Chapter 33 — I know; he is very good.
He Xiu finally turned his head and gazed steadily at Jian Yan, as though he was trying to find something in her face. Mentally, Jian Yan felt bashful and began talking, trying to defend her words. “Didn’t I tell you last time that I have misandry? It’s very difficult to come across a guy I can sit with in his car and chat like this.”
“Oh.” He Xiu made a sound of understanding, an elusive smile gracing his lips.
Jian Yan pointed ahead, fiercely saying, “Look at the road when you’re driving!”
He Xiu chuckled softly before withdrawing his gaze, not forcefully pursuing this topic anymore.
His aunt lived in an ordinary neighborhood. When he and Jian Yan walked up the stairs, he said to her, “Because auntie is barren, she lives by herself after she and her husband divorced.”
Jian Yan was stunned slightly before nodding. “I understand.”
“I originally wanted to bring her to a place close to the He Mansion, as it would be more convenient for me to look after her, but she didn’t want it.”
Jian Yan commented, “My mom is like this as well. I asked her to move together with me, but she steadfastly refused.”
He Xiu smiled and said, “Moving in with you is also because you want her to look after you?”
“…” Why was it that he said the same thing as her mom! Within her heart, Jian Yan was unconvinced. “Although I am normally busy with work, I’m not as busy as you. Since you can take care of your aunt, how come I can’t take care of my mom?”
He Xiu stated, “Because I am my own boss. If I don’t want to work, then I don’t have to work.”
Jian Yan: “…”
She was immediately convinced.
He Xiu’s aunt lived on the seventh floor, so after the two climbed up there, Jian Yan discovered that the door to her left was unlocked, like the resident had specifically left it like that.
“Is it this side?” she asked.
“Mn.” He Xiu still walked up and rapped on the door. “Aunt Jiang.”
The layout of this room had the door leading straight into the kitchen, where Aunt Jiang just happened to be cooking. Hearing his voice, she took two steps towards the door. After the door was opened, she stared blankly at them.
Today, Jian Yan had dressed specially for the occasion. She was wearing a dark, floral print dress along with a long, golden brown fur vest. With a brown, broad-brimmed hat atop her head, the vibrancy and transition of color made her appear fashionable and retro.
“This beautiful woman is…” Aunt Jiang’s gaze fell upon He Xiu, a faint light flashing through her eyes.
He Xiu said, “Her name is Jian Yan, a friend of mine.”
“Friend?” Aunt Jiang repeated his words.
He Xiu nodded, and Aunt Jiang nodded in understanding. Oh, meaning he has not caught her yet.
“Hello, Aunt Jiang,” Jian Yan courteously greeted her. “I wish you a happy birthday.”
“Thank you, thank you. Quick, come in and take a seat. Don’t stand in the doorway.” Aunt Jian invited them into her home before hurriedly giving them cups of hot water. “Look at you, you brought a friend over but didn’t tell me ahead of time. I didn’t make any preparations at all.”
She emphasized ‘friend’ strongly. He Xiu calmly smiled and said, “Only this way will you get a nice surprise.”
“It’s a very nice surprise.” Aunt Jiang once again examined Jian Yan and then walked to the kitchen. “You two have fun first; I still have food cooking in the kitchen.”
Jian Yan looked in the direction of the kitchen and stood up from the sofa. “How about I go help you?”
“Don’t, look at you. You’re wearing such pretty clothes, so let’s not make them dirty. You and He Xiu can sit for a while. You’ll be able to eat soon.”
“Eh…”But it was Aunt Jiang’s birthday, yet she was still personally cooking for them, her guests. Jian Yan really felt somewhat embarrassed.
He Xiu pulled her down to sit on the sofa, turning on the television as he did so. “You should just relax and sit down. If you’re really bored, I’ll sing songs for you to hear.”
Jian Yan: “…”
She began to watch television with single-hearted devotion.
Soon after, the aroma of food began wafting from the kitchen. Slightly smiling, she said to He Xiu, “Your aunt is very good to you. The food she is making are all your favorites.”
He Xiu faintly quirked his lips and responded, “Since I was a child, Aunt Jiang has been very good to me. I have always considered her to be a second mother.”
Jian Yan nodded and expressed her understanding. “Then why aren’t you going in to help your mom make food? Are you planning on letting her be busy in there alone?”
He Xiu laughed and said, “It’s rare that there is someone coming over to taste her cooking. You should let her enjoy herself.”
Because Jian Yan paid a visit, Aunt Jiang added two dishes in the last minute, so cooking took a bit longer than she estimated. Before the meal was served, He Xiu took out a large cake he had pre-ordered and carefully dismantled the delicate paper case.
“Ya, this cake is really beautiful. I’d hate to eat it.” Aunt Jiang stared at the cake on the table, her breath taken away.
He Xiu said, “I had specially requested CEO Yu’s wife to make this birthday congratulations cake. Last time, you ate her orange mousse. Do you remember?”
“Yes, that young lady’s baking skills are really excellent. I had even entertained some thoughts of learning to make desserts.”
“You can. I’ll deliver an oven to you later.”
“I don’t need you to deliver everything; I can buy it myself.” Aunt Jiang glared at him and admonished, “Furthermore, I will not move. Don’t buy me a house; that’s wasting money.”
“Okay, okay, okay. I won’t buy; I won’t buy.” He Xiu coaxed Aunt Jiang as if he was coaxing a child, casually inserting a candle into the cake. “First, make a wish.”
He lit the candle. Aunt Jiang placed her palms together in prayer, solemnly saying, “I wish for He Xiu to quickly find a girlfriend.”
He Xiu laughed lightly and remarked, “Wishes spoken won’t come true.”
Aunt Jiang retorted, “I deliberately said it aloud for you to hear.” After she said this, she winked in Jian Yan’s direction.
Jian Yan: “…”
Aunt Jiang really was very good to He Xiu.
After the birthday wish, He Xiu gave everyone a small slice of cake. Today, it was Aunt Jiang’s dishes that held the spotlight, so he dared not cut too large of a slice. To the side, Jian Yan still hadn’t finished eating her plate of cake, yet Aunt Jiang placed an eggplant slice into her bowl. “Taste a bit of the deep-fried stuffed eggplant I made.”
This deep-fried stuffed eggplant wasn’t simply eggplant and meat cooked together; instead, it was two slices of deep-fried eggplant sandwiching a very small meatball. Jian Yan took a bite. Very sweet. The eggplant and the meat were very tasty together; not only that, it was just deep-fried a moment ago. “Delicious. This resembles a dish from a large hotel.”
Aunt Jiang said with slight pride, “I previously used to work in a hotel kitchen. I was the one to impart upon He Xiu his cooking skills.”
“Wow, then he had food fortune.” 1
“What fortune.” He Xiu shook his head with a chuckle. “Kitchen work is very busy. The majority of the time, I was eating the dishes my mom made.”
Seeing that he was speaking of his mom very naturally in front of Jian Yan, Aunt Jiang knew that, as expected, it wasn’t as simple as him just bringing a friend over for her birthday.
This clearly was him bringing home his future wife to meet her.
But this wife, he still hadn’t captured her. She had to give him a helping hand.
After they finished eating, He Xiu assumed responsibility of washing the dishes of his own accord. Jian Yan stayed in the living room, chatting with Aunt Jiang.
Aung Jiang peeled fruit for her to eat and asked, “Miss Jian, what do you do for a living?”
Jian Yan replied, “I draw manhua.”
“Draw manhua?” Aunt Jiang seemed quite shocked. “Then how did you and He Xiu meet?”
“For my new project, I was thinking of drawing has a female lead that sells clothes in a general merchandise department store, so I went to Starlight General Merchandise to collect material.”
“Oh, so it’s like this.” Aunt Jiang nodded and pushed the plate of fruit towards Jian Yan. “Eat fruit, eat fruit.”
“Thank you, Aunt Jiang.”
“No need for thanks.” Aunt Jiang glanced at her again. Truly, the more I look, the more I’m satisfied, the more beautiful I find her to be. Just like when He Xiu’s mother was young. “The matter of He Xiu’s mother, he told you about it?
“You can’t see it now as he’s the eldest son of the He Family, but as a child, he suffered a lot of hardships.” After Aunt Jiang said this, she sighed. “In order for his mother to give birth to him, she had a falling out with her family. She had actually faltered as well, thinking of aborting her child, but she ultimately didn’t have the heart to do it. But her decision to not abort her child was correct, as He Xiu had been especially intelligent and thoughtful as a child. He knew his mother went through a lot of trouble, so he did all the basic housework by himself.”
Jian Yan quietly listened to her speak. At that time, He Xiu must have only been five to six years old, yet he was already helping his mother with housework. Later on, he even took over the responsibility of cooking meals.
“He was such a small kid and couldn’t even reach the kitchen counter. He would move a small stool by himself to stand on so he could cook. Unfortunately, his mother…” Aunt Jiang choked with sobs when she reached this point. Jian Yan slowly stroked her back, silently comforting her.
“When his mother left, she wanted to entrust him to me. I knew she didn’t want to seek out He Xiu’s father again, but I clearly understood my own capabilities. I couldn’t give him anything. If he stayed with me, he would only bear hardships alongside me. He was seven, so young. I didn’t want his future to be forfeited like this.”
So she had taken He Xiu to his father. At that time, He Jing Long had been very shocked; he seemed to have been absolutely unaware that he had another son. She later regretted this, afraid that He Xiu would be bullied within the He Family and suffer a horrible childhood. When she had thought of her own circumstances, however, she felt that he must go with his own father, as how could it be better for him to go with her?
She held onto Jian Yan’s hand, staring at her as she said, “He Xiu really is a good child.”
Jian Yan lowered her eyes and smiled, saying, “I know; he is very good.”
After He Xiu finished washing the dishes, he came out and saw Jian Yan and Aunt Jiang chatting joyously and harmoniously while eating fruit. He walked up to them and chuckled. “Is there any for me?”
Aunt Jiang glanced at him and handed over a slice of grapefruit to him. “This grapefruit has a lot of sweet juice. Yan Yan left if especially for you.”
He Xiu blinked. He had only been washing dishes, yet Miss Jian had turned into Yan Yan. He looked at Jian Yan. She raised a brow at him, not making a sound.
After the sky darkened, He Xiu drove Jian Yan back home. Because both of their identities had been exposed, Jian Yan also didn’t have him send her back to her mother’s place, instead sending her off to her apartment building.
He Xiu looked at the villa-style apartment building in front of his eyes and raised a brow at Jian Yan. He said with laughter, “Teacher Tang Zhi’s play was performed very thoroughly. Even the address is fake.”
Jian Yan calmly countered, “Not fake; the place you went to last time was where my mom and I used to live. At the moment, my mom still lives there.”
He Xiu nodded his head, not delving deeper into this topic. “Last time when Xu Ying came to Starlight General Merchandise, she gave me an invitation to her engagement reception. Do you remember?
“I remember. What about it?”
“I don’t know if you have any free time that day, but I want to invite you to go with me.”
Tomorrow, I will begin to resume updating at the normal time!
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- Moonclipse’s comment: Food fortune is the best I could describe it; basically, saying that he was lucky to be able to eat all kinds of food. ↩