A few days later, Cheng Wan brought her daughter along and moved into Cao Xiong’s place.
Just as he said, it was an old building. The furniture was thankfully still there and in usable condition. He had already had someone tidy up the house and prepare new mattresses and blankets, and even update the electronics. When Cheng Wan came, she could move in without hassle.
Cao Xiong even had the nurses from the hospital there to take care of her. He visited her two or three times and each time he would sit down to remind her to rest well. After one cup of tea he would leave.
In that short time Cheng Wan was able to grasp his tastes. He didn’t like to drink green tea but loved black tea. When he came again the tea she made suited his taste.
Cao Xiong also came to understand what Cheng Wan’s ex-husband meant in their phone call. Cheng Wan… was really unable to take care of herself properly.
She wasn’t clever, sometimes dazed, and didn’t really pay attention. When anything happened, she was at a loss for what to do. She only knew to be gentle and obedient.
Her ex-husband was only a white-collar worker in the middle class. To that man, all of these characteristics were Cheng Wan’s biggest shortcomings. Especially as she approached her thirties and slowly began to lose her youth, her husband began to give her the cold shoulder.
But to Cao Xiong, these characteristics were not shortcomings. They were what caught his interest, instead. A soft woman who was weak and helpless – it was a brand new experience for Cao Xiong.
The frequency of his visits increased gradually. Many times she looked like she wanted to speak but hesitated, looking anxious. Cao Xiong pretended at these moments not to notice.
On another visit she was recovered and healthy, a rosy cast to her cheeks. She looked much prettier than when she was in the hospital.
“I have told the nurses not to come any longer,” she said, biting her lips as she served the tea.
“Your body has recovered?” he asked. He sat on the sofa, taking off his hat and unbuttoning his black uniform, postured as though he was the owner of the house.
Well, the original owner of the house was him, anyways.
Cheng Wan was always bewildered when she was before Cao Xiong. When she heard his question, she immediately replied, “I’m fine now.”
She actually did have something to ask him while he was there. How long would she be able to live in this house? But she was afraid that if she brought this up he would ask her to move out. The thought of having to find a new, unfamiliar place with her child made her anxious.
He didn’t drink the tea, choosing instead to light up. He obviously knew what she was worried about.
He stood up to walk around the living room. He asked, “Where’s the child?”
Cheng Wan responded softly, “She’s at school.”
She was unable to look him in the eye. This man’s aura was too dominant and made her feel scared at times.
What she was most afraid of was… his unfounded kindness towards her.
The old house didn’t have any french windows. Cao Xiong leaned against the windowsill, still smoking. He narrowed his eyes at her, trying to size her up.
So soft, lost without anyone to rely on.
He didn’t say a single word and the room was enveloped in silence. His scent was all over the place.
Cheng Wan had nowhere to escape. She looked down, sweating slightly on her nose and fidgeting unconsciously with her fingers.
Cao Xiong’s eyes were bold, roaming her slim body. When he noticed her fidgeting, the corners of his lips lifted.
Nobody in the world would be kind to someone without reason.
Cheng Wan wasn’t a naive little girl any longer. She was already thirty. The things between a man and a woman – she should have known better. She was scared, and didn’t have the courage to confront nor to resist.
As long as she understood, it was fine. Cao Xiong pressed the cigarette on the window to stub it out and stepped forward to grab Cheng Wan’s chin.
Cheng Wan was forced to raise her head, her sight blurry. Her eyes were frightened and uneasy, looking like a puppy waiting to be eaten.
That look of hers was what Cao Xiong liked most.
He lowered his head and kissed her…
When he released her, Cheng Wan panicked and staggered a few steps back, as though it was her last time to struggle or escape. She and her former husband had been together since high school and married as soon as they graduated from university. Until now, at thirty years of age, she had never had another man. The aggression coming from the man in front of her scared her.
She moved back a few steps and gasped for breath, her back against the bedroom door.
Cao Xiong strode forward those few steps and held her tightly, one of his hands on her head so she couldn’t struggle away. He felt her stiff body slowly turn soft and kicked open the bedroom door to carry her in…
Bang. The door shut.
After that, Cao Xiong let Cheng Wan know very clearly that he did not plan to remarry.
His eldest, Cao Yang, was already twenty-one. He was only nine years younger than Cheng Wan. Even his second son was already an adult. He had no intention of finding them a stepmother; it would disturb the peace of their family.
But he touched her cheeks and promised her, “If you are willing to follow me, I will take care of you.”
What he received in response was a miserable look. His heart couldn’t help but soften. Pausing a while, he added, “I can guarantee that you will not be alone anymore…”
This sentence relieved Cheng Wan.
Her husband had left her; she knew that marriage did not give her any promises. Instead, this man with his strong chest had promises that were so convincing she didn’t want to let go.
She didn’t know where else she could go if she left this place. Even if she brought her child along, with the little amount of money left to her by her former husband, how could she survive?
Under the weight of that enormous pressure and fear, Cao Xiong seemed to her like a floating log for her survival. She wanted to grip it tightly.
And from then on, Cheng Wan became Cao Xiong’s lover and relied on him.
She brought her daughter and left the old house they had lived in temporarily. They moved to the new apartment that Cao Xiong had prepared for them.
Proofread by: Hannah