岁晚何曾笑春风

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正月初一,爆竹声声辞旧岁,这天早晨,正是满大街最热闹的时候​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

卖冰糖葫芦的刘家三叔正走街串巷,吆喝得起劲儿,一旁谢家那高门大户的后墙狗洞里,却忽而钻出来个灰溜溜的泥娃娃​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

刘三叔声气一歇,盯了眼,见他八九岁年纪,一身好缎子,便是染了灰也瞧得出云纹刺绣,价值不菲,颈间还挂着块玲珑剔透的翠玉,顿时猜出了来人身份​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。不料他算计话还没开口,这少年拍拍打打,把一身略作收拾,蓦地抬眼,瞧见他肩扛着的稻草垛插满令人垂涎的红彤彤的冰糖葫芦,眼神一亮,张口便喊:“这酸葫芦儿怎么卖?”

过了半晌,刘三叔喜形于色地咬了口少年递给自己的金叶子,任由那少年艰难地扛起足有他两倍高的冰糖葫芦儿串子,一路往邻街挪​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

有爱看热闹的婶婶,不忘打趣几句:“小公子,买上这么多冰糖葫芦,是要上哪儿做生意去呀!”

谢小公子鼻子哼哼,脸上却笑​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他扬起下巴,朗声说:“送给我小媳妇儿的,听人说,她今个儿过个年才胖四斤八两,我特意给她开胃的!”

路人目瞪口呆:“你、你小媳妇儿,莫不是李家那——”

谢小公子白了他一眼,意为心斥对方竟连这般好记的名字也说得囫囵,赶在对方结结巴巴也说不分明之前,抢先一步,接了话茬:“是李阿笑!”

东街一绝,天子脚下一顶一的胖娃娃,富贾之女,圆乎乎的李氏阿笑​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

无论这谢小公子脑袋里究竟装了些什么,好一顿鼓捣,到底是给他大汗淋漓地赶到了邻街李府门口​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。家丁们起先要赶,见着他颈间挂玉,这才变了脸色,赶忙逢迎​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“原是谢三公子,我家姑娘早已久候多时,这糖葫芦,奴才来给您拿着便是​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

家丁伸手要接,卸了他重负,可这谢三顽固,反倒一把牢牢箍在怀里,连声说:“我给我给!这可是我辛辛苦苦抱来的,我要亲手给小媳妇儿​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”说话间,便一骨碌闪身,屁颠颠地跑进府中​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“香菇鹿茸酥、溏心桂花、莲子烹鹅、红烧肘子、冰镇梅汁……”谢三进府的时候,李阿笑正躺在廊下的美人榻上,一溜不带停地报菜名​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

丫鬟心头一紧,轻声提醒:“小姐,这都十八道了,咱今个儿还得赴家宴​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

李阿笑闻言抬头,撇了撇嘴,百般不舍地权衡了一下,一张胖嘟嘟的小脸皱起,说了句:“那撤三道、不,两道​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。家宴可得等到日落西山,我的肚子不等人的​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

她说着,揉了肚子,垂眉丧气地一叹​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。剩下的抱怨还没开口,一串红彤彤的冰糖葫芦就被递到了眼皮底下​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她愣了愣,晃晃脑袋,又变成两串​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“小——媳妇儿!”最后,连谢三的脑袋都出现在她眼皮子底下,笑得人畜无害,喊得惊天地泣鬼神​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他笑眯眯地问,“我给你带的,你喜不喜欢呀?”

顿时,李阿笑脸上堪称风雨变色​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。她呆了呆,蓦地挥起自己圆溜溜的拳头,一击命中,打得谢三措手不及,五体投地​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

然后,李阿笑撕心裂肺地喊道:“爹!快来!谢平辽那个登徒子又来觊觎我啦!”

在往后的十年里,这种事发生了不亚百次,到后来,李阿笑喊得再惊天动地,也没人当回事​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李老爷子剔剔牙,安抚住心急如焚的友人:“得咧,两小无猜,在耍些小脾气罢了,人谢家是什么门户——”

“商人轻贱,怎敢与贵姓相争?我就是敢打,他也不敢败坏自家门楣,自歇着吧​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

彼时,李阿笑已是十七岁的大姑娘,依然生得胖嘟嘟、脸也圆圆,眼也圆圆,和一众细柳扶风、腰儿不盈一握的姑娘们比,委实壮硕了点儿​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

而谢平辽的个子早已抽了条,谢家男儿,一贯是一等一的各种龙凤,他年前方夺了武状元的魁首,每逢现身街头巷尾,便要被含羞带怯的姑娘们一顿投桃掷果​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他每每被砸得一头包,回头收了人家的礼,却全进了李阿笑的肚子里​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

究竟是谁先对这阴差阳错的情缘动了心,后来却怎么也说不清楚了​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

又是一日,谢平辽造访李府​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑躺在美人榻上,一旁的小丫鬟给她扇了会儿扇子,自个儿却顶不住晒,满脸通红​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。阿笑回头瞥了一眼,摆摆手,说:“得了得了,这身娇体弱的,后头歇着去,我扇得都比你起劲​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

说着,阿笑便夺了她手中团扇,兀自扇起一阵“狂风”,复又看向一旁正翻看枪谱的谢平辽,冷哼一声,“谢平辽,你这厮最好仔细着点儿,否则在战场上丢了性命,我可告诉你,你败坏我这么多年名声,这么没头没尾地死了,我是要去刨你坟的​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。——说起来,你这年纪上战场,是不是太早了些?一众叔伯同辈里,你年纪最小,又是嫡出,你若是出点儿事,家中可是饶不得旁人的​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

谢平辽闻言,仰头一笑​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他生得眉眼英气,蓦地展颜,倒有些孩子气​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“我是嫡孙,毕生所愿,便是振兴谢家,自应该危困之时出头了​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

他这次前来,便是为着知会她,自己不日便将同谢家大伯谢暮一起,以周家家主为主帅,出征大梁​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“这一仗同大伯一起,阿娘说他从无败仗,哪能偏偏死了我​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”他说着,有些不好意思,合起枪谱,又将颈间碧玉解下,“我晓得你担心,打小你就待我好……”

李阿笑心虚地咳嗽了声​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“这次去打仗,我不怕,就、就是怕时间一长,要是有旁人觊觎你可怎么办!我昨个儿想了想,还是得要留个信物​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。你看,这玉是最金贵的了,你喜不喜欢?”

他手中一块通体透绿的翠玉,上头铁画银钩,钻摹出一个“辽”字,背面则是小小一个“三”​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢家后世寥落,到他这辈,上头两位姐姐,只有他一个独子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。是故无论老少,均将他放在心尖尖上,甫一出世,便造了这块美玉给他挂着,倒有些“人人都来看看,这便是我谢家小儿”的招摇架势​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

平常人不识货,李阿笑这个京城第一富贾之女却了然于心​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她拈了颗葡萄,揉揉自己圆滚滚的肚子,嘟囔了一句:“给了我,你娘不骂你?”她说到这儿,指尖一顿,忽觉她最爱的酸甜味道也索然,只咕哝道,“上次你给我出头,她不也教训了你,竟还写封书信给我阿爹,害我被罚,连饭也吃不得​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

上次​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

虽然谢平辽为她这胖丫头出头的事一年到头少不了,但这个“上次”,还真不是个简单小事​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

说起来,谢家虽然久承祖荫,但确实是一代不如一代,近些年来,更是与如日中天的周家难以比肩​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。就连从来骄傲意满的谢家长女谢云雪,也不得不多逢迎周家那掌上明珠​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

好巧不巧,那日李阿笑就撞到周家手上,周氏的义子周诚当街笑她面丑,穿花带绿,不过东施效颦​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。说到兴处,一众纨绔子弟对她指指点点,连身旁掩面而笑、路过的婀娜姑娘,也面带三分嘲讽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑嘴里的莲花酥顿时失了滋味,不愿与人纠缠,扭头就走​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

却有人复又高声叫住她,她扭头,见是个飒爽英姿的姑娘​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

那姑娘拦住周诚喋喋不休的口舌,冷面道:“我的事,不用你出头,”话毕,却又走近李阿笑,居高临下,将她眉眼一一看过,问她,“你就是李阿笑​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。谢三心心念念的娇姑娘?”

周诚在她身后嗤笑一声:“除了她还会有谁!你看看京城内外,有哪个姑娘能一个顶俩?!宋安凉,这么一个球,也能把谢平辽攥在手里,你不难受,我都替你委屈!”

李阿笑愣了愣,没反应过来,刚要还嘴,身后突然传来一阵惊惶的喊叫声​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。她刚回头,身子却一轻,蓦地腾地而起——有人拽住她后领一手提起,再回神时,她已在马背上坐稳​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

是谢平辽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑看着他,分明安下心来,却还忍不住低声教训:“谢平辽,你当街纵马,被人告了状,我可绝不救你​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

这面色沉静、身如翠竹挺拔的少年垂头一笑,“为了救你嘛,何不夸我半句?”

真是十年如一日的疯子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

他手握马鞭,顿地一甩,伴着清脆响动,周诚后退半步,叫宋安凉的姑娘却只抬头看来,不闪不避​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。鞭音刚落,一众纨绔子如鸟雀四散​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

周诚却还梗着脖子,刚要叫嚷,便被宋安凉拦下​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。女子看向谢平辽,声如黄鹂,一字一顿,直指李阿笑的痛处:“我听闻,你同她的所谓婚约,不过是因为孩提时,这胖姑娘随长辈到谢府赴宴,偷喝御酒耍疯,按着你便……亲,她不认账,你却上赶着遵照父命,把她当作未来妻子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。谢平辽,少年儿戏,你竟要当真不成!我乃宋家长女,何处与你般配不得?”

陈年旧事,竟被这样掀出来,李阿笑面子上挂不住,登时急了眼,吼道:“谁说我不认账了,你看这么多年,我有真赶过他吗!无论多金贵的吃食,我又何曾对他吝啬过,你再信口胡言,我让阿辽把你打出皇城去!”

糟了,说漏了嘴,叫什么阿辽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑心里一咕咚,却听得谢平辽声音一冷:“我媳妇儿已发了话,你们还不快滚?”

长鞭直取周诚面门,在对方目眦欲裂的惊恐神色中,复又堪堪停住​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。周诚大骇之下,拖着宋安凉扭头便走​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

人是走了,腰酸背痛的李阿笑也没觉得开心,脸苦了一半,谢平辽那张欠揍的俊脸却又凑上来,说:“你叫我阿辽呀,小媳妇儿​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

李阿笑一巴掌轻轻呼上他的脸,嘴里骂他蠢钝如猪​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

不知是不是她的错觉,总觉得芒刺在背,挣扎着回头,却只看见宋安凉凄清一人的背影​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

而谢平辽笑着揽住她的肩膀,像个孩子似的蹭蹭,又把她的注意力引回:“小媳妇儿,别听他们胡说,多吃是福咧,谁若多说你一句,你便叫‘阿辽’来帮你教训他们​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

大抵是头一次,李阿笑没有作势推开他,倒迟疑着,拍了拍他厚实的脊背​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

是故,她也没有看见那一瞬间,谢平辽神色复杂,亦看向宋家女离去的方向​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

他那一次出头,委实一举挫了周、宋两家的面子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑还是在坊间听闻,谢平辽为这事被罚跪祠堂整整两天,再见到他时,这人却只字未提,只依旧是一副笑面,“小媳妇儿”喊个不停​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

他从不跟她说起丝毫半点的委屈挫折,记忆仿佛一直停留在七岁那年,她借酒壮胆,亲了谢家一众小少年里最最俊俏的谢平辽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。她出身商贾之家,自幼没大没小,可那少年竟也任由脸红成个苹果,未曾把她推个趔趄​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

后来问起,他只说自己一下惊诧,再细问,便是拧了耳朵,他也红脸不答​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

十年光景,他满腔英勇,挡在她面前,她与世人眼光格格不入,唯有他说:“只要你喜欢便好啦​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

想到这里,李阿笑那呼呼扇动的扇面蓦地一顿,抬眼,正撞见他眼中的殷切神色​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

伸出手,她恰好紧紧攥住那暖玉,却又似笑非笑地,咽下一口葡萄过后,轻声问:“你连玉都给了,何不娶我?”

那些日子,李家家仆私下里总在传,姑爷失魂落魄,那日离开李府,足足撞了两回柱子,瞧着开心吧是开心,却又懵懂得很​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑从来是说一不二的性格,说要嫁人,次日便开始备嫁妆​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李老爷心疼唯一的明珠,百般劝阻,只说谢平辽不日便要见战场兵戎,何必急在一时​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

阿笑姑娘歪了歪头,只说:“旁人不知道我那样待他,安的什么心,阿爹也不明白吗?”

李老爷愣了愣,那唯一的掌上明珠,双眸却灿灿生光:“阿爹,你看,那时人人都说谢平辽不过作弄我,但谁能作弄我十年?我七岁那年,便觉得他顶顶好看,而今,我说嫁,他便愿意娶我​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。人这一生,若有一次能得偿所愿,便不枉费——我何苦辜负呢​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

她从来直来直往,说得人哑口无言​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

于是,这依旧圆嘟嘟的新媳,便在匆忙而就的大婚之中,被谢平辽背进了谢家的府门​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她的嫁妆足足三十七箱,尽是黄金珠宝,虽说日子定得仓促,也并非那样大讲排场,仍成了京城一道奇景​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢平辽将人掂量掂量,还没来得及说声“阿笑为何消瘦了些”,便被躲在红帕下的李阿笑捏了耳朵​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“你若说我胖,我这便下来,不嫁你了,”她恨恨地说,“哼,你可别觉得我是送上门来嫁你咧,只是我怕你在外头打仗,心里没个牵挂​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

谢平辽笑着,双手牢牢将她托稳​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。直至迈过火盆,见她以团扇遮面,抬起眼来,仍是半带怒意地看向他时,他这才压低声音,轻声道:“我知道的——你从来口硬心软,最是怕我有半点隐忧​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

她垂眸,下意识地看向自己腰间那块暖玉,铁画银钩,一个辽字,那是属于他所有的谢家尊荣和富贵​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

蓦地,那头喜娘高亢的嗓音响起,他们牵了绣球,将那天地高堂一一拜过​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑跪在谢家老夫人面前,老人慈眉善目,褪下腕上一枚玉镯给她戴上​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。满室喧哗之中,老夫人却突然问她:“过去先祖成壁尚在时,教导家中小辈:‘一入谢家门,终身谢家影,一世为国谋,莫入迷途中​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。’孙媳妇儿,嫁进谢家,可曾想过,家国天下,究竟何者为先?”

闻言,她愣了愣​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

而老人在近处众人惊诧目光中,只是将龙头拐杖顿地,摇头晃脑地站起​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“我老啦,”老夫人说,“孙媳妇儿,你看,现在,怎么就变了光景呢​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。——喜事啊,好一场喜事!”

下意识地,李阿笑侧过头,而一旁的谢平辽神色平静,只是轻轻地按住她的手背​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

那是挑灭红烛的夜,宾客散去,喧哗尽褪,谢平辽坐到床边​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她取下沉重凤冠,卸下红妆,亦就那样拉住他冰凉的手,借着月光,定定地望向桌上那饮尽的合卺酒​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

半晌后,她才挤出一句:“谢平辽,我小时候老是想,像你这样,鹤立鸡群、许许多多世家女都心往的男子,究竟会娶怎样胜于我的妻子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。那日闹市上拦住我的宋家女,好似就是与你更般配的人——毕竟,我生得不算太好看,是不是?”

她靠在他肩上,一一细数年少时的心动与胆战:“可我觉得你在害怕,谢平辽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。如果你真的喜欢平凡的我,今日也当真为娶了我而开心,你又会害怕什么?”

她那满腔的疑惑与惶然,寄寓在一贯漫不经心的语气里,尚未来得及再多言,却被拥入一个温暖的怀抱​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢平辽手掌宽大,拂过她潋滟的红衣,紧紧扣入她发中​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他说:“大厦将倾,焉有完卵​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。阿笑,我们没有选择,我能做的,只有永远……永远不抛下你​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

谢平辽出征那天,天子大宴群臣,征西大元帅周平居首,谢家而今光芒暗淡,仅居于次席,本是心照不宣的事​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。然则周平心系爱女——那位入主中宫、却从不为帝王所喜的周氏皇后,竟在众人面前折箭立誓,讨要帝王一份不负佳人的誓言,一时之间,引来议论纷纷​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

其中多少诡秘暗涌,李阿笑倒无从知晓,只能收起谢平辽遥寄而回的家信,偷偷收到压箱底的角落​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

这场仗,捷报频传,却也同样打得艰难无比​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。周平年事已高,力不如前,前线大战多由谢家压阵,无奈谢暮旧疾复发,而周平军中养子周诚又对谢家百般刁难,末了,只得谢平辽提枪厮杀​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢家七十二路成雪枪,所过之处,无不血流成河​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

线报中说得那样剑拔弩张,过后李阿笑收到的家书里,她那善解人意的夫君,却还只闲闲写些什么“大漠孤烟直”,什么“念卿如故”​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。全然不提,自己在这一战中是怎样身先士卒,遍体鳞伤​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑坐不住,一月过去,冬天亦至,思来想去,便拆了自己的嫁妆,复又贴补上许多金银珍宝,添置了数车过冬衣物、粮草运往西疆​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李父一生经商,富甲天下,妻子早早过世,又只有这一颗掌上明珠,眼见着女儿要把底子都搬空,心疼得紧,便也帮衬了许多​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。如此一来,谢家后军,竟生生多了笔三百万两的横财​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑独自一人,屏退婢子,在书房清点完这笔巨账,手捂了汤婆子取暖​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。半晌后,房门倒被敲响,她抬眼,是谢家二姐,名冠京城的美人,谢云雪,此刻抱着她那顶顶金贵的碧眼白猫,不请自来​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

想来谢平辽顶上两位姐姐,都是命途忐忑,大姐谢云霏削发为尼,早不与世俗来往;二姐谢云雪,曾是天子昔日尚在东宫时,便一眼看中的太子妃,却因为周家横插一脚,自己又心性甚高不愿伏低做小,迟迟都未出嫁​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑嫁来府上近两月,除却家宴上同她有些点头之交,倒从没有什么过硬的交情​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她尚未来得及起身同谢云雪见礼,对方倒笑着摆了手,“莫要起身了,前些日子林大夫刚给弟妹诊出喜脉,虽说不让张扬,但一生下来,便也是谢家的长子嫡孙​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。而今你可是我们谢府上下的贵人,我不过正巧路过,来瞧瞧你​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

说话间,谢云雪踱步上前,有一下没一下地抚着那猫儿,眼神瞥过书案上,尚未合起的账本​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑一贯和这些行若细柳扶风的纤细女子娇声细语不来,见她眼神刺骨,也懒得多寒暄什么,兀自撑了桌面站起身,微微一笑,将账本收进柜中锁好,便作势离开,“二姐,见也见过了,冬日以来,我总困顿得很,身子也不爽利,这就先……”

谢云雪懒懒地应了一声,也不拦她,只蓦地,在她走开几步过后,话里有话,低喃一句:“富贾轻贱,唯有满山金银可图,但这个孩子,来得委实不是时候​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

闻言,李阿笑脚步一顿,险些被脚下襦裙绊了一跤​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢云雪似笑非笑地说:“平辽安凉,连名字都那样合衬的天生一对,就是被你年少时的一腔莽勇拆散​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。我方才听说,宋家已派军前去支援西疆,不知是你那些金银财宝去得快,还是宋安凉快马加鞭的这一场及时雨,来得更妥帖?”

李阿笑打小是个心眼儿大的姑娘,这夜却因为谢云雪的几句话而辗转反侧,无心于眠​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她不由得细细回想了些过去十年的光景,连细枝末节处也不放过,末了,却忧虑着,谢平辽究竟有没有看透过自己许多年来看似刁难、实际却是对他格外优待的难言心思​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

譬如,他十六岁那年在演武场被大伯谢暮一枪挑穿肩膀,她话里骂他不知躲避,背地里却呜呜咽咽抹了眼泪,把自己攒下来的一堆珠钗金银倒了一地,央求她阿爹重金购下异域奇商手中的数株天山雪莲、人参等补药,一应给谢府上送去​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

又譬如她曾同谢平辽一起,见着那些个贵胄公子以周诚为首,炫耀月赤碧玉、大梁锦衣,而谢平辽作为长子嫡孙,礼教甚肃,谢暮对他尤其严苛,何况谢家历来清廉,这些奢华器物便一概不允​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。她明面上漫不经心,亦不同他多说什么,扭头,却吩咐家中外商多加添置​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。待到次日谢平辽兴高采烈地到李府来邀她踏青,便见着数盒硕大明珠,各色锦缎陈列眼前​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

阿笑姑娘轻咳数声,啃着羊腿,说:“你家各个姨娘,上到老太太,下到小侄女的份都齐了​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。我可告诉你谢平辽,你要敢同我生疏什么,明个儿就把你赶出去!”说得凶狠,她悄悄抬眼,见他满面愕然,却还是装着不情不愿地,用帕子细细擦了手指,复又从身后搬出个锦盒来,“这是给你的,不准不要​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

给谢平辽,自是金贵中更精挑细选的,可她尚且还要装作不曾上心,用那散漫来掩住心中的卑怯,想来她所有的,正如谢云雪所说,不过是身居高位之人随时便可夺去的所谓荣华​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。而在旁人看来,昔日她少时借酒耍疯,亦委实是高攀了谢家​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

人人都说她不知好歹,却不明了那背后的柔肠百结,唯恐爱而不得的惶然​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

于是,阿笑这一夜没能如往日酣睡,一会儿念叨着不知寄给谢平辽告知有孕的家书可曾寄到他手中,一会儿想到谢云雪的话中带刺​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

天刚蒙蒙亮的时分,门外负责侍候她起居、早早候着的婢子却被一阵匆匆脚步惊醒了朦胧的瞌睡​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

阿笑一宿未曾闭眼,听闻外头动静,应了声外头的低声问候​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。过了半会儿,方见那小婢推门而入,恭恭敬敬地递来信函​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她将那单薄的纸页展开,谢平辽打小练出来的一手潇洒行书,而今倒写得满纸潦草,来来回回,只说欣喜​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。她瞧着无奈,叹了声气,梳洗过后,才在书房见了那探子,细细问了情况​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

说及她腹中有喜,那探子自是不迭地贺喜一番,论及战事,却不住蹙眉:“禀少夫人,前线捷报频传,末将离营时,战事尚好,军心大振​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。但三少爷此前一战,肩伤未愈,听闻谢将军坚持让他上阵——”

谢平辽善使枪,但凡伤了肩臂,战场之上,便是处处掣肘​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑面露忧色,问:“周家主帅如何?可曾出言制止?”

“不曾,不过三少爷说了,夫人大可不必忧心,此战敌方已是强弩之末……”探子的话止在半路,李阿笑蓦地抬头,听得廊外又是一阵匆匆的脚步声​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

紧随而来的,便是一声沉闷的钝响,和号啕大哭​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她听不清切,侧过头,刚吩咐了婢子到外头问清发生何事,便一阵心悸,俯下身,却干呕不止​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

周家主帅周平,心力不济,最后一仗,跌落马下,被马踏如泥​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。消息传到京中,于谢家而言,本不知是喜是悲,天子倒当机立断废了周后,也不忘回头安抚同样失了力将的谢家​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

——谢暮支援不及,致使谢平辽葬身于敌军包围之中​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。赤水河边,他死战未退,尸骨堆山,面目全非​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。那块力证他身份的暖玉早被赠给李阿笑,收殓遗骨的将士,只能凭借寸缕战甲识人,为他留齐全尸​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

半月过后,逢着落日西沉的时辰,宫中总管方才抵了谢府​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑静静跪在老夫人身旁,抬眼,接过黄门手中的明黄圣旨,那太监不忘堆笑抚慰她两句:“逝者已去,还望夫人节哀顺变,如此这般,陛下也可放下心来​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

她直愣愣地点了头,是明眼人也能看出的心不在焉​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

一直到人群散尽,哭声熹微,她才迟迟回过神来​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

环望四周,天子御赐的翡翠珠宝,均是珍品,老夫人捻着红木佛珠,话中沉寂,只是淡淡地道:“谢家人马革裹尸,这般赏赐,老身已见过不知多少回​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。活生生的人去,换来沉甸甸的几箱金银,旁人口中的豪雄,也不过如此​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

李阿笑扶着桌案,勉力站起身来,揉着发疼到喘不上气的小腹,别过脸,只是一个蹙眉,豆大的泪珠儿便落下来​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“可这次不一样,”老夫人叫住她蹒跚的背影,“孙媳妇儿,周家死了主心骨,周后被废,那一脉军心大乱,而我们谢家,死了心尖上的长子嫡孙、身先士卒的将军——”

参战两家,均是重臣,更何况还搭进一个莽撞的宋安凉,如此一来,谁不是元气大伤?

老夫人的龙头拐杖触地,传来沉闷的钝响,说的话,却仿佛似曾相识:“大厦将倾,愈是满门折损,愈是为来日筹谋​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

李阿笑抚了腹中微微的胎动,轻声问:“所以,真如二姐所说,这孩子来得不是时候,是也不是?”

无人回答她那轻声中蕴藉的委屈,她只能屏退一众婢子,独自踱过长廊​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。在那长廊尽处,略佝偻了脊背的阿爹,就在寒风萧瑟中,静静等她​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她红了眼圈,原是怀着两月的身孕,身形却反而消瘦下来​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他伸手,为她抚平碧青小褂上的些许褶皱,又将自己的狐裘解下,披在爱女的肩膀​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“跟阿爹回家吧,”他笑,眼角已不知何时,爬满苍老的褶皱,“你心心念念,记挂了一辈子的谢平辽,他们谢家,已经把咱们身上能拿的,都拿了个遍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。三百万两,买一场痴迷幻梦,阿笑,你开心,爹就知足啦,但咱们……就适可而止吧​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

她看向他,只是摇头​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“我还有阿辽的孩子,”李阿笑咬紧牙关,“他说过,绝不抛下我​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。不管谢家对我存了什么心思,不论他们又有怎样的图谋,他是个怎样的人,阿爹,我心中清楚……”

她话音未落,一只雪白的猫儿蓦地扑到她脚下​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。惊骇之下,她险些趔趄跌倒,好不容易站稳,猛然回头,却是谢云雪面色凄冷,与鹅毛大雪浑然一色​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢云雪一字一顿,“周后被废,大病一场,周家大军驻足不前,前线全靠谢、宋两家苦苦支撑,而今所待,不过一场大乱​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑,你若是还想留下这个孩子——就赶快滚出谢府去​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

“你不过是谢家这些狼子野心的所谓老臣,用谢平辽当饵,布了十年的局,落幕便退,适可而止,还不明白吗?”

那日,李阿笑借口回府拜祭母亲,同父亲一并离去​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

行至府门前,恰逢谢家军中前线数位将领,负伤后回朝,来向谢老夫人告安​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她以薄纱遮面,离去匆忙,亦不曾抬眼看过来人伤痕累累的各异面孔​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。却在步履仓皇之时,腰间暖玉蓦地被谁一撞,险些跌落在地​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

却是有赖一位眼疾手快的副将堪堪将它接住,调转一面,捧到她面前​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

他似是未及休整,衣衫边角仍有薄灰,低垂着头,右臂行动时,颇有些不自在,虎口生了厚茧,若不是行色狼狈,倒颇有一副良将风范​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“多谢,”她低声,将那暖玉拾走,走出几步,却倏尔有些疑惑地,复又扭头​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

一面是“三”,一面是“辽”,所谓正反,又有几人,当真说得清楚?

“等等——!”

她出声,叫住那青年,而他顿住脚步,不曾回头​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑放缓了声音,竭力露出个笑来,以免那沤红的眼圈,泄露半点无从说起的心照不宣​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

她只是问:“谢家那位将军,见了我的家书,可曾发自心底地,感到过一丝开心?”

旁的几位将领面面相觑,在寂静沉默之中,这青年缓缓攥住了拳​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“那是个不该出生,却偏偏因为……确曾有过的心动,故而,一定会平安来到世上的孩子,谢将军,一定,必当是开心的​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

“那么,他当真死在那战场之上,不再回来了吗?”

她那“不再”说出口,咬字那样重,几近舌齿相触,沁出腥味​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。而青年背对着她,许久后,轻轻点头​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑却当真在这仿佛诀别的时刻,蓦地笑了​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

你想要的,从小到大,我虽都骄傲自怯,却没什么不会给你的​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

但这次,原是我给不起了,阿辽​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

同年夏末,周后病逝,周家军兵心大溃,谢老夫人,亦因嫡孙之死,心力交瘁,猝死梦中,谢、周二家联手,揭竿而反,一路攻城略地,曾誓死保卫熹真的宋家,竟也不曾阻拦​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。独剩季家孤掌难鸣,满门战死​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

翌年开春,东熹真易主,谢、周两军自相残杀,王室向西溃逃,投奔昔日熹真旧土​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。后,谢氏自立为王,改元天立​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。当是时,天立、长恒、大齐、熹真四国并立,异族月赤势力大溃,而谢氏天立独大​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。史称,拱月之治​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

在那乱世图存、新朝方立的当口,昔日名冠一时的富贾李家,却似乎踩准了这变天诡局,不知所终,得以保全​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

李阿笑离京之前,唯独见过的一个谢家人,是早已疯疯癫癫的谢云雪​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。昔日艳绝京城的美人,如今分明已是身居高位的长公主,却不着粉黛,从不离身的白猫儿,亦瘦骨嶙峋​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

谢云雪抚过阿笑早已隆起的肚子,笑中却有泪,她喃喃着,似是胡言乱语:“谢家的人都疯了,他们捂死了老夫人,造了那样一个可笑的借口来谋反​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。李阿笑,你瞧,我早说了,连谢平辽也是一个疯子​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。他们打小教他一定要振兴谢家,哪怕用这样肮脏低劣的手段,你的万贯家财也好,我与天子的一生倾慕也罢……疯子,谢家九代英豪,李阿笑,我不明白,究竟是谁把我们谢家逼成了一众疯子?不对,你也是疯子——我那样提醒过你,你仍装作视而不见,你又何尝不是……”

李阿笑不曾反驳她,也不对这一晌贪欢,再谈及任何​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

恍惚中,她却也只是想着,过去初见,自己借酒逞能,偷亲了那顶顶好看的男孩儿,那时他酡红了脸颊,又口口声声喊着的“小媳妇儿”,究竟有几分是真,几分是假?

至少,谢云雪告诉她,为了笼络宋家,谢平辽来日便将与宋安凉成婚,用的是旁的身份,活的是旁人的人生​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。也因着这样,终此一生,谢家祠堂,能长伴着“谢平辽”这名姓的,也只有“李阿笑”​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

是保护,又或是牺牲,请君入瓮,似乎也不再那么重要​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

许多年后,有人推开李府蒙尘的房间​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。轻车熟路,仿佛曾来过许多遍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

在那位不知所终的谢三夫人昔日的闺房中,有人遗落一封家书,字迹潦草,时日一长,更难辨认​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

但末尾两句,倒是情真意切​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

“半生荣辱,皆因遇汝​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。

——喜不自胜,幸曾逢卿​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍​​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍​‍‌‍‌‍‌‍​。”

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