Chapter 48: Endure, Frantically
The old madame kept praising her son, thinking that the days of her being able to hold a grandchild would be near after he returned. Yet, whenever she thought about it, her mood instantly turned sour as she was immediately reminded about Miss Lin.
No matter how many covert or overt investigations she opened regarding the whereabouts of Miss Lin, no one seemed to know where the latter had run off to. The Lin household was of no help either, only putting out a statement that she had gone to the temple to pray for her mother’s well-being. The city was already rife with rumors; who would continue to believe that Miss Lin was still be praying for her mother? Her own son would suddenly go mute when she brought up the topic, his eyebrows knitting together tightly.
She knew that her son had formed a distaste for the bride who had yet to enter the front gate of her house. But he also knew where Miss Lin truly was. He just couldn’t be bothered to go find her.
Things couldn’t go on like this forever. She knew that her son had lived an unhappy life in the past twenty years and needed something to be happy about. It was why she was very lenient about the relationship between her son and née Bai. That being said, the girl looked like the sensible sort, which set the old madame’s mind at ease.
The news of Bai Xiangxiu’s complete recovery soon reached Long Heng’s ear. Even Song Jiaoyue noticed the upward curve of his lips that day. He couldn’t help but ask, “Didn’t you say to make a great deal of things today? Why go back after a few hits?”
“Some events have arisen within the family.” Long Heng didn’t explain any more as he hurriedly made his way home in high spirits. Song Jiaoyue had no choice but to follow when he saw that his friend leaving without another word. Maybe something really has happened? When Long Heng entered the residence, he asked Shu’er behind him, “What is the date today?”
Shu’er answered, “In response to my lord, today is the 7th day of the month.” He then saw the prince wave a hand, commanding, “Deliver the wild duck and deer to Madame Xiu. Tell her that I will be dining at her place tonight. Deliver the remainder to the Old Madame.”
As the servants acknowledged his orders, Long Heng continued into the complex, reporting to the old madame before returning to his own residence and taking a warm bath. He usually never paid close attention when cleaning himself, but this time, he scrubbed himself clean all over. When he was done cleaning his body, he brushed his teeth for good measure, not caring what the time of the day was. He checked out his reflection in the mirror, wondering, “Is this enough?”
Shu’er felt even his molars ache. This was the first time he’d seen his lord in this kind of state. The prince wasn’t this nervous even when the emperor had summoned him for an appearance. All this just to visit that woman? But when he thought about how thin his master’s face was when it came to her, he didn’t dare speak up. Instead, Shu’er spoke in an encouraging tone, “Who can compare to master’s handsome charm? If master walked out like thus, the whole city’s maiden population would coo and shriek, going red in the face with embarrassment!”
Long Heng also felt very pleased with himself. As he waited for sunset, he simply sat in his chair and tried to while away the time with a book. But this sky was sure taking its time to darken!
With great difficulty, he waited until the sky turned dark before happily going alone to Winter Garden. He didn’t even bring Shu’er. The person in Winter Garden had long since prepared dinner and was waiting, but she sat there, staring into the cactus.
She was wondering, is he coming here to do this or that with me today? This plot has changed way too much. Nothing’s supposed to happen between these two characters before the female lead comes!
But, if he truly wants to do this or that, should I refuse or just lay there submissively?
Bai Xiangxiu was deeply conflicted, but in the end she decided to let the male lead do whatever he wanted. The supporting male lead wasn’t interested in her anyways, and her thoughts went constantly back to the maid who’d been beaten to death. Think of it as latching onto the male lead’s thigh!
Once she latched onto him, she would no longer need to compete with the female lead. She would be able to go home after persisting for a year. Bai Xiangxiu spent her energy trying to comfort herself as she thought through things. But regardless of how much she had comforted herself, when the prince appeared, her heart started pounding like a bass drum. Her tense face blushed crimson as her pulse raced. Plain and simple, she was scared.
Seeing her crimson face, the prince just interpreted her reaction as shyness. Truth be told, he was also a little embarrassed. For a man who’d never tasted the delights of women, he was looking forward to his first time, but he was also inevitably feeling a strange, nerve-wracking feeling. He was even a bit frightened. Perhaps due to the instincts of a man, he relaxed a bit when seeing her this shy. He sat down after entering the residence and calmly stated, “Come sit and eat dinner with me.”
She was not a wife, so this young lady might have taken propriety into account and quietly sat in the back and served herself her own dishes. He would be doing this and that later on with her, so it wouldn’t be too good for the two to be too distant from each other. As his thoughts reached this particular point, a crimson reminiscent of a sunset slowly drifted into his cheeks. He hastily peeled off his overcoat and sat down, not daring to look at Bai Xiangxiu’s face.
Bai Xiangxiu was fully aware of his ultimate goal, hence she didn’t dare to look up into the prince’s face either. The two just stared at the dishes being placed on the table and began to eat silently.
The dishes tasted good. She had had the servants pay special care to the preparation since the ingredients had been provided by the prince. It was visually appealing, smelled fragrant and tasted delicious. It was a shame that it was served to two customers who had no sense of smell nor taste, and who had no idea of what they were eating.
After the awkwardly silent meal was cleared away, the atmosphere immediately became ten times more awkward. The inexperienced Long Heng was furiously trying to recall, you don’t do the deed straight after eating, right? Shouldn’t you first cultivate the appropriate mood? Hence his face became more serious as his mind worked aggressively to think of a conversation starter.
Bai Xiangxiu was the same, rolling the handkerchief in her hand almost into a ball but still not knowing what to do. When she saw the color in his face, it struck her that he wasn’t planning on leaving soon. She knew it. She was done for.
Since she was done for, then she had be a bit stronger and not leave a bad impression. When the time comes…
Wait, what on earth did not leaving a bad impression mean?! How does one leave a good impression in these matters? She had no idea, alright?? Whatever, don’t they all say to leave this kind of matter to the man…
She lifted her head slightly. She was right the first time, this man was indeed quite cold and handsome! However, his face was a bit overly structured and seemed to be a little too fierce—so fierce that others couldn’t detect even a drop of tenderness.
But that pair of enthralling eyes added much life to him. Whenever he gazed up her, she could feel the waves of romance radiating off of him, as if she was an inordinate beauty.
Oh no, no. The male lead was the male lead alright. She only felt that he was frightening when she normally didn’t dare look at him closely. Now that she was assessing him carefully, she realized that he was a finer male specimen than the supporting male lead.
The only issue was that she was dared not feast on this buffet meant for the female lead. What if he realized one day that the female lead was his true love; wouldn’t that mean that she would be that much closer to her death? But if she rejected him whilst he had feelings towards her, then she was still digging her own grave. She had begun to accept her fate at this point, but her heart still swiveled between two attitudes. Being proactive and passive were two entirely different concepts, she understood that now.
Fortunately, the prince didn’t instantly want to do anything with her. Instead, he said, “ How has your calligraphy been going? Why don’t you go write a few words for me to see.”
“Of course.” Bai Xiangxiu let out her breath and went behind the writing desk to write a few words. However, when she lifted her head ,she discovered that Long Heng had already walked in front of her.
Those two were very close and she immediately became very nervous. She became flustered, hurriedly taking a step back. But Long Heng was accustomed to her scared reactions by now. He had also come by the unusual notion that she would hurt herself once she panicked. As such, he held onto her shoulders, a desk between them, as he not quite shouted “Don’t move”.
An accident did actually end up befalling Bai Xiangxiu. She tripped over the chair and started falling backwards. Unbeknownst to her, Long Heng had reached her shoulder at the same time. Her not-so-durable clothes instantly ripped open with an audible tearing sound.
Clothes were quite depressing in the olden days, as they had to be worn in layers. A white top and verdant undergarment quickly made their appearance-. This made Long Heng’s breathing hitch, the pure white flash of her nape almost forcing him to the edge of his willpower. He stretched out and picked her up, rushing for the bedroom without care if there were people next to him.
Bai Xiangxiu stiffened, she didn’t know where to go even if she wanted to cry. She could only duck her head and shy away from looking at him, clenching her two hands into tight fists. She looked ridiculously cute in this way. Long Heng looked at her attentively, carefully placing her on the bed. As nervous as he was, he still was a man. He only felt his whole body become taut with energy now, with no place to vent his emotions.