After a busy day, Lu Lingxi received a call from Wang Shuxiu, asking him to come home early for dinner in the evening.
“Brother Feng is also here, let’s have a family dinner.”
Wang Shuxiu was a little uncomfortable on the other end of the phone. No matter how spirited she was, she wasn’t used to talking to her son about such things. On the contrary, Lu Lingxi reacted after a moment of being taken aback. He had already prepared himself for this and wasn’t surprised to hear that Wang Shuxiu and Xiao Feng were together. But what about Yan Yue when their family was eating? Lu Lingxi blurted out, “What about Big Brother Yan, he is alone?”
“Yan Yue?” Wang Shuxiu was a bit surprised, but still said, “If he’s alone, let’s call him to eat together. It doesn’t matter, we’re all neighbours.”
Lu Lingxi actually regretted it right after he said it, but there was no way to take it back, so after hearing Wang Shuxiu’s words he agreed sheepishly.
After hanging up the phone, Wang Shuxiu wondered what it was that seemed wrong. The little bastard was really too attached to Yan Yue. But if she were asked why it seemed wrong, she couldn’t say; she just didn’t feel right. She looked like she had a problem and Xiao Feng asked her halfway through picking vegetables, “What’s the matter? Xiao Xi is not coming?”
Wang Shuxiu shook her head, “He’s coming, and he’s bringing Yan Yue with him. Do you think he and Yan Yue are getting too close? He doesn’t even forget Yan Yue for dinner.”
Xiao Feng knew exactly what was going on, but he couldn’t tell Wang Shuxiu. However, he owed Yan Yue a favour, so he helped to explain. “It’s not a bad thing for Xiao Xi and Yan Yue to be close. You said that Xiao Xie has lost his memory and doesn’t remember anything from the past, so it’s normal for him to be close to Yan Yue since Yan Yue is willing to take care of him.”
This explanation made sense. Xiao Feng’s cryptic speech was, in fact, implying that Lu Yishui was unreliable and Lu Lingxi regarded Yan Yue as an elder in his heart, and it was inevitable that he would have some dependence.
Wang Shuxiu thought about it and didn’t say anything else.
On the other hand, Lu Lingxi was talking to Yan Yue about this matter with an apprehensive look on his face. He had blurted it out completely instinctively at the time, and after he had said it, even he felt it was wrong, and he wondered what Wang Shuxiu would think.
“Will Mom guess?” Lu Lingxi was a little uneasy.
Yan Yue comforted Lu Lingxi while envious that Xiao Feng had been quick enough and could appear as Lu Lingxi’s family in a fair manner. “If your mom guesses it, I will confess to her.”
“It’s not good, is it?” Lu Lingxi looked a little weird. Wang Shuxiu’s temper was well-known. If Yan Yue dared to confess, Wang Shuxiu might as well grab a frying pan and beat him out of the house. Although Lu Lingxi didn’t say anything, his face looked like Yan Yue was about to be beaten. Yan Yue looked at him and laughed. Even though it was the end of the day and there were many people on the road outside, he stretched out his hand to hug Lingxi and leaned over to kiss him.
“Don’t worry, it will be fine.”
He wasn’t planning to tell Wang Shuxiu too early, thinking to wait for Lu Lingxi to turn twenty, but if Wang Shuxiu knew, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Sooner or later there would have to be such a time. Besides, there was Xiao Feng, whose favours were not easy to be owed.
Yan Yue’s attitude was firm, and Lu Lingxi also let go of his heart. The two packed up and went home before six o’clock. At 301, the one who came to open the door was none other than Xiao Feng.
“…Uncle Xiao.” After hesitating for a while, Lu Lingxi called out, feeling a little strange. Speaking of which, although Xiao Feng was in his forties, he had a strong physique due to his constant exercise. He looked lean and firm, completely different from Lu Yishui’s sloppy and decadent appearance. Lu Lingxi used to be a little afraid of Xiao Feng. Although he didn’t have this fear later, he never thought that one day he would see Xiao Feng standing in front of him in Wang Shuxiu’s floral apron. The contrast was so great that he froze for a few seconds before reacting.
“Xiao Xi is back.” Xiao Feng looked natural, holding a half-peeled potato in his hand, smiled at Lu Lingxi and then moved out of the way, as if he hadn’t heard the abnormality in Lu Lingxi’s tone.
Lu Lingxi entered the house with some embarrassment and Yan Yue followed behind him. Xiao Feng’s eyes swept over Yan Yue and the two exchanged a meaningful look. Yan Yue raised his eyebrow slightly and said nothing.
When Wang Shuxiu poked her head out of the kitchen, Lu Lingxi immediately forgot about Xiao Feng and focused on Wang Shuxiu. As Wang Shuxiu greeted Yan Yue in her usual manner, he let out a huge sigh of relief. Luckily, his mother didn’t suspect anything. He had already prepared himself for Wang Shuxiu to beat up Yan Yue all the way.
“Hurry up and go wash your hands, you’ll be eating soon.” Wang Shuxiu instructed, urging Xiao Feng at the same time, “Where are the potatoes you peeled, Brother Feng?”
“Will be ready soon.” Xiao Feng was very naturally ordered by Wang Shuxiu and showed no temper at all.
Lu Lingxi stole a glance at Xiao Feng, thinking that he was really much better than Lu Yishui.
The atmosphere of the dinner was good, and Lu Lingxi and Xiao Feng got along very well. Although this wasn’t the first time the four of them had eaten together, with the change in status, Wang Shuxiu couldn’t help but worry about what Lu Lingxi thought in his heart. After the meal, she finally felt relieved.
After eating, Yan Yue went back to 202. While Wang Shuxiu washed the dishes in the kitchen, Lu Lingxi resisted the thought of going to Yan Yue. He was in the backyard changing the victoria’s water when Xiao Feng came up by his side at some point. Lu Lingxi was a little surprised, seeing that Xiao Feng had come to look for him on purpose. “Uncle Xiao.”
Xiao Feng nodded and suddenly said, “Just call me Brother Feng like you did before if you’re not used to it.”
Lu Lingxi blinked and smiled, a little embarrassed. Xiao Feng glanced at him and his eyes fell on the victoria in the water tank; he seemed to chat casually, “Xiaohua said you’ve lost your memory and don’t remember anything from the past?”
Lu Lingxi let out an “en”.
Xiao Feng didn’t speak, quiet for a moment, as if weighing the words he was going to say, “In a few days I plan to get the certificate with Xiaohua. Don’t worry about Xiaohua, Xiao Xi, I won’t let her suffer. You are Xiaohua’s son, and in the future you will be my son. I have never been married or had children before, I don’t know how other people become fathers, but I will try to learn to be a qualified father. If you want to, you can call me Dad, if not, you can call me Brother Feng, Uncle or whatever. No matter what you call me, it doesn’t affect the fact that I see you as my son.”
Xiao Feng had prepared this speech for a long time. Although Lu Lingxi seemed to be well-behaved and understanding and had no objections to him being with Wang Shuxiu, Xiao Feng felt that he should still say these words to Lu Lingxi. He and Wang Shuxiu together wasn’t just about the two of them, but about the three of them, counting Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi was no longer a child, and Xiao Feng was willing to treat him as an equal adult, giving him the respect and freedom of choice he deserved. After saying this, Xiao Feng didn’t wait for Lu Lingxi to say anything, reached out and patted Lu Lingxi’s shoulder, turned around and went back to the house unhurriedly.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know what he was feeling, standing in the yard looking at Xiao Feng’s back, a little lost in thought. He had had fathers, more than one, but Xiao Feng seemed to be different from them. He lowered his eyes slightly as he repeated Xiao Feng’s words in his mind.
From the moment Xiao Feng went to look for Lu Lingxi, Wang Shuxiu’s heart was beating fast. As soon as Xiao Feng returned, she grabbed him and asked, “What did you say to the little bastard?”
Knowing Wang Shuxiu’s worry, Xiao Feng smiled and said, “I said we will get the certificate in a few days.”
Wang Shuxiu was happy to hear this, but her words were still harsh, “Who wants to get a certificate?”
Xiao Feng looked at her with a smile, “I have already recognised my son, and I even promised him that I would not let you suffer in the future, so can’t you give me a name and a status, Xiaohua?”
“Bah.” Wang Shuxiu glared at Xiao Feng, turned away and smiled.
Lu Lingxi stayed in the yard for a while and hesitantly went back to the house. Xiao Feng was sitting in the living room watching TV. Lu Lingxi hesitated for a few seconds and whispered, “Dad.”
Xiao Feng didn’t react at once, but Wang Shuxiu stood at the kitchen door and heard him clearly. She looked at Lu Lingxi and then at Xiao Feng, both of whom were important men in her life, and her eyes couldn’t help but redden slightly.
That night Lu Lingxi stayed next door on the pretext of having something to do with Yan Yue, leaving the 301 space to Xiao Feng and Wang Shuxiu. Who knows what the two of them thought in their hearts but Yan Yue was overjoyed. He rubbed Lu Lingxi’s hair and prayed solemnly, “It would be nice if Xiao Feng was here every day.”
Lu Lingxi heard what he meant and blushed, glaring at him. Yan Yue chuckled lightly, his gaze focused on Lu Lingxi, his deep eyes seeming to be full of starlight. The young man’s mind was simple, and all his emotions were written on his face. Yan Yue asked softly, “Xiao Xi is happy?”
Lu Lingxi nodded, thought for a while and said seriously, “Xiao Feng, he… is not like the father before.” He tried hard to explain clearly, “He told me that I could call him whatever I wanted, that he treated me like a son whether I recognised him or not, and he told me not to worry, that he would take good care of Mom.” When he said this, Lu Lingxi paused; these words seemed very normal coming from his mouth, but he just felt that Xiao Feng was different from Lu Yishui and Lu Guangjing.
The young man looked puzzled, as if there was something he couldn’t understand. Yan Yue’s heart felt soft and he didn’t notice the strange part of Lu Lingxi’s words for a moment, he just gently swept the young man into his arms and said patiently, “This shows that Xiao Feng attaches great importance to Xiao Xi, and the fact that he gave the right to choose to Xiao Xi also shows his sincerity.”
Yan Yue nodded affirmatively.
Lu Lingxi fell silent, leaning into Yan Yue’s embrace without speaking again. He thought a little about the past. It seemed he had never had the right to choose. Ever since he was a child, his life had always been arranged by his parents. Going to school, suspending school, staying at home, doing examinations, going to hospital, going home to recuperate; they decided everything for him and all he had to do was obey. No one ever asked him what he thought, and perhaps in their eyes, his thoughts were simply inconsequential.
Now that he thought about it, his life before seemed abnormal. Wang Shuxiu, Yan Yue and Xiao Feng, they had shown him with their actions what a normal life was. After figuring this out, Lu Lingxi was very quiet for the rest of the time and showed unprecedented dependence on Yan Yue. When Yan Yue was reading a book, Lu Lingxi read it with him, and when Yan Yue was packing up the documents, Lu Lingxi followed him around like a little tail.
Yan Yue smiled and touched his face, coaxing, “I’ll have a meeting first and will stay with Xiao Xi later.”
Lu Lingxi nodded and didn’t say what he was going to do. Yan Yue had a meeting, so he sat on the sofa beside him and looked at Yan Yue quietly.
Yan Yue was simply going crazy. From the start of the meeting, he hadn’t listened at all to what was being said across the video, his mind was all on Lu Lingxi by his side. The young man had no idea how seductive he was with his well-behaved appearance. Yan Yue had no desire to work right now at all; he just wanted to press the young man down under his body.
“Boss?” In the corner of the video, An Jie noticed that Yan Yue was lost in thought and reminded him in a low voice.
Yan Yue’s eyes darkened as he interrupted the man who was making a statement and said in a deep voice, “That’s all for today, if there’s anything, we’ll continue tomorrow.”
After saying that, he ignored the surprised eyes of the opposite party and turned off the computer. Lu Lingxi’s expression was strange, “Big Brother Yan, you’ve finished the meeting?” During the meeting Yan Yue was using English; Lu Lingxi didn’t understand it very well, but he did understand the last sentence.
Yan Yue didn’t say anything, but turned around and pressed the young man underneath him, doing what he had wanted to do all night.
Going to sleep at night, Lu Lingxi rolled up in the blanket and wrapped himself into a little fat bear. His body had been covered in Yan Yue’s saliva and after taking a shower, it wasn’t convenient to go back next door to get a change of clothes, so he had to curl up naked under the blanket. Yan Yue looked at his moist eyes and his heart softened into a puddle, so he deliberately teased him, “Do you want Big Brother Yan to accompany you in wearing nothing?”
Lu Lingxi blushed and buried himself under the blanket, ignoring Yan Yue.
Yan Yue chuckled. He really didn’t wear anything and directly scooped Lu Lingxi into his arms together with the blanket. “Go to sleep.” He kissed Lu Lingxi on the eyes, coaxing him in a low voice.
Lu Lingxi blushed and shared half of Yan Yue’s blanket. Satisfied, Yan Yue hugged Lu Lingxi tightly in his arms, patting the boy’s back and coaxing him to sleep. Lu Lingxi fell asleep without realising it. He slept until the middle of the night when he was suddenly woken up by the cold. As soon as he woke up, Yan Yue woke up too
Lu Lingxi whispered, “I’m cold.”
Yan Yue turned on the light and faintly heard that it seemed to be raining outside. There was a bone-chilling cold seeping in through the window, and the temperature inside the house was somewhat abnormally low. He touched the young man’s back and felt how cold it was. Compared to Yan Yue, Lu Lingxi’s body was much thinner. “I’ll go turn on the air conditioning.” Yan Yue was a little worried, afraid that Lu Lingxi would freeze and get sick, so he turned on the air conditioner and poured a cup of hot water. “Come on, Xiao Xi, drink some water.”
Lu Lingxi sat up wrapped in a blanket, looking confused, “Is it raining outside?”
Yan Yue stood at the window, looked and nodded. It wasn’t raining heavily, but the temperature was a little off. He watched as Lu Lingxi finished drinking the water, covered him with the blanket and hugged the young man again.
Lu Lingxi shook his head and buried his head in Yan Yue’s chest, hugging his waist and closing his eyes.
At dawn, Yan Yue got up. He had been sleeping restlessly in the latter half of the night, afraid that the young man would freeze and get sick, and had to touch Lu Lingxi’s forehead every now and then. After gently kissing the sleeping boy, Yan Yue got up lightly. He looked out of the window unintentionally and suddenly froze. It was snowing outside. He was a little surprised. Fengcheng was located in northern China, and it was only early November, so how could it suddenly snow? No matter how unbelievable Yan Yue found it, it was a fact that it was snowing outside. He opened the balcony and walked out, and Xiao Feng next door also happened to push open the door and come out.
“It’s snowing.” Xiao Feng said in surprise.
Yan Yue nodded, hiding his astonishment.
It snowed heavily for a day and a night, and with the arrival of this snow, the temperature in Fengcheng dropped dramatically. Many greenhouses couldn’t react in time and a lot of growing vegetables and plants were frozen to death. Thankfully, both the Tiny Garden and Yongchun vegetable greenhouses were fine. Xiao Feng even took advantage of the soaring vegetable prices in Fengcheng to make a serious profit.
After the snow stopped, Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue went to the plant nursery. Only a few days later, a thin layer of ice had actually formed on the Lingshui River. The black colour of the ice ranged from dark to light; starting from the eelgrass ecological community, the flowing water beneath the ice began to become clear.
Lu Lingxi stood by the river for a long time watching it and felt in his heart that it was a good thing that the river was frozen. Without the pollution from the outside world, the eelgrass community at the bottom of the river could slowly absorb the toxic substances in the water. This way, when the ice melted next spring, the Lingshui River would almost be restored to its original state.
As he watched, he was unaware that the little boy he had met last time suddenly jumped out from behind. “Brother!”
Perhaps because of the cold weather, the little boy was wearing a lot of clothes and looked like a little ball. Lu Lingxi smiled, “How did you know I was here?”
“Ah Huang told me, he can smell you, Brother.”
Lu Lingxi looked around with interest and couldn’t find the big yellow dog. “Where is Ah Huang?”
“It’s too cold. Ah Huang doesn’t want to come out.” The little boy muttered and began to complain, dissatisfied about Ah Huang’s abandonment of him. Lu Lingxi had already noticed the “chatterbox” nature of the little boy last time and listened patiently with a smile.
After rambling on about Ah Huang for a long time, the boy finally mentioned the reason why he was looking for Lu Lingxi. “Brother, I have a secret to tell you.”
“What?” Lu Lingxi cooperated by making a curious expression.
The little boy’s big eyes glanced around and he whispered, “I found another person who can also talk to dogs.”
“Uncle Li, it’s Uncle Li who works in the plant nursery down the road. Really, I saw Uncle Li talking to an old dog kept in the plant nursery yesterday.”
Lu Lingxi: “……”