Chen Yanü asked someone to bring over some paper and a pen, quickly wrote two lines, and passed the paper to Shi Lei.
He lowered his head to read. The first impression he had was that Chen Yanü’s writing was too pretty. He had only seen her calligraphy before, but her handwriting in pen was equally sharp and powerful, without the elegance of a lady, but the wild and unrestrained feeling of a river.
Chen Yanü wrote that she felt like she was destined to meet him and that he seemed familiar to her, so she wanted him to be her young brother.
Shi Lei froze.
Although he indeed had some motive for giving the painting to Old Bai, that was only for the sake of gaining his acknowledgement to some degree. What Shi Lei really wanted wasn’t with Old Bai. Deep down, Shi Lei wasn’t looking for anything from him.
But now that Chen Yanü said that, Shi Lei felt slightly awkward.
Wei Xingyue clearly stated that although Chen Yanü was Old Bai’s only adopted daughter, he saw her as his own child.
Although it was her personal decision of wanting Shi Lei to be her young brother, she had to seek advice from Old Bai first. It wasn’t that Old Bai would have another son because Chen Yanü gained a young brother. If Old Bai agreed, it meant that he also acknowledged Shi Lei. Even if he was only Chen Yanü’s younger brother, Old Bai couldn’t ignore him and had to treat him as half-family.
But to decline the offer? That seemed impossible. It was a something great to begin with and if he declined, where would Chen Yanü’s face go?
Shi Lei pondered over everything and didn’t dare agree. He looked at Old Bai, then glanced back at Wei Xingyue, not knowing how to express himself.
Wei Xingyue rolled her eyes. This guy’s luck was way too good. When she said she had an idea, it was similar to this. She had initially wanted Chen Yanü to take Shi Lei in as her student, or even better, for Old Bai to take him in, and teach him about painting. But she had never expected Chen Yanü to like Shi Lei that much as to take him in as her young brother. Shi Lei didn’t understand, but Wei Xingyue understood Chen Yanü’s gestures to Old Bai. Hence, she knew what the note said without having to look at the contents.
Wei Xingyue panicked when she saw that Shi Lei didn’t immediately agree.
On the contrary, Old Bai finally nodded at his hesitation and completely acknowledged Shi Lei’s character.
If Shi Lei had seen the note and immediately called Chen Yanü “sister,” Old Bai’s good impression of him would go down the drain. He may even suspect that he and Wei Xingyue had planned everything. Shi Lei’s hesitation realistically reflected that even if he had a request, he had never thought of flattering them in order to establish a connection. And in the whole of Jiangdong province, it was rare to see someone who didn’t want to have connection with the Bai family.
“Why, is our young friend unwilling to accept?” Old Bai smiled.
Shi Lei waved his hand and spoke in a sincere but frightened manner. “It’s not that I’m not willing, I’m just too surprised. Sister Nü and I have never met each other before, so I don’t dare—”
Wei Xingyue panicked. “Don’t dare? Sister Nü is such a nice person. It’s your accumulated luck over your past lives taking effect for you to be her brother. Hurry up and call her sister!”
Shi Lei was still pondering, thinking that it wasn’t very appropriate.
Old Bai nodded slightly and acknowledged Shi Lei’s personality even more. “Shi Lei, how old are you this year?”
“I’m turning twenty-two after Chinese New Year,” he quickly replied.
“Hmm, you are too young to address Yanü as sister. What about this? Yanü said that she doesn’t plan to marry in this life, so why don’t you be her godson?”
Uh…How did it turn from sister to godmother that quickly? But since Old Bai had spoken, it was even more difficult for Shi Lei to decline, especially when Old Bai said that Chen Yanü didn’t plan to marry.
Wei Xingyue felt awkward about this. After all, she addressed Chen Yanü as “sister.” Shi Lei was her friend, so if he became Chen Yanü’s godson, then wouldn’t she go down a generation?
But Wei Xingyue knew that it would give Shi Lei more than a thousand advantages. “Hurry up and agree! Are you an idiot?” she urged.
Shi Lei looked at Old Bai, then glanced at Chen Yanü, ignoring Wei Xingyue’s urging. Seeing the love and kindness in her eyes, Shi Lei was extremely touched.
After a long period of hesitation, Shi Lei eventually stood and bowed politely to Chen Yanü. “Godmother.”
Chen Yanü smiled in happiness and quickly helped him up. She opened her mouth and tears streamed down her cheeks. Both of her hands shook before finally hugging him and lightly caressing his head.
Shi Lei was moved by Chen Yanü’s warmth. Although he hadn’t interacted with her that much, he also remembered that no one in the room—including Wei Xingyue—had believed him, except for Chen Yanü, who never seemed to question him. That trust was more than enough for him to call her “godmother,” not to mention that being her godson was a great opportunity that had fallen from the sky.
“Alright, alright. We’ve had a series of good events today. Yanü, this is a good thing and we shall drink to it. Go and get the bottle of alcohol from my painting room. I’ll drink a glass today too.” Old Bai was very high-spirited and even asked to drink a little at such an old age.
Chen Yanü nodded and left. Not long after, she brought back a small jar and four maroon glasses.
After she placed the glasses on the table, Chen Yanü poured a glass for Old Bai first and put one finger up to Old Bai seriously.
Old Bai laughed out loud. “Okay okay okay, only one glass. I won’t drink more than that.”
“Isn’t this the Chinese wine you’ve collected from before the liberation? Then I must drink a bit more.” Wei Xingyue saw the wine being poured and could smell the overflowing fragrance. She immediately knew what wine it was and couldn’t help but be excited, since she loved alcohol.
“Since I opened it today, naturally it’s for you all to drink. I don’t have that much collected wine left!” Old Bai beamed. He picked up the maroon bull horn glass, lightly smelled the wine, and nodded. “Rich and aromatic. It’s just a shame that this is one more jar gone.”
Chen Yanü raised the glass high with both hands in front of Old Bai.
Old Bai lightly toasted. “You two should talk more after this. I’ll go to bed first. I’m old and I don’t have enough stamina!”
The volume of the glass wasn’t big, only about one or two taels. When Old Bai finished it, they could see the power and outspoken personality of his younger self.
Someone brought cut beef for the three of them to eat. Shi Lei and Wei Xingyue were chatting and Chen Yanü was mainly smiling at them, with occasional gestures. Her eyes were filled with kindness toward Shi Lei. It seemed like this woman who had had a difficult life really treated him as her child.
It was already late at night when Shi Lei and Wei Xingyue finally bid their farewells, tipsy and joyful.
They didn’t dare drive after drinking, so Chen Yanü arranged for a driver to send them home.
The driver politely said goodbye after driving them to the parking lot in front of Shi Lei’s apartment. Shi Lei saw that Wei Xingyue was about to follow him up, so he said, “You should go home. It’s late.”
“What? You have a godmother and have forgotten about me, your good friend?!” She emphasized the words and glared with her beautiful eyes.
Shi Lei thought of something to say and laughed oddly. “Do whatever you want. I drank quite a lot today. It would be bad luck if I let the beast out. I also have a supporter now, so even if I really do something to you, you can’t do anything about it.”