Day 04 20:59
In the middle of the night, after He Zhiyuan finished all the work on hand, he drove his tuned Porsche on the freeway, going 90 m.p.h. the entire time, and swiftly arrived back at home. Then, he took a warm shower, drank half a glass of red wine, and lay down to sleep.
Four hours later, having been forcefully woken up by his circadian rhythm, he drowsily pulled out his cell phone to make today’s love call.
Bubu picked up the phone and softly called out ‘Dada’ on the other end before telling him that he was currently colouring, and that it looked very pretty.
He Zhiyuan asked, “Did you buy a new colouring book?”
Bubu picked up a dark green coloured pencil and carefully filled in a leaf on a kitten’s head that was drawn with graphite. “Big Brother Song Ran drew it for me. We met a small tabby cat this morning. It was super cute, so Big Brother drew it for me.”
In the evening after the kindergarten let out, the unfamiliar new auntie picked him up to go home. Contrary to expectations, Song Ran was not at home, but he had left three stacks of children’s books at the doorway of 8012B and even included a beautiful lineart of a striped cat. Bubu was originally still slightly dejected, but seeing Big Brother’s drawing and books lifted his mood in a flash. He resolved to colour it well so that he could give it to Big Brother once the other returned home.
He Zhiyuan hadn’t properly woken up yet; he only remembered that he needed to explain the misunderstanding to Song Ran. After chatting for a while with Bubu, he automatically said, “Be good and give the phone to Big Brother, hm?”
Bubu became puzzled, thinking that Dad was confused indeed. “Big Brother is not here. There’s only Big Sister here… I’ll let Big Sister talk on the phone, okay?”
He Zhiyuan had just made a very drawn-out yawn and didn’t hear him clearly, so as soon as the phone changed hands, he immediately called out, “Song Ran.”
“H-h-h… Hello, Mr He! I’m Lin Hui!”
The other party was beside herself with excitement.
In the early morning, the bright and carefree high-pitched sound of a woman pierced his ear. He Zhiyuan instantly became clear-headed.
It seemed to be the new nanny that he had hired.
This year, Lin Hui was twenty-one years old. Her field of study was kindergarten teaching, and she was preparing to graduate this summer. She had a natural baby face, curled the ends of her hair, and wore a rose-coloured ribbon hairpin, resulting in a very lively look overall. She had just submitted her resume to a high-class housekeeping company a few days earlier, when yesterday, a short-term position with a monthly salary of over ten thousand yuan fell from the sky and landed directly on her forehead. According to the liaison, not only was this household’s child clever, even the employer was extraordinarily handsome; hearing this caused her to almost swoon from joy.
She showed off her outstanding professional qualities by first respectfully greeting Mr He, then introducing herself, and finally by reporting Bubu’s condition in an orderly and clear manner.
At four o’clock, the kindergarten let out, and she took a taxi to pick up Bubu.
At five o’clock, Bubu ate a small bowl of fruit salad that was made up of mixed strawberries, kiwifruits, and dragonfruit.
At six o’clock, she cooked pan-fried veal with carrots for dinner. Bubu’s appetite was not bad, and he neatly cleared his plate.
At seven o’clock, in accordance with the employer’s special request, she skilfully and expressively told a children’s story to Bubu. After Bubu finished listening to it, he had politely thanked her.
Lin Hui had once assumed that rich people’s children would be especially difficult to look after, but after meeting Bubu, she was simply amazed. This child was like a true young master from a noble family; he didn’t have the slightest hint of a bad temper, wasn’t loud, ate whatever he was given, and was so sensible that it was hard to believe.
Even after listening to the story, he wasn’t like other children who clung to Lin Hui asking about this and that. Instead, he took out some coloured pencils and quietly went to go colour.
The work was too easily done, and the money was too easily earned.
Lin Hui lay comfortably on the upholstered sofa, drinking juice while playing card games on her phone. She was so full of gratitude towards the magnanimous employer that even after picking up the phone, she could not suppress her heart full of praise.
“Mr He, you truly are so caring towards Bubu. I’ve taken care of many children before, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a parent prepare so many children’s books the way you did!” Lin Hui had a huge smile on her face as she warmly flattered He Zhiyuan. “You didn’t specify what kind of story to tell, but I noticed that the quality of all the books were all pretty good—it looked like they were carefully chosen, so I just picked out a volume from the four-to-six-years-old pile. If you have requirements, feel free to tell me and I can prepare in advance!”
He Zhiyuan was completely at a loss. “My home? Children’s books?”
“Yes, the express delivery left it at your door.” Lin Hui leaned up from the sofa and took stock of that pile of books once again. “There’s a total of three stacks, and they’re labelled by age. One stack is for one-to-three-years-old, one stack is for four-to-six-years-old, and one stack is for seven-to-ten-years-old… Uh, wait a moment, could it be that you didn’t know about it?”
He Zhiyuan said, “I didn’t.”
This was embarrassing.
Lin Hui had missed the mark with her flattery. She dryly laughed a couple times as her brain worked rapidly to immediately think up an explanation that she thought was extremely reasonable. “Then it must have been the order of the madam? Your wife is truly virtuous, ahaha.”
If she couldn’t praise the employer, then praising the wife would be equally effective. Lin Hui admired her own quick-wittedness.
But He Zhiyuan frowned.
After praising the two parents, she arrived at the most crucial act—praising the child.
Lin Hui was well-experienced in this regard, speaking various words of praise as if they were flowers blooming from her mouth. She praised Bubu as obedient and polite, and touched upon his cleverness by saying that among children, he was one in a hundred.
Who wouldn’t like to hear their own child being praised?
She went on and on with her glowing words, but what she didn’t anticipate was that He Zhiyuan did not feel happy.
Such commendations… he had heard them all too often.
To this day, every single nanny used the same old words to praise Bubu, saying that Bubu was such an obedient child that it surprised people. He Zhiyuan had always accepted it with relief, taking it as proof that his son was growing up healthily. But ever since the quarrel with Song Ran, when he heard the words ‘obedient’, ‘sensible’, ‘clever’, and other related words again, unexpectedly, his first reaction was vigilance.
In particular, this ‘one in a hundred’ phrase.
One in a hundred meant ‘special’. Being ‘special’ could be positive, or it could also be negative. He had previously never considered the possibility of the negative side, but in this regard, he now began to have doubts.
“I would like to ask a question.” He Zhiyuan interrupted Lin Hui’s flattery, asking her bluntly, “According to your experience as a kindergarten teacher, if a child is far more mature than his peers, is there any possibility that it is a symptom of a psychological abnormality?”
Lin Hui was surprised—during the pop quiz, she had encountered an extremely difficult question. This script was going in the wrong direction!
She anxiously rubbed at her chin, cracking a joke while laughing, “Psy… psychological abnormality? Hahaha, Mr He, you are too funny. How could your family’s child be abnormal? I guarantee, Bubu is absolutely not…”
He Zhiyuan emphasized, “Any possibility.”
Lin Hui came to a halt, alarm bells ringing in her heart—where on earth would there be a task as easy as raising a child for a monthly salary of over ten thousand yuan? This question was probably the hole dug especially by her employer in order to investigate her professionalism. She must be on her best behaviour and not carelessly go through the motions so as not to get canned on the very first day of work.
She cared too much about this job—but because her attention was completely focused on how to reply to He Zhiyuan’s question, she forgot that Bubu was still standing in the living room.
In that manner, Bubu looked at her without uttering a word; he listened to her speak and absorbed every word into his heart.
Lin Hui said, “Mr He, the possibility that you spoke of does exist. Some children who have difficulty getting the attention of their parents over the long term will indeed act particularly obedient. Additionally, they will display a fawning mentality to a certain degree. Typical examples would be orphans, left-behind children,1Wikipedia or children who have been emotionally abused, but… but these conditions, how are they related to your family’s Bubu? Your family circumstances are so affluent; under normal circumstances, you must also accompany him often, so Bubu’s psychological condition is definitely healthy. Mr He, you mustn’t overthink it, this matter of psychological abnormalities…”
Before she managed to finish speaking, her body suddenly felt heavy; Bubu had flung himself at her head-first and knocked her down.
The child had hot tears pooling in his eyes as he reached out his small arms and carelessly tried to snatch back the cell phone, screaming and crying, “Give it back! I want to talk to Dad! I’m not abnormal, I’m not!”
He Zhiyuan heard the tender and tremulous wailing coming from the other side and instantly sprang into a sitting position on the bed, his entire person practically exploding.
What was wrong with this nanny? Didn’t she even know to avoid children while discussing sensitive subjects? When Song Ran talked to him the day before yesterday, he not only left the room, he even closed the door!
Scared into a daze, Lin Hui sat on the sofa like a statue, unable to react for a long time.
After snatching the cell phone from her hand, Bubu sat on the ground and sobbed loudly; he hiccuped while screaming for Dad and shrilly cried that he wasn’t abnormal.
Lin Hui stupidly watched him and knew that she had already lost this job. When had she, a girl barely in her twenties, suffered this kind of unexpected great hit before? She momentarily felt it was unbearable; her nose started to prickle, and tears started drip-dropping from her eyes as well.
While Song Ran was carrying a box of fried noodles with shredded chicken and taking the elevator up, the sound of crying from 8012B shook the heavens; one could hear the deafening sounds even through the door.
He went over and knocked on the door. After a moment, a young woman wearing a scoop-necked dress opened the door.
The girl’s eyes were red and tears flowed down her cheeks; it was obvious that she was also a participant in this disruptive late-night activity. She saw the amicable, handsome young man standing outside the door and threw herself into Song Ran’s arms without even caring to ask his name, wiping her tears on his shoulder.
“Huh?” Song Ran held the fried noodles, bewildered. “What… what’s the matter with you?”
Lin Hui bawled, “I’m done for!”
Immediately after, an even more wretched cry came from within the room. “Big Brother!!!”
Hurriedly pushing Lin Hui aside, Song Ran swiftly crouched down and opened his arms, only to see Bubu raising the children’s cell phone aloft and howling while running over before crashing into his embrace like a bullet.
Bubu’s cry of ‘Big Brother’ was heart-rending. On the other end of the phone, He Zhiyuan heard it, but he simply let out a long sigh of relief, relaxed his shoulders, closed his eyes, and rubbed at his brow.
Now that Song Ran was around, his deeply anxious heart could settle down.
With a single oversight, Lin Hui had caused the situation to become a chaotic disaster. The child’s face was covered with tears and snot; he was so agitated that he could hardly even speak clearly, never mind patiently listening to his explanation. He Zhiyuan was skilled in many areas, but separated by a cold cell phone, he could not hug or kiss or do anything at all about this mess.
By sheer luck, Song Ran appeared at this time.
He Zhiyuan very rarely trusted a person for no real reason, but his intuition told him that as long as Song Ran was there to keep him company, his precious child would be able to quickly stop crying.
On the other side of the phone, Song Ran picked up Bubu.
The precious child sobbed violently; his soft little body could not stop heaving, and his tears surged endlessly. Bubu’s small cheeks were streaked with damp tear tracks that gathered at his chin before dropping like a broken string of pearls.
“It’s all right now, it’s all right. Bubu, be good, Big Brother is here… Big Brother will stay with you.”
Song Ran patted the child on the back, letting him cry on his shoulder.
A ‘beep’ came from the corner of the living room. Little Q slowly made a ninety-degree rotation, and a row of ice-blue indicator lights lit up as it came a half meter closer to them.
A little fearful, Song Ran quickly moved a couple steps away.
Bubu gasped for breath and cried for a good while. Pursing his small mouth, he nursed a grievance as he explained himself, “Big Brother, I’m not abnormal, I’m a good child…”
As soon as Song Ran heard this, he immediately realised something had gone terribly wrong—what had this young lady talked about?
He was afraid of Bubu getting hurt a second time, so he did not dare to directly ask what had occurred. Instead, he quickly gave a meaningful glance to Lin Hui and softly said, “What happened? Go find a piece of paper and a pencil… no, cell phone! Use your cell phone to type it for me!”
But Lin Hui didn’t react. With her mouth slightly opened and her eyes staring straight at Song Ran, she seemed to be in a trance.
Song Ran became impatient. “Type!”
After coming back to herself, Lin Hui vigorously nodded twice and began to type in the cell phone’s notepad app. While tapping, she glanced subtly at Song Ran from the corner of her eye—gosh, a 1.78-metres-tall young man was holding a soft baby while pacing around the living room in circles. The motion of him patting the child’s back was so tender; along with the occasional words of consolation, it was warm enough to melt people’s hearts.
What was gap moe? This was gap moe.
Lin Hui’s heart beat rapidly, and her cheeks became slightly flushed with shyness.
Song Ran had been gay for a long time and therefore was completely unable to imagine that him comforting a child could also have the effect of capturing a maiden’s heart; he wasn’t able to pick up the signal from Lin Hui’s ardent gaze. After making a few loops while holding Bubu, he came back and received the cell phone from her. Upon reading the contents displayed, his eyebrows promptly furrowed.
Lin Hui’s head shrank into her shoulders in a fluster as she apologised, “I’m sorry!”
Song Ran sighed, “What are you apologising to me for? I-I’m not the child’s father…”
He was only a ‘nanny’ that Mr He had recently dismissed—strictly speaking, his status was even more awkward than Lin Hui’s; he didn’t even have the standing to intervene in this matter, but he also could not ignore it. While patting the child’s back, he said, “I’ll take Bubu into the room to calm down, so what… what’s your name?”
“Lin Hui, you stop crying as well. Later, I’ll come out and help you think of a plan, okay?”
Lin Hui was so moved that she was utterly overwhelmed; she tightly pressed her lips together, and tears gushed from her eyes like a clear spring of water.