Chapter 99: Eve of Lunar New Year
The corner of Chu Qin’s mouth twitched. “You know best.”
Zhong Yibin proudly swayed his head. “That’s true. If I weren’t this multi-talented, how could Dad have taken a liking to me?”
“You address him quite smoothly,” Chu Qin rolled his eyes and didn’t say anything more. After all, even the term ‘dad’ had already been used by Zhong Yibin. Shaking his head, he switched off the lights and went to sleep.
The two youngsters were accustomed to sleeping after ten o’clock at night. Now that they had to sleep at nine, they were simply unable to fall asleep.
The heated quilt was warmed by the electric blanket and only a section of it was warm. The areas which had not been warmed were still icy cold. Zhong Yibin stretched his legs out under the quilt and his long legs reached the end of the blankets. The chill caused him to shudder involuntarily and he opened his mouth in resentment. “Why is this quilt so cold.”
“There isn’t a heater in the house. We can only do it like this,” Chu Qin consoled. “Endure it for a while longer, it’ll be warm soon.”
Chu Qin had yet to finish speaking when he felt the blanket beside his foot shift. A large foot swiftly broke through the two-blanket barrier and nestled into his quilt. Zhong Yibin’s foot was somewhat chilly, probably because he went to take the photo album while barefoot.
Chu Qin used his two feet to sandwich the cold foot and pushed it out. The foot was thus forced out just like this, as if it were a small creature that had been swept out the door. When it reached Zhong Yibin’s quilt, the passive Zhong Yibin very quickly acted, his two feet pressing against Chu Qin’s feet and once again barging into Chu Qin’s quilt.
The two people thus waged a war under the quilts by stretching their legs. It wasn’t long before the warm air under the blankets dissipated and cold air poured into the blankets, causing Chu Qin to shiver.
“Stop fooling around, you’ll freeze soon,” Chu Qin kicked Zhong Yibin lightly and used his foot to turn the blanket over.
“I’m already frozen,” Zhong Yibin said, aggrieved. He lifted Chu Qin’s quilt and with a twist of his body, squeezed in. His own quilt had long lost its warmth due to their playfulness just now. It was Chu Qin, with his abundance of experience, who continuously pressed down on the corner of his blanket, causing his quilt to remain warm and cozy.
With his limbs stretched out, Zhong Yibin seemed like an octopus as he hugged the toasty Chu Qin. He rubbed his face against Chu Qin’s comfortably.
Chu Qin was helpless against him and could only tuck the corners of the blanket back into place. He folded the person into his blanket. “You’re not allowed to move recklessly if you sleep under one blanket with me.”
Winter in the south was harder to endure than that in the north – at night, the quilt had to be sealed completely; no wind could leak. Zhong Yibin nodded obediently. Anything was fine as long as he could hug his wife.
The two men possessed immense amounts of heat energy. It wasn’t long after they hugged that the quilt was made nice and warm. It was very comfortable. Chu Qin inhaled a mouthful of ice-cold air and squinted, turning around to place a kiss on Zhong Yibin’s head. In his own house with his parents sleeping nearby, he was actually able to sleep in the same quilt with his beloved. This feeling of a child hiding a toy in the quilt made him indescribably excited.
Zhong Yibin opened his eyes and glanced at him. He chased down the lips that prepared to leave him and accurately plastered against them. It wouldn’t be appropriate to do anything at his mother-in-law’s house, but a kiss was still fine.
The toothpaste they had used at night was not the type they were used to. It was old-fashioned and had a peppermint taste, infusing the kiss with an exotic, fresh sensation. As he kissed, Zhong Yibin’s hand couldn’t resist roaming downwards. It was unknown where he touched that caused Chu Qin to let out a smothered groan, pushing him away in a panic.
“Stop messing around, sleep,” Chu Qin panted for a while. He gave the back of the hand that Zhong Yibin was unwilling to shift away a pinch and lay down with his back facing him.
Zhong Yibin’s mouth thinned. He placed the hand that was unwilling to move onto Chu Qin’s waist and at the place that already reacted, rubbed roguishly against Chu Qin’s tent. He whined and hugged the tight the person in his arms, placed his nose on his neck and blowing out a puff of air. “Baby, if you’re worried about your parents, it’s fine if we don’t tell them now. We can wait for them to slowly accept it.”
Chu Qin stared blankly for a moment. He was indeed a little worried – he was scared that saying it out loud would harm his parents. However, this matter would eventually need to be confronted. Ever since he decided to be together with Zhong Yibin, he had thought up countermeasures and given his parents a heads-up. He grasped the hand on his waist and lightly kneaded it. “It’s fine. It’s something that has to be said sooner or later. If worst comes to worst, I’ll be beaten up.”
“If they hit you, remember to hide in my embrace. In any case, I’m your boss. They probably wouldn’t hit with all their strength,” Zhong Yibin said gleefully, as if taking a beating on behalf of Chu Qin was such a blissful thing.
Chu Qin laughed in spite of himself and twisted his head to kiss him.
The next morning, Mother Chu got up early and prepared breakfast before knocking on Chu Qin’s door.
“Son, Yibin, get up for breakfast,” Mother Chu’s clear voice simultaneously roused the two people from their dreams.
“Oh… Got up already…” Chu Qin dazedly made a sound of agreement. He rubbed his eyes and wanted to get up, yet the person behind him hugged him tightly, his shaggy head buried in the crook of Chu Qin’s neck.
There was no warmth during a winter morning, thus the toasty quilt would become an extremely enticing place. Someone sleeping on it would not get up, as if superglued to the quilt.
Chu Qin didn’t want to get up either. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep once more.
Father Chu had already risen. The food had already been served yet the two children hadn’t risen. Seeing that his wife was somewhat unhappy, Father Chu laughed. “It’s rare for them to be on holiday, let them sleep a while longer.”
“The dishes will be cold a while later,” Mother Chu didn’t listen to his words. She wiped her hands on the apron and directly entered Chu Qin’s room. Seeing the situation inside, her eyes instantly widened.
Zhong Yibin’s blanket had long been kicked to the bottom of the bed. His entire person was wound around Chu Qin, squeezing with him at one half of the bed. The two people sleeping in a quilt appeared abnormally harmonious.
Father Chu hurriedly came over to pull at Mother Chu. He wouldn’t mind it if it was his own son but there was a guest in the house now; hastily bursting in was discourteous. He couldn’t stop her in time and turned to see the two people on the bed. A ‘pfft’ sound escaped from his mouth. “Hahaha, these two kids have such a good relationship. They even squeezed into a quilt like young kids.”
Mother Chu glanced at her husband, who didn’t seem to have the slightest sense of crisis, and felt her head hurt.
Zhong Yibin had already woken up. Seeing the two elders standing at the door, he sat up with a quiver and revealed his smoothly muscled upper body. “Morning, uncle and auntie.”
Mother Chu coughed dryly. “Quickly wake Chu Qin up, it’s time to eat.”
It was already the 29th of the twelfth lunar month. After breakfast, the family started preparing the goods used over the New Year. Zhong Yibin also enthusiastically wanted to help with the work. He had never celebrated the New Year like this before; at the Zhong family, celebrating the New Year was not very different from the usual. Nobody would set about tasks; they would only wait for the housekeeper to prepare the food, eat a meal on the eve of Lunar New Year and then start the relentless process of calling on others.
However, Mother Chu refused to let the two of them near the kitchen. She gave them a plate of dumpling filling and skins, and got them to wrap dumplings.
Thus, Chu Qin led Zhong Yibin to sit in the living room and wrap dumplings. Zhong Yibin had never wrapped them before and pinched wrongly quite a few before making some that were just barely presentable. Yet, Chu Qin never disdained him. “Oh, this is better than the previous one. You’ve improved.”
“Hehe,” Zhong Yibin happily rubbed the tip of his nose, the flour on his palm rubbing off on his nose.
Chu Qin pursed his lips and suppressed his laughter. Without reminding him, he rose and ran to the kitchen to steal a bowl of meatballs his father had just finished deep-frying feed for the hardworking Zhong chick.
After a busy day, there wasn’t much to do when the eve of Lunar New Year arrived. The family surrounded the table and played mahjong.
“In the past, there were only three of us and we couldn’t play. Now that there are four, it’s just right,” Mother Chu was very fond of playing mahjong. She was ecstatic that they had gathered four people at home and opened the automatic mahjong table. She glanced at Zhong Yibin opposite her and something flashed across her eyes. “Son, when will you quickly marry a daughter-in-law into the house. This way, we can play mahjong every New Year.”
The hand that Chu Qin was using to throw the dice paused for a moment. “Will you not be able to play mahjong without a daughter-in-law?”
Mother Chu curled her lips. “Che, I’ll go next door to play if there isn’t a daughter-in-law. You and your father can be bored at home.”
Zhong Yibin revealed a mild smile. “If auntie would like it, I can come year after year to accompany you to play mahjong.”
“That’s good,” Father Chu answered very happily and smoothly agreed. He truly liked this youngster – he was young and promising, his studies were also good, and he didn’t possess the arrogance of those children from wealthy families. He was extremely reassured by his son having this sort of boss as a friend.
Mother Chu glared at Father Chu, who had agreed unreservedly. However, a certain someone completely failed to receive the signal and in high spirits, opened his mouth. “White board!”
Mother Chu mixed around in the mahjong circle all year round and was considered an all-rounded expert. Chu Qin and Father Chu were average in skill. It was unknown if it was due to the amnesia but Zhong Yibin became a basket for crappy tiles. Within an afternoon’s span of time, he lost a lot of money.
Father Chu, who rarely won, obtained a huge amount today and grinned from ear to ear.
“Er Bing!” Zhong Yibin hesitated for a long time before coming up with a tile.
“Bump! I’ve won!” Mother Chu promptly scooped up the tile Er Bing pushed into her hands.
Zhong Yibin made a pained face and obediently fished out money. The pile of dollar notes in front of him had dwindled to a pitiful three dollars and it was completely handed over.
“Hahaha, not playing anymore,” Mother Chu rose and dragged Father Chu off to prepare the New Year eve’s family dinner.
Chu Qin poked Zhong Yibin’s face, moved over to see his tiles and frowned slightly. “Er Bing, how did this pair of yours get torn down?” With this playing method, it would be strange for him to win.
“I saw that auntie wanted to win,” Zhong Yibin innocently batted his eyes.
Chu Qin suddenly understood. This guy lost deliberately, purely so he could make the elderly people happy. He couldn’t help laughing. “Er Bing Bing, you’re not bad.”
“Hmph hmph,” Zhong Yibin raised his chin in delight.
At night when they were ushering in the New Year, the family sat in the living room to watch the New Year’s Gala. There was no heater, so they split into twos and covered themselves with a blanket.
“This party is really boring, it’s not as interesting to watch as Shengshi’s,” Mother Chu watched the completely unamusing skits on television and frowned unhappily.
“Then watch Shengshi,” Father Chu suggested.
The television at home was a smart-type and could replay programs. Mother Chu promptly switched to Shengshi’s channel and replayed the evening party on New Year’s Day. Mother Chu had watched this evening party before but Father Chu had not, hence his interest.
This evening party was hosted by Chu Qin and the entire family watched it with keen interest. Chu Qin felt somewhat embarrassed – watching his own program with his parents always gave him an indescribable feeling of shame.
“Eh, isn’t that Yibin?” Father Chu had sharp eyes and spotted the impeccably attired Zhong Yibin in the first row of the audience stands.
“En, he needed to go up at the end to give the Shengshi workers red packets,” Chu Qin made a sound of agreement.
As expected, Zhong Yibin went on stage when it was nearing the end and gave every Shengshi employee that had participated in the evening party a red packet. When he reached Chu Qin, he suddenly skipped past him. In the end, he still turned back and gave him an especially large red packet.
“Wow—” The audience was amazed. The usual red packet was already the size of an envelope but the one Zhong Yibin gave Chu Qin was the size of an A4 paper, so they were very curious about its contents.
Chu Qin evidently had no idea what it was either. He blinked. “Why did director Zhong give me something so exceptional.”
Everyone requested for him to open it and he really did so. Upon taking it out, it appeared to be something like a contract. He instantly sealed it again, causing the extremely curious audience to sigh.
The rumor from the media was that the inside might have contained stocks Shengshi gave to Chu Qin. There were also people who said that it was Chu Qin’s renewed contract. There were varying opinions on the matter but from start to end, Chu Qin never responded.
“What’s that?” Mother Chu couldn’t prevent herself from asking curiously.
“A house,” Zhong Yibin said, all smiles. Inside was the title deed to the house that Zhong big brother had arranged for. It was unknown what means his big brother had used for that title deed to have both his and Chu Qin’s names written on it.
“House?” Mother Chu was surprised. What boss would directly give a house as a red packet for the New Year!
“En, Chu Qin is about to get married. He can’t always stay in that apartment,” Zhong Yibin stated in a low voice as he looked at Chu Qin, who couldn’t keep awake any longer and had already fallen asleep.
The two people were seated on the sofa; Chu Qin naturally leaned against Zhong Yibin after falling asleep while Zhong Yibin was calm and did nothing either, only stealthily inclining his body. The person who was sleeping soundly then slid into his embrace.
Seeing this scene, the expression on her face that Mother Chu tried hard to maintain couldn’t help twitching.
The author has something to say:
Mother Chu: Take your hand away, you’re not allowed to hug my son
Father Chu: They’re both men, what are you scared of
Mother Chu: It’s precisely because they’re both men that there’s a problem, all right?
Father Chu: *clicking tongue* Your thoughts are too dirty. Come, let me tell you about Marxism and Leninism
Mother Chu: (╰_╯)#
 White board is a type of tile in mahjong. It looks like this: