Jiang Ruyi came down from the rock but what she saw was a cleaned-up battleground. There were no bodies, no weapons. This made all that she’d experienced seem surreal, like a dream.
She was not the sort of woman to be smart but she was not stupid either. She knew that Xia Lei had cleaned up, and she tried to guess at Xia Lei’s motives. She was also worried but she did not voice her thoughts and worries.
“Ruyi.” Xia Lei broke the silence between them. “I’d like you to…”
He did not continue. Jiang Ruyi leaned her arm on Xia Lei and said in mild annoyance, “Lei, look at our relationship. I’m your woman. Say what you want to say, no need to hold back.”
Xia Lei sighed. “Ruyi, this is a unique case. I’d like you to keep this a secret for me. Don’t mention it to anyone. I know you’re a police chief and this will put you in a tough spot, but I…”
Jiang Ruyi cut him off. “This police chief will help you. Didn’t I tell you that I’m your woman? What this about a tough spot? If you tell me not to talk about it, I won’t talk about it. I won’t tell anyone. Will this do?”
A smile appeared on Xia Lei’s face. “Yep, so that’s agreed, then. Thank you, Ruyi.”
Jiang Ruyi suddenly slapped Xia Lei on the ass. “You’re thanking me? You’re thanking me!” She raised her hand to hit him again but he escaped.
They started a game of catch in the forest.
They ran and they ran and finally rolled together on a patch of grass.
The great outdoors was as pretty as a picture but the combining of two into one was the most beautiful of all.
After a life-and-death battle, now was the time to relax and enjoy life.
Before they left the island, Xia Lei destroyed the speedboats, leaving just one for them to return to Haizhu. Back in Haizhu, Xia Lei destroyed the last speedboat too. They got ashore and he said to Jiang Ruyi, “Ruyi, tell the Special Forces training base that you lost the speedboats. Pay them back and don’t say anything more.”
Jiang Ruyi agreed right away. “No problem. I’ll do as you say.”
Jiang Ruyi had been at loggerheads with Xia Lei since they were children but she seemed like a whole other person now that she’d become Xia Lei’s woman. She was not opinionated, was obedient, gentle, and listened to Xia Lei. Thinking back, all their past squabbles were just ways to draw Xia Lei’s attention to her.
There were quite a few women who liked Xia Lei but the one who loved him most deeply was her.
It was evening when they returned to their neighbourhood after settling their matters. Xia Lei went to Jiang Ruyi’s place, and Jiang Shuqing and Yang Lan were both there. Jiang Ruyi had called ahead and Yang Lan had prepared dishes. She was just waiting for Xia Lei to come to start serving the food.
Jiang Shuqing had had surgery not long ago and didn’t dare drink. He did, however, personally pour some alcohol for Xia Lei.
“Da, don’t give Lei too much to drink. It’s not good for the body.”
Jiang Shuqing was a little miffed. “It’s not every day that Lei comes to our place for a meal. You’re not pouring any alcohol for him - why nag me about pouring for him?”
“Da, I’ll be really angry at you if you make him drunk.” Jiang Ruyi pouted adorably.
Yang Lan paused, then glanced at Xia Lei out of the corner of her eye. She seemed to sense something and she asked tentatively, “Lei, I heard you’re engaged to Shentu Tianyin, right?”
Xia Lei was a little awkward. “Uh, yes.”
Yang Lan let out a soft sigh. “Aunt Yang is happy for you. I’ve heard of that woman. She’s the wealthiest woman in China - she is the one who’s a good match for you.”
‘She is the one’ seemed to be the key words of her sentence. She seemed to be saying that her daughter was not good enough for him; her words had a tinge of sourness to them.
It was unavoidable for her to feel this way. She’d watched Xia Lei grow up with her daughter and she already saw him as part of her family. However, Xia Lei was with Shentu Tianyin now, and she could not be entirely happy for him.
“Auntie, I’m not with Tianyin for her money. We signed an agreement. Our assets are separate, and we are minding our own companies,” said Xia Lei.
“Is that how it is? Was she the one who brought it up? Is she worried that you’re after her money?” said Yang Lan.
Xia Lei’s first response was to speak up for Shentu Tianyin because he had been the one to bring up the topic of an agreement, and it had nothing to do with her. Then he had the thought that Auntie Yang was saying this because she was upset as Shentu Tianyin taking her daughter’s spot and that it was on purpose. There was no use explaining things in that case, and it would be better to just listen.
Sure enough, Yang Lan went on to criticize Shentu Tianyin, on and on. Xia Lei just listened and nodded once in a while, as if he were absorbing it all.
Jiang Ruyi, on the other hand, was not happy to hear this gossip. “Ma, don’t say that. She’s living in a different world from us; not the same as us common folk.”
Yang Lan gave her a glare. She did not say anything but she thought, ‘You airheaded girl. Your Ma is helping you make her look bad and you’re chiding me? You’re as dumb as your father.’
Jiang Ruyi met her mother’s eyes, looking like she would defend Xia Lei to the death.
After the meal, Xia Lei and Jiang Shuqing had some tea and chatted. Xia Lei then got up and bid them goodbye.
“I’ll send Lei home.” Jiang Ruyi followed Xia Lei out the door and went to his place.
Yang Lan and Jiang Shuqing thought she would be back soon but they did not see her coming back after dozens of minutes.
“What’s going on, Dear?” Yang Lan asked suspiciously.
Jiang Shuqing was confused. “What do you mean ‘what’s going on’?”
“Lei’s place is on the second floor. Why hasn’t Ruyi come back yet? It’s been almost 20 minutes,” said Yang Lam.
“Why bother so much about it? That kid Ruyi’s liked Lei since she was a girl. What’s so bad about them chatting for a while? Stop poking your nose into it. She’s a grown girl, she knows what to do,” said Jiang Shuqing.
Yang Lan rolled her eyes at him. “You sure are taking it easy. Lei’s a good one, and we’ve watched him grow up. Ruyi’s liked him for a long time too. Great, now he’s with another woman. Our Ruyi must be so heartbroken. I feel bad for her, and you? Good for you, you don’t see anything wrong with it.”
“Lei’s done good for us. Don’t criticise him like that. Him being with another woman’s his life, his fate. I understand your dissatisfaction but there’s no point,” said Jiang Shuqing.
“Never mind, I’m not going to bother talking about it with you. I’ll go see why Ruyi’s not home yet. I’m worried she’s outside crying.” Yang Lan made to go out.
“Talk to Ruyi when you find her. She has to bear with it no matter what,” said Jiang Shuqing.
Yang Lan glared at him again, then went out the door. She went up to the second floor, to Xia Lei’s door and reached out to knock when she heard a voice from inside.
It was Jiang Ruyi’s voice. As her mother, Yang Lan could tell right away. Jiang Ruyi sounded like she was in pain, yet in great joy at the same time. There was a lot of jumbled dialogue too - sometimes praising, sometimes begging for mercy.
Yang Lan was a smart woman and she knew what activity elicited these noises. Her face turned red and she clenched her jaw as she grumbled, “You wench! And I was worried you were hiding somewhere to cry too! You’re having an affair with Xia Lei!”
The sounds from the flat came out in bursts.
It was Xia Lei’s voice now. “Ruyi, would Auntie be mad at me if she finds out?”
“Don’t care about her. Aaaaah…” It was Ruyi’s voice. “I’ll give you a son. She wants a grandchild too. Hnnngh.”
“Shh. Don’t let the neighbours hear.” Xia Lei was nervous.
“Who’s going to eavesdrop shamelessly outside the door? Hhaaah”
Outside the door, Yang Lan was beet-red. She stamped her foot lightly, then said, “You immoral child! You’re doing such a thing with Lei and you still want to give me a grandchild? No way! I’ll wait for you to get home and discipline you!”
But Yang Lan smiled after saying that.
If she really were angry she would have kicked the door down. She didn’t, though. She just stood outside and eavesdropped, and she was quite happy about what she heard. She could understand why Jiang Ruyi and Xia Lei had ended up with this sort of relationship, and she was happy as long as her daughter was in it willingly and was happy. She could accept it.
As for not helping with the child - it was just angry-speak. If Jiang Ruyi really did have a child with Xia Lei, Yang Lan was going to be a proper grandmother.
The sounds from the flat were still continuing, and Jiang Ruyi’s words were getting more incoherent. Yang Lan was too embarrassed to listen further and she returned home quietly.
Jiang Ruyi was finally quiet not long after Yang Lan returned home. She lay in Xia Lei’s embrace and enjoyed the after-sex laziness and good vibes.
“Ruyi, I’m going back to Jingdu tomorrow,” said Xia Lei softly.
“Can’t you stay for a few more days?” Jiang Ruyi was sad straightaway.
“I want to stay a few more days with you too but I have too much on my plate. I need to go back and settle them,” said Xia Lei.
The production line plan for the Gust assault rifle and the research on the ancient alloy were very important matters, and both needed his personal attention.
“Mm, I can’t bear to be apart, but I know you men treat your careers very importantly.” Jiang Ruyi then said sadly, “So when are you coming back?”
“Haizhu is my home. I’ll be back often for sure,” said Xia Lei.
Jiang Ruyi smiled then. “You need to remember you have a mistress in Haizhu. You’d better not forget me. Come back to be with me sometimes - I only wish for that.”
“Nn.” Xia Lei held her and thought of Shentu Tianyin as he made that promise. Guilt poked at him.
If he chose to be entirely loyal to Shentu Tianyin, then Jiang Ruyi would be inconsolably hurt. He’d accepted Jiang Ruyi but betrayed his marriage to Shentu Tianyin. This made him guilty, ill at ease. He was caught between two women and he would hurt either of them no matter what decision he made.
There was no solution.
He was going to let it be.Previous Chapter Next Chapter