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“Seems like you’re still not very satisfied with me,” he said, smiling wryly.

“Didn’t expect you to still have a bit of self-awareness. I made you this myself. Aren’t you going to give it a sip?” An Xiaoning answered, handing him a cup of beverage.

Jin Qingyan could not quite get used to such a calm and well-mannered An Xiaoning. Perhaps due to the fact that she had been treating him coldly with much disdain the past few months, he seemed to have forgotten what the An Xiaoning he knew was like.

He lifted the cup of green tea which seemed to have tasted sweeter than usual, though it was merely an ordinary cup of green tea.

In fact, it almost felt like he was drinking honey.

He appeared extremely haggard, though his immaculate features had not changed a single bit and he still looked as handsome as ever. It was evident that he had not been getting enough rest.

Staring at Jin Qingyan, An Xiaoning realized that he was looking extremely worn out compared to the last time she met him, which was quite some time ago.

“Have you been suffering from insomnia lately?”

“Yeah, you can tell?”

After a moment of silence, An Xiaoning answered calmly, “You ought to rest well since you still have to work in the day. How are you going to have the energy to work if you don’t get enough sleep at night? Your health matters the most.”

They seemed to have a tacit understanding upon exchanging glances with each other.

A smile formed on his face as he was set into a good mood upon hearing her words.

“I’m very glad to know that you’re so concerned about me. You haven’t spoken to me so calmly in a long time, I can’t quite get used to it yet.”

His gentle and mellow voice reminded An Xiaoning of the very first time she met him.

“Well, I just thought we could communicate amicably. Besides, there’s no point in being crude and saying mean things to you since they’re not going to drive you away, anyway.”

“That’s true. It would be better if you could be just as nice to me in bed as you are now,” he said, placing the teacup on the table.

“Jin Qingyan, don’t push your limits.”

He chuckled and said, “I’ll get going.”

An Xiaoning headed upstairs to get some rest after seeing him leave.

She tossed and turned in bed, finding it difficult to fall asleep.

“Boss, someone is calling you again!” cranked her ringtone.

She took a look at the caller display to find that it was an unknown number.

“Hello.”

“Long time no see. Have you forgotten who I am?” said Xi Bolai, giving her the chills instantly.

“How dare I forget who you are? Why bother making life hard for me, Mr. Xi?”

“I’m not trying to make life difficult for you. I just need you to help me with something,” said Xi Bolai, who seemed to be telling the truth.

“I’m not interested nor capable enough to render you help. Neither am I obligated to. I highly doubt it’s within my means to accomplish something you weren’t able to despite your power and status, Mr. Xi. Xi Bolai, stop calling me. I’m not afraid of you. Since you dared to look for me, I have the guts to turn you down as well. Although I may not be as powerful as you are, I’m tough and insusceptible to pressure. That’s all I have to say.”

After ending the call, An Xiaoning reached under her pillow to retrieve the small silencer, which she then kept beneath her shirt.

She then closed her eyes and fell asleep.

——

Chi Rui’er had long regained her health. In fact, she could have already been discharged on the day of her delivery. However, she continued to stay in the hospital ward and had not left since.

She decided to do that all because her son had yet to be discharged from the incubation room.

Staring at his son who was inside the incubator, Gu Dongcheng could not help but feel sad and worried.

Compared to him, Chi Rui’er was far more relaxed.

Mrs. Chi had been accompanying her throughout.

The doctor finally allowed their family members to enter the incubation room to have a look at the baby, under the condition that they put on hospital gowns throughout the visitation period.

Eager to see his child whom he had been gazing at through the glass from outside, Gu Dongcheng was the first to enter the incubation room. He then reached out to hold his son’s chubby little hand with his fingers. It was his first time having such close contact with him.

Although the child had yet to develop distinct facial features, one could tell easily that he greatly resembled Chi Rui’er.

Mrs. Gu, who had also come to see the newborn, was taken aback at the sight of her grandson. “Why does this child look exactly like his mother? None of his features resemble Dongcheng at all.”

“He probably just resembles his mother more,” said Mr. Gu.

Chi Rui’er did not come to visit her son, however.

“Did the doctor mention when the baby can be discharged from the incubator?”

“There’s still a month to go.”

Gu Dongcheng began to get annoyed at the thought of his premature son and chided her, “I always told you to be careful, to be careful! Yet you still refused to listen. Otherwise, he still wouldn’t be due today. Premature babies are going to suffer a whole string of health problems like poor immunity. They can’t be compared to babies delivered at full term at all.”

“You think I wanted that?”

“Okay, that’s enough. What do you feel like eating? I’ll bring them for you.”

Chi Rui’er told him a list of foods she was craving, though there were only a few that she could eat. Due to the fact that she was going through her post-natal confinement period, she was not allowed to take any spicy foods.

Sensing something amiss, Gu Dongcheng said, “I saw a baby who just got admitted to the incubation room earlier, it was a baby who was almost due. Yet, it was significantly smaller than our baby. Ours doesn’t look premature at all.”

Chi Rui’er felt her stomach twist into a knot. She quickly explained, “I ate so much throughout the course of pregnancy, of course our baby is going to be bigger. There’s nothing strange about that. If our child isn’t premature, why would his lungs be underdeveloped?”

Gu Dongcheng did not pry further and said instead, “I’ll go home to bring you some food.”

As soon as he left, Chi Rui’er quickly searched online: “Will babies born slightly ahead of due date be plagued with the same health problems as premature babies?”

A lot of answers online revealed that it all depends on the mother’s food and nutrition intake during the course of pregnancy, which explains why in some cases, babies born at full term may still encounter various health issues.

She knew it clearly herself.

In fact, the child was born merely a few days ahead of the due date. It was not a premature baby at all.

She could have actually waited ’til the due date to go into labor, yet Xu Jingwen had caused her to…

Her huge lie would have long been exposed if she had not already bribed the nurses and doctors at the hospital beforehand.

Thankfully, she had left no stones unturned.

Otherwise, how else could Gu Dongcheng be so elated about becoming a father?

Clad in a hospital gown, Mrs. Chi entered the hospital ward. “The baby is so adorable. Rui’er, put this on and go have a look yourself,” said Mrs. Chi while removing the gown.

“I’m not going.”

“Why don’t you seem attached to your child at all?”

Chi Rui’er kept mum and continued to play with her phone.

“Stop playing with your phone. Too much exposure to phones and television during the confinement period will be harmful to your eyes,” Mrs. Chi chided as she snatched her phone away and placed it onto the table.

“Mother, go home tomorrow. There are so many people here to look after me, you don’t have to accompany me.”

Before Mrs. Chi could even answer, the door swung open all of a sudden. Chi Rui’er turned to see that it was her stepfather.

She covered herself with the blanket and turned away from him.

“Why did you come at this time?” asked Mrs. Chi.

“I just thought you’ve been staying here for too long and thus decided to come and pick you up.”

Mrs. Chi took a look at Chi Rui’er, who had her back facing them, and said, “Forget it, I’ll go back with you. Rui’er, I’m going home with your father. Get Dongcheng to keep you company when he returns later.”

“Got it. Please leave quickly, I don’t wish to see him.”

Chi Rui’er’s stepfather had been staring at her coldly, though she had never once turned back to look at him. He then left the hospital together with Mrs. Chi.

Upon hearing the door close, Chi Rui’er sat up straight and picked up her phone, which was lying on the table. She then began tapping away at it mindlessly.