Xiu Ling stood outside the door carrying a metal basin that was half-filled with warm water. The water was muddy with leaves of grass and roots. It gave off a smell that was very medicinal, it reminded her of the folk poultice her mother would make whenever Xiu Ling injured herself when she was small. There was a piece of white cloth soaking in the pool of water.
Xiu Ling held the basin with one hand and knocked on the door with the other. A female voice that she was familiar with called from within, "Come in."
Xiu Ling pushed the door open and she was surprised by the décor of the room. Xiu Ling hated to be prejudiced against others but based on how much her mother-in-law belittled her purely based on her humble background, Xiu Ling assumed her mother-in-law's room would be lavishly decorated and probably dripping with jewels. Putting extra emphasis on her wealth would help set her apart from others.
Xiu Ling knew it was unfair to her mother-in-law but she had always assumed Mrs. Lin was someone who found security and pride in wealth considering how much she complained about Xiu Ling's marriage to Lin Kang solely on the basis that Xiu Ling was poor.
However, the room that Xiu Ling stepped into was simple and clean. The walls were monotonously beige and instead of glittering chandeliers and velvety chaise that Xiu Ling came to expect, the room was quite spartan.
There were plenty of rattan furniture and the place had a muted charm to it. One thing that was incongruous from the rest was a vanity table that sat at the corner of the room. The thing caught Xiu Ling's attention because unlike the rest of the room which had faded colour, the vanity table was bright red. It was hard to avoid looking at it since the colour commanded such a presence.
On top of that, the vanity table was the only sign of luxury in the room. If removed, Mrs. Lin's room could easily be mistaken for the bedroom for a normal housewife and not the wife of the man who built a multi-million empire.
There was a framed photograph that sat on the table. Xiu Ling was standing too far from it to have a close look.
Xiu Ling's mother-in-law was sitting on the bed in the middle of the room. Instead of the more presentable attire that Xiu Ling normally saw her mother-in-law in, Mrs. Lin was in a modest pyjamas. The reason why Mrs. Lin wasn't all done up and why Xiu Ling was there in the first place was related to the bandage wound around the elder woman's left ankle.
Xiu Ling walked to her mother-in-law and placed the basin of warm water down next to her mother-in-law's ankle. Kneeling down, Xiu Ling asked, "Mother, are you feeling better today?"
"I suppose," Mrs. Lin answered in a toneless voice. To be fair, Mrs. Lin was thankful that Xiu Ling was willing to look after her but at the same time, the reason why she had this injury was related to Xiu Ling as well. Therefore, she hovered between thanking or scolding Xiu Ling, and in the end, she opted for a neutral response.
The start of the incident could be traced back to 24 hours ago.
After Lin Corps stopped the take-over on Xu Corps, both Lin Kang and Elder Lin left the country, probably to seek opportunities elsewhere. Either way, Xiu Ling did not ask and Lin Kang did not offer to provide an explanation.
In any case, this meant that Xiu Ling was left alone at home with her mother-in-law.
One morning, Xiu Ling woke up early to clean the house. She had just finished mopping the stairs when Mrs. Lin came out from her bedroom. From her vantage point at the bottom of the stairs, Xiu Ling did not notice her mother-in-law.
Still blurry from her sleep, Mrs. Lin did not realize the stairs were still wet from Xiu Ling's cleaning. She slipped and accidentally sprained her ankle.
Xiu Ling immediately rushed to her mother-in-law's side when she heard the scream. "Mother, are you alright?"
When Mrs. Lin saw the mop Xiu Ling had just abandoned, her first thought was to berate her daughter-in-law but that intention was quickly swallowed up by the overwhelming pain. Xiu Ling helped her mother-in-law get up from the floor and placed her on the living room sofa. Then she rushed into the bathroom to fetch a towel that was drenched in cold water.
Xiu Ling placed the towel around Mrs. Lin's ankle that had started to swell. Mrs. Lin winced from pain as the towel touched her skin and Xiu Ling explained, "Mother, the cold will help counter the swelling. Your ankle is injured so the blood are pooling, heat will expand the vessels leading to more blood flow, but cold will stop it from expanding. Please, hang in there. I will go call Sensei Wong now."
Due to their previous argument about Lin Xi's fever, Xiu Ling was sensitive enough to not suggest that they bring Mrs. Lin to the clinic or hospital. She realized how averse her mother-in-law was to western medicine.
Sensei Wong arrived not long after. After some inspection, he said that Mrs. Lin had a sprained ankle but thankfully it was nothing serious. He prescribed some medicine to apply over the injury and asked for Mrs. Lin to stay in bed for several days and she should be able to recover nicely.
While Xiu Ling walked Sensei Wong out the door, the pain had receded enough for Mrs. Lin to come up with the punishment for Xiu Ling for causing this injury to her. Since she was on doctor's order to not leave her bed for a few days, Mrs. Lin was going to force Xiu Ling to be her personal nurse and had her daughter-in-law wait on her every need.
Seeing Xiu Ling walk back to room, Mrs. Lin was ready to deliver her sentence. However, Xiu Ling cut to it first.
Whoops, just realized I was in the wrong category. I'm not writing a romance fiction but a realistic fiction. Lol XD The focus is less on the drama between romantic partners but all the characters and their world. Welp. Brain fart. Fixed.
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