The photoshoot in the afternoon went on smoothly. As Zhang Qingyun observed the various poses that Ning Xi made before the camera, he felt somewhat uneasy.
He knew that after 5.30PM today, the news of Ning Xi filing a report would cause a storm. He even wondered, once the dust had settled, would Ning Xi still remain in the entertainment circle?
When he signed Ning Xi back then, he wanted to nurture a female celebrity that would shine on the global stage. However, when everything was on track, this female celebrity told him that she entered the industry not because she liked acting, but for the fame.
As he recalled this, he couldn’t help but smile deprecatingly at himself. In actual fact, Ning Xi had never lied to him. She had once said to him, she entered showbiz for fame and money. At that time, he thought she was only joking, and never took her words to heart.
Which actor wouldn’t like fame or fortune? As long as they liked showbusiness, they wouldn’t be afraid that they wouldn’t have the chance to rise to fame.
But Ning Xi … did she really like acting?
“Teacher Ning, it’s been hard on you.” After the shooting concluded, the cameraman smiled at Ning Xi, “Teacher Ning’s presence in front of the camera is strong.”
“That’s because you guided me well.” Ning Xi smiled humbly, then bade farewell to the crew before leaving with Zhang Qingyun.
“This female actress is quite personable.” As the crew packed their equipment, they had a hushed discussion about which celebrity was nice, and which one put on airs. In short, most of the popular male and female celebrities would normally have high EQ and treat others warmly, while the rookies who just became popular would usually put on airs.
“If it wasn’t the case, how could she be this successful? Not only does she have a whole bunch of A-lister friends, even a man like Chang Shi Gui is putty in her hands.” The make-up artist raised a brow. “In this circle, how many women could be as legendary as she is?”
The others felt that her words made sense, and started discussing the matter with greater enthusiasm.
“Where are you headed to?” Zhang Qingyun placed a hand on the steering wheel, and passed Ning Xi her phone with the other. “During the photoshoot just now, Mr. Chang called you many times.”
Ning Xi retrieved the phone and saw that she had 21 missed calls. She pursed her lips, then said, “Let’s go to his place.”
Zhang Qingyun knew that Ning Xi was referring to Chang Shi Gui. He didn’t ask any more questions, and started driving to the new destination. It was quiet throughout the entire journey. Zhang Qingyun didn’t attempt to start a conversation with Ning Xi, and Ning Xi simply leaned by the car window, looking out expressionlessly.
More than thirty minutes later, Zhang Qingyun stopped the car and turned to Ning Xi. “We’ve arrived.”
“Thank you, Brother Zhang.” Ning Xi pushed the door open and alighted, then bowed to Zhang Qingyun. “Brother Zhang, don’t arrange for any new jobs for me during this period. Let’s wait for the issue to blow over.”
Zhang Qingyun was in a daze. Immediately, he understood Ning Xi’s intentions, so he smiled and nodded.
After seeing Zhang Qingyun leave, Ning Xi turned towards the towering metal gate behind her. She took out the key card from her bag, and swiped to unlock the gate.
This wasn’t a big house, hence there wasn’t a large yard. Ning Xi only had to walk a few steps before she reached the door.
Just as she raised her hand, she heard a click from the door, and it swung open from the inside.
Looking up at the person behind the door, Ning Xi unconsciously shifted her eyes and pulled her hand back.
She thought that Chang Shi Gui would at least question her. What surprised her was that Chang Shi Gui simply looked at her quietly, but she couldn’t read the emotions beneath his eyes.
The moment Chang Shi Gui pulled her into his arms, Ning Xi couldn’t bring herself to say anything else. Only two words came out from her eventually. “I’m sorry.”
She was doing such a bad job as his girlfriend. Often, she couldn’t help but think, if she was Chang Shi Gui, she might not be able to stand having a girlfriend like her.
Chang Shi Gui didn’t say anything. He simply hugged her tightly, as though he had finally found a treasure that he had lost.
“Xixi.” Chang Shi Gui’s voice was hoarser than usual. He caressed her back and held her for some time before releasing her and said, “Let’s go. You must be tired. I made your favourite pork ribs for dinner.”
Ning Xi’s hands were slim and soft. Chang Shi Gui loved wrapping his own hands over hers. Today was no exception.
She followed Chang Shi Gui in, and changed out of her heels into a pair of soft slippers.
Chang Shi Gui released her hand, then smiled at her. “Take a seat here and watch some shows first.”
Seeing him rush into the kitchen, Ning Xi threw her bag onto the luxurious sofa, and snuggled her body into the sofa tiredly. The remote control was on the coffee table, so she could reach out for it easily.
She turned on the TV. As expected, at Zhao Hong’s station, her case was being reported. When the caption “Exclusive News” appeared on the top right hand corner of the screen, Ning Xi stifled a laugh.
Producers would always exaggerate their content. Zhao Hong’s station was no different. However, Ning Xi could tell that even though the direction of the programme wasn’t clear, they were speaking up for her.
She wasn’t interested in listening to it any longer. She switched a channel, and saw the trailer for “Three Lives of Rouge”. It was then that she recalled that Tomato Station had purchased the exclusive broadcasting rights to the show, and the show would premiere at a primetime slot the following Monday.
The kitchen door was pulled open. Chang Shi Gui came out holding a large porcelain bowl that seemed piping hot. Seeing that Ning Xi’s attention was on the television, he placed the bowl on the table and said, “Xixi, go and wash your hands, it’s time to eat.”
Ning Xi put down the remote control, then walked towards the entrance of the kitchen, just in time to see Chang Shi Gui taking out some steamed crabs from the steamer. The mist drifted over his face, causing his cold face to appear warm.
The water from the tap was freezing cold. An arm reached out and turned the tap in the other direction. “Women shouldn’t use cold water to wash their hands. It’s not good for your body.”
Very soon, the water turned warm. Ning Xi stared at the tap for a while, then reached out to turn it off.
“Shi Gui …” Ning Xi turned around and looked at the man who was wearing a branded shirt but wrapped an apron over his waist and was cooking a meal. “Don’t you have anything that you want to ask me?”
Chang Shi Gui put down the bowl in his hand and dried his wet hands, then touched her forehead and said, “Xixi, we’re lovers.”
Ning Xi glanced at him without a word.
Chang Shi Gui chuckled when he looked at Ning Xi. He had seldom seen Ning Xi appearing so stubborn, nor throwing such a tantrum. This was because she normally was a rational person; one might even say that she might even be too calm at times. Perhaps it was only in front of him that she would sometimes unleash that somewhat unreasonable side of her.
He pulled her down to the seat beside him, then reached out to pinch her nose. “I don’t have anything to ask. As long as you are well and by my side, I’ll support you in anything that you do.”
“Even if what I’m doing will cause an uproar, and others might criticise you behind your back?” Ning Xi caught his finger and didn’t allow him to tease her further. “Aren’t rich families like yours most concerned about your reputation?”
“To me, reputation or not, that’s not as important as you are.” Chang Shi Gui felt that it was a pity that his finger was caught by Ning Xi. “Do you know what those people out there are saying about me?”
Ning Xi eyed him curiously.
With a gentle smile, Chang Shi Gui said, “Rumours are rife that in order to gain the favour of the beauty, I’ve become soft-hearted like a woman, and even resorted to occupying a place in the kitchen.” When he saw Ning Xi frown, he pulled her into a hug and continued, “Those who spread such rumours either don’t love their own women, or are simply selfish. Why should I care about what they say? Moreover, whoever said that only women should belong to the kitchen? Besides, men and women are equals, correct?” 
Ning Xi was astonished. She didn’t think that Chang Shi Gui would come up with such an absurd reference. She couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
After some time, she wrapped her arms around Chang Shi Gui’s neck. “Shi Gui, thank you.”
Chang Shi Gui patted her back. “If you really want to thank me, we’ll discuss how you can repay me later tonight."
Ning Xi thought internally, No matter how uptight a man is, there are times where they’ll act like lowlifes.
“Doubts over Ning Xi’s mother’s suicide: Ning Xi submits evidence and makes a police report over suspicions of a murder!”
The release of the news resulted in an upheaval. Ning Xi was at the peak of her popularity. Now that she was implicated in a criminal case, the bored public finally found a new topic for discussion, and every one of them started getting excited over this matter.
Many youths acted like they were possessed by Sherlock Holmes; they came up with multiple entertaining conspiracies and surfaced numerous suspects.
However, many had also realised that Ning Xi’s drama “Three Lives of Rouge” was about to premiere on Tomato Station’s primetime slot. Hence, they suspected that this might be the production crew or Ning Xi’s way of trending in the media. However, logically speaking, which celebrity would be willing to be embroiled in such a matter, and would even go ahead and make a police report?
Ning Xi’s rise to stardom wasn’t easy. At this point, she even had the chance of riding on the China wave from “The Unrivalled 2”’s to enter the international market. However, with the exposure of this matter, her career would undoubtedly be affected. If Ning Xi was smart, she wouldn’t have gone to the police at such a crucial point of her career, especially if it was for a case that was eight years old.
Many agreed with this viewpoint. However, some felt that Ning Xi’s methods were overboard, especially if she was using her deceased mother as fodder. Wouldn’t she be afraid of the plan backfiring on her?
Yet, soon after this accusation arose, the Dongnan Police Department released a post on Weibo, clarifying that they had received a report by a citizen by the surname of “Ning”, and the case had already been accepted by the department. Following that, the department had established a task force and was preparing to investigate the suicide from eight years ago.
This post didn’t reveal too many details, but the surname Ning, and the reference to the case from eight years ago, proved that Ning Xi’s case was real.
It turned out that Ning Xi really wasn’t trying to shore up popularity for her new show.
After the post was released, the entire entertainment industry was in a furore. A few artistes who were on better terms with Ning Xi even expressed their support for her on Weibo, and hoped that the truth would be revealed as soon as possible.
It was also precisely because of this that a lot of attention was paid to the case. When the police were investigating the case, there would be many onlookers. In the past, when they were carrying out their investigations, because the common folk were worried that they would be implicated, they wouldn’t share much with the police. This time, the people that the police spoke to were extraordinarily cooperative.
As the investigation continued, the number of suspicious points increased. Even though there was no concrete evidence, the neighbours of the victim all said that the victim was a knowledgeable person who loved her daughter. Many expressed their surprise at her suicide, as they all felt that given that how much her pampered her daughter, how could she bear to leave her daughter alone in the world?
 The reference to belonging in the kitchen is actually a reference to how one would give up everything for love.