Lina originally wanted to throw her bridal bouquet to Sheng Jiaoyang.
But as the saying goes, plans can't keep up with the changes.
The bridal bouquet eventually landed in Rita's hands, making the person in question beamed from ear to ear throughout the entire banquet. With alacrity, Rita played white knight and drank in Lina's stead to everyone offering a toast and rendered the other bridesmaid redundant.
Upon returning back to the hotel, Sheng Jiaoyang recalled what happened when the bridal bouquet was thrown and still found it hilarious. At that time, Lina had especially confirmed Sheng Jiaoyang's location before she turned to throw the bouquet but hadn't expected that Rita, who was walking around would, end up right in front of Sheng Jiaoyang. In the end, Lina's bridal bouquet landed straight in Rita's hands upon being thrown.
"I feel that Rita's future partner would surely be an extremely hunky man, but Rita herself likes men who are tall and lanky. I still remembered when we were still in school, every guy she fancied was like this but no one could stand her. They were afraid to quarrel with her for she only resorts to violence and never words."
Sheng Jiaoyang couldn't help but let out a laugh afterwards.
Shen Zhining poured a cup of warm water and handed it to Sheng Jiaoyang, while also pouring himself a cup and sat on the sofa as he listened to her share the interesting stories that happened during her youth days.
It was a rare occurrence for Sheng Jiaoyang to bring up memories of the past.
Her, Lina and Rita were known as the iron triangle up till the day they graduated from high school. Ever since she and Rita transferred to the new school and came to know Lina, the three of them had always hung out together.
At the start, Sheng Jiaoyang purely wanted to find a bodyguard in school who could protect her and made friends with Rita for her unexplainable strength. After getting along with her, Sheng Jiaoyang naturally saw this short-tempered girl with a straightforward personality as a true friend indeed. At the same time where Rita imperceptibly protected her and Lina, Sheng Jiaoyang had also helped Rita to resolve many situations when she was close to having a demerit recorded.
Some who were beaten up by Rita harboured hatred in their heart and schemed against Rita in the hopes of wanting her to have a demerit recorded. Once Rita accumulated three demerits, the school would be able to suspend her indefinitely without any conditions. Everyone knew about Rita's rash temperament and fits of violence, hence these people thought of all kinds of ways to agitate Rita; such as verbal aggression or deliberately spilling water on Rita, hoping that Rita would fall for it and initiate a physical assault in a place with surveillance. As such, there would be evidence for the school to give her a demerit.
After hearing Sheng Jiaoyang's story of how she schemed and plotted with her two buddies against the playgirls in school, Shen Zhining suddenly said, "I remember that you were pretty slow-witted when you were young."
Sheng Jiaoyang almost spat out the mouth of water she just drank. Feigning a few coughs, she stared at Shen Zhining, the incredulity in her eyes unmistakable, and retorted, "How was I slow-witted when I was young? Everyone said I am clever."
Shen Zhining placed his cup down and stood up. He leaned forward to place both hands on the armrest of the sofa Sheng Jiaoyang was seated in and said, "If you weren't slow-witted, you wouldn't have followed after me every day, would you?"
"I was still little then! Small kids like to follow after older kids to play," Sheng Jiaoyang boldly countered.
"You always climb into my bed and lift up my shirt to see 'the scar on my heart'. Eventually, Aunty Yang told you it's an invisible scar, but you still came to lift my shirt. What was that for?"
Sheng Jiaoyang parted her lips but didn't know what to say.
Shen Zhining lifted a hand to take the cup before Sheng Jiaoyang and placed it on the round table. He then cupped her chin and asked with his eyes full of smiles, "Could it be that you already want to get intimate with me then?"
"Zhining!" Sheng Jiaoyang's jaws dropped.
"Do you still remember what you said to me when I left?" Shen Zhining's gaze became serious.
"What I said to you when you left?" Sheng Jiaoyang was confused, "I was only seven then. How could I remember something so detailed?"
"Then what do you still remember?" Shen Zhining's eyes narrowed into slits, his gaze had streaks of threat in them.
Erm… How would Sheng Jiaoyang have the courage to say that she only had recollections of all the bad memories, like the way Shen Zhining bullied her or how she foolishly followed the latter around like his shadow. She couldn't even recall why she had let him bully her like a doormat and also forgot about how they got along after he came out of the shadows.
"I remember that—-" Something flashed across Sheng Jiaoyang's mind all of a sudden, "you're a liar!"
"What?" Shen Zhining was dumbfounded.
"You said you will come back, you said you will protect me next time, but you didn't appear when my mother passed away, neither did you appear when I was framed. Even when I became homeless, you still didn't appear."
She finally remembered that night when she left Aureate Manor and was taken to Italy by her grandfather, she sobbed under the blanket.
Sheng Jiaoyang then went silent.
Shen Zhining was silent as well and he simply watched Sheng Jiaoyang at a close distance. At the thought of her loneliness and helplessness she faced then, he felt as though a hand was wringing his heart and pain radiated through him.
"Five years later, when I saw you again, you were stepping on someone's hand and I could still remember that scene vividly. After that, I heard that you rendered his arm useless."
Sheng Jiaoyang watched Shen Zhining, her complex feelings evident in her dark beady eyes. "That was when I realised, you have changed."
After that, I was afraid to see you.
And much later, I followed Lina home and saw Lin Yan. All my attention was then transferred onto Lin Yan.
This was really an unenjoyable topic. Sheng Jiaoyang slowly exhaled a mouthful of stale air.
Shen Zhining stood up and walked towards the french windows. He looked out through the windows at the sight beyond but its scenery wasn't appreciated as his expression appeared rather solemn.
"I just came back then and wasn't able to control my temper. I'm sorry for scaring you," Shen Zhining said calmly.
Sheng Jiaoyang watched his back view and pursed her lips. She couldn't hold herself back and asked, "Where did you go all those years? Grandfather Shen said you went to study abroad, but how is it impossible for no one to get in touch with you?"
"I went to many places. I followed merchant ships across the Atlantic Ocean, have gone to Africa and also Siberia."
Shen Zhining spoke briefly, only mentioning a few big countries’ names, but Sheng Jiaoyang could see there was more than meets the eye. There must be a reason for his raging disposition when we met again. A lot of cruel things must have happened to him in those years that I couldn't even fathom.
Sheng Jiaoyang stood up and walked towards him. Stretching out her hands to hook them around his waist, she leaned her head against his shoulders and diverted the topic. "What did I say to you that year when you left?"
I probably couldn't remember it because it was an innocent remark I made then. Sheng Jiaoyang was curious about what she had said that would leave a lasting impression on Shen Zhining up till this moment.
"You said, you must marry me when you grow up and asked me to come back earlier," Shen Zhining's tone sounded more relaxed.
"No way, why would I have said something like that? Zhining, are you trying to coax me?"
"You have forgotten about it anyway, so since you said that I am coaxing you, then that's what it is."
Hearing his reply, Sheng Jiaoyang believed his words instead. I just hadn't expected myself to say something like that. No wonder my mother left me parting words hoping that I would get together with Zhining.
The twists and turns of life but here we are, back to square one.
"You…" Sheng Jiaoyang didn't know what to say all of a sudden.
Shen Zhining turned to look at her in the face and said, "We are destined to be together."
"But you didn't show any interest in that aspect when you saw me after that," Sheng Jiaoyang was puzzled. If he really cared that much about what I said, then why hadn't he said anything? Also, he'd have a gloomy expression whenever he sees me, causing my hairs to stand, and making me terrified that I have unknowingly offended him.
"I didn't show any interest? If Grandmother wanted to send you a birthday gift, she could have sent anyone to pass it to you. If I was unwilling, would I help her run the errand and come all the way just to pass you your present?"
Sheng Jiaoyang was at a loss of words. She suddenly felt that what he said made logical sense. If he didn't have any interest in her, for the few years after, he wouldn't have come by every year to pass her Grandmother Andy's present.
She suddenly recalled many things again. Previously, at Grandfather Lin's birthday party, Shen Zhining told Lin Yan that he had seen the latter. She remembered that his original words were, "There was once that I was asked to pass Jiaoyang's birthday present to her and saw you at her side." She didn't have any recollection of Shen Zhining and Lin Yan meeting each other but did remember that was this once when she saw Shen Zhining after she and Lin Yan returned to their own house.
So, Shen Zhining probably knew then that she fancied Lin Yan. But it was out of character for him to watch on in silence with that overbearing possessiveness of his.
"If, I said if, Lin Yan had accepted my feelings then, would you have still watched on the side?" Sheng Jiaoyang blinked and looked at him inquisitively.
Shen Zhining only looked at her but didn't answer.
"Is this question that hard to answer?"
"At the time, I only wanted you to be happy," Shen Zhining answered.
Actually, that made sense as they didn't see each other often back then, and basically didn't have the time to hang out. Other than those brief communication, all that was left was their childhood memories. But in those memories, Sheng Jiaoyang was still a child. Though Shen Zhining liked her, it wasn't till the extent where he would think that ‘you only belong with me’.
But things were different now. They have gone through life together and she had silently become a part of his life. If she was gone, it would feel as though life would no longer be meaningful.
"What about now?" Sheng Jiaoyang’s eyes were curved as she continued with a smile.
Shen Zhining caught her right hand with his left hand, interlocked them and lifted it up, the two rings glimmered.
"We made our vows before Jesus to never leave or abandon each other. Even death wouldn't be able to keep us apart."
"That's not right, I remember the vow was 'till death will we part.'"
"Even if I die, I will never let you off. We shall be buried together, forever and ever."
Sheng Jiaoyang stared at Shen Zhining and suddenly burst out in laughter, "Zhining, did you memorise my lines?"
She remembered that there was a similar line in the script of her upcoming drama she would be filming.
"Laughing at me?" Shen Zhining leaned close.
Sheng Jiaoyang giggled and wanted to run away but was pulled back by their intertwined fingers. His other hand pressed against the back of her head and caught her pouting lips.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Cosy | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace