Xia Wennan squatted next to the bed, head tilted upwards as if dazed.

Ming Luchuan’s impatience was written all over his face.
“What exactly are you here for?” he asked.

I just came to greet my boss,” said Xia Wennan.

“There’s no need to.
You’re free to leave.”

“Then, when should I go back to work?” Xia Wennan asked.

“Whenever you want,” Ming Luchuan replied.

This response caused Xia Wennan’s thoughts to wander.
He inquired, “What if I never want to go to work?”

Ming Luchuan did not appear to have anticipated this question.
He fell silent for two seconds before responding, “Suit yourself.”

“Would it be paid leave?”

Ming Luchuan said, “I’ll give you a salary.”

Xia Wennan was a little surprised.
“You’re that nice?” At that moment, Xia Wennan’s hasty decision to divorce Ming Luchuan was slightly swayed.
But after giving it some more thought, he realised that there was something off with what Ming Luchuan had just said.
It didn’t sound like Ming Luchuan would be paying him like a boss paid their employees, but like he’d meant for Xia Wennan to be a househusband.

“That won’t be necessary.” Xia Wennan declined in a heartbeat after discarding that thought.
“Even though I’m a Beta, I don’t need anyone to provide for me.
I can support myself.”

Ming Luchuan lowered his head slightly to look at him.
His lips were stretched into a thin line.
“Then hurry up and leave,” he said in a deep voice.

Xia Wennan was confused.
“Why are you so hellbent on making me leave?”

Right then, the phone on the headboard suddenly rang.
Xia Wennan reflexively turned to look and caught a glimpse of the name on the screen: Ming Qin.

Ming Luchuan grabbed his phone and answered the call.
His tone was neither distant nor particularly warm.

Xia Wennan didn’t know what the person on the other end was saying, but after Ming Luchuan picked up his phone, he noticed a monkey’s head poking out from under a pillow.

It was the stuffed monkey Xia Wennan had just given to Ming Luchuan.

“Mm, he’s been discharged,” Ming Luchuan said.

Xia Wennan reached for the monkey and grabbed its head, pulling it from under the pillow.

Ming Luchuan said, “He’s doing fine, but there’s an issue with his brain.”

After obtaining the monkey in the claw machine and closely inspecting it under bright lights for the first time, Xia Wennan discovered that not only was the craftsmanship poor, it was even a little ugly.
It’s eyes were lopsided, one higher than the other.

“When? Tomorrow night?” Ming Luchuan said.

Xia Wennan smelled something

“I’ll tell him,” Ming Luchuan said.

Xia Wennan brought the monkey to the tip of his nose and cautiously sniffed at the scent it gave off.
This time he was certain—there were traces of Ming Luchuan’s pheromones on the monkey, the scent faint yet recognisable.

Ming Luchuan eventually said, “All right, we’ll come over after work.” When looked up after hanging up, Xia Wennan was looking at him with wide eyes.

“What are you looking at?” Ming Luchuan’s gaze slowly shifted to the monkey in Xia Wennan’s hands.

Xia Wennan’s thoughts were a little chaotic.
He raised the monkey and shook it.
“I never expected your tastes to be so unique.”

Ming Luchuan slightly raised his jaw.
“What are you on about?” he asked coldly.

Xia Wennan stuffed the monkey into his hands.
I gave it to you so it’s yours.” With that, he turned tail and fled.

Yet when he reached the doorway, Xia Wennan paused, gripping the door as he gave Ming Luchuan an unsure look.
“So you’re fine with monkeys?” He suddenly remembered that night at the hospital when he’d told Ming Luchuan that it was impossible for him to come to like an Alpha, just how it was impossible for him to fall in love with a chicken.
But if monkeys were fine, then why not chickens? And if chickens were fine, then who’s to say that Alphas couldn’t be as well?

Xia Wennan’s body broke out in cold sweat as a result of his sudden mental association.
He didn’t wait for Ming Luchuan’s response and swiftly bid him goodnight before closing the door.

When he was finally in bed, Xia Wennan carefully considered his thoughts and realised that he might have been mistaken.
The monkey had been squashed beneath Ming Luchuan’s phone, and it had possibly gotten stained by the phone’s scent.
This incident didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the monkey, let alone with the alpha and the chicken.

As he came to this conclusion, his previously overactive imagination gradually calmed down, and he eventually drifted off to sleep.

He slept until the next morning and woke up feeling groggy, as if he’d slept for too long.
He put on his slippers and walked over to the window to open the curtains, allowing bright sunlight to flood in from the floor-to-ceiling window and instantly lighting up the entire room.

He stepped out of his bedroom into a bright and airy house.
The morning summer sun shone brightly, but he didn’t have to deal with its scorching heat.
Xia Wennan stretched comfortably.

Even though he didn’t like Ming Luchuan very much, he really liked this house.
When he’d checked the property information, he discovered that the apartment wasn’t under his name, which meant that it belonged to Ming Luchuan.
He wondered if he’d ever earn enough money to buy it off Ming Luchuan’s hands one day.

If he wanted to buy a house, then he couldn’t just quit the rat race and go back to his hometown.
Xia Wennan made his way to the kitchen while contemplating this issue; he should return to the company as soon as possible and figure out if he was still capable of doing his job.

He was the manager of Ming Yan’s R&D department; Xia Wennan still had no idea how significantly his marriage to Ming Luchuan influenced his position in the company.
He couldn’t help but raise a hand to smack his head.
He’d intended to clear this up when he went to Ming Luchuan’s room the night before, but he’d been interrupted by Ming Luchuan and had ended up forgetting.

It seemed that his head wasn’t in the best of shape.
He didn’t know when he should return to the hospital for another checkup.

When Xia Wennan approached the fridge and reached out to open it, he noticed a sticky note stuck on the fridge door.
It read: Breakfast is in the steamer.

He blinked, then stepped into the kitchen and saw an electric steamer.
When he lifted the lid, there were indeed steamed buns and eggs inside, all still warm.
He walked back to the fridge and tore off the sticky note, but as he folded it to throw it away, he changed his mind and stuffed it into his pocket.

Today’s breakfast was steamed buns, eggs, and milk.
Xia Wennan sat alone in the well-lit dining room and had breakfast as he took in the view from the windows.

He fished out his phone, intending to send Ming Luchuan a message asking if he’d been the one who made breakfast, but after typing a few words, Xia Wennan deleted the entire message and put his phone away.
If he went over to Ming Yan after breakfast, he could just ask Ming Luchuan then.

Of course, this wasn’t his main purpose for visiting Ming Yan.
Right now, he was more interested in finding out if he could still do his previous job—if he would be able to live better on his own after breaking things off with Ming Luchuan.

Finishing the last of his milk, Xia Wennan leaned against the back of the chair and turned his face heavensward, sighing.
This was so annoying.
He missed his university days, when he simply had to stick to his class schedule, when he had friends to play games and soccer with everyday, and when he had a home to return to on weekends, with a grandfather who waited for him with homecooked meals and walked with him after dinner to play chess.

Clearly, the future was still a long way off.
Did he not work his ass off in his last year of high school just so he could enjoy the best and most beautiful years of campus life? But there was nothing left for him the moment he awoke; he’d lost his loved ones, he’d grown up, and he had to bear the pressures of a job and even marriage and a household.
And it was nothing like the kind of future he’d envisioned for himself.

Xia Wennan buried his face in his hands and heaved a sigh, then lowered his hands and stood up as if his body were light as air.
He straightened his back and cleaned the dining table.

☆ ☆ ☆

t/n – it went right over my head the first time i read this chapter but that whole pheromone-on-monkey business was just xia wennan’s neanderthal male brain thinking that ming luchuan rubbed one off on the poor thing.

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