Exiting the underground chamber, Xia Lei was welcomed by golden sunlight and comforting warmth. Basked in the morning light, Liang Siyao had her arms securely around her son, Liang Jiayu. From the lightweight fabric that dressed her, it was evident that childbirth did not take a toll on her body. Liang Siyao still looked tall and slender, a lovely sight to behold as usual. But compared to the past, the woman had certainly seemed a little more mature now.
Liang Siyao came to him and reached over to dust his pants. Then, she slapped his ass twice. “Oh dear, why are your pants so dusty? Did you fall down or did you slept on the ground last night?”
Warmth flooded Xia Lei’s heart. He smiled. “Nah, I was just sitting on the ground. I’m alright.”
“Put your pants in the laundry basket later and I’ll wash it.”
“Okay.” Xia Lei responded and then reached their son. “Come to papa.”
Liang Jiayu slanted forward towards Xia Lei’s chest as he mumbled incoherently, “Ba… ba… ba… Ba… pa…”
Liang Siyao gave her son a light tap on the butt. She chastised him lightheartedly, “Jeez, you’re so ungrateful. How can you be so close to your father even when I’m the one who fed you the most?”
Xia Lei nudged her little waist with his elbow. “What is wrong with my son being close to me? Son, you’ll sleep beside papa tonight, yeah?”
But Liang Jiayu shook his head fervently and gurgled unintelligently, “Noooooooo…”
Xia Lei frowned. “Ah, you’re already getting tired of me? Do you know your mama likes to sleep with papa too?”
Liang Jiayu widened his eyes. “Haliuuuuuuuudukakaaaka…”
“What?” Xia Lei was caught aback.
Liang Siyao slapped Xia Lei’s ass harder this time. She guffawed, “Your son is calling you a pervert! You’re so lewd, jeez. How can you say something like that in front of a child?”
With Liang Jiayu still in his arms, Xia Lei scooted over to bop Liang Siyao’s chest but the latter quickly dodged it with ease.
In the midst of their banter, the three of them finally made it back to the dining room.
There were seven occupants in the dining room. Aside from the three mother-child pairs, there was also one guest, Tang Yuyan.
The odd scene had Xia Lei stunned. There was a beat of silence before the man remembered to greet her. “Ah, Yuyan! Nice to see you here.”
Tang Yuyan flashed him a smile. “Your house sure has become a difficult place to enter now. Even my entry needed to be applied for. I guess it’s going to be very hard to drop by sometime.”
Liang Siyao’s heart hissed back at that. “Then don’t bother coming” but the response she offered her on the outside was courteous. “Yuyan, have you eaten breakfast yet? Would you like to join us?”
“Sure, I haven’t had breakfast yet. Then I won’t hold back.” The smile on Tang Yuyan’s lips grew wider.
Jiang Ruyi offered, “I’ll go get you a bowl of congee.”
Xia Lei quickly halted her, “I’ll go. Wouldn’t want to risk scalding Jianghe.”
“Ah, alright.” Jiang Ruyi’s expressions melted into pure bliss. She jabbed Xia Jianghe’s pretty little dimples softly and teased the baby. “My precious, just look at how much your father loves you. I feel like he loves you more than me.”
“Hehehe…” Xia Jianghe giggled melodiously, unsure if it was a response to her mother’s words or feeling ticklish.
“Nai! Nai!” Xia Fan, nestled in a bundle between Fan Fan’s arm began to whine.
Fan Fan’s eyebrows were knitted at the notion. “My goodness. All you do is eat, eat, eat and eat. I just fed you half an hour ago, how are you still hungry? Why do you have such a monstrous appetite? Are you not afraid of becoming a chubby little piglet?”
“Pig.” Xia Fan muttered.
“How dare you insult your own mother. I’m so going to spank you.” Fan Fan raised her palm slightly and delivered a cautious and light pat onto Xia Fan’s buttock.
Laughter erupted and echoed against the walls of the dining hall.
The clear envy and longing in Tang Yuyan’s eyes were not masked. “Your family is so wonderful. A gentle and understanding husband, cute and smart children. As a woman, I’m really jealous.”
The four mothers paused and studied each other’s face with an odd expression. If some other woman had muttered those words, it wouldn’t have felt so inappropriate to them. But this was Tang Yuyan. Before they had moved into the new place, Tang Yuyan was a frequent visitor to the Peace Mansion that brought a huge heap of adult and children gifts every time. Plus, Tang Yuyan would linger in their home for most of the day. She would even volunteer to take up chores with surprising eagerness. If she wasn’t trying to buy her way into the family, what else could she be up to?
The four mothers certainly did not want Tang Yuyan doing that. However, the main problem was that they all were indebted greatly to the woman. Tang Yuyan had exchanged her life for the successful births of their children. With such gargantuan debt, Xia Lei wives did not have the heart to chase her away despite their displeasure. After all, they were not small-minded women.
Xia Lei placed a bowl of congee in front of Tang Yuyan. “Here you go. Go on, let’s dig in.”
The family joined Tang Yuyan at the dining table and began their breakfast. The atmosphere was clearly odd and a little off.
“Sister Fan Fan, you should take more eggs for nourishment.” Tang Yuyan picked up a piece of fried egg with her chopsticks and dropped it in Fan Fan’s bowl.
“Uh… Thank you.” Fan Fan was slightly sheepish.
“Siyao, you should have more eggs too. Bringing up a son is more difficult than raising a daughter. You really need to replenish your nutrients.” Tang Yuyan too placed a fried egg in Liang Siyao’s bowl.
“T… Thanks.” Liang Siyao felt awkward.
Following that, Tang Yuyan did the same for both Jiang Ruyi and Long Bing. Her attempt to appease Xia Lei’s women was as clear as day. At that moment, she did not seem like the prized daughter of an ancient clan but more like a weak plain jane in a disadvantageous standing.
The display did not go unseen by Xia Lei. He watched her desperate attempts and felt nothing but worry. He thought to himself, “She’s been stubbornly chasing after her ideal happiness for ages now. For the sake of entering my residence, she’s even willing to put down her high and mighty act on the ground. She really has it hard. Does she have any idea that the thing she’s trying so hard to fight for is about to disappear anytime soon? If she finds out that I have no time left and the enemies I’m about to face, would she still lunged forward like a moth to a fire?”
The Grim Reaper was creeping closer but Tang Yuyan still had no plans on giving up her dream to become his woman and carry his children. In the face of such intense longing, Xia Lei could only feel a migraine brewing between his brows.
Finishing her portion, Tang Yuyan voluntarily offered, “You can leave your children with me, I’ve taken quite a great liking to them. You can go take a rest in the meantime. Though I’ve never had a child, I know a thing or two about raising children.”
“But…” Fan Fan had to admit she was a little tempted but she hesitated.
Jiang Ruyi made no noise. She was never one to form a standing among Xia Lei’s four wives. What others would do, she would follow.
Liang Siyao too was silent, sharing the same sentiment as Fan Fan.
Long Bing was the only one to answer, “Sure. But I have to warn you that this fella is a cheeky one. Please do keep an eye on him and stop him from placing things into his mouth.” Long Bing deposited Xia Long in Tang Yuyan’s arms.
Tang Yuyan flashed Long Bing a grateful smile. Xia lei’s words suddenly rang out in her head. Among the four women, Long Bing would be the easiest for her to begin with.
Xia Long shuffled around in Tang Yuyan’s arm and grabbed her round breasts. “Nainainai…”
[Translator’s note: ‘Nai’: Milk. Figured leaving it as the pinyin sounded more reasonable for a baby.]
Tang Yuyan was visibly flustered from how red her cheeks had grown. “I… Little dude, I’ve got no milk to offer. Sorry.”
“Hahaha…” Xia Lei couldn’t suppress his laughter.
In that split second, his four wives shot a dirty look at Xia Lei, to which he quickly clamped his mouth shut. The interrupted chortle was still echoing about in the dining hall. The man was cringing hard. The whole scene did look more comedic than intended.
Tang Yuyan too was equally awkward. She quickly busied herself with arranging the three baby strollers in a line. She softened her voice, “Sister Fan Fan, Ruyi, Siyao, just leave your babies to me and get some well-deserved rest. You can go on a walk with Xia Lei or something. I’m sure you’ve yet to enjoy any private time ever since giving birth.”
To be fair, private time shared between five people wasn’t exactly private.
“Then… I guess I’ll leave them in your care.” Now that even Long Bing had already offered Tang Yuyan her son, Fan Fan finally felt a little more comfortable in accepting her offer. She loaded Xia Fan into the stroller carefully.
Jiang Ruyi and Liang Siyao too deposited Xia Jianghe and Liang Jiayu respectively in their strollers. They assisted Tang Yuyan in moving the children into the living room that was now converted to their playroom.
“Go on, have fun. Just leave them to me.” Tang Yuyan immediately began picking up stray items as soon as she stepped foot into the messy living room.
Xia Lei and his four wives then moved to the garden, none of them in the mood for a leisurely stroll. A few steps later, they stopped and a family meeting ensued.
“She really isn’t giving up,” said Liang Siyao.
“At this rate, we’d have no choice but to add her to our family, no?” Jiang Ruyi raised a brow.
“I really don’t know what’s going on in her mind. She’s young, pretty and very successful. She’s the head of Bureau 101 and a proud daughter of the Tang clan. Many men would queue up forming a line longer than the Great Wall. Why the hell must she be stubbornly attracted to our man?” Fan Fan huffed.
Long Bing, on the other hand, said something surprising. “I actually find her pitiful. She’s pretending to be happy but I know it’s not the case deep inside. Have you ever seen her like this? Pathetic and meek and kowtowing?”
The other three women shook their heads. Tang Yuyan’s recent change in behaviour did not escape their eyes. The change was so great that the woman felt like someone else instead.
Long Bing went on, “If it wasn’t for her back then, we wouldn’t be standing here with our children. She was willing to protect us with her life. Regardless of what offence she had committed against us, I have already forgiven her. If she’s willing to leave the Tang family, I… I won’t oppose it.”
The other three women made no remark, opting to shift their attention on Xia Lei instead.
Xia Lei frantically raised his hands. “Why are you looking at me like that? I literally said nothing! I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
Liang Siyao rolled her eyes at him. “You must be secretly overjoyed, huh? You’ve once again gotten a maiden’s attention and yet are feigning innocence. Wanna come nearer so I can punch you?”
Fan Fan shrugged her shoulders. “Fine then. I have no comments whatsoever about it. One more person is just another pair of chopsticks added to the dining table. A pair of chopsticks is no big deal.”
Xia Lei itched to say something but all words died as soon as it reached his tongue. Honestly, he had no idea what he wanted to say. But keeping quiet also felt like acknowledging it.
Liang Siyao said, “Hubby, it’s best if you say nothing about the matter for the time being. We need to talk to her.”
Jiang Ruyi added, “Yeah, a talk is needed. “
Xia Lei asked, “What are you going to talk about? Something like this, I….” What else could he say about this? It really was what it was. But he offered nothing in regards to such an important matter, it did not sit right for he bore the role as the family’s leader.
“Well, what else?” Liang Siyao answered, “What else if not about leaving the Tang family? If she can’t do that, this whole thing is bound to go down south.”
“Also, we need to place her under observation.” Fan Fan uttered, “Four of us share a very good dynamic and if she’s bound to disrupt our peace, our relationships will suffer.”
“Yeah, observation is important,” agreed Jiang Ruyi.
Xia Lei looked at Jiang Ruyi with a smile. “Is this supposed to be crosstalk? Are they the teaser while you’re the joker?”
Jiang Ruyi’s pale fist came flying towards him.
It was this punch that helped shatter the tension. Xia Lei and Jiang Ruyi danced around each other, prompting the other three women to join their little war as Jiang Ruyi’s reinforcements. The five of them were entangled in a mess of reaching limbs. One would hit one’s ass, they’d retaliate and then deliver a pinch. They’d hit back and forth. Soon, it became a messy light-hearted scuffle.
Before long, the battle came to an end as Fan Fan hooked her arm around Xia Lei’s elbow and heaved with a red face. “Hubby, you haven’t been sleeping on the bed for two nights straight. Let me bring you in for a rest.”
“How about we all go together?” Xia Lei smirked knowingly.
Three fists punched the air out of his chest cavity in an instant. Despite the violent display, Jiang Ruyi, Long Bing and Liang Siyao had offered a nod in response.
“Alright, let’s go to sleep!” Xia Lei punched the air in excitement, looking nothing like a man who had not slept comfortably for two days.
In the living room, Tang Yuyan was busy wiping faeces off Xia Long’s buttocks. She whined under her breath, “Why the fuck is raising a child so damned difficult? If I gave birth to a pair of twins, I’ll be worked to death. Ah, jeez! Xia Fan, don’t eat the toy! Does it look that tasty to you?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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