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Chapter 30: First Kiss
The next few days Su Shuilian was busy cleaning the whole house. As for Lin Si Yao, he was in the courtyard setting the bricks. These bricks were bought from a peddler, so the price was not high. However, it did not include installation, so Lin Si Yao pulled his sleeves up as he dutifully worked using the hands that were familiar with a knife. Lin Si Yao worked on the pavement in the back and the front of house.
The man-tall phoebe fence was already installed around the whole house. The top was as sharp as thorns, and the bottom firmly planted in the ground. Each stake had a palm’s width with two finger’s space in between. This allowed air circulation and inside the fence one could still feel the blowing breeze. From the outside, one could faintly see the courtyard scenery, but would be hard to make out the details. This way, they can be both safe and comfortable.
Feng Laoliu liked this setup so much that he had praised it to no end. He even added that, when he were to redo his house, he would do the same. Lin Si Yao paid his wage for the day and gave him the leftover half of a phoebe tree to him. Feng Laoliu thanked him profusely before he picked up the timber and rushed back home to his wife with the happy news.
Su Shuilian laughed incessantly at the sight.
“Did you tell them the lumber came from?” Su Shuilian asked.
Lin Si Yao took a long look at her before shaking his head. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to share resources, but because it was dangerous. Even though the tiger was already gone, he was unsure if there would be other powerful beasts in that forest. It may be profitable in the short term, but what if one day someone lost his life because of it?
“Nm, I also think it is best not to tell them, what if…” Su Shuilian also thought of the same possibility, “You too, don’t go there anymore.” She looked at Lin Si Yao in worry as she softly advised.
“Nm.” Lin Si Yao nodded. If there was no longer a need, then he will not enter it again.
Su Shuilian stopped only when the three main rooms and the kitchen were at long last clean without a speck of dust.
“Whew!” She let out a breath as she kneaded her sore back and legs.
The past five days she had been cleaning non-stop. Every day, the wood would always produce some dust, but with her continuous cleaning, Su Shuilian saw less and less of it. And today, when she walked in, it seemed to be quite clean, but she still picked up a towel and wiped the furniture. After sweeping the stone tile floor did she finally stop to rest.
“A Yao, let’s rest a bit.” After Su Shuilian washed her hands and face, she filled a basin with clean water. She twisted the wet towel as she handed it to Lin Si Yao who was in the backyard making a narrow brick path towards the river bank.
Lin Si Yao stopped and got up; his face was covered with sweat. He took the wet towel from Su Shuilian and wiped his face. Suddenly, as if he had now realised something, he pulled Su Shuilian’s hands and stared at them.
“A Yao?” Su Shuilian was puzzled. Was there something wrong with her hands? She was only wiping the furniture and sweeping the floor; there shouldn’t be any wounds. It had just turned a bit rough.
Yes, it was because seeing that her once white and tender hands had turned a bit rough did Lin Si Yao frown.
“It’s nothing. Didn’t you see how Aunt Lao and the others have calluses on their hands?” Su Shuilian was a bit embarrassed by his stare. She tried to pull her hands back, but Lin Si Yao grasped onto them even tighter.
“You are different.” Lin Si Yao whispered. She is different, she should be protected and not do such rough labor.
“There is no difference, A Yao. I really do like this kind of life.” Hearing the self-blame in his voice, Su Shuilian held onto Lin Si Yao’s hands. His own hands, didn’t they also get more rough these days too?
“You really… like?” Lin Si Yao looked up and asked as Su Shuilian continued to examine his hands.
Su Shuilian nodded, her neck tinged with a light blush.
Lin Si Yao sighed as he embraced her, “You should have a better life, not…”
“I like it now. A Yao, although my past was more leisurely, it wasn’t this happy.” Su Shulian buried her head in his chest as she said in a muffled voice. The previous Su Shulian had never stuck her hands in the running water (led a pampered life). With her daily necessities provided, it was considered a noble lifestyle. But now that she had arrived here, she experienced for the first time simple, yet fulfilling happiness. Was it because of this man? He was able to provide her a feeling of safety and comfort like no one before.
The sun was setting as they stood next to the river bank, enveloped by the fragrance of herbs as it rose to the skies.
The two remained silent in each other’s embrace. Although they said no words, they were aware of each other’s feelings.
Hand in hand till death. At times, it was a simple thing to do, other times, it would never be achieved even in a whole lifetime.
“Aunt Lao, thank you very much.” Su Shuilian received Madam Lao’s gift of a pair of candles. It was to congratulate them in moving into the house in a few days.
It was Fan Hau Town’s unwritten rule; whenever a new house is built, the village would gift a pair of candles. It was used to burn as a ritual and only after would it be considered auspicious.
“What kind of words is that? It’s just a pair of candles! Although my eldest son can’t do much, but this kind of plaything, he is good at.” Aunt Lao smiled as she joked about her son, inside, she continuously praised Su Shuilian’s newly furnished house.
“Aunt Lao, we think we will move in after three days. Do you think that would be appropriate?” Su Shuilian poured her a cup of water.
“After three days? The eighth day of the eighth month*? That’s a great date!” Aunt Lao patted her thighs. The eighth day of the eighth month was a very auspicious day, suitable for moving in and marriage.
(This is based on the chinese lunar calendar)
“That uh, girl… don’t blame this Aunt for being nosy, but when do you and Lin Gongzi plan to marry?” Aunt Lao asked in a quiet voice, her eyes looking into the room with a single large bed.
When Su Shuilian was reminded of this, did she finally remember. These days, other than being busy with cleaning the house, they were also busy purchasing small household objects at the plaza and had completely forgotten about it. However, Su Shuilian’s mouth twitched; Lin Si Yao did not mention about it either.
“Listen to me, since you are engaged, why not do them both on the same day, it would be easier that way! Because if you were to set it on another day, in a single bed… it would not be comfortable sleeping right? Also, it wouldn’t be good if others were to find out…” Aunt Lao took the courage to say the words from her heart.
She viewed Su Shuilian as a maiden.They didn’t have many interactions, but Su Shulian still gave her a set of four cotton towels. Although the Hua House had gone back on their contract, she still insisted on giving her the gift that she already prepared. Who wouldn’t like this kind of generous and understanding girl? It was then Aunt Lao and Su Shuilian had gotten even closer.
“Okay, I will go discuss it with A Yao later. It’s just… Would it be too rushed?” Su Shuilian nodded her head, expressing that she would consider Aunt Lao’s proposal. However, with their house almost done and the date of their moving in already settled, adding a marriage celebration to that… would they have enough time to prepare for it?
“Is there something you want to tell me?” Taking in the dried firewood and washing his hands, Lin Si Yao walked in seeing Su Shuilian’s hesitant look. Seeing that she had something to say, he sat beside her and took her hands. He gently pressed on a few acupuncture points for enhanced blood flow as he quietly asked.
“A Yao…” Su Shuilian took several breaths and looked down, “We… we…”
“Our wedding arrangements?” Seeing her red flushed face, he accurately guessed.
“Eh? How did you know? Did you hear Aunt Lao’s words?” Su Shuilian looked up in surprise.
Lin Si Yao smiled as he shook his head. He helped gather her loose hair in front of her face and pushed it back behind her ear.
“You, what do you plan to do?” Su Shuilian loosened her shoulders.
“Marry the same day we move in.” Lin Si Yao continued to press her acupuncture points.
“Then why did…” you not mention anything? Su Shuilian swallowed the rest of her words back, because Lin Si Yao looked up. His shining eyes looked straight at her.
“Shuilian…” Lin Si Yao called her name in a low voice. “The two of us… I am a orphan, and you… I was afraid that in the future you…”
“A Yao.” Su Shuilian rushed to rebut his fears, “You… was my confession unclear before?” It was as if she was almost growling in anger, “Or is it that you think I will become a burden, then I….woo…”
Lin Si Yao leaned over and sealed her mouth with his lips. This silly woman, why is it that she always misunderstand his words. Was his usual actions unclear to her?
Taking advantage that Su Shuilian was stunned at his sudden kiss, Lin Si Yao slipped in his tongue and intertwined it with hers. Only when she had difficulty breathing did he stop. However, he refused to leave her charming and tender lips.
“You are mine, Shuilian.” With a low sigh, Lin Si Yao gently whispered in her ears.
Su Shuilian blushed red as she hurriedly buried her head into his chest. He…he actually kissed her. Wasn’t this kind of thing something only husbands and wives do in private?
“In three days, we will wed, do you have any more questions?” Lin Si Yao stroked her cheeks, as he laughed and asked.
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