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“Yeah, I stink. I haven’t showered or changed my clothes in more than half a month.”

“That’s very filthy indeed.”

“Why did you still kiss me then?”

“I’ll kiss you regardless of how dirty you may be.”

“…”

An Xiaoning took an hour-long shower as soon as she arrived home. She instantly felt rejuvenated and was set into a good mood after the shower.

She smelled pleasant from head to toe. The last thing she ever wanted was to step foot into prison again.

After drying her hair, she exited the bathroom to see that Jin Qingyan was looking at his mobile phone while leaning his head against the bedhead. Upon the sight of her, he cast his mobile phone aside immediately and sat up straight.

“Great,” said An Xiaoning as she crawled onto bed and snuggled up into his embrace.

“What’s great?”

“This feeling, it’s great.” An Xiaoning raised her head to look at him and said, “One is bound to be helpless at some point, regardless of how powerful he may be. Even the strongest person is susceptible to frailty. Jin Qingyan, if you chose to believe your eyes and not me during this incident, then let me tell you, it would’ve been truly over for us for the rest of our lives.”

“That goes without saying. If I didn’t choose to believe you, you would’ve been sentenced to death. Things would definitely have been over between us then.”

“You know that’s not what I meant. What I’m trying to say is, you would’ve been eliminated in my heart forever,” An Xiaoning corrected as she punched him playfully.

“You know, these past two weeks, I was the most worried and scared I’ve ever been. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t get to see you again. All I could do was think about you every second that I’m awake.” Jin Qingyan placed his leg over hers and turned to his side. With half his body on top of her, he asked, “Are you tired?”

“What’s up?”

“If you’re not tired, then I’d like to get it on with you. If you are, though, let’s do it tomorrow morning instead.”

An Xiaoning closed her eyes and answered, “I’m tired and I want to sleep.”

He chuckled. “Sure, let’s go to bed first then.”

They cuddled each other to sleep and soon drifted off to dreamland.

To them, it was the end of yet another battle, and they could finally get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Yet, someone else could not fall asleep and decided to stay awake the entire night.

At this very moment, commotion had broken out in the old mansion.

“You hit me in front of the children. Imbecile,” Mrs. Jin lamented in between sobs.

Mr. Jin did not bother entertaining her and instead played deaf while tucked beneath the duvet.

“You even made me apologize to Xiaoning…”

“Get lost once you’re done crying,” Mr. Jin hissed in annoyance.

Mrs. Jin immediately stopped weeping and laid down beside Mr. Jin in bed. Her thoughts were in a whirl as she stared blankly at the ceiling above her, thrown into an emotional turmoil.

“You asked Qingyue to come here by daybreak. What is it that you want to talk to them about?”

“You’ll know when they’re all here.”

Refusing to give up, Mrs. Jin continued to probe, “Just what did Mother say to you?”

“You’re really getting on my nerves. Leave me alone if you don’t wish to sleep, because I want to sleep,” Mr. Jin rebuked.

Mrs. Jin fell silent immediately and continued to stay wide awake throughout the rest of the night, a million thoughts flooding her mind.

——

Lin Mingxi arrived in Ming Yuan Estate early in the morning only to find that Ye Xiaotian had already left.

Since she was now the Young Madam of the Ye family, it was only normal for her to show up there often.

“Young Madam, have you had breakfast?” a servant asked politely.

“No, fix me a set.”

“Alright.”

Lin Mingxi climbed up the stairs to the second storey. She pushed the door open and switched on the lights in the bedroom, causing the room to be brightly lit instantly.

The room was scattered with items that obviously belonged to a woman.

Needless to say, Lin Mingxi knew right away who the items had belonged to.

“Why are her things still lying around here even though she’s already dead?”

She took a look around the bedroom, walk-in wardrobe, and bathroom to find that Mo Li’s belongings were everywhere.

She could not help but feel terribly upset and peeved at the thought of Ye Xiaotian refusing to return to the Ye family mansion and choosing to stay in Ming Yuan Estate every day instead. Am I worse than a dead person? she thought to herself.

She headed downstairs and sat down at the dining table. Shortly after, breakfast was served.

“Did Xiaotian come home frequently when that woman was still alive?” asked Lin Mingxi.

“Yes… Young Sir would come home every day.”

With raised brows, Lin Mingxi questioned apprehensively, “Is that so?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think that woman was pretty?”

“Definitely not as pretty as you are, Young Madam,” the maid answered.

“Why does Xiaotian adore her so much then?”

The maid shook her head and said, “Um, I’m not too sure about that.”

“Alright, you are dismissed. I’ll leave once I’m done eating.”

“Alright, please enjoy your meal, Young Madam.”

Lin Mingxi stood up to leave after barely eating anything. She instructed the servants not to inform Ye Xiaotian of her visit.

She then headed to the office building of the Ye Corporation.

She managed to make her way to Ye Xiaotian’s office smoothly without any obstacles or obstruction.

Upon sight of her arrival, Ye Xiaotian glanced at her casually before continuing to focus on his work.

“What’s the matter? Are you upset to see your beautiful newlywed wife?” she remarked sarcastically, leaning against his office desk.

“You should know that very well.”

“Regardless of whether you’re upset or not, you are to take responsibility since you’ve married me, Ye Xiaotian.”

He put his fountain pen down and stood up. Grabbing her chin with his hand, he asked, “How do you want me to take responsibility?”

Lin Mingxi was momentarily speechless as she looked him in the eye.

“You do have very exquisite features,” said Ye Xiaotian as he leaned in closer towards her.

“Glad you’re aware.”

“I wonder how many times you’ve gone under the knife to achieve that. Your nose bridge is so straight and high, I can’t help but wonder if it’ll go out shape if I pinch it,” Ye Xiaotian sneered with heavy sarcasm.

Realizing that she had just been humiliated and made fun of, Lin Mingxi flung his hand away angrily. “Ye Xiaotian! Are you done mocking me?” she snapped.

“Why did you come to my office?” he asked, tucking his hands into his pockets.

“What’s wrong with visiting my husband at work? Am I only allowed to look for you when there’s something urgent?” Lin Mingxi retorted distastefully, infuriated at the fact that Ye Xiaotian had never once returned to their bridal chamber ever since they got married.

“Oh? But I really don’t understand why you’re here.”

Just as she was about to hug him, Ye Xiaotian pushed her away and dismissed her. “If there’s nothing else, you may just leave.”

Realizing that he was chasing her away, Lin Mingxi’s face twisted into a frown. “Ye Xiaotian, let me tell you, don’t think I have to put up with this nonchalant attitude of yours just because you said you would treat me coldly for the rest of my life.”

“Feel free to file for a divorce if you can’t put up with it. I’d be more than willing to get a divorce,” Ye Xiaotian answered nonchalantly.

“Dream on, I’ll insist on not getting one then. I shall see how loyal you can be to a dead person,” Lin Mingxi retorted before turning around to leave.

Standing by the French window, Ye Xiaotian gazed out at the scenery outside. He was filled with immense sorrow, feeling as if Mo Li had just passed away yesterday, though it had already happened quite some time ago.

He could no longer control her or keep her by his side.

She had finally obtained the freedom she always yearned for, yet he was entrapped in a state of agony and emotional turmoil.

It was not until then that he truly understood what love was. Yet, it was all too late to tell Mo Li that he loved her.

It was snowing heavily outside; his sorrows and troubles seemed to be taken away with the falling snow.

——

When Mei Yangyang arrived at An Xiaoning’s place to make Mo Li breakfast, she learned that An Xiaoning had returned home at midnight. Thus, she hurriedly zoomed upstairs to knock on her bedroom door. “Sis?”