For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 161

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She had fantasized countless times during the lonely nights about the scene of reuniting with her beloved girl. She imagined the girl might reach out to hold her tightly and express the feelings of all these years, or she might cry and accuse her of leaving without a word back then. She even thought that she might hide in the shadows, watching Lin Xian happily walk by with someone else, unaware.

She thought that if they knew, whether happy or sad, they would probably shed tears and be overwhelmed with emotions at that moment of reunion.

However, up to now, the reality was different – the girl was unexpectedly calm, with deep, mature eyes that displayed a cold composure that she didn’t quite understand.

There was no joy, no sorrow, as if their reunion was just a casual encounter of long-lost acquaintances on the street.

Xiao Wanqing’s heart, filled with mixed emotions, suddenly became calm and silent in the girl’s seemingly calm eyes, causing her to feel uneasy and inexplicably anxious.

“Xianxian…” she bit her lip, finally calling out the name that she had whispered countless times in her waking moments, her voice sounding hoarse as if squeezed out of her chest.

Lin Xian greedily gazed at the woman in front of her, the woman who haunted her soul. Her hand hanging by her side instinctively clenched into a fist, almost biting her teeth to pieces, before restraining herself from the impulse of overwhelming joy followed by heartache and the desire to hold her tightly in her arms.

Xiao Panpan did not take care of herself; she looked thinner.

Over the years, through hardships and with a brave heart, searching day and night for Xiao Wanqing, Lin Xian blamed herself countless times for not protecting Xiao Panpan. She felt self-reproach and heartache for her poor lover who didn’t know where she was wandering or how she was living. Despite feeling resentment and despair each time her expectations were dashed, Lin Xian couldn’t help but blame Xiao Panpan for deceiving her like a child once again, leaving her ruthlessly. Even in the midst of excruciating pain, she doubted whether Xiao Panpan didn’t come to find her because of her, whether she had truly forgotten her…

Whether she really didn’t want her anymore…

Separated for years, my heart remains the same, does your heart mirror mine? Lin Xian was once resolute, but now, she is lost.

Outside, the wind was fierce and the rain sudden, yet the two beautiful women under the umbrella seemed frozen in place, standing motionless in the pouring rain, gazing deeply at each other, choked with unspoken words. The nosy security guard peeked through the window, eyes wandering back and forth between Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian, clearly aiming to eavesdrop for gossip.

Lin Xian keenly noticed, her gaze cutting past Xiao Wanqing, subtly giving the security guard a cold stare, causing the guard to awkwardly retract his gaze and pretend to read the newspaper.

She averted her eyes, swallowing hard twice, moistening her dry throat from holding back tears, before composing herself with the maturity expected of an adult, softly reminding, “It’s not convenient to talk here.”

Xiao Wanqing, as if awakening from a dream, lowered her gaze and saw Lin Xian’s shoulders drenched by the wind and rain. Losing her usual composure, she instinctively reached out to shield her with the umbrella, only to have Lin Xian swiftly raise a hand to grab the umbrella handle, halting her motion.

“No need, there’s no point. My back is already soaked, and my shoes are full of water,” Lin Xian said lightly. As soon as the words left her mouth, she raised a hand to rub her nose, as if holding back a sneeze.

Xiao Wanqing immediately felt nervous. She looked at the face that was vaguely familiar to her, etched in her memory, but with a demeanor that was cold and calm, making the girl seem like a stranger. Her clothes were twisted like a pretzel as she carefully suggested, with a hesitant tone, “I… I live nearby. Would you mind coming over to change your clothes and take shelter from the rain?” She was afraid that Lin Xian would catch a cold, yet she also feared the unusually composed Lin Xian, now grown up, and resisted her excessive intimacy.

However, her polite tone made Lin Xian feel like she had been pricked by something. She lowered her head and looked deeply into Xiao Wanqing’s eyes, seeing the genuine concern within them, secretly breathing a sigh of relief.

Xiao Panpan still cared for her. There was a faint hint of a smile in her eyes. Lowering her eyelids, she politely replied, “Alright, thank you.”

The girl’s awkwardly courteous response struck a chord in Xiao Wanqing’s heart, weighing heavily on her and making her eyes slightly sore with a sense of discomfort and resentment.

Had she long been prepared, but perhaps the lingering panic of wishful thinking had finally turned real? Upon reuniting, has Xianxian already realized that Xiao Wanqing, in truth, is just ordinary?

They were like two clumsy snails, carrying the heavy burden of time and distance, with a mix of emotions in their hearts, tinged with a bit of expectation, nervousness, awkwardness, and unfamiliarity, cautiously reaching out to each other.

On the way to Xiao Wanqing’s residence, they each held an umbrella, leaving a distance between them, walking side by side but not too close, treading with a sense of unfamiliarity akin to the awkwardness after a long-awaited reunion.

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Xianxian, is this time for saying goodbye to the past?

Nervously walking by Lin Xian’s side, Xiao Wanqing couldn’t help but gaze at the girl’s tall and handsome profile, lost in deep thought. With such anxious thoughts swirling in her mind, she suddenly felt as if all her strength had been drained away in an instant, unconsciously slowing her pace, feeling utterly bewildered.

Lin Xian casually walked slightly faster, keeping pace with Xiao Wanqing while secretly keeping a close eye on her. Seeing Xiao Wanqing slow down, Lin Xian’s heart sank, prompting her to slow down as well and turn her head slightly to look at her.

Standing beside a shallow puddle, Xiao Wanqing, thinking Lin Xian couldn’t see her, dropped her composed facade and gazed at her with a sincere yet sorrowful affection.

Unaware of the approaching vehicle honking, Xiao Wanqing remained oblivious.

As the tires were about to roll over the water, splashing a puddle of dirty water…

Without hesitation, Lin Xian forgot all pretenses of maturity and composure, nervously pulling Xiao Wanqing into her arms to protect her. She quickly turned her body, shielding Xiao Wanqing with her own frame from the splashing water.

The two umbrellas, following their overlapping movements, leaned against each other, the canopies colliding, one high and one low, intimately pressed together.

The raindrops rapidly pelted the umbrella surfaces, pitter-pattering, echoing the steady thumping of their racing heartbeats.

Caught off guard, Xiao Wanqing stumbled into Lin Xian’s warm embrace, the familiar cool fragrance of the girl instantly filling her nostrils, as if fate, which had long mistreated her, was suddenly bestowing a gift upon her. She gently grabbed onto the girl’s clothes, using her support to slowly stand upright. She raised her head, staring blankly at Lin Xian’s soft and smooth jawline, moving upwards until she gazed into the girl’s clear, tranquil black eyes.

Heartbeats like drumbeats.

Lin Xian held her precious one, regained after loss, feeling the completeness and fulfillment of her life that had been lacking for years. She lowered her head to look at Xiao Wanqing, her eyes inevitably revealing a watery tenderness. Raising her hand, she lovingly and gently caressed Xiao Wanqing’s cool and soft cheek, brushing away raindrops that dared to fall on her cheek, with a faint smile of familiar gentleness on Xiao Wanqing’s lips.

Before Xiao Wanqing could discern the situation clearly, Lin Xian noticed the gaze of passing pedestrians, released her hand, took a step aside, walked to the outer side of the road, tilted the umbrella to shield Xiao Wanqing, and silently continued forward.

In the midst of the wind and rain, the warmth of the lost embrace no longer sheltered Xiao Wanqing, as the wind brazenly seeped into her open jacket. Xiao Wanqing stood still, as if reluctant to withdraw from the fleeting tenderness Lin Xian had shown earlier, watching Lin Xian’s retreating figure. Unconsciously tucking her coat tighter, a fleeting expression of vulnerability and helplessness appeared on her gentle face.

However, as she observed Lin Xian’s drenched back and pants tainted by dirty water, Xiao Wanqing composed her emotions, quickly catching up to Lin Xian, leading the way half a step ahead, and softly thanked her, saying, “Thank you…”

Lin Xian’s steps faltered slightly, her brow gradually furrowing.

Indeed, Xiao Wanqing’s place was not far from the school. Lin Xian walked attentively, carefully observing her surroundings, mentally noting the route from the school they had taken.

She quietly followed behind Xiao Wanqing, no longer displaying the lively and carefree look of the past.

Xiao Wanqing retrieved clean guest slippers from the shoe cabinet, inviting her into the living room before hurriedly heading to the bedroom to find replacement clothes. Lin Xian stood in the living room, discreetly surveying everything inside the room.

The house clearly appeared to be occupied by a single person, decorated in Xiao Panpan’s consistent minimalist style, reminiscent of the empty, cold, and lifeless atmosphere when she visited Xiao Panpan’s home years ago. Thinking of Xiao Wanqing’s lonely and helpless years, Lin Xian felt a sharp pain in her heart, tears beginning to well in her eyes.

Her gaze swept over the items placed on the cabinets on both sides of the TV, the pillows on the sofa, before locking onto several books displayed on the coffee table in front of the sofa. On the top spine of one particular book, prominently engraved were the words “Longing for Your Return.”

A subtle tremor passed through Lin Xian’s throat, and the tears she had suppressed for so long quickly rolled down her cheeks in a moment of release.

Xiao Panpan has not forgotten about her, she has always been watching over her.

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But has Xiao Panpan, despite seeing her painstakingly searching for her, been feeling hopeless and helpless?

This heartless rascal, scoundrel, big idiot.

“Xianxian, if you don’t mind, please put them on…” The hurried footsteps of a woman sounded nearby, prompting Lin Xian to quickly wipe away her tears, compose herself, and turn around to gracefully accept the clothes handed to her by Xiao Wanqing. Following her instructions, she went to the bathroom to change out of her soaked clothes.

Steam rose from the hot tea in the cold air, as Lin Xian and Xiao Wanqing sat facing each other at the long coffee table. Xiao Wanqing’s water-like eyes gently gazed at her blurry lover, a thousand words seemingly wanting to be spoken, yet at the edge of her lips, the words vanished.

Xianxian seemed to have changed, becoming more composed but also more silent. Five years of time stood between them, as if separating them into two different worlds. There were so many things they wanted to say, yet they didn’t know where to start. In the end, it turned into a mutual silence, with nothing left to be said.

“Chen Zhi got married and had a cute little girl. I became her godmother. Momo got married a few months ago, and her child is due next August.” Finally, Lin Xian gently spoke, like long-lost ordinary friends, calmly mentioning the years that the other had not been a part of.

Lin Xian didn’t ask why she had lied and left back then. Xiao Wanqing also didn’t ask why she had come or when she would leave today.

The bland conversation, covering up their true feelings, suddenly came to an end, followed by a long, unsettling silence.

Lin Xian lowered her head, holding the tea cup in silence for a while. Finally, she looked up at Xiao Wanqing and uttered the words Xiao Wanqing had long feared: “Xiao Panpan, I’ve come to say goodbye to the past.”

“I think, it’s time to start over.”

The girl stared at her, her tone calm but resolute, resonating like thunder exploding in Xiao Wanqing’s ears, shaking her mind into chaos and her heart into pieces.

She released her hand that had been clutching the tea cup, placing it on the coffee table, trembling as she clenched it into a fist, nails deeply digging into her palm before she struggled to regain her composure.

Shouldn’t this have been anticipated earlier? She bit her lower lip, gazing at the grown-up and exceptional lover before her, sorrowfully soothing herself in her heart.

Xiao Wanqing didn’t know if the faint smile she forced out was composed enough, natural enough, or reminiscent of a qualified ex or an elder. She opened her lips, trying hard to respond steadily, “That’s good, the past… should be left in the past. I…”

She should have continued to comfort and bless her beloved girl in a dignified manner, but as she opened her mouth, a sourness filled her heart, a blankness filled her mind, and she found herself unable to utter any insincere words.

Hurriedly rising to her feet, Xiao Wanqing, without considering what Lin Xian might think or how she might perceive her, with one last bit of restraint, hoarsely made an excuse, “It’s getting late, why don’t you… stay for dinner. I’ll go prepare it first.” With that, she lost control, bowing her head in a fluster, walking unsteadily, and hastening into the kitchen.

Head bowed, back hunched, Xiao Wanqing stood in front of the countertop, hands shamefully covering her face, tears flowing from between her fingers, slowly streaming down.

Shouldn’t she be happy for Xianxian, finally stepping out, finally able to avoid the gossip and judgment of society, finally able to embrace a wider future, right? Xiao Wanqing, you shouldn’t cry, shouldn’t hold onto the past, shouldn’t be selfish.

Repeatedly admonishing and persuading herself in her heart, but her heart still felt like it was being tortured one cut at a time, painfully tearing apart; the tears flowed uncontrollably like a faucet that couldn’t be closed, cascading down in a continuous stream from her eyes.

A pair of slender and strong arms reached around her from behind, tightly encircling her waist. The warm breath slowly spilled into Xiao Wanqing’s ears, “Xiao Panpan, why are you hiding and crying?”

Xiao Wanqing slumped into the girl’s embrace, her body stiffening. With head lowered, she couldn’t control her distress and continued to cry in a pitiful manner at the girl’s words, even though she tried to stifle her sobs, only the heavy breathing filled the air.

Lin Xian watched Xiao Wanqing cry, her heart aching as if trembling, tears rolling down her cheeks, wetting Xiao Wanqing’s hair at the nape of her neck. Sternly turning Xiao Wanqing’s weak and tear-stained body towards her, Lin Xian gently held Xiao Wanqing’s tear-streaked cheeks in her hands, softly and compassionately asking her, “Xiao Panpan, don’t deceive yourself anymore, don’t deceive me. Tell me, what do you want?”

Xiao Wanqing, with teary eyes, gazed at Lin Xian in a blur, unable to control her own tears, almost gasping for breath in suppression, yet still choosing to remain silent.

“Tell me, Xiao Panpan. Lin Xian has grown up, she is no longer a child now, she can provide you with the future you deserve.” Lin Xian’s voice grew increasingly gentle, coaxing with tenderness.

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Upon hearing this, Xiao Wanqing seemed moved, her tear-filled eyes gazing unwaveringly at Lin Xian.

Lin Xian lowered her head to kiss the salty tears at the corner of Xiao Wanqing’s eyes, her voice trembling with a sense of grievance, “I’m sorry, Xiao Panpan, I didn’t protect you well, I’m sorry I made you suffer. But, Xiao Panpan, are you really willing for me to forget the past and start anew?”

Xiao Wanqing’s chest rose and fell rapidly, biting her lip to prevent any sound from escaping. She tasted the metallic tang of blood in her mouth, her tear-filled eyes flickering.

“Are you really willing to let me love someone else?”

“Are you really willing to let me be with someone else?” 

Each sentence more hoarse than the last, each sentence more strained, each sentence more despairing. Xiao Wanqing’s heart trembled in the questioning voice of Lin Xian, her rationality crumbling in her tears.

“Do you really not want me anymore?” Lin Xian kissed her lover’s soft lips, gently and patiently licking and drawing in her warmth.

Like a string pulled to its limit, Xiao Wanqing finally collapsed in the girl’s gentleness.

She parted her lips, welcoming the girl’s lips and tongue in a plundering kiss. In the entwining of lips and teeth, she sobbed and cried out, like a child who had endured years of injustice and suffering finding solace, wanting to cry out all the unfairness and pain of those years.

She held onto Lin Xian’s neck, pressed against her cheek, crying in gasps into her ear, intermittently calling out her name: “Xianxian… Xianxian…”

Tears streamed down Lin Xian’s face as she tightly embraced her, her hands encircling tighter and tighter, as if wanting to embed her into her own body.

“I’m here, I’m here.” Overflowing with tenderness.

“I’m not, Lin Xian, I don’t want, I don’t want…” Xiao Wanqing finally lost control and choked out the deepest love from her heart.

She cried out, “Don’t love anyone else, don’t leave…”

“Lin Xian, just love me, love me, okay…” Each word spoken with tears.

“I only love you. Xiao Panpan, Lin Xian only loves you. I only want you, only be with you, start anew.” Lin Xian tenderly promised in a series of overlapping voices. Unable to contain the overflowing love, she followed the contour of Xiao Wanqing’s profile, kissing down her snow-white slender neck, kissing her slim and alluring collarbone, lifting her up and sitting her on the kitchen counter…

Clothes fell to the ground one after another amid the rustling sounds, Xiao Wanqing’s pristine back pressed against the cool wall, shivering slightly, she tugged at her collar delicately and softly murmured, “Cold…”

Lin Xian, with her moist eyes, full of love, licked and kissed while carrying her, walking towards the bedroom.

Outside the window, the heavy rain continued to patter down, night fell, in the dimly lit bedroom, the little Teddy bear was kicked off the bed, sitting alone on the floor.

Amidst the confusion of emotions, Xiao Wanqing touched the hideous scar between Lin Xian’s ribs left by a car accident, instantly sobering up and anxiously questioning.

Lin Xian raised her hand to cover hers, softly comforting her, “It’s all in the past…”

Xiao Wanqing, however, couldn’t feel at ease at all, her eyes reddened as she pushed her away, insisting on finding out the truth before she could continue.

Lin Xian gently said, “It was my punishment for not protecting you, also my badge of love for you.”

She slyly kissed away Xiao Wanqing’s tears of heartache, stirring up her emotions gradually, making her forget about questioning and crying.

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The room was once again filled with the rising and falling, lingering whispers, and the tender yet alluring requests of a woman after being emotionally stirred, her voice carrying a hint of crying, especially enticing and soft, “Xianxian… want me…”

It seemed like she wanted to feel Lin Xian reappearing in her life in a truly satisfying way, filling the aching void that had been haunting her day and night over the years.

……

The night grew late, the rain gradually subsided, and the sounds inside the house gradually calmed down. Just as she had been for many years, Lin Xian attentively and gently helped the exhausted Xiao Wanqing freshen up. After taking care of everything, she returned to bed, lying down beside Xiao Wanqing, unable to resist leaning in to kiss her lover’s slightly swollen lips once more, gently brushing aside her sweaty hair, and softly asking her, “Xiao Panpan, why didn’t you come back to find me?”

Xiao Wanqing’s eyes were like autumn water, lifting her exhausted hand to caress Lin Xian’s cheek, and hoarsely confessing, “Xianxian, I don’t know if you want to find me out of obsession or love…”

Lin Xian took Xiao Wanqing’s hand and placed it on her own heart, her eyes filled with earnest grievance, “Xiao Panpan, can’t you feel it? In Lin Xian’s heart, from beginning to end, it will only beat faster for you.”

A warm and bittersweet feeling surged through Xiao Wanqing’s heart, she bit her lip and murmured, “But, Lin Xian, I’m thirty-nine this year.” The implication was crystal clear.

Lin Xian let out a wry smile, suddenly propped herself up on her elbows, turned on the bedside lamp, and looked down at Xiao Wanqing, “Xiao Panpan, I can never catch up to your age, but without you, my aging, perhaps, can begin.”

She lifted up her flowing hair, and hidden among the black strands at the roots were numerous fine strands of silver-white. “Look, actually if I don’t dye my hair, my white hair might be even more than yours.”

Xiao Wanqing immediately panicked and tried to get up, but Lin Xian was afraid that her back was still weak, so she reached out to support her. Xiao Wanqing incredulously reached out to brush through Lin Xian’s long hair, shedding tears of self-blame and heartache, choking out, “I’m sorry… sorry Xianxian… I’m sorry…”

Lin Xian gently wiped away her pearl-like tears with her thumb, soothingly saying, “Don’t cry, Panpan. It’s actually quite good. Do you know? I had been thinking very early on that if I could grow up overnight, age overnight, it could make you less concerned about our age difference, less uneasy. You see, now I can say my wish has come true.”

With that, she suddenly chuckled, her face regained its mischievous and charming appearance of the past, she leaned into Xiao Wanqing’s neck and coquettishly said, “Auntie Xiao, will you dislike me? I won’t allow it, you can’t treat me like this.”

Xiao Wanqing, still touched and moved, caught off guard, was teased into laughter by her sweet and playful tone.

“Both crying and laughing, how shy,” Lin Xian lifted her head, teasingly smiling, Xiao Wanqing, flustered and embarrassed, lightly tapped her shoulder. Lin Xian skillfully caught her hand and bent down to plant a kiss.

Gently tucking Xiao Wanqing back into bed, she carefully tucked in the sheets at her back, kissing her forehead affectionately, “You rest for a bit, don’t go to bed on an empty stomach. I’ll make you some porridge in the kitchen, we’ll have some and then sleep well.”

Gracefully draping on the robe Xiao Wanqing had set on a nearby hanger, revealing a pair of long and elegant legs, she tousled her slightly messy bangs and headed towards the door. Just before stepping out, she turned back with a fond look, flashing a bright and radiant smile at Xiao Wanqing, who had been watching her the whole time.

In the dim warm light, Xiao Wanqing gazed at the mature and beautiful smile of the girl, but in a trance, it felt like she was back in that hotel room from the year she was away on a business trip. The girl traveled a long way to visit, cooking porridge in the golden morning light, and turned back with a radiant smile, “Xiao Xiaowan, the porridge looks good, right?”

Tears welled up in Xiao Wanqing’s eyes again, unable to resist, she pulled back the covers, got out of bed, stepping softly, walking faster and faster, just like that year, reaching out to tightly embrace the girl’s waist from behind, pressing her cheek against hers.

She whispered in her ear, “Lin Xian, I’m sorry, thank you.”

“I love you.”

Turning her head, the girl kissed her with a smile, “Xiao Panpan, I don’t just love you, I love you more.”

The river of time, vaguely stretching between them, continued to flow silently. Yet they waded barefoot in the water, looking at each other, moving towards each other, meeting in the center of the water.

Standing in the muddy water, they embraced and comforted their past selves, as well as embraced and accepted their present selves, letting the flowing water cleanse them.

The river seemed to gradually dry up, the channels gradually melting away…

Outside the house, the wind and rain had finally ceased.



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