Yu Zhen's rigid grip on her loosened, his concerned expression morphing into disbelief. He could only stare at her and nothing more, unsure of what to say from there.
A lump formed in her throat as prickling pain spread through her chest. It was as if someone was twisting a knife deep into her heart, her eyes burning with remorse.
'Telling him the truth was the worst decision I could've ever made,' she scolded herself, backing away from him, hugging her elbows. She shook her head and chided herself for being foolish. This was the exact outcome that she had predicted. He would think of her as less than him now. He was never going to look at her the same way—ever again.
Li Xueyue knew she shouldn't blame herself for this. It wasn't her fault that she was born with this disgraceful title hanging over her head. Maybe in the future, society would care less about this, but right now, they were in the present—a world riddled with judgment, where a flaw was a weakness.
Suddenly, the room felt suffocating. Her eyes burned and it was difficult to swallow. What was she supposed to do in this situation? Stand around like a fool?
Li Xueyue tried to calm her rising anxiety. He would not accept this flaw of hers. And she would never allow herself to be with a man who viewed her as someone inferior.
It was difficult to gather her pride, but she did so. Forcing herself to jut her chin in the air, Li Xueyue sauntered past him, deciding it was time to head back to her room.
No matter how much she liked him, she would not allow herself to falter like this. She refused to be trapped with someone who couldn't accept her flaws.
"Where are you going?" he suddenly asked, his voice low and dangerous.
Li Xueyue forced her optimistic heart to behave. It had leaped in joy, thinking he had changed his mind. How foolish of her heart to think he would be that gracious?
"Back to my room," she curtly said, keeping her eyes forward, her back facing him. Why would he care where she was going? He had lost all respect for her, hadn't he?
"This discussion is over."
"No, it's not."
Pissed off by his words, she turned around, ready to give him a piece of her mind. Her eyes widened when he was suddenly in front of her. When had he moved? She didn't even hear the shuffle of his clothes or the sound of his approaching footsteps.
"Why are you like this?" Yu Zhen murmured, his eyes rigid as obsidian. He sounded far from happy, whether it was by her actions or her words, she didn't know.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You can't just drop the truth like that and walk away from me."
"I'm not leaving because of what I said. I'm leaving because you've made your decision."
"My decision?!" he harshly repeated. He clenched his teeth, his sharp jaw ticked.
"Enlighten me what is my decision then?" he bit out, his burning eyes seemingly taunting her, the fire blazing bright.
"I don't want to talk about it," she deadpanned.
"So, you can read minds now?"
"I never said that!" she cried out.
"You implied it!"
Li Xueyue's jaw dropped open. She couldn't wrap her head around him. He was seething now, his lips curled into a snarl. She couldn't give a damn about his frustration.
"I was merely—"
"You jumped to your own conclusion." He frowned.
"So what if I did? I was right about it, wasn't I?!" she exasperated, throwing her hands in the air. What was he angry about in the first place? What gave him the right to be so pissed off at her?
Yu Zhen reacted as if she had smacked him, his eyes dangerously narrowed into a fine line.
"Do you think that lowly of me? To judge you for something you can't fix?"
It was Li Xueyue's turn to be filled with silence. She opened and closed her mouth, wanting to retort with something intelligent that would silence him.
"I would never think of you as—"
"You did," he seethed, his fingers curled into a rigid fist.
Li Xueyue felt her blood boil with irritation. She despised him at this moment. He had turned the tables on her, accusing and blaming her for something that wasn't true.
"I didn't! Stop jumping to conclusions!"
"Now you know how it feels." His voice was lethal and calm, something she didn't expect.
Li Xueyue's voice died off in her throat. She was tongue-tied. Was this how he felt when she assumed what he thought about her?
"You didn't give me a chance to explain myself."
"Neither did you," she shot back.
"That was because you decided to leave."
"Did you truly think I would judge you for this?"
Li Xueyue blinked. Yes. She did. The answer was written all over her face. She rolled her bottom lip into her mouth, unable to respond.
Yu Zhen let out a heavy sigh filled with discontentment towards her.
An uncomfortable silence lingered over them. Neither of them wanted to talk.
Li Xueyue was no longer frustrated with him. She was more irritated by herself. Not a single person had judged her for her status yet, why did she think he would be different? Why did she love to think about the worst that could happen? Was it because that was her coping mechanism? To prepare herself for the pain before it happened? So that it would never catch her off guard?
Yu Zhen didn't say anything for the longest time. He simply stood there, refusing to even cast her a single glance.
After what felt like forever, she decided the silence was too unbearable. "Fine. I did think you would criticize me because of the truth."
"Because it's a shameful thing to many people."
"I know it is."
Her head snapped up.
"I don't agree with it." Yu Zhen kept his distance from her. He didn't want to overwhelm her. He knew she was too anxious to accept anything he had to say right now.
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