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Reject Xu Fan?
Reject. He rejected him very much. The first time he saw Xu Fan, the first thing Cui Dingchen thought was that he had to get far away from Xu Fan, that child or else Xu Fan would cry, make a fuss, and be unreasonable. He always thought that children came from another planet. They were weak and troublesome.
The second time he saw Xu Fan, he still rejected him… He himself didn’t from when it started that he didn’t reject him as much anymore. So much so that every time he saw Xu Fan, he would see a small face that resembled Xu Zhao, looking very lively and cheerful. He slowly started to like Xu Fan.
That was right. He liked Xu Fan a tiny bit.
Cui Dingchen replied without concealing anything. “I rejected him in the past, but not anymore. Moreover, I even like him a bit. What about you?”
He liked Xu Fan—If this was said by someone else, Xu Zhao might have doubted them, but Cui Dingchen was the one who said it. Cui Dingchen rarely spoke and never lied. Hearing this, Xu Zhao’s heart burst with joy as he answered, “Me too.”
Cui Dingchen raised an eyebrow and asked, “You too what?”
Xu Zhao answered truthfully, “I rejected you in the past, but not anymore.”
“What about the second half?” The second half meant “Even like him a bit?”
Xu Zhao didn’t answer and quickly looked at Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen felt Xu Zhao non-rejection. His heart filled with joy, and he cast a soft smile as he asked, “Since when did you stop rejecting me?”
Xu Zhao thought about it and said, “I don’t know either.”
“After going to the imperial capital?” Cui Dingchen asked.
“It was before that,” Xu Zhao replied.
It turned out he wasn’t being rejected anymore since long ago.
The smile on Cui Dingchen’s face was even wider. His gaze was gentle as it stayed on Xu Zhao’s handsome face. His hand was still holding Xu Zhao’s hand, and Xu Zhao didn’t try to shake him off either. They stayed like this until they heard Xu Fan’s shout, and Xu Zhao released his hand in panic. His ears were a bit red.
“Daddy! Daddy! Let’s go home!”
Xu Zhao turned around and replied to Xu Fan before saying to Cui Dingchen, “Y-Youngest uncle, you should quickly go home. I’m heading home as well.”
Cui Dingchen lightly smiled as he nodded.
Xu Zhao carried their luggage as he walked toward Xu Fan. When they entered the village, he couldn’t help but turn his head to look back at Cui Dingchen.
Cui Dingchen smiled and said, “Wait for me to come back.”
Xu Zhao curiously asked, “Where are you going?”
Cui Dingchen replied, “On a business trip. Theres… There’s also some other things I need to take care of. I’ll be back soon. Wait for me.”
Wait for me.
Xu Zhao lightly smiled, looking very neat and handsome. He looked very good.
Cui Dingchen watched him and watched as Xu Zhao entered South Bay Village and disappeared around the corner before slowly withdrawing his gaze. He looked at his palm and felt that Xu Zhao’s temperature still lingered on his palm. It felt cool and comfortable. This was Xu Zhao’s temperature… Mn, just a bit. Just a tiny bit. He couldn’t rush. Couldn’t rush at all. This was good. This was already very good. Very, very good.
Cui Dingchen couldn’t contain his happiness. He happily smiled. This was the first time he smiled so happily. He felt that everything was good in the world. It wasn’t until a while later that he finally drove the car away. Before leaving South Bay Village, he glanced towards the direction of Xu Zhao’s house again, his mind full of thoughts of Xu Zhao.
At this time, Xu Zhao was also thinking about Cui Dingchen. He wasn’t thinking about anything specific regarding Cui Dingchen. He was just a bit excited, a bit happy, felt a bit of longing, and a bit of apprehension. He was apprehensive of Cui Dingchen’s method. Did everyone in this era act this way? In any case, ever since the night of the day before yesterday, his mind had been in chaos. And even now, it was still in chaos.
“Daddy!” Xu Fan shouted.
Xu Zhao came back to his senses and turned to Xu Fan.
Xu Fan asked, “Daddy, where are you going?”
Xu Zhao replied, “Going home.”
“You’re going the wrong way. Home isn’t this way!” Xu Fan’s small meaty hand pointed behind them.
Only then did Xu Zhao realize that he had only been paying to his chaotic mind and had gone the wrong way. He quickly turned back and said to Xu Fan apologetically, “Sorry, I went the wrong way.”
Xu Fan emulated an adult and said, “It’s fine. I forgive you.”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Thank you for forgiving me.”
The father and son spoke back and forth. When they returned home, they thought they would see Mother and Father Xu waiting enthusiastically to welcome them home, but they didn’t expect for the main door and the back door to be wide open. They didn’t see a sign of Mother and Father Xu either.
“Grandpa! Grandma! I’m back!”
Xu Fan and Xu Zhao called together, but the courtyard was empty. Xu Zhao put down his luggage, and searched the entire house with suspension. He took Xu Fan to the vegetable greenhouse. When they exited from the back door, they finally saw Mother and Father Xu, Da Zhuang’s father, as well as two unknown men standing in front of the greenhouse. The two unknown men seemed to want to buy vegetables. After carrying two bundles of vegetables to their bicycles, they happily left.
Xu Zhao and Xu Fan then called out to Mother and Father Xu.
Mother and Father Xu turned to look and saw Xu Zhao and Xu Fan. They and Da Zhuang’s father happily ran over to surround them and ask Xu Zhao numerous questions. When it was almost noon, Da Zhuang’s father went home for lunch.
Mother and Father Xu’s gaze wandered back and forth between Xu Zhao and Xu Fan. They hadn’t seen them for two weeks, but it felt like half a century. The two elders held Xu Fan’s small meaty hand as they chatted.
Xu Fan even snuggled into Father Xu’s arms coquettishly. His small mouth chattered nonstop. “Grandma, I rode the big train.”
Mother Xu put on a surprised expression. “Oh, Sanwa rode the train. Grandma never rode the train before. Sanwa, you should tell Grandma all about the train.”
“The train is a small house.”
“Mn. It’s a small house that can run! Chugga chugga choo choo. It’s really fast!”
Xu Fan spoke nonstop.
The two elders gazed at Xu Fan with a face full of happiness. They couldn’t look enough. It wasn’t until a while later that Mother Xu moved her gaze away and turned to Xu Zhao and said, “Sanwa has become handsome since going to the imperial capital.”
Xu Zhao looked at Xu and said, “He didn’t.”
“He did. He became a lot more handsome. He’ll look even better when he gets taller.”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “I hope so.”
Mother Xu then stared at Xu Zhao and said, “You also became more handsome.
Xu Zhao laughed. “I’m already grown. How could I have changed?”
Mother Xu insisted, “You became more handsome. Your eyes are shining.”
“Really? I don’t think I changed.”
“Perhaps it’s because your mood is different.” After Mother Xu said this, she suddenly thought of something and asked, “Oh right. Where’s the Cui family’s youngest uncle?”
At the mention of Cui Dingchen, Xu Zhao’s heart inexplicably skipped a beat. He forced himself to calm down, and Xu Zhao spoked at a normal speed, “He went home.”
Mother Xu asked again, “He sent you guys here before going home?”
Xu Zhao nodded.
Mother Xu continued, “Has he always been with you these past ten days?”
Xu Zhao nodded again. He suddenly remembered that from the start, Cui Dingchen had said that he needed to go to the imperial capital to take care of something. In the end, Cui Dingchen was constantly with them for the past two weeks. He didn’t leave to take care of anything. Perhaps… Xu Zhao’s heart became chaotic again.
“Oh, my. Xu Zhao.” Mother Xu signed this time. “The Cui family’s youngest uncle is really good. He has treated our family really well. He lent us money and helped us out a lot. In this day and age, there are few people like this anymore. We must properly thank him later.”
“Mmhmm,” Xu Zhao responded absentmindedly. He kept feeling embarrassed at having Cui Dingchen being mentioned at this time. His already chaotic mind became even more chaotic, so he quickly changed the topic and asked Mother Xu about the situation in South Bay Village.
In the past two weeks, Xu Zhao would call home every three to five days. Since the phone fee was expensive, he would basically report that he was safe before hanging up. Therefore, he wasn’t aware of the current situation in South Bay Village. It was only now that he found out from Mother Xu that Xu Youcheng was released. Released from jail.
Xu Zhao asked in surprise, “When was he released?”
Mother Xu replied, “He was released a few days after you went to the imperial capital.”
After calculating the time, it seemed the four-month sentence was up.
Xu Zhao shielded away from Father Xu and whispered to Mother Xu, “Then after he was released, did he cause you two any trouble?”
“No,” Mother Xu quickly answered.
“He hasn’t?” Xu Zhao was surprised.
Mother Xu whispered, “He hasn’t. After his reform, he has completely changed.”
“Changed? How so?” Xu Zhao really couldn’t imagine how Xu Youcheng could have changed.
Mother Xu’s voice lowered two degrees more as she said, “He became skinnier and more honest. He even especially came to see me and your dad. His words have become less vile. I heard the fellow villagers say that after he went to jail, not only did he work everyday, he was also beaten very severely.
“Xu Youcheng was beaten until he became honest. Now he even speaks softer than he did before. I also heard the villagers say that people like Xu Youcheng who already have a criminal record, if they commit another offense, their work would increase and they would get beaten up even more. After this time, his whole personality changed.”
Hearing this, Xu Youcheng signed. There were no fixed rules in this era, and everyone loathed all evil. Xu Youcheng probably suffered a lot in jail.
Xu Zhao was still immersed in thoughts regarding Xu Youcheng while Mother Xu told Xu Zhao matters regarding Zhou Xiangqian. She said Zhou Xiangqian frequently called their house and poured out his heart to Mother Xu. He expressed his fondness for Xu Zhao and that he was willing to live together with Xu Fan. He hoped he could have a good talk with Xu Zhao and stuff like that.
However, Xu Zhao had already blacklisted Zhou Xiangqian long ago. Therefore, he didn’t have a good tone when he asked, “Talk about what? Didn’t we have Da Zhuang’s grandma make it clear to them?”
Mother Xu added, “She did. I just have a good opinion of Zhou Xiangqian. He would call every two or three days, and he really likes you. I think this person is very good…”
Xu Zhao directly refused, “I don’t think so.”
“…That’s not it. Da Zhuang’s grandma said that Zhou Xiangqian is a very good person—”
“Enough, Mom. Xu Fan said he was hungry, and I’m also a bit hungry. Let’s not talk about this anymore. Let’s quickly cook. I really want to eat your stir-fried potato.” Xu Fan immediately pulled Mother Xu into the kitchen.
Mother Xu could only let go of this topic and follow Xu Zhao into the kitchen. As they just stepped into the kitchen, the phone in the west wing rang.
Xu Fan still remembered what the phone was and quickly stood from Father Xu’s embrace. His eyes were wide as he ran to Xu Zhao and said, “Daddy, the phone is ringing. I’m going to answer it.”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Go ahead.”
Xu Fan immediately turned around and padded his small short legs and ran to the new table in the west wing. He stood on his tip-toes and reached out his small meaty hands to grab the phone. He said hello as soon as he answered it, but in the end, he noticed something was wrong on the other side of the phone.
He turned to look at the phone then muttered a sentence “Oh, I’m holding it wrong. I’ll do it again.” He then held the phone corrected and placed it against his plump ears and earnestly said, “Hi. Hello. I-I-I’m Sanwa. Who are you looking for?”