For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 154

Who can take responsibility for me?

Arriving at the hospital, Wen Tong parked the car and handed Xiao Wanqing an umbrella. The two of them walked together towards the inpatient department, each holding an umbrella – one on the left and one on the right, not too far apart. As they passed by a convenience store, Wen Tong went in and bought some fruits and two bottles of cold mineral water, carrying them in her hands. Xiao Wanqing probably understood her intention and reached out to share the load. However, Wen Tong, worried about the cold water and heavy fruits, held the umbrella in one hand while carrying the fruits, and tucked the water bottle under her arm without handing it to her.

It was the peak of the lunch break, with frequent vehicles coming and going to the hospital. When they crossed the parking lot towards the inpatient department, the wind and rain were strong. Xiao Wanqing held the umbrella to shield most of their view, moving forward in silence.

Wen Tong heard a honking horn from their right side and quickly adjusted the umbrella, turning to see a car approaching. She gracefully stopped in her tracks to let the car pass, assuming that Xiao Wanqing on her right would also stop. To her surprise, Xiao Wanqing continued walking ahead as if oblivious to the situation.

Wen Tong was stunned for a moment, breaking out in a cold sweat. She hurriedly reached out and grabbed Xiao Wanqing’s arm, ignoring the dropped mineral water and fruits on the ground, and said loudly, “Why aren’t you watching the road?”

Startled by the sudden grab, Xiao Wanqing looked at Wen Tong in surprise. A black car drove past them, and Xiao Wanqing belatedly realized what Wen Tong was saying.

She felt embarrassed and said, “I was focused on holding the umbrella and forgot.”

“But it honked at us, didn’t you hear it?” Wen Tong said, picking up the fallen items and feeling anxious.

Xiao Wanqing paused. She had vaguely heard the honking sound, but she thought it was coming from the left side and even instinctively looked to the left to verify that there were no vehicles. How could it be coming from the right? (LP: How strong was Zhou Qin’s slap?)

“Maybe I was distracted,” Xiao Wanqing reluctantly explained.

Wen Tong furrowed her brow, sighed, and decided not to say anything more, chalking it up to Xiao Wanqing’s lack of focus. Ignoring the rain sprinkling on her, she held the umbrella upright and kept a close eye on the road conditions behind them.

Upon arriving at the inpatient department on the floor where Zhou Qin’s ward was located, Xiao Wanqing stood at the staircase, gazing at the faintly visible room numbers ahead. She narrowed her eyes and in a husky, gentle voice said to Wen Tong, “I’ll wait here for you. If, if Sister Zhou Qin is willing to let me see her, then please come out and call me.”

Since entering the hospital, Xiao Wanqing’s complexion had worsened, with unusual redness and a lack of color on her cheeks. Wen Tong could even see her hand resting on the back of the chair trembling lightly. Concerned, she asked her, “Are you really okay waiting here alone? Otherwise, we can go together and wait at the door.”

Weakly shaking her head, Xiao Wanqing cautiously replied, “It’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about while I wait here. It wouldn’t be good if Sister Zhou Qin sees me and gets affected. It’s better if I stay put.”

Wen Tong opened her mouth as if to speak, but hesitated. Nevertheless, she also considered the potential impact on Zhou Qin, who had already been traumatized by witnessing the disturbing scene involving her friend and daughter on the bed. She didn’t want any possible emotional outburst from Xiao Wanqing to complicate matters.

Letting out a sigh, Wen Tong took out a handkerchief from her bag and handed it to Xiao Wanqing along with the cold water, compromising by saying, “Then sit here and use this to soothe your face. There isn’t much movement here, so you don’t have to worry about your appearance.” She knew Xiao Wanqing too well; even in such a weak state, she still maintained her dignity and was unwilling to show any embarrassing moments in public.

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Xiao Wanqing sat down in the chair, taking the items and managing a forced smile as she obediently replied, “Okay.”

She gazed softly at Wen Tong’s retreating figure until she disappeared as she turned into the ward. Looking down, she remained stunned for a while, seeming to mock herself, and whispered softly, “What image do I have left? In everyone’s eyes, I am already seen as a perverted old woman who abducted her friend’s daughter.”

Zhou Qin’s ward was a three-bed room, but at the moment, the other two beds were unoccupied, making the room eerily silent. Just as Wen Tong’s footsteps came to a halt at the door, about to knock, Zhou Qin turned her head towards the sound, fixing her gaze directly on Wen Tong.

“Can I come in?” Wen Tong hesitated for a moment, withdrew her hand, and softly inquired.

Zhou Qin nodded gently.

As Wen Tong walked inside, she inquired with concern, “How are you feeling? Has your health improved? What did the doctor say? It was quite a shock to hear about what happened all of a sudden from Brother Lin Zhan.”

“I’m okay, not going to die. You came all this way, what’s with bringing things and making expenses,” Zhou Qin attempted to sit up, speaking in a hoarse and feeble voice.

“No, no, Sister, don’t get up, just lie down and rest,” Wen Tong quickly placed the fruits on the nearby table, motioned for her to stop, and helped her lie back down. She pulled out a chair from under the bed, sat down and tucked in Zhou Qin’s blankets, chattering away, “Is it because of too much going on at the school? You always advise me that health is wealth, not to overexert myself. But look at you, always teaching me, remember to take care of yourself too.”

Zhou Qin faintly smiled and sighed, “Getting old is inevitable. I used to pull all-nighters without a problem, but now a few late nights and I can’t handle it. You should learn from my experience.”

Wen Tong, thinking about Xiao Wanqing anxiously waiting outside, hesitated for a moment. Seeing that Zhou Qin, though looking unwell, still had some spirit left in her, she cautiously broached the topic, “Sister, I… came with Xiaowan. She was so worried when she found out about your situation but was afraid you might not want to see her, so she didn’t dare to come in. You see…”

As soon as the words fell, she saw Zhou Qin’s smile disappear in an instant, her gaze becoming increasingly intimidating as she stared at her.

For the sake of Xiao Wanqing, Wen Tong dared not back down. She gritted her teeth and met Zhou Qin’s gaze, quietly returning her gaze.

“Do you know what happened between us?” Zhou Qin’s face became solemn and low.

Wen Tong nodded reluctantly.

“Did you already know?” Zhou Qin suddenly remembered Wen Tong’s attitude during their last meal together, her eyes sharpening and her tone turning cold, as if infused with the icy chill of the winter rain outside.

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Wen Tong subtly clasped her hands on her knees, fell silent for a moment, then responded, “Yes, Sister, I knew before you, but…”

Before she could finish her sentence, Zhou Qin interrupted sharply, “Enough, Wen Tong.”

She looked at Wen Tong, disappointment and hurt evident in her eyes. “You knew, yet you didn’t stop her, nor did you tell me. And now, you even want to act as her advocate? Wen Tong, you consider her your friend, but do you consider me your friend?”

Wen Tong looked at the weary Zhou Qin, feeling guilty deep down. She admitted that she was biased. However, thinking of Xiao Wanqing’s loneliness and the grievances she had suffered, she struggled to explain, “Sister, I understand how you feel. I know that no matter how this situation is handled, Xiaowan did not do well. But the love and care she has for Lin Xian are undoubtedly genuine. Give her a chance, calmly communicate with her. She will definitely give you an explanation, won’t she?”

“Wen Tong, do you truly understand my feelings? Do you understand what it’s like to be a mother?” Zhou Qin seemed exhausted, her voice gradually lowering with a tone of helplessness and sorrow.

“Wen Tong, you are friends with her, so you empathize with her. But can you put yourself in my shoes, Wen Tong? Setting aside your friendship with her, can you objectively imagine if you had a precious daughter who had just graduated from high school? You entrusted her to a peer you trusted deeply to take care of her, fearing she might neglect herself, fearing she might go astray, and fearing she might pick up bad habits. However, that person disregards your trust, ignores your daughter’s youth and innocence, ignores ethics and morals, and crosses the line by getting involved with your niece. Could you remain calm in such a situation? Especially considering Xiao Wanqing and her share the bond of womanhood, this has led Lin Xian down a troubled path.”

Every word was heart-wrenching, leaving Wen Tong speechless. She truly understood Zhou Qin’s feelings, but she also genuinely empathized with Xiao Wanqing. Xiao Wanqing was not blameless, but she was not unforgivable either.

She struggled to respond, “Sister, but throughout this relationship, it was not Xiaowan who was leading it. Blaming her entirely for all the faults is not fair to her.” She even wanted to mention that perhaps Lin Xian was naturally inclined towards homosexuality, but she held back, fearing it might upset Zhou Qin.

Zhou Qin shook her head with fatigue, saying, “Wen Tong, Lin Xian was immature as a teenager, but is she still immature in her thirties? If my daughter makes a mistake, I will correct her. If Xiao Wanqing makes a mistake, can’t I hold her accountable? I cannot empathize with her, there’s no need for further words from you.” Both Lin Xian and Wen Tong empathized with Xiao Wanqing, but who empathized with her?

“In this world, true empathy is non-existent. You are not directly involved, so empathy and understanding may come easily to you. If you still want to be friends, do not meddle in this matter any further.” Zhou Qin’s tone turned cold, her eyes stern and sharp.

Zhou Qin’s attitude towards the matter was evident, and Wen Tong took a deep breath, knowing that at this moment, Zhou Qin was not receptive, unwilling to listen, and further words from her would be futile. A sense of pain surfaced in her heart, feeling sorry for the unknown storm that Xiao Wanqing would face next. But she had done her best. She wasn’t directly involved, had no position, and felt helpless.

Standing up, she quietly said, “Alright, Sister, I won’t say more. Take a moment to calm down, I believe things are not as bad as they seem. Take care of yourself, rest well. I won’t disturb you anymore.”

Zhou Qin nodded lightly in response.

As Wen Tong turned to leave, nearing the door, she seemed to recall something and paused. With her back to Zhou Qin, her voice calm yet firm, with an unmistakable tone, she reminded, “Sister, no matter what, resorting to violence won’t solve anything.”

She knew her words carried an undertone of accountability. Saying this out loud might mean that she and Zhou Qin could never go back to how they were before. However, she couldn’t stay silent.

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Zhou Qin was momentarily stunned by her words. Her emotions had calmed considerably by now, but the memory of the harsh two slaps she had delivered to Xiao Wanqing earlier in the day left a complicated mix of feelings in her heart. She half-closed her eyes and spoke with an emotionless tone, “Take her to see a doctor. I was too harsh this morning.”

Wen Tong’s heart skipped a beat, suddenly recalling Xiao Wanqing’s unusual lack of reaction to the honking earlier, growing more worried. She turned to look at Zhou Qin, who had already turned away, her expression hidden. Wen Tong softly replied, “Okay,” and then left.

As soon as she stepped out of the hospital room, she was met with Xiao Wanqing’s gaze from afar, filled with anxiousness and anticipation. Wen Tong felt a lump in her throat as she closed the door, shaking her head helplessly at Xiao Wanqing. She watched as the faint glimmer in Xiao Wanqing’s dim eyes quickly dimmed, leaving an indescribable feeling in her heart.

Blinking her slightly teary eyes, Wen Tong walked briskly to Xiao Wanqing, crouched down, placed her hands on Xiao Wanqing’s thighs to comfort her, and gently said, “She’s still not calm, she doesn’t want to see you yet. Even if she agrees to see you now, without the ability to have a calm and rational conversation, you won’t be able to reach a consensus, only escalating into arguments. Let’s go downstairs first, to the clinic to have a look at your face, and get a check-up, okay?”

“Is she okay?” Xiao Wanqing asked with a lonely tone, lowering her eyelids, her voice filled with concern.

“She seems okay for now, but we’ll have to wait for further tests to know the specific situation. Let’s go for the examination first.”

Xiao Wanqing stared fixedly at the closed hospital room door, devoid of any light source. After a while, she shifted her gaze back and nodded, agreeing, “Okay, let’s go first.”

She hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, faced a major change and blow, and was already exhausted. Leaning against the wall, she struggled to stand up, her voice trembling slightly, “But, let’s not go to the clinic. Wen Tong, I… I can’t hold on anymore…”

This hospital held her most embarrassing and unbearable memories. It was where she bid farewell to her parents. It was also where her critically ill grandmother refused to see her, leaving her kneeling outside the room, just steps away but denied even the chance for a final goodbye.

Wen Tong supported her, listening to her rare display of fragility, her heart aching. She promised her, “Okay, not here. Let’s go to a different hospital for the examination.”

“Wen Tong, I don’t want to go to the hospital. I’m really fine.” Xiao Wanqing wanted to maintain a semblance of dignity; she wasn’t that fragile yet. She gently removed Wen Tong’s support, steadied herself, and started walking downstairs step by step.

On the way to the new hospital, Wen Tong, being cautious, had made a reservation by phone, but unsurprisingly, all the outpatient specialists for the day were fully booked. Anxiously, she made several calls and managed to secure an additional appointment through acquaintances, squeezing Xiao Wanqing in.

After the examination ruled out Wen Tong’s biggest fear of a concussion, she heaved a sigh of relief. However, the results from the next department’s examination caused the tears she had been holding back to fall in an instant.

The doctor explained that Xiao Wanqing had suffered external force trauma to her right ear, resulting in a perforated eardrum.

On his way to help Zhou Qin get dinner, Lin Zhan received a call from Lin Xian’s grandmother. As soon as she answered, the elderly woman’s voice raised in anger, questioning him, “Lin Zhan, what is your family up to? Why can’t you all sit down and communicate properly, instead of causing such chaos? How did Qinqin end up in the hospital, and what mistake did Xianxian make for you all to confine her like this? She says if you don’t agree to her conditions, she won’t eat. Her stomach is not good. How can she endure being so hungry? You want me to look after her, but with her acting like this, how can I manage?”

Lin Zhan stopped in his tracks, his face suddenly changing. His brows furrowed deeply, and he clenched his teeth, apologizing, “I’m sorry, Mom, it’s our fault for making you worry. Mom, please pass the phone to Lin Xian. I need to talk to her.”

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“Dad…” the girl’s hoarse voice came from beside him.

Unable to contain his temper, Lin Zhan scolded her, “Xianxian, what are you causing now? Can’t you just calm down for a moment? Your mom has already been upset by you. Are you willing for both elderly people to be distressed by you as well? Hunger strike, hunger strike! You keep using your body as a bargaining chip. How can I believe that you can take responsibility like an adult?”

“But, Dad, now in front of you, besides my body, besides your love for me, what other bargaining chip do I have to resist against you? Aren’t you also using my love for you as a bargaining chip to push me? Who is more mature between us?” Lin Xian responded with tears in her voice.

Lin Zhan was caught off guard by Lin Xian’s question, his mouth suddenly unable to produce any words. He reflected on himself, and his anger seemed to be extinguished in an instant by the silent downpour of rain around him.

“If possible, I also want to show you my mature side, I also want to show you that I am not impulsive, that I have plans for my future, and that I can take responsibility for my choices and my life. But, have you given me time, given me the opportunity?” Lin Xian accused.

She was not childish, yet she had no chance to fight back; she was going to be separated from Xiao Wanqing. Either she would be forced to transfer schools and leave, or Xiao Wanqing would choose to leave her. She understood Xiao Wanqing too well – different from others, without the approval of her parents, she couldn’t just sever ties with her family and be with her. With Xiao Wanqing’s nature, she couldn’t let go of her inhibitions and feelings of guilt and ignore everything to be with her.

“Dad, please don’t arrange for me to transfer schools. Mom is angry right now and not listening, but whether to do this or not, you can make the decision. Dad, don’t push me. Consider me childish, I don’t want to do anything more extreme.” She knew she shouldn’t treat her parents like this, threaten them, or burden the elderly, but she truly had no other choice.

“Lin Xian!” Lin Zhan yelled in anger. “I never knew you were so extreme.”

“Dad, ask yourself, what you are doing to me now, isn’t that extreme?” Lin Xian choked back tears.

The harsh words had been said, but now she began to show weakness, her voice trembling, “Dad, I don’t want this either, it’s not my intention.”

“I know that everything you are doing now is because you love me, all for my own good. But, Dad, isn’t loving someone about satisfying them in the way they want and making them happy? I understand that you cannot accept it because you’re afraid I will get hurt in the future. But even if you protect me, one day I will have to face life’s difficulties and challenges alone. I am prepared for the storms that may come along the path I choose.”

“Live your life as you wish, do what you want to do, live the life you want, make yourself happy – isn’t that what you taught me? I want to walk my own path, experience my own life. Along this journey, whether I encounter good or bad, it will be valuable experiences of my life. I am willing and have no regrets. If you truly love me, shouldn’t you accompany me through thick and thin, provide me with a safe harbor in the storm? Why, why do you instead join those who hurt me, forcing me along with them, hurting me, torturing me?” Her words ended almost in a sob of grievances.

“Why should we give up the happiness we can grasp now for an unpredictable and elusive future? Will we really be better off by sacrificing the present for a future we may never have? Dad, if even I cannot take responsibility for myself, then who else can?”

Lin Zhan stood in the heavy rain, listening to the raindrops tapping rhythmically on his umbrella, listening to Lin Xian’s heartbreaking cries and questions, rendered speechless.

To her question, he had no answer. He knew that life had no set answers. However, as a father, he wanted to do everything he could to help her avoid risks, protect her, and make her life smooth and happy. But now, his daughter had grown up, claiming to have her own life and indicating she no longer needed his protection. What should he do?

After a long pause, he reluctantly spoke, conceding, “Lin Xian, too much has happened today, and I am also overwhelmed. Please give me some time to think. Eat your meal, and as for the transfer school issue, I will try to delay it for now.”


LP: Sorry for the no updates yesterday, cleaning took a lot of time than I expected.



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Daosin

thank you for up :’)

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