For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 49

Goodnight, little crybaby

The waiters successively served dishes. The main course was steak, and the side dishes included baked cheese deep-sea prawns, pan-fried codfish, seafood pizza, turkey salad, milk pudding, Black Forest cake, and more. Since Xiao Wanqing was going to drive, Lin Xian didn’t take the opportunity to ask for red wine. They only ordered a pot of special fruit tea together.

The atmosphere was inexplicably dull, and Lin Xian was still immersed in a sense of loss, remaining silent. She held her knife and fork and focused on cutting the steak on her plate. Suddenly, Xiao Wanqing’s clear and pleasant voice broke the silence and gently sounded in Lin Xian’s ear: “Xianxian…”

Lin Xian stopped her movements and looked up at Xiao Wanqing in confusion.

Xiao Wanqing smiled gracefully, dispelling the bitterness and disappointment from before, and returning to the familiar calm and charming self in Lin Xian’s eyes. She looked at the steak on Lin Xian’s table with gentle eyes and pushed the neatly cut pieces of steak in front of Lin Xian, saying softly, “Let’s switch, shall we?”

Lin Xian was momentarily stunned, gazing at Xiao Wanqing’s gentle and smiling face. The heaviness in her heart seemed to dissipate by half. A faint smile appeared on her lips, but she still politely declined, saying, “No need, Aunt Xiao, I can manage it myself.”

Xiao Wanqing neither confirmed nor denied it. She slightly stood up and held Lin Xian’s steak in her hands, teasingly saying, “I know. But you seem unhappy with how it was cut, don’t you?” Then, she raised her gaze and half-jokingly asked Lin Xian, “Does the dish not look appetizing? You’ve been pouting since it was served. You could almost hang a mini oil bottle from your mouth.”

Lin Xian’s face immediately turned red. Did she show her emotions so clearly? Or perhaps, was Aunt Xiao actually observing her emotions attentively?

She felt a mixture of joy and bitterness in her heart, lowered her head, and somewhat embarrassedly denied, “I… I didn’t…”

Xiao Wanqing lightly cut the steak, and with a rising tone and a slightly elongated sound, she playfully questioned with a tingling smile, “Oh?” Clearly, she didn’t believe Lin Xian’s feeble and powerless denial.

She put down her knife and fork, blinked her watery eyes, and teased Lin Xian, “Is it because I didn’t give you an apple?” After pondering for a moment, she said, “I heard that it has become a trend in recent years to exchange apples on Christmas Eve for good luck.”

This time, Lin Xian had enough confidence in her denial and said firmly, “No, I’m not that childish.”

Xiao Wanqing burst into laughter with a “puchi” sound, coaxing her like a child, “Okay, okay, don’t be angry. You didn’t.”

How dismissive! Lin Xian’s face turned slightly fierce. She was about to explain further when she saw Xiao Wanqing wipe her hands with a wet towel, take out a small box from her bag, and push it in front of her. With a smile on her face, Xiao Wanqing said, “It’s me who’s childish.”

“Open it and see if you like this little apple.” Her eyes were full of laughter, as if there were stars twinkling in them.

Lin Xian stared at her, and her heartbeat seemed to skip a beat.

How could this person be like this! How could they make her so miserable, and now, make her so happy…

A curve of undeniable joy appeared on Lin Xian’s lips. She gently opened the velvet box. Inside the box lay a pair of apple-shaped platinum earrings with delicate hollow patterns. Under the light, the earrings shone with a delightful brilliance.

Lin Xian’s smile was even more radiant. She looked up in surprise and said to Xiao Wanqing, “They’re so cute.”

Seeing Lin Xian’s delight, Xiao Wanqing’s eyebrows and eyes also lit up with genuine joy. She rested her cheek on her hand and gazed at Lin Xian’s beautiful face, sincerely sighing, “Lin Xian, you’re adorable.”

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

Lin Xian carefully picked up one earring and asked Xiao Wanqing with a mixture of shyness and happiness, “Aunt Xiao, could you help me put them on?”

Xiao Wanqing nodded and sat down beside Lin Xian, saying, “Alright.”

With her slightly cold hands, Xiao Wanqing covered Lin Xian’s delicate and smooth earlobes. Lin Xian lowered her head, focusing on finding Lin Xian’s ear piercings. Xiao Wanqing’s warm breath brushed against Lin Xian’s increasingly red ears.

Lin Xian secretly glanced at Xiao Wanqing’s fair face, which was so close. Her hands involuntarily clenched her coat, and her heart raced as if going crazy…

Lin Xian even feared that Xiao Wanqing would hear her heart pounding rapidly and intensely, as if it were beating like a drum.

Fortunately, in the end, Xiao Wanqing retreated without noticing anything.

She carefully looked at Lin Xian for a moment, as if she was very satisfied with her appearance, and praised, “You look beautiful.”

Lin Xian’s eyes shimmered with waves of emotions. She bit her lip and sighed, “But I didn’t prepare a gift for you.”

Xiao Wanqing rubbed her head and shrugged, “Did you forget? You took me to see the snow.”

Suddenly, Lin Xian threw herself into Xiao Wanqing’s embrace, burying her head by Xiao Wanqing’s neck, and muffledly said, “That doesn’t count. Aunt Xiao, let’s go see real snow in the future. Will you wait for me so I can make it up to you?”

Xiao Wanqing lovingly patted Lin Xian’s back and gently rubbed the top of her head with her chin. She warmly replied, “Okay, I’ll wait for you.”

The feelings of disappointment and frustration from not being able to deliver the performance just now had long disappeared without a trace. Lin Xian leaned against Xiao Wanqing’s warm body, feeling the steady and strong heartbeat that resonated in her ears, unable to distinguish whether it was her own or Xiao Wanqing’s. She closed her eyes and gradually let go of her worries.

She reached out and slowly unfolded the crumpled sheet music from her pocket…

After all, she still had plenty of time, and she would have many opportunities…

After all, compared to Xiao Wanqing’s brief past, which she arrived late to, what she would possess is Xiao Wanqing’s long future…

She laughed at herself, Lin Xian, you’re so easily comforted. You really know how to console yourself.

However, she couldn’t help but hide in Xiao Wanqing’s embrace and giggle.

She willingly embraced it, sweetly accepting it, wanting to be a person without any ambitions.

On the way back home, Lin Xian was in a great mood, humming along to the music playing in the car that Xiao Wanqing had set. When they were close to home, she suddenly stopped and asked Xiao Wanqing, “Aunt Xiao, how are you going to spend the New Year holiday?” During the New Year holiday, Zhou Qin asked if she would go home to celebrate. She said she wanted to stay and spend New Year’s Eve with Xiao Wanqing. Zhou Qin didn’t have many objections, but she was worried that Lin Xian’s one-sided wish might disrupt Xiao Wanqing’s normal plans, so she suggested that Lin Xian ask Xiao Wanqing if she had any special arrangements or if the company had any annual events or organized trips.

Xiao Wanqing kept her gaze ahead as they drove into the residential area and answered Lin Xian without hesitation, “I made plans with your Aunt Wen. We’re going to Wanquan Villa on December 31st to soak in hot springs and celebrate the New Year there. She said there might be a fireworks display.”

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

An alarm bell rang in Lin Xian’s mind. Hot springs? Does that mean they have to wear swimsuits? Oh, and fireworks? What does Wen Tong want to do?!

December 31st? Something flashed through her mind, and after calming herself down, she steadied her voice and asked Xiao Wanqing casually, “But during those days, Aunt Xiao, aren’t you, not feeling well? Is it okay?”

She carefully observed that Xiao Wanqing’s cycle was not based on the typical one-month cycle but instead shifted by a week each month. December should be around the time of the 31st. Soaking in hot springs, would it be okay?

Xiao Wanqing paused, looking at Lin Xian with confusion, and asked in return, “What do you mean by ‘not feeling well’?” She turned her head back, lost in thought as the car entered the garage and reversed into a parking space. As soon as the car engine turned off, Xiao Wanqing realized what Lin Xian was talking about.

No wonder she always accurately avoided letting her wash dishes or touch water during those days. No wonder she always accurately brought her brown sugar water and sent warmers during those days.

Her heart, as if struck by something, suddenly felt sour and soft. She looked at Lin Xian, her eyes containing a gentle spring, and asked, “Lin Xian, are you this caring towards everyone?”

Lin Xian tilted her head and stared at Xiao Wanqing, her gaze unwavering. It seemed like she suddenly realized something, and warmth welled up in her eyes. She reached out and lightly flicked Xiao Wanqing’s nose, smiling as she retorted, “Do I look idle to you?”

Her touch, like an electrifying current, tingled as it traced the path of her flick on Xiao Wanqing’s nose, sending shivers all the way into Xiao Wanqing’s heart.

Xiao Wanqing inexplicably felt a sense of unease and turned her eyes away, softly scolding Lin Xian, “Don’t be cheeky.”

Lin Xian didn’t pay much attention and playfully asked Xiao Wanqing, “Aunt Xiao, can I go with you guys? I’m curious like a child. It’s been many years since I’ve seen fireworks. The city prohibits fireworks and firecrackers.”

Xiao Wanqing kept her gaze fixed on the logo on the steering wheel, appearing somewhat absent-minded. After a moment, she nodded and responded, “Alright, I’ll talk to Wen Tong. The more, the merrier. She shouldn’t mind.”

With joy, Lin Xian hugged Xiao Wanqing’s arm and exclaimed, “Aunt Xiao, you’re so kind.”

Xiao Wanqing looked at Lin Xian with a deep gaze and forced a smile. She opened the car door and said, “Let’s go, let’s go home.”

It was midnight, and Lin Xian woke up, feeling the need to urinate. In the darkness, she glanced at Xiao Wanqing’s bedroom door. It was closed, without a trace of light. Afraid of waking Xiao Wanqing, she deliberately tiptoed. However, in her drowsiness, she stumbled to the bathroom and returned to her room, tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, feeling thirsty and parched.

Perhaps she had consumed too many salty foods in the evening. Restless, Lin Xian sat up dejectedly. She reached for her robe, put it on absentmindedly, and got out of bed to go to the living room and get water from the dispenser.

As she walked into the living room and prepared to fill her glass with water, her peripheral vision seemed to catch something. On the balcony, which should have been pitch black, there seemed to be scattered flickering lights and an indistinct silhouette.

Despite Lin Xian’s boldness, her spirits involuntarily lifted, startled to full wakefulness.

She tightly gripped the water glass, mustering her courage to look closely at the balcony. Bathed in moonlight, she finally saw clearly. Leaning against the balcony, with seaweed-like flowing hair and a slender cigarette between her fingers, was the desolate figure of Xiao Wanqing.

Lin Xian fixed her gaze on the cigarette in Xiao Wanqing’s hand. Gradually, her grip loosened, and she placed the glass back down, her thin lips pursing into a straight line.

Her long-held speculation was finally confirmed.

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

She approached the balcony with slow steps and took a closer look. On the small table where they used to enjoy tea and late-night conversations, there were scattered empty beer cans, a whiskey bottle that was already half empty, and an overturned wine glass.

Lin Xian’s lips tightened even more.

Xiao Wanqing, dulled by the effects of alcohol, was somewhat unresponsive and slow to react. It was only after Lin Xian stepped onto the balcony that she belatedly noticed her presence. It was purely instinctual, like a child who had been caught making a mistake by their parents. With a touch of panic, she extinguished the slender lady’s cigarette, which was only partially burned, in the ashtray. Then, in a state of confusion, she looked at Lin Xian and stammered, “Xianxian…”

She was wearing a thin nightgown, without even a coat to cover herself, shivering in the night breeze. Her usually clear eyes were now clouded, carrying a sense of melancholy and confusion. She gazed at Lin Xian, her graceful and delicate face blurred by intoxication, biting her lip, looking innocent yet inexplicably aggrieved.

Lin Xian could only feel a dull ache in her heart.

She approached Xiao Wanqing, opened her own robe, and without hesitation, tightly embraced the cold-bodied Xiao Wanqing in her arms. She gently pressed her warm cheek against Xiao Wanqing’s chilly one and whispered softly in her ear, “Shall I warm you up, your little heater?”

She felt the cold body in her embrace gradually softening as the warmth spread, completely trusting and leaning against her.

After a while, Lin Xian heard Xiao Wanqing’s soft and slightly hoarse voice ringing in her ear. “Seven years ago, on Christmas Eve, she broke up with me, and I didn’t try to stop her. At that time, she told me that she would get married, have a child to fulfill her parents’ wishes, and then come back to find me. I didn’t believe her. Wasn’t I clever?” Her tone was light and playful, like a child seeking praise from an adult.

However, Lin Xian felt a cool liquid slowly trickling down her cheek.

She held Xiao Wanqing tightly and remained silent for a moment. Then, in a gentle voice, she asked, “Aunt Xiao, it’s so cold. Shall I carry you back to the room?”

Xiao Wanqing buried her head on Lin Xian’s shoulder and did not speak.

Lin Xian slightly crouched down, with one hand supporting Xiao Wanqing’s waist and the other holding her long legs, and much to her surprise, she effortlessly lifted Xiao Wanqing. Lin Xian’s heart throbbed sharply.

She was even lighter and thinner than she had imagined…

Xiao Wanqing suddenly became weightless and unconsciously clung to Lin Xian’s neck. Her dewy eyes, filled with tears, stared at Lin Xian in astonishment, resembling a startled little rabbit. Lin Xian adjusted her position slightly and walked steadily, step by step. She softened her voice, coaxing Xiao Wanqing like a child. “I’m very strong, don’t be afraid. Can you hold on to me tighter?”

Xiao Wanqing’s eyes, watery and gentle, gazed at Lin Xian. After a moment of silence, she gently tightened her hands that were wrapped around Lin Xian’s neck and softly replied, “Okay.”

Embracing the person in her arms, Lin Xian felt as if she had embraced the entire world in an instant. It filled her with a sense of fulfillment that made her nose tingle. In this moment, the person in her embrace was not the close sister of Zhou Qin, Aunt Xiao, nor the competent editor-in-chief Xiao from the magazine. It was just her, Lin Xian, wanting to hold her beloved person, Xiao Wanqing, in her arms forever and protect her with all her heart.

As she lifted her leg to open the door handle of Xiao Wanqing’s room, she suddenly realized that the door was only slightly ajar. She used her foot to push open the door and entered Xiao Wanqing’s bedroom, carefully placing her on the bed. Then, she lifted the blanket and neatly tucked Xiao Wanqing in.

Xiao Wanqing continued to gaze at her softly.

Lin Xian’s throat moved slightly as she stood by the bed for a while. Suddenly, she took off her shoes and robe, then slipped under the covers with Xiao Wanqing, gently wrapping her arms around her.

Xiao Wanqing turned her head, her dewy eyes still fixed on Lin Xian without blinking.

Lin Xian pursed her lips and, like a nagging wife, admonished her lover, “In the future, don’t drink so much, okay?”

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

Xiao Wanqing obediently replied, “Okay.”

Lin Xian frowned and said, “Then, can you also stop smoking in the future, okay?”

Xiao Wanqing sniffed and whispered, “Okay.”

Lin Xian felt as if even the toughest steel had turned soft. She clenched the hand resting on Xiao Wanqing’s waist, feeling emboldened, and tentatively asked, “Then, can you also stop liking her in the future, okay?”

She nervously stared at Xiao Wanqing and saw her eyes slightly narrow. After a while, she heard Xiao Wanqing softly answer, “I haven’t liked her for a long time.”

Her voice gradually became filled with grievance. “I’m just unwilling…” Crystal tears slipped from her slightly closed eyes.

Lin Xian tenderly raised her hand to wipe away the tears, but Xiao Wanqing suddenly bit her lip and stared at her intently. Her eyes were moist, with a cold and hesitant gaze. She asked, “Lin Xian, are we getting too close?”

Lin Xian’s outstretched hand froze, and her heart skipped a beat. Wasn’t Xiao Wanqing drunk?

Fortunately, in the next moment, Xiao Wanqing lowered her gaze again and murmured softly in self-pity, “Lin Xian, don’t be too good to me, and don’t get too close to me.”

“One day, you will leave too…”

“I’m the only one left…”

“Sorry, Mom, I’m sorry…”

Crystal tears gradually soaked the pillowcase. She hugged herself and curled up little by little.

Lin Xian’s heart ached with an unbearable bitterness, and her eyes turned slightly red as she listened to Xiao Wanqing’s tearful voice. She embraced Xiao Wanqing’s frail body with both hands and gently promised in her ear, “I won’t leave, I will never leave.”

She touched the damp, disheveled hair on Xiao Wanqing’s cheek and covered her eyes with her hand, soothingly saying, “Go to sleep, shall I sing a Christmas song for you?”

“Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh… Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…”

I’m not sure how long she sang, but her voice gradually grew quieter until it finally faded away.

She remained silent in the darkness for a long time, then suddenly, as if speaking to the air, she asked, “Aunt Xiao, do you like me?”

The person beside her remained silent.

Lin Xian turned her head, moved her hand aside, and saw her beloved furrowing her brows, breathing peacefully, already sound asleep. Long and curly lashes, like tiny fans, still held glistening teardrops that hadn’t fallen.

Lin Xian gazed at her for a long time, her eyes filled with tender affection.

After a while, she reached out and gently wiped away the tears from Xiao Wanqing’s lashes, softly whispering, “Goodnight, little crybaby.”

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