“Handsome dad, let’s go buy snacks! The teacher said good looks can’t be eaten! Dad, listen to me carefully and remember: even if you look beautiful, you can’t be too proud. The true beauty is the beauty of the heart.”
Caught off guard by his son’s preaching, Lu Ying was dragged forward, muttering, “It’s true that you can’t be too proud of your good looks, but if I didn’t look good, you wouldn’t be there. Son! Let’s buy less today, maybe we’ll have to eat steamed buns again soon.”
Lu Ying slowly followed behind Zaizai, letting the child do his own thing. He was usually conscientious and frugal; to eat enough and to wear warm clothes was indispensable but the child’s toys and snacks were not indulged indiscriminately. It had slowly become a habit and even if Lu Ying didn’t say anything, the boy knew it in his heart.
Lu Ying glanced at his son from time to time and followed him closely while chatting on WeChat. The only people he could chat with recklessly were his few friends, united in the group called ‘Gang of Scoundrels’.
Perfect Dad: It’s really troublesome to be too handsome. I have a hunch that I will have to find a job again in the New Year. O(╥﹏╥)o
Glorious Brother Ji: +1, beauty is a sin! My Funeral of Love(1) sisters fight over me every day, so annoying, ah.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: Men should look like me, it’s their duty!
Glorious Brother Ji: What’s good about looking like a fool like you? You can only be a single dog. Look at Lu Ying, if he wasn’t good looking, how could he become a father? I envy him all the time.
Perfect Dad: Brother Ji, where have you been working lately?
Glorious Brother Ji: I’m not working, I’m bored to death from nine to five. My Funeral of Love family is busy making videos, it’s fun every day, hahaha.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: Funeral of Love family is immortal, Baby Ji is happy, so what do you eat?
Glorious Brother Ji: I won’t die of hunger if I don’t eat a few meals.
Perfect Dad: Always wanted to ask you, what is that Funeral of Love family?
Realtor Liu Dichuan: I advise you not to ask. Don’t search Baidu either. In case you are blind, who will take care of Zaizai, huh?
Perfect Dad: …(⊙o⊙)…
Glorious Brother Ji: Liu Laoshi, you are not honest now! Hehe you hehe.
Craftsman Yang: Lu Ying, if you are idle during the New Year, come and help me. The salary can be settled on the same day. A few of my helpers are going back to their hometown for the New Year, and I’m short of manpower.
Perfect Dad: Thank you, Brother Yang! Brother Yang’s business is getting better and better, that’s awesome.
Glorious Brother Ji: (ˉ﹃ˉ), I miss Brother Yang’s craftsmanship, I’ll come and eat there some day.
Craftsman Yang: Welcome at any time. We haven’t had a get-together for a long time. Come to my place for dinner sometime. Or maybe on New Year’s Day, start the new year by rubbing off some of Lu Ying’s luck.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: Sure. Lu Ying, why don’t you come to work at our place after the New Year? The income from selling apartments isn’t bad and working hours are relatively free, so you can pick up your kid after school.
Glorious Brother Ji: Hahaha, Lu Ying is thin-skinned and stupid, most afraid of doing sales.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: How do you know if you don’t try? You don’t have to be able to talk to do sales. Lu Ying is practical and diligent, not afraid of hardship, he can enter the industry. The work you do in the shopping mall is similar.
Craftsman Yang: You get off work too late there, Zaizai is still young and needs more company.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: That’s true, hey, it’s not uncommon to be busy until 11:00 or 12:00. It’s not easy in any line of work nowadays, money is not easy to earn.
Glorious Brother Ji: That’s right, even construction sites are not as good as before, and many construction sites have stopped.
Perfect Dad: You worked as an assistant to Dr. Hu before, wasn’t your salary quite high? Why did you go back to the construction site to move bricks again?
Glorious Brother Ji: (へ╬) Don’t mention the cunning old guy. He just tortured me in various ways. There are thousands of rules. I am not allowed to do this, I’m not allowed to do that. I can’t stand him. So annoying.
Craftsman Yang: Last week I delivered the goods to him and he asked about you.
Glorious Brother Ji: What did the old guy ask about me?
Craftsman Yang: Oh, he asked if you had starved to death.
Glorious Brother Ji: Old bastard, I won’t die in front of his door even if I starve to death!
Craftsman Yang: Oh.
Realtor Liu Dichuan: Oh!
Perfect Dad: …oh.
After chatting with his friends, Lu Ying optimistically put his worries behind him. The father and son returned from the supermarket fully loaded. They bought a lot of food today. Lu Ying used a pressure cooker to make a quick stew of beef and carrots and added several meat and veggie side dishes. One big and one small guy enjoyed a hearty hot pot on this cold winter day.
Lu Ying was so full that he burped and went to wash the dishes in the kitchen, but the chubby kid was still fishing for food in the pot, sweeping up every last bit of it. Lu Ying was worried when he saw this. It was his son’s natural ability to eat, but his appetite was now showing signs of being better than ever, and Lu Ying was both relieved and distressed.
The future could only be approached one step at a time.
Compared to the cold of Caifeng City, the sun was shining brightly in Guanlan City to the south. The famous Zicao Lake Ranch Club in Guanlan City was boundlessly vast and full of green grass. The beautiful Zicao Lake was sparkling, with horses galloping on one side of the lake and golf balls flying in graceful arcs on the other.
Changing into his black riding clothes he hadn’t worn for a long time and fastening his knee pads and helmet, Qin Zhuopu(2) raised his whip and drove the white stallion out of the guardrail. Neither too fast, nor too slow, the stallion’s hooves steadily stepped on the grass. Facing the slightly cool breeze, Qin Zhuopu felt that his mind was refreshed for a moment. He suddenly realised that if it hadn’t been for the invitation of his old friends, it would have been half a year since he had been out for some exercise and relaxation. Working day in and day out was fulfilling, but he was also tired.
“Yo, the workaholic is finally here. I thought you were going to fail the appointment today.”
He finally met his old friends and their wives and children when he reached the rest area halfway across the racecourse, and his late arrival was immediately greeted with teasing. Qin Zhuopu dismounted reluctantly and said in his usual gentle tone, “Lao Gao, it’s my fault. Tonight is my treat, you choose the place.”
“Hey, I can’t even mess with you. What’s the point of treating us to dinner, you don’t even drink.” A chubby middle-aged man snorted, shaking his head, but the beautiful woman next to him helped gently, saying, “That’s because Brother Pu is smart and self-disciplined. What’s so great about drinking and smoking? He doesn’t have bad habits, unlike you, who drink so much that your fat head is bald.”
“That’s right, our teachers say that drinking and smoking is unhealthy and makes you ugly! Dad, they say baldness is hereditary… oh, will I go bald in the future? I don’t want to be like you!” An eight or nine year old girl came running from a distance and glared angrily at her dad.
Fat Gao was furious: “Don’t listen to your mother all the time, baldness is passed on to men but not to women. What are you afraid of, it’s your brother who will be bald, not you.”
“Ba Ba! Hair pretty hair~” A little boy, walking crookedly, followed the girl, tugging on his unruly hair and innocently grinning at his bald dad.
Fat Gao was so impressed that he covered his mouth with his hand and said, “Oh, they’re all my babies. None of you will be bald! Dad will just be bald alone.”
“Uncle Qin, I haven’t seen you for a long time, I really miss you!” The little girl happily approached Qin Zhuopu, her eyes shining brightly at him.
Qin Zhuopu smiled and stroked the girl’s head, “Xuanxuan has grown taller, just like your mother.”
“Hehe, of course.” The little girl loved to be praised for looking like her mother, because her mother was the most beautiful. The little girl flattered hastily, “Uncle Qin is still so handsome, if you were at our school you would definitely be a male god.”
“Thanks for the compliment, little princess.” Qin Zhuopu laughed.
“A man who is not married is different from a man who is married and has a family. How do you say it, it’s called youthfulness. I used to be unconvinced before, but now I can’t help but see Lao Qin. Take a look at your belly and then take a look at Lao Qin’s abs, tsk, the difference is blatant.” Another tall, slightly chubby man shook his head, his eyes filled with fatalistic envy.
Behind Qin Zhuopu, another unmarried man said breathlessly, “I’m not, I’m not, I’m the same as you guys.”
“Brother Xiao Chen, you need to find a wife first and then you’ll share our blessing. Hey, your hairline is really weird. Hurry up and ask Lao Qin for advice on how to maintain your hair.”
Brother Xiao Chen covered his hairline and wanted to cry without tears, “Look at the bald guys among foreign royalty, this sickness can’t be cured. Lao Qin has good genetics, think about it, Grandpa Qin’s hair is white but the volume is amazing! God gives him a lot of hair, we can’t compete.”
“If you can’t compete with your hair, can you compete with your abs?”
Someone laughed and said, “Lao Qin is dressed up, where can you see his abs?”
Qing Zhuopu glanced around and sighed in his heart. Almost all of the people here were his playmates who had known each other since kindergarten. When they were young, they used to get together every day and run around, but now as the years went by, they saw each other less and less. Who knows for how many years, but whenever there was a private gathering that didn’t involve work, spouses and kids became the main event.
It seemed oddly different not to be married and to have no children.
“Lao Qin, when are you planning to get married?”
Here it comes, finally; the serial marriage questions the older young unmarried people can’t escape anywhere they go.
Seven aunts, eight uncles and every other relative regardless of gender, from the top brass down to the gossipy media.
Come home to face the elders and go out to be pestered by friends.
Unmarried and guilty?
Qin Zhuopu’s heart felt blocked; he turned around and got on his horse, his movements smooth like flowing water. He raised his whip, shook his head disapprovingly and said, “Don’t be like the old lady who nags me, it makes me sleepy. My current lover is work, and its position in my heart is unshakeable.”
“See, and you say you’re not a workaholic! I think you have an endocrine imbalance and a lack of love hormones. You should get out and stimulate them. Some day I will introduce you to some quality women… ahem, quality handsome men, okay! There is no saying that you have to find a woman to get married, Lao Qin, you can find a man to marry, no problem at all.”
Qin Zhuopu was outright delighted, “Okay, then you have to prepare a double red envelope for that day.”
“That’s worth it. But tell me the truth, Lao Qin, you don’t have a partner now, do you? The guy I’m entrusted with shouldn’t be a mistress, ah, I’m a decent person.” Lao Gao coughed lightly a few times and stared expectantly at Qin Zhuopu, while the rest of his companions listened curiously, sure that they were getting to the point.
“Who entrusted you with what?” Qin Zuopu asked, his smile already disappearing.
Lao Gao did not hide it, saying bluntly: “The younger brother of a friend from abroad. He has the same hobbies as you, is two years younger than you, and also an alumnus. He’s called Yu Yourong…”
Qin Zhuopu interrupted Lao Gao’s introduction, waved his whip and sent his horse to a gallop. His dashing back disappeared in an instant.
Zaizai: Dad, how did you two fall in love? What do you like about each other?
Qin Zhuopu: Your father is pure and kind, hardworking and studious, warm and gentle… his heart is beautiful… 10,000 words are omitted here.
Lu Ying: (#^. ^#) The literary style is so good! You are awesome!
Qin Zhuopu: Ahem, tell me what you like about me! I also want to know.
Lu Ying: You’re good-looking!
Qin Zhuopu: ……
- According to Baidu, it’s a ‘network organisation’ originating from “Audition Online” game
- ‘Zhuopu’ means ‘humble, austere’; actually never seen such a name before 🙂