Chapter 33: Happiness Fills the House (1)
The eighth day of the eighth lunar month: A highly auspicious date. Where all endeavors are accomplishable, blessed with good fortune, and smooth sailing.
“A Yao, I heard from Uncle Lao, at Wu time (11am-1pm) we toast the new house, at You time (5pm-7pm) we drink the wedding toasts.” Aunt Lao rushed to Su Shuilian’s house early morning. When she saw Lin Si Yao rectifying the newly made dog house, she grabbed him and asked.
Since that day that they had helped Su Shuilian with the adornment ceremony, she had been requested to stop calling them miss and gongzi, simply using their names would be better.
“Mn.” Lin Si Yao nodded, seeing Aunt Lao panting, he could not help but ask, “Is there a problem?”
“No…” Aunt Lao took a bit to catch her breath. Waving her hands, she asked the question that had bothered her, “Wouldn’t it be better to have both ceremonies at the same time, that way you can save some taels.”
“This was Su Shuilian’s wish.” Lin Si Yao said, interrupting her prattle with a single phrase.
Su Shuilian wanted to use this opportunity to thank everyone. She was grateful to the village elder and his family, Tian House, He House, Fang House, Shui House, Wang House, Feng Laoli and his family, and the innkeeper’s wife and her family. Four banquet tables were just placed in the Ancestral Hall of Fan Hua Town. As for the food, the chef was invited from the innkeeper’s kitchen. They had also brought over the dishes and chopsticks sets needed for the four tables. Of course, they will give him a generous celebratory tip.
“Then…..in terms of silver taels, how much did you have to spend….” Aunt Lao whispered. Seeing that Lin Si Yao had squatted down to lay on a newly made straw mat, no longer paying her any mind, she could only bitterly turn back and go home.
“Was Aunt Lao here just now?” Su Shuilian came out of the kitchen after organizing the oil, rice, and noodles that Lin Si Yao had gotten from the market earlier in the morning. Just as she was about to go to the main room to prepare the items for the housewarming ceremony, she saw Aunt Lao in the distant on the town’s dirt road, making her way back.
“She was here asking why we are having two ceremonies.” Lin Si Yao laid out the straw mat and was thinking about training the wolves starting tomorrow. When he heard Su Shuilian mention Aunt Lao, he smiled and said, “Aunt Lao…. really cares for your silver taels.”
When Su Shuilian saw his eyes full of laughter, she knew that he was joking with her.
“All of my money, is your money too…” Su Shuilian softly grumbled. No longer paying him any mind as she headed into the main room to prepare the items.
How could Lin Si Yao not hear her whispering. He smiled and went to wash his hands before following her into the main room. He carried the fresh pastries, fruits and foods that he had bought in the morning and placed them onto six plates
He neatly placed them on the table on the big kang. Before the food offering was a pair of candles and a small incense burner. He then took the two candles and an incense stick and placed them on the candle holders and incense pot respectively. And right before the table, he placed down a newly woven hemp pad.
Everything was all set, now to await for the event.
“It’s done, go change clothes now.” Realising that they were still in their usual attire, Su Shuilian pulled Lin Si Yao into the bedroom.
She picked out a dark reddish purple robe for him; on it were silver embroidered bamboo. The tie was also the same color. The wide belt had spiral decorative designs on it. It was coupled with a pair of new white socks and new black cloth boots. She then pulled him to the dresser table and motioned him to sit down.
Lin Si Yao looked at her questioningly. Seeing her persistent eyes, he could only obediently, yet awkwardly, sit down in front of the vanity table.
From the drawers, Su Shuilian took out the incense wood comb set given to her by Aunt Tian. She picked out a suitable sized comb and was intending to comb his hair for him.
“Shuilian…” When Lin Si Yao understood her intention, he turned around pulled her closer, “You don’t have to do this.”
“I want to help you comb.” Su Shuilian smiled at him before making him sit in front of the bronze mirror. She untied his hair tie and started to comb his straight, black hair.
Only after combing it exactly 99 times* did Su Shuilian start to tie his long hair up. From the jewelry box, she took out a jasper fastener that she had just bought from the market and gently secured it on his hair bundle.
*(The number 9 sounds just like “longevity” in chinese.)
From the beginning to the end, Lin Si Yao had watched her gently do his hair, only after when she had tied and secured his hair did he turn around and pulled her to his chest.
“A Yao…” Su Shulian pushed at his tight embrace. “It’s my turn to change, it’s almost time.”
After listening to her reasoning, Lin Si Yao reluctantly let her go. Imitating her previous actions, Lin Si Yao picked out a set of clothing that matched his, a red-purple dress with a semi-transparent lavender muslin outer robe. And from the bedside cabinet, he picked out a pair of long white socks. When he turned around, he saw Su Shuilian’s cheeks flush red right before she pushed him out saying, “I… I can do it myself…”
Lin Si Yao faintly smiled at her. When he saw her look down, he asked, “But before, I didn’t kick you out?”
When she heard this, Su Shuilian looked up. How is this the same?
Meeting her gaze, Lin Si Yao raised a brow, as if almost saying: How is it any different?
His movements did not stop either, he helped her to a round stool. He got down and helped her remove her exquisite embroidered flower shoes, then he helped take off her thin socks. He gently stoked her small, white feet, causing Su Shuilian to want to retract her feet in embarrassment, but he firmly held her feet in his hands. Only after feeling/rubbing her feet for a while did Lin Si Yao help put on her set of new socks and embroidered shoes.
Then he got up and took her in front of the vanity table; it was his turn to comb her hair.
“A Yao, I can do this myself.” Su Shuilian had wanted to take the comb from him, but she could not overcome his strength.
“You don’t believe I can comb hair?” Lin Si Yao stood behind her, smiling he said quietly above her head.
Su Shuilian blinked a few times. The Feixian hairdo is hard to make, she had only managed to somewhat learn it after several days of teaching from a skilled maidservant at the inn. However, she looked at Lin Si Yao’s vague reflection in the mirror, pouting, she couldn’t help but think: It seemed that he already had a beloved woman.
Lin Si Yao concentrated on of his left hand as he carefully combed her soft, black, silky hair. He put down the comb after 99 brushes. He then took two sections of her hair and separately twisted them, fixing them in place. He then inserted her favorite jade hairpin. As for the untied hair, he split them into two and placed them in front of her shoulders, allowing them to freely stay there.
“Done.” Lin Si Yao proudly looked at his own masterpiece before looking at Su Shuilain’s face in the mirror, asking, “are you pleased?”
Su Shuilian looked at the mirror in a daze, and didn’t let out a sound.
“What is it? Not good? Then… I’ll let it down.. you can do it yourself…”
“No.” Su Shuilian grasp onto his hands that were about to pull out the pin, and said in a hurry, “Not that it’s bad, it’s really good.”
When he heard this, Lin Si Yao let out a rare smile and laughed.
“A Yao, you…you previously had… previously had a beloved woman?” Su Shuilian could no longer keep in her doubt, if not, then she could not keep her peace of mind. But right after asking, she realised to have picked her wedding date to ask such a suffocating question wasn’t very appropriate. She apologetically looked down.
Lin Si Yao held back his smile and was silently dazed. When he finally realised her meaning, he saw her look down. He found it both aggravating and comical as he squatted down and tilted her chin at him as he said word for word, “Su Shuilian, you are my first, and you will remain my one and only. Do you understand if I say it like this?”
Su Shuilian was hesitant to believe him, as she pointed at her hair and said, “But…”
“I learned by watching when the maidservant was teaching you.” Lin Si Yao’s eyes flashed with a bit of embarrassment. It could be considered as peeking right? When he brought up breakfast for her, he saw that she was learning how to do her hair from a maidservant, so he watched as he silently stood outside her room. After three days of watching, he naturally learned.
“Really?” Su Shuilian tilted her head and asked. She started to blame herself: since when did she become like a jealous wife?
Lin Si Yao did not directly reply, but pulled her up and stole a kiss before he nodded smilingly. He then spontaneously tidied her muslin dress before walking out with her to prepare for the incoming house ceremony.
Wu time, Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao timely made it to the ancestral hall in Fan Hua Town.
The four tables at the hall were already filled and the nine families that they had invited had all arrived.
When they saw the guest of honor promptly arrive on time, they all started to applaud.
The village elder, Wang Gengfa was pushed out by the other families who wanted him to say a few words as a congratulatory speech.
“Cough…. Then uh… I’ll just say a few lines. First of all, we welcome you to our Fan Hua Town, from now on we are one big family. (warm applause) Secondly, thank you for buying our old house for fifteen silver taels. Hehe, this is particularly important, because my son’s marriage has been set! (Roar of Applause) Finally, we congratulate you for moving to a new house. That uh, since our family has yet to give you something, this in-new-housewarming party can not be unattended, so when we get to the marriage ceremony, I’ll get my son to go home and bring you a female goat, this is regarded as our family’s gift to you. (Thundering Applause)”
Everyone had fallen down laughing at Wang Gengfa’s speech. Su Shuilian was smiling while holding back her laughter to the point that her cheeks were blushing. Lin Si Yao patted her stiffened cheeks, finding it funny, as he said, “Laugh if you find it funny, why hold it in?”
“Puchi,” Su Shuilian obediently started to laugh out. She then looked into Lin Si Yao’s smiling eyes and asked, “Moving into Fan Hua Town was the right choice, right?”
Lin Si Yao nodded, his eyes obviously softened.
“Ok, everyone sit down, the banquet will soon begin.” Aunt Lao came out of the kitchen tent and invited everyone to sit.
Immediately, the daughters of the families all came out to place the dishes on the tables.
“How can this do? Let me go help.” When Su Shuilian saw this, she had wanted to quickly get up, but she was held back by Lin Si Yao. “Don’t stress yourself. Previously, Feng Laoliu and I had already discussed about it that these girls will do it, each of them will earn a few coppers in return.”
When Su Shuilian heard that it was like this, she finally sat back down. If it was Feng Laoliu’s suggestion, then it was ok. Spending a few coins was fine, otherwise, the villagers would think they were acting pretentiously, to have just moved in and already ordering the village’s daughters around.
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