Xia Ruoxin helped Rainy pack up her belongings. Actually, nothing much was to be done. The child had little things—just a few pieces of clothing, a small basin, and a face towel that could fit into a little bag.
“Mommy.” The moment Rainy saw her mother, she scurried down from Gao Yi’s arms wanting to look for Xia Ruoxin.
Gao Yi put her down. In his mind, he was thinking what an ingrate the child was. Nevertheless, Rainy loved her mother the most, not her father. In an instant, he could feel himself becoming jealous. It felt like he had eaten some sour pickles.
Xia Ruoxin scooped her daughter up and put her little sun hat on her head. Finally, she asked Gao Yi, “I’ve packed everything. Can we go home?” She wasn’t overly fond of the hospital so she wished they could leave as soon as possible.
Gao Yi placed his fingers at his lips and pretended to cough. He found it amusing to see Xia Ruoxin struggle with herself. She was in such a rush to leave that she had even made the hospital bed and folded the blanket.
What was he trying to say? Xia Ruoxin held Rainy’s little hand tightly as her expression started to change. In her mind, her thoughts were going wild. Was Rainy getting sicker and had to be hospitalized till further notice; or was there something wrong with the previous report? Was Rainy having a relapse rather than the initial diagnosis of the common flu?
“Don’t let your imagination run wild.” Gao Yi interrupted Xia Ruoxin’s rich imagination. “It will take a while for Rainy’s medical report to be out. I will decide once I have seen it. Don’t worry.” He came over, put his arm around Xia Ruoxin’s shoulder to comfort her, and-at the same time-made her a promise. “Your daughter is fine. She may be weaker than a normal child, but believe me, she will be a healthy person. It is not that easy to recover from a major illness so you will have to take good care of her.”
Xia Ruoxin finally heaved a sigh of relief. However, she was overcome with a sense of sadness. It made her voice sound hoarse as she choked back a sob.
“Gao Yi, thank you.”
“You know you don’t have to thank me.” Gao Yi smiled as he tidied up her hair. “Look at your hair. It is as tussled as your daughter’s, but hers was tidier than yours.”
Rainy looked up and blinked her eyes in confusion. Then, she resumed playing with her doll.
Xia Ruoxin chuckled helplessly when she heard his teasing words. However, she didn’t know that a man was standing outside the door with a hand on the door handle. His dark eyes registered the loving glances exchanged between the man and the woman in the ward while a little one played with her doll not far from them.
The man’s thin and dispassionate lips curled into an aloof smile. So, you are basking in happiness. What about me? Do I have to shoulder all these unfortunate events myself?
This was a question he had asked himself countless times. As he did so in the day, he came to the same conclusion every night with one word.
Karma. This was his karma. He had done wrong, and there was no way for him to make it up again. If that was so, wasn’t fate being too cruel to him?
He loosened his grip on the door handle. The corner of his black shirt rubbed against the door and curled up. Then, he walked further and further away, without showing his face again.
Night fell. The streets were silent, and there weren’t many passers-by. The street lamps were lit up.
Chu Lui leaned against the balcony. He didn’t know when it started, but he had become fond of watching the lights in his neighborhood lit up. There was only him alone in a desolate home. No matter. He had learned to get used to it.
Knock, knock. He could hear the knocking sound on his door. He neither wanted to move nor did he wanted to open the door. However, that knocking sound persisted with no intention of stopping. The knocking continued and sounded throughout the living room.
Creak. Chu Lui opened the door. A woman stood outside, shivering in the cold like an abandoned pet. She looked so pitiful, and one couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for her. Nevertheless, that didn’t include Chu Lui.
“Lui…” The woman called out hoarsely. She was hugging her elbows. The thin clothing didn’t hide her exhaustion. Her complexion was worse. She looked as though she had been abused: pale and ugly, which was easy to invoke one’s sympathy.
“What are you doing here?” Chu Lui blocked the door using his body. He didn’t want any outsider in his house. They had nothing to do with him.
“Lui, can we please talk?” The woman hugged her elbows. “I’m feeling cold. May I come in?”
Chu Lui sneered. “Li Manni, you can say whatever you have come to tell me by standing here. I really don’t have the time to entertain you. If you are cold, why don’t you put on more clothing? There is always a price to pay when you resort to trickery to gain someone’s confidence.”
Li Manni’s ruse had been debunked. She gripped her hands tightly and rubbed them together as her lips turned green from the cold. Right. How could she have forgotten? Chu Lui was never one to be protective of the fairer sex. He wouldn’t blink an eye if she was dead. It was the same for Xia Ruoxin in the past. Now, it was the same for her, too. She wondered who was worse-Xia Ruoxin or her.
No. That person must be Xia Ruoxin.
Ha. She suddenly laughed. It looked strange on her thinned face to the point of terrifying.
“Lui, I have something to tell you.” Suddenly, she was using that as an excuse. It was something she had kept to herself for a very long time. She wanted to tell him: Chu Lui, you have a daughter, your only daughter. Too bad. She’s already dead. That child’s death was the consequence of her father’s unwillingness to save her. Li Manni could feel an indescribable adrenaline welling up inside her when she thought of her revenge.
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to hear it.” Chu Lui cut Li Manni off. He didn’t want to listen; neither was he willing to hear anything from her.
“You will regret this.” Li Manni sneered, and the smile stretched her thinned face. Then, she reached out with both hands as though she was going to grab the man before her just like old times. She wanted to hold him tight. She could do without his love. If he could only like her, dote on her, and give her everything. It was a pity. The man stepped back and evaded her hands. They hung in mid-air. In the end, all she caught was the cold wind and this man’s heartlessness.
Bang. Chu Lui closed the door, shutting Li Manni outside.
“Chu Lui…” Li Manni spoke his name through clenched teeth.
“I told you. You will regret this. You will definitely regret this. I actually wanted to tell you. But now, I will not do that. Your daughter died. Ha, ha, ha…” Her laughter sounded strange as the cold wind blew at her body. She turned around while the wind tousled her head, making her look like a demon. That face was twisted with a sinister look.
Chu Lui stood on the balcony. His dark eyes looked dull as they watched Li Manni’s silhouette became smaller and smaller. When he looked again, she was nowhere to be seen; and he didn’t know when she had left.
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