Her face looked wan and lifeless when she looked at him.
A little taken aback, he hurried over to his mother's side and cupped her face with his two hands. "Mommy, you look bad. What happened? Did anyone bully you?"
"Mommy is lying!"
Her son looked at her angrily. "Someone must've bullied you. Mommy, tell Youyou who it is, and I'll take revenge for you!"
She forced out a smile and opened her arms to him, saying in a broken voice, "Youyou, come over here and give mommy a hug."
He looked at her face and saw that her fragile self was on the verge of collapsing. Instantly, his heart ached nearly to the point of suffocation.
He immediately climbed into her embrace.
She buried her petite face in the crook of his neck as she hugged his warm and pliant body more tightly. Somehow, her frigid heart regained some heat from his warmth.
Youyou, who was burrowing deep into her arms, knew that she was depressed despite not seeing her face. The mother and son were connected in this way.
His little hand caressed her cheek as he muttered softly, "Mommy, if you aren't happy, Youyou won't be happy, too! Youyou is sad when you are sad! Tell Youyou who bullied you, and I'll punish that person for you!"
"No one. No one bullied mommy! Youyou, you are so negative; mommy is just feeling tired." Sniffing the aftershower freshness on his body as she held him tightly, the turmoil inside her eased somewhat. "Youyou smells so nice!"
"… Mommy, you are so bad, why are you back late? Youyou waited long for your return! Stupid mommy, you shouldn't drink when you can't hold your liquor. Didn't you promise Youyou not to drink again?" The boy grumbled about this while looking up at her.
"I'm innocent! Mommy didn't drink tonight. I only took a sip symbolically. I'm not drunk at all!" She defended herself and even puffed a breath for him to check.
The boy snuffled at her lips, and true enough, he could not sniff any strong alcohol smell. That was when he believed her. "Good mommy. You're forbidden from drinking even a drop of alcohol in the future!"
"Understood, Master Youyou!"
She reached out with both hands to hold his face close to hers and affectionately rubbed her nose with his.
"Youyou, mommy wants to be with you her entire life. When I am old, will you desert me?"
"No! Mommy won't grow old," her son retorted sweetly.
"When mommy grows old, will Youyou despise me?"
"Even if I do despise you, it will just be a bit!" He pointed to the tip of his thumb for emphasis.
She looked at him with a mournful face.
"Mommy, you should be satisfied. Youyou won't desert you even when you become old, infirm, and stupid. Even if there's despise, it's just a teeny-weeny bit. Youyou loves mommy the most!"
His honest declaration of love tickled her, and she burst into a sincere laughter.
"All right, mommy! Quickly go wash up and then head to bed. You still have work tomorrow morning!"
She made a sign of surrender. "Okay, Master Youyou! Mommy promises to work hard and earns money for your marriage."
Youyou's mouth twitched at its corners.
Inwardly, he was thinking, Who needs you to earn spare change? The dowry I've prepared for you is so much more!
If she knew how much her son had secretly set aside for her dowry, she would be too astounded for good.