For The Rest Of Our Life – Extra 1

The gift of fate

After three years of marriage, Lin Xian’s college friend Tang Mo gave birth to a daughter. When Lin Xian and Xiao Wanqing went to a full moon celebration with the baby, the rare clumsy scene of Xiao Wanqing holding the child made Lin Xian’s heart stir.

In the sixth year of marriage, Lin Xian’s career entered a stable stage, and Xiao Wanqing also decided to slow down the pace of life. After many discussions and making all necessary preparations, the two decided to have a child.

Considering Xiao Wanqing’s age, there was almost no objection from the whole family regarding who should give birth to the child, except for Xiao Wanqing who was hesitant. Everyone unanimously agreed that Lin Xian should be the one to give birth.

On the two nights before flying to the United States for the surgery, Xiao Wanqing started to hesitate again while packing her luggage.

“Xianxian…” Xiao Wanqing called out briefly.

Lin Xian took off her clothes, hung the hanger back in the wardrobe, and casually asked, “What’s wrong?”

Xiao Wanqing didn’t answer for several seconds.

Confused, Lin Xian turned around and saw Xiao Wanqing’s silent figure squatting next to the suitcase. Without much thought, she guessed that this overly gentle woman was hesitating about something again.

She always worried that pregnancy would be too difficult, childbirth too painful, postpartum recovery too tough. She feared she would suffer, feared the unknown, feared any potential accidents.

She rarely acted so indecisively, which amused Lin Xian, but more importantly, warmed her heart.

She walked back to the suitcase, squatted down beside Xiao Wanqing, wrapped her right shoulder with one hand, rested her chin on Xiao Wanqing’s left shoulder, affectionately leaned against her, and softly said, “Xiao Panpan, what are you overthinking about again? Let me guess, are you once again pondering something like, ‘Should we postpone it, and you take some more time to consider?'”

Xiao Wanqing gently tapped Lin Xian’s head with hers, emitting a sighing laughter, not denying.

Lin Xian sighed, “I knew it. So let me tell you again, the only thing that would make me reconsider is if I suddenly realized that you didn’t truly want this child.”

“I don’t,” Xiao Wanqing nervously defended, “I do want it. I’m just worried that you…”

Her unfinished words were silenced by Lin Xian’s affectionate kiss.

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“I know, I know it all. Xiao Panpan, with you by my side taking care of me, I’m not afraid of anything, really.” After the kiss, she embraced Xiao Wanqing, letting her lean into her arms, and said, “If the baby knew that before her arrival, you had considered giving up on her so many times in your heart, wouldn’t she be very sad?”

Xiao Wanqing was at a loss, “Then… then don’t tell her.”

“Are you asking me to cover for you?” Lin Xian teased her, “Then promise me, you won’t worry about this matter anymore, at least from this moment on, don’t think about anything else, just wholeheartedly look forward to her arrival, okay?”

“Promise me, promise me…” Not hearing Xiao Wanqing’s immediate agreement, Lin Xian began to nuzzle Xiao Wanqing’s neck with her head, acting coquettish.

Tickled by the nuzzling, Xiao Wanqing’s eyes softened into a smile, “Okay, I promise you.”

No matter how many years have passed, she still had no way to resist the girl’s coquetry.

She prayed in her heart, hoping that everything would go smoothly, that the baby would be healthy, and that her little girl would suffer less.

However, nurturing a life, the hardships involved, clearly couldn’t be summed up with a simple “ten months of pregnancy.”

Zhou Qin said that compared to the mischief Lin Xian caused in her belly years ago, the baby was already a very gentle and loving child. But Lin Xian was still plagued with morning sickness, bloating, loss of appetite, her face turning pale and listless. Xiao Wanqing wished she could take her place, hired a professional nanny, and came up with new menus for her every day. Whatever Lin Xian mentioned in the morning, Xiao Wanqing could prepare it for her by lunchtime. She just hoped she could be happy and more comfortable eating.

So much so that Xia Zhijin called Shi Man, and if Shi Man wasn’t working overtime or attending social events, she would be having dinner at Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian’s home.

“Recently, have you been visiting Auntie Xiao and Xianxian’s home too frequently?” Xia Zhijin worried about overstepping boundaries, “Is it too disruptive for them?”

Shi Man felt wronged, “They always have a full spread of dishes at their house, and the key is that it’s light and delicious. I can’t resist. Besides, they also said that if it suits my taste, I can just come over directly for meals in the future.”

Xia Zhijin was momentarily at a loss for words. Shi Man had a sensitive stomach and picky taste buds, despite having immense wealth, it was hard for her to consistently enjoy meals that were both stomach-friendly and to her liking. In the earlier years, Shi Man was satisfied with her cooking skills, but over the years, she had been too busy to cook for Shi Man regularly…

Feeling more emotional than rational, “Manman…” Xia Zhijin hesitated, wanting to say something comforting.

Seeing her hesitation, Shi Man thought she was struggling with how to console herself, so she quickly pretended to admit fault, “Alright, alright, I understand. Next time, I’ll just pack things up and leave, so I won’t take up their time, okay?”

Xia Zhijin: “…” was amused by President Shi’s long-lost childishness, making her laugh and cry at the same time.

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After Xia Zhijin’s comments, Shi Man did indeed reduce her visits to Lin Xian’s home. At first, Lin Xian was a bit puzzled, but after a couple of days, she had a new worry — leg cramps. Gradually, she began to forget about this issue as well.

As the leg cramps improved, her chest began to ache, and once she got used to the chest pain, her legs started to swell. Lin Xian felt that pregnancy was truly a sweet yet tormenting burden. However, throughout the entire pregnancy, no matter how uncomfortable, Lin Xian never complained. Even if she vomited so much that her eyes turned red, she would still raise her head to pat the back of the equally red-eyed Xiao Wanqing. At most, she would just bury her face in her neck and coquettishly whine a few words, then continue to cheerfully bounce around and joke around.

Xiao Wanqing felt even more heartbroken watching this. But she never brought up any regrets again. Instead, she gathered all her energy, spent more time, and meticulously took care of Lin Xian.

Finally, after overcoming various obstacles, they were nearing the due date, but the baby decided to play a trick — arrived a whole week early, in the middle of the night, eager to meet the new world.

The whole family was in a panic, chaos ensued. Xiao Wanqing’s mind was still functioning rationally, calmly calling for Zhou Qin, directing Zhou Qin and herself to help Lin Xian downstairs, making phone calls to contact the doctor from the private hospital, and informing Lin Zhan who was still at home… But even as the car drove to the hospital, her hands on the steering wheel were still trembling slightly.

From the onset of the labor to the cervix dilating to three centimeters for pain relief, Lin Xian endured pain for a full ten hours, then waited for over three hours before it was time to deliver. Xiao Wanqing was present throughout the labor, staying by Lin Xian’s side without leaving an inch.

After enduring the prolonged pain, feeling tired and weary, with a wavering spirit, Lin Xian was able to gather strength for one more effort each time she heard the familiar and affectionate words of “Don’t be afraid, I’m here” and “Breathe, Xianxian, you can do it” from Xiao Wanqing.

After another struggle with all her might, she glanced over and through the sweat and tears blurring her vision, she saw Xiao Wanqing’s pale face and flushed eyes.

From within, she sensed the anguish, nervousness, and… fear.

“Xianxian, don’t be afraid, the baby is coming out soon, don’t be afraid…” she continued to encourage her.

Lin Xian wanted to tell her, Xiao Panpan, I’m not afraid, I’m just tired, really, so you don’t need to be afraid either, everything will be fine.

But she didn’t have the extra strength to speak anymore, so she could only grit her teeth, exerting all her effort, pushing harder, striving to finish sooner to make Xiao Wanqing less fearful.

She had been on the operating table a few times in her life, and the most fearful moment was when Xiao Wanqing wasn’t by her side.

At that time, she thought she was going to die, even the remaining consciousness was in despair, and for the rest of her life, she never saw Xiao Wanqing again.

And this time, she was by her side. She didn’t have much to fear anymore.

Finally, with a loud cry of “wah”, the long torment came to an end.

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The nurse said it was a little girl, before even calling for Xiao Wanqing to cut the umbilical cord, Xiao Wanqing had already bent down, rubbing Lin Xian’s forehead, affectionately kissing her, “You’ve worked hard, Xianxian… You’ve worked hard…”

By the end of her words, it was obvious she was choked up.

The hospital had never brought her good memories, but from this moment on, everything was different.

The nurse handed the scissors to Xiao Wanqing to cut the umbilical cord.

Lin Xian, exhausted, lay on the operating table watching them, observing the woman who was usually poised and elegant, but now seemed at a loss with just a pair of scissors, giving her a strange and wonderful feeling.

The passage of time suddenly became so clear, each passing minute and second felt so tangible.

She was so tired, but couldn’t bear to blink. She thought: in this lifetime, being able to spend every minute and second with this woman, even with the pain, felt like a gift from fate.

She really, really liked this woman.

The ward was a spacious VIP single room, with Lin Xian having a single bed, the baby and the accompanying person each having their own bed as well.

At night, Zhou Qin was worried and afraid that Xiao Wanqing would be overwhelmed on her own, so she stayed back as well. But she was getting on in years, and had been busy since early morning. After 10 a.m., her eyelids started to fight each other. By 11a.m., Lin Xian had fallen asleep, the ward was quiet, with only two wall lamps emitting a dim light that made one feel drowsy. Xiao Wanqing finished washing the baby’s bottles, and upon coming out, she saw Zhou Qin constantly nodding off on the sofa.

Warmth glinted in Xiao Wanqing’s eyes. She considerately told Zhou Qin to rest in bed, and when Zhou Qin hesitated, Xiao Wanqing coaxed her, saying they would take turns — one person would stay up for the first half of the night, the other for the second half, and when it was time she would wake her up for the shift change.

Zhou Qin thought it made sense, but was truly worn out, so she reluctantly went to sleep.

In the early hours of the morning, the baby opened her big round eyes. Xiao Wanqing had been sitting on the sofa, watching over her and Lin Xian sleeping, so she was the first to notice.

Although Xiao Wanqing had only spent seven or eight hours with her daughter, she had already started to pick up on some of the little quirks of her daughter: she wanted to feel someone beside her as soon as she woke up, otherwise she would cry unhappily and needed to be picked up and comforted.

She quickly moved to the chair next to the baby’s crib, leaned on the railing of the crib, gently held her small hand, and softly talked to her: “Mom and grandma are sleeping, let’s not cry or disturb them, okay?”

The baby locked eyes with her and stuck out her tongue.

Xiao Wanqing couldn’t help but smile. She knew the baby probably couldn’t understand anything, but she acted as if the baby had agreed with her, and she felt a sense of inexplicable joy.

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She then touched the baby’s hand again, stood up, poured water quietly, grabbed the bottle, and prepared the milk formula for the baby.

When Lin Xian woke up groggily, what she saw under the warm yellow light was the silhouette of Xiao Wanqing holding the baby against her. Xiao Wanqing was sitting on a chair, delicately cradling the baby, adjusting her position to make her comfortable resting on her arm. She then lifted the bottle, patiently feeding her little by little. After finishing the milk, she lifted the baby, allowing her to rest on her shoulder, gently patting her back to help her burp.

The entire process lasted for a while, and Lin Xian just lay there quietly, watching for how long she couldn’t quite tell.

Her movements, her expression, were all so gentle, so heartwarming. Lin Xian couldn’t bear to look away or make a sound to disturb the moment.

After Xiao Wanqing placed the baby back in the bed and watched her pout before falling asleep again, she finally straightened her back, preparing to sit back on the sofa.

As she raised her eyes, she then noticed that Lin Xian had woken up at some point and was staring at her without blinking.

She walked over to Lin Xian’s bed, sat down, tucked in the corner of her blanket, and softly apologized, “Did I wake you up?”

Lin Xian shook her head.

Xiao Wanqing became nervous, “Is your stomach hurting again?”

Lin Xian whispered, “No, it’s not hurting anymore. Don’t worry, I just woke up naturally.”

“Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere? Would you like some water?”

Lin Xian reached out and pulled her hand, “No water.” Her five fingers naturally interlaced with Xiao Wanqing’s, and she suddenly said softly, “Xiao Panpan, you are so gentle to her.”

Xiao Wanqing was taken aback, her?

Then she realized and playfully tapped Lin Xian’s nose with a chuckle, “She is my daughter, the precious gift you worked so hard to bring me.”

Lin Xian pouted, half joking and half teasing, swaying their intertwined hands, and pouted, “Then I suddenly feel a little jealous. Xiao Panpan, your baby will not be just me anymore. Am I still the one you love the most?”

Xiao Wanqing indulgently looked at her, waiting for her to finish being playful, she patted her head, leaned down, kissed her face, then her lips, with a gentle warmth in her eyes.

“Not the same, Xianxian.”

“She is like a bird that will fly away when she grows up, but you are the butterfly that will forever fly in my heart.”

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