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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Li Xiu!” Lao Liu – who was trailing behind Li Xiu – shouted. “What if your condition acts up?”
“It won’t. It’ll only be for a while.” Li Xiu gave his definitive answer to Lao Liu, with all due respect.
“If it’s inconvenient, I’ll just go back home by myself,” Xu Lan replied embarrassedly after noticing Lao Liu’s apologetic glances at Li Xiu and a loathing look toward Xu Lan.
Seeing that Xu Lan was about to walk away, Li Xiu immediately held him and said, “No no, it won’t. Follow us, Brother Lan.”
In the end, Lao Liu had no choice but to compromise and drive both of them home.
Back at Xu Lan’s place, Bai Wu did not dare to sleep, so his only recourse was to watch television in the living room. Earlier on, the old-aged landlord found it hard to keep himself up, therefore he went to sleep in the next door room. There was only the sound of the television in the living room by now, in addition to Bai Wu’s hushed sobbing.
The boy could vaguely remember his own transformation from earlier in the day. Xu Lan would certainly not have been too happy with Bai Wu’s real state, otherwise, the man would not have treated Bai Wu so coldly.
Bai Wu sank deeper and deeper into sadness as he thought about it more. His tears flowed out like the steady unending stream of a clear spring. His eyesight became blurry, and he had no idea what was on the television. He could only see Xu Lan throwing him away.
“Bai Wu? Bai Wu?”
“Little buddy, aren’t you home?” Frantic shouts came out of Xu Lan’s mouth while the man banged against the door.
As Xu Lan’s voice reached Bai Wu’s ears, the boy cried even more violently. He continuously wailed and shouted for Xu Lan not to discard him.
“Brother Lan, what’s wrong? Isn’t the child at home?” Li Xiu stopped looking at Lao Liu’s hand and asked worriedly.
When Bai Wu heard Li Xiu’s voice, he immediately snapped out of it.
“…maybe he’s asleep, never mind then. You guys should go home. Thank you,” Xu Lan paused and said. His sentences seemed to be an explanation, and an attempt to comfort himself.
“I –” There was something that Li Xiu wanted to say, but he was suddenly interrupted.
Standing at the entrance of the landlord’s room, Bai Wu hugged a bolster and called out while choking in between sobs.
Xu Lan caught a glimpse of the little boy’s tearstained cheek and immediately felt alarmed. The distressed man quickly walked over and embraced the boy.
“Since the child’s been found, let’s go home, Xiao Xiu,” Lao Liu said as he glanced at his watch.
“Ah, I thought Brother Lan would be inviting us in for a cup of tea, but the child’s here, so we should get going.” Ignoring Lao Liu, Li Xiu smiled when he saw Xu Lan carry the boy and walk over.
“Thank you, Xiao Xiu, for sending me home. It’s so late already and here I am troubling you, I’m so sorry about that. I’ll be sure to treat you both to a meal next time. Thanks again,” Xu Lan expressed.
“Little guy, do you still remember me? From this afternoon –”
“I don’t remember you! I wanna sleep!” came Bai Wu’s angry reply, cutting off Li Xiu’s sentence. The boy then buried his head in Xu Lan’s chest.
“Don’t be so rude. Greet him,” Xu Lan lifted the boy up and said sternly. He was absolutely shocked at Bai Wu’s attitude.
“…” Bai Wu continued to bury his head deeper into the man’s chest as if signifying that he could care less about Li Xiu.
“Never mind, the boy woke up on the wrong side of the bed. In that case, Brother Lan, we’ll be off. See you later in the afternoon.” With a fleeting smile, Li Xiu followed Lao Liu down the stairs.
“Alright,” Xu Lan replied, “see you later.”
After Li Xiu had left, he opened the door and the boy continued crying. Xu Lan wanted to put him down and take a look at him, but he vehemently clung to the man, since he was unwilling to be seen in such a state.
“Why weren’t you at home?” Hugging the boy was all that Xu Lan could do.
“Papa wasn’t here and I was scared,” came the boy’s muffled response.
“Ay, let go of me, I need to take a bath,” the beaten and helpless Xu Lan replied.
It was only then did Bai Wu let go of Xu Lan. The boy looked up at Xu Lan’s stubbly chin and exclaimed, “I want to bathe too.”
Of course, Bai Wu did not really want to take a bath. On the contrary, he simply did not want to part with Xu Lan. That sentence, however, gave Xu Lan a shock, and the man looked as though he was frozen stiff by the cold air outside.
“No, you’re not bathing. I’ll take a quick one. If you suddenly transformed into the bathroom, I won’t have any room to stand.”
What Xu Lan said was the truth. The scene that occurred earlier that afternoon played in his mind. If he was not holding the boy at that time, he would have had nowhere to stand.
“…did I transform again? Did I look even more hideous than before?” Bai Wu lifted his head up to catch a rapid glimpse of Xu Lan, then instantly looked down again. He bit his lip tightly to prevent sobs from escaping his mouth.
Xu Lan frowned and curiously asked, “You don’t remember anything from this afternoon?”
With a dumbfounded look, Bai Wu wanted to enquire about the events that happened, but in his tearful state, he nervously shook his head.
That whole night, Xu Lan had carried his heart on his shoulders. Finally, he could breathe a sigh of relief and silently utter ‘Bless the merciful Buddha’ in his heart. All throughout the night, he had no idea how to face the child! Of all things, his dirty brain had caused him to teach all kinds of lewd stuff to the boy.
If he was in Bai Wu’s shoes, the embarrassment would probably have killed him. What the hell was he thinking at the time? To think that he would ask the kid to do such a thing!
Shame and uneasiness plagued him throughout the night; he dreaded to imagine a scenario where he left the prim and proper kid with psychological trauma. As a result, when Bai Wu made the phone call, Xu Lan lashed out frantically at the boy and hastily cut the call short.
Relieved, Xu Lan’s tone of voice relaxed a bit more and he gently said, “Never mind then. I’ll be taking a bath first. You go ahead and sleep, I’ll be quick.”
Under the man’s gaze, Bai Wu slowly climbed up the bed and crept into the blankets. A pair of eyes remained uncovered by the blanket as the boy stared at Xu Lan.
“Okay. I’ll wait for Papa.”
Xu Lan knowingly smiled. He began to realize, more so than before, that the kid’s presence in the home was extremely heart-warming. He wished that the boy would grow up as slowly as possible so they could spend more time together.
As he thought of all that, Xu Lan felt as though the case at hand was a heavy burden, resulting in him being unable to properly keep the boy company. Unbeknownst to him, those thoughts caused him to bathe a little faster.
When he stepped out of the bathroom, Bai Wu was already asleep, and nothing out of the ordinary was present in the surroundings.
Xu Lan sat on the bed and looked at the dreaming boy. With cheeks that were cute no matter how you looked at them, Xu Lan could not resist giving them a pinch.
“Hm? Papa’s done bathing?” Bai Wu struggled to keep his eyes open.
“Mm – here.”
The boy hazily shifted into position and curled himself up into a ball. That way, he would fit just perfectly into Xu Lan’s embrace. Looking at Bai Wu trying to fight back the sleepiness, as well as his clumsy movements, Xu Lan let out a laugh.
“Papa, don’t laugh. I want a kiss,” Bai Wu said meekly. Xu Lan’s laughter made the boy feel somewhat displeased.
“Okay, okay, okay. I won’t laugh. I want a kiss.” Xu Lan pulled the towel off his head and bent down to kiss Bai Wu on the forehead.
“Mm, I want another one.” The dazed boy opened his eyes and grasped Xu Lan.
“Huh?” Xu Lan’s curled lips and slightly raised voice was a signal of his suspiciousness.
“The people on TV don’t kiss like this, Papa.” Bai Wu said, with a voice containing hints of disappointment and longing.
“How do they kiss then?”
There was no television in Xu Lan’s home, and furthermore, the boy had always been happy when Xu Lan kissed him on the forehead. Why then, was the forehead kiss not enough now?
“First, you must close your eyes, Papa.” Bai Wu was suddenly in good spirits, and he immediately trampled over the blanket and got up.
“Mm.” Xu Lan followed those instructions.
If only he were a bit more up to the times instead of being so devoted to studying the case; if only he watched some television dramas, then he would know. He would realize that it was he himself who caused things to end up like that because it was he who indulged and pampered the child.
Bai Wu stood right in front of Xu Lan’s face and lightly pressed his lips against the man’s.
“Papa, I love you.”
The shock led Xu Lan to abruptly push Bai Wu away. With a flushed face, he embarrassedly asked, “Who taught you that?!”
“Papa, I…I watched TV at the grandpa’s place. The people on the TV did that. They said that if I did this, you wouldn’t be able to abandon me. I…” At first, Bai Wu’s face was pale from the fright, but it soon turned red, and he continuously rubbed his palms.
“…don’t watch so much TV next time! They teach all kinds of nonsense!”
“O-okay.” Bai Wu remained motionless and stared uneasily at Xu Lan.
When Xu Lan stood up, he – being a naturally well-built man – towered over Bai Wu and caused the boy to tremble under his shadow.
Sighing, he said, “I’ll ask Xiao Li to watch over you next time.” He unnervingly switched off the light and laid back down on the bed.
After some time had passed, Bai Wu slowly walked over and squeezed himself into Xu Lan’s embrace.
“Papa, don’t be angry. I won’t watch TV next time, I’ll listen to Papa,” Bai Wu stated sweetly.
“Mm. You’re a good boy if you listen to me. Let’s sleep. Papa’s tired.” As if a sleeping spell was cast over him, Xu Lan eyelids could not bear to open after his body had laid down.
Sometime later, Bai Wu bashfully asked, “If it’s not right, then why did they teach us that?”
“There’s nothing right or wrong about it. When you’re older you’ll know. That is something that can only be done by two people who love each other.” Now it was Xu Lan who responded hazily.
“But I love Papa and Papa loves me. Why can’t we do it? Does Papa actually hate me?” Within Xu Lan’s embrace, the boy wept.
Hearing no answer, Bai Wu asked again, “Papa, do you hate me?”
“Hm? Of course, Papa loves you. Go to sleep precious one, it’s late.” Xu Lan reached a point where his mind could not think at all. He responded only when Bai Wu shook him.
“Mm, good night Papa.”
Seizing Xu Lan’s muddled and deathly-tired state, Bai Wu kissed the man once more, but this time he did not dare to kiss Xu Lan on the lips; instead, he lightly gave Xu Lan’s lower jaw a peck. Satisfied, he hugged Xu Lan and drifted to sleep.
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