she made sure not to take a single item which belonged to the Jin family.

Jin Qingyan dressed himself in an immaculate set of clothes and stood in front of her. With both hands behind his back, he looked down at her from above.

“Can’t… can’t you just allow me the chance to make it up to you in the future, instead of getting a divorce?” he said, keeping his eyes fixed on her.

Upon hearing his words, An Xiaoning stopped packing immediately, beginning to feel a strange sense of sadness all of a sudden. However, she did not allow his words to make her waver and stood firm on her decision instead. “I can’t. Once I’ve decided on something, I won’t change my mind easily.”

“Since you’re so insistent, I have nothing else to say. Come out when you’re done packing,” he said coldly, clenching his fists.

He turned around to leave as soon as he finished speaking. An Xiaoning then looked up and watched his figure fade away slowly.

Jin Qingyan continued to pace back and forth in the bedroom until she finally came out of the walk-in wardrobe. He then headed downstairs and began driving towards the old Mansion to collect his household register.

He stepped foot inside the old Mansion to see that all of his family members were present — Mr. Jin was reading the newspapers while Mrs. Jin was knitting a sweater and Jin Qingyue was playing with her mobile phone on the couch. Upon sight of his arrival, Mrs. Jin noticed the grim expression on his face. “Qingyan, have you eaten?” she asked, casting her wool and needle aside.

“No. Where’s my household register? Give it to me.”

Mrs. Jin stood up, having already guessed what he needed it for.

“You’re really getting a divorce?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll bring it to you,” said Mrs. Jin as she walked towards her bedroom.

Jin Qingyan waited patiently for her return, with one hand tucked in his pocket.

Shortly after, Mrs. Jin returned with his household register. Jin Qingyan took it from her hands and turned around to leave immediately, without uttering a single word.

Mrs. Jin was all jittery and overwhelmed with a mix of emotions as she sat on the couch.

“Mother, why are you pulling a long face? You should be feeling happy for Brother, he’s finally going to be single again. After their divorce today, you may begin setting him up with potential matchmaking candidates tomorrow. We’ll show An Xiaoning what she’s missing out on, Brother is such a great catch,” Jin Qingyue scoffed.

Mr. Jin glared and her and said sternly, “That’s enough, stop gloating and rubbing it in. Can’t you see how vexed your Brother already is?”

“Father, An Xiaoning initiated the divorce with Brother, that must’ve bruised his ego greatly. Why don’t we report it to the media and claim that it was Brother who initiated it?”

“Are your brains fried? Claiming that your brother initiated the divorce right after your sister-in-law just survived an ordeal is obviously going to enrage netizens. They’ll definitely bash him online and condemn him for being heartless. Of course we can’t do that.”

“How about we tell them that it was Sister-in-law who initiated it then?”

“What’s the point of that? We’ll tell the media that she was the one who initiated it when they actually find out about the divorce themselves. To be honest, I would’ve picked your sister-in-law over anyone else in our family, should they have been taken away instead. But of all people, it had to be you. At such a critical situation, you’re still the one I care most about in the end, but look how you’re repaying me. You’ve gotten yourself a scoundrel for a husband. But then again, there’s nothing more I can say now that you’re already married,” Mrs. Jin said frankly.

“Mother, I came home to accompany you right after I just got married. Aren’t I being filial enough?”

“If only such an unfortunate incident did not happen, Xiaoning and Qingyan wouldn’t have to get a divorce then. She had even gotten pregnant, but now…” Mrs. Jin said with a long sigh, no longer in the mood to continue knitting.

——

After An Xiaoning was done packing her belongings, Fan Shixin took the initiative to help her carry her luggage to the trunk of her Ferrari.

She then thanked him for his help.

“Young Madam, Young Sir actually still cares a lot about you. Last night, he…” said Fan Shixin, though he appeared rather constrained and reserved.

“Shut up,” Jin Qingyan bellowed before Fan Shixin could even finish speaking.

Upon sight of Jin Qingyan, Fan Shixin hurriedly bowed at him before trotting away.

“Here’s the household register. Wait for me while I go get the marriage certificate.”

“Alright.”

Jin Qingyan then proceeded upstairs to look for their marriage certificate. While flipping through the little red book, he chanced upon the photo of him and An Xiaoning, which instantly reminded him of the day they registered their marriage.

Without further thought, he held the two little red books in his hands and headed downstairs.

The two then got into their respective cars and began driving towards the Civil Administration Bureau.

Walking side-by-side, they headed inside the place where they once legalized their status as husband and wife.

The staff working at the Civil Administration Bureau turned to look at each other in puzzlement, upon recognizing that it was Jin Qingyan and An Xiaoning.

They were steadfast in signing the divorce papers, remaining silent throughout the entire process.

They were not wishy-washy or hesitant at all.

They submitted their marriage certificate and received a certificate of divorce in return.

An Xiaoning finally felt at ease and free upon receiving the divorce certificate.

Perhaps no one could understand why she was bent on getting a divorce, except herself. Her marriage had already sunk into the doldrums, and she had no choice but to leave, lest she continued to live her days with the memory of the traumatic experience. It would then be a living hell for her, though she was living a life of luxury.

“I’ve placed the necklace you bought me, as well as the wedding ring, inside the drawer. I’m fine by myself, you take care too. See you never again,” said An Xiaoning as she stepped out of the Civil Administration Bureau.

Jin Qingyan could not help but pull her into a tight embrace, wishing he could keep her in his arms forever.

“Xiaoning…”

An Xiaoning rested her chin on his shoulder and said, “Mr. Jin, we have nothing to do with each other from now on. Please let go of me.”

Jin Qingyan felt his body stiffen at her aloof words and let go of her immediately. “It was just a goodbye hug,” he said coldly.

He turned around to leave as soon as he finished speaking.

An Xiaoning stood still on the spot and watched him get into his car and leave.

Jin Qingyan stared at her reflection in the rearview mirror which faded slowly and gradually disappeared.

The car came to a halt as he stepped on the brakes all of a sudden. Staring at the divorce certificate on the passenger’s seat, Jin Qingyan began to feel like a million daggers were stabbing him in his heart.