Chapter 81: Fried Taro Glutinous Rice Balls
Translated by Karcessel of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In this country, it didn’t matter if it was Lunar New Year’s or Western New Year’s, getting together for a family dinner was tradition. Everyone sitting all together, eating and chatting and watching the New Year’s specials on TV, these were all inherent parts of the holiday. And of this tradition, Grandfather Shen was very attentive. He didn’t like travelling for the holidays. Such a huge cultural event, what kind of nonsense was it for people to squeeze themselves into foreign countries? Compared to travelling, he liked it far more when his entire family all gathered together, eating, drinking, and celebrating.
The Shen family didn’t have that many family members. Grandfather Shen was an only child, so he didn’t have any brothers or sisters. When it came to Shen Dad’s generation, Shen Dad did have a younger sister, but she was abroad far away from home. Except for New Year’s celebrations, she rarely came back. It was for that reason that Grandfather Shen learned how to use a computer, which he had never been especially fond of, just to send videos to his daughter so far away from home.
Thus, Grandfather Shen loved company deep in his soul, and not just for holidays like New Year’s, rather he liked having people around all the time. This was also why Shen Fu and Shen Yan, despite having their own houses elsewhere, still frequently lived in their family home.
On New Year’s Eve, everyone respected Grandfather Shen’s wishes, and the entire family prepared to get together for a big meal.
Shen Mom and Lin ShuYi both prepared to put their culinary skills to use in the kitchen, each making a few of their signature dishes, and a few more common but still delicious side dishes. The countertops were a full display of a little bit of everything, Chinese and Western cuisine. Sauteed, roasted, steamed, boiled, fried, stewed, they had it all, and looking at the display, the remaining non-culinarily-proficient four couldn’t help but feel their mouths start to water.
Grandfather Shen felt that, as an elder, drooling all over his plate was far too ugly an appearance, so in a show of seriousness, he stood up and said he was going to go make a call to his daughter. Shen Dad felt that he might as well go too, since he hadn’t seen his sister in a long while either, so he followed Grandfather Shen upstairs.
All that was left were Shen Yan and Shen Fu, wide eyes staring at narrowed ones.
“So how’s that house of yours going?” The last time the Shen brother visited, the house was still under construction. It was only a frame, and the interior structure hadn’t even begun yet.
Shen Fu fished out his phone and began swiping through his pictures, sending them to Shen Yan as he went. “All the construction is finished. We’re just waiting for the building to ventilate and furniture to move in before we settle down.”
The Shen brother squinted at the pictures Shen Fu was swiping through, and suddenly felt a jolt of jealousy.
“It looks pretty good. You two are actually pretty well suited for each other.” Lin ShuYi tended towards calm stability, and Shen Fu could afford this stability.
Rarely hearing such nice words from his brother, Shen Fu was momentarily shocked. Then he bumped shoulders with Shen Yan, and with brotherly affection, said, “Bro, did you receive some kind of shock today? Or is it just that after watching our public displays of affection, you suddenly want to find someone to love too?”
Shen Yan’s face turned black. This younger brother of his was so infuriating that even if he wanted to bear it, he couldn’t bear it anymore.
“Bro, you’re getting older, you aren’t young anymore, why don’t you quickly find me a sister-in-law?”
Shen Yan turned to leave, and Shen Fu continued to talk drivel, “I always thought that you only deserved the best.”
Stopping in his tracks, Shen Yan was a bit surprised at this line, and though he didn’t turn back around, he couldn’t help a little smile.
Seeing Shen Yan moved by his words, Shen Fu grinned, and added another comment. “But unfortunately, even with all this going back and forth, you still can’t find anyone, huh. What are you going to do now?”
That reminded him, the two of them hadn’t practiced for a while now.
When Shen Mom and Lin ShuYi finished cooking, they stepped out of the kitchen, only to find that suddenly everyone was gone. Weren’t they all sitting around here drooling non-stop just a minute ago?
Lin ShuYi looked up and spied Grandfather Shen’s study with the door cracked open, so he said to Shen Mom, “They’re probably upstairs, I’ll go take a look.”
Lin ShuYi went upstairs and knocked on the door, just as he heard a bright, hearty laugh from inside the room. Upon hearing the knocking, someone said, “Come in.”
As Lin ShuYi walked in, from where Shen Dad and Grandfather Shen were facing him looking at a computer screen, Grandfather Shen saw him and smiled. “Xiao Yi, did you come to call us down to eat?”
At the same time as Lin ShuYi nodded, a clear female voice rang out from the computer’s speakers. “Xiao Yi? Is that Xiao Fu’s boyfriend? Quick, call him over let me have a look.”
“It is. You’re so open-minded, when you heard the news, you weren’t surprised at all.” Grandfather Shen said.
The woman on the other side of the screen laughed again. “Even your old-fashioned thinking managed to accept him in the end. Which is why I want to meet him, quick, pull him over and let me have a look.”
Hearing her logic, Grandfather Shen smiled, and waved Lin ShuYi over. “Xiao Yi, come and take a look, this is Xiao Fu’s aunt.”
Actually, Lin ShuYi had heard Shen Fu speak of this aunt before. He said she lived abroad and he rarely saw her in person, but because Shen ShiMan and Shen Dad had a wide age gap, she was always a bit closer to her two nephews than her brother. Although she had been overseas for many years already, she still maintained a good relationship with the two Shen brothers. She was actually the first to know that Shen Fu was gay. With a naturally carefree personality and an open-minded Western education, this revelation didn’t alarm her at all. She encouraged him not to harbor any negative thoughts because of this, but really, at that time, there weren’t any thoughts he could harbor. Although he knew he was gay because women didn’t interest him at all, he didn’t have a person he liked, and cared even less about what others said.
Lin ShuYi sighed, and walked to Grandfather Shen’s side.
Aunt Shen appearance was completely contrary to Lin ShuYi’s expectations. With lovely short hair, skin slightly tanned by the sun, and the same eyebrows and eyes as Grandfather Shen, she held the beauty of a mature adult blended with the upbeat youth of a young woman. She didn’t look like someone in her thirties at all. When she smiled, it made the people around her feel like they were bathing in the sun.
As soon as she saw Lin ShuYi, her eyes grew wide and she said a phrase that Lin ShuYi didn’t understand. Papa Shen, who understood, could only react with silence. Grandfather Shen, who also understood, just looked at her, willing her to be a bit more polite to the youngsters.
Lin ShuYi was confused.
Aunt Shen looked at Lin ShuYi with a slightly cute expression, and laughed, “I’m complimenting you, you handsome boy. Not even fully grown yet, and already picked by that rascal Shen Fu. But I have to say, his taste is pretty good. I just don’t know, which step have the two of you reached?”
Grandfather Shen stared harder at her.
Previously, Lin ShuYi thought that the openness of this country was already very shocking to him. Having never been exposed to foreign cultures, he didn’t realise for everything there was, there was always something more, some place more open-minded out there. He didn’t know what to say, so he just greeted her a bit blankly. “Aunt Shen.”
Aunt Shen snorted and laughed even harder.
Fortunately, Papa Shen coughed, and stepped in to solve the situation. “So, we’re about to go eat dinner, so if there’s anything else you can say it next time.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Papa Shen was prepared to hang up on his brazen sister, but she stopped immediately and expressed that she had something serious to say. “Wait wait wait, I might come back early this year.”
This caught Grandfather Shen’s attention. “Haven’t you always come back after New Year’s before? Why the sudden change?”
Aunt Shen flipped through the calendar on her computer desk, “Probably around next month, both Alan and I. I’ll tell you the details when I get there. In any case, it involves both work matters and personal matters.”
Hearing that his daughter was going to come home early, Grandfather Shen was suddenly very happy. “How long are you going to stay?”
“I might stay a bit long this time. There’s good news, I’ll tell you when I get there.”
That Aunt Shen could come back early, everyone was delighted. Grandfather Shen immediately began to make plans, telling her to call as soon as she was prepared to return so they could send Shen Yan to go pick her up. Aunt Shen agreed with a smile, and couldn’t help but tease Lin ShuYi one last time before ending the call, “When auntie gets back, don’t forget to tell me every little detail about the two of you.”
Lin ShuYi’s entire body stiffened up, and Aunt Shen’s entire face showed that she was up to no good.
With a swipe, Shen Dad ended the call and closed the screen, telling Lin ShuYi, “Ignore her, Let’s go down and eat.”
Just then, Shen Fu pushed the study door open, and came in, wiping some sweat off his forehead with a towel. “Who was that? Aunt Shen?”
Shen Dad nodded.
With one glance at Lin ShuYi’s stiff appearance, combined with his aunt’s usually carefree way of speaking, Shen Fu could already tell what happened. Laughing, he came up and threw an arm around Lin ShuYi’s shoulders. “She’s always like this, you’ll get used to it.”
Actually, Lin ShuYi wasn’t bothered by the way Aunt Shen spoke, rather he felt that she gave people an inherent feeling of closeness. It was just that the implications of her teasing made him a little embarrassed.
“What did you do?”
Shen Fu replied vaguely, “Nothing much, just practicing with my brother.”
It might seem that Shen Yan didn’t exercise much, but in reality, his muscles were nothing to be trifled with. He was indeed on a completely different level from Chen Fang. After practicing for just a short while, Shen Fu could already feel his body beginning to sweat.
“Go take a quick shower, your entire body smells like sweat.” Grandfather Shen looked sternly at Shen Fu.
Still smiling, Shen Fu took his arm off Lin ShuYi. “I know, but I just came because I wanted to see my aunt.”
“She’s coming back next month, you’ll see plenty of her then.”
Shen Fu’s eyes widened, “Really? Why so early this year?”
“Said there’s something important she needed to tell us.”
Using the towel to wipe his brow again, Shen Fu grinned. “Good news? Could it be that she’s pregnant?”
Aunt Shen was already in her thirties, but had never wanted children. This was one of Grandfather Shen’s sore points. Stubbornly, the couple didn’t have any plans for children, and didn’t take this matter seriously at all. Aunt Shen always took that fact that she didn’t look thirty at all to fend off Grandfather Shen, but Grandfather Shen was still stressed, just because something seemed a certain way didn’t mean it was way. Even if her bodily functions were still young, she was still getting older little by little, if they didn’t have any children now than it might become too late.
Even more stressful for Grandfather Shen was that Shen Yan was already of an age where he should get married and have children. If it weren’t for the fact that Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi were both male, he could have ended up with two great-grandchildren before this aunt had any children of her own. What kind of situation was that?
As Shen Fu mentioned this, Grandfather Shen was suddenly full of high spirits. The more he thought about it the more he was convinced this was the truth. He wanted to call Aunt Shen again immediately.
Papa Shen was still relatively sensible. “I don’t think you should ask, Xiao Man will tell us when she gets here. And also, you don’t know if this is really true, so how would you even ask?”
Hearing this, Grandfather Shen managed to calm down, and agreed it was best to wait until Aunt Shen came back to announce the news to everyone, to see if their prediction was correct.
And thus, the second good news this New Year’s Eve was Aunt Shen’s early return.
The entire family sat together, discussing the if’s and when’s of Aunt Shen’s possible child, what they should do when the child was born. On this subject, Mama Shen suddenly turned around, and looking at Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi, asked, “What about you two?”
Shen Fu, “Huh?”
“Are the two of you not going to have children?”
Lin ShuYi was a bit stunned by Shen Mom’s sudden question. Truthfully, they had actually considered this matter, but never in much detail. But now that Shen Mom’s asked them the question, they couldn’t just not give an answer.
Shen Fu looked at Lin ShuYi, then smiled. “We are, of course we are. Xiao Yi really likes children, but we just haven’t thought it through yet.”
Grandfather Shen also joined the conversation, “You two are still young, but it’s still good to think about things like this. If you want children, then you’ll have to make preparations in advance. Whether it’s adoption or surrogacy, you’ll always need to have plans in place beforehand.”
Lin ShuYi tilted his head in confusion, “Surrogacy?”
Adoption he understood, but what on earth was surrogacy?
No one had expected that Lin ShuYi wouldn’t know what surrogacy was, and everyone glanced back and forth at each other. In the end, it was Shen Yan who ended up explaining, while keeping his face expressionless. “It’s taking either yours or Shen Fu’s sperm and artificially combining it with a woman’s egg to make a child.”
This was absolutely mind-blowing to Lin ShuYi, and the first time he had ever heard that children could be made like this. Without any physical contact, a child could still be born? Would a child born like this resemble Shen Fu? If so, how come he still found the thought a bit hard to bear? A child produced out of a combination with another woman’s egg, what if the child ended up looking like Shen Fu and the other woman? Lin ShuYi felt like he just couldn’t accept this.
“Let’s just adopt.” Shen Fu said suddenly. Actually, it wasn’t just Lin ShuYi who found the thought hard to bear. Thinking about it, Shen Fu couldn’t accept the idea either.
“Then adoption it is. Adopt two, so they’ll have a companion growing up. What do you think?”
As long as this hurdle was passed, adopting a few children wasn’t a big issue at all. After all, with a family like this, no matter how many children they adopted, they would still be able to provide all of them with the best education.
“What’s more, your aunt’s work is related to this, so you guys can have a chat about it when she gets home.”
Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi looked at each other, and nodded. Then it was decided just like this, and everything else would just have to wait until after Aunt Shen came home.
“Then let’s eat! Xiao Yi fried up some taro glutinous rice balls, they won’t taste good when they get cold.”