Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie XingMu looked at him with downcast eyes, and although his face was expressionless, Yu Chu understood that if he insisted, he might not be able to keep the money in his pocket.
“Well, if you want to rent a room, you can rent a room.” He reluctantly muttered, “So annoying.”
Xie XingMu then said nothing, standing on the sidewalk and looking down at his phone.
“I’ll just wait for the bus, you go ahead.” Yu Chu said.
Xie XingMu ignored him, and Yu Chu simply took out his phone to look at it. There was nothing interesting on his phone, so he clicked on WeChat and found the other’s avatar, and sent his Sky Rabbit scratching wall emoji.
When he sent it, he took a peek at Xie XingMu and saw his thumb tapping, then it paused for a second, and swiped to the left, supposedly swiping the pop up notification box away.
Yu Chu sent another emoji with a squirming rabbit.
Xie XingMu tapped his thumb again, paused for a second and swiped to the left.
Yu Chu started spamming the rabbits continuously.
Sky Rabbit rocking, Sky Rabbit wiggling his butt, Sky Rabbit wiggling, Sky Rabbit weeping…
Xie XingMu was reading the property agent’s message, but was constantly blocked by the alerts from WeChat, and finally couldn’t stand it and locked his phone, then stared calmly at the vehicles on the street.
“I know the name of an agent, I bought my house from him. I have asked him to pick a convenient traffic location. But you should also remember to check when you view the unit, whether the appliances are all complete, it’s best to test them, lest some are broken. Smell the bathroom and kitchen carefully for any bad odor. The bed should be comfortable and soft, check if the bedding is clean. If not, buy a new one yourself…”
Xie XingMu kept admonishing Yu Chu, but his gaze was coldly looking ahead. His harsh features and tall stature and cold air, beside Yu Chu’s delicate features and soft temperament, exuded a look of someone with a good temper, while the other was aggrieved.
The boy was bullied by the person beside him.
People passing by turned around frequently, but didn’t dare to meddle.
A cab pulled up in front of the two, and the man sitting on the passenger side poked his head out for a greeting, “Team Leader Xie.”
Xie XingMu nodded at him and said to Yu Chu, “Go ahead.”
Yu Chu walked to the car’s back seat and got in before the car drove away.
As the car moved, Yu Chu looked out the window and saw Xie XingMu turn around and walk towards the Public Security Bureau. He watched the figure disappear behind the side of the fence before he turned his head back.
“Hello, my name is Chen Jun. What do you want me to call you?” The property agent on the front passenger seat turned around and said with a smile on his face.
“My name’s Yu Chu.”
“Mr. Yu, Team Leader Xie has already told me your requirements for the apartment. Don’t worry, I will show you a satisfactory place to rent shortly.”
“Thank you.” Yu Chu said.
The cab stopped after about ten minutes, and Chen Jun got off the car and said, “Mr. Yu, we’re here, let’s look at the places nearby.”
Yu Chu looked at the building, and thought it was close to the criminal investigation brigade, so he held his paper bag and followed him out of the car.
Chen Jun took him to see the first place in a community area. The environment was quite good, the infrastructure was complete, there was greenery everywhere, and it had security. The building was new and had an elevator in the housing building.
Yu Chu followed him up to the 24th floor of a building and opened the door to one of the units.
The unit was one room, decorated very well, and the home appliances were all new. Chen Jun enthusiastically introduced, “The young couple just got married and left, so the house is for rent. The surroundings are good and the front has a viewing balcony and living balcony. You can dry clothes on it and such. Come see the bedroom. Don’t look at the place as being only one room. The room is spacious, the bedroom is also connected to a dressing room…”
Yu Chu followed him around and suddenly said, “The rent is very expensive, isn’t it? I don’t think I can pay for it.”
Chen Jun was stunned, then laughed, “Didn’t Team Leader Xie tell you? He will pay the rent, so you don’t have to worry about it.”1
“Oh.” Yu Chu continued to follow Chen Jun around, mumbling every now and then, but he took out his phone and found Xie XingMu’s WeChat, and sent him a Sky Rabbit crazy twisting emoji.
Xie XingMu didn’t reply to him, so he waited a few seconds and then put away his phone.
Chen Jun took Yu Chu around the apartment and said, “What does Mr. Yu think of this place? Are you satisfied? To be honest, the unit was originally reserved for my cousin, she’s coming to work in Haiyun City in a couple of days. I think this unit is perfect, if not for Team Leader Xie, I wouldn’t have brought people to see it. “
Yu Chu replied noncommittally, “It’s not bad.”
There was nothing wrong with the house, it was suitable for one person, but he didn’t think he would stay in Haiyun City for long, so he wasn’t too concerned about how the house was.
Chen Jun saw that his attitude was a bit nonchalant, and although his face didn’t show, his heart was a bit unconvinced, so he turned to the living balcony as he said, “Come look at this balcony. It looks over a large lawn, with an unobstructed view. Where can you find such a good apartment?”
Yu Chu complied and went over, looking out along the balcony.
The lawn that he saw wasn’t very large, but green. There was rainwater accumulation in the middle of the depression, forming a small lake, reflecting the blue sky and white clouds.
Chen Jun looked at Yu Chu gazing there, and proudly said, “Watching some greenery when there’s nothing else to do, that piece of lawn is very clean. I went there once when I accompanied a guest to see the house last time, and it was also full of dandelions. It’s a rare piece of heavenly clean land in the midst of downtown.”
Yu Chu stared out at the lawn, his heart moving especially when he heard Chen Jun mention dandelions, his look became entranced.
When he was a child, he lived next to a certain bridge. There was such a large piece of lawn, full of dandelions. On a warm sunny day, when the breeze blew, small umbrellas flew around and fell on his face with fluff…
“Is there a flat over there that can be rented?” He held out his finger to Chen Jun.
Chen Jun followed his finger to look out, and he became stunned. He said, “You want to rent an apartment there?”
On the edge of the lawn there was a large area of gray-colored, short, old, five-story buildings of which the original color couldn’t be determined because of the green brick walls. That was the family compound of an enterprise unit in the early years, the face of the enterprise had fallen, the house was becoming more and more dilapidated, the people living there had also changed one after another. Now it was rented to people who came to the city to work, and their wages could only make ends meet.
“Yeah, it’s not bad there.” Yu Chu said.
The house was right next to the lawn, so if he sunbathed on the balcony, he could probably get dandelions in his face.
“But, but…” Chen Jun stammered, unable to speak, “Mr. Yu, if you’re worried about the rent, I’ve already spoken about it. Team Leader Xie said he would pay for it.”
“The rent there will be much cheaper, right? I’ll save some money for him.” Yu Chu turned his head and smiled sweetly at him.
Three hours later, Yu Chu sat on the balcony of his newly rented apartment and looked outside. A few empty cardboard boxes were stacked at one end of the balcony, and water was dripping down in front of him from the clothes of the people upstairs.
The apartment wasn’t large, only fifty square feet, but the good thing was that there was furniture and everything, and the kitchen had all the pots and pans. Chen Jun obeyed Xie XingMu’s instructions and went out to the community to buy him a new bedding to change, before saying goodbye.
Downstairs, children were chasing after each other, being loudly scolded by women who were hanging clothes out to dry, and someone was carrying a gas canister up the stairs, shouting, “Come on, come on! Let’s go!”
Yu Chu stayed on the balcony looking down until those who had eaten went back inside and the children were driven home by the adults, then he realized it was dark and his stomach began to grow hungry. He returned to the house and prepared to go outside to buy something to fill the refrigerator, and shampoo and shower gel. Some basic necessities also needed to be prepared.
Yu Chu went straight to the supermarket, picked out household items and stopped in front of the vegetable section. He had never cooked for himself, but now he had to do it, and tomorrow he would have to go out to find a job, or he would soon run out of money.
When he got home, he put all the items in the refrigerator in separate categories, washed the rice and put it in the rice cooker, and took out his phone to search for how much water to add to cook rice.
When the rice finally cooked, he began to deal with the beef on the chopping board. Although he had never cut ingredients, his hand holding the knife was very steady, and soon the beef was cut into a heap of consistent sized dice.
He wanted to make stir-fried diced beef, which shouldn’t be difficult, with diced beef and corn and peas. It was just meat and vegetables, just one dish. When he followed the recipe on his phone and prepared all the ingredients, he looked at the phone screen and started to have a hard time.
What’s the right amount? How little is a little? How much is a spoonful? How big is a spoon? Is the tip of the spoon very deep or is it a shallow pinch?
Yu Chu looked at it for a long time, but finally put down his cell phone. Forget it, let’s just estimate it.
Half an hour later, he was rinsing his mouth at the kitchen sink, and the diced beef he had just made was lying in the garbage next to him, mixed with a pile of corn and peas. All black and yellow, the original color gone.
Looking at the half of the diced beef left on the plate, he wanted to eat a meal of rice mixed with some soy sauce.
Then, he heard a ding from his phone, someone sent him a message on WeChat.
Yu Chu didn’t think anyone other than Xie XingMu would contact him by WeChat, so he put down the rice cooker and grabbed his phone, which was fastened to the kitchen cabinet.
The message was from Xie XingMu: [What are you doing?]
Yu Chu: [Nothing.]
Xie XingMu: [Have you eaten yet?]
Yu Chu: [Not yet.]
Xie XingMu was standing in front of the cooking table with his apron tied, looking at the water in the pot while sending the message. He was cooking dinner for DuoDuo, and suddenly thought of the time, and wondered if Yu Chu had eaten. It was just a thought that popped up, but the more he thought about it, the more uneasy he became, so he simply sent a message.
In fact, he hesitated at the moment of typing, but his finger moved to the send button, only to go back to hover over the text.
He saw Yu Chu’s reply that he had not yet eaten and his fingers paused for a moment before he shot a continuous string of words.
Xie XingMu: [Why haven’t you eaten? It’s already seven o’clock. Go out and find a restaurant to eat, or order takeout on your phone.]
Yu Chu slowly walked out of the kitchen, sat down on the couch in the living room that had ripped fabric and replied: [I don’t want to go out to eat, and don’t want to order take-out.]
After his message was sent out, Yu Chu saw that the other party’s status was Typing… and half a minute later, a message appeared on the screen.
Xie XingMu: [If you don’t want to go out and don’t order take-out, you want to become a god? Today Chen Jun obviously found you a good apartment, but you prefer to go and live in a broken one. First of all, the community security is good, the annual fire inspection has also passed, the elevator has never been out of order, the house is facing south, and the furniture and electrical appliances are all good. But you chose a community, where there’s no security, installed monitoring also has a dead end, and the environment is also bad. I wonder, what were you thinking?]
Xie XingMu finished sending it in one go, sullenly placed his phone on the cooking table, turned his head and shouted, “DuoDuo, dinner is ready!”
He was still caught in the mood of his conversation with Yu Chu, so he subconsciously raised his voice.
DuoDuo was sitting on the carpet in front of the TV watching cartoons, and turned his head and said, “Why are you so fierce?”
“I’m not fierce.” Xie XingMu replied.
“You’re not? Look, you’re being all fierce again.” DuoDuo turned back to watch TV, “I feel hurt, so I’m not eating for now.”
The cartoon on TV wasn’t over yet, and he didn’t want to eat.
Xie XingMu had stir-fried dishes one by one, bringing them to the dining room connected to the kitchen before placing them on the dining table. He turned around when the phone beeped again, it was a message from Yu Chu.
He didn’t have time to look at it, but when he served the food, he glanced at the screen and found that the next message Yu Chu sent was a picture.
Xie XingMu finally put down the plate and took the phone, and clicked on the picture. It should’ve been taken by Yu Chu with his cell phone. The light wasn’t very good, the shooting skills weren’t good either, and he could only see the tile floor on the edge of the picture, and some plastic bags in his garbage can.
He zoomed in on that picture and found that dumped dishes were inside.
Xie XingMu lips showed a faint smile, and directly sent a voice message, “You were cooking?”
Yu Chu also replied in a voice message, only muttering a short sound, “Hmm.”
The smile on his face deepened, but the voice he sent out was flat and unemotional, “Failed to make it?”
Yu Chu gave another, “Hmm.”
Xie XingMu said to the screen, “Hang on.” The two remaining dishes and a bowl of soup were brought to the table, and rice was served in the bowl DuoDuo usually used for dinner, walked to the coffee table, and used the remote control to turn off the TV.
DuoDuo, who was sitting on the carpet watching with great interest, let out a surprised cry and then turned his head to see Xie XingMu staring at him with a warning look on his face, holding the TV remote control in his hand.
DuoDuo knew that his uncle’s expression meant that there was no room for negotiation, so he didn’t insist on watching TV and got up from the floor to the dining table.
“Wash your hands first.” Xie XingMu told the boy.
DuoDuo again turned his head and ran to the bathroom.
When DuoDuo got to the table and started to eat, Xie XingMu walked to the kitchen and sent a video request to Yu Chu.
Yu Chu waited for Xie XingMu’s response for a while, but there was no message. He was frozen for a moment, put down his phone, and a video application on the screen popped up. Looking at the enlarged Gundam avatar, he hesitated for only a few seconds before pressing connect.
The other party apparently hadn’t positioned their phone yet, so Yu Chu first saw a pink cat from up close with a pink bow on one side of its ear. As the camera panned upward, he saw the words “Everyday Supermarket”, and as it continued, Xie XingMu’s face appeared on the screen.
Xie XingMu’s phone was held very low, shining his face at an upward angle, and Yu Chu could see his convex Adam’s apple and sharp chin, as well as drooping eyes and two nostrils.
Even from the odd angle, the man still looked handsome.
Xie XingMu said, “Go cook now, and I’ll teach you from here.”
Yu Chu froze for a moment, “You’re teaching me?”
“Yes, you just have to point the camera at the pot.”
Yu Chu hesitated and didn’t move, Xie XingMu moved his lens a little and urged, “Quickly.”