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Cui Dingchen was shocked, and his entire body froze.
Xu Zhao sleepily looked up at Cui Dingchen’s. He glanced at Cui Dingchen’s hand which had paused next to his face and was stunned for a moment before calling out with doubt, “Youngest uncle?”
Cui Dingchen replied mechanically.
Xu Zhao asked puzzliedly, “What are you doing?”
Cui Dingchen was rarely tongue tied, “I-I-I was tucking in the blanket for you. Xu Fan’s feet were exposed.”
So that was what had happened!
Xu Zhao immediately believed it and spoke in a low tone. “Oh, he moves around a lot in his sleep, so his feet are easily exposed and he’ll move into weird positions.”
“Mn,” Cui Dingchen weakly replied.
“Thank you, Youngest uncle.” Xu Zhao eyes squinted in a wide smile.
Cui Dingchen secretly breathed a sigh of relief. He placed his hand on the quilt and covered Xu Fan up even more before whispering to Xu Zhao, “It’s still early. You should sleep a bit more.”
Xu Zhao stretched out his arm and said, “I won’t sleep anymore. We need to start work soon.”
“Okay, let’s get up then.”
Cui Dingchen left the bed and went to pack his suitcase.
Xu Zhao alos got up from the bed to clean up. Not long later, Xu Fan also woke up. The eyes on his small meaty face squinted as Xu Zhao helped him dress and wash his dress. His small meaty hand held the half bottle of milk. He drank as he followed Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen to the front desk to check out. Then they went to a stall to eat breakfast.
While waiting for breakfast, Xu Fan still held the bottle of milk as he slowly drank the milk. His face was full of sleep as he stood there unmoving and stared at the road. He suddenly heard the sound of cars. He turned his head and saw the bus that was heading to the imperial capital.
This was his first time seeing such a big car. Xu Fan was instantly full of energy as he pointed at the bus and called, “B-b-big car.” Once the chatterbox started, the small mouth refused to stop.
He kept talking and talking and talking until Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen carried their luggage to Cui Dingchen’s transit point to pick up a car. Only then did Xu Fan’s small mouth finally stop.
Since the vegetable greenhouses were all in the countryside or suburbs, it was too troublesome to take a taxi or bike there. Therefore, Xu Zhao agreed to let Cui Dingchen drive his company’s car. Xu Zhao would pay for the gas. The two first visited the more popular vegetable markets in the imperial capital.
Once they arrived at the vegetable market, he noticed that the imperial capital’s vegetable market was very different. There were many people, more vegetables, and it was larger. Xu Zhao immediately entered work mode. He took out his own small notebook and wrote down all the vegetables he saw there.
He observed the sales of the vegetables and also asked the stall owners about the price of their vegetables, when they would come to the market, etc. The people of this era were really too hospitable. Not only did they enthusiastically answer Xu Zhao’s questions, they even told Xu Zhao where all the large greenhouses that had vegetables and fruits were.
Xu Zhao really liked the people of this era. In order to show his gratitude, he specially bought a pocket full of apples since it was too inconvenient to buy vegetables right now. He then got into the car with Cui Dingchen and Xu Fan.
After they got into the car, Xu Zhao said, “Youngest uncle, didn’t you have something you needed to do in the imperial capital? How about you go do it first? I can rent a bicycle and take Xu Fan around that way.”
Cui Dingchen said with a smile, “It’s fine. I’m not in a rush. I also wanted to check out the mart and see if there were any areas that needed to be developed.”
Xu Zhao said, “Alright. If there’s anything you need to do, you can leave at any time.”
“Okay. Sit tight.”
“Okay,” Xu Zhao then asked Xu Fan to sit tight as well.
Cui Dingchen drove Xu Zhao and Xu Fan to the southern district of the imperial capital. Rows and rows of vegetable greenhouses could be seen in the distance, making a spectacular sight. Xu Zhao’s greenhouses in South Bay Village were shabby in comparison.
“Wow, so many big greenhouses!” Xu Fan called out in excitement. “Daddy! So many very big greenhouses!”
“That’s right. There’s a lot and they’re very big,” Xu Zhao focused on the greenhouses and said.
The car stopped beside a big greenhouse. They saw five or six women sorting vegetables in front of the greenhouse. Xu Zhao had Cui Dingchen and Xu stay in the car while he got out to ask the women about the situation. Only after getting the answers did he learn that the five or six women were part-timers, and they only knew a limited amount.
Moreover, if he wanted to learn more about the big greenhouse, he would have to find their boss or some agricultural specialists.
However, none of the bosses or agricultural specialists were there today. Therefore, they had come here for nothing. Xu Zhao wasn’t disappointed. Instead, he took the apples from the car and gave them to the women one by one. The women were ecstatic.
Afterward, Xu Zhao sat in Cui Dingchen’s car and left the southern district to wander the large and small markets inside the imperial capital. The two learned about the situation together before going to the eastern, western, and northern districts to inquire about the planting methods of greenhouses for each season.
Although there were some who kept it a secret and didn’t speak up, there were also those who freely spoke the knowledge, since there was a difference between theory and practice. Three days passed like this. Xu Zhao still wanted to go to the greenhouse in the southern district, so he went to the southern district again with Cui Dingchen.
In the end, the bosses still weren’t there and the agricultural specialists weren’t there that morning either. They really were out of luck.
Xu Zhao decided to wait. So he told Cui Dingchen and took Xu Fan from the car. As a result, Cui Dingchen also got out of the car.
Xu Zhao looked at Cui Dingchen with doubt.
Cui Dingchen calmly said with a smile, “I’ll wait with you.”
Xu Zhao had been troubling Cui Dingchen this entire time, so he didn’t argue with his “I’ll wait with you.” He brought out two cloth bags from the car and spread them on the side of the road by the ditch.
It was early spring, but it was still cold. However, green grass spurted from the ditch. There would occasionally be some small and tiny flowers scattered within the grasses. It was particularly beautiful, making the people who saw them feel very happy. And mixed with the warm spring breeze, it made it all even more pleasant.
Xu Zhao, Cui Dingchen, and Xu Fan sat by the ditch chatting and waiting. They waited until noon before Xu Zhao pulled out apples, deep-fried noodle cake, deep-fried dough cake, and dried fish from the big black cloth bag, before taking out Cui Dingchen’s thermos. The three sat by the ditch and ate lunch.
“Is it good?” Xu Zhao asked Xu Fan.
Xu Fan was really easy to take care of and ate the fish meat Xu Zhao had fed him. His face was full of satisfaction as he said, “Very, very good. So happy.”
He was happy as long as it tasted good. What a cute little guy!
Xu Zhao laughed.
The father and son’s smiles were infectious, and they had especially infected Cui Dingchen. The environment here was pleasant and his beloved person was also here. He also couldn’t help but bring out a smile. This was the first time Cui Dingchen let out a smile. His eyebrows bent slightly, making others reminisce of the spring breeze. His entire person became even more vivid.
Xu Zhao had never expected Cui Dingchen to be so handsome when he smiled. Xu Zhao couldn’t help but ask, “Youngest uncle, you should smile more. You look so handsome.”
Cui Dingchen’s smile didn’t change. His gaze to Xu Zhao was gentle as he asked, “Do you like it when I smile like this?”
Xu Zhao nodded without thinking and said, “I do.”
Cui Dingchen quickly followed up with another question. “Then do you also like me?”
Xu Zhao was hondest as he nodded. “I do.”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “I do. Youngest uncle, you’re honest, kind, fair. You’re capable, always willing to help, and you’re very handsome. Most people would like you.”
Cui Dingchen lightly smiled. He had long known that this was how Xu Zhao had perceived him. It was a lot better than before. At the very least, it wasn’t like before when all he knew how to say was “thank you.” It was very good like this. Very good.
He would take it slow. Take it slow. There was no rush. No rush at all. He couldn’t scare off Xu Zhao and Xu Fan. Therefore, Cui Dingchen’s expression was the same as always. After hearing Xu Zhao’s words, he watched Xu Fan, who was on the side, along with Xu Zhao.
Xu Fan was now full and couldn’t sit still anymore. He stood up and said to Xu Zhao, “Daddy, I want to play.”
Xu Zhao asked, “You don’t know anyone here. Where would you go to play?”
Xu Fan earnestly said, “I’ll go for a walk.”
Go for a walk?
He had learned the phrase “go for a walk” from Father Xu. However, coming from Xu Fan’s small mouth, it made Xu Zhao laugh. Xu Fan asked with a smile, “Where are you going to walk to? There’s only water here. What happens if you fall into the water?”
Xu Fan tiled his small head to the side, thinking about it before answering, “I’ll stay away from the water. I won’t fall in if I stay away from the water.”
Xu Zhao said with a smile, “Alright. You go take a walk. I’ll watch you.”
“Mn. I’ll go walk over there.”
Xu Fan leisurely walked along the ditch, looking all around as he went.
Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen sat by the ditch and watched. Xu Fan kept walking by the ditch, humming a song for a while before crouching on the side of the road to watch the ants for a while. Xu Zhao watched from a distance.
“Have some water,” Cui Dingchen said.
Xu Zhao turned his head to look at Cui.
Cui Dingchen handed the thermos to Xu.
Xu Zhao turned around and said, “I’ll get my cup.”
“It’s fine. You can just use mine.”
“No, I need to feed Xu Fan some water later too.”
“Xu Fan can also just use mine.”
Xu Fan smiled and said, “Xu Fan is a child. He’s very dirty.”
Cui Dingchen said, “It’s fine. I think he’s very good.”
Xu Zhao was slightly stunned. Was this really Cui Dingchen, who hated children, who spoke? As Xu Zhao was lost in thought, he suddenly heard a “splash” from the distance. It sounded as if something had fallen into the ditch.
Xu Zhao’s heart was full of terror as he turned to Xu Fan’s direction. It wasn’t Xu Fan.
He saw Xu Fan standing by the curve with a panicked expression. His small meaty hand pointed to the side of the ditch and said, “Daddy! Daddy! A-a baby fell into the water!”
Xu Zhao quickly ran to Xu Fan’s side.
Cui Dingchen also ran over.
As soon as the two arrived beside the ditch, they saw a small child sinking and quickly disappeared into the water. Before Cui Dingchen could jump into the water, he heard a “splash” sound. Xu Zhao had jumped in first.
Cui Dingchen and Xu Fan called at the same time.