Eventually, the lunar new year vacation ended so Yun Jin and Cheng Zheng made their way back to G-city together. Life settled into a predictable routine. Yun Jin tried her best not to let her uncle’s matter get to her. She wasn’t going to allow that to come between Cheng Zheng and her. She hoped that everything would go smoothly for uncle and that he would work hard so as not to abuse Cheng Zheng’s family’s goodwill.
Shen Ju An’s and Zhang Yue’s wedding took place two weekends later. Because Zhang Yue had spent a greater part of her life living abroad, she was heavily influenced by Western culture. Furthermore, her parents were staunch Christians so the wedding had a Western vibe to it.
The entire ceremony was not as lavish as Yun Jin had imagined. Rather, it was a low-key affair. The only attendees were family and close friends. Reporters and other well-wishes were politely turned away at the door. The venue was on the golf-fields of one of the Zhang Corporation hotels. Following the wedding ceremony was a casual buffet-styled wedding reception.
Yun Jin took a glass of beverage from one of the waiters and seated herself on a bench behind a short tree to bask in the warm sunlight alone. At first Cheng Zheng had accompanied her and introduced her to his various relatives and friends on the grounds. But slowly, he increasingly encountered familiar people some of whom were Zhang Yue’s and his young playmates who were of similar backgrounds and upbringing. After not having seen each other in such a long while, there was naturally much to catch up on so Yun Jin left him to reminisce with his pals. Initially, Cheng Zheng was reluctant to part with her as he didn’t want her to feel lonesome but she insisted that she was fine on her own.
She sipped at her beverage and inhaled the natural fragrance of the greenery as she studied the well-dressed guests around her. If not for Cheng Zheng, this was a world she would have never been a part of. As she was so used to his presence, she hadn’t noticed there was anything special about him. But now as she assumed an observer role watching him hang out with fellow eligible bachelors, she noticed that no one could outshine him. Zhang Yue and he were both laughing and having a good time. Undeniably, this was their world.
On the other hand, Shen Ju An who Zhang Yue was holding onto had little to say. He maintained a courteous smile as he accompanied his new bride. His fitted tuxedo made him more handsome and refine than usual. Yun Jin felt acutely that Ju An was like a jade statue – he appeared to be approachable and charming but he was cold inside. If you really knew him, you would realise that his smile was actually aloof and distant. Even now, his heart was not in it.
Yun Jin was amused at her discovery. Amongst the people gathered there, apart from Zhang Yue who was a variable, she understood Ju An the best. While he normally exercised good control of his emotions, he couldn’t hide the worry and unease in his eyes from Yun Jin. But Yun Jin wasn’t a nosey person; Since Shen Ju An had already walked out of her life, she had no reason to pry.
She observed the newlyweds for a long time. Eventually, Ju An whispered in Zhang Yue’s ear before politely excusing himself from the gang. While he appeared to be roaming the grounds casually, on closer inspection, he seemed to be searching intently for something. As his search continued to yield no results, the anxiety in his eyes became more and more apparent. Unintentionally, he was headed in Yun Jin’s direction.
“Have you found it?” Yun Jin decided to call out when he neared instead of keeping mum in the corner.
“Yun Jin?” Surprise flitted across his face. He resumed his usual leisurely smile “How come you’re here alone?”
“Have you misplaced something important?” Yun Jin refused to deviate from the topic.
Shen Ju An did not reply but his eyes grew cold with a cutting stare. Yun Jin remained unmoved. After a while, he laughed although his expression was despondent “Yes it’s very important to me. I’ve lost my ring.”
Yun Jin was bewildered as she stared at the dazzling diamond-encrusted piece on his ring finger “Your ring? Isn’t it on your finger?”
Shen Ju An lifted his hand thoughtfully and stared at the ring in slight distaste. It was a one-of-a-kind band whose every diamond was cut with flawless precision and it was now reflecting brilliantly under the natural light.
“No, it’s not this ring. It’s an ordinary gold ring. I must have dropped it somewhere.” His helplessness and distressed tone was something Yun Jin was unfamiliar with. She knew the pain of losing something precious could not be feigned even by the most scheming of hearts.
“Do you need my help?” Yun Jin asked.
Shen Ju An was just about to speak when footsteps sounded from behind him.
“Ju An what are you doing here? … Oh you’re here too Yun Jin? Cheng Zheng has been looking everywhere for you.” Zhang Yue teased.
“Hi Zhang Yue.” Yun Jin quickly greeted her.
“What interesting conversation are you having? I couldn’t find you just now.” Zhang Yue’s tone had an undercurrent of slight annoyance although her expression was still tender and playful.
“Oh I dropped something and since Ju An was nearby, I asked him to help me look for it.” Yun Jin thought on her feet quickly.
“What is it?” Zhang Yue asked, genuinely worried for her friend.
“It’s a ring.”
Unexpectedly, Zhang Yue gave a dismissive look before fishing out a plain gold ring from her purse.
“Is this the one? A waiter handed it to me. I was just about to make an announcement if anyone had misplaced this.”
Yun Jin sneaked a quick look at Shen Ju An. She could tell that this was the aforementioned ring so she accepted it eagerly and thanked Zhang Yue profusely.
Zhang Yue chuckled as she stopped her “No need to thank me silly. But if it’s really so important, better not lose it again. You might not be so lucky next time. Oh yes Yun Jin, Ju An and I have to greet some elders now, would you come with us?”
Of course Yun Jin declined though she continued to plaster a grateful smile on her face. Zhang Yue and Shen Ju An had just left when she noticed that Cheng Zheng was engaged in a hearty conversation nearby. It turned out that he had accompanied Zhang Yue over but had been waylaid by an old friend whom he was still talking to. She wondered if he had heard their conversation. He parted from his friend shortly and made his way over where the first thing he did was stick out his hand and demanded “What nice thing did you get? I want to see.”
Yun Jin dangled the ring in front of him teasingly “Here it is.”
“Wasn’t this with Zhang Yue just now? How come it’s ended up with you?”
Yun Jin laughed as she patted him on the head “Don’t be a busybody. Anyway, it’s not yours.”
Cheng Zheng leapt back immediately “Should a man’s head be patted? I’m not a dog!”
Yun Jin was glad that he didn’t pursue the matter. While she could have easily assumed ownership of the ring by lying that it was from her mother or feign any other plausible excuse, she was unwilling to deceive him.