For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 94

I want what you want

Over the years, Xiao Wanqing has been universally recognized as amiable and easy to get along with in her interactions, but when it comes to work, she is also known for speaking her mind – being strict with herself and others alike. She wouldn’t criticize you with sharp words, but she would speak with such gentle and kind language that you’d feel embarrassed and ashamed on your own.

For this reason, throughout these years, she has always been able to maintain just the right distance from her subordinates and colleagues – not too close to lose her authority, yet not too stern to alienate them. When departments privately discuss their leaders, they all agree on one thing about Xiao Wanqing: working under the chief editor is both very easy and very difficult, but if you are serious about your work, then it’s definitely very easy.

However, everyone in the editorial department spontaneously noticed that the chief editor was in an exceptionally good mood today.

During the morning meeting, everyone thought that Xiao Wanqing, the chief editor, would do a gentle April snowfall, silently freezing them with her mild criticism for the minor mistakes made yesterday that almost led to a serious accident. However, to their surprise, when it came to the incident that occurred yesterday, she only gently touched on the issue and stopped there.

In fact, for Xiao Wanqing, it was partly because she felt partly responsible for taking a sudden leave and felt she couldn’t blame them entirely. The other half, indeed, was that she was in a better mood.

During the lunch break, as she came close to finishing her meal, Xiao Wanqing just wiped her hands with a wet wipe and placed it into her bag when her phone buzzed.

Retrieving her phone from her bag, the screen displayed an unread SMS from Lin Xian, causing her eyes to soften. Sliding the screen open to read the message, she was greeted by an MMS—a picture. On a plate emblazoned with the large characters of “Jingnan University”, Lin Xian had arranged white rice into a heart-shaped pattern and draped it generously with bright red tomato fried eggs.

The text below read, “Can’t help but miss you even when eating. [Heart Emoji]”

Conversations among colleagues at the table had shifted to complain about the blind date set up for one of them, lamenting how his lack of charm and sophistication made dining out a chore, justifying with a high-and-mighty attitude that people at “our age” should be realistic about marrying and settling down without the pretense of romance.

She jabbed her spoon firmly into her rice, teeth clenched, and bitterly said: “Talk about ‘our age’! What’s wrong with our age? Don’t they understand that a woman, no matter her age, yearns for romance and holds onto her dreams?!”

Everyone was amused by that colleague’s tone of voice, and Xiao Wanqing also laughed.

She lowered her head to look at the photo, looking at that line of text, her lips revealing a gently beautiful smile. In the depths of her heart, she silently mocked Lin Xian for being naive, but her eyes nevertheless brimmed with gentle emotions, as soft as water.

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Her fingertips danced lightly on the screen keyboard, replying to Lin Xian with all seriousness, “Be careful, your food is getting cold.”

She lifted her head to look at the restaurant, towards the colleagues who were young in age but whose eyes were already filled with an air of weary experience, listening as they endlessly talked about houses, cars, children, economy, medical care, and old age provisions. Suddenly, Lin Xian’s question to her rang in her ears: “Is being naive bad?”

It’s good, but also not good.

In fact, it’s quite nice.

It seems like with Lin Xian around, her self who was once just like them, isn’t quite the same anymore.

After class in the afternoon, Lin Xian slung her backpack over her shoulder and, without waiting for anyone, trotted off. Just as she approached the school gate, she caught sight of Xiao Wanqing’s car. Just like she had said in the text message, it was there across the street, apparently “awaiting her royal presence.”

Lin Xian looked left and right, and taking advantage of the sparse traffic, she timed her move and dashed across the zebra crossing, running up to Xiao Wanqing’s car.

Xiao Wanqing had the car window down and had been watching her jog out. As she saw Lin Xian, noticed the fine sweat on her delicate and pale nose tip, she was just about to express her concern and ask why she was running so urgently when she saw Lin Xian bend over and say cheekily to her, “Beauty, waiting for someone?”

Could it be an illusion? Ah! I feel that after a day without seeing her, my Auntie Xiao seems even more charming!

Xiao Wanqing was slightly startled. She stopped what she was about to blurt out, her gentle eyes taking on a shade of amusement as she looked at her with interest.

“Could I get your number? I’m a talent scout from an entertainment company, and beauty, I see that you…” She spoke with confidence and clarity, yet before she could finish, Xiao Wanqing suddenly curled the edge of her lips into a slight smirk.

The next second, the car window mercilessly rose at the touch of its owner.

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The sound of the car starting filled the air.

Lin Xian immediately exclaimed “Wow” and nervously scurried around the car to the passenger side. She pulled open the door and agilely climbed into the vehicle. After closing the door, she turned her head with a pitiful expression and said, “Auntie Xiao, your heart is so cruel, you were actually going to leave me behind just like that.”

Xiao Wanqing had initially wanted to tease her with a few playful remarks, but when she turned to see the increasingly evident beads of sweat on Lin Xian’s nose, she couldn’t help but sigh. She took a pack of tissues from the glove compartment, drew one out, and with her hand, she tenderly wiped the sweat from Lin Xian’s forehead and nose, saying in a gentle voice, “You’re sweating. Next time, don’t be in such a hurry; I would have waited for you, it’s no big deal.”

Lin Xian basked in the affectionate care of her lover, her heart sweet and content, her eyes curving into a smile. She blinked and in a completely unabashed, coquettish tone said, “I’ve been missing you all day, I couldn’t wait to see you.” The atmosphere had seemingly flipped into one of shy and cute affection.

People? Auntie Xiao’s hand paused ever so slightly. She did not respond to the girl’s sugary sweet nothings, but the corners of her lips subtly curved upwards.

After Lin Xian finished speaking, she also felt somewhat embarrassed, crossing her arms and exaggeratedly rubbing her own arms as if to calm the goosebumps that had arisen.

Xiao Wanqing wiped off the sweat and composedly withdrew her hand.

Lin Xian took off the backpack from her shoulders and placed it on the back seat, teasing Xiao Wanqing, “Auntie Xiao, did you get off work early today? Won’t you get your wages docked if they find out?” She only had two classes in the afternoon, and it was still early compared to the normal time to finish work.

Xiao Wanqing leaned in to help her fasten the seatbelt, and joked along with her words, “So if my salary gets docked because I came to pick you up, are you going to compensate me?”

Lin Xian gazed at the beautiful visage so close at hand, her heart brimming with affection and unable to help herself, her lips twitched with a yearning. She moved closer to Xiao Wanqing and, all of a sudden, planted a kiss on Xiao Wanqing’s cheek.

“For a docking of one yuan, compensating you with a kiss from me, how about that?” the girl asked with a mischievous smile.

Xiao Wanqing’s heartbeat suddenly skipped a beat. She withdrew from Lin Xian, subconsciously wanting to touch her face but her rationality restrained her from doing so. Her gaze shifted to the bustling traffic and the multitude of pedestrians hurrying back and forth outside the car window, and her ears began to turn red. Biting her lip, she spoke softly, “Xianxian, people will see us.”

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Lin Xian cocked her head, nonchalant, “There’s no one here who knows us. Even if they see, it doesn’t matter, right? Besides, it was just a peck on the cheek.”

Xiao Wanqing looked at her innocent expression, at a loss for words, her mouth opened slightly, but then she hesitated.

If, if Lin Xian’s romantic interest were not her, if she herself were now as young as Lin Xian was back then, a peck on the cheek would indeed be nothing serious.

Her eyes dimmed momentarily, and a tinge of guilt arose in the depths of her heart. She should not use her own experiences to grind down Lin Xian’s sharpness and courage, nor should she bind a young person’s passionate and fearless heart with the chains of her own more seasoned life.

She wanted to give Lin Xian, like people her own age, the best possible, the lightest and the most vibrant first love experience.

In the end, she did not say anything, simply touching the girl’s face and offering a faint smile with a lowered gaze, which served as a tacit acknowledgment of the girl’s words.

On the way to the hospital, Lin Xian and Xiao Wanqing brought up the quarrel between Xia Zhijin and Shi Man. In Lin Xian’s heart, Shi Man was clever and vivacious, and Xia Zhijin, stable and considerate – both of them were particularly good individuals. If they were with any other ordinary classmates, they were the polite, forbearing type who seldom argued with anyone. However, for some reason, these two, once together due to mutual affection, seemed even less harmonious than normal classmates, endlessly engaged in disputes.

She sighed, expressing her sentiment: “Why is it that people who like each other are not necessarily able to understand each other?” If they could, maybe there would be a lot fewer unnecessary quarrels.

Xiao Wanqing, thinking of Xia Zhijin’s restraint and tolerance, thinking of Shi Man’s enthusiastic disposition, considering the vast difference in their statuses, and that unpredictable woman, Shi Jinglan, couldn’t help but frown slightly.

“Xianxian, did Shi Man tell you why she argued with Zhijin?” Xiao Wanqing asked with a countenance of understanding and compassion.

Recalling the gist of what Shi Man shared with her at noon, Lin Xian concisely pinpointed the main points: “It seems that Manman wanted Sister Zhijin to work less, to spend more time with her, and also desired for Sister Zhijin not to keep such a clear distance from her. But it appears Sister Zhijin was unwilling, so Manman accidentally started arguing with her.”

With a gentle and understanding voice, Xiao Wanqing guided Lin Xian, “So all these are what Shi Man wants Zhijin to do for her. Did Shi Man tell you if she knows what Zhijin wants her to do?”

At Xiao Wanqing’s question, Lin Xian blinked and suddenly paused, taken aback.

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She reflected carefully on the interactions between Shi Man and Xia Zhijin during their relationship, and within her experiences with Shi Man and Xia Zhijin, it seemed that she had never heard about what Xia Zhijin wanted Shi Man to do. Xia Zhijin had never brought it up proactively, and neither had Shi Man mentioned anything of the sort in the details she shared with Lin Xian.

Manman, do you know what Sister Zhijin wants?

Xiao Wanqing drove the car into the hospital parking lot and parked it. Only after unfastening her seatbelt did she soften her gaze, looking at Lin Xian, who was still deep in thought, and explained, “Actually, to understand each other’s hearts is simple. It’s about ‘replacing your heart with mine.'”

“More of what she wants, less of what I want.”

Lin Xian pondered this phrase as if she had been enlightened, yet upon closer consideration, she felt somewhat enlightened yet confused. If everything is about what ‘she’ wants with nothing of ‘I’ want, wouldn’t ‘I’ be compromising too much?

Fortunately, Xiao Wanqing clarified her confusion in the next sentence, telling her, “But actually, it’s very hard to achieve. None of us are saints. Our habitual thinking makes us accustomed to centering ourselves and taking our own perspective as the starting point, which is unavoidable. Hence, complete mutual understanding is impossible. This phrase, in fact, the latter half is already very difficult to achieve.”

Xiao Wanqing wasn’t sure how much Lin Xian had understood or taken in, nor did she expect Lin Xian to grasp it all immediately. After all, many life lessons have been heard by most people since childhood, but without real experience, they can never fully understand. She was willing to let Lin Xian go through her own natural process of growth.

Her desire was simply to plant a seed of knowledge in Lin Xian, hoping that one day, when Lin Xian goes through certain experiences, remembering these words might enlighten her or at the very least, make her struggles a bit easier. Now, there was no need for Lin Xian to bear any burden prematurely.

At least for the moment, it didn’t matter. Lin Xian was with her, and it was enough that she understood.

Yet after some pondering, Lin Xian took Xiao Wanqing’s hand, her eyes sparkling sincerely, and looked at her intently. “Auntie Xiao,” she asked seriously, “Can I ask you what you want?”

Her earnest and fervent gaze touched Xiao Wanqing’s heart deeply. Her heart softened even more as she lifted Lin Xian’s hand and tenderly kissed the back of it, thinking fondly: Silly girl, some questions should not be asked. Humans are the most difficult creatures to be candid, and language is the most cunning tool.

With a soft gesture, Xiao Wanqing playfully scraped Lin Xian’s nose and said with twinkling, water-like eyes and a coy, enchanting smile: “I want what you want.”

It was a lie, but also a truth.


LP: I’m in my 20s, and safe to say I’m still childish 🙂



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Anon

It’s strange but also sweet that Lian still calls her auntie

Little Panda
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