Chapter 271 - I Love You

"What are your names?" the priest asked.

"Wait, Priest, I…"

"Her last name in Sheng, mine is Shen," Shen Zhining interrupted Sheng Jiaoyang's words.

Sheng Jiaoyang turned to look at him. She ignored the situation at hand for a moment and whispered to him, "But my last name is Xu now."

"No matter past or present, you are still Sheng Jiaoyang," Shen Zhining held her hand tightly.

To the priest, Sheng and Shen didn't sound any different; both felt like they were one. The priest hesitated briefly before he decided to muffle both pronunciations and proclaimed tongue-tied, "Mr Shen, are you willing to take this lady as your wife, to love and cherish her, in poverty and in wealth, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?"

"I do," Shen Zhining answered without hesitation.

"Miss Shen, are you willing to take this man as your husband, to love and cherish him, in poverty and in wealth, in sickness and in health, till death do both of you part?"

Though the priest appeared a little comical when he tried to pronounce their last names tongue-tied, his serious expression and solemn tone made one not dare to offend him. At this moment, Sheng Jiaoyang couldn't open her mouth to say that they were just messing around. She could feel the hand holding onto hers tightening its grip and could feel Shen Zhining's emotions at this very second - he was nervous.

"I do," Sheng Jiaoyang answered.

As soon as she spoke, Shen Zhining's grip on her hand relaxed.

"Now, you may exchange your wedding rings," said the priest.

Nevertheless, Sheng Jiaoyang found it hilarious. *This is definitely the most simple and crude wedding ever, no witnesses, and no rings either…"

She looked at Shen Zhining in astonishment when she saw the latter conjured a box out of nowhere; there were two rings within, one large, one small.

"You…" It was premeditated, isn't it?

Sheng Zhining picked up the smaller ring, held up Sheng Jiaoyang's right hand and gently slid the ring onto her middle finger.

Sheng Jiaoyang was stunned momentarily but instantly understood.

This, of course, can't be considered a marriage. After all, I am not of the legal age yet and there are no relatives or friends to witness it.

She heaved a sigh of relief in her heart. If she has really gotten married so casually, she would feel really unappreciated.

"Your turn," Shen Zhining held the ring box out towards her.

With indescribable emotions, Sheng Jiaoyang picked up the ring, which was larger than the one on her middle finger, and took a deep breath before slowly sliding the ring onto his left hand's middle finger.

She lifted her head to look at Shen Zhining, the latter's deep gaze was as though it was a vortex that absorbed anything that looked its way. There was no smile on his face, but rather an expression that entranced her more than a smile - focused and intense.

"I, Shen Zhining, " Shen Zhining parted his lips and said slowly, "takes commitment very seriously, regardless if it’s my commitment to others or others to me. Since you have promised me, no matter the circumstances, you cannot leave me."

He paused, "Unless, I die."

The corners of Sheng Jiaoyang's lips raised up slightly. In a low but measured voice, she uttered five words, "If you don't, I won't."

Though the priest couldn't understand their language, he could feel the atmosphere between them and a heartfelt smile appeared on his face.

"I wish both of you, bliss and happiness!" The priest drew a cross before his chest.

Both hands with matching couple rings were interlocked as their owners exited the cathedral.

Lina's wedding banquet was held in an old castle. The extravagant hall was already filled with people when Sheng Jiaoyang and Shen Zhining arrived.

There were people from all walks of life; teachers, classmates, relatively close schoolmates, business partners, also people from the fashion industry and celebrities friends they had worked with or knew. Sheng Jiaoyang even saw Director Steve.

Sheng Jiaoyang was arranged to sit at the table for close family members. So inevitably, she shared the same table with Lin Yan.

A girl was already seated on Lin Yan's side. Sheng Jiaoyang knew her too; the girl was George's sister and she had met her before.

"Jiaojiao, here," Lin Yan stood up and was about to pull out the empty chair next to him.

"We shall not bother Young Master Lin," Shen Zhining dragged Sheng Jiaoyang with him and directly took the seat right opposite Lin Yan.

"Who is she?" George's sister looked at Sheng Jiaoyang. George's parents were also piqued with curiosity as they watched the couple take their seats.

"She and Lina are like sisters," Lin Yan said.

"Then what about him?" George's sister turned her gaze onto Shen Zhining.

Shen Zhining sat on Sheng Jiaoyang's right-hand side. Shen Zhining interlocked his left hand with Sheng Jiaoyang's right hand and raised it up. The crushed diamond bits on the couple rings shimmered under the light and immediately attracted the attention of the others on the same table.

Lin Yan tightened his grip on the wine glass. He couldn't deny the piercing pain he felt in his heart when he saw the couple rings on their fingers.

He felt as though he was imposing self-torture. I clearly know that she won't change her mind once she has made a decision, but I still can't stop myself from approaching her. I want to see her, I want her to be like before, placing all her attention wholeheartedly on me.

Sheng Jiaoyang didn't find Shen Zhining's actions inappropriate. If he wants to show off, let him be. Anyway, she had already prepared herself from the moment she put on the ring.

However, she had never expected Shen Zhining would do something this immature. So when he raised their interlocked hands, she shot him a glance.

Very soon, the banquet was about to begin.

Lina changed into another wedding dress and slowly walked down the aisle, her arm linked with George's. Under the eyes of the crowd, they arrived on the stage that was set up to be whimsical and magical.

The large projector screen at the side played a short clip that was elaborately put together.

The start of the clip showed Lina trying out her wedding gowns in the bridal boutique. After, Lina's voice came through the speakers. She said in English, "I'm getting married. I am getting married to my beloved George."

Everyone present had smiles on their faces. All shall be well, Jack will have Jill, was a happy event indeed.

The scene then changed as a series of photographs were displayed in the form of a slide show. They were all photographs of George.

"I fell in love with him at first sight when I saw him in school. He's sporty, handsome and fulfilled the expectations I have for my future half. Then, I became a shameful peeping tom. I would always wait by places he'd often walk past and secretly take photos of him similar to a passionate fan, photos of him talking, playing basketball and smiling."

"I know, I have completely fallen off the deepest end."

After showcasing George's photos, a piece of paper with a single sentence followed right after. On it, three Chinese characters were written, "Na Xia Ta!" [1]

At the same time, Lina's voice rang out, "My closest friend gave me the courage. She wrote these three Chinese characters. Many of you might not recognize these characters but it was meant to encourage me to take the initiative and pursue George."

"So, at this wedding between George and I, she is the person that I want to thank the most. She was the one who helped me strategise means and encouraged me to make the first move. She was also the one who was by my side and grew up with me over the past days and nights. She was the one who saved me when I was running a high fever and close to death. Without her, I wouldn't be here today."

"Thank you, my Little Sun."

When Lina said this, the screen froze at an apparent shot of two palms pressed together.

Sheng Jiaoyang was very moved by Lina's words. Lina always felt that I am her saviour, but it was the same case for me. When I first got into the aristocratic school, if it wasn't for Lina being by my side, I would have most likely become a psychopath with a twisted character and withdrawn personality. We don't owe each other anything because we are already closer than biological sisters.

Lin Yan watched Sheng Jiaoyang. *Without doubts, my sister is a fortunate one to have such a close friend being there for her by her side. While I was also once fortunate, I didn't treasure it and only truly realised what I have lost when it was gone."

Shen Zhining naturally realised that Lin Yan's eyes were stuck on Sheng Jiaoyang but he only sneered and did nothing else.

The screen blacked out and the stage lit up again.

Lina, with a bouquet in hand, said to George, "What I want to say next are words that I want to tell you personally. If meeting Jiaojiao was the luckiest thing that has ever happened in my life, then falling in love with you and being able to be with you is the most blissful thing in my life. George, I love you!"

George smiled at her with a loving gaze and said, "You snatched my lines and said what I wanted to say. Actually, that time, I have noticed you way earlier. But you acted as though you felt nothing for me at all. Gosh, I even thought your hobby was photography."

Everyone laughed. It was indeed an interesting first meeting, as though it was out of a romance movie.

"I did try to find out more about you but I heard others said that you even rejected the most handsome guy in the school. And you even proclaimed that you wouldn't date during your university studies. So, I'm sorry that I didn't make the first move to chase after you. When you stood in front of me and told me that you liked me, do you know how surprised I was? I couldn't even believe it then and thought you were playing truth or dare with others."

Hearing George's words, Lina laughed heartily. George had mentioned all of this before but now that she was hearing them again, she still found it funny.

"Lina, when we started to date officially, I realised that you are indeed an amazing person. As I come to know you a little more, I fell in love with you a little more. There were many times that I even wished that I could be your world and want you to care only for me. Alright, I admit, I was even jealous of your Little Sun once. I felt that you girls are hanging out too long, too often and you care about her more than you care about me."

Hearing George's words, everyone giggled once again.

"But, I still have to admit a fact, you indeed care more about her than me. I used to be bothered by this but I have changed my mind now. I will treat you twice as good as before such that your whole mind will be drawn to me."

"And next time, please let me be the first to say," George looked at Lina lovingly, "Lina, I love you!'

Lina took a step forward, hooked her arms around George's neck and kissed him. George also snaked a hand around Lina's waist.

Thunderous applause sounded in the hall. Everyone was clapping for the newly-wed couple who confessed their outpouring love for each other and touched by the genuine feelings between them.

"Mei Niu, I wish both of your bliss and happiness," Sheng Jiaoyang prayed in her heart as she watched the two on stage gazing lovingly at each other.

"Alright, next up, all the single ladies, please step forward. Let our bride pass on their bouquet of happiness," the host said after the bride and groom parted, having shared a long enough kiss.

1. Means to go get him.

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xYuna's Thoughts

TL: Cosy | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace