It was late summer and dark clouds shrouded the land. The air was humid and stuffy.
Business was bad for this coffee shop as it was deserted.
A pale and slender figure stood behind the counter.
The dim yellow light shone on her like the moonlight, covering her with shadows.
Her head was hung low, and the front of her hair was let down. Her straight nose and lashes that were as black as crow's feathers could be barely seen.
Her white and silky skin was a little pale, but it was unbelievably smooth as if her whole person seemed to be glowing.
A person with a babyface walked toward her after she was done keeping all the tableware.
"Little Li, I heard that you're leaving tomorrow?"
Ning Li nodded softly.
"Then it'll be hard for us to meet again…"
Babyface sighed as she hesitated to continue.
They all knew that Ning Li grew up with her grandmother since she was a child.
However, Ning Li's grandmother passed away due to a heart attack two weeks ago.
Thus, her custody was given to her mother.
No one knew that her mother was still alive and that she even married into a wealthy family. Moreover, her mother was in Yunzhou now, which was only an hour away from Lincheng.
"Your mother must be missing you after not meeting you for so many years," Babyface uttered dully.
Suddenly, Ning Li stopped and lifted her eyes.
She had a pair of extremely gorgeous almond eyes where the inner corners were pointy and the outer corners were slightly lifted upward. Her eyes looked clean and clear. Her pupils were dark and deep like the night, adding a touch of coldness to them.
Ning Li lifted her lips, and there were ripples of light deep inside her eyes. She then spoke in a gentle tone, "Maybe."
If her mother really missed her even just a little, she would not have hidden from her for so many years.
Her father, Ning Haizhou, was just an ordinary guy from a normal family background. Due to his handsome appearance, he was able to coax Su Yuan to marry him.
Nonetheless, it did not last long. After their marriage, Ning Haizhou was jobless and unambitious. Su Yuan could not put up with such a horrible life, so she filed for divorce and left the family when Ning Li was six years old.
A month after Su Yuan left, Ning Haizhou was sentenced to life imprisonment because he was drunk driving and got involved in a hit-and-run which took away somebody's life.
Since then, it was just Ning Li and her grandmother.
If her grandmother had not passed away all of a sudden, Ning Li felt that she would never get a chance in her life to meet Su Yuan again.
Surely, no one would fancy a burden like Ning Li.
Everybody knew the reason. However, Ning Li only desired love from her family in her previous life, which was dumb and naive of her. She was disfigured, shamed, lost everything, and her reputation was tarnished. Finally, she was locked in a sanatorium for a year and met her end there.
However, Ning Li realized she was turned back into a 17-year-old when she woke up once again.
Luckily, everything was just getting started.
Babyface was surprised.
Back then, Ning Li would be over the moon whenever they talked about it, but…
For some reason, Ning Li had changed a little after she caught a high fever three days ago.
Ning Li's phone vibrated in her pocket.
She took out her phone and glanced at it. It showed a string of numbers from Yunzhou.
Her gaze stopped for a moment. Ning Li then declined the call and set the phone in silent mode.
Babyface asked her curiously, "Who's that?"
Ning Li answered her casually, "I don't know. Maybe it's a scam call."
Babyface nodded before going into the changing room to change her attire.
She was supposed to have a night shift, but she had some issues with her family. Therefore, Ning Li took the initiative to take over her shift, and her colleague was thankful to her.
"I'm leaving now, Ning Li! Be careful when you're returning home later."
Ning Li smiled and waved goodbye to her.
The sky was getting darker.
The thunder rumbled, and it started to rain.
Ning Li had already worked in the coffee shop for another two hours, and the time showed that it was 10:00 p.m.
She sat on a stool, tearing off post-it notes and writing something on them.
Suddenly, there came a strident honking from a car outside.
Ning Li raised her head and looked out to see a black Cayenne stopped outside the shop.
Slowly, she sat up straight.
The driver got out of the car and opened an umbrella before he strode to the back seat.
A well-dressed lady got out of the car and entered the coffee shop.
Under the lights and shade, it could be seen that the lady had been taking exceptional care of her face.
Yet, the expression on her face was extremely terrible.
The lady scowled while gazing at Ning Li. She had seen Ning Li's photos before. This was the first time the both of them were officially meeting after 11 years.
The young lady in front of her was wearing a casual black T-shirt that occasionally revealed her exquisite collarbone. Her smoky gray skinny jeans outlined her straight and long legs.
She was stunning with a languid and unrestrained vibe between her eyes.
The driver, Zhou Hua, stood aside while looking at Ning Li with contempt.
Ning Li never showed the intention of standing up and greeting her even after she had come into the coffee shop. Her entire body was exuding with indifference.
Was this the way she treated her own mother?
Such an ignorant brat!
Su Yuan felt it too, and her face was gloomy.
Su Yuan paused for a second before she tried to speak softly, "Ning Li, I went to your school just now. Mr. Zhang said that you haven't been attending your classes these few days. You're not going to school. Why are you stuck here?"
Su Yuan only made her way to this place after asking around, and they really did have a hard time searching for it.
Ning Li re-capped the pen and replied to her gently, "I had a fever the last three days and just got better today. Besides, I'm in debt now because of my grandma's funeral. That's why I came here to work so that I can clear my loan."
Su Yuan choked.
"I called you so many times just now, why didn't you pick up?"
Ning Li frowned a little before reaching for her phone. Sure enough, there were plenty of missed call notifications on her screen, and she uttered in shock, "I see. I thought it was a scam call."
Of course, she had not saved Su Yuan's contact number on her phone.
Su Yuan shut her eyes for a minute.
Back then, she had never imagined that she would come back to Lincheng again after deciding to leave everything behind and get out of that place.
Her past marriage and her daughter—those were the things that she would never want to talk about.
The Ye family was distinguished and eminent in Yunzhou. Su Yuan had put in a lot of effort to maintain a firm position in the family.
She finally got Ye Ming's daughter, Ye Ci, to accept her. She even had a son named Ye Cheng. Just when Su Yuan thought that she could enjoy her life, who knew that Ning Li would suddenly come out of nowhere?
Actually, Su Yuan was reluctant to be here, but she had no choice.
Besides, she could not help but recall her sorrowful past when she saw Ning Li. As such, it made her unable to get close to Ning Li no matter what.
"You don't need to worry about it. Go pack your things and follow me back to Yunzhou tonight."
Su Yuan's tone was firm as she turned around and left after finishing her sentence.
Suddenly, Ning Li replied to her, "I can't finish packing tonight, so I can't leave tonight."
Su Yuan turned her head and uttered a little impatiently, "What are the things that you need to pack from that house? Everything's ready for you at Yunzhou, you—"
"I'm not used to using other people's stuff," Ning Li interrupted Su Yuan.
Su Yuan's heart shook a little.
She had told Ye Ming that she would be home by tonight. If it were not because of Ning Li, she would not have dragged this matter on until now.
The rain was getting heavier.
Zhou Hua's expression changed after he took a glance at his phone.
"Madam, the highway back to Yunzhou is closed because of the heavy rain."
"What?" Su Yuan was stunned.
They might be unable to return home tonight.
Ning Li propped her face on her hand.
She did not have much to pack. She just did not want to leave at night.
On this day in her past life, it was raining cats and dogs in Yunzhou. Dozens of cars were involved in a pileup on the highway, causing three deaths and seven injured.
As for Ning Li, she was one of them.
Zhou Hua and Su Yuan were lucky enough to suffer minor injuries during that accident, but Ning Li's right arm was fractured and she needed three months to recover from it.
The most important thing was her right arm had lost part of its function after that car crash.
At that time, Ning Li felt like the car had some issues and wanted to check on it. However, she was told that the car had been scrapped and she could not investigate anything else.
Ning Li would never take the risk again if she was given a second chance.
Since the situation was a little different, Su Yuan said, "Then, I'll make a call home to let them know I'm staying here tonight. Zhou Hua, get us a hotel."
However, Ning Li uttered, "I'm staying at my house."
Su Yuan scowled as she glanced at Ning Li while making the call.
She had nothing else to say since Ning Li was insisting. Nevertheless, she would never step foot into this filthy place again.
Su Yuan adjusted her scarf before she uttered, "Zhou Hua, send her back home."
Half an hour later, the black Cayenne entered an old town area.
In all these years, the east side of Lincheng developed rapidly because it was just next to Yunzhou.
Meanwhile, the west side of Lincheng was dilapidated and worn-out.
Finally, the car stopped in front of an alley.
The rain had gotten lighter. Potholes were vaguely visible on the narrow road under the dim streetlights, and the building beside them was patchy and dilapidated.
Su Yuan shifted her gaze away from it in disgust after she took a look at it.
She sat still in her seat.
"I'll be here tomorrow at 8:00 a.m."
Ning Li carried her black backpack, got out of the car swiftly, and left.
In the dark, Ning Li held an umbrella with one hand. Her back was slender and thin, but it was straight and full of pride.
A white car passed by them.
Cheng Xiyue was driving as he questioned idly, "I really don't know what's good about this tiny Lincheng that's worthwhile for you to come here every month? You come here and do nothing else, just wandering around the streets. It has almost been a year. Do you really think that I'm your driver?"
At the front passenger seat, a man was tilting his head while looking out the window.
He was fair, and his black hair was hanging down. The curve from his brow ridge to his nose was perfect. Even his jawline was clean and sharp.
The man wore a black suit with two buttons unbuttoned at his neck, revealing his sexy Adam's apple.
Black and white, the two colors were well-defined but blended perfectly.
His posture was casual and lazy, yet his brows and eyes were cold as they exuded an emotionless vibe.
He opened his mouth, and his tone was hoarse because he did not sleep well yesterday.
Cheng Xiyue. "…"
He was really handsome, but it was unsure who could deal with his weird behavior.
Cheng Xiyue coughed when he recalled Old Master Lu's instruction, and he said, "Listen to me. This is not the way you deal with it. It has already been a year. You should go and consult a psychiatrist..."
Before he could finish his sentence, Cheng Xiyue realized the man had sat up straight and was staring outside.
He shifted his gaze as well, and he saw a familiar license plate.
"Oh? Isn't that the Ye family's car? Seems like they really came here to fetch the lady back home."
Lu Huaiyu rested his eyes on the figure in the dark alley. He could only react after a moment.
"The Ye family?"
Cheng Xiyue shrugged.
"Ye Ming's current wife has a daughter with her ex-husband. The daughter is homeless now and the Ye family said they want to bring her back home. I guess the lady's life isn't going to get any easier."
Lu Huaiyu pondered for a while before questioning suddenly, "Old Master Cheng is going to celebrate his 70th birthday a few days later. Did you all invite the Ye family?"
Cheng Xiyue shook his head. "No."
"Then, I'll invite them with you tomorrow."
Cheng Xiyue turned the wheel violently and gazed at Lu Huaiyu unbelievably.
"It's just the Ye family. Wait a minute, don't tell me that you fancy the young lady?"
His face was partly in the dark when the lights shone on him, and there was a beam of light flashing across the depths of his deep eyes.
Lu Huaiyu chuckled softly.
"Didn't you say that she has no one to take care of her?"