Rebirth from the Ashes - Chapter 402 - Butterflies in Stomach
Chapter 402: Butterflies in Stomach
Shen Xi was in deep slumber on her stomach on the sofa, burying her head in the pillow with the back of her head facing the door.
Mama Fu entered the room only to find a child sleeping face-down and curled up like a ball on the sofa. The back of the girl’s head was the only thing visible in Mama Fu’s line of vision. She gave Shen Xi a gentle and soft-hearted look.
This friend of Xuan’s shared the same habit – falling asleep in the lab from fatigue.
Xuan would get engrossed and throw himself in experiments, staying up day and night. It was a norm for him to find a place for a quick nap around the lab.
Mama Fu had nagged him numerous times about his bad habit, yet he refused to listen. In the end, she instructed to have a designated space in each laboratory to place a beanbag and a coffee table. Catching a wink on a sofa was better than just snugging down just about anywhere.
She tiptoed to a nearby storage closet and opened it to retrieve a blanket with the intention to cover Shen Xi. Mama Fu did not want the girl to catch a cold.
The girl in dreamland jolted up suddenly. Her bright black eyes stared back intently at Mama Fu with wariness.
It took a moment before the intensity softened in those black and shiny eyes, leaving behind lucidity and a suppressed surprise in Shen Xi’s unflinching eyes.
Mama Fu was dumbstruck. In fact, she showed a bigger reaction than Shen Xi. With tears filling her gentle and beautiful eyes to the brim, Mama Fu was overtaken by a wave of emotions.
Shen Xi froze as well, but it did not take long for her to get a hold of herself. This person was not Li Jingran and was the woman who caught her eye at the airport. Shen Xi nodded her head at the woman in greeting.
She might be uncertain with her assumption at the airport, but now Shen Xi was sure the woman here was the missus of the Fu family and the mother of the Fu brothers.
“Are you Xuan’s friend?” Mama Fu tried to calm the butterflies in her stomach, but the turbulence of emotions within gave way to a great sense of affinity.
“And you are?” Shen Xi asked politely.
“I’m Xuan’s mom.” Mama Fu tenderly drew close while carefully studying Shen Xi’s face, unwilling to take her eyes off of her.
Shen Xi was feeling uneasy from the intent stare. In the end, she introduced herself to avoid any potential misunderstandings. “Hello, Mrs. Fu. I’m Shen Xi, daughter of Li Jignran.”
She really did not want to bring up Li Jingran, especially when identifying that woman as a mother. Nevertheless, it was not a great feeling to be mistaken by someone else either.
Shen Xi understood that Fu Qingli and Fu Qingxuan saw her as their sister’s substitute since Li Jingran and their mother had an uncanny resemblance. Shen Xi, of course, shared similarities in looks.
With that part figured out, Shen Xi did not want to be seen as someone else again. Hence, she made things clear in advance to avoid herself and them from getting hurt.
Just as she thought.
The light in Mama Fu’s eyes dimmed. She was thrown into a state of confusion, hearing none of the introduction except the part that she was Li Jingran’s daughter.
A lot of thoughts went through her mind in a fleeting second. Mama Fu would be lying to say she was not disappointed, but this was not her first rodeo. She looked at Shen Xi affectionately. The weight of emotions was reflected in Mama Fu’s tone. “So you’re a daughter of hers!”
It would explain the sense of familiarity and intimacy the girl gave her. Technically, this girl was related to her by blood.
“Yes.” Even though Shen Xi was reluctant to admit it, she did so anyway.
The feud between her and the Su family was Shen Xi’s business and there was no need for others to know about it. She did not want people to pity her, nor did she need their pity.
Mama Fu still had a hard time swallowing her feelings as she gazed at the smiling but aloof girl. Although her voice was gruff, Mama Fu remained as gentle as ever. “When did you meet Xuan?”
Shen Xi never shied away from these questions. She gave a brief account, leaving out the part where Fu Qingxuan pestered her and followed her back home for the New Year’s.
“I see.” Mrs. Fu smiled without continuing the conversation. It was not as though she could get answers out of the girl since it was more effective to get home and acquire the truth from her son instead.
Mama Fu mentioned before that the grudge between the older generations should not involve the younger generation. For Xuan to be friends with the girl, it was apparent that he listened to his mother.
However, the boy should have brought the girl home now that they were acquainted. Was Xuan afraid she would not be able to handle meeting Li Jingran’s daughter, hence he kept it from her?
The girl was obviously avoiding the questions, giving answers that were not giving away much. It took time for Xuan to warm up to anyone and his indifferent character was no help either. He showed no interest in anything other than matters of the family and medicine.
For Xuan to bring her into the laboratory, it indicated that the girl was not a mere acquaintance to Xuan as she said she was.
“I’m here to help out a friend. I’m really sorry to take up a lot of time.” Shen Xi remained courteous. “Young Master Fu is very kind to let me do this and for that, I’m grateful.”
It never occurred to Shen Xi that she could meet the missus of the Fu family here. It was best that their relationship did not go further from here and that Mrs. Fu would leave soon without paying her heed.
Fu Qingli would be out for blood if he found out that she met with Mrs. Fu. Shen Xi really did not want to see him again!
“It’s fine.” Mrs. Fu was saddened by her reply.
Not only did the girl observe the niceties with her, but she tried to disassociate herself from Xuan, afraid Mrs. Fu would have a misunderstanding. Shen Xi’s actions were basically screaming to stop getting close.
Feeling the awkwardness in the air, Shen Xi had no idea what to talk about. She had built a wall around her, warning herself to keep on the fine line and not to cross it.
Nevertheless, for some reason, it pained Shen Xi to see Mrs. Fu hurt by her detached attitude.
Fortunately, she was saved by the bell as the alarm she set finally rang. Otherwise, Shen Xi had no clue how long more she could hang on.
“Mrs. Fu, I should get to work. Excuse me.” Shen Xi looked at her apologetically and stood up.
Mama Fu was aching inside to be politely called Mrs. Fu. Still, she smiled at Shen Xi. “Go on. Don’t let me hold you up from your work.”
Shen Xi nodded at Mrs. Fu before getting up to put on her lab coat. Her presence spoke of distance and aloofness.
Mrs. Fu observed her with mixed feelings. She then placed the cake on the coffee table and stared at her brooding figure. “There’s cake on the table. Have some when you feel like it.”
Without turning back, Shen Xi responded, “Thank you.”
Mrs. Fu sighed to herself. She got the message clear without the girl saying it out loud – She did not want to have anything to do with her.
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