Chapter 176: The Argument
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
There were many exclamations from the crowd of onlookers.
This sudden development stunned Xia Ling. What was Li Lei doing here? Wasn’t he overseas? When did he come back?
Before she could finish her thought, Li Lei had already pushed past the crowd and walked to the side of the elevator shaft. He reached out his arm and pulled her out of Pei Ziheng’s embrace and into his own. He used a lot of strength, and Xia Ling felt herself lurch forward, feeling as if her arms had been pulled out of their sockets. Her nose smashed into his chest, and she gave a muffled yelp of pain.
Li Lei coldly looked at Pei Ziheng and said, “Don’t touch my girl.”
His voice was sinister, giving the onlookers the chills. There was silence all around momentarily.
In the elevator, Pei Ziheng was still motionless in a half-kneeling position, maintaining the posture he had with Xia Ling tightly in his embrace. Upon hearing Li Lei, he turned his head, but his gaze fell onto Xia Ling, who was in Li Lei’s arms. There was deep pain in his bloodshot eyes, a pain that was so deep it couldn’t be dispersed.
Xia Ling’s heart clenched tighter in her chest, and she stared back at him like she was bewitched.
Li Lei’s gripped tighter onto her and pulled her away without warning, taking big strides towards the exit. She held onto his hand and stumbled alongside him, walking across the long corridor to the underground carpark. He threw her into the passenger seat of his modified SUV and closed the car door.
Thereafter, he got into the driver’s seat from the other side of the car and wordlessly started the engine before driving away.
The night sky flashed past from outside the car window, looking spectacular and unreal.
Xia Ling was still in a daze, with memories of her past still swimming in her mind. Pei Ziheng’s name was like a curse that kept ringing in her ears. He was a conundrum to her — gentle but vicious, her happiness and her greatest demon. Without warning, tears started to fall again.
Li Lei saw her crying through the rearview mirror.
Her tears fell silently, drop after drop, and he felt as if hot cement was dripping onto and burning his heart.
What was her relationship with Pei Ziheng? Why did Pei Ziheng hug her so intimately? And why was she crying so weakly right now? Li Lei could not make out the reason behind all this, and his lips were drawn into a thin line with frustration. He drove faster and beat several red lights along the way, causing many drivers on the road to swerve and brake suddenly because of him, sounding their horns and shouting profanities at him for driving so recklessly. However, Xia Ling was completely unaware, still preoccupied with that tear from Pei Ziheng on the back of her hand. Was he really sad because of her death?
That was enough for her.
She cried and cried, but a distorted smile formed on her face. Thereafter, she covered her face and cried even more uncontrollably.
Li Lei drove the car back to their apartment building. The head of security stepped forward to open the car door for him, but Li Lei did not unlock them.
Xia Ling kept crying. When she finally stopped, she lifted her head with her eyes still blurry with tears. It was only then that she realized they had already reached the apartment building. She stretched out her hand to open the car door but realized it was locked. She turned to look at Li Lei with a confused expression.
Li Lei said, “You owe me an explanation.” He had been working day and night to be able to come back to her. Yet, when he returned from overseas, he was met with the scene of the love of his life in the arms of another man. Her hands were grasping onto the edge of that man’s shirt, and her cautious expression was as if she was afraid to break the most precious treasure.
At that moment, a shadow descended upon Li Lei. Seeing her like that, he knew that Pei Ziheng’s interest in Xia Ling was not unrequited.
He turned his head to look at Xia Ling. “What do you like about him? Do you like how cruel and brazen he is or his playboy tendencies?!”
Xia Ling’s body started to tremble slightly as she bit her lips and did not respond. What did she like about him? There were too many things… She liked his outstretched hands to her the first time they met; she liked the first glimpse of him that she got every morning she woke up; she liked it when he grabbed her hand and taught her to write; she liked that he would tolerate her wilfulness, regardless of what she did… Many times in the middle of the night, these beautiful memories and terrifying nightmares would intertwine, becoming a scar in her heart that she could not remove.
She thought she had let go of the past, that she no longer had any longing for Pei Ziheng. However, her resolve had all crumbled away with that single teardrop.
She could not stop her heart from hurting.
Li Lei raised her chin and kissed her without warning.
She was shocked, and subconsciously started to struggle, but he had immobilized her hands and legs. His kiss became more intense as he ignored her struggles and muffled cries of objection as if he was bent on branding himself on her. After a long while, he let go of her reluctantly when they were both out of breath.
Xia Ling glared at him angrily.
Li Lei’s voice was hoarse. “Ye Xingling, don’t forget who you belong to now. While I may have a good temper, it has its limits.” He could tolerate when she spoke back at him, or when she threw her temper and ignored his authority. What he could not tolerate, however, was her thinking about another man while she was by his side. A long time ago, he had suspected that there was someone else hidden in the depths of her heart. Yet, when he saw her expression when she was wrapped in Pei Ziheng’s arms with his own eyes, he realized what it felt to be overwhelmed with jealousy.
“Ye Xingling, I forbid you to see him ever again.”
He lifted his hand intending to wipe away the tears from the corner of her eyes but was pushed away by her.
“Are you trying to limit my freedom?” she asked coldly. This evening had been too chaotic, and there were too many things on her mind. She had no excess energy to placate Li Lei. However, he kept pushing her to the corner and was now trying to add a new shackle on her heavily burdened body. Forbid? Did he think she wanted to see Pei Ziheng? What if Pei Ziheng was bent on looking for her, how was she going to hide from him? Did he think of that? When she was in the makeup room, and Pei Ziheng was forcing her to the corner and chasing her down, where was Li Lei?
Now that things had turned out like that, he was blaming her?
She glared at him even more angrily as these thoughts ran through her mind.
Li Lei was furious. “Do you like him that much? Are you dumb? He’s been going through so many women, and all of them have just been substitutes for the dead Diva Xia Ling! Are you proud of resembling Xia Ling? Ye Xingling, Pei Ziheng doesn’t love you, he loves that dead person!” Old Man Bao had been reporting back to him about his investigations for some time now, and Li Lei had found out quite a bit about the story between Pei Ziheng and the late Diva Xia Ling.
He had been so bent to help his girl be rid of that monster that he never expected that she would be bewitched by him, even when the one he truly loved was not her!
“Wake up, Ye Xingling!”
His words were like needles piercing through her heart.
There were tears at the corner of her eyes again as she said, “Open the door. Let me down.”
“Let me out of the car!” She screamed at Li Lei and started banging on the windows, not wanting to be in the car for another second. Who did Pei Ziheng truly love? He was devoted to her in her past life and had no interest whatsoever in who she was in this life, prepared to hurt her at his whim. She was just a substitute for herself in her past life. Even if she were still alive, that love had already been pronounced dead and was long gone. Pei Ziheng did not love Ye Xingling — this was the cold, hard truth, and Li Lei had laid it out bare in the open.
She was in too much pain and was much too tired. She just wanted to shut herself out from all of this.
Li Lei looked at her with sadness in his eyes. She banged on the windows with all her strength, causing the fair skin of her palm to start to bruise over. He quietly unlocked the doors, his face grim and his lips tightened into a thin line. Xia Ling got out of the car immediately seeing that she had regained freedom and ran into the apartment building without turning back.
Leaving Li Lei alone in the darkness of the night.