“Mo Li, you may choose not to trust me, but seriously, do you have any other choice? Killing you and your family is just a piece of cake to him, he’ll just cover his actions up with a frivolous excuse and it’ll all blow over soon enough. Do you really think Long Tianze and Jin Qingyan would set everything aside and make their way to Y Nation to save you when that happens? When An Xiaoning met with a mishap, Jin Qingyan still decided to save his own sister at the end of the day. Do you think you matter more to him than An Xiaoning?” Ye Xiaotian began to mellow his voice before continuing to speak, “Come back to me. I promise I’ll be good to you in the future, as long as you don’t provoke me. Mo Li, I’ll really treat you well, I mean it.”
“Let me think about it,” Mo Li answered slowly.
“I’ll be leaving tonight. Someone will be here to pick you up at six in the evening. If you don’t show up by then, I’ll be making my way back.”
Mo Li expressed her assent and said, “I’ll text you once I’ve made up my mind.”
With a heavy heart, she ended the call.
She changed into a fresh set of clothes and headed towards her parents’ place.
She took a seat and greeted her family, “Father, Mother, Mo Xun.”
“You’re here so early. You haven’t had breakfast, have you?” asked Mrs. Mo as she hurriedly scooped Mo Li a bowl of rice.
“Yeah, let’s eat first. I have something to tell you guys later.” Mo Li looked down at her food and began digging in as she rehearsed in her head the things she was about to tell her family.
Although her family noticed that she seemed a little troubled, they decided to remain quiet and leave their questions for later.
An Xiaoning received a call from the boot camp academy right after breakfast. “Didn’t you mention that it’ll commence in a week’s time?” she asked in disbelief.
“Here’s the thing, Ms. An, the trainers thought it’d be good to spend a few days getting to know the members better, prior to starting the boot camp.”
“Okay, I’ll come by in the afternoon.” An Xiaoning let out a long sigh and proceeded to pack her luggage.
“Father, Mother, the boot camp academy just called me to say that I have to be there a few days in advance. I’m going to oversee some matters at the store now before heading to the boot camp in the afternoon,” said An Xiaoning as she passed by the living room, dragging her luggage along.
“It’s been brought forward? Don’t drive then, let the chauffeur send you there instead,” Mrs. Gu said hurriedly.
It was An Xiaoning’s first time returning to the store in a long while. She was delighted to see that business had gotten better and that there were many returning customers.
“Sis!” Mei Yangyang exclaimed upon noticing her arrival.
An Xiaoning gave her a pat on her shoulder and said, “Let’s go to the boot camp together this afternoon. They just called to say that it’s going to begin a few days in advance. Get ready to be tortured.”
“Don’t worry about me, I’m strong and healthy. I’m rather concerned about you though, you’ve yet to fully recover.”
“It’ll be alright, they said that there wouldn’t be any training for the next few days. We’ll just be going through icebreakers and familiarize ourselves with the other members,” An Xiaoning explained. She took a look around the store before sitting down in front of the desk to peruse the accounts book carefully.
She spent the entire morning going through the accounts and went for lunch with Mei Yangyang in the afternoon, before hailing a taxi to Mei Yangyang’s place. The two then proceeded to the boot camp academy with their respective luggages.
“Sis, are you not going to put on your mask?”
“No, we’ll be be carrying out vigorous training, the mask is only going to get in the way.” An Xiaoning pulled her long, curly locks back into a ponytail and secured it with a rubber band, exposing a pair of white ear studs on her ears. She looked at Mei Yangyang and said with a smile, “Let’s go in.”
The sales associate, Xiao Ke, was surprised to see them and proceeded to speak. “The boot camp for this semester is fully booked, we don’t have any slots left.”
“Are you turning down sales? I’m An Xiaoning, I’ve already signed up previously,” said An Xiaoning, handing her her copy of the namelist.
Xiao Ke took a closer look at the namelist, though she still could not remember attending to her before. Seeing how puzzled Xiao Ke was, An Xiaoning said, “I was too busy to come here to sign up previously. It was a friend who did it for us.”
Having understood the situation, Xiao Ke broke into a smile and said, “Oh, I see. She was really gorgeous. Please follow me, Ms. An. No wonder I found your name familiar while I was signing you up.”
An Xiaoning let out a courteous smile and followed her to the dormitory block, together with Mei Yangyang.
There were two rooms allocated to each gender, and each bedroom was to be shared amongst three members.
The bedroom comprised of two washrooms and a spacious three-layered bunk bed made of wood, which appeared rather exquisite.
There was one closet for each person, which was large enough for luggages to be stored inside.
Since they had arrived first, An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang occupied the first two layers of the bunk bed. They then proceeded to unpack their luggage. Just as they were done sorting their belongings, the door opened and in came Lin Mingxi, the heiress of the Lin family.
The very lady whom Long Tianze had a matchmaking session with.
Quick-witted as ever, An Xiaoning hurriedly took the initiative to greet her, “Hi, Ms. Lin.”
Lin Mingxi took a glance at them and seemed to have realized something, after which she answered, “Hello, Ms. An.”
She proceeded to the third layer of the bed before coming down again to sort her luggage. “I’m a serious clean freak and a germaphobe. May I have one of the washrooms entirely to myself?” she requested while hanging her clothes inside the closet.
“Sure, Yangyang and I will share one. We’re not too particular about it anyway,” An Xiaoning agreed.
Lin Mingxi nodded and said, “I didn’t expect to see you here, Ms. An.”
“I’m surprised that you’ve joined the boot camp too, Ms. Lin.”
“I joined because of someone. The person I adore is here, so I decided to sign up at the last minute. Fortunately, I managed to book the last slot,” said Lin Mingxi, keeping her eyes fixed on An Xiaoning.
“The person you adore?” An Xiaoning asked in curiosity, beginning to wonder if she was referring to the trainers.
“Yes. I wouldn’t have signed myself up for such torment, otherwise. This is a great chance for me to get closer to him, an opportunity not to be missed.” Lin Mingxi then turned to look at Mei Yangyang and continued, “I remember seeing you before as well.”
“Yes, I’m Tianze’s girlfriend,” Mei Yangyang acknowledged.
Lin Mingxi seemed to have an epiphanic moment as she proceeded to speak, “Ah, no wonder Mr. Long stopped contacting me since the first time we met. I thought he was displeased with me. Turns out he has a girlfriend.”
“When you met him, though, we weren’t together yet. We only got together that afternoon,” said Mei Yangyang.
A frown began to form on Lin Mingxi’s face, and she appeared to be slightly offended by Mei Yangyang’s words. She stopped hanging her clothes and instead questioned, “His parents have yet to hear about your relationship with him, have they?”
“Don’t worry, Ms. Lin, that’s none of your concern.”
Lin Mingxi let out a humph in disdain. She truly did not expect An Xiaoning to be there. No wonder Jin Qingyan had decided to come, seriously…
She recalled receiving a great shock upon meeting Jin Qingyan for the very first time. She had already heard about him long ago and seen plenty of photos of him on the news.
However, it was her first time seeing him in the flesh. He was much more handsome in person and appeared cool and aloof, yet gentle and charming at the same time, giving off an overall impression of a well-tempered lad.
If An Xiaoning had known that Lin Mingxi thought he had a great temper, she would definitely think to herself, You’ve been deceived by his looks. He’s a completely different person on the inside!
Despite being unaware of Jin Qingyan’s motive, Lin Mingxi had eagerly signed up for the boot camp as soon as she heard that he would be here. However, she was overwhelmed with jealousy and disappointment upon seeing An Xiaoning. After all, An Xiaoning and Jin Qingyan were once husband and wife.