For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 164.1

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Lunch was a collaborative effort between Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian. Xiao Wanqing modestly mentioned that she had cooked less in recent years and wondered if her culinary skills had declined. In contrast, Lin Xian proudly expressed that living alone during these years had allowed her to enjoy cooking more. She revealed that being in the kitchen always reminded her of watching Xiao Wanqing cook when they were together, gradually learning to appreciate the time spent cooking and improving her culinary skills significantly.

Xiao Wanqing had not yet inquired about the kind of life Lin Xian had led during the years when she was away. Upon hearing Lin Xian mention her solitary living, Xiao Wanqing was briefly stunned, feeling a surge of intricate pain in her heart.

Standing at the stove, Lin Xian watched as the hot oil sizzled, deftly adding the chopped lettuce into the pan. In stark contrast to her past self who was once timid and inexperienced with hot oil splatters, she now displayed a skilled and composed demeanor, reflecting her culinary growth. Xiao Wanqing’s throat tightened, and she reached out to touch the girl’s cheek, a multitude of unspoken words converging into a hoarse whisper, “It must have been tough living alone.”

Lin Xian affectionately rubbed her cheek against Xiao Wanqing’s palm, nonchalantly laughing as if recalling something. Letting out a sigh, she turned to Xiao Wanqing seriously and said, “It’s not hard being alone; missing you is the toughest.”

Xiao Wanqing’s heart suddenly felt wet with emotion.

Lin Xian couldn’t bear to see Xiao Wanqing in such a moving yet remorseful state. She kissed Xiao Wanqing’s hand to lighten the mood and jokingly, yet sincerely, asked Xiao Wanqing for a promise, “In the past, I was like a little pig, only concerned with eating, which scared you away. But now, I can cook. I’ll take care of you like a little pig. You won’t be scared away anymore, okay? Trust me, I will raise you into the prettiest and healthiest, with a super balanced diet.”

Xiao Wanqing laughed, a mix of emotions swirling within her. She playfully withdrew her hand and pretended to pout in mock anger, “You’re the pig.”

Lin Xian felt her heart warm as their eyes met. She poured water, lowered the heat, covered the pot, and then teasingly pulled Xiao Wanqing into her arms, saying, “I’m the pig, then what does that make the pig’s wife?”

“Miss Gao.”

“???” Lin Xian was momentarily confused, only realizing afterward that Xiao Panpan was calling her Zhu Bajie. The water in the pot slowly started to boil as she hugged Xiao Wanqing, gently swaying, and chuckled indulgently. Just as she was about to tease Xiao Wanqing again, she heard the tender promise from the person in her arms, “Lin Xian, I won’t be scared anymore, won’t deceive you, won’t hesitate anymore.”

(LP: “高小姐” (Gāo xiǎojiě) is a reference to a character from the Chinese classical novel “Journey to the West.” In the novel, “高小姐” (Miss Gao) is an alias used by the character Zhu Bajie (豬八戒 Zhū Bājiè), who is also known as Pigsy or Pig.)

“I know, I believe you,” Lin Xian replied with a smile, inhaling Xiao Wanqing’s fragrance.

After lunch, the two of them sat on the sofa eating fruit to cool off. Lin Xian answered several phone calls in succession. Xiao Wanqing sat beside her, listening to the conversations and speculating that they were probably work-related.

Once Lin Xian hung up a call, Xiao Wanqing offered her a small piece of watermelon, hesitantly asking, “Is… there something work-related that you can’t get away from?”

Since their reunion, Xiao Wanqing hadn’t delved deeply into discussing Lin Xian’s work or their future life arrangements.

Taking a bite of the watermelon offered by Xiao Wanqing, Lin Xian swallowed and reassured her, “No, my current job is just to finish writing the ongoing novel. It doesn’t matter where I write.” Concerned that Xiao Wanqing might be worried, Lin Xian meticulously detailed her recent hectic work schedule and concluded, “So, now everything is wrapped up, and I’m a free spirit again. Xiao Panpan, are you trying to rush me away?”

Xiao Wanqing picked up Lin Xian’s hand and wiped off the red dragon fruit juice on it, her eyes filled with tenderness as she denied, “How could that be?”

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A broad smile graced Lin Xian’s lips, about to say something when the phone placed on the coffee table rang again at an inopportune moment.

As Lin Xian glanced at the caller ID, her smile faded slightly. Seeing that Lin Xian didn’t immediately answer, Xiao Wanqing looked curiously at the phone, pausing unconsciously in the motion of wiping Lin Xian’s fingers.

“Answer the call,” Xiao Wanqing hesitated for a moment, naturally reminding Lin Xian.

Lin Xian pursed her lips, furrowed her brows slightly, and then bent down to pick up the phone and answer the call.

“Mom, it’s me,” she greeted softly.

Xiao Wanqing’s breathing involuntarily slowed down as Lin Xian answered the phone, her heart inexplicably filled with anxiety and nervousness, as if facing a great threat.

Noticing Xiao Wanqing’s unease, Lin Xian casually responded to the caller with “Yes, okay,” “Hmm,” “Not sure yet, we’ll see,” all the while smiling gently at Xiao Wanqing. As she held Xiao Wanqing’s hand, she soothed her by lightly caressing it with her thumb.

After a brief conversation, Lin Xian hung up the phone and gently held Xiao Wanqing’s hands, asking softly, “Panpan, are you feeling scared?”

Xiao Wanqing’s serene face displayed a helpless yet relieved smile and honestly admitted, “Not scared, but… very nervous.” After a brief pause, she sincerely inquired, “How has your mother been these past few years? Is she doing well health-wise?”

“She’s doing well in her work, regularly getting health check-ups, everything’s fine, nothing major.”

“She…” Xiao Wanqing hesitated. “Does she know you came to see me?”

Xiao Panpan still had concerns, and Lin Xian felt sorry for her, explaining gently, “She knew, she asked if it went smoothly, if you found me.” Lin Xian sighed and added, “Besides, whether she knows or not, what does it matter? Panpan, I am not the naive and ignorant child she once described anymore. She knows that she can’t control me or influence my decisions. After you left, I moved back to our family home and lived alone. I went back only on special occasions, and later I pursued a different field through professional exams, decided to work as a freelancer, signed contracts for publishing and media, and all my decisions were made by myself. She knows she can’t control me or sway my decisions anymore.”

When Xiao Wanqing heard that Zhou Qin’s attitude softened, her heart relaxed momentarily, but it sank again when she heard that Lin Xian only went back home once a year. Feeling sad, she said, “You and your mother, and your family in these years…”

Before she could finish her sentence, Lin Xian already guessed what she wanted to ask and saw the sadness in her expression.

Lin Xian put her arm around Xiao Wanqing’s shoulder and explained calmly, “Panpan, to be honest, my relationship with my mother can never go back to what it was. But that has nothing to do with you. As I grew up, I realized more and more that the conflicts between us were inevitable due to different beliefs. Whether it was five years ago or now, I believe that no one should use love as an excuse to restrict another person’s life. My mother, who didn’t truly understand despite my years of obedience, couldn’t accept that I am not her possession but have my own life.”

“My father, grandparents, everyone else is doing fine,” Lin Xian continued. “My father later regretted a lot and supported me, helping me to find you. The most surprising thing was that my grandfather found out and talked to me once. It seems like he always knew about my preference for girls, blaming us for being too impulsive and asking if I had news about you. Despite my mother, I always spend time with the elderly. Gradually, they all more or less guessed our relationship, but nobody mentioned it. They never pressured me to find a boyfriend again and sometimes even asked if I had news about you. Xiao Panpan, before finding you, I would feel sad at times, sad that we couldn’t get blessings while you weren’t by my side. Occasionally, I would feel regret and guilt, guilty for making you wait for me to grow up for so long, guilty for why I was so young and slow to mature.” By the end of her speech, Lin Xian’s voice was slightly hoarse.

Xiao Wanqing’s tears welled up in her eyes. While Lin Xian spoke lightly with everyone’s approval, Xiao Wanqing knew there must have been many difficulties involved. She affectionately hugged Lin Xian’s waist, soothingly praising her, “Xianxian, you’ve done so well, so well…”

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Resting her chin on Xiao Wanqing’s shoulder, Lin Xian sniffed back her tears, suppressing her fragile emotions, and relayed Zhou Qin’s request, “She just asked me if there is a chance to see you again.”

Xiao Wanqing instinctively tensed up, her body stiffening unnaturally, her breath pausing for a second. The last meeting was too messy, too brutal, with Zhou Qin’s fierce demeanor and hurtful words haunting her nightmares. Xiao Wanqing wasn’t sure if she was ready to face it again.

Lin Xian was fully focused on Xiao Wanqing, naturally sensing her reluctance. She knew deep down what hurtful things her mother had done and said to drive the once brave Xiao Panpan to despair, she could guess to some extent.

From the bottom of her heart, she said, “Xiao Panpan, my mother should apologize for what she did to you back then, but I don’t want to apologize to her.” Because she could never forgive her.

“Xianxian, don’t say that. Your mother is also looking out for your good,” Xiao Wanqing earnestly consoled.

Lin Xian sighed helplessly, “Xiao Panpan, why are you so kind, so naive, and still helping her out?” She said sincerely, “Panpan, if you are willing to see my mother, then see her. If not, then never see her again. It doesn’t matter. When you’re with me, you are only with me, not with my family. Honoring parents is my responsibility and duty, I will do it. Panpan, now I can truly shield you from the wind and rain. You just need to focus on yourself. No need to worry or sacrifice for me or anyone else.”

Xiao Wanqing gazed at the girl’s bright, beautiful yet mature and resolute face, with a heart swaying, her eyes softened as she said, “Xianxian, with you, I do not feel wronged.”

Lin Xian looked into her tender, affectionate eyes and couldn’t help but lightly lick Xiao Wanqing’s red lips, entwining their tongues.

The two lingered in each other’s embrace for a long time, holding each other and breathing slowly together. Lin Xian then remembered to inform Xiao Wanqing, “Just now, there was a call from Aunt Wen. She asked if you were okay and if it was convenient to give her a contact method.”

Xiao Wanqing thought of her friend, feeling a warmth in her heart, and feeling a bit guilty for not keeping in touch over the years. She nodded and said, “Of course, I can do that.”

She asked with concern, “How is she doing now?”

“Don’t worry, Aunt Wen is doing really well. She is healthy, beautiful, successful in her career, and her love life is also… full of twists and turns,” Lin Xian said with a hint of interest.

Xiao Wanqing couldn’t help but laugh and asked, “Why do you say that? Is she still together with Shi Jinglan?”

“Yes, they are still together. I heard from Manman that they even had a plot like a drama not too long ago.”

“Eh?”

Lin Xian chuckled and said, “I heard from Manman that Aunt Wen and her mother have been maintaining a love-hate relationship of on-off status for the past few years, constantly playing mind games with each other. Aunt Shi hasn’t officially defined their relationship, appearing calm on the surface but feeling a bit anxious in private. Recently, Aunt Shi had a tumor discovered during a health check, and she was unsure if it was benign or malignant. This scared Aunt Shi so much that she rushed back from another province overnight to be with her. Seeing Aunt Shi’s rare display of genuine emotions, Manman cooperated with her in a scheme to fake the test results, using shocking tactics to deceive Aunt Wen into agreeing to define their relationship, moving into her house, and living a luxurious and almost married life with both sets of parents meeting and addressing each other as Mom and Dad. However, when Aunt Wen discovered the hidden test report showing that she had been lied to, she was so angry that she left that night, packing her bags and heading to Changze City. Manman mentioned that she might be convinced to return soon.”

“Dancing and singing every night?” Wanqing’s attention couldn’t help but be drawn to this detail, and she was speechless. How do you know all this?

Lin Xian awkwardly scratched her nose and said, “It’s what Manman told me. During that time, it was scorching hot, and Aunt Wen wore a scarf every day. Manman, who had to stay over a few times due to late-night work, heard it at Aunt Wen’s apartment.” Shi Jinglan and Wen Tong both managed the same nightclub, and Manman was forced to share their duties. Not only was she tormented by work, but she also had to endure their shameless displays of affection as a single dog, feeling full of complaints and a hint of envy, venting to her friends and gritting her teeth.

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“…” Xiao Wanqing listened, feeling both embarrassed and amused, blushing inexplicably.

Finally, Lin Xian remembered something she almost forgot, sat up straight, took out her wallet from her coat, pulled out a card, held out Xiao Wanqing’s hand, and placed it in her palm, saying with solemnity, “Returning this to its rightful owner.”

This thin bank card is no longer as shiny as when Lin Xian first handed it to her, but it still carries the astonishing warmth that made Xiao Wanqing’s heart warm back then.

Lin Xian helped Xiao Wanqing, who was in a daze, close her five fingers, holding the card in the palm of her hand. Then, affectionately embracing Xiao Wanqing, she whispered softly in her ear, “Aunt Wen got married. Xiao Panpan, is it your turn next?”

“I have achieved sales of a hundred thousand copies. Can the savings in this card be used as a betrothal gift?” the girl asked with a low laugh.

It was just a joke, but the girl took it seriously and remembered it for so many years. Xiao Wanqing felt a sour and sweet feeling in her heart, and her eyes slowly turned red. After a while, she raised her hand to rub the girl’s chin, with a rare mischievous smile in her eyes, shook her head and said, “No.”

Lin Xian was surprised by this, her smile froze for a moment, and a hint of panic and unease flashed in her expression. The next moment, she heard Xiao Wanqing softly say, “It’s a dowry.”

Okay, daring to tease her. Lin Xian reached into Xiao Wanqing’s open windbreaker, lifted her thin shirt, and lingered on her delicate waist with excellent texture. She buried her head in her neck provocatively and teasingly said, “Is this the dowry? Are you sure?”

She hasn’t been provoked once! Still daring to say it’s a dowry.

Xiao Wanqing dodged, breathing lightly and coquettishly begging for mercy, “Xianxian…don’t tease me, this afternoon…I still have to go over exam papers…”

Lin Xian wasn’t willing to let her off so easily. After playing around for a long time, she finally controlled herself and let her go, embracing her to return to their room for an afternoon nap.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in December fell on the weekend. This was the first holiday Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian spent together after reuniting. Xiao Wanqing missed Lin Xian during the past month when she was busy with work, and they hadn’t had the chance to play around in the surrounding area. So, she booked a hotel early and planned to go to the famous tourist destination, Baiwu Ancient City, with Lin Xian for Christmas.

Baiwu Ancient City has a long history, nestled by mountains and waters, with extraordinary beautiful lake and mountain views. Before it was developed, it was just a quaint and peaceful small village. In recent years, with development and promotion, its fame has spread widely. As a large number of tourists flock in, it gradually lost its initial tranquility and gained some hustle and bustle, forming a unique tourist culture.

There is a winding river in the ancient city, dividing the city into two parts, with an ancient stone arch bridge sitting above the river, connecting both sides. The tourism industry in the ancient city radiates around this river. Every night, the river is illuminated with colorful lights and continuous cheerful music.

During the day, Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian wandered through the alleys of the small city for sightseeing. In the evening, they climbed onto the ancient city wall together to watch the sunset over the distant river. They engaged in lively conversations and sat under the city wall watching the bustling pedestrians below, chatting about historical anecdotes without feeling bored until the night fell. Feeling a bit chilly in the cold wind, they smartly huddled together, linking pinkies, and walked back into the city.

At the nighttime riverside market, the lights intertwined, crowds surged, and the sounds of music and voices were endless, much like the Xiangnan Road market in Anjiang City they had visited together. 

Lin Xian and Xiao Wanqing hadn’t had dinner, so they held hands, meandered through the narrow alleyways filled with intoxicating aromas, and stopped at various food stalls as Lin Xian playfully urged them to. In the chaotic streets bustling with people, Xiao Wanqing, dressed elegantly and gracefully, let loose her hair and without much formality, repeatedly lowered her head to enjoy the various snacks offered by Lin Xian, even those she had already taken a bite from.

“Are you thirsty? Want some water?” After finishing another small skewer of barbecue together, Lin Xian considerately asked. Standing on the roadside, she lowered her gaze, pulled out a tissue, and reached out to wipe the crumbs from Xiao Wanqing’s lips.

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Xiao Wanqing stared steadily into Lin Xian’s fluttering long eyelashes, allowing her to take the lead, her lips curved with a gentle smile. She nodded slightly and replied, “Yes.”

Lin Xian took back the tissue and handed Xiao Wanqing the hot milk tea she had been holding. Following her movements, Xiao Wanqing lowered her head and held the straw Lin Xian had bitten on, unconsciously extending her tongue to lick it gently before taking a sip, feeling the warm liquid flow from her mouth straight to her heart.

Lin Xian’s gaze was locked on Xiao Wanqing, memories flooding back in an instant, her eyes filled with a mix of joy and sadness. However, as Xiao Wanqing raised her eyes, all the sorrow dissipated, and a radiant smile bloomed on Lin Xian’s face.

She quickly took back the milk tea, lowered her head to quickly sip the straw that Xiao Wanqing had just used, and then holding Xiao Wanqing’s hand, she continued walking forward with a smile, asking, “Xiao Panpan, let me test you. Do you remember when was the first time we indirectly kissed like this?”

“Indirect kiss?” Xiao Wanqing murmured softly, clearly recalling something, her fair complexion gradually tinted with a blush. She glanced at Lin Xian, feeling a mix of shyness and annoyance as she said, “You used to say that things like this among good friends are common and insignificant. I naturally wouldn’t remember such a trivial matter.”

Thinking back to when Lin Xian later confessed her feelings for her, and connecting it with the question she deliberately asked today, Xiao Wanqing naturally understood Lin Xian’s little trick of sharing milk tea and a straw before watching the movie. She thought of Lin Xian as young and innocent back then, ashamed of her own filthy and impure thoughts,

“You really don’t remember?” Lin Xian smirked mischievously. “That day, after our indirect kiss, Manman specifically called me and said that the way Xiao Panpan looked at me was not right at all.'” Lin Xian’s words were particularly ambiguous.

Recalling her emotions at that time, Xiao Wanqing felt a mix of embarrassment and sweetness, unable to resist reaching out to cover Lin Xian’s mouth, coquettishly saying, “I don’t remember, you’re not allowed to say anymore.”

Lin Xian affectionately blinked, licked Xiao Wanqing’s palm, like a feather lightly brushing over Xiao Wanqing’s heartstrings, teasing Xiao Wanqing’s heartstrings to tremble, prompting her to quickly retract her hand in an instant.

Lin Xian burst into laughter, leaning close to Xiao Wanqing’s ear, and in a teasing whisper that sent shivers down Xiao Wanqing’s spine, she said, “I won’t say anymore. Tonight, when you’re willing to tell the truth, I’ll ask you again.”

Blushing, Xiao Wanqing was about to scold Lin Xian when, as if anticipating it, Lin Xian playfully ran off. As she ran, she turned back to Xiao Wanqing, waving her hand, “Xiao Panpan, let’s try this over here.”

Watching Lin Xian’s joyful and lively figure, gradually merging with the memory of her bright and spirited self, Xiao Wanqing’s eyes shimmered with water-like ripples. Finally, she relaxed her brows and lips, taking quick steps to catch up.

Around ten o’clock, tired from their stroll, they randomly chose an outdoor bar to sit down. A singer was singing a soulful folk song on a simple stage not far away. Lin Xian and Xiao Wanqing ordered two cups of hot milk, listening to the music while enjoying the breeze, leisurely chatting.

They talked about the recent scandal involving Xia Zhijin riding in a luxury car to a hotel with someone and staying there all night. Xiao Wanqing, unusually curious, asked Lin Xian whether it was true or false. Lin Xian, pretending to be serious, replied, “It’s true.”

Xiao Wanqing sighed, furrowing her brows slightly, feeling a little emotional for the love affair that ended abruptly between Xia Zhijin and Shi Man when they were young.

Lin Xian gently touched Xiao Wanqing’s delicate eyebrows and teased, “Do you think it’s a pity for Manman and Zhijin?”

Xiao Wanqing looked at her without speaking. In fact, after so many years, time had passed, things had changed, and everyone had moved on, which was understandable. But… because Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian were now happy together, and Lin Xian had hinted that Zhijin had remained single for many years, seemingly still pining for Shi Man, she couldn’t help but have some expectations now that Shi Man had returned to the country.

“I was just teasing you. The scandal is true, but it was Shi Man who went to the hotel with Zhijin,” Lin Xian revealed.

Xiao Wanqing’s eyes lit up in an instant. Before she could ask how Lin Xian knew, a young and pleasant female voice hesitantly sounded in her ear, “Xiao… Teacher Xiao?”

Xiao Wanqing was stunned for a moment, stopping her words, subconsciously turning her head towards the source of the voice. She saw the girl who had disappeared after their conversation at the staircase that day, standing gracefully on the side of the road with two other girls with long hair.



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