Fu Yangxi threw the key to his follower and the motorcycle was driven back.
The group sat down in the warm barbeque shop.
Mingxi and Jiang Xiuqiu asked at the same time. Both of them were surprised and immediately made an expression of understanding after the questions.
Fu Yangxi stared at Zhao Mingxi, then at Jiang Xiuqiu, and finally at Ke Chengwen who had brought Jiang Xiuqiu over. His fists were almost clenched hard.
Ke Chengwen panicked and motioned with his eyes, ‘He contacted me and told me that he wanted to come. I didn't go out of my way to bring him over’. Fu Yangxi then glared back with his eyes, ‘You couldn’t have just refused?’. The expression in Ke Chengwen's eyes got even more bitter. ‘Isn't he your childhood friend? How could I refuse?’
After several rounds of glaring, Fu Yangxi's short red hair was blown by the night wind and it made him look like a hedgehog. Because of this, a further layer of frost formed on his face. He flipped through the menu and was acting very annoying, "What do you mean ‘it’s you’, Little Mask? Have you and Jiang Xiuqiu known each other since a long time ago?”
Mingxi explained, "I wouldn’t consider us as knowing each other. I merely took the cello exam at the Palace of Literature and Art for him more than half a month ago. He was the one with the nickname ‘Handsome J’.”
The price was 8,000 yuan. She was wondering who could be such a huge spender. Turns out he is Fu Yangxi's wealthy friend.
Now that Mingxi thought about it, no wonder the small tender seedlings were growing so fast in those few days. It was most likely that there was an increase due to this matter.
Fu Yangxi pulled a long face, "Then you two have added each other on WeChat?"
Mingxi answered, “Yes.”
She was sitting for his exams on his behalf. How else were they to maintain contact without WeChat?
Fu Yangxi started to feel jealous over what was going on and teased, “Isn’t it such a coincidence then?”
Mingxi said, “Yes.”
Fu Yangxi: “...”
Fu Yangxi only felt that the wound on the corner of his mouth was hurting really badly!
While wiping the chopsticks, Jiang Xiuqiu looked at Fu Yangxi with a smile. Then, he said to Zhao Mingxi, "But it’s different for me. My knowledge of you came from—"
Before he could finish speaking, Fu Yangxi stuffed a piece of cantaloupe in his mouth from across the table. Fu Yangxi was agitated. "You are such a loud mouth and a busybody. I’m warning you, don’t talk nonsense. Eat your fruit!”
Jiang Xiuqiu continued to smile, as if he had a bargaining chip used to threaten Fu Yangxi.
Looking at Jiang Xiuqiu's meaningful smile, Mingxi wondered if Fu Yangxi was saying bad things behind her back— It was probably when she had just changed classes and tried every means possible to be desk mates with him. He hated her the most back then.
He Yang couldn't understand what they were talking about, so she broke the deadlock, "The meat is here!"
Mingxi stood up on her own, took the dish from the waiter, and placed it on the table. Seeing the large number of people in the store and the lack of waiters, she subconsciously asked for an apron to wear and said, "You guys go ahead and eat. I am good at barbecuing, so I will cook them for you first."
Fu Yangxi had never cooked meat before, but seeing how natural it was for Zhao Mingxi to take the tongs and cook, he felt uncomfortable.
He stood up and grabbed the tongs in Zhao Mingxi's hand. Using his height advantage, he took off the apron she put on from behind. "Sit down."
Mingxi’s vision was blocked by the apron. By the time she could see again, she was already pushed into the seat by Fu Yangxi.
She was stunned. “You’ll do it?”
Several people looked at Fu Yangxi in surprise.
Jiang Xiuqiu cupped his face in his hands. He gave Zhao Mingxi a few extra glances, narrowed his smile, and noted to himself that something interesting was going on.
"Why? Are you looking down on me?" Fu Yangxi said. "Do you think I can’t cook? You’re obviously trying to provoke me.”
“I wouldn't dare.” Mingxi held back a smile.
Fu Yangxi and Mingxi changed positions. He sat on the outside, cut the meat into several pieces with a pair of scissors, and threw them in in a hurry.
After a while, there was the smell of something burning, and the oil was crackling.
The meat in his hands was as if it was particularly inflexible. It almost flew out.
A waiter nearby looked anxious. He was afraid that the boy with the hedgehog-like red hair would burn down their restaurant. He moved away from a table of people and quickly walked over. "Let me help you."
Fu Yangxi let go of the tongs in a jealous manner.
"Who wants to eat these pieces?" The waiter referred to the pieces of barbecue that were roasted so thoroughly and so dark that even their parents would not be able to recognize them.
Fu Yangxi looked at Jiang Xiuqiu. Jiang Xiuqiu looked away.
Fu Yangxi looked at Ke Chengwen. Ke Chengwen coughed and looked out the window. "The moonlight sure is beautiful."
Seeing that no one wanted it, Fu Yangxi's expression became dull and bleak, "Give it to me."
"I want a few pieces too." Mingxi couldn't bear to see no one supporting him, so she handed her plate over.
Fu Yangxi snorted and tugged down the corners of his mouth despite the fact that he actually felt really happy about it.
However, in the next second, he dumped the charred barbecue on both him and Mingxi’s plates into the trash can.
It’s better to not eat it if it's burnt.
When they finally started to eat the barbecue, Mingxi stared at Jiang Xiuqiu on the opposite side, and started to hit on Jiang Xiuqiu. She said, “Employer, let’s shake hands. If you have similar jobs in the future, feel free to find me..”
She originally thought that Fu Yangxi's friend would be as difficult to deal with as Fu Yangxi is, but to her surprise, Jiang Xiuqiu had a very good temper. He smiled and stretched out his hand. "No problem."
Mingxi was excited. She immediately wiped her hands on her clothes and shook his hands.
Fu Yangxi who was still eating barbecue and had no time to stop them: “...”
As soon as Mingxi touched Jiang Xiuqiu, the young seedling in the flower pot immediately moved.
One and a half buds have grown!
Although there were not as many young buds as when she touched Fu Yangxi for the first time, it was still enough to make her happy!
Mingxi was motivated. She chewed on a piece of barbecue and asked, “Jiang Xiuqiu, did you not come to school for almost a month because you fell ill? There should be a lot of papers on your desk, do you need someone to help you organize it? Do you need someone to run errands for you as well?”
Ke Chengwen silently looked at Fu Yangxi's face which was turning green: “...”
Before Jiang Xiuqiu could speak, Fu Yangxi pulled Mingxi's body over, clasped her shoulders with both his hands, and glared at her angrily—
"What, what's the matter?" Mingxi was confused.
Fu Yangxi pulled a long face as he gave her a fierce glare. After holding back for a long time, he forced out a question, "Are you my follower or his follower?"
Mingxi swallowed the barbecued meat. "Can't I be both of your followers?”
Is there any professional competition for being the boss?
"No!" Fu Yangxi was anxious and depraved— He wondered if Little Mask really didn’t get it or if she was faking it. Does the word ‘follower’ really mean ‘follower’? Does she want him to take the initiative to pierce through the veil covering the word?
Mingxi asked, “Why not?”
Fu Yangxi flushed red. He said angrily, “One mountain cannot accommodate two tigers, okay?”
Jiang Xiuqiu laughed and coughed violently beside him. He drank a mouthful of water and sighed. "What can I do? My personality and charm is simply unstoppable."
There was a layer of goosebumps on Mingxi's body. She thought, between 6% and 2%, she would definitely choose Fu Yangxi's 6%.
"Then I will choose to be your follower."
The tip of Fu Yangxi's ears flushed red. He felt relieved. He let go of Mingxi's shoulders, and gave Mingxi a few pieces of meat in a boss-like manner.
Mingxi said, “Thanks.”
“No problem.” Fu Yangxi triumphantly dusted off the non-existent dust on his body. He raised his eyebrows as he looked at Jiang Xiuqiu, his gaze domineering and cool. “It seems like my personality is the more attractive one.”
Ke Chengwen and He Yang: “...”
Very good, two layers of goosebumps. Little Mask is clenching her fist. More attractive my ass.
The barbeque restaurant was steaming hot, and the aroma of meat and condiments overflowed. Mingxi felt very warm. Seeing this group of young people playing in front of her, her heart was also warm.
Some things grew silently to make up for the empty corners of her heart.
Midway through their meal, the waiter brought some fruit wine. No one noticed that Mingxi had also drunk two glasses.
By the time Fu Yangxi found that something was wrong with her, he hurriedly stopped her, but she had already drunk three glasses.
Mingxi started to feel dizzy, and the moon outside the window became blurry.
Fu Yangxi shook her.
But Fu Yangxi was starting to become two Fu Yangxi.
She turned her head, and the yellowish-green glass window frame behind her turned into two.
Mingxi was leaning her head on her hand. Her beautiful face was flushed, her eyelashes smeared with mist, and her eyes fell involuntarily to the side of the street. There was a grandmother and grandchild selling bright red tanghulu in the cold wind.
The granddaughter was saying something coquettishly. She pulled her grandmother’s sleeves and kept on swinging it. Ultimately, her grandmother couldn't bear it any longer and took out a tanghulu before handing it to her granddaughter.
When the grandmother turned, she had a kind and peaceful smile on her face. She rubbed her granddaughter's head with her dirty hands.
Mingxi stared blankly. Suddenly, she couldn't keep her emotions in anymore. Her nose felt sour and the whites of her eyes were turning red at the corners. All the feelings she had accumulated after she was reborn and found out that her grandmother had passed away poured out in an instant.
Tears flowed down uncontrollably.
"My grandma." Mingxi cried out, with a hoarse tone in her voice, "My grandma left me thousands of dollars before she died!"
Everyone at the table looked at her.
"Oh no, Zhao Mingxi can't drink. She’ll get drunk even with a bit of alcohol in her system." He Yang just remembered. She herself was a little dizzy as well.
Fu Yangxi quickly got up and pulled Mingxi over to him. He frowned at He Yang. "Why didn't you say so earlier?"
Mingxi hugged Fu Yangxi like she was holding a telephone pole as she cried.
She couldn’t even see her grandmother one last time.
When she left Tongcheng, her grandmother was uneasy, but she was full of expectations and yearning. She also said to her grandmother that once she got the Zhao family's love, she would pick up her grandmother and bring her there some time later. Then, when she is admitted to a good university and lands a job, she can provide for her grandmother.
However, not long after she arrived at the Zhao family home, two days before and after her birthday, she continuously called her grandmother but no one answered the phone. By the time she noticed that something was wrong, she received a call from the town.
They said that after she left, her grandmother went to deliver some goods on her own. She was accidentally trapped by the heavy rain and slid down the mountain because of the ailment in her legs. She passed away that night.
The people in the town were kind. They could not bear to call her to inform her until the funeral had been held for her grandmother.
Because of the late discovery, and the medical condition in the town was not so good, they did not even know the exact time when her grandmother had passed away.
At that time, Mingxi was completely stunned.
She rushed back to Tongcheng.
She was silent in the cold mourning hall, crying until she went numb.
She even said that she wanted to help her grandmother live a good life, but in the end it was her grandmother who left her with a worn red cloth bag which contained the tuition fees that her grandmother had saved from not treating her years of painful leg ailments.
It was as if someone flipped a switch in Mingxi, droplets of tears were falling continuously. The tip of her nose had turned red from crying.
She wiped her face messily with her hands.
With hot pepper on her hands, her eyes felt hotter the more she wiped it, and the tears flowed even more violently.
Fu Yangxi hurriedly grabbed the tissue on the table and wiped the tears from her face.
Fu Yangxi had never really seen Zhao Mingxi cry like this where she looked as if she was at the point of collapse. He felt a tightness in his heart and turned to ask He Yang, “Who is her grandma? Where does she live? What is the address? Send it to me.”
"She has already passed away." He Yang looked at Mingxi sadly. "She— Forget it, it should be okay to say these things."
He Yang skipped some of the Zhao family's biological daughters and non-biological matters, and only told Fu Yangxi and the others about how Mingxi had lived in Tongcheng in the North and returned to the Zhao family at the age of fifteen.
The more Fu Yangxi listened, the deeper his frown.
Ke Chengwen looked at Mingxi with mixed emotions. "This is so unexpected."
In fact, looking at Zhao Mingxi's outstanding temperament, he thought that she was raised like a spoiled princess. But if one were to really think about it, it wouldn’t be hard to realize that how could a spoiled person be able to barbecue meat and cook so well?
Mingxi's body was light and fluttering. It was as if her brain was filled with water. She was swaying, but she could hear their conversation faintly. She suddenly cried out sadly again. Grabbing the person in front of her, she banged her forehead upwards and wallowed, "She’s dead. She’s dead because of me."
Fu Yangxi: “...”
As to what the others said after that, Mingxi could no longer hear them clearly. Even if she did hear it, her mind was slow in processing it. She was unable to identify what they were talking about.
She was immersed in a huge and sorrowful dream, as if she had returned to that day in the funeral hall in her previous life.
ray's note: this was one of the chapters that made me cry really hard, and it was difficult to translate as well. the elderly are truly my weakness (T⌓T) as always, hope you enjoyed the chapter!