The Female Nanny of the Male Lawyer's Family - C.6: Mr. And Mrs. Smith


It was a little past five on Sunday morning when Lu Chenchen was woken up by a nightmare where she was desperately looking for a job after being laid off for being unmarried and childless, only to be rejected by her prospective employer.

Deciding to reflect upon herself like the ancients did three times a day, she sat up in bed and asked herself: Where am I? Do I still have a job? Is my job secure?

After this bout of soul-searching brought some clarity, Lu Chenchen heaved a sigh of relief. Fortunately, she still had her live-in housekeeper job to keep her fed. As for her hourly jobs... she decided to go looking for one or two more in the neighborhood today instead of taking the subway or bus. Riding a shared bike, she would use the Ma family compound as the center to look for domestic service companies.

The dream made the Ma family weightier in Lu Chenchen’s mind by several degrees. As a result, she took particular care when preparing their breakfast today.

For Big Ma, she made the soup dumplings she had promised, along with rice wine tea eggs and chicken soup with small wontons. Since Mrs. Mao was on a strict diet, Lu Chenchen prepared rice wine tea eggs with apple slices with the skin and cores removed for her.

What was a bit tricky was Mao Yuanning.

Lu Chenchen had a faint impression that he was particularly fond of dan dan noodles. But it had been so long, she wondered if his tastes had changed.

She decided to give it a try.

So Lu Chenchen boiled water and cooked all the noodles until they were 80% done before blanching them briefly in cold water. She tossed them with her special homemade minced pork sauce, adding finely chopped ginger, garlic, and green onion. Then she ladled over hot oil...

With a sizzling “chi-la” sound, the aroma of the various seasonings erupted.

“Mm, smells so good!” At some point, Mao Yuanning had made his way to the kitchen door, voicing his approval.

Lu Chenchen turned and bid him good morning. “I don’t know if you still eat noodles. If not, just leave them and I’ll make you something else.”

“No need, no need,” he said, shaking his head with an affable smile much like those of business tycoons and politicians on Taiwanese TV dramas. “I’m not picky. I’ll basically eat whatever I’m given.”

Lu Chenchen was very aware this was a status-flaunting smile indicating his personal background and class. She would by no means take this to mean Mao Yuanning was someone who could be casually dismissed.

“Where’s Mrs. Mao?” As soon as the question left her lips, Lu Chenchen regretted her thoughtless blunder.

The Ma family was one of the more bizarre employers she had worked for.

Upon his return, Mao Yuanning had indeed slept in the study. He addressed his mother-in-law as "Aunt Qi" or "Aunt Seven." Mrs. Mao's first reaction at seeing him was surprise, clearly unaware of which day he had come back since he didn't notify her either.

The polite yet distant interaction between the three adults was odd. Mrs. Mao didn't object to Mao Yuanning staying in the study instead of the bedroom, apparently having grown accustomed to the situation. She even reminded Lu Chenchen to bring Mao Yuanning an extra thin quilt at night since it would be cold.

Despite noticing the abnormal dynamic between the husband and wife, Lu Chenchen had inquired so perfunctorily. She didn't know what Mao Yuanning made of her crude ineptness.

"She never liked sleeping in. She should be down soon," Mao Yuanning didn't seem to mind at all. Taking over the noodles, he stirred them while saying, "Oh right, do you know how to make coffee?"

Lu Chenchen nodded, about to head to the kitchen when he stopped her. 𝑓𝓻ℯ𝑒𝑤𝘦𝑏𝑛ℴ𝓋ℯ𝑙.𝘤𝓸𝓂

"Never mind about today. From tomorrow on, make me a cup every morning when I'm home—half a spoonful of sugar with milk."

Lu Chenchen bobbed her head vigorously to show she understood.

Right then, Mrs. Mao also came downstairs.

"The housekeeper you found this time is pretty good," Mao Yuanning remarked to Mrs. Mao.

He was deliberately saying it within Lu Chenchen's earshot.

Lu Chenchen put on an appreciative yet bashful look, bringing out Mrs. Mao's breakfast while mentioning she would be off for the weekend after tidying up the kitchen.

"Didn't you say you already quit the Zhong family in Zhongjia Village?" Mrs. Mao asked.

Lu Chenchen explained why to her with a wry smile. "Low pay means less food. Can't be helped. Still got to find one or two families around here."

"Why go through the hassle? Since our home needs a housekeeper no matter when, you might as well work here on Sundays too. I'll pay you double wages in accordance with national policies," Mao Yuanning cut in suddenly.

Lu Chenchen could scarcely believe her ears. How could such a stroke of good fortune befall her?

Mrs. Mao's spoon faltered as she dished up the rice wine soup, throwing Mao Yuanning an unfathomable look. In a quiet voice, she said, "Yes, he's right. Staying here would be killing two birds with one stone."

Four days of a live-in housekeeper's wages were far higher than four days of hourly work!

Having regained her wits, Lu Chenchen thanked them profusely.

As usual, Mrs. Mao was expressionless.

Mao Yuanning, on the other hand, appeared very modest, echoing Mrs. Mao's words that it was mutually beneficial so thanks were unnecessary.

Lu Chenchen deferentially insisted she didn't deserve such treatment...

It seemed like a day where things slowly started looking up like the weather. But once the money-induced excitement wore off, Lu Chenchen gradually sensed something amiss.

That night after finishing her duties and returning to her room, she naturally realized her own naivete and lack of composure upon reflection.

She blamed her past lack of temptation for this reaction of forgetting herself at the first bone tossed her way.

Her village dog Li Li may not have amounted to much, but having grown up in such an environment, even a bone or slab of ham would fail to make it bat an eyelid.

Lu Chenchen was utterly ashamed at being inferior to even Li Li.

There was definitely something off about the Ma family. The man of the house addressed his own mother as "Aunt Qi" or "Aunt Seven." Not only was there polite estrangement between the couples upon reunion rather than absence making the heart grow fonder, they even slept separately. The man's obvious intention of currying favor with the housekeeper without even attempting to hide his agenda was even more blatant...

Yet Lu Chenchen had blindly taken sides just like that?

Too greedy and foolish!

It was easy to guess Mrs. Mao's utter disappointment in her. She had likely already prepared the envelope to dismiss Lu Chenchen. Oh right, why bother with such outdated practices? As soon as President Ma left, she could simply WeChat Lu Chenchen her wages and order her to leave immediately.

What a cannon fodder! Not even given a chance to yell injustice!

Lu Chenchen was utterly dejected.

Clinging onto a sliver of hope, she called Boss Chen to probe the Ma family's background.

"New customer, so I'm not familiar," was Boss Chen's response that utterly doused Lu Chenchen's flicker of hope.

"You said the old lady was the man's mother-in-law, but how can that be when she clearly isn't his mom?" Lu Chenchen asked impatiently.

"Isn't she his mother-in-law? When Mrs. Mao filled out the forms, she wrote herself down as mother-in-law with two sons and a daughter. Mother-in-law means her son's wife's mother, no?" Boss Chen was baffled.

He wasn't wrong. Lu Chenchen had heard the children address her as "grandma" too.

It was Lu Chenchen's own inexperience, failing to consider things more deeply. How could it be possible for a man's own mother to coexist under one roof with her daughter-in-law in such mutually respectful terms?

All the previous doubts now unfurled like the thorns on a rose bush after winter winds blew away the dead leaves, stabbing Lu Chenchen all over.

Was it too late now regardless of what she said?