It was already two in the morning when Yang Chen arrived at the nightclub, but it was still bustling with energy.
He could hear people singing their hearts out as he walked past the rooms.
But the more he listened, the more it sounded like they were screaming and venting out frustrations from work, which made sense given the stressful conditions in the corporate world. He was probably the only person who thought work was fun, though he barely showed up for it.
When he reached the room where Liu Mingyu was in, he pushed it opened and was welcomed by a cloud of cigarette smoke and alcohol.
Yang Chen frowned. It was far worse than even the illegal bars he had frequented in Europe back then.
The TV was playing a music video on one side of the room and a wine red sofa right opposite it.
About seven to eight people were seated on the sofa and they turned around when Yang Chen opened the door.
Yang Chen saw Liu Mingyu the moment he stepped into the room. She was sandwiched between two women, her university friend Zhao Haili, and a stranger.
Liu Mingyu was still dressed in the outfit that she wore to the concert, a greyish blue one-shoulder dress that flaunted her curves. She wore a platinum necklace around her slender neck, embedded with dazzling diamonds.
She sounded drunk when they talked over the phone but now that Yang Chen saw her, she looked nowhere near drunk.
Liu Mingyu smiled mischievously when she saw him. “Dear, you are finally here.”
Yang Chen rubbed his forehead and greeted her schoolmates politely before turning to Liu Mingyu. “Didn’t you say you were drunk?”
“I sobered up before you came.” She winked at him.
There wasn’t anything else he could do. It was obviously a test for him to see if he cared for her.
“Then let's go back?”
Liu Mingyu nodded and put down her glass. “Wait.”
Having said that, she extended her hands towards her schoolmates. “Pay up.”

The rest of the occupants in the room took out a stack of money from their wallets unwillingly and passed it to her.
Yang Chen was stunned. What was going on? Protection fees? Did she adopt some of Liu Qingshan’s teachings?
“Haili, how could you lie to us? Mingyu’s boyfriend is super nice.” One of the schoolmates grumbled.
Zhao Haili looked at Yang Chen in embarrassment and she mumbled to herself, “He was so fierce the last time we met…”
The others grumbled too, expressing their dissatisfaction with Zhao Haili.
Liu Mingyu waved the money around proudly and put it into her wallet before jumping next to Yang Chen.
She wrapped her arms around him excitedly. “Hubby, let’s go have supper! I just won a lot of money!”
Yang Chen frowned slightly. He said nothing and nodded slowly. Yang Chen bid her friends goodbye before leaving with Liu Mingyu.
He was silent throughout the walk to his car but the moment they reached the car park, he immediately took her hands off him.
Liu Mingyu was confused by this.
“Hubby… what’s wrong…”
Her body was flushed red because of alcohol and it made her look like a peach that was oozing out pheromones.
The passerby couldn’t help but stare at her and looked at Yang Chen with jealousy when they walked through the corridors.
However, Yang Chen wasn’t in a good mood. “You can drive back yourself since you’re not drunk. I’m leaving.”
Yang Chen shot a gaze at her and turned around to leave.
Her face turned red in anger.

She walked up to Yang Chen and questioned him, “Yang Chen! Are you angry at me?! What did I do to deserve this?! Why bother coming if you aren't willing to pick me up? If I recall correctly, it was you who called me first!”
Yang Chen took a deep breath and tried to talk to her calmly. “If a man rushes over to pick up a woman whom he cares for deeply, but finds out that she lied to get his attention, what do you think he’s going to feel coming out from it? But that’s not the worst part. You made a bet with your friends to see if I would get mad for being lied to. What do you expect me to feel?”

Liu Mingyu looked at him in a daze, unable to utter a single word.

Yang Chen’s voice deepened. “I could understand if you want me to pick you up at midnight from a gathering after drinking heavily. I could understand you getting drunk. I could understand if you wanted to test me. But, how could you use my feelings as a bet,? What am I? A clown for you guys to watch? Or an obedient dog that will play fetch with you?”

Regret flashed through her eyes and she lowered her head in guilt.
Yang Chen let out a breath and walked towards his car.

Liu Mingyu was stunned but she quickly ran behind him and hugged his waist from behind. “Hubby, don’t be angry. I know it's my fault… I… I won’t do it again.”

Yang Chen kept quiet.

Liu Mingyu started to worry. “They said I was lying about having a boyfriend since they’d never seen you before. I wasn’t happy to hear that, plus I was drunk so we made a bet. It was a rash decision. You know I’ve never dated anyone before so I admit I’m still unfamiliar with some things.”
Yang Chen sighed and pulled her arms away. He turned around to face her. “It’s really late, you should go back. I’m not in a good mood now but I’ll be fine by tomorrow.”
“I don’t want to!”
Her eyes were red and she said angrily, “Why must you do this to me?! I’ve already apologized to you! Being a woman doesn’t exempt me from making mistakes. I’m not a saint! Why are you being so petty?! Just because I hurt your pride?”
This time it was Yang Chen’s turn to be confused. He did not know where this was coming from.
“I know why,” she croaked out. “It’s because I’m just an unimportant lover right? I’m not allowed to upset you. That’s why you won’t forgive me right? I bet you were never as strict with President Lin as you are to me now!”
Yang Chen’s head was pounding with every word. “I’m not strict towards you, plus…”
“You are!”

He fell speechless.

“Every time she gets upset, you’ll get upset too. But you always try to make her happy. Are you confident in saying that she has never hurt you? What about that incident in Hong Kong, the one with Chang Lin Media and the stolen confidential document? Didn’t she fool everyone? You were worried about her yet she never told you a thing! She’s your wife and what she did was much worse!”

Yang Chen was speechless.

He hadn’t realized that it was a problem until Liu Mingyu reminded him of it. He couldn’t help but feel troubled.