"I am not sure why Fernando would ask Escort Zhuo to participate in a drinking contest." Li Shanshan tried to put on a serious face but the mirth in her eyes were too obvious. Lily and Zhuo Jingren went to join the others after their discussion with Mr. Martin was over.
"Yeah… right." Lily rolled her eyes while watching as Zhuo Jingren downed another glass of alcohol. His ears were turning red. It seemed as though Zhuo Jingren and Fernando were having a serious conversation. Lily and Li Shanshan couldn't make out what they were talking about because the two were intentionally keeping their volume down as they spoke.
But it was not like Lily was bothered about this. She didn't need to know what those two men were talking about. Zhuo Jingren was not someone that Fernando could scare and Fernando was not someone that Zhuo Jingren could intimidate. Given her understanding of the two men, they might even be talking about a business collaboration before this night ends.
"Your man is pretty outstanding," Li Shanshan said while holding her phone. "Guess what he did to that hateful Xuan guy?"
Lily immediately raised an eyebrow at her friend. "Xuan Hui?"
In response, Li Shanshan nodded before she showed Lily a text message which made Lily widened her eyes. "I'm guessing he did not tell you about this?" Li Shanshan smirked.
"No he didn't," Lily answered as she stared at Zhuo Jingren, her gaze complicated. That man didn't even ask her what happened or what caused her bruise. "How did you know this?"
"There are no secrets in the film industry," Li Shanshan said. "I am impressed by how fast he acted. He must be really angry because that dumb man hurt you."
Lily only shrugged as she sipped her drink, her eyes never leaving Zhuo Jingren. From time to time, the latter would look at her and would give her a smile, his eyes beaming with happiness. Right now, Zhuo Jingren was being extremely warm and friendly towards her friends, chuckling occasionally or furrowing his brows in anticipation while he conversed with them.
As Lily continued to observe Zhuo Jingren, she began to wonder if Zhuo Jingren had always been like this - ruthless. Lily recalled how she first met Zhuo Jingren or Renren when she was only ten years old. At thirteen years old Zhuo Jingren was already good-looking, though he was a little skinny. Many girls in the orphanage liked him but he did not accept any of their confessions. He was aloof and quiet and didn't talk much to anyone with the exception of one other guy.
Lily remembered how she would often see Renren sitting under the tree while he watched the other children play. He would either be reading a book about dinosaurs or an english novel. As a ten year old girl, Lily's knowledge was limited. She did not know english and so she could not understand what the boy was reading. She couldn't relate to the things he would talk to her about and she found him to be boring.
Then she realized that Renren was smart and she found out that his grades were impossibly high. She on the other hand was just an average student, with average grades, who was struggling with math and english. Her grades were pitiful compared to that smart and aloof boy. Lily thought that associating herself with a smart boy like Renren would only make her look dumber. This was the reason why Lily initially avoided him.
But this changed when Zhuo Jingren started to help her in her studies when she was twelve. That was also around the time that Qin Fei told the whole school that Lily's mother was working as a maid in the Qin family, making Lily a laughingstock in school. Lily was already ostracised for being mixed-blood and when news about her mother began to spread around in school, she got bullied even more. She was subjected to harsher name-calling. To be called 'shameless' was really hurtful for a girl. There was one time when she was bullied by one of her male classmates at the back of her school and Zhuo Jingren came to her rescue, saving her.
Because of that one encounter, she grew closer to the boy who seemed to blush around her every time. Lily was not obtuse about the boy's feelings, she knew that the smart and quiet boy had taken a liking to her. Moreover, his friends also started to tease them and even asked her if she would give Zhuo Jingren a chance when they grow up.
At that time, Lily honestly thought that it was impossible between them, but she was afraid to hurt his feelings. So instead of rejecting him outrightly, she told him that if he worked hard and gain her father's approval in the future, there would be hope for the two of them. She was twelve and he was fifteen, she didn't think that he would take her words seriously. Heck, she wasn't even serious about what she said. Never in her wildest dreams would she have thought that Zhuo Jingren would still remember what she said fifteen years later.
A small smile escaped Lily's lips as she thought their one-night stand seven years ago and how they were married now. If this was not fate, then what is?
"Are you thinking about me?" Lily unconsciously nodded when she heard Zhuo Jingren's voice next to her ear. She did not even notice the man approaching her.
"You are?" His next words made Lily freeze before she nodded once again. That was the truth, she was indeed thinking about him. What was there to be embarrassed about?