Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
It was the start of the winter holidays. After finishing his assignments in the morning, Xia Yao went over to his mother’s stall in the afternoon. Although Xia Yao’s mother tried her best to persuade Xia Yao to stay at home and study, Xia Yao still stubbornly went there every day to help. Normally, he had to be in class, but since the exams had ended, it was impossible for him not to help his mother out.
With Xia Yao’s elegant, fair looks, the mere act of standing by the stall increased the stall’s business rather greatly. Xia Yao’s mother tried chasing Xia Yao home, not wanting him to feel exhausted, but Xia Yao pushed her down to sit on the small folding stool, “Mom, it’s not even been ten minutes since I stood here; not even paper is as weak as that.”
Other stall keepers beside them kept praising Xia Yao’s mother for raising such a good child. Although Xia Yao’s mother humbly denied the compliment, she couldn’t hide the joy and pride in her eyes. Xia Yao had always been a well-behaved child. Despite the difficult life Xia Yao’s mother endured while bringing him up, never once had she regretted doing so; she was satisfied with just having such a son in her entire lifetime. She wanted to earn a bit more money while her body was still healthy so as to help Xia Yao in his marriage later in his life.
Xia Yao was handing over a packed pancake to an uncle nearby when a shadow appeared in front of him all of a sudden. When he raised his head to take a look, he saw that Zhou Du was grinning at him. “Godmother,” Zhou Du lengthened his neck to greet Xia Yao’s mother, who was sitting in the back.
Xia Yao’s mother got up in a hurry, “Oh my, I didn’t know you were going to show up; come over and have a seat.” Zhou Du went over at once to help Xia Yao’s mother back to her seat, before walking to Xia Yao, “I have nothing to do at home, so I came over to play with Xia Yao.”
“Yao Yao, go on and play with Zhou Du. I can handle the stall by myself.” Xia Yao’s mother was about to stand up again. Xia Yao turned over and replied to his mother, “What places can we go in this chilly weather?” He shifted his sight to Zhou Du, asking, “Where are you planning on going?” Zhou Du grinned, “Nowhere. Godmother, let Xia Yao and me help you out in selling pancakes.”
Noticing from Zhou Du’s getup that he didn’t look like someone from an ordinary family, a nearby auntie asked, “Who is this? Why does he call you his godmother?” Xia Yao’s mother turned over to explain, “He is my son’s classmate. I’ve adopted him as my godson.” The people beside her nodded without asking any further, but their curious gazes still stuck firmly to Zhou Du.
However, as if totally oblivious to the stares, Zhou Du greeted the customers in front of him cordially. The two hotties caught the eyes of many young ladies passing by; even if they didn’t make any purchase, they would still stop over the stall to have a chat with both of them. In just a moment, Xia Yao’s mother’s store was swamped with a crowd. A hint of envy could be seen from the surrounding shop owners’ eyes.
Due to the low temperature in winter nights, Xia Yao’s mother closed her store early. Zhou Du spent the whole afternoon helping out, so naturally, he followed Xia Yao back to his home to mooch dinner.
As Xia Yao’s mother was busy cooking in the kitchen, Zhou Du stood by the door and chit-chatted with her. Flatteries poured out of Zhou Du’s mouth with ease, as though he possessed a natural gift of sweet-talking his elders, “Godmother, I’m not exaggerating about your cooking; after the dinner here last time, I’ve been thinking about it for quite a few days.”
The praises made Xia Yao’s mother chuckle, “Why? Is your mother’s cooking bad?”
“I’ve never eaten a meal made by my mom ever since I was born,” Zhou Du sighed, “my mom said that she is a fairy, and fairies mustn’t cook.”
Xia Yao’s mother arched her eyebrows in amusement when she heard that, yet a sliver of envy hid in her eyes, “Your mother sure is blessed.”
Zhou Du corrected himself at once, “Which is why your food reminds me of a mother’s cooking. Godmother, can I come here to eat next time whenever I’m free?”
“Sure, by all means,” Xia Yao’s mother turned to glance at him. “As long as you don’t find the meals here to be too plain.”
“Of course I wouldn’t!” Zhou Du walked to Xia Yao’s mother, requesting shyly, “Godmother, can you teach me how to cook?”
Xia Yao’s mother cast a look of astonishment at him, “You want to learn how to cook?”
“Yup,” Zhou Du affirmed.
Xia Yao’s mother shook her head while laughing, “If you want to learn cooking, why not find your family’s chef to teach you? Your family’s chef is definitely much more skillful than me.” Zhou Du thought, It’s not the same. The reason why I want to learn cooking from you is so that I can cook for Xia Yao in the future. Xia Yao’s mother continued, “Look at you, you’ll definitely pamper your wife in the future. If you learn cooking now, your fortunate wife will be able to enjoy your meals in the future.” Zhou Du couldn’t stop the corner of his lips from springing up.
After dinner, Zhou Du started stalling again, unwilling to go home. Noticing Zhou Du’s motives, Xia Yao told Zhou Du in a hurry before his mother could speak up, “The sky is getting dark; let me walk with you part of the way to your home.” He looked for his scarf in preparation to leave while talking. Zhou Du shot an annoyed glare at him before following behind him grudgingly.
Only two to three worn-out street lights with pale yellow glow illuminated the area Xia Yao resided in. Seeing that not many passersby were on the road during winter, Zhou Du boldly stuffed his hand into the pocket of Xia Yao’s cotton-padded jacket.
Xia Yao’s pointed chin was entirely buried in his scarf. He tilted his head, casting a glance at Zhou Du, “Why do you keep coming over?” Using his fingers in the pocket, Zhou Du gave Xia Yao’s hand a hard pinch, “Since you never come to my home to look for me, for course I have to go over to look for you.”
Xia Yao stopped in his tracks and lifted his head to take a look at Zhou Du, “Don’t come over. I’m afraid my mom will find out something is going on with us.”
Zhou Du’s face darkened with rage immediately. He was just about to storm off as he raised his foot, but when the promise he made in his self-criticism letter floated into his mind, he forced his leg down. Xia Yao knew Zhou Du would be pissed at what he said, so he fished out his handphone and swayed it around, “We can message or call each other.”
“But I want to meet you face to face.” Zhou Du gave Xia Yao a sulky, aggrieved reply, “my mind is filled with you every single moment, be it when I’m doing my homework or eating. I want to touch you, kiss you, make—”
“Zhou Du,” Xia Yao interrupted him with a flushed face, “stop it.”
Zhou Du, currently wearing a down coat, pulled Xia Yao into his embrace as he argued indignantly, “Why can’t I say it out? I’m just going to say it.” His face inched closer, his warm breath hitting Xia Yao’s face, “Don’t you miss me?”
Since the two of them donned on thick clothing due to the cold, Xia Yao felt uncomfortable being huddled up like that. He struggled while answering, “I do miss you, but we have to control ourselves.” A classic line from a movie sprang into his mind, “Like is behaving wildly without any control, whereas love is restrained.”
“I don’t want to be restrained; I want to like you wildly.” After ending his sentence, Zhou Du lowered down to plant a kiss on Xia Yao’s lips. Under the dim lights, in the dark alleyway, being together with the man in his arms who he was madly in love with. Xia Yao fluttered his eyelids shut, peacefully relishing the kiss Zhou Du given him.
Zhou Du only released Xia Yao slowly after a lengthy kiss. Looking at Zhou Du ears, which were reddened from the cold, Xia Yao chuckled and pinched them, before taking off his scarf and wrapping it around Zhou Du’s neck, “Hurry back home.”
“Aren’t you cold?” Zhou Du wanted to take the scarf off, but Xia Yao pressed on his hand and assured him, “I’ll be back home soon. You can give the scarf back to me the next time we meet.” Thrilled at the promise of meeting next time, Zhou Du was grinning from ear to ear like an idiot as he headed back home.