The two went on to talk in the warm room. Sang Wan began to share her grievances, “It isn’t a problem to prepare New Year gifts for the Ren family’s elders, but what if Big Sister comes and asks me about the gifts for Big Brother-in-law’s friends, what should I do!”
Shi Yumei did not dare to prompt her mother and brother to do so, but she was bold and confident when it came to an “outsider” like her. If Shi Yumei was able to force Sang Wan into agreeing, then Wang Shi and Shi Fengju would not be able to say anything.
Shi Fengju frowned, “Didn’t Big Sister ask you to wait for her in the house? Let’s order someone to call for her! I will talk to her myself! Big Brother-in-law is getting out of hand and Big Sister too. We are in our own household, but we are being taken advantage off!”
“That will be for the best! No matter how bad of a person Big Brother-in-law is, he’s still Big Sister’s husband. If he insisted on it, Big Sister would have no choice but to comply!” Sang Wang was not worried about his grumbling as he could do so after all. However, she could not go along with him! What she cared about was being finally free from the trouble, so she instructed Liu Ya, “Send someone to Jiao Garden and invite Eldest Missy over,” She glanced at Shi Fengju and continued, “If she asks whether Lord is around, answer with a ‘no’.”
Liu Ya gave a glance at the quiet Shi Fengju and accepted before retreating.
Sure enough, Shi Yumei asked if Shi Fengju was there. Upon hearing that he was not, she immediately put on her cloak and brought a few servants with her. She was worried that if she was even a second too slow, it would be too late; her brother would be back and that would be a disaster!
Shi Yumei did not expect Shi Fengju to be present with Sang Wan inside the warm room when she arrived.
“Why is Second Brother here too!” Shi Yumei was so shocked that her face turned pale as she promptly frowned and cast her gaze at Sang Wan, furious at her for this situation.
“Big Sister!” Shi Fengju smiled and invited her to take a seat before saying, “I just came back and heard from Sang Wan that Big Sister had some problems. As a brother, I have to care for my big sister! Big Sister, please tell us!”
“That’s right, Big Sister. If I can be of any help, I’ll do my best.” Sang Wan also added.
How am I supposed to say it? Shi Yumei mumbled and the smile on her face stiffened.
“Big Sister,” A hurt look flashed across Shi Fengju’s face as he said bitterly, “Is Big Sister still angry at me for not giving you face this morning at Mother’s place? Big Sister is becoming estranged from me!”
“No such thing!” Shi Yumei panicked. Her thoughts were jumbled now so how could she still hide it from them? And so, she just spoke, “Actually, it’s about the matter this morning, Second Brother, can you help your big sister this once! Your big brother-in-law’s friends… he says he can’t have them have a low opinion of him. If he doesn’t send them New Year gifts, they will think that he looks down on them, and it will hurt his reputation!”
Shi Fengju only smiled and said, “Brother-in-law words don’t seem to be right. Just think about it, Big Sister, both of you have already sold all your property at Mengxian, would Big Brother-in-law’s friend not know that he is currently residing in our household? Where would he get the money to buy them New Year gifts? If he really were to send gifts over, he will instead become a joke to others! He will be laughed at for using his in-laws to act prestigious. If an educated person does not have a lofty and unyielding character, then what is he capable of! That will really hurt his reputation!”
Shi Fengju sneered in his heart. Reputation? Does he still have reputation to keep? Shi Fengju still remembered the trip on August the fifteen. How the people from Mengxian described his big brother-in-law, Shi Fengju was clear about it! He was too embarrassed to listen or even mention it, yet he still dared to speak about “reputation”!
Shi Yumei was stumped; she was at a loss of words to refute him. She could not possibly say that her husband relying on his in-laws to boost his reputation was something to be proud of and worth flaunting, right?
“Second Brother,” Shi Yumei forced a smile, “No matter what, there’s a need for favors and gifts between friends. If not, their relationship will be gone! How about, you take it as giving me a loan; you can deduct the amount from our allowance next month, how about it?”
Isn’t the monthly allowance still money from our Shi family? Shi Fengju was between laughter and tears, but Sang Wan could not help but pity Shi Yumei. If she had to marry such a brazen and proud husband, she would rather be nun!
“Big Sister,” Shi Fengju said firmly, “Can those people even be considered as friends? Those who do not abandon you when you’re in a crisis and take the initiative to help you are considered true friends! When both you and Big Brother-in-law were in debt, did those people take the initiative to help, even by a little? Rather, they cleaned his Four Treasures of the Study from his hands! Brothels, taverns, renting of site for so called discussions, they had family backings and jobs, but they did not fork out any money and always had Big Brother-in-law pay for them. Big Sister, did the both of you forget about that? Do you still regard such people as friends? Even giving offerings to the ancestors aren’t as outrageous as this! In my opinion, Big Brother-in-law turning out the way he is now definitely has something to do with them. Big Sister, you have to have the courage to persuade Big Brother-in-law; don’t let him continue to remain a fool anymore! Big Brother-in-law would be better off without those so called ‘friends’!”
Shi Yumei sighed, “It’s not that I don’t understand your reasoning! But your big brother-in-law——It’s not like you don’t know him. He is stubborn! He deeply believes that those people are his friends, and when I try to persuade him, he would reprimand me with words like ‘that is the view of a woman’ and ‘Keep quiet if you don’t know anything’. Second Brother, take it as doing a favor for your Big Sister, please! In any case, we are far from them now, those people can no longer urge your big brother-in-law to do anything else, so take it as buying some peace!”
“Big Sister,” Shi Fengju had an indescribable feeling within him. He was feeling both angry and sorry for her, and said dully, “You can’t comply and let Big Brother-in-law do as he pleases anymore! Big Sister, it’s not that your brother doesn’t want to spend the money. If it were spent on other things, I will not say a word about it. But for things like these, I cannot allow it! What those people are, I don’t even have to ask around in Mengxian to know! I don’t think Big Sister is unaware of it, right? Let me say a few unpleasant words right here. Right now, Big Brother-in-law hasn’t even passed his examinations and become an official, yet he dares to treat you and our family any way he likes even when he is staying in our household. In the future, if he actually succeeds, think about how he will treat you then! Big Sister, you cannot keep on giving in to him!”
Shi Yumei was stupefied and her mind went blank. She thought for a while and sighed before forcing a smile, “I know that you care for me and I understand your words, but it’s just that——Haiz, forget it! You’re right, I cannot let him have his own way anymore! It’s right to separate far from those people in Mengxian! Second Brother, I won’t disturb you anymore, I’ll be heading back first!”
Shi Fengju seemed to have more to say, but he kept it to himself. Together with Sang Wan, they stood up and saw her off, “Big Sister, take care!”
Shi Yumei acknowledged. All of a sudden, her gaze fell on Sang Wan. She stared straight at Sang Wan’s face and said, “Next time if I’m bored, I will come and find Sister Sang Wan to talk to. Sister Sang Wan wouldn’t find me boring right?”
It’s not that I wouldn’t dare to find you boring, but even more so that I can’t afford to offend you! Sang Wan screamed of the suffering in her heart, but she smiled and said, “Why would I, Big Sister is welcome to come whenever you want!”
Shi Yumei smiled and left.
“Don’t worry, Big Sister won’t find trouble with you without a reason!” Shi Fengju gently patted his wife’s back.
Sang Wan smiled and shook her head as they sat on the bed, “I treat her with respect so she won’t do anything to me. Don’t be angry, he’s still our brother-in-law no matter what, she’s in a difficult position too!”
Shi Fengju groaned: “How can I be not angry! Where would you find such a shameless man! How did our family accept this kind of person!” Shi Fengju suddenly thought of Gu Jin and Sang Wan’s second uncle and aunt.
Sang Wan thought of them too. She smiled and said, “Every family has their own problems; our family’s problems are as such, other families surely have their own too. It’s just that we do not know, nor can we understand! It’s going to be New Year soon, so don’t be angry anymore! It’s inauspicious!”
Shi Fengju laughed at what she said and placed her in his embrace, “I’m lucky to have you, Sang Wan, I’m starting to love you even more than before!”
Sang Wan stiffened slightly then pried his hands away, “It’s still broad daylight and you are already being touchy again!”
Shi Fengju said, “You should know that I just endured a belly full of anger, can’t you console me for once! Don’t worry, whichever daring servant dares to come in, I will skin her!”
Sang Wan giggled before pouting and making a wry face at him, “Lord’s harsh words make you seem angry, aren’t you worried that you might scare others!”
“Did I scare you? Then Lord will compensate you…” Seeing her delicate appearance, Shi Fengju’s heart was swept away. He held her even tighter and lowered his head to kiss her lips. Sang Wan’s body and mind trembled as she subconsciously let out a delicate moan
While the two of them were enjoying their time together, Shi Yumei was on her way back to Jiao Garden. Looking at the entrance in front of her, she could not help but get a headache.
She feigned a calm expression as she entered the house. But before she even spoke, she heard Ren Zhixian’s deadpan and authoritative voice, “Has it been settled? Did you remember what I told you to say; surely you did not miss out on any of it right? The Four Treasures of the Study must be an antique, the painting and calligraphy must be from famous people and not just any common one! The incense burner must be simple, elegant, and small, not the big ones that are too heavy; those are a joke to send it as gifts. Don’t forget to add in a box of good incense, chinese eaglewood or plum blossom wood are fine, but don’t send those poor quality ones! That will be all. Oh, and they won’t mind clothing and food, but they won’t value those common ones! Ai, why are you looking at me like that? Did you hear what I just said? Did you pass it down clearly to your sister-in-law? Don’t make her buy the wrong one or we’ll have to trouble her to make an exchange!”
Shi Yumei did not feel it previously, but after hearing what her second brother said and seeing her husband behaving in such a manner, she felt ashamed, angry, guilty, and hurt: Just what kind of a husband had she married!
Even though they were his in-laws, based on his instructions and the way he gave out his instructions, it was clear that he had made himself seem like the master of the household! Even she felt ashamed, yet he still showed an expression that seemed as if nothing was wrong!
Shi Yumei snorted coldly as she sat down with no trace of politeness. She ordered Cui Zhu to pour the tea and slowly drank a few mouthfuls. Seeing her husband’s face turning colder by the minute, she slowly put down the cup and took out her handkerchief to wipe the corner of her mouth before saying plainly, “I did not tell her.”
“What did you say!” Ren Zhixian’s expression turned ugly in an instant.
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