Chapter 45: Expressing Her Feelings
Song Jiaoyue took a deep breath and managed to force his expression into a semblance of neutrality. He still looked a bit awkward as he coughed lightly and forced himself to speak, “Recently, an honored nun came to our residence and cooked some vegetarian dishes. She has been cooking vegetarian dishes in a Daoist temple ever since her youth. After mother tried it, she said her skills were not as good as yours. Surprisingly, the nun refused to accept this result. She demanded to know exactly how you would cook a particular dish.”
“Oh I see. Which dish?” Bai Xiangxiu thought it was very odd. Why had Madame Song invited a nun to her place to cook vegetarian dishes? But when she looked at Song Jiaoyue’s expression, she had somewhat of an inkling. Most likely, Madame Song just wanted to eat her dishes.
Song Jiaoyue laughed and immediately handed a piece of paper over to Xiao Shi to hand to Bai Xiangxiu.
Bai Xiangxiu took a look and recognized it as the list of dishes she had prepared that time. Underneath it were the procedures on how to prepare them, but they were different from her methods.
“This concubine’s ways are different from the nun’s. Xiao Shi, bring me a piece of paper and brush.” She decided to write down her own methods.
Long Heng overrode her, “Shu’er, bring paper and a brush.”
Shu’er obeyed and brought the items over. Bai Xiangxiu picked up the brush, and as she was about to write, the male lead suddenly blurted out, “Your posture is incorrect...”
Bai Xiangxiu was afraid of this person to begin with, and she also found it frightening when someone suddenly interrupted her thoughts. Her hand jerked as she flinched and the expensive brush flew out with some force. She immediately thought that this was bad and rushed to pick it up. Surprisingly, she was even faster than Shu’er.
Shu’er had already bent over to pick up the brush, but hadn’t expected Bai Xiangxiu to swoop past him to beat him to the brush. What type of master is she? How come she doesn’t follow the normal routines? Since she’s picked it up, what am I supposed to do now?
But he quickly got his job back. The brush was thrust into his hands with a hissed question, “Take a look and see if it’s broken?!”
He awkwardly took the brush to examine, but quickly took note of his master’s black face. He decided to get rid of this hot potato and stated, “It’s fine. It’s not broken.”
Bai Xiangxiu breathed a sigh of relief. She certainly wouldn’t be able to compensate the prince for the loss of that expensive looking brush. She hastily apologized for her misconduct. “I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful next time.” She definitely wouldn’t throw it across the room next time.
“....” Long Heng was truly at a loss. He had no idea what to say to her. Song Jiaoyue, standing by the side, felt his heart tremble.
Why was Madame Xiu so afraid of the prince? Logically, they were married. Although she was only a concubine, she didn’t need to be so afraid?! Unless...
Suddenly, Song Jiaoyue recalled that Long Heng held a lot of disgust towards women after he returned from the battlefield. Whenever they went to a brothel, Long Heng would be furious whenever any women suddenly sat down or tried to draw near him. Although he appeared to be gentle towards Madame Xiu, who knew what really went on behind the scenes?!
Song Jiaoyue took another look at her and noticed how worn out she appeared. She did not have that sweet and charming expression women normally had when they were being spoiled and loved by their man. He was a man himself, and had several women in his rear court. How could he not understand her state?
Bai Xiangxiu took her seat and started to slowly write down her recipes. However, she was still frightened from the close call she had just experienced. She felt the eyes of the male lead on her, so she tried her best to write properly. By the time she was finished, little pearls of sweat beaded on her forehead. Bai Xiangxiu spoke, “It’s not very clear if one just has these recipes to look at. Why don’t I personally make the dishes so you can bring it home with you, Sir Song?”
“That’s not a good idea. Your wound hasn’t healed yet.” Song Jiaoyue stood up anxiously. He honestly wasn’t trying to be polite; he just really didn’t want her to be overworked.
But Bai Xiangxiu had already made up her mind. She paid her respects and took her leave, striding off before anyone could stop her. Long Heng wanted to stop her, but she had left too quickly for him to formulate how.
Long Heng couldn’t help but furrow his brows as he said to Shu’er, “Warn those in the kitchen. I do not want Madame Xiu to be injured.”
“Understood.” Shu’er promptly left. He came back after a short while and said, “Madame Xiu has finished preparing the dishes. She wants to know whether Sir Song wants them now or later?”
“I’ll take them home now. My... ahem…” He stood up to bow to Long Heng. He didn’t finish his sentence, but Long Heng understood. They’d been friends ever since they were little. How could he not know that his friend’s mother was an avid foodie? Long Heng obviously knew. He just waved his friend on to show that it was alright for him to leave.
Bai Xiangxiu was excited when she heard that Song Jiaoyue was immediately going to take the food container from her. She was impatiently waiting outside. Since Long Heng knew about this, it wasn’t like she was doing something sneaky behind his back.
She noticed Xiao Shi was still following her from behind, so she said, “Xiao Shi, I should’ve put some coriander on top of the food to heighten the taste, but I forgot. Could you go get me a few sprigs? Hurry.” Xiao Shi didn’t question her and left quickly. Actually, the reason why Bai Xiangxiu had told her to leave was because she noticed Song Jiaoyue approaching.
Song Jiaoyue noticed Xiao Shi’s departure from afar. His heart couldn’t help but jump. He turned to the servants behind him as well, “Go over there to wait for me.”
The servants were a bit surprised, but they didn’t dare to say anything and silently retreated.
Song Jiaoyue was a bit nervous as he walked over. His palms had begun to sweat. Seeing how hesitant he seemed, Bai Xiangxiu approached him instead. She handed him the food container to him as she blushed.
“S-Sir Song. Ac-actually, I treat you… differently from the others. I…. there’s a dish inside that I specifically created for you. After you eat it, you will understand.”
Song Jiaoyue had already understood. He stared at her in a daze before he realized that she had already turned around. She walked speedily, and was already out of breath after a few steps. At that moment, Xiao Shi came back and said, “Here is the coriander you asked for, Mistress.”
“Sir Song has already taken the dishes. Let’s go. It’s not good if the others see us.”
“Oh. Oh….” How had he come so quickly?
After Song Jiaoyue watched them leave in a daze, he also quickly took his leave. Once he entered his horse carriage, he opened up the food container to see that aside from the dishes he’d ordered, there was an extra plate with two pastries.
He examined it for a long time but couldn’t figure out what was so special about it. He didn’t bother washing his hands before placing one of the buns in his mouth. The moment he bit into it, his face turned bright red. He felt that his heart was going to pound right out of his chest. It only looked like a normal bun on the outside, but inside was an unusual ingredient, the heart of an animal.
Her meaning was obvious. She wanted to give him her heart, and wanted him to understand. He truly did understand her feelings. Both when she’d whispered, “As long as you’re alright...” after blocking the concealed weapon for him, and the tender looks and flushed cheeks when she saw him again.
All of her actions indicated that she had special feelings for him. In addition, she was expressing them bravely. Normally, he would think women who acted this way were too shameless. How dare she try to seduce other men when she was the concubine of a prince?
But what if she liked someone else because the prince didn’t treat her well? That was quite possible. She was only trying to show her feelings. It wasn’t like she was really doing something with him, right?
But what about him?
Where did his heart stand?
Song Jiaoyue silently ate the other piece of pastry. He didn’t know how to define the taste. It was too complicated. He couldn’t help but sigh. No matter what, the two of them had no future. It was impossible. She was the wife of Long Heng, and Long Heng was his good friend.
If Long Heng was absolutely uninterested in her, then perhaps Song Jiaoyue could’ve asked his friend to offer her to him. But Long Heng clearly treated her differently from the rest. If Song Jiaoyue recklessly tried to steal his love, then their friendship would be over.
Song Jiaoyue placed the lid back on the container and silently shut his eyes. It felt as if he was gazing at a snowy landscape that had melted before it had a chance to inspire others with its beauty. He was regretful, but he had no other choice.
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