“Why must you do that to my brother?” Ning Ning stared at Pei Xuan with rage once the door was closed.
“You can chase him away,” Pei Xuan said, “you can use whatever method you like.”
Ning Ning was dumbfounded.
Pei Xuan swirled the wine in his hand. He pretended to pour the wine for Ning Ning in front of Mu Gua—once Mu Gua had left he started drinking it, he stopped being respectful as well, quickly climbing on top of Ning Ning’s head.
“I will tell you what role you are portraying now.” Pei Xuan said, “You will portray a lady from a rich family.”
“How old?” Ning Ning asked coldly.
Pei Xuan scanned her with his eyes, “As old as you are now.”
“What is the family business?” Ning Ning continued asking, “Is she the only child? If not, how many siblings does she have? Is she spoiled? What does she like to do regularly? What kind of people does she interact with…”
She asked a lot of questions at once. In the end, she took a deep breath and said with an embarrassed look for being overly agitated, “I have to know everything about this person so that I can portray her well.”
I have to know everything about the person you want, so that I can figure out what you are scheming.
“I would have told you even if you didn’t ask.” Pei Xuan placed the wine glass beside him, stood up and said, “Follow me.”
Ning Ning hesitated before following him.
The two of them went up to the attic.
There was a maid guarding the attic door, she took out a key and opened the door behind her upon seeing Pei Xuan’s arrival.
So secretive, what could be inside?
The door opened—within the attic was a teenage girl.
The girl had her back to the door, she was sitting on a rocking chair by the window, the sun shone through the window as the sunlight beamed from where she was to the door.
Ning Ning followed behind Pei Xuan and slowly walked up to the side of the girl.
The girl’s face was slowly revealed to her.
Ning Ning felt her heart starting to beat in a frenzy.
“You are to portray her.” Pei Xuan reached out to touch the hair of the girl on the rocking chair. She had the exact same face as Ning Ning, they even had the same body proportions, they simply looked like they were made out of the same mould.
“…Who is she?” Ning Ning asked with difficulty.
“The illegitimate daughter of a big boss.” Pei Xuan answered. “I found her and sent her to her father’s side. The two of them liked each other a lot, the big boss had already prepared to officially acknowledge her two months later…Regretfully, an accident happened in the midst of this and she became a vegetable.”
“…So you want me to pass myself off as her?” Ning Ning slowly looked up at him. “But I’m not her, I will eventually get exposed.”
“That won’t happen. I will train you.” Pei Xuan said resolutely. The conversation took a turn, he smiled at her maliciously. “Moreover, you are already in the know, do you think you can still get out of this?”
Ning Ning was stunned by his words, she felt like she was rooted to the spot from being constricted by a venomous snake.
“That’s right.” Pei Xuan said. “From now on I will address you with another name. You have to immediately answer to that name, understand? Lian Lian.”
Ning Ning looked down at the girl in the rocking chair again.
The difference between a sixteen-year old and a thirty-year old was too big, so Ning Ning did not recognise her in the beginning. Now that she had a closer look…Wasn’t that Lian Lian? Wasn’t she the woman that was labelled a witch because she received a lot of praises and criticisms for being with too many men?
“No.” Ning Ning asked herself, “The Lian Lian in the future, is that her or me?”
Half an hour later in the living room.
“Miss Lian Lian…”
“Who allowed you to speak?”
Mu Gua froze on the spot. Ning Ning, on the other hand, looked at him coldly while sitting on the sofa.
No matter who Lian Lian was, he was not supposed to be here now. Pei Xuan said she could use any method to chase him off, but what could she do? It would be useless even if she were to reveal her identity to him, that guy had never listened to her. Did she really have to physically force this boy who bought her a hand lotion to leave? She could only force him to leave with her words.
Moreover, words cut deeper than knives.
“You can only speak when I say so, understood?” Ning Ning was lying down on the sofa, her right hand that was wearing a black lace glove was holding her head up.
Mu Gua nodded gently.
“Alright.” Ning Ning’s attitude became more casual. “Now, sing a song for me.”
Mu Gua hesitated for a moment before he started to sing. His voice was in the midst of cracking thus it was a little coarse. He had just sung two lines before Ning Ning interrupted him with her laughter.
“Hahaha, what were you singing?” Ning Ning staggered back and forth, she mocked him without hesitation, “Your voice is like a duck…”
The moment she said that, she suddenly shuddered. She remembered the opening theme of the movie.
“My angel talked to me today, she said I am as fat as a watermelon.”
“My angel smiled at me. She laughed at my singing, saying that it sounded like a duck.”
“For the sake of making her laugh, I quack, quack, quack…”
Mu Gua lowered his head as he gripped his hands tightly. Ning Ning could even see that his shoulders were trembling slightly. She did not know if her words had hurt him, she did not know if his face was that of shame or sadness either.
She watched him slowly look up and made three funny sounds. “Quack, quack, quack.”
Ning Ning did not want to laugh, but she had no choice but to act like it was funny and laughed. She suddenly felt like a good actress, a good actress could laugh when they felt like crying.
“That was awful.” Ning Ning wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes as she gave Mu Gua an order, “You are not allowed to speak in the future. Pei Xuan was right, it’s better for you not to have a mouth.”
She saw Mu Gua’s hands tightened their grip before they slowly loosened.
Even if they were separated by a mask, Ning Ning could still feel that he was really hurt…
Ning Ning felt sad and depressed as she thought: Why would you call a person like me an angel?
It was clearly the same face, why did she treat him so differently when she wore a different set of clothes?
“Sis, is dinner ready?”
At night, within the rented house, the door was kicked open with a loud crash. Mu Gua looked angry and tired, he walked in furiously then laid down on the floor with his limbs spread out.
“It’s almost ready.” Ning Ning who had reached home one step earlier was busy in the kitchen, she took out the time to glance back at him then shouted, “The floor is cold. If you want to rest, go lie on the bed.”
Mu Gua, “I reek of sweat.”
“Go wash up if you are sweaty.” Ning Ning said.
“Turn around.” Mu Gua said.
The moment Ning Ning turned around a smelly top was thrown at her, Mu Gua who was stripped to the waist laid down once again. “Wash the shirt first then wash me.”
Ning Ning, “…”
Can she kill this whelp that was treating his sister like a maid?
In the end, she washed his shirt, seeing that Mu Gua was simply unwilling to get up, she even wetted a towel and helped him wipe his face and body.
When she was wiping his chest, Mu Gua suddenly grabbed her hand with eyes closed. He opened his eyes. “Sis, are you tired?”
Ning Ning, “What?”
“You do whatever Mom tells you to do. Now that Mom is not here, you do whatever I tell you to do.” Mu Gua turned around and looked at her. “You are not our maid, why do you never say no?”
Ning Ning, “…”
Because her character specification didn’t allow her to say no.
In the morning, both she and Pei Xuan would both act courteous without sincerity. She acted as a mistress full of flaws in front of Mu Gua, an upstart that was beautiful yet vicious. At night when she was with Mu Gua, she acted as a sister who was at his beck and call, going along with whatever he wanted most of the time, beautiful yet frail.
Maybe she was hanging on to a sliver of hope, that one day Lian Lian would wake up and end this farce, so that everything would return to what it was like in Lian Lian’s biography that she had written.
“Isn’t it good to have someone at your beck and call?” Thus she looked down at him and smiled. “Alright, let go.”
He looked up at her smile. After a long while, he let go of her hand. She continued to labour without complaints as she wiped his body with the towel.
The next morning, Mu Gua left the house extra early. He did not choose to take any transport, he chose to have a morning run instead. The way he exercised unremittingly had caused him to slowly slim down, it perhaps had also made his mind a little clearer. He used five less minutes than usual to arrive at his workplace–Pei Xuan’s house.
Not only did his house provide clothes, it also provided a shower. Mu Gua took a lightning quick shower then changed into the servant’s clothes that were left on the chair. Once he finished changing, he stood in front of the mirror to button up the buttons on his sleeves. At this moment, the door behind him opened and Pei Xuan stepped in.
“You acted very well yesterday.” The man wearing gold-rimmed glasses appeared in front of Mu Gua in the mirror, he smiled. “You were a lot better than your sister. If only the two of you could swap personalities, that would save me a lot of trouble.”
Mu Gua frantically turned around. “Boss.”
“You can call me Brother Pei.” Pei Xuan waved his hand, completely unconcerned. “Sit. That’s right, does your sister scold you like this usually?”
Mu Gua stayed silent for a moment before answering, “No.”
“I thought that was how she was usually.” Pei Xuan shook his head. “I hired her to act as an obstinate mistress, not an unreasonable one, she’s going overboard with her acting.”
“She doesn’t act like this usually…” Mu Gua said depressingly.
“What is she like usually?” Pei Xuan looked at him with curiosity, hoping to get more information on Ning Ning. Information from the person’s relatives were important, it would let him find out Ning Ning’s weaknesses, then he could formulate a plan accordingly.
“She is very gentle and she is very naggy. She would go along with anything I want and never say no to me…” Mu Gua lowered his head and looked at the mouthless mask. “So the things she says now…are most probably how she truly feels.”
“Oh?” Pei Xuan cocked his eyebrows and looked at Mu Gua with interest.
“She thinks that I don’t know her identity, that is why she would say those things to me. You think she was going overboard? I, on the other hand, think she’s venting.” Mu Gua smiled, he rubbed the mask with his thumb. “This is pretty nice. Why should she be like this mask and not say a word?”“Do you think she hates you?” Pei Xuan asked suddenly.
Mu Gua looked at him with surprise.
“…I don’t know.” He sighed a long time later, then put the mask on his face.
He also had a contract with Pei Xuan.
The contract was the opposite of what Ning Ning had.
Ning Ning would act as the mistress, he would act as the servant.
According to Pei Xuan’s requirement, he had to pretend to not know about Ning Ning’s true identity. He had to submit to her, serve her and make her happy.
Wasn’t that how Ning Ning usually treated him?
“…She can scold me if she wants to, she can hit me if she wants to, I’m the reason she turned out this way anyway.” Mu Gua said with the mouthless mask on his face, “If she wants to be a sister, I will be her brother, if she wants to be a mistress, I will be her servant, she plays dual roles…I will do so too.”