In the middle of the magnificent hall, a good-looking man and woman walked toward Pei Ge.
The woman, who was wearing an elegant, white evening gown, held on to a man in a dark blue suit. From their intimate actions, it was evident that they were a couple.
Zhou Zhuoyang... It really is Zhou Zhuoyang....
The gentle eyebrows and face, the refined temperament, the gesture exuding elegance... He was clearly the same ex-boyfriend who had suddenly broken up with her in the past and later disappeared from the face of the earth.
"Zhou Zhuoyang..." Pei Ge muttered as she looked at Zhou Zhuoyang.
Why was he here? How did he become her cousin's fianc?
"Miss Pei, it's been a while. I'm surprised you still remember me."
After all the time spent on missing him, Pei Ge could not believe that he was right in front of her.
"Zhuoyang, why are you here?"
Pei Ge stared intently at Zhou Zhuoyang, her palms tightly clasped together.
"Well, Miss Pei, why can I not be here?" Zhou Zhuoyang replied gently as he gave her a soft smile.
"..." Pei Ge pursed her lips together, speechless that Zhou Zhuoyang kept calling her Miss Pei.
"Zhuoyang, I think it's best that I say it." Pei Shishi, who had been standing next to Zhou Zhuoyang all this while, said this while pulling at his hands.
Zhou Zhuoyang looked at Pei Shishi, who was standing next to him, and glanced at the pale-faced Pei Ge before nodding his head.
"Ge Ge, Zhuoyang and I... have been together for three years now. We are both truly in love."
Pei Ge stood rooted to the spot in a daze, her entire focus on the perfect couple in front of her.
Did Zhou Zhuoyang get together with her cousin after they had broken up mysteriously that year?
This can't be true....
Pei Ge looked at the apologetic face of the woman before her. Pei Shishi's eyes still possessed the gentleness like before, and she still had an air of elegance around her, but... Pei Ge suddenly realizedher cousin was a stranger.
"Things didn't end well between you and Zhuoyang back then, so when we got together, I didn't tell you about us in order to not make you unhappy." Pei Shishi looked apologetic when she said this to Pei Ge.
Real love... Don't want to make me unhappy... Ha ha ha....
It was finally clear that it was not her mistake that had led to their break up back then; it was because Zhou Zhuoyang had fallen in love with another woman!
Ironically, this woman was not just anyone else but her cousin, instead!
Ha ha... What a joke. To think she kept on blaming herself all these years...
"What are you laughing at?" Zhou Zhuoyang looked suspiciously at Pei Ge, whose face broke into a smile a stark contrast to her pale expression mere moments ago.
Although Zhou Zhuoyang was clearly the one who had broken up with her back then, he still had the scruples to think of that whole incident.
"I'm laughing at myself; only now did I realize that the questions I kept asking myself are all a joke a big joke!" Pei Ge exclaimed as she laughed out loud.
Seeing Pei Ge's current state, everyone could sense that something was wrong.
Pak! A loud sound echoed through the room!
Before anyone could react, Pei Ge had given Zhou Zhuoyang a hard slap!
"This slap makes us even. Mr. Zhou, from now on, we are strangers." Pei Ge retracted her hand matter-of-factly, her face revealing no emotion, no pain, no hatred, much less sadness. On her face, there was only peace.
"Pei Ge! Don't you dare make it look like I owe you! You thought I was a peasant, and because of your greediness, you cheated on me! And now you dare act all innocent?!" Zhou Zhuoyang stared at Pei Ge with eyes full of hatred. He seemed to have forgotten where he was, as in his eyes, there was only Pei Ge.
His exclamation shocked the guests around, including Pei Shishi's parents and Zhang Manhua.
"My gosh! That's their relative too, right?"
"That woman must be blind! How could she have thought that Young Master Zhou is a peasant?"
"Can't believe she is that sort of woman; she looks so well-behaved, too."
"Only women with lowly background would do such shameful things...."
Pei Ge bit her lower lip. Her face paled even more when she felt the looks of disdain directed to her.
"Ge Ge... you..." Zhang Manhua looked at Zhou Zhuoyang and Pei Shishi who stood in line, and then at her daughter, her face paling as well.
However, the expressions of Pei Shishi's parents, Liu Yan and Pei Zhenghui, were even worse.
"Ge Ge, I'm sorry. I should have considered the occasion. I thought... I thought everything ended between you two. After all, you didn't like Zhou Zhuoyang very much, so I didn't think you would mind." Pei Shishi's eyes reddened with guilt as she explained to Pei Ge.
Although Pei Shishi looked like she was about to cry, Pei Ge felt no sympathy for her; instead, she found the whole situation hilarious.
How could her cousin not know that she liked Zhou Zhuoyang?
Back when Zhou Zhuoyang and Pei Ge were still together, she had told Pei Shishi of how deeply she felt for him.
"Shishi, don't bother! You don't have to explain anything to her! I was the one who wooed you; you are not in the wrong here!"
Zhou Zhuoyang's eyes flashed with ache and helplessness as he secured Pei Shishi in his arms.
Pei Ge let out a soft laugh at the sight of the couple intimately embracing each other. Moistening her lips, she said: "Yes. You two did nothing wrong and have no need to explain anything to me."
The love that she had clung on to all these years was merely a joke.
"Cousin, you don't have to apologize. Mr. Zhou and I really don't know each other that well." She was never one to fiercely cling on to someone to the point of not letting go, much less if it was a man of Pei Shishi's.
As if nothing had happened, Pei Ge gave a polite smile and said to Liu Yan and Pei Zhenghui, "Second Uncle, Second Auntie, I have something on today and will take my leave first."
Without waiting for anyone's reply, she strode out of the embarrassing situation. As soon as she exited the luxurious hotel, her posture that once stood tall now slouched without a drop of strength left.
Even the smile on her face was no longer there, and what remained was a face full of hurt and bitterness.
Outside the hotel, there were no bright lights or excited voices to bring her warmth. What was there was the cold summer wind.
The occasional wind blew past her, and on normal days, it would have felt comfortable. Right now, however, the wind was like frozen shards piercing through her heart.
"Ah... Zhou Zhuoyang...." Pei Ge whispered the name the very name that she had been thinking of and memorizing for three whole years.
I suppose if anyone gets into a fight with her boyfriend whom she's deeply in love with and almost engaged to, and then that boyfriend suddenly disappears... It should be hard to forget, right?
That year when he suddenly disappeared, she could feel herself going crazy, searching high and low at all their favorite spots the entire city even but it was to no avail.
Despite the numerous blind dates she had been on, she had never treated them seriously. Subconsciously, she was still waiting for Zhou Zhuoyang to return.
If her mother had not forced her to, she would not have gone on all those blind dates.
Still, she had never imagined... that all her waiting would be for naught.
Pei Ge lifted her head to the night sky.
There was not one star in sight, and even the bright moon was shaded by the evening clouds; the gloomy sky was the exact reflection of her emotions.
"Serves her right to not have a boyfriend!"
"Don't be so picky!"
"We are truly in love."
"Pei Ge! How dare you act all innocent?!"
He he he....
Three-legged frogs might be hard to find on this planet but two-legged men were not!
Why should I, Pei Ge, be dying to live for a man?! Why should I be judged by a jerk like him?!
In the distance, an empty taxi drove toward her.
Pei Ge flagged down and boarded the empty taxi.
"To Bar Vista!"