Thousands of Heartbeats

Chapter 3

The following morning, the light drizzle had subsided, and the warmth of winter sunlight seeped through the curtain's crevices, falling gently on Yan Qiuzhi's cheek.

Her eyelashes trembled lightly as she attempted to turn away. Her hand instinctively reached out to the side, touching the bed that had lost most of its warmth.

Startled, she turned slightly and slowly opened her eyes, looking to the side.

No one was there.

Staring at the empty space on the side of the bed for a while, memories of last night's passionate moments suddenly flooded her mind.

The man's husky voice near her ear, his eyes burning with desire, and that Adam's apple that was rolling...

Yan Qiuzhi moved ever so slightly and the slight soreness in her body reminded her of what had happened last night; it wasn't a dream.

Chen Lunan had indeed returned.

On the very night he returned to the country, he had decided to punish his famous and real but emotionally estranged wife.

It was fair to say that Yan Qiuzhi had indeed deceived Chen Lunan.

At the beginning of their marriage, Yan Qiuzhi had decided not to film intimate scenes to make a good impression on the Chen family and Chen Lunan.

Although it was disrespectful to her profession, she had no choice.

For the next six months after her debut film aired, she didn't have any work and played the role of a virtuous and well-behaved wife at home. Even her style of dress became exceptionally homely.

But once Chen Lunan was away, she transformed into the sexiest female star.

Of course, Yan Qiuzhi wouldn't assume that the question Chen Lunan had asked last night was about the male voice that appeared on her phone.

She might have briefly entertained such a thought in her momentary confusion, but by morning, she was clear-headed and would not jump to conclusions.

Considering how he slept his wife and then disappeared without a trace, it was highly unlikely.

Thinking about it, Yan Qiuzhi had a slight headache.

She had done what she had done. She had thought about how things would be when Chen Lunan returned, but it was more of a step-by-step plan. She had never seriously considered it.

After all, they had no emotional attachment, and at most, Chen Lunan's pride might take a hit, but he shouldn't react too strongly.

While Yan Qiuzhi was pondering, the scent of coffee wafted into her nose.

She took a sniff, then turned to look at the tightly closed bedroom door. Without dwelling on it, she threw back the covers and got out of bed.

As soon as she entered the bathroom, Yan Qiuzhi noticed the faint fatigue on her face and the red marks on her fair, slender neck.

She stared at the marks for a moment and couldn't help but furrow her brows.

Had Chen Lunan lost his mind? Why would he leave marks on her neck?

When Yan Qiuzhi finished dressing up and came out, Chen Lunan was on the phone with one hand while idly stirring something with the other.

He was wearing a white shirt and black trousers, and his slim, tall figure made him exceptionally pleasing to the eye.

He was speaking on the phone in a calm and measured tone with a slightly deep voice that sounded particularly pleasant.

"Sure," Chen Lunan replied in a low voice, "I just got back; today won't work."

In the midst of the conversation, he sensed Yan Qiuzhi's gaze and turned his head to glance at her with a faint expression.

"I have some matters to attend to. After I'm done, I'll take Yan Yan back."


After ending the call, Yan Qiuzhi inquired, "The call was from home?"

Chen Lunan responded with a simple En and, holding his coffee, walked out of the kitchen. He lowered his voice and asked, "You haven't been home lately?"

Even though it was a question, it carried an air of indifference, suggesting that her response, or lack thereof, didn't concern him.

Yan Qiuzhi wasn't the least bit guilty as she replied confidently, "I've been very busy recently."

Chen Lunan wasn't surprised by this response. He took a sip of his coffee, and his Adam’s apple moved up and down as he swallowed, but he didn't press the matter any further.

Yan Qiuzhi observed his actions and, somewhat unconsciously, focused on his Adam's apple movement.

She was still looking at that spot when Chen Lunan turned to her again and asked in a low voice, "Are you free the day after tomorrow?"

Yan Qiuzhi was momentarily surprised and looked at him incredulously, "Why?"

"To go back home," Chen Lunan replied.

Yan Qiuzhi: "..."

She looked at Chen Lunan's attitude and couldn't help feeling annoyed. Was this the attitude of a husband who had reunited with his wife after a long absence?!

His attitude was worse than that of a sugar daddy towards his mistress.

With these thoughts in mind, Yan Qiuzhi suppressed the urge to roll her eyes and smiled slightly, "I'm not sure. I'll have to check with my manager. You know my popularity has been high lately, so my schedule might not be flexible."

Upon hearing this, Chen Lunan glanced at her retreating figure. Since the temperature was regulated at home, Yan Qiuzhi was only wearing a tight-fitting base shirt with a one-shoulder design, which revealed her beautiful and delicate collarbone, as well as her slender swan-like neck, which gleamed white.

The marks from last night had been completely concealed by foundation, leaving no trace.

He gazed at her for a few seconds, then withdrew his gaze and said in a calm tone, "As you wish."

With that, he walked back into the bedroom. Yan Qiuzhi was momentarily bewildered before she realized what had just happened.

As you wish?!

Shen Muqing listened to Yan Qiuzhi's complaints and couldn't help but chuckle, "And then?"

Yan Qiuzhi sneered, "Then he said he had something to do and left, telling me to move back to the villa today."

That was their marital home.

She was furious, "He must be dreaming."

Shen Muqing chuckled and patted her on the back, "Calm down, calm down."

Yan Qiuzhi raised her chin. "Chen Lunan has always been like this, and you know it."

Yan Qiuzhi did know, but she didn't expect him to be the same after over a year abroad.

She took a sip of her coffee, feeling her temper rise a bit.

In reality, she had no plans for the day. The drama she was working on had just reached a turning point, and they needed to change locations to continue filming. Since most of her scenes were already shot, they temporarily scheduled other actors for the new location. This gave her several days off.

Yan Qiuzhi and Shen Muqing were sitting in a spacious and well-lit cafe, and they were familiar with the owner. They deliberately chose a spot where other customers couldn't easily overhear their conversation, allowing them to speak more freely.

While they were chatting, Yan Qiuzhi suddenly overheard the conversation of the girls sitting at the table with their backs to her.

"Ah, ah, ah, did you know that Chen Lunan is back?"

"Of course, how could we not know? He'll be at a watch event nearby later."

"Oh my goodness, the red carpet photos from last night were incredible!"

"I'm dying, I'm dying. There's definitely going to be interviews at the watch event later. Do you think we can get tickets?"

"Sure, it's a public event!"

Yan Qiuzhi turned to look at Shen Muqing and saw her own confusion reflected in her friend's eyes.

Shen Muqing chuckled and looked at her, "You didn't know?"

Yan Qiuzhi remained silent.

Shen Muqing continued, "He's your husband, after all. Haven't you been paying any attention?"

To be honest, Yan Qiuzhi hadn't.

She was busy with her daily routine of filming, shopping, and maintaining her figure. She had no time or inclination to keep track of Chen Lunan's activities.

After a brief silence, Shen Muqing pointed and suggested, "How about going to see what's happening?"

Yan Qiuzhi didn't even think before refusing, "No."

Why would she want to see Chen Lunan? Even watching him at home felt annoying. She wasn't about to act irrationally.

As it turned out, Yan Qiuzhi had indeed acted irrationally.

She looked at the crowded mall and was about to leave when Shen Muqing held her back.

"Where are you going?" Shen Muqing said, "Since we're here, let's take a look."

In a hushed tone, she added, "Besides, don't you want to see your husband's charm after being apart for a year?"

Yan Qiuzhi hesitated but reluctantly followed her friend.

Shen Muqing was skilled at finding the perfect positions and angles. She even managed to pull Yan Qiuzhi to the front row, the closest spot to the stage, right behind the media reporters and the fan club members.

Yan Qiuzhi had to admit that Shen Muqing's fangirling skills were impressive. If other fans were as resourceful as her, they wouldn't have any trouble getting up close to their idols.

Just as Yan Qiuzhi was contemplating this, screams and cheers erupted from the front.

Amidst the excitement, Yan Qiuzhi looked up and saw the man's arrival.

Dressed in a suit, he exuded an air of elegance from the moment he appeared. However, today he had left his tie undone, and a couple of buttons on his formerly meticulously fastened white shirt were casually undone, giving him a touch of nonchalance.

His facial features were accentuated by the mall's interior lighting, making him look three-dimensional and exquisite.

Undeniably, Chen Lunan's face... was truly hard to surpass.

Surrounded by screams and cheers from fans, Chen Lunan adjusted the watch on his wrist, took the microphone from the host, and smiled faintly, "Long time no see, everyone. Good morning."

The crowd went wild.

"Ah, ah, ah, you look so handsome, big brother!"

"Oh my god, big brother, you're killing me!"

Chen Lunan had a smile on his face, but it didn't reach his eyes.

He raised his chin slightly and looked at one of the co-hosts.

The watch event primarily revolved around the brand and its watches, and Chen Lunan, as the brand ambassador, had extensive knowledge about it. He could eloquently discuss any topic the host presented.

After the formal promotion, it was time for media interviews.

This was a special arrangement because it was Chen Lunan's first interaction event in the country after his return, and the brand had put in extra effort to make it successful.

"Welcome back, Teacher Chen," the host said.

Chen Lunan nodded.

A reporter stood up and asked a sharp question, "We've heard that Teacher Chen studied directing abroad. Are you planning to switch to directing in the future?"

Chen Lunan remained composed and replied in a calm tone, "It depends. If there are suitable opportunities and scripts, I'd like to give it a try."

The reporter continued, "So, Teacher Chen, do you plan to continue acting?"

Without any change in his expression, Chen Lunan calmly responded, "If there are good scripts, naturally I will."

Finally, a reporter asked the question on the minds of many fans, "Teacher Chen, now that you're back, do you have any plans for further studies abroad in the near future?"

Listening to this question, Yan Qiuzhi involuntarily glanced toward the man on the stage who seemed unfazed and composed.

Chen Lunan was about to answer when he suddenly glanced in a certain direction in the audience. After a brief pause, he replied in a calm tone, "Not for the time being."

After his response, Yan Qiuzhi heard the enthusiastic cheers of the fans.

Chen Lunan wasn't planning to go abroad again anytime soon.

After the event ended, Yan Qiuzhi and Shen Muqing left the mall after the crowd dispersed. Just as they were thinking of doing some more shopping, Yan Qiuzhi's phone rang.

Shen Muqing sneakily glanced at it and raised an eyebrow, saying, "Quickly answer, did your husband notice you?"

Yan Qiuzhi gave her a glance and replied with certainty, "Impossible."

After that, she calmly answered the call, “Hello.”

At this moment, Chen Lunan was still in the rooftop lounge. He stood by the floor-to-ceiling window, overlooking the bustling crowd outside. In a deep, low voice, he asked, "Are you still at the shopping mall?"

Yan Qiuzhi was momentarily surprised and unconsciously looked around.

"How did you know?" she asked.

Chen Lunan remained silent.

Yan Qiuzhi pursed her lips and suddenly remembered his momentary pause and glance during his time on stage. She asked in a low voice, "Did you notice me?"

"En," Chen Lunan confirmed.

Chen Lunan then asked, "There's a nice restaurant on the rooftop. How about having lunch together?"

Listening to his deep and velvety voice in her ear, Yan Qiuzhi's ears tingled for a moment, but she quickly regained her composure and replied bluntly, "No."

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