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Cui Dingchen got out of the driver’s seat, carrying packages in his hand. He raised his gaze to Xu Zhao and Cui Qingfeng and let out a small smile as he walked over. He handed the two packages to Xu Zhao and said, “Birthday present. Happy birthday to Xu Fan.”
“Thank you, Youngest uncle.”
Xu Zhao reached out to accept them, but based on West Prefecture City’s customs, he didn’t open the presents. Instead, he smiled as he invited Cui Dingchen into the courtyard.
He then carried the gifts to the west wing. When he returned from the west wing, he found the Xu and Li families had enthusiastically pulled Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng to sit. Fortunately, Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng had worldly experience and quickly appeased the two families. They then sat with Xu Zhao and Xu Fan.
It was a bit crowded, but birthdays should be lively and no one cared. They conversed and laughed, and since everyone was thinking about the birthday, it was a very happy dinner. After everyone ate, they started putting away the dishes.
Xu Fan’s little hands held a bowl. He smacked his lips, then quickly said, “Grandma, don’t put them away. Don’t. I hadn’t eaten my fill yet. I-I still want to eat. Da Zhuang also didn’t eat his fill. Da Zhuang also wants to eat.”
Da Zhuang immediately nodded, “Grandma Xu, I haven’t eaten my fill yet.”
Mother Xu: “…”
However, when they saw Xu Zhao bringing out two small cakes and lighting the candles, Xu Fan and Da Zhuang immediately stopped saying they “hadn’t eaten their fill.” Instead, their eyes shone brightly as they were filled with happiness.
Da Zhuang whispered, “Sanwa, what is that?”
Xu Fan replied, “It’s cake.”
Da Zhuang continued to ask, “What’s cake?”
Xu Fan thought for a moment, then replied, “Cake. Cake is cake.”
Da Zhuang asked again, “Then can cake be eaten?”
“Yes,” Xu Fan replied.
“Is it tasty?”
“Yes, very tasty. Even tastier than pickled plum powder.”
“Have you eaten it before?”
“Then how do you know it tastes good?”
“I guessed,” Xu Fan said proudly.
Da Zhuang: “…”
Even Da Zhuang was speechless at Xu Fan’s words.
But Xu Fan didn’t realize this. He looked at the candles on the cake. He was excited and couldn’t help but ask, “Daddy, can I eat it yet?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Not yet.”
“Why not?” Xu Fan’s face was full of confusion.
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Because you need to make a birthday wish before it can be eaten.”
Since Xu Zhao always told a story before bed, Xu Fan knew what he meant by “wish.” Since Da Zhuang always gossiped with Xu Fan, he also knew what “wish” meant. Therefore, in order to eat cake, Da Zhuang was anxious to make a wish and said, “My wish is to be as amazing as Great Sage the Equal of Heaven.”
He really was obsessed with ‘Journey to the West’!
Xu Zhao asked why he wanted to be like the Great Sage the Equal of Heaven. Da Zhuang said the Great Sage the Equal of Heaven was amazing. He could fly, transform, and fight monsters. He was a hero people worshiped. Xu Fan also said Great Sage the Equal of Heaven was amazing and could fly, transform, and fight monsters. He also protected his master. He said he wanted to become Great Sage the Equal of Heaven so that his daddy didn’t have to ride the bicycle everyday. It was tiring to hike. He didn’t want his daddy to be tired. He wanted to bring his daddy to “fwoosh” in the air to sell popsicles and vegetables. He would also protect his daddy and fight against monsters.
“Sanwa is amazing!” Cui Qingfeng took the lead to applause.
The others followed suit to praise Sanwa and Da Zhuang.
Xu Zhao applauded as well. His eyes turned red. His Xu Fan was so warm. In order to prevent others from seeing, he lowered his head. When he raised his head again, his gaze bumped into Cui Dingchen’s, who was beside him. Xu Zhao smiled embarrassingly and said, “Sorry, it’s embarrassing.”
Cui Dingchen nodded and whispered, “It’s fine. It’s understandable.” If he was Xu Fan’s dad and heard Xu Fan say that, he would also be moved.
“Thank you for understanding.”
Xu Zhao’s heart warmed. Being “understanding” was very charming. He collected his emotions and solemnly said to Xu Fan and Da Zhuang, “Xu Baobao, Li Baobao—”
Xu Fan immediately interrupted Xu Zhao and said, “Daddy, you’re wrong. I’m Xu Baobao, but he isn’t Li Baobao. He’s Li Da Zhuang.”
Xu Zhao: “…” Baobao was a general nickname for babies. It wasn’t a specific name.
The group of adults laughed.
Xu Zhao had no choice but to say again, “Xu Fan, Li Da Zhuang, happy birthday. I wish you two health and happiness every day.”
Mother Xu clapped her hands in agreement. “Every day!”
Li Da Zhuang also repeated, “Every day!”
“Okay then. Let’s blow out the candles and cut the cake!”
After Xu Zhao finished speaking, he had the two children blow out the candles together. Then, he and Da Zhuang’s father took their respective child’s hands and cut the cake. They didn’t let the two children eat yet and tried to teach them a bit of politeness by having them bring cake to the adults first. And so, the two children first gave cake to Mother and Father Xu, then Da Zhuang’s grandparents, then according to the generation, Cui Dingchen. Xu Fan grabbed the cream cake and gave it to Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen said, “Xu Fan, happy birthday.”
Xu Fan said in a milky voice, “Second Grandpa Cui, eat cake.”
Cui Dingchen said, “Okay.”
Xu Fan placed his small hand beside his mouth as he greedily stared at the cake and said, “Second Grandpa Cui, i-i-if you can’t finish it, you can give it to me. I-I-I can eat a lot.”
Cui Dingchen: “…Okay. I’ll give it to you in a bit.”
Xu Fan was instantly happy and said, “Thank you, Second Grandpa Cui.”
He seemed very mannered, but it was all for the sake of food.
Afterward, they gave some to Da Zhuang’s dad, Cui Qingfeng, and Xu Zhao. Xu Fan and Da Zhuang were the last to get cake. When they tasted the cream cake, the two children were ecstatic and couldn’t stop eating. Da Zhuang’s entire family had to pull Da Zhuang away in order to stop the children from eating all the cake. However, since they ate a lot, they couldn’t let the children get indigestion and could only have them take a walk to digest.
And so, Xu Zhao grabbed a flashlight and took Xu Fan to talk in the field. Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng followed. As they walked, Cui Qingfeng used his foot to lightly tap Xu Fan’s little butt. Xu Fan turned around and asked, “Who kicked me?”
No one paid attention to Xu Fan.
After a while, Cui Qingfeng kicked Xu Fan again.
Xu Fan still didn’t see who it was. He raised his head to Xu Zhao and said, “Daddy, let’s go home.”
Xu Zhao asked, “Why do you want to go home?”
“Because t-t-there is a ghost kicking my butt here.”
Xu Zhao: “…”
Cui Qingfeng: “…”
Cui Dingchen: “…”
Cui Qingfeng stopped kicking and rubbed Xu Fan’s meaty little face. He obediently followed Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen. They checked on the vegetable greenhouse along the way. When they left the big greenhouse and returned to the Xu family’s main hall, Mother and Father Xu were in the west wing, preparing the bed for Xu Zhao and Xu Fan. Since it was cold today, they added another layer of blankets for them.
As they were tidying up, thinking that the two packages on the bed were the blankets Xu Zhao had purchased, they opened them. As a result, they were very thick down jackets.
Mother Xu grabbed the down jacket and said, “Xu Zhao, you already bought a cotton-padded jacket. Why didn’t you wear it out? Be careful not to get sick.”
Xu Zhao looked at the down jacket and asked, “Cotton-padded jacket? I didn’t buy one.”
“Then what is this?”
“I bought it,” Cui Dingchen answered.
Xu Zhao was stunned and asked, “Who did you buy it for?”
“Why did you buy it for me?” Xu Zhao was very puzzled. It was understandable if he had purchased it for Xu Fan since it was his birthday. But he really couldn’t understand why it was purchased for himself.
Cui Dingchen said, “When I was shopping for Xu Fan, I also bought one for you. Think of it as an early birthday present.”
So that was the case! Xu Zhao immediately accepted it.
“Do I get one?” Cui Qingfeng quickly asked. “Youngest uncle, did you buy me a birthday present as well?”
“Yes,” Cui Dingchen said, “it’s in the car.”
Cui Qingfeng was very happy. “Thank you, Youngest uncle.”
Xu Zhao breathed a sigh of relief.
Mother and Father Xu reprimanded, thinking that Cui Dingchen was being too wasteful. They thought this down jacket had to be very expensive.
Cui Dingchen calmly said, “I didn’t spend a lot.”
Cui Qingfeng urged Xu Zhao to try it on. If it was too big or small, they could exchange it. Xu Zhao tried it on and it fit perfectly. On the other hand, Xu Fan’s was a bit too big. Mother Xu said it was good that it was big. He could wear it for another year. She still thought Cui Dingchen was being too wasteful, and Cui Dingchen objected. He stayed at Xu Zhao’s house for a bit longer before tying Cui Qingfeng’s bike to the top of his car and driving away from South Bay Village with Cui Qingfeng.
Cui Qingfeng was excited about the down jacket. He opened it as soon as he got into the car. As he was happily wearing it, he realized that it was a bit tight around the armpits and said, “Youngest uncle, the jacket you bought is too small.”
“It’s because you got fatter from eating so much,” Cui Dingchen said.
Cui Qingfeng smiled and said, “Then let’s exchange it tomorrow for a bigger size.”
“Okay,” Cui Dingchen replied.
“I’ll exchange it myself. But I’ll take it home to show Mom and see if she thinks it looks good.”
Cui Dingchen sent Cui Qingfeng home and chatted with Father Cui for a bit before returning to his own home. Cui Qingfeng held the down jacket and showed Mother Cui, telling her that Youngest uncle had bought it for him.
Mother Cui didn’t lift her gaze as she said, “Is it too big or too small?”
Cui Qingfeng asked in surprise, “Mom, how do you know it was too small?”
“Do you think I don’t know your youngest uncle? He doesn’t know how to buy clothes. He’s always been like this. Except for buying the perfect size for your dad, he would always get the wrong size for other people. It’s always either too big or too small. And given the fact that there are so many sizes in the store and they’re never the same, he has never bought the right size before. That’s why I haven’t let him buy me clothes in years. Even your dad doesn’t let him buy any.”
“Why does he get the right size for Dad?” Cui Qingfeng held the down jacket and asked.
“Because he pays special attention to your dad and puts his entire heart into it when he’s purchasing clothes for him. Plus, he knows your father very well and knows every little detail. So he wouldn’t buy the wrong thing.”
Cui Qingfeng was originally smiling, but hearing this, he suddenly thought of something and his expression slowly froze.