By the time Lin Ruoxi was content with speaking, half an hour had gone by. Yang Chen didn’t feel any discomfort in the cold wind but Lin Ruoxi’s nose and cheeks turned reddish after being blown by the wind for some time.
As they walked down the hill, Yang Chen removed his coat to place it on Lin Ruoxi’s back.
Lin Ruoxi tried to reject his offer, but failed to push Yang Chen’s hand back. As she felt touched in her heart, she said softly, “There’s no need for you to do this. It’s a short distance, i’ll be fine.”
“But not short enough that you won’t catch a cold. It’s the new year eve tomorrow. It would be terrible if you were to get sick now,” Yang Chen said.
When the two got in the car, Lin Ruoxi was reminded of something. She asked, “You mentioned that Zhenxiu went back to school to continue her studies, didn’t you?”
“Yeah.” Yang Chen was surprised at Lin Ruoxi for asking this question.
Lin Ruoxi asked again, “Is she still living alone?”
Yang Chen managed to guess her intention. “Are you going to try to convince Zhenxiu to spend the new years with us?”
Lin Ruoxi hesitated for a bit before nodding. “That is if she’s willing to come with us. I feel that although she wouldn’t mind celebrating it alone, It’s better if we can bring her home. It’d be merrier this way after all. Although the new year is tomorrow, she can come over to help us cook and prepare together. I bet she’ll like it.”
“You certainly behave like Zhenxiu’s elder sister. You always watch out for her,” Yang Chen said jokingly.
Lin Ruoxi shook her head. “You don’t understand. To me, Zhenxiu is the representation of my past when my Grandma had not passed away yet. She was still a little kid when I first knew her. Since I don’t have any siblings, she’s a little sister whom I’ve watched grow up. There exists a unique bond between us.”
“I’m not against the idea. There’s no need to explain yourself” Yang Chen said with a smile before starting the engine.
Lin RUoxi rolled her eyes before quietly taking Yang Chen’s coat off and putting it on the back seat.
They soon arrived at Zhenxiu’s rented apartment. She was there moving a huge box up the stairs.
Zhenxiu was wearing a rather old, light orange coat. She had her hair tied up in a ponytail, while her childish and naive cheeks were stained with black and gray spots. It was a very chilly day, but Zhenxiu’s forehead was still covered with sweat.
Yang Chen got off his car and approached Zhenxiu before taking her large box. He asked, “Kid, what are you carrying?”
At first, Zhenxiu assumed it was a thief. She rested easy when she realized it was Yang Chen. A cheerful smile surfaced as she asked, “Brother Yang, why have yo come? It’s nothing much, just a bunch of secondhand revision books.”
Yang Chen took a look inside the box. It was indeed filled with science and English books. He guessed that she had found a good deal for them at cheap prices. Smiling, he said, “Even if you want to work hard for your studies, there’s no need to push yourself so hard when the new year is right around the corner, do you?”
Zhenxiu looked rather pale. Forcing a smile, she said, “It’s fine. It’s just the new year. It’ll pass quickly when I read and do other stuff.”
“Your Sister Ruoxi would be sad to death if she heard what you said. She wants to see you so bad that she came here with me to fetch you to our house for dinner,” Yang Chen said as he pointed at the direction of his car.
Zhenxiu was rather surprised at his offer. She bit her lower lip in silence as she looked at Lin Ruoxi who walked over from the car with a faint smile.
“Let’s go, we will celebrate the new year together and you may stay at our house tonight. Anything is better than you celebrating the new year all by yourself,” Yang Chen said. “There’s no need to act tough or shy in front of me. I’m not an outsider.”
It took him one sentence to prevent Zhenxiu from rejecting his offer.
Zhenxiu knew that she’d feel bad to them if she rejected it. Thus, she nodded and said, “Let me put the books in my apartment and i’ll join you in a bit.”
After half an hour of driving, Yang Chen arrived home together with the others. However, unlike last time, there were two more ladies in the car.
When they got off the car, Lin Ruoxi didn't forget to take Yang Chen’s coat from the backseat before entering the house.
Inside the living hall, Guo Xuehua, Wang Ma, and Hui Lin were all peeling beans as they chatted happily. Seeing that Yang Chen brought Lin Ruoxi home together with an unknown young girl, they couldn’t help but get curious.
Zhenxiu was the first one who noticed Guo Xuehua. Having lived in the orphanage for so many years, it was impossible to avoid seeing Guo Xuehua’s portrait numerous times a day. She was lost for words.
Lin Ruoxi explained, “Aunt Guo is Yang Chen’s mother. She’s living with us here for now.”
“Ah!” Zhenxiu exclaimed. “Madam Guo… is Brother Yang’s mother?!”
Never in a million years did Zhenxiu ever see this coming.
“Yang Chen, Ruoxi, who is this little girl?” Guo Xuehua asked with a smile after she noticed Zhenxiu’s surprised look when Zhenxiu gazed upon her.
Yang Chen signalled Lin Ruoxi to explain the matter.
Thus, Lin Ruoxi told Zhenxiu’s story briefly from beginning to end. Guo Xuehua was told that Zhenxiu had stayed in her orphanage for a while before. However, she had seen way too many orphans, so she failed to recall her.
“Since fate has brought us together, why not you consider moving in here permanently? Aren’t you going to take the college entrance exam soon? How can one revise and do well while operating a roadside stall as well? Just stay with us for six months. Since both Ruoxi and Yang Chen already treat you as their younger sister, you don’t have to feel shy about it.” Guo Xuahua’s kindness for children without parents started emerging once again. She couldn’t control herself from showing her concern after listening to Zhenxiu’s past.
Lin Ruoxi on the other hand was stunned. She didn’t expect Guo Xuehua to make such a suggestion.
“Oh, yeah,” Guo Xuehua said as she noticed she had overlooked Lin Ruoxi’s opinion, “Ruoxi, this is just a small suggestion. It’s fine if you find it inconvenient.”
Lin Ruoxi was more than fine with the suggestion. She even regretted for not asking Zhenxiu this earlier. Shaking her head, she said, “It’s fine. I too think it’s good for her this way.”
Zhenxiu, however, shook her head violently. “No, I can’t do that. I… I’ve already received lots of help from you guys. How can I still stay in Sister Ruoxi’s home… It… it isn’t right.”
Yang Chen patted Zhenxiu’s head. “Stay because we asked. Even if you wanted to go home, you wouldn’t be able to. I won’t be sending you back.” He thought, The number of people living in this house has indeed increased. Hui Lin and my mother came, and now this sister-like Zhenxiu will be coming over as well.
Unfortunately, being the only man, I’m still living in a ‘female dorm’. It’s just that the scale of the ‘dorm’ is repeatedly expanding.
Being persuaded by the people in the room simultaneously, Zhenxiu finally accepted their offer. However, she still had to take her luggage and books from her old rented apartment. This was obviously Yang Chen’s problem to deal with.
When Yang Chen wanted to sit down on the sofa to watch the television, Lin Ruoxi asked, “Where should I put your coat?”
Yang Chen finally remembered the coat he placed on her. He said, “Just toss it to me.”
Lin Ruoxi was rather dissatisfied, as the coat was bought by her for him. Naturally, she felt unhappy when Yang Chen asked her to toss it to him.
“Here you go.” Lin Ruoxi tossed the coat at Yang Chen’s direction.
Clink! When the coat was released from her hands, a small item fell from the shirt pocket and hit the ground.
Everyone was surprised when it dropped. They soon realized it was a necklace with a crescent moon ornament.
Hui Lin stood the nearest to the necklace, so she squatted down to pick it up. “Woah, it’s such a beautiful necklace. Is it made of platinum?”
Lin Ruoxi realized the delicate build of the crescent object. It looked simple but had incredibly fine lines. Moreover, the quality of the platinum was extremely high.
Since it came from Yang Chen’s pocket, and it’s not something that he would usually wear, she thought, Is it… possibly a gift for another woman?
Or is it for me? Lin Ruoxi blushed. However, she soon noticed a problem. Isn’t my gift the dumpling doll?
Lin Ruoxi couldn’t help but turn her gaze to Yang Chen.
“Oh,” Yang Chen said, “Zhenxiu gave it to me a while back. I’ve had it on me all this time. Luckily it did not break from the fall.”
Zhenxiu smiled cheerfully when she heard Yang Chen had brought the necklace with him all this time.
Zhenxiu gave a platinum necklace to Yang Chen?!
Zhenxiu has lived such a tough life herself. Why did she still give a necklace to Yang Chen?!
None of the other women found it weird. They were aware that Yang Chen was rather close to Zhenxiu. However, Lin Ruoxi had seen Yang Chen flirt with too many other women, and was aware of the identities of a few of the mistresses.
She usually tried her best to avoid thinking of such matters. However, she couldn’t take it when Zhenxiu whom she had seen as her little sister, who was only 18 years old, had something to do with Yang Chen.
Coldness filled Lin Ruoxi’s eyes. Her gaze towards Yang Chen soon turned hostile.
Yang Chen felt a chill up his spine. He noticed Lin Ruoxi’s dissatisfied look and quickly realized her misunderstanding. Smiling bitterly, he said, “Babe Ruoxi, stop overthinking. Zhenxiu gave this souvenir to me to thank me for helping her out. It’s not what you think. There really isn’t anything going on between me and Zhenxiu.”
Lin Ruoxi panicked before blushing. She nervously turned around and walked upstairs as she said, “No one cares about what you do.”
The other ladies felt immensely awkward. They understood the meaning behind the married couple’s words.
Zhenxiu felt incredibly shy as she looked at Yang Chen embarrassingly.
Hui Lin and Wang Ma held a smile on their faces, while Guo Xuehua was the only one who managed to identify the hidden meaning.
When Yang Chen said ‘there really isn’t anything going on between me and Zhenxiu’, he implied there certainly was something between him and other women!
Although Guo Xuehua hadn’t seen Yang Chen for more than twenty years, she was his mother after all, which allowed her to quickly realize the hidden meaning in her son’s words. She then thought of the strange gap between Lin Ruoxi and Yang Chen. So… was her son an unfaithful rogue?!
If that was the case, there existed a different reason for Lin Ruoxi’s coldness towards Yang Chen in addition to her refusal of sleeping in the same room with him!