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The servants served the cake on a cart, which Gu Dongcheng proceeded to cut while everyone raised their glasses for a toast to the joyous occasion.

An Xiaoning felt a sudden nudge at her leg when she was eating her slice of cake. She looked up and coincidentally made eye contact with Gu Beicheng.

It had been a while since she last saw him.

Apart from his immaculate features, the blue diamond on his earlobe was his most striking and outstanding accessory, which never fails to catch her eye.

He picked up some cake with a fork in his right hand and began to chew, all in a slow and composed manner. “I don’t usually have a sweet tooth, but I’ll make an exception since it’s Brother’s birthday today,” he said while eating the cake.

“You seem to be enjoying the cake though, you haven’t stopped chewing ever since you started eating,” Mrs. Gu said as she glared at him. “By the way, I went to the beauty salon today and everyone kept asking me if the both of you are attached yet. Tell me, are you?” she asked her sons.

“I’m not,” admitted Gu Dongcheng.

Noticing that all eyes were on him, Gu Beicheng quickly defended, “Why are you all staring at me? I’m not, either.”

“Don’t you love womanizing and dating different women every now and then? Have you changed your ways lately?”

“Since when? That’s not true. I just haven’t met someone I truly adore. I’m so sick of most women nowadays, they’re all the same — sharp, awl-shaped faces, augmented breasts, and a paper-thin figure that makes them seem malnourished. It really puts me off whenever I see one,” he denied.

“I’m glad and relieved you think that way. At least I won’t have to worry about you bringing a demoness-looking woman home in the future.”

An Xiaoning burst into laughter and interjected, “Godmother, has that always been your main worry?”

“Of course, those women out there are shameless, and they’re all bent on marrying into a wealthy family. By the way, Xiaoning, you may just call me ‘Mother’ in the future. I already treat you like my own daughter, isn’t it time you see me as your own mother too?”

“Sure, I won’t call you ‘Godmother’ from now onwards, then. But, only on the condition that you and Godfather pay me to do it,” An Xiaoning teased coaxingly with a smile.

Mrs. Gu rose from her seat immediately and said, “Sure, I’ll go get it now.”

Everyone began to giggle merrily while Mrs. Gu headed inside to bring two red packets containing a hefty sum. “There’s a cheque of 500 thousand dollars in each packet, both will add up to a million. Is that enough?” said Mrs. Gu as she shoved the red packets into An Xiaoning’s hands.

Nodding fervently as she kept the red packets, An Xiaoning answered, “Yes, it is. Thank you, Father and Mother!”

She exclaimed loudly, feeling overjoyed. To An Xiaoning, there can never be too much when it comes to money.

Mr. and Mrs. Gu were just as elated about their newfound daughter. Seeing how happy An Xiaoning was when she accepted the red packets, Gu Beicheng could not help but let out a laugh.

After lunch was over, An Xiaoning gave Fan Shixin a call and instructed him to bring over a birthday gift that would suit Gu Dongcheng. The weather was merry, and An Xiaoning began to feel slightly sleepy as she sat on the swing in the backyard of the Gu family mansion.

“Didn’t sleep well last night?” Gu Beicheng asked, having noticed the fatigue on her face.

“Yeah…” answered An Xiaoning as she began to recall the night before, where Jin Qingyan resorted to every means to get intimate with her. Her blood began to boil at the thought of it. “I’m feeling a little sleepy,” she continued.

“Why don’t you go get some rest inside?”

“Alright, please bring me there. I don’t quite know my way around the house yet.”

“Let’s go,” he said, placing both hands inside his pocket. He turned around and saw her getting up slowly. He then went forward to grab her by her arm and pulled her along.

When they arrived upstairs, he opened the door of a room without hesitation. “You may take a nap in here.”

An Xiaoning headed inside and immediately crawled onto the bed after removing her slippers, too tired to even observe her surroundings. She closed her eyes and prepared to take a nap.

Gu Beicheng tucked her beneath the sheets and closed the door.

He then closed the windows, drew the curtains, and turned on the heater, before sitting down next to her on the other side of the bed. A smile began to form on his face as he looked at An Xiaoning while leaning against the bedhead.

An Xiaoning knew that he was looking at her, despite having her eyes closed. “Stop looking at me like you’re a surveillance camera. Otherwise, I’m going to poke you blind,” she said sluggishly.

“How relentless of you, it wouldn’t hurt to let me take a look or two at you, would it? I’m rather perplexed though, why didn’t I meet you earlier?” he said with a chuckle.

An Xiaoning let out a soothing heave and said, “Does it matter when it was you met me? The outcome will all be the same.”

“It matters to me. I want a lass just like you,” said Gu Beicheng as he shot her a glance.

“What a shame I wasn’t born 20 years later, otherwise I could be your daughter.”

“…”

“Let me ask you something.” An Xiaoning opened her eyes and looked at him. “Are men like you still virgins?” she asked.

“Did Jin Qingyan tell you he was one?” Gu Beicheng burst into laughter. However, he pulled a serious face and continued, “I don’t think you should believe any of his nonsense.”

“Please just answer my question. Don’t digress,” An Xiaoning corrected him.

Gu Beicheng touched his nose lightly and said, “Hmm… That’s a tough question. Well, I don’t know about the rest, but for those my age and status, 99% of them in their twenties aren’t virgins anymore.”

“And yourself?”

“Me?” he asked, blushing red. “If you’re willing, I would be more than happy to give you my first,” he said teasingly.

An Xiaoning instinctively kicked him from beneath the sheets and chided, “Get lost…”

“Hahaha… Don’t discuss about such topics with a grown man like me, otherwise you shall bear the consequences,” Gu Beicheng said suggestively.

An Xiaoning closed her eyes again and said, “Get out, I’d like to take a nap.”

“Alright,” he stood up and left, closing the door behind him. An Xiaoning could only fall asleep after hearing his footsteps fade further away.

An hour had already passed by the time she woke up.

She was surprised at the sight of Gu Beicheng sleeping next to her, without covering himself with the blanket.

She got out of bed and gently pulled the blanket over him. It was only then that she noticed a photo of him on the wall.

She scanned her surroundings and realized that it was Gu Beicheng’s bedroom.

Although she was aware that he had treated her rather well, she did not know his real agenda for doing so. She could not read his mind or deduce what he was up to.

Gu Beicheng opened his eyes just as An Xiaoning closed the door.

He moved onto the spot she had laid on earlier, and all of a sudden, he was filled with an incredible sense of joy.

However, he soon began to feel cryptic about the way he felt.

——

Mrs. Jin had not once left the house, ever since she returned home from the hospital. Finally, she had made it past November, safe and sound. However, she was more relieved at the fact that her daughter had stopped going out after she was released from prison.

She did not ask about Shi Shaochuan, nor did she leave the house, which made Mrs. Jin think that they had stopped contacting each other. Mrs. Jin was overjoyed and asked Jin Qingyue to come downstairs for a heart-to-heart talk.

When Mrs. Jin asked Jin Qingyue if she had already broken up with Shi Shaochuan, Jin Qingyue answered in astonishment, “Mother, who told you that we’ve broken up?”

“You haven’t?” asked a startled Mrs. Jin.

“Of course not, it’s been a few days now since Shaochuan was released. Have you any idea how hard I had to try to stop myself from going out to look for him?”

“Why didn’t you? Are you afraid of getting reprimanded by your father and me?”

“No, I just feel guilty for changing my statement. He and his family are definitely going to hold it against me,” said Jin Qingyue, hanging her head low.

Mrs. Jin’s initial happiness diminished as soon as she heard her daughter’s words. “What are you guilty for? He’s the one who killed someone by running them over, so he ought to be punished with a death sentence. If you weren’t involved in helping him bury the corpse, I would’ve insisted he died. He would never be released, no matter how many connections his family tries to pull or how much money they spend,” said Mrs. Jin.