"H-hello Master Xing. Good morning." Xiulan doesn't know what to say. She stands up from the vanity chair and went to give her respect to Xing Yong Yi, Hongqi's father.
"No no no. You should call me father." Xing Yong Yi pushed. He really wanted Hongqi to get married already so someone can call him father then granpa if they began to have children.
Xiulan's throat becomes dry. She's not sure if she should follow him but the old man is anticipating it.
Yong Yi quickly glanced at the servants and signaled them to get out of the room so he can have a private talk with his daughter-in-law.
When the servants finally left them alone, Xiulan breathe Xiulan politely said and added a little bit of energy in her tone "Good to see you, father. Finally we meet."
The old man approached closer and suddenly hugs her. "I'm very happy that Hongqi will be marrying Song Yingpei and Song Qingge's youngest and brightest daughter. I have always imagined that Hongqi will marry someone from an affluent family as well, not with some high grade celebrity." There was bitterness in his last sentence. The old man obviously was not fond of Hongqi's celebrity girlfriends.
"Add to that you are very conservative, filial and doting to your parents. It is very rare to find such woman today. They would always try to be independent and leave their parents as soon as possible. But you, even if you have a multi-million company on your own, you're still filial as ever." Yong Yi endearingly said. He let go of the hug and there was a glow in his eyes. With this kind of filial daughter-in-law, he knew that all is good in the future.
Xiulan can't stop the blush on her face. She didn't expect him to shower her with good words and even a hug. "Thank you for the kind words, father. I will try my best to be a good wife and daughter-in-law." Xiulan prettily smiled. Though this marriage will be more beneficial to Hongqi, but she'll try her best to treat everyone with kindness and a sincere heart. She doesn't have any cruel intentions or whatever cunning plot.
She was only there because she was the most suitable person for Hongqi's use. She already engrave in her heart that she's only being used.
Yong Yi beamed and he has this oddly satisfied expression. "I want to give you this necklace." The old man said and revealed a velvet box.
"It's my wife's gift to Hongqi's future spouse. Before she died five years ago, she gave me this necklace and happily said that she wanted to give this to whoever Hongqi will marry. She added that she'll never be able to attend Hongqi's wedding but her gifts will serve as her presence." Even though the old man Yong Yi was smiling while talking to Xiulan, there was sadness in his expression as well.
Yong Yi put the necklace on Xiulan and the satisfied look he had awhile ago become more evident. Xiulan gave a genuine smile. It's good that her father-in-law is nice. She expected that he'll be somewhat cold or indifferent. "Thank you, father. I will treasure it well."
"The wedding will start in an hour. I saw your parents outside and talked to them before I entered. Hehe, Song Yingpei will finally get the most deserving son-in-law while I get the most filial daughter-in-law. Very good indeed." Yong Yi happily muttered. He kissed Xiulan's head and hugged her first before he exited the room.
Xiulan sighed and tiredly sat on the vanity chair. Her mind seems to be blank. She was staring at her own reflection for a good minute when the door opened again and Song Nuo Shu gracefully entered.
"Big sis." Xiulan stands up from her chair again and greeted her sister with a hug.
"You fool. I thought you were smart. Why did you let this day get to this point?" Nuo Shu scowled while hugging her dear little sister. She never expected that Xiulan would oblige to such indescribable marriage conditions.
"Sis, everything will be alright. You don't have to worry." Xiulan sighed. Her big sister is thinking too much. She stopped hugging and gave her sister an affirming smile that everything will be okay.
"I heard this was a surprise wedding. You didn't know about it?" Nuo Shu asked and Xiulan nodded.
"But you don't look surprised. Anyway, he's cunning. He quickly planned everything. I'm sure he's plotting something." Nuo Shu tensed and looked worriedly at her little sister.
"Please, don't worry too much." Xiulan pleaded. If her sister thinks too much then she'll think too much as well. She already decided to be blind and deaf once she's married.
"I can't help but be worried. I can't accept such cheap tricks. He's not a good man. From traditional wedding to Western wedding? Obviously he's up to something to make everything quick. No respect for our elders and culture!" Nuo Shu stressed. She really wanted to kidnap her sister from this wedding and hide her forever.
Xiulan sighed heavily and looked at her sister with intense seriousness. What's wrong with Western wedding? They can do the traditional Chinese wedding later since the preparation for a Chinese wedding is really long. At least Hongqi was able to give her a ceremony and banquet than forcibly sign a marriage certificate secretly.
"Sis, this will be the last time I'm going to tell you this." Xiulan exasperatedly said like she was tired. Her sister will never understand her. "I know he's not a good man but he doesn't have any bad intentions towards our family. Obviously he's using us for his political interest but I make sure he doesn't have anything tricky under his sleeves. Our company will be managed by him and dad will be able to relax. Isn't that what we want?" Xiulan explained.
"You don't love each other. I don't want you to be like me and Qiaohui. You should marry the one you love and someone who loves you. A man who is honest and kind." Nuo Shu foolishly said. Both her sisters Nuo Shu and Qiaohui had an arranged marriage. They miserably lived their married life and it all ended in a divorce.
Xiulan scoffed like she heard the most cliché thing ever. "Does it matter?" she seriously said and her patience is running out. Awhile ago she's worried because Hongqi is a bad person and now there's love involved.
Through arranged marriage, Nuo Shu managed to marry her ideal man. It was a one-sided love on Nuo Shu's side. Even though she was a famous actress back then and very popular, the man was never interested in her to the point that they didn't have any children. After living the life of a loveless marriage and childless for 10 years, she divorced her husband and became a cougar. Even though she gets to date young hot actors and models, her heart still longs for her stupid ex-husband.
While her second sister Qiaohui was married to someone she doesn't like. The man was a good son of one of her father's friends. Living together for seven years, the man was the first one to fall in love, actually he's been in love with her even before they got married. He was a dutiful husband towards Qiaohui but she never returned the same affection. Her husband found the love and care he wanted with his secretary and filed a divorce. Qiaohui obliged to his request not because she doesn't love him, but because she finally concluded that she loves him and it was too late to confess. She's been harboring this regretful feelings ever since and the feeling of getting betrayed by his empty promises scarred her.
Though their third sister, Shuchun, got married to her first love. She was able to find her happiness but it was only short. On their fourth wedding anniversary, Shuchun's husband tragically died while at work. He was a renowned civil engineer. Fortunately, the couple has two children. Shuchun left China and moved to New York. She never went back to China or even tries to visit them. She isolated herself from the Song family and her husband's family after that tragic day. But her parents and Nuo Shu try to appease and visit her. Xiulan and Qiaohui weren't able to visit her due to being busy. Also, they can only contact her through their mother's phone.
Now Xiulan thought that Nuo Shu was not actually concerned about Hongqi but more on the idea of arrange marriage. But Xiulan has her own opinion on arranged marriages. There's a reason why the word 'arranged' is added to it.
"It matters because I don't want you to be miserable and fall to that man's trap!" Nuo Shu devastatingly exclaimed.
"We have different opinions, big sister. I am marrying Hongqi because I have to. I have a long list of reasons not to marry him and few reasons why I should. But the few reasons why I should marry him weighs more. It's not always about love and what trap are you talking about." Xiulan said like she was reciting an oath.
"Your apathetic's level of has gone terribly deep." Nuo Shu sassed. Her little sister is not thinking right. "Science has gotten too far. You stay too long with a computer that your heart and mind are now the same like a computer's." Nuo Shu rudely said.
"That's very rude of you, big sis. Just because your arrange marriage failed, doesn't mean mine will fail as well. How did I become apathetic when I'm doing all of this for father? If I don't marry Hongqi then we will have to pay 5 billion yuan. Do we have a lot of extra money after paying that kind of amount?" Xiulan aggressively retorted. Her big sister is too much. She's so rude and a foolish hopeless romantic.
"Will that love gives us five billion yuan?" Xiulan added and mocked.
"You don't understand me. How sure are you that your marriage will not fail? Even if you don't love him, you are still human. What will you feel if he starts dating someone else?" Nuo Shu spatted. She's only worried that her sister might not be able to withstand the pain of infidelity and betrayal.
"I'll make sure that it won't fail so we won't have to pay twenty billion yuan to Hongqi. But if my marriage fails, then poor me I didn't listen to big sister." Xiulan sarcastically said and added "Even if our marriage fails and he starts to date someone else, who am I to stop him from his decisions?"
Their heated battle and the air around them was so intense that anytime they might throw things at each other. Good thing that the rooms were sound proof or else it will be a great issue if the people outside can hear their bickering.
"Touché. But don't speak highly of yourself yet. Just because you think that you won't fall in love with Hongqi doesn't mean it will really happen. Love is around the corner and ready to bite your ass." Nuo Shu stubbornly said.
"Why the hell you keep talking about love?! I thought you're worried about Hongqi being a bad person? What's wrong with you? If you are obsessed about love then stop pushing it to me! I don't have the energy to be involved in such trivial matters." Xiulan angrily said and went back to her vanity chair to sit down. She has now lost her cool because of her sister's bickering.
She's exhausted from the lack of sleep, enthusiastic servants and now her sister's foolish opinions about arranged marriage. She doesn't understand why her sister is like this but a small conclusion is forming in her head that her sister is saving her from heartache. But that will never happen if in the first place she'll avoid falling in love.
If she becomes like her second sister Qiaohui, who was too late to realize her feelings, then she'll really have to join their club of foolish women!
The wedding is now starting. Xiulan, Nuo Shu and their father Yingpei are waiting outside the pavilion for the signal to start the wedding march while Qiaohui and their mother Qingge are waiting inside. Nuo Shu was there to help with Xiulan's extravagant wedding gown and long veil.
Nuo Shu suddenly whispered to Xiulan's ears "Don't give your heart so easily."
Xiulan quickly glanced at her sister and Nuo Shu gave her an awkward and painful smile. It's almost like a pursed lips. Xiulan nodded and responded with the same awkward smile.
Xiulan felt her sister's anxiety. She doesn't know why but she suddenly felt that this marriage is a bad idea. Not because Hongqi is a bad person but she's suddenly scared for her heart.