The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 87: The Past

When Li Qinghe went into the kitchen to put the buns, she saw that the kitchen was very clean. It was even cleaner than when they were all at home and took care of it before. Even the firewood for the stove was piled neatly in front of it.

The woman was standing still in her place and didn't move. Li Qinghe went around the house to the backyard. Li Fu was digging in the backyard. When he saw her, he put aside his shovel and said, "I want to see my grandchild!."

He bent over a bit to reach the same level of the baby’s height and began teasing him playfully. Li Qinghe often brought him along to visit her father, and since they frequently met and interacted with each other, they both became closer and familiar to each other. Seeing the familiar warm face, the little boy giggled, which made Li Fu overjoyed, "You recognize me! Do you want me to carry you?"

It really was just a rhetorical question. Though he really wanted to carry his grandson, he was covered in dirt. He was satisfied by the fact that he recognized him as a close person. Li Qinghe looked at his smiling face and asked, "Father, who is that person outside?"

"You saw her?" He sighed and continued, "Her surname is Liu and she is from Liu Village. She is your eldest aunt's aunt. She also had a hard life. Her husband passed away and she lived with her daughter. When your eldest aunt went to visit her, she found that they were on the verge of being homeless. When she returned she had a talk with your grandparents, who then visited here to talk to me. They said if someone lived with me, they would feel reassured."

"I have made so many decisions that I have regretted so far in my life. I've been unfilial to my parents, unfaithful to my wife, and unkind to my children... I just wish to be worthy of someone. So I just asked her to come and have a look. So today, she came for the first time, and insisted on working for me. We were not familiar with each other, and I felt a bit awkward, so I hid in the backyard to plant."

Then again, she didn't expect that this woman was someone Li Kui found for his son as a partner. Looking at her cleaning skills in the yard and kitchen, and the washing of clothes, she was indeed a very diligent person. It was very likely that she would take good care of Li Fu.

When she came back to the front yard again, Mrs. Liu rubbed her hands together with great restraint and smiled at her hesitantly.

Li Qinghe smiled back, then went to her home with the baby.

Later in the afternoon, her grandmother and Mrs. Liu visited her house.

Since she was Li Kui's grandchild, he treated her well, and every time she asked for their help, they were happy to help her. Especially Li Kui, who would refuse to accept the wage and would only settle by eating the meals. He basically worked for her for free.

Therefore, Li Qinghe also respected her grandmother. Occasionally, when she fished to sell, she would ask Zhou Chengkang to send one to them. When the sweet potatoes were harvested, she requested Li Xingwang to bring some back to their family.

Her grandmother was also from Liu Village. Lui Village was close to the town and was small, so there were quite a lot of girls from Lui Village who married the families in Wang Village.

Mrs. Quan was a strong woman. Though she occasionally quarreled with the eldest aunt Li, in general, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law used to get along pretty well. After entering the courtyard and scanning it, she was quite satisfied, "I like how neatly this house is tidied up."

After taking a seat, Mrs. Quan said, "I'm here today because of your father. On New Year's Day, I asked your brother to invite him, but your father won't come, and when I came to visit him myself......" She wiped the nonexistent tears off of her face, "There were only two dishes on the table, the house looked cold and deserted. He was drinking alone and the food ran cold. Qinghe, you are also a mother, if your son were to like this..." She patted her chest and said, "I'm heartbroken! That Mrs. Qian is very vicious. She's a demon. If she really wished to live a good life with your father, I wouldn’t have said anything, but she is a lousy character. I could see it even before their marriage. Whether it was going up to the mountains to chop firewood or mow the grass, it was always your father who did all the work in the name of helping her. It was at that time, I foresaw that this marriage would not be a success. If it did, your father would have to take care of her for the rest of his life!"

"In fact, at that time when the Qian family wanted a high bride price, your grandfather and I were still young, if we really wanted to, we could have gritted our teeth and come up with it. The big dowry, we could have paid off

the debt in ten years!" The more she said, the angrier she became, "If it was a good match, I might as well have done whatever he wanted. But I couldn't work hard for more than ten years just to marry her into the family. I just couldn't accept it."

"I'm sorry for treating your mother badly. I have let her suffer and I have wronged you too. Your father didn't care about her and that woman from the Qian family had a sharp tongue. Making her work was like killing her…."

Eldest aunt Li patted her on the back, "Mother, that's too far."

Mrs. Quan nodded, "I hate her. Even if I spoke about her for three days and three nights I would still not be able to finish. What does it mean for a woman to protect a man from his parents? If she had come to the house a few more times over the years, would I have still kicked her out?"

"Mother." Eldest aunt Li tugged at her again.

Mrs. Quan waved her hand, "Let's not talk about her anymore." Then, she took a sip of water from the cup and praised, "Actually, this spring water in the west of the village tastes very good."

"Originally, I was thinking of mentioning this matter to you only if your father didn't resist Nizi. But I heard from her that you saw her today?"

Li Qinghe nodded, "I have seen her."

"Nizi is a very diligent girl. It's just that she has bad luck. She got married to a sick man and he passed away three years ago, but she was still treating him sincerely. However, her mother-in-law is a bitch. She wanted her to marry her younger uncle. It's almost as if there's no morality anymore. Your cousin's maternal grandfather is her uncle and she ran away after hearing about it. After hearing about this, I went to make a fuss about it and broke off the relationship with them, so I brought the mother and daughter back. But she had no home to call of her own when she came back, and her brothers and sisters here won't accept her. It had been half a month since she came back. She has been living at your aunt's mother's house." Mrs. Quan went to drink water again.

Eldest aunt Li smiled and said, "Qinghe, although I brought this up, if you don't want to, I'll find some other place for her. The main thing is that I'm afraid Mrs. Qian will come back and make your grandmother angry again."

It was very likely that Mrs. Qian would come back again. From the time, when Li Fu changed the land deed to her name, it was evident that she regarded Li Fu's land as her own or regarded it as joint property owned by Li Fu and her. That was why she came to the house to

demand for it.

Mrs. Quan sneered, "If she comes back again, even if your father wants to accept her back, I will object to it strongly. She has been running to the Zhao's every day and her reputation is ruined. She is not a good person to live with. It doesn't matter if you don't want to be with Nizi, it's not a big deal, we can find someone else for him. Even if your father doesn't want to be with someone else in the future, I would still not accept her in the family!"

Li Qinghe didn't object to Li Fu remarrying, but the new bride must not be like Mrs. Qian, who was a hassle to live with. When Li Fu comes back from work, she should cook him a warm meal, right? Also, who can stand being angry and cold towards them for as long as ten days to half a month?

She held the cup and said calmly, "If your father is willing, I will not object."

When Ms. Quan got her permission, she was very pleased, "Qinghe, you really are a child who knows how to behave."

It was getting dark when she sent the two of them off. She moved the baby's crib under the eaves and went to the kitchen to cook. The meal was half ready, when Zhou Chengkang returned. He went into the kitchen to help her. She couldn't help but say, "You just take care of your child, you don't need to cook."

Then he asked with a smile, "I'm going to the restaurant tomorrow, will you come to the town with me?"

Li Qinghe wanted to go, not just to buy things, but also to let her child socialize with more people. She wanted her son to be more lively and not afraid of life.

During the night, when she talked about Mrs. Liu, Zhou Chengkang hugged her and asked in a low voice, "Don't you want father-in-law to marry again?"

"No." Li Qinghe said sincerely, "I would feel better if there was someone who knew how to take care of him."

He was still not that old so it was alright for him to live alone. But when he would get older in the future, no one would even know if he had a fall in his own house.

Zhou Chengkang patted her back, "Father has also lived for several decades, he knows what to do. Go to sleep, you have to get up early tomorrow."

Every time they would go to town, they would set off for it at dawn. This time she intended to shop. She wanted to buy a few pieces of good fabrics to make clothes for Yu Yan's baby. Yu Yan did the same for her. She calculated the time, and there were still two months left for Yu Yan to give birth.

When they passed by the Zhou house in the morning, Mrs. Zhou and fifth sister Zhou were waiting for them. Today was the town fair day and they planned to go along with them too. Fifth sister Zhou's wedding was scheduled in a few days. They had to go to the town to check whether the furniture they ordered was ready or not. If not then they would have to urge the carpenter to make it faster.

As the carriage passed by the house, Mrs. Zhou saw it out of the corner of her eye and shouted, "Fourth child!"

There were two more people in the carriage and Mrs. Zhou carried the child and stretched out one of her hands to tease him, "It's all your parents' fault that you had to wake up early in the morning. Why did they have to go out so early? You didn't get enough sleep right?"

The child, laying in the swaddle blanket, giggled at his grandmother, making Mrs. Zhou's smile even brighter than his.

This road was too familiar to them now, and the journey went very smoothly. At the entrance of town, the carriage stopped, and Mrs. Zhou got down along with fifth sister Zhou.

The two of them were very familiar with the way and went to the restaurant first. When Chef Chen saw that she was holding a child, she smiled and said, "I've heard that you had a baby, but I hadn't seen him yet." He reached out and touched the child's face gently. He then placed a dime of silver in the swaddling of the baby’s clothes, and when Li Qinghe tried to refuse, he waved his hand and said, "It's a token of my blessings."

Li Qinghe didn't refuse anymore since when he will have a happy occasion in the future she would return this kindness. Chef Chen looked outside the door, lowered his voice, and asked, "A couple of days ago, old lady Liu from the back street fell down. I heard that her condition is quite serious, and probably won't be able to live for long."

After she left the Zhou family, they bumped into each other quite a few times on the streets, but the old lady didn't even greet them in return. Li Qinghe asked curiously, "How did she fall?"

Chef Chen shook his head, "She got into a fight with someone. Didn't she sell her daughter-in-law's tofu recipe? The person who came to her two days ago was the one to whom she sold the recipe to. She said the recipe she gave was not as good as the one your brother-in-law sold and asked her to hand over the complete recipe."

"She couldn't hand over the recipes, thus the people were unconvinced, so they began to argue, she was pushed by them a few times. Then a woman from the family pushed her so harshly that the old lady Liu fell on the ground. She couldn't even get up at the time. She is still lying in her bed…"

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