RFF - Chapter Four (Part 2)
Tao Fang Ao ran into Tao Tu Yun's bedchamber and saw her sitting hunched over on the bed having a coughing fit. She looked pale like she was going to disappear.
Tao Fang Ao sat on Tao Tu Yun's bed. He touched her forehead and was relieved her fever was gone.
'Are you in pain?' Tao Fang Ao asked. 'Do you want me to call you a physician?'
'I'm well,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'I don't need a physician.'
Tao Fang Ao's closeness made Tao Tu Yun feel awkward. She heard Su Wu recount how everyone at the Tao Manor were worried about including Tao Fang Ao.
'Thank you for taking care of me last night,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'If you know you're sick, you should have asked Su Wu to tell me to call you a physician,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'You should fix your fear of inconveniencing other people.'
Tao Fang Ao didn't want to scold Tao Tu Yun when she was sick. But he heard Su Wu told him how Tao Tu Yun considered herself a guest and Tao Tu Yun didn't want to wear out her guest status made him angry. In his eyes, Tao Tu Yun was his family.
'Thank you...' Tao Tu Yun said and coughed.
Tao Tu Yun smiled. Her smile didn't reassure Tao Fang Ao, it hurt his heart.
Tao Fang Ao stood and turned around to see why it took a long time for Su Wu to get medicine and a meal for Tao Tu Yun. Luckily, Su Wu opened the door and brought a tray into the bedchamber. He sat back on the bed and accepted the tray from Su Wu.
'You can leave,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'I'll take care of Tu Yun.'
Su Wu was happy to see Tao Fang Ao taking care of Tao Tu Yun.
Tao Tu Yun signalled Su Wu to take over from Tao Fang Ao, but Su Wu quietly left the bedchamber.
'Tu Yun, you're still weak,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'Let me take care of you.'
Tao Fang Ao put the tray on the table. He picked up the bowl of hot congee, scooped a spoonful of congee, blew on the congee and signalled for Tao Tu Yun to open her mouth.
Tao Tu Yun conceded. She opened her mouth and Tao Fang Ao slowly fed her the bowl of congee. Then he fed her medicine and helped her lie down on the bed.
'Tu Yun, you need sleep,' Tao Fang Ao said.
Tao Fang Ao stayed with Tao Tu Yun until he thought she was asleep.
Tao Tu Yun heard Tao Fang Ao closed the doors and she sighed. She was worried about Tao Fang Ao's attachment toward her.
Tao Tu Yun took a nap. When she opened her eyes, she was shocked to see Tao Fang Ao sitting at the table next to her bed reading a book.
'Tu Yun, you're awake,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'Are you feeling better?'
'Were you here the whole time?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
Tao Tu Yun's heart hurt. She couldn't stay at the Tao Manor any longer.
'Yes,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'What's wrong with me being here?'
Tao Fang Ao wouldn't get any work done if he didn't stay by Tao Tu Yun's bedside to watch over her.
'Aren't you busy?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
'Even if I'm busy, I need time to rest too,' Tao Fang Ao said.
Su Wu knocked on the door.
'Mistress, first master Tao's wife made you a bowl of nutritious soup,' Su Wu said.
Su Wu passed the bowl of soup to Tao Fang Ao and he slowly fed the soup to Tao Tu Yun.
Tao Tu Yun couldn't sleep while Tao Fang Ao sat at the table reading.
'Second master Tao...' Tao Tu Yun called.
'What's wrong?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'Lady Li is your guest too,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'Shouldn't you visit lady Li too?'
Tao Fang Ao frowned and put the book on the table.
'What are you implying?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'You must be bored taking care of someone sick like me,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'You'll have a better time with lady Li...'
Tao Fang Ao stood abruptly and walked to Tao Tu Yun's bed.
'Are you chasing me away?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'No... I'm worried you'll be bored,' Tao Tu Yun denied.
Tao Tu Yun looked away from Tao Fang Ao's intense eyes. She didn't want him to see her through her heart.
Tao Fang Ao sat back at the table.
'I'm not bored,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'You should sleep, it'll help you recover faster.'
Tao Tu Yun closed her eyes. She didn't want Tao Fang Ao to continue worrying about her.
Half a shichen hour later, Tao Tu Yun fell asleep again.
Tao Fang Ao sat on Tao Tu Yun's bed and watched her sleep for a while. Of course he could feel she reciprocated his feelings. He wasn't going to let her push him away.
'Tu Yun, I don't care if you push me away,' Tao Fang Ao whispered in Tao Tu Yun's ear. 'I'm not going to let you run away from your feelings.'
After three days of bed rest, Tao Tu Yun felt well enough to take a walk around Tao Fang Ao's favorite garden with Su Wu.
Luo Bing Liang was waiting for Tao Tu Yun in the garden.
'Tu Yun, come and sit with me,' Luo Bing Liang said.
On the table were food and different hot teas.
Xiao Cheng helped Tao Tu Yun sit next to Lu Bing Liang.
'Lady Tao, drink the tea I brewed,' Xiao Cheng said. 'It's good to drink tea when you're sick.'
'Bing Liang, is there something you want to talk to me about?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
'Nothing important,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'I heard you're feeling better, and I wanted to invite you here to get fresh air with me.'
'Thank you for worrying about me,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'I heard Tao Fang Ao visits you every day,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'It looks like you're someone important in his heart. He cares about you more than lady Li.'
Luo Bing Liang wanted Tao Tu Yun to be her sister-in-law.
'Bing Liang, I'm sorry to disappoint you,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'There is nothing between him and me.'
Tao Tu Yun avoided Luo Bing Liang's eyes. She didn't want Luo Bing Liang to see that she was lying.
'Why not?' Luo Bing Liang asked. 'You're his real fiance. Didn't you come here to marry him?'
'Bing Liang, how can you be certain I'm not a fake?' Tao Tu Yun asked. 'What if I'm here for his money?'
Luo Bing Liang smiled cryptically.
'Bing Liang...' Tao Tu Yun said.
'Tu Yun, if you're here for his money then you wouldn't avoid him,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'You would do everything to get closer to him and gain his trust. Think about it logically, how can you get his money if you distant yourself from him?'
Luo Bing Ling didn't understand why Tao Tu Yun acted like an outsider and let another woman get close to Tao Fang Ao.
Tao Tu Yun knew Luo Bing Ling was an intelligent person. She needed to think of a good excuse to make Luo Bing Ling believe her lies.
'Bing Ling, you're wrong,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'My tactic worked. Keeping my distance from him made him curious about me. Why else would he let me visit his favorite garden and take me sightseeing?'
Luo Bing Liang sighed.
'Tu Yun, why does it feel like you're purposely talking in circles with me?' Luo Bing Liang asked. 'Regardless, I want you to be my sister-in-law.'
Luo Bing Liang wasn't blind. She could see Tao Tu Yun and Tao Fang Ao cared about each other, but she didn't understand why Tao Tu Yun wouldn't admit the truth.
'Tu Yun, believe me,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'An arranged marriage isn't binding for a man like Tao Fang Ao.'
'What do you mean?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
'Tu Yun, you've spent enough time with Tao Fang Ao to understand him,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'Unless he has feelings toward you, he wouldn't marry you because his father arranged the marriage. No one can force him to do something he doesn't want to do.'
'Are you saying even if I'm a fake, he'll still marry me?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
'Yes,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'I'm not Tao Fang Ling's fiance. But he married me because he loves me. Tao Fang Ling's siblings are like him, they'll only marry for love.'
Luo Bing Liang gaged Tao Tu Yun's facial expressions. If Tao Tu Yun was a fake, Tao Tu Yun would be ecstatic to hear her words of comfort instead of looking aghast.
Tao Tu Yun couldn't stay in the Tao Manor another day. She needed to leave before Tao Fang Ao found out she was his real fiance.
End of Chapter Four (Part 2)