Chapter 7

TLC: Hoenibean

       The little girl took two loaves and left.

       Ning Junyan also stood up at this time. He said to Chen Yuncheng, “I’ll leave first.”

       “Leaving already?” Chen Yuncheng was habitually polite, “Sit a while longer, I’ll go get you a glass of water.”

       Ning Junyan said to him, “No need.”

       Chen Yuncheng no longer insisted, he came out from the counter, sent Ning Junyan out, and kept watching him as he got into the car.

       The passenger window slid down and Chen Yuncheng bowed beside the window, saying to him, “We’ll get together more often when we have the chance.”

       This was originally a polite remark, and Chen Yuncheng didn’t mean much when he said it, but unexpectedly Ning Junyan asked him, “Really?”

       Chen Yuncheng laughed when he heard the words, “Of course, it’s for real. I think it’s fate that we know each other.”

       Ning Junyan didn’t speak and just looked at him.

       Chen Yuncheng said, “By the way, do you still remember Zhou Yan?”

       Ning Junyan lowered his eyes. He seemed to think for a moment, before  then saying, “I don’t remember.”

       Chen Yuncheng smiled and said, “It’s normal that you don’t remember. Next time when we have the chance to have dinner together, maybe you’ll recall.”

       Ning Junyan said, “Maybe.”

       Chen Yuncheng backed away from the car and waved to him, “Take care.”

       Ning Junyan drove the car forward and soon merged into the crowded traffic.

       Chen Yuncheng was still standing on the side of the road, looking at the direction his car was leaving. After a while, he turned his head to look at the other side of the intersection. He saw that the girl who bought bread just now was still standing at the intersection.

       It was winter now. Although there were still a lot of cars on the street at this time, there were already very few pedestrians. The girl stood at the intersection for a while, and when the green light came on, she crossed the road with two or three other people and then continued to move forward, disappearing from Chen Yuncheng’s sight.

       Only then did Chen Yuncheng turn around and go back to the store. He pulled down the rolling shutter halfway, went back to the counter, turned on the TV that was just turned off, and used the remote control to switch channels aimlessly. His mind was not on the TV show, he kept thinking of that little girl and then of Ning Junyan.

       At ten years old, Ning Junyan was already quite old. Their foster father would not normally bring back a child of that age, as he will not be able to control him.

       But Chen Yuncheng thought that there might be something wrong with Ning Junyan’s head because he didn’t even know what his name was.

       “Don’t you know what your name is?”

       At that time, Chen Yuncheng and Ning Junyan were both squatting under the tree by the roadside, looking at the people passing by. There was a university in front of them. At noon and in the afternoon, many students would come out of the school gate in groups of three or five and cross the road to eat street snacks across the street.

       It was noon at this time and there were many people. The sun was too hot, and Chen Yuncheng hid under the tree. He didn’t want to move.

       Ning Junyan squatted beside him silently.

       Early that morning, their foster father asked Chen Yuncheng to bring Ning Junyan out and asked Chen Yuncheng to teach him how to work and make money.

       “If you guys don’t make money, I’m not just going tofeed you free of charge am I?” Their foster father wore a white vest and ate breakfast with one foot on a chair, taking a sip of greasy noodle soup, putting the bowl down and starting to lecture, “The usual rules, no income today, no dinner.”

       Chen Yuncheng nodded and brought Ning Junyan out when he went out.

       The morning was unproductive, they had walked all the way near the university. The sun was too fierce towards noon so Chen Yuncheng found a shade to hide under.

       Ning Junyan followed him and squatted down beside him.

       Chen Yuncheng was lazy, he asked Ning Junyan, “Are you mute? What’s your name?”

       After a while, Ning Junyan shook his head.

       “Don’t you know what your name is?”

       Ning Junyan still shook his head.

       Chen Yuncheng said, “What’s wrong with you?”

       Ning Junyan’s short hair was in a mess, still maintaining the look Chen Yuncheng had cut out for him with scissors.

       Chen Yuncheng asked him, “Can you speak then? Do you want to copy me and try? My name is Chen Yuncheng.”

       Ning Junyan looked at him.

       Chen Yuncheng repeated, “Chen Yuncheng.”

       Ning Junyan spoke suddenly and said vaguely, “Yanyan…”

       Chen Yuncheng was stunned, he said, “What did you say?” Then he was a little happy, “So you are not mute?”

       There was no expression on Ning Junyan’s face. He looked forward and said, “My name is Yanyan.”

       “Which Yan1This happens a lot to Chinese when they are asking for names. For example, if your name is Zhang, they will ask you which Zhang as in which character is the Zhang is written to know the meaning of their name. In the story, Chen Yuncheng was asking which Yan (言) was his name, while Ning Junyan’s name Yan was written in (延)?” Chen Yuncheng asked after him.

       Ning Junyan shook his head.

       Chen Yuncheng didn’t know why. For the longest time, he thought that Ning Junyan’s name was Yanyan. However, Ning Junyan didn’t explain clearly at that time.

       “Yanyan2Throughout the chapter of their past, Chen Yuncheng will keep calling him Yanyan(言言) instead of Yanyan(延延)?” Looking at it from the side, Ning Junyan’s eyelashes were very long and dropped slightly, and under the upturned nose were light-coloured lips. The ten-year-old boy still has some androgynous childishness, but Chen Yuncheng felt that he was already very good-looking. Chen Yuncheng tried to remind him more, “Do you still remember your family?”

       Ning Junyan’s eyelashes trembled, but he didn’t answer the question.

       Chen Yuncheng glanced at the pedestrians passing by on the street, leaned close to Ning Junyan’s ear and whispered, “If you can find out how to go home, go back by yourself.”

       Ning Junyan turned his head to look at him.

       Chen Yuncheng looked at him, “I won’t tell our foster parents.”

       After a long delay, Ning Junyan said, “I don’t know, my head hurts.”

       Chen Yuncheng made a soft “ah”, and remembered the injury on Ning Junyan’s head. He stood up, touched the swollen part of Ning Junyan’s scalp with his fingers, and asked, “Does it hurt here?”

       Ning Junyan visibly retracted his neck but didn’t cry out in pain.

       Chen Yuncheng retracted his hands, wiped the sweat from his hands on his trousers, squatted back, and said, “So you’re not dumb, did you hit your head?”

       There was no way for Ning Junyan to answer this question.

       Chen Yuncheng cupped Ning Junyan’s face in his hands and sighed. He felt that he couldn’t help Ning Junyan.

       After a while, Chen Yuncheng heard Ning Junyan’s stomach growl, he turned his head and asked him, “Are you hungry?”

       Ning Junyan did not respond.

       Chen Yuncheng stood up and said to Ning Junyan, “Wait for me here.” He walked towards the intersection in front of him, his small figure squeezed into the crowd waiting to cross the street.

       In front of Chen Yuncheng, a girl with an umbrella put her mobile phone in her jacket pocket. He could easily take it out as long as he stretched out his hand; in front of him, a middle-aged man seemed to have money in his pocket. He couldn’t see how much it was, but either way, his whole pocket was bulging.

       At the moment when the red light turned green, the crowd was chaotic as they walked forward. Instead of stealing the phone, Chen Yuncheng touched the middle-aged man’s pocket. He changed his direction and took a few steps to retreat to the periphery of the crowd, before then mixing in with the crowd coming from the opposite side and walking back.

       He noticed that someone was looking at him, and the person behind him should have noticed that he had stolen some money, but no one alerted the middle-aged man.

       Chen Yuncheng quickly walked back to Ning Junyan, pulled him up from the ground, and said, “Go.”

       The two of them hid by the wall far away from the intersection. Chen Yuncheng took out the money and saw a handful of loose change in his hand, it was only about twenty yuan after counting.

       Chen Yuncheng said to Ning Junyan, “Go eat first.”

       Ning Junyan stared at the money in his hand and gave a “hmm” as a reply.

The chapter this week can be published because of bean’s help (T⌓T)
Ah, also I received some ko-fi again after so long tho! Idk if it’s for garfield or morbid addiction’s. But I’m really grateful for the kofi ( ˃̣̣̥o˂̣̣̥ )
The past few weeks I was too busy to even upload chapters properly (most of garfield’s chapter was already scheduled a month ago). I got a new side job and it’s a bit exhausting because I couldn’t find the right balance yet, not only that this weekend I have to go on a 7AM flight and returned on a 10PM flight(on the same day) on Saturday and half passed out for the rest of Sunday. I’m really sorry about the very late update for morbid addiction’s chapter (ಥ﹏ಥ)
Sorry for the long rant, lol

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  1. Ketkai

    Ohh so ml’s mind/memories got a joggle
    Reminds me of the numerous kid beggars in the streets 😞 Also, reading from the children’s perspectives 🥺

  2. Nabong_uwu

    Damn, those people where the devil incarcerated, what angers me the most is the fact things like that actually happen often


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