"Sigh…" Lying on a bed with a frame carved out of an unknown type of wood, A Miao rolled around a little before burying herself inside the quilt.
She had never once thought she would one day live here. If she stepped out and walked straight to the end of the corridor, she would find Shen Xinglan's room. After taking note of the condition of her room, even an ignorant person who had not seen much of the world like her, could tell that the furniture and decor were of considerable value.
"From the looks of it, at least he doesn't want my life." A Miao finally relaxed after spending a night being a nervous wreck. She had the feeling that she had forgotten something as she closed her eyes, but before she could think about it, she had already fallen asleep.
It was already noon by the time she woke up on the next day. She sat on the bed in a daze and then clutched her hair with all her strength.
"Are you a pig to sleep that soundly? You wouldn't even notice if someone sells you." She had never slept so soundly since returning to the Xia family villa. Putting aside the fact that she would often awaken late at night, she would be unable to sleep anymore once it was bright out.
Yet she was able to sleep so soundly now, to the point that it was noon by the time she woke up…
"Oh no!" She checked her phone and saw more than 20 missed calls. They were all from Zhou Xiao.
A Miao finally recalled that she had forgotten to inform Zhou Xiao and Song Baohua about her engagement. She assumed that they found out through the news this morning.
"Hey!" She immediately called them.
"A Miao!" Zhou Xiao was yelling on the other end of the line. "Did you really get engaged? With the chairman of that Ji Conglomerate?"
A Miao answered weakly in acknowledgment. "It's true…"
"Ahhhhhhhh!" Zhou Xiao screeched. A Miao heard Song Baohua arguing with her daughter and then a burst of noise over the line.
She immediately called, "Auntie Song!"
"What exactly happened? Why did you suddenly get engaged?" Song Baohua's voice was imbued with anxiety and concern. "Did they force you to do this? Tell me. We'll report this to the police."
"This is the person who is truly concerned about me." The rim of A Miao's eyes reddened and she suppressed her emotions to say, "Not at all, Auntie Song! I really was engaged. In fact, I'm now living in Shen Xinglan's home!"
"Yes, the chairman of Ji Conglomerate."
It was silent over on Song Baohua's end for a moment. A Miao suppressed her tears. "Auntie Song, I'm really fine. Why don't you guys wait for me? I'll go to your place now."
She ended the call without waiting for a reply and swiftly washed up before running down the stairs.
"Miss!" A middle-aged woman beamed at her. "You're awake? Did you sleep well?"
A Miao was a little stunned. The woman looked at her particularly kindly. "I'm the servant responsible for Mr. Shen's meals. You can just call me Auntie Zhang!"
"Nice to meet you, Auntie Zhang." A Miao would naturally be polite to such a kind woman. "Please take care of me in the future."
When Auntie Zhang smiled, her eyes would appear into crescents. "Don't be so courteous. Will you be having your meal now? I can go warm it up for you."
A Miao did not feel a thing until she mentioned it. However, once it was brought up, A Miao remembered that it was hunger that woke her up.
"I'll be troubling you then."
Auntie Zhang entered the kitchen with a wave of her hand. A Miao carefully walked into the living room and found that it was completely empty.
"Miss A Miao!" A sudden bellow nearly caused A Miao to scream. She turned her head and saw Shen I walking out of a room.
"Don't call me Miss A Miao." She patted her chest. "I feel so awkward hearing it."
Shen I pondered over it. "Alright then. Miss, it is!"
"... Let it be. Let him do as he pleases." A Miao rolled her eyes and sat down.
In no time at all, Auntie Zhang brought over all the dishes. A Miao ate so happily that she nearly bit her tongue. Perhaps the cook for the Xia family studied maintenance?
"This is really good. Thank you, Auntie Zhang!"
Shen I, who had been observing A Miao all along, smirked. This girl sure had an extraordinary love for food. She ate only meat, leaving all the vegetable dishes untouched.
"That… You're Shen I, aren't you?"
Shen I looked at her in alarm. Each time this girl called his name, nothing good came out of it.
"Can I go out?" A Miao asked straightforwardly.
"Of course." Shen I gave her a strange look. "It's not like our Boss is locking you up."
A Miao immediately stood up. "Then I'm going out."
"Where are you going?"
Shen I rolled his eyes when he found she was looking at him cautiously. "Our Boss told me to be your chauffeur if you're going out."
"What? Such good treatment? Are you sure he's not asking you to monitor me instead…" Even though she was certain that Shen Xinglan would not want her life, she was also certain that he would not treat her too well!
"You think too much." Shen I could tell what she was thinking from her expression. "Our Boss is worried that you'll get into an accident if you're out on your own."
A Miao considered this for a moment. It was true that there was no point monitoring her. Thus she relaxed. "You mean that I can ask you to tag along to wherever I want to go?"
"Yes." Shen I nodded. "Our Boss told me to be your bodyguard and chauffeur."
"Seems like… something is off?"
A Miao finally noticed that Shen I had been repeating the words "our Boss" throughout their conversation.
"Oh…" Her gaze flitted.
Shen I: "Hurry up and ask! Hurry up and ask about our Boss!"
The hints that he had been dropping could not be any more obvious. A Miao swallowed and asked, "Where's… Shen Xinglan?"
"Our Boss has left for the company early in the morning."
"Is that all?" Speechless, A Miao smirked. "Then what are you doing, reminding me about him nonstop?"
"Can we go now?" She decided not to continue this subject.
Shen I immediately shifted his body sideways and said, "Of course! Please, Miss!"
A Miao first went to the supermarket to buy two large bags of groceries before heading straight for her old home. She told Shen I to stop the car at the end of the lane.
"Just drop me off here."
Shen I shook his head. "It's no use. I believe everyone here who knows you knows you're engaged." He directly drove the car into the lane.
"For your safety, I'll wait for you downstairs."
A Miao heaved a sigh, knowing that he said nothing but the truth. "Okay then. I'll be troubling you."
Zhou Xiao had been waiting at the entrance after knowing that A Miao would be coming. When she saw the car, she stopped to stare nervously. It was not until she saw A Miao getting out of the car that she yelped and ran over.
A Miao handed her a bag of groceries with a grin while holding the other. "Let's go. We'll talk at home!"
Zhou Xiao walked in front of her excitedly but did not forget to steal a glance at the person inside the car.
"Ah, is that your fiance?" She only dared to ask after entering the corridor.
"No." A Miao rolled her eyes at her. "Don't keep bringing up my fiance. It's like you're reminding me that I'm going to get married."
Zhou Xiao giggled. "I really didn't expect that my best friend would become a chairman's wife! Who's the one who sent you here then?"
"It's his subordinate." A Miao told her the truth.
"A Miao?" They heard Song Baohua yelling her name as soon as they made it to the third floor.
Zhou Xiao said in a quiet voice, "You better give my mom a clear explanation! She's so worried that she can't sit still. She keeps saying that you've been kidnapped by bad people. Really! She didn't think it through. Why would he kidnap you when he's so rich?"
"It's me, Auntie Song!" A Miao poked Zhou Xiao before quickly walking toward their house door.
When Song Baohua saw that she had bought them things again, she first nagged a little before solemnly asking her, "What exactly happened? You better tell me the truth. Are you really engaged with that Shen Xinglan?"
"Yes." A Miao had come up with her excuse during the car ride here. "He's the one who proposed to me."
Beside her, Zhou Xiao interrupted the conversation to say, "Did he see you…" She gestured at her own eyes.
A Miao nodded. "When I was in the hospital, he saw my eyes without makeup on."
"No wonder!" Zhou Xiao began to complain. "I've already told you not to turn yourself so ugly. Look! If people knew earlier that you're so pretty, who knows if you would've long married a wealthy man?"
Song Baohua angrily patted her daughter. "Shut up! What nonsense are you saying? Do you think it's that easy to marry a wealthy man?"
"You're always saying that!" Zhou Xiao was also fired up. "A Miao is already living with that Shen Xinglan! Very soon she'll be a chairman's wife!"
Seeing as the mother-and-daughter pair was about to get into an argument, A Miao hastily said, "I'm really fine, Auntie Song. It's just an engagement. Don't worry about it."
"How can I not worry?" The rim of Song Baohua's eyes reddened. "I wanted you to marry an ordinary and upright person. It's fine as long as he treats you well for a lifetime. What's the use of being so wealthy?"
She glared at Zhou Xiao. "If he keeps a bunch of mistresses outside, who knows if he might end up having a bunch of sons as well?"
"Hehe!" A Miao could only laugh. "Don't worry, Auntie Song. Let me put it this way. The reason the Xia family picked me up is to use me in a marriage alliance. Marrying Shen Xinglan is much better than marrying some old man."
When she saw that Song Baohua was about to burst into tears again, she immediately handed her a paper towel. "If you keep this up, I'll feel like crying as well!"
"I know right? I don't even know what Mom's crying about." Zhou Xiao wore a dissatisfied expression.
"Even if Shen Xinglan keeps mistresses in the future, so what? He'll only have one legitimate wife. Only A Miao will be eligible to get a portion of his family properties and only A Miao's son will be eligible to inherit the company!"
A Miao was utterly speechless. She did not expect Zhou Xiao to think that far ahead.
She then spent a considerable amount of effort to placate Song Baohua. A Miao repeatedly assured her that in the future she would tell them first should anything happen to her.
Before she left, she handed Song Baohua the 2,000 yuan that she took out of the Xia family villa.
"I don't want it. Use it on yourself."
A Miao stuffed the money into her hands. "I have money. This is for you!" Truth to be told, she had only around 10 yuan in her pocket.
"Mom, look at you!" Zhou Xiao tugged at her mother's arm after the latter tried to decline the money. "What sort of status A Miao has now? Do you think she'll care about this little money?"
"That's right! Just keep it." A Miao sized up the dark corridor behind her. In her mind, she vowed to find a way to buy an apartment for Auntie Song and Zhou Xiao so they could live a better life.
Zhou Xiao saw her off downstairs and stared enviously at the car.
"A Miao, can I go and play at your new home?"
Her question caught A Miao off guard. Her eyes met Zhou Xiao's expectant eyes. She hesitated a little before ultimately agreeing. "Sure. What about next weekend? I'll come and pick you up then."
If A Miao knew then how her current life would cause such a great impact on Zhou Xiao, she would never allow Zhou Xiao to enter her circle even if she was beaten to death.
However, hindsight was always 20/20. What ought to come… would ultimately come.