Both Tang Wan and Yang Chen were shocked to have heard that familiar voice.
That voice. That sounded an awful lot like Tang Tang!
Tang Tang’s sudden visit startled Tang Wan. She quickly jumped away from Yang Chen’s embrace and tidied up her clothing. However, her face betrayed the arousal that she was trying to keep hidden.
“It’s your fault that I’m embarrassed! Why’d you have to grope me here?” Tang Wan had always tried to maintain her composure in front of Tang Tang. But it seemed like that would end today.
Yang Chen gave a curt smile. He didn’t mind if Tang Tang saw them together. Sometimes, being a little less uptight would really help in relieving one’s worries.
As expected, Tang Tang who was dressed in yellow top and white-laced shorts, came round the corner and into sight.
She saw Yang Chen and Tang Wan standing together. Tang Tang let out a sly smile and hopped to her mother who was blushing like there was no tomorrow. Softly she asked, “Am I disturbing anything?”
Tang Wang coughed once and glared at her daughter while saying, “What are you talking about? Didn’t I tell you to stay home today to revise for exams? So why are you here? Also, I distinctly remember telling you that you weren’t allowed to drive any of the cars in the garage.”
“I didn’t drive.” Tang Tang puffed her cheeks out and said, “Brother Yuan Ye sent me.”
On cue, Yuan Ye who tagged along with Tang Tang showed up. He smiled after seeing Yang Chen. He recently found out from his parents that Yang Chen was his aunt’s son who had been separated from the family for over twenty years.
It came as quite a shock to him but he was thrilled nonetheless. He had always considered Yang Chen as a brother to him. Having witnessed Yang Chen’s miraculous acts multiple times, he had the urge to get closer to Yang Chen upon finding out that they were related by blood. If it wasn’t for his parents who obstructed him from disturbing Yang Chen, he would’ve tried to become neighbours with Yang Chen.
Before Yuan Ye managed to greet them, Tang Wan excoriated, “Yuan Ye, how many times have I told you not to distract Tang Tang? She needs to stay home and study. Why did you bring her here?”
Yuan Ye panicked slightly when he heard her ask that question. With a nervous smile he said, “Aunt Tang, she told me that she was keen on visiting her grandfather. I heard that Master Tang had completely recovered and will be returning to Beijing soon. But before he goes, it would be respectful if we younger generation kids paid him a visit.”
“Yea if it wasn’t for Grandpa who shielded us from our enemies back then, we wouldn’t be here now. You didn’t allow me to visit Grandpa when he was ill. Now that he has recovered, you still refuse to allow me to see him. If he wasn’t aware of the whole story, he would think that I have disregarded and disrespected him,” Tang Tang said holding Tang Wan’s arm.
Tang Wan hummed and said, “You sure come up with the best excuses to sneak out. For now, you will be forgiven for your consideration toward Grandpa. If you try this again, I will make sure that you are home by locking you in your room!”
Tang Tang nodded her head solemnly. Yuan Ye who was standing beside her widened his eyes in shock. This future mother-in-law of mine is scary indeed. I should tread with caution in the future, he thought.
On the other hand, Yang Chen was pleased to see the exchange between Tang Tang and Tang Wan. Tang Tang had matured quite a bit from her rebellious days.
I don’t know whether it is because I have been on that kind of relationship with Tang Wan, I used to see Tang Tang only as a little girl. But today, I feel like I became her senior instead, thought Yang Chen.
Yang Chen yawned and lazily said, “All of you may go visit Master Tang. I will take my leave now as there are other places I need to be at.”
Tang Wan was reluctant to let Yang Chen go but this was neither the time nor place to complain so she just nodded her head.
Yuan Ye suddenly strode up next to Yang Chen and said, “Cousin, I have something to tell you.”
Yang Chen felt odd hearing Yuan Ye referring him as cousin. His relations to the Yang clan was known to quite a number of people, including this cousin brother of his from the Yuan clan. He wasn’t bothered by that so he answered, “Yes?”
“Let’s talk outside,” said Yuan Ye with a grin on his face.
Yang Chen seemed confused. What could it be that it had to be kept secret from both Tang Wan and Tang Tang? he thought. Curious, Yang Chen nodded and walked towards the garden with Yuan Ye.
Tang Tang pouted but she wasn’t surprised that Yuan Ye called Yang Chen ‘cousin’. Yuan Ye wasn’t actively trying to keep it hidden after all. Nevertheless, Tang Tang was an easy going, open-minded person. It didn’t matter if Yang Chen was related to Tang Tang. Whatever the case turned out to be, she would still call him ‘uncle’. With her voice full of jealousy, she asked, “Why does Yuan Ye have to talk to Uncle without letting us know? We are all practically family here.”
Tang Wan wasn’t pleased to hear Yuan Ye refer Yang Chen as his cousin. She actually knew that Yang Chen was the eldest grandson in the Yang clan because of Yang Jieyu. Furthermore, this fact was well known among the major clans in Beijing.
The reason why she never asked Yang Chen anything about his family was because Yang Chen hated that part of his identity. Besides, she heard that Yang Pojun and Yang Lie hated Yang Chen, and Guo Xuehua had left Yang Pojun.
She didn’t want to trouble Yang Chen anymore than he already was with the Yang clan’s issues.
She recalled that she explained the past of the Yang clan to Yang Chen and even said that she regarded them highly. Tang Wan felt like it was all planned by the heavens.
Tang Wan noticed that her daughter was pouting unhappily. She shook her head and said, “They are talking out men-related issues. Don’t make things difficult for Yuan Ye. He’s not involving you for good reason. Expect situations like this to continue when the two of you are married and living together.”
Tang Tang blushed and asked shyly, “Mom… what marriage are you talking about? I haven’t even finished my studies yet.”
“Humph! When a girl is of a certain age, she must be married off. I will finally stop feeling worried when you as a little devil is left in the care of the Yuan family. Even better if Aunt Yang turns out to be a fierce mother-in-law. That way, she can discipline you,” Tang Wan jokingly said to her daughter.
Tang Tang said in a huff, “I knew it, you think of me as an obstacle. You want me to leave so you can finally go on dates with Uncle, don’t you?”
Tang Wan was stunned at her words. She quickly interrupted Tang Tang and said, “Nonsense. Yang Chen has a wife.”
“I know about Sister Lin. I visited her with Yuan Ye during Chinese New Year. We even went for karaoke together. Even though Sister Lin is pretty, I think Mom is not too bad herself. Playboys like Uncle will definitely fall in love with you!” Tang Tang said with a proud expression and sparkling eyes.
Tang Wan felt her heart churn after hearing Tang Tang refer Yang Chen as ‘uncle’. She felt rather pleased knowing that she was referred to as being in the same generation as Yang Chen. However, her joy was short-lived as reality slowly hit her. The truth was, Yang Chen and Yuan Ye are in the same generation. One generation below her.
At the end of the day, as soon as Yang Chen was recognised as the oldest grandson in the Yang clan, if they were to date, wouldn’t that mean...
At this moment, Tang Tang suddenly wrapped her arms around Tang Wan’s slender waist and squeezed her face into Tang Wan’s chest.
Tang Wan stopped her train of thought before letting out a helpless yet gentle smile. “What happened to you? How is it that you still need to be pampered at this age? How embarrassing.”
Tang Tang murmured, “Mom, I will never call you ‘sister’ anymore.”
“Huh?” Tang Wan said, clueless as to Tang Tang’s intentions.
“I know you gave birth to me at a young age. It must’ve been difficult for you to raise me alone. I also know, if it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have left Beijing to Zhonghai for over a decade. It was because of me that you have been lonely and dejected.
“I was rebellious and troublesome back then, and often quarreled with you. I used to frequently run away from home and make you worry. When I was in trouble, you had to bail me out. Yet I still called you ‘sister’ and not ‘mom’.”
After hearing her daughter’s words for her, Tang Wan smiled and caressed her daughter back. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Silly, because I was the one who brought you into this world, I must also be accountable for you. As long as you understand that, there will be no problems.”
“Mom, if you like Uncle, then be with him,” Tang Tang spoke in a soft serious tone.
Tang Wan stood there in silence as she did not expect the conversation to have turned out the way it was.
“I know that you like Uncle. He is a good man. If I didn’t have Yuan Ye in my heart, I might have fallen in love with Uncle instead.
“So what if Uncle is married? There are many men who take in multiple wives. Uncle might not be the best guy, but at least he treats his women right. Besides, he has many more women than you or I know of.
“Mom, if you’re holding back because of me, I want you to know that I have grown up now. I will never refer you as ‘sister’ anymore. I will only call you ‘mom’ from now on. Plus, aren’t you the one who said I will be married in two years?
“I cannot bring myself to get married and leave you while you are still alone. Even if it’s for my own well-being.”
Tang Wan’s eyes turned watery after listening to Tang Tang’s profound speech. She took one look at her daughter and finally realized the true blessing of being a mother.
Nothing brings a parent more joy than watching their own child grow up and mature.
“No daughters in the world except you would push their own mother into the hands of a terrible man. In addition to that, why won’t you call me ‘sister’? How old do you think I am?” Tang Wan replied, resisting the tears in her eyes.
Tang Tang sniffled slightly while she said, “I always worry when you sacrifice your happiness for my sake. You’re not getting any younger. Have you no shame, asking your own daughter who is twenty years younger than you to call you ‘sister’?”
“Stupid Brat, do you want to get spanked?” Tang Wan replied, crying and smiling at the same time. She hit Tang Tang’s backside several times with her palm.
Tang Tang resigned herself to her fate as she hugged her mom’s waist tightly. She stuffed her head between two lumps of flesh while mumbling, “Go on and hit me. Old Lady Tang Wan is shameless for asking her daughter to call her ‘sister’. Shameless... shameless!”
They messed around in the garden for a while, laughing and bonding together, causing quite some noise there.
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