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    Chapter 62 [VIP] The Scion of a Wealthy Family (18)

    Soon, the day they had arranged arrived.

    Zhou Chiyen clearly attached great importance to this day. The cultural performances held at the university were mainly student-organized with minimal interference from the faculty, and a successful evening show could significantly enhance one's resume.

    The backstage entrance was crowded with students who came to watch the performances, along with visitors from other schools. Following Zhou Chiyen's directions, Nanyan located the backstage rest area, bustling with numerous staff members.

    The performers, mostly young and attractive, were gathered discussing the evening's agenda, rehearsing their lines amidst fragrance and beauty.

    Nanyan peeked in at the doorway and was immediately spotted by an eagle-eyed Zhou Chiyen, who, ignoring his ongoing makeup session, joyfully pulled her inside.

    "Why are you only arriving now?"

    His tone wasn't accusatory.

    Instead, it was tinged with affection.

    Breathing a bit hastily, his face adorned with elaborate stage makeup, he looked different from his usual self, with sparkling rhinestones at the corners of his eyes, shimmering under the lights, appearing strikingly prominent.

    If Zhou Chiyen's usual demeanor was a guise of docility, his current appearance was the shedding of that facade, unveiling the desires within.

    Nanyan gave him a once-over, then explained, "I'm not familiar with your school, took a detour before finding this place."

    Zhou Chiyen chuckled, his eyes sparkling as he looked at her, "Why didn’t you call me? I could have come to pick you up."

    Patting his shoulder to prevent smudging his makeup, Nanyan teased, "It's not that far, I could manage on my own. Keep still, you're going to ruin your makeup."

    Zhou Chiyen seemed unconcerned about such trivialities, standing close to her.

    "Can't help being happy seeing you here. How am I supposed to control that? Girlfriend, can you be a bit nicer to me tonight? Don't always find me bothersome?"

    Smiling, Nanyan replied, "How am I not nice to you? Haven’t I already agreed to your request? Does that count as finding you bothersome?"

    Zhou Chiyen grinned widely, showing off his white teeth, "I don't care, if you don't let me hug you, it means you find me bothersome."

    He gently pulled Nanyan into his arms, his smile reaching his eyes while emitting a fresh minty scent, making it hard for anyone to feel repelled.

    This joyful demeanor made him look somewhat silly.

    One would think he had won a lottery, but it was just his girlfriend coming to see his performance, perhaps triggered by a certain possessiveness deep inside him.

    After embracing her, he started instructing,

    "I've picked out your seat, middle of the third row, just face that seat."

    Nanyan acknowledged.

    Zhou Chiyen couldn't hide his elation, planting a kiss on her forehead and warning her not to look at other men. After rethinking, he conceded a bit, saying she could only look at him...

    He reiterated several times, almost as if he wanted to tie her to his belt if the situation allowed. Nanyan found it extremely annoying.

    Seeing that it was almost time, she waved goodbye and headed towards the auditorium.

    Undeniably, the students' performances were impressive, especially Zhou Chiyen on stage, who seemed like a completely different person, deserving the title of a gem.

    His excessive handsomeness, every feature meticulously crafted, combined the innocence of youth with the maturity of an adult, his tall and imposing figure exerting a sense of pressure.

    Especially his gaze, icy when not smiling, with stern brows and a high nose bridge, portraying an aloof appearance.

    Nanyan now somewhat understood his off-stage personality: possessive, vengeful, his inherent coldness felt more genuine.

    Most of the young girls in the audience were there for him, indicating his popularity at the school.

    In the second half, the show finally ended. Nanyan noticed that as he exited, nearly half the girls couldn't resist and, under the pretext of visiting the restroom, hurried backstage, probably hoping for a romantic encounter.

    Nanyan exited through the back door, and Zhou Chiyen appeared, his stage makeup still on, not heading to the rest room but waiting there for her.

    His tall figure was partially hidden in the shadows, hardly noticeable at a glance. Seeing him panting, Nanyan couldn't help but find it amusing, "Why are you squatting here? Didn't you see them going backstage to find you?"

    Zhou Chiyen, holding Nanyan's hand, walked to another rest room, not annoyed but rather pleased by her comment.

    In his eyes, her jealousy was a sign of caring about him.

    Laughing, all his previous oppression vanished, leaving only a foolishly happy Zhou Chiyen, “What others do is none of my concern, remember what you promised me tonight.”

    He was referring to introducing her to his friends, something she hadn’t forgotten.

    Nanyan was led to another rest room by Zhou Chiyen.

    Upon arriving, Zhou Chiyen headed to the bathroom, saying, “Wait for me a moment, I’ll change my clothes.”

    Nanyan sat on a sofa waiting for him. In a few minutes, he reappeared, neatly dressed in casual clothes, looking refreshingly clean and reminiscent of a high school first love.

    ……

    The restaurant was located on the top floor of a downtown building, not far from the school, reserved for a post-performance celebration.

    As they entered, several familiar young men and women greeted them warmly, indicating a well-attended gathering.

    Nanyan expected a simple meal with friends, but Zhou Chiyen had meticulously planned, inviting numerous acquaintances and reserving the entire place, his effort clearly evident.

    “Zhou Chiyen, why are you just arriving? We’ve been waiting for you,” said a girl, surrounded by a group of men, her slightly curled hair and striking looks familiar from previous social events.

    Zhou Chiyen greeted a few people.

    The girl's eyes lingered on Nanyan, then with a meaningful look, she remarked, “So this is your girlfriend. Impressive, Zhou Chiyen, you really did what you said, winning her over so easily.”

    Though her words seemed innocuous, her disdainful tone was off-putting.

    Nanyan noticed the girl's veiled hostility and interest in Zhou Chiyen but didn’t comment.

    Zhou Chiyen, however, coldly rebuked her without any gentlemanly decorum, “If you can’t speak nicely, better keep quiet. Yours is the most unpleasant voice here.”

    The others were taken aback.

    After all, she was a girl; such a public put-down seemed harsh.

    The curly-haired girl's expression stiffened instantly, her cheeks flushed slightly red, and she shot Zhou Chiyen a resentful, embarrassed glare.

    Eventually, a roommate intervened to defuse the tension, “Alright, we’re all friends here. Why dwell on this? Let’s talk about something else. What does everyone want to drink? How about beer?”

    Although the attempt to change the subject was somewhat awkward, those around, being tactful, unanimously agreed.

    The girl, surrounded by several young men, settled down in the middle, her expression still sour, but the atmosphere gradually warmed up, diverting attention from the earlier incident.

    Nanyan observed this drama with calm detachment.

    Initially, when Nanyan and Zhou Chiyen had arrived, there were teasing glances from the group, but observing Zhou Chiyen's protective demeanor, any previous disrespect slowly faded.

    After a while in the crowded room, especially after several rounds of drinks, the group began singing, chatting, and playing games, making it noisier inside than out.

    Fortunately, the restaurant's soundproofing was effective.

    Nanyan couldn't help but squeeze Zhou Chiyen's hand.

    He naturally bowed his head, bringing them close together, presenting the image of an intimately close couple to onlookers, “I need to go to the bathroom.”

    Zhou Chiyen let go of her hand, initially wanting to accompany her but reconsidering since he was the host of the gathering, and it wouldn’t look good to leave his friends.

    She stood up, her skirt gracefully fluttering around her clean ankles, and elegantly walked out of the room.

    The girl opposite watched her intently.

    Seeing her leave, she naturally couldn't stay seated.

    Unnoticed, she found herself sitting next to Zhou Chiyen.

    “Chiyen, I watched your performance tonight, you sang really well.”

    With a voice soft as silk, the girl spoke, her lips glossed with the moisture of red wine, looking exceptionally sweet under the light.

    Some in the group began to tease and wink, eagerly anticipating what would unfold.

    After all, Zhou Mianmian was their year’s recognized campus beauty – capricious yet tender and sweet, especially when her gentle gaze fell upon you, it was hard to resist her charm.

    During a previous mixer, many boys had seized the opportunity to confess to her, but all were rejected without exception. The reason was simple: she already had someone in her heart, the very man in front of her. Yet even so, Zhou Mianmian remained the most popular among the girls.

    Zhou Chiyen sipped his drink and noncommittally hummed in response.

    Far from being deterred by his cool demeanor, the girl’s interest seemed piqued, her smile unwavering.

    “Did your girlfriend just leave like that?”

    The implication was clear: she hadn’t even bothered to greet the group, seemingly indifferent to these friends.

    “I heard before coming that your girlfriend is He Xuechang’s ex, right? Speaking of which, hasn’t He Xuechang given you any trouble?”

    Her voice was light and airy, just loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, tinged with an innocent curiosity, as if she had casually stumbled upon the topic, much like a gossiping schoolgirl.

    Zhou Chiyen grunted, casually passing her a can of beer and gently patting her shoulder, suggesting, “Here, drink up.”

    His smile was tender and gentle as he passed the wine glass.

    To Zhou Mian Mian, this smile seemed more like an encouragement. She felt a bit shy, waving her hand, “No thanks, I don’t drink in the evenings.”

    Zhou Chi Yan suppressed a smile at the corners of his mouth, still smiling, but his eyes lacked mirth, chillingly indifferent.

    "If not wine, then eat more fruit."

    He spoke softly, with a strangely gentle tone, "You need to munch on something. If these can't keep your mouth busy, I don't mind finding someone to do it for you."

    At these words, the girl's complexion changed instantly.

    Her face turned red rapidly, visible to the naked eye, followed by an unmistakable irritation, probably exacerbated by the onlookers' gaze, making even her friends feel embarrassed for her.

    But nobody had expected Zhou Chi Yan to say something like that, completely lacking the gentlemanly demeanor expected of a young man.

    Zhou Mian Mian, feeling her pride wounded, reacted too, especially upon seeing her companions' teasing looks, impulsively blurted out:

    "Who doesn't know about your relationship with He Yan Zhou? You stole his girlfriend just for revenge. Only Xu Nan Yan is naive enough to still be fooled by you."

    Zhou Chi Yan's face turned grave.

    She immediately regretted her words, realizing she had been too impulsive, but it was too late – almost everyone in the private room had heard.

    The atmosphere suddenly became awkward.

    Especially when a boy beside her saw Xu Nan Yan standing at the door, his expression almost twisted.

    What a mess this is!

    He coughed forcefully a few times, signaling them with his eyes, "Mian Mian, what nonsense are you spouting? Deception, revenge, all this mess – we're all friends here, is it necessary to cause such a scene? Apologize now and let's put this behind us."

    Zhou Mian Mian, still furious, wasn't receptive to this advice, "When have I ever spouted nonsense? You guys told me about it, didn't you? And at the mixer the other day, didn't you hear him say it was just for fun?"

    The friend trying to mediate was almost in tears.

    How could it be the same? Those were just jokes, not to be taken seriously, and judging by his attitude, could it really be just for fun?

    But by now, with things having escalated to this point, it was too late for damage control.

    Especially when they saw Xu Nan Yan standing behind the door, their expressions were as if they had seen a ghost.

    Zhou Chi Yan's face was frightfully grim.

    Zhou Mian Mian felt the gaze on her as sharp as a knife, thinking she would have been beaten up if not for the others around.

    She forced a smile subconsciously.

    Dryly, she stepped back a few paces.

    In the quiet space, everyone's attention naturally converged on the two.

    Only then did Zhou Chi Yan feel panic, his chest tight as if punched hard, forcing himself to calm down and wanting to approach Nan Yan.

    "I, it's not..."

    "Is it true?"

    Before he could finish, Nan Yan interrupted him.

    Zhou Chi Yan froze, as if nailed in place, the words he prepared vanishing, unable to be spoken.

    At this moment, Nan Yan smiled.

    She looked up at him, her eyes gentle as if not bothered by the situation, "I just want to ask you one thing, is what she just said true?"

    Zhou Chi Yan hardly dared to breathe, wanting to say something, but his throat was so dry it felt like swallowing sand, leaving him speechless.

    "…It's not what you think."

    His voice was dry and hoarse, yet he forced himself to explain, "At first, I did think that way, but later, I was serious."

    He explained and then looked for her reaction.

    But found it different from what he had imagined.

    Nan Yan smiled softly, lowering her gaze, a faint shimmer in her eyes, showing none of the anger or sadness he had expected.

    Zhou Chi Yan felt something was amiss.

    He wanted to approach her, to touch her, to clarify everything.

    But before his fingers could reach her, a soft, shallow voice came:

    "Since it's all out in the open, let's just break up."

    Nan Yan smiled at him as she spoke, her words devoid of any hesitation.

    "After all, I'm tired of this too. It's quite a waste of time to keep playing these lover's games with someone as immature as you."

    Her tone was casual, as if in her eyes, breaking up was just a trivial matter, hardly worth mentioning.

    Zhou Chi Yan finally came to his senses.

    It was as if a thread had been pulled, connecting all the dots. He understood why Nan Yan had always been so indifferent towards him, why he always felt a sense of being ignored and lost, why he could never feel her care...

    Because it was not an illusion.

    She had never been serious about him from the beginning.

    Zhou Chi Yan came fully back to reality, his voice bitter and harsh, "So, being with me, from start to finish, it was all a lie to you."

    "What else did you think?"

    Nan Yan pursed her lips, smiling gently, "Do you think I'm stupid? Stupid enough not to see through the little games you play, or did you think I would actually fall for someone like you, so naive as to believe that stealing someone's girlfriend is a form of revenge?"

    "You're the only one you've hurt."

    With each word she uttered, Zhou Chi Yan's face grew paler, until there was almost no color left in his cheeks.

    Having said her piece, Nan Yan couldn't be bothered to stay any longer. She picked up her bag from the sofa and turned to leave.

    Zhou Chi Yan wanted to follow her.

    But a fleeting glance from her rooted him to the spot.

    She didn’t even give him a chance to apologize.

    Nan Yan left without any hesitation.

    The men and women around them exchanged glances, none having expected this outcome.

    What started as a pleasant gathering ended in such a conclusion, leaving everyone a bit embarrassed, especially the girls led by Zhou Mian Mian, who tried to start a conversation, "Zhou..."

    But were abruptly cut off by Zhou Chi Yan’s expressionless face.

    "Get out."

    Seeing his state, everyone quickly recovered their senses, eager to leave and avoid getting caught up in the drama.

    Left alone, Zhou Chi Yan touched his chest, feeling an unexplainable ache as if a thin thread was passing through his heart, tugging and causing a faint pain.

    The pain wasn't heart-wrenching, but it was persistent and nagging, impossible to ignore.

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