For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 45

For example, kiss me…

As the car slowly drove out of the gate of Jingnan University, Xiao Wanqing inadvertently caught sight of Xia Zhijin and Shi Man on the opposite side of the road, pulling and tugging at each other. The two stood facing each other, Xia Zhijin holding Shi Man’s hand, as if locked in a stalemate. In the dim night, the distance was too far for Xiao Wanqing to see their expressions clearly. She could only make out that Xia Zhijin said something, and Shi Man suddenly let go of her hand and turned away. But in the next moment, Xia Zhijin grabbed her hand again and embraced Shi Man…

Xiao Wanqing averted her gaze, turned the steering wheel to the right, and merged into the traffic, blending into the night.

She couldn’t help but think of Xia Zhijin’s faint smile and her words, “Life leaves us with no choices.” Her heart sank, and she couldn’t help but sigh.

Lin Xian sent a joyful text message to Zhou Qin, informing her of the good news of her class winning an award. Suddenly hearing Xiao Wanqing’s sigh, she teased, “Aunt Xiao, I heard that sighing frequently accelerates aging, you know.”

Age is probably the Achilles’ heel of every woman, but not for Xiao Wanqing, who had a calm and composed heart. She just smiled indifferently and said, “Then I’ll laugh a little to make up for it.” After hesitating for a moment, she couldn’t help but ask Lin Xian with concern, “Has something happened between Zhijin and Manman recently?”

Lin Xian couldn’t help but sigh as she thought about Shi Man running away from home and Xia Zhijin forcing a smile. She nodded and replied, “Yeah, but I don’t know the specifics. It’s just that Manman has been away from home for a long time and has been refusing to contact Zhijin.”

Xiao Wanqing responded with a deep “Oh” and remained silent.

After a while, just when Lin Xian thought the conversation had ended, Xiao Wanqing suddenly spoke again, offering a gentle suggestion, “Perhaps you can persuade Manman to give Zhijin some space and time? If the line is pulled too tight, it will break, and when people are pushed too hard, they might also collapse.”

Lin Xian furrowed her brows, sat up straight, and asked Xiao Wanqing in confusion, “Aunt Xiao, do you know something?”

Xiao Wanqing lightly pursed her lips, shook her head, and jokingly said, “I don’t know anything. It’s just my intuition telling me so.”

Lin Xian burst into laughter and agreed, “Yeah, I’ll try to persuade Manman when I have the chance.” Her fox-like eyes rolled playfully, and she suddenly leaned in closer to Xiao Wanqing, mischievously asking, “Aunt Xiao, did your intuition tell you what reward I want?”

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

“Reward?” Xiao Wanqing looked ahead, somewhat puzzled, and asked in return.

Lin Xian grinned, “I won first prize, you know. I worked so hard for it, and finally managed to get it. Aunt Xiao, won’t you reward me?”

Xiao Wanqing chuckled, glanced at Lin Xian, and mocked, “The award certificate is yours, the honor is yours, and the prize is also yours. Why should I reward you instead?”

Lin Xian pouted, dissatisfied, and said, “Well, if I won an award, Aunt Xiao, aren’t you happy for me?”

Xiao Wanqing nodded without hesitation, “Happy.” She recalled Lin Xian’s dazzling performance on stage, graceful and elegant, and a faint smile unconsciously appeared on her lips.

Satisfied with the response, Lin Xian continued, “Then whose happiness is it? Isn’t it Aunt Xiao’s?” She confidently argued, her face unflinching, “So, I worked hard to win the award and brought happiness to Aunt Xiao. Aunt Xiao, shouldn’t you reward me?”

The traffic light turned red at the right moment, and Xiao Wanqing slowly and steadily brought the car to a stop. She turned her head to look at Lin Xian, raised an eyebrow slightly, and gently tapped the tip of Lin Xian’s prominent nose with her slender index finger. She chuckled and said, “Xian Xian, I’m certain that sister Zhou Qin and brother Lin Zhan don’t have your eloquence.” She blinked, her gaze softened, and she looked at Lin Xian’s bright and exuberant face with fondness, saying, “So, what kind of reward do you want from me?”

Lin Xian raised her gaze, her eyes piercing as she stared at Xiao Wanqing. Her lips curled up slightly. It seemed like an unconscious gesture while thinking, her index finger lightly tapping on her own thin lips. In a soft and low tone, she said, “Well, let me think… For example, kiss me… ?”

Xiao Wanqing’s gaze instinctively followed the girl’s words, drifting downward, fixating on Lin Xian’s gently moving crimson lips.

In that instant, Lin Xian clearly noticed that Xiao Wanqing seemed surprised. Her eyes widened slightly, and her back straightened.

A mischievous smile flickered in Lin Xian’s eyes.

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

The next second, Lin Xian casually moved her index finger away from her thin lips and made a dramatic gesture of tapping her own left cheek. She continued her previous words, “That’s probably impossible. Although, whenever I perform exceptionally well or achieve outstanding results, my mom would enthusiastically give me a few kisses on my face. But I think Aunt Xiao, you might not feel comfortable expressing yourself in such an affectionate way, right?”

Is Zhou Qin the kind of person who would do that? Xiao Wanqing wondered.

But the girl looked directly into her eyes with sincerity, her gaze genuine, bright, and pure. Xiao Wanqing inexplicably felt a warmth spreading across her face. She quickly turned her gaze away, staring at the taillights of the vehicle ahead, biting her lip, and softly responded, “Well, I’m… not really.”

Lin Xian showed great thoughtfulness, “So, I just want a simple and convenient reward. Aunt Xiao, can I invite you to have dinner with me at Apollo Square on Christmas Eve?”

The yellow light passed, and the green light illuminated. Xiao Wanqing slowly started the car and followed the traffic ahead. She eased the awkwardness she felt from misunderstanding Lin Xian’s words earlier and regained her usual composure. She spoke in a gentle tone, “If you invite me to dinner, how can it be considered as me rewarding you?”

Lin Xian leaned back, resting against the soft backrest of the driver’s seat, as if she had completely relaxed. She looked out of the window at the receding street scene and said lightly, “I heard from my classmates that this year, on Christmas Eve, the newly built music fountain in Apollo Square will be inaugurated for the first time. There will also be artificial snowfall. Speaking of which, besides when I was a child and traveled abroad with my parents for study, I haven’t seen snow in many years since I returned to Anjiang.”

She tilted her head and asked Xiao Wanqing, “What about you, Aunt Xiao? Have you seen snow?”

Xiao Wanqing’s hands tightened slightly on the steering wheel. After a moment of silence, she finally lowered her gaze and softly replied, “I have never seen snow.”

Her mother was particularly sensitive to the cold, the type of person who would develop frostbite even in warm places like Anjiang in the south. Both she and her father felt sorry for her, so whenever their family went on winter trips, they would never choose a place cold enough to snow. However, deep down, she had always envied the snowy landscapes of the northern regions since childhood—the silver-clad scenery, the snowflakes dancing in the air. She envied the snowball fights and snowman building described in textbooks during winter. So, as she grew older, she always thought that once she became independent and her parents trusted her to travel alone, she would definitely go to the north and witness the sight of a city covered in ice and snow. Later on, as she entered her teenage years and began to dream of romance, this wish transformed into wanting to see the snow with someone she liked.

Unfortunately, as she grew up, she couldn’t bear to be too far away from her parents. So when it came time for university, she didn’t choose to study in another province. From then on, she settled in Anjiang City, completed her undergraduate studies, pursued a master’s degree, and started working.

The year Yan Jia left her, during their May Day vacation, they had planned together with great determination. They said that during Christmas, Yan Jia would take her to the Ice City to witness the first snowfall of her life, fulfilling her long-held wish.

But in the end, they didn’t wait until Christmas.

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

On Christmas Eve, it rained. She sat silently on the sofa, quietly watching Yan Jia close the door with her luggage, exiting her life.

And then, her parents left. Since then, her life no longer had any wishes or expectations.

Because she realized that having desires would lead to suffering, and having expectations would only result in disappointment.

In her youth, the wish to see the snow with someone she liked had long been forgotten, along with her silent heart, lost in the river of time. By twist of fate, she had even visited cities where it snowed during her work, but she never intentionally anticipated or waited for it. Even during this year’s National Day holiday, when Wen Tong suggested that it wasn’t the best season for admiring snow-capped mountains and they could skip it, she felt a slight sense of regret in her heart but readily agreed without objection.

However, is it really so ridiculous to reach the age of thirty-one without having seen snow?

Why did Lin Xian laugh so happily upon hearing her answer?

Xiao Wanqing glanced at Lin Xian with a puzzled gaze. Lin Xian lifted her eyes and met her gaze. Xiao Wanqing saw a radiant smile in the girl’s eyes and heard her speak with a gentle tone, “So, it would be my reward to have the privilege of sharing the memory of your first snow with you, Aunt Xiao.”

“Therefore, Aunt Xiao, let’s go together to see the snow on Christmas Eve.”

In that instant, Xiao Wanqing felt a slight tremor in her heart.

Perhaps, in this world, there really is something as mysterious as fate.

Otherwise, how could she explain why Lin Xian, who was clearly much younger than her and had never been a part of her past life experiences, could always unintentionally and accurately hit the significant beats of her life, skillfully grasping the intricacies of the highlighted moments in her life.

Does “white hair but the same as before” hold true?

(If you're not reading on, it means this has been stolen)

After a while, Lin Xian heard Xiao Wanqing’s smile deepen, and she gently agreed, “Okay, let’s go see the snow together.”

On Monday, when they returned to school, Shi Man finally came back to attend classes as usual. During self-study in the morning, Lin Xian couldn’t contain herself and nervously whispered to Shi Man, asking how things were between her and Xia Zhijin.

Shi Man rested her cheek on her hand, a smile that couldn’t be suppressed lingering on her lips, and said, “Zhijin said to give her a few more days to consider. So, I agreed to go home with her first.”

Lin Xian was surprised and asked, “So, were you… pressuring her to make a decision before?”

Shi Man absentmindedly twirled the pen in her hand and shook her head as she replied, “No, it’s not like that. I was pressuring my mother to make a decision.” She knew exactly where Xia Zhijin’s concerns lay, and without Shi Jinglan’s declaration and acceptance, someone as sentimental and grateful as Zhijin would never be able to accept her.

And what did Shi Jinglan want? She knew that too well. Shi Jinglan simply wanted her to live a peaceful life and obediently grow up to become an outstanding successor recognized by the family. She was merely using herself as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Shi Jinglan.

As it turned out, this negotiation ended with Shi Jinglan compromising once again.

On the evening after the competition, when Shi Jinglan finished a video conference at home, she called her and Xia Zhijin into the study and made a promise in front of them: “I won’t interfere in your emotional life. Zhijin, if you’re willing to be with Shi Man, I’m happy to see it happen. You don’t need to worry about me.”

At that moment, Xia Zhijin’s expression seemed excessively surprised, to the point of being unnaturally calm. Shi Man heard her confidently respond to Shi Jinglan, “I will seriously consider it.”

The next day, Xia Zhijin packed two sets of clothes and went back alone to see her grandmother and younger sister.

Before leaving, she affectionately touched Shi Man’s face and said, “Give me a little more time. Wait for me to come back with an answer for you.”

The author has something to say:

Shi Jinglan chuckled, “You’re still a bit young to compete with me.”

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