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887 All My Life

 Gu Nianzhi was holding onto her phone as she spoke. The moment she looked up, she saw the bulletproof car with a red flag. On a cold winter night, along roads that were dimly lit, and after having to take an undeserved attitude from some strange people, seeing Huo Shaoheng's car and hearing his concerned voice was akin to warming her heart up after feeling cold for almost the entire evening.

She quickly replied, "You guys wait here along the roadside for a minute. I will go in and get my bag."

Gu Nianzhi returned to the restaurant quickly and entered the room. She turned to Xie Qingying apologetically and said, "Cousin, I have something to attend to, so I need to get going now. I will treat you next time!"

"Is it the phone call just now? Sure, go ahead if you have something you need to do." Xie Qingying expressed her understanding. She had intended to treat Gu Nianzhi today, but with Huo Jialan and Assistant Yang interrupting, she already felt awkward. "I will see you again soon, yes? I will remember!" she said.

"No problem. I will definitely give you a call." Gu Nianzhi made a sign of a call and picked up her bag. She also nodded to Huo Jialan as a form of courtesy.

After coming out of the restaurant, Gu Nianzhi saw the car that was stopped right in front of it. She pushed her bicycle towards the car. The window of the car opened, and Huo Shaoheng took a look before instructing Fan Jian, "Help Nianzhi with her bicycle and hang it at the back of the car."

Fan Jian got out of the car, took the bicycle from Gu Nianzhi, and hung it on the bicycle rank on the back of the car. Gu Nianzhi thanked him and opened the door to the back seat. Huo Shaoheng had initially been sitting in the seat nearer to the roadside. However, when Gu Nianzhi got in the car, he had already moved over to the other side.

Fan Jian finished hanging Gu Nianzhi's bicycle, returned to the car, and drove off. The moment they left, Assistant Yang and the students came out of the restaurant. Everyone surrounded Assistant Yang and chatted happily away.

However, Assistant Yang had already noticed that Gu Nianzhi had gotten into the car with the red flag and a military license plate. He picked up a cigarette and lit it. Taking a puff, he felt even more stressed.

"Senior Yang, where should we head off to enjoy next?" the freshman guy asked excitedly.

Assistant Yang smiled. He took out 1,000 dollars from his wallet and placed it in Rong Mingxing's hands. "Little Rong, take everyone to sing karaoke in my place. I have some things to do and have to return to the office."

Everyone thanked Assistant Yang profusely and watched him as he left in his Volkswagen Passat. One of the girls muttered, "Senior Yang drank so much just now... He will be okay driving, won't he?"

Rong Mingxing pursed her lips. She held onto the money in her hands and felt like it was fire burning. She mumbled, "He did not drink that much. He should be fine, shouldn't he?"

"He will surely be fine! You girls are thinking too much. Senior Yang is so well liked by Senior Speaker Long in the cabinet. He is Senior Speaker Long's right hand man. He's had to accompany Senior Speaker Long on speaking engagements with so many important people, he definitely had to drink more. What is this little bit of alcohol? Senior Yang can definitely handle way more than that!" The guys assured the ladies and had already taken out their phones to look for karaoke places.

...

Huo Shaoheng was driving a new car that the army had given him. It was warm inside. The heater was not turned on high, but Huo Shaoheng felt like a natural heater. Sitting by his side, Gu Nianzhi could feel heat emanating from him, so much so that she was actually feeling slightly hot.

She pulled at the high collar of her woolen sweater and shifted more to the side, away from Huo Shaoheng. Huo Shaoheng did not mind at all. Folding his arms, he leaned against his seat and asked her again, "Who were you having dinner with?"

"My cousin from the Xie's side of the family, Xie Qingying." Gu Nianzhi looked at Huo Shaoheng and continued, "And your paternal cousin, Huo Jialan."

Huo Shaoheng was slightly surprised. "Huo Jialan? She treated you?"

Gu Nianzhi pouted unhappily. "She really wanted to, but it was Cousin Xie who treated me. We had agreed on it since the hearing the other day."

"Xie Qingying treated you to dinner and brought Huo Jialan along?" Huo Shaoheng was always able to ask questions that were straight to the point.

Gu Nianzhi shook her head, but her eyes were still filled with admiration when she looked at Huo Shaoheng. "No. They had coincidentally bumped into each other along the way, and Huo Jialan had insisted on tagging along."

Gu Nianzhi continued to look at Huo Shaoheng as she said, "Huo Shao, do you know what Cousin Xie has to do upon her return to the Hua Xia Empire this time 'round, other than helping me out?"

Huo Shaoheng closed his eyes. He replied calmly, "I had only requested that she come back to testify as a witness for the case." He meant that whatever else she had to do was none of his business.

Gu Nianzhi analyzed the way that Huo Shaoheng had answered her and figured that perhaps he knew about her "mission?"

"Cousin Xie said that her mom had asked her to go on blind dates while she was back until she was able to find a suitable candidate to be her husband," Gu Nianzhi said with a smile. Then, seeing that there was no reaction from Huo Shaoheng, she felt bored and kept quiet, looking at the view outside her window.

Huo Shaoheng opened his eyes and glimpsed at her. Seeing the back of her head, he knew that she was upset that he did not give her a reply. However, how could he reply to something like that? What did Xie Qingying having to go on blind dates have to do with him? Huo Shaoheng felt that Gu Nianzhi definitely did not know that Senior Speaker Long had tried to matchmake Xie Qingying and himself in the past before... If she had known about it, she would not have spoken like that. He did not explain, but the corners of his lips curled into a slight smile. It was slight, but it lasted for a long time until it was time to exit the car.

Gu Nianzhi followed him into his mansion. Returning to a place that she had been staying for about half a year on a Friday night actually made her feel distant.

Huo Shaoheng walked in. Seeing that she was spaced out in the dark instead of turning on the lights, he asked, "What's wrong? You forgot where the switches are?" He then turned on the lights.

Gu Nianzhi closed her eyes in reflex. The lights in the room were not blinding at all, actually. They were soft LED lights that were gentle on the eyes. However, when there was a sudden beam of light after being in the dark for some time, her eyes would instinctively want to protect themselves a little.

After a while, Gu Nianzhi had gotten accustomed to the brightness. She rubbed her eyes and entered the room without saying a word.

Seeing her like that, Huo Shaoheng thought that she was still upset with him for not replying to her just now. He followed her into the room and closed the door gently. He took a seat on the single seat sofa in the room.

Turning around, Gu Nianzhi realized that Huo Shaoheng had followed her into the room. She furrowed her brows unhappily. "Huo Shao, I am turning in soon."

Huo Shaoheng looked at his watch. "It is not even ten o'clock. Since when do you turn in so early?"

Gu Nianzhi was speechless. Rolling her eyes, she rubbed her temples. "I had some alcohol today, so I am tired..."

Huo Shaoheng looked at her, and his expression changed. "You drank? Have you forgotten what I told you before?" She was not allowed to drink until she turned 22 years old.

Gu Nianzhi turned around guiltily and walked to the wardrobe to get a change of clothes. Pouting, she admitted honestly, "I did not drink. I was kidding."

Huo Shaoheng took the remote control on the small table beside the sofa and turned on the flatscreen television on the wall. "I know that you did not drink."

Gu Nianzhi turned around in surprise and glared at Huo Shaoheng. "How do you know?!" she demanded.

"You don't reek at all." Huo Shaoheng held onto the remote and began switching the channels. He was looking fixedly at the television. "Look for a better excuse next time if you wish to lie."

Gu Nianzhi's face flushed. "Who wants to lie to you?! I never tell lies!"

"Ha..." Huo Shaoheng chuckled and looked at her before looking back at the television. "My family is also arranging for me to go on blind dates." To be more specific, his grandfather and father were the ones who were doing the arranging.

Gu Nianzhi's hands trembled. She did not say anything, but she would never admit that her heart had skipped a beat when she heard that.

She selected the clothes that she wanted to wear for tomorrow and looked like nothing was bothering her.

Huo Shaoheng looked at Gu Nianzhi and switched the channel to a military one that he usually watched. He saw that the channel was reporting that the arts department from the army was recruiting new candidates.

Tan Guiren was standing on the military stage in a long dress and was playing the violin.

Before Huo Shaoheng could change the channel in time, a beautiful melody from the violin had attracted Gu Nianzhi's attention, and she turned around to look at the television, seeing Tan Guiren.

She was clearly taken aback.

Narration about Tan Guiren could be heard from the television. "...Prime Minister's only daughter, Miss Tan Guiren was a scholar from the Julliard School. She has received numerous international awards for playing the violin. She has politely rejected many invitations from internationally renowned ensembles to join the Hua Xia military ensemble. It is our honor that we were able to recruit a world renowned violinist like Miss Tan Guiren. Miss Tan has also expressed that she felt honored to be able to join the military ensemble. The leader of the arts department in the army has given their word that they will definitely be giving Miss Tan Guiren the best treatment that they are able to give, and it will definitely be as good as, if not better than the ensembles that had initially invited her..."

Gu Nianzhi chuckled and pouted at the screen. "Since you want to look at her so much, why don't you quickly go to her side and be her protector? It would not be good if someone falls and has no one there to help her up again."

Huo Shaoheng was speechless. He had instinctively wanted to turn the television off, but as his finger touched the button, he changed his mind. He thought that if he were to do that now, Gu Nianzhi would definitely think that he was feeling guilty about it or that he was giving in. Then, she would definitely take advantage of him henceforth. He could never spoil her like that.

Gu Nianzhi looked at Huo Shaoheng quickly and saw that he was still watching the television and did not even move his eyes away. She felt annoyed again.

What was she doing?

She decided to watch the performance as well. Upon watching, Gu Nianzhi realized that Tan Guiren did play the violin rather well. She was talented in that regard. She could not help but to say sincerely, "Uncle Huo, if you would like to look for an Auntie Huo in three years' time, why not just look for Miss Tan? Since you would help her up just because she could not stand stably..."

Huo Shaoheng looked up at her and finally spoke. "How many times do you want to harp on that?"

"All my life," Gu Nianzhi replied a little too quickly.

Huo Shaoheng smiled. The light reflected off his face like stars. "You're jealous?"

"I was too full of myself. Forget it. I was just being a busybody. Who you want to get married to is none of my business." Gu Nianzhi took her clothes and headed straight to the bathroom.

Huo Shaoheng threw the remote control away and sped towards her. He grabbed her by the elbow and whispered into her ear with his ever so sexy voice, "Hold the shower. Let's talk."