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Although Li Lam had Chu Da’s face and eyes, she failed to receive Gu Jiao Wu’s love. At least it meant Gu Jiao Wu loved Chu Da for who Chu Da was, and he wasn’t fooled by her deceit. She believed Chu Da would be happy to know how much Gu Jiao Wu loved Chu Da.
Li Lam didn’t expect Gu Jiao Wu would be happy with another woman. When she saw Gu Jiao Wu bought Qiao Tan Yuan roses on Chu Da’s birthday, she didn’t want Gu Jiao Wu to forget how much Chu Da suffered and how deeply Chu Da loved Gu Jiao Wu. So she wanted to ruin Gu Jiao Wu’s happiness.
‘Big sister, I’m sorry for my selfish actions,’ Li Lam said. ‘I hope you can forgive me.’ She picked up her bag, stood and looked at Gu Jiao Wu. ‘Gu Jiao Wu, I won’t appear in front of you anymore. I fulfilled my promise to big sister. Go and live your happy life.’
Gu Jiao Wu didn’t notice when Li Lam left. He held Chu Da’s diary, and he stared at the fallen leaves. He couldn’t believe Chu Da died of ovarian cancer at such a young age. Memories of Chu Da slowly came back to him. She treasured every love token he gave her, regardless of the price tag. He once asked her why she liked to smile. She said if you smile at the world then the world would smile back at you.
Gu Jiao Wu read Chu Da’s diary, and he cried after reading each page. The first part of her diary was how they met, how she fell in love with him and the days they lived together were the happiest days of her life.
The second part of Chu Da’s diary, broke Gu Jiao Wu’s heart. After she left him, she suffered a lot.
At the Qiao Mansion, Qiao Tan Yuan spent the morning feeding Xiao Bao and taking Xiao Bao for a stroll in the garden. When Xiao Bao napped, she asked Mrs Chu to watch over Xiao Bao then she took a nap too.
When Qiao Tan Yuan woke up it was the afternoon. Gu Jiao Wu was sitting on her bed.
‘Jiao Wu, why are you home early today?’ Qiao Tan Yuan asked. ‘Don’t you have to work overtime?’
Gu Jiao Wu only looked at Qiao Tan Yuan like he didn’t know what to do with her.
‘Jiao Wu, what’s wrong?’ Qiao Tan Yuan asked.
Qiao Tan Yuan was wearing a night gown, a strap fell off her shoulder and the vulnerable look on her face made her look more beautiful in Gu Jiao Wu’s eyes. She stretched an arm to touch his arm, but he held her arm and stopped her from touching him.
‘That year why didn’t you tell me Chu Da had ovarian cancer?’ Gu Jiao Wu asked.
‘Gu Jiao Wu…’ Qiao Tan Yuan said.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Gu Jiao Wu asked.
Gu Jiao Wu’s heart was broken because of Chu Da and Qiao Tan Yuan.
Gu Jiao Wu hated himself for not being there for Chu Da in her final months. Chu Da had no one to take care of her. He hated himself for making the wrong a.s.sumptions about where Chu Da would disappear to. Why did he look for her in different schools in the country and overseas? Why didn’t he think about looking for local places she would volunteer in? He hated himself for doubting Chu Da didn’t love him, and thinking she ran off with another man.
Qiao Tan Yuan was shocked to see the pain in Gu Jiao Wu’s eyes. It was the same look in his eyes years ago when he drank to forget Chu Da. She felt his warm hand on her arm, but she didn’t answer him. How could she say Chu Da’s illness was a blessing for her? It gave her a chance to be with Gu Jiao Wu if Chu Da left him to get treatments.
Gu Jiao Wu held Qiao Tan Yuan’s arm tighter.
‘Qiao Tan Yuan, in your heart is another person’s suffering insignificant?’ Gu Jiao Wu asked. ‘To get what you want, how can you not care about whether a person lives or dies?’
Qiao Tan Yuan didn’t deny Gu Jiao Wu’s accusations. It was true, back then she was selfish and she only cared about how much she loved Gu Jiao Wu. She thought with Chu Da out of the picture, there was a chance Gu Jiao Wu would love her.
Gu Jiao Wu didn’t want to believe Qiao Tan Yuan could be that cruel. His head kept replaying the second part of Chu Da’s diary.
‘Why is the heavens cruel to me? I have ovarian cancer. I can’t have children. What am I supposed to do? I walked in a daze back to the hotel to find Jiao Wu. Would he accept being with me if he found out I have ovarian cancer, and I can’t have children? At the hotel Qiao Tan Yuan stood in front of me, and told me I wasn’t suited to being with Jiao Wu, and that the Gu Household wouldn’t accept a daughter-in-law like me. I accepted her cheque, five hundred thousand dollars and left the hotel in a daze too. I wanted to tear the cheque, Jiao Wu’s love is priceless. But I’m scared of dying. I used the money for treatments. I want to live a happy life with Jiao Wu. Jiao Wu, wait for me…’
Gu Jiao Wu wanted Qiao Tan Yuan to tell him it wasn’t true that Qiao Tan Yuan wasn’t a heartless person. Chu Da’s diary didn’t stop plaguing him.
‘Jiao Wu, are you healthy? Having cancer treatments is painful. The doctor took out my ovaries, it was too late since the cancer spread to other organs. Jiao Wu, what should I do? If you’re with me, I wouldn’t feel as much pain. Jiao Wu, I don’t want to die. I want to live and be with you. Jiao Wu, I want you to find me. I want you to tell me everything will be OK, and you’ll help me get past this. Jiao Wu, I’m going to stay strong. Jiao Wu, wait for me…’
Gu Jiao Wu hated himself for using marriage to punish Qiao Tan Yuan.
‘Jiao Wu, how can you be so cruel? I went to look for you on your wedding day with Qiao Tan Yuan. How can you forget me so soon, and marry another woman? Jiao Wu, did you love me? My heart hurts like being struck by lightning…’
Gu Jiao Wu wanted Qiao Tan Yuan to tell him Chu Da’s diary was fake. He wanted to hear Qiao Tan Yuan say she didn’t chase away Chu Da by attacking Chu Da’s insecurities when Chu Da was sick. He didn’t want to believe Qiao Tan Yuan was a selfish opportunist.
‘Qiao Tan Yuan, tell me you didn’t know Chu Da had ovarian cancer,’ Gu Jiao Wu said. ‘Tell me you didn’t give her five hundred thousand dollars to chase her away.’
Qiao Tan Yuan didn’t deny the truth. Her shoulders felt lighter. But she forced herself to smile.
‘I knew she had ovarian cancer,’ Qiao Tan Yuan said. ‘I gave her five hundred thousand dollars to chase her away, because she isn’t suitable to be with you.’
‘Enough,’ Gu Jiao Wu said. ‘How could you be like that?’
Gu Jiao Wu didn’t want to believe Qiao Tan Yuan could take advantage of someone at the lowest point in their life.
Gu Jiao Wu regretted he couldn’t stop Qiao Tan Yuan from saying all those heartless words to Chu Da that day. Then Chu Da wouldn’t have left him, he wouldn’t be drugged by Qiao Tan Yuan, and Chu Da wouldn’t see him marry Qiao Tan Yuan. He would have stayed with Chu Da in her final months and took care of her. His regrets made it hard for him to face Qiao Tan Yuan and Chu Da.
Qiao Tan Yuan didn’t care about how hard Gu Jiao Wu gripped her arm. The pain and regret in Gu Jiao Wu’s eyes showed her the truth, Chu Da won. It didn’t matter how much Gu Jiao Wu cared about her, the woman Gu Jiao Wu loved the most and would always love was Chu Da.
‘Why are you this emotional?’ Qiao Tan Yuan asked. ‘Did Chu Da come back? Did you realise you still love her, and you want to be with her?’
‘Qiao Tan Yuan!’ Gu Jiao Wu said.
Gu Jiao Wu let go of Qiao Tan Yuan’s arm. He thought the woman in front of him had turned into a stranger.
‘Chu Da is dead!’ Gu Jiao Wu said. ‘She’s been dead for three years!’
Qiao Tan Yuan was shocked. How could Chu Da be dead? She didn’t want Chu Da to be with Gu Jiao Wu, but she didn’t want Chu Da to die.
‘You knew she had ovarian cancer,’ Gu Jiao Wu said. ‘You said all those things to her to get her to leave me.’
‘I…’ Qiao Tan Yuan said.
Qiao Tan Yuan bit her lips. She wanted Chu Da to leave Gu Jiao Wu, but she truly didn’t want Chu Da to die.
Gu Jiao Wu clenched his hands. He knew Qiao Tan Yuan selfishly loved him in the past. But he thought deep down Qiao Tan Yuan had a good heart, and she wouldn’t chase away a sick person.
‘How could you be like that?’ Gu Jiao Wu asked. ‘How could you lie to me? Why didn’t you tell me Chu Da had ovarian cancer, and that was why she left me? She’s a timid person. How could you let her face death alone? Qiao Tan Yuan, how could you be like that?’
Qiao Tan Yuan couldn’t believe Chu Da died. She didn’t want Chu Da to die. She looked at the disappointment and disgust in Gu Jiao Wu’s eyes, and she carelessly opened her mouth.
‘Why can’t I?’ Qiao Tan Yuan asked. ‘Gu Jiao Wu, if she doesn’t die then I’ll never have a chance to be with you. In this world people die every day. Do I need to take responsibility for every person who dies?’
End of Chapter 130
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