Chapter 62: Clever, Jiaoyue Hides His Feelings
The fragrance emanating from Bai Xiangxiu’s body differed from that of other women. It was fresh and pure like pine and bamboo or cypress, a scent one could only find high in the mountains. The perfume from rouge was so light as to be almost nonexistent. Just where did one raise a girl like this, so sweet and soft to the point she didn’t even seem to have any bones?
He subconsciously tightened his grip, worried that she’d fall.
By the side, the pageboy by his side found the situation amiss. Where was this? The prince’s estate! He could tell that his master’s expression looked fascinated and affected. If anything happened, wouldn’t it offend that strict and rigorous prince? So he hastened to say, “Big sister servant, why aren’t you getting up yet? Sir, you haven’t been hurt, right?”
Song Jiaoyue laughed bitterly as he let go. Still, his heart ached, a dull pain that never seemed to subside. If possible, he really wanted to hold her for the rest of his life.
Xiao Shi really was frightened and jumped up like a hare. “Madame Xiu, are you alright? Did this servant hurt or crash into you?”
“I’m all right. Has Sir Song been injured?” When Bai Xiangxiu saw Xiao Shi get up, she hastened to follow and dutifully backed away, a marked difference from her behavior before of wanting to get close to him.
At this point, Song Jiaoyue seemed to understand why he’d felt a trace of unease when they’d first met. It was because she had been secretly staring at him.
He actually felt unused to her lack of attention now, but at the same time, he began to respect this woman. She could put down her feelings just as she’d taken them up and adapt to the circumstances. What a great difference when compared to him!
Song Jiaoyue felt that he was a man who could only pick someone up and never let them go. “I’m fine, but you…have to take good care of yourself.” His reply was polite but stilted, and he didn’t dare look at her face anymore.
Bai Xiangxiu immediately changed the subject. “Why did Sir Song come by?”
Song Jiaoyue also replied instantly. “Naturally, to inquire after the prince’s injury. Is he better now?”
“Already much better, please come this way,” Bai Xiangxiu was slightly ill at ease. She kept getting the feeling that Sir Song’s gaze was scorching hot. But that had to be a misconception. After all, didn’t he feel nothing? He had no heart. Since he was heartless, she shouldn’t think too much either, or else it’d turn everything into a mess.
She led the way forward like a mistress of the household, while Song Jiaoyue watched her from behind. Her figure was slender and pretty, her long hair dutifully piled up on her head to expose a spotlessly white nape.
This Madame Xiu’s beauty certainly had no equal. No one would be able to ignore her when they faced her! Even Long Heng, his ice-cold friend, was no exception. He only hoped that the other could love her a bit more tenderly.
Soon enough, they arrived at Winter Garden. The doors to the courtyard were wide open, since more people had come to visit since the prince was resting here. Bai Xiangxiu walked in first and found the prince still sitting properly on his bed, reading a book. She had no idea he’d gone out earlier, and made a pretense of asking, “Your Highness, Sir Song has arrived to call on you. I don’t know if…” He should come in, or you should go out?
It was obvious that an injured patient shouldn’t go out, but she had no idea that his recent headstrong actions had worsened his injury to the point where he couldn’t walk.
“Let him come in, you can go rest.” After taking care of matters, she hadn’t come back quickly but had run into Song Jiaoyue instead? He didn’t know why, but his heart constricted again. He was uncomfortable!
Soon afterwards, someone led Song Jiaoyue inside. Song Jiaoyue had long recovered to his usual self and smiled as soon as he entered. “Just where did you get all these injuries?” Although he’d walked in carelessly, his eyes were still darting around to all corners of the room.
This used to be her sleeping quarters, no? But why were there so many flowers and plants in here, to the point that it seemed a little strange? Still, they smelled very nice, as if he’d entered a garden in the full bloom of spring again. His mood instantly improved as he sat by Long Heng’s side to look at his friend. The upturned corners of his lips proved that their owner was feeling happy.
Long Heng only said a few words, “It’s just a minor injury. Look at you, you’ve come visiting this prince’s estate ever since it was built. How did you lose you way into Summer Garden?”
“Summer Garden?” Shoot, he must be overthinking things. He hastily smiled and said, “How could I not know where Summer Garden is? You’re rampantly underestimating my memory. I heard that you were treating your wounds elsewhere, so I took a detour. On my way, I happened to meet…” he paused as he saw Long Heng’s pupils violently contract.
Song Jiaoyue inwardly clenched his fists. Indeed, the other valued her, so he continued, “Madame Xiu seemed like she was about to faint, so I supported her for a bit before we both went this way.” It was better to reveal how he’d held her without trying to hide it, rather than have someone else use it as a pretext for gossip in the future. After all, they couldn’t be sure that no one else had seen them at that moment.
“Faint?” Long Heng grew worried, though not a trace of it appeared on his face. As a man, he naturally refused to be anyone’s laughingstock, but his heart was filled with anxiety.
“Precisely. Let’s not talk about that, were your injuries caused by… that person from the Lin family?” Song Jiaoyue intentionally changed the topic and saw Long Heng’s expression completely change. Honestly speaking, that Miss Lin was really impressive if she could cause his friend’s face to change like this.
This was an unpleasant topic as well. It was obvious Long Heng didn’t want to talk about the details. After the two of them chatted for a while, Song Jiaoyue stood up. He wasn’t the type that normally enjoyed the things in this room, but found his attention drawn to a certain plant. That plant was covered in nothing but thorns. The young lady he’d met by the seaside had taken away something just like this, right?
“What is this?” Anyone would be curious about such a thing, right?
“Huo’er… no, it’s a cactus,” Long Heng had asked about it too, but Madame Bai had actually given the plant a name. He coughed lightly. Did he lose some dignity naming it like that to his friend?
“Cactus? Is it a flower? Or a plant?” He reached out to touch it, but Bai Xiangxiu had long heard their conversation from next door.
“Don’t touch it.” Otherwise he’d be pricked and bleed.
Song Jiaoyue’s fingers stopped very close to the plant, his heart thumping. Was she worried for his sake? But wasn’t she afraid of Long Heng getting angry if she was so obvious? When he turned back, he saw that Long Heng didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. It looked like he trusted her very much. Or perhaps, he knew she’d be like this because she was kindhearted. That’s right, she’d always been a kindhearted girl.
Song Jiaoyue withdrew his hand. “Many thanks for pointing it out. But I’m not sure what the uses of this cactus are?”
So the young lady from the seaside really had been her. Back then, she’d given her all to obtain this thing, as if she liked it very much.
“Cacti have strong survival skills. Originally, they grew in the desert and could be used to treat sunburn. Moreover…” Urk, once she started talking about plants, she couldn’t stop. For a second there, Bai Xiangxiu had almost forgotten about her status. Thankfully, she didn’t say too much and soon shut her mouth, a little embarrassed.
Song Jiaoyue was very happy. Although they were separated by a curtain, this was the first time he’d spoken so many words with her. His heart was filled with delight.