Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Their field of view broadened once they exited the long tunnel. Every child’s gaze was glued onto the diver who was playing around with a variety of fish in the aquarium. Children of a slightly higher age dashed over right away. Xia YangYang clutched onto the lower half of Xia Yao’s leg, hinting that he wanted to take a look, too. Unexpectedly, a young boy around the age of five to six grabbed onto Xia YangYang’s hand as he told him, “Let me bring you there.” Xia YangYang fixed his widened eyes onto the boy.
Zhou Du took a glance towards the boy. Oh, it’s Liu Qi’s son. “Why are you alone? Where is your mother?” Zhou Du bent down to ask him.
Xia Yao questioned curiously, “You know him?”
Zhou Du nodded as he explained, “His mother had worked with my company before.”
With his hand still holding onto Xia YangYang’s, Liu BoRui pointed to a person slightly further away, “My mom is in a call.”
Zhou Du glanced at Xia YangYang and asked, “Do you want to look at the fishes with big brother?”
Xia YangYang flashed a glimpse at his father. Since it wasn’t far away, Xia Yao replied, “Go on if you want to.” Elated, Liu BoRui went away with Xia YangYang hand in hand.
Liu Qi had just ended her call. She took a look at Zhou Du, “What a coincidence. This is?” Her line of sight shifted to Xia Yao.
Zhou Du gave an immediate answer, “He is the boy’s dad.”
Liu Qi’s eyes curled as she smiled. She extended her hand towards Xia Yao and greeted, “Hi, I’m Liu Qi.”
Xia Yao shook Liu Qi’d hand at once, “I’m Xia Yao.”
Liu Qi laughed, “Mr. Xia sure looks young. You must in your early twenties.”
Xia Yao gave an embarrassed reply, “I’m about to be 25 years old.”
“Oh my! You don’t look your age. Hahaha!”
Noticing the merry conversation they were in, Zhou Du let out a cough on purpose, “Chairman Liu, did you bring your son here alone?”
Liu Qi detected the insinuation behind his words. He was reminding Xia Yao she had a husband in a roundabout way. She sighed intentionally, “Hah… I’m a single mom.”
Xia Yao empathized with her in an instant. He recalled his mother raised him on her own too. Hence, a hint of concern flashed in his face, “It must have been hard for you.”
Not expecting his words would make the matter worse, Zhou Du turned his head to one side, upset.
After sizing up the two of them, Liu Qi asked, “Where’s Mr. Xia’s wife?”
Her query muted Xia Yao. On the other hand, Zhou Du pricked up his ears, eager for Xia Yao’s answer. Xia Yao replied after a pause, “Same for me. I’m a single dad.”
Liu Qi shot a meaningful smile at him, “In that case, we share the same interest.” Zhou Du was fuming upon hearing that. However, unexpectedly, Liu Qi diverted the topic to Zhou Du. She faked a sigh, “Hah… Still, you, Chairman Zhou, have much more freedom than us since you are single. You even have the leisure to visit here during the weekends.”
Guilt-ridden, Xia Yao didn’t dare to look at Zhou Du. In contrast, Zhou Du raised his eyebrows and smiled at Liu Qi, “Well, I’m here to accompany my godson.” In that instant, he became Xia YangYang’s godfather.
Liu Qi looked at Zhou Du, a shadow of a smile on her face, “So, you became a godfather even before you got a girlfriend, huh?” Following that, she turned her head towards Xia Yao, “Mr. Xia, Chairman Zhou is extremely popular. Knowing him for many years, I have never heard anything about him having a partner. Tsk, tsk. This seriously is one of the greatest mysteries.”
Xia Yao was at a loss for words; the only thing he could do was to glance at Zhou Du.
Zhou Du flashed a grateful gaze at Liu Qi before replying with a powerful, righteous tone, “Well, I just can’t let go of a certain person in my heart.” He eyed Xia Yao from the corner of his eye once he finished his reply.
Xia Yao’s heart skipped a beat as he frantically lowered his head.
With a soft smile, Liu Qi told both of them, “I have to go take a look at my kid; it will be bad if he ends up bullying others.”
Following Liu Qi’s departure, Xia Yao got even more bewildered, not knowing what to do. Since Zhou Du had already gotten his point across, he didn’t press on. Instead, he simply told Xia Yao, “Let go over there, too.”
The morning flew by. By the time they exited the aquarium, Zhou Du had bought quite a few items for Xia YangYang. As long as it was something Xia YangYang wanted, Zhou Du would buy it with no hesitation. Xia Yao did stop him from purchasing for a few times, frowning while doing so. Nonetheless, the moment he turned away from Zhou Du, Zhou Du ended up buying everything.
Of course, Zhou Du was the one who brought them to a restaurant in the afternoon. At the moment, in Xia YangYang’s eyes, Zhou Du was a huge financial backer of his, so he clung onto him relentlessly, finding it more and more easy to call Zhou Du his godfather.
After lunch, Xia YangYang dozed off in the car. Zhou Du took a glance in the rear-view mirror and slowed the speed of the car. Xia Yao was probably tired, too. With his back leaning against the car seat, he shut his eyes groggily.
Xia Yao woke with a start when the car stopped at the small district. As Xia YangYang was sound asleep, Xia Yao was planning on carrying him upstairs. However, with the plethora of items purchased by Zhou Du still in the car, Xia Yao had no idea how he should handle all of that.
“Carry him; let me help you bring all of these upstairs,” Zhou Du offered his help, and Xia Yao didn’t decline.
Once Xia Yao was at the door, he was about to fish out his keys, but the door opened from inside. The sight of his mother drained color from his face. On the contrary, Zhou Du didn’t find anything wrong with that. A smile lit up on his face the moment he saw Mother Xia as he greeted her, “Godmother.” Mother Xia gave Zhou Du a ‘Mn’ as a reply before moving away to let them in.
Xia Yao stood at the doorway, at a loss. “Mom… I…” he started but was interrupted by his mother, “Just get in. It’s so hot outside; let Zhou Du come in to get a cup of water.”
Only then did Xia Yao enter his house, dazed. After placing Xia YangYang into his room, he cocked his ears to eavesdrop on whatever happening outside the room.
Mother Xia poured a cup of water for Zhou Du, who thanked her immediately. As the two of them sat on the sofa, Mother Xia offered a smile to Zhou Du, “So, you are living in B City too?”
Zhou Du answered, “Mn, I’ve been living here for quite a few years, but I didn’t know you were here as well. I feel bad for not visiting you in all these years.”
Mother Xia waved her hand to express she didn’t mind it. The scar on her neck was still visible. Thus, it was natural for Zhou Du to notice it. He knitted his brows, not knowing if he should show his concern.
As though perceiving his worry, Mother Xia took the initiative to explain it, “It is a scar from quite some time ago.”
Zhou Du picked his words carefully. “How did it happen? Xia Yao never mentioned it to me.”
Mother Xia sighed, “It’s all in the past. Let’s not talk about it. Why not join us for dinner tonight?”
Zhou Du was on cloud nine when he heard he could stay for dinner. He agreed to it straight away, and even added, “It’s been so many years since I last got to eat your cooking.”
Mother Xia smiled without a word. She turned towards Xia Yao, who was standing at the side, “I’m going out to buy some vegetables. Zhou Du will be staying for dinner tonight.”
“Godmother, let me go along with you. It is really hot outside; I drove here today,” Zhou Du volunteered while standing up. Xia Yao thought his mom would decline his offer, but surprisingly, she nodded and went out with Zhou Du. Xia Yao was rather puzzled and had no clue of the meaning behind his mother’s actions.
When they were checking out at the supermarket, Zhou Du insisted on paying. Unable to stop him, Mother Xia had no choice but to accept it. On the way home, Mother Xia sat on the back seat, her gaze fixed on the back of Zhou Du’s head. After some deliberation, she called out, “Zhou Du.” Zhou Du gave her a short, instant response.
“How long have you been staying in B City?”
Zhou Du replied honestly, “Ever since I graduated.”
“What are you working as now?”
Zhou Du expressed humbly, “I started a small company on my own.”
“Oh,” Mother Xia nodded before continuing, “are you married?”
Zhou Du paused momentarily and smiled, “Godmother, I’m not married.”
“You aren’t young anymore,” Mother Xia remarked slowly, “you haven’t met someone suitable for marriage yet?”
After a brief silence, Zhou Du explained, “No. I… have someone special in my heart that I can’t let go of, so I’m not married.” Hearing Zhou Du’s explanation, Mother Xia went quiet and turned her head towards the car window.
The rest of the drive to the small district was silent. By the time they reached the house, Xia YangYang had already woken up from his nap. Once his eyes met Zhou Du, he pounced at him in delight before pulling Zhou Du to watch the fishes Zhou Du just bought for him. As Mother Xia looked on at the two of them, who were enjoying fish-viewing with one head on the other’s, a complicated expression grew on her. Having no courage to speak up, Xia Yao anxiously put the vegetables to their proper places.
Mother Xia looked at her son’s frail back and let out a sigh. Perhaps, just as old Mr. Feng said, children were able to do all right on their own; she shouldn’t interfere with Xia Yao’s life too much. Mother Xia wasn’t all that muddled. It was painfully obvious who was in Zhou Du’s heart in all those years. Likewise for her son.
The skies of summer nights took longer to darken. Although the sun had set when they finished their dinner, the sky was still bright. A young couple lived next door; their daughter was around the same age as Xia YangYang. Probably because they had finished their dinner, the couple went over to Xia Yao’s house and suggested to let their children play together. Xia YangYang enjoyed playing with the couple’s daughter, so once he heard that, he rushed to the door and tugged Xia Yao’s clothes, wanting to go out.
Mother Xia told Xia Yao, “Go bring him out to play. Remember to add some warm water into the feeding bottle.” Zhou Du stood up, planning to join him, but unexpectedly, Mother Xia requested for him to stay, “Come have a chat with godmother. It’s been a while since we met. How are your parents?” Zhou Du had no choice but to sit back down reluctantly, looking at Xia Yao carrying Xia YangYang down the stairs.
The two of them discussed family matters for some time. In the end, Zhou Du still couldn’t help asking the question hidden in his heart, “Erm… Godmother, I’m not sure if I should ask this.” Once Mother Xia gestured for him to go on, Zhou Du took a deep breath and started asking, “Is YangYang’s mother… divorced… or?”
Mother Xia had been waiting for Zhou Du to ask that. She shook her head, “She isn’t divorced.” Zhou Du’s expression changed instantaneously. Mother Xia sighed inwardly before standing up and walking to her room, leaving a rather stunned Zhou Du.
When she came out of her room, her hand was clenching on a photograph. She set the photograph in front of Zhou Du, “This is YangYang’s mother.”
Only after focusing his eyes on that woman’s face for a long while did Zhou Du figured something was amiss, “His mother is from China?” Mother Xia nodded her head. Zhou Du was stupefied. How is this possible? Xia YangYang clearly is of mixed blood. He only worked it out a few seconds later, a surge of exuberance running through him, “YangYang isn’t Xia Yao’s biological son?”
Mother Xia grabbed the photograph and scrutinized it for some time before explaining to Zhou Du, “This girl is quite pitiful too.”
As it turned out, Xia YangYang’s mother was a classmate of Xia Yao’s when he was overseas, and they rented a house together. One night, she went back late from the lab, and during her trip home, she got raped. The girl didn’t dare to make the matter public, but never would she expect herself to be pregnant. The prefecture they were situated in banned abortions. When she attempted suicide, Xia Yao saved her. After suffering from depression for half a year, she was about to give the kid into a welfare agency after she gave birth to him, but was stopped by Xia Yao. She did not want to ever see the child nor wanted him to stay by her side. In the end, with no choice left, Xia Yao had to take over Xia YangYang and bring him back home. As for the girl, she traveled to her boyfriend’s country once she graduated. Not once did she ask Xia Yao about her son. Although Xia YangYang was two years old presently, he had never even seen his mother before.
“The child is innocent,” Mother Xia stared at the photograph while sighing.
Zhou Du nodded, “YangYang is adorable.”
“He is my grandson now,” Mother Xia smiled. All of a sudden, she changed the topic, “But, my Xia Yao has been single for all these years. I don’t know if it is because of Xia YangYang, or some other reason.” With one look at Zhou Du, she continued, “I remember the two of you were on good terms in the past. There are things I find embarrassing to tell Xia Yao, too. Help me ask around if you can. Also, help me take note of if there are any girls you come across that are suitable for Xia Yao.” Zhou Du’s expression changed when he heard that. He remained silent, his throat choking up. Mother Xia glanced at him, “Look at what I’m saying, you aren’t even in a relationship yet. I shouldn’t be asking you to keep a lookout for Xia Yao. Hah…” The answer Zhou Du had in mind was swirling around at the tip of his tongue, but it was forcefully swallowed back. He wasn’t that reckless young boy from before; he did have a clear understanding of what he should or shouldn’t say.
Finally, the sky began darkening. Mother Xia stood up and reminded Zhou Du, “It is getting late.” Knowing the meaning behind it, Zhou Du hurried up and bid her farewell.
When Mother Xia walked Zhou Du to the door, she feigned indifference while mentioning, “I got this scar when my whole body got scalded by hot oil not too long after Xia Yao’s first year in university.” Shocked, Zhou Du whipped his head around to look at her. With a smile, she continued, “Thanks to the help from Xia Yao’s father, I was able to survive after the accident. He is also the one who got Xia Yao and me this house.”
Zhou Du appeared as though he was petrified right there and then. His fingernails dug into the edge of the door, refusing to let go.
Mother Xia let out a sigh internally. She placed her hand on the doorknob, “Take care on your way home.”
Even after the door was closed, Zhou Du was glued at the doorway, as still as a statue. Only after a long while, when his legs began to numb, did he wander down the stairs absentmindedly.
Zhou Du’s brain only began to register the information when he was lying in his own bed at night. The key Xia Yao showed him then was from his father. Zhou Du rose from his bed abruptly and took his handphone out to dial Xia Yao’s number. “Why did you lie to me?” he couldn’t stop himself from balling his hand into a fist.