Under the big willow tree at the entrance of Lingshui Village, some villagers brought small benches and some brought small stools, gathering in twos and threes, waiting for the village head to start a meeting.
It was already October, but the willow tree carried no hint of withering, its branches and leaves were still lush, with the huge canopy spreading out to the sides and the branches hanging down to cover the sun in the background.
Uncle Li carried a little stool and stood close to the willow tree. He didn’t know if it was his illusion. When he was close to the willow tree, he always felt that his whole body was full of strength, and he was not tired after standing for a long time. Uncle Li was not the only one who felt this way. Several old men and old ladies in the village who often came to the willow tree to chat and play chess also had this feeling. It seemed that the bones of their bodies had healed unknowingly, and they could walk a few miles in one go.
The village head still didn’t come, so after waiting for a long time, the old men and women started chatting. Some said they could eat two bowls of rice recently, and some said their teeth that had been loosened could bite meat again, and then someone said he had eaten two more corns yesterday. In short, their health was good recently, and it was all because the tree god blessed them. Uncle Li felt amused. He had seen the world when he was young and didn’t believe in the tree god in his heart. But his health had indeed been good recently, and with the resurrection of the old willow tree from the dead, he had to admit that the old willow tree was somewhat extraordinary. With this conflicting psychology, Uncle Li’s attitude towards the old willow tree was somewhat contradictory.
When Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue drove over, they saw a crowd of people under the willow tree at the entrance of the village from afar.
Yan Yue was more experienced, “The village is having another meeting.”
Lu Lingxi laughed when he heard it. He didn’t know when Lingshui Village had developed the habit of holding meetings under the willow tree at the entrance of the village. As most of the young people in the village were working outside, most of the remaining villagers were older people, so every time they had a meeting, they each brought a bench and a mat, and a meeting to talk about one or two small things could often take up an afternoon. The last time he witnessed such a meeting, he found it quite interesting.
When he got out of the car, Lu Lingxi stood on tiptoe and looked towards the willow tree, found Uncle Li in the crowd and waved his hand vigorously, not knowing if Uncle Li could see it.
Yan Yue saw his movement and was afraid that Lu Lingxi would run over to the meeting on a whim to join in the fun. The old men and women in the village all liked Lu Lingxi. On the previous occasion when Lu Lingxi was at the meeting, Yan Yue waited for a long time until Lu Lingxi came back, and when he went to the entrance of the village, he found that the young man was surrounded by several old ladies, vying for him to be their granddaughters’ husband. Although Yan Yue knew that Lu Lingxi was extremely likeable, he still had the feeling that his treasure was coveted by others and was upset for half a day.
“Xiao Xi, go back inside and be careful of the sun.” Yan Yue reminded.
Lu Lingxi let out an “en” and obediently turned to the small courtyard, helping Yan Yue carry the things he had brought in the car into the house. The two of them were planning to stay in the courtyard for the night, so Yan Yue had prepared a lot of things, including food and drink, a change of clothes, and even a mat for Dahei.
Dahei squatted on the ground, eyeing the mat. The mat = can’t sleep by Lu Lingxi’s side. This knowledge made him narrow his eyes, and while Yan Yue was packing his things, Dahei turned and ran out of the house with the mat in his teeth. Dahei shoved the mat directly under the flower pot in the backyard, and pulled two bags of flower fertiliser to cover it.
The whole process was watched by Lu Lingxi, who sat on the edge of the bed and was about to laugh to death, but was afraid that Yan Yue would hear him, so he held his stomach and endured in silence.
Yan Yue put away his things and turned around to see Lu Lingxi holding back his laughter until his face was red. He looked like he was about to burst into tears from laughing, and his eyes were wet. Dahei was not in the house, and Yan Yue immediately guessed what had happened. He helplessly took Lu Lingxi in his arms, one hand rubbing the young man’s tummy for him. “So funny?”
Lu Lingxi nodded, shivering with laughter as he leaned into Yan Yue’s embrace, exhaling hot air that penetrated Yan Yue’s t-shirt. The seed of yearning in Yan Yue’s heart seemed to be awakened, quickly taking root and sprouting a vine called desire. He gently rubbed Lu Lingxi’s stomach, the other hand stroking the young man’s hair as if carelessly. The longing in Yan Yue’s eyes deepened as the vine in his heart twisted and extended.
When Lu Lingxi had almost finished laughing, he tilted his head and was about to say something nice about Dahei when he suddenly met Yan Yue’s eyes. While his expression was slightly startled, Yan Yue had already lowered his head and kissed him. Although he was a little surprised, Lu Lingxi was already used to Yan Yue’s kisses and closed his eyes as usual, but he noticed something was wrong when he was dizzy from being kissed. Yan Yue’s lips left his and worked their way down his chin. Lu Lingxi instinctively tensed up, but quickly dropped his defences for Yan Yue’s kisses and unconsciously let his body soften.
“Big Brother… Yan?”
Yan Yue rolled up Lu Lingxi’s t-shirt and covered the whole body of the young man in his arms. The village was very quiet in the afternoon, without the cacophony of human voices, with only the cheerful birdsong in the backyard and the sound of Dahei chasing birds. Somewhat unable to control the throbbing in his body, Yan Yue gently nibbled on the young man’s neck, and then followed the beautiful line of Lu Lingxi’s collarbone all the way down, dropping countless kisses.
Lu Lingxi couldn’t describe the feeling; it seemed sweet and torturous at the same time. His two hands clenched tightly at Yan Yue’s clothes, and his body curled up unconsciously. As Yan Yue moved, Lu Lingxi’s heart seemed to beat faster and faster. He pushed Yan Yue with some discomfort, and got in return a punishing bite from Yan Yue that made his heart itch.
Since the bottom line had been crossed, Yan Yue simply turned the young man again and again and kissed him all over, pouring his love on him. The wall clock ticked away, chiming the whole hour, reminding Yan Yue that it had been an hour since they had come to the plant nursery. Yan Yue tenderly tidied up Lu Lingxi’s clothes and held him in his arms contentedly. Lu Lingxi’s earlobes were red as if they were dripping blood, and he couldn’t say a word, only feeling Yan Yue’s saliva all over his body.
The meeting at the entrance to the village seemed to have ended, and the sound of people talking came from outside the courtyard. Across a courtyard wall, there seemed to be another world.
Until the two of them had eaten their dinner, the tips of Lu Lingxi’s ears were still a little red. Yan Yue looked at him dotingly, with some ingratiation, “Let’s go and fill the pond.”
After the heat of the morning, the weather had cooled down by now. The two of them walked through the plant nursery; Yan Yue carried the hose with one hand and led Lu Lingxi with the other. The pond that had been dug was not very large and for safety was only about one metre deep. Lu Lingxi just wanted to try to cultivate some aquatic plants, like Xue Yongtong, out of interest, not to make money.
In one corner of the pond, Yan Yue had built a three-tiered platform from green bricks. He pulled Lu Lingxi to sit on the top step and unscrewed the hose to release the water. At first they had planned to draw water from the small river behind the village, but the last time Yan Yue went to see it, the water was too dirty, so he gave up on the idea.
The clear water filled the bottom of the pond little by little, and Lu Lingxi took off his shoes and stepped in it, feeling that the water was cool and comfortable. Yan Yue condoned his actions and didn’t stop him. Lu Lingxi stepped on the water and sat down next to Yan Yue, whispering, “I want to take a shower with the hose.”
Yan Yue raised his eyebrows, and Lu Lingxi blushed and complained, “Your saliva is all over my body, Big Brother Yan.”
Yan Yue couldn’t hold back his laughter. His expression was so happy that it made the tips of Lu Lingxi’s ears redden again. In the end, Yan Yue didn’t agree to let Lu Lingxi take a shower with the hose. Although the temperature was still okay now, it was already autumn, what if he caught a cold?
“Go back home and wash tonight.”
Yan Yue insisted, and Lu Lingxi could only reluctantly agree. He couldn’t take a shower, but Dahei was fine with it. When the water in the pond was above his calves, Dahei jumped in with a splash, shook his fur and started paddling. Lu Lingxi watched as Dahei swam from one side of the pond to the other and back again, playing like a champ, and was really envious.
The pond soon filled up with water, and as the silt at the bottom of the pond settled down, the water above became clearer. As Lu Lingxi sat on the steps and played with the water, a question suddenly occurred to him. “Big Brother Yan, the direction of evolution of the big willow tree is to purify the soil. Could the direction of evolution of that victoria be to purify the water?”
Yan Yue was taken aback and really thought it was a possibility.
Lu Lingxi became happy and immediately gave an example, saying, “Like lotus, reed, duckweed… these are all aquatic plants and are much more common than victoria and are easy to raise. It would be good if they all evolved in the direction of purifying the water.” He thought of something after he finished and looked a little regretful, “It’s a pity that the evolutionary direction of the plants is given by the panel. If only I could choose it myself.”
Yan Yue rubbed his hair, “Maybe it will be possible after the panel is upgraded again.”
Lu Lingxi thought about it and smiled a little embarrassedly. He seemed to be a little too greedy.
The two men and the dog sat by the pond until the evening. The breeze blew, the water sparkled, and the clear light of the moon laid a silver glow on the water. Dahei was still swimming around vigorously, and there was a clear sound of insects chirping along the outer courtyard wall of the plant nursery. Lu Lingxi stepped on the water and leaned into Yan Yue’s arms. Water rippled beneath his feet, and he couldn’t help but smile faintly.
“Big Brother Yan, I never thought before that days could be this happy, it’s like a dream.”
Yan Yue hugged Lu Lingxi and kissed him on the forehead. His voice was low but full of certainty, “We will be happy like this every day from now on.”
Lu Lingxi didn’t say anything else, just hummed and took Yan Yue’s hand, their fingers intertwined and clasped together.