Mei Yangyang removed her apron and asked eagerly, “What’s the occasion?”
“My eldest brother Gu Dongcheng is getting married,” An Xiaoning answered as she stood up to put on her coat and a scarf, which she wrapped around her neck. Mei Yangyang then headed upstairs to grab her bag, after which the two left in An Xiaoning’s car.
Mei Yangyang would be accompanying An Xiaoning everywhere she goes before the latter manages to hire a bodyguard whom she deemed trustworthy.
After they had finished replenishing the stock, Mei Yangyang returned to the store to sort the goods out together with Xu Jingwen and Zhang Li, while An Xiaoning drove off alone to the Gu family’s home.
Just as she was alighting from her car, she noticed Gu Beicheng’s car approaching slowly.
She stood still and watched as Gu Beicheng got down from his car. He walked towards her and looked at her from head to toe. “You don’t look too good. Your face is a little red and swollen, and your eyes look extremely weary. You must’ve had a poor night’s sleep,” he said with a grin.
Pursing her lips, An Xiaoning answered, “Such sharp eyes you’ve got. Indeed, I didn’t catch much sleep last night.”
“I heard about what happened last night. Can’t believe…” said Gu Beicheng as he threw an arm around her shoulder.
“Can’t believe what?”
“Can’t believe it turned out to be just a rumor. Otherwise, I would’ve thought that he really tried to kill himself because of you. But I guess it’s not true, after all. According to what I know about him, he’s a resilient one who always strives to survive all odds. He couldn’t have dug his own grave,” Gu Beicheng remarked, clucking his tongue in disdain.
Not wishing to discuss the matter any further, An Xiaoning changed the subject. “What’s the benefit of wearing the jade bangle you’ve given me?”
“You haven’t been wearing it?” Gu Beicheng asked in surprise as he took a look at her wrist.
“Yeah, I’ve never worn it.”
“It’s one of the few rare pieces I’ve been collecting. I heard from an expert that it was mined from an extremely rare tomb.”
A frown creased on An Xiaoning’s forehead upon hearing his words. “It belongs to the dead?”
“Don’t mistake it for an inauspicious item now, there’s a rich history about this particular tomb, which dates back to thousands of years ago. The entire tomb is well kept and intact, and in it lies the corpse of a teenage girl. Judging from her clothes and coffin, she must’ve been from an affluent family. However, the only piece of jewelry in her tomb was this jade bangle, which she had worn on her wrist. I heard it was an extremely precious and exquisite piece of jade, which brings women good health and fortune. After wearing it for an extended period of time, the jade and you will become one as it chooses you to be its owner. It’ll then protect you from all harm.”
“Is it really that impressive?” An Xiaoning asked.
“Since when have Brother caused you harm? Turns out you haven’t been wearing the bangle I gifted you. No wonder you’ve been facing so many obstacles ever since you got married. You deserve a beating,” Gu Beicheng said jokingly with a smirk.
“Ever since I got married? More like ever since I was born. I’ve been living all by myself my entire life, and probably will for the rest of it.” An Xiaoning let out a chuckle and continued, “I’ll put the jade bangle on right away, as soon as I get home. Can’t let a good thing go to waste.”
Together, they entered the living room through the door to see that Mr. and Mrs. Gu were both present. Upon seeing their arrival, Mrs. Gu hurriedly patted the empty spot beside her on the couch and said, “Come sit down here, Xiaoning.”
An Xiaoning did as instructed and greeted Mrs. Gu, “Mother, why is Eldest Brother getting married all of a sudden?”
“Because Chi Rui’er had gotten pregnant. Besides, your brother is not getting any younger. He’s almost 30 this year, it’s time he got married. Your Father and I shall respect his decision. By the way, Xiaoning, I heard from Beicheng that you’re living in a mansion along Dongpo Road. Move back in here with us, it’s safer that way,” said Mrs. Gu, grasping her hand.
“It’s alright, I’ve been looking for a bodyguard the past few days. I’ll look for highly-skilled ones to keep me safe. I still prefer living by myself, actually.”
“Have you not been getting enough rest and taking good care of yourself? Why do you look so sick? Don’t do anything at all and just stay at home to rest for the next few days. How about you move in with us for a while and go home when you’ve fully recovered? I’ll get someone to tidy up a room for you. Mother will make you lots of nutritious food every day, for you to nourish your health. Listen to me. I won’t take ‘No’ for an answer,” Mrs. Gu said with a frown.
“Xiaoning, do you not see me as your mother?” Mrs. Gu insisted.
“Of course I see you as my mother. It’s stated on my household register that we’re mother and daughter. Have a look,” An Xiaoning answered, handing Mrs. Gu her household registry book.
“I know that, of course. What I meant was that if you genuinely treated me like your mother, from the bottom of your heart. But since you do, then this is your home too. Are you going to turn your mother down for asking you to move back home for a while? Xiaoning, you’re in poor health and your body is frail. Besides, you don’t know how to take good care of yourself. Move in here for a period of time, Mother will take care of you and nurse you back into the pink of health. Listen to me, Xiaoning, you have to recuperate properly, especially since you’ve had a miscarriage. Otherwise, it’ll end up becoming a persisting ailment. I was planning to move in with you after your brother’s wedding, but now that I think of it, it’s better that you move in here with us,” said Mrs. Gu as she held onto An Xiaoning’s arm.
Seeing how insistent Mrs. Gu was, An Xiaoning pouted her lips and conceded, “I shall move in for a while then, alright?”
“Great, I’ll arrange a room for you later. You shall take the one opposite Beicheng’s,” said a delighted Mrs. Gu, a smile forming on her face.
“Okay, sounds good.”
Upon hearing that An Xiaoning had agreed to move in, Gu Beicheng interjected, “Mother, I haven’t been home in a long while too. Why don’t I move back for a while as well?”
“I’m glad you know you haven’t been home in a long time, little bastard. I can count the number of times I’ve seen you lately with the fingers on one hand. You’re already starting to neglect me now that you’re still single. I can only imagine how much worse it’s going to get once you get married, you’ll probably forget me completely,” Mrs. Gu chided, feeling a little aggrieved.
“I wouldn’t dare to, Mother.”
“Bullshit. I’ll get the servants to tidy Xiaoning’s room. Hubby, let the youngsters have a chat by themselves, go back to your room,” said Mrs. Gu as she rose from her seat.
Mr. Gu stood up and left immediately.
An Xiaoning could not help burst into laughter. “Gu Beicheng, Mother is getting more and more humorous of late. I still remember clearly the very first time I met her, as if it had only happened yesterday,” she said.
“You’re probably the only one amongst us who has the audacity to talk back to your elders and tell Mother to shut up,” Gu Beicheng answered, chuckling.
“There’s always a first for everything. But, in hindsight, it was indeed rather disrespectful of me to have done that. Thankfully, Mother did not take it to heart.” Reminded of the fact that she was going to move in for a period of time, An Xiaoning said, “Why don’t I go home to collect my luggage now?”
“I’ll go with you,” Gu Beicheng suggested.
They then headed towards Dongpo Road again. “The temperature of this jade is really cool. It fits me just right though, not bad at all, indeed,” An Xiaoning expressed her approval as she put the bangle on in front of Gu Beicheng.
“Well, I couldn’t think of a better gift for your wedding. It’d be too tacky to just give you a ton of money or gold…”
Before he could finish, An Xiaoning quickly interrupted, “No, no, money will never come across as tacky to me, no matter how much it may be. Next time, just give me money instead, you won’t have to fret over picking me a gift. I’ll just buy myself whatever I want with the money.”