Translator: hoenimochi, Rin Editor: Su Xinghe
It’s Chinese New Year. Have a sweet taste.
(Not last chapter’s continuation, New Year’s extra)
[New Year’s Extra]
Sixteen-year-old Shen Wenqiu’s first gift for the New Year was a hand-woven woollen hat which was made out of pure wool and had two colours, light grey and pure white. It was knitted by his grandma for him. It was old-style and was especially rusty but very warm.
He didn’t have the New Year’s Eve dinner at home, his father reserved a few tables in a five-star hotel, invited family and relatives who knew each other well and occupied a small VIP hall.
Shen Wenqiu wore a white knee-length down jacket, a foreign brand and it’s style cut was originally quite fashionable but as soon as he put on the wool hat given by his grandmother, it instantly became old-fashioned and from the back he looked like a big penguin.
But no matter how old-fashioned he looked, he was still handsome and cute and was a boy with a sweet mouth. After walking around, he was praised by his elders and received a lot of red envelopes, each of which was thick. He didn’t open them and stuffed them into his pocket.
The children couldn’t sit still.
Shen Wenqiu had a full meal and was impatient to listen to the nonsense of the adults which were endless. He greeted his father and went to play with his younger brothers and sisters.
His dad smiled and said to the people around him, “Look at him. He’s already in high school. He’s sixteen years old this year yet he’s still thinking about playing like a little kid. He hasn’t grown up yet.”
Shen Wenqiu pretended that he didn’t hear it and grunted twice. Followed by a group of little children who regarded him as the leader, they swarmed into the elevator and went downstairs.
When Shen Wenqiu was in the middle surrounded by little children, he suddenly realised that he seemed to be the eldest one in the group.
This made him a little confused. Clearly in his memory, he still seemed to be the little follower who played behind his elder brothers and sisters and was taken care of and felt displeased by them. Since when did his elder brothers and sisters had grown up to be adults and stopped playing around. While he had been left until now as the eldest among the children and seemed to be teetering on the edge of the “shouldn’t be so childish” scale.
At that time, the topic of life was too far away for Shen Wenqiu. He had no time to think deeply but the idea flashed by and was forgotten by him.
The little children raised their heads like little birds and asked noisily,
“Xiao Baa gege, Xiao Baa gege, what are we playing?”
“Let’s play with firecrackers! Play with firecrackers!”
“Do you want to play hide-and-seek? I want to play hide-and-seek.”
“I want to play Red Light-Green Light.”
Shen Wenqiu went to the store to buy some relatively safe ornamental fireworks which made a group of small children chatter happily but then he began to look at the fireworks in a daze.
He was getting bored gradually.
He thought of the analogy of fireworks when Lu Yong was telling him about the colour of burning metal flames. He thought, if it were Lu Yong then he could match a variety of firework’s colours, and it would look better than this.
‘I wonder what Lu Yong is doing now…’
Lu Yong told him that since his grandfather passed away two years ago, he and his father would not go back to their hometown for the Chinese New Year anymore. Because of some personal reasons, they had a bad relationship with their relatives in their hometown.
This year, they would be celebrating Chinese New Year at home.
Shen Wenqiu could almost imagine a silly pair of father and son sitting opposite each other for New Year’s Eve dinner, adding two pots of dishes that would make them full, with the Spring Festival Gala as their background sound. After they ate and cleared the dishes, they would watch the show together and finally went to bed at ten.
He felt that Lu Yong was so pitiful. The father and son depended on each other for life and they didn’t have much money either. The more lively he was here, the more he felt that Lu Yong’s house was deserted and pitiful.
Shen Wenqiu glanced at his watch, it was only half past eight.
It just so happened that the hotel was not too far from Lu Yong’s house, nor was it very close. It was about three kilometres which was a bit far. If it was just by walking, it would take quite a long time.
Shen Wenqiu was worried about whether he should go to find Lu Yong or not. His heart was itching to do so and he couldn’t make his decision at the moment.
He really wanted to go since it was more fun to play with Lu Yong. Anyway, it was more interesting than accompanying a group of playful little children whose snorts were hanging under their noses.
It was too childish.
At this time, Shen Wenqiu’s younger cousin passed by on a skateboard.
Shen Wenqiu’s eyes lit up. He stretched his arms and pulled the person over, asking, “When did you buy the skateboard?”
The younger cousin said, “I was third in my class in the final exam and my mother rewarded me.”
Shen Wenqiu rubbed his head and praised, “Not bad, very cool! Can you share with me?”
The little cousin hesitated.
Shen Wenqiu said, “I’ll lend you my remote control car to play with.”
Only then did the younger cousin agree, “Okay then.”
Shen Wenqiu had always been a straightforward and trustworthy brother.
Shen Wenqiu played a trick to obtain the skateboard. He patted his little cousin on the shoulder and commanded, “Gege has something to do and needs to leave for a while. You look at them, don’t let them get hurt and also it’s bad for them to quarrel and fight. They are under your command! Do not let me down!”
After shirking his responsibility thoughtlessly, Shen Wenqiu stepped on the skateboard and ran away.
With a skateboard, the journey was much faster.
There were no cars on the road and the winter wind was blowing with fine snowflakes towards his face but he didn’t feel cold at all. Instead, he felt very relaxed. Especially on a downhill road, he slid so fast like he was going to fly. It was as if all the restraints were blown away and he felt extremely free and happy.
The cold wind blew onto him the whole journey just like that.
When he arrived at Lu Yong’s house, only then did he find that his face and ears were aching from the wind but his hands and feet were extremely hot, like experiencing two extremes at once.
Shen Wenqiu stood at Lu Yong’s house entrance, looked at the large closed iron gate and raised his hand wanting to knock on the door.
Before he knocked, he glanced at the yard. There were lights but not too bright. It was cold and quiet and there was no sound.
Shen Wenqiu only then remembered that he didn’t tell Lu Yong at all before running over excitedly.
‘If it was during normal days then it would be fine but today is New Year’s Eve, is it okay to do so?’ Shen Wenqiu couldn’t help hesitating but since he had come, he knocked on the door and called, “Dayong! Dayong!”
“Bang! Bang! Bang!”
The sound of fireworks and firecrackers was heard one after another, in an endless stream.
Shen Wenqiu’s call was almost drowned out and no one responded to him.
Shen Wenqiu touched the back of his head, now his mind was cold. He felt like a big fool, why would he rush over on impulse?… It was really impolite for him to harass Lu Yong during the Chinese New Year.
He could just see him tomorrow too.
“Clank, squeak—, bang.”
The door of Lu Yong’s house was a thick and heavy iron door. There were several locks from the inside. It was very troublesome to open and the metal door made a calm and clear sound.
Lu Yong was cloaked in light as he opened the door for him. When he saw him his expression was like in a dream. With a naive and silly smile he said, “You’re here?”
He didn’t ask what happened.
It was as if he had been waiting for Shen Wenqiu, with a natural attitude.
Lu Yong’s eyes were extremely burning hot at that time.
Shen Wenqiu was only glanced at for once and felt as if his face was burnt.
Lu Yong touched his shoulder, “Come in, it’s still snowing and your clothes will get wet when they fall on it.”
Shen Wenqiu held up his hat and said, “Look at my hat…”
He wanted to say that the hat was old-fashioned but before he said the second half of the sentence, Lu Yong hurriedly repeated the answer like a repeater, “Cute, it’s cute.”
Shen Wenqiu was speechless, “…I wanted to say that this was woven by my grandma for me. The style is so old. She also has an identical one.”
Lu Yong froze for a moment, racked his brains and said, “It’s not rustic, it’s very cute. You are very cute when you wear it.”
Every sentence came from his sincere heart.
They went into the house.
Father Lu was overjoyed when he saw Shen Wenqiu coming. Shen Wenqiu stepped forward, pouted his hips, arched his hands and said in an imitative manner, “Happy New Year’s Eve! Happy New Year! I wish uncle a prosperous business in the coming year and make a fortune!”
Father Lu smiled and narrowed his eyes, “Thank you, Xiao Baa. Thank you. I’ve prepared a red envelope for you but I didn’t expect you to come tonight. Wait for uncle to find it.”
He said okay and Father Lu went into the house to get the red envelope.
Lu Yong pushed the snack box to his front, “Eat the candy.”
Shen Wenqiu took off the gloves, peeled open a piece of boozy chocolate and stuffed it into his mouth. His cheeks bulged, “What were you doing before I came here?”
Lu Yong replied, “Eat and watch the New Year’s gala.”
Shen Wenqiu was overwhelmed with joy, “Hahahaha.”
Lu Yong wondered, “What are you laughing at?… I’ll accompany you to play and buy firecrackers.”
Shen Wenqiu smiled with bright eyes and said, “No need, let’s watch TV. I’m not a child, are you buying firecrackers to coax me? There is so much clutter in your house. It’s not good if it causes a fire.”
Lu Yong’s attention fell on his ears which were glowing red. There was no light at the door just now and when the light shone as they entered the house, he realised how pretty Shen Wenqiu was with a fair face, a red nose, and flushed cheeks, he looked too cute.
Shen Wenqiu sat down and stayed in the warm room for a while. His ears that were frozen due to the wind started to itch and he couldn’t help scratching twice.
Lu Yong said, “Is it itchy? The wind along the way must’ve froze you over.”
Shen Wenqiu continued scratching, “It seems so. I forgot to wear ear protection.”
Lu Yong asked, “Why don’t you pull the hat down to cover your ears?”
Shen Wenqiu insisted, “That’s ugly.”
‘What a smug boy.’ Lu Yong thought and went to find him frostbite medicine.
Father Lu came back and gave Shen Wenqiu a red envelope, “Uncle gives it to you. I wish you good academic progress in the coming year and a happy everyday life! Uncle has little money, so don’t mind it.”
Shen Wenqiu’s whole appearance was filled with cosiness and joy, “Thank you Uncle Lu! I hope I can learn uncle’s hard work and bravery after taking uncle’s red envelope.”
Lu Yong was back after he found the frostbite ointment, squeezed it out and rubbed it on Shen Wenqiu’s ears. He pinched Shen Wenqiu’s earlobe with his fingertips and gently kneaded and wiped the ointment. The soft-touch made him blush.
Shen Wenqiu said, “What are you doing? It’s like a feather tickling me, your action is so light. You make me itch even more when you touch me like this. I’ll apply it myself.”
Lu Yong was a little reluctant but breathed a sigh of relief. He handed the ointment to Shen Wenqiu and asked him to apply it himself.
Lu Yong said, “This ointment works very well. I have been frozen several times, just rub it on and it will be fine.”
But he was working in the winter, not like Shen Wenqiu who was almost injured by the wind and snow.
‘What a delicate little master.’ Lu Yong silently cursed.
With the two sitting together watching TV, even the show became more interesting. They watched till the time passed 11pm. Shen Wenqiu yawned several times, leaned on Lu Yong and fell asleep as he was watching.
Lu Yong thought about it, ‘Will Shen Wenqiu stay at their house tonight?’
Although it was outrageous, he still couldn’t help thinking about the possibility. And thinking about it, it would be like a newlywed couple going to a certain party’s house to celebrate the New Year before getting married…
Shen Wenqiu’s cell phone rang and woke him up. Shen Wenqiu answered the phone, “Hello? … Dad … Oh, I’m at Lu Yong’s house.”
“Why… There’s no why. I just think it’s very close so I dropped by for a New Year’s greeting.”
“I fell asleep accidentally. I was planning to go back. Okay, okay. Sorry Dad, but can I get lost when I’m so old?”
“Then come and pick me up.”
‘He still has to go.’ Lu Yong thought regretfully.
It was nearly twelve o’clock.
Father Shen drove over to pick up his darling son who was running around.
Lu Yong sent Shen Wenqiu out, he twitched his head and said, “Wait.”
Shen Wenqiu, “Oh.”
Lu Yong took his own plush earmuffs and put them on Shen Wenqiu. Shen Wenqiu blinked and smiled, “Are you stupid? I’ll take the car back and I won’t be blown by the wind again.”
Only then did Lu Yong react and Shen Wenqiu said, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll just treat it as a New Year’s gift from you. Thank you Dayong, I like it very much.”
They walked slowly to the door.
Passing by the window of a neighbour’s house, there was a sound from the TV.
“Countdown to the New Year, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four—”
The fireworks soared high into the sky, bloomed and shone a dazzling and magnificent light which reflected on Shen Wenqiu’s face, so cute that Lu Yong felt that his heart was about to melt.
Shen Wenqiu put his hands in his pockets and stood up in a crooked manner as if he was remembering something. He turned around and looked at him with a dreamy smile in his eyes, “Happy New Year, Dayong.”
Spring hadn’t come yet and the snow was falling in the sky but Lu Yong felt that the flowers on the trees in his heart had blossomed. He also smiled and replied softly, “Happy New Year, Xiao Baa.”