Chapter 37 A Slap That Tore Her Hopes Asunder
“Ever since my mother and I moved in and became part of the Su family, you’ve been shunning us. You’ve made things difficult for us in everything we did. My mom had asked me to tolerate you. She said that you were only acting like that because you couldn’t accept your mother’s death. She even told me that things would get better in time.”
Su Yuanyuan was crying in torrents. When she spoke, her voice sounded completely miserable. She stood alone before Su Jianan, the shoulders on her lean and tiny frame quivering slightly. From all perspective, Su Yuanyuan looked like some kind of socially vulnerable girl who had been oppressed for years. Nobody would be able to quell the feelings of pity evoked by such a sight.
Su Jianan kept looking at Su Yuanyuan’s eyes. “Wonder what mascara she’s using,” Su Jianan thought. “Didn’t get ruined even after all that crying.”
“But even after so many years, you’re still the same!” Su Yuanyuan kept throwing out accusations while making sure that she looked pitiable. “You haven’t changed one bit. Your mother’s death had nothing to do with my mom, and yet you took everything out on her. Fine, let’s forget about how you’re always looking for ways to cause her trouble. I’ll let that pass. But do you have to humiliate her like this today? And in such a place too! Sis… no. I won’t be calling you that ever again. Su Jianan, you can’t take things too far!”
“I told you ages ago that my mother only gave birth to me and my brother. I don’t have a younger sister,” Su Jianan said, her eyes holding mild ridicule. “You’re only starting to get it now?”
Hah. Sister? What sister? When they were all alone, when there was no longer a need for Su Yuanyuan to keep up her facade of innocence, she would always use Su Jianan’s full name. The way Su Yuanyuan spoke would always sound like she was the oldest daughter of the Su family instead of Su Jianan.
“You…” Su Yuanyuan’s tears flowed with much greater vigor. “You’ve taken your bullying too far.”
Su Jianan smiled. “Jiang Xueli knew d*mn well that Su Hongyuan was a married man, and yet she still chose to be with him. She even gave birth to you. They hid their affair from my mother for over ten years. Then, when my mother’s health was at its worst, Jiang Xueli suddenly showed up at our house with you. She told my mother that all these years, Su Hongyuan had another family outside the house. My mother was traumatized and was dead because of it. Su Yuanyuan, are you still going to deny that my mother’s death had nothing to do with you people? Let me tell you something. All three of you are murderers. All of you killed my mother.”
“No, it’s not like that…” Su Yuanyuan sobbed in panic. In her current state, she looked nothing but pitiable. “It’s not like that. My mom had nothing to do with it.”
An icy smile formed on Su Jianan’s lips. “Enough, Su Yuanyuan. You can stop all your acting now.”
“Brother-in-law,” Su Yuanyuan said, suddenly throwing herself at Lu Boyan. “Do you see now? This is what sis is truly like. She isn’t a kind person, she…”
“Miss Su.” Lu Boyan cut Su Yuanyuan off coldly. “I know my wife’s personality and conduct much better than you do.”
“…” Su Yuanyuan was stunned into silence. She even forgot to cry.
“There is, however, a score between us that I would like to settle right now.” Lu Boyan’s expression grew darker and darker. Danger leaked from his long and narrow eyes.
All of a sudden, a bad feeling formed at the pit of Su Yuanyuan’s stomach. “Score? What score? Brother-in-law, is there some kind of misunderstanding?”
“Leaking Jianan’s personal details and photo on the forum. You call that a misunderstanding?”
Su Yuanyuan visibly paled. She stared wide-eyed at Su Jianan, completely incapable of speech.
To many people, the memory of Su Jianan’s doxxing incident was still fresh. But what many people had not expected was that Su Yuanyuan was the one who had leaked Su Jianan’s personal details. It was Su Yuanyuan’s actions that had caused Su Jianan to be assaulted.
The pitiable image that Su Yuanyuan had been trying so hard to fabricate fell apart in an instant.
“Really can’t believe this girl is capable of such schemes…”
“Tsk, tsk. She was even calling ‘sister’ just now. Even I almost believed that her suffering was real.”
Those words from the crowd had found their way into Su Yuanyuan’s ears. She clenched both fists tightly. A savage look had now replaced the paleness on her face.
She had used a newly registered anonymous account to do her dirty work. She did not expect to be found out like this.
Lu Boyan angled his head to look at Su Jianan. “What would you like to do?” he asked, his tone coddling and affectionate.
“I don’t want to see her face,” Su Jianan said.
Lu Boyan nodded and two police officers came in from outside. The officers walked up to Su Yuanyuan and flashed her their IDs. “Miss Su Yuanyuan, you’re suspected of unlawful disclosure of the personal information of others. Please follow us to the station for follow-up investigations.”
“I’m not…” Finally, Su Yuanyuan knew fear. “I didn’t. It wasn’t me.”
“Whether you did or didn’t, it’s our job to find out. Miss Su Yuanyuan, please cooperate with us.”
Su Yuanyuan turned away to run, but the police officers were quick on their feet and had blocked her way before she could escape. “Miss Su, if you refuse to cooperate, then we have no choice but to cuff you.”
At those words, Su Yuanyuan stared at Su Jianan in terror. “Su Jianan, you can’t do this. You can’t just send me to the police station.”
Su Jianan stepped right up to Su Yuanyuan’s face and stared her down with cold eyes. “In the many times you’ve provoked me, is there a time where I let you off the hook?”
Su Yuanyuan’s shoulders sank limply like a deflating balloon. The police officers led Su Yuanyuan away with a screaming Jiang Xueli at their heels.
The gravity of the situation hit Su Hongyuan the moment he saw his daughter being led away. In a fit of anger, he stalked towards Su Jianan and slapped her in the face. Nobody had seen it coming let alone tried to stop him.
A burning sensation began to spread from Su Jianan’s cheek. Still, no amount of physical pain could top the hopelessness that had begun swirling in her heart like an unstoppable tempest.
A dark and dangerous glint flashed in Lu Boyan’s eyes. He stepped forward and shielded Su Jianan behind his own body. He saw the crimson finger marks on Su Jianan’s white cheeks. The sight of those marks had appalled him.
All of a sudden, a chilling coldness took over his entire comportment, as if he were a wild beast whose scales had been unduly touched. A dark and bone-chilling aura pervaded the entire room. Others who were standing around them could not help but step back in fear.
Everybody knew that things would turn bloody the moment Lu Boyan got angry.
Just when everyone was expecting a storm of blood and flesh, Su Jianan reached out and grabbed Lu Boyan’s hand. She stepped around Lu Boyan and walked up to Su Hongyuan.
“Su Hongyuan, from now on, I’m no longer your daughter.” Su Jianan’s face was expressionless and her voice was flat. “From today onwards, all ties between us are severed. We’re no longer related to each other.”
A look of regret flashed across Su Hongyuan’s face. At the same time, a crying Jiang Xueli re-entered the room.
“My daughter is arrested! My daughter! Arrested!” Jiang Xueli glared at Su Jianan savagely. “This is all your fault!”
Jiang Xueli lifted her arms to strike Su Jianan.
A narrow-eyed Lu Boyan caught Jiang Xueli’s forearm just as Tang Yulan hurried over. “Mr. Su, Mrs. Su,” Tang Yulan said, “This is my charity night, so if you’re here to cause trouble, please take your leave. This place doesn’t welcome you.”
After everything, Su Hongyuan would not have wanted to stay either. He left, taking Jiang Xueli with him.
Those in attendance were seasoned elites, all of whom were astute enough to know that the event would be ruined if they allowed the awkwardness to linger in the ambience. So they went back to chattering and laughing with each other as if the untoward incident just now had never happened.
Lu Boyan took Su Jianan’s hand and led her to the balcony.
Even during nightfall, the city’s din refused to let up. On the other side of the river, the night was dotted with the financial center’s incandescence. Each building held the dreams and aspirations of countless of people. This side of the river was occupied by the Bund whose opulence would make any person go starry-eyed. Miscellaneous pedestrian zones were set up nearby, all of which was bustling with activity. Even during nightfall, the city’s din refused to let up. On the other side of the river, the night was dotted with the financial center’s incandescence. Each building held the dreams and aspirations of countless of people. This side of the river was occupied by the Bund whose opulence would make any person go starry-eyed. Miscellaneous pedestrian zones were set up nearby, all of which was bustling with activity.
Su Jianan took in the entire view of the city from high up. It gave her the impression that this city would never allow its inhabitants to stop their activities.
Lu Boyan caressed the visible finger marks on Su Jianan’s cheeks. “Does it still hurt?”
“No. Not anymore.” Su Jianan leaned against the railing nonchalantly. “There’s now a good reason for me to cut ties with him. I’ve been wanting to do that ever since he killed my mom.”
It had been nine years since then. In those nine years, there were indeed occasions where Su Jianan was tempted to disown Su Hongyuan. But she never did. She had never thrown out the words. Back then, she still had qualms about disowning her father, and Lu Boyan knew why. But today, the last vestige of hope that she had once held in her heart was sundered by Su Hongyuan’s slap.
The wind was cold tonight despite the approaching summer. Su Jianan felt the chill right down to her toes in her high heels, causing her to hug her shoulders.
Lu Boyan removed his jacket and draped it over her.
Su Jianan felt a sudden warmth on her back. She turned around and stared back at Lu Boyan in surprise. “Thanks,” she said, deciding she might as well just put on the jacket.
All this while, she had thought that she would never have to good fortune to experience Lu Boyan’s act of chivalry.
“Oh, yeah. How did you know that the person who leaked my information was Su Yuanyuan?”
“Did some digging.”
The night it happened, Lu Boyan had ordered Shen Yuechuan to conduct an investigation. It did not even take thirty minutes for Lu Boyan to obtain the IP address, which was registered to the Su family. From there, it became obvious that Su Yuanyuan was behind the leak.
“You knew it was Su Yuanyuan too?” Lu Boyan asked.
For the past month, Su Jianan never said anything about it. So Lu Boyan just assumed that she did not know anything.
“Of course I knew.” Su Jianan drew Lu Boyan’s jacket closer to her body, inhaling his familiar scent. “Other than Luo Xiaoxi, nobody knew about my personal details. Also, that photo was taken during my high school graduation. It’s always been sitting at the house. Su Hongyuan won’t stoop to such things. Jiang Xueli doesn’t know how to use the internet. The only one left is Su Yuanyuan, who has hated my guts ever since we were young.”
Lu Boyan’s brows creased. “She’s hated you since young?”
“Well, what to do?” Su Jianan shrugged, her palms facing up. “It’s easy for someone’s who’s too excellent or too perfect to be ousted.”
Smiling, Lu Boyan cradled Su Jianan’s face with his long fingers and turned her head towards him. There were clear signs of swelling on her right cheek. “Put some ice on it when we get home.”
Light from the other side of the river washed over them, illuminating Lu Boyan’s face. Every time she set eyes on him, Su Jianan thought he looked even more handsome than any other times she had seen him. The sharp contours of his face accentuated his beautiful features to perfection. Unthinkingly, she asked, “Lu Boyan, shouldn’t there be more people plotting against you?”
Lu Boyan’s brow shot up. “They wouldn’t dare.”
“Wouldn’t dare? Because nobody is better than him? Or is it because those people chose to suck up to him instead?” Su Jianan thought.
Su Jianan laughed. “Then I guess I’m lucky to be married to you.”
She overdid it with her laughter. A sharp pain pierced through her right cheek. She released a hiss and pressed her palm to her cheek.
Lu Boyan frowned again. Then, he offered Su Jianan his hand. “I’ll take you home.”
Su Jianan was a bit reluctant. “Why go home so early…” She had slept from yesterday afternoon until this morning, so she was full of energy. She did not feel like going home at all.
“So you don’t want to go home.” Lu Boyan stepped closer to Su Jianan. “Then shall we continue that thing we were doing here just now?”
“Just now… the thing we were doing?”
Su Jianan remembered Lu Boyan’s strength, the way his soft lips had covered her own. Crimson crept up her face swiftly and spread through her entire face…