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Hearing Cui Dingchen say those words so seriously, Xu Zhao’s temple throbbed a couple times. H-how could this person say something so out of character? Xu Zhao was stunned and couldn’t speak. He looked around, and after not seeing anyone, he could only lean in again and quickly kiss Cui Dingchen’s face before asking, “Can we go now?”
Cui Dingchen smiled and nodded. “Mn.”
Xu Zhao smiled with a huge blush on his face. Walking next to Cui Dingchen, he held the umbrella as he quietly asked Cui Dingchen about the vegetable delivery. Cui Dingchen also quietly replied. They returned to the courtyard not long later and immediately saw Xu Fan, who was leaning against the kitchen door frame and lifted his small face to watch the snow. Xu Fan also saw Xu Zhao and his watery eyes brightened.
Xu Fan ran to Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao closed the umbrella and hugged the chubby Xu Fan.
Xu Fan wrapped an arm around Xu Zhao’s neck and used his other hand to point at the snowflakes. He excitedly said, “Daddy, look. It’s snowing. The sky is snowing.”
“I saw. You told me many times already,” Xu Zhao replied with a smile.
“Snow lots.” Meaning that it was snowing a lot.
“Mn. You didn’t go out in the snow?”
“No. I listen so I don’t get sick.”
“That’s right! You’re amazing.”
Xu Fan happily repeated, “I’m amazing.”
After Xu Zhao finished speaking, he turned to Cui Dingchen, who was beside them.
Xu Fan followed his gaze to Cui Dingchen and saw Cui Dingchen parking the bicycle. He immediately raised his little arms and opened his mouth without warning, “Second Grandpa Cui, lift high.”
Xu Zhao: “…”
Cui Dingchen: “…”
Cui Dingchen wanted to be close to Xu Fan, so he didn’t refuse Xu Fan. He took Xu Fan from Xu Zhao’s arms and lifted Xu Fan so that he almost reached the top of the door frame. Xu Fan wasn’t afraid and giggled nonstop. He didn’t think it was tiring and he wouldn’t get bored either. Xu Fan was still laughing when lunchtime came.
Xu Zhao couldn’t watch any long and said, “Xu Fan, he won’t lift you anymore.”
Xu Fan persisted, “Lift.”
“Are you not going to eat?”
“I’m gonna eat.”
“You need to come down if you want to eat.”
“L-lift a little longer.”
Xu Fan tried to bargain with Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao strongly disagreed.
Cui Dingchen looked at Xu Zhao with a faint smile.
Xu Zhao was gentle as he ruthlessly said, “Then you don’t have to eat.”
Xu Fan shouted, “I-I’m eating!”
It was only then that Xu Fan stopped pestering Cui Dingchen to lift him. He padded his short legs as he chased Xu Zhao to go eat and finally let Cui Dingchen eat in peace with Xu Zhao and the rest of the family.
It was still snowing after lunch. The snow was falling heavier, and it looked like it wouldn’t stop until late in the evening.
Xu Zhao was afraid that all the snow would crush the greenhouse vegetables, so while the sky wasn’t dark yet, he grabbed the large broom and other related tools and called Da Zhuang’s father to head to the greenhouses to remove the snow. Of course, we couldn’t forget Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen went with them to remove the snow, and they worked into the night. The sky was dark and the roads were slippery, Xu Zhao and Mother Xu were worried about Cui Dingchen returning to the county town. They insisted on having Cui Dingchen stay the night at the Xu family.
Mother Xu said very enthusiastically, “You can just sleep in Xu Zhao’s west wing room.”
Hearing this, Cui Dingchen looked at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao looked at Mother Xu.
It was only then that Mother Xu realized that although Cui Dingchen was considered from an older generation, he wasn’t that much older than Xu Zhao. Moreover, they were both young and full of vigor. It wouldn’t be good if they slept together. She immediately told Cui Dingchen to sleep in the west wing room while Xu Zhao, Xu Fan, and Father Xu would sleep in the east wing room. She would go to Da Zhuang’s house and squeeze in with Da Zhuang’s grandma and Da Zhuang.
How troublesome. Cui Dingchen didn’t want to disturb the Xu family, but the Xu family was very efficient and with a blink of the eye, Mother Xu moved from the east wing room. Cui Dingchen could only sit on Xu Zhao’s bed. Just as he sat down, Xu Zhao brought two basins of hot water in so that Cui Dingchen could wash up before staying the night there.
Cui Dingchen nodded and gave his thanks.
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Youngest uncle, make sure to sleep early. I’m heading to bed too.”
“Wait a second.”
Cui Dingchen reached out and took Xu Zhao’s hand. His clear eyes were full of warmth as he gently said, “Thank you for bringing me water.”
Xu Zhao said, “It’s nothing. Don’t be so polite.”
“Wash up and go to sleep. I’ll leave now.”
Cui Dingchen suddenly said, “Give me a kiss before you leave.”
Another kiss? Xu Zhao was stunned.
Cui Dingchen said, “Or should I give you a kiss?”
He was even trying that? Xu Zhao was even more stunned.
Seeing that Xu Zhao didn’t refuse, Cui Dingchen smiled and wrapped his arm around Xu Zhao’s waist and kissed him on the mouth. He wanted to deepen the kiss, but they were at the Xu residence. They couldn’t act too unbridled. After the shallow kiss, he reluctantly released Xu Zhao. Xu Zhao quickly returned to the east wing room. His heart was thumping very loudly as he drilled into the covers. He hugged Xu Fan and asked, “Xu Fan, do you want to pee?”
Xu Fan immediately refused, “I don’t want to pee.”
“You really don’t need to pee? I remember you drinking a lot of soup tonight.”
“I didn’t drink a lot. I-I didn’t drink till I was full.”
Xu Zhao was pressured and asked, “You didn’t drink your fill tonight?”
Xu Fan was wrapped in the covers as he asked, “Mn. G-Grandma said that Baobao can’t eat or drink too much at n-night or I’ll wet the bed!”
Xu Zhao believed Xu Fan’s words. As a result, while Xu Zhao was in deep sleep later that night, Xu Fan reached out his small, meaty hand to pat Xu Zhao’s face. His eyes were closed as he grumbled. “Daddy, Daddy. I need to pee. Daddy…”
Xu Zhao was woken up by Xu Fan’s small, meaty hand patting him. He turned on the flashlight that was at the end of the bed, put a coat on Xu Fan, fished him from the blankets, and had him pee in the urine bucket. Afterwards, he quickly stuffed Xu Fan back into the blankets. Just as he was about to follow Xu Fan, he suddenly heard something. The sound seemed to have come from the courtyard’s back door.
Who was it?
Xu Zhao hurriedly walked out of the main hall with the flashlight in hand and saw Cui Dingchen, who was covered in snow.
Xu Zhao shouted out in surprise. He shifted the flashlight somewhere else so that Cui Dingchen could see Xu Zhao’s face.
Cui Dingchen opened his mouth and asked, “Why are you up already?”
Xu Zhao answered, “Because Xu Fan needed to use the bathroom.”
“Let’s get inside the room,” Cui Dingchen walked over and said.
Xu Zhao asked suspiciously, “Youngest uncle, where did you go in the middle of the night?”
“To remove the snow.”
“Remove the snow?” Xu Zhao realized that it was snowing again, but the amount of snow wasn’t that large. It wouldn’t affect the big greenhouse vegetables.
“Mn. I was afraid that it might snow hard again in the morning. I’ll be able to sleep with ease if I remove the snow now. Go on, it’s too cold outside. Go back and sleep.” Cui Dingchen patted the snow from his body. Grabbing Xu Zhao’s shoulders, he turned Xu Zhao toward the main hall.
Xu Zhao obediently followed Cui Dingchen into the main hall and said, “Thank you, Youngest uncle.”
Cui Dingchen reached out and pulled Xu Zhao’s coat tighter around him to cover his neck, then said, “Alright, it’s too cold outside. Go back and sleep.”
“Mn. Youngest uncle, you should sleep too.”
Xu Zhao turned and walked toward the east wing room. After taking two steps, he turned back to look at Cui Dingchen. However, Cui Dingchen had already returned to the west wing room. There was a small splatter of snowflakes at the west wing room door. They must have been tracked in from Cui Dingchen’s feet, which showed that Cui Dingchen was removing the snow for a while.
Xu Zhao turned to enter the east wing room. Laying on the bed, he thought of Cui Dingchen’s entire body covered in white snow. There was a sense of stability in his heart. He wanted to turn his head and tell Father Xu about him and Cui Dingchen, but Father Xu was currently asleep, snoring.
Xu Zhao could only give up. He closed his eyes and fell asleep as well.
The snow stopped early the next morning. A thick layer of snow fell on the greenhouse, but the thick snow didn’t damage the greenhouse thanks to Cui Dingchen. Xu Zhao, Da Zhuang’s father and the others thanked him over and over again.
Up next, Xu Zhao, Cui Dingchen, Da Zhuang’s father and the others tried to overcome the difficulties of the slippery and muddy roads. They were determined to deliver vegetables to the county town all the way up till the Minor Spring Festival.
During the Minor Spring Festival, the migrant workers all returned to South Bay Village, Jiang Ping County, and West Prefecture City. Regardless of a ton or a little, they would at least have some savings for the sake of a family reunion and welcome a prosperous new year. It didn’t matter if it was West Prefecture City or Jiang Ping County, every place was buying nonstop.
Following that was the increase in price of New Year goods, clothing, gifts, and meat…Xu Zhao’s unique greenhouse vegetables naturally increased in price in the market as well.
The price increase didn’t affect the sale of the greenhouse vegetables. Instead, because of the return of the migrant workers and the approaching New Year, the sale of greenhouse vegetables increased. In the past, Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen would ride the bicycle to deliver the greenhouse vegetables to the county town, but now, they used ox carts and tractors.
In order to keep up with recent sales, Xu Zhao started recruiting temporary workers from the village, all according to the original plan. The salary was paid daily. As soon as this news was released, all the villagers in South Bay Village flocked to Xu Zhao, expressing their willingness to work as temporary workers.
However, Xu Zhao didn’t personally choose himself but handed this heavy responsibility to the village secretary. Firstly, the village secretary had a comprehensive understanding of the villagers. Secondly, Xu Zhao didn’t have time to choose. And lastly, Xu Zhao didn’t want to offend anyone.
Fact proved that Xu Zhao was smart in doing this. The temporary workers selected by the village secret were skilled at harvesting vegetables and hard workers. Every day, they were able to collect enough vegetables to fill the ox carts and tractors to be delivered to the county town and other places.
Before being transported to the county town and other places, Xu Zhao deliberatly placed a paper sign on each ox cart and tractor in order to better promote the greenhouse vegetables. The paper sign naturally said—Jiang Ping County, South Bay Village, Zhaoyang Agricultural Ecology Limited. After placing all those signs, he really saw some effects.
More and more people were aware of Zhaoyang Agricultural Ecology Limited. They even knew Xu Zhao. They were very curious on how the greenhouse vegetables were grown and couldn’t help admiring Xu Zhao. From time to time, someone would even directly praise Xu Zhao’s abilities.
However, Xu Zhao didn’t know about this. The critical time to market his greenhouse vegetables was between the Minor Spring Festival and the New Year. Therefore, he had been so busy running around these days that his feet didn’t even touch the ground. Of course, money came in like flowing water, which made him very happy.
Mother and Father Xu especially. After seeing the carts of vegetables as well as their own son, they were extremely happy. The two elders loved hearing about Xu Zhao. If they didn’t insist on helping collect the vegetables, one would watch Xu Fan while the other did the housework and cooking. They were determined not to drag Xu Zhao down.
Xu Zhao didn’t have any worries and focused on collecting the money from the vegetables. At this time, they had harvested yet another ox cart full of vegetables. He, along with Cui Dingchen and Da Zhuang’s father came out from the big greenhouse. While discussing the matter of greenhouse number five, they caught sight of Xu Fan rushing their way.
“Xu Zhao, Xu Zhao!” Mother Xu called.
Xu Zhao greeted her and asked curiously, “Mom, what’s wrong?”
Mother Xu’s expression didn’t look good as she said, “There’s a visitor for you at home.”
Xu Zhao asked in amazement, “Who is it?”