C41 – They Were Lost in Their Thoughts
Wang Tiezhu instinctively flinched and asked, “What’s the matter?”
He had learned to be wary whenever his wife displayed such gentleness; it usually spelled trouble.
Lee Xiulian probed, “What are your thoughts on Zhang Xiaoloong?”
Wang Tiezhu was puzzled by the connection between the topic and Zhang Xiaoloong. “Zhang Xiaoloong? Well, he’s bright and eager to improve. Not just in Qinghe Village, but I’d say he has the potential to make a name for himself in all of Qingyang City.”
Lee Xiulian clicked her tongue a few times and reached out to pat Wang Tiezhu’s shoulder. “Back then, you had a good eye for marrying me into this family. And now, after all these years, your judgment has improved once more. If Zhang Xiaoloong is as capable as you say, wouldn’t it be wise to get close to him?”
Wang Tiezhu responded casually, “As the village chief, my role is to assist when he faces difficulties. What more can I do? I can’t just go and become his servant, can I?”
Lee Xiulian sighed, “I just praised you, and now I’m having second thoughts. You’re only concerned about your reputation. You can’t see the bigger picture. Zhang Xiaoloong’s character is well-known. If he succeeds in the future, will you forget the one who supported him in the past? The whole village may want to bask in his glory, and when that happens, those eager to follow him will be in long queues. There won’t be room for you to squeeze in. This is a golden opportunity you’re overlooking, despite still being the village chief.”
Wang Tiezhu remarked, “Your words make it sound like he’s already destined for greatness.” He knew his wife was right but was reluctant to admit it openly.
Lee Xiulian replied, “Let’s wait and see. You’re right too.” She was quick to discern the other’s thoughts. Unperturbed, she turned to undress for bed. “Just remember, when Zhang Xiaoloong becomes a success, and you regret missing this chance, it’ll be too late. Even if you try to disrupt his path to success in Qinghe Village, it won’t matter.”
Seeing his wife preparing for sleep, Wang Tiezhu hurriedly approached with a smile. “So, how should I go about getting closer to him? I’ve lived half my life without ever currying favor, but I’m willing to try. Hey, don’t go to sleep yet.”
Lee Xiulian pretended to be displeased, although she was secretly delighted. She sat on the bed without moving or speaking.
Wang Tiezhu surrendered, “Fine, fine. You’re the wisest in our family. I’ll follow your guidance in everything.”
“Alright, if you’re insistent on hearing it, I’ll share my idea,” Lee Xiulian, who had put on a pretense long enough, finally spoke up. “I only thought of this when I saw Xiaoloong just now. Xiaoloong, that boy, I took an immediate liking to him…”
“You’re not thinking of adopting him as your godson, are you?” Wang Tiezhu seemed to sense something and quickly shook his head preemptively. “That wouldn’t work; there’s an age difference.”
“You want to make him your godson? Forget it. Even if you want to, Zhang Daniu might not agree. Why would he suddenly want you to be his father? It’s not like he can gain any advantage from it. When you get older, you’ll just be a burden. You’re always taking the good stuff for yourself,” Lee Xiulian’s words tumbled out rapidly, “I want to make him my sworn brother.”
“That’s a relief…” Wang Tiezhu, upon hearing it wasn’t about his godson, let out a sigh of relief. He paused for a moment before it fully registered. His neck seemed to stiffen as he turned around with effort. “What did you just say?”
“My godson,” Lee Xiulian said with a smile.
Wang Tiezhu finally confirmed he hadn’t misheard or imagined it. His mouth quivered for a good thirty seconds. “This… Isn’t this a bit of a joke?”
His godson would belong to a different generation. If that happened, he’d be in a different generation from his own godson!
In the past, when Zhang Daniu saw him, he would call him Uncle Zhu. In the future, he’d be calling him Uncle Da Niu. This was no longer the same generation; the seniority would be completely reversed!
“Nonsense?” Lee Xiulian raised an eyebrow and said sternly with a cold expression. “If you had even half of Zhang Xiaoloong’s capabilities, would I still recognize you as my little brother? This isn’t just for our family; it’s for the sake of Qinghe Village. In the future, every household will lead a prosperous life!”
Wang Tiezhu’s face reddened under the verbal onslaught. Combined with his already sun-darkened skin, he looked almost purplish.
It wasn’t for nothing; the first part of his wife’s words had hit a nerve. If he still had the vitality of his youth, he wouldn’t be afraid of his wife’s incessant nagging.
Regrettably, no matter how many doctors he had consulted and how many remedies he had tried over the past few years… He was nearly fifty, and the chance of having a child was diminishing each year. At this point, it was practically non-existent. Even a woman would want to have a plan, wouldn’t she?
Moreover, this woman was significantly younger than him, radiating youthfulness and tenderness. If she were to kick him, many men would undoubtedly vie for her hand in marriage.
But when it came to Wang Tiezhu himself, apart from being the village chief and leading a comfortable life at home, there wasn’t much else left but the aging process.
He also felt indebted to his wife. He was still in the prime of life, and it had been a decade since he could fulfill his role as a husband. Lee Xiulian had stood by him for all these years. Any ordinary person might have given up long ago.
Although Lee Xiulian often scolded him, the fact that she remained with him brought contentment to his heart.
Typically, he wouldn’t oppose anything Lee Xiulian said. However, this matter was particularly humiliating, and he found himself at a loss for words.
“Alright, think about it. How old are you? Are you still so concerned about your pride? Let’s make amends with Zhang Xiaoloong now, and in our twilight years… wouldn’t he care for us? I believe he would. That young man seems to have a sense of affection and loyalty. Don’t you think?” Lee Xiulian mused aloud.
Wang Tiezhu hesitated, unable to express what was on his mind.
“If you truly can’t accept it, then let’s discuss our own matters,” Lee Xiulian said while taking a step back. “You still maintain your seniority on the surface, but secretly allowing Xiaoloong to address me as ‘sister.’ Is that acceptable? What kind of seniority can you claim? You can’t even count the number of people from the past few decades. Why impose so many rules?”
Wang Tiezhu continued to smoke and finished burning the leaves in his pipe. He slowly raised his head and asked, “You don’t have feelings for Xiaoloong, do you?”
“What nonsense are you saying?” Lee Xiulian’s heart raced, as if she had been caught in the act of trying to steal something. “How old am I? How old is Xiaoloong? You have quite an imagination. Even if I did have feelings for him, could Zhang Xiaoloong possibly feel the same way about me?”
“Don’t hide it from me,” Wang Tiezhu sighed. “After all these years, I can sense what’s going on in your mind. Your eyes are different today.”
“I…” Lee Xiulian was silenced by her husband for the first time. After a prolonged pause, she slowly said, “I don’t want to leave. I just… want a child. How about we grow old together?”
“Really?” Wang Tiezhu stared at his wife with wide eyes.
It was only after she nodded that he began to pace around the room, eventually tossing his pipe onto the floor.