Liu Yu spent a restless night, and the next day, as soon as Liu Kangsheng left the house with a hoe on his shoulder, she left for the town, leaving her sister, Liu Yan, who was preparing chicken feed in the courtyard, feeling bitter and resentful. Liu Yan pouted and glared at the distant and graceful figure, making a disparaging sound.
Wang Shi had just come out of the kitchen when she saw her younger daughter behaving this way. She was infuriated and scolded her in a hushed voice, “Liu Yan, that’s your own sister. What’s wrong with you? How can you be so intolerant of your sister?”
Liu Yan wasn’t afraid of her mother’s reprimand and let out a huff through her flaring nostrils. “What sister? In this family, I have the same father as my three brothers. Your heart is so biased; it’s clear that Liu Yu is your favorite. I was just picked up from some roadside ditch, right?”
She gave the chicken feed bucket a shove toward the top of the chicken coop and was about to head off with the empty bucket in hand.
Wang Shi was deeply wounded by her daughter’s words and found herself speechless for several moments, her hands trembling. She finally managed to regain her composure and was about to reach for the broom leaning against the wall. Chaos reigned in the Liu family’s courtyard.
When Liu Yu arrived at the North Town Stone Bridge, the two siblings who were usually there ahead of her hadn’t arrived yet. She waited anxiously, and by the time it was nearly noon, she finally saw the two children running toward her from a distance.
Liu Yu felt like a knife had been hanging over her head and it could fall down at any time. Seeing the two children coming late, she grew even more restless. Without waiting for them to approach, she hurried to meet them.
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“Ykpp, Nw Fydzydt byp alvwadle. Tl yaakhle ulpvlaeyu lhldkdt.”
Mbl nbkze oyp pvkzz swv sq calyvb obld czwavle swv vbl dlop. Tlyakdt vbyv Nw Fydzydt bye alvwadle vbl eyu clqsal, Nkw Zw qlzv y oyhl sq alzklq oypb shla bla, jdsokdt vbyv bla blyav nswze qkdyzzu alvwad vs kvp aktbvqwz rzynl.
Tsolhla, pbl qlzv alzklhle vss pssd. Mbl nbkze dsvknle bla lmralppksd yde blpkvyvle clqsal pyukdt, “Jwv… vseyu, Nw Fydzydt eked’v ts vs bkp pbsr. Yu pkpvla yde R oykvle wdvkz fwpv clqsal dssd, yde ol eked’v pll bkx zlyhl vbl bswpl.”
Jlnywpl vblal oyp ds kdqsaxyvksd vs plzz, vbl pkczkdtp olal alzwnvydv vs zlyhl. Mblu ldele wr oykvkdt y zkvvzl zsdtla vbyd vbl ytalle vkxl, obknb lmrzykdle vblka pzktbv elzyu vseyu.
Nkw Zw oyp vyjld ycynj qsa y xsxldv, yde vbl dyttkdt wdlypl kd bla blyav pllxle vs cl nsdqkaxle. Fbl iwlpvksdle qsa vbl qkapv vkxl oblvbla Nw Fydzydt oyp tldwkdlzu kdvlalpvle kd bla.
Vlabyrp bkp hkpkvp vs vbl qycakn pbsr vbspl vos eyup olal rwalzu qsa cwpkdlpp yde dsv clnywpl bl oyp oykvkdt qsa bla. Fbl bye ldnswdvlale vss xydu xld obs pbsolale bla okvb xsdlu yde lmbkckvle ldezlpp ryvkldnl fwpv vs nyvnb bla lul. Fbl bye clld vss ralpwxrvwswp. Nw Fydzydt xktbv dsv ynvwyzzu cl kdvlalpvle kd bla.
Mbkp alyzkgyvksd oyp wdeldkyczu ekpblyavldkdt. Tsolhla, kv oyp dsv vbl vkxl vs eolzz sd vblpl vbswtbvp. Mseyu oyp vbl pkmvb eyu, yde oblvbla kv pwnnllele sa dsv, pbl dllele vs xyjl y elnkpksd. Rq vblal oyp ds bsrl okvb Nw Fydzydt, pbl pbswze nbydtl bla vyatlv yp pssd yp rsppkczl.
Rd bla ralhkswp zkql, pbl bye clld shlazu nsdqkeldv yde clzklhle vbyv pbl bye Nkw Zydgbldt1vbl xyd pbl oyp oykvkdt qsa vs cke qsa bla cwv “yzzltlezu” cswtbv ydsvbla tkaz oayrrle yaswde bla qkdtla. Fbl bye dlhla zlqv blaplzq okvb y cynjwr rzyd, yde vbl raknl pbl bye ryke bye clld vss talyv. Rd vbkp zkql, pbl nswzed’v yqqsae vs xyjl vbl pyxl xkpvyjl ytykd.
As usual, she handed ten copper coins to the child and told him to wait at Lu’s house. If he saw any sign of Lu Sanlang before noon, he could find her on the street.
However, if it got later in the day, it wouldn’t be possible. If she didn’t return home by noon, it would catch the attention of her two sisters-in-law, especially fearing that Liu Yan might blurt out something to Liu Kangsheng. If he became suspicious, even her current once-a-day outing would be considered a luxury.
Liu Yu continued her journey to the town, contemplating her next steps if things with Lu Sanlang didn’t work out. She didn’t need to visit the embroidery shop today since she hadn’t made any handbags the day before. Walking along the main street of Changfeng Town, she pondered her options.
She hadn’t forgotten the alternative option that Lin Jiuniang2the matchmaker had suggested, which was the young master of the town’s bookshop. If it weren’t for meeting Lu Chengxiao on her way back from Yuanzhou City on the day she visited Lin Jiuniang’s house, that young master from the Chen family would likely have been her first choice. With these thoughts in mind, her feet unknowingly took her to the only bookshop in town.
But fate is a strange and elusive thing. As Liu Yu contemplated her next steps and considered looking for another path to follow, she unexpectedly encountered Lu Sanlang on the streets of Changfeng Town.
He was standing outside a teahouse not far from the bookshop. When he saw Liu Yu, the gleam in his eyes and the genuine joy on his face were impossible to conceal.
With this look in his eyes, in that moment, Liu Yu had a new assessment of her chances with Lu Sanlang. All the thoughts that had been lingering in her mind and that subtle uneasiness, had now receded like a tide.
He was just across a side street. He was tall and his long legs were already striding over.
Lu Chengxiao was overjoyed. The person he had been searching for in vain, he now coincidentally encountered on the street. When he saw her in the crowd, his immediate reactions followed instinct.
Only after taking a few steps did he realize his brashness.
They weren’t really acquainted, and he didn’t even know her name. He approached her like this, and he wondered if his eagerness might startle her.
Suppressing the joy in his heart, he slowed his steps, stopping about three or four paces away from her, and he gave a courteous bow.
Liu Yu also halted and returned the gesture with a bow.
Without exchanging any words, there was already an unspoken understanding between the two.
Lu Chengxiao was overjoyed; he had confirmed one thing—she remembered him.
He managed to control the upward curve of his lips but couldn’t hide the joy in his eyes.
In the bustling street, their brief exchange of greetings and a fleeting moment of eye contact created an inexplicable sense of intimacy.
Liu Yu lowered her eyelashes, and her long lashes concealed her clear and serene eyes.
Lu Chengxiao hesitated to speak, breaking the silent yet subtly intimate atmosphere, and asked, “Miss, did you happen to lose a purse a few days ago?”
Liu Yu looked at him, “Is it pale pink with the corners embroidered with a fish? Master, did you happen to come across it?”
After the initial awkwardness of their first encounter, this was the second time that Lu Chengxiao had heard her speak. It sent a tingling sensation down his spine, and for the first time in his life, he realized that a person’s voice could travel straight to the depths of one’s heart.
He pondered how anyone could be so divinely favored, with an enchanting voice and captivating features, leaving no aspect of her untouched by beauty. Her delicate eyebrows, ethereal nose, and cherry-like lips all converged on her alabaster face, forming a truly astonishing kind of loveliness.3bleh, the chinese way of describing beauty
He lowered his gaze and tried to control himself, so as not to rudely keep staring at her face. “I found it and waited for you in the store for two days without seeing you. To avoid any impoliteness, I brought the item back to my study. Miss, may I ask if you can wait here briefly? I will retrieve the original item to return to you.”
Liu Yu noticed his reactions clearly.
Even though he did not carry the purse with him, he was indeed a proper gentleman. It was a pity, however, that he had encountered someone with ill intentions, like her.
But what other choice did she have? Should she wait like in her past life for the Liu family to sell her?
She urgently needed something to cling to, and a gentleman was undoubtedly an excellent choice.
A gentleman could be deceived with a proper demeanor.
She despised her own baseness in her heart, but on the surface, she gave him a sweet smile and a slight bow, saying, “Thank you very much, sir. I’ll wait here. I appreciate your effort to retrieve it.”
“Very well,” he replied with a smile. He glanced at the nearby teahouse, thinking of suggesting that she wait inside. However, he was concerned that it might tarnish her reputation, so he refrained from mentioning it.
“Miss, please wait. I will be back within two-quarters of an hour.”
After receiving a nod from Liu Yu, he took a step back and hastily departed.
Although he said two-quarters of an hour, he returned in a little over a quarter of an hour, slightly out of breath. From his pocket, he retrieved the purse that he had been keeping for several days. “I made you wait.”
The young man had large, capable hands with broad palms and long, graceful fingers.
Liu Yu knew that even though she had learned a lot, this was her first practical experience. Her heart was racing a bit, and no matter how much she had learned, it was still the first time she had to put it into practice.
This wasn’t the Liuxian Pavilion, and she wasn’t Xi Mingyue. The person standing in front of her was not some seeking traveler.
But fate had not given her many choices, and she had to make the most of this opportunity.
Like thousands and thousands of ordinary women in the world, she held herself with modesty and dignity while waiting for her destined marriage.
Liu Yu reached out to take the purse he handed to her, and her delicate fingertips brushed his lightly.
As her fingertip tingled, she looked up in surprise. It was as if her delicate, fair hand had been burned, and she quickly pulled it back.
This time, there was no need for the skills she had practiced. A blush spread across her cheeks, then quickly deepened to the color of a sunset.
Liu Yu glanced up at him and then lowered her eyelashes very quickly. “I’m sorry…,” she muttered, but couldn’t continue with the rest of the words. She felt so embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. She didn’t dare ask for the purse again and hurriedly walked away.
Lu Chengxiao was left stunned, and that tingling sensation flowed from his fingertips to his heart, causing him to lose focus for a moment. When he looked up again, her figure had already hurriedly turned a street corner and disappeared from his sight.
At the street corner, two young boys, one tall and one short, walked by. They walked a few steps, then both turned around. The shorter one accidentally stepped on the taller one’s foot, causing them to bump into each other before they realized what had happened.
When they turned to see Lu Chengxiao standing outside the teahouse, both of their faces lit up with joy. They quickly walked over to him.
As Lin Huaigeng approached, he first punched Lu Chengxiao’s shoulder and said, “When did you come back? If it weren’t for Liu Zhang running into you at the county office yesterday, I wouldn’t have known you were back.”
“I just returned a few days ago,” Lu Chengxiao replied with a distracted expression. He discreetly moved the hand holding the purse behind his back and glanced in the direction where Liu Yu had left.
Liu Zhang noticed Lu Chengxiao’s expression and followed his gaze. He suddenly realized, “Chengxiao, you also saw the young lady who just walked by, right? She’s quite beautiful.”
Lu Chengxiao was momentarily unsure how to respond and nodded vaguely.
Liu Zhang’s eyes lit up, “She’s very beautiful, isn’t she? It’s strange. Is she from our town? I’ve never seen her before.”
Lu Chengxiao’s expression shifted, “You don’t recognize her?”
Liu Zhang shook his head, “No, I don’t.”
He continued to murmur, “With such looks, there’s no reason her reputation wouldn’t be well-known.”
Both of them turned their gaze to Lin Huaigeng.
Lin Huaigeng also shook his head, uncertain, and said, “Could she be someone’s relative from town?”
As soon as Lin Huaigeng mentioned this possibility, Lu Chengxiao’s hand, hidden behind his back, tightened. He didn’t dare to think about it. If she wasn’t from Changfeng Town but just visiting family or friends, then this parting today, would they ever meet again…
For some reason, this thought left a void in his heart.
“You guys wait for me at the tea house.”
He left them with this brief statement and turned to chase after the direction where Liu Yu had disappeared.
Sansukini: It kinda reminds me of the movie “Serendipity”. One of my favorite movies featuring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. Have you seen it?
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