Chapter 73: Disillusioned
At first, she had thought that even if Shi Fengju did not go to accompany Gu Fangzi at Peony Park tonight, he would at least have a meal with her before resting in the study room. Unexpectedly, when dinner time was nearing, Shi Fengju sent someone to inform Sang Wan to wait and eat together with him. Bewildered, Sang Wan’s eyes were wide open, and she thought she had heard wrong.
Zhide, Liu Ya, Hong Ye, and the rest rejoiced. Nanny Li was even more glad, and she was grinning from ear to ear. “Ma’am, laonu will go and have the kitchen prepare the dishes that you and Young Master would like to have!”
Sang Wan was at a loss for words, and she could not refuse. As such, she smiled and nodded slightly.
“Ma’am, this shows that in Young Master’s heart, no one is above you! Now, all that’s left is to let all the servants see! Then we’ll see who still dares to climb over their master’s head! Please don’t blame laonu for saying too much, but tonight, Ma’am should take more initiative…”
Nanny Li could not help but walk up to Sang Wan and whisper in her ear.
“I understand! Nanny!” Sang Wan smiled. But she thought to herself, No one is above me? If I’m truly so important in his heart, then Gu Fangzi wouldn’t have been able to marry in at such a time!
However, Nanny Li did not know Shi Fengju himself was already extremely clear about the instructions she gave to Sang Wan. He knew that by the time Gu Fangzi married in, the servants below would surely look down on Sang Wan and secretly talk behind her back while making things difficult for her. And because of that, he would have to express his attitude—to show everyone that they should think twice before attempting to humiliate and insult the ma’am of the household!
His doing so was for the peace of his household and to prevent any internal dispute. Shi Fengju used such a reason to convince himself. As to whether his heart felt the same way, he did not wish to search deeply for an answer.
The two had dinner together and sat down to have tea in a comfortable pavilion.
Seeing Shi Fengju conversing quite a lot with her with no intentions to leave at all, she could not help but feel somewhat puzzled. Since the servants were not around, she could not hold it anymore and asked, “Sir, aren’t you going to see Sister for a bit?”
“Sister?” Shi Fengju was startled for a moment, but he quickly realized whom she was referring to.
He raised his brows and pressed them slightly together. “I went to see her before dinner. Today must’ve tired her out, and I think she might be asleep by now, so there’s no need for me to go over!”
“Oh!” Sang Wan answered plainly. So that’s why ah! He sure knows how to take account of others and care for them.
Shi Fengju could not help but feel somewhat dejected as he looked at Sang Wan. He actually did not mean to say that, but the words just seemed to come out of his mouth the way they did. Although Sang Wan’s expression might not have changed, she must be thinking that he was just giving her an excuse, her tone gave away such thoughts. But even so, he did not know where to start.
“How come you’re calling her ‘sister’ now?” Shi Fengju asked.
“What?” Sang Wan was startled and answered with a slight sneer, “When you weren’t back, Mother told me to do so. Now that you’re back, it has become an imperative!”
Shi Fengju was at a loss for words. Looking straight into Sang Wan’s eyes, he felt deeply ashamed. He understood what she meant. Mother’s instruction was not something she could go against, but at that time, her heart still had a glimmer of hope—and that was him. She had thought that he would honor the agreement between them and change what was already planned before when he returned!
Indeed, he did have that intention as he hurried back to stop all this from happening. As a merchant, regardless towards whom, his bones were accustomed to always put a promise above the rest.
However, no one had thought that Gu Fangzi’s father would pass away. But in the face of her teary expression as well as her complaints, there was no way he could reject her. And thus, things became the way they were now.
Shi Fengju moved his lips a little. He really wished to say a word of apology, but he had already said that numerous times, and Sang Wan would definitely not buy it. Saying any more would just be useless.
As such, he just acted foolishly and let out a cough before smiling at her. “How was the set of travel notes that I brought back? Do you like it?”
Oh, trying to change the topic? I haven’t even said anything about that cousin of yours!
“En, it’s quite good! Thank you for having the heart to do so.” Sang Wan nodded.
“That’s good,” Shi Fengju’s eyes glistened. “That is the most popular set of travel notes in the capital recently. After it was published, it was instantly sold out around the globe. It took some effort to get my hands on one.”
“Then it must’ve been worth a lot, am I right? I’ve made you spend a princely sum!” Sang Wan raised her head and laughed.
Seeing that she was being so polite yet a little unfriendly caused Shi Fengju to be slightly at a loss. But swiftly, he recovered and said, “Yes, I don’t mind it. I’ve brought quite a number of things back from my trip, but because I didn’t have the time, they were still left in the study room. Tomorrow, I’ll have someone carry them over. Just arrange them however you wish and gift them to the other members of the family!”
“Okay.” Sang Wan nodded.
Shi Fengju saw that she was starting to shift a little away from him. No matter the amount of enthusiasm he put in, it would all be shattered into fragments by her. The conversation continued for a little while before Shi Fengju finally lost it, and he got up. “Rest early tonight! I’ll be going back to the study room. I’ll be back tomorrow night!” After some thought, he added, “Fangzi’s still my mother’s niece. Even if I don’t take her into consideration, I still have to take into account my mother’s reputation.”
Sang Wan was startled. Was he trying to explain to her? She didn’t hear him wrongly, did she? Wasn’t Gu Fangzi the person whom he cared for the most? Why would he—
When she recovered, Shi Fengju had already left.
Sang Wan lowered her head and tried to digest what he had said. The corner of her lips rose slightly, and her heart slowly felt a strange feeling. It was indescribable; it was slightly sour, but it had a hint of sweetness, along with a tiny bit of sadness.
Whether his words were spoken from impulse or not, Sang Wan didn’t wish to dive in deeper. There was no use in guessing because that wouldn’t prove anything at all.
Once Shi Fengju left the small garden, he looked back at the brightly lit house and smiled bitterly before letting out a sigh. Looking back in front, he lowered his head and softly called out Sang Wan’s name twice before cupping his hands to the back as he slowly headed to the study room.
His cousin Gu Fangzi. He had completely seen her true colors!
Originally, he thought that marrying her was something he desired most, and it would be the happiest day of his life! But today, as he stood behind the lush greenery watching the small sedan enter the household, his heart was so calm that there was not a single ripple in it, almost as if it had nothing to do with him! He even doubted whether the choice he made to marry her was right or not.
When he reached Peony Park, he stood at the back, quietly watching her as she cussed loudly without a stop. At that moment, there were only two words in his mind: She’s “absurd”!
Never had he thought that she would actually have such a side to her. In places where he could not see, she was clearly like a vicious shrew.
Shi Fengju shuddered uncontrollably at the thought. This was the woman that he had liked for many years! How did he end up liking such a woman! Recalling all sorts of things from the past, he wondered, just what kind of affection did he have for her?
Shi Fengju was confused. All he felt in his heart was emptiness. Some things were never like what one had imagined. He wanted to see clearly, yet his sight was blurred by a layer of fog.
He did not allow Lan Xiang to report his presence. Instead, he chose to silently leave by himself.
At a turn, the filths gradually drifted away, and in his mind, another figure subconsciously appeared. This time, there were all sorts of impressions and memories. There were smiles which were like blooming flowers, and there was her bashful expression when she was shy. There were also times when she acted with restraint, gentleness, elegance, and bitterness. All these belonged to one person—Sang Wan.
At this moment, without his knowing, she had already filled every corner of his heart. Thinking about her, his entire heart would flutter.
He could not help but begin paying attention to her, only to find out that her every movement, every gesture, and every expression had always attracted him. From just a short meal and a short chat, Shi Fengju was able to confirm the fact that she had already entered his heart without his knowing!
What one desired, one would have to fight hard for them to pursue them! That was the spirit of the Shi family, and it was also something Shi Fengju had always believed in as a businessman. Of course, it did not just apply to business; it could also be used in other places as well.
He was never one who was willing to force himself. Just like when he had to marry the woman his parents had arranged for, he treated that woman coldly and gave all his heart to his beloved cousin, and that was something he had always planned to continue! But now, after realizing that the one whom he had liked for so many years was not like he had imagined, he would do the same and not deceive himself!
Shi Fengju suddenly felt regretful. He regretted knowing too late, right on the very day when the ceremony was already held! If he had seen through this earlier than today, he would definitely not have welcomed Gu Fangzi in. Unfortunately, it was too late!
Fortunately, there was still three years, and that was ample time to change many things! If he still was not able to settle this in three years, then even he would look down on himself.
That evening, Shi Fengju, Sang Wan, and Gu Fangzi were destined to have a sleepless night. Shi Fengju kept tossing and turning, but his head was filled entirely with Sang Wan. Occasionally, he would ponder and smile, and then he would frown and sigh. Such a sensation was something he had never felt before. Sang Wan had the most tumultuous feelings, and she was extreme difficulty because she did not know whether she should remain conflicted!
As for Gu Fangzi? Her mind was calm and clear as she schemed in her head. She was making plans on how she should go about with her upcoming days! She thought that to obtain something, she would have to fight for it. The difference between Shi Fengju’s and her ideologies was that she would do so using any means possible!
Early the next morning, Gu Fangzi got up. She picked a set of pale green top and white dress before ordering Lan Xiang to comb her hair.
Looking into the mirror like an unmarried girl as her hair was combed, there was regret and hatred within her. if not for that damn old geezer dying at such a time, she would be seeing Shi Fengju right behind her through the mirror as she was putting on her makeup, and they would have been at their peak of ecstasy last night!
Damn old geezer! He was already a burden while he was alive. To think that he would not let her live her life peacefully even in death! Gu Fangzi could not help but scowl.