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“Who allowed you to let him in?” Chi Rui’er chided the babysitter. “Get out now,” she hollered at her stepfather.

“What a willful child you are. What’s wrong with visiting my daughter and my grandchild? I raised you up painstakingly, yet this is how you treat me? Do you find your mother and me a hindrance now that you’ve married a wealthy husband?” Mr. Chi said with a sigh.

The nanny and servant immediately understood the situation.

Chi Rui’er did not know how to retaliate and said instead, “If you refuse to leave, I’ll have no choice but to call security.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll leave. Here’s some fruit I bought. I know you don’t need them, but it’s all I can afford,” said Mr. Chi, placing a bag of items onto the table.

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

In a moment of pique, Chi Rui’er dumped the fruits into the rubbish bin. Her mood was completely ruined, and she was no longer interested in visiting the beauty salon.

She stormed off in exasperation and returned to her bedroom.

The babysitters began to whisper amongst themselves.

“Why is Young Madam so harsh to her father who raised her? He may not be her biological father, but he was the one who brought her up after all.”

“Exactly, how unfilial of her.”

“We’d better stop talking, lest she overhears us.”

“Yes, yes.”

“…”

Chi Rui’er remained in her room alone for almost an hour before picking up her purse again to leave the house.

Just as she arrived at her car, Mr. Chi appeared out of nowhere, greatly startling her. “Why haven’t you left?” Chi Rui’er asked in astonishment.

“I could tell that you were about to go out just now. I was initially planning to wait here for two hours before going home if you didn’t show up by then.”

Absolutely speechless, Chi Rui’er unlocked her car door with the key and entered her car, after which Mr. Chi hurriedly hopped into the backseat.

“Get out of my car!” she barked.

Finally showing his true colors, Mr. Chi retorted, “Don’t try chasing me away. Now that you’ve found a wealthy husband to provide for you, you’re completely casting your mother and me aside, eh? Your mother needs to be put on long-term medication because of her heart disease. Her medicine doesn’t come cheap. Give me 20 thousand dollars so that your mother and I may improve our living standards.”

“I’ve been paying for my mother’s medical bills all this while. Quit using that as an excuse to extort money from me, I won’t give you any,” Chi Rui’er refuted, realizing that he was after money.

“Rui’er don’t be too quick to turn me down. Don’t you know that I can destroy your marriage by just talking to your husband?” He sat up slowly and leaned forward against her seat before placing his hand on her neck. “How many times have I warned you? You’d better not infuriate me or I’ll teach you a lesson. Hurry and give me the money before I run out of patience.”

Chi Rui’er pushed his hand away and took out a wad of cash from her purse. “10 thousand dollars, nothing more than that. Get down from my car now,” she said, handing him the cash.

“I said 20 thousand dollars, not a single cent less,” he insisted.

“I don’t owe you a living!”

“You don’t have a choice, your secret is in my hands,” Mr. Chi said smugly.

Clenching her fists in anger, Chi Rui’er said, “Go home first. I’ll bring another 10 thousand dollars when I visit my mother later in the evening.”

“Now that’s Daddy’s good girl. I’ll be waiting for you at home in the evening.”

“Okay.”

Chi Rui’er finally heaved a sigh of relief after her stepfather alighted from the car. With an icy cold stare in her eyes, she watched as he left smugly.

It seemed like it’s about time she got rid of this timebomb, lest it explode without warning, causing her plans to go awry.

Gu Dongcheng would definitely divorce her if he were to find out about her incestuous relationship with her stepfather.

She would then have to live a sorry life with the burden that was her child.

She was, once again, snapped out of her mood to visit the beauty salon.

——

It began to snow in the afternoon. Mei Yangyang and Long Tianze resumed filming for the variety television program.

The two of them had been rather exhausted lately from attending multiple publicity events to advertise the movie. On top of that, Long Tianze also had a pile of work and tasks to complete.

Although he was dog-tired, he did not have any complaints as he was happy to be able to work with his girlfriend.

It was the last filming session for the variety program, which would be aired two days before Christmas.

As soon as they alighted from the car together, the hosts of the variety program quickly welcomed them warmly before ushering them to the room.

Long Tianze was somewhat familiar with the hosts, unlike Mei Yangyang, who did not speak much and instead put on a courteous smile on her face most of the time.

After rehearsing for an hour, they proceeded to get their makeup done.

Afraid that Mei Yangyang would be lost and confused on stage, Long Tianze repeatedly explained the rules of the games to her. He also briefed her on what she could or could not say and instructed her not to fall into the traps laid by the hosts.

“What happens when they ask if we’re a couple in real life and not just on screen? How should I answer them?” Mei Yangyang asked.

“Hmm… just answer truthfully and tell them that we were already in a relationship before filming even started. That might just help add to the publicity too,” said Long Tianze, with no intentions to hide their relationship at all.

“I’ll tell if they ask. But if they don’t, I’ll just remain quiet.”

Just as Mei Yangyang finished speaking, one of the hosts entered and asked excitedly, “Are we really allowed to ask about your relationship?”

Taken aback, Mei Yangyang nodded. “Yes.”

“Great, great, I’ll let the others know,” the host exclaimed delightedly.

“Why is he so worked up?” asked Mei Yangyang as she stared at the back of the host, who was scurrying away excitedly.

“Of course he would be worked up. Once we discuss our relationship on this program, not only will we make it on the news, the program will also receive higher viewership on television as well as on online video platforms.”

“But I’m just a rookie actor. Although you’re well known in the entertainment industry, you’re still not exactly a famous actor. Why would anyone be interested in our relationship?” Mei Yangyang said, full of doubt.

Long Tianze patted her head and said with much gusto, “Just you wait and see. When the movie becomes a blockbuster hit, you have to tell your sister that I contributed to half of its success.”

“Fine – if it really becomes a hit, that is.”

“You’d better keep your word.”

“Yes!”

“What do I get for a reward? I’m more interested in knowing that, actually,” Long Tianze asked inquisitively.

“A reward? You’re not in need of anything, what should I give you?” Mei Yangyang answered, having no idea what she should gift him with.

“Are you asking the obvious when you already know what I want? Tell me honestly,” said Long Tianze, raising his index finger.

“No.”

“I’m indeed not short of anything, but, I need you, dummy. Could you… give yourself to me?” he asked, chuckling.

Mei Yangyang instantly blushed red with shyness. “Let me think about it, alright?”

“Sure, you call the shots.”

Since they were an actual couple to begin with, they were exceptionally at ease with each other during the filming of the variety program, which was rather enjoyable for them. Once they were done with the filming, they quickly became a hot topic online, all because they had openly admitted to their relationship.

Jin Qingyue rested her head against the bedhead while reading the news. She stared intently at the photos of Mei Yangyang and Long Tianze smiling widely and enjoying themselves while playing the games on the variety program.

Throughout the years of growing up together with Long Tianze, she had never paid much attention to photos of him before. After piecing the puzzle together and recalling everything Long Tianze had done for her in the past, Jin Qingyue realized all of a sudden that Shi Shaochuan had never been as sweet to her as Long Tianze was.