Third Old Mistress Shi did not want to say anything at first but now that someone had finally displayed concern for her, who had suffered an entire night of grievances, was there any way for her to hold herself back? She sighed and said, “Exactly! We were busy unpacking until late at night, and did not realise that it was past dinner time. The dishes sent by the kitchen had turned cold, so I sent Nanny Gui to make us a bowl of noodles! Who knew that a rude servant would run into her while she was on her way back. The noodles were scattered and Nanny Gui ended up twisting her lower back! I’m not afraid of my words being laughed at, but our Xiao Lin* had never gone through such hardships; there’s no way she wouldn’t start throwing a tantrum!” Third Old Mistress Shi smiled and sighed again, “Luckily, you came with these cakes. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t know what to do with that child!”
(*TLN: More intimate way of calling Shi Yulin)
“Oh, so that’s the reason!” Upon realization, Gu Fangzi quickly returned a smile, “It really is such a coincidence! But I’m no outsider, why would I laugh at your words? Not just a growing child like Fourth Sister, even adults will find it difficult to bear with the hunger. If you don’t mind, I have a small kitchen at my place. I’ll have Lan Xiang cook and return with a bowl of noodles! However, I only have vegetables there!”
“Aiya, how can I trouble you any further! Don’t worry, these desserts are enough, really!” Third Old Mistress Shi refused with a smile
“Third Aunt, please don’t see me as an outsider,” Gu Fangzi smiled and said, “The fire in my small kitchen is readily available; it’ll be done very quickly! It’s no trouble at all! How can a few of these desserts suppress your hunger? Even drinking a mouthful of hot soup will be much better! Anyway, Third Uncle doesn’t eat sweet food, I’m sure he’s hungry!”
“Haha, Fangzi, then we’ll have to trouble you this time! I won’t be polite then, there’s no need to be too particular, just any bowl of noodles will do! Speaking of which, I really am hungry!” Third Old Master Shi smiled at a side.
Gu Fangzi was delighted and smiled, “My thanks to Third Uncle for not seeing me as an outsider!” After that, she ordered Lan Xiang to go back and cook a bowl of noodles.
Lan Xiang agreed and left hurriedly.
“I’m really grateful towards you!” Third Old Mistress Shi thanked Gu Fangzi, which Gu Fangzi accepted humbly.
Now that they were finally about to eat dinner, Third Old Mistress Shi did not allow Shi Yulin to eat too many of the desserts and asked Ying Xia to keep them away. Shi Yulin heard that they were going to have noodles and remained well-behaved.
Not long after, Lan Xiang returned with a meal box. This time, nothing went wrong.
A porcelain bowl full of piping hot noodles was placed on the table. The aroma filled the air and the third family could not help but salivate: Not eating a meal had really made them famished!
Ying Xia went forward hurriedly, and together with Lan Xiang, they divided the noodles into smaller porcelain bowls. Even though it was a bowl of vegetable noodles, it was cooked in sesame oil and sauce together with fresh bamboo, mushroom, black fungus, and green vegetables. Together with it were a few plates of crunchy dried carrots, chopped turnips cooked in sesame oil, sour and spicy kelp, and other side dishes. Altogether, it was a hearty meal.
The moment the piping hot noodles and soup went down their mouths, it warmed and filled their stomachs, making them feel entirely happy.
“Fangzi, I’m really grateful towards you tonight! See here, we ended up still troubling you!” When Gu Fangzi bade farewell, Third Old Mistress Shi and her daughters sent her off personally until the gate. Third Old Mistress Shi then held Gu Fangzi’s hand and thanked her profusely.
“Third Aunt, listen to what you are saying! As a junior, I should show filial respect to my seniors. This small matter is not worth mentioning or remembering, so if you continue to, I’d feel embarrassed!” Gu Fangzi smiled became even more gentle and humble.
“Hehe, good, good! Then Third Aunt will not speak of it anymore!” Third Old Mistress Shi laughed wholeheartedly, and said gently, “It’s dark at night and the roads might be slippery, so please be careful on your way!”
“En, “ Gu Fangzi smiled and said, “I will be careful. I’m sure you’re all tired. Don’t worry and go back in to rest! I will pay a formal visit again another day.”
“What formal visit, just come whenever you’re free. We can chat to pass the time!” Third Old Mistress Shi smiled and said.
Gu Fangzi laughed and said, “Okay, Fangzi would love to!” After she finished, she smiled and left with Lan Xiang.
Looking at them as they walked further and further, Third Old Mistress Shi could not help but sigh softly to herself: What a wonderful young girl. In the future, I wonder who is blessed to have her!
Having only returned to the household not too long ago, they had no idea that Gu Fangzi and Shi Fengju were childhood sweethearts, and knew nothing about the fact that Gu Fangzi had already been married into the Shi Household.
Those at Ning Garden were oblivious to the chaos and turn of events in Ji Cui Tower. Shi Fengju’s eyes were only feasting on the sight of the wife who he had longed for. After Nanny Gui left, he kept urging Sang Wan to take a bath. Of course, the two knew what was to come after.
Sang Wan quietly glared at him bashfully, but Shi Fengju was feeling so happy to the point he almost could not hold his happiness in. He wanted to pull her into his embrace and become intimate with her.
The hot steam spiraled up from the bath. Flower nectar, soap, moisturiser, towel, and robe were all ready for use. Sang Wan took off her coat and hung it on the frame decorated with jade orchid and parrots. Seeing how Liu Ya was still fidgeting at a side, she smiled and asked, “Why aren’t you going out yet? What are you dawdling here for?”
The Sang family was never particular and did not reach the level of needing someone to serve them when they took a bath. As such, Sang Wan never allowed anyone to watch while she took a bath.
“Oh…” Liu Ya pouted her small lips, and answered dully.
“What happened to you all of a sudden?” Sang Wan could not help but laugh, “Did someone bully you?” If it were before, Liu Ya’s expression would have made Sang Wan distressed as she would believe that someone had bullied her servant. But now that Liu Ya was under the protection of Nanny Li, Sang Wan believed that there would not be anyone who were blind enough to bully her. Thus, Sang Wan was jesting.
“Young Mistress!” Liu Ya could no longer restrain herself and went closer to ask Sang Wan in a soft voice, “That, erm, that —— did you and Young Master——?”
Sang Wan’s face and neck immediately turned red, and she lowered her head guiltily to avoid Liu Ya’s gaze.
“Young Mistress!” Liu Ya panicked and stammered, “Didn’t you say that you and Young Master were a fake couple? So how come——?” She mumbled softly, “No wonder I could not find that bed sheet at all…”
“Liu Ya!” San Wan took a few deep breaths to calm herself before looking straight at Liu Ya, “Forget the words that I said in the past! Treat it as if I had never said them.”
“You and Young Master have already done it—— even if I don’t want to, I’ll still have to forget about it!” Liu Ya mumbled unhappily before smiling again, “Actually, this servant also thinks that Young Master treats you better and better each day. In the future when you give birth to Young Master’s son, he’ll definitely treat Young Mistress even better! Seeing how you and Young Master are now, this servant feels more relieved! You may not know, but this servant has been worried to death thinking about our fate in the future! This is great, now I don’t have to worry about that anymore! Hehe, oh right, there is still Second Young Master Sang. With him, nobody will dare to bully Young Mistress!”
“You!” Sang Wan found it amusing, yet touched as well. She poked Liu Ya’s forehead lightly and laughed, “So you were fidgeting and uneasy for the entire day, just because you wanted to ask me this?”
“Of course!” Liu Ya nodded without hesitation, and exhaled, “I almost suffocated from holding it in!”
Sang Wan could not help but smile as she shook her head.
Liu Ya smiled too, and her expression changed all of a sudden. She had a sullen look on her face as she asked miserably, “Young Mistress, you and Young Master are true to each other now, but, but this servant doesn’t want to!”
“What is it that you do not want?” Sang Wan asked inexpressibly.
“This servant doesn’t want to become Young Master’s concubine!” Liu Ya said, “Young Mistress, you promised this servant, this servant is only loyal to Young Mistress and never had any ulterior motives towards Young Master!”
Sang Wan almost forgot about that. After hearing Liu Ya, Sang Wan was touched. She held her hands and said gently, “We have been together for so many years, don’t you know what kind of person am I? Don’t worry, I will never make you do something against your will.”
“Okay, with Young Mistress’s words, this servant feels much more relieved!” Liu Ya laughed happily and said, “The water will turn cold soon. Young Mistress, quickly have a bath! I will be heading out now!”
Sang Wan smiled. After she saw Liu Ya leave, she took off the rest of her clothes and went into the bathtub. The warm water surrounded her, and the air bubbles floated up the surface. She rested by the side of the bathtub and smiled comfortably.
After taking a bath, Sang Wan climbed onto her bed and covered herself with a blanket before sitting against the headboard as she dozed off. Not long after, Shi Fengju was also done with taking a bath. He returned with a sweet scent as he pulled the blanket over him to cover himself too. He then pulled her close to his chest and hugged her as he called out to her with a smile. He lowered his head and began kissing, traversing between her cheeks and necks longingly.
Sang Wan couldn’t resist wrapping her hands around his neck and welcoming his affection. Her calm breathing soon became heavier, accompanied with the occasional soft moaning.
“Sang Wan, I really love you a lot!” Shi Fengju’s gaze became more intense, and he stared at her with a burning passion. He kissed her luscious red lips deeply, and hugged her as they rolled on the bed and made out passionately. It was a night of pleasure as they were entangled together, enjoying themselves immensely.
When they opened their eyes again, the sky was already bright. During winter, the bed was the best place to cuddle. They continued to be in each other’s embrace as they spoke for a long while before getting out of bed together.
They were more composed today. After all, the maidservants would not know what really happened between them, as well as the changes between them too. If they did not say it out themselves, no one would have dared to guess in that direction. They were the only ones that felt as if they were doing something clandestine the night before.
“Oh right, should we prepare two gifts for Third Uncle, Third Aunt, and our two sisters today? After all, they only moved in yesterday!” Sang Wan asked Shi Fengju during breakfast.
Shi Fengju was suddenly at a loss of what to do and laughed, “Logically, there isn’t any need to because this is Third Uncle and Third Aunt’s home too. If we gave them a gift, it would mean we are regarding them as outsiders. But they just returned home, not giving them a gift will not seem reasonable too! It’s better if you didn’t mention it, but now that you have, I really don’t know what to do too!”
Sang Wan laughed and said, “So there are things that you don’t know too! This is rare! How about we ask Mother and see what she says!”
“That’s good too!’ Shi Fengju smiled and said. They headed to Wang Shi’s place after they were done with breakfast.
It so happened that Shi Yumei was looking for Shi Fengju and she pulled him away while they were on their way. Even though Shi Fengju was not too willing, he did not want to embarrass his sister and could only follow her. Sang Wan was then left to head to Wang Shi’s place alone to give her greeting.
Who knew that Third Old Mistress Shi was at Wang Shi’s place speaking with Wang Shi.