Tao Xi was very afraid of getting sick since he was a child. Because of her sister’s illness, the family was already stretched out, so even if he had some discomfort, he would not tell Guo Ping. For a normal cold, he could get better in just a week.
Fortunately, he did not have any serious illness. Guo Ping seemed to be frightened during the only time he was seriously ill that he was specially taken care of in hospital for several days.
After that, he sometimes thought it wouldn’t be that bad to get sick. Because when he was ill, Guo Ping would take care of him more and even cook him a pot of very fragrant chicken soup. This was what he had always yearned for since he was a child, especially in winter.
When Tao Xi woke up, the first thing he saw was the little bear staring at him in a gloomy mood, and he was startled.
The next thing he noticed was that the dorm room was dimly lit and no lights were on. He suddenly sat up from the bed and leaned on the edge of the bed to look for Lin Qinhe.
But there was no one in the bedroom.
He looked at the clothes spread on the quilt and knew that Lin Qinhe had probably just gone out temporarily, but his heart was still empty because this feeling of waking up alone when he slept until dusk was not so good, it was like being abandoned by the world.
Tao Xi sat on the bed in a daze, and suddenly heard the sound of the door being opened. He turned sideways and saw Lin Qinhe come in with a bag. He slightly raised his head to look at him, and said with a frown: “Put your clothes on.”
Tao Xi’s eyes were instantly lit up and he quickly put on his thick clothes, climbed out of bed and followed Lin Qinhe like a little tail.
Lin Qinhe turned on the light. Putting the lunch box bag in his hand on the table, he raised his hand to touch Tao Xi’s forehead, who was closely following him. It was not hot anymore, but he was still not at ease. He handed Tao Xi the thermometer he bought from the infirmary and said, “Take the temperature.”
Tao Xi took it and put it under his arm. After walking a few steps around the table full of plastic bags, he still couldn’t help but lie down on the table and sniffed carefully close to the bag.
He could already smell the fragrance!
“You said you want to raise a puppy in the future, remember?” Lin Qinhe asked while putting a discarded English newspaper on the table and took out the lunch boxes inside the bag one by one and arranged them.
Tao Xi was stunned: “Yes.”
Lin Qinhe took out the last bowl of soup and said casually: “I don’t think we need to raise it, isn’t it here?”
Well, the first thing he had to do was to say that he was like a puppy.
Tao Xi pretended not to hear as he took the thermometer out and gave it to Lin Qinhe, asking, “Have you eaten?”
Lin Qinhe let out a “um”, took the thermometer and looked at the temperature for a while, his eyebrows stretched out, “The fever has gone.”
“I said I am in good health.”
Tao Xi didn’t sit down immediately. Instead, he moved a chair and placed it next to his own chair, and then looked at Lin Qinhe eagerly.
Lin Qinhe already knew that the sick Tao Xi was a little clingy. He sat down on that chair and Tao Xi followed him.
Tao Xi looked down at the lunch box in front of him. The food Lin Qinhe bought should have been ordered from the restaurant outside. There was also a bowl of yellow and bright chicken soup with a strong fragrance.
Seeing Tao Xi staring at the bowl of chicken soup in a daze, Lin Qinhe asked in a low voice, “Don’t like it?”
Tao Xi shook his head with eyelashes down. He took a sip of soup with a spoon and said, “I like soup the most.”
In the evening Tao Xi and Lin Qinhe went to night study, and made up for the afternoon class quickly. His illness came and went quickly, but Lin Qinhe still watched him drink his medicine after school before he left.
After Tao Xi returned to his dorm room, he continued to draw the sketches for the competition. Because he had scrapped the first draft and the deadline for submission was very tight, his time was suddenly tight.
Pan Yan knew that Tao Xi was going to participate in the CAC competition. He stood by the easel and watched it for a while. When he saw Xu Ziqi coming over to look at it, he sarcastically said, “Can you understand it? You’re in the way.”
Xu Ziqi retracted his gaze and walked back to his seat laughing: “Who can understand such a strange and weird painting.”
Pan Yan was excited: “This is abstract, and there is really no way to communicate with people like you who have no artistic cells.”
The gunpowder ignited, and the two began to argue with each other again.
Tao Xi glanced at Xu Ziqi. After packing up the painting tools and putting the easel in the corner of the bedroom, he carefully covered the easel with a piece of white cloth.
After lights out, Pan Yan played with his phone on the bed, smashing his mouth and sighing, “The weather forecast says that most parts of the country will cool down next week. It may snow in our place, thanks to the people who invented the air conditioner. Otherwise, the master will freeze to death.”
Xu Ziqi sneered: “Are you putting on so much fat for display?”
The two quarreled again, and only when the dormitory guard knocked hard on the door a few times did they call it quit.
Tao Xi lay on the bed without saying anything. He fished out his phone from under the pillow, flipped through the weather forecast for a while, opened and downloaded the shopping software that he had never used, fumbled with a bunch of things, and after comparing and reading reviews again and again, he ordered a heater, two electric blankets, two thick quilts, two down coats, two scarves, two pairs of gloves, several sweaters, several pairs of plush socks…
It was almost one o’clock when he finished buying and there wasn’t much money left. He checked out all the orders and went to place another order for a few hair clips and a small red round hat.
The weather forecast was right. With another cold wave hitting half of China, temperatures plummeted to the edge of 0 degrees for the next week, but the low temperatures and cold winds didn’t quench the teenage ‘s longing for Christmas.
This year, Christmas fell on a Sunday. Girls had already planned to go shopping and dating on Sunday. The boys were not so interested in Christmas, but they were looking forward to buying foreign toys and games that would definitely be on sale on Christmas Day.
Some people from Class 1 of the second year were going to the same place on Sunday afternoon, and during the lunch break on Saturday, a few of those invited got together in the classroom to discuss what gifts to buy.
“I heard that Auntie Luo has prepared a Christmas gift for each of us again this year. Last year’s gift was so expensive that we were embarrassed, and with so many people invited this year, I guess it will cost even more.” A girl said.
“I still remember the birthday cake last year. It was a half-meter-high fondant doll based on Yakult. It was very realistic and cute. It cost a lot of money at a glance.”
A girl took a look at the back row, once again to make sure Lin Qinhe was not there, said: “But Lin Qinhe’s family is so rich, it’s nothing for them, ba.”
“Too envious, I have a birthday every year, and it’s already good that my mother can cook a good meal.” A boy sounded envious.
“After all, he was raised there from childhood. It was no different from the biological children.” The girl whispered.
“How do I feel that this is more intimate than her own son?”
As soon as Bi Chengfei entered the classroom, he saw someone gossiping and couldn’t resist coming over, sharing the old information he knew again before returning to his seat contentedly and asking Tao Xi, who had been writing his paper with his head down:
“Xi ge, do you want to come with me tomorrow afternoon?” He thought for sure that Tao Xi was also invited. After all, Lin Qinhe and Tao Xi had such a good relationship.
Tao Xi stopped writing, turned the pen in his hand around, and said with a little tone: “I’m going to learn to paint tomorrow afternoon.”
Even if he didn’t go to painting lessons, he couldn’t possibly go, to smash the scene?
He imagined the scene and sneered.
Bi Chengfei said with great regret: “Xueshen’s house is especially artistic, and this year’s party must be fun. It would be a pity if you don’t go.”
Tao Xi did not speak, lowered his head and continued to do the questions.
Lin Qinhe’s home?
He suddenly remembered a dream that he had a long time ago. In the dream, Lin Qinhe wanted to take him home, but the car ended up driving to Taoxi Bay. He invited Lin Qinhe to his house, but Lin Qinhe turned around and left, and he chased after him for a long time but still couldn’t catch up.
Now he caught up with Lin Qinhe, but did not want to go to Lin Qinhe’s home, because in that home there was a person he did not want to see.
Tao Xi did some questions for a while. After miscalculating a few formulas one after another, he suddenly realized a problem. Does Lin Qinhe know that his birthday falls on Christmas?
He just whispered in that concert hall a long time ago, but he didn’t know if Lin Qinhe heard it at that time, and even if he did, did he remember?
Tao Xi was very worried. He decided to talk to him when Lin Qinhe came back, and then asked Lin Qinhe to go out tomorrow night.
As a result, he waited until the end of the afternoon class before Lin Qinhe returned from the competition class. Tao Xi followed Lin Qinhe to the cafeteria for dinner. On the way, he spoke to Lin Qinhe naturally:
“According to the weather forecast, it might snow on Christmas Day.”
Lin Qinhe said “hmmm”, looking calm and not thinking about anything.
Tao Xi suddenly got stuck. He abruptly changed the subject to something else. When passing by the milk tea store next to the cafeteria, he saw a young female shopkeeper was doing activities at the entrance, giving free wish cards to students who passed by. After writing it, the card could be hung on the Christmas tree in the store.
The card recipients were basically girls, but when the staff saw Tao Xi curiously looking at the card in her hand, and seeing how good-looking he was, she smiled and slipped a wish card into Tao Xi’s hand.
Tao Xi said “thank you” to the staff. He looked at the card in his hand, and before he could see it clearly, the card was taken away by a hand.
Tao Xi went to grab the card in Lin Qinhe’s hand and said, “This is for me.”
But Lin Qinhe put the card directly into his pocket, then took out his phone that was vibrating. He looked down at the screen before taking a few steps away to a less crowded place and picked up the phone.
Tao Xi had to stop and wait for Lin Qinhe to answer the phone, and saw Lin Qinhe frown. After a while said in a deep voice: “I’ll come over now.”
“What’s the matter?” Tao Xi asked. He felt that Lin Qinhe had a serious look for a moment when he answered the phone just now.
Recently, Lin Qinhe seemed to be very busy. He often went out to answer the phone and sometimes took half-day off. Tao Xi asked several times, but Lin Qinhe said it was a family matter, so he couldn’t ask anything more.
Lin Qinhe looked calm and said, “Nothing, I have to deal with something.”
Tao Xi was a little bit disappointed. He wanted to talk to Lin Qinhe in detail about the plan for tomorrow night while eating, but it seemed that he could only talk about it on WeChat.
He lowered his gaze and pursed his lower lips. Stretching out his hand and spreading his palm, he said, “Then give me back the card, I’m going to make a wish.”
Lin Qinhe did not take out the card, he gently held Tao Xi’s hand and quickly let go, whispering.
“Isn’t it good for me to make a birthday wish with you tonight?”
Tao Xi suddenly raised his eyes to look at Lin Qinhe and saw a smile in his eyes.
“You, you know?” He opened his eyes round and suddenly raised his voice again, “Tonight? But isn’t my birthday tomorrow?”
He has already planned to go out to have a meal with Lin Qinhe and celebrate his birthday tomorrow afternoon after he finishes painting lesson, just to avoid the birthday party Lin Qinhe’s mother gave Yang Duole, so that Lin Qinhe didn’t have to be in a difficult situation.
Lin Qinhe’s voice was a little helpless: “Birthdays are only meaningful after zero o’clock. The last minute of sixteen and the first minute of seventeen are very important.”
Tao Xi nodded in a daze. It seemed that on New Year Eve, it was only when it passed zero that it was a new beginning of the year. Then the birthday should be past zero too, so it would mean a brand new one year old.
He smiled again, his eyes bright as the evening star: “Yes, after 12 o’clock tonight, I’ll be as old as you!”
He was going to be seventeen years old just like Lin Qinhe.
Lin Qinhe said more seriously: “No, I am still a few months older than you.”
Tao Xi knew that Lin Qinhe’s birthday was in May and thought it was a bit childish for Lin Qinhe to calculate such things, but he still agreed and said.
“Fine, fine, you’re older than me, you’re older than me.”
After he finished, he saw that Lin Qinhe raised his eyebrows slightly and gave an “en”.
“I’ll come pick you up after school.” Lin Qinhe said.
Tao Xi nodded vigorously.
He watched Lin Qinhe leave and happily walked into the cafeteria alone, took out his card and swiped a few expensive meat dishes and sat down to eat contentedly.
He didn’t envy Yang Duole’s lively birthday party at all.
But he couldn’t help but think, in the future after he told the truth, would he have such a birthday party too?
He didn’t need so many friends, nor did he need so many expensive gifts, he just wanted a cake, a small one, with Lin Qinhe, his sister, his father and grandparents, and perhaps his adoptive parents, to say happy birthday to him.
That was great.
T/N: hello everyone! I’m definitely not dropping this one, I was just so busy catching up with a project deadline. I usually scheduled the chapters on weekend but I really didn’t have time for that for the past weekends as, well, working overtime, even working on weekend because of the project! but it’s finally over yesterday and the update will be resumed as usual :)) happy reading!