chapter 73: The Ring

4.4K 166 14

Gong ouyang’s expression twisted at the box that was pushed towards him. He glanced at the box but his hands stayed where they were making no effort to pick it.

In the last two weeks, he had his PI team re-investigate the incident on Baja cruise. He had been very sure about the instigator, until his last trip on Baja. And now, he was not sure any more.

Either way, he had to know the truth.

But the reports that were sent became more and more blurrier with only circumstantial evidence pointing towards Xiaonian. And that ambiguity made his control teeter. He couldn’t risk that.

No matter what, she had to stay beside him.

Because of this unsolved business, his temper at his office grew volatile until he heard someone mention something in his board room.

“Repeat what you said,” he commanded the manager who was talking to his neighbor during one of their meeting breaks.

 “Sir?” the man jumped back thinking he was going to reprimanded for talking personal things in the board room. Two others were already chastised harshly for trivial reasons.

“Repeat what you said,” Gong Ouyang bit out impatiently, his finger tapping against the table.

“Uh, women in love will stay with their man no matter what happens?” His voice came out low and with caution.

The finger that was tapping on the table stopped suddenly, “is this true?”

The manager’s eyes widened in shock at his company president’s interest, he nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes president. If a woman is in love with you, she will always stay with you no matter what. One of our rival company’s CEO is maintaining two mistresses but the madam doesn’t say anything and still supports him because she’s rumored to be-”

“Stop.” He wanted to know some stuff, not gossip about ugly old men.

The manager obediently kept his mouth shut.

___________

Gong Ouyang pushed back the velvet box towards Xiaonian with a finger. “I’m being very patient right now, so pick that up, put it on your finger and learn how to love me,” he told her calmly from across the table.

His displeasure from before vanished in an instant as if it never happened.

Xiaonian became slightly cautious at his apparent calmness. She had experienced this before, it was the calm before the storm.

“This is not appropriate,” she tried to subtly reject.

“Why?”

“……” She looked at him to see if he was really asking her that question.

“Mr. Gong-”

“Say my name!” he snapped.

Xiaonian hands slid from the table and down into her lap where she twisted them in anxiety. This was not going well.

“Gong Ouyang,” she looked at him and saw that he was not angry anymore. “I…we have a contract between us.” A paper that devalued her as a human and made her into a thing that can be possessed irrespective of her will. 

“So?” he asked indifferently.

A flare of anger lit inside her listening to his cavalier tone. She suppressed it with effort before she replied.

“I can’t do it,” she said simply, hanging her head low to avoid looking at him. 

A small part of her felt incredibly guilty. 

He had stayed with her during some of the worst experiences in the past few days like no one ever has in her life. And for that, she knew she owed him. But, how can she repay him by giving him her heart? That was too high a price for her, who has only herself now. And feeding Gong Ouyang’s arrogance will not do anyone favors.

“Can’t or won’t?” he asked with the same indifference as if the answer wouldn’t bother him either way.

“…can’t,” Xiaonian said softly. 

In the next second, she heard his chair topple and footsteps rushing in her direction. By the time she looked up, Gong Ouyang was already beside her.

He roughly caught her upper arm in a fierce grip and pulled her to him. Being so much shorter than him and wearing flat shoes, Xiaonian was forced to stand on the tip of her toes as she faced him.

“When I’m being accommodating, you should appreciate it, understand?” he growled at her in fury.

Spying the ring nearby, he bent to pick it up from the box. Xiaonian stumbled ungainly as she was forced to bend in an unnatural direction.

He let of her arm and before she could gain some balance he seized her left hand and roughly forced the ring on her ring finger and threw her back into her chair.

Xiaonian had a slight frame and with Gong Ouyang’s strength she was easily pulled and pushed around. When he shoved her back in her seat, she took a few seconds to seat herself properly. 

The ring that was roughly shoved on scraped her skin and she can now see blood dotting on her skin. Her fingers trembled as she tried to pull herself together. She heard a chair being pulled roughly and understood that Gong Ouyang went back to his chair.

“If you ever take that ring off, I will nail it to your finger, understand?” Gong Ouyang threatened her. This was the fist time he gave a woman a ring and tried to woo her and yet, she didn’t understand her place and had to be stubborn. It was like his grandfather said, everyone needs to be forced to some extent to make them obedient.

“Understand?” he snapped at her when he didn’t hear a word from her.

“Y..yes.” 

“Then eat the rest of your meal, we have a hotel reservation after this.” He picked up his chopsticks as if everything was normal.

“….”

It took Xiaonian two tries to hold the chopsticks with her shaky nerves. She concentrated on eating the portion in her bowl, but everything tasted like paper and it was hard to swallow.

She was sure a bruise was forming on her arm where Gong Ouyang grabbed her and her left ring finger throbbed as the previously beaded blood now formed a long line along her finger. 

She turned her left hand slightly to hide the glittering stone in the fold of her skirt and proceeded to chew her food.

____________________

Ceo Above, Me BelowRead this story for FREE!