Smiling, Cheng Liyue return his hug. Since today was a Saturday, she could finally relax. She planned to spend the whole day with her son. She recalled that this place was surrounded by woods and thought to take the little boy out for a walk. “Go on and brush your teeth. Mommy will be free to keep you company throughout the day.”
“En. Shall we go for a walk in the woods?”
“Okay!” The little fellow was excited.
When they had been living abroad, Cheng Liyue would take him for a run in the park every weekend. After returning to this country, this sort of outing had become less frequent.
The mother-son pair changed out of their nightwear and went downstairs. It was still quite early in the morning. Cheng Liyue brought the little boy into the woods to enjoy the fresh air. The woods were on top of a hill not far from the city center and it was properly conserved. These grounds probably belonged to Gong Yexiao.
It seemed that not just any one could hike here. This area was well-maintained and contained a higher concentration of oxygen. It was definitely a good place for a morning exercise.
The enjoyment derived from her time spent with the little boy was something not everyone could understand. She relished in these moments which cemented the bond between mother and child — every encouraging look given, the little boy’s love, and the reliance he placed on her.
After Gong Yexiao got out of bed, he went to Cheng Liyue’s bedroom and knocked on the door. Seeing that there was no response from within, he turned the door knob and found the room empty.
His heart clenched and he started to grow anxious. It couldn’t be that this woman had left with their son.
Gong Yexiao went downstairs. Seeing Zhang De, his steward, he asked, “Uncle De, where’s Cheng Liyue and Xiao Ze?”
“Master, do not fret. Ms Cheng has taken the young master for a morning exercise in the woods.”
This seemed to loosen the knot in his heart. He let out a shaky breath. Dressed in a gray t-shirt and sweatpants, he had been planning on doing some exercise. After putting on a pair of sneakers, he headed to the gates.
He glanced around. Using his intuition, he finally settled on the trail leading up the hill. He took off in a jog, hoping to catch up to the mother-son pair.
As Cheng Liyue and the little boy were keeping a slow pace, he caught up to them in no time.
“Daddy! Daddy’s here!” The little boy was the first to notice Gong Yexiao.
Turning around, Cheng Liyue saw the man at the foot of the hill who was fast approaching. She was startled. Why was he here?
He gave the rosy-faced boy a smile. “Has all the hiking tire you out?”
“Good! Jia you. Let’s carry on.” After saying this, Gong Yexiao’s intense gaze met Cheng Liyue’s clear one.
She crinkled her brows. Why was he intruding on her time with her son?
The little boy’s hand was clutched in his as Gong Yexiao led them up. Cheng Liyue brought up the rear. While walking, the little fellow turned around, “Mommy, jia you!”
Cheng Liyue understood her son’s affection for Gong Yexiao. Even if the little boy had just met the man, his feelings for his father had developed rapidly. Ever since he had realized that other kids had fathers, the little boy had dreamed about having a father of his own. He longed for a complete family.
This was also why Cheng Liyue did nothing to stop her son from getting close to Gong Yexiao. As a mother, she did not want to selfishly keep the boy to herself. She wanted to create a wholesome environment for him to grow up in.
Cheng Liyue was a little distracted as she made her way up. Due to a misstep, she lost her footing and her knee hit the concrete as she fell forwards.
“Ah…” A faint cry escaped her lips.
She remained in that position on the steps. Wearing a pair of workout shorts, the red scrapes on her knees appeared all the more obvious on her fair skin as it started to bleed.
“Mommy…” The little boy hurriedly made his way down to her side.
Gong Yexiao reached her. She let out a hiss of pain as she sat on the stone steps with injured knees.
The little boy’s eyes immediately reddened. A few teardrops streaked down his face from heartache. “Mommy, does it hurt?”
“It doesn’t hurt. It’s just a small wound. I’ll return and apply some ointment on them and they’ll be fine.” Even though Cheng Liyue was in pain, she played it down in front of the sniffling boy.
Gong Yexiao stooped down. The little boy said to him. “Daddy, mommy is injured.”
Gong Yexiao gazed at Cheng Liyue. “Why are you so careless?”
Cheng Liyue felt somewhat guilty. She tripped because she had been absent-minded.
Gong Yexiao looked at the anxious little boy, “Xiao Ze, can you go down these steps by yourself?”
“Alright. Let’s go.” Gong Yexiao then sat on his haunches with his back towards Cheng Liyue. “Get on.”
Staring at his broad back, her heart skipped a beat. Was he really going to carry her down the hill?
“Mommy, quickly get on! Let daddy carry you down.” The little boy urged.
“No need. I can still walk.” Cheng Liyue didn’t want to owe him one. Last night he had wanted the child to remain at the Gong Estate. This had caused her to raise her guard against him.
Just as she shakily rose to her feet, his strong arms lifted her by the butt and settled her on his back. This action startled her into wrapping her arms around his neck. That was how she ended up being forcefully piggybacked by him.
“Gong Yexiao, put me down. I said that I’m able to walk.” Cheng Liyue struggled in protest.
Who would have known that he would pat her on the ass — twice. “Be good and hold still.”
A blush stained her pretty face. The little boy who was walking in front of them in concentration was oblivious to his mommy’s mortification.
Cheng Liyue did not dare to put up a struggle any more. Gong Yexiao carried her all the way back to his place. Zhang De had already fetched the first-aid kit. Cheng Liyue sat on the sofa while the ointment was being applied on her knees. Fortunately, the wound was not deep.
“Mommy, let’s not go anywhere today. We’ll just stay at home, okay?” The little boy was so distressed that he wasn’t even in the mood to play.
Cheng Liyue was at a loss for words. She couldn’t believe that she had hurt herself first thing in the morning and caused the little boy to worry.
After a while, breakfast was served. The three of them had their breakfast together.
While they were eating, Gong Yexiao asked her curiously, “What were you thinking about till it made you stumble?”
“I wasn’t thinking about anything.” Cheng Liyue muttered.
The man found that hard to believe. How could she have stumbled when the steps were so wide and flat — not unless she was distracted.
After breakfast, the little boy refused to go upstairs to play with his toys. He sat beside Cheng Liyue and stared at her wound, wishing for it to heal quickly.
Gong Yexiao handed both of them an iPad each. Cheng Liyue was more than happy to lie idle. She and her son held onto the iPads. The little boy was singing along to nursery rhymes while Cheng Liyue was watching the news. As for Gong Yexiao, he went back to his study to deal with his work.
Cheng Liyue allowed the little boy to watch the videos for an hour before urging him to go upstairs to play. He should not stare at the screen for too long.