Chapter 36: A Really Sweet Chapter, Caution to the *Single Dogs.

                                  *(Internet slang) person who is neither married nor in a relationship (used self-deprecatingly)

“Mom, don’t worry. This year, my three roommates aren’t going home for winter vacation. They are going to celebrate in the house we rented, and it is very lively here.” Xia Chuan held the phone in one hand, his other rubbing his waist. His huge belly was very inconvenient, and because he had to stand for a while to make the phone call, his waist became sore.

Mother Xia’s loud voice coming from the phone could be heard meters away like he switched on speaker mode. Xia Chuan’s hand lost strength after holding the mobile phone for a while. So, he switched the mobile phone to his other hand and continued to listen to his mother chattering away. Behind his body, somebody’s hand quietly came in to grab his waist and started to massage the sore spot with just the right force.

“You guys must remember to eat something good for the New Year and wear more clothes when it’s cold… That’s all, I don’t have anything else to say. Your younger sister hasn’t seen you for a long time. Let her say a few words to you.” Xia Chuan touched his ear, turned hot from sticking close to the mobile phone. When he got closer to the phone’s speaker again, the phone had already been exchanged to Xia Xi’s hands, “Brother, Mom told me that you are not coming back home for the winter vacation this year. You wouldn’t come back to celebrate the New Year either?”

“Yes, the judicial examination will be held in the second half of this year. Many students are staying in the school for revision. I also wanted to take advantage of the holidays to take a good look at the books. ”

“Really, Brother?” His sister was so surprised that the tone of her voice changed, “Are you really this kind of a person? Who was the one who told me that it didn’t matter whether I passed the exam or not?”

“Ahem ahem ……” Xia Chuan unnaturally cleared his throat. This was indeed what he, a salted fish scholar, had always thought. Xia Xi was a bizarre girl. She had always been especially good at understanding him, so maybe she could see that staying in school for review was just an excuse for him not to go home. Worrying about covering up his lie, Su Ming reached out from behind his body to take away the phone. “Hello, Little Xi. This is Brother Su Ming. Do you remember me?”

Xia Chuan said that it would be strange if she didn’t remember him. The little yellow essay written by Xia Xi would still float in front of his eyes from time to time.

The voice on the phone sounded very excited, and it can be estimated that the creative inspiration has been stimulated now.

Su Ming greeted her, then exchanged a few words with her. He began to trick her by saying that Xia Chuan had decided to *turn over a new leaf, making a fresh start. After a while, he said that they were all helping Xia Chuan with tutoring. To finish it off, he also used the “How was Little Ki’s final exams” critical blow that quickly left a psychological shadow. It was visible to naked eyes from high schooler Xia Xi’s perspective. After saying a few perfunctory words, she quickly hung up the phone.

                                                                                *to reform and start afresh (idiom)

Next to him, Xia Chuan was also stunned by Su Ming, “You are really something. You didn’t even blink when you lied.”

“Then do you want to reward me? “Su Ming lowered his voice, and he could almost hear his magnetic voice resonating in his chest.

Soon enough, Su Ming got closer to him. His warm breath brushed past Xia Chuan’s cheeks, and the numbness spread quickly like a wildfire. With only a slight distance between the two, Su Ming suddenly stopped and looked at Xia Chuan with an urging gaze, as if Su Ming was waiting for something. Xia Chuan used to think that he was very thick-faced. But at this moment, his face and neck flushed. He then gathered all his courage and raised his mouth, gritting his teeth.

The two kissed at the same time. The kiss was both warm and cool. Although it was soft, it was very different from the imagined feeling.

Shang Yuzhong pulled out the hand that he had placed in between them. He wiped the back of his hand on his clothes, the hand that met with Su Ming, feeling disgusted. He dragged Xia Chuan away and asked aggrievedly: “My wife, can’t you see the *Hulunbuir Grassland that is growing on my head?” ”

                                                          *Hulunbuir prefecture-level city in Inner Mongolia

Xia Chuan:“……”

The flesh in his mouth was snatched away by a *harsh and unreasonable knife, and Su Ming’s complexion turned so gloomy that it could almost drip away.

                                         1. Refers to a third party forcibly taking away someone’s lover by all means.

During lunchtime, that matter was considered to be a thing of the past. It was just that Su Ming was still sulking.

On seeing that the weather was good today, Jiang Xuehang suggested taking Xia Chuan out for a stroll.

Just after the New Year, it was the time of *lesser cold. This was the coldest time of the year in City C. Unlike in the north of the country, City C’s cold weather was mixed with harsh dampness, both wet and cold. It was as if it didn’t matter how many clothes you wore, you still won’t be able to keep warm.

               *Lesser Cold, 23rd of the 24 solar terms 6th-19th January

Xia Chuan wore a down-filled jacket similar to the Michelin style, with an unusually long hem covering his knees. In front of the mirror, he carefully adjusted his clothes. His wide and fluffy coat made an excellent cover for his bloated belly. Even if someone noticed his abnormal body shape, at best, they would just think that he had a beer belly at such a young age.

Jiang Xuehang entered his room. He examined his clothes and nodded in satisfaction. Then, he took out a few hand warmers, “Put this on too, it’s cold outside.”

Xia Chuan was almost sweating from all his clothes. When he saw the hand warmers with pictures of kangaroos on them, he waved his hands without thinking and involuntarily said, “ If I am cold, won’t you warm me up?”

As soon as this came out of his mouth, he found it to be a bit fishy. The boy who was standing next to him started blushing. The innocent hand warmer was thrown into the trash can, and the blushing person immediately rushed forward and started to kiss him and hug him.

When Jiang Xuehang finally finished kissing to his heart’s content, their lips separated with an exaggerated “boing.” 

Jiang Xuehang thoughtfully rearranged the messed-up clothes. Xia Chuan calmed his chaotic breathing, gave himself a slap in the face, and vowed never to talk nonsense again.

After dilly-dallying for a long time, the four of them finally left the door.

It was indeed a midwinter scene outside. The sky was gloomy, bare tree branches were everywhere, and the rainwater on the road had not disappeared for a long time. As soon as the cold winds blew, the pedestrians on the road wrapped the clothes around them tighter. Then, they hurried on. Xia Chuan inexplicably shrunk his hands into his sleeve, and the person on his right immediately grasped his cold hand, warming his cold fingertips with his warmth.

Seeing Jiang Xuehang’s palm clasping Xia Chuan’s right hand, Shang Yuzhong wasn’t ready to admit defeat and grabbed Xia Chuan’s left arm. He whispered into his ears, “You tell me. Will you allow me to hold your hands, or should I let this entire crowd know that I was the one who made your belly bigger?” Xia Chuan gave him a fierce look. For fear that others would see the strange intimacy between them, he didn’t have time to push the two of them away.

Su Ming was left out and followed Xia Chuan, shielding him from the cold wind blowing behind him.

Several people strolled around the supermarket casually. At this time, there were few people in the store, and a pregnant woman struggling to push a shopping cart was particularly conspicuous. Xia Chuan couldn’t watch it anymore and secretly complained: “Is her husband dead? “

After a while, he felt that “Whether to have children or not should really be a woman’s freedom. If it wasn’t for true love, who would want to endure ten months with a big belly?”

Su Ming was really surprised, “I can see that your straight man cancer had some improvements. Did I help you to cure it? ”

From the side, Shang Yuzhong poked a rice bag in the supermarket with a gloomy expression on his face. He remembered exactly why Xia Chuan was pregnant with his child.

After buying all the ingredients for the hotpot at night, the four of them went out of the supermarket. They found that it was already dark. Nights in winter always arrived very quickly, and warm yellow lanterns gradually lit up on both sides of the road. The air flowing on the entire street was no longer bone-chilling cold.

Both of Xia Chuan’s hands were warm. He hardly noticed the temperature difference even after coming out of the warm house, as the clothes were so thick, the wind couldn’t blow through. It was as if he was warm from the tips of his fingers to his heart. As he thought about going home, turning on the bright and warm chandelier, nestling on the leather sofa covered with flannel blankets, and that he would soon be able to drink hot mutton soup, a peaceful feeling slowly grew in his heart.

He tightly clasped the hands he was holding without batting an eyelid. Xia Chuan sincerely believed that this winter was the warmest time he had spent in City C.

(DL Scanlations)

Translator’s corner 

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