T/N: A combined release to make up for the non-release days. :3
Tianzhi’s upscale supermarket did not carry the brands she liked to eat, and she was determined to buy as many as she can and hoard them in her study.
When she stepped out of the store with another two bags packed with stuff into the middle of the crowd she felt an immense sense of relief, as if she was finally where she belonged. She felt comforted and safe in an environment like this, this was what she was used to. That horrendously expensive TianZhi never actually felt like home.
She adjusted her bags and tucked her purse beneath her elbow and walked in the direction of the car when a young man around her age stopped her near the intersection.
When Xiaonian looked up, she saw a smart looking guy in his glasses holding a laptop bag in his hand. He caught her looking at him and his cheeks blushed red which became apparent on his pale cheeks.
“Yes?” Xiaoinan asked giving a small smile. S city was a big place and it was not uncommon for people to get lost here. Although she herself never found the directions difficult, over years, she had a lot of people approach her directions. She knew it was scary to be in new places by yourself, so she always made an extra effort to be nice.
“Ah..um..that I..” the man stuttered looking extremely shy, “do you know where the nearest bus station is?”
Xiaonian put down her bags, brushed her hair back behind her ear and pointed to the nearest route. “See the small book store there? Take a right there and then take a right again, you should see the entrance to the station there.”
“Thank you. Um, those bags look heavy, do you want me to give you a hand?” his ears reddened further.
“No, no. I’m good. Just some snacks and art supplies,” she said breezily picking up her bags. This man looks like a genuinely nice person. Her impression on him automatically improved.
“Oh, are you an artist?” he asked looking interested.
“Miss, we’ll escort you to the car,” one of the bodyguard came forward and picked the bags from her hand interrupting her conversation, and stood between her and the stranger.
The stranger mumbled a goodbye and quickly walked away while Xiaonian stood rooted to her spot. She glanced at the bodyguard but he looked as stoic as he did in the morning.
Sighing audibly she surrendered two of her bags and stubbornly held onto the other two as she followed him back to the car.
They were almost near the gates of TianZhi when the bodyguard driving the car made a U-turn.
“We are not going to TianZhi?” Xiaonian asked looking back the gates that were moving further away from her.
“Master wants us to meet him at a restaurant outside the city Miss.”
A restaurant? ….for lunch?
The drive to the restaurant took them 15 minutes and by the time they reached the place, it was already 2 in the noon. The car stopped by the entrance and the bodyguard from before once again opened the car door for her.
This action for some reason really did not sit well with her.
When she stepped out the car she saw the five star hotel before her and involuntarily took a step back. One bodyguard drove the car to parking while another escorted her inside. The doorman opened the door glancing at Xiaonian from top to bottom.
Xiaonian became accurately aware of how underdressed she actually was at this moment. This looked like one of those hotels that admitted customers based on exclusive membership and she was in her street clothes.
And sure enough when she entered the main door, a smartly dressed manager approached them looking at her and the imposing bodyguard behind her suspiciously before he smiled and walked forward to welcome her.
“A very good afterno-”
“Scram.” An authoritative voice came from behind him.
Xiaonian spied Gong Ouyang behind the manager.
The manager looked back in shock and quickly scuttled away after apologizing in a hurry to Gong Ouyang and Xiaonian.
“There was no need to talk to him like that,” Xiaonian said as she watched the back of manager. After all, he was just doing his duty.
Gong Ouyang frowned at her after he saw her, “wha are you wearing? Couldn’t you dress better? You look like a beggar.”
“I did not have the time to change before I was summoned,” she said, a hint of sarcasm leaking through.
Gong Ouyang stayed silent and turned to walk back into a private booth at the end of the floor.
Was she supposed to follow him now?
She waited for few seconds before she followed him to the private room.
When she entered the room, she saw big windows opened into the gardens behind them and hundreds of roses bloomed in the garden. Her eyes widened in shock as she momentarily stood still to appreciate the beauty before her.
“You can sit and enjoy them,” Gong Ouyang’s sullen voice came from opposite her shaking her awake.
Xiaonian fiddled with her shirt in embarrassment and then hurriedly walked to the chair opposite him, “the garden is very beautiful,” she mumbled as she picked up a glass of water to cover her face.
Soon two waiters came in with trays of food and arranged the dishes on the table before leaving them alone.
Seeing that Gong Ouyang was staring at her without picking any food, she quickly got up and served him some dishes she knew were his favorites.
Looking at his plate served to his satisfaction, Gong Ouyang picked up his chop sticks.
So, she was called to serve him food?
“Why are you not eating?” he asked her when he saw that she did not serve herself.
“Ah? Yes,” she said and quickly served herself some food. She was quite hungry as she did not yet get a chance to eat her lunch.
“Do you like the food?”
So far, he had never asked her that question.
“Do you like the view?”
What was going on with him?
“..yes, the view is beautiful.”
He placed his chopsticks aside and pulled out a small velvet box from his pocket and threw it before her.
Was she a beggar?
“Um, what is it?” she asked tentatively.
“It’s for you,” he pointed at the box dismissively.
Xiaonian hesitantly picked up the box. Wasn’t this a ring box?
And sure enough, when she opened the box, there was ring with a sizable heart shaped diamond on it. It can’t be a real diamond. It really can’t.
“It’s not a real diamond,” she said out loud still in her thoughts.
“What rubbish. of course it’s a real diamond and a rare one too.”
She really cannot wrap her mind around it.
“Why are you giving me a ring?” she looked at him asking slowly.
Gong Ouyang steepled his fingers under his chin and looked at her, “because I want you to love me.”
Xiaonian felt the air in her lungs disappear and it became hard to breath. Gathering herself, she squeezed out the words, “..you..you want ..me, to love you?”
“Yes,” he responded as if he wasn’t asking something ridiculous.
“..but why?” her voice came out strained.
Gong Ouyang leaned back in the chair and looked at her, “that way you can stay beside me happily without thinking up of ridiculous ways to leave.”
Xiaonian shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times as she tried to form words.
“That..um..do you..um, do you love me?” she finally got the words out.
Gong Ouyang raised an eyebrow in arrogance at her question, “of course not.” His answer was definitive.
“Then, why do you want me to love you?” Does this even make sense?
“What does that have anything to do with you loving me?” he asked in the same dismissive tone as before.
Xiaonian looked at him to see if he was making a big joke at her expense. These days he has been relatively good to her, so may be he was doing this to get his fix of bullying her?
“I don’t understand,” she told him directly and pushed the box towards him, “and I can’t accept something as expensive as this. This is too valuable.”
Diamond rings, they are far too heavy for a person like her. She’d rather have a cheap metal that came with the love of a person than an expensive one that brought emptiness.