After rejecting Chen Lunan's invitation, Yan Qiuzhi felt relaxed both physically and mentally.
She casually put away her phone and turned to Shen Muqing, "Let's go shopping."
Shen Muqing stared in astonishment at Yan Qiuzhi's series of actions and was left speechless.
"You just rejected your husband like that?" she asked.
"What else should I do?" Yan Qiuzhi replied.
Shen Muqing blinked and asked, "Why didn't you agree?"
Yan Qiuzhi countered, "Why should I agree?"
Shen Muqing said, "Well, he's your husband, after all. You're not afraid that your relationship might become disharmonious if you keep refusing his invitations?"
Yan Qiuzhi raised an eyebrow, brushed her loose curls behind her ear, and smiled mischievously, "Let me tell you, our married life is quite harmonious."
Shen Muqing: "..."
It was truly unbelievable.
Yan Qiuzhi was in a particularly good mood, having gained the upper hand in her short exchange with Chen Lunan. She shopped without restraint, but she overlooked one crucial detail: the cards she brought with her today were all Chen Lunan's.
Or perhaps she knew and did it on purpose.
Chen Lunan sat in the lounge, listening to his phone repeatedly buzzing with expense notifications. His expression remained indifferent.
Initially, he would just give a subtle look, but eventually, he stopped doing even that. However, his assistant, Wang Kang, who was standing beside him, couldn't help but shiver.
"Lunan," Wang Kang called out to him.
"En," Chen Lunan replied, flipping through his schedule in front of him and saying in a low voice, "Clear my schedule for the evening after tomorrow."
Wang Kang quickly acknowledged, "Alright."
As he went through the schedule, he saw that Chen Lunan had a dinner engagement planned for the evening after tomorrow. Canceling it wouldn't cause much of an issue.
Chen Lunan had just returned to China, and despite stepping back from the entertainment scene for over a year, his reputation from before and the buzz generated in the past half-day were enough to make people eager to reacquaint with him.
Even if he had retired for more than a year, Chen Lunan was still the same Chen Lunan.
Directors were eagerly extending olive branches to him, and numerous entertainment activities were inviting him. They all wanted to use his return to generate excitement.
Chen Lunan only freed up his schedule for the evening after tomorrow and didn't say anything further.
It was only when he returned his schedule to Wang Kang that he suddenly asked, "Who is she filming for?"
Caught off guard by the question, Wang Kang took a moment to realize that she referred to Yan Qiuzhi.
Wang Kang was aware of Chen Lunan's marriage to Yan Qiuzhi.
For a period, he paid attention to Yan Qiuzhi, thinking that they were in a loving marriage. It wasn't until Chen Lunan went abroad for further studies that Wang Kang had a realization that their relationship might not be as deep as he'd imagined.
Later on, his attention waned. He occasionally saw news about Yan Qiuzhi, but he didn't relay them to Chen Lunan. Over time, he almost forgot about Chen Lunan's marital status.
Thinking quickly, Wang Kang searched his memory. "Director Lin Jing's," he replied, just in case Chen Lunan couldn't remember which Lin Jing he meant. Wang Kang added, "On the day when you and Miss Yan got your marriage certificate, she auditioned for one of his films."
Though she ultimately wasn't cast in it.
Upon mentioning this, Chen Lunan suddenly remembered what had happened on that day.
On the day they got their marriage certificate, Yan Qiuzhi was attending an audition for a film and had made him wait at the entrance of the Civil Affairs Bureau for an hour.
Wang Kang observed Chen Lunan's changing expression and mourned for Yan Qiuzhi silently for two seconds in his heart before continuing to speak, "The message I received says the TV series is shifting to another filming location. They are, currently, taking a temporary break."
Chen Lunan simply responded with an En and fell silent.
Wang Kang understood and didn't say much. Instead, he discreetly took out his phone to message his friends in the industry, inquiring about the next filming location of Director Lin Jing’s TV series and when the supporting actors would return to the set, asking if visiting the set was allowed, and so on.
When Yan Qiuzhi arrived home, the lights were on in the apartment.
She stood in place, momentarily confused and doubting if she'd entered the wrong place.
Wasn't the big movie star supposed to stay in his villa? What was he doing in her small apartment?
Yan Qiuzhi muttered to herself and looked around, not seeing Chen Lunan's figure.
She rolled her eyes, changed her shoes, turned around, and bumped into someone coming out of the study.
Chen Lunan was still wearing the white shirt he had on during the event earlier in the day, looking clean and noble. Yan Qiuzhi blinked, raised her gaze to him, and asked, "Why did you come over?"
Chen Lunan lowered his eyes, glanced at the bags of shopping she had left at the entrance, and said in a calm tone, "You haven't tidied that up yet."
Yan Qiuzhi retorted, "If you knew I hadn't tidied it up, why did you ask me to move back this morning?"
Chen Lunan looked at her calmly, his voice gentle as he said, "If you're willing, I can have a couple of aunties clean up for you."
Yan Qiuzhi was taken aback. She understood the implied message in Chen Lunan's words: if she was willing to go back, the cleaning would be done faster; if she wasn't, they could take their time.
She didn't quite understand why, even though they had no feelings for each other, they were still tied together to live like this.
You live in your villa, and I live in my apartment. Isn't that better?
However, after some consideration, she guessed that Chen Lunan wanted to put on a show for his family. With that thought, Yan Qiuzhi reluctantly said, "Alright, I'll move back tomorrow."
Chen Lunan nodded in agreement, "Okay."
Then he walked past Yan Qiuzhi and headed to the kitchen.
Yan Qiuzhi glanced in his direction and couldn't resist following him.
"Are you cooking?" she asked.
Chen Lunan didn't even give her a glance and said casually, "I thought you'd be too tired to eat."
After being rebuffed by Chen Lunan, Yan Qiuzhi walked back to her bedroom, huffing.
What a grudge-holding old man.
He probably won't get a dinner date for the rest of his life.
Watching Yan Qiuzhi's sulking back, Chen Lunan stood in the kitchen for a moment, then picked up his coffee and returned to his study.
Half an hour later, there was a knock at the door.
Chen Lunan raised his eyelids and looked towards the door. Yan Qiuzhi stood there, wearing a spaghetti-strap nightdress with two thin straps on her shoulders that perfectly outlined her graceful figure.
He paused for a moment, letting his gaze travel upward to her pure and beautiful face.
Yan Qiuzhi blinked and, very openly, allowed Chen Lunan to admire her. She leaned against the door, her eyes shining, and called out sweetly, "Husband."
Chen Lunan, holding a pen, drew a deep mark on the white page.
Yan Qiuzhi didn't mind his lack of response. She continued, "Could you do me a favor?"
Chen Lunan took his eyes off her, not even giving her a glance. He asked calmly, "What is it?"
Yan Qiuzhi's eyelashes flickered, creating an irresistible and pitiful look. Looking pretty and cute in her present state, this appearance was especially captivating.
"My takeout has arrived, but it seems the delivery person couldn't find the main entrance," she explained.
He stood up and asked, "Where is it now?"
Yan Qiuzhi, still with a charming smile, replied, "I don't know. The delivery person was vague on the phone. I'll send you the number, and you can ask when you go downstairs, okay?"
Chen Lunan didn't refuse.
While sitting in the elevator, Chen Lunan's phone vibrated. it was the delivery person’s number sent by Yan Qiuzhi.
He glanced at it and tugged his lip slightly.
After Chen Lunan left, Yan Qiuzhi sent a victory emoji to Shen Muqing.
Shen Muqing: 【...Aren't you afraid that Chen Lunan will figure out that you are deliberately making things difficult for him?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【If he figures it out, he figures it out. Anyway, he won't let me go down in that outfit.】
Shen Muqing: 【Why?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【Let me tell you, even though we are a plastic couple who will run for their own lives when disaster strikes, at least, we have a name and substance. Besides, Chen Lunan may seem cold but, in reality, he is actually quite reserved and has strong possessiveness. He's a bit chauvinistic. He wouldn't want his wife to be seen that way.】
This was the conclusion she had drawn during the first half year of their marriage.
Men's nature was pretty much the same.
Furthermore, she knew that Chen Lunan couldn't resist her in that outfit. Being coquettish was a beautiful woman's best weapon, even for someone like Chen Lunan.
Shen Muqing: 【...Haven't you thought about the possibility that Chen Lunan would ask you to change your clothes before going down?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【??? He wouldn’t be a human if he did that.】
Shen Muqing: 【In that case, Chen Lunan isn't that bad.】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【I didn't say he was bad.】
Shen Muqing: 【You've said that a lot.】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【......】
After reaching the ground floor, Chen Lunan called the delivery person, looking unruffled. After confirming the location, he made his way to the rear gate of the residential complex.
Yan Qiuzhi's building was a bit further ahead, about a ten-minute walk from the rear entrance.
When Chen Lunan arrived, the delivery guy was waiting on the side.
Seeing him approach, the delivery driver asked, "Are you here to pick up the delivery?"
The delivery guy asked, "Is this for Chen Lunan's Wife with the phone number ending in 7672?"
Chen Lunan paused briefly, raising an eyebrow, and said, "Yes, thanks."
He took the paper bag from the delivery guy.
Relieved, the delivery guy muttered, "That's good then. The customer told me to deliver it to the back gate, saying someone would pick it up, and I thought I was being deceived."
With that, he handed over the food, collected the payment, and rode away on his electric scooter.
When he heard the delivery guy's words, Chen Lunan's brow slightly twitched.
He lowered his head to check the order's notes, then looked at the contact name at the top. He smiled slightly.
When Chen Lunan returned, Yan Qiuzhi had already dried her hair and was sitting in the living room, waiting.
Upon hearing the doorbell, Yan Qiuzhi turned her head and gazed at him with her sparkling eyes.
"Thank you for your trouble," she said.
Chen Lunan handed the food to her and didn't question why she had asked the delivery guy to deliver to the back gate.
Yan Qiuzhi observed the changes in Chen Lunan's expression and estimated that he likely hadn't noticed the note.
But it made sense; Chen Lunan had no time for trivial matters like that.
She had ordered a spicy hotpot, and as soon as it was opened, the rich aroma filled the living room.
To express her gratitude, Yan Qiuzhi kindly asked, "Would you like to have some?"
Chen Lunan sipped his glass and glanced at the food, saying, "No need."
Yan Qiuzhi didn't get upset. Chen Lunan never ate takeout food, which was perfectly fine with her. She started eating without any further ado and occasionally glanced towards Chen Lunan.
In the next moment, Yan Qiuzhi saw Chen Lunan enter the kitchen.
After a while, she heard the sound of the stove being lit.
Yan Qiuzhi remained still for a moment, contemplating whether to go over and see what he was doing, but she couldn't bring herself to do it.
After some thought, she took out her phone and messaged Shen Muqing.
Yan Qiuzhi: 【The takeout is here.】
Shen Muqing: 【Did he figure out that you have intentionally put the delivery address as the back gate?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【...I'm not sure, but the issue is that Chen Lunan has entered the kitchen and started cooking.】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【Do you think he's trying to punish me for making him pick up the takeout by starting to cook?】
Shen Muqing: 【...How can cooking be considered a punishment for you?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【If he cooks and doesn't let me eat, isn't that a punishment?】
Shen Muqing: 【You already have takeout, why do you care?】
Yan Qiuzhi: 【You don't understand; Chen Lunan's cooking is a thousand times better than takeout.】
Although she couldn't trade wealth for wealth and power for power, when it came to gourmet food, Yan Qiuzhi was willing to bow down.
People have to eat; what else can they do?
Twenty minutes later, Yan Qiuzhi's eyes shone as she watched Chen Lunan bring dishes out of the kitchen.
There was a plate of hot and sour shredded potatoes, a plate of stir-fried pork, and even... chicken soup?!
She widened her eyes and stared in disbelief, "When did you start cooking chicken soup?"
Chen Lunan replied nonchalantly, "Before you came back."
Yan Qiuzhi was furious. "Then why did you say you weren’t cooking?"
Chen Lunan replied, "I didn't say that."
Yan Qiuzhi was on the verge of divorcing him right there. She couldn't believe what she was hearing and was seething with anger.
Chen Lunan had indeed not said that he wasn’t cooking, but his implication was a sharp retort!
She continued to glare at Chen Lunan, who seemed oblivious to the situation. Yan Qiuzhi, smelling the tantalizing aroma, subconsciously swallowed her saliva. She looked at the cold hotpot in front of her and lost her appetite.
After agonizing for half a minute, she decided to temporarily set aside her dignity in the face of gourmet food and gave Chen Lunan a kick under the table.
Chen Lunan lifted his eyelids and looked at her.
Yan Qiuzhi boldly declared, "I want to drink the chicken soup."
Chen Lunan remained unfazed.
Yan Qiuzhi continued, "Your wife is hungry, she wants to drink chicken soup!"
Chen Lunan glanced at her.
Yan Qiuzhi stared at him and said, "You've made your wife mad. If you don't give your wife the chicken soup, you'll be sleeping in the study tonight, and you won't be going home with your wife tomorrow."
It was unclear which part of her words hit home with Chen Lunan, but he stared at Yan Qiuzhi for a moment, then got up and went into the kitchen to serve her a bowl of chicken soup.
Yan Qiuzhi reached out, her lips curved in a smile, "Thank you."
She took a few sips and felt her whole body sigh in bliss.
Watching Chen Lunan eat, she suddenly realized a crucial point and asked, "...You didn't eat before, either?"
Chen Lunan nodded.
Yan Qiuzhi was taken aback and playfully kicked him again, although this time, it was much gentler and carried a hint of seduction.
Chen Lunan tightened his jawline, his Adam's apple bobbing as he spoke in a deep voice, "Eat first."
Yan Qiuzhi: "…?"