Kong Zong’s legs grew weak as he felt Liang Chong’s unfamiliar gaze fixed upon him. He tried to explain, “No, Brother, I didn’t touch him at all…”
—It’s Ning Yiwei who hit me.
“What did you tell him?” Liang Chong remained unfazed, asking him with a blank expression, “Do you think Ning Yiwei is an easy target?”
“It isn’t…” Kong Zong stammered.
“Kong Zong, without Kong Shenfeng, what worth do you have?” Liang Chong calmly said to Kong Zong.
Liang Chong’s gaze and words were far from intense, but they still sent a chill down Kong Zong’s spine.
Kong Zong couldn’t understand why Liang Chong would know Ning Yiwei and why he treated him like this. Kong Zong was Liang Chong’s cousin, his own blood, while Ning Yiwei was just some insignificant person. Apart from being slightly smarter, he had nothing special. He and Zhou Zirui would wander around the school like two clueless dogs. When Kong Zong met Liang Chong, Ning Yiwei was still back in the countryside, playing in the mud.
It was just because of Ning Yiwei that Liang Chong went so far as to confront him.
“Brother,” Kong Zong’s throat felt sour, and everything looked hazy, as if covered in mist. “It’s not like what you said.”
“If your dad haven’t ask you, then let me,” Liang Chong, as if not hearing Kong Zong’s words, calmly and clearly questioned him, “Do you want to change schools?”
“I won’t change!” Kong Zong shouted in a loss of control, then desperately clenched his teeth, trying to make his voice sound steady. “I don’t want to change schools.”
Kong Zong controlled his emotions and racked his brain to find a way to make Liang Chong spare him. He glanced at Lu Jiaqin and Zhou Zirui standing nearby, turned his head, and made a quick apology to Lu Jiaqin, “I’m sorry.”
Lu Jiaqin remained silent. Kong Zong grew anxious, saying it again, “Auntie, I’m sorry.”
Faced with this middle-aged woman dressed like a cafeteria worker, he couldn’t find more words to apologize, so he sincerely added, “I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“I think you d-did, on purpose,” Zhou Zirui quietly interjected from the side.
Kong Zong glanced at him with a malicious look. Startled, Zhou Zirui shrank his neck and fell silent.
“Auntie, can you forgive me?” Kong Zong turned to Lu Jiaqin, insisting on a response from her.
Lu Jiaqin glanced at Ning Yiwei and said to Kong Zong, “I’ll let it go.” She added, “I have to go, Weiwei.”
Just now, she heard Kong Zong speak and felt that Kong Zong and Liang Chong seemed to have a family relationship. Kong Zong was the son of Professor Kong, the one Ning Yiwei often mentioned.
Lu Jiaqin didn’t want Ning Yiwei to offend Professor Kong because of her, nor did she want things to become too embarrassing. So, she still said to Ning Yiwei, “Weiwei, your dad is waiting for me. I should go.”
Without insisting further, Ning Yiwei tugged Liang Chong’s arm and leaned closer to his ear. Liang Chong lowered his head to let Ning Yiwei speak into his ear.
“Let’s go ahead,” Ning Yiwei whispered to Liang Chong, “My mom is getting scared.”
Liang Chong still held Ning Yiwei’s left hand tightly. He responded with a grunt and glanced at Kong Zong standing by the side. Then he led Ning Yiwei towards Lu Jiaqin. “Auntie, let me escort you.”
Zhou Zirui went back upstairs to continue researching documents. Ning Yiwei and Liang Chong walked out of the main entrance of the research center with Lu Jiaqin.
Ning Yiwei saw Liang Chong’s car parked at the end of the pathway on the asphalt road.
“My mom went to Cafeteria 2,” Ning Yiwei told Liang Chong, “Let’s walk over.”
Liang Chong nodded, and the three of them headed towards the direction of the cafeteria.
Lu Jiaqin was different from her usual self. She walked halfway without saying a word.
Ning Yiwei responded slowly and sensed that his mom was in a bad mood. He stopped and looked down at Lu Jiaqin, asking, “Mom, what’s wrong?”
Lu Jiaqin’s eyes were slightly red, and her hand couldn’t stop rubbing against her skirt. Ning Yiwei noticed and felt uneasy. He held his mom’s hand to stop her from rubbing and said, “Mom, what are you doing?”
“Weiwei,” Lu Jiaqin’s voice was soft as she said, “Your mother has embarrassed you.”
She didn’t pay much attention to her attire. Usually, she would go out with Ning Qiang to source goods, moving back and forth in supplier warehouses, requiring clothes that were durable and easy to clean. Today, she casually picked a dress from the wardrobe to discuss matters at the cafeteria. The dress was bought together with her old friends at the clothing mall. It wasn’t expensive, but it had become a bit worn after washing.
Ning Yiwei had always excelled far beyond ordinary people since he was young, and Lu Jiaqin’s greatest fear was that she and Ning Qiang would hold him back because they weren’t presentable enough.
“Don’t say such things. I don’t care about any of that. Kong Zong is just like that, and I particularly dislike him,” Ning Yiwei tightened his grip on Lu Jiaqin’s hand and clumsily tried to comfort her, “If you keep going like this, I won’t be happy.”
Lu Jiaqin stopped speaking.
She glanced at Liang Chong walking beside Ning Yiwei and asked, “Does Xiao Liang have something to discuss with Weiwei?”
“Yes,” Liang Chong smiled gently at Lu Jiaqin and said, “I’m teaching him how to drive. I’m afraid he won’t pass the road test.”
“I think you’re trying to torture me,” Ning Yiwei took the opportunity to complain, “Mom, Liang Chong wants to force me to weave through traffic every day.”
Lu Jiaqin also smiled and said, “Don’t talk nonsense.”
They quickly arrived at the Cafeteria 2. Lu Jiaqin made a phone call to check if Ning Qiang was doing well. Ning Qiang mentioned that the cafeteria manager insisted they have a meal and asked her to go upstairs.
Lu Jiaqin knew that Liang Chong wasn’t suitable for this occasion, so she explained a few things and went upstairs by herself.
Watching Lu Jiaqin enter the elevator, Ning Yiwei turned his gaze to Liang Chong and anxiously asked, “Are we still going to practice driving?”
Liang Chong glanced at him but remained silent. He tightly held Ning Yiwei’s hand and walked back, gripping it so tightly that it hurt Ning Yiwei’s uninjured hand.
Once they got in the car, Ning Yiwei settled into his seat and held onto Liang Chong’s arm. His knuckles were very pale, and the small cuts and bruises were even more prominent, creating a distressing sight.
Liang Chong started the car but didn’t drive. He lowered his head and looked at Ning Yiwei’s hand, then gently touched it with his left hand.
“It doesn’t hurt.” Ning Yiwei carefully observed Liang Chong’s expression.
In fact, Ning Yiwei was a bit startled by Liang Chong earlier. He always knew that Liang Chong was protective, but he didn’t expect him to be this protective.
“This is the second time I’ve hit someone,” Ning Yiwei tried to lighten the mood and evaluated himself, “I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I made Kong Zong cry.”
Liang Chong finally managed to curl the corners of his mouth and asked Ning Yiwei, “Is that so? So, it was you who made him cry.”
“What about it, then?” Ning Yiwei said, leaning closer to Liang Chong and adding, “You were so fierce today.”
Liang Chong happened to lower his head while Ning Yiwei looked up, causing their faces to be too close. Liang Chong’s lips brushed against the corner of Ning Yiwei’s lips.
Ning Yiwei’s initial reaction was that “Liang Chong’s lips felt a bit cold,” but then he realized something was off.
Liang Chong hesitated for a second, then naturally moved back and said, “Let’s forget about it today. I won’t take you for a drive.”
“Oh! Okay!” Ning Yiwei exclaimed with joy. “Thank you!”
Liang Chong shifted gears with composure, stepped on the accelerator, and the car unexpectedly accelerated backward. It nearly hit a bush before he applied the brakes in time to stop.
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