Chapter 23: Braised Tofu with Shrimp
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When Old Man Yang was just beginning to recover from his serious illness, he slept heavily for an entire night and only woke up the next day when it was almost noon. The congee that Lin ShuYi told Shen Fu to buy was placed on the table, and since he hadn’t eaten it, it had already gone completely cold, so Lin ShuYi reheated it again in the hospital’s microwave.
But since it was a stomach-related illness, Old Man Yang didn’t really have an appetite. He put it down after roughly taking a few sips. He looked at the person in the hospital room with him and asked Lin ShuYi, “Where’s Xiao Fu?”
“He had something to do, so he must’ve gone out.”
Shen Fu hadn’t appeared ever since Lin ShuYi received the message last night. After Shen Fu bought the things and sent them over, he left again. Lin ShuYi didn’t know where specifically he went either.
Old Man Yang nodded. “Xiao Yi, where’s your cell phone?”
Lin ShuYi fished out his phone and handed it over, not even asking what Old Man Yang needed it for.
When Old Man Yang took the phone, he started to enter a phone number into it. Lin ShuYi knew in his heart who he was calling. Besides his number, the only one that Old Man Yang memorized was the landline in Yang JianGuo’s home.
Old Man Yang and Lin ShuYi were the only two people in the hospital room. He didn’t know how much money Shen Fu had spent to get this hospital room for just one person. Since Lin ShuYi had never come to this sort of place before, naturally he didn’t notice, and since Old Man Yang’s mind had been occupied with other things, he also hadn’t paid much attention to that fact for a while.
It was too quiet in the room, so the sound of Lin ShuYi’s phone was exceptionally loud. The phone rang for a long time without any signs of someone picking up. Just when Old Man Yang was preparing to hang up, thinking that nobody would pick up, someone did. Yang Xiao’s voice was rough and hoarse from just waking up, and it traveled over. “Who is it?!”
Old Man Yang grinned. “Xiao Xiao ah, it’s me.”
It wasn’t clear whether Yang Xiao just didn’t realize or what, but he said irritably, “Say the name! You ah you, who knows who you are?!”
Old Man Yang hadn’t expected that Yang Xiao wouldn’t even be able to recognize his voice. He was a little stupefied by Yang Xiao’s roar, and he didn’t say anything for a long while.
Yang Xiao grew impatient. “Are you going to speak or not, if not I’m going to hang up!”
Old Man Yang’s lips parted, and only then did he say, “Xiao Xiao, I’m your grandpa.”
Finally Yang Xiao recognized him. He looked at the phone number displayed on the landline. It was an unfamiliar and strange number, not the number from Old Man Yang’s landline. No wonder the call made it through. When Yang Xiao remembered Zhao XueMei’s order of not to answer his grandpa’s calls, he hesitated for a moment, but it was still only just a moment before he heard Old Man Yang’s coughing on the other end.
“Grandpa, what’s wrong?” Yang Xiao still called him grandpa.
Perhaps that meant that what Zhao XueMei said that day was truly just out of anger? Old Man Yang felt slightly happier in his heart, and his tone grew a bit livelier. “Nothing, nothing. Where’s your dad?”
Yang Xiao toppled over onto the couch with a groan. He still felt muddle-headed. “He went out.”
Old Man Yang made an ‘mm’ noise. When he noticed that Yang Xiao’s voice also sounded dispirited, he asked him, “Xiao Xiao ah, did you not sleep well last night? Why do you seem so tired?”
“Mhm, I went out to play mahjong last night. I came back real late.” He didn’t say that he also lost utterly completely.
Old Man Yang remembered how there was nobody at their house yesterday, and he asked, “Were all of you out last night? Why wasn’t anybody home?”
“That’s right. Did you come over yesterday?” Yang Xiao straightened all at once on the couch. He remembered how Zhao XueMei said to call her immediately if his grandpa came to the door. Could it be that it was really like his mom said, and his grandpa was preparing to bring over the title deeds? “Why did you come over, grandpa?”
This question was inevitably a little strange, but Old Man Yang didn’t pay any mind to it. He said, “No reason, I just wanted to see you all.”
Immediately, Old Man Yang felt a bit like backing out again. After all, he truly didn’t really want to sell that house. Of course it would be the best case scenario if he didn’t have to sell it, so he didn’t straight up tell Yang Xiao that he went over with the title deeds.
When Yang Xiao didn’t hear him mention the title deeds at all, he also grew a bit vexed. So it turned out that it wasn’t what he was thinking. Then that meant that grandpa still wasn’t willing to relent.
After shooting another look at the phone, Yang Xiao said, “Grandpa, whose phone is this?”
Old Man Yang didn’t have a cellphone that he knew of.
Old Man Yang glanced at Lin ShuYi, who was sitting peacefully at the end of the bed peeling fruit for him. The corner of his mouth tilted up. “It’s Xiao Yi’s.”
Unexpectedly, Yang Xiao grew furious the moment he heard this name. “Xiao Yi! Xiao Yi, grandpa you’re pretty familiar with him, aren’t you?!”
Old Man Yang didn’t know what had offended Yang Xiao. He was still dazed when he heard Yang Xiao speak again.
“Fine, I get it. You’re not willing to sell the house, and then you just let someone freeload off of you in the restaurant and live there. You even speak to him more familiarly than you do to those close to you, I can tell that what mom said that day was true!”
The resentment that Old Man Yang would help and outsider but not him had always been circling around Yang Xiao’s mind. Now adding on the fact that Old Man Yang continued to refuse to sell the house to his rage from losing completely last night, it ignited Yang Xiao at once. He didn’t think about what he was saying at all, just saying whatever came to his mind first.
Old Man Yang was stunned. “What did your mom say?”
Yang Xiao’s voice was a little vicious, striking straight into Old Man Yang’s eardrums through the cell phone. “She said that that Lin whatever-Yi was some illegitimate grandson that you raised elsewhere!”
Old Man Yang was so mad that his face went intermittently ashen and pale. His chest started to tremble. He truly hadn’t expected that Zhao XueMei would be able to say something like that, and to Yang Xiao at that. He was so angry that even his hands started to shake, and his voice involuntarily deepened. “Xiao Xiao, don’t listen to your mom’s nonsense!”
Yang Xiao snorted. “You’re not willing to sell that house, it can’t be that you want to leave it to him, right…”
This was the first time that Old Man Yang grew so mad that he viciously hung up on Yang Xiao. He always felt that this grandson of his was still young. Even if his temper and personality wasn’t very good, it would grow better through tempering, and even if he spoke and acted very inappropriately, it would be fine once he grew up. But only today did Old Man Yang realize that his grandson had already been groomed into someone who was the exact same as Zhao XueMei, who spoke nonsense without thinking and still didn’t know to repent.
Old Man Yang coughed as he reached out to touch the title deeds that had been wrapped numerous times next to the pillow. He retracted the idea that was ruminating in his mind earlier. It was correct that this house should be left to Yang Xiao, but not now. He couldn’t let Yang Xiao be completely destroyed like this by Zhao XueMei, nor could he let them just believe that this naturally deserved to be theirs.
Lin ShuYi put his phone back in the pouch. Old Man Yang’s expression looked too bad, to the point that he didn’t dare ask what was wrong.
On the other end, Yang Xiao was also startled. After so many years, Old Man Yang had never once treated him like this before. After the initial stun passed, he grew even angrier. He didn’t reflect back on what he said at all; instead, he felt that he had definitely hit the mark, which was why his grandpa had grown angry out of humiliation.
When he thought about it that way, his fury grew even greater. He threw the phone against the wall, and it broke into numerous pieces with a crash.
When the couple next door heard the movement come over from this room, they realized someone was finally home, so they came over to knock on the door. After knocking for a while, Yang Xiao finally opened it.
The old man said, “That Yang CongJun is your grandpa, right?” Even though they lived near each other, the old man only seen Yang Xiao a few times. He got it wrong last time, so he definitely had to get it right this time.
His grandpa was suddenly brought up again. Yang Xiao said, in a bad mood, “Yes, what is it?”
The old man said, “Your grandpa is ill. He’s still in the hospital right now, you all should go over quick and see him.”
Yang Xiao didn’t expect that Old Man Yang was actually in the hospital. He was about to speak when he heard the old man say again, “Tell me, what’s the matter with this younger generation of yours? You don’t even know that your grandfather is sick, and two outsiders sent him to the hospital since not a single person was home. Did you not even get a call? Your grandpa even said that his flesh-and-blood grandson wasn’t as good as an outsider.”
Originally, the old man was just bitterly ranting for Old Man Yang and randomly said that line. Who would’ve thought that that line just happened to strike Yang Xiao’s sore spot. Yang Xiao didn’t ask how his grandpa got sick, because how would this person know? Instead, he slammed the door shut and said, “Then why should I go see him?! I’m not going, he’s not my grandpa anymore from now on. Even if he dies, don’t tell me!”
The two old folk stared blankly after the door slammed. They didn’t know why this family’s relationships were so strained, nor had they expected Yang Xiao to say something like that. They kept repeating, “Outrageous, truly outrageous.”
Even if there were outsiders, his grandpa was already sick, so there was no need for such animosity. What’s more, this was his own grandfather. No matter what, this wasn’t the attitude that a grandson should have.
Old Man Yang didn’t know that Yang Xiao had already said those vicious words and had resolved not to call him anymore. He was still mad, mad that Zhao XueMei said all that nonsense in front of Yang Xiao, mad that Yang Xiao was also following her and repeating it. He thought back thoroughly; he really hadn’t let them down in any way, so why were they all like this towards him.
Even a fool would grow angry at times, much less him.
If things continued like this, it would be fine if he didn’t have such a grandson and son. In any case, there was never any difference from not having them at all.
As Old Man Yang thought, he inevitably felt a little sorrowful. When he remembered his deceased wife, he didn’t know why he struggled so hard during his lifetime. Finally, he looked at Lin ShuYi again, and he felt like this was the final bit of consolation that the heavens gave him.
Shen Fu only came back when it was the afternoon. When he remembered that Lin ShuYi and Old Man Yang still hadn’t eaten yet, he came back carrying takeout boxes from some unknown place. “You haven’t eaten yet, right? I brought some takeout back.”
Old Man Yang sat on the bed and smiled with difficulty at Shen Fu. “I don’t want to eat, you and Xiao Yi can eat.”
Shen Fu noticed at once that Old Man Yang was feeling off. He looked at Lin ShuYi, but Lin ShuYi shook his head and Shen Fu understood.
He opened the takeout boxes. There were quite a few dishes inside, like steamed fish, stir-fried yam, and braised tofu with shrimp. They were all dishes that were simple and delicious but easy to digest. There was also a soup, light yet fragrant. As Shen Fu opened the boxes, he glanced at Lin ShuYi, and he said to Old Man Yang, “Grandpa, eat a bit. I bought so much, it would be such a waste if you didn’t eat any.”
Finally, for better or worse, he coaxed Old Man Yang into coming over to eat.
Once everything was cleaned up, only then did Shen Fu quietly asked Lin ShuYi, “What happened to grandpa?”
Lin ShuYi looked at Old Man Yang, who was still lost in thought and sighing in the sickroom. He said, “Besides them, who else can make grandpa mad.”
Shen Fu narrowed his eyes. “Tsk tsk, an unfilial grandson is infuriating. What’s the point of having a grandson like that?”
Lin ShuYi reached out and covered Shen Fu’s mouth. “Don’t let grandpa hear you say that. He’ll be hurt.”
Shen Fu also looked in the room. Old Man Yang was currently holding the title deeds. After watching for a while, finally Shen Fu smiled. “Relax, grandpa has already made up his mind.”
If you were indecisive about some matters, it would only inevitably lead to trouble.