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15 Darling

    Yera was in the middle of preparing her dinner when she heard the doorbell. She checked her new video intercom and sighed when she saw it was, again, Mr. Persistent, Xander Yang, who was wearing his customary charming smile.

    Yera complained inwardly, but she must admit that the video intercom that he had installed in her place the other day was pretty cool. And without his pertinacity, she would have not gotten to enjoy all the benefits of having it inside her house.

    She opened the door, showing her typical blank expression, and asked in her usual deadpan voice, "Yes?"

    'What a great smile,' she couldn't help but praise his smile when she was directly confronted with it. Xander was truly blessed with a genuine and attractive smile as well as conviviality.

    Prior to knowing him personally, Yera had never understood why she often lost a business deal to him. She had frequently heard about how charming the man was but had never been able to comprehend how appealing a person could be to be able to win over a lot of potential business partners when her offers had always been more lucrative than his.

    But now, she finally understood. A warm and sociable personality like Xander's would always win over a cold and austere one like hers. In fact, she believed that if he were to enter a beauty pageant, he would definitely win the crown for Mr. Congeniality.

    She could also see why he was labeled as a womanizer. A lot of women must have flocked to him because of that smile. It could undeniably and effortlessly captivate any of them. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, that smile had been distracting her and made her feel uneasy.

    Xander was waving the document he was holding in his hand while he was speaking casually to her as if they were already the closest friends, "It's the revised contract. Let's grab dinner together while you check it."

    Yera's eyebrow twitched. 'He is too comfortable with me!' she protested inwardly.

    "No, it's okay. You can just hand it to me, and I'll call you if there's something that needs change," Yera countered as she grabbed the contract from Xander's grip. But the document wouldn't budge. Yera looked down at it and saw Xander's hand was still holding it in its grasp. So she furrowed her brow and looked back up at him with questioning eyes.

    "Uhm, I'm sorry about this, and I can't stress this enough, but I really hate to eat alone. So please accompany me for dinner?" Xander pled.

    Yera rolled her eyes but conceded defeat because she knew resistance was futile. There was no way she could shoo this persistent man away, and she was too lazy to waste her energy to even try.

    "Alright, come inside... I'm already cooking, and I think it will be enough for both of us," she answered.

    Besides, they would soon be working together, so it would be in her best interest to have a harmonious business relationship with him. So, as Xander had previously suggested, she must accustom herself to him and all of his antics.

    "Great! Thanks..." Xander smiled as he followed Yera inside and sauntered toward the kitchen as though it was his own place.

    "What are you making?" asked Xander as he sat down at the dining table while he watched Yera cook.

    "I only cook simple recipes. This is a caramelized chicken and rice noodle dish. If you want something else, I can just call for delivery," Yera answered as she turned off the electric stove.

    "Nah, I'm not a picky eater, and besides, you cook well. Didn't you notice how much I ate last time? I ate a lot," Xander praised her with a genuine smile. Yera could not help but feel flattered by that simple compliment. She acknowledged it with a plain, "Thanks."

    'Does she feel the same about me?' Xander wondered. He was curious to know what kind of feeling Yera would have whenever he was around. Did she feel the same sort of inexplicable tension that he would feel whenever she was near him? But he doubted it was mutual since she was still acting cold toward him.

    He looked at Yera and sighed. He disliked her blank expression. 'Too cold,' he lamented inwardly.

    "What should I call you? Yera or Deyna?" Xander asked as Yera was preparing the food on the table.

    Yera paused at his question. She would, of course, prefer to be called by her real name. But she must conceal her real identity and remain as Deyna Song for the sake of her revenge.

    She was about to answer him when Xander suddenly spoke, "Never mind. You will be my wife, so I will call you by a sweet term of endearment. Which one do you like best? Darling? Dear? My Love? Or perhaps Babe? Yeah, I think 'Babe' fits you the most because you have a babyface. You look much younger than your age. Young and beautiful..."

    "What?!" Yera burst out. She was about to tell him to call her Yera when they were alone and Deyna when they weren't.

    "I said we need to choose a term of endearment so we would look more natural as a couple.  So you choose. 'Darling', 'Love', 'Dear' or 'Babe'? I like 'Babe,' but if you prefer something else, tell me. Or do you have something else in mind?" Xander pressed.

    "Is it really necessary? Besides, isn't 'Babe' also a pig from that movie 'Babe'? Are you saying I look like that pig? Should I call you 'Clown' because you're always smiling like a clown?" Yera complained, which made Xander burst into a cackle of laughter.

    'Was it that funny, or is he just mocking me?' Yera mused.

    "Sure, then I'll call you 'Darling.' And you can call me 'Clown' or whatever you like, darling..." Xander teased her with a wink, to which Yera's cheeks reddened. He was amused to see her being flustered while trying to conceal it by keeping a straight face.

    "Stop teasing me! Or I'll feed you poison!" Yera snarled as she sat down in front of him to eat.

    "But I'm serious... I will really call you 'Darling' from now on. That's the one I prefer right after 'Babe.' Try calling me that too, so you'll get used to it," Xander insisted as he began to eat.

    Then he went on, but this time in a solemn tone, "So, if you agree with the revised contract, let's register our marriage tomorrow, and as soon as you're ready, we will move to the Yang Mansion."

    Yera noticed a flaw in his plan and pointed it out, "Senior Yang has seen me in person several times. I'm sure he'll remember me. Are you going to tell him about my real identity, and what really happened to me?"

    "Yes, I will tell him all about it. It's for the best. Don't worry, he will keep it a secret unless you don't want to keep it a secret anymore," answered Xander.

    Then he praised her cooking skill again, "Hmm, this is delicious. You can really cook well, darling..."

    Yera's mouth twitched, but she ignored Xander's teasing as she prodded further, "But wouldn't he be suspicious about our marriage set-up if he knows?"

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    Xander shook his head, "No, he won't care about that. In fact, he wouldn't care about anything else other than his only son is finally tying the knot."

    'And will soon give him a grandchild,' Xander wanted to add. But he was sure Yera would totally freak out if he did, so he held himself back from even mentioning it as a joke.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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