In the evening after dinner Yan Yue followed Uncle Li to sign the contract. It was a bit windy outside and Yan Yue was worried about the weather, so he didn’t let Lu Lingxi go out.
Lu Lingxi stayed in the courtyard with nothing to do, so he took Dahei to the greenhouse. The greenhouse was always full of greenery, no matter what the weather was outside. Uncle Li set the temperature of the greenhouse at a constant 20 degrees, and Lu Lingxi felt a wave of warm air coming over him as soon as he entered the door. It was very comfortable. He took off his jacket and wearing only a thin V-neck jumper went to the area where the kale was planted.
The kale planted in the plant nursery was the ‘Dove’ series with wrinkled leaves, neatly shaped and beautifully variegated, looking like a peony when in full bloom. This was the time when the kale was in bloom, and the purple-red flowers were bright and eye-catching, like a richly coloured painting unfolding in front of you.
Every time Lu Lingxi came to the greenhouse to see this scene, he would be in a good mood. He walked over quickly, not forgetting to call Dahei to follow. Dahei dawdled and seemed to be unwilling to go over for a while, then rushed to Lu Lingxi and whimpered in a low voice. Lu Lingxi looked at Dahei’s rare coquettish behaviour with amusement. Dahei looked like this every time he came here. He beckoned, unmoved by Dahei’s coquettishness, “Hurry up, Dahei, come here.”
Dahei gave a low bark, and Lu Lingxi couldn’t help but smile as he listened. He curved his eyes at Dahei and assured, “We’re not eating cabbage today.”
Dahei barked again and Lu Lingxi held back his laughter and nodded, trying to justify, “Kale is not cabbage.”
Dahei squatted there with a serious expression, Lu Lingxi clutched his stomach, practically dying of laughter.
If the thing that Xiao Baiwan hated the most was eating vegetables, then Dahei had a little bit of empathy with Xiao Baiwan, to put it mildly. He didn’t hate eating vegetables, but he hated eating cabbage. Originally, Lu Lingxi didn’t know this about Dahei, but once he and Dahei were at Dong Zhi’s place and Lu Lingxi happened to come across Dong Zhi mixing chopped cabbage into his homemade dog food, saying that cabbage was nutritious and could heal teary eyes, so he could give some to the dog appropriately. Lu Lingxi remembered that, went back and chopped up cabbage for Dahei to eat. How could he imagine that Dahei would act coquettish and cute just not to eat it. Only then did Lu Lingxi realise that Dahei didn’t like cabbage.
Later, the plant nursery planted kale, a variant of the edible kale cabbage, which could be used as an ornamental plant as well as eaten. Lu Lingxi wanted to trick Dahei into eating kale, but was surprised when Dahei discovered it at once. Every time he came to the plant nursery after that, Dahei was very wary, especially when he approached the kale.
Thinking of this, Lu Lingxi stopped laughing and thought of promising Dahei that he wouldn’t cheat him this time. He was about to say something when Dahei suddenly stood up, growled in a low voice and lunged behind Lu Lingxi.
In the flowers, a big grey cat leapt up and jumped lightly onto a shelf. It was the same grey cat that Lu Lingxi had seen before. Lu Lingxi was a little surprised and wondered how it had gotten in. Dahei squatted under the shelf and barked. Lu Lingxi followed Dahei’s voice and saw a half-eaten kale.
The grey cat noticed Lu Lingxi’s line of sight and turned to run. Dahei pounced on it as fast as lightning. Only a sharp cat cry was heard, and the grey cat was directly caught down by Dahei in the air.
Lu Lingxi hurriedly stopped Dahei’s next move, walked over and squatted in front of the grey cat. He tentatively stretched out his hand towards the grey cat, who meowed, aggrieved, and stuck out its tongue to lick Lu Lingxi’s hand ingratiatingly.
Dahei crouched vigilantly by Lu Lingxi’s side staring at the grey cat, but Lu Lingxi could sense that the cat had no animosity towards him. He patted Dahei soothingly and stood up with the grey cat in his arms. “You do know what’s good.” Lu Lingxi poked the meat on the grey cat’s belly, took the half-eaten kale and took Dahei back to the small courtyard.
An hour later the bathing and feeding of the cat was all done. When Yan Yue returned, he found a new cat called Xiaohui (Little Grey) in the courtyard. Lu Lingxi always had a simple way of naming: Dahei, Xiaohei and Xiaohui. In fact the grey cat wasn’t little at all, but Lu Lingxi felt that in order to establish Dahei as the boss, apart from Dahei, all the others had to have “little” in their names.
Yan Yue listened indulgently to Lu Lingxi’s reasoning and called the big grey cat’s name tentatively. “Xiaohui?”
The big grey cat glanced at him lazily with an arrogant look of “stupid mortal, don’t bother me”.
Yan Yue’s heart was itchy. It seemed that cats were like that, so arrogant that they ignored everyone. He didn’t care, and walked past the big grey cat towards Lu Lingxi. Xiaohei slowly poked his head out of Yan Yue’s sleeve, and the big grey cat immediately exploded when he saw Xiaohei. He stood on his two hind legs, took a few steps backwards and his two front paws snapped left and right in the direction of Xiaohei. Xiaohei was startled and fell out of Yan Yue’s sleeve, falling to the ground with a “pop”.
Yan Yue: “……”
Lu Lingxi snorted out a laugh, and even Dahei looked a little dumbfounded. Xiaohei got up from the ground dizzily, biting dumbly on Yan Yue’s trouser leg as he looked at the big grey cat. Yan Yue had realised that Xiaohei’s resourcefulness was all focused in his talent for finding food, and normally he was very dumb. He helplessly bent down, picked up Xiaohei and threw him to Dahei to keep away from the big grey cat. Otherwise, before the big grey cat could do anything, Xiaohei himself would be scared to death.
When they went to bed at night, it took Yan Yue a long time to get the big grey cat to sleep in another room. Dahei and Xiaohei were quite conscious, but the big grey cat was so fond of the kang bed that he refused to go out alive or dead. Lu Lingxi was dying of laughter as he hugged the blanket. Yan Yue raised his eyebrows, “Is that funny?”
Lu Lingxi just wanted to nod but quickly changed his mind and was about to shake his head in response when Yan Yue pinned him down and started tickling his waist.
“Big Brother Yan…” Lu Lingxi cried out softly, his beautiful black eyes clouded with mist from laughter. He gasped and struggled to avoid Yan Yue’s tickling hands, and Yan Yue’s eyes darkened as he pulled Lu Lingxi’s hand to touch his own active part.
Lu Lingxi’s face turned even redder and he tried to pull back his hand, but Yan Yue held it down.
“Xiao Xi.” Yan Yue softly called out Lu Lingxi’s name and lowered his head to kiss him.
Ever since Yan Yue returned from Zhongjing on the night after the third day of the New Year, he had stayed with Lu Lingxi only for one night. Then Wang Shuxiu turned out to be pregnant and Lu Lingxi’s whole heart was set on Wang Shuxiu, so he watched over her from morning to night. Yan Yue felt sour in his heart, but he couldn’t show it, so he had to find every excuse to go next door to see Lu Lingxi every day. Now that it was finally possible to enjoy being alone together by coming to the plant nursery, Yan Yue was like a traveller walking in the desert and seeing an oasis. He kissed Lu Lingxi hungrily, as if trying to absorb Lu Lingxi into his body fiercely.
“Xiao Xi.” Getting release in his hands, Yan Yue called out Lu Lingxi’s name. Lu Lingxi’s face was as red as a boiled shrimp. He made a clumsy and shy effort to please Yan Yue. Yan Yue was filled with sweetness and hugged and kissed Lu Lingxi again.
“Baby, I love you.”
Lu Lingxi nodded with a little blush. Yan Yue looked for a tissue to help Lu Lingxi wipe his hands clean, looked down at him and asked, “Let’s confess to your mom, okay?”
Lu Lingxi was slightly stunned, “Now?”
Yan Yue moved over and nodded, touching Lu Lingxi’s beautifully shaped lips, softly saying, “I want to be able to sleep with Xiao Xi in my arms every day, to be with Xiao Xi openly and honestly.”
Lu Lingxi was a little worried, “Mom will be angry, right?”
He was no longer as ignorant of the world as he had been after his rebirth, when Yan Yue had told him that two men could also be together and that there were many people like them. He had always thought that he and Yan Yue were together like Brother Dong and his girlfriend, but slowly Lu Lingxi realised that they were still different. Although they also liked each other, lived together and led the same peaceful life, outsiders looked at them in a completely different way. He was a little afraid that Wang Shuxiu was one of those who had this different attitude.
“Don’t be afraid, leave it to me.” Yan Yue finished, lowering his head and kissing Lu Lingxi deeply. He never regretted approaching Lu Lingxi in the first place, nor did he regret tying him to his side when Lu Lingxi still didn’t understand anything. He couldn’t imagine what his life would be like now if he hadn’t met Lu Lingxi. In his twenty-eight years of life, the only gift God had given him was that he had met Lu Lingxi. In order for the two to be together, he was willing to fight the gods and the Buddhas.
Yan Yue’s attitude made Lu Lingxian feel relieved. He had a kind of unconditional trust in Yan Yue from the bottom of his heart, as if no matter what problems he encountered, he could just leave them to Yan Yue. Lu Lingxi buried his face in Yan Yue’s chest, hugged his waist and said vaguely: “Big Brother Yan, let’s go to sleep.”
Yan Yue chuckled, stroked Lu Lingxi’s back and coaxed him, “Go to sleep.”
The next morning, Yan Yue habitually woke up early. Lu Lingxi was huddled in his arms, like a soft and warm little animal, showing a kind of an intimate dependence on him. Yan Yue gently reached out and brushed away Lu Lingxi’s scattered hair from his forehead. Lu Lingxi’s hair was soft to the touch and made Yan Yue’s heart soften into a mess. He couldn’t help himself, lowered his head and kissed Lu Lingxi on the forehead, kissing his way down between his eyebrows and finally pressing his lips tenderly against Lu Lingxi’s.
Lu Lingxi’s eyelashes fluttered as he called out Yan Yue’s name in a daze, squeezed forward and went back to sleep.
Yan Yue hugged Lu Lingxi quietly for a while, then got up lightly. As soon as he opened the door, a grey shadow flashed by. The big grey cat found the gap and wanted to get inside. Yan Yue reacted extremely quickly and grabbed him, looking at the grey cat full of teeth and claws in his arms with some headache.
“Xiao Xi is still sleeping, don’t disturb him.” Yan Yue spoke to the grey cat like he was speaking to Dahei. He felt that the cat should be able to understand. The big grey cat’s golden eyes moved; he broke free from Yan Yue’s grip, gently jumping to one side of the windowsill and quieting down.
Yan Yue raised his eyebrows; this cat’s performance was quite beyond his expectations. But if this cat didn’t have some abilities, he wouldn’t have been able to dominate the village for so long. After solving the problem of the big grey cat, Yan Yue washed up and took Dahei for a run around the village. He had just returned to the courtyard when he received a call from Fang Lei asking if he and Lu Lingxi were at home today. Fang Lei had talked to Lu Lingxi last time about borrowing Dahei for a few days, so if they were home, he would go straight to the community to find them later.
“Xiao Xi and I are at Lingshui Village.” Yan Yue said.
“Lingshui Village?” Fang Lei immediately said, “Then I’ll go and look for you guys, and see Xiao Shi by the way.”
“That’s fine too, but you’d better come in the morning, Xiao Xi and I are going over to the Qiu Tian plant nursery in the afternoon.”
Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi were planning to select a few healthy branches from the big willow tree and transplant the cuttings to the Qiu Tian plant nursery. Originally, there was no rush to do this; it could be done just before the willow tree sprouted. However, the weather had been warming up recently and the grass had already appeared, so Lu Lingxi was worried that the willow tree might sprout early. Last night, he discussed with Yan Yue to go home one day late and come back after finishing the matter.
When Yan Yue said this, Fang Lei agreed immediately. “I’m going out now, you guys remember to take care of my breakfast.”
Yan Yue chuckled and turned his head just in time to see the big grey cat waving his paw provocatively at Dahei. A thought flashed in his mind and he laughed, “Don’t worry, not only will you have breakfast, you also have a gift prepared for you.”
“What kind of gift?”
“You’ll know when you come.” Yan Yue said meaningfully.