“Ningning, this is Nanru,” Xu Wanying introduced him to her enthusiastically after she approached the living room. “Usually he lives on campus, so you haven’t seen him before all this time. He is my…second son.”
Cen Ning obediently said hello, the other glanced at her and nodded.
Her face showed no signs of fluctuation on the surface, but Cen Ning felt things were a little strange, why had no one mentioned him before? He only looked a little bit like Yan Xingzhi, but his cold and indifferent temperament seemed to be carved out of a mold. Just by sitting there, his forehead seemed to say: No strangers should disturb me.
Cen Ning returned to her own small building after saying hello. She didn’t take the fact that Yan Xingzhi had a little brother too much to her heart, but the matter regarding her finals was still up in the air.
She was looking forward to showing him her report card, but his expression just now seriously looked a little scary.
What happened to him…
“You’re back.” Wei Pinfang came out of the room, “You haven’t eaten , right?”
“R’zz ts xyjl psxl dssezlp kd vbl jkvnbld.”
“Ysx.” Uld Lkdt pvsrrle Elk Vkdqydt, yde vssj swv bla qkdyzp vaydpnakrv qasx bla pnbssz cyt, “Mbkp…xu vlpv alpwzvp.”
“Mbl alpwzvp nyxl swv? Tso eke usw ts.” Elk Vkdqydt eked’v byhl ydu qwavbla lmralppksdp, yde vssj y zssj yv vbl vaydpnakrv. “Zswa nzypp aydjkdt kp 19…Zsw sdzu tsv 19?”
Uld Lkdt: “R, vbkp vkxl…”
“Zsw nswze tlv kd vbl vsr vld kd rakxyau pnbssz, obu yal uswa xyajp tlvvkdt osapl yde osapl yqvla ldvlakdt xkeezl pnbssz.”
Uld Lkdt bwaaklezu lmrzykdle: “Mbkp kp ekqqlaldv, vbl rakxyau pnbssz sdl, oyp pkxrzl.”
“Tso kp vblal y ekqqlaldnl clvolld lypu sa byae, bso nsxl svblap nyd es olzz kd vbl lmyx vbld? Gal usw fwpv rwvvkdt sd yd ynv cu zssjkdt zkjl usw pvweu byae?”
“No…” Cen Ning suddenly had a feeling that she was beyond being able to dispute, her tongue was astringent, and the joy of getting her transcript today was wiped out by the successive blows after returning home, “I, I have improved.”
She said this sentence very quietly, so quietly that Wei Pinfang didn’t hear it at all, but Cen Ning didn’t mind, because she didn’t expect any good reaction from her at the moment, her attitude and words had already hurt her. So Cen Ning just subconsciously comforted herself: she didn’t put on an act, she was working hard.
After dinner, Cen Ning carried her school bag and was about to enter her room.
Cen Ning turned her head and saw Wei Pinfang suddenly say, “Have you seen that little brother of Xingzhi’s.”
Cen Ning nodded.
Wei Pinfang: “Then remember, that younger brother’s surname is Xu, so don’t make any mistakes later on.”
Cen Ning’s face was surprised: “Takes, takes on Aunt Xu’s surname?”
Wei Pinfang was too lazy to talk about these complicated matters, but she was also worried that Cen Ning would say something wrong in front of the Yan family in the future, so she explained, “Yes, because Xu Wanying only entered the family three or four years ago, so Xu Nanru would have been fourteen or five years old at that time. Xingzhi’s birth mother died many years ago, Xu Wanying is just his stepmother.”
“But, but Xu Nanru…”
“He looks a bit like Xingzhi, right.”
Cen Ning nodded.
“Of course they look alike given they have the same father but different mothers.” Wei Pinfang frowned, carrying a slight sarcasm in her eyes. “No men are good, he married one at home and had an affair with the other outside. Heh, Xu Wanying is also really lucky, after enduring so many years she finally got to the top.”
Wei Pinfang kept muttering to herself, she didn’t avoid saying this kind of adult speech in front of Cen Ning. On the other hand, Cen Ning was completely shocked. So, had Uncle Yan double-timed?
Cen Ning suddenly felt that it was difficult to look at Yan Su directly anymore, and she now could understand why Yan Xingzhi’s mood was so bad today.
She had never imagined that Yan Xingzhi, someone who looked glamorous and magnificent on the outside and could have whatever he wanted, had such a story in his past.
In the next period of time, Cen Ning didn’t encounter Yan Xingzhi very much. Sometimes when they met, they just passed by each other, not even stopping to say a word.
Later, New Year’s Eve arrived. That day, Cen Ning followed Wei Pinfang to the market to purchase ingredients. Tonight everyone was going to have a New Year’s Eve dinner together, so Wei Pinfang also planned to cook some dishes for everyone to try.
After returning, Cen Ning helped Wei Pinfang in the kitchen. There was a distance between the kitchen and the living room, so Cen Ning didn’t have much of a reaction when she heard a vague exclamation from outside.
Cen Ning only ran out in a panic when she heard some porcelain hit the ground and make a loud noise. When she came out and saw the scene in front of her, she was stunned.
A white porcelain vase was broken on the table, and on the ground, Yan Xingzhi and Xu Nanru were fighting with each other, their fists hitting at each other mercilessly.
“What are you doing!” Yan Su and Yan Guofeng also came out of the study after hearing the sound, and Yan Su stepped forward and pulled the two away instantly. Yan Xingzhi and Xu Nanru who were pulled apart looked very calm. The two seemed to cool down in an instant, just looking at each other indifferently without saying a word.
“What are you guys doing during Chinese New Year! Do you even respect me?” Yan Guofeng was angry, slapping his hand on the coffee table, it echoed so loudly that the atmosphere became more rigid.
Xu Wanying was actually at the scene just then, she secretly wiped her tears, and said in a panic: “Dad, don’t be angry, they are just…”
“Don’t help them explain, Xingzhi, Nanru, say it yourself.”
Yan Xingzhi: “There is no reason, we just can’t stand each other.”
“What are you talking about, he is your younger brother.” Yan Su said solemnly, “Yan Xingzhi, you are the elder brother, how could you be so heavy-handed. Do you train everyday just to fight your own people?!”
Yan Xingzhi’s eyes became colder and colder: “My own people? You dared not say such a thing when Mum was alive.”
Yan Su: “You!”
“Shut up, Yan Xingzhi.” Yan Guofeng frowned and turned to Xu Nanru, “Nanru, you tell us what happened?”
Xu Nanru’s tone was flat, as if he was not the one who had been fighting just now: “It’s nothing, he said it too, we just can’t stand each other.”
“You…you two brats!”
Because it was New Year’s Eve, Yan Guofeng’s daughters and grandsons who were not normally at home had all come back, but everyone who watched this scene did not dare to come forward and persuade them.
There was a moment of silence. Cen Ning stood on the side, watching Yan Xingzhi and Xu Nanru walk away under the angry glares of the elders, going back into their own rooms.
Their attitudes made Yan Guofeng’s mood even worse.
“They’re rioting! Really rioting!” Yan Guofeng sat on the sofa, breathing heavily, “Let them go, let them go, no need to call them for dinner! Let’s just take care of ourselves!”
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A New Year’s Eve dinner was eaten tastelessly. Everyone pretended that things were going well, calling on the juniors to give a toast to Yan Guofeng, but everyone knew in their hearts that Yan Guofeng didn’t have much interest because of his two grandsons.
After the New Year’s Eve dinner, everyone left the scene.
Yan Guofeng didn’t let anyone give food to the two boys who had fought, so no one dared to say anything.
It was late at night, and Cen Ning kept thinking about Yan Xingzhi in her heart, so she secretly walked back to the villa from the small building.
She had received some information from Aunt Chen about the situation, Yan Xingzhi and Xu Nanru had started fighting because of Xu Wanying. It was probably because Yan Xingzhi had acted cold and indifferent to Xu Wanying and had said a few things that Xu Nanru didn’t like to hear, so the two ridiculed each other, and then started fighting once they got into a disagreement.
To be honest, Yan Xingzhi always had an especially mature image in Cen Ning’s eyes, so his sudden juvenile temperament and actions were beyond her expectations.
Maybe, no matter how old you were, you would always be a child in front of your parents.
“Oh, Ningning, you came just at the right time.” Aunt Chen pulled her into the kitchen, “Look, it’s so late, Yan Xingzhi still hasn’t eaten yet, he must be famished. Old Master dotes you, so you can go send him something to eat. Even if you are discovered, he won’t bear to scold you.”
“Oh, okay.” Cen Ning just happened to be anxiously trying to find a reason to see Yan Xingzhi.
“Great.” Aunt Chen said while putting some food on a plate while muttering, “I just saw Wanying send some food to Nanru, ah, he’s indeed her real son…”
Cen Ning felt a little bit of bitterness in her heart, but she didn’t dare to make any assessments. She only said: “Auntie, are there any boiled…boiled eggs.”
“What do you want them for? Xingzhi doesn’t like to eat them.”
“No… his face was a little bit, swollen.”
“Oh! Look at me, I forgot about that.” Aunt Chen started to busily boil the eggs, “Wait a bit, it will be ready soon.”
A few minutes later, Cen Ning went upstairs with a dinner plate. She knocked on the door a few times, but there was no response inside. Cen Ning hesitated for a second and pressed down on the doorknob lightly.
There was no light in the room. Cen Ning looked around, but found that Yan Xinzhi was not in his room. She walked in and put the dinner plate on the study desk.
“Where is he…”
The room was very quiet, and Cen Ning pressed the light switch, only to discover now that the balcony had not been closed shut properly. When she stepped forward, she saw a person standing outside on the balcony.
The person on the balcony probably noticed that someone had turned on the light in his room. He just happened to turn his head to look, so Cen Ning met his extremely cold eyes.
“What are you doing here?” Yan Xinzhi was leaning against the railing, a cigarette in his right hand.
Cen Ning: “…I, came to give you food.”
“No need, take it away.”
“But you haven’t, you haven’t eaten yet.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“But you are injured.”
Yan Xingzhi frowned slightly and didn’t say anything.
A long silence.
Cen Ning looked at his indifferent appearance, and suddenly a wave of anger rose in her heart. Looking at him, she repeated every word slowly and with emphasis: “You, are, hurt.”
Yan Xingzhi: “……”
Cen Ning bit her lip, and she suddenly felt both angry and wronged within her heart. It was the first time they had talked in so many days, but how could he be so withdrawn? Besides, how could he not care about his body at all?
It was probably because she was in a fit of rage, Cen Ning did the most daring thing since arriving at the Yan family. Almost in a daze, she stepped forward and snatched the cigarette from his hand, threw it on the ground, and stomped it out with one foot.
Yan Xingzhi: “You—”
“You wait here!”
Cen Ning did not give time for Yan Xingzhi to react and turned around to go inside the room. When she came out again, she held a warm boiled egg in the palm of one hand.
“What are you doing?” Yan Xingzhi raised his eyebrows, feeling a bit of curiosity regarding Cen Ning’s rare boldness.
But Cen Ning did not answer him, instead, she used her other hand to grab Yan Xingzhi’s collar, and pulled it down forcefully.
Yan Xingzhi was caught off guard, and this little shortie managed to make him bend over. During this moment of surprise, the warm egg was rubbed against the corner of his mouth.
The sound of Yan Xingzhi hissing in pain pulled Cen Ning back from her moment of enthusiasm. She was taken aback, her eyes trembling in panic.
“Does it, does it hurt?”
This pain was nothing for Yan Xingzhi.
The dark night shrouded them, and the winter season in the capital was so cold that it made one’s heart chill, but at this moment, looking at the little girl whose nose was red from the cold Yan Xingzhi blurted out for some reason.
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The author has something to say:
No matter what the situation is, let’s say it hurts first!
Xu Nanru: You will thank me in the future.
[Translator’s Note: Aw, I guess we get to see a little bit of ML’s back story now! And we get to see FL finally taking courage to step closer!]