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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Chapter 15

Chapter15

Duan Zhu and Ji Bie spent two days fooling around at home. On the third morning, Ji Bie was awakened by him in a daze. Duan Zhu said he had to go out and added, “My parents are coming to Boston with my grandparents.”

Ji Bie suddenly woke up, sat up, and looked at Duan Zhu.

“They’re at the office now. I’m going there now,” Duan Zhu said as he tied his tie.

Ji Bie shook his head to clear it and calmly asked Duan Zhu, “Are they coming to our house? Should I go out for a few days?”

Duan Zhu replied, “No need, they have other accommodations.”

Seeing Ji Bie’s hesitation, Duan Zhu asked, “What’s wrong? Are you afraid of something?”

Ji Bie, still groggy from just waking up, looked a bit vacant in the eyes and slowly said to Duan Zhu, “Afraid of being discovered, what else could I be afraid of.”

“Are you blaming me?” Duan Zhu seemed to have misunderstood Ji Bie’s meaning, thinking Ji Bie was upset because he hadn’t told his family yet and was throwing a tantrum. He walked over and spoke softly to soothe Ji Bie, “Don’t worry even if we’re discovered, I’ll take the blame.”

Ji Bie remained silent, but Duan Zhu looked quite pleased. He kissed Ji Bie’s cheek and got up to leave.

Feeling exhausted from excessive indulgence, Ji Bie lacked energy. He lay back in bed but couldn’t fall asleep again, so he got up after lying there for a while.

He was worried that Duan Zhu’s family might still come, so he asked the cleaner to tidy up Duan Zhu’s bedroom, moved his set of toiletries from the bathroom to the guest room, and even sat on the guest room bed to create the illusion of living there.

After finishing with the bedroom, Ji Bie went to Duan Zhu’s study and retrieved the photo of the two of them placed on the desk.

Before putting it away, Ji Bie subconsciously glanced at the photo.

It was taken when they were at Yellowstone National Park, standing in a spot overlooking the caldera, with no one else around. Duan Zhu suggested taking a photo together, so Ji Bie held up the camera for a selfie, and Duan Zhu hugged him, leaning his head down to be close to Ji Bie.

In the instant the photo was taken, Ji Bie, for reasons unknown even to himself, turned his head and planted a kiss on Duan Zhu’s lips, closing his eyes in the process. Ji Bie felt the photo was utterly silly, but Duan Zhu loved it. He had it printed out, put it in a nice frame, and insisted on placing it on the desk to look at every day.

Ji Bie turned the frame over, opened Duan Zhu’s drawer, and saw an iron box on the left side. The pattern on the iron box looked familiar, but out of politeness, Ji Bie didn’t open it. Instead, he stuffed the frame inside and closed the drawer.

At noon, Ji Bie sat down at the dining table. Duan Zhu called him, saying he would be with his family in the afternoon and evening and asked Ji Bie to have a good meal. Inside, Ji Bie thought, “Do you even care when you’re not around?” but he obediently agreed and even asked Duan Zhu to come home early.

After hanging up, Ji Bie put down his chopsticks, grabbed a dessert bun, and pushed the remaining half bowl of rice aside.

Just as he took a bite, his phone rang again with an email notification. Ji Bie picked up his phone and saw an email from the same address that sent him photos last time.

Ji Bie’s spirits lifted as he wiped his hands and opened the email attachment, carefully examining it. In the picture, Duan Zhu and the same girl from the previous photo stood together, with his parents and grandparents behind them, standing at the entrance of a restaurant, about to go in.

Duan Zhu was wearing the same outfit as when he left earlier in the day, so this photo must have been taken at noon.

This time, the email didn’t contain any insults. It simply had a few words: “Duan Zhu and his fiancée.”

Ji Bie chuckled and replied to the sender, saying, “Is the Second Young Master feeling the stirrings of spring love?”

A few minutes later, the sender replied with a barrage of curses. Ji Bie glanced at it and closed it.

Around three in the afternoon, Duan Zhu messaged Ji Bie, asking what he was doing. Ji Bie was lounging on the sofa watching a crime drama. He paused for a moment, then replied to Duan Zhu, saying, “Checking emails.”

Duan Zhu asked what email, and Ji Bie simply forwarded the received email, including the words “Duan Zhu and his fiancée.” Less than half a minute later, Duan Zhu called.

“Ji Bie, she’s not my fiancée,” Duan Zhu’s voice sounded unusually urgent.

“Mm,” Ji Bie replied, “I received one too on the day I returned to Boston, with photos of you two dining together.”

There was a pause on Duan Zhu’s end before he asked Ji Bie, “Why didn’t you say anything earlier?”

“I didn’t feel the need to,” Ji Bie said honestly.

“I’ll explain when I get home,” Duan Zhu said, “I don’t even have her contact information.”

Ji Bie offered his advice, “If you don’t have her contact information, just ask for it.”

Duan Zhu seemed to be annoyed by Ji Bie’s words. After a pause, he said softly, “Don’t be angry.”

“I’m not angry,” Ji Bie said sincerely, then couldn’t help but add, “But she seems very suitable to be the future Mrs. Duan.”

Duan Zhu hesitated for two seconds before saying, “I’ll come back.”

Ignoring Ji Bie’s objections, he arrived home in less than an hour.

Ji Bie had just finished watching the drama when he turned to see Duan Zhu opening the door, still slightly out of breath. Ji Bie asked him, “Why did you really come back?”

Duan Zhu walked slowly to Ji Bie’s side and said, “Show me the email you mentioned receiving last time.”

Ji Bie obediently took out his phone, pulled up the email, and handed the phone to Duan Zhu. After reading for a while, Duan Zhu said to Ji Bie, “Miss Liu is a friend of my father’s daughter. She just arrived in Boston this year. My father’s assistant arranged for us to meet, and I only found out it was a private dinner with her after I arrived. After dinner, I sent her off.”

Ji Bie looked at Duan Zhu expressionlessly as Duan Zhu put Ji Bie’s phone aside. He leaned in to kiss Ji Bie, but Ji Bie turned his face away. Duan Zhu then reached out, firmly gripping Ji Bie’s shoulder to hold him in place, and said, “Don’t be angry.”

Despite Ji Bie’s attempt to avoid it, Duan Zhu still managed to kiss his lips gently, saying softly, as if soothing a child, “You know I can’t marry her.”

Ji Bie glanced at Duan Zhu and asked, “Is that so?”

“In another two or three years, at most,” Duan Zhu said, “we’ll get married. I’ll handle my parents. You don’t need to worry about anything. I won’t let you suffer.”

Ji Bie looked at Duan Zhu in silence. When Duan Zhu tried to kiss him again, Ji Bie didn’t avoid it this time, as if accepting Duan Zhu’s explanation and agreeing to his arrangement.

After a brief kiss, Duan Zhu rested his forehead against Ji Bie’s and said, “But I’m glad you’re jealous.”

Duan Zhu did seem to have rushed back today, appearing a bit disheveled. As he gazed at Ji Bie, his eyes sparkled, as if he truly was happy. Ji Bie softly insisted he wasn’t jealous, but Duan Zhu didn’t seem to buy it.

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