After Lu Lingxi said a few words to Gao Yongliang, he went upstairs to find a power source to charge the phone and call Yan Yue. As soon as his phone was turned on, Yan Yue’s call came in.
“Big Brother Yan.”
“Xiao Xi.” Yan Yue’s voice reached him, sounding as if Yan Yue was suppressing something, “You’re back?”
Lu Lingxi gave an “en” and explained with some embarrassment, “The phone ran out of battery.”
“I see.” Even though he guessed that the phone was out of battery and knew from Wang Shuxiu where Lu Lingxi had gone, Yan Yue was still uncontrollably worried, calling Lu Lingxi’s phone over and over again, eager to rush back to Fengcheng immediately and tie Lu Lingxi to his side. Hearing the familiar voice on the other side of the phone, Yan Yue suppressed his uncontrollable emotions and asked as calmly as possible, “How is Xue Yongtong’s plant nursery?”
“Very good.” Lu Lingxi was a little excited and recounted in detail the various flowers he had seen there, with emphasis on the first-level peak victoria. Yan Yue’s heart tightened as he listened, and before Lu Lingxi could finish he interrupted, “Xiao Xi, you didn’t choose to evolve, did you?”
Lu Lingxi hummed obediently and said with some regret, “No, I was worried that it would move too much. But Uncle Xue gave me some seeds, we can try to grow them ourselves. I want to know what direction victoria’s evolution is.”
Yan Yue sighed in relief; it seemed that calling Xue Yongtong Uncle Xue was not even a big deal compared to the fact that Lu Lingxi resisted choosing to evolve the victoria. “Xiao Xi did well.” Yan Yue softened his voice and coaxed, “If you want to see the victoria evolve, we can buy one ourselves.”
Lu Lingxi smiled, “The victoria is too big, there’s no place to keep it even if we buy it now, let’s wait until the plant nursery has the pond.”
Lu Lingxi thought of Dahei being praised again and talked about Grandma Wang’s son. Yan Yue listened carefully, the Botanical Institute? This identity could be used for a while, he quickly planned mentally. The two talked for a long time before Yan Yue finally said lightly, “I’m on my way back to Fengcheng, I’ll be there in about an hour.”
“Big Brother Yan, you’ve finished with your business?” Lu Lingxi said in surprise.
Yan Yue smiled and said softly, “No, I want to see Xiao Xi, so I’ll come back to stay overnight and return to Zhongjing in the morning.”
Lu Lingxi didn’t say anything for a while; only after a long time did he whisper, “Big Brother Yan, I miss you too.”
Yan Yue’s heart fluttered and he smiled faintly.
The two of them were talking on the phone upstairs, while downstairs in the small restaurant, Wang Shuxiu and Gao Yongliang were also chatting happily. Unlike the men Wang Shuxiu usually met, Gao Yongliang had lived abroad for many years and had a refined temperament, talking in a polite and courteous manner. Even when he was complimenting Lu Lingxi, he did so in the right way, making people feel he was very sincere.
Dapeng looked a little anxious. If Brother Feng didn’t come now, Xiaohua’s lady boss would really be abducted by the old geezer. He was chanting it in his mind when Xiao Feng appeared at the door. Wang Shuxiu was taken aback for a moment when she saw Xiao Feng, and then she looked at the few people behind Xiao Feng who were poking their heads in. She understood what was going on in a blink of an eye.
“Brother Feng, you’re here.” Wang Shuxiu got up and greeted him.
Xiao Feng nodded, casually found a table and sat down, saying, “Stir-fried tomatoes and a bowl of rice.”
“Okay.” Wang Shuxiu agreed readily. When Gao Yongliang saw that Wang Shuxiu was busy, he had the good sense to say goodbye. As soon as he left, Tiger wanted to follow him, but was stopped by a faint glance from Xiao Feng. Tiger scowled and sat down obediently.
The downstairs became quiet for a while, and only occasional movement could be heard coming from the back kitchen. Yi Hang looked at Xiao Feng and then at the back kitchen, feeling that something was wrong with the atmosphere. He hesitated for a few seconds and thought of going upstairs to look for Lu Lingxi, but when he was halfway there, he heard that Lu Lingxi seemed to be on the phone, so he thought about it and turned back again. In a short while, Tiger and the others also came out and sat down next to Yi Hang in a crowd.
Yi Hang was a bit confused, “Why are you all out? Where is Brother Feng?”
Tiger glared at him, “Are you stupid? Brother Feng is talking to Xiaohua’s lady boss, are we brothers that tactless?!”
Yi Hang was a bit uneasy and thought about going back to check, but Tiger pulled him back forcefully. “Eh eh, is it easy for us to find a sister-in-law who can cook? Don’t be thoughtless, you kid.”
Erfei reacted most positively, “Yes, don’t get involved in Brother Feng and Xiaohua’s lady boss’s business.”
Yi Hang thought about it and sat down obediently.
Inside the small restaurant, Wang Shuxiu carried a plate of tomatoes and placed it in front of Xiao Feng, simply saying, “Brother Feng, this meal is on me. It just so happens that I also have something I want to say to Brother Feng.”
Xiao Feng didn’t move, “Go ahead.”
Wang Shuxiu sat down opposite Xiao Feng, smiled and continued, “I understand what Brother Feng means. I, Wang Xiaohua, am not a hypocritical type either. To be honest, you are a good person, capable and righteous, a real man. To be honest, I, Wang Xiaohua, am not very educated, I’m old and have a son, so I’m not good enough for Brother Feng. If I don’t agree, it’s not because I don’t know what’s good or bad. But you know my family’s situation and that bastard Lu Yishui who dragged me down for half my life. I know that I can’t blame Brother Feng for Lu Yishui’s gambling, but I can’t look at your way of earning money, I can’t get past it in my heart.”
Wang Shuxiu finished speaking, and Brother Feng was silent for a moment. She hesitated for a moment and went on, “During this time, Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant has been taken care of by you, and I am indebted to you. If you need anything, Brother Feng, just say so, and I, Wang Xiaohua, will certainly not shirk anything I can do.”
After these words, the small restaurant once again fell into silence. Xiao Feng fished out a cigarette, looked at Wang Shuxiu and put it back. “I see.” He said in a flat tone, stood up and walked away without saying anything else.
Wang Shuxiu looked at Xiao Feng’s untouched plate of tomatoes and sighed, the feeling in her heart a little hard to describe.
“Mom.” Lu Lingxi came down from upstairs at some point and looked at Wang Shuxiu with some concern.
Wang Shuxiu laughed and scolded, “What are you looking at, little bastard?” She swept her eyes over Dahei and beckoned, “Dahei, this plate of scrambled eggs with tomatoes is a bargain for you, Brother Feng didn’t eat a single bite.” Dahei gave a low bark and Wang Shuxiu looked as if nothing had happened and laughed.
When Xiao Feng walked out of the small restaurant, Tiger and the others froze. Why was it so fast? There was not enough time for Brother Feng to say something to Xiaohua’s lady boss, right? Xiao Feng lit a cigarette and nodded towards Tiger and the others, who immediately ran up to him head over heels.
There was neither joy nor anger on Xiao Feng’s face, “You guys go back first, I’m going to walk alone.”
Tiger was keenly aware that Xiao Feng’s mood was not right and didn’t dare to try his luck at this moment, so he immediately nodded. In his mind, he wondered why Brother Feng and Xiaohua’s lady boss hadn’t made a deal. It couldn’t really be that their sister-in-law was abducted by that old geezer? What kind of vision did Xiaohua’s lady boss have then? That old geezer was so much worse than Brother Feng. Brother Feng could kill him with one finger. Despite these thoughts, Tiger’s face didn’t show anything as he nimbly pulled the others away.
As Erfei walked away, he asked in a whisper, “Can I go and get a packaged dish from Xiaohua’s lady boss? I didn’t get enough to eat tonight.”
Tiger glared at him bitterly, “Eat, you just know how to eat, you can eat yourself to death.”
Erfei looked at him sadly and didn’t say anything, rubbing his stomach and nostalgically remembering the roasted egg-plants he had only eaten half of in the evening. Then he thought of something else and gave an angry look at Dapeng. When he had come back, it turned out Dapeng had eaten all the roasted egg-plants.
They walked fast, their figures soon disappearing. Xiao Feng looked at their backs, clutching his cigarette and thinking about Wang Shuxiu’s words. When he first started the casino, he was looking for quick money. No matter who lost or won, the casino got a cut. Later on, he started the loan shark business and made a lot of money over the years. Sometimes he thought about ending the business and living in peace for a few years. But he had to be responsible for the people he was working with. What would they do if he quit? Those brothers were uneducated and couldn’t find a serious job. Each of them was supporting their families. The money in his hands might seem like a lot, but it was not much once it was evenly divided, so it wouldn’t last for a few years. But going on like this, Xiao Feng didn’t think it was a good idea either. He thought about Wang Xiaohua’s refreshing words, smiled with the cigarette in his mouth, and slowly made a decision in his heart.
At ten o’clock, the small restaurant was almost cleaned up. Wang Shuxiu closed the door and went back home with Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi kept looking at the time all the way, calculating when Yan Yue would return.
Wang Shuxiu looked surprised, “Something wrong?”
Lu Lingxi shook his head sheepishly, “It’s nothing.”
“Alright, hurry up and go take a shower.” Wang Shuxiu didn’t care much and casually urged.
Lu Lingxi nodded and went into the bathroom with a change of clothes, then thought about it and ran out to bring his mobile phone in with him. Wang Shuxiu knocked on the door and reminded him, “Why bring your mobile phone with you when you’re taking a shower?” Lu Lingxi meekly agreed, but refused to let go of the phone.
After taking a quick shower, Lu Lingxi looked forward to Wang Shuxiu taking a shower and going to rest. Wang Shuxiu felt that the little bastard was acting too strange tonight, but she couldn’t find out what was strange. As she went to take a shower, Lu Lingxi received a text message from Yan Yue.
“I’m here, next door.”
When Lu Lingxi saw the content, his heart pounded. “Mom is still awake, I’ll go over later.”
Lu Lingxi didn’t reply to the text message again, squeezing his phone and sitting somewhat restlessly. His gaze always unconsciously turned to the door. He wondered if Big Brother Yan had eaten dinner since he rushed back so late? Where was Big Brother Yan going to stay tonight? Although the next door had been renovated, the basic necessities had not yet been bought, so no one could live there yet. These thoughts popped up one after another, and Lu Lingxi sat in the living room somewhat wistfully, waiting for Wang Shuxiu to go to rest.
“Why are you still up?” Wang Shuxiu was taken aback for a moment when she saw Lu Lingxi after washing up.
Lu Lingxi stammered an excuse and Wang Shuxiu laughed, “Waiting to go to the toilet? Hurry up and go, I’m going to bed first.”
“Good night, Mom.”
As soon as Wang Shuxiu turned off the light, Lu Lingxi was about to go out. Dahei squatted in the doorway looking at him. One man and one dog locked their eyes. Dahei gave a small whimper and slowly plopped down on the floor. Lu Lingxi whispered, coaxing him, “I’m just going next door, it’s not far. Be good, I’ll give you two chicken legs tomorrow.”
As long as the chicken legs were offered, it was always a no-brainer for Dahei. Dahei pricked his ears and slowly moved his body to make way.
Lu Lingxi watched Dahei with his eyes curved and gingerly walked out, running to the door of 202 in a flash. He had the key to 202 and was about to open the door when Yan Yue already opened it from the inside. Before Lu Lingxi could finish calling out “Big Brother Yan”, he was pulled into Yan Yue’s arms. The door was closed and Lu Lingxi was kissed fiercely against it.