After some time, Sang Wan suddenly jerked. It was as if she was having a nightmare, and her breathing turned messy. Her eyebrows were creased together and her serene expression was filled with pain and anxiety. Shi Fengju was startled and wanted to wake her up, but she suddenly cried out, “Lord! Lord!” That voice was full of despair and contained a large amount of pain in it which caused shivers down his spine.
“Sang Wan! Sang Wan!” Shi Fengju was frightened by her sudden change and gently shook her to wake her up, “Sang Wan, wake up, wake up. Did you have a nightmare? Quickly, wake up!”
For a long while, Sang Wan just stared blankly as if she was immersed in some sort of inexplicable state of mind. Her immense pain and sadness was something Shi Fengju had never seen before in his life. He could not help but think to himself just what kind of pain she had gone through to have such an expression. Just what happened to Sang Wan!
“Sang Wan, Sang Wan”, Shi Fengju became a little anxious and held her hand tightly as he lowered his head to kiss her cheek, “Sang Wan, did you have a nightmare? Don’t be afraid. I’m here. Lord is here, Sang Wan!”
Sang Wan raised her gaze stiffly to look at Shi Fengju, her clear eyes covered with tears. After a moment, she finally returned to her senses and said coarsely, “Lord?”
“Yes,” Shi Fengju saw that she had returned to her senses and secretly heaved a huge sigh of relief, tightening the hand that was around hers as he smiled, “Aren’t I accompanying you here? Did you have a nightmare? En?”
Sang Wan was stunned. She shook her head, then nodded again. What she had dreamt of just now was about her past life when she was all by herself to endure the pain. There, her head ached badly and she was feeling feverish, cold and hungry, but there was no one who cared about her.
Her life or death, nobody cared at all! Even she did not care anymore as another moment of living was nothing but torture.
“Don’t be afraid,” Her pained expression made Shi Fengju’s heart ache and he subconsciously wiped the tears off her eyes as he said gently, “Sang Wan, don’t be afraid! Don’t be fooled, it’s only a bad dream!”
“Really?” Sang Wan asked in a daze. Was it really just a dream?
Shi Fengju said with amusement, “Of course, look, am I not right beside you?”
Sang Wan’s nose turned sour and she could not help but lean on Shi Fengju while sobbing heavily. It was only a bad dream, just a distant dream! He was right beside her, at this moment, he was really just right beside her.
“Don’t cry, don’t cry!” Shi Fengju’s heart sank all of a sudden, and he patted her back as he consoled her in a gentle tone. Her despaired crying made Shi Fengju think twice about whether it was really a dream or something which she had gone through personally! After realizing that point, it made him feel even more uncomfortable.
It took a good while before Sang Wan’s crying gradually became a soft sob. Shi Fengju slowly let go of her and took her handkerchief to wipe her tears. His heart was in anguish upon seeing her red swollen eyes and he asked gently, “Sang Wan, what did you dream of to make you this upset!”
Hearing him, Sang Wan felt pain in her heart again and she whimpered in between her sobs, “I dreamt, I dreamt of you no longer wanting me! I——”
Shi Fengju’s heart felt as if he had received several blows and his face turned extremely pale. He pulled her into his strong embrace with one jerk and clenched his teeth to say every word clearly, “What are you saying! Why would I not want you! You are not allowed to have such dreams anymore!” Her dream seemed so surreal!
Sang Wan said with difficulty, “You’re holding me too tightly, I can’t breathe!”
Shi Fengju quickly let go of her, but continued to cup her face up and said in a fit, “Sang Wan, why would you have such a crazy dream! Why would I not want you! Promise me that you will not overthink in the future!”
Sang Wan could feel a bittersweet feeling deep down, and she thought to herself: It isn’t a crazy dream, but something I’ve experienced! Lord, you did abandon me before like an item without value. It was real and not a dream! However, that previous life is something that seemed far away, and thinking about it now, even I feel as if that is just a dream!
Sang Wan forced a smile and nodded quietly, “Lord, I’m just a little afraid——”
“Don’t talk about it anymore,” Shi Fengju covered her mouth and said gently, “I’m here, and I won’t allow you to think too much! I will help you resolve all your problems.”
Sang Wan stopped speaking, and rested in his embrace quietly. Shi Fengju lowered his head to look at the gentle girl in his arms and could not help but lift her face to stare deeply into her eyes. This was his wife, the love of his life. And the fact that she had such a surreal dream of him abandoning her made him feel incredibly frustrated and distressed.
After returning to the Shi household, Sang Wan and Shi Fengju each became very busy. It was the month when they had to visit relatives and friends, receive them as guests, and have New Year dinner. As the new daughter-in-law, Wang Shi would naturally bring her along wherever she went. In just a span of eleven or twelve days, even Sang Wan lost count of how many people she had seen and spoken to.
Ever since Shi Fengming left home, Second Old Mistress Shi would never go out to receive guests or visit relatives. Luckily, Third Old Mistress Shi was around this year to help share some of Wang Shi’s burden, which relieved much of Sang Wan’s responsibility.
Wang Shi had always found such practice tiresome, with the exception of two or three families that were particularly close. She mentioned to Sang Wan before visiting another household, “Remember all these people. Next year, I won’t be coming along anymore. You’ll have to handle them yourself!” That made Sang Wan even more nervous.
On the twelfth day, Zhuang Weixian and a few other close friends asked Shi Fengju out to gather for a meal. Those with partners were bringing along their wives, thus, Shi Fengju informed Wang Shi that he would be bringing along Sang Wan to the gathering.
“These few days must’ve tired you out. Tonight, the people who we will be meeting are friends that I am very close with, so you don’t have to care much about etiquette there.” Shi Fengju held his wife’s small face lovingly and smiled.
Sang Wan hit his hands away and laughed, “Then why don’t I just skip it and rest at home instead? Won’t that be better?”
“No way!” Shi Fengju laughed and said, “All my friends have never seen you before. Their wives will be going, so naturally mine has to go as well!”
Sang Wan burst out laughing before saying, “Fine, I’ll go. But I don’t know much about acting within my social status, so if I ended up throwing your face, you mustn’t blame me!”
“My wife is the best woman in the world, so why would you throw my face? Think of how many people out there who are jealous of me having married such a wonderful woman!” Nowadays, Shi Fengju’s eyes shone extremely brightly whenever he talked about his wife.
Sang Wan’s face turned red from his words and she tutted at him softly.
The banquet was set at Lotus Jade Restaurant, and the five or six people, other than Zhuang Weixian, brought along their wives. They were all prominent people in Qingzhou city, and after the initial greeting and catching up, the men felt bonded again. Their partners had heard from them about how Shi Fengju and Gu Fangzi were childhood sweethearts, and therefore had many doubts regarding Sang Wan. When they finally met Sang Wan, seeing how gentle, elegant, and knowledgeable she was, they instantly developed a liking towards her. Watching how extremely protective Shi Fengju was over her, it was clear that their relationship was amicable. Everyone could not help but lament at how different the wife and concubine were. Just from the aura she gave off, it was different from an ordinary person!
Everyone gathered had an extremely good time. Only when the moon was high up in the starry night sky did they finally head for home joyfully.
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