Chen Yuncheng didn’t know what to say to Ning Junyan, he went back to his room, opened the door and saw several paper bags on the bed.
He walked over and saw that one of the bags contained a new pack of men’s underwear, and the other bags contained all new clothes.
There was a woollen sweater, two shirts, a pair of trousers, and a down jacket. The style of the down jacket was similar to the thick down jacket that Ning Junyan wore before, and it seemed to be of the same brand.
Chen Yuncheng took out all the clothes and saw that there were no tags on them.
He hurried out of the room, found Ning Junyan in the study, and said, “Did you buy those clothes for me?”
Ning Junyan was facing his laptop looking at something, but now he looked up at him and said, “Yeah, you disappeared early in the morning, so I had to go shopping alone.”
“Why do you buy so many?” Chen Yuncheng asked.
Ning Junyan said, “I bought it because I thought it looked good.”
Chen Yuncheng said to him, “I don’t need it, I have clothes to wear.”
The chair beneath Ning Junyan shifted slightly, “Your underwear is torn.”
Chen Yuncheng said, “Then just buy the underwear, what’s the point of buying anything else? Take it and return it.”
Ning Junyan said, “The tags are all cut.”
The tags were all cut, so they could not be returned, and the size of the clothes would not fit Ning Junyan.
Chen Yuncheng was a little annoyed. He turned around and left the study and went back to his room. He searched for the brand of the down jacket that Ning Junyan bought for him on the shopping app with his mobile phone, and found that the purchase price was two to three thousand. He suddenly felt a throbbing pain in his temple, he picked up the down jacket, and for a moment felt that it was inappropriate to dispose of it.
Ning Junyan walked in at this moment and asked him, “You don’t like it?”
Chen Yuncheng asked him, “Did you receive the money I transferred to you?”
Ning Junyan said, “I received the text message.”
Chen Yuncheng was a little annoyed, “You took all the money to buy me clothes when you received them?”
Ning Junyan shook his head, “The sum here is less than ten thousand.”
Chen Yuncheng threw the down jacket back on the bed, “I don’t need such expensive clothes.” There was no difference between a three thousand and three hundred down jacket on his body.
“Are you angry?” Ning Junyan asked him.
Chen Yuncheng was indeed a little angry, but he felt that he couldn’t simply vent it on Ning Junyan, who had only used his own money to buy him a gift.
Ning Jun extended his arms and hugged him from behind, wrapped his arms around his waist, and said close to his ear, “Then next time you go shopping with me, choose the style you like.”
“It’s not a matter of style,” Chen Yuncheng said.
Ning Junyan kissed his ear, and suddenly felt his short hair prickling his cheek, and couldn’t help kissing him on the head again, “You can talk about any problems you have, don’t get angry.”
Chen Yuncheng felt that he couldn’t get angry anymore.
He stood in the room for a while, pulled away Ning Junyan’s hand that was wrapped around his waist, and bent down to pick up the new underwear on the bed.
Ning Junyan said to him, “Wash them before you put them on.”
Chen Yuncheng said “En”, and went to the bathroom in his underwear. When he washed it and went to the balcony to dry it, he saw Ning Junyan’s bed sheet and quilt cover were still hanging on the balcony.
When he thought of the reason why Ning Junyan had changed his bed sheets, Chen Yuncheng was so ashamed that he couldn’t even lift his head up.
Chen Yuncheng didn’t want to wear those new clothes, so he hung them up and put them in the closet.
The Chinese New Year was less than two weeks away. Since that weekend, Ning Junyan had been busy with work and didn’t spend much time at home.
But Chen Yuncheng, on the other hand, had nothing to do, except for helping Sun Shiliang with a renovation job halfway through the year. He simply went to a construction site outside to work part-time for a week. Taking advantage of the low wages and high wages of the workers before the holiday, he saved 2,000 yuan.
After getting the money, Chen Yuncheng bought a cigarette and sent it to Long Zhanyu.
Long Zhanyu worked the night shift last night, and today he was so busy that he didn’t have time to go home to sleep until noon. He opened the door and saw Chen Yuncheng standing outside with a paper bag containing cigarettes, and said, “What’s the matter? Wish me an early New Year?”
Chen Yuncheng handed him the cigarette and said, “Yes, I’m wishing you a happy new year.”
Long Zhanyu said, “Happy, my ass.”
He invited Chen Yuncheng to sit down. The room in the second-storey house was fairly neatly tidied up, except that there were empty beer bottles and full ashtrays on the coffee table in the living room, and coats were thrown casually on the sofa. It was a single man’s residence.
Chen Yuncheng sat down, Long Zhanyu went to the kitchen to boil water with his messy hair, made him a cup of tea after a while and brought it out.
The tea was too hot to drink for a while.
Long Zhanyu lit a cigarette, crossed his legs and leaned on the single sofa, saying, “Zhou Yan has been transferred to the jurisdiction1simply put a jurisdiction is the official power to make legal decisions and judgments. So Zhou Yan’s punishment is going to be decided pretty soon.”
One side was theft with multiple co-defendants, and the other side was an intentional homicide. After communicating with the higher authorities, he would be transferred to the jurisdiction of the public security bureau in Zhou Yan’s hometown county. When the time comes, he would be prosecuted together with the theft case and tried by the local intermediate court.
Chen Yuncheng nodded and asked, “When will the trial take place?”
Long Zhanyu said, “I guess it’s still early, we have to wait at least a few months.”
Chen Yuncheng sat on the sofa, and leaned forward slightly, with his arms on his knees, as he stared at the full ashtray on the coffee table in a daze.
Long Zhanyu didn’t care whether the ashtray was overflowing or not, and was still flicking soot into it. He said, “I asked my acquaintances at the prosecutor’s office and the court, and they all said that Zhou Yan’s case would be a reprieved case2Reprieve is the suspension or postponement of the punishment of a convicted person. When a reprieve is granted, a criminal is temporarily relieved from the execution of his/her sentence even if he was sentenced to death, so you don’t need to worry too much.”
Chen Yuncheng looked at him, “Thank you, Officer Long.”
Long Zhanyu raised his hand holding the cigarette and waved it in the air, and he said, “It was my poor consideration that got you into trouble with Zhang Wenyong’s case.”
Chen Yuncheng shook his head and said nothing.
Long Zhanyu asked him: “What are you doing now? Do you need me to introduce you to a job?”
Chen Yuncheng was a little curious when he heard the words, “What kind of job can you introduce me to?”
Long Zhanyu yawned, “I heard earlier that they were hiring in the community or something, if you are interested, I can go and ask around.”
“No thanks,” Chen Yuncheng saw that Long Zhanyu was very sleepy and didn’t want to disturb him any longer, so he got up and said, “Take some rest, I’m leaving first, and I’ll come out for dinner another day when I’m free.”
Long Zhanyu sent him to the door of his house.
Chen Yuncheng stood outside the door, looked at him and said, “Smoke less. It’s really bad for your health.”
Long Zhanyu said, “But you are still buying me cigarettes?” Then he waved his hand, “Just go.”
Chen Yuncheng walked towards the elevator, walked two steps and then came back, saying, “If Zhou Yan is in court, can you let me know?”
Long Zhanyu leaned against the doorway and looked at him, “I’ll ask around for you, and I’ll tell you when the court date is confirmed.”
Chen Yuncheng said again, “Thank you.”
Long Zhanyu said, “Call me if you need help.”
Chen Yuncheng smiled, “Okay.”
The next day, Chen Yuncheng received a call from Gu Yaojia that the child was ready to be discharged from the hospital.
Gu Yaojia wanted to take her child back to her hometown before the year’s end, but Chen Yuncheng felt that it would be too dangerous for her to carry her luggage and hold the child by herself, whether by bus or train, so she finally borrowed Ning Junyan’s car and drove them back.
The car travels on the highway for the whole journey, and it only took more than three hours for one trip.
But when they arrived, Gu Yaojia insisted that Chen Yuncheng stays for lunch. Her parents and elder brother had specially prepared a meal, so Chen Yuncheng could not refuse and had to stay for a meal.
After dinner, when Chen Yuncheng and Gu Yaojia were alone, he asked her, “Would you like to go and see Zhou Yan when the court is in session?”
Gu Yaojia looked tired and asked, “When will the court start?”
Chen Yuncheng said, “I don’t know, but I asked a friend to help me find out.”
Gu Yaojia asked again, “Can we go and listen?”
Chen Yuncheng nodded, “Yes.” After speaking, he quickly said, “If you want to go, I will pick you up then.”
Gu Yaojia looked at Chen Yuncheng and asked him, “Do you want me to take the child?”
Chen Yuncheng nodded.
Gu Yaojia smiled suddenly, and she said, “I’ll go then, I will take the child to meet him, and tell the child that it is his father. Although he’s not much of a man and has broken the law, he did all those things for him.”
Chen Yuncheng sat beside him and listened quietly without speaking.
Gu Yaojia suddenly called him, “Cheng ge.”
Chen Yuncheng lifted his head.
Gu Yaojia’s eyes were red, “I can’t afford to pay back the money for the time being, but as soon as I have money, I will definitely pay it back.”
Chen Yuncheng said, “It’s okay, let’s talk about it later.”
On the way back, there was a traffic jam on the highway.
Chen Yuncheng drove forward slowly behind the long queue. He turned on the radio in the car and heard the radio host talking about the upcoming Chinese New Year. As he sat alone in the car, listening to the lively topics, Chen Yuncheng suddenly felt a little lonely.
He thought that if he really went to drive a long-distance truck as he had originally intended, would he have to endure the loneliness of the journey all the time?
Actually, he was not a person who enjoyed loneliness. He wished more than ever that he could have family members who could accompany him growing up and spend the holidays together.
Many people asked him why he cared so much about Zhou Yan and told him not to care about Zhou Yan anymore, but he couldn’t let it go. Because for so many years, Zhou Yan was like his only family, only the two of them were homeless during the Chinese New Year, and they accompanied each other in a strange big city together.
It was a pity that he wouldn’t even have Zhou Yan in the future.
Chen Yuncheng leaned on the back of the seat, watching the faintly visible sunset in the distance, and the gradually darkening sky outside the car window. He thought of Gu Yaojia, Zhou Yan’s young son, and the more than ten years that Zhou Yan would spend in prison.
He was very sad.
When he returned to the city, Chen Yuncheng received a call from Ning Junyan, asking him why he hadn’t come back yet. This was the second call from Ning Junyan today. The first one came at noon, asking when he would be back.
Chen Yuncheng put the phone on speaker and said, “I’ve already gotten off the highway, so if there’s not too much traffic, I can probably get home in half an hour or so.”
Ning Junyan asked him, “Have you eaten?”
Chen Yuncheng said, “Not yet.”
Ning Junyan said “En”, “I’ll wait for you to have dinner.”
After hanging up the phone, Chen Yuncheng concentrated on driving and returned to the neighbourhood where Ning Junyan lived at about the expected time.
At this time, it was completely dark, and before the car reached the gate of the neighbourhood, he saw a slender and tall figure standing under the street lamp from a distance.
Ning Junyan was wearing a coat and a scarf and was waiting for him at the neighbourhood’s entrance. Through the foggy window glass, Chen Yuncheng saw his whole body being haloed by the light, creating a warm and soft circle of light.
Chen Yuncheng heard his heartbeat gradually speeding up, and the discomfort along the way turned sour the moment she saw Ning Junyan. He stepped on the brakes, slowed down and parked the car on the side of the road, very close to Ning Junyan.
Ning Junyan approached with quick steps and walked around the front of the car to the driver’s side. Chen Yuncheng opened the car door, leaned out and grabbed his lapel, and at the same time lowered his head and kissed his lips.
It was not too late, and there were pedestrians passing by the neighbourhood’s entrance, but at that time, Chen Yuncheng could no longer care about other people’s eyes.
Ning Junyan was only briefly in a daze before he quickly raised his arms and wrapped them around Chen Yuncheng, kissing him back hard.
He didn’t even know how long the kiss lasted before Chen Yuncheng pushed Ning Junyan away, his ears turning red as he sat back in his seat and gripped the steering wheel with both hands.
Ning Junyan was still standing by the car door looking at him, and said, “Do you miss me that much?”
Chen Yuncheng didn’t look at him, but said, “Where are we going to eat?”
Ning Junyan said, “I’ll make it for you at home.”
Chen Yuncheng nodded, “Okay.”
When he returned home, Chen Yuncheng took off his jacket and went to the bathroom to wash his hands. As soon as he went in, Ning Junyan followed him in from behind, hugged him from behind, stared at him in the mirror and said, “You’ve lost weight.”
Both of them were busy during this period of time, and Ning Junyan hardly had time to take a closer look at Chen Yuncheng under the bright light.
Chen Yuncheng had indeed lost weight. The short-term jobs he did on the construction site was the hardest and most tiring job so that he could make more money. He pressed the hand sanitiser on the palm of his hand, lowered his head and rubbed his hands carefully, and asked Ning Junyan, “No overtime today?”
Ning Junyan said, “No overtime today.”
Chen Yuncheng took the initiative to kiss Ning Junyan just now, but now he felt embarrassed again, instead of looking at the person in the mirror, he just said, “Is dinner ready?”
“Yeah,” Ning Junyan kissed the top of his head, turned around and left the bathroom first, “Come and eat.”
Chen Yuncheng couldn’t help but raised his hand to touch his head and felt that after he cut his hair, Ning Junyan especially liked to kiss his head.
The dinner was a steak fried by Ning Junyan, accompanied by red wine. If a candle was lit in the middle of the table, it would really have that kind of vibe.
However, Chen Yuncheng was very unskilled in using the knife and fork. He kept knocking on the plate and making sounds.
Ning Junyan said, “I had an emergency surgery this afternoon, it was quite troublesome, and I’ve been thinking about you since I finished.”
Chen Yuncheng heard it but didn’t look up at him, trying to fight with the steak on the plate.
After a while, Chen Yuncheng realized that Ning Junyan had stopped talking, so he took the initiative to find a topic and asked, “Which day do you have a holiday for Chinese New Year?”
Ning Junyan said, “The holiday starts on the 30th, but I have to be on duty for two days in between.”
Chen Yuncheng asked again, “Where did you plan to go?”
Ning Junyan looked at him, “I’m not going anywhere, I’ll just keep an eye on you.”
Chen Yuncheng couldn’t help raising his eyes, and quickly lowered his eyes, “You’re not going to gather with your family?”
“Tomorrow night,” Ning Junyan said, “the family reunion is tomorrow night.”
Chen Yuncheng nodded, “Oh.”
Ning Junyan said, “You can go back with me.”
“Are you kidding me?” Chen Yuncheng laughed as he said, “In what capacity would I go back with you?”
Ning Junyan said, “We can get married, and you come back with me as my partner.” His tone was too calm, and he didn’t seem to be joking at all, and then he took out a square ring box from his pocket, “My custom-made proposal ring has arrived.”
The author has something to say:
I received a lot of starfish today. In order to thank everyone for the starfish, I tried my best to write more characters in this chapter. Although there is no love scenes, at least there is a proposal, which also fits the Qixi Festival atmosphere.
I wish you all a happy Qixi!
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