As to the reason for Zhou Yilin's different disposition in public and private, it was very much related to her family background.
She was an orphan at an orphanage until she reached the age of six. Afterwards, she was adopted by her current adoptive parents because their biological daughter went missing when the latter’s grandmother brought her out to play. Zhou Yilin’s adoptive grandmother wanted to see her biological granddaughter for one last time before she passed on. Hence, Zhou Yilin's adoptive parents visited the orphanage to adopt a girl such that the grandmother would rest in peace.
They didn't harbour any feelings towards Zhou Yilin and wouldn't dote on her as their own. They only warned her to be obedient and listen to them or they would send her back to the orphanage.
Ever since Zhou Yilin became part of the family, she knew that her adoptive parents were waiting for their biological daughter to return. They would never let her, someone who was not related by blood, to replace the spot their biological daughter had in their hearts.
In order not to be disowned, Zhou Yilin tried very very hard to show her obedience and sensibility. She studied diligently and matured from the original ugly duckling into the white swan in everyone's eyes.
Her abilities were finally recognised by her biological father and she successfully made her way to become one of the management staff in their family business.
No matter how glamorous Zhou Yilin looked on the outside, in her heart, she was still that lonely little girl from the orphanage. She had low self-esteem and longed for a carefree life. But, she was already used to showing her talented and domineering side in front of others. Hence, she could only be herself when she escaped to a place where no one knew her. She didn't have to worry if anyone would ridicule her nor if her parents would disapprove of her.
Because of this, she would take a leave of absence every once in a while and retreat to a place where she could be her true self and live a short-lived ordinary but comfortable life.
The place was the orphanage where she once stayed.
She rented a single-storey house in the vicinity of the orphanage. The house came with a small courtyard and she planted all types of flowers and plants there. During her stay, she would volunteer at the orphanage every day.
Once, when she was helping to tidy up the orphanage's storeroom, she missed her footing and fell from the stool, injuring her foot. She then ended up having to be in a wheelchair for a few days. On the first day of being on the wheelchair, Zhou Yilin was just heading to the orphanage where the male lead, Ouyang Yi, was detouring to her house to get rid of the people tailing him. When rounding the corner, Ouyang Yi accidentally brushed against the wheelchair and Zhou Yilin toppled over due to the collision.
And that was how the two met. But at this point, Zhou Yilin was using her original name, ‘Zhong Lin’. Zhong was the borrowed last name of the orphanage's director. All of the orphans who didn't have a name would take on her last name.
In Ouyang Yi's eyes, Zhong Lin was someone who loved to smile, had an outgoing personality and didn't seem to have any worries. Though she was dressed casually and wasn't that pretty with her hair tied into a ponytail, he found her exceptionally pleasing to the eye. She was like a breath of fresh air.
The next day, he drove over again and ‘coincidentally’ met Zhong Lin, who was leaving her house in her wheelchair for grocery shopping. He cooked up an excuse that he felt uneasy for banging into her the day before and couldn't help but to come and see if she was doing fine today. He then naturally followed her for grocery shopping, and naturally entered her house, helped her to wash the vegetables and watched her busy herself in the kitchen as she hopped around on one foot.
There might have been a splash on the ground and Zhong Lin accidentally stepped on the spill by mistake. She slipped and was immediately caught by Ouyang Yi, who was watching her and reacted in time. They looked at each other in the eyes. The body and eye contact brought about an emotional connection.
Just like that, Ouyang Yi came consecutively for a week and suddenly stopped appearing.
From the start, Zhou Yilin felt that Ouyang Yi only stuck around her because he was a sucker for novelty. So, when he stopped appearing, she did feel a little disappointed in her heart but she was neither angry nor upset. Also, her feet had almost recovered and she would have to return to work.
Changing into her business suit and putting on a chic makeup look, she turned back into Zhou Yilin, serious in speech and manner.
As soon as she arrived at work, a clumsy person collided into her. The clumsy person was An Xiaotian; it was her first day at work.
An Xiaotian immediately apologised.
Zhou Yilin found An Xiaotian familiar at first glance but didn't think too much into it. She just nodded chicly and reminded An Xiaotian to not be so clumsy next time.
A place with people would definitely be a place of hierarchy. Being a newcomer, An Xiaotian would naturally be an outcast and be delegated all sorts of minute tasks, including those that she had no experience in. A particular colleague was busy with her own tasks and threw the task to An Xiaotian to figure it out on her own. Since it was An Xiaotian's first time working on the task, it didn't meet the expectations and the documents were rejected. After that, her name was thrown out to take the blame.
Zhou Yilin met An Xiaotian again. Knowing that it was An Xiaotian who wrote the documents, Zhou Yilin criticized her without knowing the full story. Zhou Yilin ordered An Xiaotian to revise it, and told her that she didn't need to come back the next day if she couldn't revise the documents by today.
An Xiaotian felt wronged, but this was the best company that she had managed to find. She didn't want to give up on this job and could only carry the documents back to her table with a crestfallen look to continue on with her work.
Meanwhile, Ouyang Yi, who was entrusted with a very important project, was on his way over with his team. Wearing sunglasses, ripped jeans and a black jacket, he was followed by several serious men in suits, as though he was a celebrity travelling with his bodyguards and assistant.
They were here to discuss the collaboration for the Pentagon Building.
Zhou Yilin happened to be reporting on the work progress in the office of her adoptive father, Zhou Hua, who was also the company's president. Zhou Hua's secretary knocked on the door and entered to tell Zhou Hua that the clients were here. Zhou Hua then asked the secretary to bring the clients in and told Zhou Yilin to leave.
Though Zhou Yilin was very capable, Zhou Hua had never allowed her to participate in big projects like this.
Zhou Yilin picked up her documents, turned and headed for the door.
"This way please!" came the secretary's voice from outside the door.
The next moment, Zhou Yilin bumped into someone accidentally and dropped the folders in her hand as a result.
"Sorry." Considering that the other part was the client, Zhou Yilin immediately bowed her head and apologized before she squatted down to pick up the scattered pieces of paper.
The one who bumped into her was Ouyang Yi. Seeing the scattered documents, he bent down and helped to pick them up. Eventually, the two reached for the same piece of paper.
"Thank you!" Zhou Yiling lifted her head subconsciously to see the very familiar face before her. She took in a deep breath to control her expressions.
Ouyang Yi was slow to see her. By the time he saw Zhou Yilin's face, he was stunned. Seeing that Zhou Yilin was going to leave, he grabbed onto her hand and asked tentatively, "Linlin?" From the second day since they met, he had been addressing her the same way that Director Zhong of the orphanage addressed her.
Zhou Hua, who had approached them asked inquisitively, "Vice President Ouyang, you know Yilin?"
"Yilin?" Ouyang Yi looked at Zhou Yilin in a puzzled manner, but did not loosen his grip on her.
Zhou Yilin kept up her icy facade and gently pried Ouyang Yi's hand away and said with a polite nod, "Hello, I am Zhou Yilin, the deputy director of the projects department."
"Zhou Yilin?" Ouyang Yi's brows were furrowed together. His eyes were fixed on her face through the lens of his sunglasses, unwilling to miss any changes in her expression. But he was disappointed. She really doesn't seem to know me.
"What's wrong? Vice President Ouyang?" Zhou Hua asked.
"Nothing, I might have recognised the wrong person." Though Ouyang Yi said that, he clearly didn't believe his own words. He felt that it was impossible for there to be two people in the world that would look so alike. Though one was with make up, and the other without, their features looked exactly the same.
Zhou Hua noticed that Ouyang Yi had been staring at Zhou Yilin and a glint flashed across his eyes as he said with a smile, "Yilin, you have been in the projects department for some time. Why don't you stay to hear about the collaboration project for the pentagon building? You youngsters are closer in mindset and can communicate better."
Zhou Yilin nodded with a nonchalant expression. No one could see what she was thinking.
While both sides were engaged in discussion, Zhou Yilin was reading up on the details for the pentagon building project. She wasn't in charge of this project previously and didn't know about the details. Hence, she was making use of this time to catch up on it quickly. As soon as she was done, Ouyang Yi caught her with many questions, which she answered without being too humble or pushy.
"Miss Zhou, you are so young but yet so capable; how unexpected. Would you mind giving me your number?" Ouyang Yi gave a pen and a piece of paper to Zhou Yilin.
Of course, Zhou Yilin couldn't reject him and took over the pen to write her name and phone number down with her right hand.
Ouyang Yi narrowed his eyes. I remember that Zhong Lin is left handed. She uses her left hand with chopsticks and when she's painting.
Zhou Yilin? Zhong Lin? Why would it be so coincidental? Could it be that she has a twin sister?
With such doubts, Ouyang Yi specially asked Zhou Yilin to send him out when the team was leaving. When they were at the door, he asked somewhat casually, "Miss Zhou, do you have a sister?"
"Why would you ask that, Vice President Ouyang?" Zhou Yilin asked with a confused look.
"You only have to answer yes or no."
Zhou Yilin's expression changed and seemed to be a little hesitant as she looked to the ground and replied, "No." She then followed up with "Have a safe journey," before turning and heading back into the building.
Yet, Ouyang Yi felt that she was trying to hide something. So, he was certain that Zhou Yilin has a twin sister named ‘Zhong Lin’.
That day, Ouyang Yi headed for Zhong Lin's house which was near the orphanage. He found no one there and went to find Director Zhong to ask her if Zhong Lin had a twin sister. Director Zhong merely heaved a sigh and didn't answer him.
Ouyang Yi immediately imagined a tragic story where two sisters were forced to separate from each other. Director Zhong looked as though she wanted to say something but didn't, so it made him feel that there was a hidden story and he was even more curious.
He thought of Zhong Lin's simple and plain clothes and mannerisms, and then how much attention Zhou Yilin paid to her hair, makeup down to her shoes. Also, Zhong Lin was handicapped. He hypothesized that when the two sisters were young, the healthy Zhou Yilin was adopted by a rich family while the handicapped Zhong Lin was adopted by an ordinary family.
Hence, this was the start of a beautiful misunderstanding.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Cosy | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace