Yang Chen hastily decided to act like he was completely clueless about the situation. He then said, “Hongyan, it’s me. I stopped by to collect something and your dad invited me for dinner. I’m just here to tell you dinner’s ready.”
Inside were sounds of rustling and scuffling, before a belated reply came from Zhao Hongyan herself.
“Oh… erm… give me a minute… I’m working on something…”
Yang Chen smiled bitterly knowing full well that his blatant lie had more plot holes than he could count. But now that she had pointed out his presence, what else could he have done?
“Well, I’ll be heading over first then.” Yang Chen stood by extremely uncomfortable
“Alright...” Zhao Hongyan replied with a breathless voice.
Yang Chen quickly made his way back to the dinner table before Zhao Hongyan exited her room. He was not ready to deal with the awkwardness just yet.
Right as dinner was being served, Zhao Hongyan made her hasty entrance.
She put on a casual white round-necked one-piece paired with a striking red lace, once again magnifying the young maiden’s natural glamour.
“Hongyan, what’s gotten into you? We’ve got guests! Please don’t do that ever again,” Old Zhao grumpily vented.
Zhao Hongyan lightly nodded as she shied away from Yang Chen’s gaze. A blush raced across her picture-perfect face.
Yang Chen took a quick glance and could hardly hold onto his emotions. Oh my god. The woman was clearly on a high. Look at how red her cheeks are!
Throughout the meal, Yang Chen lost his usual appetite but was instead sneaking glances at the woman opposite him. Zhao Hongyan was no better herself, stealing glances at Yang Chen every now and then.
And before long the inevitable happened as their eyes met, which led to both parties shying away.
Yang Chen was caught in the crossfire of emotions as he literally was right at the dining table with her parents. But there he was stealing glances like an illicit couple in front of his mother-in-law.
He could only blame the seductive moans of the woman earlier, which led him down a godforsaken wormhole of exhilarating thoughts.
If it were in the past when he was still a member of the public relations department, he would have undoubtedly succumbed to his earthly urges. Because at the time, he and Lin Ruoxi were nothing but a scripted couple.
Nonetheless, Yang Chen still had his conscience at bay, weighed down by the collective effort between Lin Ruoxi and himself in building a family. He knew that acting upon his urges right now would be biting off more than he could chew!
Not to mention the consequences he would face if Lin Ruoxi were to find out. Everything he had worked for would go down the drain.
After the meal, Old Zhao ordered his son to bring about some big gully bags filled with glutinous rice and bamboo leaves, alongside subsequent dumpling necessities such as pumpkin shreds, dried dates, and red beans. As for the rice balls that Lin Ruoxi craved for, Yang Chen attentively wrapped them in exquisite boxes in an attempt to leave a good impression.
After a proper send-off for both the guests, Zhao Hongyan forced a smile but had uncertainty hinted in her eyes.
On the return route towards Ma Guifang’s house, Yang Chen couldn’t help but crack jokes and sweet talk his way throughout the ride. It was an opportunity to re-establish his relationship with his mother-in-law. Opportunities like these are rare and hard to come by.
Once he returned home, he noticed that the women had just concluded their dinner and were watching the latest episode of their favorite Korean drama.
Now that Zhenxiu was on a break, she was now officially part of the tear-jerking Korean drama club.
Yang Chen, on the other hand, was completely clueless as to why they were so invested in a mopey drama. It was predictable and cliche but they were invested in it all the same.
After noticing that Yang Chen had returned home with their ingredients, they pulled themselves away from the TV.
“Hand the glutinous rice to me. It has to soak.” Wang Ma hastily responded as she reached out for the bags.
Yang Chen was dumbfounded. “Now? Are you gonna wrap them tonight?”
Guo Xuehua pointed out. “Well, the night is still young. After wrapping and steaming it throughout the night, we can have it for breakfast tomorrow.”
Yang Chen was indifferent about it. So he left the ingredients with Wang Ma and headed up for a hot shower.
“Wait.” Lin Ruoxi dried the tears off the edge of her eyes before she made her way towards him. “There’s something I need to tell you. My team and I were invited to join Ms Jane’s laboratory opening day tomorrow. It’s being hosted at Zhonghai University and you were invited as well.”
Yang Chen reacted with an awkward smile. “Do I have to? I’m working in the entertainment branch. What has it got to do with me?”
Yang Chen was emotionally conflicted with the constant confusing turns of fate. I’ve tried my best to avoid both Zhao Hongyan and Jane in order to curb my desires. But why must fate throw me in such delicate situations?
Lin Ruoxi was visibly agitated. “First off, you’re closer to Ms Jane than any of us. Shouldn’t you be there to support her? Second, if she sees you absent from the crowd, she might think I ordered you not to go. What would she think of me then?”
Yang Chen fumbled around for a while before he replied with a smirk. “Ruoxi my wifey, I see that your brain works twice as quick when it comes to work!”
“Hmph, it’s not like you have a choice in this anyway!” Lin Ruoxi commanded.
Yang Chen dispiritedly sighed as he nodded. I guess the only thing I could do is try and avoid talking to them...
After the notification, Lin Ruoxi abruptly pouted, her tone significantly lowered as she mouthed, “Where are my glutinous rice balls?”
“Oh.” Yang Chen pointed at the kitchen. “It’s in the grocery sack that Wang Ma took a while ago.”
Lin Ruoxi ultimately cracked a rare smile as she said, “You can go now.”
Yang Chen was hoping for a little ‘reward’, but was greeted with nothing, leaving him rather disappointed.
After he made his way back to his room, he stripped himself clean of his clothing and was about to enter the bath when his phone rang.
Yang Chen picked up the phone only to see that it was a call from the UK, a number he was unfamiliar with. With caution in mind, he picked it up.
“Who is this?” Yang Chen replied in English.
“Little Chenchen! It’s me!” An elated feminine voice resonated from the other end of the line.
Yang Chen had literal goosebumps as he replied, “Catherine?!”
The only one who would create such an absurd nickname for him was none other than Jane’s mother, the Welsh queen.
Catherine jovially added, “I’ve missed you so much. Couldn’t you have called me after you left for China? You always leave me sad and desperate once you’re done playing with me…”
Yang Chen’s guts churned from these words, sappy yet sweet. “Please, you’d never call unless you need me for something. So come on out with it then.”
Catherine hesitated for a bit. “Wow, I never thought you’d know me so well.”
“As long as you stay sane,” Yang Chen added.
Catherine’s tone of speech took a quick turn. “Yang Chen, Jane left for Zhonghai. I need you to bring her back. Can you do it?”
“What do you mean? Are you telling me she ran away unnoticed? What did she do?” Yang Chen was confused.
I knew there was something off with Jane’s abrupt visit to Zhonghai! he thought.
Catherine wallowed as her dull tone was the exact opposite from just moments ago.
“My child, in response to an arranged marriage with the Rothschild’s, took the excuse of her research project to run to you. I’m at my wit's end right now and I don’t know what to do. The Rothschild clan are infuriated at her actions. But now that we know you are in Zhonghai, we have been formulating a plan. Which is why I need you to give me a solid answer. If I were to send my men to escort Jane back to Wales, would you agree?”
Yang Chen was glued to his spot for a long time before he grunted, “She saved my life once. I am alive today because she has willed it so. If she doesn’t agree with it, no one can force her to.”
Through the phone, Catherine’s disheartenment could be felt, before her eventual sigh. “Edward and I knew you wouldn’t just stand by idly as the events unfolded. That’s why have yet to make a move. But the child is far more brilliant than her own mother, and if she got to you, there would be nothing we could do.”
“I’m just stating the facts. I don’t know who you’ve set her up with but I suggest you respect her personal decision.” Yang Chen did not feel like playing nice today.