*** = Scene change
***** = Timeskip
“For example, by marrying a rich man so I can sit at home every day, counting money.”
Unless it was New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, setting off fireworks was strictly prohibited in the urban areas.
Qingruo wasn’t sure how much money Feng Qi threw in to be permitted an exception, but that evening, she nestled in his arms and watched the fireworks on the rooftop.
The fireworks blossomed into a giant red heart, and that was when Feng Qi took a ring out of his suit pocket and perched his chin on her head, breathing warm air against her hair as he popped the question.
”Baby, be my Mrs. Feng?”
“Uh-huh.” She pulled away from his arms. ”What are the benefits?”
He pulled her back and pressed his forehead against hers. ”Benefits? I’ll buy you anything you want.”
“What if I want a star?”
Feng Qi furrowed his brows and contemplated it. ”I’ll contact the aerospace bureau tomorrow and ask if there are any unnamed stars that I can buy for you.”
Sniggering, Qingruo lifted her hand and pressed her fingertips against his chest. She raised her chin and said, ”Put the ring on me.”
He lowered his head and melded their lips in a long and tender kiss, simultaneously sliding the ring onto her fourth finger.
As the fireworks continued to bloom and bleed a myriad of colors across the night sky, Feng Qi held her and murmured affectionately, ”From now on, this is your home. When we quarrel, wait for me to come and ask you for forgiveness. Don’t leave.”
Before going to get their marriage certificate, Feng Qi went to set up a prenuptial agreement1. This perplexed Chu Yang. “You don’t want to give her it, and you won’t get a single penny out of it either, so why did you bother getting it notarized?”
Feng Qi was sitting in the backseat of the car. He unknotted his necktie and tossed it aside. His last marriage with An Qi had been so troublesome that it left a mark on him, and since Qingruo herself said that she would rather not entertain so many people, they’d decided to forgo the wedding.
For the sake of having time for their honeymoon, Feng Qi had been working overtime and was exhausted.
Hearing no response, Chu Yang glanced at the rearview mirror and gloated over the man’s tired and gloomy state.
When Feng Qi got home, he saw that the porch lights were turned on, and his slippers were sitting off to one side.
Qingruo was lounging on the living room sofa. The television was running, but her attention was on the sketchbook in her hand. She seemed to have gotten into sketching lately.
“Mhm.” He took off his coat and hung it on the coat rack before making his way over, fixated on the sight of her back. As he neared, every step he took gave his exhausted body a burst of energy.
He bent down and carefully examined her sketchbook before praising, ”You’ve improved, this duckling looks very cute.”
Her pencil ceased its movement.
Sensing that something was wrong, he gave a hollow laugh and sat down beside her. He took her hand and waggled it. ”Tell me what you drew?”
She looked at him sadly. ”A swan…”
”Mhm, you drew it very well. Very similar.” Feng Qi was getting better and better at lying through his teeth.
Qingruo set down her sketchbook and turned over to massage his shoulders. ”Do you want a late-night snack?”
Within one year, Feng Qi had gained five pounds.
Their honeymoon was to be spent by the sea, so in order to be able to show himself off in a swimming trunk, recently Feng Qi was not only eating less but also exercising more. Her question gnawed at the glutton in him.
He stood up and gathered her into his arms before carrying her upstairs. ”Mhm. I’d like to have you for a late-night snack.”
As soon as they entered the bedroom, he went for the bed and ravished her until she was so tired that by the time he finished cleaning her up and carried her out of the bedroom, she was already asleep.
Feng Qi had been careless and left the window open. Rain started to fall in the middle of the night, and it only fell harder as the night progressed. The curtains flew in disorder, and a chill swept through the room, dampened by the cold raindrops blown in by the wind.
His embrace was warm, so Qingruo kept trying to burrow deeper and rubbing her head against his chest.
When Feng Qi woke up, plagued by a range of different sensations, the first thing he did was tighten his embrace and kiss her. Then, he turned around and looked at the window.
The rain had formed a glistening little puddle on the floor below the window. The curtains were still thrashing, spattering the entire room with raindrops.
Feng Qi sighed, and a fresh gale blew in, plunging the room into further coldness. The woman in his arms moved even closer, almost pushing herself to the center of the bed. He comforted her with a pat on the back and stood up, completely naked, to go close the window.
As he neared, he was smacked twice by the flailing curtains and got water on his bare skin.
The room was drenched. If Qingruo continued sleeping in it, she would definitely catch a cold the next morning, so Feng Qi threw on some clothes and wrapped her up in a blanket before carrying her to a different room.
When he was halfway there, she stirred and asked him drowsily, ”Feng Qi, what are you doing?”
“Nothing. Sleep, I’m here.”
She nodded and drifted back to sleep.
The next morning, Qingruo woke up to find that she was in a different room, and the person who should’ve gone to work already was instead holding her in his arms and staring at her face.
After yawning and lazily stretching out her arms, she asked, ”Aren’t you going to work?”
Feng Qi pinched her nose and wiggled it. “What have you done to me? Fess up.” He was actually thinking that her sleepy, crusty-eyed appearance was cute… even he himself found it a bit alarming.
He lowered his head and kissed her. ”Get up and accompany me to work?”
She flipped around and turned her back to him. ”Don’t wanna.”
He had intended it as a casual question, but her blatant refusal changed his mind. ”No, wake up. Accompany me.”
Reaching out, he tickled her under the blankets. “Why should I work overtime like a dog every day while you’re lazing around at home?”
Qingruo laughed from his tickling. After wiping her tears, she hugged the blanket and scooted away. “Because you need to earn money to buy me things, duh.”
Although it made some sense, Feng Qi didn’t want to let her off, so he pounced on her and continued the tickling. Qingruo held onto the blanket with one hand and tried to scratch him with the other, but he easily caught her attack.
He raised an eyebrow. ”Kitten’s paw, huh?”
She tried to pull her hand free, but to no avail. Piqued, Qingruo lifted the leg she had lying behind him and successively delivered a kick, sending him to the floor. Feng Qi took in her triumphant expression and inwardly gritted his teeth, even less inclined to let her off.
In the end, Qingruo was defeated and stuffed into a professional outfit before being taken to the company.
As soon as the front secretary saw her boss and new lady boss arrive, she greeted them with great enthusiasm. “Welcome, madam. Would you like tea or coffee?”
Feng Qi refused, “No need. Today, the madam is here to experience the secretarial life. She’ll make my coffee for me. In a minute, teach her what she needs to know.”
The corners of Qingruo’s lips twitched. A certain man looked so smug that it seemed like his eyebrows were about to fly off his face2. She nodded to the embarrassed secretary and said, “Mhm. You go do your own things, I’ll take it from here.”
The secretary went away with a strange expression on her face. No matter how ridiculous President Feng could be, he was an absolute perfectionist when it came to work. However, this time he had made an exception. That alone showed how much he cared about the lady boss.
Feng Qi didn’t like sweets. As Qingruo prepared his coffee, she put several cubes of sugar into the cup before carrying it to his office.
“President Feng, your coffee is ready,” she said as she knocked.
As expected of a —former— actress. Feng Qi put down his pen and sat up straight. “Come in.”
Qingruo had a nice body, and the business suit she was wearing accentuated that very well. Her cascading hairstyle alleviated the serious workplace atmosphere and brought it a gentleness that was unique to her.
She walked in wearing high heels, but they didn’t make a single sound as she made her way to his desk. Bending slightly, she set down the coffee cup and never once looked at his face.
Feng Qi thought it was inconveniable—it was like she had completely become a real secretary. He looked at her strangely and couldn’t help but remark, “How come your acting was so bad before?” before taking a sip of the coffee.
Very fragrant, and very sweet.
The corners of Feng Qi’s lips turned upwards. ‘This little devil.’
Qingruo had already reached the door. Hearing his question, she turned around and answered nonchalantly, “Just wanted enough to put food on the table. Fame is troublesome, and I like to live an easy life.” She fluttered her eyelashes at him. “For example, by marrying a rich man so I can sit at home every day, counting money.”
After half a day, Qingruo stopped playing secretary. By then, the original secretary had taken a blow. The secretary wrote a request to be allowed three months of supplementary training, printed it out on A4 paper, and hoped that Feng Qi would agree to sign it.
However, Feng Qi didn’t feel like reading it. “Didn’t you already finish your training?”
The secretary wrung her hands and responded with some embarrassment, “Today, after meeting the madam, I felt disappointed in my own work ethic.”
Feng Qi raised an eyebrow and waited for her to continue.
“The madam has never worked as a secretary before, but after I gave her some basic instructions, she performed some of the tasks even better than I did! That’s why I want to undergo supplementary training to improve myself.”
‘Aiya.’ Feng Qi couldn’t help but laugh to himself. He replied with a question, ”Where’s Qingruo?”
“The madam is helping Assistant Chu look over the monthly reports data in the statistics department.”
He nodded and signed the secretary’s request. ”Wait a while, until I come back from my honeymoon, and make a list of people who are also interested in supplementary training.”
The secretary wasn’t the only one who highly praised Qingruo—Chu Yang did too. Feng Qi felt proud, and at the same time, a bit sour; he didn’t know why he felt sour.
He worked overtime as usual. Normally, it was either Chu Yang or Xiao Zhao waiting for him to finish, but this time it was Qingruo. She had nothing to do and was sitting on the sofa in his office, reading a magazine with his jacket draped over her legs.
Almost all of the employees had left, so only the sounds of Feng Qi typing on his keyboard and Qingruo occasionally turning the magazine pages could be heard.
As he waited for a document to be printed, he glanced over at her. Behind her, the sky was black, shrouding half of her countenance in darkness, while the other half was lit dimly by lamplight. The color of her lips was also split between pale and pink. Feng Qi recalled how soft those lips were and how sweet they tasted.
Suddenly, he thought that having the same person accompany him for his entire life might really be okay, even if it meant seeing them every day and possibly getting tired of their face.
He remembered the question Chu Yang asked him the night before. Putting aside his documents, Feng Qi opened a drawer and took out the prenuptial agreement he had prepared. He’d printed it out himself, with black ink on white paper to represent a promise.
Before asking her to come over, he noticed that she had already taken off her shoes. Putting them on and getting up again would be troublesome, so he walked over to her instead.
Hearing the sound, Qingruo looked up and smiled at him. ”What’s wrong?”
He sat down beside her and handed her the paper and a pen. “Take a look. I’ve already signed it. You just have to sign it too and take it to a notary tomorrow.”
It was a very simple agreement between Party A, Feng Qi, and Party B, Song Qingruo, stating that if their marriage was ever terminated, Feng Qi would either give her 10% of The Feng Company’s shares, or a discount.
Qingruo propped her chin in her hand and read over it before putting it down and asking him, “What does it mean?”
Feng Qi frowned slightly. He also had mixed feelings about the agreement, but he still pulled her into his arms and said, “I didn’t want to give you it, but I thought I should anyway.”
She rested her chin on his shoulder and laughed softly. ”Then don’t give me it.”
He looked down at her with serious eyes and said in a stern tone. “No. You know what kind of person I am—I can’t promise you we’ll be together forever. Give yourself a way out while I’m still feeling generous. It’s hard to say how excessive I might be in the future.”
Seeing her dazedly staring at him, Feng Qi softened his tone and patted her head, comforting her. ”This is a prenuptial agreement. For you, I can soft-hearted. I don’t want you to leave me, but I’m afraid I might bully you in the future.” Then he kissed her on the forehead. ”Be good and sign it.”
No【Black Box】this chapter 🙁
VIN: So in case anyone is confused on that prenuptial agreement thing, here’s an explanation: Feng Qi knows that he’s a fickle man, he’s aware of his own playboy history and is afraid that he might cheat on Qingruo in the future. He doesn’t trust himself, basically, and he’s giving her this prenuptial agreement that only benefits her so that if he does betray her later on in their marriage, she can divorce him and get compensation for wasting her time on him.
RELEASE SCHEDULE: One arc every month.