Translator: Rin Editor: Mars Proofreader: Ume
They were both still underage, so Jiang Li just wanted to tease Chi Fang on a whim and didn’t continue teasing him. The two played games for a while and then turned off the lights and lay down.
Jiang Li was lying on the bed, remembering that he only saw the housekeeper and servants when he came here today but did not see Chi Fang’s father, so he asked about him.
Chi Fang put his hand on his waist and played with his fingers with one hand. Hearing him asked, he said nonchalantly, “He’s very busy, you don’t need to worry about him, you don’t see him a few times a year anyway. ”
Jiang Li saw that he didn’t want to say more, so he didn’t ask further. Instead, he asked why he transferred to No.2 Middle School.
“Well, there’s actually no big reason…”
Chi Fang briefly explained it to him.
Chi Fang’s mother died of illness when he was in the sixth grade of elementary school, and his father was busy with business all day long. Although Chi Fang was not unfamiliar with his father, they were not close either. They rarely saw each other throughout the year. In the second year after his mother passed away, Father Chi had new women by his side but considering the reason why Chi Fang would not accept it, he did not bring them home but just kept them outside.
Because his father found other women just after his mother left after a year, Chi Fang’s character once became very irritable and agitated.
When he was a freshman in high school, one of his classmates who he didn’t have good relationships with used this to irritate him and the two had a conflict. The other party scolded him as someone who was given birth by a mother but wasn’t educated because he didn’t have a mother. These words rubbed him the wrong way, so he beat up the other party and broke two of his rib bones.
The other party was the young son of his family company’s partner. Chi Fang’s father came back from abroad for this matter. He took him to the ward to apologize without asking the reason. Chi Fang didn’t succumb to it and escaped by jumping out of the window of the second floor’s ward. After that, his uncle helped him transfer to Jiangcheng No. 2 Middle School.
He didn’t ask how his father solved the follow-up matter and he didn’t care either. But later his uncle called and said that if he wanted, he could go back to City B and continue to study in Jiangcheng.
Chi Fang chose to stay in No. 2 Middle School since he felt comfortable in a different environment, and it was just the right time to accompany the old man.
As Chi Fang said this, his tone was very indifferent. It was as if he was telling someone else’s story and he didn’t care about it.
After Jiang Li listened to his story, he turned over and lay on his chest, imitating the way he hugged him before and leaned into his ear and said, “I will accompany you in the future.”
Chi Fang smiled in the dark, reached out, and touched his head: “Okay.”
The next morning, Chi Fang took Jiang Li out to play. For three consecutive days, the two went out early and returned late and played at all the attractions in the urban and suburban areas. In the past three days, Jiang Li had not seen Father Chi. It was said that he had gone abroad to deal with business and he would not come back for at least 8 to 10 days.
October 5th was Jiang Li’s seventeenth birthday. The two went to the theme park to have fun for a long time in the morning and went to the movies in the afternoon.
At night, when it was nearly midnight, Chi Fang mysteriously dragged Jiang Li to the suburbs.
Jiang Li asked him what he was going to do. Chi Fang smiled without saying a word, took out a box from the grass, and opened the box under Jiang Li’s puzzled gaze.
An exquisite container lay quietly in the box, with the words “Happy Birthday” inlaid on it.
“What is this?” Jiang Li was a little confused at first, then surprised, “Is it… fireworks?”
“Hmmph.” Chi Fang fiddled around for a while and placed it in an open space, “I asked someone to help me get it last month and it took more than half a month, luckily there was no further delay.”
Jiang Li guessed that the fireworks were ordered by Chi Fang soon after the two of them were together. He really didn’t expect that it was not enough for Chi Fang to set off fireworks in WeChat Moment, he even specially customized one. Jiang Li felt both funny and touched.
Watching him take out a lighter from his pocket, Jiang Li squatted down beside him: “You asked me to come here… just to see this?”
“Yeah, we can’t set off fireworks in the city, so we can only go out further.” Chi Fang took out a lighter from his pocket and patted him, “Stay back a little.”
Jiang Li stood up and stepped almost two meters away from him.
Under the dark night sky, the teenager squatted on the ground. The lighter illuminated his profile and there was a faint and gentle smile on his thin lips.
Jiang Li stood aside. This scene made him feel warm in his heart and he couldn’t restrain himself from raising the edges of his lips. He quietly watched Chi Fang ignite the fuse on the container with a lighter, then got up and walked towards him. Chi Fang then stood beside Jiang Li, reached out, and held his hand.
After the fuse was ignited, with a long howl, the fireworks flew into the sky and with a bang, they exploded from the heights. The colorful fireworks lit up the starry sky in the dark night and the huge flowers spread out, splendid and gorgeous.
There were three fireworks in total. The first two were ordinary fireworks. After the last one was scattered in the air, the golden stars gathered into the words “Happy Birthday”, which remained in the air for a long time.
Jiang Li raised his head and looked at the four big characters in the night sky, his eyes slightly widened, his fingers subconsciously wrapped around Chi Fang’s fingers bit by bit, tightly interlocking with his fingers.
Chi Fang’s fingers also held him back tightly. In the dark night, the palms of the two of them were sweating but neither of them let go, rather they held on even tighter.
When the letters in the air slowly dissipated, Jiang Li turned around and hooked Chi Fang’s neck with his other hand, his toes slightly raised, and he kissed Chi Fang on the lips.
Chi Fang wrapped his arms around his waist with one arm and whispered, “Happy birthday, baby.”
After Chi Guoheng came back from the inspection out of state, he contacted Chi Fang and asked him to bring Jiang Li to his house for dinner.
Before going there, Jiang Li thought about what gift to bring. After all, it was the first time he visited.
Chi Fang waved his hand and said that there was no need to bring gifts since they were a family, or else they would seem estranged.
“I’m bringing gifts only because we’re a family.” Jiang Li smiled, “After all, it’s considered a meeting with your parents, isn’t it?”
Chi Fang paused, turned his head to look at him and met his smiling eyes. He then blurted out, “Bring them! Bring them as you like!”
So before going to Chi Guoheng’s house, the two went to the mall and bought gifts for the couple before taking a taxi to their destination.
Knowing that the two were coming over for dinner, Mrs. Chi specially prepared a lot of dishes. Seeing that the two also brought gifts, she felt funny and angry. She took the things, put them aside, and scolded a few lines.
After the death of Mother Chi, Chi Fang lived in Chi Guoheng’s house for a long time. Apart from the old man, he was the closest to the married couple. Hearing Mrs. Chi scolding him, he was not angry at all. He was in fact smiling in response and occasionally argued back.
Mrs. Chi scolded him with a smile, turned to Jiang Li, and asked, “Is this Jiang Li? I heard Old Chi say that you are helping Xiao Fang make up the lessons these days. Thank you for the hard work.”
Jiang Li once heard Chi Fang mention that Mrs. Chi and Chi Guoheng were alumni, they were the same age, both over fifty. But she looked very good, except there were some fine lines at the corners of her eyes. She smiled very kindly and spoke softly, which reminded Jiang Li of his mother in his previous life.
“It’s not hard.” Jiang Li smiled and said, “That’s all I should do.”
Mrs. Chi smiled, let them both sit down, and went to call Chi Guoheng.
After Chi Guoheng came back, Mrs. Chi greeted everyone for dinner.
After the meal, Mrs. Chi said that she was going to a nearby shopping mall to buy something and asked Chi Fang to accompany her.
Chi Fang wanted to bring Jiang Li with him, but Chi Guoheng had said, “I heard the old man say Jiang Li was good at chess last time. How about taking this opportunity to play two games with me?”
After saying that, Jiang Li and he looked at each other, knowing that this was his intention to have a talk without Chi Fang, so he nodded in response.
After Chi Fang and Mrs. Chi went out, Chi Guoheng asked Jiang Li to go to the study room with him. He took out a photo album from the bookcase and handed it to him, saying, “Take a look.”
Jiang Li took it over and saw that the album was written as a photo album of xx fresh graduates of xx university. He sat aside and flipped open the photo album and what appeared in front of him was a graduation photo.
Jiang Li looked up at him: “This is…”
“This is the graduation photo of our class of graduates.” Chi Guoheng said, reaching out to point to the female student in the middle of the second row in the album. “This is your mother, Lu Xuanxuan.”
Jiang Li was stunned for a moment before looking down at the person he was pointing at, and after moving his fingers away, he saw a young girl with braids.
In the three rows of names below the graduation photo, the three words ‘Lu Xuanxuan’ were captioned under the photo of the girl.
Lu Xuanxuan was the name of the original host’s mother.
Jiang Li guessed that Chi Guoheng might know Mother Jiang, but never thought that they would be classmates.
The people in the group photo were too small for Jiang Li to see clearly, so he flipped a few pages back and saw a few group photos of Mother Jiang and others and her own solo photo.
When she was young, Mother Jiang was very beautiful and had a very good temperament. Her beauty couldn’t be hidden even if she just wore a simple white shirt and a black knee-length skirt.
The Jiang Mother in the photo was younger and more youthful than Jiang Li’s impression of her.
“You are very similar to your mother, I recognized it at a glance.” Chi Guoheng said, with a smile on his face, but a hint of sadness in his eyes.
He looked down at the album, his expression looked like he felt nostalgic and yet felt like he was remembering an upsetting memory, which made Jiang Xin feel suspicious: “You and my mother…”
“We were once together.” Chi Guoheng said, “It was many years ago.”
Chi Guoheng told a very cliché but also a very realistic story. He fell in love with Mother Jiang when he was in college. The two had a very good relationship, but their family background didn’t match, so his family opposed their relationship and they were forced to break up.
After graduating from college and breaking up, Chi Guoheng left for his career and Mother Jiang disappeared. Some people said that she went back to her hometown, and some people said that she went to work in another province. In short, the two had been separated for many years and had never seen each other again.
After so many years, the past had gone with the wind. He had also married and had children and his family was harmonious, but when he thought of it occasionally, he couldn’t help but sigh.
When he saw Jiang Li for the first time, a face similar to that of the woman he liked caught his attention. After investigation, it turned out that Jiang Li was Lu Xuanxuan’s son, just as he had guessed.
From the collected information, he learned that Lu Xuanxuan was not happy after marriage. Her husband drank and carried out domestic abuse all year round, forcing her to run away from home and never come back.
After returning from Jiangcheng, he privately made arrangements to look for the news of Mother Jiang. It was just that it had been six years since Mother Jiang left. It was not easy to find someone. It took a lot of time to find the clues. After searching all the way, he got unsatisfactory results.
Hearing his words, Jiang Li’s heart thumped: “Where’s my mother? Did you find her?”
Chi Guoheng looked at him with sadness and pity in his eyes, complicated and incomprehensible.
He looked at Jiang Li, reached out, and touched his head: “Uncle found it too late, your mother died a few years ago due to illness.”
“What did you say?
Jiang Li stared at him blankly, feeling that his ears seemed to be having tinnitus just now. He didn’t hear what he said clearly, but his eyes turned red and an indescribable feeling suddenly emerged in his heart, as if something was tearing him apart. He was so uncomfortable that tears fell without warning.
At that moment, Jiang Li heard an uncontrollable cry from the bottom of his heart.
That was the cry from the original Jiang Li.