Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“Why don’t…” Zhao Baolin looked at the tearing Chai Hong and thought for a while before deciding to ask something.
But before he finished his sentence, Chai Hong shook her head vehemently. “Take it! Take it all! Regardless, we must not be a stumbling block on our child’s path to happiness! I’m just unwilling to part with it and a bit sad. Don’t care about me. I’ll be fine after crying for a while.”
Zhao Baolin sighed, somewhat at a loss for words.
Chai Hong cried until night fell. Her heart pained for the money, but she was more worried about the future. After all, how could the living be without money? Money in a farming village worked differently from the city, where a salary was banked in every month. Farmers solely relied on the staple food they sold at the end of each year, having one sum of money banked in annually. In the middle of the year, it would be difficult to find any additional income, very difficult…
But regardless of how upset she was, she was insistent on using it.
The next day, Zhao Baolin and Chai Hong, together with Zhao Yuhe, set off. They met Meng Huimei at Songwu County and were brought to the Liu Family Village to meet Han Xiaoran’s parents, Han Kunyan and Zhou Shaoxia.
The moment they entered, Zhao Baolin felt uneasy, afraid that he would mess up.
But after the meeting, Zhao Baolin realized that the family was extremely amiable and warm. Both families quickly engaged in a cheery conversation without any of the awkwardness found between strangers.
“Brother, I can be considered to have met your son now. Although he is deaf-mute, the eyes are the window to the soul. I can tell that he is a good child. In this day and age, many people can make money, but few have good hearts,” Han Kunyan said with a long sigh with a wine cup in his hand.
Zhao Baolin felt immensely comforted when he heard that. He immediately raised his cup and said, “Let’s not speak further. Brother, bottoms up!”
“Bottoms up!” Han Kunyan downed his drink.
After a cup of alcohol entered his stomach, Han Kunyan continued. “I do like the child, but as you know, although we are from the village, villagers care about face even more. A wedding cannot be done in a low key manner. You have met my daughter as well. She’s my only daughter, and marriage is an important matter. Therefore, the wedding has to look good. That will give me face.”
What could Zhao Baolin say when Han Kunyan was speaking so sincerely? All he could do was nod.
Sitting by the side, Meng Huimei said, “Brother Han, go ahead and tell us. How do you want the wedding to be like? Our family will definitely pay the money required, but it will be difficult if it’s too much.”
Meng Huimei voiced out Zhao Baolin’s thoughts. In a way, she was helping him, and everything she said was aligned with his thoughts. He felt extremely grateful to her as his eyes reddened. Despite them being distant relatives, she was so nice to him. Zhao Baolin’s heart warmed up! As such, he nodded in agreement to what Meng Huimei said. He believed it was impossible for Meng Huimei to be setting him up.
Han Kunyan said, “Don’t worry. Our family is pragmatic and knows its place. We won’t be unreasonable. We will just go with the average amount. We will have what others have. If they don’t have it, neither shall we. We do not wish for something too grand, just not something embarrassing.”
“Brother, what you said aligns with my beliefs as well. Here’s to that!” Zhao Baolin was moved as he raised his cup.
Another drink was downed.
Han Kunyan said, “According to the village’s customs, it’s two thousand as a meeting gift, and three, six, or nine for a withdrawal fee. Let’s not have nine, but six. It’s an auspicious number signifying smoothness! As for the dowry, I feel that if it’s possible, they should have a house in the city. If not, they should have a nest to roost in the village. As for the city, the children can work hard themselves. As for any betrothal gifts, go ahead and tell me straightforwardly how much you can give!”
Han Kunyan was straightforward and not excessive. Zhao Baolin was grateful and thanks to his inebriation, he felt that someone so honest shouldn’t lose out, so he said, “Sixty thousand!”
“Pfft!” Sitting at another table, Chai Hong nearly spat out the food in her mouth.
“Sister, what’s wrong?” Zhou Shaoxia patted Chai Hong on the back.
Chai Hong chuckled dryly. “I’m fine. I choked on the spice.”
“That’s good, then. Sister, here, have some more.” Zhou Shaoxia picked up some food for Chai Hong who nodded in return. However, the food tasted bland, for her heart was filled with worries. A deposit of thirty thousand and betrothal gifts of sixty thousand. Together, it would cost them more than a hundred thousand. There wasn’t enough at all! Where could they get the money?”
Zhao Baolin continued. “We will have to prepare jewelry for the kids too. It will look good during the wedding.”
Then, Zhao Baolin took out thirty thousand yuan and placed it on the table. He took out twenty thousand of it and pushed it forward. “Brother, this is a deposit for your girl.”
“Twenty thousand?” Han Kunyan was somewhat astonished upon seeing it. In the villages, deposits were a token. Ten to twenty thousand was common, but few people reached twenty thousand.
No one noticed the meaning behind Zhao Baolin’s lifted brows when he mentioned sixty thousand and handed over twenty thousand. It was as though he had thought of something.
“Brother, nice!” Han Kunyan did not stand on ceremony and took the money.
Chai Hong heaved a sigh of relief when she heard that Zhao Baolin was giving only twenty thousand. She thought to herself, “Thankfully, this fellow isn’t stupid.”
Then, she heard him say, “Sister, this matter was all thanks to you. This ten thousand is for your efforts.”
Chai Hong’s hand trembled when she heard that. However, she bore with it and remained silent. Outside, she had to agree with her husband after all. Besides, objecting would be useless. Apart from a quarrel and a stir, what else would it amount to? It was not worth it if it affected her son’s marriage.
When Meng Huimei saw the money and heard what Zhao Baolin said, she immediately beamed and said, “Aiyah! Brother, you… Sigh, if not for me having some trouble back home and my urgent need for money, I really wouldn’t accept it.”
“You have trouble back home?” Zhao Baolin asked in astonishment.
“That’s right. Your cousin-in-law went through a surgery recently. We still owe thousands. We were still worried, but I never expected… This money weighs on my heart. Let’s do this. Consider it a loan. I’ll return it to you in the future,” Meng Huimei said.
Zhao Baolin shook his head immediately. “Don’t. You make it sound like we are strangers. We are cousins. If it’s not enough, tell me. I’ll try to think of a solution for you.”
Meng Huimei’s gaze clearly trembled when she heard that. She seemed to think of something and appeared to struggle with her inner thoughts. Even the speed at which she took the money was slow. However, she eventually smiled and took the money.
After the money was given, there was only joy. Both families talked throughout the night.
Zhao Baolin and Meng Huimei stayed at Han Xiaoran’s place for three days. In those three days, Han Kunyan’s family treated Zhao Baolin’s family very well. They showed care and concern for them like they were all family. Even when they were about to leave, Han Kunyan’s mother, Zhou Shaoxia, held onto Chai Hong’s clothes. She was disconsolate with tears. Finally, it was Han Xiaoran’s cousin and relatives who held her back.
Upon seeing this scene, Chai Hong and Zhao Baolin’s heart soured and heated up. Zhao Yuhe’s love for Han Xiaoran also became undeniable.