It was noontime when An Xiaoning received a call from Auntie Chen, who had called to inform her that it was Jin Qingyan’s birthday. He did not plan on holding a big celebration, however. Instead, he just wanted her to go home for dinner.
Just as she was about to reject it, Auntie Chen spoke again to say that he had invited a few friends over and that they were all waiting for her to come home.
Thus, An Xiaoning agreed. Thinking that the guests present were all his friends, none of which were hers, she decided to bring Mei Yangyang along. Besides, Mei Yangyang had not eaten either.
The backyard was filled with four or five luxury cars.
“Sis, your house is huge!” exclaimed Mei Yangyang when she alighted.
“Hurry, come on in,” said An Xiaoning as she held Mei Yangyang by her hand.
Amongst the few people in the living room sat a good friend of Jin Qingyan’s apart from Long Tianze. His name was Ling Ciye and he was a gang member, apparently. An Xiaoning could tell right away that he was not a simple man, just from his body language. Jin Qingyue, who was also present, acted as if An Xiaoning did not exist at all. She kept her eyes glued onto the video game on her mobile phone. Jin Qingyan had had his eyes fixed on An Xiaoning since the very moment she entered. However, she pretended not to notice and, instead, took a seat together with Mei Yangyang.
“We’re ready for the dishes to be served.”
“Alright,” said Auntie Chen as she hurried to the kitchen.
Everyone rose from their seats, one after another. Taking a look at the words on the huge cake on the table, which read “Happy Birthday to my Dearest Husband!” An Xiaoning grimaced — he actually tried to pass off as her and ordered a cake for himself!
“After today, you’ll be 26. Close your eyes and make a wish before you blow out the candles,” said An Xiaoning as she lit up 26 candles.
Jin Qingyan proceeded accordingly and blew out the candles in one breath after opening his eyes. The rest of the guests crooned to the birthday song and applauded along.
“Quick, tell us, what did you wish for?” asked Long Tianze.
“It won’t come true if I say it out loud,” Jin Qingyan said.
“Who said so? Why don’t I guess what you wished for? I know what you’re thinking, I’ll guess it with just one try.”
“You can try to guess all you want,” said Jin Qingyan conceitedly.
“Forget it, since it’s your birthday, you call the shots. I won’t be a spoilsport. During my birthdays when I was younger, I used to wish for a chance to earn lots of money when I grow up, because back then, my mother was always stingy with my allowance. I even wished for my father to get a new wife. And because of that wish, I almost got beaten to death by my mother.”
“Hahahaha,” everyone burst into laughter upon hearing Long Tianze’s anecdote.
Ling Ciye could not help but joke, “Tianze, your mother should’ve broken your legs. If she did, you would be a cripple now.”
“How sharp-tongued you are! My mother still loves me, alright?” retorted Long Tianze.
“Now I know. When he was younger, Tianze didn’t receive a beating for that incident, and thus, he got braver with each beating. Mrs. Long did love him very much, otherwise, she wouldn’t have hit him all the time,” said Mo Li.
Mei Yangyang did not bring a gift with her because she was not aware previously that it was Jin Qingyan’s birthday. At that instant, she said with a glib tongue, “Happy Birthday, Brother-in-law. May you and Sis welcome a child into your lives soon and remain happily in love for the rest of your years.”
“Thank you,” thanked Jin Qingyan as his lips thinned into a smile.
After cutting the cake, everyone returned to their seats and prepared to begin feasting. The dishes were then served one by one.
At this moment, Maomao began to bark continuously all of a sudden. All eyes on the entrance, they watched as Chi Rui’er entered through the door, a gift in her hands.
An Xiaoning’s spirits were dampened at the sight of her.
“Ew! What’s this ugly thing here? Get away from me,” snarled Chi Rui’er as she gave Maomao a kick, causing it to bark even louder.
Jin Qingyan stood up and bellowed, “Get back inside your kennel!”
Maomao let out a whimper and stopped barking. Being exceptionally spiritual, it returned to its kennel while constantly turning back to look at its owner.
“Qingyan, it’s your birthday today, and so I specially got you the shirts you liked. They’re in your favorite color, too. Take it as a birthday gift from me.”
An Xiaoning took a glimpse of the logo on the paper bag she was carrying. It was a luxury brand known for their expensive shirts. Indeed, it was his favorite.
“Thank you. Have you eaten?” asked Jin Qingyan as he took the bag from her hands and placed it atop the teapoy.
“I haven’t, actually.”
“Take a seat and eat with us, then,” Jin Qingyan offered as he returned to his seat.
It seemed her arrival had greatly affected the ambiance. The initial chatter and boisterous laughter came to a halt, and everyone sat and ate quietly.
On the other hand, Long Tianze was continuously pouring everyone some liquor. The liquor they had that day happened to be Jin Qingyan’s favorite, Dreamyanghe.
For someone like Mei Yangyang who cannot hold her liquor well, a glass of regular liquor would be enough to get her tipsy, let alone one like Dreamyanghe, which was sure to knock her out of her senses with just half a glass. However, noticing that everyone else was drinking, Mei Yangyang did not want to be a killjoy. Thus, she decided to have just a few drinks, which was rather intoxicating though she had already kept the amount minimal.
At least she could continue with the meal.
But after some time, they began toasting to Jin Qingyan again, and she could not help but have another few sips of the liquor. She prayed in her head not to embarrass herself again like she did the night before, but in reality, she was already drunk.
She was not the only one who was far from sober, though. Everyone else had also had one too many to drink throughout the course of dinner that evening.
Even An Xiaoning herself had guzzled down a significant amount of liquor.
Jin Qingyan was the only one who had managed to stay sober.
Mei Yangyang sprawled herself across the couch while Long Tianze laid on the other end of it. To the surprise of Ling Ciye, the liquor had managed to knock him out, and he occupied an entire couch all for himself. On the other hand, Jin Qingyue and Mo Li supported themselves against the couch. Even Chi Rui’er had not been spared. She sat by the dining table with her eyes closed and her chin resting on her hand.
“Young Sir, shall I prepare some broth to help them sober up?” asked Auntie Chen inquisitively.
“Not at the moment. You may go get some rest first, Auntie Chen. Please order them not to enter without my instruction.”
“Alright,” said Auntie Chen as she proceeded at once.
Jin Qingyan stood up and walked behind An Xiaoning. Hovering around her ear, he asked with a nibble on her earlobe, “Are you drunk?”
The quick-witted An Xiaoning cocked her head slightly to face him. She began to sober up at the very instant that her lips brushed lightly against his face.
All of a sudden, he reached out to cup her chin with great force. The moment she felt the pain, An Xiaoning had no choice but to stand up while supporting herself with the chair. “What are you doing, Jin Qingyan?” she hissed.
“Are you throwing a tantrum now?”
“So what if I am? And so what if I’m not? Are you going to say that I don’t have the right to?”
“No, you do. But you already gave me a hard time for it. What else do you want?” he asked with his eyes fixed on her.
“Do you really think that’s equal?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
With a squint, she asked, “Let me ask you a question. How many women do you have?”
“Just you, no one else,” he said with a mellow voice. He had carried her by her waist and lowered her onto the dining table. At that instant, the tableware fell to the ground with a loud and crisp thud.
An Xiaoning was shocked to her core. She asked him nervously, “They’re all here. What are you trying to do?”
“What am I trying to do? Don’t you know the answer? You, of course,” he answered with a smirk.
“They’ll come to, anytime. Do you actually have the guts to be intimate with me, right in the presence of Chi Rui’er?” she asked apprehensively. She had a feeling that he would not do so.
“What’s there to be fearful of?” An Xiaoning felt her legs being wrapped around his waist as soon as he finished his sentence.