The exercise of love started in warmth, and finished in warmth.
Xia Lei and Jiang Ruyi were already sitting in the living room watching television, their clothes all nice and orderly when Jiang Shuqing and Yang Lan got home. The two of them behaved normally, like nothing had happened earlier.
Yang Lan started preparing lunch, and Jiang Ruyi went to the kitchen to help her. Xia Lei and Jiang Shuqing chatted and drank tea.
Xia Lei abruptly remembered about Long Bing before they started the meal. He was here at Jiang Ruyi’s place eating, but Long Bing was alone at his place. What about her?
‘It’s not good to leave her alone at home. Why not call her over to eat together? She and Jiang Ruyi are sort of familiar with each other too, so she wouldn’t suspect anything, right?”
At that thought, Xia Lei pulled Jiang Ruyi to one side and told her about Long Bing staying at his place.
“Why didn’t you say so earlier? I’ll go call her over to have lunch.” Jiang Ruyi did not think more deeply about it and she went upstairs to call Long Bing to come down and join them.
Jiang Ruyi did not simply see Long Bing as a familiar face. Her being able to become police chief was all thanks to Long Bing, so Jiang Ruyi owed Long Bing a huge debt in this regard.
Jiang Ruyi knocked on the door of Xia Lei’s flat and Long Bing paused when she saw Jiang Ruyi in the doorway. “Oh, Chief Jiang. Hello.” But in her head, she was grumbling, ‘What is Jiang Ruyi doing here? Did she guess at the relationship between myself and Xia Lei?’
She had a guilty conscience, and she could not help being nervous and having wild thoughts even though she was facing Jiang Ruyi, who was of the same ‘level’ as her, and not the wife, Shentu Tianyin.
Jiang Ruyi was not thinking so deeply, and she smiled. “Miss Long! Why didn’t you drop by to say hello though you were here? My home is just downstairs. Come to my place for a meal.”
“Uh… No need to go to the trouble. I can just eat anything.” Long Bing felt awkward just thinking of the setting. Xia Lei, Jiang Ruyi, and herself… The three of them eating. What the heck was that?
Jiang Ruyi pulled Long Bing by the hand. “Come, come. You’re a good friend of our Lei, so what is there to be awkward about?” Then she suddenly seemed to realise something and she corrected herself. “Heh heh, oops. It’s not our Lei, it’s… Lei and I are good friends, and you’re good friends with Lei too. We’re all good friends.”
Long Bing looked wordlessly at Jiang Ruyi, and thought, ‘This idiot had better not meet Shentu Tianyin. She dares to steal Shentu Tianyin’s man with this standard of concealment? She’ll get found out as soon as they meet.’
Long Bing could not refuse Jiang Ruyi’s great show of hospitality either, so she followed her to her home.
Xia Lei couldn’t help exchanging looks with Long Bing as soon as the door opened. Both of them felt rather guilty. They didn’t even dare to have their eyes meet for too long. He looked at her, and she looked at him, then they both looked in different directions.
Jiang Ruyi introduced Long Bing to Jiang Shuqing and Yang Lan.
They warmed up right away when they heard she was Long Bing. They had long heard of this mysterious, illustrious and powerful woman, and their Ruyi had been able to become Chief of Police all thanks to her too. This was a huge kindness which had been bestowed upon them, so how could they not treat Long Bing well, when she had come to their home?
The five of them sat around the table and ate. Jiang Ruyi picked food up with her chopsticks and put it in Xia Lei’s bowl, and Yang Lan did the same for Long Bing. Xia Lei poured alcohol for Jiang Shuqing. The atmosphere at the table was quite harmonious.
“I want to eat sweet-sour ribs,” said Jiang Ruyi softly. She was sitting on Xia Lei’s left.
Xia Lei picked up a piece of sweet-sour rib and put it in Jiang Ruyi’s bowl. Jiang Ruyi smiled.
Long Bing gave Xia Lei a look.
Xia Lei paused, then picked up a piece of sweet-sour rib for Long Bing and said in an affected manner, “Chief Long, Auntie’s cooking is very good. Please try this too.”
Long Bing wanted to laugh but she showed no emotion on her face. She just nodded slightly.
Xia Lei, however, was groaning to himself. ‘How am I to continue with this meal? This is just Jiang Ruyi and Long Bing. What if Shentu Tianyin, Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi have a meal with me one day? Won’t I die then?’
Love was a double-edged sword, but the sword Xia Lei was holding had edges on the hilt too.
“Lei, let’s go on a stroll around the markets when we’re done eating,” said Jiang Ruyi.
“Nn. What do you want to buy?” asked Xia Lei casually.
Clatter! The chopsticks in Xia Lei’s hand fell to the table.
Long Bing was gnawing on the piece of sweet-sour rib Xia Lei had given her, but she froze in that second. The piece hung half-in, half-out of her mouth, and she looked rather comical.
Jiang Shuqing and Yang Lan stared blankly too. The two elders had their eyes fixed on Jiang Ruyi. If they had the magic of teleportation, they would have not hesitated to teleport Jiang Ruyi to the other end of the Earth. How could she have let slip something like this to Long Bing!
Jiang Ruyi then realised that she had let it slip, and she panicked. Her face turned red, and she stuttered, “Haha, ahem… Why are you guys looking at me? You couldn’t have heard me say maternity wear, right? What a joke. I was saying… saying sportswear. I want to go buy sportswear. I put on a bit of weight recently. I need to lose weight.”
No one in the flat was hard of hearing, and all of them had clearly heard her say ‘maternity wear’. Her insistence that it was ‘sportswear’ was a good bit of quick thinking, but it was useless.
Long Bing gave Xia Lei another look.
Jiang Ruyi kicked Xia Lei under the table to tell him to back her up.
Xia Lei gave a cough. “Ahem. Okay, I’ll go with you to get sportswear.”
Jiang Ruyi then said, “Let’s eat, let’s eat.”
Long Bing continued gnawing on that piece of sweet-sour rib, but she thought to herself, ‘Jiang Ruyi is pregnant. Is the old saying that women with plump hips are more fertile actually true? Haha, this is going to be interesting. Shentu Tianyin and Xia Lei haven’t had their wedding ceremony yet, and she’s not pregnant with Xia Lei’s child, but Jiang Ruyi the mistress is already pregnant. If Shentu Tianyin found out about this, Xia Lei would have at least a layer of skin peeled off of him, even if he doesn’t get killed. Hold on… My buttocks are quite plump too. I didn’t use any protection with Xia Lei so far. Will I get pregnant? What do I do if I do get pregnant?’
“Do you have anything scheduled in the afternoon, Chief Long?” Jiang Shuqing quickly changed the topic. “If you’re free, I would like to invite you to the scenic spots of Haizhu. It is beautiful there.”
“Thank you. I will go with Ruyi on her shopping trip,” said Long Bing. “I’d like to buy something too.”
The corners of Jiang Ruyi’s mouth turned down, but she said, “Sure, let’s go together.” Inside, she was saying, ‘What are you tagging along for, you third wheel!’
Xia Lei was having a silent migraine too. Just the three of them having a meal together was difficult enough… going out shopping? He was surely going to be used as a wallet. How could he not buy clothing for Long Bing when he was buying for Jiang Ruyi? Just the thought of this situation made Xia Lei wince!
After their meal, the three of them went shopping. They went in and out of the shops.
The situation Xia Lei had imagined came true, and it was worse than he had imagined.
“Look, Lei. Does this look good on me?” came Jiang Ruyi’s voice from a shop.
“Yes, yes, it looks good. Please wrap it up, Miss Shop Assistant.”
“I think that one looks better. I’ll go try it on.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Lei, do you think I look good in that red lingerie?” whispered Long Bing to Xia Lei in another shop. She had taken the opportunity to do so while JIang Ruyi was picking out maternity wear.
“Yes, yes, it looks good. Please wrap it up, Miss Shop Assistant.”
“I think that black one is nicer.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Xia Lei was sandwiched between the two women, and they kept going in and out of shops. The number of bags in Xia Lei’s hands increased too, and it got to the point where Xia Lei wished he could grow more hands to hold it all.
They came to the end of the street, and the shopping spree came to an end. The two women had bought a huge pile of clothing, cosmetics, bags and so on. This included Jiang Ruyi’s maternity wear, of course, and nutritional products for pregnancy. Jiang Ruyi’s excuse to Long Bing was that she was buying it all for a colleague, and Long Bing could not be bothered to expose this lie.
Xia Lei took the opportunity to switch his China-based phone on while the two women rested, and he gave Shentu Tianyin a call.
“I’m back, Wifey.”
“You’re back! Where are you? I’ll come over right now.” Shentu Tianyin’s voice was filled with joy and excitement.
Xia Lei glanced involuntarily at Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi, who were chatting. He braced himself and said, “I’m at my old place in Haizhu. Um, I’ll be making my way back in two days. You should just go about your day. No need to come over. I’ll go straight to you once I return.”
“Come back soon. I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” There was no lie in that sentence. Xia Lei really did miss her.
He would not forget about Shentu Tianyin though he had Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi to accompany him, nor ignore her. He wouldn’t forget about or ignore Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi because he had Shentu Tianyin either. This was his situation now, and it was a huge mess of a love-diagram.
“How much do you miss me?” Shentu Tianyin’s voice was full of seduction.
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “I miss you with every fibre of my being. Oh, right, I want to tell you something.” After a pause, he said, “She’s dead. I’ve destroyed those items too. You don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”
“Mm. I got it. Come home quick. We have to prepare for our wedding too.”
“The day after tomorrow. I’ll be back then.”
“Give me a kiss. I’ll hang up only if you give me a kiss.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Jiang Ruyi’s gaze went to Xia Lei and she said to Long Bing, who was next to her, “Big Sister Long… Who do you think Xia Lei is talking to now?”
“His company employee or something?”
“Look at him smiling so sweetly. It must be Shentu Tianyin.”
“Then it’s Shentu Tianyin. That’s normal.” Long Bing’s gaze went to Jiang Ruyi’s belly. “Oh right, how far along is that colleague of yours in her pregnancy?”
“Not very long. Just over a month.”
“How many times did she have sex before she got pregnant?”
“Seven, or eight, I guess… Ah!” Jiang Ruyi covered her mouth. She coughed. “How would I know?”
Long Bing put a smile on her face but said nothing. Inside, she was anxious. ‘Damn it. My situation is about the same as hers. Will I get pregnant too?’
Xia Lei ended his call with Shentu Tianyin, and walked over to them. He smiled as he said, “Ladies, where shall we go to next?”
“I know another good shopping place. I hear that there are sales every Wednesday, and all the products are 40% off. Let’s go take a look.” Jiang Ruyi looked excited.
“Sure, let’s go have a look.” Long Bing agreed right away.
Xia Lei lost his voice then, and the smile on his face vanished.
Buy, buy, buy… These two spendthrifts!Previous Chapter Next Chapter