Chapter 9/15

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There lay before them a room roughly 50 square meters.

At the other end of the room was a balcony for anyone who wished to enjoy the view in which the house overlooked. There were some black metal chairs and a table on the balcony, with a few potted plants which swayed in the wind.

The chiffon curtains danced around, while the warm sunlight shone upon the spotless wood flooring.

Lin Ruoxi walked into the room and stretched her arm out to touch the relatively old TV frame. On her left lay a huge, two-meter-wide bed.

Wang Ma had changed the bedsheet for her that morning. The three white wardrobes were all filled with Lin Ruoxi’s expensive clothing.

The left corner of the room had a walkway to the changing room and the washroom. There were other things present like the numerous luggage bags that Lin Ruoxi had owned. Wang Ma didn’t dare to touch her stuff without permission, so she left them there.

A landscape western-style painting hung on the wall, right on top of the bed. It was decorated with yellow flowers and mountains, as if exuding an aura of fragrance. In fact, the room was indeed filled with a vague fragrance.

Yang Chen could tell that the scent wasn’t the same as the one found in Lin Ruoxi’s previous room, so it must be left from the original owner.

Of course, although describing it this way was rather strange, a lot of of things that belonged to Xue Zijing, Lin Ruoxi’s mother, were still in this room. For example, some craftwork, certain books she liked when she was still alive, and certain stationeries.

The dressing table was also kept from that era. The mirror had been cleaned, appearing clear and new.

The frame on the bedside table contained an old picture.

Lin Ruoxi walked over there and picked up the frame before sitting down on the soft, huge bed. She touched the three people in the picture while getting absent-minded.

Yang Chen approached her and had a look at the picture. He could recognize the two women inside. One of them was the old CEO while the other was Xue Zijing, the latter of whom was carrying a female baby wrapped in white blanket in her arms. It should’ve been Lin Ruoxi all those years ago.

Xue Zijing at that time looked identical to the Lin Ruoxi now, but she appeared more gentle than Lin Ruoxi, especially because of her faint smile.

Lin Ruoxi muttered something to herself. No one could tell what she had said. She then put down the frame before pulling the drawer open.

Wang Ma hadn’t arranged the stuff inside the drawers as of late. They only moved in yesterday after all, so she hadn’t had the time to clean every nook and cranny of the room. Thus, clouds of dust were sent up when she pulled the drawer.

Lin Ruoxi swept the dust away to have a clearer look at the stuff inside. There was a thick album and a few rose petals which, naturally, had dried up.

My mother-in-law was really a sad lady from a wealthy family. Why did she put rose petals here so randomly? It couldn’t have been decoration for the drawer, could it? Yang Chen thought.

Lin Ruoxi’s attention had been fixed on the album. She was reminded of too many memories upon seeing the picture on the bedside table, so she impatiently took out the album to have a look see.

Lin Ruoxi frowned as she suddenly realized Yang Chen was beside her. She carefully wondered if any embarrassing pictures of her young self were taken. When she couldn’t think of one, she decided to flip open the album.

Yang Chen was also interested in seeing the stuff inside the old album. Thus, he sat on the bed as well and stuffed his butt nearer to Lin Ruoxi.

Lin Ruoxi felt that the bed creak under the extra load. Frowning, she said, “Be more gentle. What if the bed breaks?”

“Will it? We’re not fatties. Moving slightly won’t break this bed,” Yang Chen answered.

“How rough,” Lin Ruoxi said. “Go further away, this is too close. You’re causing me discomfort.”

Yang Chen laughed before saying, “Going further away will decrease the sensation. I’m more comfortable this way.” He felt that their conversation could mean something entirely different. As a result, he burst into laughter once again.

Lin Ruoxi wanted to look at the album, but the fellow beside her started laughing like a maniac. Out of curiosity, she asked, “What happened to you?”

Yang Chen jokingly leaned forward to Lin Ruoxi and whispered to her ear, “What do you think people would imagine if they heard our conversation just now?”

Lin Ruoxi seriously considered the question. When she thought of Yang Chen’s thought process, she instantly understood what he was suggesting. Blushing, she gave Yang Chen an angry stare before deciding to ignore him and flipping the album she was holding open.

The first page of the album surprised the two. It wasn’t a family picture as imagined, but Xue Zijing’s personal portrait instead.

Xue Zijing was dressed in a white and blue school uniform, which looked like one which someone wore while in the navy. She stood outside the gate of a secondary school, with a sweet and faint smile on her face. The picture had yellowed, but one could clearly tell the school was some secondary school from Beijing.

“Your mom is from Beijing?” Yang Chen asked.

Lin Ruoxi thought for a while before shaking her head. “I don’t know. Mom’s family had all migrated abroad. I wasn’t told too much when I was a child, while Grandma and Mom hadn’t bothered to mention it before. But I guess she is.”

As she flipped, most of the pictures were Xue Zijing’s growth process. Although the album wasn’t what the two originally imagined, Lin Ruoxi evidently was interested in her mom’s lifestyle.

This could well be considered a kind of grief. After her mother had died, only did her daughter have the opportunity to witness these memories from the past.

Having flipped through more than ten pages, a few group pictures started showing up.

They found the other lady in the group picture familiar. They then looked at her more carefully. Wasn’t this Guo Xuehua?!

Lin Ruoxi and Yang Chen glanced at each other. The two had heard from Guo Xuehua about her friendship with Xue Zijing before. They were extraordinarily close friends, and this was the confirmation that they had.

The two particularly charming ladies had left numerous memories in each of these pictures. It was their university period. The two still appeared in pictures together, and they were already adults at that time.

“Your mom certainly looks a lot like you,” Yang Chen couldn’t help but praise.

Lin Ruoxi looked at him in dissatisfaction. “What kind of a comparison are you making? It is me who looks similar to her.”

Lin Ruoxi felt joyous when he said this. Deep down her heart, she was proud for having such a beautiful mother. It might be due to this pride that she had seen her mother with so much respect. When Xue Zijing was still alive, she hadn’t had the courage to get close to her often.

Yang Chen smiled awkwardly. No wonder I find the sentence rather weird, he thought.

As Lin Ruoxi flipped the album, there were finally a few changes to the theme of the pictures which had almost instantly stunned both her and Yang Chen.

In one of the pictures, Xue Zijing and Guo Xuehua were standing beside a tall and handsome guy by the lakeside. He looked really mature, possibly considerably older than the two ladies.

This wasn’t something to be surprised about. The main reason was Yang Chen and Lin Ruoxi could recognize the man—Ning Guangyao! Premier Ning?!

Although Ning Guangyao looked better and stronger than he was now, one could clearly tell that his appearance hadn’t changed much.

At that instant, too many thoughts surfaced in Yang Chen’s mind…

During the first time meeting, Ning Guangyao had his gaze fixed on Lin Ruoxi, but that definitely wasn’t the same gaze a man gives to a woman he’s interested in…

After that when Ning Guangyao met Yang Pojun in the military camp, he insisted against the idea of confining Guo Xuehua…

Soon, when Yang Chen followed Lin Ruoxi to visit the tombstones of her grandmother and mother, he noticed the same black Audi under the mountain. Lin Ruoxi also mentioned that redbud flowers were always seen on her mother’s grave…

Yang Chen started with a guess, but he felt that his head had numbed from the realizations. Looking serious, he gazed upon Lin Ruoxi who appeared to be shocked and confused.

Lin Ruoxi failed to notice the change in Yang Chen’s emotions. She was just surprised that her mother used to know Ning Guangyao.

“Wife, don’t look at it anymore. Let’s head downstairs for lunch,” Yang Chen said smilingly as he pressed onto the picture Lin Ruoxi was looking at.

Lin Ruoxi regained awareness as she fronwed. “All you know is eat. What are you rushing for? Wang Ma will call us when lunch is ready.”

“I want to eat your dish,” Yang Chen said seriously.

Lin Ruoxi rolled her eyes. “Stop fooling around. Wang Ma and Mom are both in the kitchen, even Zhenxiu is there to help. I won’t be able to step in. Move your hand away, I’m not done looking at it yet.”

Damn it! Something might really happen if you still look at it! Yang Chen thought.

However, he couldn’t just tear the picture apart or make Lin Ruoxi unconscious. Based on her intelligence, she would definitely find out something abnormal, and investigate the things that he was trying to hide.

Feeling helpless, Yang Chen withdrew his hand, and hoped that nothing shocking would appear next.

However, unfortunate things would always happen at the worst moment…

Lin Ruoxi only flipped one page, before a picture that would cause Yang Chen have the urge to smash the bed appeared…

It was a relatively large picture. This time, Guo Xuehua didn’t appear. Only Xue Zijing and Ning Guangyao were inside!

More shockingly, Xue Zijing was leaning against Ning Guangyao’s chest slightly, while Ning Guangyao was obviously in love from the look in his eyes.

This picture must’ve been taken in a photo studio. In that era, except couples, who else would take such a marriage-like picture in a studio?!

On the blank part of the picture, a beautifully written note by a pen could be found.

“I live upstream and you downstream by Yangtze Blue.

“Day after day of you I think,but you are not in my view,

“Although as one we drink

“The water clear of River Blue.

“When will the water no longer flow?

“When will my grief no longer grow?

“I wish your heart be but like mine,

“Then not in vain for you I pine.…”

[Poem translation credit: an anonymous from zybang.com]

When Lin Ruoxi finished speaking these lines of the poem her originally pinkish cheeks had turned pale. Her lips shivered a little as she held the album with both of her hands. Her fingers were bent slightly while her entire body had stiffened.

The room was so silent that calling it pin drop silence was a gross understatement.

Yang Chen could hear Lin Ruoxi’s heartbeat. He knew how hesitant, astonished, and disturbed she was.

“Erm… Babe Ruoxi, what does this poem mean?” Yang Chen tried to distract her attention so that she could relax.

After a long while, Lin Ruoxi still hadn’t given Yang Chen an answer, but flipped to the next page instead…

This time, there were a few small pictures, with all of them showing Xue Zijing and Ning Guangyao happily interacting with each other. A few of them were even taken by their own. It was clear that they were no strangers to affection.

At last, there was finally a different picture. It was an incomplete one…

The picture was torn in half, leaving Xue Zijing alone in the picture. She was wearing a white floral skirt which matched her aura, while her smile was just like a blooming flower.

There was someone beside her, but was torn away.

This picture was stuffed in the middle of the album, and wasn’t properly clipiped, which allowed Lin Ruoxi to notice the messy handwritten poem written behind. “Though I have a thousand amorous feelings to confide, whom can I tell them to?”

[TL note: This poem is cut in half. The other half is probably in the part that was torn away. Original: In the parting year, even fine moments and beautiful scenes mean nothing to me. Though I have a thousand amorous feelings to confide, whom can I tell them to?]