Streetside Conversation at Night
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QOTD (by Vixue):
“I just want love, I just want Brother Yang to only pay close attention to me, to love me and only me… However, the only thing that I want, is also the only thing that I’ll never get…” -Li Jingjing
It had been a while since he last visited Zhenxiu’s stall. Every time he recalled the night where Zhenxiu adorably gave him her much loved crescent pendant, Yang Chen would be filled with sympathy for this girl.
The street was dim as ever. It had slightly more stalls open than usual. Since the weather got cold, selling supper, especially snacks like spicy soup would be very profitable.
Yang Chen came to the end of the street and saw Zhenxiu who was dressed in a brown and somewhat old coat. In her purple-white beanie, she was occupied at her trolley stall.
There were four to five customers seated in front of her stall, drinking liquor and enjoying fried rice cakes and spicy soup.
Yang Chen didn’t rush over. After waiting for a while when the few customers left, Yang Chen slowly walked towards the stall.
Zhenxiu was wiping the table. When she raised her head and noticed Yang Chen, joy instantly appeared on her face. “Brother Yang, why are you free to come here this late at night?”
“Isn’t the night my only chance of meeting our Zhenxiu who’s growing increasingly more charming day by day?” Yang Chen asked with a smile as he lazily sat on a chair.
Zhenxiu’s white and smooth face reddened. “Brother Yang, did you come to bully me when Sister Ruoxi isn’t here?”
“Why would I do that? I just wanted to get some food here, you can’t insult your customer like this,” Yang Chen said as he took a skewer of pork balls before immediately taking a bite. It was steaming-hot and really springy.
Zhenxiu said angrily, “Pork ball skewers are two bucks each, don’t slip away again.”
Yang Chen coughed really loudly. Smiling bitterly, he said, “I didn’t know I still had to pay even after we got close.”
“Don’t you know that I’m a money-grubber?” Zhenxiu pouted. “I’m trying to earn a bit more during the cold weather to pay rent and water and electricity bills. How can I afford to treat you?”
Yang Chen took yet another skewer of kelp knots. As he chewed, he asked, “What happens during the hot weather? You can’t always sell spicy soup, can you?”
Zhenxiu smiled in a carefree manner. “I’ll just think of a way to sell cold drinks and ice lollies when it’s hot.”
“Zhenxiu,” Yang Chen said and swallowed the food in his mouth, in a solemn manner, he advised, “you’re still very young. You’re only eighteen this year. The people of your age are still studying in high school, or newly entered a university. You’re a smart kid, why don’t you try entering a college? If you’re willing to do it, Brother Yang can lend you some money for you to properly go to school. Go and take the college entrance exam next year and return the money to me after that. It’s no big deal.”
Zhenxiu quietly listened to him. Using a spatula, she flipped the fried rice cakes on the hot steel plate and didn’t give an answer to him.
Yang Chen frowned. “You bear with hardship so well, don’t tell me you’re afraid of studying. If you feel that learning is hard, I can also be your private teacher. I’m totally fine with science subjects and foreign languages. You’ll be fine dealing with Mandarin, since you at least have the basics of primary school. As long as you’re willing to work hard, six months’ time is enough.”
Zhenxiu finally stopped what she was doing. She raised her head and revealed a pretty face which appeared to be rather tired in the cold wind before letting out a smile.
“Brother Yang, thank you, but that’s too troublesome for you. I’m not one who excels in studies, I’m better off continuing my small-budget businesses.” Zhenxiu pulled up the hair on her temple. “A lot of girls of my age are living like me anyway. Although feeding ourselves can be quite tiring, we actually live quite relaxedly.”
Yang Chen replied in a serious manner, “I don’t care about the others. I just believe that I can’t ignore you since I’m now sitting in front of you after meeting you on the bus back then. Your youth is precious. After you get old and immobile, and even your brain isn’t clear anymore, do you still intend to sell fried rice cakes with a trolley stall?”
Zhenxiu paled and bit her lower lip in silence.
At this moment, a familiar female voice resounded.
“Zhenxiu, listen to him. He’s right, you can’t do this forever.”
Yang Chen and Zhenxiu raised their heads to take a look. It was unknown when a graceful and tall young lady reached the stall. Her short hair was rather messy as it was quite windy while her delicate facial features revealed splendor and elegance. She was Cai Yan.
“Sister Cai, you’re here…” Zhenxiu smiled as she blushed. She didn’t look surprised for Cai Yan’s arrival.
Cai Yan took a glance at Yang Chen with her big, watery eyes which contained complex emotions. After that, she smiled gently at Zhenxiu and said, “Yeah, I heard your conversation with this guy. Although he always talks absolute nonsense, his suggestion for you to take the exam is right. If you agree, I can contact a tuition centre for you. I remember you attended junior high school and had rather good foundation. Based on your intelligence, you can at least get into second class as long as you’re willing to work hard.”
Yang Chen looked at Cai Yan in surprise. “You do seem really close with Zhenxiu now, don’t you?”
“What is it? Are you the only one who can be his elder brother? Can’t I see her as my younger sister as well?” Cai Yan said in dissatisfaction.
Yang Chen waved his hand and smiled. “No, I’m just rather surprised. Why are you free to come chat with Zhenxiu today, aren’t you usually busy with work?”
Zhenxiu said, “Brother Yang, Sister Cai treats me really well. After you asked her to look after me, she’d come here two to three times a week to ask if I got bullied. She also talks about how she catches bad guys, how interesting!”
“Tsk, tsk. Luckily the much respected Miss Cai Yan is a lady, otherwise you’d get all the girls in the world. Just look at how long it took you to let Zhenxiu praise you like her blood-related elder sister,” Yang Chen said.
“Do you possibly think that I know nothing other than work, catching bad guys and solving cases?” Cai Yan asked as she clenched her teeth.
Yang Chen actually used to think of her this way. Cai Yan had always gone against him the first few times she met Yang Chen after all, not to mention she also came to him to give him pressure.
However, Yang Chen would be lying if he said he wasn’t surprised that Cai Yan often came to take care of Zhenxiu and even became close with her just because he brought it up in front of her once.
Of course, Yang Chen wouldn’t think that Cai Yan was just putting up a show or she had too much time. The only reason he could think of should be the one time where he asked for her help to take care of Zhenxiu.
When he thought about this, Yang Chen said sincerely, “Thank you. I used to have some prejudice against you, but apparently you’re a rather good person. It seems like Ruoxi has her reason to be your good friend.”
“Brother Yang, why would you think that way? Sister Cai has always been great, hasn’t she?” Zhenxiu asked unhappily.
Cai Yan blushed slightly when she suddenly got praised by Yang Chen, but she quickly withdrew her expression. “Good that you know you’re wrong. As a generous grownup, this lady will forgive you.”
Yang Chen smiled faintly He looked at Zhenxiu and said, “Since even your Sister Cai is asking you to take the exam, obey your Brother Yang and do it, my great younger sister.”
Zhenxiu hesitated for a while before saying, “Brother Yang, can you let me think about it more carefully? I… Can I give you an answer in two days?”
“Of course you can,” Yang Chen said with a smile. “One more thing, do you still remember what you promised in front of your Sister Ruoxi?”
Obediently, Zhenxiu said, “I remember, it’s about going back to the orphanage. You said you’d bring me there.”
“How about the day after tomorrow? It’s Christmas that day. You still can bring some gifts back to the president and the children there. If you don’t have money, I can pay for you first and you may return me the money later, otherwise I know you wouldn’t accept my offer,” Yang Chen said.
Zhenxiu pouted. “Then I’ll be the one who picks the gifts.”
“You’re of course picking them. I’ll pick you up here at nine o’clock on that day. We’ll buy the presents before going to the orphanage,” Yang Chen said.
Zhenxiu nodded rather excitedly. “Thank you, Brother Yang.”
Cai Yan listened to the conversation and asked, “Only you and Zhenxiu are going? How about Ruoxi?” Zhenxiu told her about Yang Chen and Lin Ruoxi coming to see her, so she didn’t feel much surprised.
“Oh, she goes there very often. Bringing Zhenxiu there with me is enough,” Yang Chen said before patting Zhenxiu’s head, causing her to stare at him fiercely. Standing up, he said, “Don’t oversleep that day, otherwise I’ll whack your butt.”
“I won’t oversleep,” Zhenxiu said angrily.
Cai Yan’s gaze struggled for a bit when she saw that Yang Chen wanted to leave. She said, “Wait, there’s something I need your help for.”
Yang Chen turned back, asking, “What is it?”
“I left a white leather handbag on the sofa at your house when I went there back then, can you take it out for me tomorrow?” Cai Yan asked.
Yang Chen recalled. Cai Yan indeed left a handbag at his house when she came to talk about Gao Guoxiong’s case with Lin Ruoxi. On that day, Lin Ruoxi put it on a counter in the house after finding out there was nothing important in there.
Yang Chen felt that he had no reason to decline this small request from Cai Yan. Lin Ruoxi was much busier than him after all. As a result, he nodded and said, “No problem. Call me tomorrow when you’re free, I’ll bring it out with me when I leave home.”
“Thank you.” Joy could be seen in Cai Yan’s eyes. She said goodbye to Yang Chen smilingly before staring at Yang Chen’s back view when he left, until he disappeared around a corner.
From Zhenxiu’s perspective, she looked at Yang Chen and glanced at Cai Yan who was in front of her, immersed in some kind of thought. Softly, she sighed.