Chapter 69

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For the next few weeks, Xiaonian and Gong Ouyang fell into a routine which Xiaonian felt almost resembled a normal married couple’s life. She cooked the meals, bid him goodbye, and slept in the same bed. She didn’t known a lot of married couples, but these things were what she thought a marriage would have. 

Gong Ouyang’s unreasonableness and fixation on things did not completely go away, but she could see that it had toned down a lot.

Just last week, he compromised and let her go outside whenever she wanted as long as she took security with her. Escaping his paranoia was beyond impossible, but Xiaonian felt happy that she could now leave the place to take a walk or go shop whenever she wanted. There had been a couple of things she wanted to buy for her study and she already informed the security to leave in half an hour.

Xiaonian ran her finger over the new card issued in her name by Gong Ouyang. When Feng De handed it to her, he said that it was her allowance. When she stubbornly refused, Feng De pointed out that she should use it for paying the TianZhi bills and groceries as Gong Ouyang had very specific tastes making the bills higher.

Xiaonian agreed before she took the card without another moments hesitation. After all, she was a small comic artist whose salary cannot is not sufficient to buy even a week’s worth of food from TianZhi’s market. 

Before, she tried to buy from a near by cheaper market, but she heard Gong Ouyang’s complaints day in and day out. It was a surprise she did not bleed out of ears.

Sigh.

Xiaonian put the card in her purse and picked up a list of supplies and groceries she wanted to shop and walked out of the door where two security guards met her and followed her down to the parking in the basement.

Once they got into the parking lot, Xiaonian was led to a car by one bodyguard as he held the car door open for her. 

“Miss?” The guard asked when he saw that Xiaonian did not move from her spot and stood there woodenly. 

“Miss Shi?” he called her again.

“…hah?” Xiaonian was pulled out of her thoughts at the sound of her name. “Yes?” she asked the person still feeling unreal.

“Don’t you want to get in Miss Shi?”

“Get in?” she asked dazedly, “yes, yes, of course,” she said climbing into the car hurriedly, “sorry, I was lost in my thoughts.”

She looked around her and saw the guards sitting in the front and consciously lowered her head, her fingers clutching her purse tightly.

The situation right before threw her off.

A bodyguard opening the car door for her like she was some kind of rich miss. It felt wrong.

In her entire life, Xiaonian had never seen a lot of money. Her allowance from the Shi family was meagre at the best, and she was always excluded from the family trips and travels. There was a time they even forbade from riding in an expensive car they bought.

Once she started working, she hoarded her money like a miser and was extremely careful with her spending. Otherwise, living in an expensive city like this, making ends meet would have been very difficult.

She was not ashamed to acknowledge that money was very important to her. But, never did she covet or desire someone else’s. In her own heart, she knew, that only the money she earned by herself was hers, and only the things that she worked towards could be hers. 

That was also one of the reason why she was fixated on Mu Qian Chu in the beginning. She had worked very hard to forge a relationship with him, hoping that he could be hers.

Now, accepting this treatment from Gong Ouyang’s bodyguards struck her  hypocritical. As if she was pretending to live a life that did not belong to her.

Xiaonian bit her lip as she watched the scenery drift as they moved towards the  city center. 

“You can stay in the car, I’m just going to the store across, you can see me,” Xiaonian said and walked out of the car without looking back for their reply once they stopped by the curb.

A little escape to feel a little normal again, that’s all she wanted now.

She needed some art supplies, pencils, drawing sheets, toners, and such. She had been frequenting this store for years and knew the store owner quite well.

“Oh Xiaonian is here. I haven’t seen you for a long time,” the wrinkled old man smiled warmly at her, “Do you still want your usual supplies?”

Xiaonian smiled in fond reminiscence. She was always here every month for the same amount of supplies. Once, she did not have enough money on her that month because she had to repair a broken radiator, so she wanted to purchase things in smaller quantities, but the store owner badgered her until she accepted her usual quantity despite paying less. From then on, she never went to any other store.

“Ah, yes,” she smiled.

The old man bustled around in his small store pulling out sheets, and bagging ink bottles. In five minutes two huge bags full of stationary items were placed before Xiaonian.

“Thank you uncle (a respectful way to address elder men).”

The bodyguards did not stay in the car like Xiaonian suggested but instead kept a considerable distance between them which was okay with her and she expected it but they stood out like a sore thumb in this crowd.

Making sure not to make any eye contact with them, Xiaonian quickly walked forward and made her way to a small super market to pick up some of her favorite snacks. 

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