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Yuan Gun Gun ate breakfast, and occasionally looked at Hao Yan Che’s face. She didn’t know why he let her sit on a chair to eat. It felt strange not sitting on his lap, and feeding each other when they sat at the dining table at home together.

Hao Yan Che acted calm even though he missed having Yuan Gun Gun sit on his lap. She was his wife. He didn’t know why he stopped himself from hugging her if he wanted to. But he had to change and be gentler if he wanted her to stay with him. He was torn between giving her space to feel free, and holding onto her tightly. It was the most frustrating breakfast in his lifetime.

Yi Tu and Jia Tu exchanged a confused look with each other. They didn’t understand why the atmosphere in the dining room felt odd.

After breakfast, Yuan Gun Gun stood to follow Hao Yan Che to work.

‘You don’t have to come to work anymore,’ Hao Yan Che said. ‘You’re free to stay at home.’

Yuan Gun Gun asked Hao Yan Che to let her stay at home often, but he insisted she came to work with him because he hated being apart from her. He told himself the right thing to do was give her time to herself away from him so she wouldn’t feel suffocated.

Yuan Gun Gun thought Hao Yan Che not being affectionate with her, and wanting her to stay at home was his way of punishing her.

‘I’m going to work,’ Hao Yan Che said.

Hao Yan Che suppressed his desire to carry Yuan Gun Gun to work with him.

Yuan Gun Gun watched Hao Yan Che walk out the front door. Wasn’t staying at home what she wanted? She didn’t like hearing gossip at work, or dealing with people who acted like her friend and stabbed her in the back. But she liked being with Hao Yan Che.

Hao Yan Che returned home at seven in the evening. Yuan Gun Gun was eating potato chips, and watching TV in the living room. She put the chips down on the coffee table and waited for him to say something.

‘Did you eat dinner yet?’ Hao Yan Che asked.

‘Not yet,’ Yuan Gun Gun said. ‘I…’

‘Then why are you eating junk food?’ Hao Yan Che said. ‘How many times have I said not to eat junk food before dinner?’

‘I…’ Yuan Gun Gun said.

Yuan Gun Gun wanted to say she waited to eat dinner with Hao Yan Che. But she got hungry, and ate a bit of chips because she didn’t know what time he would be home.

Hao Yan Che saw Yuan Gun Gun fidgeting her fingers nervously, and he told himself he needed to give her freedom.

‘You can eat junk food,’ Hao Yan Che said. ‘I’ll go eat dinner.’

Yuan Gun Gun thought she misheard Hao Yan Che. He didn’t pinch her ear or her bottom for eating junk food before dinner. She pinched her cheek. The pain showed her she wasn’t dreaming.

Two weeks later, at eleven at night in the master bedroom, Yuan Gun Gun watched Hao Yan Che sleep. For two weeks, he wasn’t intimate with her. In the past, he slept with her every day except for the days she had her period. Didn’t he desire her anymore?

Yuan Gun Gun had wanted Hao Yan Che to cut back on how often he was intimate with her. She didn’t know why his sudden change in behavior made her sad.

Hao Yan Che endured his desire for Yuan Gun Gun to give her space. For two weeks and five hours, he wasn’t intimate with Yuan Gun Gun. He avoided touching her, because he didn’t want to scare her by jumping onto to her body and compensating the days they weren’t intimate with each other. It was hard for him to be patient, and wait for her to take the initiative when she wanted to be intimate with him.

Hao Yan Che wanted Yuan Gun Gun that night, but he didn’t want to waste his efforts in the last fortnight.

That night Hao Yan Che and Yuan Gun Gun stayed up all night deep in their own thoughts.

In the morning, Hao Yan Che walked to the front door to leave for work.

‘Che,’ Yuan Gun Gun called and held onto Hao Yan Che’s arm.

Hao Yan Che felt Yuan Gun Gun taking the initiative to approach him made all his efforts worth it.

‘What is it?’ Hao Yan Che asked.

‘Can I come to work with you?’ Yuan Gun Gun asked.

‘You want to work?’ Hao Yan Che asked.

Hao Yan Che thought Yuan Gun Gun didn’t like working.

‘Yes,’ Yuan Gun Gun said.

‘Why?’ Hao Yan Che asked. ‘Didn’t you say you don’t like working?’

‘I…’ Yuan Gun Gun said.

Yuan Gun Gun wanted to say she missed Hao Yan Che. But it felt like he avoided touching her, and being in the same room as her. Did she disappoint him by running away?

End of Chapter 161

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