Chapter 103: Fruit and Veggie Teething Treats
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Sure enough, the Shen family was already in an abyss of suffering.
When Shen Fu returned, he didn’t even get to see Grandfather or Brother Shen before he was dragged into a room by Mama Shen.
“Xiao Fu, tell me the truth. When did you find out about your brother and Jiang Cheng? How much do you know?”
Mama Shen was never this serious, and naturally, Shen Fu didn’t dare to conceal anything or lie to her. One reason was because he didn’t want to deceive his mother, but another reason was that if he still hid anything in this kind of situation, it wouldn’t be helping his brother, but rather adding fuel to the fire.
Shen Fu answered honestly, “I only found out the day before I went back to S City.”
When Mama Shen heard that, she frowned.
Shen Fu opened his mouth, wanting to speak, but he was immediately interrupted by Mama Shen. “Don’t say anything else. I’m well aware of the situation myself.”
Shen Fu had no choice but to shut up. He didn’t know what had happened between Brother Shen and Jiang Cheng before, but it definitely wasn’t something insignificant if it would make Mama Shen keep it a secret. He and Lin ShuYi had happened first, so even if she opposed it, it couldn’t entirely be because the one that Big Brother Shen liked was a man. Then, the problem was most likely Jiang Cheng himself.
Shen Fu’s thoughts raced rapidly, but he really couldn’t think of a substantial way he could help Brother Shen. What’s more, he first had to know whether Jiang Cheng was someone worthy of Brother Shen paying such a huge price.
Many years prior, Jiang Cheng seemed to have been liked quite a bit by the Shen family. From Grandfather Shen to the Shen parents, they all chattered on about how Jiang Cheng, that child, was both smart and sensible. At that age, Shen Fu was only a teenager, and he liked this Jiang Cheng very much, who he referred to as “Uncle” but was really not much older than his big brother. However, in the end, that was a long time ago, and Shen Fu couldn’t really remember what this Jiang Cheng was really like. He only remembered that his eyes seemed to be very deep, and he had a kind of beauty that cut like a knife. All that happened many years ago, and he didn’t know what had happened later between his brother and Jiang Cheng. In any case, Jiang Cheng had left the country, and after Big Brother Shen graduated from college and started working in the Shen conglomerate, seven or eight years had passed just like that.
After that, the Shen family had all forgotten Jiang Cheng, so who would’ve known that he had returned without breathing a word of it to anybody? Besides coming back without telling anyone, he was even together with Brother Shen. How could they not be surprised?
Shen Fu was also surprised. So that was why Jiang Cheng’s name sounded both foreign and familiar. By the time he recalled it, he was completely dumbfounded, but it was evident that the Shen family could accept it even less than he could.
Shen Fu thought a bit before he decided that the final decision for this kind of thing still had to wait until he met Jiang Cheng. But he couldn’t even see his older brother right now, so how could he meet Jiang Cheng?
In the end, Shen Fu’s wish truly did end up being fulfilled. Before he even got to see Brother Shen, he met Jiang Cheng.
He wasn’t very similar to how Shen Fu remembered him to be. Jiang Cheng seemed to be calmer, more imposing. His looks appeared to be somewhat different as well, and the only thing that hadn’t changed was probably the look in his eyes. Clearly, Grandfather Shen was already glaring at him, but Jiang Cheng was still smiling. He sat down across from Grandfather Shen and said, “Grandpa Shen.”
Grandpa? Shen Fu was puzzled. With Jiang Cheng’s position in the family hierarchy, he shouldn’t be calling him grandpa, right?
But he understood after thinking it over. He was calling him in accordance to Brother Shen’s position. Sure enough, Grandfather Shen’s brows knitted immediately. “I’m not your grandpa.”
Grandfather Shen was strict, that was true, but he was never so blatantly stand-offish in front of outsiders. Shen Fu frowned as he stared at the back of Jiang Cheng, sitting below in the drawing room, and he felt anything but reassured.
As he was still ruminating, someone tugged on his sleeve. When Shen Fu looked back, he saw Aunt Shen standing behind him. She jerked her chin and said, “Come with me.”
Shen Fu looked back again at the two people in the drawing room before he went into a room with Aunt Shen.
“It’s best if you don’t get too involved in this matter.” Aunt Shen rested a hand on her stomach and let out a sigh.
Shen Fu didn’t agree or disagree. Instead, he asked, “Does Aunt know what happened?”
Aunt Shen shook her head. “I’ve been out of the country the entire time, so I don’t know the details. But your grandpa is evidently quite angry, and your brother hasn’t returned either…”
“Bro isn’t back yet?” Shen Fu was astonished. No wonder he hadn’t seen Brother Shen yet. If he wasn’t back, how did his grandpa find out?
Aunt Shen saw Shen Fu look at her, and she sighed again. “Don’t ask anymore. It’s up to fate for them now. I do quite like Jiang Cheng, it’s just…” She realized that she shouldn’t be saying this to Shen Fu at all, and Aunt Shen promptly stopped talking. She said to Shen Fu instead, “Xiao Yi isn’t preparing to come back, right?”
Shen Fu thought of Lin ShuYi’s relieved, trusting gaze, and his heart warmed. He nodded and said, “En.”
“That’s good. It’s such a mess in the family right now, and if he comes he can only suffer from the anger with us. Tao Tao needs to be looked after too. Since you’re back already, just stay here in the home.”
Shen Fu nodded and agreed, before Aunt Shen left the room. By the time Shen Fu left as well, Jiang Cheng was already gone, leaving only Grandfather Shen sitting alone in the drawing room, his expression unclear.
Shen Fu remembered that when he had told Grandfather Shen about his own sexual orientation, his grandpa hadn’t revealed such an expression. It seemed that things truly were quite severe?
Shen Fu returned to his own room before he tried giving his brother a call.
The phone rang for a long time without anyone answering. Just when Shen Fu thought that nobody was going to answer it, and he was preparing to hang up, someone picked up.
Brother Shen gave an “en” on the other end. Judging from his voice, he didn’t seem to be in a bad mood. Shen Fu thought a bit before he still decided to just speak frankly; after all, Brother Shen was only unwilling to tell him, but he wouldn’t lie or deceive him. “Bro, have you laid out all your cards on the table with grandpa?”
There was a long silence on the other end. Finally, Brother Shen answered, “It wasn’t me.”
“En?” Shen Fu was confused.
There was another beat of silence, and when Brother Shen spoke again, he seemed to be smiling. “But it doesn’t matter. In any case, I had already decided to tell grandpa. There’s no need for you to worry about this, Bro will resolve it.”
Brother Shen very rarely called himself Bro in front of Shen Fu. To do so now was most likely to gain Shen Fu’s trust, and let him feel at ease.
Actually, Shen Fu wasn’t particularly worried about Brother Shen, because since childhood Brother Shen had never done anything much that had made everyone worry about him. Now, since his own happiness was at stake, he must have definitely made the decision long ago and made failproof preparations.
However, during this kind of moment, he still needed support, right? Shen Fu thought a bit before he announced his own standpoint.
“Bro, I don’t know what happened between you and Jiang Cheng… Jiang Cheng that made it so difficult for grandpa to forgive, but you’ve never insisted on getting many things when you were growing up. So, that’s why I trust that you definitely thought it over for a long time before you made up your mind this time. Since that’s the case, I hope that you won’t compromise. Since it’s your once a lifetime happiness that’s at stake, you have to persevere until the end. I also trust that since you’re persevering so hard, that proves that Jiang Cheng is worthy of being liked by you. If that’s so, then you two don’t need to worry too much about grandpa. No matter what, I think that they all hope that you can be happy.”
After Shen Fu said all that, he finally started to feel as if his flesh was crawling. When did it become him giving advice to Brother Shen? It was truly a different feeling being the one enlightening someone else.
Shen Fu grinned.
On the other end, Brother Shen was also stunned for a moment before he laughed. “En, you know quite a bit. I got it, what you’re worried about won’t happen, you can relax.” Someone said something to Brother Shen on the other end, and he answered, “I’ll be there soon.” Then he told Shen Fu, “Then I’ll hang up first. I’ll be coming back with Jiang Cheng together tomorrow to explain things to grandpa and the rest. Don’t worry anymore.”
Shen Fu made a noise of assent before he hung up.
He believed that Brother Shen would be able to handle the situation well. But now he was a bit suspicious about who told Grandfather Shen about Brother Shen and Jiang Cheng. He knew that entirely different results came out when this kind of thing came from someone else’s mouth versus one’s own mouth. Perhaps the reason Grandfather Shen was so angry was because someone else told him about it first, and it wasn’t guaranteed whether the person who told him had added fuel to the fire and said something extraneous.
Shen Fu thought a bit. It seemed like he truly couldn’t be of much help, so he put away his phone and went downstairs. He had been back for quite a while, but he still hadn’t greeted Grandfather Shen yet. “Grandpa.”
Grandfather Shen finally came back from his deep thoughts when he heard Shen Fu’s voice. The expression on his face lightened a bit, and he didn’t ask Shen Fu when he got back. Instead, he patted the seat next to him and said, “Come sit with grandpa for a bit.”
Shen Fu obeyed and sat down.
Grandfather Shen didn’t say anything. The two of them just sat there quietly. After a long moment, Grandfather Shen finally said, “Xiao Yu and Tao Tao are still doing well, right?”
Shen Fu nodded. “Xiao Yu is very obedient. Tao Tao is also quite well-behaved. The only thing is that he’s started to grow teeth again recently, so he’s always drooling and biting on anything he can grab onto.”
Grandfather Shen could already imagine that scene just from Shen Fu’s description, and he laughed. “You have to watch him carefully then. You mustn’t let him see something that he shouldn’t eat.”
Shen Fu glanced at Grandfather Shen before he also chuckled. “En, Xiao Yi bought some teething treats for him, the kind that doesn’t have sugar or added preservatives. He’ll feel a bit better if he can teeth with them.”
After that, the two of them fell into silence again. They weren’t people who could sit and have a heart-to-heart in the first place. Shen Fu was still thinking about how he could broach the topic of Brother Shen, so for a while, nobody spoke again.
“Back then, when you said that you liked men, I really wasn’t optimistic at all.” Grandfather Shen suddenly spoke. Shen Fu turned to look at him, but he found that Grandfather Shen wasn’t looking back at all; it was as if he was just talking to himself. Shen Fu turned away again and didn’t answer as Grandfather Shen continued to speak.
“It’s not that grandpa’s way of thinking is too old-fashioned. Grandpa is still someone who’s experienced quite a few things. The reason I didn’t approve from the very beginning was because I thought that feelings between two people that depend solely on sentiment to keep them going could be considered stable, but in reality are the most unstable. In this world ah, nothing will always stay the same, especially feelings. When you like them, you’ll repeat ‘forever’ over and over again; when you don’t like them, you’ll feel annoyed if you have to take another look at them. It’s not like grandpa hasn’t seen that kind of thing before. If it were an ordinary heterosexual couple, even if they separated because they no longer loved each other, it wouldn’t matter much, and they could probably just find a new happiness. But if that’s not the case, even if you separated, you would still bear the brunt of the world’s judgment. When you loved each other deeply, you would think it’s worth it, but what about if you separate? Do you still think it’s worth it, for some emotions that might end at any moment?”
Grandfather Shen sighed and said, “That’s what I always thought before.”
Shen Fu didn’t say anything, but he did grin. “And now?”
Grandfather Shen lowered his head. “Now, I feel like I shouldn’t consider first whether you guys will split up or not. Even if you do, I think that you will still believe that it was worth it, right?”
“En.” Shen Fu agreed quietly. “Perhaps depending solely on love isn’t enough to maintain a relationship for a lifetime. When I wanted to be with Xiao Yi, my way of thinking was actually very simple. It wasn’t that I just wanted to see him at that moment – I wanted to see him every day and every night from that moment on. There’s not only love between the two of us; there’s also the resolution that we will help each other for the rest of our lives.”
Grandfather Shen nodded. “En, that was clear from the moment you two were preparing to get married.”
Starting from the marriage, love started to turn into family, and the ties between them would also grow deeper and deeper.
Grandfather Shen finally smiled and turned to pat Shen Fu’s shoulder. He said gratefully, “My Xiao Fu has grown up. You can also share such a profound lesson with grandpa now.”
Shen Fu smiled too. “Grandpa, you’ve understood the entire time, you don’t need my teachings.”
Grandfather didn’t say anything else. He stood up before he started to walk upstairs. Shen Fu spoke again. “I believe that big brother also has that kind of determination.”
Grandfather halted, before he finally said, “En, I know.”
Even though Grandfather’s attitude still wasn’t completely clear, Shen Fu had a sort of premonition. This battle of Brother Shen’s was probably already half-won.
The rest would be up to Brother Shen’s own effort.