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For Xin Pengfei, things had been smooth sailing of late. Everything was going according to his plan. After he had returned half of the shares to Xin Qing, he immediately began the process of transferring all his a.s.sets. At first, he had intended to make some investments overseas. But then Huang Jianbin had suddenly come to him and expressed interest in Xin Yudie. After that, he and Huang Jianbin struck a deal. If he let Xin Yudie be with Huang Jianbin, then Huang Jianbin would introduce him to an overseas Chinese investor who was returning to the country.
After all, Xin Yudie's body had been ruined and tarnished. And because of that, Xin Pengfei no longer held any hopes for her. Which was also why Xin Pengfei had instantly agreed to Huang Jianbin's proposal and gave Xin Yudie over to him. A few days later, Huang Jianbin returned with an overseas Chinese in his fifties named Li Zhe. Negotiations ensued, and Xin Pengfei ended up investing Xin Enterprises' remaining funds into Li Zhe's new firm.
"Honey," Zhao Jiali said, "do you think that Li Zhe's background is reliable?" Zhao Jiali had noticed Xin Pengfei's complacent mood lately. But deep down, she could not help but feel a little bit unsettled.
Xin Pengfei caressed her breast. "Aren't you underestimating your husband a little too much? I've already got someone to look into the guy. And apparently, the a.s.sets that the guy owns overseas are quite impressive. Well, actually, this bit of investment is child's play for him. His main goal is to find a partner to run his company in the future. He isn't planning to stay in the country for long," Xin Pengfei said, his features filled with greed and avarice, "and when that time comes, I would have full control of that company!"
"Then I'd no longer have to bend to the will of those old b.i.t.c.hes. They act high and mighty just because their companies are bigger than ours," Zhao Jiali stopped when she noticed Lin Xiaoyu descending the stairs. Immediately, the corner of her lips turned downwards in contempt. Still, she schooled her features into a jovial smile and walked towards Lin Xiaoyu.
In truth, Zhao Jiali did not care much for Lin Xiaoyu at all. After all, Lin Xiaoyu was just a penniless townswoman with no station worthy of consideration. In fact, even her looks were mediocre. If it were not for fact that she bore the next generation of Xin family in her womb, and if it were not for the fact that Xin Haoyu had become impotent, Zhao Jiali would have kicked the woman out ages ago.
"Xiao Yu, slow down!" Zhao Jiali said as she helped Lin Xiaoyu get seated. "Are you hungry? If there's anything you want to eat, you can tell me."
Lin Xiaoyu smiled shyly. "Mother, it's fine. I'm not hungry. The boy isn't hungry too," Lin Xiaoyu said. Although she had not done her Doppler Ultrasound, Lin Xiaoyu had already started referring to the child in her womb as her son. All she knew was that the only way for her to have a place in this family was to deliver a boy.
"If everything's alright, then you should go out shopping. Didn't I give you a card? Just buy anything you want with it," Xin Pengfei said with unwonted generosity. They needed to keep Lin Xiaoyu happy for now. But after the birth of the child? They could crumple her into a ball or squash her flat for all he cared.
"Yes! That's right!" Zhao Jiali added hurriedly."We'll go shopping this afternoon. It's time we get a few things for the baby anyway."
While Lin Xiaoyu was enjoying life and playing trophy wife in the largest mall of S City, she ran into Xin Qing and Co. It turned out that Xin Qing, Zhang Mi and s.h.i.+ Qianqian were sitting and chatting at a coffee shop in the mall. Mainly, their conversation involved grilling s.h.i.+ Qianqian about her current relations.h.i.+p with her brother-in-law. Then again, Zhang Mi seemed rather concerned too about the number of times s.h.i.+ Qianqian and Ding Lei had s.e.x that night.
"Xin Qing?" Lin Xiaoyu let out a surprised yelp. Three heads looked up at her. Lin Xiaoyu wore a sophisticated and expensive-looking maternity dress, her five-month b.u.mp already showing through the dress. Lin Xiaoyu stared smugly at the three of them.
"What a coincidence. So you guys are shopping here too!" Without waiting for an invitation, Lin Xiaoyu planted herself in an empty seat at their table.
The three women looked at each other. Courteously, Xin Qing said, "Yeah, what a coincidence. Buying things for the baby?" Xin Qing had noticed the shopping bags that Lin Xiaoyu was carrying. The bags contained infant clothing.
"Yes!" Lin Xiaoyu said, setting down the bags. "I hadn't planned on buying the branded ones. But my mother-in-law insisted that my status is different now, so only the branded ones would do," she went on. All of a sudden, she feigned a look of surprise and began looking up and down at Xin Qing. "I saw your s.h.i.+rt at the store just now. It's got a fifty percent discount. I was concerned about its quality, so I didn't buy it."
Zhang Mi felt a strong urge to punch the woman's mouth. s.h.i.+ Qianqian, on the other hand, flicked a glance at Lin Xiaoyu, "I think you're mistaken. The s.h.i.+rt Xin Qing is wearing is custom-made. In fact, it's s.h.i.+pped all the way here from France. The one you saw in the store is probably of the same line but different style," s.h.i.+ Qianqian remarked flatly.
"Oh...is that right?" A change took over Lin Xiaoyu's face, although deep down, Lin Xiaoyu was throwing curses at Xin Qing and her gang. And then, when she noticed that Zhang Mi relentless stared at her tummy, another idea popped into her mind. "Ah, my husband and his family are constantly fretting over me and my son."
"Is it confirmed? That it's a boy?" Xin Qing asked. She was genuinely curious. In fact, this was the first time she got to see an expecting mother up close.
Lin Xiaoyu's hand stilled on her tummy. She smiled, "Of course it's a boy. And he's very naughty!"
"Hm...a boy is good. Since you won't be getting another chance anyway. If it's a daughter..."
"Zhang Mi!" Xin Qing and s.h.i.+ Qianqian cried out, thus preventing Zhang Mi from completing the sentence. s.h.i.+ Qianqian had even shot Zhang Mi a glare.
Hearing Zhang Mi's words and seeing the looks on the faces before her, Lin Xiaoyu felt her heart skip a few beats. "What's that supposed to mean? What do you mean that I won't get another chance?"
Zhang Mi snorted. "Don't tell me you're expecting Xin Haoyu to stay faithful to you in the future. He'll have other women out there. By then, I don't think it'd be you carrying his child," Zhang Mi said, her lips twisting into a look of disdain.
Inwardly, Xin Qing was giving kudos to Zhang Mi. "This reaction! And her acting skills... I can't even..." Xin Qing thought.
Apparently, the Xin family had kept Lin Xiaoyu in the dark regarding Xin Haoyu's impotence. In any case, they could not allow this secret to be revealed to Lin Xiaoyu. After all, what if the news ended up causing Lin Xiaoyu distress and harm was done to the child in her womb? Xin Qing did not give two hoots whether or not the Xin family would have future descendants. But she would not allow an innocent life to be harmed.
"Hmph!" Lin Xiaoyu smiled coldly at Zhang Mi. "You don't have to try to ruffle my feathers. I know you're just jealous. Lemme tell you something. You don't know how nice Haoyu has been treating me. He was worried about my pregnancy so he didn't even touch me all these months. He didn't go fooling around either. In fact, he stayed home every day to keep me company."
"But that's only because he couldn't even if he wanted to..." Xin Qing and Co. thought.
Zhao Jiali had noticed from afar that Lin Xiaoyu was sitting with Xin Qing and her friends. Zhao Jiali immediately feared the worst. "Xin Qing will tell Lin Xiaoyu everything about Haoyu's stay at the hospital," Zhao Jiali thought anxiously. But after another moment of thought, she realized that no harm would come from it even if Xin Qing did tell Lin Xiaoyu about it. After all, Xin Qing had no idea why Haoyu was at the hospital that day.
"Xiao Yu!" Zhao Jiali hurried over. She had decided it would be better if she steered Lin Xiaoyu away from the group as soon as possible. They could not afford to get onto Xin Qing's bad side at present. But once Xin Pengfei's new company was successfully launched, they would deal with that wretched girl once and for all.
"Mother!" Lin Xiaoyu stood up and while doing so, glanced at Xin Qing. Driven by her complacency, Lin Xiaoyu felt an urge to humiliate Xin Qing. "Xin Qing is here too. And she hasn't been home for a while. Why don't we invite her home for a meal!" According to Xin Pengfei, Xin Qing had been dying to come home, just that she had not been able to because the Xin family did not welcome her presence. Lin Xiaoyu thought it made sense, since no daughter would have the heart to renounce her own father. So right now, Lin Xiaoyu wanted to show Xin Qing that the Xin family cared about herself and not Xin Qing.
Meanwhile, Zhao Jiali felt a strong urge to kick Lin Xiaoyu straight into oblivion. Of all the things Lin Xiaoyu could talk about, she had picked the most unmentionable of all. Zhao Jiali hurried forward and began pulling at Lin Xiaoyu to leave. Alas, the slow-witted Lin Xiaoyu had not only failed to take the hint, but had turned back to face Xin Qing and said, "I'll persuade mother later. Drop by whenever you're free, okay!"
A half-smile formed on Xin Qing's face. "I think you are mistaken. I am not related to the Xin family at all, right?" Xin Qing directed the question to Zhao Jiali. "But then... You guys are planning to have me over for a meal?"
Zhao Jiali nodded hurriedly, "Of course. If you're willing, we'll welcome you with open arms!"
"Too bad, then. I'm far from willing," Xin Qing said, her face completely devoid of emotions. And then she turned her head away and thoroughly ignored the two women.
Seeing Lin Xiaoyu's befuddled state as she was dragged away, Zhang Mi began guffawing.
"Why did you guys stop me from telling her?" Zhang Mi grumbled. "G.o.d, just look at her face. She was turning her nose up so high that it could practically touch the sky."
Xin Qing poked at Zhang Mi's forehead, "Argh! That mouth of yours!"
"It's not about her. It's about the baby in her womb," s.h.i.+ Qianqian took a sip of coffee. "We shouldn't be sinning."
At night, Xin Qing told Ying Qingcang everything that had happened. Ying Qingcang, on the other hand, was far from interested in Xin Qing's recollections. He was too busy comforting little Qingcang with her body to even care. Xin Qing allowed him to do his thing until he was done. Ying Qingcang had noticed her obedience. So he kissed her pa.s.sionately and said, "Take a break tomorrow. Come with me to the company, okay?"
Xin Qing looked at him strangely, "Why do I need to go to your company?"
Ying Qingcang released a humorless chuckle, "If you still refuse to show your face, then before you know it, there'll be a new Mrs. President of Ying Enterprises."
Understanding came to Xin Qing the next day the moment she stepped into the main lobby of Ying Enterprises. Finally, she understood the full implications of Ying Qingcang's words from the night before. With her very eyes, Xin Qing saw a few employees swarm around Monica and address her as Mrs. President. Monica only smiled and told the employees not to joke around, though the expression on Monica's face clearly told everyone there that: yes, you are right!
Xin Qing hid herself at the breakroom's entrance. When they had arrived, Ying Qingcang went straight into a meeting. But before he left, he had told that she was free to meander around the building. Now, it seemed to her that it had been his every intention to have her overhearing these rumors.
"Who are you? Which department are you from?" A woman in a suit appeared before Xin Qing. The woman's voice surprised the jesting voices of those in the breakroom. Monica instantly paled at the sight of Xin Qing.
"Xin Qing, you're here!" Monica ran over to where Xin Qing stood. "Come, let's talk in my office."
Naturally, having Xin Qing remain here was the last thing Monica wanted. Ever since the day she became one of Ying Enterprises' top dogs, everyone in the company had a.s.sumed that she was Ying Qingcang's girlfriend. She did not deny the a.s.sumptions. Instead, she had let the rumors spread until Ying Qingcang himself caught wind of them.
Xin Qing avoided Monica's grasp. "It's a weekend today. So I'm here to have a look around," Xin Qing said calmly.
A gutsy employee piped up with a question, "Monica, is she your friend? If she is, then you'd better keep an eye on her. This is our workplace. It's not somewhere you can go wandering around unsupervised."
Monica chuckled. "I know," Monica said, grabbing Xin Qing by the arm. "It's not often that you get to visit me here, so how about we head downstairs and grab some drinks!"
It was that same smile again. That affectionate, amiable and seemingly harmless smile. Too bad Xin Qing had never once thought of Monica as harmless. "There's no need for that. You already know that I'm not here to see you, so why are you joking around like this!" Xin Qing smiled, "Ying Qingcang is still waiting for me. I'm gonna go look for him."
Murmurs and mumbles rose among the surrounding employees. "Can't believe this young lady actually called President Ying by his name. And they seemed pretty tight with each other too."
"You know our president?" someone asked Xin Qing.
Xin Qing made a sound that was halfway between a snort and a laugh, "Of course. How do you think I was able to wander around the company? He was worried that I'll get bored while waiting, so he told me to take a walk around. Didn't expect to run into Monica, though."
The color of Monica's face altered between crimson and paleness. Now, everyone's gazes were trained on her. She was starting to regret her decision to not deny the rumors about her relations.h.i.+p with Ying Qingcang. If she revealed the truth now, she would lose every ounce of dignity she had left. While Monica was puzzling out a way to save the situation, a low voice sounded from across breakroom.
"How did you get all the way here?"