In the end, Xiao Yuqing and Lin Xian ate lunch together, watched TV in the living room after eating, then said goodbye to each other and went back to their bedrooms to take a nap.
The sleep was exceptionally sweet and seemed to be unusually long. When Lin Xian woke up in a daze, the sky outside the window was already dark, except for the rustling of leaves with the wind and rain, there was silence everywhere.
Lin Xian turned her head to look at the alarm clock on her bed, it was already after five o’clock in the evening.
She woke up slightly, rubbed her eyes, sat up, and got out of bed to look for Xiao Yuqing. She wondered if Aunt Xiao was up yet, if not, she could prepare dinner.
After leaving the bedroom, she deliberately glanced at Xiao Yuqing’s room, the door was open. It seems that Xiao Yuqing has already woken up.
As expected, after walking a few more steps, she heard, in the kitchen, the light sound of pots and pans touching. The sound seemed to be a bit unnaturally subdued. Lin Xian followed the sound and just outside the kitchen door, she called out to Xiao Yuqing in a soft voice, “Aunt Xiao…” with the languid low tone of someone who had just woken up.
Xiao Yuqing was choosing vegetables when she heard the voice and looked back to see the girl with her head slightly tilted, her hair shaggy, and her mouth smiling at her. She asked Lin Xian with a somewhat apologetic look, “Did I wake you up?”
Lin Xian walked in and, like usual, sat down on her exclusive small chair, looked at Xiao Yuqing with raised eyebrows, shook her head, and replied, “No, I woke up naturally after a full day’s sleep.” After saying that, she curiously said, “What are you doing? What are we eating tonight?”
Hearing the question, Xiao Yuqing’s gentle face suddenly looked a bit helpless. She looked at the rice cooker on the side and sighed, “I was thinking that since you have a cold, it’s better to eat lighter, so I’m going to cook some porridge and stir-fry two small dishes.”
Lin Xian, who had been obedient, cheerfully stood up and said, “Sure, I’ll help you.” She washed her hands and was about to help.
Xiao Yuqing, however, continued, “But the porridge is not cooked.”
“Eh? Why? Is… the rice cooker broken?” Lin Xian froze for a moment.
Xiao Yuqing blinked, stretched out her slender index finger, and pointed to the light on the ceiling. “Here, guess.”
Lin Xian had already reached into the bowl with the vegetables, when she heard that she looked at Xiao Yuqing, and then looked at the light, she suddenly became enlightened and realized, “Is the power out?” It’s no wonder that she didn’t notice, she just woke up and came out to look for Xiao Yuqing, so naturally she didn’t notice the problem of whether the power was out. Now that she thought about it, it really wasn’t natural, the sky was already close to dusk, but Xiao Yuqing was in the kitchen without lights on, which was obviously unreasonable. In previous years, there were often power outages after major typhoons had passed through, just not sure, how long it would take this time.
Xiao Yuqing’s slightly cool hand covered Lin Xian’s warm hand, with a few doting words in her tone, “Little lost worm….” After she finished, she took Lin Xian’s hand out of the bowl of vegetables “I’ll choose immediately, the water is cold so don’t touch it too much. Did your head still hurt when you woke up? When you were sleeping, I took the thermometer to check your temperature, and the fever went down. Do you want to check it again?”
Lin Xian’s focus was obviously distorted to the sky, and she stared with big deer-like eyes, astonished, “Did you just take my temperature? Why didn’t I feel anything at all?”
Xiao Yuqing passed the selected vegetables through the water once more and teased her, “Because you slept like a little pig.” In fact, Xiao Yuqing guessed that Lin Xian should be a shallow sleeper too, otherwise she wouldn’t have been woken up by her movement last night. Today there was no response, probably because she was really too tired, so she slept extraordinarily well.
Lin Xian, however, pouted, took a step back and exaggerated with her arms around her chest, “Then you’re so dangerous.”
Xiao Yuqing casually answered her suspiciously, “En?”
Lin Xian blinked her big eyes and complained, “You know the little secret that I sleep heavy, so if you do whatever you want to me in the future while I’m asleep, then what can I do…” she deliberately pinched out a delicate and pretentious little girl voice, which made Xiao Yuqing’s eyebrows jump up.
“Do whatever I want?”
Xiao Yuqing repeated the word with biting emphasis and the hand holding the spatula moved with a slight pause. She looked sideways at Lin Xian, as if she didn’t recognize her, and took a long look at her pretty face, then swept her from head to toe with her eyes, sweeping over her… hands that were wrapped around her chest, and swept over her flat chest… Suddenly, there was a “Pfft” and a laugh came out.
This time Lin Xian was dissatisfied, her hands that hugged in front of the chest were crossed to the waist, and she stomped her feet in shame, questioning Xiao Yuqing, “Aunt Xiao, what kind of look is this!”
When Xiao Yuqing was asked by her, the curvature of her mouth could not help but grow bigger and bigger. She desperately tried to control her smile, holding it in until her beautiful face was slightly flushed red. Before she could easily restrain herself a little, she smoothed her voice and pretended to be calm as she answered back to Lin Xian, “Nothing.” After a pause, she looked back at Lin Xian, her eyes, which were always gentle, with a few tiny smiles, added, “Do you like to eat papaya? I’ll go to the supermarket some time later and buy some, and cook ribs for you to eat, OK?”
Lin Xian froze first, then she was mortified. She fiercely reached out and wrapped her arms around Xiao Yuqing from one side, buried her little face in the crook of her arm, and poked her with her pointy little chin in retaliation, “Aunt Xiao, you don’t like me!!!”
Over the past few days, Xiao Yuqing had gradually gotten used to Lin Xian’s little gestures of being close to her, but the moment she was hugged, she still stiffened undetectably for a moment. After that, she was relieved.
She reached out and gently rubbed the soft hair on the top of Lin Xian’s head, “I don’t. Lin Xian, don’t be shy, this is a stage that all girls go through.” She had a few thoughts of teasing Lin Xian, but she did seriously ask Lin Xian because she was concerned. When she was Lin Xian’s age, her mother had also quietly bought a lot of papayas1, changing dishes and coaxing her to eat more. At that time she did not understand why, but now thinking back, her mother was really well-intentioned.
Thinking of this, Xiao Yuqing’s mood suddenly fell down.
Mother….. my mother…. Xiao Yuqing gave a few unconscious inhale, her nose was suddenly a little sour.
Although the voice was very soft, Lin Xian still heard it. She was keenly aware that Xiao Yuqing, who was being embraced by her, seemed to have suddenly become depressed. She lifted her face from Xiao Yuqing’s arms and looked at her with concern. She saw that the smile at the corner of her lips had disappeared, and a few points of sorrow had been placed between her brows. She was stunned before she gently opened her mouth and asked tentatively, “Aunt Xiao, are you okay?”
Xiao Yuqing’s warm eyes met Lin Xian’s clear eyes, then she pulled out a smile with a bit of reluctance and gently shook her head to appease her, “It’s nothing.” She turned on the fire of the gas stove and poured the oil, which became hot and began to heat up, emitting a “pila pala” sound. The atmosphere in the kitchen, however, seemed to have suddenly frozen.
“I just suddenly remembered my mother.” Xiao Yuqing’s warm voice suddenly sounded softly again.
Lin Xian pursed her lips and for a moment, unsure of what to say to comfort her.
She was actually curious with a few questions. Although she hardly ever met with Xiao Yuqing over the years, occasionally, she would still learn some news about her from just a few words from her mother and grandfather.
She knew that Xiao Yuqing’s parents had been killed in a car accident a few days before the New Year a few years ago.
However, she didn’t know, why, back then… Xiao Yuqing quarreled with her parents, she didn’t know why in the following years, Xiao Yuqing didn’t come to her house for dinner with Grandpa Xiao and Grandma Xiao during the Chinese New Year. She did not know why, Grandpa also always tight-lipped and refused to tell her mother, exactly why the Xiao family was nearly falling apart back then.
When she was still hesitating how to comfort Xiao Yuqing, she had adjusted her mood again, her tone resumed its natural cheerfulness and asked her from the side, “There are no more ingredients in the fridge, I can only make a bit of noodles. It may be a bit rudimentary, don’t be offended.”
Lin Xian looked at her smiling face as usual and suddenly felt a sourness in her heart. This skillful woman, who always put on her best face to others, hadn’t she always been like this all these years, forcing herself. There may be people who can share her joy, but no one will share her sorrow.
However, she can’t do anything now. She has been wise since she was young and has always been good at reading people’s opinions. She knows in her heart that she is not close enough to Xiao Yuqing, and Xiao Yuqing has not completely put down her guard. Although, she has been treating her really gently and sincere. This guard, not like any other, is like an instinctive self-protection of emotions. Perhaps, even against her mother, Zhou Qin, Xiao Yuqing may not be completely unguarded.
So, Lin Xian can only pretend not to notice anything, pretend not to consider anything, and cooperate with Xiao Yuqing to change the topic. She gently uncovered the sadness just now and used the same light-hearted tone to echo, “It’s okay, Aunt Xiao your cooking is the best I’ve ever eaten. I feel that whatever you cook is delicious.”
Xiao Yuqing grabbed a handful of noodles and threw them into the pot, hooked her lips, her pear shape was superficial, and her voice was unusually filled with a little petty anger, “Such a sweet mouth, but you don’t sound like you mean it.”
She reached out and took Xiao Yuqing’s left hand, which was not holding the spatula, and gently put it over her heart, curving her eyebrows and saying sincerely, “If you don’t believe me, feel my heartbeat. Is it saying ‘Aunt Xiao, whatever you cook, Lin Xiao Xian thinks it’s delicious?'”
At first, Xiao Yuqing was suddenly pulled by Lin Xian and forced to press on her warm and soft chest. Her hand felt like it was burned by something, and she panicked and subconsciously wanted to pull back. In the next second, she saw the young girl’s eyes looking at her; dark, clear, and bright with a radiant smile inside. She steadied her mind, let out a sigh of relief, calmed down, and really seriously felt the rhythm of Lin Xian’s heartbeat before slowly withdrawing her hand and teased her, “I heard them rather saying ‘Don’t trust Lin Xiao Xian, she’s just a little liar’….”
Lin Xian first laughed out loud, then immediately changed her face, and made a look of a little pretentious face with tears, crying and pouting, “Aunt Xiao says she can’t hear my heart, I’m so sad, what should I do, my heart hurts so much now….”
Xiao Yuqing listened to her making fun of herself on the side, and the curve of her lips couldn’t help but get wider and wider. She pretended not to hear Lin Xian’s fake pitiful cries and her hands moved smoothly to turn off the fire, take out the bowls and chopsticks, and fish out a steaming bowl of noodles for Lin Xian first. She handed the noodles to the girl with both hands and said softly, “Okay, enough, are you hungry? Let’s eat.”
When Lin Xian heard that, she was even sadder, stomped her foot, and gave a delicate “humph” and muttered, “You don’t care about my sadness, you just remember the noodles!” That’s what she said, but her hands honestly took the bowl and inhaled the aroma of the noodles with an intoxicated face.
Xiao Yuqing lost her smile and served herself some noodles while reminding Lin Xian in soft words, “It’s your noodles.”
Lin Xian was actually really hungry for a few minutes. She stood still waiting for Xiao Yuqing to serve her noodles and eat them together at the dining room table outside, but she couldn’t help but lower her head and take a sip of the hot soup first, and was instantly conquered by the deliciousness. She was so satisfied that she became generous, “Delicious! For the sake of your hard work, Aunt Xiao, I forgive you for just breaking my heart so hard.”
Xiao Yuqing’s moist eyes were a little doting and helpless as she begged for mercy, “Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Lin Xiao Xian, for not remembering the wrongs of the little one. Let’s go, let’s go out.”
Lin Xian then grinned towards her with satisfaction, revealing a row of white and lovely teeth. She turned around and took the lead in walking towards the dining room.
The sky was already completely dark, the surroundings were gray, and when no one spoke, a dull, dead silence came through. Xiao Yuqing looked at the slim back of the young girl leaving and felt that it was very lively.
In these years, she has also been to many places with dazzling people, magnificent, and bright lights. It’s very big, and every place is lively, but the liveliness is not hers.
Now, in this black silence, Lin Xian stood there, like a small wavering candle, bringing her a dim light. Not bright and dazzling, but illuminated this small world. This liveliness is not big, but this truly belongs to her.
It’s her happiness.
Thank you K for supporting this novel! I’ll try to finish the other nine chapters ASAP!!
The author has something to say:
Aunt Xiao smiling: Do you want some? I can help you cook some too.
(I don’t! I’m the attacker, I do not need it! I can’t be straightforward and strong.jpg)
1 Papaya… Are they trying to hint that Lin Xian’s chest is flat and she needs more papaya?? Is that why Lin Xian was–huh.