The next day, I woke up in a daze and realized that it was already past 11 am. I was so busy roleplaying as the God of Cookery that I lost track of time. As a result, I slept like a rock until now.
I checked my phone and suddenly felt sleep leaving my head in an instant. It was October 17, the day my mother had passed away.
I hurriedly got out of my bed, washed myself, put on some nice clothes and got out of my room.
“Lu Chen! Want to eat lunch together at noon?” Xu Yang popped out of nowhere to slap me on the shoulder.
I turned down his offer with a shake of my head before asking, “Do you know where sis is right now? Is she online or offline?”
Xu Yang thought for a second before answering, “I saw her going downstairs with boss just now. She was asking if you’ve woken up yet, and I told her you could easily sleep until late afternoon if you felt like it. They left after that.”
“Okay. I need to go, so don’t wait on me!”
“Fuck, how about a drink in the afternoon then?”
I pulled out my phone as I hurried downstairs. Then, I called Murong Mingyue’s number.
The call connected after two dial tones. “How are you awake already, Lu Chen? Didn’t Xu Yang say that you’ll be sleeping until late afternoon?”
“Yeah, I woke up earlier than usual. Where are you right now, sis?”
“I’m having lunch at the coffee shop downstairs. What’s wrong?”
“Wait for me. I’m coming over right now!”
I hurried downstairs. When I entered the coffee shop, I saw two beautiful girls chatting to each other at a corner facing toward the sun. They were none other than He Yi and Murong Mingyue.
I walked toward them in a straight line before sitting down next to He Yi. Then, I said, “Sis, can I borrow your car later this afternoon?”
“Oh, are you going on a date again?”
“What? Of course not. I’m going home this evening. I’ll come back tomorrow.”
“Oh?” He Yi looked at me in surprise before asking, “How long has it been since you went home?”
He Yi pursed her lips before smiling. “You know what, why don’t I drive you there myself?”
Caught off-guard, I said hurriedly, “You don’t have to, boss. You’re busy, aren’t you?”
“How many times do I have to tell you not to call me boss?” He Yi shot me an disapproving look. “Surely you can think of something better?”
Murong Mingyue smiled. “Just call her sis then. Eve’s only a year older than you anyway.”
He Yi smiled happily. “Mn, mn! I’m going to enjoy this one. C’mon, what are you waiting for?”
I opened my mouth and tried to call her by the new nickname. “Si… si…”
But the word just wouldn’t come out of my mouth.
Finally, He Yi rolled her eyes and me and said, “Call me sis and I’ll treat you to lunch.”
I must’ve given a hundred excuses as to why He Yi shouldn’t waste her time on my trip and focus on her own things, but I ultimately wasn’t able to change her mind.
Murong Mingyue stared at He Yi. “Didn’t you always complain that you’re busy since your cash flow goes up and down by the hundred thousands every second? Since when are you free enough to accompany Lu Chen on his family visit?”
He Yi giggled. “This a self-sponsored holiday trip, yep. Also, Lu Chen’s home is at Yangzhou, and it’s the autumn season right now, the perfect season for holiday trips!”
Murong Mingyue puffed up her magnificent chest and said, “I want to go too…”
“No can do. You need to stay behind and farm EXP with everyone. The sooner our guild reaches Rank 4, the better…”
“Fuck! You’re the hiberdating type! I’ve finally realized your true nature, Eve!”
“Hehe, no, it’s just you overthinking things!”
I got a light breakfast at the coffee shop before returning to the workshop. I didn’t pack anything with me. He Yi on the other hand, put on a new set of clothes and brought a set of change with her. Our preparations done, we left the building.
Inside the elevator, He Yi and I leaned against opposite walls and stared at each other. Maybe it was because He Yi spent so much time working that she was more comfortable in uniforms than anything else, but she was still wearing a kind of uniform even after she got changed. Her new clothes looked like a flight attendant’s uniform, except it was purple and its design was more natural. It looked very stylish on her.
“What are you wearing? Are you trying to check if I have a uniform fetish?” I asked in a quiet voice.
He Yi smiled slightly. “Sorry, I’m just used to wearing uniforms, that’s all. Casual wear makes me feel the opposite of comfortable.”
I said, “How about this. When we get back to my hometown, I’ll pick a casual wear for you at a retail store in Yong’an Town myself. I promise it won’t be over 100 RMB. What do you think?”
He Yi burst into giggles. “Of course. Will you buy it for me?”
I checked her out again and rediscovered how good He Yi looked in a uniform. She wore a white blouse on the inside, and the buttons holding it together looked like they would burst at the seams due to how full and round her breasts were. The tight skirt was just long enough to cover her knees, and it fitted nicely around her round bottom and accentuated her curves perfectly. Again, she looked absolutely stunning in the getup.
“How much is your uniform?” I asked.
He Yi answered, “Not much.”
“And that is…?”
“My company found someone to make ten custom sets for me…”
I got it, I got it. I’ll save myself some dignity. My 100 RMB female casual wear can go kill itself for all I care…
We walked out of the company and grabbed He Yi’s car. It was still the black Lamborghini.
I swallowed visibly before asking, “Sis, you do know that my hometown is in a rural area, right? Are you sure you want to drive there in a sports car that costs over ten million RMB?”
A small smile spread across He Yi’s lips. “In that case, do you want me to drive a bus? I only have a class C license though…”
“Never mind then. Let’s go?”
We took off. He Yi sped up the highway, headed straight toward Yangzhou.
I was feeling a bit nervous, so I kept looking outside the window.
“What’s wrong? Are you nervous?” He Yi asked with a smile.
“If so, why are you gripping the handbrake?”
Somewhere along the way, I shot He Yi a sudden question. “Sis, do you know where my house is? You seem pretty confident for some reason.”
“Ah?!” He Yi’s mouth fell open in surprise, but she quickly turned it into a smile and asked, “What is your home address?”
“Fengle Village, Yong’an Town, Yangzhou.”
“What’s wrong? Have you actually heard of it before?”
“Oh no, it just reminded of the Yong’an Pawn Shop in Chinese Paladin 3. It’s where Jingtian and Tangxue met each other.”
The rest of the journey passed by in silence, and we arrived at Yong’an Town at around 3 pm. There was still a ways to go, however. My house was about 2.5 kilometers away.
The town was bustling with people. It was incredibly crowded, to say the least.
He Yi drove slowly until she suddenly stopped the car. After rolling down the car window and buying a cotton candy, she passed it to me with a smile and said, “You look unhappy about something, so here’s a candy from your big sis. I’m sure it’ll cheer you up in no time…”
The car had to stop repeatedly because of the bustling crowd. A couple of minutes later, the engine let out some strange noises before stopping completely!
“Ah? Did it break down?” I exclaimed in surprise.
He Yi got off the car, pulled up the hood and took a quick look. A while later, she smiled helplessly. “Looks like it. Is there a 4S shop somewhere around in the area?”
“Of course not. There is a repair show just ahead of us, but I don’t know if they have the balls to repair a Lamborghini.”
“Let’s head there and ask them to tow our car.”
It didn’t long before the sports car was towed into the repair shop. A while later, the driver who towed our car told us. “We’ll do our best. Honestly, this car is way too expensive for the likes of us. If we weren’t the only repair shop in the area, we would have left it in someone else's hands.”
He Yi asked, “How long will it take to repair it fully?”
“It can be as quick as ten minutes, or as long as twenty four hours!”
I leaned against a nearby truck and laughed. “Man, it’s been a pretty unlucky year so far!”
He Yi was also chuckling. “Yeah, this year has definitely been a tumultuous one.”
After that, she shot me a long look before asking, “Why don’t you head back home first? I’ll drive over once the car is repaired. I know where your address is now anyway.”
I was going to turn down her offer, but then I recalled that father was living alone in the house. I’d better head back home and tidy things up a bit so that He Yi wouldn’t mistake my house for Mars or something.
Thus, I nodded and said, “Okay. Call a cab if the car still isn’t fixed by 5 pm. Luckily for us, this town isn’t so backward that there aren’t any cabs at all.”
“Got it. Now go, I’ll just kill some time in that KFC!”
After sending He Yi to the KFC and confirming that the place was safe, I called a cab and returned home.
The car slowly stopped in front of the entrance of Fengle Village.
It was late afternoon, and there was barely anyone around the area. The sky started darkening, and a few minutes later, a light rain started falling from the sky. The soil slowly turned wet beneath my shoes, I sucked in a deep breath and began walking back home.
It was still raining when my house finally entered my sight. The garden looked unattended and overgrown. I spotted the lone jujube tree in the garden where I used to strike jujubes with a bamboo stick. It was one of the greatest joys of my life when I was still a young boy.
Many years had passed since those days, and the jujube tree was long dead. The old tree was surrounded by overgrown weeds, and its dead barks were tattered by the passage of time. I could still remember the days mother put me on her shoulders and watched me hitting the jujubes with a bright smile on her face.
There was a tingle in my nose, and I almost broke into tears. It had been many years since both mother and the jujube tree had passed away.
Rain ran down my cheeks as I pushed open the rusted gates to my home. I immediately spotted my father’s desolate figure. He was sitting on a wheelchair, sawing a piece of wood.
My father was a carpenter. Everyone called him Carpenter Lu. He never stopped doing his part even after mother had passed away. Alone.
I was planning to become a carpenter myself, but he insisted on sending me to a university. As a result, the world lost a first-rate carpenter and gained a third-rate, unemployed science student.
I walked up to him and called out to him softly, “Dad…”
Father looked up and stared at me. His eyes had been growing muddier and muddier as time took its toll. Suddenly, he smiled widely at me and said, “Lu Chen, you’re back! Don’t just stand there in the rain, come in! Why didn’t you call me first that you are coming back?”
He put down his tools and pushed himself into the house. Then, he beckoned me to come inside.
I accepted the towel he passed me and wiped the wet stains on my face. I couldn’t tell if they were rainwater or tears.
My heart was racked with guilt. I should be staying in the house and keeping father company, but how could I? A young man like me should be striving to improve my work and career, not the other way around.
Father smiled at me before saying, “Today’s your mom’s death anniversary, and I was going to tell you to visit another time if you were too busy. I couldn’t get to your phone, though. Did you change your card again because your phone bill is overdue?”
I chuckled like a fool before nodding. “Yes, I changed my card.”
“Are you hungry? Should I make something for you to eat?”
“I’m not hungry. Dad, you should rest.”
“It’s fine, it’ll only take a minute.”
Father entered the kitchen regardless of my attempts to change his mind. A while later, he came out with a bowl of noodle soup with sprinkled onion and two eggs.
I really wasn’t hungry, but I still picked up my chopsticks and gave the meal a bite. It was very fragrant and the taste was rich.
Father went back to his room for a short while before he came out with a small bag. Then, he took out a card from a pocket. It was none other than the card I had gotten from He Yi before sending it back home.
Father placed the card on the table before producing a tattered bankbook. He smiled. “I haven’t used the money in your card. It’s a pretty competitive world out there, and houses are very expensive these days. Do you still remember our neighbor, Little Hei? He had a few girlfriends, but they all broke up with him because he couldn’t afford a house of his own. Lu Chen, you’re 24 already. It’s about time you buy a house for yourself.”
“I’ve saved up around eighty thousand RMB over the years, and they should be able to help you a little. I’m too old already, and this is all I can do for you. You’ll have to pay for the rest of the house yourself after the down payment.”
“Oh right, your third aunt’s son, Little Lin was diagnosed with leukemia some time ago, so I lent her about forty thousand RMB. Otherwise, I would have been able to give you more money. I heard that the houses in Suzhou are very expensive. If you really can’t afford it, why don’t you come back to Yangzhou and buy a house here?”
I couldn’t control my tears any longer. They slid across my cheeks and fell into the bowl.
But when I took another bite, it didn’t taste bitter.Previous Chapter Next Chapter