When he got off work, Lu Lingxi wanted to go to the plant nursery with Yan Yue to find Uncle Li.
When Ye Kang heard that they were going to the plant nursery, he got into the car with great enthusiasm. The last time they went to the plant nursery to change the pots, Uncle Li had treated them to a special dinner. To give them a taste of freshness, Grandma Li had steamed a pot of corn dumplings and mixed them with spinach grown in her yard. The sweet corn dumplings and the spinach were so delicious that Ye Kang couldn’t stop eating them, and when he left, he shamelessly took a few with him.
In Ye Kang’s eyes, going to the plant nursery = delicious dinner from Uncle Li. Especially since he didn’t have to work tonight, only a fool wouldn’t go.
Yan Yue gave Ye Kang a disgusted look. He was looking for something to delay their return in the evening to stay with Lu Lingxi in the courtyard like the last time. He could tolerate the extra Dahei, but what about the extra Ye Kang?
Ye Kang pretended that he couldn’t read Yan Yue’s eyes and sat in the passenger side with a cheeky face.
Yan Yue tapped on the steering wheel and said in a low voice, “Don’t you and Ye Sange have dinner tonight? You’re not going yet?”
Hearing Yan Yue’s warning, Ye Kang deliberately made a dumbfounded face, “I forgot to tell you that Sange had something to do tonight and asked me to take care of myself.” Having said that, Ye Kang turned his head to look at Lu Lingxi in the back seat, smiling gently and amiably, “Xiao Xi doesn’t mind if I come along, right? I kind of miss Grandma Li’s craftsmanship.”
Lu Lingxi shook his head. He quite liked Ye Kang, both because he was easy to get along with and because he was a good friend of Big Brother Yan.
Under the banner of Lu Lingxi, Ye Kang was content to dawdle over to Grandma Li’s house for dinner.
Hearing that they were coming, Grandma Li had prepared early. The last time Lu Lingxi casually mentioned that he liked potatoes. Grandma Li specially made potato cakes for them tonight. The potatoes were fresh from the ground, peeled and grated, then stirred together with some cornmeal and white flour, and fried in oil until golden brown on both sides. The potatoes were crispy and the cornmeal was soft, making the cakes very delicious.
In addition to the potato cakes, Grandma Li also made a pot of millet porridge. The yellow grains of millet were cooked to a soft consistency, and a spoonful of the porridge was full of rich fragrance. The steamed eggplants in the pot were cut into strips and two cloves of garlic were added, plus some vinegar and some chilli. The three of them ate until their bellies were round.
Uncle Li looked at them with a smile. The food they ate tonight was basically grown by the people in the village. Unlike the vegetables bought in the market, the home-grown ones didn’t have any chemical fertiliser or anything like that added. Although the harvest was not as good as the mass-produced, the taste was much better.
“Eat more if you like, and take some with you when you leave.” Uncle Li kept adding potato cakes to Lu Lingxi’s bowl. He just thought the child was too skinny and it would be good if he fattened up a little.
Lu Lingxi couldn’t eat any more and sat on the chair rubbing his stomach. He used to do this to show that he was hungry, but today he was really full. Yan Yue sat beside Lu Lingxi, and when he saw his movement, he couldn’t help but put his hand over the boy’s stomach and whispered, “Did you eat too much?”
When Yan Yue discovered his little movement, Lu Lingxi nodded in some embarrassment. He was so focused on being embarrassed that he hadn’t noticed Yan Yue’s actions were a little too intimate.
Through the thin t-shirt, Yan Yue touched the small, bulging belly of the boy, and what flashed through his mind was the image of the white and tender belly that was exposed when the young man was asleep last time. He slowed down his hand and rubbed gently, his lips curved in a faint smile as he asked, “Still too full?”
With this ordinary question, Lu Lingxi inexplicably felt the tips of his ears get a little hot. He shook his head quickly, indicating that he was not too full anymore.
Yan Yue was disappointed in his heart and let go of his hand somewhat reluctantly, his face still looking solemn. Ye Kang sitting opposite him was already completely unable to look at Yan Yue directly. He was now beginning to worry that Yan Yue might develop a split personality if he continued like this.
After dinner, Lu Lingxi mentioned to Uncle Li that he wanted to expand the size of the plant nursery. Uncle Li was very happy. When he was working with Du Lin, the gardening shop was doing well, but when Lu Lingxi took over, the business went to the next level. Because he regarded Lu Lingxi as his own child, the better the business of the gardening shop was, the happier the old man was, and the more energetic he was in his work. After taking a look at the moonlight outside, the old man simply took them for a walk to check out the fields and to make it easier to digest the food.
The plant nursery of Tiny Garden was located next to the road and covered only a few acres. Behind the plant nursery was the village, and the only way to expand it was in the left and right directions. Uncle Li patiently introduced both sides to Lu Lingxi. He was an elder in the village and was of high seniority, so he talked about it like a family treasure.
At the end of his speech, Uncle Li sighed. The few acres of land to the north belonged to Widow Yu. Her husband passed away early, leaving her with an old, sick mother-in-law and a son who had just started walking. She could not earn much money from farming and she was not well educated, so she had to go to the city to wash dishes at the hotel’s restaurant day and night, and her life was hard.
Lu Lingxi thought of Wang Shuxiu as he listened to Uncle Li and decided, “Then let’s rent these acres of land to the north for the expansion of the plant nursery.”
Uncle Li touched Lu Lingxi’s head and sighed, “The child has a good heart, good people are rewarded.”
The old man and the young man walked in front, while Yan Yue and Ye Kang followed slowly behind. Frogs croaked and insects chirped non-stop, and the gentle moonlight poured down, so that even without streetlights, the surroundings were clearly visible.
Ye Kang closed his eyes in ecstasy and said leisurely, “How long has it been since we’ve been this relaxed?”
Yan Yue didn’t say anything, his eyes following Lu Lingxi in front of him.
Ye Kang glanced at him and said meaningfully, “As a psychologist, I must warn you. People are social animals. You can’t keep a person in captivity and prevent them from contacting their friends and the society around them. The consequences would be devastating and immoral.”
Yan Yue heard his meaning and said slowly, “Do I look like such a pervert?”
Ye Kang nodded teasingly, “Not quite, but you act like a pervert in front of Xiao Xi. Brother, you must hold back, I don’t want to see your name on social media,” Ye Kang said in a serious tone, patting Yan Yue.
Ye Kang laughed.
After they finished looking at the land, Lu Lingxi made a point of mentioning to Yan Yue that he wanted to rent these acres of land on the left. The left and right made absolutely no difference in Yan Yue’s eyes, as long as Lu Lingxi was happy. At the time, Lu Lingxi was a little sleepy. He hadn’t rested after a few trips to the plant nursery in the morning and had eaten too much in the evening, so he was a bit lazy and not very energetic. Uncle Li asked if they wanted to stay here, but Yan Yue politely declined. The plant nursery was a bit far from the city and it was too inconvenient to drive there in the morning. It would be better to go straight back in the evening when there was no traffic and they could take a shower. If it was just him and Lu Lingxi, they would have stayed, but with an extra light bulb of Ye Kang, there was no point in staying.
On the way back, Ye Kang drove the car instead, and Yan Yue pushed Dahei into the passenger seat, while he and Lu Lingxi sat in the back. Lu Lingxi was so sleepy that he closed his eyes and dozed off little by little. Yan Yue looked distressed and gently reached out to hold him, pressing the young man into his arms. Lu Lingxi called out “Big Brother Yan” in a daze, rubbed against him like a puppy, changed to a comfortable position and fell asleep with Yan Yue’s arm around him.
Ye Kang glanced at the two of them in the rearview mirror, and the corners of his mouth curled slightly. He was bored and had nothing to do, and he couldn’t talk to Yan Yue for fear of waking up Lu Lingxi, so he simply pulled out Yan Yue’s sunglasses with one hand and put them on the face of Dahei beside him.
Dahei squatted in the passenger seat, wearing sunglasses, and looked out the window, very imposing. A car caught up with them and the child in the back seat exclaimed, “Look at the dog with sunglasses!” Dahei turned his head following the voice and glanced at the curious child. The child suddenly cried out a “wow”, yelling, “It, it, it’s looking at me!”
Ye Kang stepped on the gas and overtook the car, laughing to death. He decided to go back to Zhongjing and immediately raise a dog. It was so funny to bring it out at night to blow off steam and scare the little brats.
Relying on the navigation, Ye Kang drove all the way to the downstairs of Lu Lingxi’s house. Yan Yue glanced out and frowned, “There’s someone at home.”
Ye Kang immediately noticed that the lights at Lu Lingxi’s apartment were on. Lu Lingxi and his mother were the only two people in Lu Lingxi’s family, and he heard Lu Lingxi’s mother had to go out to work at night, so there shouldn’t be anyone at home at this time. Ye Kang exchanged a glance with Yan Yue, “I’ll go take a look.”
Yan Yue nodded, very relieved with Ye Kang’s skills. Dahei quickly jumped down while Ye Kang closed the door, and followed him quietly. Ye Kang was a little surprised and whispered a compliment, “Good dog.”
Yan Yue looked at Ye Kang entering the building, his expression slightly dark. He actually wondered if Lu Yishui had come back, but felt it was unlikely. If Xiao Feng hadn’t had the ability to keep an eye on people, he wouldn’t have dared to send all those gamblers to dig coal.
He looked down at Lu Lingxi; the young man was sleeping soundly, his expression innocent like an angel’s. He couldn’t bear to wake him up, but he couldn’t keep sitting in the car like this, so he could only be ruthless and gently pat the boy in his arms, coaxing, “Xiao Xi, we’re home.”
Lu Lingxi stretched out his hand and rubbed his eyes, unconsciously rubbing against Yan Yue’s arms, and said vaguely, “Is it dawn yet?”
Yan Yue laughed lightly, his chest vibrating as he held Lu Lingxi in one arm and patted his back tenderly with the other, humming, “It’s dawn.”
“Oh!” Lu Lingxi hadn’t woken up yet and was dumbfounded.
Yan Yue was about to say something when Dahei in the corridor suddenly barked, just as they heard Wang Shuxiu scream, “Dahei, let go.”
This time Lu Lingxi was completely awake, “What’s going on?”
Yan Yue shook his head, “It’s okay, let’s go and have a look.”
At the door to 101, Ye Kang looked a little embarrassed as Dahei crouched on the ground fiercely baring his teeth and snarling at the man opposite. Wang Shuxiu, protected by Dahei, didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh as she looked apologetically at the man in front of her, “Are you okay, Brother Feng?”
Under the dim light, Xiao Feng stood there, looking inconspicuous, but with an aura that made even Ye Kang jealous. Hearing Wang Shuxiu’s words, he shook his head without much concern, “It’s nothing. The little guy is a protector, he’s a good dog.” As he spoke, he squinted his eyes slightly, sizing up Dahei with interest. He looked like an ordinary stray dog, but Dahei’s reaction and ruthlessness was really not even comparable to some specialised fighting dogs. Xiao Feng’s gaze fell on his leg; there was a long slit torn in his pants. He was lucky enough to dodge just in time, otherwise it would have been his calf torn instead of his pants.
Lu Lingxi came in and saw the scene of several people confronting each other. He was confused, “Mom, what happened to Dahei?”
Wang Shuxiu waved her hand, “Nothing, Brother Feng sent me back, Dahei mistook him for a thief and almost bit Brother Feng.”
Lu Lingxi was impressed with Brother Feng and looked at him politely, “Are you alright, Brother Feng?”
Xiao Feng glanced at Yan Yue who was following Lu Lingxi silently and raised his head slightly, “It’s okay, I’ll go first to change my pants.” He said that simply, turned around and left.
At this point, Yan Yue and Ye Kang couldn’t afford to stay, so they said goodbye and followed.
When they got into the car, Ye Kang teased, “Is Xiao Xi going to have a new father?” He looked embarrassed before because he thought that he had disturbed Xiao Xi’s mother and that Dahei had probably bitten the wrong person.
Yan Yue gave him a speechless glare and said firmly, “No way.”
Ye Kang was a little curious, “Why? It’s not like a single man and a single woman can just be friends at this late hour, right? I think it’s good for Xiao Xi to have a father, that man seems to be a good man, and he can back up Xiao Xi in case of any problems.”
Yan Yue said indifferently, “Xiao Xi’s biological father is a gambler, a gambling addict who has screwed Xiao Xi’s mother enough for the rest of her life. That man just now runs a casino. Do you think Xiao Xi’s mother will fall for him?”
So it was true that she wouldn’t, but Ye Kang was even more curious, “How do you know?”
“He did a thing for me.” Yan Yue said subtly, “I set up Xiao Xi’s gambler father and sent him to the northwest to dig coal. I don’t think he will be coming back in his lifetime.”
Ye Kang: “……”