Chapter 19: Poached Pears with Rock Sugar
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Yang Xiao’s shout was quite loud, and it gave Old Man Yang a sudden fright. Yang JianGuo also twitched and didn’t have time to walk over to Old Man Yang’s side yet before he was stopped by Zhao XueMei. Zhao XueMei took a step forward and looked at Old Man Yang. “Dad, look at what you said. No matter how old Xiao Xiao is, in the end he’s still your own grandson.”
Zhao XueMei shot a glance at Lin ShuYi. She was implying that in any case, Old Man Yang shouldn’t have spoken up for an outsider. It didn’t matter what Yang Xiao did.
Old Man Yang opened his mouth, but he was speechless because of what Zhao XueMei said. In fact, his original intention was merely that he felt those two children were just harmlessly bickering; his grandson was his grandson, who was also older than Lin ShuYi. He just casually told Yang Xiao to be mindful of Lin ShuYi without thinking it through, but he hadn’t expected Zhao XueMei and Yang Xiao to take it so seriously.
“I… that wasn’t my intention…”
The anger in Zhao XueMei had already surged up several times, but she had forcefully suppressed it because of the reminder that she couldn’t offend Old Man Yang due to the matter of the house. But this time, she almost couldn’t maintain the smile on her face anymore. She slanted a look at Lin ShuYi and snorted coldly. “If that isn’t Dad’s intention, then that’s for the best.”
The image that she had previously tried hard to put on finally shattered. Old Man Yang gave a long sigh before he lifted his head to look at Zhao XueMei. “XueMei ah, just say what you want to say. I’m listening.”
He thought that his daughter-in-law’s temper had improved after not seeing her for the past few years. But now, it seemed like a leopard could never change its spots. He shouldn’t have hoped for that in the first place. One doesn’t visit a temple without a cause*. Since they didn’t come just to see him, Old Man Yang could imagine what Zhao XueMei and the rest had come to say. It also made sense; they hadn’t returned for so many years, yet they had come visiting so many times during the past few days. Now, even Zhao XueMei had come, what else could that mean? The only thing was that as Old Man Yang looked first at Zhao XueMei and then at his own son Yang JianGuo, he hoped that that sentence wouldn’t come out of their mouths again.
(*t/n: saying meaning ‘to visit somebody with a hidden agenda’)
But since now even Zhao XueMei’s real face had been exposed, naturally she could care even less about what Old Man Yang was thinking. She reached out and hauled Yang Xiao behind her before she looked at Old Man Yang and said, one word at a time, “It seems like Dad knows why I came here.” She then curled her lips, forcing out a smile, wanting to take a step forward and grab Old Man Yang’s hand. “Dad, you see, we’ve owned that house in the city for so long now, yet you’ve never gone to enjoy it before. Now that Xiao Xiao has grown up, and you’re also older, why are you still here running this restaurant? Wouldn’t it be great to come and live a life of ease and comfort with us in the city? JianGuo, Xiao Xiao and I will definitely treat you well.”
Zhao XueMei always said this kind of thing. If this was the first time Old Man Yang met her, he might have believed her, but he had lived with her together under one roof for so many years that he knew very clearly what kind of person his daughter-in-law was. The reason why he refused to stop running this restaurant even though he was getting older was in part because he was reluctant to close it, but also in part because he didn’t want to see his daughter-in-law.
When Old Man Yang saw Zhao XueMei extend her hand over, he took a few steps back, letting Zhao XueMei’s hand hang stiffly in the air in front of him just like that. Zhao XueMei’s expression immediately grew a little embarrassed, flames bursting in her eyes. She endured it silently to prevent it from exploding.
Old Man Yang didn’t care enough to look at her expression. He sat down gingerly on the chair and looked at his own hand. “XueMei ah, if you came back because of the house, I don’t really have anything to say either. No matter what, I won’t sell the house.”
Zhao XueMei clenched her teeth, and Yang Xiao also started to shout. “Why are you keeping this house?! It’s not like we won’t take care of you. Doesn’t Mom need it urgently? Or else even if we sold this rotten house nobody would want to buy it. In any case, this house was always going to be given to us, or else who were you going to give it to?!”
Yang JianGuo had kept silent for a long while in the back, but when he heard this he suddenly lifted his head and smacked the back of Yang Xiao’s head. Red flooded across his face. “Is that any way to speak to your grandpa?!”
Zhao XueMei was set aflame at once. She shoved Yang JianGuo quite far as her voice also grew shrill. “Why are you hitting Xiao Xiao?! Was he wrong?”
Yang JianGuo’s face was red from stifled anger. When he saw that people were slowly starting to gather outside to watch the scene, his head only lowered even more, and he didn’t say anything else.
Zhao XueMei grew even more furious when she saw him do that. She jabbed a finger towards his nose. “You even release your anger on Xiao Xiao, what did he say that wasn’t right?! If it weren’t because you didn’t make any money, would I have to grovel to somebody else like this for this tiny bit of cash? Have I asked anything from you after being married to you for so many years? Have I demanded anything? What relative of ours isn’t getting along better than I am? Yet you still dare to hit Xiao Xiao? If you’re going to blame anyone, then blame yourself for failing to live up to expectations!”
Even though she was scolding Yang JianGuo, her ‘didn’t make any money’ and ‘grovel’ was indirectly accusing Old Man Yang. Old Man Yang’s face went a little pale at once. His figure even swayed a little, and Lin ShuYi’s pupils shrunk before he went up to support Old Man Yang’s shoulders. Shen Fu also took a step forward, eyes narrowed as he stood next to Old Man Yang. They took up a hostile position against the three people standing across from them, with much of an ‘escorting the Emperor’ type of position.
Old Man Yang stood up even though he had just sat down. He patted Lin ShuYi’s hand to indicate that he was fine before he looked at Zhao XueMei’s face and said, falteringly, “XueMei, I bought this house with JianGuo and his mother… his mother died early, and this house is the only thing I have left of her… Xiao Xiao was right, sooner or later this house will be yours… when I die, if you want to sell it, then sell it, but right now, I still want to keep it…” Old Man Yang spoke both quietly and heavily, and it was clear he was speaking from the bottom of his heart.
But Zhao XueMei didn’t listen. “I won’t have any use for this rotten house at that point! Dad, you’re also a stubborn old man. You also know that calling this area a suburb is just flattering it. This house is also worn-down, so I finally found a person who’s willing to buy the house and even finished discussing the price with them. Even though we agreed quickly, the price isn’t that low. As soon as I get the money I’ll open the beauty salon. Everyone can only live well once we earn money, isn’t that right? Otherwise, if you only rely on your good-for-nothing son with no brain cells, you’ll just be guarding this house for the rest of your life, poor and eating wind!”
Zhao XueMei was trying to move him with emotion while enlightening him with reason. She made it sound like she had such good intentions for trying to sell somebody else’s house, and Old Man Yang was so angered that he started to breathe slightly heavier. Finally, he hardened his heart and said, “No matter how broken down this house is! I said I’m not going to sell it so I won’t sell it!” He was already extremely angry.
Zhao XueMei was also filled with fury. Before, she was still afraid of offending Old Man Yang and not being able to get the house. Now that Old Man Yang had already said that, she didn’t need to be polite anymore. In any case, if Old Man Yang wasn’t going to sell this house, she didn’t plan on letting Yang Xiao know this grandpa of his any longer!
“Dad, if you’re going to say that, then I’m going to be frank with you. This beauty salon is a business that will earn money. I have to open it. It’s fine if you don’t sell this house. In any case, it’s not like you’ve ever acted like Xiao Xiao is your grandson, so from today on, don’t ever enter our family’s house again, and Xiao Xiao won’t call you grandpa ever again either! Xiao Xiao, let’s go!”
She even stopped using the polite form of ‘you,’ and went directly to the informal version.
(*t/n: 您 (nin) vs 你 (ni), generally seen as a sign of respect to use ‘nin’ with elders. She was sort of using it before but stopped in that last rant)
Old Man Yang’s lips were trembling, his complexion very pale. Yang JianGuo also stared at Zhao XueMei. “What kind of nonsense are you spouting? There are so many people watching?!”
Zhao XueMei swept a look over. Sure enough, quite a few people had already started to gather outside to watch the drama. However, she didn’t feel panicked at all about losing face from the family scandal being witnessed by outsiders. She turned around and rolled her eyes at Yang JianGuo. “So what if people are watching? You still know to want to save face? I thought that you were the kind of person who only knows to hide inside of his shell like a turtle for the rest of your life. Even if you want me to say it all one more time, there’s nothing I wouldn’t dare to repeat. I said, if he doesn’t agree to sell the house, Xiao Xiao won’t call him grandpa from now on ever again!!”
Yang JianGuo’s face went scarlet, but he didn’t have a single word of rebuttal. He truly was both pathetic and ridiculous. Lin ShuYi supported Old Man Yang, and the old man’s thin and weak arm was trembling slightly under his hand. He felt a nameless fire rise up in his heart, about to set him completely on fire.
“You three, get lost.” His voice wasn’t loud, but it was powerful and resounding in the tiny XiQin Restaurant.
The husband and wife who were currently quarreling both stopped. Even Shen Fu looked over, a bit surprised at Lin ShuYi, who usually appeared as if he didn’t have a temper at all. But now, his eyes were actually starting to emit a chill.
At first, Zhao XueMei was a little stunned by Lin ShuYi’s sudden outburst. By the time she recovered, she couldn’t control herself and she pointed straight at Lin ShuYi. From this, it was clear just who Yang Xiao had inherited his tendency to point at people when he spoke from. “What did you say?! Say it again! You little brat, what are you saying? Who are you to speak? And you dare to tell me to get lost, I’m telling you, I’ll come and go as I wish, as if it’s your place to say anything!”
Yang Xiao also started to roll up his sleeves. He had long since taken a disliking towards this person. Since now even his mother dared to trample all over him, if he didn’t teach him a bit of a lesson then his surname wouldn’t be Yang!
“It isn’t his place to say anything? From what I can see, it’s not your place to say anything!” Someone pushed through the crowd of people and walked inside. It was actually Xiao Wan’s grandma. When she saw Zhao XueMei, she scowled. “I was wondering why you all suddenly came one after another during these past few days to visit Old Man Yang when you haven’t visited for years, inviting him to come back to live with you and coming to see him. It turns out that you’ve got your eye on Old Man Yang’s house. My word, do you have any face left at all? This was the house that Old Man Yang and his wife worked hard for their entire life to buy, and it’s the only thing Old Man Yang has left as commemoration. Yet you have the audacity to open your mouth; it’s fine if you said that, but Old Man Yang already said he wasn’t going to sell it, yet you still dare to cause trouble here! You really think it’s easy to bully Old Man Yang? Let me tell you, if Yang Xiao doesn’t call him grandpa then he doesn’t, if Old Man Yang can’t enter your house then he can’t. He’s never gotten anything good from you all in the first place, yet you say that you’ll take care of him well in the future? Do you think that we don’t know what kind of trash you are…”
Xiao Wan’s grandma had always had an explosive temper. What she liked doing the most was pushing her nose into other people’s business and gossiping, but Lin ShuYi had never felt as warm about her meddling as he did now.
Even if there were some things that he knew were true, it wasn’t appropriate for him to say it. After all, this was about Old Man Yang’s family. Even though Lin ShuYi felt like it would be better not to have this kind of family at all, he still couldn’t say anything. Luckily, somebody else said it for him.
Lin ShuYi turned his head and saw Old Man Yang, whose face was still paper white. He said, “Grandpa.”
Old Man Yang’s voice was hoarse. “It’s fine, grandpa is fine.”
He just didn’t understand why they refused to let go of this house. He already said that in the end this house would become theirs.
Over there, Xiao Wan’s grandma and Zhao XueMei had already started to fight.
After the nearby neighbors heard the news, they had all come over. They helped Xiao Wan’s grandma to quickly beat down what Zhao XueMei was saying. Even though Yang Xiao was still mad, if his mother couldn’t even do anything, then naturally he could only watch. However, his irritation with Lin ShuYi and the rest grew even more towards the breaking point.
“How fantastic, you’re all good people! Xiao Xiao, we’re leaving!” Finally, Zhao XueMei shot a look at Old Man Yang and the other two standing near him before she dragged Yang Xiao away.
Yang JianGuo still stood there, watching Old Man Yang and not moving. Very soon, he was caught by the arm by Zhao XueMei, who had doubled back. “You’re still not leaving?!! Are you waiting for them to chase you out? You still think this is your home? Hmph, don’t you see that there’s no place for you here?!”
Yang JianGuo was hauled away by Zhao XueMei, and XiQin Restaurant finally calmed back down. The observers were all scattered away by the neighbors. The curtain finally fell on the sudden drama, and Old Man Yang sat down on the chair, exhausted. He didn’t want to say anything.
Xiao Wan’s grandma walked over, and she consoled, “Old Man Yang ah, you should try to accept it and move on. Don’t be too angry. It’ll be uncomfortable if you keep brewing over it in your heart. If it were me, in the end it’s all because of your disappointing son. Even though he has a stomach full of ink, he has no brain at all…” As she spoke, she probably realized that this wasn’t really consolation either, and she finally stopped talking when she saw Old Man Yang’s unpleasant expression.
(*t/n: a stomach full of ink means someone who is a scholar, cultured/refined)
Lin ShuYi didn’t know what to say either. He never know how to comfort people, but Shen Fu patted Old Man Yang’s shoulder and said, “Grandpa, don’t worry. You still have us.”
Old Man Yang rubbed his dry eyes. His voice was raspy as he said, “It’s fine, grandpa is fine.”
Again and again, it was the same sentence, as if he only knew how to say that now.
Lin ShuYi stood there for a while before he turned. “Let me go poach some pears for grandpa.” Old Man Yang’s voice was already husky, but of course, what was suffering the most pain right now was his heart.