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It was only a single phrase, but it felt like a basin of water was poured over Shen Jiayang’s body, causing him to freeze and blankly stare at Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen walked away.
Shen Jiayang was frozen in place until the sound of the car starting woke him up. He quickly ran out of the room and into the courtyard. He ran to the payment road and saw Cui Dingchen’s car disappear. His entire body felt like his soul was sucked out as he instantly collapsed on the ground.
Mother Shen, who had just returned from visiting someone else, was shocked when she saw this scene. She quickly stepped up and pulled at Shen Jiayang, but she couldn’t pull him up. She urgently asked, “Jiayang, Jiayang. W-what’s wrong?”
Shen Jiayang’s eyes were blank as he whispered, “It’s over. It’s over…”
“Everything’s over. It’s all over.”
“What’s going on? Don’t scare me like this.”
Mother Shen was worried to death.
Shen Jiayang couldn’t say a word. He looked straight toward the direction Cui Dingchen left. However, at this time, Cui Dingchen had already changed directions and was driving toward South Bay Village. He arrived at South Bay Village at lightning speeds.
He originally wanted to drive directly into South Bay Village, but Cui Dingchen slammed the brakes. His body jolted forward as his hands gripped the steering wheel. His gaze was unfocused but his brain was full of Xu Zhao and Xu Fan.
His Xu Zhao—
His Xu Fan—
However, what had he done in these past five years? He had mistakened Shen Jiayang as that person. He couldn’t give him love, so he kept giving him money and presents.
But what about Xu Zhao and Xu Fan?
He remembered the first time he encountered Xu Zhao and Xu Fan. It was two summers ago. Xu Zhao was wearing gray clothes. Both his top and pants were all patched up. His face was pallid and thin.
And Xu Fan…Xu Fan… H-His son. He was so thin and small. It was probably due to not being able to eat his fill everyday. That was why he was hungry every time he saw food. He was only a bit older than two years old, yet he had to follow Xu Zhao everyday to sell popsicles and mooncakes…It didn’t matter the season, they both suffered so much.
Thinking of this, his heart squeezed. The spasmed hurt so much. Five years. It had been five years. What was he doing?
What was he doing?!
Had his brains and heart been eaten by dogs?!
He really didn’t dare face Xu Zhao or Xu Fan. He had wronged Xu Zhao and made Xu Fan suffer. He really didn’t know how to tell Xu Zhao, so he quietly sat in his car.
One minute passed.
Two minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed.
An hour passed.
The sun slowly approached the horizon. The sky gradually darkened. A sense of loneliness arose. Cui Dingchen still looked toward South Bay Village. At this moment, a group of children jogged into his sight. His heart tightened as he subconsciously looked for Xu Fan.
In what seemed like a second, he found Xu Fan amongst the group of children. Xu Fan was wearing the down jacket he’d purchased as he happily ran with the bigger children. He ran inside the village, playing eagle catch chickens1Eagle catch chicken is a game where one group lines up tallest to shortest and the other group “the eagle” will try to catch the person at the end of the line “the chicken”. Since he was young and short, he was at the end of the line. He was running very happily as he shouted, “Come, come, come catch me!” His milky voice was very pleasant.
Cui Dingchen couldn’t help but lean against the car window, staring straight at Xu Fan. The expression in his eyes was complicated but also clear. They were full of tenderness and guilt. At this moment, Xu Fan suddenly tripped over something and fell to the ground with a “bam”.
Cui Dingchen instantly pushed the door open. He had only taken one step when Xu Fan got up by himself. He patted his clothes with his small meaty hands and continued to run around happily. However, the parents had all called the children back to eat now.
The big and little children all made a ruckus as they ran toward their homes. Only Xu Fan longingly said, “P-Play some more. Let’s play some more.” However, no one paid attention to him. He could only run towards his home as well.
Looking at Xu Fan, who was about to leave, Cui Dingchen couldn’t help but shout, “Xu Fan!”
Xu Fan turned back when he heard this. His watery eyes looked at Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen’s heart jumped. There was an inexplicable feeling inside.
“Second Grandpa Cui!” Xu Fan called.
Cui Dingchen replied, “Hi!”
“Why did you come back?”
The first words that came into Cui Dingchen’s mind as he looked at Xu Fan were the same ones that kept repeating in his heart: “This is my son. My son. He’s my biological son. I actually have a son in this life.” His eyes were fixed on Xu Fan.
In the past, he had decided that he wouldn’t have any offspring. He didn’t like children either. So when he first saw Xu Fan, he could have avoided him. Later on, because of Xu Zhao, he got closer to Xu Fan. He got to know Xu Fan with a new perspective. But now, he knew that Xu Fan was his son. The reaction to his bloodline that had been frozen suddenly resurrected. His gaze toward Xu Fan was filled with dearness.
Moreover, he was also filled with excitement and fear. So much fear that it had even affected his speech.
However, Xu Fan didn’t know anything. Seeing the compact car not far behind Cui Dingchen, he immediately widened his watery eyes and asked, “Second Grandpa Cui, you drove the big car here?”
Cui Dingchen quickly said, “Y-yes.”
“Big car! The big car is fast. So fast! ‘Woosh’ and we’re at the county town. We can sell vegetables at the county town. Sell vegetables to make money so we can buy meat to eat!”
Cui Dingchen gently replied, “Yes. Do you want to ride in the big car?”
Xu Fan directly refused, “No.”
“Why not?” Cui Dingchen was puzzled.
Xu Fan seriously replied, “Because it’s dark now. Grandma said there are monsters in the dark. Big monsters and small monsters. The big monsters and small monsters will take Baobao. I-If they take me, my d-daddy won’t be able to find me and I-I-I’ll cry. I need to go home to eat.”
Hearing that Xu Fan was going to leave, Cui Dingchen was immediately reluctant as he asked, “You’re going home to eat?”
“Mn.” Xu Fan earnestly nodded.
“Can you bring me with you?” Cui Dingchen asked while trying to curry favor.
As for eating… Xu Fan hesitated for a moment. What should he do? It was a while before he finally made the hard choice. “T-then you eat less. O-or else I won’t be able to eat enough.”
Cui Dingchen nodded. “I’ll eat less, okay?”
“You’re the best!” Cui Dingchen learned from Xu Zhao’s actions and squatted down to communicate with Xu Fan. He suddenly remembered that Xu Fan had fallen earlier and he heard a “bam”. It must have been very painful. He couldn’t help but ask, “You fell earlier, right?”
Xu Fan was too happy while playing and seemed to have forgotten about this matter. He raised his small meaty hand to take a look and found that his palm was a bit red. He said in a milky voice, “I fell.”
“Does it hurt?” Cui Dingchen asked.
“It hurts,” Xu Fan subconsciously said.
Cui Dingchen was sad hearing this. Looking at Xu Fan’s small, meaty hand, the entire small palm wasn’t as long as his finger. Such a small, such a cute, such a fragile little existence. He had quickly gotten up when he had fallen earlier. He didn’t know what was wrong with himself either. His heart hurt and his eyes stung. His vision was a bit blurry. He lowered his head and quickly reached up to wipe his eyes when he heard someone call for Xu Fan.
It was only then that Xu Fan lifted his head and saw Xu Fan sprinting toward the village, toward Xu Zhao.
It was Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Little kid.”
Xu Fan giggled and hugged Xu Zhao’s thigh. He tilted his head up and said, “Daddy, carry me, carry me.”
Xu Zhao bent over to pick up Xu Fan and asked, “It’s already this late. Qiangqiang and the others are already home, so why haven’t you come home yet?”
Xu Fan immediately said, “I was talking with Second Grandpa Cui!”
Hearing Cui Dingchen, he wiped his eyes again before looking at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao came over very curiously and asked, “Youngest uncle, what are you doing here?”
Cui Dingchen lightly coughed. “I-I was free this evening so I came by to see if you guys were busy.”
Xu Zhao immediately smiled and said, “We’re fine. Did you have dinner yet?”
Cui Dingchen replied, “Not yet.”
“Then come eat with us.”
Cui Dingchen didn’t refuse.
Xu Zhao held Xu Fan as he walked with Cui Dingchen. Since it was getting dark, Xu Zhao didn’t see Cui Dingchen’s reddened eyes, nor did he see Cui Dingchen’s guilty, distressed expression. He only senses that Cui Dingchen kept staring at him. He thought that Cui Dingchen was annoyed by Xu Fan’s chatter, so he coaxed Xu Fan to talk less.
Xu Fan obediently snuggled into Xu Zhao’s arms. His mouth stopped talking, but his short, little legs dangled so happily that he accidently kicked Cui Dingchen.
“Youngest uncle, I’m sorry,” Xu Zhao quickly said.
Cui Dingchen quickly said, “It’s fine, it’s fine.”
“Xu Fan didn’t do it on purpose.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I’ll wipe it for you.”
For Xu Fan’s sake, Xu Zhao repeatedly explained. His love for Xu Fan made Cui Dingchen feel even more guilty. Cui Dingchen couldn’t suppress the guilt, distress, helplessness, warmth, happiness, and other emotions that were welling up inside his heart. He quickly found an excuse to head to the bathroom. He leaned up against the back wall of Xu Zhao’s house and looked down at the dark ground. His chest was damp.
He missed out.
He missed it all.
He couldn’t make the same mistake again. It didn’t matter how things were now, he had already been absent for five years, so he would use the rest of his life to fill the five year gap. He put out the cigarette butt against the wall. As if he had made up his mind, he strode toward Xu Zhao’s house. As soon as he entered the courtyard door to Xu Zhao’s house, he saw Xu Fan playing with a toy car under the headlights. The toy car didn’t make any sound, solely relying on Xu Fan to make the sound.
“Woosh woosh… honk honk… woosh…”
His milky voice was especially pleasant!
Cui Dingchen walked up and knelt beside Xu Fan for a bit before quickly walking to the kitchen door and asking, “Do you have extra toothbrushes at home?”
“Yes, why?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Xu Fan said I stink,” Cui Dingchen said, embarrassed. He’d only quickly smoked two cigarettes just now.
Xu Zhao also smelled the smoke on Cui Dingchen’s body and asked, “You smoked?”
“Mn.” Cui Dingchen nodded, then quickly added, “I promise that I won’t smoke again in the future.”
Xu Zhao didn’t say anything. He went to the west wing to grab a new toothbrush for Cui Dingchen.
After Cui Dingchen brushed his teeth, he saw that Xu Zhao and Mother Xu were busy. He didn’t go up to clean, but instead, went to once again find Xu Fan, who was playing. Just as he knelt beside Xu Fan, Xu Fan ran to the kitchen with his toy car.
Cui Dingchen curiously asked, “Xu Fan, where are you going?”
Xu Fan ran while saying in a milky voice, “You stink. I-I’m not playing with you.”
OMG. The truth is finally here!! Ahh I’m so excited!!