“Big Brother Yan?” Lu Lingxi saw Yan Yue enter and smiled at him, his gaze falling on the geranium in Yan Yue’s hand. “Is there something wrong with this geranium again?”
Ever since Yan Yue bought the geranium from Tiny Garden three days ago, he appeared in front of Lu Lingxi every day, holding the pot in his hands.
“How often does this geranium need to be watered?”
“Should I put it above the bed or at the window at night?”
“I watered it a bit too much last night, the geranium’s roots won’t rot, will they?”
Lu Lingxi didn’t suspect anything and only treated Yan Yue as a hobbyist who was new to gardening. He sometimes encountered customers like Yan Yue in the shop, who were inevitably a little overly concerned because they just started raising flowers. Other customers would even record the number of petals that had fallen off their flowers in a day, and would nervously come to the shop to ask if there was something wrong with them. Lu Lingxi himself was a novice at raising flowers, and his only advantage was the white panel. In order not to be too timid, he did his best during this time to gain as much knowledge as possible on the subject. The process of explaining to customers their doubts was actually also the process of consolidating and reviewing his knowledge.
When he saw Yan Yue come in, the first thing Lu Lingxi noticed was the geranium in Yan Yue’s hand. Accustomed to Yan Yue’s nervousness about it, Lu Lingxi knew without asking that it must be about the geranium again. He looked at Yan Yue and could not help but think to himself that the other party must be a gentle person at heart. Yan Yue would rescue the injured Dahei on a rainy night, would be nervous about a freshly raised geranium, would give money to Lu Yishui whom he did not know, and although he looked cold on the outside, inside he was actually very different.
Lu Lingxi looked at the geranium, but Yan Yue looked at his face. Yan Yue did not answer Li Lingxi immediately. Normally, he would respond seriously to whatever Lu Lingxi said to him, and as long as he could find a reason to get close to the boy, repeating these seemingly stupid questions would not be an obstacle for him at all. But today was different. Realising that the young man had something on his mind, Yan Yue was a little unable to calm down. He looked at the boy’s smiling face and wondered what he had been thinking about before his arrival. Did he encounter any problems? Or was it about Lu Yishui? Was the smile on the boy’s face really happy at this moment?
Yan Yue was thinking too much and his face sank unconsciously. Lu Lingxi looked up at him and blinked in confusion.
Noticing Lu Lingxi’s gaze, Yan Yue returned to his senses and said seemingly casually, “Didn’t you sleep well last night? You don’t look very energetic, do you?”
Although he wanted to ask the young man directly if he had something on his mind, he was worried that it would make Lu Lingxi feel strange, so he had to mention it in a roundabout manner.
Lu Lingxi froze for a moment, then smiled and shook his head, “It’s fine.”
His words blocked the possibility of Yan Yue continuing to ask, and Yan Yue’s eyes dimmed. His heart was itching more and more, eager to know what exactly had happened to Lu Lingxi.
Lu Lingxi was unaware of Yan Yue’s thoughts, and his attention was back on the geranium. He lowered his head and looked earnestly at the leaves of the geranium. Yan Yue stood by his side, his gaze burning as he stared at the boy’s white neck. Finally he couldn’t hold back and asked, “Did you encounter any problems?”
Lu Lingxi gave Yan Yue a surprised look, but still shook his head to indicate that he was fine. He didn’t know why he had a feeling that if he were to say he was short of money, Yan Yue would definitely lend it to him. But it was precisely this feeling that made him reluctant to mention the matter of Tiny Garden in front of Yan Yue. He already owed Yan Yue 400,000, and he couldn’t keep relying on Yan Yue’s money just because Yan Yue was a good person.
When Lu Lingxi refused to say anything, Yan Yue was quite anxious. But he couldn’t show it and his heart was almost hurting. Until he left, he did not ask again what problems Lu Lingxi had encountered.
When he got back in the car, Yan Yue’s expression darkened, his face somewhat distorted. He was not angry with Lu Lingxi, but realised that Lu Lingxi was still treating him like a stranger. Better to say, he was only a stranger who was a little more familiar in Lu Lingxi’s eyes. The young man didn’t classify him in the category of the people he could share his worries with, and this knowledge frustrated Yan Yue a little.
Yan Yue tapped the steering wheel out of habit and made a phone call. During the last investigation into Lu Yishui’s affairs, Ye Kang’s third brother, Ye Cheng, heard that Yan Yue was in Fengcheng, so he deliberately left a phone number for Yan Yue, telling him to just call if he needed something. Ye Cheng had watched Yan Yue grow up, sympathised with his situation and always treated him like a younger brother. In the past, Yan Yue had been abroad and refused to return to China, so Ye Cheng was busy with his own career and the two did not have much contact. Now that Yan Yue has returned to China, Ye Cheng was willing to help Yan Yue wherever he could.
Yan Yue hung up the phone and lowered his eyes. He knew that this was a bit inappropriate and that the young man would be angry if he found out. But when he thought of how preoccupied Lu Lingxi was, he couldn’t control his behaviour, he just wanted to know what had happened to him.
By the time Lu Lingxi got off work, he had already figured out the Tiny Garden thing. Du Lin meant well, and he liked Tiny Garden, but for him now, it was simply not realistic to come up with 200,000 all at once. He didn’t want to touch Wang Shuxiu’s savings, hoping that she would keep some money around, and he didn’t want Wang Shuxiu to go out and borrow money for him. He was still young anyway, so if Du Lin sold the gardening shop to someone else, he could stay and do well. If he couldn’t stay, he would find another similar job, work hard for a few years to save some money and try to open his own gardening shop. Besides, he still had the white panel, so if he worked hard, he would not be bad off in the future.
Lu Lingxi led Dahei all the way home. Wang Shuxiu happened to be off work and didn’t go out, so it was a rare occasion for mother and son to get together for dinner.
“Go wash your hands quickly.”
Wang Shuxiu counted the time and waited for Lu Lingxi to arrive home before cooking. The eggs and tomatoes she had fried had just come out of the pan, and from a long way off, one could smell a sweet and sour aroma. The tomatoes in this dish were picked by Wang Shuxiu from the backyard. Originally when Lu Lingxi said that he wanted to grow tomatoes, she only thought that Lu Lingxi was playing around, but she never thought that the little bastard would really grow them and they would taste quite good. In just a few days, Wang Shuxiu had seen the tomatoes in her backyard grow from the size of her thumb to the size of two fists, their colour bright red, and they looked ripe and delightful, heavily decorating the branches.
When he heard Wang Shuxiu’s order, Lu Lingxi obediently nodded. He first squatted on the ground and wiped Dahei’s paws before washing his hands and helping Wang Shuxiu set up the bowls.
The dinner was not complicated. Wang Shuxiu fried eggs and tomatoes, bought half a roast chicken, mixed another cold dish and boiled some white porridge. It was a simple, home-cooked meal, but Wang Shuxiu’s cooking was mouth-watering. Especially her fried eggs and tomatoes were very sweet and sour. Lu Lingxi ate three bowls of porridge in one gulp with the tomatoes.
“The tomatoes in the backyard are growing really well. Next time you meet the person who gave you the seeds, remember to thank them,” Wang Shuxiu mentioned while serving Lu Lingxi the porridge. The other day, when she saw that the tomatoes were almost red, she casually washed one and ate it. She didn’t expect the tomato to taste sweet and juicy in her mouth, so she couldn’t resist eating another one at once. Until she went to work, all she could taste in her mouth was the aftertaste of tomatoes. Later, as long as she was at home, she washed and ate tomatoes, and even cooked all kinds of dishes with tomatoes.
Yesterday when she went to work, she also specially picked a few tomatoes to eat at night, but as soon as she took them out, she was robbed clean. After eating them, the colleagues asked Wang Shuxiu where she bought these tomatoes. They tasted so good that they could be eaten as fruit. Wang Shuxiu was proud to show off that her son had grown them with his own hands, and was not unexpectedly envied by her colleagues, who praised her for having a good son. When she thought of this, Wang Shuxiu felt that since the little bastard had lost his memory, her life became so much more joyful than before.
Lu Lingxi took the bowl from Wang Shuxiu’s hand and smiled without saying anything.
Wang Shuxiu looked at him, suddenly thought of something and said lightly, “The old bastard lost while gambling again. This time he owed even more and was sent to the northwest by Xiao Feng to dig coal.”
Lu Lingxi: “…does it matter?”
Wang Shuxiu snorted, “Why would it matter? The old bastard no longer has anything to do with us. The divorce certificate is not for nothing. Besides, I heard that Xiao Feng’s coal mine is quite well regulated, insurance and everything, good food and drink and all. They just have to do some work and are not tired to death.”
The last time Lu Yishui owed money, he was shouting that Brother Feng would send him to dig coal and force him to death. He had been supported by Wang Shuxiu for so many years that being lazy had become a habit, and probably in his eyes, digging coal was really worse than death. Lu Lingxi actually doesn’t understand Lu Yishui’s mentality. Was gambling that interesting? He liked gambling so much that he would rather abandon his wife and son behind and go around tricking and cheating people? Lu Lingxi didn’t know what to say and lowered his head without speaking again.
When Wang Shuxiu was full, she left the table and went to clean up the kitchen, and Lu Lingxi secretly gave Dahei the chicken leg that no one had eaten. Dahei glanced at the kitchen cleverly, bit the chicken leg and ran to the backyard.
Yi Hang came in over the wall and saw Dahei gnawing on the chicken leg, picked a tomato and bit it while shouting at Lu Lingxi, “Lao San, your dog’s life is really good, he eats chicken legs all the time.”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
Wang Shuxiu heard this and peeked out from the kitchen to glare at Lu Lingxi. She pursed her lips at Lu Lingxi’s embarrassed expression and motioned, “If you don’t eat chicken, give it to Dahei. Little bastard, are you still playing mind games with your old mom?”
Lu Lingxi flashed a big smile at Wang Shuxiu. She could do nothing about it, glared at him and went back to cleaning up the kitchen.
When he finished eating and wanted to clean up the dishes, Wang Shuxiu stopped him, “I’ll do it, you and Yi Hang go play.” She was a bit sad for Lu Lingxi. Yi Hang was even older than Lu Lingxi, and he just hung out every day. Lu Lingxi had been working for more than half a month now, and he still had to come back at night to read books. She heard he was often reading until midnight. In the past, when the little bastard was fooling around with Yi Hang, she disliked him for not working hard. But now that he was working hard, she was starting to feel sorry for him.
Wang Shuxiu drove the two out of the kitchen, and Lu Lingxi sat on the steps with his legs dangling to watch Dahei eat the chicken. Yi Hang washed another tomato and bit into it, asking with a full mouth, “Did my cousin look for you? What will happen to Tiny Garden?”
“She did. Sister Du wants me to take over the shop, but I don’t have the money.”
Yi Hang felt it was a pity, “How much?”
“Two hundred thousand, I think.”
Yi Hang touched his pocket. He only had a few hundred yuan in total on him. He wanted to say that he would give it to Lu but was too embarrassed. “You didn’t tell Aun… Sister?”
Lu Lingxi couldn’t help laughing when he heard Yi Hang changing the way he addressed Wang Shuxiu halfway.
“Mom doesn’t have much money anymore. It’s not easy for her to save some money, she still needs to keep it for some emergencies. Don’t tell Mom about this either.”
“I see.” Yi Hang hugged Lu Lingxi’s neck and squeezed in beside him, saying casually, “If only there was some way to get money quickly.”
Lu Lingxi thought of the spring orchid and planned to continue his trips to the flower market tomorrow.