She grumbled in a soft voice, “You havent gotten close to me since that day.”
Her voice was awfully low.
It was soft but it was filled with grievances.
In this time of late autumn, the bamboo leaves fell gently, making it seem that winter had already arrived.
When the wind blew outside the window, if one was attentive, they could discern the shadow of leaves swaying on the branches and hear the soft cries of the insects.
Xiao Heng sat on the bed in a daze.
He couldnt make out the sound of the wind blowing the thin bamboo leaves very well, however, Gu Suiers soft and complaining words reverberated in his ears.
She said that since that day, he had stopped getting close to her.
She was looking forward to being close to him.
She felt so wronged that she burst into tears.
He didnt know she cared about him this much.
Xiao Heng stared at her clean and delicate jade-like cheeks stained with tears.
The wind swayed the bamboo out in the courtyard as the rain fell softly on it, creating an intoxicating atmoshpere.
After the autumn passes, the winter comes.
One thinks they have lived a lifetime but its only about a hundred years.
In all his life, no one had cared for him so resolutely, no one placed him at the cusp of their hearts, and no one had cried for him like this.
When he lowered his head, his eyes were not as cold as before.
He stared at the aggrieved woman in his arms and pressed his chin lightly against her hair.
Her black hair was soft and silky.
It was as smooth as the finest piece of satin.
Closing his eyes, he murmured, “No, you are thinking too much… The doctor said that we cant do that now.”
He continued hoarsely in Gu Suiers ear: “Its not good for our child and might even harm it.”
While speaking, he gently touched her swollen belly.
She had a slender and delicate figure.
She already had a swollen belly but occasionally, her childish innocence and tenderness were revealed through her conduct.
She had his offspring in her belly.
It was the sin he committed, the debt he owed, and the fruit from the seed he sowed.
At this time, he even had an illusion that this was the karma he needed an entire lifetime to slowly pay off.
When Gu Suier heard his words, she felt moved and raised her face to look at him.
The little face covered with tear-marks was pitiful but it became more and more heart-stirring.
Those eyes which were exceptionally bright and clear other times were filled with tears now and looking at Xiao Heng in disbelief.
Her little lips puckered down, expressing that she really didnt believe it.
With moist eyes, she complained softly: “Then why didnt you say it before…”
Xiao Heng hugged the person in his arms.
His lips were pursed slightly and his brows were stretched taut.
After a moment of silence, he muttered, “When I happened to meet the Imperial Doctor after that time, I found out about it after asking specifically.”
Gu Suier frowned.
She thought for a while before tilting her head slightly and raising her eyes to look at him silently.
The handsome and jade-like face before her was as expressionless as before.
It was as if he was saying something that he was reluctant to say.
She thought about the situation.
Just by thinking about how such a cold and noble person like him went to the Imperial Doctor and inquired about this kind of a thing made her want to laugh a little in her heart.
She suddenly felt like she had consumed a lot of honey because from her mouth to her heart, an unknown sweetness seemed to overflow her senses.
However, with a secret glance at his tense face, she continued pouting, and said deliberately, “Then why did you turn your back on me… and you were being so fierce…”
Mentioning this, she felt wronged again.
The tears in her eyes slipped down and she sobbed softly.
Looking at her aggrieved appearance, Xiao Hengs expression remained tense for a long time.
Finally, a muffled sentence left his mouth: “That wont be repeated!”
Saying that, he bowed his head.
In fact, ever since he did that, he had been contemplating over it.
It was awfully difficult lying on the bed with her but not being able to touch her.
After the Mid-Autumn Festival, the weather had started getting colder but Gu Suiers belly also grew bigger gradually.
In the ninth month of the year, it rained two more times, so when she went out of her room, she had to drape a cloak over her shoulder, or put on a cotton-padded double layered jacket, otherwise she would feel cold.
Gu Suier was diligent, so while she could still move about freely, she selected some top-notch soft satin fabric and made many different kinds of small clothes, dudou, shoes, and so on for her little tadpole in advance.
She sewed them slowly but over a few days, all that a newly-born child would need was piled up in her room.
When Gu Suier showed her work to the Young Madams and the two girls of the residence, everyone praised her for her skills.
Xiao Heng also saw her doing this once but he declared indifferently: “The maids can do it by themselves.”
Gu Suier didnt care about him pouring cold water instead of praising or appreciating her efforts.
She continued embroidering the little shoes while she was still capable of doing it.
Although this Marquis Mansion was different from the countryside in that there was an embroideress to do these things, an embroideress was an embroideress.
Anyhow, Gu Suier had hoped that her little tadpole would wear the clothes made by its own mother.
On this day, seeing the sun shining brightly outside and considering that she hadnt gone to pay her respects to the Old Madam the day before due to the rain, Gu Suier asked Nanny An to assist her there.
When she reached the courtyard, she discovered that Xiao Jin and the others were there, and everyone was playing mahjong.
Now, Gu Suier could also play mahjong with them, but she always lost since her skills were not as good as theirs.
Seeing that she came over despite her big belly, the Old Madam said, “Why did you come over You should take some rest these days ah.”
The second Young Madam stared at her belly and said with a smile, “A pointed belly ah.
Looks like there will be another Little Young Master in the residence.”
Presently, the second Young Madam was also pregnant.
Her first child was a girl, so she was looking forward to having a son this time.
The eldest Young Madam also chuckled and said, “How long till you give birth”
Gu Suier went over and greeted the Old Madam and the two Young Madams before answering: “The Doctor said that having a pointed belly doesnt necessarily mean Ill have a son.
He said he is unable to say anything about it now but it would probably be the middle of next month.
He asked me to pay attention to the fetus.”
It was already the middle of the ninth month of the year so in other words, there was still a month left before she gave birth.
When the Old Madam heard this, she laughed until wrinkles appeared at the corners of her eyes.
She put down the mahjong tiles and beckoned Gu Suier.
“Come here, let me take a look.”
Gu Suier hurried over and sat beside the Old Madam, letting her examine herself.
Looking at her with joyous eyes, the Old Madam stroked her stomach and finally sighed: “It doesnt matter whether the child is a boy or a girl.
After all, it is Ah Hengs flesh and blood.
He is not too young but to this day, he has never set his eyes on someone.
Im afraid he wont be able to marry for a short while, so its good to have a child with you first.”
During a turmoil in Da Zhao about twenty years ago, countless young men had died.
Therefore, after that time, men started getting married earlier.
Let alone the young men from common families, even the Young Masters from the noble families usually have a concubine or a servant girl to serve him in bed at the age of fifteen or sixteen.
By the age of seventeen or eighteen, they were expected to get married.
Xiao Heng had already come of age so it was better for him to sire a child now.
The Old Madam felt uneasy due to this delay.
But after seeing the other families youngsters having children of their own, she grew even more anxious.
Therefore, even if Gu Suier, as his concubine, gave birth to the first child, it was better than nothing.
Gu Suier didnt think much about her words.
She just smiled meekly, but Xiao Jin, who was beside her, glanced at Gu Suier silently.
She liked Gu Suier.
Who wouldnt like such a good-natured, diligent, and thoughtful person
But at the deepest level, of course, she was not the same kind of person as Gu Suier.
A woman like Gu Suier would perhaps follow the compass and go with the set square1Follow the compass and go with the set square [循規蹈矩] – It means to follow the rules inflexibly or always act according to conventions. all her life, so she would never understand what it meant to be a couple.
Even now, when the Old Madam spoke to her about third Brothers future wife, she smiled as if it was as it should be.
Xiao Jin sighed inwardly, feeling pity and sorrow for Gu Suier.
Of course, it was also possible that Gu Suier was not aware that in the future, when her third Brother married a main wife, he would have children with her and she and her child would not be as valuable as now.
But of course, that was just a momentary thought.
After all, this had nothing to do with herself.
She was the dignified eldest Young Miss of the Marquis RuiDings family.
She had already decided that she would never allow her own husband to keep a little concubine.
At this time, the Old Madam thought of Xiao Jin for some reason and said: “You would also be marrying next year.
So learn some embroidery from Suier.
The embroideress can do the rest, but you have to embroider your wedding dress yourself.”
When Xiao Jin heard this, she suddenly felt a headache coming: “Yes, Old Madam, I will remember your words.”
The eldest Young Madam couldnt help smiling at her behavior: “Madam spoke of this matter a few days ago.
Seems like the Old Madam is also worried about it.”
Not wanting to pay attention to this topic, Xiao Jin came up with an excuse to slip away.
She pulled Gu Suier: “Didnt you say before that you would help me look for a flower Come, lets go then.”
When Gu Suier saw Xiao Jin pulling her, she couldnt deny it.
So she nodded her head and got up hesitatingly.
Although the Old Madam saw through her granddaughters trick, she didnt say anything.
She just smiled and warned her repeatedly: “Dont jump up and down like a monkey and you must attention to Suiers belly!”
Xiao Jin acknowledged her words, pulled Gu Suier, and walked out.
When Nanny An saw this, she hurriedly followed them out.
After the two walked, out of the Old Madams courtyard.
Xiao Jin took Gu Suier to a pavilion and sat down before asking her in a low voice, “Little sister-in-law, I have something to ask you.”
Gu Suier hurriedly said, “Whats the matter”
Xiao Jin lowered her eyes, hesitating a bit as she spoke: “That day, Jiang Zheng saved Sister-in-laws life… Does Sister-in-law know”
Gu Suier was a little surprised when she heard this.
She knew that Jiang Zheng saved her.
She had asked Xiao Heng about it later, but he mentioned it so casually that she didnt ask about it further.
In her heart, she actually wanted to thank Jiang Zheng personally, but since then, she had never had the chance to meet Jiang Zheng, so she couldnt do anything about it.
After all, Jiang Zheng was Xiao Hengs bodyguard and she was Xiao Hengs concubine.
Since he saved her, she believed that Xiao Heng would deal with it properly.
She didnt expect Xiao Jin to ask her this now.
She hesitated, “Actually, I know about that.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, she noticed Xiao Jins expression changing slightly.
The latters eyes locked on her face, making her feel uncomfortable.
“Are Sister-in-law and Jiang Zheng very close”
Even if Gu Suier didnt understand all the rules of the residence very well, she knew that, as Xiao Hengs concubine, she could never be close to Jiang Zheng.
“Jiang Zheng escorted Little Sister-in-law all the way to YanJing City.
How could you not be close to him”
“It is true that he escorted me all the way but Im not very close to him.
I havent even said more than a dozen words to him in total.”
If they were to talk about it, then she would truly be more familiar with the sight of Jiang Zhengs back than himself.
From the start of her journey at Gu Family Village, she stared ahead blankly as she was taken to this distant and unfamiliar place.
All she saw along the way was Jiang Zhengs back.
Even after Jiang Zheng rescued her from the ice-cold water later, all she saw at that time, was his back.
After saying that, Gu Suier couldnt help but look at Xiao Jin: “Eldest Miss, whats wrong Why are you mentioning Jiang Zheng so suddenly Did something happen”
Xiao Jin avoided Gu Suiers eyes and smiled brightly: “Its nothing.
I just asked about it casually! Oh, thats right… you cant tell anything about this to anyone else, not even Nanny An!”
Gu Suier nodded: “Dont worry, eldest Miss.
I wont tell anyone.”
Xiao Jin saw the sincerity in her eyes as she nodded and felt relieved.
She suddenly found out that Gu Suier was a conscientious person.
She would not disclose the words she said to her.
Staring at her for a while, she laughed: “Little sister-in-law, in our family, I like you the most.”
After bidding farewell to Xiao Jin, Nanny An accompanied her back to the courtyard as she thought back to what Xiao Jin had asked her.
The more she thought about it, the more she felt that something was wrong.
However, she had promised Xiao Jin, so naturally, she could not ask Nanny An about this matter.
She could only mull over it by herself in silence.
Slowly, she began to sense that there seemed to be something between Xiao Jin and Jiang Zheng.
Was the relationship between a Young Miss and a bodyguard, perhaps, not normal
She even recalled that in the GuiYuan that day, Jiang Zheng accompanied them there for protection.
Later, be it a coincidence or not, Jiang Zheng escorted Xiao Jin to roam around the GuiYuan.
Did something happen at that time
While she had let her imagination run wild, they arrived at TingZhu Courtyard.
A maid saw her and hurriedly stepped forward as she spoke, “The third master is drinking tea in the study.
He was asking about Young Mistress just a while ago.”
Gu Suier hurriedly spoke up, “Then Ill go over now.”
She was holding the small shoes she had made for her little tadpole in her hand.
They looked exceptionally lovely.
Although Xiao Heng was not fond of these, she couldnt help but want to show him.
Nanny An helped her walk through the courtyard.
When they reached the study and she opened the door, she saw a man standing by the window.
He was holding a small teacup in his hand and looking at the green bamboo outside the window.
On this autumn afternoon, the warm sunlight spilled in through the blue window screen, illuminating the jade-like face of the man.
His cold and cheerless facial features looked extremely graceful and noble.
Even the fingers holding the small snow-white teacup looked translucent and neat under the sunlight.
Gu Suier pursed her lips and smiled.
She took out the shoes that she had made for her little tadpole, and said, “Third Master, please take a look at this.”
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1Follow the compass and go with the set square [循規蹈矩] – It means to follow the rules inflexibly or always act according to conventions.