Lady Fang sighed, she did not continue the conversation and silently put the paper money into the fire.
When the paper money was almost burnt out, Lady Fang suddenly spoke up: “Don’t be afraid, the commander has promised to take care of you. He always keeps his words, just like that time…… he said he won’t get married again, and he never had a wife again.”
Lady Fang shook her head as she spoke about Cao Xiong.
The reason why she was slightly unhappy with Xia Rou’s status was indeed because she was a child of a mistress. In the past she had owed some favors to Madam Cao, so naturally she would be slightly against the existence of Xia Rou and Cheng Wan. But once she really thought about iit, Madam Cao had already passed away for about 7 or 8 years by the time Cheng Wan and Cao Xiong met. Although Cheng Wan wasn’t given a title, but she was not someone who barged into someone else’s marriage either.
Lady Fang put her gaze back on Xia Rou’s quiet and delicate appearance, and that slight conflict in her mind disappeared. All that was left in her heart was her uncontrollable pity for this child who lost both her father and her mother.
When Lady Fang raised her eyes, she was slightly stunned.
That child was fixedly looking right at her, with that pair of pitch-black eyes reflecting the orange flame burning crisply in front of them.
Those eyes of hers, was so deep that it didn’t seem to match with her age at all.
That’s what Lady Fang thought in her mind, then she heard Xia Rou reply: “Okay, I understand.”
Xia Rou understood very well the fact that the men in Cao Family tend to keep their promises.
Neither of them said anything until the paper money was finished burning. When the fire was extinguished, Lady Fang opened a bottle of mineral water and poured over the tiny sparks left in the bowl.
“Don’t move it yet, it’s still hot. Wait till it cools down before cleaning up.” As Lady Fang was speaking, she tried to get up, but her body wobbled.
Xia Rou immediately supported her with one hand.
Lady Fang massaged her back and sighed: “I’m old enough already, my back isn’t functioning well anymore. Sigh, time flies in just a blink of an eye……”
“You may take a rest first.” Xia Rou said, “You can leave the rest to me, I know where to throw these away……”
Lady Fang looked at the bowl to confirm the fire was extinguished completely, then answered: “Alright, be careful not to burn yourself.” Afterwards, she went back while pounding at her waist.
Xia Rou sat on the floor rubbing her numb legs as she waited for the bowl to cool.
She subconsciously raised her head to look at the main building. There was a shadow right in front of the window on the third floor, and she could see an orange spot flickering around.
It must be big brother standing by the window to take a smoke, she thought.
Because that room was supposed to be Cao Yang’s bedroom, while her bedroom was right on top his.
He stood at the windowside, as if he had been staring at her the whole time, but she couldn’t confirm that. The courtyard was quite dark although it illuminated by a gentle light, he would only be able to see a blurry shadow from that distance, would he able to recognize her?
She squinted her eyes while looking in his direction. No matter how hard she looked it remained to her black shadow, so she withdrew her gaze.
This courtyard wasn’t very different in her memories, only that the trees here should be taller and thicker. The trees would look particularly like a gigantic green umbrella when it became summer. The sunlight would shine through the small gaps between the leaves, and she would sit under the tree to read her favorite books. It was much more comfortable than staying inside an air-conditioned room.
Now when she remembered the days when she was still a student, she didn’t really need to worry about anything. Her life could have been as carefree as now.
But again, she had always been troubled by her status in the house.
“The mistress’ daughter” seemed like a curse to her, just like a huge net tightly wrapped around her……
Cao Yang was having a smoke by the window, he saw that Xia Rou went out to burn some paper money. It was only then that he remembered, today was Cheng Wan’s seventh day.
What a tactful child, he thought. At least she knows to burn paper money for her mother. If it was some other child at her age put into the same situation, he would bet the child wouldn’t even know what to do without the advice of their elders.
Lady Fang had gone back, yet that child was sitting right under the tree spacing out, and he didn’t know what she could be thinking about. He kept staring at her the whole time, until she seemed to lift herself out of a fog. She rubbed her knees and stood up, took the bowl and walked away.
Just then he finished smoking the cigarette, turning around to pinch the fiery end off into the ashtray.
Later that night, he caught a glimpse of car light flashing by the window, so he went down. The living room on the first floor was dark, only a dim red light flickered from the outside.
The first one to come home was Cao Xiong.
“Father.” He walked to him.
His voice pulled out Cao Xiong from his memories back to reality, as if the sound tore the darkness apart.
“Haven’t gone to sleep yet?” Cao Xiong asked.
“It’s still early.” Cao Yang replied, he switching on a table lamp beside the sofa.
Although the light was gentle, Cao Xiong couldn’t adapt to the sudden light and slightly squinted his eyes.
“Has she arrived?” He asked.
Cao Yang knew that he was asking about Xia Rou, so he replied: “She arrived at night and had dinner with me.”
“Is she okay?”
“She looks fine. She cried for a bit so she’s probably still upset. Just give her some comfort. She even burnt some paper money for Aunt Cheng just now.” He thought of it and added: “Quite sensible, and quiet.”
Cao Xiong didn’t speak anymore, he smoked silently.
After a while, he seemed to tire and pinched the end off the cigarette.
“I’ll entrust her to you.” He said, “Take good care of her; take her as your little sister.”
His wife had passed away early and his eldest son had already learned to be independent. Not only he could he take care of himself, he was also able to look after his little brothers very well. So, Cao Xiong was very assured in entrusting Xia Rou to him.
She was the daughter of Cheng Wan, the last person that Cheng Wan worried about, so he was determined to be nice to her.
But that child didn’t really like to get close to him, and at times she even avoided him him.
He couldn’t do anything about it.
Proofread by: Hannah