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This person was Zhou Xiangqian.
Zhou Xiangqian didn’t deliberatly follow Xu Zhao. As he was watching the movie, he suddenly noticed that Xu Zhao was missing, so he curiously left the village committee’s courtyard to take a look and settle things at the same time. He never expected to see Xu Zhao holding a man’s hand.
And hugging as well.
It turned out that Xu Zhao had someone he liked… Zhou Xiangqian was extremely sad. At this time, he used the headlights of a passing truck to clearly see the face of the man in front of him. An image suddenly flashed through his mind. This image was from two to three months ago. It was a scene of the man in front of him helping Xu Zhao with his collar. At that time, he felt that this man was extremely familiar, but he couldn’t remember where. Accompanying this image was another scene, and that scene seemed to be from…four years ago.
Correct. Four years ago!
He suddenly remembered! He knew he had seen the man in front of him before. Yes, it was four years ago. It was at the Jianshe Hotel beside the Provincial Agricultural School. Qi Shuai had borrowed his book the day before and still hadn’t returned it. After asking his classmate, he learned that Qi Shuai had gone to Jianshe Hotel to book a hotel room with his little boyfriend. So he planned on going to Jianshe Hotel to wait.
Before he had even arrived at Jianshe Hotel, he saw Xu Zhao leaving Jianshe Hotel with a horrible complexion. He looked shocked and wasn’t walking weirdly as well. At that time, he thought Qi Shuai had slept with Xu Zhao. He felt very unhappy, but couldn’t do anything about it since Xu Zhao really liked Qi Shuai back then. He unhappily waited for Qi Shuai at the entrance of Jianshe Hotel.
He waited for almost an hour and still hadn’t seen Qi Shuai. Instead, another man appeared before him. The reason he still remembered this man was because he was extremely handsome. Back then, the man even asked him if he had seen a skinny man leave. He had replied that he hadn’t seen anyone, so this man disheartenedly left.
He then waited until Qi Shuai came out, got his book, and left. He and Qi Shuai weren’t close. It seemed Xu Zhao and Qi Shuai weren’t close either. He had always thought that Xu Fan was Qi Shuai’s son, but Xu Zhao kept denying any connection with Qi Shuai.
However, the people of the village said that Xu Zhao was pregnant with Xu Fan while he was in school. Not a single person knew whose child Xu Fan was. Perhaps Xu Zhao had never slept with Qi Shuai and had slept with the man in front of him instead… Zhou Xiangqian coudln’t help but lift his gaze to Xu Zhao. The truck had already started moving at this time. Before Xu Zhao could discover him, he left first and returned to the village committee’s courtyard.
Sitting back in his seat, he was able to see Xu Fan sitting in Father Xu’s arms. He stared intently at Xu Fan’s small meaty face. This child looked very much like Xu Zhao. He couldn’t find traces of another man.
Zhou Xiangqian was discouraged for a while, but his curiosity urged him to find an answer. He secretly decided that he would go look for Qi Shuai when he had time to question him. Perhaps he’d discover what actually happened.
He heard that Qi Shuai was doing well now. It was also the perfect time to set up a class reunion to see everyone again. Thinking this, his gaze involuntarily turned to Xu Fan’s position. Xu Zhao had also returned at this time.
And so, Zhou Xiangqian continued to look at Xu Zhao like this.
Of course, Xu Zhao wasn’t aware of this. His thoughts were filled with Cui Dingchen. He watched the movie in front of him while he held fruits in his hands. Xu Fan, who he thought was focusing on watching the movie and wouldn’t notice the item in his hand, stretched his little head over when he sat down. His milky voice asked, “Daddy, what are you holding?”
Xu Zhao looked at Xu Fan speechlessly.
Xu Fan had already stretched out his little hand to grab the bag and said, “Daddy, let me see. Let me see.”
Xu Zhao could only whisper, “It’s food. You can’t see. There’s so many people here. If they see what’s inside, they’ll try to steal it and you won’t be able to eat any.”
“I won’t be able to eat,” Xu Fan repeated.
“That’s right.” Xu Zhao nodded.
“T-t-then hid it.”
“Okay,” Xu Zhao smiled and replied.
And so, he held the fruits and pig trotters that Cui Dingchen had specially given him. Once the movie finished and as the Xu and Li families were returning home, Xu Zhao gave bananas and two pig trotters to Da Zhuang’s family.
Xu Fan hadn’t fallen asleep yet and watched as his family’s things were taken by someone else. His little milky voice called out, “D-don’t give. I-I haven’t eaten yet. I haven’t even eaten yet.”
The two families instantly burst out in laughter.
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “We still have more. There’s more.”
Da Zhuang’s grandma returned more than half of the bananas, but Xu Zhao’s family didn’t accept it. When they carried Xu Fan home, it was almost ten o’clock. Xu Fan kept nagging that he wanted to eat pig trotters and bananas.
“You can’t eat them,” Mother Xu said.
“I can,” Xu Fan stomped his little feet and said.
Mother Xu said, “You can easily get sick if you eat so late.”
Xu Fan explained, “I-I won’t get sick.”
Resolved in not letting Xu Fan eat anything, Mother Xu ignored Xu Fan and turned to Xu Zhao, “Xu Zhao, where did you get the fruits and pig trotters from?”
Xu Zhao casually replied, “Youngest uncle gave them to me.”
“The Cui family’s youngest uncle?” Mother Xu asked in shock.
“Mm.” Xu Zhao felt a bit guilty as he nodded.
“When did he come?” Mother Xu asked.
Xu Zhao replied, “While we were watching the movie.”
Mother Xu thought it over and continued to ask with suspicion, “Why did he come over in the middle of the night?”
Xu Zhao hurriedly explained, “Uh, um, he was running errands in the car and just so happened to pass through here, so he came down to see us. He also gave us fruits and pig trotters.”
After Mother Xu heard this, she didn’t think much else of it. She then put the fruits and pig trotters in a bamboo basket and hung it on the beans of the east wing so that it wouldn’t be eaten by the rats, cats, or something else. She then urged Xu Zhao and Xu Fan to quickly go wash up and sleep. Xu Fan nagged that he didn’t want to sleep, so he continued grumbling behind Xu Zhao.
Xu Fan grumbled, “Daddy, I want to eat bananas.”
Xu Fan grumbled again, “Daddy, I want to eat pig trotters.”
Xu Fan muttered again, “Daddy, Daddy.”
This continued until after Xu Zhao finished washing up, returned to the west wing, and sat on the bed. Even then, Xu Fan was still talking about the bananas and pig trotters. Xu Zhao said, “Go pester your grandparents.”
Xu Fan was very unhappy as he said, “G-Grandma closed the door and won’t let me in.”
“…” What a good idea.
“Daddy.” Xu Fan pressed himself against Xu Zhao’s body and grumbled into Xu Zhao’s chest. He was like a little piglet, his body carrying a faint scent of fresh milk.
Xu Zhao could never get annoyed with Xu Fan. He smiled and asked, “What is it?”
Xu Fan said, “Daddy, I want to eat pig trotters.”
Xu Zhao said, “You can eat it tomorrow.”
“No, I don’t want to wait till tomorrow. I want to eat it now.”
“It’s easy to get sick if you eat it now. Daddy will make you half a bottle of milk.”
“I don’t want milk. I want pig trotters.”
“Mn.” Xu Zhao hugged Xu Fan and asked, “Let Daddy ask you, do you want to eat pig trotters or drink milk while listening to a story?”
“I-I want to eat pig trotters and listen to a story.”
“You can’t. You can only listen to a story while drinking milk.”
“Because pig trotters will make your hands dirty. I’ll have to get up to wash your hands later. It’s very troublesome.”
“I-I-I’ll sleep without washing hands.”
“Then you can sleep by yourself.”
In the end, Xu Fan chose to drink milk while listening to a story. He then happily lay in Xu Zhao’s arms and slept until dawn. After dawn, Xu Zhao and Mother Xu were in the kitchen cooking when Da Zhuang’s mother carried Da Ni’Er over for a visit to thank Xu Zhao for giving them so many bananas. She then asked, “Xu Zhao, what’s the Cui family’s youngest uncle’s name?”
Xu Zhao replied, “Cui Dingchen.”
Da Zhuang’s mother smiled and asked, “How old is he?”
Xu Zhao replied again, “He’s almost 29.”
Da Zhuang’s mother continued to say, “Oh, so he’s five or six years older than you.”
Xu Zhao couldn’t help but raise his gaze to Da Zhuang’s mother. He suddenly understood that Da Zhuang’s mother must have seen something last night, so she purposefully “interrogated” him in front of Mother Xu. Xu Zhao was afraid of Mother Xu finding out, so he purposefully pulled Da Zhuang’s mother to one side and stammered, “Sister Li, did you see something last night?”
Da Zhuang’s mother didn’t beat around the bush and said, “I saw.”
Xu Zhao’s face instantly flushed as he said, “Don’t tell me mom.”
Da Zhuang’s mother asked, “Why not?”
Xu Zhao said embarrassedly, “Nothing is certain yet.”
Da Zhuang’s mother whispered, “Okay, I won’t tell her. Since you admitted it to me, I’ll also tell you the truth. Your brother and I were talking last night. This Cui Dingchen isn’t too young, is capable, and is also a city-dweller. He’s good in every way. You have to be careful. Don’t be tricked by him, got it?”
Xu Zhao was a bit moved and nodded, “I got it.”
“You’re still young. Besides the matter of having Sanwa, there are still many matters of the world that you don’t understand. If you encounter anything you don’t understand, don’t hold back and discuss it with us. Got it?”
“I got it.”
Da Zhuang’s mother smiled and said, “All right, then. Go with the flow. There’s no rush.”
Xu Zhao smiled and nodded.
Da Zhuang’s mother didn’t say more. She held Da Ni’Er as she turned the topic of daily life. “Where’s Sanwa? He isn’t awake yet?”
“Mn, he’s still sleeping.”
As soon as Xu Zhao’s words fell, a dazed small milky voice came from the door of the main hall.
“Daddy, I want to pee.”
Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s mother turned their heads to look over. They also saw Xu Fan’s bare red little chubby feet as well. He was only a small red dudou.
Thesmall red dudou was made by Mother Xu last summer for Xu Fan to wear to sleep during the summer. This was so that he wouldn’t get a cold belly and get sick. Back then, there wasn’t enough fabric, so she had made it a bit smaller. And when Xu Fan wore it, it only covered Xu Fan’s bulging little belly. His meaty little arms and legs were exposed, and even his little peepee wasn’t covered.
Xu Zhao started sweating.
Da Zhuang’s mother directly laughed and teased, “Oh, my. Who is this that’s going around naked so early in the morning? Aren’t you ashamed? Not ashamed? You’re not wearing any clothes, so I saw it all.”
Xu Fan was originally staring in a daze, but when he heard Da Zhuang’s mother ask if he was ashamed, he immediately shyly covered his little peepee with one hand and said, “You can’t see.” He then padded his short little legs, turning as he ran toward the west wing. And so, Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s mother witnessed Xu Fan’s plump little booty tremble twice.
I-It really was interesting.
Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s mother spoke a couple more sentences to each other before entering the west wing. They saw Xu Fan sitting on the bed, muttering as he put on clothes. His pants were backwards, and his short-sleeve was only on one arm. Seeing Xu Zhao, he said, “Daddy, I-I can’t put it on. I’m so tired.”