Chapter 179: The Taste of Her Past Life
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
He was quiet for a long time.
Just as Xia Ling thought he was not going to answer the question, he softly said, “I have not liked anyone before.”
She felt a surge of pain in her heart, and there were indescribable emptiness and disappointment inside her. However, he continued, “However, there is a person who was a part of my life, and you’re very much like her.”
Xia Ling’s heart missed a beat. She knew who she was talking about but interjected. “No, she is not. You also don’t know that…” Pei Ziheng, you don’t even know that she is right beside you, but you’re treating her cruelly and rudely as a substitute.
Xia Ling did not continue her previous sentence. She stood up and said, “Thank you for returning my item to me, Mr. Pei. I will be leaving now.”
He called from behind her. “Xiao Ling.”
Her footsteps slightly stopped and she almost could not help but turn around. This was the first time since she was reborn that he addressed her that way. His voice was hoarse and painful, and it was as if he were suffering great agony. However, she could not look back, and she did not dare to return to his side anymore. Their love was already dead.
She returned to the apartment.
And the days passed as usual.
Ever since that day, her relationship with Li Lei became rather delicate. Every day, they would eat together, drink tea together, and sunbathe together as usual, but he did not hug her anymore and did not bring up that sensitive topic; like he never saw what happened in the lift and they never had the fight in the car.
He was covering up his feelings very well.
Only when Xia Ling inadvertently looked up, she would occasionally find his eyes following her with an unfathomable expression.
Xia Ling did not know what he was thinking. Did he really not care? Or was it the quiet before the storm? She always thought that Li Lei was a clear ray of sunlight, clean and warm. However, today, she felt that he was the sea. He appeared calm on the surface but was hiding something that could be warmth or a monstrous wave that would shred you into pieces.
However, in the end, she was in the wrong. When he was not there, she hugged another man behind his back. After calming down and thinking about it, considering Li Lei’s background and means, he was already being sufficiently polite by not tearing her into pieces. Moreover, he was exponentially good to her.
He was so good to her that Xia Ling felt guilty. Consciously or unconsciously, she started to avoid him.
It was a long time before another day of the music festival arrived. She was thrilled that she did not need to stay in the apartment and face him. She packed her items very early in the morning and was prepared to set off. After she walked to the elevator, she realized that the apartment door was half open. Li Lei was drinking tea in the living room, and Er Mao was lying lazily beside his feet.
“Xiao Ling.” He called her. “Where are you going?”
“Music festival,” she softly replied.
“It’s still early. How about I send you there after we have eaten?”
Xia Ling was unwilling to let him send her there and said, “There’s no need for that. I have an appointment with my stylist, and it will take a long time.”
“Stylist?” He looked at her closely. “You’re not going to wear the clothes I purchased for you?”
“I…” She was wearing ordinary clothes on that day and was not willing to wear the high-end ready-to-wear clothes that Li Lei purchased a full cupboard of for her a while back. It was not because it was Li Lei who purchased the clothes, but the fact that the clothes he purchased were of the same brand that she used to wear in her past life.
That was Pei Ziheng’s favorite brand.
That year when she followed him home from the orphanage, Xia Ling wore the best clothes she had which were brightly colored. She stood in the elegant hall of the Pei family like a small beggar who had mistakenly entered a palace. Even today, she still remembered the expression of his younger sister Pei Jingyu when she looked at her. She could see the shock and disdain concealed in her eyes. It was like a sharp thorn that deeply crippled her younger self’s self-esteem. Later, Pei Ziheng personally chose clothes for her and used soft white and grey powder to dress her up as his family liked. Xia Ling could no longer find a trace of man-made fiber on her body. Even the luxurious colors and styles were uniquely created, making her look like a young lady from a rich and powerful family.
Pei Ziheng was very pleased.
Then, she was only a child and was not used to act low-key and introverted, but because he liked it, she learned to adapt and appreciate it. As time passed, she finally grew to love them, and besides the necessary performances, she would not wear extravagant clothing on a daily basis. People said that the way she dressed was very tasteful, but they did not know that it was molded by Pei Ziheng.
He domesticated her and stamped a brand on her body.
Until now, Xia Ling had to put in a lot of effort into resisting his influence to get rid of his shadow.
Li Lei asked, “You said before that you really liked these clothes. Why aren’t you wearing them then?”
She did not know how to answer him.
Li Lei stood up and walked in her direction. “You will look perfect wearing them. I like the way you look in them. Xiao Ling, if you can wear these clothes and participate in tonight’s Music Festival, I will be really happy.” He rarely requested her to do anything. For this reason, this request seemed very unexpected.
Li Lei was not Pei Ziheng and would not prepare every single thing for her. Usually, he would not even ask her about her clothes or hairstyle and dress her in the way he liked. Li Lei rarely interfered in her life, and today was the first time. Perhaps… Xia Ling looked at him and quietly thought about it. Perhaps, they did not interact for a long enough time, and he was finally showing his true colors today.
That way of thinking made her shiver out of irrational fear.
Seeing that he was getting closer and closer, Xia Ling retreated two steps. Li Lei’s eyes darkened, and he stopped for a moment before continuing to walk towards her until she was at the edge of the stairs at the safe passage. She was unaware of it, so she kicked a step and almost fell down.
Li Lei quickly caught her and brought her into his arms.
“Let go,” said Xia Ling as a conditioned reflex.
He did not let go of her. “Xiao Ling.” He lowered his head to look at her with dull gray-green eyes. “Why are you avoiding me? Why won’t you wear the clothes I purchased for you? Is this request so difficult for you?”
Xia Ling reacted by turning her head and avoiding eye contact with him as she did not want to discuss the issue. How should she even explain it? Should she tell him that the clothes he purchased were of the same taste as her past lover? No, not lover. Things have progressed to a state in which she did not even know what her relationship with Pei Ziheng was. It was too ambiguous, and they were not even qualified to be called “lovers.” Her heart was sorrowful and bitter, but Li Lei pulled her face closer and asked, “What are you thinking? You have been rather strange recently. Xiao Ling, I told you before that I can help you with anything. Please don’t bear the burden in your heart by yourself.”
“It’s nothing,” said Xia Ling weakly and used her energy to push him away.
Li Lei’s arms were as hard as rocks and did not move. “Then tell me why you won’t wear the clothes I purchased for you. Ever since I came back, I haven’t seen you wear them once.”
The way he asked her that made her feel worried. “Li Lei, please let go of me first…”
“Answer me first.” His gray-green eyes were gazing at her.
“I just suddenly stopped liking that style.” Xia Ling spoke with hesitation.
“Yes, you are.” He said firmly.