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C1 I Regret Nothing

The burning sensation wouldn't stop, Lin Xinyan realized as she stood there–tall and unmoving. His cold hands clasped around her waist as the heat slowly enveloped her. "Is it your first time?" His hot breath fanned against her neck.

The overpowering aura lingered in her earlobe, and she shivered. However, she didn't dare make a sound. She was going to go through this...as the deal had already said.

Suddenly, the man paused. "If you regret it, you can always–"

"No." Lin Xinyan immediately shook her head, letting her fingers dig into her palm. "I regret nothing–"

Besides, she was already eighteen-years-old. It was just in time for her to–

As if the universe had heard her, she immediately jolted forward. The burning sensation returned; and this time, it wasn't the prickly heat in her skin, but something much greater.

She clenched her jaw, squirming under his grip before falling directly into his arms.

To preserve her last shred of dignity, Lin Xinyan didn't move, nor did she say another word. Instead, she bowed her head and steadied herself in his hold. Other than the feeling of fear biting into her insides, she also felt something else. It was as if all her senses were heightened as he burrowed deep into her, letting her feel his muscle clenching under her body.

While she was struggling to keep calm, the man kept going–forcefully taking every inch of her skin. The night was long and painful, but she steadied herself. There was no backing out now.

Finally, it was all over. As he climbed out of his bed in the middle of the night to head to the bathroom, she dragged her exhausted body up and quickly dressed into her clothes. Without another word, she raced out of the room.

On the ground floor of the hotel, a middle-aged woman stood in the midst of the crowd. Lin Xinyan walked towards her, and the woman handed her a black bag. "Your reward," came her curt reply.

"Thank you." The young teen didn't even look the other way as she wrenched the bills and ran out of the lobby. Her waist throbbed, and her skin burned, but she didn't care. None of it mattered anymore. All she needed was to get to the hospital before it was too late.

The sky was dark when she had finally made it, and the corridors were quiet. Nothing else could be seen except for the two stretchers right outside the door of the operating room. They weren't taken in because she hadn't paid yet....but it was different now.

"I have the money," she sobbed out, yanking out the bag from her sides. "Just...Just help save my mother, please." The doctor took one look at the bag and asked the nurse to count the money. During that time, he waved the paramedics to take one of the patients forward.

However, her brother's stretcher remained. "My brother," she whispered. "He's...Please save him."

"I'm sorry, but your brother–we couldn't save him." He sighed, rubbing his forehead.

They couldn't save him?

Everything around her had darkened, and she could feel herself stumbling back in shock. Her chest constricted. No...No...this can't be possible. "What do you mean?" she whispered, only to be met with silence.

Pain. It reverberated all around her, like a knife twisting into her chest. Sinking to the ground, her hands trembled. If it hadn't been for her father–the man who had cheated and abandoned them eight years ago–they wouldn't have been like this. He left them.

Her brother was born soon after, only to be diagnosed with autism at the age of three. "You'd need these types of medications, if you want him to survive," the doctor had snapped at them then, forcing them to take up odd jobs to survive. They made it...but of course, fate had other plans–one that took the shape of a car accident.

She was forced to sell herself, but she was still unable to save her brother.

It was painful, but Lin Xinyan recollected herself soon enough. Although she felt discomfort, she knew that there were other things she needed to worry about. For one thing, her mother was still there.

Her mom still needed her.

The operation was long, but her mother's condition began to stabilize. At least, before she learned of her brother's death. "What did you just say? He–he's dead?" The older woman collapsed into tears.

"Mom," she cried out. "It's you and me now; we have to live well for him. Please."

During the month her mother was in the hospital, Zhuang Zijin would simply sit by her bedside in a daze. Who wouldn't? The moment she knew her son had died, it was as if her mind had snapped shut, but Lin Xinyan didn't give up. She even dropped out of school just to tend to her mother's condition, and her efforts soon paid off.

Things had slowly been looking up. However, one day, as she was carrying her tray towards the ward, she heard a voice that stopped her tracks.

Her insides turned cold. Of course, it had to be him.

After everything he had done, how dare he showed up?

"Zijin, don't you remember how close you and Madame Zong were? If anything, your daughter should be the one getting married to him–"

"Lin Guoan, what the hell are you saying?" Zhuang Zijin's body was frail. If anything, the man should be thankful for her weakness, otherwise, she would've already decked him right on the face. How dare he? How dare he asked for the daughter that he had left?

He was the one who had abandoned them–left them to rot! And now, he suddenly thought it convenient to show his face here?

"Young Master Zong is the son of a good friend of yours. I'm sure you're aware of them. If she marries him, she'd be blessed–"

"Blessed?" The Young Master was noble and handsome–yes, nobody could've doubted that. However, a month ago, he had been bitten by a venomous snake. Although he had lived, he was paralyzed.

Marrying him would be her next ticket to widowhood.

"I'll marry him."

Suddenly, Lin Xinyan burst into the doors. She gripped her tray and looked up. "I'll marry him," she repeated. "But I have one condition."

Lin Guoan glanced towards the door, only to be taken aback for a few seconds. It had been eight years since he had seen his daughter, and a lot of things had changed. She had only been ten years old when he had left, and now, she was already a full-fledged adult. Despite this, her small face still didn't reach the size of his palm, and her skin was white and papery.

She hadn't grown well into adulthood, not as adorable as his younger daughter.

The unwillingness in his heart lessened. After all, since she wasn't that good-looking, she wouldn't feel wronged to marry such a terrible husband.

"What condition?"

"I want to go back with Mom. Everything that had once belonged to us will be returned." She clenched her fists. "Only then will I allow you to marry me to him."

Although Lin Xinyan hadn't been in the country that long, she had heard of the Zong Family in B City ever since she was young. The young master was said to be incredibly noble, but there were rumors of his features and his flaws. It certainly wouldn't be a win for her.

But even so, it was worth the risk. If she was going to get married, then she might as well make use of the opportunity to take back the wealth that her mother had lost.

"Xinyan–" Zhuang Zijin struggled to grab her daughter's arm.

Her daughter had already suffered a lot. If this were to happen, then...

Worried that his ex-wife might convince her otherwise, Lin Guoan immediately said, "Sure. As long as you're willing to marry him, then I'll let the both of you return home."

"And Mom's dowry?" Lin Xinyan's voice was icy cold.

When Zhuang Zijin had married him, her parents had given him a dowry. Although back then, it wasn't as large, it was worth hundreds of thousands now. Just the thought of it made Lin Guoan reluctant.

"My sister's beautiful, and she should have better things in life," Lin Xinyan slowly mused, shaking her head in pity. "If she were to marry a man with a physical defect, then her whole life's done for. Besides, you and mom had already divorced–might as well return the money that she had given you."

Lin Guoan clenched his fists.

How the hell did she know about the Zong family? She had been abroad this entire time!

What he didn't know was that she was merely basing it on speculation.

"Fine! I'm going to give it to you when you marry him!"

How was he going to subject his little daughter to such a terrible fate?

No matter how honorable the man was, he was just a cripple! He couldn't do anything that's worth her time.

Thinking about this, Lin Guoan straightened his back. He did the right thing.

Even then, he couldn't help but feel annoyed by Lin Xinyan. The woman was trying to capitalize on his decision, trying to snatch all the money away from him like some greedy golddigger!

"Your mother obviously didn't raise you well," he snapped.

'As if you were any greater of a father,' Lin Xinyan wanted to snap. In fact, if anything, she wanted to throw the tray in her hands up against his face. Maybe then he'd feel the pain she felt when he had upped and left.

However, she kept silent. At this point, all she needed to do was wait...

"Get ready." With one last nod, he turned his back at them. "The both of you can go back tomorrow."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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