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Who taught him words?
Xu Zhao reflected on himself. He hadn’t recently taught Xu Fan the word “gentle” and they didn’t explain the words on the ration. However, this wasn’t the first time Xu Fan said surprising words, and so Xu Zhao came to this result, “Perhaps he ‘concluded’ this word himself?”
Cui Dingchen was surprised and asked, “He ‘concluded’ this word himself?”
Xu Zhao nodded. “He listens to stories on the radio everyday. Maybe he unconsciously remembered the word and accidently used it correctly. Most of the time, he’ll use the words incorrectly.”
Cui Dingchen turned to look at the chubby Xu Fan.
Xu Fan was still leaning into Xu Zhao’s embrace, playing with the flashlight, and completely ignored Cui Dingchen. Cui Dingchen still didn’t know how to “pentally” communicate with the child. He’d have to ask Mother Cui when he went back, then learn how to communicate with Xu Fan.
And so he pulled his thoughts and gaze from Xu Fan and turned to Xu Zhao. They couldn’t talk about love anymore, so the topic turned to the greenhouse vegetables. He said, “The vegetables have grown. What are you going to do next?”
Xu Fan put his arms around Xu Fan, who was stirring in his embrace, and said, “Weed, fertilize, and after those are done, the first batch of Chinese cabbage can be sold.”
Cui Dingchen asked, “Are you going to be really busy soon?”
Xu Zhao nodded. “Mn. I’ll probably be busy until the new year.”
Cui Dingchen thought for a moment then said, “Okay, I’ll help you.”
Xu Zhao quickly said, “No need. I’ve recruited five people. If I get too busy, I’ll hire temporary workers from the village. Their salary will be calculated on how many days they work.”
“Since that’s the case,” Cui Dingchen smiled and said, “Can’t you hire me? I’m very cheap, free even.”
Xu Zhao was startled and said, “You’re not busy?”
Cui Dingchen smiled and said, “Mn, I’m not busy this year. I started a new route last year, so it was busy for over a year and I had to go with the car for three to four months. Things are steady now, so I can take this year off. I’ll take a rest and celebrate the new year.
Cui Dingchen finally didn’t have to run here and there all the time. Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Then take a good rest at home. If it gets busier than I can handle, then I’ll ask you for help.”
Cui Dingchen smiled and nodded. “Okay.”
However, early the next morning, Cui Dingchen rode his bicycle to Xu Zhao’s place and diligently helped Xu Zhao weed and fertilize. Everything he did was very exceptional. He even helped Xu Zhao deliver vegetables. Of the daily three meals, he would have at least one meal at Xu Zhao’s house. Sometimes, he would have two meals there before heading back to the county town in the evening.
Cui Dingchen’s series of actions confused Mother Xu greatly, so she asked, “Xu Zhao, why does the Cui family’s youngest uncle come everyday? Isn’t he busy? Does he want to cooperate with you?”
Since the vegetable greenhouse was built, Mother Xu learned the word “cooperate.” However, Cui Dingchen didn’t want to cooperate, he just wanted to see Xu Zhao every single day. Xu Zhao was a bit uncomfortable as he said, “He doesn’t.”
“Then what does he want?”
“He’s just…just helping me.”
Mother Xu was a bit suspicious. Did the Cui family’s youngest uncle take a fancy to her son? Impossible, right? It must be because Cui Qingfeng and Father Cui both work for Xu Zhao, so the Cuik family’s youngest uncle also came to help.
This was how Mother Xu thought, but Xu Zhao didn’t know anything about it. His head was currently lowered, helping Xu Fan peel an egg. He wasn’t paying attention, and instead, said to Xu Fan, “When you eat the egg later, eat it in small bites.”
Xu Fan sat on the stool, staring at the egg as he said, “I want to eat in big bites.”
“You eat. You can choke if you take big bites,” Xu Zhao gently said.
“T-then small bites,” Xu Fan said as he waved his short legs.
Xu Zhao hadn’t finished peeling the egg yet when the phone in his office rang. He had Xu Fan peel the egg himself while he answered the phone. The call was from Sister Yun wanting to order some vegetables for the steel factory and her house as well. Xu Zhao put down the phone and entered the room to see Xu Fan peeling the egg like a chick. It was hard to watch.
“Xu Fan,” Xu Zhao called.
Xu Fan’s small meaty hands pinched the egg in his hands. He had a healing face on his small meaty face. “Daddy, look, I peeled it. I peeled the egg myself.”
Xu Zhao closed his eyes and let out a breath of air. “You peeled it very well! Xu Fan, you’re amazing!”
Xu Fan was happy from being praised and happily said, “Daddy, I’ll eat in small bites.”
“Okay, small bites.”
After Xu Zhao replied, he quickly ate and got ready to deliver vegetables.
At this moment, Cui Dingchen arrived. Seeing the half full bowl of porridge on the small table, he said, “Continue eating. I’ll deliver the vegetables.”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “It’s fine, I can deliver it.”
Cui Dingchen said, “Continue eating. I’ll do it.”
Xu Zhao couldn’t persuade Cui Dingchen, so he watched as Cui Dingchen rode his bike to help deliver the vegetables. Cui Dingchen skillfully delivered the vegetables. In addition to helping Xu Zhao weed, fertilize, build a vegetable rack, harvest vegetables, he was now also helping with deliveries as well. It had to be said that Cui Dingchen was all-powerful. Besides encountering the wall that was Xu Fan, he was praised by everyone.
The reason he ran into a wall with Xu Fan could be because of Cui Dingchen’s appearance. It wasn’t because he looked back, but because he was too handsome and cold. He was completely different from Xu Zhao’s gentle and warm handsomeness. This gave others a sense of distance.
Therefore, Xu Fan didn’t wouldn’t take the initiative to let Cui Dingchen hug him. Cui Dingchen wasn’t in a rush. They could take their time. And so, he didn’t deliberatly try to curry favor with Xu Fan. Instead, it was Xu Fan who ran over to tug Cui Dingchen’s sleeve and asked, “Second Grandpa Cui, will you l-life me h-high? My d-daddy said you will.”
Cui Dingchen glanced at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao said, “I casually said it yesterday, but he remembered.” In fact, he merely mentioned it while playing with Xu Fan last night. Who knew that Xu Fan would remember what he’d said.
Cui Dingchen looked down to Xu Fan and said with a smile, “I can. Do you want to be lifted up high?”
Xu Fan’s eyes lit up as he nodded.
Cui Dingchen picked up Xu Fan and lifted him in the air but didn’t throw him. Some adults threw their kids in the air when lifting them up, but that was too dangerous. Cui Dingchen didn’t do that. He was tall and his arms long. Even being lifted a bit, Xu Fan felt like he was flying in the air. He shouted out his happiness.
“Daddy! Daddy! I-I’m flying!” Xu Fan’s crisp giggles sounded nonstop, sounding particularly good.
Xu Zhao also laughed with him.
After that moment, whenever Xu Fan saw Cui Dingchen, he would say, “Second Grandpa Cui, I want to go up.” If Cui Dingchen had time, he would lift Xu Fan up. He got a lot closer to Xu Fan in this way. However, Cui Dingchen was busy most of the time.
Besides being busy with his own work, there was also Xu Zhao’s work.
Closer to the Minor Spring Festival, Xu Zhao had more than eight mus of ripe vegetables. Every day, Xu Zhao contacted customers, planned sales, and made arrangements to harvest vegetables. Besides helping harvest vegetables, Cui Dingchen would also sometimes take the bicycle to deliver vegetables. Along the way, he would deliver some to the county town’s vegetable market stall for Cui Qingfeng to sell.
Xu Zhao arranged the harvesting and storing. He was currently inside the big greenhouse directing others. Large snowflakes fluttered in the wide sky.
Xu Fan, Da Zhuang’s father, and the others exclaimed. The villagers and the others were looking forward to the snow because the right amount of snow on crops could kill insects and keep the crops warm. It would also provide the crops with plenty of water. This was the exact meaning of “timely snow will bring a bumper year.” With this timely snow, next year’s harvest would not be lacking.
Xu Zhao also liked the snow. He watched the snowflakes fall to the ground one by one. Not long later, a layer of snow had already formed on the ground. Xu Fan happily stood on the snowy ground. Mother Xu pulled Xu Fan into the room to avoid the snow. It just so happened to be mealtime as well. Smoke rose in South Bay Village. Everyone returned to their own homes to eat. Every family was either quietly cooking or making noise.
Xu Zhao was also free at this time and suddenly remembered that Cui Dingchen was delivering vegetables and hadn’t returned yet. Besides needing to deliver to the county town today, they also needed to deliver to the steel factory and four restaurants. They weren’t far apart from each other, but the snow was falling harder and harder… Cui Dingchen wouldn’t come back in this snow, right? Xu Zhao quickly went into the office to first call Cui Dingchen’s house.
No one answered.
And so, he called the Cui residence next. Mother Cui said that she didn’t see Cui Dingchen. Xu Zhao was very worried. He quickly grabbed the large black umbrella and let Mother Xu know before walking to the entrance of South Bay Village and glancing toward the county town.
The snow had been falling for a while already and it covered the ground. It made a crunch sound when stepped on. Moreover, it was still snowing. He couldn’t see Cui Dingchen anywhere. And so, Xu Zhao carried the umbrella and walked toward the county town for a bit. He searched while he walked.
In the vast snowy field, he finally saw a black spot. The black spot got bigger and bigger, and he was finally able to see someone’s figure. Xu Zhao recognized Cui Dingchen, who was riding the bike through all the snow. Xu Zhao didn’t walk forward anymore and stayed there watching Cui Dingchen like this. He saw the snow on his hair and clothes. He was a bit moved as well as distressed.
He suddenly remembered a sentence he’d seen from the twenty-first century. It was a very simple sentence—he became more similar to the person I was waiting for.
That was correct. It was that sentence. He didn’t understand it before, but he did now. The person he was waiting for was actually someone like him…Unrestrained happiness bursted from the depths of his heart.
“Xu Zhao,” Cui Dingchen called while still on the bicycle. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you cold?”
Xu Zhao held the umbrella and rushed forward.
Cui Dingchen got off the bicycle.
Xu Zhao immediately lifted the umbrella higher to cover Cui Dingchen’s head. He reached out to pat the snow off of Cui Dingchen’s body and said, “I’m not cold. Are you cold?”
Cui Dingchen replied, “No.”
“Why did you come back when it’s snowing so hard? You should have just stayed in the county town. Look, your body is covered in snow. You’ll get sick,” Xu Zhao nagged as he patted the snow from Cui Dingchen’s body.
The corner of Cui Dingchen’s lips curled up as he listened. His heart felt like it was filled with honey. It was so sweet. He was very happy seeing Xu Zhao worry like this about him. He couldn’t help but place a kiss on Xu Zhao’s face and said, “I won’t. My body is very healthy.”
Xu Zhao was used to Cui Dingchen kissing him. He wouldn’t freeze and blush like before. He felt a bit shy, but at the same time, he was also very happy. After being kissed by Cui Dingchen, he stared at him. Holding the umbrella with one hand, he held onto Cui Dingchen’s arm with the other. He slightly went on the tip of his feet and returned the kiss to the corner of Cui Dingchen’s lips.
Cui Dingchen froze in place.
T-this was the first time Xu Zhao kissed him.
After Xu Zhao finished his kiss, he said, “Let’s go home.”
Cui Dingchen stood in place without moving.
Xu Zhao said, “Let’s go.”
Cui Dingchen was dazed for a long time before saying, “I can’t move. Give me another kiss.”
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