Xia Rou still remembered that Cao Yang told her on the first night to wake up early the next day so he could bring her along for a morning run.
Only because she had run with him in the past did she know what he meant by “wake up early” – it was very early! She set the alarm before she went to bed, so she woke up way before the sky brightened up.
Actually it was quite wonderful to take in the sight of the early, early morning. She didn’t need to use her eyes to see, she knew just by listening with her ears.
At first, the atmosphere was tranquil. Then a bird woke up in a tree, chirped twice, waking up a second one, then a third… Very soon, chirping was echoing all throughout the trees.
Some were melodious, some were mild. The chirping sound made it seem like the birds were greeting each other.
It made people who woke up early experience a blissful start to their day.
Xia Rou listened to the noises for a while before getting up. After brushing her teeth and changing her clothes, she went downstairs.
Just as she expected, Cao Yang was already stretching in the courtyard.
“I was just thinking that if you weren’t coming down soon I would give you a call,” he said. “Why are your eyes swollen?”
Actually Xia Rou had already used a cold towel to rub at her eyes, but they were still slightly swollen. It wasn’t hard to notice.
“Edema,” she said. “Uncle Zheng made some syrup yesterday, I drank too much before I slept.”
It was obvious that her eyes were swollen because she had cried, but Cao Yang didn’t unearth her lies.
Her mother had just passed away. It was normal for a young girl to think about her mother while hiding herself inside the blanket to cry. He felt pity just thinking about it.
“Stretch your muscles.” He changed the topic, giving her some advice. “Morning runs shouldn’t be as slow as night runs, let’s up the speed this time.”
Xia Rou was happy to see that he changed the topic, following the movements he taught her. Actually, she had learned this from him in the past, so naturally she could easily follow the movements up to his standards.
The last time she turned her waist, she saw a window open in the side building. He Lili had pushed the window open and looked in surprise at the two of them.
She seemed to be shouting something, but the distance was quite far, so Xia Rou was unable to hear clearly. When she tried again to listen carefully, Cao Yang called her with a “let’s go” and started running. Xia Rou had no choice but to keep up with him.
She didn’t turn back, but she could be sure that He Lili was staring at them from the window…
Their running speed was much faster. It was Cao Yang’s intention to help her speed up, so she could improve her physique.
Xia Rou was so exhausted by his training, she almost just laid on the floor and faked dead. She tried to take in big gasps, the air bursting in to her lungs seeming to be almost too much, burning with pain as she tried to expand her lung capacity.
Xia Rou could feel that her efforts put in during her nightly runs weren’t in vain. Her physique was at least much stronger than before.
“You okay?” Cao Yang asked. Translated by The Novelst
Xia Rou didn’t have the energy to reply to him. She bent down to her knees with one hand out, waving at him in the universal: “Don’t talk to me.”
Cao Yang laughed, he opened the water bottle and reminded her: “Drink slowly.”
Actually Cao Yang wasn’t usually so free, so this was probably the fourth time he accompanied her on a run. She usually ran on her own.
This young lady looked so fragile, he was worried whether she could sustain the amount of exercise. The results were a surprise; he could see that she persisted in running the last few days, and she was serious about it. Her physique was obviously much improved when compared to before.
A disciplined and persistent child was usually likeable, especially when she was a beautiful lady.
Cao Yang stared at Xia Rou drinking water with her head tilted upwards, revealing a snowy white neck. Her usually pale face seemed like it was brushed with a blossom-pink color.
It was quite pleasing to see a lady in the house, Cao Yang thought.
They went back after another round of stretching. When they neared the house, Xia Rou remembered He Lili.
She hesitated, then decided to give Cao Yang a reminder: “Brother Cao Yang.”
“The fourth floor had two rooms that belonged to aunty,” she said. “There were quite a few things inside. If you don’t want anyone to touch them, I think it’s better to lock it up.”
Cao Yang turned his head suddenly to stare at her with a sharp look.
Excluding the courtesy of him being nice and having compassion for her, he seemed like the big brother she was familiar with. The man who she was afraid of, but he was… reliable.
Cao Yang nodded. “Okay, I got it.” He didn’t say anything else.
When they returned home, Cao Xiong was already seated at the table reading a newspaper. Noticing their entrance, he folded the paper and threw it aside, telling the kitchen to serve the meal.
This time, Xia Rou was able to eat more than usual.
Cao Xiong looked at her and felt satisfied, saying, “Running in the morning is much better, it increases your appetite. Eat more so your body can get stronger.”
As a male elder of no blood relation, he could only show his concern with the words “eat more,” and “put on more weight,” for Xia Rou.
That morning, she didn’t know what Cao Yang told Lady Fang, but when Xia Rou was reading in her room, she could hear a faint argument coming from the room next door. After that, she heard the sound of a door slamming.
The room was actually Lady Fang’s room.
Usually, Lady Fang would personally go and tidy the rooms on the fourth floor. But from that day onwards, the room was locked.
Xia Rou didn’t have any intentions of reporting He Lili’s actions when she told Cao Yang about it. He Lili and Cao Yang, comparing the two she didn’t even need to think and knew who was much closer to Madam Cao. Because of that, she didn’t want to see He Lili rely on Lady Fang’s position and carelessly touch the items in the room, not showing any respect to Cao Yang’s mother.
It was just that Cao Yang didn’t know about it, and would obviously be unhappy if he knew.
She knew He Lili would probably hold a grudge toward her because of this. But He Lili’s grudge wouldn’t cause much harm to her anyways.
Most of all, she felt pity for Lady Fang. Translated by The Novelst
Proofread by: Hannah