Lin Ruoxi was not accustomed towards such affectionate interactions but she nonetheless gave the woman a hug in return. “Jennifer, welcome back to China.”
The woman called Jennifer was Chris’ wife. “When Kris told me that he was personally invited into Yu Lei International per your request, I thought it was a splendid idea!
“You have no idea how miserable he was all these years back in the US. So I thought now that he was given a chance to return to China for a decent position, it would be the perfect opportunity.“
Lin Ruoxi recalled the time when Chris mentioned how he had cheated, so she could instantly visualize Jennifer’s words. “I too am really glad that he agreed to come for my assistance.”
Chris heard the mention of his name, which led him to crack an awkward chuckle.
Meanwhile, Jennifer scanned through Yang Chen. “Mr Yang, what a man you must be. What magic do you possess to get Lin to marry you? She’s well known for her reclusiveness and discreet way of living.”
After she’s doped, it gets much easier… Yang Chen thought, but ultimately answered in fluent American English. “I guess it’s something that has happened between the two of us. I would tell you but I don’t think Ruoxi’s keen on that.”
“Oh, haha…” Jennifer giggled as she held onto her husband’s arm. “You’re a humorous person Mr Yang. It’s fair to say I’ve never seen Lin embarrassed before.”
Lin Ruoxi bit onto her bottom lip, gripping onto Yang Chen’s waist with her fingertips.
At that moment, a decent-looking couple came towards them. The woman was slightly chubby, her bubbly eyes matching her round face. Her outfit was trendy and fit for the occasion. The man was instead dressed rather conservatively, but somehow exerted a look of politeness and charm.
“Ruoxi, do you still remember me?” the chubby-faced woman teasingly asked.
Lin Ruoxi seemed to be rather welcoming with her statement as she replied, “Huang Lele, how could I forget you?”
Huang Lele happily tugged onto her husband’s hand. “Hubby look, I told you Ruoxi wouldn’t forget about us.”
The polite man nodded lifelessly by his wife’s remark, as he turned towards Lin Ruoxi. “I can’t help it with her. I was just joking about whether you’ll remember who she is, but she turned it into a bet.”
Lin Ruoxi was slightly confused as she asked, “You’re Wang Haitao, right? Are you both married?”
“Yeah, who would have thought right? It wasn’t easy getting here,” Wang Haitao replied, slightly emotional.
At that moment, the crowd started settling down on their seats.
Yang Chen couldn’t help himself into the conservation, as Lin Ruoxi continued interacting with her old acquaintances.
Turns out, Huang Lele was the admiring sidekick of Lin Ruoxi’s years in college, but because Lin Ruoxi was a shining star during her time, ladies around her would hardly be noticed. The people from her university even referred to her as ‘the one next to Lin Ruoxi’.
Wang Haitao, on the other hand, was a student from the Faculty of Arts and was the only one genuinely in love with Huang Lele. Unfortunately for them, the Wang and Huang clans were in a generations-old feud with one another.
The reason behind that was because both clans were antique enthusiasts. Within their ranks were avid collectors, painters, calligraphers, and auctioneers. One clan consisted of high-ranking officials in the Ministry of History and Culture, while the other was a top-ranked broadcasting clan. It was almost destined that they were to clash with one another.
This caused Wang Haitao and Huang Lele’s relationship to be kept secret for all those years.
But fate had its ways, and years later the ill-fated couple finally got their share of happiness.
Everyone was naturally a big name official in their particular sectors. If it was not for Chris’ role as their research mentor back in university, they wouldn’t even have batted an eye at his invitation.
But they all stood on equal ground, which led them to put their noble mentalities aside and interacted as they did back in the old days.
Among them, it was undoubtedly Yang Chen who had the least credibility. Everyone else gradually found out about Lin Ruoxi’s marriage, but when it was revealed sooner or later by Chris that Yang Chen was just the director for Yu Lei Entertainment, it shocked the crowd.
It seemed to everyone that Yang Chen was leeching off her!
Lin Ruoxi naturally wasn’t too happy about that, but she was not comfortable talking about Yang Chen’s actual background. She just pretended as if nothing significant was there to reveal.
Yang Chen was unfazed through it all. The only thing he was looking forward to was the dinner menu.
After a while, Chris checked his watch. “Why aren’t Hanson and Yaxin here yet? I’m quite sure I invited them along.”
Upon finishing his question, the doors were flung open from the outside and the aforementioned couple walked in with all smiles, greeting and interacting with everyone they saw.
Naturally, the influence of the Li couple on the present crowd was significant, as many even took to stand up as they applauded their entrance.
Li Jianhe merrily held onto his wife to escort her to her seat, as he proclaimed, “Sorry to keep everyone waiting. We’d actually arrived twenty or so minutes ago but we were fortunate to meet a beloved elder who was coincidentally having dinner in this resort as we speak.”
“I guess it’s fitting for the protagonist to come last, we wouldn’t mind waiting, do we all? Nonetheless, if it’s someone Mr Li looks up to, I’m sure he is no ordinary person.” A bootlicker took the opportunity to give him praise.
Li Jianhe waved his hands in denial as he humbly replied, “Well I might be slightly well-known in Europe, but here within the boundaries of China I’m just everyone’s guest. The elder heard of Professor Chris’ attendance, so he’ll stop by in a while to pay his respects.”
Chris was slightly confused. After all, he had been in China for some time, and among the people he had been acquainted with, it was tough to figure out. “Hanson, stop beating about the bush, who is this person you’re talking about?”
Li Jianhe brushed it off. “You’ll know in a bit, professor. Let’s start now, shall we? I’m sure everyone’s tired of waiting by now.”
Chris jokingly lectured his previous assistant, before he hinted the waiters to serve the dishes and fill the guests’ glasses with respective drinks of their choices.
After a long while, everyone was in a jolly mood over this reunion.
The Li couple received the most attention. In terms of international connections, nobility, family backgrounds and their influence in national politics, they were undoubtedly the unmatched leader of the pack.
Comparatively, Lin Ruoxi who was once the talk of the town had to play second fiddle.
Halfway through her drink, Shen Yaxin stood up with her wine glass, turned towards Lin Ruoxi across the table as she proclaimed, “To Ruoxi, for being so kind as to pass on Hanson, which indirectly led to our fulfilling marriage.”
Shen Yaxin half-encrypted joke seemed to have brought along some peculiar glances from the crowd towards Lin Ruoxi.
Lin Ruoxi, who was already not in the mood for a conversation, stood up as pale as a sheet while she held onto her glass and replied, “I’m sure this has nothing to do with me. Thanks anyway.”
She then took a sip of wine and sat down.
Yang Chen was unamused by everything around him as he nibbled on his roasted pigeon, even went as far as to slice it up with a steak knife. But inside, he was sympathetic towards his wife for the things she had to endure.
But what he was most agitated by was Shen Yaxin’s intentional provocation on Lin Ruoxi’s emotional wounds that were yet to be healed.
Huang Lele saw the scene and instantly added, “Honestly, I was sure back then that Ruoxi would get together with Mr Li, but it turned out that Yaxin ended up with him instead.”
“Well, I guess it’s fate that brought Yaxin and Mr Li together. Now she’s the envy of us all.” Another woman added in hyperbole.
Li Jianhe shook his head in denial and said, “Everyone’s comments are truly humbling. But I think it’s because Ruoxi and I weren’t meant for each other. Yaxin and I were fated, and now I just want to treat my wife the best I can.”
“How humble of you Mr Li. I had a call with Yaxin a month ago, you gifted her with a beachside mansion for her own personal retreat. How sweet!”
Li Jianhe proudly replied, “Well money is there to be used, isn’t it? When a husband makes money it’s only fair if he shares it with his beloved wife.”
The crowd was pleased by his statement. A beachside mansion was easily worth millions of Euros and was not something anyone could just get despite being wealthy. His words were a dream that many could not realize.
Shen Yaxin added with a grin, “Well actually, I think Ruoxi and Mr Yang are a good pair too, the husband working for his wife. I’m sure he did it for love.”
The crowd was aware that Shen Yaxin was intentionally insulting Yang Chen as a wimp and a failure, but they nonetheless acted like it was nothing as the crowd burst into laughter.
Yang Chen brought himself close to Lin Ruoxi’s ear. “Babe, I’ve got this sudden urge to toss this bone over to that woman. Hmm, I wonder why…”
Lin Ruoxi’s composure took a slight hit as she mumbled, “I know you aren’t afraid of any of them here, but it’s still Chris’ event. Everyone here was coursemates at one point. I think it’s better if we keep it cool for now. Can you hold it in, we just have to make it through this dinner.”
Yang Chen took a deep breath. “I’ll do as you say, for now. But the next word out of her mouth that is aimed at you, I’m not holding back.”
Lin Ruoxi felt a sense of reassurance surged through her heart. He could have chosen to ask about her past with Li Jianhe, but instead, his first thought was to make sure she was safe.
Just when the guests were bonding together, Shen Yaxin appeared to have something in mind as she turned to Wang Haitao who had remained silent this whole time and proclaimed, “Haitao, you’re clearly the most knowledgeable among us. Hanson has gifted me something a few days ago. Could you authenticate it for us?”