But he couldn’t stop watching her, looking uneasy and alone like a scared little bunny. Standing in front of her, no matter how cold he usually was, he unconsciously became gentler. So he tried to start a conversation with her.
“How old are you?”
“Who is that lady to you?”
“She’s my mom.”
“What about your dad? Do you know his phone number? How about we make a phone call to your dad?”
Tears flowed down her face. “My dad left with an aunt. My mom said he’s not coming back anymore!”
Cao Xiong paused for a long while before asking her mother’s name and her father’s phone number before making the call to her father.
But the man on the other end was irritated. “We’ve already finalized the divorce. She’s all grown up, can’t she take care of herself? Tell her not to look for me anymore!”
Wtf? Cao Xiong stared at the phone after the man hung up. That was bullshit! If the man ever appeared before him, he swore to bring him down with a punch.
The doctor came to tell him the child was not able to be saved. He required the patient’s family to sign the consent form and so Cao Xiong signed for Cheng Wan.
The little girl fell asleep on his lap. When Cheng Wan was pushed out of the operation room, she was still under the effect of the anesthesia. Cheng Wan was wheeled into a single-patient room that Cao Xiong had arranged for her.
When Cao Xiong carried the little girl to another bed, she blinked awake.
“Uncle, are you leaving?” she asked. The little seven-year-old was already able to speak so clearly.
“Yes,” he said. “I have something to do.”
She burst into tears. “What about my mom? Is she still alive?” She had witnessed her mother falling right in front of her, and the sight of the car almost running over her mother’s body and the blood flowing from the scene was fresh in her mind.
Cao Xiong felt helpless and pointed at the bed beside her and said, “She’s fine. She’s asleep now so don’t wake her up. She’ll be better tomorrow.”
As he pointed at Cheng Wan, he finally had a chance to take a clear look at her face. He couldn’t say that she was pretty, but she had delicate features. Both her eyes were closed and her face was sickly pale.
To this weak, soft woman, losing a man meant that there would be no hope for her in continuing to live.
Cao Xiong entrusted the little girl to the nurses and left the hospital.
This was why he preferred to marry a woman that was like his late wife. When he was busy, or even when he was pulled to the frontline, only a woman like her would be able to support the family and act as a guardian for their children. Cao Xiong thought deeply as he walked along the road.
He finally had time to visit Cheng Wan at the hospital the next day. Though his car did not actually hit her, he still prepared some money as compensation in consideration for the tragic circumstances she had undergone.
On the way there, he listened to his bodyguard talking about Cheng Wan and learned that the woman’s situation was worse than he thought.
Her former husband had sold their house and only given her twenty thousand Chinese Yuan as alimony for their daughter. The house was the man’s property from before their marriage, and so the woman had nowhere to turn. When the new owner came to inspect the house, he rushed their move out. The woman was dumped by her husband and lost her only shelter, which was why she was so deep in despair to even seek death.
“What are you planning on doing from now on?” Cao Xiong ignored the sign that said “Do not smoke,” and lit up.
Cheng Wan was unsure of her future. Her parents had passed and she didn’t have any other relatives. Her husband was supposed to be her closest family, but he left her when she was pregnant for another woman. Cao Xiong had asked her what her plans were, but she was completely lost on her next steps.
She mumbled something but didn’t know what to say. When confronted with this awe-inspiring army man, she felt uneasy and lowered her head, both hands tightening unconsciously on the thin blanket. Perhaps it was that she used too much strength, but her slim fingers began to turn pale.
Her long hair was in a loose braid hanging over one shoulder. The sunlight streamed through the glass window to illuminate one side of her face, which seemed translucent in the light.
Cao Xiong looked at the woman and took another drag.
Even when he was young he had never liked this type of woman, with no capabilities and lack of assertion. But in that moment, he felt a prickle in his heart for her softness. How bizarre.
He had always been a decisive person. The moment he recognized the temptation this woman presented, it only took him a single drag of his cigarette for him to decide.
“I have an old house that’s sitting empty. I can lend it to you. You should rest for a few more days and I’ll arrange for someone to take you there,” he said.
“But…” Cheng Wan was dazed by his sudden offer. Her first instinct was to reject him, it was too much.
Yet Cao Xiong wasn’t someone to be rejected easily. “If not, where are you going to live? What about your child?” he pushed. “You should at least have a place to stay. If you want to find a new house, you need to take care of your health first.”
Cheng Wan had just gone through a miscarriage. She should be under post-natal care. Just as he said, if she wanted to look for a place to live, she would still need to wait for her body to recover. She couldn’t say anything to refute him. Moreover, he was so dominant that he had already planned this for her. At a time like this, when she was suffocated by the cruel reality of the world, one event after another, it made her feel like she could breathe again.
In the end, she lowered her head to say softly, “Then… Thank you…”
Her neck was long and white as snow, showing a beautiful bend as she lowered her neck. At the same time, it also symbolized her obedience.
Her actions satisfied him.
She didn’t know that when she approached Cao Xiong that this was a man who took charge of everything. The moment she had failed to reject him meant she already belonged to him, like a caged bird.
Proofread by: Hannah