Chapter 53 – Related to
Under the dusky lighting, Li Man’s thoughts were in a whirl.
Suddenly, a tall figure came into the kitchen, grabbed her arm, and started pulling her outside. “Wife, come out and look.”
Li Man could tell that the voice came from Li Shu. In her confused state, she hadn’t properly tied up the bag of jujube yet. They ended up falling out and landing on top of the cooking range.
After leaving the kitchen, Li Shu pulled her towards the back of their home. Underneath the dusky sky, Li Yan and Little Five were clustered around the pigpen and chatting about something.
After pulling Li Man over here, he asked with a grin, “Wife, look at the pig pen that I made. What do you think?”
She hadn’t expected that he would be able to build one so quickly. It had only taken him a day’s work to build the pigpen. It wasn’t very big, but it was enough to protect the two piglets from rain and wind. She leaned over the low stonewall and saw that the two piglets were competing with each other over the food. They dug into the food with their snouts and tried snatching bits of food from each other. They also made little snorting and squealing sounds. It was really fun to watch.
Seeing a smile appearing on Li Man’s face, Li Shu felt indescribably happy. He enthusiastically said, “Wife, this is pretty good, right? My construction skills can still be considered good enough. I was just talking about it with second brother. Once autumn arrives, and we’ve earned more money, I can build a few more huts for our home. What do you think of that idea?”
Li Man listened to his barrage of words, but she couldn’t understand most of it, so she could only muster up a smile in response before saying, “I haven’t finished washing the dishes. I’ll leave first.” If she didn’t leave soon, she felt as if she would drown under Li Yan’s gaze.
“Wife…” Li Shu wanted to stop her. He hadn’t finished talking yet.
“Third brother.” Li Yan stopped him and patted his shoulder. Smiling, he said, “You’ve been working hard all day too. Go wash up and go to sleep.”
“But, I haven’t finished talking yet.” Li Shu pressed his lips together. He felt a bit disheartened. A moment later, he resolutely said, “Anyways, I decided. Our wife will definitely live in a better hut by the end of the year. The hut that she’s staying in is okay for now, but I’m worried that the ceiling is going to leak once it starts raining.”
Li Yan nodded and encouragingly said to him, “En, that’s definitely doable.”
Li Shu grinned. Beautiful images that had accumulated over years of yearning flashed through his mind. His body suddenly felt as if it was filled to the brim with excitement.
Still smiling, Li Yan clapped his shoulder and said, “Come on, let’s go back to our hut.”
“En,” Li Shu agreed. The three brothers returned to the western hut together.
When they entered, Li Hua was the only one inside and sitting on the heated bed. He was facing an oil lamp and reading a book.
Li Shu hurriedly got onto the bed and excitedly asked, “Fourth brother, is there anymore to the story you told us last time? Tell us more.”
“Huh?” Li Hua raised his head and blankly looked at his brother for a moment. It seemed as if he had sunk deep into his thoughts and wasn’t fully aware of his surrounding yet.
Li Shu thought his brother had just been too focused on his book, so he moved closer and impatiently said, “The story about that poor youngster that became a general. It was such a good story, and you haven’t finish telling it yet.”
By now, Little Five had also taken off his shoes, climbed onto the heated bed, and reached Li Hua’s side. He impatiently looked at his older brother. His fourth brother was the best storyteller, and he told the best stories.
Li Hua chuckled, put down his book, and said, “There’s not much left…”
Li Shu and Little Five quieted down. Their attention was fully focused on hearing the remaining part of the exciting story.
The corners of Li Yan’s lips curved up into a light smile as he watched them. As Li Hua was painting a vivid story with his words, Li Yan sneakily left the hut and headed toward the kitchen.
Inside the kitchen, there was a small oil lamp on the cooking range. The faint yellow light warmed every corner of the room.
Li Man was still washing the dishes. She had been scrubbing the same bowl since she had come back here from the pigpen. She scrubbed and scrubbed. The cleaning rag kept going around and around the bowl as if it couldn’t move away from it. Her gaze also seemed a bit off. She was blankly looking at the little lamp. It was if her eyes had forgotten how to blink.
Li Yan was leaning against the doorway and quietly looking at her. The corners of his lips were curved up into an unrestrained wicked smile. If a woman was blankly staring off into space, it had to be related to a man.
But, who was that man?
Oldest brother? Fourth brother? Or himself?