The Zhen and Gu households reunited for dinner at the Gu household’s home.
Mrs Zhen always loved Gu Jing as her own daughter. She put the last chicken leg into Gu Jing’s bowl. ‘Little girl, eat the chicken leg you love most.’
‘Thank you aunty Zhen,’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing and Zhen Lang secretly exchanged a look with each other. She clearly understood why, because she promised to reward him chicken legs for dinner. She picked up the last chicken leg with her chopsticks and she put it into Zhen Lang’s bowl. ‘For you to eat.’
Gu Jing lowered her head and she ate two spoonful of rice. But suddenly the room became silent, she lifted her head and she realised her parents and Zhen Lang’s parents looked shocked. Uncle Zhen held a braised rib between his chopsticks in mid-air like someone immobilized his vital acupuncture points.
Zhen Lang picked up the chicken leg his wife gave him and he bit a piece of chicken. His parents and his wife’s parents’ mouths were wide open and they looked back and forth between him and his wife.
Mrs Gu used a free finger to poke her husband’s arm. ‘Old man can you see? Little girl gave the chicken leg to someone else.’
Mr Gu’s eyes were full of antic.i.p.ation. ‘I see. Little girl hasn’t given anyone a chicken leg before, it’s a strange phenomenon.’
Gu Jing’s parents and Zhen Lang’s parents’ suspicious stares made Gu Jing worry so she carelessly stole the chicken leg from Zhen Lang’s bowl and she bit a piece of chicken. ‘Before I didn’t see clearly, I’m eating the chicken leg now.’
‘Little girl, Zhen Lang bit into the chicken leg already,’ Mrs Zhen said.
Gu Jing panicked, she didn’t know if she should eat the chicken leg or not. She looked at the four pairs of suspicious eyes and her chopsticks flew into Zhen Lang’s bowl. ‘For you.’
‘Um,’ Zhen Lang said.
Zhen Lang calmly ate the chicken leg his wife put back into his bowl.
Mr Zhen recovered from shock the fastest. His son inherited calmness from him. He coughed softly. ‘How are you two getting along living together in the city?’
‘Good,’ Zhen Lang said.
Gu Jing silently buried her head into her bowl and ate.
‘I think you two are getting along good too,’ Mr Zhen said. He smiled brightly. ‘In the past little girl never gave anyone food before and you never ate food given by someone else. It’s only been a short few months since I saw you two, but you two changed a lot.’
Gu Jing choked on rice. She covered her mouth and coughed. She looked pleadingly at Zhen Lang. ‘We haven’t changed.’
Gu Jing spoke too fast and she carelessly bit her lips. She took a deep breath, her teeth released her lips and she endured the pain.
Gu Jing didn’t dare to lift her head from her bowl and look into the four pairs of suspicious eyes.
Zhen Lang continued to eat like nothing happened. ‘Since we were children weren’t we always close and caring toward each other?’
Mr and Mrs Zhen and Mr and Mrs Gu contemplated for a while then four heads nodded together.
Gu Jing covered her mouth and she licked her painful lips. She looked pitifully at Zhen Lang who sat opposite her. Zhen Lang’s eyes were calm and her parents smiled affectionately at Zhen Lang without glancing once in her direction.
Gu Jing silently ate her bowl of rice and on the inside she cursed the jinx because he ate dinner dishes with pain free lips. She fiercely ate the rice like they were the jinx’s calm eyes.
‘Did everyone check the updated family birth records?’ Zhen Lang asked.
Gu Jing put her bowl and chopsticks down on the dining table. ‘Zhen Lang! You…’
Gu Jing fumed because Zhen Lang promised her that he wouldn’t tell their parents but he broke his promise.
Mrs Gu glared at her rude daughter. ‘Little girl, what are you saying? You’re being rude.’
Gu Jing saw her parents and Zhen Lang’s parents shocked faces and she swallowed what she wanted to say. ‘I…’
Zhen Lang pa.s.sed his empty bowl to his wife. ‘Are you eating another bowl of rice? Then can you scoop a bowl of rice for me too? Thank you.’
Mrs Gu smiled affectionately at Zhen Lang. ‘I don’t need to check the family records you updated. I trust you updated them responsibly like the same way you’re always responsible. It’s only updating addresses, what is there for me to check?’
Gu Jing felt her soul that flew away returned to her body. She looked at Zhen Lang’s empty bowl in front of her and she reluctantly scooped him another bowl of rice. But on the inside she cursed Zhen Lang for threatening her with their family birth records.
Gu Jing wanted to dump the bowl or rice on top of Zhen Lang’s head, but she endured her frustrations and she silently continued to eat her bowl or rice. On the inside she cursed Zhen Lang for making her panic as if she saw a gust of wind about to sweep her away.
‘Big sister, Mrs Zhang’s daughter gave me wedding invitations to give to you and big brother. The wedding is next week,’ Mrs Gu said with the look of envy in hers.
‘Little sister, last month Mrs Li’s daughter-in-law gave birth to Mrs Li’s first grandchild, a loveable chubby grandson,’ Mrs Zhen said.
‘Even Mr Sun’s son whose face isn’t easy on the eyes has a girlfriend. Two days ago he b.u.mped into me and he introduced his girlfriend, she’s a pretty little girl,’ Mr Gu said.
‘Don’t worry, my future daughter-in-law will be more beautiful than his girlfriend,’ Mr Zhen said.
Mrs Gu sighed and she shook her head. ‘What a pity about my daughter. I don’t know if anyone will look in my daughter’s direction. If someone does look at her they’ll be scared off by her androgynous looks.’
‘Who says no one wants me?’ Gu Jing said. She slammed her bowl of rice onto the dining table. ‘What’s the big deal about getting married? I…’
Zhen Lang’s eyes lit up. Gu Jing realised she almost risked her life and she swallowed her words.
‘I’m full,’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing swayed to her bedroom and she collapsed on the bed. She feared for her life because she nearly confessed at the dining table that she was aunty Zhen and uncle Zhen’s new daughter-in-law. She felt the situation at her parents’ home was too dangerous. If she spat out another two words she feared she would die without a burial place for her corpse. She blamed everything on the jinx, if it wasn’t for him then she wouldn’t be in such a pitiful situation.
‘Little girl, wash the dishes!’ Mrs Gu said loudly from the living room.
‘Yes mum!’ Gu Jing said but she lazily laid on the bed.
Gu Jing hit her head against her pillow. She couldn’t believe she gave Zhen Lang the opportunity to give her grief for the rest of her life. She berated herself for signing the marriage registration form. She reasoned when she signed the form she was either possessed or Zhen Lang poisoned her. She wanted to be as far away as possible from Zhen Lang.
Gu Jing heard footsteps but she didn’t lift her head from her pillow. ‘I’m about to wash the dishes, you don’t need to nag me.’
Gu Jing felt a familiar hand on her shoulder. She lifted her head and she saw the jinx.
‘Before you didn’t eat much, are you hungry?’ Zhen Lang asked.
On the inside Gu Jing cursed the jinx – ‘What can I eat? My lips hurt to death!’
Gu Jing glared at the jinx but her tongue didn’t move.
Zhen Lang laid on the bed beside his wife. He put a hand on his wife’s cheek and his free thumb gently caressed her lips. ‘Before you looked like you bit your lips. Does it hurt? Let me see, ok?’
Zhen Lang’s wife inched closer to him. She lifted her head and she looked like a little kitten who was bullied. His thumb continued to gently caress her lips. ‘Little fool, why did you bite your lips this hard?’
On the inside Gu Jing felt frustrated because if it wasn’t the jinx’s fault then she wouldn’t carelessly bite her lips. She licked her injured lips and she took a deep breath.
Zhen Lang wrapped an arm around his wife’s waist and he whispered in her ear. ‘Little fool, if it hurts then don’t lick. Be careful you’ll get an infection. Do you want me to go upstairs and get a bottle of iodine?’
Gu Jing shook her head and she laid her head on Zhen Lang’s chest. Her ears focused on his heart beats and she felt safe.
‘I have a way to make your pain go away. Do you want to try it once?’ Zhen Lang whispered in his wife’s ear.
Gu Jing felt a bit sleepy. She wanted to close her eyes, but she was more curious about Zhen Lang’s remedy to soothe her painful lips. Suddenly she felt Zhen Lang’s soft lips gently kissed her lips like a bee playing with a flower’s pollen.
Gu Jing’s lips felt a little itchy but Zhen Lang’s gentle kiss numbed the pain on her lips. She wanted to avoid his lips but his hand reacted faster. He pressed his hand behind her neck and he gently nibbled on her lips. Unlike in the past, he didn’t kiss her roughly and consumed her senses straight away. He kissed her gently and he slowly lit her flame of desire.
Gu Jing’s senses were clear. She felt each of Zhen Lang’s lips’ gentle movements and she also felt her lips trembled on his lips. She closed her eyes. She felt his throat swallow her taste and she heard his soothing heart beats. She felt like she had no control over her arms that wrapped around his waist and pulled his body closer to her body. She felt his breath became hotter and his tongue intruded inside her mouth.
Gu Jing only heard Zhen Lang’s heart beats clearly. She couldn’t control the way her body reacted to Zhen Lang’s body. She felt his hand on her waist, his gentle kisses and the way his body burned her body.
Gu Jing wanted to push Zhen Lang away from her, but she didn’t expect her body wanted to be closer to Zhen Lang and it wanted to be enclosed by his flames. Her hands gripped the back of his shirt and she didn’t feel satisfied enough. She secretly pulled his shirt up and she pressed her hands on his back skin.
Zhen Lang’s body stiffened the moment he felt his wife’s hands on his back skin. He gripped his wife’s waist and he kissed her deeper.
At first Gu Jing’s hands gently rubbed Zhen Lang’s back skin, but later she didn’t know why her hands gripped his back skin.
Suddenly Gu Jing’s bedroom door flung open.
‘Little girl, why aren’t you washing the dishes?’ Mrs Gu nagged.
In the emergency situation Gu Jing carelessly used her full strength to kick Zhen Lang off the bed. Then she saw her mum stepped into her room like an extinguisher that was about to put out a fire.
Mrs Gu saw her daughter looked breathless on the bed. ‘What’s wrong? Do you feel uncomfortable somewhere?’
‘No!’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing secretly glanced at Zhen Lang on the floor then she looked at her mum and her heart pounded wildly.
‘No?’ Mrs Gu asked.
Gu Jing saw her mum took another two steps closer to the bed. She held in her breath and her whole body shivered. She feared her mum would see Zhen Lang on the floor on the side of the bed furthest from her bedroom door if her mum stepped any closer to the bed.
Zhen Lang laid on the floor. One of his hands rubbed his sore back and his other hand covered his mouth to refrain his laughter after he saw his wife’s body tensed. Then his wife secretly glanced at him, he blew her a kiss and he licked his lips.
‘What are you looking at?’ Mrs Gu asked.
Gu Jing didn’t dare to breathe and she spoke in a choked voice. ‘Nothing…’
Mrs Gu put up a fist. ‘Why aren’t you washing dishes? How long do you want to procrastinate?’
Gu Jing sat up on the bed and she jumped over Zhen Lang’s body. She rushed to her mum. ‘I’ll go wash the dishes now-’
‘Wait,’ Mrs Gu said. She pointed at her daughter’s bare feet. ‘Where are your slippers?’
Gu Jing looked frantically around her bedroom but she didn’t see her slippers… she secretly glanced at Zhen Lang and she saw him lift his back and he pointed at her slippers under his back.
Gu Jing didn’t know how to grab her slippers without her mum seeing Zhen Lang in her bedroom.
‘Are you ready? The cards are dealt!’ Mr Gu said loudly from the living room.
‘I’m coming!’ Mrs Gu said. She glared at her daughter. ‘Go upstairs and bring uncle’s Lang’s favourite tea to the living room.’
‘Yes mum!’ Gu Jing said.
Gu Jing watched her mum walk out of her room and she exhaled gently.
Mrs Gu remembered something and she turned around to face her daughter. ‘Where’s Lang Lang?’
Gu Jing’s index finger pointed at the ceiling and she smiled sweetly. ‘Perhaps he’s upstairs.’
‘Um,’ Mrs Gu said and she walked to the living room.
Gu Jing’s body felt weak. She sat on the bed and her back felt cold.
‘I can’t stay here anymore, it’s too dangerous,’ Gu Jing mumbled softly to herself.
Gu Jing berated herself for almost exposing her secret marriage with Zhen Lang at dinner and her mum almost caught her in bed with Zhen Lang. If she stayed for another two days then her secret marriage with Zhen Lang would be out in the open. Even though it was dangerous to live with Zhen Lang in the city, she felt it was better than facing her parents and Zhen Lang’s parents.
Zhen Lang got off the floor and his sore back pressed against the bed. ‘Next time you kick me that hard again, I’m scared you’ll become an old widow.’
‘Did I kick you? Do you want me to ma.s.sage your body?’ Gu Jing asked carelessly in her state of panic.
End of Chapter Forty-One