Chapter 29: “You are my 30th birthday present.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Professor Xiao really pursued with all his heart, and the other could not resist. His tenderness and passion were powerful shock waves that continuously attacked the heart’s defenses and made the person retreat before it finally reached the heart.
Zhou Zui had an old heart wrapped in layers and layers of walls, but in the end, he could not withstand Xiao Ke’s attack so the iron wall eventually became a broken wall.
Zhou Zui’s arms clasped Xiao Ke, as if holding onto a young and passionate heart. It was bright, beautiful, and full of love. Listening to the unsteady breathing in his ears, Zhou Zui raised his hand to touch the back of Xiao Ke’s head while saying in a muffled voice, “Thank you for your hard work, Professor Xiao.”
“It’s not hard,” Xiao Ke said with a smile. “I’m as happy as can be.”
Xiao Ke asked Lu Xiaobei with a raised eyebrow. “How come I didn’t see you just now?”
Lu Xiaobei smiled cheaply. “I just went to the toilet. Hello, sister-in-law!”
Xiao Ke took the red envelope in his hand and smiled as he scolded him, “Get lost. Master Xiao never gives things to people who call me sister-in-law.”
“Burn!” Fang Xi shouted in an exaggerated manner with an ambiguous expression on his face, “Old Zhou heard it, Xiao Ke did not intend to let Xiaobei call him sister-in-law, you have no chance. Or you can take the initiative, you can take Xiaobei as a sister-in-law.”
Zhou Zui ignored him as he pulled Xiao Ke over to the table and sat down. Xiao Ke’s throat was about to explode and he took a sip of Zhou Zui’s beer. Zhou Zui got up and got him a bottle of water while saying, “Don’t drink with a cold.”
“It’s okay, I’m almost done with my cold,” Xiao Ke said, but still unscrewed the water and drank it.
“What the hell, big brother,” Lu Xiaobei bumped into Zhou Zui. “My Brother Xiao is not letting me call him sister-in-law.”
“I told you that you two do not match. The pressure is not harmonious, but you had to be put together.” Old Cao leisurely said from over there. “Xiao Ke, get with me. I am happy to be the sister-in-law, I do not care.”
“The two of them will figure it out on their own, so don’t worry about it.” Fang Xi snickered. “You may be happy to be the sister-in-law, but you and Zhou Zui could be good.”
“Who wants that old thing?” Old Cao showed his disgust on his face. “It’s hard to hear him talk for a day, and he doesn’t meet my requirements. I like Xiao Ke.”
Lu Xiaobei also said on the side. “No, I don’t want Brother Cao as my sister-in-law.”
Fang Xi was happy. “Xiao Ke as your sister-in-law is okay, though?”
“That’s okay. He’s always been my sister-in-law,” Lu Xiaobei held a thick red envelope in his hand and knocked it on the edge of the table, “Ah, I don’t know who the sister-in-law is, but it doesn’t matter. Brother Xiao Beibei supports you. You are my real brother.”
Xiao Ke raised his chin and winked at Lu Xiaobei. The two had a tacit understanding since Lu Xiaobei usually tried everything to help.
Fang Xi asked Xiao Ke, “Why didn’t we get a red packet?”
Xiao Ke said with a smile, “Sorry, I didn’t expect you two to be here. I prepared these two in advance.”
A clear distinction was made between the close and distant ones as these two brothers were his family members, but who were the two of you?
When Xiao Ke was thinking about the day, the picture he made up was actually of Zhou Zui and Lu Xiaobei, just these two people, cooking and eating some frozen dumplings while watching the Spring Festival dinner in silence with each other. He did not realize that on this side, these people were actually quite lively. The lavish New Year’s Eve dinner was delivered directly to their home and was spread on a table full of happy people drinking together.
Once Xiao Ke came to accompany them, they naturally did not stay much longer as the three people finished drinking wine and left.
The air was quiet when the lively atmosphere suddenly dissipated with only two people left in the apartment. Xiao Ke sat on the sofa with one leg crossed over the other while peeling an orange that he slowly ate.
Zhou Zui came over to sit next to him and said, “Are you still staying tonight, Professor Xiao?
Xiao Ke laughed and thought, The people have just left, why didn’t you tell them earlier that it’s too late today? He nodded readily. “I didn’t plan to leave so give me a room to stay.”
Zhou Zui immediately got up and went to clean up a room for him.
Xiao Ke looked at his back and thought in his heart that Mr. Zhou was a real gentleman that was experienced and playful which was why he really went to get him a room.
Were two rooms needed for a lonely man and another man at night?
Although Xiao Ke wanted that body for a long time, to be honest, he did not actually think about it before coming.
Now sitting on the sofa of Zhou Zui’s house, some thoughts suddenly filled his head.
Did he want to do something? Do it?
Zhou Zui changed the bed sheets and brought a new toothbrush and towel into the bathroom. Xiao Ke shook his head in his heart and thought, Forget it.
It’s not quite ready to eat this piece of meat since the fire was lacking some.
Zhou Zui dressed in home clothes for the first time with gray sweatpants and a long-sleeved T-shirt which made him look more casual and soft than usual. Xiao Ke thought, Baby, Professor Xiao will spare you today.
Zhou Zui finished cleaning up and asked him, “Are you tired?”
Xiao Ke moved to the side while lying on the couch in a very comfortable position and shook his head, “Not tired.”
Zhou Zui took a blanket for him and put it on him before he sat down not too far from him and said, “Want to talk? Let me tell you about the past.”
“Talk.” Xiao Ke squinted while feeling comfortable in this state. The city didn’t allow fireworks anymore, but occasionally a few could be heard outside, and the sporadic fireworks could be seen. The interior of the apartment was warmly lit, and he listened to his beloved one’s stories from the past while underneath a blanket.
Everything was perfect.
For Zhou Zui to be willing to say anything about himself, Xiao Ke was honestly quite surprised. He naturally had to listen to what Zhou Zui wanted to say, and Xiao Ke looked at him with a tilted head while waiting for him to say it.
Zhou Zui asked him, “Not curious about my name?”
Xiao Ke nodded and said frankly, “To be honest, I’m actually very curious. People don’t usually use that word. I used to think you changed it on purpose to be cool, but I can see that’s really what’s written on your ID card.”
Zhou Zui smiled and whispered, “My dad gave me that name.”
Xiao Ke seemed to be able to somewhat guess this.
“My mother was in labor when she gave birth to me, the hospital ran out of blood in the blood bank and she couldn’t wait for a blood transfer so she passed away.” Xiao Ke had particularly enjoyed listening to Zhou Zui talk about the past. This man had a great taste for reminiscing, and his tone was very low and slow. However, the content of what was said this time was a bit heavy so Xiao Ke’s heart sank a bit.
“So my father hated me since I was a child,” Zhou Zui said. “He said that I was born from a sin, my birth was a sin.”
Xiao Ke pursed his lips and reached out his hand.
Zhou Zui glanced at his hand and naturally took it. He gently traced Xiao Ke’s hand with his thumb and continued, “I grew up in my grandmother’s house, and when I was in junior high school, she went to buy fish for me at noon and fell on the way back. The old lady had brittle bones and broke her leg. The night after the surgery, she kept bleeding and sought help many times, but the doctors and nurses kept saying that it was normal, and then the next day, when I went back after school, she was gone.”
Xiao Ke scrunched up his eyebrows, “This is medical malpractice, what did the hospital say?”
Zhou Zui rubbed the back of his hand to soothe him and said, “The hospital gave us 100,000 to keep quiet. My father accepted it. There was very little we could do if we didn’t accept it. She was already gone.”
Xiao Ke didn’t know what to say so he could only listen quietly to Zhou Zui saying that he himself was indeed guilty.
“My father already had a new family by that time with another son. I lived with my grandfather.” Zhou Zui’s other hand pulled a pillow and nonchalantly hugged it, but the hand holding Xiao Ke didn’t let go, “My grandfather wasn’t around when I was in high school. At that time, I was already learning tattoos with that man from Hong Kong. My grandfather left more than 100,000 and my father said that grandfather left it all to me, so he told me to take the money to live on my own, and even if I die outside, I should not look for him again.”
Zhou Zui laughed when he mentioned this. “In fact, he was always afraid of me. He thought I had a hard life and was afraid that I would kill him, so he didn’t even talk to me.”
Xiao Ke wanted to say that such a father was really a bastard but did not actually say it. He asked Zhou Zui, “Did you take the money?”
Zhou Zui nodded, “Yes, I took 30,000. Then that man from Hong Kong helped me keep the money. When I started doing some simple tattoos, he gave me all the money he collected.”
“He was a nice guy.” Xiao Ke said.
“Mn. I don’t know where I would be without him.” Zhou Zui leaned back on the sofa in a calm and gentle manner. “He was my guide.”
Zhou Zui talked a lot that day, and later talked about his experiences from learning tattoos in various places and meeting all sorts of people. His voice was magical, and Xiao Ke was so immersed in it that he felt as if he was now very close to Zhou Zui and their souls were even inseparable.
In fact, Xiao Ke wanted to hear about Yaning, the ex-boyfriend who was causing trouble. However, Zhou Zui didn’t mention him much, and he wouldn’t ask so that this good atmosphere wouldn’t turn awkward.
Then Zhou Zui looked sideways at Xiao Ke, and quietly watched him for a long time.
At three o’clock in the morning, the room temperature was comfortable, but Xiao Ke had not recovered from his cold so he was already a little drowsy while under the blanket.
Zhou Zui asked him, “I have a hard life and carry a lot of sins with me. Is Professor Xiao afraid?”
Xiao Ke immediately shook his head and squeezed Zhou Zui’s hand before he said, “I have never been afraid. Professor Xiao does not know the word ‘afraid’, nor does he believe in fate.”
Xiao Ke’s hand was very warm, and Zhou Zui never let go of it from the moment he held it. After he stopped talking, Xiao Ke soon fell asleep and slept in a quiet manner which was the same warm and very soft feeling he gave when he was awake.
When Zhou Zui picked him up, Xiao Ke was already awake but didn’t open his eyes. This was the first time that Xiao Ke had been held since he grew up, and it was in such a position where he was in a completely weak state. However, that was fine as it was not a bad feeling to rely on Zhou Zui so it was okay to be the weaker one once in a while.
Zhou Zui put him on the bed and pulled the covers over him. Before he left, he squatted beside the bed to look at him for a while, but Xiao Ke kept his eyes closed.
However, when he got up to leave, Xiao Ke suddenly made a sound and asked, “Am I heavy, Teacher Zhou?”
Zhou Zui looked back at him and laughed, “No, you’re not. Are you awake?”
“Half asleep, half awake,” Xiao Ke also smiled with a sleepy face, and his voice sounded low and muffled, “You didn’t say ‘Happy New Year’ to me, where are you going?”
Zhou Zui then squatted back down before he touched the corner of his forehead and said, “Happy New Year.”
Xiao Ke was satisfied so he closed his eyes and mumbled a final sentence, “Fuck the name Zui. What a shitty name…. Professor Xiao unilaterally announces that you will be called Zhou Liwu from tomorrow on. You are my 30th birthday present.” 1