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Published at 26th of February 2020 06:10:38 AM

Chapter 25

Mother Yang was a worldly woman and not at all intimidated by a little Maserati . "How handsome?"


"Comparable to ex-brother-in-law, but personally, I feel like ex-brother-in-law has more of the charm of a mature man . "

Mother Yang called his phone directly upon hearing that . "He's a veteran if he's using a Maserati to chase girls! How dare you leave your sister alone! Secretly sneak along behind them!"

Yang Ming dug a finger into his ear . "How am I supposed to follow them?"

"Don't you usually take the bus?”

“Do you mean to have me chase a Maserati by bus?”

. . .

Mother Yang was silent for a moment before asking, “Ming Ming, do you happen to have enough money for a taxi?"

Yang Ming poked his head out to look . "No need for chasing . They're gone . "

Fang Cheng Ran had booked the movie tickets for three o'clock that afternoon . As they had arrived relatively early, the two first took a shopping stroll around the mall below .

"That's right, why did you end up booking a hotel room back then?" Yang Wei suddenly remembered and asked . Fang Cheng Ran replied quite calmly, "Our chairman has very strict requirements for employees . He lets us stay in the hotel for a night to know the room layout and equipment . That way, if a guest ever asks 'Where is the remote control?' or 'Where is the hair dryer?', we are able to answer in a timely and accurate manner . "

Yang Wei bought it . "Oh, I see, so that's how it is . "

Fang Cheng Ran grinned and walked into a clothing store with her . This store sold clothes in the Japanese commuting style1, and Yang Wei often came here .

Recognizing her as a regular customer, the salesperson greeted her with great enthusiasm . But before she could open her mouth, she caught sight of Fang Cheng Ran trailing behind . The salesperson paused a moment in surprise, then turned back to Yang Wei with a smile . "Mrs . Qi, what can I do for you?"

Fang Cheng Ran gave her an unfathomable look . Meanwhile, the salesperson kept up a professional smile .

Yang Wei walked about the store, picked up a knee-length A-line skirt, and held it in front of herself . "Does this come in any other colour?"

"It does . " The salesperson picked out a black version and handed it to her, then asked, "Did Mr . Qi not accompany you today?"

Yang Wei's hands halted, and she gave them a little smile . "I'm afraid that Mr . Qi has been upgraded to the status of ex-husband . "

The smile on the salesperson's face took on a distinctly awkward tilt . Handing her the skirt, Yang Wei requested, “Please wrap it up for me . ”

Quickly returning to herself, the salesperson asked, “Would you like to try it on first?”

“No, thanks . ” Yang Wei headed to the checkout counter to pay the bill . Before she could take her purse out, however, Fang Cheng Ran pulled out his bank card . The cashier hesitated . Yang Wei took out her own card and handed it over, "Use mine . "

Fang Cheng Ran glanced over, an eyebrow raised . He was still standing in front of the cash register, card in hand . The cashier and salesperson exchanged glances, then the former took the card in Yang Wei's hand with a smile . "Thank you for coming . "

With a chuckle, Fang Cheng Ran lowered his gaze and took his card back, accepting the loss gracefully . Having settled accounts, Yang Wei exited the store, carrying a paper bag with their logo . Walking alongside her with a little smile hanging about his lips, Fang Cheng Ran asked, "How much did Mr . Qi invest in that store just now?"


Yang Wei smiled . Perhaps young girls were easily attracted to a boy who was good at math? Once, when she had come to this store with Qi Xiao Yan, a nearby restaurant had been offering several discounts and a few girls in the store had been arguing over which was the best offer . Qi Xiao Yan had stepped in to help them calculate the price of each discount and compare it to the original, thus developing the optimal solution . In less than half a minute, he had ground all their brains into powder .

While she was lost in thought, Fang Cheng Ran checked the time . "Shall we head to the cinema? It's about time . " They had about twenty minutes .

Yang Wei nodded and went up to the fourth floor with him .

 

In the auditorium, Jian Shuang2 entered with her boyfriend and an over-sized bucket of popcorn . Having found their seats, she sat down in relief and stuffed a handful into her mouth .

Her boyfriend frowned . "Honestly, I'm used to how you eat, but you shouldn't frighten other people . There are kids here, you know . "

"Once they turn off the lights in a couple minutes, who's gonna see?" Her mouth was full of popcorn and she didn't care a whit . After getting comfortable, she turned to see Yang Wei walking in . As soon as she opened her mouth in excitement to hail her, she spotted Fang Cheng Ran following behind .

Jian Shuang almost spat out her mouthful of popcorn . What the hell was going on?! Though it was dim in the auditorium, surely that man wasn't Professor Qi? Well, he was pretty handsome . . . bah, no, that was beside the point!! Did Professor Qi know that he was being cheated on in broad daylight?!

At this point, a hundred thousand horses had already thundered through Jian Shuang’s heart . 3 When she saw Yang Wei and the strange man heading their way, she quickly ducked down behind the popcorn bucket . Although Yang Wei was the one in the wrong in this situation, it was embarrassing to meet under such circumstances! Don't recognize me!

Yang Wei indeed did not recognize her . She went to the back row with Fang Cheng Ran and sat down .

Jian Shuang snuck a look back at them, shoved the popcorn bucket into her boyfriend's arms, and dug out her cell phone to quickly text a group of friends . "I met a college classmate at the cinema, but the person beside her is not her husband! What should I do?! Urgent, waiting online, etc!”

Yang Wei saw this group text at the end of the movie . She frowned and scanned the seats in front of her to find that Jian Shuang had actually come to the same movie as her . She pursed her lips and sent her a WeChat message . "If the college classmate you mentioned was me, I've divorced Qi Xiao Yan . "

That still-sitting-in-the-auditorium, carefully-avoiding-Yang-Wei's-gaze Jian Shuang was agog upon seeing this message . "Is that true?"

"Sorry, I forgot to tell you :) "

Jian Shuang sucked in a deep breath . "Our friendship's at an end [goodbye]"

Ten minutes later, Jian Shuang couldn't help herself . She sent Yang Wei a private message, "What's so wrong with Professor Qi that you divorced him?! Talk, talk! Arrgh, you'd better convince me tonight, or I'll get the whole debate team together and rip you to shreds!!"

Yang Wei: " . . . "

Jian Shuang had always been a fan of Professor Qi .

As she had been in a sense their matchmaker, Yang Wei could understand her excitement . She replied to the WeChat inviting Jian Shuang to a meal the next day, planning to fill her in then .

"What's the matter?" Fang Cheng Ran turned to look at her . Yang Wei stuffed her cell phone back into her bag and smiled . "Nothing, what did you say you wanted to eat?"

"Italian food . " Fang Cheng Ran smiled, pointing to a western restaurant not far ahead . "That restaurant is quite famous for it . ”

Yang Wei looked at him with great interest . “Didn't you just move back to China?”

“I'm great at integrating myself into new environments . ”


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Yang Wei smiled, refusing to comment .

Before the dishes arrived, the waiter brought them some cold bread and hard biscuits . Looking her way, Fang Cheng Ran asked, "What sort of wine would you like?"

"Just plain water would be fine . "

"Italian dishes are perfect to have a glass of wine with, though," he disagreed .

Yang Wei thought a moment, then told him, "Well, all right . But I don't hold my drink too well, so just a little . "

"Afraid I'll plot against you while you're drunk?"

"Hehe . " It wasn't her who was afraid, but Qi Xiao Yan .

Usually when she went out to eat alone, that man would specifically caution her against drinking . Fine, so she admitted that that night when they had *** she had been drunk and playing the hooligan, but that hardly meant she'd do the same every time she was drunk!

Still, Qi Xiao Yan had always been particularly strict on this point . During her meals out, he would often call to check if she had had any alcohol . If her voice sounded off, he would run out to pick her up . Her friends and colleagues who had dinner with her had envied her this gentle and considerate husband, but only Yang Wei knew the truth . . . though he pretended that it was because he was being gentle and considerate, he clearly thought of her sotted self as a beautiful lady gangster .

In fact, Yang Wei had always thought that the true reason why she had been out of control that night was not in fact due to the alcohol, but simply because . . . she'd just wanted to be indecent toward him .

Of course, she'd never told him that .

Throughout the entire dinner, Yang Wei consumed only a single small glass of red wine . When they walked out of the restaurant, Fang Cheng Ran expressed regret, "Looks like you're very wary of me indeed . "

With a smile, she said, "You've got a bad record . "

Thinking of the kiss he had stolen from her that day, he was helpless to retort . "Haven't I been the epitome of courtesy?"

"You've been abroad too long . You need to relearn the reserve of the Chinese nation . "

Fang Cheng Ran tilted his head and leaned close . "It's difficult for a man to be so restrained in the face of the woman he likes . "

Yang Wei stepped aside to distance herself . "To tell you the truth, I practiced boxing in college . "

He bowed his head with a muffled laugh, but said nothing in return .

After sending Yang Wei home, he did not ask to come up and stay a while, but simply drove away . He knew that she still had some resistance to him, and that he could not be too eager for quick success .

The next day, Yang Wei went to see Jian Shuang as promised . Her friend was very excited from beginning to end, pattering on about this and that . The main idea was that if she had known that Yang Wei and Qi Xiao Yan would divorce in a year, she would have gone after him herself!

Yang Wei was a little dumbfounded . After being harassed by Jian Shuang for a few days, the latter finally accepted the divorce . Yang Wei somehow had always had the illusion that it was actually Jian Shuang who had divorced Qi Xiao Yan .

 

Elsewhere, the main protagonist of that incident was currently staring blankly at a short text message on his phone . It had been sent by Song Jin half an hour ago, inviting him to an evening meal at her home . Her address was attached . Perhaps afraid that he would refuse, she had deliberately emphasized that it would not just be the two of them, but also everyone else she had been able to contact from the basketball club . In short, a party .


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Qi Xiao Yan thought about it, then wrote a reply . "I'll be there on time . "

Song Jin had waited half an hour for his reply . Seeing his promise, she finally let out a reassured smile . Next to her, her assistant leaned over to ask, "Song-jie, what are you so happy about?"

She had been staring at her phone for half an hour now . The assistant had long since been devoured by curiousity .

"Nothing, I just told the director that I would finish up a little earlier today . "

"I see," the assistant responded . Although she would have liked to inquire further, her heart wasn't brave enough . She figured that even if she did ask, Song Jin would only change the subject or mock her, and she wouldn't get anything out of her in the end regardless .

After Song Jin finished her work, she drove back home, took a shower, and then lingered in front of her closet for twenty minutes before finally picked out a dress that she was satisfied with .

Not too much cloth, yet not too skimpy either .

She inspected herself in the mirror from every angle, confirming that everything was perfect . Then she took an expensive perfume from the vanity and spritzed it into the air .

Qi Xiao Yan was right on time, punctual almost to the point of ringing the doorbell as the hour hand pointed to six . Song Jin quickly opened the door for him and turned to let him enter .

The light smell of incense was relaxing, and the red roses and burning candles on the table full of romance .

However, Qi Xiao Yan's focus was elsewhere - there were only two people in the house, he and Song Jin . This wasn't a party at all, but a candlelit dinner .

 

Yang Wei returned home by bus after work . She had worked the last four days, and was eagerly looking forward to Friday . Frying up two simple dishes, she had just finished eating when the phone next to the sofa began ringing without pause .

She hurried over to take a look . It was a call from a parent of one of her students, and her heart dropped . It was never good to get a call from a parent .

Yang Wei took a deep breath in before picking up . "Hello?"

"Miss Yang! I am He Can's mother, Can Can is missing! She hasn't gotten home, I thought she just went to a nearby . . . . . . "

Ho Can's mother's voice sounded anxious and nearly incoherent . The more Yang Wei listened, the more she frowned . "Please calm down . What is going on?"

The woman at the other end of the line seemed to take in a deep breath . When she spoke again, she was calmer than before . "The results of the second middle school entrance exam came out today . Can Can missed the cutoff by two points . I was very angry and said a few words . . . perhaps I was too harsh . . . . she cried and ran out . I-- I didn't chase her . I thought she would come back later, but she hasn't come back yet . I've been looking everywhere . "

Having heard the whole story, Yang Wei truly had to tamp down her urge to swear at the woman . Unfortunately, the top priority at the moment was finding He Can . She squinted up at the clock on the wall - it was already past seven . Darkness would fall soon, and it was dangerous for a such a little girl to be outside alone . Nervously, she instructed, "Call the police first, then check with nearby relatives and friends . I will head back to school and see if I can contact any other students in case one of them knows where she is . "

"Yes . Yes . "

"I'll contact you if we hear anything . "

She snatched up her coat and bag and rushed out the door .


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The school was deserted . Fortunately, the security guard had not left yet, and he helped Yang Wei open the school gate . "What brings you here so late, Teacher Yang?"

Anxiously, Yang Wei asked, "Have you seen our class's He Can? She's a little girl with a ponytail and glasses . Oh, and she wears braces too . She was dressed in yellow today . "

"No worries, Teacher Yang, I know the little girl you're talking about . Isn't she the one who comes earliest every morning?"

"Yes, that's her!"

"She hasn't been here since she left school, and I've been right here this whole time, so I'd have noticed . "

Yang Wei frowned . "Thank you . I'm heading to the office, would you please wait awhile for me?"

"Of course, it's no trouble at all . What on earth happened to He Can?"

"She ran away from home!" Yang Wei tossed her words out before sprinting up the stairs . The school at night was very different from day, with a strange, indescribable gloom . If this had happened earlier, she would have definitely been spooked, but at the moment she was completely insensible to the atmosphere . She flicked on the office lights and made her way to her desk .

The very first person she called was the teacher in charge of their grade, who had some choice words to say about He Can's mother over the phone before coming out to help . Yang Wei refrained from doing the same - there wasn't time to be indignant right then . She dug out the school address book from her desk and began to call all the students who were close to He Can .

The sun had set by the time she was done, yet still no one knew of He Can's whereabouts . She had to make another phone call to He Can's mother, on whose end there was no news either .

"Teacher Yang, what if Can Can got into an accident? What will I do? How will I explain this to her father . . . " The voice of He Can’s mother broke . She had obviously been crying and was on the verge of collapse . “I knew I shouldn't have pressured her so much, I shouldn't have scolded her . . . . . . "

"It's no longer useful to think about these things," Yang Wei told her, heart feeling greatly harassed . "Let's keep looking . I'll contact you again later . "

 

As Song Jin brought the last dish to the table, she smiled ingratiatingly at Qi Xiao Yan . "I'm sorry . I merely wanted to treat you to a meal and was afraid that you'd refuse . I was all flustered . "

Opposite her, Qi Xiao Yan had nothing to say . Nibbling nervously on a lip, Song Jin asked uneasily, "Are you still angry? Really, I . . . "

"I am not angry, but this should never happen again . " When he finally spoke, his tone was cold and monotone . Song Jin felt slightly relieved . At the very least, he wasn't ignoring her . She couldn't help but think, a little self-deprecatingly, of how many rich little bosses would have fallen over themselves to invite her to dinner, from whom she couldn't run away fast enough . Yet here Qi Xiao Yan was, a man she herself had taken the initiative to invite, and yet she was worried about his refusal .

No, how could she compare them to Qi Xiao Yan? He had more brains in a single strand of his hair than them all combined .

They were not him .

Song Jin looked at the man sitting across from her and tilted her mouth into a charming arc . "I made this steak myself and have some confidence in the taste . "

She was also confident in herself . Qi Xiao Yan had been married, so he must have some interest in women . And as long as he was interested in women, she had her ways .

Dinner was extremely quiet . Not once did Qi Xiao Yan attempt to speak . When prompted, he simply answered with a few terse words . Song Jin couldn't help but smile - though he had said that he was not angry, she knew he was . Perhaps she should be glad that his good manners had prevented him front turning on his heel and slamming the door behind him right then and there .

"Come now, schoolmate Qi, wasn't I your first love? You needn't freeze me out . " She said it as a joke . Though the reporter had translated her secret love into a first love, she didn't mind at all .

Qi Xiao Yan's eyebrows moved . He put down his utensils and looked up at her, his eyes as serious as they had been that first year when they had verified mathematical theorems together . "My first love is Yang Wei . "

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