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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The young boy’s table manners simply left Xu Lan heartbroken. For a child to understand such things at a young age, what kind of experience must he have gone through to be like this?
“Papa, you’re not eating?” asked the greasy-lipped boy.
“I’m full. Eat slowly okay? No one’s gonna take it from you,” Xu Lan said absent-mindedly as he sipped a mouthful of tea. He did not expect that the child would put down his chopsticks lightly and sit on the stool quietly.
“Why aren’t you eating? Are you full?”
“If Papa’s not eating, I’m not eating.” With tearful, reddened, and gleaming eyes, the boy fixated his gaze on Xu Lan. The man had no choice but to accompany the boy and have some Dim sum, only stopping once the boy had placed his chopsticks down.
They say the Yellow Calendar 1 would never be wrong if you looked at it before going out, but as a matter of fact, when Xu Lan went to pay for the meal, he unexpectedly met with his dream girl: Song Xi. The day before, she had just rejected him, and a day later, he somehow found himself in front of her. He looked just like a stalker, and cursed at not being able to slip through the cracks.
“Xu Lan?” As if nothing had happened between them, Song Xi greeted him with her rippling voice.
“Hey…” Recalling the unreal dream he had that morning, Xu Lan felt as though his face was getting flushed with bashfulness. He dared not turn his head to look at her.
Song Xi was a famous civil lawyer from Whitehorse. She was tall, fair, pretty, and had a good temper. Everyone wanted to be her ‘ black knight 2 ‘; Xu Lan was merely one out of many.
“Papa!” the naïve little boy called out. He was clueless as to why his glowingly-spirited Papa suddenly became so dispirited all of a sudden.
“Mm… Mm…” Xu Lan suddenly lifted his head and saw Song Xi looking at him in the most inconceivable manner. “Uh, Song Xi, it’s not what you think. I-”
Before he could finish, a tall man walked over to Song Xi and worriedly asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, I just bumped into an old friend, let’s go.” She shook her head and urged the man to leave. Just like needles pricking on his body, the expression hurt Xu Lan. He did not even manage to notice the vigilant eyes of Song Xi’s man.
“Papa, did I do something wrong?” the little guy timidly asked.
Looking up at him with eyes so red and ready to burst into tears anytime, how could Xu Lan have the heart to blame the small child?
How could he blame the boy for being homeless, when it was Xu Lan himself that brought the child home? As for the boy constantly calling him ‘Papa’, how could Xu Lan blame the kid when it was Xu Lan himself who failed to curb that from the very beginning? The only person to blame was Xu Lan himself: he was nearing thirty years of age and still had not achieved anything. He lived his life as though he was a good-for-nothing!
“… It’s nothing. Let’s go.” There was something important to be taken care of that day: the paperwork regarding the child. It was a given fact that he could not just bring the boy home based on the one-sided story of what the boy had told him, he had to check if anyone had lodged a report. If there were none, then he would proceed with the adoption paperwork.
In the event that he was really a homeless boy, matters could be settled fairly easily, but with all the scars on Bai Wu’s body, perhaps it was a case of abuse. The boy might have had enough and ran away from home. If that were the case, then Xu Lan had to find out more details.
“Hey, Sergeant Xu! You’re here,” exclaimed the sharp-eyed and cheerful Xiao Zhang 3 .
Xiao Zhang and Wang Hao were both brought up at the same time by Xu Lan. At a young age, Xiao Zhang had received quite the attention of the leader. Still, he was a bit of a dimwit! Xu Lan was suspended and yet Xiao Zhang called out to him with such a loud tone, as if he was worried no one would know of his return. What would Meng Chengjun think of it if he heard it?
“You’re on duty today?”
Xu Lan inwardly face-palmed. Although he knew of Xiao Zhang’s character, he still did not readily accept it.
“Mm, it’s not like there’s anything going on right now. Plus the rest are all out. So, what’s up Sergeant Xu? Hey, who’s the boy? He’s adorable.” It was only when Xiao Zhang came out of the shift room did he spot Bai Wu. The former squatted down and lightly pinched the boy’s cheeks. Bai Wu did not look too pleased.
“I saved him from the river yesterday. I came here to check if anyone made a report.”
“WAAAAAAAA. Papa, you said you won’t throw me away! Why did you come here! I don’t wanna be here! WAAAAA! Papa…”
Bai Wu’s shouts startled Xiao Zhang so much so that the latter jumped up and stumbled a few steps before falling bottom-first onto the ground. “Sergeant Xu, he’s a screamer.”
Xu Lan sneered at Xiao Zhang and ignored his nonsense. The man carried Bai Wu up to his chest and started to softly comfort the boy. Oh, how the scene shocked Xiao Zhang, whose eyes opened so wide they appeared to almost pop out of their sockets!
Was it really the shrewd and experienced, swift and decisive Sergeant Xu that he knew?
“What are you doing! Didn’t I tell you to check the status of reports for the past two days?” Xu Lan shouted after spotting Xiao Zhang staring blankly at him.
“Ah, oh yes! I’ll do that right now.” He immediately rushed to it after being shouted at. While he was doing the searches, he mumbled to himself, “Now that’s the Sergeant Xu we know! Can’t believe a kid got him so engrossed.”
After quite some time, Xiao Zhang came out of the shift room with a calm mood and a glass of water. “We didn’t receive any missing child report since yesterday.”
“Hm.” Xu Lan took the glass and gave it to Bai Wu. At that moment, the child neither cried nor made noise; he simply sat quietly in Xu Lan’s embrace. He was pouting guiltily and his ruby-like eyes were covered by his long lashes.
“Xiao Zhang, any normal parent who loses their child would be worried sick. They’d hope for a quick reunion. It’s been more than twenty-four hours since I saved him, and yet no one lodged a police report? Doesn’t that seem odd to you?” Without waiting for a reply, Xu Lan continued, “Also, he’s said it himself that he has no parents, so I want to adopt him. Find out the procedures. Then I’ll go and deal with what’s necessary.”
Having heard all that, the tenseness in Bai Wu’s face started to fade and he gulped the water down.
“Sergeant Xu, you’re not in a relationship, are you?” Xiao Zhang mustered up the courage to ask. “I mean, sooner or later, with the child always at your side –”
“Quit your nonsense, didn’t I give you something to do?!” he screamed at Xiao Zhang, clearly unappreciative of the latter’s so-called ‘concern’. It was not like he never thought about it, but in his situation, who would take a liking to him? If any woman that he met could not understand the situation, Xu Lan would definitely be incompatible with them, so why should the child be blamed for it?
“Oh! Yes, I’ll get to it right away!” Xiao Zhang exclaimed as he dashed into the information room to do some research.
The might and dignity that Xu Lan accumulated throughout the years meant that the people under his wing looked up and revered him. Adding to that was a scrupulous abiding of self-discipline and his penchant for demanding strict compliance when handling matters. Even if the matter at hand was dealt with in a peaceful manner, people would still feel somewhat ruffled, what more if he suddenly berated a person in a similar manner as with Xiao Zhang?
“Sergeant Xu, how old are you? Here it says you have to be thirty, and you must have no children, and you have to have a certain amount of financial stability.”
“… Based on my identification card, it says I reached thirty, two months ago,” he hesitated for a moment before replying. For once he was rejoicing the fact that his own father could not remember his exact date of birth. He smiled grimly.
“Great. In that case, you should go back and gather up your stuff. Come back here next month. You know, it’s all so sudden, can’t believe Sergeant Xu has a son now.” Xiao Zhang looked at the both of them seated on the chair and sighed. Even he was not sure whether that sigh was meant for himself, or for Xu Lan.
“Right, I’ll be going now.” Xu Lan carried the boy and headed outside. It was then that Bai Wu flashed the very first smile since coming into that place.
On the way home, they stopped by the mall and got some new clothes, and then to the supermarket to buy some toiletries and foodstuff. Growing children require extra attention in terms of food and drinks, unlike adults.
He had originally planned to stop by IKEA and see if he could get a small bed, but he decided against it, recalling the young boy’s vigilance as well as everything that transpired the night before. He felt that it would be a waste to buy one. Fortunately, it was winter, but when summer came, Xu Lan might find himself unable to bear with it.
“Mm?” At that moment Xu Lan was holding many items in his hands, and so could not carry the boy; up until then, Bai Wu had been silently grasping at the edge of Xu Lan’s clothes.
“Papa, will you really take care of me?”
“Of course. Didn’t you see that today?” How could it have been fake when all the information was already at hand? After a few days, the confirmation would have been made, and once he went to the public security bureau and put a lid on that chapter, he would have a son. As soon as he thought about that, Xu Lan felt a feeling that was hard to explain.
“They never said it. Even if they did, they never really meant it,” said Bai Wu in a muffled voice.
“Heh, you already said ‘they’. Or are you regretting it and don’t want to call me Papa anymore?”
“No way!” Bai Wu hurriedly hung tight to Xu Lan and stared at him, as if he said something exceedingly disastrous.
“I’m kidding. Why are you still so worried?”
After a long silence and the boy’s apparent disinterest in continuing to walk, Xu Lan – who was carrying a handful of things – did not find it too convenient to look at the child, but he could not help himself and did so anyway. The boy was raising his head up and looking at Xu Lan while shedding tears. The boy’s round face was stained with tears, and still he was bit his lip, forcing himself to be quiet despite his lightly twitching body.
“Oh dear…” Xu Lan helplessly placed everything down and placed the boy on his shoulders, before once again carrying everything and continuing the journey. Having a soft heart was not always necessarily a good thing.
“I’ve gotten you shampoo, don’t tell me you want to wash my hair?” Since the boy rested his jaw on Xu Lan’s head, beads and beads of tears rolled down his cheek and into the man’s hair.
“Papa…thank you Papa…” Bai Wu’s almost lost his meek voice after crying so much, and when layered together, the voice had a sentimental quality to it, almost like a tantrum.
Momentarily, Xu Lan heart was filled with an unfathomable feeling; all of a sudden, he understood why so many men were willing to become slaves to their daughters. Even though the child he picked up was a boy, but when the tantrum came, he was no different than a girl. Worse, even.
In deciding to raise the child, Xu Lan knew for certain that his world would be turned upside down. If he called home right that moment, his old man would reproach him: the label of an ‘unfilial child’ would be hung over his head all the more prominently.
It was a good thing then, that Wang Hao did not have the time to send the cell phone over, and because of that, there was no rush to phone home and explain everything. Even so, was Xu Lan not prepared to accept all those changes?
He had the time to prepare and slowly get used to everything else, but it was the issue of sleep that he did not have any time to adjust. He just had to suffer and accept it. On that night, the boy wanted the same thing as the night before: to sleep on his chest!
“No! I can’t sleep like this!” Xu Lan firmly opposed it, for he only managed to fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning! Not just that, he even dreamt some really weird dreams, which, if not for them, would not have caused him to feel so ashamed toward Song Xi!
Furthermore, the dream was too real, so much so that it scared him. Especially the one where the dragon licked him. He almost puked from that.
“But, but… I’m scared,” Bai Wu said in a deadlocked manner while seated in front of Xu Lan.
With a softened voice, Xu Lan replied, “There’s nothing to be scared of. You’ll sleep beside me. This is my home, I won’t run away.” Then he patted the empty space on his left and hinted for the boy to come there.
Bai Wu thought about it for a moment, then crawled into the space of the bed closest to Xu Lan’s chest.
“There we go,” came the delighted response. Then Xu Lan reached to switch the lights off.
“Good night, Papa.” At that instant, the kid lifted his head and kissed Xu Lan’s lower jaw, startling the latter into suddenly flicking the switch. He thought, ‘Did I shave today? Did the boy find it painful?’
“Good night,” he replied. Looks like he would have to shave more carefully next time. He would not want the kid to have a bad impression. After thinking about it, he drifted into sleep. He planned to tell Bai Wu not to be so scared but forgot because of the tiredness.
He completely failed to notice a beam of light flash by his pitch-black house, as well as the appearance of a hole that looked like a ball of plasticine.
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