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Xu Zhao’s line of sight followed the direction of Xu Fan’s finger, and he did indeed see Cui Dingchen. Cui Dingchen was wearing the same checkered shirt, pants, and leather pants as before that made him look even taller and handsome. The only thing different was that his hands were empty before, whereas now, he held a checkered bag in his hand.
Didn’t Cui Dingchen go home a while ago? Why is he back?
Confusion shone in Xu Zhao’s eyes.
Cui Dingchen had already walked over, and directly handed the bag to Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao didn’t understand and continued to look at Cui Dingchen.
“Dinner. Eat,” Cui Dingchen said.
Xu Zhao looked at Cui Dingchen in surprise.
Cui Dingchen thought that Xu Zhao was obsessed with cleanliness just as he was and said, “The dishes are all clean. We cooked too much so these weren’t served.”
Xu Zhao hurriedly said, “No, Youngest uncle. That’s not what I mean. I’m asking why you’re delivering us food? How do you know we hadn’t eaten dinner yet?”
“You said so yourself that you guys hadn’t eaten dinner yet,” Cui Dingchen said.
“I said that?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Mn. Just now, you said to your mom ‘you and Dad go home and eat first.’”
So it was because of this sentence.
Cui Dingchen was very observant, even knowing this. No wonder his business was so successful.
However, this made Xu Zhao say with a bit of embarrassment, “Youngest uncle, this meal—”
Cui Dingchen’s face was as expressionless as always as he said, “Take it. If you don’t want to eat, the little fatty—the child still needs to eat.”
Xu Zhao owed the Cui family a lot. He didn’t care about it happening once or twice since he planned to slowly repay them in the future. And so, he reached out his hand to accept the cloth bag. Opening it, he saw a white enamel jar inside as well as a three-layered round lunch box. The first layer of the lunch box contained two steamed buns and two sweet pancakes. The second layer had pork with radish. The third layer had vinegar stir-fried shredded potato. Steam emitted from all three layers as if they were just cooked, and they looked very good.
“Sweet pancake!” Xu Fan recognized the sweet pancakes next to the steamed buns.
Sweet pancake was a Jiang Ping County Mid-Autumn Festival specialty. It was brown sugar wrapped in sweet potato and fried in oil. Since many families were too poor and couldn’t use too much oil, they would pan-fry it instead. There were also baked and steamed versions as well.
Of course, the tastiest ones were the oil fried ones. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and sweet but not greasy. Xu Fan had eaten one yesterday at Da Zhuang’s house, so he clearly remembered it. At this moment, his watery eyes started at the pancakes, his small mouth opening slightly, and saliva was about to flow out.
“Xu Fan,” Xu Zhao called.
Xu Fan smacked his small lips, his small face blankly looked toward Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao reached out to wipe the saliva from the corners of Xu Fan’s mouth as he awkwardly smiled at Cui Dingchen.
“It’s fine. Eat,” Cui Dingchen said.
“Youngest uncle, did you eat dinner yet?” Xu Zhao asked.
Xu Zhao held the lunch box in front of Cui Dingchen. “How about you eat some more?”
An almost imperceptible and rare smile emerged on Cui Dingchen’s face as he said, “No, you guys eat.”
“Thank you, Youngest uncle.”
Xu Zhao placed the cloth on top of the bench and got some boiled water from the white enamel jar. Afterward, he ate as he fed Xu Fan. It was only then that Cui Dingchen realized that he had forgotten to bring a spoon so that the little chubby child could eat by himself. However, it was fine. The chubby child really cared for his daddy and continued to let his daddy eat.
Cui Dingchen continued to watch until Xu Zhao and Xu Fan ate clean all the dishes inside the lunch box… At clean. The father and son weren’t picky at all, they even ate all the green onions. Xu Zhao specially washed and wiped the lunch box and chopsticks before handing them to Cui Dingchen.
“Youngest uncle, thank you for dinner.”
“Mn.” Cui Dingchen gladly accepted it. He reached out to take the cloth bag and asked, “When are you returning to the village?”
“I’ll go back tomorrow. I’ll continue to watch over Brother Li’s condition today,” Xu Zhao replied.
“Where are you going to stay tonight?”
“There’s a bed beside Brother Li.”
“What about him?” Cui Dingchen looked at Xu Fan.
Xu Fan wrapped his arms around Xu Zhao’s leg and said, “I want to sleep with Daddy.”
Cui Dingchen thought for a moment. His voice was deep and low, without a trace of warmth as he asked Xu Fan, “How about you sleep at my place?”
“No,” Xu Fan simply refused.
Cui Dingchen ignored Xu Fan and looked at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao had troubled the people in the Cui family too much already. He was too embarrassed to disturb them some more. Adding on the fact that Da Zhuang’s father was still at the hospital, so he politely refused Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen nodded, then asked, “How are you going to settle the issue with your brother?”
Xu Zhao said, “I called the police. ”
Cui Dingchen glanced up at Xu Zhao and said, “When?”
“Once I made sure Brother Li was alright and that he only needed stitches, I called the police. The police already came before you arrived,” Xu Zhao said.
The police already came—This was beyond Cui Dingchen’s expectations. In this world, many people in society would make firm and nimble decisions, but they would become sloppy as soon as they encountered trouble with family and friends. It wasn’t that these people weren’t capable, but they were affected by the morals and attitude of treating their family members the natives here had, and it was very difficult to break free from it.
Xu Zhao was a surprise. Knowing that he couldn’t persuade or beat his two older brothers, he simply called the police. Moreover, he did it while his body was covered in blood, which caused a shocking effect. Leaving aside the actual situation, with just this, the police station would definitely place importance on this matter. Appreciation flitted past Cui Dingchen’s gaze toward Xu Zhao.
“Is there anything you need my help with?” Cui Dingchen asked.
“No need, Youngest uncle. You already helped me out a lot. Besides, if I can’t even solve this, then what will I do in the future?”
Cui Dingchen considered it for a bit then said, “Mn, you handled it very well.”
Xu Zhao faintly smiled, then looked at the corridor. No one was there anymore, and it seemed like there wasn’t anyone on the streets anymore. So, he said, “Youngest uncle, it’s very late. You should head back soon and rest.”
“Stay safe on the road.”
“You as well.”
Cui Dingchen left.
Xu Zhao hugged Xu Fan as he watched Da Zhuang’s father for a bit. After that, he took Xu Fan and borrowed the hospital’s thermos and porcelain basin. The father and son washed up, then paid the fee for the bed and slept in the small bed beside Da Zhuang’s father.
Xu Fan lay in Xu Zhao’s arms and called, “Daddy.”
“Hmm?” Xu Zhao replied.
“Uncle Li didn’t eat sweet pancakes,” Xu Fan said.
“Mn, he can’t eat them right now,” Xu Zhao replied.
“When can he eat them?” Xu Fan asked.
“Tomorrow morning,” Xu Zhao softly answered.
“I didn’t bring my big car with me.”
“Don’t worry. Grandma will help you look after it at home. She won’t lose it. Now sleep.”
“Don’t talk anymore. When we go to bed at home tomorrow, Daddy will tell you a story. Be good and listen.”
Xu Zhao’s words had just fallen when he turned and saw that Xu Fan was already asleep. The little guy fell asleep so quickly. Xu Zhao didn’t go to sleep immediately. He looked out the window to see the moonlight, then turned to the soundly sleeping Da Zhuang’s father, feeling very sorry. Da Zhuang’s father treated him very well, yet he was accidently injured by Xu Youcheng. Xu Zhao felt very guilty.
When he retracted his gaze, he saw the checkered handkerchief on the chair. He thought of Cui Dingchen’s attention to detail and his consideration, felt a thread of joy in his heart. He liked men, after all. He even had a secret crush in high school, but not long later, that person transferred schools so things were left unsettled.
When he came here later on, he found that men could rightfully be with other men out in the open. However, he didn’t have the heart to date since he wasn’t even able to eat his fill so how could he date? Besides, he still had Xu Fan. Thinking of Xu Fan, he shivered in his arms then cried out.
“Xu Fan, Xu Fan,” Xu Zhao called.
Xu Fan cried out a couple more times before quietly sleeping again.
It looked like he had a nightmare.
Xu Zhao rubbed Xu Fan’s small face, and hugged Xu Fan while he slept. They slept all the way till morning, and Da Zhuang’s father was awake as well.
“Brother Li, how do you feel?” Xu Zhao asked.
“I’m fine. I’m fine.” Da Zhuang’s father had gauze wrapped from behind his ears to his chin. He normally had a huge grin on his face, but at this time, he had no choice but to be careful.
“Are you dizzy?”
“Does the wound hurt?”
“—Just a bit, but I’m fine. I’m fine.”
Da Zhuang’s father was the one comforting Xu Zhao now.
Xu Zhao specially went to the dining hall to get some plain porridge for Da Zhuang’s father. As soon as he left the hospital, he saw Cui Dingchen and the compact black car.
Xu Fan immediately ran up to him and called out, “Second Grandpa Cui!”
Cui Dingchen: “…”
Xu Fan was extremely enthusiastic as he asked, “Second Grandpa Cui, you drove the big car.”
Cui Dingchen reached out to press the space between his eyebrows and replied, “Mn.”
“Second Grandpa Cui, where are you driving your big car to?”
Cui Dingchen: “…”
Once Xu Fan sat in the small black car, he didn’t pay attention to Cui Dingchen anymore. Cui Dingchen finally understood. Xu Fan wasn’t enthusiastic about him, but about his compact car. Xu Fan just wanted to sit in his car, that was all. Cui Dingchen couldn’t help but glance at Xu Fan through his rearview mirror. Xu Fan was currently happily pressed against the car window, looking outside, completely ignoring him. This little chubby child…
However, Xu Fan didn’t look for long. Once they arrived at Xu Zhao’s home, the black compact car stopped directly outside the entrance of the small courtyard, attracting the gazes of numerous people. It wasn’t just South Bay Village that didn’t have any cars, but out of the entire Jiang Ping County, only a few people had cars. Even motorcycles were rarely seen. Therefore, as soon as the black compact car entered the village, the people of South Bay Village had already surrounded it. Some came to see the car, some came to see Da Zhuang’s father, and some came to see the person driving the compact car… In any case, the entrance of Xu Zhao’s home was brimming with people.
Xu Zhao helped Da Zhuang’s father out of the car, and everyone’s gazes fell onto Da Zhuang’s father’s body, asking for his condition. Da Zhuang’s mother and Da Zhuang hurriedly squeezed through. Once they confirmed that Da Zhuang’s father was alright, Da Zhuang’s mother greatly relaxed.
Meanwhile, Da Zhuang continued to stare at the black car.
Xu Fan immediately ran over and proudly said, “Da Zhuang, I rode in the big car back today!”
Da Zhuang used his tiny finger to point at the black compact car and asked, “You rode this big car?”
“Mn. I rode it a few times already,” Xu Fan asked.
Da Zhuang asked, “T-t-then, can you take me to ride it once?”
“I can’t,” Xu Fan firmly refused.
“Because it’s my Second Grandpa Cui’s big car, not your Second Grandpa Cui.”
Cui Dingchen, who was walking into the courtyard, heard Xu Fan’s words and almost missed a step. This little fatty really knew how to boast. It was unbelievable. However, when he heard this, he still couldn’t help but raise the corners of his mouth a bit as he followed Xu Zhao into the small courtyard. Upon arriving in the small courtyard, Mother Xu greeted them, then said to Xu Zhao, “Xu Zhao, Xu Youcheng was arrested.”