The gift that Su Beimo prepared for Liao Nanqing was the mobile phone bought with overtime pay.
Liao Nanqing refused to accept it. Although he didn’t know anything about electronics, he knew that this phone was the same brand as the one Xu Yanyan was using, and it was a phone he couldn’t afford at the moment. Besides, Su Beimo’s cell phone was also broken, so this one was just right for him to use. In order to refuse, Liao Nanqing boasted one after another that his little broken phone also worked well, but it ended up dying as soon as he took it out.
“…Usually really works quite well.” Liao Nanqing put the phone back into his pants pocket with a red face.
Su Beimo almost burst out laughing and forced the phone into Liao Nanqing’s hand, “This is a gift for learning progress, no refusal.”
“Too expensive, really too expensive!”
“Not expensive.” Su Beimo held his hand and said seriously, “If you make progress next time, I will give you a gift. I will give you a better one.”
But what was better?
Liao Nanqing was not quite sure of the definition of a gift, but he knew clearly that he did not want material gifts. He wanted Su Beimo to meet him, to talk to him, to hug him. He was so greedy that his heart was like a black hole that never ended, but at the same time when Su Beimo appeared, it shrank and disappeared, disappearing in the vast universe.
Su Beimo, the only one who could make him feel satisfied and at peace, was the only gift he wanted and the best one.
“I think that to meet with you is the best. Other than that, really don’t send me another gift, if you give me one next time… I, I’ll give you an IOU…” Liao Nanqing was a teenager who was in love for the first time. He really didn’t want much.
Su Beimo did not refuse him this time: “I will come back as long as I don’t work overtime in the future.”
“Well, come back and urge you to study.”
When Liao Nanqing heard this, he wilted. He thought Su Beimo was joking, but it turned out that Su Beimo really went home every one or two weeks. Liao Nanqing became a regular guest of Su’s family again. He was so obedient and understanding that even Grandma Su liked him exceptionally.
Everyone in the Su family knew about the tragedy of the Liao family back then, but no one mentioned it.
They respected him and tolerated him, and these emotions were quite precious in the cold town.
In the Su family, he could avoid the gossip and experience the warmth of home. Like a warm and gentle spring, soaking his memory and weaving a beautiful dream for him, Liao Nanqing was almost on the verge of forgetting his tragic and miserable past.
Whenever he went to eat at Grandma Su’s place, Grandma Su would cook a large table of dishes.
Liao Nanqing liked to eat home-cooked food and because of Grandma Su’s enthusiasm, he often stuffed his two cheeks until they were bulging like a hamster hiding food. In this semester, Liao Nanqing has become much more rounded, no longer as skinny as when he first saw it, and naturally less obscure in his eyes.
The new school was really good. Su Beimo thanked his own righteous heart and his nosy energy at that time.
Otherwise, how could he see such a vibrant Liao Nanqing.
It was like grass was finally growing in the barren land, crisp and green, having survived the cold winter and the hot summer. It was making great strides toward spring, and was really moving up every day, just as Su Beimo expected.
Time flew quickly, and it was winter vacation in the blink of an eye.
Because Liao Nanqing was in the third year of high school, he only had a holiday on the day before the Chinese New Year’s Day.
Su Beimo went to pick him up in front of the school and from a long distance, he saw Liao Nanqing wearing a bulky thick jacket and the same thin canvas shoes on his feet, stepping on the snow step by step, leaving a trail spreading into a path.
When he saw Su Beimo, Liao Nanqing waved his hand hard and ran over with a huff and puff, the white mist exhaled from his mouth slowly disappearing into a snowy background.
The heavy snow that just fell last night covered No.3 High School. The pure color that connected the sky to the ground made people relax a lot both physically and mentally.
“Don’t you have anything to take back?” Su Beimo asked.
Liao Nanqing shook his head, “We only have a week holiday.”
“Is it cold?” Su Beimo took the scarf off his neck.
Liao Nanqing looked at Su Beimo’s suddenly bare neck and refused to take it, “I’m not cold, my jacket is warm.” He looked down and touched the rough jacket, embarrassed, “It’s just a little old, it’s what my dad used to wear.”
In addition to living expenses, Liao’s mother would give a little extra pocket money to Liao Nanqing.
The money was basically used to pay for utilities, and Liao Nanqing could not afford to buy himself a better winter coat.
He always wears those few pieces of clothes over and over again, most of which are school uniforms. When the weather was cold, he would churn out some of Liao Fu’s old clothes and wear them even if they didn’t fit. Although rustic, it was warm, Liao Nanqing was quite afraid of the cold.
Su Beimo didn’t listen to his nonsense and overbearingly wrapped the scarf around him, “Where are you going to spend New Year’s Eve?”
Liao Nanqing thought for a while: “Let’s live at home.” His home refers to the cold home in the small town, and he can’t even turn on the heating and air conditioning. What Su Beimo wanted to ask, Liao Nanqing saw it: “My mother’s side, I won’t go, she called me 300 yuan this month, I can use this money to buy some delicious food.”
Liao Nanqing thought about it: “Spend it at my home.” His home, referring to the cold home in the town that he could not even afford to turn on a warm air conditioner. What Su Beimo wanted to ask, Liao Nanqing saw it: “I’m not going to my mother’s side, she gave me an extra three hundred dollars this month, I can use this money to buy some good food.”
In fact, to put it bluntly, Liao Nanqing would not buy something delicious, he would cook instant noodles with eggs at best.
Su Beimo didn’t pierce him, and walked in silence.
“Actually, I don’t like to go to my mom’s place either, my stepfather doesn’t like me much, I’m more comfortable and happier to spend New Year’s alone.” Seeing that the atmosphere was a bit awkward, Liao Nanqing rounded up and followed Su Beimo with a stride.
Su Beimo was patient, and his sneakers were crunching in the snow.
Liao Nanqing followed his footprints and stepped on several snow puddles. When Su Beimo stopped in front of him, Liao Nanqing accidentally bumped into his back and looked up and smiled, and the sunlight sank into his two shallow dimples.
Su Beimo wrinkled his brow and asked uncomfortably, “Have you ever hated your mom?”
“Don’t hate, it is also very difficult for my mother.” Liao Nanqing stopped. “The money she gave me was saved secretly. My stepfather doesn’t know.”
Moreover, a child like him was undoubtedly a pressure for Mother Liao. Liao Nanqing also wanted to end his high school life quickly, go to college and become self-reliant. He also thought that when he would earn money later, he would also send money to his mother. It was not easy for everyone, he had to understand his own mother.
Although he also complained in his heart, those negative emotions would always disappear with his nature.
His nature, as always, was kind.
This topic was too boring, Liao Nanqing didn’t like to talk about it, so he replied: “I have found a part-time job, and I will help wash the dishes these days. I will be paid fifty a day! So much!”
“On New Year’s Eve?”
“Yes, ah. Many people like to eat New Year’s Eve dinner in restaurants now, but there is a shortage of dishwashers.” It was rare for Liao Nanqing to be so happy and excited. “I’ll go for seven days, and I’ll get three hundred and fifty dollars! If you’re lucky, you’ll meet those bosses who give red envelopes on the 30th as before.”
He mentioned it unintentionally, but Su Beimo knew that every New Year’s Eve in the past, Liao Nanqing spent almost all his time working. His stepfather must have treated him badly and his mother alienated him. As a result, Liao Nanqing didn’t have much attachment to New Year’s Eve, and he was used to being alone.
However, there were too many acquaintances in the town, Liao Nanqing did not want to serve dishes and meet them, so he could only squat in the back kitchen in the middle of winter to wash dishes with cold water. The pay for serving was only forty, but for washing dishes was fifty, so Liao Nanqing was very happy.
Su Beimo silently responded, without saying much.
Liao Nanqing followed him, taking two steps, and running two steps: “I will keep the twelve o’clock on the first day of the new year free and I will send you a happy new year.”
“As you wish.” Su Beimo faintly said, “You are busy scrubbing dishes, is there still time to send it to me?”
Liao Nanqing insisted, simply smiling, two dimples warmly displayed in the warm winter sunlight: “I will definitely send it, I am not always washing dishes.”
On the 30th, there was no snow at all, and Liao Nanqing left at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Yesterday, he washed the dishes all afternoon and got a frostbite on his pinky, which was hard and uncomfortable. He wore a thick jacket left by his father and wrapped himself in an extremely awkward way. The cold wind did not make him shiver, and his heart was warm when he thought of the daily wages.
The neighborhood he lived in was dilapidated and many of the residents had moved out, making it increasingly difficult to meet neighbors going up and down the stairs.
Liao Nanqing thought this was good, so he wouldn’t have to be weirdly stared at by them.
When he got off the stairs today, the sunlight outside was dazzling, and it was especially warm on his head. Liao Nanqing’s cell phone rang, and when he saw the caller ID, he immediately answered the phone.
“Nanqing, turn back.”
Liao Nanqing didn’t even pop out a word before he saw Su Beimo behind him wearing an ink colored oversized coat, standing on the edge of the abandoned flower bed in the neighborhood in a refreshing manner. Behind him was a car, Su Ya was sitting in the driver’s seat, rolling down the window and waving at Liao Nanqing: “Nanqing, come here!”
“Aunt Su, Su Beimo,” Liao Nanqing trotted over and asked in surprise, “Why did you guys come over?”
Su Ya pointed to the fruit snacks sitting in the back seat, “We were driven out by your Grandma Su to buy these.”
“A lot, ah.” Liao Nanqing looked enviously for a few moments, his house was cold and deserted, he didn’t buy anything. He didn’t even add a new box of instant noodles. Going to the restaurant to wash the dishes was for the meal, it solved his food and clothing problem. One could imagine how satisfied Liao Nanqing was with this part-time job.
Su Ya blinked: “Your Grandma Su has also given us a task. I have to take you back to celebrate the New Year!”
Before Liao Nanqing could react, his body was already half pushed and half pulled by Su Beimo into the car, and squeezed together with the pile of fruit snacks. He secretly glanced again, most of them were his favorite food. Su Beimo sat on the passenger side, while fastening the seat belt, and said: “You cancel your work at the restaurant. It’s Chinese New Year. We have to have a New Year’s Eve dinner together.”
Su Ya: “That’s right, the restaurant shouldn’t be open on New Year’s Eve.”
Liao Nanqing: …
Su Beimo: “Auntie, your statement is a bit too much.”
Su Ya: “Am I not trying to convince Nanqing to go to our home for New Year’s with you. Since your grandma heard you say Nanqing is alone for New Year Eve, she has been nagging at me to take him home. I told her that Nanqing would be embarrassed and refused to come, but your grandmother actually got into trouble with me. Ah… It was really the water thrown out by my raised daughter,1There is a common saying among the folks that “daughter who marries out, the water poured out” because in ancient times, after a woman got married, everything belonged to her husband’s family, and since then she no longer has any relationship with her natal family. and my basin of water probably froze outside. ”
Su Ya was so humorous that Liao Nanqing knows that she was afraid of embarrassment and was trying to find a topic.
So before she could say anything, Liao Nanqing in the back seat blushed and said, “Aunt Su, I won’t wash the dishes today. Thank you for taking me with me for the New Year. I am very happy.” His honest look made Su Ya couldn’t help but laugh out loud. She didn’t know how Su Beimo met this little kid, who was both well-behaved and pleasant, and even good-looking.
It was just that the temperament was only conscientious, and he didn’t suffer less before he wanted to come.
Now, whose children were not spoiled, but Liao Nanqing looked like he was not spoiled growing up, he was especially good at reading people’s faces.
The Su family had always spent New Year’s Eve at Grandma Su’s house. Couplets were attached to both sides of the door frame, and there was an upside-down ‘Fu’2I found two different stories why it’s hung upside-down but the simplest meaning/explanation for it is that the blessing (Fu) has fallen. So something like the blessing has arrived. in the middle of the door. The windows were covered with red window flowers, cut in various ways, each one different from the other. These were all cut by Grandma Su, who had been handy since she was young, and didn’t forget to cut some every year when she was older.
Su Jing and Grandma Su had already started to make preparations for the New Year’s Eve dinner at home, and Su Ya also joined the kitchen once she arrived home. Su Beimo and Liao Nanqing were left in the living room, each with a pot, slowly peeling green beans.
Liao Nanqing stripped it very carefully, counting the grains one by one. The large coat made him look bloated. Su Beimo turned on the heating and air-conditioning, and then asked Liao Nanqing to take off his coat. Liao Nanqing was wearing a loose earth-colored sweater, the style was old and oversized, and it didn’t fit at all. Su Beimo instantly guessed that this was probably also left by Father Liao.
The result was not, Liao Nanqing explained: “This belongs to my stepfather. He said it was too old. My mother was reluctant to lose it, so she sent it to me after sorting it out.”
Su Beimo :…
He asked Liao Nanqing to put down the basin in his hand and dragged him to a room in Grandma Su’s house. This room was prepared for him since he was a child, so there were a lot of Su Beimo’s old things inside. When he went through the boxes, Su Beimo found a sweater that he wore in high school, which Su Ya knitted for him.
Although the color is a bit old, but because it was hand-knitted, it looked pretty good.
Su Beimo threw it to him: “Put it on.”
Then he brought in a shopping bag from the table outside, and inside was a new coat. The style was the most popular look this year, and the size was exactly the size worn by Liao Nanqing. Su Beimo helped cut off the label: “Auntie bought it this morning and bought us the same style. I wanted to give it to you after dinner but you don’t wear other people’s clothes on New Year’s Eve.”
This “other” referred to Liao Nanqing’s stepfather.
If he wore Liao’s father’s clothes, Su Beimo would feel nothing, but he wore his stepfather’s clothes, Su Beimo’s heart felt nauseous. After all, this stepfather was not good to Liao Nanqing, and Su Beimo knew a little about it.
Liao Nanqing didn’t refute, he also wanted to wear Su Beimo’s old clothes so he obediently changed his sweater. When he saw Su Beimo frowning and sulking, he went over and pulled his finger: “I don’t like wearing his unwanted clothes either, I won’t wear them anymore.”
“I’ll buy you a new one.”
“No, no, this one is fine.” Liao Nanqing wore it and felt warm on his body, “This one of yours is just right for me to wear, when did you wear it?”
“First year in high school.” Su Beimo knew what Liao Nanqing was going to say, and took a step ahead, “I didn’t grow tall yet at that time, I was also a little eggplant.3矮瓜 – literally it’s dwarf/short melon lol”
Liao Nanqing was taken aback, wasn’t this calling him an eggplant?
After a long while, Liao Nanqing blinked his eyelashes innocently and defended: “I am not short, you are too tall.”
T/N: update schedule will be changed to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday so no update tomorrow!
- 1There is a common saying among the folks that “daughter who marries out, the water poured out” because in ancient times, after a woman got married, everything belonged to her husband’s family, and since then she no longer has any relationship with her natal family.
- 2I found two different stories why it’s hung upside-down but the simplest meaning/explanation for it is that the blessing (Fu) has fallen. So something like the blessing has arrived.
- 3矮瓜 – literally it’s dwarf/short melon lol