TL Note: Will add a character chart to the next chapter. :)
After Jiang Cheng shared the news, Chang Shi Gui frowned. “What exactly happened?”
Hearing Chang Shi Gui’s question, Jiang Cheng looked extremely conflicted. He was silent for a long while, but still, he didn’t say the reason. He could only shake his head. “Their relationship was going downhill, to the extent that they can barely tolerate each other these few years. I’m here today to ask you to do my mother a favour.”
The couple had been married for close to thirty years; naturally, their assets were tied closely together. If they were to divorce, a debate over the division of assets was inevitable.
His mother had always felt that she had let her maiden family down, so she felt embarrassed to have to ask them for help. However, Jiang Cheng couldn’t sit back and watch as his mother received nothing in return after devoting herself to the Jiang family for so many years.
Brother Chang was his best option.
A series of taps could be heard.
Jiang Cheng turned around and saw Ning Xi, who stood at the edge of the staircase without a word. She was bare-faced, and wore a light-coloured maxi dress.
Looking at her serene expression, Jiang Cheng suddenly didn’t dare to look any longer.
“Xixi,” Chang Shi Gui grinned when he saw Ning Xi coming down. “Is there anything you are craving for lunch?”
Ning Xi’s gaze swept across Jiang Cheng, and by the time she looked at Chang Shi Gui, she had a cheerful look. “I’m fine with anything. I had a late breakfast, so I’m still not hungry yet.”
Chang Shi Gui nodded. “Alright. I just got the restaurant nearby to whip up some of your favourite dishes. If you don’t have any other cravings, then I’ll just get them to send those dishes over later.”
“Sure.” Ning Xi walked to the kitchen and poured herself a cup of water, then nodded cordially at Jiang Cheng. “I shan’t disturb your discussion any longer. I’ll go back up first.”
She started walking up, but after a few steps, she turned around and looked at Chang Shi Gui, as though she forgot to add, “I’ll be having a meal with Juliana and Hart later. Join us.”
Chang Shi Gui agreed without any hesitation.
Ning Xi smiled, her lips curving up nicely. Her gaze swept across Jiang Cheng, but she didn’t say anything and simply returned to the study.
Jiang Cheng didn’t expect their interactions to be like this. He stood in a daze for some time before commenting, “Brother Chang’s relationship with her is really good.”
Seeing is believing. He really didn’t expect Chang Shi Gui and Ning Xi to share such a relationship.
Back then when Chen Zhenzhen married into the Jiang family, she was always on her toes. She even thought hard about what she spoke. On the contrary, Ning Xi was extremely comfortable, as if Brother Chang was a common man in her eyes, and not the person helming Chang Enterprises.
Chang Shi Gui ignored his comment and asked directly, “Has Aunty really decided on a divorce?”
Seeing that Chang Shi Gui was not willing to discuss Ning Xi, Jiang Cheng didn’t speak of the matter further. “Last night, my mother moved out of the Jiang residence. Previously, because of …”
He paused again, then added, “Both of them had alway been arguing over the past few years. Their marriage was already on the rocks. This time, my mother is determined to get a divorce, so I was thinking of asking Brother Chang for a favour.”
Chang Shi Gui raised his teacup and took a sip, then stared at Jiang Chang before nodding his head. “Do you want to go the legal route, or use other methods?”
Jiang Cheng laughed bitterly. “Once this issue blows up, the entire world will know about it. It’ll be best if we can go through the legal route, and not have to use other means.”
“I understand. I’ll arrange for the strongest legal team to help Aunty.” Chang Shi Gui nodded again. “After you return home, tell her this - the Tao and Chang families will not just sit back and watch her get bullied by others.”
“Thanks Brother Chang.” Jiang Cheng stood up and thanked Chang Shi Gui. “I was wilful in the past, so if there was anything I did wrong, I’m sorry.”
Since young, his father was always absent. His mother would accompany him as he studied, but later on, he didn’t meet her expectations, causing her to be disappointed. However, if he, her son, wasn’t by her side now, who else would stand by her?
“It’s good that you thought it through.” Chang Shi Gui put down his teacup and said calmly. “You can slowly make amends in future, and not let Aunty down again.”
“I will.” Jiang Cheng nodded, then clenched his teeth, as the recollections from the past surged through his mind.
In actual fact, it was a good thing that his parents were getting divorced. Until now, he would still feel disgusted by the things that his father did years ago.
At this point, the food from the restaurant was delivered. Chang Shi Gui told Jiang Cheng, “Stay for lunch. Take a seat at the sofa for a while, I’ll go upstairs to get Xixi.”
Jiang Cheng nodded. In actual fact, he wanted to make use of this opportunity to apologise to Ning Xi.
Ning Xi placed her book back onto the bookshelf. She stretched lazily; these tyrannical CEO stories were not very interesting, but she soon got used to reading them.
Chang Shi Gui knocked on the door of the study. “Xixi, it’s time for lunch.”
“Alright.” Ning Xi twirled back and looked at Chang Shi Gui, then hastened her steps towards him with a wide smile.
When they went down, Ning Xi noticed Jiang Cheng properly seated at the sofa. The insolent aura that he used to exude had disappeared without a trace, and he seemed like an entirely different man.
“Sister Ning.” Jiang Cheng managed to mumble.
Ning Xi glanced at him and nodded. Jiang Cheng was relieved with her reaction. He had originally thought that Ning Xi would take the opportunity to mock him. Fortunately, she didn’t.
They ate their meal in silence. Towards the end of the meal, Jiang Cheng raised his glass towards Ning Xi and said, “Sister Ning, I am sorry for all the things that I foolishly did to you in the past.”
Ning Xi put her chopsticks down and raised her glass with a smile. “Based on age, you are still older by a few months. However, because of my relationship with Shi Gui, I’ll accept your address as an elder sister . As for the matters of the past … it’s normal that men from prestigious families like yourself would despise small-time actors like us. I’m not really bothered by these, since every time you’ve caused trouble for me, I’ve always managed to retaliate with my words. All in all, I didn’t really suffer much.”
Jiang Cheng laughed drily. Ning Xi was so brutally honest.
Ning Xi didn’t care about how Jiang Cheng would react. Her feelings towards Jiang Cheng were neutral; she couldn’t say that she liked him, but she didn’t really dislike him either. Hence, there was no need to be at odds with him.
After taking a sip of her drink, Ning Xi raised her eyes and said, “Let’s continue with our meal. There’s no need to talk about the past anymore.”
“Thanks Sister Ning, for being so magnanimous.” Jiang Cheng raised his glass and downed the wine. “However, I’m surprised that Sister Ning actually knows my real age.”
Ning Xi raised her brows and smiled at him. “Small-time celebrities like us would normally have to learn about what is taboo for these important figures. Otherwise, if we offended someone, how will we be able to survive in this industry? It’s not just your birth date; I’ve even memorized the interests and hobbies of some of our important investors.”
Jiang Cheng was stunned. He only managed a reply after a while. “Actors … don’t have it easy either.”
The corners of Ning Xi’s lips curled up. Her index finger lightly circled the edge of her wine glass, and she spoke in a calm tone after a while. “There’s never an easy way to complete anything.”
“That’s true.” Jiang Cheng agreed cheerily.
Chang Shi Gui glanced at him, but didn’t say a word.
Jiang Cheng hung around at Chang Shi Gui’s place after lunch for a while more before leaving.
Ning Xi flipped the magazine in her hands, then looked up at Chang Shi Gui, who was seated at the study table. “Can you not go to work today?”
“I trust in the company’s management.” Chang Shi Gui stopped writing and said to Ning Xi, “Even if I’m absent for a few days, they can still manage the company well.”
Ning Xi didn’t really understand the ins and outs of Chang Enterprises, hence she could only nod at Chang Shi Gui’s words, without having to question further.
Time moved slowly as the couple sat quietly in the study, doing their own things. Wasn’t this also a type of bliss?
“Hart.” Juliana walked into Hart’s room and saw that Hart’s laptop was still turned on. She folded her arms and stood before him. “You haven’t gotten ready?”
“There’s no need to.” Hart closed his laptop, then turned and looked at Juliana, who was decked out in a glamorous outfit. “We’re just having a meal with the man who snatched Ning Xi away. There’s no need to make any preparations.”
“Look at you, acting like a child whose candy was forcibly taken away.” Juliana shrugged, then she looked solemn as she continued, “However, you probably can tell that he’s very important to Ning Xi. For Ning Xi’s sake, we should at least treat this man politely.”
Hart silently retrieved a tie from his suitcase. “Juliana, do you think that the man will protect Ning Xi well?”
“I don’t know.”. Juliana paused for a second. “But I think what Ning Xi needs is not simply a man who can protect her.”
“You’re right.” Hart looked at Juliana’s reflection from the mirror. “She definitely doesn’t require this.”
What he didn’t tell Juliana, was that Ning Xi’s motives for returning weren’t simply to become a celebrity here. However, he could only bury these words in his heart.
In order to prevent fans from finding out Hart and Juliana’s movements, Ning Xi had specially arranged for someone to pick them up. The restaurant they met was the one that Chang Shi Gui used to bring her.
In terms of taste, the restaurant’s dishes might not be as good as those at hotels, but what was more important was the feelings the place brought about.
“This is delicious.” Juliana sipped the fruit wine that the boss had brewed personally. After drinking, she even licked her lips. “The Chinese are always able to create all sorts of impeccable and incredible dishes.”
“If you like it, I’ll find some way to send some to you.” The inspection of wines at customs was very strict. Hence, even if she gave them to Juliana now, the latter couldn’t bring it back with her.
Knowing how strict Chinese customs were with prohibited items, Juliana nodded, accepting Ning Xi’s hospitality. “Sure. Don’t you forget this.”
Juliana was ecstatic since she got to try authentic Chinese dishes. After the meal, when Ning Xi went to the washroom, Juliana took the chance to say to Chang Shi Gui, “Mr. Chang, please take good care of Ning Xi.”
“Please rest assured that I will.” Chang Shi Gui’s glance swept past Juliana and Hart, who was reticent throughout the meal. “Thanks for your concern over Ning Xi.”
“It’s only right to care for our friends.” Juliana smiled with a shrug. “Mr. Chang, there’s no need to thank me for this.”
Chang Shi Gui nodded as he replied, “I’m sorry. I was out of line.”
Juliana smiled, not bothered by Chang Shi Gui’s words. Since he was sincerely thanking her, how could she be angry?
It was already dark when they left the restaurant. Juliana gazed at the night sky and actually saw a scattering of some stars.
“That year, when we filmed The Unrivalled, Ning Xi and I met for the first time that night right?" Juliana smiled and looked towards Ning Xi. “At that time, you didn’t look this skinny, but your reflexes as a stunt double was extremely nimble.”
Ning Xi smiled, then let out a long sigh. “That night, if it weren’t because of you, the director wouldn’t have decided to keep me.”
“You must not know how stunning your eyes were that night.” Juliana pointed towards the sky, “Even more beautiful than the stars in the sky.”
Ning Xi smiled cheerily. “Thank you, my dear.”
The bodyguards standing by the car opened the door for Juliana and Hart. In an hour’s time, they were going to board the plane back home and leave this country.
Before boarding the car, Juliana hugged Ning Xi. “Ning, I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.” Ning Xi returned Juliana’s hug. “Bon voyage. Remember to text me when you get back.”
“Alright.” Juliana released Ning Xi, then eyed Hart before entering the car.
“Hart.” Ning Xi looked at him and smiled.
Hart didn’t look too good. He stared at Ning Xi for some time, then finally said helplessly, “You must stay well. If you need anything, you must tell me.”
Ning Xi nodded.
Hart seemed hesitant to say something, but as his gaze swept past Ning Xi and onto Chang Shi Gui, he simply smiled at her. “There’s nothing more important than your own happiness, Ning. Treat yourself better.”
Ning Xi’s smile lightened, and her face had a complex look. “I understand, Hart.”
“Well then, goodbye.” Hart smiled at her, his expression full of gentleness. “My dear Ning, the heavens will bless you.”
After these words, he turned and got into the car.
Ning Xi looked at the car driving off, and smiled lightly. She turned back to Chang Shi Gui. “Shi Gui, let’s go back too.”
Chang Shi Gui held her hand tightly, covering her entire hand in his palm.
It was as though by holding her so tightly, Ning Xi would never leave his side.
 While the term "Sister Ning" was used previously, Jiang Cheng actually addressed her as jie, meaning "Elder sister".