When he returned home that night, Ji Liao once again bumped into Xu Ai Wen with that impeccably-dressed man.
It was the same as before: the man was sending Xu Ai Wen home.
Ji Liao paused, then went over and called out, “Mom.”
When Xu Ai Wen saw him, she was momentarily flustered and awkward. After all, she had agreed to Ji Liao that if he was unwilling, she would not look for a man. But now, she had been caught red-handed.
The man beside her reacted first and gave Ji Liao a friendly smile, then spoke, “You’re Ji Liao, right? I’m your mother’s colleague, last name Meng.”
When their eyes met, Ji Liao finally saw the man’s appearance clearly. He was unexpectedly handsome and refined with a gentle and steady temperament, which made him feel trustworthy.
But Ji Liao didn’t reply to him. Instead, he turned towards Xu Ai Wen and said, “I’ll head up first.”
Then strode away.
Xu Ai Wen had an apologetic expression on her face and sent Meng Yuan off first. He expressed his understanding and drove away after hugging her.
Xu Ai Wen went upstairs, entered the living room and saw Ji Liao sitting on the sofa watching television.
She took off her coat and went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Half an hour later, mother and son sat at the dining table.
“Try this.” Xu Ai Wen gave Ji Liao a piece of sweet and sour pork.
Ji Liao took a bite, eating it with relish.
Xu Ai Wen gave a satisfied laugh, stalled for a moment, then asked lightly, “Tang Tang, why don’t you like the idea of Mom getting married again?”
Although she hadn’t progressed to the marriage stage with Meng Yuan yet, she wanted to know Ji Liao’s thoughts.
“I don’t dislike it, Mom. You can make your own choice to get married again,” Ji Liao put down his chopsticks and said earnestly.
He had been thinking about it. Like He Cheng Ming said, if Mom didn’t get married again, it would be tough for her. The past years, he knew that she had often worked overtime till late. As long as that uncle treated her well, he actually didn’t have an opinion about it.
However, Xu Ai Wen felt that this wasn’t his true opinion. If so, he wouldn’t have been so rude as to not greet the man.
“I was just…not really used to it.” Ji Liao’s voice was gloomy. He was too slow when it came to socialising.
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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When Ji Liao finished eating, he went to his room to do his homework. After receiving guidance from He Cheng Ming, he felt that his math had improved greatly. At the very least, it wasn’t so strenuous when doing the problems now.
Before sleeping, he chatted flirtatiously with someone for a while, then had a good night’s sleep.
After attending school for a few days, the weather became colder. In the blink of an eye, it was Christmas Eve on a Friday.
Early in the morning, the classroom was full of festive spirit with little cards and apples everywhere. When Ji Liao discovered one on his desk, Xu Xiao Jing moved up to say, “I gave you that!”
Recently, he had been on very good terms with her, so Ji Liao accepted it happily. Before class started, he washed the apple and ate it, causing Xu Xiao Jing to scold him for being insensitive.
Ji Liao laughed loudly and took out his phone. There were still unread messages from He Cheng Ming and he felt a little depressed.
When all the classes for the day were over, he couldn’t help but run over to class two, only to be told by Lin Jiang that He Cheng Ming was sick and had taken a leave of absence.
“But he came to school with me this morning,” Ji Liao said.
Lin Jiang explained, “He left during the second lesson. Ming Ge is extremely afraid of the cold. Falling sick during winter with a common cold happens often.”
He wanted to persuade Ji Liao to relax and that it was common every year, but Ji Liao became more worried after hearing it.
Ji Liao sent a message to He Cheng Ming. After a minute, he had not replied and Ji Liao called him.
“What’s the matter?” When the call was accepted, there was a trace of hoarseness in his voice. He had just woken up and saw the message. Before he could reply, the phone call came in.
“Are you sick?” Ji Liao asked anxiously.
He Cheng Ming smiled weakly and got up to pour himself a glass of water. After taking a sip, he leaned against the wall and whispered in reply, “Yes, why? Want to come see me?”
Ji Liao didn’t hesitate. “Send me the address.”
Following that, he took a taxi and went straight to He Cheng Ming’s house.
It was an upscale community and he had to register his ID before entering.
Ji Liao finished writing in silence, then following the address given, he rang the doorbell. After a while, someone opened the door.
Warm air rushed out. He Cheng Ming was only wearing pyjamas, making him appear thin and tall with his clavicle clearly visible.
“What are you staring at? Come in.” He led Ji Liao inside.
Ji Liao made an “oh” sound then bent his head to change his footwear.
Leading him to the living room, He Cheng Ming poured him a cup of hot water. Ji Liao’s hands were too cold and needed some warmth.
Ji Liao hugged the cup in his hands, looking a little awkward. He looked around and found that He Cheng Ming seemed to be the only one living here. There were three dining chairs but only one of them had a seat cushion. Earlier, there had also been one pair of common slippers on the shoe rack.
“You don’t live with your parents?” He asked, turning his head.
He Cheng Ming arched his brow, realising that Ji Liao was quite attentive and replied, “No, there are many rules at home. I live by myself.”
With that, he pounced at the other boy, then smirked at him, “This way, it’s more convenient for us to do naughty things.”
He almost flung out the water in his hand. Ji Liao frowned and put the cup on the table. Still able to behave so improperly even when sick, he thought to himself.
Then he asked seriously, “Have you eaten yet?”
He Cheng Ming pointed at the bread on the table. He had just eaten two pieces.
Ji Liao was upset that he hadn’t brought him hot food, then he became angry. “Couldn’t you have ordered takeout?”
He Cheng Ming laughed. First, he explained patiently that he had just woken up, then he pretended to sigh and complained, “I thought you would cook for me.”
Ji Liao was silent. “I’ve never entered the kitchen.”
Normally, it was Xu Ai Wen who took care of his diet and there was never a time when he had to do it himself.
He Cheng Ming looked even more disappointed, and he draped himself over Ji Liao, tilting his head to ask, “Then what do we do next time? Do we order takeout every time?”
In this position, his baggy pyjamas slid down, revealing broad shoulders and vaguely visible chest muscles which looked very sexy.
Ji Liao swallowed and shifted his eyes away, pushing him with a stammer, “What next time? Get off me first.”
He Cheng Ming didn’t move, instead, he forced him onto the sofa, pressing a kiss onto him. Just as he was about to take it to the next step, Ji Liao’s stomach grumbled.
He had also not eaten before coming over and his expression was slightly embarrassed.
“I don’t know what to do with you.” He Cheng Ming touched his head. Unable to bear seeing the other boy hungry, he had no choice but to get up and enter the kitchen.
Fortunately, there was still some food in the fridge.
He cooked two simple bowls of noodles. When he brought them out, the savoury scent filled the living room. Ji Liao was waiting with a pair of chopsticks in hand. He examined the food — there were fresh shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, green vegetables and a thin layer of golden oil on the soup’s surface. The colour looked great.
He wanted to dive into the food straight away and was about to until his chopsticks were pressed down by He Cheng Ming.
Only to see him pointing at his own face and saying coolly, “First, reward me.”
Ji Liao quickly completed the task, then happily started to appease his appetite. He thought that the taste wasn’t bad.
But in his heart, he found it strange. Why did he know how to cook? He was obviously a young master.
Moreover, he lived alone and usually had no one to take care of him. What if he was sick?
Today, it was a small cold. What if it was a fever another day? Or sudden appendicitis?
In short, it was very worrying.
“Don’t overthink things.” He Cheng Ming noticed his mind wandering and gave him a reminder.
When the two of them finished, Ji Liao undertook the tasks of washing the dishes. When he came out, he saw He Cheng Ming leaning against the kitchen counter-top, looking at him.
“By the way, I bought you some medicine.” He just remembered and walked out to get his schoolbag.
Once he saw He Cheng Ming take the medicine, he finally felt at ease.