Chapter 160: A Hickey

Chapter 160: A Hickey

Long Heng dragged a bewildered Bai Xiangxiu behind him. On the way, she noticed a lot of people sneaking glances at her neck when they were eating, but then quickly pretend they weren’t when she looked their way. She subconsciously rubbed her neck; it really was a bit numb there. Can it be…

The thought had just surfaced in her mind when Long Heng spoke, “Try not to go into the kitchen in the future.”

“Understood.” But why! She wasn’t really pregnant! Just as she was digesting this new piece of information,  the old madame sent word to have them go over for lunch. For some reason, Miss Lin had gone over to her place. The old madame actually wants to interact harmoniously with her son and his future wife, right? Why drag me, a little concubine in this? However, Bai Xiangxiu was happy to tag along this time; she couldn’t let any sparks flare up between the two! And so, she dressed herself and accompanied Long Heng over to the old madame’s.

The old madame was sick, so meals were served in her room. However, the tea table that Bai Xiangxiu had gifted her was off to the side. The old madame treasured the table very much and didn’t dare use it normally. As a result, there was another small table in her room, but it was big enough for the four of them to comfortably sit around and enjoy their meal.

Bai Xiangxiu hadn’t thought much of things at first; wasn’t it just a meal? But she’d barely taken a step in when Long Heng grabbed her hand and forcefully helped her inside.

The old madame was reclining on a chair, but quickly lifted her head as a smile crossed her face. “It just rained. Are the paths slippery?”

“No…” Wait. Why would Long Heng be supporting her if they weren’t? She flicked a glance at Lin Qianzi and immediately changed her mind. “They’re a bit slippery.”

Pfft! That was certainly a quick change. The old madame bade them all to sit down.

This is a bit inappropriate, isn’t it? A concubine sitting down with the old madame, future mistress of the household, and man of the house? However, Bai Xiangxiu still took her seat in front of the female lead. It was the old madame who’d wanted her to sit down anyways, and there was nothing between the two leads at the moment. She wasn’t a third wheel. If it came down to who was being a third wheel, it was actually the female lead!

Long Heng didn't spare a glance at the female lead throughout this entire process. “Give Xiu’er her own set of plates. She has a poor appetite these days and is afraid of tastes intermixing.” He then looked at the old madame, not wanting her to think too much.

Of course she didn’t. She knew that her son thought nothing of Miss Lin as soon as he had walked through the door. Although she was the main wife, it wasn't as if the old madame hadn’t heard the rumors that had been circulating around the capital lately. The old madame had viewed them with a healthy dose of skepticism at first, but the rumors had quickly gotten more and more outrageous. Even Madame Song, one who normally didn’t partake in gossiping also said that she was enormously happy that Miss Lin had been decreed to marry Long Heng. She’d wanted to ask the emperor to bestow the most talented lady in the capital to her son at first!

The old madame felt quite put out when that particular news reached her ears. Why had she asked for such a marriage for her son? Setting aside the fact that Miss Lin had rejected the marriage and run away before it even occurred, she’d even caused her son to become injured! If she’d already caused this much trouble even before entering their household, what kind of catastrophe would she bring once she had truly joined their house?

And look here, Miss Lin had said she had come to take care of the old madame, but she’d barely taken her seat before asking where the prince was. Not only that, it was clear that she’d only just restrained herself from commenting on the concubine’s behavior. It was likely she wanted to make a big deal out of a concubine being more important than the old madame of the household. She’d already begun pointing fingers despite not having officially entered the household. Since she wanted to take a look at the members of the household, then let her have her fill! Nèe Bai was pregnant now, so she couldn’t suffer anything at all!

The old madame actually didn’t fault Madame Xiu at all for not moving out of Apricot Garden. Her son had gone to such lengths on Madame Xiu’s behalf, so it would be disheartening if she wanted to generously give it all up for Miss Lin. This is good, she’s respecting the rules and also easy on my eyes…

Eh. Bai Xiangxiu almost dropped the teacup in her hand as the old madame’s eyes narrowed. Long Heng looked uncannily like his mother when he narrowed his eyes as well. Both exuded a very dangerous aura when they pondered. Bai Xiangxiu looked apprehensively at Long Heng. Hey, what’s up with your mother? Why is she suddenly narrowing her eyes?

Yet, Long Heng only flicked his lips upwards in a very faint smile, and turned to ask after the old madame’s health, ignoring Bai Xiangxiu’s unworded cry for help entirely. Just as Bai Xiangxiu felt that this was odd, she saw the female lead gnashing her teeth as her gaze was drawn to Bai Xiangxiu’s neck. There was a bitter look in her eyes.

Bai Xiangxiu immediately thought of the odd looks from the servants and subconsciously rubbed her neck again. Finally, she glanced over at Xiaoshi. The maid’s face reddened and she immediately turned her face away, as if she didn’t recognize her mistress. A lightbulb went off, and Bai Xiangxiu finally understood what was going on. She yanked her collar up, and glared silently at Long Heng. She didn’t need a mirror to know that this was surely Long Heng’s work. Was this what he’d meant by punishment? Her face was now beet red as she wondered how many had seen her along the way here. How embarrassing!

Long Heng had always kept within the bounds of propriety and had never left much of a mark on her even in the throes of their passion. He could never bear to treat her that roughly. If he accidentally left a bruise on, he would tenderly kiss her pain away. Later, he would find some Red Pearl and generously cover her with it, treating her as if she’d been grievously wounded. But now that he’d done this today, it was obviously on purpose!

The novel had always noted that this man was exceedingly domineering. He couldn’t tolerate his woman even looking at others. However, the female lead was a man’s lady, so he had no other recourse but to tiredly endure it all. And yet, Bai Xiangxiu could feel that he was a very possessive person, and so felt that she should take more care. Case in point, here she was, being punished before she’d even done anything!

Her dishes were indeed served separately when the food was brought. Long Heng ate with her, not deigning to eat any of the dishes that the female lead had touched at all.

This is a clear snub of Lin Qianzi! This is a pretty harsh tactic alright. However, Bai Xiangxiu was happy that he was acting thus. Although the female lead hadn’t done anything to them, she was Bai Xiangxiu’s love rival after all! The old madame didn’t make a sound either, going off to take a nap after finishing her lunch. She spoke politely to the female lead, conveying that she wanted the youngsters to take their time.

Wanting them to take their time was to engage in slow torture. Lin Qianzi wasn’t the sort to keep her feelings in, or else the other men wouldn’t have thought so differently of her either. The display of sweet affection had already angered her, and she had never been shy about expressing herself. She put down her chopsticks and bowl. “I’m finished. Your Highness, I came to the manor this time…”

“Please be quiet. What kind of house has taught Miss Lin such a lack of manners? Your hosts have yet to finish eating, but here you desire to speak disrespectfully. Aren’t you afraid of others laughing at you if word of this gets out? Ah, this prince had almost forgotten. A daughter of the Lin family doesn’t care about such things as face.”

Long Heng was normally a man of few words, but he was unusually viper tongued when speaking! Brilliant. Bai Xiangxiu ducked her head and ate quietly, deeply happy inside. No matter what, he isn’t attracted to the female lead. That’s wonderful.

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