Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In the middle of the night, there was strong wind, thunder and lightning outside the house.
Lu Shang usually slept shallowly, and he was woken up by the thunder. He had been very idle recently, he wasn’t tired at all during the day, so if he woke up at night, it would be impossible for him to fall asleep again. So, he habitually stared out the window.
Perhaps due to the El Niño effect, the weather in recent years had been quite extreme. It was either so hot that it was a complete pain to be outside or it was raining cats and dogs with serious flooding. Seeing the huge rain tonight, Lu Shang wondered how many people was going to suffer again from the flooding.
As Lu Shang was thinking, warmth along with a hairy head suddenly crept up near the nape of Lu Shang’s neck.
Once again, several thunders echoed the sky. They were terribly loud, as if the sounds were right in their ears, even the vehicles’ alarm system were triggered by the loud thunders. In the darkness, Li Sui circled his arms around Lu Shang’s waist and whispered, “Are you scared?”
Lu Shang leaned back to him, he paused for a moment, then his mouth made a light smile, “A little.”
“Don’t be, I will be holding onto you.” Li Sui hurried over and closed the distance, he held Lu Shang tightly, they were sticking close together.
The thunder continued, and they seemed to be getting stronger. In the darkness, Lu Shang laughed without making any sound. He relaxed his body and let Li Sui hold him tightly, he did not point out the abnormally racing heartbeats coming from behind him.
It rained all night and only stopped when daybreak came. When they opened the door in the morning, it gave them a slight jump scare. Lower-lying streets were filled with sewage water, there were floating branches and garbage everywhere. The water was at the level of an adult’s lower leg.
“It’s not safe outside, stay at home today,” Lu Shang said, stopping Li Sui who was about to go out for work, his tone sounded commanding.
Originally, Li Sui planned a few meetings with cooperation partners in the morning. Judging from the current flood, the traffic today must be bad. He called and as expected, among the four cooperation partners, three were stuck in traffic, so they decided to cancel the meeting for now. He also called Aunt Lu to let her know that she didn’t have to come in for work today. Li Sui rolled up his own sleeves and prepared breakfast for Lu Shang.
“Did you take your medicine yet?” Li Sui asked.
Lu Shang was watching the news and said without paying much attention to Li Sui, “I will eat later.”
Li Sui placed the fried eggs on a plate and saw that Lu Shang wasn’t budging. He went upstairs and got the medicine, then he poured out a glass of water for Lu Shang. Li Sui handed the glass to Lu Shang and asked, “What are you watching? What’s making you so infatuated?”
The TV was playing the local morning news. Last night, some nearby villages were seriously flooded, several schools were flooded as well. The relevant departments were organizing the rescue work, but it was not optimistic.
Lu Shang frowned and swallowed the medicine, then he shook his head.
During the meal, the two of them chatted for a while. Then, Li Sui noticed that Lu Shang was a little absent-minded today. He reached out his hand and touched Lu Shang’s forehead, “Are you feeling unwell?”
“No.” Lu Shang took his hand away and saw that Li Sui was still staring at him. Lu Shang explained after some thought, “I’m just thinking about an old matter. When the loaning industry was rising a few years ago, a small loan company came to me in hope of cooperation with Tong Yan. They wanted to offer some poverty alleviation loans to the villagers. I don’t see potential in the industry at the time, plus the profits were not high, so I put the matter aside. Looking back now, I should have paid more attention to it.”
Li Sui smiled with understanding, “That wasn’t something you could decide on your own anyways. Besides, isn’t someone doing it now?”
“It’s too poorly done.” Lu Shang shook his head.
Li Sui stared at him then began going into his own thoughts as well.
After several rounds of rain, the wind blew and in an instant, it was autumn. The weather abided to the seasons strictly, it really began to cool down. At night, it was still a little cold when they pulled up the covers.
Li Sui had been very busy lately. He went out for work very early and returned home late. Lu Shang almost couldn’t see Li Sui at all unless it was at night. He was bored, so he began practicing Chinese calligraphy at home, the copies of his handwriting piled up thicker and thicker in their house.
At about 4 p.m., Li Sui called Lu Shang to tell him that he would be meeting a few bank executives in the evening, so he won’t be home for dinner. Lu Shang replied and stared at the turned-off screen for a long time. Now that Tong Yan was getting on the right track, Li Sui shouldn’t be this busy. SiMa Yan was dealing with Mu Sheng, so there shouldn’t be any problems there. Recently, even if Li Sui didn’t go in for work for a few days, Lu Shang didn’t see his phone ringing even once.
Before he had more time to think about that, Zuo Chao called and invited Lu Shang over to the bamboo dojo for tea.
YouYou was already in elementary school, the little girl was very smart. She smiled with clear, bright eyes. When she saw Lu Shang, she ran over and asked, “Godfather, where’s ‘Goddaddy’?”
Lu Shang brought her a set of drawing tools. He patted the little girl’s hair with a smile and said, “He’s busy.”
When Zuo Chao heard Lu Shang’s voice, he shouted, “Oh, Lu Lao Ban, you’re finally here. Come in quickly. We’ve already started eating. The first meal this year is juicy crabs.”
Only when he entered the room did he knew that Xe WeiLan and Yan Ke were invited too. Lu Shang was surprised that Yan Ke was there, since he wasn’t close with Zuo Chao, and Lu Shang was surprised by the fact that he did not look as chipper as he used to be. His clothes were disordered, and his face was rather sad.
“Stop stare at me already,” Yan Ke said with a depressed look and forced a laugh, “I’ve had some private affairs to deal with these two days. I came to lawyer Xe for help. It just so happened that he was invited for tea by brother Zuo, so I tagged along.”
They talked while eating, that was when Lu Shang heard the full story from Xe WeiLan: Apparently, Yan Ke who was messing around outside was found out by his wife. Mrs. Yan was a strong and tactful lady, she didn’t directly brought a divorce up nor did she made trouble for him. She just kept quiet but played the strongest card possible, even Yan Ke had his hands tied.
His wife basically kicked him out of the house, “If we are not a family then we don’t stay under one roof.”
“So, you want a divorce now?” Lu Shang asked.
Yan Ke sighed, “I don’t want to, but she persuaded our daughter to ask me for a divorce.”
“I’ll say this, neither of you are a small fry in the society. Resolve this peacefully and don’t pull others down with you,” Xe WeiLan wasn’t holding back at all as he commented.
Yan Ke was not upset by it though, he just laughed bitterly, “Okay, stop rubbing salt in my injuries already. I know this whole thing was my fault, I was wrong. But can you please help me think of something? I really can’t give up on my daughter.”
“You should’ve known from the beginning,” Zuo Chao said. “You guys already have kids, why didn’t you think about that when you did it?”
“I was just acting and talking business, and besides, we’re all men. Who can really ignore those urges?”
Zuo Chao laughed, “The person who could is sitting in front of you.”
Lu Shang turned a deaf ear to Zuo Chao’s obvious teasing and continued to drink his ginger tea.
Yan Ke staggered. All of them were suddenly silent, they turned to peeling the crab shells off.
“Yes, I know. I lack restraint.” Yan Ke finally admitted.
The atmosphere turned gloomy for a while until Zuo Chao asked Lu Shang, “By the way, why didn’t Xiao Li come with you today?”
“Talking business,” Lu Shang murmured.
When the two words left Lu Shang’s mouth, combined with their previous conversation, it became somewhat sensitive. Lu Shang raised his head up from his tea, it was obvious that everyone was thinking about the same thing, Zuo Chao broke the silence by saying, “Ha, if Xiao Li ever got a mistress, even crabs could fly.”
Lu Shang, “……”
Yan Ke, “……”
Xe WeiLan scolded, “Think before you talk!”
When Lu Shang left, Zuo Chao packed a bag of fat crabs and gave it to Lu Shang, “Take some back for Xiao Li Zi. Don’t let them stay overnight though, throw them away if you can’t eat them all tonight.”
Lu Shang took it home, but still no one was home yet. He tried calling Li Sui, but the phone showed that Li Sui’s phone was off, probably because it was out of battery. Lu Shang sighed and remembered what Zuo Chao said today. He knew Li Sui’s personality well, so he was not worried. Yet, whenever he thought about Li Sui leaving home for work, he always felt somewhat unhappy, almost as if the time that should had been his was taken away by someone.
Lu Shang took a bath, then read a bit in bed, as he turn the pages, he began dozing off. The clock pointed to 12, that was when Li Sui finally came home, bringing with him a strong smell of alcohol.
“Why haven’t you slept yet?” Li Sui reached out his hand and wanted to hold Lu Shang. Then he realized that he stunk of alcohol and was afraid that Lu Shang wouldn’t like it, so he quickly withdrew back a little. He took off his coat and took his clothes off to take a shower.
“What are you busy with these two days?” Lu Shang closed his book and asked.
“Nothing, just a tiny thing.”
“There’s supper on the table.”
Li Sui smiled and said, “I can’t eat any more.”
“Hmm, then throw it away.”
Li Sui instinctively knew that Lu Shang was not happy. He hurriedly cleaned himself up, then climbed into bed and asked, “What’s the matter? Are you angry?”
Lu Shang met with Li Sui’s concerning eyes and he gradually calmed down, “I haven’t seen you for the whole day, so I feel like something was missing.”
Li Sui smiled and went over for a kiss, “Sorry, that was on me, I should have been more sensitive. I’ll be back home on time tomorrow.” As Li Sui said that, his right hand was already very impatiently sneaking into Lu Shang’s pajamas, the two men looked at each other. They began burning up, as if they were two lit fuses, and soon they began entangling with each other.
Li Sui kept his promise and went home on time every day after that. He even drove around the city with Lu Shang on the weekends. Lu Shang, on the other hand, found himself getting weirder and weirder, especially after he began paying attention to Li Sui’s time allocation.
In this regard, Lu Lao Ban couldn’t help but wonder, maybe he needed more contact with the outside world, get some distractions. If he always stayed in a close environment, it would be inevitably to become sensitive and suspicious of everything. In the past, when he was busy, he always looked forward to the time when he could finally “retire and live the simple life”, but when he really did not need to worry about anything anymore, he found it extremely boring, he always had a feeling that his life lacked a bit of challenge.
This evening, when Li Sui was inside their bedroom, he received a phone call and they were discussing some business stuff. Lu Shang glanced at him, then he walked into the room and turned to the bathroom. He took a hot bath. After he finished the bath, he left the drops of water on his upper body be, then wrapped his lower half up with a towel. He walked out of the shower room while drying his wet hair with a towel, with just the towel hanging on his waist, he opened the drawer in the bedroom and rummage through it.
Li Sui was on the phone, recording some data on a piece of paper. Li Sui started lagging from the very moment Lu Shang entered the room, his eyes were glued to him. The other party on the phone called out to Li Sui several times before Li Sui finally managed to respond.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Do you mind saying that again, I didn’t quite catch you just now……”
Lu Shang walked past Li Sui as if nothing was happening, when he moved around, the towel loosened slightly, and his stomach showed. The warm light in the room showered on him, making his skin look even more tender than usual. His skin was slightly flushed after soaking in warm water. That successfully made Li Sui lag once again. This time, he couldn’t help but pull his phone down and covered the speaker to ask, “What are you looking for?”
Lu Shang continued to turn through the drawer, “The charger.”
“I’ll find it for you later, go and put some clothes on, be careful or you might catch a cold.” After that, Li Sui fled to the balcony with the mobile phone, as if he had to escape from something.
Lu Shang stood in the same place for a while, looking at his back, a smile crept up on his lips.
That weekend, Li Sui went out to look at a plot of land. On the way of coming back home, he passed by the seafood market and bought some fresh shrimps. He wanted to make some shrimp porridge for Lu Shang. As soon as he opened the door though, he was surprised with several dishes on the dining table.
Li Sui stared blankly at Lu Shang who came out of the kitchen wearing an apron. Li Sui’s face was as pale as a ghost’s, he asked incoherently, “You… Are you cooking?”
Lu Shang took off the apron and said, “I tried.”
Seeing Li Sui standing there all frozen up, Lu Shang hurried him, “Sit down and have a taste.”
Li Sui had never seen Lu Shang cooking in his entire life before, the shock from this was comparable to hearing the two old turtles at home cursing people with human language. Li Sui held the pair of chopsticks for a long time while in a trance, not knowing what how to react.
“Is today a special day?” Li Sui asked with a smile.
Lu Shang laughed, “No, it’s just out of a whim.”
Li Sui swallowed then looked down at the dishes on the table, and then he stopped laughing.
They were all simple home-cooked dishes. There wasn’t anything wrong with the matching of the ingredients, one dish was tomatoes and scrambled eggs, another was celeries with shrimps. Although Lu Shang hadn’t cooked any of them before, he had eaten them. It’s just these dishes… even “horrendous” was a compliment.
Lu Shang was obviously a little embarrassed by them, he said, “Well, they don’t look very good…”
“It’s all right, all that matters are the taste,” Li Sui quickly picked up a shrimp and threw it into his mouth, he chewed it, swallowed it, and nodded, “Hmn… Not bad.”
“Really?” Lu Shang pushed the dishes over to him and said, “Then have some more.”
Li Sui did not refuse but he did not pick up anymore of the shrimps, “I’ll try this scrambled eggs then.”
“It might be a little salty. My hands shook too much when I sprinkled the salt,” Lu Shang warned.
Li Sui picked up a piece, he only chewed once, then he proceeded to swallowing it down very slowly, “Um… It’s slightly too salty.”
After that, Li Sui pointed the pair of chopsticks to the plate with some paste-like substances beside the scrambled eggs, “Is this mashed potatoes?”
Lu Shang’s expression changed slightly and scratched his own nose in embarrassment, “Potato chips, I don’t know why but after I stir-fried them, they become a ball of mush.”
If one looked carefully enough, they’d still be able to see the shape of the potato chips, but it was obvious that some were cut thicker and some were thinner. So, when he stir-fried them, probably also with insufficient oil and too strong a fire, the results were that the thicker pieces weren’t cooked completely, while the thinner one turned into pasty.
Li Sui found the dishes amusing but then he caught a glimpse of Lu Shang’s fingers, he quickly caught his hand and said while frowning, “Did you get those from cutting the vegetables?”
“Hmm, it’s nothing,” Lu Shang took his hand back and didn’t seem to mind.
Li Sui looked at him, and he felt moved. Lu Shang had never picked up a kitchen knife in the entirety of his life before. He only ever had to deal with work things, but now Lu Shang was willing to do housework for his sake. It was impossible to voice out how moved he was.
“You should cut the potatoes in half first, then it won’t slip so easily.” Li Sui grabbed his finger and placed it on his own lips.
“Hmn, I’ll do that next time,” Lu Shang smiled lightly.
After barely finishing the meal, Li Sui helped clean the dining table and went into the kitchen. Inside, he saw the kitchen knife thrown aside and two table knives were lying on the chopping board.
“You cut the potatoes with the table knives?” Li Sui speculated.
Lu Shang nodded, “It’s easier to handle.”
Li Sui didn’t know if he should laugh or cry, he said, “Don’t go into the kitchen anymore. This place is not suitable for you.”
“Then what place is suitable for me?”
Li Sui leaned his head down and smiled. He put one hand behind Lu Shang’s ear and the other pulled him into his embrace, he said, “In my arms.”
After doing intimate things in the evening, Li Sui massaged Lu Shang’s waist and asked softly, “Lu Shang, do you want to go back to Tong Yan?”
Lu Shang was almost asleep but when he heard that, he abruptly turned his head. His eyes were dark in the night.
“Recently, I’ve been thinking over many things. I thought about your illness, you’ve just healed for a few years, and I don’t want you to be bothered by your work anymore,” Li Sui said slowly, holding Lu Shang’s hand. “But in the past few years, after I took over the company completely, I often felt that something was missing. Last time, when you mentioned the issue of loans, I slowly realized: Tong Yan is only Tong Yan when you are in it. You belong there, and I shouldn’t be so selfish, binding you here by my side like this.”
Li Sui’s remarks were obviously well-planned. Lu Shang did not expect he would suddenly say these things. For a moment, even he did not know how to reply. He thought for a while and asked, “Do you have any plans on how?”
Li Sui nodded, “It’s certainly can’t be in the mainland, but if it’s abroad, then it’s fine. Right now, I just so happened to have a suitable project in my hand. I want to set up a branch abroad and I think you can lead it.”
Lu Shang was shocked, “So, that’s what you’ve been busy with recently?”
“Hmn. I’ve finished the basic preparations. So, the only thing now is whether you want to.” Li Sui smiled and continued after a short pause, “Would you like to join?”
Li Sui prepared everything in secret behind his back, even Lu Shang had to admit, Li Sui was truly taught by him, that was exactly how Lu Shang did things, prepare everything meticulously in secret. Lu Shang’s heart was full of mixed feelings. On one hand, he felt that his child had become a really promising person and was able to surprise even him. On the other hand, he found his own actions recently extremely childish, one could say that he was just to bored.
“I’ll consider it.”
Li Sui nodded, he knew that it meant Lu Shang had agreed to it. Before he could immerse himself in joy though, his stomach rumbled, and his expression changed instantly. He climbed out of bed in a hurry.
“My stomach is feeling a bit uncomfortable…” Li Sui ran to the toilet. Laughing and crying at the same time, he said, “If Aunt Lu isn’t here, I’ll make food. Please don’t go into the kitchen again.”
Lu Shang, “Okay…”
T/N: lol without this chapter I’d totally forget the fact that Lu Shang was basically a pampered prince in a rich family.