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Cui Qingfeng, who was riding his bicycle to sell Popsicles, saw Xu Zhao sitting under the shade of the tree. Xu Zhao was very handsome. He was also fit, and good tempered. It seemed as if there was a glow coming from his body that made him involuntarily notice him. His heart thumped with happiness as he used force to peddle the bike, and the wheels of the bike spun faster and he soon stopped in front of Xu Zhao.
Cui Qingfeng joyously got off the bike and asked, “Xu Zhao, what are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you,” Xu Zhao bluntly said.
“Waiting for me?” Cui Qingfeng’s heart warmed. This was the first time Xu Zhao had waited for him.
“Mn. How is selling popsicles going today?” Xu Zhao asked.
“I already sold out,” Cui Qingfeng casually said.
Cui Qingfeng smiled and said, “This year is a bumper year and the grain tax was also lowered so everyone is happy, thus willing to spend some pocket change.”
“Then are you heading back to the county town now?”
“Mn.” Cui Qingfeng nodded.
“Can I go to the county town with you?” Xu Zhao asked.
“Do you want to visit the popsicles factory?”
Cui Qingfeng had a hard time concealing his joy. He finally found a peer who was willing to do business with him. Moreover, this person was Xu Zhao, the person he longed for!
“Sure, I’ll take you there now.”
“My son is coming as well,” Xu Zhao said.
Cui Qingfeng looked at Xu Fan. This child looked very similar to Xu Zhao and was very handsome. The only thing was that he was too skinny and looked particularly thin.
Xu Fan pulled Xu Zhao’s hand, his big watery eyes met Cui Qingfeng, measuring him. “Where my Daddy goes, I go. If you’re going to take my Daddy, then you’re taking me as well,” he said.
Cui Qingfeng: “…”
Thereafter, Cui Qingfeng lifted Xu Fan to sit on the front handlebars of the bicycle, while Xu Zhao sat behind him holding the foam box that contained the popsicles. The three arrived at the county town in this way.
Although the county town couldn’t compare to the towns of the 21st century, it was a lot livelier than South Bay Village. Stalls were set up all over the side of the road, selling vegetables, buns, sickles and brooms. There were all sorts of different items. Xu Zhao and Xu Fan curiously looked around.
Especially Xu Fan as this was his first time coming to the county town. He excitedly turned his small face to look all around, his large watery eyes turning in all directions. He looked around all the way to the popsicles factory.
Xu Zhao was afraid that Xu Fan would be carried away, so he brought Xu Fan into his arms as soon as they got off the bicycle.
Xu Fan loved being hugged by Xu Zhao. In the past, Xu Zhao wasn’t close to him, and left him to his grandmother. He never had a chance to get familiar with Xu Zhao, but once he did, he realized his Daddy was very good. He couldn’t help but wrap his small hands around Xu Zhao’s neck, his small head leaned into the crook of Xu Zhao’s shoulder as he enjoyed the treatment.
Xu Zhao let Xu Fan do as he wanted as he followed Cui Qingfeng into the popsicles factory. He had thought the factory would be huge, but once he was in front of it, he realized that it was only a tiled roof. Sugar, Saccharin, pigment, glutinous rice, powdered milk, popsicle paper and sticks were randomly placed inside, and it was extremely messy. Xu Zhao silently looked around.
Xu Zhao waited until they left the popsicles factory before saying, “Cui Qingfeng, this is where you get your stock?”
Cui Qingfeng was puzzled and asked, “Yes. What’s wrong?”
Xu Zhao tried not to show his disdain in his voice. “It’s a bit messy.”
“It might be a bit messy, but it’s not dirty.”
“However, don’t you think their popsicles manufacturing process is a bit too simple?”
“It’s not simple. I’ve tried it multiple times before, and it always came out unpalatable.”
“You must have mixed something up.”
“I didn’t. I bought all the proper tools, but the ones I made were too unpalatable, so I never made it again.”
Xu Zhao grasped the key point and immediately asked, “You have the tools to make it?”
“Do you have a refrigerator in your house?” Xu Zhao continued to ask.
“My home doesn’t, but my youngest uncle’s home does. I can bring my youngest uncle’s refrigerator to my house since my home also has electricity.”
“Did your youngest uncle owe you in his last life or something?” Xu Zhao joked.
“Cui Qingfeng chuckled and said, “I will be filial to my youngest uncle in the future.”
Xu Zhao switched topics and said, “Then how about I visit your house now and make a batch as a test?”
“Alright. However, I should tell you something first. My home is very shabby.”
“Is it shabbier than my house?”
“It’s not,” Cui Qingfeng said a bit emotionally. “However, my father is sick in bed, and my youngest uncle pays for all the medical expenses and medicine. Although my youngest uncle refuses to let me pay him back, I don’t want him to have to pay that much.”
It was a very helpless situation.
Xu Zhao reached out to pat Cui Qingfeng on the shoulder to comfort him.
Cui Qingfeng shot Xu Zhao a smile and said, “My dad will have a surgery soon and he’ll be fine after that.”
“He will get better,” Xu Zhao consoled.
Xu Zhao followed Cui Qingfeng to his home. After greeting Cui Qingfeng’s parents, he and Cui Qingfeng entered the kitchen. Cui Qingfeng took out the popsicle mold, sugar, and all the other ingredients.
Cui Qingfeng actually didn’t have much hope that Xu Zhao could make popsicles. Xu Zhao looked like he was able to make use of all the tools, but the reason Cui Qingfeng invited Xu Zhao to his house was to make friends with him, so that they could help each other in the future. Of course, it would be even better if Xu Zhao developed feelings for him.
However, it was clear that it was unlikely since Xu Zhao was so handsome. How could Xu Zhao like someone like him?
“I’m almost done,” Xu Zhao said.
Cui Qingfeng saw the colorful, water-like popsicles inside the popsicle mold, and asked, “It’s done?”
“Not yet. We still need to place it in the refrigerator and freeze it for two to three hours before taking it out and wrapping it in popsicle paper. Then it will become a popsicle.
“That’s it?” Cui Qingfeng asked.
“It’s that simple?”
“It’s that simple. Did you think it would be harder?”
Cui Qingfeng looked at the good looking half finished product with some skepticism. In the end, he said, “Well, alright. I’ll place them in the refrigerator. Now, let’s go eat.”
“Eat? No need. I need to head home.”
“I’ll treat you to a meal.”
“There’s no need. I still need to take care of something at home.”
“Then I’ll send you home.”
“No need. You should go take care of your dad. I can head home myself. It’s not far.”
Xu Zhao insisted not to let Cui Qingfeng send him home, and told him that the popsicles will be ready in three to four hours. Afterwards, he carried Xu Fan, left Cui Qingfeng’s home, and walked onto the expansive roads of the county town. Although it was evening, it was still very lively. There were numerous stalls on the road selling buns, tea eggs, and bean curd jelly.
Xu Zhao glanced at Xu Fan who was in his arms.
Xu Fan placed his fingers inside his small mouth, his eyes unable to leave the bun stalls by the side of the road.
“Xu Fan,” Xu Zhao called.
Xu Fan immediately took his fingers out of his mouth.
“Do you want to eat?” Xu Zhao asked with a smile.
Xu Fan furiously nodded.
“Then let’s go eat.”
“Daddy, do you have any money?”
“Will we spend it all?”
“We won’t. We’ll still have a lot of money left over after buying the buns.”
Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan to the vendor’s stall, and used four cents to buy a deep-fried breadstick, six cents to buy a tea egg, 10 cents for two meat buns, and 12 cents for two bowls of bean curd jelly. In total, he spent 32 cents. When the soft meat buns appeared in front of Xu Fan, he became so excited that his clear saliva flowed down his small red lips.
Xu Zhao: “…”
Although it was a bit 囧1This is an emoji, usually used to express embarrassment or the wtf feeling., it was still very cute.
“Daddy, can I eat it?”
“Wait a moment. It’s still a bit hot.”
“It’s not hot.”
Xu Zhao picked up the bun and brought it up to his mouth to blow on it before handing it to Xu Fan.
Xu Fan’s small hand grabbed a bun. As soon as he took a bite, he was unable to stop. He lowered his head and gobbled it down.
Whether it was Xu Zhao or Xu Fan, both their stomachs were lacking oil and food, so they couldn’t eat much. The deep-fried breadstick was too oily, so they packed it to go and put it in their pockets. Afterwards, the father and son started walking in the direction of South Bay Village.
Xu Zhao took Xu Fan’s small hand.
“Daddy, the meat was so good. I’m so full,” Xu Fan happily said.
Xu Zhao laughed. “Mn. Once Daddy makes money, I’ll let you eat it everyday. I’ll let you eat all you want.”
“Daddy, I’m going to grow tall.”
“Yes, you’ll grow to be very tall.”
“I’ll grow taller than Dawa and Erwa. If they try to bully me again… I-I-I’ll pull them by the arm and throw them out!”
“You’re so amazing.”
“Mn. I dreamt that I was so amazing and sent Dawa and Erwa flying.”
So he dreamt that he became superman and taught his eldest brother and second brother a lesson. Xu Zhao blushed with shame.
After about ten minutes of walking, Xu Zhao hugged Xu Fan in his arms as he continued walking towards South Bay Village.
At this time, the sky was already dark. His gaze flicked across the wheat fields that spread as far as the eye could see. In the village in the distance, the kerosene lamps were already lit, giving off a weak light that gave the quiet night a more whimsical feel.
“Daddy,” Xu Fan called.
“When will you make money?”
“Can you really make money tomorrow?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Are you done yet?”
While Xu Fan was calling out “Daddy,” they had arrived in South Bay Village. When they got to the entrance of South Bay Village, Xu Fan had already fallen asleep in his arms. Arriving at the Xu family’s home, he realized that their gate was bolted. He could only knock on the door. After knocking for a while did someone finally respond. “Who is it?”
“It’s me, Xu Zhao.”
The other side got quiet again.
Xu Zhao continued to knock on the door.
Shortly afterwards, Xu Dawa ran over and opened the door. He muttered a scolding before turning to run off again.
Xu Zhao didn’t lower himself to his level, and carried Xu Fan to the thatched hut instead. He went into the kitchen to heat up some hot water, and was about to wipe Xu Fan’s body when there was suddenly a knock on the thatched hut’s door. Moreover, the knock sounded a bit…rushed.
Xu Fan was startled awake, his sleepy eyes looked at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao rubbed Xu Fan’s small face and asked, “Who is it?”
“It’s me,” Cui Qingfeng’s urgent voice came from outside the door. “Quickly open the door. Quick!”
“What’s wrong?” Xu Zhao asked.
Aww, Xu Fan is so cute. My heart is melting.