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Xu Zhao quickly held Xu Fan and chased after Cui Dingchen and said, “Youngest uncle, I’ll carry it.”
Cui Dingchen’s tone was the same as usual as he said, “I’ll carry it.”
“It’s very heavy.”
“It’s not heavy. Let’s go.”
“Watch where you step and walk properly. I’ll carry it. You take care of Xu Fan.”
Looking at the bustling crowd, Xu Zhao was afraid of not being able to properly care for Xu Fan. Se he didn’t fight over the luggage anymore and said with a smile, “Then, thank you, Youngest uncle. I’ll have to trouble you, Youngest uncle.”
Xu Zhao didn’t pay any more attention to the luggage. He carried Xu Fan as he followed Cui Dingchen. The confusion on Xu Fan’s little face finally faded and was now full of excitement for all the new things. Just as Xu Zhao was also curious about all the new things.
This was also Xu Zhao’s first time at the West Prefecture’s train station. It was a bit better than he thought. At the very least, it was complete with a ticket hall, public square, and waiting room. People came and went carrying a snakeskin bag or directly lugging around their quilt or holding their purses. There were all sorts of people and it was very lively.
However, the train station was a bit small. Most of the signs were handwritten. Overall, it was very good, but he didn’t know if there were any different procedures for sitting on the train.
In any case, he just followed Cui Dingchen. Nothing happened on the way as they entered the train area. The worker checked the tickets, they got on the platform, and squeezed their way through onto the train and to their couchette. Both the tickets were for the lower bunk, therefore, Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen didn’t need to climb up high. They placed their luggage on top of the beds or beside the beds, then sat on their respective beds to read.
Xu Zhao looked at Xu Fan.
Xu Fan had never ridden a train before or had even seen one before. He was currently curious about everything. He didn’t speak as his watery eyes looked around curiosity.
Cui Dingchen didn’t understand and asked, “What’s wrong with Xu Fan? His little mouth is usually chattering nonstop, yet he actually hasn’t said a thing today.”
Xu Zhao patted Xu Fan’s little head and answered, “Only when he’s in a familiar environment.”
“He needs to be in a familiar environment?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Mn. This is when he’s most obedient. Oh, right. Youngest uncle, do you want some water? When I entered, I saw that they had boiled water in the front. I’ll go pour you a cup.”
Cui Dingchen said, “I brought some myself.”
Xu Zhao said, “Then I’ll go get myself some water.”
“I have some here.”
“No need. I can just go get some myself.
“There’s a lot of people right now. Drink mine for now.”
Xu Zhao glanced at the other passengers coming in and out of the couchette. He didn’t insist on getting his own water. He watched as Cui Dingchen opened his small leather suitcase. The suitcase was very tidy with a few folded clothes. Besides it was also neat with a thermos that had a landscape painted on it as well as other daily necessities.
Just from a glance, he could be seen as a neat and careful person!
Knowing how Cui Dingchen liked cleanliness, Xu Zhao immediately bent down and took his enamel tea mug from his black bag. He then brought it in front of Cui Dingchen and said, “You can just pour me a little bit.”
Cui Dingchen paused, his eyes lifted to look at Xu Zhao, but he didn’t say anything. He unscrewed the lid, poured half a cup full of the still steaming boiled water for Xu Zhao. Xu Zhao tested the temperature, and found it was just right after drinking it, then called, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Zhao lowered his head to look at Xu Fan.
Xu Zhao asked, “Do you want to drink water?”
Xu Fan nodded.
Xu Fan said, “I wanna drink.”
Xu Zhao held the tea mug to Xu Fan’s mouth, Xu Fan took two gulps to quench his thirst. His body and mind felt free as he said, “Daddy, what is this s-small house?”
Xu Zhao explained with a smile, “This isn’t a tiny house, it’s the train.”
“This is a tiny house.”
“No, it’s the train.”
Xu Fan insisted, “It’s a tiny house.”
Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan to the window just in time to see another train outside. Xu Zhao pointed at the rail tracks, train wheels, and carriages, then carefully explained it to Xu Fan.
Finally, Xu Fan summed it up, “Daddy, trains are small houses that can run!”
Xu Zhao nodded and said, “That’s right!”
“M-my big house can’t run.”
“If my big house can run, I’ll take Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma and Da Zhuang and Grandma Can and Uncle Cui and Second Grandpa Cui t-to run together!”
“Mn,” Xu Zhao replied.
When Cui Dingchen, who had been reading the newspaper, heard the three words “Second Grandpa Cui,” the corners of his mouth gently raised as he continued to read the newspaper.
At this time, the train started moving.
Xu Fan’s watery eyes immediately widened. His small hand pointed out the window as he shouted, “Daddy! Daddy! The train is moving! It’s running!”
Xu Zhao quickly covered Xu Fan’s small mouth. “This is a public area. Lower your voice.”
Xu Fan nodded.
Xu Zhao loosened his hold over Xu Fan’s mouth.
Xu Fan continued to stare outside the window. His face was full of excitement as he said, “Daddy, the train is very fast. It’s running in a whoosh. Going woosh and choo choo. Taking the small train as it choo choo. Daddy, isn’t that right?”
Xu Zhao replied, “That’s right.”
“Hmm?” Xu Zhao replied.
“I want to sit there and look.”
Xu Fan pointed his small finger to Cui Dingchen’s bed. If he sat over there, it would be perfect to see the scenery in the front. Xu Fan really knew how to choose.
Without waiting for Xu Zhao to refuse, Cui Dingchen said, “Let him sit here and look.”
“Youngest uncle, what about you then?” Xu Zhao asked embarrassedly.
“I’ll just sit—” Cui Dingchen actually wanted to sit beside Xu Zhao but on the way here, he learned that Xu Zhao had done a lot of farm work today. He had gotten up today before the sun had even risen, so he probably needed some rest. If he sat over there, Xu Zhao would insist on not napping. Therefore, he changed his mind and said, “I’ll just sit here.”
Xu Zhao thought of another solution and said, “Why don’t we switch seats?”
“No need to change. Just have Xu Fan sit beside me. I’ll help you watch him. You should sleep for a bit. Sleep, then you can wake up to eat lunch.”
Since Cui Dingchen said that… Xu Zhao was indeed a bit sleepy, but before going to sleep, he handed Xu Fan a pickled plum powder and Tang Seng Meat. He then sat opposite Xu Fan as he watched Xu Fan before turning to watch the scenery outside the window with Xu Fan. As he watched, he really couldn’t help it slump onto the bed and fall asleep.
Cui Dingchen placed the newspaper and unfolded the blanket beside Xu Zhao to cover Xu Zhao’s body. He lifted his head to look at the middle bunk. The passenger in the top bunk was already asleep. He then sat back in his original spot and called, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Fan turned his head to look at Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen’s expression was as usual as he said, “Your daddy is sleeping so don’t disturb your daddy.”
Xu Fan glanced at the sleeping Xu Zhao then back to Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen asked, “Do you understand?”
Xu Fan immediately said, “Yes, I’m very obedient.”
Cui Dingchen nodded and said, “Tell me if you need anything.”
Xu Fan immediately said, “I want to drink water.”
“I want to drink water. I’m thirsty.”
Cui Dingchen grabbed the thermos cup from the small table and handed it to Xu Fan. He then thought of how Xu Zhao had fed Xu Fan the water. So he unscrewed the lip and brought the cup to Xu Fan’s lips before tilting it back slightly. Hearing Xu Fan gulping sound finish, he finally placed the thermos back on the small table.
Xu Fan was attracted to the landscape painting on the thermos. After looking at it, he said again, “Second Grandpa Cui, I’m thirsty again.”
Cui Dingchen fed more water to Xu Fan.
After a while, Xu Fan said again, “Second Grandpa Cui, I want to drink water.”
Cui Dingchen once again fed Xu Fan more water.
Until it had all been drunk.
Cui Dingchen said, “There’s no more water.”
Xu Fan finally stopped asking for water, then turned to the window and said, “Second Grandpa Cui, there’s lambs.”
Cui Dingchen looked at the newspaper as he agreed.
“There’s so much wheat.”
“Wow! There’s another train over there.
“Quiet down a bit.”
“There’s another train over there. There’s so many tiny houses on the train.”
“Quiet down a bit.”
Xu Fan glanced at Cui Dingchen, who was intently reading the newspaper, then looked at Xu Zhao on the other side who was sleeping, before looking at the passengers to his side who were also sleeping. He heard chatter from the neighbors and looked at Cui Dingchen again and said, “I need to pee.”
Cui Dingchen put away the newspaper and looked at Xu Fan.
Xu Fan said, “I need Daddy. I need to pee.”
“I’ll take you.”
Cui Dingchen put the newspaper down and stood from the bed. He said to Xu Fan, “Let’s go,”
Xu Fan got up from the bed and walked toward the walkway.
Cui Dingchen followed behind and said, “Turn right. Turn right.”
Xu Fan turned his head and raised his small meaty face to ask,”What does turn right mean?”
“…Go that way.” Cui Dingchen pointed his finger to the right. Xu Fan immediately turned right and walked straight.
Cui Dingchen closely followed all the way until they arrived at the bathroom. Cui Dingchen said, “Stop.”
Xu Fan stopped.
Cui Dingchen glanced at the toilet and said, “Wait a second.”
Xu Fan asked, “Why?”
“There’s someone in the bathroom.”
“Tell him to come out.”
“…Wait a second. It’s better to wait till they’re done.”
Children who didn’t have a complete family tended to not be as mischievous. Xu Fan was also like this, and he obediently stood in front of Cui Dingchen as they waited. He waited with Cui Dingchen for the bathroom. As they waited, Xu Fan raised his small head and said, “Second Grandpa Cui, I need to pee.”
Cui Dingchen asked, “Can’t hold it anymore?”
Xu Fan said with grievance, “Mn.”
Cui Dingchen reached out to knock on the door, and the person inside the bathroom finally came out. This person wasn’t using the toilet but was crying. No wonder they took so long. They probably couldn’t bear to leave home.
Cui Dingchen didn’t pay attention to this person as he said to Xu Fan, “Go ahead and use the bathroom.”
Xu Fan said, “I don’t know how to take off my pants.”
Cui Dingchen asked, “You don’t know how to take them off?”
“I’m a baby. I don’t know how to take off my pants this year. I won’t know until next year.” In fact, it was because his clothes were too thick so he couldn’t take them off.
And so, Cui Dingchen squatted down and first clumsily took out Xu Fan’s small cotton-padded pants before taking off his thermal underwear.
This was the first time Cui Dingchen had taken off a child’s pants. It was even more troublesome than having to work on his documents. He thought that it was completely different than how adults wore clothes. And he didn’t know what the best way to take off the clothes was.
Xu Fan stood at the bathroom door, his small meaty hand wrapped his small jacket as he urged, “Second Grandpa Cui, hurry, hurry. I can’t hold it any longer.”
Cui Dingchen said, “Wait a second.”
“Hurry.” Xu Fan urgently stomped his small feet. “I’m about to pee my pants.”
Cui Dingchen finally took off Xu Fan’s thermal underwear and carried Xu Fan by his shoulders into the bathroom. Just as Xu Fan wasn’t able to hold it in any longer, he had finally saved his pants. His entire head was covered in a thin layer of sweat as they returned back to their seats. Xu Zhao had also woken up.
Xu Fan opened his mouth to complain. “Daddy, Second Grandpa Cui, he’s stupid.”
Cui Dingchen: “…”