“I’m sorry, Jiang Nian. I may not have time to go to the variety show the day after tomorrow. I have to attend a charity dinner. Anya will have to accompany you. We can work together next time, okay?”
Jiang Nian sat on the floor of the practice room. He leaned against the mirror that covered the whole wall in a daze.
Maybe it was because of the long practice and the lack of oxygen in his brain, but he felt drowsy and sluggish, and his whole brain was reverberating with what Xu Xinyi said on the phone just now.
A charity dinner.
Jiang Nian knew that attending a charity dinner was much more important than just showing her face on a variety show.
What’s more, even if Xu Xinyi did take part in the variety show, she would only appear as a special guest. Filming wouldn’t take more than ten minutes and the crew would not give her very many shots.
It was perfectly logical, so he should have understood.
The door of the practice room opened.
Anya walked in carrying two cans of soda. She handed one to Jiang Nian and sat down beside him.
“I know you’ve been practicing hard these past few days. So you can have one. But it won’t happen again.” In terms of body management and diet, Anya had always been very strict with her artists.
Jiang Nian took the soda.
“Don’t be nervous about the variety show the day after tomorrow. I’ll be there to accompany you.”
Jiang Nien looked at her.
“Xinyi gave me a call just now. Delays like this are common. Don’t worry. She didn’t stand you up on purpose.”
Jiang Nian hung his head and held the can in his hand but did not drink it.
“I know,” he said. “Sister Anya, Sister Xinyi, what kind of man does she like?”
Anya’s hand that was opening her can, paused for a moment. She was a woman who had a sharp intuition for the matters between men and women, so she immediately understood the meaning of Jiang Nian’s words.
But, as if nothing had happened, she opened her can, looked skyward, and took a sip. “She likes mature and attractive men,” she said.
Jiang Nian murmured, “Mature and attractive?”
“You know, your Sister Xinyi is not young. After so many years in the entertainment industry, the man who suits her best is a man who can protect her from the wind and rain. Even if he isn’t stronger than her, he at least can’t be weaker than her.” Anya looked at him. “Aren’t you 22 years old?”
Jiang Nian nodded.
“Have you ever been in love?”
He shook his head.
Anya laughed, “You grew up well protected by your family, didn’t you?* You don’t have much experience now, but you will understand more clearly after you spend a year or two in the entertainment industry.”
Jiang Nian was silent.
Anya patted him on the shoulder, “You are still young and you just entered the industry. Don’t worry so much and don’t think about finding a girlfriend right now. It’s just asking for a dead end, at least until you stabilize yourself in the circle a bit more.”
“As long as you understand. Alright, you keep practicing. I have something to do, so I’ll go first.”
Anya left the practice room.
Jiang Nian never did drink the can of soda.
Even though Xu Xinyi had scolded Yi Yang 10,000 times in her heart, she finally forgave Yi Yang when she saw the list of items being auctioned that was included with the invitation to the charity dinner.
And, more importantly, she found out there would be no reporters at the dinner.
Alongside the charity dinner, there was a charity auction. During the auction, various valuable things would be sold and all the money collected would be donated to charity.
Unlike some of the charity dinners she had attended in the entertainment industry, this charity dinner was paying more attention to charity – rather than publicity.
But this was still an occasion for the rich to show off their identity. So there were many people who would be spending a lot of money and the bidding prices tended to be extravagantly high.
There was a sapphire necklace that would be sold last that was said to be on a par with the legendary Heart of the Ocean, that had been donated by the wife of a wealthy philanthropist.
Xu Xinyi remembered that in the novel, Xu Xinyi and Xu Weiyin battled for this sapphire necklace. But in the end, because Xu Weiyin had the financial support of Jiang Huai, Xu Xinyi wasn’t able to buy the sapphire necklace.
As she looked at the pictures and small text introductions of the auction items, Xu Xinyi’s mouth tugged up into a smile.
–“Such a beautiful thing. And it will belong to whoever can put their hands on it.”
There was a knock at the door.
Yi Yang stood outside the door and looked in. “Are you ready? We should go.”
Xu Xinyi walked away from her dresser and stood in front of Yi Yang. “What do you think? Do I look good?”
She was wearing a silver sequin dress with a fishtail skirt that really showed off her exquisite figure.
She had all the right curves, to the point that it would be hard not to amaze a man.
Xu Xinyi smiled.
From a man like Yi Yang, she didn’t have any expectations.
After all, she couldn’t expect a blind man to praise her, right?
She took Yi Yang’s arm, smiled at him, and said, “Let’s go.”
Mrs. Yi was waiting in the living room. She saw Xu Xinyi coming down and examined her carefully. The space around Xinyi’s neck was empty, like she had left something missing on purpose.
The charity banquet was being held in a hotel. The person throwing the charity banquet was actually the same woman who had donated the sapphire necklace. She and Mrs. Yi had known each other for many years so the two began making pleasantries as soon as they met.
“You’re finally here. I had been watching the door for your arrival but now almost all the other guests have arrived so I was a little afraid you wouldn’t come.”
Mrs. Yi smiled and said, “How could I miss one of your charity dinners? Let me introduce you. This is Xinyi, my daughter-in-law.”
The host of the dinner was surnamed Song. Mrs. Song** took her husband’s arm and looked at the woman who Mrs. Yi pushed out with surprise. Mrs. Song was a lady who was over 50 but she was well maintained and gentle-looking, “Your daughter-in-law? You’re finally willing to show her off?”
Mrs. Song and her husband had attended Yi Yang’s marriage but back then they had only shown their faces and since then they had never heard anything more about Yi Yang’s mysterious wife.
If Mrs. Yi hadn’t taken the initiative to introduce her today, Mrs. Song would probably have forgotten that Yi Yang had a wife.
“So this is the younger Mrs. Yi***?”
Xu Xinyi stood forward and said, “Hello, Mrs. Song. You can just call me Xinyi.”
Mrs. Song gave her a long look before she sighed and said, “You are really lucky to have such a young and beautiful wife, Yi Yang.”
Yi Yang accepted her compliment with a humble attitude.
“Alright, I won’t delay you at the door anymore, go in and sit down.”
Mrs. Yi walked in trailed by Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang.
The venue was bustling with people toasting each other or just standing around chatting.
Xu Xinyi’s party quickly found their table and sat down. During the whole process, Xu Xinyi was unusually quiet and low-key.
“Xinyi, take a look at the items on auction tonight. If you want anything, just tell your mother.”
Xu Xinyi felt flattered.
“Thank you, Mom.”
Suddenly, a voice of slight surprise sounded.
“Auntie? You came here, too? “
The people at the table looked over and saw it was Qin Yan, who had not shown herself in front of any of them for a long time.
Ever since the time Qin Yan plotted against Yi Yang at her birthday party, Xu Xinyi had never seen her come to Yi estate again, and Mrs. Yi had just stopped mentioning her.
But now Qin Yan stood in front of their table, holding a glass of orange juice and smiling.
Mrs. Yi’s smile faded and she didn’t seem very enthusiastic to see Qin Yan. In Xu Xinyi’s perspective, Mrs. Yi’s attitude toward Qin Yan seemed to have changed quite a lot.
After all, in the past Mrs. Yi had always felt Qin Yan was an excellent candidate as a prospective daughter-in-law and she had usually treated her like a daughter.
But how could she not know what had happened to Yi Yang at Qin Yan’s birthday party?
Mrs. Yi could only reflect on herself that she had put her trust in the wrong person. But at the same time, she felt extremely disappointed with Qin Yan.
“Qin Yan, is that you? Long time no see.”
“Yes, I haven’t seen you for a while now. I’ve been a little busy lately, so I haven’t been able to visit you.”
“It doesn’t matter. You can go ahead if you’re busy. Xinyi and I want to have a look at the items being sold in tonight’s auction.” Mrs.Yi’s reply was dismissive.
Her intention to drive the other person away was very obvious.
Qin Yan felt embarrassed, but she forced herself to laugh and said, “Is there anything that auntie wants to buy? I…”
“I was actually just asking Xinyi what she wants,” said Mrs. Yi. She looked at Xinyi. “Xinyi, you just tell your mother what you like later, okay?”
Xu Xinyi nodded. “OK, thank you.”
“We’re family, what belongs to Yi Yang also belongs to you. What is there to say thank you for?”
–“What belongs to Yi Yang, belongs to me?”
–“Is he so generous?”
–“No way! Apart from a single wedding ring Yi Yang, the dog man, has never given anything to me since we got married. “
Xu Xinyi thought about it.
–“Thinking about it, I wasted two belts and a watch on Yi Yang.”
–“What a loss! What a loss!”
Yi Yang glanced over at her and opened his mouth to say something, but when he saw Xu Xinyi’s bare neck he suddenly kept silent.
Qin Yan, who was neglected at the side, could not stay any longer. So she said with a smile, “Auntie, I’ll visit you another day. I’ll go on ahead.”
Mrs. Yi smiled faintly but did not ask her to stay.
During the whole process, Yi Yang did not say a word. He did not even look at Qin Yan.
A woman who was familiar with Mrs. Yi came over to say hello and they chatted for a while. Eventually, Mrs. Yi looked at Xu Xinyi and then over at some of the ladies she knew who gathered together. She asked, “Xinyi, do you want to go over and say hello?”
Xu Xinyi knew that Mrs. Yi wanted to take this opportunity and introduce her to other people in their circle.
But Xu Xinyi just sat in place and looked embarrassed.
–“My smile is still stiff from the short chat with Mrs. Song just now.”
–“Won’t my face cramp up from all the smiling after greeting so many women?”
–“Forget it. I just have to deal with it.”
But right when Xu Xinyi was about to stand up, Yi Yang stopped her and said to Mrs. Yi, “Mom, I have something to say to Xinyi. I’ll trouble you to accompany them over there.”
“It will just take a moment to introduce her around. What’s so important you need to say it to her now?”
“It’s something important.”
Mrs. Yi said helplessly, “Alright.”
Freed from putting on a fake smile and socializing, Xu Xinyi sat back down with a big smile on her face.
“Husband, is there something you want to tell me?”
Yi Yang looked at her and then looked down at the pamphlet introducing the auction items in front of him.
“Then why did you…”
“I’m worried you’ll unknowingly offend the other guests.”
Xu Xinyi rolled her eyes secretly.
–“This dog man, what a nuisance!”
There seemed to be a commotion at the door.
Xu Xinyi looked over and saw a man in a suit walking into the venue as if no one else was there. His pair of eyes under his sharp eyebrows were extremely fierce, he looked like a man who was difficult to get along with and even more difficult to deal with. But many people went forward and tried to talk with him. The man occasionally said a few pleasantries to the people who came to greet him, but he turned a blind eye to most of them. A woman in a white dress was on his arm. She looked talented and beautiful and the two almost seemed right for each other.
They walked over and sat at the table next to Xu Xinyi’s table.
“Mr. Yi, long time no see.”
“Mr. Jiang, I see you’re still doing well.”
The two men looked at each other coldly.
–“Is that Jiang Huai?”
–“He’s quite in line with how I imagined him. Pretty handsome.”
Yi Yang glanced at her sidelong.
How she had imagined him?
Xu Xinyi, this woman, liked to imagine Jiang Huai?
“Who is that next to Mr. Yi?”
Before Yi Yang could speak, the woman next to Jiang Huai answered for him, “That should be Mrs. Yi.”
She smiled at Xu Xinyi. “Long time no see, Mrs. Yi.”
“Do you two know each other?” Jiang Huai asked.
“I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Yi come find me once before. It was for the sake of Mr. Yi actually.” Xu Weiyin glanced at Yi Yang. “Yi Yang, long time no see.”
Xu Xinyi paid close attention to Yi Yang’s expression.
After all, this should be the first time he and Xu Weiyin had met after their separation.
–“I wonder if Yi Yang will awaken any feelings for Xu Weiyin now that the two have finally seen each other?”
–“After four years, this should feel a little bit like meeting an old lover, right?”
Xu Xinyi endured her excitement and secretly glanced at Yi Yang.
But she found herself facing Yi Yang’s eyes.
Xu Xinyi quickly looked away.
–“What are you looking at me for? Shouldn’t you be looking at Xu Weiyin?”
Jiang Huai quietly observed Xu Weiyin’s expression and asked, “You know Yi Yang?”
“Of course I do,” Xu Weiyin said breezily. “Yi Yang and I went to college together. I knew him much earlier than I knew you.”
–“Just listen to this speaking skill. Those words are both for me and for Jiang Huai.”
–“‘Yi Yang and I went to college together, so I knew him much earlier than I knew you.’ Isn’t that telling me that she and Yi Yang had contact with each other on campus in the past? Doesn’t it tell Jiang Huai that she had known this other man for a long time, so she has a spare tire ready? It’s like she’s saying ‘If you are not nice to me, I will go to someone else’ to make Jiang Huai feel a sense of urgency.”
“By the way, Yi Yang, I didn’t even know that you got married. When I went abroad four years ago, you were still single and seemed like you would never fall in love. It seems that Miss Xu must have some skills in order to capture Mr. Yi’s heart.”
–“Tch~, this woman speaks so skillfully. ‘When I went abroad four years ago, you were still single.’ Aren’t you just trying to tell me and Jiang Huai that you were in contact with Yi Yang four years ago? And pretty close contact at that? Otherwise, how could you know his business so clearly?”
Xu Xinyi smiled. “We have always had an engagement. But we only got married two years ago.”
Yi Yang said nothing, but reached out and grabbed the palm of Xu Xinyi’s hand.
–“What is he doing now?”
Xu Xinyi fixed a smile on her face while she secretly tried to pull her hand out of Yi Yang’s grip, but his hand didn’t even twitch.
–“Could it be that seeing Xu Weiyin and Jiang Huai being so intimate made him feel jealous? So now he wants to use me to block bullets?”
–“Yes, it’s always like this in novels. When a man sees their beloved woman being intimate with other men they don’t want to feel like they’ve embarrassed themselves or lost their self-esteem, so they find female cannon fodder to block bullets for them.”
–“Ah~ how miserable am I! It turns out I can only be the victim in this love triangle!”
Yi Yang looked over at her disgruntled eyes. “Xu Xinyi, are you hungry?”
“…I’m not hungry. “
“Then you should speak less.”
“I didn’t say anything!”
Xu Weiyin said with a faint smile, “It seems you two have a good relationship, I feel relieved.”
Xu Weiyin seemed to reminisce. “Back then, when we were still in college, Yi Yang was a member of my department, but unfortunately, his temper was too cold, so he was not as well-liked as the sunny department hunk, so he always ranked second on the list of male gods on campus. I was always wondering back then what kind of woman Yi Yang might like in the future, considering his temper.”
Jiang Huai looked at her and said, “You seem to remember your university days very clearly.”
“Of course, back then…” Xu Weiyin seemed to realize something and smiled at Jiang Huai. “Mr. Jiang, Yi Yang and I were always just ordinary friends and classmates. Nothing more.”
Xu Xinyi felt that as a woman who was ‘in love’ with Yi Yang, she could no longer keep silent.
“Xu Weiyin, I don’t want to hear about the past between you and Yi Yang, so don’t mention it again,” Xu Xinyi suddenly pointed at Qin Yan who was at a table not far away. “Do you know Qin Yan? When she was a child, her family often let her play with Yi Yang. She would pretend to be the bride and Yi Yang would be the groom. He also told her that he would marry her when she turned 25 but the past is the past, so if I were you I wouldn’t mention it. It’s just boring.”
Yi Yang corrected her, “I never said that.”
“…you must have said it. You just don’t remember.”
“Yes! Otherwise, how could Qin Yan remember it so clearly?”
Yi Yang’s face turned heavy but he didn’t look away.
Xu Weiyin smiled to hide her embarrassment. “Is that so? Mrs. Yi seems to have confidence in her marriage. But that being the case, why did you misunderstand my relationship with Yi Yang before?”
–“Sure enough, here it comes! I knew that Xu Weiyin would always remember last time when I slapped her with money! I always knew it would probably get mentioned, but who knew she would bring it up so quickly.”
“What misunderstanding?” Jiang Huai asked.
“Well, soon after I returned to China, someone contacted me to set up a meeting between Mrs. Yi and me. They told me that Mrs. Yi wanted to talk to me alone. I didn’t have any friends right after I got back so I was bored at home all day,” Xu Weiyin giggled and seemed to be amused. “But I didn’t expect that Mrs. Yi took out some money and asked me to leave Yi Yang. I was stunned back then.”
Yi Yang looked over at her, he seemed to be in disbelief.
Xu Xinyi said hurriedly, “Husband, don’t be angry. I didn’t give her any money.”
“…” Yi Yang didn’t stop staring at her, he even laughed.
Across the table Jiang Huai also laughed.
“Miss Xu is very interesting.”
Yi Yang stopped laughing and said helplessly, “Is the problem whether you paid her or not?”
“It was all just a misunderstanding.” She looked at Xu Weiyin. “It’s not a big deal. But was it necessary for Miss Xu to say it here? Are you trying to sow discord?”
Xu Weiyin was stunned, that was really what she was trying to do.
But Xu Xinyi opened her mouth and said it out loud, so for a moment she didn’t know how to reply.
–“You heard me, I said it out, do you have nothing to say?”
–”If you want to try to fight and embarrass me, maybe you should go back and cultivate yourself for a few more years first.”
“Miss Xu, don’t think too much. I didn’t mean that.”
Xu Xinyi was aggressive. “You didn’t mean that. Then what did you mean? Do you think you can come here and make fun of me?”
“Don’t mind it, Miss Xu, I was really just saying it casually. Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain things to you.”
“What do you want to explain?”
“Yi Yang and I were just friends and classmates. We’ve never had an affair.” As she spoke, she looked gently at Jiang Huai.
Jiang Huai ignored her gentle eyes and frowned, he looked down with an unknown meaning in his eyes as he rubbed a ring that was on his index finger.
“Even if Miss Xu doesn’t believe me, you should at least trust Mr. Yi, right?”
Xu Xinyi’s face seemed to ease up. “Of course I believe in Yi Yang.”
Someone holding a glass of wine suddenly called out to Jiang Huai.
Jiang Huai left the table briefly to talk to the man who called out.
Xu Weiyin looked at Yi Yang and gave him a gentle smile: “Yi Yang, congratulations, you found such a beautiful and interesting wife.”
Yi Yang nodded and said nothing.
His cold expression instantly made Xu Weiyin a little restless. “You are still the same as back then, so taciturn.”
With that said, she bowed her head and seemed to sigh, then looked up with a reluctant smile and said, “Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom.”
Xu Xinyi marveled.
–“Yi Yang can be so calm in front of his old love, as if nothing had ever happened. It’s really amazing. He has so much tolerance.”
Yi Yang glanced at her. He had endured again and again, but finally he couldn’t help but say something. “Xu Xinyi, you looked like you were thinking about something all this time. What’s on your mind?”
Xu Xinyi gave him an innocent look. “What do you mean? I wasn’t thinking anything.”
–“What does Yi Yang mean? He didn’t start to doubt me, did he?”
She thought about it carefully.
–“Just now, I ruthlessly exposed Xu Weiyin’s true face. But Yi Yang didn’t really believe it, did he?”
–“Really? Did Yi Yang become so good at judging bitches all of a sudden?”
–“He can even see through a senior rank bitch like Xu Weiyin?”
Xu Xinyi thought that maybe she needed to say something placating after humiliating Yi Yang’s love.
“Honey, did I say anything wrong?”
“No, I feel like I really said the wrong thing,” Xu Xinyi spoke with remorse on her face. “I thought about it carefully. I was definitely judging a gentleman with my own villainous heart. Xu Weiyin must have just said those things casually. She doesn’t look like the kind of person to sow discord intentionally. I must have misunderstood her. Don’t you think so Yi Yang?”
“I don’t think so.”
Yi Yang looked at her and then spoke as if he was analyzing carefully. “Don’t you think everything Xu Weiyin said just now was very skillful?”
“She said that when she first met me, she and I were classmates in college, and that she knew me much earlier than she knew Jiang Huai. Do you know what she meant by saying that sentence?”
Xu Xinyi was at a loss. “What did she mean?”
“She was indirectly telling Jiang Huai that she and I were in contact on campus for a period of time in the past. She was telling Jiang Huai that she and I had known each other for a long time and deliberately played up ambiguity, probably to give Jiang Huai a sense of urgency.”
Xu Xinyi suddenly felt hesitant to speak.
“Do you think so? Really? But Weiyin, you and she are old friends. I’m sure she was just speaking casually. You shouldn’t overthink.”
“It wasn’t just that,” Yi Yang said. “Didn’t you notice what she said later?”
“What she said later?”
“After that she said that when she went left to go abroad four years ago, I was still single and seemed like I would never fall in love. So, what does that mean?”
“What does it mean?”
Yi Yang analyzed it point by point, “She wanted to tell both you and Jiang Huai that she was in touch with me since four years ago. She deliberately pulled out a piece of the past that no one could verify one way or the other to make you and Jiang Huai feel jealous.”
Xu Xinyi: “…”
“She kept mentioning the past between her and I in front of you and Jiang Huai in order to sow discord. And when she later talked about the time that you offered her money to leave me, her purpose was to sow discord between you and me.”
Xu Xinyi raised her head and said, “Really? But Weiyin, she really doesn’t seem like that kind of person.”
Yi Yang said knowingly, “That’s because you haven’t seen much of the world yet. Didn’t you see her today? It takes a certain kind of ability for one person to use their words to play around with so many other people.”
“…” Xu Xinyi had a moment of doubt about life.
–“This is amazing. What exactly happened to Yi Yang? He went from a person who can’t even see through a small low rank white lotus like Qin Yan, to being promoted to a man who can directly see through the high rank white lotus Xu Weiyin’s scheme. He even makes such a good analysis.”
–“If he got so smart, does that mean he can see right through me?”
–“That shouldn’t be, right? After all, I am much higher rank than Xu Weiyin. “
–“The benevolent see benevolence and the wise see wisdom****. Yi Yang can see through Xu Weiyin, which shows that he is not simple either. It seems I need to be more careful in the future and never show my true character.”
“Husband, you are so smart. You could see Xu Weiyin’s true face at a glance. Not like me, who is so simple that I couldn’t see it at all.”
*Here she actually says that he grew up in ‘his family’s honey jar/pot’ (蜜罐) which apparently means rich/comfortable circumstances
**just a note this ‘Mrs. Song’ has the same appellation as ‘Mrs. Yi’ that being ‘夫人’ or ‘furen’ which readers of Chinese novels will probably recognize. It can be translated a lot of ways but I think I’m just going to stick with ‘Mrs.’ to avoid confusing myself (and to save myself the effort of editing the 46 chapters before this one)
***she calls Xu Xinyi (易太太 aka Yi taitai) which basically also just means Mrs. Yi but is different from how she addresses the elder Mrs. Yi or how Xu Xinyi calls her (with 夫人 / furen). So I added that ‘the younger’ to differentiate in this particular sentence.
****this idiom basically just means ‘it takes one to know one’ (ie. it takes a [scheming] person to know a [scheming] person) and probably I should have just translated it as such but I like the way the original chinese idiom sounds so I left it as is.
TL note: Thinking about it people probably won’t care all that much if the ladies are being addressed as furen or taitai since it doesn’t really affect the end user experience at all. But hey, I learned something new while translating the chapter and I want to feel like it wasn’t a complete waste of my time to learn it so… I’ll just leave it in as a footnote.