The reason Xia Rou never got close to Cao Xiong was mainly because of an accidental discovery she had made when she was ten.
At ten years old, boys only really knew how to run in a field and play games with their friends at the arcade, but girls started to have a hazy notion of adulthood.
The day of that discovery, Xia Rou had been sick and didn’t go to class. After lunch, she took some pills and went to bed. When she woke up to look out the window to see the sky turning dark, snowflakes swirling in the air, she couldn’t tell the time.
She was thirsty and her throat was dry, so she went down barefoot to grab a drink.
She didn’t need to put on shoes or even socks in the winter, since the apartment’s marble-covered floor was very warm. Her footsteps were very quiet when she walked through the apartment, like a little cat’s.
As she passed through the living room, she noticed Cheng Wan’s sweater was on the floor, so naturally she went over to pick it up. Raising her head, she saw another article of clothing – a black uniform that seemed to belong to Cao Xiong that was crumpled right in front of the door to Cheng Wan’s bedroom.
Xia Rou, blanking out for a moment, subconsciously went over and picked it up. She then heard a strange sound coming from the direction of the unlatched door…
The silly ten year old opened the door up a crack….
The two shirts fell again to the floor, while Xia Rou ran skittering away using both her hands and legs to climb back up the stairs.
After a while, Cheng Wan went upstairs to take a look at her, noticing Xia Rou lying inside the blankets with a red face and a higher temperature than usual. Cheng Wan thought she was seriously ill, not realizing that the adult interactions between herself and Cao Xiong had been exposed to her daughter.
Ever since that time, Xia Rou had been troubled by the scene burned into her mind – a strong man, moving rhythmically while a woman with slim hands clutched the man’s shoulder like a vine. She finally understood why her mother had insisted on using the downstairs bedroom when there were still many empty rooms upstairs.
From that day onwards, whenever Cao Xiong would come to their house and stay overnight, Xia Rou would hide in her room and not budge at all.
Cheng Wan was very annoyed by this and complained about the matter several times to Cao Xiong, saying that she didn’t know why her daughter had suddenly become so introverted.
The thing was that Cheng Wan didn’t realize, but Cao Xiong was well aware of it all.
He had sharp ears, especially at that time, whe heard a slight noise from outside the room. When he left, he saw their clothing in a pile on the floor. When he asked Cheng Wan who was home, he realized that it was Xia Rou, out sick from school.
To think that a little girl saw him doing that sort of thing, even Cao Xiong felt awkward, so he didn’t say anything to Cheng Wan.
But after that incident, the child who would always hide behind Cheng Wan every time he saw her would lower her head and remain silent. He couldn’t do anything about it.
Xiao Rou didn’t actually hate Cao Xiong. Translated by The Novelst
Starting from the age of seven, she had already started to remember things. How her father cruelly left them, seeing her weak mother attempting to commit suicide, all of these were carved into her heart.
It was Cao Xiong who appeared at a crucial point in time and saved her mother. It was also he who had arranged them a safe place to live.
She could vaguely understand that the only reason she and her mother had such a peaceful life was all thanks to this man. The only thing she never understood was why exactly he would do such things for them, and never thought deeper on the subject.
Once, she’d even hoped that Cao Xiong could be her father. He was reliable and gave her a feeling of security, even sometimes staying overnight at their house.
Seeing him seated in the living room, contentedly staring at her mother making him tea gave Xia Rou a sense of peace she had never had before in her short life.
But after that incident, all these idyllic scenes seemed to have been unmasked. The adult world was forcefully revealed to her.
At she was able to understand the relationship between Cao Xiong and her mother, the source of the peace in their lives.
Xia Rou’s disappointment was inevitable. But the real impact that shook her worldview was due to the housekeeping aunt; the derision she received was a fatal blow.
In the courtyard, Xia Rou had coincidentally heard the housekeeping aunt at her house gossiping with the neighbors.
“Our house owner is actually a mistress of someone else’s husband.”
“That man is a high-ranking official.”
“Speaking of which, she’s already in her thirties. She’s good considering her age isn’t young anymore.”
“That child of hers, I don’t even know if she’s an illegitimate child. But looking at her, she doesn’t really resemble the official.”
“Hahaha, then she must be the mistress’ daughter!” Translated by The Novelst
At that moment, Xiao Rou was still so young that although she heard it all, she didn’t have the courage to argue with them. She could only swallow her shame and run away.
Afterwards, Xia Rou begged her mother to fire the housekeeping aunt, but never told her the reason behind her sudden request. Cheng Wan had been helpless, and had listened to her words and fired her at the insistence of her daughter.
Cheng Wan’s personality had always been as such. When someone exerted force, she would choose to simply be obedient. It was really luck that had brought her to Cao Xiong after she had been dumped by her former husband.
Slowly, Xia Rou learned that her mother was just like a dodder flower. Even if you provided her sunlight and soil, she couldn’t live unless you gave her a tree she could climb on.
No matter how she looked at herself, she felt like she was no different than her mother. So when she had finally started puberty, she felt a growing, enormous fear that she would ultimately become a woman like Cheng Wan.
A dodder flower that could not live without having someone at her side…
Xia Rou, going through puberty, had fallen into paranoia, trying as hard as she could to deviate her path from her mother’s. This paranoia pushed her into a stubborn little girl who didn’t like to take other people’s advice, often covering herself with thorns to keep them away.
Obviously, she didn’t have the ability to back it up, but she’d spent her life trying to act strong.
Every time she struggled to grasp her pride in front of Cao Yang, she would always fall like a drowned mouse, having no choice but to rely on him to clean up her mess…
Proofread by: Hannah