Lu Chenzhou asked to have a baby so casually that Cheng Xi could’ve mistaken it for him saying that he wanted to buy new clothes. She was flabbergasted and had no response, because she really couldn’t believe from his tone that he actually wanted a baby.
Of course, Cheng Xi knew that while he might want one, whether or not he was sincere was hard to say.
Even so, she still hesitated for a moment before quickly laughing to dispel the shock. “Shouldn’t we get married before we have a baby?”
An error message seemed to pop up on Lu Chenzhou’s face, as he became momentarily startled and vexed.
“That’s true. I forgot about that,” he said expressionlessly, as his mien settled back into his usual calm.
Then, there wasn’t a “then” anymore, which made Cheng Xi think that Lu Chenzhou had lost all interest in this subject. After they had dinner and cleaned up, Lu Chenzhou went on his laptop. Cheng Xi thought that he had something important to do, so she stopped bothering him and brought Chen Jiaman to explore the new house.
She didn’t know who had designed it, but the house’s accomodations were truly extensive. The second floor was made up of mostly bedrooms, but the first floor had a variety of rooms. It was centered around a large living room, from where a tennis court, small-scale gym, indoor swimming pool, and unusually scenic glass room branched out. The house couldn’t be considered modern, as the equipment and interior furniture seemed to have been left unused for quite some time. When Cheng Xi walked around the second floor, she had a feeling that someone had built this place with the intention for it to be some sort of association hall, but Lu Chenzhou had found it and bought it as a house instead.
Chen Jiaman was quite curious about her new surroundings, but she was so timid that she only looked at the furniture or equipment without touching them. Cheng Xi noticed this, but didn’t force her to do anything. By the time they finished touring each room on the first floor, they were both tired out, so Cheng Xi walked Chen Jiaman back to her own room.
They were both staying on the second floor, but Lu Chenzhou had assigned Chen Jiaman a room very far down the corridor. In fact, it was the most secluded room and took the longest to get to from the outside.
But the scenery from that room was truly gorgeous. From her window, Chen Jiaman had a perennially pleasing country scene; the landscape was peppered with rolling green hills and rushing clear rivers. The room also expanded into a wide balcony, and when Chen Jiaman stepped outside, she could see the beautiful landscape surrounding her.
It was especially peaceful and quiet at night here, as they were in the outskirts of town. From afar, the town’s warm lamplight tinkled like stars on the horizon.
After the two finished admiring the brilliant scenery from her room, they lay down new bedsheets that they had brought with them, arranged and hung up her clothes, and washed and wiped down all the furniture. Cheng Xi and Chen Jiaman did all of this together, and while the latter was somewhat slow, she was very meticulous as she followed Cheng Xi’s instructions perfectly without missing a single spot.
Once they finished, Cheng Xi told her to wash up first. Chen Jiaman’s room even had its own small bathroom, so it was very convenient for both of them.
Once she finished her shower, Cheng Xi helped her blow-dry her hair. Ever since Chen Jiaman had started living with Cheng Xi, Cheng Xi had always been the one to help Chen Jiaman with this, but this was the first time Chen Jiaman had ever seen it through the mirror. Cheng Xi was standing behind her; one hand was holding onto the blow-dryer and the other gently pulling her hair into neat little bundles.
Cheng Xi’s movements were incomparably gentle, and her gaze was so kind that Chen Jiaman felt like a small precious pearl being cradled in her mother’s hands.
Chen Jiaman felt an indescribable emotion well up within her heart, and she impulsively called out, “Mom,” in a small voice.
The blow-dryer was relatively noisy, so Cheng Xi didn’t hear her words. But she could see Chen Jiaman’s lips move through the mirror, and she smiled at her.
And Chen Jiaman shyly smiled back.
While living in Gansu, she had realized that Cheng Xi wasn’t her biological mother. However, in her heart, she respected Cheng Xi as much as one, and whenever Cheng Xi was by her side, Chen Jiaman felt particularly peaceful, no longer afraid of her surroundings.
However, when Cheng Xi asked her whether she’d be scared of living here alone, she still nodded, tugged on her sleeve, and cutely asked, “Could you keep me company?”
Cheng Xi was a little surprised. Of course, she was more than happy to satisfy her request, as Chen Jiaman very rarely expressed her own emotions. Usually, she preferred to nod along no matter what the other party said. Cheng Xi grasped her small hand and said, “Jiaman……”
“Little bunny,” Chen Jiaman immediately corrected.
Cheng Xi compromised. “Alright. Little bunny, as long as you wish for it, I’ll stay here with you.”
Chen Jiaman looked at Cheng Xi, a bit of surprise coloring her dark pupils.
“Are you shocked?” Cheng Xi smiled as she continued, “Have you realized that it isn’t that hard to ask other people to help you?”
Chen Jiaman fell quiet for a moment, and then she asked, “Then…… what about Daddy?”
Her “Daddy” had been said in an unfamiliar tone. When Cheng Xi thought back to her previous stance towards Lu Chenzhou, Cheng Xi smiled a little and forced herself to make a strange expression. “Just forget about him. Tonight, I’ll be with you.”
Chen Jiaman didn’t believe her, but Cheng Xi really did accompany her for the entire night. The only time she left was to shower, and perhaps she had also consoled that man at that time.
And perhaps she wasn’t able to do so, because the next day, when Chen Jiaman went downstairs for breakfast, she heard that man say to Cheng Xi, “Am I not your lover?”
His tone was mild, but he was clearly angry.
Cheng Xi tried to mollify him with an excuse. “It’s just one time, alright? She hardly ever requests anything of me, and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” Chen Jiaman heard Cheng Xi’s voice turn soft and tender as she then said, “Mr. Lu, be a little more obedient, alright?”
Then, they stopped talking, but she didn’t see them walk out, either. Chen Jiaman continued to stand in place, as quiet as a shadow.
After a long while, she heard that man’s voice speak up again. “Didn’t you ask me why I suddenly wanted a child yesterday? I saw like you’ve been quite happy playing the role of a mother, so I decided to simply give you a child.”
Cheng Xi laughed helplessly. “You’re quite childish.”
Chen Jiaman turned back and went back up to her room.
After moving into this new house, Chen Jiaman’s life didn’t seem to change much. The next morning, before Cheng Xi went to work, she arranged everything for her. And since Cheng Xi was worried that Chen Jiaman wouldn’t eat any food if she weren’t at her side, she ran back at lunchtime to drop a meal off for her and only left when Chen Jiaman finished eating.
Chen Jiaman didn’t like her new room very much because she could no longer see Cheng Xi bustle back and forth around her—and she liked it when Cheng Xi behaved like that, as if her life revolved solely around her.
Because to Chen Jiaman, the only other person in her life was Cheng Xi.
That night, she once again asked Cheng Xi to accompany her.
The next day, that man had a somewhat ugly expression again. Chen Jiaman felt a strange sense of exhilaration. She called him “Daddy,” and he glanced at her coolly.
This lasted for three days. Cheng Xi accompanied her every night, but on the fourth day, when Cheng Xi went to work, she brought Chen Jiaman along and dropped her off at a place with a wonderful scenery for her to draw. Chen Jiaman liked this place very much, as she could see all the roads outside, and she could finally see Cheng Xi hustle back and forth around her again.
The man didn’t show up this time, and Chen Jiaman thought that he had left, just like before. She spent the morning drawing peacefully, letting colors, swirls, and whorls meld together in harmony. But then, a sudden, crisp voice interrupted her from behind. “How long do you plan to stick to her for?”
Chen Jiaman froze in place as her hand started shaking uncontrollably.
He slowly walked in front of her front, looking at her coolly all the while.
She wanted to run away, but even as she tried to stand up, she heard him say, “I advise you stay still. I sent you to your most feared place once, and I can do it again.”
“Don’t provoke me,” he said.