The Moonlight
The Moonlight Chapter 6

Xu Qingyan found herself in the car, though she couldn’t quite recall how she got there. In the presence of this imposing man, she felt compelled to keep her composure. He gestured for her to enter the car, and she realized that refusing might not be in her best interest. Thus, she sat beside him, virtually invisible in her silence.

“It’s quite far from the city center. What brings Dr. Xu here?”

Two months had passed, and he had fully recovered. His complexion had noticeably improved. Besides, he had neatly trimmed his hair, presenting a much more refined appearance than before.

He appeared a world away from the disheveled man she’d seen earlier. Dressed in a light gray shirt, with delicate silver cufflinks, he lounged in the seat, legs stretched out, exuding a relaxed sense of refinement.

While he appeared engrossed in his phone, he casually threw questions her way.

Lying wasn’t her strong suit, so after a moment of contemplation, she admitted, “I got on the wrong bus.”

Lord Liang remained silent, his reaction unclear.

Ah Bao sat in the passenger seat. He was getting distracted as he occasionally observed the situation behind, feeling a bit uneasy. The driver, a multiracial Asian American named Mark, who also served as Lord Liang’s bodyguard, couldn’t help but eavesdrop.

Initially, they were accompanying their boss for an errand that day. However, Ah Bao’s attention was drawn to Xu Qingyan, who sat across the street with an uncharacteristic air of aloofness.

Lord Liang briefly noticed her too, but he only spared her a quick glance before getting into the car. Instead of instructing Mark to drive, he became engrossed in his phone.

Ah Bao was uncertain whether Lord Liang had actually recognized Xu Qingyan. If he did recognize her, would he take any action against her?

After a prolonged silence from the back, Ah Bao had to remind him, “Lord Liang, Mr. Wu is waiting for us. Should we go?”

However, he responded casually, “No need to hurry. I’ve got something to deal with.”

So they waited in the car for half an hour, and only then did Lord Liang decide it was time to leave. Coincidentally, they got stuck in traffic right in front of Xu Qingyan.

Xu Qingyan was trying to hail a cab, but there were no vacant cabs available at this hour. 

Ah Bao found Xu Qingyan rather likable. If it weren’t for her, he might have already accompanied Lord Liang on their journey of reincarnation. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the call to give her a ride.

Just then, a voice from the back seat spoke up, “Pull over.”

Ah Bao was taken aback but understood his boss’s intention. However, he was uncertain about Lord Liang’s true motives. Since he had spared her life last time, it seemed unlikely he would want to harm her now that things had settled down. Yet, nothing was certain, as Lord Liang’s thoughts remained inscrutable.

Xu Qingyan, who had been sitting near the car door, trying to maintain a safe distance from Lord Liang, couldn’t hide her subtle movements from his keen eyes.

He put away his phone and gazed at her. “Dr. Xu, there’s no need to hurry. Relax a bit. The place you mentioned is still at least half an hour’s drive away.”

His voice carried a distinctive huskiness, not unpleasant, but rather unique, as if it were a file slowly grinding against Xu Qingyan’s heart.

Having some spare time, Lord Liang decided to initiate a casual conversation. “Dr. Xu, how hectic is your typical work schedule? Being a doctor must keep you quite busy.”

“A bit,” she replied.

“What time do you usually finish work?” he asked.

“Usually around five-thirty.”

“And when it’s not the usual case?”

“It’s hard to say.”

“Do you live alone?”

Xu Qingyan hesitated for a moment before answering, “Yes.”

She had no reason to lie. After all, he could find out whatever he wanted to know.

Feigning surprise, Lord Liang said, “I thought you were married.”

His relaxed and casual tone didn’t make their conversation any more lively. Xu Qingyan was already a woman of few words, and now she made it a point to speak even fewer, making the atmosphere rather  tense.

“You’re going to Binhe Road now. Is that where you live?”

“No,” she replied.

“Then where are you headed?”

After suppressing her frustration, Xu Qingyan answered, “For a meal.”

In reality, she wasn’t going to Binhe Road for dinner. Her destination was two stops further. She had a gut feeling that she couldn’t allow this man to get close to Ling Qiao. Even if the likelihood was slim, she couldn’t ignore the potential risk.

“There aren’t many good restaurants there,” he muttered to himself, but Xu Qingyan remained silent.

Ah Bao and Mark exchanged a glance and continued to remain silent.

She wasn’t sure if he still remembered his indifferent and cold words from their last encounter. He had invited her into the car, not just for a simple ride, but with other intentions. Could it be… But on second thought, how could she have predicted an encounter with him in this vast city? His current appearance as a gentleman made it impossible to connect him with any criminal activities.

Xu Qingyan continued to ponder the situation, momentarily losing track of his conversation.

“Dr. Xu?”

Lord Liang’s tone was low, his left hand holding a cellphone while lightly tapping his right palm, both hands bearing several scars.

She couldn’t decipher his meaning, but Ah Bao understood that Lord Liang never repeated his words.

Xu Qingyan pursed her lips, turned her head slightly, and whispered, “I’m sorry… I didn’t catch that.”

Her gaze landed on his palm. Although she had seen those scars before, seeing them again sent a shiver down her spine. She quickly looked away, her eyelashes drooping as she focused on the surface of the seat.

Ah Bao’s heart raced, realizing that his boss was repeating his question, “I asked, why did Dr. Xu choose gastroenterology?”

Xu Qingyan hesitated before responding, “I initially specialized in cardiothoracic surgery but later switched to gastroenterology.”

He asked curiously, “Why?”

Because his stomach was always in poor condition.

After contemplating for a moment, Xu Qingyan could only say, “I was following the arrangements made by the hospital.”

Lord Liang’s seemed to probe the truth behind her words. Finally, he just smiled and said, “Dr. Xu has beautiful hands. Do you play the piano?”

This person was determined to uncover every detail about her.

Indeed, Xu Qingyan’s hands were exquisitely beautiful, perhaps even more so than her face. Fair skin, slender fingers, rounded fingertips, and glossy nails. When they danced upon the piano keys, it was as though they emitted a radiant glow.

Xu Qingyan had been practicing the piano since her childhood. From the very first time, she was captivated by it. Unlike other children who required their parents’ constant prodding to practice, she felt the piano was like a second life to her.

Unable to express herself eloquently through words, she relied on the sound of the piano to convey her emotions.

Her talent in this field was natural, earning her numerous awards. Everyone believed that Xu Qingyan would undoubtedly secure admission to a music conservatory and become a pianist.

However, life’s trajectory is anything but predictable, and Xu Qingyan’s dream of becoming a pianist eventually fell by the wayside.

“I don’t play,” she said quietly, her face pale and devoid of expression. The vibrant lights and colours of the street reflected on her face, revealing a profound silence that words couldn’t describe.

In the following minutes, the gentleman’s phone kept ringing, putting their conversation on hold.

Xu Qingyan actually didn’t want to eavesdrop on his phone conversations. Who knew if they involved sensitive matters? Her nerves remained tense, her palms clenched, perspiring from anxiety.

Yet, he seemed unconcerned. When he spoke on the phone, his tone remained unhurried, accompanied by a deep, resonated voice. 

Each sentence felt leisurely and relaxed, a stark contrast to Xu Qingyan’s speech, which often felt laborious and curt.

She had always been straightforward, and Ling Qiao always remarked that she had a distant deameanor, often mistaken for being cold and arrogant. 

This mysterious gentleman was completely different from her. Xu Qingyan had witnessed it firsthand—no one dared to oppose anything he said.

The sedan gently pulled to a stop at the Binhe Road intersection, and Ah Bao turned around to inform, “Boss, we’ve arrived.”

Lord Liang was engrossed in a conversation about an upcoming matter.

He briefly glanced at Xu Qingyan, who promptly held her bag and nodded slightly in his direction, though her gaze didn’t linger on him.

“Thank you,” she expressed. There was no reply from him as he continued with his phone call.

Ah Bao held the car door open, allowing her to step out. He appeared as though he had something to say but refrained, given the circumstances.

The sedan illuminated its left turn signal and merged slowly into the traffic. Xu Qingyan stood by the roadside, her gaze following the vehicle as it disappeared into the night. Her heartbeat gradually returned to its regular rhythm.

It appeared that he had offered her a ride along the way out of genuine courtesy. Throughout the journey, she had been on edge, fearful he might suddenly say, “I warned you never to appear before me again,” and whisk her away to some desolate location.

Now that everything was safe and sound, Xu Qingyan couldn’t quite figure out what was going on in this person’s mind.

Upon reaching the restaurant, Ling Qiao had already completed one round of meals. Upon spotting Xu Qingyan, she immediately opened a can of beer, expecting an apology from her.

Xu Qingyan simply smiled and took a sip directly without saying a word.

In truth, Xu Qingyan’s disposition was relatively straightforward. Individuals who didn’t know her well might find her unapproachable, but those who were familiar with her recognized her as forthright, not tolerating any superfluous chatter. It was simply due to her lack of social graces and introverted nature.

After finishing a can of beer, Xu Qingyan felt much more at ease.

“Haha, Yan’er, if your supervisor learns of your alcohol tolerance, they’ll be dumbfounded.”

In reality, the hospital wasn’t the serene workplace one might envision; it came with numerous social obligations. The director had a soft spot for subordinates with a high alcohol tolerance. Cheng Yuan, a colleague from their department, was the promising talent he had discovered at a year-end gathering.

However, Xu Qingyan’s ability to hold her liquor likely exceeded his by many folds. To put it plainly, drinking for her was like consuming water, but she never enjoyed the social aspects of gatherings and never displayed her “talent” during social interactions. Over time, everyone assumed she had a low tolerance for alcohol.

“Busy day today?” Ling Qiao popped open another can of beer for her.

Xu Qingyan added ingredients to the hotpot as she conversed with Ling Qiao, “It’s been somewhat hectic. Sorry, I’m late.”

Ling Qiao blinked her large eyes and offered a smile, “Why be so formal with me? Even if you arrived at midnight, it wouldn’t matter. As long as there’s food, it won’t be lonely.”

Honestly, Xu Qingyan’s emotions had been a rollercoaster throughout the day, especially after encountering Cheng Ran.

She felt as if someone had hit her on the head, plunging her into a state of confusion, from which she couldn’t extricate herself. She even found herself absentmindedly visiting his hometown.

However, Lord Liang momentarily disrupted her train of thought during their encounter, providing a momentary respite from her melancholy. As she now conversed and shared laughter with Ling Qiao, there were no visible signs of her inner turmoil.

Ling Qiao, who shared a deep bond with Xu Qingyan, couldn’t help but sense that something troubled her today.

Xu Qingyan was renowned for her punctuality and unwavering commitment to her promises, so the deviation from her usual behavior suggested an underlying issue. Yet, aside from the fatigue shown on her face, there were no obvious indicators. Respecting Xu Qingyan’s unspoken boundaries, Ling Qiao chose not to pry further.

Some believed that time would eventually fade away the memories, making them seem trivial. However, only Xu Qingyan and those closest to her knew that his death was a deep-rooted agony for her, like a chronic ailment that remained dormant until it flared up. 

The gradual sense of being consumed, the unbearable pain—it was a wound fated never to heal in this lifetime.

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