Falling Leaves Without Trace chapter 2

Chapter 2

He turned his head and lit a cigarette. There was only one wall lamp switched on in the living room and it was dimly lit. Hence, I could only see his shimmering eyes, as well as the whirls of white smoke. The sound of him pursing his lips everytime he took a puff of his cigarette resembled a kiss as it reverberated in the air.

I shrunk myself up on the sofa and bowed my head, staring at my feet that were waterlogged and wrinkled by the rainwater.

Not long later, the corner of his eyes drifted onto the cigarette butt sandwiched between his fingers. He extinguished it abruptly in the ashtray and stood up. Towering over me, he spoke to me, “Let’s go back to the room!”

I raised my head to look at him. “I got drenched by the rain just now. I haven’t washed up yet!”

“Then hurry up and go wash up!” As he said this, he went into the bedroom first.

“Achoo!” I sneezed again before getting up to take a bath. After showering, I pushed open the bedroom doors. It was pitch black inside and the lights were not turned on. I lay down by his side, his left side. And then, he asserted his right as a husband, and I fulfilled my obligation as a wife.

I didn’t dare to ask him why he didn’t spend the night out with Luo Qing. Even if I asked, he would not tell me.

Xiao Huan was someone with strong opinions and all his interactions with others centred around him. Consequently, others would subconsciously submit to his control. This year he was turning 30 and I was 24. After two years of marriage, we did not have any children.

Actually, he knows that I want a child, but he is simply unwilling. He finds the sight of me worrying helplessly interesting. In bed, he would constantly tell me, I won’t let you have my child! I won’t let you have my child!

I think he might hate me in his heart. He hates me for being a disappointment and for failing to continue my studies after I finished senior high. Because of this, I’m incompetent and unskilled, relying on my parents in my youth and relying on him when I became older. He loathes this immensely. Because the type of girls he appreciates are those like Luo Qing, those who are strong and independent, those that cannot be subjected to anyone’s control. She is the only woman who had ever dumped him, after which they competed to see who could scale to the highest point and look down on the other.

6th December 2004. The weather was a little sultry.

It was the opening ceremony for Yuan Sheng Conglomerate’s new building, I attended the reception for VIP clients together with him. At the reception, he was tenacious and high-spirited, establishing himself as the focal point of everyone. I stuck closely to him, accompanying him everywhere to toast others. It was just like our wedding, I walked until my feet became swollen. Some strange sensation rummaged in my stomach and it was extremely uncomfortable.

“Xiao, long time no see!” Someone dressed in a blue suit walked over, his mannerisms straightforward.

“Du, you’ve lived overseas for such a long time, but nothing much has changed ah!” He walked over to shake his hands.

“Oh! This must be sister-in-law!” Du looked at me and grinned. Xiao’s friends all had one similarity – they all loved to smile. It didn’t matter whether they recognised you, they would always smile, as though they could fathom everything.

“Mm!” Xiao tapped on my waist with his hand. “Si Ying, this is Du Yuanfeng, my university classmate!”

At this point, I could no longer hear what they were saying clearly. My entire face was pale as I subconsciously reached out a hand. I wanted to say, nice to meet you. However, the moment my hand met his, I bent over and retched. Nothing came out, only acidic juices. My chest felt stuffy and tight. I took a deep breath, and then my vision blacked out.

“Sister-in-law?” I heard Du Yuanfeng call out.

I really liked these three words.

I woke up at home, in our bedroom. I sat up and heard the sound of someone busily typing on the keyboard. Walking, out, I saw him working on his laptop, just as I expected.

“Xiao!” I called him.

He raised his head and took off his gold-rimmed spectacles. He pinched the space between his brows and asked tiredly, “What was up with you today? The doctor said you overworked yourself. How is it that I didn’t know you were ‘working’!”

I walked over and stood at aside. “Are you hungry? Let me make some instant noodles for you!”

When he reclined on the sofa, he was really very handsome. “I don’t eat instant noodles!” He said.

Hence I walked into the kitchen to brew coffee.

“You drink too much coffee, which is why you suffer from insomnia at night. This explains why the doctor said you overworked. Exercise restraint, don’t make trouble!” He looked at me, his voice carrying the intonation of a command.

“Mm!” I walked out of the kitchen obediently. I sat by his side. “It’s your birthday next month. I’ve already prepared your present!”

“Oh!” He nodded his head indifferently. He closed his laptop and walked into the bathroom to take a shower.

The bathroom in our home has transparent glass walls. I watched him stand under the showerhead, his back rising up and down as he breathed raggedly. He must definitely be exhausted, because there is no one else at home who can share his burdens, and no one who can partake in his victories.

“Xiao, you are really very handsome!” I walked into the toilet and up to the shower cubicle, watching him with infatuation.

He turned his head and pulled me in with one fell swoop. Our kiss tasted like the hot water spraying out of the shower.

“You are perfect!” I said.

He tugged my clothes and buried his head in my neck. I heard him say, “Right, and you are my blemish!”

13th January 2005, Xiao’s birthday. He turned 30.

I gifted him a white sweater. It was store bought, because he would never wear something I embroidered myself. But I had secretly stitched a small label inside the white sweater. Three letters were sewn in place: Cheng Si Ying.

I found so much joy in this for so long. Every time he wore that white sweater out to play golf, I would fail to hold in my laughter.

“What are you laughing stupidly for!” Whenever it was necessary, he would take me along. And then, I would sit at the back of the buggy, struggling to suppress my laughter.

Really very happy…

In February, I attended a culinary class. I would attend the 2 hour sessions daily, and it was during this period that I was the happiest. Because during this time, Xiao was very busy and rarely went out seeking pleasure and entertainment. He returned home late every day and the moment he stepped through the doors, he would plonk himself on the sofa in exhaustion.

Then, I would dish out the newly learnt recipes from the kitchen and feed him spoon by spoon. He would be exceptionally tired and never picked on how it tasted, only caring about filling his belly. After eating, he would take a shower before lying on the bed. I would give him a massage so that he could fall asleep comfortably.

Although this wasn’t anything to be proud about, but busying myself for him made my life feel complete and sufficient.

One day, I learnt a new dish again and worked up and down the kitchen, checking my watch occasionally. 9pm, he should be back. Just as I thought this, the doorbell actually rang. I ran over to open the door.

“Sister-in-law!”

It was Lu Yun’s voice. He and Liu Jin were supporting Xiao Huan, who was dead drunk. I got a shock and hurriedly let them in.

“What happened?” I asked anxiously.

“Sister-in-law, everything is fine!” Liu Jin said, “The project was closed well. Brother Xiao was pleased and drank a lot!”

“Oh! That’s good.” I kneeled by the sofa to wipe his sweat. I was very worried and did not notice another person standing at the side.

“What are you making in the kitchen?” Amidst the silence, a pretty and familiar voice suddenly drifted into my ears.

A wave of cold sweat overwhelmed me and I turned my head over abruptly only to meet a pair of beautiful eyes looking at me with a vague smile.

“Miss Luo!” I greeted involuntarily.

Luo Qing’s head crooked slightly, eluding a charm that could turn the world upside down. She said, “We meet again!” After that, she walked over and picked the handkerchief out of my hands. “Let me do it, you go manage the kitchen!”

I gazed at her. Her hands were so pretty as well. Then, I looked at my own hands. They were devoid of blood, lackluster. I ran into the kitchen and bit down on the back of my hand.

I really wanted to chase her out. Even though she was in an intimate relationship with Xiao Huan, Xiao Huan had never brought her home before. I always saw this as his most direct display of gentleness towards me.

I bit my hands, leaving behind many purple coloured teeth marks.

I really wanted to chase her out!

After drawing the orange curtains, I sat on the sofa opposite Xiao Huan while clutching a mug in my hand. I sipped my coffee while glaring at Luo Qing.

“Xiao, are you feeling better?” Her voice was so soft it was almost a whisper. “I told you not to drink so much but you just wouldn’t listen!”

Stop talking! I cried out in my heart.

Xiao Huan seemed to have sobered up a bit. He opened his intoxicated eyes and sat down unsteadily. He looked at Luo Yun and Liu Jin, and then looked at Luo Qing again. Suddenly, he pulled her into his arms abruptly. “I won again!” He looked at her and said with pride, “Qing, you will never be able to catch up with me!”

Then, in front of me, they kissed. Intensely.

Dong, my cup fell onto the ground. Luo Yun and Liu Jin stared awkwardly at me. “Sister-in-law!”

I shook my head. Without picking up the shattered mug, I turned around and stumbled back into that dark bedroom.

The door locked with a click.

The next day when I got up, the living room was already empty. I crawled up and put on a gray coloured smock, before running out to look for Xiao Huan. I ran all the way to the Yuan Sheng headquarters. I lifted my head and gazed at the towering skyscraper. Xiao Huan was at the top floor, I needed to see him.

With that thought, I dashed forward, but when I arrived at the lift lobby, I saw him walk out of the elevator with a group of suave-looking men. A tinge of decadence could be seen on his face, evidence of his hangover. I blanked out. I looked at him, and then looked at myself. A gray oversized smock, a messily done bun and a haggard appearance. How could I dare to walk over just like that.

After Xiao Huan sent those VIP clients off, one of his hands were still stuck in the pocket of his trousers, while the other hand rested elegantly by his side. He turned around, and just as he was about to step into the elevator, he froze. He had seen me hiding near the potted plant.

“What are you here for?” He pinched the bridge of his nose.

I walked out stiffly and fumbled with the hem of my clothes. “I have something to…”

“Meet me at the teahouse opposite!” His face was devoid of expression when he said this line. Then, he walked right past me. I turned around to call him, but I only heard a ding. The doors of the elevator were already closed.


Falling Leaves Without Trace

Falling Leaves Without Trace

叶落无痕, 我心盈盈
Score 7.2
Status: Completed Type: Author: Artist: Released: 2006 Native Language: Chinese
The leaves have fallen and I know spring will return again soon. Then, it will no longer be my season.The array of the setting sun filters through the window bravely, Rosy clouds coalesce to form an extraordinary orbit — They say, after a person dies, their spirit would pass by, And have a final glimpse of the world they’ve left behind…—On the 5th of March 2002, he wore a white shirt with tattered sleeves and a pair of old, ash grey trousers as he came running into my home. It was evening and rays from the setting sun filtered through the window at an oblique angle, casting dark shadows on his left cheek. He stood ferociously before my family’s dining table. My father and I were in the middle of eating when he suddenly bellowed, “Let’s get married!”That day, he received a stern beating from my father. He didn’t retaliate and was beaten black and blue, his face all swollen.That year, I was 21, and without any hesitation, I married him.Because when he looked at me, nothing else mattered. It was as though he was drowning, and only I could save him.

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