The whole family got to work as soon as they got out of bed.
Even though he technically wasn’t even married to Huo Zhixing anymore, Tong Qiu didn’t act like an outsider for Huo Jiao’s wedding. Huo Zhixing, likewise, treated him as one of their own, just as he had done before.
According to tradition, the groom would arrive at 7 o’clock in the morning to take away the bride. Before his arrival, however, a large group of friends of family would come by as well. Some of the children who wanted to see the bride even chose not to sleep in so they could wake up early and pay a visit along with their parents.
The Huo family had a lot of relatives so it was extremely hectic. Huo Zhixing was outside greeting wellwishers while Tong Qiu was in charge of dealing with this and that inside the house. Though one was outside and one was inside, they were still well coordinated.
Huo Jiao had barely slept the night before and had woken up at three in the morning to get her make-up done. She was seated at the moment, stomach empty and face full of suffering, and she let out a sigh. Tong Qiu noticed that she was a bit worn so he went out and got a few crackers and candy for her.
“Here, have a bite to eat first. If you don’t eat anything, you might not be able to hang on later.”
After being picked up at 7 o’clock, there was still a ceremony to get through at the wedding venue. She probably wouldn’t have a chance to sit down and eat until noon and Tong Qiu was worried she might faint.
“You’re a lifesaver!” Huo Jiao accepted the crackers and ripped open the packaging. “Saozi did you eat yet?”
As soon as Huo Jiao spoke, Huo Zhixing arrived with a takeout bag of congee in his hand.
Huo Jiao eyed the bag greedily but as the bride, she reminded herself to keep her cravings in check. “Ge, I can’t eat any baozi. I’m scared I’ll get some of it on my dress.”
“Who said it was for you?” Huo Zhixing grinned at her, then turned and grabbed Tong Qiu by the hand. “You’ve been running around the whole morning. Come eat a bit before you starve.”
Huo Zhixing guided Tong Qiu out of the room. The bride left behind continued to nibble on her crackers and said mournfully, “A gege who’s been married off is just like spilt water – no matter how big his eyes are, the only person he can see is my saozi!”
While the bride was complaining, Huo Zhixing and Tong Qiu were in the kitchen, munching happily away at their baozi.
It was chicken baozi, with a thin dough and plenty of filling – Tong Qiu’s favourite.
“I’m starving.” Tong Qiu took a bite of baozi and took a sip of the millet congee. “Will the groom be here soon?”
“Almost, but they set off a bit late so will probably get here a little later than scheduled.” Huo Zhixing glanced at the time. “Keep eating, I’ll go and take a look.”
“Wait!” Tong Qiu said and grabbed hold of him. “Have a sip of congee before you go.”
Huo Zhixing smiled at him and took Tong Qiu’s proffered spoon and sat back down to eat his congee.
“You must be tired.” Huo Zhixing asked, then pulled a chair over. “Don’t just stand there. You teachers are too used to standing.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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Amused, Huo Zhixing replied, “And here I thought you were having regrets about not having a proper wedding ceremony when we got married.”
When they were about to get married, they had both thought a wedding ceremony would be too much of a hassle. Huo Zhixing wasn’t the sentimental type and although Tong Qiu had felt it was a bit of a shame to skip out on a once-in-a-lifetime event, they had ended up just inviting some friends out for dinner and had called it a day.
No ceremony, no banquet – it really had been a bare bones affair.
“It’s alright.” When Tong Qiu thought back to their own wedding, he almost laughed when he recalled how he had accepted drink after drink on Huo Zhixing’s behalf.
To this day, he still remembers the way Huo Zhixing had bustled around once they got home after the dinner. Huo Zhixing had kept asking Tong Qiu if he was uncomfortable and had gone out to buy hangover pills for him too. All in all, their circle of friends had been impressed by the way Huo Zhixing had taken care of him.
“What are you thinking about?” Huo Zhixing pulled out a napkin and handed it to Tong Qiu. “Don’t get any congee on your suit.”
Tong Qiu had a spoon in one hand and a baozi in another and for a moment, he didn’t know what to do with the napkin. Huo Zhixing smiled, then stuffed a corner of the napkin underneath his collar. “You’re just like a kid.”
It made Tong Qiu feel a bit embarrassed. From what he remembered, this kind of thing had only happened once between them. At the time, Huo Zhixing had been busy with something so Tong Qiu had tucked a napkin over his clothes so that they wouldn’t get stained by oil. How the times have changed.
Although it was the sister that was getting married, it was the brother and brother-in-law who had a million things to take care of.
Huo Zhixing and Tong Qiu were busy greeting guests and barely had a few minutes of rest before the banquet started, at which point Huo Zhixing’s relatives started asking him to join them for a few drinks.
They were sitting at the same table as Huo Zhixing’s uncle. Everyone at the table was a relative and they all knew that he and Tong Qiu had gotten married. However, the news of their divorce hadn’t reached their ears yet.
As soon as they sat down, Huo Zhixing’s uncle insisted on drinking a few with Huo Zhixing.
Tong Qiu quickly stepped forward and smiled, “Uncle, I’ll drink for Huo Zhixing. He’s allergic to alcohol.”
Although their relatives knew that Tong Qiu was the Huo family’s ‘son-in-law’, they didn’t know him all that well. When they had first heard that Huo Zhixing had married a man, it had caused quite a stir and they had paid a few visits, mostly for the novelty of it. So when Tong Qiu said he was drinking on Huo Zhixing’s behalf, they didn’t feel it was right to argue so after one uneventful round, they left Huo Zhixing and Tong Qiu alone.
The wedding banquet was a mere formality for most people and they left as soon as they finished toasting the bride and groom. Some didn’t even bother with the toast – they grabbed a few bites after the ceremony and then beat it out of there. As a result, when it came time for Huo Jiao to toss the bouquet, the only people left were family members and a few close friends.
The bride started instructing everyone to come to the front. Huo Zhixing and Tong Qiu were standing at the back, chatting away, and had no intention of joining in.
“You guys come over too!” Huo Jiao was arranging everyone in a row and suddenly realized that her brother and ex-saozi weren’t there. That wouldn’t do, she thought, and went to search for them.
“You guys go have your little fun.” Huo Zhixing waved his hand, indicating that he didn’t want to participate.
Huo Jiao wouldn’t take no for an answer. She abandoned the other guests, picked up her skirts and rushed over.
Tong Qiu watched with amusement as brother and sister argued. Huo Jiao said, “Why are you acting like this? If you don’t join then my saozi……my Tong-ge wouldn’t want to join either!”
Tong Qiu smiled. To be honest, he actually enjoyed catching bouquets. It was a good omen and besides, he was technically a young divorcee in need of a man and it would be a nice consolation.
He darted a look at Huo Zhixing then stepped forward. “Jiao-Jiao, we’ll go play. Let’s just leave him here.”
Huo Jiao beamed and happily looped her arm around Tong Qiu’s as they walked back to the front. Tong Qiu spared a glance back at Huo Zhixing and realized that Huo Zhixing had followed, a helpless smile on his face.
Huo Jiao actually had a hidden agenda. She sincerely wanted to keep Tong Qiu as a brother-in-law and ever since she had found out they had divorced, she had constantly ragged on her brother for not cherishing what he had.
At first, she had thought they had divorced because of some sort of quarrel but from what she had seen today, something seemed off. It was obvious that they still had feelings for each other so why didn’t they just hurry up and remarry? What were they waiting for!
As a younger sister, Huo Jiao felt that she had a duty and responsibility to help her brother and brother-in-law with their marital issues.
Huo Jiao’s friends knew that the two were Huo Jiao’s brother and brother-in-law so when they saw that Huo Jiao had brought them over, they asked, “Your brother and saozi are married already, why are they joining us ‘forever alone’s’?”
Huo Jiao was adamant and said matter-of-factly, “I’m the bride so whatever I say goes. If I want them to join then who’s gonna stop me?”
She ordered everyone to their places and a friend joked, “Are you plotting something?”
Tong Qiu looked over at Huo Zhixing and just happened to meet his gaze. He flashed a smile then quickly glanced away.
Of course Huo Jiao was plotting something – she was plotting something absolutely tremendous.
The bride stood with her back to the guests and counted down, “three, two, one”, then threw the bouquet of flowers behind her. Tong Qiu thought the bouquet was heading towards him but it somehow landed solidly in Huo Zhixing’s arms.
The two of them were at a loss and only Huo Jiao came over to congratulate them with her new husband in tow.
Huo Zhixing grinned. His parents, who had finished sending off some relatives, just so happened to come by and ask what they were up to.
With his parents at the scene, Huo Zhixing’s confidence surged. Whether it was for real or just pretend, he tugged Tong Qiu towards him and suddenly sank down on one knee. “Tong-laoshi, will you marry me? If that doesn’t work, you can take me as your husband too.”
Tong Qiu went weak at the knees and thought to himself, ‘Who was it that said Huo Zhixing didn’t know how to spice things up?’
Tong Qiu naturally had to accept the bouquet and even added a “either works for me, so it’s your call”. In the end, he left the wedding venue with the bouquet in his arms and was somehow more conspicuous than the bride herself. If one didn’t know better, they would assume he was the one that had gotten married.
Mr. and Mrs. Huo had initially planned on having Tong Qiu stay over for another night once Huo Jiao’s wedding wrapped up. Huo Zhixing didn’t care one way or another and figured that he could make another attempt at their ‘unfinished business’ from the night before.
Tong Qiu, however, didn’t dare stay over. If he slept with Huo Zhixing for another night, he just might transform into a starving wolf pouncing on a tiger. And then how could he ever face Huo Zhixing again?
Maybe he could claim that his transformation was because of the full moon, and that he couldn’t remember any of his actions in his transformed state?
As if anyone would believe that.
Tong Qiu honestly felt that he had been much too repressed over the past little while. He was yearning for the very person he had dismissed for lacking skills in bed. There was definitely something wrong with him.
He held the bouquet and left with Huo Zhixing. It was the middle of the afternoon and since they couldn’t find any reason to keep sticking to each other, they went their separate ways.
On his way home, Tong Qiu gave Chu Yao a call and told her about what had happened earlier that day. Chu Yao laughed until she started hiccuping and asked, “Darling, has your heart been stirred by the ripples of love?”
“What heart? What ripples? Why would my heart be stirred by my ex-husband?” Tong Qiu hated being wrong and couldn’t bring himself to admit that he had any regrets.
Chu Yao just kept laughing until Tong Qiu felt as if his scalp had gone numb.
“That ex-husband of yours is pretty interesting. To be honest, if someone tried that with me I would have kissed him on the spot.” Chu Yao paused, then asked, “Did you kiss him?”
“Goodbye, darling.” Tong Qiu was about to hang up but Chu Yao stopped him. “Don’t hang up yet, there’s something important I still have to ask you.”
Tong Qiu had a bad feeling and as predicted, Chu Yao continued with a mischievous laugh, “Your ‘bed scene’ last night…”
Before Chu Yao could finish speaking, the sacred, pure-as-a-lotus Tong-laoshi coolly hung up the phone.
There was no ‘bed scene’ to speak of.
And anyone who so much as mentions it will feel his wrath.
The author has something to say:
Surprise! High school teacher’s sexual repression sends him flying into a rage!