“How much is it?” Ji Anning pinched her plastic wallet and asked.
The cashier tapped away and said, “Total is twenty-one thousand four hundred and one.”
Ji Anning held down Wen Yu’s restless arm and said, “Don’t move, I’ve got this.”
She took out cash.
Ma Ge, the shop owner, had asked her about billing preferences—whether she wanted monthly billing or individual billing, and whether to pay by credit or cash. Ji Anning had chosen individual billing and cash. This way, as soon as she completed a shoot, she could immediately receive payment. The feeling of being able to get money right away made her happy.
Having earned money on her own, she no longer needed to be frugal and could confidently pay for things. This made her even happier.
In her previous life, poverty had held her hostage, and she had even developed Stockholm syndrome with it. Spending money used to make her feel guilty. Of course, she couldn’t cut corners on her grandmother, so she mistreated herself.
Now, her long-suppressed desire for shopping was finally fully unleashed.
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Mbkp qllzkdt oyp vawzu lmbkzyayvkdt!
Gqvla ryukdt, Kk Gddkdt nyalqwzzu rzynle vbl alnlkrvp kdvs bla cyt. Gp pbl vwadle yaswde, pbl pyo Eld Zw pvkzz pvydekdt vblal ewxcqswdele.
“Ebyv yal usw eskdt? Usxl shla yde blzr! R nyd’v nyaau vblpl yzz cu xuplzq!” Kk Gddkdt pyke, cldekdt shla vs byde shla vbl zyatlpv csm nsdvykdkdt y ablwxyvkpx vblayru elhknl vs Eld Zw, vbld pvynjkdt vbl qya-kdqayale cyjkdt zyxr csm sd vsr sq kv.
Fbl vbld rwv pxyzzla kvlxp zkjl NUP lzlnvasdkn czsse tzwnspl xlvlap kdvs bla cynjrynj yde zkqvle y hyaknspl hlkd yka oyhl ralppwal vblayru elhknl. Mblu olald’v blyhu yv yzz; kv oyp fwpv vbyv vbl csmlp olal iwkvl zyatl yde kxrspkdt.
Kk Gddkdt pvayktbvldle wr yqvla zkqvkdt yde byrrkzu lmnzykxle, “Nlv’p ts!”
Fbl bye vbsaswtbzu ldfsule bla pbsrrkdt prall vseyu, bwxxkdt y vwdl yp pbl oyzjle.
Eld Zw qszzsole clbkde bla, qllzkdt kdelpnakcyczl.
Tl vbswtbv… bl alyzzu vbswtbv vbyv Kk Gddkdt bye lyadle psxl xsdlu yde qkdyzzu oydvle vs cwu blaplzq psxl dknl nzsvblp sa nspxlvknp. Tl bye yzalyeu rzyddle kv swv—obld vbl vkxl nyxl, bl oswze pyu, “Rv’p y csuqaklde’p alprsdpkckzkvu vs xyjl bkp tkazqaklde zssj clywvkqwz,” yde bl nswze nsdqkeldvzu qssv vbl ckzz.
He absolutely didn’t expect that Ji Anning would lead him into this shopping mall, bypassing the skincare, makeup, shoes, and bags on the first floor, and taking him directly to the basement—right next to the supermarket entrance, there was a medical supplies store.
Wen Yu: “…”
Wen Yu’s emotions…
After putting all the boxes into the trunk and pressing the button to close it automatically, Wen Yu turned his head again and saw Ji Anning gazing at the slowly descending trunk lid.
Her eyes were shining brightly, like a little girl who had just received her beloved toy, or perhaps like someone who had finally gotten a long-awaited candy. Overflowing from her were expressions of pure contentment.
The frustration that had arisen from the unutilized Centurion Black Card seemed to have vanished into thin air.
“Are you so happy?” he chuckled, ruffling her hair.
“Yeah,” Ji Anning, as compliant as a well-fed cat, allowed his ruffling.
In her previous life, she had bought these things one by one. Now, being able to buy them all at once was truly satisfying.
While they were on the road, Ji Anning received a call from the photography studio. Speaking of which, Firewing Studio was really efficient—they had filled her free time with work. Just less than two hours after leaving the studio, she received a call.
“Hello, Ma Ge?” Ji Anning answered.
Wen Yu turned down the music to allow her to talk on the phone.
“Thursday won’t work, I have something on this Thursday,” she heard Ji Anning say, “But I’m available on the weekend.”
After Ji Anning hung up the phone, Wen Yu asked, “What’s happening on Thursday?”
Ji Anning said, “I’m taking my grandmother to the hospital.”
Wen Yu was surprised, “Is your grandmother unwell again?”
“No,” Ji Anning said, “It’s just a check-up.”
In her previous life, she had been too busy, and she spent very little time with her grandmother, who was suffering from dementia. If her grandmother experienced any pain or illness during the day, it was impossible for her to remember and communicate it to Ji Anning in the evening. This caused Ji Anning to miss many treatment opportunities, and her grandmother’s condition often worsened before being discovered.
In this life, Ji Anning wanted to plan ahead.
Wen Yu had classes on Thursday afternoon, and although he wanted to accompany Ji Anning, she wouldn’t allow it.
“Don’t just tell me to focus on my studies. You need to do the same,” she said, “It’s alright, I’ll take a cab there.”
When it came to taking care of people, Wen Yu really couldn’t compare to Ji Anning. Being a young master, he was more accustomed to spending money to have others handle these things.
Wen Yu nodded and said, “Alright.”
He asked again, “Did the photography studio arrange more work for you on the weekend?”
“Yeah,” Ji Anning’s mood was particularly good. “Signing a contract with Ma Ge was the right decision. Thanks to your advice.”
At that time, when she looked at Ma Ge’s appearance that resembled a creepy old man with a limp, she was feeling quite unsure and resistant. It was only due to Wen Yu’s strong persuasion that she eventually signed the contract.
Little did she expect that he was actually a normal person.
A smile played at the corners of Wen Yu’s mouth as he suppressed his emotions and continued, “Actually, you don’t need to do the tutoring anymore. It’s too far and really time-consuming.”
“Well, let me think about it,” Ji Anning said, nibbling on her finger.
After contemplating for a while and weighing the pros and cons, she readily agreed, “You’re right. Economically speaking, it doesn’t seem worthwhile anymore.”
For her now, time could also be considered as money. The tutoring job, along with the time spent commuting, took up almost her entire weekend mornings, and the cost-effectiveness was indeed too low.
However, Ji Anning didn’t intend to quit immediately.
“I’ll ask around to see if any of my classmates are interested,” she said. “They were all introduced to me by Shu Chen, and they’re all good people. I’ll find someone reliable to take over.”
When Monday came, Ji Anning first asked Meng Xinyu.
Compared to her, Meng Xinyu was an academic achiever and had a serious attitude towards work, as well as a strong sense of responsibility. If Meng Xinyu agreed to take over, Ji Anning could confidently quit. She felt that this was the right way to repay Shu Chen for his help.
Upon hearing Ji Anning’s proposal, Meng Xinyu readily agreed.
“It just so happens I quit a job recently,” she said. “It was awful. They delayed paying the salary, and I’ve never encountered something like that. Once, there was a traffic jam due to an accident, and I was late. She even deducted money from my pay. Yes, I was late, but I also provided a full hour of instruction for her child. Not a single minute less. Plus, she didn’t have any appointments after me, so it didn’t affect anything. It’s infuriating.”
Ji Anning consoled her, “You’ll often encounter people like that.”
“Ugh, sometimes I wonder, what was someone like her like when she was our age?” Meng Xinyu said, “Was her thinking just as simple as ours? If that’s the case, how did she end up like this? Or was she already like this when she was young?”
Meng Xinyu shared a series of musings on the topic.
Bai Lu suddenly leaned over and whispered, “Take a look at Sun Yaxian.”
Both Ji Anning and Meng Xinyu turned to look.
Sun Yaxian had just entered the classroom, put down her bag, ruffled her hair a bit, and still looked as beautiful as ever. In fact, there was even a sense of increased allure. For some reason.
Bai Lu said, “Look at that down jacket. Let me tell you, it’s so expensive, extremely expensive! That brand isn’t available domestically.”
Having discussions about brands with Ji Anning and Meng Xinyu, both of whom were straightforward and unadorned, felt like talking to a wall.
Both of them were quite bewildered.
Bai Lu rolled her eyes and proceeded to educate the two of them on the subject. After listening earnestly for a while, the two of them reached a conclusion: it’s expensive, that’s for sure.
“Let me tell you, someone at this price range definitely can’t afford it on their own,” Bai Lu confidently stated, “It must be her boyfriend who bought it for her.”
“Boyfriend?” Ji Anning was surprised.
In the previous life, Sun Yaxian had always been chasing after Wen Yu. While many guys pursued her, sending flowers and gifts, Sun Yaxian accepted them, but there wasn’t a single one she acknowledged as her boyfriend.
Bai Lu said, “You’re really not well-informed.”
Meng Xinyu chimed in, “Yeah, even I know about it.”
Bai Lu loved gossip, but Meng Xinyu definitely did not. If even Meng Xinyu knew, it meant that it was pretty much public information.
Ji Anning was a day student and didn’t live on campus. Even though the school was nearby, without roommates, dormitory chats, or casual exchanges, she indeed missed out on a lot of small tidbits of information.
“You should get a data plan,” Bai Lu remarked helplessly.
“I already did, seriously!” Ji Anning swore.
She had just recently subscribed to a data plan. Mainly because even though Ma Ge’s team would notify her of work through phone calls, they often sent specific details like time and location through WeChat. Moreover, they had also created a group chat.
So, Ji Anning had finally decided to get a larger data plan.
Sun Yaxian took off her expensive down jacket, and her clothes underneath were also quite stylish and well-coordinated.
Bai Lu exclaimed, “Wow, this whole ensemble… how much does it cost?”
Ji Anning and Meng Xinyu observed closely and noticed that Sun Yaxian’s hair seemed to have been styled as well, looking particularly sophisticated. No wonder they had thought she looked even more beautiful just now—it was because her entire appearance had become more refined.
“All of this is the result of money,” Bai Lu said with a touch of sourness. “Having a wealthy boyfriend is really great.”
Craving power and resenting wealth, lifting up and putting down others – it’s a common human behavior. Bai Lu echoing the rumors about Ji Anning from others in her past life might not be particularly bad, it was just a part of human nature after all.
Ji Anning wasn’t demanding much; after all, nobody’s perfect.
The weaknesses and darker sides of human nature, as long as they aren’t deliberately exacerbated by certain conditions, will naturally be constrained and controlled, and won’t harm others.
This point had been fully proven through the comparison of her past and present lives.
Meng Xinyu, however, shot her a glare.
Although Ji Anning also had a well-off boyfriend, she never squandered his money or accepted expensive gifts recklessly. Bai Lu’s comment wasn’t quite appropriate when spoken in front of her.
She glanced at Ji Anning and was relieved to see Ji Anning’s gentle and calm expression, with no signs of discomfort.
Meng Xinyu felt at ease again.
Bai Lu realized her blunder, stuck out her tongue, and proceeded to gossip about Sun Yaxian’s boyfriend with Ji Anning, someone who was always kept in the dark about such matters.
“It’s that Cambridge graduate, an elite. Despite that, Sun Yaxian still let him pursue her. Well, it makes sense if she had the intention to be with him; otherwise, why would she accept such expensive things from him?”
“Girls from her dormitory say that he doesn’t call her often and they haven’t witnessed Sun Yaxian indulging in long phone conversations with him. But he has come to the school a few times to see her and has taken her out for meals.”
“They say he looks average, but his car is really impressive. We don’t know what brand it is.”
As Bai Lu spoke, she suddenly realized and asked, “Do you not have Sun Yaxian as a friend on WeChat?”
Ji Anning confirmed, “I don’t.”
Bai Lu said, “I knew it! No wonder you don’t know anything! You can’t see her Moments posts either. Let me find it for you!”
Saying that, Bai Lu took out her phone.
Ji Anning was genuinely curious.
She had never heard of any Cambridge elite with a good car and considerable wealth in her past life. Although Sun Yaxian had many suitors, they were all limited to within the school. She did recall two people from outside the school; they seemed to be professionals already working, part of the staff from a company that sponsored school events. Sun Yaxian had become acquainted with them through those events.
But there wasn’t anyone who could be called an “elite” either.
Meng Xinyu wasn’t interested in Sun Yaxian’s affairs. She had something else to discuss with Ji Anning.
“That bar you used to work at, something ‘N,’ right?” she asked.
“NL,” Ji Anning replied with a smile. “No Limits.”
“Yes, that’s the one. I remember you’re not working there anymore?” Meng Xinyu inquired.
“Yeah, I’ve even quit my job at the coffee shop now,” Ji Anning said.
Meng Xinyu hesitated a bit before asking, “So… can people still get a word in at that place?”
Ji Anning suddenly had an odd feeling and asked, “Why are you asking about this?”
As expected, Meng Xinyu said, “My fellow villager wanted me to ask if you could introduce her. She heard that the place has a higher commission rate and more customers, and she wants to give it a try. But it seems like the entry requirements are quite high there. She’s wondering if she can get an introduction through someone she knows.”
Ji Anning fell silent for a moment and then asked, “Which fellow villager?”
“The one I told you about, the one who sells alcohol at the bar. Do you remember?” Meng Xinyu was oblivious, “Her name is Yu Xia.”
“Building 8 has been repaired, and she said they’ve already sent out notifications. They’ll be moving back to the main campus in December. In that case, the bar she’s working at now is a bit too far,” she continued.
“I chatted with her before and mentioned you, so she wanted me to help ask. Ah, it’s no big deal, I’ll just mention it. You’ve already quit a long time ago, and if you can’t help, there’s nothing to be done. I’ll let her know,” Meng Xinyu said.
Ji Anning remained silent for a while.
Yu Xia was returning.
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