The next day, in the afternoon, Tong Yang picked Tong Yan up from school, both hadn’t seen each other for almost two weeks. The last time they met, it was still autumn, this time, it really looked like winter. The street lamps above were topped with snow. Tong Yan wore a big cotton-padded coat, almost ankle length, he looked like he was draped in a quilt.
Tong Yang drove an off-road vehicle, Tong Yan wasn’t too enthusiastic about cars, but because the car was very big, he still had an impression of it, and found it familiar. He soon remembered that when he went to Zhuo Xiang Ming’s parents’ house one weekend, this exact car model was parked in their yard.
Tong Yan said without thinking: “I saw this car at Zhuo Xiang Ming’s house.”
Tong Yang’s reaction was a bit strange. Tong Yan thought about it, then asked, “Isn’t this the same one? Zhuo Jia Shuo’s car?”
Tong Yang didn’t look at him, merely saying: “Who are you calling Zhuo Jia Shuo? Call him sister-in-law.”
”…” Tong Yan said, “You’re driving my sister-in-law’s car?”
Tong Yang: “It’s mine.”
Tong Yan: “Oh …”
”What do you want to eat?” Tong Yang flipped over the navigation, “Hot pot?”
Tong Yan said yes, then they called the restaurant’s number and waited.
A short while later, Zhuo Xiang Ming called to ask where they were going to eat, and Tong Yan told him the district. Lin Yue Hua picked up the cell phone: “Tong Tong, Auntie saw a lot of people out today, shouldn’t you guys go to Zhuo Xing? There’s one in the 16th district and 21st district, whichever is nearest. You can also go shop around after you finish, without wasting time.”
Zhuo Xing was Zhuo family’s shopping mall. It really was convenient for Tong Yan to go over, but it was originally just eating a meal, waiting a few minutes was nothing. But Lin Yue Hua was speaking out of good intentions, so Tong Yan agreed: “Thanks Auntie, then we’ll go to Zhuo Xing.”
He glanced at Tong Yang, and Tong Yang looked at the navigation again, saying, “16th District.”
Tong Yan said to Lin Yue Hua: “Auntie, we’re now heading towards the 16th district.”
”Good, good, let me tell them, they’ll come out to receive you.” Lin Yue Hua said, “Talk to Zhuo Xiang Ming.”
The person on the other end of the line was switched to Zhuo Xiang Ming, Tong Yan said, “Brother, you went home.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Yeah, I just arrived. Call me after you’re done, I’ll pick you up and we’ll go back together.”
”Okay.” Tong Yan said.
”Don’t eat too much, you’ll get sick again.” Zhuo Xiang Ming warned.
During the weekend, Tong Yan ate so much at the Zhuo family house that he got indigestion. He only started feeling slightly better last night. He blushed, promising: “I got it.”
He hung up, Tong Yang had already changed routes, turning to glance at Tong Yan. His younger brother had been raised outside for more than five months. Although he didn’t want to admit it, the boy really had a rosy complexion, dark and bright eyes, and fluffy black hair, he must be very well raised.
”His mother also takes care of you?”
Tong Yan nodded: “Auntie is very good to me.”
”This brat is very easy to bribe.” Tong Yang scolded him with a smile.
Tong Yan argued: “Of course, just be very good to me!”
”Now I can’t say a word to you any more, right?” Tong Yang raised a hand to Tong Yan’s face, pinching until Tong Yan cried out, “Here, I’ll loosen your skin for you.”
He pulled back his hand, Tong Yan really wanted to punch him, but seeing him driving the car, it wouldn’t have been a good idea, so he had no choice but to endure. He endured until the car stopped, then he was finally able to fight back. But the Zhuo Xing people who came out to receive them had already been waiting for a long time, Tong Yan could only continue to behave, following them into the restaurant.
Zhuo Xiang Ming was also eating dinner. Zhuo ZhengDe sat at the head of the table, Zhuo Xiang Ming sat opposite Lin Yue Hua, and Zhuo Jia Shuo wasn’t present. There were only three of them at the dining table.
After taking a sip of soup, Lin Yue Hua said, “Still, it’s much livelier when Tong Tong is here.”
”He only knows how to eat with his head down.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said. “He’s so big, but still gets indigestion when no one looks after him.”
”As soon as I get home, your face draws tight, like someone owes you eight million, but you smile when talking about outsiders.” Zhuo ZhengDe suddenly said.
Zhuo Xiang Ming and Lin Yue Hua looked at each other, then Lin Yue Hua said, “This is because you don’t smile at him.”
”Your own face is scowling, but you still blame others.” Lin Yue Hua said, “What’s more, who’s an outsider? Tong Yan is my real daughter-in-law. According to you, if your surname is not Zhuo, you’re an outsider. Then I’m also an outsider.”
Zhuo ZhengDe hurriedly said: “That’s not what I meant!”
Lin Yue Hua: “Then what did you mean?”
”I’m just eating my meal.” Zhuo ZhengDe’s attempt to join the family chat failed. No longer accusing Zhuo Xiang Ming, he picked up some braised fish with his chopsticks.
Usually, Zhuo Xiang Ming would leave right after dinner, but because he had to wait for Tong Yan today, he didn’t rush home, staying with Lin Yue Hua in the living room.
Zhuo ZhengDe also dilly-dallied, sitting on the other side of the sofa, not going upstairs to his studio as usual.
Lin Yue Hua asked Zhuo Xiang Ming in a low voice: “How are things going?”
Lin Yue Hua clicked her tongue: “With Tong Yan, last time didn’t you say… say it’s okay?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming felt a headache coming: “It’s still okay.”
Lin Yue Hua hurriedly said, “What does ‘still okay’ mean? I can tell you, the project is going very smoothly. I meant to ask you two days ago, why did Tong Yan’s father say that he wanted him to move back home?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming also stared blankly: “When?”
”Four or five days ago.” Lin Yue Hua said, “I can’t remember exactly, but it was while you were away on your business trip. But at that time, Tong Li Qin must not have known that you weren’t home, he just mentioned it, and I didn’t dare tell him. I just said some random things, otherwise, I’m afraid he would’ve used it as an excuse to take Tong Yan away.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming felt that this matter, when narrated by his mother, sounded like a child kidnapping scene, and Tong Yan was the pitiful kidnapping target.
But it really was quite dangerous, Zhuo Xiang Ming said: “What did uncle say? What did he hear?”
Lin Yue Hua said: “He just said that he was afraid that Tong Yan would inconvenience you. Since he wasn’t very busy with work now, it would be better to let Tong Yan move back, to give you more freedom. It didn’t seem like he’d heard anything … but why are you guys still dawdling? As I said before, it’s best to inform everyone as quickly as possible. Let both sides meet each other, then you won’t have to sneak around like a thief.”
She guessed: “Does Tong Yan think it’s too early, is he shy?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “No, he’s not.”
Lin Yue Hua hissed, dissatisfied: “I wonder how Old Tong dares to kill the donkey when the grinding is done? The stress disorder is barely healed yet he’s in such a hurry to take him back, my son is not a wolf ah.”
”Do you two think you look like the good guys?” Zhuo ZhengDe couldn’t help but interrupt, “Just looking at you now, even I’m scared, forget about Tong Yan’s father.”
”How was that any of your business?” Lin Yue Hua turned to glare at him, “Can you stop messing around?”
Zhuo ZhengDe: “How is it not my business? Isn’t Tong Yan my daughter-in-law? I also care ah.”
Lin Yue Hua: “Can you listen to what you’re saying? How is that ‘caring’?”
She refused to acknowledge Zhuo ZhengDe, saying solemnly to Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Hurry up and fix this, if you guys feel embarrassed, just let mom talk. Influence Tong Yan to also wish for it himself, he still needs to consider his child’s desires, it’s not easy to forcefully break up a fated marriage.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “You don’t have to worry.”
After talking for a long time, Zhuo Xiang Ming was also anxious for a while when he heard that Tong Li Qin wanted to make Tong Yan return home, currently, he still had a calm appearance. Lin Yue Hua also knew, things couldn’t be rushed, but knowing was one thing, knowing and remaining calm was another.
”What are you thinking, do you still not want to find a partner?” Lin Yue Hua blurted out.
Zhuo Xiang Ming paused, looking at her abnormal expression, he pacified: “No, Tong Yan is still young, we’re not in a hurry. Plus, two days ago we agreed to talk to his family slowly, but.… Anyway, we still have all the marriage certificates, there’s really no need to worry.”
Lin Yue Hua was relieved when she heard him say that he was going to speak to Tong Yan’s family, she was also embarrassed about her momentary loss of control.
The last time they discussed Zhuo Xiang Ming’s celibacy and bachelorism, the scene was not very peaceful. Zhuo Xiang Ming looked calm, but her attitude was very bad.
They parted on bad terms that day, then things were further ruined by a surprise blind date set up. After that, Zhuo Xiang Ming didn’t return home for a few months.
Even now, this was still a topic that couldn’t be directly mentioned.
Zhuo Xiang Ming smiled at her again, and Lin Yue Hua pursed her lips, saying: “I know the child is still young, but this isn’t … I just think that it’s not easy to meet someone you like, mom’s just afraid …”
She was emotionally unstable while taking the medicine — energetic, anxious one moment, angry the next, then wanting to cry soon after. Generally, Zhuo ZhengDe, who was unanimously recognized as having the lowest EQ in the family, actually responded to this scene the most.
Zhuo Xiang Ming got up and opened his mouth, but he didn’t know what to say. Zhuo ZhengDe came over and patted her shoulder, saying in a loud voice: “I think that boy looks good. Our oldest is indeed a lot older than him, but it looks like he’s dead-set on Xiang Ming. He follows him around like a baby duck, can he do without him? What are you worried about?”
He always made people feel inexplicably uncomfortable when he spoke. Lin Yue Hua wiped her tears, finding it both funny and annoying: “Shut up.”
”Okay, you go up and take a rest, you should also get a massage later.”
Lin Yue Hua went upstairs, leaving Zhuo ZhengDe and Zhuo Xiang Ming in the living room.
The two of them were even more silent.
After a while, Zhuo ZhengDe took out a folder and handed it to Zhuo Xiang Ming.
After flipping through it, Zhuo Xiang Ming understood. This was another young unrecognized artist he’d met.
When Zhuo ZhengDe was younger, he was always like this. His own talent in painting wasn’t good, so when he saw someone who was talented, his naivety was ridiculous. He always wanted to help in every possible way. He didn’t think much, but behind him was the Zhuo Clan Consortium. Those who were helped either had their own thoughts, or outsiders seemed to have thoughts about them, resulting in a steady stream of rumors about female students.
With so many sex scandals, even the parties involved started thinking it was true. There were a few girls who really thought that they would become Mrs. Zhuo. One claimed to be pregnant, and another cried to reporters every day. Zhuo Clan’s only heir had a bitter love with himself that was not acknowledged by the Zhuo elders.
At that time, Lin Yue Hua had just married him, how could she put up with this? They fought noisily, and were certainly going to divorce.
Now, he doesn’t touch these things himself, but after making Zhuo Xiang Ming help him once, he found that Zhuo Xiang Ming was pretty efficient, so every time, he simply confidently let Zhuo Xiang Ming handle it.
But it was just a matter of supporting someone with money, a little means wouldn’t turn into what Zhuo ZhengDe did before. Zhuo Xiang Ming also wouldn’t be very inconvenienced, and sending someone to take care of it was faster than trying to reject Zhuo ZhengDe, so he accepted the task every time.
”Don’t let your mother know.” Zhuo ZhengDe rubbed his hands.
Zhuo Xiang Ming wasn’t interested, closing the folder after a glance: “I know.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming read report forms for a while, when Tong Yan called, it was already ten o’clock, not too late, but it was definitely not early.
He picked up Tong Yan at Zhuo Xing Plaza, Tong Yang stood by to watch their car leave.
Tong Yan’s face was flushed, Zhuo Xiang Ming didn’t see him for almost a whole night, so he always wanted to turn to look at him, “Is it cold outside?”
Tong Yan: “It’s cold, but I didn’t stay outside.”
He covered his face with his hand: “This is hot. I went to see the prehistoric park, I ran all around. It’s so much fun. Let’s go together next time.”
”Okay.” After chatting a bit, Zhuo Xiang Ming still couldn’t hold back. He reached out an index finger and pressed it on Tong Yan’s lips, then quickly took it away, “Do you have a lot of homework?”
Tong Yan didn’t have time to feel shy before he received a death notice: “A lot! Today is especially a lot!”
”Don’t worry.” Zhuo Xiang Ming glanced at the dashboard, “We’ll get back in twenty minutes, there’s still time.”
But they couldn’t get back in twenty minutes—they unluckily met a chain of rear-end collisions when they were halfway home. The cold weather made the road slippery, it was classified as a serious accident, the front and rear ring roads were closed. Trapped in the mess, when they finally got home, it was five past 12.
Tong Yan slept in the car for a while, after taking a quick bath, he changed into pajamas and started his homework.
As he wrote it, he thought about how to answer if the teacher asked for the submission time tomorrow. Tong Yan didn’t have time to be anxious, just bowing his head to answer the problems.
But when only half of the math paper was done, it was already 1 o’clock. Zhuo Xiang Ming was waiting by the side, seeing Tong Yan blinking sleepily, rubbing his eyes alternately, he couldn’t bear it any longer, getting up to hold his writing hand: “Leave it, go to sleep.”
Tong Yan: “But I’m not done yet. I still have a paper for Chinese and English, a physics summary, chemistry …”
”I’ll help you write it.” Zhuo Xiang Ming pulled him up from the chair, “I’ve learned your handwriting, the teacher won’t notice a difference.”
”Can you?” Tong Yan had never done that before, he’d never even copied someone else’s homework, let alone have others do his homework, “But you’re also tired.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “I can rest any time, but you have to go to school tomorrow.”
Tong Yan hesitated: “Still …”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “You’re wasting time, or do you want me to carry you again?”
Tong Yan blushed: “I wasn’t thinking about that.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming placed his hands on the edge of the table, trapping Tong Yan between himself and the desk, then bowed his head, “You weren’t thinking about it, but how about now?”
Tong Yan was originally very sleepy, but now it seemed that he wasn’t that sleepy anymore. He hugged Zhuo Xiang Ming’s waist, moving closer to bring their faces together: “Guess?”
Tong Yan had just taken a shower, and hadn’t put on an isolation patch, the scent of his shower gel was covered up by pheromones. Mixed with the warm steam, it was particularly sweet.
Zhuo Xiang Ming also wanted to be intimate with him, but it was truly late, there wasn’t even enough time to flirt. He kissed the corner of Tong Yan’s mouth, and carried him back to the bedroom.
The bedroom lights were still off, Zhuo Xiang Ming put him down on the bed, and Tong Yan dove into his quilt.
But when his nerves started relaxing, he realized that Zhuo Xiang Ming hadn’t gotten up, instead, he pressed part of his body weight on him, his lips slowly exploring his face.
The two had been intimate many times, Tong Yan didn’t get shy as easily. Besides, the room was pitch dark, so his courage was also quite big. Not realizing the danger, he puckered his lips in response to Zhuo Xiang Ming.
Zhuo Xiang Ming held Tong Yan’s face in a fixed position, teasing around it for a few moments before kissing his mouth. First, the kiss was very gentle, lightly nibbling and sucking on Tong Yan’s lower lip. It remained very tender, until Tong Yan couldn’t hold back his moans, which seemed to flip a switch in Zhuo Xiang Ming. He fiercely stuck in his tongue, after a while, the quilt separating the two was also ripped open by him, and his hand dug into Tong Yan’s loose pajamas.
Tong Yan was rendered breathless by his kiss, and underneath was also messy, it took a long time to separate, both of them panting.
Tong Yan’s eyes were filled with tears, and his face was pressed against Zhuo Xiang Ming’s neck hollow. He accused: “You wolf, who dares let you carry them next time?”
”Who would help you write your homework for free? I can’t get some benefits?” Zhuo Xiang Ming pulled the quilt up again, covering up the reaction of that place that rose early in the morning, his voice so hoarse that Tong Yan felt a little afraid, “Besides, I won’t carry just anyone, only you.”
”I won’t let you carry me!” Tong Yan was still panting, the exhaled heat hit Zhuo Xiang Ming’s chin and neck. His breath was filled with the scent of sweet pheromones, making the alpha’s forehead veins jump.
Zhuo Xiang Ming’s hold on his waist tightened, he bowed his head to bump foreheads, asking both fiercely and urgently: “If I can’t carry you, the who do you want to carry you?”
Tong Yan was really on the verge of crying, not wanting to let him write his homework anymore, he persistently pushed him away: “I won’t let anyone do it.”
”No good.” Zhuo Xiang Ming took a deep breath on his neck, temporarily crazy enough, he got up and covered Tong Yan with the quilt, “Sleep.”
Tong Yan hummed, but before Zhuo Xiang Ming could leave, he grabbed Zhuo Xiang Ming’s hand again.
”Do you love me?” Zhuo Xiang Ming squeezed his soft fingers.
Tong Yan whispered in a tearful voice: “I love you.”
kill the donkey when the grinding is done- to get rid of sb once he has ceased to be useful
but her attitude- the raw says “but at least her attitude was very bad”. The ‘at least’ made no sense, so I removed it
naivety-再兼天真- It says re-double naivety, not sure what it means
Zhuo Clan’s only heir had a bitter love with himself etc..- 卓氏唯一继承人跟自己不被卓家长辈承认的苦恋, unsure of translation
a little means wouldn’t turn etc..- 有点手段就不至于弄成卓正德那样 unsure of translation
wolf- 沒安好心, lit. not have good intentions, which is short for 黃鼠狼給雞拜年——沒安好心, “The weasel pays the chicken a courtesy call on New Year’s Day ― he does not have good intentions!”, which is equivalent to the English saying, ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, which I shortened to ‘wolf’. Phew!
Never trust an alpha TongTong