An An was asleep at first.
Though this was her first time somewhere unfamiliar, she didn’t grow up sheltered, and adapted easily to changes. With the doll to accompanying her, An An slowly fell asleep.
But this dream was unhappy.
The little dumpling dreamt that she lived inside a book. She didn’t how to read, so she didn’t know what the title was, only that the story was about her.
In the dream, she also lived in an orphanage. When “Intern Parents” began filming, she was also sent to live with an intern family. The intern mother looked cold, but treated her fine, and sometimes even subconsciously showed her some warmth and tenderness. But after getting to know her, An An realised that the intern mother drank––she drank a lot.
An An tried to get help. When the intern father finally returned home from his business trip, she realised that the couple had a very bad relationship. She didn’t understand what had happened between the adults, only that, in the story, not long after being sent back to the orphanage, she heard the granny dean bring up the intern mother in regretful tones.
Drinking every day had ruined the intern mother’s health, causing her great pain and illness. After a year, she passed away.
An An awoke in shock.
Mo Sui brought a bottle of red wine and a glass to the balcony.
The apartment was filled with cameras of all sizes. Only her room and balcony were left clear. Still, even though all the cameras were shut off, she still felt safer on the balcony.
The wind during summer evenings was stiflingly hot. Feeling as though something was constricting her chest, she opened the bottle and poured the wine into the glass.
Mo Sui acted in a lot of movies, including many drinking scenes. In those scenes, the heroine remained elegant even while drinking, with the wind blowing gently through her hair, as if enjoying every sip.
The real her was nothing like that.
Her skin was sickly pale, her gaze hollow, expression wild. She’d filled her glass to the brim and poured it all down her throat.
The assistant had gifted Mo Sui the red wine when she moved to this apartment. The young woman, who had only just graduated, didn’t know how to tell a drink’s quality and had simply brought over a random case. The wine had poor mouthfeel and burned terribly going down.
Mo Sui, however, began to calm down.
After downing two more cups like one would water, she gave a deep sigh.
The picture book she’d read to the little dumpling before dinner made her unconsciously remember her painful past.
She remembered, even now, the pain of being sent to the delivery room. She, who had been so concerned with her self-image, had lost control of herself and simply laid on the delivery bed in unbearable pain. She’d clutched her hands so tightly that she had scratched herself bloody.
But even so, the happiness she had felt the first moment she laid eyes on her daughter remained the most wonderful moment of her life.
The nurse had placed the newborn into Mo Sui’s arms, lightly pressed the child’s face to her cheek, and said, “Come kiss your mommy.”
The little girl, supported gently by the nurse, looked like a wrinkled little monkey. As weak as Mo Sui was, she still couldn’t resist shaking her head and muttering that the poor thing was a little too ugly.
Mo Sui thought to herself, trancelike, as her lips unconsciously began to curl into a smile. But by the next instant, that smile died away.
Was it because she was judgmental towards the little one, so the child grew upset and thus left her?
She had barely gotten any time with her daughter before the child was gone.
Since then, Mo had trouble sleeping. A little glass of alcohol before bed gradually turned into alcoholism. Her psychiatrist told her that if she continued on like this, her condition would only worsen.
It was her psychiatrist who recommended her agree to participate on this show. Dr. Lin said that psychological problems require psychological solutions. She’d agreed in the heat of the moment upon leaving the consultation room that day, but the closer the filming date approached, the more scared she became.
By the time she wanted to stop, it was already too late.
Her thoughts were clearer now. Her head was no longer a tangled mess, but she wasn’t drunk enough. She still thought of the little infant with that mischievous smile. Her little girl.
Mo Sui sighed deeply, her slender hands gripping the wine bottle.
Suddenly, a loud sound came from the living room.
The lights in the house were off; the little dumpling, unfamiliar with the place, had bumped into a flower vase while fumbling her way through the dark, and let out a little cry. Still, she didn’t give up, and made it to the balcony.
Under the moonlight, the little dumpling’s hair was messy, her cheeks red and puffy, her eyes sleepy.
She truly was adorable. She was much cuter than any other child star Mo Sui had ever worked with.
“Did you need something?”
An An wasn’t put off by Mo Sui’s cold tone, but rather approached a few more steps.
Mo Sui, head aching, frowned slightly. She hadn’t drunk too much today and was rather clear-headed.
“Can you heat up some milk?” The little dumpling weakly spoke up once more.
The timid look in the child’s eyes was too pitiful to see. It was inevitable for her to feel dependent upon others in such an unfamiliar place. In addition, her background made her more fragile and sensitive than other children.
No matter how unwilling Mo Sui was, she could not refuse her.
Mo Sui left the balcony to go to the kitchen, turning on all the lights in the house along the way. Though the light was a warm colour, the brightness still pierced An An’s eyes and forced her to close them. The child squinted as she followed closely behind Mo Sui, as if afraid that losing focus would cause the tragedy in the dream to play out again.
Mo Sui took out a saucepan. She then fetched a milk carton from the fridge, unscrewed the cap, and emptied the carton into the saucepan. When the milk began bubbling in the saucepan, she took a glass and poured the milk into it.
The filled cup wasn’t too hot to the touch. The child should be able to hold on to it.
“Take this and go to sleep when you finish drinking.” She turned to go back to the balcony, but then added, “Don’t come out again.”
Little did she know that the little dumpling would stick to her like glue and followed her there. When she sat back down on the chair in the balcony and reached for the wine glass again, two pale chubby hands passed the glass of milk over.
An An had drunk the milk before. The glass she had before bed was sweet and warm, and she wanted to share that with the auntie. Milk should taste better than alcohol since alcohol smelled bad.
Mo Sui was stunned.
The little dumpling saw that she still didn’t accept the glass, but didn’t panic, simply watched her with clear eyes and waited patiently. One minute passed this way, then two.
Mo Sui thought to herself that, if her daughter still lived, she should be about this big too.
Was this what Dr. Lin meant by saying that psychological problems required psychological solutions?
Without her say-so, the warmth in the child’s eyes touched her. She carefully accepted the cup of milk. The milk was freshly heated, and still had a layer of film on top. It really did smell more appetizing than that glass of cheap wine.
“Thank you,” Mo Sui said softly.
An An’s small mouth curled up slightly. She waved the thanks away in a small gesture. “You’re welcome.”
After that glass of milk the previous night, the next morning saw An An and Mo Sui’s relationship grow much closer. Even the bullet commenters noticed this.
【 Does anyone else feel like Mo Sui’s not so cold towards the little cub? 】
【 Even though they’re sitting so awkwardly together, Mo Sui still knows she has to take care of this wittle fwiend. It’s so early, and she’s cooked the kid two hardboiled eggs, and even poured a glass of milk. 】
【 How is that nutritious? My kid eats for breakfast every morning two eggs, an egg crepe, a bowl of... 】
【 The mom commenter above me, don’t try to make yourself sound important, no one cares what your kid eats. 】
【 Everyone’s talking about what the cub’s eating for breakfast, am I the only one who thinks that Mo Sui’s mental state feels much better? Her face doesn’t seem so puffy anymore! 】
While the bullet comment section heated up, the atmosphere at the dining table remained peaceful.
Mo Sui was not used to eating breakfast. She made herself a cup of black coffee and went to help An An peel the eggs, only to discover that the little dumpling could do it by herself. Her little hands tapped the eggs till she could break off little bits of the shell piece by piece.
It had been a long time since Mo Sui saw such focus on a task. She rested her cheek against her head and watched An An quietly. The child alternated between a bite of egg and a sip of milk, expression full of satisfaction.
She realised with some shock that this is what Dr. Lin meant in saying that slowing down could be healing.
But it was her fault. She was the one who didn’t keep the child by her side, who returned to filming after her daughter had only just turned three.
She didn’t even see her child’s face one last time.
How could someone like her deserve to heal?
Mo Sui quickly returned to her usual indifferent attitude.
For a long while after, the audience in the live broadcast room notice and even An An noticed that Mo Sui’s mood soured. The little dumpling didn’t know what had happened; she simply followed Mo Sui around and followed the task directions on the mission card that the program team had slipped under the door.
But strangely enough, despite Mo Sui’s worsening condition, the overall appearance of this little family did not seem terrible. The pair lived very agreeably together, as if they really were mother and daughter.
Mo Sui did not promote herself, so her fans had to do it for her. Not only did her dedicated support fans boost #FairyMotherFairyDaughter on Weibo’s Super Topics, they even spliced together pictures of Mo Sui and An An together into sticker packs.
This time, though, more casual fans were stumped. Where did the program team find a child that resembled Mo Sui so much?
An An liked Mo Sui even more on their second day together.
Before joining this intern family, the little dumpling had heard from the staff lady say that the program’s aim was to show its audience what living in a three-person family was really like.
Though her intern father would only return tomorrow, An An was plenty happy. Living with only her intern mother still let her experience what it would be like to have a family.
Mo Sui, however, did not know what An An was thinking. Had she known, she would have realised that this child was too easily pleased. Other families would certainly not treat their children as coldly as she did hers.
While she was considering this, the program team sent over a new mission. The neighbouring Jiang Lin and Qin Feng had prepared a sumptuous dinner and invited the other two guest families to dine with them.
Mo Sui put down the mission list, looking at the unsuspecting An An. She had to visit a stranger’s house with a little child in tow? It was too much.
Meanwhile, the bullet comment section erupted again.
【 That idiot couple held it back all night and finally couldn’t anymore! They’re showing their hand! 】
【 It’s not easy for them, why not let them into Mo Sui’s spotlight for a little bit... 】
【 All three children have different personalities. It will be so cute when they play together. 】
【 Is no one looking forward to how Mo Sui will be interacting with the other two couples? Surely she won’t be going with that high-and-mighty attitude still! 】
【 Ahhh, I can’t wait! 】
1. Fairy (神仙) here takes its meaning from the daoist/xianxia 仙, abbreviated here for to keep the spirit of the 4-character hashtag (神仙母女). Check this link for mor info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xian_(Taoism) ↩︎
2. Think something similar to Twitter's trending, except still keeping Weibo's blog format. ↩︎