The kiss happened so quickly that Yang Chen was caught unprepared!
Yang Chen could only feel her face against his own. Her tongue was like a snake, slowly slithering its way into his mouth.
Time passed in silence.
Yang Chen gripped her arms and pushed her away. He asked in shock, “Hongyan, what are you doing?”
Zhao Hongyan didn’t answer. Instead, she closed the distance around them by wrapping her bare legs around Yang Chen’s thighs.
Yang Chen could feel her legs touching his skin, luring him in.
But he pushed her away immediately and yelled at her, “Are you crazy?! Wake up!”
Zhao Hongyan froze and looked up at Yang Chen with a ghastly smile.
“So I’m crazy?”
Yang Chen reflected on it and realized that he was slightly too harsh on the poor woman. “I’m sorry. I’m not angry at you, I was just caught off guar—”
“Yes!” Zhao Hongyan shrieked, her voice spread through the night sky.
“I might be going crazy!”
She sobbed and fell into Yang Chen’s arms.
This time, he didn’t dare to push her away. Her cry sounded painful and it ripped its way into his heart.
Zhao Hongyan was left sobbing like a helpless child. She curled up into Yang Chen’s shirt and gripped onto it like there was no tomorrow.
“Somebody explain to me why I’m like this… Why does misfortune follow me around…What sins did I commit in my past to deserve this? Why must the heavens treat me this way...”
Yang Chen sighed and stroked her back stiffly.
But his attempt at consoling her made it worse as Zhao Hongyan sobbed louder. Any louder and the neighbors would start to file noise complaints.
It took her a few more minutes to calm herself down and she looked up to Yang Chen with glistening eyes.
“Feeling better yet?” Yang Chen asked.
Zhao Hongyan croaked out in a pitiful voice, “Yang Chen, am I a worthless and pitiful human being?”
Yang Chen sounded annoyed at her question. “This again? Didn’t I already tell you that you’re a wonderful woman? You’re my first friend in Yu Lei. I know things are tough for you right now but trust me, everything will get better.”
Zhao Hongyan shook her head, her lips curling into a bitter smile. “I’m used to it. Did you know? When I married my ex-husband, I thought that if I worked hard enough, his family would accept me. But I realized that life doesn’t go the way you want it to despite all the effort you put in to change it. Some people are just impossible to please and I have to accept that. If you weren’t beside me when I was wrongly accused, beaten, and divorced, I wouldn’t know what kind of a person I would become. I’m really grateful to you and President Lin for helping me get past my hardships. I thought that I could start a new life… even if I had to repay my debts by working and also help my family business. Though I was always busy and barely had any time to eat and sleep, I didn’t think it was tough because it was my new shot at life…”
Yang Chen lowered his head. He knew how difficult it was for her before she voiced it out to him. She had to juggle between taking care of her family, sick father and her job. But yet, she had no one to lean on for support.
Zhao Hongyan continued on, “But no matter how hard I try to prove that I’m a victim and that I’m innocent, they still think I was the cause of my divorce. I don’t have time to date, let alone getting married. They think I have a sugar daddy so I don’t need to remarry. Why is it my fault that we were divorced? Is it because he is richer? Does that mean he’s more cultured?”
“Why didn’t you tell them the truth? The Yu clan are the ones who mistreated you.” Yang Chen tried to suppress his anger.
Zhao Hongyan let out a pained smile. “The truth? They don’t care about the truth. They care only about gossip. That’s how society works. People get pleased by witnessing the misfortune of others. My marriage doesn’t even concern them. But they seem to enjoy watching marriages fail, as if they’ll gain an extra piece of meat and stacks of cash.”
Yang Chen was speechless.
Zhao Hongyan looked up and wiped her tears. “I don’t get it, my life was already hard enough as it was. Why did I have to be accused of murder? I can’t imagine seeing the news of me being accused of murder in the newspaper tomorrow. What would become of me then?”
Yang Chen frowned. “If that’s the case, don’t stay here. I’ll tell Ruoxi and buy you and your family a house somewhere else. If you don’t want to use our money, treat it as a loan then.”
Zhao Hongyan shook her head. “There’s no need for that. I finally understand that some people are destined not to feel happiness in life. You should stay away from me, just like how you rejected my kiss earlier. I was being crazy and disrespectful. How could I disrespect President Lin after all the things you two did for me? I’m really thankful that you pushed me away. I must have been crazy for wanting to kiss you. Just forget about this. Treat it as a revenge from me since you used to tease me all the time back then.”
Having finished her little rant, she walked up and picked up her handbag. With a smile on her face, Zhao Hongyan waved at Yang Chen and said, “Bye, I’m going back first.”
Yang Chen’s heart wrenched upon seeing her walk away with just her underwear. Her shadow looked extra lonely under the streetlight.
He gritted his teeth and shouted, “Hongyan!”
Zhao Hongyan trembled and looked back with watery eyes, “Yes?”
Yang Chen hesitated and asked with a bitter smile, “You… Are you okay with walking back like that?”
A look of disappointment flashed through her eyes, but she tried to hold her smile. “It’s fine, they're all asleep now so I just need to be quiet. Plus, the worst is yet to come. I might as well get used to the humiliation.”
Yang Chen didn’t know why but he thought that the night sky could swallow her whole, engulfing her in sorrow and pain.
Zhao Hongyan bit her lip and nodded. She continued her way back home with heavy steps. Tears were falling off her cheeks, as though she was bidding him farewell forever.
I knew it, I should’ve ended all these thoughts that will never come true. I’m a nobody and will only bring trouble to others so how can I even think about this… she thought.
Just when Zhao Hongyan was about to speed up her pace after taking a deep breath, a shadow loomed over her!
Her heart skipped a beat and she looked up stiffly…
“Yang Chen, what are you…”
Expressionless, Yang Chen stood in front of her and stared right at her eyes.
He didn’t utter a word. Instead, he threw his arms open to hug her tightly!
The next thing she knew, his lips were already over hers!