Chapter 4 - Let’s Break Up
“You.” Gu Jin’s hand froze on the doorknob as she looked inside with wide eyes. She shook her head in disbelief. Her eyes reddened with emotion. Unable to look any longer, she shut the door, before hastily leaving.
The sound of the door closing surprised the couple within the room, causing the pair to break away from their embrace. Cheng Xin pushed aside the man who was hugging her, rushing out of the room to catch up to her friend. As soon as she stopped in front of Gu Jin, she explained, “Little Jin, please don’t misunderstand. There’s nothing between us.”
Unable to stand Gu Jin’s cold gaze, Cheng Xin could only reach for her hand while talking incoherently.
Gu Jin inhaled deeply. She felt uncomfortable. On top of that, Cheng Xin held her hand tightly, causing her wrist to ache with pain. A few people had gathered in the hallway to watch the drama. Gu Jin didn’t enjoy making a scene for others’ amusement. Glaring at her cousin, she commanded in a chilly voice, “Let go.”
A common maxim states that the gentler a person was, the more terrifying he or she became when angered. Between the two cousins, Gu Jin was always considered as the “older sister,” even though Cheng Xin was a little older than her. That was because Gu Jin always had a steady and careful disposition. Her speech was soft and gentle, and she never showed any anger nor impatience when dealing with others.
Out of the many years that they had been living together, this was the first time Cheng Xin heard her cousin speak so mercilessly to her. She couldn’t help but feel stunned, obediently releasing Gu Jin’s hand. However, Cheng Xin had always been arrogant and willful. She was the one who people usually coaxed, so when did she have the experience to pacify others? Also, of all people, why should she coax Gu Jin, who usually took that role?
As soon as she saw Gu Jin’s cold reaction, she felt the urge to release her temper. She had just tried to please Gu Jin for so long, yet not only did Gu Jin not give her any face, she even had a displeased expression.
I’m the reason you and Shao Chong were able to get together! If I hadn’t introduced Shao Chong to you, how else could you have found a man with such a background and good looks? Today, I merely borrowed his shoulder to cry on, yet you’re unhappy with it. Were all our years of sisterhood a lie?
Within a few seconds, many different rationalizations flitted across Cheng Xin’s mind. However, she finally noticed Gu Jin rubbing a bruise on her wrist. As the white light illuminated the woman’s white arms, the dark marks around her wrist appeared even more conspicuous.
“Little Jin, you…are you hurt?” she stammered. “What happened?”
After all, they had been good friends for many years. Seeing her cousin’s injury, Cheng Xin’s anger naturally dissipated like smoke, leaving behind only concern.
Gu Jin’s brows were furrowed as she caressed her wrist. She cursed in her heart for her bad luck. The blood-jade bracelet on her left wrist was missing! This wouldn’t have been problematic at all if it was just an ordinary jade bracelet. After all, she wasn’t short on money with more than a hundred thousand on her bank card. She would just be heartbroken over losing this bracelet for a long time. However, not only was this blood-jade bracelet made of the finest material, but it also held significant importance. It was an heirloom that Gu Jin’s grandmother had left for her mother.
Gu Jin’s family was quite respected. During the last two years of the Qing Dynasty, one of her ancestors obtained a Jinshi, which was the highest degree in the Imperial Examination. This brought their family much joy and honor. After the fall of the dynasty, as well as the chaos caused by a war that led to the founding of a new nation, Gu Jin’s ancestors suffered immensely. Even the family property was completely scattered from the turmoil of war.
At that time, her grandmother, who had sustained an injury at a young age, was only able to give birth to two sisters, Li Mingxia and Li Minghong. When the pair of sisters matured, one of them married Gu Changsheng, who was a professor, and the other married Cheng Wanyan, who was a businessman. One sister became a respectable university professor, while the other became a wealthy lady of the upper class. Before she died, their mother gifted a pair of jade bracelets to the two sisters.
A few months ago, for Gu Jin’s twentieth birthday celebration, her mother, Li Mingxia, gave the blood-jade bracelet to her as a birthday gift. Her responsibility was to keep it safe for future generations.
Before leaving her apartment this morning, Gu Jin chose her clothes for that day, but she couldn’t find a suitable accessory to match her outfit. She was different from the original host, who preferred minimalism and elegance while refusing to wear or purchase any complicated and beautiful pieces of jewelry.
The current Gu Jin had always held a high standard for her own appearance, even while she was at home. When leaving the house, dressing like a queen was necessary! Nowadays, she had no choice but to lower her dressing standards to the host’s drab style and dress like a “maidservant.” However, since she didn’t want to cause any suspicion that could endanger her life, she could only attempt to suppress her distaste.
Without any other choices of jewelry, she chose this bracelet as her accessory. Who knew that she would suddenly lose it during what was supposed to be a simple dinner?
Suddenly, an idea flashed in Gu Jin’s mind as she recalled kicking that crazy man in the dim room. Leaving that place turned out to be no simple matter.
She stared at her bruised wrist and contemplated.
Could it be…
When the man reached out for her wrist, did he end up grabbing her bracelet by chance and caused it to slip? Gu Jin wanted to return to that room to take another look, but she didn’t remember how she got there.
When Cheng Xin saw that Gu Jin remained silent, she felt even more upset and also somewhat helpless. As she looked up, she saw Shao Chong, whom she had pushed away just earlier, leaving the room and striding toward them.
Compared to Cheng Xin’s panicked reaction a few minutes prior, he appeared much calmer. He frowned at the onlookers in the hallway, who came to watch the drama.
Pushing them out of his way, he asked Cheng Xin, “What happened to you?”
“I accidentally hurt Little Jin’s hand,” she replied as she lowered her head.
Gu Jin lifted her gaze and prepared to speak. She wanted to tell them the truth. However, in the end, she said nothing. She suddenly realized that this was an opportunity, a good opportunity to distance herself from the female protagonist.
This was a chance she had to take.
Shao Chong looked at the scene, that Cheng Xin didn’t dare to look at, and found that Gu Jin’s wrist displayed several bruises.
Since when was Cheng Xin this strong?
Shao Chong wanted to speak up in her defense. However, before he could start to speak, Cheng Xin’s phone suddenly rang.
She took out her cell phone and walked past the crowd before answering her call. Based on her reaction, Gu Jin guessed that the caller was Jing Hao. Sure enough, when Cheng Xin returned two minutes later, she looked as if she couldn’t hold back her happiness.
She raised her chin and declared proudly, “Little Jin, you simply misunderstood. I had a disagreement with Jing Hao, so Shao Chong was just trying to comfort me by lending me his shoulder.
Ha ha… Gu Jin looked at her as if she understood, but, in her heart, she silently complained.
When Cheng Xin saw that her cousin seemed to believe her, she finally eased down. Since Gu Jin’s attitude appeared to be softening, Cheng Xin decided to strike while the iron was hot by adding, “Jing Hao told me that he will pick me up right away. You see, he treats me so well. How can I be interested in anyone else when I have him?”
Shao Chong’s face looked like a knocked-over color palette. The mixture of green and red on his face was an amusing sight.
* * *
Back in front of the apartment complex, a vehicle was parked. Shao Chong got out of the car so that he could open the passenger door. As he did so, Gu Jin undid her seatbelt and climbed out from her seat.
“Since you’re hurt, you should have a good rest when you get inside,” he said.
Gu Jin hummed in response. Her body exuded a faint, medicinal fragrance that calmed people.
It was already past five o’clock in the afternoon. The sun was about to set into the Western Hills, and the cool breeze caused the maple leaves to rustle. From time to time, lovers walked hand-in-hand into the apartment building. It was a beautiful sight that words could not describe.
After walking two steps forward, Gu Jin suddenly stopped at the bottom of the stairs and turned around.
Shao Chong looked up at her with a smile and asked, “Do you need something else?”
If a random passerby had seen the way Shao Chong gazed at Gu Jin, they would have mistakenly envied the couple, believing that this man pampered his partner quite well.
Gu Jin looked into his eyes and smiled. The sunset’s afterglow softly landed on her long hair and shoulders, giving off a golden layer of light about her profile. She looked like an ethereal beauty from out of this world.
In this situation, Shao Chong’s heart palpitated, as he realized that his girlfriend had a shining pair of peach-shaped eyes. At that moment, her eyes were filled with tenderness. They glittered like clear water, as if the person she was gazing at meant the entire world to her. He couldn’t help but immerse himself in her gaze…then sink completely. An unusual thought flitted across his mind. Perhaps, he could truly fall in love with Gu Jin. However, he soon brushed that thought away.
Gu Jin smoothed her loose, beautiful hair behind her ear and smiled coldly this time.
Somehow, a trace of uneasiness crept up within Shao Chong. Before he comprehended the uneasiness, she suddenly announced, “Let’s break up!”