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It was almost midnight by the time they finally finished dinner. After bidding good night to Su Meimei, who had finished washing all the bowls and chopsticks, Chu Rui went to the bathroom to take a shower before going back to his room and logging into the game. It was a new day after twelve a.m., which meant he had time to play games again.
Just as he was preparing to put on his game helmet, he was interrupted by his phone going off. It was Ms. Qin’s number!
“Hey, what’s up?” Chu Rui said. He was curious why she called him in the first place so late at night, but still decided to pick up.
“Rui, what’s wrong with Xiaofei?” Ms. Qin’s anxious voice startled Chu Rui. Chen Xiaofei? Had something happened to her? Was it the same two punks messing with Su Meimei?
“What happened?” Chu Rui said. His voice was heavy, filled with killing intent that he tried to hide. If Chen Xiaofei had encountered the same thing that Su Meimei had, he would kill anyone involved in it–slice them to pieces if needed.
“I don’t know. Since she came back from your place, she locked herself into the room. No matter how hard I knock she just won’t come out. Rui, have you been picking on her?” Ms. Qin said, her voice filled with concern.
“I wouldn’t dare! Just now Xiaofei dropped off some food for me and went directly back home. I wanted to escort her out, but she ran off herself. Actually, she looked off earlier when she was here as well. Could she be sick?” Chu Rui said with a frown.
“Sick? It doesn’t seem to be that…maybe she’s just tired. I don’t know why, but there was so much business today! It really worked us to the bone. I didn’t see you over today and was getting ready to call you and ask if anything was wrong. Who knew, Xiaofei told me not to. She cooked up a few dishes and dropped them off at your place all by herself!”
Qin Yue’s words stunned Chu Rui.
“Wait, Xiaofei cooked those dishes?” He asked. No wonder the taste seemed slightly different from usual. Who would guess that Xiaofei, who was such a shy, shrinking girl, would be an even better cook than her mother!
“Yes. I’ve never seen her put so much heart into it.” said Ms. Qin with a deep sigh.
Chu Rui was silent. He was inexperienced when it came to emotions, but not a total idiot. From what Ms. Qin was telling him, he could begin to guess at why Chen Xiaofei was acting oddly.
Originally she had been so happy to see him, but after seeing Su Meimei, such a cute girl, her expression had changed completely. If he couldn’t even see that, his head was mushy enough that he should just go bump himself off on a chunk of tofu or something.
He wasn’t dumb, though. It was just that Chu Rui hadn’t let his thoughts stray in that direction at all. He had known Chen Xiaofei for less than half a month and only seen her each time he went out for dinner. How could it happen so quickly?
Then, of course, he failed to take into consideration that within such a short timespan he had saved the two of them twice already: punching out the mafia members they were so afraid of, and beating out the big boss they couldn’t even imagine offending.
Heroes are always respected, especially when they go out of their way to rescue girls. It was an old cliche, but it always managed to touch the heart. So many beauties since ancient times had fallen for this.
Chen Xiaofei…she was already so shy and averse to socializing…even if she wasn’t completely antisocial, she didn’t quite fit in with other girls either. For a girl like that, having a boy in her life, who showed up in the role of protector…even if her heart hadn’t been stolen away immediately, of course she would harbor warm feelings toward him.
After realizing the truth, Chu Rui could only sit there in dumb silence. For whatever reason, Ms. Qin didn’t talk either. The sound of her breathing on the other end was the only indication the call was still on.
“Rui, I know this kind of thing can’t be forced. But as a mother, I beg of you: if you don’t have that kind of intent, please don’t hurt Xiaofei. She’s suffered a lot at my side. Since she was little, she’s been helping me out without a break. No romance, not even many friends. I owe her too much. If it’s possible, I hope that you can help me, help her.”
Ms. Qin’s voice seemed to tremble. From the choked up sound of her voice, Chu Rui could imagine what she must look like now: tearing up, covering her own mouth, forcing herself not to make any sound.
Chu Rui was silent. For a long time, he was silent.
“Ms. Qin, emotions are such a hard thing to predict. I can’t promise anything. But what I can promise is that I’ll treat Xiaofei like my own sister. If one day that sort of feeling really does come up in our relationship…you don’t have to say anything. I’ll try my best.”
Chu Rui’s tone was heavy, as was his heart. He was an assassin. His profession had taught him how invaluable true feeling was. Society nowadays was filled with material pleasures and concerns, and people laughed more at the poor than at the immoral. Having such a genuine connection was priceless. To him, what could be more valuable?
But because he knew of its value, he also understood that he couldn’t make daring statements out of the good of his heart. Giving promises he couldn’t honor would not only hurt him, but even moreso others.
Chu Rui had mixed feelings about Chen Xiaofei. Beforehand he had viewed her as nothing more than a little sister, never considering the possibility of romance. But after this time, Ms. Qin had made things more than clear. Chu Rui might be cold when he was an assassin, but in life he was really just another person, a normal person–not the king of assassins who walked in darkness.
Everyone knew how powerful rumors could be. Men and women with nothing to do with one another could be misunderstood just from a single careless action, and end up breeding rumors. All people liked gossip, and it was more than common for conversation to turn dangerous.
Just from baseless rumors, some men and women might even experience emotional changes. After long enough of people claiming emotions where they didn’t exist, they might slowly start to look at the other with different eyes. Perhaps they might even consider that the other had feelings for them in the first place. Eventually some of those people could become couples, or even just develop crushes on each other.
Now that Ms. Qin had laid it out for him like this, Chu Rui had no choice but to consider the side of things his mind had avoided in the past. He couldn’t treat Chen Xiaofei so carelessly in the future anymore. Knowing how she felt toward him, how could he still maintain such a carefree demeanor? Turning his head, he looked at the sachet on the table. The carefully stitched “Rui” sent strange sensations through his whole body.
“If that’s your answer, I have no more concerns. Please take care of Xiaofei in the future. I’m going to check on her, so I’ll hang up now. You should sleep soon, it’s so late.”
Now that she had Chu Rui’s promise, Ms. Qin did feel more at ease. If Chu Rui had said yes without hesitation, she would immediately have concluded that he was only toying with Xiaofei. But the fact that he could give her such a serious answer proved that he was treating the matter with concern, was treating Xiaofei with care.
Parents were all worried for their children. It was especially so for daughters, who could get their hearts broken by some careless roamer. If they began with delicate hearts, it could ruin their whole lives to be hurt like that.
Listening to the dial tone on the other end, Chu Rui didn’t budge. After a long while, he sighed. Putting his game helmet aside, he opened the window. As cool wind washed over him, his eyes filled with confusion that he had grown unfamiliar with as he raised them to the clean-cut moon in the sky…