Chapter 20: Glazed Fried Dumplings
Translated by Kollumceti of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Old man Yang looked somewhat dispirited and listless even several days after the incident. He called them quite a few times, but nobody answered. It came to the point where he could not even connect to their phone.
Xiao Wan’s Grandma had a short fuse, but her temper always came and went quickly. She thought that Zhao XueMei was just bluffing no matter what she said. After all, even a family would quarrel amongst themselves and Old man Yang was still Yang Xiao’s Grandpa and Yang JianGuo’s father. How could the relation with him be removed just because she didn’t want him? However, she really did not expect that Zhao XueMei would not even pick up Old man Yang’s calls.
Her words were rather offensive as she had been helping Old man Yang vent his anger at that time. Now when she saw Old man Yang like this, it was hard to avoid some self-reproach. She wondered if she had said too much that day, which made Zhao XueMei hold her grudge for such a long time.
Thus, she came more frequently these two days, carrying all sorts of things every time. Sometimes it was cake bought by Xiao Wan and other times it was soup or dishes made by herself.
On this day, just after the XiQin Restaurant closed, Xiao Wan’s Grandma came over with a thermos food jar.
“You’re closed now? I’m just in time then. Come and taste the fried dough balls I just made.”
Old man Yang raised his head only when he heard her talking. He forced a smile on his face, “You don’t really need to trouble yourself to come over every day, we’ve already eaten.”
Xiao Wan’s Grandma put the thermos food jar on the table and waved her hand, “Trouble what trouble ah? My family’s Xiao Wan also comes here to eat often. Not like what I’ve cooked is a rare thing. Xiao Yi, Xiao Fu, come over! Since I often eat what you cook, you should also try Grandma’s food.”
Xiao Wan’s Grandma married early. Based on age, she was actually much younger than Old man Yang, yet her granddaughter was slightly younger than Old man Yang’s grandson. So Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi both called her aunt when they were not familiar with her and after they got closer, she asked them to call her Grandma, saying that they could not address her as part of the wrong generation.
She came almost every day these days. Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu were already used to it. They wiped their hands and walked to the front. The thermos food jar looked small, but the space inside was quite large. They took out the two-tier food boxes, and found that there was a half-filled box of clear but fragrant soup under it.
“You brought so much? We’ve already eaten.” Old man Yang was telling the truth. They really had eaten, but Lin ShuYi was still staring at the thermos. His eyes were shining like some kind of big dog that was waiting to be fed. Shen Fu could not stop smiling upon seeing this.
Xiao Wan’s Grandma also saw Lin ShuYi’s eager look and laughed, “Someone wants to eat it even if you don’t want to. Besides, it’s not much, just enough to fill you up somewhat.”
With that, she took the bowl and ladle from Shen Fu and served the Glazed Fried Dumplings from the food box. Each person had three, and it was just managed to fit into the two-tiered food box.
Like what Xiao Wan’s Grandma had said, though this Glazed Fried Dumplings was not a rare thing in S City, it was one of the specialties in S City. Once out of S City, it was rare to find an authentic Glazed Fried Dumplings. However, as a native of S City, Xiao Wan’s Grandma was an expert in making this dish. The bounciness of the Glazed Fried Dumplings, and the tenderness of the mincemeat meat paired with blanched vegetables was tasty and delicious.
Although many people in S City knew how to make Glazed Fried Dumplings, most preferred the dumplings made in their own family. For example, the ones made by Xiao Wan’s Grandma were more on the sweet and sour side. Coupled with the fragrant and smooth mincemeat, it could be considered as one of her specialties.
Shen Fu ate only one. Seeing that Lin ShuYi had finished eating and was still pursing his lips like he wished to continue eating, Shen Fu smiled and passed his bowl over.
“I have two more. You can eat these too.”
Lin ShuYi did not even care that it was Shen Fu’s leftovers. He ate the bowl clean. Old man Yang and Xiao Wan’s Grandma did not think there was anything wrong with this scene because they always thought the two were cousins.
After eating and drinking some soup, Lin ShuYi finally felt a little stuffed. He rubbed his stomach and said he wanted to go out for a walk. Shen Fu followed him. Xiao Wan’s Grandma stopped cleaning up when saw that both of them had gone and sat opposite Old man Yang. “Old man Yang, what are you planning to do now?”
Old man Yang’s eyelids drooped, “What else can I do? I can only take it one step at a time.”
Xiao Wan’s Grandma slapped her thigh and said with self-recrimination, “Well, I’m actually to blame too. I shouldn’t have spoken such offensive words that day. Now that it’s become like this it is, I feel really apologetic…”
Old man Yang remembered that he had quit smoking a long time ago when he touched his pocket. He laughed at himself and put down his hand, “What can I say? It’s our own problem, you shouldn’t be concerned over it.” He has nothing to say to comfort others because he could not even comfort himself now.
“How about if I go meet Zhao XueMei? Even if I can’t meet her, JianGuo should also be at home. It’d be unlikely that I can’t even see him…”
Old man Yang gave a long sigh upon hearing her mention his son, “Forget about it. You also know what JianGuo’s personality is like. Besides, I don’t want them to have a bad relationship because of my matter. Although XueMei doesn’t like me, she’s always good to JianGuo…”
“Her behavior can be considered as good? If she says one thing, JianGuo won’t dare to say another. JianGuo doesn’t have any status in that family at all…”
Xiao Wan’s Grandma felt angry again as she talked about this. It was only when she thought about her purpose of coming here that she lowered her voice, “Don’t be too sad, Old man Yang. JianGuo is still your son. He probably wouldn’t come to make trouble because of Zhao XueMei…” But she grew less and less confident as she continued speaking. Yang JianGuo had been married to Zhao XueMei for so many years and everyone lived close-by at first. They had all noticed what Old man Yang’s son’s personality was like, he was just too cowardly and easily bullied. Otherwise, Zhao XueMei would not have such a grasp over him. Although this matter concerned Old man Yang, since Yang JianGuo dared to leave him here for so many years without any care, she really did not dare to promise that Yang JianGuo was courageous enough to disobey Zhao XueMei this time.
Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu came back while she was chatting with Old man Yang and Xiao Wan’s Grandma didn’t say anymore. It was not that she had something that could not be said in their presence, but because the two children were innocent and she did not want them to feel upset together with them. After all, they were much more sincere to Old man Yang than Old man Yang’s son.
It was not like the thought that these two children were coveting something that belonged to Old man Yang had never crossed her mind, but Old man Yang was impoverished both economically and culturally and except for a house, there was nothing to covet. Secondly, she always thought that child Shen Fu was not like a poor family’s child.
“Mom, Grandpa called again today.” Yang Xiao held up the home phone and said to Zhao XueMei who was in the kitchen.
“Ignore it. He can’t get through anyway. Let him call if he wants to. By the way, your Grandpa doesn’t know your father’s phone number right?”
Yang Xiao shook his head, “He doesn’t know it since the last time Dad changed his number. Dad had asked me to tell Grandpa, but I forgot to say it and never mentioned it again.”
Zhao XueMei viciously stabbed her spatula through the fish in the pot, chopping it into two pieces at once, before putting it on the plate. “It’s best if he doesn’t know, otherwise he would be calling your dad. Let me tell you, you shouldn’t mention a single word to your dad about him calling.”
Yang Xiao was somewhat doubtful, “Why shouldn’t I? Mom, you can’t really be angry with Grandpa right?”
Zhao XueMei slammed the plate of fish onto the table after hearing what he said, “Why?! Now, even you’re beginning to criticize me too? Aren’t you even thinking about who I’m doing it all for?! If I don’t ignore your Grandpa for a few days, how would your Grandpa yield? Especially now that there are two outsiders in his house. Although your Grandpa only has those shabby buildings, we also can’t let outsiders take them. I’m just doing this for your good. Your father is soft-hearted. If he knew your Grandpa called, he’d argue with me again. Don’t tell me you hope your father will argue with me every day?”
Yang Xiao thought for a while and felt that Zhao XueMei had a point. This was especially so when he was filled with anger as he thought of the two people who lived in his Grandpa’s house, “I say, where did those two people come from?! Why are they helping out in Grandpa’s shop?! And Grandpa’s even providing meals and accommodation?”
Zhao XueMei sniffed, “Who knows? We’ve come to an agreement, you can’t let your father know!”
Yang Xiao answered, “Got it.”
Yang JianGuo just happened to open the door. He put his briefcase on the table and looked at Yang Xiao, “Got it? What did you get?”
Yang Xiao avoided his eyes, “Nothing. Mom told me to go buy something.”
Yang JianGuo paid no mind to it. “Oh, then quickly go buy it.” With that, he walked into the kitchen, “Did Dad call today?”
Zhao XueMei knew that this was definitely what he would ask once he returned. She pulled a long face and crabbily replied, “Humph! He’s long forgotten about you! Why would he still call you? You can’t even see it yourself?! Think about it, no one called your phone and the home phone hasn’t rang a single time today.”
Yang JianGuo frowned at the news and turned to walk out of the kitchen.
Zhao XueMei knew what he wanted to do when she saw him walking to the phone. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “Call la, call la. I just knew you wouldn’t be able to resist. Your father doesn’t have you in his heart, yet you’re still so concerned about him as his son. Even after you’ve been driven out, you still didn’t forget to call him. Don’t forget, your father may not be willing to answer it now even if you called.”
Yang JianGuo had already picked up his mobile phone had been hesitating for a while. Finally, he did not make the call after listening to Zhao XueMei prattle on. He put the phone down and gave a long sigh. Firstly, he was ashamed to face his father. Secondly, he was really afraid that his father would not pick up his call.
When Zhao XueMei saw him hang up the phone, she smirked. She had held this man in her grasp for more than twenty years. How could she allow him to fall out of her control at this time? She absolutely had to make that Old man Yang respectfully and submissively offer up his house with cupped hands.