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However, that night, Xu Fan refused to take his medicine again because it was too bitter. He didn’t escape the fate of having the medicine poured into his mouth by Xu Zhao and Mother Xu. Afterwards, he was so mad that he angrily turned to face the wall, causing Xu Zhao and Mother Xu not know if they should laugh or cry.
Mother Xu looked at Xu Zhao with a smile.
Xu Zhao told Mother Xu that she should go to sleep first, then sat on the stool and called out, “Xu Fan.”
Xiao Xu’s small chubby face still faced the wall, and he didn’t say anything.
Xu Zhao called out again, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Fan tilted his small face to the side.
Xu Zhao laughed and asked, “Are you still coming to the county town on the sixth?”
Xu Fan still stayed silent.
Xu Zhao said, “There’s pig trotters, lamb, and rice crispy treats.”
Xu Fan turned his head and said, “I want to eat.”
Xu Zhao apologetically said, “But you didn’t take your medicine nicely, so you can’t go.”
Xu Fan turned his body toward Xu Zhao and said, “I took my medicine!”
“You took it while crying.”
“I-I-I took it while crying.”
Xu Zhao smiled and asked, “Then can you say that you can still eat pig trotters?”
Xu Fan said without hesitation, “Yes.”
“Really?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Then what should we do?”
Xu Fan flattened his small lips.
Xu Zhao immediately said, “Crying won’t work. This matter is originally your fault. You promised to be good and take your medicine, but you cried and caused trouble. And you still think you can cry?”
Xu Fan instantly smacked his lips and stopped crying. He turned around again and continued to angrily stare at the wall, ignoring Xu Zhao. Xu Zhao laughed and said, “Actually, I can take you to the county town. but you need to make up for your mistake.”
Xu Fan turned his head to Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao said, “It might snow tomorrow. Go get the stools, basins, brushes, grandma and grandpa’s shoes from the courtyard. If you get them, I’ll take you on the sixth to eat pig trotters and watch a movie, okay?”
Xu Fan added, “And lamb, rice crispy treats, and also baked sweet potatoes.”
“Fine, go on.”
Xu Fan immediately turned his body and padded his short legs to run to the courtyard. He hugged a small stool and ran it into the main hall. He placed the small stool in front of the dining table before running back to the courtyard to gather the brushes, brooms, and other things. Xu Zhao sat in the main hall and watched while directing him.
“Done.” Xiao Xu patted his small meaty hands and huffed.
Xu Zhao pointed to the porcelain basin in the courtyard and said, “That basin too.”
“I’ll go get it.”
“Go on. Put it on the pot rack. Be careful.”
Xu Fan grabbed the pickled plum powder he took out and put it in his pocket again. He then ran out of the main hall and grabbed the porcelain basin and rain back inside the main hall. In the end, because he ran too fast, a “thump” sound when he fell to the ground. Even the porcelain basin fell to the ground.
Xu Fan didn’t cry. He immediately got up, picked up the porcelain basin, and walked toward the main hall. He stood on his tiptoes and put the porcelain basin on the pot rock with a clatter. He looked at his small meaty hand and saw that some of the skin was broken. He immediately turned and said, “Daddy, my hold scraped.”
Xu Zhao didn’t clearly hear through Xu Fan’s panting, “What?”
Xu Fan clearly said, “My hand.”
“Let me see.”
Xu Fan walked to Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao spread out Xiao Xu’s small meaty hand to look at his palm then used the wine at home to disinfect it. Xu Fan screamed in pain.
Xu Zhao asked, “Does it hurt?”
Xu Fan replied, “It hurts.”
“Do you know why it hurts?”
“Because I fell.”
“No, because you didn’t keep your word.”
Xu Fan’s watery eyes stared at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao continued, “Because you promised me to be good and take your medicine, but you didn’t keep your word. You made a fuss, and I also got mad. That’s why I had you move the stools and basin, which made you fall and scrape your little hand.”
“I-I…” Xu Fan stammered innocently.
Xu Zhao asked, “You what?”
Xu Fan thought before saying, “I-I must keep my word!”
“That’s right! “You can’t act like this next time.”
“I can’t act like this next time,” Xu Fan repeated.
Xu Zhao took Xu Fan in his arms. Taking advantage of the rare free time, he taught Xu Fan once again how he did badly on the “taking medicine” matter. In fact, he used this chance to teach Xu Fan how to be honest, trustworthy, and know that he must work hard to earn gains. Just as he finished the lesson, the west wing phone rang. He didn’t need to wonder to know that it was Cui Dingchen.
It was in fact Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen didn’t call for any reason. He just wanted to talk with Xu Zhao and tell him that he missed him. Xu Zhao laughed and said that they would meet on the sixth, but Cui Dingchen was still reluctant to hang up the phone. They talked until Xu Fan kept calling him to go to sleep. It was only then that Cui Dingchen willingly hung up the phone. The call continued the next day, and it was the same for the thirith as well.
However, on the thirith, Xu Zhao only chatted with Cui Dingchen for less than five minutes before heading to the main hall to watch TV with his family and Da Zhuang’s family.
The TV was Cui Dingchen’s ten inch, color TV. Seeing that Xu Fan liked the TV, Cui Dingchen didn’t take the color TV back to the county town. It was kept at Xu Zhao’s house. Mother Cui used it very sparingly. In order to save electricity, she would cover it up with a brand-new dacron fabric. If there wasn’t a proper reason, she didn’t let anyone use it.
It was only for the sake of watching the Spring Festival Gala that Mother Xu let the two families watch it together. They ate while enjoying it. Xu Fan and Da Zhuang would play with the week old Da Ni’Er from time to time. Da Ni’Er was a little Da Zhuang, very pale and tender. Very cute.
Xu Fan couldn’t help but lie in Xu Zhao arms and say in a milky voice, “Daddy, I also want a little sister.”
This made Da Zhuang’s family instantly burst out in laughter.
The corners of Xu Zhao’s lips twitched twice before turning to Xu Fan and saying, “That’s impossible.”
Xu Fan asked, “Why?”
“There’s no why. You won’t get a little sister.”
Xu Fan bargained and said, “T-T-Then I want an older brother!”
This time, even Mother and Father Xu laughed.
The night was spent with laughter by these two families. The next day was the first day of the new year. Everyone in South Bay Village was either sleeping in, chatting with their elders, playing dominos or poker. In short, everyone was doing something. It continued like this until the third. On the third, some people had already begun to greet guests for the new year. Xu Zhao’s family was the same. They went to their uncle’s house to pay the New Year’s greeting, then also received the uncle’s family.
The only difference this year was that Xu Youcheng also came by to pay Father Xu his greetings. Not long after Xu Youcheng borrowed money, he left to work. He earned around 20 Yuan a month, but at least he had income. His two children were poor, but he started to do honest work and had returned the money he borrowed from Xu Zhao. He returned half of him, which more or less made Father Xu feel gratified.
Xu Zhao didn’t dislike Xu Youcheng as much as before, but he didn’t like him either. In any case, everyone minded their own businesses. It was fine as long as he lived his own life. And so, he moved the planting of the greenhouse fruits ahead of schedule.
However, before he could plant the greenhouse fruits, Xu Zhao had to take Xu Fan and Cui Dingchen to have a meal and watch a movie. Therefore, on the morning of the sixth, Xu Zhao specially cleaned himself up and cleaned up Xu Fan as well, even rubbing fragrance on him.
Xu Fan proudly hugged Father Xu and asked, “Grandpa, do I look good?”
Father Xu laughed and said, “Very good, very good.”
Xu Fan happily ran to Xu Zhao to show off. “Daddy, Grandpa said I look good. I-I’m wearing my new clothes together and have on fragrance.”
Xu Zhao smiled and replied, “Mn. We should head out.”
It was still cold on the sixth. Xu Fan specially put on the Lei Feng hat for Xu Zhao and tied a scarf around his neck, dressing him all the way up. The little guy looked very good. He took Xu Zhao’s hand, and walked through the village in high spirits, greeting people when he saw them.
The villagers greeted Xu Fan very warmly, “Sanwa, you look very good today.”
Xu Fan was thick-skinned, so he replied, “I’m very good looking.”
“Where are you going all dressed up today?”
“To watch a movie!”
“Where are you going to watch the movie?”
“The county town. We’re going to watch a military movie!”
“Take me to watch it with you.”
“You need a movie ticket. You don’t have. So you can’t come.”
While walking through the village, Xu Fan’s little mouth didn’t stop moving all the way until they arrived at the entrance of the village. When they saw Cui Dingchen’s little black car, Xu Fan was immediately excited and called, “The big car is coming. The big car is coming!”
The little black car stopped at the entrance of the village. Xu Fan immediately ran up to it. Seeing Cui Dingchen come out from the driver’s seat, he quickly greeted, “Second Grandpa Cui, you drove the big car here!”
Cui Dingchen slightly smiled. “Mn, I drove the big car here.”
“I want to ride.”
“Let’s ride then.”
Cui Dingchen stretched out his hand to open the backseat door. Xu Fan happily climbed inside. It wasn’t until then that Cui Dingchen turned to Xu Zhao. Xu Zhao wore the down jacket he’d (CDC) purchased for him. It was the new style that had just come out from Shanghai this year. Xu Zhao looked very handsome wearing it. Cui Dingchen’s eyes immediately softened as he stared at Xu Zhao.
However, they were still inside the village. It wouldn’t be good if the villagers saw this. Xu Zhao quickly quickly called out “Youngest uncle,” then followed Xu Fan into the back seat.
Standing in place, Cui Dingchen’s heart inexplicably felt as sweet as honey. The corners of his mouth lifted up. After Xu Zhao got into the back seat, Cui Dingchen held the door open and leaned inside. He gave Xu Fan milk candy and hawthorn slices to eat. As he retreated, his lips seemed to have unintentionally swept across Xu Zhao’s cheeks, making Xu Zhao’s heart tremble and his cheeks redden.
Seeing this, Cui Dingchen closed the door with satisfaction, then walked to the driver’s seat. He looked at Xu Fan and Xu Zhao through the rearview mirror and gently asked, “Xu Fan, is it delicious?”
Xu Fan munched as he ate the hawthorn slices and said, “Delicious.”
“Who bought it for you?”
“Second Grandpa Cui did.”
“Do you like Second Grandpa Cui?”
“I like Daddy.” Xu Fan said he liked Xu Zhao.
Cui Dingchen casually continued, “I am your daddy. Your big daddy.”
Xu Fan immediately raised his little face and said, “You not. My daddy is here.”
Xu Fan snuggled into Xu Zhao’s arms.
Xu Zhao gently laughed.
Cui Dingchen softly said, “He’s your daddy, and I’m your big daddy. Just like Qiangqiang. There’s one big daddy and one little daddy.”
Xu Fan thought about it then said, “You’re not my big daddy. You’re my Second Grandpa Cui.”
Cui Dingchen: “…”
Xu Zhao: “…”
They knew that Xu Fan was good at talking. Cui Dingchen temporarily didn’t argue with Xu Fan. He smiled and told Xu Fan and Xu Zhao to sit tight, then started the car. Two big people and one little one chatted as they headed toward the county town. Driving through South Sun village, two big and one little ones didn’t see anyone, but saw a bicycle coming from the village.
Heya friends! Just wanted to note that I’ll be on a cruise for the next few weeks, so I won’t be able to reply to any comments or messages until I get back. Don’t worry, all the regular posts have been scheduled for when I’m gone. Happy reading!