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Xu Zhao really was busy on the sixth day of the new year. He had already made an appointment to go to the movies with Cui Dingchen. He didn’t want to miss the date. As for the class reunion with Zhou Xiangqian, thinking about it carefully, it didn’t matter if he went or not. There weren’t any classmates that he wanted to see, so he politely rejected Zhou Xiangqian.
However, Zhou Xiangqian didn’t give up easily and asked, “Would it work if we change it to the fifth?”
Xu Zhao apologized.
Zhou Xiangqian paused for a few seconds, then said, “It’s been four to five years already. Don’t you want to see Qi Shuai? He returned on the thirtieth, so he can come to the gathering on the sixth.”
He mentioned Qi Shuai again!
Xu Zhao wasn’t the original Xu Zhao. He didn’t have even the slightest good impression toward Qi Shuai, and he didn’t want to waddle in muddy waters to play with some old love, so he directly said, “I don’t want to see him.”
Who knew that Zhou Xiangqian still wouldn’t give up and asked, “Is it because of Cui Dingchen?”
Xu Zhao was suddenly puzzled and asked, “How do you know about Cui Dingchen?”
“Because of what? Xu Zhao frowned when Zhou Xiangqian stopped speaking. He couldn’t resist asking, “Because of what?”
Zhou Xiangqian’s voice sounded. “Because of Shen Jiayang.”
Xu Zhao felt that this name was familiar. He searched his memories for a second before finally remembering that Shen Jiayang was the original Xu Zhao’s love rival at Provincial Agricultural School. At that time, the original Xu Zhao liked Qi Shuai, and Qi Shuai liked Shen Jiayang. That was how Xu knew Shen Jiayang. However, how was Cui Dingchen involved with Shen Jiayang?
Xu Zhao immediately asked, “What does this have to do with Shen Jiayang?”
Zhou Xiangqian replied, “Because Cui Dingchen and Shen Jiayang used to be together.”
Cui Dingchen and Shen Jiayang used to be together?
Xu Zhao froze, then heard Zhou Xiangqian say, “Cui Dingchen used to like Shen Jiayang very much. He went to our school to find Shen Jiayang many times. The two also went out to eat and spent the night together. They always had a good relationship.”
Hearing this, Xu Zhao held onto the phone tighter and asked, “What about now?”
Zhou Xiangqian didn’t react.
Xu Zhao persisted in asking, “Are the two of them still seeing each other now?”
Zhou Xiangqian replied, “No.”
Xu Zhao asked, “Then what are you trying to say?”
Zhou Xiangqian asked back, “You’re probably Shen Jiayang’s replacement. Just like when Qi Shuai got close to you, it was because Shen Jiayang was from a good family so he couldn’t win him over. That’s why he started chasing you.”
Xu Zhao froze.
Zhou Xiangqian continued, “Xu Zhao, you and Cui Dingchen aren’t suited to be together.”
Xu Zhao asked back, “Then are you saying you’re suitable for me?”
Zhou Xiangqian choked on his words.
Xu Zhao asked, “Did you need anything else?”
Zhou Xiangqian didn’t speak.
Xu Zhao directly hung up the phone. His brain was full of Cui Dingchen and Shen Jiayang’s matters. He wasn’t bothered that Cui Dingchen had a past, but that past was with Shen Jiayang. Shen Jiayang. Shen Jiayang! Was Cui Dingchen like Qi Shuai and was unable to capture Shen Jiayang’s heart, so used him as Shen Jiayang’s replacement?
Qi Shuai used the original Xu Zhao as Shen Jiayang’s replacement.
Now Cui Dingchen was using Xu Zhao as a replacement.
It really was fated.
Xu Zhao was dazed for a second. His heart cooled. When he raised his gaze, he saw Xu Fan wobbling in from the door.
“Daddy, time to eat!”
Xu Fan’s watery eyes look at Xu Zhao. His eyes were pure and bright. One could tell they were full of trust with a glance, making others feel very stable. Xu Zhao’s eyes warmed as he called, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Fan smiled as he walked toward Xu Zhao and raised his little arms.
Xu Zhao leaned down and picked Xu Fan up. He felt that he hadn’t hugged Xu Fan in a long time, which was true. He had been too busy recently that he had left Xu Fan to Mother and Father Xu to watch. He finally had time today to hug Xu Zhao. However, because of Zhou Xiangqian’s phone call, his steady heart was disturbed again. He couldn’t help but want to find a safe space to land. He turned to Xu Fan. “Xu Fan, do you love Daddy?”
Xu Fan said in a milky voice, “Love. I love Daddy. I love Daddy s-so much!”
Xu Zhao instantly smiled and said, “Daddy also loves you.”
Xu Fan happily put his arms around Xu Zhao’s neck. His little head snuggled on Xu Zhao’s shoulder. He really knew how to act coquettish. However, not long later, he leaned into Xu Zhao’s arms and sneezed twice in a row.
“Did you catch a cold?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Caught a cold,” Xu Fan repeated.
As a result, Xu Fan really caught a cold the next day. His fever started at night, making Xu Zhao panic the entire time. He had raised Xu Fan for so long, and this was the first time Xu Fan had gotten a fever. He took Xu Fan to the village in the middle of the night to get fever-suppressing medicine.
However, Xu Fan knew that the medicine would be better, so he was unwilling to take it. He cried non-stop. He cried so much that Xu Zhao, Mother and Father Xu’s hearts all ached, but they still fed the medicine to Xu Fan. Xu Fan fell asleep while crying. This was already the second half of the night.
Xu Zhao had Mother and Father Xu go to sleep. He could watch Xu Fan by himself. When Xu Fan’s fever subsided, dawn had already broken. He was exhausted since he was only able to sleep for two hours. Xu Fan was also awake, lying beside Xu Zhao. His little fat face was thin, and he didn’t look as lively as before.
Xu Zhao stretched out his hand and touched Xu’s little face and called, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Fan obediently lay on the bed.
Xu Zhao’s fingers rubbed Xu Fan’s small meaty hands and asked softly, “Sanwa, do you still feel bad?”
Xu Fan’s soft milky voice weakly asked, “No bad.”
He’d never seen Xu Fan like this before. Xu Zhao was very distressed as he leaned in and kissed Xu Fan’s cheek. He softly said, “Then how about we get up?”
Xu Fan put his small arms around Xu Zhao’s neck and said, “Okay.”
After getting up, Xu Fan was unwilling to be put on the ground, so he sat in Xu Zhao’s arms. He didn’t want to eat porridge or watch TV either. He just leaned on Xu Zhao’s shoulder. As soon as he heard that he needed to take medicine, he immediately refused. If he was spoon fed the medicine, he would start crying. He hugged his little head and little body and after he was fed, he immediately raised his little hand and cried, “No medicine. Hit you. Hit you.”
Despite this, he was still fed medicine three times a day. He didn’t miss a single portion and was always fed on time. After two days, Xu Fan finally recovered and he could play with Da Zhuang, Qiangqiang, and the others. It was just that the little boy seemed to have lost a lot of weight, which made Xu Zhao and the others very distressed.
Mother Xu clasped her hands together, making a wish as she said, “Thank god he recovered. It’ll be the 30th the day after tomorrow.”
Xu Zhao smiled and watched Xu Fan, who was playing in the yard. He took a deep breath, walked through the yard, and entered the studio to finish work. As soon as he sat down, he saw the phone on the table and suddenly thought of calling Cui Dingchen. Just as he thought of Cui Dingchen, the phone rang.
Xu Zhao immediately answered, and Cui Dingchen’s voice came from the other end.
“Is Xu Fan feeling better?” Cui Dingchen asked with concern.
Xu Zhao replied, “He is.”
Cui Dingchen continued to ask, “Is he playing with Da Zhuang and the others today?”
Xu Zhao replied, “Yes.”
“Is he talking nonstop again?”
“Mn, he’s talking a bit less than before.”
Since he just got better, he wasn’t as lively as before, but children recovered quickly. He’d turn into a chatterbox soon enough. Cui Dingchen said, “Then he’s basically recovered.”
Xu Zhao said quietly, “Mn.”
“You should stop worrying too.”
Xu Zhao replied absentmindedly, “Mn.”
“You must be tired from these past couple days, huh?” Cui Dingchen asked again.
Xu Zhao gently replied, “I’m alright.”
“You should rest well. Once I finish my work, I’ll come find you.”
As if sensing there was something wrong with Xu Zhao’s mood, Cui Dingchen called out, “Xu Zhao.”
Xu Zhao hummed again, “Mn.”
Cui Dingchen asked from the other side, “What’s wrong? Are you worried about Xu Fan being sick?”
Xu Zhao didn’t deny it and once again, “Mn.”
Cui Dingchen asked in bewilderment, “Why do you only reply using ‘mn’?”
Xu Zhao looked at the financial book in his hand and blurted out, “I’m busy right now.”
“Fine, then I’ll call you later,” Cui Dingchen said on the other side.
Xu Zhao hung up the phone and was in a trance for a while. In fact, he wanted to ask Cui Dingchen about Shen Jiayang, but Xu Fan just happened to get sick at this time. He wasn’t in the mood right now. He also needed to pay the villagers’ salaries, and he couldn’t delay that. Therefore, the matters of his heart had to be put to the side for now. They could talk it out later. He would also sort out his thoughts later and see what he should do next.
After forcibly pulling back his thoughts, Xu Zhao quickly sorted out the matters related to the greenhouse vegetables. He had to admit that after the publicity he gained from TV, his eight mus of greenhouse vegetables sold out very quickly, and there were many people who placed an order for spring vegetables. After he organized everything, he planned out how to plant the spring vegetables after the new year, then finally went to give out the salaries to the villagers.
Besides Da Zhuang’s father, Zhang Xiaohu, and a few more of the regular workers, there were also over ten temporary workers. After calculating, Xu Zhao gave Da Zhuang’s father his salary first, then had Da Zhuang’s father call the others over to receive their salaries. Afterwards, he sent over some New Year’s vegetables and gifts to the village chief and secretary.
In short, there was a reward for hard work. Although even if someone simply helped out Xu Zhao, they would still get what they deserved. The people in the village were happy, and Xu Zhao was also happy. He exited the hallway and saw Xu Fan and Da Zhuang standing outside the courtyard.
Da Zhuang’s father took out his salary and gave Da Zhuang two cents. Da Zhuang immediately went to the small store and bought a package of Tang Seng Meat and pickled plum powder. He specially went to Xu Fan’s side to eat them.
Xu Fan was sick for a few days and ate very simply. At this time, his watery eyes stared motionlessly at Da Zhuang’s small hands and Da Zhuang’s small mouth as he ate. He couldn’t help but pout his small lips and said, “Da Zhuang, you can’t eat too much.”
Da Zhuang asked, “Why not?”
Xu Fan’s eyes widened as he said, matter-of-factly, “You’ll get sick if you eat too much.”
Da Zhuang said, “I won’t.”
Xu Fan earnestly said, “You will. I-I’m sick. A-after getting sick I’m thin, uncomfortable, and have to eat medicine. Medicine is bitter.”
Da Zhuang took a step off to the side and said, “I won’t get sick.”
Xu Fan followed and said, “You will get sick. G-give it to me. I-I’ll have a bite. Then you won’t get sick.”
Xu Zhao, who stood on the side, didn’t have the face to look at Xu Fan. This little foodie really could say anything for the sake of food. Xu Zhao raised his hand to support his forehead and walked toward Xu Fan to stop him from eating recklessly. Just as he walked out of the courtyard, he heard someone shout.
Xu Zhao turned to the sound and saw Cui Dingchen, who he hadn’t seen in four days.