Chapter 98: Chu family
“Coming—” After a loud, clear sound of acknowledgement, the heavy door opened with a hum. Standing before the door was a middle-aged woman dressed in glamorous home attire. Though she was already getting on in years, her figure had been maintained very well and she still appeared to be a beautiful woman. Her features were identical to Chu Qin’s, except for her lips, which were thicker than Chu Qin’s. A splendid smiling expression adorned those lips.
“Son!” Mother Chu opened the door and upon seeing her son standing at the entrance, her smile grew even more brilliant. Turning to see the ‘quasi daughter-in-law’ beside her son, the smile on her face stiffened momentarily.
Her son had previously said that he would bring his partner home; Mother Chu had recently gone through all the female stars, actresses and rich second-generation ladies who were close to Chu Qin recently. Perhaps it was this tall, slender and beautiful model. Perhaps it was this dainty and delicate singer. Perhaps it was this able and efficient lady boss. Perhaps it was this star who smiled in a delightful way…
It had never once crossed her mind that the person standing beside her son would be a tall, slender, beautiful, efficient, delightfully smiling… man.
“Mother…” Chu Qin passed the things in his hands to his mother and coughed lightly. “This is Shengshi’s director, Zhong Yibin. You should have seen him before on television.”
“Hello, auntie!” Zhong Yibin greeted her loudly and clearly, his smile innocent and unaffected.
Mother Chu instantly reacted. “Ah, it’s Qin Qin’s boss. Quickly enter, quickly enter!” As she led the two people in, she loudly called for Chu Qin’s father so that he could greet the guest.
Chu Qin’s father appeared very gentle. He wore a pair of old-fashioned eyeglasses and slowly walked over with a cultured smile on his face. “It’s mister Zhong, please sit. Why didn’t Chu Qin tell the family in advance?” Saying so, he fixed an eye on Chu Qin. They had completed all the preparations to welcome their daughter-in-law, yet in the end, this youngster brought his boss back.
Things had already progressed this far; it wouldn’t be good for Mother and Father Chu to directly enquire about why he hadn’t brought his partner back. Hence, they could only warmly entertain Zhong Yibin.
“It was me who insisted on coming with Chu Qin. I hope I’m not intruding,” Zhong Yiin scratched his head and brought out the tonic and tea leaves meant for Father Chu.
“Not intruding, not intruding. It’ll only be lively with more people over the New Year. Our Chu Qin has inconvenienced you quite a bit these few years. I always tell him to bring you back; he finally decided to listen this year,” Mother Chu managed a wholesale business and her mouth was particularly impressive – she could turn what was right into something that was wrong.
“Auntie, this is a present for you. I wasn’t too sure what you would like and consulted my mother on this,” Zhong Yibin took out the velvet jewelry box and passed it to Mother Chu.
Mother Chu received it, smiling so deeply that her brows and eyes curved into crescents. “This child, it’s fine if you just come, why the need for such courtesy… Aiya!” The jewels’ radiance escaped when she opened the box, nearly blinding her eyes with its dazzle. A piece of sapphire jewelry – its extravagance was sky-high; it was clear at a glance that its worth was considerable.
“This is too precious…” Mother Chu put the cover back on and pushed the velvet box back. If he was just her son’s friend, giving such an extravagant gift was a little too much.
“My family manages a jewelry business. I obtained this at stock price, it wasn’t expensive,” Zhong Yibin gently smiled as he said.
Hearing these words, Mother Chu felt somewhat relieved. She resisted another two times before accepting it and happily bringing it into the room for safekeeping. No matter their age, women had difficulty resisting this sort of things. Zhong Yibin’s smile was completely harmless.
Chu Qin side-eyed him. This guy’s ability to speak false words with his eyes wide open was rising day by day. The jewelry was clearly bought by Mother Zhong just recently, what family acquiring stock was he spouting… There were zero jewelry businesses under Shengshi…
“Sit for a while, I’ll prepare the food,” Mother Chu smiled and tied her apron.
“Auntie, I’ll help you,” Zhong Yibin stood up to help. He remembered that his father had mentioned that he must offer to help when the other party’s mother went to cook.
“No need, no need. Quickly sit. Qin Qin, come and help mother,” Mother Chu waved her arms and pushed Zhong Yibin back, dragging her son away.
So, Zhong Yibin sat in the living room, locking eyes with Father Chu, who was a man of few words.
Chu Qin was snatched by his mother into the kitchen. A bunch of green onions was stuffed into his hands. Without complaint, he rolled up his sleeves and began to peel the green onions. Mother Chu looked outside the glass door bordering the kitchen and carefully peeked at Zhong Yibin seated on the couch. He had handsome features and his temperament was outstanding – it was evident that he was a well-nurtured child of a wealthy family. He was even more handsome than what he appeared to be on television. Mother Chu grew increasingly uneasy.
“You damned child, where’s your girlfriend?” Mother Chu rapped Chu Qin on the head.
“No girlfriend,” Chu Qin concentrated on peeling the green onions.
“Then you were messing with this old lady the other time?” Mother Chu jabbed her son’s forehead. “What do you mean by bringing your boss back when I asked you to bring your girlfriend.”
Chu Qin touched his forehead and glanced at Zhong Yibin, who was seated upright in the living room. An inscrutable smile appeared in his eyes. “He suffered an injury during summer and can’t remember the past, only me. His dad and mum can’t rest at ease and allowed him to come back with me for the New Year.”
“Ah?” Mother Chu was astonished. This reason was too odd, and she momentarily found it difficult to digest. “Amnesia? I couldn’t tell at all!”
She watched all her son’s programs without missing a single one. She had also watched the reality show, <Bun, Quickly Run>, and was very fond of the Zhong brothers. Although Zhong Yibin’s performance on the program was sometimes foolishly adorable, he was occasionally very intelligent, not at all like an amnesiac… She looked her son up and down before glancing at Zhong Yibin outside. Mother Chu’s brows creased a little and she didn’t say anything more.
When the dishes were served and the two men were called to eat, Father Chu was already bantering with Zhong Yibin and patting him on the shoulder in a very intimate manner. This caused Chu Qin to be somewhat amazed. His father was a teacher and his tone of voice tended to be slightly admonishing; it was a little difficult for him to interact with others. How did he become so close to Zhong Yibin within those few minutes?
“Yibin’s studies are so good, he was always in the top ten in his cohort during his childhood!” As a teacher, Father Chu had a naturally favorable impression of kids with good grades.
“My senior high school teacher said that there wouldn’t be any issue with me attending university in the capital and even wanted me to strive to be the top scorer. But my family still wanted me to study overseas,” Zhong Yibin sat beside Father Chu like an obedient child.
“It’s quite good to have the chance to study abroad. The difficult path of college entrance exams is indeed tough to handle,” Father Chu sighed.
“You still remember your senior high school teacher’s words?” Mother Chu smiled and asked, picking a chicken leg for Zhong Yibin.
Chu Qin frowned slightly. His family’s mother was testing the authenticity of his words. He hurriedly signaled at Zhong Yibin with his eyes.
“Actually, I don’t remember it,” Zhong Yibin winked at Chu Qin. “I went to recollect my memories at senior high school previously and met the teacher who was in charge of my class during school. During the period in summer when I injured my head, I couldn’t recall many things clearly.”
Only then did Mother Chu believe it. She looked at him sympathetically. “How did you injure your head? Other than amnesia, are there any other injuries?”
“He did it for the sake of saving me…” Chu Qin said faintly.
“En?” Mother Chu and Father Chu simultaneously turned to look at their son.
Thus, Chu Qin explained the minor aspects of what had happened – his kidnapping and how Zhong Yibin had taken a blow for him. Though he omitted the dangerous segments as much as possible, Mother Chu’s eyes still reddened.
“This child, how can you not tell mother at all when such a big thing happened?” Mother Chu slapped Cu Qin on the back. While their son made a living outside, they as parents worried incessantly at home. They were most afraid of their child running into some accident.
At that time when Chu Qin delayed the program, she had already felt that there was a problem. However, when she called her son, everything was fine, so she threw this matter to the back of her mind. She didn’t expect him to had really met with a mishap.
“I just said that I was very flustered that afternoon and couldn’t carry on with work,” Mother Chu patted her chest, still feeling that it was quite incredible. That was the capital, the city with the best public security in the country. Yet, there were still people who brazenly abducted celebrities. If Zhong Yibin hadn’t rushed over in time that day, she didn’t dare to imagine the kind of treatment her son would have been subjected to by those kidnappers.
“Yibin, you’re our family’s savior!” Father Chu grasped Zhong Yibin’s hand, gazing at him gratefully. As it turns out, it was because of his son that Zhong Yibin was in this condition. It was only right that they raise him for a lifetime, much less staying over the New Year. As expected, children with good grades since young had excellent characters as well.
“You’re too polite. I’ve known Chu Qin for so many years. To me, his life is more important than mine,” Zhong Yibin’s eyes were on Chu Qin as he said these words.
Chu Qin felt his heart jump. He lowered his head and dug into the food.
The hand Mother Chu was using to dab at her tears paused for a moment. Why did these touching words from the bottom of the heart sound so strange…
After dinner, the family gathered in the living room and chatted for a while before preparing to sleep. People who were getting on in years liked to sleep early and rise early. The time was only half past eight, yet Mother Chu was already yawning non-stop.
“There isn’t a guestroom at home, you two will just have to squeeze into a room. Anyway, you’re all men,” Father Chu smiled and pointed at Chu Qin’s room.
The three-room house had two bathrooms and a study room, without an unnecessary guestroom. The couple had originally discussed that when their daughter-in-law came, the girl could sleep with Mother Chu while Father Chu slept with their son. Now, it was even easier – it was all right for them to directly sleep in the same room.
Mother Chu’s brows creased but it wasn’t appropriate for her to say anything.
Zhong Yibin naturally nimbly agreed and merrily went to look around Chu Qin’s room.
There was no central heating in the south and winter nights were very chilly. Mother Chu prepared two blankets for them and added another large quilt on top; it appeared rather thick. She reminded them repeatedly to unplug the electric blanket before sleeping and then proceeded with Father Chu back to their room to sleep.
Zhong Yibin curiously roved around the room. This house had been purchased before Chu Qin started working and no longer possessed the traces of Chu Qin’s childhood. But there were still quite a few interesting things. For instance, the various trophies and models on the shelf as well as the certificates on the wall.
“Star kindergarten’s multi-talented award…” Zhong Yibin looked at the certificate with a large red flower drawn on it and couldn’t resist reciting it out loud.
“That’s the certificate given during kindergarten for hosting an evening party on New Year’s Day,” Chu Qin stroked his nose and beckoned Zhong Yibin over to sleep.
However, Zhong Yibin was extremely excited and refused to listen to him. He continued to look through everything. “Photo album! I want to look at it.”
“All right, I’ll let you look at it. Come under the blankets before looking at it,” Chu Qin said helplessly. He took the photo album and dragged him onto the bed. This person was roaming about dressed in only a pair of unlined trousers. He would catch a cold if he continued to roam about.
The bed was warm and cozy due to the electric blanket. Zhong Yibin had never slept in such a bed before and curiously stretched his legs under the blanket.
Chu Qin flipped open the photo album and looked through it with Zhong Yibin. Photos of his childhood were all inside. There were shots of his bare butt during the day, ugly shots of him in kindergarten with a large crimson dot on his forehead, and even a cool picture of him in elementary school carrying a red neckscarf and dressed in shorts…
“Wow… this is so cute,” Zhong Yibin was unable to take his eyes off it. He itched to rush into the photo and wrap the tiny dumpling in his arms to kiss.
Chu Qin pursed his lips in laughter. He stroked Zhong Yibin’s head. “It seems like my dad and mum like you a lot, let’s wait till after the first day of the New Year to tell them.”
Zhong Yibin turned to look at him. He thought for a while before saying seriously, “The first day can be avoided, but not the fifteenth.”
The author has something to say:
Mother Chu: I keep feeling that it isn’t appropriate for them to sleep together
Father Chu: What’s inappropriate about boys sleeping together
Er Bing: Auntie, relax. I will take good care of Qin Qin
Qin Qin: How will you take care of me
Er Bing: The weather is so cold; I’ll take care of you by letting you sleep with me under one blanket
Qin Qin: ……
 In China, red neckscarfs are worn by children to indicate that they are members of the Young Pioneers, a special Communist Party organisation for children aged 6-14. The scarf is emblematic of the blood of Cultural Revolution martyrs. It is said that in this age, the scarf is viewed more as an accessory to school day dress.
 A way of saying that something can be evaded for a short while but is impossible to escape from entirely.