For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 91

So do you like my flattery and charm or not?

The long-awaited world just for the two of them finally returned.

At noon, the two of them shared a meal at the table for the first time in a long while, but it was not as serene as before. Xiao Wanqing kept receiving phone calls, indicating that some work issue had likely arisen from her sudden leave.

Lin Xian saw Xiao Wanqing pause, halting her eating to engage in conversation, while at the same time, she unconsciously rubbed her temples, worn out. Lin Xian couldn’t help but feel a mix of guilt and pity from within.

She observed Xiao Wanqing end the call, brows furrowed, appearing to mull over something. Out of consideration, she chose not to inquire, only silently watching her with a caring eye.

After a little while, Xiao Wanqing seemed to catch Lin Xian’s anxious look and smiled at her, her voice soft, “What’s with the stare? The food is getting cold.”

Lin Xian bit her chopsticks and tentatively asked her, “Have I affected your work schedule?”

Xiao Wanqing was momentarily startled, a gentle smile then surfaced in her eyes. She used the serving chopsticks to pick up some food from the chopsticks and place it in Lin Xian’s bowl, reassuring her, “Not at all, I’ve arranged everything. It’s just that they didn’t handle it well, and a last-minute issue cropped up.” She lowered her gaze slightly, feeling somewhat uneasy, hesitating over whether she should personally make a trip in the afternoon. Yet, she also worried whether Lin Xian’s fever might flare up again.

Although Lin Xian was reluctant to let go, she hoped that Xiao Wanqing could stay with her to rest for the afternoon. After all, Xiao Wanqing must have had a harder and more tiring night than she did. But upon seeing Xiao Wanqing’s expression, she immediately recognized the difficulty and concern in her eyes. Auntie Xiao, no matter what, was always an exceptionally responsible person.

Her eyes flickered as she took the initiative and suggested, “Auntie Xiao, if you need to go to the company this afternoon, don’t worry about me. Go ahead with peace of mind.”

Xiao Wanqing hesitated, “Xianxian, but you…”

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Lin Xian curved her thin lips, her eyes creasing into a smile, and she half-jokingly teased, “Xiao Xiaowan, I’m no longer your junior, not the little kid you always have to take care of anymore. I’m not that fragile, I can take care of myself. Don’t you trust me?”

Xiao Wanqing gazed steadily at her, as if perceiving the young girl before her with a completely new perspective. After a moment, she blinked and a subtle curve appeared at the corners of her mouth. But she lowered her head, took a sip of soup, and still murmured softly, “You ended up in the hospital while taking care of yourself; how can I believe that you can actually take care of yourself?” Her words were clearly pointed.

Lin Xian overheard, not the least bit sheepish, she stoutly defended herself without feeling inferior: “This is different. Yesterday, I didn’t have a girlfriend, so I could be reckless. But now that I have you, I’m a responsible adult. I need to take care of myself well so that I can take better care of you and be responsible to you.”

Xiao Wanqing only wanted to give Lin Xian a little knock on the head, hoping she would remember to cherish her own body and hadn’t expected Lin Xian to respond with such earnest words. In her heart, she chewed on the word “responsibility,” chewing on Lin Xian’s phrase “be responsible to you,” her heart trembling slightly.

She felt that Lin Xian was still young, that love for her at this moment might just be an uncomprehending explosion of hormones during youth, mistaking a liking for love. Therefore, her love was full of passion, impulse, stubbornness, and naive yet wonderful fantasies. The love of youth, because it often starts too fervently, too sweetly, is populated more with enjoyment in the fantasy than endurance. The word “responsibility,” where enduring may outweigh enjoying, is challenging enough to uphold even in the marriages of adults, let alone in the impulsive, immature romances of the young.

Her eyes shimmered with deep feeling as she looked at Lin Xian and said word by word, “Xian Xian, I don’t want you to be responsible for me.” She saw the girl’s confused furrow of her brows, reached out to gently smooth her delicate brows, and said softly, “Xian Xian, remember, being responsible for yourself is the greatest responsibility you can take for me.”

But Ke Lin Xian had thought of her concerns.

Lin Xian, at eighteen, on the very first day they dated, told her, thirty-one years old—that she would take responsibility for her.

Xiao Wanqing felt that even if it was a naive bravado typical of youth to issue such an empty promise, even if every pledge in the world is easier said than done, at least in that moment, Lin Xian had this intention, and that should be enough for her to feel content.

Yet, she could not and should not accept it.

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Her eyes brimmed with unspoken affection as she gazed at Lin Xian, and she said slowly, word by word: “Xianxian, I don’t want you to be responsible for me.” She saw the girl’s puzzled frown and reached out to gently smooth her furrowed brows, whispering softly, “Xianxian, remember, being responsible for yourself is the greatest responsibility you can take for me.”

From the moment she accepted Lin Xian’s offer, she never had the luxury to expect Lin Xian to be responsible for her, nor did she dream of Lin Xian staying with her forever. Right from the start, she was always preparing for the end, ready for the day Lin Xian might leave her at any time.

Being the elder, the adult, she was supposedly the one to guide Lin Xian away from life’s detours. But she indulged herself, influenced Lin Xian, changed Lin Xian. Therefore, she had responsibilities towards Lin Xian.

She bore the duty to ensure that Lin Xian could have happiness and joy as if she had never been with her; she had the obligation to help Lin Xian return to a normal life trajectory after leaving her.

Their relationship lacked equivalent status, dooming them to unequal responsibility and duty. She only wished to offer Lin Xian enjoyment, without needing Lin Xian to endure anything for her. How could she greedily demand a just-of-age young person to take on any responsibility for her?

Lin Xian merely assumed Xiao Wanqing thought she was still too young, thus disbelieving her words; believing Xiao Wanqing felt that if Lin Xian could just take care of herself and not cause any trouble, that would be responsibility enough. Lin Xian was a bit unhappy about this, but she also understood that some views and thoughts can’t be changed in the span of a few words.

She sighed, pulling down the tender fingertips that Xiao Wanqing had placed on her forehead, and affectionately nuzzled with her nose, acting like an old soul who has seen the world, preempting Xiao Wanqing’s usual line with a sigh, “Ah, you’ll understand what I mean by this when you get older.”

Caught off-guard by her tone, Xiao Wanqing, still nursing an emotional wound, couldn’t help but let out a snort of laughter.

She didn’t know if Lin Xian had really taken her words to heart, but she didn’t want to dampen the spirits of such a sincere-hearted girl, fearing that understanding too much might make her unhappy. Having finished eating, she stood up, started to tidy up the bowls and chopsticks, casting a gentle, watery glance at Lin Xian, then deftly changed the subject, teasingly saying, “Am I still too young now? Auntie Lin?”

Lin Xian, who had also finished eating and wiped her mouth, followed by standing up. She gazed at Xiao Wanqing, suddenly grabbed her wrist, and gave a gentle tug. Xiao Wanqing, unprepared, toppled right into her embrace.

Lin Xian wrapped her arms contentedly around the delicate woman she cherished and, with her cheek against hers, softly echoed her previous statement in a murmur, “Yes, still too young, my little girl.”

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“I am waiting for my little girl’s heart, which is always afraid, to gradually grow and strengthen. Don’t be afraid, I am very patient and will accompany you as you grow.”

Xiao Wanqing felt as though something had lightly plucked at her heartstrings. She couldn’t help but bury her head in Lin Xian’s neck and tightened her hug around her slender waist, grumblingly calling her a “fool” in a muffled voice.

After taking her medicine in the afternoon, Xiao Wanqing helped Lin Xian take her temperature again to make sure it was normal, which eased her worries somewhat. She had intended to spend the whole afternoon with Lin Xian, but was increasingly preoccupied with several phone calls she received, her frown deepening with each call.

Seeing that Xiao Wanqing’s situation seemed genuinely troubled, Lin Xian, ever understanding, urged her not to worry about staying with her and to take care of business at the company. Xiao Wanqing, as the responsible person she was, couldn’t leave her concerns behind. She kissed Lin Xian on the forehead, promising to return early, and then left home with reluctance and unease.

After Xiao Wanqing had gone, Lin Xian lay on the bed feeling somewhat empty inside. She pondered over everything from yesterday to today, feeling as if it were all a dream. She rolled over to look at the little teddy bear beside her, stretched out an arm over it, and suddenly pursed her lips, tugged at its fur, and asked it: “Does it hurt? If it hurts, then it can’t be a dream.”

The Teddy lay motionless, its glossy eyes somehow exuding a sense of pitiable grievance under Lin Xian’s gaze.

Lin Xian couldn’t help but let out a silly laugh.

With a push, she tossed the little Teddy aside and rolled over, her thoughts leaping to when she could forsake the plushie at bedtime in favor of cuddling with Xiao Xiaowan instead. The very image sent ripples through her heart, she bit her lip and her face broke into an irrepressible smile.

But Auntie Xiao wouldn’t even let her steal a kiss at the moment, much less allow a night of intertwined embraces… Lin Xian’s mind turned a thousand corners, now buoyant with joy, now sinking with sorrow. In her dazed and muddled state, consciousness gradually slipped away from her.

When she woke up again, she opened her eyes to see the bedroom that had been bright before sleep was now shrouded in dusk. She rubbed her bleary eyes and lay stunned, wondering just how long she had slept.

The slightly ajar door allowed the soft clinks of bowls and utensils to drift through, snapping Lin Xian awake—Auntie Xiao was back!

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

She sprang up from the bed, hopped off, and paced briskly towards the door. Passing by the bathroom, her steps suddenly slowed, hesitating for a moment. With a fretful tug at her hair, she decided to duck in first.

After tidying her hair, washing her face, and rinsing her mouth, Lin Xian made sure her appearance was neat in the mirror before striding swiftly towards the kitchen, covering the distance in double-time.

It hasn’t been long since Xiao Wanqing had left, and indeed, when Xiao Wanqing wasn’t home, Lin Xian had seen the busy figure of Aunt Liu in this kitchen. But now, under the warm, dim light, seeing this tall and slender figure wrapped in an apron felt like a sight from a previous life. It wasn’t just the kitchen that Xiao Wanqing filled, but also the chambers of her heart. Lin Xian felt a sudden, unexplained twinge at the tip of her nose.

Her approach was not exactly silent, but Xiao Wanqing was so absorbed in her task that she didn’t notice Lin Xian’s arrival. Not until Lin Xian wrapped her arms tightly around her from behind and murmured softly in her ear, “Why didn’t you wake me up when you got back?” did Xiao Wanqing pause, affectionately rubbing her cheek against Lin Xian’s raven hair and warmly, with a smile in her voice, replied: “You were sleeping soundly; I wanted you to rest a while longer.”

This act of hugging from behind was something she had done many times before when she had a secret crush on Xiao Wanqing. Back then, Xiao Wanqing never took the initiative to respond affectionately. Now, feeling Xiao Wanqing’s proactive tenderness, Lin Xian couldn’t help but feel a joy so warm and swelling within her chest that she hugged Xiao Wanqing even tighter.

“But I wanted to see you earlier,” the girl cooed in a sentimental whisper.

It was the first time Xiao Wanqing felt so relaxed being held in this manner by Lin Xian. Hearing the soft murmurs of the girl, her heart melted. The corners of her lips curved upwards, she turned off the gas stove, and teased Lin Xian gently, “Xianxian, I’ve always wanted to ask, where did you learn all these sweet nothings to woo people?”

Lin Xian poked Xiao Wanqing’s slim shoulder with her chin in mock punishment, feeling indignant, “How can you say my sincere words are just sweet nothings! Even if they were, I came by them without a teacher.”

“The moment I see you, I feel joy, and these words just bubble up from the bottom of my heart. I want to say them to you, and only you.”

Even for someone as experienced as Xiao Wanqing, who prides herself on maturity and stability, and whose heart has been undisturbed for many years, difficult to ruffle, she couldn’t help but feel her heart sweeten like that of a naive young girl easily deceived by flattery, upon suddenly hearing such candid and passionate sweet talk from her lover. She bit her lip, mildly scolding Lin Xian with both shyness and delight, “Flattery and charm…”

Lin Xian coquettishly asked, “So do you like my flattery and charm or not?”

A laugh twinkled in Xiao Wanqing’s eyes like starlight, about to reply to Lin Xian, when the cellphone lying aside suddenly began to vibrate.

Lin Xian felt the person in her arms stiffen suddenly. Following Xiao Wanqing’s gaze towards the cellphone screen, she saw three big characters flash across the caller ID— Sister Zhou Qin.

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