Qin Zheng remained motionless, lost in thought, just a distance away from Jiang Zhou’s hospital room. It took a while until he returned to his senses and proceeded to enter the room with a fruit basket in hand.
He stood at the door of the ward and saw Ruoruo holding a small bowl with sliced apples and peeled oranges in it. She held a toothpick and was in the middle of feeding a segment of orange to Jiang Zhou.
Because Jiang Zhou was lying on the hospital bed, he was struggling to eat properly. As the orange juice trickled down the corner of his mouth, Ruoruo instinctively reached out and gently wiped it away.
It was an incredibly harmonious scene, one that Qin Zheng had witnessed on numerous occasions before. However, this was the first time he felt uncomfortable inside.
He was fully aware that his uneasiness stemmed from the knowledge that Jiang Zhou was not Ruoruo’s biological brother.
Suppressing the slight emotions in his heart, Qin Zheng extended his hand and lightly knocked on the door twice, calling out, “Ruoruo.”
When Jiang Ruo heard the knock, she quickly turned away and saw Qin Zheng. “Qin Zheng, you’re here!” Her eyes lit up instantly.
Jiang Ruo quickly placed the bowl of fruit she was holding aside and walked over to Qin Zheng’s side. “Are you here to visit my brother?”
These past two days, Qin Zheng neither answered her calls nor replied to her messages. Her brother said it was because of her identity issue that Qin Zheng wanted to back off. Jiang Ruo didn’t want to believe it, but she had no choice but to accept the possibility. It made her feel very sad.
Now seeing Qin Zheng coming, she knew he hadn’t rejected her because of her background.
Jiang Ruo had already started to imagine scenarios in her mind, thinking that it must be because Uncle Qin was angry that he forbade Qin Zheng from coming and contacting her.
But he still came.
“How is your brother?” Qin Zheng asked in a gentle voice.
Before Jiang Ruo could answer, Jiang Zhou spoke first: “If you had come a bit later, I would probably have already recovered and been discharged.”
Jiang Zhou’s snide remark immediately turned the slightly eased atmosphere into an awkward one. Qin Zheng placed the fruit basket he had brought on the bedside table next to Jiang Zhou’s hospital bed, not knowing what to say for a moment.
After a prolonged frigidness, Jiang Ruo broke the silence and gazed at Qin Zheng, “Can we go outside and have a talk?”
Qin Zheng nodded promptly.
Jiang Zhou said again, “Is there something you need to discuss that I, the patient, shouldn’t hear?”
Jiang Ruo turned to look at him and whispered, “Brother, there are a few things I need to talk to Qin Zheng about. I’ll be back soon.”
Jiang Zhou sighed helplessly, “Go ahead, it’s better to clarify things earlier.”
Jiang Ruo and Qin Zheng left the hospital room together and went to the nearby balcony.
No one spoke for a long time, until Jiang Ruo finally couldn’t help but break the silence, “You already know about me and Jiang Li, right?”
Qin Zheng nodded, his voice low, “Actually, I don’t care about your background. Whether you are Uncle Jiang’s biological daughter or not, it doesn’t matter. You will always be the Ruoruo who grew up with me.”
Hearing his words, Jiang Ruo couldn’t help but feel deeply moved. She lowered her head, gazing at her toes, and softly inquired, “But Uncle Qin cares, doesn’t he?”
Qin Zheng: …
Indeed, his father cared a lot. Even if he lied to Ruoruo and said otherwise, she wouldn’t believe it.
Seeing his continued silence, Jiang Ruo forced a bitter smile. “The thing I’ve been worried about has finally come to pass, but I’m glad you came to find me. It makes me happy, really.”
Qin Zheng remained silent, or rather, he simply didn’t know what to say. No matter what he said, it would seem feeble and powerless.
Jiang Ruo took a deep breath. Summoning up her courage, she said again, “You see Qin Zheng, Dad and Uncle Qin used to joke, saying that… that we should get married in the future. But I am not the biological daughter of Mom and Dad. This engagement should belong to Jiang Li, and I…”
“What nonsense are you talking about?” Qin Zheng interrupted her with a frown, “Jiang Li and I are just ordinary classmates. We haven’t even exchanged a few words. How could I possibly like her?”
Jiang Ruo lowered her head and whispered, “But… you have asked me about Jiang Li more than once before.”
Qin Zheng sighed and helplessly said, “That’s because she ranked first in the grade. I saw her as the strongest competitor.”
However, it seemed that Jiang Li didn’t consider herself a rival. When he had challenged her before, she didn’t accept it.
Jiang Ruo looked at him with doubt. “Are you telling the truth?”
Qin Zheng had never seen Jiang Ruo so lacking in confidence. He felt a pang of heartache and nodded without hesitation, “Of course it’s true, and… if anyone should be jealous, it should be me, right?”
The Jiang and Qin families did indeed establish a verbal engagement, but neither he nor Ruoruo had reached adulthood, so they had always treated it as an unspoken agreement and never openly discussed it.
However, now that Ruoruo had brought it up on her own, he couldn’t possibly avoid the topic.
Hearing his remark, Jiang Ruo’s attention was successfully diverted, and she became curious. “Are you jealous? Why… why would you feel jealous?”
Qin Zheng looked at her beautiful face and felt the temperature on his own face unconsciously rose. After a while, he spoke in a low voice, “You have so many fans, and so many people like you. Why can’t I be jealous?”
Jiang Ruo’s cheeks started to blush as well. “Those… those people are just casual admirers. Today they like this person, and tomorrow they like someone else. Besides, I’ve never paid them any attention.”
Qin Zheng’s heartbeat gradually quickened, and with some hesitation, he asked, “What about Jiang Zhou?”
Jiang Ruo was visibly stunned, “What about my brother?”
After a long moment of hesitation, Qin Zheng couldn’t hold it in any longer and said, “He treats you really well, much better than many brothers toward their sisters.”
A happy smile appeared on Jiang Ruo’s face, “Yes, my brother is really good to me. When I was young, my dad was busy with work, and my mom wasn’t good at taking care of children. It was always my brother who looked after me. He would find ways to give me things I liked and never refused any of my requests.”
“Including scheming against his own sister?” This sentence slipped out of Qin Zheng’s mouth. In fact, he regretted saying it as soon as it came out, but there was no way to take it back.
Jiang Ruo’s face turned pale instantly. “What… what do you mean?”
No updates last week because I was sick…
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