She slowly lifted her lids to look at the man sitting straight opposite of her.
She mustered up the courage to look him in the eye.
Ah, she realized that her big brother… was still so young at this time. Although his gaze was sharp, compared to the gaze ten years into the future, it still lacked a little edge.
He was fourteen years older than her, so he should be… only twenty-nine.
Her eyes lingered on the epaulet of his uniform. He was already a major at his age; compared to the other people in his age group, he was much more advanced.
But only she knew that he would continue to advance at such a rate. In the beginning of the next year, he would leave for half a year. When he returned, he would have already received a first-class merit and his epaulet would change to indicate a lieutenant colonel by then.
But what stood out most in her memory was the scary gunshot wound that would mar his lower jaw.
If the bullet had been even slightly lower, it would have hit him at the critical area. She couldn’t help but be filled with apprehension every time she saw it.
However, it didn’t impair his good looks, even adding a sense of heroism.
But Xia Rou now just wanted to have a good look at Cao Yang’s face before his fair visage was scarred. She wanted to carve his face deep in her heart.
The moment her gaze hit Cao Yang’s sharp examining one, she stopped breathing for a while, only then realizing she was being inappropriate.
She looked down again and lowered her head once more, acting soft and shy like a real girl of fifteen.
Cao Yang was examining her.
Just then when she looked at him to thank him, he didn’t know if he was mistaken, but her gaze was very serious as though she was dedicating herself to him. Especially when she met his gaze, her eyes showed a mix of complicated emotions he couldn’t comprehend. He could even discern a faint sense of infatuation. He found it subtle; a young girl at her age shouldn’t have such deep emotion.
But this didn’t prevent him from understanding that she wanted to get close to him. It wasn’t deliberate or for the benefits she could obtain, but because she felt relief the moment she saw him, making her feel secure. Having this knowledge made it especially difficult for him to not be nice to her.
Maybe it was because girls typically mature faster, he thought. At the age of fifteen, most boys were still running around on the field, but girls seemed to know it all.
And it would be even more likely for her to be so mature, this girl who had lost both her parents. Even a man like Cao Yang felt pity for her situation.
“Unfortunately, everyone is busy today,” he said. “It’s only going to be the two of us at dinner tonight. You should rest first, and I’ll call you for dinner later.”
“Your room… Since this was all very sudden, we’ve only started remodeling two days ago. It’ll be a few more days until you can move in. My fourth younger brother will also be returning soon so his study is also being remodeled. The entire second floor is such a mess that no one can enter yet, so you can temporarily stay at the side building for now. When it’s complete, you can move into the second floor,” he continued.
Oh, that was right. Fourth brother had only returned right after she had moved in…
Thinking back to when she had been the closest to this person in the Cao Family, Xia Rou’s heart warmed. She had no objection to the arrangements, so she nodded her head very sweetly and said, “Alright.”
Then she quietly followed Butler Zhou to the side building.
Cao Yang was very satisfied.
Like Cao Bin had said, it wasn’t so simple as raising a dog or cat, but a living human being. To them, it was undeniably a large burden.
Before he met her, he had already determined in his heart: if she was obedient, he would take her as a little sister, help her get into a university and select a good husband in the future and even act as her maiden home. But if she was a troublemaker, he would let her live comfortably until adulthood and give her some money to live her life as she pleased. Either way, he needed to help his father fulfill his promise with Cheng Wan, and it would also help to repay back her feelings towards his father all these years.
Fortunately, Xia Rou appeared to be an obedient child. He hoped she would behave like her mother and not bring any trouble to the family.
Thinking of Cheng Wan, Cao Yang sighed.
He remembered that year when his father had been diagnosed with acute appendicitis and had undergone surgery, needing to rest at home. Although there were nurses watching over him 24/7, Cheng Wan still came to visit and accompanied him for two days.
As the eldest and the closest to his father, he had clearly noticed the happiness on his father’s face those two days. And the reason had been merely because of the woman by his side, reading books to him and peeling apples for him.
However, she only stayed for two days before she rushed home to take care of her child. It wasn’t too good to let her child stay with a babysitter for a long time.
At that time, he felt the upset from his father.
“Why not ask Aunt Cheng to move in?” he asked.
But his father closed his eyes and rejected him. “Not necessary.”
At that time, he had been naive. He thought though his father loved Cheng Wan, it wasn’t to an extent that he needed her by his side day and night, so he never brought it up again.
But now that Cheng Wan had passed, his father looked as though he had aged severely in just a few days. Then he understood.
His father… had been trying to protect this house carefully. He had protected them since they were young and maintained the peace in the family. Even though they had now grown up, he didn’t let anyone get between him and his sons.
Every young man out there usually had a wife to accompany him as he grew old. In order to protect their household, his father had sacrificed himself, and the price of this was aging alone.
Third and fourth brothers were still so young that they couldn’t understand this yet.
But he and his second brother Cao Bin had always felt sadness for their father.
Proofread by: Hannah