Mid-conversation, a servant came over to quietly ask Han Ruchu a few questions about the party. Han Ruchu smiled apologetically to Qiao Anhao. She turned her head and gave some instructions.
Qiao Anhao hesitated for a moment, before she put her cup down and turned around to walk over to Lu Jinnian. She was just two meters away from him when Xu Wanli walked down the stairs. When he saw Qiao Anhao, he called out, "Qiao Qiao."
Qiao Anhao stopped in her tracks to greet Xu Wanli. "Uncle Xu."
Xu Wanli smiled brightly and nodded. As he fixed up his tie, he walked over in front of her. The words from his mouth were directed towards Han Ruchu, though. "Ruchu, it's been a while since I last saw Qiao Qiao. She's gotten so much prettier."
Han Ruchu had already prepared everything. Hearing Xu Wanli's words, she elegantly and calmly stood up and walked over to him. She reached her arms out and naturally helped Xu Wanli fix his tie. "Qiao Qiao has always been pretty, ever since she was a baby."
Xu Wanli chuckled a little. When he turned his head, his eyes met Lu Jinnian's, who had also coincidentally just turned his head when he heard Xu Wanli's voice.
Xu Wanli's smile froze, and he flatly turned away to embrace Han Ruchu's shoulders on his way to the sofa.
Lu Jinnian stared at his back, tightly pursing his lips. His eyes fell, masking the hurt in his eyes.
Xu Wanli hugged Han Ruchu as he sat down. Then he asked how Xu Jiamu's birthday preparations were coming along, to which Han Ruchu answered in a warm tone of voice. The two of them looked like a married couple who have been in love for many years.
Seeing this, Lu Jinnian felt a sharp pain, as he remembered that because of his birth, his own mother lived miserable and adrift. The two arms by his side silently balled into fists.
Although Xu Wanli's series of reactions just now seemed quite natural, Qiao Anhao could still clearly see the annoyance in his eyes when he saw Lu Jinnian.
It wasn't like Qiao Anhao and Lu Jinnian had never pretended that Lu Jinnian was Xu Jiamu when they met Xu Wanli and Han Ruchu. But back then, it was mostly during parties, where everyone had worked hard to keep up the act. They'd never met privately, and so she never realized the reality before.
In actuality, Qiao Anhao could understand why Han Ruchu ignored Lu Jinnian and was cold towards him. For the most part, no woman would be able to speak nicely and treat their own husband's illegitimate son warmly.
However, Xu Wanli was unexpectedly just as cold towards Lu Jinnian, which left Qiao Anhao a little puzzled. Even if he didn't like this son, Lu Jinnian, he wouldn't be so lazy as to not bother to talk to him, right?
An unspeakable pain surfaced in Qiao Anhao's heart. She instinctively looked over at Lu Jinnian, about to speak, when suddenly he said in a deeply cold voice, "I'm going out for a smoke."
He didn't wait for Qiao Anhao to respond, just turned around and strode out of the house.
"Qiao Qiao, come..." Qiao Anhao, who secretly wanted to follow Lu Jinnian out, suddenly heard Han Ruchu's call.
She replied with an "Oh". Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, she glanced over at Lu Jinnian, who stood by his own car, as he lit up his cigarette. He took a deep one and let out a mouthful of smoke. She turned around and walked towards the sofa.