Lao Gao was stunned when Qin Zuopu spurred his horse and rode away.
His wife glared at him, exasperated: “Why are you such a nosy guy? Do you want to be a matchmaker? I think you’re too idle. Didn’t you see how wrong Brother Pu’s face looked when you said the name? Don’t interfere in Brother Pu’s personal affairs.”
“Wrong? Why was it wrong? I didn’t notice, I don’t know. That’s strange, do they know each other?”
“You’ve offended Lao Qin this time.” Boss Xu pointed to Lao Gao: “Do you know who Yu Yourong is?”
“Who? Lao Xu, hurry up and tell me, I’m worried.”
“The ex.” Boss Xu sighed.
“We don’t know.” Several companions shook their heads at the same time.
“Haven’t heard of it.”
After a long time Lao Gao stood up and slapped his leg, “Bullshit! His ex wasn’t that guy, it was Xiao Lu! It must have been at least six or seven years ago, right? Ever since Xiao Lu left, Lao Qin has been busy working all day long and hasn’t found anyone else. He’s so serious and clean, if he had someone he’d definitely show us. Who is this Yu Yourong? I still remember Xiao Lu, some amazing guy, looking a bit like a demon, so bewitching it was scary. I heard that he didn’t even go to school. At that time I thought the two of them were really strange together but it somehow worked.”
“I remember Xiao Lu too. The first time Lao Qin took him to meet us was to play golf. That little guy looked like he had never seen the world before, he didn’t even know how to hold a club. Lao Qin taught him hand in hand, and in the blink of an eye the little guy became a master, playing all 18 holes in one go without a break. It took him just half a day to beat me stupid. What a genius! The club owner at the time, Mike Ray, chased after him to sign him to work at the club, but Lao Qin refused to let him.”
“Yeah, I was impressed.”
“Yes, yes, the talented Xiao Lu, Lao Qin’s treasure at the time. So, where did Yu Yourong come from?”
Boss Xu didn’t beat around the bush: “Lao Qin knew Yu Yourong back in the days of studying in the United States. Lao Qin was in graduate school and Yu Yourong was a college student at the same school. The two met, and then fell in love. But Yu Yourong grew up abroad, particularly unconventional, and some things made Lao Qin uncomfortable, so they broke up. I have never met Xiao Lu you’re talking about, I think I was still in the United States at the time.”
“What do you mean by particularly unconventional, can you say it more clearly?” Lao Gao gossiped.
Boss Xu coughed lightly: “Next time you see Yu Yourong, you don’t have to be polite, he’s really not a good guy. The kid is a cheater. He was in love with Lao Qin and played with other beauties, so Lao Qin withdrew. It’s not a big deal. If Lao Qin doesn’t say anything, of course I won’t take the initiative to say anything either. You can just pay attention.” What he said was very subtle and euphemistic but everyone understood.
“Fuck me,” Lao Gao was so furious that even an expletive came out, and this time his wife didn’t stop him, “So that’s what it is, using me without my knowledge? Lao Qin has the decency not to curse him but I’m not going to be polite with him. Wait for me to see him next time, I’ll curse him to death. How dare he still think of finding Lao Qin after such a thing and making up with him? Tsk, what a nice thought!”
The women sat on the sidelines and didn’t interrupt, talking about children and beauty treatments as if nothing had happened. Mrs. Gao was a bit distracted. Her mother’s family was related to the Qin family, and Qin Zhuopu could be regarded as her cousin, so she knew far more than these rough men. She felt that the continuation of the bloodline was probably the biggest problem for the Qin family, rather than who Qin Zhuopu was in love with or married to. Qin Zhuopu could find himself a partner anytime he wanted, as long as he nodded. But the matter of children, no matter how good Qin Zhuopu was, couldn’t be forced.
She didn’t even tell her own husband about these rather secretive matters. The elders in the family were worried about Qin Zhuopu and even doubted his health. When Qin Zhuopu had come out of the closet, the Qin family made a deal with him. One of the conditions was that no matter what happened in the future, Qin Zhuopu had to find someone to carry on the Qin family bloodline through in vitro fertilisation, and Qin Zhuopu agreed. When he was twenty-eight, Qin Zhuopu went abroad for in vitro fertilisation, but the results… had been unsuccessful at least five or six times so far. Mrs. Gao thought that she saw Mrs. Qin turning pale in the past two years because of worry and anxiety. Grandpa Qin, who was getting older and weaker, was not as happy and humorous as he used to be. He always had a serious face and seemed to carry a lot of worries. She understood the depressed mood of the elders in the Qin family very well. Grandpa Qin was old, and Mr. Qin had passed away early in his prime. The only one who could continue the bloodline was Qin Zhuopu. A man who didn’t like women and was particularly stubborn and opinionated. It was impossible to force him to marry a woman for the rest of his life, and the remaining path of in vitro fertilisation was problematic.
She didn’t know if Qin Zhuopu was anxious or not, but the elders of the Qin family were so anxious that they couldn’t sleep or eat. Recently her mother accompanied Mrs. Qin to pray to the Buddha and ask about feng shui. One day she would worship the Immortal Goddess Bixia, the next she would worship Guanyin, which was some kind of magic in itself. To put it mildly, Mrs. Gao sympathised with Qin Zhuopu. Sometimes the pressure from the family was even more painful than being scolded by outsiders.
Qin Zhuopu, who hadn’t relaxed for a long time, galloped happily around Zicao Lake for several laps, sweating and panting hard before slowly stopping. He let his horse walk on the grass, unconsciously wandering to the golf court. Separated by the net, there were a few familiar young people playing. He was not ready to say hello, so he turned around and rode away quietly.
“Lu Ying! Lu Ying, be careful…”
The horse neighed and was suddenly forced to stop. The man on horse slowly turned his head, his gaze falling on the court again carelessly and finally fixing on a young girl. His deep eyes were calm and unmoving, and he seemed to be lost in thought.
The horse set off again, galloping straight to the club’s recreational area. Qin Zhuopu was a top member and had a regular private space. It was a beautiful little wooden western-style building with wide glass doors and windows, and the most beautiful view of Zicao Lake when the curtains were drawn. In the past, when he wasn’t very busy, he would play here all day and then take a break to enjoy a rare quiet time at night, admiring the stars in the sky.
He loved those nights.
Lu Ying loved them even more than he did.
Every night spent here was filled with wanton laughter and lingering love. Every time he thought of it inadvertently, it always made the calm lake of his heart ripple endlessly.
“Ding ding dah ~ ding dah ~ Jingle dah ~ ding dah ~”
It was drizzling, and Lu Ying, wearing a raincoat, was riding his moped, while Lu Zaizai’s cheerful singing voice kept floating over the crowded road, so out-of-tune that it almost made people laugh to death. Lu Ying didn’t dare to discourage his excited son, so he held back his laughter, his shoulders shaking. When they reached the red light, the drivers in the traffic jam next to them smiled, looking at the chubby kid who was intoxicated by his own singing.
Unaware of this, Lu Zaizai squinted his eyes slightly and continued to sing in the cold wind.
“We are sitting on the sleigh~ How happy we are skiing~~Ding Ding Da~~” His round face was flushed, obviously showing how hot he was in his heart, loaded full of Christmas joy.
In two days, it would be Christmas. Santa Claus from the West had been popular in the country for many years, and Christmas had gradually become a well-known festive day. On that day, the kindergarten would organise the children to celebrate Christmas together, and the children were required to be proficient in the Christmas songs. Lu Zaizai didn’t usually like to sing at all, but the songs requested by the teacher definitely had to be studied seriously.
After all, the teacher told him that on Christmas Day, Santa Claus (parents) would prepare a gift for every well-behaved and cute child to hang on the kindergarten’s Christmas tree.
Of course Lu Zaizai had to behave well, otherwise what Santa would do if he missed his gift?
When Lu Ying went to the kindergarten this morning, he had already handed in his prepared gift to the teacher. He saw the oversized Christmas tree in the kindergarten hall, decorated with lights and extremely impressive. As a parent, he was pleased with the happy atmosphere of the kindergarten. He always remembered someone saying that for a child, the most important thing was not to learn knowledge but to enjoy a healthy and happy childhood.
“What a spirited child, he’s not afraid of the cold, ah…” Inside a black luxury car on a crowded road, a grey-haired lady looked sideways at the singing Lu Zaizai nestled in the front seat of an electric moped not far away. She could only see his flushed profile and hear the child’s energetic singing. The woman who really liked children couldn’t help smiling. To her, no matter how rich or poor, how tall or short, how thin or fat, an innocent child was always one of the loveliest things in the world. For years, she had hoped to be surrounded with children, with her grandchildren, to have a happy and lively family. But things were not going her way. Her son was already in his thirties; was her wish for a grandson too much?
Heavens wouldn’t let her have her wish, but she didn’t want to give up so easily.
Otherwise, why would she have come to a town like Qixia… the little town she didn’t have a good impression of?
Brother Ji: What do you see in Mr. Qin?
Lu Ying: He is good-looking.
Brother Ji: There are many better looking people than him.
Lu Ying: He is rich?
Brother Ji: There are a lot of people who are richer than him.
Lu Ying: He is gentle.
Brother Ji rolls his eyes: There are many who are more gentle than him.
Lu Ying: He is talented.
Brother Ji rolls his eyes: There are many more talented people than him.
Lu Ying: He sings well.
Brother Ji: I’m convinced!