Extra - The Original Gu Jin
Several people were passing to and fro outside the maternity room at the hospital. Shao Chong stood a little farther away from the entrance. His head was bowed down, while his eyebrows were wrinkled in worry.
It had been more than five hours since Cheng Xin had entered the delivery room, but he still hadn’t heard a movement. He had once heard that when a woman was about to give birth, she wandered between the boundary of life and death. Cheng Xin had always been a delicate lady who had never suffered hardship. If that was the case, then…
No no no! Shao Chong forced himself to ignore such terrible guesses.
Cheng Xin’s pregnancy test had revealed that she was in good condition, so no accidents should occur.
Still, he couldn’t help but worry. While Cheng Xin had been pregnant for the past eight months, she would’ve had more time, if only she hadn’t accidentally fallen down the stairs this morning.
There was a saying that went ‘Seven survives but eight may not make it…’
Shao Chong clenched his fists, and a thin layer of sweat covered his forehead.
Jing Hao had suddenly left on a business trip abroad, leaving Cheng Xin, who was in critical condition, with no one else to accompany her. Master Jing had died of an illness a year ago. Cheng Xin didn’t trust the Jing family’s members, and she didn’t want her parents to worry. So she had called Shao Chong to accompany her and her baby.
Upon hearing the news, Shao Chong had been both anxious and angry.
How could Jing Hao do such a thing? His wife was eight-months pregnant, and yet he had the nerve to go abroad on a business trip? He was not a qualified husband! Shao Chong felt remorse for Cheng Xin. He stared at the delivery room for a while and hesitated for a moment before calling Cheng Xin’s parents.
When the couple heard that their only daughter had fallen down the stairs and was induced to prematurely give birth, they immediately left their office. They did their best to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
It took them half an hour to arrive. Knowing that their treasured girl had been suffering for five hours without their son-in-law by her side, they felt some dissatisfaction toward Jing Hao.
Shao Chong silently nodded as he listened to Cheng Xin’s mother’s rant about Jing Hao. In his heart, he secretly cautioned himself that once Gu Jin becomes pregnant, he must temporarily leave the Shao Family’s company to his father. He would let him manage it, while he would stay by her side to take good care of Gu Jin.
However, based on Gu Jin’s nature, she would be more prudent and steady when she is with a child. So even without him by her side, she would surely take good care of herself. Shao Chong’s heart couldn’t help but soften at the thought of having his own children.
He had been married to Gu Jin for five years now. Whether it was his parents or his friends, all of them regarded her with much praise. Shao Chong was no longer young. When he recalled his deep infatuation for Cheng Xin in his youth, his heart would skip a beat. But the sensation lasted for only a moment, and then everything would disappear into the fog.
On the contrary, Gu Jin’s color had become more and more distinct in his mind. It was true that time could change most people. He had known her for a long time, and although he had no affection for her, she continued to stay by his side.
Silently she stayed, and slowly he began to get used to her existence. Like the frog that stayed put in warm water until it boiled, he finally indulged in that warm water. One year after completely taking over the Shao family business, he had actively been preparing his wife for pregnancy. And when he learned that Cheng Xin was pregnant, he had a greater sense of urgency to have a child.
His parents also kept a close eye on them. They had mentioned their desire for grandchildren to Shao Chong and Gu Jin several times, both in public and in secret. Shao Chong considered himself to be a considerate husband who didn’t pressure his wife. It was alright if they don’t have children now. They were still young. They could continue like that for the next two years.
It was just that, for some reason, Gu Jin’s earlier phone call had made his heart feel uneasy. When Cheng Xin had arrived at the hospital, her condition was in such an unstable state that he had to hang up Gu Jin’s call.
He just had to explain the situation to Gu Jin later. Since she and Cheng Xin were such close friends, Gu Jin would surely understand him. Shao Chong’s wrinkled brows slowly relaxed, and a slight smile appeared on his lips.
But suddenly, Shao Chong’s heart skipped a beat, as if he had lost something priceless. Dizziness suddenly overcame him, and his vision darkened. But after a moment of confusion, everything returned to peace once again, as if the sudden pain had just been an illusion.
At this time, the delivery room’s door opened, and a nurse walked out. Shao Chong tried to ignore that uncomfortable feeling and urgently asked, “Hello, excuse me, how is she?”
The nurse glanced at him wondering why this visitor was different from the man who had accompanied the pregnant woman for her prenatal examinations. With a smile on her face, she replied, “She gave birth to a daughter. Both mother and daughter are doing well.”
Shao Chong breathed a sigh of relief.
The Cheng parents joyfully smiled and quickly made their way toward the delivery room. The moment the infant’s cries rang in the ward, Jing Hao had arrived in the hallway of the hospital. The two men nodded to each other. Jing Hao said, “Thank you,” and he bypassed Shao Chong to find his wife and daughter.
But he suddenly stopped and turned around. He looked straight at Shao Chong and said with a deep voice, “Shao Chong, you and Gu Jin should have a child too.”
Shao Chong’s gaze stayed fixed for two seconds. His eyes focused on the door, where a family enjoyed a warm and joyful reunion.
He then lowered his head as the corner of his lips raised to a mocking smile. His heart felt relaxed. Shao Chong felt as if he had finally let go of a heavy burden he had been carrying for a long time. But before he could truly smile, his cellphone rang again. He guessed it must be Gu Jin.
Since Cheng Xin just gave birth to a daughter, he should share this good news with her.
Shao Chong had planned to wait here for two days. He intended to wait until Cheng Xin returned home before going back to Gu Jin. By then, he hoped to bring her the excitement of having a newborn so that they could both have their own child soon.
But when he heard the voice on the other end of the line, Shao Chong’s expression instantly changed. His eyes became wide with shock as he shook his head in disbelief. His unsteady hands dropped his cellphone, which made a dull thud as it hit the floor.
The policeman’s calm and solemn voice echoed over and over again in his mind.
Three knives were stabbed into her lower abdomen, leaving a corpse with two dead…
He could only hear a buzzing in his ears due to his shock. Shao Chong staggered over, picked up his phone, and checked on the recent calls. The last call was about two hours ago. He kicked his cell phone far away as if it were something abhorrent and filled with bad luck.
The hospital floor was clean, bright, and spotless. While the family inside the delivery room were celebrating a new life, Shao Chong had lost all of his strength. He had tragically fallen to the ground, and his eyes had turned red.
He didn’t know how many red lights he had slipped past. Shao Chong’s mind was blank all the way until he arrived. But by then, the crime scene had already been sealed off. With a pale face, Shao Chong walked in circles not too far away. He couldn’t believe the news of Gu Jin’s death. No, not only of Gu Jin but also of their child.
His hopes had been shattered.
In the distance, he saw his solemn parents-in-law, who had lost all the elegance in their usual demeanors. Their backs were bent over as they supported each other, and the grayness of the hair had now become noticeable. Shao Chong’s feet could not move a step forward, as if his body had become as heavy as a mountain.
Sensing someone’s presence, Gu Changsheng turned around. His eyes turned red and teary when he recalled a memory with his daughter just a few days ago. Shao Chong went over to their side and whispered, “Dad, Mom.”
He tried to smile like before in front of them, but he couldn’t even manage to do that.
Gu Changsheng sighed and patted Shao Chong on the shoulder. After a moment of silence, he left him with only one sentence, “You go and see her.”
Outside the dilapidated door, Shao Chong found the surroundings desolate and gloomy. The nearest cement road was hundreds of meters away. His wife’s body was covered with a white cloth. It looked pure and peaceful. But in the end, his trembling fingertips didn’t have the courage to pull the cover aside.
His eyes were fixed on a pool of blood that covered this corner of the house. The blood spread and stretched several feet until it accumulated another pool of blood by the door.
The people who busily worked in the room soon noticed the man in a suit and leather shoes, kneeling on the ground. His ruffled clothing and awkward posture couldn’t hide his handsome appearance. But after glancing at the man in surprise, they resumed their work once again.
Shao Chong bent down and laughed. His body trembled. After laughing for a while, he stood up and reached the doorway. The sun brightly shone at him, but he only felt cold all over.
“Sir, your brother-in-law has come for a visit.” The servant opened the door carefully and smelled the pungent scent of alcohol emanating from the room. He could only sigh.
Ever since Mr. Shao had come home that day, he shut himself in his room and never went out. Three days later, Mr. Shao’s father had called for someone to force the door open. They found Shao Chong overdosed with alcohol. He was rushed to the hospital for gastric lavage. Once Shao Chong regained consciousness, his demeanor was like that of a ghost. If he couldn’t get the alcohol he demanded, he would make trouble and smash things at home. Fearing that his son might hurt himself, Father Shao ordered his men to give him drinks with low alcohol content.
Currently, the servant waited outside the room for Shao Chong’s reply, but only silence prevailed. The servant’s heart felt bitter as he thought, How could a good lady like her meet a kidnapper on the road? Based on Mr. Shao’s current appearance, he probably won’t be leaving his room for a while.
But just when he was about to turn around and leave… Finally!
“Have him wait. I’ll be going down at once.” To the servant’s surprise, Shao Chong replied with a hoarse voice.
“Shao Chong, you bastard!” As soon as Gu Teng saw him coming down the stairs, he grabbed his collar and punched him in the face.
The servant went up to help him, but Shao Chong ordered him to stop.
“Where were you when my sister was dying? What the fuck were you doing?” Gu Teng smashed his face fiercely again. “Who is Cheng Xin? Why does it matter to you if she’s giving birth to a child?
“When my sister had been kidnapped by thieves, you hung up on her phone. Are you comfortable now that you’ve left a corpse and killed two lives? You’re responsible for her death!”
Shao Chong didn’t return his words or his punches. He let Gu Teng yell, and he even felt that he had lashed out too little.
Once Gu Teng got bored of hitting him, he sneered, “My sister owed nothing to Cheng Xin. And yet, not only did she live under her cousin’s shadow all her life, but even her own man cared more about Cheng Xin.”
Shao Chong’s body was frozen stiff.
After Gu Teng left, he sat on the sofa for a while. He looked to the balcony out of habit and was surprised to see that the vase Gu Jin placed there had been changed. It had just been a week since he had looked at his surroundings, yet, in the meantime, the living room had been redecorated with a new look.
“You there! COME HERE!”
“What’s the matter, sir?”
“Who told you to change the vase there! Who dared?” Shao Chong pointed to the balcony with murderous eyes. His face seemed to turn blue from anger.
The stunned servant replied, “Sir, it was you who broke it…”
“I…” When it suddenly dawned on Shao Chong, his hand slowly lowered, and he collapsed on the sofa.
Soon, he ordered all of the servants to take three days off. No one was allowed to appear at the villa.
After the servants left, Shao Chong got up and walked to every corner of the villa. His heart remained empty, and the light in his eyes grew dimmer and dimmer. After so many years together, he had very few memories with her. Even if he wanted to pretend to be affectionate with her now, there wasn’t much to recall of their time together.
He was simply a joke. What right did he have to look down on Jing Hao?
Overnight, he filled the tea table in front of the sofa with empty alcohol bottles. Intoxicated, he closed his eyes and vaguely saw a girl, running and jumping on the lawn. She was saying, “Daddy, Daddy!” A gentle and beautiful woman chased after her, telling her to be careful.
Shao Chong curved up his lips, revealing a smile that was more unsightly than crying.
* * *
When Gu Jin woke up again, she was in her junior year. Unlike last time, this new rebirth was more than two months ahead of schedule. Even after three days, Gu Jin was still baffled. It was truly a dream to experience two rebirths.
But it was the reality.
She still had memories of her past life.
After her death, her soul hadn’t disappeared. Instead, she had witnessed everyone’s ending. It turned out that when she had been kidnapped, her husband, Shao Chong, was accompanying Cheng Xin during her childbirth. Her deep anger and unwillingness had then caused the air to fluctuate. To her surprise, a whirlpool had suddenly appeared and sucked her in.
The whirlpool’s energy was so powerful that her soul fell into a coma. When she awakened, she found that she had returned to the age of twenty. But before she could celebrate her rebirth, she discovered that her body had been occupied by a foreign soul.
Right when she was about to compete for the right to use her body, the instability of her soul and body caused her to fall into a coma once again. The friction between the body and the two souls caused their memories to converge. She almost felt overwhelmed
Gu Jin regained consciousness three months later. When she checked this other person’s memory, she was stunned. It turned out that the world she had lived in was a novel, whose female protagonist was Cheng Xin. The general descriptions in the book were almost identical to her experiences, except for her death.
Her mood had become a bit complicated. And after seeing this ‘other Gu Jin’ and Mu Mingcheng’s relationship, she had lost her motivation to compete for this body.
So what if she took her body back now? Even if she got it back, she wouldn’t do so well in her state. The other ‘Gu Jin’ was also a kind girl. Not only did she feel remorse for taking over, but she also thought of getting revenge on her behalf.
If Gu Jin were to be honest, she knew that even if she was the one to gain control of the body, she might shrink in cowardice before Cheng Xin and Shao Chong. Not to mention, it seemed that Shao Chong had also experienced a rebirth somehow.
Although her feelings for him had completely dissipated after she learned of the events following her death, she still wasn’t sure if she could cut through the mess easily.
She recalled a voice that spoke to her in the dark. The man wished her a good ending and told her to do good at all times. Gu Jin thought she might have found the reason for her rebirth.
“Wake up, Little Jin?” Cheng Xin opened the door with a smile, but her expression soon collapsed. “Oh, my God! Why haven’t you got up yet? We’re going to the amusement park with Jing Hao today, have you forgotten?”
Gu Jin looked at Cheng Xin with complicated emotions. She didn’t enjoy going to these kinds of places, but in the past, she had forced herself to go to make these two people happy.
However, she didn’t want to be that woman now. Whether it was due to hate or dislike, after going through two lifetimes of being looked down on, she no longer wanted to live in resentment and unwillingness.
So, Gu Jin quietly looked down and replied, “Sorry, I can’t go today.”
“Don’t be shy.” Cheng Xin teasingly smiled and added, “Are you shy because Shao Chong is there too?”
Gu Jin raised her head. She gave her cousin a calm look, and retorted for the first time, “I have nothing to do with him. He likes you. So don’t try to pair him together with me in the future. The Literature Club has some errands for me, so I’m going to attend to it. You guys go and play.”
“That’s not true. The one he likes is you…” Cheng Xin’s voice trailed off, and she could not look Gu Jin in the eyes. “Alright, then I’m off.”
She walked out in a daze, wondering why something didn’t feel quite right. But she didn’t think about it much since she was going to hang out with Jing Hao.
It seemed saying no to Cheng Xin wasn’t as difficult as Gu Jin had thought. After imitating the speech and tone of that other Gu Jin when turning her cousin down, the heavy burden in her heart was lifted.
Her happy mood stayed with her even after entering the conference room. As the vice president, she was very close to Tong Lin. Even though her past self didn’t care so much about him, the present her now felt uncomfortable knowing his thoughts. She tried to adjust her breathing as she spoke with the club members. However, she couldn’t help but turn red when making eye contact with Tong Lin.
A certain history book suddenly came to her mind. The other Gu Jin didn’t have any value for this book, but she knew of its significance.
Back then, at the beginning of freshman year, she had been at the library reading “The History of the Ming Dynasty,” when a boy with a soap fragrance had walked up the aisle. He had read the name of the book out loud with a smile. The two had then exchanged a few words because of their shared interest in history. Gu Jin had spoken of her remorse for the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.
When the meeting for the day ended, Gu Jin remained in her seat, pondering something. But when she looked around, she realized that she and Tong Lin were the only ones left in the room. She panicked for a moment and squeezed the bag in her hand.
“Are you okay?” Tong Lin asked in a plain voice. The look of concern was evident in his eyes.
Gu Jin was shocked.
She had been brave once, so couldn’t she do it again?… It shouldn’t be too bad, right?
Under Tong Lin’s concerned stare, she whispered, “President Tong Lin, I recall that you were also interested in the Ming Dynasty’s history. Can I ask you a few questions about it later?”
Tong Lin was surprised. But soon, his eyes brightened, and he replied with a smile, “Alright, there’s a cafe nearby. Let’s go there and talk about it.”