After spending a little more time post-dinner, Jiang Moxiu took his leave with Baobei. The young lady was still a thoughtless child, she followed slowly even though Lecturer Jiang was dragging her out, as though she was a bouncing rabbit.
“Oh, our car doesn’t seem to be here.”
They finally found it. And of course, Lecturer Jiang liked the word “our”.
“Where are we going?” This innocence. She was in a good mood after seeing her idol.
The weather was good tonight. It was the middle of the month with a full moon . The pale moonlight reflected brightly onto the ground, and even the road lamps couldn’t hide the beauty of the moon. Baobei looked at Jiang Moxiu through the moonlight, and saw him touching his nose and pursing his thin lips. She thought he was angry over what happened just then, hence she hooked her hands into his arm, leaned softly against him, and said many sweet things.
There was no reply. However, Baobei didn’t know that Jiang Moxiu was silent only because he was deep in thought about how he could trick this young lady into his house.
Jiang Moxiu’s father might have retired, but as he had a political career previously, he was still well-protected. After all, he still held top secret information about the country in his hands. Even though the old man didn’t travel, he spent a carefree life domestically. He enjoyed serenity, and would usually spend his time playing mahjong with his old retired subordinates, playing chess, listening to music or gardening. When he wanted to move his bones, he would play golf. His life was quite fulfilling.
The old master was somewhat resentful of his two sons. He was already so old, and the people of his age were tired of being grandparents, but he couldn't even see any signs of a grandchild. The old master was focused on his career when he was young, and he was a stubborn man. He felt that as long as he didn’t meet someone he wanted to spend his life with, he wouldn’t marry. Hence, it was only when he was past the age of forty that he married the twenty-something Kong Luyao. Shortly after, he had his two sons; after all, he started later than others.
The old master was used to leading others and putting on airs. Moreover, he didn’t spend much time with his children, and didn’t know how to interact with children. Fortunately, both his sons were sent to the United States from a young age, and their means of expression were always more direct than other Chinese children.
Jiang Moxiu was a filial child. Even though the old master didn’t say anything, Jiang Moxiu knew his thoughts.
After dinner, he found an opportunity to call the old master and Empress Dowager Kong and said that he would be going home to stay the night. Immediately, the old mistress asked if he was bringing Baobei home. After she got a definitive answer, she was overjoyed. Just before she hung up, she even nagged at her son for going to the Mo family for dinner and not returning home instead. If it weren’t because it was too rude for her to barge into the Mo family home, empress dowager Kong would have dashed over.
Baobei thought they were taking a walk, so she followed leisurely. After about twenty minutes, they finally stopped in front of another villa. There was a wide distance between every villa atop this mountain, and the Mo and Jiang family homes were actually considered relatively closer.
“Where are we?”
“If you are going to say hmm again, I’ll kill you!” She was furious, and started to hammer and pinch Jiang Moxiu, as though she was a monkey.
He steadied Baobei, then took the chance to hug her tightly, as he was scared that she’ll run away when he told her the truth. “Hmm. My house.”
At once, Baobei was frantic and took a step back. If Jiang Moxiu wasn't holding her, she probably would have ran away. This young lady was only concerned about meeting her idol, and forgot that not only did old master Mo stay in the area, so did Boss Jiang! At this juncture, Baobei couldn’t say that she wanted to leave. After all, how could she interfere in his efforts to be a filial son, and tell him to leave when they are already at the doorstep?
“Oh.” She scratched the back of her head, feeling nervous. “Should I return to Grandpa Mo’s home to wait for you? Oh, actually, I can also take Da Shao’s car back to the city.”
Jiang Moxiu wasn’t furious until Baobei raised Da Shao’s name. He released Baobei, then poked her forehead, as though he was disciplining his grandchild. “How dare you still talk to me about Da Shao! I lost all my pride because of you! You’re my wife, but you were staring at Da Shao and drooling. If news of this gets out, how can I still survive in this city!”
This move was called “gaining the upper hand first”.
“Hehe.” Baobei grinned widely.
What a tricky move! He managed to divert the young lady’s attention. After all, Jiang Moxiu was waiting for assistance to arrive.
They were standing by the entrance for less than two minutes when the gates opened. As though she was on patrol, empress dowager Kong walked out with some pomp. There were two people behind her, her private secretary and a family cook.
“Oh, Baobei, why didn’t you come in? Father and I were already waiting for some time.” Her voice travelled over before she arrived. Father? Whose father? Empress dowager Kong had automatically raised the old master’s identity into Baobei’s father. As she walked to the couple, she cast a sharp gaze at her son.
After receiving Jiang Moxiu’s call, the old master had been waiting impatiently. Although he pretended that he was nonchalantly reading the newspaper, in the short period of time, he had already gone to pour himself a cup of water twice, and each time, he would steal a peek at the window. It was only when she saw the old master hiding behind the curtains and staring out that she knew that the couple had arrived. Given the time the couple spent dawdling outside, she knew for certain that her son couldn’t handle the situation.
Empress dowager Kong bumped Jiang Moxiu aside, then held Baobei’s hand and dragged her in. From the corner of her eye, she saw the red patch on Baobei’s forehead, so she turned around, twisted Jiang Moxiu’s ear and said in a heartbroken tone, “Did you do this? You must be itching for a beating!”
“Ouch Mom! How could you do this?!” The last time his ears were twisted by empress dowager Kong was more than fifteen years ago. Her sudden attack had caught Jiang Moxiu unawares. Initially, he wanted to shrug his mother off, but when he saw Baobei’s conflicted expression, as though she wanted to laugh but felt sorry for him at the same time, he decided to put up a show of getting himself hurt to gain her sympathy.
“Aunty, take it easy.” Baobei was overcome with glee when she saw Jiang Moxiu’s cowardly stance. She almost wanted to take a picture and post it on Weibo. However, in consideration of her boyfriend’s pride, she reached out quickly to save the latter from empress dowager Kong’s wrath. Of course, she didn’t really pull the empress dowager’s hand back; she hadn’t married into the family, so she had to carefully serve her first. The smart girl would surely know never to oppose her in-laws even after she got married. A reliable man would definitely be filial, hence it would be troublesome if the daughter-in-law rebelled against his parents. A woman had to understand this: a man can marry you, have children with you, and promise to take care of you for the rest of your life. But before that, he has already loved his parents for close to thirty years. If you cherished this relationship and this man, then you’d have to treat his parents as though they were yours.
To a mother, loving her son and caring for him would make her happier than love and care for herself.
After Baobei’s intervention, the empress dowager released her hand.
“Let’s go. Don’t be bothered with him.” The matter of utmost importance now was to drag the girl into the wolf’s den. Empress dowager Kong ignored Jiang Moxiu and pulled Baobei away.
Jiang Moxiu stood on the spot and rubbed his red ears. He shook his head and grinned. The old ginger is definitely spicier than the young . In front of him, his young wife still turned back and looked at him, and that gaze made him want to coddle her. He ran forward in a few steps, then placed his hand over the empress dowager’s shoulder, and pinched the small cheeks of his little wife. Jiang Moxiu then contentedly brought the two women in his life back home.
At this time, the curtains in the living room swayed.
When they walked in, the old man was sitting upright and reading the newspaper, his far-sighted glasses hanging on the bridge of his nose.
“Dad! I’m back!” Jiang Moxiu yelled as he removed his shoes and looked into the living room. The old master loved liveliness, and since he only had his sons at when he was middle aged, the mature Jiang Moxiu would always accede to the old master’s preference.
“Hmm.” That old man was calm.
Baobei was somewhat anxious. She had seen this man before, but only on television. She had never thought that she would get a chance to see him in person, especially with the identity of his prospective daughter-in-law. When Baobei thought of this, she was immediately unnerved.
Of course, Jiang Moxiu understood his father. When he looked again at Baobei, he cheered up immediately. He quickly removed his shoes, then held on to Baobei as she changed hers. The more he thought about it, the happier he was, so he stuck his neck out again and shouted, “Dad! I’ve brought your daughter-in-law home!”
The newspaper in the old master’s hand trembled, and the corner of his lips curled up lightly, but he managed to contain himself.
“Stinky old man. Before you arrived, he’s been reading the domestic section for a long time, and he’s still looking at it now. Just now, he was even hiding behind the curtains watching the two of you, and now, he’s acting all prim and proper. Baobei, don’t bother about him. The father and son are the same.” The empress dowager entered her dressing room, and when she came out, she had removed the shawl from her shoulders.
The old master was unhappy when he heard this, so he threw the papers and stood up. “This old comrade, how could you speak like this?”
“So what if I spoke like this?”
Baobei was feeling edgy. She gave a formal, 90-degree bow and said, “Hi Uncle.” Jiang Moxiu and his mother were shocked!
What uncle? He was old enough to be her grandfather.
If her grandmother saw this, she would be given a stern beating. She was so nervous that she forgot all the etiquette that she was taught from a young age. However, the young lady managed to hold her startled expression back. Even though she was innocent, she exuded the grace of a noble lady. The old master was satisfied with her. She was poised, and dared to look at him straight in the eye. She was still young, but when she grew up, she’ll definitely be a gem.
In fact, the old master felt somewhat uneasy when he looked directly at Baobei. Imagine a man who would remain unfazed in the face of any difficulties could feel this way when he saw his future daughter-in-law. After all, this was something he was incredibly concerned about. This was the woman whom his precious son cared for. Having a child at his age meant that he had to care for his son like a grandson. The grandchildren of his peers who had married early were already at the age suitable for fatherhood.
“Umm.” He replied coolly.
No matter what, Baobei thought the old master looked amiable; after all, he looked exactly like Jiang Moxiu.
“Tsk, you see, the father and son are the same.” Obviously, the empress dowager also noticed the same thing.
Baobei stifled her laugh in agreement.
“What are you standing here for? Come over and take a seat.” The old master snorted lightly, then turned back and continued looking at his papers.
“Mom, why are you teasing Dad?” Jiang Moxiu was in a good mood.
In the next hour or so, the empress dowager and Baobei had a casual chat. Jiang Moxiu served them well, bringing them fruits first, then drinks later. As for the old master, he spent the entire night reading the domestic news. His attention wasn’t on the papers, even though his eyes were on it. His heart was fully on his wife and his daughter-in-law. The old master listened carefully to Baobei’s words; the empress dowager knew that the old master wanted to hear about the child’s family situation, hence she asked questions in this aspect. Even though he had already done the necessary checks, it was still better to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
As Jiang Moxiu peeled an apple, he listened to Baobei’s vivid anecdotes of her childhood. He even snuck a few glances in his father’s direction. Caught in the act, the old master glared at his son, then slowly raised his newspaper higher.
In conclusion, the atmosphere before bedtime was warm and harmonious.
After 10PM, the empress dowager then naturally told them to spend the night here. Jiang Moxiu agreed to it before Baobei could even reply. What could Baobei do? If she kicked up a fuss in order to return home, she would seem petty.
Just as Jiang Moxiu was about to pull Baobei back into his room, the old master put down his papers, removed his glasses and instructed, “The helper has cleaned up the guest room. Baobei will sleep in Big Jiang’s room; Big Jiang, you’ll take the guest room.”
“Hey!” Jiang Moxiu could feel his eyes popping out of his sockets. “On what grounds?!”
The old master frowned. “She’s a young lady. If an unmarried couple were to sleep in the same room, even if nothing happened, it’ll be detrimental to her reputation!”
Baobei teared, Uncle, it’s too late!
Jiang Moxiu opened his mouth, but he couldn’t refute his father’s words.
“After getting engaged, you’ll be able to share the same room.” The old man then slowly got up to return to his room. A thought ran through his mind, and he started reprimanding his son. “And you. You’ve been attached for so long, but you’ve never visited Baobei’s parents. This Labour Day, let’s all go to S City and discuss the marriage. You can’t expect the young lady to stay with you without any status.”
Jiang Moxiu rejoiced when he heard this. The old master was probably deliberating this matter when he stayed silent the entire night. Now that he’d met this daughter-in-law, he was extremely pleased with her, and started to make plans to get her into his family. Plainly speaking, the old master wanted a grandchild. He simply had to rush the engagement, then encourage his son to “accidentally” get her pregnant. This would pave the way for the child to be born.
Having experienced empress dowager Kong’s surprises, Baobei realised that she could calmly accept any challenges thrown in her way. It was just that the suggestion from the old master was too frightening, hence she was frozen in place.
The old master and empress dowager’s bedroom was on the first floor. As they grew older, it was less convenient for them to climb the stairs all the time. Their sons’ bedrooms were on the second floor. The second floor was well-equipped, and included a study and bedroom. Truthfully, the elderly couple didn’t want to be alone. Even if their children had their own careers and homes and seldom returned, their rooms were still well-maintained. They might not have said it out loud, but this was their way to tell their children to return home regularly to spend time with them.
The first thing Baobei did when she entered Jiang Moxiu’s room was to tour the room. It was a pity she didn’t get what she wanted to see. Jiang Moxiu grew up in the States, so any photos or memorabilia were all there. Their house in China might have some family photos of them in different ages, but it was lacking any traces of them growing up there.
“I’ll bring you to the States to visit my grandmother in future.” Jiang Moxiu hugged Baobei from the back.
Jiang Moxiu’s grandmother was close to ninety years’ old, and his grandfather had passed away a few years ago. The younger generation wanted to bring the matron home, but she refused. Even though the Chinese focused on returning to their roots, she was already used to her lifestyle and climate overseas. More importantly, her old partner was also buried there.
Baobei nodded, but didn’t say a word.
“Are you still angry at me?” He gave her a peck on the cheeks.
Baobei immediately turned around, hugged Jiang Moxiu’s waist and buried her head in his chest. She felt surreal; three months ago, she felt that she was far from having a boyfriend, and marriage was simply nothing but a word to her. Now, she not only had a boyfriend, she even met his parents, and they even wanted to settle her marriage.
Baobei was feeling somewhat tragic. If she didn’t want to miss out on this man, she had to go through with the engagement. Not only did the groom’s family want to confirm their relationship, Jiang Moxiu himself had also raised his matter to her previously. Even though Baobei felt that she hadn’t enjoyed her youth sufficiently, she thought it was worth it for this man.
For a moment, Jiang Moxiu couldn’t tell what Baobei was thinking, and he didn’t know how to coax her. He could only hug and kiss her. After all, no matter how devious a man was, his mind couldn’t be as meticulous as a woman.
He hadn’t had enough of her when someone knocked on the door. “Big Jiang, it’s time to sleep.”
It was the old master.
Jiang Moxiu lost his smile and released Baobei helplessly. “Look at my dad. He’s guarded against me. It’s as though he’s afraid that I’ll take advantage of his daughter.”
“Did you already forget it? Didn’t you already take advantage of me?” The young lady pulled his neck down and leaned forward to bite his ear. Her tone was flirtatious, since she knew for certain that he couldn’t stay behind to bully her, so she tried to seduce him.
Jiang Moxiu almost got hard from her coy expression. He kissed her roughly, then turned around to leave.
She suddenly couldn’t bear to see him leave now that he really was going out. After all, she was still feeling apprehensive since it’s her first time staying over at her boyfriend’s house. Jiang Moxiu took two steps forward, but she refused to let go of his hand. Jiang Moxiu almost wanted to knock his father unconscious so that he could go back and be intimate with his wife.
 Referring to the middle of the lunar calendar month, where there’ll always be a full moon.
 An old saying that an experienced (and often more senior) person is always better at handling things.