Zhang Liyun had an efficient personality and she did things resolutely. That night, she and Zhao Daqiu went to Du’s house and chatted with Du Youfu and his wife for a long time.
The juniors were not allowed to be present. Jiang Rui was stitching an old shirt in the house. When she went up to the mountain to collect firewood today, a seam was ripped through her clothes by the thorns.
Du Baozhen was leaning over the desk, hiding secretively and covertly, not sure what she was up to. Once in a while, she would look back at her movements, as if she was afraid of being seen by her.
Jiang Rui knew that she had been in constant contact with Han Wenke, and looking at it right now, she was most likely writing letters to him.
After a long time, there were noises outside. Zhang Liyun and Zhao Daqiu said their goodbyes as Wang Tonghua sent them to the door, and she called Jiang Rui after returning to the house.
“Girl, your Uncle Zhao, and the others came just now. They said that Zhao Nan likes you very much and the Zhao family is also very satisfied with you. You know the conditions of his family, there is no second family in the brigade that is better. Compared to our family, we are the ones to have climbed the social ladder. So, your dad and I thought about it, there’s nothing to pick on, this marriage will be settled, what do you think?”
Jiang Rui lowered her head and said softly, “I don’t have any objections.”
“That’s good, that’s good.” Wang Tonghua smiled happily, and added, “There’s one more thing. Originally, your dad and I thought that there was no hurry. Three to five months or half a year is fine, but Ah Nan’s situation is different from others. This time he came back to visit relatives but the next time he comes back will be a year later. So, the Zhao family’s intention is that the sooner the better, best if the marriage can be settled before Ah Nan returns to the army this time. Time is tight, but your Aunt Zhang also said that their family will prepare all the things that should be prepared. The three major things, furniture, and bed, what others have when they get married, you will also have. Although Mom feels a little anxious, thinking about Ah Nan’s age, delaying for a year is another year of waiting, what do you think?”
Time was indeed a bit rushed, when they met that day, Zhao Nan mentioned that his leave of absence for visiting relatives this time was only for a month. In other words, if the two decided to get married now, it must be done within a month. You must know that, normally when people get married, from seeing each other till setting a date, then to the real wedding, it would take at least half a year.
But Jiang Rui had no intention of delaying, the more time passed, the greater the variable.
Even so, she could not agree immediately, otherwise, in the eyes of others, she would seem too urgent.
She raised her head to look at Wang Tonghua, frowning with awkwardness: “Mom, can I think about it for one night?”
“Of course,” Wang Tonghua said quickly, “This is a big deal, you have to think about it carefully. Don’t worry, if you seriously think that it’s not possible, Mom will go to Zhao’s house and talk to them, let them push back the marriage.”
That night, Jiang Rui slept peacefully, and the next day told Wang Tonghua that she agreed.
The marriage between the Zhao family and the Du family was then brought out into the open, and the people in the brigade also got the news.
Now, when Jiang Rui met people on the road, everyone would tease her a little, but she would only lower her head slightly, with a shy smile on the corner of her mouth.
Seeing that she was well-behaved and shy, the people around her felt a little bad, talking and laughing it off, but their hearts were full of emotion, an old bamboo like Du Youfu, could produce such a tender bamboo shoot.
Some people say that the Du family and the Zhao family were not compatible just by looking at their family background, but the daughter of the Du family and the son of the Zhao family were very compatible.
There was a local tradition. After the two families verbally confirmed the marriage, the relatives of both parties should accompany each other to visit the other’s home.
The people on the female’s side would mainly look at the male’s house and their patrimony, to see if the young man was capable. Whereas, when the man visits the woman’s house, he would see if the house was clean and tidy, whether the girl was diligent, and whether she loves cleanliness.
Once both sides had finished observing each other, the two young people’s birthdates and eight characters would be used to count the days. After that, the man would prepare the three major items and send the betrothal gifts to the woman’s house to conclude the marriage.
A few days before the New Year, Jiang Rui, Wang Tonghua, and several aunts from the Du family’s side went to Zhao’s house.
The aunt of the Du family was born with a loud voice, she shouted from outside the yard: “Sister Liyun, we have come to your house to ask for some tea!”
The Zhao family greeted them almost immediately.
Jiang Rui saw Zhao Nan, who was standing behind Zhang Liyun, wearing a pair of military trousers, a white shirt, and a gray sweater with the cuffs rolled up, revealing a strong forearm.
The Zhao family invited the guests to sit in the main room and brought two large trays of peanuts, melon seeds, and fruits.
Jiang Rui initially stood behind her elders, but she was suddenly pushed to the front by her aunt. Her aunt laughed and said, “We brought Baoqin for you all to take a look, where is Ah Nan?”
Thus, Zhao Nan was also pushed out. The two stood face to face, Jiang Rui was blushing and didn’t dare look up, while Zhao Nan was standing up straight.
The surrounding elders saw this and laughed even more cheerfully.
In the end, it was Zhang Liyun who diffused the awkwardness. Ultimately, today was a confrontation between two relatives and it had nothing to do with them, the parties involved. Hence, she asked Zhao Nan to take Jiang Rui out for a walk.
After leaving the main room, Jiang Rui raised her head and looked at Zhao Nan: “Let’s go to the dam to take a look?”
Zhao Nan was thinking about where to take her and after hearing her proposal, he agreed immediately.
“Wait a minute.” Seeing that he was about to go out, Jiang Rui said again, “Would you like to put on your coat? It’s windy outside, don’t catch a cold.”
“Okay, wait a moment.” Zhao Nan strode back into the house and took his jacket. Before leaving, he suddenly remembered something and walked back into the house again.
The Zhao house was on the reservoir and they had to walk down a gentle slope to reach the dam. In the summer, the dam was a good place for people to enjoy the shade, but there were not many people in this season.
The two walked side by side, with an arm’s length in between them. They walked halfway across the dam without speaking.
The cold wind was blowing on her face and it was a little cold. Jiang Rui suddenly stopped.
Although Zhao Nan was staring straight ahead, he was paying attention to her movements through his peripheral vision. Seeing that she stopped, he immediately followed and turned to look at her.
He was a head taller than her. Jiang Rui had to raise her head slightly when she looked at him, while Zhao Nan had to bow his head.
They looked at each other, his eyes wandering away unnaturally, but floated back in the next moment, and when he found that she was still looking at him, he immediately glanced away.
Jiang Rui smiled and laughed softly.
Zhao Nan pursed his lips tightly, and the corners of his mouth almost became a straight line. People who didn’t know would think that he was angry, but if you looked closely, you could see that his ears were red.
“Where are you taking me? Don’t you have anything to say to me?” Jiang Rui asked him softly.
Zhao Nan’s throat slid up and down, and he, who cherished his words like gold, spat out, “Yes.”
He stretched out his left hand that had always been in his pocket, spreading out in front of Jiang Rui, and in his palm was a handful of toffee that was a little out of shape from his clenching.
“Would you like some candy?” He asked.
Jiang Rui was stunned for a moment: “You didn’t speak just now, because you were thinking if I would like to have some candy?”
Zhao Nan answered evasively, “Qianqian said it’s good.” The two packs of candy were stored away by his mother, he doesn’t know where she put them and these were taken from Zhao Qianqian just now.
He thought about it for a while and then said, “The scarves and candies were taken away by my mother. I’ll buy it again next time.”
So he kept silent because the gift he planned to give her was confiscated, and he felt a little embarrassed? Maybe because he thinks that she lost her trust in him, and felt that he lost his face?
Jiang Rui picked up a candy with a smile, peeled off the outer wrapping paper, and there was a layer of glutinous rice paper inside. She ate the white toffee candy, together with the glutinous rice paper. The sweetness spread in her mouth, followed by a milky fragrance.
“It’s sweet, very delicious.” Jiang Rui said with her eyes curved, her cheeks puffed up with the candy.
Zhao Nan didn’t speak, he stared at her blushing face for a while, then suddenly moved. He peeled off the wrapping paper of all the toffee candies in his hand and handed it to Jiang Rui.
There were seven or eight of them. If they were eaten in one go, it would be cloyingly sweet.
Jiang Rui stood on tiptoes, stretched out a slim white finger, poked a few times in his palm, and divided the candies into two. She looked up at him and said, “Half for you, half for me.”
Zhao Nan didn’t like sweets but under her gaze, he just nodded.
The two of them shared the sweets while not far away, at the Zhao house, Zhao Qianqian, who was hiding from the guests, went back to her room to secretly eat some candy. She stretched out her hand to touch under the pillow, and she was stunned, “Where are my candies?!”