Three days into their marriage, the newlyweds were going back to their in-laws’ house.
The night before, Zhang Li Yun had prepared the return gift, in addition to a pair of chickens and ducks, two pounds of pork and two cigarettes according to local customs, she also took out the scarf that Zhao Nan had bought in the county, and asked Jiang Rui to take it back to her mother’s house.
“He had thought that I wouldn’t let him send you away, so he got mad and chopped all the wood in the yard by himself. Next time we run out of firewood, I’ll do something to upset him, and he’ll probably be able to chop all the firewood for a year.” Zhang Li Yun taunted her son.
Li Xiao’e interjected, “No wonder I saw mum contemplating the ground in the yard the other day, so she was afraid that second brother would split the ground!”
Jiang Rui covered her mouth and laughed straight away.
Zhao Nan had a blank face and let the three of them make fun of him.
On the day of the wedding, Jiang Rui sat on the back of Zhao Nan’s bicycle and went from Du’s house to Zhao’s house, and today, when she returned home, she took the bicycle back again.
She was still wearing the red flowered cotton jacket, a fashionable wool scarf tied around her neck, her hair tied in a low ponytail, bangs in front of her forehead, her face flushed and smiling. Anyone who saw her would say that the Du family had married the right daughter and that she had gone to enjoy the blessings of the Zhao family.
Before entering the Du family courtyard, the cries of Xiao Shanzha were heard.
“Dad and Mom, I’m back.” Jiang Rui and Zhao Nan walked into the courtyard side by side.
Wang Tong Hua hurriedly greeted her from the house, “Bao Qin and A Nan are here, come in quickly.”
Zhao Nan also called out for his mother.
“Hey, hey.” Wang Tong Hua rubbed her apron in response.
“Why is Xiao Shanzha crying?” Jiang Rui took the basket from Zhao Nan’s hand, placed it on the dining table, looked around, and asked, “Where’s Dad?”
“The child caught a cold yesterday and has been crying because she feels uncomfortable. Your father knew you were coming back today, so he sat in the house early in the morning and waited. A few people just came, saying that there was something going on at the ancestral shrine, and called your father and your brother there. I explained that they had to be back by mealtime.”
Jiang Rui nodded and turned to Zhao Nan and said, “Sit down for a while, I’ll go check on Xiao Shanzha.”
Wang Tong Hua said, “Xiao Hua is putting the baby to bed, so you can sit with Anan and I will bring you some snacks to eat.”
“Mom, it’s not necessary.” Jiang Rui pulled her back, “It’s not like we are guests, what’s the point of eating snacks.”
“You child, this is your first visit since you got married, how can you not be a guest? These are the rules.” Wang Tong Hua pushed her hand away.
Jiang Rui could only say, “Then let’s eat later, we just had breakfast at home, we can’t eat now either.”
“Good, then ……” Wang Tong Hua rubbed her hands together and added, “Are you thirsty? I’ll go and pour two cups of tea.” After saying that, without waiting for Jiang Rui and Zhao Nan to refuse, she turned around and went to the kitchen.
Jiang Rui glanced helplessly at Zhao Nan and suddenly saw a fallen eyelash on the bridge of his nose, came forward and blew on it, and when it didn’t come off, she blew on it again.
“Stop it.” The two came close enough for the cool air to spray into his face, and Zhao Nan thought she had gotten up to play again and pressed the person back slightly uncomfortably.
“You’re the one making a scene.” Jiang Rui puffed up her cheeks and reached up to flick that eyelash so he could see it clearly, before turning her head away and ignoring him.
Zhao Nan realized that he had wrongly accused her of being guilty, but he didn’t know what to say to coax her, and now that he was still at Du’s house and his mother-in-law would appear at any moment, he didn’t have the heart to say anything to soften the situation.
Jiang Rui shrugged it off, he went to tick again, and again shrugged off, and then persistently went to tick, until the person was ticked out of temper, and turned back to glare at him softly, ” Cheeky.”
Wang Tong Hua brought two cups of tea into the room and Jiang Rui and Zhao Nan got up to get them.
“Mom, don’t get busy, sit down and talk with me. Look at these scarves, Ah Nan bought them in the county before, one for Mom, sister-in-law and Bao Zhen. Hey, isn’t Bao Zhen home today?”
“At home, surely she didn’t hear me with the door closed, I’ll call her.”
Jiang Rui prevented her, “Maybe she is reviewing her homework, let’s not disturb, let’s call out later after dinner.”
“It’s okay.” Wang Tong Hua carefully touched the soft scarf, smiled and squinted her eyes, but her mouth said: “How much money ah, asked Ah Nan to spend so much, remember, come back without buying things.”
Jiang Rui glanced at Zhao Nan and said with a smile, “It’s a gift he gives to mom, so mom just accept it.”
As she was talking, Du Bao Zhen opened the door of her room and poked her head out from inside, “Mom, I think I heard Sister’s voice – Sister, you’re back!” She gave a surprise cheer and came out of the room with a few jumps.
“Keep your voice down!” Wang Tong Hua gently shouted at her, ” Shanzha is not crying now, she should be tired of crying and sleeping, don’t wake her up.”
Du Bao Zhen tiptoed to Jiang Rui’s side, sat down and wrapped her hand around her, “Sister, you’re finally back, I missed you so much.”
“It’s only been like two days since we’ve seen each other, not two years.” Jiang Rui said with amusement, “Have you finished your homework? You’ll have to go to school tomorrow, right?”
“Oops, done done done, how come whenever everyone sees me they ask about homework, can’t they say something else?”
“You’re a student, what else is there to talk about but your studies?”
Du Bozhen sullenly beamed.
Wang Tong Hua glared at her, “Why don’t you know how to address someone, you girl? Call brother-in-law quickly.”
“I know,” Du Bao Zhen stood up and called out honestly, ” Hello brother-in-law.”
Zhao Nan nodded and pulled out a red envelope from his pocket.
Wang Tong Hua took a look and immediately said, ” An Nan quickly put it away, no need to give it to her.”
“Mom also said before, it’s all a rule, how can we not give it? Bao Zhen take it.” Jiang Rui said.
Du Bao Zhen glanced at her mother’s face, took the red envelope, her face showed joy, and a brother-in-law was more sincere: “Thank you sister, thank you brother-in-law!”
Wang Tong Hua frowned: “Okay, hurry back to the house to read a book, don’t make noise here.”
Du Bao Zhen put out her tongue and ran away.
“She is not a child, what red envelope to give, and let Ah Nan spend money.” Wang Tong Hua said in a broken voice.
Jiang Rui only listened with a smile.
” Aiyo, there is still a fire in the kitchen, Bao Qin you and Ah Nan have a seat, I’ll go and see.” She got up again and hurriedly went.
Jiang Rui turned her head to look at Zhao Nan, “I’m going to check on my sister-in-law and Xiao Shanzha, do you want to come with me or wait here?”
“I’ll wait for you.” Zhao Nan said.
Jiang Rui nodded, suddenly leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek, arched her eyes and smiled: “I’ll be back soon.”
Zhao Nan watched helplessly as she entered the house, but his lips and chest were tingling.
Zhang Xiao Hua’s room is a bit dark, Jiang Rui walked in gingerly, glanced at the bed, and asked in a whisper, “Sleeping?”
“Just went to sleep.” Zhang Xiao Hua lowered her voice.
“Why are you crying so much? Did you hold it to see?”
Zhang Xiao Hua nodded and said, “I’ve seen it, but the cold is not serious, it’s just that her nose is blocked and she can only breathe in through her mouth, but she has to use her mouth when she drinks milk. She wants to drink milk and breathe in, so she can’t keep up with it, so she cries when her temper starts.”
Jiang Rui heard her say this, and was heartbroken and a bit amused, “Our Xiao Shanzha is still cranky.”
Zhang Xiao Hua shook her head helplessly and looked at her, ” What about the Zhao family?”
“It’s pretty good.” Jiang Rui had a smile on the corner of her mouth and didn’t say much.
Zhang Xiao Hua saw that the heart was quite complicated. Life is good, in fact, there is no need to say more, others can see at a glance. Her sister-in-law is enjoying her blessings, but her own days are still ahead of her. The thought of taking care of the children and feeding the rabbits in the past two days, and even allowing the children to catch a cold due to negligence, she was angry and anxious. This is just the beginning, when will it end?
Jiang Rui talked to her for a while, afraid to wake up Xiao Shanzha, didn’t take a seat and went to see Du Bao Zhen’s room.
As soon as she entered, Du Bao Zhen took her hand and asked with astonishment, “Sister, do you know how much money is in the red envelope that brother-in-law gave me?”
“I know.” Jiang Rui said, after that red envelope was prepared, Zhao Nan showed it to her.
Du Bao Zhen held out a hand and waved it around in front of her eyes, “There’s five dollars! I can’t believe there are five dollars!”
Jiang Rui pressed that hand down, “I know there are five dollars, you keep it, if you want to give it to Mom it is okay, keep it to buy materials and books.”
Du Bao Zhen immediately clutched the red envelope, “I, I will keep it for myself.”
But she still couldn’t hold back her excitement and said to Jiang Rui again, “How can brother-in-law pack such a big red envelope!”
The amount of money in the red envelope is not too big, but Zhao Nan insisted, so she did not care much. When she went out this morning, she heard Zhang Li Yun say that she knew that Zhao Nan had consulted her last night and learned that the red envelope he handed out today was about her face in her mother’s family, which is why she had specially wrapped a large one.
Du Bao Zhen saw that she was not surprised at all, and was a little puzzled, then looked carefully at her sister, and realized that after a few days of not seeing her, there was something different about her. Although the clothes she was wearing were still made last year, the scarf around her neck was of a material and style she had never seen before, looking soft and fashionable, and her feet were covered with brand new leather shoes, shiny black leather, which she had only seen worn by the best students in her class, and never thought such a pair of shoes would appear on her sister’s feet.
She was suddenly feeling that the sister she grew up with had become different, she dressed so stylishly, smiled so beautifully, and looked at herself, making a fuss over a red envelope, like the most unsophisticated person in the world.
The red envelope, which had surprised her just now, was now in her hands, but for some reason, she didn’t feel a bit better.
return 回门 (huímén): first return of bride to her parental home
until the person was ticked out of temper 锲而不舍 (qiè’érbùshě): to chip away at a task and not abandon it (idiom); to chisel away at sth
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