"Alright, you can't be too tense or you will start to bounce," Lily said sternly before she pulled the reins of her horse to signal it to slow down while waiting for Zhuo Jingren to catch up to her. They were currently circling slowly around the barn to get used to riding.
"Just relax…I noticed that you tend to tighten your legs around the horse which is not good. You have to think of… how should I put it…" She made a deliberate pause. "It's like being one with the horse. Imagine it as an extension of you, instead of an animal that you are riding."
Lily knew that Zhuo Jingren was intelligent but it was not until today that she saw how his intelligence was put to the test. Zhuo Jingren was a fast learner and was able to follow her instructions well. Though Lily never dared to underestimate her man, she was pleasantly surprised at his progress and even wonder why he was afraid of horses in the first place.
"Hey… you seemed to be afraid of horses a while ago," she teased which earned a chuckle from Luke who was following closely behind them. "Why were you afraid of them?" she continued before turning her head around to shoot a glare at Luke. This man was really courting death.
"Teeth," Zhuo Jingren answered shortly, while concentrating hard on maintaining his control over the horse and maneuvering it. One single mistake and this horse could rear back and throw him to the ground.
"What do you mean? Like their teeth? Why would you be scared of their teeth?" Lily asked as she slowly squeezed the sides of her horse, causing it trot. Zhuo Jingren imitated Lily's actions and his horse also started to move a little faster.
"Scary teeth," he answered honestly. Zhuo Jingren found their teeth big - crazy big. He was sure that a horse's bite had the capability to devour a person's arms. He better make sure not to make any mistakes or accidentally provoke the beast. Of course, he also knew that the likelihood of this happening under Lily's watch was low. But still…
Luke was snickering behind them when he heard Zhuo Jingren's reply and that irritated Lily even more. "Let's go ahead to the trail." Lily pointed ahead and gestured for Zhuo Jingren to follow her.
Lily would have loved to bring Zhuo Jingen out of the park for some sightseeing but she knew that it wasn't a good idea, especially since Zhuo Jingren was still a beginner. So Lily decided that they would just follow the trail within the park while hoping that they would get to see some interesting sights along the way.
However, just as Zhuo Jingren, Lily and Luke were going to start on the trail, loud galloping sounds could be heard behind them and they were getting closer. The trio immediately turned their heads and immediately saw a group riders approaching them. Judging from their speed, it seemed like they were racing. But instead of passing them by, the riders were seen to be pulling on the reins of their horses to slow their horses down.
The group of riders comprising two men and two women stopped before them before they greeted Lily and Luke. Lily immediately recognized them to be the professional horseback riding instructors hired by the park.
"And who is this fine man?" A woman whom Lily recognized as Suzette smiled while eyeing Zhuo Jingren.
"That fine man is my man," Lily quickly answered while smiling back at the group. The group caught onto Lily's words immediately and gave Zhuo Jingren a look over. All along they thought that there was something going on between Lily and Luke as the two of them had gotten along really well. But when they saw Zhuo Jingren, they knew why Luke didn't stand a chance on the looks department alone. They didn't know that Lily had such a high standards for her man.
Lily could tell that they were checking her man out and knew what they were probably thinking inside. But that was just their own superficial thinking. Looks wasn't everything alright?
"Whoa… Be careful ladies and gents, stop staring at him like that or he might just fall off from the horse. He's still a beginner," Luke joked, earning chuckles from the group.
Lily didn't find Luke's jesting amusing at all. A glint of unfathomable emotion flashed in her eyes but it was too quick for anyone to notice.
After that, the group surrounded Zhuo Jingren and started introducing themselves. They asked Zhuo Jingren questions about himself and he patiently answered all of their questions. Meanwhile, Lily was riding closely behind them while listening in to their conversations.
"So, you're a banker in Hong Kong? Which bank? My friends love to travel to Hong Kong," one man said. Most of them were either of noble descent or came from really influential families. They were naturally all very well-travelled.
"Zhuo Capital," Zhuo Jingren answered.
"Ah! That's a good Bank. I heard the owner is extremely handsome?" One woman chuckled. "Maybe I could meet up with him on my next visit. Why don't you help me get in touch with your boss?" The woman winked.
Lily was engrossed listening in to their conversations when Luke's voice suddenly echoed next to her ear, "So you married a banker?"
Lily just nodded in response, irritation building inside her. She didn't miss the hint of mockery in his tone. Moreover, this was supposed to be a date with just the two of them ah. As if Luke was not enough, another group had to join the party.
"I always thought that there was a mutual attraction between us. It makes me wonder why you would choose him and not me?" Luke had always been this blunt and this was the reason why Lily got along well with him in the past, because he was not the scheming sort and would always say what was on his mind.
"I don't think that is any of your business, Luke," she answered in a firm tone. Sometimes people tend to forget who she was and what she was capable just because she was acting friendly.
"Is it not?" Luke asked. "If you wanted to marry someone, you could have approached me. Our families were close before. Besides, I knew you since you were young and I think I have a good understanding of you. Plus, my status matches Liam Arison. If you were looking for someone to infuriate your ex fiancé, I was the best candidate."
Though Lily did not mention anything about the circumstances that led to her marriage to Zhuo Jingren, Luke felt that the only reason why Lily would marry someone just a month after her engagement with Liam was broken was to make the man jealous. After all, Liam was also cheating on her.
"Well… I had to find someone outstanding and…" Lily smiled at Luke. "That is not you." Lily then gave the horse a squeeze on its sides, prompting the horse to walk faster so that she could close the gap between her and Zhuo Jingren who was with the group.
All along, Lily had been paying close attention on her husband and the group who were just slightly ahead of her. These people may sound friendly on the surface but Lily knew the hidden insults behind their words.
After asking some trivial questions, they started to talk about Luke and how they even thought that there was something going on between Luke and Lily. Lily found that they were being disrespectful to talk about this given that this was the first time that they were meeting her husband. Moreover, it wasn't as if she was very close to this group either.
She was not sure if this was Luke's doing but she felt that the group was trying to isolate Zhuo Jingren from her, thereby giving Luke the chance to talk to her privately. This immediately worsened her mood.
"Hey! Why are you mad?" Luke was quick to follow Lily. "You know that I have always liked you and I will still accept you if you leave him..." These words immediately made Lily stop in her tracks. She turned her head to face Luke.
"Are you trying to make my husband jealous?" she asked.
"So what if I am?" he retorted, earning a scoff from Lily.
"Luke… Under normal circumstances, I would retaliate but because I respect your father, I will not do anything to you. But let me give you a piece of advice," she paused, making sure that Luke was looking at her. "If you can steal a woman from another man, it does not mean that you have won. In fact, it is your loss. Because someday, someone else can steal that woman away from you too. That's the cycle of life. Do not covet what doesn't belong to you."
Though Lily had not yelled or screamed when she was saying these words to Luke, she had unknowingly raised her voice a little, stopping everyone in their tracks.
Even Zhuo Jingren stopped and stared at Lily. The only reason why he was being respectful when conversing with this group was because he thought these people were Lily's close friends. But from the way they talked and acted, he eventually realized that they were just trying to isolate him from his own wife. But knowing that his wife would act soon, he decided to play dumb and act along. Now was the time that he returned to his wife.
When Lily noticed that the group was staring at them, she just stared back at them and then at Luke who seemed to have lost his tongue. "You all assumed that he was a banker just because he said that he works in a bank. Didn't it occur to you that an owner works in his own bank too?" Lily asked, rendering everyone speechless. Then she gestured for Zhuo Jingren to follow her and they began to head in the opposite direction, away from the group.
Zhuo Jingren didn't forget to flash everyone a provocative smile before following after Lily. His smile infuriated them a little and made them feel embarrassed. After all, they had assumed Zhuo Jingren was beneath them while they boasted about their education and flaunted their etiquette in front of him.
Now that Lily had debunked their assumptions, the group felt uncomfortable as they glared daggers at Luke. When Luke had told them that Lily had brought someone with her today who had no prior experience in horseback riding, they immediately assumed that he was someone of a lower class. Anyone born to the upper class would surely know how to ride a horse. Moreover, it was Luke who asked them to show their 'hospitality' to the guest.
This group of young men and women could only hope that this incident wouldn't reach the ears of their parents. They were sure that their parents would hold them accountable for their actions of offending Lily and a powerful figure in the form of Zhuo Jingren.
Meanwhile, Zhuo Jingren was smiling from ear to ear. For some reason, he found Lily's badass way of handling things a little cute. Maybe he should let his wife protect him from time to time, no?