For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 39

I feel sorry for you

After a satisfying meal and abundant drinks, the grand feast came to an end, and it was already close to eleven o’clock. Xiao Wanqing suggested calling a car to take them home, but her proposal was politely declined by a few children. Helplessly, she reminded Xia Zhijin that she must drive slowly and be cautious on the way home, and to send a text message to Lin Xian when they arrived.

Xiao Wanqing stayed at home to tidy up the dishes and clean, while Lin Xian escorted her classmates downstairs.

Upon exiting the elevator, Xia Zhijin walked ahead alone, with Chen Zhi and Tang Mo walking side by side behind her. Lin Xian, intentionally slowing down, fell behind.

Later on, Shi Man seemed to be a bit lively and had perhaps consumed a bit too much alcohol. Her fair face was flushed with a rosy hue, adding a touch of charming allure to her already bright and vivid appearance. However, her eyes remained clear and without a hint of drunkenness. As they reached the entrance of the building, she was still sharp-tongued, asking Lin Xian, “You owe me a thank you and a matchmaker red envelope, you know.”

Lin Xian played dumb, saying, “What are you talking about?”

“Heh,” Shi Man sneered, “Go ahead and pretend…” She coolly muttered to herself, “It seems there’s no need to help next time. Putting in so much effort, but people don’t appreciate it.”

“Oh, my mistake, my mistake,” Lin Xian quickly changed her tone, exaggeratedly acting cute, “Manman, how are you so smart? Manman, how do you know everything? Thank you, Manman, for today’s great favor. I, Lin Xian, will remember it forever.” After saying that, she glanced towards Xia Zhijin, who was not far away, slightly lowering her voice, and expressed concern to Shi Man, “Today, you suddenly exposed yourself, Senior… Does Senior mind?”

Shi Man’s gaze also shifted towards Xia Zhijin, with a hint of hidden emotions in her eyes. After a few seconds, she narrowed her eyes and explained to Lin Xian, “It’s fine, Lin Xian. Our situations are different. I don’t want to wait any longer.”

If, between Lin Xian and Xia Wanqing, neither of them had dared to consider this possibility.

Then, between Shi Man and Xia Zhijin, Xia Zhijin had always been avoiding this possibility.

One person pretending to be ignorant is enough.

As they approached the temporary parking spot where Xia Zhijin’s car was parked, Shi Man suddenly grabbed Lin Xian’s hand, pretending to push Lin Xian away and loudly said, “Lin Xian, don’t support me. I’m just a little bit tipsy, a little bit dizzy. I’m not drunk; I can walk on my own.”

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Lin Xian was inexplicably grabbed by Shi Man’s hand and, upon hearing her spontaneous words, she froze. Glancing at Xia Zhijin, Chen Zhi, and Tang Mo, who were looking at them with concern, Lin Xian secretly glanced at Shi Man, questioning her with her eyes, “What are you doing?”

However, Shi Man seemed not to understand her inquiry, appearing genuinely a bit intoxicated. With a dazed look in her eyes, she let go of Lin Xian’s hand and smiled, “We’ve arrived. I’m leaving. Thank you and Aunt Xiao for the hospitality tonight.” Suddenly raising her voice, she cheerfully exclaimed, “Once again, Lin Xian, happy birthday!” Saying that, she walked somewhat frivolously towards Xia Zhijin’s car.

Xia Zhijin’s long legs took a few steps and quickly reached Shi Man, steadying her. She lowered her head and could smell a faint scent of alcohol from Shi Man. The mix of alcohol and Shi Man’s natural fragrance wasn’t unpleasant, but it still made Xia Zhijin furrow her brows.

“You’ve had too much to drink,” Xia Zhijin’s voice remained consistently cool and clear.

Shi Man leaned against Xia Zhijin naturally. She lifted her gaze to observe Xia Zhijin’s straight and prominent nose, noting the slight lowering of her long, delicate eyelashes. She softly, with a hint of coquetry, asked, “Then why didn’t you stop me just now?” Pressing close to Xia Zhijin’s ear, she murmured, “I thought you wouldn’t dare to get close to me in the future…”

Lin Xian keenly noticed that Xia Zhijin’s body seemed to subtly tremble almost imperceptibly. She raised her hand, as if about to touch Shi Man, but when she pushed Shi Man away, Shi Man voluntarily withdrew from Xia Zhijin’s embrace, stood upright, and casually greeted Lin Xian, “Lin Xian, you can stop here. You can go back now.”

Xia Zhijin’s hand gradually formed a fist, slowly and powerlessly lowering it. She also looked up at Lin Xian, her expression cold but considerate, saying to Lin Xian, “Go back. It’s windy at night, and you didn’t wear a coat. Be careful not to catch a cold.”

Chen Zhi and Tang Mo stood by the car and echoed, “Lin Xian, go upstairs. We’ll remember to text you when we get home. We had a great time today, thanks to you.”

Lin Xian nodded but didn’t move a step. “I’ll wait for you to get in the car and leave.”

Unable to do anything about her, everyone urged Xia Zhijin, “Senior, let’s go, let’s go.” After Xia Zhijin unlocked the car, she skillfully climbed into it.

It wasn’t until Xia Zhijin’s car, blending with the dark night, completely disappeared from her sight that Lin Xian finally started walking, turned around, and went back into the building.

Just as she stepped into the elevator, pressed the button for her floor, her phone’s message notification sounded.

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Lin Xian took out her phone, opened it, and saw a message from Shi Man. The message was short and concise, consisting of only nine words with no clear beginning or end:

—”Heart like a fierce tiger, delicately sniffing the roses.”

Lin Xian stared at the nine characters, a myriad of thoughts flooding her mind. However, it wasn’t until the screen dimmed and the elevator doors opened with a “ding” that she couldn’t confirm what Shi Man really wanted to tell her.

She put away her phone, just about to take out her keys to open the door when the security door opened with a “snap.”

Xiao Wanqing opened the door from inside, leaning out and smiling, “I thought it must be your footsteps I heard.”

Lin Xian entered, closed the door, and teased her while changing shoes, “What if you misheard, and it’s not me but a bad person?”

Xiao Wanqing walked back to the living room, bending down to tidy up scattered toys and unpacked snacks. Her tone was full of trust, cheerful as she said, “You run so fast; you’ll definitely be back soon to help me chase away any intruders.”

Upon hearing these words, Lin Xian couldn’t help but curl her lips into a smile. However, gradually, she seemed to be reminded of something, and the smile slowly faded from the corners of her lips.

She walked to Xiao Wanqing’s side, lowered her head to help tidy up the living room, moving coffee tables. Her eyes gradually dimmed.

Aunt Xiao, I ran, but not fast at all…

That bad person, I couldn’t catch him at all…

Silently, she put everything back in its place, stood up straight, and was about to grab a broom to start sweeping when Xiao Wanqing, at some point, had already sat on the sofa, quietly watching her. She suddenly asked in a soft voice, “Xian Xian, is there something you want to ask me?”

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Her smile at the corner of her lips was gentle, and the gaze she exchanged with Lin Xian was candid and bright.

Lin Xian immediately stopped her movements, staring at Xiao Wanqing. She bit her lip, opened her mouth several times, but each time she hesitated and fell silent.

Xiao Wanqing casually flicked her scattered hair, slightly arched her eyebrows, patiently waiting and encouraging Lin Xian to speak.

Lin Xian swallowed, moved a separate single sofa stool, and sat across from Xiao Wanqing. Half looking up, she gazed at Xiao Wanqing, hesitating repeatedly before finally asking, “Aunt Xiao, just now, the game, was it real?” As soon as the words left her mouth, she quickly added, “I didn’t mean to offend.”

Xiao Wanqing smiled, answering her gently, “I know, it’s okay. Yes, Lin Xian, I like girls.” She didn’t dodge or avoid, straightforwardly and openly responding to Lin Xian. “Lin Xian, only today, just today, if you want to ask anything, ask away. I’ll tell you everything.”

Lin Xian was incredulous, staring at Xiao Wanqing with a mixture of surprise and joy. Her hands nervously clasped together on her knees, she fell silent for a moment before tentatively opening her lips to seek confirmation, “So… is it because of this that you had arguments with your parents? Aunt Wen Tong knows, but no one else, including my mom, knows?”

The smile on Xiao Wanqing’s lips gradually faded. She seemed to recall the past, her gaze gradually deepening.

“Yeah. She didn’t like me going on blind dates, so I decided to be honest with my parents to reassure her.”

“And… what happened later?” Lin Xian knew she shouldn’t ask further. But, but she couldn’t help herself. She thought of that pregnant young woman, thought of Xiao Wanqing standing alone, feeling a burning sensation in her chest, as if a fire was raging, and as if a knife was tearing her apart.

“Later…” Xiao Wanqing revealed a very faint smile at the corner of her lips. “Later, her mother got sick, and her final wish was to see her get married and have children, to have a lifetime companion. So, she got married, and we parted ways.”

She didn’t tell Lin Xian that she had met Yan Jia’s mother once before she fell ill. Yan Jia’s mother, spirited and proud, made her leave Yan Jia more voluntarily, but she didn’t agree. Later, not long after, Yan Jia’s mother became seriously ill. When Yan Jia brought her to visit, and they were alone after Yan Jia’s mother sent Yan Jia away, she disdainfully told her, “I can honestly tell you that I faked my illness, but knowing that won’t help you.” Indeed, afterward, she subtly reminded Yan Jia to pay attention to the suddenness and authenticity of her mother’s illness. Yan Jia had a big argument with her, questioning why she would use such malicious thoughts to speculate about her poor, seriously ill mother on her deathbed.

Poor, huh, who was really pitiful in the end?

Distance begets estrangement!

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Distance begets estrangement. The pitiful one was her, pitiful that it was only at that moment she realized, she was the one who distanced herself.

Xiao Wanqing spoke briefly, downplaying the situation, but Lin Xian listened with burning anger, her heart feeling like it was being twisted by a knife.

Aunt Xiao sacrificed everything for her, abandoned everything, and that person, just turned around and got married and had children without any guilt or remorse? Her mother needed care, so she left. When she asked Aunt Xiao to come out, did she ever consider that Aunt Xiao’s parents also needed care? She clenched her fists too tightly, to the point where her nails deeply sank into the flesh of her palms, but she felt nothing.

Finally, Lin Xian couldn’t suppress the burning anger any longer. She raised her right fist and slammed it onto the glass of the coffee table, making a loud “bang” sound. Through gritted teeth, she angrily cursed, “Scum!”

Xiao Wanqing was startled by her sudden movement and quickly stood up. She hurriedly walked to Lin Xian, crouched down, and tremblingly took Lin Xian’s right hand that had struck the coffee table. For the first time, Xiao Wanqing spoke sternly, both flustered and annoyed as she scolded Lin Xian, “Lin Xian, have you gone mad?”

The delicate and fair back of Lin Xian’s hand broke open instantly from the forceful impact, showing frightening red blood streaks. Xiao Wanqing quickly stood up and was about to go to the nearby cabinet to get the first aid kit for Lin Xian.

However, Lin Xian reached out with her somewhat stiff hand, grabbed her, eyes reddened, and said to her in a choked voice, “Aunt Xiao, I’m not crazy. I feel sorry for you…”

Xiao Wanqing stared at the girl’s bloodied hand and her reddened eyes, and suddenly, her own eyes welled up with tears.

For so many years, she dared not mention or reveal that past relationship to anyone who didn’t know about it. She could only numb herself with work. Colleagues would criticize her for showing off, old classmates would say she had forgotten her roots behind her back. She didn’t dare to cry or laugh; she could only swallow her pain. Among those who knew, Wen Tong scolded her for being foolish, her parents mocked her for bringing trouble upon herself. Only Lin Xian, only Lin Xian said to her, “I feel sorry for you.”

She didn’t know where the sentimentality, childishness, and grievance came from, but suddenly, her tears seemed to lose control and flowed uncontrollably…

Lin Xian pulled Xiao Wanqing’s hand and stood up. She had grown taller, almost reaching Xiao Wanqing’s height. She approached Xiao Wanqing, looking at that tender and beautiful face as if it were a pear blossom in the rain. She really wanted to lean in and kiss away the moisture on it bit by bit…

However, she bit her lower lip so hard it was almost bleeding, ultimately restraining herself with reason. She extended her arms, gently encircling Xiao Wanqing and cradling her slender and delicate body in her embrace.

Whispering softly and tenderly into her ear, she said, “Thank you, Aunt Xiao. Thank you for your trust, thank you for your honesty, thank you for getting close, thank you.”

“In the future, I’ll be the one to comfort you.”

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