Upon stepping off the plane, Yin Luoqiu immediately spotted Yang Yi.
He had come of age, his shoulders broadened, transitioning from a frail youth to a mature young man.
Amidst the crowd, Yang Yi spotted her at first glance and waved with a smile.
Dragging her suitcase, Yin Luoqiu continued walking without stopping, heading towards him.
Their last encounter seemed to have been during the Spring Festival three years ago.
“Congratulations on your graduation.”
Yang Yi held a bouquet of flowers and welcomed her.
She hesitated for a moment.
The intensity in his eyes was scorching, capable of burning someone. Yet, in the next moment, that intensity waned, turning as mundane as ever.
Yin Luoqiu lowered her eyes, unsure if she should sigh in relief or continue to worry.
She had stayed abroad for three years to avoid this very sentiment he held.
“Brother Yi, Sister!”
A girl wearing a pink cherry blossom dress skipped over to them.
It was Yin Luoqiu’s 17-year-old sister, Yin Yin. Compared to three years ago, her childishness had diminished, replaced by greater beauty—a charming and delicate allure.
Yin Yin approached Yang Yi, affectionately tugging at his sleeve. She then looked at Yin Luoqiu, smiling like an adorable younger sister next door.
Yet the faint hint of protest and exclusion couldn’t be concealed.
“Sister’s back, but what about your boyfriend?”
Yin Luoqiu glanced at her indifferently, shrugged, “We broke up.”
There was an eleven-year age gap between her and Yin Yin, so their emotional connection wasn’t deep.
How did Yin Yin know she had a boyfriend?
Thinking of a possible source, Yin Luoqiu sneered.
“Let’s go. Uncle and Aunt are waiting at home.”
Yang Yi retracted his sleeve from Yin Yin’s grasp, his voice somewhat distant.
He had always known that Luoqiu had a boyfriend abroad.
Yin Yin had persistently reminded him of this fact—how could he forget?
As they left the airport, an awkward atmosphere settled within the car.
After such a long time apart, a degree of unfamiliarity was inevitable.
Yang Yi remained silent, Yin Luoqiu refrained from speaking, and only Yin Yin chatted away, seemingly unaware of the awkward atmosphere.
Glancing cautiously at Yin Luoqiu through the rearview mirror, Yang Yi noticed how her appearance had grown more enchanting than three years ago.
Simply sitting there made his heart race.
Yin Yin caught Yang Yi’s gaze, feeling displeased.
“Sister, you break up as soon as you return? I pity your boyfriend!”
She laughed mischievously, her playfulness tinged with a hint of reproach.
It was as if she was saying Yin Luoqiu was too irresponsible.
Yin Luoqiu inwardly scoffed, realizing Yin Yin remained just as protective of her as she was three years ago.
Thinking about it, three years ago, Yin Luoqiu had originally planned to transfer her career back to China. It was only due to Yin Yin’s pleading that she had canceled her plans and once again headed overseas.
Very few people knew about this matter.
Yin Yin’s face turned embarrassed and resentful, her attempt to feign nonchalance failed. Yin Luoqiu decided to spare her, saying nothing, and closed her eyes to rest.
Last night, she had bid farewell to her friends, drank too much alcohol, and stayed out late, leaving her feeling exhausted.
Inside the car, silence enveloped them, with only the gentle music drifting through the lemon-scented air.
Twenty years ago, Yin Luoqiu was only eight years old. Returning from school, she had seen Yang Auntie cradling little Yang Yi and feeding him.
At that time, Yang Yi had just been born, his skin wrinkled and red, looking utterly unsightly.
Yang Auntie beamed sweetly, radiating maternal radiance, and said cheerfully to her, “Xiaoqiu, this is your future fiancé, cute, isn’t he?”
Despite having reincarnated with memories intact, Yin Luoqiu hadn’t anticipated having her future decided so early on.
“I’m still young! I won’t accept an arranged marriage!”
She was wholeheartedly resisting!
However, her resistance didn’t receive much attention from her parents.
Yin Father and Yang Father had been childhood friends, and Yin Mother and Yang Mother were college roommates. Their relationships were already close, and after getting married, they became even closer. To live closer to each other, the two families purchased houses next to each other, becoming neighbours.
After marriage, both Yang Mother and Yin Mother became pregnant simultaneously, and the two families staged a fated marriage scenario.
Unfortunately, their firstborns were both daughters.
They couldn’t become in-laws.
For the following eight years, neither of the two ladies’ bellies showed any signs of movement.
When Yin Luoqiu and Yang Zhi Xia were eight years old, Yang Mother became pregnant again, and this event was met with great anticipation.
The birth of Yang Yi finally fulfilled the promise of a marriage alliance between the two families.
“This is our Luoqiu’s foster husband.”
Unlike the gentle and petite Yang Mother, Yin Mother was cheerful, strong-willed, and decisive.
However, both women were steadfast in their commitment to this “fated marriage,” to the point of obsession.
Even if she resisted, the adults were as deaf as they could be, acting as if they couldn’t hear her protests, and unilaterally making this marriage decision.
To cultivate the “engaged” relationship between them, Yang Mother often put little Yi by Yin Luoqiu’s side.
Every time she returned from school, she would see the nanny holding the little boy at the doorstep waiting for her.
Slowly, everyone around her knew that Yin Luoqiu had a “foster husband,” and they often teased her about it.
At that time, a baffled Yin Luoqiu’s mind was repeatedly filled with one thought: she was just an eight-year-old child, so why did they treat her like this?
Seeing Yin Luoqiu’s miserable state, Yang Zhi Xia, the eldest daughter of the Yang family who had dodged the bullet, patted her own heart in relief. She was thankful that it wasn’t her mother who had given birth to a younger brother. Otherwise, she would be the unlucky one! She didn’t want a little husband, that would be so embarrassing!
Time passed, and Yin Luoqiu endured two years of twitching and despair.
Two years later, nobody mentioned her “marriage” anymore.
Because when Yang Yi turned two, Yin Mother became pregnant with her second child.
Ten months later, Yin Luoqiu had a younger sister who was nearly eleven years her junior.
Compared to the eight-year age gap between Yin Luoqiu and Yang Yi, Yang Yi and Yin Yin, who had a three-year age difference, were a better match. The adults, seemingly suffering from amnesia, stopped insisting that Luoqiu and Yang Yi were an engaged couple.
Yin Luoqiu heaved a sigh of relief.
Finally, the adults’ jokes came to an end.
Three years of intimacy had made young Yang Yi inseparable from Yin Luoqiu.
If he couldn’t see her one day, he would cry endlessly until his voice grew hoarse and he could cry no more.
It wasn’t until Yang Yi turned ten that Yin Luoqiu went abroad for her studies, putting an end to their close relationship and constant companionship.
During her seven-year study abroad, Yin Luoqiu never returned home. After graduating from college, she continued her postgraduate studies and pursued a PhD, opened a company with friends, and her focus shifted entirely to life abroad.
Her relationship with Yang Yi and her family grew distant, to the point of no contact for several years.
It wasn’t until three years ago, when her mother fell ill, that she returned to her home country and decided to relocate her company.
But this time, her younger sister cried and knelt, begging her not to come back.
“Sister, we’ve arrived!”
Yin Yin’s voice snapped Yin Luoqiu out of her reverie.
She hadn’t thought about her past for a long time.
She got out of the car and stood in front of the house. However, this was no longer the same home as before.
Three years ago, when she returned to China, she had lived in the new house for a month. Perhaps it was too short of a time, so she hadn’t fully adapted yet.
Over these years, both the Yin and Yang families had flourished.
The Yin family was in the pharmaceutical industry, owning their own hospital and making breakthroughs in cancer-related issues. Their therapies for chemotherapy-induced allergies and preventing the spread of cancer cells had propelled the Yin family into the upper echelons of society. Meanwhile, the Yang family was in real estate and department stores. Yang Father’s astute investment choices never went awry, filling their pockets to the brim.
Both families had moved from small villas to large mansions, yet they were still neighbors, their houses tightly connected.
Upon entering the house, Yin Yin immediately called out to the housekeeper standing at the door.
She was the cook in the house.
But Yin Luoqiu had left for abroad when she was only eighteen, so she wasn’t familiar with the household staff.
“Ah, I forgot to introduce her,” Yin Yin stuck out her tongue, seemingly realizing it a bit late. “Sister, this is Aunt Liu. Last time you were back, she took a leave of absence to take care of her sick mother-in-law. You two haven’t met yet. She’s an excellent cook! Aunt Liu, this is my sister!”
Superficially, there seemed to be no issue with her words. However, anyone with a keen sense might detect an awkwardness.
Yin Luoqiu felt like an outsider. Returning to her own home, did she really need an introduction to the household staff?
Yang Yi glanced at Yin Yin, feeling rather uncomfortable.
Yin Luoqiu, who felt targeted, immediately hardened her expression.
She was willing to give Yin Yin face because she was still her younger sister. If she wasn’t willing, then she was nothing to her.
“Do I need an introduction when coming to my own house? If she doesn’t even know who I am, then there’s no need for me to stay here.”
Yin Luoqiu sneered, picked up her luggage, and headed for the third floor.
Aunt Liu felt embarrassed.
Yin Yin pouted, unhappy and feeling wronged. “Why did you say it like that, Sister? Aunt Liu isn’t someone who sold herself to our family, nor is she just any random
person. It’s impolite!”
Her words carried a thorn, and she always made sure to disparage Yin Luoqiu in front of Yang Yi.
Hearing this, Aunt Liu nodded in agreement.
Miss Yin Yin’s words struck a chord with her.
Why did she have to know her? If she didn’t know her, did that mean she’d be fired? This was just unreasonable! And if Miss Yin Yin introduced her, why couldn’t she accept it?
This young lady was really difficult to deal with!
“Don’t treat people like they’re idiots!”
Yang Yi glanced coldly at her, then followed Yin Luoqiu upstairs.
尹 Yin wanted to follow, but she was given a stern look by Yang Yi.
“Don’t come up!”
Being stopped, Yin Yin bit her lip, unhappy, but she didn’t dare to go after them again. She was afraid of making Yang Yi angry.
Yin Luoqiu’s room had a black-and-white color scheme, and the position of items on the table was the same as it was three years ago when she left.
She chuckled lightly as she removed her coat and scarf.
The room remained unchanged. It was probably at her mother’s instruction.
Just to appease that lingering guilt.
Ten years ago, although she had chosen to study abroad herself, her mother had played a part in facilitating it.
Three years ago, when Yin Yin begged her not to come back, her mother had been eavesdropping behind the door, but she hadn’t opposed it, and had even made the same request.
“Sister, come to my house for dinner tonight, my mom…”
Yang Yi pushed the door open and entered. Underneath Yin Luoqiu’s windbreaker, she was wearing a black printed dress that accentuated her graceful figure, and her lines were very beautiful.
However, what Yang Yi saw was the deep and shallow marks of kisses and bruises on her neck. His voice grew softer and softer until it disappeared.
A shadow crossed his eyes.
Jealousy made his heart ache as if it had been punctured, and his mind exploded. Apart from the teeth marks and bruises on her skin, he couldn’t see or remember anything else!
He knew she was twenty-eight now, and that she had a boyfriend abroad, but this was the first time he had faced this reality head-on.
He had been trying very hard, putting in a lot of effort to convince himself that everything would be fine once he grew up.
When he grew up, she would be his.
“Got it, you can leave first. I’ll change my clothes.”
Yin Luoqiu turned her head away, not wanting to see the hurt expression on Yang Yi’s face.
He looked like a abandoned puppy, his eyes misty, on the verge of tears.