In a flash it was Christmas Eve, and Lu Ying’s job got even busier.
He and his colleagues put on their furry red Christmas outfits from the moment the doors opened early in the morning, distributed in every area of the shopping mall. Lu Ying and two other colleagues were in charge of the chocolate and confectionery section, everyone holding up several items for promotion. They were constantly greeting the endless stream of customers, their throats burning as if they had been smoking. By the end of the afternoon, when the shift was about to end, the colleagues were already dying. Lu Ying was the only one whose expression didn’t change and who continued to work hard.
When he finally was ready to get off work at four o’clock, he was informed by his superior that everyone would be working overtime and would not be allowed to protest.
Lu Ying had expected this; even though he was reluctant, he couldn’t help it. There was no job out there that didn’t involve overtime. During the New Year holidays, when others rested, it was the time when they had to work the hardest. Luckily, they had an hour to eat, so they huddled in the staff lounge with their instant noodles.
A few messages from the WeChat group “Gang of Scoundrels” flashed quickly.
Glorious Brother Ji: I’m already on my way to the kindergarten, I promise to pick up my godson properly.
Perfect Dad: Thank you, Brother Ji.
Craftsman Yang: How long do you have to work overtime today? Why don’t you leave the child with me? Me and Xiao Ji will keep an eye on him for you. Today is a holiday and I have Christmas cake at home, so we can celebrate together.
Perfect Dad: I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be working. I asked for leave from my part-time takeaway job today. Brother Ji, you can ask Zaizai later if he wants to go home or go to Brother Yang’s place, let him choose for himself.
Glorious Brother Ji: It’s the baby who makes the choices, huh?
Perfect Dad: Oh.
That’s right, Zaizai is the baby.
With Brother Ji’s promise to pick up Zaizai, Lu Ying was completely relieved and ate his noodles with gusto before hurrying back to his workstation. He was tired of working overtime today, but the overtime pay was not something to be ignored and there were coupons for the staff that were also very useful.
The Merry Christmas song kept echoing in his ears. Lu Ying, flushed and enthusiastic, held the beautifully wrapped chocolates and peace fruits(1), shouting in a low, silky, magnetic and somewhat seductive voice: “Christmas gift packs, DF chocolates, SF liquor milk candy, UU biscuits…”
As he worked hard to promote the goods, customers kept flocking around, most of them young boys and girls. Many people were secretly taking photos with their mobile phones.
“Did you see that handsome guy selling chocolates? Much better looking than your idol.”
“Oh my, lethally handsome, his skin is so good!”
“His voice is so sultry~~”
“I want to be friends with him so badly…”
Although most of the girls were very subtle in secretly watching and taking pictures, there were a few bold ones who directly asked Lu Ying for WeChat. Lu Ying always shook his head: “Sorry, I can’t play with my phone during working hours.”
The young colleague next to him was envious, “How come no girl asked me for a WeChat?”
“If I had Brother Lu’s looks and body, I’d just strut around everywhere!”
“Your height is only one sixty if you jump~”
“Damn, call me one sixty again and I’ll kick your ass!”
Ignoring his colleague’s bickering, Lu Ying was dealing with the flow of customers diligently with hope for a very possible bonus in mind ^_^.
The supervisor, who was patrolling this evening, was watching the scene from not far away and nodding in satisfaction. He was very pleased with Lu Ying’s style of work; the young man never slacked off and never disdained any kind of work. Coupled with his good looks, he was always able to bring in a big wave of sales whenever there was an event. If it wasn’t for his lack of education, the supervisor would have wanted to promote him. But for now, it was better to wait and see until Lu Ying worked longer to convince the others. The supervisor was lost in thought and didn’t notice that behind him, Manager Zhang was staring at Lu Ying in a very unfriendly manner.
At that moment, a chubby kid wearing a Christmas hat squeezed through the crowd and shouted happily: “Dad! I’ve come to see you, Dad! Merry Christmas! Look, I’ve got a Transformer from Santa! It’s a super cool Bumblebee!”
“Zaizai!” Seeing his son, Lu Ying hurriedly picked him up and hugged him happily but soon put him down to continue working. There was no time to chat.
Ji Xiaofeng, who had just managed to squeeze through the crowd, gasped, “Oh my god, there are so many people. My hair is all messed up.”
The guy was wearing long, colourful, spiky hair that looked like exploding pine needles. With a face of frightening smoky make-up, eyebrow rings, nose rings, lip rings, ringlets, a fancy sweater and jingly metallic denim ripped pants, he was an embodiment of the “shamate” style(2).
Shamate was no longer popular nowadays, and the flamboyant young man really stood out from the crowd.
“Holy crap, this non-mainstream guy is really hard on the eyes.”
“That little brother is actually a father o(╥﹏╥)o.”
“It hurts my eyes, shamate, please go away~”
“Oh oh oh, he’s actually a dad! Dad! Isn’t he a part-time college student!”
“The chocolate isn’t sweet anymore…(╥╯^╰╥)”
Lu Ying was grateful to the shamate guy, “Thank you, Brother Ji.”
“It’s only right to pick up my godson from school. Okay, Zaizai, say goodbye to your dad, your godfather is now taking you to Uncle Yang’s home for a big meal.”
Hearing this, Lu Zaizai quickly waved his chubby hand to his father: “Keep working, Dad, I’m going to Uncle Yang’s place to eat Christmas cake. Bye, Dad.” Without looking back, Zaizai ran out of the crowd with his colourful shamate godfather.
Lu Ying felt helpless; he thought his son would be reluctant to leave him.
During Lu Ying’s busy night, Weibo was also full of various Christmas messages. Among them, a ‘Most handsome little Christmas brother’ quietly appeared on the internet.
“Wow, he’s really handsome! Handsome in a very special way. These long, narrow eyes are especially delicious!”
“In five minutes, I want to know his full profile info.”
“Little brother is really a walking illustration of what it means to have picturesque eyebrows, red lips and white teeth(3)!”
“What’s so pretty about him? He’s wearing make-up. Wash off the eyeliner if you can.”
“I’m the beads of sweat on his face!”
“I could lick that face for a year, bewitching beauty!”
“Huh, I know him. The handsome single dad who delivers takeaway near my apartment!”
“The address of the shopping mall he works at is XX Mall in Xiuling Street, Qixia Town… no need to thank me!”
“I know the kindergarten his son goes to! He picks him up and drops him off every day.”
“Comments above are toxic…”
“Don’t be a nymphomaniac. I’ve been a dad for years, not a little brother, but a middle-aged uncle, married and fertile.”
[Dusty Four Seasons] was a student studying at a media university in Qixia Town. She liked to take pictures everywhere daily, making videos and taking beautiful photos to post online, and had quite a few fans on the internet. When she accidentally saw the little handsome Christmas guy today, she took a picture of him without hesitation and posted it on the internet in passing.
Then, clicks, likes, reposts and comments reached their highest in her online history. She opened them excitedly and saw that the comments were mostly from the girls licking the screen. Then as she watched, the smile on her face turned to worry; someone had actually exposed the name, job and other relevant personal information of the little brother and his family. [Dusty Four Seasons] was flustered and remorseful, and didn’t hesitate to delete the post. Although it was too late to do so, she could only pray that no one would bother the little brother.
Lu Ying was unaware of the things going on the internet. How could he know that the information about the ‘little Christmas brother’ was pretty much exposed after he became a hit on the internet. Not to mention that he didn’t have time to play with his phone, he didn’t play with Weibo even if he had time. Someone once said that people who held their phones all the time were getting dumber and dumber, dangerous and impolite. Anyway, that person was right.
It was after nine o’clock when Lu Ying got out of work and rode his moped to Brother Yang’s place.
Guanlan City was brightly lit at night, and its beautiful appearance was even more tasteful than during the day. For many people, the day began only when it was dark. A luxurious western-style villa in the city was filled with singing and dancing, fine wine and fancy clothes, mingling and chatting.
In contrast to the noise and enthusiasm of the brightly lit mansion, behind it, in a secluded area, was an old rustic villa that had been there for quite some years. In the hall of it two old men were sitting in front of a warm fireplace playing a game, with the only sound in the room being the occasional crunch of black and white chess pieces landing on the chessboard.
Behind one of them a young man stood, holding a cup of tea in his hand. He watched the two old men play intently, and only the occasional expression of regret flashed in his eyes from time to time. The tea for the two elders was changed several times by the maid until the situation on the chessboard was about to be resolved. It could be said that the winner was determined and there was no turning back. The young man finally put down his cup of tea, frowned and sat down on the sofa to quickly read the mobile phone messages that had been coming in for quite a long time.
“Grandpa, I have to go out for a while. I’ll come and pick you up later.”
The old man nodded perfunctorily; the young man got up and went out, striding into the night decisively.
Qin Zhuopu (kind eyes): I heard you are married and have a child?
Lu Ying (I’m not afraid of you): Have a child, unmarried.
Qin Zhuopu: Come here for a moment.
Lu Ying: …ahem ahem, the date will have to wait for me to change my clothes…
Qin Zhuopu: PK (player killer)
Lu Ying strips off his clothes and reveals his muscles: Haha, so he wants to get beaten up.
Qin Zhuopu, thinking about the past: I’ve sent the wrong message, if I say I want to touch you, will you believe me?
Lu Ying holds up a sack of rice: If you don’t want to touch me, you’re finished!
- Apples. Apple in Chinese is 苹果 (píngguǒ), píng homophonic to píng in Christmas Eve in Chinese that is often called 平安夜 (Píng’ān yè, safe or peaceful night). There is a trend in China on Christmas Eve to give apples to your friends.
- 杀马特 (shāmǎtè) comes from the English word “smart”. Chinese subculture with exaggerated hairstyles, heavy make-up, flamboyant costumes, piercings, etc.
- Classical description of someone being very handsome