353 No one has the right to hurt you.
"It's up to you whether to believe me or not, but I've never once looked at another man when we were dating."
Once Pei Ge had finished uttering this line, she did not wait for Zhou Zhuoyang's reply and just took firm strides up the stairwell.
Although she, as Pei Shishi's cousin, did not want to ruin the latter's marriage and did not love him anymore, she could not ignore his words.
In the end, she still felt wrongly accused.
In fact, if the other party were not her cousin, she would blow her top and reveal everything, but since the other party was indeed her cousin who was about to marry him, she did not want play the bad guy.
As such, she only spat out this ambiguous line and let that jerk stew on it himself.
Pak! She opened the door grill with an occupied mind and heard Tang Xiaoyu's inquisitive voice from the living room.
"Ge Ge, what did that jerk want?" She looked over her shoulder to ask Pei Ge this as she lounged on the sofa.
"Oh, nothing in particular." Thinking of what had happened during the dinner affair over at her relatives' house, she refrained from divulging her exchange with him.
Tang Xiaoyu was simply back for a holiday. She did not wish for her to be weighed down by such worrying matters.
"Impossible! Tell me honestly; what exactly did you two talk about?" There was no way Tang Xiaoyu would let her off. Pulling her to sit on the sofa as well, she grilled her just like a policeman would a suspect.
Zhang Manhua brought over a plate of freshly cut fruit from the kitchen and also asked her the same question.
"Yes, Ge Ge, what did that man want from you?"
She realized at this point that she had no way of avoiding the topic and could only helplessly relent to the two's probing.
To avoid worrying them, she omitted that part about Zhou Zhuoyang's warning and only told them about his initial intention to propose to her.
Tang Xiaoyu was infuriated by what she had shared.
"What?! That jerk actually has the audacity to mention this matter?!"
"Who knows." She too felt confused over his sudden confession.
Their previous dealings had always been unpleasant, so she really had not expected him to say such things to her tonight.
"Ge Ge, actually, I had time to think about it today…" Zhang Manhua, who was sitting silently at the side, suddenly spoke while casting her daughter a serious look.
She saw her mother's solemn gaze and met it with her curious eyes.
"Mhm? What's wrong, Mom?"
Hesitating for a long while, she eventually voiced out a question, "For Zhou Zhuoyang to misunderstand you, does… does your cousin have anything to do with it?"
Her words stunned the two best friends.
Frankly speaking, Tang Xiaoyu had almost named Pei Shishi as the culprit to her best friend and that jerk's failed relationship several times while Pei Ge was telling them about her conversation with Zhou Zhuoyang, but she had held herself back because of Zhang Manhua's presence.
However, to her surprise, Zhang Manhua opened up about it herself.
"Auntie, I share your suspicions, too." She looked over at her endearingly.
What a rare occasion! On a typical day, except for nice words and compliments, Pei Ge's mother would not say anything negative about her relatives.
Today, for the first time, this kind mother actually voiced out her suspicion regarding her niece-in-law's character. What a big improvement!
Pei Ge shifted her eyes from her friend to her mother, and her mouth twitched slightly. She lightly said, "Whatever the truth is, these are all things of the past. My cousin…"
She paused upon mentioning her cousin before continuing helplessly, "No matter what, she is my cousin."
"Ge Ge, that is the wrong mindset to have. You are such a fighter and speak your mind openly, but when it comes to your relatives, you become timid!" her best friend muttered unhappily as she looked at her wryly.
Unfortunately for Tang Xiaoyu, Pei Ge's focus was all on her mother.
"Sigh!" Zhang Manhua expelled a forceful breath and was silent for a while. Eventually, she looked at her seriously and lightly said, "Ge Ge, no one has the right to hurt you."
Even if it was a relative that they owed, they still had no rights!
Her heart warmed and she broke into a blissful smile at her mother's words.
"Mhm. I know, Mom; don't worry."
She would protect herself and not let Pei Shishi hurt her again
Once bitten, twice shy. There would not be a next time.
After finishing the fruit, they went to shower one after another and then retired to their rooms.
As the two best friends lay in the bed, one nagged the other.
She nagged the other to be wary of her relatives.
Her ranting eventually trailed off as she slowly drifted to sleep.
Pei Ge listened to her friend's steady breathing but still failed to lull herself to sleep.
Sleep eluded her as her mind replayed Zhou Zhuoyang's warning to be careful of her second uncle.
"Sigh…" she sighed softly as she stared blankly at the dark ceiling of her room.
Why does it seem that everything has changed unknowingly…
Her eyes were filled with desolation.
Since her father's passing, the people she was closed to, besides her mother, had always been Pei Zhenghui's family.
Right now, however…
Forget it, forget it. Don't think about it and just let nature run its course.
She closed her tired eyes and slowly drifted off into dreamland.
Since she slept late last night, her body clock failed to wake her early the next morning.
Only when the shrill ringing of her phone sounded did she rouse lazily from sleep.
"Hello," she answered without opening her eyes.
"Still sleeping?" A clear and low voice came through the phone.
This voice jolted the initially sleepy her awake.
Shocked, she brought the phone to her eye level and exclaimed, "CEO Ji?!"
Why was that annoying person calling her?