Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After Xia Yao went back home, he noticed his mother wasn’t back yet, and so, he took the initiative to cook dinner. After Xia Yao’s mother closed her stall and returned home, she was flabbergasted that her son could actually cook. In his previous life, Xia Yao learned cooking just for Zhou Du. His mother’s reaction made him guilty.
“Mom,” Xia Yao passed some food to his mother with his chopsticks, “I want to go out and do something during the holidays.”
“Do something? What is it? Are you in need of money?” Xia Yao’s mother asked in a hurry.
Xia Yao explained, “No. The holiday lasts for two months; since I have nothing to do, so I think I should try out some part-time job. I can kind of train myself while doing so too. Mom, I’m already an adult.”
Xia Yao’s mother sighed as she set her chopsticks slowly onto the table, “It’s all because your mommy is so useless.”
“Mom, don’t say that,” Xia Yao interrupted his mother. “It’s only to train myself. After I go to university and out to work, I will need to have some work experience anyway. Besides, my exam is over; there’s not much to do staying at home. Don’t tell me you want me to continue studying?”
In the end, Xia Yao managed to convince his mother and succeeded in getting a job. Zhou Du had originally planned to bring Xia Yao out to a trip, and he was shocked to learn that Xia Yao looked for a job. Xia Yao’s workplace was in a milk tea shop. Due to his good looks, the shop owner placed him at the shop front to rope in customers while standing by the counter.
Once Zhou Du noticed zero responses from Xia Yao after the calls and messages he sent, he couldn’t stop himself from rushing to his house to look for him, only to find him not at home. Only when Xia Yao came home from work did he learn about Xia Yao’s job. “Are you in need of money?” Zhou Du asked him the same question Xia Yao’s mother asked.
Xia Yao heaved a sigh, “Yes, indeed I am.” Covering the fees for his mother’s health checkup was not a problem for Xia Yao with the little bit of money he had saved up. However, in his past life, his mom died of cancer. Although he had already been working for a few years by the time his mother got sick, he wanted to prepare for it in advance. Even if his mother was currently fine, he still wanted to earn some money for his school fees and thus lessen his mother’s burden.
Zhou Du discovered something new to do again, which was to fetch Xia Yao home every night. “Hey, do you think we will still be going home like this when we grow up?” Zhou Du was beside Xia Yao. The two of them strolled along the road towards the public transport station.
After recalling the way they were together in his past life, Xia Yao shook his head, “We will be busy at work by then, and definitely not as free as we are now.”
Zhou Du seemed to think of something as he questioned, “Then, have you thought about what you are going to do in the future?”
Xia Yao pondered, “I don’t know. I want to find a job related to foreign languages. You?”
Zhou Du perked up his eyebrows, pleased at himself. “I’m going to find a job that makes a lot of money, of course. I do have to earn money to support my family after all,” he inched towards Xia Yao’s ear and whispered ambiguously. Xia Yao’s ears flushed red.
During the release of exam results, Xia Yao’s mother took a day off. In the morning, Xia Yao was so nervous he couldn’t even eat his breakfast. Around 10 a.m. or so, the phone number to check the exam results finally connected. The cold, robotic female voice reported Xia Yao’s results one subject at a time. More and more sweat oozed out of Xia Yao’s palms. He held his breath silently. Once the final score was released, he exhaled a long breath out.
“How it is, my boy?” Xia Yao’s mother had no clue what those scores represented.
Xia Yao grinned at his mother, “Mom, I can get into the uni in B City.”
Xia Yao’s mother’s eyes reddened instantly. She gripped her son’s hand tightly, nodding, “That’s good; that’s good.”
Xia Yao was about to speak when his mobile phone in his hand rang again. He glanced at the screen and realized it was Zhou Du. “Mom, I’m going back to my room.”
Of course, Xia Yao’s mother caught a glimpse of who was contacting him. Her expression turned dark, “Go on.”
Xia Yao shut his door before picking up Zhou Du’s call. “Have you passed?” the first question from Zhou Du was regarding his results. Xia Yao remain quiet for quite some time, making Zhou Du immediately anxious, “You haven’t?”
“Zhou Du,” Xia Yao was slow with his words, “we can go to B City together.”
Zhou Du from the other side of the call took a deep breath. Only after a while did he start speaking again, his voice trembling, “You… Wait, I’ll go to you right now.”
“Don’t come over,” Xia Yao stopped him hastily.
“Why not?” Zhou Du was confused. He wanted to see Xia Yao so much now.
Xia Yao stammered, “My mom is at home; it’s better if you don’t come over.”
“Alright then,” Zhou Du’s tone revealed his disappointment.
Xia Yao couldn’t bear to dishearten Zhou Du, so he consoled him, “You can visit the milk tea shop and look for me tomorrow. I have half a day off in the afternoon.”
In the next afternoon, Zhou Du waited in the shop for nearly two hours before Xia Yao even ended his shift. Xia Yao’s colleagues from the shop asked Xia Yao, their tone gossipy, “That hottie who fetches you home every day is here again. What kind of relationship do you have with him?”
Xia Yao flashed a nervous glance at Zhou Du before explaining to his colleagues, “He’s my little brother.”
“Little brother?” one of his female co-workers cried out, “But you two don’t look alike at all.”
“We aren’t blood-related,” Xia Yao clarified awkwardly.
When Xia Yao’s shift ended, Zhou Du followed him, staying by his side wordlessly. “What’s wrong?” Xia Yao inquired, baffled.
A moment of silence later, Zhou Du replied in an annoyed tone, “I don’t like you working here. Quit tomorrow; you’re not allowed to go back.”
Xia Yao was stunned for a bit. “Why?” he asked, bewildered.
“Just because. If you need money, I’ll just give it to you. You are not allowed to work anymore.”
Xia Yao, who was walking beside Zhou Du, stopped in his tracks all of a sudden. “Zhou Du,” he stared at the back of the person in front of him, “we’re dating. I’m not a pet you raise. I don’t have to pander to your every whim.” Zhou Du curled his hands into fists. However, Xia Yao continued, “I don’t need your money, nor will I quit. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to fetch me from work.” When Xia Yao finished talking, his heart was thumping nervously. He kept his eyes focused on the back of Zhou Du’s head as he thought, What if he just walks away? Should I chase him then?
Nonetheless, Xia Yao didn’t like the attitude Zhou Du had shown him. He couldn’t simply rely on Zhou Du in the future. He had things he aspired to do, and he still had to support his mother. Both of them stood by the street, locked in a stalemate. After sighing inwardly, Xia Yao took a step forward and was about to reach out his hand and give Zhou Du’s shoulder a pat. Never would he have expected Zhou Du to turn around suddenly.
Zhou Du stole a timid glimpse at Xia Yao, “I’m sorry; don’t be mad.” He touched Xia Yao’s elbow, “Let’s grab some lunch. Are you hungry?”
Zhou Du’s response warmed Xia Yao’s heart. After some pondering, Xia Yao replied, “Do you want to try my cooking?”
“You can cook?” Zhou Du was astonished.
“Yup,” Xia Yao nodded.
“That’s great,” Zhou Du beamed, “do you want to come over in that case? My dad and mom brought my little sis to my grandparents’ place. Auntie nanny took a day off to go home too, so there isn’t anyone at home right now.”
The kitchen in Zhou Du’s house was a few times bigger than the one at Xia Yao’s home. At first, Xia Yao had no idea where the items he needed were placed, but once he asked Zhou Du, he found that the young master in front of him was even more clueless than he was. “Forget it. I’ll look for it myself,” he let out a sigh in resignation.
Zhou Du stood by his side, wanting to help too, but Xia Yao found him a hindrance and chased him out. Without much of a choice, Zhou Du leaned on the wall outside the kitchen. He peeked at Xia Yao, who was busy in the kitchen, his heart fluttering with joy. Xia Yao seems like my wife, he thought, before correcting himself, Bah! What do I mean ‘seems like’? He is my wife. As he ogled the snow-white skin Xia Yao revealed when he bent a little lower to wash the vegetables, he started feeling frisky, and eventually he crept up behind Xia Yao.
The moment Xia Yao straightened his body after washing the vegetables, his heart almost leaped out in shock due to Zhou Du being behind him. “What are you doing?” he flicked off the water droplets on his hands before knocking his elbow at Zhou Du’s chest, “Get out of the way, you are blocking me.”
However, Zhou Du held Xia Yao’s waist in his arms, turned him completely around and pressed him against the refrigerator door. The refrigerator in Zhou Du’s home was huge. Once Xia Yao had his back on the door, he was able to feel the buzzing sound of the electric current flow. “What are you trying to do?” Xia Yao whispered.
Zhou Du pinned Xia Yao against the fridge, his eyes gazing into Xia Yao’s, “Let’s do it, Xia Yao.”
Xia Yao’s cheeks burned up immediately. He thrust the Chinese cabbage in his hand onto Zhou Du’s face before pushing him away, “What do you want to do? I’m cooking; stop bothering me.”
Like a dog gnawing a bone, Zhou Du stood behind Xia Yao and persisted on, “Let’s try it out. I’ve researched a lot about it online. Don’t worry; I won’t make it painful for you. Can we give it a try?”
Xia Yao’s face boiled even redder. Actually, he thought the kitchen in Zhou Du’s home was too big, but now, he felt it was so narrow, it made him sweat all over. “Stop,” Xia Yao lowered his head, attempting to calm his heart down, “it still isn’t time yet.”
“Why not?” Zhou Du questioned indignantly, “We’ve already graduated from high school. We are adults now, so why can’t we do the things adults do?”
Only then did Xia Yao turned over to look at Zhou Du. He sighed, “We can only call ourselves adults when we are mature. You are too immature now, Zhou Du.” As it was the first time Xia Yao called Zhou Du immature, he got pissed in an instant. Following a glare at Xia Yao, he stormed out of the kitchen.
Xia Yao assumed Zhou Du had given up, so he continued cooking. Unbeknownst to him, Zhou Du only headed back to his room to retrieve the tie Xia Yao had gifted him. He rummaged through his room in search for his suit. Then, he tied his tie and even applied a bit of his dad’s hair gel secretly.
The instant Xia Yao finished cooking and walked out of the kitchen, he noticed Zhou Du walking slowly down the stairs, dressed like a grown-up. Xia Yao fell into a trance, his face pale. The current Zhou Du was the splitting image of his adult self.